Monday, January 4, 2010

Lunch break whoas and woes

Since I have began this crazy thing called working, I have been forced to change my daily routine. I like change, so I welcomed the opportunity with open arms. At first. Then I began to realize that lunch required a different kind of planning than I was accustomed to. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but since my life revolves around food, I was highly concerned with how lunch was going to work.

Like many places of work, Cityview gives each of us one full hour to either leave and grab food or eat here and take a mental break if you wish. We're located at the L&N building downtown, so the options are a bit endless as far as proximity goes. However, I really don't relish the idea of eating out every single day. Actually, it terrifies me. Of course there's the whole issue of having time to either walk or drive to a restaurant and get food around the same time that everyone else working in Knoxville is too. And then there is also the concern of spending an increased amount of money allotted to food than you would if you ate at home (like I did most of the time when I was going to UT). Grocery shopping is becoming a thing of the past already for my life and I've only been employed for a few short weeks. I love grocery shopping. Don't ask me why, but I get a rush of adrenaline as I explore each isle. I always have a list of things I have to get. But I find myself meandering around to see if I can conjure something new. Some of my best recipes were developed as I was daydreaming in a grocery store. I'll share them as we go along, don't fret.

All of this discussion brings up my next quest. I am now on the hunt for some easy and fast recipes that are portable for the workplace to get people who are bored, frustrated, or ___(fill in the blank)___ with eating out for lunch breaks.

What I have access to at Cityview: a refrigerator and a microwave. If you are a lucky duck (like my mother is at the City of Maryville), you may even have access to a dish washer, oven or other such things. So for this lunch ideas section, everything will be refrigerated or will require a few seconds in the microwave.

I'll be making some up and also searching my cookbook collection. I welcome ideas, so share some recipes if you've got them. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, new things

New Years is a funny time for people who enjoy different types of food. It's a holiday, so you want to cook. But do you really want to make greens, cornbread and black eyed peas again this year? Start your new year off with something a little out of the norm.

This is how I felt leading up to New Years anyway. And my entire family was in Atlanta for the bowl game, of which I was not allowed days off work to attend.  But that was okay. I had the kitchen to myself to experiment however I liked. Cooking is not only a hobby to me; sometimes it helps as an escape or stress relief just as running also does for me. When it's literally freezing temperatures outside, I tend to cook more and run outside less. (My knee can tolerate the treadmill in the basement for only so long...ugh) Cooking is just comforting. You know that when you mix certain things together they will always come out delicious. :)

UPDATE: I was not completely alone for New Years (that's good, right?) It was nice to have two close friends accompany me for some culinary experiments--I taught Whitney Walker and Drew Streip how to make risotto. When cooked properly, risotto can be one of the most decadent and delicious things you can make. Not to mention the options for flavoring risotto are endless. We were feeling a little adventurous (or stupid?) and decided to add seared veal to our risotto. I know, crazy. But it was tasty. Also accompanied by mushrooms and chicken stock (NEVER WATER). Cook low and slow...that's the motto for cooking a good risotto.