A Place at the Table: Day 10

Saturday – Went to the store this morning with my weekly allowance of $14.98 in my pocket but without a detailed plan for what to get, as I had hoped.  I knew I wanted to try to bring home at least one vegetable, since vegetation was absent from  last week’s meals (unless you count tomato sauce as a vegetable).  Meat would be nice if I could swing it, and a bit of pasta, too, since I have a little sauce left in the fridge.   Variety would be a plus.  Last week I ate the same thing for lunch and dinner every day.

Thoughts of meat and pasta quickly evaporated. None of the pasta sales from last week were still running and there wasn’t a $2 off coupon to be found in the meat aisle – not one paired with a sale, anyway, that would make the package affordable for me.  Time to explore other options.

Since Sara E. suggested bananas to me last week, I went to see what I could find.  Giant has them for $.69 per pound.  They also must have just received a shipment because they had several bright yellow bunches ready to eat along with green ones still needing to ripen – exactly what I needed shopping for the week.  I then remembered the peanut butter I was looking at last time: Giant’s all natural store brand was a good deal.  Bananas and peanut butter are one of my very favorite combinations and one of my standard breakfasts.  If I could score some bread on sale, I could make PB&B sandwiches.  Bananas would certainly be more filling than jelly as a pairing with peanut butter – and they were cheaper.  Giant didn’t have a single jar of jelly/preserves that I was interested in for under $3.  The ones actually made of fruit were more like $4 (or more).

Next I went to look at rice and beans.  I needed some protein and since meat was out of the question for this week, my wife had suggested chickpeas as an alternative.  They contain a good amount of protein as well as fiber, which makes them filling (and nutritious).  We eat them a lot in curries and on salads. A one pound bag of dried chickpeas was $1.99.  Further down the aisle, I found a three pound bag of white rice for $3.99.  Rice is both yummy and versatile, I thought.  It can pair with a lot of things.  A quick glance at the label also revealed how far it can stretch.  When cooked, this three pound bag would yield 60 (!) 3/4 cup servings. I could eat 20 servings this week and still have enough for two more weeks.  Sold.  If I had noticed that last week, I never would have opted for pasta.

On my way home I stopped by Target to see what they had in the way of bread.  Their bread prices are almost always better than Giant’s.  I found a loaf of Nature’s Own Honey Wheat bread on sale for $2.19.  It’s more processed than I’d like, but not nearly as processed as it could be.  And there are 20 slices to the loaf. If I manage the peanut butter carefully, I could even have a sandwich and a half a couple of days.

All totaled, here’s what I came home with:

1 loaf of bread (20 slices) $2.19

1 pound bag of dried chickpeas: $1.99

6 bananas $1.66

1  jar of all natural peanut butter (ground peanuts and salt, nothing else) $2.79

1 three pound bag of rice $3.99

1 bag of frozen green beans $1.00 (on sale)

1 32oz carton of organic turkey broth $1.19 (on clearance).  My thought is to pour this over rice to make a soup of sorts and to add flavor to the green beans and the chick peas.

Grand total: $14.81. Not bad – and certainly more food than I brought home last time.

When I got home, I cooked a chicken tender and finished of the last of last week’s pasta for lunch. For the first time, I was still really hungry, though.  I think I might have waited too long to eat and once I did eat it wasn’t enough to stem the tide.   My trip to the store took longer than I had intended, and then I got a phone call from a church member that turned into a lengthy conversation.  Around 3:30, I couldn’t hold out any longer.   I had to have something else so I ate one of my newly purchased bananas along with a couple of tablespoons of the peanut butter (no bread).  That did the trick.  I also had an afternoon cup of coffee.  I feel a little guilty about that.  Perhaps if I’d waited a little longer, the banana would have given me an energy boost all by itself.  But as I wrote in an earlier blog, coffee is a pleasure for me as well as a pick-me-up.  God and I are going to have to keep working on that one.

Lord, may my weakness become a conduit for your strength. Amen.

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