Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spa Night Tomorrow At Pearl Street

The first Friday of each month (happy March tomorrow!), the Pearl Street Whole Foods hosts a Spa Night, where you can get a bit of pampering and try some products.  Here's what they say about tomorrow:

Pearl Street Spa Night

Friday, March 1st
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join us in the whole body department for our monthly spa night!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Week's Hot New Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts (Longmont, too) and Whole Foods, while the current sale continues at Vitamin Cottage through March 2nd (click here for my prior report on that).  Here's what's looking attractive to me in the new sales.

Sprouts through March 6th is putting the emphasis on BOGOs, with a whole bunch of products buy one, get one free.  BOGOs particularly catching my eye are select Earthbound Farm organic salads, 15 ounce Westbrae organic beans, boxes of Cascadian Farm organic cereals, 5.3 ounce Stonyfield organic Greek yogurts, Sabra hummus, Lundberg risotto, and Pirate's Booty bags.  In the worlds of meat and fish, boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound in the value pack, and grass fed organic ground beef is very impressive at $4.99 a pound.  Boneless pork shoulder roast or country style ribs are an excellent price at $1.99 a pound, but also look below for a roast contender from Whole Foods.  Boneless pork loin chops (also the stuffed ones, which I haven't tried) and their very good stuffed chicken breasts (one easily serves two people) are both $2.99 a pound, boneless ribeye or New York steaks are $9.99 a pound, whole or cut up chickens are $1.59 a pound, and in fish, fresh (farmed) Atlantic salmon fillets are $7.99 a pound.

In organic produce at Sprouts, one pound bags of baby carrots are back down to that very nice $1.25 a bag, broccoli is $1.69 a pound, eggplants are great at $1.29 each (I'll have to incorporate eggplant into this week's dinner plans), lacinato kale is $1.50 a bunch, six ounces of blueberries are $2.50, five pound bags of russet potatoes are $2.50, and bulk spring salad mix remains great at $3.99 a pound.  You can get a four pound bag of organic Valencia oranges for the very good price of $2.50 a bag, but you might also want to consider conventional California navel oranges, since those are ridiculous at 10 cents a pound.

Considering how amped up I was about the last sale at Whole Foods, it's not surprising I'm a little less enthused about the new one that runs through March 12th.  If we should find ourselves with a grilling opportunity in the next couple of weeks, I'd pay $18.99 a pound ($6 off their usual price) for halibut fillets, although fresh/frozen isn't specified.  It's also hard to imagine grilling with all the snow we currently have on the ground, but hey, it's expected to reach 60 this weekend.  Their very fine American Homestead boneless pork shoulder roast is $2.99 a pound, $1 more than the pork at Sprouts, but something I'd definitely consider.  Their own Market Made or Wellshire corned beef brisket is $6.99, and Whole Foods is the only place I'd get my Saint Paddy's day corned beef, but it seems a bit early for that.  Organic grape tomatoes are okay at $3 for a 10 ounce container, but I'd avoid the six ounce organic blueberries for $3.99 each, as the same size of organics is $2.50 at Sprouts, and in conventional produce, Sprouts' 10 cents sale on navel oranges knocks the pants off Whole Foods' $1 a pound sale price.  Finally, Whole Foods' own golden age boule (a very nice bread) is $2.99 a loaf.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us another sale for tomorrow only, the 27th.  Already being quite well stocked on soap, this one isn't doing a whole lot for me.

One Day Sale

Tomorrow Only! Wednesday, February 27th!

Whole Foods - 4oz.
Verve Bar Soap
10 for $10
(save $0.49/ea)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Last Call For Fine $6 Lobster Tails

With our local Whole Foods sale ending tomorrow, you don't have much more time to pick up the fine lobster tails they currently have on sale for $6 each.  These beauties are from Maine, whereas lobster tails you'll see elsewhere are from Honduras.  You might not even have through tomorrow though, since when I tried to get some still frozen ones for stocking my freezer this afternoon at the Pearl Street store, the kind fish guy was surprised to find they had none left in the freezer.  If it's down to what's left in the display case, you don't have much time left at all.

Healthy Eating On A Budget Tour

The Pearl Street Whole Foods will host Healthy Eating On A Budget tours tomorrow at both noon and 5 pm.  Here are the details from them:

Healthy Eating on a Budget Store Tours

Tuesday, February 26th

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Healthy Eating Specialist, Steph for a trip around the store at 12pm and 5pm where she'll show you how to get healthy without emptying your wallet. Space is limited, so please email to reserve your spot.

Good Deal On Seventh Generation

I really like Seventh Generation's line of cleaning products, both for their effectiveness and their philosophy, stemming from a Native American dictum to consider the effect of everything you do for seven generations hence.  I especially like their laundry detergent, and Target (which typically has some of the best everyday prices for all Seventh Generation anyway) has the big 100 ounce size for an excellent $11.99 a jug through Saturday.  This size normally runs around $15 or even $17 elsewhere.  Target also promises 10% off other selected Seventh Generation products, and as I said, Target's everyday prices on these are already good.

Steam Fry Cooking Class Tomorrow

The Superior Whole Foods will offer an interesting-sounding class tomorrow evening on a technique for cooking without oils.  Here's what they say:

Steam Fry Cooking Class-Health Starts Here

Tuesday, February 26th
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Superior Cafe

Steam Fry Cooking Class- Healthy Eating
Join Renee in our Café and learn a healthy, new way to make delicious meals steam frying without oils. Enjoy the real flavors of your food!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekday Dinner Ideas

How quickly can I get something written before my laptop bogs down again?  For tomorrow, I'm in a non-religious way wanting to do penance for a weekend filled with lobster and short ribs.  To me, that means lots of veggies, and the best way I know for something quick is a tofu stir fry over rice.  I like to use a defrosted bag of Seapoint Farms Oriental Mix veggies as a starter for my veggie portion, to make everything even easier.  A base of peanut oil, toasting in some ginger, red pepper, and garlic, then whatever you want to throw in does the job, then served over rice.  Whole Food's organic broccoli at $1.99 a pound through Tuesday is a good bet.

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 salad on the side, and that's all we'll need.

For Wednesday, the $3.99 a pound sale on ground turkey at Sprouts through that day has me thinking about some version of turkey burgers.  One very easy one we like is spicy turkey burgers from Bon Appetit.  You can certainly do it with rolls, but it's also really good open faced on toast or without any starch at all.

Thursday is looking like stir-fried beef, broccoli and yams from Bon Appetit, having stocked up on that organic broccoli from Whole Foods mentioned above by Tuesday.  Through Wednesday, Sprouts has beef stew meat that's great for this at $3.99 a pound, and they usually have some of the best prices in town on organic yams as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Red Carpet Weekend At Pearl WFM

I'm not sure what to make of the "full weekend" reference, in conjuction with a time of 1-3:30 today, but it looks like the Pearl Street Whole Foods is in the mood to celebrate the Oscars.  Maybe you should glam it up for your shopping.  Here are the details from them:

Red Carpet Weekend

Saturday, February 23rd
1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join us for a full weekend where we'll celebrate all things red carpet. Our team members will be dressed as some of your favorite stars, have your photo snapped on our very own red carpet and, of course, we'll have yummy food ideas for your red carpet get together.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Dinner Ideas

This was going to be quick, but now it's going to be even quicker, because my laptop did one of its bog down deals, requiring a lengthy restart that just ate almost every second of my available time.

Tonight - celebrating the Whole Foods sale on very fine lobster tails at $6 each through the 26th with a dinner fit for New Year's Eve, so why not even better for a mundane Friday:  creamy lobster pappardelle from Cooking Light.  Shellfish isn't exactly low in cholesterol, and pappardelle is almost always an egg-rich pasta, plus there's a dab of cream in the recipe, so I'll seek out the no-yolk wide noodles I can find at Safeway.  I know them by sight, rather than remembering the brand, and I wish Whole Foods would bring them back, as they used to carry them also.

Tomorrow, we'll do some variation using the boneless beef short ribs that are $3.99 a pound at Sprouts.  They'll probably go in the oven with a brush of bbq sauce, with winter veggies to roast on the side.  I was also going to recommend a Mark Bittman recipe as a possibility, but I don't have time to recover the link I had up when I had to restart.

We're not big on Oscars partying for Sunday (look a few posts below for guide recommendations on that), so instead, we'll do a big chowder that can also serve as an easy midweek reheat.  With previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets at an all time low of $4.99 a pound through Wednesday, this week it will be corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine.  This recipe in my mind benefits from some lightening, using half and half instead of heavy cream, and carefully substituting nonfat for regular milk (no boiling, or it will curdle).

Which gets us through a post I expected to do in ten minutes, but instead took almost 50 because of my increasingly irritating laptop.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Red Carpet Prep Tomorrow

I'm a little late on this (no time anymore!), but the Pearl Street Whole Foods is getting in the mood for the Oscars with this fun event:

Red Carpet DIY with Steph

Friday, February 22nd
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join Steph for a quick red carpet ready tutorial. She'll show you how to make your own body scrubs, face pillows and healthy hors d' ouevres. You will definitely be ready for your close up after this class! Space is limited, so please email to reserve your spot.

Restaurant Week Coming Up

Cooking at home is fun, cozy, and with the right planning, healthy too.  But you can't do that every single day, right?  So keep an eye on Denver Restaurant Week, including quite a number of Boulder restaurants despite the Denver moniker, that runs from February 23rd through March 8th.  During that time, the participating restaurants will have special multi-course menus for two at $52.80 (for Denver's altitude).  Check out their website for menus all around the area, including a section on those in Boulder.

Oscars Party Planning Help

Are you thinking of continuing our February partying spree by hosting an Oscars party this Sunday?  If so, here are a couple of guides with ideas for glamming it up with classy finger foods and the like:  the 2013 Oscar Party Planner from Epicurious, and Bon Appetit's Oscars Party Guide.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

So Whole Foods just put this out on Facebook, no other notice I've seen. Major pain for me, having to sign in and out of accounts to post this, so if that's all they'll do in the future, I'll just read my book instead.  Anyway, here's the bit they say from there:

ONE DAY SALE ALERT: Heirloom navel oranges 10lbs/$10 and Drake's value pack pasta meals $9.99/ea, save $5!

Nice List Of Boulder CSAs

Lots of folks in this area enjoy participating in Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, where you sign up with a farm or other local purveyor for regular allotments of seasonal fare straight from the source.  Today's Daily Camera contains a great list of local ones, occupying the entire back page of the Essentials section (well, the photo of the pumpkin-eating pigs does occupy some of that page's real estate too).  It lists the farm (including non-produce sources like poultry and dairy) with lots of details, including website, phone, offerings, price per type of shares offered (including halfs), alternate pickup places and the like, and includes both organic and non-organic options.   Unfortunately, it looks like you currently have to get this list via today's hard copy newspaper, as I don't find it on the Camera's website, at least not yet.  And remember, if you don't want to go with the challenge (and opportunity) of a regular CSA commitment, we're fortunate to have so many other warmer weather options in the Boulder area, including local farmstands and our Boulder Farmers' Market.

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our local Sprouts stores (now including the two in Boulder, plus the new one in Longmont), while current sales continue at Vitamin Cottage through March 2nd, (click here for that report), and Whole Foods through February 26th (click here for that one).  So here's what's looking good to me now, IMHO as always.

At Sprouts through February 27th (are we starting to look towards spring?), I'm liking previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets for just $4.99 a pound.  Also looking good are chicken breast tenders at $1.99 a pound, all chicken sausage $2.99 a pound, ground turkey breast $3.99 a pound (and ground chicken breast even better at $2.99), beef stew meat finally back to a sale price of $3.99 a pound, boneless beef short ribs also at $3.99 a pound, and fresh Atlantic (farmed) salmon fillets at $7.99 a pound.  Lots of possibilities already popping into mind with those sales.

In organic produce at the Sprouts sale, things are looking like we're in the mid-winter doldrums.  Red or green leaf lettuce is happily $1.50 a bunch, and I'm glad to see the bulk spinach still at $3.99 a pound (so the salad mix might possibly also still be at that same great price).  Six ounce packages of organic blueberries could perk one up at $2.50 and one pound bags of baby carrots remain good at $1.50 each.  Other deals include organic apples (several at $1.25 a pound, and red delicious 99 cents), pears, and Valencia oranges.

Elsewhere in the store, I'm liking Fage Greek yogurts at $1 each, and the smaller (very convenient) 14 ounce size of Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes at $1.50 each.  So it's a week, appropriately for this time of year, suggesting warming casseroles and stews, while on the veggie side, is perhaps a bit "meh."  I guess we should count ourselves lucky, with freezers full of things like Cascadian organic veggies - a whole lot better than trying to get through a winter in the Middle Ages!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No Word Yet Re One-Day Sale

It's customary for our local Whole Foods stores to hold a special one-day sale every Wednesday, but I've yet to hear anything about one happening tomorrow.  Will keep an eye on it and let you know if I find anything.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coupon Night In Superior

Coupon fans will get to enjoy another Coupon Night of swapping at the Superior Whole Foods this Wednesday, the 20th.  Here are the details from them:

Coupon Night

Wednesday, February 20th

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Superior Cafe, Free

Coupon Night
Are looking for Value and ways to save on your weekly Shop? Join us in our Café for coupon night. Bring any coupons that you may have and trade with others. Bring a friend and receive a $5.00 Gift Card. Please sign up at our Customer Service Counter today.

Lunch And Learn Wednesday

The Pearl Street Whole Foods will offer a Lunch and Learn, featuring globally inspired dishes, this Wednesday, the 20th.  Here are the details from them:

Whole Planet Foundation Lunch and Learn

Wednesday, February 20th

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Healthy Eating Specialist, Steph for a trip around the world (and our bulk department) for some yummy and healthy globally inspired dishes. Space is limited, so please email to reserve your spot.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Batch Cooking Class In Superior

Efficiency in cooking is something I think we all can appreciate.  One thing I do is to make something big over the weekend that also serves as an easy midweek reheat.  Here's a cooking class at the Whole Foods in Superior on a different approach, using one ingredient across four dishes.  Here are their details:

Batch Cooking Class- Health Starts Here

Tuesday, February 19th
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Superior Cafe, Free

Join Renee in our Café for this class that will show you how to take one main ingredient and turn that into four different, healthy meals. Please sign up at our Customer Service Desk to reserve your spot today.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Healthy Eating On A Budget Store Tour

The Pearl Street Whole Foods will offer two Healthy Eating On  A Budget store tours this coming Tuesday, one at noon and the other at 5 pm.  Here are their details:

Healthy Eating on a Budget Store Tours

Tuesday, February 19th

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Healthy Eating Specialist, Steph for a trip around the store at 12pm and 5pm where she'll show you how to get healthy without emptying your wallet. Space is limited, so please email to reserve your spot.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Usually I look pretty much exclusively to our natural grocery sales for inspiration for weekly cooking ideas, but this week is a little different.  I've just finished pulling together my picks from recent magazines and the like, so I'm trying to mesh those interests with the current sales.  Here's what looks on deck for the weekend.

With the lobster tails at $6 each announced in the new Whole Foods sale on Wednesday, we quickly veered in that direction instead of salmon for Valentine's Day yesterday.  That means salmon is still an option for tonight, and I'm interested in trying out an Asian-style recipe, seared salmon with soy-ginger noodles and vegetables from the Whole Foods website.  I might be looking at Whole Foods for the recipe, but I'll be checking out the previously frozen sockeye at Sprouts for $7.99 for the salmon.  I'd also use some fresh ginger and the reduced sodium tamari I always have instead of the soy-ginger sauce.

For tomorrow, we escaped steaks for Valentine's Day, but I'm still thinking about the boneless ribeyes at Sprouts for $6.99 a pound, so I'll probably cave.  They don't need much fiddling with, but an intriguing recipe for pan-seared steak with chive-horseradish butter from the current issue of Cooking Light is tempting me.  The magazine includes a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and broccolini for a great-sounding side, but the web recipe unfortunately doesn't link to it.

For Sunday, we'll compensate for the steak indulgence by doing a vegetarian dish, fettucine with tomato-cream sauce, another new one from Cooking Light.  At least the cream cheese is reduced fat, and if you're not already stocked up on organic canned tomatoes, Vitamin Cottage has 28 ounce Muir Glens for the excellent price of $1.79 a can.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Detox Talk At Sprouts

Happy Valentine's Day!  If you're more in the mood for purification, next Tuesday, the 19th, our Baseline Sprouts will host Greg Winters talking about The Right Detox Plan For You, from 6 to 7 pm..  Sprouts asks that you sign up in advance at the vitamin counter.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Whole Foods and Sprouts, while the current sale continues into March at Vitamin Cottage (look just below for the post on that).  Here's what's looking especially good to me in the new sales.

Sprouts through February 20th is taking straight aim at your Valentine's dinner, with boneless ribeye steaks $6.99 a pound, previously frozen 4.5 ounce lobster tails $5.99 each (but also check out Whole Foods below on that one), and previously frozen sockeye salmon fillets $7.99 a pound.  Boneless center-cut pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound, Rosie's organic whole chickens are $2.99 a pound, and Italian chicken sausage is also $2.99 a pound.  In organic produce, they are practically giving away five pound bags of russet potatoes for $1.88 each, with four pound bags of Valencia oranges for that same price.  Pints of organic grape tomatoes are very good at $2 each, one pound bags of baby carrots have bumped up to the still very good price of $1.50, I'm so glad to see bulk spring mix and spinach remain at $3.99 a pound, and there are lots of organic apple and pear specials.  Elsewhere in the store, I'm very happy to see their bulk roast coffee at $7.99 a pound, which means I'll visit the Baseline store, which mysteriously is the only one of the three stores in the area to carry their own Fair Trade certified organic Sprouts brand.  I'm also enthused about some Lundberg Farm rice bags at 33% off.  Some Rudi's organic sandwich breads are $3.99 a loaf, but look a bit below to find the Vitamin Cottage post, where you'll find them at $1 less.

Whole Foods' new sale runs through February 26th, and I'm seeing several things of interest.  First of all lobster tails, which I'm betting are those fine ones they've previously had from Maine, are $6 each.  Organic red or green leaf lettuce are both $1.50 a head, and organic broccoli (which uncharacteristically has been running close to $4 a pound recently at Sprouts) is $1.99 a pound.  Wisconsin sharp one year cheddar is $4.99 a pound, and loaves of my favorite seeduction bread are $2.50 each.  Five cheese take and bake pizzas, good on their own and even better dressed with a few of your own toppings, are $8.99 each.  For the body, eight ounce Desert Essence bath and body lotions are nearly half off at $4.99 each, and there's a Natural Make Up Line Drive, with four makeup lines at 20% off.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores have a duo of special sales for tomorrow only, the 13th.  Maybe a roasted Cornish hen with a Rubicon cake for dessert for Valentine's Day Thursday?

One Day Sale
Tomorrow only!
Wednesday, February 13th!

Bell & Evans
Cornish Game Hens
(save $2/lb)

4" Layer Cakes
Chocolate or Carrot
2 for $6
(save $2/ea)

Current Sale At Vitamin Cottage

I finally made it to Vitamin Cottage (aka Natural Grocers) to check out the current sale that runs through March 2nd.  Here's what's looking particularly good to me, IMHO as always.  Assorted chards and kales (always organic there) are two for $3 "mix or match," which makes me wonder if you do have to buy two to get that nice sale price.  Four types of Rudi's Organic Bakery sliced sandwich breads are $2.99 each, Muir Glen organic pasta sauces are very good at $2.49 each if you need to stock up, Chocolove bars (not including the organics) are $1.69 each (not as good as the $1.25 Whole Foods had a few days ago, but still much better than the regular price), ten ounce bags of Cascadian Farm organic veggies are $1.69 each (with the boxes on sale for $1.79), and the big 28 ounce cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes are $1.79 each.  I'm intrigued by the sale on 16 ounce Cascadian Farm organic frozen potatoes, as the picture shows spud puppies that could bring out the child in anyone.  And of course, being Vitamin Cottage, there's a ton of supplements on sale, and their regular prices are among the best, too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Naughty/Nice Cooking Class At Whole Foods

This Wednesday will be a hopping evening for store events.  In addition to Alfalfa's Drag Queen Bingo (see the post just below), you can also go a little more sedate with a Naughty And Nice Cooking Class at the Pearl Street Whole Foods.  Here are their details:

Naughty and Nice Cooking Class

Wednesday, February 13th

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Join our Healthy Eating Specialist Steph and our Cooking Coach Dana as they prepare two lovely dishes for your Valentine. One will be naughty and one will be nice, can you tell the difference? Space is limited, so please RSVP to to reserve your spot.

Drag Queen Bingo At Alfalfa's

Here's something to liven up the winter doldrums!  Wednesday evening, Alfalfa's will host a Drag Queen Bingo, a benefit for the Boulder County AIDS Project.  Here are the details from them:

Feb. 13

Drag Queen Bingo

8:00pm to 9:30pm, Alfalfa's Cafe

Come hear live performances, drink mocktails, and win fabulous prizes! All proceeds support Boulder County Aids Project (BCAP).

A Dozen Roses $14.99 At Whole Foods

Whole Foods, at least at the Pearl Street store, has your back for Valentine's Day with a dozen roses for $14.99 through the 14th.  That beats Sprouts' dozen rose sale by $2, and Whole Foods' ones are "Whole Trade."  Even their flowers come with a fine pedigree.

Fat Tuesday Liquor Mart Party Tomorrow

Our Boulder Liquor Mart is set to laissez les bons temps rouler for Mardi Gras with a Fat Tuesday party tomorrow (the 12th) from 4 to 6 pm.  They say they'll have king cake (I'll skip that), crawfish boil, product demos, and much more.

Mardi Gras Tasting In Superior Tomorrow

I'll definitely be busy with my own Fat Tuesday plans for tomorrow, but here's an interesting announcement from the Whole Foods in Superior, especially if you don't have time to do your own celebration and/or don't have a clue about its culinary possibilities.  Here are the details from them:

Mardi Gras Tasting

Tuesday, February 12th

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Superior Whole Foods Market, Free Mardi Gras Tasting

Join us on Tuesday evening and celebrate Mardi Gras with us! Customers will vote on their favorite dish featured in each department with a Cajun favor and favorite decorated demo table

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekday Dinner Ideas

My, what a week, with both Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day falling within it.  Always fun to celebrate, but midweek cooking also needs to stay pretty quick and easy, and I think I've got it down.

For an easy start to an easy week, we'll start with something I almost never do for tomorrow:  actual beef burgers.  This is inspired by today being the last day of Sprouts' 72-hour sale that includes grass-fed organic ground beef for the excellent price of $3.99 a pound (the sale price rises to $6.99 after today, which shows you how good today's price is).  I'll try to emulate the excellent Hatch chile burgers I've had from Whole Foods by dicing one or two chiles pulled from my stock in the freezer to mix into the burger.  Sprouts also has five pound bags of organic russets for $2.50 a bag, suggesting microwaved "baked" potatoes on the side, and don't forget their asparagus at $1.49 a pound through Wednesday for something green.

Tuesday, we'll be ready to laissez les bons temps rouler for Mardi Gras, but unlike some folks in New Orleans, we don't have the whole day available to prepare the celebrations.  I fixed that by planning my big gumbo for this weekend (see the weekend post), so we'll do a quick reheat of it for Tuesday evening.  With some rice to go under the gumbo and a salad to go on the side, we'll have plenty of time to devote to the cocktails and bead-wearing.

Having kind of burned out on cooking recently, I'm continuing my easy week plan for Wednesday with another easy reheat, the comfort food baked rigatoni with ricotta and collard greens from  Some more of that $1.49 a pound asparagus from Sprouts will probably go on the side on the last day of the sale.

I'll need to perk up a bit on the cooking front for Thursday, since that's Valentine's Day.  Since I don't think presenting your sweetie with a butter-topped ribeye steak and a cheese and sour cream potato gratin on the side, with a 1000 calorie dessert is the best way to say "I Love You" (isn't that more like saying "Have you made your final directives?"), we have a traditional meal for the day that's delicious, quick and easy, and probably gets the nod from nutritionists:  salmon, mustard greens and potatoes with mustard-dill glaze from Bon Appetit.  If somebody has something that's more delicious while being equally nutritious, quick, easy, and also reasonably priced, I'd love to hear it.

And that should get us easily through a week that otherwise could have been a lot of work!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas

For a romantic Valentine's Day this coming Thursday, isn't cooking at home with your sweetie better than heading out?  You can go out to dinner any day after all.  If you're looking for some dinner ideas, here are some guides to help you out:  A Recipe For Romance from Epicurious, Valentine's Day Recipes from MyRecipes (that includes Cooking Light), Bon Appetit's Valentine's Day Guide (no secret where that one's from), and F & W's Ultimate Guide To Valentine's Day, the F & W of course being Food and Wine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fondue Competition Tomorrow At Pearl WFM

And that means the opportunity to taste some fondues.  Tomorrow, the 9th, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will be holding a fondue competition amongst its departments, in which you get to taste and vote for the winner.  Here are the details from them:

Fondue Throw-Down!

Saturday, February 9th

4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street, FREE

Our teams are cooking up some delicious fondue. Each department will be create their own masterpiece and YOU get to judge which is best! Stop by, try some yummy fondue and cast your vote!

Weekend Dinner Ideas

We have a week coming up with the possibility of incorporating three celebrations:  Chinese New Year (Sunday), Mardi Gras (Tuesday), and Valentine's Day (Thursday).  But I'm looking to back down on the cooking obligations (I actually think writing this blog for fun has influenced me towards attempting too much cooking in my own busy life), so my plans for the weekend are aimed at making my life a little easier, which seems like a good thing.

For tonight, Sprouts' 72 hour sale starting today is driving my thinking because it includes an extraordinary price on grass-fed organic ground beef for $3.99 a pound.  Not being big beef eaters, I'm thinking of using it in simmered cabbage with beef, Shan style from Cooking Light.  We might not be big beef eaters, but I definitely do this with more than the quarter pound of burger called for in the recipe.  I'll cheat further by making the heretical declaration that this is all I'll be able to muster in celebration of Chinese New Year this weekend, making a dish hailing from Thailand and Myanmar for it, and on the wrong date, too boot, so wrong on all fronts.

We usually do something large over the weekend that also serves as an easy midweek reheat, and in my drive to simplify the home cooking scene, this week I'm going to opt for two.  Seeing organic collard greens on sale for $1.99 a bunch at the Pearl Street Whole Foods recently reminded me of the big comfort winter casserole I plan for tomorrow night, baked rigatoni with ricotta and collard greens.  The web says it's from, but I could have sworn I first saw it in Cooking Light.

Sunday's dinner will be a big gumbo, done with an eye for an easy reheat on Mardi Gras Tuesday, when nobody but those crazy partiers in New Orleans has much time to cook.  (And the partiers in New Orleans are probably too busy partying to cook, too.)  Mine will be Mom's shrimp gumbo from a cookbook acquired in New Orleans long ago, but look to the post a few below for the one I did on Mardi Gras guides for further ideas.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mardi Gras Almost Upon Us

Goodness, what a week we have coming up next week, with both Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day in it.  Since Mardi Gras comes first, on Tuesday the 12th, we'd better get started on that one, so laissez les bons temps rouler!  If you're looking for some culinary help for the celebration, check out some of these guides:  Mardi Gras Recipes and Party Ideas from Epicurious, Classic New Orleans Cuisine from Cooking Light, and Our Essential Mardi Gras Party Menu from Bon Appetit.  I've seen king cakes in Whole Foods already, but I'll save my calories for something with more nutritional merit, or at least something that tastes better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chocolove On Sale At Whole Foods

I just saw that the Pearl Street Whole Foods (and maybe others) has the big size of Chocolove chocolate bars on sale for just $1.25 each in a special sale that lasts through tomorrow.  Nice little offering for some of your valentine friends next week, perhaps.

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals

We have a new sale starting today at our Sprouts stores in Boulder County, while the current sale continues at Whole Foods (scroll down through posts forlast week's report on that one).  I believe there's also a new one recently started at Vitamin Cottage, which I'll have to check out.  Here's what looking particularly good to me now.

Sprouts will kick off this weekend with another 72 hour sale, running from Friday the 8th through Sunday.  There are a number of items in the sale, but the ones particularly catching my eye are the grass-fed organic ground beef for an impressive $3.99 a pound, and jumbo avocados (and they really are big) for $1 each, although my fridge is already stocked with the smaller ones for controlled ripening.

In the regular Sprouts sale that runs through February 13th, I'm especially enthused about fresh asparagus for $1.49 a pound.  It's conventional, but asparagus so often is, and in the winter doldrums, I need a spring-like break from hard winter squash, much as I like butternut.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 in the value pack, and while I'm not familiar with "sirloin tip roasts or steaks," at $2.99 a pound, the steak might be useful cut up in something like a stir-fry or stew.  Whole, split, or cut up chickens are $1.29 a pound, and chicken Italian, parmesan (it's good), or bratwurst sausage are all $2.99 a pound.  In fish, fresh Atlantic (farmed) salmon fillets are $7.99 a pound, okay but certainly not as good as the $4.99 a pound they were two weeks ago.

In organic produce at the Sprouts sale, dry pints of grape tomatoes are $2.50 each, one pound bags of baby carrots are $1.25 each, five pound bags of russet potatoes have bumped up a bit to a still very good $2.50 a bag, bulk spring salad mix and spinach both remain great at $3.99 a pound ($6.99 elsewhere), and there are lots of deals on apples and pears.  Elsewhere in the store, select Cascadian Farms cereals look awfully good at $2.50, eight ounce Mozzarella Fresca fresh mozz cups are $3.99 each, and if you're looking for a dozen roses for your valentine, they're $16.99 for the dozen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Two-Day Warning Re Good Sprouts Sales

Just a heads up that you only have through tomorrow to grab some particularly good deals at Sprouts, most notably to me, the 25% off all bulk, including very good Fair Trade organic coffee at the Baseline store (and if you need pine nuts in the near future, get them now in bulk at one quarter off their $19.99 a pound price!), and Hass avocados at three for $1.  I've followed the advice of my esteemed friend, Ms. A., and now have several in the fridge to enable me to stock up by controlling their ripening process (you can pop avocado ripening in the search box in the top left corner of your screen for prior posts about that).

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores are doing a rather nice sale for tomorrow only, the 6th, with $3 off the usual price of their fine olive bar.  Olive bar is something of a misnomer, since there's so very much more on that bar.  It's a cook's paradise for small amounts of things you might otherwise need to buy in an entire jar, like when you need just one roasted red pepper.  Think creatively, and stock up on olives, too!

One Day Sale
Tomorrow only!

Wednesday, February 6th!

Olive Bar
(save $3/lb)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chinese New Year Coming Up

This Sunday, February 10th marks the start of the Year of the Snake, and Epicurious has your dinner covered with this celebration guide.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Healthy Shopping Talk At Alfalfa's

This Wednesday, Alfalfa's will host a free talk about how to make heart-healthy food shopping decisions.  Here are their details:

Feb. 6

Wellness Wednesday with Sarah Eley

Is Your Shopping Cart Healthy?

6:30 to 8:00pm, Alfalfa's Community Room

Learn how to make heart-healthy decisions when you shop for yourself and your family! Register here. FREE.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl Party Rules From WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has published a hilarious set of rules to guide you through your Super Bowl Party, some of them food-related, in an article currently available here (I suspect they don't leave those links out there for free for very long).  You'll find how many pizzas to order per person, how long to expect to find chicken wing bones in your couch, and the like.  But no - is it possible that there's going to be a time conflict between the game and Downton Abbey?  Not particularly caring about the game, I know where I'd head.

Reminder Re Super Bowl Ideas

If you're still angsting about what to serve tomorrow, here's a reminder about a previous post with lots of ideas to help you out.  Or just get some buckets of wings from Whole Foods at a great sale price this weekend (see below for that post with details).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Free Personal Shopping And Delivery From Alfalfa's

Wow, this might just appeal to a lot of people (too bad I'm just outside the city limits).  I've just seen that Alfalfa's offers free delivery of grocery orders over $25 within the Boulder city limits, excluding Gunbarrel.  Here are the details from them:

Free Delivery and Personal Shopping!

That's right. Just call us up and we'll bring your shopping list to your doorstep. For orders over $25 within Boulder City limits, we'll even bring your groceries to you for free.

Did you know that we offer FREE delivery to locations in Boulder City limits*? That's right. We'll load up a bags full of whatever you like--fresh organic produce, housemade baked goods, fine cheese and charcuterie, and a bottle or two from our amazing wine selection-- and drop them off at your door! For more details, check out our website.

*excludes Gunbarrel; orders must be over $25

Chicken Wing Buckets On Sale At Whole Foods

Yippee!  For my annual Super Bowl indulgence in Buffalo wings, Whole Foods has buckets of them (just under two pounds each, so pretty big to me) on sale for $7.99 a bucket, nearly half price.  Note that this is a Weekender Sale, good only today through Sunday.  In addition to the Buffalo hot style, I also saw bbq and sweet chile options at the Pearl Street store.  Check around the store for other possible Weekender options too; I saw shrimp trios as part of it, but wasn't in the market for those, so didn't make note of the price.  Let the Super Bowl snack party begin!

Dinner Ideas Across Super Bowl Weekend

I'm torn between two ideas for the Super Bowl, so I think we'll do one tonight as a sort of preview.  Some years ago, I made some lightened Buffalo-style chicken fingers from a source I can't locate in the limited time I currently have.  So it looks like tonight's version will be as close as I can quickly come, which is Buffalo chicken fingers from  Sprouts has value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for just $1.88 a pound for these, and with the oven already heated, some organic yam spears will go into it as well, as a version of fries, also in the junk-food-goes-healthier spirit.

Not wanting to sustain a Super Bowl-type culinary atmosphere for three straight days, we'll veer back into something more sophisticated for tomorrow, which I think will be the MSC-certified halibut fillets Whole Foods has on sale for $17.99 a pound. They'll be done simply on the grill pan, unless I can convince the family griller to head outside in the dark to the grill, with buttermilk mashed potatoes to go alongside (five pound bags of russets are still super low at Sprouts at $1.99 each).  Sprouts also has fresh wild Sea of Cortez halibut fillets for $11.99 a pound, although the last time they did that, I wasn't terribly impressed.

For Super Bowl Sunday proper, we have something of a tradition around here.  I indulge in buying some really good (and actually not greasy) Buffalo wings from Whole Foods, sometimes even in a small bucket size, then we make amends by having my favorite vegetarian (and very veggie-oriented) chili, which is black bean chili with butternut squash and Swiss chard from Bon Appetit.  I usually make my own cornbread from scratch to go on the side (a recipe with scallions from Bon Appetit is a favorite, but I don't have time to grab it), but Whole Foods offers a prepared cornbread that is pretty darned good as an alternative, and also mighty tempting as a timesaver.

And happy February, all.  Does anybody else say "rabbit" on the first of the month for good luck?  (I think it's an East Coast thing, but once you get going on it, you fear the world will implode if you stop.)