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If you’ve never encountered the art of Bento Boxes, you really must take a quick peek over here at Anna the Red’s amazing art. Her “My Neighbor Totoro”-inspired series is the best. I’ve loved that movie since I first saw it in Japanese at a friend’s house around 1989 or so. Our VHS copy is among those few that remain since converting most of our other movies to DVD.

One of my favorite Anna the Red creations.

So I’ve decided that this is the next food project I want to tackle… And I’ve made a few tentative forays so far. A few nights ago, I designed little pictures on my boys plates for dinner and, between the two of them, they ate every crumb on both plates. (Sure, there was a little food-swapping going on, but hey, whatever!)

I didn’t get any pictures of those two plates, but I did another for my little guy this evening and, while it certainly wasn’t any kind of proper Bento, I really liked the way it looked.

Hummus, Goldfish, Cheese, Blueberries and Edamame - Yum!

He gobbled up the crackers, hummus, cheese and blueberries but made a face at the edamame (though he did try it twice and didn’t throw any on the floor – yay!).

Inspired by my meager “success”, I decided I could do a little box of tuna-egg salad for my lunch for tomorrow. Here’s what was born:

My very first Bento - A Baby Bento, if you will.

This feels like the beginning of a very enjoyable creative endeavor… As if I needed another hobby! However, this one, at least, did not require any investment in special equipment. Thankfully. Certainly, I could have spent oodles and oodles on the amazing variety of beautiful Bento boxes and assorted paraphernalia. But my collection of plastic storage boxes is epic (thanks, in part, to my dear spouse who’s probably the most prolific lunch-packer I’ve ever known… Save maybe my mom…) so I’ll be using those for now and getting crazy creative later.

Wish me luck!!

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I just can’t resist – I have at least three recipes hanging out in the wings, replete with photos, but summer seems to hold a premium on my time that just won’t allow for sit-down-and-type-a-proper-blog-post. A shrug of the shoulders follows and I figure I’ll catch up over the winter.

HOW.E.VER

I can’t resist throwing out a teaser of things to come, like a Zucchini Raw Pasta that was tested and found more-than-passable by raw foodies and those not so into that lifestyle alike. I’m also scheming an alternate version of my friend’s luscious mac and cheese recipe, probably with black beans because my littlest child loves his “bees” (we’re working on getting the “n” in there).

The Farmer’s Market near my home has yielded some wonderful food, including my first ever brush with garlic from somewhere other than the grocery store. W-O-W!! I couldn’t believe the difference – the soft, velvety texture and gentler aroma of the fresh garlic was just another reminder of why I’m trying to learn more about fresh, whole foods. Exquisite!

So. Teaser for you, my Dear Reader, and motivation for me to follow-up later! Happy Eating!!

Borrowed from Atlanta Rawks

Even the best of cooks draw inspiration from other lovers of cuisine. Personally, I am perpetually in need of a food muse. Oftentimes, food itself arouses my creativity, getting my juices flowing when their, erm, juices start flowing.

One of my favorite, newfound sources of influence is an Atlanta-based group of vegan and raw food enthusiasts who organize weekly potlucks. These dinners provide true “soul food”; they invite you to push yourself to find the purest ingredients and draw out the foods’ natural flavors. It’s exciting to try new foods when you know that they were created with a genuine sense of integrity and open-minded exploration, utilizing unconventional means, innovative techniques and sometimes ancient methods.

Blogger (and all-around groovy chick) Sarah Ku posted this entry about our adventure a couple weekends ago. She graciously linked to my recipe for Raw Asparagus Quinoa that I whipped up (read: spent several hours creating) special for the event. It was the first fully raw vegan dish I had ever created with the intent of making a nutritious, raw, vegan main course. Sure, I’ve made fruit salads before or regular veggie salads and those would certainly abide by the spirit of the gatherings, but I really wanted to get outside my comfort zone, stretch my ever-expanding abilities and really present the group something I was proud to share. It was received enthusiastically and has given me a much-needed boost of confidence.

Not to mention a solid helping of inspiration!

*This post has been entered into the category of Confessions for two reasons: 1) it was one of the only ones that made sense to put it in and 2) it’s challenging to remain conscious enough to acknowledge your source material and, as such, revealing the source of my inspiration is a “confession” of sorts.

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs
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