workweek meals

My old shrink taught me the phrase “the more you have to do, the more you get done”, and I think there’s something to it. I am really enjoying the creative expression of creating a daily work lunch (and breakfast, for that matter). Some of it is the honeymoon phase of the new job. Some of it is having a more predictable schedule, which is conducive to being more intentional about completing tasks such as cooking. And some of it is that it is glorious summer, and I am surrounded by wonderful produce with which to create tasty noms.

Blackberries from the bushes in my front yard:

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Makes yogurt bowls (check out the nifty fork, knife, spoon ‘n chopsticks kit my auntie put in my Christmas stocking one year!)

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Berries (sometimes black from the yard, sometimes blue from the store), yogurt, Trader Joe’s bran cereal, lots of walnuts (<< we’re having a love affair right now for some reason)

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Tasty lunch/dinner

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I saw the Smitten Kitchen recipe for cornbread panzanella and went oooOoooOoh yeaaaaahhhhh!

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But worry not, I definitely didn’t stress following the recipe perfectly (e.g. I eschewed lettuce) and it still came out delicious.

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I learned that one could make really fantastic crockpot pulled chicken with the following ingredients:

  • boneless skinless chicken thighs (<< I tried it with breast meat and it was considerably less good- get the thighs! The calorie difference is minimal and they’re usually cheaper!)
  • lots of apple cider vinegar
  • molasses and/or brown sugar
  • mustard
  • soy sauce
  • cumin

Cooked in the slow cooker for say two hours.

Shredded for many tasty possibilities; but honestly mostly eaten straight up.

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AWESOME salad, made by throwing together leftovers:

  • cooked farro (so chewy and lovely)
  • chunked baked sweet potato
  • kale
  • goat cheese
  • walnuts (see above re: love affair)
  • apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup thrown together in a vinaigrette

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Easy, real cheap dinner:

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  • Pack of ramen (or half pack, depending on the size)- my stepmother got me some stuff that was mostly labeled in Chinese but which had a rather sobering sodium section of the nutrition facts label. But it was yummy!
  • 1/2 or less of the flavor pack that comes with the ramen
  • kale
  • fried egg on top

Cook the kale with the noodles (should be five minutes or less) then put in a minimum of the seasoning pack, perhaps with some extra hot sauce though) and put an over-easy fried egg on top of the whole mixture and break the yolk- it mixes into the broth and is so rich and dreamy.

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With the rich broth it’s nice to have something nice and fresh and crunchy on the side. I took fresh farmers market cucumbers (which I had forgotten until I had them at my friends’ house, are SO MUCH BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT CUCUMBERS IT IS RIDICULOUS. They are seedier but their taste is incredible) and did a quick pickle with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a little sesame oil and hot sauce, maybe a dash of something sweet like honey.

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More gorgey produce: I watered my roommate’s tomatoes when she was out of town and she bade me eat any ones that ripened while she was on vacay. This guy did:

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1/2 this big tomato went into a tomato basil salad with olive oil and balsamic; a classic for a reason. Served with fresh summer corn and really good meatballs (from the store: they involved chicken and mozzarella and basil).

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The other bit of the tomato went, with some of its cherry brethren, into a saute pan with a generous amount of olive oil. After they cooked down, I tossed them with whole what gnocchi, fresh basil, and shredded Beemster cheese. You poor things, I wish you could have smelled this.

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Still have done a bit of eating out. Met a friend at a Wednesday evening food truck rodeo. We enjoyed some live music there (it was funny, the guy sounded a bit like Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam- but Eddie Vedder at EVERY SINGLE SONG HE SANG. Eddie Vedder singing Purple Rain. Eddie Vedder singing You Are My Sunshine. So silly!)

We both got tofu bibimbap from the Korean food truck. It was pretty good. And so pretty!

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I tried Cocoa Cinnamon, a really well known and well liked local coffee shop. Though I went to their second, less-cool location.

I got a strawberry ginger shrub (aka fizzy vinegar soda-y thing) and it was SO GOOD. But had all the sugar of a Coca Cola so not a particularly healthy choice. A bit of vitamin C, at least.

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On the activity front, I was doing a lotttt of walking for awhile there. Taking my usual neighborhood rambles. Admiring the gorgey flowers.

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So funky!

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However, I recently opted to take advantage of my Duke employee benefits and join a gym. This was due in part to:

  • It is brutally hot outside in NC
  • I saw Wonder Woman (twice, actually! May reflect on it later) and it made me want to strength train like woah. So I have set a goal of strength training of some kind (yoga, Body Pump, lifting on my own maybe at some point if my confidence grows?) at least once a week.

More eats and maybe some exercise talk to come!