Category Archives: Lists

The Siren Call of Costco

Standard
The Siren Call of Costco

Yes, that’s an obscure reference to “The Odyssey.” Sometimes you have to show off that liberal arts education, right?

After a five-month hiatus, I renewed my Costco membership this week, lured by their new shiny Visa. Gotta love a credit card application process that takes five minutes and gives you $2,100 to spend immediately. Just think how many paper products that could buy! And while I did love hoisting those 30 rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft into the mammoth cart, meat was my primary objective.

So I now have approximately 7 lbs. of assorted meaties marinating to grill out later. One problem – 16 mph winds out here on the prairie. Grill + big wind gust = possibly setting my shed on fire. I will definitely proceed with caution. Okay, back to my Costco love fest…

While I resisted the urge to spend up to that $2,100 limit on the new card, I managed to grab an impressive array of goods.

  • Toothpaste – a 4-pack of what turns out NOT to be my Colgate whitening usual style.
  • Generic Benadryl – the dog takes it.
  • A “luxurious Sherpa” throw – The dog and I go through a couple of these cheapies every winter.
  • MEAT! – 5 lbs. of pork tenderloin, 4 lbs. of organic chicken, 3 lbs. of apple/Gouda chicken sausages. (About half of that will get the grill treatment later, hopefully not with the optional shed sacrifice.)
  • Tissues – Yes, I’m aware of my thing about paper. 10 big boxes of Kleenex with goofy designs.
  • More stuff I can’t remember.

Total: $120.00

So, readers do you forgive the two-year plus hiatus I’ve taken from posting on this blog? If so, I’ll try to be more prolific. Thanks for coming back!

 

Advertisements

Love Me Some Paper Products

Standard

Inspired by some daffy experiences in consumerism lately (Dear God, Christmas shoID-100149804pping!? I’m never doing that again. Ever.), I decided to bring back the SPGL blog. Honestly for me, single-person grocery shopping hasn’t gotten any easier or fun, but I make an effort to record some of my weirder thoughts for possible use later. Like a recent trip to Sam’s. I went for calcium. You know, the kind that comes in the huge barrel that may still be going strong after my demise. But here’s what else I ended up buying. Keep in mind that the budget’s very tight right now, but I avoided reality nonetheless and I had a $5 coupon to use…

  • Calcium 600 mg. + Vitamin D3, 600 tablets  – I have no idea what “D3” is but I did read that it’s good to have D along for the ride.
  • Charmin, 36 rolls – I believe that’s self-explanatory.
  • Paper Towels – Lots of rolls. See above.
  • Kleenex, cute designer size, assorted colors, 10 boxes – Yes, of course I know there are cheaper, generic brands and  the bigger, boring boxes have a higher tissue content, but I don’t give a damn. I like my little boxes of the super-soft line. Right now you can blow your cute designer nose in every room in my house.
  • 2 lbs. strawberries – I hate it when fresh fruit isn’t in season and seriously expensive, but these were reasonably priced.
  • Set of three non-stick skillets, 8″, 10″ and 12″ – “He Who No Longer Inhabits” took most of the good cookware and tools. I began to worry that the peeling coating from the “Teflon” pans he rejected might be killing me. Plus they were a gorgeous orange and $24.95 for the set.

Paper Product Love
After she reported her Sam’s trip, my pal and I actually had a 10-15 minute convo about how excited we both were that we now had multiple rolls of TP and paper towels. Remember when you lived in a college apartment or your first place and toilet paper was almost a luxury? Another friend, who I would never suspect of such nefarious deeds, recently admitted she used to steal TP from a hotel that was near her apartment. (She “paid them back” years later, in kind. Seriously.)

When you get down to one roll of toilet paper for two bathrooms, don’t you start to feel all poor again? I do. So when I brought my new package of Charmin into the house, it was a good day. Similar feelings arose for the Bounty paper towels, but it’s not as deep a love.

No Food
Notice there was only one edible item in that Sam’s run? So I spent $71.65 and could make a grilled strawberry sandwich in my new skillet.

But I still have 34 rolls of the good stuff left.

Big Box Grocery vs. Single Peeps

Standard

Don’t you hate it when you start reading and following a blog and they don’t update it for months or even years? Me, too. But I’m guilty as charged – my last post was in early May and we’re cruising into August. Bad blogger, bad blogger! I thought I’d squeeze in an update before taking a hiatus. More on that later…

Mr. Sam’s Big Bulk Extravaganza

I hadn’t belonged to the Big Grocery since He Who No Longer Inhabits was around. Couldn’t afford the membership and didn’t think a single person benefits much from the bulk theory. But a Groupon lured me in, especially since it came w/ a free rotisserie chicken, pizza and cookies. My first trip, I bought:

  • 14 lbs. of large Milk-Bones – The only issue I have is storage. I have them stashed all over the house in weird containers.
  • 36 rolls or toilet paper – If you’ve never been near poverty, you don’t know the joys of buying that much TP at once. As I’ve mentioned before, paper products wreak hell on single people’s budgets, but going w/o is not really an option.
  • A zillion rolls of paper towels – See above, except the the ecstasy of TP abundance part – I can’t get that excited about Bounty. But I hate to run out.
  • Comfort bras – Hey, they came in a two-pack at a good price.
  • Some food items – Maybe a couple hundred tomatoes in a package, the free cookies, etc. I was suddenly in a “Big Box Introvert-Response Mode” and had to leave the warehouse and decompress.

Recently, I added my pal Sarah to my membership. They allow other people at your address to be on your account. We don’t live together, but I doubt they care. We did tell them we were “heterosexual life partners” just to give them something to talk about on a cig. break. Sarah and I split a 2-pack of Cheerios and a package of TP. If we were dating, we decided these trips could be a Friday Night Date Night activity.peaches 812

Moving on…

I mentioned the hiatus above. This blog’s been super fun and I’ve loved the reader response. But it’s kind of life-stage specific, as least for me. I’m fairly used to being single now and my grocery-buying habits are becoming sort of mainstream and not worth sharing. SO…I’m giving this blog a long break. I may pop back on just to see if you’re paying attention. But I’m going to start one from one of the topics and zillion domain names I’ve felt the need to register.

I’ll let you know when it debuts and hope you’ll come along for the next leg of the ride!

Thanks for reading!

I couldn’t hang up the grocery list w/o a shout out to my WA state pal who gave me the original idea for this blog. You know, the one who had gum, bag o’ lettuce and banjo picks on her single people’s grocery list? Thanks, J!

N.

P.S. I added the peach pic because it’s that time of year and it’s one of the best pix I’ve ever taken!

Trader Joe’s Field Trip

Standard

I know I talk a lot about Trader Joe’s. I don’t have any vested interest in the company other than buying their goodies. But I promised a Facebook pal I’d post some of my fave things from there, including wine. Duh. Wine is one of the main reasons to make a TJ’s field trip. No permission slip needed.

Late last week, I headed over there forgetting that it was both Fri. and a holiday. Teeny parking lot and an F-150 do not a cute couple make. I bought a case of wine and some essentials like smoked salmon…Some of the items are TJ faves.

Wine:

  • Three bottles of Tres Pinos white – it’s a nice white blend w/ fruit forward, dry, but not too – $6.49/ea.
  • Three bottles of  Green Fin – similar to the 3 Pines, but less fruit – $4.99/ea. (This is where the TBC – Two Buck Chuck crowd gets it wrong. TBC is actually close to $4 in my store and not very good.)
  • Found Object Malbec – I like all the Found Objects I’ve had – Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc and this one – $7.49
  • Trader Joe’s Coastal Zinfandel – I don’t usually buy Zin, but this is a nice, inexpensive one – $6.99
  • La Finca Tempranillo – Same as Found Object, the Malbec and others are good, too – $5.99
  • 3 new reds I can’t recall, one was a Coppola. If you’ve not tried this vineyard, most are great. And yes, it’s the director of GodFather fame. I’ll let you know how they are.

Food:

  • TJ’s Maple Frosted Shredded Wheat – this is a new one for me but I could possibly live on it.
  • Crumbly gorgonzola
  • Honey-flavored Greek yogurt
  • Dixie Peach juice – I love all their juices
  • Dark chocolate covered ginger – a fave
  • Frozen pizzas and flatbreads – These are amazing. If someone served this to you after hiding the box, you’d swear it was from an upscale eatery. Try the ham, gruyere and carmelized onion flatbread. Ignore the portion suggestions of 1/3 of the flatbread and eat the whole thing. It’s small. I tried a new pizza – BBQ chicken, red onion and smoked gouda. Wow!
  • Seltzer – plain. It’s .79 here and .99 at reg. grocery store
  • Organic chicken breasts – Pricier than the pale versions at the big grocery stores, but flavor is better. Probably the absence of formaldehyde or something.
  • Maple syrup – What a difference the real deal is from that pseudo syrup stuff!
  • Spanish extra virgin olive oil – I like TJ’s prices on oils, salad dressings, etc., although I usually make my own dressing.

I bought a bunch more stuff I can’t recall, but my total was $168. Not bad if you consider that includes a case of wine!

I’m Not Cat-Food Munching Lady…Yet

Standard

I bought the pup some new, fancy treats when I went to Whole Foods. They’re natural, organic peanut-butter flavored cookies. I realized as I was doling out a couple that they are made “for you to share w/ your buddy.” Uh, no, I don’t think so. I’ll admit the cookies look kind of tasty compared to the liver-flavored blobs I use for training, but I’m not going to eat them. I’m trying to raise my dog to not eat or beg for human food, so why would I encourage us sitting down and enjoying a treat together? It’s weird enough that we’re sharing a bottle of fish oil caps.

Grilling Out

As I sit here hoping blizzard-y winds don’t blow my house down, it’s amazing that just four days ago, it was in the 60s and I grilled out. Before you say, “Well, I grill out all winter!” I can assure you that out here on the tundra you wouldn’t get a charcoal grill lit, take the time to let it burn down and then attend to it while the food cooks. Your nasty bits would freeze off.  Trust me.

Here’s what I grilled:

Parboiled redskin potatoes ahead. Sliced them in thick slices and added leftover roasted carrots. Later I took the onion slices from the marinade on the pork and sautéed them. Took a sheet of foil, sprayed it w/ olive oil spray and made a packet w/ the vegetables. Placed it on the cooler side of the grill.

I marinated a pork tenderloin in:

  • soy sauce
  • 6 oz. of chocolate stout (drank the rest while grilling)
  • lemon slices
  • thyme (still had some in my herb bed)
  • 3 lg. smashed garlic cloves
  • onion sliced into thick rings
  • honey

I wish I’d been able to marinate the meat overnight, but I did it for about 6 hours. Then poured out the marinade and grilled it. I like to get a good seared crust on all sides and then move it to a cooler spot. It’s usually a bit underdone, but I don’t have a problem w/ pink pork.

Grocery List Oddities

It’s been forever since I did a big trip to the store since I was sick for three weeks. I mostly ran out to Dollar General to grab o.j. or some take-out somewhere. I have filled in some of the gaps, like creamer, tomatoes, fruit, etc. But I really need to buy tons of stuff.

Some of the odder items on the list include:

  • Milk-Bones (always!)
  • 9V batteries – I’ve been in chirping, dying smoke alarm battery hell for several days. I know I should have replaced them all at once, but only had a couple on hand. Don’t run out and have one go nuts at 4 a.m. Just don’t. Stock up.
  • Shoelaces for running shoes – my shoes look like something I found in a dumpster.
  • Pepto-Bismol tabs
  • frozen stuff – Supposed to get a big work assignment the last two weeks and I need to have frozen meals on hand because I usually don’t have time to cook.
  • unscented baby wipes – No, no surprise baby announcement. I use them on the dog’s feet after she rearranges my mulch in the flower beds.
  • parchment paper – I’ve transferred this item to five successive grocery lists. Can’t find it at a couple of the usual places. I mostly use it for homemade pizza.

OK, that’s enough minutiae for all of us. The dog is even rolling her eyes about my lack of a life…

Feed a Cold, but Not THAT Much…

Standard

Poor neglected blog. But readers, I’ve spared you what would no doubt have been the ramblings of my jam-packed sinuses and you don’t want to hear anything they have to say. Ten days of this and I’m ready to surrender to Western medicine and get some antibiotics from the doc. Aside from feeling like crap, I’ve developed some scary eating habits. Fast food and mostly foods from the four food groups – salt, fat, sugar and chocolate.

Very rarely do I darken the drive-thru of the Golden Arches, but I’ve been there, Wendy’s, Tim Horton, pizza land and a lousy Chinese place in the last week and a half. I don’t do fast food, or at least haven’t for the past three years. Today, I tried the Fish McBites. Scary, but I liked them, especially w/ extra tartar. Someone, please do an intervention…

This is what my grocery list has looked like lately:

  • pretzel thins – Who are we kidding w/ the “thins?”
  • mini ice creams – I rationalize that the individual servings are not as fattening. Maybe not, unless you eat two…
  • salt & vinegar chips – I NEVER bring these missives from Satan into my home. But now that they’re here, I have to eat them. At least these are baked.
  • triple fudge brownie mix – Oh, it doesn’t stop there. I’m obsessing about making a Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter frosting for these bad boys. Like I said, please call Dr. Drew.
  • milk-bones – At least I’ve drawn the line and won’t be dipping them in onion dip. 
  • assorted cheeses – Evidently, there’s no limit to the things that taste better w/ melted cheese.

So I’m picking up an OTC drug today at the grocery pharmacy that sometimes has to have a ‘script. Confusing, but I hope it works before I outgrow my clothes, couch and house…

My nurse pal says that craving salt is often an indicator that your electrolytes are out of balance. I guess I’ll have to add Gatorade to my diet.

Now why didn’t I freeze some of these bacon cookies when we made them?

If I had bacon, I'd be making these.

If I had bacon, I’d be making these.

Super Bowl, Party of One

Standard

Vera JamsOh please, don’t think for one minute that headline is sad! That poor woman – alone on Super Bowl night… Seriously, since when is Super Bowl Sunday a romantic holiday for couples? I suppose maybe it could be if your idea of date night is crap beer and some sad nachos. If so, you might want to set the bar higher.

 

(This is a pic of the fab Vera Wang jams I wore to my own Super Bowl party. What can I say, I have innate style.)

I really didn’t mind watching the Super Bowl alone. Didn’t have to clean my house, make food for anyone, worry about people having enough to drink or too much (or drinking all my GOOD beer). These events are especially easy without “He Who No Longer Inhabits” who felt the need to reinvent chicken wings or foof up some simple appetizer. Very tiring. Not a chance. The pup got a couple extra Milk-Bones and I had a plate of Trader Joe’s frozen shrimp pot stickers w/ their bottled goyza sauce. (Highly recommend!)

Since it seems I’ve gotten away from listing GROCERY LISTS on here, I’ll share a combo of two I’ve carried around lately. A two-week work project left zero shopping time so I didn’t get to any stores until last Fri. Then I forgot to buy most things on the list except wine, of course.

Here’s the list:

  • Drain cleaner – My puppy, Shedding Sister, has the potential to clog every drain pipe in my county. This pup never shed until about 3 weeks ago and then it was insane. Fortunately, it seems to have slowed down a bit.
  • 3-way light bulbs – Is it just me or do you blow out one setting on a 3-way bulb all the time? I use the 50 watt and 100 watt settings on different lamps. I’ve had this item on a list for 2 months
  • Wine – Although my normal cold weather choice is red, I also buy whites. I just don’t want wimpy whites that I might drink in the summer. Finding interesting, full-bodied, affordable whites is tough.
  • Frozen – That’s my shorthand for “lazy-ass food” I buy so when I’m working 10/11- hour days, I just heat the oven or throw in micro.
  • Creamer – Again with the “fat-free” half and half – such a concept!

So, did you notice there’s really nothing to eat on that list except for the frozen category? That’s right. It’s why I call this “single people’s grocery lists.”

Cheers.

Holiday Hogs

Standard

hamWhen there are just two people getting together (the Mother Unit and I) for a holiday, buying festive food should be simpler. Not really. I made hopefully the last foray into shopping land today for a few food items. I decided to get a ham. Ham doesn’t rock my world, but I like making bean soup w/ the ham bone. You have to go through a lot of ham to get to that bone. She Of The Slight Frame will have to take home many lbs. of ham.

Looking at the half-hams, the smallest I could find was 8.8 lbs. How big are these hogs, anyway? That’s one big butt. OK, so I don’t know exactly where the ham is on the hog, but I try to disconnect from that aspect as long as I’m still a carnivore.

Holiday Items

Today, this is what I bought. Not strictly a single people list since I’m having company, but it reads like one.

  • Two nice bottles of white wine – An Albarino and a Torrentes, a bit above my usual $10 limit, but hey, it’s a holiday. I had some Prosecco from Trader Joe’s, but wanted some “regular” white.  (If you think you have to buy $$ Champagne or that dreadful other fizzy crap, try a Prosecco. Usually cheaper, but w/ the bubbly thing, it’s a fun Italian sparkling wine. You have to trust me on these things.)
  • Bailey’s Creme Brule Coffee Creamer – Coffee snob that I am, I don’t usually go for frou-frou, sweet coffee “enhancers.” But I had a coupon and also thought it would be good in the Kaluha knock-off I bought last week.
  • Pears – Needed those for the decorative holiday fruit collage I have going.
  • Milk-Bones – The pup might get a more fancy treat for Xmas, but these are a necessity.
  • A Brie-like product – The first time I’ve bought Brie since Bokhara, my cat, died. He loved the stuff. Again, a coupon and the Mother might enjoy.
  • Jeni’s Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream – Dear God, can you imagine? Can’t wait to try it.
  • More stuff I can’t recall or it’s too boring to list – This all added up to $103, which was surprising.

No Baking

I normally bake at least a few things at holidays. Not in the mood or no energy or both this year. But check out that ice cream above. And there’s wine…and ham…

Is Peanut Brittle a Vegetable?

Standard

I got an unexpected check this week (from what I assumed was a deadbeat client) which facilitated a long overdue TJ’s trip for staples like dark chocolate peanut butter salty caramel truffles. I also went to the reg. grocery store and stocked up. It’s amazing how much your menu-planning becomes more creative when you have actual food.

Holiday Food

I used to look forward to making holiday food like peanut brittle, lemon pound cake w/ lemon glaze, cheese balls, etc. Not really up for it this year, but I did find some raw peanuts from last year. Evidently, I wasn’t up to it then either. Still w/i the use-by date, I think I’ll make some.

My grandmother taught me how to make peanut brittle the old-fashioned way – cooking on the stove and spreading it out on a marble slab to cool. I make it in the microwave. I know how to make other candy-type things like caramels, but it’s a tricky process. You can end up w/ mortar if you don’t watch that thermometer. So, microwave it is.

Shopping Spree

Here’s the Trader Joe’s bounty:

  • case of wine – haven’t been able to afford that in a while. It makes sense because essentially you get a free bottle w/ the 10% discount. BTW, try a Gruner Veltliner if you can find one. Don’t worry if people scoff at your pronunciation.
  • gorgonzola – the real Italian version
  • smoked salmon – I swear I could live on it
  • sea salt pita chips
  • fig butter – for that apple pizza I’ve talked about
  • garlic hummus
  • spinach and kale dip – better than it sounds and low-fat
  • rosemary and raisin crackers – ditto
  • other stuff I can’t remember

At the reg. grocery I bought:

  • 2 lbs. of frozen E-Z peel shrimp – like the salmon, I could live on this.
  • brownie bites
  • green beans – I steamed them for me and the pup. Maybe eventually we’ll just eat the same diet. No comments, I’m kidding, people.
  • booze – I’m not a booze drinker, but I wanted a coffee liqueur for the occasional after-dinner drink and rum for a hot-buttered rum recipe I love. (see above holiday “food”)
  • other veggies and fruit
  • almond milk – it’s better than soy and I had a coupon
  • other boring stuff I can’t remember

Design-a-Tote

Hey, if anyone is interested (and why wouldn’t you be? I’m an artist, too!), I’ll design you a SPGL tote like the one below. Just send me your nutty grocery list (leave a comment and we’ll go from there) and I’ll design a tote for you. How fun is that? Well, you probably have more fun than I do, so it’s relative. This isn’t about trying to monetize my blog, I just like to tote cp (240x240)make the totes and they’re really affordable.

I Need a Wobbly Food Dispenser

Standard

Because my pup inhales her food and then amazes me w/ loud belching, I bought her one of those treat/food dispensers that has a small hole and is weighted so it wobbles on the floor. This makes feeding time more challenging and lasts longer, so she eats slower. It’s also hysterical to watch. If I had means to make a video of her, I’d share it. She’s smart, so it didn’t take her long to figure it out and now it’s a game.

Human Food Dispenser

Watching her work for the food and realizing I must be subconsciously training to be a sumo wrestler if my recent eating habits are an indicator, I think I need one of these devices. If I had to roll something around on the floor in order to get my truffle brownie w/ peppermint ice cream on top, at least I’d get a bit of exercise. It wouldn’t be pretty and certainly not entertaining to watch, but I might be less likely to give in to a craving.

Wal-Mart Shopping List

I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart. Don’t get all righteous on me, I’m not a shopping snob (I go to Goodwill sometimes.). I don’t like their labor practices (sexist, racist, ageist, etc.), but damn, they have some good prices. Best for pet toys, drug store stuff and their food is good.

While visiting the Mother Unit this week, we ran in for a few things. I don’t know what she bought because I was distracted by the elaborate plan she laid out for us to meet up after shopping. We didn’t synchronize our watches, but there was way too much discussion.

Here’s what I bought:

  • two lemons
  • loaf of wheat bread
  • Milk-Bones (small multi-flavors version)
  • nightlight bulbs (my only concession to holiday decorating is those little electric lamps you put in the window. I do that in memory of special folks and beloved pets.)
  • gum

Still money challenged, that was it. But it kept me from having to go out amongst them in any other retail environment for a while.

I’m not going to say “Happy Holidays” because I wouldn’t mean it. But if I like you, I’ll wish you some down-time and less exposure to the dysfunctional family crap than usual.

If I get a check this week, I’m buying a case of wine and will report in later.

Cheers….