When mother nature ushers in a change of seasons that also means we usually change up what we are cooking and eating.Variety is the spice of life they say and it’s so true when it comes to what we choose to eat. Have you been grocery shopping recently? It’s fun to see how the landscape in the produce department is changing right now. I’m loving winter squash like butternut, acorn and kabocha, slightly sweet, wonderfully creamy eaten as a side dish or added to soups and stews. I can’t pick a favorite as I like them all. Let’s talk apples especially Honey Crisp apples -super juicy and crisp – a perfect snack or dessert as is – no work required. In addition to those exceptional produce finds here are a few more things that found their way into my shopping cart.
Yes this is a giant bag of Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats – 7 pounds worth! This was purchased at Costco. When I buy these huge bags of oats I put some in a sealed container in the pantry and freeze the rest to preserve it’s freshness. Steel cut oats have a chewy texture compared to good ole regular rolled oats. So if you like more texture to your hot cereal this one is for you. The quick cooking steel cut oats are cut differently from their longer cooking steel cut cousins and they are flattened a bit so they cook quicker. It only takes about 5- 7 minutes on the stove top.
I go ahead and make 4 servings at a time, divide them up into individual servings then pop them in the fridge. In the morning all I have to do is heat up the precooked oats with some almond milk or water, add a banana, chopped apple, apple sauce or canned pumpkin, currants, some ground flax meal and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg – microwave for a couple of minutes and breakfast is served. It fills me up until lunch and is so easy. I only have to cook the oatmeal on the stove twice a week so it’s a time saver! Of course if you don’t want this giant bag of oats check your grocery store or health food store for a smaller bag.
The Field Roast vegan grain products are new to me and I am so delighted to have found them at Whole Foods. They carry a wide variety of grain based sausages, hot dogs and these yummy deli slices. This brand can be found in many health food stores.
We find that two slices for a sandwich is perfect with some fresh greens, red onion and mustard. These would also be great for a vegan panini sandwich with hummus. The texture is very similar to cold cuts – how do they do that? The flavor is light and delicate – if you like a hint of sage you will like this product. Hubby Tom says it tastes meaty. Two thumbs up from him!
Soup and a sandwich is one of my favorite lunches. Have you made this Winter Vegetable Soup yet? It makes a big pot full and luckily I have some in my freezer. It makes good use of butternut squash so be sure to check out the recipe.
This is a 10 pound bag of yellow onions from Costco – now don’t think I have gone crazy. It seems like a lot of onions especially when you know I am mostly cooking for two people these days. I use a ton of onions in soups, stews and other recipes and we can usually go through this bag before they go bad. When there are some that need to be used but I don’t need them immediately for a recipe I will chop them up in my food processor and freeze them in quart size freezer bags. Since I don’t ever use them raw this works out perfectly. Plus what a bonus to have already peeled, diced onions ready for a recipe. I also do this with celery and bell peppers. I buy the large bags of organic celery at Costco and the organic bell peppers at Trader Joe’s, clean, chop, bag and freeze. It’s much cheaper to buy the large quantities.
These are oh so handy to keep in the pantry and of course if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s check your grocery store for another brand. I use them in quite a few recipes as the work is all done for you. Of course they do have added salt and bit of sugar but the entire jar is only 80 calories! Perfect for soups, chili, enchiladas, sauces and salad dressings.
This time of year be sure to browse through the housewares section of the big box stores like Costco and Sam’s club. They are well stocked for the holiday season with a huge variety of items for the kitchen and for entertaining. I couldn’t pass up this 11 inch grill pan made by Calphalon. It was only $29.99 which is a great price. Since I just bought it I haven’t used it yet but wanted to share with you while they stores still have inventory. It will be awesome for making panini sandwiches, grilling veggies and maybe even some tofu!
For quite some time I have been looking for a lasagna pan then here a while back I was looking around the housewares department at Macy’s and discovered this Martha Stewart deep baking dish. I have used it a few times already and love it! It held a vegan lasagna without spilling over. It was also perfect for the Enchilada Casserole with Rosted Pablano Cream. It cleans up so easy and I love the deep red color on the outside which makes it suitable for a variety of holiday recipes.
This was my other awesome find at Costco – a bamboo cutting board with 7 colored chopping mats. The flexible chopping mats are my favorite because you can pick them up and transfer your chopped items right into the pot or bowl. The down side is that they can be slippery and can move around while you are chopping. Not with this bamboo holder – the chopping mats fit in the recessed top which contains them while you are chopping. The rest of the chopping mats are stored underneath! I love it.
Disclaimer – I purchased all of these products with my own money and wasn’t asked to write any of these reviews. This is just me sharing some of my shopping fun with you!
Yesterday I made another pot of Chef AJ’s Red Lentil Chili in the pressure cooker – you can also make it in a slow cooker. It’s really one of our favorite chili soups – so thick, creamy and full of flavor. Today we had it for lunch again with a Field Roast Deli sandwich.
I have been getting extra exercise in the form of raking leaves and netting leaves out of our pool! It’s only the beginning of what will be weeks of leaf duty! It does give me lots of extra steps on my fitbit which is always fun. Oh did I tell you all that my fitbit had an impromptu “cleanse” – that’s right, I left it in a pocket and it went through the wash cycle! Luckily it seems to be working just fine. Hubby Tom couldn’t find his for a few weeks and then he discovered it in a pocket of a pair of jeans that had gone through the laundry. The first couple of times he used it the stats seemed to be a bit off but now it appears to be working fine. I guess I need to check our pockets better before doing laundry. We do still enjoy wearing our Fitbits and tracking our steps, miles and calories burned.
That’s all I have for today my friends.
I love reading your comments and questions – keep them coming!
Have any new food finds or product finds you want to share?