Pink Wings

Three Tuna Bento Recipes



Hubs and I are currently over in Europe for a few weeks. At the time I'm writing this we just wrapped up four days in London and are on a train bound for Paris. While in London we biked past Buckingham Palace, enjoyed Afternoon Tea, and waved a wand at Platform 9 and 3/4. It was fun, and we're excited for the rest of our trip, though we do miss our fur babies at home. For me, the best part of traveling is experiencing new cultures and foods, but the best part of going home is getting back to a comfortable house and routine.

A few months ago I started a new routine doing weekly meal preps. At the beginning of the week I create my meal plan, do all my grocery shopping, and cook the whole week's meals in one go. It not only has helped me eat more healthfully and consciously, but also is super convenient. When the clock turns 5pm I don't have to stress about what to make for dinner, but can just pull a container out of the fridge and warm it up. I don't do this every week (it works best when hubby's on the road) but I'll do it at least every other. It's a great tradition to start during back to school time because it cuts down on the stress of this busy season. So today I'm sharing some of my favorite lunch meals: three different tuna bentos.

We use tuna a TON in our house, it's one of those things I literally always keep stocked in the pantry. Hubby is constantly trying to pump himself full of protein because he's always trying to "get them gains," and tuna is the most convenient way to get lean protein and all the other healthy fats and nutrients in there. Since we use it so much, I like to buy the good stuff, aka albacore. I was converted to albacore at the beginning of this year ever since hubby brought an uneaten can home from one of his trips. The thing is, it has this thick, flaky texture that puts it a whole level above chunk light tuna. It's kinda like the Prada of the tuna world. In my three recipes I exclusively used Bumble Bee®'s Solid White Albacore Tuna. Do that and your dishes will be a cut above, promise.

I hope I've convinced you of albacore's superiority by now. Below are my three bento recipes: tuna fried rice, tuna kimbap (sushi rolls), and tuna rice balls. The recipes make more than enough for a week's worth of lunches and I used simple, fresh ingredients to complement the hearty tuna. If you plan on doing a weekly meal prep like me, I included a shopping list below for making all three recipes. And here is my recommendation: the kimbap and rice balls are best made day of (not things you want to heat up), so I say only fully make the fried rice ahead of time. For the kimbap and rice balls, just prep the ingredients ahead of time (including the rice), then on the day of, all you have to do is warm up your rice and add all your pre-made ingredients. Easy cheese.

Check out the recipes below, and take a look at Bumble Bee®'s site for more info on albacore and a full nutritional list HERE









Bento Ingredient List:
  • 4 cups short-grain rice
  • 3-4 cans (5 oz.) Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 large carrots
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 cucumber
  • pickled radish (opt.)
  • Japanese mayonnaise (normal mayo is fine too)
  • 4-5 sushi seaweed sheets
  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • salt + pepper
  • oil for frying
  • sesame oil (opt.)
  • rice vinegar (opt.)
  • fruits + vegetables for sides 

    Tuna Fried Rice
    Serves 2
    • 1 can (5 oz.) Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna, drained
    • 1/4 cup diced carrots
    • 1/4 cup chopped onions
    • 1/4 cup frozen peas
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup cooked short-grain rice
    • 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
    • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
    • salt + pepper
    • oil
    • sesame oil (opt.) 
    • plastic disposable gloves (opt.)

    Directions:

    Warm about 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic, carrots and onions, and fry until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add another 1/2 Tbsp of oil. Crack one egg into the middle of the pan and scramble until almost completely cooked. Add the rice, oyster sauce and soy sauce, peas and albacore tuna, and stir to combine. Add frying oil or sesame oil as needed. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat and pour into your bento boxes. Use the same pan to fry the leftover 2 eggs sunny side up. Serve on top of your rice.


    Tuna Kimbap
    Makes 4 rolls
    • 2 cans Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna, drained
    • Japanese mayonnaise (or normal mayonnaise)
    • 2 cups rice, cooked
    • rice vinegar (opt.)
    • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into long strips
    • 2 carrots, cut into long strips
    • Japanese pickled radish (opt.), cut into long strips
    • 1 bunch spinach, steamed
    • 3 eggs, whisked together
    • salt + pepper
    • oil for frying
    • sesame oil (opt.)
    • 4 pieces dried sushi seaweed 

     Directions:

    Place a large skillet over medium heat with about 1/2 Tbsp of oil. Saute the carrots until tender; set aside. Using the same pan, spray with oil and pour your eggs in. Cook a couple minutes, then flip to cook the other side. Once done, remove from heat. Cut the egg into 1-inch strips.

    For the tuna, in a small bowl combine the tuna and a large spoonful of mayonnaise. Add more mayo as desired, you want it to stick together well but not be too wet.

    If desired, season rice with rice vinegar. Start with one teaspoon and add more to taste.

    To assemble:
    Place one piece of seaweed on a bamboo rolling mat or clean surface. Spread a thin layer of rice 3/4 of the way up. Take some grains of rice and smush them along the top edge of the seaweed (so that the end will stick after you roll it). In the middle of the rice, place a slice of egg, cucumber, carrot,  and pickled radish. Spread a thin layer of spinach and a generous line of tuna. Roll, squeezing tightly as you go. Brush with sesame oil (opt.). Repeat for remaining rolls. Use a sharp knife to cut 1/2-inch pieces. Best eaten within the day. *if you have leftover tuna, save it for the rice balls


    Tuna Rice Balls
    Makes 2 rice balls

    • 1 cup short-grain rice, cooked
    • 1 can Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna
    • Japanese mayonnaise (or normal mayonnaise)
    • rice vinegar (opt.)
    • plastic disposable gloves (opt.)
    • 1 piece sushi seaweed, for decorating (opt.)

    Directions:

    In a small bowl, combine the tuna and a spoonful of mayonnaise. Add more mayo as needed, the mixture should stick together well but not be too wet.

    If desired, mix rice vinegar into your rice. Start with 1/2 teaspoon, taste, then add more if needed.

    Here is where you may want disposable kitchen gloves: Take about 1/4 cup of rice and shape into a round disk. Press the center to make a divot, then fill the divot with tuna. Take another 1/4 cup of rice and cover the tuna. Gently but firmly squeeze and shape the rice into a ball. If desired, decorate with seaweed pieces to make animal faces. Repeat for all rice balls. Best eaten within the day.


    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    Napa Valley Date with Parabellum

    Things are a bit crazy around our house these days. Hubby's only been home for exactly 4 days in the past month. He just got home again last night, but tomorrow I leave to be a counselor at a youth camp. One week after I get back we'll be off to Europe for three weeks but still don't have an itinerary, eek! But the hubs and I have gotten pretty good at making the most of our short time together. Today we went on a date to one of our favorite places in the Bay: Yountville, in Napa Valley.

    I've said it many times before, but we just love Yountville. It's a tiny little town just north of Napa and it's perfect. Everything is dripping in ivy and so beautiful, and it is chock full of delicious restaurants. Today we grabbed dinner, stopped at the gourmet grocery for a good chocolate bar, and walked around a bit until sunset.

    My new wallet is from Parabellum. Their brand is based in LA and they make beautiful quality leather goods. All of their stuff is responsibly made from free-range bison, and they sell direct to customer, which means that things are kept affordable. I picked out this skinny cash and carry wallet because I thought it would be perfect for traveling, especially when we get to Europe. Check out all their other amazing products, I'm obsessing over their pouches and messenger bag.










    Ghostbusters Candy Bar Tartlets

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSSpirit #SweetSquad #CollectiveBias

    Okay, so who has seen Ghostbusters?? I've been dying to see it! And that is saying something, because I don't often get excited for movies, but I just love every single one of those funny ladies. Hubby just got home today finally, so tomorrow may be my chance!

    You know, the one good thing about hubby being gone so often is the welcome home celebrations. I love the excitement of prepping the house and putting together a welcome home meal for my hubby's return. The special treat I made this time around was these Ghostbusters candy bar tartlets. They make me happy because they are two things that I love most: easy and delicious. They make a perfect welcome-home treat or even after-school treat because they are quick. Imagine coming home from school to these tartlets and then celebrating a week of hard work with a trip to the see the movie. That's the kind of cool mom I want to be. For now, hopefully I'm a cool wife.

    For this recipe the MARS Mixed Mini Variety Pack worked best. The cute tartlets are quite small, so the mini candies fit perfectly. And in the photos you'll see I used a green whipped cream for the bottom of the ghosts, but in retrospect decided it wasn't necessary, so I left it out of the recipe. I like things simple. While at Walmart I also grabbed the MARS mixed chocolate fun sized variety pack, those will work great for this recipe as well. And my hubby's favorite, M&M's® Peanut Butter. I meant to use them for a couple tartlets but ended up just munching on them, oops. Also look for the M&M's® Milk Chocolate bottles at Walmart, they will have Ghostbusters themed ones along with coupons for 75 cents off.

    If you've seen the movie, tell me what you thought of it below (but no spoilers)! If not, grab some candy, bake these tartlets, and make a night of it like me.

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    Ghostbusters Candy Bar Tartlets
    Makes 12 tartlets

    • 12 mini pie crusts (2 packages)
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 12 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • Mars Mixed Mini variety pack candy bars, sliced
    • fresh whipped cream
    • black gel food coloring

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 250F.

    In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream and milk. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk gently until completely smooth.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. While still whisking, gradually pour in about 1/2 cup of the chocolate cream. Then pour the egg mixture into the chocolate and whisk until combined.

    Place the tartlet crusts on a baking pan and fill each with a sliced candy bar. Cover with the chocolate cream. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set and the middle is jiggly. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then place in the fridge until ready to serve.

    Just before serving, top with whipped cream: place a few generous spoonfuls of the cream into a small bowl and mix with black gel food coloring. Pipe your white whipped cream onto your tartlets using a large round pastry tip. Then use a small (such as #2 or #3) round tip to pipe the black cream, making ghost faces. Enjoy!


    Filling recipe adapted from HERE



    Backpacking Food Essentials, Tips + Sweepstakes

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias

    If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that the hubs and I have been pretty obsessed with camping and backpacking lately. They're hobbies that are here to stay, so over the past few months we've gradually invested in all the equipment we need, and have been enjoying the outdoors every chance we get. Hubby has vast experience with backpacking and all things outdoors, but me not so much. So he teaches me a few things here and there, and we learn along the way together.

    For example, on our first backpacking trip as we were eating dinner, we commented on it being a tad bland and lamented not thinking to bring hot sauce. On our second trip we remembered, and packed some in small (tiny, really) sauce containers meant for bentos, but of course it wasn't nearly enough. Soooo...on this last trip we finally got it right! We brought along perfect little portable bottles of El Yucateco® hot sauce and were never wanting for flavor. I was especially glad to have them this trip because we visited Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco, and the area is famous for oysters. We decided to start our trip with a lunch of fresh oysters, and our hot sauces came in very handy. Hubby jokes that "true oyster connoisseurs" can enjoy the flavor and texture of an un-garnished oyster, but...I am definitely no oyster expert and I need to douse those things in sauce to fully enjoy them.

    For today's post, I documented some of our backpacking experience(s) and am sharing my backpacking food essentials and tips. Obviously the key with backpacking is to make your bag as light as possible. You definitely don't want to short yourself on food - you need plenty of energy for the hiking - so you need to find a good balance. One of my favorite tips is what I mentioned above: hot sauce. At a minimum, just one portable bottle of hot sauce is key to bring flavor to all of your meals. We use freeze-dried meals, so all you have to do is add water and hot sauce, and voila: meal's ready. Super easy meal, and it makes things real easy on your back too. Check out the rest of my tips and backpacking essentials below.

    These El Yucateco® sauces are yum and have a great flavor to them. I used the Red Habanero Hot Sauce, Green Habanero Hot Sauce, and Black Label Reserve Hot Sauce. El Yucateco® is the #1 consumer choice. It is a fun flavorful brand that people love and make a part of their every day life. I carry mine in my backpack when camping but you can throw them in your purse as they're great to bring to a friends BBQ or favorite restaurant, the options are endless. The El Yucateco® Red Habanero Hot Sauce is made with fresh red habanero peppers, tomato, and select spices and seasonings. It is the perfect "all purpose" sauce. And the El Yucateco® Green Habanero Hot Sauce has fresh green habanero peppers, garlic, select spices and seasonings. Another thing that sticks out about these is that they use significantly less vinegar than other sauces, which lets you enjoy the flavor of the pepper better. They sell them all over, but I grabbed mine at Walmart in the Mexican section. You really can't go wrong with these; they are especially great for outdoor adventures because of their small, portable size and versatility.

    What are your guys' favorite outdoor activities? You can check out some great outdoor recipes and more ways El Yucateco® fits into your adventures HERE. And check out their sweepstakes just below! They're giving you a chance to win one-of-a-kind custom designed surfboard, camping packages, and more! Definitely don't forget to enter:


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    Our Backpacking Essentials:

    1. Apple Cinnamon Rice Crackers: they are light, and so good with peanut butter.
    2. Peanut Butter Packets: high in protein, and makes everything taste better. We love them with the rice crackers, apple chips, and sandwich cookies.
    3. Dried Mangoes: sweet snacks that give you nutrition and energy. I recommend getting unsweetened ones.

    4. Banana Chips: these make the best munchies. Look for ones that are not fried in oil.
    5. El Yucateco® hot sauces: these are portable all-purpose taste-improvers. They're a necessity for every meal.
    6. Brownie Chips: we like to bring these or sandwich cookies for a sweet treat at the end of the day.

    7+8. Freeze-dried meals: you won't find a lighter, more convenient meal for backpacking. Just add boiling water and hot sauce.

    TIPS:
    *Bring a water bottle that has measuring lines on the side. That way when it comes time to make your freeze-dried meal you can pour the right amount! We normally bring one camel back for our main water source, one water bottle, and a water purifier to refill them the next day.
    *Keep an all-purpose knife on hand and use it to cut the tops off of your freeze-dried meal packets after they're cooked. They'll be easier to eat because you won't be reaching your whole arm in to get to the bottom.
    *Bring hand wipes and sanitizer for easy cleanups.


    Strawberry Shortcake Brownies

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #mixinmoments #CollectiveBias

    A funny fact about hubby and me: in all of our married life (almost 5 years) our shelves have never once been devoid of brownie mixes. We just love them. I've never made a from-scratch brownie recipe that I loved as much as boxed ones. They're so good, and they seem to keep getting better.

    For this post I tried out one of Nestle Toll House's new premium baking mixes and it is bomb-diggity guys. No artificial colors or flavors, and just the way I like my brownies: dense, moist, and suuuuper chocolate-y. As soon as I saw how thick the batter was I knew it was gonna be good.

    As you can imagine, over the course of the last five years we've made a LOT of brownies. And a lot of variations on them. Some of our favorite variations are melted mint, chocolate-toffee, and I played around in my kitchen a bit to create a new favorite: strawberry shortcake. My goodness I love easy recipes that dress up well, and these brownies are so versatile. These chocolate monsters are topped with fresh stewed strawberries, crumbly topping, and of course whipped cream for a summer-y bite. I love how they turned out.

    I picked up all four of their new baking mixes, so there will be more experimenting going on in my kitchen in the future. You can grab all of them at Walmart: Brownies & More with Chocolate Morsels, Brownies & More with Butterfingers, Cookies & More with Chocolate Morsels, and Cookies & More with Butterfingers. Check out some more blogger recipes HERE, and Nestle's recipes HERE. Do you guys have a favorite way to dress up your baking mixes?


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    Strawberry Shortcake Brownies
    Makes one 8x8 pan

    Brownies:
    • 1 box NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Brownies & More Baking Mix with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 3 Tbsp water, divided
    Strawberries:
    • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered + extra for garnish (opt.)
    • 2-4 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 3 Tbsp water
    Topping:
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 5 Tbsp cold butter, chopped 
    • whipped cream

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a brownie pan or 8x8 pan and set aside.

    For strawberries:
    Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to med-low and let cook for 8-10 minutes. As it's cooking, taste the syrup and add more sugar if desired. You should end up with tender, intact strawberries inside of a syrup. 

    For the topping:
    Place all of your ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until combined. You want a coarse, crumbly texture. 

    Make brownie mix according to instructions on the box, but add the chocolate morsels all at once into the batter. Pour the batter into your greased pan. Use a small strainer or slotted spoon to spread your stewed strawberries on top, reserving the syrup. Save any leftover strawberries and syrup for later. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the strawberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly. 

    When ready to serve, drizzle with leftover strawberry syrup and top with whipped cream and fresh berries.



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