Quick Buttercup Pumpkin Lunchbox

This week was the #NationalVegeterianWeek, basically – my time to shine.
Yet I was so busy studying for the psychology test I was sure I won’t have time to write anything that isn’t related to cognitive abilities or theory of mind.

But, 24 hours after the test and 24 hours before the national week ends, I managed to sit down and type!

As a vegetarian, I’m always overlooked by vegans who see themselves as much more moral or meat lovers that think I’m insane (like my dad, for instance).
Therefore, I wanted to share a recipe for the occasion, taking part in this community celebration in some way.

I decided to cook something special and use a material I don’t usually have in hand – buttercup pumpkins.

I usually skip them because they’re very hard to chop, but I found a method to do that!

In a classic recipe for buttercup pumpkins, they are cut into halves, roasted and filled with some sort of grain (pre-cooked & seasoned).
But, since I was a busy student this week I wanted to find a shorter version for this process.
So why not fill the pumpkin with something that doesn’t need to be cooked?
A salad, for instance.

The result: a light satisfying lunch that doesn’t make you fall asleep between 14:00-16:00 (when everyone in the office suffers from post-lunch tiredness).

Quick Buttercup Lunchbox

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 3 pumpkin halves and half of the salad.

Ingredients

  • -3 butter cup pumpkins
  • -1 spoon olive oil
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a handful of baby leaves
  • - half a red pepper
  • -2 tomato
  • -1/2 onion
  • -1/4 purple cabbage
  • -2 cucumber
  • -10-15 cashew nuts
  • -2 teaspoons olive oil
  • -2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • -2 teaspoons honey/maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 200c
  2. Chop the pumpkins - see notes for a tip to make this step easier.
  3. Roast Pumpkins - lay the halved pumpkins on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and salt. Cook for 30-40, until soft and a bit brown.
  4. Chop salad - slice the tomato, onion, cucumber and cabbage and mix them with the baby leaves.
  5. Prepare dressing - Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey, adding salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Mix salad - add the dressing and the cashew nuts to the chopped veggies.
  7. Fill the pumpkins
  8. Enjoy!
http://tlvjungle.com/quick-buttercup-lunchbox

Notes

  • Chopping- I found it easier to chop the buttercup in the following method:

    The hardest part is the one connecting to the branch, by skipping it the whole thing becomes much easier

  • Additional herbs- You can add chopped rosemary, thyme or a dry herb mix to the buttercup before you roast it.
  • No cashew? – Swap them with pecans, pine nuts or walnuts.
  • Packing for the office – If you’re taking this meal to the office like me, I advise to pack the cooked pumpkins and veggies in one “main box” and the dressing in another. It’s easy to heat the pumpkins in the micro, adding the dressing to the main box and shake it with the salad, avoiding over soaked vegetables.
  • A nice filling alternative – It takes 5 extra min but was completely worth the time if you have spinach in the fridge. Chop 1 onion and caramelize it, add 3 garlic cloves and 1 min later – add the spinach. Cook for 5-6 min till the spinach looks ready to be eaten. Cool and add 10-15 cashew nuts.
    Voila – you’re done!

    The result

I hope you enjoy this recipe,
I sure enjoyed writing it from my sofa with a home-made turmeric mask on my face! ( Another recipe I have to share!)
God, I love week ends.
Kisses,
Rotem

Celery, White Wine & Mushrooms Pasta Lunchbox

I have to admit, my weekly alcohol intake is usually one cup of wine or less.
Most of my friends don’t even consider it an alcohol intake, but it’s more than enough to get me dizzy. I have a very low alcohol capacity, genes I inherited from my mom, I can bearly finish a cocktail and I hate shots, so when it’s party time I stick to wine.
Since I like to host we have wine leftover in the fridge all the time, I don’t really touch it when I’m not having people over, so it’s usually gets forgotten till it goes bad.
But, not this time!

Yesterday I got a text from the university saying: “Congratulations, you got accepted!”
To psychology major.
Me.
(!!!)

Is it common for universities to text? Or does it happen only in Israel?

That text put me in the mood to cook fancy!
Not every day you get expected to academic institutions…
I put on music, browsed the fridge and started cooking, ending up with a celery, white wine & mushrooms pasta meal that made my house smell like an elegant resturant!

Ta-Da!

The “fancy” factor was using the wine.
Everything else in this meal, from ingredients to cooking methods, was simple as making a sunny side up!
I made it in 15 min (as I was waiting for my shower water to heat when I came back from a run), cutting cooking time by making the pasta and the sauce at the same time.

Celery, White Wine & Mushrooms Pasta Lunchbox

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3

Ingredients

  • - 250 g pasta (1/2 a box)
  • - 2 onions chopped
  • - 2-3 celery sticks, chopped
  • - 4 spoons olive oil
  • - 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • - 250 g mushrooms - chopped
  • - 1 cup white wine
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta - according to the instructions on the box.
  2. Dry fry onions & celery - on a medium-high heat, for 5-10 min, till the onion becomes a bit see through.
  3. Add 2 oil spoons & garlic - and saute for 2-3 more min.
  4. Add mushrooms - and saute for another 2-3 min.
  5. Add wine & seasoning - lower to medium heat and stir for 5 min.
  6. Mix sauce & pasta - and add the remaining 2 spoons of olive oil
  7. Enjoy!
http://tlvjungle.com/celery-white-wine-mushrooms-pasta-lunchbox

Notes

  • Thyme – If you use fresh theme it’s better to add it on top after cooking to avoid bitterness.
  • Pasta – I used whole wheat, but you can swap to your favorite shape and type.
  • Olive oil – Adding half of the oil at the end gives the pasta an extra touch of flavor, I recommend not to skip that step!

For those of you following me on twitter, I owe an explanation for the mixed signals:
I was sure I would have to take a psychology test and get a grade of 85+ to get into Tel Aviv University. I’ve been studying for this test every second night for the last month.
Then, yesterday morning, I got the surprising text.
Apparently, they lowered the admission requirements in 5 points overnight, and these were the exact 5 point I was missing to get in.
I was unwilling to believe until I talked to the head of the registration department!

Still *wowed* by the whole thing.
(And also by the fact the word “wowed” doesn’t get an autocorrect.)

Kisses from the pre-psychology student, I guess?
I hope you enjoy the meal!
Rotem

What’s a post without a little food GIF, right?

Pea Rice & Sweet patato Lunchbox

Hallo!
*That’s hello in German, the language my Daulingo app just told me that I know 200 words in!*

It’s been a while since I wrote a lunchbox post, and that’s not because I haven’t been cooking. I’ve actually been cooking the hell-lot because of the holiday’s, but I made the kind of meals you’re too busy to make in the middle of the week if you’re in a full-time position (+ learning German).

Today, I’m back!
Writing about an easy meal I made for lunch this week –  Green pea ricesweet potatoes!

Pea Rice & Sweet patato Lunchbox

I felt like a chef when I took it out of the microwave at work!

The meal is based on dried pea’s, which take some time to cook.
So,  it isn’t the most time friendly dish, but it’s budget-friendly & easy to make!
Any beginning working-class cook who hasn’t won the lottery would be able to make it perfectly (if he doesn’t burn the rice).

Pea Rice and Sweet Patatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup dried pea
  • - 1 onion chopped to medium sized cubes.
  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 3 minced garlic cloves
  • - 1 cup rice
  • - 1 bay leaf
  • - 1 tea spoon cumin
  • - 1/2 cup of chopped coriander
  • - 2 sweet potatoes
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a bit of tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the peas - in boiling water and a bit of salt till it's soft, it should take about 45 min. When it is cooked, drain the water.
  2. Heat the oven to 190 C
  3. Prepare the sweet potatoes - chop them to 3 cm wide pieces, then put the slices in a clay/glass pot and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the Sweet potatoes - for 45 min.
  5. Prepare the rice - dry fry the onion and when it's see-through add olive oil and garlic, saute for 2 min, then add the cumin, bay leaf and rice. Mix well for 3-4 min and add 1 3/4 cups of hot water, bringing it to boil then lowering the heat and letting it cook for 20 min.
  6. Mix the rice - after the rice is cooked and still hot take out the bay leaf and add the peas and coriander, then mix well.
  7. Prepare the dish - put a couple of rice spoons on a plate, add the sweet potatoes on top, and if you wish - tahini or yogurt as well.
http://tlvjungle.com/pea-rice-sweet-patato-lunchbox

Pea Rice & Sweet patato Lunchbox

Notes –

  • Wash the peas & rice – I know I write it every time, but it’s truly essential to wash legumes and grains before you cook them. I found a snail shell as I washed the peas for this dish, so… Yep, take a strainer and avoid those bit-too-crunchy bites.
  • Rice type – continuing with the budget-friendly theme, I used regular Jasmine white rice. But, since we’re cooking the ingredients separately, you can use any kind – whole, round, Persian… Just adjust the cooking time & water amount.
  • Coriander – can be swapped with other greens – parsley, green onion…
  • Keeping it moist – if you don’t eat it immediately the pea absorbs the water and makes the rice dry. Therefore, if you’re reheating the meal add some water to it (about 1/4 cup per dish, start with a bit less and judge by the eye).
  • Sweet Potatoes – On the first day I took this meal to work I actually ate it with pumpkin and carrots cooked with cinnamon. I didn’t like it, it had too many spices. So, I tried another version, with the sweet potatoes I had at home & no spices. It worked much better with the pea-rice! Generally, you can swap to any roasted veggies, but keep it simple to avoid an overload.

    Photo of the prototype

    Photo of the carrot & pumpkin prototype

Hope you enjoy it half as much as I did!
I found out it’s a real comment-squeezing meal, something about the colors and the bay leaf smell (:
Kisses!
Rotem

Kale stuffed buns & cauliflower Lunchbox

Hey there!
After a week of finger-resting, I’m back to share another lunchbox recipe.
If you read the title, you’re probably thinking – why/ how did she up with such a lunch combination?
And the answer is, once again,  my pre-Passover flour clean-up operation made it happen!
Last week was my chance to shine (flour-wise) before the traditional grain-free Passover week. So, on Monday, I baked rye buns. They turned out moist, soft and generally amazing, I had every reason to take them to work the next day. Though I didn’t have any pesto or hummus, I just had veggies. And This is how this meal came to the world!

Kale stuffed buns & cauliflower Lunchbox

A combination of the pre-Passover buns I made + No sandwich appropriate paistes at home

Before we get to the recipe, a word for those busy cooks out there – baking sounds like a big deal, but you can actually make it work and fit it in between (if you have a passion for insane buns). This is how I did it on Monday:
17:00 – I got home, made the dough + cleaned up the flour mess. (15 min)
17:20 – I went for a run leaving the dough in the sun to rise ( you can leave it for 1-3 hours, depending on the recipe and the evening activity you have planned)
18:40 – I came back home and shaped the dough into 16 knot-buns + cleaned up the flour mess I made again (15 min).
18:55 – I warmed the oven to 190C and took a shower while the buns rose for the second time. (25 min)
19:20 – I put the buns in the oven and made eggs and salad for dinner as the fresh bread smell started spreading in your house.
Bam! Fresh-home-made-buns for dinner. Not an every-weeker, but definitely something nice to make from time to time.

You can also skip the baking and buy buns at the market/ bakery to make the same lunch (I just happened to have 1 kg rye flour that had to vanish by Wednesday night at the time).

Pea Rice and Sweet Patatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup dried pea
  • - 1 onion chopped to medium sized cubes.
  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 3 minced garlic cloves
  • - 1 cup rice
  • - 1 bay leaf
  • - 1 tea spoon cumin
  • - 1/2 cup of chopped coriander
  • - 2 sweet potatoes
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a bit of tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the peas - in boiling water and a bit of salt till it's soft, it should take about 45 min. When it is cooked, drain the water.
  2. Heat the oven to 190 C
  3. Prepare the sweet potatoes - chop them to 3 cm wide pieces, then put the slices in a clay/glass pot and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the Sweet potatoes - for 45 min.
  5. Prepare the rice - dry fry the onion and when it's see-through add olive oil and garlic, saute for 2 min, then add the cumin, bay leaf and rice. Mix well for 3-4 min and add 1 3/4 cups of hot water, bringing it to boil then lowering the heat and letting it cook for 20 min.
  6. Mix the rice - after the rice is cooked and still hot take out the bay leaf and add the peas and coriander, then mix well.
  7. Prepare the dish - put a couple of rice spoons on a plate, add the sweet potatoes on top, and if you wish - tahini or yogurt as well.
http://tlvjungle.com/kale-stuffed-buns-cauliflower-lunchbox

Kale stuffed buns & cauliflower Lunchbox

Notes –

  • Buns- I used this recipe for the buns (click translate, I checked it and it gets well translated to English) – swapping half of the regular flour to rye flour, and adding an additional 1/2 cup of water. I also swapped half of the sugar amount for honey (it works well with rye).
    Under-bake the buns just a little if your baking, choose very moist buns if your buying, that’s the thing that made them work so well with the kale.
  • Thini? – If your not familiar with this product – it’s a paste made of grained sesame seeds. The texture is very peanut-butter-ish and it adds a creamy (healthy) touch that balances the kale’s bitterness. I don’t know how easy it is to find in an un-Mediterian country, so you can swap if for a nut-based paste or cream cheese.
  • Oven – Urban cooks with no proper oven? The toaster oven worked perfectly for me, if you don’t have that as well  – chop the cauliflower into flowerets and dry fry it in a pan.
  • Dry frying – My trick for dry frying onion is letting the onion fry on itself and adding the oil with the garlic. That’ something I learned in a cooking class I took in Cape Town, the sugar in the onion caramelizes better if you fry it on a hot platter with no oil. Give it a try if you have a proper non-stick pan. 🙂
  • Kale – Can be swapped for mangold, bok choi or spinach.

Happy holiday for all the Easter/ Passover celebrators out there,
I wish you all a great holly weekend!
Kisses,
Rotem

Lentils Tortilla Lunchbox

My pre-Passover flour clean-up operation continued this week.
We’re trying to finish all the grain-related products before the holiday begins to avoid throwing them out (AKA give them to friends who don’t keep Kosher).

Yesterday we hosted a pizza party successfully getting rid of 1 kg of flour and today I’m continuing the operation by taking lunch made of another flour-based product – whole wheat tortillas.

Lentils Tortilla LunchBox

Of course you can swap the whole wheat to white if that’s what you have in hand

When I ate it I came to the conclusion you don’t relly need the tortilla, it could be a great lentil salad on its own. But, it’s nice to have the tortilla as side bread and my boyfriend who took it to work said it’s amazing as a wrap as well. Your call.

Making it is quite simple, the process included only 4 steps: cooking lentils, roasting carrots and sweet potatoes, cutting veggies and putting it all together. I highly recommend using a clay of glass pot for the second part, it ensures you’ll roast on high heat no matter what kind of oven you have and it’s easier to clean.

Lentils Tortilla LunchBox

This is the glass pot I used, it has a lid so the veggies don’t lose their moist

Pea Rice and Sweet Patatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup dried pea
  • - 1 onion chopped to medium sized cubes.
  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 3 minced garlic cloves
  • - 1 cup rice
  • - 1 bay leaf
  • - 1 tea spoon cumin
  • - 1/2 cup of chopped coriander
  • - 2 sweet potatoes
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a bit of tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the peas - in boiling water and a bit of salt till it's soft, it should take about 45 min. When it is cooked, drain the water.
  2. Heat the oven to 190 C
  3. Prepare the sweet potatoes - chop them to 3 cm wide pieces, then put the slices in a clay/glass pot and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the Sweet potatoes - for 45 min.
  5. Prepare the rice - dry fry the onion and when it's see-through add olive oil and garlic, saute for 2 min, then add the cumin, bay leaf and rice. Mix well for 3-4 min and add 1 3/4 cups of hot water, bringing it to boil then lowering the heat and letting it cook for 20 min.
  6. Mix the rice - after the rice is cooked and still hot take out the bay leaf and add the peas and coriander, then mix well.
  7. Prepare the dish - put a couple of rice spoons on a plate, add the sweet potatoes on top, and if you wish - tahini or yogurt as well.
http://tlvjungle.com/lentils-tortilla-lunchbox

Lentils Tortilla LunchBox

Notes –

  • Packing the meal- Pack the tortilla separately bag so it won’t get soggy by lunchtime. I used a ziplock bag, but it you have a divided lunch box it could work as well.
  • Folding a tortilla – In case your new in the warping business, this is how you do it right.
  • Oil – I used no oil at all in this recipe because the roasted veggies were moist without it and I had enough taste’s going on in the dish. If you do want to add some healthy oils to the meal as olive or avocado oil to the lentil mixture.
  • Veggies – Not set in stone, use whatever you like, I recommend avocado, arugula and coriander as a base.
  • Yogurt – As I was eating I thought a yogurt dip could be a great addition to this meal, so I’ll probably add it next time. If you need a recipe you can use this one.

Before I type goodbye I want to add the guys from my office agreed it’s a vegetarian dish they’ll be willing to eat as a meat substitute for lunch, that got me very satisfied.. 🙂
Kisses from Tel Aviv,
Rotem

Aglio-e-Olio Lunchbox

Passover is getting closer, and that means I have about 3 weeks to finish all the wheat and flour in the house. If you’re not familiar with this holiday, here’s a quick summary – a flour-less big feast (The “Seder”), a flour-less week and then, another big feast to sum it up. Before, you clean the house like crazy to make sure there are no flour-related-leftovers anywhere, and all because the Jewish people had no time to bake bread when they escaped from Egypt.

So thanks to Pharaoh I made pasta yesterday, and I was very tired when I did that. Things turned out to be an experiment: How lazy can I go when it comes to Aglio-e-Olio dressing?
The answer: VERY LAZY.
This meal is a result of 10 min work total, including the time needed to cook the pasta.

Aglio e olio 10 min pasta LunchBox

Lazy Meal but still the prettiest dish on the table that day

The secret of this meal is using baby spinach.
It is so delicate it get’s cooked in the microwave, where the heat is low enough to prevent it from becoming soggy or bitter. This shortcut leaves us needing only to cook the pasta (or use pasta leftovers), season and pack with spinach. This is how the meal looked before the micro worked it’s charm and shrunk the leaves:

Aglio e olio 10 min pasta LunchBox

I packed as much spinach as I could, and it almost popped out when I opened the box

Pea Rice and Sweet Patatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup dried pea
  • - 1 onion chopped to medium sized cubes.
  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 3 minced garlic cloves
  • - 1 cup rice
  • - 1 bay leaf
  • - 1 tea spoon cumin
  • - 1/2 cup of chopped coriander
  • - 2 sweet potatoes
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a bit of tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the peas - in boiling water and a bit of salt till it's soft, it should take about 45 min. When it is cooked, drain the water.
  2. Heat the oven to 190 C
  3. Prepare the sweet potatoes - chop them to 3 cm wide pieces, then put the slices in a clay/glass pot and add a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the Sweet potatoes - for 45 min.
  5. Prepare the rice - dry fry the onion and when it's see-through add olive oil and garlic, saute for 2 min, then add the cumin, bay leaf and rice. Mix well for 3-4 min and add 1 3/4 cups of hot water, bringing it to boil then lowering the heat and letting it cook for 20 min.
  6. Mix the rice - after the rice is cooked and still hot take out the bay leaf and add the peas and coriander, then mix well.
  7. Prepare the dish - put a couple of rice spoons on a plate, add the sweet potatoes on top, and if you wish - tahini or yogurt as well.
http://tlvjungle.com/aglio-e-olio-10-min-pasta-lunchbox

Aglio e olio 10 min pasta LunchBox

Notes –

  • No Microwave/ planning to eat right ahead? Just pour the hot pasta on the baby spinach after it’s cooked and that would do the job.
  • Olive oil –  I’m sure I wrote this before, but if you want the meal to turn out great – use high- quality oil! It’s one of the grocery products worth investing on. (:
  • Nutritional yeast – A new discovery for me! Thanks to the amazing Lisa Lores I learned I can add a cheesy flavor to my meals without compromising on health or on eating with my lactose-free boyfriend. It’s not expensive either, so it’s definitely a spice worth adding to your rack.
  • Nuts – You can replace the cashews with any nut you have on hand, especially pine nuts – I think that’s what I’m going to add next time.
  • Upgrades – The recipe is quite simple, and there are many small things you can add to upgrade it – Dried tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, arugula leaves, feta, a bit of spicy chili…

I had such a great week, Lunch wise too, but especially by pushing myself to the technical side at work, not being afraid to program after a long time.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend,
Kisses,
Rotem

Spinach Balls & Burgul Lunchbox

Heya & good almost afternoon!
Do you know these days when your house is completely empty? That was my house Last night.
I approached the fridge to make lunch for the next day and found out we had practically no ingredients, except for spinach and tomatoes. (Not too surprising given the fact it was the night before our shopping day, yet, an unpleasant situation.)

Somehow, my Mediterian roots kicked in and I managed to cook a respectable dish from these ingredients in 20 min, finishing just on time to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (Smort!)
I think those empty-fridge days push my cooking creativity, thanks to last night I came up with the most simple spinach balls recipe that turned out to be a hit!

Spinach balls & Burgul lunchbox

Tomatoes, spinach and some yogurt from the office’s fridge, surprisingly – a proper lunch!

Spinach Balls & Burgul

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 meals

Ingredients

  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 1 medium onion, chopped to 1~ cm squares
  • - 1 garlic glove, minced
  • - 1 package of spinach (500 g), roughly chopped
  • - 1 egg
  • - black pepper
  • - salt
  • - 1/2 cup burgul
  • - 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1 yogurt, 150~ g
  • - 2 tomatos, chopped to 2~ cm cubes
  • - 2-4 basil leaves
  • - 1 spoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook Burgul - rinse the burgul and put it in a small bowl. Pour hot water till it reachs 1 cm above the burgul, cover with a plate and let it sit for 15 min.
  2. Saute onion - in a dry pan on medium-high heat. When the onion is see through, add olive oil and garlic, stir for a minute and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Cook the spinach - in the same pan, till the leaves are soggy, then transfer to a strainer. Wait for the leaves to cool down, then drain them and add to the bowl.
  4. Making the balls - add an egg, a bit salt and a bit pepper to the cooked ingredients. Create pin-pong sized balls from the mixture and Lay on a baking sheet. Cook for 15 min on 180C.
  5. Season the burgul - remove the plate from the burgul bowl and add the thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  6. Finale - chop the tomatoes and the basil, then add olive oil, salt and pepper and put on the serving plate or in a small bowl. Pour yogurt to another small bowl.
http://tlvjungle.com/spinach-balls-burgul-lunchbox

Spinach balls & Burgul lunchbox

Notes –

  • Spinach – I used “New Zeland” spinach, which is a crunchy strong tasting type of spinach with a bit of bitterness you get rid of by cooking and squeezing the leaves. Any type would work! When you buy the spinach take into consideration that it would shrink to 1/6 of it’s the original size during the cooking process, so don’t be afraid to buy big quantities.
  • Burgul – I used it because I was tired and it is easier to prepare than any other carb I know, but if it’s hard for you to find in the supermarket or you just don’t have it on hand, swap it for rice.
  • Yogurt dip –  You can season the dip in many ways – garlic/garlic powder, different herbs,  chili powder… I used what I had, which is some leftover chives and lemon, If you are vegan or lactose tolerant you can swap it for tahini (and make the whole dish much more Mediterian.)
  • Office-adjusted preparation –I cooked the burgul and the spinach balls the night before, adding the seasoning to the burgul on the morning. I took a tomato, some basil, half a lemon and a small batch of chives in a zip lock bag and made the yogurt dip and tomato salad at the office – it’s really just to chop and mix, and tastes best when it’s fresh.

I hope this one would work for those who aren’t used to cooking Mediterian,
If you have any questions – feel free to email/ comment, I’ll give you some extra advise on things you can add to make it a complete  feast.. (:
Kisses,
Rotem

Buk Choy & Mushroom Noodels Lunchbox

I’m being brave here, writing about a bok-choy based meal the first time I cook it.
I usually try a recipe a couple of times before I share it, but in this case, the meal came out really good on the first try, and it was practically the only thing I cooked last week*, so it’s the only lunch recipe I can Share.

*My boyfriend’s mom made us the best veggie lasagna on the weekend and I ate it Sunday- Tuesday. (I asked for the recipe and it’s totally going to be the featured sometime in the upcoming weeks!)

I made a simple meal inspired by a great dinner I ate with my boyfriend at Nina Hatchi on valentines day. I didn’t know what bok choy is till then, and after I tried it,  I noted myself that’s something worth learning how to cook. Two weeks later, it appeared in my lunchbox, after an intense search in the market.

Bok Choy Lunchbox

The noodles formed as the lunch box, unintentionally making my meal look super professional

I cooked the leaves just like I cook the Mediterranean Mangold leaves I know, adding ingredients I thought might work on the go.  The whole process took me 25 min, slightly more than the usual time I spend making lunch, but the results were worth it!

Bok Choy Lunchbox

Simple equipment can produce fancy results

Spinach Balls & Burgul

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 meals

Ingredients

  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 1 medium onion, chopped to 1~ cm squares
  • - 1 garlic glove, minced
  • - 1 package of spinach (500 g), roughly chopped
  • - 1 egg
  • - black pepper
  • - salt
  • - 1/2 cup burgul
  • - 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1 yogurt, 150~ g
  • - 2 tomatos, chopped to 2~ cm cubes
  • - 2-4 basil leaves
  • - 1 spoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook Burgul - rinse the burgul and put it in a small bowl. Pour hot water till it reachs 1 cm above the burgul, cover with a plate and let it sit for 15 min.
  2. Saute onion - in a dry pan on medium-high heat. When the onion is see through, add olive oil and garlic, stir for a minute and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Cook the spinach - in the same pan, till the leaves are soggy, then transfer to a strainer. Wait for the leaves to cool down, then drain them and add to the bowl.
  4. Making the balls - add an egg, a bit salt and a bit pepper to the cooked ingredients. Create pin-pong sized balls from the mixture and Lay on a baking sheet. Cook for 15 min on 180C.
  5. Season the burgul - remove the plate from the burgul bowl and add the thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  6. Finale - chop the tomatoes and the basil, then add olive oil, salt and pepper and put on the serving plate or in a small bowl. Pour yogurt to another small bowl.
http://tlvjungle.com/buk-choy-mushroom-noodels-lunchbox

Bok Choy Lunchbox

Notes –

  • Chopping the Bok-Choy – As you can see in the pics, I chopped the white part of the leaves vertically, but I think they would cook better if you cut them horizontally into smaller pieces. If you’re using baby bok choy, a. your really lucky you could find it,  b. it would probably cook faster, so feel free to cut it in bigger chunks.
  • Soy – I use a very salty soy, so I didn’t need to add any salt, but I recommend tasting and adding some if needed. Soy has a strong taste, so salt can be a good option for making the noodles taste the way you want them to without making your dish a pile od ingredients swimming in soy.
  • Noodles choice – I always go for wide noodles, but you can use any type you want, and even swap the rice noodles to flour based noodles or the ones you have on hand.

It’s really simple, worth a try!
Rotem

Pasta & Zucchini Lunchbox

Sometimes I need a quick fix, a lunchbox I can prepare as I get ready on the morning – 15 min tops, with nothing to mix, mash or bake.

This pasta meal is perfect for those kind of days, I made it once when I was in a rush and the house was nearly empty, and now I re-make it every now and then, when I’m almost late to Pilates or when I need to cook after a busy day.

Pasta & Zucchini Lunchbox

 I know zucchini pasta is currently very trendy, it’s raw, low-carb and super easy to make. But I’m a small-kitchen cook, and I haven’t had the chance (of extra budget) to but the equipment to make it yet.

So, this is my take on cooking with raw zucchini, using the kitchen supplies I have. (:
This is how it looked when I packed it for work:

This is how it looked packed

Spinach Balls & Burgul

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 meals

Ingredients

  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 1 medium onion, chopped to 1~ cm squares
  • - 1 garlic glove, minced
  • - 1 package of spinach (500 g), roughly chopped
  • - 1 egg
  • - black pepper
  • - salt
  • - 1/2 cup burgul
  • - 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1 yogurt, 150~ g
  • - 2 tomatos, chopped to 2~ cm cubes
  • - 2-4 basil leaves
  • - 1 spoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook Burgul - rinse the burgul and put it in a small bowl. Pour hot water till it reachs 1 cm above the burgul, cover with a plate and let it sit for 15 min.
  2. Saute onion - in a dry pan on medium-high heat. When the onion is see through, add olive oil and garlic, stir for a minute and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Cook the spinach - in the same pan, till the leaves are soggy, then transfer to a strainer. Wait for the leaves to cool down, then drain them and add to the bowl.
  4. Making the balls - add an egg, a bit salt and a bit pepper to the cooked ingredients. Create pin-pong sized balls from the mixture and Lay on a baking sheet. Cook for 15 min on 180C.
  5. Season the burgul - remove the plate from the burgul bowl and add the thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  6. Finale - chop the tomatoes and the basil, then add olive oil, salt and pepper and put on the serving plate or in a small bowl. Pour yogurt to another small bowl.
http://tlvjungle.com/pasta-zucchini-lunchbox

Pasta & Zucchini LunchBox

Notes –

  • Dried mint leaves – This is something my mom bought me and I wasn’t sure how to use. I conducted some experiences and found out it pairs perfectly with zucchini and green beans, but if you don’t have it (which is probably the case) you can swap it for a tea spoon of chopped fresh mint, basil or any green herb you love. Add basil anyway, that’s what I would do if I had any at home!
  • Vegan Option – I made a lactose-free version for my boyfriend swapping the feta cheese for sliced mushrooms and adding salt.
  • Getting great zucchini results – As I said you don’t need any fancy equipment to slice the zucchinis, an orderly peeler would do the trick. To get the zucchini pieces in the length I want I peel the lover half first, then move to the other. You can also peal long strips and cut it into half (but it’s more work!).

    Pasta & Zucchini Lunchbox

    Ohh my, bad color balance. Any advise on a good, free, online video editing program?

  • Pasta type – I used whole wheat pasta , but you can use any kind of pasta in any shape. You can also make it with pasta left-overs, just make sure there not older then 2 days.

Hmm, it’s 14:08, Thursday, 3 hours till the end of the week.
I can’t wait for what has become my Friday morning tradition – copying sewing patterns and eating banana pancakes.

I hope you have a great weekend!
Rotem

Quinoa & Kale Lunchbox

Are you asking yourself – remind me what is kale…?

I’ll remind you – it’s that nutritious leaf everyone was talking about before the matcha arrived and stole the spotlight. It’s no longer the  “it” food of green things, but it’s a ingredient I love using as a vegetarian, if it’s on my plate I feel like I’m eating well*. Last week a kale recipe made it to my Pintrest feed, hitting me with inspiration to cook with it again, so this week I’m glad to present – a kale comeback mixed with quinoa and other yummy things!

*I don’t want to write inaccurate facts about it’s nutritional value – but you can look it up on google to find out more.

Quinoa & Kale LunchBox

Quinoa & Kale LunchBox – The quinoa part is hiding under the kale

I actually never ate raw kale before I made this meal, and that’s a shame. Uncooked, It tastes like a cabbage and lettuce combination, which sounds weird but is actually OK, and the highlight is the texture, a great crunchy salad base.

This is the lunch box –

Quinoa & Kale LunchBox

I got inspired by this recipe and changed the amounts, sauce and toppings according to the ingredients I had (+making it lactose free so everyone could eat it at home).

It’s a time friendly light lunch you make make ahead for 2-3 days, changing it a bit by adding different toppings each day (look at the notes at the end).

Spinach Balls & Burgul

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 meals

Ingredients

  • - 1 spoon olive oil
  • - 1 medium onion, chopped to 1~ cm squares
  • - 1 garlic glove, minced
  • - 1 package of spinach (500 g), roughly chopped
  • - 1 egg
  • - black pepper
  • - salt
  • - 1/2 cup burgul
  • - 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1 yogurt, 150~ g
  • - 2 tomatos, chopped to 2~ cm cubes
  • - 2-4 basil leaves
  • - 1 spoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook Burgul - rinse the burgul and put it in a small bowl. Pour hot water till it reachs 1 cm above the burgul, cover with a plate and let it sit for 15 min.
  2. Saute onion - in a dry pan on medium-high heat. When the onion is see through, add olive oil and garlic, stir for a minute and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Cook the spinach - in the same pan, till the leaves are soggy, then transfer to a strainer. Wait for the leaves to cool down, then drain them and add to the bowl.
  4. Making the balls - add an egg, a bit salt and a bit pepper to the cooked ingredients. Create pin-pong sized balls from the mixture and Lay on a baking sheet. Cook for 15 min on 180C.
  5. Season the burgul - remove the plate from the burgul bowl and add the thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  6. Finale - chop the tomatoes and the basil, then add olive oil, salt and pepper and put on the serving plate or in a small bowl. Pour yogurt to another small bowl.
http://tlvjungle.com/quinoa-kale-lunchbox

Quinoa & Kale LunchBox

Notes –

  • Toping – replace the walnuts for pecans, hazelnuts or any other crunchy option you currently have. Same with dried fruit – dates, raspberries, raisins, anything sweet will work. You can also add feta, or switch the apple for pear.
  • Date syrup – It’s a very conman ingredient in the Israeli kitchen, and I use it a lot because it has a rich caramel taste. If it’s not something you can find in the local grocery store just substitute for honey of maple.

Ok, that’s it –  you only need to heat that pot and chop that chop, it even beats the polenta with it’s prep time because there was bearly a dish to wash!
I hope you have a great week,
Rotem