Cheap Chicken, Short Track, and Chili Tacos

Cheap Chicken

I’ve been exercising my super-thrifty muscles lately, trying to scrape together the funds for my new superlight ‘cross bike.  After last night’s short track race, I’m not even sure why I’m bothering, but that’s another story.

Among the myriad ways to save cash, I’ve put the proverbial smack down on the grocery budget.  My previous truffle and wild salmon trips to New Seasons have been replaced by late night or very early morning escapades at Winco Foods.  I choose my time of day wisely in an attempt to avoid the otherwise soul-crushing clamor of families with carts full of very cheap processed foods.  Despite my inability to weather the stroller-set, I can see why families are shopping there.  I have witnessed an extremely noticeable difference in my grocery bill.

In addition to being ridiculously low-rent, WinCo is also kind of a cool business model.  It’s employee owned!  That’s kind of rad if you ask me.

I digress.  WinCo is farther away from me than most other stores, so when I go, I go BIG.  I have calculated the gas costs versus the savings and I am definitely still saving tons of green, even with the 8 mile commute.  Sometimes, though, I just can’t shake loose the time to get out to good old 82nd.  Which is how I found myself in Safeway today, staring at boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.81 per pound.

$1.81 per pound!  Are you kidding?  I cursed myself for not finding a used deep-freezer yet and then filled my basket with 17 pounds worth.  I was so excited that I sent Sal a text from the car: “Boneless, skinless chicken for $1.81 per pound!  Total score!”

These are the measures I must take in the name of the 17 pound ‘cross bike, and I am willing to take them.

Back to Short Track

This will only make me stronger, right?  All this crashing and hurting and finishing close to the back of the Sport pack?  This is character-building, right?

I had a bad race yesterday.  Just a bad day on the bike in general.  There’s no need for excuses, I just didn’t ride well.  At all.  I got caught in a crash in the first corner and things went downhill from there.  I was tired and I felt slow.  I was slow.

It happens.  I had a beer to drown my sorrows, took some pain killers, and went to bed.  The sun came out in the morning just like it always does.

The universe does not care when I suck – only I do.  There’s something to that.  There’s a point about perspective in there somewhere, but I’m too tired to make it right now.

Chili Taco, Anyone?

As a result of the aforementioned food budgeting, we found ourselves staring down our cupboards last weekend as we rode out the last of the budgeted money. At one point I realized that all we had left was two containers of buffalo chili from a previous week’s menu (frozen), a stack of corn tortillas, and a hunk of reduced fat cheddar.

Voila.  Chili tacos.

I didn’t even flinch.

That combo carried me through until I released funds for the next round of groceries.  Since then the spinach salad has been on infinite repeat.  My latest favorite variation includes grilled chicken (rubbed with a mixture of anise, cinnamon, corriander and chili powder before cooking), pecans, blue cheese crumbles, and dried, unsweetened cranberries. I always dress the spinach with just a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of oak-smoked chardonnay sea salt.  The salt is a splurge, but an $18 jar lasts me half a year so I’m filing that in the “worth it” category.

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7 comments

  1. boy you sure can write Heidi, good stuff. Oh, and there’s no hardship that’s too difficult, no sacrifice too great, to insure yourself a 17lb crossbike. :)
    Cheers!

  2. How are you going to put together a 17 lb. ‘cross bike? That’s pretty light…

  3. Steven: Very Carefully. :)

  4. Ah Winco, simultaneous budget savior and bane of my existence. It’s good to know that someone else feels the pain. It’s hard to argue with the bottom-line though.

  5. WinCo Rulez! I go every now and then. They actually have a lot of good stuff for Mexican dishes that others don’t. I’ve also found some Mexican grocery stores, but it’s nice to buy everything in one place. I hate driving.

    I got absolutely killed in short track, but then I did okay at that Krugers cross-ish race, and not too bad at Barlow in the mud, either.

    Short track is just a bunch of intervals, tied together with technical maneuvers. Much different from road riding. It’s good for you. Yes, it builds character!

  6. Chicken that cheap HAS to be factory-farmed.

  7. Bike or food? I vote bike.
    Bonus: less food=less weight to haul up hills=more watts/kg=fast fast fast!

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