We have a lot of processed treats available here at work. Candy is always available at certain desks, clients send us holiday baskets full of sweets; heck, a few Valentine's Days back I came in and there was a chocolate fountain running in the lunchroom; if memory serves correctly, along with fruit there were even cupcakes to dip in it.
Caitlin wanted to lose a few pounds after the holidays (so say we all) and had been finding the salads-in-a-jar I sometimes bring to work visually appealing. Something about these jar lunches in particular draws a bit of attention, so you get the bonus of having an easy subject of conversation. So we planned a mission.
The rules-of-the-game that Caitlin and I decided on are:
- Eating the packed lunches I make and bring for both of us, and;
- No "free" snacks at work, even if they are healthy (sliced vegetables and venison summer sausage have been known to make appearances).
Caitlin isn't switching the way she eats for a reason beyond aesthetics, so she is looking at this more as a mission that she can "complete" rather than a lifestyle switch. Her husband cooks Paleo for them at home, so dinners are usually meat and vegetable based. "Mission Completion" for Caitlin will be losing about twelve pounds. We're also taking measurements, for fun!
Week One: January 6-10, 2014
For all of week one, we ate three varations on the trendiest lunchbox: salad in a jar! I find you can assemble enough for five days with most meats, or hardboiled eggs, on Sunday and they keep very well for the whole work week. The exceptions would be poultry and fresh fish - though smoked or canned would work!
First up was a:
Smokey dry-rubbed pork tenderloin apple and dijon mustard salad-in-a-jar
- Dry rub for pork -I make one from 1 T each of dry mustard powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and sea salt.
- 1 small or 1/2 a large boneless pork tenderloin chop for each jar you are preparing. A cost effective option can be to get a whole tenderloin on sale and then, with assistance from your kitchen scale, slice it into 4-6 oz pieces.
- Mayonnaise - I make the super easy Paleo Mayo 2.0
- Dijon mustard - I buy PC brand which does not contain sugar.
- 1L wide-mouthed mason jar for each lunch.
- Veggies and salad greens of your choice.
- Preheat your broiler to high for about 10 minutes.
- Coat pork chops in dry rub and flatten by smacking the meat with the palm of your hand into a hard surface. Put chops on cast iron pan or baking sheet, and put in oven until browned/fat is crisped; flip until other side is browned. Each side only takes a few minutes, so you'll want to keep a close eye on them.
- Then, in wide-mouthed, 1L mason jars layer the salad in in order of heavy/wet ingredients to light/delicate in the following order:
- Meat: sliced pork chop
- Sauce: mayonaisse, apple butter, and mustard
- Heavy veggies: I used shredded carrot, shredded purple cabbage, canned unsweetened rosebud beets, chopped dill pickles
- Light veggies: I used baby mixed salad greens and baby spinach