Suburban fun by Molly England & Perfect buttered broccoli by Claire Handleman

As a suburban stay-at-home-mom, going to the grocery store is often the most exciting part of the day, which is not saying much. In an effort to spice things up and accomplish the weekly food shop, I choose our food supplier based on my mood. Here’s a list of grocery shopping experiences to indulge your every whim.

Fun for the Whole Family

Farmer’s markets are educational and entertaining.The kids will learn about the health benefits of local honey, you’ll support local farmers and leave with a bounty of the freshest produce. *Warning items are seasonal so if you’re attempting to buy ingredients for summer squash soup in winter, you may be out of luck, plan accordingly.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Big Box Stores are where moms go to shop for clothes, appliances, and booze, anything but groceries. Granted they have groceries, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re there for the food. A recent conversation with my fellow suburban mommies led to the discussion of what we buy at Costco. If you’re legitimately in need of a case of salmon or enough mangos to feed all of Miami, stick to your list. I guarantee you sparkly diamonds and cozy fleece pajamas are not on the list.

Autonomous Outing

Trader Joe’s encourages your little ones to shop with total autonomy. This grocery-shopping excursion is not for the faint of heart. It appeals to two types of mom-moods: Either you’re too exhausted to shop so you choose to have your toddler do it for you or you’re over zealous about encouraging your child’s autonomy. The idea of them pushing their own cart and choosing the contents is the ultimate exercise in independence. *Warning – your cart may be filled with eight bunches of bananas, a few broken eggs and no sign of what you actually need. This brings me to my final and most mundane option.

Necessary Evil

The local grocery store has it all, everything on your marketing list from lychees to lamb. But what it offers in well-stocked shelves, it lacks in spirit. Some grocers have a slight edge, offering kids cookies at the bakery and smiley cheeses at the deli. These simple perks help avoid tantrums and make for a smooth shopping experience.

Unless you live on a self-sustaining commune, shopping for groceries is a part of everyday life. Please share your habits and tricks that make food shopping fun, or at least bearable. Don’t forget to hashtag #TheDinnerDance

For this week’s #TipTuesday Claire teaches us how to make perfect buttered broccoli! Enjoy this quick video and make fresh green veggies a regular part of your kid’s meals!

Claire Handleman has been a chef in New York for 10 years, working at some of the city’s best restaurants. She previously worked on ABC’s Emmy-award winning show The Chew as an assistant producer and participated in Food Network’s Chopped competition…and won.

Claire has been traveling the world for the past dozen years but focuses a majority of her time in South-East Asia. She has come to regard Thailand as a second home and spends many months each year learning Thai cuisine. She is currently working on a book with the hopes of sharing the incredible cuisine her Thai friends have shared with her. While she travels and works, she shares stories, recipes and travel tips on her blog Passport to Eat.

Molly England earned her master’s degree in social work at The University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and their three children. She is a devoted blogger and a passionate Certified Bradley Method® Natural Childbirth Educator. In 2015 Molly founded Bluebonnet Babies, a virtual hub providing products and resources based on evidence, research, experience and love to parents making healthy and informed choices. Blogging enables Molly to achieve her goal of empowering families across the globe as they navigate pregnancy to parenthood. Her work has appeared in Holistic Parenting Magazine, the Pathways to Family Wellness Blog and more. She recently began freelance writing and will be featured in Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine’s February Issue. Visit Molly England’s website

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