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Salmon Pasta Bento (348)

I’m starting this week with a little good will towards other bento blogs. My article An Online Bento Evolution has been by far my most viewed post ever and to continue to spread the word about the online bento community, I will be posting about other bento blogs out there that are newcomers to the scene. To start this little campaign of mine, I’d like to point you all to a bento blog by TomcatChick from San Diego, California called Bentocracy. TomcatChick just started bentoing last month, so she’s just getting her blog started. Be sure to check it out!

If you have your own blog that you’d like to share, feel free to post about it on the AIB forums.

090420-Salmon-Pasta-Bento

Today I’m using my pink four section bento box that everyone loved the first time I used it. I made some salmon pasta last night from an old recipe my mom brought back from her trip to Waterfall, Alaska years ago. I didn’t have many of the ingredients on her recipe, so I had to do a lot of adapting, but it all turned out nicely in the end.

The recipe calls for:

1 can salmon
1 package linguine, cooked
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tb butter

I only had the salmon and the butter, which actually makes it sound like I didn’t even use her recipe at all, haha! What I ended up going with was:

1 can salmon
1 package spaghetti, cooked
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup evaporated milk
3 Tb butter

Melt the butter in the pan, then add the garlic, then the salmon. I have this thing where even though I know the bones are edible, I can’t stand it, so I removed the bones. Next time I’ll use the one from Costco that doesn’t have the bones in it. Add the evaporated milk after the meat has been cooking for a while on medium heat. It was a little watery at this point, so I lowered the heat and let it thicken up a bit on its own.

I cooked the spaghetti, but cracked them into thirds for smaller noodles to make it easier for the kids to eat. That worked out nicely. I drained the noodles, then added it back to the pot. When the sauce was ready, I poured it over the noodles and mixed it well. The sauce was slightly thickened, but not completely, which was what I was going for since the noodles would be soaking it up. I added salt to taste and it was done!

It took like an hour to get the kids to stop fussing and crying after their nap, but when they finally did, they liked the food. Baby Girl went from a nasty “I want candy for dinner” tantrum to a pleasant “Mommy this food is so yummy!” which was a serious relief. I really freaking hate dinner battles. Some nights I just want to eat their food and let them starve for the night. It’s not like one day without dinner is going to kill them and maybe they’d actually learn their lesson not to take food for granted.

Anyway, back to the bento.

090420-Salmon-Pasta-Bento2

I topped the noodles with parsley for garnish. Next door to that, I put in some sugar snap peas and baby carrot sticks. Below the pasta I have quartered strawberries and kiwi flowers. In the last section I have some miraculous haupia, which I was able to make with semi-success. Jenn sent me her recipe and this one tasted much better, with a more subtle coconut taste. I stirred and stirred and stirred on medium heat and JUST when it was thickening how it’s supposed to, Baby Girl yells from the bathroom that I must come and help her finish up. I run there, clean her up, frantically wash my hands with thoughts of then-successful-now-unsuccessful haupia running through my head. I get back to stirring when the phone rings. Augh!

In the end though, it thickened up nicely. When chilled, it was hard enough where I could cut it into squares, but at the same time it was still kinda mushy, which means I took it off the stove a little too early. Still, I’m happy I could even cut it. I made some little cubes and mixed it up with some blackberries we bought at Costco.

Last week I got a request to post my miso chicken bento in the furoshiki. Here it is!

I’m very disheartened that I have not heard from my second winner yet. What the heck does it take to give away a freaking free bento box, my goodness. Either that or I’m sitting in two Spam boxes. Damned filters!

We had a little adventure on Saturday. Mr. Pikko found a nursery on the island that sells miracle fruit trees, so we took the kids on a trip out to Waimanalo to Frankie’s Nursery. We ended up buying two miracle fruit trees ($30 each) and one kumquat tree for me ($29). I also scored two Tahitian vanilla beans for $6.50, which, if you make your own vanilla, you know is dirt cheap. I was very pleased about that. Miracle fruit trees can only grow in Florida and Hawaii, so if my mainland readers are hoping to go out and buy some right now, well, time to move or let that dream go.

Miracle Fruit 1_001

The trees are barely a foot tall, but you can see little berries already forming, which is pretty amazing. It’s more of a shrub than a tree and the guy at the nursery kept telling us it’s a VERY slow growing plant. So slow that we can keep it in the pot that he sold it to us in for maybe two more years. Crazy, huh?

Think those berries look sizable in the picture?

Miracle Fruit 2

Think again. They’re super tiny and therefore, I have no idea when they’ll be ready. They grow to about the size of coffee beans. I look at them and I think of miracle fruit parties we can have later. Oh that will be SO much fun. I don’t know if I talked about it before, but I ate up one of the trays of sour strawberries we had with a miracle frootie a couple weeks ago. They were so deliciously sweet after I ate the candy and I ended up eating myself sick. I kept thinking, “Crap, crap, the fruit’s going to wear off!! I must eat this all before the taste is gone!!” Not too bright, huh?

Since I’m doing a garden update, I figured I might as well keep going. To fill people in, I have this monstrous (and I do mean MONSTROUS) tomato tree, err, plant in my yard in the raised garden bed I made. I bought it as a little tiny plant about six inches tall from Marukai Marketplace. I planted it in the bed and not long after, it went up to my shoulders. Now, I’m short, but a freaking four an a half foot tall tomato plant is big in my book. Eventually, it buckled under its own weight and the stem cracked, but that didn’t stop the plant from then growing sideways.

Last week, it had grown into a HUGE bush about six feet wide and four feet tall. There were at least a hundred flowers all over the thing and you know what? Not a single. freaking. tomato. Yeah, that’s right, my uber healthy super awesome tomato plant of doom was giving me jack. I looked online, came up with several conclusions including lack of bees, sterile plant, too much leaves etc. I began to whack the plant to aid pollination, pruned leaves, and asked it to please give me something for taking up like an eighth of our yard.

Finally, after Mr. Pikko making the ridiculous accusation that there were rats living in it (yeah right), I chopped it down to about 1/3 it’s size. Meanwhile, a little tiny tomato plant that I moved to the bed under this monster’s leaves had begun to take off. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went to water the bed on Saturday and saw this:

Yellow-Tomato1

WOOHOO! I’m so happy, seriously. It’s still green but already bigger than the pathetic little cherry tomatoes I grew before. There are more too!

Yellow-Tomato2

As of this morning I now have a total of five tomatoes on this one little skinny plant. So screw you monster tomato tree that gives me no love! If you don’t put out by next week, I’m pulling you out and planting some soy beans!

Sugar-Snap-Peas1

I also noticed flowers on my little sugar snap pea plants. Yay! I just bought a huge bag at Costco, but don’t worry little sugar snap pea children to be, I’ll love you more!

I mentioned dropping the Jello bento on my right big toe the other week, right? Well yesterday I’m putting away my Pyrex when it skydives out of the cabinet, bounces off a bag on the counter, the crash lands right on my left toe. This one hurt a lot more than the Jello and I was screaming a lot more. I was so pissed that I was really nasty to anyone who asked if I was okay. When I finally calmed down, I looked at my toe and saw a piece of flesh hanging off, so I guess either the pouring tip or the handle hit me. It’s hard to bend this toe too now. My other one hasn’t even healed yet. πŸ™

Now, come on Christine, reply to my email already. You’re killing me here.

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  • Thank you so much for the shoutout!

  • Kim

    Hahaha!!!!! “If you don’t put out by next week, I’m pulling you out and planting some soy beans!” Too Funny!!

  • Ciliegio

    I’ve heard of tomato plants doing better after being ran over a few times with the truck. Guess they like tough love. But pruning is key, because then the plant energy goes into producing fruit and not foliage and stem, etc.

  • So, I’ve been going into your archives to take a look at how long your plants have come and I noticed something… the background in some pictures, well, it looks like you live in a townhome, as I do. πŸ˜›

    i can’t plant in my “yard” either. I’ve got tubs of cherry tomato, cooking herbs, and mint. By the look of your other veggies, i just might tackle peas next!

  • Mitsubachi

    Next time you plant tomatoes, stick a wooden dowel(like from a craft store) next to the plant. As it starts to grow secure the stem to the dowel with bread ties. If you tie it off every foot or so it will keep the stem from breaking under the weight of your luscious tomato goodness πŸ™‚

  • I actually did do that, but I guess my dirt isn’t thick enough. The plant bent over and snapped even attached to the stick.

  • Nicola

    I love love love the way your bento looks today, its so simply elegant. The blackberries, and haupia look absolutly nummy!

  • Forget Christine. I’ll take it! LOL!

    Seriously though, hope your toes feel better!

  • I found your blog through Jenny’s blog, Crazy for Paper Crafting. I’m glad I did! You make some awesome bentos! And I see that you’re a LOST fan, just like me! I got to take a picture with John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) when they were filiming in our building. He was really nice! Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  • Oh, your sugarpeas are already flowering! Lucky you!
    I just posted a big gardening update too, but my plants aren’t nearly as fast as yours. How long did it take for your peas to start flowering? I’m going crazy checking on them every day!

    πŸ˜‰

  • @Linda So lucky!! I’ve heard he’s really nice!

    @Jokergirl I’m a dummy and didn’t write down when we planted them. I guess I could go back and look at some photos I might have taken tho…

  • i like the partitioned boxes the best.
    and congratulations on the improved photography

  • Nic

    I love love love that box, and the salmon pasta looks yummy too, I’m always looking for good pasta salady recipes and will definitely ahve to try this one!

  • Good luck with the picky little eaters… mine had to go off and backpack Europe or live in Aust. to learn to eat what’s in front of you or do without.

    Tomatoes do like tough love… my dad always put them in a spot where the wind would whip them and they’d get full sun. I have horrible luck with toms… but I must be the pepper Queen.

  • Aimee S.

    Tomatoes are hard to grow…till you get the hang of it. When I first started growing them I started pruning….and pruning….and pruning…till there was pretty much nothing left (like a bad haircut!). But they did grow to be about 5 feet tall (with support). Only problem, I thought I was going to be able to harvest enough at a time to make sauce or something. Right…I was lucky to get one at a time to slice for a sammie. LOL

    I will monitor your progress with great interest Pikko!! Don’t give up!

    I LOVE that box….as always, great work! You are the BEST!!

  • I’m in UK and can’t even start planting out my tomato plants and peas yet! You’re so lucky! My peas are just still little tiny shoots poking up in paper pots.
    Sounds like you didn’t pinch enough side shoots off your big plant, that’s why it got too big and bushy. You can also pinch out the top shoots to stop it growing upwards. Now that the fruit is setting on your other tomato plant, don’t forget to feed it once a week with a liquid tomato feed. Regular water too will help, early morning and late evening is best.
    Hope this helps a bit :0)

  • Christina

    I don’t think I’m your winner since I have an “A” in my name. Can you link back to the contest post so ppl can see if it was them? The email may have gotten into their spam filter. I would have loved to win too. hehee I love all your posts btw & read it every day. πŸ™‚

  • Salmon Pasta!!! Yummy!!!