Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shopping Day

Last Saturday I started my day with a big smoothie filled with banana, blueberries, pineapple and almond milk before I set off to do what I am dubbing to be a month or two's worth of grocery shopping.

After first running around town doing non food related errands, I went to the People's Market co-op in Ocean Beach where I became a card carrying member.  My first purchase was salad from their restaurant upstairs which I took to the beach to enjoy for lunch to fuel myself before the marathon of shopping I was about to embark on.

On the left is a pesto veggie salad, in the middle a raw seaweed salad and on the right is a marinated kale salad.  These were all really good.  I even ate all the mushrooms in the pesto salad even though I usually can't stand the texture of mushrooms.
When I returned to the market to commence my shopping I had a lot of fun looking through the aisles of a store that is completely vegetarian and so vegan friendly.  I bought a lot of bulk flours, grains, chocolate chips, raw cacao powder, nuts and seeds as well as some peanut butter that I ground fresh into my own reusable jar from home!

It is interesting because this chunky peanut butter is slightly dry but their is no oil separation and the taste is incredible!  They also sell bulk honey, canola oil, olive oil, agave and I think maple syrup.

Since I was already going budget crazy I decided to indulge in a couple of products I otherwise might not have.  I have a tendency to think that buying premade products is a waste of money since I can make things myself but I forget that sometimes that leads me to miss out on the expertise of other artisans.

This spread is sold at the farmer's market I go to and a few months back my friend had turned me onto it.  I was amazed at how great it tasted considering that garlic is the first ingredient.  I bought some to dilute and use as salad dressing.  It is long gone!

Refried beans are another purchase that I find difficult.  I love these beans.
But they have a fairly long ingredient list.  Generally I like my beans to be beans and water (making them not technically refried, but they do the job).  Recently though my boyfriend and I have fallen so in love with these beans that we don't want any others.  I guess it's not the worst thing we could be eating.  And at least they don't have lard in them like the ones from Costco which I didn't realize until after I had gotten the entire 15 cans home.  Le sigh.

Another purchase that I made that I am quite excited about is raw tahini!

Miss Katie has been talking a lot about this brand (though mostly in regard to their coconut products) and this was the best looking tahini they had at the store.  I really would like to try some more of the Artisana brand products but they are a little bit on the expensive side to go crazy buying all at once.

After I had purchased just about everything in the store, I loaded my canvas bags into my car and headed off to Costco.  A friend at work had told me about these vegan paties that they sold and I wanted to see what they were. 

These things are pretty much vegetables and a little flour.  I haven't tried them yet as I have so much fresh food in my fridge, but I am looking forward to the day when I need something quick and easy and I am all out of fresh food (gasp).

I also wanted to try out their giant bag of spinach.

I ended up giving about a third of this bag to my friend who helped my wash it all.  I used some in green smoothies, some in salads, some in a tofu scramble I made this morning and the rest is about to get steamed and frozen as I am getting my first CSA box tomorrow (more on this in a minute).
I also wanted to stock up on spaghetti since I had found really good deals on Muir Glen spaghetti sauce at Henry's and People's.  I am not the biggest fan of the nutrient quality of spaghetti but it is a fairly decent dinner on nights when I just don't feel like being creative.  Plus it is something my boyfriend can make if I really don't feel like being in the kitchen (like that ever happens).

Costco carries this organic whole wheat spaghetti that I find quite decent.

Oooh, I also got to witness a Vitamix demonstration while I was at Costco from a very enthusiastic salesman.  He told me that he always says if you don't think you can afford a vitamixer, put $1.50 in an envelope everyday and before you know it you will have enough to get one.  I have yet to start this envelope but I have definitely begun to analyze if I could ever justify the money.

After Costco I made 2 more stops but one of them resulted in nothing picture worthy.  A middle eastern grocery store near my house had recently been reopened after renovations.  I stopped by there thinking that it was an asian grocery store and hoping to get some agar flakes.  I was disappointed to not find agar but I did manage to find these:

I haven't quite figured out what I am going to stuff them with, or when, but I have high hopes.

After all this shopping I spent 3.5 hours with my sous chef my friend cleaning produce, baking cookies, cooking rice and beans, making hummus, a casserole and puppy chow.  Here you can see his payment (plus a thing of puppy chow and rice/broccoli casserole):
It was quite a day!  Sunday I joined JR Organics CSA and tomorrow I get my first bucket!  I am very excited but also a little worried because I have a ton of produce in my fridge currently.  Hopefully I can get some of it steamed and frozen tonight so I don't have to worry about any of it going bad.

Plenty more to show you so stay tuned!

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