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  1. Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Costco and Trader Joe’s Favorites – Update!

    Hello Everyone! I was going to share a delicious Swedish recipe with you today, but, um, it’s not quite ready. So…you’ll get it tomorrow. Until then, I would like to revisit two older posts with you, and give you a little homework. Oh, and we’ll talk cannoli a little bit, too.

    Here’s the deal. Two years ago I wrote this post asking people for their favorite Costco items. I wrote a similar post about Trader Joe’s FOUR years ago. Those posts are a great resource that readers check frequently. I would love to keep them fresh, especially since items get discontinued and new things get introduced.

    SOOOO….here’s the homework portion of today’s program:

    • If you have a favorite Costco item (or items) you want to share, PLEASE CLICK HERE and add it to the comments.
    • If you have a favorite Trader Joe’s item (or items) you want to share, PLEASE CLICK HERE and add it to the comments.

    And because I hate putting up posts without pictures, the above cannoli is a recent discovery of mine in the Trader Joe’s freezer section. The verdict? Not one of my favorite Trader Joe’s items, but if you need a cannoli fix (which I sometimes do), they’ll do the job. The filling is actually very good. The only downfall is the shell isn’t super crispy and fresh. Which is understandable. They’ve been frozen with filling inside. I think the coating of chocolate on the inside of the shell helps.

    Now, get to work, people. Click on those links above and share your Costco and Trader Joe’s favorites!

  2. Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Week 215 Menu

    I think my favorite item from our first CSA bag this week were the kiwifruit. I don’t think I even realized there were kiwifruit growers in California. I’m grateful there are! Nate was dismayed to discover today that 5 of the 6 kiwifruit were “missing.” I just couldn’t help myself. I blame it on the fact they’re so healthy. I felt like I should be eating them uncontrollably. You know, for my health. Oh, I’m supposed to be worried about my family’s healthy too? Whoops.

    I can’t believe it’s March already! For those of you still experiencing crazy winter weather, I’ll cross my fingers that, even though March may be coming in like a lion, it will in fact go out like a lamb for you!

    – Lasagna

    Asian Spinach Salad

    Butternut Squash Soup (I’ll be getting a butternut squash and leeks in this week’s CSA bag…perfect!)

    – Leftovers

    Boursin Turkey Baguettes

    – Eat out

    – Leftovers or breakfast for dinner, depending on how many leftovers there are!

    Menu time, folks! Show us what you got!

  3. Friday, March 4, 2011

    The Car I Wish Was Mine

    Let me start this post with the following disclaimer: I only ever write about products if I like them and feel it is something worthwhile sharing with you. Today is no exception. For our vacation last week, Ford lent us the brand spankin’ new 2011 Explorer. They recently revamped the car and this is the first model with the new design. Since I did in fact love this car, I want to write about it!

    Both Nate and I fell in love the first time driving it. Granted, we drive a 2001 Ford Taurus, which, by the way, has only 60,000 miles and has been a very reliable car that we expect to last much longer. I’m not complaining. But, it doesn’t even have a tape deck. I have to manually lock and unlock my doors. I know, life is hard. So, I suppose any car is going to seem like heaven compared to ours, but really, the Explorer was great!

    Can you tell the car was well-loved the week we had it? Hello dirt!

    Nate and I are both minivan-resistant. My friends keep telling me we need to just get over it. But so far, we can’t. In the next couple years we’re going to want a car that seats more people, so I’m constantly on the look out for a good alternative. I’m pretty much convinced I do NOT want a crossover. That third row is just too hard to get to and rarely offers enough space for an adult to sit. The GMC Acadia is a nice option, with captain’s chairs in the center and a bench in the back that seats three, although I think it’s a little squishy for adults back there.

    The Explorer also offers the captain’s chairs option for the center row. I really love this idea. It makes it so much easier to get to the third row if you’re using it. If you get the Explorer with the center captain’s chairs, however, you can only seat 6, not 7, but it’s still a nice minivan alternative.

    I think my most favorite feature was the cruise control. You set your speed AND how much distance you want between you and the car in front of you. Then the car pretty much drives itself. If traffic slows down, the car slows down. If you change lanes and it’s faster or there is no car in front of you, the car speeds back up to your set speed. It makes cruise control totally doable in situations where there are more cars. It was really cool.

    What else? The way back had buttons on the side that automatically put the two back seats up and down for you. This was awesome. However, be careful not to accidentally bump those buttons when you do NOT want the seats moving around. There was an incident with Nate’s surfboard that he’s still not happy about. Poor surfboard.

    The very handy, sometimes-dangerous-to-surfboards buttons in the back.

    Other favorite features? There’s a standard plug in the center, the infotainment system is great and easy to use, the rear camera screen is nice and big. Also, the car can parallel park itself. Which we never tried. We were too chicken.

    Ford claims the new Explorer gets the best gas mileage in its class, which is probably true, but it’s still an SUV, so, you know, it still uses a fair amount of gasoline.

    I’m sure I’ll remember something once I hit publish, but those were the highlights. The car drove beautifully and had a nice smooth ride. I love the captain’s chairs in the center. I think if you have more than 3 kids, the minivan might still be the way to go, but otherwise, this is a great alternative.

    Needless to say, I was more than bummed when they remembered to pick the car up on Monday. How dare they? 😉

    Feel free to share your favorite minivan alternatives…or go ahead and try to convince me that I need to bite the bullet one day and just give in to the minivan. Until then, I’ll just pretend my Taurus is an Explorer. The logo’s the same. Close enough, right?

  4. Thursday, March 3, 2011

    My First CSA Bag!

    As you may recall, my New Year’s Resolution was to join a CSA. Yesterday I picked up my first CSA bag! We truly are blessed with beautiful produce throughout the year here in California. The girls and I were super excited to get home and see what was inside. I decided to join Eating with the Seasons. A good friend highly recommended them and I liked that I can get eggs included with the weekly delivery as well as select what produce I want each week based on their supply. And, so far, their customer service has been really great, so I’m excited to work with them!

    Even though I can choose what I want delivered, I forgot to log-in last week, so this week’s bag was full of surprises. Happily, everything we received is produce we normally eat. Phew! I know part of the reason I am doing a CSA is to challenge myself to try new produce, but I must admit it’s nice to ease into the experience with food I know.

    We’re starting out with a Small bag each week to get a good idea of what we will use. Here is what we received this week. A dozen organic, local, humanely-raised eggs for only $4.50 (I’m getting this bi-weekly). Awesome, right? For veggies, a bunch of carrots, a HUGE acorn squash, two heads of butter lettuce and two big crowns of broccoli. For fruit, a bag of kiwi fruit, four apples and 6 tangelos (one of which I am eating right now – it’s delicious!).

    I have to say, I already feel more invested in my produce. How often do I let it go bad in the fridge? More often than I like to admit. But I’m determined to not have that happen with my CSA produce. Hopefully this means we end up eating more fruits and veggies overall! I’m very glad I made this our resolution and that we are finally jumping on the CSA bandwagon. I think it’s going to be a great experience.

  5. Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Girl Scout Cookie Time!

    It’s Girl Scout cookie time! I realized this week I have never blogged about these devilish little treats. Yes, devilish. They appear to cause most people to lose all self control. Sounds evil to me.

    While I can’t help but feel like I’m paying the rent for the Girls Scouts’ Fifth Avenue office in New York, I still can’t resist handing over $4 per box to those cute little girls in Brownie uniforms. By the way, how ingenius is that name? Brownies. Before the cute little girl even opens her mouth to talk cookies, you’re already thinking about…and craving…dessert. Of course we all buy boxes upon boxes of cookies.

    This year we exercised great control and only bought one box of Thin Mints and one box of Samoas. Although, in the back of my mind,I do know that our supplier has more cookies in her little back pocket, so we may end up indulging in a few more boxes. We’ll see…

    What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor? If you need a refresher on the flavors, click here. There’s about a billion (okay, 11) to choose from. Also, I’m dying to know if there’s anyone out there who CAN resist the temptation of these cookies? Do you exist? I think you don’t.