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Category: eating in

02/07/09 05:40 - 49ºF - ID#47671

Keerai Molaguttal

Since (e:heidi) requested more food posts, here is one! :)

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Keerai Molaguttal is an uber traditional dish from the Palakaddu district of Kerala. Its not so much Tamilian as it is Malayali. You won't see this in ANY Indian restaurant - north or south, even if they are in India. It's very unglamorous and very practical but worth dying for. Some days, I just crave it so much I can even smell its fragrance before I start cooking. Its got this addictive potential. Some people hate it and some like me, just can't live without it.

Its not spicy or hot, so strong hot south Indian lemon pickles (that I bought yesterday) go wonderfully well with it. Its comfort food taken to the Malayali extreme. :)

The really simple recipe:

1. Cook rice in the rice cooker - Any rice will do, but Basmati is awesome. Don't smash the rice.

2. Wash and chop a good amount of spinach - blend the spinach in the blender to a smooth paste, add generous water to make it a smooth flowing paste but don't make it too watery.

3. Cook orange lentils (masoor dal) or toor dal
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OR
image in the rice cooker. Toor dal needs around 5-6 hours of pre-soaking if you are not using a pressure cooker. Masoor doesn't need any and is readily cooked. The objective is to cook the lentils really well so that you can smash them to a paste with a ladle.

4. In a wide-bottomed pan, take a teaspoon (or 1.5 tsp) of peanut oil, heat the oil till it flows freely. Add a pinch of black mustard seeds,
image, a pinch of urad dal (while lentils), pinch of channe ki dal (split yellow lentils), whole black peppercorns and several dried red chillies.
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5. When the mustard seeds just start to pop, invert the whole blended spinach paste into the pan and stir well. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of red chillie powder.

6. Fresh-grind around 2 tablespoons of cumin in a mortar and pestle and add to the spinach. Next, add around 4 tablespoons of coconut powder or coconut shreds to the spinach.

7. When the spinach paste starts bubbling a bit (around 2 minutes) add the cooked lentils (masoor or toor) and some more water to take it a to a hearty thick soupy consistency.

8. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat. Its VERY important not to overcook the spinach. Unlike North Indians who murder their spinach in that insane dish called palak paneer, South Indians value the art of just-enough cooking to preserve that fresh awesome taste of veggies. If your keerai molaguttal has turned a dark green tinted with yellow (the colour of palak paneer, btw), you have got it all wrong. It needs to be a bright dark green and when you taste it, the raw spinach smell is gone but the fresh spinach fragrance remains accented by the coconut, cumin, lentils and red-chllies.

9. Serve over cooked rice.

10. Garnish with a nice big scoop of south Indian lemon pickle!



PS: Keerai: Spinach in Tamil. Molaguttal: I really don't know what this means. Molagu means peppercorns. I guess it could mean seasoned with peppercorns. Its a word that is neither Tamil nor Malayalam but somewhere in between - very typical of the border-district of Palakkadu.
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Permalink: Keerai_Molaguttal.html
Words: 556
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: grocery

02/07/09 08:38 - 42ºF - ID#47665

30 items or more - February 2009

All the reasonably priced orange-bags at Wegmans had greenish fungus on them so I didn't get them. I got these instead:

1. Milk - Fat-free 2 Gallons - $3.98 (1 Gallon @ $1.99)
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(This is almost the first time in two years I have seen a gallon milk below $2.00).

2. Milk - 2% - 1/2 Gallon - $1.49
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Coffee becomes so much more tastier with 2% milk!

3. Vanilla low-fat yoghurt - $1.99
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4. Wegmans Wheat Pita Bread - $1.79
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(The pitas are so much more tastier and cheaper at Guercio's. Why Oh Why do they close at 6.00 PM!?! :/)

5. Wegmans Lite Wheat Bread - $2.49 It is lite, it feels rite.
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6. Wegmans Firm Organic Tofu - $1.99
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(Used to be $1.29 when I first moved to Rochester)

7. Wegmans 1 Pound Sweet Cream Butter - $1.50
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(Okay! I caved in. I am going to try baking some cookies with this evil addictive and gorgeously delicious substance. But mainly, I am going to have it on crisp toast.)

8. Dole Mixed Frozen Fruit - $8.59
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Interestingly, they changed the fruit mix to strawberries, peaches, mangoes (yes! mangoes) and pineapple. I was not a big fan of the melons so I am pretty excited. :)

9. Edys's real fruit bars - 12 bars - $2.99
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(Small pieces of heaven if you can pretend that its summer.)

10. Cheez its! - $$1.50
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11. Natural Gruyere Swiss Cheese. - $4.95
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I felt like I needed an indulgence. This is it! :)

12. Grapefruit 5lb - $2.99
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13. Macintosh Apples 5lb - $4.75.
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I am stuck with these for yet another week. Depression. I miss my Granny Smiths. But I refuse to pay $0.79 per smallish Granny Smith! That is atrocious.

14. Red Potatoes - $1.12 (1.13lb @ $0.99/lb)
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15. Green Seedless Grapes - $4.95 (@ $1.29/lb)
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16. Bananas - $1.88 (3.84lb @ 0.49/lb)
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Total: $48.95

I also went to the Super Bazaar because I desperately needed a fix of Indian Snackies!

17. Gujarati Fulvadi - $1.99
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18. Bhavnagri Gathiya - $1.99
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19. Bikaneri Bhujia - 2 X $1.99 = $3.98
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20. Gujarati Tam Tam - $1.99
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21. Rice Khichia - $1.99
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Like papads, but 1000x cooler and tastier.

22. Semolina - $1.49
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I am intrigued by the one's I bought. They are from Greece. I can't wait to make the traditional upma with the Greek version...

23. Tata Tetley Elaichi Chai - $0.49
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24. Mother's South Indian Style Pickle - $1.99
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25. Roma Tomatoes - $4.15 (4.19lb @0.99/lb)
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26. Indian Green Chillies - $0.99
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27. Thai Green Chillies - $0.99
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28. Karuvepelai ("Curry" leaves) - $0.99
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29. Coriander - 2 Bunches - $1.00
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30. Tender Okra - $1.46 (0.77lb @1.89/lb)
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31. Bottle Gourd - $4.40 (2.95lb @ 1.49/lb)
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32. Fresh Ginger Root - $0.98 (0.66lb @ $1.49/lb)
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33. Super Long Indian String Beans - $3.70 (1.86lb @ $1.99/lb)
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I LOVE these! They are very costly outside of ethnic stores. I think they come from the Caribbean.

Total: $34.57

Grand Total - $83.52
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Permalink: 30_items_or_more_February_2009.html
Words: 474
Location: Buffalo, NY


02/04/09 08:37 - 11ºF - ID#47643

9/11

I learned today that someone I know really well lost a sibling in the 9/11 tragedy. It ripped their family apart and brought them together at the same time. It's extraordinary how something that was rather remote suddenly has taken on a very personal hue.

It's like being shaken back to the remote shock you once knew you felt but only more intense. It's a very weird feeling of helplessness and sadness. Lives lost remain lost forever regardless of what political agenda is or has been for the past years. None of it matters even an iota to the ones who were really affected.
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Permalink: 9_11.html
Words: 103
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: music

02/03/09 07:42 - ID#47624

Love 'em or Leave 'em

Another music post, but nothing else seems worthwhile nowadays. This time, its the Scorpions.

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I think this post should end here. They are the Scorpions and hence, they rule. But I will go ahead and add an example.





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Permalink: Love_em_or_Leave_em.html
Words: 48
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: music

01/31/09 05:54 - 16ºF - ID#47585

Opera: D. Hvorostovsky and C. Orbelian

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Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Constantine Orbelian And The Moscow Chamber Orchestra - I can only say, what a magnificent team!

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Performing a whole bunch of Russian operas/folksongs/wartime songs with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra (Philharmonia of Russia). I am in operatic heaven. :)

















Now doesn't he have the most awesome voice ever?
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  • Thank you, mrbusy.
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Permalink: Opera_D_Hvorostovsky_and_C_Orbelian.html
Words: 134
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: eating in

01/24/09 11:56 - 10ºF - ID#47509

Speculoos

Some of my worst and best flying experiences have been on Delta.

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They ALWAYS strand me at a dodgy hotel in Atlanta, where there is always some weird embarrassing party going on. The first time it was an uncomfortable vain-socialites-of-the-world-unite party.

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The second time, it was some religious zealot supergroup from Pakistan and India, combined.

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The less said about these parties, the better.

The happier side of flying delta are these Biscoff speculoos.

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These are unimaginably crisp cinnamony pieces of spice heavens. I used to hoard them while flying and on occasion have lied to the flight attendants to get extra ones. YES, they are that good. Then I moved to Buffalo and found that the Walgreens on North and Delaware carried these biscuits! I was pretty thrilled. I try to forget that they sell them because usually, I have this tendency to gorge myself on whatever I am addicted to till I am sick of them and can let go of them forever. But I like these biscuits so much that I don't want to get deaddicted! See?

{PS: I am happy to report that my unhealthy love-affair with Twizzlers and Andy Capps hot fries is finally over because of intentional overindulgence.}
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Permalink: Speculoos.html
Words: 211
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: e:strip

01/23/09 06:16 - 41ºF - ID#47502

Do you follow the "e:strip rules"??!

I just found out that apparently, I totally cross and break some of them...

From:

Additionally, all users of (e:strip) (e:services) including guests, visitors of the site, and (e:peeps) agree not to:
1. "stalk" or otherwise harass anyone;



I am the official (and self-declared) (e:mike)'s #1 Stalker. If that is not a blatant violation, I don't know what is! Additionally, I also specialize in annoying and harassing the hell out of everyone.


2. collect personal data about other users for commercial or unlawful purposes;



Oh man. I do collect personal data on all of you for future and present use. I use this personal data to great effect often when I meet you on the streets and in gatherings. Hee Hee.

I am a rule-breaker!
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Permalink: Do_you_follow_the_quot_e_strip_rules_quot_.html
Words: 139
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: eating in

01/11/09 12:20 - 19ºF - ID#47361

Penang Stir Fry

I made a multi-vegetable penang sauce based stir-fry for dinner today.

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It did take quite a long time by my normal dinner standards but the result was beyond what I expected so I am going to document the recipe here before I forget.

Tofu - Prep
- Freeze Firm tofu (NOT extra firm)
- Thaw and cut into thin cubes

The Penang Sauce
Dry toast coriander seeds, a large number of hot dried red chillies and peanuts.

Blend to a fine paste:
- Freshly Toasted Coriander Seeds, Red Chillies and Peanuts (from above)
- Fresh Coriander (DO NOT discard stems. They are the most intense essence of the coriander).
- Several garlic cloves.
- One small red onion
- One green lime - pulp, rind and juice.
- Galangal
- Ginger
- Regular Soy Sauce

The Stir Fry
- In a wide bottomed pan, take around 1-1.5 tablespoon of peanut oil. Swivel the pan to coat the entire pan. Heat on stove.
- Wait till the oil is thinning out but NOT smoking.
- Lay the the tofu cubes down in one layer over the heated oil in the pan.
- Wait till one side is browned, carefully flip over to the other side without breaking the cubes. Brown this side as well.
- Add some cumin seeds. Saute for a while
- Add chopped green bell peppers. Saute for a while
- Add salt and carrots. Saute for a while
- Add shredded savoy cabbage. Saute for a while
- Add chopped snow peas. Saute for a while
- Add chopped broccoli.
- Add penang sauce (to taste - you probably made a lot more than you need for this dish, if you followed the method above)
- Saute till broccoli is a bright bright green

Take off heat. Serve with basmati rice. :)
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Permalink: Penang_Stir_Fry.html
Words: 306
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: grocery

01/10/09 09:12 - 18ºF - ID#47358

The illustrated grocery List - Jan 2009

I am quite shocked at how I managed to buy $100+ worth of groceries this week. This post was going to be a contender for the dullest journal of 2009 but I thought about it and really, getting groceries are never a dull experience for me. Its only fair that a post about them is just as graphic and colourful! :)

Super Bazaar

- Red Onions - 4lb - $3.98
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Really, there is no onion like the red onion. Yellow cooking onions bite the dust when you try and make them rise above the oniocasion.

- Cilantro 2 HUGE eye-poppingly fresh bunches - $1.00
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This is the best and the cheapest cilantro (coriander) in Buffalo.

- Tomatoes ~3lbs - $0.99/pound - $2.96
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Life in winter is depressing without Tomatoes. Its also rather harsh and uncreative if you don't have the reds from this beautiful fruit to balance out the foods representing other areas of the colour wheel.

- Fresh Ginger - Quite a lot - $1.35
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Ginger is always best at Super Bazaar. Sometimes, its also the cheapest. Like today.

- Fresh Karuvepalai ("Curry Leaves") 1 measly but oh-so-satisfying-till-it-lasts bunch - $0.99
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- Thai Green Chillies - 0.99 (around 30)
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- Indian Super Hot Green Chillies - 0.99 (around 10)
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- Green Bottle Gourd (aka Ghiya) - $2.88
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- Moong Dal (A "core" lentil in South Indian cooking) - 6lb - $7.98
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- Tata Tetley Elaichi Tea (Cardamom tea) - $4.99 (72 Tea bags)
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- Tata Tetley Variety Taster Teas - $2.45 (Cardamom, Masala and Ginger)
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- Maggie "Healthy" Veggie Atta Noodles - 1 single-serve bag - $0.79
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(The "vegetables" in the whole pack of noodles were 10 dried green peas, 10 dried 2mm flakes of carrots and 2-3 dried flakes of tomatoes and a huge fist of Monosodium Glutamate. Healthy indeed. Good to know that these "newer" "healthier" noodles taste just as uninspired as the originals. Yeah. Somethings in life never need change. )

- Gujarati Bikaneri Bhujia - $1.99
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- Gujarati Jamnagri Ghathiya - $1.99
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- 1 Kg Haldiram Bhujiya - $7.99
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- 1 pack frozen Pillsbury Aloo Parantha - $2.99
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I see some eyebrows go up and you know who you are. YOU are driving me homesick writing about paranthas every weekend!

- South Indian Lime Pickle - Mother's - $1.99
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- 1 pack Asafoetida - $1.99
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(I can't believe I finally ran out! Unbelievable!) The author of a really famous south Indian recipe book suggests that families get 2Kg (~4.5lb) of this crazy spice every month! I am not quite sure why she recommended such insane amounts. It's not as if you use a fistful in each dish! Just a dusting is so powerful! She must have been totally high when she wrote her book! And man, I am scared to even think about how her home must have smelled like...

- 1 pack Tamarind concentrate paste - $1.99
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- 1 Fresh Samosa with two chutneys - $1.00
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Subtotal: $53.28

Guercios:

- 8 Granny Smith Apples - $5.50 @1.29/lb
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- Extra Virgin Olive Oil 250ml - $2.49
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- BIG (3lb?) bag of spinach - $3.99
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- Kalamata dried figs - $3.99
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- Carrots 2lb - $1.00
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- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus 396g - $3.59
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- Zucchini 2 medium sized - $1.35
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- Small white potatoes (3)
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- Canary Beans 1lb - $0.79
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(I don't know what these taste like, yet! Here's hoping they don't flunk my lentil test!)

- Fresh Basil 1 teeny bunch - $1.25
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- Some other produce that I can't remember - $1.15
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(I hate it that they don't put put names on the receipts! I have no idea what this is! Damn.)

Subtotal: $25.49

Wegmans
- Wegmans Fat Free Milk 2 Gallons - $4.78
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- Wegmans Low Fat Vanilla Yoghurt - $1.99
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- Wegmans tomato-basil sauce - $1.98
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This is a standby for tomato deficient days - of which I have had my miserably nasty share these past few days.

- Wegmans Peanut Oil 32oz - $4.99
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AHH! FINALLY.

- Macintosh Apples 3lb - $2.97
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(I don't have hopes of these outshining Granny Smiths - but trying them out just in case...)

- Broccoli Crowns - 3.26lb @ $1.29/lb - $4.21
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- Bananas 3.55lb @ 0.49/lb - $1.74
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- Green Cabbage 2.89lb @ 0.69/lb - $1.99
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- Savoy Cabbage 1.37 @ 0.69/lb - $0.95
(These are awesome for stir-frying with other veggies)
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Subtotal: $25.60

Tops
Mustard Greens $1.72lb @ 0.99/lb: $1.70
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(These are my MOST favourite cooking greens!)

Subtotal: $1.70

Grand Total: $106.07
(Whoosh. That's quite a lot. I need to tone down this crazy homesickness tackling grocery spending next time!)

PS: (e:pmrk), what did you get? :)
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Permalink: The_illustrated_grocery_List_Jan_2009.html
Words: 786
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: music

01/10/09 12:50 - 18ºF - ID#47342

Grave Digger - YES! THE BAND. DEAL.

I did some serious - no make that dead serious grocery shopping today and started posting my grocery list in keeping with the recently established (e:strip) grocery costs and lists tradition. I even ran into my grocery-inspiration (e:pmrk) at Wegmans and my grocery trip was (e:topped) with the perfect (e:inspiration)! :)

BUT while typing up my grocery list - one of my very old favourites somehow sneaked into my playlist and WOW. I am blown away for the millionth time.

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Grave Digger have always been heads and shoulders, my hands down run away favourites, but I forgot just how much this particular self-titled album rocks even after 8 full years!

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Every song has so many catchy, detailed and rich layered riffs by the incredibly talented Manni Schmidt, it's impossible not to be sucked right in.

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I can't comprehend that 8 whole years have gone by so swiftly! I was just as wildly excited hearing it in 2001, completely out of breath and dizzy from too much wild headbanging as I am right now (I do miss that out-of-control-amazon-forest hair that I don't have anymore!). Some bands just have it in them to magically transport me to happier times in a time machine. :)

I know all that dead serious grocery shopping does need some loving grave digging, but it won't be tonight. I am too stoked headbanging to nostalgia to concentrate. :)

Special greets go out to (e:pmrk)! Loved running into you! :^D
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Permalink: Grave_Digger_YES_THE_BAND_DEAL_.html
Words: 255
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/09/11 08:04


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