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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 🙂

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quick and easy quiche

quiche scared me.  for years. for real.

I don’t know why I was so scared to make it, but it was so intimidating ..  but lets be real… it’s eggs, and cheese and cream and crust. could it get simpler?

no.

PLUS.. it’s like when you make pizza  you can have fun disquzing your leftovers  I mean… being creative with ingredients 🙂 

And you can have it on the table in under an hour

AND  you can have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, snack. 3 am munchies  ( who am I to judge? ) whatever your little heart desires…

 

Mine is based off of this recipe.

 

I have  loosely included the ingredients, because each and every time that I make it I make it different. Use what you like.. just follow the base of the recipe & you’ll be good to go 🙂

 

quick and easy quiche

1 pie crust un-baked ( I use the Pillsbury roll out brand near the dinner rolls)

1/2 cup of cheese of your choice ( I used goat cheese with dried cranberries)

1/2 cup of another cheese of your choice ( I used feta)

1/2 cup to a cup of veggies of you choice ( I used baby spinach & diced onion)

1/4 cup bacon, ham, sausage… whatever you have ( omit if vegetarian) <– I did that

1 cup heavy cream or light cream ( both work, heavy cream just makes it richer) I had heavy cream.. now I have a quiche baby.. If I don’t judge your 3 am munchies then you can’t judge my quiche baby. I called it.
First so I win 🙂

fresh herbs.. chives, parsley, thyme.. whatever floats your boat.. if you don’t have fresh use a smaller amount fo dried, but rub it between your fingertips to release the scent. ( I used fresh parsley and chives)

 

local friends, I have fresh (organic chives, mint and rhubarb up the whazzooo if ever you want some.. let me know )

Sea salt and pepper ( I used sea salt and pepper 😉

 

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out pie crust, place in pie plate and crimp edges really pretty for the camera. ( oh wait, maybe that’s just my house) just crimp. ( unless you want to take a picture and send it to me… that could make me smile 🙂

sprinkle cheese on the prepared pie crust.

 

In a bowl, beat eggs lightly, add cream. herbs veggies and meat. lightly mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared pie crust..  finish with an extra grating of pepper.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for 35-40 minutes or until quiche is set and lightly browned.

 

Kiss your pup a lot while it’s baking.. because that is way more fun than cleaning the kitchen 😉

Let sit a bit before cutting.

( the cooler it is the easier it is to cut)

I love to serve it with a light salad with lemon dressing & parm cheese.

 

( did you know that I love cheese? like so much that I named my car after cheese? true story. I’ll tell you about it sometime)

 

so you know what an awesome food blogger I am? Tian and I ate the whole quiche before I realized that I forgot to take a picture of the finished quiche.

yep…. I’m classy like that.

 

and since it’s almost FALL  ( my very favoritest time of the year..I come to life in the fall).. I enjoyed one of these while staring at my four-legged bundle o joy.

This might just be my favorite  pumpkin ale.. I love what the box states…

off centered ales for off centered people.

 

it’s like they knew me when they brewed this 🙂

 

Remember, there is still time to enter for the 1803 wax melter give away contest consider sharing with your friends.. it will make me happy and if they win then it will make them happy 🙂 

t-48 hours until the race….. I must be crazy…

 

xoxoxox~shel

 

a sea of pink

Good morning friends!

( stayed tuned, I promise some food in this post 😉 )

For the last 3 years, my sister, Jodie & I have joined thousands of other women ( and men) to walk 40 miles over the course of 2 days  participating in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer.

It is quite the commitment to participate. Not only do you need to train for months prior to the actual walk, but EACH individual walker needs to commit to raising $1,800.

Not small change, by any means…

It is truly an amazing experience, one that really cannot be put into words.

I’ve tried to share our experience with a Video Slide show

My sister, Jodie & I had were lucky enough to have our daughters born just  1 month & a day apart from each other. My niece ( and Goddaughter), Alexis & Ali have grown up being ‘sisters’. It’s been so wonderful to watch these two grow up together

they are looking out the window on Christmas Eve for Santa 😉

The girls & Scott ( as well as my Mom & stepdad ) have spent the last 3 years showing up at cheering stations , rooting us on & pushing us (sometimes, I wish physically) and being at the finish line waiting for us at the end of this very emotional experience.

Ali & Lex have been patiently waiting until they were old enough to be able to walk with us.

This winter the  girls each turn 16, meaning that they will be old enough to participate!!

My youngest niece, Mollie, still has many years until she will be able to walk with us in the Avon walk, but we found another walk this past weekend that she was able to join us in..

Making Strides against Breast Cancer..

so early Sunday morning, the 5 of us, donned in pink, headed to Beantown to participate in a 6 mile walk around The Charles River for breast cancer awareness.

at every mile marker, Mollie got a snack..

this was mile 1

like her Aunt, she loves food!
we need to find a cure….

these two walked arm & arm for most of the walk 🙂

After the walk we stopped one of my favorite restaurants, Rustic Kitchen, on the way home so that the girls could have some hot cocoa & Jodie & I could have a glass of wine… but when I saw the menu Pumpkin beer .. I just had to have my sister try it.

this is a horrible, distorted photo of us, but I wanted to share her first Pumpkin brew with all of you!!

NOW…  since this is supposed to be a food blog…   I give you

CHILI !!!

full disclosure… this is in no way shape or form nearly as professional as my friend Cecelia‘s award winning chili, but for a yankee girl, it didn’t come out that badly

(plus 😉 I was able to assemble it at 5 am & come home at the end of the walk to dinner waiting for me)

my recipe:

2 pounds ground chuck

2 teaspoons cumin

3 assorted peppers

2 large onions

a carrot

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large cans of tomatoes

OR

fresh tomatoes

( all of my veggies came form Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm )

1 can of white beans, rinsed & drained

1 can of kidney beacons, rinsed & drained

chili powder ( to taste)

a few banana peppers ( feel free to omit if you don’t like thigns a little bit spicy..)

I started by browning up the ground beef, seasoning with salt & pepper & cumin.

before the cooked ground beef makes it to the crock pot, I pour it into a fine mesh strainer to remove excess grease

)))grease(((

once strained, put it in the crock pot

Place the onion, peppers , garlic & carrot in a food processor. Pulse until the veggies are about the same size as the ground beef crumbles. add to the saute pan & saute for a minute, picking up any leftover browned bits from the beef.

((love hiding me some veggies in a family meal ;)))

Have the veggies jump on in the crock pot with the beef.

add the tomatoes & chili powder;  Stir to combine, then place the banana peppers right on in the bathtub of chili… they’re going for a nice long steamy bath !!

( a special little treat for the spicy chef)

I cooked it on low all day long… adding the beans about an hour before we wanted to eat.

I view chili like I do oatmealmore oatmeal

the perfect base for TOPPINGS!!

it’s all about the toppings!

And look what Scott had waiting for me when I got home?

YUM!

I leave you with this picture of the girls’ arms locked together.

note the breast cancer symbol between them? Pure coincidence!!

Oh! I almost forgot.. the Avon Foundation’s Boston office asked me to give a speech at an introduction event tomorrow for future potential walkers!!

Wish me luck!! ( ahem. I’ve never actually spoken to a crowd in public before…)

how to cook fresh PUMPKIN!!

WARNING! Lots of

ORANGE ahead.

look what I noticed on the Dogfishhead Punkin Ale box..

*giggle* no wonder I love it so!


Pumpkin.

Pumpkin.

Pumpkin.

I just love me some pumpkin.  Is there anything else that says FALL like pumpkin?

I was traumatized by the terrible pumpkin shortage of ’09 .

( I still have a can that I was able to get last year & hoarded in the event that pumpkin was scarce again this year.)

just.

in.

case.

But I am proud to day that I have 6  pumpkins right in my very own kitchen 🙂

I have researched the best way to cook pumpkins so that they are recipe-ready and this is what I came up with..

Start by halving your pumpkin & scooping out the seeds.

WHOA! did someone say seeds? Oh yes, that was me. How could I have forgot about the magic that is the pumpkin seed?

Place those seeds in a bowl & set them off to the side.. we’ll get to those in a minute.

Remove as much of the stringy part or the pumpkin as possible, then place your pumpkin cut side down in a baking dish & add about 1/2 cup water.

place in a preheated 450 degree oven & bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserts easily into the skin

allow to cool a bit

then you can either spoon it out of the skin

or, if it the skin has blistered a bit, peel the skin from the flesh

you could probably cook with it just like this, but I felt the need ( for no particular reason other than the spirit moved me ) to use my handy-dandy immersion blender to make it smoother

can you say ‘pumpkinny goodness’?

I cooked 2 batches yesterday. one to make Jessica\’s Double Decker Pumpkin Bread

escuse me while I wipe the drool..

and one batch for the freezer.  For Christmas. For Jason. and Amanda.

Now, onto those pumpkin seeds..

Start by separating as much flesh from thew seeds as possible. ( I put the seeds in a large bowl of col water and massaged them.. it helps free the seeds.) then rinse & drain in a colander & spread on a cookie sheet overnight.

( or, your could use a blowdryer or a very low oven if you simply can’t wait)

preheat oven to 300 degrees and melt about a tablespoon of butter; toss seeds with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt & melted butter

spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or waxed paper.

(this not only makes clean-up easy, but by lifting the foil & starting to fold in half, it makes it easier to remove the seeds from the pan to whatever you will be storing them in)

I’m speechless.

3 Rs

We took a family trip recently to the zoo and I saw these signs which I thought were just downright adorable

so I turn this

into this…

Compost!! Gardener’s gold!!

I reuse all  of my glass jars.

I have a ‘thing’ for ball jars. Perhaps an addiction?

isn’t he just the cutest?

Recycle

Recycle..

repeat.

In honor of all of the early pumpkin that we have received this year, I am currently

(yes, right NOW)

cooking up some pumpkin for some other recipes.  My next post will be all about cooking fresh  pumpkin 🙂

stay tuned…..

famous friday

I love food.

Period.

I love to grow food.

I love to prepare food.

I even love to shop for food.

I have certain things that I only purchase at certain stores… For example, I buy all of my bulk items at Whole Foods

I buy my oatmeal, frozen fruit & veggies & cheese & nuts at Trader Joe’s

I buy my Greek yogurt & milk & seltzer at my local Bj’s

And I search the circulars of my local grocery stores for the weekly specials.

like this one!

So imagine my surprise when I was flipping through the circulars and

Whoa!!  check out who made the front page 😉

I had completely forgotten that earlier this summer there was a photographer taking pictures of some of the regulars!

This was very exciting to me! ( I get excited quite easily )

This week at Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm was abundant with all things fall.

More sauce tomatoes!

and flowers 🙂

PUMPKINS!!!!

in honor of Pumpkin Day at Casa Hagg, we bought

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale!

It’s brewed with real Punkin!

Yumminess!

Scott & I went back to The Market this morning, as we do every Sunday morning..

and no one asked us for our autographs 😦

buzz kill 😉

just kidding!

( yes mom, I picked up an extra circular for you!)

happy football Sunday!!


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