Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bread and Babble

Today I made THIS. It's my second time making it because the first time worked out so well. Isn't it funny how when something works out well we want to do it over and over? I have the same kitchen tools as my friend, Jeri - a Bosch Mixer and a Nutrimill. I made one change to her recipe. I ground up a couple of cups of cornmeal from some ancient popcorn I had in the pantry and added it to the mix. This is what I love about breadbaking, you can pretty much do what you want with it and the very least you'll finish with is something edible.

But this recipe that Jeri recommended is wonderful. Actually, it's her friend's recipe, and if I ever meet her friend face to face, I'm going to thank her. The loaves come out looking like 'real' loaves of bread from the supermarket. They are soft and nice and have the right amount of loft, but do not have the uniform styrofoam stuffed with cotton taste of mass-produced supermarket bread.

Hmmm...were my feelings showing?

Here's something else I changed from Jeri's recipe. I'm not baking all five loaves at once. Here's the reason:

I only have 3 loaf pans. What I did last time was make a great big round loaf with the extra dough.

Not a good idea. The stuff was good. Really good. So good I ate it. Not all of it, but most of it.

I have a hard time saying 'no' to bread.

See, my kids only like 'real' bread that looks like bread from the supermarket. They got this 'has to look like store-bought' thing going on with their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They don't eat round bread except with spaghetti or to soak up a little gravy, but in general, oddly shaped bread bamboozles them.

To forestall a situation where it's just me, the husband and a mound of oddly-shaped bread, I have the other two loaves worth of bread rising in plastic containers. Depending on how my time goes this afternoon, I'm going to rise it a second time and bake it, or pop it into the fridge and bake it tomorrow or the next day. Or maybe the day after that.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Moving on to stockpiling...

Now that the holidays are upon us, the sales don't warrant any major squirreling away. Pros Ranch Market, Food City and El Rancho Market (I'm sorry, they still don't have a website) have good produce prices. You can get a free range turkey for 87c/pound at Sprouts. Also, dried cranberries for $2.99/lb in the bulk section. I love dried cranberries but I wish the people who make it wouldn't sweeten them first. Check out the Sunflower Market ad for fresh produce also.

Most of the grocery stores are closed on Christmas and the current ads are pretty much good through Thursday, Dec 24. If you're in the mood, it might be worth it to hit up the stores on the 26th. There may be some really good sales and the grocery stores will likely be empty because everybody will be at the malls exchanging gifts. Otherwise, with the holidays ongoing now, I'd get to the store early, get what you need and get out.

Egg nog is $2.99 a half-gallon at Fry's. I mean, what's in the stuff? Milk, nutmeg, allspice, cream and rum for those who imbibe? Gotta be a recipe out there I can make without all the sugar and fat...

off to fire up the search engine.

Ho ho ho.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Mindy/Julia Project

Last night I watched Julie/Julia. The food was divine, Meryl Streep as Julia Child was divine, Amy Adams did a good job with a character, who, considering her blog which I am only today discovering, sounds nothing like her inspiration.

Leaving me to wonder if Julie Powell got rewritten for the book.

I don't know. I have the blog and the movie, I'm good.

By the way, The Julie/Julia Project blog is here. It's funny. It's worth reading:

(first posting is in August of 2002, use calendar to navigate around)

So far in the blog, it's a lot of cream, butter and roast chicken. In honor of the movie and the blog, I decided to toss 4 whole chicken legs in the slow cooker with onion, garlic, thyme and potatoes and set my house to smelling good.

(This is why I don't understand scented candles that smell like cinnamon oatmeal. So much nicer to make real cinnamon oatmeal and save the cost of the candle.)

I just finished reading a blog post in which Julie Powell mentions that people don't eat cooked carrots much anymore. Ain't that the truth? I rediscovered them recently, which seems ridiculous, considering how much I cook. I stopped eating them because somewhere along the way carrots became 'bad' as in 'too much sugar' for weight-conscious people.


Leaving me to wonder why, after years of avoiding carrots, I failed to achieve the slim, svelte contours to which surely G*d wants me to become accustomed.

Could it be the cake? The ice cream? The donuts? The bread? Could it be crazy-a$$ diets that leave out whole food groups, demonize ingredients historically considered healthy and involve pre-made shakes?

Which is not to say that I've mended my ways and now eat only well-balanced, calorie-counted meals. But maybe, someday...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This is one of those week's when having a stockpile is good...

Because the sales are...lackluster.

(See the Stockpile Post Amendment at the end!! Not a total loss!)

Fresh and Easy has Farmer John or Smithfield hams for 77c/lb. I think that's a good price because even hams that have water added are useful to cook and use for lunchmeat.

Basha's has Value Pack pork chops for 99c/lb. That's a pretty good price.

And all other kinds of meat - you shoulda bought it already.

Pros Ranch has good produce prices this week, some extra good deals today, but nothing I'd run out of my way for. Food City tomorrow has some good produce prices and if you have one near you, it's worth stopping in.

For my part, I'm glad I have a lot of veggies and fruits packed into my freezer. Ditto on chicken, beef, and those wonderful strip steaks I got at Basha's last week. That same cut is $3.97/lb at Fry's this week.

Eggs are 99c/dz at Walgreens and milk $1.99/gallon. At Bashas, half-gallons of milk are 97c.

BUTTER is $1.47/lb at Albertsons, limit 2.

Yes, the week is boring, the prices aren't bad, but they aren't all that good. The time to buy was last week or the week before or the week before that. The holidays are here, the stores know you have to have the food, so the sales have moderated. Things will improve after the holidays. After the holidays, they figure you have a lot of leftovers in the fridge, it's cold and gray and you don't want to leave your house and you're buried under a blizzard of credit card bills. They need something to get you out to the store and the sales will be back.

THIS is why we stockpile. So when you come here and read a downer blog post like this, you can defrost a roast, steam a package of frozen veggies and make muffins from the fruit compote you put up last fall and be happy to give your grocery budget a week off.

Hunt's pasta sauce is 88c/26 oz can this week at Fry's. Fry's. Basha's and Albertson's has cheap pasta this week. Good to know if you're down to your last noodle.

STOCKPILE POST AMENDMENT! (Many thanks to Miss Deborah!):

Safeway has London broil for $1.77/lb. This makes an excellent ground beef. Have the butcher grind it for you and freeze. Very lean ground beefs are often well over $2/lb and they won't be this lean.

Whoo! I feel better. Buy butter at Albertson's and London broil at Safeway. Make hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs. Better yet, shape it into tiny reindeer, use rosemary sprigs for antlers and sprinkle with white bread crumbs.

Put it on your kitchen table for a centerpiece.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New York, New York! It's a Heckuva Steak!

Gotta keep things family friendly, more or less, around here. :)

Basha's has New York Strip Steak, bone-in (by definition), for $2.99/lb sold whole. They are about 10 lbs each. I purchased one today for just over $30. The butcher at Basha's cut them into 1 inch steaks, cleaned and trimmed them for me. This is a complimentary service at Basha's and well worth it, considering that the already cut-up and packaged New York Strips sitting right next to the whole ones are $3.99/lb.

I'm happy when I can get New York strips for $4.99/lb, so don't miss out on this. I've had them from Basha's before an they're delicious. Add homemade garlic-mashed potatoes and a bag salad for an easy, special homemade meal.

Packages are limit 1, but I won't tell, if you stop back again for a second one. You know I'll be doing so.

EDITED TO ADD (In case you go today...):

Friday's are Donut Days at Basha's. Buy a dozen for $5.99 get 6 more free.

Just sayin'

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why I'd stop at Food City this week preferably on Thursday (produce special day)

Yes, that's THURSDAY, as in TOMORROW.

Sorry, I've been gone. Been overcome with paint fumes and overstuffed with turkey. All I can manage tonight is a list, but I put it up so you can take advantage tomorrow.
  • Banquet Pot Pies - 2 FOR $1
  • Fiesta! Crema Mexicana - 99¢ lb. (At Meat Service Counter - Wednesday Only Price. Worth the trip. Have you ever had this stuff? It's GOOD. Like less sour sour cream, if that makes any sense.)
  • Banquet Value Dinners - 88¢ (Does NOT include Classic Chicken or Select Dinners)
  • Boneless Chicken Breasts - $1.49lb. (best price in town. Time to stockpile.)
  • Boneless Beef Chuck Steak $1.99lb. (Have the butcher grind it into hamburger)
  • Green Cabbage 4 lbs $1
  • Cilantro 4 FOR $1
  • Italian or Mexican Grey Squash - 33¢ lb.
  • Cucumbers - 6 FOR 96¢
  • White Onion 5 LBS $1 THURSDAY ONLY
  • Avocados 3 FOR 99¢ THURSDAY ONLY
  • Bananas 3 LBS 99¢ THURSDAY ONLY (think adding it to the mangos below)
  • Mangos 3 FOR 99¢ (think smoothies) THURSDAY ONLY
  • Red Delicious Apples 3 LBS 99¢
Also, head over to Sunflower Market where the blackberries are 77c a container and the kiwis a mere 19c each.


Interesting tidbit: I just found out that kiwis are supposed to be eaten whole, hairy skin and all. We're not supposed to peel them. Remember when peaches had fuzzy skin? It grossed everybody out, but the peaches tasted so good. That's what kiwis are like. Here's my prediction: Somewhere somebody is working on a hairless kiwi. It will be more acceptable to us finicky civilized types, but won't taste near as good as the fuzzy, itchy kiwis we buy today.

I'll be back with more tomorrow.