Grocery Shopping…. in TEXAS

There have been many significant changes in my life and I am learning how to navigate in a completely new city in a new state. This latest trip I walked down to HEB. I used a basket my boyfriend saved from an alleyway trash can ♥️.

I did my best to locate a grocery store that is found all over Texas. I cannot say for sure if all HEB stores have a small bulk section, but the one nearest me does and I am thankful for that, but I also wrote them a nice comment about please including more grains and legumes and fewer sugary snacks. It never hurts to express one’s opinion in a kind manner.

This load cost me just under $36, which is quite good.

A closer look into the bulk bags reveals granola, chile almonds, and walnuts. The green Tupperware contains fresh ground peanut butter. They do not tare jars there, but I know it’s a better price with the weight of the container than the Whole Foods as well as the Central Market (which is owned by HEB).

I could not find loose carrots anywhere in the store, but overall most of their produce is package free and well priced.

I have been shifting away from being extremely hardcore about not making trash only because it has not been sustainable for myself. I am not about to make a second trip just for carrots. Could I do without carrots? Most likely, but I was hoping to use them in meals and I like having them on hand.

It has also been silly to think that the stickers and ties could deter people away from buying fresh, healthy produce. My main concern has been feeding myself in a healthy, practical, sustainable way for myself.

Living in a bigger city and having only a bike to use during the day has given me insights as to how many people live and how we do not all have the privilege of shopping at the big bulk bins stores. In Idaho, the best bulk bins also happened to be the best priced, but that is not the case here. The weather is tricky, as I have to be back inside before 11 in order to not melt into a puddle and avoid heat stroke.

I am open to any thoughts or insights you may have about what is truly important on a sustainable, creative journey.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Simple Fruit Clafoutis

Have you ever had a clafoutis? I hadn’t until about 2 years ago, I think I was following one of my favorite garden bloggers and discovered a delicious way to make a dessert that didn’t require a specific fruit. Potentially any fruit will taste scrumptious this way.

It sounds fancy, but it couldn’t be simpler and uses very country-like ingredients. I haven’t found a vegan version, but let me know if you find anything.

Start with about 3 cups of sliced or cut up fruit or whole berries.

To make the batter combine these ingredients into a blender:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup cream

3 eggs

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup all purpose flour

Blend and scrape down sides if needed.

Heat oven to 350°F and then dust your baking dish of choice with a tablespoon of sugar. I just used my Pyrex cake pan, but I think it works in a pie dish, brownie pan, whatever you have on hand, really.

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Pour half the batter into the baking dish.

Place fruit into pan and arrange prettily if you like.

Pour the remaining batter into dish.

Bake for 50 – 65 minutes. Mine needed the full time in there. You’ll see it rise quite high and be bubbly, and when it cools it will collapse. Look for a hint of golden brown.

The clafoutis is custardy, tart, slightly sweet, and creamy smooth. I LOVE clafoutis. When peaches are fully coming in, I’ll be making another and hopefully sharing.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and all the blessings that come with it. (I’m thinking food, of course.)

Peace and love,

Kristan

High Summer Roasted Ratatouille

When I visited the farmer’s market a couple weekends ago, I was surprised to find eggplants. Usually they are only spotted in late August. At the same stand were tomatoes, zucchini, and onion, so my mind immediately dreamt of roasted ratatouille. It is one of my favorite meals, and I thought I could only enjoy it in late summer. Until now, that is.

The concept is very simple, and the result is way better than you could expect. I think you’d have to like eggplant though. Some people don’t, I understand, but I love it roasted. That’s my go-to plan for every vegetable I’m not sure what to do with: roast it!

Heat oven to 400°F.

To a large bowl add a tablespoon of minced onion, a tablespoon of tomato paste, 1/4 cup oil of choice, 5 minced garlic cloves, a heaping teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, and some fresh or dried thyme.

Then add to the bowl 2 cups of sliced eggplant. Mine were the thin, long kind so they did not need to be diced at all. Also add 2 cups sliced zucchini, 1 large diced onion, and 1 cup of chopped tomatoes. You might be able to tell I added a few chili peppers into the mix to make it more spicy, but that’s totally optional.

Mix everything in the bowl to ensure all vegetables are coated.

Place onto a baking tray into a single layer and bake for 45 – 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to use a silicone mat for roasting. I have this one,  that’s really for pie, and just fold it in half for the large baking tray.

Near the end of the bake time boil water for pasta. I chose spaghetti, but it wasn’t really a choice as that’s the only pasta I had on hand. I get it at WinCo in the bulk section in my own bag. 🙂

Top the spaghetti with the roasted ratatouille and garnish with fresh basil and parsley. Optional to sprinkle with parmesan and / or pine nuts depending on how you’re feeling that day. I apparently didn’t want either of those this time.

The fresh herbs were from my garden, which made this meal mostly local! Food from Idaho is decidedly not boring. Oh, and I made that bowl with my own hands. 🙂

Please let me know if you make this meal and if you become as obsessed with it as I am!

Peace and love,

Kristan