Shop Jungle Jim’s for all Your Grocery Needs

Does it really matter where you buy your groceries? With multiple grocers available to most of us, we have our preferences where we choose to shop. We go to certain stores for certain items – for example, I like to get fresh meat and seafood at Giant Eagle and we get our basics from Aldi – a discounted grocer in our area. I like to get fresh produce from the farm or a farmer’s market when I can, but also like the produce section at Kroger. I like the International section at Meijer. For items we use in bulk like rice, pasta, dog food and some spices we shop at Sam’s Club.  So yes, for me it does matter where I buy my groceries.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Jungle Jim’s International Market, located in Fairfield, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati. It was glorious, to say the least. I wish I lived closer than two hours away so I could shop there on a regular basis because I would! Jungle Jim’s began as a local farmer’s market in 1971 and has only grown from there. What makes Jungle Jim’s special (besides the size, variety, freshness, local fare, international selections)? Jungle Jim’s is much more than a grocery store, it’s a whole destination! There are over 200,000 square feet (that’s about six acres) of shopping space in and over 150,000 products from which to choose. You could get lost there.

But, there’s more – Jungle Jim’s also offers tours of the store, food demonstrations, cooking classes and special events like the Weekend of Fire.

The store also offers demos on a regular basis so you can try the products the offer – including produce, gluten-free, seafood, cheese and international food. They also offer gift shops, specialized boutiques (where you can find clothing, accessories and gifts) and places to eat inside the store.

So what exactly can you find at Jungle Jim’s? Prepare to be amazed.

Fresh Food

  • Produce
  • Deli Cheese
  • Bakery
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Olive Pit

What I loved about the Fresh Food: I love seafood and we eat it regularly in our house. The seafood department is so fresh, you can pick out live fish for dinner to take home with you. Jungle Jim’s will take care of everything for you (but, I still feel bad for the fish, I think). The produce section is second to none – they had so much variety! I also liked the reduced section where I found some great prices on produce like peppers.

Specialty Food

  • Hot Sauce
  • Gourmet Galleria (pots, pans, specialty cookware, gadgets, small appliances, etc.)
  • Natural Foods
  • Herb ‘N Jungle (herbal supplements, sports nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc.)
  • Honey
  • Coffee Bar
  • Gift Baskets
  • Greenhouse (everything plants and growing)

What I loved about the Specialty Food: Um, if you have to ask, it is the HOT SAUCE! You can read more about that here. I have never seen a bigger hot sauce display anywhere. I was also impressed with the gigantic selection of honey, much of it locally harvested.

American Grocery Food

  • Grocery
  • Dairy
  • Frozen
  • Health and Beauty
  • Pets

What I loved about the American Grocery Food: The pets section! There was a large variety of foods, treats and products, many reasonably priced or even cheaper than my local grocers. You can even purchase natural treats for your canines there. My two got pigs’ ears, which they love. Grace didn’t even wait for me to take her picture, it was gone within a minute or two.

International Food

  • Asian
  • Indian
  • Hispanic
  • European
  • Eastern Europen
  • Middle Eastern
  • African

What I loved about the International Food: This is my favorite part of the store. I love cooking international and ethnic foods, and I can find  everything I need in this store. It is clearly labeled and easy to navigate the large aisles. I even found my favorite Asian hot sauce there – and purchased it in an extra large size (seriously, I need to buy stock in this company). Asian cooking is my favorite and there are over ten Asian countries alone represented here as well as a huge selection of Indian curries.

Beer and Wine (Food)

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cigars
  • State Store
  • Glassware
  • Home Brewing

What I loved about Beer and Wine (Food): They have an incredibly unique selection of products here, including my newly discovered favorite Woodchuck Cider.

And, don’t forget, you can also find things like chocolate-covered insects and bacon ketchup (which they apparently sold out of before) at Jungle Jim’s.

I will be visiting Jungle Jim’s again – and possibly taking a cooler to purchase meats and dairy for my deep-freezer at home. This store has certainly become my favorite grocer!

What about you? Have you been to Jungle Jim’s? Did you like it? What do you look for in a grocery store? Tell me in the comments below?

Until the next mile marker,

Hello, My Name is Sara and I am addicted to Hot Sauce (Plus, the Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Too)

Growing up in my house, we didn’t eat a lot of spicy things. That’s not to say we didn’t eat flavorful things, just not spicy. It wasn’t until I went to college and had an Indonesian and Indian roommate (at a very multi-cultural college as well) that I discovered the world ofspicy heat. Suddenly, the possibilities with food and even ethnic cuisine were endless. I was hooked. I can’t get enough hot sauce – all kinds, flavors and origins. I’ve been known to “sample” it from the bottle. My favorites are the Asian varieties, but I’m not picky. I’ll try anything that has heat to it. Habaneros straight off the vine? Bring it on.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Celiac Awareness Tour with my friend and fellow blogger Rebecca at Pretty Little Celiac. The day stated off with a kick – just the way I like it!

I got to meet the lovely ladies of Tandoor Chef and try their delicious product. It was so good! I was hesitant at first because this is frozen food, and I was wondering if it would taste like “restaurant-quality Indian cuisine” as promised.

I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala and it was fantastic. I could not tell it was previously frozen. It was rich, spicy, warm and flavorful. I’m typically hesitant with chicken – it has to be overly cooked for me – but, this chicken was even good, flavorful and yes, even I liked it tender. It was also gluten-free as are 16 of their other dishes. Tandoor foods are not genetically modified (Non-GMO), have lower sodium and has vegan and vegetarian options, enriched with the fiber and protein your body needs. What I really want to try is this (I am also obsessed with chickpeas). I will be purchasing these products in the future – if you haven’t, you’re missing out!

From there, we only turned up the heat. We visited Jungle Jim’s – a gigantic international market and grocery store in Fairfield, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati. They have everything there, and I do mean everything. Including candy insects.

Just look how big this place is!

I knew it was going to be a great experience when the first sign I saw was about the upcoming Weekend of Fire starting on October 6. You can “Sample and purchase sweat-inducing foods from all over the country at our Fiery Food Show!” I am so there.

And if that wasn’t enough, after perusing the huge gluten-free selection of foods, I findthe largest hot sauce display I have ever seen in my entire life. I may have freaked out a little bit (just a little).

How can you stay calm with THIS before you?!

There were hot sauces from everywhere and some very unique names as well. Giantjugs of tobasco too – anything you could want. Even. My. Favorite. Sauce. Of. All. Time. Oh yes, I purchased several of these babies and Sarachi to take home with me.

Satan’s Blood was even there.

In fact, many things are giant at Jungle Jim’s. When it’s my favorite sauce, I really can’t handle it. The smaller ones are the only ones I have ever seen at the regular grocery stores around here.

I also purchased some Ghost Chili’s (The Naga Bhut Jolokia) from India, which are reportedly the hottest pepper in the world. It had Scoville (a.k.a. hello your hotness) rating in 2004 of 1,041,427 units. For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000 and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the piquance of pepper plants) rates at 16,000,000 units. I have never tried them, but I am so excited.

And Rebecca bought be a birthday gift, which I just tried on homemade pizza today. Enter, Frostbite. It’s white, yes, but there is nothing frosty about this sauce. It is fantastic! And it contains pure capsaicin – I think I’m in love.

SO – while I may have a slightly unhealthy obsessive irrational unique love of hot sauce – did you know it is actually good for you? Researchers are finding that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili and cayenne their zing, has a lot of health benefits. Find out why!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Hot Sauce (If you can stand the heat, that is) 

  1. Hot sauces improve digestion. The spiciness in a hot sauce or a salsa stimulates stomach secretions. And while it is usually heard that ulcer sufferers should avoid spicy foods, it turns out that eating hot food stimulates blood flow to the stomach and increases its mucous lining, which may actually help heal ulcers
  2. Hot sauces can battle depression. Every time you eat something hot, you release endorphins and endorphins are the natural “happy drug” that your body produces. Endorphins resemble opiates in how they work and help to relieve pain and promote a sense of well being. They’re often called “natural pain killers” or “the runner’s natural high.”
  3. Hot sauces can treat a cold. Have you ever eaten salsa when you have a cold? It helps clear the sinuses.
  4. Hot sauces may boost your metabolic rate. And can help you eat less and feel satisfied longer. It suppresses appetite and increases the number of calories your body burns. In fact, a British study showed that capsaicin when added to breakfast foods or appetizers at lunch caused people participating in the study to eat less during meals as well as afterwards. I just read you can drink spicy tea for breakfast (hot sauce added to a mild tea) to really boost your metabolism in the morning. Don’t think I won’t try this.
  5. Hot sauce contains vitamin C. This vital nutrient helps repair and heal many different parts of your body and may even help to heal aching and painful arthritic joints.

What about you? Do you like hot sauce? Do you hate it? Have you noticed any health benefits since you’ve been eating it? Tell me in the comments below!

Stay tuned for more about my Jungle Jim adventures and enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Plus, don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY.

Until the next mile marker,

This is my famous stir-fry, what’s your’s?

Please don’t mistake this post for that one time when I thought I was a cool food blogger. I assure you, I am not. My husband actually thinks I am weird if I start taking pictures of food wherever we go so I don’t think I could make it as one!

It’s no secret that one of my favorite things to make is stir-fry. I like it because it is versatile, quick, inexpensive and you can make it as healthy (or not-so-healthy) as you like. The possibilities are really endless when it comes to stir-fry. In fact, all stir-fry means is to fry very quickly over high heat in a pan or a work. I love using my work, but before I had that, I used a regular frying pan, which works just fine.

Sara’s Famous Stir-Fry 

(I say famous because it’s famous in our house, at least!)

Makes 4-6 servings; Nutritional information is dependent on your specific ingredients.


  • Oil (Olive, Canola, Safflower, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Vegetables (the possibilities are endless!)
  • Protein (Egg, Fish, Beef, Chicken, Tofu, etc.) 
  • Rice

Step 1:    

Saute oil (I used canola oil last night) with garlic and onions (these chives were the first harvest from our garden!) until they are fragrant and garlic is lightly toasted.

Step 2:

Add vegetables. Fresh is the best, but I have used frozen vegetables if I am in a pinch or something is out of season. My stir-fry has mushrooms, yellow and orange carrots, broccoli, green beans, red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, peas and red onions. Cook the vegetables until slightly soft, but not mushy, anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on the vegetables.

Step 3: 

Add the sauce or seasonings or your choice. Last night I used Szechuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce, which is one of our favorites. It is only about 25 calories per tablespoon. I add about 2 tablespoons directly to the vegetables. I use my eye as judgement. I don’t want to coat the vegetables so much that you can’t see their true colors.

Step 4: 

I add my protein to the stir-fry afterwards. This works best because sometimes my husband and I want different proteins or sometimes I am not in the mood for meat. If you are cooking shrimp, chicken, beef, etc. I cook it thoroughly separately with a small amount of it’s own sauce and then add it to the vegetables and toss everything together for 2-3 minutes. We have even grilled meet (and vegetables too!) and added it to the stir-fry. Last night I chose to add an egg to my stir-fry, which I “fried” in just a touch of oil.

Step 5:

Serve with the rice of your choice (cooked ahead of time according to directions). Last night, we ate ours with our favorite, which is Jasmine Rice. For a healthier alternative, I usually cook brown rice for myself.

Step 6:


Of course, I added some hot sauce to my bowl. The yellow carrots were delicious, I will be cooking with them more often now.

As you can see, there is nothing genius or even special about my stir-fry, and that is why I love it so much – you can do what you wish! Make different creations with a variety of meats, vegetables, spices and sauces. There is truly no limit to the possibilities.

Tell Me:

What is your favorite way to make stir-fry? If you take a picture and send it to me, I will be sure to feature it on my Facebook page! Send your famous creations to

Until the next mile marker,


Word-for-Word Wednesday!

There are a lot of words in the dictionary beginning with the word word (do not try to say I did not get excited for things like screen-shots and snippet tools!):

While Word-of-Mouth, Wordfinder, Wordy and even Word of God Wednesday all sounded enticing – I really like Word-for-Word Wednesday. After all, these are my Words to Run By and I am not feeling particularly wordless (although you may be wishing I was after this post).

So, what is with all the words? I want to give a shout out to my running crew turned blogland buddies – go check out this blogs for inspiration, advice, hilarity and other running fun! All of these ladies bring something unique to the world of running and training – their own perspective. Find your niche with us! 😉

  • Running on Words by [the other] Sarah – I’m a 20-something first-time blogger trying to cope with the uncertainty by running.
  • The Adventures of the Little Running Bohemian by Judi  – I don’t run to win. I run to finish. There’s something quite insane about running 13.1 miles to find the path to my own peace….or just to be able to say that I did something that most don’t.
  • Running for Two by Mandy- The bottom line – can you run while pregnant?  ABSOLUTELY!  Different things will be sore after runs then pre-pregnancy though. 
  • Finish Strong by Amy – Finish Strong no matter what running throws at you! I just finished running my first half marathon and will be training for another one in October.  I am also training for a sprint triathlon in June.
  • One Girl One Dog Running by Wendy – I’m a runner, skier, snowboarder and all-around athlete and lover of life. I recently picked up and moved from Columbus, OH to Salt Lake City, UT to take advantage of the outdoor lifestyle.
  • My Running Journal by LeDawn – New to running, mom of 3 teens. Likes to play racquetball, run, bike, journal in Moleskine & yes even knit. I also love technology & reading via my latest cool gadget – a kindle3!
  • Runner Moose by Deb – I’m a newbie runner in Columbus OH, training with MIT.
  • Running My Life by Heather – Run a Marathon Change your life? Catchy little slogan right, but it has proven true for me. This is my little corner of the blog world to share about my training and my life.
  • Jessica’s Training BlogI’m a journalist and new-found jogger in Central Ohio. Just another running blog? I don’t think so! 

In other not necessarly related to words news – have I told you lately that I have an addiction to hot sauce? The hotter, the better.

Imagine my complete and utter shock when meandering through the grocery store’s international aisle this evening…

…Not one, but two of my favorite hot sauces now available in jumbo sizes:

I’m pretty sure the lady next to me was more than scared when I (a) screeched rather loudly not once, but twice, (b) pulled out my cell phone and started snapping photos and (3) called my husband to proclaim the good news.

What about you? Do you obsess over hot sauce and worry about having enough to last you until Armageddon and then some? Have you ever let it interfere with one of your runs? If you had to choose, would you buy hot sauce over regular food? Do you take pictures of seemingly total random things to post about it later? Am I the only one who gets all worked up over things like screen-shots and, well, hot sauce?

Until the next mile marker,