Bad Mango, Humble Dinner

Today was a sleepy, painful, sluggish day

Today was rough on my body and my mind and my spirit.  Mom, don’t worry, I’m totally excellent and everything, just a little run down.  I guess I’m really used to Southern California being paradise, and there hasn’t been quite enough sunshine for me these past few days.  Ryan’s been busy at work and I’ve been feeling a little lonely and that icky-lonely feeling, well, today it just rushed through me and it made me remember how much it  just plain sucks to be alone once you’ve found, you know, your partner, your teammate… And it hasn’t a thing to do with being dependent or independent.  Believe me, I’m a big girl: I feed myself, I do laundry, I pay bills, I write thank you notes.  I have a calendar.  I write grocery lists and keep receipts.  When I’m unhappy with a product, I return it to the store the next day.  (“Hi, yeah, I bought this bread yesterday and for whatever reason, it was just God awful.  I mean, it’s cardboard.   I’d like to exchange it, please.”) Sometimes, I even drive my own car.

For whatever reason, breakfast killed me today.  I had a peanut butter sandwich on this new Trader Joe’s bread I bought yesterday, plus a banana and later, a little champagne mango.

While we’re on the subject of Trader Joe’s, let’s talk about how ridiculously hit-or-miss that place is.  I mean, everything I buy there is always one of two things.

  1. So good and a great deal.
  2. Not so good, and thus, not so good of a deal, because I really make an effort not to eat food I hate, as I almost always regret it.

Me + Trader Joe's → Same Groceries + Papaya + Ham

I know what I like at Whole Foods, but I’ve been kind of in this rut lately where I’ve been eating the same things because I’ve been packing Ryan lunches and kind of working with what we have in the house for that:  whole wheat sandwich bread, turkey, swiss cheese, peanut butter, bananas, apples, assorted inexpensive vegetables.  So I went to Trader Joe’s to grab a few different things for my sandwiches and maybe some different fruit.

Pretty Sandwich! Ehh Bread.

What’s funny is that I essentially bought the same things I always buy, only different.  I’m serious.  I bought two pink lady apples, a champagne mango, a questionable and very unripe papaya, baby spinach, chicken, whole wheat Tuscan pane, spreadable swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, and a basil plant.  Okay, so, essentially, I bought three new-to-my-taste-buds items:  the papaya, the basil plant, and the Canadian bacon, which is really ham anyway and only half-counts.  And the papaya will probably suck, just like the champagne mango did.  The basil plant is amazing and wonderful and perfect and I love it and it has a name: Basilita.  She loves water and sunlight and to be left alone.   Now, I knew damn well walking into the store that TJ’s is not known for its stellar produce.  I live in Santa Monica; I have access to some of the most marvelous, locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables in the world.  But sometimes, I have to think about my wallet.  The champagne mango I bought from Trader Joe’s was twenty cents cheaper than the ones I have recently purchased from Whole Foods and Vons.  The TJ’s mango was sour and my twenty cents saved turned into eighty cents wasted.  Oh, and the whole wheat Tuscan pane really is pretty okay and I liked that it was made of only whole wheat flour and yeast and salt but it was way too salty for an everyday bread.  Still, it grilled beautifully.

Anyway, I digressed.  So I had the breakfast.  It was bigger than my usual breakfast.  I was really hungry and feeling fine.  But then, suddenly, I was uncomfortably full, to such an extent that I got back into bed and rolled myself up in my comforter like a well-constructed chicken soft taco, or maybe even an Americanized burrito that would appear on a kids’ menu somewhere in Indiana.  Anyway, I slept some more and then talked on the phone with my mommy and then slept some more until finally my stomach was okay.  (I normally wake up at like, six or seven in the morning.)

This is not exceptional cooking. It's just honest.

I did more important things all day and then dragged myself to the gym.  I actually managed to get a decent workout, which has been hard for me to achieve at the gym lately— I’ve been really enjoying running outside!  Throughout all of this, the Dodgers lost two games.  Double-header disaster, ugh.  (For anyone who was watching, how junky was that delayed third strike call on Loney with the bases loaded!??? ERRRRGHHHH AWFUL!!!!!)  Honestly, by eight o’clock, all I could think about was sleep.  I wanted to eat dinner at home.  I mean, my Miami home.  Walk downstairs and just eat and then walk right back upstairs and forget it all.  No such luck.  So I decided to clean out the fridge a little, since I want to do at least some shopping at the big and glorious, spring-has-sprung Wednesday Farmers’ Market tomorrow.  I bought some multigrain pita at Whole Foods on the way home from the gym, because I didn’t want another two slices of the new loaf for dinner, and had a feeling it was going to be a sandwich night.  Anyway, I didn’t know what to do, so I just did.  I made chicken salad, and it was actually really satisfying.  (I never make chicken salad, I always make tuna salad, because plain chicken doesn’t suck, and plain canned tuna does.)  I make chicken and tuna salad with a minimal amount of light canola oil mayo*, plain non-fat yogurt, balsamic vinaigrette, and Dijon and yellow mustards.  With lots of chopped up celery, pink lady apple, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts.  And chicken, duh.  And then it all went into a warmed pita with some spreadable cheese (which, come to think of it, is almost as ridiculous as low-fat mayo but there are worse vices) and a handful of baby spinach.  I bought some extra, extra-sharp cheddar cheese and was going to make a melt but I wanted to enjoy all the flavors I threw into the salad.  Melt tomorrow!  Cold, honest, enormous sandwich tonight!

Some nights, a good sandwich is the best medicine.

And still, some nights, you are just going to need another unglamorous dose. Yes, that is my toe.

You know, I’m really tired.  I have been for a long time.  I don’t know how it got to be so late.  Oh, yeah I do.  A few hours ago, I realized my fruit bowl was empty (save the papaya, which we all know will never ripen) and I totally freaked out and drove to Vons for some bananas, and all the bananas were green so I begged the guy to find me some yellow ones and he couldn’t and then finally I found some yellow-green ones and I settled for those.  And then I was just so sad that I had to get frozen yogurt, and I did, and it was good.  But what I really want is a home-baked oatmeal raisin cookie and I have wanted one for days now and I don’t know how much longer I am going to be able to wait… Anyone in LA want a few cookies??

Sleep.  Please.  Bye.

*I know that mayonnaise cannot be made of canola oil and be vegan and low-fat by definition but I do not care because I hate mayonnaise.

5 Responses to “Bad Mango, Humble Dinner”
  1. Not sure how I found your blog… just stumbled across it I guess. But– our similarities are strikingly weird with old food issues/new found love for expression through cooking and writing. Love it. Love the food. Love that you’re someone who can actually write- not just cook! Random, yes. But I figured I’d share. I’ll be stopping by again, I’m sure.


  2. Mom says:

    My papaya is ripe. Three days in the garage as per the Hawaiian lady at Costco. Then one night in a brown bag with a ripe banana. Lisa and I are enjoying skim milk fruit smoothies now with bananas, blueberries, papaya (she doesn’t know it is in there!) and a few strawberries…

    Enjoyed the blog and hope your energy source returns soon.

  3. Monet says:

    Okay love…
    1. I completely understand the “being alone” syndrome…same feelings about my ryan when he’s gone
    2. I miss Trader Joe’s. I miss being able to buy a big box of Puffins for under three dollars. But their fresh produce does kind of suck
    3. I think pink lady apples are the bomb

    • Lauren says:

      I used to love Granny Smith apples but one day at the market here I tried a freshly picked, local Pink Lady and I’ve been hooked ever since. The ones sold at the store are not nearly as good, but they are still great, and I love how sweet and sour and HOT PINK they are!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] I’ve been a bad blogger this past week.  I have been eating meatballs and chicken salad, both of which have already been discussed here on Lauren’s Little Kitchen, so whatever.  […]

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