Monday Q&A | The Lunch Edition

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Quite inadvertently, I chose two reader questions that are lunch-related.  So we have a bit of an accidental theme going on here today. ;)

Hi! I’ve been making the sandwich breads (Kristen’s note: she’s referring to my regular and my whole wheat sandwich bread recipes) and they both taste great and work well as toast or with PB & J. But my husband eats meat on them and says the bread falls apart.

I had previously been doing 5-Minute Artisan breads. These I love too but their crusty crusts were a little hard on a mouth for sandwiches. And, they seemed to get stale in 2 days. I can get 4-5 out of yours.

Maybe I should just make the sandwich bread into 1/2 a loaf and the rest sandwich rolls so they’ll hold up for meat sandwiches? Any suggestions?

I love bread making and money saving so I really don’t want to buy bread for him. Plus after a year mo bread buying, I bought a loaf for $4.99 and it was “healthy” loaded with unpronounceable things and didn’t even taste good in comparison.

-Holly

I can totally see how that would be a problem with homemade bread unless it’s very fresh. Store-bought bread has additives that keep it “bendable” for days and days, but homemade bread tends to get a little stiff after a day or two.

The one exception to this is bread that has a lot of fat or sugar, or a bread that has potato in it. Have you tried my potato bread recipe? That one stays soft far longer than any other loaves I make, and could work well for sandwiches.

You can actually add a little potato to almost any bread recipe and it’ll stay fresh longer.

The idea of making buns is also really good, as those tend to work a little better for sandwiches.

Of late, I’ve been using my honey-glazed roll dough for my buns.  I leave the glaze off, add a little more sugar to the dough, and divide the dough to make 12 large-ish rolls (originally the recipe makes 24 small glazed rolls).

You might also like to try making buns out of my whole wheat roll recipe.  It has a little more fat and sugar than my sandwich bread recipe does, so the buns will stay soft a longer.

I was wondering if you could give some ideas of how you make your husband’s lunches interesting. Do you just do leftovers (my husband is not a fan), do you make sandwiches, etc…? My husband doesn’t like taking a lunch, he’d prefer to buy. He is the bread winner so I try not to harp on how much money he spends on lunch, but HE just commented on the amount he spends :) so now I’d like to be able to pack him at least a couple of lunches a week. I’m looking to knock his socks off, if I can, in the bagged lunch department. Any tips? :)

Thanks in advance!

Caitlin

Fortunately for me, Mr. FG doesn’t mind eating most leftovers, so frequently, that’s what’s in his lunch.  However, I don’t just stick a container of leftovers in there and call it good…I also send snacks and some sides to make things more interesting.

For instance, I might put a bowl of leftover chicken noodle soup in his lunch, and then I also put in a sliced apple, a peeled clementine, a container of cashews, a few pieces of beef jerky, and some smoked almonds (plus some M&Ms for dessert).

(And I also include a note. ;) )

Because he has a limited amount of time for lunch, it works best if I give him things that are ready to eat (a peeled clementine vs. an unpeeled one) or that are very simple to heat up.

When I don’t have leftovers, I do sometimes send sandwiches (a ham sandwich, or a PBJ) and sometimes, I send him out for lunch if I have nothing to pack.

Would your husband be open to eating leftovers occasionally if you just sent him things that reheat well?  Some things (soups, for example) are way more appetizing reheated than others (fish dishes come to mind.)

If he’s open to eating main dish salads (like this Mandarin Chicken Salad), that would be another option. Mr. FG doesn’t adore eating salads for lunch, but he knows they’re healthy and so he’s ok with me sending them here and there.  I tend to do that more in the summer, obviously.

If your husband likes sandwiches, maybe you could send one with him once or twice a week.  Cold cuts are kind of expensive, to be sure, but if you compare them to the cost of him going out, they’re still quite a bargain.  Hot sandwiches can also be an option.

For instance, when we have leftover BBQ beef, I send the beef in a glass container, which he can microwave and then put on a packed bun.

I think your idea of having him take lunch just a few times a week is a great place to start! There are five lunches in a week, so maybe you could send him out twice, give him a sandwich twice, and send reheating-friendly leftovers the other day.

A bit of unsolicited advice: Try to prepare yourself for the fact that sometimes when you pack a lunch, he may still go out to eat.  Don’t take it personally…sometimes it’s necessary to go out with co-workers, or sometimes, he might just want to get out of the building for a bit.  Since he’s not taking any lunches right now, any lunches he eats in right now are a win, so try to focus on that instead of on the times he does go out.

A related lunch topic: Here’s a post I wrote about the containers I use to pack Mr. FG’s lunch in a waste-free way.

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Readers, if you’ve got some lunch-y advice to add to mine, please do add it in the comments!

Comments

  1. says

    I pack my own lunch almost every day, and usually take a container of leftovers or salad, an apple, some nuts and something sweet. Funnily enough, when I was younger, I was very picky about what I would eat in my lunch at school.

    I think the difference now is that I’ve worked out what I like. I’m not a fan of sandwiches at all, but really enjoy eating leftovers. The best thing to do is to ask your husband what he would like to eat, or even get him to pack his own lunch :)

    • Kristen says

      Yep, that’s a great idea…to sit down and say, “Hey, I know you want to spend less on eating out at lunch. What kind of things would you like to see in your lunchbox?”

  2. gail says

    My family is grown; my husband and I are retired. Back when we all took lunches, I was the first to leave in the mornings, so I used to freeze sandwiches–they liked them–on the weekend, and they would each pull one out, put it into their lunch bag, and supplement with fruit, nuts, whatever they chose. I personally didn’t like that option, plus I had a teacher’s 25 minute lunch period, so I took just the grabables (?)–fruits, cheese, nuts, even cereal. Little packages were more interesting. We saved money galore, even over school lunches.

  3. wb says

    I make the honey glazed rolls into long thin sandwich bread for my husband’s lunch-time turkey sandwiches. I roll the dough out rather thin, then fold it over once, and cut out rectangular shapes about 4 x 6. After they are cooked, you have a top and bottom that come apart. The rolls are only about an inch tall total, so it’s fewer carbs than a giant bun. I’m not sure how much meat you could pile into these but they work well for a few typical deli slices.

    After they cool, I turn the top and bottom so the soft side is out, and put them in tupperware in the freezer until he is ready to build his sandwiches. I also buy the natural boarshead turkey and divide it up into sandwich size portions in the freezer. (I’d rather cook my own but this is his preference.)

    I do use butter instead of oil; I also figured out you can just use two whole eggs if you don’t want to save the whtie for glaze. Lately I make 1.5 times the recipe to so we have enough sandwich rolls for about two weeks of lunches. If I double it, it’s too much for my mixer but 1.5 works okay.

    Of course, there is always a little left over dough and I just make a dozen or so smaller ‘dinner’ rolls that we usually eat fresh out of the oven. I wish I had a batch going right now!

    I’m lucky that my husband is perfectly happy eating these sandwiches day in and day out. I never even have to think about what to pack for him. I’d prefer that he have more variety but at least he isn’t eating out. d

  4. H says

    Leftovers seem to go down better in our house if I freeze them in individual servings (Make sure to label!!!) in containers that can be microwaved. Instead of giving leftovers the next day when they might be ‘old hat’, they can be given a few days/weeks later and looked at with fresh eyes.

    What about homemade pizza? Make up and freeze small pizzas ready to cook. Cook it the night before when you are cooking dinner so he can have it for lunch the next day. He could eat it cold or heat it up briefly in the microwave.

    Homemade burritos, Cornish pasties, pasta salad are some other lunch ideas.

  5. Beth says

    I have seen some good lunch ideas on Pinterest or you could google “bag lunch ideas” for some more. The idea of peeling things like an orange not only helps busy husbands, but also helps kids eat more of the good stuff in their lunch.

  6. Karen says

    I’ve been wanting to try your dinner rolls especially the honey glazed. Now with your recommendation to use the recipe for hamburger buns, it sounds even more appealing. Alas, we have someone with an allergy to eggs in the family. How important to the outcome is the egg? Could it be made without it? Or maybe there is a substitute?

    • Kristen says

      You can feel free to leave the eggs out-the finished product will not be quite as yellow or soft, but it’ll still be quite delicious!

    • Cheryl says

      I have seen that you can use flaxseed and water (google for exact amounts) as an egg substitute in baked goods…..not sure if it would work in bread?

    • jenny_o says

      There are also egg replacement products available – the one I get is a powder that you mix with water, and it’s found in the baking section, or the natural foods section, of the grocery store, depending on the store. This one is free from egg, milk, lactose, and soy. The ingredients are cornstarch, potato starch, guar gum, baking soda and baking powder. There may be a similar product you can make at home if you google “egg substitute”.

    • WilliamB says

      It’s not quite the same but adding butter also makes for a richer, softer bread. Or, if you’re allergic to the white but not the yolk, add just the yolks.

      • Kristen says

        That’s what I was thinking too-that butter would be a better sub for egg in a yeast bread than typical replacements like flaxseed or soy flour. Those work better in quick breads and muffins, I believe.

  7. Bonnie says

    Some lunch ideas: 1) hummus and cut up veggies and favorite muffins 2) tortilla wraps with lunch meat, hummus, onion, etc., and banana bread 3) roast beef roll ups (spread guacamole on them, then roll up), red bell peppers and favorite dressing for dipping, fruit

    Good luck!

  8. Blaze says

    My DH has been on a low carb diet for over a year. He’s lost over 40lbs so clearly it’s working and I don’t want to sabotage that, but man it’s hard on the grocery budget and rules out 99% of the typical lunch bag main courses. He hasn’t eaten bread, pasta or rice in over a year. Very occasionally he has a few bites of potato buried in a stew, but for the most part it’s meat, mountains of veggies and some fruit.
    His preferred lunches have always been leftovers from dinner that he can reheat at work. When planning dinner we always set aside a serving of the meat for his lunch the next day before we put supper on the table – attempting to save a serving at dinner didn’t always work… If there were no dinner veggies leftover then he’ll dump frozen veggies in with the meat and they are defrosted by lunch. In warm weather he often takes a large salad and cuts up the meat (ham, chicken, steak) on top at lunch. He was always a soup fan, but with his new eating plan he takes frozen homemade soup almost everyday in the cold months and lets it defrost on his desk all morning. Mostly they are some type of vegetable, but occasionally turkey or chicken and veg (no rice or noodles allowed!)
    For anyone trying to make sandwiches more appetizing perhaps send the filling separately for assembly at the last minute. My kids turned up their noses at egg and tuna and I finally realized it was the damp bread they hated, not the filling. Now I sent the tuna or egg in a small container and they dump it onto the bread at lunch time. For variety I also send the kids cheese and crackers, hardboiled eggs, veggie sticks, homemade trail mix (raisins, seeds, banana chips, dried cranberries).
    If you have access to a fridge or microwave at work it opens up a world of options, but even the kids get occasional hot lunches by heating everything up in the morning and using a good quality widemouth thermos. Leftover pasta and sauce, stews and soups travel particularly well. Remember to preheat the thermos with boiling water and the food stays warm all morning.

    • WilliamB says

      Blaze, congratulations to your husband for his efforts.

      I’ve seen three things that might help.
      1. Would spaghetti squash meet his needs?
      2. There are noodles made of tofu.
      3. You can make a “crust” from an omelete, either for pizza or – if the eater is willing to use a knife and fork – for sandwich fillings. Just cook beaten egg, spreading it thin in the pan and not disturbing it as it cooks.

    • Liz says

      Curries! You can experiment with different combos, like a tomato-based curry (buttered chicken), spinach curries, or coconut-milk curries (usually with the yellow curry powder), and all sorts of veggies and meats, or chickpeas and beans for a fiber-ous meat-less/less-meat version. If you need some inspiration… grab lunch at an Indian or Thai restaurant. I think it’s fun to try to recreate good meals I’ve had elsewhere. Plus I feel all schmancy with my lunchbox.

  9. Elizabeth says

    I have some suggestions for your “lunch-box” readers that come from 23 years of packing lunches for my husband and children. My husband works in construction and needs a lot (2 snacks and lunch) to keep him going strong! He rarely buys his lunch and I should figure out how much we have saved over the years! I sometimes make mini-pizzas (kids love them) or sandwich pockets with my bread dough. The pockets are simply made by putting meat and cheese in a disc of dough and sealing the end up. You can be creative with the fillings (meatballs are yummy) and if your lunch recipient has use of a microwave they are even better heated. I usually brush some egg glaze over the dough and then bake. These can all be frozen and pulled out daily. Your granola recipe also makes a great addition especially with a side of yogurt! Anyway, my best advice is to think outside the “box” and remember that it will likely save money and be healthier!

  10. Theresa says

    Hi there – a note to Caitlin. A way that I help my college crew have lunch without access to a microwave is to send something warm in a Thermos Jug http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017IFSIS/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ( Thermos Stainless King 16 oz Food Jar). My daughter LOVED having hot soup in her lunch box. I fill it with boiling water for 15 minutes, heat the soup to boiling, pour it in and away she goes. The soup is still hot 5 hours later. This may help your hubby is lunch is ready to eat rather than needing to be heated. Might diminish the ‘leftover’ factor.

  11. Kamil says

    Hi Kristen and reader,

    To make lunch more appealing, find out what your husband/children are buying out for lunch and try to replicate favorites at home. Hamburgers, pasta salads, stir fries, pizza and grilled sandwiches (paninis) are staples at the quick lunch places in my area and can be made at home in advance and warmed up later. My go-to lunch for our son over the last couple of weeks has been paninis with a variety of meats and/or vegetables left over from dinner — chicken breast, pulled pork, burgers, grilled vegetables — pressed between layers of mozzarella cheese. I purchased a Panini press several years ago and use it to grill pretty much everything because it gets very hot and creates a charred look on the outside of food. However, you don’t need any special equipment. You can use a skillet to grill one side of the sandwich at a time and then put another (not too heavy) pan on top for the pressed effect.

    Good luck,
    Kamil

  12. Janknitz says

    Caitlin, you may want to start packing her husband’s lunch just once a week, and if he’s OK with that, move it to two, then three, and so on. You could even agree that he gets to go out one day a week, but takes lunch the rest of the week.

    If he’s in to it, you can figure out what he spends on lunch out on average and put that money in a jar every time he takes a packed lunch. Then he can buy himself something special with the money saved at the end of the first full month. It will give him a graphic incentive of how much is saved.

    • Caitlin says

      You are so right! That’s exactly how I’d like to approach it. It’s taking me days to digest all these ideas! I’m so happy!!

  13. says

    I try to pack my own lunch everyday when I go to work. I always feel guilty on the days when a co-worker asks me to go out or on those days where I know I just need to get out of the building for a little bit. So thanks for that little tid bit of personal advice. I need to tell that to myself when I feel bad that I wasted a perfectly good lunch.

    -Jackie
    http://ournashvillelife.blogspot.com

    • Amie says

      I’ve worked at restaurants for years. If you’re w a friend ordering something ….you can still bring your packed lunch. If you feel odd ….order a beverage. A lot of people have diet restrictions or are watching what they eat. If it’s a place where you tip, you could still leave a dollar or two and it’ll still be cheaper than eating out.

        • Kat says

          I too appreciate the comment about not feeling guilty about eating out if you have a packed lunch. Sometimes it is better to go and network or I just need a break from my office. Thank you foe being real!

  14. Stef says

    I love packing stuff for my kids. BUT my daughter hates the rubber-like plasticky smell from thermoses and some plastic lids…. What to do? She wont eat her food because the smell hits her!

  15. Diane C says

    One of the things I love about being a newlywed is that I finally get to chime in on questions like these!

    DH and I wake up early. While the rest of our household (including the dogs) sleeps, I make his breakfast, pack his lunch, and then I walk with him to work. It’s only about a quarter mile, but it is up a steep hill and we leave the house at 5:45. He says it’s his favorite time of day.

    Luckily for me, he is happy to eat the same thing every day. I get everything at Costco and don’t worry too much about the cost as it’s so much cheaper than eating out. I buy big sizes and fill small, washable containers*. I use freezer weight zippy bags, washing them until they spring multiple leaks. I prepack as much as I have containers for. His lunch is designed to be eaten as he goes. He prefers a morning and afternoon snack as well as mid-day lunch, so this assortment fits the bill.

    Breakfast is oatmeal with fresh berries, plain yogurt with honey, and green juice. I had lunch all figured out until he got braces and I had to rethink everything. No leftovers as he has no regular access to cooking facilities. So, I stuff his lunchbox full every day with at least twelve items. One sandwich on whole wheat with meat, cheese and lettuce. Sliced tomatoes in a separate container. Blanched green beans and sliced cucumbers, with hummus or Greek Yogurt Dip. Applesauce, mandarin orange slices, grapes and a cheese stick. An unpeeled orange follows, but’s a back-up snack, so I don’t peel it. Then it’s a bag of chips and finally a container of Jello and a container of Pudding. Everything fits in his lunchbox like a puzzle and I tuck in a note, plus a napkin and spoon.

    *When Costco discontinued the glass jars of mandarins in favor of the single serving snack packs, I bought eighty four jars! Hopefully, they should last until the braces come off, lol.

    My challenge now is to do away with the processed meat in his lunch. I’ve been experimenting with chicken breast, but find it difficult to slice without it falling apart. I’ve tried grilling and crockpotting so far. In both cases, I’ve let it cool completely and chilled it prior to slicing to no avail. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m a vegetarian, so my meat cooking skills are limited. Oh, and he finds the Costco pre-cooked chicken too salty, so that’s off the list. He doesn’t like tuna either, alas. On the plus side, he will gladly eat PB&J when I’m low on supplies, but I hate to do that to a man with braces ;-).

    • Kristen says

      It makes ME smile that you can chime in on questions like this too. :)

      And I love that you walk to work with him. Mr. FG drives to work, but I always walk out to the car with him unless the weather is incredibly terrible (like pouring down rain). It’s a small thing, but we both enjoy it.

      He listens to classical radio on the way in to work, and we play a guess the composer game…I only have a few moments to listen to whatever is playing, but I try to guess the time period at least, and the composer, and he lets me know later if I was right or not. Silly, but fun. :)

    • Kevin says

      Have you tried cutting the meat while it’s raw? If you freeze it then let it thaw about halfway and cut carefully with a VERY sharp knife you should be able to get pretty thin. The meat will cook quite quickly this way. So you are probably best in a frying pan.

      If you don’t have an incredibly sharp knife then I suggest going to an outdoors store and buying a fish fillet knife. They are typically $10 or so and stay remarkably sharp if cared for. I’d suggest some stores but I’m in Canada and don’t think that we’d be looking at the same places.

      Also, don’t expect that you will be able to get as thin as the deli. They use a special machine that is built and designed to cut meat thin. Be proud if you can repeatedly get less than 1/16″.

      Good luck

    • Liz says

      Roasted meats might work better: roast beef, pork roast, roasted turkey breast. I would let them “marinate” in the fridge for a few hours rubbed in salt, pepper, and herbs, then pop them in the oven until cooked the way you like them. I recommend Cook’s Illustrated for information on meat thermometers and suggested cooking temperatures. Let the meat rest 10-20 minutes after it comes out, then cut it warm into slices. Put in in a container with any juices from the resting plate. Good luck!

  16. marlene says

    I pack my husband’s lunch too. He works 2 road shift (we both work for local ambulance/911 service) on those days I rely on cold sandwich, pretzels and cutup fruit. I use plastic as his lunchpail can get bounced around on bumpy roads going lights and sirens. His other 2 shifts are inside our operations center and those can be reheatable foods like pasta or chicken with vegetables, for those I adore my glass pie plates. The food doesn’t slide off traveling to work in a tote bag and super good to reheat in. I also send real silverware and condiments. We save tons of money and I know he is eating healthy minimally processed food.

  17. Kevin says

    I’ve been making my own lunch since the first day I went to school (4 years old). I’m one of four and my parents figured that we had hands for a reason. They also found that it was a great way to make sure that we never complained about what was in our lunches. They did keep on eye on what we put in it to make sure that we were more or less healthy about it.

    To this day my lunch has been sandwiches of varying complexity. They’ve been as simple as jam on bread to as complicated as a very large, home-made bun that got turned into a triple decker sandwich with meat, cheese, pickles, salad…etc. They typically tend towards the simple side but I enjoy them.

    My wife, on the other hand, enjoys left overs and doesn’t like to eat as many carbs as I do (used to be half of a 2 lb loaf a lunch, I’ve since slowed down) so she goes the left over route. We make our own lunches in and around getting breakfast ready (no kids so it’s admittedly easier than what some of you have to deal with).

    If you want to get your husband onto the bag lunch bandwagon why don’t you delegate to him. To help you could go on a grocery shopping date and pick out some good things for lunch making. The money jar that was posted earlier is a good idea.

    • Caitlin says

      I would LOVE if that worked for us. He isn’t at all interested in packing his own lunch, so he buys a lunch. It’s a great idea if he was really motivated or interested :) I’m glad it works for you guys!

  18. EngineerMom says

    On bread:

    The amount of gluten contained in flour will make a big difference in how well it holds together for sandwiches.

    A couple of things to try:

    1. Add more gluten in the form of “high gluten flour” or “vital wheat gluten”. Start with a couple of tablespoons per cup of liquid. For two loaves of bread made from 100% white whole wheat flour (roughly 1 c. of liquid per loaf), I add 1/2 c. high gluten flour that I get from the bulk bins at my local co-op.

    2. The texture of the loaf may contribute to its instability. Adding a tiny pinch of powdered citric acid will make the dough softer. I bought this last summer near the canning supplies. It really only takes a pinch, or you end up with lemon-flavored bread, and not in a good way.

    3. Increasing the number of eggs in the dough will also contribute to its stability in a sandwich. I typically use 1 egg for 2 loaves, but I’ve noticed that if I increase it to 1 egg per loaf, it tends to hold together a bit better.

    4. Cutting thicker slices. Homemade bread just won’t hold up in quite the same manner as store-bought bread. Cutting the slices a bit thicker can also help to avoid the bread turning into crumbs between making the sandwich and eating the sandwich at lunch.

    5. Avoiding dehydration. I know many people will say not to store homemade bread in a plastic bag, but the reality is that the drier the bread gets, the more it crumbles. Storing your loaf at room temperature, on the counter, but sealed in a ziploc or other plastic bag, will help the bread stay moist, which will also help it not fall apart.

    6. Adding fat in the form of butter. I haven’t noticed this one as making a big difference in crumb stability, but it’s worth a shot.

    7. Sufficient gluten development, combined with sufficient water. One of the big errors made in bread-making is not sufficiently developing the gluten, and/or adding too much flour. Err on the side of a wet, well-kneaded dough and an “over-rise” for the first rise, and the final product should hold together a bit better. Be careful not to overbake, which can dry out the loaf too much, too.

    And if all else fails – condiments! Mayo makes a great glue for holding crumbly bread to lunchmeat. :-)

  19. EngineerMom says

    On lunches:

    I have a husband who eats the exact. same. thing. every day for lunch, except on the rare occasion he goes out to eat. So I have zipp-o to offer in the “how to knock his socks off” department. In our house, Dad’s lunch is a turkey sandwich on a particular brand of bread with olive oil and mustard, a carton of strawberry yogurt, an apple or banana, an ounce of cashews, and a stick of string cheese. The one predictable part of my grocery shopping.

    But.

    One thing we do that dramatically decreased eating lunches out when we both worked, and we continue to this day: We agreed on a set amount of “fun” money per paycheck. Every payday, we would withdraw that amount in cash. If I was at work and decided I wanted to go out to lunch, I had to pay for it out of my “fun” money cash. If DH wants to buy a coffee in the afternoon, that comes out of his fun money. If I want to go see a movie by myself, fun money. If DH goes karaoke singing, fun money for the beer. If I sign up for a triathlon, fun money. You get the idea.

    When you have to actually lay out the cash, and know that spending it on that lunch (when you could take one from home for “free”) means you can’t spend it on something else like drinks with friends, or a new book, or a new video game, or whatever, it makes eating lunch out regularly seem a LOT less appealing!

    It also removes the stress from that conversation about how much he’s spending on eating out – he gets a certain amount (that he chooses) to do with what he pleases in that arena of life, whether it’s 5 days a week of $5 subs, or one $25 meal on Friday at a sit-down restaurant, or saving the money up for something non-lunch-related. If he wants to have a packed lunch, he can put it together that morning if you have items prepared, or he might be open to just knowing that M-Th, you’ll pack him a lunch, and Friday he’s on his own to pack or buy.

  20. says

    At least 15 years ago, maybe longer, I bought a small, fold up meat slicer for about $35.00. Now, at that price, you can imagine it does have some limitations – it’s a bit wobbly, and I’m sure it couldn’t be in use at a deli where it’s constantly used – that being said, it’s served me well for all this time and makes thinly sliced “deli” meat out of leftover ham, chicken, roast, etc.

    It has paid for itself over and over and then some. I recently thought I lost a part and priced out another on Amazon and the store where I originally bought it (Fleet Farm) and lo and behold – it’s still about the same price!

    Love your blog, by the way!

    • WilliamB says

      Ms Frau, what was the brand/model? Do you think it would work on bacon? There are times I wish I had a slicer but not for hundred(s) dollars.

  21. says

    Giving lunch doesn’t work well here, as he’s in a position where often he’s got a meeting or a lunch offered. But my husband finally decided to take a healthy breakfast, which I prepare (for now, he’s on the granola – yoghurt – fresh fruit wagon) and try to provide him with some quick and healthy snacks as often he doesn’t have the time for a proper lunch. The examples suggested are great, but I am mostly the one that uses leftovers for lunches. Fresh fruit, ready to eat is a hit, but indeed, it must be ready to eat.

    • Caitlin says

      Thanks how it works in our family too. But I just would really like to be able to offer at least one good lunch a week, or so, if I can. It’s nice to know I’m not alone :)

  22. Caitlin says

    Kristen! Thank you!! You guys are so wonderful! These are all such great tips! I appreciate the encouragement, too. It’s going to take me awhile to read through all of these great ideas, but I will! I feel so inspired.

    Thank you! I think I’ll make a batch of your burger buns and use them for sandwiches, we love sandwiches on french rolls. I think this would be a great alternative. Yay! :)

  23. robin says

    With regard to homemade bread that falls apart, you might want to use a bit of dough conditioner in your recipes. Store bought breads use many chemical versions, but simple homemade versions with natural ingredients work excellent. Milk and egg are dough conditioners (egg adds lecithin). I’ve been making my own bread for years and here is the dough conditioner recipe I use for my 100% whole wheat bread: 1/2 teaspoon lecithin granules, 3 Tbs. vital wheat gluten, a pinch of citric acid or Fruit Fresh, a dash of ground ginger. This comes from here: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/2814. I also switch use this one too: http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/how-to-make-homemade-dough-enhancer/ Perfect crumb and stretch to the finished product, but it does add a few scents to the cost of each loaf of bread, but not much compared to buying store bought, and the quality of the finished product surpasses anything I’ve ever purchased.

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