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Archive for the ‘on the go’ Category

Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own pad, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to truly be an adult. There’s a lot of self-sufficient things one can do, but some of them are deceptively childish, in my own, highly subjective opinion.

Some examples:

Adult Activity: getting a credit card

Child Activity: sinking yourself into credit card debt

Adult Activity: Inviting some friends over for drinks

Child Activity: Inviting some friends over for drinks in your messy apartment, but not having enough food/drink/ice/potential sleeping arrangements available.

Adult Activity: Opening a 401k and contributing the max your employer will match

Child Activity: Letting your money languish there after you leave your job… for two years and counting :-/ (oops)

Feeding oneself, I believe, is a big factor in one’s relative adulthood. This isn’t to diss anyone else’s choices, but for me, if I’m being a responsible grown up, that means I am subsisting primarily on real foods that will nourish my body, increase my health and well being, and taste good. This has evolved as I’ve grown older: in college, all I was aiming for is Having Enough Food When I Needed It Where I Needed It, when I first moved here I was mostly concerned with Having Enough To Eat On A Small Budget. But I’ve gained confidence in the kitchen, become more grocery-savvy, and changed some of my values since then, so while I’d still like to have enough to eat when I want it and for a low price, that doesn’t mean I have to eat marinara and noodles for dinner or sip Slimfasts anymore.

I’ve already talked some about how meal planning is a Big Fat Adult Thing To Do. It is. It sucks. It’s hard and complicated and while I think I’m getting much better at it, I still mess it up. See: midweek, over-budget shopping trip because I ran out of non-dinner food on Tuesday. TUESDAY!

But there’s more to Feeding Yourself than planning an expert meal plan and matching grocery list. Adulthood can also be measured in what you do when your Adult System fails.

Child Activity: When your friends come over with little notice, just shrug and laugh off your disgusting living habits.

Adult Activity: At least attempting to pick up a little make sure you clear off the futon and wipe the bathroom sink.

Child Activity: When you know you’re going to come home late from work and not have enough time to cook, just order takeout!

Adult Activity: Learn to cook some things that are as wholesome as they are delicious that you can cook in no time flat.

Jessica’s Pesto Mushroom Sandwiches

I started making these sandwiches, actually, to replicate a favorite panini I like to order at one of our local delis, The Real Deal.

It’s not quite as good, of course, but it stands up against the competition, and save for the mushrooms, it is mostly made of ingredients that I have lying around my house on the average day.

Ingredients:

Whole grain bread

Butter or olive oil

One package of mushrooms, white or baby bella (or probably any kind of mushroom you like! I buy them whole and slice them myself, but do what you wish. Presliced shrooms are better than a Big Mac)

One normal-sized onion

Salt & Pepper

Balsamic vinegar

Shredded Cheese (I always have sharp cheddar, but I could see this working with Swiss or Provolone or Mozzerella or something creamy and delish. Don’t get it pre-shredded though. Yuck.)

Mayo

Pesto

Step One: Slice up onion and mushrooms. I like to slice the onions into long pieces (fajita-style?) and the mushrooms pretty thin so my sandwich doesn’t get too fat.

Step Two: In a sauce pan or skillet, heat a little olive oil or butter on low-medium- enough  to saute the onions. Then… saute the onions.

Step Three: When the onions are soft, add the mushrooms. Stir and then cover the pan and let cook until the mushrooms let out their liquid and look soft and tasty – a few minutes. Then remove lid and let some of the liquid evaporate – another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper while you wait and toast your bread to get prepared.

Step Four: When the mushroom juice is almost gone, add a splash of balsamic vinegar – not too much, a mid-sized splash goes a long way! Cook until most of that liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are at a good consistency to put on bread.

Step Five: Spoon mushrooms onto toast. Sprinkle cheese on top to melt a little bit. Spread mayo and pesto on the other piece of bread.

Step Six: Unite two pieces of bread into a SANDWICH. Eat. Revel in your ability to feed yourself.

I don’t always plan ahead, I don’t always take the high road, and sometimes when I have perfectly good planned meals ready to make, I answer the siren song of Indian delivery or Anything-to-Go. But I’m also slowly gathering an arsenal of recipes good for different occasions… and I think the Too Busy To Cook occasion is probably a more frequent event than a dinner party or other event.

Simple, tasty meals that don’t take long or require too many ingredients: to me, that’s the fuel for a real adult.

P.S. Full Disclosure: the pesto mushroom sandwich, although delicious, is not TRULY an emergency food… unless you are one to keep your fridge constantly stocked with mushrooms.

When I’m really trapped at home without a meal on the horizon and no time to dream something up, this adult chooses something quintessentially childish:

Boxed Mac & Cheese with frozen peas.

Pro-tip! Throw the peas into the simmering water a few minutes before the noodles are done cooking. They will defrost quickly, the frosty-freezer ice will melt into the water and drain out, and it all ends up in the same strainer anyway!

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brown baggin’ it

I eat lunch at my desk four days a week.

Brown baggin’ it.

My other options are trucking a half mile to Panera or Chipotle, or the School Cafeteria. One is expensive, fattening, and a pain. One is expensive and kind of disgusting.

I also have a confession to make today:

I am counting calories. I am trying to lose 10 pounds or so before I go home for Christmas so that

A) I can resume fitting comfortably into the clothes I already own

and

B) I can successfully buy a pair of jeans with my Christmas money without damage to my ego

and

C) So my parents and relatives won’t ask me any sidelong questions about how much walking and running I get to do in Boston.

For now, I’m sticking to 1600 or 1700 calories a day, which makes my brown bag lunch both essential and difficult. Gone with the cheesy, dressingy salads, gone with the crunchy delicious snacks, gone with the handfuls of delicious trail mix. It’s definitely a departure from my usual eating habits, but not necessarily in a bad way. I’ve been trying to cook more low-cal dinners (less cream of mushroom soup casseroles, more soups and roasted veggies), so leftovers join fruits and cut veggies most days, maybe a wrap with hummus, a Larabar.

Today’s lunch:

Last night’s leftovers: Moroccan Lentil Soup, snagged from Tastespotting

Which actually tastes better today, microwaved, than it did last night!

My tweaks: doubled the potatoes and used two 14 0z. cans of tomatoes, omitted the cumin, cinnamon, and peas because apparently I’m bad at following a recipe. And now I have a bag of frozen peas in my freezer to deal with…

A Pear

Which are really quite good, right now. I’ve been grabbing a few from the grocery every week. I had some bad luck with a couple mealy ones a few weeks ago, but then I had one that was kind of red that was good, so now I’ve convinced myself that the only ones that will be good are the red ones. I am weird.

For later, I have

* Celery with this wicked salad dressing we picked up from Whole Foods

* An apple (Cortland, maybe? After eleven thousand of those little paper apple bags, I finally got sick of Macintosh)

* A mozzarella cheese stick

It will get me through to 7:00 p.m., but I will

most certainly

be hungry for dinner!

 

 

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absentee

Dear Food Blog,

I have not forgotten about you! It has been a month since I posted anything here, but it has not been a month since I have eaten anything or cooked anything. And as long as I am eating and cooking and occasionally snapping pictures, I thinking about you!

I promise!

I just have trouble with the “getting pictures off my camera” and “writing about cooking and eating” part.

But I will make amends.

Eventually.

Not right now, thought. All I have to eat right now is

an apple

and

an Odwalla bar

Yum, I know.

I’ll be back, though.

Sincerely yours,

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  • Big, green leafy lettuce
  • Farmshare tomatoes
  • Farmshare cucumbers
  • Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar
  • Marzetti’s Classic Ranch dressing
  • Hard-boiled egg

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I know, you’re getting sick of me. Lindsey and I have been in communications, and she will be acquiring steady computer and internet access after the first of July! Until then, you are stuck with me, the world’s most boring eater.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did a record-setting amount of cooking over the weekend, but alas, I don’t have TIME to blog about all that quite yet. So for now, you get yet another installment of The Salad I Ate For Lunch!

(Salad #1 and Salad #2, for those who like things chronological)

Salad

  • Lettuce (I don’t know what kind.. big, leafy and green!)
  • Baby carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Seriously Sharp Cheddar (one of my not-so-secret loves)
  • Mandarin oranges

Dressing

  • Honey mustard (purchased so long ago I always forget it’s in my fridge)

This result was tasty, but not quite as mind-numbingly delicious as my other salads. Or at least as mind-numbing as any salad can really be, let’s be truthful. Oh, except for this one salad I had at The Cheesecake Factory one time… and this one salad at Applebee’s that I can’t eat anymore because it has shrimp AND bacon…

I had a slice of lasagna too, but I’ll tell you all about THAT once this mothersalksjdf;owi3423ring summer class is over

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While Lindsey is MOVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY (holy moley, excitement!)

I am still here, in my office, eating lunch.

And I thought about my blogging companion, bravely changing food horizons, perhaps even expanding her counterspace to dimensions greater than 12 inches by 12 inches…

and all I have to offer you is YET ANOTHER salad

But my-oh-my it’s a good one. See, it was so good, I ate half of it before I thought to take a picture!

Not too different from Last Week’s Salad, but different enough to jog the tastebuds while still packing in all those veggie nutrients

Salad

  • baby spinach (+iron)
  • goat cheese (ftw)
  • mini heirloom tomatoes (my boyfriend buys them every week, what can I say?
  • edamame (+protein)
  • fresh green beans (boyfriend)
  • chopped strawberry (asfsderghahhasogood)

Dressing

  • balsamic (The Flavor Bible told me it goes well with those s.berries)
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • honey (big squeeze)
  • chopped green onion (leftover from weekend nachos)

Stuff in my kitchen, basically.

And I washed it down with a little Emergen-C, scrounged from the bottom of my totebag.

A beverage so classy, it basically requires eye-seduction before drinking.

So there you have it. My lunch. Lindsey, find yourself a kitchen so you can start posting real recipes and our readers can stop weeping and pulling their hair out from boredom.

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True Confession: I eat on the go.

That’s not particularly scintillating. Everyone does! If you work, you must replenish your calories during the course of the day, and you probably can’t go home and cook something up because you are at work.

My On-The-Go-Eating has the following complications:

1. I prefer to eat healthily.

2. I prefer not to spend 10 dollars every day buying lunch.

3. I have to fit all my food in my backpack.

4. I get hungry A LOT, and if I don’t pack enough calories, I violate terms 1 & 2 without hesitation. Especially when I have class in the afternoons.

5. If I’m at all stressed, I can’t be bothered to think about what food I will want to eat during the day, or to pack said food into my backpack.

6. I get bored of lunch foods pretty quickly.

*sigh*

Feeding yourself is so hard.

This week, I’m doing salads. Whatever is in my fridge, into a bowl.

Today we have:

  • baby spinach
  • edamame
  • goat cheese (i told you)
  • sliced dried apricots
  • mini heirloom tomatos

And since I get sick of salad dressing like *that* (See #6), I’m making my own.

You see, I checked out this cookbook from the library, and there was some line about how fun and easy it was to make salad dressing in a jar and how marvelous it was to a 24-year-old boy to make a delicious dressing in a jar and then it just lives in the jar…. oh, I don’t have the exact quote but it was something that made me fall further in love with Jamie Oliver. I just can’t remember the specifics.

Ahem. Anyway. So I’m making my own salad dressing, in a jar, every day, tossing in whatever looks okay to toss in a dressing. With severe limitations, because my spice collection leaves a LOT to be desired.

  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • honey

And then, we have this little concoction I like to call “Rolled Up PB&J”

Which is just what it looks/sounds like.

P. B. Whole wheat tortilla. Roll up. Roll up with foil.

Which isn’t the most appetizing thing – when I told my boyfriend about my new invention he said, “Um, why not just use bread?” I gave him a nice long scowl.

But it gets the calories done.

Which is what eating-on-the-go is all about, right?

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