Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pack-a-Snack #103

Pretzel sticks and the white bean hummus I made, garnished with olive oil, scallions, and dill.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Lunchopolis #65

A sandwich made from toast, Sweet Earth's Harmless Ham, cucumber slices, and some white bean hummus I made; more of the Japanese potato salad I made earlier this week; orange slices; and more vegan candy from England (Golden Crunch cinder toffee and Kendal Mint Cake).

I used this recipe as a guide to the hummus. I thought the dijon mustard suggested on that site sounded intriguing so I put some in--and it was really good with the cucumbers and veggie ham.

Though the toffee was excellent (and surprisingly soft!) the mint cake was a revelation. I love the idea of a candy bar that isn't chocolate. Hershey's came out with their Gold bar after I went vegan so I'll never know what it is like. I used to love the Zagnut bar, but it isn't vegan either. So this minty candy bar without any chocolate at all was extra fun!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #77

A simple arugula salad with grape tomatoes and a lemon-mustard vinaigrette and spaghetti with Gardein meatballs and a sprinkling of Follow Your Heart parmesan.

I genuinely wish I liked arugula more--or that I liked any green leafy salad more--but this dressing was really pretty good and the tomatoes were a nice touch.

The Gardein meatballs were on sale so I decided to give them another chance. I had tried them before in early vegan days and didn't like them because they had a weird texture. Either they've changed the recipe or I got a bad batch before, because these were really great! I was pretty excited about that. Spaghetti and frozen meatballs used to be one of my favorite go-to quick meals when I didn't really want to cook. There is something reassuring about knowing you have a meal on standby, especially in the winter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Insulated Jar & Sides #42

Some candy my vegan British friends sent to me (Ruffles chocolate, some fruit-shaped marzipan, and black currant flavored Millions in the little cup), baked beans I improved a bit with sauteed bell pepper and onion, and some of my Japanese potato salad.

I really like how adding some veggies elevates canned baked beans! It's a dramatic difference. I think basically anything you can do to doctor up something in a can seems to make it seem less boring.

People keep suggesting I give up gluten (which is annoying, really--I mean, if you had a random rare disease that ravaged you, wouldn't you have researched things that will help?) and honestly I have thought I could cut back a bit, even though there has never been anything I've read that suggested gluten has anything to do with myasthenia gravis. I do have signs of something else being wrong and I thought it could be worth a shot. It doesn't seem to make any difference if I do or I don't have gluten, but this is a gluten free meal, for what that's worth. (Not that much to me, it turns out, but hey.)

Although I'd like to have things that help, I'm also glad to have gluten.

On a happier note, I am also glad to have friends who periodically send me British candy. I love Millions. I expected them to be crunchy, like Nerds, but they're chewy instead. Ruffles are a kind of raspberry-coconut filled dark chocolate that I think is better in bar form but is still really nice as a kind of truffle. And marzipan and I get along great in any form.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Skater Lunch Box #51

Rice with sesame furikake, blanched broccoli, a little bottle of soy sauce and rice vinegar mixed together, some tofu puffs in sauce, grape tomatoes, and yam pancake wedges.

This was my effort to redeem leftovers from a dinner I hadn't really enjoyed. The tofu puffs did not turn out well. I'd found a recipe online that I think I messed up, but I also didn't much like the texture of the tofu puffs in the first place. So I put some hot sauce on them, garnished them with scallions, and served them with a bunch of stuff I do like. I managed to eat them that way, so it was a victory; I won't get three meals out of the tofu puffs but two was respectable.

The yam pancakes were from the freezer section at H Mart. They're a filled pancake--a wheat-based outside with a kind of mashed yam inside--and went really nicely with the little sauce bottle I packed for myself.

Monday, January 14, 2019

ToGoWare 2-Tier Tiffin #24

Arugula and cucumber salad with a simple lemon dressing, a couple of little thyme & white bean pot pies from the Minimalist Baker recipe, and a few orange slices.

The Minimalist Baker is often a good place for me to turn when I don't want to be too simple, but I also don't want to overdo it. This was a really good recipe for that, and using the coconut oil crust was great, too--it's easy and very forgiving and doesn't require refrigeration before you roll it out, and it turns out flaky and delicious, so I could easily see using that crust all over the place.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Laptop Lunches #310

Blanched broccoli with seasoning salt, a bit of gravy, orange glazed carrots, some Gardein holiday roast, and mashed potatoes.

Nobody ever lets me eat a Gardein roast for a holiday--I'm typically invited by people who view that, quite erroneously, as equivalent to a TV dinner or worse, and totally unacceptable to them--and so I had never had one. This year, instead of feeling morose about it, I bought one at Thanksgiving and stuck it in the freezer to bake on a chilly weekend. So here it is! And it was good! I think the leftovers were better than the original roast, although the crust wasn't crispy anymore--something about the texture of the roast improved upon sitting and became more...something. Flaky, maybe? I don't know how to describe it.

Gardein was generous with the gravy, which I appreciated--clearly they understood people would want gravy for things other than just the roast.

This is probably going to be my only post this week. You mostly see lunches about a week after I've eaten them (I schedule them ahead of time) and on the week I ate this I had a really terrible time. But why have a blog if you can't whine about it?

First, my car needed the scheduled maintenance it is supposed to get every 45,000 miles. Although I had a coupon, this sort of thing is never fun to have to pay for. They told me my radiator hose was cracked, which doubled the cost of the repairs. They also said I needed new tires, not because of the tread, but because of the age of the rubber. I said I had to wait on the tires.

Two days later, I drove over a bridge and around a curve and right into an unavoidable giant pothole that was maybe 10 inches deep, which punctured a tire. Stranded on the side of the road, I initially  foolishly attempted to change the tire to the spare myself. I was feeling confident and then realized, as I went to attempt to wrench the bolts off, that I probably wouldn't be able to do that alone even if I didn't have a condition that makes me really weak a lot of the time, and gave up to wait for roadside assistance in the cold. (I recommend paying for that if you can. It does make life easier in situations like that.)

Of course I had to buy new tires then, whether I felt ready for that or not. Behold, shiny new tires! Behold, my large American Express balance!

Meanwhile, I was dealing with my insurance company, because I needed an MRI (more than one, actually). This had to be pre-certified by the insurance company. They dragged their feet so it wasn't approved in December and in a new calendar year I now had to pay the full deductible and also my preferred clinic is no longer in network, so I had to go to one I had a previous bad experience with at an ultrasound appointment. I foolishly agreed because it was already "pre-certified" and changing the location would restart the clock on pre-certification and my new (so far not so awful) neurologist wanted this to be done quickly. Plus I reasoned that the ultrasound people and the MRI people should be different systems.

They claimed my insurance wouldn't cover the full cost after deductible even though my plan and the person on the phone at the insurance company both said it would, but they agreed to do it without me paying it up front and bill me later if it didn't rather than extract ridiculous amounts of money right then. Advocating for yourself in the American health care system is exhausting even if you aren't unwell.

All I want to say here about the MRI itself is that I would like every tech who does MRIs to be asked, under some sort of artificially created scenario that makes it hard for them to do things, like attaching weights to their limbs, to remain perfectly still in a tiny metal tube while lying on a people-tray that vibrates and makes very loud noises. They will be wearing earplugs and crooked headphones that are too tight and hurt their ears from the pressure and are playing music they don't like that they are not allowed to adjust or remove, with their heads inside a cage, all with a needle inserted in one arm and a plastic tube running from it that gets caught when the people-tray moves them back and forth and someone yells at them constantly for a few hours solid. I want them to be dealt with by impatient people who don't like that they can't hear and can't move very easily when the test is done and constantly snap at them. Nobody is allowed to explain anything to the person in the tube, ever, about anything, or tell them how much longer there is to go, except to yell that they have moved somehow and the whole thing will start over, but they will be required to sign a lot of release forms anyway. After this, if they still think it is reasonable for them to behave as they have been, we will all agree to fire the lot of them and replace them with techs who have a shred of humanity.

Or we could just do that without the exercise, but the exercise might, in theory, inspire their empathy.

So anyway. Only one post this week, because only one meal was worth looking at. I was home sick for some of the time due to stress making everything really hard, and I have little to no appetite. But I do have new tires and a radiator hose and I survived having metal injected in my veins so people could look inside my head with a series of giant magnets, and I think next week will be better. See you again soon.