Friday, June 24, 2011

An Unbeatable Bargain

I know. This is not quite in the spirit of gardens and farmer's markets and vegetables and fresh food. I am fully aware. But I have to share this with you anyway.

Yes, it's true. This is a picture of eleven (eleven!!) pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream on my kitchen counter. It is not my birthday. I did not get my wisdom teeth out. No, nothing like that. This beautiful sight is the result of an extraordinary good deal that I stumbled upon at Food Lion today.

Normally I don't go to Food Lion, but I stopped by briefly today with the intent of buying orange juice (for margaritas, and Vitamin C) and tonic water (for gin, and, well, for gin). As I turned the corner down the freezer aisle on my way to check out, I was confronted with a most amazing sight: Ben and Jerry's ice cream on sale. And this was no ordinary sale, oh no. Ben and Jerry's costs at least $4 in most stores, and admittedly, it is regularly $3.50 at Food Lion, already a decent discount. But today, oh today, each pint was on sale for $1.67. I truly could not believe my eyes. An entire pint of glorious Ben and Jerry's ice cream for less than two smackeroos! It could not be! I immediately went to the front of the store to get a basket, which of course I had not picked up at the start of my grocery shopping venture as I had planned on only getting my two items. I skipped and hopped my way back to the freezer aisle. I called my roommate to tell her the wonderful news and solicit flavor requests. I called my friend Kate who was stuck in an interminably long Friday at work with words of encouragement and promises of ice cream. And I began to fill my basket with lovely pints.

And that is not all! Oh no. I selected my pints and entered the check-yourself-out line. As I was ringing up my items, cheerfully watching the discounts ring up on the screen, I noticed a coupon spit out of the register behind the check out screen...for $2 off three pints of Ben and Jerry's! I was already getting an incredible deal, and now Food Lion wanted to give me more of a discount. Unreal! I had to do one sneaky move, as there was a limit of four pints per transaction, which was to purchase my ice creams in three separate swipes of the credit card - but this was suggested by a friendly and helpful cashier, so I think I'm in the clear in terms of grocery store fraud. The grand total for ice cream came to under $14 for eleven pints. My freezer has never looked finer, or more inexpensively filled. My dad and I like to compete for who can get the most savings in a single grocery store trip - this might take the cake.

In more produce-oriented news, check out this beautiful cabbage, recently harvested from the garden. They're so elegant with all those protective leaves, almost like a multi-layered skirt of sorts.
I chopped the cabbage up, shredded some carrots, sliced some cucumber, and ripped up some Thai basil, Italian basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro. Tossed it all together, mixed up a bit of white miso and lime and sesame oil, and threw it all together in a tupperware. Simple, refreshing lunch today.
Not all of the cabbages looked so nice coming out of the ground. This one was befriended by a cute but destructive little worm - you can see him there on the left if you look real close. Little wormy took some big chunks out of this cabbage, and didn't leave me enough worth saving. Can't win 'em all! It was pretty cool taking a good long look at how the little worm demolished the cabbage, though.

I did a mini art project this morning, painting this little plant holder a nice shade of red. I discovered that paint can be very inexpensive, and made a splurge purchase of a tiny one dollar bottle of ruby red at my last trip to the craft store, along with a small paintbrush, thinking I could paint some of my tin cans or other improvised home plant holders. I was a bit scared of how this would turn out, but I like how it matches my other red kitchen items from its new spot on the kitchen windowsill. Soon I'll find a nice green friend to fill it.

Remember I had thrown some purple basil and cilantro seeds into some containers a few weeks ago? They're sprouting! Looking cute.

The sungolds are starting to ripen! They look so colorful on the vine.

Here's the fruits of the first harvest. Soon there will be handfuls of sungolds ripening every day!

Also, remember the lettuce seeds I tossed on the ground underneath the tomato plants? They're started to sprout up as well! Hopefully the tomatoes continue to provide enough shade that they can grow in this heat.

Even more exciting, the beet seeds have sprouted too! I think the mulch helped keep them cool, and the ones with the most shade have come up the strongest, so it's possible the heat is still too much for the others.

And last but certainly not least, last weekend's CSA. I got some meat and eggs as we've been so overloaded with vegetables recently. Squash blossoms, chicken eggs, cucumbers, pork sausage, spicy radishes, and mozzarella cheese.

Next week is the last CSA! I'll still be buying plenty of vegetables from the markets, though I'll be sad not to walk down the road with my big box full of grub after next weekend.

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