One More Item Off the List

First thing yesterday (Thursday) morning, I once again headed to aduana on the Progreso pier. Traffic was quite light and I got to Progreso too early, so I swung into a Pemex to take on a bit of gas. It was about 8:50 when I got to the entrance to the pier and the guard recognised me! I was processed in record time and pulling into the parking lot at 9:00. At aduana, it was just a matter of presenting my receipt from the last trip and signing for the final paperwork. The attendant confirmed that I’m done, but should check my request for the truck permit extension in a few months to make sure that the paperwork was duly processed.

What a relief. The only truck matters to worry about now are a bit of maintenance, renewing my insurance every year, and then, in about 2.5 years, figuring out how I’m going to get her out of the country. That’s a load off my mind. No more trips to Progreso for me, yay. I really dislike that town.

Last night, I took a couple of hours to find a freezer-to -crockpot meal plan with shopping list, pared it down to the recipes I knew I’d like and could find ingredients for, and then made a shopping list. I stopped at Costco on the way home from Progresso to get the meat on my list and some veggies and spices, plus peanut butter. It was a huge haul, but I’ll get get close to 50 meals out of the shop (12 dinners x 4 portions)!

I’ve had my Costco membership a year now and have renewed. It’s completely worth the membership fee to me. Here are a few things I get at Costco more cheaply than in supermarkets or that simply aren’t available elsewhere reliably:

-chicken breasts;

-pork chops;

-lemons;

-Brussels sprouts;

-coloured sweet bell peppers;

-broccoli;

-Parmesan cheese;

-Chihuahua cheese (this cheese subs both as mozzarella in browning applications and a medium cheddar so I go through a lot of it!);

-lemons;

-almond milk (both non-sugar plain and individual portions of chocolate) — the savings on this alone pay for my membership!;

-peanut butter;

-English muffins;

-breakfast sausage.

I’ve never had any waste from buying in bulk at Costco and I always stick to my budget. Of course, a Costco run can cost a lot for only a few items in the cart, that’s just simple math. It’s just part of my budget every month.

I then went almost next door to Chedraui to get the rest of the ingredients, mostly produce and spices. I’m really getting to know my way around the supermarkets here and found the Thai coconut milk exactly where I thought it would be. I’ve been wanting to learn to cook with coconut milk for years and I’m finally going to do it! Of course, I had to make some recipe substitutions for what I can get here, so jalapeños for New Mexican green chiles and poblanos for green peppers.

Two of the recipes required oranges and I was shocked to find oranges like we’d find up north marked at 86 pesos each. WTF???!! A produce worker confirmed the price was correct. I asked him about juicing oranges instead and he took me to an area past the veggies that I hadn’t made my way to yet. There, I found yellowy-green oranges at the sort of price I’d expect to pay here. I remember how shocked I was the first time I had an “orange” that colour, but, really, they taste the same! Here’s a picture of a slice of one from a meal I ate in Maz (oh, I miss Sinaloan cuisine so much…):

I worked late and then pretty much conked out after dinner, going to bed super early (around 9) after giving Bonita some attention. I set the alarm for 7:00 but was thrilled to wake up on my own at 6:30. This was so I’d have time to chop all the produce to make “Thai curry” chicken before getting to work as I had some early deadlines.

The curry bubbled away all morning. Here it is halfway through, minus the sweet potatoes and green beans I added later.

It was ready by lunchtime and soooo good. The coconut milk in it added such a lovely taste! I ended up with so much that I put half in the fridge and half in the freezer.

I continued with my work day and then prepped the rest of the meals. About 100CAD and four hours total of work yielded me a very full freezer! The meals are quite varied.

I am in love with this method of feeding myself — it sure beats having to meal prep, cook, and clean up every night! Thing is, it’s actually not cheaper or much healthier than eating out!

Of course, now that all this work is done, I want a pizza, but I’m sure I’ll find the strength in a bit to go reheat pasta or curry. 😀

7 thoughts on “One More Item Off the List

  1. Good job! I love it when i can get someone to spend 4 hours doing food prep for me. Dave will cook several meats at once to make 14-16 servings of protein but then he thinks I should be able to eat only that for a month. 🙂

    • I have no illusions that this will feed me for one month — I’m thinking three, with some tacos, sushi, and even pizza in between. 😀

  2. I make a mean Thai coconut milk prawn stir fry. Would love to trade Thai recipes with you.
    I don’t really ”recipe” but I have the recipe for it. You can make it as hot as you like it. Me, not so much.🤪

  3. Interesting… the only things on your list I get at Costco are peanut butter and English muffins. I can readily find natural peanut butter (no additives) numerous places in town, and often for less, but I like the taste of Costco’s best. Everything else on your list is easily available in town, either at neighborhood tiendas or the larger markets (though I don’t buy fish or meat from the larger grocers, only neighborhood carnicerias). Prices are much cheaper than Costco. Some alcohol as well – last week I bought a bottle of middle-of-the-road tequila at Costco and a few days later I found it at La Comer (formerly Mega) for 100 pesos less (it was not on sale). As you know I’m in San Miguel de Allende, and am surprised your local tiendas and grocers aren’t as well stocked and/or inexpensive as here.

    Love your idea of make the meals for the freezer, ready to go at a moment’s notice!

    • For peanut butter, I get Skippy. I’m done with doing the all natural peanut butter — if I want peanuts, I have peanuts. If I want a treat, I have peanut butter. A tiny jar of Skippy is about $80 at the supermarkets and I can get a 1KG jar at Costco for about $120.

      Produce here generally sucks and eating produce beyond a very small handful of things doesn’t seem to be part of the Yucatecan culture. I got tired of trying to get a few mouthfuls out of a yellow broccoli, cutting into sweet peppers to find them mouldy inside, etc. I have never seen Brussels sprouts or lemons outside of Costco here. I would never buy things like limes, hot peppers, carrots, onions, and even zucchini at Costco, but even tomatoes are better there than from the markets.

      Pork and chicken are cheaper at the markets, but the sanitary conditions tend to be appalling and I have gotten ill once from buying my pork there. I buy special cuts of meats (like a pork loin) from small butchers I trust, but for what I eat in bulk, Costco is the way to go.

      No one outside of Costco sells American-style breakfast sausage. I also like kielbasa and while I can generally find it at Walmart, you get two packages for the same price at Costco.

      Almond milk is consistently about $35 per container at supermarkets. 6×35=210. I save $50 by buying a case at Costco. I buy 12 cases a year, so 50*12=600. My membership is 500, so with just the almond milk alone, I save 100 pesos per year.

      I go through a lot of Parmesan cheese and it is about four times cheaper at Costco. Same thing with the Chihuahua.

      Remember, you are in a very gringo-heavy area. It’s no surprise that your local stores and markets have things that expats in Mérida have to dig for.

      • True there are numerous expats here, yet no more than Mérida. as of 2017 there were roughly 9,000 in each city. Of course SMA is much smaller overall than Mérida.

        The only reason I buy natural peanut butter is I put it in my dog’s kong, and won’t give her anything with sugar in it as sugar is very bad for dogs. I, too, love peanuts, particularly unsalted in the shell, which I buy in bulk at the mercados here.

        I do understand your concern about sanitation at carnicerias – I have the same concerns – so I go to one of two, both considered “the best” here (both rated the best as they’re part of the same family) and have had no issues whatsoever (knock on wood). The handling is why I won’t buy meat or fish at Soriana or La Comer – OMG – it’s nasty, and the smell drives you away before you ever reach the counters/coolers.

        I’ve huge potted citrus (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit) trees on my roof deck, and have pots of Heirloom tomatoes (beefsteak and cherry) as well. Too, I have an herb garden – just numerous smaller pots with various herbs growing. I adore the freshness of the produce here, and that chicken I buy at noon was butchered that morning. Everything is so fresh, so beautiful, it’s difficult not to overbuy.

        Your almond milk is indeed worth the price of your Costco membership. I am a Costco fan through and through, and do major shopping there regularly. I just don’t buy much in the way of fresh food there as it’s so abundant, beautiful, and inexpensive right here in town.

        • Numbers don’t mean as much as proportion. Where you are is much more heavily ‘expatted” than all but a few small areas of Mérida. None of the supermarkets, tendejons, and markets in my immediate vicinity (1KM radius) have anything that locals don’t buy regularly. I have to go 2KM to hit the supermarkets (Soriana Híper and Superama) that have more imported products. It is interesting to see what can be bought easily and what can’t — I can dash to the tendejon around the corner for crappy soy sauce that’s fine in gravy, but they have really good Worcestershire sauce!

          You’re in or very near an agricultural area. Yucatán imports everything, hence the awful quality and generally high prices except for some staples. There is a really nice Saturday market where I can get lovely leafy greens, but prices are $$$$$.

          I’m eventually going to start growing my own tomatoes and greens like kale. I grow some herbs now.

          Believe me, I hate buying some of the things I buy at Costco, but the alternative is to do without or to buy frozen. I buy produce there that used to get delivered freshly picked daily to my front door in Mazatlán, that’s how shocking the difference is between produce down here versus up north.

          I eat *a lot* of meat — it’s what I need to do to be my healthiest self, so buying a few club packs of chicken and milanesa de puerco can’t be beat for price and convenience. But I still buy things like ground pork and beef, steak (Mexican-style cut very thin), whole chickens, and pork tenderloin from a butcher on an as-needed basis since I don’t eat tons of that. For example, I recently needed stewing beef for a curry I was making, so I went to a butcher and explained what I wanted, then went back a few hours later to pick it up.

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