Minified Meals: School Lunch, Grilled Cheese Edition

A few weeks ago, I posted about my intention to make my own lunches this semester. So far, no good…although I have acquired this lunchbox, which looks like an owl (although I got it on super clearance, so it was not in fact $11. I also failed to take a picture of my own lunchbox, but some other intrepid blogger did, so here you go):

Image from

I freely admit that this is not the lunchbox I would have chosen had it not been on super clearance. But grad students can’t afford to be choosy…besides, there are worse things than riding the bus every morning with an America colored owl lunchbox. At least it’s not an eagle…that would be too much for 6 am, by far.

So. In addition to collecting affordable children’s lunch wares (stylin!) I’ve been collecting sandwich recipes to add to said lunchbox. Here are a few that I plan to try out this week (click images for recipes at their original source):

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese:

Image and recipe, funny enough, are from

I think this one should be just as good cold in my lunch as it would warm from the griddle. Here’s hoping, anyway!


  • 1 (4-oz.) goat cheese log, softened
  • 6 whole grain bread slices
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons red pepper jelly
  • 3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh watercress or arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Spread goat cheese on 1 side of 3 bread slices.
  2. Spread pepper jelly on 1 side of remaining bread slices; layer with strawberries, basil leaves, and watercress.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top with remaining bread, goat cheese sides down.
  5. Cook sandwiches in a large, lightly greased nonstick skillet over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Beets and Goat Cheese Sandwich

I have such a good feeling about this one.


  • 1-2 Beets
  • Olive Oil
  • Arugula
  • Goat Cheese
  • Butter
  • French Bread
  • 1/2 ounce sherry (optional)
  • Salt

The simple version of this recipe is to roast the beets first, then mix it all together for a delicious grilled cheese, but she’s got much more detailed instructions on her website (and I plan to follow them…really, I do)
So I guess I’m on a goat cheese kick! I plan to make my sandwiches the night before class, or in the morning while I’m waiting on the French press. Wish me luck! What about all of you? Anybody trying hard to live up to a new resolution?


Back to School: School Lunch Edition

It’s back to school time for me. This is our first full week of classes, and I have mixed feelings about starting back. A new school year is always exciting, but I’m having a hard time letting go of summer. What a wonderful summer it was! So much swimming and reading and napping and visiting family and friends. We took some great trips, too! Now I’m trying to get back to my school routine, with reading and getting up early and packing my lunch.

Confession: school lunch has always been a problem for me. It often involves something from the hospital cafe right behind my building. They have a fair number of healthy options (wraps, salads, fruits and veggies) but they’re expensive, and they’re packaged in a lot of plastic. I’ve been thinking about how to make my school lunches more affordable and sustainable. One problem has been heating things up – I can pack lunch from home, but I don’t like to microwave things in plastic containers. That’s where a serendipitous gift from my friend Adrienne comes in. Image

She brought me this beautiful bowl back from a summer long trip to Michigan. I do love handmade pottery. And now I have a bowl to keep in my office and heat my lunch in! I also brought in a fork and a mug from home, so that I can make tea and don’t have to use the disposable forks they provide in the cafe. Image

The glaze on the outside of the bowl reminds me of mountains. The mug (plus my stockpile of tea) should help me keep up with my plan to quit the diet sodas…which has been one of the hardest habit changes I’ve ever made. I’ve turned my corner of our  office (which I share with several other grad students – we chat. we confide. we share office supplies) into a little nest, with family photos on the bulletin board, a watercolor calendar for each month of the school year, and tickets from all the music and dance performances I go to on campus:


I can’t say this means I’m totally ready for the back-to-school rush…but at least I’ve got my lunch situation under control! I’ve also been checking out some vegetarian lunch ideas and recipes, like these from vegkitchen, and these from the family kitchen.  I think that on the days that I don’t have leftovers to reheat, these should give me some ideas! I hope they give you guys some ideas, too – what’s your favorite school/office packable lunch?