Tuesday, March 10, 2015

At IHOP in Teaneck, hold the pancakes, cheese, butter and more

A 55+ Omelet at IHOP in Teaneck with added tomatoes and fresh spinach (79 cents each), and a side of hash browns, top.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss sticking to my diet at IHOP; simple cooking at home; and purchases at H Mart, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, ShopRite and Costco Wholesale.


When a group of friends wanted to stop for lunch at IHOP on Cedar Lane in Teaneck last week, I went along.

But I wasn't about to break my diet.

I ordered a 55+ Omelet ($5.49), which usually is made with cheese and comes with pancakes, toast and hash-brown potatoes on the side.

Hold the cheese, pancakes and toast, I told the waitress, who looked like she was 85 and would understand my diet restrictions, and add tomatoes and fresh spinach (79 cents each).

I also asked her if the kitchen could make my omelet with oil instead of butter. 

That's pretty much the way I eat at home to maintain my weight loss from a no-bread, no-pizza, no-meat diet, and avoid artery clogging butter and cream.

I liked the IHOP omelet, which had as much fresh spinach in it as Greek diner omelets I've had in Paramus and River Edge at nearly twice the price.

IHOP calls the omelet 55+ or Senior, but I didn't find any senior discount on my receipt. 

IHOP, 610 Cedar Lane, Teaneck; 201-836-6500. Open every day at 7 a.m. 

Organic whole wheat pasta corkscrews from Whole Foods Market in bottled Paesana Organic Tomato & Basil sauce with added organic diced tomatoes, chopped fresh garlic and  black olives.

Keeping it simple at home

I don't have the inclination, time or skill to make my own red sauce for pasta, and rely on terrific bottled sauces without added sugar.

I do add red wine, extra-virgin olive oil, dried Italian herbs, red-pepper flakes and a can of drained and rinsed anchovies to give bottled sauce a special, robust flavor without any hint of fish.

You can also stretch a 25-ounce bottle of sauce with Costco Wholesale's Organic Diced Tomatoes, sold under the Kirkland Signature house label.

I found 25-ounce bottles of Premium Organic Paesana Tomato & Basil sauce at Costco Wholesale, which also sells Kirkland Signature Marinara and 40-ounce jars of Victoria Marinara.

Grated Pecorino Romano, a sheep's milk cheese from Costco, adds an Italian accent to pasta, salads, eggs and soup.
Grated Pecorino Romano over two organic brown eggs from Costco. I plated them for breakfast with mashed and baked sweet potatoes and leftover okra.

Organic eggs with Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon from Costco and za'atar thyme mixture from Fattal's Bakery in Paterson.

The 6.8-ounce Protein Bistro Box from Starbucks Coffee in Hackensack can stand in for a full breakfast or lunch ($4.95). I brought this one home last week as a reward for regularly using a Starbucks Card. The box contains a cage-free hard-boiled egg, white Cheddar cheese, multigrain Muesli bread, honey peanut butter spread and fruit.

Discount Mondays at Starbucks

On Monday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., I went to Starbucks at 360 Essex St. in Hackensack to take advantage of a 30% discount for members of My Starbucks Rewards.

I purchased two 1-pound bags of coffee beans, normally $12.95 and $11.95, for a total of $17.42.

I asked for a Turkish grind of the Willow and Veranda Blonde Roasts.

While I was there, I drank a Venti Jade Citrus Mint green tea for $1.85, plus tax, discounted from $2.65. 

On March 16 at Starbucks, you can get two teas for the price of one, and on March 23, you'll receive a free pastry with a drink purchase.

Part of the parking lot at the H Mart in Little Ferry.

Supermarket purchases

On Sunday, I drove through the flooded, potholed parking lot at H Mart in Little Ferry for a box of 16 Ataulfo Mangoes from Mexico, on sale for $9.99 with a store card (a discount of $5).

On Monday morning, I stopped at the ShopRite in Paramus for a 1-pound package of Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli for $1.25, and a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes that weighed closer to 4 pounds ($2.99).

Also on Monday, my wife bought fresh whole red snapper at the H Mart in Englewood for $6.99 a pound, and seasoned and pan fried them at home, serving them with fresh okra for dinner.

Today, at Whole Foods Market in Paramus, I picked up two 1-pound boxes of 365 Everyday Value Organic Whole Wheat Shells for $1.49 each, and gizzards from naturally raised chickens ($3.99 a pound).

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