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Blaugust 15: How I Ate For Cheap


Today I paid a sad amount of money for a yogurt parfait (possibly the most overpriced prepared item at any store…) and a kind bar for breakfast. I had put off getting groceries so I didn’t really have much around to eat. I wanted something simple, but the best quality egg sandwich around here is also a little bit too expensive for my preferences. It’s a bit of a regret but it tasted fine, and it’s done now.

I made up for it afterward by getting lunch and dinner for free. I had a “buy ten sandwiches get one free” punch card that I’d filled up. Ok, actually I think it’s twelve, and since I kept forgetting to get it punched, I probably bought around twice as many to get the free one. However, it was no money paid today. I left a small tip and that’s it.

For dinner, since there is a Panera near the grocery store, I decided to use some of a gift card I have and I got a salad and, probably negating the health of the salad, a chai latte. At least the crazy air conditioning habits of every single business out there allow me to drink a hot beverage in the summer without dying.

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Both lunch and dinner were good, but not great. I didn’t order my very favorite sandwich because I was in the mood for a different kind today. The sandwich I chose was quite satisfying, but not as delicious as either of the two I tend to buy for myself. As for dinner, I liked the chai more than the salad, and to be honest I wasn’t too hungry so I probably could have just stuck with the chai… trying to get some more nutrients for dinner and all that.

Groceries were a whole different story this week. I am currently dog-sitting (for a very cute beagle with some weird habits, as I am certain all pets have), and the house is in the middle of a huge kitchen renovation. This means that there IS no kitchen. Instead, there are pieces of a kitchen here, there, out on the porch. Literally, the toaster oven is out there. I haven’t used it yet… going outside to cook seems strange to me.

So, my grocery goals today were: cheap, healthy, and no cooking necessary. What does a grocery haul look like when you know you won’t be able to cook? Pretty simple. Prepared chicken (the grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s. Probably every grocery store you go to, unless it’s a tiny, specialty store of some kind, will have a variety of prepared chicken), baby spinach, avocado to use with some of the things that are already around for salads and wraps, and a few bananas and greek yogurts for breakfast. I can eat the same few things on repeat for the next several days… but then I’m going to need something different. Still trying to keep it healthy, but my taste buds could use a thrill.

I really need to figure out some healthier foods for that need to treat yo self.

My Dream Hometown


Apparently, making a “list” of qualities of your ideal man is a thing people do. I haven’t ever done it, and I’ve never had a discussion relating to it with anyone in real life, so maybe it only happens in romantic comedies. In any case, I had the idea to make a similar list but instead of pertaining to a significant other, it’s about my ideal neighborhood. Here we go:

  1. There’s a reasonable greenery to pavement ratio. Nice trees and stuff. On a related note, the sidewalk is NOT strewn with trash.
  2. I live at least a few blocks away from any schools (there is an elementary school right next door to me right now, which is a lot more annoying than it sounds).
  3. Within a five minute walk there is a place where I can get really good coffee–both brewed coffee and lattes–and a delicious and reasonably priced breakfast sandwich. Also reasonably near is great pizza, sandwiches, burritos, and a nice but relatively inexpensive bar.
  4. My close friends live near me. Now, I realize it isn’t the case for most people after college, but we are talking ideal here.
  5. The sidewalks are consistently wide enough for two people to pass and adequately shoveled in the winter.
  6. There is a good bookstore, with the kind of seating available that makes you want to hang around.
  7. Clothing and shoe shops that are easy to get to. (Really good ones, that carry stuff I’d want to wear.)
  8. People take good care of their facades and front lawns. And they all have front lawns.

That’s all I’ve got for now. There are probably other things that would qualify as well. Near public transit, for instance–it’s important right now, but might not be sometime in the future…

We’ll just have to see what happens. Mostly, what I’m saying is that I’m going to want a great breakfast sandwich tomorrow, and I’m not sure where to get one.

What is this, you ask?


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Well, it’s about half of a medium green pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes cut into eighths, two eggs, and cheddar cheese, cooked into a sort of omelet-frittata hybrid (frittatelet? Omelata? Comment and tell me which you like), on brioche buns from the day old bread section of Cafenation. Also mustard, mostly because I didn’t have any mayonnaise, but it was a good addition.

They’re almost like egg burgers! They were very tasty. This “recipe” is easily adaptable because you could add anything you want to the eggs, and top it off with other things like bacon or avocado, or some interesting condiments if you have them. Try it out!

Tomato Sauce: The Short Version


Earlier this afternoon I made my own, home-made version of a cup-a-noodles. Much tastier, and only took a few minutes longer…

My last tomato, having been around for about a week, needed to be used, but I didn’t want another sandwich and unfortunately I have no fresh mozzarella at the moment. However, I always like to just throw some pieces of fresh tomato onto some pasta, so I thought I’d do that.

Of course, this was not the freshest tomato I was working with. Knowing that, I decided to just cook them up a little bit. I threw them into a pan with olive oil and a tasty little mix of herbs. I made a serving of pasta, heated the tomatoes in the oil for just a few minutes, threw it all together in a bowl and ate it up (of course it burned my mouth a little to begin with, because I didn’t give it a chance to cool off before I took a bite…)

(Imagine a picture here of some freshly-made pasta scattered with tomatoes

and dotted with herbs. Tried to take an actual picture, and it did not go well.)

I’m not going to detail how I cooked things, because it was extremely simple and everyone basically knows how to make pasta … but here are a few notes that might help.

1) Angel hair cooks SO fast because it’s so thin, it’s amazing for a quick meal. I almost always make too much pasta, so I adjusted for that and made what looked like too little. It was the perfect amount for lunch.

2) Use the good stuff! I have some cheap, meh-type olive oil and some good, delicious, thick olive oil. People often want to use the good stuff only for special occasions or something, save it and use the adequate but not-as-good kind instead – but let me ask you this: what are you saving it for? Unless you have something particular in mind, just use it. Especially in a dish like this, where the oil is going to be a big part of the flavor. Treat yourself. It’s not like you can’t buy some good olive oil ever again.

3) It’s your choice how long to cook the tomatoes, but if you’re looking to keep the fresh tomato taste, just simmer them long enough to warm them up and get them nice and coated in oil and spice. Which herbs or spices you use is also your choice. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend some basil. Basil is excellent for this.

Later I went to Davis Sq., so dinner was a Little Italy sandwich at Blue Shirt Cafe, followed by a mojito cupcake. Kickass Cupcakes makes, if you can believe it, some pretty kickass cupcakes.

Ham, cheese, and tomato melt (Success)


One of the perks of no-recipe cooking, aka throwing whatever random (to some degree) foods I have on a plate, is that I’ll often get a meal together in 5-10 minutes, depending on if it’s something I can eat cold or not.

Last week I managed to make a really delicious sandwich with only a few ingredients and my oven. It was inspired by a panini or two I’ve had over the course of many years… yes, apparently, I love ham sandwiches. Not as much as chicken, as I’m sure you’ll learn if you stick around. … anyway, onto the anti-recipe

The ingredients: bread (two slices), cheese (it was a cheddar/mozzarella blend, but you can use whatever the hell you want. I recommend swiss or brie for this purpose), deli ham, tomato slices, mustard, honey apple butter.

Instructions: Heat oven to about 425, arrange items on bread, put in oven open faced, leave in until cheese is melted.

 

mmmmm, yeah

 

The stuff on top of the ham that looks like gravy is in fact honey apple butter from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to assemble your sandwich contents any way you like – however, if you do it this way, the apple stuff is almost like a glaze on the ham, so good, I can’t even tell you. The mustard is under the ham here, but you can put it anywhere you want, even not on the sandwich. But why would you want to do that? Just put it under the ham.

So, if you have a toaster oven, that might be a better way to go. I haven’t figured out where to set mine up, so I still make toast in my oven. Tip: if you want to warm everything up and melt the cheese, but not toast the bread, put it on a bit of aluminum foil or a baking sheet. If you want the bread nice and crispy on the outside, put it right on the rack.

 

I waited a minute or two, then put the two halves together and they just tasted soooooo good. It was really juicy. If I’d had the option, I would have used a really good artisan bread of some kind, because I am a bread fiend.

 

 

It was still really tasty, though.

 


First food reblog. Why this one? Because it looks like the bread is turning into an alien life form, and because the sandwich looks like it would be extremely tasty.

bish's dishes

When I was younger (about 12) I was a bit obsessed with the cooking programme ‘Two Fat Ladies’. For anyone not familiar with the show it was, well, two 60+ women who were fat and cooked recipes. As if that wasn’t enough they travelled around on a Triumph bike – one of them driving and the other in a sidecar! They cooked a lot of traditional and forgotten recipes, many containing lard, and cooked with hands adorned with rings. They sang and drank wine while they cooked and went out for a cigarette break when they had something in the oven!

Anyway, they made quite an impression on me and one of their recipes has stuck in my mind for over 15 years and I finally decided to have a go at making it my own way.

A Shooter’s Sandwich is an Edwardian invention designed for taking along for eating…

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