EIM 2011 Day 1 + Bulk Bins How-To

Well, Eat in Month officially kicks off today, and today started out with a bit of a challenge. I hadn’t seen my friend Megan in a couple weeks due to crazy holiday schedules and we discussed yesterday about catching up over coffee. I remembered just as I was falling asleep last night that (silly me!) we couldn’t get coffee OUT because of Eat in Month!! Whoops!

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So, I invited her over for an oatmeal breakfast instead. :)

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And you know what….I think the oatmeal breakfast was way cooler than coffee would have been out. It was certainly cheaper, too!

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We had pumpkin oats with various toppings. I put coconut flakes, homemade almond butter, and raw almonds on top. I don’t really care for full-sized almonds on top of my oatmeal. I think they’re too large and the texture is too chunky. But, I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like chopping them. hehe

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Next time…

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After breakfast, Megan and I hit up the grocery stores to stock up for Eat in Month. We stopped by Trader Joe’s first but they were closed! I wasn’t as much surprised they were closed (since a lot of places are closed on New Year’s Day), but they didn’t even have a sign up. We were hopeful nothing bad was wrong since it didn’t seem normal sans signs and all.

Anywho, we ended up hitting up Earthfare next. I got a few pantry items and we definitely hit up the bulk bins yo! See my how-to on bulk bins below.

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I made a bit of a mess pouring some whole wheat cous cous into a mason jar. Oops!

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And instead of grabbing lunch out, we ended up coming back for leftover chili

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…chips and corn muffins.

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We also had hot tea and dough balls and macaroons. It was perfect for the rainy day. We also got sucked into a Lifetime movie. Gotta love those. :) Now, you certainly don’t get movies and coziness when you’re eating out!

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For dinner, hubby and I had a traditional New Year’s eve dinner – collard greens and…

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…black eyed peas.

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I must show you…I thought this was really cool. The Eden organic brand of black eyed peas is cooked with kombu! Beans cooked with kombu are supposed to be easier for your body to digest.

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We also made Rachael Ray’s 4 minute shrimp (an easy recipe for you Eat-In-Monthers – book mark it!)

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Dinner was fab! Great meal to start off the new year!

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Dinner was made better with delicious desserts – more dough balls and raw, vegan coconut macaroons. Gosh, I need to get the recipe for these guys posted!

Bulk Bins How-To in 3 Steps

I thought I’d take a minute to write up a quick how-to on bulk bins. If you’ve never shopped bulk bins before, they could be a little intimidating. They’re not as easy as picking a box off a shelf. But really, they’re not that much more difficult. Here’s how it works.

Step #1

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Grab a bag. Sometimes they are large open-topped or with ziploc tops. They’re usually spread out around the bulk bins.

Step #2

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Locate the item you want to purchase. Fill your bag as much as you want. If you’re testing out a new product to see if you like it, I recommend getting just a little that way you don’t waste your money if you don’t like the product. If you know you like it, you can stock up more.

For the items that pour down, be careful and just ease the door open a bit so you don’t pour the food all over the floor (yes, I speak from personal experience…lol). Also, make sure the bag is completely covering the opening spout so you don’t have the same issue.

Be sure to note the bin # of your food item and make a mental note of it.

Step #3

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Now, find the twist ties or labels, whichever your store uses to identify bulk bin items. Write the bin # of your product on the tie or label.

That’s it…you’re done! You can weigh your bag if you want, but I usually just eyeball how much I need.

Bulk bins are a great way to 1. Sample new items 2. Save money (less packaging = less cost for vendor) or 3. Be green (less packaging = less waste)

Eat in Month Tips

Recipe Sharing – Let’s collaborate! I’ve started some discussions on my Facebook page where we can share our favorite recipes! Please take a look at my Facebook page for recipe ideas and feel free to leave your favorite recipes, too!

Twitter Sharing – If you’re on Twitter, please use the hashtag #eatinmonth to check for eating ideas and post your tips, recipes, and eats. By sharing what you’re doing, you’ll help the rest of us! :)

More tips coming tomorrow and the rest of the month!

And it’s not too late to join us for Eat in Month – click here to view details!

***

Did you eat anything special today for New Year’s?

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Comments

  1. says

    Bulk bins are AWESOME! Definitely a great way to try something new or stock up on items you go through a lot of (oats!). I just purchased a few larger containers as part of my kitchen organization for this purpose. I already utilize mason jars for everything, but I needed some sizable space.

    And I had that same thought about coffee this morning while I was out running errands- no coffee for me! At least, not until I got home.

  2. says

    Welp, I was definitely unprepared for the first day of eat in month. Diana, how do you handle social eating? (ie, eating as a way of spending time with people, rather than for nutritional value). I spent all day with friends today and when it came time for dinner, I didn’t want to have to tell them to either a) go eat while I sat and watched and starved or b) go by the grocery store and pick something up so we can cook it and avoid eating out. So we ended up going out to dinner. Yikes! Now that I’m looking at my schedule I have a bachelorette party (for which I am a bridesmaid) and a birthday lunch next weekend, and as committed as I want to be to eating in, I don’t know how to do both! Help!

    • says

      Last year, I had a weekly tradition of going out to eat with friends every Monday. But, I explained the challenge to my friends and ended up inviting them over for dinner every Monday and it worked out quite nicely. I think the keys were: 1. explaining to your friends in advance (because they’ll probably be very supportive and may even want to join in on the challenge) and 2. planning in advance (that way I already had groceries and a meal planned and everyone knew we were coming to my house so they weren’t surprised). It is harder if you’re, say, hanging out with friends and don’t intend to do dinner, but then decide last minute to do so. That’s definitely more tough. But, if you’re in a social situation and everyone is eating out, I’d just eat out. You don’t want to be the weird one not eating or starve yourself and wait till you eat at home much later. I’d just tack on another day to the challenge and make February 1st another day of the challenge, etc. I’d use my cheat pass for the bachelorette party. :) Or, you can host the dinner at your house if you really want to, but pass may be easier. lol Oh and I wouldn’t worry about getting drinks out that night – you have to make exceptions for special events! HTH!

  3. says

    I’m so sad that I don’t have that much bulk options around here… my health food stores sure as hell don’t carry bulk items like most in the states & elsewhere.

    I eat in all the time anyway, I prefer it, but it’s certainly a great challenge! Good luck!

  4. says

    I absolutely love the bulk bins – I wish our whole foods was closer so I had better access to the bulk bins!

    I buy most of my grains in the bulk bins. I oftentimes keep them in the freezer so they last longer.

    • says

      Oh I’ll definitely be missing my Starbucks Mondays! Phew! lol Thanks girlie! There is at least one person who’s doing a modified Eat In Month and still doing one day of coffee out in case you’d like to join the challenge. ;) Would love for you to join us!

  5. says

    Well, I actually cannot remember the last time I ate out; I juts cannot afford such luxury. Every time I visit the US I cannot stop myself from gaping at the people’s habits of eating out! It seems the Europeans are a bit frugal when it comes to eating out :)
    Good for you Diana, I hope lot’s of your American readers will join you in this green exercise.
    Cyrene the Green :)

    • says

      When I did my exchange to France, I do remember we never ate out. And the one time we did, it was a really special event. I wish I ate like that more! Hopefully they will Cyrene! :)

  6. says

    You are right about the bulk bins. My first time I purchased quinoa from the bins to try it out I was so confused about whether I was doing it right. I actually started to walk off without writing anything down and then it dawned on me, “how would the cashier ring it up,” so I figured it out after more observation of others writing things down. Nice of you to share with readers who haven’t used them!

  7. says

    All your food looks so good. What pretty oatmeal! haha
    I made an extra special bowl of oatmeal this morning there are pictures on my blog but its my new favorite; oatmeal with a banana in it and pb and J on top. The j is actually strawberry preserves….. it is amazing! Once you try this you’ll ALWAYS want to eat in for breakfast ;)!

  8. says

    The collard greens, black-eyed peas, and shrimp dinner looks awesome!
    I’m going to go check out the facebook page and think of some things to tweet for eat in month!

    Looks like you’ve had some great success so far…oatmeal really does sound better than coffee out!

    ~Lisa

  9. says

    Eat In Month is a great idea! I found your facebook page and already commented on it but I might have to start smaller than a month. We eat out 2-3 nights a week, so I think we need to go a week at a time! haha

    I just bought quinoa from the bulk bins today :)

  10. says

    I love bulk bins! I always make sure I look at the bulk bins FIRST before buying anything else. I also buy my spices this way. I have a bunch of glass baby food jars that I saved from when J was a baby and I use these for storing spices. =)

  11. says

    Thanks for the nudge to check out the bulk bins! I do yesterday and WOW spices are awesomely priced! I will be going back this week to pick up a few more items!

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