about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Let’s Go Grocery Shopping.

It probably comes as no surprise that I absolutely love grocery shopping.  I probably like it a little less now that I have a grabby, shrieking sidekick, but it is still one of my favorite weekly tasks.

Now that Cullen is a bit older (ha! such an old man!) and I’m getting the hang of this whole parenting game, I’m really feeling the focus of my writing being pulled back to food.  Of course I love talking about him too, but going forward I’m hoping to do a lot more posts about food, ingredients, menu planning, and all those other things that come together to make up a healthy lifestyle.  I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Today, I thought we could take a peek into the grocery cart.  I’m not one of those people that ever really notices what anyone else is buying at the store.  I’m usually too focused on getting in and out without a major meltdown (Cullen, not me) or diaper explosion (Cullen again…). 

Although I did see a lady in the parking lot today filling up the back of her VW Bug with nothing but giant gallons of Sunny D and Marie Callendar’s frozen meals.  I kind of wanted to know what she had planned.

But onto my own groceries!  Typically I do one or two bigger trips each month, stocking up on pantry essentials, canned goods, cleaners, etc. – as well as replenishing our fresh produce and perishables.  We’re actually getting ready to move in a few weeks (not across the country for once, just across Seattle!), so I’m only restocking perishables and must-haves, as we’re trying to eat down the pantry to lighten the move. 

Here is today’s haul…


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  • Almond milk – every grocery run includes stocking up at least one of these.  We use it our oatmeal, cereal, coffee, and smoothies, so we tend to go through 1-ish per week. 
  • Orange juice – I got hooked on OJ while I was pregnant, and now I just can’t quit.  I typically mix it with sparkling water for a fun dinner drink, and I like to always have some on hand for making sauces and salad dressings.
  • Kombucha – this isn’t a regular grocery item, but more of a recent splurge.  After my bout with mastitis, my midwife told me to increase my probiotics, so I’m using that as an excuse to buy my favorite extravagant beverage.  Plus we don’t drink alcohol, so this sort of replaces that cost, right?

Household Products

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I try to be as green as I can, so I usually shell out an extra dollar or two for the natural and more chemical-free cleaners and products.  I also always watch for sales in this area, and stock up when I see good discounts.  I do my best to keep it natural, but occasionally buy conventional things like Drano when the green stuff just isn’t doing it.

Snacks & Things

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  • Field Roast Veggie Dogs – my favorite quick protein source!  I love these on a hotdog bun, or chopped up and added to a stir-fry or grain dish.
  • Organic Tofu – I usually buy 4 blocks each week, and we typically have tofu in our meals in 2 or 3 of our weekly dinners.  I know there are a lot of opinions on soy, but I’m really comfortable with what I consider to be our limited and lightly-processed soy consumption.  I always buy organic tofu, usually extra-firm.
  • Clif Bars – I wish I could tell you that I always make my own snack bars, bake my own granola, and have freshly sliced fruit on hand for whenever I need something quick.  In reality, life happens, babies cry, lunch gets delayed, and I need something as easy as opening a wrapper.  I buy the Mojo bars for me, and Casey takes a box of Clif bars to his office each week. 
  • Clif Shot Blocks – not usually part of our grocery haul.  I grabbed these for Casey for his upcoming marathon training runs.
  • Wonton Wrappers – I don’t have a specific plan for these yet, but if all goes well you’ll see them in a new recipe soon enough.  I usually head to the store with a few recipe ideas in mind, and make sure to grab any specialty items I might need. 

Organic Veggies

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Once I found out I was pregnant, I started paying much closer attention to the labels on my food.  I’m kind of a cheapo when it comes to buying things – I live for sales and coupons, and I go to extreme (and probably absurd) efforts to find the lowest price for something possible (which drives my husband insane). 

So initially it was hard for me to wrap my brain around often paying double for something, when what appeared to be the exact same thing was across the aisle for half price.  But it’s not the same thing, and I have to remind myself of that. 

I typically buy a lot of organic greens, but they didn’t look too hot this week, so I ended up with only two bunches of Swiss chard.  I also grabbed four bunches of asparagus (can’t get enough), a bag of red potatoes, and a few avocados (not a veggie, but still organic).  I actually don’t usually get organic avocados, but they were 2 for $4 this week, so I figured – why not?

(Conventional) Fungus & Fruit

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Yep, fungus.  It’s a regular grocery item.  We eat a TON of mushrooms.  A frightening amount, really.  I roast them, I sauté them, I add them to salads, and I can eat an entire pint all on my own.  We can never have too many on hand.

In the fruit department, this week I grabbed a bag of giant navel oranges, and a few lemons for a recipe I hope to make later this week.  I always buy conventional oranges or bananas, but most other fruit – apples, grapes, berries – I hold out for reasonable organics. 

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I usually get a few pieces of fruit for snacking, and some extra for juicing!

Baby Needs

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This category is pretty small since Cullen doesn’t typically need very much.  We still cloth diaper (and love it!), but due to some leakage (and diaper removal) issues, I’m switching to disposables for overnights.  We’ll see how it goes.

One more exciting item in today’s cart – baby oatmeal cereal! 

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We gave Cullen his first solids tonight (more on that to come), and it was a huge success.  It was very messy, but very fun.

That’s it for today’s shopping run!  Hopefully you found that mildly interesting.  That whole trip cost me about $125, which sounds a bit high, but there were some pricier items in this trip too – cleaners, diapers, Kombuchas, etc – that I don’t normally buy each week. 

I try to stick to a budget of around $300-400 a month for groceries (which includes things like cleaners, baby needs, etc. – not just food).  I have no idea if that’s high, low, or average (probably more high than low) – but right now it works for our needs and overall budget.  We eat 90% of our meals at home, including lunches (Casey packs his), so we don’t have many food expenses outside of this.

As much as I do LOVE grocery shopping, I absolutely loathe bringing the bags in and putting it all away.  I often let them sit on the counter for an hour or two before they finally make it into the pantry and fridge.  But once I do get it all put away, I love the feeling of opening a fully stocked fridge.  Who’s with me?

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220 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sara     at 3:26 am

I was just wondering why you don’t buy organic mushrooms?


Emily Malone Reply:

They are harder to find at our stores, and honestly just SO freaking expensive.


Sara Reply:

Ah, that makes sense. I thought maybe there was something I didn’t know about mushrooms! :)


Hilary     at 6:50 am

Hi Emily, I love your blog. Thank you for sharing all that you do. All of your recipes that I have tried turn out great! Would you be able to take a picture of the ingredients list of the Field Roast Veggie Dogs and post? Thanks! hil


Jordan Wandfluh     at 7:15 am

This is a bit off topic but I wanted to know your thoughts about something. I was given the opportunity to run a half marathon I have been wanting to run but it sold out. I would have been running under someone elses name. I finally decided against it because I didn’t want to get a good time under his name. I could have ran without the chip but I like seeing my time afterwards. What are your thoughts on running under someone elses name?


Emily Malone Reply:

That’s tough. I have never done it, and I think it would really become a problem if you risked getting an age group award or affecting someone else’s standings in the results. I know some people feel very passionately that it should never be done. I sort of feel like if you plan to be in the back or middle of the pack, it’s not that big of a deal.


Jen     at 7:15 am

I used to think you ate healthy but now looking at the amount of tofu and processed things in your diet I realized that u don’t, and honey tofu is not lightly processed it’s extremely processed, if ur wanting something lightly processed go for tempeh!


Emily Malone Reply:

An extremely processed diet? Some tofu and clif bars? I feel very comfortable with what I eat. The great thing about being individuals is that we get to choose what we eat. What works for me may not work for you, but it also doesn’t have to. Have a good weekend!


Marty Reply:

Whoa, I agree with Emily. Tempeh is just as processed, and I eat that too. You want unprocessed? Then eat only whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, fruits and veggies. I’d say Emily and her family have a great diet, ESP with Emily being a great chef.


Raia Reply:

Why why why with the judge-y s**t?


Sarah Reply:

mmm, no judgement but this is some information I found out over the weekend…I went grocery shopping and met an asian lady who owned an organic shop and who came from a family of vegans and vegetarians. I specifically went there to buy miso and started talking to her about the fermentation process of foods, etc, anyway I asked her how much is too much tofu, she a qualified herbalist and nutritionist replied…people eat too much tofu and soy products…if your on a plant based diet and your only eating tofu than 1-2 times a week is enough anymore and your straining organs, plus women are more affected especially older women if they eat too much…if your drinking soy or having other soy protducts than its even less…she did state that tempeh is better due to the process it goes through plus its whole beans…she also stated that so many veggo’s in the western world go overboard on soy for protein because your made to believe you need so much of it but protein is in “everything” and a plant based diet of just grains, beans legumes nuts seeds, veggies and fruit is plenty! If you can’t cope on a diet like this than your body may need to eat a little animal product (dairy, egg, meat. fish) to function! She advised everyones body is different. But to go veg and than pig out everyday on processed soy products is just as bad as eating junk food. Thought this info might help since she is qualified and all!


Raia Reply:

Well then it sounds like Emily should just eat chicken mcnuggets from Mcdonalds everyday since she already eats so much processed foods.


Sylvs     at 7:18 am

I can’t wait until you post Cullen’s daily meal plan, I would love to know what a vegetarian child eats!


Sam @ Fit for My Fork     at 8:39 am

I love grocery shopping too! My boyfriend HATES it, so we tend to whip in and whip out, but I like to take my time and compare things and look at ingredient lists.

Budget wise, we spend about £50-60 a week to feed both of us, plus usually a little top up at the weekend for fresh stuff. Maybe another £10, max. I’d say our budget is pretty similar to yours, but we don’t have a child to pay for! Eep!


Saleana     at 10:54 am

Emily, I love your blog! I read it everyday. Thanks for sharing all your ideas with us.
I’m a mother of two growing boys and we live in Portland Oregon. We are lucky to have a great selection of organic foods here. In the past year or so I have changed my families diet to more of a whole diet and I try to buy organic most of the time. My problem is I do “not” like grocery shopping. I get so overwhelmed with different choices and I feel my brain is all over the place when I’m shopping. I would love to hear your ideas on how not to get so overwhelmed.
I hope you guys have a great weekend! Saleana


Stacey     at 11:43 am

Do you ever consider buying organic mushrooms? Living around some mushroom farms, it is very apparent to me that they grow conventional mushrooms in loads of manure from factory grown chickens and cows..


Emily @ Life on Food     at 11:47 am

I enjoyed this post very much. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do too. I have been known to go to 4 stores in one week just to get the best deal or the exact item I want.


Betty     at 12:13 pm

Curious as to why ‘regular’ oatmeal wouldn’t work for babies – ie why buy baby oatmeal – just curious – reading yours and others blog help me keep up with trends
As for groceries – I’ve – sadly – never budgeted. We have a large/huge garden so lots of fresh, then frozen vegetables – inc onions and potatoes and squash so my marketing bill includes all the paper and cleaning stuff – but I do know I can spend less when there is less coming in the door.


Hayley @ Oat Couture     at 1:23 pm

Ahh nothing better than a fully stocked fridge! :)


Emily     at 2:14 pm

Hi! We are in the process of switching to more organic produce for my husband and I as I make all my little guys (7 months today!)food and it has all been organic but want him to be able to eat off our plates soon and it’s better for us too. We had lots of trouble with leaks w the 7th generation diapers but love the Earths Best ones. Who knew you could love diapers?


Jules     at 3:37 pm

OK, I’ll finish reading this, but I stopped at “Draino” and had to comment…

We have this crappy old bathtub drain that was so slow, we would be up to our ankles in standing water by the time we took a shower. DH was putting Draino (yuk!) in at least once a month. I don’t like it, because it smells, it’s corrosive, and probably not good for the pipe in the long run. Plus, it wasn’t working. It would speed up the drain a little, but never really cleared it.

Enter baking soda and vinegar.

I took the grate off the drain, and dumped some baking soda down there. Let it sit a moment, then flushed it with vinegar.

The drain works better than ever. The water goes down immediately, and it hasn’t re-backed up, and this was over a month ago.

Talk about your natural cleaners! I think you can get anything clean with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.


yolande     at 5:57 pm

I just had this talk with my bf as we were buying groceries yesterday talking about the price. we go to a few different grocery stores and find the best prices – costco for almond milk nut butter spinach the organics are fairly cheap at costco :) then i go to our grocery store and buy the remaining things I need – cleaners, organic produce tofu .. we eat ALL organic here and I eat vegan and he eats vegan at home and occasionally when out to eat orders meaT. Our groceries average around 400-600 a month for both of us in Alberta Canada and we both eat ALOT :) so I think we do pretty good. I dont mind spending money on good food to nourish the body


Holly     at 6:42 pm

I love grocery shopping too but I get so excited about the produce that I go a little crazy and can’t always eat all that I buy before it goes bad. This drives me crazy because I HATE throwing away food. I think a solution to this would be to plan out my meals ahead of time. It sounds like you do this based on your purchases and I would love to hear more about it!


Shannon Bell     at 8:42 am

This was great to see! Before school (when both husband and I had jobs and not just him as it is now) we would buy all organic and really spend a lot of time and money on what we put in our bodies…now with school and 1 less income, things are much harder in that respect. We’re going to try to incorporate meal planning b.c we end up buying so much stuff that we don’t use etc… I’m just worried what we plan for a meal won’t be what I’m craving one day and it won’t be worth my time to make it! I guess that’s probably something I could deal with :-)


Colleen @ Miss Petite Sweets     at 8:45 am

I LOVE grocery shopping too. It has always been one of my favorite errands, and people always told me that was weird..until I became a food blogger. Now I see all my fellow food bloggers love it as well!


Mrs M     at 1:16 am

I love this post! My family think I am mad for spending extra money on organic food & eco products – but my view is why take the risk if the alternative is relatively easily accessable.


Susan Fine     at 5:48 am

you can grind up brown rice in your blender and make your own rice cereal for cullen — cheaper and not processed.


Lara     at 10:58 am

Emily, I was so astonished that you spent so little on groceries. I did a survey on FB and asked all my friends (who mostly eat organic and many are vegetarian and have kids) and they all were surprised that you and a bunch of the other folks here spent so little. Do you shop at whole foods or trader joes or traditional grocery stores for organic? Or farmers markets ? I would like to curb my shopping habit but wanted to find out where you shop. -Lara


Emily Malone Reply:

I shop at Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer mostly. We also do farmers’ markets for specific things, and we’re looking into starting a CSA this summer!


Diana @ frontyardfoodie     at 6:26 pm

Seriously loved reading all the comments and this post.

My husband, 1 1/2 year old and I spend $110 every two weeks on groceries. I shop at Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Hyvee and try to do a lot of organic. But I make everything from scratch so that cuts down a lot of cost and we don’t eat much meat.

Also, we eat out maybe once a month…so this is for reals. I’m damn proud of that number.


PoochesForPeace (Anna H.)     at 4:13 pm

we also absolutely LOVE mushrooms!


Christina     at 2:56 pm

Doesn’t Almond Breeze contain Carageenan? I’ve been hearing a lot about the negatives of Carageenan. You might want to google it.


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