Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Caved

Yes! Meat is back and it's all because I swallowed my pride. Here are the gruesome details.
  • burrito (seasoned ground turkey, peppers, onions, spinach, black beans, low-fat cheese)
  • salad (lettuce, purple and yellow carrots, cucumbers, peppers)
  • salad dressing
  • strawberries
  • cranberry oatmeal cookies
As soon as I got it all out and had my little rant last night I decided that meat is more important to me than foolish pride. But, I'm ashamed to say that I took an unhealthy shortcut and used an ancient packet of taco seasoning that I found in the back of the cupboard. I know it's not THAT big of a deal but I really try to avoid cooking with processed/"chemicalized" stuff. Don't get me wrong, I eat plenty of fake foods. I just feel like cooking with processed crap is lame. I mean, what's the point? Those things are always full of sodium and/or sugar and somehow make you feel hungrier than before you ate. And don't even get me started on the flavor. Nothing beats real ingredients that you can choose for your tastes. But last night, that little packet of unknown origin was my saving grace. Anyschway, I think I overpowered the bad stuff about the seasoning packet with the good stuff in my overall meal. Also, I learned a lesson about menu planning. Um, I should uh, plan a menu.

I was going to cut my burrito in half to make for a more artful picture but I was afraid of a pita-like disaster so I took this pre-fold shot so you can see how I assembled it.

This thing was delicious at my desk today. Another meal that momentarily transported me from the office. This time to South of the Border. Tomorrow is Friday though! Even though I've got a boring, chore filled weekend ahead of me, I can't wait for it get here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian

I went meatless today due to poor planning. Don't get me wrong, the lunch was tasty and VERY filling. I just felt there was something missing. Here are the animal friendly tid bits:
  • big salad (lettuce, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, garbanzo beans)
  • goat cheese (I actually didn't add it in, but it's the thought that counts, right?)
  • salad dressing
  • cantaloupe balls
  • cranberry oatmeal cookies
No one wants to cook in my household this week. Considering there are only two of us that creates a problem. Last week mi novio made a chili and we didn't work our way through it until 7 days later. Then I made sausage and peppers and we (mostly me) ate it up in just 3 days. Now we are at a deadlock. I don't want to cook because I feel like I was last "It" and he doesn't want to cook because he feels like he made the more abundant (thus, more loving/better/more caring about our "family") meal. Ergo, we starve. That is, we don't have any more meat meals until one of us defrosts something from our frozen graveyard filled with tuna steaks, chicken breasts and ground turkey meat.

I know, I'm in the wrong here and I appreciate the fact that I'm here at home faffing around on my blog while the "His" of my "His and Hers" life is still at work slaving away but (insert annoying whine here) *I don't wanna cook dinner!* I wish I could just open the refrigerator and dinner for the next 4 nights would magically appear. Ok, that was a real wish and I just checked the dice.

Crap! This is supposed to be a lunch blog. Sorry for the distraction folks! Um, well, as I'm sure you've noticed, my lunches are usually heavily based on leftovers so if we don't have any dinner then how can I have a good lunch? So, there's the link. Anywho, I'm off to fight the good fight. Dinner Ahoy!!

Harvest Time

The man of the house picked up our CSA share last night. Thankfully there were no beets (or okras, or avocados, or sweet potatoes). Anyway, here's the official haul:

  • carrots (purple ones!)
  • leeks
  • parsley
  • acorn squash (not pictured, we're already eating it)
  • cucumbers
  • hot peppers (habanero and jalapeno)
  • kale
  • bok choy
  • sweet peppers
  • lettuce
I've got some ideas about what to do with most of this stuff. But, oh lord, the tomatoes! I'm going to drown in tomatoes. I don't eat raw tomatoes (too similar to fly larvae) and my gentleman caller gets acid reflux from cooked or raw ones. We have about 30 tomatoes now and I don't know what to do with them. Tomato soup?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Silver Lining

Today was one of those no good, very bad days at work. Busy, busy, busy! The only thing that gave me the slightest bit of happiness was my delicious lunch. Here are the juicy details:
  • baked potato with chopped spinach (sea salt on the side)
  • chicken sausage and peppers in a whole wheat tortilla
  • strawberries
  • 2 mini oatmeal cranberry cookies
I was going to call this post "Fool Me Twice: Shame On Me" because I was thoroughly duped by pita bread's pocket performance yesterday. But today it failed miserably and I am now officially breaking up with pitas. They are liars and can't be trusted. I tried filling the other half of the pita I used yesterday with my sausage and peppers and it held up for maybe 20 seconds and then the minute I turned my back to pull the strawberries out of the fridge, that rat of a pita split on me! Split completely in half and let my luscious filling ooze right out. Thank heavens I had some awesome tortillas in the fridge.
I found these tortillas at Trader Joe's (the new one on 72nd & Broadway has already changed my life). They have 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and a whopping 5 grams of fiber. I'm plagued with the knowledge that 25 grams of fiber a day is ideal. Jeez! I just realized that makes me seem like I've got some sort of potty issue. Nope, I just heard somewhere that you should eat at least 25 grams of fiber a day and I guess it stuck.

Oh! Speaking of stuff-I-heard-about-nutrition: is anyone watching Thintervention? I'm not a fanatic about it or anything, but I do enjoy watching any show that displays people slogging away at exercise as I am laying on my couch eating a Mr. Goodbar. Somehow makes me feel less guilty. Maybe even somewhat virtuous. Anyhoosiers, in the first episode Jackie made the fluffies throw away anything in their kitchen that had more than 5 grams of sugar. So, I guess that's the magic number for sugar. I'm not even going to pretend that I can accomplish that. I'm a real deal Sugar Addict. I try to mainly eat natural, whole foods but I do indulge in plenty of processed goodies (cough, Nutella), but now I'm going to be more aware of the 5 grams thing. God, I wonder how many grams of sugar are in a gin and tonic? I shudder to think.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today's lunch hit the spot in a great way. I decided to give the pita pocket a try again and it work like gang busters. Here's the menu:

  • andouille chicken sausage with grilled peppers, onions and spinach in a pita
  • salad (spinach, romaine, red peppers)
  • dressing (this stuff is so tasty)
  • cantaloupe balls
  • teeny tiny oatmeal cranberry cookies
We had the sausage and peppers for dinner last night and I was so tempted to gobble up the whole batch. Then I remembered that I could have it for lunch today! There is nothing that excites me more than the prospect of a good meal. Anyway, the oatmeal cookies weres my big project this weekend. I was bound and determined to make a desert that would fit into my little container. I also wanted to use up all of the unsweetened applesauce that was lurking in the back of the fridge. I rediscovered it last week during the beet massacre. This was the recipe I used but I altered it a little. Less sugar; butter instead of shortening. I'm sure it didn't make it any healthier, I just wanted to use what I had in the house. The key was using the teaspoon on my measuring spoon ring instead of the tablespoon. That made the cookies itty bitty. Now I must avoid the urge of crumbling them up and putting them in a bowl of rich and creamy vanilla ice cream...ugh, I'm going to go take a cold shower.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Friday! WHOOPIE!

I livened up my desert today because it's Friday and because, I can't believe I'm saying this, I'm sick of beet chocolate cupcakes. Friday I'm In Love menu below:

  • frozen peaches
  • chicken chili with beans and spinach
  • pita chips
  • whoopie pie
That's right. I made a whoopie pie out of the thin cakey discs I've been passing off as cupcakes. Just whipped up a quick chocolate frosting and sandwiched it between two cupcakes. I was devious and indulgent and I don't really regret it too much. Oh! The packet of oatmeal was my midday snack. I love that stuff.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I should have for lunch next week? I'm content eating the same thing almost every day but I know I should try new things. HAPPY WEEKEND!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Late Salad

Man, this lunch looks good except for the frozen pineapple. I swear it tastes really good once it's thawed out. Cross my heart. Here's today's menu:

  • big salad (lettuce, carrots, peppers, dressing on the side)
  • chicken chili with beans and spinach
  • pita pieces
  • beet chocolate cupcake
  • pineapple
I made the big side salad in an attempt to stave off my late afternoon hunger. But, I was so busy today at work that I didn't get a chance to eat lunch until 3:00. I ate every last bite though. The chili was made by my loverboy. We've been having it for dinner most nights this week but it's so tasty that I wanted it for lunch today. The pita pieces were almost perfect for dipping in the chili. I think I'll bake them next time so they can be real pita chips. Tomorrow is Friday. Yipee!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eating on $31 A Week

I just found this article in the Chicago Tribune where the writer has challenged herself to spend only $4.50 a day on all her meals. It's very inspiring and also it reminds me that I've been meaning to break down my lunches by price.

(photo lifted from dough roller)

Feast or Famine

Here is today's lunch:

  • watermelon balls
  • 2 mini beet chocolate cupcakes
  • broccoli
  • salad (lettuce, peppers, carrots) with grilled pesto chicken
  • dressing
  • carrots for a snack
Even though it looks like a lot of food I was still kind of hungry around 4:00. The broccoli usually fills me up and cupcakes provided my necessary sweet treat, yet I felt actual hunger at the end of the day. I think I'm going to try to bulk up my lunch tomorrow or have a heartier breakfast.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday Brunch At My Desk

Hey, I had the same thing for lunch as I did yesterday. I brought a yummy breakfast to work today though.

On the menu:

Needless to say, I had my fellow office rats seething with envy at my fancy weekend breakfast on a Tuesday. We have a toaster at work and that's what made me realize I could have waffles any day I wanted. What else can I put in the toaster?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Evil Doings

Today's lunch had some hits and some misses. Here's the menu:

  • grilled pesto chicken with spinach in a whole wheat pita
  • watermelon balls
  • steamed broccoli on top of kale chips
  • mini chocolate cupcake
I'm sure you can already figure out that anything that anything sweet is an automatic hit. The misses were the pita pocket and the kale chips. The pita split entirely and I ended up eating what were essentially room temperature chicken tacos at my desk. The kale chips...barf!! I burnt most of them and the ones that weren't technically burnt tasted so gross. I got a little scolding from my partner for using all of the kale to make the chips so instead of losing face and throwing away the whole disgusting batch I forced myself to eat the unburnt chips. I put the broccoli on top to make the chips somewhat palatable. I'll have to do the same thing tomorrow too. Yes, I'm that stubborn. Continuing...

So, I got a lot of comments about my beet aversion. Thanks for the tips. My main problem with beets is the bloodiness of them. They bleed everywhere! Like a still beating heart ripped from a child's body. They are pure evil! Yikes, I'm getting myself into a lather again when I wanted to share something positive about the evil bulbs. It is possible to turn these vile roots . . .

into these luscious treats:
Yes! I turned evil into good! And it was all thanks to your comments. Well, sort of. See, the bloodiness factor made me dismiss all the well intended tips about roasting them. What, so they can bleed all over my plate and I can swallow a mouthful of blood? No thanks. But, someone mentioned making beet chips. That seemed bloodless enough. So as I was typing "beet ch" into Google, the predictive text filled out the rest for me and as "beet chips" but underneath beet chips was "beet chocolate cake recipe." Friends, I am but a mere human woman. When the magic gods behind Google's predictive text generator present me with a chocolatey gift for my good intentions I must only be grateful and obey. Who am I to reject these blessings? I naturally forgot about beets chips and moved on to more pressing matters. I used this recipe and had to supplement it with some unsweetened applesauce because my beets only yielded about a cup of puree. I made a dozen cupcakes for me and my beaux, being careful to not make them too big. Now we both get one in our lunch for the rest of the week! I feel like Glinda the Good Witch. Now, how can I turn avocados, the most evil vegetable of them all, into a Twinkie?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Naked Lunch

It was back to basics for today's lunch. No more quiche or fish stew. Today's menu:

  • turkey sandwich
  • carrots
  • strawberries
  • corn on the cob
I was supposed to meet up with a friend after work today and I didn't want to carry around my lunch kit on a Friday night out. So, I did what the people on those home makeover shows call "repurposing."
I have to admit, I was a little unnerved by having so much plastic to throw away after lunch. I'm not a rampant environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, I'm not stomping on baby bald eagles or anything but I also don't have any problem with using cars and air conditioning and most of the other mod cons that are effectively ruining our planet. However, it does bug me when I wrap all my food in plastic baggies and Saran wrap and then throw it all away. Especially when I have a perfectly good lunch kit! I did feel a little better by using the strawberry box as a bento and I stuck the whole thing in a little paper shopping bag. All that, and then my after work plans got canceled. Oh well, I guess I kind of inadvertently proved the point I've been harping on about: You don't have to have a cute lunch box to have a great lunch. I really enjoyed my plain old turkey sammy and simple (un-Nutellaed) fruit and veggies out of all the plastic. It was just what I needed after a manic work week. That being said, I can't wait to go back to my little kit on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Sweet Road to Ruin?

My fella got a snap of me on the way to work this morning. I love having a lunch kit, but sheesh! I look like such a nerd carrying that thing in the chic streets of New York City. Maybe I should figure out a way to make my kit a bit more trendy. Moving on...

Today's lunch:

  • quiche (the last piece, hooray!)
  • salad
  • balsamic vinagrette
  • strawberries
  • corn on the cob
  • mystery treat

Yes, same ol' same ol again today. But wait! Do your eyes deceive you? It can't be...but it IS! Nutella!!

I find myself hunting for something sweet around 3:00 and rather than going out and buying a cookie or candy I decided to build it into my lunch. It's only about a tablespoon of that heavenly chocolate hazelnut goop but it's enough to do the job. Hopefully it won't do too much damage to my figure. We'll see. I like the idea of having a dessert in my lunch, but I know myself all too well. Having that jar of Nutella could mean trouble. I'm no stranger to taking sneaky dips into jars of fattening spreads. I might have to ask the Mr. to hide the jar in the same place he is currently hiding the peanut butter. I still haven't found THAT yet!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quiche Me You Fool

Still working on the quiche I made on Sunday afternoon. I realize that I haven't really been listing what is in the fabulous photos I'm posting so here is today's menu:

  • Broccoli, tomato, onion and cheddar quiche
  • green grapes
  • corn on the cob
  • salad (romaine lettuce, carrots, bell peppers)
  • balsamic vinagrette

Here are the lovely quiches. I kind of crossbred these two recipes to get what I needed. The key to this whole endeavor was scoring these whole wheat ready-made pie crusts from Whole Foods. I watch too many cooking shows to know that making pie crust is a big freaking deal. And, if left to my own devices, I would make pie crust the Julia Childs way: pounds of ice cold lard and mountains of fluffy bleached flour. Why do I have a weight problem? Astonishing!

Oh, I must note the reasons I made two quiches. I guess the simple explanation is that one is for me and one is for my old man. He gets acid reflux from tomatoes so I made him a quiche with spinach and onion for his lunches. We are also having quiche for dinner a few nights this week while we finish up the fish stew. Just call us the Leftover Family.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spoiled for Choice

This is what was waiting for me when I came home this evening. We get our CSA share every other Tuesday and, to be honest, it is always met with a little bit of dread. My boyfriend and I decided to do the CSA for a few reasons: fresh seasonal produce, it's cheaper in the long run than buying vegetables piecemeal, it's good for our bodies and our community. Most importantly, it was to help me overcome what I affectionately call my eating disorder.

I can't eat certain vegetables. It's not that I'm allergic to to them or they make me feel sick, it's just that I have a MAJOR problem with texture. So far, I've been able to conquer my fear of eating many squishy/baby diaper colored foods (butternut squash I'm looking at you), but every other week I'm faced with at least one item that makes me bristle. This week...beets. I'll admit that this is the third time we've got beets in the share. Each time I gave them away to a more gastronomically adventurous friend. But now I feel compelled to at least taste them. Ugh, what should I do? I can't bear the thought of actually putting even a sliver of those vile blood drenched bulbs in my mouth!! What measure of starvation and hopelessness led to the discovery that beets were edible? I bet some cave woman was on the verge of eating her own arm when she grabbed some leaves to cover her future wound and noticed some dirt covered balls at the end of the leaves and took a bite of it. When she didn't die and her hunger was somewhat subsided, she evolved, turned into "everymom" and forced her children to eat beets.

Anyway, let's focus on what I can eat: broccoli, corn, dill, lettuce, leeks, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini. I don't even know where to begin. Breakfast and lunch (and dinner, for that matter) are going to be great for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Monday Dah Dah

I was slammed all day at work today. From the time I stepped foot into the office until the moment I managed to finally sneak out 10 hours later it was non stop work work work. Luckily I had a tasty lunch to look forward to, even though I did have to eat it in between emails. Anyway, the specialty today was quiche. I've never made it before and I spent yesterday afternoon combining a couple of recipes. I tell you more about it tomorrow.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stew So Good Even Little Piggies Love It

I finally had the fish stew for lunch. I made it on Sunday night and have been having it for dinner every evening this week. This stew is so delicious and also famous in my family for its restorative properties. I made it for my sister a couple of days after she had her first baby and she swears it was the only thing that got her through the first week of round the clock feedings and baby angst. If only I could take credit for this recipe....but I can't. I got it off the innanet of course. What I can take credit for is catching the fish I used for stew.
Looky there! It's me and the 15 pound white king salmon I caught on a trip to Alaska this summer. I've had huge salmon steaks filling up my freezer since August and making stew helped me get rid of a few of them. Hopefully next week's lunches will be a little less fishy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breakfast Is More Interesting Sometimes

No sooner had I put the period on my final sentence of the previous post stating that I was going to have oatmeal for breakfast than I had a hankering for eggs. Isn’t it funny how your mind fights against your best efforts when it comes to food? Anyway, I prepared “scrambled eggs” and cheese.

I used my handy-dandy egg in a cup thingy. I picked it up at TJ Maxx sometime last year for about $5. It’s pretty nifty. I scrambled one egg, a little bit of milk, salt and pepper and then I added in half a Mini Babybel Light Cheese. You’ve got to grease the cup before pouring in the egg and any excuse to grease anything makes me happy. I used about a teaspoon of butter. Put the little lid on it and nuke it for about a minute.

I had a couple of left over boiled potatoes that I didn’t put in the my fish stew and there are also still some cherry tomatoes lurking in the fridge so I decided to make some impromptu home fries. Onions, tomatoes, a little red pepper flakes and a splash of olive oil started sizzling in the pan, then I threw in the chopped up potatoes.

Lunch was pretty much the same as yesterday (fish cakes, salad, fruit on the side), but I decided to use up some of the fresh watermelon we have in the fridge. Also, the thought of having that dull pineapple again was not too appealing.

This picture is an attempt to show you that I really do eat my meals at my desk. I feel the overwhelming need to explain all the chaos and random picture of David Suchet in the background but I’m more overwhelmed by the fact that I look like I have Downs Syndrome and I ate my food before I could take an action eating shot and the fact that I should definitely wear more eye make-up if this is going to be a regular feature.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Fish Story

This is how today's lunch started out. I flew into a cooking frenzy over the weekend and made two fish meals. A fish stew (which I'm sure will appear later in my lunch) and these fish cakes. My mom used to make these all the time when I was a kid and when I was in third grade I ate a record 11 of these babies in one sitting and went on to projectile vomit all over the walls of my parents bathroom. Moving on...
It's a simple mixture of canned tuna fish, boiled potatoes, onions and parsley all mashed together with a raw egg to bind it. Lots of fresh cracked black pepper and a couple of dashes of salt. I fried the little cakes in olive oil. Not super healthy, but oh so tasty.
I made a quick menu and I'm sort of showing you the nerdy carrying case I use every day. Yes, it has a name tag and dancing computer on it. Yes, I'm 32
Hey, this is what our carrots from the CSA look like. I read somewhere that tons of fruits and vegetables are thrown out because they don't look the way they are "supposed" to look. I come from a town that specializes in growing carrots and ships them all over the world (I even found carrots from my hometown being sold in a market in South America) but this is the first time I've ever seen a bent carrot. Makes you think.
I prepped my breakfast and lunch after dinner last night. There is a glass of wine in the picture and I just want to make it clear that I don't drink wine at breakfast. Not yet anyway.

I bought some frozen pineapple at Target last week and I've been pretty disappointed with it. It's not nearly as ripe and juicy as the frozen pineapple I got from Whole Foods. I saved about a dollar in buying the Target pineapple. Lesson learned.

I ran out of my frittata mix so tomorrow's breakfast is anyone's guess. Something in the oatmeal arena feels about right. I liked my fish cake salad today, but, to be honest, I kind of miss my simple turkey sandwich. But, there are more fish cakes and plenty of fish stew in the fridge form me to use up.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Breakfast for Lunch

Hi there! I'm a few days behind here so I thought I'd do a quick post about my beloved frittata. I had it for lunch on Friday so let me show you the easy way to have "fancy" breakfast any morning. It's all about the the baggy for this meal. We got tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchinis in our CSA share last week (along with a lot of other stuff) and I decided that the best way to use up most of it in one dish. I feel like most people who would read a food blog know how to make this. But, my sister reads this blog because she is genetically obligated, and she doesn't know how to boil bear with me.
I put about a teaspoon of butter in the hot pan and dump in about 1/2 a cup of the chopped up veggie mix. Eggology egg whites, get this in your life. I got a 32 oz. tub of the organic egg whites for $9 at Whole Foods. Seems pricey but it last me for at least a month. Anyway, moving on...
Add salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you might like. Tabasco? Pepper flakes?
After the veggies have softened up a bit I add about 1/2 a cup of frozen chopped spinach. Also from Whole Foods but you can probably get it cheaper somewhere else. It cost me about $2.
Once the spinach has totally thawed out and been cooked a bit (about 3-5 minutes), I add about 4-5 ounces of the egg whites. Don't touch it, just let it cook on the bottom. Meanwhile, turn on the broiler in the oven.
Ok, here's where I show my true colors. I wrap my rubber coated frying pan handle in tin foil. Don't you dare judge me! It works. Stick it under the broiler for about 4 minutes or less.
Take it out of the oven and shimmy it out of the pan onto a plate to cool. Here's where I go take a shower and get ready for work.
I pack it up before I go to work. Maybe some people don't like the idea of microwaved eggs but it's actually very tasty when I nuke it for about a minute when I get to work.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Keep 'Em Separated

I learned a lesson with yesterday's lunch. Don't put honey on yogurt unless you eat it right away. So I made pretty much the same thing as yesterday but today I put the honey in a separate little container. I also made another fritatta but I didn't eat it. But I was so busy this morning that I didn't have time to eat it. So, tomorrow's lunch is sitting in the fridge at work ready to go.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School for Grown-Ups

I wanted to start out today (September 1) because it feels like packed lunch season. Kids are going back to school and, although I don't have any children of my own, I get a little excited about what's going to be in my lunch box too.

Here we go:

The main part of my lunch today (and most days) is a yummy turkey sandwich. I used to NEVER eat sandwiches before I started packing my lunch. Now, I have to sit on my hands until noon to stop myself from gobbling up my turkey delight.

The rest of today's lunch is also pretty basic:

  • Turkey sandwich

  • frozen peaches (they thaw out by lunchtime)

  • corn on the cob (from last night's dinner)

  • carrots

  • greek yogurt with honey on top (for a snack)

  • TLC Fruit & Grain bar (another snack)

We subscribe to a CSA and we get a ton of farm fresh veggies every other Tuesday. Yesterday we got more tomatoes than we'll ever know what to do with, potatoes, carrots, dill, onions, lima beans, celery and lettuce. I'm probably forgetting something else, it was a lot.

I also packed my breakfast this morning: a veggie fritata. I've been doing that a few days a week when I get my act together and prepare the stuff I need in advance. I chop up 1 onion, 1 yellow summer squash, 1 bell pepper, a lot of yellow and red cherry tomatoes, and store it all mixed up together in a ziploc bag. Then in the morning I throw about 1/2 cup of the mix into the frying pan and add egg whites to it. Here's what it looked like:

So that's all the food I ate while sitting at my desk today. Tune in tomorrow to see what I've shoved down my gullet with one hand while pounding away at a computer with the other.