Mañana es viernes. Wahoo!
Friday! I *love* Fridays.
Almost as much as I adore Saturdays, but not quite.
I can sleep in on Saturdays. Nothing beats that.
Last Friday my colleagues had a potluck lunch meeting. The gals were so sweet. One of them came to see me the day before about the beef/steak stew she was going to make everyone for the main dish. She asked about dredging the meat in flour (umm.. no-go, I told her). Let me just stop you all here and say this: I have worked here for five years and this is the second time someone has figured out that eating with the group might be tough for me. I was touched. Sincerely. We, teachers, don’t get a lot of actual “adult time” in our lives. The fact that I had even hit her radar with her 160+ student caseload was awesome to me. Seriously.
And I also don’t think she should have to even worry about me at all. So I told her so much. Bah, go ahead and make what you LIKE to make and what you want to eat/serve! Don’t worry about me. She said, “No way, I want to try this.”
I insisted that she not worry. I told her I was bringing something for myself to eat and that she needn’t make a fuss. (Really, this is always a safer option despite all the love and good intentions.) She reassured me that she would do the best she could, and I smiled and thanked her.
And then, well, then as she left my classroom, she stopped and waved back through the door, “Umm, Kate? I just thought of something. Am I going to be able to find stew flavoring/seasoning packets without flour? “
Then she laughed, “Oh man! Is this what you go through?”
Well, kind of. But I just don’t use seasoning packets, I thought.
“No worries!” I told her.
Really. It takes a long time to figure out all this gluten-free stuff. I certainly didn’t learn in a moment and am still learning every single day.
Every time a manufacture changes a recipe or refuses to answer the question (Q: “Is your product gluten-free?” A: “We cannot confirm that our product IS or IS NOT gluten free at this time.”).
Every time a student swings by my desk munching on their bagel/cookies/chips/blah over my coffee. I glance at my cup and know that I will just have to toss out that cup full of coffee too.
Every time we are tired and don’t want to cook – no matter how hard we pound our feet against the ground in an “oh-how-I-wish-I-could-still-get-away-with-that-sometimes” kind of way.
I used to get so tired. Some days I still do. But mostly now, I just wait until I get a second wind (or third or fourth or…) and I suck it up. God knows I’ve gained back all the weight I lost while sick AND then some (apparently for good measure). I can certainly adjust my mode to the best of my ability.
So lately, I’ve been bringing GF treats to work once a month to share with my “lunch buddies” (about 10 other teachers). These guys are a kick and have NO idea that they are eating anything “special”, really. They are just eating to eat. Good people. OH! I love them so!
Usually whatever I’m eating causes them pause. Not in a negative way, but in a curious “Oh-I-Want-That-Too” kind of way. Heck, everyday they eat the same thing. I kid you not. Everyday. I can tell you who is bringing what (and whose wife cooks and whose doesn’t) and who is going to give what in a swap for what. I swear elementary school never ends, huh?
I think I would cry if I ate the same thing everyday. Really. LOL. The blessings of becoming gluten-free include the opportunity to break out of that lunch rut. I rarely have the same thing twice (um… unless I’ve made sweet potatoes the night before… LOL) and have always had fun making lunch MORE FUN!
So in celebration of all things FUN for Lunch, here are a few of the latest lunches I’ve brought to school:
1. Wrap sandwiches with goat’s cheese, cranberry sauce and Boar’s Head roast chicken.
2. Garden salad with herbs, hazelnuts, and dried cranberries with walnut vinaigrette.
3. Homemade California rolls (wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a “log”, cut at work)
4. Homemade soups: Chinese Chicken and Corn, Potato & Leek, etc.
5. Shaped eggs (hard boiled) like cars, etc for salads or just eating as is.
6. Onigiri (rice balls) and sake-eggs (mmm!)
7. Risotto with fresh veggies
8. Spring rolls
9. Fresh almond butter with Glutino crackers.
10. ….and desserts! Like Aunt Selma’s, Dark Chocolate Custards, and Maple Popcorn (which is a great snacking food too when my days run into their 10th hour..blech!)
And, no. I don’t get up early to do this. LOL. NO WAY. Mornings are for pillows. And warm sheets. And sweet nothings from my love (“Um, honey. Get up! You’re late!!”).
I’ve seen you all planning your Menus for the week. Do you plan your lunches as well? Now that you’ve seen a partial lunch list, do you think I should log my lunches for a while and post a month’s worth of ideas? Just a thought.
For now, however, I’m off to bed with happy thoughts for tomorrow’s lunch. A bento box filled with 2 onigiri (rice), sake-eggs, herb salad with dill and candied pears. Oh baby. Bring on Friday. I’m ready!
Happy Friday to you all as well!