Monday, March 31, 2014

Saveur Magazine's Seafood Issue

As previously mentioned, Saveur is probably my favorite magazine on earth. While technically a popular food magazine, its slant towards the history and ethnography of food both internationally and in the tiniest hamlets of the United States, combined with photography to blow your eyes away, makes it a read far beyond your basic cooking magazine. This month, (the April issue) Saveur is going even nearer and dearer to my heart by doing a special issue on seafood. You can see some of the recipes online, but to me, Saveur has always been more about the articles, about which they are coy, sharing only a couple on the web. It's an issue that will enlighten on so many fronts, including crawfish (who knew the shellfish in Manhattan's Zabar's lobster salad was exposed as crawfish?), an appreciation (that I still lack, despite many trips to Monterey) of sardines, home cooking in the villages along Croatia's Dalmatian coast, a lesson in remoulade styles, and a primer on the fish and ales to be found on the Oregon coast. There's also an article on the seafood of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, two teeny islands off the Atlantic coast of Canada that are actually French territory, with passports stamped by French customs officials, euros used as currency, and a very native French-sounding environment in its food and drink scene. Who knew? That's why I love each new issue of this magazine. Always so much to learn while being entertained by the writing at the same time.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekday Dinner Ideas

On a day likely to top 70 degrees in Boulder, this of necessity will be quick. We have something vegetarian at least once a week, so for tomorrow it will be fettuccine with tomato-cream sauce from Cooking Light. Whole Foods has that big size of Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes for the quite good price of $2 each through Tuesday.

Tuesday will be our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is tonight's New England seafood chowder from Bon Appetit. Ah, to be having it on a New England shore instead.

By Wednesday, we'll want something with an Asian flair, something involving rice, and something easy, so chicken, asparagus, and broccoli stir-fry from Bon Appetit comes to mind as a suitable dish for the season and the day. Sprouts has chicken breast tenders for a not remarkable sale price of $2.49 a pound through Wednesday, but my freezer is well stocked with chicken breasts from great sales at Lucky's Market.

Thursday will also be an easy one, doing weekday Florentine: scrambled eggs with spinach and parmesan from Bon Appetit, adjusting the size of the ingredients as needed. I play pretty liberally with this recipe, always using the spinach and parmesan and cholesterol-free Nulaid eggs, but diverge however I want from there. This week I'll probably add some ham, pancetta or bacon, since we've already done one purely vegetarian dish, maybe some other greens or veggies, and it works well done in the style of an omelet or frittata as well. Breakfast for dinner is fine, but a frittata seems more appropriate than scrambled eggs for that time of day.

Enjoy today, before those winds kick up again!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Tonight's a no-brainer, with lobster tails $4.99 each for today only at our local Whole Foods stores. The question remains how to cook them. I've used a great recipe for creamy lobster pappardelle several times in the past for these (you can pop that in the search box at the top left of this page for the link), but it seems time to move on. In Whole Foods' own announcement of the sale, one of their suggestions is a classic lobster with lemon and chive drawn butter, but that's actually written for a whole lobster, not just the tail. We might experiment with using the butter part (no-cholesterol Earth Balance of course substituted because of the substantial butter amount involved), and maybe broiling the tails instead of dumping them into boiling water as appropriate for a whole lobster. I'll have those humongous artichokes at $2 each at Whole Foods on the side (artichokes cheaper elsewhere this week, but none so handsome and large as the ones I saw at Whole Foods).

For tomorrow, the temperatures should be around 70, and with daylight hours longer, I'm hoping our winds will cooperate to send the family griller out to do some bone-in country-style pork ribs, which I'm lucky enough to have access to at the Lucky's Market in Longmont for $1.99 a pound (sorry, still no time to check on the Boulder store, too far north for me).

By Sunday, we'll still need something that will also serve as an easy midweek reheat, and the previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets at Sprouts for $4.99 a pound are sending me in the direction of New England seafood chowder from Epicurious. I considered several cod recipes, but the opportunity to add a bit more butternut squash as we're ready to head into spring veggies sent me to this one, plus organic kale is just 98 cents a bunch this week at Sprouts, in addition to their great cod price. And that touch of curry is great in this.

So do enjoy what looks to be a pretty nice weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Another Special Alfalfa's Sale

Alfalfa's is doing another special four-day sale (I like how they use their hyphens correctly), this one from today through Sunday, the 30th. Of the twelve items listed, the ones that particularly strike me are organic roma tomatoes for just 99 cents a pound, rainbow trout sustainably farmed in Idaho for $5.99 a pound ($4 off), Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads $3.99 a loaf, and our local Eldorado spring water $5.99 for a case of 24 500 ml bottles, much classier to have on hand for a group than some national brand. There's also an amusing March Madness housemade sale, where if you buy any two of their meatballs, chicken wings, potato skins or jalapeno poppers, you get a free take 'n bake cheese pizza into the bargain. Also, organic green or Lacinato kale are $1.49 a bunch, but organic green curly kale is only 98 cents a bunch at Sprouts all the way through Wednesday.

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

For tomorrow only, the 28th, our local Whole Foods stores will have their excellent (in my observation always either from Maine or the Canadian coast) lobster tails for just $4.99 each, the lowest I've ever seen. I know what's going on my dinner table tomorrow. Also, for the whole weekend, something called Amazing Meal from Amazing Grass is half off at $19.99. Lobster sounds a whole lot better to me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

For today only, the 26th, Whole Foods has one pound containers of organic strawberries for $3 each. But if you miss that, they're $3.98 each at Sprouts all the way through next Wednesday. Here's the pretty picture from Whole Foods:

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts stores, while the current ones continue at Whole Foods through April 1st, and Vitamin Cottage through April 5th. Here's what's looking good to me now, IMHO as always.

Sprouts' new sale through April 2nd is placing a big emphasis on sales within its own brand. I've tried their own pasta sauce, which was quite good, but otherwise have little to no experience with the various Sprouts items on sale, so this week leaves me a little stuck. In meat and fish, I do like previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets for a very low $4.99 a pound, boneless New York steaks $7.99 a pound, chicken sausage (pork also) $2.99 a pound, and fresh Atlantic farmed salmon $9.99 a pound. It's nice to see first of the season fresh Alaskan halibut being advertised, but at $8.99 for a pre-cut six ounce portion (multiply that one to your price per pound), I'm not jumping on that.

In organic produce at Sprouts, pints of grape tomatoes are very good at $2 each, green curly kale is just 98 cents a bunch, red, green or rainbow chard are all $1.50 a bunch, red or green leaf lettuce is also $1.50 a head, four pound bags of Valencia oranges are just $2.50 each, and five pound bags of carrots (what's a "table carrot"?) are $2.98 each. In conventional produce, asparagus is now $1.98 a pound, still a good price. As for the rest of the store, as I said, this week's emphasis in on Sprouts' own brand, and while I'm sure many of the products are great, I don't have experience and therefore can't speak re them.

Finally, the hard copy of this week's Sprouts ad has a $5 off coupon for a purchase of $30 or more (good at both Boulder stores and a bunch of others, but Longmont isn't listed) through April 2nd, but the coupon doesn't appear in the online version.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Congrats To Cured!

Wonderful Cured, Boulder's one-of-a-kind purveyor of fine cheeses, meats and wine, has another addition into the Boulder community. Owners Coral and Will welcomed their son Holden into the world on Saturday, and they've shared beautiful pics of him in their email. Reflecting the quality of what's found in their store, you know when a couple still sends out their weekly email with store highlights in such a week, those are people who are passionate about everything they do.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blood Sugar And Hormone Talk

At 6 pm tomorrow, the Lucky's Market in Longmont will host a talk on the blood sugar and hormone connection. They say "The single most important step to becoming healthier is to learn how to be more energy efficient. In this talk, we will learn how the body uses fuel and how we can use food to help the body heal naturally. For questions or to sign up, please contact"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekday Dinner Ideas

With a little bit of snow on the ground this morning, it's a good day to have slow-cooked Tuscan pork with white beans from Cooking Light cruising along in the slow cooker on the counter. But there's still the rest of the week to contend with.

To celebrate the arrival of spring, for tomorrow we'll do a spring favorite, sausage risotto with spring greens from Bon Appetit, even though it's too early to be getting those beautiful mixed spring greens that Cure Organic Farm offers. In the meantime, the braising mix that the Pearl Street Whole Foods offers in bulk makes a suitable substitute.

Tuesday will be our easy reheat of a big weekend dish, which this week is the slow-cooked Tuscan pork currently underway in the slow cooker. I got a really handsome pork loin roast from the Lucky's Market in Longmont ($2.99 a pound through Wednesday and also that same price at Sprouts) for that one.

We'll be ready for something along the seafood lines by Wednesday, and having already had a pasta dish on the weekend and a rice one for Tuesday, we'll mix it up by doing smoky shrimp and grits from Food and Wine magazine. Sprouts has very large 21-25 count raw shrimp for $8.99 a pound through that day.

For Thursday? I just don't know yet. Salmon burgers from Whole Foods or some pork chops (good prices at both Sprouts and Longmont Lucky's through Wednesday) are our later in the week fall-backs, but you just never know. I'd planned on doing those salmon burgers this past Friday, but when I got to the Pearl Street Whole Foods to get them, they were sampling a Dover sole that was so delicious, I opted for that instead.

So enjoy our early spring day. Snow on the ground in the morning, mid-50s by afternoon. Lovely.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Dinner Ideas

A quick sketch. Looking for convenience today, we'll probably turned to that standby, salmon burgers from Whole Foods with buttermilk mashed potatoes on the side. The BOGO housemade pizzas at Alfalfa's mentioned yesterday are also tempting, but they might work better as lunch than dinner over the weekend.

Tomorrow, in a nod towards newly arrived spring, we'll try out a new recipe from Cooking Light, penne with herbs, tomatoes, and peas, although it will be months before I'll be clipping from my own herbs. Sprouts has organic grape tomatoes (interchangeable with cherry to me) for $2.50 a pint this week, and I might also throw in some of Sprouts' conventional asparagus for $1.48 a pound ($2.99 for organic at Alfalfa's through the weekend, a great price for organic) just to add more of that springlike feel, although temps will dip way back down after yesterday's near 70 that ushered spring in.

We'll round out the weekend on Sunday with slow-cooked Tuscan pork with white beans, also from Cooking Light. Both Sprouts and Lucky's Market (at least the one in Longmont - don't know about Boulder) have boneless pork loin roasts on sale for $2.99 a pound, and I prefer a leaner cut to the shoulder one in the recipe, especially since the beans sit stewing in it all day.

Which quickly gets us through the weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Four-Day Sale At Alfalfa's Starts Today

Alfalfa's is having a special four-day sale starting today and running through Sunday, the 23rd. The item most tempting to me in their ad is their own housemade whole pizza BOGO for a cheese or 1-topping pizza. I've had their pizza, and it's really, really good. Also looking good is their olive bar, half price at $4.99 a pound, organic asparagus half price at a very reasonable $2.99 a pound, High Meadow organic milk super low at $2.29 for 64 ounces, organic seaweed snacks BOGO, Colorado raised striped bass $5.99 a pound, and five pound bags of organic russet potatoes just $1.99 each. I might just have to drag myself all the way across town to check this out.

Spring Farmers' Market Thoughts

Happy first day of spring! With that in mind, consider that the first day of this year's Farmers' Market in downtown Boulder is quickly approaching, opening on Saturday, April 5th. Hours on Saturdays downtown are 8 am to 2 pm, and the Wednesday afternoon/evening market will follow once the season progresses a bit more. My lawn has already been inching towards green for a couple of weeks, and various plants are showing promise. Can't wait to see if last fall's additions to the herb garden have survived.

Weekend Sale At Whole Foods

For tomorrow through Sunday, Fage Greek yogurt cups, well liked in this household, will be just $1 each:

Also, Fage in the quart size will be $4.99, and Boulder Soup Works soups will be nearly half off at $3.99 each.

Wednesday, March 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 April 1, and at Vitamin Cottage through April 5th, while Trader Joe's uses its private label to keep things low in lieu of specials. Here's what's looking good to me now.

In Sprouts' new sale through March 26th, boneless center-cut pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound, whole, split or cut-up fresh chickens are $1.59 a pound, all fresh sausages are $2.99 a pound, previously frozen coho salmon fillets are $8.99 a pound, and very large 21-25 count shrimp are also $8.99 a pound.

In organic produce, I'm liking garnet or jewel yams for 98 cents a pound, curly or Lacinato kale $1.50 a bunch, one pound bags of baby carrots $1.50 each, grape tomatoes $2.50 a pint, celery $1.50 a bunch, four pound bags of Valencia oranges $2.50 each, and red delicious apples $1.50 a pound. Also, conventional asparagus can be had for $1.48 a pound.

Elsewhere in the store at Sprouts, they're having a Frozen Frenzy, with 20% off everything frozen you can fit in their special sale bag. Bulk coffee beans are $6.99 a pound, the 15ish ounce size of Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes is $1.25 each (is? are? - size is singular...), Ezekiel 4:9 bread is $3.49 a loaf, and a whole bunch of snacks are 25% off in time for March Madness.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Fun With Korean Food

Several weeks ago, I described the fun I had starting to explore Korean cuisine at Korea House, a charming little place that has quietly been serving Boulder for over 20 years. That time, I tried two Korean specialties at once: galbi and bulgogi. When arranging lunch with a friend last week, I mentioned the place and she jumped on it, also being a Korean food newbie. This time, I got to try the classic Korean dish bibimbap, a rice dish with veggies, optional meat, and egg. The very cool thing is that at Korea House you can get it done with the hot stone method, where the dish is served in a hot stone bowl with a raw egg cracked into it. The idea is to swirl the ingredients around in the bowl upon arrival, and the hot stone cooks the egg into them beautifully. The stone also makes the rice on the very bottom tantalizingly crispy, possibly like the rice crust that's supposed to form at the bottom of a good paella. As we were majorly enjoying our lunch, the Korean chef came out to see how things were, and we were thrilled to be able to engage in a discussion of the food while working through something of a language barrier. Throughout the lunch, we drank pearl barley tea, a dairy- and caffeine-free beverage that is a spin on the hot barley tea I'd had on my prior trip. Although I rarely eat sweets, we were so enthused about the food, we split an order of mochi ice cream (ours was mango, and the ice cream balls are rolled in a rice paste and drizzled with chocolate) for dessert. I'm ready to go back to learn (and eat!) more.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Turns out I'll actually be able to do our corned beef and cabbage today, instead of yesterday as planned, and the leftovers will do us well for the coming week. If you are still trying to figure out what to do, here's a reminder of the guides I previously posted. But I'm still interested in pursuing true Irish cuisine, with its emphasis on fresh fish and local produce and meats.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Angsting Over A CSA

I've been wondering about joining a CSA for several years, but have thought the arrival of unpredictable food wouldn't fit with my cooking habits/lifestyle/psyche. I'm a planner by nature (psychopathic control freak might be the more accurate description) as readers of this blog have probably seen, lining up all my cooking plans then acting on them. So even though I already cook seasonally, the thought of contending with an unpredictable bunch of food arriving each week borders on traumatic for me. But CSAs have become so popular (witness yesterday's CSA fair here in Boulder), I'm increasingly tempted to try it out. Who knows how it might influence my approach to life. Some people look to therapy, mind-altering substances or religion to expand their sense of purpose and self, but my epiphany might just come in a box of unpredictable veggies.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

CSA Fair Today

Sorry for the late notice, but I just heard about this yesterday afternoon when there was no chance to post it. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture, where you receive regular installments of goods (most often veggies but lots of other options too) from your local farmer) have been exploding in popularity, and there's an excellent opportunity to check out whether one is right for you this morning at a local CSA fair. Here are the details:

BCFM & Local Food Shift
Would like to Announce:
The 2014 CSA Fair!
What is a CSA???
  • CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture
  • A CSA is like having your own personal Crop Share, by paying the Farmer you are able to invest in your food source for the duration of the CSA.
  • A CSA is a great way to become integrated in the Farm Community and form a personal relationship with your food producer!  
  • Every CSA is unique!  
Eggcellent Reasons to Join Us!!! 
  • Meet your Farmer!!!
  • Egg GIVEAWAY!!!  We have 50 dozen Eggs from Jodar Farms to GIVE AWAY to every 5th person who walks through the door!!!
  • Support Local Agriculture!!!
For More Info Click Here

Join Us Saturday March 15th from 9am-12pm
Located in the Impact HUB on Walnut and Broadway!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Gluten-Free Tasting Fair At Boulder Lucky's

This Sunday, the 16th, the Lucky's Market in north Boulder will hold a gluten-free tasting fair from 4 to 6 pm.They invite you to stop in and sample some of their tastiest gluten-free options while meeting with local vendors.

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With such good specials at the new Lucky's Market in Longmont, one shopping trip there is driving my thinking for the whole weekend. Apologies that I simply don't have time to compare the Longmont and Boulder Lucky's prices, but past experience has been that the Longmont Lucky's is still way less on meat, usually equal on fish, and Boulder excels on organic produce.

For tonight, the Alaskan cod fillets I see in the Longmont Lucky's flyer for $7.99 a pound (also a red rock cod for $6.99, both wild harvested) are prompting me to think of cod with Mediterranean salsa from Gourmet magazine, although it might just morph into fish tacos instead.

The Lucky's Market in Longmont also has antibiotic-free boneless skinless chicken breasts for the eye-popping price of $1.97 a pound this week (all sales through Wednesday), so something I haven't made for quite a while, chicken paprikash from Cooking Light is looking good. Rather than cholesterol-laden egg noodles, this is best done in my opinion with the wide yolkless noodles available at Lucky's Market or in the Kosher section at Whole Foods. The Longmont Lucky's also has conventional asparagus for just 87 cents a pound for a side.

Sunday has been the day that has really been driving my thoughts to the Longmont Lucky's, since that will be our Saint Patrick's Day eve dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Lucky's Market, where their meat department promises "never ever" standards of "antibiotic free - humanely processed - no preservatives," has ready to cook corned beef for $3.97 a pound, while this week's sale price at Whole Foods is $6.99 a pound. Considering all the shrinkage that happens with corned beef and the size of the hunk of meat you begin with, that makes a pretty noticeable difference. CORRECTION, AND IT'S A BIG ONE - I swung by the Longmont Lucky's to pick up that sale corned beef and found sodium nitrite among other things on the label. I asked the butcher about it, and he said the standards only apply to their in-house meats (this corned beef was packaged with the label of some firm). So I followed my original plan of buying my corned beef at Whole Foods as usual, and need to learn much more about just what meats fall under Lucky's "never ever" standards. Live and learn.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

Whole Foods is posting its special sales in a way I can no longer easily copy in, so I'll probably have to cut back on what I say about them.  For this week however, I will try to type it all in by hand. For tomorrow only, the 14th, sushi albacore crunch rolls will be half price at $5.99. For the whole weekend, the 14th through the 16th, sockeye salmon fillets are $12.99 a pound, rhubarb lattice pies are $12.99 each, and Nature's Gate four ounce sunscreens are substantially off at $4.99 each.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

For today only, our local Whole Foods stores have beef sirloin tip for $4.99 a pound, which is $3 off the usual price.

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 continues at Vitamin Cottage through April 5th. Here's what's looking good to me now.

Sprouts is once again launching a 72-hour sale for Friday through Sunday, including 24-packs of Arrowhead water bottles for $2.99 for the case, some Voskos Greek yogurts 4 for $3, and conventional pineapples just 98 cents each. In their regular sale through March 19th, value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound, bone-in ribeye steaks or roasts are $6.99 a pound, boneless country style pork ribs or the shoulder roast are both $1.99 a pound, stuffed chicken breasts or ground pork are both $2.99 a pound, fresh (farmed) Atlantic salmon fillets are $8.99 a pound, and 30/40 count Peruvian sea scallops are also $8.99 a pound.

In organic produce at Sprouts, the hot item for Saint Patrick's Day is green cabbage at just 25 cents a pound. Organic butternut squash is 88 cents a pound, celery is $1.50 a bunch, table carrots are $2.98 for a five pound bag, and Valencia oranges are $2.50 for a four pound bag. It's also possible that organic red potatoes are on sale for 50 cents a pound, but I find the flyer a bit ambiguous as to whether that price is for organic. Elsewhere in the store, I'm enthused about some Imagine organic broths at $2.50 a box, not a bad price outside of the winter holidays competition, some DeLallo whole wheat pastas (my new fave) $2 per one pound bag,  Fig Newmans at $3 a 10 ounce bag, and some seven ounce Kerrygold cheeses $4.49 each in time for St. Paddy's day.

In Whole Foods' new sale through April 1st, Market Made or Wellshire corned beef or buffalo brisket are $6.99 a pound (although I believe the Lucky's Market at least in Longmont has a considerably lower price, also antibiotic-free like Whole Foods, must check on that). Alaskan king salmon fillets are a whopping $19.99 a pound, but that's $5 off. Organic Bartlett pears are good at $1.69 a pound, and artichokes (presumably conventional) are tempting at $2 each, and they are usually quite handsome at Whole Foods. The large 28 ounce size of Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes is $2 each, Fage yogurts are $1.25 each, my favorite Seeduction bread is $3 a loaf, yummy Cotswold cheese is $13.99 a pound, San Pellegrino water is $1 a 25 ounce bottle, and I'll be sorely tempted by all Two Bite desserts $1 off at $3.99 a tub.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day Quickly Approaching

It seems closer to Easter with these spring-like temperatures we've been having, but there's still Saint Patrick's Day to celebrate a week from today. I'm getting increasingly curious about real Irish cuisine, as aside from traditional pub fare, it seems there's quite an emphasis on fresh fish and local produce, so I must do more exploration. However as far as it goes for a few days from now, we'll stick with the tried and true corned beef and cabbage, with in-house-cured corned beef from Whole Foods and the rest put together via the recipe in my ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking, the classic boiled New England dinner. This will more likely happen on St. Patrick's eve on Sunday, as a corned beef requires quite a bit of time to cook at a simmer, rather a difficult weekday meal. If you are looking for more innovative ways to celebrate, here are a few guides to help you out (although I don't believe I'd mess with glazing a fine piece of halibut with Guinness, much as I appreciate the nod to fish): Saint Patrick's Day Party Food and Drinks from Epicurious, St. Patrick's Day Feast from Cooking Light, and F&W's Ultimate Guide to St. Patrick's Day from Food and Wine magazine.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Daylight Savings Tonight/Tomorrow

This has nothing to do with food, unless it's to make sure you have your breakfast on time tomorrow, but don't forget to set those devices that don't automatically recognize it (formerly called clocks) ahead one hour tonight to spring forward for daylight savings tomorrow. We'll be back to darkness for getting up in the morning for a while, but at least we'll have that extra hour of light in the evening.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Sale At Vitamin Cottage

The new sale at our local Vitamin Cottage stores (aka Natural Grocers) runs through April 5th, a lovely reminder that spring is not far away. Specials that look particularly good to me include some evol frozen burritos just $1.69 each, half pound blocks of Organic Valley cheeses $3.69 to $3.89 (some usually as high as $6.25), one pound bags of Cascadian Farm organic frozen veggies $1.99 each, 16 ounce Earth Balance peanut butter spreads $3.45 each, Clif bars (also Mojo) just 89 cents each (the runner in the family goes through a lot of those), Late July multigrain snack chips $1.79 a bag (ditto for the runner - maybe I should take it up again just so I could eat all this stuff), and the big 25 ounce size of Westbrae organic canned beans $2.25 each. Plus, being Vitamin Cottage, there's a ton of specials on supplements.

Minimal Weekend Dinner Ideas

Lack of time leads to simpler cooking and even faster writing. We'll turn to fish tacos for tonight, as I'm recently finding I like cod even better than mahi in them, and the cod fillet sale at Sprouts for $6.99 a pound made me think of them.  I used to base them on a Bon Appetit recipe, but I've strayed so far from that I won't even link. Basic idea as I've evolved it is to saute the fish with a dash of good chile powder, toss in some scallions, and wrap them including arugula dressed with lime and a dash of canola, plus salsa, and Straus' European-style plain nonfat yogurt makes a great addition as well. The runner in the family gets them in whole grain corn tortillas, while I opt for using green leaf or romaine lettuce for wrapping. This is becoming my favorite dinner.

Since we have a birthday in the family this weekend, I reserved the beautiful steaks I picked up on the last day of Lucky's Market's incredible sale to use this weekend instead of a couple of days earlier as planned. Baked potatoes and roasted asparagus (asparagus still just 98 cents a pound at Sprouts this week) will go on the side.

To attempt to mitigate all the beef-eating that's been going on here recently, we'll turn to a nearly vegetarian chowder for Sunday, potato and root vegetable chowder with bacon from Bon Appetit. Since this will also serve as an easy midweek reheat, I don't think the two slices of bacon will do any harm.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Support Greenwood Wildlife At Ideal

The various local Whole Foods stores usually offer you a choice of excellent nonprofits to which you can direct your 10 cent per bag donation while checking out. At Ideal Market in north Boulder, one of the current options is the incredible Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where they do such amazing work on so little money to save injured or abandoned wildlife. All the way through July 6th, you have the opportunity to direct your bag donation to them while shopping at Ideal, and I can't say enough about how great that would be. Here's the word from Greenwood, including a goose with the right idea.

From January 20 - July 6, help Colorado's wildlife by shopping at Ideal Market, 1275 Alpine, Boulder. We can receive 10 cents for each reusable bag you bring in when you shop. When making your purchase, you'll be asked if you want to donate your bag credit. Please choose Greenwood as the recipient.

Enjoy healthy eating like this goose does when you shop at Ideal.  

Parmesan Cracking At Whole Foods Saturday

It has become an annual event, Whole Foods' gigantic simultaneous parmesan wheel cracking at many of its stores, generally accompanied by a big party. You could check with your local store for its particulars, but note that 3 pm EST below is 1 pm for us. Here's what they say:

The Mighty Wheel Crack
It takes 5 special knives, strength and expertise to cut open a huge, 85lb wheel of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. Come witness this feat as we demonstrate this not-to-be-missed spectacle at Whole Foods Market stores across the US, Canada and the UK!
Check with your store for what they have planned but many will offer samples, entertainment, pairings and more! The crack happens on Saturday, March 8, at 3pm EST.

Tulip Sale Tomorrow

We may not have had our usual Wednesday sale yesterday, but Whole Foods will offer us a whole lot of tulips for tomorrow only, the 7th. Although with highs of about 70 we'll be very springlike today, the rain possibly changing to snow for tomorrow will make those tulips a necessity. Here's what they say:

Wednesday, March 5, 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 March 11th. There also should be something new happening at Vitamin Cottage, which I should check out. Again, per the staff person I spoke with there, Trader Joe's highlights particular products rather than discounting them, evidently because they can keep their prices low every day via their private label.  Here's what's looking good to me now.

The big news to me this week in Sprouts' new sale through March 12th is actually old news from last week: conventional asparagus continues at 98 cents a pound and we still have last week's big BOGO sale going on. A few items looking particularly good in the BOGO sale are some Earthbound Farm organic salad blends, Fage Fruyo Greek yogurts, Cascadian Farm cereal (also granola or bars), Pellegrino sparkling mineral water, Annie's Homegrown mac & cheese, and Stonyfield organic Greek yogurts.

In meat and fish at Sprouts, fresh whole chickens are just 99 cents a pound, ground chicken, pork or chicken breast are all $2.99 a pound, three types of chicken breast are also $2.99 a pound, previously frozen cod fillets are $6.99 a pound, and previously frozen wild Alaskan sockeye salmon fillets are $9.99 a pound. Organic produce is looking good as usual, with curly or Lacinato kale just 98 cents a bunch, one pound bags of baby carrots $1.50 each, green onions or cilantro just 68 cents each, Valencia oranges 68 cents a pound, celery $1.50 a bunch, and organic broccoli has bumped up a bit from this week's great price but is still pretty good at $1.50 a pound.

No Wednesday-Only Sale Today?

Looks like we don't have our usual one-day sale today at Whole Foods, as their "sales insider" has arrived, and it doesn't mention one. Bummer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras

Today's Fat Tuesday, so don't forget to wear your purple, green and gold, plus your beads, if you have them. If you're still looking around for a culinary way to celebrate, here's a reminder of the post I did a bit ago with some good guides. Me, I've got my jambalaya already made, so we're set to easily laissez les bons temps rouler.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Comparing The Two Lucky's Markets

I've mentioned several times that much as I love the Lucky's Market that has been in north Boulder for eons, I rarely travel to that part of town, while the new Lucky's Market in Longmont often falls within my travel pattern. I've also mentioned that their sales actually differ, and having both sale flyers in hand for a change, I find the difference intriguing, perhaps showing how well they play to Boulder vs Longmont tastes. Of a four-page flyer, both feature produce for the front page, and it's very interesting that the produce in the Boulder flyer this week is entirely organic (broccoli just 49 cents a pound!!!!), while the Longmont sales are primarily for conventional produce (whole pineapples 88 cents each for example). While the produce I buy is almost always organic (and the Longmont store has plenty of that simply not on sale), to me the Longmont store really excels in the meat department. With Lucky's "never ever" antibiotic-free standards, prices like these in the Longmont flyer are outstanding: boneless New York strip steaks $7.99 a pound, boneless pork loin chops or roast $2.99 a pound, and whole frying chickens $1.29 a pound ($2.29 in the Boulder sale). Interestingly, the fish specials are identical between the two stores, except Boulder has to pay $1 more per pound than Longmont for PEI fresh mussels. So somebody at Lucky's knows its markets; organic produce pitched to Boulder, while Longmont gets its meat fix.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Few Dinner Ideas

Another good cold and slightly snowy morning, Boulder, after yesterday's freak mini-blizzard with its 104 car pileup on I-25. Let's hope for a better day today. Tonight we have the Oscars, and instead of munching all evening on finger food from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or made via the recipe guides I previously posted, we'll be optimizing efficiency in this household, already looking forward to Mardi Gras on Tuesday.

Since Mardi Gras by definition falls midweek, my plan for tonight is to make something big that will also serve as a suitable easy reheat on Tuesday, not having a full day available in the middle of the week to be concocting authentic Cajun/Creole creations (think I did a post on the difference between those cuisines a year or so ago). I looked at the gumbo recipes in my fun Junior League cookbook bought long ago while in New Orleans, and also the ones in James Villas' Town & Country Cookbook, and although I've made some of them before very successfully, at this point they struck me as just too time-consuming and perhaps a bit heavy. Looking around for alternatives, I settled on chicken sausage jambalaya with shrimp from Whole Foods' website, adjusting the portions downwards as it makes a ton as written. Mardi Gras, convenience, and a perceived healthier approach are driving this choice, rather than any particular sale of the week.

The runner in the family will be wanting pasta by tomorrow, and it seems we've had rather an unusual amount of meat lately, so we'll be looking for something vegetarian as well. I'm looking at pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella from Bon Appetit, using part of a one pound log of Belgioioso mozz that are $6.99 each at Whole Foods this week, and adding in some arugula left from Friday's fish tacos. My only hesitation and possible reason for rethinking is that while tomorrow is supposed to be considerably warmer, an uncooked pasta sauce just doesn't sound that appealing on a day as cold as today.

Fat Tuesday is obvious, since I've already said it will be a quick reheat of tonight's chicken sausage jambalaya with shrimp from Whole Foods' website. Husband was googling what goes with jambalaya as I cooked dinner last night, and per some great advice from Chowhound, evidently cornbread is not a good choice, as that makes for too much starch given the rice in the dish, but any green on the side seems to be viewed favorably.

I might need to do more work on Wednesday and Thursday's plans, as they are too meat-centered for us, although if I add lots of veggies and cut out the carbs, I guess I could call it Atkins. The current sale at the Lucky's Market in Longmont (and not at least in the flyer for Boulder) through Wednesday is pushing me in this direction, as they not only have boneless pork loin chops for $2.99 a pound, but also boneless New York strip steaks for $7.99 a pound, both with Lucky's great "never ever" standards. Guess I'll need to get creative with light, generously-sized veggies for the sides to balance things a bit.

Stay warm and enjoy the Oscars.

Stress And Inflammation Talk At Alfalfa's

So amazing to be thinking it's March already, but this Wednesday, Alfalfa's will host a free talk regarding stress and inflammation that sounds pretty interesting. Here are the details from them:

Balancing Fire: Stress & Inflammation

Wednesday, March 5th

6:00 to 8:00pm

Alfalfa’s Community Room

FREE: register here

Join Jodi Van Bezooyen for an interactive and informative seminar on maintaining a whole-body inflammation response and promoting a healthy stress response through nutrition, exercise, and the proper supplements. A community workshop inspired by the teachings of Dr. Andrew Weil, “Balancing Fire” addresses the lifestyle steps and adjustments needed to address chronic inflammation head-on.
Jodi has been working in the field of health and wellness for about 10 years as a massage therapist, organic gardener, yoga teacher, meditator, and most recently as a wellness specialist here at Alfalfa’s! She enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, dancing, and playing her ukulele. 
- See more at:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mardi Gras Tuesday

Once you've gotten through your Oscar's partying tomorrow, it will be time to move on to an even bigger one for Tuesday, Mardi Gras. Here are a few guides to help you laissez les bons temps rouler: Mardi Gras Recipes and Party Ideas from Epicurious, Classic New Orleans Cuisine from Cooking Light, and F&W's Ultimate Guide to Mardi Gras from Food and Wine magazine. And indeed, if you plan to invite friends to laissez les bons temps rouler, please try to spell it correctly, as it is so frequently done using bon not matching the plural les temps, and roulez instead of the infinitive. Picky, I know.