Honestly, Soup

Hi eaters!

It’s Tuesday, right? I have been so bad about days lately.

Anyway, I didn’t blog last night. I think I’m losing a bit of my blogging mojo because I had time to blog, I just didn’t have anything to blog about or any desire to pull something out of my ass. I was tempted to put up some stupid meme about how I was doing other things or just something funny, but then I realized that producing bad content dilutes the good content I produce.

So I didn’t.

Because I do occasionally write something really good and worth reading or worth making and when I do, I really want you to read it and enjoy it and be happy you spent those five minutes with me.

So, there’s my two cents. And like two actual pennies, it’s not worth much.

Upward and onward to…more honesty.

I once read a blog post somewhere about staging food for photos. Maybe it was an article, not a blog post.

But that’s irrelevant.

The relevant thing is that it said to set two places and make two plates of food because then the photos look like a real, inviting meal and if you want to get people to make your recipes you had to make them seem inviting rather than just you eating them alone in your pajamas.

That got me thinking. My first thought was “eff no” because that meant I not only had to own sets of matching dishes (something I certainly didn’t have then and barely have now), but that I then had to wash those extra dishes.

My second thought, though, was why did I need to fake eating meals with someone?

At the time, I was cooking solely for myself and generally eating by myself while watching TV (because all my friends had meal plans) or eating while hanging out with someone who wasn’t eating.

And now, I eat dinner with Leon. The other two meals of the day are still solo. And I sure as heck am not going to bust out fancy dishes and attempt lighting and make Leon wait while the food gets cold as I attempt to get all the right angles on a piece of chicken.

That all sounds like lunacy to me.

So, as you may have noticed over the past couple of months (if you’ve been reading that long), my photos have become significantly less staged. Sure, some things, like muffins or cookies or other tepid, non-time sensitive creations still get staged, but for the most part my pictures are taken on the big wooden cutting board that sits atop my yellow prep table that used to be a baby changing table. I try to get most of my pictures during the day because the light from the windows in my kitchen are lovely, but even that isn’t something I strive for.

I guess I strive for honesty.

So honestly, my recipes aren’t the greatest things in the world. Honestly, they are not in any war gourmet and I don’t even pretend I know what I’m doing. They probably won’t wow your friends at a dinner party (except maybe these crostinis) nor will they earn you any friends if you don’t already have some.

But honestly, they’re cheap and easy and don’t ever require more than two pans (because I only have two) or any extra funky ingredients or use big, hard to pronounce words.

And I can honestly say that while neither of us will be appearing on Top Chef anytime soon, my recipes do the trick. They feed you. They nourish you. They make me happy and hopefully they make you happy, too.

So, while half the country is cold and buried in water, I think we could all use a little soup. With bacon. And cheese.

Baked Potato Soup

¼ onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

6-7 small-medium russet potatoes, skin on and cubed

3 c chicken/vegetable stock

3 T butter, dairy or non dairy

1 ½ c milk, dairy or non dairy

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

oil

water

toppings

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Sauté onion until fragrant and then add the garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant pour in the stock, butter, and potatoes. Stir everything together, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and leave it to simmer for ~15 minutes.

Add plenty of salt and pepper, stir it all together, and then add the milk. Cover the pot and leave it to simmer again for ~10 minutes.

At this point the potatoes should be plenty soft and starting to break down. Once the soup is creamy stir in the egg. Continue stirring the soup for 5 minutes and then cover again for ~10. Stir some more.

The potatoes should almost all break down to leave a thick, chunky soup. Feel free to puree/smash some of the chunks to make a smoother soup. Add some water if it has gotten too thick.

Prepare your toppings, ladle up a few bowls, and top away.

Leon adding his cheese.

Leon and I went with bacon, cheddar, and sautéed asparagus because we had all those things on hand.

Jalapenos, salsa, sautéed greens, and the like would also make good toppings. But like I said, we used what we had on hand. No need to spend extra money to try to make you think this meal was actually planned or that we actually keep a thoroughly stocked fridge.

Left: His. Right: Hers.

Leon said this soup was “really good for a first time without a recipe,” which is how most of my recipes turn out. And let’s be honest, if I don’t have time to wash an extra dish do you really think I have time to remake and re-remake recipes all day?

Nope. And neither do you, so trust me when I say this is honestly a good soup.

What do you think, eaters:

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Tell me something honest about yourself.

G’night eaters!

A Weekend

‘Ello eaters!

This weekend has been a little all over the place. And frankly, I feel a little worse for wear right now.

Not worse for wear because I did a lot of hard partying and partook in lots of debauchery.  (Is “partook” the right verb to use with debauchery?)

No, worse for wear because I did a lot.

I attempted to pull my weight (pun intended) in a partner WOD on Saturday. AND I didn’t throw up once (though I sure felt like it during some of those toes to bar, my poor partner).

I flexed my brain muscles on Friday night with a take home test. Yes, I did spend my Friday night doing homework while shoving animal crackers in my mouth. But really, finishing that test (which was kinda huge) felt so ah-maze-ing.

#YOLO is right, eaters.

I decided not to stress about coming up with a pre-Halloween costume for Saturday night. And if anyone asked, I said I was British.

Riding boots, colored denim, and faux fur vests were actually big in London when I lived there.

I may or may not have lip synched to Spice Girls while doing some kind of skipping back-it-up dance move that also involved my arms at work. Yeah, days when you have to essentially re-arrange the entire store and unwrap and label hundreds of Christmas ornaments might sound sucky, but the people I work with are fun. Oh, and I ate four Halloween cookies, so the sugar helped.

And then I ended it all with a really splendid dinner cooked by Leon.

Horseradish crusted catfish, sauteed Swiss chard, and quinoa.

So my weekend may not have started all that great (Catfish For One, anyone), but it ended amazingly. And this is me having AND doing it all.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you ever stay in to do work/homework on the weekends?

What were you/are you going to be for Halloween?

*Bonus question* What candy should I pick up for my trick or treaters?

G’night eaters! 

Catfish For One

Hi eaters!

Today…has sucked.

I meant to go to Crossfit at 6:30am, but I woke up at 3:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep so by the time my alarm went off I was exhausted and knew I needed sleep.

Work was boring and slow.

And then I came home to this.

Woohoo! I can be a cool, Instagram in a post-posting blogger now thanks to my iPhone.

Yup, m’darling baby puppy had destroyed his bed, the bathmat, and the bathroom trash and then spread it all over the house.

So I said my little Serenity Mantra, ignored the mess while I ate lunch and watched Netflix, and then skipped class to clean up.

This was less than half of what I cleaned up.

But on the bright side, I needed to clean the floors anyway and now they look…better than before.

Then I went to my later class, played with a Polaroid camera, and bought what turned out to be a really gross bottle of wine.

It really is like drinking liquid jam.

And because (really gross, almost cloyingly sweet) wine doesn’t count as dinner, I still needed to cook. And I needed to cook in a way that would relax me, not dirty lots of dishes, and be better than the Jimmy John’s sandwich I seriously considered picking up on the way home.

Quick Catfish for One

1 catfish fillet

2 T oil, divided

¼ c tomato sauce

¼ c bell pepper, diced

a few slices of eggplant

¼ c frozen okra

1/2 T butter

1 T salsa

salt and pepper, to taste

*You can pretty much swap any of these vegetables. I do love the tomato okra combination, so I would stick to that if possible. Otherwise use what you’ve got handy.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Rub half the oil on both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until it flakes easily.

Heat half the oil in a pan over medium heat and begin sautéing the bell peppers. After a couple of minutes add the eggplant and okra. Give it a few good stirs and then add the tomato sauce and salsa. Lower the stove to medium heat and continually stirring occasionally until the fish is done.

Pull the fish out of the oven, stir the butter into the tomato vegetables, and then top the fish with the tomato vegetable mixture.

And that’s it.

Only a couple of dirty dishes and a dinner that looks…better than a Jimmy Johns sandwich.

Correction: it definitely looks better than a sandwich. And it probably tastes better than one, too.

Yup, this is me having and doing it all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to decide if I want more gross wine, some extra stale wine, or just to go to bed before 11:00pm.

Your turn, eaters:

How do you choose wine?

What was the last crappy thing you came home to?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Model Muffin

G’day eaters!

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind and I feel like I haven’t got much of anything done. So I should probably do something productive before I go out to a bar and drink and eat my face off.

Ready…Set…GO!


Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Breakfast:

Half a honey crisp and pb.

I decided to fully embrace this unexpected leisure time and go to the 10:00am Crossfit class, which meant a real, whole breakfast before hand.

Swiss chard and scrambled eggs.

Yup, this is my idea of leisure.

Crossfit:

We did “Collin,” which is:

6 rounds

400m run carrying a 20 lbs wall ball

12 push presses with 53 lbs

12 box jumps with a 20” box

12 sumo deadlift high pulls with 45 lbs

This damn benchmark nearly killed me. It wouldn’t have been half as bad were it not for that damn wall ball. It was so awkward to carry that I couldn’t really run at all. I spent every round of “running” thinking about how much easier it would have been if I were carrying almost anything else — a 20 lbs kettlebell, 2 10-lbs weight plates, a 20 lbs weighted vest.

I joked about that with my coach after I finished and then he pointed out that that was the point — it was supposed to be the hardest possible version of everything. That’s what makes it a hero WOD.

Duh!

Lunch:

Pork, cheddar cheese, apple, bell pepper, spicy salad mix, and BBQ sauce.

Apple, cheese, and BBQ is one of my favorite food combinations. And surprisingly, I even liked the “spicy” lettuce mix that I got from my CSA in this combination.

Fun fact: I really kind of hate arugula and, as of about a year ago, raw spinach makes me gaggy.

Snack:

Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

So much muffin batter. And some cheese.

Almost Paleo Apple Almond Muffin with pb.

And then the model muffin, because it already had pb on it.

Dinner:

Bak choy, eggplant, and pork stir fry with Trader Joe's green curry simmer sauce over rice.

Neither Leon and I were feeling overly ambitious and we had a ton of bok choy to use up, so a stir fry sounded perfect.

Dessert:

I poured some of the chocolate chips that now live on my nightstand directly into my mouth.

Have I mentioned that my life is awesome? Because it is.

What do you think, eaters:

What food lives in your bedroom?

How do you feel about “heroic” workouts?

G’night eaters!

Almost Paleo Apple Almond Muffins

‘Ello eaters!

I’m smack dab in the middle of a pretty glorious day.

Well glorious except for the angry yellow jacket that has taken over my kitchen. I lost site of it for a few minutes and then found it when I threw something in the recycling bin and it came storming out super angrily.

Fun fact: I’ve never been stung by anything and am absolutely terrified that I’ll be deathly allergic and thus am now ridiculously afraid of all stinging insects.

But enough about the angry bee. Let’s talk about me. (Yes, I did intend that to rhyme.)

I’m trying to save money. Who isn’t, right?

And I’m really busy. Who isn’t, right?

AND I’m trying to eat clean and healthy (which for me means somewhere along the lines of the Zone). Who isn’t, right?

Ya gosh darn right you are!

And ya know what, eaters, trying to have and do it all like that is hard. Really hard. Ridiculously hard. But it’s also ridiculously doable.

Now I’m no expert on having and doing it all. Heck, I’m no expert on anything.

Really, I’m not an expert. Please don’t think of me as one.

But since chances are you’re not an expert on having or doing it all either, we can share notes.

So here are my notes.

Almond Apple Muffins

2 ½ c almond meal/flour

¾ t baking soda

½ T chia seeds

2 eggs

3 T agave syrup

½ T vanilla extract

3 T peanut butter*

¼ c coconut oil, divided

1 apple, chopped

~1/4 t cinnamon

*The pb can definitely be subbed for any other kind of nut butter to make it paleo. (That is, if everything else in this recipe is paleo. I really don’t know much about the rules of paleo.)

Heat 1 T coconut oil in a pan over low-medium heat. Add the apples and cinnamon, toss to coat, and stir occasionally until thoroughly soft and fragrant.

I would have had an even dozen muffins, but I ate too much batter.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, fold in the apples, and scoop the batter equally into a dozen lined muffin tins.

Bake at 325F for 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins may not be the answer to you having and doing it all, but they do help.

They’re pretty well (Zone) balanced at just over 1 block of carbs and 1 block of protein, so they qualify as eating clean and healthy.

Since they are a balanced snack in a single wrapper they’re as easy to grab and go as all those bars I love so much, but for significantly cheaper. So they help me save a few pennies and save some time that I would spend on packing a balanced snack.

Oh, and homemade muffins definitely make you at least seem like you have it all. Because if you don’t actually have it all, at least you have muffins. And muffins are pretty amazing, right?

Ya gosh darn right they are!

What goes better with a nut flour muffin full of nut butter? A schmear of nut butter, of course.

What do you think, eaters:

If you could add an extra hour to the day to do one thing, what would it be?

What’s your favorite muffin mix-in?

G’night eaters!

Ten-Cent Tour: Weekend Edition

Sup eaters!

I got back from Georgia last night and was so dileriously tired that I immediately stuffed my face, said lots of nonsensical things to Leon, and then fell asleep.

It was kind of glorious. Well, except for the part on my drive back when I hit a bunch of traffic, ate possibly bad beef jerky, and almost fell asleep.

So now I’m here to dump the contents of my phone onto the screen and call it a post.

(Ya know, because now that I have an iPhone it’s pretty crazy easy to do that.)

Friday night I went with my mom and her boyfriend to do paddle board yoga. That’s yoga on a paddle board.

Of course, I thought I was going to spend the whole hour falling in the lake. But somehow, I didn’t fall in once and it was a lot of fun.

Hell, I even managed a three-legged dog.

Saturday morning Mother and I hit up my absolute favorite antique/thrift store — Payne City Antiques!

I have a laundry list of things I’d still like to get for the house — another accent chair, table lamps, another floor lamp, little dishes to hold our crap, etc, etc.

I, of course, just ended up taking a bunch of pictures of silly deer things and sending them to Leon.

I did almost get this chair, which would have matched the blue chair I got a few months ago, but it was pretty wobbly and not worth it for $45.

Saturday afternoon I went a few towns over to spend the night with m’bestie, Coco, and go to a festival-thing.

We both wore sequins. We ate lots of cheese dip. We drank lots of beer. I only saw a few people from high school that I don’t like.

Then we woke up on Sunday super hungover.

Don't you miss the days when I used to post ugly morning after photos?

So, of course, the only logical thing to do was to stuff our faces at Waffle House.

I drove home and then woke up this morning bound and determined to beat the junk out of my system at Crossfit.

A 10-minute AMRAP and series of heavy overhead squats later, I declared myself junk free.

And that’s the ten-cent tour of my last fall break weekend.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s your favorite hangover food?

What was the last kind of adventurous thing you did?

G’night eaters!

Dehydrating Day

G’day eaters!

Things are quite lovely and relaxing down in the Dirty Dirty. There has been plenty of sleeping late, bad TV, wine, and wide open days. (Or…errrr…wide open day and a half.)

And there has been a good bit of playing in the kitchen because my mom’s boyfriend brought over his Vitamix and dehydrator. Of course, I was super freaking jazzed because, if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE kitchen appliances.

So first thing yesterday morning I got to work soaking nuts. And by lunchtime I was popping in four trays of Fitnessista’s cool ranch kale chips.

Ready to be "cooked."

For once, I followed the recipe pretty much to a T, except for leaving out chives and dill simply because we didn’t have them, and I put the onions in with everything else instead of leaving them whole on top.

Fyi, this is a Sedona dehydrator.

I left the chips in for the full 8 hours and they turned out great!

They’re not exactly like Cool Ranch Doritos, but I wouldn’t kick them out of bed.

(Would I kick anything salty and cheesy and crunchy out of bed? Probably not.)

My only issue is that here I am, roughly 12 hours after taking them out of the dehydrator and they’re losing a bit of crunch. Do any of you dehydrating pros have tips for storing kale chips? Or should I have just left them in a bit longer?

But if you know anything else about me, you know I couldn’t just stop at one recipe. AND you know I had to have some kind of dessert.

Unfortunately, after browsing lots of dehydrator dessert recipes I found that almost all of them called for coconut oil/butter. I could have sworn that I left a big jar of coconut oil here, but that was nowhere to be found. And I sure as heck wasn’t about to drop more than $10 on a jar of coconut butter (if I could even find it in Macon). So that discounted a lot of recipes I found.

So instead of something cool, I went with a really basic recipe I found for Lemon Chewies.

But this time I definitely didn’t really stick to the recipe.

Vanilla and/or Lemon Coconut Chewies

I made a recipe for vanilla-coconut chewies, scooped half of the batter, and then added in some lemon, so I wound up with half vanilla-coconut and half lemon-coconut.

1 c raw cashews, soaked for ~4 hours

1 c raw almonds, soaked for ~4 hours

2 ½ c unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

½ banana

1 T vanilla extract

1/3 c raw honey

¼ c coconut nectar*

~1/4 c water

1 lemon, zested and juiced**

*If you can’t find coconut nectar, I’m sure agave will work, but you’ll almost definitely need to use less.

**If you want to make a full batch of lemon-coconut chewies then double the amount of lemon or eliminate it entirely if you only want vanilla-coconut.

Mix the nuts minus their soaking water, banana, vanilla, honey, coconut nectar, and 1 c of coconut in a Vitamix/powerful blender/food processor with ~1/4 c water, or as much water as you need to get everything going and blended almost smooth.

Remove half of the batter, mix in ¾ c shredded coconut, and scoop out ~1 T balls and place them on a dehydrator screen.

Little bits to be.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon into the blender/food processor and blend it together. Mix the remaining ¾ c shredded coconut into the batter, and scoop it out into ~1 T balls and place them on a dehydrator screen.

Dehydrate at 115F for 7-9 hours.

These little nuggets are pretty addicting. They’re almost like a raw, macaroon version of a dough ball, and who wouldn’t love that?

Vanilla-coconut.

The vanilla flavor is on the subtle side, so if you want knock-your-socks-off vanilla bean flavor I would amp up the extract or add some vanilla bean seeds. Otherwise, these little nuggets boast some damn delicious nutty flavors without a hint of banana (which is always a worry of mine when using banana).

Little bit said in the same voice as that Black Eyed Peas song.

There’s nothing subtle about the lemon ones, though.

They’re kind of like a lemon punching you in the mouth and then a soft coconut coming along to make it all better. That makes sense, right?

Lemon-coconut.

These bits are tangy and nutty and chewy.

Yup, I wouldn’t kick either of these chewies out of bed.

So the moral of the story is: I’m in bed with a lot of food. But it’s all raw, dehydrated, oh so healthy and even tastier food. So you can’t judge me, right?

Right!

What do you think, eaters:

What kitchen appliance would you love to have if you had the money and room for it?

How do you feel about lemon desserts? It seems to be a very polarizing dessert flavor.

Later eaters!

WIAW: Heavy Cream for Survival

Hiya eaters!

As you read this I will either be speeding down the highway (but not more than 5 miles above the speed limit because speeding is bad, right Papa?) on my way to the Dirty Dirty (AKA my hometown of Macon, Georgia) or I’ll be sitting at the kitchen counter, eating chips and salsa with my mom while some crappy Bravo TV show plays in the background.

Either way, I’ll be super freaking happy!

I haven’t been home since April and I haven’t seen my mom since…the very end of May when she drove up to drop off furniture.

And then on Saturday I’m going to have fun times with my absolute best friend, Coco!

Can you tell I’m super freaking jazzed?

Because I am!

But since I’m writing this at my kitchen counter wearing my dry workout clothes (because I was too slow to make it to Crossfit on time) with a very empty suitcase waiting for me in my bedroom, I’m going to make this snappy!


Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Breakfast #1:

Carrot and pb.

Duh.

Crossfit:

As I mentioned yesterday, Crossfit sucked. BUT I worked hard the entire 30 minutes of the AMRAP, so I can’t be too upset.

Breakfast #2:

Scrambled eggs with Swiss chard and "spicy salad mix" with cheese, and a Clementine.

I know I said I was getting sick of this breakfast, but it was almost good yesterday with a switch in greens and a little cheese.

Also, first Clementine of the season.

Lunch/Snack:

A Pure Protein bar I swiped from Papa. (Thanks!)

I ate breakfast late and had work from 1-5, so there was never a good time to eat again. I grabbed this bar and ate it at work.

Snack #2:

A cheese-stuffed burger patty with A1 sauce wrapped in a Swiss chard leaf, and a few animal crackers.

My stepmom gave Leon and I a big bag of leftover cheese-stuffed burger patties from the party and I have been loving them in these little greens wrap/glove.

Dinner:

A half eaten "tostada" thing — blue corn tortillas, Trader Joe's black bean dip, peppers and onions and hot peppers, ground beef, and Wholly Guacamole.

This dinner ended up being rather traumatic because I apparently got the vast majority of the hot peppers. That would have been fine back in the day, but my heat tolerance has dropped dramatically. And then a big hunk of hot pepper hit me right in the back of the throat and I was almost down for the count.

But then I remember that we had some heavy cream in the fridge, so I chugged a bit of that. (Which was gross, especially after having not drank straight dairy in close to a decade.)

A shot glass for heavy cream.

I thought I was fine after that, but the peppers kept coming so I ended up with a shot glass of heavy cream to sip on.

Yup, I am in fact winning at life. Thanks for asking.

Dessert:

I shoveled some chocolate chips straight into my mouth. They were tasty.

The end.

Your turn, eaters:

How high is your heat tolerance?

What’s your favorite kind of green?

Later eaters!

Now I Can…

Hi eaters.

It’s been a pretty shitty day.

From the moment I woke up — late because my phone turned off during the night AGAIN — to Crossfit — where I struggled and flailed ridiculously doing toes-through-rings — to when I left for work after having done almost nothing from my To Do list, everything has just kinda sucked today.

But nothing good comes from dwelling on shitty shit, right?

So instead I want to focus on my progress and successes, specifically my Crossfit successes. Because I realized today, while I was trying to make myself feel less shitty for only completing 7 rounds of an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) when everyone else was getting 13-15, that I have in fact accomplished a lot.

Picture from today.

Now I can climb the rope twice in a row, whereas before I could barely hang on the rope.

Now I can do kipping pull ups, whereas before I could barely do jump-assist pull ups on the lowest bar.

Now I can RUN an 8:22 minute mile, whereas before I could barely run half a mile.

Now I can kick up into a handstand AND do a negative split handstand push up (where you lower to a handstand push up and then kick down off the wall instead of pushing back up), whereas before I couldn’t even come close to kicking up to a handstand.

Now I can do three 83-lbs cleans in a row, whereas before I could barely do a 50-lbs clean at all.

Hell, now I can do a clean, a deadlift, a snatch, a jerk, a push press, a front squat, a back squat, an overhead squat, a box jump, a thruster, a wall ball, a double-down wall ball, and a double-under, whereas before I didn’t even know what the heck those were.

Now I can get up early enough for a 6am workout, whereas before I thought I was good for getting up at 7am.

Now I can do so much freaking more than I ever thought I could when I signed up for that one-on-one intro session back in May.

Picture from the day of my first Crossfit session.

So what if I can’t do toes-through-rings YET. I can do so freaking much already that I can’t let one little move keep me down.

Right?

Ya gosh darn right!

Your turn, eaters:

What is something that you can do?

What’s something that you will be able to do soon enough?

G’night eaters!

Trader Joe’s Stock Pile

‘Ello eaters!

Today has been freaking fantastic!

I overslept and went to the 10am Crossfit session. I ate a late, leisurely brunch. I took a shower and then put my pajamas back on. And then I did numerous other relaxing but still mildly productive things.

It was awesome!

And speaking of awesome, I really have to show you my haul from Trader Joe’s this weekend.

If you don’t know, let me inform you a bit about my love for Trader Joe’s.

I love it. I really love it. I love their selection of unique products. I love their prices. I don’t care one little bit that a lot of their products have just been re-branded. I really wish that there was a location near me (though the Winston-Salem store opens Oct 26!), but since there isn’t one, I stock up whenever I can. I usually only come across a TJ’s when I’m in Virginia Beach.

That’s about the gist of my relationship with one.

Oh, and I almost got kicked out of one for taking pictures. The manager was very unfriendly and treated my like a little kid.

But I didn’t let that ruin my relationship with Joe.

So, this past weekend I stocked up, possibly more than I’ve ever stocked up before.

I got my usual, staples.

2 tubs of animal crackers, 3 bags of almond meal, 2 jars of coconut oil, 2 jars of black bean dip, nuts, 2 jars of a fun dip/spread (this time it was roasted red pepper sauce), a fun nut butter (cocoa almond meal), and a curry simmer sauce.

And then I veered off the path a little to try some new things.

Kale chips!, dried mushrooms, smoked paprika, 2 cans of LIGHT coconut milk, toasted sesame oil, pureed butternut squash soup.

And, because I occasionally have some forethought, I even reserved a few things for Thanksgiving — dried wild mushroom medley, roasted red pepper sauce, and pureed soup.

And the most impressive thing is that I managed to score this $65 haul in less than 20 minutes at 2pm on a Friday (read: crawling with soccer moms pre-carpool).

Yup, I am a gosh darn Trader Joe’s champ.

And now I’m eating animal crackers dipped in leftover ganache, because I can.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you love Trader Joe’s?

What are your staple, favorite TJ’s products?

G’night eaters!