Friday, March 23, 2012

life rearranged


I created this. Yes, I did. Without a cookbook, the internet, or even asking my mom! I have issues making meals without strictly following directions, so I was kind of proud of myself. Baby spinach, apples, broccoli slaw, and JP's special sauce (Ranch, cilantro, lemon juice, and jalepeno). The only thing it is missing is some kind of cheese. Goat maybe? Or feta? I'll have to try both.
I am suffering from withdrawal from this little cutie...and his mommy. It's been almost two weeks since we last saw Griffin and Aunt Emily. We need a fix. And we'll get one next week when they come visit us during Carson's spring break. Yay!!!
Chef Carson. Have I mentioned how much this boy likes to dress up?
Deliciousness. I love my new Magic Bullet. As seen on TV, it really can do anything! This week, I made a sauce for fish tacos, countless smoothies, and an iced mocha latte, all with this little mixer. No cleanup required.
Justin brought this pretty mug home from his trip to Alaska. Now we have three collectors' edition mugs from Starbuck's. One from Chicago, one from Canada, and this one from Alaska. I'm not usually a big "collector," but I told Justin I wouldn't mind if he brought home more of these.
YUM. These are oatmeal cookies Carson and I made on Tuesday. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for me), I am the only one who likes them. Chewy oatmeal raisin cookies with maple syrup laced cream cheese...what's not to like?
Delicious and nutritious breakfast served by Carson. He had this little plate of treats waiting for me when I came downstairs Friday morning. Gorilla Puffs, a banana, and a heart shaped chocolate. What a sweet boy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways...

Trader Joe's. My favorite place to shop.

Now if they would only put one in Matthews!!!

I love Trader Joe's. If I could grocery shop only one place, TJ's it would be. Unfortunately, the closest Trader Joe's is a good 20 minutes away, and 20 minutes is often too much of a drive for me to justify, especially with the price of gas climbing steadily.

So, I decided to do an experiment, so I could justify to myself, and to my husband, the trip across town for groceries.

I shopped at a popular grocery store. I won't mention the name to protect the chain's reputation, but let's just say their specialty is BOGOs. During this particular trip, I purchased items for a week's worth of meals. Almost everything I bought was on sale or was part of a BOGO deal. I spent $84.00.

The next week, I made the trek to Trader Joe's, bought the exact same items, and spent $75.56. Here's where it gets interesting. Trader Joe's does not offer sales, nor do they accept coupons. The price I paid for those items that particular week will be the price I pay any other time I visit the store. AND, much of what I purchased was organic. Not one item I purchased at the other store was organic. I won't bore you with a list, but let me just note a few of the items I purchased. The first price is Trader Joe's and the second is the other grocery store.

orange juice 2.99; 2.97
veggie sticks 1.99; 2.50
Honey Nut Cheerios 2.49; 2.79
blueberries (11 oz) 3.99; 5.99
cereal bars 1.79; 2.99
gallon 1% milk 3.69; 4.97
bananas 1.16; 1.25
chicken strips 5.29, 8.99

Fruit is almost always less expensive at Trader Joe's, even when buying organic.

There's more to be said about a grocery store than just whether or not their prices are good. Most people grocery shop at least once a week (but if you're like me, you find yourself in a grocery store every other day). My total shopping experience is better at TJ's. My kids actually love going with me because they do the treasure hunt while I shop, then get to choose a prize out of the treasure box. The ladies in the back always have something delicious to sample, and some of our best meal ideas come from there. Carson loves eating the samples and I have tried new foods with him I never thought he would like because of something we've eaten spinach tortellini with garlic...who knew?

And one more detail that makes Trader Joe's extra fun..

Mustache Day!!!

If you've never been to Trader Joe's, you have to try it. I promise, you'll be going back for more!