Saturday, February 1, 2014

Screamin' Deals Live: Grocery Outlet Point Loma 2/1/14

Since I'm on a roll, thought I'd stop by....

Screamin' Deals Live: Sprouts Point Loma 2/1/14

I haven't felt very motivated to do any "Screamin' Deals Live" features for a while, but found that nothing motivates like adversity.  All it took was a glance at the "No Photography or Videography" sign at the front door, which immediately changed my. Focus from picking the freshest asparagus to getting the best deal photos.

As usual, the best deals are in produce and meat departments...but you can see that for yourself!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegging Out-The Reasonable Diet Resolution

The post-holiday lull is typically a time for resolutions and plans for self-improvement, often involving losing weight. And the diet industry is ready with what seem like a million options. U.S. News &World Report, for instance, reviews a variety of commercial and do-it-yourself diets here--from old faithfuls like Weight Watchers to trendy "fads" like the Master Cleanse lemonade diet. But instead of rushing out to sign up for a commercial diet plan or buy a bunch of special "diet" prepared foods (like these "diet cookies"), you might want to consider an option that amazes with its simplicity.


 Not only is this plan helpful for weight loss, it's good nutritional advice all around. So many of us eat a woefully inadequate number of servings of real vegetables (french fried potatoes and jalapeno poppers do not count), and have diets filled with nutritionally inferior "empty calories," too much fat and carbohydrates. Substituting in more vegetables brings in more nutritional value with less calorie density--all good news.

 To so many of us who weren't raised as big vegetable fans, this idea brings to mind a disheartening vision of eating a bowl of broccoli for breakfast or chomping on carrot sticks for lunch. But it need not be that extreme or unpleasant. Just start with ideas like these:
  •  Instead of having sandwiches or frozen packaged entrees for lunch at work (where many of us eat rather habitually and unconsciously), start making big salads like this with your greens of choice, more assorted veggies... and a sprinkling of cheese or bacon if your omnivore tastes demand it. 

  • Make your stir-fry dishes with spaghetti squash or shredded cabbage instead of noodles. 
  • Try a substitute for stuffed baked potatoes--stuffed bell peppers filled with ricotta and parmesan cheese, spinach, onions and more peppers. 
  • Make your chicken noodle soup without noodles, and throw in handfuls of shredded fresh spinach when serving each bowl. 
  • Instead of making a bean burrito, heat up your refried beans and cheese in a bowl with chopped tomatoes, spinach and bell peppers. 
  • Order your pizza with peppers, onions and mushrooms instead of meat toppings. 
  • Skip fat-laden creamy soups, and make hearty vegetable stews thickened with lentils or pureed beans (like this Green Chile Lentil Stew). 

  • Eat your hummus or cheese dip with vegetables instead of chips. If you hate the traditional crunchy raw dipping veggies (carrot and celery sticks, broccoli florets) try to find an alternative you enjoy, like roasted green beans or asparagus, or fresh grape tomatoes. 
Alone, these are all small steps. But if you get in the habit of thinking "How can I get more vegetables into that?" whenever you plan a meal or a snack, the improvements should add up.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pop Quiz...What's Wrong With This Picture

Technically, not so much "Wrong" as "Odd" and "Surprising."

But I'm trying to test my readers, so no more hints....let the comments begin!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Screamin' Deals Live...Grocery Outlet Point Loma 1/4/14

Ringing in the new shopping year with the "Jesus Cheese" (more on that to come in a later post) and other finds at my favorite hunter-gatherer shopping place.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Make Your Own Damn Sandwich, Airport Edition

My blog subscribers and Facebook friends have certainly heard the phrase "Make Your Own Damn Sandwich" before.  It's become a common refrain when faced with the costs of premade, prepackaged "convenience foods", particularly premade sandwiches. 

The cost of a homemade sandwich with ingredients you select yourself can be less than 10 percent of the cost of sandwich shop, convenience store or grocery store alternatives.  The quality of the ingredients is likely to be exponentially higher.   And to those who exclaim "Time is Money!" I reply, "Is your hourly rate high enough that stopping by the store once a week and slapping some veggies/meat/cheese between 2 slices of bread is gonna break you?"

The high cost of premade sandwiches (and all other food) rises to ridiculous proportions once you enter an airport.  Today's stop at San Diego Lindbergh Field's Terminal 1 is no exception.  With a dinnertime flight 2 hours ahead, and lunch 6 hours behind me, I was ready to forage for a cheap but satisfying inflight meal.  I circled around on a recon mission, finding that as I expected, even cold prepackaged food was insanely overpriced.  Lunchables $3.99?  Cold cut sandwiches $8.00? Random assortments thrown together as "Protein Packs" and "Breakfast Snacks" $9.00?  Not acceptable....especially when I have plenty of time to kill and plenty of successful foraging experience.

The first good news I found was the Einstein Bagel outpost.  Despite their attempts to expand, the business of bagel shops remains  primarily breakfast-oriented with some the lines in late afternoon are short.  And like some other franchises, Einstein's airport prices remain refreshingly close to their "free-range" prices.  Which is not to say they can't rip you off...a bagel with cream cheese costs $1.65 more than a plain bagel.

The next welcome discovery was the availability of $0.99 mozzarella "string cheese" sticks at the convenience mart across from Einstein.  I realized that at the very least I could assemble a decent cheese bagel for just over $2.  So I ordered the toasted sliced bagel, bought and shredded the cheese, and slapped them together with hope of a little melting.

But in the meantime both my ambitions and my appetite had increased...I wanted to build a full-on sandwich.  While I awaited my toasted bagel I had been observing the "custom burger" joint across the way, and decided that The Counter should be the right place to meet my needs.  Their menu shows specific charges for "extra" toppings...cheeses, veggies, why can't they just ring up a couple toppings a la carte?

While it took a bit of extra time and management referral, they actually went above my expectations.  I assumed they would either refuse my request or sullenly slap a couple toppings on a piece of wax paper.  Far from it.  They used the topping a la carte prices, but for lack of a better term for it punched it into the computer as a custom "bowl"...same as the folks who order their burgers on a bed of lettuce instead of a bun.  It led to some confusion along the assembly line, with servers wondering why I was ordering a bowl missing not only bun, but greens and burger.  But because I went through the line, I got a bonus of chipotle aioli on my stack of cheese/tomato/pickles, preparing me to assemble a fine if meatless sandwich.

And more bonus offerings appeared.  Because they classified it as a "Bowl" that's how the Counter staff served my stack of a sturdy salad-size bowl with a lid.  After removing the contents and wiping away some tomato juice and aoli, the bowl was ready for sandwich storage.

Perhaps I should feel guilty.  I violated the spirit if not the letter of "food court law."  But spending only $4.46 on a fresh-made sandwich left me enough spare change from my "airport allowance" to order a tasty local beer at the neighboring bar.  And with a Modern Times brew as the end result, I can repeat a hearty and guilt-free exclamation of "Make Your Own Damn Sandwich!"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Now Seeking Business via WWW.VIRTUALROADKILL.COM

There has been a long hiatus since my last post, as I realized I was just posting some noncreative and repetitive material for the sake of proving a point.

As a former catering professional and an individual who has struggled with both poverty and unhealthy eating habits, I have a great deal of interest in promoting affordable healthy food choices. I have explored some related topics in my blog and have quite a few article concepts regarding budget purchasing of healthy foods, easy meal plans, and "common-sense" approaches to nutrition. I would be very interested in any opportunity to write further on these.

And as a human with the usual set of issues and requirements for survival, I need to get paid for further writing and administrative work.

If interested in negotiating a specific project or a retainer relationship, please email