These Chips are(n’t) BS!

Was in Whole Foods the other day roaming through the chip aisle to grab some pita chips (of course, right?).  I always have to see what else is on the shelves that I really don’t need.  Well, a couple years ago I had some chips after running a race that were so good! They were just so unique and I haven’t been able to find them again.  I couldn’t quite remember what they were, unfortunately, so have been on this endless hunt.  I see these sweet potato chips and try them and realize they aren’t quite right.  Well, finally I have found what I was looking for!  Garden of Eatin’ Butternut Squash Chips!  They are and aren’t BS!  So good!  The bag says NEW, no, they were around a couple years ago and now are finally back!  The chips are made with corn, butternut squash and some spice.  They have a bit of sweetness, they’re crunchy and something unique to them.  I don’t even think they need salsa to pair with them.  I did put some hummus on them once or twice, though — the pita chips didn’t have to get all of it, right?  They are also gluten free and dairy free.  Check them out, let me know what you think.  And, if you find them at different stores, let me know.




From Demo to Homemade…delicious find

I was at Whole Foods last week and they of course had all sorts of food demos/samples out in the store.  One was this delicious salad that they were charging a good amount for and extra to add salmon or chicken to.  I looked at the ingredients and mentioned how I’d love to just make it at home.  The girl doing the demo said quietly ‘just google it under Martha Stewart…’  Score!  So, last night I served some wonderful Toasted-Quinoa Saute with Lemony Cabbage and Dill with Pan Seared Chicken. There aren’t too many ingredients in the recipe:

IMG_02021 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed well
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 head Savoy cabbage (about 1 pound), cored and thinly sliced lengthwise, divided
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 ounces pitted large green olives, such as Castelvetrano or Cerignola, halved (about 3/4 cup) — picked up basic green at Trader Joe’s
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

Step 1

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir in quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to high, and cook until water evaporates and quinoa is dry and tender, about 5 minutes (stir frequently to prevent scorching).  *I just cooked it like regular quinoa.

Step 2

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown in places, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining cabbage.


Step 3

Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Return sauteed cabbage to skillet, add quinoa, and raise heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is toasted and crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chickpeas, olives, and lemon zest and juice, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in dill, and serve with yogurt.


The salad was amazing!  And, it’s dairy-free and gluten free!  We enjoyed it with two whites (one was opened earlier in the night).  Chalk Hill 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and Chateau St. Jean 2010 Chardonnay.



And for dessert we had some of the wonderful Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet.  That stuff is deadly!


Calamari Steak

Was roaming around Whole Foods the other night looking for something to make for dinner and came across something I hadn’t seen before — Calamari Steak.  I’ve had rings and thin calamari tubes, but this stuff was amazing. About 1/2″ thick and 1/2lb per steak. Had to give it a try.



Unfortunately neither of the guys at the seafood counter had any idea how to cook it so did a little research while waiting in line to check out.  I found info that said season and pan sear for about 1 minute per side.  That sounds easy enough.  I just used for garlic salt and Florida Seasoning from Penzey’s for seasoning.


To pair with this, I also sauteed some kale and mushrooms in sesame oil.


When I was at Whole Foods I also came across some Manchego that was on sale.  Love Manchego because I can actually eat it because it’s made with sheep’s milk vs. cow’s milk.  Lactose intolerant folks can bear it!


So, with all said and done, enjoyed a great meal of calamari steak — which was a bit chewy, in a cool way, kale & mushrooms, manchego and olives.  Not too shabby, at all.


Give Me a Fiver

Who’s not always looking for a bargain, and a good tasting one at that?  Just saw this great article/blog on about value wines under $5.  Will definitely add these to my notes.  Never hurts to have them around.

Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck)
Trader Joe’s Coastal
Whole Foods Three Wishes
Walmart Oak Leaf
ALDI’S Winking Owl


Whole Food(s) & Wine

Had to get that great Before & After thought in there again as much as possible.  So a couple weeks ago, I saw this amazing sign outside of the Whole Foods in Glover Park/Georgetown (DC) for their Wednesday night $5 for 5 wines and 5 food bites.  What, what, did I read that wrong?  Really, I know I just walked out of the gym, I’m tired, dehydrated, want some food (and likely wine) but what did that say?  But I did read it right!  Every Wednesday from 5:30-7pm they feature 5 wines (in two ounce pours) accompanied with a nice snack for five bucks!  Whoa!  Bring…it…on!  I am proud, yet almost ashamed, that I finally (only finally) made it down there this week.

And the night began.  So as the first timer, I walk in, see wine in the non-wine section (aka produce) and see people with glasses and paper.  Of course I have to ask who/what/when/why/where??  Deer in headlights.  Simple…go to the express lane, pay five bucks and get the (take home!) wine glass (that you can bring back, or any wine glass, for a dollar off…four dollars!) and summary/rundown sheet for the five tasting stations.  Money paid, game plan set.


Station #1:  Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier.  Ok, every nose and palette is different.  It smelled like swiss cheese to me…yes, you read that right, but oh, oh, oh, down so smooth, with some berries then smoke, in a nice, clean sense.  The even better thing?  It was on sale from it’s normal X price (don’t what that is) to $10, then we got an extra buck off!  I CAN NOT wait to go to South Africa next year to taste this stuff on site!  This was served with breaded eggplant (couldn’t have it because of cheese…heard it was good).


Station #2:  Another visit to Sugarloaf with the Sugarloaf Mountain Pinot Grigio.  They are just north of DC and offer a great escape for a day.  Crisp, citrus-y with a hint of peach.  A great summer white, cool and refreshing!  Retail price around $17 or so.  This was served with shrimp prepared in coconut oil.


Station #3:  Take me to Italy for some Cesanese Lazio Volepetti.  Nice medium bodied-red.  I kept trying and trying, and trying and trying to nail down a nose or flavor and couldn’t do it.  It was a nice wine.  I drank it, I would drink it again, but I’m only writing home about it for my blog.  Apparently they couldn’t keep it in stock after the tasting.  I bought the bottles of #1, not for the price (score!) but for the wine/taste proper.  Each one to their own…more for me!  Side note, retail price for this one is around $12 or so.  This was served with salami, (hard parmesan), and french bread.


Station #4:  Parlez vous francais?  Avez-vous un peu de vin?  Merci beacoup.  Yes, I speak French and I had French wine.  Rose, to be exact.  We tasted Aime Roquesante Rose.  If you want the site in French, check it out.  Pink is about the most I could say about it.  It was a dry vs. a sweet rose which was nice but I couldn’t equate it to anything, really, flavor-wise.  Would be good to have handy as a light wine for summer.  It did have a cool bottle, as in the non-uniform shape.  Overall, it was nothing to write home about again just good info to write (on) a blog about.  Retail price around $13 or so.  And as I note this, I must say again everybody has totally totally different wine taste, go please go try it!  We had roasted chicken and rice with this one.


Station #5:  Pop! Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux.  Bubbly.  Great way for the tour end.  Nice fizz, nice light taste.  Retail price around $14 or so.  This was served with a little protein smoothie with huge chunks of delicious peaches.


This was yet another great was to just learn about new wines and expand the palette.  And for five bucks?  Can’t go wrong.  Happy happy hour!  And again, I am giving my tasting notes.  Everybody has different tastes and can like different wines.  Go out to your local store(s) for tastings or buy a bottle to share with friends.  Have a tasting party.  You will only learn more by exploring and socializing.  Sip on, sip on.