Grading the Grocery Stores

It is no secret that grocery shopping is one of my favorite pastimes; few activities in this world bring me as much joy as flouncing through the aisles of my local Trader Joe’s. Accordingly, when I stumbled upon this article from WalletPop listing the best and worst grocery stores in America, I was intrigued to say the least. While I did not recognize most of the chains mentioned, I heartily agree with their choices. I do most of my grocery shopping at Publix, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, largely due to their diverse and high quality produce sections. I also avoid Winn-Dixie like the plague; I refuse to patronize an establishment that devotes multiple aisles to cheap beer but cannot even manage to carry a single jar of natural peanut butter or carton of tofu. Do you agree with WalletPop’s list? Where do you do your grocery shopping?

Sadly, I did not visit any grocery stores today, but I did enjoy some tasty meals:


The texture of this smoothie was right on—thick and pillowy—but the flavor was not quite sweet enough.


Now that I am largely recovered from my flu symptoms, my sense of culinary adventure has returned. Hence, savory oats: the hummus-guac edition.

The inspiration for this sandwich came from a recipe found in the Peanut Butter and Company Cookbook: the Heat Is On sandwich. The recipe called for grilled chicken, pineapple preserves, and, of course, Heat Is On peanut butter. I omitted the chicken and substituted plain pineapple for the pineapple preserves. I threw it on the grill just for kicks, and I ended up with a fabulous sandwich. On the salad, I whipped up a very meh batch of Tofu Lime Salad dressing. The amazingness of the sandwich balanced it all out:)

On my most recent trip to Whole Foods, I picked out an acorn squash to prepare this week. It is quite possibly the cutest one I have ever selected:

I baked it up this evening and filled it with leftover Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup (leftovers from yesterday). FYI, I reduced down the soup a bit on the stovetop first to make it less liquidy and more suitable for stuffing.

Alright, off to do one of my favorite things: chat with mommy.

Good night all!


32 Responses to “Grading the Grocery Stores”

  1. You take such beautiful pictures! Love the last one of the squash. I’m not a smoothie person —prefer to eat and eat and eat instead it seems…- but your making them verrrry appealing, especially with those peanut butter pows !! I’ve never tried a ‘savory’ oatmeal like yours with the veggies – craziness!! hmmm…may have to try it 🙂 thanks for commenting on my blog. sooo much to learn and time-consuming (when I could be earning money in my spare time instead perhaps …ughhh)…i wish I could make a living off of blogging and writing about health/fitness/food, etc. I love it and life is too short 🙁 .

  2. I do all my shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s 🙂

    Have fun chatting with Mom!

  3. I think I’ve only heard of 2 of those stores, and I don’t see why Stop and Shop got such a bad review; they actually have a lot of good organic products under their own brand.
    At Brown, all I have as options are Whole Foods and Eastside Market, and both are good calls. Back at home I like TJ’s, stop and shop, and hannafords, too.

  4. Hello! I have a quick question. You drink a lot of different protein powders with breakfast. Do you buy them in bulk or online? I am interested in trying the Spiruein myself. Thanks!

  5. Interesting facts on the grocery stores!!

    your squash dinner looks deeeevine!

  6. LOVE the owl S & P shakers!!!!!! If you’re ever sellin, I’m buyin 🙂

    Worst-Albertson’s. Great. Because that’s all that’s really close to me (1 mile). TJs is 5 miles, so is WF. I avoid WF b/c of the $. Before I had a child, I didnt care but I cannot justiy their prices so it’s either TJs or Alb’s for me unless I didnt plan and didnt order my specialty raw stuff online then must resort to WF.

  7. The S & P shakers are cute. Anthropologie?

  8. Im obsessed with grocery shopping. It’s sad. But it’s one of my fave things ever.

  9. Trader Joe’s ranks HIGH On the list! It’s cheap, and healthy, and delicious! WF is great, but I’m not so much of a fan of its price, and sometimes the things they sell are ambiguous…fake this, fake that…hmm…

  10. Yikes! I shop at Stop & Shop! I really didn’t think it was that bad. Maybe I should rethink my shopping? Thanks for posting that article.

    I love savory oats, too! In fact, I had a bowl of oatmeal this morning with chia seeds and lowfat shredded cheddar cheese. I swear, it tasted just like mac & cheese. It may have looked gross, but it tasted awesome!

    BTW, those might be some of the cutest salt and pepper shakers EVER! Adorable!

    And your acorn squashie looked so good! I just tackled a kabocha (finally) and now I think I need to take on an acorn. WOOT for gourds!

    Have a great weekend,

  11. Those savory oats look so good! I made some tonight, too. Also picked up an acorn squash at WF today… very excited to cook it up!

    I haven’t heard of most of those chains either… I tend to stick to Whole Foods for things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s, and produce markets for fresh stuff.

  12. Making me hungry!

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  13. Oh man, someone gives props to Publix FINALLY!. I was just there today… the only thing is they did not have ezekiel bread… it was a little wierd. I have ben meaning to try pitas anyway so it was a nice change of pace.

    I think this might be the inspiration for you to start a vlog about the ‘grocers of america’. Best idea ever?

  14. All my shopping is done at Trader Joe’s. Maybe if I need something else I’ll go to the little health food store 5 minutes away, and very rarely I’ll go to Whole Foods.

    Those savory oats sound AMAZING! I wish I had some right now!

  15. I do most of my grocery shopping at Shoprite but just because it’s close.. I don’t think it’s anything too great. And I don’t agree that Stop & Shop be on the list for the worst. I shop there sometimes too and it’s just fine! I’m surprised Whole Foods wasn’t on the list but I do love TJ’s ( who doesn’t?)!

  16. when was living alone I do 90% of my groceries in Tj’s and WF I love these stores! 😀 Now that my parents are around, to buy more chinese groceries, we go to asian stores, which are cheaper. I miss Tj’s and WF though… I go there for dark chocolates!

  17. I love grocery shopping.. nothing beats a fully stocked kitchen! My hub and I dedicate sunday morning to this!

    I enjoy how you add little toppings to your smoothies.. very fun! 🙂

  18. I am totally obsessed with grocery shopping too, it’s of my favorite activities too.
    I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to try savory oats. Your smoothie with that corn-puff type cereal. Yum.

  19. I definitely haven’t seen guac on oatmeal before! But i trust your tastebuds 🙂

  20. caroline, your food is INSANE i tell you!

    that squash looks so pretty and delicious! such a good combo with the lentils and cous cous!
    and the savory oats wiht the tomato and avocado look incredible! YOU GO GIRL!

    I love grocery sho[pping too! I probably am inside a store 3 times a week even if i dont NEED anything, its just fun to browse (obv i always end up getting something!!)

    Enjoy your friday!

  21. I like Trader Joe’s, Big Y (a local grocery store that has awesome deals every week) and Stop N Shop.

  22. I agree, Publix is the best (regular) grocery store I have been to. I love Whole Foods for the bulk section and other healthy items, but it can be really expensive when things aren’t on sale. Why can’t we have a Trader Joe’s in Florida? It’s not fair!!!

    That tofu-lime salad dressing looks awesome too 🙂

  23. I haven’t heard of a majority of those stores! I do a lot of my main haul at a local store and then go to WFs for my Gucci eats 😉

    I’m loving the hummus/guac topping on your savory oats!! Hello, fantastic combo!

  24. Baked acorn squash and pineapple-pb sammies?

    I don’t even know most of these grocery stores, or have them. We only have TJ’s and Albertson’s, and agree with their reviews!

    I do most of my shopping at TJ’s and occasionally take the trip to Whole Foods, a natural’s foods market, and costco. TJ’s has great quality stuff for a low price 🙂

  25. I spy owls! Such cute autumn-outfitted ones, at that. Where did you find them?

    And I love the idea of reducing the soup down to make it thicker. Definitely in the cards for my next meal. 🙂

  26. All your food looks so good! Your breakie – lol made me smile – love the cereal on top! Lunch – must try svaoury oats! Yours looked really good – I love look hummus too! And dinner – the lentils and veges and squash = yummy!


  27. YOUR ACORN SQUASH IS GORGE! mmmm, there is nothing more tasty, satisfying and fall like than roasted squash. soooo good!

    and i am loving the PB cereal on the smoothie – too cute!

  28. I too avoid Winn Dixie. Their very name offends me. Get over it. We lost the civil war. The south will not rise again.

    And their produce sucks. 🙂

  29. Hi Caroline!! I’m totally digging your baked acorn squash! How do you make it look so luscious and decadent?? Whenever I roast squashes, they come out looking dry and not so appetizing. 😛

    I do most of my grocery shopping at ethnic grocery stores that have fresh produce for much much cheaper than the chain stores. I do however buy all my snacks and fun food from Trader Joe’s!

  30. Your sandwich is so unique sounding, I am glad that it turned out as fantastic as it sounds! I am with you all the way on TJ’s and Whole Foods. lately I have been trying to get all my produce from Farmer’s markets but I fear that my days of doing that may be numbered. Here comes winter!

  31. I used to shop at Publix when I lived in Georgia.

    The store I typically shop at (Hannaford) is not listed, but I do like to shop at Whole Foods!

  32. Wegman’s is fabulous! It’s my go to grocery store up at school, though unless you go at a really bizarre time it is always so crowded! I also go to Tops up here which isn’t as good but does the trick and surprisingly has a couple of things (namely vitamuffins and single serving edy’s slow churned cups) that Wegman’s doesn’t haha

    And Key Food is a local market for me back at home… but not one I go to much, because yeah… it’s not great. haha. I much prefer c-town when I’m at home.

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