I’ve learned three things today. One: candy corn is a sign that human beings were meant to be happy. Two: my debit card is not the same as the one that I had in the game Mall Madness. Three: The grocery store is a battlefield. For your sake, I’ll only elaborate on the third lesson.
Meatloaf Burgers with Extra Sharp Cheddar
I used to love the grocery store. I really did. I could push a cart up and down those neatly lined aisles for hours if not half a day in quite the joyous state. It was an exploration of new food, a search for menu inspiration, a chance to kibitz with kindly strangers about the unit price of cereal. I probably knew the supermarket staff in an oddly intimate way. And having lived in four states in one year’s time, I know the price differences of product brands and markets so well that I should probably consider a trip to The Price is Right. I could really use a six piece dinette set.
Think of me as a supermarket maven, if you will.
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
It’s all well and good until I corral my carriage into a check out line. This begins the makings of a panic attack. I begin second guessing what I’ve piled in my cart. I begin whispering curse words at the organics. Why can’t you just be the same bleeping price as your conventionally grown cousin? I squint at the price displayed on the cash register, obscuring the total so that I can breath through the process. By the time I reached the parking lot I have sweated through my tee.
Tell me I’m not alone in this stress.
I should start a support group. For those of us who leave Stop and Shop in the same way we left the SATs years ago, uneasy and spent.
Korean Beef Bulgogi Tacos
The bad news is that the prices will more than likely only grow higher, I will continue to buy organic because it’s what I believe in, and I will also continue to view imported cheese and high quality dark chocolate as necessities. So I’ve got to swallow at least two sedatives and chin up.
The good news is that it truly is money well spent. Very few other expenses feel as worthwhile as knowing I’m feeding myself and the ones I love well. And on a creative level, I’m funding my hobbies: cooking and baking. I buy what I want, what I love, what inspires me, and what I will use.
So as many times as I unnecessarily work myself into a panic attack in the checkout line, thinking that I’ll soon have to consider selling my left kidney on eBay, the truth is that I won’t. Yet.
Spicy Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
My grocery shopping tips:
The night before you plan to shop, browse several of your local stores’ circulars for sales. Make a quick list of sales that interest you. Clip any coupons for products you frequently use.
Then spend 5-10 minutes dreaming up 5 or so recipes incorporating those sale items. If chicken thighs are on sale, but you have never cooked them before, do a quick search online for recipes using them. Try to tap into what flavors or cuisines you’re craving and build a meal around that. You should also think about ways to connect these meals through similar ingredients, so that one food can work double duty- meaning less fuss and less waste when it comes time to prepare the meals. For instance, if I roast a small chicken, I’ll be able to use the meat in a number of recipes. And if I roast root vegetables along side the chicken, I can use those leftovers in a casserole, a pasta dish, or even a sandwich.
Write down the 5-6 meals that you intend to make.
Now list the ingredients that you’ll need. Put the list into your smart phone or write it on a sheet of paper like me, because I’m hell-bent on killing the environment with my hand-written to do lists.
Time to head to the grocery store.
At this point, my list has generally veered from neatly and efficiently packed to ‘Oh but the circular never mentioned you, Mr. Ghirardelli.’ So don’t be like me. Stick to the list. It will make the checkout panic attack much more bearable.
And because I love you and want the best for you, this post has 5 healthy recipes to consider adding to your upcoming week’s dinner menus! Click on any photo to view the recipe. Enjoy!
How do you handle the grocery store? Are you like me? Do you lose it at the cash register? Please?