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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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Gone Shoppin.’

There has been very little food posted on here recently, mostly because there has been very little food in my refrigerator!  Things are looking very sad and barren, and we were in need of a major boost. 

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One of our goals for the new year was to start living on a specific budget.  We’ve always been mindful of money and make a point to contribute well to our savings, but when you’re not thinking about cold, hard numbers all the time, it’s easy to let a lot of extras slip in too often.  Especially with a kid – it’s so easy to fall into that but life would be perfect if we only had this ONE more thing type of trap.  And Amazon Prime just continues to taunt all day long.  It can be here in two days!  Click me, click me!

But anyway, now that we’re using actual budgeting software and we’re both paying attention, I’m actually really enjoying it.  It means a lot less guilt over the things we DO buy because I know we planned for them, and a lot more thinking in general before heading to the checkout line.

But this is not a post to tell you how to budget, because I am still figuring that out myself.  Instead, it’s a glimpse into an average grocery haul, and a look into how we’re delegating those precious grocery dollars each month.  So here goes!

I shop at a few different stores here in Seattle.  I get the main bulk of our food at Trader Joe’s – which is where I went this morning.  So right now I’m going to show you everything I get there, and I’ll touch on the other stores at the end.  Here’s how this morning’s grocery haul breaks down:  (I’m specifying what is organic, so you can assume the rest is not.)

fruits

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  • 25 bananas – sounds crazy, but we use a lot in smoothies!
  • 2 pints organic blueberries
  • 7 organic pears
  • 1 bag blood oranges
  • 1 carton Cutie’s mandarins

veggies

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  • 1 5lb bag organic sweet potatoes
  • 2 heads organic broccoli
  • 5 organic zucchini
  • 1 clamshell organic persian cucumbers
  • 4 avocados – crap, are these fruit?  oops!
  • 2 eggplants

Worth noting:  A few other things we usually buy but had enough this week – carrots, white potatoes, organic kale.

perishables copy

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  • 2 half gallons original almond milk
  • 2 packages mini portabellas (12 total)
  • 2 packages crimini mushrooms
  • 2 packages shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 blocks organic firm tofu
  • 1 organic olive oil tortillas (<—– best tortillas ever!)

pantry goods

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  • 3 jars organic marinara sauce (Cullen is obsessed!)
  • 3 cans organic black beans
  • 1 bottle organic maple syrup
  • 1 jar raw unsalted almond butter
  • 1 bottle vanilla extract
  • 2 jars organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 bottle organic ketchup

Worth noting:  I grab a bottle of ketchup pretty much every time I go shopping.  When I went to put this in the pantry, I saw there were already two others in there.  Clearly my fear of running out of ketchup is intense!

trail mixers

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  • 2 packages golden raisins
  • 2 packages Thompson’s red raisins
  • 1 bag raw whole almonds
  • 3 bags raw slivered almonds
  • 2 bags Marcona almonds (these are ADDICTIVE!)
  • 2 bags chia seeds

Worth noting:  the chia seeds aren’t a typical shopping trip item, but I grabbed these for a recipe I’m hoping to make in the next few days!  Also – some of the fruit and nuts are for Casey to take in to his office.

frozen foods

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  • 1 bag organic broccoli florets
  • 2 bags organic green peas
  • 2 bags French green beans
  • 2 bags organic raspberries
  • 2 bags organic blueberries
  • 4 bags organic strawberries
  • 2 bags very cherry blend

Worth noting:  we use a TON of frozen fruit in smoothies, as well as carrots and spinach.  I usually buy a few bags of mango too, but they were out today – boo!

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And last but certainly not least…

for the pups

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  • 2 boxes peanut butter (vegetarian!) dog treats

So that’s our big grocery haul!  The total damage – $200.23.  So now a bit more on shopping strategies and choices.

Like I said above, I do a lot of our shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I know some people find their business practices to be questionable, and I wince at all the excessive packaging, but you can’t deny the competitive prices and they seem to be a store that really listens to consumer feedback.

In the past year, I’ve noticed a HUGE increase in their organic offerings, in both fresh and frozen produce.  A lot of the pantry goods are offered in organic as well.  I’ve become a lot more choosy about organic food since Cullen arrived, and I’m pretty particular about where I draw the line.  We don’t eat everything organic, but almost. 

Beyond Trader Joe’s, I also shop at a few other stores.  The two main things I won’t buy at TJ’s are bread (don’t like any of them) and eggs (don’t like the source of them).  And then there are specialty items we can only get at the pricier health food stores.  Seattle has a local co-op grocery store called PCC, which is very similar in price and style to Whole Foods.  Every other week or so, I usually make a trip to PCC (or Whole Foods) for:

  • hemp milk –for Cullen
  • coconut milk yogurt – for Cullen
  • Greek yogurt (occasionally)
  • bread – obsessed with Silver Hills brand
  • eggs
  • big box of organic spinach
  • bulk grains
  • Field Roast veggie dogs
  • Jovial pasta
  • other fancy specialty stuff

As for the TJ’s trip – I usually go there twice a month.  Today I stocked up significantly on things like almonds and raisins, so I can’t see us needing more for quite a while.  But other things like almond milk and produce have to be replenished almost weekly. 

This was our first grocery run in March, and hopefully it lasts for a while.  Of course, we also had a good amount already in our pantry and freezer.  Coming soon, I’m planning to organize our pantry (it’s a disaster) and talk a bit about what we keep in there regularly, in order to always be able to create quick meals on the go. 

I feel like there was more I wanted to say here, but I’m forgetting it now – shoot.  With that, nap time is over – time to grab my sidekick, and snack on some fresh clementines.  Yum!

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124 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Lisa     at 4:27 pm

Thanks for posting this. It’s always neat to “peak” at what others buy on their shopping trips. I love to see all the mushrooms; they’re a favorite here!

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Meagan     at 4:34 pm

I’m surprised you don’t go to QFC. I go to the one in Kirkland/Kenmore all the time, and am seriously impressed! :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I run in there occasionally if I’m out of something, but they don’t have a very big organic section!

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Susan     at 4:35 pm

I haven’t seen the frozen mangoes the last few times I’ve gone to TJs. I wonder if they aren’t currently selling them? Booooo, they’re the best for smoothies.

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Kathryn B     at 4:47 pm

This is great, thanks! We’re in super saving mode right now, so I am carefully managing our food lists. Denver is getting a TJ’s later this year, FINALLY! Couldn’t be more excited. There is just so much to love about that place.

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natalie @ will jog for food     at 4:48 pm

Amazon Prime always sucks me in! Plus I always order at least 2 items, since one is just such a waste ;)

My dog LOVES those treats too!

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em     at 4:52 pm

looks like you’re well restocked. we don’t have a TJ or whole foods in grand rapids, but i do shop at local organic stores quite a bit.

just curious…is this a typical month’s shop for you or a 2 week shop? i’m always trying to refine my budget. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

This will probably last 2-3 weeks, but some things I’ll need to go back for sooner – like almond milk, produce, yogurt, etc. But the dry goods will last a while.

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Teri H     at 4:52 pm

I love posts like this! Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to your pantry staples!

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Ali     at 4:52 pm

My town just got a Trader Joes at the end of last year and I love it! Thanks to you, my next trip will involve a hunt for that marinara sauce and dog cookies!

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Carly     at 5:00 pm

Can I ask why you chose hemp milk for Cullen? I’ve got an 18-month-old who I’ve rotated on a combination of rice, coconut, and almond/almond-with-protein milk since she was weened. I figure the coconut will give her some fat, and the other milks have a pretty good nutritional profile, as far as calcium and vitamins. (I tried goat’s milk once and she wouldn’t drink it.) I read one of your posts from back before Cullen was weened and you seemed undecided – did you choose hemp?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I wrote a couple of posts about our milk choices. Here you go!

http://www.dailygarnish.com/2012/09/foodie-baby-got-milk.html

http://www.dailygarnish.com/2012/11/foodie-baby-one-year.html

We are really happy with it so far. He loves it and seems to be fattening up quite well. :)

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Sana     at 5:03 pm

I always get the frozen mangos from trader joes. Excellent additions for smoothies :)

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Michelle     at 5:09 pm

Loved that you shared your shopping tips and pics!

I know you probably have, but do like home made bread? I have become obsessed with homemade bread. I have 3 breadmakers and use them all at the same time so that I can place extras in the freezer. It’s really tasty, I have a wheat n yogurt recipe that is my current favorite.

If it’s not ok to post the link, please delete. :)

http://www.food.com/recipe/wheat-n-yogurt-bread-for-bread-machine-449335

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks for the link! I don’t have a bread machine, but I am actually interested in trying out some homemade bread. I’ve heard this is a great way to save!

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Jane Reply:

I make homemade honey whole-wheat challah (but I think the dough can be shaped any which way, and a loaf or buns would taste just as good). The recipe is from Gil Marks’ “The World of Jewish Entertaining” cookbook. It does not require a bread machine. I find there’s something super therapeutic in kneading dough.

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stacey     at 5:10 pm

Hi Emily this is one of my favourite posts yet!! Just one queston..do you guys drink coconut water?? also do you and casey make your own juice and do you give in to Cullen? :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I like coconut water, but we don’t buy it regularly. And we do use our juicer occasionally, but we don’t give Cullen much.

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Sarah G Reply:

Why don’t you give Cullen much juice? Do you wish you had time to juice more frequently, or do you prefer smoothies in the Vitamix?

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Emily Malone Reply:

He just doesn’t need it, or really have an interest. I’d rather eat eat an apple than drink apple juice.

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Carly @ Snack Therapy     at 5:12 pm

It’s so fun to see what other people buy! I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan- their prices are awesome and I love the variety that they carry! The Very Berry Cherry Blend is probably my fave frozen fruit blend ever! Yum!

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Katie     at 5:18 pm

Thanks for this post! It’s always helpful to see what other people snag at the store and get new ideas, especially for kids!

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Lee     at 5:20 pm

My husband thought I was crazy for buying 3 containers of mushrooms this past weekend. I’ll have to show him your haul!

Fun to see what other people buy at grocery stores.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Haha this was actually a light mushroom week for us – usually double that!

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Jamie     at 5:20 pm

Thanks for sharing your Trader Joe’s shopping info. I didn’t realize that they had so many organic items there! We’re up to 35 bananas a week at our house (with 3 kids and smoothies for the adults) – and 20 apples and 10 pears. When did Cullen start drinking Hemp milk and how did you choose hemp over other non-dairy milks (almond, coconut, etc)? My older kids drink almond milk, but my pediatrician recommends whole milk for my 17-month old. It’s the only dairy in our house and I would LOVE to switch to something different. He loves coconut milk yogurt too!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I wrote two posts about milk choices for Cullen. Here are links: http://www.dailygarnish.com/2012/11/foodie-baby-one-year.html

http://www.dailygarnish.com/2012/09/foodie-baby-got-milk.html

We started him on milk right around his first birthday!

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Jamie Reply:

Thanks! Those were both really helpful links. I think we’re going to make the switch to hemp after his next checkup. Now I have to do some research to see if the older kids should be drinking hemp instead of almond too!

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Kelly     at 5:27 pm

I have been trying to do a lot more shopping at Trader Joes lately, so I like seeing what you get!

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Rachel     at 5:27 pm

What’s wrong with their business practices? I shop there once a week and it’s awesome for “kid foods” like string cheese, edamame, ravioli etc

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Emily Malone Reply:

Nothing, in my opinion. But I know they have taken heat before about food quality and source. I have no problem shopping there!

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Stephanie Reply:

They are one of the biggest offenders of throwing away food vs donating it to people in need. I loved TJ’s until I watched ‘Dive’ a documentary on dumpster diving. I would recommend anyone to watch it. It is currently on Netflix.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Interesting. Going to check out this documentary!

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 5:29 pm

Oooh I love seeing your grocery haul. Is it bad that I wish I had a family so I could buy that much food? I’ve been going to TJ’s a lot more lately (we just got one in Salt Lake) so I’m making note of some things I want to pick up next time!

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Ashley     at 5:40 pm

This reminds me! I need to stock up on chia seeds!

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Colleen     at 6:09 pm

You should give Costco a try. They’re also stocking more and more organics and health foods (ours in DC Metro has almond milk, coconut sugar, and huge bags of chia seeds), plus I remember from when I lived in Seattle that they stocked Silver Hills bread (among other natural/organic bread brands). The prices on all those items are so much better that you more than make up the membership fee very quickly.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good to know about the bread!

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jen Reply:

club stores are great, we don’t have costco close by, I wish we did as I hear they have great organic stuff. We do have BJ’s and there starting to add more and more organics and best of all they have there own coupons that you can combine with manufacturer’s. they also have big tubs of oliva’s organic spinach which I get for my smoothies.

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Charli Reply:

I was going to recommend the same thing Colleen! :-)

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Kelsey     at 6:23 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Emily! Love seeing your haul! The pineapple tidbits from TJ’s are one of my personal faves. I’m always so pleased with their frozen selections!

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Holly     at 6:36 pm

Since moving to Cleveland where we have TJs we do the bulk of our shopping there as well. Our budget is $300 a month for two adults for groceries which has been our budget for several years now. We’ve found it be attainable when not buying a CSA. If we can go under budget that’s even more exciting!

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Amy Lee     at 6:42 pm

I want to come eat at your house this week.

I’m from Alaska and that grocery trip would have cost close to double that. Fruit and veggies are so expensive here. I’m moving to the Seattle area this fall and I’m so excited!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Welcome to Seattle! How exciting!

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 6:46 pm

I love shopping posts! And Trader Joes! I’m so excited to have access to one now, and to know that where my fiance and I are moving in the summer has one too! They’re quickly becoming my favorite grocery store.

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Amanda     at 6:47 pm

Thanks for sharing, believe it or not, these kinds of posts help me think through recipes and ideas! I LOVE TJ’s, but often get overwhelmed when I’m there….helps to see what others buy there!

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Babs     at 6:56 pm

I love this post. I have been saying for a long time that I need to do meal planning and budget our food expenses. I go crazy and end up buying whatever I want whenever I want. We started tracking spending and it’s sinful. Soooo … it’s good to see what you do. Goal for next week – meal plan! I wish there was a Trader Joes here. I get a small bag of organic frozen berries for $6 here and it’s only enough for 2 blenderfuls of smoothies.

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Rebecca     at 7:02 pm

What kind of budgeting software are you using?

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Emily Malone Reply:

We are using Mint.com (plus apps) and a spreadsheet Casey put together.

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Lauren     at 7:25 pm

Love seeing other people’s groceries! :) Now can we ask another favor and see how you meal plan from this? I’ve tried to be better about meal planning first and then grocery shopping and I know I save so much money. But sometimes it’s nice to see the opposite-of choosing whatever is fresh/seasonal/looks good/on sale, and then making meals from there-ya know what I mean? Sometimes I end up kicking myself when I go grocery shopping, spend so much money, and then wonder, what am I going to make for dinner?! Produce is easy for smoothies, snacks and sides, but the main dish of meals is what can be more challenging. Thanks Emily!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I will post some of what we eat from this, but honestly I’m really bad at meal planning. I tend to just throw things together based on how much time I have and how hungry we are. :)

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Allison     at 7:32 pm

Thanks for the guide. I do a lot of organic shopping for my family at TJs too. With a preschooler and almost toddler it’s the only way I can stay near budget! I have a question about the carrots you use in your morning smoothie. My older one has no problem with leafy veggies in a smoothie but I have trouble getting the smooth constancy he needs to drink anything without question with raw carrots. Do you cook your first? Also, I didn’t realize you we’re from Cincy, my husband and I moved from Cincy to DC. Love them both!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We blend them raw! We use a Vitamix, so maybe that helps get it more smooth? We love Cincy AND DC – how funny!

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Megan S @ gourmet or go home     at 7:44 pm

Emily, I am trying so hard to trim our grocery budget right now. I’m always interested in what other people buy. You, apparently buy a lot of mushrooms:) It would be really interesting to me to see some of the day to day meals that this grocery haul becomes, as someone who’s trying to be better at winging it:)

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Emily Malone Reply:

This was actually a pretty tame mushroom week, haha. I will post some of our meals this week!

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robin     at 9:14 pm

I love posts like this! I also appreciate the fact that you included the cost, as this can vary significantly across the country (or even just from store to store).

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Jessica     at 10:42 pm

I don’t know if you have a Costco close, but if so, you should consider a membership. The mushrooms, frozen organic fruit and veggies, giant box of organic spinach, kale and other veggies are so cheap compared to trader joes.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Costco headquarters and corporate are actually in Kirkland (our neighborhood!). We don’t have a membership, but we’ve considered it a few times. I have heard there are some great options there!

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Linda     at 10:42 pm

Hi Emily, great post!! I’d love to know what you will cook with these. I’m always getting into a rut of cooking the same thing over and over. I love TJ but I have to second that you should try Costco too. They have fresh baby spinach, baby bella mushroom and the Field Roast Veggie Dog.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have heard they have a great deal on Field Roast there!

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Michelle@Peachy Palate     at 12:28 am

Great post! Nice to get an insight in to the shopping behind the gorgeous meals you’ve been creating; loving the simple combinations! :)

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Caitlin     at 3:18 am

Hey Emily! Love the post. What is it about the TJ’s brand eggs don’t you like. I know you said the source. What kind of eggs do you typically get? I always get Nellie’s cage free humanly raised eggs.

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Emily Malone Reply:

It’s important to us to get eggs from local farmers and sources that we’ve researched a bit. We either get them from the markets here, or I buy specific farmer’s eggs at PCC or Whole Foods!

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Sarah Reply:

Thanks for answering this, I was going to ask the same thing :) I need to do some more local egg research.

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Charlie @therunnerbeans     at 3:48 am

DO you still get your weekly box of fruit and veg from the CSA?

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Emily Malone Reply:

We just put it on pause starting this month, to see how the budget is affected. Plus, it’s not a great time of year so we weren’t getting all that much in our boxes, which made me think it might be more cost effective to go to the store – at least for a few months!

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy     at 4:21 am

Do you go through all of the fruits and vegetables and perishables within a week or so, before they go bad? I’d love to stock up more on these things so I don’t have to keep running back to the grocery store, but with only two of us, we never go through these things fast enough, and I end up throwing it away! Do you freeze things? I need advice :)!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We usually get through all of it pretty easily. I try to always plan meals around what is looking like it needs to be eaten the most, if things have been around for a week or so. I never freeze anything!

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Regina     at 4:26 am

I love this post and your idea for more to come! I’m planning on trying to go vegetarian for a month (and then hopefully continue thereafter) and this is really helpful to see what a vegetarian mama buys to make healthy meals! THANKS!!

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julie     at 4:51 am

hey…what kind of budgeting software do you use? i used to use mint, but never really keep up with it. plus i find it annoying.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We are actually using Mint – both online and the apps on our phones. We’re also supplementing with a spreadsheet that Casey put together.

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Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls     at 5:04 am

There has never been a more relatable phrase in reference to Amazon. I never want to know how much money I’ve given them in the hopes of making my kid sleep/stop teething/travel better/etc. Sometimes these things inspire so much hope that the $3.99 overnight even seems worth it so as not to waste 2 whole days waiting.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh I have definitely paid the $3.99. :) Amazon is headquartered here in Seattle, so sometimes we have SAME DAY delivery available – feels like striking gold!

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Sarah G Reply:

*swoon*

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Kristi     at 6:20 am

I also shop at multiple stores which is tough with a 3 month old! TJ’s is a once a month place for me for specialty items – they do have a great freezer case!! I was surprised to find though that whole foods has the best prices on milk, butter, and cheese – cheaper than the ‘cheap’ store in town. Do you ever buy pantry staples on Amazon? I’ve price checked a few times and their prices on things like agave, chia, flax, etc are the lowest I’ve seen and organic.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We have Amazon Fresh here in Seattle, but for the things I’ve looked at (hemp milk, field roast, etc) the prices have actually been quite a bit higher. :/

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rachel     at 6:30 am

i love TJ’s…but ours is always so packed – and it’s a pretty small store. i get overwhelmed that i cannot go in and look, and shop – so i tend to go to whole foods and earth fare when i can – which both are more effective at sending out coupons and deals

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Emily Malone Reply:

Are you in Charlotte? I always went to the uptown one, but I HATED that parking garage!! Drove me insane!

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Whitney Reply:

Has to be Charlotte.. worst parking and the store is always slammed. I try to go to during off hours. Emily, you would have loved the new Whole Foods that opened at South Park. So huge and nice! :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I always went after culinary school, around 1pm to try to avoid the busy hours too. I AM so jealous of the Whole Foods! I’m sure it’s doing well there. I loved Earth Fare but also hated navigating through that shopping center in SP to get to it.

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rachel Reply:

no i’m in louisville, ky – we got our first trader joes maybe a year ago and i think it’s the smallest one i’ve ever been in – and the parking…ugh – not only is it in the busiest area of town, but the parking is ridiculous!

we got our first earth fare last summer and it’s in the burbs – but so much easier to get in and out of!

i do most of my shopping at kroger though – they have really made HUGE improvements to compete with the whole foods and trader joes. lots of organic and specialty foods can be found at our local store!

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Julia Reply:

Oh, how funny! I was just at Trader Joe’s in Charlotte yesterday and the parking garage drives me totally crazy! I was also at Whole Foods and It is doing very well.

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Beth     at 6:36 am

I love Trader Joe’s, and it’s funny to see that you and I buy a lot of the same things! That said, I do not buy produce there, but more staple & pantry items. In my city there is a new organic produce delivery service that is extremely reasonable in price, and I can choose what I want each time. So I get most of my produce there, but also at a produce stand nearby. Sometimes I go to 4 different stores to get everything, but being on a budget, it’s the best way to go.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have looked into those services too – might try on eventually. We have SPUD here in Seattle.

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Karen     at 6:40 am

Great post! I love seeing what other people buy. What font did you use for your headings for the pictures? I love it!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think it’s called Sandwich Paper! :)

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Gwen     at 6:52 am

That looks like a TON of food for $200! Great work! I do find that TJs is always cheaper than going to Harris Teeter, but somehow those brand names suck me in sometimes. Too much TV, too many commercials. xo

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Emily     at 7:00 am

I always love checking out what others buy, so thanks for posting this! It’s so organize and neat. Glad to see someone else buys as much frozen fruit at Trader Joe’s as I do.

Can’t wait to see your pantry post :)

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ESP Reply:

Me too. I’ve been searching for a good advice column on organizing pantries that don’t require me to spend $200 in Martha Stewart Living (or similar) gadgets.

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Nicole     at 7:20 am

Love TJ’s almond milk. I get the unsweetened vanilla; I almost got the plain last time but I think it was sweetened? Their almond milk is the only one I’ve found that isn’t awful, although I haven’t tried the WF brand. I’m avoiding dairy because the doctor thinks our baby girl may have a sensitivity to it in my milk. Blah! I hope she outgrows that. I miss ice cream!

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Gina     at 7:30 am

Thanks for sharing your haul! This was so interesting to see, since I do most of my shopping at TJ’s too – it’s the closest store to my house, and since it’s not very big I can get through there quickly. So important with a little one!

I happened to notice from your photo that we have the very same fridge that you do (came with our new house). How do you feel about the bottom freezer? We use a lot of frozen veggies in the winter, and the freezer is driving me totally bonkers because I have to “unpack” it every time I go to get something out. I hate it!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Love the fridge, but HATE the freezer! Totally agree! The bottom bins always block the top one, and I just can’t fit that much stuff. Can’t really freeze anything “extra” – it just holds what we need regularly. I guess worth it for the extra fridge space?

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Sarah G Reply:

I have a similar set up, and while it’s a bit frustrating, I think it’s way better than the freezer on top of ‘fridge setup!!! Talk about unpacking EVERYTHING! The side by side ‘fridge-freezer uses WAY more energy, from what I understand… what’s the solution here ladies?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Agreed, I think it’s still the best solution even if it’s not ideal. People always ask me about freezing recipes and I feel silly trying to explain that I can’t ever freeze anything!!

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Sarah G Reply:

Yes!! I can’t freeze much of anything. I keep trying to figure out a deep-freezer situation that might work for us, but nothing so far…

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Gina     at 7:36 am

We are actually thinking about getting a cheap, basic fridge to keep in the basement for extra storage. Why do these fancy things have to be so non-functional??

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Betsy @ A Dancer In The Kitchen     at 7:44 am

Loved this post too! My husband and I just moved to CA and we are trying to budget our groceries a little bit more. I hated to see things go to waste too so I’m trying to be better at using things up! Two questions for you: We love field roast but are there are meat substitutes that you would recommend? Also, we just got a VItamix (yay!) and I know you’ve posted before but what are some of your favorite smoothie recipes? Thanks!

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Wendi     at 8:15 am

You’d save so much money (and time and effort) by shopping at Costco :) You’re in Seattle, babe. This is what Seattlites do!
Try it, I swear you’ll be their biggest fan. Costco is so unlike other warehouse stores.

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Heather     at 8:20 am

I love peaking into other people’s practices in budgeting for groceries. I’ve been slowly whittling down our grocery bill for two people and *trying* to shop only 2-3 times a month. So far, so good! I know our bill always goes down a ton in summer due to farmer’s markets and fresh fish we catch :-)

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Emily     at 10:20 am

Your trip looks almost identical to the weekly TJ’s trips I make (except for the doggy treats, no dog yet!). I love going to TJ’s to buy lots of smoothie and trail mix fixings, and always keep my pantry stocked with lots of extra jars/cans of beans, applesauce, marinara,etc. So good to have that stuff on hand to throw together quick meals!

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Chelsea     at 11:13 am

It’s always fun to take a peak into others’ pantries. :-) We just moved and I miss TJ’s terribly! The staff used to tease me ’cause I popped in so often…and seriously, I hoard their ketchup. My in-laws even began bringing me gifts of the stuff. Ok, so I eat it on baby carrots…it’s good, trust me.

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Marty     at 11:16 am

In Alaska this haul would’ve been, yes, double! Moving to ID and NC this year, closer to Costcos and TJs. Fred Meyer is very good here about getting anything you want I their nutrition section. Will miss FM in ID and NC, as their prices and service are less expensive than anyone else. We have Sams Club in Fairbanks, but no organics there so I don’t buy groceries there.

Emily, I have to ask, why don’t you make your own applesauce? I buy pears and lots of apples. When the pears are soft I add a few chopped apples, cinnamon, little fresh ginger and cardamom, little water, cook until softened (while I’m doing a bunch of chores around the house and/or dinner). Then throw into my Vitamix (love it), and lovely apple/pear sauce. I pour it onto glass jars. If their mason they can be stored on a shelf, otherwise in the fridge and eaten in a few days. Of the few things one might buy its the easiest to make, like hummus.

You’re fortunate you have great recycling centers there and I’m assuming pickup. We still only have tin/aluminum or paper here. And you have to haul it somewhere, which I don’t mind. So many don’t, discouraging! Our shipping costs make so much cost prohibitive.

And, I love seeing Cullen every post, but I miss recipes too! He’s always smiling, such a happy boy! His smile always makes my day.

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Tamara     at 11:20 am

Would you be willing to share some of your smoothie recipes? Do you just make them up and vary depending on your mood or are there some staples that you make often?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m planning to post a few recipes soon!

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Tamara Reply:

Awesome, thanks!

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Pam     at 12:25 pm

Try their soy chorizo – it’s awesome!

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Bethany @ Accidental Intentions     at 12:26 pm

I’ve become quite the Trader Joe’s regular since moving to Chicago. I’d say 75% of my groceries come from there, and it’d be closer to 95% if they sold the produce I want in ways that works for me (like an individual head of leafy lettuce instead of a bag of two…I can’t go through all that lettuce on my own before it goes bad!). I’ve noticed, though, that they’ve gotten a lot better about cutting down on packaging. Their quinoa comes in a bag instead of a box + bag now, and, more important for me, they no longer package their sandwich thins in a plastic tray in addition to the plastic bag. Since I store my sandwich thins in the freezer, that’s been awesome for storage. Love that grocery store, though!

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Kathy     at 1:23 pm

May I ask about what you spend a month for groceries? Shopping at TJ’s I know you pay more. A TJ’s was just build 50 miles from us and I have been there twice. LOVE the store, but I would spend a fortune if I’m not careful. I also shop at Wegmans (don’t have a whole foods anywhere near us), but Wegman’s is also fairly expensive. For my hubby & myself we can spend anywhere from $80 a week to $150/200 a week. On the higher end when at Wegman’s. I like to buy organic as much as I can, and he hates that our grocery bill is so much for 2 people. But if you want quality food, you must pay for it I guess.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We are budgeting $800 for the month, which sounds incredibly high, but it’s what i realistic for us. We save in a lot of other areas and have cut back on a LOT, but I’m not really willing to sacrifice on our food quality!

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sarah crosby Reply:

sorry butting in. Is this for all food or just grocery. i know every city is different in price of food. just curious. We budget $150 on grocery per week then one MAYBE two meals out a week. The hubby thinks it’s outrageous. just trying to gage if i am over buying or spending on things or if it’s normal for organic whole foods.

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Erin Brown Reply:

I live in an Eastern Metro area (DC) and $150-200 is about what I spend a week for two, we don’t eat out so that is our whole food budget. It is dependent on the appetite of those people, as I can go $80 for myself, but my spouse consumes double what I do and location. It’s not so outrageous, it can just be costly to eat organic, non-prepared foods.

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ann     at 2:07 pm

Hi Emily,

Loved this post! Did you ever post the recipe for your marinated mushrooms? I wasn’t sure if I missed it.

Thanks.

Ann

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Emily Malone Reply:

I didn’t, which is embarrassing since I’ve promised it like ten times. Gah, I am so sorry. Soon, I really will do it this time.

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Mary Beth     at 2:49 pm

Our Trader Joe’s opens in three weeks and I am READY!!! I made an amazing crock pot tofu recipe last night and wanted to share: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipe/coconut-curried-tofu-and-spinach/

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yum! Sounds delicious!!

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Samantha     at 2:58 pm

2 things:

1. bake bread. :) I just made my own bagels. I do think it is an area I know I could save some money.

2. Thanks for mentioning Mint! I just started playing with it after reading your mention. I think it is going to help me a lot. I am frustrated because I am unemployed right now and not staying in “budget.”

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Emily Malone Reply:

I really want to make homemade bagels!!

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Samantha Reply:

It was shockingly easy and satisfying, no bread machine required. They have froze and kept well. I am considering english muffins next.

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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » A Day In The Life: 16 Months.     at 3:49 pm

[...] to fit two big things into one block of time.  I really needed groceries, and have plans to write this post, so I need to get them before my work window opens up during nap time.  If I wait until [...]

Julia     at 10:19 am

Just curious…What do you use in your smoothie for protein? Also, I make a wonderful Vegetarian Spicy Black Bean soup that you may enjoy! It’s delicious and very easy to make! I found it here http://leafrootflowerfruit.typepad.com

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Beth WA     at 7:13 am

I had to laugh because I have the same fear of running out of ketchup. We always have back up bottles, and my family likes to tease me when we are down to only 1 or 2 backups.

Beth

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sara     at 11:18 am

I LOVE this post. I try to go to TJ’s as often as possible but I can’t get my husband convinced that paying a bit more for higher quality food should be a priority :( I think a beauty items/makeup post would be a good one too! It’s always interesting scoping out ideas or trying different brands!

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Nicole     at 12:09 pm

Maybe Casey should market his budgeting spreadsheet. I’m sure it’s great since he’s a math genius. We used to use an Excel spreadsheet my husband had put together, but we got away from using it. We’ve been using Mint.com for the past year or so, but while it’s great for seeing where the money goes, it’s hard to project out for the future. So right now we’re trying to figure out how to tweak the old spreadsheet to use the data from Mint.

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Natalia     at 2:59 am

It never fails to amaze me how cheap food is in the USA (in comparison to New Zealand at least!) This would cost upwards of $500! Mind boggling.

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Lauren     at 10:32 am

After reading this post a few weeks ago I grabbed some of the TJs olive oil tortillas this week. Wow! they are great! thanks for the recommendation!

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house clearances     at 4:09 am

You really make it swem really easy with your
presentation howevr I to find this matter to be really one thing that I think I
would never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely vast for me.

I am looking forward to yohr next put up, I will attempt to gget the dangle
of it!

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