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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Satisfying My Take-out Cravings at Home Using What I Have

Repetitive chimes this morning woke me from a deep sleep. It was my phone. In a fog, I reached out to find it on the table next to the bed. Unknown caller. Click reject call. Despite staying up very late last night, then waking earlier than my body thought it should, I felt very refreshed today. For  3 weeks I've struggled with daily bouts of grass allergies. I snort, clear, cough, and itch my way through each day and night. Something is different with my hay fever this year. I check the pollen count for my area each day. Sometimes I find that on a day that is particularly bad for me the general grass count has been low. Anyway, 2 nights ago I gave up and took some of my daughter's cold and allergy medicine. I avoid antihistamines because some ingredients cause heart arrhythmia for me, which I find more unpleasant and unnerving than the allergies. I thought with the liquid format of my daughter's stuff I could take slightly less than is recommended for adult. The first night that I took it I was sleepy, but still had all of my allergy symptoms.

Last night was much, much better. I took it at the first sign of any itchiness for the night. The medicine made me extremely sleepy and altered my breathing in a way than would have scared me if I hadn't been so sleepy, but I slept so well. I got up in the morning and tackled my household chores, my side hustle work, financial stuff, and ran a couple of errands. It was after 1 PM when I was running errands and I had yet to eat lunch. I had the strongest craving for a Starbucks-style salad and coffee drink that I could practically imagine the taste of what I would choose. I have pretty restrictive with my spending these past few months, so I felt like it wouldn't be that big of a financial deal to just swing by Starbucks and get my lunch there. I also felt that I had in some way "earned" a treat by enduring allergies.

But then I thought about Starbucks' prices. A salad would cost about $7 and a coffee drink would add another $3.50 -- over $10 for the convenience of someone else preparing my lunch. I thought to myself, I can make a similar lunch at home, using garden-fresh produce and ingredients from my fridge, freezer, and pantry and not spend a single extra penny. That's why I grocery shop and stock the kitchen, right? So that we can prepare foods at home ourselves.

I decided to leave Starbucks to those who lack the time, skills, or interest to prepare delicious foods for themselves and made myself this yummy salad, using garden kale, Romaine, and blueberries, plus some bulgur wheat, chopped almonds, mayo, honey, vinegar, and salt. To go with it I made a cup of instant decaf, flavored with vanilla extract, stevia, and coconut milk. Lunch was really delicious, and now having eaten all of it, I don't feel the least bit deprived for not spending additional money for my lunch. Now, I think I'll go make a microwave mug brownie for dessert.


  1. This looks delicious! And it probably tastes better than Starbucks food does. :)

    But I totally get it about the "treat" aspect of take out. I get those cravings too. And sometimes I just feel lazy... But most of the time I just go home and prepare food myself, and I never regret it. In any case, I hate paying good money for mediocre food.

    I do treat myself to pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) once in a while. I have not been able to replicate that at home, and our local pho place is really good.

    - Tina

  2. I think your salad sounds like something you would get at Panera. Yum!

    It's been oppressively hot here this week. I made myself a coffee granita and felt like I had a special fancy treat. I'm glad you found a way to give yourself something special. We all need that from time to time.

  3. I didn't know Starbucks sold salads. Good for you for being able to go home and make a delicious salad for yourself. The hardest part is making those decisions when you are hungry.

    I am worried about your allergies. There are a lot of choices out there of OTC to treat them and some are less sedating that others. Sometimes you just have to experiment to find out what works best for you. I'm assuming it's the decongestants that bother your heart arrhythmia and they usually combine those with antihistamines in cold meds but not in straight allergy meds. Anyway, I know that allergies are a pain and I didn't get much relief until I started shots about a year ago so maybe it's a good idea to visit a doctor and explore your options. There. I've stuck my nose into your business, but sometimes I can't help myself. :)

  4. Lili,

    I am the same way about eating out. My daughter asked to go and get Panda Express the other day and I did it for her since she is in the country for a couple of weeks. The food was terrible and we could have done it much better ourselves. She agreed.

    This morning we went to an Aldi grand re-opening and we do it for the gift cards they give us being one of the first 100 customers. We wanted to grab something to make for supper but my instinct was to not buy anything but instead make something at home this afternoon. I don't know what it will be but it will not be take out and it will be homemade.


  5. Hi Tina,
    I understand your thoughts behind being willing to pay for the pho. There are a few things that I will pay for too, because I just can't seem to replicate or come close to a favorite food. In those cases, it's totally worth it to me to spend a little extra money.
    My salad and coffee were very good!

  6. Your coffee granita sounds so delicious, Kris! I've been doing a lot of iced coffee lately, since I still have some coconut milk left. I'm a big fan of iced or frozen coffee beverages. I'll have to try the granita soon!

  7. Thanks for the info, live and learn. I'll look into different decongestants this summer. In the long run, I do want to try the shots. I think they'd be completely worth the hassle and expense.
    I wonder if Starbucks has different menu items in different regions? Ours usually carry salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, and sweet treats. I know there are some Starbucks that sell beer and wine, too. The salads always look so tempting to me, but boy are they overpriced!

  8. Your day with your daughter sounded so pleasant. I can imagine that you try to squeeze so much into your short time while she is home. I don't know how I would fare if one of my kids moved to another country. Good job on making something at home for dinner that night!


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