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Grocery Shopping

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How many of you make a list when you go shopping? I went to the store today, with a list, mind you and I still walked out feeling like I didn't get much to make good meals for the week. Does anyone else get burned out on always eating the same old food week after week?

Also, I feel like I am going to, too many different stores because- of course I like many things that can't be found under one roof! Its Whole Foods, Shaws, Hannaford, the local Farm stand- I spend so much time running around and then when I get there I do the mindless, zombie walking through the aisles trying to find good food.

Anyone else have these dilemmas and what are your good tips for a happy grocery store experience?

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  1. I enjoy grocery shopping.

    Before we go to the store we plan out the meals for the week, and make the list. We rarely deviate from the list for impulse buys, but if there is a deal on something we may stock up for the freezer.

    We go to the local butcher for the meat/fish for the week (meat/fish is an important part of every meal in our house, we are meatatarians) on Saturday, and on to the local grocery store for the other items(during the summer a stop @ the farmers market, or farmstand is on the agenda) on Sunday. We do not eat any prepared foods, I cook everything from scratch, so Trader Joes would never be on my list of stops, we also dont want to spend an arm and a leg for groceries so Whole Foods is never on the list of stops as well. We shop @ Krogers, Super Wal-Mart, or a local family owned grocery store.. sometimes a trip to the Mexican market is in order as well.

    We take our time, and get what is needed, since a trip to the store is an important part of picking out ingredients for my favorite hobby, cooking. Typically a relaxing hour on our Sunday.

    4 Replies
    1. re: swsidejim

      Sometimes I really wish I could do this, plan out the menu for the week. But I find that if I plan to have, let's say, fried chicken and mashed potatoes on Wednesday that when Wednesday gets here I don't want fried chicken and mashed potatoes but some kind of pasta (again, for example). I end up with odd and ends of things and get off schedule. Then I start running back to the store for things that I really want to eat that night instead of what I planned.

      Of course, this probably means that the store owners really love people like me. :)

      1. re: Boudleaux

        it does take some dicipline & sticking to the plan/budget, and sometimes I do switch a nights meal here or there, so I make the menu interchangeable. Typically nothing difficult to cook on a weeknight since we dont get home until 5:30 & strive to have dinner on the table by 6:00(if RR can do it I can ;-) ). So we typically have some leftovers from a weekend meal, or something I can whip together fast. This week we had leftover Italian sausage from Sundays lunch as an oven grinder sandwich last night along with the cream of broccoli soup from Sunday's dinner. Tonight will be spaghetti, and maybe some more soup. Tomorrow will be Polish sausage, kraut, and rice, and Thursday will be breakfast(eggs, toast, and bacon). Friday we go out, or get carry-out. The more labor intensive/exciting meals are for the weekends.

        1. re: Boudleaux

          I have the same problem. I make food in advance for lunch the next day, or I buy certain ingredients, only to find that when it's time to eat what I've planned, it sounds totally unappetizing. Unless it's for something I plan on making the day I go to the store or something I can use in a number of different disges, I don't really bother with fresh ingredients. I buy a lot of random canned and dry ingredients and have started relying pretty heavily on vegetables and meats from my freezer. If I have a lot of ingredients to choose from and interchange, it's easier to make what I want at the moment without letting a bunch of fresh produce go to waste.

          1. re: Al_Pal

            I will join the bandwagon of those with no discipline. My SO and I get on an "eating at home" kick and invariably get thrown off by appetite changes or a bad day at work that negates any willingness to cook. Yes, that sounds spoiled but it is also honest. I end up buying fresh fruits and stuff for lunches. It's a lot easy to be stuck with food for lunch when I can't leave.

      2. I have to use a list. I learned that my memory is not that spiffy for stuff like that. If I have the money I buy good deals when I see them, or just if something looks expecially fresh or tasty. I think of Whole Foods as my local bakery and when I go I walk through the produce in case they have something really nice and affordable, go directly back to the bakery for my pie or muffins and such, linger a little bit at the deli and hot foods buffet but tell myself no if i get tempted, and leave with my desserts and produce. I have read that always shopping at the same store saves time because you generally know where everything is, but I hit two or three stores in a week. It's hard for me to restrain myself because a supermarket is like a Toys R Us for me and I tend to stuff my cart with lots of new things to try or play with. But I'm trying to stick to the basics and plan out whole meals. Another reason I don't like my local whole foods is that the employees always seem to be just standing around staring at customers. And the customers there seem very aggressive for some reason. I don't like to go to stores in the day time, I love going at night. Less screaming kids and bored career type empoyees watching your every move. I'm really lucky that there is a 24 hr Wegman's fairly close to me. I would say, at24,, think back to some of your favorite meals from childhood, or ask other people what they love to get ideas. This weekend I'm hunting down a big pot roast to make vegetable soup out of, and I'll throw in some end of summer veggies, maybe mix soft squash like zucchini with some spaghetti or acorn squash and lots of tomatoes from a roadside stand. You sure have come to the right place for awesome ideas! Let us know how you make out!

        1. Grocery shopping is one of my chief activities these days, and I generally do it daily, since my fridge/freezer/pantry space is limited. Most of what I make is from scratch, but Trader Joe's is still my main grocery source; their frozen fish and fresh poultry are the cheapest and best, their packaged produce is often superior to what the other grocers have in bulk, and I've found that buying salad greens by the big head or bunch is a false economy (it always seems to go slimy before we've used more than two-thirds of it), and TJ's packaged greens are, again, better and cheaper than the major brands. Whole Foods is where I go for farmer's-market quality tomatoes and things between farmer's markets. I've started shopping at two Fresh & Easy markets that aren't too far away when I'm in their neighborhoods, and we're about to get one which will be right on my principal shopping route. What's most fun is the Asian and Latino markets around here (Pasadena CA and environs) - very cheap and fresh fish, great prices on fresh produce, plenty of strange stuff to experiment with in the freezer cases and on the shelves, the occasional stunning bargain (frozen BONED lamb shoulder, $3.50/lb!).

          3 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            Have you tried Persian markets too? They have a lot of good buys in there. It worth checking out if not just for the saffron at about 1/10 the usual price.

            1. re: MaxCaviar

              I'll have to go west for Persian, I think. I have shopped some Armenian ones, especially Jon's on Glenoaks in Glendale. Weird and wonderful sausages etc., any part of a lamb you want...

              My pa-in-law gave me a good-sized zip-close bag of saffron in a tin for Christamas almost three years ago, and it's holding up wonderfully. I use about a pinch per month, mostly for seafood dishes, and if it doesn't fade out on me I've got about three more years' worth!

              1. re: Will Owen

                If you get the threads rather than the powder and keep the air out it does really last.

          2. I don't use a list. Most of what we buy from May-October is from the farmer's market so we just buy whatever they have in season, and I build meals around that. We basically eat a lot of the same things and I enjoy shopping for them as 98% of what we eat isn't from a conventional grocery, but places like a farmer's market or our old-world style market where we buy our meats, cheeses, olives, coffee, etc. I only go to the regular grocery for things like flour or soup if I'm sick or the few boxed things we eat, such as seeds of change quinoa or whatever. And stuff from trader joe's. I never have a list.

            Nothing that's ever on sale in the "regular" grocery are things we eat, so it's n/a for me to look at flyers and shop the sales. We don't buy grocery store meat, we eat almost nothing that's processed, we don't drink pop/soda, etc.

            1. I either forget the list or lose it!