Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by dividend

  1. I'm a big fan of small(ish) meals with healthy snacks in between. Since I've started consistantly packing a morning and an afternoon snack to take to work, I've noticed a huge jump in my energy levels, and my mood is a lot more even. I try to healthy pack healthy snacks, according to my definition of healthy - minimally processed, few ingredients, etc. I try to balance whole grains, vegetables, and good fats. I also want packing snacks to be easy. Here are some of the products I buy that fit these criteria: - Larabars - these are really good raw bars made mostly from dates and nuts. I love the minimal ingredient list, and the good fats. Any of the flavors with cinnamon or ginger taste great. - Fruit Leather - combine one of these with 1 oz of nuts and you've got a great snack. I buy these and the Larabars at Costco. - True North - I bought a bag of nut clusters from Sam's Club the other day, and they're delicious with some tart dried fruit. - Babybel and Laughing Cow - perfectly portable cheese. With whole grain crackers, what could be better? I figure there are plenty of like-minded snackers around here, so recommend me your favorite healthy, easy, tasty snack products.
  2. dividend


    I'm just one person, but I still love Costco. The cash-back AMEX pays my membership fee every year. I stock up on stuff that keeps, so individual servings are a plus. I take a small lunch and a couple of snacks every day to work, so the healthy snack-type stuff is great for me. I also do periodic small OAMC sessions, and that's how I make the large quantities work for me. My list generally includes (not all in a single trip): - Organic chicken broth - Penne pasta in 6 x 1lb packs - Big packs of Babybel, Laughing Cow, and Boursin - Parm Reg, feta - 4 packs of salted/unsalted butter - Cases of: organic diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, V8, LeSeur very small young early peas (a favorite from childhood) - Larabars they're $1.39 EACH at Whole Foods, and were sub $1 per the last time I bought a box - Fruit leather - Kashi cereal - Crackers: Kashi, and round water crackers. - Huge bags of: pine nuts, open shell pistachios, mixed nuts, dried fruit - Frozen fish - any of the non-breaded individually wrapped kinds - wild salmon, cod, tilapia - Frozen raw shrimp - 6 packs of split BSCBs (you end up w/ 12 breast halves) are perfect for batch freezer cooking. - Vitamins, fish oil, razor blades - Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags (I've got a closet pantry, and it's nice to never have to worry about buying this stuff at the grocery store) - Cheaper Jack Daniels, Kirkland vodka - Baguettes, bagels, pita, tortillas - so convenient to have all these stashed in the freezer. - Roses for Mom and grandma just because. I buy a lot of produce in the winter - Giant tubs of spring mix - Campari tomatoes - like a lot of people have mentioned, these ain't no substitute for early August garden tomatoes, but they're very good - Giant packs of trimmed hericots-verts - these are seriously fresh and delicious - Berries - Bell peppers (can't beat 6 red peppers for $6 in the winter) - Kiwis Since a trip to Costco is never less than an hour and a half (that does include the $1.50 hotdog and drink for lunch), I normally pick up a rotisserie chicken for a few easy meals. I did Sam's for a while as a piggyback on my parents' account - there really is no comparison.
  3. I like this place for a go-to lunch or dinner if I'm down in P&L anyway. The burgers are tasty, very messy, and very topping-focused, and the waffle fries have actually been pretty good. It is a tad pricey for a burger and fries though, and would not be my choice if I were craving a hamburger and going out specifically for that purpose. But I haven't walked out unhappy. Also, I agree that the milkshakes are on the thin side, but I think that consistency works if your order one of the spiked ones, which are really fun. I guess my take on it is - there are better places to go for burgers, for fries, and for milkshakes, but it's not a bad choice if you're in the area.
  4. I was at a concert at Kansas City's new downtown arena, and the concession stand had "parmesan garlic fries" on the menu. That was a waste of $7, and falls squarely in the culinary cliche category.
  5. 12 courses w/ wine on Thursday night - *swoon* Next time I'll be nicer to the staff and make an earlier reservation, as we didn't finish up until almost midnight. My best friend (who has joined me for this birthday treat two years running) has the menu with all our wine pairings written on it, so I'll spare you guys a full gushing report. I will say that if you haven't tried the deconstructed carrot cake, drop what you're doing and go try it right now. Highlights for me were the olive oil poached halibut, the duck confit over pasta, the yellowtail hamachi, and the pea soup. I think we were both in agreement that the pea soup was wonderful, and stood out even amongst the more luxurious courses. Also, foie with rhubarb and vanilla is just about the most decandent thing ever.
  6. Ah, but the problem with the lunch special is that is does not include the Kobe burger, which costs $12 and adding fries is an additional cost. Were the sweet potato fries good? I love them elsewhere, but I was splitting with the BF and he doesn't do sweet potatoes.
  7. I don't, but the name seems to have become a trend, nation-wide. Bar Blanc, which is a new hot thing in NYC, comes to mind. ← I walked by this place one night, not connecting it to this thread at first glance, All I could think was that it looked like an iPod exploded inside. Went for lunch with the BF on a Saturday. Couldn't resist the Kobe burger with truffle butter and balsamic onions, medium rare. Tasted delicious, but I was overwhelmed with the impression of softness - soft buttery bun, slippery onions, and burger itself crumbling apart. Also the watercress was mostly stems and seemed a little out of place. The fries were excellent, of the curled but not curly skinny variety, and served in a cute mini-shopping cart with 3 dipping sauces of the ubiquitous flavored mayo/mustard that purports to be aioli type. So all in all, tasty, tasty food, but very pretentiously trendy (wouldn't be out of place in the Power & Light district). We spent $35 for two (no alcohol, just Lost Trails Root Beer), which is more than I like to spend for a casual lunch. But definately try it for the food.
  8. Inspired by the "recipes that rock" thread, yesterday I made this braised pot roast recipe. Problem was, the recipe is written for two 3-pound beef roasts, and I had only one kicking around in my freezer. So I halved the quantities in the recipe. I did not, however, adjust the time. Flavors were delicious, I see why people love it. It was pretty overcooked though. Do I need to adjust the time? It makes sense to me why you'd do it in a baking recipe, or even if the original recipe was for a six pound roast, but the recipe was for two 3-pound roasts. Was the timing the problem, or should I look for other factors? Because I really want to make this again soon.
  9. That spot on Westport road might be cursed - haven't there been like 3 restaurants open and close there in the past year? It was some kind of sandwich place, then Tatsu's, then a Mexican place. Might as well see if a burger place does any better.
  10. I still haven't gotten around to an actual written inventory, but for the last two weeks I've eaten almost all pantry meals. So far: - Salad with roasted salmon, goat cheese and bacon, with roasted sweet potatoes - Soy/lime/garlic chicken over white rice, and quick pickled cukes with rice win vinegar - Meatloaf, mac and cheese, corn - Spicy red beans and rice, more quick pickles - Fried pork chops and risotto - Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, skillet broccoli - Tomato soup, mac and cheese, green salad - Green tomato curry I think the only things I've bought have been milk, yogurt, orange juice, and some shallots (for the risotto). Still to come is: - A big batch of tuna salad for lunches - A mass of tacos/quesadillas/burritoes with mexican rice - 6 individual homeade frozen pot pies - 8 huge peices of frozen homemade lasagna - 5 # of locally made sausages/brats (going to take to a grilling get together on Saturday) - Smoked turkey soup I need help figuring out what to do with: - 1 # of lamb ribs - 2 # of ham slices, frozen as a giant block - I'm thinking of making a week's worth of lunches using frozen croissants, but that won't use 2#! - a package labeled 1# leg of lamb ends (from a local farm) Any suggestions?
  11. I have the opposite problem as those of you who eat one thing completely before moving on to the next - I have to eat one bite of each thing in rotation, and it drives me a little nuts if there's not enough of something. I also tend to combine things on my fork into a single bite. I'm trying to get over my desire to save the bets bite for last, because that leads to an uncomfortable tendancy to clean my plate even if I'm stuffed. I hate sharing food off the same plate if the intention is that both parties will eat half. If I'm sharing something with my BF that I have to split, I employ the "I split, you pick halves" method onto separate plates, because I hate the thought of either of us having an unfair portion. I think this might be because I tend to be a slow eater, combined with wanting an even distribution of components from first bite to last. I feel a little neurotic sometimes when I'm out sharing appetizers with friends. Like, there are three of us, we each get 2 potato skins, so can't we just all take 2 up front so there's no worries?
  12. This is a great idea! I too have a ton of accumulated foodstuffs that I should use, plus I'm about to move. Granted, I'm only moving next door, and thus have high hopes of being able to move the chest freezer without having to unload it. I've been good at updating the freezer inventory everytime I add or remove something - the key to that is to have the list (and a pen) clipped to the side. The cabinets, not so much. I'll inventory them this week. Being single and cooking for one can be great, but it takes so much longer to use up everything! One pork chop at a time, I guess.
  13. I'm definately willing to pay more for good quality (and in most cases locally produced) milk, eggs, and meat, and in general for most produce I spend what it costs to buy either from a farmer's market or an organic store like Wild Oats (which I understand was recently aquired by Whole Foods - I have mixed feelings about that). Also certain imported things like cheese. I *GASP* at two different types of high prices - comparative prices, and the expense of labor-saving food. In the late summer, bell peppers can be had 9 for $1 from the farmer's market. Regular price in the grocery store looks like highway robbery in comparison. The grocery store is full of examples of paying ridiculous prices to save yourself a little bit of effort - the price per pound difference between whole chickens and BSCB strips being a prime example. I also cannot imagine who would buy individually plastic wrapped russet potatoes at $1 a peice, or plastic bags with precut, treated apple slices. I think that I come out about even, paying more for higher quality basic ingredients but saving because I cook almost everything from scratch.
  14. I've been on a soup kick since re-starting full time work, plus soups fit nicely into my new year's pledge of frugality. Two weeks ago it was this turkey soup . It's so quick and easy, and this time I used smoked turkey stock I made after Thanksgiving using Michael Ruhlman's method. The smoky stock turned this easy soup into something craveworthy. Last week it was this ham bean soup entirely with on-hand ingredients. My aunt had sent me the remains of her Christmas ham, which I stashed in the freezer. Definately a non-pretentious recipe, and wonderfully comforting. This week it'll be french lentil soup, again pretty much entirely from the pantry. I'm going to use some locally made smoked sausages in place of the ham, and this suprisingly drinkable $3.99 wine. Should feed the BF and me for at least 3 days.
  15. The site looks like an semi-clunky, amaturish blog, not a serious restaurant website. The three vertical panels really bother me. The content in the center panel doesn't wrap gracefully in less than a full-screen window, which means using the horizonal scroll bar to fully view pictures and longer lines. And whether or not the ads make financial sense (or you find them amusing), you have to balance the fact that they cheapen the look and feel of your site, especially taking up so much of your screen real estate. That sort of hits the nail on the head. I should never have to fiddle with my pop-up blocker to get to sub-pages. I'm a computer person by trade, and it annoys me - I can only imagine how much of a turn off that would be to someone less comfortable with computers. The important stuff (i.e. the biggest reason people go looking for a restaurant website) like phone number, hours, online menus, is unnecassarily obfuscated here. There are alot of details that give the whole thing an unprofessional feel, enough so that it might make sense to hire a professional to redo your design, or at least evaluate. A poorly executed website can actually turn people off to your restaurants. That said, your pictures are beautiful and your content is interesting. Maybe you should consider separating the interesting blog-like aspects from the restaurant pages.
  16. So after a few blissfull months of unemployment, in which time constraints have not even been a blip on the radar when it comes to dinner plans, I'm faced with the prospect of going back to work. Full time with a 40 minute commute on either end. Goodbye to Wednesday night braised lamb shanks and lazy Thursdays spent coddling a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Hello to coming home hungry, tired, and needing dinner quickly. Part of the solution will be freezer cooking and good planning. I think I'm a decent freezer cook already. I have a chest freezer, and the list on the side indicates it's stocked right now with things like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, lasagna, meatballs, individual pot pies, cabbage rolls, various soups/stews/chilis (all homemade), as well as the expected broth, butter, and various kinds of meats. I know the proper procedures for freezing, and I have a foodsaver. What I want is to eat well a few nights a week just by pulling something out of the freezer (and rounding it out with a salad/veg of some sort), and I feel like this is an area where my usual kitchen creativity fails me somewhat. I really just need new ideas. So tell me what's in your freezer arsenal, your secret stash of frozen goodness, your very best tried and true recipes that freeze well. I'm cooking for myself (and occasionally for the boyfriend), so individual servings are a plus. The OAMC forums I check out from time to time tend a little more towards cream of _______ casseroles than I'd really like. I want delicious, high quality freezer friendly ideas. I couldn't find a topic specifically devoted to this, so forgive me if it's been done before.
  17. I very much agree with this. I cook mainly for myself, and I cook those mini turkey breast roasts several times a year and have a repetoire of adventurous recipes to use it up. The article is not indicting protein leftovers in general. I think the difference is the kind of mindset surrounding Thanskgiving, and I think the article captures that: I love how she puts that, because that's certainly how I feel about the days after thanksgiving. Yesterday, even though there were only five of us, Dad smoked a 20 pound bird, and I brined and roasted a smaller 13 pounder. We generally spend the weekend lazily decorating the house for Christmas and eating reheats. I like to make stock from the carcass* while doing the clean-up, and then a pot of really simple turkey soup (it's an Alton Brown recipe) the next day, because it's nice to have a lighter alternative. Generally this weekend none of us want to do anything more complicated foodwise than reheat something or make have a sandwich and a bowl of soup. It's a lazy, comfortable time, full of warmth and Christmas music and family traditions. *I stashed the smoked carcass in my chest freezer for later - I'm thinking that smoked turkey stock would be perfect for pots of beans or lentils.
  18. I know how you feel, but I didn't really appreciate it until I started baking my own bread. The first time I pulled a really successful loaf out of the oven, the crust was a revelation - crisp, a gorgeous deep reddish brown color, smelling almost like roasted peanut butter and crackling like a firecracker as it cooled. I think there are a few reasons why crust-love is not more widespread. A big one is probably how few people buy really fresh bread from bakeries (let alone bake their own). Bread whose primary purpose is to be a long-lasting, soft background is baked differently than when the purpose is to caramelize/roast the proteins in the crust, but if you're used to the one, the other probably seems burnt rather than delicious. Also, if you're inclined to think that the purpose of bread is to neutrally convey other ingredients, bread with assertive flavors and textures would be the opposite of what you want. My BF, for example, finds the crust on my homemade sourdough inappropriate for making sandwiches.
  19. The measures instead of weights thing seems like part of a self-affirming cycle (at least in the US). I baked for several years with measuring cups and spoons, including things like breads and quiche crusts, to no real ill effect. All the cookbooks I bought locally either had solely volume measurements, or included both, so there was never any real reason to purchase a scale. I only decided to buy one when I ordered a copy of Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf, and discovered that the book had no volume equivalents. I was really suprised to look at the difference in 50/50 water/flour volume vs. weight. But if I had stuck to purely American cookbooks, I would probably not have made the transition. (Of course, now I get much more consistent results.) I think the cookbooks published don't assume we own scales, so we don't actually have to own them, so cookbooks don't have to include weights, so we don't have to own scales, etc... My recipe pet peeve? When the prep for the ingredients is not specified in the ingredient list. I hate having to read through the entire recipe to get my mise together. It's fine if to include in the body of the recipe if it's something really specific/finicky, but other wise I want it listed upfront, so I can glance at the list and know I whether I have to chop, finely dice, or slice those onions.
  20. Is this is a specific type of cake? The other day, I bumped into the father from the Mexican family who lives upstairs, carrying a gorgeous cake up the stairs, with "feliz cumpleaños" written on it in frosting. (He said it translates as happy celebration, but I'm assuming it was a birthday cake.) Later his two little kids came down in party hats with peices for me and my BF. It was a very wet milky cake, which I'm assuming is tres leches. Is that kind of cake specifically traditional for birthday celebrations? I'm really enjoying your blog. I spent 10 days in Zihuatanejo last year, and haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Your pictures, especially the markets and all the vibrant colors, are making me feel something a little like homesickness (if one can feel that way for a place that's never been home).
  21. I need to get over and check out the lounge. Do you need a reservation, or am I safe just showing up? I've convinced at least eight different people to go for brunch, and gotten nothing but raves from them. Went for brunch on Sunday with the boyfriend and another friend. Boyfriend has up to this point refused to eat eggs in any form, but loved the scrambled eggs in the Bluestem breakfast. Friend absolutely demolished the crepes with berries, yogurt and honey, declaring it the best breakfast she's ever had. And those pomme frites...
  22. I use my palm pilot task list. The priority numbers correspond to sections of the store, so 1 = produce, 2 = meat, etc. I like the fact that when I check something off, it disappears. When I use a paper list, I inevitably miss things since the list gets more and more jumbled as stuff gets crossed off. This list here is a pretty typical list for this summer - short and specific, mostly just staples that I don't get from my CSA's meat/veg delivery. Meal planning consists mostly of seeing what's in my weekly share, and matching it with what's already in my fridge pantry. I have a journal type book I use for loose planning based on that and my schedule, but it seems to have wandered off somewhere...
  23. How has no one mentioned the song yet? I sing it to myself whenever I am confronted with Velveeta. Sing along if you know it: This thread is pretty timely - I just yesterday had an encounter with Velveeta for the first time in a long time. My best friend's step-dad was making mac and cheese to go with dinner, and his recipe apparently consists solely of melted Velveeta over bow-tie pasta. It had been many years since college, when I ate a lot of Velveeta shells and cheese, and I have since then grown accustomed to real mac and cheese, the kind made with bechamel sauce with grated cheese folded in. With the first bite of his mac and cheese last night, I was struck by the strange texture, and the feel of melted plastic and fat, gooey and heavy and fake. Ugh. I think my tastes have evolved somewhat since college, because I found it downright unpleasant in a fake-food kind of way. Velveeta does have it's place in my repetoire, and that's sliced in equal proportions on a liver loaf sandwich. But that's the only use for it, as far as I'm concerned. Oh man, that brought back memories. On the rare occasion that my dad would be left with the dinner responsibilities when I was little, he's sometimes open a can of chili, and a can of tamales, mix them together, nuke them, and call it dinner. It was always a junk food style treat for my brother and I.
  24. Add another vote for roasted cauliflower, and Jayme's shortcut cooked red salsa. Also - the Russ Parsons no-soak method for cooking beans. And sourdough from the eGCI course. All things I make on a very regular basis.
  25. This shouldn't be at all suprising - it's a matter of expectations influencing taste, and it happens with adults all the time. That's sort of what this thread is about. I've certainly had the experience of dining at a restaurant that I'm hyped up about, and avidly enjoying something that I might not be so enthusiastic about in another context. The other reason this shouldn't be suprising is because this is the intent of every product marketed to children - take a walk down the cereal or candy aisle of your grocery store and you know which brands your kids are going to want. I don't think it's something that can be countered, nor would you want to. The reasons we're suceptible to this kind of associative marketing is linked to the reasons that a certain smells can provoke physical nostalgia, certain songs can stop us in our tracks with a reverie, and the reasons for the power of childhood comfort foods.
  • Create New...