Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With a busy Labor Day weekend ahead, this will be quick, but at the height of our summer produce, also seasonal!  I'm inclined towards incorporating Munson's corn into just about every meal while we have it, so with raw shrimp $3.99 a pound at Sprouts and Sunflower, tonight will be shrimp and corn pilaf from Bon Appetit.  I'll up the basil, considering how well my basil plants are doing.

Tomorrow we'll head out to the grill, and with boneless top sirloin just $3.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower, a good option is ginger-soy grilled steak, also from Bon Appetit.  Ears of fresh Munson corn to go with that, too.

With roasted Hatch chiles already available at Whole Foods, I'll try a recipe new to me on Sunday, corn and green chile chowder from the Food Network.  Doesn't get more seasonal than that.

Which quickly gets us through most of a long weekend, during which I'll practically be camping out at Munson's stand at 75th and Valmont.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WFM Superior Will Be Grilling Tomorrow

It's not on their web calendar, but there's a big sign in front of the Superior Whole Foods saying that from 5 to 7 pm tomorrow, the 31st, you can get a burger, bag of chips, and a drink for $5 while they grill out on their patio.  And despite its being by a parking lot, the view from there is pretty impressive, too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grilling Guides For Labor Day

Labor Day's just around the corner, and that means grilling, although in Boulder we're fortunate to have weather that permits grilling well beyond the holiday.  If you're looking for inspiration before firing up the grill, check out these guides:  grilling & barbecue from Epicurious, essential grilling guide frrom Cooking Light, and Whole Foods' guide to grilling.  You can bet my table will have plenty of Munson's corn as well.

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting this week at our Boulder Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods.  This may be the last week I get to say Sprouts and Sunflower, as this week's combined ad notes that "This week, your Sunflower Farmers Market is becoming Sprouts Farmers Market."  The ad also contains a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $30 or more, good through September 23rd, in celebration of the merger.  It further contains some mysterious fine print about how the advertised prices are only for Sprouts, although I've found them at Sunflower.  Here's what's looking best to me in the sales.

At Sprouts and hopefully Sunflower through September 5th, boneless top sirloin is low at $3.99 a pound, all chicken sausage (pork, too) are $2.99 a pound, fresh wild coho salmon fillets are $8.99 a pound, and pretty small 41/50 count raw shrimp are $3.99 a pound.  In organic produce, green or red grapes are $1.99 a pound, one pound bags of baby carrots remain low at $1.25 each, six count packages of romas are $2.50, Italian (think zucchini) or yellow squash three count packages are also $2.50 (this prepackaging is driving me nuts - I wanted one squash a couple of days ago and had to buy three), broccoli isn't the lowest we've ever seen at $1.49 a pound, grape tomatoes have bumped up to $2.50 a pint, and celery is $1.29 a bunch.  Avocado fans will enjoy conventional ones at three for $1.  I'm glad to see my favorite Cascade Fresh yogurts on sale for 69 cents, which used to be their usual price at Sunflower, until the merger bumped them to a whopping 99 cents each.  Pamela's gluten-free cookies are tempting at $3 a box, and unspecified fresh mozzarella cups are $3.99 for eight ounces.

At Whole Foods through September 11th, the big news to me is 20% off the entire bulk department, excluding the prepackaged items.  Think strategically, my friends.  How about the super-pricey pine nuts for that pesto you'll be preparing and freezing shortly from your flourishing basil plants?  Grab them now at 20% off.  In meat, I'm a fan of their American Homestead pork, and their St. Louis ribs look good at $3.99 a pound, especially with Labor Day on the horizon.  Organic heirloom tomatoes also look good at $3.99 a pound.  Their own smoked salmon spread is $12.99 a pound, only $1 off, but oh so good.  For us non-bakers who like smaller dessert options, half summer pies (still a big 18 ounces) are $6, and to make your Labor Day table festive, you can get a five stem bunch of sunflowers for $5.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a one-day sale for tomorrow only (the 29th) on something appropriate for upcoming Labor Day outdoor celebrations, namely watermelon.  Since organic isn't specified, I'd assume it's conventional, and Sprouts and Sunflower have whole seedless watermelon at 3 pounds for $1 through tomorrow, so do your math.  (Wednesday update - that price at Sprouts/Sunflower continues through September 5th.)  Savor some more summer as we mark its unofficial end.  Here's what Whole Foods says:

One Day Sale

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 29th only:

(save $2/ea)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cooking With Chiles Class

Here's something near and dear to my heart, a chile cooking class from Whole Foods (although the "end-of-summer" reference is pretty depressing).  Perhaps they really will address using all sorts of chilies, but if the focus will be on Hatch chiles, as I suspect, I'm a stickler for the appropriate spelling of those, which is chiles.  Here's what they say:

Cooking with Chilies Cooking Class

Thursday, August 30th
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Cooking Coach, Arik for great recipes and ideas to heat up your end-of-summer cooking!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

With a busy weekend as we look towards the end of summer, this will be super quick.  Tomorrow will be a simple chicken stir-fry over brown rice.  I've posted plenty of recipe possibilities in the past, but really, all you need is the chicken ($2.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower for boneless skinless breasts), a base of fresh ginger, garlic, and red chiles, and a whole bunch of organic veggies on top (organic broccoli $1.29 a pound at Sprouts and Sunflower), seasoned with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, or whatever.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is our chile corn chowder.  I opted to do the one from my ancient recipe from the original Alfalfa's, but I'm also interested in the green chile corn chowder Mark Bittman featured on the Today Show this week.

We'll want pasta by Wednesday, and sticking with the summer bounty theme, it will be pasta with corn, zucchini, and tomatoes from the New York Times, with more corn from local Munson Farm.  Since our prior chowder was vegetarian, I'll add a bit of chicken or turkey sausage to this dish for the meat fans of the family.

Thursday will be a classic simple midweek meal, sauteed pork chops, using the center-cut ones on sale at Sprouts and Sunflower for $2.99 through Wednesday.  Some microwaved "baked" potatoes from the organic russets both stores have at $3.99 for a five pound bag would make a great side.  And maybe even more fresh corn on the cob from Munson Farm.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Learn To Really Read Labels

Would you like to get better at reading that food content?  The Pearl Street Whole Foods will give you the opportunity for free on Tuesday.  Here are the details from them, and note that an RSVP is required:

Reading Labels with Lara

Tuesday, August 28th

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Think you know how to read food labels? You may be surprised. Join HES Lara Ulfers MS, RD for a surprising and informative look at the world of label reading. Advanced RSVP is necessary, email to reserve your spot.

Boulder Farmers' Market Tomorrow

Just a reminder that due to today's USA Pro Challenge bike race, the customary Saturday Boulder Farmers' Market is postponed to tomorrow, the 26th.  You can check out the produce to expect at this week's crop list.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Road Closures Start Today

And yes, I've figured out a way to make this food-related.  Be aware that with tomorrow's big USA Pro Challenge bike race taking over Boulder, roads will be closing as early as noon today.  You can read the details from the Daily Camera here.  And while Pearl Street will be closed in their area, Cured at 1825 Pearl is in the biking spirit, selling musette bags from Garmin filled with a stylish lunch and a good discount coupon.  (And the race expo will be set up right in front of their store tomorrow - usually all sorts of free goodies at those things.)  Here are the details from them:

Harking back to Will’s roots, we’re grabbing a bunch of musette bags from Garmin (the very same ones the riders will be picking up in Nederland) but filling them up with much more delicious Cured goodies. Rather than powerbars and baked potatoes, our Race Day Essentials bag ($20) will have a Cured sandwich (either a Girona or a Spicy Frenchman), a San Pellegrino soda, a bag of Zapp’s potato chips and an apple - everything you need to enhance your viewing pleasure. Plus you will get a 25% discount card for the team Garmin Sharp online store! We only have 100 musette bags and they are already starting to go fast. If you would like to pre-reserve one, give us a call or shoot us an email.

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With Labor Day nearly upon us and the unofficial end of summer looming quickly, this weekend just has to be about grilling and summer produce.  Tonight will be fresh salmon on the grill.  Mine will be from the one-day sale just past at Whole Foods, but Sprouts and Sunflower have fresh wild caught coho for $7.99 a pound.  A favorite way to do it right now is grilled salmon with roasted corn relish from Cooking Light, which gets in that fresh local corn from Munson Farm, and also the freshly roasted chiles newly available at the Pearl Street Whole Foods.

We'll return to the grill for Saturday, this time for country style pork ribs.  They're $2.49 a pound at Sprouts and Sunflower, but I'll probably spring for a little more to get the American Homestead ones that are $3.99 a pound at Whole Foods.  Something terrifically seasonal will go on the side, probably tomato and corn salad with marjoram from Bon Appetit if I'm feeling refined, or straight ears of Munson's corn if in more of a picnic mode.  A caprese salad using our local tomatoes and the one pound logs of Crave Brothers fresh mozzarella that are just $5.99 each at Whole Foods right now would also be good, topped with fresh basil from my burgeoning herb pots.

We'll need a big pot of seasonal soup by Sunday, and it will be a chile corn chowder:  either one in my files dating back to the original Alfalfa's (dating myself there, too) or the one from Mark Bittman featured just this week on the Today Show, corn and green chile soup (that link actually has all four corn recipes shown in Bittman's spot, all of which sound great).

Which gets us through another beautiful Boulder weekend, complete with the USA Pro Challenge bike race!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Open House At Liquor Mart

So this isn't exactly a natural foods post, but Liquor Mart is such a Boulder institution, I have to mention that they'll be holding an open house tomorrow, the 24th, from 4 to 6 pm.  Their flyer promises free beer tasting, free bbq, and giveaways.  Just in time for all those CU students moving in, plus the hordes descending for Saturday's bike race.

Grilled Fish Tacos In Superior Saturday

The Whole Foods store in Superior will be doing another round of grilled fish tacos for lunch on Saturday, just in case you might be avoiding the cycling madness happening around Boulder that day.  Here's what they say (and I do pine for the days when people knew how to use apostrophes):

Grilled Fish Taco's

Saturday, August 25th
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Front of Store, $5.00
Outdoor Grilling Fish Taco Lunch

Join us on our patio for lunch and the best deal in town- 2 Grilled fish tacos and a drink for only $5.00.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boulder Farmers' Market This Afternoon

If you're a shopper at the Saturday Farmers' Market in Boulder, here's a reminder that this week, you won't be able to do that until Sunday, the 26th, the Saturday market having been deferred due to the pro cycling race taking over Boulder that day.  If you need your farmers veggie fix earlier than that, there's the midweek Boulder Farmers' Market today from 4 to 8 pm.  You can check out the produce to expect with this week's crop list.  And if you're avoiding downtown altogether, the two farm stands at 75th and Valmont (Munson Farm and Cure Organic Farm) offer an excellent alternative.

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our combined Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while the current one continues at Whole Foods (click for prior report).  Here's what's looking good to me in the new sale.

As reported last week, Sprouts and Sunflower now share one set of weekly specials as they continue their merger, the current one lasting through August 29th (eek, almost Labor Day!).  I'm liking a fish-centric Wild Caught Seafood Spectacular, with several types of fish all $7.99 a pound.  The fresh ones are coho salmon fillets and albacore tuna steaks, while previously frozen options include swordfish, cod, and very big 16/20 count shrimp.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts in the value pack and center-cut pork loin chops are both $2.99 a pound, not the lowest price ever, but Sprouts' own stuffed chicken breasts are good at that same $2.99 a pound.  Whole or cut-up chickens are $1.49 a pound, and country style pork ribs are $2.49 a pound.

In organic produce through the 29th, Sprouts and Sunflower have broccoli for $1.29 a pound, baby carrots $1.25 for a one pound bag, red or green seedless grapes for a particularly good $1.50 a pound, leaf or romaine lettuce just 99 cents a head, russet potatoes $3.99 for a five pound bag, grape tomatoes $1.99 a pint, plums just 99 cents a pound, cantaloupe 69 cents a pound, and here comes that butternut squash, very good at 99 cents a pound, but I refuse to go there in the midst of our summer produce bonanza.

Elsewhere in the stores, I'm enthused about bulk coffee at $7.99 a pound.  I've always liked Sprouts for carrying a Fair Trade organic decaf, which is a steal at this price, and I haven't noticed that Sunflower has adopted that product yet in the merger.  Chobani Greek yogurts are $1 each, some Evol burritos are $2 each, and select half gallons of Horizon Organic milk are very low at $2.99 each, although Whole Foods' everyday price on its own line of organic milk is even lower than that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

For tomorrow only, the 22nd, our local Whole Foods stores will offer a trio of special sales.  I'm going to check out the prosciutto, since if it's vacuum-packed, it should have a pretty good expiration date on it.  Here's what they say (and the typo on the salmon is theirs, not mine):

On Sale Wednesday, August 22nd only:

Salmon Steaks
(save $4/lb)

Principe - 3oz.
San Daniele Prosciutto
2 for $10
(save $4.99/ea)

Whole Chickens
All Flavors
(save $3/ea)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tomato Cooking Class At WFM Pearl

With local tomatoes ripening all around us, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will offer some help on what to do with them in a cooking class this Thursday evening.  Doesn't look like they need preregistration, although that's a bit unusual.  Here's what they say:

So Many Tomatoes!

Cooking Class
Thursday, August 23rd
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Cooking Coach, Arik for a creative take on exactly what to do with all those tomatoes. Arik will provide straightforward tips and recipes to take full advantage of tomatoes' peak local season. Two of the recipes featured are: Cherry Tomato Confit and an awesome Tomato Leaf Sauce.

Cheese Sampling At Sunflower

Our Boulder Sunflower plans a Cheese Sampling this Wednesday, the 22nd, from noon to 2 pm.  They invite you to "stop by our Cheese Department to try a tasty sample!"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

With time flying by, I've barely scratched the surface on what to have for the rest of the week.  For tomorrow, with tomatoes available in all their glory right now, either stocked up at the Farmers' Market or the heirlooms on sale at Whole Foods, I'm thinking about trying the tomato frittata in the current issue of Bon Appetit.  It looks perfectly simple and seasonal, and I've never found the need to turn on the oven to finish off something like this; I just make sure it gets enough stovetop time in a nonstick skillet.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine.  A side salad and some fresh bread, and that's dinner.

Looking for a rice dish by Wednesday, we'll turn to an old favorite we haven't had in quite awhile, sausage risotto with spring greens from Bon Appetit, and chicken sausage is $2.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower through that day.  "Spring greens" is a bit of a misnomer, as we have beautiful mixed greens available from spring through fall at the Farmers' Market, plus the Pearl Street Whole Foods always has its braising mix as an option.

Thursday?  I don't know yet!  It will probably be a pasta, maybe one in the current Bon Appetit that features an uncooked simple sauce that's primarily tomatoes in their prime.  A little suspense for the end of the week!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Farmers' Markets Today

We have our usual Farmers' Market in downtown Boulder today from 8 to 2 (don't forget that next week's will be held on Sunday instead, due to the pro bike race).  Planning types can check out the produce to expect using the market's crop list.  Today is also the Lafayette Peach Festival, from 9 to 4, which will also feature its own farmers' market, in addition to a ton of peaches.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Local Tasting Tour And More At Superior

The Whole Foods store in Superior is really cranking up the events in the next few days.  Tuesday features an interesting-sounding local tour and tasting, for which you should sign up in advance.  They also have special lunches coming up, grilled fish tacos tomorrow and greens, beans, and grains on Monday.  And thank heavens Whole Foods has fixed their new website design, collapsing that dreadful menu that was obscuring a quarter of the screen back down into a little menu button option.  Here's what they say about the tour, now that I can read it again:

Local Tour and Tasting
Tuesday, August 21st

Superior Whole Foods Market, Free
Tuesday, August 21
6:00pm- 7:30pm
Health Starts Here™ Local Tour and Tasting

Did you know that we have over 17 local farms that our produce comes from and over 500 local products throughout the store? Come tour and taste with Cheryl; our healthy eating specialist, as she explores the local road of healthy options. Please sign up at the Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot today!

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With about zero time on a busy Friday, here's a quick rundown of dinner plans.  Tonight, some wild salmon is going out on the grill.  I'm pulling the coho from my freezer that I got for a steal at the Whole Foods one-day sale a couple of weeks ago, but Sprouts and Sunflower have fresh wild sockeye for $9.99 a pound, and Whole Foods has fresh coho for $14.99 a pound.  With the heirloom tomatoes $3.99 a pound and a big one pound log of Crave Brothers fresh mozzarella $5.99 a pound at Whole Foods, a simple caprese salad will go alongside, plus maybe some Munson's corn on the cob.

Speaking of corn, tomorrow will be some version of corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine.  Instead of the cod, I might use the haddock fillets that Sprouts and Sunflower have for $5.99 a pound, although I'm also toying with the idea of using salmon fillet instead.  Organic romaine is just 99 cents a head at both Sprouts and Sunflower for the side salad.

We'll be back out on the grill Sunday, doing the boneless ribeye steaks that are $6.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower.  A seasonal summer celebration will go on the side, and I've been wanting to try eggplant and zucchini in tomato-garlic sauce, a new one from Bon Appetit.

Which quickly gets us through one of the last weekends in August, sniff.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Anti-Aging Webinar From Sprouts

Sprouts will hold a webinar next Monday evening, the 20th, on a subject near and dear to many of our hearts:  naturally younger-looking skin.  Here are the details from them:

August 20 at 7 p.m. PDT

The Secret to Anti-Aging

Are you tired of lifeless, dull, aging skin? If so, join natural skin care expert Dr. Linda Miles L.Ac., D.O.M., Vice President of award-winning derma e® Natural Body Care, for her online presentation on how to achieve healthy, vibrant, younger-looking skin. Discover what causes fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging, and how powerful antioxidants and nourishing vitamins can help. Click here for more information or to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lafayette Peach Festival Coming Up

Lafayette's uber-popular celebration of all things peach will be this Saturday from 9 to 4.  Check out the accompanying farmers' market booths, the peach pies, the cobblers, and of course tons and tons of peaches.  You can get the various details here.

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods.  Here's what's looking best to me, IMHO as always.

Sprouts and Sunflower have been slowly marching towards being one store as they merge, and this week they've taken the big step of issuing just one joint ad of specials.  The Sunflower logo still appears below the Sprouts one, but I imagine that will disappear soon.  Less comparison for me to have to do on prices, but that means less competition and variety as well.
At both Sprouts and Sunflower through the 22nd, boneless ribeye steaks and super big 16/20 count raw shrimp both look good at $6.99 a pound, fresh wild caught Alaskan sockeye fillets are $9.99 a pound, and ground pork and all chicken sausage are $2.99 a pound.  My favorite Ezekiel breads are $3.99 a loaf, and double cream brie is $7.99 a pound.

In organic produce at both stores through the 22nd, one pound bags of carrots are $1.25, red or green grapes are $1.99 a pound (same for the green at Whole Foods), five pound bags of russets are $3.99 each, romaine lettuce is just 99 cents a head, six packs of romas are $2.50 (much as I dislike prepackaged produce, I'm learning to live with some of it, heading to Whole Foods for the rest), grape tomato pints are $1.99 each, one pound clamshells of green beans are $2.50, and celery is $1.29 a bunch.

Whole Foods is giving me more food for thought, so to speak, than usual through August 28th.  I'm liking boneless country style pork ribs for $3.99 a pound.  You'll find them for less elsewhere, but I think the American Homestead pork is worth a little extra.  My favorite Market Made Hatch green chile burgers, in both beef or turkey (yay!) are $4.99 a pound (and with fresh roasted Hatch chiles now available, at least at the Pearl Street store, you can also consider making your own, which couldn't be easier).  In organic produce, green grapes, plums, and Bartlett pears are all $1.99 a pound (same for the grapes at Sprouts).  Organic figs are just $3.99 a pound, and I hope their being advertised means they'll be in stock for the next two weeks.  I've been in fig withdrawal all summer, having great difficulty getting my hands on organic figs.  Organic heirloom tomatoes are $3.99 a pound, and consider pairing them with a particularly good deal, my favorite Crave Brothers fresh mozzarella at $5.99 for a big one pound log.  Scatter some ribbons of basil from your garden over them and you have an instant caprese salad.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a duo of special sales for tomorrow only, the 15th (happy 100th birthday up there to Julia Child, and to my much younger friend Ms. R., who is also a chef!).  $4.99 is more than you'd pay elsewhere for boneless skinless chicken breasts, but the quality and pedigree of these air chilled ones are superb.

One Day Sale

This Wednesday, August 15th only. While supplies last:

Air Chilled
Chicken Breast
(Save $2/lb)

Alaffia - 32oz.
Everyday Shea Lotion
or Bodywash
(save $7/ea)

Wood-Fired Farm Dinner At WFM Pearl

This Saturday, the 18th, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will offer an early evening of wood-fired pizza from Pizzeria Basta, plus jazz, all to benefit the Whole Kids Foundation.  Here are the details from Whole Foods:

Wood-Fired Farm Dinner with Pizzeria Basta
Saturday, August 18th

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, Varies Join Whole Foods Market Pearl Street and Pizzeria Basta for an awesome night of food, community and music. Chef Kelly Whitaker will be out with his mobile wood-fired oven cooking up an amazing menu:

Choice of one for $10:

Sauce Pizza- crushed tomato, garlic, oregano, olive oil
Daisy Pizza- tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, olive oil
Peppers Pizza- Fra’mani salami, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, mozzarella
Wood-fired Chicken, vegetable salad and wood fired balsamic dressing

Vegan wood-fired vegetable salad $4

Liquid nitrogen campfire vanilla ice cream $2

Our friends the Greg Harris Jazz Trio will be here to provide ambiance and all proceeds will be donated to the Whole Kids Foundation!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole Foods' New Website Is Driving Me Crazy

Looks like Whole Foods has completely redone its website nationally and for all its stores.  I'm all for change, and also like to stay in very positive territory, but the black box that appears on the left side of every page, obscuring the content beneath it, is driving me nuts.  If anybody knows how to get rid of it, please let me know.  Thanks.

Roasted Chiles Already At Whole Foods

I think of chile roasting as being a fall event, but Whole Foods already has in-house roasted Hatch chiles, at least at the Pearl Street store.  Maybe the soaring popularity of roasted chiles is prompting them to roast earlier than usual, or maybe the crop is coming in earlier thanks to global warming.  In any case, it's not even the middle of August yet, but I'm seeing ominous signs of the end of summer.  With the torrid heat we've endured this summer, the possibility that Thursday won't even get out of the 70s is kind of welcome.  And one of my trees actually has a few leaves that have already turned.  Enjoy that fresh, local corn, squash, and tomatoes while you can, folks.  We'll be back to butternut squash before you know it.

Sunflower's Night On The Patio

Our Boulder Sunflower will host another of its Nights on the Patio this Thursday, the 16th, from 5 to 7 pm.  They promise "Free live music.  Burgers from the grill are just $3.  Fun for all ages!"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Not much time for sitting around blogging on a beautiful summer Sunday, so here's a quick rundown of the rest of the week's dinners.  With summer produce at its height, for tomorrow we'll revel in fresh corn and organic zucchini with the summer celebration that is calabacitas.  Served over brown rice, it makes a great vegetarian meal.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is another summer fiesta, corn and fingerling potato chowder with applewood-smoked bacon from Cooking Light.  Sunflower has organic leaf lettuce at $1.50 a head and organic romas $2.50 for a six-pack for the side salad.

We need to capitalize on the boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower through Wednesday, so that day will be a simple saute of chicken breasts, dressed up by a very simple but delicious mushroom sauce from Cooking Light.

We also need to grab some of those boneless center cut pork loin chops that both Sprouts and Sunflower have on sale for $1.99 a pound through Wednesday, so Thursday will be an easy saute of pork chops, pan drippings reduced with a bit of wine, served with microwaved "baked" potatoes (five pound bags of organic russets just $3.99 each at Sprouts through Wednesday.

Which quickly gets us through to next Friday's planning.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

At the peak of the summer produce season, it's a fine day to get out and enjoy the Boulder Farmers' Market from 8 to 2 today.  With temperatures expected to get pretty toasty, earlier is probably better than later.  Planning types can check out the Market's list of produce to expect here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Oh my, Friday already, so it's time for a quick rundown of the weekend dinner plans.  For tonight, some sort of fish will go on the grill.  It might be the fresh wild caught albacore tuna steak on sale at both Sprouts and Sunflower for $9.99 a pound, but halibut-lover that I am, I'm also considering the fresh halibut fillets that King Soopers has for $16.99 a pound (also fresh coho salmon (the "meh" salmon?)fillets for $9.99 a pound, both with card).  Some organic yams will also go on the grill, either as spears or diced in foil packages, and for the side veggie, we'll try a new one from Bon Appetit, tomato salad with shallot vinaigrette, capers, and basil.  Since it's gloriously tomato time, the toms could come from your own garden (with the deer in our neighborhood, we gave up on that long ago), a Farmers' Market purchase (Wednesday or tomorrow), heirlooms available at Whole Foods and sometimes elsewhere, or the organic beefsteak tomatoes Sprouts has at $2.50 for a three-count package this week (six romas for the same price at Sunflower, if you want the smaller shape).

We'll be back out on the grill tomorrow, and with boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower, it will be some version of chicken.  Being at the apex of summer produce, eggplant seems to be the darling of the moment, so I'm thinking grilled chicken and ratatouille from Bon Appetit, possibly using globe rather than Japanese eggplant.  Although eggplant's something I'd always seek out in organic (probably at Whole Foods or tomorrow's Farmers' Market), and there aren't any advertised specials in front of me for it, I'll bend my principles to mention that conventional is cheap at both Sprouts (88 cents a pound) and Sunflower (99 cents a pound).

We'll still need something big to make by Sunday to serve as an easy midweek reheat as well, so with corn fever firmly entrenched, it will be corn and fingerling chowder with applewood-smoked bacon from Cooking Light.  Other organic potatoes do fine if you're not inclined to locate the fingerlings, and Sprouts has five pound bags of organic russets for $3.99 each, probably the amount you'd pay for one pound of organic fingerlings.

Which gets us through the weekend's plans.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pancake Sampling At Sunflower

Pancakes aren't my thing, but this Saturday, the 11th, our Boulder Sunflower will be doing a Pancake Sampling from 10 am to noon.  They say, "We're serving pancakes.  Stop by for a treat!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Farmers' Market Moves To Sunday, The 26th

With all of Boulder psyched about the ending of the sixth stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge happening in Boulder and up Flagstaff Mountain on Saturday, August 25th, everybody knows this town will be an absolute zoo that day.  Today's Daily Camera is reporting that the Boulder Farmers' Market is taking the unprecedented step of moving that Saturday's market to Sunday, the 26th, instead.  A wise move in my estimation, since the market itself can be enough of a zoo.  You can read the complete Camera article here.

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while the current sale continues at Whole Foods through August 14th (click for prior report).  Here's what's especially appealing to me in the new sales.

Sprouts and Sunflower have been sharing meat and fish specials for several weeks as their merger progresses, and this week, that sharing has extended to all advertised specials except produce, which remains ornery with some differences.  In their shared meat and fish specials through August 15th, I'm particularly liking boneless center cut pork loin chops or boneless skinless chicken breasts (value pack) at $1.99 a pound.  Boneless New York steaks are $7.99 a pound, and whole or cut up chickens are $1.49 a pound.  In fish, Atlantic (read: farmed) salmon is $7.99 a pound, and I'm curious to check out the fresh, wild caught Hawaiian albacore tuna steaks for $9.99 a pound.  In dairy, both stores have my favorite Cascade Fresh yogurts at a very good 69 cents each.

In organic produce at Sprouts through the 15th, differences between the two stores can be noted with the broccoli, which is on sale for $1.49 a pound at Sprouts, but just 99 cents at Sunflower.  Organic produce looking good at Sprouts includes baby carrots at $1.25 a one pound bag, russet potatoes $3.99 for a five pound bag, celery 99 cents a bunch, one pound of strawberries for $2.50 (same at Sunflower), six ounces of blueberries also $2.50, red or green grapes $1.99 a pound, and red or black plums $1.29 a pound.  And Sprouts continues to offer their prepackaged organic specials, which I don't particularly favor, although a package of three organic beefsteak tomatoes for $2.50 sounds pretty good.

In organic produce at Sunflower through the 15th, broccoli is great at 99 cents a pound, leaf lettuce is $1.50 a head, green onions are just 50 cents a bunch, one pound of strawberries is just $2.50 (same at Sprouts), and six ounces of either blackberries or raspberries are also $2.50.  We're continuing to see the unwelcome march towards prepackaged organic produce, but I have to admit the a package of six organic romas is a pretty good deal at $2.50, since all the packages I've weighed so far have been about a pound and a half.

Those heading farther afield might be interested in fresh wild coho salmon for $9.99 a pound and large avocados $1 each with card at King Soopers through the 14th.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Sometimes I have to wait until pretty late on Tuesday to learn what Whole Foods has in store for us for their customary Wednesday sale, but today they've gotten the word out quite early.  Cantaloupe fans will enjoy what our local Whole Foods will offer us for tomorrow only, the 8th.  Here's what they say:

One Day Sale
On Sale Wednesday, August 8th only:

Colorado Cantaloupes

Hirakata Farms
2 for $5
(save $1.49/ea)

Wednesday update:  if you like these Hirakata Farms cantaloupes, Safeway has them at 2 for $5 (club price) all the way through the 14th.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sprouts Webinar Tonight

Sprouts will host a webinar discussion this evening on natural interventions in menopause.  Here are the details from them:

August 6 at 7 p.m. PDT

Lipids, Libido, Lifestyle: Have your menopausal cake and eat it, too!

Join Naturopathic Doctor Carrie Louise Daenell and Sprouts Nutritionist Janet Little for a discussion on the three phases of menopause. Discover how herbal supplements and bioidentical hormones can reduce your health risk and menopausal symptoms. Learn how hormones affect your sex life and body fat. For more information or to reserve your space for this online lecture, click here.

Supper Sampling At Sunflower

This Wednesday, the 8th, our Boulder Sunflower will be doing a Simple Supper Recipe Sampling from 4 to 6 pm, when they invite you to "stop by to try a new Sunflower dinner recipe!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Sunday already, time to get going on weekday dinner plans.  The asparagus that's $1.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower through Wednesday seems to be heavily influencing my thinking (maybe because I need a bit of a break from my Munson's corn fetish).  Tomorrow will be asparagus and leek risotto with prosciutto from Bon Appetit.  Whole Foods usually has chunks of prosciutto that are good for cooking, at a considerably lower price than they charge for the freshly sliced product.

Tuesday is our usual repeat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the cod adaptation of smoky shrimp and halibut stew from Bon Appetit.  With a quick salad on the side and maybe some bread from the Whole Foods bakehouse, that's dinner in a flash.

We'll turn back to that sale asparagus for both Wednesday and Thursday, buying it by the end of the sale on Wednesday.  Since we'll be looking for a pasta dish by Wednesday, it will be penne with asparagus, spinach, and bacon from Cooking Light.  Another side salad, and we're done.

Something Asian-inspired will be needed by Thursday, so we'll finish off that sale asparagus with chicken, asparagus, and broccoli stir-fry from Bon Appetit, using the chicken breast tenders that are $1.99 a pound through Wednesday at both Sprouts and Sunflower.  Served over brown rice, with some steamed edamame on the side, it's an easy dinner.

Which gets us through to Friday's planning.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

It's a fine day to get out to the Farmers' Market, either in downtown Boulder today from 8 to 2, or out in Longmont from 8 to 1.  The advantage of the Longmont one for today is that not only is the Boulder County Fair happening right there, but you can also visit with the friendly folks manning the Longmont Public Library booth at the market.  I won't be one of those folks today, but if you're in the neighborhood, please do stop by the booth and say hi.  And if you like to plan your marketing in advance, you can see the fresh produce you can expect to find at the market here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

This week's natural grocery sales are definitely putting me in a grilling mood, which is a good thing for the first weekend of August.  Some fish will go on the grill tonight.  It could be the fresh wild sockeye that's $9.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower, but first I'm going to check out the previously frozen swordfish steaks that both have for $8.99 a pound.  I don't usually go for previously frozen fish when there's a fresh option, but I was pleasantly surprised by the swordfish I had from Sprouts a little while ago.  Some steamed asparagus (conventional is $1.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower) will have to go along with that fish.  Or the asparagus might also go on the grill, if I can ever locate my grilling basket for such things.

We'll be back out on the grill tomorrow, trying out the filet mignon that both Sprouts and Sunflower have for $9.99 a pound.  With steaks, some Munson's corn fresh from the field will have to figure in, either as straight ears, or perhaps dressed up in something like corn and summer vegetable saute from Cooking Light.  Sunflower also has organic yams at $1.50 a pound to also go on the grill in spears.

Sunday will be time for a big chowder, and with super big shrimp $6.99 a pound and cod $7.99 a pound, it will be my cod variation on smoky shrimp and halibut stew from Bon Appetit.  Sprouts has organic leaf lettuce or romaine at $1.29 a head for the side salad.

Which quickly gets us through the weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Longmont Library At Saturday's Farmers' Market

Saturday will be a big day for the Farmers' Market in Longmont, since it is held on the Boulder County Fairgrounds and the fair itself will be in full swing.  Among the offerings at the Farmers' Market will be a booth manned by smiling staff and Friends of the Longmont Public Library, a place near and dear to my heart.  I won't be working the booth this time, but if you're in the neighborhood, do stop by to find out about some really cool stuff happening at the library.  There might even be some tasty treats!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Craft Food And Beer Tastings At WFM Pearl

The Wine and Spirits Store at the Pearl Street Whole Foods is initiating a promising-sounding new tasting tomorrow that will happen on the first Thursday of each month, pairing fine food samples and beer.  Left Hand's Polestar Pilsner is well liked in this house, so I'm intrigued by the idea of pairing it with an oyster.  Yup, I can see it.  Here are the details from Whole Foods:

Whole Foods Market Boulder

Join us at the Pearl Street Wine and Spirits Store tomorrow for a new event we're calling "First Thursday Craft Food and Beer Tastings." First Thursday of every month, we'll be sampling an awesome beer and some delicious eats from our catering team. Tomorrow from 5:30-7pm the menu features Polestar Pilsner from Left Hand Brewery, expertly paired with a Drunken Kumamoto Oyster. Did I mention it's free? See you there!

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our local Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods.  With time extremely tight, here's a quick rundown of what's appealing to me.

Sales that Sprouts and Sunflower have in common through August 8th:  chicken breast tenders $1.99 a pound, filet mignon $9.99 a pound, fresh wild sockeye salmon $9.99 a pound, chicken sausage $2.99 a pound, huge 16/20 count raw shrimp $6.99 a pound, ground pork $2.99 a pound, and conventional asparagus $1.99 a pound.  Also, previously frozen center cut swordfish is $8.99 a pound.  While I'm not a big fan of previously frozen fish, I did have quite good luck with this swordfish at Sprouts a bit ago, and Sunflower is now using the same fish supplier as Sprouts, so I'm thinking I'll give it another try from either store.

In differing sales, organic baby carrots are quite good at $1.25 for a one pound bag at Sprouts, but stunning at Sunflower at 99 cents for the same.  Sprouts also has pints of organic grape tomatoes for $2 and organic leaf lettuce or romaine at $1.29 a head, organic romas $2.50 for a six pack, and organic russet potatoes $3.99 for a five pound bag.  At Sunflower, the standout is really those organic baby carrots, along with organic hothouse tomatoes just 99 cents a pound (although it's time for non-hothouse locals), and red or green organic grapes $1.99 a pound.  Sunflower also has the 15-ish ounce size of Muir Glen organic tomatoes for $1.25 each.

At the new sale at Whole Foods through August 14th, I'm liking Stonyfield Farms organic fat-free yogurts at 5 for $3, New York strip steaks for a surprisingly good $12.99 a pound, Laughing Cow Babybels half price at $2.50 a package, and the big Seventh Generation laundry detergent for $12.99.