Saturday, December 31, 2011

Laptop Lunches #49

I roasted a whole duck last night for the first time. I found a lot of helpful tips from this website. Duck is tricky, because of all the fat, but if you give it an opportunity to escape, it's a lovely, strong fowl--not at all greasy. I wish I could say all that was the reason, but the truth is I roasted a whole duck last night because I found one on sale for super cheap. I guess they expected more people to eat duck for the holidays than did.

So here I have a duck leg and some duck breast slices on a bed of garlic couscous, a cup of orange sauce (which came with said duck), some gingerbread graham crackers (I guess I'm really a sucker for post holiday food when stores want to be rid of it!), the rest of the cucumber salad, and some Empire apple slices.

And now I have the carcass of a five pound duck waiting for me to come up with all sorts of things. I am going to attempt some semblance of mock pate with the liver and stock with the rest of the giblets and bones. I have my sights set on some Vietnamese duck soup, though of course that's not packable, so you may or may not get to see what I do with it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Laptop Lunches #48

Cucumber salad with scallion dressing, the end of the carrot slaw, three egg halves stuffed with prosciutto mix on a bed of purple lettuce, a wheel of Babybel cheese, and three fudge-covered Ritz crackers. Yes, that's right--it was a limited edition holiday thing, the fudge covered Ritz crackers, and I got them at a much reduced price. I thought the combo of salty-sweet would be nice so I thought I would give it a try. Nice idea, but not the greatest execution on Nabisco's part; with higher quality chocolate,though, these things would be ambrosia. Still, a nice change of pace, and not quite so many calories as cookies.

I was going for more protein because cucumber salad and carrot slaw are so very low in calories I figured I'd be too hungry too quickly. But I felt super full before I even got to the third egg, the wheel of cheese, or the crackers. My metabolism is making no sense of late.

Meanwhile, I love how quiet the campus is with everyone away!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Laptop Lunches #47

Post-Christmas fare should be on the light side. This was my rationale for a salad-based lunch: mixed green salad with almonds and cranberries, yogurt dressing, black olives in silicone cup and a couple of pistacios on the side, carrot slaw, and potato salad. I hoped the chopped egg in the potato salad and the nuts would be enough protein, but I may have gone too light here; I was ravenous in only a few hours after this meal.

Still, the potato salad was magnificent. Here is my recipe for potato salad for two or three:

1 potato
1 egg
Dijon mustard
Dill (in whatever form you have handy)

Boil potato and egg (separately) in salted water until done. While this is happening, mix a dressing of mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and dill to taste. (I tend to do about 3 parts mayo to 1 part mustard, but do whatever you like. I also use the dill that comes in a refrigerated tube in the produce section, but fresh or dried would work just as well.) Drain potato and plunge egg into chilled water, then peel. Chop potato and egg into bite sized pieces. If you want, you can chop some dill pickles and throw them in, too. (I didn't have any on hand.) Toss with dressing. Chill.

I boiled the potato a bit too long, which made it a little mushy, but am otherwise satisfied.

Edited: I must have been rather bleary-eyed when I wrote this. In any case, while the method described above would work fine, you could also do what I actually did, which was to peel and cut the potato before I boiled it (because then it boils much faster). Oh, well. It's not an exact science!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Laptop Lunches #46

I wanted to acknowledge Christmas somehow, but I am not really a bento blogger. I'm a lunch packing blogger. I want to do things that are simple (enough, at least) to do even when you don't feel like spending much time on it. Ironically, this meant giving way, way too much thought to what I could do for a red and green themed meal. And it didn't turn out quite as I hoped, but it's here anyway, because I feel sharing my failures is all part of the learning process:

Mozarella, pesto, and tomato rolls; red and green apple slices; roasted prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears; and three cookies from a small package of Kambly Coeur aux Noisettes I bought as a Christmas treat for myself. (Imported Swiss cookies are quite pricey, but these are amazing and I haven't had them in a year or so, so it was about time.)

A few issues: The mozarella roll turned out to be huge compared to what I had envisioned, and the pesto smeared all over the place so it doesn't really appear as part of the roll. The proscuitto didn't get quite as dark as I expected, so it's more deep pink than red. Also, asparagus spears are slightly too long for this box, so I had to trim them down and hide the scraps under the whole spears. All in all, there are too many different versions of red and green, and it really isn't as appetizing as using more of the color spectrum might be.

Alas, Merry Christmas! (It may not be the last of me you hear of before then, but nonetheless, this is the last red and green themed meal you'll see!)

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Traveler's Lunch #1

I'll be honest. I am sick to death of going places. But I will leave tomorrow morning for a conference, and figured I could give packing a meal for the train a try. (I don't know if I could bear to do it for a plane ride.)

Since the possibility of losing my lunch (literally!) is there when I'm out of my normal surroundings--I do tend to lose things when I go places, and I very much miss the black wool hat I lost at the airport last month--I did not want to pack anything I would miss. This is a recycled deli meat container and a recycled disposable takeout salad dressing cup. In the cup is the yogurt-ranch dressing I was on a quest for this week. I also have carrots, a wall of celery sticks, a Babybel cheddar wheel, some airline peanuts (appropriately enough, don't you think?), a hard boiled egg, a few slices of orange, and Granny Smith apple chunks.

I really don't know how this will be tomorrow, given that everything has the potential to touch everything else, but I am hoping it goes well. In any case, I haven't lost much by making the effort. This, a few granola bars, and an apple should get me where I'm going a lot cheaper than on-board meals or restaurants.

Now, let's see if I remember to take it...traveler's brain may prevent it.

Edited on-board Amtrak train:

Well, this sort of worked out, but perhaps not entirely. It was cold this morning. It's still quite cold. My ride to the station was slightly early and in any case, even if he hadn't been, I totally forgot to eat breakfast. So I ate this at about 10:30 AM. And it was cold. And so was I. So I ended up getting a hot cocoa and a biscuit from the station. The flavors did not meld, however, which was good. I realized I could have done all sorts of things better to make it more attractive, but I think this wasn't bad for a first effort. Next time I'll use paper or foil cupcake cups to divide things up for when I fear the silicone could get lost.

Sidenote: Amtrak has free WiFi. I don't think I can be convinced ever to fly again!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Laptop Lunches #45

I felt like I wanted something special today for some reason. So re-inventing a slightly limp salad yet again did not appeal to me. So instead, I have carrot sticks, snow peas, grape tomatoes, a cup of yogurt ranch for dipping (hooray! Even if I did have to go to the pricey store I never go to otherwise to find it), a stuffed egg, a handful of small black olives, orange slices on a bed of pomegranate seeds, and sauteed shrimp.

I strongly associate pomegranates with my father, but could not remember why until this morning. I have passed by the display of pomegranates in the grocery store for a few weeks, wondering why they so reminded me of him. Other than vaguely knowing he liked them, this made no sense. Finally, I bought one, because the winter really does bring a certain scarcity of appealing fresh fruit, and this morning, with a large knife, sliced into it on my cutting board, sending a stream of red juice all over the place.

And then, I knew. As I partially cleaned up the pomegranate massacre, which will leave stains on the wood of the surface for a while, I had a flash of memory that made me realize two things. One, I have never in my life cut into a fresh pomegranate. Two, I have watched my father do it many times, and based on this it seems I did it wrong.

During my very early childhood, when in the depth of winter pomegranates appeared in grocery stores, my father would buy one and bring it home and set it on the table, with an air of ceremony. My mother would protest that the things were too messy and she wanted nothing to do with them, and in any case she would not allow them to be eaten in the kitchen. (I do not have any pomegranate memories, other than this, that involve my mother; true to her word, she had nothing to do with them.) So in the evening, my older brother and I would sit on an old towel in the living room, and my father would sit down with us, with his supplies: a pocket knife, and two bowls.

He would cut through the outer shell of the fruit with the knife, careful not to disturb the red jewels within, then pry it open over one of the bowls and scrape out the seeds, occasionally grabbing handfuls to pop into his mouth. We would take the seeds from the bowl and bite into them, sending the rush of juice all over us, and spit the white pits into the other bowl. One pomegranate later, Dad would survey the damage--an old towel with fresh stains, and two very young children coated in sticky red juice. He would put us in the tub and more or less hose us down under the shower, then pull us out into fresh towels, find something resembling pajamas (more often than not, this meant wearing one of his old t-shirts) and put us to bed. The pomegranate ritual was only ours--who knows where my mother was during all of this.

But it's been about 25 years, I think, since this last happened, and just as mysterious as my mother's absence in the memory is why this winter ritual stopped. But the pomegranate ritual is really one of my better childhood memories, so I am glad I recovered it this morning--and at lunch, when the spurt of pomegranate juice in my mouth made it all the more vivid.

If I were going home this Christmas, perhaps we'd all eat a pomegranate again. In lieu of this, I will finish mine alone, with a vague smile of a pleasant secret.

Merry Christmas, Daddy.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Laptop Lunches #44

I am attempting to eat this salad, but since I have enough to make another 20 of this size, I don't know how that will turn out!

In any case: papaya and blackberries, some leftover scallopped potatoes, a salad of mixed greens with sliced grape tomatoes and chopped hard boiled egg, some Greek salad dressing in the cup, and pinwheels of tortillas, veggie cream cheese, and ham.

It was fine. I didn't eat the whole thing, as I am sort of without much appetite right now. The jury is still out on the eventual fate of the papaya. I don't know whether I really like papaya or not, and that might be it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Laptop Lunches #43

We're still working on leftovers. The soba noodles are beginning to look quite sad. In any case, they are here with a salad made from leftover mixed greens and a bit of leftover artichoke pieces, with croutons and blue cheese-yogurt dressing on the side, and some Southwest Airlines peanuts and a wheel of Babybel cheddar for protein, and finally, the last of the fresh pineapple cut into chunks.

This lunch was a C at best. I keep looking for yogurt ranch dressing and they are always out. I need to try another store. But in any case, the yogurt blue cheese dressing doesn't translate well--blue cheese dressing just needs to be a really fattening thing, not something mixed with yogurt. So it's watery and unpleasant, in my opinion.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Laptop Lunches #42

Most of this came from an on-campus event I was responsible for setting up and tearing down/putting food away. (The secret lives of graduate students--I have mentioned this elsewhere on the blog. But in case you missed it, we all thrive on free food we get wherever we can, so as to supplement our stipends, which, while not exactly at the level one might qualify for government aid, do leave one with the need for creative ways of makng them stretch to cover our expenses. Jorge Cham at Piled Higher and Deeper has covered this multiple times. Here. And here. And too many other times to link.) This means, happily, I get to eat pineapple without investing in a week's worth of pineapple-eating.

So: Soba noodle salad with veggies, some sliced beef (a bit more rare for my taste than I'd like), a stuffed egg, a mixture of pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes, and two cookie bar triangles (lemon and coconut chocolate chip).

I wished for more veggies, but otherwise this was good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Laptop Lunches #41

Stuffed egg (paprika mix), baby kosher dill pickles, a slice of swiss cheese (cut up), deli turkey meat rolls, poppy seed peppercorn water crackers, peanut butter-banana mini kebabs, and carrots and a few tomatoes with blue cheese yogurt dip.

Having eaten all of my leftover chicken in last night's fried rice, today was a no-leftovers day. I wonder why no-leftover days look so much like kid lunches? I don't intentionally set out to make kid friendly things, but looking at all this in the morning I shook my head at myself and wondered why I couldn't be more of a grown up.

I said I would try peanut butter-banana mini kebabs another way, and I am pleased to report that it worked. First, assemble them, then paint the lemon juice on. Also, in the midst of this, I realized that the lemon juice adds something important to the flavor, in addition to preventing browning, which I honestly find very strange, but I guess it's no stranger than Granny Smith apple slices (also tart) dipped in peanut butter, which I and many other people happen to really like.

This was about a B+. As I tell my students, it takes more than above average effort to get an A. I'll keep working on it!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Laptop Lunches #40

A package of chicken breasts is like a saga around here, something like the saga of the ground beef from earlier this year. But, like ground beef, chicken breasts can take many forms.

Snow peas and orange cherry tomatoes with Greek yogurt-veggie dip, cranberry pecan cobbler, spinach, cream cheese, and chicken wrap, and a stuffed egg (dill mix).

The cobbler consisted of:

Cooking spray
1 cup of fresh cranberries
About 1/4 cup of sugar
A handful of chopped pecans
Quadrupled recipe of cobbler crust referenced here

Spray small casserole dish with cooking spray. Add cranberries, sugar, and pecans; mix to distribute well. Top with cobbler crust and a little more sugar. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes, or until done.

It was great last night but today seemed to need considerably less crust. I'd probably halve the crust recipe if I made it again. (That is to say, I'd double, rather than quadruple, the cobbler-for-two recipe's crust.) It's also quite tart, and so much better warm with vanilla ice cream than at room temperature plain, but you cannot (and should not) have everything all the time.

All in all, I give this lunch a B. It tasted fine, but I think this was too much in the realm of white flour. I could have used a slice of orange or something. But we press on!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Laptop Lunches #39

Leftover mashed potato pancakes, soy and sherry marinated chicken breast (from the Joy of Cooking), bits of an egg sheet, roasted garlic hummus with celery and carrot sticks for dipping, a wheel of Babybel cheese, and blackberries.

I had about 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of mashed potatoes left over and really didn't want to have them as mashed potatoes, so I did this:

1/2 very small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 beaten egg (see more on that, below)

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Cook onions in melted butter until nicely carmelized. Add to mashed potatoes and mix with remaining ingredients. In same skillet, drop spoonfuls of mashed potato batter and brown well on both sides. (Makes about 6 potato pancakes.)

After I'd done this, I had half an egg left, and instead of sticking it in the fridge, I decided to make a tiny egg sheet. (Basically I just poured it into the hot pan,  let it set, flipped it, and turned off the fire; after it was done I sliced it into strips and stuck it in with the chicken.)

This may not be the most brilliant idea I ever had, but it took care of the half an egg.

The lesson I learned last night, about cooking the marinated chicken according to the Joy of Cooking directions, is that either I am doing something wrong, or when you do this your chicken will end up blackened. I don't so much mind a slight char on the outside of the meat unless it's overcooked on the inside, but I'd prefer it to be more attractive. Thoughts? Joy has you cook the breasts in a saute pan over very high heat for four minutes on each side. Mine weren't done by then (and were already quite dark on the outside), so I had to cook them a few minutes longer. The marinade is good, mind you, but I didn't execute this the way I would have liked. (I am no good, really, at cooking white meat--give me a chicken thigh and I can make you swoon, but with the breasts I'm kind of at a loss.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Laptop Lunches #38

Bananas and blackberries, snow peas and orange tomatoes with Greek yogurt-veggie dip, chicken apple curry (from the Dinner Doctor cookbook), and rice.

I liked the chicken-apple curry all right--it's just a variation on chicken korma, really--but I wanted something with more oomph. Still, I love cooking savory dishes with fruit.

Tip, and lesson, what have you: This recipe called for a cinnamon stick. Now, you can go to the spice aisle, and buy a very overpriced, tiny jar of cinnamon sticks, or you can go over to the international food section, find the Indian food, and buy a bag of four times as many for half the cost of the little jar. This sort of thing is true for a lot of things. Sesame and peanut oils, found with the other oils, will cost you an arm and a leg, but off with the Asian food is quite reasonable. Red and white cooking wine, next to the vinegars, is on the pricey side, but the Goya brand, with the Mexican foods, is on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

I wish all this was true for European things like lemon curd and balsamic vinegar, but alas, it is not. Still, it's generally a good tip.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Laptop Lunches #37

Confetti rice with cheddar smoked sausage, brussels sprouts with lemon pepper sauce in cup, stuffed egg, and apple slices.

The confetti rice was a new one--improvisation was necessary since what I'd planned to make involved ingredients that, it turned out, had been sitting in the fridge too long and had to be thrown out. It worked out fine, but was a little bland on its own--the sausage perked it right up. Since it's really easy, I'll give you the recipe even though it isn't the most impressive dish in the world.

1 cup rice
2 cups water (or whatever your rice cooker says)
Handful of baby carrots, sliced
1 rib of celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoons concentrated chicken stock paste
1 cheddar smoked sausage link

Mix all but the sausage in a rice cooker; turn on. Cook sausage according to package directions (I did mine on the stove). When rice is done, slice sausage and mix. Viola! Serves 2-3 as a side. (If I'd had more than one sausage link, I would have used two or three, and it could have elevated to main dish status.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Laptop Lunches #36

What did I tell you about going to the grocery store hungry? But one has almost no choice when one has not bought groceries in a month, being in and out of town too much to make shopping worthwhile. Thus, I had a bit of pizza leftover from last week's shopping trip. I had that with celery sticks, Greek yogurt-veggie dip, the rest of yesterday's black plum, a stuffed egg, and--proof of my recent journeys--some airline peanuts.

I was surprised that Southwest still serves peanuts, what with the worries about allergies, but I managed to collect nearly a purseful of peanut packets. If you're going to shell out what it costs to fly, you might as well nod enthusiastically every time the flight attendants come by and ask if you want a snack, and stick it in your bag for later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Laptop Lunches #35

I know it has been a long time. I've been traveling a lot. The good news is that with all this traveling, I feel confident I will graduate and get a job, because it has been very productive. The bad news, for you and for me, is that it often means eating things that look ugly in photographs.

All that behind us now, here is today's lunch:

Carrots with Greek yogurt-veggie dip, sliced turkey tenderloin (I finally managed to cook myself my Thanksgiving dinner (or part of it, anyway) last night), slices of black plum and Granny Smith apple, pistachios, and a little wheel of white cheddar.

Things I have learned in preparing this meal: I must trust myself to know when poultry is done. If I cook it according to package directions, it is dry and overcooked. If I cook it until I think it is done, it is tender and moist and I will end up eating a respectable amount of it in one meal.

This isn't super but what do you expect of a jet-setter like me?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Home Remedies #1

Cold and flu season is upon us. When the weather changes, and a new crop of undergraduates bring new germs to town, I almost always fall victim to it. (This is why you see no lunch today. But more on that later.) I figure dealing with fevers, congestion, sore throats, and coughing is as universal an issue as lunch, so I thought I'd write about that today.

I am not opposed to medicine, mind you. Medicine is wonderful. There's a reason why we use medicine rather than tree bark now. (Even medicine that comes from tree bark, like aspirin, is better in medicine-form--controlled dosing and such.) So I will definitely not eschew helpful medicine. But not all medicine is helpful, in my experience, and a lot of non-medicine kind of stuff, is. So let's begin. We shall assume that you have come down with a cold, or the flu, or some other seasonal crud that involves a runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue, maybe a fever, and a cough in a week or so. If you are like me, without careful attention, this will turn into sinusitis and/or bronchitis and/or full on pneumonia.

Usual legal disclaimer: What I am about to say is not intended to substitute for advice from a medical professional. I am not a doctor, nor when I become a doctor (within a year, fingers crossed), will that be the kind of doctor I will be. So this is still just based on my own personal experience with my own personal viruses. Your viruses may vary. So get thee to an actual M.D. before you catch your actual death of cold.

Anyhow, these are the things I keep on hand for my "Single Sick Person Kit."

Medicine that is good:

Sudafed. Original only. Generic pseudoephedrine is fine. This is the stuff you have to ask for at the pharmacist's counter, because they don't leave it out, and they'll check ID and make a record of you having bought it. This is so you do not make meth out of it. Meth heads ruined it for all of us and suddenly you find an impostor decongestant running around. "Sudafed PE" is the name brand but the actual ingredient is phenylephrine. Phenylephrine is on my list of medicine that is not good. Buy the Sudafed you have to take every 4-6 hours, as much as they'll let you, because you're going to need more than the amount you're allowed to buy in a month for your average cold. It's generally a good idea to just buy the stuff every couple of months, and have it on hand, and throw it out when it expires, rather than be caught sick and reach your limit.

Tylenol. Generic acetaminophen is fine. I take extra strength. Good for fevers and such. You can take more impressive pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen if your doctor will let you. Mine won't let me.

Mucinex. With this, you're going to need the name brand, because generic guaifenesin, at least what I've seen, comes in a weaker dose. And it's pricey. But if you are someone who tends toward bronchitis, you should take this if you start having trouble with a productive cough. Drink lots and lots of liquids and have plenty of tissues on hand. Your nose will run while on this medication. Like a faucet. But you'll be less miserable in the end.

Medicine that is not all that useful that is NOT in the kit:

Cough syrups. Unless they're prescription, cough syrup never seems to do anything for me but put me to sleep. And then I wake up. Coughing.

Cough drops/throat lozenges. I cough while sucking on them. Useless.

Sudafed PE and all generic equivalents. See above.

Things that are not really medicine that you find at a drugstore that are useful:

Mentholated Breathe Right Nasal Strips. Generics don't seem to do as good a job, so spring for name brand here. Put this on your nose at night (and only at night--you're not supposed to wear them for more than 12 hours, I think), and you will breathe through your nose. You'll cough less. Your throat will end up hurting less. You may end up with a red mark across the bridge of your nose after a few nights, but trust me, this is a small price to pay.

Ayr Saline Nasal Gel. So, you know how when you're blowing your nose a lot it gets red and raw? If you put this stuff on your nose, proactively, after every blow or just when it's starting to dry out, you'll avoid this problem. You'll also be more likely to continue to breathe through your nose when possible, because it won't be as uncomfortable. I swear I could take stock in Ayr.

A Neti Pot or something like it. If you have really honed talents, you might be able to use a syringe. When I first started doing saline nasal rinses, on the orders of a doctor, nobody around had ever heard of such a thing, and my mother freaked out at me squirting water up my nose with a medicine dropper, but seriously, there has never been anything that made me feel better for less money. You basically pour or squirt warm salty water up your nose. I use a pot now, because it's easier, but you don't have to. You can do these rinses as often as you like. You'll be surprised what you can rinse out of there (and what it helps you blow out). It's gross and fascinating at the same time. But if you don't live alone, shut the bathroom door, or your fellow house-dwellers might freak.

Vaseline. This, or something like Vitamin A & D ointment that is based on petroleum jelly, to coat your lips, is a good idea. They won't get so dry, and peel, and make you feel worse.

Listerine. I hate the yellow kind; I suggest something minty. But in any case, gargling with antibacterial mouthwash tends to be a good, quick way to relieve a painful sore throat.

Tissues. It's obvious, but seriously, people, do not be caught in this season without at least one fresh box on hand. And when you're blowing your nose a lot, spring for a name brand. It's easier on the nostrils.

You might, if you are lucky and have the money for it, find some sort of eucalyptus shower tablets. These are great for when you're really congested, both nasally and in the chest, and need something to open up your various respiratory passages. But they're pricey, and hard to find.

Things found in a grocery store:

Lemon juice and honey. Mix this with hot water or a plain cup of hot decaf tea and drink. This, unlike cough drops, will actually soothe the throat and calm your coughing. And you want to be drinking lots of fluid anyway.

Dried chicken noodle soup mix. Let's face it--you're not going to be making homemade chicken noodle soup for yourself when you feel like death warmed over. But the canned stuff is vile. I like to keep both instant Lipton Cup-o-Soup and some sort of other, more substantial soup mix on hand. They've done studies that suggest it is an effective decongestant, but whether that's true or not, it does make me feel better.

Salt. Both for the saline nasal rinses and to put in hot water to gargle with (when you are really having problems with a congested throat).

Herbal tea. Really, I don't want to drink anything cold, but you also don't want caffeine. My absolute favorite tea in the world is Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy. There's the added benefit of the spicyness helping with congestion. Add honey, but not lemon juice, to this, for a temporary cough suppressant, too. But you can drink whatever herbal tea you like. Just have lots on hand--I go through at least 8-10 cups a day when I'm feeling really sick. Caveat: be careful not to overdose on any one herbal tea, or you might have some interesting symptoms.

I'm sure I've left something out, but my brain doesn't work as well when I'm under the weather. Stay well out there!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Laptop Lunches #34

All the pictures I took of this are slightly blurry. I am sick. Not just under the weather. Sick. No interest in food. But protein is supposed to minimize the muscle soreness that comes along with such virusus, and citrus is supposed to be helpful, and such, and so I thought by making this at home I'd convince myself to eat. I was only half-successful. It was better than not eating at all, so maybe it was successful? I don't know.

Grapefruit chunks sprinkled with sugar; an egg stuffed with a minced ham mix; leftover peppers, onions, and hardwood smoked chicken sausage (from before this thing attacked me); and celery sticks filled with radish butter.

Radish butter should be eaten spread on crackers, I think, despite the recipe instructions, and I'm not crazy about it anyway. It was a new recipe for me, and not a keeper. In any case, it had zero appeal to the queasy. I didn't manage much of the grapefruit, either. The egg was easy enough, and I managed all of the leftovers.

I guess I am saying there are some things that even careful arrangment of foods to make them look pretty cannnot overcome. Though, now that I see it again, radish butter looks pretty vile, so maybe that's part of the trouble. If I were thinking clearly I'd have realized there is far too much pink in this lunch.

This is probably the only lunch you'll see this week. Tomorrow I may (or may not) post about some home remedies that I found particularly helpful this week.

Stay healthy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Laptop Lunches #33

Apparently I'm a little pinwheel crazy. Really, I didn't go to the store according to schedule and didn't cook, so that actually explains the pinwheels. But this is different, in that these pinwheels are deli honey turkey slices, not tortillas, rolled with veggie cream cheese. Not vegetarian (but still kid friendly).

The pinwheels are served with plain water crackers, chunks of grapefruit and oranges, snow peas, grape tomatoes, yogurt-blue cheese dressing, and sticks of mango.

It has started to really amaze me how many different kinds of fruit there are. Growing up, my family kept oranges, apples, and bananas on hand at all times. We had both Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples, so we were really embracing variety, I guess. And I did encounter other fruits--canned fruit salad, which we usually doctored with some sliced kiwi and chunks of apple and banana, canned pears, peaches in season (and canned when not). I guess I haven't thought about it much, but since I've been blogging, and purposefully trying to show new items, I'm starting to see it--this is really the first time I've had grapefruit on the blog? And yesterday was the first day for a mango? And I haven't even shown you a fig or a papaya or a cherry, or any number of other things. The world is vast, and great are the fruits and veggies therein. I'm so glad I started blogging my lunch, or I probably wouldn't have embraced so much variety in my food--I know I wouldn't have discovered starfruit--and if I had I never would have thought about it.

In the realm of graduate school, I am well, I think, but starting to feel the pressures of the home stretch, and I've rarely been so happy to see my day off coming. But you've got to take days off, or the pressures will do you in.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Laptop Lunches #32

Nothing leftover here. I know many of those who read my blog are looking for kid-friendly things, and some want vegetarian things, so I'll please a range of people today, I suppose, with my kid-friendly vegetarian meal.

Mango chunks and strawberries; a stuffed egg (basic paprika-seasoned stuffing); celery sticks, grape tomatoes, and carrots with yogurt-blue cheese dressing (they were out of ranch); and veggie cream cheese-tortilla pinwheels.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Laptop Lunches #31

Much of this was leftover from an on-campus event. (Graduate school's here to Piled Higher and Deeper, though this was less sketchy because I was responsible for both ordering the food and cleaning up. I do not think it so untoward to take some home.)

Anyway, here we have naan bread with yogurt raita, baby carrots with roasted red pepper hummus, lamb curry, and a mixture of cut oranges and strawberries. Indian food is tasty but much of it is really not all that attractive. Various curries, kormas, and creamed spinach-y things result in a quite gloopy-looking range of foods. Of course there are prettier things from India, but I tend to gravitate toward the not-so-pretty, which doesn't work super well for making pretty lunches.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laptop Lunches #30

At last, I have a refrigerator! And I have been to the store to buy food! I made a mistake, though--I went to buy the food on a Saturday afternoon. In the land of my origins, this would not have resulted in the creation of grocery shopping as a contact sport, but in the northeast, the stores are smaller, with narrower aisles, and it's a lot more congested as a result. The density of the population is also greater. All of that to say, I was not as good with my budget as I usually am, because the entire experience was so stressful. (I think I have concluded that 8:00 AM, Monday-Wednesday, is probably best, but even then you have to deal with stockers.)

Bananas and strawberries, a tiny bit of a mini lemon meringue pie, roast duck breast on a bed of herbed couscous and some pomegranate sauce (leftover from last night--pricey overall, but worth it), and baby carrots with roasted red pepper hummus in a silicone cup.

The duck was a new recipe for me. I have eaten very little duck in my life, but this was the very best duck I have ever had. It's actually a pretty easy one, too--seared duck breast seasoned with kosher salt that is then baked in a hot oven (425 degrees, if I am remembering right), and then you make a sauce from the drippings in the skillet you seared the duck in out of pomegranate juice, a shallot, and some cornstarch--the whole thing, start to finish, takes about 20 minutes. And couscous is, of course, super easy. I would consider this an easy meal for impressing a date, if there was room for it amid dissertating.

I will be less extravagant with my choices next time I visit the store, but this was a fun and attractive return to actual cooking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Laptop Lunches #29

I am still fridgeless. I may or may not get a refrigerator tomorrow. (In the morning I must throw away everything that didn't make it into the cooler.) So here we are, and I think it's fair to call this what not to do as well as a Laptop Lunch. Cup-o-soup packets, tea bags, orange slices, some stevia packets and a cup of honey (sealed) for the tea, mixed nuts, a granola bar, and a travel mug.

I never ate the soup, and I think that half an orange, tea, nuts, and a granola bar is not exactly enough to sustain a person. I really should have bought some sushi or something, but I was feeling poor (especially since I have to throw so much food away!). Lucklily dinner was on campus and free, and now is sitting on ice, so there will be a lunch to be had tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ding, Dong, the Fridge is Dead!

The refrigerator in my apartment has officially given up the ghost. It sounds like a UFO in a 1950s movie trying to land, and chills absolutely nothing. There will be no fridge to replace it until Thursday sometime. I do have some things chilling on ice, but the stress of this and the job market took a bit of a toll on my physical health this week, and so Laptop Lunches gave way to Lipton Cup-o-Soup today. I am feeling better and hope for a more substantial lunch tomorrow, though I wonder whether I will have anything with which to prepare it. This could be an interesting challenge: the non-perishable, attractive lunch. Frankly, that sounds darn near impossible!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Laptop Lunches #28

Pita chips seasoned with parmesan, garlic, and herbs; roasted red pepper hummus; a mini wheel of white cheddar cheese; cucumber-red onion salad; and a whole stuffed egg (just a basic paprika seasoned mix).

Sweating the cucumbers for a bit and adding a bit of sugar to the dressing did wonders for this recipe's taste, but it's appearance is a little sad, isn't it?

I was sick this weekend, plus my fridge has decided to die, so food-wise things are not in great shape (no real grocery shopping has taken place in more than a week). And work? Well...hope springs eternal, they say, but I'm not optimistic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Laptop Lunches #27

Yesterday, there was no lunch. Or more accurately, there was an on-campus free lunch. It was nowhere near as attractive or as good for my health as the lunches I typically pack, but it had the benefit of being free--turkey sandwich, Doritos, and soda. This should have meant that I packed an extra healthy lunch to make up for it, but this is more of a "didn't go to the store and don't plan to for a few days" sort of thing. Sliced starfruit and oranges, bacon, blueberry-banana pancake wedges with maple syrup, and a hard boiled egg, sliced.

Maple syrup (the real stuff) is expensive, but worth it, particularly if you're me and have pancakes maybe twice a year. There's no comparison.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Laptop Lunches #26

Snow peas, carrots, and yogurt ranch dressing for dipping; blueberry-beef patties; sliced starfruit, apple, and orange; and cottage cheese.

The recipe for the blueberry-beef patties is here. They're quite good but I had 80% lean, not 90%, and they didn't hold together very well, so they looked pretty dreadful. Delicious and ugly. Warning: you'll need a meat thermometer for this recipe, because the juices will always run sort of purplish because of the blueberries. Also, the meat itself will look oddly grayish raw, which can be quite disturbing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Laptop Lunches #25

Tortellini "pizza" salad, sliced starfruit, snow peas and cherry tomatoes with yogurt-ranch dipping sauce, and a white chocolate lemon mini cupcake in a silicone baking cup.

The tortellini salad was better on day one, over the weekend, and had absorbed all of its dressing, so I added some ceasar-yogurt dressing this morning while packing the lunch. It tasted better than it looked, but if I was truly thinking clearly I would have used Italian.

The cupcake is evidence of the value of planning ahead. I baked a two-layer cake (click link for recipe) for an event on Sunday and took some of the batter (about what you have left from scraping the bowl after pouring the batter into the 9 inch cake pans, roughly 3 tablespoons) and put it into two silicone baking cups. I baked the cups along with the cake, and frosted them with the leftover frosting. This was a good idea for two reasons: One, I got to have cake with lunch. Two, it meant I got to taste the cake--I expected leftovers but this was the most popular thing on the dessert table and was quickly gone.

Isn't starfruit cute? It's a bit pricey and I'd never tasted it before, but I thought I'd splurge (better that than a box of cookies). The flavor and texture is reminscient of melon--very subtle--a nice lesson for today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Laptop Lunches #24

Cherry tomato salad, 1/4 of a chocolate muffin (which, let's face it, may as well be cake), blueberries, sliced bananas, and apple chunks, and some sliced turkey breast.

Cherry tomato salad, from that America's Test Kitchens Cooking for Two 2009 book I checked out, tastes great but is a tremendous amount of effort. Mixed feelings about this one; probably won't return to the rotation but I may try to find something in a simpler version (this is essentially caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, anyway). We'll see.

I had lunch with a friend today who consented to having her lunch photgraphed as well:

Watermelon, macaroni and cheese, and a banana. Looked quite tasty, and came with a super cute napkin.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Laptop Lunches #23

Poached pear with some of the poaching syrup, half a nectarine, carrot sticks and yogurt-ranch dip, and pesto-tortellini salad.

I had bought a bunch of basil for a salad I'll be making later in the week (look for it tomorrow or the next day), and knew I had way too much for that, so I attempted to re-create a salad from a little cafe in my hometown that I always loved. I think I did a passable job of it. It was good for dinner last night and for lunch today. I added some tomatoes for color and variety for the lunch version. This salad is easy to customize to your tastes, but here's what I did (not having any pine nuts or walnuts on hand):

Pesto-tortellini salad (about 3-4 servings)

10 oz. fresh tri-color tortellini
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
2 garlic cloves
About 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 to 3/4 cup diced cooked turkey breast (chicken is more typical, but I had the turkey)
Shredded parmesan (for garnish)
Cherry tomatoes (for garnish)

Cook tortellini in salted water according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, with an immersion blender, chop basil, garlic, and salt until fine. (You may have to turn it off and loosen things up with a rubber spatula once or twice.) While continuing to blend, add oil in a thin stream until all is added and blend until a thick paste. Add grated parmesan and blend again until incorporated, just a few pulses. Toss tortellini gently with pesto and mayo, then mix in turkey breast chunks. Refrigerate.

Just before serving (or when packing for the day), add a few cherry tomatoes, quartered, and a sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese.


Today's lesson: I love poached pears. I'm not a big fan of raw or canned pears, but a fresh pear poached in a light sugar syrup with a splash of balsamic vinegar is ambrosia to me. Half number one, I had warm last night with a bit of whipped cream, and refrigerated half number two for lunch today. They're good either way and super easy. (I modified the Joy of Cooking instructions to suit the poaching of a single pear cut in half.) I would recommend doing it the night before, though, because although they don't need too much tending, it can take 20 minutes to poach a pear.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Laptop Lunches #22

Last night, I made pork chops for the first time. I used the recipe for baked, breaded pork chops in a cookbook I checked out of the public library, America's Test Kitchens Cooking for Two 2009. They were quite possibly the best thing I have ever cooked. They were a little fussy--toasting bread crumbs I had to season myself, then toss with parmesan and parsley, and dipping the chops in flour, then a mixture of dijon mustard and egg whites, then pressing in the crumbs, then baking on a rack over a rimmed cookie sheet--but worth every bit of fuss. (And the total hands-on time wasn't really all that much--though the total time to wash the dishes should really be factored in for those of us without dishwashers.) I will make pork chops again, for sure, even though the leftover version, the next day, is only nice, not transcendent, because the coating is no longer crunchy.

So, leftover pork chop with homemade aïoli and a few mini tomatoes to fill in the holes, a homemade apple chutney from a jar I had on hand (seemed like the thing to do with pork), the end of the carrot slaw (which although not so nice on day two was still good, if not so crisp), and a mixture of nectarine wedges and blueberries.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Laptop Lunches #21

Back in the saddle! That was an interesting week--power out, with me eating what I had here in the order of most likely to spoil to least likely. (Have you ever made a meal out of a package of deli roast beef? As in, only that? An entire package of deli roast beef? Not recommended.)

Today is better than that.

I made mini-kebabs again, this time of leftover turkey breast, white cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. I had that with apple slices, the most amazing carrot slaw, a bit of snow peas cut in half (these survived the storm but were unlikely to last much longer) with some yogurt-ranch dip, and a silicone cup of dried cranberries.

The carrot slaw recipe came from the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Unlike Fannie, I am no fan of raisins, so I left them out. I loved this. Carrot slaw is a keeper in the rotation for sure.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Survived Hurricane Irene

It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it was a serious storm. This is my road. Power is back on, but we're supposed to stay home (of course, I'm not objecting to this). Yesterday, lunch consisted of me eating an entire package of deli roast beef because I didn't want it to spoil, and dinner was a pot of hot chocolate I made out of the rest of my milk.

It'll be a while before my food is fun again. In the meantime, I have other outlets for my creativity. I have a renewed love for colored paper, glue sticks, and sequins.

It's going to be a long week.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laptop Lunches #20

In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, I have not gone grocery shopping for perishables (and most of what I eat is perishable). This is a bit more leftover than I like to do for lunch, but I guess it's new to you. It's also more calorie-dense than I usually pack, so it looks a bit more sparse. A wedge of scallion-cheddar bread (a fabulous recipe by Anne Byrn in The Dinner Doctor, which is pretty close to my favorite cookbook), some glazed sweet potatoes and apples, a bit of ham steak, and some grapes.

This may be the last one for a while. It's already raining pretty hard, and the electric company predicts outages of up to three weeks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Laptop Lunches #19

I must have taken a zillion pictures of this but it never photographed properly. This is the best I've got:
I guess that will have to do.

Jicama sticks, baby carrots, olive hummus, cottage cheese with a scallion-tomato flower, garlic and herb water crackers, and Waldorf salad.

I haven't been cooking in the evenings so I had no leftover meat, hence the cottage cheese. But when I put it all in there, it looked beige and the textures didn't have enough contrast. So I made a tomato flower. I should have taken pictures of this process. If I ever choose to make another tomato flower, I will give you a tomato flower tutorial. They're really easy. If I had it to do all over again, I would just do the blossom of the flower and do three of them. I don't really like scallion in my cottage cheese.

As for Waldorf salad, it always makes me laugh. Rather than give you a boring recipe, I will give you this. "We're fresh out of Waldorfs," of course. You'll never forget how to make it after this! And maybe, like me, you'll repeat to yourself with the same emphatic tone, "Apples! Celery! Walnuts! Grapes! In mayonnaise!"


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Laptop Lunches #18

Now we're getting somewhere! It helps to find time to go to the grocery store before the produce gets picked over and you end up with a sad mess.

Snow peas and yellow tomatoes with yogurt-based ranch dipping sauce, chicken-and-crab salad on a bed of romaine, red seedless grapes, a wheel of white cheddar (I took the plastic wrapping off so you could see the red wax), and the last of the strawberries.

I made the chicken salad from the last bit of leftover chicken cultet, which means I somehow got four meals out of a single large chicken cutlet:

Lunch #1: Slices of chicken cutlet with other things (seen here)
Dinner #2: Pasta with chicken, crab, and mushrooms and a sprinkling of parmesan:

(It tasted better than it looked. Needs color; next time a bit of spinach or broccoli could help matters quite a bit.)

Dinner #3: Chicken-and-crab salad on double-fiber bread
Lunch #2: This one.

I don't know if this would please the nutritionist who wanted me to eat more protein, but throw in the cheese and the yogurt dip and maybe I come out all right. At least I somehow managed to avoid eating the same meal six times in a row.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Laptop Lunches #17

I tried a new recipe here. Martha Stewart again. She let me down again, too. The idea was great, but the product really left something to be desired. Link to her Cucumber, Red Onion, and Dill Salad here. The problem was that it was way too vinegar-y. I think a couple of things could help--sweating the water out of the cucumbers with some salt first, and adding a bit more sugar. I will revisit this later since I liked the concept so much.

Other than the salad, I had plain water crackers, strawberries, a wheel of mini-Babybell white cheddar, some mixed nuts and dried cranberries, and spinach-artichoke hummus in a silicone cup. It was a little boring in some ways (my love affair with strawberries is waning this week), but it served my purposes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Laptop Lunches #16

This did not turn out quite the way I wanted, looks-wise or taste-wise, but it was okay. It is a spinach salad with sliced yellow and red cherry tomatoes, potato salad, strawberries, honey-mustard yogurt dressing for the salad with a few carrots to fill in a hole, and some slices of a leftover baked chicken cutlet stuffed with crab stuffing. (I did not prepare the chicken. I only cooked it. It was on sale and cost less than plain chicken did.) I put way too much mustard in the potato salad, and that, combined with a very mustard-y dressing (needs much more honey to qualify as honey mustard--bleh), was just too much mustard for a girl who never was all that crazy about mustard to begin with.

Spinach salad was easier to eat with a cockatil fork than the ceasar salad I made was, perhaps because there were no croutons and spinach has more grip than romaine.

Oh, well. We go on trying.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Laptop Lunches #15

Last night, I went to the grocery store at 10:00 PM. This is a good time to go if you want to avoid crowds and get amazing deals on the "ready to cook" stuff in the meat section that will be past its sell-by date the next day. It is not a good time to go if you have a specific produce item you want. There will be no baby carrots in sight. The bulk bins will have nothing but very sad, smushed vegetables at the bottom that nobody will want. So you will have to buy other things. But I think this was okay, even if it wasn't what I wanted.

Spinach and artichoke hummus with carrot chips and celery sticks, leftover meatballs in a creamy dill sauce, a white flesh peach, some blackberries, and the last key lime mini cheese ball.

This it the last of the ground beef. I think this resulted in me somehow getting 8 or more meals out of one pound of ground beef (three visible here). I don't know if that is a good thing, since my nutritionist has encouraged more protein, but there was hummus and cheese and such in that time, so maybe it isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laptop Lunches #14

This is what happens when I want to finish up the stuff in the fridge before going to the store--way too much clutter. Really, no more than one silicone cup should make an appearance; here I have four.

Oh, well. I had some leftover meat mix from the stuffed peppers, which I made into little mini burger type things, squash and cheese casserole, a key lime mini-cheeseball, some fruit dip (sealed, sorry), a stuffed egg and a small silicone cup of hummus atop a bed of somewhat sad looking carrots from the bottom of the bag, a fresh apricot, and some blackberries.

I hope tomorrow's lunch is more attractive, but this was fine, taste-wise.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Laptop Lunches #13

Today was a much better day in the realm of lunch, if not so wonderful a day in the realm of work. It was just an okay day for work. So maybe the lunch makes up for it.

Blackberries, strawberries, and bananas (albeit poorly arranged; must work on that), key lime flavored mini cheese ball (from a mix bought, misguidedly, at a cheese shop in Oregon), stuffed egg, stuffed mini sweet peppers, snow peas, little orange tomatoes, and yogurt-based ranch dressing to dip the veggies into.

I made up the recipe for the stuffed mini peppers entirely on my own, and they were amazing!

Stuffed mini sweet peppers (serves about 4)

About 12 mini sweet peppers
About 1/4 pound ground beef
1/4 small white onion, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
About 3-4 baby carrots, minced
About 3 cherry tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute veggies and garlic until slightly softened in a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mix beef, vegetables, garlic, egg, and salt and pepper with your hands in a small mixing bowl. Cut tops off of peppers and remove pith and seeds. Stuff beef mixture into peppers. Lightly oil a shallow baking pan. Arrange peppers in pan. Bake until peppers have softened and beef is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Lesson for today: I've never eaten raw snow peas, but they're really nice raw! Also, they have the benefit of being purchaseable in tiny amounts, always a concern for the single woman not wanting to bore herself (or you) with an endless parade of baby carrots.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Laptop Lunches #12

File this under, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
Steamed broccoli, yellow squash casserole, salmon-mashed potato cakes, strawberries, and nectarine wedges. The casserole was amazing. The salmon-mashed potato cakes, not so much.

Lesson #1: Do not attempt salmon cakes without bread crumbs. And you could do without the mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes do not substitute for bread crumbs.

Lesson #2: It takes less than two minutes to steam a little broccoli in the microwave! Life will never be the same!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Laptop Lunches #11

Caesar salad (romaine lettuce, red onion, a sprinkling of parmesan, caesar-yogurt dressing, croutons in a mini silicone baking cup), orange slices, a wedge of nectarine, some blackberries, orange tomatoes of some sort, stuffed egg, and poached salmon.

Lesson #1: Salad is more trouble than it is worth and nearly impossible to eat with a cocktail fork. Plus, when you have to put the dressing and croutons in separate cups, it's cluttered-looking, not pretty.

Lesson #2: Mini silicone baking cups are awesome, and I wish I had thought to buy some earlier!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Laptop Lunches #10

Today required a bit more rummaging in the fridge than originally planned, but I think it still turned out well. Apple and swiss cheese slices, cherry tomatoes, hummus with 40 spices, cracked-pepper water crackers, orange slices, and a single serving of homemade raspberry cobbler in a silicone cup.

As I more or less came up with the idea of making a tiny batch of raspberry cobbler to use up the rest of the raspberries (which were getting quite messy), and it actually went quite well, I will give you a recipe. This makes two portions the size above, which is just right--you want one now, warm, with a little whipped cream or ice cream, and the other later, at lunch, am I correct? I adapted this recipe from one on the Betty Crocker website, which A) made way too much cobbler for my purposes and B) made not enough of the dough for the berries for my purposes. As it is, I would probably double the dough, because I like my cobblers very, very bready, but this was still quite good, and probably slightly on the healthier side.

Raspberry Cobbler for Two

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
Splash of lemon juice
3/4 to 1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup baking mix, such as Bisquick
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon butter, melted
Optional: sugar for sprinkling

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add water, lemon juice, and berries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, then cook for one minute more, stirring constantly. (This happens super fast with such a small quantity, so do not allow yourself to be distracted by brilliant thoughts related to your dissertation.)
3. In a small bowl, mix baking mix, milk, and melted butter until a dough forms.
4. Divide hot berry mixture evenly between two regular-sized silicone baking cups (Put them into some sort of casserole dish or something to make life easier in transport to oven and back). Top each with 1/2 of the dough. Sprinkle sugar on top of this, if you like.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until berries are bubbly and dough is golden brown.
6. Serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Laptop Lunches #9

Leftover pizza, fruit dip in jar, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, yogurt-based ranch dressing in cup, orange slices, and raspberries.

Pizza is a graduate student staple, of course, alongside the noble ramen and Chinese takeout, but I generally try to avoid it. Never go to the grocery store hungry. As virtuous as you are in buying fish filets and cottage cheese, the freezer section will still call to you, and you'll end up eating pepperoni pizza with a cheese stuffed crust. Maybe it all balances out in the end. Who knows?

Today's lesson: while fruit dip in a jar is a good plan, as it seals and it also is not as huge as the silicone baking cups (note to self: need to buy mini silicone baking cups), it has the potential to leak just slightly, and as such, should not be put into the same container as celery sticks. Fruit dip does wonderful things for raspberries; it does nothing good for celery.