10 Apr Inside the Fridge welcomes blogger and bride to be Tara Deal!
Bride-to-be, half marathoner and fitness buff Tara Deal loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Tara is the blogger behind Treble in the Kitchen where she documents her experiments with healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) foods in the kitchen. Currently, she is the Membership Manager at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport in Indianapolis, and in her spare time she is a group fitness instructor, healthy-living blogger, running group leader and amateur chef.
ITF: Where do you shop for food?
TD: For a typical week, I usually hit up Meijer because I like the selection. I can get everything in one stop and they take coupons. For an ideal week, I would go to a couple of different stores. I would go to Meijer for the standard items like peanut butter, almond milk, fruit, veggies, and Greek yogurt, but then I would go to a local health food store called Good Earth Natural Foods for bulk grains, beans, nuts, tofu, coconut water, and other specialty items. It all depends on the amount of time I have.
ITF: Do you love food shopping or dread it?
TD: I love shopping for food, and often find I don’t have as much time as I would like to slowly go through the store and take my time.
ITF: What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?
TD: Budget, and nutrition. I know you said single, but I’m always trying to get the most nutrition without always spending top dollar.
ITF: How often do you shop?
TD: Usually once a week, but sometimes once every other week.
ITF: How many do you shop for? Ages?
TD: I shop for my fiancé and myself, 23 and 25.
ITF: What is your weekly food budget?
TD: We have a monthly food budget of $310 that we divide up throughout the month depending on what we are running low on.
ITF: How many times a week do you eat out? (based on 21 meals/week)
TD: We only eat out about one time a week.
ITF: How do you plan your weekly meals? Create a spreadsheet of fly by the seat of your pants?
TD: I don’t have a spreadsheet…but that sounds like a great idea! I simply make a list of breakfast ideas, lunch ideas, and dinner ideas. I then look at what is needed for each meal, and create the list based on what we are missing to create the meals that I have planned out.
ITF: What is the most coveted food in the fridge right now for each member of the household? Why?
TD: For me, it is peanut butter. For my fiancé, it is Diet Coke!
ITF: What convenience product can you not live without?
TD: Hummus. I honestly do not mind making my own, but it saves so much time to just buy the darn stuff!
ITF: What brands do you swear by? Why?
TD: I’m not going to lie…I am not a brand loyal kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, Krema Peanut Butter, and Chobani Greek yogurt, but if another brand is less expensive and matches the nutrition stats and ingredients then I am going to buy the less expensive option.
ITF: What cooking utensil/piece of equipment/appliance do you live for?
TD: My food processor. I love that thing for making homemade veggie burgers, hummus (when I have time), nut butters, homemade larabars, and just about anything else you can think to throw in there!
ITF: When you hear the word “homemade” what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Honestly? Cookies! HA! But I love making just about anything homemade
TD: What food/s are important when recalling food memories?
I’m going to say it again…but cookies. I started cooking by helping my mom and dad in the kitchen while baking cookies, we made sugar cut out cookies at every Christmas, and I cannot visit my Grandpa without a fresh batch of homemade chocolate chippers.
ITF: How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?
Well, since I was 13 ten years ago, I wasn’t doing much grocery shopping on my own, but I loved going to the grocery store with my mom and still do. I would say that my parents laid a great foundation for healthy eating and I am just continuing to improve on that by trying new vegetables, limiting the number of cookies I bake ;), and trying to cook new recipes.
ITF: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for other folks who are doing their best every day to fill the fridge?
TD: For me, the secret ingredient is planning. If I don’t plan, food ends up getting forgotten and going bad, there aren’t components to make a full meal, or I end up running to the store 3 extra times to get everything that I forgot the first time around. Make a plan before you head to the store and you will be golden!
ITF: What are you working on these days that you’d like to tell us about?
TD: My meal planning and cooking schedule have been slightly skewed lately because we are in crunch time for our wedding plans, I recently started a new job, my fiancé is finishing his third year of dental school, and we are getting ready to apply for dental residency programs. There is a lot going on in our house, but we still make sure to plan, eat nutritiously, and enjoy meal time.
If you’re interested in participating in Inside the Fridge contact Leah@robinplotkin.com.