Robin, the culinary and nutrition expert over at Robin’s Bite asked me to open up my refrigerator and answer questions about my shopping and eating habits. I even had to take photos of the inside, so you know it’s legit. While the contents of my fridge shift around over the course of a month, I always keep basic staples in there.
Right now, it’s a little more full than in the photos you’ll see below because I just went food shopping. I almost always buy raw meat, poultry, and fish within two days of cooking it, so what’s in there depends on what I’m cooking in the near future. Sometimes you’ll find leftovers, and other times it’s kind of empty because we’ve polished them off. In addition to what’s in the recent photos, I also have leftover rotisserie chicken, steamed green beans, sliced turkey, stuffed grape leaves, ripe strawberries, guacamole, light sour cream, and ridiculously good bruschetta sauce from Trader Joes. I made Ellie Krieger’s amazing easy chicken-mushroom quesadillas a few nights ago, hence the abundance of dips…
My interview with Robin doesn’t just review what’s in my refrigerator – we also talk about how I feel about leftovers (very pro), what brands I swear by, how often I go grocery shopping, what piece of cooking equipment I adore, and more.
Here’s a portion of the interview: (For more, click on this link to hop over to the full post)
Robin: Where do you shop for food?
Caroline: My regular shops are Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Costco and I visit the local farmers market on the weekend occasionally.
R: Do you love food shopping or dread it?
C: I love food shopping! I have fun looking for new products and reading labels to find the healthiest version of what I need. I especially like looking at the nutrition labels and ingredients for products with lots of health claims and marketing on the package to see if it’s really as nutritious as they say. When I’m in a rush, I can shop quickly because I know exactly what I’m looking for on the label. If a packaged food doesn’t meet my criteria, it goes back on the shelf! For example, I only buy grain-based products with at least 3g of fiber and a whole grain listed first on the ingredient list, and I don’t buy anything with sugar as the first or second ingredient. Unless, of course, I’m purposefully looking for junk food – sometimes I want plain old potato chips!
R: Do you believe in leftovers?
C: YES! Leftovers are a huge time saver and so many dishes taste even better the next day, like stews and one-pot chicken and rice meals. Even though there are only two of us, I always make recipes for 4-6 so we have leftovers for quick lunches and dinners over the next few days. I take home restaurant leftovers because they’re easy to work into my next meal – roast chicken or slices of steak are perfect for lunch salads, for example. If you’re worried about leftovers and food safety, check out the app, “Is My Food Safe?” I use it all the time! For example, the app tells you that a cooked chicken dish is good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, and in the freezer for 4-6 months.
R: What brands do you swear by? Why?
C: I love The Laughing Cow’s mini babybel cheeses. They’re snack size (50-80 calories per wheel), and taste so rich and satisfying. I grew up eating the original in the red wax package, so there’s definitely a nostalgic pull for me – I would always peel the wax and pretend the shell was Pac Man. I limit my lactose intake, so I drink lactose-free milk, and I think Organic Valley is the best tasting brand around. Does Trader Joe’s count as a brand? If yes, then lately I’m a big fan of their mini 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bars (100 calories of pure, sweet, antioxidant goodness), pre-washed kale and spinach, which make it easy to add vegetables to meals and snacks, and sliced mango. And, I can’t forget Hint Fizz, which helps me stay hydrated. I don’t even like carbonated water, but something about it is addictive; it’s flavored with fruit essence and I love having the pretty glass bottle on my desk!