Let me start this post by saying that I’ve always been a huge fan of Japanese food. One of the most exciting aspects of planning this leg of our trip has been the anticipation of juicy gyoza, fresh sashimi and diabetes-inducing crepes. As money was tight, we tended to eat one meal out each day then forage for other sustenance from the incredibly well stocked convenience stores. This is one wonderful difference between Japan and Australia. In Australia, if you’re going to rely on convenience stores, be prepared to navigate the super unhealthy shelves of donuts, microwave meals, chips and slurpies. Not so in Tokyo! I know how this makes me sound, but I had so much fun looking at the huge array of ready or almost ready made meals that decked the shelves of stores such as Lawsons and Family Mart.
Also, I feel the need to confess that we basically lived on peach iced tea. These one litre cartons from Lipton were everywhere and came in smaller sizes too. They were so nice because they didn’t seem to have that weird taste that the Australian ones get from replacing sugar with stevia. I’m still not on board the ‘cut all sugar out of your diet because it is the latest way we want to look healthy’ train. We downed cartons of this stuff like it was water. Which might have contributed to the fact that i’m writing this post in my pyjamas because they are the only comfortable stretchy items in my suitcase and everything else is too tight. Hmm.
Now Lunch At Your Desk is clearly not part of my series of travel posts but I thought we needed some more lunchspo to keep us on track! We will resume normal programming in the next post.
Im going to go out on a limb here and say that I think my number one problem that often prevents me from bringing my own healthier lunch to work is Time.
Or lack thereof.
Is this true for you too?
Well, if it is the case and you don’t fancy the weird deliciousness of the last minute apple and peanut butter sandwich that I shared with you last time (and I can only partly blame you for that because it does sound weird – but delicious! I promise!) then perhaps this little lunch might be your saviour.
I introduce, The Bitsa Lunch. Im not sure if the term ‘bitsa’ is used widely elsewhere but in Australia it’s often used to describe a dog that has no discernable breed. Its a ‘bitsa’ you know, bits of this and bits of that…
And that is that way that I would describe this simple and tasty lunch. Its a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a whole lot of stuff-I-found-at-the-back-of-my-fridge. It comes in many different variations, but the beauty of this lunch is that with a few pantry staples, you can pick and mix everything you have in your kitchen to make a filling and nutritious lunch.
First we begin with a base, something bready and filling like:
bread (thick slices of sourdough are the best if you still have some left over)
Then we add some veggies like:
raw carrot sticks (much maligned as being only a vehicle for dip – I could eat whole carrots every day just by themselves)
leftover veggies from dinner last night e.g. steamed asparagus, green beans, broccoli
marinated olives (my fridge is never without a tub of marinated olives. Im in an Italian house now. I would die.)
Then we have some extra tasty things like:
chunks of cheddar cheese (strong and bitey is how I like mine! It counterpoints the soft or sweet veggies and bread + cheese = food from the gods)
Spreadable cheeses like the ubiquitous laughing cow cheese
Dip – homemade or otherwise
I always keep a plate in my desk drawer at work as well as a knife, fork and spoon in the mug that I use to store my pens and pencils. That way I can bring a bunch of small tupperware containers or snaplocks with each part of my lunch and then just lay them out on the plate for some leisurely eating. It is hands down the quickest fresh lunch that you can prepare and will make you the envy of all your coworkers with their greasy takeaway. It also has the added bonus of making you calm down, slow down and enjoy your food. What better way to begin the second half of the day?
So peeps, what pantry staples would you include in your bitsa lunch? Leave a comment for me below!
So this doesn’t happen often, but after making the waffles with homemade blueberry jam, there was a little bit of jam and cream left over. I know. Gasps all round. How could there be jam and cream left over? Well, somehow there was a glitch in the matrix and there was. So then the question emerged – what does one do with a spoonful of leftover jam and a dollop of cream? I know that the obvious answer is “eat it Katie!” but, this happened on a day when another anomalous thing occurred. I woke up early enough and felt energetic enough to cook breakfast rather than just toast some bread. This happened on a week day people!
For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread. Soda Bread is a non-yeasted bread and is instead leavened with baking soda (Bi-Carb Soda if you’re in Australia with me!).
Does anyone else feel like their ‘to do’ list just keeps getting longer and longer? It’s like the list hydra, for every task I cross off two more take its place. Its a bit like that with my ‘to bake/cook’ list. Soda bread has been on my list of things to bake for a long, long time and, despite its relative simplicity, it’s one that I have just never gotten around to. As part of my decision this holidays to try to reignite some dearly missed creativity, I thought it was time I joined in a Daring Bakers Challenge. Embarrassingly, I don’t think i’ve participated for three or four years. Actually, I almost didn’t get this month’s challenge done. Oops!