Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s Haul

Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve been working on clearing out my pantry in anticipation for my quarterly Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods excursion. My boyfriend and I almost messed up. The weekend before Christmas, we went to Moore County to visit his family for the holidays. On our way up, as we passed through Raleigh, we decided that we would stop to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Cabela’s on our way home. Monday came and it was a dreary day as we set off back to our house with a truck full (and I mean jam packed) with gifts.

We stopped to Cabela’s but decided to bail on the other two stores. We were tired, ready to get home, and most of all – our truck was FULL! So we decided to stick to our original plan of making a day date of it while I was out on break.

That same Monday night, I attacked the kitchen in a whirlwind after we arrived home. I cleaned out our pantry – putting items that have been in our pantry for months – into a bag to donate to the local food bank (I ended up with two large bags full), throwing some expired items away. Then I started on the spices. There were spices in there from back in 2011! I let Robb go through everything before I tossed it and if he said keep it, we kept it (fair trade).

When we went to Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s the day after Christmas, neither of us were feeling at our best. That may have been why we didn’t go as crazy as I had anticipated. But that’s okay. It still ended up being a good “date” day for the two of us and I enjoy spending time with Robb. Even if it’s doing something that seems as mundane as going to the grocery store!

Here’s what we purchased:

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Some of our favorite purchases were:

  • Growler of Ginger Kombucha from Barefoot Bucha (first tried at the Heritage Festival at Monticello) from Whole Foods (Me)
  • Olives from Whole Foods (Robb)
  • Creamy Corn & Roasted Pepper Soup  from Trader Joe’s (both of ours)
  • Trader Joe’s Roasted Potatoes (mentioned before in this post)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina Flour from Whole Foods (Me) – this is for homemade corn tortillas using the tortilla press I got for Christmas!
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Molten Chocolate Macarons from Trader Joe’s – this thing is HUGE!

Since we went on Monday, we were able to take advantage of the Pasta Night at Whole Foods. For $12.99 we were able to get a pound of fresh cut pasta (our choice was spinach pappardelle), 16oz of Severino sauce (we went with the Fra Diavolo) and 4oz of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Our pasta night deal from Whole Foods with chorizo, mushrooms, and onions thrown in. Delicious!

A few nights ago, I was able to try out my new tortilla press. I know that a tortilla press is a weird thing to ask for but I love the idea of being able to make fresh corn tortillas. I still need to practice but I think I did okay! I paired my homemade corn tortillas with homemade pico de gallo, homemade lime crema, cilantro, coleslaw mix, and pan seared Alaskan halibut (with a adobo seasoning purchased from Whole Foods).

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Tacos?? A good first try.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

Expressing My Excitement to Come!

(Note: I’m filling this posts with pictures of some of the food I made when I lived in Raleigh – pulling these from my defunct flickr stream)

When I lived in Raleigh (in what seems like another lifetime now), I tended to shop at either Food Lion or Harris Teeter (depending on where I was living at the time) with visits to Whole Foods every other week. Mostly to enjoy the prepared foods bar, but also to view what new and unusual products they had in the produce section. Typically it was items that I could either not afford on a student’s budget or thought I didn’t like (such as mushrooms) but it was fun to view them. I think that was the budding foodie in me starting to emerge. About once a month or so, I would venture over to Trader Joe’s – that was back when “Two-Buck Chuck” was actually $2. If you are a Trader Joe’s fan, then you’ll know what I’m referring to.

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A delicious chicken & vegetable soup I made using brother, corn, potatoes, carrots, spices, and a rotisserie chicken back in October 2010.

Since moving back home, my grocery store choices have been limited to Food Lion, mostly to supplement what I can’t grow myself. Sure there are a couple of other grocery options (Farm Fresh and a small health food store), but I find their prices are typically higher for the same products I find in Food Lion. As the years passed, I found myself missing my Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Finally, my mom and I ventured up to a Whole Foods in Virginia and you would have thought that I was a kid in a candy store. It was heaven even though I didn’t buy much, if anything. Fast forward to dating my boyfriend. We were bored one weekend and after driving up to Bass Pro Shops, we traveled a bit further to Trader Joe’s. I think that it when he started to see the magic.

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My dinner in March 2010 – pork roast and frozen potatoes from Trader Joe’s (the potatoes were delicious) and cucumbers from a family recipe.
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Trader Joe’s purchases from March – the potatoes and pork roast pictured above are included.

Half a year later, I took him up to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and he realized that they really had some awesome things and that it wasn’t just for “hippies”. Though we spent more than we probably should have at both stores (but how could he resist the olive bar??), we made a vow that we would try to go a few times per year.

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Chicken katsu with tonkatsu sauce and cucumbers from the same family recipe as before. I crave this meal (from October 2009) even now.

So guess what time it is now? YES, it is time for our quarterly trip. Our last trip was over the summer so I wasn’t able to get the frozen items I wanted but I have a few days off from work between Christmas and New Year’s making it the perfect time for our little adventure. We are making the effort during the next two weeks to empty our fridge, freezer, and pantry of as much food as possible with no trips to the grocery store.

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Preparing for the Superbowl in February 2010 – I made shrimp dip, pigs in a blanket, velvetta cheese dip, and we had oreos.
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Shrimp dip (as mentioned above) – this recipe will be coming soon!

Mail Call: BooHoo (But No Crying For Me)

I found myself in bit of a funk one morning this week and I’m pretty positive that my breakfast choice of chocolate brownie and orange juice didn’t help the matters any. I was determined to do better the next day, so I decided to start my day with a green smoothie. I used to make a lot of smoothies but have gotten away from that since starting my new job.

This was my first dive in to the green smoothie world, so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t overdo it. My smoothie contains: pineapple, banana, coconut flakes, spinach, yogurt, milk, and a dash of agave nectar.
This was my first dive in to the green smoothie world, so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t overdo it. My smoothie contains: pineapple, banana, coconut flakes, spinach, yogurt, milk, and a dash of agave nectar.

I came home after work one night to find that I had received two packages. I love it when I get good mail. My review of the newest Homegrown Collective box will have to wait for another day, but I couldn’t wait to share what I had received from BooHoo. Based out of Manchester, Boohoo is an online retailer that provides fun fashion at an affordable price. My buys:

Cally Chunky Aztec Cardigan | BooHoo
Cally Chunky Aztec Cardigan | BooHoo

I first saw this cardigan on Pinterest and knew that I had to have it. I love the print of it. The whole “Aztec” style seems to really be in this fall as I’ve seen a lot of similar items around. On Pinterest, it was paired with a white tank top, jeans, and tall brown boots so I’m sure that I will wear something in that same vein.

Edith Short Sleeve Shawl Collar Cardigan | BooHoo
Edith Short Sleeve Shawl Collar Cardigan | BooHoo

I went back and forth over buying this cardigan, but when I thought about how versatile it could be, I decided to bite the bullet. It’s dressy enough that I could get away with wearing it at work, yet simple enough that I can wear it out with my friends when we go out for dinner or something.

Lola Slash Neck Fisherman Jumper | BooHoo
Lola Slash Neck Fisherman Jumper | BooHoo

This sweater (or rather, jumper) has turned out to be my favorite item. I’m hopefully going down to the beach in the few weeks and I can just envision myself sitting on the beach, all snug in this sweater. While I think that this sweater would look good with a pair of lighter, torn blue jeans (skinny leg – tucked into a short pair of boots), I’ll probably just rock the regular jeans and boat shoes for going on the beach. (Side note: I wore this sweater last night to bed with a pair of black sweatpants and a black tank under it and it made the perfect sleeping outfit on a chilly night.) This was my first time shopping with BooHoo and I’ll definitely visit them again. For the price, the fabric of the items was surprisingly soft and everything seemed well-made. I was notified every step of the way as to the status of my order and for as far as my package had to come, I received it quickly.

One final note: check out these gorgeous peppers that I snagged just before the first frost - jalapenos, scotch bonnet, and hot cherry peppers.
One final note: check out these gorgeous peppers that I snagged just before the first frost – jalapenos, scotch bonnet, and hot cherry peppers.