Monday, July 7, 2008

Wal-Mart Gourmet

If there's one thing I've learned over my past few weekends at the lake, it's that you can eat healthfully, no matter where you are. Unfortunately, I sometimes participate in food snobbery: I eschew trips to the regular grocery stores for jaunts to Whole Foods; I scoff at rural Alabama's culinary tastes. I know, shame on me. This past weekend at the lake, I was able to create perfectly delicious and nutritious fare with a few simple items purchased at the local Super Wal-Mart. Granted, you won't find tofu or soy yogurt at this low-cost destination, but you will find fresh produce, whole grain breads, natural peanut butter, and organic dairy. You might even save a few bucks in the process. While I don't agree with everything that the Wal-Mart corporation represents, I do think they are trying to provide their customers with more healthful options.

OK, now that my musings on food snobbery have ceased, I'll continue onto the fruits of my 'Wally World" excursion.

Much to the shock of my housemates, I made a breakfast of scrambled tofu. "You mean you eat soy sauce, tofu, and peanut butter for breakfast?" "I promise, it's really good!" And this scramble truly was delectable: tofu (the shelf-stable kind--I brought it from home), soy sauce, mushrooms, and PB (no tahini at Wal-Mart). I also had a big, shiny apple.

I made myself a big lunch, but when I sat down to eat it, I wasn't all that hungry. Nonetheless, I managed to polish it off eventually. I stuffed refried beans into two whole wheat tortillas, and along with it I had fresh watermelon, a side salad, and some almonds (purchased from the baking aisle!).
For dinner, my sister and her husband prepared hamburgers and hot dogs, Stouffer's macaroni and cheese, and some other traditional cookout foods. I tried to blend in with a Publix brand veggie burger on a wheat bun (I later added LOTS of onions, pickles, and ketchup), some steamed squash, a peach, and a handful of walnuts.
Later that night, my sweet tooth struck, and I needed some I made chocolate soymilk! I shook up 12 oz. of plain soymilk (bought at Wal-Mart!) with some chocolate syrup. Not as healthy as my usual cocoa powder/stevia combo, but delicious, nonetheless. I also had a big bowl of snack mix: Fiber One, Honey Nut Cheerios, and a few dried cherries. This big snack cause a bit of a sugar overload! It sustained me through late-night Sex and the City watching with my sisters:)
I made my (almost) weekly batch of banana pancakes yesterday morning. I had never used the lake house's griddle before, so I was a little surprised at how hot it gets! My pancakes burned a bit, but they still tasted good--the charring just added a bit of that "creme brulee" flavor. I used the only whole grain flour available at Wal-Mart: Hodgson Mill Graham Flour. (FYI Graham flour is another name for whole wheat flour). It seemed to work just fine! I drizzled it with some pure maple syrup (another surprising Wal-Mart find).
Before heading out the door to return to reality, I made a quick Mexican salad: lettuce, leftover refried beans, onions, mushrooms, and salsa. I also had a bowl of watermelon, a handful of peanuts, and a few crackers.
I went to Whole Foods yesterday after returning to Birmingham, and I picked up some whole grain graham crackers. I tried them with some almond milk. Tasty, but definitely nothing like the Nabisco variety.
For dinner I put together a dish inspired by the Ashram Recipe Book. I used some of those lentils and rice from last week and added lots of spices (including garam masala that I purchased at Whole Foods). It was a wonderful dish. In addition, I made Dreena's Creamy Cashew Dip for my strawberries. I think I found a new favorite food--this stuff tastes like a healthy version of those iced animal cookies I used to eat as a kid (remember the ones that came in a hot pink bag??) I also added some much needed veggies.
For my smoothie last night, I combined peach Spirutein, frozen peaches, soymilk, and lots of granola/granola plank. Tasty.
I went to the funeral of a family friend this morning, so I needed a quick breakfast: GoLean with almond milk and lots of flax. I also had some watermelon.
I've been having an intense craving for Waldorf Salad lately, so I picked out a recipe from Vegetarian Express (see sidebar). This dish included apples, raisins, and walnuts; I substituted soy-based mayonnaise for a vegan version of the recipe. I also topped some greens with Cranberry and Stuffing Tofurky and balsamic vinegar; crackers added some necessary starch.
I've also been craving taco meat lately--thus the inspiration for my dinner: TVP with cumin, chili powder, garlic, oregano, and paprika. I stuffed it inside some corn tortillas with mashed avocado, organic cheddar, and salsa. Broccoli, a side salad, and a peach balanced it all out.
OK, now I am off to relax--no tests this week! Perhaps I will waste some time on Amazon...Ciao for now.


VeggieGirl said...

Mmm, that lentil-rice dish looks particularly enticing - yum!!

Enjoy your relaxation, and not having tests!! :0)

Allison said...

I call Wal-Mart, *Wally-World,* too! :0) I love the idea of adding pb to tofu sounds like a tasty protein-boosting addition! I'm glad you have a chance to sit back and breathe without having to worry about studying--amazon shopping is always fun!!

Nikki Douglas said...

Great meals - I love Wal-Mart in a a pinch. I am fortunate that my Wal-Mart has tofu, organic veg, even my favorite KIND bars. They have a really great selection of veg. I just went last week and got some great looking organic produce. Still I prefer Whole Foods for their business practices but I can only rarely get to Winter Park to the store there. Once a month if I am lucky.

loveofoats said...

hope you enjoyed your relaxation time!

what wonderful finds at walmart - i want to check out the graham flour now!

Kimberly said...

I went to my first Wal-Mart about a year ago, and turns out that they're a saving grace on long road trips! The produce I've seen is sketchy, but it's good to know I can duck in for some soymilk, Muir Glen soup, Kashi cereal, etc, to take back to the hotel.

Allison said...

The ice creams I tried were all delicious! I'm not used to coffee-flavored ice creams, so the Mudd Pie will take some getting used to...and I think the vanilla is my favorite- sometimes simple is all you need! Oh, and I agree 100% with using the George Foreman! It adds that little *crunch* that I love!

Jenn said...

I totally remember those animal crackers from the hot pink bag - I loved them!! It looks like you managed to make some decadent meals out of your trip to Wally-World :o) It's good to know that Whole Foods isn't the only source for good meals - otherwise I'd be out of money ;o)

Katie said...

Wow you were very consistent & creative in documenting your meals! They look great :)

Katy said...

Sounds like a fun trip with lots of yummy food!

CeciLiA said...

Haha, 'Wally World' reminds me of the book, 'Where's Wally' - heard of it?!

Must try SCRAMBLED tofu!! Ugh .. I have SO MANY recipes to try out - but my laziness just gets in the way, ain't that annoying!

Thank you for pointing out to me that the cashews dip in ED&BV is yummy - I'll def try that out (one day =.=)

By the way ... I really love all the mini things that you have .. like the lil cute bowls for nuts, your mini tortilla, mini pita - SO CUTE!!! I'll call you 'Mini-Caroline' from now on, haha!!

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: I was totally surprised by the lentil-rice dish--simple and tasty.
Allison: Adding nut butters to tofu scrambles is a great way to add "creaminess." Scrambles are also good if you add vegan cheddar instead of the nut butter.
Those dairy-free ice creams sound great--I think I'll get the vanilla the next time I got to WF.
Jenn: Yes! I am so glad I am not the only one who remembers those tasty little animal crackers. You're right--if I shopped only at WF, I would run out of $$ in a hurry.
Katie: Thanks!
Katy: It was a great way to spend the just makes the weekdays seem a lot more difficult!
Cecilia: I definitely understand where you're coming from--sometimes I feel like there is no way I will ever be able to try all the recipes I want to make.
Glad you like the mini-plates, etc. I definitely have a "thing" for anything small: appetizer plates, condiment bowls, tiny juice glasses, even mini boxes of raisins! I think I like the new nickname:)

ChickPea said...

Nikki Douglas: Wow, your Wal-Mart sounds awesome! I forget that not all Wal-Marts are created equal--some have more of the products I love.
loveofoats: Sometimes I wonder why I am putting myself through this's supposed to be summer!
Kimberly: You're right--Wal-Marts are usually within close proximity, no matter where you are in the country, so they make good stops when you're on the road. Sounds like you got some high-class snacks!

Erin said...

I want all this food - the scramble, the chocolate soy milk, the torfurkey. Yummy healthiness. Good to know we can survive at a place like super walmart :)

Anonymous said...

Do you ever feel like you eat more than most other poeple. I know being a nutrition major I am always making sure to get my meals in and the proper types of food and I feel like I eat way more than everyone else, but people just assume that I dont eat because I eat healthy. It is always a stuggle to balance that for me because my old habits can start to play mind games and make me think i am eating too much when I know thats not the case. Just wondering how you felt/handle that situation.



ChickPea said...

Christie: I know exactly what you're talking about. I DO feel like I eat a lot--my meals are usually twice the size of my mom's or my sister's. Granted, I do eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than they do, so my meals might be less kcalorie-dense, but I still think I eat more overall than a lot of people. My peers at school all assume that I eat nothing because I am thin, but it's just not true. For example, I felt a little awkward at lunch yesterday because everyone else at the table just ordered a half-salad, while I ordered a whole salad, plus a cup of split pea soup. I feel like such an oinker! But then I remember that I need lots of energy for my exercise regimen and my young/active metabolism. Plus, I don't seem to be gaining weight from eating the way I do, so I will continue eating the foods that I love, in large quantities.

ChickPea said...

Erin: Sorry, I didn't see your comment there. Glad you like the eats!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I've got to comment on your response to Christie--

I'm exactly the same way! I eat tons and tons more than most people I know. This morning, for example, my sister had two eggos with lite syrup as her breakfast, and she never eats snacks. I had my usual two big breakfasts... but somehow I am still littler than she is, even though I eat twice as much. Just goes to show you that people's metabolisms are different. If I ate what she eats, I'd starve, and she'd blow up if she ate my diet.
Enjoy your fast metabolism, girl :o).

(Oh, plus a lot of people who eat so little during the day certainly drink their fair share of calories on weekends LOL!)