Let me just tell you that grocery blogging is about as exciting as it sounds.
There's the list of things to buy, list of things to photograph, the taking of notes, the sending and receiving of incidental texts and the mental management of, "...I'm probably forgetting something." I swear to Cosby, this particular trip to the grocery store would not have been possible without my iPhone and my new favorite app, ShopShop. I know what you're thinking, "I could just write down my grocery list." Sure, but how many grocery lists get written and then forgotten on the coffee table. And then, how many of you leave your phone at home when you run out to the store? I don't know the math, but I'm sure the overlap is minimal and incidental.
|Oh, I love the way that feels!|
We will discuss the creation of a grocery list at a later date. In the mean time, here we go.
First of all, get the reusable bags! Here's the thing about saving the planet, it's great for people who don't even care about saving the planet! (Not that I don't care about saving the planet, I just understand that sometimes it can be difficult to see big-picture.) If you, like me, make a competitive game out of trying to make only one trip from your car to your house with hundreds of pounds of groceries, this will up your chances of winning significantly! Seriously, I bought $45 worth of groceries and my skilled check-out-lady, Lucy, got everything into two bags. TWO! And when you have this boss-level greeting you before you can make it into your living room, you will respond with a heart of gratitude.
Passion Pit's, Little Secrets. It just will give you a good, I've-really-got-my-life together vibe. But that might only work for me. If I could get a sampling of people to try that out for me, I'd be interested to know the results.
When you get into the store, try to stage your plan of attack so that you end at the freezer section. Not only because it makes scientific sense, but also because when you have a cart full of stuff, already, you'll be less likely to throw in all of that expensive, gross, pre-made food.
I like to walk around the perimeter of the store, first, and load up on produce, fresh meat, bakery stuffs.
Produce section: First, get whatever is on your list. Then grab a few fruits that you know you like. Apples, who doesn't like apples? Strawberries? This way when you're watching Fringe and feel like eating something sweet, you can eat an apple (which provides you with protein, fiber, and deliciousness) instead of mindlessly gnawing a box of pop tarts (which provides you with diabetes).
Meat section: This place has intimidated me for ages and so I have avoided it as much as possible. Meat always seems so expensive! But people like it so I think you should probably buy it if you ever want to eat it. If you're confused, just look at these two things:
If you can't find any of that meat that is affordable to you (and trust me, I've walked away from this section several times), then walk a little further and you will come upon something that I only recently discovered.
Bakery Section: Okay, in all reality, you should just avoid this section. Go to the back of the store where they keep the day-old rack. That bread is just as good, it's just cheaper. Keep it in the fridge and it will last for about a week and a half (maybe, I'm so bad at estimating time).
Once you've got fresh food, then you can go into what I just now dubbed, "Preservative Island". Let me remind you that this is not a trip to the grocery store for the healthiest eaters on the planet. This is a reasonable trip to the store for someone who has recently entered into the world of adulthood so let's not pretend like this person isn't going to, at some point, be looking for the Spaghetti-o's or the Kraft macaroni and cheese. You know, I can remember a time when macaroni and cheese cost less than a quarter. Those days are gone, my friends.
Let me take you to a little section, though, that is a more grown-up version of macaroni and cheese. That's right, the Rice A Roni section. It's the San Fransisco/ McPherson, Kansas treat.
So, sometimes in life you think "I want to have lasagna for dinner" or something and it's all very thought out and organized and you make a list of all of the ingredients and then procure them. And sometimes you get home from work and you're like, "Crap! I'm hungry now." And you'll need to lean on something that has already been procured. And in that instance, it's good to have a box of Rice a Roni. I'm not suggesting that you eat this every day, though.
Other things, I always keep for those "oh crap" moments: a box of pasta and a jar of Prego in my cupboard. A bag of frozen chicken in my freezer (I'll tell you later about how easy it is to make dinner with frozen chicken). And a bag of potatoes in my potato drawer (not everyone has a potato drawer and I feel really bad about that).
I also, when I'm thinking about it, grab all of the non-perishable ingredients for making the simplest pot of chili. This is, for me, the gastronomical equivalent of stuffing a five dollar bill in the pocket of your coat before you put it away for the season.
When I, one day, do actually make this chili I promise to give you the full recipe. In the meantime, if you buy these things, just wing it. And toss in a packet of taco seasoning. It's beans and tomatoes. What could go wrong? This is my kitchen philosophy.
Now, let's talk about those taters.
You can cut it up in squares, boil it for about 7 minutes, drain off the water, add some butter and a splash of milk and mash it up with a fork and you just made yourself some mashed potatoes. How easy is it to make mashed potatoes? Well I just gave you the recipe--in one sentence. You can do this, you guys!
Let's talk about, specifically, the Dillon's store. I like to go here because they put things on sale and they don't do that at Walmart (in our tiny town, we have two choices for grocers). Granted, some things are more expensive but really not everything. And they put stuff on clearance. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't recommend that you buy a lot of food on clearance. But you can use your discretion, probably. I would stay away from on-clearance dairy unless I'm for sure going to use it that day (it's a mental block for me, it may be okay for you). Veggies, though, I always buy on clearance. Mostly because they're vegetables so I'm going to use them soon anyway and also because you can get introduced to new things.
Now, go home, put every thing away and revel at your full pantry and try not to eat everything all at once.
Do you ever stash money in your coats (sometimes I put it in books) for you to find later?
What are your grocery essentials?
Are there any recipes that I've mentioned here that you really want me to expound upon?