So now that I am (gratefully, happily, for now) back in a cube farm 8 hours a day, I need to avoid the vending machine, the fast food drive through, and the indulgent expensive out for lunch options. I need deskside meal options that compare in attractiveness to the other options. Leftovers from home sometimes have that cache for me but not always.
And since I have flunked several tests lately related to the composition of my blood I need to focus on whole grains and other slow carbs, protein, and good fats like olive oil and nuts. Nothing processed, over-packaged, partially-hydrogenated, or with HFCS and other satanic sweetners.
Other requirements: Easy to tote/prepare/clean-up, compact enough to store in a cubicle, minimal equipment required, no “cooking” except for the office microwave.
Being close to the refirgerator helps my situation quite a bit so I can keep a store of fresh produce and cheeses.
I have been having some success after having the right set up here at work. I sacrificed one file cabinet drawer to be my Deskside Pantry:
good olive oil
red pepper flakes
small pepper grinder
various types of nuts
various types of 100% whole grain crackers
various (unsugared) dried fruits
Packets of Salmon, Tuna, and other DHA-rich fatty fish
a small cutting board and sharp knife (with cover. safety first)
microwaveable measuring bowl, for portion awareness
tablespoon measure, for metering out small portions of delicious, forbidden condiments
Disinfecting wipes for cleanup (because, besides your kitchen sink, and your sick kid, the germiest place in your life is your desk and keyboard)
I have been mixing tuna, salt, pepper, and nuts along with a small measure of minced dried fruit as a makeshift fish salad. Great with crackers, but also good straight for when the cracker portion has run out.
My latest repeatable Cubicle Gourmet idea mixes available items from my desk pantry with some fridge items brought from home.
Salmon Hummus Pate: Mix a 2.6 oz pouch of Salmon, 3T of Hummus (I used Athenos Spicy Threee Pepper), and 2T of goat cheese (Cheesy Girl “Hottie” Jalapeno for me). Add kosher salt. Mix. Fold in nuts on hand (I used cashews, but I could seriously envision toasted walnuts or pepitas as well.) Serve with 100% Whole Grain crackers.
(Caveat: Nuts can go rancid in your desk over time, so keep manageable quantities. I like to keep larger portions of raw nuts in the freezer at work and toast them myself. You can roast raw nuts in the microwave to get that fresh toasty taste and texture. This was an epiphany to me when first I heard it. Just heat the nuts in the microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring in between minute heatings to prevent scorching. Two or three should do it.)
Next Up: Office popcorn that doesn’t give your co-workers “popcorn lung.”