Confession: A Week of Eating Out

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I have a confession to make.

Last week, I ate out for lunch and dinner. Every day.

This is unprecedented. Every now and then I like to treat myself and go out to eat, but I like cooking for myself and, to be honest, eating out frequently makes me nervous. When I eat out, I feel like I’m spending so much money for so much less than I can make at home. It also feels harder to eat healthy food since I can’t control what goes into the recipe if it’s made by someone else.

Last weekend just happened to be really busy and I never made it to the grocery store. I had high hopes at the beginning of the week, but never made it, and continued eating out. Here’s how the week looked:

On Monday I tried really hard to make it through the day without purchasing a meal. At this point, I hadn’t succumbed to eating out all week and was hopeful that I’d make it to the grocery store at some point. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well. I went on a run after work and felt terribly afterwards, probably because I hadn’t eaten enough calories throughout the day.

For breakfast I had toast with peanut butter and homemade peach jam (thanks, Nana!). Lunch was leftovers from the night before – a stir-fry of all of leftover veggies (cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and edamame) on brown rice. After recovering from my run, I stopped at Subway for a 6-inch turkey sandwich loaded with veggies ($4). I also had two granola bars as snacks during the day.

Tuesday was much better because I incorporated more fruit and veggies after the running incident from the night before. I had the same toast with peanut butter and jam for breakfast but picked up a fresh fruit cup ($4) from the sandwich shop on the first floor of my office building. For lunch I had a steak salad from Chipotle ($7). My intention was to save half of it for lunch the next day, but it was too delicious and I ate the whole thing in one sitting. Before heading to hip hop yoga that night, I picked up a small strawberry passion smoothie from Au Bon Pain ($4), which was the perfect light snack before working out. For dinner I had a 6-inch breakfast sandwich on flatbread from Subway ($4).

By Wednesday I was in the groove and had the same toast and fruit cup for breakfast ($4). Lunch was my go-to cheap and easy lunch in Harvard Square: the falafel appetizer from Falafel Corner ($4). It comes with 2 falafel balls, a salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, pita, and a side of tzatziki for just 4 dollars! For dinner I had (you guessed it) a 6-inch turkey sandwich from Subway ($4). If you couldn’t tell, there aren’t too many healthy options near my apartment.

Breakfast on Thursday was a treat – a hot tea and banana from Dunkin Donuts ($3) and a bagel and cream cheese from the sandwich shop in my office building ($3). For lunch, I used a 5 dollar credit to the Just Crust in Harvard Square. I ordered the garden salad and a slice of pesto veggie pizza. With the credit, the meal cost me just $5 (originally $10) and was enough food for two meals (see Friday, below). That evening, I was treated to dinner at a restaurant in Cambridge.

Finally, Friday rolled around. For breakfast I had toast, jam, peanut butter and a fruit cup ($4). Lunch was a steak burrito bowl from Qdoba ($4 – 50% off after using a coupon!). For dinner, I had the leftover salad and pizza from the Just Crust.

My total expenses for the week were $58 – surprisingly, that’s just about the same amount I budget for myself in groceries each week. I feel like I stayed relatively healthy in my food choices by opting for veggies and fruits whenever I could. I lucked out with some help (from Level Up and coupons) but I consider that being resourceful. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. But first thing Saturday morning I went to the grocery store!

Images: homemade jam from my Nana (upper left), naked steak burrito bowl from Qdoba (upper right), pizza (lower left) and salad (lower right) from Just Crust.

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Cape Cod Vacation Round Up

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After seven wonderful days on Cape Cod, I’m back to the real world. I feel so blessed to have spent so much time with my amazing family. We had beautiful weather (only one rainy day!) and avoided any great white shark sightings. We laughed a lot (at some points, too much) and ate very, very well.

Above is my favorite meal from this past week (which says a lot considering lobster was on the menu 3 times, 3 ways). This was dinner on our second night: surf and turf of salmon and steak, grilled eggplant and zucchini, and pasta salad. The pasta salad contained tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, leftover corn, and fresh edamame (not much, since shelling it from the pods became too laborious very quickly) dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Everything else was pretty simple: the steak was seasoned with salt and pepper, the salmon with olive oil and lemon juice. The veggies benefited from a variety of dried herbs and spices found in the pantry of the rental home. It all came together beautifully. This may be the most stunning plate of food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating (or photographing).

But surf and turf wasn’t the only beautiful plate of food we ate…

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From left to right: 1) gin & tonic: the perfect summer vacation cocktail, 2) leftover lobster round 1: lobster rolls and broccoli coleslaw, 3) Matt’s famous wings with sweet chili sauce, 4) omelette bar on our rainy day, 5) leftover lobster round 2: lobster salad burger with avocado, 6) 12 pounds of fresh Chatham steamers.

A few of these recipes will make their way to CLK (particularly the broccoli coleslaw and Matt’s famous wings) – stay tuned!