October 06, 2010

Typical Morning and Noon-Time Meals

We've had pancakes a couple weekends in a row, but I wouldn't want to give the impression that's a typical breakfast for Juli and me.  Similarly, while I usually cook up something for lunch on Saturdays, that also isn't typical for our lunches.  Most of the time, we get by on leftovers for lunch (and sometimes for dinner), which is why we often prepare big batches when we cook.

Shown here is the stuff I got out for breakfast and lunch one morning this week.   The breakfast is pretty typical for me - some yogurt, a piece of fruit (an apple, that day) and a handfull of unsalted nuts (cashews, on that occasion).  I include the nuts because having some protein with a meal helps prevent carb high/lows.  Some days I have toast or an English muffin in place of the yogurt and fruit (sometimes with peanut butter, in which case I skip the nuts), and some days I'm not hungry enough at breakfast to eat the fruit, in which case I  usually have it for a snack at work.

The core of my lunch six days a week - every day but Saturday - is some sort of leftover from the things I've been cooking.  Today's lunch is a bit larger than usual.  Usually I take only one container of leftovers, but today I have two:  a slice of Chicago-Style Deep Dish pizza I made on Sunday night, and some of the Ham and Bean Soup I made on Saturday.  I've also got a couple cookies in a baggie.  Sometimes I take some more fruit instead.

Also in the picture is a bag of yogurt-covered raisins.  I keep a bag or two of some sort of relatively healthy snack (these, or trail mix, or dried fruit of some sort) at work, and since my stock at work is getting depleted, I brought the yogurt raisins today.

Finally, there's the storage bottle.  This is one of the stainless steel bottles Juli ordered from the Flylady site, which she wrote about last night.  It contains iced tea.  Up until a couple months ago, we were both drinking a lot of soda, but with the convenience and reliability of these bottles - they keep cold beverages very, very cold - we've since switched over to plain, unsweetened iced tea for our daily caffiene fix.

The stuff Juli packs to take with her is pretty similar to mine:  the bottle of iced tea, some sort of leftover (except for the days she is scheduled to go out to lunch with some of her coworkers), a cookie or two for a snack.   Sometimes she takes a yogurt and/or fruit breakfast, and if I make toast or an English muffin for my breakfast, I make some for her as well, but she also keeps some breakfast bars at work and often waits to eat when she arrives at work.

A couple nights a week, I also pack extra leftovers as my dinner.  Juli sometimes does the same, though sometimes she opts to eat out for dinner instead.  Sometimes it's another frozen meal to warm up in the microvave, or sometimes - as is the case for tonight's dinner - it's sandwiches featuring something we've cooked.  Tonight, I'm having a sandwich made from sliced chicken breast.  I cooked up a chicken for chicken stock over the weekend and removed the breast meat from the stock pot before all the flavor had been cooked out of it.  Toss on some BBQ sauce and a slice of pepper jack cheese and I've got something that easily beats a Taco Bell or Hardees drive-through. 

Some people might think eating warmed-over leftovers for one or two meals a day most days doesn't sound that great, but we definitely prefer it over fast food and commercial microwave meals.  The flavor is better, our stuff isn't as high in sodium, and we can choose from a much wider array of meals than one can pick up in the frozen food section of a supermarket.  Plus, we cook enough that we have different meals to choose from, rather than warming up more of the same thing day after day.  Occasionally one of my coworkers drops by my office during lunch just to find out what I've warmed up to create that tantalizing scent that wafts out into the hallway, and Juli has mentioned the looks of envy she sometimes gets while she eats a lunch of tom kha gai or aromatic curry and naan as her coworkers are microvaving a Lean Cuisine. 

So now you know why we don't generally bother with "cooking for two" sorts of recipes.


  1. Nice to read that I am not the only one who packs big lunches for work. I try to do a soup-n-sandwich combo. So, this past week, I made a big pot of spicy corn chowder and assembled a couple sandwiches. (I spread goat cheese on country bread and layered up arugula and salami into it). I also bring yogurt with homemade granola. Plus, a bag of lightly salted chips for when I'm having a salty craving during the day. I, too, bring my own water, and sometimes, will fill another bottle with cranberry juice.

    It really troubles me that more people don't put more effort into their lunches. Only one co-worker who packs some truly wonderful lunches comes to mind at the moment. Everyone else spends way too much money on restaurants or (most of the men) will just grab something cheap and not particularly nutritional from our work cafeteria.

    -lena from CBR

  2. Hey, Lena! Thanks for the comment. Your lunch - and particularly the goat cheese, arugula and salami on country bread - sounds great!

    Needless to say, we feel largely the same way as you on this issue. Cooking with leftovers in mind and taking the time to pack up a good lunch for work is both more economical than eating out all the ti me, and a lot more healthy and tasty than buying fast food or pre-prepared lunches. Plus, I (Jeffrey) only get a half-hour for lunch, so having something pretty quick is a must.