Trader Joe’s Silly Thing This Week

This looks innocuous, right?  Cheepie, why are you picking on oatmeal, right?  Oatmeal is nutritious, cheap, and while not meant for Texas summers, is an excellent all-round foodstuff. Why, Cheepie?Screen shot 2015-04-16 at 11.56.00 PM

Because this oatmeal is frozen.

I’m not sure I need to explain further, but I will. Because this is a blog, and I’m supposed to write the amusing words to make my bar graphs happy when I check them.  Not that I’m doing that. Hourly. Much.

Frozen oatmeal. Oatmeal, which is already available processed in a variety of ways to accommodate your cooking needs, is now pre-cooked and frozen. So you can pay for the water and time they boiled into it.

Here’s where it gets brilliant: the “perfect porridge” is flash-frozen into individual, bowl-sized servings. Just three minutes in the microwave, and you can be sitting pretty with a “just right” bowl of our Steelcut Oatmeal. The price is right at $1.69 for each 16 ounce (2 serving) box.

For all I know frozen oatmeal has always been there next to the frozen biscuits and frozen waffles. But I don’t think so. I think this is new, and we all know new is weird.  Well, I know that, and as Queen of This Blog I’m calling it weird.

Steel cut oats are a thing that you’ve got to plan ahead for, but we’re Cheepsters, and thinking ahead to put oats in a crockpot if steel cut oats is what we must do, then we’ve got the skills needed.  Especially since Bob’s Red Mill, a place that has a great product but is not usually the cheapest, will sell you 24oz of oats for $2.99.  That’s 15 servings, making the frozen TJ’s option of 85c/serving seem deserving of this week’s post.

Even if you don’t plan ahead, in 20 min you can have your 20c serving ready–and at this point you might be thinking, come on, it’s difference of 65c! That’s nothing.  But, if you’re serving three people this meal just once a week? That’s over $100 in a year, and you know that $100 can get you 50lbs of meat if you shop the sales.  

Frozen foods can be convenient, and they can be cheap. Frozen vegetables have actually gotten my kids eating more vegetables than they used to.  This item is the former, but isn’t the latter, especially given the many varieties of oatmeal out there. 

Time is money.  But just 20 minutes on oatmeal days to save enough money for months of meat is the kind of grocery math I do.  

Cheep Cheep!


Trader Joe’s Silly Thing This Week

Chorizo is a many-defined thing. It can be splendorous, and it can be a weird plastic tube of salivary glands and seasoning that you’re supposed to smush out into a hot pan and hope for the best.

Traditionally, a sausage is a way to use up the random bits left over after you’ve secured the good cuts–the little trims, possibly organs (hello boudin!), cheek meat (before it became popular) and whatever else seemed like a good plan at the time.  Chorizo seasoning is a peppery paprika blend of things that is, to me, the downright best part of a breakfast taco. It’s bullish enough to cover a multitude of sins, including organ meat that might otherwise be thought a slippery greasy mess, but only if that mess is balanced with actual meat that has texture.

I am here to tell you that it’s not always the case that the chorizo makers that make the products available in the store have followed my simple rule. Ever thrown out a pan of food? Go ahead and buy the cheapest chorizo at the market.  Squish it into the pan, and tell me if you decided to crack eggs over that, or toss it and hit Taco Cabana.  I’ve got an iron stomach, and even typing that brings back images that do not make Cheepie happy.

Which is why, for a change, I’m liking my Silly Thing this week. Cheap chorizo should Screen shot 2015-04-10 at 9.40.35 PMobviously be soy–it’s hugely assertively seasoned, the cheap bits that used to make it are now much pricier, and all we’re doing is mixing it into tacos. This isn’t Spanish chorizo, for slicing on a pretty cheese plate–this is Mexican chorizo that is not even a sausage except for that people keep putting it in plastic tubes! Why do we do that? A grocery mystery.

I’m not giving up on meat chorizo, but at $1.99 for 12oz, you’re going to have enough to make extra tacos for the freezer, which will save you one morning from the Krispy Kreme. Pork chorizo costs twice that or more, and it’s good, too. It’s just not my funny thing this week.

Soy Chorizo, for when you’re all done with salivary glands and paprika!

 Thank you TJ’s!