Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Comments! I haz them!

I just noticed some of you commented! On my lunches! I love it. I think I answered everyone's questions.

Tomorrow's lunch is a sort of chef's salad, I guess -- if I'm the chef, I can call it that, right?

Baby spinach with gorgonzola and sliced, hard-boiled egg (I even buy these pre-cooked and peeled), sliced black forest ham and croutons, separated so they don't get icky in the fridge overnight, Greek yogurt that expires tomorrow (I must learn to figure out what date it is when I'm grocery shopping. I thought I had another week on this stuff!), and a square or two of dark chocolate in the tiniest compartment.

The husband's lunch has all the silverware and napkins, mine has the vinaigrette in the Goodbyn drink box.

I have to buy some more quick-prep fruits and veggies, and smaller quantities. I get sick of strawberries and bananas when I eat them day after day.

What fruits and veggies are you guys loving lately? You can tell me in the comments. ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little break from lunching

We had a death in the family two weeks ago today, so it was all I could do to eat lunch, let alone pack one. I'm back, though, after getting thoroughly sick of restaurant food.

Tomorrow's lunch is a perfectly ripe banana (with fork, spoon, and napkin), pita crisps, Trader Joe's belgian chocolate pudding, spinach salad (vinaigrette on the side), and salami and provolone, quartered nicely with kitchen shears, to top the pita. Gummy vitamins in the smallest compartment, so we don't forget to take them. Quick and simple, but I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I now know why lunch bloggers do it

If you have to report on what you've made for lunch, you're more likely to be creative and healthy. Here is a very lame, very carb-filled lunch for tomorrow. My only defense is we haven't gone shopping in a while, and I'm feeling kinda down tonight. I find carbs very comforting. :)

Here are the fixins for a maple almond butter and banana sandwich on Hawaiian bread (the blue thing is a spoon on one end, knife on the other), strawberries (we bought two pounds!), pretzel thins, and chocolate.

Note: the bread is actually yellow, due to the pineapple and whatnot it contains. There are two huge slices in there, cut in half. The Goodbyn is BIG.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Too tired to say much tonight...

But I did get a photo! Pictured are two lunches (duh), my husband's and my own. I photographed them both because we're going to share the stuff that is different.

Both of us have mixed green salads with gorgonzola, croutons (bottom left compartment), lemon chicken (bottom right compartment), and vinaigrette (in the orange drink bottle).

We'll share the strawberries and pita with hummus. I get salty dark chocolate, he gets caramel-filled milk chocolate. Maybe I'll trade him, though... He's so cool about stuff like that.

This week I'm feeling really overwhelmed and short on time, but all the lunches I've made have only taken 5-10 minutes to put together. It's really worth it. My pants are feeling a little loose, and I'm never hungry during the day. In fact, my biggest lunch-related problem has been finishing everything I pack!

So, if anyone's out there reading, what are you bringing for lunch tomorrow? What brings you here?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Using leftovers

Man, I am having the laziest week. Between home and work duties, I'm kinda phoning it on on the lunch front.

Tonight I made another pasta salad from leftover pasta. It's just the two of us, so we eat way less than a pound of pasta for supper. When I want leftovers for lunches, I make the whole box and toss a tiny bit of olive oil with the stuff I'm setting aside. I used leftover prosciutto, finely chopped broccoli and carrot, and gorgonzola cheese. I try to amp up the veggies and use the smallest amount of pasta possible, so it's really half and half. Though I often make my own vinaigrette, locally-made Garlic Expressions is not bad at all.

I added some really big, fresh strawberries, a hard-boiled egg (I told you I'm feeling lazy!), and some chocolate squares (dark chocolate with fleur de sel for me, with orange and almond for MH).

Pasta = .25 (and we ate some of the salad with supper tonight)
Broccoli = .25
Carrots = .25
Prosciutto was too small an amount to count, and it was leftover
Gorgonzola = .50
Dressing = .25
Strawberries (2 lbs for $5) = .40
Egg = .30

And we've already established I am not counting chocolate. Mostly because I pay a lot for it, but also because it's worth it.

Today's lunch: $2.20 each

And the Garlic Expressions, to make up for my lack of lunch photo:

Tomorrow, I'm planning on doing something Mexican, with other leftovers that need to be used up. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mediterranean Monday

I didn't have time to fuss or cook anything, so this one took less than five minutes to put together.

From top to bottom, left to right, this is: two squares of caramel-filled chocolate, napkin, fork, and individual pack of hummus (chickpea dip/spread); tzatziki (garlic cucumber yogurt dip) and falafel (chickpea/veggie patties); baby carrots, mini pita bread, and tabbouleh (parsley, tomato, and bulghur salad).

Everything was pre-made, so I just had to buy it and portion it out. We buy most of our groceries at Trader Joe's and Costco, and keep an eye on the bottom line. So even though this isn't very homemade, it's still less spendy than a restaurant lunch. Probably on par with fast food, but much more fun and healthier.

Just FYI, I'll run the numbers to see how much this lunch cost.

Mini pita bread is $2.60 per 8 oz bag, and this is one-third of a bag = .86
Carrots were $1 per 16 oz bag, and this is not even a quarter of a bag = .25
Tabbouleh was $5 for 21 oz, and this is one-tenth of that = .50
Falafel was $10 for 2 lbs (~30 patties), so three patties = $1
Tzatzki, for such a tiny amount, I'm going to have to guess = .25
Hummus was $5 for 2 lbs (16 little containers) = .31
Chocolate? There is no amount I would not pay for good chocolate, and that is all I have to say about that.

Each lunch = $3.17

Oh, and the ambiance of the practically private park across the street from my office, sharing food with my hubby on a picnic blanket, with plenty of time to lie down during my lunch hour and look at the leaves and clouds? You can't buy that, not even at Costco.

Another Bento Blog

MH and I started our Monday-Friday, No Restaurant Challenge two weeks ago. We were spending $75-85 a week on lunches alone, and I’d guess maybe $100-150 more on dinners and drinks. You could say that’s an average of $190 a week eating out, or $823 a month. That’s a mortgage payment around here.

I started packing lunches two weeks ago, and it was such a pain using containers and Ziploc bags for everything that I soon ordered bento-style lunch boxes. We tried Laptop Lunches Bentos 2.0, but settled on Goodbyn boxes (see below for our reasons). I’m posting our lunch menus here to keep me motivated and to remember good ideas for those days when I’m feeling un-creative.

Here are the last few lunches I photographed…

From top to bottom, L-R, here's pasta salad with carrots and broccoli, kalamata tapenade, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and garlicky vinaigrette; two squares of dark chocolate with orange, napkin and silverware; grilled rosemary/balsamic chicken to top the salad, TJ's pear sauce, and sliced strawberries. This was really yummy.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of a Goodbyn lunch box and a Laptop Lunches Bento 2.0. The Goodbyn is HUGE compared to the LL, and I like that there are only two pieces (not including the drink container) to wash. Luckily, my sister prefers the LL boxes, so she bought our two at a slight discount. Perfect for her kids, and probably for those who don't want a huge lunch. We actually have trouble eating everything that fits in the Goodbyn, so we snack throughout the day from our "lunch" boxes.

This one was really fun... banana, spife (spoon/knife), napkin; dark chocolate sauce and HUGE strawberries; tzatziki (Greek cucumber-yogurt dip) with mixed fresh veggies, and a toasted English muffin with maple almond butter. We sliced the banana and topped the sandwiches with it. The yogurt dip was a little garlicky for the sweet, fruity lunch. That's the only thing I'd change for next time.