Gluten-free Bento in Japan 1: Roasted Broccoli Side Recipe

July 23rd, 2012 yum Posted in Bento, Easy, Japan, Vegetables, broccoli 8 Comments »

Toddler Yum needs a new nickname, I think. Even before my sweet girl turned three, she didn’t seem much like a toddler any more. She’s fully adjusted to going to a yochien, or preschool, here in Japan, and even adapted to riding on a bus all by herself. Actually, who am I kidding. She loves riding the bus to school so much she actually thanked me for LETTING her ride on it! lol. And I thought my little baby would be scared to ride all by herself. Anyway, the fact is that my little girl is growing up, and I think I just might have to start calling her “Kid Yum.” Sniff.

Kid Yum has been enjoying the delicious school lunches at her Japanese yochien. I have been enjoying the luxury of having someone else feed my kid nutritious meals from scratch. The yochien has its own kitchen with see through windows, and you can see the chefs working on prepping vegetables and other ingredients all morning. It puts American schools to shame, really. But unfortunately, this blissful respite is over for the school is now having a kind of summer vacation, when many students go off and do other things with their families. They have what they call “waku waku time” or exciting fun play time instead, offered for working mothers or those with new babies etc. so Kid Yum is attending that. But the downside is that she no longer gets those delicious lunches during break, and I have to make her her own bento every day. Eek!

I made a bento before for the oya-ko ensoku (parent-child outing) when we went to a camp wilderness area and did scavenger hunts etc, but that was basically just a lot of things that I like. I didn’t pack it up in a real bento. For that, I made roasted kabocha pumpkin slices, inari zushi, and spring rolls with peanut sauce, boiled eggs, and Roasted Chickpeas. So, today I made Kira her first official kid-serving bento.


Today’s Bento included:

  • gluten-free brown rice pasta (Trader Joe’s that we had packed in our suitcase here) and mixed it with a little olive oil, tomato basil sauce, and herbamare.
  • a double serving of Just Bento’s tamagoyaki recipe
  • Matchstick raw carrots
  • sliced baby tomatoes
  • And last but not least,

    Roasted Broccoli
    Ingredients
    1 head of broccoli, washed, cut into long stemmed florets
    olive oil
    herbamare
    bouquet garni
    smoked paprika

    Directions
    Preheat an oven to 450 (or use a toaster oven). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place your broccoli florets on the pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Rub the olive oil into the florets and sprinkle them with herbamare, bouquet garni and smoked paprika. Yes, I brought all of these herbs from the states because I love them so.
    Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes and check. Turn and cook for another 5 to 15 minutes depending on how roasted you want them to be.

    Snapshots of School Life and Events in Japan:



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    Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Mexican Chocolate Brownie Recipe

    February 14th, 2012 yum Posted in Almonds, Baked Goods, Chocolate, Dairy Free, Easy, JM friendly, low-sugar 14 Comments »


    Happy Valentines Day from the Book of Yum!

    I have a confession to make. I don’t really like brownies. I know that this is shocking, because I love (dark) chocolate and have something of a chocolate addiction that I’m trying to break. But the thing is, I like chocolate. Dark, rich, unadulterated chocolate. The bread-y cake-y chocolate thing is not really my favorite. In fact, unless it is a rich flourless chocolate cake or ganache…. I don’t even like chocolate cake. But the DH loves brownies. He loves cake-y, bread-y, sweet chocolate brownies. In all our years of being married (we will celebrate our 10th this June) I don’t think I have ever made him gluten-free brownies from scratch. I have deigned to mix up the odd batch of gluten-free brownie from a mix, but that’s it. He has never complained, but when he recently whipped up his own batch of gluten-free brownies from the Bette Crocker mix, I felt a little twinge. Why hadn’t I ever made him a good gluten-free brownie from scratch? I bake everything else from scratch, so why not that too, for a DH that has been so supportive of his gluten-free and vegetarian wife’s diet? So I resolved to remedy this error, and soon. Valentine’s Day was the perfect occasion to show my love with a little baking.

    What is something your significant other likes to eat that you don’t particularly care for?

    Last weekend I took Toddler Yum to Michael’s craft store to pick up supplies for making some homemade valentines for her daycare classmates. I picked up two heart cookie cutters, along with some fun stamps (including an alphabet set for stamping her name), heart ribbon, and more. I’d already bought little notepads with Valentine’s Day messages from Target, and had some scrapbook sheets at home that I planned to use as the base for the Valentines. On Sunday Toddler Yum and I got up early and spent the morning assembling valentines. We used the large heart cookie cutter as a stencil and I cut the thick scrapbook paper into large hearts. Then we taped notepads on the front of the heart and I set Toddler Yum loose with stamps, colored pencils, and crayons to decorate the back. We stamped her name on each one, and I finished the valentine with a little heart bow on the front. Toddler Yum takes her valentines to school tomorrow and can’t wait to give her favorite teachers and friends their cards!


    This little craft project left me with these wonderful heart cookie cutters. I used them this morning to make Toddler Yum some gluten-free toast hearts topped with honey-almond butter spread. Then this afternoon after I made a batch of a gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free mexican chocolate brownies, I decided to use the small heart cookie cutter to cut out heart brownies. They were beautiful, and it was so much easier than rolling out cookie dough and cutting out the raw cookie shapes. Toddler Yum was so excited to see me make brownies that she opened her eyes wide and made an “oh my goodness” face with her mouth, clutching her little fists up in the air. “Two thumbs up” she said, pointing her index fingers at the sky. The DH gave these cake brownies a big thumbs up too, and so did my dairy-free mother and visiting father. “These are so much better than the mix brownies,” she said. As for me, I liked my last minute addition of cinnamon that was inspired by spicy mexican chocolate. I almost added chili powder too, but decided that the cinnamon was wild and crazy enough for our household. The DH also appreciated the zesty cinnamon in his brownie. He wasn’t quite ready to say they were better than a box mix, but he said they were “very yummy.” Being a Libra, he doesn’t like to pick favorites.

    One extra cool thing about this recipe is that it is truly 100% soy-free, even to the point of being free of soy-lecithin. Unsweetened chocolate or baking chocolate is often quite pure, and doesn’t contain emulsifiers like soy lecithin. Woo hoo! I could even serve this to my profoundly soy-sensitive friend! (Oops, guess my secret plan is out since she reads my blog!)

    I hope you enjoy my gluten-free brownie recipe. It was fun and easy to make, and I managed to make a rich and decadent dessert reasonably healthy, with no refined starches and limited amounts of processed sugar. Happy Valentines Day from all of us at the Book of Yum!

    More Gluten-free Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes:
    Easy and Allergen-free Chocolate Mousse
    Gluten-free Flourless Chocolate Cake and Cardamon Rose Pistachio Ice Cream
    Gluten-free Dairy-free Chocolate Cherry Cake with Betty Crocker mix
    Gluten-free Dairy-free Cheesecake Pops Recipe
    Gluten-free Raw-foods Dairy-free Cheesecake Recipe with Honey Lavender
    Gluten-free Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Elana’s Pantry Valentines Day Recipe Roundup
    Gluten-free Brownie Valentine Cake Pop Recipe
    Allergy-friendly Chocolate Fondue
    Chocolate Covered Coconut Cookie Dough Recipe (raw vegan, nut-free, grain-free)
    Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats for Toddlers:
    Gluten-free, Sugar-free Banana Coconut Cookies

    This recipe was entered in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday with Simply Sugar and Gluten-free.

    Gluten-free Mexican Chocolate Cake Brownie Recipe
    Ingredients
    1/2 cup grapeseed oil
    3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    1/2 cup organic white sugar
    1/2 cup date sugar, coconut sugar, or more organic white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/3 cup sorghum or rice flour
    1/3 cup almond flour (finely ground, like honeyville)
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Directions
    Line 8*8 cake pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease sides and bottom with a little palm shortening. Preheat oven to 350F.

    Put unsweetened chocolate and grapeseed oil in a microwavable bowl or double boiler. Melt in microwave on medium power for around two minutes, checking at the one minute mark and stirring if needed. Or, if you prefer, you can melt the chocolate and oil in a double boiler bowl over boiling or simmering water until you can stir it into a creamy liquid.

    Pour chocolate oil mixture into a medium bowl and add your sugar and vanilla. Let cool while you combine your dry ingredients (flours, baking soda and cinnamon) in another medium bowl. When chocolate-sugar mixture cools, you can add two eggs and whisk to combine. Stir dry ingredients and add your melted chocolate and egg mixture.

    Bake in parchment paper lined pan on 350 for 30 minutes.

    Let cool in pan. If you want to make heart brownies, take a heart cookie cutter and cut out heart shapes. The parchment paper lining makes this really easy. You can remove each heart with the cookie cutter and place them on a decorative plate. There will be leftover brownie scraps that I’m sure will go uneaten. NOT! Perfect for chef snacking or treating the kid or other family members with while you save the heart brownies for your valentine.

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