Category Archives: HEB

HEB, Bulk and A Pumpking Pie From Scratch

I have set it in my mind that today I will make a pumpkin pie from scratch. I’ve never made a pumpkin pie from scratch before, but the CSA pumpkin I received last week and the one I received at today’s last pick up of the season, keep whispering to me, “Make me! Make me! I will tastes delicious!” So you see, I have no choice.

Today’s shopping trip to the new HEB for the ingredients only inspired me more. Why? I discovered today that the new HEB has a bulk isle in the store where we, the customers, can grab a bag and fill up on ingredients like spices and nuts and snacks. The kind manager there explained the system to me. She also told me some of the items were local from Texas and others where from and eco-friendly vendor in California. I quickly caught on and then I asked her if we could bring back our containers to reuse and cut down on waste instead of using the a new plastic bag everytime. She told me they are working on it. She also told me some customers are interested in using glass containers to refill, but she let them know glass is heavy and that would weigh on the cost. That makes sense. I wish they were a way to seperate the weight though, because I have tons of glass. She then gave me tips on other ways to use the spices I was buying for the pumpkin pie. One spice I had never used before (cardamom) and the other was ginger. I wasn’t sure if I had ginger at home.

The store was crowded and I overheard a few people complain about feeling overwhelmed from the crowd. I’m just happy it wasn’t as crowded as the first week it opened. In a few minutes I will begin to cook our semi thanksgiving meal for my family. It will be eco-friendly chicken (yes again) with olive oil, rosemary from the CSA and basil I received today from the CSA. As side dishes I will cook today’s CSA green beans, HEB sweet potatoes (candied yams) and last weeks CSA acorn squash (I need to eat these before they rot). For dessert I will make two pumpkin pies. One for our family and the other for tomorrows pot luck. I may even make my special semi-organic oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but it already seems like too much food. Maybe I’ll wait for next week to make the cookies.

I mentioned the menu to my girls and they were so excited they didn’t know what to do with themselves.

Target, Broccoli, And The Garden

Last week, after taking a ride to see if the new HEB was open yet (we had to run some other errands in that area too) and realizing it wasn’t open we drove to HEB. when we parked I showed my husband how easy it was to remember to grab the reusable bags in the back of or car. We shopped for the things we needed. I told him to keep the cost down and for our health we needed to cut down some on packaged food. That proved harder than I hoped. After all Target is no Farmer’s Market. Still we cut down on packaged food.

My husband doesn’t really like when I shop because I avoid unhealthy snacks and other unhealthy foods. He says I suffer for it too. He’s right. This week I have been jumping up an down in craving for chocolate. The fair trade and organic chocolate is out of our budget. We could barely afford the organic milk. I did however grab a gallon. We cut down on our meat purchase too and we are managing to survive off what we bought but my husband already had to go back to the store today to buy something extra for dinner to feed out neighbor so we would ave enough. What it comes down to is that we were raised a certain way to eat and to adjust or try to adjust to a new way of eating without much counseling or opportunity thanks to where we live this is proving to be difficult. Still this issues is not what my entry was suppose to be about. It was suppose to be about the reusable bags.

So, as we are checking out at the check out line, the cashier (with super customer service) is kindly interrupted by another cashier. The other cashier whispers a reminder to her that we get 5 cents bag for every reusable bag we use. It’s a new thing she tells her and then points to a note or something close to the cashiers register. We are then told and I was delighted. Yeah!

I am still delighted. Finally that idea, which I knew happened in other states is finally happening here. I love it. I would use my totes either way, but now I get money back too. I wonder if HEB will start this soon?

On another note I think organic milk has something to do with my smoother clearer skin and less painful menstrual cycle. Not to get to specific, but those few months that we were on WIC and back on regular milk I noted my skin break out and during my menstrual cycle it felt again like it did when I was younger….so many painful cramps. Now that I’m back on organic, just a 1 month and a pain free menstrual cycle and nicer skin. It could just be a coincidence or wishful thinking. It could just be that I’m eating healthier now too.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, we took down the Topsy Turvy. Can you believe there was a bird nest in there? We also added compost to my front garden. We tilled the dirt a bit. Moved some plants around , planted some broccoli seedlings, some leak seedlings and some lettuce seed varieties. We added the excess (almost over flowing) worm poo from our worm compost into some of the front garden and the rest into our compost bin. I then went to the back yard to pull up some weeds and lift up the melon and watermelon/tomato plant. The cucumber is still giving us cucumbers, but now something is attacking it. There are some orange bugs on it with 6 long black legs. I’m trying to identify them, but still don’t know for sure. The orange bug is either an assassin, a soldier bug or a stinky bug. I should catch one and take it to a professional gardener.

Where is the rain? Thanks HEB

The lack of rain is making all of us grumpy and the days are hot. This is the 3rd week or more without rain. My flower garden is thirsty and we are still trying to find ways to water our vegetable garden without bringing up our water bill. This is proving to be hard because these plants need a lot of water.

We also still have not found free or inexpensive wooden barrels for container gardening nor have we found free large plastic or tin barrels to contain the rain when it comes….if it ever comes.

On a very positive note….during our shopping trip to HEB right before our CSA pickup we stopped by the corn on sale and my husband noticed a large box of empty corn husks right next to the corn stand. He said, pointed at the box and looked at me, “I want this!” A light bulb went off in my head and I remembered a tip from one of the many gardening books we have checked out and I said, “go ask the manager”. He smiled swung his pointed finger in the direction he would walk to to find the manger and said, “I will!” Off he went. When he came back he said they gave him the rotting melon too. I had mixed feeling about that. I didn’t want rotting melon in the car in the heat. Imagine the smell, but he seemed happy so I went a long with it.

When we got inside the car I could smell it. It was nasty and we still had to pick up the CSA veggies then drive all the way home. At the CSA pick up we finally had a bag of tomatoes to pick up with the rest of the veggies. I was excited because we love tomatoes. We still have only one bag full of vegetables, but at least we no longer have that nasty lettuce. Unfortunately, we are now growing tired of the squash too.

When we arrived home. He took the large boxes of rotten fruit and husks out of the SUV and to the back yard to place in the compost. Naturally he spilled some of the melon juice in the back of the SUV. I was upset, but he cleaned it and aired it out. The smell is gone now. Next time we will bring flattened cardboard boxes with us. When he spoke to the manager there she was fine with allowing us to pick up more rotten fruits and veggies later. She says a lot of gardeners have asked them. My husband says one of the other managers there was a little nervous about letting us take the rotten food. My husband reassured him we wouldn’t eat it. I guess the other manager was worried about a lawsuit or something. I can understand that. There are some bad dishonest people out there. They ruin it for everyone. I told my husband, if they are still nervous. to tell them he is more than willing to sign a paper letting HEB know we wont sue. I’ll post it here. HEB we wont sue you over this rotten food. We are only using it for our compost pile and I appreciate you willing to take the chance. You are helping us out and helping the planet at the same. Thanks to you, our compost bin is full and in six months to a year we will have rich dark black soil to put in our vegetable garden.

I wish all grocery stores would do this. I hate the idea of all that compost material going to waste and to the landfill. It’s a shame that so much of it does when it can be turned into compost. If grocery stores were smart they would turn there waste into compost and then sale it to their costumers for a dollar. A dollar more for organic compost.

By the way our pumpkins, cantelopes, and cucumber are thriving, but our watermelon is struggling. My husband says they do better in sandy soil. We have clay soil. He plans to mix it with a bit of sandy soil next year. This year we will just see what happens. By the way did I ever mention we once lived in Alabama for a year many years ago and we tried gardening there. We planted a few things: corn, carrots, watermelon, and tomatoes, is all I can remember. Our corn died. Only one carrot grew, but we picked it too soon, cute tiny little thing. We had some yummy tomatoes for a few weeks. They were absolutely delicious. I think I made the best spaghetti I have ever made with those tomatoes, but then before we knew it the watermelon grew over everything and choked everything out. Still, we were happy. We picked a few watermelon at first, but discovered it was too early to harvest. We finally researched how to harvest watermelon and a few weeks later we had so many we were giving them away. I would love to reach that point in our vegetable garden, the point when we have so much food to harvest we can give it away to our family and friends.

Back then we didn’t know how to garden at all. It was pure luck and wishful thinking. This year we decided to learn about gardening first and then plant. Well…honestly it was a little of both. We are still reading gardening books. We are still asking gardeners questions. We still have a lot and I mean a lot to learn, but I think we will be okay. If we succeed then we save money on food and we feed our family fresh organic healthy food. If we fail, it isn’t really a failure because we learned new things and we enjoyed doing it, my husband most of all. After coming back from Iraq and still searching for a job I believe this calms him. This calms me.

My children enjoy it too. They get so excited about these things. This is what I love about kids, simplicity and nature still excites them. Materialistic things and vanity are way back on the back burner. I say let us as adults help them keep it there. We all need to take a break and give simplicity and nature another try. Maybe we would all be happy for it.

Organic food, HEB, Kroger, and Brookeshire Brothers

The HEB where I live (in Spring) is shabby and small. Though the customer service there is great (sweet people) there isn’t much food and product selection and the quality of the fresh food isn’t great either so it doesn’t matter that the prices are cheap. I don’t want low quality food just because the food is cheap. They have very little organic food too. Instead I end up having to take multiple trips to different grocery stores. I go to Brookshire Brothers and Kroger’s for organic foods and fresh foods, but it’s expensive. I go to HEB for the organic milk (love Central Market) and when my budget is tight and I’m in a hurry. It is the closest to my home. Lately the budget has been very tight so when I took my baby to the pediatrician this morning I decided to shop at the HEB right around the corner at that location (in the Woodlands). Wow! What a difference and wow! I’m shocked how much money I saved. The commercials are true. :) I saved money on organics foods. I found organic food products I didn’t know existed. Regular food was of good quality. The place was clean. Staff was price checking to make sure prices were updated, my questions about products were answered…maybe I just went at a good time. I’ll have to take notice of this next time I go there which unfortunately won’t be until the next doctor’s visit. The only thing lacking was the customer service. Employees didn’t smile. That really bothers me wherever I go. I’ve worked customer service and I grew up with a businessman (my dad) so I know how important it is to smile and say hello. Instead they were kind of cold as if they see a lot of customers every day and they are sick of dealing with them. Sure they were still polite and still answered questions, but their faces showed boredom and irritation. If only the HEB near my home (Spring) could expand and improve… With their customer service I would shop there all the time. If Brookshire Brothers would lower prices and the baggers wouldn’t show how irritated they are with reusable bags and if the organic milk were of a different brand (that brand is nasty) I would have continued loyally shopping there. If Kroger would lower prices…. I mean really lower them and not try to trick customers with their Kroger card deals I would shop there more often too. It’s always something isn’t it? For now I’ll just have to wait until doctors appointments to visit the HEB over there. I’ll make sure to buy bulk items and pack up on items I rarely shop for, but always need. I could just drive the distance and spend the gas, but that isn’t environmentally friendly. I am really trying to combine errands and use reusable bags and all that good stuff. It isn’t easy though.

One more complaint about HEB- all of them…. the food deals are great, but I’d love to see more food deals for organic products as well. I don’t drink soda or eat junk food often so buying “something” to get a soda or unhealthy food “free” or at a discount doesn’t appeal to me.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 177 other followers

%d bloggers like this: