I only grocery shop once a month and many people have found this interesting and have asked how I do this. So, I thought I would share a peek of my shopping. I have posted about this before but it’s changed this year. I live in a small town with very limited shopping options so I shop in Norman, Oklahoma, it’s about 60 miles away.
My husband and I used to go after he got off work one Friday each month, this meant getting back very late and it just didn’t work very well. Plus my husband hates grocery shopping. My mom had been talking about wanting to go up to Norman once a month as well so we decided to start going together. We call these hippie days because of the kinds of places we eat and shop. So here is a little overview of our trip.
About a week before, I start meal planning, largely using Pinterest these days. I figure out what food I have on hand, what’s on sale, and what coupons I can find, and try to plan meals using those items as much as possible. I plan for six nights a week because we often do simple things at least one weekend night a week and I just keep those kinds of things around all the time. I also print coupons, put sale prices on my list so I know it’s the best price, and get my reusable bags, produce bags and freezer bags ready.
My mom and I aren’t morning people so we normally leave late morning. We load up her Prius with our glass recycling, because we can’t recycle glass in our town, and head to Norman. When we get there we normally will head to our favorite place to eat, the Pink Elephant Cafe & Tres Cantina, it’s two great restaurants that have been combined to make one amazing restaurant. It’s locally owned by sweet family, that I love. This time we both got what they call a delight plate, it’s a half of a sandwich (they have several great options), a cup of their homemade soup, and a piece of their daily special cake. The soup this time was the most amazing cheesy baked potato soup. It was the best soup I’ve ever had! It was smokey and the perfect texture. My mom and I both could have had a huge bowl of it. We talked about how we wanted to take home a gallon of it to eat with homemade bread, yum! The cake was a lemon berry cake, their cakes are so moist and wonderful. I really like the fact that they don’t put icing on them but instead just sprinkle some powder sugar on top.
After lunch we headed to the recycling drop-off to recycle our glass, because we need all the room we can get for our mass amount of groceries!
After recycling, the shopping begins. We started at a regional store, Homeland. It’s a nice, clean store and much smaller than Walmart and Target. It’s also employee owned. They have a pretty good selection of bulk foods and organic food but I only get food there if there is a good sale or if I need seafood as they have a good selection of sustainable seafood. This trip I just got two gallons of vinegar for cleaning.
Our next stop is Dodson’s, it’s a fairly large natural food and vitamin store. It’s been around since 1968 and has wonderful prices. I have found items there that are cheaper than Super Target. They also often have sales and the service is great! This is where I do most of my shopping.
Normally after Dodson’s we would head to Native Roots Market, but sadly it had to close this past month because they were being hurt by a national natural food store chain and more are coming in. I get local meat, local food, deli items, and often gifts at Native Roots Market. Thankfully they are opening a store in Oklahoma City, so we will start going up there every other month or so once they open.
Since we didn’t have Native Roots Market to go to this time, we headed to Natural Grocers. Now this is a chain natural food store so we just use it to fill in with things we can’t get at the locally owned stores or if there is a really good sale, like I got some organic grapes for $1.99 a pound. They also have some produce we can’t get at the local stores.
After a fairly quick stop we went to a very cute and unique store called The Earth Natural Food. It’s a locally owned natural food store that carries a lot of local items. It’s fairly small but my mom and I love it. We often call it “the hippie store.” If you check out the photos below you may understand why. They even have a garden behind the store and most people use the rear entrance. It’s also in the middle of a residential area and we seem to miss it almost every time, this time we found it on the first try!
Our last stop of the day is a locally owned store called Forward Foods. This store carries a lot of bulk food, local food, and natural food but mostly they carry amazing cheese, I wish I had remembered to get a picture inside the store of the cheese. I may remember to next month, if I do I will post it on my Facebook page. They have amazing cheeses you can’t find other places, though I have to say my favorite is their organic mozzarella, doesn’t seem exciting but it’s the best mozzarella I’ve had! Here is where I got the weirdest assortment of items, mint chocolate chip gelato, organic all spice, and an organic lemonade for the way home. The gelato is made in northern Texas so it’s semi-local to me, it’s very good! They also have a $10 (or so) a pint ice cream that is made from grass-fed milk, it’s amazing.
We left just as a dust storm started, not like Arizona style or anything, but bad for some place that isn’t a desert, or at least shouldn’t be. It was a sign of just how dry we are right now. The dust storm was caused by high winds from an incoming cold front. The weather change was crazy. At one point the car said it was 111, when we left it was in the upper 90’s. I checked the temp in our town on the way home and it was 107, when we got home (a little over an hour later) it was 102, and less than 30 minutes later it was 90. It was very windy and we got some rain, which was great.
In case anyone is as noisy as I am, here is what I bought, I will list brands if I know what they are. We of course still had some food at home, I still had lots of staples, like flour, yeast, and such and we had a fair amount of meat in the freezer as I stocked up before Native Roots Market closed. Not all is the healthiest and there is more packaging than I would like but I try.
- 2 gallons of Heinz white vinegar (this is for cleaning or I would buy organic in glass)
- 1 Sweet Leaf organic lemonade
- Organic all spice
- Talenti mint chocolate chip gelato
- Florida Crystals organic cane sugar
- Organic pineapple juice
- Just Apples organic apple sauce
- Organic mayo
- Organic apricot fruit spread
- Organic Valley ricotta
- Local ground buffalo
- 2 packages of organic frozen green beans
- Organic frozen peas
- Aluminum-free baking powder
- Organic honey graham crackers
- Organic frozen mixed berries
- 2 packages of Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies
- 2 tubs of Organic Valley parmesan cheese
- 6-pack of Organic Valley eggs
- Green & Black organic dark chocolate bar
- Now citric acid
- 2 packages of Organic Valley pasture butter
- Applegate Farm’s bacon
- Organic O’s cereal
- Back to Nature cheddar crackers
- Organic lasagna noodles
- 2 packages of Annie’s bunny fruit snacks
- 2 packages of Annie’s organic mac & cheese
- 2 packages of Organic Valley cream cheese
- 2 packages of organic angel hair pasta
- Pop’s chili lime chips
- Spry peppermints
- Local colby jack cheese
- Organic fusilli pasta
- Sundrops chocolate candies
- 3-pack of organic romaine hearts
- 2 organic lemons
- 1 organic onion
- Several organic macintosh apples
- A bunch organic bananas
- Organic peach
- Several organic kiwis
- Organic nectarine
- Organic pluot
- Organic grapes
- Organic pear
- 3 pounds of organic russet potatoes
- Organic lip balm
- Applegate Farm’s Salami
- Applegate Farm’s Proscuitto
- 3 loafs of Rudi’s organic bread
- Bob’s Red Mill baking soda
- Choice Organic black tea
- Organic lavender essential oil
- 4-pack Stonyfield Farm Yo Baby banana yogurt
- Imagine organic chicken broth
- Some local brand of grass-fed full fat plain yogurt
- Organic Valley Baby Swiss
- Applegate Farm’s Italian Sausage
- 2-packs of Organic Valley string cheese (my husband loves it, I hate the waste but we compromise and he eat less than he would)
- 3 packages of Organic Valley cheddar
- 4 packages of Organic Valley pepperjack
- Organic Valley mozzarella
- Preserve razor
- Sweet orange essential oil
- Organic tomato paste
- 2 chocolate candies, can’t remember the brand
- 4 Suncups
- Surf Sweets gummy bears
- 2 boxes of Alexia fried mozzarella sticks
- Natural bath bomb
So how do you grocery shop? Once a week? Every other week? Once a month? Do you meal plan first or just buy what you think you will need and go back if you need something else?