A story, a cat, a bento and mini Odwalla bars

There’s a huge bowl of candy in the reception area of the office where I work.  Unfortunately for me, I’m the receptionist so the candy is a constant temptation.  It hasn’t been too hard to resist until today, when the boring mini Hersheys were replaced with Almond Joys, peanut m&ms, Twix, Dove chocolates, peppermint patties and mini Snickers.  EVERY TIME someone walks by the bowl, they take a candy.  Since most of the employees walk by a million times a day, that equals a crap ton of candy.  It’s almost as bad as watching all the women walk past my desk to get to the bathroom.  Hmmm, I think to myself, EVERY TIME.  Maybe I have to pee too!  No, I can’t possibly have to go again.  It’s all in my mind.  Better just go so I can stop thinking about it.  ETC.

The candy bowl makes for some funny conversations though.  Today I handed a man his tax return and, as he went to leave, he stopped by the candy bowl like everyone does.  He stood there for a moment gazing into its depths.  He seemed… peeved.

“Hmm,” he said.  “You don’t have any Mr. Goodbars?”

My mind flashed back to a few days ago, and I suddenly remembered that he had been in a few days ago and asked about Mr. Goodbars then, too!  I remembered it specifically because I thought Mr. Goodbar was an unusual thing to identify as missing from a bowl of candy.  I mean, I like Mr. Goodbar and all but I don’t think I would notice if there weren’t Mr. Goodbars in the mix, you know?  I decided to get to the bottom of it.

“Are Mr. Goodbars your favorite candy?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “I just like them.”

“Well, how about a Twix?” I suggested.

“Nah, I don’t like Twix,” he said.  (Who doesn’t like Twix?  I became suspicious.)

“Have you ever had a Twix?” I asked.

“No,” he said. (AHA!) “But I don’t think I’d like them.”

“Maybe you’d like them if you tried them!” I replied obnoxiously.

“Maybe… but I’m 59 years old and I’m not about to go trying Twix now!” he said, turned away, and left.

How is Maggie these days?  She’s lost a little weight and is bursting with cattitude.

It’s so budgety around here these days.  I finally took a picture of Justin’s bento and lo, it’s exactly the same as EVERY SINGLE OTHER ONE I’VE EVER MADE.  That weird thing is a rolled-up taco left over from last night, and that other thing is a cherry pie Larabar!  I persist in buying them “for the fiber” and trying to get Justin to like them, when secretly I’m the only one around here who likes them and I know that I only want Justin to eat them because they fit so perfectly into the box.

I made up a batch of cookie-like things the other night, loosely based on this recipe.  I basically threw in everything I could think of that might taste good in a cookie.  “Are these healthy, or are they cookies?” asked Justin.  “Well, they’re both,” I replied.  “That means they’re NOT cookies,” he said.  Well, he wasn’t wrong, that’s for sure.  I took a good look at them and realized that I had actually cooked up a batch of mini Odwalla bars!  The have almost the exact same taste as an oatmeal Odwalla bar, but are slightly less hard and chewy.

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Wednesday’s Bento

Here is a more typical bento lunch from yesterday.

Here is a more typical bento.  The peanut butter celery sticks (there are actually four sticks there) are my favorite part of this bento.  I also like the kiwi in the silicone baking cup.  From reading other people’s bento blogs, I learned that silicone baking cups are a great way to separate foods – and voila, they do fit perfectly into this bento since it’s only 1.5 inches tall.

I bought the peanut butter from the bulk section of Whole Foods.  They have a few nut butter grinding machines – plain peanut, which I buy, honey peanut which sounds delicious but contains WHEAT! (why, Whole Foods?), and almond.  I learned that you can bring your own jars/bags/containers to Whole Foods and they will weight them for you at the customer service center.  Then, you can add your bulk foods directly into your own container rather than filling a plastic bag or plastic tub and transferring it a different container when you get home.  My jar, which used to contain peanut butter in the first place, weighs .57 lbs.  The cashiers are able to subtract the weight of your container from the final price.  It’s really fun, and plastic-free; the only downside is you have to remember to wash out your jar and bring it with you to the store.  The price is 2.99/lb for bulk plain peanut butter (organic).

Along with the main bento, Justin had corn tortilla chips and a small tub of hummus, in a nifty stainless-steel container my mom bought for me.  The hummus is actually from a mix that I also buy in bulk at Whole Foods.  It’s $4.39/lb, which is over a dollar cheaper per pound than the very same mix at Sunflower, a usually-cheaper grocery store in Boulder.  Usually WF is more expensive, but not always.  They have a really great bulk foods section that is usually cheaper than other bulk sections – maybe because it’s bigger.  You have to add olive oil and water to the mix, and I also add garlic, and parsley if I have it.  It’s almost as good as 100% homemade hummus!  At $4.39 for a dry pound, it makes a LOT of hummus.

A tip I have been reading about lately is to chop/mince the garlic – and then let it sit for at least five minutes before you add it to anything raw, like the hummus mix, or add it to something you are cooking.  Garlic is a great anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer food, but the compound (alliicin) that makes garlic so healthy is only created when the membranes of the garlic cells are cut.  My go-to website for nutrition information, World’s Healthiest Foods, says that after you let garlic sit for 5-10 minutes, you can cook it on low to medium heat for up to 15 minutes without destroying the health-promoting alliicin.  Since hummus is raw, the alliicin is presumably not destroyed at all… and it’s delicious to boot!