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Food Failure

February 13, 2008

I’ve been eating sandwiches (packed from home) for lunch at work, which is already getting boring. I can eat the same thing day after day for a period of time, but after a few weeks, my taste buds go on strike and demand something new.

I don’t spend a lot on groceries because I buy what I know how to make. Which is, sadly, not much. I don’t necessarily eat sandwiches because they are cheap. That is one factor. However the primary reason is that I know how to make them, and they are quick and simple. Bread, meat, cheese, DONE!

I have this bag of baby spinach from Trader Joes which was an amazing deal, but I got it on Saturday and still haven’t opened it. It only lasts about a week, which means… I really need to eat salads the next few days. I have no idea why I’m not throwing a few leaves into my sandwiches. That is one problem I have–I buy things with good intentions and they go bad when I choose the easier/tastier foods first. Which is why I don’t buy a lot of produce, at least not finicky produce that spoils quickly.

Another problem I have is I flat out buy the wrong things sometimes. I wanted to make mini-pizza’s on english muffins. I bought tomato sauce, which apparently is not quite the same as pizza sauce, though I tried to make it work. Then I ate the english muffins on their own for breakfasts, and now I have pepperoni and mozzarella hanging around waiting to be put to good use.

Or I put “ziti” on my list, the store doesn’t have it, and I realize that not only do I not know what shape pasta it is so I can substitute, but I’m not even 100% sure it is pasta after all. (Well, I know now, but that did me no good then!)

I absolutely love the frugal food posts over at English Majors Money. I perused her archives and came up with several recipes I would like to try. It can be challenging, for me though. I had really never had couscous and am not convinced I’ll be able to find it… And when I do find it, will I be able to cook it? But if I succeed, I won’t have to eat sandwhiches anymore!

I’m going to force myself to wait though, as I have food in my apartment that I won’t eat if I go out and buy more delicious things.

In hopes to add something of value in this post, other than complaining at my failure in the kitchen, I will suggest a “recipe” that I like and actually can make (in less than 5 minutes.)

Spinach (baby or other size)
Chopped walnuts
Dried cranberries
Feta Cheese
Honey Mustard Dressing

Toss together. Enjoy!

Is it frugal? I’m not sure. Nuts, cranberries and feta aren’t exactly cheap, but the bulk of the meal is the spinach, which sometimes is cheap. Is it good? I love it! And it is easy, which is the clincher for me.

In a side note, Trader Joe’s had decent prices, but the selection was not very good. Did I just go to a small one, or is that normal?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2008 12:06 pm

    Don’t forget, you can also take leftovers to work with you, especially if you have access to a microwave. My fiance regularly makes a box of Hamburger Helper, eats half of it, then stores the rest away for lunch the next day. I do the same thing when we make spaghetti – purposely make just a tad too much, then package what we don’t eat for work.

    Of course… I suspect you’ll have much healthier alternatives to my pasta-loving house, but the premise remains. 😉

  2. February 13, 2008 12:36 pm

    You’re doing fine! Trial and error!

    Ziti is indeed pasta–it’s big, hollow tubes–but if you can’t find it, I’m sure that you could use penne instead (smaller, longer hollow tubes, available everywhere) with absolutely no ill effect on the deliciousness of your intended pasta meal.

    You will totally be able to cook couscous–a stupid child could do it, as Mark Bittman said about something recently–and you can buy it in a little box in the same part of the TJ’s in which you find their prepared-ish Indian foods & whatnot. There are instructions on the box.

    Your salad sounds yummy. I am not good at packing salads, mostly because I lack appropriate packing supplies, but I’m glad you’re experimenting!

  3. February 13, 2008 1:13 pm

    What about protein in your salad? have you tried buying can beans such as black or kidney and tossing them in there with tuna or cottage cheese? those don’t require much effort …

  4. February 13, 2008 1:14 pm

    Trader Joe’s has coucous. It’s really easy to cook. Think of it as little balls of rice. It’s fast and easy. Just add some sort of seasoning or it can be a little bland.

  5. February 13, 2008 3:19 pm

    Spinach goes well in sandwiches, and it’s a painless way to get more vegetables. The salad sounds lovely.

  6. February 13, 2008 5:26 pm

    I think the nuts have some protein…. But yes, my diet in general could use more protein.

  7. February 13, 2008 9:09 pm

    Check out these Orangette recipes: easy doctored black beans and easy doctored chickpeas.

    I just did the beans tonight, and they’re delicious. I’m taking half the recipe as a snack for tomorrow—a full recipe would be an awesome lunch with some cheddar cheese grated over the top. Mmm. I think this one’s going to be a staple. And the chickpea salad is going to be lunch on Sunday.

    I’m going to work on learning to doctor cans of beans in interesting ways—they’re so cheap and so healthy, it’s hard to go wrong.

  8. sjean permalink*
    February 13, 2008 9:38 pm

    @English major – Thanks!!!! Like I said, I’m going to eat everything I possibly can from my fridge/cupboards before I go to the store and try out some of these recipes. But I definitely will be doing it! Good bye sandwiches!

    @carol. Yes, I could take leftovers, but that would assume I cook better things for dinner. Not the case!


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