Tag Archives: Kroger

Fresh Market: A Whole New World

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Today was the day, folks. The day for which I have been waiting for more than six months. The day which made me semi-envy those who were standing in line to be among the first to behold the wonder on September 11th. The day I was so grateful for a small surplus in my budget so I could indulge in a few “splurge” purchases. The day that Ian and I went to Fresh Market.

Fresh Market has revolutionized this side of town like I’ve never seen. Where I live in the ‘Burg, people do the bulk of their grocery shopping at Kroger. I thought the massive renovations “my” Kroger has been undergoing made people crazy… until I saw little old ladies ramming people’s hips with their carts, yoga-pants-clad undergrads intently forcing their way through the aisles, and small children wide-eyed and clutching large bags of candy corn.

I knew we were crazy for attempting our exploratory shopping trip on the first Saturday FM was open after just three days of business, but we set out anyway. I had my list in hand (chia Kombucha Synergies, natural PB, pitted dates, raw cashews, and Kodiak Cakes) and my budget in mind ($25 — ha!). We got a ridiculously close parking spot and forged our way inside amidst the throngs of FM-goers.

I was simultaneously in heaven on earth and overwhelmed. There were several hundred people buzzing around the store, most of them having parked their carts directly in front of the busiest sections of the store. Go figure. No matter — we were both so excited to see what the area’s newest hotspot had to offer that we somehow remained friendly and optimistic the entire time.

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Ian readily agreed to be the basket-holder (as long as he didn’t have to hold my purse ;-)) so I could browse. I can’t even count the number of times something caught my eye and I said, “Oh, wow!” You probably would’ve enjoyed my facial expressions if you could’ve seen me marvel over the bulk bins of wasabi trail mix, the frozen kefir, the bright organic produce, the fragrant seasonal coffees, and the sample stations.

Ian *needed* to be back home by 3:30 for the A&M vs. Alabama game, so we were on a slight schedule. As a consolation prize for myself, I decided to treat us to lunch from FM. He picked up a wrap from the deli, and I had a custom-made deli sandwich. With the exception of lunch and a Clif sport energy packet to try, I stuck pretty closely to my list:

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FM total: $34.91

We made a quick pit stop at Kroger for the natural PB (I’m sorry, but $9 for a jar of PB at Fresh Market is just not my style) and syrup for the pancakes. I said to Ian, “Would you be offended if I got agave nectar instead of syrup?” and he immediately said, “…yes!” He makes me laugh 😉

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Kroger total: $6.44

I would have liked to spend all day more time in Fresh Market today, but it was a madhouse and things were getting a wee bit claustrophobic. We hung in there with the chaos for over an hour, but we were both getting pretty hungry, and I was still, ahem, recovering from last night’s festivities with one of our favorite couples. We got our goodies to go, popped by Krogs for the final two items, and settled in for an afternoon of football at home.

I am beyond excited to make Kodiak Cakes tomorrow morning before Ian heads back to Richmond, and to make Brittany’s homemade Lara balls this afternoon! I also can’t wait to go back to Fresh Market and explore further, perhaps during the week in the morning when it will (hopefully) be less crowded. Lots of exciting stuff coming your way, so stay tuned!

P.S. Do you have a favorite grocery store that just gets you really excited about food? Or am I that crazy blogger who professes her love for grocery shopping, completely oblivious to everybody else’s groans…? Let’s chat!

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

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Maybe this makes me an extreme nerd or a yuppie foodie, but one of my favorite activities of late is meal-planning!

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I’m so serious.

I look for time during the week when I can sit down to plan my Thursday grocery shopping trip and my meals for the week. Meal prep ahead of time not only saves me time and energy when I come home exhausted from Internship, it prevents me from making lazy meal choices (i.e. canned soup) when I’m ravenous after the gym. For example, the other night I was feeling extra productive, so I sliced and diced the veggies to marinate overnight that I knew I’d need for the following night’s stir fry dinner. When I came home later than expected the next afternoon and grudgingly still went to the gym, my growling tummy was beyond grateful that I had felt so in the mood for meal prep earlier! All I had to do was cook some brown rice, saute the veggies and presto: dinner.

This week, I’ve been feeling particularly excited about meal-planning, especially with Fresh Market opening so close to school! Yesterday morning was the grand opening, and people were shoving queuing at the unholy hour of 7:55. Uhhh… no thank you!

Anyway, today I made my weekly trip to Kroger for staples, armed with my meal plan for the week and my grocery list. I am usually pretty good about sticking to my list and keeping “splurge” buys to a minimum. So, without further ado:

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Beverages: La Croix sparkling water ($4.49), lemonade mix — per Ian’s request ($1.89), O.N.E. coconut water — impulse buy ($2.99), Vita coconut water — impulse buy ($2.00), and organic milk ($3.69)

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Dairy: Chobani Greek yogurt and Chobani Flips (3/$4.00)… I misread the price tag and thought they were 10/$8.00

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Produce: bananas ($1.24), shredded lettuce ($2.99), seedless red grapes ($1.55), organic celery ($1.69), pomegranate ($2.49), cucumber ($0.75), green pepper ($0.77), Fuji apples ($3.29)

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Random: much-needed [and on-sale] highlighters ($1.29), brown rice ($2.49), organic seedless raisins ($3.49), Truvia natural sweetener ($3.99)

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Grand total: $55.83

I’m all set for the week with breakfast items I already had, fresh fruit for snacks and sides, meals for Ian’s visit this weekend, and five dinners! I’m still planning to drag bring Ian with me to Fresh Market on Saturday to explore, but I fully plan to have a list in my hand and a spending cap in my head. That place makes me giddy!

Now, on to equally as exciting stuff: I spent a little time playing around in the kitchen this afternoon, and I devised my own recipe for quick and easy Waldorf salad. I’m more than happy to share!

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Homemade Waldorf Salad
1 stalk celery
1 C plain Chobani Greek yogurt
handful of raisins
2-3 handfuls of red grapes
half of large Fuji apple
1/4 C whole almonds

Slice the celery, grapes, and apple into bite-sized pieces. Mix all solid ingredients together, then add yogurt. Stir until yogurt coats all ingredients evenly. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Bon appetit!

Well, blends, I’m off to prep for a double-dose of class tonight. Have an excellent evening!

Stay tuned this weekend for a peek inside my OCD fridge, as well as my exploits at FM! 😉

P.S. I’d love to hear about YOUR meal prep and/or meal-planning! Do you measure portions out precisely? How far in advance do you cut perishable items? Do you cater your grocery shopping to portable foods for on-the-go? Let’s chat! 🙂

This Week’s Small Haul

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Happiest of Fridays to you, blends! The reason I’m so peppy this morning is because (1) I get to see my handsome fiancé tonight, and (2) I completed — and absolutely loved — my first full week of Internship and third-year classes!

In the midst of all the hubbub this week, I still needed to replenish a few grocery items. I’ve decided that I really like doing these line-item grocery haul posts, so indulge me! 😉

From the produce section, I didn’t need much. In fact, I’m glad I remembered to only get two bananas, since I like them “crunchy,” as my mom says. I’m leaving for Richmond this morning and won’t be back until Sunday evening. By then, any leftover bananas wouldn’t be A.K.-approved.

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Kroger brand bananas, $0.59

As far as “splurge” purchases go, I had a few of those today. As soon as I left my apartment, I could feel my blood sugar dropping. I still needed to run to the post office, which was in the opposite direction of Kroger. I loathe grocery-shopping on an empty stomach, but I couldn’t understand why I felt so yucky after a leftovers lunch of brown rice and chicken stir fry. I grabbed the first thing I saw, and the natural sugar brought me right back up!

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As I was perusing the mixed-up aisles of Kroger (which is being heavily renovated), I happened across these beauties. I liked their ingredient lists, and they were on sale, so into the cart they went! I also picked up an impromptu sandwich for dinner, since I have class from 4:30-9:30 on Thursdays.

London Broil and leaf lettuce on focaccia, $5.29; Quaker single-serving oatmeal, $1.67 each

London Broil and leaf lettuce on focaccia, $5.29; Quaker single-serving oatmeal, $1.67 each

The purchase I was most excited about? Cho, of course! 😉

Chobani Flip and Chobani 2% Greek yogurt, 10/$10

Chobani Flip and Chobani 2% Greek yogurt, 10/$10

As far as dairy products and breakfast go, I didn’t need much. I found that I really like Simple Truth organic milk because of the size and because of the reeeeally long expiration date (October 12 on this carton). I also decided to try buying brown eggs for the first time.

Simple Truth organic milk carton, $3.49; Kroger brand brown eggs, $1.99/dozen; Morningstar Farms vegetarian bacon, $3.99

Simple Truth organic milk carton, $3.49; Kroger brand brown eggs, $1.99/dozen; Morningstar Farms vegetarian bacon, $3.99

Lastly, I needed just a few household items. Normally, I don’t purchase school supplies at the grocery store because they are much cheaper elsewhere. Being that the kids in this area have already started school, most of the school supplies had been marked way down.

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Kroger brand kitchen trash bags, $5.99/50; small spiral notebook, $2.99; Huggies baby wipes, $1.99

When my mom came with me to the ‘Burg a few weeks ago to check on my apartment and to conduct some pre-Internship housekeeping business, she insisted that I have a few Kroger grocery bags. Today was the first opportunity I’ve had to use them, and let me tell you — they are absolutely wonderful. I’m completely unashamed to admit that I use Kroger grocery bags to line my bathroom, bedroom, and laundry room trash cans, so I’m always happy to have an endless supply. However, I hate when my groceries roll around in the back of my car, spill out of those flimsy bags, and when my groceries take up approximately 546 bags that I must carry up a flight of stairs. My haul today only required two of these bags, as opposed to probably eight plastic bags.

Now I have four of them, and I plan to use them every time I run to Kroger!

Now I have four of them, and I plan to use them every time I run to Kroger!

Mom, when you read this, feel free to cheer aloud and dance around and pump your arms in the air, but don’t feel obligated to text me, “See?!?!” 😉

This week’s total haul: $49.24

Have a wonderful day, blends!

P.S. Do you carry reusable bags to the grocery store, or do you prefer paper/plastic? I’m on the campaign trail to recruit more reusable bag buddies!

Love Affair with Love Grown

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So… anyone besides me incredulous that somehow December slipped in unnoticed on November’s coattails?

Yesterday morning, I said to Ian, “…It’s December first, isn’t it?” and he looked at me like I had just announced that I have a pet dinosaur. I don’t know how it happens, but some months have a way of surprising me every. single. year.

Anyway…

I’ve been off the “healthy-living blogger” bandwagon for a few posts now, so I thought I’d wrangle my ramblings back in with a post about, what else? Food.

Saturday afternoon, I dragged Ian to Kroger. When I commented that the register clerk and the bagging associate were rays of eternal sunshine (drenched with sarcasm), he said, “Well, so are you. You’re in like, military mode, in the grocery store.” I hadn’t ever thought about it in those words, per se, but I guess I can be a bit… focused…

I finally indulged my longing for Love Grown granola and flavored almonds. Every time I’m in the Natural Foods section picking up my beloved Fage and my Kashi cereal, and KIND bars and almond milk (okay, so I spend a decent amount of time [and dough] in that section) I salivate over the chocolate Love Grown granola. Tragically, I made the excruciating decision to get granola that will be more versatile — you know, in yogurt, on oatmeal, on fruit, etc. I bought Sweet Cranberry Pecan. The virgin tasting of Love Grown was atop fresh banana slices with a dollop of Nutella. Holy. Granoly.

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I’m still desperate to try the chocolate, but that need will have to be satiated at a later date. Somehow, I feel like my relationship with Love Grown has only just begun 😉 This morning I tried it with fresh sliced banana, plain Chobani, blackberry jam, chia seeds, and whole almonds. Mmmm!

Now, let’s talk almonds.

I specifically needed sliced almonds for a casserole I’m planning to make this week. A few other varieties somehow found their way into my shopping cart, as well. I’m big on whole raw unsalted almonds for in-class snacks and for “toppers” (e.g. yogurt, oatmeal), so I grabbed a small jar of those babies. I love that they’re something crunchy to munch on, and they’re a smart decision. Ian and I spent quite awhile on the snack foods aisle, trying to narrow down my choices in flavored almonds. Finally, I tore myself away from the $9 pistachios long enough to decide on Blue Diamond Smokehouse whole almonds. Three types of almonds in one shopping trip?! Oy.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss my pride in my (moderately healthy) weekend meal choices.

Friday, Ian and I were in Farmville for the Hampden-Sydney basketball game versus Methodist. We went out to dinner with friends at Macado’s, where I got my usual: the Build-Your-Own. I took a walk on the wild side by adding mesquite turkey to my standard French bread, Swiss and Muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, banana peppers, and onion. Washed down by two schooners of Miller Lite. Hey, you can’t win ’em all. Saturday morning, I had a Fage and a bowl of Kashi before we headed out to run errands. My blood sugar started to drop while we were at Kroger and hanger (hunger + anger) was on the verge of setting in, so we decided to get Moe’s. I inhaled ate more Moe’s at Longwood than I care to admit, so it’s a rare treat when I dine at that blessed place. I tried the Earmuffs burrito bowl — brown rice and black beans for days! I piled on the goodies: all-natural chicken breast, sautéed peppers and onions, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guac, shredded cheese, black olives, sour cream, and mild salsa. I caved for dinner and consented to frozen pizza. My biggest complaint about frozen pizza is the sodium content. Yeah, it has carbs and it’s a caloric beast, but it’s depressing consuming 80% of my RDV of sodium in one meal. I chose a thin-crust Freschetta Harvest Supreme loaded with veggies and herbs, and Ian talked me into a flatbread Tuscan Chicken pie with veggies. [Sigh.] At least we didn’t get Quadruple Meat Threat or some jazz. Sorry for the novel; I only delve into my weekend eats as a way of keeping myself accountable to the choices I’m trying to make, not to compare myself to others or to guilt anyone else. Overall, this weekend’s meals were a success in my book!

I hope your weekend was excellent! Mine was a perfect segue into the last three days of class before a blissfully long Christmas break!

Question: Have you tried Love Grown Foods products? Have you tried Blue Diamond nuts?

Impulse Buying

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All my life — nearly 24 years, mind you — my mom has instructed/reminded me not to go grocery shopping when I’m hungry to avoid impulse buying. She also knows that my eyes have a tendency to be bigger than my stomach.

Guilty.

I try really, really hard not to grocery shop before or too long after meals in the name of said impulse buying, but I’m weird in that regard. I’m typically fantastic about sticking to my list, but I’m not great at budgeting pre-store. My dollars are well spent, though.

See, my impulse buys are rarely ever junk. I don’t typically try to sneak Doritos past myself, or justify to myself why I need a carton of Triple Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cone ice cream. Actually, I’m more likely to arrive home with unnecessary items like an organic gluten-free margherita pizza “to try,” or a $6 carton of vegan soup stock… what?

I guess you could say I’m more of an “experimental” impulse-buyer —
“Hey, these cookie dough protein bars look pretty tasty…”
“You know, I have been saying I want to try chocolate granola…”
“Well… frozen spinach is on sale, and I might need it for some future recipe I haven’t even discovered yet…”

Yesterday, I unloaded sea salt sweet potato chips and Asian pears that I hadn’t planned to buy.

I see no reason to be upset when I spend a few unanticipated bucks on fresh fruit or organic vegetables. Why be pissed about healthy impulse buys? Sometimes, when certain items on my list aren’t available (e.g. blueberries yesterday) I find myself needing to replace those items. I try to find comparable substitutes, though. For example, I might replace the fresh blueberries that were unavailable with frozen fruit; I wouldn’t replace blueberries with candy bars. Occasionally when the item I specifically want isn’t available, I don’t try to replace it with anything — I just mark it down as a “next time” buy.

Here’s how I (generally) avoid impulse buys:
– I eat at least 30 minutes before I go grocery shopping.
– I bring a snack if I think my blood sugar will drop while shopping, to avoid buying a quick-fix.
– I write out a specific, detailed list.
– I jot down menu options for the week and which grocery items I need to purchase to make them happen.
– I put question marks beside items I want as opposed to need, and I evaluate my cart before picking those items up last.
– I avoid going down aisles on which I don’t specifically need something.

Do you buy things on impulse? How do you avoid impulse buys?

Doctor, Doctor

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For the past few months, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of GI issues. Nothing serious, mind you; just annoyances I have to consider when my planning my day (for example, sitting in class for 2.5 hours at a stretch). If you’ve ever made multiple trips to the ole BR and then made none the next day (…or the day after that), you know firsthand that it’s frustrating and downright a pain in the rear. Pun not (initially) intended. TMI yet? I attributed my tummy troubles to various things over time: running, coffee, fiber intake, water intake, trying new foods, “natural” or raw foods, etc.

So, I consulted my personal MD–Ian. He may not be an established doctor yet, or even close, for that matter, but he has a vested interest in all things health-related. At first he said maybe I wasn’t getting enough fiber. I said, Honey, if I eat any more fiber, I’ll become a fiber bar.

Well, he’s been encouraging me to see a GI specialist or my PCP. I never relish the thought of doctor’s appointments. When I think back to high school, it’s a wonder I didn’t just move into a doctor’s office, between the dentist, orthodontist, dermatologist, orthopaedic specialist, neurologist, and the pediatrician… Let’s not forget my VIP status at Patient First, between getting my hand stuck in the garbage disposal, running out of essential medication, developing tendonitis as a non-athlete, and acquiring poison sumac on Christmas Eve.

Obviously, it’s not that I don’t believe in the power of doctors or anything like that. I’m more of a wait-until-the-last-minute-and-try-to-resolve-it-yourself kinda girl. I did just that yesterday. I was in Kroger, meandering through the Natural Foods section, when I happened upon Stomach Ease tea. On the back, there were even instructions for a yoga pose for “smooth sailing” — catch my drift? (I’m so punny today.)

I was pretty amped up about a more natural type of remedy. Of course, I readied myself for nothing to happen right away. Nevertheless, I brewed myself a cup this morning. The smell from the dry tea bag alone was enough to make me gag. One cup was more than enough to make me believe that maybe I can’t crack this thing with tea, or extra fiber, or a decrease in fiber, or Jamie Lee Curtis popping into my kitchen with her miracle yogurt… I literally finished the tea with my nose clamped shut and my face scrunched up like I was downing cyanide. *Sigh*…

P.S. If you have suggestions for GI regularity, I’d love to hear ’em!

Love Thyself

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Yesterday afternoon, I was a bit of a Debbie Downer, as I tweeted:

One of my sorority sisters, Colleen, reminded me to take a break, turn off the TV, and do something fun in the name of self-care. And ya know what?

She’s exactly right.

I had been glued to the boob tube all. day. long. Watching the flood warnings, highway closings, and waves lapping at homes and businesses was fascinating, of course, but I wasn’t doing myself any favors. Somehow, I slipped from watching for “updates” to watching for the sake of watching. I also slid from a carefree state about the impending storm to a state of filling every large container I could find with water, and rushing around in pursuit of D batteries.

That’s when I knew it was time to get up and get moving. I dragged my butt from the couch to the gym and hit the elliptical. Not only did I feel great physically afterward, I cleared my head of stress and anxiety.

Later, because, you know, I wanted to revisit that stressful state, I ventured out in the rain and frenzied traffic because I “needed” wine. Karma is legit, my blends; I stood clutching my wine as the panicked woman in line in front of me narrated her life story — in storm survival tales — as she unloaded an unnecessary number of loaves of garlic bread from her cart. I suppose Kroger wasn’t enough of a challenge for me, because I drove out to one of the city’s busiest roads for Chick-Fil-A.

The take-home lesson from yesterday’s adventures: it is apparent that Hurricane Sandy could not have been weathered without a Chick’n Strips Salad, Barefoot, or the company of a great friend 🙂

The second take-home lesson: Colleen was exactly right. Self-care cannot be neglected. Do something for you today. Read a chapter of a book. Light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a quiet cup of cocoa. Complete a workout circuit you enjoy. Fill the tub up with scenty bubbles and relax.  Work on a craft or project you haven’t had time for. Whatever you do today, make sure you include self-care!

P.S. I hope y’all stayed safe and dry during Sandy’s wrath!