Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Home From the Grocery Stores

I just returned from another hunting/gathering trip to Pittsburgh. It’s 60 miles to the nearest Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods so I stock up on the “staples”.

At Trader Joe’s I buy light parmesan ranch salad dressing and cilantro salad dressing, horseradish hummus and my new favorite – sun-dried tomato and basil hummus, fresh salsa, corn tortilla crackers (or as I like to call them CRACKers because they’re so freaking addicting), ahi tuna (I’ve decided to go vegan with a twist – I will eat fish because I love it and I’m not trying to impress anyone or make a political statement) and sole, Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, flax cereal, organic fruit spread, and the dark chocolate thingies with creamy mint stuff in the middle (1 WW point for two melt-in-your-mouth pieces of heaven).

Whole Foods feels more pretentious than Trader Joe’s, but I don’t know why because the staff is really friendly and the customers tend to be courteous (especially the hot guy today in the tea aisle…oh my). Maybe it’s the prices. I have to be very careful with the foods I choose at Whole Foods or I’ll blow my entire week’s food budget on a free-range slab of beef for my husband and a quart of cut-up fruit.

Anyway, they were out of my favorite organic roasted garlic salad dressing (if you didn’t know this about me, I’m all about salad dressings, both homemade and store-bought), but I bought a new kind of balsamic that I’m hoping will make me happy. I checked out the tempeh and seitan they had for sale and all I can say is HOLY CRAP! Fat and sodium out the wazooo. I’ll stick to the tempeh I buy at my local natural food store (2 grams of fat per serving and almost no sodium) and I’ll make my own seitan. I didn’t realize eating vegan is difficult when you want to eat low-fat AND low-sodium.

I managed to find some pizza sauce and marinara sauce that was sodium-friendly, a nice bulb of fennel, whole wheat/yolkless egg noodles (yes, I know, NOT vegan), and tofu shitake noodles that I will put in a soup. Being the cracker addict I am, I found two new crackers: Skinny Dippers and Bible Bread. The Skinny Dippers I bought are the flax and honey grain and they come in at 50 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber. The Bible Bread crackers are the oregano and sesame and they are 80 calories, .6 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of fiber. As I put away my groceries, I ate a serving of Skinny Dippers with the Trader Joe’s sun-dried tomato and basil hummus and it was so so SO very delicious and very distracting. I put the miso (which is supposed to be refrigerated) in with the cereal and the organic pinto beans almost ended up in the freezer.

I’ll supplement my grocery shopping on Friday with a trip to WalMart and our local grocery store called Comet. I hate that my grocery shopping is so complicated, but living in this small town and living on a limited budget, I have to find the best food for my dollar. It’s a game I play. What can I buy that is healthy, suits my dietary needs AND won’t break the bank?

I don’t want to give the impression that I eat nothing but crackers and organic fennel from Whole Foods. We eat a lot of dried beans, soup, and meals with soy burger crumbles around here. I’m determined to prove that it really is possible to eat healthy on a budget. It just takes some planning. Yes, I know, planning takes time, and extra time is a rare commodity for most of us. But when something as important as our health is at stake – I mean, we have to eat to survive, right? – then finding time to plan meals should be as important as sleeping, bathing, and time with family.


  1. My weakness is New York style Everything flatbread with yummy sesame seeds, garlic and poppy seeds....But I moved to Peru and can't get them here...too bad!!
    I enjoy your site.

  2. I agree Lynn trying to work out your food budget is hard and trying to find food you can enjoy and stay on point is also the challenge I face. But as you said with a lot of planning it can be done and your health is very well worth it. Keep up the great work on your blog you are an inspiration to us all. (I also agree anything chocolate is worth it!). Thanks Mara

  3. You are so organized!  Do you think you could share some of your vegetarian recepies?  You talked about lentil spaghetti sauce with spaghetti squash and broccoli. That sounds like something I would like to try.  I want to start using lentils but just don't know how.  By the way, I like the new picture you put up!

  4. I enjoy peaking in on your blog. I am almost a vegetarian lol. I slip a time or two, but they are getting farther apart. I am also including as many vegan foods/recipes as possible into my eating. I thought I would share with you my favorite vegan ranch dressing recipe:

    1 Cup vegan mayo(Vegenaise is best)
    1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 teaspoons parsley, chopped

    Wisk all ingredients together and chill before serving.
    -sometimes I add dash or so of salt, and paprika, or cayenne pepper for a little kick.

    This really saves money on the bottled ranch at the store, and it tastes so fresh with out extra chemicals.

    Keep blogging away,

  5. Jenny, thanks for the recipe! I have some of the mayo on hand. I'll pick up some unsweetened soy milk over the weekend and give it a try.

    I will publish some of my own recipes from time to time, too.

  6. Thanks for the great shopping suggestions Lynn. Before I went to Trader Joe's yesterday, I jotted down your items, and picked some up. I also found a pretty good cracker there, "Original Multigrain Savory Thins"-2.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of fiber.

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