Monday, June 18, 2012

Back to Basics

Back when I started my blog, it was a way for me to remain accountable to some of the goals I set out for myself that year. Chief among those was to save money, and one of the main ways I was going to do that was to bring my lunch to work 4 out of 5 days a week.

Back then I would show you what I made that week. Slowly, I stopped doing it. Not because I stopped making my lunch, but because I got into a habit of making the same things, or just shoving some veggies and hummus into a bag and calling it "lunch".

Well, we're all bored of hummus round here, so I'm trying to get myself back into the habit of making proper lunches.

Let me take a moment to say that H. and I have a system of eating. He makes dinner and I make lunches. It works well. But here are the difficulties in deciding what to make for lunch:

1) I get bored of food easily. I can't eat a turkey sandwich every day for a week. I need to make something to keep me interested.

2) I don't like to make anything that needs to be microwaved. Why not? Because I'm just neurotic enough to not want to do that. I am a crazy person, I know. But it means I like to make things that can be eaten cold.

3) H. doesn't eat cheese. This is a HUGE problem in finding new recipes.

4) Make-ahead recipes are key. We're talking brown bag lunches, here. I don't have a kitchen at work for any prep.

Ok, so those are the biggies. 

Anyway, here we are today and H. and I are re-committed to saving money. And I am re-committed to making new and delicious and hopefully healthy things for our lunches.

This week I made quinoa cakes with an eggplant tomato ragu, but I didn't add cheese because, well, see point 3 above.

Eggplant Hat
How do you feel about quinoa? People either love it or hate it. Or, like me, they like it but don't love it. It's handy, it's good filler, it's easy to have a box in the cupboard, but it's not like totally amazeballs delicious, is it?

My verdict on these was that they were a little bland. H. liked them, but I think I'll have a hard time eating them all week. Also, I'm not a fan of eggplant. I don't hate it, and I don't really like it. Tomorrow I will be adding a boatload of cheese to mine.

If you make the Epicurious recipe for this, you totally need two eggs to make these suckers sticky.

Do you have any suggestions for lunches?


  1. I'm glad to see a good old-fashioned lunch post. Your lunch parameters are challenging (who doesn't like cheese? (and also pancakes????? (not a good lunch food, anyway))). My go-to favourite lunch is the ill-defined "leftovers", but it sounds like that isn't going to work with your system.

    I went through a phase of eating salad almost everyday for lunch. Greens, perhaps some grain, some canned salmon (stinky), more veggies, and then some nuts and seeds or whatever. My biggest complaint about this meal is that for some reason it takes forever to eat. That is my best suggestion....

    1. We could do leftovers in a pinch, but the microwaving issue comes up. I should be less neurotic about this.

      We go through salad phases too. There's a lot of chewing that needs to get done, which is probably why it takes so long (that's a very scientific hypothesis, by the way). And I'm a firm believer in cheese in salads, specifically feta. I recently went through a period of refusing to eat salad unless it had feta in it. The good thing about salads too is I can make it with cheese for me, and without for the fussy one over there.

    2. So is the microwave thing about the evils of microwave cookery? Or is it just that you don't like hot lunches? Although they are a pain in the ass because they are heavy, I do like the glass tupperware for any portable meals to be heated...

      Feta in salads is the only way. Especially if it is goat feta, but even more ESPECIALLY if it is sheep feta.

    3. It's a number of increasingly irrational concerns. It started with plastic in the microwave, yes. I also have glass tups but I find them heavy and annoying. But also our office is set up in a weird way where the microwave is right in the middle of where everyone sits, so those of us near it have to endure a variety of strange smells, and I don't want to put anyone else through that.

      Feta is secretly the queen of cheeses. You wouldn't know, because it's not fancy, but it's true.


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