As you all know…I’m moving. Given that this is New York City, however, 6 blocks is much more of a conundrum than one might expect and I’ve found myself holed up in a hotel for a few days before my new lease begins.
And what’s a girl without a fridge, pantry, or any general cooking mechanisms to do? Come up with, truly, the most gloriously well-rounded grocery list on this side of the Mississippi, of course.
Fact is, the place I call home seems to have a personal vendetta against budgets. Prices are high and seem to only creep (more like dash) higher.
But I’m not about to succumb to the shockingly, almost nauseatingly cheap junk food out there. No sir, not this girl. Instead, I plan!
I thought you other lonesome 20-somethings out there might want to take a peak inside :-).
Now…it may seem odd that I’ve started our adventure this way.
Most people adore “shopping the edges” of the grocery store, and while I too delight in poking and pinching the best produce, I start with protein.
If I start with produce, suddenly I’m fighting my way through kale-forests or swimming through 6 lbs of grapes and I decide I simply cannot spend another dime and I leave protein-deficient.
Protein is expensive…so I get it out-of-the-way first. I scour the sales, I think about how often I’ll cook that week and I start imagining the dishes I can build around them…which streamlines these purchases as well as the produce I seek to round out my cart.
Here are some of these items I’ve picked up this summer…
Pineapple Cottage Cheese and Shop Rite (read: on.major.sale.) Greek Yogurt in perfect to-go dainty format, practically begging to be included in my lunchbox.
I’m not nearly as particular with my yogurt as I am with my small curds…it’s because, for the most part, greek yogurt is greek yogurt but cottage cheese, well that needs proper love and attention to avoid a less than stellar texture and Friendship does it right.
Hello, scrambled eggs. After just a short whisk with some milk (almond, for me), a dash of pepper, and an impossible-to-forget pinch of salt…you wake me up in all the delicious ways breakfast should.
A bit of seasoning is required here, and in perfect honestly I prefer salmon fillets. I usually prance right up to the fish man at Whole Foods and ask for 2 4 oz. wild salmon fillets (one for immediate eating and one for freezing) but these were a good change of pace for salad toppers.
And now my favorite section…
This list has the most variation. If heirloom tomatoes look good, they come home with me. If the spinach bin is low…I skip right along to the arugula. It all depends!
Sales also play a huge role. Shopping in season generally helps, because a store can mark something down it has in abundance. Another trick? Shop on Tuesdays or Wednesdays if you’re venturing to a grocery store. Produce trucks usually arrive on then, so your fruit is fresher and will last a bit longer on your counter.
The grocery simply isn’t fun if there isn’t room for a few of these…
It’s meant to be fun! …And reasonable.
This list assumes you’ve got the basics like seasonings, onions, garlic and oil…if you don’t, go get them! But wait! Not all at once! Let the collection grow as you make various dishes.
It’s a system that serves me well–I get all my favorites and there’s plenty wiggle room for spontaneity!
Any other tricks out there?