Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boulder Farmers' Market Opens Saturday

We've been looking forward to it for weeks, but here's another reminder that the first Boulder Farmers' Market of the season will be this Saturday, from 8 to 2. I assume there won't be a whole lot to choose from this early in the year, but that's what makes it interesting. Perhaps we'll see some winter squash lingering from the last crop, and maybe the start of the spring greens if we're lucky. Can't wait to see.

A Fun April Fool's Dessert

Here's a fun idea from Bon Appetit for an April Fool's dessert tomorrow, rhubarb fool. I like their idea of using vanilla yogurt instead of the whipped cream. Since the first leaves of the rhubarb in my yard are just beginning to pop out, I'm afraid the rhubarb wouldn't be a local variety quite yet, but it's a great idea.

Good Deals At Lucky's This Week

I rarely check out Lucky's Market since their north Boulder location rarely works for me, which is too bad, since whenever I do get there, they have some great stuff. This week, through April 6th, you can get an organic pineapple for just $1.50! At 77 cents each, they also have one of the better prices in town for any type of avocado, but those are organic also! Other items looking good to me include organic Valencia oranges or yellow onions for 99 cents a pound, organic leaf lettuce or chard at $1.50 a bunch, and organic grapefruit or green onions at 99 cents each. Lots of other interesting possibilities outside of produce, too, like fresh jumbo sea scallops for $10.99 a pound and Niman Ranch New York strip steaks for $11.99 a pound. Lucky people frequenting north Boulder are lucky to have Lucky's.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Week's Hot Deals (IMHO)

Trying to get around the bizarre lack of spacing that's cropped up to the left, here's an alternate presentation of those good deals that start today.

Wild caught salmon fillet wars thru 4/6: $9.99/lb at both Sprouts (sockeye) and Sunflower (king). Also $9.99/lb on 3/30 only, for certified sustainable sockeye at Whole Foods.

Wild caught cod fillet wars thru 4/6: $7.99/lb at Sprouts, $6.99/lb at Sunflower.

Stew beef wars thru 4/6: $3.99/lb at both Sprouts and Sunflower.

Organic romaine heart wars thru 4/6: $2.50 at Sprouts, $2.99 at Sunflower, each for a 3 pack.

At Sprouts thru 4/6, other deals that look good to me include a "chicken breast bonanza" with all sorts of cuts (including stuffed and ground) at 40% off, stuffed clams or shrimp skewers at 99 cents each, chicken parmesan sausage for $2.99/lb, and Alaskan whole Dungeness crab for $4.99/lb. In organic produce, Cameo or gala apples, or red or jewel yams are all 99 cents/lb, cherry tomatoes are $2.50 a dry pint, and yellow onions are $2.50 for a 3 lb bag. Tillamook sharp or medium cheddar is $4.99/lb, and lots of items in Sprouts' own line are on sale too.

Through 4/6 at Sunflower, in addition to the above wars, they're doing an "ultimate steak sale," with 8 varieties 40% off. Conventional asparagus looks good at $1.77/lb, and in organic produce, strawberries are $2.50 for 8 oz (catch twice that much at Whole Foods on 3/30 only), baby peeled carrots are good at $1.50 for a 1 lb bag, and Gala apples are $1.77/lb. Also looking good are bulk roasted almonds for $3.99/lb, select Ezekiel breads at $3 a loaf, select Near East pilafs and couscous for $1.50 a package, and select Kashi cereals for $2.99 a box (Whole Foods also doing select Go Lean for $3).

Thru 4/12 at Whole Foods, I'm excited about select Stonyfield yogurts at 50 cents each, organic baby carrots at $2.50 for a 2 lb bag ($1.50 for a 1 lb at Sunflower thru 4/6), my very fave WFM seeduction breads for $3 a loaf, and Seventh Generation laundry detergent at $11.99 for the big size. Also looking good are a large spinach and mushroom pizza for $8.99, Cotswold cheese for $9.99/lb, organic navel oranges for $1.25/lb, select Kashi Go Lean cereals at $3 a box (Sunflower doing similar thru 4/6), Annie's mac and cheese at 4 for $3, and yummy Market Made shrimp skewers for $1.50 each (although we've seen those lower than that).

A Blogging Mystery

Highlights of this week's new natural grocery sales are up on the left, but for some reason, Blogspot is suddenly refusing to recognize any line breaks, without my having changed a thing. I've tried all sorts of options, but I can't get it to separate into paragraphs over there. Bear with me, and meanwhile, read through that big block of sales, including asparagus $1.77/lb, steak and chicken breast sales, stuffed clams for 99 cents each, Stonyfield yogurts for 50 cents each, and much more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Events at Sunflower

The Boulder Sunflower calendar says they'll be doing "local product sampling" from noon to 2 tomorrow, and "simple suppers" from 4 to 6 on Thursday, fyi.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Tomorrow, our local Whole Foods stores will hold another one-day sale, and it's a good two-part one. A one pound package of organic strawberries will be great at $2.50, an excellent price for organic (and not something I'd want to eat in conventional). Also, MSC certified sustainable sockeye salmon will be $9.99 a pound, $5 off their usual price. Good stuff.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Free Compost At Whole Foods

Put it on your calendar. In honor of Earth Month, the Pearl Street Whole Foods plans to give away free bags of compost starting at 10 am on April 14th until they're gone. Here's what they say:

"Thursday, April 14th
Compost Give-A-Way
10 am-till it is gone! FREE
Happy Earth Month Boulder Community!
We will be giving away Free bags of compost starting at 10 am till it is gone.
We hope it inspires you to grow an amazing home garden this year!"

Also, start thinking about Earth Day proper, which will be coming up on April 22nd.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

To get the weekday cooking started, we haven't had anything with rice for awhile, so I'm thinking spring with shrimp risotto with baby spinach and basil from Bon Appetit. It's jumping the gun a bit in terms of local produce, but spinach and basil from the store will be just fine. I might add some asparagus pieces to the risotto while they have some time to cook, or steam it on the side, since the asparagus sales at Sprouts (for conventional) and King Soopers (for organic) are calling me.

Then as usual, we have something big made over the weekend that will serve as an easy midweek reheat, and in this week's case, it's the New England seafood chowder. All you have to do is make a salad for the side.

For Wednesday, we'll go easy again, sauteing some chicken breasts, since Sunflower is doing a 50% off all chicken sale. Breading the boneless, skinless ones with a little panko and herbs dresses them up a bit. Sunflower also has organic russet potatoes for 99 cents a pound, so those will go in the microwave for a "baked" potato side, plus something green, like sauteed chard.

To round out this week's planning, there hasn't been any pasta yet, so I'm in the mood to swing back into spring with pasta with peas, prosciutto and lettuce from the New York Times, possibly adding more asparagus caught before this week's sales end on Tuesday (King Soopers) or Wednesday (Sprouts). Peas from the freezer will be just fine, although Sunflower actually has organic English peas on sale through Wednesday. For the Parmesan, don't forget to stock up by Wednesday at Sprouts, where all bulk cheese is 30% off.

And that will get us through to next Friday's planning.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fresh Asparagus Price Smackdown

Here's the lowdown on prices I'm aware of for asparagus around Boulder. All were seen yesterday, with the exception of King Soopers, which I still need to get to. In alphabetical order, as always:

King Soopers: organic asparagus advertised at $2.50 a pound with card (don't know their conventional price),

Sprouts: conventional asparagus $1.88 a pound,

Sunflower: conventional asparagus $1.99 a pound,

Whole Foods (seen at Pearl Street store): conventional asparagus $3.99 a pound, organic asparagus $4.99 a pound.

Although I don't get there often, you can see from these prices what a stunning deal King Soopers has on organic asparagus through Tuesday.

Two-Day Sale at Whole Foods

In addition to the doings below, we have a new weekend sale happening today and tomorrow at our local Whole Foods stores, and it's a four way deal. Yummy Parrano cheese (kind of a cross between parmesan and gouda) is $9.99 a pound, which is $6 off. Tray packs of Bell & Evans buffalo wings are $1.99 a pound, a dollar off. Responsibly farmed 31/40 count raw ez peel shrimp from Thailand are $5.99 a pound, $3 off. And finally, you can get their own in-house made guacamole for $5.99 a pound, $2 off. Sounds like a weekend made for snacking.

Lotsa Doings At Whole Foods

At the Superior Whole Foods from noon to 3 today, you can get a frozen Whole Trade banana dipped in Whole Trade chocolate for $3 to benefit the Whole Planet Foundation. Here's what they say:

"Saturday, March 26th
Frozen Chocolate Dipped Bananas
12:00pm-3:00pm $3.00
Yum, Yum Yum! Enjoy a delicious frozen treat. Frozen Whole Trade bananas dipped in Whole Trade Chocolate. You do not have to be a kid to enjoy this tasty treat and your purchase will benefit our Whole Planet Foundation Fundraiser."

Then tomorrow, the Pearl Street store will host the Boulder Humane Society Pet Cruiser from 10 to 2. Thinking about a furry addition to your family? This is a wonderful way to check out some deserving possibilities. Here's what they say:

"Sunday, March 27th
Humane Society Pet Care Cruiser
Our friends from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley will be on-site with their mobile adoption unit, so stop by and meet their amazing animals. Who knows, you could take home your groceries and a new best friend. For more information about HSBV, visit their website at"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy American Chocolate Week

Who knew? Thanks to Serious Eats, we discover that we are nearing the end of American Chocolate Week (they were latecomers to the discovery, too). Check out their six ways to celebrate it, piling them on, since we're almost at the end of the week.

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Dinner keeps coming around, so it's time to get some plans going. As we ease into spring, I'm torn between jumping into it full blast, or savoring our remaining days of comfy casseroles and chowders filled with winter veggies. For tonight, I'm thinking about staying in winter mode, using the wild caught haddock that's on sale at Sprouts for New England seafood chowder, a veggie-packed wonder from Bon Appetit that includes both butternut squash and kale. I cut way back on the bacon, or use a veggie bacon as a healthier alternative. Salad and a hefty loaf of bread fresh from the Whole Foods bakery will go on the side.

For tomorrow, let's swing into spring by checking out the first of the season fresh halibut that King Soopers has for $16.99 a pound. I don't get there often, but I've had quite good luck with their fresh seafood. The halibut would be best on the grill, opening our spring grilling season, but with the winds we've been having recently, it will more likely wind up indoors on a grill pan or under the broiler. For a side, I'm looking forward to trying a new recipe from the current issue of Cooking Light, roasted asparagus with browned butter. (I'm not sure if we have Meyer lemons in the area right now. Regular lemon, maybe mixed with a little orange juice to make it Meyer-like, would also probably work.) Sprouts has a good price on conventional asparagus at $1.88 a pound, but since I'll be at King Soopers anyway for the halibut, I'll go for their excellent price on organic asparagus, just $2.50 a pound. Organic asparagus, when available, usually runs in the $5 or $6 a pound range, and Sprouts currently has it on sale for $3.99 a pound, so you can see how good the King Soopers price is.

To finish off the weekend cooking, for Sunday we'll swing back into winter mode, enjoying a pizza hot from the oven. We'll try an easy one, pizza supreme, which is also from the current issue of Cooking Light. Instead of turkey sausage, we'll go with chicken sausage, which is on sale at Sprouts but is never expensive anywhere. For the jarred pasta sauce, I stocked up on the excellent sale Sprouts just had on Muir Glen, so there's plenty to reach for.

And that will get us through the weekend planning.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Last Call for Current Vitamin Cottage Specials

Just a heads up that you only have through this Saturday, the 26th, to catch the current, long lasting specials at our local Vitamin Cottage (aka Natural Grocers). Highlights to me include CLIF Bars at 79 cents each, probably the lowest price you'll ever see in town (other CLIF products also at great prices, and wrapped boxes are available on sale too), Earth Balance for $3.19 (and if you have the winter hard copy Mambo Sprouts coupons, there's one for $1 off, making this a steal), and Mary's Gone Crackers gluten-free crackers or Sticks & Twigs for $2.89 (plus $1 off via Mambo Sprouts in either the winter hard copy coupons or the current online coupons).

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Ah, spring. To celebrate, tomorrow our local Whole Foods stores will have a one-day sale on tulips, three 10-stem bunches for $12. That's 30 tulips! I wonder if you could also buy one or two bunches, if you don't need to fill the whole house with three. Spring is in the air.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Sale Prices Are Up

Highlights of today's new sale prices for our local Sprouts and Sunflower groceries are up on the left, along with Whole Foods' longer lasting sale and a link to Vitamin Cottage's very long lasting sale. This week's big news about food you really want to eat ironically isn't happening at any of those places; it's at King Soopers, where organic asparagus can be had for $2.50 a pound, and first of the season fresh halibut is $16.99 a pound (both presumably with card). Back to news from our natural stores, Sprouts has 30% off their entire bulk cheese department, while Sunflower is doing 50% off all chicken. Look to the left for more specials.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will hold another one-day sale tomorrow, and it's a good one. Our very own local Haystack Mountain goat cheese will be half price at $2.99 for their 4 ounce log in the plain variety. Haystack Mountain cheese lovers should jump on this. Enjoy it plain or embellish it as you wish!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Spring

BTW, happy first full day of spring, which arrived yesterday evening. Go out and eat some asparagus or something. (The Boulder Sunflower had a "manager's special" on asparagus for $1.99 a pound yesterday, and sometimes those specials continue for several days.) And since the Boulder Farmers' Market opens on the first Saturday in April, that should be April 2nd this year, less than two weeks away!!!

NYT To Limit Free Reading

The New York Times covers plenty of bad news, but this time it's producing some of its own. Effective March 28th, non-subscribers will be limited to reading 20 articles per month for free at Why mention this on a cooking blog? Because their food coverage has long been a source of some of my favorite recipes, including Mark Bittman's. The good news is that arriving via a blog link doesn't count toward your monthly limit, so reading a recipe from here doesn't count. Coming from a search engine doesn't count either, although some search engines supposedly will impose daily limits. Heck, it has always been easier to find a NYT recipe via Google than through the NYT's own search box anyway. You can read an outline of the plan here, and there's a link to FAQs at the bottom of the page. Not good news, but even scarier is what it might portend for the rest of our web reading.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Time to get moving on the rest of the week's dinner ideas. I'm excited that the new sale at Whole Foods includes organic eggplant for $1.99 a pound, as I've been waiting for a good organic eggplant to try eggplant Bolognese from Cooking Light, so that will be on deck for tomorrow. The ground meat sales at both Sprouts and Sunflower can assist with the ground beef called for, and Sprouts has a fantastic price this week on the 28 ounce can of tomatoes it needs, with Muir Glen Organics at just $1.69. Again, remember the organic leaf lettuce and bags of organic baby carrots that are just 99 cents each at Sunflower for the side salad.

Then of course we have something big made over the weekend that will do double duty as a midweek reheat, and in Tuesday's case, it will be the sweet potato and sausage soup from Bon Appetit. Note comments just above regarding side salad deals.

For Wednesday, we still haven't had anything based on rice, so with beef stew meat $3.99 a pound and organic yams 99 cents a pound at Sunflower, it will be stir-fried beef, broccoli, and yams from Bon Appetit, served over brown rice.

Finally, for a simple dish to round out our midweek cooking, since Sunflower has their own turkey meatloaf of sale for $2.99 through Wednesday (that's an option right there), I'm hoping to also find their yummy turkey meatballs, which freeze nicely for midweek cooking. These would be great on pasta, first browning the meatballs then simmering them in the Muir Glen Organic pasta sauce that's only $2.50 for a jar at Sprouts through Wednesday (stock up!).

And that will get us through to next Friday's planning.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supper Club At Superior

The Superior Whole Foods will be doing another Health Starts Here Supper Club this Tuesday. Just $10 for a three course healthy meal, details below.

"Tuesday, March 22nd
Health Starts Here-Supper Club
6:00pm $10.00 per person
Join us in our Superior café for our second Heart Healthy Supper Club. We will focus on whole foods, healthy fats, plant strong and high nutrient density foods. Dinner will include three courses [appetizer, main dish and dessert] Space is limited so sign up today at our Customer Service Counter."

Getting My Chiles Right

Longtime readers know I am fanatical about green chiles that are available in the fall, either from Hatch, New Mexico, or from our own wonderful local organic farmers. But the various spellings of chile, chili, and their plurals have been driving me crazy. The New York Times has shed some light on this in their recent article, New Mexico Takes Its Chile Very Seriously. Even The Spelling. I'm glad to have some guidance on the spelling, but the subject of the article, chilies masquerading as chiles, is really disturbing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Okay, let's get going on dinner ideas for the weekend, starting with tonight. I'm thinking about the fresh tilapia that's $4.97 a pound this week at Sprouts, and that brings to mind a complete dinner menu from Bon Appetit, tilapia with balsamic butter sauce, thyme mashed potatoes, and sugar snap peas. Obviously, you can take or leave the side components, as you choose. If doing the mashed potatoes, remember that five pound bags of organic russets are $2.50 at Sprouts, where the tilapia is.

Both Sprouts and Sunflower are emphasizing ground meats with their sales this week, so for Saturday, I'm thinking about a casual dinner of a recipe that has turned into a hit around here, chipotle sloppy Joes from Cooking Light. You can do them on buns, as called for, but we like them better on baked potatoes, again thinking about those organic russets on sale at Sprouts. With ground chicken and turkey also on sale at both Sprouts and Sunflower, I wonder how either of those might do as subs for the ground beef in the recipe. Sauteeing some of the organic chard on sale at Sunflower for $1.50 a bunch would make a good side, boosted with a touch of garlic and hot red pepper.

By Sunday, we'll still need to make something big, to also serve as a midweek reheat, and it's going to be sweet potato and sausage soup from Bon Appetit, inspired by the chicken sausage (to be thoroughly cooked, unlike the precooked sausage in the recipe) and organic yams on sale at Sunflower. For the side salad, don't forget Sunflower has organic leaf lettuce as 99 cents a head and one pound bags of organic baby carrots also for 99 cents, both incredible prices.

And that will get us through the weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Not feeling up to cooking a full-blown St. Paddy's Day feast today? You can stop by the Whole Foods store in Superior at lunchtime and get your corned beef fix, even as a to go, and it benefits the Whole Planet Foundation. Here's what they say:

"Thursday, March 17th
Traditional St. Patrick's Day Meal
11:00am $5.00
Stop by Whole Foods Market Superior for lunch and join us for a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. Corned Beef, potatoes and carrots. All proceeds will benefit Whole Planet Foundation. Meals can be wrapped to go!"

If you're still trying to figure out whipping up your own feast, you'll find lots of ideas with these guides.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Deals Are Up

My take on the best new sale prices starting today at our local Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods stores is up on the left. A good week, with organic baby carrots 99 cents a one pound bag, organic leaf lettuce 99 cents a bunch, organic eggplant $1.99 a pound, conventional Hass avocados for 50 cents, Muir Glen Organic canned tomatoes and pasta sauce for dirt cheap, and Chobani Greek yogurts hovering around 99 cents. Look to the left for details, or here for the actual sale flyers: Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will have another one-day sale tomorrow, this time a duo or trio of options, depending on how you look at it. Their own Market Made shrimp skewers will be half off at $1 each, and I can testify that they are delish. They come in several seasoning types, or plain if you want to DIY. Also, Jason toothpaste, either the Powersmile or Seafresh variety, looks like a great deal at $2.99 for a 6 ounce tube, which is $4 off, and there's even a hint that you get a free travel-size tube with it. Happy shopping.

Another St. Patrick's Day Idea

Here's a dinner idea from Saveur magazine that sounds particularly appealing for St. Patricks's Day proper: salmon with cabbage and cider vinegar, yum.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Two-Day Heads Up

The current two-week sale at Whole Foods has some particularly appealing deals, so here's your heads up that you only have through tomorrow to cash in on them (although who knows what Wednesday's new sales will bring). I especially like the organic green or red leaf lettuce at $1 a head, their fabulous baguettes fresh from their bakehouse for 99 cents each, organic green kale at $1.50 a bunch, organic grape tomatoes at $2.50 for a 10 ounce package, their Market Made large pepperoni pizzas at $8.99 each, and their own Maryland blue crab cakes for $9.99 a pound.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Let's get moving on planning for dinners, starting with tomorrow night. Thinking about the asparagus that Sunflower has for $1.27 a pound, we'll opt for a favorite rice dish, asparagus and leek risotto with prosciutto from Bon Appetit. Remember that Whole Foods, at least at the Pearl Street store, has cooking prosciutto at nearly half the cost of the stuff that's paper-thin sliced in front of you, which isn't what you'd want for this dish anyway.

As always, there's a reheat of something big made over the weekend, and in this case, it will be our corned beef and cabbage for Tuesday. I suppose we could wait until St. Patrick's Day proper on Thursday to do this, but I don't like to leave leftovers sitting in the fridge that long.

To finish off our asparagus fling on the last day of Sunflower's $1.27 a pound sale, we'll look to another pasta dish, penne with asparagus, spinach and bacon from Cooking Light. Although meats like bacon and prosciutto appear in lots of our meals, they are always in small amounts (2 bacon slices in this case), adding a great flavor boost without the downsides of too much meat.

Finally, for St. Patrick's Day proper on Thursday, we'll do our own interpretation of Irish fare, suitable for midweek cooking, by stuffing baked (read microwaved) russet potatoes with a smoked salmon and scallions or shallots. Potatoes, salmon, how Irish, yet how quick. For a side, I'll grab some of the organic kale that's $1.50 a bunch at Whole Foods through Tuesday, and the combination of potatoes and kale almost evokes another Irish classic, colcannon.

And that get's us through this week's planning.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's In Your Corned Beef?

With plenty of people looking to cook a corned beef sometime this weekend, Thursday, or next weekend to fete St. Patrick, it's worth giving some consideration to the ingredients we find in the corned beef being sold in our local natural foods stores, some of which might not be considered so "natural." Here's what you'll find in the three places I visit most often:

Both Sprouts and Sunflower are offering Harris Ranch corned beef at very appealing prices, but this is what you'll see on the front of the package: "cured with water, salt, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, flavorings."

The Whole Foods Market Made corned beef has "beef seasonings (sea salt, garlic, clove, paprika, soybean oil,) pickling spice (black pepper, mustard seed, red pepper, allspice, dill, bay, cloves)."

Notice a bit of difference there? But then there's also the difference in price, the perennial dilemma. The Harris Ranch corned beef is $3.99 a pound at Sprouts and just $2.99 a pound at Sunflower, while Whole Foods' house-made corned beef is $6.99 a pound. Personally, for something I'll only make once a year, I'll spring for the best.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Ideas

Looking for inspiration for your St. Patrick's Day feast, whether you're celebrating Thursday on the holiday proper, or this weekend, or next? Here are some wonderful recipe guides that will take you beyond the humble corned beef and cabbage I'll be doing.

Bon Appetit's St. Patrick's Day Guide

St. Patrick's Day Food & Drink From

Saveur's Recipes For St. Patrick's Day

Cooking Light's St. Patrick's Day Feast

Erin Go Bragh!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend Sale At Whole Foods

Whole Foods is giving Boulderites and Superiorites another two-day weekend sale starting tomorrow. Organic navel oranges will be $1 a pound, Justin's Nut Butter individual packs will be 75 cents each (they were 39 cents at Sprouts last week), and Boulder Canyon potato chips will be $1.67 for a 10 ounce bag. These prices will be good only at the Ideal, Baseline, Pearl, and Superior stores.

Dinner Plans for the Weekend

A happy windy Boulder Friday morning to you, which means it's time to settle on dinner ideas for the weekend. With sales all week at both Sprouts and Sunflower, and Wednesday's one-day sale at Whole Foods, our local natural foods stores are urging us to eat cod. We'll oblige tonight with cod chowder with saffron and fingerling potatoes from Bon Appetit. Obviously, the potatoes don't absolutely have to be fingerlings, and it's also perfectly delicious without the saffron. Don't forget organic leaf lettuce at $1 a head at Whole Foods for the side salad, and pick up one of their lovely, fresh baguettes for just 99 cents (better than half off) to go along as well.

I've previously described the dilemma of when to cook that corned beef and cabbage, since St. Patrick's Day proper on Thursday will be an awkward day to do it. I'm going to opt for the earlier side of the holiday, cooking it tomorrow. I'm praying I'll find Whole Food's own inhouse-cured corned beef by then. They didn't yet have it when I was last there a few days ago, but that's the beauty of a fresh, preservative-free product - it doesn't sit around for weeks before it's needed. Since they're doing their Taste of Ireland Celebration tomorrow at the Pearl Street store, I'd bet anything it will be available. This kind of dinner calls for turning to an old cookbook for instruction, and my venerable Joy of Cooking practically falls open to that page (for anything else, I use Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything). Or you can just google it. With a very large stockpot, it's a one-pot dinner, with veggies like carrots, parsnips, and onions in the pot, in addition to the cabbage. Make sure you have both mustard and horseradish in the fridge to add a bit of pizazz.

For Sunday, we have yet to capitalize on Sunflower's $1.27 a pound asparagus sale, so I'm thinking fettucine with peas, asparagus, and pancetta from Bon Appetit. Frozen peas are fine in this dish, and frozen veggies are on sale at both Sprouts ($2 for Cascadian Farm organic) and Whole Foods ($1.50 for 365 Everyday Value). Again, Whole Foods has the makings for the organic side salad plus the fresh baguette to round out the meal.

And that will get us through the weekend. Don't get blown away out there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Timing Dilemma

With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Thursday this year, when to cook that corned beef and cabbage? Corned beef can take hours to simmer, making it a less than ideal midweek meal. We can pre-celebrate this weekend, or postpone it a couple of days until next weekend, or find some other perfectly good option altogether, since corned beef on St. Paddy's Day seems to be more of an American tradition anyway. Hmmmm.

St. Patrick's Day Tastings Saturday

With St. Paddy's Day looming next week on the 17th, we have a couple of tasting fairs this Saturday, the 12th, to get you in the mood. The Boulder Sunflower will hold a St. Patrick's Day Sampling from noon to 2, and the Pearl Street Whole Foods will do a Taste of Ireland Food Celebration from 11 am to 6 pm. In addition to samples and Celtic entertainment, the Pearl Street celebration will include an Irish-inspired meal for purchase, with all proceeds going to their Whole Planet Foundation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Asparagus Ideas

With asparagus on sale starting today at Sunflower for $1.27 a pound, in a bit of an ironic twist, the Whole Foods blog recently listed some excellent ideas for using it with their post, Ten Ways to Enjoy Asparagus.

This Week's Boulder Salmon Scene

Here's a rundown of current prices in front of me for salmon, fresh, previously frozen, or unspecified (in alphabetical order, as always):

King Soopers - wild caught sockeye salmon fillets, previously frozen, $6.99 a pound with card,

Safeway - wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon fillets, previously frozen, $8.99 a pound, club price,

Sprouts - fresh salmon filets $8.99 a pound,

Sunflower - fresh salmon fillets $8.99 a pound,

Whole Foods - wild caught sockeye salmon fillet $12.99 a pound.

New Deals Are Up

Highlights of new sales starting today at our local Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower stores are up on the left, along with the ones that continue at Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods. Heads up, asparagus is $1.27 a pound at Sunflower! (I usually emphasize organic veggies, but there are a few that are almost always conventional, and asparagus is one of them.) Don't forget to pair just about every meal with a nice, fresh Whole Foods baguette for the fantastic price of 99 cents each.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Getting in a Lenten mood, our local Whole Foods stores will have previously frozen wild Alaskan true cod tomorrow only for $7.99 a pound, $5 off their usual price. Keep an eye out also for a sale that starts tomorrow at Sprouts for the full week on wild caught Alaskan cod filet for $4.99 a pound. So hard to know how to compare products, but the wording on these, while enticing in both cases, is noticeably different. I'm enthused about both, and Sunflower will also be on the wild caught cod fillets bandwagon with a sale starting tomorrow, too.

Start Thinking Spring

Just a heads up that Sunflower will have fresh asparagus for $1.27 a pound with the sale that will start tomorrow. Don't yet know what Sprouts will tempt us with in tomorrow's sales. So with today's snow continuing to linger over Boulder, start thinking about spring dishes. And Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Free Stuff From Sprouts

I've pointed out before that if you sign up for Sprouts' e-newsletter (click on the mailbox at the bottom right), you'll get great coupons in their monthly missive. This month's was for a free SoyJoy bar!

Organic At King Soopers

Thanks to my friend, Ms. A. for pointing out a number of organic fruit and veggie deals happening at our local King Soopers through tomorrow. Organic mini carrots look particularly good at $2.50 for a big two pound bag, and organic navel oranges are great at $2.99 for a four pound bag, with card.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Coupon For Penzeys Spices

Today's Daily Camera has a big coupon in the "local" section for $5 off a $10 purchase at Penzeys Spices, which has a store on the Pearl Street mall. While I usually go for organic peppercorns (Whole Foods' 365 organic being a favorite), I tried Penzeys' non-organic India Special Extra Bold peppercorns the last time they had an interesting coupon offer, and they knocked my socks off with their rich pepper kick. They say it's "the largest of all the Tellicherry Peppercorns - only ten pounds out of every ton of pepper makes this special grade." The store of course has plenty of other options to consider as well.

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Time to get going on dinner plans for tomorrow through Thursday. For a Monday night dinner, I'm thinking about the chicken tenders that are on sale at Sprouts for $1.97 a pound, and with organic broccoli just 99 cents a pound at Sunflower, that spells chicken and broccoli stir-fry from Bon Appetit, served over brown rice. If you want to make your life even easier, skip the recipe altogether and pick up a package of the Seapoint Farms Oriental edamame veggie blend that's on sale at Sunflower for $1.99 each, and use that with your stir-fried chicken. The blend is full of all kinds of great veggies, including baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and of course, edamame. It helps if you remember to let the package defrost in advance, but also works straight out of the freezer. Healthy convenience!

Then on to Tuesday, when we should laissez les bons temps rouler for Mardi Gras. But it's in the middle of a busy week, so how are we going to find time to celebrate? With our traditional reheat of something large that was made over the weekend, which in this case is the seafood and turkey sausage gumbo! I ask you, is that good planning or what? Whole Foods is the source for the sides, with organic leaf lettuce $1 each for the salads, and their fabulous baguettes just 99 cents each.

For Wednesday, it will be time for some pasta, and also time for something vegetarian. I was bummed to find out that the Boulder Sunflower does not carry the smoked mozzarella that appears in this week's ad, as it reminded me of a dish I haven't made in quite some time, orecchiette boscaiola. There are some recipes for it out on the web, but the version I make is a replication of the dish I had eons ago at a restaurant in New York's Little Italy (back when that was the place to go for the best Italian food). It consists of the cooked orecchiette (or other cut pasta) tossed in a sauce made from wild mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, and tomatoes, flavored with a bit of garlic and basil. Yum. I was so inspired by the thought of it, I paid full price for the smoked mozzarella at Whole Foods, which does carry it, thank heavens.

Finally, to finish off this week's round of planning, for Thursday we'll go for a version of spicy turkey burgers from Bon Appetit, using the ground chicken breast that's on sale at Sprouts through Wednesday for $2.97 a pound (note the need to buy it by then) instead of the ground turkey. I like to serve these open-faced on toast instead of on buns, and the Ezekiel breads on sale at Sunflower for $2.50 make a great choice.

And that will do it until next Friday's round of planning.

Find A Furry Best Friend

The Boulder Humane Society's Pet Care Cruiser will be at the Pearl Street Whole Foods from 10 to 2 today. If you've been thinking about a warm and fuzzy addition to your family, stop by and commune with your potential new best friends.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No Smoked Mozzarella At Sunflower

Despite its appearance in the current sale flyer, I discovered today that the Boulder Sunflower no longer carries smoked Mozzarella Fresca at all. As the guy in the cheese department described it, they were having to throw it out too much because it wasn't selling. Too bad, as it's yummy stuff. Since I already had my heart set on a pasta dish based on it for later this week, I shelled out the extra $1 at Whole Foods for the regular price, and was happy to see a shelf well stocked with it. More about that pasta tomorrow...

Mardi Gras Dinner Ideas

Getting ready to laissez les bons temps rouler on Tuesday? Here are a few menu planning guides for inspiration:

Bon Appetit's The Big Easy Made Easy

Epicurious' A Big Easy Mardi Gras

Saveur's Classic Mardi Gras Recipes

Cooking Light's Classic New Orleans Cuisine

Don't forget to deck yourself out in purple, green, and gold beads, but in my book, you can skip the king cake. What a dull dessert, unless you get the piece with the baby in it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Whole Planet Foundation Fun in Superior

In addition to today's Tasty Planet Tapas Party at the Pearl Street Whole Foods, the Superior store will add to the fun on Sunday with lunch and kids' activities to benefit the Whole Planet Foundation. Here's what they say:

"Sunday, March 6th
Whole Planet Foundation Day
11:00am $5.00
Join us for an ethnic lunch and a Kids Club activity benefitting the Whole Planet Foundation. Come and enjoy a hot lunch, your kids can make and decorate maracas and all proceeds will go to help a women lift her and her family out of poverty!"

And A Baguette With Everything

In writing up the dinner plans for the weekend, I forgot to mention how good the wonderful baguettes that are on sale at Whole Foods for just 99 cents each (way better than half off) would be with just about everything. Baguette with crab cakes? Fine. Baguette on the side with steaks? Delicious. Baguette with seafood gumbo? Absolutely required!

Weekend Sale At Whole Foods

We Boulderites and Superiorites will be privy to a special two-day sale just for us at Whole Foods this weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday, you can get a pound of organic strawberries from the good 'ol US for $3.00, Annie's cheddar and white cheddar bunny crackers (7.5 ounces) for $2.00, and High Country Kombucha (16 ounces) also for $2.00. This sale will be held only at four stores: Pearl, Superior, Baseline, and Ideal.

Dinner Plans for the Weekend

Time to get to work on the dinner plans, starting with tonight, when those fantastic Maryland blue crab cakes on sale at Whole Foods for $9.99 a pound are calling me. Nothing easier, sauteed in a little olive oil, with a squeeze of lemon after. If you'd like to try them as an appetizer, rather than going for the entree, the Pearl Street store has previously offered them in cute little half sizes, in addition to the full size cakes. Last time I looked, the Superior store only had the full size, but the seafood guy there quickly whipped them into mini-versions for me, which I of course could have also done myself. A little herbed rice (recipe from Boulder's own Happy Noodle restaurant) from Bon Appetit would be good on the side.

On to Saturday's plan, I'm thinking of seafood and turkey sausage gumbo from Bon Appetit. Instead of catfish, I'll use the fresh tilapia that's $6.99 a pound at Sprouts, and ubiquitous chicken sausage would be fine instead of turkey. For the side salad, don't forget that Whole Foods has a wonderful price on organic red or green leaf lettuce right now, just $1 a head. Astute blog readers and watchers of the calendar can probably guess where I'm going with this dinner plan, but I won't totally reveal it yet.

To finish off the weekend, we should take advantage of decent weather before next week's storms move in, jumping on a chance to break out the barbeque for the Harris Ranch boneless New York strip steaks that are just $4.99 a pound at Sunflower. Grilled yam spears make a great side, and organic yams are 99 cents a pound at both Sunflower and Sprouts. For something green, we'll continue the smoky theme with sauteed kale with smoked paprika from Bon Appetit, particularly since Whole Foods has organic kale for just $1.50 a bunch. They also have organic mini peppers at $2.50 for a 16 ounce package, and those go great on the grill as well.

And that will get us through the weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kudos To

I take a fair number of magazine subscriptions, many of them cooking-related, so I want to give a big thumbs up as a place to get your magazines. I've been so impressed with their prices and subscription management, I'm in the process of switching all my subscriptions over to them as they come up for renewal. What's prompting this post is the arrival of the March issue of my beloved Saveur magazine earlier this week, beautifully transitioned to a subscription through Amazon at a better price than the publisher offered, with no interruption in service. Amazon's prices in my experience are always better than you will get from the publisher, and sometimes spectacularly so; a Conde Nast publication I take was over $30 for a year through the publisher, but just $10 through Amazon. As with the publishers, Amazon might try to steer you to an auto-renew option, but if you look more closely, I've always found a non-auto-renew option at the same price, if that's your preference. Amazon's "Subscription Manager" is also a handy tool - it will show you the status of all your subscriptions through them, of course including expiration dates. My experience to date with all of this has been totally accurate, which is a thing of beauty in anything in life, but is an amazing occurrence in magazine subscriptions.

This Week's Boulder Salmon Scene

For those of us who are salmon fanatics, we revel in fresh, wild caught salmon through the summer, then work our way through the rest of the year eating the previously frozen variety, while counting the days until the fresh season begins again. Since I had some frozen salmon that tasted a bit off a few weeks ago from a store I won't mention, I'm wondering if the frozen salmon season might have its own fin de saison. That said as a bit of a caution, we have a number of advertised sales this week, at a variety of prices. Here are the ones in front of me, in order of price:

Sunflower: "wild caught sockeye salmon fillet" $7.99/lb through 3/9,

Safeway: "Alaskan sockeye salmon fillets, wild caught" $8.99/lb club price through 3/8,

Sprouts: "Alaskan sockeye salmon filets" $10.99/lb through 3/9, and

Whole Foods: "wild caught sockeye salmon fillet" $12.99/lb through 3/15.

(And while I may have my fair share of typos, Sprouts' choice of "filet" as a spelling isn't one of them. It's a legit alternative spelling that does appear in my dictionary.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tapas For A Cause

This Friday, the Pearl Street Whole Foods store will hold a Tasty Planet Tapas Party, with proceeds benefiting their awesome Whole Planet Foundation. Here's what they say:

"Friday, March 4th
Tasty Planet Tapas Party
4-7pm Price Varies
Purchase small plates of deliciousness and enjoy live music while lending your support. 100% of the Proceeds will benefit the Whole Planet Foundation. The awesome menu includes:
$2 Allegro Tea Sparklers
$3 Pork Belly Sliders
$4 Charcuterie Sampler Plate
$3 Spanish Tapas Plate
$6 House-Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Local Accoutrements
$5 Honey Ginger Flankin’ Style Beef Short Ribs
$2 Crème Brulee
$3 Mixed Berry Cup"

New Deals Are Up

Highlights of new Boulder natural grocery prices starting today are up on the left, and is this ever a week of good deals! Actually two weeks, since Whole Foods' new deals that last that long are some of the best I've ever seen. Whole Foods' own fabulous baguettes for just 99 cents each!!! And organic red or green lettuce also 99 cents each, and organic kale for $1.50 a bunch. Don't get me started on how wonderful their Maryland blue crab cakes are, well worth the $9.99 a pound sale price. Meanwhile I'm heading to Sprouts to stock up on Justin's peanut butter squeeze packs at just 39 cents each (very convenient pre-race fuel), and to Sunflower for some Harris Ranch boneless New York strip steaks for just $4.99 a pound. And those are just the highlights of the highlights - an excellent week (or two) of sales!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Yahoo, we will have another one-day sale at our local Whole Foods stores tomorrow. This time it will be a two pound package of strawberries (I'd presume conventional, since they don't say otherwise) for $4.99 (also be advised that Sunflower will be starting a "fruit-fest" tomorrow for the whole week), and also Honey Stinger protein bars at $1 each, nearly half off.

No News Yet

about the one-day sale Whole Foods usually does on Wednesdays. I'm angsting, in possible sale withdrawal, but won't have a chance to check now for a bit.