Category Archives: Groceries

Groceries

Our Fridge is Restocked! (This Week’s Grocery Haul)

Hey hey! Travis and I are back from a weekend away at Big Bear Lake, CA. My birthday was last Wednesday, and since having a mid-week birthday is never that fun, we decided to plan a last minute weekend getaway.

We spent a majority of our time in Big Bear doing outdoor activities, like hiking and kayaking. It’s only two hours away from LA (without traffic), so it was a perfect little 36 hour trip. We felt like we were able to pack a lot into our brief time there.

Captain John's Kayaking on Big Bear Lake, California ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whenever we go away I make a concerted effort to use up everything in the fridge because I hate wasting food. I think I took that a little too far last week, because when we arrived home on Sunday the contents of our fridge included: ketchup, soy sauce, every other type of condiment on the planet, and beer. Needless to say, we needed a thorough restock.

Empty Fridge ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share a recent grocery haul with you guys. Here is everything we bought yesterday:

Grocery Haul ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Produce:

Bananas

Organic Apples*

Organic Grapes*

Organic Nectarines*

Organic Red Raspberries*

Navel Oranges

Spaghetti Squash

Organic Baby Bell Peppers*

Organic Spinach*

Eggplant (Making Baba Ganoush!)

Organic Sweet Potatoes*

Lemons (I always buy a big bag because I drink hot water with lemon every morning before breakfast.)

Garlic

Shallots

(* I like to buy organic produce whenever possible, especially if an item is included in the dirty dozen.)

 

Meat:

Empire Kosher White Ground Turkey (We grab this whenever we see it. Perfect for my Turkey Meatballs.)

Applegate Chicken-Apple Sausages (A delicious snack, or great in pasta and soup)

Chicken Breasts

 

Dairy:

1% Lactoste-Free Milk

Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (Great in protein smoothies and with cereal)

Cage-Free Eggs

Wallaby Nonfat Greek Yogurt

 

Frozen:

Applegate Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders (Great healthy lunch/snack back up)

Dr. Praeger’s Bibimbap Veggie Burgers (I discovered these last week and I love them!)

Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles

Barramundi (We can’t always find this, so when we do, we stock up to make this dish.)

 

Dry Goods:

Jarred Roasted Red Peppers (I’m making my Muhammara for a dinner party tonight!)

Chopped Walnuts

Crunchy Peanut Butter

Whole Wheat Pita Bread (To go with the Muhammara)

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Molasses

 

What about you? What are some grocery staples that you always must have on hand? For me it’s bananas and eggs!

 

Disclaimer: This is not everything I eat in a week. I am not a certified nutritionist, and the foods I eat might not be right for you. 

Groceries Tips and Tricks

How I Meal Plan

I am often asked how I have time to cook every night and since I do cook often, how I am not constantly running to the grocery store. My answer? It’s all about planning!

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a weekly meal planning process that works very well for us. Planning helps us to save time, save money, and keep us on a healthy track throughout the week. Since I get so many questions about this, I thought it would be fun to put together a post about how I meal plan.

I always love learning about how other people plan for the week and how often they choose to cook at home vs. eat out. So please feel free to share your process and any tips you have in the comments section below!

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

1. Travis and I go grocery shopping together on either Saturday or Sunday every weekend. Before we head to the store, we select 3-4 recipes we want to make that week. Why not more? Because let’s be honest, life happens, and realistically we won’t have time to cook every night. Sometimes one of us has to work late, has plans to meet up with friends, or we simply don’t feel like cooking.
Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

Just so you get a sense, here is what last week’s meals looked like for us:

Monday: BBQ Chicken Skewers with a Grilled Charred Broccoli

Tuesday: Halibut with Balsamic and Cherry Tomatoes

Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables

Thursday: Travis was out, so I ate breakfast for dinner (always my go-to when I am on my own).

Friday: Dinner out

Saturday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Basil

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

2. When choosing which recipes to make, we generally try to mix up proteins (chicken, turkey, ground beef, white fish, salmon, etc) to keep things interesting. We select a few new recipes to make that week as well as some old favorites. You can read my post about how I organize my recipes here. By selecting recipes in advance, we never suffer the dreaded, “what should we do for dinner” conversation at night when we’re both already hungry.

Since Whole Foods is often our store of choice (it’s walkable from our apartment), I also like to check out what’s on sale before we hit the store and sometimes we dictate our meal plan around that.

In case this may interest you, here’s a list of grocery items that are typically cheaper at Whole Foods.

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

3. Based on the recipes we select, I create a list (either on my phone or a piece of paper) of all the items we need to pick up. This list also includes any staple items we use on a weekly basis (bananas, eggs, etc.)  As you can see in the photo below, I always make sure to pick up a few healthy snack foods for the week as well: greek yogurt, Kind bars, fresh fruit, etc.

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

4. One more important tip! In case a new recipe turns out to be terrible (yup, it happens!), we always have some backup options in the freezer.  Just last week, I went to cook some cod we’d frozen a few weeks ago, only to find it did not smell right after it defrosted. Instead of taking a gamble, I chucked the cod in the trash and immediately went to Plan B: a frozen Udi’s pizza. Delicious, satisfying, and absolutely no stress.

Having healthy backups is also great for when you home exhausted and don’t feel like cooking – it’s faster, cheaper, and healthier than getting take-out. When shopping, just make sure you look at the ingredient lists – if there are chemicals and additives you can’t pronounce, put it back in the freezer case. Additionally, say no to Lean Cuisines and other frozen meals with excessive sodium levels – they’re doing you no favors.

Here are some of my favorite, healthy frozen and “backup” foods:

Dr. Praegers California Vegetable Burgers

Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza

Applegate Chicken Sausages

Frozen Vegetables (great as a side to any meal)

 

Now that I’ve shared my meal planning process with you guys, I am curious about you! How do you mean plan for the week? Let me know!

 

Groceries

We Finally Have Groceries

After two weekends of traveling, I was really looking forward to a low-key weekend. I had a blast in Las Vegas for my company’s retreat and in NYC visiting all our friends, but a weekend at home was very needed. There were one million errands and to-dos I needed to catch up on.

My biggest priority: groceries. Our fridge has been empty, which I think is very sad to look at. We’ve basically only been home for four days at a time, so there was no point on going on our usual big grocery trips. This past week it was also Travis’ birthday and Passover, which resulted in a bunch of meals out and zero bread products for me. Needless to say, I was thrilled to finally go to the grocery store this weekend (ooooh, the little things that excite me….)

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We went to Whole Foods and restocked on A LOT of necessities.

 

In this week’s grocery haul:

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Organic Spring Mix lettuce: We’ve been eating lots of salads recently, so we buy lettuce in bulk now.

Cage-Free Large  Brown Eggs: For breakfast – mainly, protein pancakes

Organic Strawberries

Fig Spread: Delicious with cheese

Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: For stir-frys and marinades

Dried Mango: Travis is hooked on this stuff. I, personally, prefer fresh mango.

Organic Hummus

Fresh “grind-your-own” peanut butter: THE BEST.

Lean Ground Beef: We made my Grilled Ground Beef Kebabs (Kofta) on Sunday night.

Green Beans

Organic Parsley

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Bananas: We go through so many bananas each week. I love to snack on them with natural peanut butter and Travis puts them in protein pancakes every morning for breakfast.

Mary’s Boneless Chicken Breast: We eat A LOT of chicken in our house. Travis and I agree that Mary’s chicken breast is the best – it is always juicy.

Feta Cheese: for Greek Salads

Cherry Tomatoes: for salads and snacking

California Navel Oranges: I am addicted to these right now – I eat one a day

Sweet Potato: always a delicious side dish to any meal

Justin’s Maple Almond Butter: By far, our favorite almond butter. If I wouldn’t be judged for it, I would probably just take a spoon to the jar and dig in. Oh wait, I might do that already….

Rolled Oats: another staple we go through very quickly. They go in pancakes, oatmeal, granola, baked goods, etc.

Kaas Gouda Cheese: A worker at Whole Foods recommended this cheese to us about two months ago and ever since, we buy it all the time. It is the creamy and slightly tangy. It pairs very well with apples in a salad, but it is even delicious just on it’s own.

Wallaby 0% Greek Yogurt: This is my new favorite Greek Yogurt! It is creamy and a bit thinner than Fage or Chobani. I think the consistency is perfect. I sweeten it with fresh fruit and homemade granola.

Kind Bars: a recent addiction. They sell them everywhere, so they were my go-to snack in the middle of the day when we were traveling the last few weekends. I usually like to make my own granola bars, but these are an awesome substitute when I don’t have time.

Pink Lady Apples: my favorite! So crisp and juicy.

Organic Lemons: for salad dressings and marinades

Organic Cilantro

 

It is sooooooo much nicer opening my fridge now and seeing all of these delicious things. For me, it is also a pretty big sigh of relief because I hate relying on take-out and eating out. I see a lot of yummy meals in my future!

 

What about you? What is one meal you are looking forward to making this week?

 

Groceries Meal Plan

An Empty Fridge Makes Me Freak

Travis and I were away this past weekend visiting my aunt and uncle in Tucson, Arizona. I always love visiting Arizona – the mountains are gorgeous, the Southwestern flavors are delicious, and I appreciate the slower pace of life there.

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One of my goals for 2014 was to make more weekend trips up and down the West Coast. I still feel like a newbie in California and there are so many cities I want to explore: San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, etc. I just have one personal issue with weekend trips that I am reaaaaaally working on. I consider the weekend my “me” time. On the weekends I finally have the time catch up on all of things I put off during my crazy work weeks. This includes dry cleaning, blogging, photo editing, reading, cleaning, laundry, and most importantly grocery shopping. I am one of those people who LOVES routine, and I definitely struggle when it is broken. It was particularly hard for me to come home from Arizona early Monday morning to a dirty apartment with piles and piles of laundry and an empty fridge. On top of that, I had no time to fix any of this because I had to work. Beginning a week unprepared really makes me frazzled (you could say I am Type-A…)

It didn’t help that I was STARVING when we arrived home from the airport, and we all know not to mess with me when I get hungry. As soon as I could, I dashed to the store to fill my poor empty fridge, which basically only contained Travis’ beer and lots of condiments…

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Our fridge could also use a good scrubbing, huh?

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At Whole Foods I bought as much as I could physically carry home (luckily we live within walking distance!)

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I felt SO much better with a full fridge. Everything else on my to-do list seemed a little bit less daunting after that.

What I bought:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

Tilapia Fillets

Assorted Fruit: Mango, Apple, Navel Oranges, Bananas

Assorted Veggies: Sugar Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots

Cilantro, Lemons, Limes

2 Cartons Cage-Free Eggs

Wallaby Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Frozen Peas

Lactose-Free Milk

Way Better Black Bean Chips

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WOO! What a relief. Since I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for new recipes, dinner this week will just be meals I’ve made before and know we love.

On our menu this week:

Monday: Slow Cooker Honey-Sesame Chicken with Sauteed Red Bell Pepper, Snap Peas, Onions and Brown Rice

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Tuesday: Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

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Wednesday: Chicken Breast with a Sweet and Tangy Pan Sauce and Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Thursday and Friday we’ll have to wing it!

 

What is on your dinner menu this week? How do you feel about coming home to a long to-do list? Can you handle it or does it make you go crazy?