God likes nitrite-free hot dogs
I was working (in my mind) on a post about the Old Testament book of Micah and the (almost too poppy, but still very thought-provoking, and overall very good) Kerrie Roberts‘ song Outcast, and the idea of balancing being a remnant — someone who chooses to go against the flow — while still maintaining a value for others, and not simply being an iconoclast and using that as an excuse to not “have a filter”, which to me, translates to, “I don’t care about you.” My mental blog post got really long and philosophical and possibly even preachy… so instead, I will write again about groceries.
I’m really liking my Old Testament prophets these days, so perhaps I will get back to Micah later this week. In the mean time, click on this link and listen to the song Outcast, while reading the lyrics, so we’ll be on the same page when I do so.
Now. On to my real post for the day.
Funny: I have never really considered my blog a “real” gluten-free foodie blog because there are so many who have been doing that exclusively for a long time… And, I don’t think blogging about hot dogs qualifies me as a “foodie.” But lately, many of my thoughts have been about food — its acquisition, its preparation, its effects on body and on my spirit.
I felt compelled to share something that happened to me last week.
First, a little budget update: Once I recovered from hyperventilating over a decreased grocery budget, I discovered that it hasn’t been all that tough keeping with a smaller budget! I typically shop at 3-4 (sometimes five!) grocery stores in a single outing. I keep a running total of how much I’ve spent, having a rough idea before I even enter the store of how much my foray into that establishment is going to cost. The last store I visit on each trip is a big, used-to-be-local chain that is now an affiliate of Kroger. It’s not my fave, but it acts as the catch-all for items that I can’t find elsewhere. In that store, I open my phone’s calculator as I roam the aisles, knowing what the exact limit of my budget is, and ensuring that I stay under it. It has paid off!*
So. Lunch meat kills me. Deli meat. Cold cuts. Whatever you call ’em. As a family that can’t do wheat and whose dairy consumption is extremely minimal, I must admit that our diet tends to be protein-rich. Especially as this year, I have abandoned making hot breakfasts 3-4 mornings each week, leaving my children each morning to procure their own (nearly protein-free) cold (or hot) cereal, I feel a need to put some animal protein on their lunch plates. But… as someone who continually strives to eat clean, this is a challenge. Typically, our dinner leftovers are eaten by my hubby for work lunches, so that’s out as an option. I adore Hormel Natural Choice lunch meat, but when it’s not on sale, it’s typically around $4.50 for an 8 oz package. That’s just too much money. (A few weeks ago, I scored four packages for less than $2 each; I was very pleased.)
There I stood, looking at the deli wall of my grocery store, and the dearth of coupons in my possession, and the fact that nothing good was on sale, and the dwindling amount of money left in the week’s budget… I was going to have to succumb to sodium nitrite-filled lunch meat. Resigned, I then looked for what my best option would be, cost-wise. I settled on a 2-lb package of turkey breast, that, with a coupon, would be $5-something. As I walked away, after reluctantly putting the turkey into my cart, I saw that Oscar Mayer’s nitrate-free turkey hot dogs were on sale, a one-pound package for $1.99! That’s a good price. Even better, there were four packages with $1 coupons attached. I bought them all. Four pounds, four bucks. I put the turkey lunch meat back on the shelf.
My final bill at the store was about $3-4 more than I had expected to pay. In my car in the parking lot, I checked my receipt and found that the hot dogs had rung up at $2.99/package. ~sigh~ I didn’t feel like going back in. I reasoned that I’d go back the next night, after my home group/Bible study, especially since I needed to see if the ground lamb which was close to code, would be on clearance the next day.
I went. Not only did I find three packages of lamb for $2.99 each (great price for lamb! I threw them in the freezer as soon as I got home.), I checked the price on the shelf where the hot dogs were and, sure enough, the tag said $1.99. I took my lamb and the previous night’s receipt to the register and explained the situation. They took one dollar off of three packages, and, for my trouble, refunded the full price of the fourth, for a total of $6 off of what had been a $8 purchase.
If you’re still following this, that means, instead of paying about $5.50 for two pounds of chemical-laden lunch meat, I got four pounds of all-natural, nitrite-free turkey hot dogs for $2.
And that’s why I’m convinced that God loves nitrite-free hot dogs.
Or, at least He loves me enough to help me find a really great, budget-saving, (almost) clean-eating option for my kids’ lunch.
*A week and a half ago, we had a big cookout at the park for my daughter Audrey’s fifth birthday, and the entire cost was funded by me being UNDER budget in the last month or so!! Woo hoo!