Thursday, February 2, 2012

Keeping Frugal.

I work off the farm five days a week.  My job entails a long commute, so I have worked out a seven-hour workday with no break for lunch, as I don't want to leave the dogs for longer than 9 hours.  This has worked out well over the years - I start at 10:30 and leave at 5:30.  I miss all of the morning rush hour and most of the evening's rush hour.  But this also means that I have to bring my lunch every day.  From many aspects, this is not a burden - it's inexpensive and way more healthy than what I have access to in the nearby eateries.  This may be New York, but it's not New York, if you catch my drift.  The only vegetarian/health food restaurant closed years ago.  I almost cried - it was the best food EVER.  The service tended to be a little loosely moored to the ground, but the food - it was wonderful.

My favorite lunch combination is a cup of soup and a salad.  I have been known to put everything but the kitchen sink in my salads - I haven't met an ingredient that doesn't get along with lettuce!  Lately, I've taken to making a large container of chopped salad, which I portion out over the week.  I keep homemade salad dressing in the office refrigerator so, with a piece of fruit, I have a well-balanced and filling meal.

Notice the reused, recycled 'til it falls apart container?  It's got a great snap-on lid.

My current salad consists of:  chopped Romaine lettuce, chopped carrots, chopped raw broccoli, and failed chickpea burger.  The recipe sounded fabulous, but the end result was less than spectacular.  It tasted great, but dissolved into a pile of crumbles.  Which were perfect for my salad!  My favorite salad dressing is from my friend, Sylvia:  1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar, clove of minced garlic, dry mustard to taste, 1 cup canola oil.  That's it - easy-peasy.  I keep it in old peanut butter jars - one at home, one in the office.  Another plus for chopped salads?  They are easier to eat = no splotches on my work clothes!  Usually.

We occasionally celebrate Friday and order Asian food - although I am not a big fan of Americanized Chinese/Japanese food.  It tends to be huge amounts of bland stuff.  The huge amounts can add up in my favor, though.  No one in the office finishes their meal and - after 6 years of training them right - they hand over their leftovers for the chickens!

P.S.  The winner of Book 5 did not contact me, so I will be re-drawing a winner.


  1. I love those leftover containers for starting seeds. I bought a few salads a couple years ago that had been reduced to 25 cents---just for those containers. Can you imagine the amount of waste produced weekly for something that most people throw out????? Crazy!

  2. I always brought my lunch to work -when I worked. And like you, I always had big homemade salads, soups, and stews full of vegetables (almost said veggies there, caught myself, whew) What surprised me was how interested everyone was in what I was eating when they all had bought takeout and fast food. They would drool on my desk. Yet none ever thought to go home and pack a lunch of good stuff. They just brought more junk food. Strange.

  3. What a fantastic idea, chickpea burger in the salad! I have been wanting to try to make those and now I definitely will since this will probably be better anyway LOL! I always find myself craving salad like crazy this time of year and resorting to store lettuce, too bad my cravings can't hold off until the greens are coming in strong :)

  4. Oh, you are such a Wise Woman! And do you realize you've saved MILLIONS of dollars by not buying your lunch everyday? And just think of how much happier and healthier your body is for being supplied with nutritious food at lunch time.

    Jane, some people are 1) uneducated and 2) just. plain. lazy.

  5. Oooooo, I LOVE soup & salad for lunch. Or dinner. Heak, maybe even breakfast. And wouldn't it be interesting to figure out how much money you saved by bringing your own lunch (or how much others "wasted" by NOT doing so)? Makes me feel good when I can save by not spending.

  6. Hmmm...I have been trying to figure out something for supper tonight, soup and salad sounds great! :)

  7. I find those chick pea burgers (most bean burgers actually!) work much better when eaten in a pocket bread - which might not be an option for the gluten free out there.

    We do a similar homemade dressing only we use olive oil instead.

    My husband brings his lunch to work every day. It's a bit of extra work at home but not only is it a better option from a health standpoint, I shudder to think how much he'd be spending if he ate out every day!

  8. Susan, I'm so sorry! I don't know how I missed winning book #5. I'm thrilled that I won, and will get my contact info to you, but if it's too late, I understand that too. It looks like a great book! :) Thanks to Mama Pea for letting me know I'm missed this.

  9. I am a big fan of salads, too! so long as there is a yummy dressing involved, I throw anything that I can into them.

  10. Sue - I tend to save any styrofoam container for seed starting. It always boggles my mind at how blatantly (or ignorantly) wasteful people in this country are.

    Jane - L.A.Z.Y. One of my co-workers brings in those frozen diet meals, then buys crap to go along with it. Geez.

    Erin - Yes - making lemonade out of lemons, or something like that. Oh, how I long for my garden...

    Mama Pea - Donald Trump has nothing on me - except for that comb-over, or comb-forward, or whatever that is on his head.

    CR - I have been known to have soup or salad for breakfast. I could live on soup.

  11. Candy - Of course, now I will want to know WHAT soup you made...

    Jenyfer - That would have been the perfect solution for this particular 'burger'. I just refuse to pay seven dollars for a salad. I mean, really?

    Patty - It's not too late! Yay Mama Pea!

    PC - I agree - the dressing makes the salad. And they are so easy to make yourself, I can't imagine why anyone would plunk out a lot of moola for bottled dressings.

  12. I can't wait to get our lettuce planted again this spring. Now that I have my dehydrator I can stock up more of it.

  13. I don't know why more people don't 'brown bag' it. If they would calculate what it is costing them, they would be stunned. I feel just as strongly as the coffee addicts that hit those high cost coffee franchises!

    I think I will plant some lettuce under the lights next week.