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Archive for February, 2008

On Spices, Spice Racks, and George

February 13th, 2008 at 05:05 pm

It's been a while since I've posted...again.

Things pick up at work and I find myself without the copious bored time that I have usually when there's nothing going on. That's my post-writing time.

Today, I'd like to talk about spices. It's been what has been engulfing my life for the past 72 hours or so.

While trying to clean/organize my kitchen the other day, I found that I have a terrible mess by my stove. There were just these random containers and stuff everywhere. I lost so much precious counter space (there wasn't much to begin with) with all those containers stacked up, ready to topple over.

So, I got online, ready to find a solution to all my problems. And then I found these:



They're great! Each canister has a magnet on the bottom, so I just stick them to the side of my fridge. Now I have an arsenal of spices still somewhat within arm's reach, and taking up absolutely no counter space. All problems are solved.

Speaking of spices, I splurged a little and bought organic spices the other day. Now, I've been told that organic spices have more kick than their complementary non-organic versions. So, for today's lunch, I packed up some chicken grilled with a bunch of spices - I don't even remember which ones - and some haricot verts a l'anglaise on the side. Anyways, they're no kidding - these organic spices are soooo much more flavorful than regular McCormick-in-a-bottle spices. And I got them at a local market, so a lot of them were actually CHEAPER than picking up a bottle of McCormick at the supermarket.

Anyone else use organic spices? I highly recommend them.

No Eating Out For a Week

February 7th, 2008 at 06:31 pm

I'm almost there.

Last time I ate out was last Sunday, when I grabbed a couple of cheeseburgers on my way home for lunch. I've been doing a lot better about not eating out so much, and when I do, I try to keep it cheap. I haven't stepped foot in a sit down restaurant in weeks.

So this week, my goal was to not eat out at all. I did cheat and get a coffee earlier in the week, but I've convinced myself that it's not a meal. =)

Anyways, we're into Thursday, and I just finished my lunch of leg of lamb and seasoned rice. IN MY OFFICE. I ain't goin anywhere. Dinner is taken care of tonight, as well as tomorrow night, and I have a pre-packaged lunch box of alfredo pasta sitting in my fridge for lunch tomorrow. Saturday will require some creativity, but I've been looking at recipes and am pretty excited about trying some of them.

I wonder what I can cut down on next week.

Today's Top Story: Food Geek Deal Makes Payday Worthwhile

February 1st, 2008 at 06:40 pm

It's payday! Finally!

I can't believe I survived the past 2 weeks on $160. Considering $100 of that went to gas money (bleh), I think I did pretty well. It feels good to have a little breathing room again.

Anyways, you're probably wondering what the food geek deal I got was.

It all begins with one of my favorite periodicals: Cook's Illustrated. For those of you who have not have the pleasure of picking up this little magazine, I like to think of it as the creme de la creme when it comes to food magazines. There are no sponsors, no advertisements, no fluff - just to-the-point useful cooking information. If you've seen the show America's Test Kitchen, that's one of their productions.

Anyways, I've been on the hunt for one of their top rated items - a Tramontina 6.5qt enameled cast iron dutch oven. They say you can pick it up for about $40 - but I can barely find it, much less for $40. Sometimes I'll see it online for like...$60. Anyways, it's not their very top rated, which is a $240 Le Creuset - which I can do without. So I've been hunting for this thing, thinking about all the delicious French onion soup and beef stew and no-knead baked bread I can make in it.



Turns out, it's Wal-Mart of all places that has this for $40. Using their new snazzy find-stores-with-this-in-stock feature online, turns out 3 of the 18 or so Wal-Marts in a 50 mile radius have this thing. So, I made a resolution of heart to get up early this Saturday morning (as it was after payday) and suck it up to drive the 18 miles to this fabled Wal-Mart, largely to reward myself for all the no-spending I've done in the past 2 weeks. All this work for a dumb pot.

Anyways, while I was running some errands during lunch today, I drove by a Wal-Mart - one of the ones the site said was "OUT OF STOCK". Figuring I had nothing to lose, I pulled in and beelined to the pots. And there it was. Glorious and ugly green, my darling pot sat so lonely on the shelf, the last one remaining amongst its diminutive 3qt siblings. Ecstatic, I grabbed it and nearly dropped it on my toe. No, not because it was heavy, though it is pretty heavy. It's because I caught a glance at the glaring red price tag under it that said - "Clearance $30.00".

I made out like a bandit. Take that, uppity Le Creuset. I don't need your stinkin pots.

If you're looking for a dutch oven, ransack your Wal-Marts and leave none of your faith in their online stock checker thing. The Tramontina one that I got is a great deal, even at $40. If you can't find that one, there's also a Lodge one that's $50 - it's also regarded highly by Cook's Illustrated. The handles are bigger (which is super useful with such heavy pot), the knob on the lid is better, but it's only 6qt instead of 6.5qt. But at least you get a choice of color, other than the 80's retro green.