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.