Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's for Lunch?

Smooshy Socks @ Lunch<--- Another view of the new socks! The location: lunchtime at work, shoes off, feet propped up on an ottoman.

I've been really good lately about packing my lunch every day. It started because I hurt my hip again and the walk to the cafeteria was killing me (really, it was the walk back). At first, being very out of practice, I kept a jar of peanut butter at my desk and a jar of jelly in the fridge, and tried to bring a couple slices of bread every day.

The next week, I graduated to a baggie of veggies along with some heat-upable meals (those Hormel stews and spaghettis are quite yummy). My favorite so far was a great 'ole mishmash: microwaved sweet potato with a little butter, salt & pepper, red pepper hummus (eaten separately) w/ a handful of mini pitas, and a whole red pepper and some celery. Those little tuna salad lunches-to-go aren't terrible either (it's the only fish I eat). You can see that this is probably not saving me much money yet, but I'm focusing on making this a habit. Then I'll focus on cheaper (and probably cooler) meals.

Every day, I find a small "quiet room" and sit by myself for my lunch break. Some days I read, some days I lug my laptop over with me and watch an episode of TV on DVD (Wonderfalls is in the bag at the moment). Most days, regardless, I get some knitting done, but if I'm not in the mood, I don't flog myself or anything. Some rooms have tables and chairs (that aren't that uncomfortable). A smaller percentage have a pair of club chairs with an ottoman. Unless I'm eating something really messy, I hope the room with the squishy chairs is vacant. It helps that someone stole the phone out of my favorite room (not me!) so it's usually empty.

I think I've mentioned my issues with noise, but if I haven't, well, let's just say that some quiet time away from the chaos that surrounds my desk is absolutely essential to my sanity. If I had someone to eat with, that would be different, but I'm a) the only woman in my department, and b) got dumped by my previous lunch partner. She still smiles and says "Hi," whenever we see each other, but I've been having my solitary lunch for over a year now. (It's actually better for me, work-wise, since we had a tendency to talk, a lot, and take too-long lunch hours followed by a trek to the little "store" that sells soft-serve ice cream.) (I should add that we didn't argue or anything. She was transferred out of my dept. and had to eat at her desk for awhile. Now, it's just habit. That or she couldn't take any more stories.)

If nothing else, I'm happy with the increased volume of veggies I'm taking in -- a couple of servings at lunch alone, every day. My hip is also better and my pants are just a smidge looser (bonus).

Essential: A bento knife, similar to this one. I didn't know it was called this until I tried to find a picture. I got mine several years ago at an SCA event and it's been in my feast gear basket ever since. (That's the basket I haven't used for about four years, since the last feast we went to. (When we move, many of the pewter & wood pieces will be displayed or incorporated into the kitchen.)) Last week, I rummaged in there for the knife and it's come in very handy! I would like to find a few more of these and have one in our picnic gear, etc. I keep meaning to get some disposable salt & pepper shakers*, but in the interim, I snag a few packets whenever I do get to the cafeteria. I have a handful of plastic utensils in the drawer, too, along with a manual can opener.

So, what I'd love to hear, if anyone is still reading, what suggestions do you have for packing a lunch?

(Now I'm hungry.)

*Many years ago I had a tiny little S&P shaker from Tupperware -- it was perfect for lunches: one piece, with two "chambers." I'd love to find another!

<--- shoulda Googled it! A quick search led me to a blog that showed one of these being purchased recently at Cost Plus World Market. They aren't on the site, but it's a place to start. Too bad there isn't one close by.


Anonymous said...

I love peanut butter & honey sandwiches, and I bring them in to work nearly every day. I also bring Quaker Oatmeal Cookies (for breakfast) and usually a piece of fruit (for afternoon snack. I work 10 hours a day, and I get hungry ;) But I read Just Bento every day, and think that some day I'll make healthy, exciting lunches like her :)

gwensmom said...

Turkey sandwiches! Yum- I eat al least 4 or 5 a week. I pack the lettuce and tomato separately so the bread won't get soggy. Also cut up fruit, salads, soup, and leftovers from dinner.

Yogurt is good but I rarely pack it any more because the containers are not recyclable. When I do buy it I get the large size and divide it into smaller portions. Probably ought to learn to make my own.

Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is great in a pinch. First, remove the skin and drain off any grease. Then you can slice it for sandwiches, pull off small pieces to add protein to a salad or just eat it plain. Around here it is less expensive than buying sliced meat that is not full of sodium nitrite.

Tvini said...

Your socks are lovely.