The Joy of Going to the Grocery Store

 

With rare exceptions, I love going to the grocery store. Others may think it mundane, even a chore. But it’s this weekly ritual that makes me feel alive, sustains me, feeds me.

I’ve been going through Shauna Niequist’s Savor devotional book for the past few months, and anyone familiar with her writing knows she values food and the dinner table. She writes that everyday life, is an exquisite gift, and I would include going to the grocery store as part of that.

In my Shreveport neighborhood, both a new Whole Foods and Kroger Marketplace opened during the past two months.  (Read my blog post Are You Whole Foods or Piggly Wiggly?) I only occasionally visit Whole Foods, but Kroger, in some form or another, has been a part of my life since growing up  in small town Mississippi. Although the Kroger of my childhood bears no resemblance to the expansive Marketplace, where you also buy clothes, cookware and coffee tables.

There is satisfaction into checking the pantry, planning menus, making a list, perusing the sale paper, and, now, downloading coupons on the store’s app.

One of my favorite sounds of childhood was when my mother returned from the grocery store. I’d hear the carport screen door open, the brown bag rustling and the clanking of Coke bottles in their carton as she sat them on the counter.

I even like making a grocery budget, saving the receipts and monitoring spending monthly.  There’s a lot of fat in the food budget!

Problem is at our house my husband loves to go to the grocery store too. That is a blessing (he cooks a lot and buys things like yogurt covered almonds that I love but am too cheap to buy) and a curse (he doesn’t look at prices).

We’re mainly Kroger shoppers but end up frequenting just about every grocery store–Brookshire’s for Conecuh sausage and Julio’s salsa, Target for their store brand blue corn tortilla chips with flaxseed, Wal-Mart for Caribou Obsidian coffee pods, Whole Foods because it’s the new place in town, and Albertson’s when we just don’t want to get out on Shreveport’s busy Youree Drive.

Looking at the sale papers. Making a list. Going to the grocery store. Running into a friend, someone from church, one of your children’s former teachers. And then returning for something we forgot. The joy of everyday life.

As Shauna writes in one of Savor‘s January devotionals:

“This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by … This pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience. ”

 

 

 

Are You Arugula or Collards?

I’m not normally a cold weather gardener, but a couple of years ago I planted some butter crunch lettuce and it did well. Last year, I tried arugula. It did well too so I planted it again this year.

I like the peppery bite of arugula–added to other salad greens or eaten on its own with a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and a little parmesan cheese.

My husband and I have different tastes in greens. He loves collards. and planted a beautiful winter crop s a couple of years ago. I don’t like them and wouldn’t eat them. (He ended up eating very little as his low-carb diet didn’t allow for the cornbread to accompany them).

At least we had a pretty view out the back window on dreary winter days.

I don’t like like  mustard greens or turnip greens either. Hubby accuses me of being snooty with my greens because I do eat spinach and arugula.

But I counter by reminding him that I do not eat kale, despite its trendiness.

I’ve liked arugula ever since it started appearing in restaurants everywhere and was glad to discover how easy it is to grow. I  just planted a packet of seeds in the garden in late September, thinned the plants after a few weeks and started harvesting in early December.

I wish I had covered them during recent cold snap with temperatures dipping to 19 in our area.  I lost a few plants. I may try to get another crop in for spring before it gets too warm. Arugula does best in cool weather.

Here’s a guide to growing arugula from Bonnie Plants.

Hubby doesn’t eat arugula–not even in salads. And he certainly doesn’t think it’s a suitable pizza topping as it has become at those upscale pizzerias

So I eat my arugula alone. My favorite  way is the method pictured in the header photo for this blog: top naan bread with fresh mozzarella and red grapes and bake until the mozzarella browns. Remove, add arugula and freshly cracked black pepper.

Another is  this simple salad that I found at Gimme Some Oven blog.

The picture below is an arugula topped omelet at Brennan’s in New Orleans.

How do you like your arugula?

2016: Blog Year in Review

I know this year-end recap should have been written last week, but I was too busy putting away the Christmas decor. OK, truth be told. The only thing I have been putting away was the rest of the Christmas pound cake, sausage balls and peanut brittle.

But I did start blogging in 2016. In fact, this is my 99th post! Although the writing pace has slowed. (I have my daughter’s wedding to plan), I wanted to look back and revisit some of my favorite posts and thank the dozen (I am over estimating) or so faithful readers.

I hope your 2017 is fabulous!

Bicycling and Eating Caramel Cake in North Mississippi

My husband and i usually take a weekend bicycle trip for my birthday. This year we explored the Tanglefoot Trail (and a few eateries) in New Albany, Mississippi. Wonder what bicycle trip I will do for my 60th birthday in April 2017?

Coushatta Road Trip for Tomatoes, Peaches & Such

When I made my blog public, I wanted to photograph my bicycle at an iconic farm stand. What better one to use than Ed Lester Farms in Coushatta. We spent a fun day exploring the area.

Bicycle at Ed Lester Produce

A Father Who Brings Home the Bacon

Since I published this one on Father’s Day, few people saw it since no one reads blogs on weekends. I enjoyed writing this tribute to my husband.

Father's Day bacon

Cheese Straw Tomato Tartlets From Southern Living

I started blogging with 30 Days of Tomatoes with recipes using some of the tomatoes from my garden. This is a favorite appetizer.

Cheese Straw Tomato Tartlets

My Fourth Trip to Vicksburg’s The Tomato Place

I can’t get enough of this quirky roadside stand in Vicksburg.

Small Town Bicycling: Jefferson, Texas

I love bicycling in small towns, and historic Jefferson, Texas is a great place to explore on two wheels.

Road Trip: A Mississippi General Store Tied to Manning Quarterbacks

Peyton retired in 2016, and I made my first trip to the family general store near Philadelphia, Mississippi

Mule collars, NFL jerseys and country hams

 

Pickles, Jams, Relishes and Stuff: Last Days at the Farmers Market

The Shreveport Farmers Market is a local jewel, and the experience is enhanced by getting to know the local vendors like the Pratts from Natchitoches.

Sugarmakers jams, jellies, pickles and relishes

10 Reasons to Cycle on Harts Island Road This Fall

Fall may be the best time, but it’s still fun bicycling Harts Island Road any season of the year, including winter.

Bicyclists on Harts Island Road

Are You Whole Foods or Piggly Wiggly?

I’m somewhere in between. I’ve been to the new Whole Foods four times since it opened in Shreveport in November. Now, it’s the La Madeleine bakery & cafe that I’m really looking forward to in 2017.