Monday, January 10, 2011

Grocery Store Confessional - 8th Ed. - The Aftermath

Well, aren't we just all abuzz over grocery shopping? We would make our Mama's so proud.

Here are some answers to a few questions that cropped up today:

"I need to learn some tricks from you! I need some snack bar recipes...I feel like I am wasting tons of money on these prepared boxed snack things!! Help. - Beth"

Beth, I hear you. Snacks remain tricky territory for me. I tend to not purchase the individually packaged stuff, mostly because I'm a cheapskate. I will say this: We do not do a lot of snacking throughout the day. Now that Calvin is in p.m. kindergarten, we have to eat lunch between 11-11:30, so a morning snack is unnecessary. The kids have a snack after school and sometimes I join them. I am a stickler about wanting them to actually be hungry for meals. It's amazing what kids will be motivated to try when they are hungry! We have dinner around 5:30 and they go to bed early, so no bedtime snack. Is that mean? Don't answer that.

After school snacks are typically granola bars (the chewy, reduced sugar kind), cheese sticks or string cheese, yogurt, fruit, crackers (Cheez-Its - Holla!), sometimes turkey, a cookie if I have baked some, etc... They usually ask for a second snack and I almost always say no.

Cory and I always - always - always have a late-night snack. Usually cereal, but sometimes chips ans salsa, or an entire bowl of guacamole.

"I must ask though, where's the meat? 1 lb of turkey and a pack of chicken isn't that much. Were you already stocked up in the freezer?" - Jennie from the Ville

I have ground beef stocked in the freezer and it's still there because I just don't use it very often. If it's any consolation our pound of lunch meat lasted 2 days and the family-pack of chicken covered two meals. And we eat meatless frequently. I have no idea why. We just do.

"How do you determine your weeks grocery shopping buys? Do you plan your meals for the week on a certain day and then go? If so, how do you plan your meals?" - Giosmama

I look through my recipe books and decide what sounds good, then I write it down. I pay no mind to what happens to be on sale, which is proof that my total could be much lower. However, I have come to learn about myself that planning everything around the sales ad takes away some of the joy in all of this for me, and joy is worth something, right? I then shop with my list and buy just what's on the list. One week of meals at a time. And I never clip coupons.

"I buy my chicken stock at Aldi where it is MUCH cheaper than at Meijer. Just a thought. " - Anonymous

Our Aldi only has chicken broth! No stock. No fair. I often just swap broth for stock in a recipe (and I always buy my broth from Aldi!), but this time, I wanted to see what all the hype was. It definitely made a difference in the broccoli cheese soup!

"Love your blog, and someday when you go to Grandma's Pantry tell her Lucy said hi! ( she's my sister, Anna Mae) :)" - Lucy

This is not a question, but it shore did make me smile.

"Aldi. i've only been once and i didn't realize that you have to have a quarter to get the cart (at least here you do) and i didn't have one and i had a cranky toddler. it resulted in me running frantically around the store, toddler on one pants leg, filling my arms with just whatever. i've been too skeered to go back." - Ellen

Ellen, I do know about the quarter thing and I still went last week with nary a quarter in my pocket. I grabbed a giant empty box and hauled it around like a lunatic. It got so heavy and cumbersome that I dropped it one. It was awful. Thank you for understanding. And bonus points for your use of "skeered".

"I should learn to love vegetables - can you help me?" - Annie Banannie

If it were up to me, the whole world would love veggies! I am their biggest fan, save the radish. What are your thoughts on pickled beets? We'll start there.

Now, since some of you asked, here's some of what we ate last week:

Alright, we actually had this tonight, but it was a carry-over from last week's menu and it was GOOD. I will make it again. And again. The kids gobbled it up. The sauce was magnificent and the beans were an interesting addition. I also threw in a small can of pineapple chunks in juice at the end, because I grew up with food-court Panda Express as the Golden Standard for Asian food and that's what they do. Recipe here. (I did not find the recipe here, but she does a great job of breaking it down!)

Homemade pizza on whole-wheat crust. Guess which side was mine?

Oh, I do love some green in January.

This meal was the bomb-diggity. Basil orange chicken with pearl couscous and sugar snap peas in the dreamiest sauce evah.

Cory liked it, but did not declare, "This could be served in a restaurant", so I pouted a little. Also, TWO grocery stores were plum out of basil, so I used dried. I can only imagine how much better it would have been with the real deal.

My "Serves-18" broccoli cheese soup was quite lovely, as well. We had it for dinner once and for lunch about 80 times. In just one week.

Finally, I made scones for the first time and they were delish. I found the recipe for these Cranberry Orange scones on those little recipe card holders in the produce section at Meijer.

There you have it!

Peace out.

ps - Is anyone else watching The Bachelor? Girl, do not tell the whole world what a failure you are at dating! Do not eek out through your tears, "I think I'm just meant to be a-a-aloooooone!"
Oh, this stuff never gets old!