Thursday, April 26, 2012

What we eat for lunch.

As promised, I wanted to do a seperate blog entry for lunch since the breakfast entry had to share airtime with news of the 100 Days of Real Food mini-pledge to not eat anything fat-free, low-fat or lite.

 A quick update on th mini-pledge: So far, it's been a success except for one tiny thing. One tiny thing I didn't feel bad about. I was making the most amazing dinner two nights ago of Asian lettuce wraps with Thai coconut rice, and the only coconut milk I had was "A Taste of Thai" brand "Lite" coconut milk. I didn't feel bad about using it because A) I'd had it in my cabinet for a long time and it needed used, and B) the ingredients of both the "Lite" and regular formulas are exactly the same: coconut milk and guar gum (used as a stabilizer for A Taste of Thai's purposes, but apparently also a soluble fiber that's side effects include reductions in cholestorol and increased calcium absorption. Hmm.) But, I've been very little if any processed food this week, and I started out the week feeling great. Now, nahtsamuch.

Which is a nice segue into this post about lunches. Here are a couple pics of my lunches:
This was last week. Italian wedding soup, salad and Twitter.

And this was today. Turkey orzo soup and salad. No Twitter feed today.

I'm a big soup person. I heart soups. When they're homemade. Not any of that crap from a can. I made a pot of it on the weekend and eat it for lunch all week. Soup is ridiculously easy to make. I like it because you can use up vegetables that have been in your fridge too long and might be getting ready to go bad. You can put ANY kind of meat in it. And you can add beans or go without. It's endlessly adaptable.

Jeremy and I have been fighting a head cold all week. So, I took a page out of Weston Price's book, and made something with some of that lovely turkey bone broth I just finished up after Easter and put in the freezer. Do you know why they always say to eat chicken soup when you're sick? It's because of the bone broth. It's a natural anti-inflamatory. That's why you're not really helping yourself get better, but perhaps making your symptoms and discomfort worse when you eat a can of chicken soup to help soothe a cold. All that sodium just dehydrates you, when you really should be increasing your fluid intake to help flush out the cold.

I knew I had some frozen shredded dark meat turkey left over from Christmas in the freezer that needed used. Also, I always have carrots, onions and celery on hand. And that velvetly smooth bone broth. I had ziti, angel hair and orzo to choose from in the pasta department, so Voila! Turkey orzo soup. In 45 minutes.

Turkey Orzo Soup (4 servings)

2 quarts broth (I used 1 1/2 quarts turkey bone broth and 1 pint vegetable broth)
2 cups shredded turkey
1 tb olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 red onoin, diced
3/4 cup of orzo pasta
kosher salt and pepper to taste
a couple dashes of dried parsely (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occassionally until softened and onion becomes translucent. Add broth and turkey (both my broth and turkey were frozen when I added them). Put the lid on the pot and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, add orzo. Reduce heat back to medium and replace lid. Stir occassionally until orzo is only slightly undercoked (it will continue cooking in the pot as it cools). Adjust seasoning and add parsely or whatever other spice you'd like.

Jeremy spends about half of his time in the office and half in the field. It's a little more of a challenge to pack his lunch when he's in the field because I have to think of something that doesn't need heated, won't go bad if left in a hot truck all day long, and that he'll actually eat.

We're both big fans of salad, especially now that I can get it out of the backyard or from the Monroe Market, so that's a popular lunch choice. My office has a fridge, and I keep a bottle of salad dressing here to use--but not this week. It's "Lite" balsamic viniagrette, so I couldn't have it on the mini-pledge. My store-bought salad dressing was one of my last holdouts on cutting out processed food. It's just too easy to keep at my office and use. But this week, I made a batch of vinegar and oil (which is what I eat at home) and I've kept it in my desk. I can't believe how much tastier it is. I never really noticed it until this week, I was thinking "wow, this salad is really good!" Once I finish the bottle that I have here, I'll probably not go back to store-bought salad dressing. A small victory for the mini pledge!

When Jeremy is in the field, he's likes plain 'ol PB&J; natural peanut butter and homemade jam sandwiches. I pack both of us a cup of yogurt and a stick of string cheese. I also pack myself a serving of fruit. I'm a 5-small meal-a-day-eater, and I like to have the yogurt about 10 am and have the cheese and fruit about 3 pm. I think he eats his lunch all at once. Right now, I'm eating the applesauce I canned last fall, but the fruit I eat just depends what's in season. This is the really long stretch between fresh apples through late fall and peaches and strawberries in early summer that I have to depend on my canned applesauce to get by. We are also both fans of almonds, pistachios, or walnuts as snacks, too. They seem to keep me from getting hungry longer, so I try to keep them in my desk, and I'll pack them in Jeremy's lunch.

If he's in his office, his lunch is pretty much the same as mine minus the apple sauce. I had been putting a protein bar or granola bar in his lunch in place of that. That was my other hold over on processed food. I know granola bars are easy to make, I just haven't tried my hand at it yet. I am out of bars now, and I don't plan to buy anymore. But with this cold, I haven't much felt like tackling that project yet, and luckily, he hasn't had much an appetite either, so he hasn't missed them.


  1. Love it! I haven't yet made the switch to eating as well as you, but I have become way more aware of what ingredients are in the foods that I buy. Hopefully this summer, when baseball season is over, and time is a little more lax, I can really get out of all processed least most. :)

  2. It's definitely not been an overnight process for me. It's probably been about 3 years. But I've gone little by little, so I haven't really even noticed. Good luck!