Saturday, September 12, 2009

Retail therapy

Tonight I was pleased to grocery shop in one of my usual stores, in my own city. I like grocery shopping. Finding good deals on things to keep my family full and healthy is fun for me. Tonight was no exception, but it was also kind of therapeutic.

In trying to be more eco-conscious, I chose the store that is 3 miles away from home rather than the larger, brighter (and more chaotic) superstore that is 6-7 miles away. It was after 8pm when I went, so the deli, bakery, fish counter, and butcher were all closed and dark. The aisles were not crowded, few lanes were open, and the music was not overwhelming. In fact, I can't even remember what was playing.

With my new reusable mesh produce bags in tow, handily attached to one of my reusable grocery bags, I felt very "green" and aware of what I was buying. I shopped thoughtfully, I told The H when I got home, and tried to think of more than one use for each item that went into my cart. For example, the spinach I bought instead of arugula will get mixed with spring greens for a salad and used in my morning monster smoothies. I can wilt some down for a salad or side, and add a handful to the cacciatore sauce we'll have later this week. Arugula would have been mixed into a salad, maybe made into pesto, and then forgotten about until it went slimy and had to be thrown out.

Even though I ended up $2 over budget (a bunch of MI-grown beets for $1.99 found their way into my cart because I am no longer afraid of them, LOL) I don't feel guilty about it like I often do when the total is more than I had planned. For the most part, I stuck to my list and was even more selective than that. The nectarines on my list, also MI-grown, were too large for my taste and didn't have much "give" to them. From past experience, I know this means they'll end up mealy, not juicy, and may even rot from the inside out before they get thumb-soft. I carefully chose three, but normally would have bought 6 or 8. Cheese wasn't on sale, so I skipped it. The H will be traveling again next week, so I bought a pint of half-and-half instead of a quart.

My great triumph of the night was finding ground turkey on sale for $2.99 (for 16 or 20oz, I forget) and combining it with my $1-off coupon. We never get lean ground turkey that cheap! Even though my freezer is stocked with plenty of chicken (breasts, thighs, sausage, and tenders) and I was not planning on buying meat tonight, this was just too good to pass up.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of my trip was spent in the produce section, as many clean eaters strive for, since I had such a great pantry stock of grains, sauces, canned goods, and pastas waiting for us at home already. My real test of willpower will be *not* making a mile-long list based on the sales circular in tomorrow's paper. Maybe I'll spend time getting reacquainted with my cookbooks instead...

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