Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Well actually, we've already gotten started. I usually plan out Friday through Sunday's dinners on Friday morning, but with New Year's Eve and Day dinners involved, those ideas are already posted. That just leaves Sunday. With the $7.99/lb fish sale happening at Sprouts, I've already warned that this will be a very fishy week, and Whole Foods has further fishied it up by offering wild halibut fillets for $15.99/lb during their two-day sale tomorrow and Sunday (scallops and shrimp will also be on sale). One of those fishes is going to wind up in the grill pan or under the broiler on Sunday. On the side, we'll celebrate the new year with a recipe from the new January issue of Bon Appetit, roasted potatoes with fresh herbs.

Stay warm out there today in Boulder.

Two-Day Sale at Whole Foods

Whole Foods will be doing a two-day After New Year's sale tomorrow and Sunday. I picked up the flyer at the Pearl Street store, don't know if the other local stores are participating. There are some good deals to be had, especially in organic produce, where 1 pound bags of baby carrots will be just $1, and red or green leaf lettuce will be $1.50. Start the New Year right by eating your veggies. Then top that salad off with a dollop of their own fresh guacamole, which will be $2 off at $5.99 a pound. In sustainable seafood, I'm very tempted by the wild halibut fillet, which will be $15.99 a pound. Sounds like a lot, but it's $6 off, and I'm thinking worth it for this wonderful fish that's responsibly caught. Other appealing specials include smoked mozzarella pasta salad for $5.99 a pound ($4 off), their own superfood salad with acai dressing for $6.99 apound ($2 off - start the year off right with superfoods), and their own Health Starts Here breads nearly half off at $2.50 each.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lucky Foods for New Year's Day

If you're exploring ways to increase your good fortune in 2011, Epicurious has a great summary of the foods traditionally considered to be good luck eating at the start of the new year, as well as some background on the underlying thinking. And watch out for the lobster tails on sale this week in several stores. Very nice for Christmas Eve or Day, but a bad luck way to start the new year. Chicken, too - who knew?

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day Dinners

I don't contemplate a dinner plan for New Year's Eve with as much care as I devote to Christmas, so this only just came together. As reported earlier today, Sprouts has some nice looking swordfish on sale for $7.99/lb this week (also Copper River salmon), so fish simply done in the grill pan has suddenly become the focus for New Year's Eve dinner. To dress it up, we'll accompany it with an elegant potato gratin with Gruyere from this month's Bon Appetit, plus a festive green veggie like asparagus.

Since New Year's Day dinner is immersed in superstitions about what brings good luck for the entire rest of the year, we obviously can't jinx ourselves for a whole year by ignoring it. Our standard is a twist on traditional Hoppin' John, which Mark Bittman turns into a pretty healthy (and delicious) soup as black-eyed pea soup with ham and greens. Whole Foods (Pearl Street store and probably the others) currently has fresh, quick cooking black eyed peas refrigerated in the produce department. I like to add extra greens, and to do it in proportions that give us enough for a reheat dinner. Made with collard greens, this is supposedly a good luck dinner, with the collards and peas resembling bills and coins for a lucrative New Year. Homemade corn bread of course has to go along with this, and one of my favorites is green onion corn bread from Bon Appetit. Best wishes for 2011!

Nice Fish at Sprouts

Sprouts is doing a seafood extravaganza this week, with several varieties at $7.99/lb. I've had good luck with their "flash-frozen at sea" fish, so I was expecting the Copper River salmon that's on sale would look pretty good. But the surprise was the swordfish, which not only looks good, but is also a product of the U.S. of A. At $7.99/lb, I really expected to see it from someplace in Southeast Asia, as I have before. The heck with the menu planning this week. I might just alternate between swordfish and Copper River salmon!

P.S. Be careful out there, fellow Boulderites - the roads are getting treacherous.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Sale Prices Are Up

Say hello to the last of our new Boulder natural grocery highlights of 2010, posted to the left. Conventional avocados are making news at 3 for $1 at Sunflower, 49 cents each at Sprouts. Sprouts has an interesting fish sale going on, with several types at $7.99/lb, including Copper River sockeye salmon. Whole Foods' New York strip steaks are pretty tempting at $9.99/lb, although you can also get New York strips at Sunflower this week for just $4.97/lb. These are the deals that will take us into January, so happy 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Whole Foods Recalls Ginger Bread Houses

Whole Foods is recalling some ginger bread houses that were sold in Colorado. Here's the jist of it:

"Whole Foods Market announces that it is recalling assembled Ginger Bread Houses sold in, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin that came from its supplier Rolf’s Patisserie of Lincolnwood, Illinois. The recalled ginger bread houses may have been assembled, decorated and packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with a Whole Foods Market scale label; some scale labels also may list “Rolf’s Patisserie” as part of the description. This includes all ginger bread Houses made after Nov. 1, 2010."

You can read the full announcement, including refund info, here.

Seventh Generation Sale at Target

Our Boulder Target typically has some of the best prices around for natural cleaning products like Seventh Generation, Method, or Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. This week, you can do even better there on Seventh Generation or Method laundry detergents, as the 64 load Seventh Generation (my fave) or 50 load Method are on sale for $12.99 each, and all other Seventh Generation or Method laundry detergents are 10% off.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Glad to see the return of our Wednesday one-day sales at our local Whole Foods stores after last week's hiatus. So for tomorrow only, Hass avocados will be half off at $1 each (if they're like the one I bought at the Pearl Street store last week, they're very large). On a more celebratory note, fresh whole Dungeness crabs will be $3 off at $6.99 a pound. Start thinking about New Year's festivities.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Time to emerge from the Christmas weekend food stupor and get some plans together to lead us up to New Year's Eve. After the excesses of the weekend, our dual themes will be simplicity and lightness. Having eased off the rib roast with a vegetarian chili last night, the black bean chili with butternut squash and Swiss chard, we'll continue along those lines tonight with a rice-based vegetarian dish, a rice, cheese, and corn casserole. My version is from a cookbook classic, Jane Brody's Good Food Book, but Cat Cora has posted a pretty similar recipe. The chilies of course will be far better than canned, since the freezer is stocked with roasted chilies from this past fall's roasting season.

Then, speaking of roasting, it will be back to the roast, since there's plenty left. Baked organic russets will go on the side this time, still using my stock from Vitamin Cottage's excellent sale that recently expired. Also on the side will be Brussels sprouts with pancetta from Giada De Laurentiis, a dish I considered for Christmas dinner proper but didn't get around to making.

Continuing to laze through the week, Sunday's black bean chili will also do a reprise, making this an easy week indeed. It will also give us the third vegetarian dinner of the week as we hover between Christmas and New Year's excesses.

Finally, I plan to catch some of Sprouts' lovely stuffed chicken breasts while they are on sale through Wednesday, to make an easy Thursday dinner. Yup, more organic russets from the Vitamin Cottage bag will get baked on the side.

Then it's time to start thinking about New Year's Eve/Day. Enjoy today's sunshine, and just be glad we aren't on the east coast right now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Salmon Primer

Since salmon is a perennial favorite here, thought I'd point out that Saveur magazine, always informative as well as entertaining, has a nice little guide to the various types of salmon that are out there. Interesting that they say wild Atlantic salmon has been decimated, when I thought the wild variety was completely gone. Perhaps there's a sliver of hope for its return.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wishes

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas to those of you who are Christmassing. Best wishes also for a delicious Christmas dinner. But tomorrow's another day, another sale opportunity, so don't forget about the one-day sale happening at Whole Foods (see the post just below).

Friday, December 24, 2010

This Weekend's Dinners

I usually get my dinner planning for the weekend started on Friday mornings, but this of course is an unusual week, so plans for today and tomorrow, Christmas Eve and day, have already been posted. That leaves us with figuring out Sunday for the weekend, and after the gluttony of today and tomorrow, we'll compensate with a delicious vegetarian favorite, black bean chili with butternut squash and Swiss chard. It's a great time for buying winter squash, and Swiss chard in the stores has been looking beautiful recently, too.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Sunday

We didn't get the customary Wednesday one-day sale from Whole Foods this week, but instead they're treating us to one this Sunday, the 26th. If you'll still be entertaining, jumbo Gulf white shrimp will be $11.99/lb, $4 off. Also, their fine 85% lean ground beef will be nearly half off at $1.99/lb. Not such a great thing to have when you're coming right off of eating a beef standing rib roast, but an excellent opportunity to stock the freezer. Also, their extensive prepared foods salad bar will be $2 off per pound at $5.99/lb.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vitamin Cottage Sale Hiatus?

We've seen this happen before, and I think Vitamin Cottage must be taking a break on advertised sales across the holidays, as the big sale flyer they have posted on the web is still the one that expired December 15th. There were such good deals in that one, they deserve a break. (And I still have a lot of organic russets to eat from the $1.50 a bag sale.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Deals Are Up

This week's new Boulder natural grocery price highlights are up on the left. Although we still have Christmas to come, it seems like that was last week's emphasis, and we're trending back to normal this week. Bulk coffee is the star to me this week, $6.99/lb at both Sprouts (which has organic fair trade coffees, including decaf) and Sunflower (which used to sell regularly at $6.99/lb but recently went up a dollar).

Midnight Madness At Whole Foods Tomorrow

It will be a short one, just 10 pm to 12 am, but the Pearl Street Whole Foods store has on their paper calendar that they'll hold a midnight madness sale for just those two hours tomorrow. They usually have some spectacular deals during those sales.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner Plans

I don't usually get around to planning for the weekend until Friday, but hey, we're talking Christmas here. My plans are still a bit in the formative stage, but here's what they're looking like.

Christmas Eve will be an easy festival of shellfish, centered around the lobster tails that Whole Foods has for $7.99 each (yes, you can get tails for less elsewhere, but these are from Maine), and Whole Foods' own fresh crabcakes. I tried the crabcakes when they were on sale a couple of weeks ago, and they are definitely worth the $12.99/lb that I last saw. They're also making them in cute cocktail sizes, in addition to full sized cakes, and the smaller size might work better with the lobster tails. For a side, we'll do Lundberg's fabulous wild rice blend, which I picked up for a steal at the Vitamin Cottage sale that recently ended. The veggie has yet to be determined, and I'm hoping tomorrow's new sales might provide some inspiration.

For Christmas dinner itself, we'll have an array of appetizers to get ourselves and our guests through a few hours before dinner. Easy ones will include hummus with lots of veggies (don't forget organic baby carrots for just 99 cents a one pound bag at Sunflower through tomorrow) and a few crackers, shrimp cocktail (lots of beautiful cooked shrimp made it to my freezer during that spectacular one day sale a while ago at Whole Foods), and endive spears topped with herbed cheese and smoked trout or salmon. You can go with a formal recipe for this, something like endive spears with smoked salmon, horseradish cream, and dill, but I've been making it for years just using a prepared herb cheese like Boursin or Rondele (the latter on sale at Sprouts through tomorrow for the excellent price of $3.99 for an 8 oz container), topped with the trout or salmon, and maybe a bit of fresh dill.

The centerpiece of Christmas dinner will be a standing rib roast, and no, I won't reveal where I decided to get it. I've yet to look up recipes, but it will probably be very simple, with some embedded garlic slivers, and an au jus finessed with some red wine from a good bottle (but not as good as the Corison cabernet that we'll open to go with the roast). The roast will be accompanied by our favorite, simple horseradish sauce from Bon Appetit published nearly a decade ago. The current issue of Bon Appetit will provide inspiration for the sides, including potato gratin with gruyere and rainbow chard and radicchio saute (check out the Christmas colors!). As for dessert, that will be a surprise to us, as friends will be bringing it. What a feast.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Celebrate National Hamburger Day!

Like we need an excuse, but tomorrow is national hamburger day (although May 28th and July 28th also make that claim). With choices in town like Larkburger and Restaurant 4580 (check out the ever-changing "Will Burger"), go for it!

Christmas Dinner Idea Guides

Looking for a little help with your planning for Christmas dinner? Here are some guides brought to you by my fave cooking magazines. Check out Bon Appetit,, and Saveur for great menu ideas, how-to videos, and the like.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

For our weekday dinner plans leading up to Christmas Eve, we'll continue trending towards simple and sometimes vegetarian to counter the feasting on the horizon. Tomorrow can't get any easier than a reheat of the weekend's smoky shrimp and halibut stew, with a big salad and some fresh bread on the side.

Next we'll opt for a big, vegetarian pizza, made super simple since Whole Foods has their lovely (and large) cinque formaggio fresh pizzas on sale this week for $7.99 each. I like to dress it up a bit with the addition of Yves vegetarian pepperoni, and maybe a few mushrooms.

Then, in a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself), the weekend's big baked rigatoni casserole will make a reappearance, this time as a side dish. Protein of choice will go with it on the plate, and I'm thinking of sauteing the chicken sausages on sale this week at Sprouts for $2.99 a pound.

Finally, for the day preceding Christmas Eve, we'll once again go light and easy with vegetarian baked stuffed potatoes, no recipe required. Just either bake or microwave some large russet baking potatoes (I stocked up at the fantastic Vitamin Cottage sale that recently ended) then mash the interiors with your choice of additions. Faves include light sour cream, chives, scallions, or shallots, and a bit of grated cheese (smoked cheese gives it that umami touch). An easy green veggie like sauteed chard or steamed green beans on the side, and you're done.

And that will bring us to the verge of Christmas Eve, with more celebratory fare.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boulder Whole Foods Goes Upscale

The long-awaited expansion of the Pearl Street Whole Foods store opened today, and it is indeed impressive. Once they finish all the rearranging yet to come, our Boulder store will probably outshine their spectacular store in the Time Warner Center in New York City. The expansion is primarily dedicated to prepared foods, with several specialized stations featuring particular cuisines/food groups (shades of Manhattan's new Eataly?), but I'm more impressed with the vastly expanded bakery and cheese areas. It's also amazing what they were able to accomplish overnight in making the changeover, and it will be fun to see what they do in the future with the now empty areas that were occupied by the deli, cheese, and baked goods in the original section. Exciting times for the store and its shoppers, but believe me, parking is a bear.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Bit of a Grouse

Hmmm, I can't wait to see how parking will be at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store once its size doubles tomorrow with the opening of the expansion, when you can hardly get a spot in their #@! parking lot this afternoon. What a zoo.

Gluten-Free Holiday Ideas

Looking for ways to ramp up a gluten-free Christmas? Catch the Pearl Street Whole Foods' gluten-free holiday tour tomorrow. (Is gluten-free hyphenated or not???) Here's what they say:

"Saturday, December 18th
Gluten Free Holiday Tour
10am FREE
Are you working with a gluten free diet this Holiday season? Never fear! Stop by the store for a gluten free Holiday tour with our in-store Healthy Eating Specialist, Dani Little. RSVP @"

Standing Rib Roast Price Comparison

With beef standing rib roasts a popular choice for Christmas dinner, I've been looking around at our Boulder natural grocery stores to see how they're priced this year. When checking out the prices below, bear in mind that there can be differences in these products, so ask at the individual stores' meat counters if you want to know everything about them. That said, here they are in alphabetical order, presumably all bone-in roasts.

Lucky's Market - Niman Ranch choice Angus $9.99/lb through 12/22.

Sprouts - USDA choice "Presidential cut" $5.99/lb through 12/22.

Sunflower - "all natural" roast $4.97/lb through 12/22.

Whole Foods - $10.99/lb, seen at the Pearl Street store on 12/16.

P.S. Reservations for roasts usually suggested.

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

On a slightly snowy (finally!) Friday morning, it's time to get going on dinner plans through the weekend. With lots of indulging surrounding us for the holidays, plus an elaborate Christmas dinner on the horizon, my thoughts are turning to simple and largely vegetarian dinner ideas this week as an antedote. With the snow outside, tonight's a good night for a big, hot chowder, and I'm thinking of an experiment with a favorite, smoky shrimp and halibut stew from Bon Appetit. As for adjustments to the recipe, first off, I never ever use the half pound of bacon it calls for, trimming that to two or three pieces for flavor. Sunflower has raw e-z peel large shrimp for $3.97 a pound so that part's easy. But sustainably fished halibut is likely to run you in the $20 a pound range, if you can find it, so I'll experiment with substituting the flash-frozen haddock that Sprouts has this week for $4.99 a pound. It won't hold together as well as halibut, but I bet it will be delicious.

Then, since Sunflower has winter hard squash for a stunning 27 cents a pound this week (it's conventional, but you're going to peel it or not eat the shell anyway, right?), that calls for a giant pan of roasted winter veggies. There are tons of recipes out there (like herbed roasted winter vegetables), but you don't really need a recipe for this. Just put winter veggies of choice on a greased baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil and herbs of choice, then roast in a pretty hot oven until they're done to your satisfaction. Any protein of choice could accompany them, including salmon on a grill pan (look to the left margin for prices), or even one of the already cooked chickens Sprouts has on sale this week for $4.99 each (stick it in that hot oven to rewarm it).

Then for the first vegetarian dinner of the week, we'll take advantage of the fresh ricotta that's $2.99 a pound at Sunflower to make a winter comfort favorite, baked rigatoni with ricotta and collard greens from Cottage Living. It makes a big casserole, and I'm already planning ahead to how both this and today's stew will make second appearances later in the week. More on that to follow. Enjoy the somewhat wintery day out there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And Another One-Day Sale

Whole Foods keeps cranking out the opportunities. Tomorrow, the 17th, satsuma mandarins will be just 69 cents a pound. (Any editors out there know if both those words should be capitalized? One? Neither?)

Another Holiday Tasting At Whole Foods

In addition to tonight's holiday tasting at the Pearl Street store (see post a couple of days ago), the Superior store will get into the holiday tasting act on Saturday. Here's what they say:

"Saturday, December 18th
Holiday Tastings
1:00pm-4:00pm Free
Join us Saturday throughout the store for a tasty sample of our Holiday items. What better way to prepare for your Holiday meal? Whether you are cooking from scratch or purchasing a meal from our Prepared Foods Department, our Team Members are ready with a Holiday sample and to answer all of your questions about our Holiday items!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pearl Street Whole Foods Revelation

I'd heard rumors to this effect, but today's Daily Camera confirms that this Saturday we'll finally get to see the expansion of the Pearl Street Whole Foods store that's been hiding behind those wooden screens all these months. Nearly doubling its already big size to about 66,000 square feet, it will be pretty massive, but it sounds like the expansion will be largely dedicated to prepared foods. We'll see.

New Deals Are Up

The best of this week's new sale prices at Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods are up at the left. We'll have to wait another day for Vitamin Cottage, as today is the last day of their long lasting sale. Appropriate to the season, it's a week for warring prices on hams and standing rib roasts, so get those plans going. Some easy appetizers are also at good sale prices, including hummus, Rondele cheese, and already cooked shrimp. Check out the prices to the left and start planning out that Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Tasting At Whole Foods

Time for another holiday tasting at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store, coming up on Thursday. Here's what they say:

"Thursday, December 16th
Taste of the Holidays
4-7pm FREE
Join us for a taste of something special in each department. While you're in the store, stop by our Holiday Table and make things easy on yourself this Christmas by letting us do all the work."

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Time for another one-day sale tomorrow at our local Whole Foods stores. This time they'll have Jonah crab claws for $5.99/lb, $4 off (time to start thinking about party dips), and 8 oz Allegro Celebration Caffe for $3.99 each, regularly $6.99. Party, party.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Call for Current Vitamin Cottage Specials

A heads up that you only have through Wednesday to catch the current batch of long lasting sales at Vitamin Cottage. Who knows what the next batch will bring, but it's hard to beat the five pound bags of organic russet potatoes for just $1.50 each, one pound bags of almonds for $2.99, excellent deals on Organic Valley half & half and sour cream, and Imagine broths at just $1.99 each. If you happen to have the Mambo Sprouts coupon book from last month, you'll also find some matches that will bring your cost to next to nothing, good deal.

Cookbook Gift Ideas

Looking for a gift idea for the foodie on your list? Consider a possibility from the New York Times' article on the year's best cookbooks. If you'd like a bigger list to choose from, check out their big cookbook roundup.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Time to get going on dinner ideas for the rest of the week. Simplicity is the name of the game as we head into the holidays, so we'll start by reheating the great fennel-potato soup with smoked salmon that we made over the weekend. A nice tossed salad and some bread from Whole Foods' bakehouse round out an easy meal.

It will then be time for something rice-based, and for an almost-winter evening, butternut squash risotto with shrimp sounds appealing. This could be made with the very big shrimp on sale this week at Sprouts, or more likely with smaller shrimp pulled from my freezer from a prior sale. Tis the season of course for winter squash, pretty cheap everywhere.

On to a pasta dish, and keeping with the simplicity theme, it will be spaghetti with turkey meatballs. When I saw that Sunflower was emphasizing ground turkey in this week's sales, I hoped that their wonderful turkey meatballs might make an appearance (they don't always have them), and sure enough, they're back, and at a very reasonable $3.99 a pound. Some jarred pasta sauce enhanced with a little onion, and voila, it's dinner.

To round out the week's planning, since Sprouts and Sunflower are warring on chicken prices this week, and we haven't yet done anything with an Asian influence, how about Kung Pao chicken from Cooking Light, served over brown rice. There's lots of broccoli in the dish, but a little side of steamed edamame never hurts, either.

And that gets us through the rest of the week's planning, with some quick and easy meals for busy times.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Praise For Imagine Broth

I've previously sung the praises of Imagine Broth, my favorite, oh so useful cooking broth that goes into all sorts of soups, casseroles, and rice dishes (it absolutely transforms them compared to what they would be made with water). For fans of Imagine Broth, this is your week. Not only can you continue to stock up on them at Vitamin Cottage for the stunningly low price of $1.99 each through the 15th, you can also snag them at Sprouts for just a penny more, $2, also through the 15th. Since these store so well (the ones I just picked up have expiration dates of next August), you should keep a good supply on hand at these sale prices, never shelling out the full price, which runs around $3.39.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

If it's Friday, it must be time to get some plans together. For tonight, I'm inclined to go with fennel-potato soup with smoked salmon from Bon Appetit. This is written as a first course soup, but I turn it into a main one (with enough for a reprise later in the week) by adding significantly more smoked salmon than it calls for. Hot smoked salmon works well, rather than a delicate lox-like salmon, and I have a couple of packages in my freezer from an excellent prior sale. For the potatoes, don't forget the fabulous price Vitamin Cottage still has on five pound bags of organic russets, just $1.50 each.

Continuing with the salmon theme, but of a different variety, since previously frozen wild caught salmon has reappeared on sale at both Sprouts and Sunflower (see to the left for prices), more salmon will make it on the plates for Saturday. It might be simply done on a grill pan with a squeeze of lemon, or dressed up a little bit in a really simple preparation, pan-roasted salmon with ginger and curry from Gourmet. Rice on the side gets dressed up with shallots and herbs of choice.

To finish off the weekend, we'll go carnivorous, indulging in the beef short ribs that are $3.99/lb for boneless ones at Sprouts. They are easy to do in the oven, treated with a bit of barbeque sauce. And since the oven will be running anyway, throw in some russets from that organic bag from Vitamin Cottage to have bakers on the side. Even health nuts can enjoy a beef short rib every once in a while.

And that at least gets us through the weekend, with more planning to come.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Tasting Fair News

'Tis the season. All the Sunflower stores in the area are planning to hold a Holiday Tasting Fair this Saturday, the 11th, from 11 to 2. More goodies to try for your holiday planning.

Free Range Vs Factory Farmed

Those of us who are meat eaters are all in favor of the free range approach versus factory farming, right? Leave it to The Atlantic to challenge that assumption. Check out a thought-provoking article at, and don't miss the comments that follow, too. Perhaps not the best reading over breakfast, though.

Gift Card Deal at Sprouts

Many thanks to my astute shopper friend, Ms. A., for giving me a heads up on the three-day gift card sale that Sprouts will be doing tomorrow through Sunday, when you can buy a $100 gift card for $89.99. Of course it would be a nice gift, but whenever they've done this sale in the past, everybody in the checkout line (moi included) has bought it for themselves, then immediately started to use it to effectively get 10% off their entire purchase. Pretty smart shopping. Thanks, Ms. A.!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Chocolove Feeding Frenzy

Grab 'em while you can. Fortunately Whole Foods seems to be well stocked (at least at the Pearl Street store) with a wide variety of Chocolove chocolate bars, because the big bars are absolutely flying out the door for just $1 each during today's one-day only sale. That's better than half off the standard price anywhere for this yummy chocolate that's local, to boot. Think stocking stuffers, a little add-on to that Christmas present, and a few treats for yourself, too. Dark chocolate is getting excellent press these days for its nutrient benefits, and the cocoa content is displayed on the front of each package. Consider it health food!

New Deals Are Up

The best (IMHO) of this week's new Boulder natural grocery sales are up on the left, and it's a cholesterol-heavy week. Sprouts is notable for 40% off its entire bulk cheese department, plus BOGO on President brie cheeses. Salmon sales are back, although it's now the previously frozen variety (hey, it's December). Sunflower is doing good things with ground turkey and turkey meatloaf, and Whole Foods continues to have adorable Two Bite cinnamon rolls for just $2.99 a tub. Look to the left for more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

And it's chocolate-lovers' nirvana. Tomorrow only, our local Whole Foods stores will have Chocolove chocolate bars better than half off at $1 each! Also platters of my very favorite two-bite brownies 2 for $10 when they are regularly $8.99 each (doing any entertaining soon?). To wash down all that chocolate, navel oranges will be 49 cents a pound, $1 off.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tasting Fair At Whole Foods

In their latest email, Whole Foods says the Pearl Street store will hold a Taste of the Holidays this coming Thursday, the 9th, from 4 to 7. Always a chance to get some good ideas, as well as some tasty samples.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Moving on to the midweek dinners, there's always something for a quick reheat, this time the cod with fingerling potatoes. Quick salad and maybe the wonderful fourteener sprouted wheat bread that Whole Foods has for just $2.79 a loaf this week and you're done.

Then on to something both vegetarian and giving us pasta. Last week's chile made from leftover turkey reminded me to work on my wonderful stock of roasted green chiles in the freezer, collected during this fall's Hatch chile roasting season locally. I'm planning on chile 'choke pasta, which unfortunately doesn't have a link, but is basically roasted chiles to your liking sauteed with marinated artichoke hearts, and combined with lowfat sour cream and grated parmesan to mix with the pasta. Wow.

With both Sprouts and Sunflower having easy to cook shrimp on sale, I'm then thinking of a fun dinner of creamy shrimp grits with prosciutto from Bon Appetit. Sprouts also has prosciutto packages as a BOGO, but I haven't checked them out yet.

Finally, for our Thursday planning, I'm thinking baked potatoes with spiced beef chili (again from Bon Appetit) will fit the bill, especially since I sometimes like to do this with stew beef instead of the burger that's called for, and Sprouts and Sunflower are competing this week on stew beef prices. For the baked potatoes, don't forget that Vitamin Cottage has 5 lb bags of organic russets for an astonishing $1.50 each right now.

And that gets us through the week, whew!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Quest For The Perfect Pepper Grinder

I know it's out there somewhere, a pepper grinder to use for cooking, one that can crack nice chunks of pepper when you want it to go big. I used to have one. It was a cheap plastic thing, a gift from long ago that finally nearly broke in two. I've used Peugeot pepper mills on the table for eons and love them for that purpose, but when I want big cracks of pepper, I haven't been able to get them to go far enough. Seeking the perfect one for cooking, I stopped in at legendary E.Dehillerin, the store frequented by Julia Child, while in Paris last year. When I asked about pepper mills, they told me they only carried Peugeot, an affirmation that I should be content with what I have. Since receiving that advice, it seems my mills are producing bigger pepper cracks, either by psychological effect or result of greater vigor and determination. But I still know there's something out there, maybe even a cheap little something, that can crack like my old plastic grinder. Any suggestions most welcome.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Heading into holiday season, the posts will probably get shorter as demands on time grow larger. So a quick look at the weekend. I have a crazy idea for tonight, when the temperature will be coming down from about 60%. How about bbqing (albeit in the dark) some country style pork ribs since they're only $1.99/lb at Sprouts, and we could use a reminder of the good ol' summer time? They're best smoked, but to be realistic, a basic grilling would be better for December (if you have a spot that's sheltered from the wind).

For Saturday, since cod is on sale at both Sprouts and Sunflower for $6.99/lb, how about cod chowder with fingerling potatoes from Bon Appetit? It's delicious if you don't even bother with the saffron, or make it lighter by eliminating the whipping cream (but what the heck, it's a small amount).

For Sunday, I'm thinking chipotle beef stew from Gourmet magazine. You could do it as written with a roast on sale at Sunflower, or simplify your life by using stew beef on sale at both Sunflower and Sprouts.

So that at least gets us through the weekend (not a piece of turkey in sight!). More planning to come.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Deals Are Up

New sale prices are up on the left for our Boulder natural grocery stores. Lots of price wars going on this week, including beef roasts, raw shrimp, Hass avocados, and more. Indulge your waistline with Two Bite cinnamon rolls for $2.99 a tub at Whole Foods. Brazilian lobster tails will be $7.99 each all week at Sprouts, but rush to Whole Foods to get ones from Maine at that same price for today only. Check out Sprouts' health, beauty, and vitamins department, where the whole shebang is 25% off, and don't forget a bunch of organic arugula for just 99 cents while at Sunflower.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One-Day Sale Plus Reminder For Today

Tomorrow's one-day sale at our local Whole Foods stores is looking substantial in both meat and seafood. They'll have Maine lobster tails (4-5 oz) $5 off at $7.99 each (nice to know those tails have come from Maine). Their wonderful air-chilled split chicken breast tray packs will sell for $2.99/lb, $2 off their regular price. The third item of the sale is One With Nature 8 oz bar soap, which will be better than half off at $1.99 each, regularly $4.49.

Also, don't forget that today is the last day of Whole Foods' current set of two-week specials. Who knows what the new sales tomorrow will bring, but I've really been enjoying their sale on smoked salmon spread for $9.99/lb, $4 off.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cooking Through the Festival of Lights

Has the calendar gone crazy? Here we are in November, and Hanukkah will be starting in just a couple of days? If you're looking for a menu idea for every evening of the Festival of Lights, Bon Appetit has a Hanukkah guide to help you out.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Call for Whole Foods Three Day Sale

Today's your last chance to pick up some bargains at the Whole Foods three day post-Thanksgiving sale. Some good deals to be had, including their excellent 85% lean ground beef at $2.69/lb ($1.30/lb off), Brown Cow yogurts half off at 50 cents each, the entire olive bar $2 off at $7.99/lb, their own naan half off at $2 (also their muffin 4 packs half off at $2.50), and three kinds of breakfast burritos just $1.99 each. And this time I remembered to beg to keep the sale flyer, so it actually made it home with me.

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Time to start thinking a little more creatively about dinner in this post-Thanksgiving slump. Tonight we'll create the final iteration of the bird (although we'll see it twice), doing a spicy spin on the classic turkey soup finale with Mexican turkey stew from the Thanksgiving issue of Cooking Light. Having a supply of roasted chiles in the freezer from this fall's fresh chile roasting season will speed this recipe considerably. Salad on the side, and the eternal debate with chile - accompany it with tortillas as expected, or go for a wonderful loaf of bread from Whole Foods' Bakehouse?

Dare I admit it, tomorrow we'll start the workweek with one more round of leftovers from Thanksgiving in their original format. That should clear out all those containers taking up room in the fridge.

Next, we really need some variety and we're way overdue for a vegetarian entree, so I'm thinking a nice pasta with winter squash and tomatoes from the New York Times. Organic tomatoes can be a challenge at this time of year (the organic romas at Sunflower are usually the best bet), so it might be time to substitute some quality canned ones. Winter squash meanwhile is of course everywhere.

Then it will be time for the very final appearance of the bird, the reprise of the big pot of turkey chile that will be made today, again with salad and either tortillas or Bakehouse bread.

Finally, it's about time for something with rice, and an Asian spin would be a refreshing change, so how about stir-fried beef, broccoli, and yams from Bon Appetit. It's a pretty good time of year for both broccoli and yams, and this is delicious over brown rice, maybe with some steamed edamame on the side.

So that will get us through to Friday's planning, with the Thanksgiving turkey fully dispatched.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I'd usually be doing my list of dinners to get through the weekend today, but I'm surrounded by Thanksgiving leftovers, so some version of them will be on deck. For ways to transform them, check out Bon Appetit's leftover guide. The sandwiches mentioned at the top are okay, but the real meat of the post (if you'll pardon the pun) is in the two slideshows toward the bottom.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Whole Foods Sale

As if you haven't looked at enough food today, the Pearl Street Whole Foods store will try to reignite your enthusiasm with a 3-day sale starting tomorrow. It's also on the chalkboard calendar inside the Superior store, and the cashier there thought all the local stores would be participating. Here's what they say:

"Friday, November 26th - Sunday, November 28th
3-Day After Thanksgiving Sale
7:30 am to 10pm
Yes, another sale! Don't miss this one- we'll have fresh deals in every department. It's never too early to stock up for Christmas house guests"

Good Thanksgiving Day Listening

If you're looking for some engaging listening as you prep those veggies and stuff that turkey or veg out after dinner today, consider Colorado Public Radio's special Thanksgiving programming. Here's what they say:

The biggest cooking day of the year is coming soon. Celebrate with CPR by listening to a special broadcast of "The Splendid Table" with Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper and other special guests. The program will air on Thursday, Nov. 25 from 9-11 a.m. on CPR's news stations and online.
We're also broadcasting “Giving Thanks,” with host John Birge, on both news and classical music stations. With music and stories, “Giving Thanks” offers a contemporary reflection on the meaning of the holiday. Two best-selling authors join the conversation this year: Deepak Chopra, spirituality and wellness writer, and Nigella Lawson, British food writer. Listen Thursday, Nov. 25 from 7-8 p.m. on news for the one-hour version or 8-10 p.m. on classical music for the full program.

But then, there's always the Alice's Restaurant tradition. Does KBCO do that?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Yorker Food Issue

If you'll have a little down time between tomorrow's cooking, Friday's Black Friday shopping, and maybe entertaining across the whole darned weekend, get your hands on a copy of the November 22nd issue of The New Yorker magazine. (Libraries are good for that, as the issue of the 29th will be on newsstands.) It's the Food Issue (just look at that gorgeous cover), with articles like "The First Kitchen: Eleanor Roosevelt's Depression-era fare," "Down Under: In praise of root vegetables," and "Nature's Spoils: The delights of fermented food." Even the cartoons are food-related. Check out the one on page eight titled "The Last Thanksgiving."

New Deals Are Up

Sort of, because there aren't any. After the pre-Thanksgiving frenzy, Sprouts is taking a break for a week, Sunflower posted deals lasting two weeks last week (rare for them), and Whole Foods' sales are always good for two weeks. So it's basically a repeat of last week, minus Sprouts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Midnight Madness At Whole Foods Tonight

Whole Foods is throwing another Midnight Madness sale party tonight at the Pearl Street store, this time from 10 pm to 2 am. (I really miss the days when they used to go to 6 am - getting there at 5 am is much more civilized.) Here's what they say:

"Tuesday, November 23rd
Holiday SALES!
Our annual Midnight Madness Sale is back! Check out some of these amazing deals, only valid Tuesday, November 23rd from 10pm to 2am:
New York Strip Roast- $6.99/lb, regular price $13.99/lb.
Parmesan Reggiano (limit 5 lbs.) $9.99/lb, regular price $19.99/lb.
Tru Melange Candles- 50% off
Lobster Tails- 50% off, previously frozen
Asparagus- $1.99/lb, regular price $3.99/lb.
Olive Bar- $5.99/lb, regular price $9.99/lb.
Wholly Wholesome Pies- $3.75 each, regular price $7.49 each
Pecans- $4.50/lb, regular price $8.99/lb.
Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad $4.99/lb, regular price $9.99/lb.
PLUS MORE! Don't miss this amazing sale!"

Wish I could give you more details, but the sales flyer I put with my groceries while checking out yesterday didn't make it back with my purchase. I swear the only way you can get a sales flyer home from Whole Foods is to clutch it to your bosom until you are out of the store. I presume they grab these things back to reuse/recycle them, which is noble, but if I put a sales flyer in with my reuseable bags in the checkout lane, I want to take it home!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remember To "Let's Bag Hunger"

As you finish off that grocery shopping for your copious Thanksgiving feast, don't forget to be generous with the non-perishables you pick up to donate to Community Food Share. The Let's Bag Hunger campaign runs through Wednesday. It's a gift to yourself, since the more you give, the better you'll feel.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Penzeys Spices Coupon

Today's Daily Camera contains another coupon from Penzeys Spices for a free mini gift box (worth $11.95) with a $5 purchase. I stocked up on peppercorns to get mine, and it's really cute, with mini jars of their cinnamon, garlic powder, ground pepper, and an intriguing mix, "Mural of Flavor." Use them yourself or make them a stocking stuffer for a cooking friend.

Thanksgiving Dinner Plans

We've already planned out the week's dinners through Wednesday, so it's time to finalize plans for the big day (drum roll please, or not). For appetizers, I have a two pound bag of cooked shrimp in the freezer from that great one-day sale at Whole Foods about a week ago. I'm also planning to put together a plate of artisanal pickles, as they seem to be all the rage this year. In terms of actually cooking something, I have an ambitious plan to do two appetizers from the current issue of Cooking Light. They're from Mark Bittman and reflect his emphasis on lightening up by adding more veggies: crab and celery root remoulade and cauliflower "caviar" with frizzled prosciutto. That's the ambitious plan - reality will likely be to make only one of those two apps, substituting the wonderful smoked salmon spread that's on sale at Whole Foods for $9.99/lb for the other. Much easier to pop a prepared spread into a pretty dish (surrounded with lots of veggies, including endive as scoopers, in addition to crackers) than to make something from scratch.

For the main course, some traditions are inviolate, and that applies to my turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The stuffing is a traditional New England one made with Bell's Seasoning. It used to be more fun when my relatives had to mail my supply, but now you can just buy it at Whole Foods in Boulder. The farthest I might tinker with the mashed potatoes would be to mash them with lowfat buttermilk and toss in a few chives to dress them up. Since those core items already contain enough carbs for a week, the veggies will emphasize lightness, completely skipping sweet potatoes this year. Two that will be on the table for sure will be iron-skillet succotash and fennel gratin with pecorino and lemon, both from the current issue of Bon Appetit. As for the succotash, how did corn come to be associated with Thanksgiving, when we've been missing Munson's wonderful local corn for many weeks now? Were the Pilgrims chowing down on decorative (aka Indian) corn? (By the way, Munson's says they'll start carrying Christmas trees at their 75th and Valmont stand starting next weekend.) A third possibility for a veggie is an intriguing one I picked up from The Bitten Word's list of 175 recipes from the current, best cooking magazines, roasted cauliflower with dates and pine nuts from The Food Network, particularly since I have a few organic dates left from when they were on sale at Whole Foods.

That pretty much does it for the main meal, and as for dessert, that will be a surprise, as friends will be bringing it.

Wishing you a happy and thankful Thanksgiving day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Call for Farmers' Market

Today is your last chance to get to the Boulder Farmers' Market for the season (sniff). They're planning a Fall Cornucopia Market, with "everything you need for a fresh and local Thanksgiving." Sounds good to me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Week's Dinners, Minus T-Day

I usually figure out Friday through Sunday's dinners on Friday, then laze my way through the weekend, thinking about workweek dinners. However, with the demands of Thanksgiving coming up, it's time to get more efficient. Hence, here's a list that can take you from tonight all the way through Wednesday. The planning is based not only on this week's natural grocery deals, but also becoming increasingly quick and simple as T-Day approaches, cutting down on the number of leftovers created by the dinners, and cooking anything but poultry as Thanksgiving nears.

So for tonight, with haddock on sale at Sprouts for $4.99/lb, and easily interchangeable with cod, I'm thinking cod, potato, and fennel casserole, from Gourmet magazine. This can also make use of the organic russets that are just $1.50 for a five pound bag at Vitamin Cottage, plus gives us a big casserole for a quick reheat later in the week.

Then, I've been wanting to try winter squash and pork stir-fry from the New York Times, and this looks like a good weekend for it. It calls for pork shoulder, which I'd find a little too fatty for this type of dish, so with boneless pork loin chops or roasts just $1.99/lb at Sprouts this week, I'll substitute either of those, chopped up. We're surrounded by winter squash, a rare thing I'm willing to buy in conventional, which is 49 cents a pound at Sprouts. However, their organic butternut squash is just 69 cents a pound this week, so I'd jump on that instead. Not sure if we'll serve it over brown rice or sobas, sounds good either way.

Now we start cutting down on dinner size, so that the fridge won't be crowded with leftovers as Thanksgiving approaches. Since chicken sausage doesn't look much like a bird, we'll use it as our one poultry dinner before Thanksgiving, sauteing them with onions, peppers, and a little pasta sauce, then putting them in nice crunchy baguette sections. No leftovers, and chicken parmesan sausage is $2.99/lb at Sprouts this week.

On to weekday cooking, so we'll jump right into our reheat, the cod, potato, and fennel casserole, with something like chard quickly sauteed with garlic and crushed red pepper on the side.

Speeding things up even more for Tuesday's dinner, we'll turn to a cupboard staple, making tuna casserole using Annie's wonderful boxed macaroni and cheese. Annie's mac and cheese goes on sale periodically for as low as $1 a box, so it's always in the cupboard. It's great made with the plain yogurt option on the package. Toss in a can of tuna and maybe some defrosted green peas, and you have a modern tuna casserole, done in minutes.

Finally, for a quick non-poultry, non-leftover dinner for Wednesday, we'll turn to the pork chops on sale for $1.99/lb at Sprouts (Sprouts seems to be winning this week). Since I'm thinking of omitting sweet potatoes from this year's Thanksgiving dinner, we'll probably bake yams for a side dish, and Sprouts has organic yams for 88 cents a pound. Baked yams are even better than baked white potatoes, IMHO.

So that takes us right up to Thanksgiving day - more about that later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Help For Your Thanksgiving Planning

Still trying to figure out what to put on the table for the big feast? Here are some collections, full of recipes, videos, menus and the like, to help you out.

Bon Appetit's Thanksgiving guide

Epicurious' Thanksgiving guide

The New York Times' Thanksgiving cooking

The Bitten Word's links to this year's cooking magazine's Thanksgiving recipes

And for buying that turkey around Boulder, don't forget my natural turkey price comparison.

Happy planning!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Natural Turkey Price Comparison

We're lucky to have so many natural grocery options here in Boulder, so many that I don't have time to cover them all. Within my area, we're also fortunate to have so many fresh, natural, free range turkey options. That said, it's difficult to pin down exactly what's behind those natural claims, so here's my best effort to help you decide where to get your turkey and how much to spend. These prices are for the basic fresh, free range turkey level (with a couple of known organic prices thrown in as well). Heritage turkeys are certainly available as well (definitely with a prior reservation, although all these turkeys should be reserved in advance), but you're on your own in comparing prices if you're in that league. In alphabetical order:

Sprouts - "Sprouts fresh all-natural free-range turkey" $1.47/lb. "No additives, chemicals, or hormones are ever placed in the birds' feed or water." Interesting that I haven't noticed mention of antibiotics, so one has to wonder.

Sunflower - "All natural - free range fresh turkey" $1.47/lb. "Fresh, all natural, free range, tender & juicy, no hormones, no preservatives, no additives." Same comment from me as with Sprouts regarding antibiotics.

Vitamin Cottage - "Mary's fresh free-range deep chilled turkeys" $1.89/lb, "Shelton's fresh free-range deep chilled turkeys" $2.59/lb, "Mary's organic fresh free-range deep chilled turkeys" $2.99/lb, and what the heck, "Mary's Heritage fresh free-range deep chilled turkeys" $5.49/lb. All promise to be "deep chilled, free range, antibiotic free, no hormones." Reservations with deposit essential.

Whole Foods - "Diestel all natural turkey" $1.99/lb. "These naturally broad-breasted birds are given extra growing time on the range to enhance their size and supurb (sic) flavor. These birds are never fed animal by-products and are raised without antibiotics." "Diestel organic turkey" $2.99/lb. "These range-grown birds are raised at the Diestel Turkey Ranch and fed only certified organic corn and soy feed." Heritage, kosher, and other types possibly also available, depending on the store.

So there you go. Get those reservations made.

New Sale Prices Are Up

It's a crowd over there on the left, with today's expiring natural grocery prices partying with the new ones beginning today. Thanksgiving is of course a major focus, including alternative roast options, yet chicken is also a big feature this week, as if we aren't already eating enough poultry. Sunflower has thrown us a loop by doing a two week ad, with specials running all the way through 12/1. I'll try to do an entire post on turkey prices, but with the number of variables involved there, that's pretty daunting. Get those Thanksgiving plans together!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will have a nice autumn trifecta of deals in their one-day sale tomorrow. Getting ready for Thanksgiving, fresh cranberries will be half off at 2 for $3 for 12 oz packages. Making cranberry sauce from scratch is so easy, and the result is so superior, I sure hope you aren't even thinking of opening a can. Also, Crave Brothers mascarpone will be BOGO, $4.99 for two of them (8 oz each). Finally, Greenlee's 10 oz cinnamon bread will be half off at $3.99 each. That one really intrigues me, as I can't imagine how good a cinnamon bread must be to regularly sell for a penny shy of eight dollars. Might have to try it.

More Whole Foods Holiday Events

Whole Foods is very much in the swing of Thanksgiving spirit, with two more holiday events this week. The Superior store will host a turducken cooking class tomorrow (yikes!!), and the Pearl Street store will go for another tasting fair on Thursday. Here's what they say.

Superior store:
"Wednesday, November 17th
Cooking Class- Turducken
6:00pm Free
Tired of the same ole Thanksgiving? Join us in our Cafe, this Wednesday for a history, learn to prepare, how to cook and slice a Turducken!!! Enjoy samples of the final product.Please sign up at the Customer Service Desk to reserve your space today!"

Pearl Street:
"Thursday, November 18th
Taste of the Holidays Event
4-7pm Free
The Holiday season is upon us! Stop by the Pearl St. store for a sampling of our delicious Holiday faire in every department. There's sure to be something for everyone at this very special event!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Pickle Day

I've been remiss. Yesterday was National Pickle Day, and I missed it. This normally wouldn't be a cause for concern, but it seems that artisanal pickles are currently all the rage. My Thanksgiving table is likely to have an artisanal pickle plate, as recommended by Bon Appetit's Foodist, so my apologies for missing National Pickle Day!

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

A busy weekend plus some lazy ideas for the rest of the week equals slow posting on plans, but here they are. I'm capitalizing on the fresh tilapia at Sprouts for $6.99/lb with a quick saute and a touch of balsamic vinegar, as in Bon Appetit's complete dinner, tilapia with balsamic butter sauce, thyme mashed potatoes, and sugar snap peas. (Tilapia is supposedly one of the most eco-friendly farmed fishes.) Vitamin Cottage has the organic russets for a mere $1.50 for a 5 pound bag, but the sugar snap peas might benefit from a more seasonal substitute like beets or chard.

Another easy idea can be put together quickly in a slow cooker in the morning to cook all day, Slow Cooked Tuscan Pork With White Beans, from Cooking Light. This calls for the pork shoulder that's just $1.99/lb at Sunflower right now. I've made it that way and it's good, but I'd prefer a leaner cut, like the pork tenderloin that you could also get at Sunflower for $3.99/lb.

Then for the super easy ideas: first of all, this week's menus provide not one but two possibilities of reheats, the Tuscan pork with beans just mentioned, and the sweet potato and butternut squash soup from the weekend. I'm only suggesting that one be a dinner reheat, since for one of these nights, you'll also be heading out to a restaurant for a First Bite Boulder three course dinner for $26, right?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Community Food Share Drive Begins

Think you're a smart grocery shopper? Put it to the test and see how much bang for the buck you can get in buying for those in need! Today marks the beginning of Community Food Share's annual Let's Bag Hunger food drive, and in these tough times, the need is greater than ever. The drive goes through the 24th, and you can donate your purchase at basically any grocery store in Boulder. I'm happy to report that at least in the past, I've seen the Safeway store in the Meadows shopping center (and maybe elsewhere) discount some highly donateable (a word?) items like brand name canned vegetables to the point that they were practically giving them away, to encourage Food Share donations. Look for the deals, go for the BOGOs, break out the coupons, and see how many bags you can fill for Community Food Share!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Great Saturday, Get Out There

What a day to get out and get going. Today's the last regular day of the Boulder Farmers' Market season, although they're planning a "fall cornucopia market" for next weekend too. The GoLite warehouse sale starts today, there are holiday tasting fairs at Sunflower (11-2) and King Soopers (noon-5), and to top it off, you can catch a First Bite Boulder dinner at just $26 for three fabulous courses at over 40 Boulder restaurants. Forget about raking the leaves.

Friday, November 12, 2010

First Bite Boulder Reminder

Don't forget that First Bite Boulder starts today and runs through the 20th. Get out of the kitchen and enjoy a three course prix fixe dinner for just $26 at over 40 of Boulder's fine restaurants. Do call ahead, as bookings for many of these get pretty competitive.

A Stock Up Sale On Shrimp

Today's one-day sale on peeled and deveined cooked shrimp for $5.99/lb at our local Whole Foods is better than expected. I thought it would only be fully defrosted shrimp, good to eat only in the next couple of days, since it isn't too smart to refreeze defrosted shellfish. But lo, at least at the Pearl Street store, they're also selling it in two pound bags still frozen. Now that you can stock up on for the holidays!

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

With this newly chilly weather, so many comfy stews and casseroles are coming to mind, I'd better pare the ideas down to avoid a refrigerator full of leftovers. Considering that, we'll have to start tonight with sockeye salmon simply done on the grill pan, since Sprouts has their very nice "flash frozen at sea" wild Alaskan salmon for $8.99/lb this week. A fitting side would be herbed rice from Boulder's own Happy Noodle restaurant, a recipe that appeared in last month's Bon Appetit (the issue that crowned Boulder as America's Foodiest Town 2010).

Then with snow possible for tomorrow into Sunday, it's on to the real comfort food. A big, warming soup would be good, so I'm thinking sweet potato and butternut squash soup from the New York Times (one of their "recipes for health" - how very Boulder also). Organic yams are 99 cents a pound this week at Sprouts, and I'd just peel the conventional butternut that's a mere 39 cents a pound at Sunflower. Three choices of organic lettuce are available at both Sprouts and Sunflower for 99 cents a head for the side salad, and toss a 3 for $1 avocado from Sunflower on top of it. Since the soup is vegetarian, a protein treat would be to start with shrimp cocktails from today's one-day sale on cooked shrimp at Whole Foods, half off at $5.99/lb.

To finish off the weekend with another comfort food, with chicken tenders $1.97/lb at Sprouts, I'm thinking of chicken paprikash from Cooking Light. This belongs served over big egg noodles, which pack a cholesterol wallop, so if you're watching that, I've recently discovered that Pappardelle's carries a beautiful variety of pricey but cholesterol-free pastas, including the lovely wide noodle that is their namesake. They've been regulars at the Boulder Farmers Market, and should be there again tomorrow, unless the cold weather scares everybody away.

Stay warm, think comfort foods, and start planning for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GoLite Warehouse Sale Coming Up!

You need clothes and gear for working off all those good cooking calories, right? Our favorite GoLite warehouse sale is coming up, and it's gotten even bigger than before. It will run from Saturday, November 13th, all the way through the 21st, 9 am to 7 pm everyday, with outdoor clothing and gear at 30 to 80% off. It has also moved to 3550 Frontier Avenue, between 30th and Foothills on Pearl. In a foodie connection, our beloved Streat Chefs (Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg's food truck) will make five appearances, alternating between "happy hour" (4-7) and lunch (11-2), starting with happy hour on Monday, lunch Tuesday, etc through happy hour on Friday. Food and discount gear, couldn't be better. (P.S. If I misspelled it "GoLight warehouse sale," would it be easier to find via Google?)

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Another one-day sale is coming up tomorrow at all our local Whole Foods stores, this time cooked 31 to 40 count responsibly farmed shrimp for $5.99 a pound, half of their usual price, and they're already peeled and deveined for you. Yum.

Tasting Fair Time!

The Boulder Sunflower will hold a Thanksgiving tasting fair this Saturday the 13th, from 11 to 2. If their past Thanksgiving tasting fairs are any indication, this is a good one (think practically lunch), and a good chance to check out what they offer. Also, don't forget that the Pearl Street Whole Foods store will hold a holiday tasting fair this evening from 4 to 7, as previously mentioned. And if you're checking out the options at King Soopers, their local stores will be sampling at a Holiday Open House this Saturday the 13th, from noon to 5.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Sale Prices Are Up

Highlights of today's new Boulder natural grocery store sales are posted to the left, squashed in with the sales ending today. Sunflower has a couple of stunners in what little conventional produce I'm inclined to buy: Hass avocados 3 for $1, and winter squash (acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, and butternut) just 39 cents a pound. Also of note, Sprouts and Sunflower are warring on organic lettuce, with red or green leaf or romaine at 99 cents each, an especially good price for organic romaine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Gluten-free holiday bakers will enjoy tomorrow's one-day only sale at our local Whole Foods stores: Pamela's baking and pancake mix (64 oz) will be $7.99 each, $6 off the usual price. They suggest using the gluten-free mix for waffles, cookies, cakes, pie crust and more.

Holiday Events at Whole Foods

The holiday season is entering high gear, with a cooking class and tasting fair coming up at the Superior and Pearl Street Whole Foods stores. The cooking class is tomorrow in Superior (sign up needed), and the tasting fair is Thursday at Pearl Street. Here's what they say:

Superior store:
"Wednesday, November 10th
Holiday Cooking Class- Thanksgiving Sides
6:30pm-8:30pm Free
Looking for new sides for your Thanksgiving meal or any time? Join Rosemary in our Cafe and learn the secret to Sage Stuffing Bread- all the flavors of a traditional turkey stuffing, but baked into a bread, a Chestnut and Onion soup, as well as Root Vegetables with Maple and Orange Fall Flavors. Please sign up at Customer Service to reserve your space today!"

They'll also be showing how to brine a turkey at 6 pm tomorrow in the meat department at the Superior store.

Pearl Street store:
"Thursday, November 11th
Taste of the Holidays Event
4-7pm Free
The Holiday season is upon us! Stop by the Pearl St. store for a sampling of our delicious Holiday faire in every department. There's sure to be something for everyone at this very special event!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Thanksgiving Recipe Meta-Index!

Eeks, that title is making me sound like a librarian. But wow, those nice guys over at The Bitten Word, who are even more into cooking magazines than I am, have compiled a list of 175 recipes in the Thanksgiving issues of the ten leading magazines! What a great way to see all the new ideas in one place. To check out the trends, they've even created two cloud graphs of the most popular words. No surprise that turkey is the winner in the overall count, but take a look at the second graph, when they remove the usual suspects like turkey and stuffing, to see what's trending on the sophisticated Thanksgiving table this year. And the recipe index itself is invaluable, so check it out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Dinners For This Week

Happy daylight savings. If it's Sunday, it must be time to get the rest of the week organized. As usual, the midweek cooking should be really quick and easy, so for tomorrow I have a simple stir-fry in mind using a new recipe from the October issue of Bon Appetit, beef, shiitake, and snow pea stir-fry, using either the top sirloin that's $2.99/lb at Sprouts, or speeding it up even more by using their pre-cut stew beef at $3.99/lb. Wow, so far, Bon Appetit's reviewers are giving this recipe four forks out of four, plus it gets points for being veggie-intensive. We'll probably serve it over soba noodles instead of rice, since I have another idea for rice for later in the week.

Then, of course, it's time for our easy reheat of the week, this time being the sweet potato and sausage soup, again with a salad and a nice hunk of fresh bread on the side.

For Wednesday, with organic butternut squash just 69 cents a pound at Sprouts, and pretty big 31/40 count shrimp $5.99/lb at Sunflower, how about butternut squash risotto with shrimp from Bon Appetit. Anything involving shrimp, butternut squash, and pancetta makes autumn cooking a joy. (The cheese counter at the Pearl Street Whole Foods will give you exactly the amount of pancetta you need for this.)

Finally for our Thursday menu, we'll just toss the recipes aside and go for a simple meal of sauteed pork chops with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, microwaved "baked" potatoes (don't forget the fabulous deal on 5 lb bags of organic russets at Vitamin Cottage), and veggie of choice, maybe the beets that are $1.50 a bunch at Sunflower.

That does it for the planning for the week, but I might stock up on organic yams and butternut squash while they're at such great prices (and keep so well), as I'm longing for a sweet potato and butternut squash soup that would be perfect this week but just didn't have time to fit in.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

There's a day or a month for everything, but this one's worth celebrating; November is national peanut butter lovers month! For us picky peanut butter lovers, one of the best is MaraNatha's no-stir varieties. You'll find their 16 oz jars on sale this month at Vitamin Cottage, $3.49 for the organic, and just $2.79 for the natural. Ever tried it on top of Stonyfield Farms chocolate frozen yogurt? A Reese's cup for the organic-loving adult.

Catch the Farmers' Market While You Can

We have a glorious day today for one of the last Boulder Farmers' Markets of the year, so get out there while you still can. Next week will mark the last of the official season, but there will be a special Fall Cornucopia market the following week on the 20th. Enjoy while it's still available!

Friday, November 5, 2010

$20 of Nick N Willy's Pizza for $10

The Daily Camera's daily deals is doing another good food-related one, and it's one you can cook at home - Nick N Willy's yummy take 'n bake pizza, $20 worth of food for $10, at the Baseline store. That's a lot of pizza, but they also have salads and cookies to round out the meal. You have until this Sunday, the 7th at 11:59 pm to buy the deal, then you have all the way to May 8th to use your coupon. Check the deal for a few small restrictions, like that it can't be used on Super Bowl Sunday.

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

I'm conflicted, with too many ideas for using this week's specials. First of all, with some still crazy warm temperatures, it seems like a chance to fit in one last bbq, especially before Daylight Savings hits Sunday, when we'll be plunged into winter darkness by late afternoon. Yes, there are several salmon specials in the left column that would be great on the grill. Both Sprouts and Sunflower are also offeing some good beef options this week, with New York cut sirloin steak $5.99/lb, marinated beef or chicken kabobs $4.99/lb, or top sirloin steak just $2.99/lb at Sprouts, while Sunflower has New York steaks at $5.99/lb for bone-in and $7.99/lb for boneless. Sunflower also has organic cauliflower on sale for just 99 cents/lb, flowerettes of which are begging to be roasted in a hot oven in the style of Boulder restaurant The Kitchen (possibly the best veggie I've ever eaten).

Next, we need a big pot of something to reheat later in the week too, and with Italian chicken sausage $2.99/lb at both Sprouts and Sunflower, and organic yams just 99 cents a pound at Sunflower, that calls for a nice fall dish of sweet potato and sausage soup from Bon Appetit, fully cooking the substituted chicken sausage, which hardly takes any time. A big salad on the side, plus some Whole Foods Bakehouse fresh bread, and it's a feast.

Then comes the conflict for the end of the weekend. With Whole Foods' excellent air chilled chicken breasts $3.99/lb this week and organic grape tomatoes $2.50 for a pint at Sunflower, I'm leaning towards spicy roast chicken with tomatoes and marjoram from Bon Appetit, warm from the oven on an evening that will be dark just way too soon on Sunday. But the alternative that's tempting me is pasta with winter squash and tomatoes from the New York Times, using the pesticide-free on the vine tomatoes that are 69 cents/lb at Sunflower, and organic butternut squash that's 69 cents/lb at Sprouts. Two good choices, so we'll just see how it plays out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tips for Cutting Your Grocery Bill

Today's Today Show (how redundant is that) had a quick feature on simple things to cut your grocery bill. They're tips I've mostly been espousing forever, like checking deals, using coupons, not buying the full x of a product that's commonly advertised as x for $y unless you really want that x amount, and one of my crusades, know your prices and check your receipt. The speaker from Consumer Reports cited data showing that six percent of grocery charges are incorrect. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out something was wrong when my bunch of chard rang up at $99 last week at Sunflower, but more subtle goofs are common and worth checking for. You can watch the video or read the transcript of the interview here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nature's Rancher Turkeys

If you do a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving (or any other time), and miss today's fantastic one-day sale when Nature's Rancher frozen turkeys are 99 cents a pound at Whole Foods, you can still pick one up at their new sale price of $1.49 a pound there through the 16th. They promise vegetarian fed and no antibiotics. Sure, you could pick one up a tad cheaper at the regular chains, but these meet Whole Foods' superior quality standards.

New Sale Prices Are Up

This week's new sale price highlights at our local Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods are up at the left, crowding in with the double ad Wednesday sales that run through today. My big temptation this week comes from Sunflower, where EuroFresh cluster tomatoes are 69 cents a pound. Tomatoes are something I religiously buy in organic, but these promise to be pesticide-free, I've found that on the vine tomatoes tend to be tastier, and the price is great. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Early Bird Sale at Sprouts

Time to start thinking seriously about the holidays coming up. Starting tomorrow, Sprouts will be holding an "early bird" sale, with an extra 20% off if you mix and match 10 within the sale. Here's what they say:

"Our Thanksgiving Early Bird Sale runs from Wednesday, November 3, to Wednesday, November 10, with great prices on dozens of holiday essentials. Things like Bruce's Yams, Imagine Organic Gravy, Grown Right Organic Cranberries, Humboldt Organic Butter, Wholly Wholesome Frozen Pie Shells, Pacific Organic Broths and Knudsen Organic Sparkling Juices. During the sale, you can mix and match 10 or more items and get an extra 20% off all of them. It's a great chance to stock up early on the items you will need for The Big Meal."

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

There are some good-looking deals in our local Whole Foods stores' one-day sale tomorrow. For starters, if you do frozen turkey, tomorrow's your day to get it into the freezer: Nature's Rancher frozen turkeys will be half off at just 99 cents a pound (I'd get there early for that one). To go with it, you can get fresh turkey gravy (can that be frozen to use later?) for $2.99 a pound, $2 off per pound. Also, select Amy's frozen pizzas will be up to half off at $3.99 each, while fresh keta salmon will be $5 off at $7.99 a pound.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last Call for Some Good Deals at Whole Foods

Here's your two-day heads up that you have through tomorrow for the current deals at Whole Foods, which include some good ones. Frequent readers know I positively worship Whole Foods' Two Bite brownies, which are $2 off at $2.99 a tub through tomorrow. Organic red or green leaf lettuce is a great deal at $1 a head, and if you're into London broil, it's $3 off at $3.99 a pound. Imagine broths had been looking like a good deal at 2 for $5, reduced to $2 each when you use the coupon available online or in the Whole Deal newsletter in the store, but lo, Vitamin Cottage now has them for $1.99 each, no coupon hassle needed, all the way through December 15th.

New Deals At Vitamin Cottage

Vitamin Cottage (aka Natural Grocers) has a new set of specials that last all the way through December 15th (yikes). This takes us well into the holiday season, and there are several specials of particular note. I'm most enthused to see Imagine organic broths for $1.99 each for the 32 oz containers. We're into the season where a good broth is integral to so many dishes, and Imagine is the best I know (IMHO), with no MSG to boot, plus an extraordinarily long shelf life for those boxes, so stock up!! It's usually in the neighborhood of $3.39 per box, aside from the $2.50 sale just ending at Whole Foods. Other items of interest include Lundberg specialty rice blends at $2.25 for a one pound bag (think lovely combos including wild rice or red rice), Organic Valley half & half $2.49 for a quart (same price for 16 oz sour cream) or $1.39 for a pint (here come those holiday pounds), and 5 pound bags of organic russet potatoes for just $1.50. Plus they've published their turkey prices and are taking reservations. Let the holidays begin.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Dinners For This Week

It might be Halloween, but the dinner planning never ends, so we'd better get going. By tomorrow, it will be time for a pasta dish, and with basil chicken sausage on sale at both Sprouts and Sunflower, I'm thinking just a simple pasta with sausage, peppers, and onion, held together with pasta sauce conveniently coming from a jar (heavens!). If you want to be a little more elaborate, the sauce we made a couple of weeks ago for the mushroom and sausage ragu with polenta would also be delicious over pasta.

Then again we have our reprise of a big dinner made over the weekend, in this case the fabulous black bean chile with butternut squash and Swiss chard, with a salad on the side and a nice hunk of fresh bread from the Whole Foods Bakehouse.

Next, we need something with rice as a base, and with organic bok choy just $1 a pound at Sunflower this week, that spells stir fry. Stir fries are about the most accommodating meals in the world, made with whatever suits your fancy. If looking for a recipe, bok choy with beef from Gourmet looks good, and beef stew meat is $3.99 a pound at Sunflower this week. It would also work subtituting the pork stew meat that's just $2.99 a pound there.

Finally for Thursday (and the sale ingredients need to be bought by Wednesday, the last day of the current sale), I've had good luck once before trying the stuffed chicken breasts that are $3.99 a pound at Sprouts right now. They'll be accompanied by microwaved "baked" potatoes, and I saw large artichokes for just $1 each at Sunflower yesterday. (Looks like there's a bumper crop of beautiful artichokes coming out of California right now.) That would create a rather elegant meal at minimal midweek effort.

And that will do us until next Friday's planning. Don't forget to eat some fruits and veggies along with all that Halloween candy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Boulder Farmers Market Today

Here's another reason for visiting the Boulder Farmers' Market today, in addition to the popcorn mentioned below and all the wonderful produce available. They're planning a Kids Costume Parade for 9 this morning, plus a free small pumpkin to kids in costume (and more). Should be a good time.

Boulder Popcorn Lauded

In the October issue of Bon Appetit, the "BA Foodist," Andrew Knowlton, gives a shoutout to Boulder's own Boulder Popcorn, declaring "my favorite brand right now is Boulder Popcorn ( The company sells three small-kernel varieties, which means that the hulls are smaller and less stuff will get stuck between your teeth." This is the same issue that declared Boulder "America's Foodiest Town 2010." You should be able to find Boulder Popcorn at today's Boulder Farmers' Market, so get out there (it opens in twenty minutes, runs until 2).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Since it's Friday already (yeah!), it's time to get started on the dinner plans. I hate to be so predictable, but Sprouts' flash frozen salmon has been excellent in my experience, and since it's $8.99/lb this week, it's on deck for tonight. And with temperatures pushing towards 80 this afternoon, it's going on the grill one last time for the season, albeit in the dark. With avocados just 49 cents each at Sprouts, and organic apples on sale everywhere, invent your own salsa, tossing in some chopped roma tomato, parsley or cilantro, lemon or lime juice, whatever you feel like. I'll be roasting an assortment of winter veggies on the side, chunks of acorn and/or butternut squash (49 cents/lb for conventionals at Sunflower, 69 cents/lb at Sprouts), along with some parsnips, organic baby carrots ($1.25 a 1 lb bag at Sprouts, $1.50 at Sunflower), and organic onion wedges ($1/lb at Sunflower).

For tomorrow, to capitalize on the chicken breasts on sale at Sprouts for $1.97/lb, we're planning to try a recipe from the current issue of Bon Appetit, quick coq au vin. Wow the reviewers have given this recipe four forks out of four, which is a real rarity. Although it has "quick" in its name, appears in the Fast, Easy, Fresh section of the magazine, and purportedly takes 45 minutes to make, this looks complicated enough to be a weekend dinner only, at least in this household. To me, a 45 minute estimate translates to well over an hour in reality.

Then what for Halloween? I'm thinking a seasonal favorite, black bean chili with butternut squash and Swiss chard, will be perfect. This recipe proves beyond a doubt how delicious a vegetarian dinner that's full of veggies can be. Since the butternut gets peeled, I'll probably opt for the conventional squash that's only 49 cents a pound at Sunflower this week, and a big salad will go on the side (organic red or green leaf lettuce $1 a head at both Sunflower and Whole Foods).

And that at least will get us through the weekend, and through Halloween!

One-Day Sale on Honeycrisp Apples

In an usual Friday one-day sale, our local Whole Foods stores have organic honeycrisp apples half price at $1.49 a pound today. This Bon Appetit article recommends honeycrisps as the best starting point for getting out of the mundane variety rut. But the more common varieties have their virtues, too, and are available at good prices this week. At Sprouts, you'll find organic red delicious apples for 88 cents a pound, while Sunflower has organic red or golden delicious or organic Granny Smith apples, all at $1 a pound.

The Rib House Offer - $20 for $10

I've mentioned The Daily Deals that started recently, where various Boulder businesses offer their wares for at least 50% off for a limited amount of time. For those wanting to get out of the kitchen, today's deal is a particularly good one: $10 payment for $20 of bbq at The Rib House at either their Boulder or Longmont locations. You have until 11:59 pm this Sunday, the 31st, to purchase the deal, which you can then use between November 1st and December 31st. Check the details on the minimal restrictions, like one per table, not applicable to alcohol. You can also purchase an additional deal as a gift, and with your purchase you'll receive a code to refer your friends if you like. If three of your friends purchase the deal through the code, your deal is free, how sweet. They're selling quickly this morning.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's National Chocolate Day!

If you needed a reason to celebrate, go for it. I'm not kidding, today is national chocolate day.

Two-Day Warning for Vitamin Cottage

Just a headsup that Vitamin Cottage's current set of long-lasting deals will be ending Saturday, the 30th. You can see highlights of the sale and link to the full flyer here.

Free Herbs and Spices From Penzeys

Today's Daily Camera has a coupon good at all Penzeys Spices Colorado stores for a free Mini Gift Box with a $5 purchase. The Mini Gift boxes contain four 1/4 cup jars and normally cost $11.95 (appearing in the picture are freshly ground pepper, cinnamon, granulated garlic powder, and Mural of Flavor). The coupon is good through 11/30, good deal.

New Deals Are Up

Sorry about the delay, but I've finally got the highlights up on the left for the natural grocery sales that started yesterday. The best news to me is that, while we've left the fresh wild salmon season behind, Sprouts is already offering their "flash frozen at sea" sockeye for $8.99/lb. While there, I'll also be picking up 1 lb bags of organic baby carrots for just $1.25 each, Hass avocados at 49 cents each, a boneless skinless chicken breasts value pack for $1.97/lb, and some things from their bulk department (especially their Fair Trade coffee), where everything is 25% off. Meanwhile, I'll debate whether organic is worth it on hard shell squash that gets peeled anyway, since conventional acorn, spaghetti, or butternut squash can be had for just 49 cents a pound at Sunflower (69 cents a pound at Sprouts). For red or green leaf lettuce, where organic really, really counts, both Sunflower and Whole Foods are looking great at $1 a head.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Peek at the New Deals

As I said below, today's a little crazy for completely looking over the new deals (check the links below for direct access to the ads), but there are a few that jump out. At Sprouts, Hass avocados are 49 cents each, so rejoice, avocado fans! Also, you'll find boneless, skinless chicken breasts there in the value pack for $1.97/lb, and they're doing a big sale on their bulk items of 25% off through 11/3. Meanwhile, my favorite 1 pound bags of organic baby carrots at Sunflower are $1.50 each. More to follow.

Deal Highlights Hopefully Tomorrow

My apologies for not being able to get the highlights of today's new natural grocery sales up as usual this morning, but things are a little busy around here right now. I hope to have them up tomorrow, but in the meantime, if you'd like to look, here's where you can find the new sales flyers for our local stores.

Lucky's Market (click on Weekly Sales and give them a break if the new one isn't posted immediately - they're a local, independent store, not a big chain with a big web staff)

Sprouts (click on the Weekly Ads basket at lower left, then enter your zip code)

Sunflower (click on the Boulder store)

Whole Foods (this will take you to the Pearl Street listing, which should be the same for all the local stores)

Halloween Fun in Superior

On Saturday, the Whole Foods store in Superior will host a "Whole-O-Ween" party from noon to three, with pumpkin decorating, samples (the "treats"), and a costume contest. Here's what they say:

"Saturday, October 30th
Whole-O-Ween Party at Whole Foods Market Superior
12:00pm-3:00pm Free
Join us from 12:00pm- 2:030pm in our Café for Pumpkin Decorating and Trick or treating throughout the store. Stop at each department and get a treat! 2:30pm-3:00pm we will parade through the store and prizes will be awarded for the Most Creative, Funniest and Scariest Costume!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween, Foodie-Style

Looking for ways to jazz up your Halloween celebration? Bon Appetit has a nice Halloween guide, complete with seasonal chile recipes, all sorts of things to do with pumpkin and cider, and even guidance on costumes for foodies.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Tomorrow only, our local Whole Foods stores will be directing us to their meat and seafood departments for their one-day sale. Alaskan Dungeness crab clusters will be $9.99/lb, $3 off, and London broil will be $2.99/lb, better than half off at $4 off.

Big Gluten-Free Sale Ends Tomorrow

Just a heads up that you only have through tomorrow to take advantage of 25% off all the tons of tagged gluten-free items at our local Sprouts. I swear that when the wheat comes out, the flavor gets to shine more, so this sale is for everybody, gluten-intolerant or not. Stock up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Bite Boulder's Coming Up

Make plans to get out of the kitchen! First Bite Boulder, when you can get a three course prix fixe dinner for $26 at more than 40 of Boulder's fabulous restaurants, will be happening from November 12th through the 20th. Because of the popularity of the event, reservations tend to be essential, and should be done early. Check out the menus being offered via the First Bite Boulder website, make a reservation, and enjoy a night out. Most restaurants offer the traditional three courses in which the third is dessert, but I favor the few that go for three savory courses. Enjoy this dining deal!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

The weekend's almost over, so it's time to get the rest of the dinner plans in gear. We need a pasta dish, and I'm thinking of an easy improvisation for Monday, involving chopped chicken breasts (both organic and non-organic on sale this week at Sunflower) sauteed with a mix of diced onion, some garlic, tomatoes, asparagus (99 cents/lb at Sunflower), a few organic broccoli flowerettes (99 cents/lb by the bunch at Sunflower), and some diced olives. Whatever else you're inclined to add to the pan before the cooked pasta goes in would probably be fine too.

Then of course we have an easy midweek reprise dinner, this week being the fennel-potato soup with smoked salmon from Bon Appetit, just needing a salad and fresh bread on the side to complete it.

For a rice-based dish this week, there's a stir-fry that this week's sale is demanding be made: chicken, asparagus, and broccoli stir-fry, also from Bon Appetit (and submitted by a Colorado reader, no less). Its headline ingredients are all on sale at Sunflower this week at very good prices.

Finally, for an easy, no-recipe-needed midweek quickie, pork chops will be on deck, with some microwaved "baked" russet potatoes, and a quick veggie side of either asparagus, organic broccoli, or organic kale or spinach, absolutely all of which are on sale at Sunflower this week. (I don't favor any particular store, but Sunflower does seem to be winning this week.)

And that will do it until next week's planning.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Egg-Free Pasta Discovery

Cholesterol-watchers know that pasta can sometimes be a challenge. The everyday types of pasta, like penne, linguine, or fettucine are usually fine, but when you want a nice, wide noodle, that takes you into the category of the egg noodle, which packs a wallop of a cholesterol punch. But when you make something like a classic goulash, what else are you going to serve it on? Sobas? I don't think so. I was therefore delighted to discover that the pastas offered by Pappardelle's at the Boulder Farmers' Market are mostly egg-free, with a few made with egg whites, the safe part of the egg. This includes their namesake pasta, pappardelle, which usually carries sky high cholesterol numbers. At $8 a pound, their pasta doesn't come cheap, but their zero cholesterol numbers are a real rarity. You have a couple more weeks to catch them at the Farmers' Market, or you can buy online or at their Denver store.

Head to Today's Farmers' Market

It might be a bit chilly and breezy, maybe even a spritz of rain, but that should make it a perfect day to take advantage of one of the few remaining Boulder Farmers' Markets, which we'll only have on Saturdays for a few more weeks. (It happily has been extended by a week, and there will be a special one just before Thanksgiving - more on that later.) Enjoy the fall weather, the smaller crowds, and the fine fall produce until 2 today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Time to get a start on what to eat for the weekend. I'm thinking about the freshly ground meat sale happening at Sprouts (40% off pretty much everything except organic beef), and am thinking it's time for turkey burgers. To go with a recipe, I'd favor spicy turkey burgers from Bon Appetit. Another option would be to use some roasted chile peppers from your freezer (or Full Circle Farms should have them again at tomorrow's Boulder Farmers' Market), mixing the diced chiles into the ground turkey to approximate the delicious chile turkey burgers the Pearl Street Whole Foods was selling a few weeks ago when chiles first appeared. The ground chicken also available at Sprouts would be an option too, instead of turkey if you prefer.

We'll need a big pot of something made over the weekend to help us with a quick midweek dinner, and with organic russet potatoes on sale at Sunflower for $2.50 for a 5 pound bag, fennel-potato soup with smoked salmon sounds appealing for this time of year. The recipe is written as a first course, but I just up the salmon considerably to make it a substantial main course. Whole Foods happens to have Duck Trap smoked salmon on sale this week too.

I must be in a fall comfort foods mode, because to round out the weekend, I'm thinking meatloaf. It's prompted by two sales: the 40% off ground meat at Sprouts (and everybody already has their own favorite meatloaf recipe) or the lazy way, with prepared meatloaf on sale at Sunflower for $2.99 a pound. I've never tried their meatloaf, but if their prepared turkey meatballs are any indication, it should be good. Bake some russet potatoes from the 5 pound bag from Sunflower on the side.

On to the weekday planning.