How to Redeem Your Grocery Goof-Up

Susan Narjala   |   November 18, 2015 


Twenty one cucumbers stare at me from the kitchen counter. One disappears and then there are twenty.

No, this isn’t the start of an obscure nursery rhyme designed to teach kids to count backwards.

It’s just the result of my online grocery shopping gone a wee bit wrong. Yeah, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up ordering two whole kilos of cucumber. Some people call it, “mom brain”. I call it sleep deprivation.

Sure, my family enjoys cucumbers. (The mystery of the missing specimen was simply the healthy husband helping himself to one.) But, 20 of these fellas?? That was, approximately, about 19 cukes too many!

But, I was determined not to toss out shriveled, gnarly cucumbers in a few days. I would not be upstaged by a vegetable. I was going to use these cukes in their glory days. So help me God.

I was a woman on a mission.

And that’s how I bring you this “How To” edition with: “How to Redeem Your Grocery Goof Ups” (I also bought unreasonably large amounts of spring onion and cabbage . . . don’t ask! But I will save those recipes for future editions.)

For now, the task at hand: twenty cucumbers.

First, I went about peeling and slicing a few of them for a healthy, on-the-go snack. A box of those still sits in our fridge. Undisturbed.

I had more success with the following:

Dress It Up: Try a Thai-inspired cucumber salad. Thinly slice the cucumber and toss with a squeeze of lime juice, a dash of sugar and salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes and some chopped coriander and mint. Garnish with crushed peanuts and you’ve made yourself an appetizer worthy of any pan-Asian restaurant. Add some shredded cabbage, carrot and leftover chicken from last night’s dinner, and you have lunch.


Camouflage It: They say, necessity is the mother of invention. And 20 cucumbers necessitated the invention of a cucumber cake. Yup, cucumber can be subbed for zucchini in a cake (you can call it zucchini “bread” if that helps you sleep better at night). I used this recipe, swapped out the zucchini for cucumber, and voila, my kids are eating veggies as an after-school snack! (We’ll discuss the processed white flour and grams of sugar per serving later.)

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Juice It: To call it cucumber juice would be a gross injustice. That just sounds too detox-y. This juice -- I mean spritzer -- has nothing detox about it. Blend three mini seedless cukes with a few mint leaves, five ice cubes, one bottle of club soda and ½ cup of lime juice cordial (I used the Manama brand’s ginger-lime cordial). My summers just got a little pick-me-up.

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Slap It On: And, yeah, while all this is fun to make, someone has to clean up. But, that someone won’t be me. The cucumbers called for an at-home salon time for my 6-year-old and her mommy. Cucumber face packs, a couch and the spritzer in hand. Life ain’t bad at all.

Make It a Lesson: Who would have thought I would learn a life lesson from a cucumber? (No offense, Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales). But, here’s a thought: your goof-ups can turn into something good. Reminds me of the all-time favourite verse of Romans 8:28,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

So, if life throws lemons (or cucumbers) at you, you know what to do. You could make lemonade (or spritzer, as the case may be). Better still, hand it over to God and let Him work things out for good.

Meanwhile, happy cuke-ing!





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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog,

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6 comments on “How to Redeem Your Grocery Goof-Up”

  1. Susan I love your style of writing and love your sense of humour even more!! This is brilliant - I too have extra cukes lying in the fridge, this is an excellent post on what I can do with them! Thanks for writing this. Brilliant!!

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