I must say they did a pretty good job. Somehow, without adding on to the original edifice, they managed to cram a good fifteen extra aisles worth of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable foods into my beloved Targhetto. Today I took the time to wind through each aisle, marveling at the great deals on some items, horrified at the prices of others.
Overall, the selection is pretty good for a non-Super Target or full-fledged grocery store. The non-perishables included the usual amount of junk food they used to carry, as well as new things like organic tortillas, a large selection of coffees, and a fairly decent amount of "ethnic" foods & condiments. The latter was by far my favorite part, and it's nice to know that I can buy smaller bottles of Sriracha sauce or random Goya products whenever I'm at Targét to buy cat litter & new socks.
Sadly, when I reached the produce section, my happiness turned to disillusionment; nay, it was absolute panic. I had entered the land of Scariest Produce Ever.
They were nowhere to be found. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING, except for the almighty banana - is covered in some sort of plastic. Do Russett potatoes and sweet yams really need to be individually wrapped in cellophane??? I suddenly longed for the natural lighting, the sounds, and the smells of my local farmer's market, desperate to be near real, fresh produce again.
So I ran away and concentrated on the other aisles of the grocery section, blocking out the images of cold, antiseptic looking produce with images of all the deals I was getting. And so, without further ado (as this is supposed to be a recap of what I bought and not a review of a grocery store, though I sense a new feature in my future...), here is what I bought for this month's installment of The $25 Shopping Cart:
- 1 24 oz. bag frozen Tilapia filets - $6.99
- 1 pack of Guerrero whole wheat tortillas - $2.09
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo - $1.84
- 1 can Nestlé La Lechera sweetened condensed milk - $1.59
- 1 12.5 oz. bottle of Valentina Salsa Picante (Best. Mexican. Hot Sauce. EVER!!!) - $1.09
- 1 can Thai Kitchen light coconut milk - $1.74
- 1 box Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal - $1.69
- 1 can Bush's seasoned black beans - $0.77
- 1 can Bush's seasoned pinto beans - $0.87
- 1 can no-salt sweet kernel corn - $0.67
- 3 cans Starkist tuna in water - $0.69/each
- 1 8 oz. bag frozen bell pepper strips - $1.79
- 1/2 gallon skim milk - $1.69
- 1 dozen Eggland's Best eggs - $2.49 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- 1 8 oz. block medium cheddar cheese - $2.39
Grand total, after using one of my last Eggland's Best coupons: $27.28!
Definitely not a bad run, and this certainly helps to add some life to the multitudes of Bare Bones staples I have sitting in my cupboard.
As with all of my $25 Shopping Carts, I bought only what I didn't have on hand; things that would enhance & augment the ingredients I already had at home. What I purchased today was most definitely a hodgepodge of items, and in no way does this mean that I am only going to use these items to make my next few meals before "fun" paycheck rolls around next month.
But for those who try to follow what I do to the letter, here are just a few of the things I could make from the ingredients I had at home & what I purchased today:
- Cheesy Breakfast Burritos
- Makeshift Moqueca
- Bean Fajitas
- Bright & Sunny Black Bean Salad
- Chipotle Corn Chili
Again, this is just a tiny sampling of what I could make with what I purchased. Remember, the keys to a successful $25 Shopping Cart is not only to keep a running tally of what you already have at home so you can build on it, but to get creative and play mix & match with your new purchases! You'll be surprised at how many interesting options you can come up with, as long as you think outside the box.