Tag Archive | ideas

Stupid F*@king Lunches

I HATE making lunches. With everything I have I HATE it. I make lunches for two guys who have working beta cells, so it should be easy. Fruit, sandwich, snack, whatever. It’s never that easy for me. Mostly because I HATE buying pre made franken food snacks and I can NEVER seem to keep up enough of an arsenal of my home made stuff to shove into lunches.

If you ever have this problem, I have a million ideas. I’ve managed to execute some of them, actually. For that I’m proud. Lately I’ve been in a busy whirlwind so my stock is running a little dry and thus irritating the hell out of me. So I thought I would put a list of ideas here for you all because, well, if you’ve ever gone through lunch hell, you know what it’s like.

Keep in mind I never said “healthy.” I like cooking, and being such that MY beta cells don’t work and I can’t actually HAVE sugar, I love making things with sugar for people who can have it (even though I do realize they SHOULDN’T have it). It’s torture I know and ass backwards, but it’s true.

Tip#1: Your freezer is your friend. Most things can be frozen and tossed in lunches STILL frozen because they will thaw out by the time the lunch is eaten. This also quickly teaches them to eat breakfast so they aren’t attacking their lunch mid morning and biting into a frozen something or another.

#2: When you make desserts, whether it be brownies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, whatever, learn to do what I’ve done: steal half of it and freeze it before anyone has the chance to get at it. Most families aren’t going to go through 18 muffins or a whole cake in a few hours, so there is ample time to let it cook and snag em up to the freezer. It’s the same concept: Wrap in foil, then in a baggy, and freeze. If you are freezing something frosted like cake or cupcakes, then put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet long enough to harden the frosting, then wrap and store.

#3: Grab some 8 oz jelly jars, half pint masons, or take away containers and make some jello or pudding. Pour into the individual cups and you’ll have frugal, easy snacks.

#4: Dried food makes great lunch snacks so if you have a dehydrator, go for it. Jerkies, dried fruits and fruit leathers can be stuffed into lunches and they have a crazy long shelf life.

#5: Don’t deny the power of the leftovers. Today’s left over pot roast, pork roast and meatloaf can be turned into a roast beef sandwich, pulled pork sandwich or meatloaf sandwich. It’s a nice switch up from PB&J and lunchmeat.

#6: On the power of leftovers: Get yourself a good microwave safe dinner container. You know, the ones with the sections. This way you can stuff leftovers in that and as long as they have access to a microwave they’ve got a hearty hot lunch.

#7: Pop a couple quarts of popcorn, not too much since it goes stale in a couple days, and season it with some interesting spices. Whether it be cinnamon and sugar or curry and garlic, you can make a whole batch and stuff them into baggies for instant snacks.

#8: The old stand by! I purposely make/order extra pizza whenever we have it so I can snag a few pieces to make up for lunches. Even if there is no microwave we all know pizza still kicks ass cold.

#9: This is cheating, but I have to say I’ve done it. Good frozen dinners. When I’m going to whole foods, I’ll snag up some good organic Annie’s frozen dinners or something of the like just in case I’ve forgotten or something came up and I’ve not had time to make a lunch. It’s a good ass saver. Also cheating, but canned soup. Texan particularly likes this one, especially in the winter. A can of soup will prove to be a good meal and a good switch from a typical sandwich lunch and also serves as an ass saver in those times where the lunch was the last thing on your mind.

#10: Make them ahead. This is probably the best tip. You CAN make several sandwiches ahead and pack several lunches, especially PB&J which keep great in the fridge for a couple days. Then it’s a grab and go thing and you don’t gotta sweat.

It’s amazing how something as simple as a lunch can turn into such a big deal when you aren’t prepared. For me anyway. I like to have as much of an arsenal as possible, but sometimes (like lately) it just doesn’t work out that way. So until they make a robot that can do all this for me, I figured I’d share in some of my tips in case you can sympathize with my lunch-hell-panic.

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Yep, I’m THAT Anal: Another Cheap Way To Organize Your Sh*t

Ok, so some people call me really anal. Organized. I’m really not. I thrive on chaos. Well, certain kinds of chaos.

I am the most classic believer in A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Why? Is it because I’m overly obsessed with a clean house?

No. LOL. My dusty baseboards can tell you that.

What I’m NOT a fan of is spending 809283098 minutes trying to find something and having SO much sh&t in my house that everything doesn’t have a damn place. That’s what I’m not a fan of.

In my humble opinion, life is too damn short and precious to eek out 5 minutes of my time 100 times a day going “where is this? where is that?” and fumbling through cabinets and drawers trying to find something stupid. I’d rather spend time doing something I WANT to be doing be that cooking, being outside, spending time with family, whatever. I may WANT to make that country fried steak but I don’t want to spend 20 minutes out of the hour it takes searching for the ingredients.

It’s all a matter of time murder. Every time I have to fumble to find a sheet, a towel, a battery, the salt, or a light bulb, time is being murdered from me. It may only be little minutes here and there but they add up. At the end of my life I’m not going to say “Gee, wish I would have spent MORE time trying to find the wide tooth comb.” No.

So to me, quick and easy ways to organize things and keep them that way are SO worth it. SO worth it. I AM one of those people who will make “smaller” things and store “bigger” things even though it takes extra space just so it’s easily found and reachable. Let me explain.

I’ll buy a big can of coffee. But I don’t want the coffee cluttering up the kitchen cabinet, or the freezer, since we don’t go through coffee THAT fast. So I will repackage SOME of that coffee into a smaller container, in the cabinet, clearly labeled, and put the big can in the pantry. Ironically, this saves me time and space. I don’t have something huge cluttering up my precious kitchen cabinets. I don’t have to fumble to drag the can out from behind 8 million other things, it keeps more MORE aware of how much I have because I have to refill it every few weeks and it’s nicely placed exactly where it’s easy to get to.

Food, especially, is not always packaged in a way that’s conducive to storage. Know that now. Many times these packages are HUGE because half of them are air. That’s wasted space and more issue to lug out. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to repackage chips for lunches in smaller baggies that you can grab and toss into the lunch box than it is to have a huge, half air bag of chips in the cabinet going stale that you’ll have to re package anyway and end up with another half the bag of broken chips. I like to do it all at once and save the grief. I also KNOW how much I’ve got then, no more “I thought I had more” BS.

So, enter lunch and the kitchen cabinet. I hate making lunches. I really do. It’s an annoying ritual. And I really do like to grab and go. I also like to be able to distinguish “snacks” for me (low carb) and “snacks” for the ones with working beta cells. It creates less temptation for me and tends to keep their paws off things that are very obviously for lunches.

All this lunch stuff is also kept in the same cabinet with my soups, my dried foods, canned stuff, crackers, dinner items, etc. So it gets a little hectic. Let me show you.

You can see my feeble attempt at having bins that can just be slid out. It didn’t work. All the stuff doesn’t fit in there. Baggies or not. I was always digging and GOD I hate digging. It’s another waste of time.

So, I got a brilliant idea.

I often use plastic containers, take out style, in my business for different items. They are all around a useful little tool. Think the containers that egg drop soup come in. They are available at most any food supply store. Try Gordon Food Service, Costco, etc. They are inexpensive, effective, easily cleaned and cute as hell too. Or I always thought so.

So that’s what I started doing. Putting things in those little containers. They come generally in 3 sizes. A squat 8oz, a taller 16oz, and a big ass 32oz. They stack wonderfully. Nothing falling over because they are all the same size diameter. It’s wonderful. They can also be easily labeled and relabeled, they are pretty air tight, they are a glorious little thing.

So I started putting my dried apples, vegetables, banana chips and the like in there. I put some “lunch snack” items in the smaller containers so I can just grab and throw them in. Hopefully they’ll bring back the containers but if not, I won’t cry about it. Candies, crackers, maybe little serving sizes of chips. The possibilites there are endless.

I also stored drink mixes, coffee, loose teas and creamers in them too and boy did THAT free up a lot of space. Drink stuff usually likes to come in fat tubs, which are impossible to stack because they have rounded tops.

My “drink” cabinet looks much better.

Halfway through the snack cabinet looked much better. I had tons more room too. Mind you even here, everything is pushed to the front, the back is nearly all empty on the second shelf.

And that’s only half done. See how much easier that’s gonna be? They are clear, easily seen, easily labeled. YAY! I’m jazzed.

Now they (me too) can just grab and go when they want something. No more guessing.

This will work for nearly anything, don’t just think snacks. Think makeup, in the fridge items like cut up fruit, under the bathroom sink, jewelry, anything.

I resent and refuse the idea that organization takes ass tons of money and a day time television show. I understand the need for aesthetics, yes, so decorate them if you have to. Draw on them with pretty marker or add paper if you really have to. Me, for the inside of a cabinet, I could care less as long as it’s functional.

And now I sleep a little better knowing I don’t have to worry about time murdering on the snack front at least. More time for me to do something I don’t hate.

So, am I really anal? Or am I just really good at prioritizing?

Cheap Ways to Organize Your S*#t

Clutter bothers me. Doesn’t mean I don’t have it, it just bothers me. I’m not completely anal when it comes to organizing or anything. More, it’s that I find when things are NOT organized, I waste SO much time. It’s a time murderer.

I hate digging through drawers to find the measuring cup, which adds 5 minutes to my already pressed schedule. I’d rather know where something is and know I can go get it at any time. It’s a glorious feeling.

I live with men whom, for as much I love them heart and soul, organizing is sort of lost. I find socks in my freezer. I’m not kidding.

I’ve started CLEARLY labeling things. I’ve gone a little apesh*t with the labelmaker you could say. This way there is no excuse. As long as you are able-bodied and you can read, you know where things go.

If you are anything like me, there are places in your house that just piss you off to no end because no matter what you do, they are chaos. I have a couple of those places. You know, the junk drawer or your bedroom closet. One of mine is my linen closet in the bathroom. It drives me insane, no matter what I do, it’s ALWAYS chaos.

I keep the change of bed sheets in there. So every time I go to change the sheets it’s a strange dance of me trying to find the fitted sheets and everything falling out of the closet when I finally grab one (which is inevitably at the bottom of the pile somehow). Then trying to find a pillow case and the same thing happens. It frustrates me. It makes me angry. I’M JUST TRYING TO CHANGE THE SHEETS!

I’ve tried nearly everything: Creative ways to fold them, rolling them, stacking them all nicely. One little blurb I read somewhere said something about tying your sheet sets together with “pretty” ribbon. Really? F*@k that. So that I can watch my beautiful sheet art that I so carefully wrapped end up on the floor of the closet, ribbon a-fray, because someone else wanted to just one pillowcase? NO WAY.

I needed something that would be functional and easy. And cheap. I’d RATHER it look pretty too, just cause I like aesthetics to a point, but it wasn’t a requirement.  I refuse to go to these “organize your home” sites because it’s a bunch of people with way too much money preaching nonsense most of the time, or trying to sell you something. I let it stew in my head for awhile and figured the answer would hit me. I knew baskets wouldn’t work, they were usually too wide for my shelves, not tall enough or not stable enough. Ditto on the plastic bins. And I really didn’t want to run to the damn store and buy more crap to store the crap I already had. I’m not a fan of consumerism.

It did hit me finally. It did.

It’s the holidays, so I have 8 million trillion boxes I got in the mail. You know the ones that you get your mail order stuff in. Brown ones, priority ones, all kinds of ones. I generally put them all in one place until recycle day, then they go to the curb. Or I use them as kindling in the fire. Then I had a little epiphany: I can use those.

They can be used just on their own, but I wanted to decorate mine. For a couple of reasons:

1. I had scrapbook paper I needed to get rid of

2. I needed a reason to take a break from baking cookies

3. I like the idea of my organization being home-made, and nice looking.

So, if you are the kind of person that’s ok with just having boxes there as storage, go for it. But I didn’t want mine to look like used Christmas boxes. Just follow me, you’ll see.

First I took a used mailing box, I do believe I got Mr. Super’s present in this one:

I then had a bunch of scrapbook paper, 12×12 size, that was just sitting in one of my drawers.

And then I cut them into strips and different sizes with a paper cutter, because I totally suck at cutting in a straight line.

Then I grabbed glue. I like this kind of glue

And I grabbed a strip of paper and put glue all over the back of it. I started with the corners of the box, because I figured those would be the biggest pain in the ass. They were.

The good thing about this glue was that it dried clear. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to be neat about it. I just kept putting strips of paper on the corners and worked my way in.

To fill up the sides of the boxes I used scraps, or cut the long strips in half. It really didn’t take long at all, maybe 5-10 minutes per box.

I then decided how many boxes I would need, and what they would be for. So I cut a little strip of paper, turned it over to the white side, wrote the name of what was to be in the box on it in black marker and glue that to the front. So it turned out something like this:

And about an hour later, I had boxes for all the stuff in my closet

That’s so much better! Much more organized, though by no means perfect. And totally free.

Except…do you see that on the top shelf? Do you see that? Next to the humidifier? The black and silver thing. You know what that is, dear readers? DO YOU KNOW!?

IT’S A COMPUTER MOUSE! AND ITS NOT MINE! Why the HELL is a computer mouse in the bathroom closet? Your guess is as good as mine. And THAT is part of the reason why I did this. Not that pretty labeled boxes are going to stop somebody from putting some DUMB shit where it doesn’t belong, but one can always hope!