The $25 Shopping Cart, version 9.0

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You ever just have one of those weeks or months when EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. is chock full of events or commitments or something random to do? June’s been like that for me, and though I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve gotten to do, it’s seriously making a dent in my PGEW time! I’ve cooked up new recipes, shopped at different stores, and started about a half dozen new posts, all in the hopes of bringing you some good stuff; alas, there are only 24 hours in the day and that’s not always enough. So to you and to my beloved little blog, I apologize profusely and bequeath upon thee the 99-cent Store edition of the $25 Shopping Cart.

Now, I hadn’t planned on doing this particular project this way. I’d had every intention of heading to ye olde 99-cent Store on a day off or after work when I’d have time to look at every single can, jar, and package slowly and carefully. But again, with the kind of schedule I’ve been keeping I had to make do with the warp speed edition that I did over lunch one-day last week with Adam, one of my friends from work. He wanted to get more candy to fill his candy dispensers on his desk and I needed more cheap low-sodium soy sauce; it was the perfect lunch date (except for the clock ticking my super short 30-minute lunch break, of course).

I have to pat myself on the back for this one. Not because of how well I did price-wise since it’s almost impossible to mess that up at a place where everything is 99 cents; but because of my crazy speed shopping that resulted in some pretty good choices. I felt like one of those contestants on that 80’s grocery shopping show (Shop ‘Til You Drop, I think it was?), just throwing things from aisle to basket, occasionally doing quick 7 second comparisons before deciding on a particular item. A record 12 minutes and a much-needed Toblerone later, here’s what I left with:

  • 1 18 oz. bag Thai Jasmine Rice
  • 1 16 oz. bag dried lentils
  • 1 package of gorditas (thick tortillas)
  • 1 8 oz. package sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 lb linguine
  • 1 12 oz. canister panko crumbs
  • 1 12 oz. box Thompson raisins
  • 4 cans Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna in water (just $0.59 for 2 cans! I couldn’t pass that up!)
  • 1 2 lb bag key limes (!!!!!!!!!!)
  • 1 3 package Roma tomatoes
  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 3 green plantains (3 for $0.99)
  • 1 6 oz package paprika
  • 2 4 oz. packages Cacique queso fresco (not pictured… I was trying to hide them from StuKitty as he loves cheese more than his mommy does)
  • 1 full-sized Toblerone (that is actually good until 2011, go figure… usually their candy expires the next day)
  • 1 ginormously loud hot pink 99-Cent Store bag (to lug all my provisions home in super swanky style, lol)

Sadly, they were out of the low-sodium soy sauce so I’ll have to get that some other time. But even with the contraband chocolate AND the bag, I only spent $21.17 after tax! (I won’t even tell you how much candy Adam got, but let’s just say I’m glad this store exists because he’d be bankrupt otherwise!) This was definitely a fruitful venture, and I was able to stock up on some staples that were starting to dwindle.

However, since this was an unplanned visit and I didn’t have a detailed inventory of what I had at home so that I could build around it, I’m not going to post possible meal ideas until the next time I head there (which will be in the 2nd or 3rd week of July, if not earlier). Granted, I had a general idea of what was in my cupboards, but part of making the $25 Shopping Cart a success is knowing what you have and building on it creatively. For now, I’m just happy I didn’t have to go completely tomato-less for another couple weeks, and that I finally have exactly what I need to finally bring that one dessert shot idea to fruition.

Not to mention that sweet, creamy Toblerone… I mean, seriously: where else could Poor Girl have been able to afford one of those? 😉

New recipe coming tomorrow night, so stay tuned!

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