Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fresh & Easy and the pantry

Perhaps I will sound crazy when I say this, but I regularly shop for food at five different stores: Costco, WinCo, Fry's, Sprouts and Fresh & Easy.  I less frequently shop at Trader Joe's, Bashas', Albertsons, Walmart and Safeway.  I hardly ever shop at AJ's and I never shop at Whole Foods.  It really depends on where I'm driving and when, what we need and what's on sale.  There are also certain things that I buy at each store.  For example, we buy a lot of chicken from Albertsons but little of anything else because the chicken is frequently on sale for a great price, but nothing else is a better deal than what we can get elsewhere.  There are also particular brands or specific items at each store that we like.  For example, I always buy my almond and cashew meal at Trader Joe's.  It's the best price I have found and good quality.  I get bulk nuts and almost all of our produce from Sprouts.  There is a chicken sausage that we can only get at Costco.   

And then there is Fresh & Easy.  Fresh & Easy is a "filler" grocery store trip for us.  I never buy all of our groceries there and not even a majority of our groceries, but I buy a lot of our "specialty" food from there.  Number 1: they always have awesome discounts.  If you're there at the right time you can get stuff 70% off. Number 2: I drive right by there on my way home from work.  There is no other grocery store that I have to drive right by. Number 3: they have a lot of products that we either really like or we can't find anywhere else.  I get my sugar-free bacon from there, a lot of discounted vegetables, prepared salsa, granola bars that the kids like, nut butters, specially shaped pasta,  prepared cookie dough with no fillers or artificial ingredients, ice cream with unique flavors, prepared spaghetti sauce with no added sugar and unsweetened cranberry juice.

I did a major grocery shopping trip a week ago on Sunday.  I got a bunch of stuff from Sprouts and Fry's and then stopped at Fresh & Easy for star noodles for Elliott.  I lucked out on the deals that day and bought a big bag of broccoli for 80 cents, an apple pie for $1.50 and two big blocks of cheese for $3.60 each.  I stopped there again on Thursday after work to pick up one or two things for dinner, although I don't remember what I needed.  I don't remember because that is the day I found out that my Fresh & Easy is closing.  I nearly cried.

An employee told me that everything was going to be discounted by 50% on Saturday in order to clear out the store before they close for good on Friday.  

So even though I was depressed about the whole thing, we headed over there on Saturday and did some major shopping.  This was our cart when we started to check out.
This is the refrigerated stuff we bought.   They were already all out of my sugar free bacon and the dairy milk was completely cleared out.  We got there 15 minutes after they opened.
Two frozen items.  Spencer is so excited about this frozen pizza.  I never buy frozen pizza.  I hope he's terribly disappointed.

And all the rest.
Hopefully these star noodles will last a while.  There are still Fresh & Easy stores left, but I'm probably unwilling to drive very far and I have a feeling the whole business will go under soon.

Alphabet noodles for Spencer.  These bags are regularly .49 cents.  Pretty good deal at 50% off.

We bought a lot of star and alphabet noodles.  A lot.
We thought that everything in the store was going to be 50% off, including alcohol. but the booze was only 25% off.  I guess they were trying to prevent rioting.
We were in the middle of slowly and leisurely replacing the shelf liner in the pantry when we made this little unscheduled trip to Fresh & Easy and I didn't want to add a bunch of stuff to the shelves that we would just have to move, so we picked up the pace on the project.

Old is on the bottom and new is on the top. We picked the order of the shelves in terms of difficulty- easiest and least to move first.

I found a rogue package of peeps as we cleared everything out.

Ginger wanted in on the action.

Since we were taking everything out shelf by shelf I wanted to organize and consolidate as we put everything back in.  On Sunday we made these cookies to use up some ingredients: graham cracker crumbs, three different kinds of sprinkles, a few mini chocolate chips and some chopped up malted robin's eggs from Easter.


Done!



The baking section in particular is much more orderly now.


In case there is a zombie apocalypse we will be able to make it a month or two on just noodles.

All three of these lunch containers are full of noodles- all star and alphabet.

Just out of curiosity Elliott and I stopped by Fresh & Easy on Monday to see how they were doing.  

Nothing is left in the refrigerated produce section.

Or in the non refrigerated produce section.

Or the meat section.

Or the prepared food (salsa, pizza, pasta, salad, etc) section.

Alcohol is holding pretty steady.

There were three bags of star noodles left.  All three have holes in them.
Canned goods and boxed goods had a ton of stuff left.  I think they probably have stuff in the back and have restocked.  There was also a lot of frozen stuff left.  We somehow missed the spice section on Saturday so I bought some curry powder, some ginger and some steak seasoning.

I'm going to stop by on my way home from work on Thursday and see what's left the day before they close for good.  Maybe wine will be 80% off and I'll buy a bottle so I can toast Fresh & Easy goodbye. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Friday for the memories win

After such a poorly photographed week I kicked it into high gear on Friday.  I feel like I somewhat redeemed myself.

We always pick the kids clothes the night before they wear them as they are getting ready for bed.  It's so much easier to not have to think about it in the morning.  On Thursday night I picked Elliott's clothes and Michael picked Spencer's clothes.   I decided to change Elliott's outfit at the last minute when I saw Spencer dressed for the day. 

My two little baboons. 
When I first wrote this post I had these labeled as gorillas.  I caught it on the proof read after I posted.  Apparently I need to go to bed. 
Elliott had peanut butter and jelly on toast for lunch on Friday.  It took me a good 5 minutes to figure out what was all over him when I saw this picture tonight.

Right around the time that Michael got home from work on Friday dark clouds started rolling into the valley and the wind started blowing hard.  We had about an hour of intense thunder and lightening and then, right after we finished dinner, it started raining.  Hard.  But there was still a lot of lightening, so we had to wait a little bit for that to end before we could go enjoy the rain.

This was the first decent storm we've had this monsoon season.  It was much appreciated.

The kids started out with their umbrellas. And just in case you were were wondering.  No, Elliott pretty much never wears clothes at home.






I like the gradual progression of Spencer shedding his clothes too.








I love the absolute joy on Spencer's face.
That is a perfect representation of an Arizona kid in the rain right there.  We always enjoy and appreciate our rain because it is such a rare thing.


Up next: My Fresh & Easy store is closing and I'm going to cry when it does.