Fee! Fie! Faux Phở!
Next, prepare a Beef Wellington!
At the turn of the new year, I’m trying not to waste so much time. Hopefully, I’ll be disciplined enough to log into Facebook at most twice a day. Another place I hope to cut back is in time spent grocery shopping. There isn’t a lot of extra storage space in a one-bedroom apartment, but we’ll see if I can purchase most of the non-perishable items for the month in one trip to one store. I’ll still need to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis, but hopefully those trips will be quick ones.
The past few days I’ve been planning and plotting meals on a calendar. Breakfasts and Lunches will consist of the same ingredients, in general: fresh bread & fruit for breakfast, eggs & hashbrowns (Joel) or leftovers (Katrina) for lunch. The scheduling of the evening meal is a bit more flexible. I’ve planned to purchase enough of each kind of meat to have it once a week each week. Canned, frozen, and fresh vegetables and sauces will supplement as the mood and weather dictates.
Giant is one of our local grocery stores. It doesn’t always have the cheapest prices, but the quality of their items is reliable. It doesn’t have a hip atmosphere or calming background music, but the aisles are clean and organized, and you’ll find their stores in safe neighborhoods. There are a few items that not every Giant location doesn’t keep in stock (Abuelita hot chocolate disks), but if you want one-stop shopping that won’t cost you a fortune, Giant will serve you well.
Giant’s website allows you to make a list. When you are ready to print your list, the items are divided into categories. This helps me push my grocery cart around the store in a more methodical manner (although I sometimes still end up criss-crossing the store for something that wasn’t to be found where I expected). They also give you a total dollar amount. Having an estimate can avoid shock at the cash register. I like to have the printed list with me so that if I’m tempted to substitute a different brand of an item or if I see it on the clearance rack, I can compare the price of the sale item with the one I have on my list.
Although the temperatures were just reaching double-digits this morning, we decided to brave the winter winds and load up on groceries. Everyone else had the same idea. The parking lot was full and so were the in-store grocery aisles. List in hand, it was easier to be patient and focused. Toward the end of my list, I was tired of shopping and decided to wait until another day to look for the chicken, meats, and sausages.
By the time we got home and climbed the stairs several times with our bags of groceries we were ready to eat. Thankfully, I had written down a specific plan for lunch that wouldn’t take too much time to throw together: “Quickie Faux Phở”. Broth, seasonings, fresh garnish-type vegetables, bits of leftover meat, and rice noodles add up to an aromatic soup to warm you on a chilly day. My version isn’t really even close to phở you would order at a restaurant. I didn’t have fresh basil or bean sprouts. But if you want your faux phở to be a friend rather than a foe, don’t be too fussy.
Now that I’ve taken an hour to rest, typing up this post while my husband washed the dishes, I can put away the remaining groceries. Then, I’ll take some of them out again, turn on the oven, and bake some more. First: crushed candy cane cookies for the youth retreat, then my first attempt at “Poor Man’s Beef Wellington”.
Ingredients for today’s faux phở
3 cups water
3 cubes chicken boullion
cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise
fresh ginger root, peeled & thinly sliced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
HP sauce (I don’t keep Hoisin sauce on hand and this has some fruitiness to it.)
1 c cubed pork
2 green onions, thinly sliced
fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
fresh cilantro, chopped