Moms, You Are So Important.


I have written and deleted five sentences at least five times, and so now I’m just going to give up and write from my heart.  Unscripted.  Unedited.

This is my last blog post.

As I type those words, I have both this sense of relief (ugh… why did I just agree to that first sentence?) and sadness.  I grew up so much with this blog.  I grew in voice and confidence.  I think the fact that I had something that I had to do every week… and did it… amazed me.  I married right out of undergrad and became a mom very soon after that, so I just never had those years to use any of the gifts or talents that I’d nurtured in college.

And this blog… well, I was allowed to be exactly who I was.  A mom with an English degree who decided to stay home, even if it meant living on a lean budget.  How does a young family afford to shop at Whole Foods Market?  I answered that question every week in one way or another.

Kristen, who does a phenomenal job of illustrating how-to do that in this film my husband made,

gave me a lot of grace.  She saw my gifts, and helped me to get structured and meet deadlines.  I’m really grateful to her for that.

My life has changed.  A LOOOOOOOOOOT.  While our girl is at school, I’m with my husband growing our brand new, just born in July of 2014 toddler of a business.  We just got INTO Whole Foods Market as a vendor— got into 7 stores in one week— and… well… that pretty much changed our life.  I’ve got A LOT of Scottish Shortbread to bake and sell and bake and sell and bake and sell.

My kitchen apron now has flour kind of permanently covering it- no matter how many times it runs through the wash.  My spices at home haven’t been alphabetized in so long… and I haven’t even noticed because… I haven’t really cooked anything that requires a spice blend.  Honestly, in my five year plan, I picture myself back in home life.  Maybe not 100% totally in home life, but, at least 80%.  I love making a home.  I love being a mommy and a wife.  My heart is actually there.  And while it’s sort of counterintuitive, we are baking our way back there again.  Resetting in anticipation for that next chapter.  Right now, I’m ALL IN with our business.  And… it’s kind of intoxicating to work with my husband and dream together and then watch it grow.  Like WOAH!  We saw this before it happened, and when it happened?!!!  WOAH!  These new stores are on my plate now, and something else has to move off… and I don’t want that something else to be family time.

So… with that.  I bid you adieu.  Thank you for reading.  (Especially you, Aunt Marian.)

Before I go, let me end by saying, if you don’t know what to do for your mom for Mother’s Day… just go to WFM and you will win.  I photographed some of the ideas that I saw today:

IMG_5406 IMG_5409 IMG_5410 IMG_5413 IMG_5415 IMG_5418 IMG_5426 IMG_5435 IMG_5438 IMG_5439


Including this thoughtful recipe:


and… it made my heart happy to walk around and see what creative folks came up with when they thought about what a mommy might like on the day that she gets to be celebrated.  Love your momma well.  Moms, you’re so important.

All My Love,

Laura Brooke Allen

Anwar AllenMoms, You Are So Important.

Are You A Whole Foods Market Foodie?

These $2.50 Kombuchas all week have meant one a day for me!


In the spirit of Virginia Woolf’s famous words, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” I re-entered the store, ready to unfold for you what this sign means:


Thanks to Kathleen,


I located the WFM Foodie display, and got introduced to this very cool new concept.  I haven’t checked on Instagram, but I bet #WFMFoodie is going to take off as an often used hashtag.  Are you a WFM Foodie?  Ask yourself these questions to find out:


Whole Foods Market will choose products that might appeal to those that identify with, or value, these words/concepts:


and regularly rotate them out to keep it exciting!  It makes me think of the “Staff Pick” sticker that I always looked for at this little bookstore growing up.  One of the cool parts of shopping at Whole Foods Market is the incredible variety, and this will let us #WFMFoodies out there have something to look forward to.  And the prices are varied:

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So, WFM Foodie doesn’t mean expensive, it means adventurous!  I looked at the ingredients of the spaghetti, and it’s literally water + bean.  Isn’t that cool and a little mind blowing?

I love this packaging on this olive oil.


I encourage you to pause when you see this logo,


and perhaps take a gander at trying a new product!  Jazz things up a little!

Have A Glorious Week!

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenAre You A Whole Foods Market Foodie?

Whole Foods Market Eco-Scale


Unlike foods, drugs, and cosmetics- cleaning supplies are not required to list the ingredients on their label.  Pretty scary thought, no?  Why don’t they want to?  :-)

Whole Foods Market has this awesome eco scale that lets us know what goes into their supplies:


You can get a full on education in only 1 min and 9 seconds by watching this rather enjoyable short film that they put together:

Until this week, I have walked rather quickly by the household cleaning aisle.  I guess, (full confession!), I just kind of made the instant stereotype that I couldn’t afford it, or that they just had really specialized items- not the basics.  Well, I was wrong about both of those assumptions.  First of all, they have lots sales that change up weekly:

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And, they carry an impressive variety of 365 brand items, which are AL-WAYS competitively priced!

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Including hug-ably soft


and juggle-able paper products! :-)


This post managed to kind of get me pumped about cleaning my home!  If you make it fun, it’ll get done!


Have An Awesome Week!

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenWhole Foods Market Eco-Scale

This Week Only: 40% Off An Exceptional Marinara Sauce & Olive Oil!

There’s quite a bit of excitement generating through the air at Whole Foods Market


surrounding the rather massive 40% off sale of these two fine food items:


Frankie’s 457 Olive Oil is made from organically grown olives in Trapani, Sicily!  Growing in one of the top five Protected Destination of Origin areas in all of Italy,  the olives come from trees that are between 300 and 400 years old, and are carefully pruned by hand.  Each olive is also hand picked!  Considering those details about this delicious product, the usual $29.99 per liter makes some sense.  This week though, we can buy the very same liter for the significantly reduced price of $17.99!


Also worth coming into the store for is the same 40% off deal for the highly celebrated Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce!  The naturally sweet, sun ripened tomatoes that make up this award winning pasta sauce are imported from Southern Italy!  Again, when you think of a tomato traveling all the way from Italy just to jump into a pot to get simmered in NYC, that $9.99 price starts to make some good sense.  This week, bring home a jar for just $5.99!


You can find these two darlings of Italy sharing a display together in the meat and seafood department (at least for you Charlottesville readers.  If you live elsewhere in the region, just ask customer service to point you in the right direction!).


Buon Appetito!

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenThis Week Only: 40% Off An Exceptional Marinara Sauce & Olive Oil!

Load Up That Mac & Cheese, Kids! It’s $8/Plate Meatless Monday!


The $8 Meatless Monday Hot Bar Plate is new to the Charlottesville Whole Foods Market!


I had written about it in this post about it in this VA Beach post: Purposefully Going to Whole Foods Market While Traveling, and find this new addition to the value concept an exciting one!  Samaria, who loves the mac and cheese at the hot bar,


is pretty beside herself with this news as well.  At $8.99/lb, I set very clear boundaries with the bars.  For instance, “You may have a container of spring mix lettuce and 2 T of mac and cheese!”  So, this kind of blew her mind…


Every Monday, you can pick up one of these plates (you won’t get the deal if you don’t use one of these plates):


and choose from the likes of Vegetable Medley,


Cheese & Jalepeno Grits,


Creamy Spinach,


Strawberry Crisp,


Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash,


Herb Roasted Potatoes,


Miso Tofu with Bok Choy,


Blueberry Wontons,


Steamed Broccolli,


Vegetable Paella,


Portabella Steaks with Roasted Garlic Chimichurri,


Lemon Roasted Carrots,


& Green Beans!


Options vary from Monday to Monday, but you get the idea!  Do you ever have just a twinge of anxiety at this point in check out?


Any day but Meatless Monday, this would have come to $35.47!


That’s about a $20 savings!!!  And, an excuse to join this girl that I love


for a little just mommy and me time, while I enjoy this gorgeous plate of so many of my favorites.


The Butternut Squash and Herbed Potatoes are high on my list as favs, and even though they’re relatively cheap ingredients, they’re heavy!  So this was a nice treat!  Samaria ate half of her plate, and now has leftover mac & cheese to look forward to heating up and enjoying at school lunch time.  If I had multiple children, I obviously could have fed multiple tummies with all of that food.  That pause for a snack or meal together between traffic, parking, unloading and getting the shopping done makes ALL the difference in terms of serenity vs. potential chaos.  I mean, I am a lot happier myself after some yummy food and rest to look at her little face.  If we pause to eat first, the “Mommy, can I buy _____” goes down exponentially as well.

The entire seating area was filled with moms & babes, so I have a feeling that this will be really great news to many of my fellow mommas that set aside these times to bond with their babies, resting in the peace that you’re both getting nourished with whole, thoughtfully prepared, foods.

On a final note: to all of you Gorgeous Moms at Whole Foods Market.  I see you with your 4 kids, huge basket full of groceries, and an all to often defeated look on your beautiful faces.  It’s not easy to feed a family well, while making sure they don’t get hit by a car, pull down a display, wander off, have a meltdown, fight with each other, and/or touch everything in sight.  Or, if you’re like me with just one, it’s not easy to be the one person that wee gift has to talk to while you simultaneously trying to make decisions on how to economically feed your family well.  I would just like to take a moment to say, “YOU ARE AMAZING!  YOU are doing SUCH an awesome and important job!  Your work is of GREAT value!  Well done!”  I really hope that some of these tips, ideas, and insights equip you to push forward in your efforts to nourish you & and your loved ones in a way that simultaneously builds your family financially.  You’re doing it!  And though you may not hear it often enough, your work is of great worth!  You’re pouring your gifts and talents into the building of our future!  Well done, Super Mom, well done!

With So Much Love,

Laura Brooke Allen

Anwar AllenLoad Up That Mac & Cheese, Kids! It’s $8/Plate Meatless Monday!

Two Hot, 4 Topping Pizzas For $20 Anytime You Want!


You know that feeling when you open the refrigerator door and think, “I wonder what’s in here…”  Wouldn’t it be nice to find this?


Full pizzas with up to four toppings run for $17.00 at Whole Foods Market, which is actually a very competitive price for fresh made, dough tossed in shop pizza with excellent ingredients.


You can also buy a slice for $3.99.  If you were to pay that per slice, for an entire pizza, you’d pay nearly $32 instead of $17 for one of these beauties.



OR… you could get two pizzas (valued between $34 and $64) for $20, any day of the week!  Because there can be quite a wait, especially around dinner time, you can actually call ahead.  So, if it’s Saturday, and you’re thinking, “What can I serve for Sunday Lunch?” you can actually call that very moment and place your order to be ready when you’re planning to be in the area.  Or, “What can I get my family for dinner tonight?”  Call then.  Last night, there was only a 15 minute wait time.  It really depends.  I order up to four of these toppings:


for each pie.  Thank the very gifted Jasmine,


or whichever kind soul took the time to make our food delicious and beautiful,


& if we have time, sit down and enjoy a slice right in the store.


It feels good to know that if our little girl is going to have pizza for dinner, it does not have weird hormones, additives, or other non-food “ingredients” added to it.  It’s food.  And, I feel good about that.

I also enjoy the popularity that happens in our home whenever I show up with those boxes!


The Allen Family

Anwar AllenTwo Hot, 4 Topping Pizzas For $20 Anytime You Want!

$9.99 All Butter Apple Pi This 3.1415


Pi Day is coming up this March 14, 2015!  And what makes this 3.14 day particularly exciting (as pointed out by our pal, John Dimeo, who will be turning 30!  Happy Birthday, John!), is that the two digits that follow “14” are “15”!  2015 gives us even MORE of a reason to celebrate another holiday.  Aren’t you thankful for Holidays?  “Today, just because it’s totally socially acceptable, I will wear all green and have shamrocks bobbing on springs above my head alongside the rest of the goofy masses.”  They really spice life up a bit.  So, here’s to adding one more tradition to your life!  Eat Pie on Pi Day!  You’ll feel a little smarter- getting your nerd side on!

Whole Foods Market will have their all butter apple pie that you see the lovely Tabatha modeling below on sale for $9.99 (it would cost MORE to make it from scratch!) this Saturday, 3.14.15!


Our family thought that the only decent thing to do would be to purchase one at the retail cost of $16.99 to make sure they were worth stopping by on Saturday for.


Sacrifices, sacrifices.  😉


My husband had a slice for breakfast


which was too much for our home-for-spring-break 7 year old to bear.


It got a little intense.


When he did decide maybe this wasn’t the best pre-football fuel, he agreed to let her have a little.  She started with a fork,


and then decided, maybe she shouldn’t take any chances on him changing his mind!


One of those moments where I’m not sure if I should put the camera down and emphasize the importance of table manners, or…

Happy Pi Day From Our Family To Yours!

The Allens

Anwar Allen$9.99 All Butter Apple Pi This 3.1415

Simple, Quick, Inexpensive, Delicious Lentil Dinner!




The simple lentil- so cheap, so nutritious, so delicious.  What’s not to love?

In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water and 2 cups of lentils to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and simmer lentils for 25-30 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile, heat 1 T oil in a skillet.  From amongst the other simple, yet beautiful ingredients,


add 1 t garlic powder, 1 c chopped green onions, 1 c chopped green pepper, 1 t cumin, & 2 T chili powder.


Saute for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are a wee bit tender.  Add 2 c tomato sauce, 2 T apple cider vinegar, and 2 T molasses, & simmer for 1 minute.  When the lentils are cooked, add the vegetable mixture to them, combine well, and heat through.  Serve in hot corn tortillas,


on top of baked sweet potatoes,


or even with corn tortilla chips or brown rice.  It only gets better after a day in the fridge, so it’d be great packed for lunch with any of those suggested “vehicles”.  Add any favourite toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, corn, or in my “Freegan” husband’s case, cheese and sour cream!


Such an inexpensive, quick, colorful, and YUM-MY dinner to enjoy with family, friends, or Yo-Beautiful-Self!

Have A Glorious Week!

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenSimple, Quick, Inexpensive, Delicious Lentil Dinner!

Sweet & Spicy Honey Glazed Salmon Recipe


I tried a new salmon recipe that has a lot of flavor.


In a 1 gallon zip bag, or container like I chose to use, combine 1/4 c reduced sodium soy sauce,


 2 T honey,

IMG_30591 T rice vinegar, 1 T hot sauce, 1 t dried ginger (or T fresh), & 1 t dried garlic (or T fresh).


Add salmon, flip to coat, refrigerate 1-8 hours, turning the fish once.


Remove salmon from the marinade.  Reserve the marinade.  Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat, and add 1.5 t sesame oil.  Once pan is evenly coated, add the salmon.  Brown 1 side (about 2 minutes).  Flip the salmon and brown the other side (about 2 more minutes).  Reduce heat to low and pour in the remaining marinade.  Cover and cook 4-5 more minutes (until the fish is cooked).

Place on a serving plate and garnish with chopped scallions!


Whole Foods Market has incredibly admirable policies for how they treat both the fish, and the ocean around the fish that they sell.  I wrote a post that goes into detail that you can enjoy here: Rethinking Farmed Salmon & Recipes For the Grill.

I served the salmon along side coconut brown rice.


To make this, cook brown rice like usual, and when it’s the right consistency, stir the coconut milk through.  In 10 minutes, the rice become very creamy!



Have A Spectacular Week!

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenSweet & Spicy Honey Glazed Salmon Recipe

Simple, Delightful Vegan Butternut & Apple Soup!


Do you ever find yourself gazing at the the beautiful, inexpensive squash- go to pick one up, and then stop yourself… as you shudder at the memory of the last time?  The last time it’s hard skin caused you to question whether or not the university made a mistake in issuing you a degree… how could so much time pass just to peel a squash?


Or was that just me?  I started to stick mine in boiling water for a bit, and flip them over to do the same to the other side when the peel changes color and comes off with the slightest encouragement from the peeler.


Snow stacking outside, everyone bundled up within… what an ideal time to have a pot of soup that is loaded with vitamin A.  Vitamin A is so great for our skin, and helps so much with alleviating the dry and rough patches that are so common during these months.  Also, there’s so much fiber in butternut squash that it fills as much as it comforts.  I like to add apples to mine.


I love that all of this stay at home time gave me a chance to roast up all of the veggies in my fridge (peeled and sliced while catching up on Downton Abbey with headphones on our IPad.  Ohhh!! Such suspense!  Such drama!  Such ache and joy!  And… such a wonderful pace of life.  In some ways like today’s pace.  Only… I’m my own Mrs. Patmore).  Anwar caught me red (beet) handed in the process!


I have included our recipe for this soup below so that you can usher in a bit of delightful coziness into your own abode.


1 t coconut oil

1 medium sized onion, diced

1 T minced fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

2 t dried sage

1/2 t salt

3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch slices

1 lb red apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch slices

2 c apple cider

2 c vegetable broth

Sauté the onions in oil until translucent (7 min).  Add ginger, garlic, cayenne, sage, and salt.  Sauté for another minute.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boil, lower the heat low-med for a brisk simmer for 20 min or so.  Purée the soup with an immersion blender, or very carefully in batches in a blender (be sure to let the steam escape if you go this route).  Season to taste!

Much Love,

The Allen Family

Anwar AllenSimple, Delightful Vegan Butternut & Apple Soup!