Grocery Lists + Clutch Ingredients

I have received a number of requests and questions about what my grocery list looks like, and what absolute must-haves are in the pantry to help keep things clean, but still worth eating.

For the most part I’m a believer in shopping the perimeter of a store:  produce, fruit, meat, eggs, wine.  Okay, wine isn’t really on the ‘real food’ list, but it’s an essential for me to continue to be a happy healthy person.  It’s my balance.

produce

Even if you don’t have a whole foods or local market near you, you can still eat very healthy by just avoiding the middle of the store. Nothing in a box.  Nothing with added ingredients or sugars that would not naturally be there.

On any given day, my pantry will have a full (over) stock of these absolutely critical cooking items:

  • Coconut Oil 
  • Sesame Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil (for salads only these days)
  • Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt
  • Peppercorn
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chicken or vegetable Broth
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond butter (freshly ground. I don’t like jars)

(Check out this oil 101 breakdown from Whole Foods if you have any questions about the huge selection of oils and what they are good for )

The fridge is always chock full of produce, sometimes varying by what looked good that particular trip to the market, but there are a number of staples that can always be found in a drawer, on a shelf, or sitting at the ready on the counter:

  • Avocado
  • Zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • onions! Lots of onions! Purple, yellow + white.
  • cucumber
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • apples (granny smith)
  • carrots
  • Spaghetti squash
  • romaine + arugula or spinach
  • tomato
  • cauliflower
  • bananas (peeled, frozen + vitamix ready!)
  • Natural almonds (unfrosted, unsalted)
  • Walnuts
  • Slivered or sliced almonds

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While I typically advocate fresh produce, it’s not a bad idea to grab a few bags of frozen fruit and veggies so you’ve got a back up plan if you ever find yourself in a pinch.  I highly recommend any 365 brand from whole foods and any of the Trader Joe’s frozen goods (their assorted berries are excellent!).

In addition to my fruits and veggies, I am constantly buying meat (steak + chicken) and eggs to have for every day meals.

fridge reorg

 

The challenge in clean eating isn’t enjoying food or being able to create amazing meals, it’s in being prepared, stocked, and prepped to go when it’s meal time.  Sometimes that means having veggies chopped and ready to be cooked, other times it means making a surplus of food when making a meal so it can easily be packaged into to-go meals for easy eating when you’re on the go, or at work.

When I buy meat I think about creating surplus with minimal grilling.  Flank, flat iron, and skirt steaks are all amazing and great choices for making leftover meals, and are incredibly easy to grill.

Last night in an effort to keep things simple, and make up for the fact that I hadn’t replenished the produce in the fridge (yet), dinner was flank steak, steamed broccoli (seasoned with that amazing everyday seasoning) and a salad.

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To tie in the list above, we’ll call this a the standard salad since it’s got most of the staple fridge items in it: chopped romaine, arugula, tomato, cucumber, avocado and slivered almonds.  Dressing was a simple balsamic and light olive oil.

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I loved the meal, and have tons of leftover salad, two days worth of flank steak, and even some broccoli leftover that helped out today in those late-lunch hungry moments.  I don’t expect it to survive past tomorrow, but three days of meals makes the higher priced produce and meat costs far more economical.

While these lists shared my most staple items, I’m always looking to branch out with new produce, recipes and clean eats.  Let me know what your staple and favorite must-have’s are and we’ll share them on the blog!

 

 

Sunday Groceries + Organization

By far the hardest thing about eating clean (and staying fueled) is being organized and keeping lots of balanced meals ready to eat.  Whether we’re talking full blown meals, at home or on the go, or just the snacks that are vitally necessary to keep you going until the next meal, it takes some forward thinking and preparation.

The day before we began the challenge (and every sunday thereafter) the fridge got cleaned out and organized. Since week one required a far more extensive weeding out of ‘garbage food,’ it was a fairly big undertaking.

fridge garbage

Most of that food was way past it’s prime, so it shouldn’t have been so shocking when it filled up two huge bags.

Once we had gotten the fridge contents down to the essentials, the next steps were to re-fill the fridge with essential groceries, and organize the other pantry items that had been driving me insane in crinkly bags and complete disregard for my preferred symmetrical organization. So, after I went to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, this is what went down:

1. vegetable & snack food prep: with so many meals requiring cooking, it’s nice to have some the main add-ins chopped and ready to go.  Typically this includes squash (zucchini + yellow) mushrooms, grilling vegetables, and any strawberries or fruit that needs to be chopped or washed in advance. Hard boiled eggs are also a very easy snack to prepare and have on the go.

squash preparedness

hard boiled eggs

2. fridge re-stock + reorganization: (disregard the beer + brown rice pasta, they were discarded shortly after this photo was taken, and have been mourned heavily ever since).

fridge reorg

Since Dar’s weakness is snack items, she pre-packaged some snack combos of blueberries, blackberries, and either almonds or walnuts to take with her (usually with an avocado as well).

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3. organization: I can’t even begin to tell you hot therapeutic this was, but it may have changed my life.  I’m an enormous fan of Ball + Mason jars, and  basically hoard them as craft organizers and decorative accents, so the idea of converting them into ingredient receptacles nearly brought me to tears.  Joyous. tears.

The idea is simple – take everything that was in a bag or unnecessary packaging (that wasn’t thrown in the trash for being too delicious), and transfer it into a jar.  Label the bottom side of the lid with it’s contents (and a cooking time if it applied) and organize accordingly.

ground flax seed jar

jars

Needless to say, I had a fair few things to store.  From different typed of ground flours (of the gluten + grain free variety), to brown rice pastas and all sorts of nuts and seeds.  Everything got a home, and order was restored to the kitchen.  Plus, if you ask me, it add’s a little warmth and character to the kitchen when it’s visible and orderly.

kitchen organization

jar organization

Even though we haven’t been eating any grains or pastas lately, they still look awesome in the display, and are nicely tucked away on the bottom shelf, and not in the fridge or pantry, so they’re not staring me in the face when I try to plan big meals.

The Sunday prep tradition is one that makes the whole week possible, and even today on Easter was a vital component to the day.  In fact, in the spirit of the holiday I went well beyond the normal prep work to make extensive pre-planned meals in anticipation of a pretty busy week.  Those updates will be waiting until tomorrow though since this bunny is all tuckered out.

Hope you all had happy and delicious holidays, or just quiet Sunday afternoons! Let us know if there were any must-try foods that you had, healthy or not, and we’ll do our best to re-create them as clean as possible.