Tuesday, January 19, 2010
As noted, I’m a little bit behind with this project, since I started without anything being ready. So now that it’s Week Three, in an effort to not get any further behind, I’ll try to give a little update on what happened in Week One.
Week One started with leftovers from the holidays and the prior week. However I was trying to turn over a new healthy leaf for the fresh new year so I went to Compare on Tuesday 1/5 for some fruit. They have great prices on citrus, and also I really like Valencia oranges and for some reason Whole Foods hardly ever has Valencia oranges, they only have navel oranges, which I don’t like.
While I was there I got a bag of onions for a dollar and a butternut squash, which doesn’t sound like what Calabaza (tropical) would be but that’s what I came home with. Maybe some of you Spanish speakers out there can tell me what I actually paid for. I also got a lovely, very large green pepper.
One of the fascinating things I learned over the course of the past year, which I will write about more later, is that eating whole grains with no salt or sugar really puts the kibosh on food cravings. After having spent a few weeks eating lots of sugar and fat and tasty things that make me want to eat more tasty things, I decided to start out the new year with the Rice Diet approach of fruit and rice to get things back under control.
This approach really does work, but creates some problems of its own, which, as noted, I will discuss in detail in a separate post.
So a few days of that and then I decided to start things off with one of my best, cheapest recipes, the vegetarian chili.
This required a trip to Whole Foods for tomatoes (listed on the receipt as All Purpose Crushe) and spices (Basil Leaf, Oregano Leaf, Chili Powder). I wanted to make cornbread to go with the chili, so I bought some cornmeal (Organic Yellow Cor). I also bought a jalapeno for the chili, and some millet (Organic Hulled Mil) and almonds (Blanched Sliced Al) to eat for breakfast.
I’ve been trying to figure out the millet thing, it seems like it has potential if I can figure out the best way to cook it and what to serve it with. I’m making progress but not quite ready yet for the full treatise on millet. You can stay tuned for that.
I also bought some bananas, and I got ten cents back for bringing my own bag. Yay, Whole Foods.
So I made chili and cornbread on Wednesday and ate that on Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, and Saturday evening. On Wednesday I used up a little bit of white rice I had left that I wanted to finish up and ate some of the chili over that and then another small bowl on its own. On Thursday and Saturday I served it over brown rice, which I had in the pantry. I ate the cornbread on Wednesday with the chili, and also as snacks and for breakfast over the weekend. I actually like cornbread with peanut butter, which I think probably sounds weird but is actually very good. If you like peanut butter.
Other meals for the week were mostly grains (millet with raisins and almonds; oatmeal) along with fruit (tangerine, orange, banana).
On Friday, I was over near the Whole Foods running other errands and decided to stop for things that I was going to get on Wednesday but decided not to because I had left my wallet with the gift card at home and was spending cash I had in my pocket which was going to throw off my carefully designed system of using the gift card for all grocery purchases so I would know how much I had left for the month. (This is actually a strategy I use all the time, not just for this project. I put $100 or so on a Whole Foods gift card then use that for all my food purchases. I tend to spend more when I’m using a credit card or debit card than when I’m using cash, but I was running into a problem with not having cash when I needed food and everything getting all complicated. So this is my solution and I have to say it’s been working well and I really like it.)
I dig pomegranates and they’re only cheap a for a few months. I buy them when they get down to $2 each (or less), and they had gone up to $2.50 but I got one anyway figuring it would be my last for the year. But now they’re back to $2 so I’m not sure about that. The pomegranates at Compare were the same price as at Whole Foods, but the ones at Whole Foods looked better.
I also bought some more bananas and figs (Unsulphured Turkis) and a Gala apple which was supposed to be on special however after getting home I discovered I was charged the regular price not the special price. This actually happens fairly often, but if you catch it, they give you the item for free. Usually I don’t notice until it’s too late. The one time I remember bringing it up was when I bought three things, and two of them had the wrong price — one was less than it should have been and one was more. That one I did take to customer service, because I noticed it before I left the store (the total I paid was not what I expected to pay, so I looked at the receipt after I was through the line) and one of the things that was more was something I only bought because it was on special. So I got the full price back and had some free food. But generally I think it evens out, sometimes you’re charged less and sometimes you’re charged more.
This happens to be one where I don’t love Gala apples, so I definitely wouldn’t have bought one for $2.49/lb, I know I only would have bought it on special, and $2.49/lb is not an on-special price. They almost always have some kind of apple or pear that is less than the rest — sometimes as low as $.99/lb, usually $1.69 or $1.99, so that’s what I get.
On Saturday 1/9 I made scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms (before putting the mushrooms in the freezer) and a smoothie made from stuff in the freezer along with some juice leftover from a Scrap party that I brought home and almost forgot about. I’ll give the universal smoothie recipe in another post. It’s good.
I also tried to get through some soy milk I had opened, having that with cornflakes left from when I made cookies last month. Boy did that taste like candy after a week of no salt, no sugar added grains! Holy cow.
And Sunday was a leftovers-from-the-freezer day — I had some chicken-leek soup and some whole wheat pizza, which I have to say I’m not a huge fan of. I think if I’m going to have pizza, I’m just going to have pizza. I’m willing to make it healthier by using less pepperoni and cheese and more vegetables, but I’m going to have to draw the line at the crust. I made that with a friend who was visiting and interested in eating more whole grains, and I’ve tried it before and not loved it but I was willing to give it another shot. But the final verdict is now in, and whole wheat pizza crust does not make the cut.
So that’s more or less Week One, and I’m sure this whole project is going to be just as fascinating as that. I know everyone will be hanging on the edge of their seats waiting for Week Two. Hoo boy.