When I was an editor at Cookie, we ran a page called Default Dinners. It was devoted to meals we fell back on again and again that could be made in minutes and usually with the help of some storebought product that one of the editors would swear tasted fresher than homemade. The genius of these kinds of meals, I find, is that they call for doing something slightly more ambitious than pressing the “start” button on a microwave — whether it is assembling or quick sauteeing — so even though most of the heavy lifting is taken care of for you, you get to play out your yummy mummy fantasy and pretend you’re serving a mostly home-cooked dinner. (I have a theory that this is the real reason Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade empire is as successful as it is.) My pick for the page was chicken or vegetable curry made with Maya Kaimal’s Simmer Sauces, which I had just discovered. And it wasn’t a phase — almost three years later, I still think of Whole Foods as “The Place That Sells Maya’s Simmer Sauce.” I always pick up at least one or two when I’m there. (more…)
August 1st, 2011 · 25 Comments · Pork and Beef, Quick
March 16th, 2011 · 63 Comments · Organizing, Strategizing, Planning, Quick
To be filed under Weird But True: At least once a week I have to field the question “Why do you like Trader Joe’s so much?” To which I answer: “Have you seen the dark chocolate covered raisins? Have you seen the miniscule shopping carts for the kids? Have you seen the price tags?” I love Whole Foods — man do I love Whole Foods — but when we shop there, our entire weekly food budget disappears before I get to aisle two. (Hence its well-chronicled nickname “Whole Paycheck.”) Last year, I did a little round-up of the staples we always pick up at T-Joes (or “T-Bros” as my husband now calls it) and I thought it might be time for an addendum to fully squelch any remaining skeptics. This time, I’ve included a bunch of combos — instead of just individual items — so you can see how the different ingredients work together in my house to help make breakfast more healthy and after-school snacks less annoying. I know we have a lot of TBros fans out there, so please, feel free to point me in a direction I may not know about.
Friend Bait When I was working full-time I kept two huge mason jars in my office – one filled with Trader Joe’s dried sour Montmorency cherries, and one filled with TJoes 50% salted almonds — then placed a pretty little guest chair beside the table where they sat. I called the jars “Friend Bait” because coworkers would walk in and out of my office all day long to grab a handful of snacks, check up on me, tell me what was going on, and invariably give me the dirt on Shari in Accounting. Don’t mess around with coconut chips or sunflower seeds or weird carob things you find in gorp. This combination is all the excitement your mouth needs at snacktime.
Afterschool Snack Plate As I’ve mentioned, I’m a big fan of the pre-emptive afternoon snack plate — a sampling of healthy bites and tastes presented before whiny and conflicting requests for Mooommmm! I want something sweet/salty/crunchy/fruity. Shown above are all the Trader Joe’s items I need to create my new favorite assembly: Seaweed chips (which I have been known to (more…)