Budget Organics: Whole Foods on a Budget

I know I post a recipe every Tuesday, but I thought I’d share some information about the ingredients I use for my recipes, and how you can buy organic without breaking the bank!

Go in with a Plan
DH and I try to eat only organic, non GMO Foods when we eat at home. This can be extremely expensive if you do not shop wisely (before we learned to keep ourselves in check, our grocery bill could be up to $200 a week!). So, make sure you go in with a plan and a list of things you absolutely must have. I find that a loose plan works for me. I plan my recipes and grocery list around the sale section. That way I’m not married to having something on a specific day. I won’t buy  ground meat for pasta if it’s $7.99 a pound that day, but a roast is $3.99 a pound. I just adjust my plans.

Buy Meat on Sale

DH and I will not compromise on meat (See Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: I finally understand)  – the meat must be from Whole Foods or an organization with humanely raised and humanely killed meat products. Because of this, our meat bill can take up most of our grocery bill. I minimize the effects on our grocery bill by purchasing meat in bulk when it is on sale.

Read about Whole Foods animal welfare standards here: Animal Welfare at Whole Foods.

Limit Organics to the “Dirty Dozen”

Since we have had HB, I have moved towards purchasing mostly organic products — especially the “Dirty Dozen” vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

Buy Vegetables In Season, Frozen, or Canned

In order to ensure that my bill isn’t too high, I always buy in season. If a vegetable isn’t in season, I buy the Whole Foods 365 Brand frozen and canned veggies. I prefer frozen veggies to canned, but I buy all my tomatoes canned.

Subscribe to the Whole Deal for Specials on Tofu, Meat, and Other Products

Because HB was allergic to soy and products that included soy for the first 6 months of her life, I researched soy products. Soy is in everything from garlic bread to baby formula which wouldn’t be very concerning except for the fact that 90% of the soy in these products is genetically modified. Genetically modified soy beans have been linked to “disrupting hormones, allergies and digestive issues.” See What are the safest non-GMO products?

But I like soy, and I like soy products — especially tofu. Because I purchase a lot of tofu (I love tofu, and so does HB!), I have recently switched to non-GMO tofu from Whole Foods. I buy non-GMO tofu on sale because it can also be expensive. Usually, I will browse the tofu section to see if it is on sale, and if it is, I will pick it up, but there are ways to plan around it. Subscribe to the Whole Deal  and your local Whole Foods newsletters, and you will be notified when these products are on sale. I also go a step further and “like” my local Whole Foods Facebook Pages and follow their twitter feed. You can get extra notifications of deals here.

Do you have tricks for buying organic cheaply? Do you shop at Whole Foods? The Farmer’s Market? Where are your favorite places to shop for meat and veggies?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: I finally understand

When I was younger, I hadn’t really thought much about keeping the earth safe. Or about the quality of life of livestock. Or even about the sustainability of fish. When I was younger, not a lot of things seemed to bother me. My parents weren’t very “green” and they didn’t believe in “organic” or even recycling. I guess, you could say, we were living pretty obliviously — making trash and eating any and all types of meat and fish.

When I met DH, he told me I should move towards purchasing only humanely raised meat. I laughed at him. I told him that he ate at Denny’s all the time! How could he expect me to spend so much more money on meat that’s humanely raised when he ate a lot of crap? Wasn’t I better than him? That’s when he gave me an article about how badly animals are treated. I stopped eating meat for 4 months. It was pretty difficult — especially since my parents are HUGE meat eaters, but I did it.

I lapsed back into eating meat, but when I started again, I tried to only eat humanely raised, organic meats. Sometimes, I get upset about eating meat and go vegan. I go through my phases. Some months vegan, some months omnivore. But when I am an omnivore, I try to eat as little meat as possible and have introduced meatless days to our household.

When I moved in with my husband, then boyfriend, he told me that I should start recycling and living “greener.” To this, I laughed again. There’s no way! I’ve already started eating humanely raised meat, now you want me to recycle too? That’s craziness!

I carried on this way, I hate to admit, until I gave birth to HB. As soon as I looked into HB’s little grey eyes, I knew that I had to change — I understood what my husband had been trying to tell me when we first started dating. I needed to recycle, I needed to live “greener.” I needed to do these things because I want HB to live in the beautiful world we live in now. I don’t want her to live in a world of landfills. I want her to live in an area with clean air and green trees. I want there to be rainforests and funny looking animals for her to research and learn about. I want her to dream about one day seeing these things for herself.

As I l watch at HB running in a park or turning her sweet face towards the sun and smiling, I think about how important our world is… and I want to stop contributing to its destruction.

For this reason, I’ve been moving towards green cleaners (see my scented vinegar recipe post), I’ve stopped complaining about DH buying toilet paper made out of recycled materials (it feels like sandpaper and costs more), and I’m moving towards cloth diapers for HB. But, I feel like there is much, much more I could do.

Here are a few links I found about living a green lifestyle that seem to be quite helpful:

What are you doing to be more green? What was the catalyst for you to start your green journey? For someone like me trying to move towards a greener lifestyle, what would you suggest?

Celebrate Earth Day with Vinegar!

Ever since I cloroxed myself, I have been looking for green cleaning supplies. First, I switched to Mrs. Meyer’s , but it was pretty pricey. Periodically, I could find it on sale or with a coupon code at Whole Foods, but I thought I’d make my own cleaner after I found out it had artificial fragrances.

That’s when I started making scented vinegar cleaners. To date, the best cleaner I have made is a lovey smelling lavender Meyer lemon vinegar. It smells delicious and it cleans my counter quickly. I also use it for fabric softener, cloth diaper stripping, and to clean my grout. If you spray vinegar in your shower after every shower, mold won’t grow as quickly. You’ll still have to scrub your grout periodically, but not as often.

Here is a great link for what vinegar can be used for: Vinegar Tips

I love vinegar, and scenting it removes some of the vinegar smell. It may not remove all the smell, but it’ll clear up some of it!


Meyer Lemon and Lavender Scented Vinegar Recipe


White Vinegar Fill a mason jar
Lavender Essential Oil 20 drops
Meyer Lemon Peels As many as you can fit in your mason jar

Add all ingredients together in a mason jar and leave in counter for 1.5 weeks to 2 weeks. When ready, strain out vinegar. Place in a jar or spray bottle (jar if you’re using it for laundry, spray bottle if you’re using it for cleaning).

Make sure you shake the bottle each time you use it so the essential oil gets mixed around. Otherwise you’ll use all your essential oil in one usage.

Have fun! I recommend trying all sorts of fruit peels or essential oils. Again, my favorite is Meyer Lemon (you can smell the difference between Meyer lemons and regular) and lavender, but you may like something else. Like, Lemon Mint or Rosemary Mint. Just make sure you break the rosemary leaves. Otherwise, you may have just a pretty looking stem in your jar with no smell.

Sunday Brunch with Baby

I love cooking Sunday brunch for my family. It reminds me of dressing up for church days, pancakes, and family days. 

I want to recreate this tradition for my daughter — my style.
After we wake up, DH and I bring HB down, we change her, and I begin breakfast. 
Today I was feeling a bit lazy so we had an organic rainbow chard ($1.50 a bunch at Whole Foods!) omelette with Tillamook Cheddar Cheese (Costco!) and leftover rice with stir fry. For great eggs, add a little milk to the eggs, scramble until fully incorporated, but not perfectly smooth, and cook on medium heat.







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