Ladies who lunch

So as you can probably assume, living in one of the most expensive areas of the country requires a fair amount of budgeting when your parents dont own a hotel.

And I’m not talking about avoiding hundred dollar shopping sprees, tickets to lavish events, or all-night benders at pricey clubs (though I avoid those, too). No, for me the guiltless cash-suck is something much more innocuous: lunch.

When I first moved to the city, it was difficult to get to the grocery store regularly. A supermarket with limited hours combined with the added detriment of only being able to purchase what I could carry meant I was often short on packable meals.

So I’d buy lunch. We’re not talking lobster or price rib here — often my meals were composed of lunch meat turkey if any meat at all — but after a while it alarmed me to discover that I could easily drop $10 on lunch without even blinking. Without getting anything fancier than a bowl of soup and a roll.

I’m a journalist, so my math skills aren’t exactly award-winning, but even I can figure that this pattern could mean spending up to $50 a week, $200 a month. And if you wanted to also meet up some friends for dinner or do anything with a price tag on the weekend? Forget it.

Not exactly budget friendly.

But, because I’m me, simply not eating lunch was, of course, not an option. So I started packing lunches. But you can only eat so many cold PB&Js and limp turkey sandwiches before you start feeling like an extra in Oliver. (“Please, sir, can I have some more?” “Sure, that’ll be $8.50.”)

Which brings me to the less depressing part of this post! I’m on a mission, folks, to make lunch (my favorite meal) awesome again, even on a tightened budget. In doing so, I have become quite the master of the toaster oven. For example, for a week or so I was whipping up these out of nothing more than some cheese, a tomato, and two slices of whole wheat bread:

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And you GUYS. It was so good. Then I started making better use of leftovers. Ahem:

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Marinated broiled chicken, wild brown rice, and sauteed peppers. Delish. This probably should have been a Kitchen Adventure, but it was one of those meals that I didn’t realize how awesome or pretty it was until I was hunkered in my bed watching Jersey Shore and chowing down.

So, I’m moderately poor. That doesn’t mean I can’t eat well. I think I’ll title my cookbook: The Cheap Girl’s Cookbook: Ladies Who Lunch Without Spending Much.

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4 thoughts on “Ladies who lunch

  1. Hell yeah! I’m the master of bringing lunch that makes other people jealous. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I seriously can’t believe how much my coworkers spend on lunch every day.

  2. Lunch suggestion: Chicken Stirfry with Quinoa

    Red pepper, carrots, sweet onion, yellow and green zucchini sauted all together with a little olive. I season mine with Cayanne, garlic powder, basil, oregono, a little lemon juice and then throw my chicken in. Put some broth in the pan and steam the whole thing till the veggies are tender and the meat is done. Then throw it on top of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth. So good, and it lasts me the week;)

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