Stuff you can buy and eat

Before going into today’s topic, I want to encourage you all to shop locally whenever possible. By doing so, you are keeping money in your community, and helping small business in America, which could use all the help they can get. When local businesses stay in business, it keeps downtown areas from developing blight, and maintains a sense of community where you live. This is true if you live in a small towns or a large city. If you have to shop at chains, franchises are better, as more of the money stays locally. If you have to shop online, take an extra moment and see if you can find a local business before going to a nation-wide website. There’s no doubt that shopping at chains saves you money, but when you think big-picture, it’s at the expense of your community. For a great recourse for independently owned stores, especially bookstores, take a look at indiebound.org. If you can buy American-made to boot, you win a prize.

That being said, last Friday Flick and I drove to Paramus, NJ to shop at Ikea and The Container Store. We don’t have either in the Hudson Valley, and they both sell things that you can’t find anywhere around here.  Flick had never been to either store in her entire life, so I wanted to show her some things that I knew from my unique perspective of growing up in New Jersey.  I will do penance by doing the rest of my Christmas shopping locally.

Because money’s tight, and I’ve got that whole independent soapbox thing going, I was trying to only purchase unique and inexpensive presents for other people.  The Container Store must have heard me coming, because they had an entire section devoted to under $20 stocking stuffers, and much of it was pretty darn practical.  Then I saw one thing that I knew I must have:

cereal_on_the_go_x

I got mine in blue. (Click on the pic for a link to the website.)

It’s a portable cereal container!  For only $5, I now have a way to bring cereal to work that doesn’t require either keeping a box of milk in the work refrigerator or using a water bottle for milk portage.  The bottom part holds freezing gel, so your milk stays cold, and the top part holds your cereal, and a spoon is attached to the lid! Also, the bowl holds exactly a cup of cereal, which really helps with the portion-control diet I’ve been sporting.  (A cup of cereal is much more depressing looking in my ginormous cereal bowls at home.)

Yesterday, I made special arrangements to have to eat breakfast at my desk so I could try it out. Wonderful.  There was only one small problem, and it’s that the freezing gel worked a little too well, and it made my rice milk a little icy.  The problem was solved by some gentle stirring.

Oh yes, I drink rice milk.  This brand to be exact:

rice-dream

Even before I learned that meat is murder 🙂 I always hated milk.  I thought it was some kind of punishment that we had to drink it in school.  For years I made cereal with the smallest amount of milk possible to get the flakes wet, and eventually I just started eating pop-tarts.

But then I became an adult, responsible for my own food shopping.  And I experimented with soy milk, which was better, but always left a sort of filmy taste in my mouth.  (It still does.)  But rice milk, man, that stuff rocks.  I know it’s slightly less healthy than other non-milk milks, but I get the fortified kind, and it rocks my world.  I even use it in baking, specifically the Banana Nut Miffins with Oatmeal Streusel that I made last night.

And with my rice milk, I ate Good Friends.  That is not as wrong as it sounds:

good-friends

I love Kashi cereal! (The link takes you to their page.) Note to Kashi: please send me stuff, and I will tell the world how your wonderful food products give me the get-up-and-go I need for today's active lifestyles.

Those are some happy cereal box people. I bet they never fight over who’s getting more fiber, and they call each other in the morning to coordinate outfits for their cereal eating before heading out to shoot a Benetton ad.

When I’m not eating Good Friends, I’m eating Heart to Heart, but the box isn’t as adorable.

And I’m not saying that Good Friends needs any help in being delicious, but sometimes it’s fun to add food to your food, and that’s where this lady comes in:

sunmaid

From what I understand, the picture on the left was drawn in 1919, and the picture on the right was taken of the same model before her death in 1983 at age 90.

Yup, I love to top my cereal with raisins. They are so good for you. I even heard somewhere that they help whiten teeth, but I make sure to drink enough coffee after my breakfast so that no one will mistake me for a white-toothed freak.

And that’s what’s rocking my world this week.  Breakfast foods.  Next week: lunches?

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30 responses to this post.

  1. They make those for kids – Sippy cup/snack carrier. Or a portable cereal bowl, whatever you prefer…

    My son’s beverage of choice is white milk. When they have chocolate milk for a treat at school, he asks for white. That said, when given soy milk at a friend’s house…Well, turns out he doesn’t like soy milk.

    That item is actually marked for the kid’s section!

  2. Posted by deutlich on December 11, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I’ve always wondered what rice milk tastes like. I think I need to give it a try.

    It tastes good.

  3. The raisin lady is adorable!

    You can really see the resemblance!

  4. The Sun-Maid maid got a makeover recently. Apparently, she does yoga now!

    that portable-cereal contraption is awesome! next time i work in an office, i’m totally getting one.

    I saw that makeover. She’s a little CGI baby now.

  5. Those cereal containers are made of total win. Also, I am addicted to Kashi’s Honey Sunshine b/c they taste like Corn Pops.

    I have not yet tried those!

  6. Posted by lizgwiz on December 11, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I always default to soy milk, but I’m not sure why…hmmm…maybe next time I’ll reach over and grab the Rice Dream.

    It’s got a smaller profile than soy, my theory is that Americans can only take one alternate milk at a time.

  7. That cereal container is great.

    I like soy milk better than rice milk, but Rice Dream really is primo when it comes to rice milk.

    My dirty secret is that I usually buy the Stop & Shop brand of rice milk. But there was no image.

  8. I bet it’s really hard to milk rice. The teets must be really small.

    Knot

    he he.

  9. I tried almond milk and hated it, is rice milk any better?

    It has less flavor, if that’s what you didn’t like about the almond milk.

  10. I thought rice milk was pretty good until I tried almond milk. That stuff rocks! I use it for cereal and as a coffee creamer.

    Sounds like you can take apollocreed’s extra servings then!

  11. Posted by Jennifer M. on December 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    If it makes you feel better, in order to save on ocean freight costs, IKEA opened a factory in Danville, Virginia (repurposing of a textile factory that had gone out of business) to stock its North American stores.

    It does make me feel better.

  12. The portable cereal containers are genius! I may just have to get one.

    Tell them I sent you!

  13. I also drink Rice Dream brand rice milk and pour it over Kashi brand whole grains. 🙂 Yay.

    And I SOOOOO want that cereal container!!!!

    We are so like besties that way.

  14. I have learned more about cereal in this one post than I’ve learned in years. Thank you for your contribution to my cereal knowledge.

    You are welcome. And thank you for reminding me that I forgot to link to the article that inspired this post! http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/20822

  15. that’s what i love about my new neighborhood, independent all natural food shop, ma and pop hardware stores and restaurants — not a single chain anything. of course it’s like that all over SF. i do enjoy shopping at the target — but i only make super large trips, once a month… and i usually take public transport or rent a small fuel efficient car.

    FYI – i’m taking a trip to the container store today. i had no idea they were outside of SF!

    It’s easier to do local in big cities. I miss that about NYC.

  16. I’ve been doing all my shopping locally! I’ve got some great stuff and I feel great about myself afterwards.
    I NEED one of those cereal containers.

    I’m so happy to hear that! Maybe you can see if your favorite store can order it for you.

  17. When I found out that one of the local franchisees was a major contributor to the Republican party, I had to rethink buying local. Not sure what is the “right” (ha-ha) thing to do.

    It’s a tough call. There are a bunch of chains (Domino’s comes to mind) that I won’t ever touch because of the Republican party affiliation. I would be tempted to do the same if I knew where the money was going. Sometimes it’s a killer to be too well informed.

  18. The happy cereal box people made happy too. I can appreciate the simple things in life like a good bowl of cereal. If I had straight white teeth I think I would make an excellent cereal box person.

    I am hedging… what I really want to say is EWW! Rice Milk!

    And the link… why did that make you think of me? Ha! That was funny. And I am remarkably healthy!

    Don’t knock it until you try it!

  19. I’ve always wanted to go to the Container Store. Their site is like porn to me… but it’s like an hour away from me.

    But now… it totally seems worth the trip.

    Yeah, you go there and it’s like porn in person!

  20. Holy crap, where has that cereal container been all my cereal-loving life?

    I too am a devoted fan of Kashi and Sunmaid dried fruit.

    Just wait to see how they taste in the cool gel container!

  21. I have one of those cereal carriers! Mine’s a bit different (and I think more bulky), though. Also, the fold-up spoon sucks. I hope your spoon is better.

    I did half my shopping at Amazon (I know! I know! I’m sorry, but it is so easy when everyone in my family has a wish list!) but did all the rest locally, most at small independently owned shops. So I guess that means I canceled the good deed out with the bad and the bad deed out with the good? Maybe? I know; I know. I’ll try harder.

    The spoon is not its best feature, no.

  22. That cereal holder thing is very cool. I wouldn’t have a need for it though. Since everyone puts milk in their tea and tea is a Basic Human Right in this country, most workplaces provide free milk as a matter of course.

    He he! But do they provide rice milk?

  23. I am so with you! I love to support my local businesses, but when you have a store like the Container Store that has so many great, useful things that you can’t find anywhere else then why not shop there sometimes.

    Like everything in life, where you shop is about balance. When you rely solely on big chain stores you are hurting your community, supporting what are often unfair labor practices and usually getting inferior merchandise. When you use the power of your money to support local businesses you support you build a stronger community, but you may be paying more. So, when you need a lifetime supply of shampoo it’s ok to go to a wholesale club, just don’t make it more then a couple of times a year!

    it is possible to have that kind of balance in shopping.

    PS- the UWS is becoming one giant strip mall 😦
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/10/cheese-and-antiques-shop-to-close-doors/

  24. Yeah, my raisin-eating at breakfast tends to be accompanied by strong coffee too, which is probably why I’ve never noticed my teeth getting whiter.

    Doesn’t Good Friends just make you feel old? Those people on the box are so old. I feel old just reading this post.

    They do make me feel like I’m way too old.

  25. I love the portable cereal thingy. I like cereal but my milk has to be COLD. Lukewarm or just chilled milk makes me gag. I think a few ice crystals in my cereal milk is just the thing.

    You should try Capt. Crunch. He’s healthy, right? And I’m sure with all the time he spends at sea he’s a great swimmer just like you!

    He is a leader of breakfast, at the very least.

  26. The raisin lady looked pretty good at ninety years old!

    That alone is going to make me keep eating my raisins!

  27. wow. if only there was a container store near me…I heart plastic storage organizer things.

    and 10 extra bonus points for your go local plug. your place in heaven is assured.

    I don’t know about heaven, but I do want to keep my friends and customers in business!

  28. I love everything Kashi, but especially the blueberry cereal they make.

    Our local business selection here is pretty limited, but we have been ordering more books through our local bookstore instead of going online. Not all the time, but enough to give them a good amount of business.

    I’m sure they appreciate it when you go there. Just don’t use them for research and then order online. That drives booksellers insane.

  29. I drink that same rice milk and love it! Also, with my 22 boxes of cereal, I’m thinking one of those contraptions from Container Store is for me! Thanks for sharing!

    You’re welcome! Happy eating!

  30. That Good Friends cereal reminds me of that Rob & Big episode where they dressed up like old ladies and sent the photo to Kashi to have them on the box, since they too were good friends.

    Sounds funny!

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