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!