Groceries and benches

I’d like to take a second and thank….

-our neighbors, who brought over the best enchiladas I’ve ever had. A bold, very true statement.

chili and enchi

(Savored it- cheese and all. If someone makes the tortillas and sauce from scratch, you need to have the full experience. I wanted to curl up and live in that enchilada)

-the little chocolate map. It’s really for the sake of other people because otherwise I’ll pick the bottom off the chocolate and maybe put it back in the box. Sorry I’m not sorry 😉


(Thank you, nana for our Easter chocolates!)

-Trader Joe’s, for existing.


Livi and I went on a massive grocery shop, and the grand total at TJs never ceases to amaze me. If I got the same ingredients at Whole Paycheck Foods, it would easily be twice as much.


Since a few readers have asked what I usually get at the grocery store, here’s what I picked up this week:

I’ll plan out a few meal ideas for the week and get ingredients for those. This week, it’s turkey chili in the slow cooker, spaghetti with zucchini noodles (pasta noodles for the hub) and chicken stir fry with broccoli slaw. As far as lunches, breakfasts and snacks go, I rotate between staples: mostly bars, fruit, smoothies, salad combos, oats, soup and wraps/sandwiches. For the Pilot, I’ll pick up a couple of pre-made meals from the deli section (he loves the frozen burritos, enchiladas and the pasta dishes in the deli section) for lunches. We also always have cereal, sandwich stuff and eggs for him to snack on during the day.

Ingredients for the meals we planned:


-kidney beans

-black beans


-ground turkey


-artichokes (to eat with the spaghetti)

-basil (for salads and the spaghetti sauce)

-Italian chicken sausages

-marinara sauce (to spice up)


Stir fry:


-onion (1/2 for the spaghetti sauce; 1/2 for the stir fry)


-chicken breasts

-broccoli slaw



-brown rice tortillas

-potato bread

-seaweed snacks

-grape tomatoes

-Super Spinach salad

-kale salad

-deli meat (2)

-goat cheese

-steamed lentils

-anchovies (2)

-Larabars (2)

-sparkling water


-sweet potatoes

On hand:

-salad greens (2)

-frozen organic fruits and veggies




-almond butter

-almond milk and regular milk

-canned tomatoes


For everything we picked up: $103. Mostly organic- pretty amazing.

So we enjoyed last night’s turkey chili dinner with the glorious enchiladas, watched The Voice and called it an early night.

The Pilot is flying today, and guess who has tax duty? You know what they say about waiting until the last minute… (it only takes a minute. Or hours. Haha)

Wish me luck!



Where do you do most of your grocery shopping? In Valdosta, Wal-Mart was THE SPOT. They had such a great selection of organic produce and it was close to the house. Publix was a little farther, but I loved shopping there.

In Tucson, the Wal-Mart isn’t quite the same as the one in Valdosta, but I’m so stoked we have Trader Joe’s and Sunflower Market. Whole Foods is a fun special treat, too 🙂

Something to do: Take your workout outside! Here are some strength training moves you can do on a regular ol’ park bench. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 of each exercise. As a bonus, bust out a few moves in between running laps or sprint intervals.

bench workout12

*As always, check with a doc before making any fitness changes. Honor your body and your injuries <3


Workout in the Park


Top row:

Pics 1 and 2: Split squat. Stand about 3 feet in front of the bench and place one leg on top. Go down into a lunge position, making sure your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes. If it does, you may need to widen your stance.

Pic 3: Bench V-up. Using your arms for balance (fingertips pointing forward), bring both knees into your chest. Inhale as you extend both legs in front of you, either straight ahead or at a 45* angle.

Pic 4: Tricep dip. Fingertips facing forward on the front of the bench, bend your arms (you want an ideal 90* angle here) as your hips lower towards the floor. Bend your knees to make it a little easier

Middle row:

Pic 1: Step-up. One foot flat on the bench, bring your other foot to meet it and lightly tap the bench before lowering down- don’t rest at the top. Quickly repeat, up and down.

Pic 2: Add a knee raise. Exhale and tighten your core as your knee comes up

Pic 3: Add a hip abduction. As you tap the bench, exhale and bring your leg out to the side, making sure your toes are pointing forward and the foot is flexed.

Bottom row:

Pic 1: Push-up. Try one leg to make things more exciting.

Pic 2: Plank. Hands underneath your shoulders, abs tight, and keep your hips in line with the rest of your body. You want to be a straight line from your ears to your ankles.

Pic 3: Take a nap 😉

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  1. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on April 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I agree – you absolutely can not beat the quality for the price at TJ’s! 🙂

  2. Rebecca on April 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Wow that is amazing! No way I would be able to get all that (organic) stuff at 100 in Canada. 2.49 for Goat Cheese? Mine costs $5 🙁

  3. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I’m big on the chocolate map too! When I was little, I always used it to find the ones that had strawberry or cherry cream filling. As for grocery stores, as much as I love Whole Foods, like you said, their prices are quite a bit higher than most others! We don’t have TJs in Canada but I shop all over – typically at Food Basics for produce and condiments because they’re so much cheaper there, but if I’m having people over for meals or cooking for someone else, I get my ‘prettier’ produce at Sobeys.

  4. Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit on April 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I shop at TJ’s every now and then but we do most of our shopping at Fred Meyer/Kroger and Costco. But looking at your bill I’m thinking we should check out TJ’s for our produce.

  5. j3nn on April 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

    That enchilada looks SO DELISH! I can see why you’d say it was the best ever. YUMMY 😀

    I wish we had a TJ’s closer to us; our closest one is 75 miles away! I have been begging them to open one in our area. Hopefully they will listen.

  6. char eats greens on April 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Potato bread is SO good!! I WISH we had TJ’s here (I’m in Canada, just outside Toronto), because really, that is SO impressive that you got all of that stuff for just over $100. My local health food store is good, but because they’re just a small run store, their prices are generally higher than what it normally should retail for, so we have to be careful when making purchases…money-wise!

  7. Dani on April 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Whaddya do with anchovies? I always want to eat them but have no idea how.

    • Miriam on April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      For my part I put them on my tomato sauce pizza and spaghettis. I find that anchovies goes well with tomato sauce. And salad : nicoise salad. And careful with the salt, those are very salty. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      i like them mashed up with a little mayo, dijon, lemon juice and hot sauce, spread on crackers
      in caesar dressing
      on salads
      on pizza
      straight out of the can and onto a cracker 😉

      • Shaina on April 18, 2012 at 1:14 am

        I’m intrigued, but I’m nervous. 🙁

        • Fitnessista on April 18, 2012 at 1:22 am

          i was too at first. and then i ate one. 😉

  8. Miriam on April 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Those chocolates are soo sweet. Really, way too sweet. I just can’t eat them! I’m standing with dark chocolate! I believe that you only are eating the bottom for this reason. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      i had 3 last night and had a MEAN sugar buzz! haha

  9. Ashley on April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I am always worried about eating soups because of the sodium content, what brands and kinds of soups do you buy?

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      i usually buy the amy’s brands. still high in sodium, but i keep it to a can or less a week

  10. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on April 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    LOVE TJ’s and their “to go” meals that are generally pretty safe, ingredient wise. So many ways to get creative in the kitchen with not too much trouble.

  11. Catalina @ Cake with Love on April 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Love the bench moves, thanks for posting, I will definetely use them!

  12. Melissa (Better Fit) on April 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Love the bench moves- a good reminder that you can get a great workout in pretty much anywhere!

    Good luck with the tax duty job!

  13. Emily on April 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    That is a fantastic price! Wow. I’m not sure you could even get that with conventional products here in London. Eating organic and as clean as we can has meant we now shop in 3 or 4 places to get the best deals. We have a wonderful Whole Foods, but the cost can be a bit prohibitive!

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      i love whole foods, but the prices kill me.

  14. Averie @ Averie Cooks on April 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Chocolate maps are the best things ever!

    And those bench moves…I used to work out with a park bench when we lived in AZ. Great reminder that the simple stuff can really work!

    And yes, TJs is my go-to. Never set foot in WFs because well, I’ve got TJs 🙂

  15. Julie on April 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I go to Trader Joe’s or our local health market, Mother’s Market. I do head to Kroger’s/Ralph’s too.

  16. kelly on April 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    We don’t have a TJ or WF in my STATE! I shop at Kroger. Thankfully they have a decent organics and health section.

  17. Lena @Fit on the Rocks on April 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I CANNOT WAIT for TJs to finally open in CO. That total is beyond amazing. lol love the last photo in the bench workout 😉

  18. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on April 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Love the bench fitness idea! Yes, I can’t get over how cheap Trader Joe’s is. I live in Vancouver so we don’t have that here (but we have plenty of WF of course, just to drain our wallet!) so every time we go over the border into Bellingham I hightail it to TJ’s.

    I took my mom last time and she’s a big wine fan, and could not get over their $2.50 bottles of wine (I’ve heard they’re just $2 in Cali). We took two back over the border and the border officer didn’t even charge us duty (less than 24 hours everything gets taxed usually, especially alcohol/tobacco) because he couldn’t get over the price. Haha. No point in us lining up to pay a few cents in duty on 2 bottles of vino.

  19. Lindsey on April 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    That is amazing for all that food! Groceries here are much more $$. We spend about $70/week plus a Costco trip twice a month. Sometimes I’d like to lower the money we spend on groceries but at the same time we eat healthy, little processed food, and nothing really gets wasted. Plus we barely eat out.

  20. Hillary on April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I always marvel at how much I can pick up at TJ’s for cheap. Such good, quality stuff too! Mostly I do my shopping at Giant or Target, just because they’re closer to my house and more convenient, but I try to hit TJ’s at least twice a month.

  21. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s! Seriously changed my life going into that store for the first time lol.

  22. Liz @ Southern Charm on April 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I WISH we had stores like Trader Joe’s here!! My options are Whole Foods, Winne Dixie (which is disgusting just to walk in) or Wal-mart (doesn’t have a lot of organic). But I’m actually starting a grocery budget, so I think things will be interesting. I may have to go to multiple stores, but if it saves a penny or two, I’ll take it!

  23. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on April 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Oh my gosh, that enchilada does look delicious!! And so does your chili! It’s been far too long since I’ve made chili and I need to bring it back! And I always have broccoli slaw but I’ve never thought of making stir fry with it! Would love to see a recipe! I’m with you on TJs– it’s so much cheaper than WF, my other love or RJs a smaller market in SF. Those bench moves look awesome too-shows you really can get in a workout anywhere!

  24. ashley on April 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    How do you eat the artichokes with the spaghetti? i love artichokes and every time i try to make them they never seem to cook, it seems like i have a curse of bad luck everytime i cook artichokes.

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      we boil them for about 45 min- so good 🙂

  25. britt on April 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    thanks for sharing your grocery list. i love seeing what others buy. i’m weird 😉

    oh, and that enchilada looks SO GOOD!!

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      i like seeing what others buy, too 🙂

  26. laura on April 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve lived in Portland for the past year and it’s my first time living near TJ’s — LOVE it. But it’s great to hear some Walmart grocery love! I’m from the hometown of Walmart and their stores vary so widely, but some of them (like Valdosta I guess) have GREAT grocery, including lots of local and organic.

  27. Colleen on April 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I think I save money shopping at Trader Joe’s in part because their choices are more ‘limited.” With huge conventional groceries stores like Giant and Safeway, I tend to buy more impulse items.

    That said, nothing beats Costco for organic meat! I can get organic chicken breasts for ~$5/lb, and organic ground beef forabout $7/lb. I think I pay for our yearly membership just in meat savings!

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      ok, i need to start getting meat at costco. we have a membership and i always forget about it!

  28. Mo on April 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I love TJs too – they are so reasonable as far as price goes and they have everything I love. Not so fond of the customer base around here tho – a bit snooty shall I say? As a little girl, I used to just stick my finger in the chocolate until it revealed its innards! Looking at the bottom is so much more refined! Take care my friend – Mo.

  29. amy on April 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I LOVE Trader Joe’s! They also have great prices on good wine and their hard cider is awesome……………..!
    I always leave veryhappy from TJ’s!

  30. Sarah @ See Sarah Eat on April 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s! I haven’t even been to Whole Foods since ours opened last year and they are right down the street from each other 🙂

  31. Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets on April 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’m so curious about this Trader Joe’s business! I’ve heard SO much about it from U.S. bloggers, but have never experienced its glory! Unfortunately, in Canada we don’t have any TJ locations! But, what we do have, is an amazing chain called Loblaws, which carries THE BEST house brand ever – President’s Choice. They are always coming out with amazing, innovative products & at great price points. Their organic produce is also cheaper than non-organic products from international brands – phenom!

    Also, thanks for sharing the bench workout! I spose it could also be done on a regular bench @ the gym as well! How did you take those self-exercise pictures, Gina? Self timer or did someone take them for you? I just started my blog & would love to take demo shots, but don’t know how to best approach it! Thanks

    • JennP on April 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      I’m originally from Toronto and go back to see family every summer… LOVE Loblaws! I always bring PC peanut sauce home with me 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      well that sounds awesome!!
      the pilot took them for me, but when he isnt home, self timer does the trick

  32. Danica @ It's Progression on April 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I LOVE Trader Joe’s and I’m finally moving to a town with one next month!

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      it’s a life-changer to have one nearby!

  33. Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom on April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I wish we had a TJ here in Utah. Because of our stupid liquor laws they won’t come here :/

    Awesome park workout though! Love doing that in the summer w/ the kiddos!

  34. Ramani on April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    THANK YOU so much for actually listening to your readers and obliging! 🙂 I’m at TJ’s every other day so it is great to know the staples that you pick up. xo!

    • Fitnessista on April 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      no prob!

  35. Sonia the Mexigarian on April 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I am moving across the valley away from my beloved TJ’s and Sprouts, which would be a 25 minute drive from our new home. 35 minutes to WF. Surrounded by Asian markets and a Lucky’s (no offense, but that’s just not where I typically shop). I really do hope they put a TJ’s in the Milpitas foothills area. I would be so happy.

  36. Marie on April 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    What do you do if/when someone brings you food that isn’t gluten-free and/or organic? Or do people just know what you like and dislike?

  37. Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds on April 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    When I was researching computers… I seriously looked into purchasing a Mac. I like that they have fewer virus attacks than a PC. But decided to stay with my PC because I have a lot of software on my computer that are only compatible with PCs… such as Photoshop… Microsoft Office… language programs ect. Purchasing a Mac would mean RE-purchasing all the software programs and a Mac is expensive enough as it is!

    As far as food is concerned… I live in China… and I SO miss Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods 🙁 Last night I spent an entire hour listing all the foods I was craving… none of which can be bought in China! Oh well. My parents are visiting soon so I’ve got a long wish list of things for them to bring over 🙂

  38. Katie @ Plates and Paste on April 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I live in FL so Publix is where it’s at 🙂 Occasionally I’ll drive a bit further to Fresh Market which is foodie heaven and they have the best produce.

  39. Tasha on April 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I live 5 mins (walking) from a TJs, and have for the last 8 years. Growing up my parents house is a 5 minute drive from two TJs. We may have to move next year, and I’ve already started to check whether or not they have a TJs in our potential cities. I don’t know what I’ll do without it!

  40. Shaina on April 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

    We just moved into our new house and there is a TJ’s literally a mile from our front door. There’s also a Sprouts right across the street from that – whole foods-type brands and quality but TJ’s prices. AMAZEBALLS. I might never go to WF again haha.

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2012 at 1:22 am

      we have a sprouts too, but i haven’t checked it out yet! good to know

  41. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on April 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I’m so excited to check out TJ’s when I drive down to the US in a few weeks! I’m planning to bring a BIG cooler with me so that I can bring lots of stuff back. 😀 Here in Canada I love to shop at Loblaws though – they’ve got a great selection of organic foods there as well as a store brand (President’s Choice) that has so many unique and healthy products!

  42. Heather on April 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I like shopping at Trader Joe’s for some random fun treats, but I have to say, buying produce and meat there kind of turns me off. After reading Omnivore’s Dilemma I try to get most of meat/produce from local organic sources. Imagining “organic cage free” chickens who are actually still stuffed in a chicken coop most of their life makes me think twice about where I get chicken. To get that title they only have to have “access” to open areas for some part of their life (usually at the very end when they don’t go outside anyway because they’ve spent their whole life indoors and don’t know any better).

    I definitely am not judgy mcjudgerton, I just encourage more people to learn about their food. Even Whole Foods can be extremely misleading.

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      i totally agree. whenever we hit up the farmer’s market, we’re sure to get our meat and eggs there

  43. ROSHNI on April 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Gina! I read your blog daily, I love it! Thanks for the inspiration. I noticed you listen to REALLY good music…I’m running my first 10k this weekend. Can you suggest an awesome playlist to get me through my run? Do you have a favorite Pandora station (besides Pitbull)?

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      yay!!! good luck this weekend!
      here are some of my faves:
      “explosive” bond
      “uprising” muse
      “bohemian rhapsody” glee
      “shake senora” pitbull
      “alegretto” bond
      “wild ones” flo rida
      muse station on pandora

  44. Jennifer on April 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Hi. I just started reading your blog and love it! I was wondering how you enjoy the brown rice tortillas from TJs? I live in Arizona also, so I am used to home made and very good tortillas, but am looking for healthy alternatives.

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