Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat. Going to the grocery store is therapeutic, as long as I have the cash on hand. I treat it like a date with myself, really. I have my list and pen, and I wander up and down the aisles perusing everything. I’m not stressed because I shop for a couple to three weeks at a time, so I know I’m going to be spending a little time there. People who don’t say excuse me or seem exasperated by my strolling drive me batty. If you don’t like it, go around! Or say excuse me! Anyway.
When I get home from the store, I unpack all the groceries from my reusable bags. When I worked grocery, I used to get annoyed at people who brought their own bags because honestly, it takes longer to bag their food. But since I live in the third floor of my apartment building, cloth bags carry much much more and I’m almost always able to get everything in one trip.
I usually spend a couple hours preparing food once I get home. I know if I just put everything away, I’ll forget what I have. I usually make my list based on what sounds good, and on food I can use in more than one dish. I try to clean out the fridge and do dishes before shopping so I can get right to slicing and dicing.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I prepare “in bulk”. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I can’t seem to cook for just one person. It gets expensive and time-consuming. I grew up watching my mom, an amazing cook, prepare food for 5-6 people, and still have leftovers. I follow suit, and it works out for me. The other great thing about doing this is that when Aaron and I are living together again very soon (yay!!!), my grocery budget likely won’t go up much.
All the following items are healthy, but I haven’t taken the time to calculate the nutrition facts.
I always have fresh fruit on the table to munch on. Apples and bananas are a good snack to-go, and they stay good for a long time. As the bananas ripen, I use them in smoothies and when they’re almost too ripe, I use them in baking.
Fruit salad! One of my favorites. Apple, pineapple (canned), blackberries, strawberries, grapes.
HyVee has an amazing health food section complete with bulk foods like tea, spices, flour, candy, etc. I decided to get some muesli (oatmeal mix with dried berries and such) and steel-cut oats. I mixed them together with what I had left of the quick oats, some dried cranberries, raisins and ground flax seed. Flax seed is a great source of Omega-3’s, and with water you can use it as a substitute for oil in baking.
I’ve been obsessed lately with reusing containers. You can use this mix as oatmeal in the morning, in cookies, muffins, or pancakes.
Mmm. Stir fry mix. Snow peas, bean sprouts, yellow onion, red pepper, leftover yellow squash and zucchini from the other night. You can use this over rice, noodles (I’m excited to try rice noodles!), in a salad, in a tortilla with grilled chicken.. the possibilities are endless.
I also put together a salad mix of spinach, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, and English cucumber. YUM.
Trail mix: Lightly salted peanuts, unsalted whole almonds, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple handfuls of honey roasted almonds.
So there ya go! It may be a little more expensive to buy all the produce, etc, but in the end I think it balances out when you don’t eat out so often or buy all the junk.