6 Things I’ve Stopped Buying At The Grocery Store

PJ may have just noticed that we’re eating clean in Neverland, but there have been some gradual changes happening for awhile that went right over that cute curly head! A big one is in the way we grocery shop. I’ve mentioned before that planning ahead and cooking extra foods on the weekends is a key part of how I manage to get through the week.

For my new friends (hello!), I’ll recap that on the days I go into the office, I work 10 hour days so that I have an extra full day off with the little man. This is great in many ways, but being able to consistently get a healthy dinner on the table isn’t one of them. In the winter, I rely on my Crock Pot and casseroles that can be made in double or triple batches and frozen. Now that it’s too hot to run my oven so much, I’ve been having to adjust.


Chicken & Bok Choy Soup - easy, delicious, and freezes well! Leave a comment if you'd like to see a future post with the recipe 🙂

I’ll admit that this was not a smooth transition. We went through a few weeks where we ate out or ate a lot of convenience foods, and I felt much worse for it. But things are getting easier, and I feel like I’ve finally got my mojo back to share some of my survival lessons learned with all of you lovely people!

My best summer plan ahead tool is our grill. I do all of our meats for a week at the same time – and we actually have a bigger variety than we did during the winter because of it. Last night, for example,  PJ and I had grilled salmon and Paul (who is not a big fan of seafood) had pork chops – and it took next to no extra time, and didn’t break my “one family, one dinner” rule because I was already preparing multiple recipes. Win win! And now we have pork chops frozen to eat another night next week!


The other thing I’ve had to work past is how to shop for and make quick prep meals without compromising our whole foods goal. Here are 6 things I’ve completely eliminated from my grocery store shopping list:


Honey Cashew Oatmeal - way better than anything you find premade in the cereal aisle!

1 – Oatmeal Packets

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. It’s easy to pack, keeps me full almost as well as eggs, and can be dressed up so many ways. I stopped buying premade packets and started buying rolled oats (in bulk when I can get them). Every few weeks, I make up my own packets in snack size baggies. I put a half cup of oats into each baggie, add any dry ingredients, and write on the bag with a sharpie any wet ingredients to be added when I’m ready to eat it. I usually do two bags of each flavor and store them in the pantry. Check out my “Rise & Shine” Pinterest board for the recipe pictured above and some of my other favorite varieties!


Thawed frozen rice, leftover chicken, and a can of black beans make a great burrito in next to no time!

2 – :90 Rice Packets

For awhile, I bought these so we could have a quick side dish when I heated up a pre-made dinner, or to use in casseroles to save the time of cooking rice before baking. And then one day it occurred to me to try cooking a BIG pot of rice and freezing it in smaller portions. I let it cool, then divide it into quart size freezer bags which conveniently hold about two cups each. Squeeze the air out of them and freeze flat. Saves space, and I only have to do it once every month or two. I cook the rice with chicken stock and add any other flavorings when I reheat it.

3 – Hummus

This is a favorite snack in our house. Even the baby likes it! But a small container is fairly expensive, so it used to be an every now and then treat. Then I discovered the awesome blog 100 Days of Real Food and purchased one of her recipe collections, which included a recipe for hummus that is to die for. That particular collection isn’t available right now, but if you follow her blog I am positive you will find several other similar recipes that can replace pre-packaged staples in your grocery order.


4 – Lemon Juice

This one may be pretty obvious, but I’ve made it a point to cut out lemon juice and lime juice from bottles. I buy in bulk when they are on sale, run them through my juicer and freeze the juice in cubes. Bonus: it makes my kitchen smell amazing!


5 – Salad Dressing

I’ve been eating a lot of salads since the weather turned it up a few notches. And I’ve found that it’s much better and easier to make my dressings than buy them. Like oatmeal, the varieties are endless – pear and arugula salad with a cinnamon pear vinaigrette, anyone? Although my go to favorite is to just splash together some olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and a dash of salt. It goes well with just about everything, including this delicious turkey wrap with avocado!


6 – Protein Shakes

This is a newer one, and a surprise even to me. I have resisted protein shakes as I’ve been getting further into clean, whole food cooking. I was all “Why do I need that when I’m eating all these different proteins, fruits, and veggies already?” Buuuut, I decided to listen to a friend of mine who has had some pretty amazing success with the Beachbody program, and added shakes after my morning workouts.

Holy breakthrough, Batman! I actually found that a shake early in the morning helps me snack less the ENTIRE day. But because I’m stubborn and skeptical, I started out with grocery store shakes to save some money. They made a difference, but eventually I took the plunge and ordered the real thing (Shakeology) and I feel better on a whole different level. One of the things I love is that the ingredient list derives nutrients from actual food and tells you what they are.

You can’t get Shakeology in a store, but if you want to check it out, here is my Team Beachbody site that has everything you need to know about them. [Disclosure: I am an Independent Coach for TBB and receive a small commission if you decide to order anything through this site.]

I hope that you’re all having a great summer so far, and would love to hear what your “hot weather” coping strategies are for preparing healthy meals, especially if you try to cook ahead like I do!

PJ’s Diary: Babies Against Clean Eating

Mommy says we are “eating clean” this week. I think this is a terrible idea. The best part about eating is getting real dirty!


I don’t mind all the good, fresh veggies, I even made her give me a yummy scallion to munch on – it went real nice with my peanut butter and banana sandwich!


And the eggs with tomatoes, fresh basil, and turkey bacon – deeeeeeelicious!


But how am I supposed to enjoy my food if I have to keep it clean all the time?!


I think I’m gonna go to Great Grandma’s house for the week. She understands me.


So how about it Mommy? Pack me up some yummy veggies and fruit, and I will go where they appreciate a good mess and aren’t stingy with the ice cream!


But …You’re coming with me, right?

Defying the Gravity of SCOTUS

I firmly believe that there is a Broadway song for every occasion. That when what you feel is much too big for words alone, you need music and a powerhouse singer to get it out. That’s how I’ve been feeling all week.

Why couldn’t you have stayed calm, for once! Instead of flying off the handle — !

I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy now
I hope you’re happy how you’ve
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you’re clever!

I was taught, many years ago, that our court system is supposed to represent the interest of justice (saaaaaaay, do you think that’s why they’re called Justices?!)


I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy too
I hope you’re proud how you would
Grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

So though I can’t imagine how
I hope you’re happy
Right now


Do you think this case was really about 4 specific prescriptions? Or about whether you pay for them pre-tax as part of your compensation or deducted premiums or post-tax in cash? Or is it about whether someone in a powerful decision making position has the right to make a religiously based judgment and pass it on down the line regardless of the faith or beliefs of the individuals in that line?

Elphie, listen to me. Just say you’re sorry!

You can still be with The Wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted –

I know
But I don’t want it – No!
I can’t want it anymore

It is not “beside the point” to note that the insurance plans in question here cover Viagra and Cialis without batting an eye. The relevant part there is that men are able to make decisions about their sexual health informed by their own needs and their doctor’s recommendations. But the sexual health of women is subject to higher scrutiny – that it’s a-ok for an employer to make a moral judgment before a woman even enters a doctor’s office about which medications are appropriate.


Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by
The rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap…

It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

I have been alarmed many times in the past few years about legislation and proposed legislation regarding pregnant women – laws in Arizona would have legally defined pregnancy as beginning two weeks BEFORE conception. This is part of a medical definition, but making it a legal definition is a whole different ballgame.


And don’t even get me started on “personhood” laws that could have landed me in jail while I was pregnant with PJ for ::gasp:: being in a liquor store with intent to purchase alcohol. Never mind that it was for a party, and I’m a good hostess who doesn’t expect other people not to drink on my account – if these “personhood” laws had been in effect, the store clerk would have been a mandated reporter and I would have had to prove that I was not planning to get wasted and harm my child.


Can’t I make you understand
You’re having delusions of grandeur?

I’m through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I’ll never know
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love, I guess I’ve lost
Well if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost

I’d sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

I don’t often write about feminist issues, partly because I see the kind of hate that is directed toward women who do, and partly because I know that my opinions on these subjects upset people that I care about and I try not to do that when I can help it. But here’s the thing – if more people like me, who care about women being full and equal members of society, not just capable of but trusted to make our own decisions start speaking up, maybe the point will come across.


Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do -together!

Together we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team
There’s ever been – Glinda!
Dreams the way we planned ’em

If we work in tandem

There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

They’ll never bring us down!

Well, are you coming?

It isn’t just career feminists, who study and write about these issues every day (and kudos to them for doing it, I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress!) who should be involved in this conversation, engaging with the anti-feminist movement. Everyone should add their voice. Do you think that 4 of the 20 most effective contraceptive methods are morally wrong? Start writing about it, share your point of view, and back it up with your research. You never know who will read it and be informed by it when they need to make a decision.


[GLINDA decides to stay behind.]

Here’s where it gets tricky, though. Taking your opinion and writing it into legislation says “I don’t trust you to make the right decision about your health and your family.” It says that you feel your position is so weak that you need muscle to back it up. Or that you think women aren’t capable human beings who can evaluate their needs and their options as fully as men can.


I hope you’re happy
I hope your happy now that your choosing this –

You too–
I hope it brings you bliss

I really hope you get it
And you don’t live to regret it
I hope you’re happy in the end
I hope you’re happy my friend

There is nothing wrong with having religion guide your life – many wonderful people do amazing, good things in the name of God. I support several organizations both personally and professionally that help support women who choose to continue an unplanned pregnancy. I think they do great work, and I am happy to see women thrive in situations that started out scary and uncertain – women like my own mom, who had me very young.

But there has to be a recognition of where personal beliefs end, and where public policy begins. For myself, I don’t need access to abortion services. And I don’t feel a need to get into a debate about what kind of circumstances are or aren’t acceptable for someone else to seek one, because you can play the exception game all day long and get nowhere. So how about this groundbreaking idea – recognize that women are fully capable human beings, who can evaluate their own needs and circumstances, seek out information on points they’re unsure about, accept the counsel of their support system, their doctor, and their conscience, and make a decision without the input of their congressional representation or their boss.


So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky!
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me!

I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court for ruling that employees have less individual autonomy than the corporations they work for. This Court has proved over and over (Citizens United, McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby) that it believes in the Golden Rule above all else – they who have the gold, make the rules.


Where is the Justice in that for individuals so unfortunate to be the employed rather than the employer? Did I miss the section of the First Amendment that says “This is a weighted right – by accepting a paycheck, you agree to be governed by the $peech of your betters, and are now free to practice their religion as they see fit.”

Tell them how I am defying gravity
I’m flying high, defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown

Lots of people responded to the outrage over this ruling by saying “Don’t like it? Don’t work there! Find someone who shares your own beliefs and work for them, or start your own company and make your own rules!” (Can you hear the hymns playing at the “start your own company” line?) My BFF Anne had a great point to make about this – should we really need to ask in an interview, along with job description, salary, and benefits questions, about the personal religious beliefs of the company owner? Has it really come to that? And will job applicants have court protection if asking those questions gets them into trouble of any kind?


And starting a company is a great option – for everyone. All it takes is a great idea, right? Anyone can do it! No experience in sourcing, production, bookkeeping, marketing, law, finance, or customer service needed, just start your own business and then YOU can make decisions about your health care! Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to find someone from that lower class species of Job Seeker to make decisions FOR in a week or two! And with all that money that will start rolling in the minute you let people know you are a Job Creator, you even get free speech in election years! Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog!


Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!

And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!!

Or maybe, just maybe, employees are people too – with religious beliefs of their own, and the desire to participate in their own lives and society regardless of how much cash they have to contribute to election campaigns. They may even have ::stage whisper:: sex lives.


Bringing up the other medical uses for birth control is important, but misses the main argument – that women’s bodies and medical decisions are held to different standards of scrutiny than men’s are. And that is what the executives at Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS five got wrong.


At least someone got it right.

I hope you’re happy

Look at her
She’s wicked
Get her!!


All you need to do to see why I hesitated to post this are read the Facebook comments on any article on the case. I’ve referenced some of the tamer themes here, but there are plenty of worse ones out there if you care to see what people have to say about women who think like I do. Or you could read through the #YesAllWomen conversation. Hopefully, it makes you uncomfortable.

Bring me down!

No one mourns the wicked
So we got to bring her –



But hopefully, it also makes you think.