Musings

Productivity and Grocery Insecurity

That about sums up yesterday.

Besides the usual morning stuff – coffee, breakfast, making lunches for people, getting everyone out the door to work or school on time, doing most of the laundry, and ironing all of Bill’s clothes – I clipped coupons, perused flyers, planned my attack, and headed off to the stores.

Our kitchen fridge/freezer has been out of commission for a couple of weeks, so all our food has been crammed into the smaller refrigerator in the basement.  It’s referred to as “the beer fridge” because it’s over in the little bar area, and it’s been retrofitted with a tap.  Bill took the little shelf holder thingies out a while ago (they kept catching on the plastic bag that had our brining bacon in it every time we had to flip it over) so all our remaining food from the refrigerator ended up sort of piled on top of each other in a box and a couple of insulated cooler bags.

We didn’t buy a whole lot of food for a while.  Nothing that needed refrigeration, anyway.  We kind of lived off of some of the stuff we’d canned or frozen over the summer.  We were in a cooking slump, of sorts.

And last Friday, when our refrigerator was back up and running, and I’d moved things back upstairs, it became obvious that we needed a good restocking.

So off I went, armed with my list, my coupons, and a supply of shopping bags.

I went to Target first (no, this will not be an itemized list of everything I bought), and while I was there I got wall clocks for the kids.  They both like to read in bed (joy!) and while I love that SO much about them, they need their sleep, and I don’t want them (especially Alex) staying up til Bill and I are heading upstairs and he switches off the lamp when he hears our footsteps.  I also don’t feel like running up the stairs to tell them to shut the lights off, and running up again to make sure they kept them off.  So I got them each a clock.  I probably should have done this before, but it didn’t seem terribly necessary.  Anyway, they are both delighted with their clocks, and when I put them to bed, I told them each what time their light needed to be out.  And they were both very happy to comply.  (Yeah, I know, this will change, but I’m enjoying it while I can.)

This morning they were both up and out of bed much earlier than usual.  Alex got up to work on a project for school before six, and Julia was downstairs around 6:15.  She said she’d looked at her clock and thought “I should be up by now!”  (Not really – usually I have to wake them both up at 6:30.)

Anyway – clocks – success!

Next, I was off to the grocery store.  There were several sales going on that I wanted to take advantage of, and I needed a lot of milk because I was planning to make yogurt and cheese later. 

I ended up with a cart that was overflowing with stuff. 

And I have to confess – I bought things that weren’t organic or healthy.

There, I said it.

I realize no one cares, probably, but as I’m shopping and putting packages of Ramen noodles (10 for $10! – ten packages of 6, that is) in the cart (Bill and Julia love them), I’m feeling like a criminal.  Like a fraud. 

Here I am with my little website and my homemade cheese and homemade this and homemade that posts…and I’m buying Ramen noodles.

And – oh this is painful to admit – one of those family-pack sized bags of assorted chips.  YES!  YES!  I BOUGHT STUFF THAT’S BAD FOR US!  AND I KNOW I’M GOING TO CULINARY HELL BECAUSE OF IT!

And I bought eggs and meats that might not have come from happy animals.  Animals that didn’t get to eat the right foods or frolic and play.

AND I FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE OF IT.

Please don’t hate me.

But sometimes…sometimes cost wins out over conscience.  And so sometimes I buy the meat at the grocery store.

I don’t want to.  But we are not swimming in a pool of cash here, and so…sometimes we buy the meat/poultry at the grocery store.

I know I shouldn’t.  I don’t want to.  But sometimes I do.

So there I am, my grocery cart full to overflowing with good things and bad things, and I’m in the checkout line waiting my turn…looking at magazine covers, at the mylar halloween balloons here and there, and – oh no!

Someone I know!

Before I can stop myself, I call out “hi” to her, and then I wince at my own stupidity.

She’ll see!

She’ll see all the Bad Stuff in my cart!

She’ll know I’m a fraud!

She’ll know I buy bad stuff!

She’ll know I don’t have my family’s health at the top of my list of priorities, nor do I have the happiness of cows and chickens near the top either, because I bought unhappy meat!

“Get anything good?” she asked from two rows over.

“Nah,” I shrugged.  “Not really.”  (pleasedon’tlookclosely pleasedon’tlookclosely pleasedon’tlookclosely)

I consider the ramifications of shoving my cart against the slower couple in front of me, just to get my cart of badness out of her line of vision, but decide I don’t want to be brought up on charges of assault with deadly groceries.  Everything in the cart would probably end up listed in the arrest report…or in the police beat section of the local paper.  EVERYONE WOULD KNOW!

So I waited patiently until my turn to load my stuff onto the belt – out of sight.

Moments later, she was opening the little soda display fridge at the end of my aisle, reaching for something in there.

“I don’t drink this,” she said, “it’s for a recipe.”

I realized two things:

1.  I hadn’t even given it a thought – her reaching for a soda.  It didn’t matter to me.  Hmmm…perhaps no one really cares what I’m buying, either…..

2.  I had too much contraband in my cart to blame it on any one recipe, so I couldn’t use that excuse myself.  Maybe I could change it slightly:  “I don’t eat this stuff – I just feed it to my family.”  Yeah, that should work.  I tucked it away for future shopping trips.

Anyway, I drove home slightly crushed, slightly disappointed in myself for buying sad meat and cereal that might not have entirely pure ingredients. 

But I try.  I really do.  Sometimes, though, it just gets overwhelming.  And I cave.

~~~

Three hours, just about.  Shopping.  I got home, unloaded the truck, and eventually put nearly everything away. 

I’d roasted the last of our tomatillos that morning, and now they were cool, so I put them in freezer bags and packed them in the freezer.  I love packing things away for future meals. 

Speaking of that, I’d also bought bulk quantities of corn and flour tortillas.  I divided the tortillas into groups of ten, then used that press and seal stuff to pack them airtight and add to the freezer. 

What else…froze the last of our hot peppers.  A bag of green, a bag of red. 

And I made flavored instant oatmeal.  Two kinds.  Like the packets, only cheaper and better.  Nothing fake.  I’m pretty excited about that.  I got the recipe here.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but you don’t really have to.  It’s one of those things you can immediately tinker with and make it your own.

I made two versions – a brown sugar cinnamon blend and a cinnamon apple blend.  Julia had some of the cinnamon apple this morning – she said it was great.  Yay – no packets, no artificial ingredients, and only about a third the cost.

I just need to figure out how to create all-natural tiny dinosaur eggs and I’ll be The Best Mom in the Universe…

I also cooked up a lot of milk.  I made some lactic cheese (2 gallons of milk) and yogurt. 

It’s weird – I’ve never made yogurt.  But my sister started making it weeks (or longer) ago, and I finally gave it a try.

It’s draining right now, and I’m not entirely sure I did it right, so I’m waiting before I tell you about it.  Sorry.

What else…we had tacos for dinner.  Exciting, I know.  I used ground turkey and shredded zucchini.  The zucchini came from our supply in the freezer.  I cooked that first to get rid of most of the water in it, and then added the meat.  Once the seasoning packet was added, you’d never know there a vegetable in there.

The funny thing is, my kids knew anyway, because I told them.  They don’t care – they know we toss shredded zucchini into pasta dishes, too.  It’s just an easy way to include another vegetable without cleaning another pan.

I also put together a lentil soup.  Not for dinner – but just to have on hand and then freeze if we don’t eat it all soon. 

So that was last night.  And this morning I made a double batch of my version of this version of oat berry bars.  And I’ve got a triple batch of bread in the works.  Nothing fancy.  Just something for sandwiches and toast.

I think that’s enough of the food for the moment.

I’ve got so many other things to work on, too.  Overdue posts to write…a few changes to the website…stuff to make/photograph/post to my Etsy stores…a yard sale to throw together (fingers crossed) for this weekend. 

So that’s where I am at the moment.

I will be sharing my recipes for my versions of the flavored oatmeal and the bars – I just haven’t finished taking pictures of them.

And that’s all for the moment.

I think I might have some soup now.

3 thoughts on “Productivity and Grocery Insecurity

  1. really, no one cares what the (*&$ you feed your family. i think we care more about whether it’s sustainable, good for the environment, etc. after all, that affects the rest of us too. if your family has some preservatives running around their cute little veins, big deal. that’s your business and theirs.

    now your CATS … that’s another matter. i hope they get the best of the best!

  2. I have had that exact feeling at the grocery store. My excuse (might work for you) is that the bad stuff (chips, cookies, gummy bears) are for the break room cabinet at work. People bring in what they want (or, in my case, what I have coupons for) and we’re all free to snack from it.

    Thanks for the instant oatmeal recipe! I’m hooked on that stuff and would love to save money on it and make up for my bad shopping habits in the process. 😉

  3. I don’t really care what other people think about what I have in my cart. My husband and I are still in the group of co-workers who are NOT overweight. Years ago I ran into a co-worker and I was getting stuff for kid and hubby lunches, so lots of chips, white bread and chocolatey treats. Plus RED meat. She said “you feed your family that?” I said “yeah, and they are very happy.” Then her husband walked up and said he was going to come live at our house because we had Double Stuff Oreos…. 3 packages! Now days we don’t eat as much of the junky junk food, I do cook a lot more and hubby and I have leftovers for lunch in the Bento style. I do make a chocolate sheet cake every other weekend and we eat beef tenderloins two times a week. This is Texas after all. I used to make bread when we lived in the little house on the prairie, but hubby got tired of fighting his co-workers off his lunchbox because it smelled like beer.

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