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.


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


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.


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.


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!



Saturday Recovery + Food Restocking

The past few weeks have been pretty hectic, and when I threw in a last minute trip down to Charlotte last weekend, my normal routine fell apart.  On Saturday morning when I opened the fridge and realized that had allowed my reserves to deplete down to liquid diet options of either booze or almond milk, I put on my coat and ventured out on a gathering expedition.
food blog - fridge pic

On a warmer Saturday in Charlottesville (seasonally dictated) I would have gone directly to the farmers market, and found all my favorite local sources of meat and produce, but alas, it is the middle of winter and four walled stores it was.

When I’m heading on a full fridge restock trip it always involves multiple stops, so on Saturday I made my way to Trader Joe’s, by way of Whole Foods.   The produce section of TJ’s has all of my staples and is always cheaper than WFM, but the meat section just can’t compare.  I am going through a pretty serious flank steak phase, and Whole Foods has some of the best grass fed cuts that don’t taste ‘grassy.’

food blog - flank steak from Whole Foods

I used the opportunity to grab an iced americano from the little coffee cart, and happily made my way across the street to Trader Joe’s where I picked up staple produce, berries,  nuts, and some basic replenishing supplies in the form of spices, pasta and coconut oil.

food blog produce
basic core staples: spinach, mushrooms, zucchini + yellow squash, romaine
food blog  spices from TJ's
TJ has the best seasoning spices – everyday seasoning is my go-to for everything
food blog berries from TJs
dark berries: blues, blacks, & rasp.
TJ's coconut oil
most universal + used staple in the house.

Friday morning included Dar’s bootcamp at Solidarity, immediately followed by Pure Barre with Kristin, so my body was ready for a rest.  Friday night had been an equally long night out venturing over to Mudhouse in Crozet to listen to a small acoustic show performed by a friend’s husband, and then dinner and drinks back downtown at Citizen Burger Bar.  By Saturday night I was ready for some down time to get work done and spend a little time creating in the kitchen, so that’s exactly what I did.

whole foods flank steak w/tenderizer & seasoning
whole foods flank steak w/tenderizer & seasoning
purple potatoes, zucchini, sliced bella mushrooms
purple potatoes, zucchini, sliced bella mushrooms

When I start chopping, I like to do more than I need and pack it away so it’s easier and faster to make quick meals during the week, so I chopped what I had and then packed the potatoes away with some mushrooms and zucchini to use in scrambled eggs this week.  The flank steak went on to the grill, and the rest went into a pan with a table spoon of coconut oil, and added spinach once everything else was tender.

food blog : mushroom, zucchini, spinach

I’m always amazed at how much spinach cooks down, and how quickly, so I never add it until the last second and try to take it off the heat before it gets too soft.  While everything was cooking down I had brown rice pasta cooking on the back burner, also taking it off the stove a minute before the suggested time to avoid it getting too soft.

food blog - brown rice pasta

After the pasta and veggies were done, they were combined in a mixing bowl, and created one of my favorite combinations of flavors.  The coconut oil combined with the juices from the vegetables acts as a natural dressing for the pasta.

food blog - 021113

food blog - 021013

I kept the salad simple since so much else was happening around the chopping block and the stove, so it was just romaine, avocado, walnuts, and mozzarella cubes, with the Trader Joe’s Cilantro salad dressing.

food blog - 021013

food blog - 021013

All in all, Saturday was a great day for both food and rest, and I threw in a couple glasses of wine for ‘moderation’ and relaxation as I pushed through the to-do lists that had been piling up.

On to a new week now, but check back in for Sunday highlights, full of more market finds, friends, and PB toning.