mock~tails, home made fruit vinegars annnd..

Spaghetti squash casserole.

yes.

again.

After help from my friends and family on facebook, I think that I’ve fixed the issue. Now I’m sure some of you are downright sick of hearing about it ( I’m kinda getting sick of typing it) but I still feel the need to share that post in its’ entirety, so we will start with that.

 

( feel free to skip if you just can’t bear to have your eyes view it again~ it’s ok, I’ll still love you. Like lots. )

 

friends. If you are connected with me on my  facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True food kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Dr Andrew Weil, Spaghetti Squash casserole

 

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalapeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers.

spaghetti squash casserole ingredients

Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

squash filling

allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

f you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

roasted garlic and tomato soup

 

 

squash filling

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

spaghetti squash

 

and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

 

scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 )

 

spaghetti squash filling

 

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

 

spaghetti squash filling

 

 

I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

 

 

baked spaghetti squash

 

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

smoked tofu crumbles, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

 

Baked Spaghetti Squash

 

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

 

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!

 

true food edamame dumplings

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making puppy ice cream or peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

healing Fenway

 

 

my sweet girl ❤

 

 

al’ight….  since I’ve spent 46,000 hours writing,losing,finding,re~losing, re~ finding,fixing and re~ posting this…. you just might wanna make this… and let me know 🙂

 

ok. next. While I was hanging out with my sweet pup this week, I watched a lot of Food Network I came across a show that was focusing on Mocktails… you know, cocktails sans alcohol.

 

Kelsey Nixon made blackberry sipping vinegar to use as a base for a mocktail recipe.

I was curious, so I used the base/ idea of her recipe to make Strawberry~basil vinegar.

( because that is what I had in~ house ..

 

strawberry~basil vinegar

start by using equal parts fruit-sugar. I used a cup of each and added shredded basil

 

mash fruit and sugar up well and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate ( I love re- using rubber bands from veggies all over the kitchen 😉 ) for 2 days , stirring occasionally

On day 3, add equal amount ( 1 cup )  of apple cider vinegar ( I swear by Bragg’s.. highly worth the extra buck or two ) and stir.

The next day, using a fine~ mesh strainer, strain all solids out, using a flexible spatula  to press out every last bit of liquid ( you do NOT want to waste any )

 

strawberry- basil vinegar

to make your life easier ( because let’s face it, it’s all about you 😉 ) strain it into a dish or measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring.

Pour into a jar and store in fridge!

 

( I have a batch with Meyer lemons in the fridge now. I’ll let you know how it comes out )

 

strawberry-basil vinegar

I made a mocktail by pouring about an ounce of the vinegar over some ice, topping with sparkling water and a wedge of lime.

 

strawberry-basil mocktail

 

There is something about the vinegar that really elevates this drink., It feels like a special drink

In the show, Kelsey used an infused tea as well ( click the link up there for complete recipe) but I’m a simple girl and this drink suited me just fine.

So for my friends out there who don’t drink alcohol, for one reason or another, here’s a new option for you!

 

It is also a Crazy- delicious base for a salad dressing..  more on that tomorrow.

 

On another note, my PT is going well. Really well. my PT recommended that I get a theraputtic massage to break up some of the scar tissue in my hamstring from the tears. ( not my torn ACL leg that i just had surgically fixed, the OTHER leg that went into crazy hyper horrificness thanks to being on crutches post- surgery

The massage therapist ( This was NOT a relaxing massage AT ALL, btw) worked on my hips, glutes, ( where one of the tears are) and then she moved to my back.

She discovered that I have a muscle along my spine ( not the spine itself) that is all twisted up and is sending pain signals down my leg.

After 60 minutes with her, I noticed a difference ( the next day)

I was shocked to realize halfway through the day that I wasn’t struggling while doing simple things like just walking 

So my PT is also working on this and is having me start some strength training , lots of squats, single-leg squats and lunges of all angles.

and I’m feeling good for the first time in a LONG time.

I asked Matt ( PT) about possibly training for a 5k. He said he’ll let me start jogging ( under his supervision) on the treadmill in 2 weeks.

He humbling shared with me that he came in in the top 20 of the Boston Marathon last year. Not percentage, but overall.

I’m uber- impressed.

Friday I made a last minute descison to sign up for an Earth- Month 5k around the corner from my house. ( with his approval)

I went into this knowing that walking was the only option and that my time would not matter.

I had 2 friends who signed up with me.

we finished dead last, but that didn’t matter. We did it.

I had my first benchmark for races here in Colorado and the only thing that I can expect from here is to get better and move forward..

I’m ready

Aveda earth day race

I hope that your weekend was fabulous!

xo

baked spaghetti squash… via true food kitchen

friends. If you are connected with me on my  Facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True Food Kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalepeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers. 

IMG_3833

 

Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

 

IMG_3835

 

allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

If you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Garlic soup

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

 

IMG_3838

and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

IMG_3842

 

scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 ) spaghetti squash filling

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

IMG_3846I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

baked spaghetti squash

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

SMOKED TOFU, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

Baked Spaghetti Squash

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!true food edamame dumplings

 

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making Frozen Pup treats or Home made Peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

IMG_0820

 

My sweet girl ❤

Congrats, friends.. you’ve almost made it through humpday!

 

oxox

 

roasted beet and goat cheese salad

friends, I was having a bad day today.

some days are just like that

But I had a great conversation with a couple of friends, and a nice text from an old friend that I haven’t chatted with in awhile, and just like that… I’m feeling better 🙂

and that brings me back into the kitchen. ( barefoot, of course 😉 ) to make this salad for you. IMG_0577

look intimidating? I promise you, it isn’t. In fact it’s quite simple.

IMG_0573

you’ll need

2 beets ( red or yellow, I used one of each)

1 tsp olive oil

2 ounces of goat cheese

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

fresh thyme sprigs

I was inspired to make this after we went to the Farmers’ market and found a bunch of beets that had both the yellow and red in it

IMG_2103

( I’m still in shock that I can walk to the market from my front door)

start by roasting your beets  ( you can do this a day ahead of time)

cut the greens off of the beets and wash the bulb under cold water to remove any excess dirt. dry.

add  each beet to a piece of aluminum foil , drizzle with olive oil and wrap up like a Hershey’s kiss

* just like we did when we roasted the onions *

IMG_0474

*** side note… as you may have noticed I use a lot of foil ‘ packets’ especially when I’m grilling which is like every day these days.  I used foils from the beauty supply store. ( the kind used to highlight hair).. they are pre cut and make the perfect size for packet making.  One box will last you years, I promise 😉 ***

roast the beets either in a 375 oven or on the grill for about 20-30 minutes or until tender ( the smaller the beet, the faster they will cook.)

remove from heat and cool.

once the beets are roasted, the skin will pretty much slip right off of the beet without skipping a beat 😉

HA! I made a funny!

* dead silence*

Ok.. I’m a 7 year old at heart.

annnyhow… have a bowl of soapy water handy, of using red beets your hands will get red.

meanwhile, slice red onion very thinly and place in a small bowl and pour red wine vinegar over. toss to coat and let the onions marinate.

chop the cashews ( I would have liked to use pistachios, but didn’t have them.. thus the cashews)

roast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant and beginning to toast

next, slice the goat cheese. ( slice the cheese before you slice the beets, because your cutting board will get as red as your hands 🙂

next, assemble salad.

I arrange it in a semi- circle ‘ cause I wanted to make it all purty.

in this order

beet

goat cheese slice

beet

goat cheese slice

etc..

remove onions form vinegar and place alongside.

add balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan and heat until reduced by half & it should thicken.

drizzle over beets and cheese and top with cashews

voila!

IMG_0576

see.. wasn’t that easy?

I wanted to share this picture just for fun

IMG_2104

thanks for reading!

click for some more salads!

spinach salad & dressing tutorial

prosciutto- cantelope salad

massaged kale salad

grilled watermelon salad

stuffed peppers with raisins and pine nuts

good afternoon, friends!  I apologize for those whose email I blew up this morning by re-posting links from my weebly site.

 

I tried very hard to import all of the posts over to here with no success 😦  Someday I will hire someone to do it for me ( I really want everything in one place, for many reasons) and the issues that I was previously having with wordpress seem to have been resolved.

 

on the bright side, I  set up and instagram account 🙂

 

I know… blah, blah, blah. we want FOOD!

 

Kewl..  here’s what i have for you today…. you all know about my infatuation with Hatch peppers that I wrote about earlier this week.  It turns out that it’s kind of a regional thing.  My friends from facebook knew all about them. Apparently they are a big deal, and I just happened to stumble across them!

more on regional foods soon…. today I give you my stuffed pepper recipe

Growing up my mom made stuffed peppers alot. yum!  My recipe is a bit different than hers, because I basically cook everything first, then just heat before serving.

 

3-6 peppers

1 pound lean ground pork

1 can of tomatoes

1/4 cup of tomato sauce

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins ( I used golden)

1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground cumin

About a cup of chicken broth

1-2 cups of cooked rice, or other grain

1/2 cup cheese of your choice

 

 

I also use it as a way to clean out the fridge!

IMG_0503

Start by sauteeing about a pound of ground pork ( I used extra- lean) . Season with salt and pepper. Remove pork form pan and set aside.

 

 

Add a drizzle of oil oil and add 1 onion, chopped  over medium heat.  When onions are translucent, add 2 garlic cloves, smashed. Stir and add a can of tomatoes ( I used Fire- roasted, use what you like.  )

IMG_0504The add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of  ground cumin, a dash ( or more if you like) of chipotle seasoning.

IMG_0505

Mix the pork back in and add about a cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer while flavors develop.

 

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. shake continuously. ( Nuts can burn in a nano-second.. trust me on this)

 

toss with Raisins

 

Here is where cleaning out the fridge comes in handy.  I had some leftover lentils ( which I LOVE) and some leftover rice. So I made 2 different peppers.

IMG_0508

 

half the batch   with lentils

 

 

IMG_0507

and half the batch  with rice

Toss in some cheese ( I used ricotta salata, use what you have 🙂

 

IMG_0509

 

 

set aside

 

Next, rinse and halve your peppers ( use rubber glove if they are hot) and scoop out membranes & seeds

IMG_0506

 

place in a baking dish with a little bit  of reserved tomato sauce

 

and start filling dem peppers!

 

IMG_0510

 

top with a little bit of cheese ( and sauce if you have any left) and bake at 350 until peppers are warm and cheese is melted.

 

IMG_0512serve with sauce on the side.

 

now I know these look kinda messy.. but that’s because I was trying to fill tiny peppers.  If you use a bigger pepper, say a red bell, or green bell, it will  be much neater.

 

Regardless of how it looks, it’s tasted great.

 

Don’t let the idea of the raisins & cinnamon deter you from making this recipe. The flavor combo is amazing.

 

have fun in the kitchen!

 

Have I made you hungry yet ??

 

oxox

massaged kale salad

massaged kale salad

 

click link for recipe

friday smiles

friday smiles

 

click for link

stuffed- caprese-tomatoes

remember when I made  THESE….

well, I had myself one big tomato yesterday the other day that was just this side of being eaten fresh. But it was still edible and had the fixins for caprese salad.

 

and let’s face it, friends, caprese is only as good as the tomatoes.

 

Since I don’e like to throw anything out, I came up with another idea, based on the original recipe from way back when.

 

Stfuffed-Caprese- Tomato

 

start by hollowing out said tomato ( this one tomato was enough to split as a side between 3 of us)  and placing on aluminum foil

 

IMG_0492

 

 

Then rough chop the flesh of the tomato and place in small saucepan with about 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 garlic cloves, chopped, salt, pepper and a rosemary sprigIMG_0491

bring to a boil, then to a simmer until sauce turns pink & reduces

IMG_0495

add about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs ( I used Panko.. it’s what I had) and stir.  Taste filling and adjust salt & pepper. Remove rosemary.

 

 

Cut up some fresh mozzarella into bite size piecesIMG_0494

start by adding 2-3 pieces of the cheese tot he inside of the tomato , then a layer of filling

IMG_0496repeat alternating until tomato is full.  Wrap tomato up tightly like a Hershey’s kiss.

 

Place on grill ( or in oven ) for about 15 minutes.  Remove & let cool. Top with shreds of basil ( I forgot to add it before I took the pic)

Cut into quarters and enjoy!

IMG_0498

you can thank me later 🙂

flashback…. Ali’s graduation party

Hello friends 🙂

Our youngest daughter, Alison graduated from high school just 2 weeks ago.. And since we were sooo busy I’m just not getting around to posting about it.

It was a very special time. Both my boys and my daughter in law, Amanda, flew In for this special event.

20130607-103832.jpg

And of course, Scott

It all went by so fast..

We had her party the day after graduation simply because everyone was in town. I spent many hours thinking about the kind of party that I wanted to have for her. ( which was really good for me because it helped to keep my mind focused on that versus my life changes right in front of me)

The weather was less than desirable. In fact, downright miserable. Scott had wanted to have the party at a hall, but Ali and I really wanted a big white tent in the backyard.

Having it at home was also important to us as we knew that only 5 short days after the party we would be completely moved out and that this would be the last time that we would get together with our friends and families in this home.

I ended up calling and having sides to the tent added once I saw the forecast.. And the morning of the party I called and ordered a heater.. ( it was in the 40s, damp, windy and cold)

The heater was the best decision EVER!!

Everyone seemed to have fun ! It was so nice to have the majority of our families there and so many of Ali’s friends and a few of mine

Here are some random pics..

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Yes.. Flat Dave was the first party guest… With my family, I’m not surprised at all

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Ali with a few of her friends

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My adorable niece, Kalli

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Lots of family, including Scott’s 102 year old grandmother!!!

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A lot of the food I was able to make ahead

I served

Baked ziti
Chicken broccoli Alfredo
Sweet and sour meatballs
Lemon orzo salad
Anniversary chicken ( chicken with bacon and cheddar cheese)
Homemade pickles
Southwestern bean salad

Lots of snacks and drinks including homemade sangria!

I have all of the recipes that I used in case you are interested. Everything was easy to make a head of time and came out great ( I think)

Of course, I have zero pics of the food, except for the cake and cupcakes 😉

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It was everything that I envisioned her party to be.. We are all so proud of her!!

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It may have been cold and raw outside but it didn’t matter… The love inside that tent was awesome… ( not to mention the fabulous heater 😉 )

Oxox

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field trip friday

back in THIS POST I explained how I shop at many different stores for different things.  These day , most of us have options, and to make the most of your money by utilizing these options just makes plain ol’ sense.   One of my favorite stores is none other than 

none other than Trader Joe’s..   Now some of you may be thinking… really a post about Trader Joe’s?

 

yes.

 

because I happen to know that some of you who read this have the luxury of living not to far from one and still have not yet been.

 

in contrast, I know many of you who do not live near one and would give anything to be able to go.

so yes, folks…  On Friday I went to Trader Joe’s… and this is my story ❤

~it all started one dreary Friday morning…  Lol.. jut kidding * giggle*

 

Tj’s is not your typical grocery store. In fact it is hard to describe. For those of you who think it is a high-end store, such as Whole Foods, you would be wrong. Tj’s is not a big store, but what is packed into each location is soe wonderful things.

They have tons of cheeses…  a food near and dear to my heart. I actually decided this past halloween that trick or treating would be MUCH more fun if it were trick or cheesing.

 

I’m serious. a different cheese at every house? how brilliant would that be?

but really.. it’s true.  they have a whole wall of cheese and it is the best price that you will find around… They have cheeses for all over the world! and often times some seasonal specials…see what I mean?  If you are lucky then you will go on a day that the cheese lady is making the rounds.. ( what a great job that must be 😉  This was a lucky day for me 🙂 cheese snack while shopping?

 

yes. please.

 

Next is the NUTS..  you will not find a better price on nuts anywhere.  And next to the nuts are the dried fruits.  if you are into making your own GRANOLA then tis is your haven….

 

and again…  you wont beat the prices.

 

They have a little counter where an employee is always cooking something to sample.. and a coffe urn for coffe samples. ( the free food samples is a great way to entice kids to go with you 😉

 

the frozen fruits and veggies are also a great deal here ( no pic… I’m sorry)  You wont find any name brands in here.. it is all their own brand … but trust me, the quality is second to none.  On the shelves above the frozen items are all sorts of snacks…  from mini sugar cookies shaped like cats to Ryan’s favorite, chocolate covered orange candies, seasonal crackers, etc….

 

you will find all sorts of canned items at fabulous prices… and lots of ‘meal starters’

 

you will find the friendliest of employees here. .. They truly love their job… love to talk food and recipes.  If you bring your own recyclable bag ( which y’all should be..) then you can enter a ticket into a drawing for a weekly Tj’s Gc!

let’s see.. have I forgotten anything….. probably… I’ll think of it at 3am…

 

so here’s my haul from Friday

 

* please forgive the carpy pics.. I’m currently having camera issues.. hopefully it will be fixed soon…*

 

I wont go over everything… but will talk a bit about what I bought..  The tube of tomato paste? 99 cents.  In the regular grocery store it is around 4 bucks. I bought parsnips… beacause Ry and i had parsnip puree somewhere and it was soo good! I need to work on a solid recipe so that when he comes home for Christmas, we can have it again:)

 

The chocolate bar… to die for!

Dark coconut caramel! yum!  and only 1 points plus per square for those who may be following weight watchers…

 

I bought 2 bags of the inner peas..  and I’m so glad that I did… they are a great snack!

Tjs almond butter is the best. I love this stuff.  Banana and almond butter on toast? yuminess.

 

and B12.. just because 🙂

 

 

the rosemary raisin crisps are one of my favorite things here! so. dang. good.  I think they are only available this time of year.. but I could be wrong.

pomegranate Kefir? yes. please.

 

the cheeses? both brie rounds and goat cheese rounds… each 2 pp and perfectly portioned.  Cute little mushrooms to stuff…  snow peas to steam right in the bag..

 

here is something else that you will find here…  great spice blends… with built in grinders…  all 2 bucks. beat that!

 

*do you see what I see?*

 

* the sugar, coffee bean and chocolate blend is amazing on hot chocolate! *

 

so there you have it… I hope that if you have not been to this store yet, you will find time in your future to do so. it really is like a little field trip;)

 

on lastly.. on my fb page ( like much of the free world) I have been posting what I am thankful for during this month of gratitude.  Today, I am thankful not only fo the extra hour of sleep this morning, but also that my pup, Fenway, is thankful for it as well..

happy Sunday friends 🙂

Cooking in Colorado

yes. friends, I am here confessing to you.. I am in love with white beans.

it’s true. and on my recent trip to Denver I told you about a situation that I go myself into.

you see… I was able to use an entire kitchen to make dinner…except, other that appliances and cookware, I had zero food. I mean nada. zilch. less than nothing.

I did not even have salt or pepper 😦

We had stopped at the whole paycheck store the day before I decided to cook ( to buy apples and kombucha… I’m addicted to the booch.. Lord help me) when I saw a container of cooked white beans.

I kid you not when I tell you that I kept thinking about these beans.

I may have had a dream about them that night.

or not.

but probably.

like yes.. it’s true I dreamt about the dang beans

could I even MAKE this up?

So when Scott suggested that we cook in Sat night rather go out and deal with the crowds.. i was all over it.

Except that we were starting from scratch.

so I put my thinking cap on….. *psst… it’s pink 😉 *

I knew I had to have those white beans. I just had to ..

and white beans marry so well with greens. When I saw local spinach at the store, I knew I was onto something.. But Scott and Ali would want an additional protein… chicken thighs were on sale.. so I added that to the basket. and a lemon. I love lemons. Like maybe too much. I start most days with warm lemon water

I wanted fresh pasta, but at 8.99 a whack, I skipped it in favor of dried linguine.

and the smallest jar of oil that i could find.. which happened to be truffle flavored.. which is ok.. I was going to make it work.

and some light cream.. to round the dish out. and finally, frozen peas.

and since this is how I cook…. ( all willy- nilly, most of the time sans- recipe ) I give you

ingredient-challenged barefootgirl cooks in another kitchen white beans & greens with pan seared chicken thighs in a lemon garlic cream sauce sprinkled with peas.

my fingers just hurt even typing that..

so grocery list…….

cooked white beans

garlic cloves ( 3)

bunch of fresh spinach

a lemon

small jar of oil ( truffle in our case, but any heart healthy oil will do)

chicken thighs ( skinless)

light cream

dried pasta

parmesan cheese shreds

frozen peas

*pick up chicken stock. I’ll explain in a bit*

( I was hoping to find salt and pepper packets so that I didn’t need to buy salt and pepper to then have to throw out, but the register lady ( my hopefully someday job) told me to go to the salad bar and sprinkle s&p into a salad dressing container.

pure.

genius.

I started by draining & rinsing the beans and heating a saute pan with a bit of the oil… adding the beans, season them with salt and pepper, adding 1/ the chopped garlic and smashing a few of the beans.

I then added the rinsed spinach right on top

( don’t worry about the extra water on the spinach, it will help the steaming process).. add the spinach directly on top, cover immediately and remove from heat.

don’t peek.. you sneaky- peeker- you…

next. add oil to another saute pan, season thighs with genius salt and pepper and place thighs in pan, allowing them to brown.

Once browned on one side, using tongs.( not to self and all of you… oxo makes the BEST tongs. I unfortunately did not have those there.. I will be changing that very soon ) anyway.. using the tongs. flip the thighs over and allow to brown on the other side. add the remaining garlic and then I added the cream.

* now here is where I would make a change.. I would use chicken stock here instead, and add the cream at the very end. the cream started to curdle a bit.. it was still really good, but if you use chicken stock now to cook the chicken in.. you will be happy 😉 *

cover the chicken and allow to simmer until chicken is fully cooked.

this is an excellent time to cook the pasta in boiled salted water 🙂

add frozen peas once chicken is cooked.. allow peas to just heat through.

next remove the lid from the bean mixture

isn’t it pretty 🙂

and if you are feeling like it’s a wild and crazy night since you are in another city, mix in a bit of cream

and a squeeze of lemon juice. and just to take it over-the-top

some parm cheese

this.. was my dinner….

and this was theirs..

I topped each with a squeeze of lemon for freshness..

yum 🙂

now when all was said and done.. I added the leftovers to one pot ( cutting up the pasta) and made the base of a soup… all that you would need to do is add a bit of chicken broth and heat for a quick weeknight soup 🙂

going out in the city is nice, but every once in awhile, it is nice to just stay in and enjoy the view and the cooking…. and that is how this family spent our Saturday night. And not one of us would have changed it 🙂

enjoy this recipe.. now that I’m done typing, My tummy is rumbly and I’m on the hunt for the ingredients to make it again..

caio friends 🙂

psst.. if you haven’t read it on facebook.. congrats to Lynn on winning the hand knit socks! remember, mom is offering free shipping on any of her items for the month of Oct with 100% of her proceeds going to ward breast cancer research… thank you to all who have taken advantage of this.. I guarantee you… her fingerless gloves are the best!

oxoxo~shel

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