Tag Archives: olive oil

Trader Joe’s Field Trip

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I know I talk a lot about Trader Joe’s. I don’t have any vested interest in the company other than buying their goodies. But I promised a Facebook pal I’d post some of my fave things from there, including wine. Duh. Wine is one of the main reasons to make a TJ’s field trip. No permission slip needed.

Late last week, I headed over there forgetting that it was both Fri. and a holiday. Teeny parking lot and an F-150 do not a cute couple make. I bought a case of wine and some essentials like smoked salmon…Some of the items are TJ faves.

Wine:

  • Three bottles of Tres Pinos white – it’s a nice white blend w/ fruit forward, dry, but not too – $6.49/ea.
  • Three bottles of  Green Fin – similar to the 3 Pines, but less fruit – $4.99/ea. (This is where the TBC – Two Buck Chuck crowd gets it wrong. TBC is actually close to $4 in my store and not very good.)
  • Found Object Malbec – I like all the Found Objects I’ve had – Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc and this one – $7.49
  • Trader Joe’s Coastal Zinfandel – I don’t usually buy Zin, but this is a nice, inexpensive one – $6.99
  • La Finca Tempranillo – Same as Found Object, the Malbec and others are good, too – $5.99
  • 3 new reds I can’t recall, one was a Coppola. If you’ve not tried this vineyard, most are great. And yes, it’s the director of GodFather fame. I’ll let you know how they are.

Food:

  • TJ’s Maple Frosted Shredded Wheat – this is a new one for me but I could possibly live on it.
  • Crumbly gorgonzola
  • Honey-flavored Greek yogurt
  • Dixie Peach juice – I love all their juices
  • Dark chocolate covered ginger – a fave
  • Frozen pizzas and flatbreads – These are amazing. If someone served this to you after hiding the box, you’d swear it was from an upscale eatery. Try the ham, gruyere and carmelized onion flatbread. Ignore the portion suggestions of 1/3 of the flatbread and eat the whole thing. It’s small. I tried a new pizza – BBQ chicken, red onion and smoked gouda. Wow!
  • Seltzer – plain. It’s .79 here and .99 at reg. grocery store
  • Organic chicken breasts – Pricier than the pale versions at the big grocery stores, but flavor is better. Probably the absence of formaldehyde or something.
  • Maple syrup – What a difference the real deal is from that pseudo syrup stuff!
  • Spanish extra virgin olive oil – I like TJ’s prices on oils, salad dressings, etc., although I usually make my own dressing.

I bought a bunch more stuff I can’t recall, but my total was $168. Not bad if you consider that includes a case of wine!

I’m Not Cat-Food Munching Lady…Yet

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I bought the pup some new, fancy treats when I went to Whole Foods. They’re natural, organic peanut-butter flavored cookies. I realized as I was doling out a couple that they are made “for you to share w/ your buddy.” Uh, no, I don’t think so. I’ll admit the cookies look kind of tasty compared to the liver-flavored blobs I use for training, but I’m not going to eat them. I’m trying to raise my dog to not eat or beg for human food, so why would I encourage us sitting down and enjoying a treat together? It’s weird enough that we’re sharing a bottle of fish oil caps.

Grilling Out

As I sit here hoping blizzard-y winds don’t blow my house down, it’s amazing that just four days ago, it was in the 60s and I grilled out. Before you say, “Well, I grill out all winter!” I can assure you that out here on the tundra you wouldn’t get a charcoal grill lit, take the time to let it burn down and then attend to it while the food cooks. Your nasty bits would freeze off.  Trust me.

Here’s what I grilled:

Parboiled redskin potatoes ahead. Sliced them in thick slices and added leftover roasted carrots. Later I took the onion slices from the marinade on the pork and sautéed them. Took a sheet of foil, sprayed it w/ olive oil spray and made a packet w/ the vegetables. Placed it on the cooler side of the grill.

I marinated a pork tenderloin in:

  • soy sauce
  • 6 oz. of chocolate stout (drank the rest while grilling)
  • lemon slices
  • thyme (still had some in my herb bed)
  • 3 lg. smashed garlic cloves
  • onion sliced into thick rings
  • honey

I wish I’d been able to marinate the meat overnight, but I did it for about 6 hours. Then poured out the marinade and grilled it. I like to get a good seared crust on all sides and then move it to a cooler spot. It’s usually a bit underdone, but I don’t have a problem w/ pink pork.

Grocery List Oddities

It’s been forever since I did a big trip to the store since I was sick for three weeks. I mostly ran out to Dollar General to grab o.j. or some take-out somewhere. I have filled in some of the gaps, like creamer, tomatoes, fruit, etc. But I really need to buy tons of stuff.

Some of the odder items on the list include:

  • Milk-Bones (always!)
  • 9V batteries – I’ve been in chirping, dying smoke alarm battery hell for several days. I know I should have replaced them all at once, but only had a couple on hand. Don’t run out and have one go nuts at 4 a.m. Just don’t. Stock up.
  • Shoelaces for running shoes – my shoes look like something I found in a dumpster.
  • Pepto-Bismol tabs
  • frozen stuff – Supposed to get a big work assignment the last two weeks and I need to have frozen meals on hand because I usually don’t have time to cook.
  • unscented baby wipes – No, no surprise baby announcement. I use them on the dog’s feet after she rearranges my mulch in the flower beds.
  • parchment paper – I’ve transferred this item to five successive grocery lists. Can’t find it at a couple of the usual places. I mostly use it for homemade pizza.

OK, that’s enough minutiae for all of us. The dog is even rolling her eyes about my lack of a life…

Zombies in the Ethnic Aisle

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Zombies in the Ethnic Aisle

I haven’t spent much time at the grocery store lately. Still on my austerity program, trying to use up everything in the house. But you can only eat kosher hot dogs and shredded cheese for so many days in a row.

So, I had to pick up a few things. But bear with me while I rant a bit about fellow grocery shoppers. What is it about grocery shopping that turns some people into zombies with lobotomies (they mover slower than plain zombies)? I particularly notice this in the “Ethnic” aisle – the one with exotic items like pasta and canned tomatoes. I encounter two types:

  • People who can’t drive those monstrous kiddie carts. Those things scare me more than an 18-wheeler driver on speed. The kids always look miserable, BTW. Maybe they realize their parent sucks at driving.
  • People who look like they’ve had one too many doses of Thorazine (a tranquilizer drug used on psychiatric patients in the “snake pit” days.)

Admittedly, I hate shopping and have become really cranky with age, so I’m not very tolerant. But, hey, be aware and move your a– and cart out of the middle of the aisle!

Okay, rant over. What did I buy?

  • Wine – I also got a foofy lemony liquor that will need to be locked up away from my reach. It’s too tasty.
  • Assorted dairy items – I bought both heavy cream AND fat-free creamer. It’s almost homemade ice cream season. That’s my excuse for the fat stuff.
  • Asparagus – If I had to pick one vegetable to live on, this would be it. I drizzle olive oil on it, broil it and sprinkle Parm on it when it comes out.
  • Paper crap – See previous post “Too Bad TP & Paper Products Aren’t Edible.”
  • Some other stuff I can’t remember.

If you see me at the Giant Eagle, don’t rear-end me w/ your cart. I might go all postal on you.

Too Bad TP & Paper Towels Aren’t Edible

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I held out as long as I could before going to the grocery store. The list was long and I knew I’d be spending some bucks. But $146? I was out of almost all paper products and other useless non-food or drink items. It struck me when I got home and unloaded that it’s a shame toilet paper and paper towels aren’t edible. If they make these things biodegradable, why not make them tasty? You could make a wrap with a couple of sheets of Bounty and deli goodies. TP could be used in baklava instead of those skinny layers of pastry dough.

One Square Per

That reminds me of something Sheryl Crow said on Oprah (or maybe it was Madonna since it sounds like her). Sheryl said that there was no reason anyone should use more than ONE square of toilet paper at a time. Seriously. Who could make that up? That’s about the time I stopped watching Oprah (that and the Dr. Phil phase).

Here’s what else I bought:

  • cat food – of course, HRH was tired of the selection in the 24-pack so I had to mix it up
  • asparagus- (which I douse w/ some olive oil, salt and pepper and put under the broiler. Try it w/ some grated Parm when it comes out.)
  • coho salmon – I know the farm-raised stuff is cheaper, but this is so much better for an extra $2/lb.
  • white and red wine – It’s tax season, need I say more?
  • afore-mentioned paper goods + foil
  • yogurt – Again, I have to wonder about that fruit on the bottom thing??
  • pastrami – not the good kind. This is some store-brand formed product w/ pastrami essence. Hey, it was on sale.
  • olives – I may devote a whole post to olives soon. I have avoided the olive bar lately because they’re pricey. I probably could live on olives, cheese and wine. LOVE!
  • mayo – realized mine was dated 11/15/11.
  • chocolate – bought Scharffen Berger because I’m going to make a foofy chocolate dessert for friends next weekend. If you bake w/ chocolate, you NEED this. Forget that brand that starts w/ “g.” Trust me, I may not cook much, but I make some mean desserts.
  • more stuff I can’t remember – but not meal-worthy fare

Hey, weigh in on that TP thing. One square??

Are Apples the New Pepperoni?

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Ha, that title will reel them in! I just made the apple/gorgonzola pizza I said I was going to make Super Bowl Sun. Nothing will replace pepperoni, but this pizza did turn out pretty cool and tasty.

I have to give a nod to Southern Living because the original recipe is from their Nov. issue. It was in the “I’m so sick of turkey, what can I eat?” section of the mag. I changed it up to include stuff I had on hand.

I used a Boboli whole wheat pre-made crust. “He Who No Longer Inhabits” (heh – sounds like Voldemort) used to foof over the crust and make his own. Not me.  Here’s the rest of the goods:

  • 1 granny smith apple (I used another type), sliced thin
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. fig jam (I used Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, which surprisingly has no fat.)
  • 4 oz. of gorgonzola (the recipe used goat cheese, but I mixed feta w/ the blue because that’s what I had and I wanted more of a salty taste.)
  • Sprinkle of Italian shredded cheese blend
  • 1/3 c. toasted chopped pecans
  • 1-2 cups arugula
  • Salad dressing of your choice (I used my own balsamic vinaigrette.)

Saute apple and onion in olive oil until soft and a bit browned. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread fig jam on crust and top with apples and onion. Sprinkle cheese over apples. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese has slightly melted. Sprinkle pecans over the top.  Let cool a minute. Toss arugula w/ a little salad dressing. You don’t have to use dressing, but I wanted a salad-type topping. You can serve w/ the arugula on top of pizza or I put it on the side.

(Not my pizza – too busy eating it to grab a camera.)

It was really good. The salty feta and gorgonzola balanced out the sweet apples and jam. I’m going to do some other variations of this pizza, too. A friend once served a fig and olive tapenade w/ goat cheese. I’m going hunting for that baby. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Oh yeah, serve w/ a red table wine, a bold white or something fancy. I had a Spanish Jumilla w/ it – a bit on the pricey side for me – it was $12.99, but it was worth it. Bon Appetit!

New Year-New Weird Cr– To Do with Food

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Quelles Horrors (you see my H.S. French fails me)!  I haven’t posted for over a month! Some bloggers go to jail for less. Well, I’ll try to post more often, maybe three times a week. That was NOT a New Year’s resolution, btw. That’s for suckers.

What’s New?

  • Gidgets! (Gadgets marries Widgets) – I want to add a widget for you all to post your incredibly funny, interesting and weird single people grocery lists. Figuring it out will give me an excuse to get my techie on and get some buzz going for this blog. You promise to post yours, right?
  • Recipes – No, not like Food TV. I’m talking about sharing your secret shameful food combinations w/ us. You know what I’m talking about – crap you put together to empty the fridge before serious decomp occurs, when you have no real food in the house or you’re just too lazy to pull up a recipe online. I may add a widget for you to share your creepy food combos.
  • More types of single adventures – I do NOT mean all the psychopaths you met on “Match me with someone I wouldn’t give my zip code to.com.” That stuff is for other single-related blogs.

So, I’ll start us off w/ a food creation I did recently and surprisingly actually consumed, kind of…

I combined elbow macaroni w/ the following:

  • Leftover kalamata aoli dip from Nordstrom’s Bistro. They serve this w/ with their amazing fries.
  • Leftover verde sauce I made for shrimp
  • Roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic in olive oil
  • Feta cheese
  • Some torn basil leaves
  • Mayo

Although the first two bites were good, there was too much going on. The sauces kind of fought w/ each other. I ate most of it, feeling virtuous about using up all that stuff.

Grocery Withdrawal

I’m trying to put off a grocery store run as the financial status is a bit dim. I’ll have to get cat food soon (although he likes garlic and cheese, I don’t want to think about what that will do to his gastrointestinal situation) and I’ll need to make a wine run. Those, as you know, are staples in my house. More on staples in the next entry…