Monday, August 1, 2011

Lunch To Go, Asian-Style

It's actually back-to-school time here in Middle Tennessee (whatever happened to school starting after Labor Day?).  This time of year reminds me of new beginnings - even more than New Year's does.  Remember getting those new lunch boxes, crayons, pencils and notebooks?  There was a fresh start, a time when the sky seemed to be the limit, academically, for me (until that first-quarter grading period, anyway...).  Whether you have kids headed off to school over the next month, or not, this can be one of those "new beginning" times for you.

An area that I think is great to focus on improving during this time of year is that of your weekday lunch routine.  Catalogs, storefronts and mailers are abuzz with the latest and greatest lunch-packing systems (and the food in those pictures seem so appealing!).  Rarely, in those advertisements, does one see the cheapy fake food-impostors that food manufacturers want us to depend on.  There are always lots of pretty brightly colored fresh veggies, exquisite sandwiches and robust fruit.  That's what sells those containers!

I actually have fallen in love with Ziploc's 3-compartment lunch container (GREAT for cold lunches) that my daughter and son-in-law recently purchased for their take-along lunches (they've been living with us for a few months as they get established here in our new city).  The way that the lid completely seals off each container from the others makes it super-handy for packing a variety of foods without the worry that something will leak into a neighboring compartment, tainting the whole meal (especially yucky if the juice from your peaches and pineapple leaks into your greek salad...).  Those three compartments just beg for creating an artistic expression for lunch (note the beautiful combo above).  I may have to hijack these lunch containers from the moving boxes this week, even though I have the luxury of eating most of my lunches at home...

For the lunch pictured above, Sarah packed three Spring Rolls (see my recipe for A Little Taste of Spring [Rolls]), Creamy Cashew Dipping Sauce, and Simple Slaw (made from thinly sliced purple cabbage, shredded carrots, fresh ginger [minced], a drizzle of sesame oil and some rice vinegar [although this WILL smell strong with you remove the lid, so you may want to substitute some lemon or lime juice instead]).

Inspired?  Get creative with the leftovers hanging out in your fridge and see what you come up with!  For a simple visual guide to creating easy lunches, click here!

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