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Is Online Grocery Shopping with Thrive Market Really Worth the Hype?

(This page contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Like all busy city-living people, I often find myself doing my grocery shopping online… like, a lot.

What can I say? I’m a busy working mom. We walk and take the train everywhere we need to go; I don’t even own a car. I want my kids to eat healthily and not break the bank. And I’m not crazy about dragging them around the grocery store since I usually acquiesce to terrorist toddler demands for juice boxes.

 

And so, I have fallen in love with online grocery shopping. I love the ease of it, especially that I can do it at 10 pm in my pj’s while drinking a glass of wine and half-watching Netflix.

I can comparison shop much easier when I can go online grocery shopping. I find it helps me stay in my budget much better. And when I do run out of something too fast, or forget to put it on my list, I can run into a physical store, grab the thing, and get out before my 3-year-old can even say “CHEDDAR BUNNIES!”

So when I discovered Thrive Market, an online grocery store that offers organic and natural foods at drastically reduced prices compared to physical stores, I was like this:

Here are the two BIG things I love about Thrive Market:

• Their amazing prices. Seriously, I spend less on pantry items and snacks here than I did before. Like, way less. Thrive estimates I’ll save over $600 with them before the year is out!

•Their kind heart. I admit, it’s a bit of a bite spending $59.95 a year on membership, even if their prices are awesome. BUT, for every membership purchased, Thrive donates a FREE membership to a family in need. 

Honestly, that was my nail in the coffin. If my membership can help our family save money AND get quality, lower-cost organic and all natural ingredients and household goods to another family, then sign me up, man.

But of course, when you get right down to it, the best online grocery shopping experience offers great products at great prices.

Thrive offers this and more (if you don’t believe me, check out their awesome app. #lifesaver)

Guys, I’m not buying something if it’s not worth my time, dollars, or effort.

I don’t care if it’s coconut oil hand harvested by virgins and cold pressed with vintage heritage wood, if it’s eleventy jillion dollars or requires actual effort on my behalf, I’m gonna pass.

So I thought I would order a few of my favorite items (the kind that cost significantly less than eleventy jillion dollars while also making my life easier), do a quick ‘unboxing’ video, and let you see how the process works!

I ordered all these items late on Friday afternoon and they arrived on Tuesday with the regular UPS delivery. Not bad, I’d say. Amazon Prime has them beat but isn’t that the case with everything?

Here are my favorite products from Thrive, along with the approximate price structures that I found on Amazon for the same products. (not all products are on Amazon; I linked the ones I could find!)

*Note since Amazon prices change on the reg, I used a little system here. $ is anything under $5, $$ is between $5 and 15, and $$$ is above $15)

(all links below are affiliate links, just so you’re aware!)

Want to see the unboxing of my snack haul in action?

Watch the video below!

That’s it! If you have ANY questions about WHY Thrive Market is the best organic online grocery store, the total bee’s knees, and why I think you’ll adore it, drop me a message!

Happy shopping!

7 Easy Steps for Meal Plan Beginners

Meal plan beginners can have it rough- figuring out how to start can be overwhelming! Here are 7 tips to get you started where you need to be.

Meal planning and meal prep can feel overwhelming if you’re new to it, and believe me, I’ve been there! Here are 7 easy steps any meal planning beginner can sink their teeth into, without feeling totally lost in the process.

When I first started out meal planning, I was confused. I felt ‘tied down’ to some random list of recipes that I had arbitrarily decided on earlier that week.

I’d write my meal plan on Saturday, and then by the time I got to Wednesday I would just throw the whole thing out the window and pick up the phone for takeout.

 

But alas, our budget is not to be trifled with, and this whole meal plan disaster thing wasn’t doing me any favors in the wallet or waistline. So I sat my butt down, and I read everything I could on meal planning, and eventually, I crafted myself an awesome little plan that worked gangbusters for our family.

Are you new to meal planning, like I once was? It can feel archaic, and boring, I know, but that’s only if you’re using yo’ momma’s old school meal plan, and let me tell you: it’s a new century, bud, and meal planning has come up along with it.

However, I also know that once there’s a solid plan in place, meal planning for beginners can usually just mean following a certain strategy of steps.

And before you know it: you go from a meal planning beginner to a Master Meal Planner.

Meal Planning Queen, if you prefer.

Meal Planning Messiah.

(Too far? Ok; we’ll stick with ‘master’)

 

But don’t take my word for it! I checked in with 6 other awesome bloggers and asked their advice for how to start meal planning if you’re new to it, what steps should you take first, and what to do once you’ve started to pull together a plan.

They’ve all got awesome advice, some have handy printables, and they’re all in your corner.

Here’s what they have to say!

If you’re a meal planning beginner, start with the basics.

(Yep, the first one is ME!) this is one of my favorite posts about meal planning on this site (and I have quite a few!). I break it down, step by step, how I started meal planning and what you can do to get your feet wet, too. Read: My Top Three Meal Planning Basics

Even if the recipes says it’s 30 minutes, figure out the real amount of time it will take.

Shelley, from Two Healthy Kitchens, knows the pain we’ve all felt when dealing with a “super quick omg!” recipe: it doesn’t always take the amount of time it says it will. So, figure out how to “read” a recipe right, work that into your timeframe, and you’ll have a better idea how to plan appropriately. Read: Estimating REAL Prep Times

If you hate writing meal plans, try theme nights.

I love this take from Tracy at Simple Living Country Gal. She says to keep a “go-to” list that she can refer to whenever she’s pressed for time. Don’t have a list written out? Ask your family’s input- they might remind you of a dish you can make super quick! Read: Make Dinner Time Easier Without a Meal Plan

You Might Also Like These Other Meal Planning Posts!

Get your kitchen in order to make things run smoother

Jenny, at the Jenny Evolution, has a great list here of how to get your ducks in a row before you even put pen to paper; after all- what good is a meal plan if you can’t find your ingredients or cookware? Read: Easy Meal Planning For Busy Moms

Get your kitchen in order to make things run smoother

Jenny, at the Jenny Evolution, has a great list here of how to get your ducks in a row before you even put pen to paper; after all- what good is a meal plan if you can’t find your ingredients or cookware? Read: Easy Meal Planning For Busy Moms

Start with an easy-to-follow printable to write your meal plan on

Lena, from What Mommy Does, knows the basics of meal planning starts with actually writing the dang thing! I love her simple, easy-to-use meal planning printable with clearly defined spaces. Just click to save and download! Read: Free Printable Weekly Planning Template

When it comes to accommodating different family members, roll with it.

Rachel, at The Mashup Mom, touches on a pain point I think a lot of us have: what to do when your entire family isn’t down with the same eating schedule, diets, or preferences. She spells out steps you can take to mitigate the mess of trying to figure out what to feed everyone.. when everyone has different food needs! Read: How to Modify a Meal Plan for Your Family

Skip the processed stuff and work real food into your meal plan.

Elaina, from The Rising Spoon, has a list of 10 ways you can make sure your meal plan isn’t full of over-processed junk; without taking tons of time out of your week! I love her tip for leftovers (which are my fave, too!) Read: Ten Meal Planning Tips for Beginners Using Real Food

There you have it: 7 awesome tips for meal planning beginners, all designed to help you get groovin’ on your meal planning schedule!

Which was your favorite? I’m excited to get digging into my meal planning routine now!

If you want to take a peek into what I’m cooking each week, then join my brand new member community: Busy Mamas Cooking In Tiny Kitchens!

Each week I add in my own family meal plan so you can see what I’m cookin’ Also get access to what others are cooking, swap recipes, vent about picky eaters, and more.

Leave your info below to join, and I hope to see you there!

Heck yes, that sounds awesome!

Sign me up to the Meal Plan Buddies weekly email, and get your free weekly meal plan, grocery lists, and more.

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9 Simple Ways You Can Organize a Tiny Kitchen

My tiny rental kitchen drives me insane lately! I feel like i can never get good kitchen organization going and i never can find things when I need them. I like how she lays out a bunch of different ideas here so you can find something that works for your tiny space, on a budget and diy.

The pain of organizing a tiny kitchen something I know all too well.

Since moving out of my parent’s house, I’ve lived in approximately 15 homes; exactly one of those had a big, spacious kitchen. The rest have all been…. eclectic.

Maybe ‘itsy-bitsy’ is a more appropriate word?

In any case, I’m no stranger to figuring out tiny kitchen organization and working with mini amounts of counter space, itty-bitty cabinets, and fridges that would feel at home in a college dorm.

And yet – I’ve worked as a freelance, at-home recipe tester, and recipe developer for almost 7 years now, all within a tiny kitchen. I’ve cooked full Thanksgiving dinners for 15 with only 3 feet of counter space

I’ve never been one to let a tiny kitchen area get in the way of my cooking.

And you know what? Kitchen organization simply comes down to being creatively utilizing what you already have!

So with that, I’ve scoured the interwebs to come up with 9 of the coolest ideas I could find for organizing your small kitchen space, without hiring a contractor or storing pots and pans in your bedroom.

Make sure to click on each photo and description to check out the full posts so you can get all the juicy details.

 

FOLLOW MY KITCHEN ORGANIZATION IDEAS BOARD ON PINTEREST FOR EVEN MORE GREAT DIY AND STORAGE IDEAS! 

GET ON TOP OF ALL THINGS KITCHEN

ORGANIZATION WITH THIS SIMPLE EBOOK

Make the Most of Your Kitchen

A few months ago, I wrote a series of posts demonstrating how you can ‘make the most of your kitchen’. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a huge farmhouse kitchen, or just a wall with a fridge, a stove, and a small counter; with a few tips, the right appliances, and some simple know-how, I’ll show you how you can make any small kitchen organization ‘hack’ work for your space.

I’ve compiled the posts and their accompanying recipes (there are 22!) into this simple, free ebook – click to check it out here and download it to your phone for easy reading!

PREP INGREDIENTS BEFOREHAND

AND CLEAN & ORGANIZE AS YOU GO

Tips to Keep Plastic Containers Organized In The Kitchen

Ellen over at Confessions of an Overworked Mom put together a great post about best practices for storing your plastic and glass food containers. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who sometimes finds storage options of our food containers to be the bane of my existence!

Ellen has a few simple tips for what to look for in storage options, what to keep and throw away, and the best ways you can store those food containers without losing your mind or being buried under plastic lids.

What Is Mise en Place? Preparing Your Kitchen

Shelley from TwoHealthyKitchens is a woman after my own heart. I learned the importance of mise en place while in cooking school and it’s still a habit that I’m glad to have; it makes cooking meals so much easier and faster.

I love Shelley’s words: ” In the 15 years that I’ve had kids, I have rarely cooked an uninterrupted meal. Plan on it – and embrace mise en place as the key to cooking sanity.” Hear, hear, girlfriend! Mise en place is a total sanity saver. Check out the rest of Shelley’s post here. 

 

How to Clean Your Oven (Without Using the Self Cleaning Feature) 

Jessica at AllSheCooks has broken it down here, with tips on how to clean your oven the right way, without using the self-cleaning oven feature.

I too have fallen victim to the self-cleaning oven dream; that is until I used the feature at my mother’s house and her kitchen filled with smoke. Whoops!

Make sure to also check out her tips for cleaning the top of a gas stove; especially those hard to clean hob grates!

USE DIY STORAGE IDEAS FOR KIDS’ SNACKS

AND PANTRY ITEMS

Stocking a Kid Pantry

This idea from Christina at the ShirleyJourney is so smart, it’s the first idea on this list that I plan on fully implementing right away. She’s taken a small bathroom cupboard and turned it into a kid’s snack center! What’s more, she has a great idea for making sure her 4-year-old doesn’t blow through the snacks in a day; I’m thinking I may have to take her up on that idea as well.

She’s taken a small bathroom cupboard and turned it into a kid’s snack center! What’s more, she has a great idea for making sure that even with free access to his snacks, her 4-year-old doesn’t blow through the whole stash in a day; I’m thinking I may have to take her up on that idea as well. What’s more, it helps solve the small kitchen organization problem by moving some of the snacks from the cupboard and into their own designated area.

Organize Your Pantry: Tips From Readers 

Nicole from MomSavesMoney asked her readers how they organize their pantry… and they had some great ideas! I never knew all the ways you could use an over-the-door shoe organizer, but clearly, it’s smart.

However, my all-time fave idea on this list is from her reader Nikki S.: her meal planning idea is cheap and genius! Simply organize your dry goods items in dollar store tubs designated for each day of the week…. it’s so smart. Click through to the post to see what I mean.

Secrets Big Families Use to Stay Organized in the Kitchen 

Sarah from Must Have Mom has what is possibly the cutest kitchen in Minnesota.

She’s put together a handful of great ideas for a kitchen command center, keeping all-important garbage bags at the ready, a menu board, I’m loving her super smart way she keeps from having to wash a thousand kids’ cups every day.

DIY Drawer Organizers 

If you’re like me, you probably have a crapton of Amazon boxes lying around. Or cereal boxes. Or diaper boxes! Damjana from AppleGreenCottage has such a cute, cheap (free!) idea for turning your old cardboard boxes into free drawer organizers and drawer dividers.

These would be handy for keeping a junk drawer or random utensil drawer a little less haphazard!

DIY Spice Rack Without Using Counter Space 

Leanna from Faeries and Fauna Craft Co has put together this crazy-helpful DIY tutorial for building a spice rack on the inside door of your pantry! I love that this means you can just glance at your spices without having to dig around.

There you have it; 9 super easy ways to organize your small kitchen and pantry spaces like the boss you are.

Honestly, I thought I was kind of on top of my own kitchen organization, but after finding all these ideas, I’m pretty sure I’ve got more work to do! Don’t forget to follow my Kitchen Organization board on Pinterest, and if you’ve got some great kitchen organization ideas that the world needs to know about, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Pick and Choose Chart for Kid’s Packed Lunches

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

I may be new to the ‘kid’s packed lunch scene’, but it doesn’t mean I’m full of fresh ideas as to what I’m supposed to pack!

“Will she eat this? Is this even healthy? Wait, am I including enough food groups?” Seriously, packing a kids’ lunch shouldn’t be this dang stressful. And yet it’s one of my most dreaded chores.

My kids aren’t school age yet (my son is 1 and my daughter is 3) but three days a week, they go to a babysitter/daycare situation from 9-5, and they bring a packed lunch with them on those days.

I do this so I can actually get, you know, work done.

I send them off (despite working from home) so that I can actually work, instead of, say, losing my mind or temper or plonking them in front of the T.V. for eight straight hours. It’s a win-win for everyone, and they absolutely adore their babysitter.

I make their packed lunches the night before, while I’m cleaning up after dinner but before I put leftovers away. I find that if I try to cram in packed lunch prep in the morning, I usually forget something – plus, it’s way too stressful! We have enough morning time battles to fight, such as trying to brush my daughter’s hair without her running away from me. Ain’t nobody got time to deal with lunch making, too.

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!(click the image to pin straight to Pinterest!)

I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way regarding these packed lunches:

  • Try to only have one food group item at a time (so, say- one piece of fruit, one vegetable, protein, etc)
  • Cheese sticks are my very best friend
  • Those reusable baby food pouches I bought too many of when my daughter was just getting into solids? Those are the perfect vehicle for applesauce.
  • My daughter tends to try more things at the babysitter’s house, so this is prime time to add in things like green beans, roasted broccoli, dried apricots, etc. She lives by the credo, “If it’s from mom, it’s gross. If it’s from the babysitter, I should try it!” So, I totally take advantage of this.
  • Leftovers are my other bff after cheese sticks. The nights before the kids go to the babysitter, I try to cook a dinner that is easily ‘leftover-able”. This saves me time and money, stretching a meal out this way!

Want some great ideas for a simple recipe you can make at home that works fabulously in kids’ packed lunches?

Check out this Facebook Live I did, where I made 15-Minute Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers and Broccoli Pesto Pasta.

Percolate Kitchen on Facebook Live: 2 Easy Back to School Packed Lunch Ideas

( Plus, I share my faaaaavorite reusable food containers, from Kids Konserve. They’re leakproof and practically indestructible! )

But wait! I went one step further, and created this handy little ‘Pick and Choose Packed Lunch’ cheat sheet for you! 🙌

Guys, this takes SO MUCH of the thought process out of planning and packing kid’s lunches. Add in a few extra options that your kid’s like; make it personal to you and your family.

Then, when it’s time to take care of the kid’s packed lunch, just pick one item from each section on the chart. Add it to the lunchbox, zip that sucker up, and toss it in the fridge or backpack.

It could.

Not.

Be.

Easier.

Well, easier if you had like, a maid to do this stuff for you. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, the download’s FREE!! No strings attached, no email to hand over. Just click and save and go about your merry little lunch-packing way.

Enjoy the school year!

Click here for the straight-up pdf version. Or, click the image below to download!

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

You might also like: 

 How To Cook ‘Family Meal; Just Like a Chef 

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization

The 5 Minute Meal Plan (Quick Cooking Tips #1)

This is How To Store Your Fall Produce

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use! How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

Fall’s bounty of fruits and vegetables is hard to beat, but how can you best store fall produce so it stays fresh and tasty!?

I love buying fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market in the fall when the air is warm and the breeze is crisp. Wondering how you can store fall produce from the market, so you can enjoy all that autumn-y deliciousness while it’s still fresh? I made a handy guide to help you with just that, showcasing some of the fall’s most popular fruits and veggies!

I’m writing this in July, in the middle of a heat wave, dreaming of fall leaves, pumpkins, and steamy bowls of apple and sausage chili (swoon). Thinking cool thoughts keeps me from melting in the heat!

Another thing I love about fall produce is how it easily lends itself to roasting.

Summer produce is delicious on its own, but squash, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, eggplant… they’re all so much better with a little roast-y caramelization, don’t you think?

I love to toss roasted veggies warm on top of a salad or stirred into pasta. So simple, and then you’ve got a totally deliciously healthy meal with very little hands on time.

Most of all, I love how roasting fall veggies on chilly nights both warms up my kitchen and smells so dang good. Three cheers for double duty! (or would that be two cheers? hmm…) 

Why just these veggies and not others? Blame fall’s cornucopia of produce!

I used some of my favorite fruits and vegetables in the printable below since fall’s bountiful harvest was a litttttle more than I could possibly fit on a graphic and still make it easy to understand and follow along.

If you’re looking for a great resource for help figure out just how long all your produce will last, I recommend heading over to the site EatByDate.com. There you’ll find a huge trove of not just fruits and vegetable use-by recommendation dates, but other foods as well; dairy, meat, etc. I refer to it all the time!

Click on the image below to download the pdf, no string attached! It’s free, it’s handy, and it’s super easy to print off and hang up on your fridge or pop into a meal planning binder.

How do you store your favorite autumn fruits and veggies? Use this handy guide (and free printable!) to help keep your fall produce fresh, tasty, and ready to use!

Enjoy!


 You might also like: 

Caring For Your Cast Iron Pan

How To Cook ‘Family Meal’ Just Like a Chef 

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization 

Simple Summer Recipes – a FREE Cookbook!

Imagine how great it will be this summer when you've got this excellent book of summery recipes to inspire you! And it's FREE! Click to see!

Hey, whatcha planning on cooking this summer? 

In between the beach reads, ice cream sandwiches, the glasses of sangria and maybe a hotdog toaster or two, I’m willing to bet you’ve got some time to get cooking in the kitchen. And dudes, have I got the PERFECT cookbook full of simple summer recipes to inspire you! 

I joined forces with a handful of some of my favorite food bloggers and we put together this awesome summertime cookbook, just for readers of our sites! It’s 100% FREE (yup! FREE!) and chock full of easy, simple recipes to get you from Memorial Day to Labor Day in delicious style.

This simple summer recipe cookbook includes two of my favorite recipes from Percolate Kitchen, Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing (oh that dressing #swoon) and Roasted Baby Potato and Green Bean Salad. But in this book you can also nab recipes for Grapefruit Tequila Spritzers, Extra-Creamy Coleslaw, Summertime Kale Salad, Mango Sorbet, and FOUR of the best burger recipes I’ve seen in a long time. 

Here are the other food bloggers and their sites featured in the cookbook: 

Sybil at Oven Struck

Heather at The Messy Little Kitchen

Dene at Biscuits and Savvy

Carla at CarlaCrudup.com

Seriously- this book belongs in your summertime repertoire. 

And it’s FREE. Like, no cash exchanged. Just you, me, and those burgers. 

Ok, well maybe I won’t be there, but you can invite me out to the pool later. And we’ll have grapefruit tequila spritzers and bond. It’ll be great. 

If you’re already a Percolate subscriber, you can download the cookbook straight from within this weekend’s e-issue of Percolate, which will arrive (like always!) in inboxes tomorrow (Saturday) morning. If you’re not a Percolate subscriber, no worries! Just fill out your info in the box below, and the download link for the book will pop up immediately. 

How awesome will this summer be when you’ve got a huge trove of EXCELLENT summery recipes, just ready to go?!

I’m thinking very awesome. 

Download your copy today! 

You might also like: 

Loaded Sheet Pan Cauliflower Nachos 

17 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners for Busy Nights

Veggie Skillet Chilli

 

Imagine how great it will be this summer when you've got this excellent book of summery recipes to inspire you! And it's FREE! Click to see!