Tag Archives: Whole Foods

Loving Lately

What I’m Loving Lately: November 2017

You guys, I just realized that my last monthly “What I’m Loving Lately” post was from JULY! Where the heck has time gone!?

When I look back on the last three months, it’s crazy to think about how much has happened. Let’s recap: I decided to spend the last few weeks of August (right before our wedding) with my parents in Maine. I had numerous wedding-related appointments on the east coast, so it didn’t make sense to fly back and forth from Los Angeles multiple times. Travis and I were married in Boston at the beginning of September, and spent the following two weeks honeymooning in Greece. When we arrived back home in Los Angeles at the end of September, we immediately started looking for an apartment in NYC (remotely) and packing up our apartment. It took us longer than we would have liked to find an apartment, so ultimately Travis had to fly to New York to start his new job, while I finished packing in Los Angeles and handling all of the little details that go into a cross-country move. So needless to say, the last three months really have been a whirlwind.

I am relieved that we finally found a (great!) apartment in NYC and got here smoothly. I just wish our movers would get here already with all of our boxes and furniture from Los Angeles. Even though we aren’t totally settled here yet, there are still plenty of things I’m loving, so let’s get this monthly series back on track, shall we!?

 

Our New Apartment (and Location!)

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When looking for an apartment in NYC we had a lot of must-have criteria on our list. Since I spend a heck of a lot of time in the kitchen, we needed a place with a gas stove, a good amount of counter space, and lots of cabinets and storage. We also wanted a large(ish) living space because we love hosting dinners and get togethers with friends. And finally, we wanted to be near some sort of park for Bessie because we were worried how she would adjust to the “Concrete Jungle” after being surrounded by greenery in Santa Monica. It’s fairly well known that our three main criteria: a large kitchen, large living area, and close proximity to a park are generally pretty hard to find in NYC, unless you’re ready to spend $$$$. Well, thanks to Travis, we somehow managed to find all three, and I feel extremely lucky. In addition to being close to Central Park, we’re also walking distance from multiple train lines, a Whole Foods, a TJ Maxx and HomeGoods (my jam!), pharmacies, a veterinarian, and basically everything else we could ever need. Once we’re all unpacked and the apartment is furnished, I think we’re going to feel great.

 

Whole Foods Sales Flyer

I am a big bargain hunter (hence my love for TJ Maxx and HomeGoods), so even though I love shopping at Whole Foods, I also try to make sure we buy products that are on sale. Did you know that Whole Foods publishes a sales flyer on their website every week? You can filter by your specific store to see what’s on sale in your area. The sales are updated on Wednesdays, so I like to check the flyer that morning to see what’s on sale for the week, and I often plan our dinners around some of those items. For example, if I see that wild salmon is on sale (something that’s usually pretty pricey), I’ll make sure to incorporate salmon into our dinner plan that week. It’s a really helpful tool if you didn’t know about it before.

 

Easy Storage Collapsable Dish Rack

I recently bought this collapsable dish rack for our kitchen and am so happy with it so far. It takes up very little space on our counter, and I love the idea of being able to collapse and hide the dish rack when we have company over or just need more counter space. Despite its small size this dish rack is pretty deep, so it’s able to hold multiple bowls, cups and cooking utensils at one time. If you have a small kitchen, I highly recommend this one!

 

Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips

After Travis took his Pinnertest and learned that he’s intolerant to corn, he’s been trying to eat as little of it as possible, which doesn’t exactly pan out well for his tortilla chip obsession. I’d heard a lot of good things from other bloggers about the Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips, so I grabbed a bag at Whole Foods last week and we flew threw it in two days! Siete chips are made with cassava flour (cassava is a root vegetable) and only real, good ingredients. After one bite, we were both hooked! These chips have a delicious salty flavor and that perfect tortilla chip crunch. They’re seriously addicting!

 

Joseph Joseph Slotted Turner

Isn’t it funny how the smallest invention can make you so happy? That’s how I feel about the Joseph Joseph spatulas. There’s a built in elevated rest that keeps the main portion of the spatula off the counter, reducing mess that would otherwise be created by letting it rest flat on the counter. I love these spatulas so much that now own three! So many spatulas start to peel or wear over time, and these don’t. Our longest lasting Joseph Joseph spatula is going on 6+ years now. We’ve used it almost daily, and it’s been run through the dishwasher hundreds of times with no problems. It’s perfect for flipping everything from roasted vegetables, pancakes, fish, and chicken. This is one of my most-loved small kitchen tools and you can find it for less than $10 at Target!

 

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. 

Products I Love

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods

Hi friends! Happy Friday! I am traveling for work today, but I wanted to post this for you guys before your weekend grocery shopping.

Over the past few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of healthy foods I’ve found in the freezer aisle. For years, all you could find were Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen dinners that disguise themselves as “healthy,” but in reality are swimming in sodium and added junk.

I’ve tried A LOT of frozen foods at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and below are some of my favorites. As always, make sure to check the ingredient lists on the items you pick up. General rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or you’ve never heard of it, put the item back on the shelf.

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

  1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza // This is one of our favorite options on a night we don’t have time to cook. This gluten-free crust tastes REALLY good and it’s SO much healthier than traditional frozen pizzas! For an added nutritional boost, we sometimes add chicken or extra veggies.
  2. Whole Foods 365 Vegetable Medley // Whoever said frozen fruit and vegetables aren’t healthy is totally wrong. In fact, frozen fruit and veggies can actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts because they’re flash frozen to lock in nutrients. I love having a bag of these veggies in my freezer to heat up alongside any protein. So quick and easy.
  3. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles // A healthy and fast breakfast option. I even like these as a mid-day snack with a smear of almond butter.
  4. Dr. Praegar’s California Veggie Burgers // These burgers are packed with veggies! I like to stick mine under the broiler to get it extra crispy. Then I top it with sliced avocado and a little bit of all-natural ketchup.
  5. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice // On busy nights, who has 40 minutes to wait for rice to cook? This pre-cooked brown rice is the easiest thing! Just plop it in the microwave and healthy whole grains in minutes.
  6. Australis Barramundi // I find this at Whole Foods and it’s A+++++! This is what I use to make my Barramundi with Balsamic Tomatoes
  7. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles // A meat alternative that doesn’t contain soy!? I’m in! I love using this “Beefy Crumble” in place of regular ground beef to make pasta sauces or tacos!
  8. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries // While maybe still not as good (or clean) as my homemade sweet potato fries, these fries are GOOD. Get them extra crispy by baking them on a single layer and then sticking them under the broiler for the last few minutes. Delicious with chicken, a veggie burger, the list goes on.
  9. Whole Foods 365 Blueberries // Same thing as a veggie medley – there is NOTHING wrong with frozen fruits and vegs! I defrost these in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add them to yogurt. Fresh berries in the middle of winter, yes please!

 

While I absolutely love fresh, homemade meals, sometimes it’s just not an option, so I love having a few of these items in the freezer for when I am in a pinch.

I’d love to know if you guys have any favorites that aren’t on this list!

 

 

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!