Tag Archives: lunch

Caffeine Confessions

My Friday morning was dragging by yesterday. After a week of meetings on various exciting Penn State community initiatives and reading several academic articles about taking online education global, my enthusiasm and passion were all used up, and I just wanted to go home, sit on the couch, and watch Netflix with Dave. We started watching Orange Is the New Black  on Thursday and are totally addicted now. My longing for him, the couch, and Netflix was so great, in fact, that I decided to go home for an extended lunch. Dave was working from home and agreed to make Turkish zucchini fritters, so here is how I found him when I got there:


Using our favorite cook book, Sultan’s Kitchen. The fritters were delicious and the episode we watched thrilling. An hour and a half later, it was time to drive back to the office, and I was still as burnt out as in the morning, which wasn’t good since I had two more meetings on the calendar, both of which would require some good energy.

So, desperate as I was, I decided to stop at Starbuck’s. Surely a grande vanilla soy latte isn’t going to matter that much against my pursuit to quit caffeine, I told myself. Before I knew it, I arrived at work, half of the glorious beverage already finished, half of it in hand to bring to my meeting. Holy cow. After three weeks of no coffee at all (I am avoiding it due to its bad effects on the liver and caffeine’s effects on hormonal balance), it really hit me. This was great because I was able to lead the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, pitch ideas that excited everyone, and chat happily about Germany and whatever else. I went back to my desk, breezed through some work, and then had an equally great meeting with my boss. 5 p.m. almost came too soon – I had all this motivation to work through my to-do list.

But sure enough, when it was time to go, the good feeling was wearing off, I had a slight headache, my surroundings were spinning a little bit, and I had a sudden starvation feeling like I always do after ODing on caffeine.



I drove home to pick up Dave. We had plans to go to dinner and then to a musical my co-worker was in, The Music Man, performed at the Mt. Nittany Middle School.

We went to to Olde New York, which hilariously enough has that name but serves traditional German food.

I got a glass of Pinot Noir, at this point too dizzy to reason with myself about not wanting to throw alcohol on top of my caffeine condition. And we ordered the baked brie plate as an appetizer. I couldn’t imagine that there was enough food to take away the burning feeling of hunger in my stomach.


For my main meal, I had a black bean burger with fries. Of course the burning hunger feeling was soon replaced by feeling way too stuffed, thirsty from all the salt, and a little dizzy still. Wow, caffeine, you’ve truly outdone yourself. I’d love to say I learned my lesson, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to forget how much better my afternoon at work was thanks to my Starbucks infusion. Not good. Not good at all.


Dave got their giant German Schnitzel with Spaetzle and red cabbage – his favorite meal there. Even he got out his phone to document the madness. He finished it all, so we could bond over our post-meal discomfort at least.

Hello, America. Thanks for another over-sized Friday night dinner and subsequent nausea.

We drove over to the middle school and walked around a bit. It was absolutely beautiful outside and we had some time to kill.


I wish this picture could convey the amazing smell of freshly mowed grass, the sunset view on the mountains all around us, and the feeling of perfect, crisp, late-summer air. But it can’t. So here is me in front of Mt. Nittany.

The show was awesome and lasted almost three hours. When we got back, we were still uncomfortably full and still enamored with the night’s beauty, so we took a midnight walk around the neighborhood.

This morning, I’m back to treating my digestive system the way it wants me to – with organic berries in oatmeal and fresh, organic carrot and celery juice.




Filed under Turkish

East Side Meal

I’m in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow for work, which is exciting since I’ve never been here!

I arrived a little early to go to my favorite stores, Anthropologie and J.Crew, which we don’t have in State College.

I ended up on Pittsburgh’s adorable East Side, where I decided to have lunch at a deli.


I sat outside because it’s a gorgeous day – sunny and in the mid-70s. I ate vegetarian stuffed dolmas and a Greek pasta salad with feta and pine nuts. The organic carrot juice was delicious too.

Perfect fuel for an afternoon and evening of meetings and sightseeing!

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Filed under eating out, Travel

Goat Cheese for the Win

Ahh, I was working away at my desk this morning, thrilled as ever about the new job situation. My new, sad challenge is to give up on coffee. My obsession with it has gotten the best of me, and I think my liver will thank me if I look for alternatives to get my work-day fixes. It’s a sad, sad resolution.

But now I have black tea! And soon, my first home-made batch of Kombucha. This one is also a sad challenge in a way – I was spending way to much money on the prepared stuff. I’ll write a post on the home-brewing process soon!

Anyways, here I was, working away, and what was nice about the absence of coffee was that I didn’t have a sudden drop in energy and a sudden huge increase in hunger once the caffeine wore off. I did supplement with two cups of black tea this morning because let’s be real, I’m going to need something, but the effects were a lot milder. My big withdrawal days were Saturday and Sunday, so the worst is behind me.

This all resulted in me not even needing a mid-morning snack. Around 11:45 a.m., I got very hungry though, so I finished up my review of online non-credit program research and got out my packed lunch.

It was goat cheese time!


The spinach salad contained some quinoa (left-overs from my cooking marathon last night), halved cocktail tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, and tons of crumbled goat cheese. Wow, did this combo hit the spot! I could eat crumbled goat cheese every day and never get sick of it I think! Also, I think it’s funny that quinoa has not yet been adopted into Microsoft’s standard vocabulary, so my text program underlines it in red whenever I write it. Shows what a trendy, new-agey food we’re really dealing with here 😀

The banana that followed was a nice stomach-closer (not a word). Now to embark on a Monday afternoon full of meetings!

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Filed under lunch-prep, salads

Back to Basics

This week has been one of the most demanding in terms of work in a long time. A lot of it is self-imposed because I am trying to work on my freelancing and consulting portfolio outside of my regular Woolrich marketing job hours.

Between driving an hour each way to and from work, meetings and presentations for freelancing projects, and a few social events, it became clear fast that this week wouldn’t be one for making cooking and exercise priorities.

Dave noticed this too, and picked up my slack, of course. He sticks to basics way more than I do when it comes to lunch prep, which is probably a good thing because it keeps him sane when he has to focus on getting out the door on time in the morning.


For the last two days, I was reacquainted with an old friend: the PB&J in my lunch box. Not too shabby, actually. Except for the heavy-weighing gluten in my stomach, but that seems like a small price to pay for having lunch prep taken off my plate on a crazy day.

This morning, my day threatened to get even crazier when we got a call in our department to alert us that my Jeep had a flat tire. My co-worker/friend and I went to the lot to check it out – she had a tire gage and I am a 1.5/10 when it comes to car or mechanical know-how. The tire looked pretty bad, and we noticed a piece of metal sticking out on the side. When we leaned closer, we could actually hear the air leaving the tire, so I knew we’d have to do something asap instead of risk having to drive it to a repair place on the rim.

We went inside to call a few places and see if they could fit me in, but then learned through other co-workers that a customer service employee is married to the head of maintenance, and that she might be able to get them to help us. We went over to her and sure enough, she called her husband and hooked us up.

We drove down to the garage, where three maintenance guys were already waiting for us. Who knew Woolrich had a full-blown vehicle maintenance site for company vehicles?


I called Dave and wasn’t surprised to hear that we have a full spare in the back. The guys were beyond thrilled when they learned of this fact. Dave also told me that I could just call AAA, but by then I had worked out the on-site deal.


Not only did they put on the spare for me, they also fixed the old tire. They were really intrigued by my Oregon license plates and seemed to enjoy having us admire their mad skills.


Less than 20 minutes and we were all set! We still had time to grab coffee at the village cafe. I was so grateful I didn’t have to spend my afternoon waiting around at some car repair place in Lock Haven. Or coordinating with AAA. Plus it’s always great to meet new people at the company!

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Filed under lunch-prep

2-Minute Lunch Prep

I’m still too busy to spend much time on food prep, and I’m trying really hard to get away from my “6 hours is enough sleep” mentality.

So tonight, my lunch prep was all about my two favorite Trader Joe’s emergency supplies.


The lentil soup is deliciously vegan and very filling. I sometimes eat only half and save the rest for another day.


The lobster sushi comes with a fantastic lemon soy sauce instead of the standard soy, ginger, wasabi trio.


I put those in my lunch box along with a coconut milk yogurt, a banana, and some sesame honey almonds, and that was that. I am staying at work late again tomorrow for a freelancing meeting, so the sushi will be dinner.

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Filed under dairy-free, vegan