Friday, March 11, 2011

ode to TJ's

my love for trader joe's has been well known and well-documented. i used to ride the sketchy big blue bus to some random location to lug back TJ groceries in college. when i lived in japan, i'd load up my suitcase not with clothes to accommodate my ever-burgeoning ass, but with trader joe's treats that eventually only contributed to said derrière. when i moved to new york, i routinely made tj-dates with my other california friends who understood that a 1.5 hour round-trip grocery store trek was simply just worth it when it came to trader joe's.

recently i have hit a spell where i just can't be bothered to cook. there are vegetables languishing in the back of the bottom shelf that i keep telling myself "just one more week, they'll last one more week" and a package of chinese noodles that are gaining a more cloudy appearance despite my belief in their indestructible nature. or the quart of half and half i bought for a recipe four months ago that i just couldn't toss. half and half doesn't have an expiration date, right? i just need something that doesn't require a lot of work. like cereal. or a microwave.

it is with some slight alarm that i realized that my diet at home has subsisted largely on trader joe's frozen/just-microwave-two-minutes-and-presto!-a-meal type food. this explains why my freezer is so jam packed and my refrigerator so sparse (save for those wilty looking vegetables). of course there's also the Cabinet of Shame that includes things like pop-tarts, easy mac (or as i have recently proven, should be called not-so-easy-mac), canned soups and vegetables or worse, POWDERED soups, but let's choose not to dwell on that, okay?

here's a list of trader joe's grocery items i have been sadly (or not?) surviving on:
1) frozen gyoza: chicken and veggies is okay, pork and veggies is MUCH better.
2) frozen mac'n'cheese: sounds disgusting, but what's more disgusting is pondering what they put it in to make it so damn creamy.
3) two-minute pad thai: comes in a take-out looking box, has a vacuum-sealed package of noodles, a space package of noodles that you pour over it and then microwave. it is truly not that bad. extra bonus: no refrigeration required. how's that for sketch?
4) trader joe-san's tofu. there are so many possibilities, including raw and straight from the package.
5) ficelle: par baked mini baguette loaves that taste like preservatives and chemicals, but manage to exude that fresh-baked bread smell out of the oven anyways.
6) yogurt: TJ's makes single serving portions of apricot-mango greek yogurt and it's AMAZING. sometimes it counts as lunch when i'm at work.
7) frozen orange chicken: technically requires a little more work, but DELICIOUS
8) frozen yaki-onigiri: i know this is disgusting, especially since i'm used to the kind made by japanese housewife hands with rice harvested days ago from a neighbor's field, but they don't skimp on the soy sauce, plus if you accidentally microwave them for too long, you get a crispy/crunchy/chewy edge that is sort of a bonus!
9) hummus: a recent discovery, but paired with carrot sticks salvaged from some sketchy looking carrots found in the bottom drawer in your fridge, they can sometimes count as "dinner"
10) lambs lettuce: throw in some pecans you scrounged from the back of your pantry, some dried cranberries leftover from christmas baking, some gorgonzola crumbles (also from TJ's) and you've got yourself something marginally healthy!
11) candy cane jojo's: no shame--i sometimes substitute these for eating a meal. and yes, i still have some. you buy them in bulk around christmas time and then parcel them out during the year, obviously. and now TJs makes an ice cream with these in them. which i have also eaten for dinner. it's marvelous!

so there you have it, friends. my disgusting eating habits are out in the open and now you have a few meal ideas for yourselves when you find yourselves in a pinch!

and while i would not consider myself "fit" in any sense of the word, i discovered the reason why i am not yet 500 pounds. today after a typical day of work, i checked my newly-acquired pedometer: normal running around on the floor adds up to about 5 miles. the real question is why am i not losing any weight? (answer: see list above).

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