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…

Beverages

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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?