Friday, September 16, 2016

99 Centember - Hits and Misses

It appears we are really doing this. We are really eating plant-based food exclusively from the 99 Cent Store for one month, and I have yet to go to Trader Joe's and whimper at the window. There's only one thing I truly miss about my local TJ's, besides the free coffee and food samples. I miss the bag of shredded carrots. These carrots are not shredded grater-style. No, these carrots are put through a transformation that makes them taste so yummy and delicious. I can't replicate them. No one else does them that way. I must soldier on without the amazing carrots.

The thing about shopping at a dollar store for produce is you can't have a certain meal in mind when you walk in. Forget about lists that start with one daikon radish, half a red cabbage, a sprig of dill and a ripe papaya. Nope, you take what you can get and then decide what to do with it. The produce that didn't get rave reviews? The salad I made from romaine lettuce, celery and pea pods was not a winner. The celery had no flavor and the pea pods were downright nasty. Not like rotten nasty, just some bad tasting pea pods. We ate it anyway, because we were sorely lacking in greens in our diet. If only I had had some Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Dressing. Put that on the list of TJ products I pine for. 

The fresh produce that scored were the more hearty items like carrots, a gigantic cauliflower, celery, potatoes and onions. Surprisingly, the corn on the cob was super. One watermelon was tasty, the next one blech, but that can happen at any store. Two portobello mushrooms, big ones, for a buck. And banana for banana, the price at Trader Joe's was better, but the ones from the 99 Cent Store were the most gigantic bananas I have every laid eyes on. These were pontoon-sized bananas, and after letting them ripen I peeled them and froze them for future smoothies.

The hits made it into some cheap and tasty meals, and I'm having fun with this process. I love challenges, but this one is not as hard as I imagined. Stay tuned for what we have planned for October!

Not exactly brimming with greens, but this dinner cost only 2 bucks!
Roasted potatoes and Cauliflower Hot Wings.

Actually from Italy. Or so said the box.
I was impressed.

Big jar of future bad breath for one dollar.

I made an amazing 99 Cent Store Sauce.
Tomatoes and garlic and mushrooms and olives.
Worth every cent.

We served it over brown rice, with beets and the fresh corn.
Send in salad, we heard the plate plead. 

A rice bowl rounded out the week.
With a salad that didn't disgust.
I got this.