Healthy Eating on the Cheap

You know, temporary unemployment really puts your budget in perspective. Who knew that I’d be paying such close attention to my own advice when it comes to food and finances so soon? After Monday’s pizza pity party, I’ve made it my goal not to spend money on food until the weekend. So all week long, we’re going to be playing my favorite game: pantry roulette!

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Start with an on-its-last-legs zuke from the fridge (purloined from your sister’s CSA share), add a kajillion knife cuts (I really need a mandolin) and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and set aside.

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Meanwhile, cook up some whole wheat pasta and stare longingly at the beautiful label on the newest kind of spaghetti sauce you’re trying from Trader Joe’s.

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Add in zucchini “noodles”, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, whatever, and shake it all about.

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Garnish with a random cherry tomato you found at the bottom of the produce drawer and some fresh basil from the plant that you still can’t believe hasn’t died on your windowsill. Eat.

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Another way to save the cash monies when you’re trying to scrimp and save? Eat dinner at the parentals’ house! 😀

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My mom and I made a decadent and delicious meal together for the fam that consisted of creamy mushroom risotto (O.M.G.), chicken, salad, and whole wheat bread for EVOO dippage.

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And fruit for dessert! Crazy exotic fruit, that is.

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Papaya and “dragon eyes” (related to lychees). Mmm.

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The only not-so-economical part of my day? Paying for the mutts to be transformed from their previously shaggy selves into this:

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Worth it. 🙂

You got questions? I got answers.

Happy Friday, folks! It’s the last workday of the week (for us office-job peeps, anyway!) and I’m celebrating with the publishment (is that a word? Eh, I’m rolling with it anyway) of the Q&A page that I mentioned a couple days ago. I took (most) of the questions that you guys asked me and answered them in a separate page that you can access in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Huzzah! You all had great questions, so if there are additional things you’d like to know, please feel free to ask! I especially think it will be fun to answer any “favorites” questions you might have, provided anyone has any actual interest in knowing that kind of stuff. Man, blogging really is for the narcissistic, eh?

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Not that *I* fit that bill or anything, of course! Bahahaha.

So as I mentioned yesterday, this week has been keeping me BUSY. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s all been a total blast, but sometimes you just need an evening where nothing’s scheduled, nothing’s planned, and you don’t have anybody to meet. I got my wish last night! I kicked off the afternoon with my third laser hair removal session (after just the second session I already noticed a HUGE difference, btw) and then spent the rest of the post-work day just, well, bumming around. I’m not supposed to work out or get super sweaty right after I get zapped, so a couple episodes of Sex & the City got watched, I spent some quality time with the puppers, and then headed down to la cocina to make dinner (last night was also the first night all week I cooked a real dinner for myself — eep!)

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I finally got broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s! And it played an integral role in the game of pantry roulette that was my dinner last night. I sauteed some red onion in olive oil, then added two chopped chicken sausage links:

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Before adding the slaw to the mix:

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And while that was softening, I chopped up two apples as well, which tasted crisp and fresh in the dish. Mmmm.

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All together now!

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I just seasoned the dish with some salt and pepper, but it was some superawesomespecial salt that I was psyched to try out:

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I saw this smoked sea salt on someone’s blog recently (although I can’t remember whose – fail!) and knew I had to pick up a grinder the next time I was at TJ’s. The second you start grinding, it just EXUDES smokiness. I could barely believe it! I’m not sure I used enough of it to really get the smokiness to poke through the other flavor profiles, but you can bet I’ll be experimenting with this way more.

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A weird little concoction? Possibly. But it was delectable, it didn’t upset my stomach (score!), and was tres, tres healthy on top of all that. Win-win-win.

Do you ever buy something from the grocery store because it seems cool, even if you’re not exactly sure how to use it? I do this all the time. It’s fun to figure it out in the kitchen! What would you do with smoked sea salt? I’m thinking an obvious choice would be to season some grillin’ stuffs with it, since we don’t have an actual smoker it might give grilled meats and veggies some of that amazing flavor without the muss.