Shopping Day
June 29, 2008, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

$70 @ Whole Foods

– grapeseed oil
– quart of milk
– club soda
– tonic water
– Kettle Chips
– mint
– limes
– Spanish cocktail nuts
– bread
– deli ham
– deli cheese
– can of diced chiles
– tomato sauce
– whipped cream
– ricotta cheese
– chocolate chips
– yeast
– boneless skinless chicken breast (1.25 lbs)
– assorted mushrooms
– basil
– mozzarella cheese

Menu, in no particular order:
– veggie burgers, potato salad
– chocolate chip pancakes, bacon
– enchiladas
– wild mushroom pizza and chicken basil pizza

I am really into making pizza these days. I invited friends over for dinner, and I’m making two yummy pizzas, enough for 4-6 people, and it will cost around $20 total. Pizza #1 will be a mushroom pizza. The mushroom mixture from this recipe, minus all of the expensive cheese; just mozzarella. Pizza #2 will be this chicken, broccoli and sun-dried tomato recipe. I’m usually not into Rachel Ray’s recipes, but sounded good and wasn’t too hard or expensive.


Operation Empty
June 24, 2008, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Life

I am moving to Providence, RI in less than a month so our mission is to eat up the food that’s in the freezer. Therefore, the next few weeks of shopping will be light.

Things I can think of off the top of my head that are in my freezer:

– heath bar chips
– split pea burgers, buns
– container of homemade pesto
– two dinners’ worth of homemade pasta sauce
– bag of tortellini
– homemade egg rolls
– steaks
– boneless skinless chicken breasts
– enchilada filling (black beans & cheese)
– bacon
– leftover vegetable pieces waiting to be made into soup
– curry paste
– coconut milk to use with the curry paste
– shredded coconut
– puff pastry
– 1 portion of chicken pot pie filling, waiting to be topped with a piece of puff pastry for an instant meal
– black beans (they were dried but have already been soaked & cooked)
– a few sticks of butter, a few sticks of Smart Balance half-butter stuff
– mini quiches that I made so that I could have an instant breakfast but I forgot about them

That’s at least 8 meals right there plus a dessert or two. Or maybe I should just throw a freezer clearing party and use up the food all at once?

Shopping Day
June 17, 2008, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Life

I’m trying to be better at reporting groceries. I did some shopping at 11pm last night because we were totally out of vegetables and lunch foods. (That’s why I had to go to the mega-mart instead of Whole Foods. It was so cheap!) I have to go shopping again later in the week to get a few more ingredients. I have a feeling that these next two weeks will be light on groceries because our freezer seems to be getting full and we need to empty it out.

$30 @ Stop and Shop

– wheat bread
– wheat english muffins
– cottage cheese
– extra sharp cheddar cheese
– American cheese from the deli
– yogurt (5 cups)
– deli turkey breast
– deli chicken breast
– frozen broccoli
– romaine lettuce
– mixed baby greens
– scallions

– lime
– grape tomatoes
– peaches (2)

The Menu (June 15-21)

Sunday – pool party! dinner out

Monday & Tuesday – leftover curry that I had in the freezer, rice

Wednesday & Thursday – baked mac ‘n cheese, salad or broccoli

Friday – possibly a free dinner at an event that I’m going to; otherwise, it’s pasta with goat cheese & mixed greens

Saturday – dinner @ my sister’s baby shower

Half of the things that I bought were to accommodate my healthy eating plan. The deli chicken, english muffins, cottage cheese, yogurt, and extra lettuce. Why is it that when I’m on a diet, I end up spending more money on food? Continue reading

Not so lazy Sunday
June 8, 2008, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Life

Even though it is 99 degrees outside today, I am taking advantage of having NOTHING to do today by doing lots of cooking. For breakfast, I made chocolate chip pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream (homemade of course), served with bacon and sliced cantaloupe. I don’t usually like pancakes but this egg-white recipe was light and airy. Right after the breakfast dishes were cleaned up, I took a nap then woke up to marinate my chicken satay and soak the sticky rice. All have to do for dinner is steam the rice, grill the chicken, and slice up cucumbers. And now, I’m enjoying a glass of O-Lieng (Thai iced coffee) before I make chocolate mint cupcakes. I just got the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World book and this will be my first trial. I’ll let you know how it goes. They won’t be completely vegan though. I couldn’t find non-hydrogenated shortening, but I saw Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend non-hydrogenated sticks and there was a coupon for $1 off so I just got that. 

Shopping Day
June 8, 2008, 3:22 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

Ahhh the first shopping day of June. This week’s menu is summer-y. Also, our freezer is starting to get full so I’m only cooking twice.

$49 @ Stop and Shop

– wheat bread
– half gallon of milk
– Smart Balance butter/shortening sticks (1 lb)
– soymilk

– deli chicken breast
– deli asiago cheese

– granola bars
– Golden Grahams cereal
– can of diced tomatoes
– chocolate chips
– chicken tenders (3/4 lb)
– tortilla chips
– 1 jalapeno pepper
– 1 onion
– 1 English cucumber
– asparagus, 1 lb
– cantaloupe
– shallots
– salsa 

$2.50 @ Chinese market
– sesame oil
– Thai peanut sauce 

The Menu (June 8-14)

Sunday – chicken satay, sticky rice, cucumber salad

Monday & Tuesday – shiitake & bacon pasta

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – things from the pantry; probably something like pesto, veggie burgers, mac & cheese

Saturday – out?

Restaurant Week
June 6, 2008, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Restaurant

I didn’t go grocery shopping this week and cooked once. This is the reason. The 30th was dinner out, the 31st we visited my parents so ate there, then ate out 2 more nights for restaurant week, made the curry soup as planned and ate leftovers from dinners out. Tonight I think I’ll dig out stuff from the freezer but maybe we’ll go shopping after dinner.

Some of the standouts from all of our eating out:

“Fava Bean Ravioli with Ricotta Salata and Mint with Curry Oil”
@ Circa
57 Center Street
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 586-2622 

The ravioli was great; the fava beans were pureed very finely, like the texture of mashed potato. Unfortunately, the pasta seemed undercooked. Now, I’ve never had ricotta salata so I was excited to try it. I looked it up beforehand, and that is not the cheese that came with the dish. I was disappointed. Unless they meant that it was in the filling? Oh the curry oil! It was subtle but still fragrant and tasty. I want to put curry oil on all sorts of things now. The mint was also a great contrast to the curry flavor.

Dessert was a vanilla bean panna cotta with rhubarb syrup. I didn’t like the syrup, I thought it tasted too sugary sweet, like a lollipop or pink hard candy. But Brian pointed out that for some reason, the syrup bought out the vanilla bean flavor even more and I think he was right.

It’s one of my favorite restaurants in Northampton. They feature a lot of local ingredients, and the dishes always sound simple yet are packed with complex tastes. However, the restaurant was sadly empty for a Friday night. I wonder how much longer it will last?

I don’t have more pictures from here on because the restaurants were too dark for good pictures.

@ Del Raye Bar and Grill
1 Bridge St.
Northampton, MA 

At Del Raye, the winner was the Sweet Potato Clam Chowder. It was thick and sweet but not too much, and the seafood was fresh. It was also very silky, probably due to the addition of tons of heavy cream. My entree was “Pacific Coast Salmon with Sweet Potato-Corn Tamale Cake, Bourbon-Pecan Sauce, Crispy Okra.” They must have ran out of okra because the dish came with green beans instead. I don’t think I had ever had pacific salmon before, and I think it had a much better texture than Atlantic salmon. They put some of the sauce as a glaze for the salmon, which made it a little carmelized and crispy on the outside. The tamale cake was crispy on the outside, firm and dense on the inside. The tamale cake and pecan sauce had the risk of being too sweet but they weren’t at all. They were subtle and the addition of molasses helped give them depth. I was glad because I’m not really into sweet sauces.

Dessert was Creme Caramel. My favorite dessert is Creme Brulee, so naturally I also enjoy its cousins – panna cotta, flan, and creme caramel. Wait, are flan and creme caramel technically the same thing? If they are, then this one was all wrong. There was way too much egg in it. Not only did it taste “eggy”, but the texture was not silky or smooth at all. The piece of homemade almond brittle was really good though. Two of my friends had the chocolate mousse for dessert. One person’s mousse was melting and a liquidy puddle was starting to form, while the other person’s looked fine. Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t have let that leave the kitchen! 

Del Raye was one of the few finer dining places in town. Now it’s changing to become a “Tavern”. Boo. Maybe it’s true that Northampton can’t support fine dining. And by “fine,” it’s entrees that cost $20-$30, so it’s not “fine dining” by big city standards.

We also went to Zen, I just had nigiri and sashimi and don’t think I have enough of a palate for sushi fish to really critique it. I can’t describe raw fish other than to tell the difference between tuna and salmon. It was a thumbs up dinner though.