Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Gong family aspirational phrase of the last 8 years: "We're going to stick to our budget this month".

Here's my current dilemma. The easiest category for me to overspend on is food. The category I always want to overspend on is entertainment. In our family, these budgets are interrelated. In an attempt to keep the food budget on track, we don't count restaurants as food but as entertainment. However, whenever we do something for entertainment (a long morning outing or evening out), I always want to have yummy food as part of it.

Peanut butter sandwiches, carrot sticks, and string cheese do not count as yummy, people.

When I say yummy, I mean the cute little bistro on the corner, or the sizzling taco stand across the street, or the Indian buffet just down the road. But if entertainment always means food, then we end up over our entertainment budget after the second weekend in the month, without really being entertained all that much.

So here's my challenge to you: Give me a list of super-delicious box lunches that I'll actually look forward to eating on our family outings. For reference, here are some things you should know about my food tastes:

1. Hold the pickles
2. Mushy makes me gag
3. I often crave hot lunch over cold
4. I'm always looking for ways to pack in fruits and veggies
5. I usually have approximately 5 seconds to prepare lunches on the day of the outing

... Go! ...


Kristin McElderry said...

i like making a batch of pasta salad or something similar on the weekend and then eating over the week. Chicken salad with crackers/croissants? Bring a wheel of fancy cheese and crackers with smoked sausage? I also frequently bring leftovers/non sandwich items for lunch (ie chili, soup, rice + name a yummy indian food). Or, sometimes John and I have a boring lunch/dinner, but then treat ourselves just for dessert (cheaper that a whole meal?)Good luck!

candice said...

We always include a nice trip out when we have our "outings". Sorry, no help from me. Eating is half the fun!! ;)

Megan said...

I married a guy whose indulgence in life is going out to eat. If I suggest bringing a lunch he talks about how the reason that he works is to enjoy his life and go out to eat. I have learned to accept that on family outings, but when it is just me I sometimes buy a pre-made salad at the grocery store. They can be pretty cheap, but have the "eating out" feeling.

Maren said...

Like Kristin, I was going to suggest pasta salad. My sister-in-law taught me the most delicious one I've ever had: bowtie pasta (cooled), olive oil, pepper, chopped tomato and cucumber, mozzarella. We also like to do rice and kimchi or jiaozi/baozi. Or baked falafel balls could be made in advance, then paired with last minute fixings. Though that might fall into the mushy category. Pancake squares make a fun, portable morning treat. Cheese and baguette?

Sarah said...

I think you should just increase your entertainment budget.