Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Zen of Grocery Shopping

Most people I know find grocery shopping annoying. I think it's annoying to try to get out the door to go grocery shopping, but once I'm there, I enjoy the calm zen of shopping. How do I achieve that inner peace, you ask? I am happy to share my secrets of zen procurement with you.

Step One- This one is crucial and non-negotiable. Leave the kids at home. But it's a good teaching time, you say. No. There are other teaching opportunities. But I don't have anyone to watch them, you say. Let them watch television, I say. They'll never even know you're gone. (Bad parenting? Perhaps, perhaps.) The only exception to this iron-clad rule is if you have an infant. They will know. Especially if you're breast-feeding. And if your baby wakes up hungry and you're not there, you will be strolling down the aisles trying to cover your shirt with large collard greens to hide the leaking breast milk. Strap your baby to you to go shopping. Although, really, if you have a nursing baby, you should send your husband out to do the shopping. After all, you're already getting food for one member of the family.

Step Two - Don't rush it. Take you time. Go down each and every aisle. Stop to admire the artful produce pyramids. Take a few moments to read the labels. Chat with the butcher about the best way to cook a particular cut of meat.

Step Three - Enjoy the music. If they are playing hits from your high school years, you have my permission to hum along.

Step Four - If they are giving out samples, don't take one and rush along. Stop and chat with the sample lady. Ask questions about the product. They are happy to have people interested and it makes them feel less like a hog farmer at feeding time.

Step Five - If there is a wine section, find the wine guy and ask advice on what to serve with a vegetable medley casserole. Even if you don't drink wine. Wine guys are passionate about their wine and one question can keep them talking for upwards of 20 minutes.

Step Six - Chat with the person at the checkout counter. Ask about their plans for the weekend, whether they've tried the frozen shrimp and if they liked them, what the medical and dental benefits are of the grocery store. Talking slows them down.

Step Seven - If the store offers help getting your bags out to the car, by all means accept that offer. A nice chatty bag boy can extend the shopping excursion another 5-10 minutes. After all, he's happy to get out of the store and delay getting back in as along as possible.

Step Eight - You've been gone a long time now. When you arrive home, honk the car horn, indicating that you require assistance with the copious amounts of food you've brought home. And obviously, since you've had such an exhausting time getting the food (fighting traffic, fighting crowds, lugging the bags, etc), you can't be expected to put away all the groceries. That task should be done by other family members while you rest your feet and possibly sample that wine the wine guy recommended.

See how relaxing that sounds?

One of the things that annoys me deeply is having the zen of my grocery shopping time shattered by whining children. Some times I have to bite my lip hard to keep from going up to the parent and offering to smack their child for them. What terrible parenting to allow their child to whine relentlessly until they get their way! Why didn't they leave them at home parked in front of a cartoon?

And usually the stuff the kids whine for is garbage. Truly putrid stuff filled with artificial food coloring, HFCS, sulfites, and about a wheelbarrowfull of sugar. No wonder those kids are whiny if their parents let them eat that.

Instead, they should offer them treats like these brownies. Something that doesn't spike their blood sugar and make them behave like monkeys on cocaine. These are a decadent treat for those of us in GAPSlandia. Full of dark chocolatey flavor, sweetened only with honey, and grain-free. Whoo hoo! The berries were a delicious complement to the brownies. A dollop ice cream would not have gone amiss, but, sadly, I didn't have any on hand. But no one whined because, after all, not only did I bring home the groceries, I baked the brownies!

Real Food Grain-free Fudgey Brownies
(adapted from The Freckled Foodie)

1 large, ripe avocado
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 of a small banana
1/4 c. honey
4 oz unsweetened, 100% dark chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut flour (sifted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Prepare a 9x9 pan - either grease with coconut oil or line with foil.

2- Cut avocado in half, peel and seed, and place in food processor. Process until VERY smooth.

3- In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring frequently.

4- Transfer avocado to a large bowl and add the melted chocolate mixture and the remaining ingredients.

5- Using a hand mixer, whip until very well combined and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

6- Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28-30 min. Remove when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.

7- If you have the willpower, allow these to chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days for optimum flavor. Or, break down and serve immediately with berries and whipped cream or ice cream.

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Note: for those who are humor impaired, this was a humorous post. Let me reassure you that I am not actually advocating leaving your children home unsupervised. Nor do I actually smack other people's children. But sometimes I am tempted.