Personal Pizzasizeit

As I mentioned last week that upon finishing posting that pizza was my next meal for the household. I made a variation as I tend to do. I left out the garlic and added spinach. The final result was delicious. Good food made simple. Though Supermarket snob could not be satisfied with just tasty or quick and appreciation for making the meal. No, the snob went the extra yard to make the pizza personal pan size. The portions were intentionally made for one.

Personal Pizza cost about $1.25 each. Serve at Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Personal Pizza cost about $1.25 each. Serve at Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Far easier for someone like me to identify with a small pizza. Sure one pan or maybe half again are enough food to eat at one sitting. A lesson taken from the Industrial Food complex that has made a science of portion control for dieters. Why not just do it for ourselves I might ask?

One 7.5 ounce portion meal cost $3.39 @ .45c per ounce, pizzasizeit  four portions total weight 25 ounces cost $5 @ .20 cents per ounce.

One 7.5 ounce portion meal cost $3.39 @ .45c per ounce, pizzasizeit four portions total weight 25 ounces cost $5 @ .20 cents per ounce.

My theory why people purchase low-calorie prepared meals over cooked at home meals I think is that for the extra money they can feel smug. Hey you, in the check out line! Look at me.. I’m on a diet and here’s proof. Boxed dinners. High cost. Investment in my diet. Look at me, I’m doing it.

Yeah, you and millions of other losers, Oh, I mean weight conscience fanatics. What I mean is-Weight loss is attainable when a balance diet is maintained not pseudo starvation.  The above meal has 150 calories in it. A 12 oz can of Coke has 140 calories. Drink that with your meal! Still less than 300 calories and about $4 total. Supermarket Snob makes comparison shopping easy to understand. Compare my pizzasizeit portions and made at home meal that kicks the $#%% out of lean cuisine. Here’s why. My Pizza fed two for dinner, one for a snack and one for breakfast at 20 cents per ounce. Lean Cuisine fed one for dinner at 45 cents per ounce. Gag me to eat this cold or at breakfast washed down with a coke.

How easy is it to portion control a roll of dough for four individual pizzas? Really, really #@$%#$ easy. So, is the extra effort any different from portion control with slices? Yes, I think so. For some people they lose count of the slices they eat. Or they tell themselves just one more slice or bite. Before long the pizza is decimated. Personal pizzasizeit and it’s far easier to eat just one. Try starting with half of a pizzasizeit. With kids this portion tactic is fun. In addition for kids the preparation and cooking is a great way to spend time. If cooking isn’t fun any efforts to eat well or lose weight will be in·fin·i·tes·i·mal.

Cook pizza in a toaster oven or conventional oven with a pizza stone. I’ve done it both ways. First, I want to give a shout out to those reading who are  challenged in a big way to eat good food on limited income. Paying the electric bill hurts for some folks. Just saying, the toaster oven is the most efficient appliance in the kitchen. That said, you can’t eat well microwaving your meals!

By the numbers today the $3.39 cost for a Lean Cuisine meal comparison to a type of processed product.  FAGE Total 2% Greek Yogurt sale price $1.22 @ 7 oz.

Per ounce cost LC 45.2 cents vs FAGE 17.5 cents —-Total Fat  LC 4g 6% DV vs FAGE 4g 6% DV —-Sat Fat LC 2g 10% DV vs FAGE 3g 15% DV, ok these numbers are so far identical or very close. But we are talking boxed meat vs dairy product and for the next set of numbers still close with Cholesterol LC 15mg 5% DV vs FAGE 10mg 3% DV. The numbers widen  a bit now. Total Carb. LC 14g 5% DV vs FAGE 8g 3% DV. Let the pendulum swing now. Sodium LC 570mg 24% DV vs FAGE 65 mg 3% DV. The almighty number for your money here is the amount of protein in the meal vs dairy. Protein LC 15g vs FAGE 20g 40%DV . I want to pause here and say I did not leave out the protein % DV for the LC meal intentionally as it’s broken down in a bizarre way. See below label. The protein winner by a long shot is FAGE. These two products are packaging protein primarily. Lean Cuisine is gouging the consumer who is too smug to invest in a good piece of lean meat, saute some mushrooms and onions in wine and blanch a broccoli stem. Supermarket snob can do it and so can you. Just don’t buy this stuff anymore. Get hooked on healthy eating.

No Vegetable Servings in Lean Cuisine.

No Vegetable Servings in Lean Cuisine.

No surprise here there are no vegetable servings in the Lean Cuisine meal as per the labeling. By the numbers Supermarket Snob is scratching his head why anyone is buying this less is more bull#$#$! Less protein more money. No vegetables in yogurt either but there isn’t broccoli pictured on the package. Honesty the ingredients list on the Lean Cuisine package has brocoli as the first ingredient. But, I question how honest is the whole concept of package meals? There it is in bold print Vegetable Servings 0. ZERO sucker! See label above. Can’t very well put this information on the front of the package in BOLD. Supermarket snob is reading the labels and does not like what I see. Problem is this is the sort of bad nutrition, insane economic imbalance and out right bait and switch package prepared food makers resort to to capture your hard-earned dollars. The supermarket is a battle zone not a happy zone. Consumers can’t see the forest for the trees. We could say that it’s all food, the stuff on grocery shelves. Until we realize it isn’t food when we begin to read the label. A good start for anyone that wants to change the way they eat is to start in the produce section and get to know vegetables and fruit. Funny none of the produce has labels. Could be that we knew all along this stuff was good for us and dag namit the government thought enough also that it’s not a requirement to label fruits and vegetables. Seems we can correlate prepared package meals with the need for nutritional labeling and the out of control eating habits that the snobs from the Industrial Food Complex have hooked. Now if we could get the truth on the front of the package so the suckers buying the stuff can get a clue.

 

 

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Super Market Snob

My most recent trip to the super market shed some of the anxiety I have had when shopping for nutritious food. I entered Super One on Arrowhead road, grabbed a cart and ignored the assault that generally happens as I passed the sale goods piled high in open bins. Past the PopTarts, Chips, meal in a box, crackers, sweetened juices, canned soups, and on and on, and then I saw oatmeal on sale. Ahh, made it to the produce section to check out prices. Finding higher prices than I can buy elsewhere I began the process to shop for our cupboards at home. One hundred eleven dollars later the only non food item I bought were paper napkins. For a few months prior I had gradually transformed my outlook on supermarkets and my purchases. During this foray I became a super market snob.

Like a chronic coupon clipper piecing together a meal plan I shopped for the deals. I also refused to purchase higher priced items when I could buy those same on my way home at a second market. The irony is the second market is upscale and will have many lower priced meats, dressings and produce. The key to savings is to know what the market prices are. To know this I will shop no less than three times per week. That’s more times than the average American goes out to eat.

Does anyone make this? Or do you make the box stuff?

Does anyone make this? Or do you make the box stuff?

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The Hamburger Helpering of Americans has led to exhorbitant weight gains.  Diet claims to lose weight sell magazines in the check out lane. Super One 04/01/2014

 

And living in Duluth Minnesota, going out to eat is dismal. Having a breakfast at a diner is a big whoop. On the other hand eating lunch or dinner out is just not on our radar. The corporate fare is generic. All the fast food we have come to loathe and Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Noodles. While the local food is good it comes with a price, no cheap eats in Duluth. We love BlackWater the Martini Bar. Chester Creek Cafe and the Duluth Grill do well. So, the draw to eat out is just not there when we shop like a snob. We prepare our meals at home most days. In the summer we cook over a wood fire outdoors. This is Northern Minnesota.

At the beginning of the check out lane I’ve just finished unloading my cart. I ask the cashier to do me a favor and apply the internet coupon deals which she gladly obliges. With in store mark downs and the internet coupon I save 14%. That’s just less than $19. What do the numbers mean to a snob? A super market snob is shopping for dry goods, fresh goods and frozen goods. These goods are for the day, week and month.

The conveyor belt transports my goods to be scanned and bagged. Dry goods, canned Northern Beans, cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, honey, peanut butter, lime juice, cranberry juice,L&P worcestershire,two types of Berio olive oil, oatmeal and one pack of powdered donuts. Fresh goods, a white onion, 5 lb red potatoes, clove of garlic. Frozen goods and dairy, hard parmesan wedge, 2 cracker barrel cheese, 6 Fage yogurt,2 packages boneless chicken breast, 1 lb ground chicken, 3 lb ground breakfast turkey sausage and 4 frozen bread loaves.

The super market snob can’t wait to bite into the powered donuts so I tuck these into my breast pocket. First thing I do is read the nutrition label when I am settled into my car seat. Doing the math there are 8 donuts, 250 calories per serving and two servings per container. Honest to god I have up to this day eaten dozens of packages and never read this label. True, I habitually snaked on two packages at once but, I also was bike commuting 25 miles a day. By the numbers 2 packages is 1000 calories. Super market snob instantly saw the light of day sitting there with powdered donuts and the options that lay ahead. Should I down them? Throw them away? Messy me will leave powder on my face and my wife will know I’ve strayed from my course to eat better. Asking myself these questions are all part of the game. Settling on the option to eat two powdery gobs, 125 calories and seal the package for another day. That was two days ago. I’ve got 5 donuts left. The snob could not have picked a better non-food than these donuts.  The symbolism is too much. What I crave is no better or less than the packaged sugar, sodium and fat that Americans crave. By the numbers here is what one package of powered donuts contain. 500 calories, 36% total fat of Daily Value, 60% saturated fat DV, 16% Cholesterol DV, 24% Sodium DV, 22% Carbohydrate DV, Sugars 32 grams, Protein 6 grams. A token roll of donuts when eaten whole did not compute because I never gave a second thought about my craving.

A  journey  into super market snobbery is an event to be enjoyed with caution and preparedness. In some ways a grocery is like a city in that you have to keep yours eyes wide open. So imagine the produce section is like your finest parks. The cereal aisle is like the grubby parched land during a drought. The dairy section is like the rolling wooded countryside. The chip and soda aisles are like the fake sentiment of Super Bowl commercials with the promise that everything will be alright. The dry and frozen aisle of packaged meals are like the suburban strips we see in thousands of American towns and cities. Corporations are what’s for dinner tonight in many homes. Supermarket snob might be the best thing I can do for myself and family. At least I know what’s for dinner in our house tonight.

Don’t judge me before taking a look at my shopping list and further postings which round out our cupboards. I will leave you with a recipe for Pizza which I will be making as soon as I sign off here.

Pizza

One pound frozen bread dough –cost $1–thaw for half hour on counter top the day before. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Place on dinner plate and cover with clear plastic wrap. Store in refridgerator for up to 48 hours. Dough will rise. When ready to bake. Flatten covered dough, unwrap clear wrap, flour countertop and hands. Press and spread each piece. When sufficiently formed each piece is about 6-8 inches in diameter. Put on Pizza stone or pizza pan. Set oven temp to 400 degrees F

Prepare Toppings- slice and chop with sharp knife

Todays toppings are 2 0z per topping per pizza –Portebello mushrooms, green peppers, onion, garlic to taste–cost $2.75-$3

Ragu sauce- spoon enough to cover to edge of crust and shred hard parmesan cheese—cost —$1

Rosemary and Thyme cut from live plants growing at home–cost– free–these plants bought spring 2013

Sprinkle toppings and cook on pizza stone for 13 minutes or tan crust

Total cost rounding up– $5 for fresh and good tasting

Feeds 4 individual zaaaaa

Won’t go into calories and blah blah. Will say most frozen pizzas are regularly in the $4 -$8 range. Dominoes delivers for $5 plus tax and tip. Homemade and fresh is always going to be better than frozen.

Think when you visit the store next time. The appeal of buying into the corporate,packaged and processed food chain is a sort of snob too. It’s what the food scientist have been creating for decades. The monster American food consumer to eat American stuff grown and packaged from our birth to grave. So all we do is pop in, spoon out, fill up, drive in and balloon out. This sort of snob you won’t find here. Stay tuned for good recipes and more choice at the supermarket.

 

 

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Do It Yourself DIY Just about Anything

The couple of times I traveled in 2013 I was staying in a far city with family we used VRBO and Airbnb. These experiences at the time vaguely registered what we were doing was DIY lodging. The beauty of it was the feeling of homeyness that you never get while staying in a motel. The kind of satisfaction likened to a job well done. So I began to think other DIY moments I have in my life which I take for granted. What is gained by Do It Yourself is when more of us disrupt common held beliefs and practices the closer our communities are knit.IMG_1708

I eat farm fresh eggs. Been doing this for about a year. I get them from Doug who I see once every couple of weeks. I usually call him and we arrange a place and time to meet that works for the both of us. This is DIY in that I actually save money $2.50 a dozen vs over $4 at the grocery. And these eggs are FRESH.  Doug gets to keep every penny of the transaction so that makes the deal even sweeter. DIY value is ephemeral in a sense because it is not out right bartering and my business may only be one time. Bartering I can move on to other sweet deals. Not so with DIY. Doug continues to sell eggs to me and others in the community. DIY is fueling the economy a little more each time one of us has a need fulfilled outside regulations and taxes. DIY is the creator of a destiny more forgiving than the financial hazing we often take when we pay outright for a service or commodity.

This winter brought a boat load of snow in early December. The polar vortex locked over 3 feet of snow on our rooftops and everywhere else. My concern was the load and the fact winter had just begun and more snow was inevitable. Soon after this huge snowfall a fellow stopped his truck blocking my driveway as I was leaving for work. He hopped out and said he wouldn’t take more than 3 minutes of my time for an estimate of the cost to remove the rooftop snow. The gent told me $250 bucks and left his card. That Saturday I went out and bought a “cool” folding/scaffold ladder which can be used indoors and outdoors and a snow rake for exactly $250. I’m still out cash but I’ve got myself tools for this project and future snows. I’ve already been up on the roof a second time. I’ll wager I’ve shoveled five feet of snow and put in about six hours of physical labor. Sweat equity is just another way of looking at DIY.

View from Davids Cabin

View from Davids Cabin

The king of sweat equity is a family friend named David. He has spent a decade working on the most beautiful log cabin. He started with seven semi trailers of logs. Logs with bark on them. He de-barked every single log himself. Carved log tops to fit with each log bottom. He bought a crane to lift the logs in place. The ridge log is over 70 feet long. Master of DIY. We may not have the inclination of a David. Although the little things we don’t think about can save us both time and money. DIY in the end is about making something and doing something for others and ourselves. DIY is taking opportunities to be in the moment in the place you are living.

Bicycle riding is another DIY practice when you think about riding instead of driving a car. Trips to the grocery or to work and school are a pretty cool way to move around. DIY awareness training without the hassle of paying a guru. Physical fitness without the gym fees. Looking good and feeling good for nothing but your time. DIY is having herb plants growing in a sunny window. DIY is making homemade pizza. DIY is going to the farmers market in June and buying 15 bunches of basil and making pesto for friends and family for the year. DIY is having a chain saw and helping a neighbor with her trees. DIY can be just about everything that gets us to shed some of the armour we carry and drive around in. A fantastic starter project for someone might be tonights dinner instead of going out. Do it yourself.

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Sea Caves Apostle Island

The weekend before the last pilgrimage of the season. The South Shore Sea Caves brought out many more thousands of gawkers like myself and Cathy, my wife. So far the count for the season is 125K. Getting a parking space near the entry point was essential for me. Cathy spotted an opening and I deftly parked perpendicular to the roadway by squeezing into the space. We got underway out on the lake only to see ant like streams of humans plodding their way along a shoreline rim. Instead we took what appeared to be a less traveled lake route that a smaller stream of ants were trotting. Stomp stomp and unsure if we had taken the best route we continued towards the distant point. Not a cloud in the sky. Temperatures were the highest of the season. You know. North Americans. What in the VORTEX I’m talking about. We packed lightly and dressed lightly. Park Rangers recommended using walking sticks, bringing water or fluids, snacks and making a bathroom break before hitting the ice. And there were people falling. We saw three fall in our proximity. It was a people watching and nature watching sort of day. Bring on the pictures!!!!

IMG_2560 IMG_2579 IMG_2577 IMG_2551 IMG_2565 IMG_2562 IMG_2546

The pictures are all taken by author on iPhone 4.  iPhoto to adjust color and crop. Some photos are rotated from original. Like the author has creative license. If you want to hang Mona Lisa upside down go for it.

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Who is Behind Para-Normal Events?

Two unlikely retirees  are behind bars with some  explaining and the hoax they have perpetrated. Duluthians can rest assured when they go to sleep tonight that things are all safe in the Zenith City. Grand Rapids residents Myrtle and Carl Anderson were getting a little bored with too much time on their hands when they discovered computer programming could be fun. It turns out that Carl is quite a metal smith and Myrtle is a stickler for detail and an eye for design. The two of them set about last Friday to manipulate a couple natural formations and animate them which caused a stampede of thrill seekers and a national alert for aliens.

Water suspended on a vertical surface by Myrtle and Carl Anderson is first animation by Grand Rapids couple

Water suspended on a vertical surface by Myrtle and Carl Anderson is third animation by Grand Rapids couple to cause a stir in Duluth over Aliens

Tonight Myrtle and Carl are in the St Louis County jail awaiting local and federal prosecutors as an array of charges are filed. Ironically, most seniors are more worried about their 401K and when they will visit their grand children.  Just before the Andersons were apprehended a passerby snapped the two as they brazenly posed for a portrait. Footloose and fancy free!!!! Duluth achieved notoriety for  all the wrong reasons.  Duluth has dealt with the same ilk when they ran Jim Carlson out of Last Place on Earth. Americans just won’t tolerate hoaxters or hustlers.

Animation hoaxters Myrtle and Carl use proprietary duo glasses and tablets to fool a community and nation

Animation hoaxters Myrtle and Carl use proprietary duo glasses and tablets to fool a community and nation

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Aliens are Here Among Us

On a recent summer day in Duluth Minnesota strollers out for a morning walk were astonished to find a miniature crop circle unlike previous discovered phenomenon. Appearing on first glance as natural elements found in the nearby woods, on closer examination, forensic expert Jon Tofte revealed the woody appearance was a facade over a kryptonite structure.

Are there Aliens among us? Intrepid glory seekers are booking hotels like this was area 51 with the belief there are.

Aliens are reinventing the wheel with Kryptonite

Aliens are reinventing the wheel with Kryptonite

For a region known more as a weekend getaway from the Twin Cities for agate hunters, Duluth is swarming with amateur Sherlock’s looking for further clues. Rod Hunter, Professor of Geology from the University of Minnesota Duluth, believes further examination of the cryptic design must be interpreted before evidence becomes corrupted by NSA teams now assembling by order of President Obama.

The AP photo below is the first such leaked that clearly shows an alien. initial reports are the photographer disappeared after messaging this photo to relatives.  Local law enforcement have issued warnings not to approach “clod” footed individuals whom may or may not have a distinct “death” odor about them.

Local Duluthian captures closeup of Alien while on morning walk

Local Duluthian captures closeup of Alien while on morning walk 

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Train in Vain

Was in Portland Oregon a few weeks ago. Lush greenery overwhelmed me as Spring time had yet to come to Duluth. Right outside our place we were staying gigantic plants and trees covered most ground. Portland is a great world-class city built in a rain forest at that. It rained most days, a gentle rain, no great shakes. We got around one day on public transit with little more than an idea to explore. Trolleys, trains and buses were frequent, clean and reliable. Someone like me who has not grown up with these sort of transit options was totally impressed.

Train in Vain, What are we teaching our children if they are only part of the scenery? iPhone photo by author Duluth MN

Train in Vain, What are we teaching our children if they are only part of the scenery? iPhone photo by author Duluth MN

So it is bewildering when I think of the Johnny come lately’s like Minneapolis were I lived and their two transit lines serving less population density along the corridors.  The slate has been wiped clean for land speculators and it will be a full ten years before the University corridor fills in. As the Hiawatha line approaches 10 years downtown properties have developed but not as a consequence of this line as it is not a trolley but a train between the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis. And what of Duluth that is all up the hill and spread out east to west along a lakeside dividing the population as a rivalry of brothers? Minnesota cities have great outdoors opportunities but, are squandering their natural settings with public policy that is 20th century and not 21st century.

People in Portland are packed in. No doubt. And that is the best thing  for creating culinary options on a human scale. One of the best food experiences I have ever had been in Portland. It ranks up there with our visit to Italy  two years ago. Portland is all about food. The countless food truck courts and the bazillion cafe’s provided fresh well prepared meals. And this included vegan selections for our daughter. We are honestly, starved in Duluth for a meal that is reasonably priced, tasty and served well. And to think food trucks serve delicious, inexpensive food just about anywhere in Portland. Ranking higher than Duluth bar food and the axiom, “you get what you pay for.” Only, expensive is not always better. Fresher is always better! Policy in Minnesota communities have a long way to go before food trucks become competition to brick and mortar. Good public transit won’t happen either when speculators are sitting on properties that need to be freed up for business and housing.

 

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