New things going on at work!

Looking for rearm kits for inflatable lifejackets?  We’ve got them here!

http://rearmkit.com/

Also, we have all sorts of straps, webbing and yoga items here!

http://strapstogo.com/

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Average Cost of Food in Seattle

 

Below, you’ll see the spreadsheet that I’ve been working on that notes the average cost of a set group of items, their cost at the 6 stores that I priced them out at and the bill you should be looking at for each store.  Also, on the lower left, you will see the average bill at the three stores (Whole Foods, Kroger & Metropolitan Market (local) that carry all the items in this list.

 

Whole Foods Safeway Fred Meyer (Kroger) Metropolitan Market Trader Joes Costco Average Cost of Item
Organic Pears (lb) $2.19 $1.19 $1.99 $2.99 $2.09
Banana (ea) $0.23 $0.36 $0.16 $0.23 $0.19 $0.47 $0.27
Organic Russet Potatoes (lb) $0.99 $1.16 $0.99 $1.19 $0.70 $1.01
Organic Green Pepper (ea) $2.50 $1.59 $1.49 $1.69 $1.25 $1.70
Organic 2% Reduced Fat Milk (gallon) $3.99 $6.99 $6.99 $6.50 $5.99 $6.60 $6.18
Free Range Chicken Breasts (lb) $7.99 $7.49 $7.99 $6.99 $5.99 $7.29
Grass Fed Ground Beef (lb) $7.99 $7.49 $7.99 $4.49 $6.99
Red Onions (ea) $0.89 $0.64 $0.70 $1.49 $0.69 $0.87 $0.88
Organic Hearts of Romaine (3 heads) $3.99 $3.89 $3.99 $3.99 $2.29 $3.49 $3.61
 Cost of bill                           $30.76                                          $15.82                              $31.29                          $34.06                               $18.10                                $21.91                                               $30.02
                                                   $31.03
Average of Stores that carry all items

I would also like to point out that the boxes that don’t have values in them are items that are not carried at the stores I visited.  Also, note that at big discount retailers (Costco in this instance) things like bananas are not exactly sold per pound but in much larger quantities.  That’s wonderful for items that you can freeze (meats) and lock in a lower rate but things that are perishable it’s not always the best use of your money.

I have also gone ahead and bolded the items that are the lowest price in each category.  Trader Joe’s comes out as almost a clear winner on produce and fruit.  To me, the difference in banana & red onion cost is a moot point.  Costco is obviously a winner for the meats and I was blown away at the price of Organic milk (their 365 house brand) at Whole Foods.  The cost of the milk at WF alone puts it in contention with Kroger/Fred Meyer for overall cost.  Take out the milk and it’s a whole other ball game.

One item I didn’t include on here is fish.  Here in Seattle our fish prices are so wonky depending on the time of year that it’s more about which store carries the better quality of fish rather than getting the lowest price.  I refuse to pit farm fish (Trader Joe’s) against Alaska Sockeye (Met Mart/Kroger/Whole Foods).

So, anyone else take anything away from this little experiment?  Planning on shopping differently in the future?

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Banana bread muffins

 

2 large ripe bananas

1 cup of sugar (I used brown)

1 egg

4 tablespoons butter/margarine (room temp works)

1.5 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix bananas, sugar and egg together.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix until it looks right.  Scientific, eh?  Spoon into baking cups and cook for around 30 minutes @ 325.  Make sure you test with a toothpick to see if it’s clean and they’re done.

Super easy AND these freeze well!

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The case for changing to organic milk

2% Organic milk (reduced fat)

 

2% milk (reduced fat)

 

We drink 2% in our house for now and while we’re really happy with our milk delivery from local Smith Brother’s Farms (it’s mighty tasty) I’ve been looking into switching to organic.  It’s about $1.50 more per 1/2 gallon at Smith Brothers though so it’s got to be a good reason to switch.  I’ve also added organic milk to the spreadsheet I’m working on about the best places to buy organic and just generally better food.

There have been many studies done regarding the differences between organic and non milks.  You can read more here, here & here.  The bottom line that I have come to is that there isn’t a big difference in the actual milk (other than some trace antibiotics) but there are HUGE differences in how the milk gets to your fridge.  The whole dairy industry is completely different (how the cows live, what they eat, how the milk get processed etc) so it begs the question of “do happy cows make better milk?”.

The lack of chemicals and antibiotics is great.  The taste is better.  The cows are happier.  To me, there are brands of organic out there that come very close in price to what we’re paying for our milk delivery.  There are still local brands that are organic farming and if it means that I can get rid of one more layer of processing and crap in our food it sounds good to me.

 

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Pinterest Roundup

Brown sugar & balsamic glazed pork in a slow cooker

This wasn’t a fail but it’s not going to be going on our line up anytime soon.  First it was a little too sweet in the end for us.  The pork needs to be browned before being put in the slow cooker.  And the recipe calls for cornstarch to thicken the glaze, something that I don’t particularly like so I made the glaze the old fashioned way in a saucier.  I could see this being good on a grill maybe.

Monkey bread with dill butter

I did these in muffin tins and the ratio of butter to cooking made a greasy mess.  Less butter next time and a little more cooking time.  The middle of these just didn’t get done.  It has good flavor though and it looked impressive.

As with any time that you’re not following a recipe from a well known source (Cooks.com, Saveur, etc) and are following everyday cooks (Allrecipes.com, Pinterest etc) there is always going to be a bit of trial and error.  A lot of us post after one great batch and non-commercial cooktops and ovens (like mine!!!) sometimes aren’t showing the right temps.

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The Dirty Dozen

Everyone knows about these, right?  In trying to feed Baby B the healthiest options (and in turn getting J and I to eat cleaner) I’ve started to change my grocery shopping habits.  We have a great little produce and fruit stand outside our great little butcher shop (something that I don’t utilize enough) that sells some of the best pears in the summer and offers other organic options.  When shopping at the grocery store though, make sure that you’re choosing the following 12 foods in their organic variety to stay away from pesticides that you can’t rinse out.

 

 

I’m going to do a little shopping experience soon breaking down where to shop to buy fresh, local, organic and healthy foods.  I’ll be comparing Safeway, Metropolitan Market (local here in Seattle), Whole Foods and Fred Meyer (Kroger).  It’s so weird how such a little kiddo can change how you look at food!

 

 

 

 

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Little update

For those jonesing for a little Baby B update and pictures in your life you can now find them on the “Baby B” page.  Link in upper right on the screen.  Enjoy!

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Paraben Free Beauty

 

Honestly, I’m usually not the one to go all organic and granola on people.  I’m the one that swears by whole milk, butter and real Coke (all in moderation mind you)!  Much to my dismay, after having Baby B, I found myself researching Paraben/SLS/Fragrance free products.  He’s got sensitive skin and I came down with a nasty rash on my hand and both issues were being worsened by irritating chemicals.  The Dermatologist told me to stop using anything really that had SLS or Parabens in it.  That meant new shampoo, hand soap and of course finding some non-irritating lotion for the kiddo.

First off, we now use California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday lotion on Baby B.  I like the consistency and it doesn’t leave a greasy residue.  You can find it at Whole Foods and Target.  I haven’t tried any of their other products but they have a night lotion that cracks me up.

For bath time, we are currently using the Yes! To Carrots Fragrance Free Baby Shampoo & Wash.  I have also started using their Yes! To Cucumber shampoo and conditioner and like it almost as much as my expensive Aveda stuff.  I’m pretty picky when it comes to shampoo’s so it was great finding something quickly that made me happy.  As for the baby wash, it’s tear free and fine, but I’m not a fan of how it just feels a little dry to me.  I think I’ll be trying out some Burt’s Bees next time or even California Baby.  Again, found at Whole Foods and Target.

On and off I’ve used various products from Burt’s Bees and I have several friends that use their products on their kids to much success.  The brand can be found everywhere and it’s price points aren’t too shocking.  I love the smell on some of their items too!

The one brand that I haven’t tried, mainly because of price, is Earth Mama Angel Baby.  I noticed it was at my local Target and a lot of moms speak really highly of it.  Maybe I’ll try some soon!

For hand soaps I just pick up the small pumps from Trader Joe’s or Mrs. Myers.  We still use bleach to clean and I haven’t changed the products that I use personally for face lotion & face wash (Neutrogena) or my makeup because I’m a big believer that when you find something that works for those items, you shouldn’t tinker with it.

All in all I’m really pleased with using products that don’t have all the harsh chemicals that we really don’t need!  And it makes me feel good that Baby B is getting the lighter side of being clean too.

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Pretty indoor plant containers

These pretty pots by Scheurich showed up at our local nursery (Swanson’s) some time since Christmas.  The photos honestly don’t do them justice since their colors are really bright and vibrant!  I honestly would have bought both of them if they had come in a bigger size (these were one gallon size) since  we could use some new indoor pots for a few plants that have outgrown their current homes.  I haven’t been able to find the brand being sold online, which is a bummer since their cost at our local nurseries is a little insane.   Does anyone have suggestions on other brands of really pretty indoor plant containers that are sold online?


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Random things to make me smile

My favorite shopping area in Seattle, U Village, is FINALLY building another parking garage and this time it’s even in a good location!

A fellow boat show exhibitor told me about this iPhone app that allows you to send text messages (via Wifi) to any, or from any, country.  Fabulous for travel!

Carter’s has some of the most adorable clothing for this spring and summer!  Whales, stripes and crabs oh my!  Can’t wait to dress B in some more cute duds!

Justified is back on TV.  Tuesday’s just got a little better.

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