Sunday, November 20, 2016

November Groceries Week 3

I went to the Sri Lankan stores, today.  Not one, but two!  Two of my friends went with me.  One of my cousins, too, was to go with us, but when I called her in the morning to confirm I was going, she wasn't free to go and and asked me if I could pick up the items she needed, so I said OK.

First I picked up one friend and then, we both went to the other friend's house to pick her up.  But when we got to her house, she invited us in to have brunch!  She had cooked rice, a fish curry, a lentil curry, and made spicy coconut sambol (or relish).   So we ate and then, went grocery shopping.

We had originally planned to go to only one store.  I bought the majority of the items on my list from there.  But they didn't have everything I wanted and so, one of my friends called the other store to find out if they had what I wanted.  They did and so, we went there, too.

November 19 Groceries

At the first store, I bought:
4 packets of my favorite tea (they finally received their shipment!); $5.49@ (100 tea bags) = $21.96
1 kg. packet of red rice = $2.99
2 x 1 lb. packets of raw whole cashews, $6.79/lb. = $13.58
1 bottle palm treacle = $5.49
2 jars pumpkin preserves; $3.99@ = $7.98
1 jar fried breadfruit chips = $2.99*
1 packet 7 oz/200g sesame candy = ($2.49)**
1 packet 7 oz/200g pappadum; $1.99
1 packet 7 oz/200g of coriander seeds; $1.99
1 packet 2 lb. of mung beans; $3.98
1 bottle almond flavoring; $2.00
1 bottle rose flavoring; $2.00
Total = $66.95

*the price on the jar of fried breadfruit states $3.99, but it looks like I was only charged $2.99 according to the receipt.
**the packet of sesame candy is marked $2.49, but, according to the receipt, I wasn't charged for it!

Store 1 Receipt

I didn't check the receipt before I left the store - only checked it when I started to write this post and tried to match the prices to the items.  The receipt from the store isn't very helpful as it simply says "groceries" for each item!   

Fried Bread Fruit Chips
This is one of my favorite snacks; my daughter's, too.  I will share it with her when she comes down, next week.

Some of the items I bought are for me to share with my daughter.  Some of the items I bought, like the rose flavoring and pumpkin preserves are ingredients for the special cake we are planning to make:

Rose Flavour

They didn't have the crystallized pumpkin preserves I was hoping to get, so I settled for what they did have, which is the preserves in syrup.  It is made with a type of pumpkin known as ash pumpkin because of the ash-like powdery substance on the outside of the peel.

Pumpkin Preserve

This store didn't have the frozen sweets and desserts that I was wanting to get to serve at the almsgiving.  These are items we call "sweetmeats".  They are made mostly for special occasions.  At one time, I used to make them myself, but it is much easier to buy them ready-made and frozen!  My friend called a different Sri Lankan store and they said they had the items I wanted, so we went over there.  I bought:

Two packets of "kalu dhodol" (more commonly spelled "dodol") or "black pudding"; $4.99 per packet.  "Kalu" means black and refers to the color of the finished product; definitely not to be confused with the blood sausage also known as "black pudding"!  The package identifies it as sweetened rice pudding, because it is made of rice flour, jaggery, and coconut milk, often with the addition of some chopped cashews.  

A Type of Rice Pudding/Fudge

A packet of another type of sweet, called muscat, made of flour, sugar, and ghee, often with the additions of cashews and raisins; $4.99: 


Two packets of "konda kavum"; $4.99 per packet.  These are known as "oil cakes" and are made with a rice flour and palm treacle batter which is deep fried in coconut oil.  Konda means hair and refers to the little knob on the top - it is supposed to resemble the way we traditionally wear our long hair in a "top knot" or bun.  

Oil Cakes

A different type of oil cakes made with the flour of mung beans, mixes with treacle and cooked, then rolled out flat, cut into diamond shapes, dipped in a rice flour and coconut milk batter and deep fried; two packets at $4.99 each.

Mung Bean Sweets

In addition to these items, which are for the almsgiving, I also bought a packet of cookies called Nice Biscuits, $1.79.

Store 2 Receipt
My total at the second store came to $36.72.

After we finished our shopping, I drove my friends home.  The first friend I dropped off (the same friend who gave us lunch) invited us to her house for a cup of tea and she made us a snack of a type of Indian flat bread called "paratha", using a package of frozen paratha.  She also packed up an extra paratha and some curries for me to bring home for my dinner!

Then, I drove my other friend to her home.  But, on the way, we stopped at the Armenian grocery store to pick up a few items I wanted (and she did a bit of shopping, too).  I bought:

1 package of sesame crackers = $2.63
2 Granny Smith apples, $.39/lb. = $.48
3 bananas, $.49/lb. = $.51
2 persimmons, $.79/lb. = $.85
1 lb. container of yogurt = $1.99
Total = $6.46

Store 3 receipt

Total spent on groceries, today = $110.13

November/Almsgiving grocery budget = $200.00 + $43.34 carried forward from October (which I was going to use to stock up or to buy ingredients for the special Love Cake I am planning to make).
Total spent in Week 3 = $110.13
Total spent on groceries so far this month = $43.48 + $19.70 + $110.13 = $173.31
Amount left in budget = $200-$173.31= $26.69 + $43.34 from October = $70.03

I have now bought just about everything I need for the almsgiving, except for the fresh produce, eggs, and a container of whipped topping for the dessert I plan to make.  I will buy them the day before the almsgiving.  I have most of the ingredients I need for the cake, too, except for the eggs, semolina, and butter.

After I came home and took the pictures, I put away all the items I bought.  By then, it was early evening, so I made a cup of tea and rested.  I was tired from all the shopping!  I spent the evening speaking on the phone with various family members and friends who called, including a call from a cousin in Australia, and video chatting with my daughter. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to drive and give my friends rides to places they need to go.
- Being able to buy all the items I needed and wanted.
- My friend giving me lunch, a snack, and dinner!  Plus enough curries for at least another meal!
- Spending a pleasant afternoon in the company of friends.
- Calls from family and friends.

How is your November grocery shopping coming along?  If you are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, have you bought what you need to make for Thanksgiving?


  1. Yay! You finally have your favourite tea. That alone would make for a successful shop. I hope you bought enough to tide you over for a couple of months. The rest of your list sounds so exotic. I guess the holidays allow us to splurge on all of our favourite and most comforting foods. With most of your ingredients bought before the almsgiving, things should go very smoothly. You are so organized. I also try to buy ahead and then squirrel away specialty items, to break up the costs of holiday foods. And I am talking about Christmas now because we have had our Thanksgiving a month ago.

    Somehow I knew that shopping would be the only thing on your to-do list that would get done. I laughed when I saw that vacuuming AND shopping were scheduled for the same day. Ha. Shopping is one of the more exhausting and time-consuming jobs that needs to be done. Oh well. There is always the next day.

    1. There's nothing like a good cup of tea, is there? I generally drink 2 cups a day, so each 100 bag box should last me 1 1/2 months. The 4 boxes make a 6-months supply! I usually buy the next lot before I get to the last box, so it works out well. This time, I was about half way through my last box before I was able to buy my stock!

      I like to plan in advance as much as I can. I budget for special occasions and divide the amounts by 12 to get a monthly amount. Then, I set aside that amount each month, so that, when the time for the occasion comes, I have the money set aside in savings to pay for it. But, if I find good deals on items well in advance, then, I will buy them and put them aside, as well.

      I was very ambitious when I listed shopping and vacuuming on the same day, wasn't I? LOL. I keep forgetting that I don't have the same level of energy and stamina that I used to have. I am better now, but I am not yet back to normal. But, as you say, there's always the next day. Housework can wait! :D

  2. My mouth is watering! I have a real craving for paratha now. Interesting - I haven't seen rose flavouring over here but I have seen rose water that is suitable for cooking. I've only ever seen it used in Medieval or pre 19th century recipes.

    It's always nice to get an unexpected bargain, even if the receipt is confusing. x

    1. I have a bottle of rose water, as well. I buy it from the Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is not as concentrated as the rose flavoring. We add rose water when we make buriyani rice. I use rose flavoring when I make Turkish delight, or pink colored coconut rock, or pink colored marshmallows, etc. In general, anything pink is rose flavored; anything green is almond flavored. :)

      Yes, it is nice to get an unexpected bargain, isn't it? I shall count the free sesame candy as the store's contribution to the almsgiving. Contributing to an almsgiving is considered a meritorious deed. :) :)

  3. So interesting to see all the different foods. I am fairly adventurous where food is concerned, and when we are away in another country I like to try different foods. My husband is a bit conservative and I think he misses out on some less familiar items that are quite delicious.

    I notice you bought Nice biscuits. Are these the ones from England that are rectangular, covered with a light sugar topping and with the word "Nice" printed on them? I grew up with those in England but my favourite now is digestive biscuits, which I like to snack on at bedtime with a piece of cheese or a spreading of cream cheese or peanut butter. One of those with a small glass of milk will set me up for the night so I don't wake up hungry at 4 am. (my excuse, not true really).


    1. My daughter is the adventurous one in my family, when it comes to food. I am a bit like your husband, tending to stick to the stuff I know I like!

      The Nice biscuits I bought were made in Sri Lanka, but yes, they are similar to what you describe - rectangular, covered with a light sugar topping, the word NICE printed on them. :) They used to be one of my favorite biscuits/cookies, but I tried one last night and it tasted bitter. My taste buds haven't quite recovered, yet. Which is probably a good thing, because I was fine with eating just the one biscuit, rather than half the package in a single sitting! :D

      The 1st store I went to has quite a few British goodies, including the digestive biscuits. At this time of year, they had several types of boxed Christmas puddings, too. They were small, mostly single or two servings each, but pricey, starting at $4.99 for the single serving. I was tempted to get one for myself (my daughter doesn't like the taste), but I didn't. I used to make my own Christmas cakes and puddings when my mother was alive, as she used to like them and would help to make them, but, as I said, my daughter doesn't like the taste, so I don't make them anymore.

  4. Your shopping list is so much more exotic than mine and I especially like the sound of the rose flavouring. Over here we would pay about 40p for Nice biscuits (200g packet) and around £1 for digestives (500g packet), but we have other brands that are cheaper. One of my favourite biscuits are called custard creams. Do you have them over there? xx

    1. Nice biscuits are an imported specialty, here, available only in the Asian grocery stores, as far as I know. The digestives, too, are imported, so costs more. There are some types of cream filled sandwich cookies here, which look very similar to your custard creams (I looked it up! The internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?) I don't know if they taste the same, though. I used to like sandwich cookies, but the very sweet filling just tastes bitter to me, now!

  5. Thank you for sharing all your bought. I had never seen or heard of some of the products you purchased but they all sound so good! I will have to look for the breadfruit chips at the little store that has some Indian food products. I grew up eating baked breadfruit in Hawaii and loved it!

    1. I love breadfruit. I have 2 cans of it in my cupboard; I should cook them. Hope you find the breadfruit chips.

  6. I'm hoping there is a photo coming up of the love cake! That was lucky, that the sesame things didn't go through the till! ;o) What kind of confection is this? I know an Indian sesame sweet which is sesame seeds (or other nuts), stuck together very densely in a kind of brittle caramel. It's called "chikki".

    1. Yes, there are photos of the love cake coming up! :D I read somewhere online (on someone's recipe post) that it is of Portuguese origins, but, I don't know for sure.

      Yes, we had chikki, but, made mostly with peanuts and we called it "kaju koradiya". We do make a version with sesame seeds, too. But, the ones I got from the SL store are made of sesame seeds pounded with jaggery (and a bit of salt) and made into rolls which are then wrapped up individually. We call them "thala guli". :)


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