A 90% discount

Back in the “good ol’ days” before my birth, my parents used to live near Kansas City’s Plaza.

There, they were surrounded by entertainment, excitement and great food. But, even with a bounty of culinary options, their very favorite splurge-worthy date location was Houston’s restaurant.

Eighteen years, two kids and multiple living locations later, it had been a while since my parent’s had the occasion to visit Houston’s.

Then, during my senior year of high school, my friend and I celebrated our birthdays by a mother-daughter trip to the Plaza. After a great day of shopping, walking and having fun, we were all worn out and hungry — mostly hungry.

My friend, her mom and I were pretty unfamiliar with the Plaza and were virtually clueless about where to eat. It didn’t take long for my mom to suggest Houston’s.

At first, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, a place known for its steak usually isn’t the best vegetarian option. Yet, my mom wouldn’t give up…

Trusting my mom (as any good daughter should), I decided to give Houston’s a shot.

My first reaction when we sat down was, “Ugh, just as I suspected. Steak, steak, chicken, steak…”

Then, my eyes scrolled over to the grilled artichoke. I glanced up, with a jolt of excitement. My mom, whom I received my love of artichokes from, met my eyes with a knowing look…

“I’ll split it with you,” she said.

Done deal. The artichoke it was, regardless of the fact it was $10.

An hour later, I sat back and wondered how a simple grilled artichoke could be so amazing… Then, today, I found my answer.

But first, (for the sake of building anticipation) here are a few other highlights from the day.

This morning, I decided to make an appearance in class. You can’t say I’m not generous…

Before that, I went for some quick, easy and satisfying fuel.

Consumed: Whole-wheat sandwich thin with sunflower butter, 1 banana and cinnamon.

After class, I ventured to the newsroom lumberjack convention.

Apparently it was flannel day at The Kansan…

For some strange reason, I was really craving some flapjacks and maple syrup, but I went with what I had already packed.

Consumed: Romaine lettuce, carrots, onion, sweet cherry pepper, baby bella mushrooms and hummus. Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Also had a Kashi dark chocolate and cherry granola bar.

No pancakes, but they were still good alternatives.

After my afternoon class for the day, I made a quick swing by home to grab my car and head out for a “me-time” afternoon of shopping. Unfortunately it wasn’t of either of the “fun” varieties (food or clothes).

Instead, I got a new note-book for my monthly budget…

At least the cover is cute…

Plus, it was only $1, so it won’t even go near busting that aforementioned budget. Yay, savings!

I went straight from shopping back to the newsroom for my standard Thursday afternoon meetings.

Not to say that I wasn’t focused, but I have to admit that the whole time had something else on my mind, and it had a little something to do with…

Another $1 bargain of an even better variety: perfect artichokes!

I couldn’t bear passing the deal up, but I wasn’t really sure how to go about making them. Sure, I thought of my Houston’s love. I just wondering if mine could possibly compare…

Instead of relying on something like a recipe, I decided just to wing it and hope for the best…

An hour later, I sat back and wondered how a simple grilled artichoke could be so amazing… Then, instead of thanking my waiter, paying a $10 bill and driving home, I simply patted myself on the back.

Both your stomach and your wallet can thank me later.

Lemony Grilled Artichoke


  • 1 whole artichoke
  • Smart Balance Spread Lite (or margarine)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Cut the artichoke in half, lengthwise. Place in microwaveable steamer basket. According to steamer directions, fill basket with water. Then microwave for approximately 7 minutes. Allow to rest for 2 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat a stove-top grill to high.
  • When artichoke halves are steamed, smear inside half with butter, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place halves, face down, on hot grill pan.

  • Cover in tin foil tent, as such…

  • Allow to cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until there is a good set of grill marks.
  • Remove from grill. Add more seasoning to taste, sprinkle with cheese and serve. (Note: I made a lemon-butter sauce to go with it, but ended up opting for honey mustard. I also served it with a side of bruschetta.)

All while I was slaving over the hot stove, Dan was having fun of his own…

Payback for yesterday’s shot of him?

Just a few words of warning to goofy boyfriends out there: Not only are artichokes inexpensive to prepare and delicious to eat, but they are also great weapons… Those leaves aren’t to be messed around with!

Question: What foods would you want at your last meal?

I definitely start with a grilled artichoke and end with chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies. I just don’t know what I’d have as the main course!


5 responses to “A 90% discount

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