• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
  • Previously spoken….

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Laptop Lunch #3

Yes. I’ve been buried under a lot of homework and it kept me from putting up my foodstuffs. But I have been eating. 😉 And taking pictures!

Laptop #3

Clockwise starting top left: Fat-free cottage cheese with a strawberry. I had some frozen strawberries from a sale and put it in there. The lid would go on so I fished it out and cut it in half. Since I pack my lunches the night before, the strawberry had time to thaw in the fridge and left its goodness all over the place. Black olives. I wish I had a food pick but fork worked fine. Papaya was very hard to cut. I should have looked up how to cut one but thought it’d be like an avocado. Not sure if it didn’t work out because it was overripe? No idea. I do know now that I don’t like papaya much. But I tried it. The pink container has a pile of frozen mixed vegetables. Again, it had time to thaw out till lunch. Wasn’t bad microwaved for a minute. Already had a spritz or three of ICBINB spray. Pretty tasty. I don’t use a lot of salt and these didn’t have any.

Laptop Lunch #2

Leftover homemade chicken fried rice (brown rice), cherries, grapes, carrots, celery and Laughing Cow light wedge. Tried to be mostly WW Core but the cheese isn’t.

Didn’t finish the carrots. Not a fan.

Laptop Lunch #2

In case you’re curious how I transport my laptop lunch, here it is. Some use the insulated bag that they sell, and some just use any sort of bag. I use this crocheted recycled plastic bag bag that I got in a “worst present” exchange. I got the better deal out of all the people.

The bottom expands to hold the box in a horizontal state and keeps it snug so it doesn’t move.

Laptop Lunch Carrier

Two days of eats

Oatmeal:
How I love thee but won’t it get old quickly? I still have about 2 or 3 cups left in the fridge for nuking. So far my favorite way to make it (other than oodles of brown sugar and milk and butter) is banana. Gotta find some other ways!

PB&J Roll-up massacre
PB&J roll-up disaster
I tried to make a PB&J roll-up so that I can cut it up for my Laptop Lunch. It was a disaster! My little cutting board looked like I just butchered something. The spewed guts (aka: jam) went on top of some yogurt so that was good. But the roll-up…. I don’t know what I did wrong! I put peanut nut butter on the tortilla first so it wouldn’t get soggy and then put on the jam. I put too much jam (2 tablespoons) definitely but the cutting was horrible.

Breakfast
Breakfast

  • Oatmeal, steel-cut, leftover, 1 cup: 2
  • Apple, organic, Fuji, cut-up: 1
  • Cinnamon:0
  • Da Dew! 0
  • Was going to put slices on top of the oatmeal but that’s hard to eat so I chopped some up and mixed apple in after the oatmeal was nuked. Sprinkled cinnamon on top. Not a huge fan. Maybe it’d be better with the apple nuked or some sweetener added like honey or such. I’ve seen people add applesauce to oatmeal so thought this would work.

Chicken fried rice
Lunch

  • Chicken fried rice
    Based loosely on OAMC Chicken Fried Rice. I used some of the cooked brown rice, rest of the chicken, onion, frozen vegetables, 2 eggs, and soy sauce/pepper.

Dinner
Dinner
2 Turkey cheddar dogs, 1 cup corn/lima beans.
I didn’t cook this but photographed anyway.
3 hot cocoas: 12
ice cream (1 cup + chocolate syrup): A kazillion points. Ok, not really.

PB&J Roll-up massacre
Brunch
PB&J roll-ups: 2 Tbl peanut butter, 2 Tbl jam, 1 tortilla (3)
1 cup ff yogurt
Diet dew, 1 can

Saving by menu planning


Image: Daniel Y. Go

I tried The Grocery Game for a $1 trial. Pretty neat idea. If I actually visited the site and did what she said to do, I can definitely see how I’d save in the long run. But I tend to shop at one store, with maybe a quick stop at a couple on the way home if they have a really good deal on meat or produce.

I have a subscription to E-mealz but haven’t really been keeping up with that either. The Walmart menu has prices on it and they say they make up menus based on sales. I get a generic points one.

Finding the circulars online
I usually visit the stores’ sites directly. Also, there’s: Sunday Saver. Unfortunately, some stores don’t list grocery sales in their online ads. For example, Walmart.

Update the price sheet
I have a price sheet in Google docs’ spreadsheet. I input prices that look low to me and keep them categorically.

Date Store Category Item Total weight Units Price Price per Weight unit Price a pound Notes
4/22/2008 Food Lion Meat Chicken breast, frozen 2.5 pound 6.99 2.80 pound

I also have a notes column and an extra column for pound. Like when cans of green beans are on sale, they are X per ounce. I then take the X and multiply it by 16 so I can see price per pound. I do this on frozen meals and canned vegetables mostly.

Before I started this, I thought that those big bags of flash frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts were always a better deal. Nope. Especially now that I’ve learned how to freeze stuff better.

Highlight the good deals
If there’s a great meat deal based on the previous prices, then I stock up a bit. Not too much since I am cooking for one or two max. If there’s a great produce deal, I use that as inspiration.

Farmers’ Markets
I had previous plans Saturday so missed out on the local market but hopefully I can hit it up next weekend. I bought less veggies this last grocery shopping trip because I knew we’ve got lots of local seasonal produce to purchase and use!

Coupons
This is a major weakness of mine that I hope to improve upon. I clip coupons from the paper when I get it, file them and forget them. I haven’t utilized the plethora of online coupon sites but should. It’s a really kick in the pants when I get home to find that there was a $1 (or more!) coupon for something I just bought. Here’s some great tips on coupons (that I hope to do m’self!): So where can you find the coupons?

Saturday foodstuffs

Yeah. Difficult day. Emotionally draining. I’m glad it’s over. I ate those little quarter sandwich things on a boat that I didn’t take pictures of but I did take pictures of the dinner I ate out. Yay? Oh and I am a huge fan of steel-cut oats! Cook up a bunch and store it for a quick nuke each day!

Breakfast
Breakfast [5]

  • Oatmeal, steel-cut, leftover, 1 cup: 2
    I’ve been warming the oatmeal up in this bowl. I measured out how much each line is with water from a measuring cup, but also the oatmeal comes from a storage container that has lines for 1 cup, 2 cup on it. Very helpful.
  • Banana, 1: 2
  • Honey, 1 teaspoon: .5
  • ICBINB, 1 teaspoon: .5
  • Diet Dew, of course: 0
  • I mixed up some cut-up, slightly smooshed banana in with the microwave oatmeal. Pretty lovely combination!

Invisible dolphins
No picture of the food, but enjoy the water….
Lunch [4][9]

  • Finger sandwich, 2 quarters, 1 turkey and 1 roast beef: 4?
  • Water: 0

Dinner
Dinner [9.5][18.5]

  • Diet pepsi: 0
  • 1 fried mozzarella stick: 2
  • 1 broccoli nugget thing: 1
  • Mahimahi: 5
  • Broccoli: 1
  • Hushpuppy, 1/2 of one: .5

After

  • Diet dew, 1 can: 0

And then….

Ice cream with chocolate syrup. It seems the emotions of the day sent me back to my frozen lover. At least now that I’ve figured out how much my bowls hold, I can say how much I had. 13.5 points. How satisfying was it? Not very.

Friday Food Journal

I’m off work today. Thought I’d make a bunch of steel-cut oats for heating up later. This time, I stirred more so I didn’t have a layer of very browned bits stuck to the bottom. Stirring is our friend!

Also, while on the brain train, I came up with a way to outsmart my temperamental card reader. I locked the card before trying so that if it got hungry, it would not eat my pictures.

DSCN2928
Breakfast [7]

  • Oatmeal, steel cut, 1.5 cups: 3
  • Local honey, 1 tablespoon: 1
  • ICBINB, light, 1 tablespoon: 1
  • Banana, 1 whole: 2
  • Diet Mountain Dew, 1 can: 0
  • Notes: I measured out the margarine this time to see how much of a dollop I do. 1 tablespoon was too much. And 1 tablespoon was too much honey. I tried banana chunks in it as I was eating and liked that combination.

DSCN2936
Lunch [6][13]

  • Leftover chicken, 1 breast: 5
  • Mixed vegetables, 1.5 cups: 1
    I put the frozen pile right next to the chicken on the same plate and microwaved everything for 5 minutes. Vegetables were hot. Chicken was warm enough.
  • Apple, organic Fuji, 1 whole: 1
  • Diet Mountain Dew, 1 can: 0

Dinner [6][19]

  • Cereal, 2 cups: 4
  • Milk, Skim, 1 cup: 2

I feel like I’m forgetting something but am finishing this post almost 24 hours after eating this dinner so forgot. Argh!

Thursday’s food journal and toy

Didn’t realize it but I did the laptop lunch entry in a different format. Not sure which is better.

Food Lion is giving away one free reusable shopping bag with two purchases of Food Lion brand cereal. I usually buy their Toasted Oats, so that was win-win for me! Normally, the bags cost 89c. The Food Lion cereal is on sale too. Don’t know for how long but I saw it for the first time today so maybe till next week?

My fear of using a reusable bag is that the cashiers would mutter obscenities. Nope. The opposite. She saw that I had it nestled in with my two boxes of cereal and asked if I wanted to use it today. I said, “Sure! If that’s ok.” She filled it up with the cold stuff. And it held a lot. It also has a long enough handle that I was able to shoulder it.

Wow. Mother Earth would be proud. I reduced my lunch waste today and I, for the first time, didn’t use a disposable plastic bag at the store!

Here’s what it looks like till I photograph it: photo/article. Not exciting but that’s fine with me!

That free bag saved me from using at least 3 plastic bags. Not bad! And it’ll save me 3 plastic bags next time I use it.

Did I mention I hate my USB card reader? I thought I’d try it again to save me turning the PC on. I guess it heard me talking badly about it because the photos went BLIP. Fine. Checked my USB ports with a thumb drive and that worked. So I dunno. Thankfully, I took pictures of the laptop lunch last night. Even if it was in crappy light and the lids were on, it’s still documented!

Breakfast
Previously taken and reused. [bad words]

Breakfast

  • Hot link, 1: 7
  • Potatoes, 1/2 c:
  • Dew, diet, 20 oz: 0
  • Multivitamin: 0

LL #1

Lunch [4.5]

Laptop Lunch #1
1 cup salad greens: 0.
1 cup Amy’s Vegetable Barley soup: 1.
2 Laughing Cow, light, wedges: 2.
1/16 cup (1 Tablespoon) Light Greek dressing: .5.
1 White House Natural Plus applesauce cup: 1.
1 Sugar-free Jello: 0.

Snack – 3pm

  • Kitkat: 5
  • Dew, Diet, 1 can: 0

Dinner – 8pm [6]

  • Cereal, 2 cups: 4
  • Milk, 1%, 1 cup: 2