Monday, January 28, 2013

Trader Joe's Challenge: Day One!

You guys, I'm not going to lie to you, it's been one of those days....
 I haven't been able to totally start my Trader Joe's cooking challenge yet. I'm like, 75% there... but not 100% to challenge plan.  It began when school called at FIVE FIFTY this morning, waking me from a deep sleep. I thought it was still the middle of the night when the phone rang, and went FLYING out of bed, nearly head-on into the humidifier. You know, that could have been bad you guys.

Today was a snow day, but not really. It was more like an ice morn. I'm down with snow days though, it's cool, (get it! get it!?) at least Noah was ELATED. Not just happy, ELATED. Like, out-of-control with happiness . He loves school, but you wouldn't have known it from the sight of him GOING COMPLETELY NUTS.

This is Noah after he stopped going completely nuts. I was like, go look out our windows, it's relaxing.

And by the way, this is the view from my bedroom window last night. Isn't it pretty? 

Anyway, last night I got all organized for my Trader Joe's challenge. First I went through Trader Joe's recipes from my Pinterest board "Dinner With Trader Joe's", and picked a bunch of recipes out. Then, I put them together, making meals for the week.

(Please ignore my late-night, un-spellchecked, scribbles.)

Once that was done, I transferred all of the ingredients from these meals, and any other basics that we needed, onto a master shopping list. It was divided by sections. (I know everything is misspelled. I kan't helpp it!!!)

(I didn't really look like this, but I WISH.)

My plan was to grocery shop first thing in the morning, once Noah left for school, but plans changed. I wasn't able to get my Trader Joe's shopping done until this evening. It didn't matter though, I was , ok, JON was, still able to whip up an all-Trader Joe's dinner tonight, with things that we already had in the house! 

(Trader Joe's Organic Creamy Tomato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches made using Trader Joe's provolone cheese.) Ok, so not the fanciest of meals, but it's one of our 15-minute, fast and easy go-to dinners. You can add a quick side or veg. and fruit too. And can I just tell you how delicious that soup is? TRY IT!)

Noah, Jon and I ran over to Trader Joe's after dinner. We went to a location that just opened this month. It's faaaaaabulous! Wide, open aisles, never crowded. As much as I love my original Trader Joe's, the new location is much less of a traffic jam inside, and, it's literally 10 minutes from my front door.

Armed with our list, the aim was to make this a quick trip, and it was! Putting a little work into things ahead of time, really pays off. I was able to find everything on the list, except for a spaghetti squash (not in season?),  arugula (all out), stewed tomatoes (they have them, but I prefer to buy in a jar vs. can), and corn tortillas (because who the hell knows where corn tortillas are anyway?).

And by the way, last minute, I decided to add an additional recipe to my list, and it's so fantastic, I just had to share with you- the AMAZING cauliflower pizza crust. Honestly, I love it, it's incredible. Gluten-free, no flour, only riced cauliflower, cheese, an eggs and some seasoning. Just don't use a salty cheese!
 I digress.

For the record, I got all of the food for our meals, plus basics , plus a few fun extras, mostly organic and/or health conscious for the week, for a total of $150. Not too bad, right? The weekly budget that we try to stick with is $125, but it can fluctuate.

This is Noah after our shopping trip. He found Luau the stuffed animal monkey, hiding on top of the bananas today. They gave him some awesome, Valentine's Day Trader Joe's stickers. (See top of post.) He is happy.

You know what guys? Maybe in retrospect, it really wasn't "one of those days". Actually, it might have been kind of good. I mean, I got to spend most of the day with my sweet guy, and I am SO lucky to be able to buy food for our family. Yeah, you know, it WAS a good day. It really was. Thanks for the mental clarity internets! 

One more good day mention....a BIG "thank you" to one of THE MOST loving and giving people that I know, Theresa. She stopped by with a FANTASTIC gift for Noah. Some adorable Lego shaped erasers , and this amazing book by Klutz press, that comes with many many interlocking pieces that you use to build spaceships! It's adorable, some pieces have rockets printed on them, others have engine looking pictures. Noah loved his gift, and it was great to see him using his imagination. Thank you Theresa! Feeling so lucky to have such a truly thoughtful friend like you in our lives.

Well, that's the news from Lake How Bourgeois-be-gone. Tomorrow's plan is to whip up the first of the "official" Trader Joe's challenge recipes. I'll keep you posted on how the week goes.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I've wanted to write and blog more for so many years, and have just never found the time until what I hope, is now! We started How Bourgeois when Noah was just a few months old, and now he's a big boy. Thank you for letting us share our little musings with you!



Jewels said...

Hi there! I love your blog. Can you tell me what the 2-week challenge consists of? I <3 Trader Joes! Thank you.

Jewels said...

Hi there! I love your blog. Can you tell me what the 2-week challenge consists of? I <3 Trader Joes! Thank you.

Lauren said...

Hi Jewels!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the nice comment! I know, isn't Trader Joe's the best!? Well, to be honest, I haven't come up with a week #2 challenge. Originally, the "challenge" was to do all of my grocery shopping at one store, Trader Joe's. (Where as before, I would need to visit 2-3 markets each week.) Then, the second half of the challenge was to cook at least 5 dinners, all with ingredients that I bought at TJ's.

I'd love to go on with a second week, but things just got busy around here. I wish I had more time to blog! In the meantime, I will tell you that the Shakshuka recipe, the homemade hummus, and the eggplant sandwiches, which I wrote about last week, were so good, I made them again this week!

I will write more as I find addition TJ's recipes to make.

Thanks again. Nice to meet you!
Lauren :)