Monday, December 31, 2012

Sprouts Opening In Longmont Wednesday

The natural foods trend will continue to march eastward in Boulder County when Sprouts opens its long-awaited new store in Longmont this Wednesday, the 2nd, open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.  In addition to prize eligibility (with email sign-up), they'll be giving out free reusable shopping bags with purchase while supplies last (like I need another bag, but who can resist?), and the first 300 customers to make a purchase will receive a coupon booklet for five free sandwiches.  The store is at 1101 S. Hover Street, which I think is the location that used to be Borders bookstore.  This will be pretty handy for me, as I pass near that location fairly frequently, while the Vitamin Cottage in Longmont, while much roomier than the Boulder one, has generally been too far north for me.  More natural food options!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Doing The Lobster Tail Math

I've been excited about the Craig's lobster tails from Maine that Whole Foods has on sale for $6 each (technically two for $12, but you can buy in any quantity).  The fish guy told me these are four ounce tails, a decent size.  At the Pearl Street store, I also found eight ounce packages holding three Craig's lobster tails on sale for $17.99 a package.  (Hope I'm remembering these details accurately, as I didn't write anything down.)  So do the math before buying.  Two four ounce tails equals eight ounces, and you can get them individually at $12 total for the two, meaning you'd spend 50% more if you pick up the package to get your eight ounces.  I used to think this stuff was obvious, until I encountered a woman who was about to buy a one pound package of fresh mozzarella at full price, when I pointed out that the half pound packages were BOGO (so she could get a pound at the price of the half pound).  She considered this for a bit, then asked me "Is that a better deal?"  I'm not kidding.

Weekday Dinner Ideas, Including New Year's

With the holiday, this is no ordinary weekday, but time still remains awfully tight.  Tomorrow night being New Year's Eve, we'll do a special dish I've been wanting to try from the November issue of Cooking Light, creamy lobster pappardelle.  Whole Foods has beautiful lobster tails from Maine on sale for $6 each right now, which is my motivation for the dish.

We need some lucky food for New Year's Day, and our usual is Mark Bittman's rather healthy spin on hoppin' John, black-eyed pea soup with ham and greens, from the New York Times.  I take his suggestion to increase the meat and greens to make it a stew, and usually make my own corn bread to go one the side (although the corn bread you'll find at Whole Foods is pretty darned good too, in a pinch).

We'll simplify for Wednesday, just sauteed pork chops ($2.99 a pound at Sprouts through that day), with microwaved russets and some big green veggie on the side.

Then we'll reprise the soup that really is a stew for Thursday, making life even easier.  It will be a week of salads, too, since they'll be on the side for everything but Wednesday.  Last time I looked, organic spring mix was still a steal at Sprouts at $3.99 a pound.

Have a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve, and beware the possibility of snow and wackos out on the road.

No Sale Currently At Vitamin Cottage

Unless they've started something in the past couple of days, it looks like our local Vitamin Cottage is taking a well-deserved sale hiatus across the holidays.  I was in the Boulder store a couple of days ago, where there were no sale flyers to be found, so I asked the cashier about it, who replied that there currently wasn't one.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lucky Foods For The New Year

Everybody could use a boost to get the New Year off to a good start, and there are traditions around the world about foods that can in theory help.  Here's a link to my prior post about great articles from Saveur and Bon Appetit, and you can add to that this one from Whole Foods, much briefer but just out.  You'll see common themes among them, and I don't swear allegiance to the prosperity aspect of the luck, since I got laid off since eating these "lucky foods" a few years ago, but I believe there were other aspects in that layoff that indeed proved to be fortunate.  I'll probably stick with the black-eyed pea tradition.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekend Dinner Ideas

If I thought time was tight previously, that was nothing.  Here's a quick rundown, two thirds of which is driven by the boneless skinless chicken breasts that are $1.97 a pound at Sprouts this week.

Tonight:  chicken paprikash from Cooking Light, using the chicken from Sprouts.

Tomorrow:  something called New Spanish Rice from an old but excellent cookbook, Great Good Food, and harking back to a childhood favorite, to boot.  Doesn't look like that one's hit the web, sorry.

Sunday, chicken with mushroom sauce (that Sprouts chicken again, as we're burned out on beef after our fabulous standing rib roast), from Cooking Light.

And that's all there's time to write!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Food Is Your Best Medicine At Alfalfa's

Alfalfa's will offer a class on healthy food three times in January, with the first one coming up shortly, next week.  It comes with a $25 price, and registration is required.  Details below:

Food is Your Best Medicine with Charley Cropley

Jan. 3, 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Jan. 5, 10:30am to 1:30pm

Jan. 13, 10:30am to 1:30pm

Charley Cropley has been a practicing naturopathic physician in the Boulder/Denver area for 25 years. Charley will teach participants how to transform their lifestyle by building a wholesome menu around an active lifestyle. It only costs $25 to register!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

Good morning on a cold, white day after Christmas.  Through all the festivities, we still have grocery sales to consider, but with much else to do, this will be quick.  We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods, while the current one, which I have yet to get to, should be continuing at Vitamin Cottage.  Here's a brief look at what I'm liking.

At Sprouts through January 2nd (!), value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.97 a pound, fresh (farmed) Atlantic salmon fillets are $6.99 a pound, king crab legs are $9.99 a pound, pretty big 26/30 count cooked shrimp are $6.99 a pound, four types of grass-fed organic boneless roasts are $5.99 a pound, boneless center-cut pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound, their very good stuffed chicken breasts are $2.99 a pound, and ground chicken, pork, or chicken breast are all also $2.99 a pound.  It's a two page ad again, instead of the usual four pages, so we're lacking info about the organic produce specials.  Organic avocados are known to be 99 cents, but I'm going with the conventionals, which this week are very good at three for $1.  Party trays are 25% off.  Also, five ounce lobster tails are $5.99 each, but keep reading for another option.

Once again, Whole Foods has posted just a few featured specials instead of the entire sale flyer for their new sale running through January 15th, so there's not much to see.  One special however is jumping out at me:  lobster tails (no size specified) at $6 each, effectively the same price as Sprouts.  When Whole Foods does a lobster tail, it comes with a fine pedigree of sustainability and provenance, probably from a place like Maine.  I know what New Year's Eve dinner will be...  Two other specials get my attention, ground turkey breast at $4.99 a pound (pricier than the ground meats on sale at Sprouts and I guess this is what happens to those fine turkeys that didn't get sold for Christmas at Whole Foods), and their own rustic spelt bread at $2.99 a loaf.

Whole Foods has also been known to throw three-day sales following Christmas.  There's no word of one that has reached me yet, but sometimes you only find out about those when you walk in the store.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To All

For all those observing it, or simply going with the holiday mood, best wishes for a very merry Christmas day.  I'm thinking my standing rib roast for dinner is going to be spectacular.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Recipes Reminder

Happy Christmas Eve.  If you're still angsting about Christmas dinner, here's a reminder about the post I did a bit ago about various online guides to Christmas dinner from my favorite sources.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

With Christmas falling on Tuesday this week, this will be no ordinary post of daily fare.  Tomorrow being Christmas Eve, I'm torn between two traditions within my experience.  With connections to New Mexico, I'm tempted by the Christmas Eve tradition of serving tamales.  My understanding is that because tamales are so time-consuming to make from scratch, this serves as a very special meal.  However, they are just plain too time-consuming to me to make from scratch, especially with some fine frozen ones available at our natural food stores.  So that's a possibility, while another part of me is leaning towards fish, a nod to the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve.  Seven's a bit much, but I think I could make my way through at least two, maybe three (smoked salmon spread from Whole Foods as an appetizer would be an easy first).

Christmas Day at my house is perhaps rather unimaginative, but it is scrumptious:  a standing beef rib roast from Whole Foods, accompanied by a horseradish sauce made with lowfat sour cream, steamed Brussels sprouts, roasted beets, and potatoes, either baked or mashed.  I keep telling myself that some year I'll do some elegant potato gratin, but that just never seems to happen.  This year I'll go so far as to fancy up the mashed potatoes by doing mashed potatoes with crispy shallots from Food and Wine magazine.  I can go so far as to add a garlic clove or two to the cooking potatoes and to fry some shallots on the side.

Then the rest of the week is easy - leftovers!  No, I won't really do that three days in a row, so something light and healthy will slip in there, probably an easy veggie stir-fry over brown rice.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Get A Knife Sharpened For Free

If you're not sure your carving knife is up to getting through that turkey or roast, MHOTC is reporting that Sur La Table will sharpen one knife for free through Monday, subsequent knives a good price at $5 each.  There's a Sur La Table in the 29th Street mall.  Here are the details from MHOTC:

With Christmas and all that food prep coming up, a sharp knife is a cook’s best friend. Bring your neediest knife to any Sur La Table store by December 24, and they’ll sharpen the first one for FREE and subsequent ones for $5 while you shop. No scissors, ceramic knives or damaged knives, please. There are three Front Range Sur la Table retail stores: 121 Clayton Ln. (Cherry Creek North), Denver, 303-780-7800; 1850-29th Street, Boulder, 303-952-7080, and 343 S. Teller St. (Belmar), Lakewood, 303-936-4677.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekend Dinner Plans

It looks like a weekend filled with seafood, which is quick and easy, in addition to having all its healthy virtues.  For tonight, Norwegian salmon will be on the plates, coming from Wednesday's one-day sale at Whole Foods (Whole Foods is the only place I know of that has seafood so fresh, it's still fresh a couple of days later).  Baked potatoes from Sprouts' five pound bags of organic russets ($2.99 a bag) will go on the side.

We'll veer away from seafood tomorrow to do sausage and spinach soup from Cooking Light, using the deals at Sprouts, considering chicken sausage is $2.99 a pound and bulk organic spinach is just $3.99 a pound.  Instead of ripping up my own lettuce, I could also get their bulk organic salad mix for the side salad, since that's also just $3.99 a pound.

We'll return to the seafood for Sunday, and with "colossal" sea scallops (previously frozen) a quite good $9.99 a pound, it will be grilled sea scallops with tomatoes and olive vinaigrette, an old favorite from Gourmet magazine.  Today being the winter solstice, it's a good thing the grilling takes place on a grill pan.

Beef lovers, don't forget today's fabulous one-day sale on New York strip steaks at Whole Foods (see the post below for details).  I'm not including them now because we'll be doing a big standing rib roast from there on Tuesday, but it's a fantastic deal.  I might even freeze some, although I think freezing is a disservice to a fine steak.

All this planning of course assumes the Mayans got it wrong, and we'll still be cooking tomorrow.  Happy solstice!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

NY Strips At Whole Foods Tomorrow

For a one-day sale tomorrow, Whole Foods is reprising that incredible deal they did a few weeks ago on New York strip steaks for just $9.99 a pound (these steaks are excellent).  With a beef standing rib roast on the horizon for Tuesday, I'm angsting, since that's too much beef in a low-red meat eating family.  I generally don't freeze steaks since I think their quality suffers in doing that, but this one has me thinking about it.  Here are the details from Whole Foods:

Our last NY Strip sale was a hit, so here’s an encore! Whole Foods Market has NY Strip steaks on sale again this Friday at a savings of around 50%. 

Date of sale: Friday, December 21 ONLY

What’s on sale: New York Strip steak
Price: $9.99/lb (average savings of 50%)

What to know about Whole Foods Market’s beef

Whole Foods Market’s New York Strip steak comes from animals raised on farms and ranches certified to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating program. With our steaks, you also get:

No antibiotics – ever!·        No added hormones. ·        No animal byproducts in feed.

Dessert Tasting In Superior Tonight

At least I think they mean a dessert tasting.  The mouthful of sand evoked by their listing of a "desert tasting" really doesn't sound so appealing.  Here are the details from them, typos and all:

Holiday Tasting- Deserts

Thursday, December 20th
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Superior Whole Foods Market, Free

Join us for our Holiday Tasting on Thursday, December 20 from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Start your evening enjoying dinner with us [Burger and fries for $5.99 from 4:00pm-8:00pm] and then stop in each of our departments and sample decadent Holiday deserts. Pick up ideas or new recipes for your Holiday entertaining!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts, while the current one continues at Whole Foods through the 25th (click the link for prior report).  There also should be something new at Vitamin Cottage, and I need to get there to check it out.  Not this morning, though, as I'm so lucky to be able to stay in and watch the snow come down.

At Sprouts through December 26th, I'm liking their Wild Caught Seafood Spectacular, although it's all previously frozen.  They have really big 16/20 count raw shrimp, cod fillets, Alaskan sockeye salmon fillets, crimson snapper fillets, and swordfish steaks all at $6.99 a pound, while "colossal" sea scallops are $9.99 a pound, and five ounce lobster tails are $5.99 each.  Their presidential-cut rib roast is $7.99 a pound, and all chicken sausage (pork, too) is $2.99 a pound.  In organic produce, one pound bags of baby carrots have bumped up to a still very good $1.25 a bag ($1.99 elsewhere), grape tomatoes are great at $1.50 a pint, butternut squash is just 79 cents a pound, russet potatoes are $2.99 for a five pound bag, bulk spring or spinach salads thankfully are still $3.99 a pound ($6.99 elsewhere), Braeburn, Cameo, or Fuji apples are all $1.25 a pound, and there are lots of other fruit deals as well.  Elsewhere in the store, I'm very psyched to see their bulk coffee beans at $6.99 a pound.  As I've said too many times already, the store on Baseline carries Fair Trade certified organic coffee, including a decaf one, which is an absolute steal at this price.  My favorite Imagine organic broths are BOGO, putting them in the very good neighborhood of about $2 a box.  Also BOGO are Sprouts' own 16 ounce frozen veggies and Cascade Fresh sour cream, and the 14.5 ounce size cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes are $1.50 each.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

And this one-day sale is a good one.  I can see fans of Norwegian salmon dancing in the streets.  Here are the details from Whole Foods:

Tomorrow only! Wednesday, December 19th.

Salmon Fillet
(save $6/lb)

American Homestead
Hickory Smoked
(save $3/lb)

San Daniele - 3 oz.
Buy 1 for $9.99
Get 1 Free

All Flavors
(save $0.99/ea)

Spa Night In Superior Tonight

The Whole Foods in Superior will host another Spa Night tonight, with a suggested donation going to the Sister Carmen Center.  Here are the details from Whole Foods (and I hope they really mean tonight, since their description references the one they did back in November):

Spa Night

Tuesday, December 18th
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Superior Cafe, Suggested Donation to Grab n Give

After all the Thanksgiving cooking, the Chef deserves an evening of pampering! Join us at the Superior Whole Foods Market in our Cafe on Tuesday, November 27th from 6:00pm-8:00pm for a relaxing evening of facials, chair massage and nail painting. Guests will enjoy refreshments, music and a "Buck a Raffle"[All proceeds will go to Sister Carmen Center] for a chance to WIN a gift Basket. A suggested donation of $5.00 will go to our Grab n Give recipient this Holiday season; Sister Carmen Center! Help us Feed a local family! Space is limited so please sign up at our Customer Service Counter to reserve your spot today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Recipe And Menu Guides

If the season is so stressfully busy, that must mean it's also time to start thinking about Christmas dinner.  Mine's pretty primordial, centering around a hunk of meat, a standing rib roast from Whole Foods, very simply done.  But if you're in the mood for more creativity, check out these guides for some ideas:  Christmas Unwrapped from Epicurious, Bon Appetit's 2012 Christmas HQ, Celebrate the Holidays from Cooking Light, and Holiday Recipes from Whole Foods, which features gluten-free and dairy-free sections.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Just No Time!

I usually put out something about weekday dinner plans on Sundays, but today it's just not looking like it's going to work.  Needless to say, everything will be quick.  Well, here's a sketch, since that's all I have time for.  Annie's mac 'n cheese, with a can of tuna and some defrosted peas makes a dynamite new-fashioned tuna casserole in minutes.  Our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend will be smoky split pea and root vegetable soup.  And that large pepperoni pizza on sale at Whole Foods this week will likely also figure in.  And that's all I have time for!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last Day Of Vitamin Cottage Sale

Good stuff in the current Vitamin Cottage sale, like five pound bags of organic russet potatoes being practically given away at $1.79 a bag.  My prior summary's here, and today's the last day for the sale, but who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Tasting At Pearl WFM Tomorrow

The Whole Foods store on Pearl Street will be hosting their big Taste of the Holidays shindig tomorrow.  Here's what they say:

Taste of the Holidays

Saturday, December 15th

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join us for our annual Taste of the Holidays event where we'll help you plan your holiday meal from appetizers to desserts. We'll have tons of yummy food from each department in our store and beautiful music from our friends Adam and Jon. This tasting will also feature beer, wine and spirits pairings from our friends at the Wine and Spirits Store!

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Super quick post.  At a busy time, we'll go for convenience tonight, doing the stuffed chicken breasts Sprouts already has prepared for $2.99 a pound.  I've had good luck with the ones at the Baseline store, although I haven't tried the ones at the former Sunflower.

For tomorrow, with grass-fed organic ground beef half off at Sprouts (along with their other ground meats), I'm thinking about doing something I haven't made forever, layered enchilada casserole from Bon Appetit.  Wow, that was published back in 1996.

I should be thinking very easy for Sunday, but with Christmas fast approaching, I can't resist cracking open my venerable Bon Appetit Christmas book to do smoky split pea and root vegetable soup from Bon Appetit.  This one goes back so far, it hasn't been officially posted by Bon Appetit, but it has made its way around the web in numerous places, like here.  Considering split peas don't really take all that long to cook, this should get us in a festive mood (it appears in the Carolers' Warm-Up menu in the Christmas book), while not taking terribly long.  And Whole Foods has their fabulous baguettes on sale for $1.50 to go along with it, plus a salad, of course.

So that's the weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Cookie Decorating At Alfalfa's

Looking for some holiday entertainment for the kids?  Alfalfa's will be doing holiday cookie decorating Saturday, as they say:

Holiday Cookie Decorating with Terry Retzloff

December 15th

1:00 to 3:00 PM

Join us for some holiday cookie fun! Learn how to make your own housemade dough and icing in our demo kitchen, then take the kiddos upstairs to our community room for some interactive cookie decorating. Great fun! FREE!

Three Day Heads Up Re Vitamin Cottage

Just a heads up that the current sale at Vitamin Cottage runs through this Saturday, the 15th, so get thee there if you want some of the great deals they currently have (although stock tends to run low around this time in the sale cycle).  You can see my prior summary of the sale here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods, while the current one continues at Vitamin Cottage through Saturday.  Here's what's looking good to me in the new sales.

Sprouts will hold another 72 hour sale this Friday through Sunday, where the highlight for me is 25% off the entire bulk department, including the great organic Fair Trade roast coffee they have at the baseline store.  Among the other 72 hour offerings are huge 16/20 count wild raw shrimp for $5.99 a pound, select Cascadian Farm one pound bags of organic frozen veggies for $1.50, and five pound boxes of Cuties clementines for $3.99 (they're conventional, but I nice office alternative to platters of Christmas cookies).

In Sprouts' regular sale through the 19th, all sorts of ground meats are 50% off, including ground chicken, turkey, and grass-fed organic ground beef.  Chicken sausage is $2.99 a pound, as are their very good stuffed chicken breasts, and their Presidential-cut standing rib roasts are $7.99 a pound.  They're giving us news again this week about organic produce, and I'm loving baby carrots at 99 cents for a one pound bag.  Also, six ounces of organic blueberries are $2.99, Braeburn, Fuji, or Gala apples are all $1.25 a pound (plus good deals on Granny Smiths and red delicious by the bag), celery is 99 cents a bunch, butternut squash is 79 cents a pound, grape tomatoes are $1.99 a pint, bulk spring or spinach salads are $3.99 a pound ($6.99 elsewhere), and russet potatoes are $2.99 for a five pound bag, although Vitamin Cottage has that for $1.79 through Saturday.

At Whole Foods through December 25th (guess they plan to be open on Christmas?), I'm loving their fabulous Bakehouse French baguettes at $1.50 each.  Organic cauliflower is $1.99 a pound, while organic russets or yellow onions are 99 cents a pound, in their fine beef, top round roast is $4.99 a pound, and their fine spiral sliced hams are also $4.99 a pound.  Organic Granny Smith and Braeburn apples are $1.49 a pound, but you'll do better on those at Sprouts, above.  Looking for convenience at this busy time, their own large pepperoni pizzas are $9.99 each, and their smoked turkey and pesto wraps are $1 off at $5.99 each (one serves two, in my experience).

And don't forget about Imagine organic broth, $2.50 a box at both Sprouts and Whole Foods.  Although we don't yet know what Vitamin Cottage might do with a new sale on Sunday - perhaps even beat that?  It's all good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Imagine Organic Broth For $2.50

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Imagine's organic broths and cooking stocks, and go through a lot of them in stews and rice dishes.  Packaged in aseptic boxes, they have far-out expiration dates and are therefore a good stock-up candidate.  We usually see pretty good sales on them around the holidays, but I go through so much of the stuff, my stash from the Thanksgiving sales is already running low.  So ho, ho, ho, I am so pleased to find it for $2.50 a box (not the lowest price ever, but much better than its norm around $3.69) at both Sprouts and Whole Foods.  The Whole Foods sale runs through December 25th, and the Sprouts sale even longer, possibly to the end of the month (I was there a couple of days ago, and if I don't write it down, it exits the sieve-brain immediately).  Both stores carry my favorite low sodium variety of the chicken broth.  Now if they'd only put the cooking stock on sale too...

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Wednesday one-day sales used to be customary for Whole Foods, but they've skipped several, while instituting some Friday ones instead.  Wherever their pattern is headed, we have another one-day Wednesday sale for tomorrow only, the 12th.  Golden king crab leg lovers take note, as here's what they say:

Tomorrow only! Wednesday, December 12th

Stem & Leaf
(save $1/lb)

King Crab Legs
(save $9/lb)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grocery Newsletters

Our local natural foods grocery stores offer email newsletters that are worth signing up for, if you like that sort of thing.  They won't flood your inbox, and sometimes offer coupons with them (Sprouts is especially good for this).  For instance, in the December newsletters already out, Sprouts has coupons for free water and a free bag of cookies, while Alfalfa's has one for 15% off your entire shopping trip.  You can find the signups for the newsletters on the stores' websites.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Tis the season to have way too much to do, so we'll basically ditch the recipes for this week, plus this blog post will be super-speedy.  Doesn't help anybody else, but since I have so many containers of pesto from this summer's basil plants in my freezer, tomorrow will be a simple pasta with pesto.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is tonight's chicken posole from Food and Wine magazine.

For Wednesday, with basil or parmesan chicken sausage $2.99 a pound and fresh mozzarella $3.50 at Sprouts through that day, that says to me, make a pizza.  I love the multi-grain fresh dough from Whole Foods as a base; I know there are no additives in it, and it spreads out to fill an entire rimmed baking sheet, which makes a ton of pizza, good for quick lunches as leftovers.

For Thursday?  I don't know yet!  It will be something quick, maybe even basic turkey burgers, or a tuna casserole improvised using Annie's fabulous mac 'n cheese, which always turns out well in a flash.

Onward to the holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hanukkah Guides Reminder

Happy Hanukkah to all my friends celebrating its start tonight.  To those still contemplating some dinner ideas, here's a reminder about the guides I posted about earlier.  And for my other friends, Christmas idea guides coming soon (I hope - time is so very short these days!).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weekend Dinner Plans

Super quick dinner plan rundown.  With MSC-certified wild sockeye salmon $7.99 a pound at Whole Foods for today only, sockeye will be what's for dinner.  With a high expected of only 49 and evenings totally dark, it will probably go on the grill pan or under the broiler, rather than outside on the grill.  I love the Lundberg gourmet rice blends that Vitamin Cottage has on sale for $2.39 (a one pound bag) as a festive side for fish.

Sounds like the weekend will finally head us into winterish territory (although we're still technically in autumn), so we'll go for comfort food with potatoes romanoff from my venerable copy of the Vegetarian Epicure tomorrow.  Since practically everything's been reposted to the web, even from such old cookbooks, you can find the recipe here.  With organic russet potatoes just $1.79 a five pound bag at Vitamin Cottage, this will also be a super cheap dinner to make, in addition to hitting the comfort food spot.  We'll stick with the vegetarian option, but carnivores might consider it a side to the London broil Sprouts has through Wednesday for just $2.99 a pound.

With snow expected tomorrow night into Sunday morning, and Sunday's temperature maybe no higher than 18 degrees (!! - what a change after the 60s we've had for weeks), a warming soup will be in order for Sunday.  With chicken breast tenders $1.99 a pound at Sprouts, I'm thinking it will be chicken posole from Food and Wine magazine.  I prefer to make it with white meat instead of the dark called for in the recipe, but that makes me a complete wuss when you consider the recipe originated with veal head.

Stay warm and safe through our weather change.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One-Day Salmon Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Yes!  For tomorrow only, our local Whole Foods stores will have their fine, MSC-certified (and presumably previously frozen) sockeye salmon for just $7.99 a pound, beating Sprouts' weeklong sale by a couple of dollars.  Here's what Whole Foods says:

One-Day Sale!

Friday, December 7

MSC-Certified Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon
Just $7.99 per pound

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals

We have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts, while current sales continue at Vitamin Cottage (through December 15th) and Whole Foods (through the 11th).  (Scroll down for those reports - I'm short on time for linking.)

At Sprouts' new sale through the 12th, I'm liking chicken breast tenders at $1.99 a pound, boneless London broil for $2.99 a pound, and stew beef for $3.99 a pound.  In fresh farmed Atlantic salmon, fillets are $5.99 a pound, while steaks are $4.99 a pound.  They also have wild Alaskan sockeye salmon (presumably previously frozen) for $9.99 a pound, but stay tuned for a possible one-day Friday sale I'm trying to confirm at Whole Foods that's even better than that.

Sprouts is continuing to stick with the two-page flyer format they introduced last week, which means we don't get all that info we used to about organic veggie sales.  I can only report that organic Hass avocados are 99 cents each and a four pound bag of organic Valencia oranges is $2.50.  Conventional avocados, on sale for 49 cents through today, will bump up to 77 cents tomorrow (always a price of interest to my avocado-aficionado and blog-reading friend Ms. A., whom I miss seeing nearly daily, due to a change in our schedules.  Hi, Ms. A.!).  Elsewhere in the store, Horizon Organic milk is good at $3 for a half gallon, but Whole Foods' own 365 organic brand is lower than that every day.  Mozzarella Fresca fresh mozzarella balls are also appealing at $3.50 for eight ounces.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hanukkah Recipe Guides

With Hanukkah just a few days away, here are some guides to help with some festive tables:  Hanukkah recipes, menus, and parties from Epicurious, Hanukkah recipes from the New York Times, and Hanukkah recipes from Food and Wine magazine.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Italian Olive Tree Adoption

Touted as the gift for the cook who has everything, Food 52 has a promotion where you can "adopt" an olive oil tree in Italy and receive periodic shipments of olive oil from it and other sources, tasting seasonal differences in the oils.  It doesn't come cheap, at nearly $200 for the year, and I'd beware the inconsistencies in the description (1.5L total versus 1.5L recurring deliveries, 3 x 500 ml in four shipments, etc).  They have a similar promotion for the truffle-lover on your gift list.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Here's a quick rundown of the plan for the rest of the week.  Having had steaks this weekend (the organic grass fed ones on sale for the amazing price of $8.99 a pound at Sprouts were excellent), we'll get back on track with a vegetarian pasta tomorrow, linguine with spicy leek and tomato sauce from Bon Appetit.  No particular sale is driving this one, and organic tomatoes are in fact running rather high right now, so I might go with a can of Muir Glen organic ones instead.

Tuesday is our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is tonight's corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine.  Add a salad, maybe a bit of bread, and dinner is done.

With boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale at Sprouts for $1.99 a pound through Wednesday, we'll take advantage of the last day of the sale to do a new, simple, yet surprisingly good favorite, sauteed chicken breasts with a mushroom sauce that hails from Cooking Light.  Vitamin Cottage is practically giving away five pound bags of organic russets ($1.79 a bag) for a baked potato (actually microwaved) on the side.

We'll keep Thursday super simple, catching the shrimp that are $3.99 a pound through Wednesday at Sprouts to do an easy shrimp stir-fry, using a defrosted bag of Seapoint oriental veggies as a starting point, and supplementing with garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and fresh scallions right at the end, with the whole thing going over some brown rice.

Which gets us through to Friday's planning.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Farmers' Market Today

Happy December, if you can believe it with the weather we've been having.  If you can make it the short distance to Longmont, don't forget about the Winter Farmers' Market and Holiday Gift Show the Boulder County Farmers' Market is hosting at the fairgrounds today.  A fine time to do some fall produce shopping, as well as checking gifts off your list with local, handmade works.  Here are the details from the Farmers' Market.

The Boulder County Farmers' Market 7th Annual Winter Farmers' Market & Holiday Gift Show Is This Weekend!

Located Indoors at the Boulder County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building
9595 Nelson Road
Longmont, CO

Saturday and Sunday December 1st & 2nd
9am - 3pm

Please join us for our final and largest market of the year. Boasting more than 100 specialty vendors, the Winter Market is one of the most anticipated holiday shopping events in the area. Many of the farmers, ranchers and food artisans from our Boulder and Longmont markets have everything you need for a FRESH & LOCAL holiday season... tender greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, fall produce, Colorado-raised beef, poultry, lamb, pork, award winning cheeses, eggs, apples, cider & preserves, baked goods, live holiday plants, Colorado wine and much, much more.

This is also our best and biggest Fine Art & Fine Craft Fair of the season, featuring over 40 Colorado juried artists. You'll find everything from unique stocking-stuffers to one-of-a-kind museum quality gift items.

Bring the family and enjoy live music, children's activities, chef demos, wine tastings, hourly prize drawings and more!