This Single Mom Feeds Her Kids AND Her Parents with These Creative Crowdpleasers
Name: Alexis Murphy
Location: Pasadena, CA
Number of people in household: It varies anywhere from 1–5
Occupation: Content Creator
Where you shopped: Vons®
Grocery hauls aren’t just what you fill your cart with: They’re also the possibilities that spring from a single trip to the store. Inside all those shopping bags are potlucks with friends, family game nights, comfort meals when we need them most, and nutritious starts to the school day. So we don’t only want to know what ingredients folks are buying — we also want to know what moments they’re making with them.
For Alexis Murphy, those moments include satisfying breakfasts, hearty dinners, and healthy snacks. And they all begin at Vons®. Alexis cooks for herself and her aging parents, so it’s important to her that every meal be two things: filling and fun.
“I love to go to the grocery store. It’s often like a break for me,” Alexis says. “On most trips, I like to find a new item that I haven’t tried before. It could be a condiment from a small independent business, a viral cereal I saw on social media, or cookies with an exciting new flavor. My dad loves it when I bring him new products. I recently found a wing sauce I hadn’t seen before, so we had chicken wings for dinner that night.” Alexis relies on her nearby Vons® for fresh produce, frozen shortcuts, and unique finds at a fair price. Here’s how she does it.
What’s your grocery strategy?
Alexis balances buying staples in bulk with fresh items in smaller quantities to ensure everything gets used. “I like to stock the freezer and pantry with items that have a long shelf-life, can be quickly prepared, and can be made healthier and more colorful with herbs and vegetables,” she says. “When I buy herbs and vegetables, I make sure they can be used easily in other meals throughout the week. I am also a big fan of leftovers repurposed the next day for lunch.”
How do you meal plan?
Though Alexis is a planner, she doesn’t overthink when it comes to meal planning. “I like to look ahead a few days, decide what to make for dinner those days, and then see how those meals can also work for breakfast and lunch.”
Top-Your-Own Ramen: A Restaurant Favorite Recreated at Home
Alexis’ son is in the military, and when he’s home visiting, he has one comfort food request: ramen. Since it’s difficult for her parents to go out to eat, Alexis recreates everyone’s favorite ramen shop at home, complete with a platter of toppings and mix-ins. “If I’ve had a day of constantly making decisions, I like to prepare something where everyone can serve themselves and choose what they want,” she says. “It’s easy for me and fun for everyone to eat!”
Drag Your Bagel Through the Garden: Weekday Morning Breakfast Treat
If you haven’t noticed, Alexis is big on presentation, no matter how small a meal. She fuels her workday with a morning bagel and goes the extra mile with veggie toppings. “Bagels can be boring. Taking time to ‘drag my bagel through the garden’ makes me happy,” she says. “You enjoy eating something more when the presentation is fun.” Why not spend a few extra seconds making a cucumber ribbon with a potato peeler? Alexis also shared a smart pro tip we hadn’t thought of: Give your bagel a few minutes in the air fryer before slicing to achieve that bagel store effect. Genius.
Smothered Burritos: Easy Dinner with a Touch of Flair
Are you sensing a theme yet? Alexis likes to keep meals simple, but also loves a “wow!” moment. Her Smothered Burritos are a perfect example: She bakes frozen burritos, then elevates them with enchilada sauce, cheese, and fresh veggies. This dinner is one she often throws together quickly for her parents when they get home from afternoons of appointments. Taking the extra step to add a little sparkle makes the burritos feel more homemade. “I love giving them a ‘wow!’ moment, even if I’m preparing a simple meal,” Alexis says. “It makes it more fun for them to eat.”
Smothered Hummus: Game Day Snack
Speaking of smothered specialties, Alexis has another one: Smothered Hummus. “My dad loves to watch sports with my son, and I always have prepared hummus in the fridge for them,” she says. “When you add a few things on top and plate it nicely, people go nuts!” Her toppings of choice are tomato, cucumber, herbs, and fried onion.
Vons® Sushi and Fun Glass Bottle Drink: Special Lunch Outing
We’re firm believers that having a meal with a “fun drink” makes everything better. Alexis agrees: She looks forward to picking one out when she enjoys a sushi lunch from her local store — one of her favorite mid-day rituals after a morning of running errands. “I can’t tell you how much I love the sushi bar at my Vons®,” she says. ” Everything is so fresh and colorful, and often, they serve it on heart-shaped to-go platters that make me smile. The chefs behind the counter always want to make sure I get exactly what I want, so if it is not on display, they will make it for me while I finish my shopping.”