Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Laptop Lunches #226

Lobster ravioli in a homemade white wine butter sauce, blackberries, spinach/tomato/cucumber salad, yogurt ranch, and croutons for topping the salad.

The white wine butter sauce went beautifully with the lobster ravioli--delicate, and not overpowering the lobster. I'm not really a big lobster person in general, but this was really good!

'Tis the season for lots of time off, so we'll be on hiatus until Monday here at Food for Dissertating. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Laptop Lunches #225

A pork tamale, cherry tomatoes, sour cream mixed with salsa verde, bananas tossed with blackberries, baby carrots, and sugar snap peas.

You can take the girl out of the Southwest, but not the Southwest out of the girl; this is tamale season, people!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Laptop Lunches #224

Shrimp gyoza with a few bottles of soy sauce, apple slices, vegetable fried rice, dried mango snacks, and half a Marzipan bar from lyktabento.

I really should have only packed one bottle of soy sauce--I didn't need that much! But the bottles seemed so tiny, and I also couldn't decide between the frog and the chick. (Part of me denies being drawn in by the cutesy nature of such things, but I have to admit, anything that makes me smile as I am blearily pulling lunch together in the morning or when I open the box at lunchtime seems worth it, even if it's silly.)

The Marzipan bar, as its name suggests, was filled with almond paste. It wasn't too sweet, and I liked it. Another Swedish success!

I also tried the canned fish balls she sent. You won't be seeing a photo of those. The flavor was nice, but (I think because they were canned) the texture was a little strange, very soft. I like the idea of fish balls in dill sauce, and I wonder if I could make something more appealing if I started with a recipe instead of a can. I'm really glad I got to try them, though!

In any case, it wasn't something I was inclined to bring as leftovers for lunch, so I just made the leftover rice and vegetables I had made to go with the fish balls into fried rice and pulled some gyoza out of the freezer to serve alongside it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pack-a-snack #22

Goat cheese with blueberry jam and crackers, and some Swedish candies from lyktabento.

Although I loved the one in the orange package (the mjuk gräddkola), as I did the last time I had it, the candy in the brown package (mjuk chokladkola) was a little weird. It is supposed to be chocolate flavored, I think. The texture was crumbly, and I generally liked it, I probably wouldn't go looking for it. The best way to describe it is like a crumbly Tootsie Roll.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Laptop Lunches #223

Some version of scallion-cheddar supper bread, a hard boiled egg tucked in with silicone leaves to keep it from sliding around (as I had no cherry tomatoes), a halved tangerine, and maple sausage links.

Scallion-cheddar supper bread should be thick and fluffy like a biscuit; I didn't have enough Bisquick for the recipe, though, and tried to adjust it, with results that were decidedly more like pizza. It tasted good with maple sausage links, though, and I still didn't have to go to the store.

Merry Christmas, all! Look for a snack post this weekend, but expect quiet tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Laptop Lunches #222

In my ongoing quest to avoid the grocery store during Christmas season, I have had to get a little inventive with my meals. Here we have rice leftover from last night, with last night's meatballs in doctored up alfredo sauce (added sautéed onions and multicolored bell peppers), Ballerina cookies from lyktabento, sliced apples, and baby cut carrots.

It worked! I found the meatball-doctored alfredo-rice combo to be surprisingly good.

The cookies cracked a little in their journey from Sweden, but the still held together. They're very similar to something Keebler would make--a chocolate cookie with some kind of chocolate filling and a vanilla cookie on top. I liked them a lot.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Laptop Lunches #221

Slices of Jazz apple, a hard boiled egg, spicy hummus in the panda cup, pita chips, and grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas with a bit of yogurt ranch for dipping.

Someone who saw me eating this said it looked quite small as a lunch. Maybe. I feel sort of over-filled with Christmas party food right now, though, so it was fine for me.

The panda cup, among other things, was a Christmas present to myself. It didn't work out for what I initially bought it for (a new lunch box), but it does perk up the usual Laptop Lunches box a little.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #21

A mini brie wheel with fig jam, grapes, mini multigrain crackers, and slices of a small apple, packed with two silicone cups in a Rubbermaid container.
I ended up not eating this as planned because someone at work gave me a large chocolate chip cookie and it appealed to me more in the moment...what can I say? It was all soft and gooey and screaming, "eat me!" So I did. But I have had all of these things together before and I can vouch for them making a terrific snack.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Laptop Lunches #220

This may well be a first on Food for Dissertating: a sandwich!

Of a sort, anyway. I had a leftover cheeseburger slider from one of my many events this week, and there was no grocery shopping, and it fit in my lunchbox, so here you go: grapes, orange slices, cherry tomatoes, yogurt ranch for dipping, a cheeseburger slider, some breaded dill pickle chips in a silicone cup (also known as "pickle-o"s--don't knock 'em 'till you've tried 'em), and lentil crisps.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #20

Blackberries, pineapple, and mini edamame rice crackers in the two small containers of my Lunchopolis set. Kind of weird as a combo, but it did the job.

There was no packed lunch to show you today; I had yet another work-related party to attend. I would love it if we could spread these parties out more--hey, everybody, January and February are dark and depressing, too! Let's try having parties then!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lunchopolis #10

Lime flavored popcorn, some orange slices, tomatoes, baby carrots, yellow bell pepper strips, sugar snap peas, yogurt ranch dressing, and chocolate-covered ginger.

This is super light, but that was because I had to go to the office Christmas party in the afternoon, where I knew there would be various foods I would be expected to eat. But how do people at 2:00 when lunch was just a few hours before? Hence, popcorn. This particular popcorn, with lime and salt, is quite good--kind of takes some getting used to, but it works.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Laptop Lunches #219

Leftover cheese ravioli with bacon alfredo sauce, pear slices, carrot sticks, yellow bell pepper strips, sugar snap peas, spicy hummus (for the veggies), and cherries.

Bacon alfredo sauce is new. It does taste of bacon, but I'm not sure what to make of that. There is such a thing as too much bacon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Laptop Lunches #218

"Greek-ish" salad, cranberry pistachio cookies, slices of starfruit with grapes, and pinwheels made of tortillas, spicy garlic hummus, cucumber, and orange bell pepper.

Everything you'll see this week will be the result of efforts to eat what I already have around without going to the store, because I have so many Christmas parties going on that I don't really cook at home, anyway (unless you count the preparation of "Greek-ish" salads and hummus pinwheels).

This post is shared on:

Bento Lunch

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #19

Melba toast, slices of Manchego cheese, and quince paste in a Rubbermaid container.

This would have been fine as it was--I have had this before. But someone offered me a croissant from the bakery and I had that with the cheese and quince paste instead--and it was more than fine, it was heavenly! I need to eat more croissants.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Laptop Lunches #217

Mini chicken-cilantro wontons, a dipping sauce, grapes, orange slices, a cherry, and slices of Persian cucumber tossed with rice vinegar and sesame seeds.

I love the mini wontons so much that I wonder why I do not eat them more often--they're so easy to prepare!

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Laptop Lunches #216

Banana chips with a tiny cup of caramel hazelnut spread for dipping, half a tangerine with the seeds removed, cherry tomato halves tossed with fresh mozzarella (I debated doing a basil vinaigrette over this, but decided I didn't have time), half a small pear, olive tapenade, rolls of ham, and cheddar flavored rice-almond crackers.
I have rarely been able to eat raw pears, but this one was really nice--not too soft. I'm glad I braved it. Plus it had a nice color contrast going on, no?

I think the ham, olive tapenade, and crackers were too salty overall to be had together; I needed something plainer. But it still tasted good.

An aside, in mini-rant form: Why do tangerines have so many seeds? You couldn't possibly just cut this into wedges the way I typically do with oranges--you'd get a seed in every bite that way, maybe two or three. I realize my oranges are bred for that, but still. You'd think each tangerine tree wanted to reproduce itself thousands of times over every year. Relax, tangerine tree, relax!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Laptop Lunches #215

Uttapam, aloo gobi (cauliflower and potato curry), half a tangerine with the seeds removed, some red grapes, coconut chutney (for the uttapam), and a few squares of chocolate.

This came very close to being vegan as well as gluten free; the chocolate squares, however, have dairy. But since you can get vegan chocolate, I've tagged this vegan, too.

Uttapam is a kind of Indian pizza-like thing with a rice crust. This one had onion and cilantro on top, and went with the coconut chutney really well.

This was my second time making aloo gobi. It still isn't as good as my Indian friend's, but I'm making progress! I think I put in way too much spicy curry powder this time, on top of jalapeno. It wasn't so spicy that I couldn't eat it, but one definitely noticed. (And I was told that the smell of it was kind of strong in the break room, so maybe I shouldn't be taking such things to work.)

Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Laptop Lunches #214

Granny Smith apple and cheddar chunks, fresh cherries, hash browns made of purple potato with orange and green peppers and onions, scallion omelet, deli ham rolls, and halved cherry tomatoes.

Purple potatoes taste more or less like regular old white potatoes. Sometimes, though, they can be quite striking. I liked the way the hash browns looked with them. They did lose a little of their bright purple color when cooked, but not much.

This post is shared on:

Bento Lunch

Monday, December 8, 2014

Laptop Lunches #213

Bratwurst, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Granny Smith apple slices, tiny cups of mustard (for the bratwurst) and almond butter (for the apples), and pickled beets.

Want to know something funny? Growing up, I hated mustard. Okay, more like hated mustard. But now, on bratwurst...and in lots of other things, actually...mustard is fantastic.

But I still hate it on sandwiches and hot dogs, which may be the only way it was presented to me growing up. I will never forget the moment (I must have been 5 years old) that someone offered me mayo on a hot dog. (Internal dialogue: I can have mayo on a hot dog!? Why has nobody ever given me this before!?) This was when I fell in love with hot dogs. It was a similar kind of thinking when I first had bratwurst with mustard. Why has nobody ever given me this before!?

Maybe it's just me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #18

Orange chunks, jalapeno-stuffed olives, squares of cheddar, Persian cucumber slices, cheddar-flavored mini pretzel thins (redundant, but what can you do?), and a mini caramel-chocolate cup.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #17

No lunch today--work lunch meeting instead--so I'm showing you a pretty simple snack instead.

Chocolate chickpeas and Greek yogurt-covered Craisins, in a Lunchopolis small container.

Chocolate chickpeas, it turns out, are vile. So vile they are irredeemable. I did not eat more than two of these, and I threw away the package when I got home.

Greek yogurt-covered Craisins, on the other hand, are really good. So it worked out.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lunchopolis #9

Chinese pork buns, orange slices, and Spicy Cucumber Salad #2 made with Persian cucumber slices instead of the larger, quartered version.

Chinese pork buns are good, but surprisingly bready. Also, quite bulky--so I needed the big container from the Lunchopolis set. I might have been able to fit a single bun into the Laptop Lunches box, had I had something to put with it, but sometimes you just grab what you see and go with it. If I had it to do again, I would have brought along a dipping sauce, at least.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Laptop Lunches #212

Orange slices, leftover kugel, Persian cucumber slices, squares of cheddar, lentil crisps, and pickled beets with a dollop of sour cream.

Kugel (a Jewish dish made from noodles; this one was sweet and had pineapple in it) is good, but I felt like this one was too greasy somehow. I don't know what it had in it, and I'm certainly no expert on kugel, but maybe someone else can explain whether pineapple kugel should be greasy and how one might make a not-greasy version. I do know you have to have something in there to make the noodles stick to each other, though, so maybe it does have to be greasy?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Laptop Lunches #211

Baby carrots, Persian cucumber slices, and red bell pepper strips with the last of the tzatziki hummus; mango chunks; pumpkin-flavored yogurt; and some cranberry-pistachio biscotti.

This seemed like too much yogurt. I've mentioned before that I am not really a whole-carton-of-yogurt-at-once person. Well, let me say it again: I am not really a whole-carton-of-yogurt-at-once person. But I powered through. I should have added something to encourage me to eat it more; instead I dipped my biscotti in it, and like a good girl, I finished my yogurt. But next time I'll add a topping of some sort to make it easier.

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Monday, December 1, 2014

Laptop Lunches #210

How is it December already!?

Unsweetened applesauce with a dash of cinnamon and sugar (an oxymoron, maybe), avocado and cherry tomato chunks with salt and pepper, an omelet rolled with spinach and swiss cheese, and a Swedish delicatoboll (chocolate ball) from lyktabento.

All in all, a great lunch. I love applesauce. The avocado was the most beautiful one I've eaten since I was last in Texas some years ago--don't know how I managed to get such a nice one here! The omelet cooperated with me very well. The Swedish treat was super yummy--it had soft chocolate and coconut and maybe some other things, and it made me envy the Swedes, who could eat this every day if they wanted. In terms of texture, it reminded me a little of those no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, but I'm not sure how else I can describe it. Thanks again, lyktabento!

This post is shared on:

Bento Lunch

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #16

Tortilla and cream cheese pinwheels and Honeycrisp apple slices in the two small containers from my Lunchopolis set. Quite a good contrast of textures, and the flavors worked well together.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rosehip Soup with Vanilla Ice Cream and Mandel Biskvier: A Swedish Taste Test

No work today, so no packed meal to show you. But I do have a bowl of rosehip soup with vanilla ice cream and Mandel biskvier (tiny almond coconut cookies) from lyktabento instead! She said this was how it is typically eaten--warm with vanilla ice cream (melting fast as I tried to take a picture) and the tiny cookies.

This was good--very unusual, but good. The rosehip soup is kind of blah on its own, but with the ice cream and cookies, it is a good balance of flavors. The cookies are firm enough to stay pretty crunchy even in warm soup and melting ice cream, but also really nice plain.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving in the United States, so no lunch today (well, at least not pictured! It will be quite a meal, though).

Look for some not-lunch-but-still-food posts tomorrow and Saturday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lunchopolis #8

Honeycrisp apple slices, cubes of cheddar, a few cranberry-pistachio biscotti, spinach salad with homemade lingonberry vinaigrette (see explanation below) in a Tupperware Midget, croutons for topping the salad just before I ate it, and some jalapeno-stuffed olives.

An aside: about midway through everything-is-flavored-pumpkin season, we get everything-is-flavored-cranberry season. Neither impulse makes a whole lot of sense, since nearly everything pumpkin-flavored is done with canned pumpkin, and nearly everything cranberry-flavored is done with dried cranberries. We could do it year-round, people! But we're too busy with our summer tomatoes and spring peaches and such, I guess. Anyway, the biscotti was good with the tea I had the foresight to bring along to brew at lunchtime (not pictured).

Lyktabento had sent me some lingonberry jam, and I had the idea to put it in my usual fruity make-it-yourself vinaigrette today. (I realize you almost never see this--which is because I really almost never eat the sort of salads that go with it. But they're good with spinach.) It's very simple: olive oil, white wine vinegar (or any other kind, really--apple cider vinegar is also quite nice), salt, pepper, and jam. The little cup you see here is great for making it, since there are measuring lines on the sides, and you just put everything in, put the lid on, and shake for a bit.

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Laptop Lunches #209

Banana and strawberry slices; a bit of tzatziki hummus; cucumber slices; orange bell pepper slices; a wrap made from ham, swiss, fresh spinach, mayo, and a tortilla; cherry tomatoes; and some Swedish dill-and-chive flavored potato chips.

I had initially wanted to make pinwheels, but the tortilla wasn't holding together as well as if I had used cream cheese, so I scrapped that in favor of a wrap. It still tasted good, but it wasn't as pretty.

The potato chips were really nice! The bag got a little crushed in transit from lytkabento, but there were still plenty of whole chips inside. They are a little thicker cut than what Americans consider standard potato chips, more like kettle cooked chips, which is the kind I like best. The closest thing to dill and chive flavor I've ever had here is dill pickle flavor, which is vinegary in a way that drowns out the dill a little. Here, the dill got to shine. I'm not a huge potato chip person, but I could definitely eat these again. (And I have, at home.)

Meanwhile, if you have ideas about how to use some crushed dill-and-chive potato chips, I'd love to hear them! Other than topping a tuna casserole (which sounds pretty good, actually), I don't have any new thoughts.

This post is shared on:

Bento Lunch

Monday, November 24, 2014

Laptop Lunches #208

Tabouleh doctored up with extra veggies, slices of fuyu persimmon, falafel balls, cherry tomatoes, yogurt-ranch dip, and mini cranberry scone-type things.

I had never had a fuyu persimmon; now I am sorry I passed them over so many times! They have a pretty wagon wheel inside if you cut them crosswise, and they are super sweet, not the sour, horrible things I have heard about the American persimmon. I peeled mine before I ate it, although some say you can just eat it with the peel on, so long as you don't eat the stem and leaves (although I don't know who would be compelled to eat those spiky things anyway).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #15

This is one of those bits and pieces snacks, packed in my medium-sized Lunchopolis container with six mini square silicone cups: strawberry slices, mini multigrain crackers, mini cucumber slices, mini cheddar pretzel thins, mango chunks, and tzatziki-flavored hummus mixed with bits of smoked turkey.

These really are the most fun snacks, but most of the time I don't end up with enough tiny bits to make it worth my while. I did this week, and I'm glad! It worked out really well. This sort of thing might make great toddler lunches, too.

This post is shared on:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Laptop Lunches #207

Turkey and dilly bean bundles, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, ranch dressing, quince paste, manchego slices, melba toast, and mango chunks.

Manchego with quince paste on melba toast is really very nice! Manchego is a hard Spanish cheese, and quince paste is a very thick jelly sort of thing (quince is from New Zealand, I think?). I'm mixing cultures again but I think it works.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Laptop Lunches #206

Kiwi, mango, and strawberry slices, a stuffed egg (paprika mix), tortilla/soft spinach and artichoke cheese/turkey pinwheels, and lentil crisps.

This was simple, but fun. It was a really nice thing to have waiting for me in the middle of a long workday.

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Laptop Lunches #205

Strawberries, mango slices, multigrain water crackers, sort of Greek salad, a cup of tzatziki-flavored hummus, some caramel cups, and part of a Swedish candy bar called Daim sent to me by lyktabento.

My sort of Greek salad is just some marinated Greek olives, chunks of feta, halved cherry tomatoes, halved cucumber slices, and some red onion. It worked really well!

Tzatziki-flavored hummus was half price, on sale. And it does taste remarkably like tzatziki, so it seemed to go with the salad.

Daim, the Swedish candy bar, is a bit like almond roca--almond toffee covered in chocolate. It is really, really good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Laptop Lunches #204

Homemade hash brown potatoes with peppers and onions, a hard boiled egg nestled in with cherry tomatoes, strawberry and kiwi chunks, and maple sausage links.

Sometimes breakfast makes sense for lunch. It did for me today!

This post is shared on:

Bento Lunch

Monday, November 17, 2014

Laptop Lunches #203

This is a Swedish meal, prepared mostly according to lyktabento's instructions. I have a sliced boiled potato (with parsley), some strawberries, Swedish meatballs with brown cream gravy, sautéed mushrooms,  lingonberry jam, and Swedish cinnamon buns.

The first thing that felt quite different to me was having Swedish meatballs with a potato rather than with egg noodles. Another was the lingonberry jam. The brown cream gravy was also quite light compared to the American version. I made the mushrooms because they were on the picture on the packet of gravy mix lyktabento sent, and I do love mushrooms, so they were a nice addition, but not necessary--that was just something I added, like the parsley.

I liked these, but I felt like the gravy and the jam should really be an either/or proposition. The meatballs, without gravy, with the jam, are really nice. The meatballs, without the jam, with the gravy, are also really nice. I'm not sure the full combination works out for my palate, though, even though sweet-and-savory can go really well together. I think it may be the overall texture of the gravy. I don't know.

I now kind of wish I'd sent lyktabento some American Swedish meatball mix. I'm pretty sure she would have found it nearly unrecognizable!

The Swedish cinnamon buns are really nice, too. They're soft and have a light sweetness to them. I think it is just because I got the packaged kind, but they reminded me vaguely of Entenmanns. They tasted a little different without the typical frosting you'd see on cinnamon rolls here, but you don't always want frosting!

Thanks again, lyktabento!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pack-a-Snack #14

For today's snack, I Americanized Swedish food a little. I had some strawberry cream from lytkabento that I mixed with some mashed ripe banana, then topped with mini marshmallows and shredded coconut. It's in a glass container that has a lid, just the right size for this sort of snack.

I loved this. It was just the right balance of flavors for me.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Laptop Lunches #202

A beef tamale, sautéed apples with cinnamon sugar, red bell pepper strips, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, a dip made from sour cream and salsa verde, and leftover Spanish yellow rice.

You know how sometimes you end up with mushy apples you can't quite face? Toss them in a skillet with some butter and cook for a while, then dust with cinnamon sugar. Perfect.

The dip is really good for veggies or as a sauce for tamales, etc. It's super easy--just mix equal parts sour cream and the salsa you have on hand. Again, a cohesive meal. This was good, but I wished I had some sort of green vegetable to balance out the colors.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Strawberry Cream with Milk: A Swedish Taste Test

The head of my department took me to lunch today, so you'll see no lunch. But I decided to show you my breakfast instead! Breakfast, unlike lunch, gets eaten on good china.
Lytkabento was kind enough to send me some strawberry cream from Sweden, and she said one way they eat it is to top it with milk. Well, I'm nothing if not adventurous, so I decided to have it for breakfast. (I do not know if that is appropriately Swedish or not. Especially with orange spice tea and buttered toast. Oh, well.)

I wasn't sure whether the milk was just supposed to sit on top or be mixed in, but the strawberry cream seemed too solid to mix anyway, so I went with it like this. It was nice--very unusual, but nice. I think I like it better without milk. Stay tuned for this Saturday's "Pack-a-Snack" post for how I doctored up Swedish strawberry cream--I hope my Swedish benefactor isn't horrified!