Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Deals At Vitamin Cottage

Vitamin Cottage has a new set of sales running through February 25th, following a bit of a sale hiatus. Deals that look particularly good to me include my favorite Cascade Fresh yogurts for the lowest price I've ever seen, 49 cents each, organic blueberries at $2.69 for six ounces, and four types of Rudi's Organic Bakery sandwich breads for $2.99 each (plus you can get a 75 cents off coupon at Rudi's website, with thanks to my friend Ms. M. for pointing that out). Select organic Knudsen juice and blends quarts look to have great, but varying, sale prices, with organic tomato juice just $1.99 a quart. Clif bars are at a stock up price at 89 cents each (or $9.99 for a box of 12), and 3.2 ounce Chocolove bars look good at $1.69 for the non-organic and $1.99 for organic, with the littler size just 69 cents (some chocolate for your Valentine?). With peanut butter prices skyrocketing everywhere, their sale on my favorite MaraNatha 16 ounce peanut butter looks great at $3.29 for the natural and $3.79 for the organic (almond butter too, at $4.49 for 12 ounces). Half pound Organic Valley cheeses are $3.49, 10 ounce Fig Newmans are $2.99, and the big 28 ounce size of Muir Glen organic tomatoes are stunning at $1.69 each. Fans of Amy's pizzas, Cascadian Farm organic veggies, and Lundberg rice chips will also be happy with prices, plus of course there are a ton of supplements on sale. Finally, if you want to do a taste test between grain finished and grass fed ground beef, both types of Organic Prairie frozen beef are on sale.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

For tomorrow only (happy February 1st!), our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a quartet of special savings, two of which are especially Super Bowl-friendly. Two pounds of Tillamook cheese for $5.99? Holy nachos!

One-Day Sale

On sale Wednesday, February 1st only:

Continental Sausage Co
Smoked & Jalapeno/Cheddar Brats
$3.99/ea
(save $2.00/ea)

Odwalla Juice - 12 oz.
Assorted Varieties
3 for $4
(save $1.16 - $1.36/ea)

Tillamook - 2 lb.
Medium Cheddar Block
$5.99/ea
(save $4/ea)

Shikai - 12 oz.
Moisturizing Shower Gel
$3.49/ea
(save 60%)

Two-Day Heads Up Re Gluten-Free

Just a friendly reminder that you only have today and tomorrow remaining for Sprouts' big Gluten Free Jubilee, with 25% off a ton of gluten-free products. I've already stocked up, but hmmm, I just might need more of those gluten-free Pamela's cookies.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lightening Your Super Bowl Fare

This morning's Eat This, Not That feature on the Today Show was their Super Bowl edition, showcasing all the fat and sodium people typically consume on game day, and options for eating the same foods in lighter versions. We in Boulder are probably savvier in our food choices, but it's worth viewing as a reminder, particularly regarding how many calories might be lurking in that microbrew you'll be drinking all evening. You can watch the segment here.

More On Trader Joe's

The feature article in today's Daily Camera business section is on the rumored arrival of Trader Joe's in Boulder, and its potential impact on an already very competitive natural and specialty grocery seen. You can read the entire Camera article here. I agree with the guy who says that, just because we have more grocery stores, the people of Boulder aren't going to be eating more.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Good Sunday morning. With one eye open and one hand on the coffee mug, I guess it's time to put down some dinner ideas for the rest of the week. My Whole Foods shopping trip this weekend provided the inspiration for tomorrow, as they have their beautiful air-chilled split chicken breasts on sale for $2.99 a pound, nearly half off for birds with such a fine pedigree. (The sale runs through Tuesday.) I'll most likely just roast them dusted with some herbs, along with some organic squash in the oven, and the organic kale they have for $1.50 a bunch in a pot on top. If you want to go fancier, one of my favorites is spicy roast chicken with tomatoes and marjoram from Bon Appetit.

Tuesday will be our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the Tuscan white bean soup with escarole from Cooking Light. Actually, it turned out not to be with escarole, since in a rare moment of disappointment, Whole Foods had no escarole for me this weekend, at least at the Pearl Street store. I improvised by substituting a bunch of organic kale plus some of their wonderful braising mix that they sell in bulk, and the result was delicious.

For Wednesday, I want to try another new recipe from the current January/February issue of Cooking Light, sausage and spinach risotto, which sounds right down my alley. Don't forget Sprouts' 25% off gluten-free sale through Wednesday, which is a great time to stock up on bags of Lundberg rice.

We'll be looking for pasta by Thursday, and I'm giving thought to yet another recipe from the current Cooking Light, bacon and butternut pasta. It looks a little involved for weeknight cooking, so I can see it getting deferred to a weekend and a can of clam sauce getting opened instead for Thursday's pasta. But how can you go wrong with a recipe that combines kale, creme fraiche, Gruyere, and *bacon*, all in a recipe that thinks it's light???

Which will get us through to next Friday's planning. Enjoy a gorgeous Sunday in Boulder, highs expected to reach 60 today, if only the winds will behave.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Super Bowl Party Planning Help

I recently read somewhere that Super Bowl Sunday is the second highest food consumption day in the United States, edged out only by Thanksgiving. I'll be looking to keep mine on the lighter side and am giving serious consideration to a chicken and poblano chili recipe from Whole Foods. There are plenty of recipe and menu guides out there to help you out, so here are some favorites:

Bon Appetit's Super Bowl Party HQ
Super Bowl Party Planner from Epicurious
Cooking Light's 5 Super Bowl Food Makeovers
Superb Recipes for Game Day from Whole Foods, and
Healthy Game Day Snacks and Chili Recipes from Food and Wine magazine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

It has been a long week, but dinner planning must go on. Because of that long week, I'll go easy on myself tonight with something simple: either the bone-in ribeyes on sale at Sunflower for $4.99 a pound, or the crab cakes on sale at Whole Foods for $10.99 a pound. Either store has good prices on organic produce to go on the side, including chard or spinach $1.50 a bunch at Sunflower, and green kale $1.50 a bunch at Whole Foods.

I'll have more energy by tomorrow, when I plan to try a new recipe from the January/February issue of Cooking Light, Tuscan white bean soup with escarole. Since I'm pretty sure I'll head to Whole Foods for the escarole, I guess that speaks to getting the crab cakes from there for tonight. Whole Foods also has organic leaf lettuce on sale for $1.50 a bunch for the side salad. (Organic leaf lettuce is even lower at $1.29 a head at Sprouts, but sometimes there seems to be a size difference.)

I'm thinking light food for Sunday (maybe in preparation for the feasting we'll likely do next Super Bowl Sunday), and with ground chicken breast on sale at Sprouts for the excellent price of $2.97 a pound (Sunflower's sale price is $3.99 a pound), it will be my poultry spin on Thai beef cabbage cups. Rice will go on the side, and I've stocked up on Lundberg rice bags at Sprouts' 25% off gluten-free sale that runs through February 1st.

Which at least gets us through the weekend. Temperatures may hit 60 here in Boulder by Sunday, so I think I picked a good day to do something light and quick then.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Super Bowl Sampling At Sunflower

This Saturday, the 28th, from noon to 2 pm, our Boulder Sunflower invites you to explore Super Bowl Party Ideas, stopping by "to try some new, fun, and tasty recipes!" Time to start putting some thought into what to serve on what has practically become a national holiday for eating, and not necessarily of the best kind, unless you think a little creatively to give it a healthier spin.

National Chocolate Cake Day

Oh no, like we really needed an excuse. But tomorrow, the 27th, is National Chocolate Cake Day. And to celebrate, the wonderful north Boulder restaurant 4580 will be selling decadent flour-less chocolate tortes at half price for tomorrow only. (I wonder what "flour-less" means from a place that's well known for being gluten-free-friendly.) Here's what they say:

WE'RE CELEBRATING NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY
Friday, January 27 by giving away our famous flour-less chocolate tortes for 1/2 price. That's only for one day, so come in and indulge with us!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another WFM Value Tour

The Pearl Street Whole Foods will host another Value Tour this Saturday, evidently intended to teach you how to navigate the store without spending your Whole Paycheck. If you capitalize on their excellent 365 brands and keep an eye on their specials (see the post a few below for today's one-day sale), you'll come out a winner. Here's what they say:

Saturday, January 28th

Value Store Tour
10am FREE

Would you like to learn how to shop healthy on a budget? Join us for a fun and informative store tour that will focus on healthy shopping without breaking the bank. Attendees will receive a goodie bag and lots of yummy samples. Space is limited, so please RSVP to leah.mcclay@wholefoods.com to reserve a spot.

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while Whole Foods' current sale continues through the 31st, and we're waiting on a new "Hotline" sale at Vitamin Cottage, reportedly coming the 29th. Here's what looks best to me in the new sales, IMHO as always.

At Sprouts through February 1st, the big thing for me is the second and final week of their Gluten Free Jubilee, with 25% off gluten free. Even if you have no gluten sensitivities (I don't), it provides a great stock-up opportunity on some fabulous products, like Nut Thins crackers, Pamela's gluten free cookies, and Lundberg rice packages. Also looking good this week are chicken breast tenders for $1.97 a pound (on sale at Sunflower for $2.99 a pound), ground chicken breast for $2.97 a pound (again whopping Sunflower, where it's on sale for $3.99 a pound), and boneless pork loin chops for $2.99 a pound (on sale at Sunflower for $4.99 a pound, but that might be their brand that promises to be antibiotic-free). In fish, fresh farmed Atlantic salmon is on sale, with steaks at $5.99 a pound and fillets for $6.99 a pound, and previously frozen wild sockeye fillets are also available at $8.99 a pound. Also, yummy stuffed clams are just 99 cents each. In organic produce, gala apples are 99 cents a pound (and pink ladies $2.99 for a three pound bag, effectively 99 cents a pound), blueberries are $2.50 for a container of mystery size, four pound bags of Valencia oranges are just $2.99 each, one pound bags of Cello carrots are 89 cents, leaf lettuce continues at $1.29 a head ($1.49 for romaine), pints of grape tomatoes are very good at $1.99 each, broccoli is $1.69 a pound, and red yams are $1.29 a pound. My favorite cups of Cascade Fresh yogurt are 25% off, but it's hard to know how that weighs in against Sunflower's very good price of 50 cents each this week.

At Sunflower through February 1st, steak looks to be the winner, with bone-in rib eyes for $4.99 a pound ($7.99 a pound for boneless). They have chicken tenders, ground chicken breast, and boneless pork loin chops on sale, but see above for significantly better prices at Sprouts for those. Organic produce looks good as usual, with cauliflower $1.50 a pound, spinach $1.50 a bunch, red or yellow onions and acorn, delicata, and kabocha squash all 99 cents a pound, one pound bags of baby carrots at $1.50 each, red, green, or rainbow chard all $1.50 a bunch, and hothouse tomatoes $1.99 a pound. My favorite Cascade Fresh yogurts are very good at 50 cents each, and select Earth Balance spreads are $3.49 each.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Organic Girl Cooking Class Thursday

This Thursday evening, the 26th, the Superior Whole Foods will host a free Organic Girl greens cooking class. Who couldn't use a few new ideas for incorporating more greens into their diet? Here's what they say:

Thursday, January 26th

Organic Girl- Greens Demo
7:00pm Free

Join us in our CafĂ© and a representative from “Organic Girl” who will be cooking up greens for a free cooking class. Dollar off coupons for all who attend! Please register at Customer Service to reserve your spot today.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

For tomorrow only, the 25th, our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a duo of special sales. If the Spanish cocktail mix is the one I'm thinking of, it's dangerously good, and a fine choice for having on hand for your Super Bowl festivities. Here's what Whole Foods says:

One-Day Sale

This Wednesday January 25th only:

Value Fruit Pies
$4.99/ea
(save $3/ea)

Mitica
Spanish Cocktail Nuts Mix
$4.99/lb
(save $4/lb)

Classes At Cured

Boulder's wonderful purveyor of cheeses, wine, and other goodies, Cured, is launching a new program of classes on Thursdays, starting with Cheese Basics this Thursday, the 26th. Sounds educationally delicious. Here's the word from them:

"...for those of you who are interested in delving just a little deeper, we are lauching Cured’s education program. Every Thursday night from 5:30-6:30, we will be holding a class-be it a cheese lesson, wine pairing, beer tasting or seminar from one of our purveyors, we promise there will be something new to learn and something delicious to taste. We will be starting next Thursday the 26th with Cheese Basics-an overview on the history, make process, classifications and categories of cheese. Cheese Basics is limited to 8 people and will cost $35 per person. After class we will offer 10% off all cheeses and meats so you can take home your favorite bites to share. Call or email us to reserve your space-pre-payment is required."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Organic Milk Shortage?

Today's Daily Camera is reporting that a shortage of organic milk, evidently already in effect on the East Coast, is now starting to be seen in Boulder. Reasons include both increased demand for it and a big jump in the cost of organic feed. Whether or not we experience shortages, it sounds like the price of organic milk will be on the rise. You can read the Daily Camera article here.

Great Grocery Store Article

If you have the New Yorker on your iPad, retrieved from your mailbox, or even checked out from your library (imagine that!), I hope you don't miss the article, "A Bushel and a Peck," in the January 16th issue. It lovingly and hilariously deconstructs the psyches of various grocery stores and those who choose to frequent them, focusing on New York, but with reverberations for us out on the frontier as well. You can get a teaser of the start of the article for free on the New Yorker's website. How's this snippet to whet your appetite: "Whole Foods is a gleaming sanctuary wherein only the purest, most nonviolent, non-cloned, virtuous, and pricey goods are said to dwell, a meetinghouse in which customers believe themselves to be imbued with a touch of divinity." Great writing, great article.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese New Year At Sunflower

Sunflower's calendar promises a Chinese New Year Celebration tomorrow, the 23rd, from 3 to 5 pm. I'd hope there might be a sample or two of Chinese food included in the celebration.

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Looking at my list of dinner plans, I clearly didn't take tomorrow's Chinese New Year into account, as the super asparagus sale at Sunflower has led me to plan for asparagus and leek risotto with prosciutto from Bon Appetit. Hopefully I'll get a couple of points for its being rice-based, with nice veggie components, hallmarks of Chinese cuisine.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the New England seafood chowder from Bon Appetit. Salad, a bit of fresh bread, and that's dinner.

I've been craving homemade pizza, so for Wednesday, I'm going to cave and make pizza alla salsiccia from Cooking Light. Both Sprouts and Sunflower have chicken sausage on sale through Wednesday, and I like to make this on a bed of Whole Foods' fresh multigrain pizza dough. One ball of the dough covers an entire baking sheet, so the toppings need to be about doubled to cope, leading to lots of leftovers and pizza heaven.

Thursday will be our quick, end of the week standby, sauteed pork chops from the very good sale Sprouts has through Wednesday on center-cut boneless ones. A microwaved "baked" potato, and perhaps more asparagus caught at Sunflower by Wednesday will round things out.

Which gets us through to next Friday's planning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Kitchen Goes Musical

If you're a little low on things to do for a Saturday morning, you can amuse yourself by watching this video of a man turning his kitchen into a synthesizer, courtesy of Bon Appetit. The things people do...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With a busy weekend ahead, this will be quick. Considering Whole Foods is doing a one-day sale today on their wonderful MSC-certified sockeye salmon for $7.99 a pound, tonight's dinner is a no-brainer: sockeye salmon on the grill pan. I think it's best left alone, with just a squeeze of lemon, but Whole Foods also sells a lovely mustard dill marinade in their fish department, if you want to change around the flavor a bit. Asparagus from Sunflower's $1.97 a pound sale and some buttermilk mashed organic potatoes will round it out.

For tomorrow, we're feeling pasta-deprived, and the gigantic shrimp that Sprouts has on sale only through Sunday have me in the mood for my adaptation of linguine with bay scallops, fennel, and tomatoes from Bon Appetit. I've come to like it even better with shrimp than scallops. For the side salad, don't forget about the organic leaf lettuce sales at both Sprouts and Whole Foods.

For Sunday, the Alaskan true cod and organic kale that Whole Foods has at very good prices are calling out for New England seafood chowder, that lovely, heretical recipe from Bon Appetit that includes curry powder, kale, and butternut squash, yippee!! Another organic leaf lettuce side salad, fresh bread, and that's a feast.

Which gets us through the weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chinese New Year Coming Up

This year, the Chinese New Year falls on this coming Monday, the 23rd. For those with ambition to cook fabulous food on a weeknight (or willing to anticipate it on the weekend), Bon Appetit offers a Chinese/Lunar New Year Recipes guide to help you out.

Vitamin Cottage Sale Update

It's been awhile since we've had a sale from Vitamin Cottage (aside from a few nice organic produce prices I've previously mentioned), so I stopped in to find out any news. With no flyers at the ends of the checkout counters, they were clearly on a sale hiatus. I asked the woman at the customer service desk when a new sale might be starting, and she immediately responded, "the 29th." So nice to talk with people who know what they're doing!

More On Trader Joe's

As much as anything can be confirmed when the principal parties are all declining to comment, it looks like Boulder really is going to get a Trader Joe's, with 29th Street appearing to be the likely location. Today's Daily Camera headline is "Trader Joe's sailing here." Click here to read the whole Daily Camera article for the details. Just when you think Boulder's natural grocery scene couldn't get any richer or more competitive, it looks like it will.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trader Joe's In Boulder?

Lots of buzz happening in the media/twittersphere tonight about the possibility of Trader Joe's coming to Boulder, possibly at 29th Street. I'd love to see that, but life would still be just fine if it doesn't come to pass. Whole Foods' wine store has its own version of Two Buck Chuck, and I don't generally drink either of them. (Well, actually I haven't tried the Whole Foods version, and I ought to before forming an opinion.)

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods, while Vitamin Cottage is taking a bit of a breather, although with some good organic produce sales. Here's what looks good to me in the new sales.

Sprouts will be doing a special 72 hour sale from Friday to Sunday (the 20th to 22nd), including their super big 16/20 count raw shrimp for $6.97 a pound, and bulk mild cheddar just $1.99 a pound. I'm also happy to see the return of their Gluten Free Jubilee, with 25% off gluten free all the way to February 1st. In their regular sale through January 25th, boneless center-cut pork loin roasts are just $1.88 a pound, with boneless chops also good at $2.99 a pound. Fresh farm raised salmon is $8.99 a pound, stew beef is $3.99 a pound, four kinds of chicken sausage (my favorites) are $2.99 a pound, and whole or cut-up chickens are $1.49 a pound. In organic produce, several kinds of apples are just 99 cents a pound, blueberries are good at $2.50 for six ounces, baby carrots are $1.50 for a one pound bag (same at Sunflower), five pound bags of russet potatoes are just $2.99 each, and broccoli is $1.69 a pound (but $1.50 at Sunflower). Organic red or green leaf lettuce is just $1.29 a head, but it's possible that the ones on sale at Whole Foods for $1.50 might be larger. Select Brown Cow yogurts are 25% off, gluten-free Pamela's products are 25% off (check out the cookies), bulk Tillamook medium or sharp cheddar is $4.99 a pound, and some of Applegate's excellent sliced meats are 25% off.

At Sunflower through the 25th, the big news for me is asparagus for $1.77 a pound. It's conventional, but asparagus often is. They are also advertising Atlantic salmon or tilapia (both presumably farmed) or wild caught cod all at $4.99 a pound. Family packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts and all chicken sausage are all $2.99 a pound, beef stir fry or pork stew meat are $3.99 a pound (but whole boneless center-cut pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound at Sprouts). Beef stew meat is also $3.99 a pound (same at Sprouts), and boneless rib eye steaks are $8.99 a pound. In organic produce, cauliflower and broccoli are $1.50 a pound (beating Sprouts on the broccoli), russet potatoes are 99 cents a pound, two pound onion bags are $1.99 each, romaine and iceberg lettuce are $1.50 a head, spinach bunches and one pound bags of baby carrots are $1.50 (matching Sprouts on the carrots), four pound bags of navel oranges or grapefruit are just $2.99, and six ounces of blueberries are $2.99 each (but $2.50 at Sprouts). The entire lines of Simply Asia, Annie Chun's, Snapdragon, or Kikkoman are all 33% off, one pound balls of Bella part skim mozzarella are $5.49 each, and select Rustic Crust pizza crusts or sauce are BOGO.

Whole Foods has some nice organic produce deals through January 31st, with red or green leaf lettuce $1.50 each, Minneola tangelos $1 a pound, and green kale $1.50 a bunch. Their excellent air chilled chicken breasts are nearly half off at $2.99 a pound, and their virtuous wild Alaskan true cod is good at $9.99 a pound. I'm happy to see their fantastic Market Made Maryland style crab cakes for $10.99 a pound, and their yummy smoked turkey wraps with basil pesto are $2 off at $4.99 each. I'm not into whey powder, but fans should know that BioChem is half price at $11.99 (check the ad for details).

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Today

So Whole Foods let the news out early yesterday about Friday's upcoming salmon sale (see the post immediately below), but kept the suspense up until quite late about whether they'd be doing their customary Wednesday sale. Sure enough, our local Whole Foods stores are offering us a trio of specials for today only, the 18th. Here's what they say:

One-Day Sale

On sale Wednesday January 18 only:

Baron of Beef
Roasts
$3.99/lb
(save $3/lb)

Whole Foods Market®
95% Lean Ground Beef
$3.99/lb
(save $3/lb)

Organic Valley
Medium Cheddar
$4.99/lb
(save $5/lb)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Salmon Sale Friday

Here's a way early heads up that Whole Foods is planning a great one day sale for this Friday, the 20th, when their excellent previously frozen (bet you could also get some still frozen) MSC-certified sockeye salmon will be $7.99 a pound. I love Whole Foods' standards for their fish, and here's a part of what they say:

"Whole Foods Market maintains the highest standards for seafood quality and sustainability. We prohibit treating our fish with preservatives – so you know what’s on your fork is fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish. Your salmon purchase supports healthy ocean ecosystems, too. Our sockeye is certified sustainable by the MSC, meaning fishing methods are low impact and salmon populations are abundant according to the MSC’s high standards for sustainability. And to add to it, the MSC’s chain of custody certification means that the fish are tracked to ensure that they come from the correct, certified fishery."

Sampling At Sunflower Tomorrow

Our Boulder Sunflower promises a "simple supper recipe sampling" tomorrow, the 18th, from 11 to noon. A small window of time, but if you're in the area, enjoy.

Psychology Of Eating Talk

Whole Foods is sponsoring a free talk this Thursday evening at Casey Middle School on "The Psychology of Eating." Free tickets are available through EventBrite. Here's what they say:

Thursday, January 19th

The Psychology of Eating- Marc David M.A.
6:30 pm Free

Join us at Casey Middle School- 1301 High Street, Boulder, Co 80304 as Marc presents his expertise in nutritional medicine and the psychology of eating in a fresh and innovative way.

Marc is a nationally recognized teacher, speaker, Nutritional Psychologist, and the author of two acclaimed bestselling books: The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss, and Nourishing Wisdom: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition and Well Being.

Value Tour At Pearl Street WFM

Hard on the heels of today's Value Tour at the Superior Whole Foods, the Pearl Street store will get into the act this coming weekend with their own tour, promising a goodie bag and lots of samples, too. Note that an RSVP is required. Here's what they say.

Saturday, January 21st

Value Store Tour
10am FREE

Would you like to learn how to shop healthy on a budget? Join us for a fun and informative store tour that will focus on healthy shopping without breaking the bank. Attendees will receive a goodie bag and lots of yummy samples. Space is limited, so please RSVP to leah.mcclay@wholefoods.com to reserve a spot.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Chia Seed Experiment

As I previously mentioned, chia seeds were among the Superfoods for 2012 in a recent Today Show feature. Since Sunflower has Spectrum Essentials 12 ounce chia seed bags on sale for $6.99 through Wednesday, I decided to give them a try. (The regular price at Sunflower is $8.49. Whole Foods also has Spectrum on sale for $7.99 through 1/20, with a regular price of $9.49, but there's also a $1 off coupon in The Whole Deal.) They look ideal as an addition to salads, and I already sprinkled some on leftover chicken for lunch, where they provided a nice little crunch, although dental floss definitely needs to be handy afterwards. Its packaging looks like a marketer's dream, touting omega-3s, fiber, "sacred Aztec seed," "higher in antioxidant activity than blueberries," and "rich in essential fatty acids." I feel a little like being in my days of adding wheat germ to everything in the 70s, but with so many virtues and so few calories, why not give it a try. And yes, I believe these are the same seeds as in those annoying Cha- Cha- Cha- Chia plant pet ads that have sprung up around the holidays for decades. Kind of like Budweiser-guzzling, plaid pants-wearing Uncle Paul suddenly becoming a sleek, downtown hipster.

Bike And Breakfast

The winter edition of Boulder's Bike to Work Day is coming up this Wednesday, the 18th. Intrepid bikers benefit from free breakfast from 7 to 9 that morning, although the list of locations is considerably shorter than for the summer version. You can check out all the details here.

Wine Tastings At Cured

Our wonderful, one-of-a-kind store, Cured has reopened following a break to allow Will and Coral to get married, and they're starting off the new year with weekly wine tastings on Tuesdays. They say that tomorrow "and continuing weekly, we will be holding Tuesday evening wine tastings from 4-7. This week will be some of our new favorite under $20 finds to kick off the New Year." Great idea.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Value Tour At Superior WFM

Perhaps in an attempt to shed its "whole paycheck" image, the Whole Foods store in Superior will host a Value Tour this coming Tuesday evening. (One's also coming up next weekend at the Pearl Street store. More about that later.) Here's what Superior says:

Tuesday, January 17th

Value Tour
6:00pm Free

Start your New Year off saving money! Join Cheryl for a Value Tour and learn how you can shop Whole Foods Market on a budget! Learn about our coupons, Sure Deals, Whole Deals, Bundle Deals, Daily Deals and 10 more money saving shopping tips! Please register at Customer Service to reserve your spot today.

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Sunday morning rolls around so quickly, time to get planning the rest of the week's dinners. For tomorrow, it will be shrimp pad Thai from Cooking Light, using the shrimp on sale at Sprouts and more of my big bunch of cilantro from tonight's posole. It will certainly be made with rice noodles, not the spaghetti in the recipe (the rice noodles are not only more fun and more authentic, they're faster, too).

Tuesdays are generally our reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the chicken posole from Food and Wine magazine. For the side salad, it isn't part of their advertised specials, but I've seen organic romas on sale for the very good price of $1.99 a pound at both the Pearl Street and Superior Whole Foods. Since their current sale runs through Tuesday, I bet that will mark the end of the roma price as well.

With stew beef on sale through Wednesday at Sprouts, a stock of organic romas from the Whole Foods sale, extra tortillas in the fridge from the posole sides, and hopefully some leftover cilantro, Wednesday will be sirloin steak with tomato and cilantro sauce from Bon Appetit. Sure, it calls for sirloin right in the title, but works well with stew beef, which is already cut up for you.

We'll catch more of that shrimp at Sprouts by Wednesday for Thursday's dinner, butternut squash risotto with shrimp. It's nicely seasonal, and rounds out the week with a rice dish, which has yet to make an appearance.

Which will get us through to Friday's planning.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Orange and Blue Food?

With tonight's big playoff game of the Broncos vs the Patriots, one might want to have some orange and blue food on hand, but it's not easy finding the two together in one dish. A fruit salad of oranges and blueberries would of course work. For something a little more sophisticated, you could try an orange and blue grilled romaine salad from the Food Network (although the blue isn't very blue, and probably should be spelled bleu). Little known fact: people think of this game as being in Boston, but the stadium in Foxborough (usually shortened to Foxboro) is so far south in Massachusetts, it's practically in Rhode Island.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

It's Friday again, so time to get going with dinner ideas for the weekend. I have the boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are $1.97 a pound at Sprouts on the brain, and with organic grape tomatoes also an excellent price there at $1.99 a pint (also good at $2.50 at Sunflower), that spells spicy roast chicken with tomatoes and marjoram from Bon Appetit. The recipe calls for bone-in chicken breasts, which are very tasty if you like some grease in your dishes, but I prefer it with the boneless, skinless ones to lighten it up. Dried marjoram also works well instead of the fresh, obviously using a smaller amount of the dried.

It looks like I'll be doing most of my weekend shopping at Sprouts this week, since for tomorrow, their Alaskan cod sale will turn into cod with sesame and ginger from the New York Times. I fortunately already have black sesame seeds in my kitchen. They're available in bulk at Whole Foods, so you can buy them in small quantities (they have teeny sized bags in the herb section), and my recollection is that Sprouts just has the tan-colored sesame seeds in its bulk aisle. But I bet this recipe would be good with those, too.

For Sunday, my thinking is returning to that chicken at Sprouts, in the form of chicken posole from Food and Wine magazine. I'm adapting again on the chicken, since the recipe calls for all dark meat with the skin on. It will be lighter with the boneless, skinless breasts, but still have plenty of zing with all those lovely garnishes like lime, radish slices, and cilantro.

And that will get us through a weekend of cooking.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Superfoods for 2012

This morning's Today Show had a fascinating little segment on what's hot for 2012 in our supposed "superfoods." Among the contenders are kefir, jicama, chia seeds, and broccoli sprouts. I'm particularly interested in trying nutritional yeast, used like a seasoning. You can catch their video clip here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting on a snowy Boulder morning today at Sprouts and Sunflower, while Whole Foods' current sale continues through the 17th. As previously reported, Alfalfa's and Vitamin Cottage are in something of a limbo. Vitamin Cottage has some nice organic produce prices posted, but not their usual "hotline flyer," while Alfalfa's continues to post the flyer that expired December 20th. Here's what looks good to me in the new Sprouts and Sunflower sales (plus a little note about Lucky's Market below).

At Sprouts through January 18th, I'm particularly impressed by boneless skinless chicken breasts at $1.97 a pound for value packs. (Sunflower is doing 50% off chicken, making it hard to compare that price.) I'm also liking 41/50 count raw shrimp for $4.99 a pound, previously frozen wild caught Alaskan cod for $7.99 a pound, chicken sausage for $2.99 a pound, beef stew meat for $3.99 a pound, and turkey tenders or ground turkey breast both also $3.99 a pound. Previously frozen Alaskan sockeye salmon is $9.99 a pound, but Sunflower beats that with sockeye at $7.99 a pound. In a "buffalo stampede," a whole lot of bison is on sale. In organic produce, I definitely like grape tomatoes at $1.99 a pint, gala, Braeburn, red delicious, or Fuji apples, or D'Anjou pears all just 99 cents a pound, one pound bags of baby carrots for $1.50, and broccoli for $1.49 a pound (but see below regarding broccoli at Lucky's). Chobani Greek yogurts are $1 each, and Sprouts' wonderful bulk coffee, including Fair Trade organic decaf, is fantastic at $7.99 a pound.

At Sunflower through the 18th, family packs of several types of chicken parts are all 50% off. Wild caught (presumably previously frozen) sockeye salmon is $7.99 a pound, and whole or cut up chicken fryers are $1.49 a pound. In organic produce, red or green leaf lettuce are $1.50 a bunch, grape tomatoes are $2.50 a pint (but $1.99 at Sprouts), select Organic Girl salad blend clamshells are $2.50, jumbo russet potatoes are 99 cents a pound, and one pound of Cello carrots or bunched cilantro are 99 cents each. Noosa yoghurts are low at $1.50 for eight ounces (Sprouts effectively matching with twice the size for $2.99), and the 15ish ounce size cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes are good at $1.50 each, although we've seen lower.

I don't usually cover Lucky's Market simply because I rarely get to their north Boulder neighborhood, but this week I might just have to make a pilgrimage, as they have organic broccoli for just 88 cents a pound. Lots of other specials like dry packed previously frozen wild scallops for $6.99 a pound might just seal the deal.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cooking School Bake Sale Tomorrow

The Escoffier School of Culinary Arts (which everyone remembers as Culinary School of the Rockies) will hold its semi-annual bake sale tomorrow, featuring goodies from pastry chefs-in-the-making. I've never been before, and it sounds intriguing. Here's the word from the folks at Mile High on the Cheap:

Escoffier School of Culinary Arts' Bake Sale

Pastry arts students at Boulder’s Escoffier School of Culinary Arts (formerly the Culinary School of the Rockies) put on a much-anticipated bake sale a couple of times a year. From the appearance and the taste of the baked goods, you’d never know they aren’t yet pros. The next bake sale is on Wednesday, January 11, 4 to 7 p.m. Best to show up early before the sale is down to crumbs. All proceeds benefit the school’s scholarship fund. 637 S. Broadway (west side of Table Mesa Shopping Center), Boulder, 303-494-7988.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a trio of special deals for tomorrow only, the 11th. Here's what they say:

On sale Wednesday Jan 11:

Wild Turbot Fillet
$11.99 lb
(save $5/lb)

GT's Kombucha
Kombucha
All Varieties
2 for $4
(save $0.99/ea)

BioChem Sports
Whey Protein Powder
$9.99/ea
(save $14/ea)

Bison Sale Coming Up

Fans of bison might be interested in knowing that our local Sprouts is planning a "Buffalo Stampede" starting tomorrow and running through January 18th. It will feature Bear Mountain Bison, and Sprouts' flyer says "all natural buffalo - all cuts available!" Not much further price information at this point, except that ground buffalo will be $7.99 a pound.

Not Much Sale News Yet

I still can't offer much news about sales at Alfalfa's or Vitamin Cottage. Alfalfa's has the sale flyer that expired December 20th posted on their website, and the Natural Grocers site says there are currently no "hotline" sales for the Boulder Vitamin Cottage. The hotline sale is the big flyer, but they do have a little one for produce, which is always organic, yeay. I can at least tell you that bunched spinach, leaf lettuces (three types), kale (three types), and chard (three types) all should be $1.50 each, and there are a few other produce specials as well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Store-Bought Pasta Sauces

If like me, you're in a bit of a cooking slump after the holidays, you might be interested in reading Pasta Sauces Worth Buying on Epicurious. The comments are pretty interesting, too. Of course, I never feel guilty about reaching for a jar of quality pasta sauce instead of making my own from scratch, my jar of choice being Muir Glen Organic.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Sunday means time to start thinking about what dinner will be for the rest of the week. I have polenta on the brain, and since Sunflower has the lowest price I've ever seen on their fresh chicken sausage at $1.97 a pound, that spells another longtime favorite, sausage and peppers with polenta. I just wing it, sauteing the sausage with some onion and bell peppers, then mixing in a touch of good quality pasta sauce. For a formal recipe, mushroom and sausage ragu with polenta from Cooking Light is a good one, and Saveur magazine recently covered the Italian-American background of sausages and peppers, with a recipe too.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, and this week we actually have two choices. Since we'll be having polenta tomorrow evening, the dinner reheat will probably be the escarole soup from Saveur, but there's also the possibility of the beef goulash with polenta from the Whole Foods recipe.

We'll want some pasta by Wednesday, and Sprouts' $4.99 a pound sale on fresh farmed salmon through that day is making me think of a recipe I haven't made in ages from a beloved Chez Panisse cookbook. Coming from an old cookbook, it isn't originally online, but it has been picked up by an adapter as salmon and roasted red pepper fettuccine. The roasted red peppers will for sure come from the Whole Foods olive bar, or even from a jar. No need to go to all that roasting trouble, especially on a weeknight.

To round things out for Thursday, with the ground turkey, chicken, and grass fed ground beef all at good prices through Wednesday at Sunflower, we'll return to what has become a spectacularly successful recipe in this house, Thai beef cabbage cups from Cooking Light. I like to wrap the meat mixture in organic lettuce leaves instead, but some day should give the cabbage a try, too.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Food Video Worth Watching

Many thanks to my friend Ms. J for passing along an excellent short video called Roger Doiron: My Subversive (Garden) Plot. It captures so many important points about food, while entertaining you the whole way. The 15 second histories of gastronomy are not to be missed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Friday comes around so quickly, and it's time to get going with dinner ideas. Tonight will be very simple, since I was so impressed with the fresh Atlantic salmon I had last time from Sprouts, and they have it once again for just $4.99 a pound, we'll do it again on the grill pan. There are lots of ways to spiff it up, like dusting it with curry powder and grated ginger, but I prefer naked salmon with a squeeze of lemon. Both Sprouts and Sunflower have organic yams for 99 cents a pound, so yam spears will have to be baked on the side.

For tomorrow, with Whole Foods doing their special weekend sale on beef roasts at $3.49 a pound, some sort of wintery stew will need to be on deck. They have links to several good sounding recipes for the roasts at this post, but the one that seems to be calling me is beef goulash with polenta, polenta fiend that I have become.

For Sunday, I'm considering another experiment. I recently encountered a recipe from Saveur that reminds me of childhood food, a warming escarole soup. It could be made as written, using the grass fed very lean ground beef that Sunflower has on sale, but I tend to substitute chicken or turkey for these things, and Sunflower also has good prices this week on both ground turkey and ground chicken breast. Or I could get more radical with the experiment and buy the turkey meatloaf that Sunflower also has on sale, using it to form the meatballs without having to mess with any mixing. Fun times ahead.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weekend Sale At Whole Foods

Suitable for a weekend in January, Whole Foods will have some beef roasts for $3.49 a pound from tomorrow, the 6th, through Sunday, the 8th. Here's a part of what they say about the sale. For the entire article, complete with beef roast recipe ideas, look here.

Whether you like to prepare roasts for company or for everyday meals, beef roasts are an impressive way to bring hearty winter meals to your table. Our sale on beef roasts for $3.49 per pound will last for three days this weekend so you can shop our US stores this Friday, January 6th, through Sunday, January 8th, to pick up this budget-friendly deal on fresh, ready-to-cook roasts! Make sure to look for the sale signs on selected roast cuts in our meat department to find which cuts are on sale in your store.

Types of roast cuts and limits may vary by region, so you can contact your store for details. While supplies last. Most of our stores do not provide rain checks for sales like this.

Healthy Eating Challenge Reminder

I previously mentioned Whole Foods' 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge, and orientations will start shortly, with the Superior store doing them on the 8th and 9th. Here's how the Superior store describes the program:

Monday, January 16th

A Whole New You in 2012- Take the 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge
Free

2012 Health Starts Here Challenge!

Are you ready to become a whole new you in 2012? Join Whole Foods Market on January 16th for a 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge. We will be encouraging individuals, families and the community to follow our 4 Pillars of Healthy Eating: Whole Food. Plant-Strong. Nutrient Dense. Healthy Fats. Whether you are brand new to healthy eating or have been doing this for decades, we invite you on this exciting adventure.

For Registration and to hold your spot for Orientation, Click on the following link http://hsh28daysuperior.eventbrite.com/

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while the current sale continues through the 17th at Whole Foods (click for prior report). There may be new deals at Alfalfa's or Vitamin Cottage, but both still have expired sale flyers out on the web, and Vitamin Cottage was mercifully closed when I stopped by on New Year's Day. So here's what looks best to me in the new Sprouts and Sunflower sales, which both appear to be enticing us with strong deals on the basics, after weeks of promoting holiday foods.

At Sprouts through January 11th, I'm super-pleased to see they've brought back their vitamin & body care extravaganza, with 25% off the entire department. Time to stock up on those body care products you know pretty much never otherwise go on sale. I'm also enthused about fresh (albeit farm raised) Atlantic salmon for just $4.99 a pound. I usually just stick with wild salmon, but the last time Sprouts had such a good price on farm raised, I tried it, and it was delicious. They're also doing a roast sale, with seven types of beef and pork roasts all 30% off. Center-cut pork loin chops are $3.99 a pound, and whole or cut-up chicken is $1.49 a pound. In organic produce, I'm liking grape tomatoes at $2.50 a pint, blueberries also $2.50 for six ounces, Cameo apples just 99 cents a pound, red or green leaf lettuce $1.49 each, russet potatoes $2.99 for a five pound bag, baby carrots $1.50 for a one pound bag, and garnet yams, navel oranges, and red Delicious apples all just 99 cents a pound (yams and oranges effectively the same at Sunflower). Also, Voskos Greek yogurts are 89 cents each, and Clif, Luna or Mojo bars are low also at 89 cents each. Lots of good stuff there.

At Sunflower through the 11th, fresh chicken sausage is the lowest I've ever seen at $1.97 a pound for all varieties. I also like their grass fed 93% (very) lean ground beef for $3.97 a pound, ground turkey or chicken, ground chicken breast, pork stew meat, and turkey meatloaf all $2.99 a pound. In organic produce, five types (usual suspects plus Kabocha) of winter squash are $1 a pound, as are red or yellow onions, navel oranges, and garnet and jewel yams (effectively the same at Sprouts for the oranges and garnet yams). Organic red creamer potatoes are $1.50 a pound, as are three types of organic apples (but Sprouts has some organic apples at 99 cents). I love Chobani Greek yogurts at $1 each. Select Stonyfield fat free yogurts are good at 79 cents each, but Whole Foods does even better at 5 for $3 (when they can keep them in stock).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a trio of special deals for tomorrow only, the 4th, and it looks like they're trying to help us get the new year off to a healthy start. Here's what they say:

One-Day Sale
On Sale Wednesday January 4 only:

Organic
Grapefruit
10 lbs for $10
(save $0.99/lb)

Country Life
Supplements
50% off entire
line of products

Udi's Gluten-Free
Sandwich Bread
White & Whole Grain
2 for $6
(save $2.49/ea)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Waiting On New Sale

I'm pretty sure Vitamin Cottage has a new sale starting today, but when I just checked, they haven't posted a new flyer online. I stopped by the store yesterday, and those fine folks had the decency to actually be closed for New Year's Day.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Happy New Year to all! It may be New Year's Day, but the first weekday dinners of 2012 still need to be planned. Since we stayed relatively healthy across the weekend, with a light crab pasta last night and a nearly vegetarian version of Hoppin' John for tonight, for tomorrow I'm going to cave to all those steak specials being advertised by Sprouts and Sunflower, and put steaks on the grill pan or under the broiler. Those of course call for baked potatoes with nonfat plain yogurt on the side. Whole Foods' recipe for Swiss chard gratin has been such a hit around here, it might just have to be done again.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is Bittman's black-eyed pea soup with ham and greens, along with the green onion corn bread from Bon Appetit, so all I need to do is make a salad!

Wednesday will be the last day for Sprouts' sale of those huge 16/20 count shrimp for $6.99 a pound, and since we haven't seen a rice-based dish yet this week, it will be shrimp and corn pilaf from Bon Appetit. The corn obviously will come from the freezer at this time of year, and Whole Foods is giving us a good opportunity to stock up, with their 365 Everyday Value brand of frozen veggies (always a good value, as its name says) on sale for $1.50 a one-pound bag.

I'll be running out of ideas and steam by Thursday, so it will probably be our fallback of pork chops at the $3.99 a pound price through Wednesday at Sprouts, with a microwaved "baked" potato. Broccoli keeps pretty well in the fridge, so I will also have picked up some of the organic on sale for $1.50 a pound at Sunflower by Wednesday.

Which gets us through to Friday's planning. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2012!