Lunchtime! Halfway through your day of garage sale perusing, your stomach starts talking to you. Looks like it's time to stop for a little food and drink break. But going to McDonald's is a waste of money and calories, when you could have a much more delicious and nutritious lunch right in your car. Prepare one of these yummy meals ahead of time and you won't even have to leave the sale-rich neighborhood for chow time!
You may consider investing in a small cooler or insulated lunch bag to leave in the car. Some of the meals on this list will be just fine if they warm up in the sealed car, but others will be pretty nasty. Even a $3 styrofoam container with a couple of blue ice packs should do the trick and keep your lunch nice and cool.
Onto the recipes!
Well, the first isn't really a recipe -- it's just a classic suggestion: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They're cheap, easy to make, and virtually mess-free (unless you have one of those kids), so they make great car food. Unless you have a great aversion to crunchy peanut butter, that's probably a better way to go, because the peanut pieces will give you some extra protein. Additionally, you want to make the sandwich with a lot of peanut butter, especially if you're using white bread, because otherwise it will have little substance and won't fill you for long.
If you like sandwiches but want something a little heartier, you could make a deli sandwich. For optimum protein and energy, you should have wheat bread (whole wheat is preferable and more filling, but many people dislike the stronger flavor), several slices of a hearty deli meat (like ham or roast beef, or extra turkey), some variety of sliced cheese, mayonnaise and/or mustard, and a green of some sort (sprouts, lettuce, spinach, etc.). Pickles or olives are optional but delicious, if you enjoy a salty burst of flavor, and you can always add tomatoes and onions or other vegetables for some extra nutrients.
Mix up some tuna in a container with a blob of mayonnaise, some chopped pickles, a few chopped slivers of onion, and brown mustard, and pack some Ritz crackers to go with for a hearty and made-to-go meal. The biggest problem with tuna (besides some folks' distaste towards it) is the smell. You'll want to pack some Altoids or mint gum for afterwards -- no host wants you to blow fishy breath in their face as you barter!
Able to subsist on lighter fare? Slice two or three varieties of cheese and pack a baggie full of crackers for a lunch you can nibble as you go. Cheese is best kept cool, as the oils will seep out as it heats up (think of the grease all over a pizza!), so this is a good lunch if you have a cooler or lunch bag. Likewise, a selection of sliced fruit will give you a boost of natural sugar energy. The best fruits to bring are apples, pears, oranges, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries; the first three will brown a little but stay firm, and the latter three are less prone to being squished than most finger-fruits.
For the sweet tooth, make up a batch of filling but delectable "energy cookies." Make oatmeal raisin cookies, but add in chocolate chips, dates, and two or three of your favorite nut varieties (sliced or chopped, as preferred). The goodies will help fill you up, like an energy bar -- only sweeter and homemade!
What other great recipes have you made to take along on garage sale expeditions? Share with the community here in the comments. And stop by GarageSaleCow.com, where you'll find yard sale listings in your area for free!