Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Snack Bins

Snack bins! 

I love having snack bins because the kids can get their own snack for school, or if I'm on an important call, they can go grab a snack without needing my help.

 In our bins are usually 365 dried fruit, 365 Graham Crackers, 365 cereal, and 365 animal crackers.

I have a small bins right next to the snack bin in the pantry for the kids to put their empty snack bags so they get used many times. 

Seriously, 365 brand rocks!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Homemade Granola Bars (No bake!)

2.5 cups Nature's Path Crispy Rice Cereal
2 cups 365 brand rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds (from bulk at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup chopped salty peanuts

2/3 cup 365 brand peanut butter
2/3 cup 365 brand honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup 365 brand light brown sugar
3/4 cup 365 brand mini chocolate chips

Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl
In small saucepan, heat honey, brown sugar to a boil
Immediately take off heat
add vanilla and peanut butter and mix well
Add to dry ingredients and mix very very well
Let cool 5 min
Add chocolate chips
Mix well
Spread onto bar pan and pack down with wooden spatula

Cut in to 4 rows of 7

My kids (who are 3, 6, and 9 yrs old) say this is their favorite granola bar they have ever had!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cold Smores

My 8 year old daughter and I invented these a couple of years ago... they are DELICIOUS... and frankly... don't you want a COLD smore in summer?  I do!

365 Dark chocolate chunks (baking aisle-- mine here are poured into a mason jar, you need about half a bag to make 6 large smore sandwiches)
365 Honey Graham Crackers

Melt chocolate in microwave 45-60 seconds, stir madly til smooth

Spoon chocolate onto each graham cracker

Spoon truwhip onto a separate graham cracker, then gently place on top of chocolate one

You can leave them "open faced" if you'd like

Freeze 20 minutes, then enjoy!

Doing Whole Foods in about $30- Trip 3

I'm making vegetarian matzo ball soup, and a big salad to last for lunches MondayFriday.
My salad base is usually a bag of romaine hearts, one bunch kale, one head purple cabbage, sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds.  If I have room in my budget, I'll add: organic peppers, avocado, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, purple onion.  I always go for the rainbow.

I also bought 5 lbs potatoes for loaded potato night and rosemary roasted potatoes one night along with the salad.  I love to put pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds in my salads, they are so nutritious and add a nice crunch.  Hummus was on sale so I got these two huge tubs for $2.50 each.  The carrots are organic and the entire bunch was 80 cents.

Whole Foods Trip #3 totaled $33

Doing Whole Foods in about $30: Trip 2

This trip was for a few more snack items for lunches and to make Vegan Stuffed Peppers (which came out amazing).  We also baked pumpkin muffins.
Again, I had my staples already in hand (beans, corn, flour, cane sugar)...but did need to buy most of the ingredients-- and going organic on all Dirty Dozen produce can up the price a but, but it is important if possible!

Whole Foods Trip # 2 totaled $33

Doing Whole Foods in about $30- Trip 1

Whole Foods in about $30- Trip 1

So... I shop at Whole Foods almost daily. Why? 

Because I can walk there from home, I love the friendly faces, and I like my ingredients super fresh. I like to think of my local Whole Foods as my nearby European outdoor market and I shop for my fresh ingredients for dinner each day.  Is this more time consuming than one big shop every week? I don't know, but I certainly enjoy it more and find I waste MUCH less food.  Usually, I schlep my kids with me, so they see us buying fresh ingredients that we eat daily.

I have found a lot of my shopping trips come to about $30.  Some days I may spend only $7!

I decided to start documenting my shops, because I feel I get a good deal for the price of organic, fresh, natural items. (I include toiletries in these shops).  It is important to me to "pay the farmer, not the doctor" so cheaper isn't usually better in my opinion.

I will also mention what I plan to do with the groceries, but because I keep a lot of staples around, I usually never have to shop for every ingredient.

Here is my blog post about staples to keep on hand-- buy them when Whole Foods has sales.  Disclaimer- I'm in Florida, but my two best friends live in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and the prices seem to be the same for the most part.  Other disclaimer- our family is vegetarian... I have no idea about shopping for meat or fish. (And that saves a lot!)

So... First shop... This was kind of a lunch shop.  I send 3 people off with packed lunches (one day a week it is 4 people).  They all love and ask for Luna bars for treats (they are very filling, too) but I don't like to spend more than $1 per bar. These were all on sale.  I also will make that pizza for my toddler's lunch and then might send a cold piece with the kids the next day.  That 365 pizza was $3.99.  
Tonight I'm making a huge crock of Mexican Dip for dinner.  Refried black beans, Greek yogurt, avocado, tomatoes, purple onion... And we eat it with tortilla chips.  We are always stuffed by the time dinner is over! Sounds like an appetizer but it makes a great easy Friday night meal.  Also... I needed deodorant.  ;) I like natural deodorant, and WF usually has the best bargains.

Whole Foods Trip #1 totaled $31

Summer Lunch

The is one of my favorite summer poolside lunches to do... it feeds 5-8 people for just about $15.
365 Veggie Dogs are delicious, but they have carrageenan so I don't do this more than once a week or so (for a summertime lunch).  If you can get your kids interested in sauerkraut, it's a great food to have in your diet: Some of the health benefits of sauerkraut include its ability to increase your digestive health, boost your circulation, protect your heart health, provide you with quick energy, stimulate your immune system, strengthen your bones, reduce your overall cholesterol levels, eliminate inflammation, protect against certain cancer, and even improve your vision and skin health.

Buy:  pack of 365 veggie dogs, Whole Foods bakery hot dog buns, 365 dill pickles, 365 Kettle chips, sauerkraut.-- at my WF this is on an end cap fridge with the tempeh, seitan, etc. (Lemonade optional!)

Best mustard EVER-- my entire family goes through this mustard like water.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Red Pantry

Red Pantry is the pantry my husband and I built to accommodate overflow from the regular pantry.

Looking inside Red Pantry will tell you all you need to know:

I try to buy these when they are on sale and stock up.   By keeping these things stocked (3-4 of each item) you save money by getting the lowest price (wait til it is on sale-- sales usually run every 2 months, so get 2 months' worth if you have the space) and you also don't ever have to do a full shop.  You shouldn't have to shop for staples more than 6-8 times a year maximum.

Baking shelf:
Organic Cane Sugar (non-organic contains animal product)
Waffle mix
Organic Brown sugar (non-organic contains animal product)
Chocolate chips

Dry goods shelf:
Chickpeas- dried
Brown rice (poured into mason jar for better storage)
Refried Black Beans
Black beans
Lentils- dried
Boullion cubes (Rapunzel brand, no salt)

Peanut butter
Taco shells
Snacks: Animal cookies, banana chips, dried cranberries, graham crackers, breakfast bars, etc

I Love Whole Foods

Yep... the supermarket.

I love it.

I go almost everyday to my local store, I know the employees, they know my kids... the awesome coffee bar people know how I take my coffee.  Sometime in the last year, I think I replaced my extended family with Whole Foods.  Oh, yeah.  It's serious.


I can shop a bit more relaxed there... they don't sell any of the ingredients I try so hard to avoid.   I'm glad my kids are seeing Whole Foods as the "default".  The 365 brand is a great bargain.  (You cannot get natural peanut butter anywhere else for just $2.49).

So... here are my adventures in Whole Foods Market.

Some recipes, some tricks, some favorite WFM traditions.  (Sunday breakfast on the WFM patio, anyone?)

Away we go...!