Now I know . . .

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In an effort to eat healthier, I’ve been packing my lunch to take to work with me.  Doing so saves me $$, I eat better, lunchtime decisions are easier and I can run a quick errand while still having a respectable lunch to look forward to.

However, long gone are the days when packing a sandwich or just a bit of left-over’s is going to pass muster;  instead, I’ve been assembling a large, colorful salad (2 cups) with about 5 oz of protein, opting for leaner meats like chicken and turkey.  And, sometimes, I’ll use a bit of water-packed tuna just to mix it up.  Sunday afternoons I cook up the chicken or turkey and wash and chop up a variety of fresh vegetables including:

  • English Cucumbers
  • Red Onion
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Mushrooms (I buy these washed & pre-sliced)
  • “Shreds” – shredded Broccoli-Carrots-Cabbage slaw 
  • Fresh green beans or sprouts
  • Zucchini, sliced & chopped
  • And whatever else is in season – this week, I’ve added sliced fresh strawberries. Ooh la la!

All of these yummy, crunchy veggies are tossed with a variety of lettuces – bib, romaine and iceberg. If I’m feeling particularly inspired, I’ll add spinach for good measure.

I have been feeling good about my game plan because, generally speaking, about 1 hour of prep time nets me 4-5 good quality lunches for the week!   After supper every night I assemble the next day’s salad, pop in the chicken, turkey or tuna and –voila – it’s ready for me to “grab & go” in the morning.   To make it easy, I keep a jar of Balsamic Vinaigrette in our office fridge.

So, it was with great delight that I found the following on sale at my local grocery store: 1 lb of Italian seasoned ground turkey breast for $2.74.  Normally 1 lb of ground turkey sells for $4.99/lb where I shop – and this was on clearance ???    Screech!!!!!! My shopping card skidded to a halt and, happily, I placed not one but two – count em two – packets into my cart.   I figured I’d make one packet into turkey patties and freeze the other for future use (just shape and roast 10 min per side at 350 degrees).  Awesome!  

Because I had some grilled chicken on hand, yesterday was the first day that I tried one of my turkey patties with the daily salad.  As I am wont to do, I ran a quick errand and, before I left, took the salad out and set it on my desk for later. (I despise cold lettuce clanging against my teeth – shudder!!)

I was back in my chair within 30 minutes so I easily had time to peruse some online news sites while I enjoyed my lunch – first I cut up my turkey patty and spread it through the salad, then I drizzled a small amount of the Balsamic over the mixture.  Yum-o!

Taking a big bite, the first thing to assault my senses was the taste. 

And. it. wasn’t. good.

What the ???

Fennel? Basil? Oregano maybe?  Try dirt… dried toads and bovine toe-jam!

Whatever the offender’s nature, it tasted like a mix of 3 day old coffee, scorched licorice with gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top! Yuck!

I couldn’t enough drink water quick enough to drown out the taste of that nastiness.

Ever hopeful, I combed through the salad, thinking that perhaps the next bite would be better?


No offense to black licorice, which I happen to love but … This was no black licorice. This was a rude combination of basil, oregano, salt and maybe a touch of fennel thrown in for added measure.  And it was nasty. Disgusting. Disturbing.  I actually …. shivered.

Pouting, I picked out the offending gnarliness and chomped my way through the rest of my roughage, feeling like the Billy goat I resembled.  Scrounging through my stash of healthy “snacks,” I settled on a Greek Yogurt, ½ a banana and a handful of almonds  for the balance of my lunch.

Next time, when something’s on sale, I’m paying attention as to why that might be? And my cart?  It’s staying far, far away from pre-seasoned anything.  Shudder.

   How about you? Experience any mishaps in the *sale* section lately?

Categories: Food, Fun, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Now I know . . .

  1. Oof — I’ve been packing lunches too — and it really does save on time (at work) and money. And for sure, it’s a better nutritional choice than nearly everything that’s out there.

    I make our own bread, so a sandwich is just fine — usually with some dried fruits and nuts. But I do stay away from the “sale” items unless I’m going to use it all the next day!

  2. Steve you make your own bread? Now that’s a sandwich I’d pack! Yum. Yes, agreed, really does save $$ and time. Plus if I take the time to prepare something healthy, I’m more inclined to eat that way … most of the time anyways. Thanks for commenting – MJ

  3. Well, I LOVED the description of your awesome salads. You know I do the same, even packing my huge colorful salads the night before to take on fieldtrips (while the other parents eat their lame sandwiches and chips and watch me eat my big gourmet salad with envy). But I’m sorry you got gypped on some bad ground turkey! Bummer.

    • Well CC you were one of my inpirations to try this again; I’ve been staring down your colorful gourmet salads from afar thinking, “I could do that!” And so I will go at it again. It does take some prep time but is so worth it – minus that gnarly pre seasoned turkey – never again!

      Cheers, MJ

  4. Yuck…so sorry…and how rude…but I do love the texture of salad, nuts or seeds, veggies, the very healthy vibe of spinach, craisins from a bag…crunch, give me crunch. Don’t give up…it will save you $$, time and has to taste good. Hope next week goes better. Re: the question, I never (well, a couple of times I did) buy off brand ice cream…Blue Bell is the best!

    • Yes – crunch is where it’s at! Like you, Georgette, I am all about the texture. I won’t give up – it takes some time to prepare – and some weeks don’t lend themselve to the cause *(meetings, travel etc) but when I can, I will … and on the ice cream – yes Ma’am, we had Blue Bell in Texas and it beats all. Around here “Hudsonville Creamery” is tops – locally made and tasty. Cheers! MJ

  5. Your salads sound delicious, MJ…I always pack my lunch too, but I usually use leftovers (which I don’t mind).

    One night I wanted to make Sloppy Joes…for whatever reason, I couldn’t find the packet of Sloppy Joe mix at the store I was at, so I opted for an unknown canned version of Sloppy Joe…it was terrible! I’m usually okay with no name stuff, but this was a big mistake…


    • Well I would take the leftovers except then hubbs would surely starve to death (( he works out of the house )). What I try to do is make enough on Sunday that 1) I can take my salads for lunch and 2) we can have leftovers for supper. Sundays and Wednesdays are my big cooking days :).

      I’ve had a similar Sloppy Joe experience at a friend’s house and it was horrid. I might have had the same can you’d tried …. thanks for sharing your experience!! MJ

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