let’s talk lunch

by Lara on March 2, 2014

in life

Hellloooo!!

I’m out of my funk!  Been out of it for over a week, actually.  Thank you all for your sweet comments, texts, tweets, etc.  It means a lot.  Truly.

I was sending a lot of messages back and forth between a friend last week and I realized that getting off balance really throws me for a loop – working too hard makes me want to do nothing when I get home.  Staying at home too much makes me neglect my friendships.  Neglecting my friendships makes me get crazy social. Crazy social makes me want to withdraw.  OMG.  It will all work itself out.

I’m still enjoying being single.  I went on a few dates with some incredibly interesting/charming people but I want nothing more than friendship.

The surveyor submitted and informal plan to the city and they said it looked great and to send in a finalized version.  He did that last week and I’m still waiting for the final approval to start building my house.  Please for the love of god, let’s get this moving!

Another huge thing – I finally pulled the trigger on getting my backpiece done! Here is my poor faded back in its current state.  I’ve never been happy with this, as it was a cover-up from an 18 y/o mistake:

20140211_131105_resized

(my poor coworker took this pic in a pinch)

Anyhow, I’ve enlisted Katie Davis at Salvation here in Richmond to do my back, which will incorporate and improve upon what I already have w/ my mom’s favorite flowers, ivy, a deer head with dogwood branch antlers and bees for my dad and my home state.  My entire back will be covered.

Here’s an inspiration pic:

Ryan Mason(artist: Ryan Mason)

I’ve saved up for this for a long time in a secret stash and start mid-Spring.  I’m terrified of the pain and super excited.  Wish I could start today!

Yesterday, I shared on Instagram all my food prep for lunches this week – 4 wraps, 2 Caesar salads and 2 mushroom cous cous w/ chicken + snacks for under $30:

lunch prep

It got a lot of positive feedback so I sent an epic message to a friend who wants to do this for her and her boyfriend.  So, here are my tips for a couple – which really aren’t that different for one person, depending on how you work it:

Here’s a shopping list/tips for you guys to fix your lunches for the week. My only concern is if you have all this stuff sitting in your fridge and ready to go, that it will also get eaten for snacks at night and grabbed for convenience for dinner. So, you really have to save this stuff for your lunches! (You can do a similar dinner plan too!)

You don’t want to eat the same thing every day of the week so, I try to get some variety in.

You need those generic plastic containers “soup/salad size”, snack size ziplock bags, those cute little containers for salad dressing and if you want mayo for your wraps, steal some packs from chick-fil-a (seriously). You will re-use the containers. Just remember to bring em home!

Here’s what I did this week: 6 pack of large spinach wraps ($3) (I made 4 wraps and will have 2 left for quick quesadillas for dinner this week.) If you’re prepping for both of you – then 3 wraps each for the week and NO quesadillas for you!

1 bag of matchstick/grated carrots. ($2 – these bags last forever in the fridge and will prob last for 3 rounds of this)

1 bell pepper – cut in strips ($1)

a 3-pack of romaine lettuce ($3) did 4 wraps and 2 caesar salads and I still have 1 bunch left for 2 quick dinner salads. You will need 2 leafs for each wrap and 1 head does 2 salads. You can prob do all six wraps and 4 salads with a 3 pack if you’re careful and clean up/use the beat up outer leaves. Separate and set aside your leaves for wraps first then chop the rest. I only put chopped lettuce and the matchstick carrots in the containers. Everything else is in baggies, cups, etc. It just lasts longer in the fridge.

For 6 wraps, I would get 1lb of deli turkey ($6-7). Divide it up in 6 piles to keep em even.

1.5 slices of cheese each so, 9 slices – I break them in half and run them down the middle on top of the turkey when I’m layering the wraps.

Then the 2 leafs of romaine, bell pepper strips (pat dry w/ paper towel and try to keep them on top of the lettuce – you don’t want the wraps to get soggy) and a handful of grated carrot, then roll up and wrap in saran wrap. I get everything in piles and ready then layer and roll like an assembly line.

For 4 salads, you’ll need 1 pack of fresh chicken tenders ($4 – about 2 tenders per salad, so count em in the pack). I season them w/ Mrs. Dash (or whatever) and sear them in a pan with some Pam spray. Let them sit then chop em up and divide into equal piles of pieces and put in 4 snack bags.

1 bag of generic seasoned croutons ($1), put some in snack bags – you’ll have some left for next week.

Bottle of Caesar Dressing ($2 – I like creamy) and put some in the little containers and add some grated/shredded Parmesan cheese on top. You’ll have a lot left for next week.

So, all your salad components are ready to go.

That’s 3 wraps and 2 salads for each of you. But that’s not a huge lunch. So for snacks – whatever apples are on sale and peanut butter in a cup, oranges (pre-slice if you want but apples get brown. I keep a knife in my lunch bag), celery w/ peanut butter or cream cheese, raw almonds (the little bulk containers in the produce section are cheaper than the name brands in the snack aisle), granola bars, cookies in snack bags… get this all prepped and ready too.

I had some extra chicken tenders after just doing 2 salads and already had a pack of cous cous in the pantry so, I cooked that up and have 2 hot things to have with salad this week (and give me more variety), but I have a microwave at work.

If you want to do something like that too, you should get an extra pack of chicken tenders. You can also cook a bag of frozen ravioli and a jar of spaghetti sauce (add some of those grated carrots for extra veg) and divide it up in containers for a hot lunch. Progresso soups are usually $1 a can so you can pour one into a container and heat that up at work for something hot. Leftovers are awesome. Veg soup, chilli, most Italian stuff re-heats well. I pack everything up, toss a soda, some plastic silverware and napkins in my bag the night before and I’m good to go in the morning.

I still think the 2 of you can get this done for around $40 – 10 lunches! (not including the start-up containers)

What are your go-to work lunch favorites?

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