Brown Bag Lunch

Note to self: plan lunches ahead of time!

It's the end of the week and after some crazy work hours I logged this week, I slept in and ended up totally running out the door this morning at 6:15 am to catch the train. I didn't even shut the door, or turn off the lights- oops! Hubby Tommy (haha he read that and said" hubby?!") was going to be waking up soon enough anyway).

And. . . this of course meant I didn't have time to prep a lunch.

So this is what I was stuck with today for lunch:

 a can of tuna . . . uh. . .

Oh, and I found an apple in my bag, still that I swiped from the hotel on Wednesday

At least I remembered to throw a can opener into my bag as I ran out the door. And good thing I had a tiny pack of salt in my office drawer - score!

Umm. . . yeah. . . not impressive.  I can do better.

So I'm on a quest to come up with some good brown bag lunch ideas that are

  • nutritious, quick and cheap. 

  • no heating required, since I don't use microwaves (don't have one at home, either, and never will!)

  • include a variety (not just sandwiches, though I love my paninis!)

  • oh, and no exotic ingredients, either- just some good staples.

I don't want to break the bank by buying lunch everyday! Average cost around the city here is $5! Yikes!

If you have any ideas, recipes or good links, please share! I know my husband will appreciate some variety in his lunches, too!


Pantry Monster: Conquered!

Oook. Since I have no shame. . . I’m going to unleash on you our pantry monster!
We live in a little 2 bedroom apartment, and this pantry also subs as our “hall” closet. Besides our tiny closet in our bedroom (that used to be a staircase so it’s extremely narrow. . . this is all we have! Still dreaming of a house with a basement someday!)
This is really what it looked like last weekend (I didn’t trash it for pictures).
IMG_2381 IMG_2382
W.O.W. Can you believe we let it get like that! It got to the point where it was dangerous to go in there for toilet paper because opening the door meant
I decided to start off with the top shelf since it seemed like an easier step.  We ended up throwing away THREE empty soda cartons and lots of old wedding present gift wrapping paper (I did salvage some tissue paper and bigger scraps).
Getting there. . .  like I said. . . little apartment- no glamour here.
I grouped like items together such as all the painting related stuff in one section, all seedlings and gardening stuff in the planter (for the Spring), and then candles in that basket. We put the paper towels and toilet paper in an easier-to-reach, more sturdy spot. . . 
IMG_2404 IMG_2413
Next we clipped all the open chip bags for freshness. . . and threw away some stale crackers and other questionable unsealed remnants. . .
IMG_2388 Then I moved on to the bottom half.
Oh, did you see my OVERFLOW stash of canned tuna and tomato stuff? Looks like we’re getting ready for the “end times.”
Stationary supplies like pencils, pads and sticky pads went in that tub, and place mats are now rolled up on the side for easy grabbing.
Onions, shallots and garlic are supposed to be kept in the dark to keep them from sprouting. I’m using these baskets so they’re easy to reach for and because they keep air circulating.

(Things kept rotting inside the kitchen cabinets).
Isn’t that bag of rice so cool-looking? It’s in that awesome zipper-pouch (no more spilling!) Also,  I’m keeping these bell jars handy for now until I decide what to put in them.
Moving on to the cabinets.
This is where I keep my stock piles. Whenever these things go on sale (usually Walgreens has the BEST deals believe it or not- better than even ALDIs!) I stock up! It saves time later and lots of $!  After moving the chips to a different area, I reorganized the shelves. You can’t tell, but there are THREE 4lb. bags of sugar, 2 jars of peanut butter and 3 jars of honey all on that top shelf along with TWO 5lb. bags of flour and 2 packets of cereal bars!)
IMG_2403 IMG_2406
I also have a stash of mason jars, tons of plastic flatware leftover from the reception and a huuuuge stash of all sizes of plastic ziplock and fold-top baggies!- YES, Walgreens-brand! Running out of essentials is the WORST for me!
Here’s where we keep our most-used shoes so we don’t track dirt and mud into the carpets, plus it’s so close to the front door when we’re on the go.
There’s our charcoal and vacuum also…
I love these shelving units! They were Garage Sale Finds from last summer to “build” our pantry. I think I paid something like $3 for the white one, and $8 for the 2-part black one.

Ok- so the camera isn’t the greatest, but here’s an idea. . .
                    BEFORE                                                                     AFTER
IMG_2381 IMG_2408


Favorite Things: Could it be. . . FALL?

What a beautiful Labor Day weekend it  has turned out to be! I couldn’t believe how chilly it was when I was heading out the door for work on Friday. I had to do a double-take and run back for one of my favorite things: my new trench coat (woopie!)


Walking around downtown it seemed half the city got the memo- I saw scarves, sweaters, even boots! How exciting! Fall is right around the corner- though of course this also means. . . winter! Eek! Not sure how I feel about that part. Oh, Fall! The games you play with us! You make us fall in love with the breezy, crisp air of the harvest season, yet only to lead us into the bitter cold months ahead!

But I must say, as much as I love summer, I won’t miss the hot, humid days as of late!

Hubby and I were in such a good mood on Friday (hooray for half-day at work!) that we grabbed some light coats and went driving around with the windows down in the evening! We made a few stops:

1- to the library for some dvds, and

2-Trader Joe’s for supplies for a quick, Fall-ish meal:

steamy,red-pepper tomato soup and grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches!

grilled-cheese-tomato-soup source

We also picked up this beautiful Fall-themed bouquet to brighten up our home and set the mood! I LOVE Sunflowers! One of my favorites!


Psst! I’m back to blogging- well, hopefully time-permitting! Turns out that on these amazing macs you can partition the hard-drive and install windows and run windows programs- yesssss! Thanks so much for all the advice everyone!


The macbook. My newest favorite thing!


10 New Uses For a Lemon

I was flipping through some old Real Simple magazines and came across these 10 great uses for a lemon and just had to share!

1. Sanitize a chopping block. Run a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.

2. Remove tough food stains from plastic and light-colored wooden cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with water.

3. Eliminate the browning that occurs when food sits out too long. Sprinkle apple or pear slices with lemon juice before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir.

4. Fade tea stains on cloth. Dilute lemon juice with an equal amount of water. Use an eyedropper or a Q-tip to make sure the juice targets the stain. Thoroughly flush with cool water.

5. Decorate on the cheap. Fill a glass bowl with lemons for a sunny centerpiece. Or display a row of them along a windowsill.

6. Relieve a sore throat. Cut a lemon in half. Skewer one half over a medium flame on a gas stove or an electric burner set on high and roast until the peel turns golden brown. Let cool slightly, then mix the juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Swallow the mixture.

7. Whiten fingernails. Rub a wedge on the surface of your nails.

8. Shine the interior of copper cookware. Sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub.

9. Brighten laundry whites. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load.

10. Remove soft cheese or other sticky foods from a grater. Rub both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a cut lemon.
Article Source: Real Simple Magazine
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