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I stink at grocery shopping.

In my previous life, shopping at my beloved Dorothy Lane Market was a near daily event. A quick and easy stop on my way home from work. And after the 60 to 90 minute commute, it was a respite from the stress and chaos of Interstate travel. A thoughtfully laid out, tiny shop (relative to most grocery stores) with beautiful fresh – and often locally produced – foods and appealing merchandising. Spoiled rotten I was. I never realized how spoiled until I moved away.

Here the next best thing is Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Neither is particularly close to my home. In fact, both are in the opposite direction. There is no stopping in after work. Rather, shopping is a weekend adventure with stops at both if I cannot find everything I need at Findlay Market.

Lately, I have been loathe to stop somewhere to pick up a meal or go to the local big box grocery to pick up eats. Instead, I’ve been determined to use up absolutely everything in the fridge and pantry before restocking. As my supplies dwindle, rustling up good eats for dinner becomes more and more challenging.

Tonight it was a blend of what little is left for dinner. A bit of take on fried rice.

my last four Trader Joe’s colossal frozen shrimp, thawed and chunked
my last egg, beaten
my last package of Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice, microwaved for 3 minutes
about 10 raw cashews from the freezer
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh frozen shelled peas
1 tsp Colonel De’s Szechuan Spice Blend (thanks, Sally!)
1 tbsp chicken broth
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil
hot red pepper flakes to taste
4-5 chives, from my container garden (some minced, a couple for garnish)
small stem of Thai basil from my garden (some torn leaves, a sprig for garnish)
1/2 of lime left over from weekend gin & tonics

blend broth, vinegar, soy, sesame oil in a small bowl; set aside
toast cashews in a dry skillet, set aside
saute shallot and garlic in a bit of oil until soft, set aside
toss shrimp with Szechuan spice
in a large no-stick skillet, heat oil. scramble egg, push to one side. add shrimp and peas and quickly cook over medium high heat for just a couple of minutes. add the rice, shallot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and the broth blend. remove from the heat, add fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime, eat.

Heaven knows what will be on the table tomorrow.