Friday Faves

1) First and foremost, I would like to give a standing ovation to DayQuil and NyQuil…Couldn’t have gotten through this week without y’all.

2) This really neat infographic about the shelf life of food:

My roomie and I could learn a thing or two from this…haha. Our fridge is where produce goes to die 😦

3) This.

I LOVE Ina Garten and Barefoot Contessa, but I’ll be damned if homegirl doesn’t demand some straaange ingredients sometimes…

4) Leftovers. This will soon become an item on my list of least faves, I’m sure.

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This was what was left over from my reception on Wednesday. I stayed an hour and a half after everyone left cleaning up, packing up leftovers, and dancing around listening to music and drinking leftover wine.

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We only had so many containers for leftovers, and the rest unfortunately had to be chucked. Looks like I’m having cheese + crackers + veggies + chicken skewers + meatballs for lunch for the next week!

5) These Posters

A Facebook friend of mine posted a link to his aunt’s Etsy site a week or two ago, and I am in heart with all of her printed posters! I especially love the idea of framing these two Beatles quotes next to each other. We don’t have ANY art in our apartment…I may have to make a purchase!

Have a great weekend!

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Lunch Lately

As I’ve mentioned, um, almost every time I’ve blogged this month, work has gotten crazy busy. Generally it just means that I’m always busy, and that my desk looks like this:

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However, it also means that I can’t take long leisurely lunches. I am the only assistant, as well as the receptionist in my office, which often means that when I’m not there and something needs to be done, or the phone’s ringing, or there’s a FedEx guy coming with an important package…sh*t gets cray cray.

There’s not lots of time to walk (or bike) home, whip up something for lunch, clean up and come back in less than an hour. I’ve also been trying to keep to my 3x per week workouts, which usually means lunch happens afterwards at my desk.

So here’s how I solve the problem of “I don’t have much time + I want to be healthy + I’m kind of cheap and don’t want to eat out”:

My most common lunch is leftovers, or whatever dish I made a big pot of on Sunday for lunches the following week. Usually this involves beans or, in the summer, some kind of grain like quinoa that is good to eat cold.

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  • This week: chipotle stout chili. Inspired by a Beeroness recipe, it has a healthy amount of chipotle, Stout beer, and even quinoa! Lots of protein and fiber in this one.

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  • An experiment involving lentils and chipotles (I am on a chipotle kick lately!) – it wasn’t blogworthy, but it served its purpose as lunch for a few days.

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  • Soup soup soup. This one was from a recent trip to my parents’ house…you know, one of those trips that ends with Mom rummaging through the fridge and saying, “Here, take this! I bought too much hummus at Costco! Have some soup!” Her Carrot Ginger soup is the best. In fact, the lunch I packed today includes some leftover turkey meatloaf she sent me home with last night! I added a side of broccoli…. for health 😉
  • As pictured, I also eat a lot of Wheat Thins. We’re running low on snacks in our office pantry, but Wheat Thins are always in stock. Not ideal, but they do the job!

Speaking of soup… I eat a LOT of soup cups. It started when I had a broken hand and couldn’t make much of anything else for lunch. There are a few brands that have pretty good nutritional stats, and many are less than $2 each. Score.

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  • This was actually a picture I sent to T-Man to show him my firm’s new coffee cups (lol) but my favorite brand of soup cup is making a small appearance. McDougalls is probably the most filling one you’ll find (at about 340 calories and 15+g of fiber for their Split Pea/Black Bean varieties), the ingredients are good, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint.

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  • Eating Right is a new brand I spotted on sale at the grocery store this weekend. They are pretty good on keeping the scary ingredients to a minimum, and the first cup I tried on Monday was pretty tasty. They’re only 180-190 calories, but that means they leave me a little hungry. (Wheat Thins to the rescue!)

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A closer look

Another good quick lunch is microwave burritos. The good brands (like Amy’s Organic) tend to be more expensive than soup cups, at $3 each, so I don’t get them often. Yes, I realize I base my grocery shopping decisions on the basis of $1 difference…yes, I might be cheap. At least I can admit I have a problem 🙂

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  • This puppy (from evol foods) has been waiting in our office freezer as a back-up lunch in case I ever forget or don’t have time to plan out a lunch. I was pretty intrigued by the idea of a spinach and tofu burrito, haha.

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Pretty good nutritional stats, too!

And since we’re on the subject of pictures of food I eat at the office, here’s my most common breakfast and one that I don’t have as often, but am trying to work into my weekly routine:

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  • Greek Yogurt (I buy whatever brand is on sale, but Oikos is my favorite!) + a Fiber One 90 calorie brownie. I eat this at least 3 days per week, and I love it. My beef with greek yogurt is that it has zero fiber…so pairing it with a Fiber One brownie is the perfect answer, as each one has 5g of fiber! AND THEY’RE DELICIOUS! I won a box in a giveaway from Christina at Hungry Meets Healthy, and I’ve been buying them regularly ever since.

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  • Smoothies. I’m really trying to make smoothies happen, you guys. I have a blender, and T-Man has a blender, and I almost always have frozen bananas & fruit on hand…But they don’t keep me full very long. Also, we both have roommates, and whenever I plan to make a smoothie in the morning, one always seems to be asleep or on a work conference call and I’d hate to run the noisy blender. The above smoothie was pretty good though: frozen banana, blueberries, juice/zest of an orange, and a dollop of peanut butter.

What is your favorite quick n’ easy lunch?

Do you ever choose price over flavor?

Lunch Lately

When you work in politics, things are usually really exciting. Like, have to be in 4 places at once exciting because there’s a hearing going on here, and a vote going on there, and your boss needs his Blackberry charger (let’s be real, that last one is 80% of what my job entails)….

But there are also lulls.

The Legislature goes on recess…like a lot. For instance, right now they’ve been on recess since August 31st. So it’s been quiet times here in my little lobbying world.

In honor of this, I bring you the first installment of:

Things I Google and Wikipedia at Work

  • Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom — What started as a research task for my boss quickly turned into a trip down this handsome man’s entire life story.
  • date of Pearl Harbor (to prove to T-Man that I had the date memorized…….I don’t.)
  • date of Bastille Day (to prove to T-Man that I had the date memorized….I do!)
  • Trader Joe’s carrot cake ingredients… YUM
  • “c accent french”, from that one time when I taught Bev of Bev Cooks how to type a c squiggly thing (I was trying to remember what it was called…..it’s called a cédille)
  • Marilyn Monroe measurements (because I’m a creep)
  • BMI calculator (because I’m pathetic)

Something I also google at work is recipe ideas. Especially for lunches. Because the easiest time to waste money eating out as a ~young professional~ is at lunchtime, and my goal is to avoid it at all costs. In fact, the only 2 times I’ve been out to lunch since July were to treat my brother to birthday lunch, and to be treated to lunch on my own birthday.

To achieve such a “feat”, I have a few strategies.

Use the Weekend to Prep

Every Sunday, I like to prepare a dish that will last me at least 2 meals. Here is this week’s example:

I’ve made Ashley’s Lemon Dill Pasta Salad before (with an avocado dressing!), but this time I had fresh basil on hand so I made it with that instead of the recommended dill. Loved it!

I munched on a lot of it while I was making it (oops) and then split what was left into two tupperwares for lunch this week. Paired with a handful of wheat thins or a bag of chips, it was the perfect amount of food!

Make Enough Dinner That You’ll Have Leftovers

It’s actually pretty hard to make single serving size versions of a lot of dishes…I don’t think any pot exists that is small enough to make just 1 serving of rice! So instead of sacrificing the success of a dish because I don’t want to waste food or overeat, I make enough that I can eat the rest for lunch the next day.

A few weeks ago, I told you all I made Let it Brie’s Chana Masala with lentils… What I didn’t share was that I actually only used about half the lentils that I boiled for Indi’s recipe. The rest got seasoned with taco seasonings, hot sauce, and green onion, paired with a tortilla, and became lentil tacos for at least 3 days worth of lunch! Oh, I added an avocado too because I’m obsessed.

I ran out of my beloved super low-cal Fiber & Flax corn tortillas, and got Mission’s Multigrain Artisan Style tortillas — also very good, and not too bad on the ingredients! I love tortillas that are thick and seem like they’re handmade.

This is actually what I have packed for lunch today:

My own weirdo interpretation of Frito Pie. I am desperately looking for ways to finish a can of refried beans I opened a few days ago, so instead of the traditional chili, I made a big ol’ batch of refried beans with a ton of veggies and greens and chili seasoning, and am planning on mixin’ it up with a bag of Fritos. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people! Also, please ignore the nail polish and spoon lying in my bed.

Buy Healthy Easy-to-Make Lunches

For when there’s no food prepped from the night before (and I can’t get home to make lunch), I have an “emergency stash” of food at the office.

I’ve already shown pictures of this before, but I swear by it:

I love this soup cup brand and Nile Spice. Both make pretty healthy soup cups and, if you get the flavors that are chock full of fiber, they are considerably filling.

I also buy frozen burritos from Cedarlane and Amy’s Organic because they have good ingredients (especially Amy’s) and they’re usually on sale at Safeway for only $2-$3 a pop!

Soup cups and frozen burritos are usually for days that I work out or go for a jog at lunch, because I’m usually famished when get back to the office around 2pm.

What do YOU bring to the office for lunch?

P.S. A few of my photos finally got approved by Foodgawker! It’s been bringing a lot of traffic to my site, so hooray! Welcome new readers, and stick around, for most of my photos are not taken with my iPhone like they were in this entry 🙂

Check out my gallery here:

my foodgawker gallery