$45 at the Grocery Store – Like Taking a Bullet

AC_PANTRYPROJECTchef's journal

Yesterday I had my first “major” trip to the grocery store since beginning The Accidental Pantry Project. I use the term major loosely because I did not need a lot of items, but I needed perishable things, as well as items for a Super Bowl party I am attending tonight, hence staying within the exceptions of the project (items that are requested by others).

This week I splurged a bit, since I have been trying to keep my food bills down – I went out to dinner twice with friends, went to a friend’s house for dinner, and I treated myself to a Chipotle lunch. I am really trying to limit going out to eat, both financially and that it’s usually not so good for you, but it’s also winter in New Jersey, so there really isn’t much else to do if you want to be social. My splurge probably added up to around $110. Being that I don’t have money coming in at the moment, I feel a little guilty. I promised myself about $100 a week for frivolous spending – eating out, coffee out, a movie, etc. – so I’m already over (for those who do not know me, I am notorious for beating myself up over little things).

Back to shopping, I hit up my local Stop&Shop. Since I am no longer with Whole Foods Market and do not have my employee discount to rely on (I really need to marry someone from there and get it back), I am opening my eyes back up to other grocers (you are still a guilty lowbrow pleasure, Aldi’s). Though few major grocery retailers out there have the atmosphere and aesthetics of a Whole Foods, in my opinion, the experience is not always as pleasant. At the same time, I can usually manage not to walk out with $300 worth of stuff (that pantry did not build itself) when I only needed milk and lettuce. What I like about Stop&Shop is that while you may need to dig a little, they have a huge organic presence in their stores, something I have grown used to the past few years as I am more mindful of what I put in my body.

Where does the $45 come in? Well, about half of that was stuff I needed, a quarter was splurge, and the final quarter was for my Super Bowl dish. I needed milk, Greek yogurt, produce (fruit and salad fixings), and coffee, so I figured it would be about $25. Then comes the Super Bowl dish. This recipe I am actually looking forward to. They are Bacon, Cheddar, and Jalapeno Pinwheels that I found on through another food blogger on Pinterest. The recipe sang to my project because I had everything I needed at home – bacon, cream cheese, cheddar – except fresh jalapeno and crescent roll dough. The dough is what did me in, and I may have to look for a copycat recipe to do it myself sometime. It was not on sale and $3.19 a can. I bought three as I am looking to double or triple the recipe (my friend is expecting 30+ guests for the party). So okay, I am really on track, spending a little over my estimated budget.

Then was my moment of weakness, the items that put me over the edge and I am confessing like an addict that just fell off the wagon – Cadbury Creme Eggs and Hershey’s Chocolate Spread. Two junk laden items that I cannot replicate because I am not a chemist, but are so sugary and chocolatey and delicious nonetheless. I do eventually want to test creating a similar spread to the Hershey’s stuff, but all the recipes I am finding online are more Nutella copycat than straight up chocolate. If you love lowbrow chocolate and need a fix, I highly recommend these spreads. They are relatively new and my newest junk food addiction. Unfortunately both of these treats were on sale, so it made it harder to resist, but also hard when the cashier rang me up for $45.36.

What can I say? The project is a journey…

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