Friday, February 28, 2014

Oscars Coming Up

So much fun and excuses for culinary partying in just a few days. This Sunday, we have the Academy Awards, typically a finger food and drinks night, followed a mere two days away by Mardi Gras on Tuesday. If you're looking for some ideas for Oscar night, here are few guides to help you out: Bubbles and Bites for Oscar Night from Epicurious, And the Award for Best Snacking  from Whole Foods, and Awards Show Viewing Party Recipes from Food and Wine magazine. Since the emphasis seems to be on appetizers and finger foods for the Oscars, this also strikes me as an event where our new Boulder Trader Joe's could really come to the rescue with its many prepared offerings, sparing the cook a lot of work. Me, I'll probably stick with our more usual type of main course veering towards the healthy side. Boring, I know.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No More Weekend Sales?

In addition to Whole Foods' longstanding one-day sales on Wednesdays, we've grown pretty accustomed to regularly announced sales for the weekend, usually something for Friday only plus others lasting three days. But instead of announcing a new weekend set, this week Whole Foods sent out this:

WHAT'S ON SALE? Some of you have requested longer-lasting sales, given your busy schedules. Well, your wish is our command! Check out our sales hub so you can see what's on sale whenever you're looking for savings.

Your Whole Foods Market Crew

If that's going to replace the weekend sales, someone there is very clever at putting a positive spin on taking something away, since as far as I've seen, those links simply highlight some specials from the regular sale flyer that would have been available anyway. Sales junkies will go into withdrawal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods stores, while the current one at Vitamin Cottage continues only through this Saturday, March 1st (heads up alert). Trader Joe's evidently doesn't participate in the rotating sales frenzy, preferring to highlight the good regular deals on its private label brands in its "Fearless Flyer." Here's what's looking good to me now.

In Sprouts' new sale through March 5th, meat and seafood seem to be taking a backseat to me in favor of some produce specials and a BOGO sale. In produce, the stunners are conventional asparagus and organic broccoli both at 98 cents a pound. Organic garnet or jewel yams are also 98 cents a pound, some Earthbound Farm salads are BOGO, green or Lacinato kale or celery are all $1.50 a bunch, $2.98 will get you either a five pound bag of table carrots, a three pound bag of Bosc pears, or four pound bags of either Valencia oranges or grapefruit, and bulk baby greens or spinach are down to $3.98 a pound, nearly half what you'd pay elsewhere, and these are all organic. The BOGO sale contains select items from various lines, and the ones especially appealing to me are Cascadian Farms organic cereals, Odwalla juices, Back to Nature cookies or crackers, Justin's nut butter multi-packs, and Sabra hummus.

Getting back to meat and fish specials at Sprouts, boneless center-cut pork loin chops are just $1.99 a pound, boneless country style pork ribs or shoulder roast are $2.49 a pound, all chicken sausage (pork also) is $2.99 a pound, and their quite good stuffed chicken breasts are also $2.99 a pound. In fish, their fresh (farmed) Atlantic salmon is $9.99 a pound, and they have a very low price on mahi mahi, but I don't believe I've ever had that from Sprouts. Fresh Sea of Cortez halibut fillets are also on sale, but again, I don't have any experience with those.

In Whole Foods' new sale through March 11th, I'm tempted by their halibut at $19.99 a pound, still quite pricey but $5 off the usual. (Sprouts currently has fresh wild Sea of Cortez halibut fillets on sale for $12.99 a pound. I've never tried those so can't speak to the taste, but when I've checked them out previously, they've been a darker fish than I associate with the halibut I like.) Fine American Homestead boneless pork shoulder picnic roast is $2.99 a pound (Sprouts also has a pork shoulder roast for $2.49 a pound this week). Raspberry chipotle salmon burgers are $3.99 each, a different approach to pricing than Whole Foods' usual $7.99 a pound sale price for its salmon burgers, and a pricier one it would seem, as their packages of two burgers weigh in at less than a pound. Organic broccoli is $1.69 a pound (quite good, but it's 98 cents a pound at Sprouts) and organic kale is $2 a bunch, but $1.50 a bunch at Sprouts (all Sprouts sale prices are good through March 5th). One pound logs of Belgioioso mozzarella (presumably fresh) look good at $6.99 each, and a couple of Whole Body specials are really calling to me in this sale, with Mrs. Meyer's liquid hand soap $3.99 each (it makes a great kitchen sink soap and comes in lovely fragrances) and select Nature's Gate shampoos and conditioners $4.99 each, which is $3 off.

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

For today only, the 26th, our local Whole Foods stores will offer us top round baron of beef at half price. Personally, we've indulged in enough steaks from the Baseline grand reopening sale that just ended yesterday, I could go quite a while now without looking at any more beef. Here's their pretty picture:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Last Call For Baseline Whole Foods Sale

Just a reminder that you only have through tomorrow, the 25th, to catch the rather good deals being offered only at the Baseline Whole Foods store in celebration of its grand reopening. Chief among them to me are the NY strip steaks at $8.99 a pound, $10 off Whole Foods' usual price. I don't usually freeze steaks since it seems their quality diminishes when frozen, but heck, at that price, I could use a fine steak as stew beef! And they come already individually packaged in a vacuum seal since the remodel opted for a meat case instead of a full serve department, so they are totally freezer-ready. Other items of particular note to me are organic broccoli for just 99 cents a pound, bulk pistachios for $4.99 a pound (bet you can't eat just one), Brown Cow Greek yogurts $1 each (although the Pearl Street store has that same price also through tomorrow), and their cookie bar half off.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Korean Food In Boulder

I've been wanting to explore Korean food for some time now, and looking over several Korean cookbooks, concluded that this would be better done by letting someone else handle the cooking in a restaurant. Boulder briefly had one called Bibimbap just off the Pearl Street mall, but like so many Boulder restaurants, it had its brief day in the sun then closed before I could even try it out. But lo, it turns out that Boulder has had Korea House quietly serving the community for over 20 years. Who knew? I sure didn't. I occasionally hit a cooking wall where as much as I enjoy cooking, I just can't face the stove, and that happened this weekend. Looking for a fun alternative, we tried Korea House out, and it's a lovely place with a real neighborhood feel. They even offer a combo box that allowed me to try two Korean specialties at once, bbq galbi and bulgolgi. Their barley tea was also great option for someone like me who's forsworn caffeine, although I also indulged in a Hite, a Korean beer. The place was off to a quiet start at 7 pm, but various folks soon filled the room, from couples, to singles, to families, all looking like this was a home away from home for them. Definitely a cool find in Boulder.

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Another good cold, slightly snowy morning, Boulder. Time to think about food for the rest of the week. Trying to come up with dinner ideas, I've been focusing on three things that particularly appeal in this week's sale: the organic roma tomatoes that are so very low at 98 cents a pound at Sprouts, the organic eggplant that's $1.50 each also at Sprouts, just because it's been so long since we've had eggplant, and boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.99 a pound at Sprouts, but I'll head to the Lucky's Market in Longmont where they are also $1.99 a pound through Wednesday, remarkable considering Lucky's "never ever" standards, including testing to ensure their meats are antibiotic-free. Some of those chicken breasts will also go in the freezer.

Given those three considerations, we'll turn to an eggplant pasta dish I haven't made in a long time for tomorrow, brown rice penne with eggplant from Cooking Light. This obviously could be made with any pasta of choice, although I happen to have some rice penne available. It's kind of like a quick ratatouille on pasta, and it uses jarred pasta sauce (glad they recommend Muir Glen, one of my favorites for everyday use). Plenty of those organic romas will go in the side salad, since I don't even have to bother with them for the pasta.

Tuesday will be something with an Asian spin, turning to those boneless skinless chicken breasts for that. I could drag out a recipe like Kung Pao chicken from Epicurious, but more likely we'll make it really easy with a defrosted bag of stir-fry veggies with edamame, enhanced with some fresh ginger, organic broccoli from Whole Foods' Baseline reopening sale (99 cents a pound through Tuesday), and lots of fresh scallions.

For our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, this week will be the shrimp and scallop posole from Bon Appetit. Again, lots of those 98 cent a pound organic romas on the side salad.

To keep Thursday simple, we'll probably saute more of those boneless skinless chicken breasts, maybe with Cooking Light's quick mushroom sauce I've mentioned before. Microwaved "baked" potatoes and steamed organic broccoli from that Baseline Whole Foods sale (through Tuesday) will easily round things out.

Which gets us through a pretty easy week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Quick rundown. It has been a while since much fish has been on deck, so we'll turn more towards that for the weekend, starting with tonight's sauteed cod provencale, a super easy and quick one from Gourmet magazine. I can fortunately pick up some cod at the Longmont Lucky's, where I know it's on sale for $7.99 a pound, and I saw it in the freezer case at Boulder's new Trader Joe's, where it was only $6.99 a pound if I remember correctly.

Today is Whole Foods' one-day sale on organic whole chickens for only $1.99 a pound, so while it's still winter, I'll grab one to do a classic roasted chicken and winter veggies for tomorrow night's dinner. I can also roast some asparagus, since I still have a bunch from this past week's asparagus sale frenzy.

Going back to the seafood idea for Sunday, and also wanting something big to serve as a quick weekday reheat, I'm thinking about the sea scallops on sale at Sprouts for $8.99 a pound for a light but satisfying dish, shrimp and scallop posole from Bon Appetit. It gets rave reviews, with a four "forks" rating and 94% saying they would make it again, and I'm among them, since I've definitely made this more than once.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Trader Joe's Interesting But Still A Zoo

I finally got to our new Boulder Trader Joe's this afternoon, and it's still a bit difficult to navigate through the crowds. It's definitely a different approach than anything we've (or at least I've) seen in Boulder, with the majority of offerings being Trader Joe's private label, which I understand are made for them by major national companies. Hope to post more later when I have a bit of time, but my first reaction as a primarily from-scratch cook was to be rather disoriented and almost tempted by so many already prepared offerings. I did toy with the poutine as a side for tonight's antibiotic-free pork chops from Lucky's, but after seeing that the contents of the bag amounted to 1200 calories (albeit for six supposed portions, but you know the whole thing is going to be consumed no matter the number, right?), my original modest plan for buttermilk mashed potatoes made myself actually sounded like the better idea. More when I get a chance to really take in the place, and have fewer crowds to try to get through.

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a special sale for tomorrow only, plus a duo that will last all the way through the weekend. The sale on their very fine chicken for tomorrow only is tempting indeed.  Here's what they say:


Whole Fresh Chickens: 46% OFF
Organic | Step 4 Rated
Sale Price: $1.99/LB
FEB 21-23 :: FRI-SUN
Suja Elements50% OFF
Sale Price: 2 for $5

Biochem Whey Protein: 50% OFF
Sale Price: $13.49 Each

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts stores, while the current one continues at Whole Foods through the 25th (and don't forget about the special grand reopening sale only at the Baseline store, also through the 25th), and the one at Vitamin Cottage lasts through March 1st. Don't know yet if our new Trader Joe's bothers with weekly specials, but I haven't even had time so far to set foot in the store, much less add another one to cover. Here's what's looking good to me now.

In Sprouts' new sale through the 26th, value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound, stuffed chicken breasts are $2.99 a pound, and two types of chicken sausage are also $2.99 a pound. In fish, tilapia is $4.99 a pound, previously frozen wild Alaskan coho salmon fillets are $9.99 a pound, and 30/40 count previously frozen large Peruvian sea scallops are $9.99 a pound.

The big news to me in Sprouts' sale is in organic produce, where roma tomatoes are a stunning 98 cents a pound, and russet potatoes or Valencia oranges are both 68 cents a pound. Also looking good in organic are celery or eggplant $1.50 (must be each, since it doesn't say a pound), and red delicious apples or broccoli both $1.50 a pound. In conventional produce, asparagus has bumped up a bit from this week's fabulous price, but is still looking good at $1.88 a pound. Elsewhere in the store, I'm enthused about some Lundberg rice products at 33% off, Avalon Organics hair and body care 25% off, and there's a pet sale with some pet food and treats at 35% off.

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a duo of special sales for today only, the 19th. Not liking coconut, that one doesn't do much for me. Here's what they say:


365 Everyday Value® 
Coconut Water (17.6oz): 10 for $10Or get it by the Case!

Pasta Meal Value Packs: $5 OFFJust Heat & Serve!
Sale Price: $9.99 Each

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Albeit belated, but that's what a lazy President's Day weekend will do to one. With our remarkably spring-like temperatures (apologies to my friends and relatives on the East Coast), we'll send the family griller outside in the dark tonight to actually get some of those fantastic $8.99 a pound NY strip steaks from the Baseline Whole Foods reopening sale on the grill. Ribeye fans should take note of those at the same price at the Lucky's Market in Longmont. Asparagus on sale everywhere will go on the side.

Tomorrow will be our reheat of Sunday's big kale and white bean stew from Food & Wine magazine. Sorry there was no time for posting any weekend plans earlier.

For Wednesday, we'll take advantage of these extraordinary asparagus sales through that day for chicken, asparagus and broccoli stir-fry from Bon Appetit. Other local sales also make this a wise choice, but sorry, I just don't have time to record it all now.

For Thursday, I'm looking at those boneless pork chops at Lucky's Market for $2.99 a pound through Wednesday (with their never ever standards) for a quick meal. Microwaved "baked" potatoes (Sprouts has five pound bags of organic russets at a good price) and maybe even more of that asparagus will go on the side.

Enjoy this fabulous weather as it inches us every day towards spring!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

More Good Lucky's Longmont Deals

Sorry that I don't have time to compare these with the Boulder Lucky's Market sales, and they tend to differ, but there are a few things really worth pointing out if you happen to be in the area of the new Lucky's in Longmont.  Ribeye steak fans will appreciate them at $8.99 a pound through the 19th (bone not specified, but they always say bone-in adds flavor) with Lucky's "never ever" antibiotic-free standards, but also remember the boneless NY strip steaks at the Baseline Whole Foods at the same price through the 25th. Also, the Longmont Lucky's is joining the asparagus frenzy, with 98 cents a pound this week (Whole Foods doing the same only through today in a weekend sale, and Sprouts has same through Wednesday). Lucky's very fine boneless pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound, whole frying chickens are $1.59 a pound, and bone-in chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound (remember, these are all antibiotic-free). Some Chocolove chocolate bars are particularly low at $1.50 each (sale generally $2 elsewhere), and while I rarely do prepared foods from a deli department, orange oil grilled kale at $6.99 a pound is tempting.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Learning Patience From Trader Joe's Opening

So I was in the line that wrapped around the building of the new Boulder Trader Joe's yesterday just prior to its 8 am opening. As we inched along the line after the doors opened, I thought, "why am I doing this?" A friend's comment came back to me, that she didn't plan to try to go in until maybe the middle of next week, and that suddenly struck me as extraordinarily sensible. I left the line and those hordes waiting to pack the store beyond reason. I've been to plenty of Trader Joe's while traveling and am especially interested in checking out some of their private label prepared foods for a little more convenience in this household, but for the moment, I'll hold off on that grand opening rush.

Ode To Greek Yogurts

I've been downing a Cascade Fresh natural yogurt almost every morning for years because they offer great taste at only 110 calories each, when most other natural/organic yogurts seemed to be either higher calorie or rather sour at that caloric range. Enter the very popular Greek yogurts, which I'm now surprised to find offer even richer taste and more protein (therefore being more filling, a dieter's friend), with some still being in that 110 or a bit more calorie range. I'm currently hooked on Brown Cow's Greek yogurt, where the nonfat yummy vanilla clocks in at that identical 110 calories, and some of its nonfat fruit varieties add only 10 calories more (yes, if you get into the salted caramel, you'll be bumping it up considerably more). Problem is that Greek yogurt tends to be much more expensive than my longtime favorite, but keeping an eye on sales always helps. I'm finding the Brown Cow ones for $1 each at the Pearl Street Whole Foods through the 25th, and they are also in the special flyer for the Whole Foods Baseline store at that same price. Yum.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Health And Happiness At Alfalfa's

Who could ask for more than health and happiness? Alfalfa's will offer a free class this Sunday on how to achieve same (note registration below). Here's what they say:

Health and Happiness with Chanel Helgason, MD

Sunday, February 16

Alfalfa’s Community Room
2:00 to 3:30pm
Join Chanel Helgason, MD, for an interactive presentation which will guide you through the stages of self-assessment, self-acceptance and self-change. Dr. Helgason is an integrative psychiatrist who personally understands the importance of living a balanced, authentic life. She founded SynerGenius Consulting to share the extensive scientific evidence for approaches which support individuals in creating fulfilling, happy lives.
Click here to register for this FREE class. 

Baseline Reopening Celebration Tomorrow

Happy Valentine's Day! As already mentioned, we'll be doing a heart-healthy salmon, mustard greens and potatoes with mustard-dill glaze tonight as a foil to the customary cholesterol-clogged Valentine's dinners that say to me you are trying to kill off your love instead. In any case, there's also the grand reopening celebration tomorrow from noon to 4 pm at the Whole Foods store at Baseline and Broadway, if you're looking for fun and treats. They're promising kid's events, giveaways, live music, mini-facials, and a taste fair. Good times all around.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trader Joe's Opening Tomorrow

Yup, it's official. Boulder will finally have its own Trader Joe's as part of the 29th Street complex, opening tomorrow at 8 am. Yahoo!

More Special Sales At Whole Foods

In addition to the usual weekend sale from Friday to Sunday, our local Whole Foods stores are offering us a special surf and turf sale for today and tomorrow only. Here's what they say (bearing in mind that Sprouts has asparagus for 98 cents a pound all the way through next Wednesday):

THURS-FRI :: FEB 13-14
Buy 1 Dry-Aged Steak
Get 1 Lobster Tail Free

FRI-SUN :: FEB 14-16
 75% OFF
Sale Price: 99¢/lb

Chocolove Bars: 3 for $5

Rubicon 4" Cakes: 40% OFF
Sale Price: $2.99 Each

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trader Joe's Opening Friday?

We were told months ago that the new Trader Joe's under construction on 28th Street would open on Valentine's Day, but I haven't seen anything more about that as the opening should be nearing. And when I passed by there this afternoon, the construction fencing was still very much surrounding the building.  But lo, today's mail has brought the February issue of Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, with many temptations applicable to stores around the country, intimating something really is afoot for our local opening. So I checked the Trader Joe's website, and indeed, they are still projecting an opening for the Boulder store this Friday on Valentine's Day. It will be fun to have yet another quality shopping option in Boulder, and I will be forever grateful to the store's other locations for having a publicly available bathroom in their Brookline Mass store when I was wandering around all day while my husband ran the Boston Marathon a couple of years ago. I did buy a banana or something just as a thank you.

Special Baseline Whole Foods Sale

In celebration of its grand reopening after a complete remodel, the Whole Foods store at Baseline and Broadway is holding a special sale just at that one store through February 25th. I've already praised the sale on NY strip steaks to the skies, being $10 off per pound at just $8.99 a pound, and the ones we had last night were fabulous. (An interesting feature of the remodel is how well-suited it is to its location directly across from CU, with more emphasis on convenience and seating. There in fact is no longer a full service meat department, with prepackaged meats in a couple of cases replacing it. I felt less than eco-friendly unwrapping my individually vacuum-packed steaks last night.) In other sales at the Baseline store, bulk pistachios are addictive at $4.99 a pound, $3 off, their own hot pizza is $6.99, $2 off, Bell & Evans chicken nuggets are half price at $3.50, organic broccoli is just 99 cents a pound, Whole Trade pineapples are $2.99 off at $2 each, their new cookie bar is half off at $4.99 a pound, and the olive bar (which really is pretty teeny) is $6.99 a pound, $3 off. Serious olive bar fans would do much better to go to the Pearl Street store on any Thursday, when that vast olive bar is also $6.99 a pound. Brown Cow's excellent Greek yogurts are $1 each, but I'm also finding them at the Pearl Street store at that price through the 25th. Finally, if you buy a coffee, you can get a pastry half off. Pretty well tailored to students' needs, I'd say.

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods, while the current one continues through March 1st at Vitamin Cottage. And don't forget about the special sale going on at the Baseline Whole Foods for its grand reopening. I need to find time to do a separate post about that, but I've already been raving about the NY strip steaks for $8.99 a pound. Here's what's looking good to me now.

In Sprouts' new sale through February 19th, they're continuing to cheer us up with conventional asparagus specials, this week dipping the price to an astounding 98 cents a pound (and stay tuned for a weekend sale at Whole Foods at a similar price). In meat, chicken breast tenders are $1.99 a pound, chicken sausage (pork too) is $2.99 a pound, boneless ribeyes are $9.99 a pound (but also remember that Baseline Whole Foods' sale on exceedingly fine boneless NY strips for even less), and fresh ground chicken, pork or chicken breast are all $2.99 a pound. Fresh farmed Atlantic salmon fillets are $9.99 a pound and previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets are $7.99 a pound.

In organic produce at Sprouts, celery is just 98 cents a bunch, curly or Lacinato kale are both $1.50 a bunch, broccoli is $1.50 a pound, five pound bags of carrots are $2.99 each, five pound bags of russet potatoes are also $2.99 each, four pound bags of Valencia oranges are $2.50 each, and gala apples are $1.50 a pound. Elsewhere in the store, I'm liking Voskos Greek Yogurt at $1 each (although I'm really into Whole Foods' current sale on Brown Cow Greek yogurts), select Pamela's cookies $3 a box, and select Cascadian Farm 16 ounce frozen veggies at $2 a bag. Also, I've fallen for the convenience of Seventh Generation's laundry tablets instead of the liquid, and the 30 count container is $6.99 this week.

In Whole Foods' new sale through February 25th, lobster tails are $7 each, $1 higher than their previous sale price, but these are almost always beauties from Maine or possibly Canada. You can find lobster tails for less elsewhere, but I love the ones from Whole Foods. Bone-in pork chops (including the brined ones) and Market Made chicken cordon bleu are both $5.99 a pound, and air-chilled split chicken breasts are $3.99 a pound. In produce, organic kale is $2 a bunch (but $1.50 at Sprouts), conventional artichokes are $2.50 each, and organic D'Anjou pears are stunning at 99 cents a pound. Conventional asparagus is $1.99 a pound, but I'd watch for the upcoming weekend sale, plus it's 98 cents a pound at Sprouts all week. Addictive Lundberg Farms rice chips are $2 a bag, Market Made roasted tomato pesto tortellini is $3 off at $6.99 a pound, and their cheese pizzas are $6.99 each, although I wish they hadn't downsized them to 12 inches.

One- And Three-Day Sales At Whole Foods

With Valentine's Day nearly upon us, our local Whole Foods stores are mixing up the usual special sales by adding in a fabulous three-day sale on Whole Trade roses starting today. And 25% off all hand-cut cheese for today only is a tempting opportunity. Here's what they say:

All Hand-Cut Cheese: 25% OFF
Cocopotamus Chocolate
: 10 for $10

WED-FRI :: FEB 12-14
Whole Trade® Roses: $9.99/dozen
Blooms with Benefits!!

Shop Lucky's To Support Local Farmers Tomorrow

Some local farms were unfortunately devastated by last fall's floods and are still suffering. Tomorrow, Lucky's Markets in both Boulder and Longmont are donating a generous 5% of all purchases to farm relief. Here's what the Boulder Farmers' Market says about it:

Dear Eileen,

Shop at Lucky's Market this Thursday, February 13th, and help your local farmers recover from the flood!

As you may know, the September flooding last year devastated many of the area's farms. Millions of dollars worth of damage was sustained as topsoil was lost, holding ponds were filled with sand, and irrigation systems were washed away. Farmers are largely left out of federal and state relief, leaving private sources as the only hope for meaningful recovery. In response to this need, Local Food Shift, a Boulder based 501(c)(3), Community Foundation Boulder County, and Boulder County Farmers' Markets teamed up to form the Front Range Farm Relief Fund.

On February 13thLucky's Market is generously contributing 5% of all purchases, at both the Boulder and Longmont locations, all day, to the Front Range Farm Relief Fund. We are grateful for Lucky's support!

Thank you for shopping at Lucky's on Thursday and helping to keep your local farmers farming!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas

Some of us think that staying in for dinner on Valentine's Day is more romantic than going out. In fact, salmon, mustard greens and potatoes with mustard-dill glaze from Bon Appetit has been our heart-healthy go-to recipe for several years in this house. If you're looking to stay in but more inclined towards beef, the Baseline Whole Foods store's grand reopening sale on NY strip steaks for $8.99 a pound ($10 off per pound, and those aren't typos, but note only good at the Baseline store) are your ticket. If you're looking for more ideas, Epicurious' Recipe for Romance with 566 ideas should provide a starting point.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekday Dinner Plans

Well, things are rather in flux, now that I've seen the specials Whole Foods will be offering only at its Baseline store to celebrate its grand reopening tomorrow (see one post below).

I think my original plan for tomorrow will hold, which is penne with asparagus, spinach and bacon from Cooking Light. That choice is inspired by the asparagus at Sprouts for $1.88 a pound through Wednesday, and the modest two slices of bacon in the recipe shouldn't hurt anything.

Tuesday is the plan that's definitely changing due to the Baseline Whole Foods sale. Last night's organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods' weekend sale at all our local stores was so spectacularly successful (we had the Bear Mountain BBQ smoked variety, just fabulous), I'd planned to cheat to grab another one today on the last day of the sale ($8.99 each, $5 off) to pop in the oven for rewarming on Tuesday. But then I saw the NY strip steaks on sale for the Baseline Whole Foods grand reopening at $8.99 a pound, $10 off, and thought, heck, we'll go for steaks instead. I could always roast more of that asparagus from Sprouts on the side.

Wednesday will be our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the now modest-sounding sweet potato and sausage soup from Bon Appetit.

Thursday is also in flux, since I'd earlier thought we'd do a beef and mushroom stroganoff from Cooking Light in honor of the Olympics in Sochi (funny where one's inspirations for dinner plans come from, but it helps to have something), but this cholesterol-watching household doesn't do much beef in any case, and definitely not within two days of a NY strip steak. Think I'll be on the lookout for a vegetarian possibility instead for the day before Valentine's Day.

Baseline Whole Foods Grand Reopening Tomorrow

Another Boulder morning with yet another touch of snow, but at least we should get up to freezing again today, and 60s by the latter part of the week, looking forward to that. I'm also looking forward to the grand reopening of Whole Foods' Baseline store tomorrow morning, following an extensive renovation. They'll have a special Breaking Bread ceremony on the patio before they open at 7:30 tomorrow (they say: Join us for our bread breaking ceremony at 7:20 am to celebrate our grand reopening!  Allegro will be here serving up hot coffee just for you, and we’ll have free gift bags for the first 50 customers through the line. Doors open at 7:30am.). 

They will also have a slew of specials solely for the Baseline store, but the timeframe for the sale wasn't specified and only came in an email that doesn't want to paste in, so be on the lookout for a flyer if you get to the store. The one that particularly caught my eye is Country Natural beef NY strips for $8.99 a pound, which is $10 off per pound (and again, this is only for the Baseline store). That's rearranging the dinner plans I already had for the rest of the week.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Supper Club Coming Up

The Pearl Street Whole Foods will host a supper club this Thursday, the day before Valentine's Day, for an extremely reasonable price. Here are the details from them, and apologies if it cuts off on the right (this started recently with them, and I haven't figured out anything I can do about it):


6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Join Dana and Steph for their monthly supper club. This indulgent, multi-course meal will feature seasonal ingredients and recipes perfect for spoiling the one you love. Please note- this meal will not be exclusively vegan like most of our other supper club events. Tickets are $10/pp plus handling and tax, and can be purchased here. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weekend Dinner Ideas

A quick rundown as we start to dig our way out of the deep freeze. Tilapia is on my radar for tonight, being $6.99 a pound at Sprouts through Wednesday (although I have yet to check its provenance), and $8.99 a pound for Colorado tilapia at both the Boulder and Longmont Lucky's Markets. Bon Appetit long ago had an article on sustainable fish that mentioned that domestic farmed tilapia can be one of the most eco-friendly fish available. The idea of getting local tilapia only improves on that, so I think a trip to Lucky's is in my near future. That same article had a recipe for an entire dinner focused on tilapia with balsamic butter sauce. Since potatoes will probably be on deck for tomorrow, a wild rice blend is more likely as a side tonight.

Tomorrow is indeed not quite settled. I'm definitely going to take advantage of the organic rotisserie chickens Whole Foods has in its weekend sale for $8.99 each ($5 off), but am still waffling as to whether that convenience is better employed at the end of a busy Saturday, or purchase put off until Sunday for a rewarm for Monday's dinner.

Sunday's dinner is pretty settled, sweet potato and sausage soup from Bon Appetit. Inspiration comes from a) it's been frigid and we need a warming soup, b) Sprouts has organic yams (just about interchangeable and usually confused with sweet potatoes) for just 98 cents a pound and chicken sausage (fresh, so cook it longer than in the recipe) for $2.99 a pound through Wednesday, and they've been continually offering organic spinach in their bulk bins for much lower than elsewhere, and c) this will give us an easy midweek reheat as well.

Which gets us through another weekend.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a plethora of special sales starting tomorrow, most stretching through Sunday. There's something very cheery about seeing orchids being carried out to cars in the middle of winter, but in our current frigid temperatures, I hope they make it home safely.  Here's what they say:

3-7 pm only
Crab Legs: $5 OFF/lb
Sale Price: $18.99/lb

FRI-SUN :: FEB 7-9
Facial Care: 25% OFF
(Excludes Lip Balm & Makeup)

Raw Milk Swiss Cheese: $5 OFF/lb
Sale Price: $9.99/lb

La Croix (12-Packs): 50% OFF
Sale Price: 2 for $7

Organic Rotisserie Chickens: $5 OFF
Cooked In-House
Sale Price: $8.99 Each

4" Orchids: 50% OFF
Sale Price: $9.99 Each

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

Greetings from Siberia, or so it seems. It was 16 below zero at DIA when I got up this morning, and I'm ready to climb into a hole and hibernate until we get ourselves out of this infernal (although that's a reference to the heat of hell, so that doesn't work) weather pattern. However, there's still cooking to do, and we have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts stores, while the current one at Whole Foods continues through February 11th, and the new one at Vitamin Cottage runs through March 1st (check a few posts below for those). Here's what's looking good to me now.

Sprouts seems to be trying to put us in the mood for spring with its new sale running through February 12th, as conventional asparagus remains on sale, although bumped up a bit to a still very respectable $1.88 a pound. Boneless pork loin chops (roast also) are quite notable at just $1.99 a pound, all fresh sausage is $2.99 a pound, stuffed chicken breasts are $2.99 a pound, boneless country-style ribs or pork shoulder roast are both $2.49 a pound, top sirloin steak is $5.99 a pound, and fresh farmed tilapia is $6.99 a pound, but I'd want to see where that comes from.

In organic produce at Sprouts, red or green leaf lettuce are both $1.50 a head, broccoli is $1.50 a pound, garnet or jewel yams are 98 cents a pound, celery is $1.50 a bunch, Bosc pears are $1.50 a pound, and cameo apples are $1.28 a pound. Elsewhere in the store, select Brown Cow yogurts are 69 cents each (although they tend to favor the cream topped ones for sales), Muir Glen organic pasta sauce is decent at $3 a jar, Spectrum organic extra virgin olive oil is just $9.99 for 750 ml (if that's the same as 25.4 ounces, the price is the same at Vitamin Cottage), and big 28 ounce cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes are $2.49 each, but they're $2.15 at Vitamin Cottage.

Attempt to stay warm out there.

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

We have a duo of special sales at our local Whole Foods stores for today only, the 5th. I should look up the origins of dolmas; perhaps they're to get us in a Sochi kind of mood. Here's what they say:

Hand-packaged Dolmas: 50% OFF
Sale Price: $5.49/lb

Whole Trade® Pineapples: 40% OFF
Sale Price: 2/$6

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Deals At Vitamin Cottage

Another good cold and snowy morning, Boulder. (Just wait until tomorrow, when the high is only expected to be four degrees.) Vitamin Cottage has a new sale that just started, and it runs through March 1st. The item I'm seeing that warms my heart in these depths of winter is organic roma tomatoes for $1.69 a pound. How nice to find an organic tomato at an excellent price for the entire month of February. I'm also liking air-chilled, antibiotic-free whole fryer chickens at $2.29 a pound, Green and Black's organic chocolate bars $2.19 each (3.5 ounces), Lundberg's addictive rice chips $1.99 a bag for the natural, $2.35 a bag for the organic, big 28 ounce cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes $2.15 each, and 25.4 ounce bottles of Spectrum organic extra virgin olive oil for $9.99 each when they are usually $15.15. The 50 ounce Seventh Generation 4X concentrated laundry detergent in its very cool recyclable package is a quite good price at $11.49 each, but I've grown so accustomed to the convenience of their little packets, I'm never going back to the liquid. And of course, being Vitamin Cottage, there are lots of good prices on supplements.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oh Well

Good thing I'm not a fan of football anyway. At least our Buffalo wings from Whole Foods and homemade black bean chili and cornbread were great.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Good cold and very white morning, Boulder. Happy Super Bowl today and also happy Groundhog Day. Punxsatawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter this morning, but at the rate we're going, we may be condensing them all into one. At least we get a one day break from the snow today, then have snow in the forecast for the next five days in a row, with highs for Wednesday only expected in single digits. At this rate, we should join our New York and New Jersey Super Bowl friends for better weather.

Getting back to what to eat for the rest of the week after consuming multitudes of chicken wings (see a few posts below for Whole Foods' fantastic weekend-only sale on them) and chili today, my primary motivation will be avoiding leftovers, as I already have a fridge full of them. Tomorrow we'll therefore set a different tone from today by doing swordfish steaks, since I've discovered Whole Foods, at least at the Pearl Street store, reliably has nice Canadian ones in their seafood freezer case for a quite reasonable price of about $10 a pound (and we'll only eat swordfish that comes from either the US or Canada). Some of that asparagus that's just $1.48 a pound at Sprouts through Wednesday will go on the side, either steamed or roasted.

Tuesday is dine out for Greenwood Wildlife day (see the post just below this for details), with a number of local restaurants offering support for Greenwood's wonderful efforts saving injured and orphaned wildlife by donating a portion of their proceeds that day. Not getting out much (a casualty of liking to cook at home), we'll try the Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza option, allowing us to stay at home for dinner while also almost giving the cook a night off. If the roads remain snowy, that's a good thing too.

Wednesday will be our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is tonight's black bean chili with butternut squash and Swiss chard from Bon Appetit.

Thursday's still a bit up in the air, but not having had rice or something Asian so far for the week, I'm thinking about a very simple recipe for a pork and asparagus stir-fry from Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World cookbook, grabbing more of that sale asparagus at Sprouts by Wednesday. The cookbook recipe calls for diced pork, but he also published a fairly similar recipe in the New York Times as stir-fried asparagus with pork, which calls for ground pork instead.

At which point it should still be snowing and we all should be about ready to scream. At least we'll have a day off from more snow coming down today, and it seems the whole state will be screaming for the Broncos.

P.S. It just started snowing again at a bit before 9 this morning, at least at my house. So much for a day without snow.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dine Out For Wildlife Tuesday

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which does such great work locally helping injured and abandoned animals, will get some help from local restaurants donating a portion of their proceeds this Tuesday, the 4th. We rarely go out (a downside of liking to cook), so I'm intrigued by Papa Murphy's appearing on the list for their take 'n bake pizzas. We could support Greenwood, effectively give the cook a day off, and stay home too. Here are the details from Greenwood:

Dine Out for Wildlife this coming Tuesday, February 4
Dine Out logo
Please join us for our second annual Dine Out for Wildlife! A portion of your dining dollars will benefit orphaned and injured wildlife. Patronize these wonderful eateries for both lunch and dinner!

Bacco Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar, Boulder
Boulder Beer, Boulder
CHUBurger, Longmont
Double D's Sourdough Pizza, Broomfield
Foolish Craig's Cafe, Boulder (5-9 p.m. only)
Gordon Biersch, Broomfield
Jill's Restaurant, Boulder (seven-course
vegan dinner)

Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza(three locations:  North & South Boulder, Erie)
Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar, Louisville
Proto's Pizza, Boulder
Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant, Longmont
Pinocchio's Incredible Italian, Longmont
It's a great excuse to dine out!