Taking Care of (a lot of) Business

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Cloning dinner is my most efficient way to pack a fresh lunch. Complex salads work as well in the lunch bag as they do at the dinner table. A simultaneous arrangement of dinner on the plate and lunch in the container is an easy way to get two things done at once.

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The Menu:

  • Appetizer: Sourdough Bread Chunks with Nutty Dipping Oil
  • Entrée: Spinach & Feta Salad with Butternut Squash, Carrot, and Tomato (plus a nutty dressing)
  • Dessert: Dried Plums & Macadamia Nuts
  • All-Day Snack: Pomegranate Seeds
  • Snack: Apple

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The Containers:

  • 1 partitioned plastic container
  • 1 resuable Lunchskin® Bag
  • 1 Ziploc Bag
  • 2 upcycled plastic containers
  • 1 mini mason jar
  • 1 roll of parchment or wax paper

The Recipes:

Sourdough Bread Chunks with Nutty Dipping Oil:

  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread
  • 3 tbs. of hemp seeds (or finely chopped almonds or walnuts)
  • 1 tbs. of white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs. of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch of paprika

Directions:

  1. Cut two slices of bread from the loaf. Cut those slices into 3-4 pieces each. Place in plastic bag, and seal the bag shut.
  2. Put the hemp seeds in the mini mason jar.
  3. Pour the oil and vinegar on top of the hemp seeds. Sprinkle the spices on top too.
  4. Using a spoon, stir the seeds in the oil and vinegar so that everything is incorporated. You could also secure the mason jar lid and shake the contents.
  5. At lunch, dab the bread into the spicy, nutty oil in the mason jar. Be sure not to soak up too much because this mixture also doubles as the dressing for the salad.

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Spinach & Feta Salad with Butternut Squash, Carrot, and Tomato (plus a nutty dressing):

  • 1 cup of loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 bunch of sorrel, rinse and dried (optional)
  • 8-10 small pieces of pre-roasted butternut squash
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts
  • 2 tbs. of feta
  • 1 pinch of paprika
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Place the spinach in the bottom of the partitioned container. Tear the sorrel leaves into pieces, and place on top of the spinach.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the spinach. This paper layer will protect the spinach from other flavors or wetness, allowing you to stack other salad ingredients on top.
  3. Using a peeler, make ribbons out of the carrot. Place all those ribbons on top of the parchment paper.
  4. Set the small pieces of butternut squash in the bottom of the second partition. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the squash, and lay the paper on top of the squash.
  5. Rinse and dry the cherry tomatoes. Remove the stems, and set them on top of the parchment paper that covers the squash.
  6. Slice the scallion into little disks. Sprinkle the scallion disks on top of the carrots and tomatoes.
  7. For the feta, I had just enough leftover from dinner to pack the cheese in its original container. I sprinkled the spices on top and secured the lid. If this is not your situation, pack the feta using another square of parchment paper or free space next to the tomatoes or carrots.

Dried Plums & Macadamia Nuts:

  • 3-5 dried plums
  • 1 handful of macadamia nuts

Directions:

  1. Place the dried plums and macadamia nuts in an upcycled plastic container. Secure the lid.

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 Pomegranate Seeds:

  • 1 pomegranate

Directions:

  1. Score the skin of the pomegranate with a knife. Break the pomegranate apart with your hands. Taking one chunk at a time, hull the seeds into a metal mixing bowl. If the thin, white pith is stuck to the seeds or drops into the bowl, don’t worry and keep hulling.
  2. Once you have put all the seeds in the bowl, fill the bowl with a few cups of water. Immediately you’ll see the white, pithy hulls floating to the surface. Scoop those out. Dip you hands under the water and break the seeds apart more. Additional bits of hull will float to the surface again, ready to be scooped out.
  3. Strain the seeds, and put them in one of the upcycled plastic containers.

Apple:

  • 1 small apple

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry the apple. Place it in the Lunchskins® bag.

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I have had a lot of great lunches thanks to this partitioned container. Unlike others, the partitions are like little removable bowls. Believe me, this makes cleaning and eating easier. For example, at lunch, I am going to take the light green partitions out and pour all the ingredients into the big container. I’ll drizzle the dressing on the salad, secure the lid, and shake to dress the salad.  The design makes packing a salad for lunch fresh, tidy, and easy.

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