Monday, March 31, 2014
Getting out of the house, streamlined.
One thing I was worried about is that I'd spend a lot of money on meals out. I have been pleasantly surprised by how this has not been the case. Unless I have plans to meet someone for lunch, I'm eating in. (I think the cold winter has helped in this regard; I have been reluctant to leave the building.) I haven't been cheating by going out for lunch or grabbing breakfast, even though I am up before dawn. I'm not bragging (I still get snacks since I never seem to have brought enough). I've just gotten into a routine.
So, as you know, my days are long. My commute, thanks to traffic and the subway, can take anywhere from one and a half to two hours each way. Most of that is on a bus, which is great. The bus is quiet and comfortable and it goes right into the High Occupany Vehicle Lane. The bane of my commuting existence is the subway.
However, because the commute is so long, and because I like getting to work on time, I'm up at 4:30 in the morning. Well, my alarm goes off at 4:30. Sometimes I stay in bed until 5:00.
How do you get ready in the morning when the sun isn't up yet? Well, it helps to do most everything else ahead of time. It also helps that I just have the cat to take care of. If I had kids this whole thing would be nuked before it started. (Seriously, I don't know how you parents do it.) It also helps that my hours are regular. I'm not working split shifts, or varied hours.
My clothes are picked out so I don't have to stress about what I've got and what I'll wear. I don't eat breakfast at home, I eat it at work. I bring it with me, along with my lunch. And I don't make my lunch the night before. I make it several weeks ahead.
Basically, I make a lot of something I like, freeze it, and grab it for my lunch in the morning. So far, I have been making burritos--either bean burritos or burritos from leftover meat. I made a batch of chili last weekend and froze it in small containers to take with me to work. I'll do the same thing with curries, stews, soups, and creatively repurposed leftovers. I'm not a big sandwich eater, and I have found that making sandwiches is kind of a pain, especially when you have to either make them the night before or make them at 4:30 in the morning. I might not be able to do it the night before.
I also made steel cut oatmeal in the slow cooker one weekend. This was actually quite easy and I will do it again. Grease the insert of the cooker. Combine two cups of steel cut oats, six cups of water, and two cups of milk (I used almond milk). Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar if you want it a little sweet, and 2-3 peeled chopped apples if you like. Cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours. Have some right off the bat if you like as it's delicious. Allow it to cool, and save one cup portions in plastic freezer bags. Freeze, and grab and go in the morning. I do take a little almond milk with me as well in a small container as the oatmeal gets very thick when you reheat it. But it's good and it's filling.
I also bring yogurt and fruit. I'll probably bring vegetables and hummus.
Now, I just have to tackle keeping the house orderly during the week.