Baby Goat

As you might have read several times in my blog(s), Trader Joe’s is one of my two favorite grocery stores (Wegmans being the other). The other thing you might have read is that I am a lactard (thanks Caroline for giving me that term, as you are also one), but can eat goat or sheep’s milk (cheese).

While strolling through TJ’s recently I was just really wanting some cheese. Stood there staring at the cheese section for several minutes then my eyes fell upon these ‘baby goat’ (as I like to call them) cheese discs. They are just the goat cheese logs divided into smaller pieces, or as they more appropriately term them Medallions. Each package is 1oz., very nicely sealed and there are about 5-6 per container. Of course I can’t remember the price, but I’m fairly certain it was less than $5.

Handy to have around and they will definitely be making it to my kitchen more frequently.

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Getting Nuttier

Pretty much my favorite place to do grocery shopping is Trader Joe’s. Well, that is because there isn’t a Wegmans close by (DC residents, have you heard the latest rumor about the Fannie Mae building on Wisconsin Ave and them looking at the space??).

Anyway, there is of course point-of-purchase stuff at TJ’s and one I opted to grab recently was their Mixed Nut Butter. It’s a blend of Dry Roasted & Salted Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts & Pecans. Sounds great. I’m just not a huge fan of the Brazil nuts, but I’ll eat them. It doesn’t say smooth anywhere, which is cool, too.

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The flavor was ok, but it was almost too many flavors fighting with each other. When you buy mixed nuts you can taste each one on its own. I also love chunky nut butter and it was a bit too smooth, for me. Not much salt in it, though salt was an ingredient. Not something I’ll buy again, but glad I tried it. Price was $5.99, I think. Not cheap, especially for the size. Totally worth the test.

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Hummus, oh my hummus

There are so many varieties of hummus out there!  They can cause problems…aka addiction.

I didn’t know until a couple weeks ago that Boar’s Head (like the meat people make it).  Picked some up…new addiction.

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There is also the Humm! by Fountain of Health.  They aren’t my favorite but twist my arm if needed.

Sabra of course is way up there. Sooo smooth! And so many flavors!  They and Boar’s Head are tied now for the leaders.

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Cava is darn good.

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Trader Joe’s ranks up there pretty high and they have both ‘normal’ and smooth.  The price is good.

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Then you get Tribe, Whole Foods, Wegmans and so many more.

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I also love making the stuff at home.  Do you have a favorite hummus — by brand and/or flavor?  Or, is it the homemade stuff?

Then the next most important question — what’s your favorite pita chip?

The Pub by Wegmans

Wegmans is already heaven on earth.  And now they have another element…a full restaurant.  I’m not just talking their fancy salad bar or the locations where you sit at the counters and can order and be served.  No, it’s The Pub by Wegmans.  There are only a few of these in the country.  A couple friends and I had to check it out the other day.  While doing some research on the website we noticed they use OpenTable.  We decided to make a reservation just because we could.  It was a good thing we decided to.  This place was packed — and we went at noon on a Monday (granted it was a federal holiday)!  Had we not done so, we not have gotten a table.

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The three of us split a half pitcher of sangria to start while looking over the menu.  It wasn’t that exciting of a drink.  For the first course we decided to split their White Bean Hummus Platter; Italian Classics Cannellini Beans, roasted garlic, Toscano olive oil, topped with truffle spread; served with roasted baby peppers, mini cucumbers and rosemary fontinella cheese flatbread (and got some non-cheese laden stuff).

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These were non-bell peppers and were so good.  Since they were roasted they were nice and warm.  They also made sticks out of the cukes vs just simple slices. Very tasty!

All of us opted to get the same thing as a main course — Portobello ‘Steak’ — balsamic-marinated roasted portobello mushroom topped with artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella, accompanied by bulgur wheat and arugula salads. I went cheeseless, my friends took it on.

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A nice balance of flavors all around.  Had to eat every bite.

There were also some Tuscan Fries brought to the table, which were fries accented with rosemary, sage, Italian parsley and garlic.  I don’t even like fries and had to help eat them.

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We also each had a glass of wine — so nice with the logo on there.

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This was such a fun lunch.  Delicious all around.  Great shopping afterwards, too.

 

 

Wine Crack(ers)

You can drink wine alone — there is zero problem with that.  You can find a wine that pairs perfectly with your meal.  You can find a meal to pair very nicely with your wine.  Or, you can find snacks to nibble on while sipping your wine.  While at the wine store, namely Total Wine, working a wine tasting and they give you these little nibbles to include at your table.  Innocent little off-white globes, about the size of a thumb nail.  These are Wine CRACKers.  OMG.  So, so, so good.  I don’t know what is in these things but they are addictive!!!

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Per the website, they are “O.T.C. Original Wine crackers are delicate, dry, yet slightly sweet with a hint of lemon and a touch of vanilla. O.T.C. Wine Crackers cleanse the palate and enhance the subtle flavor of fine wines. But you don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy OTC wine crackers. While many people first experience them with wine, most end up eating them as a delicious snack or treat.”

They are totally right — have them on hand — they are like candy, oh, I mean snacks.  So good!  I’ve seen them at Total Wine and Wegman’s.  Googling them brings up many other options, as well.

New Snack/’Chip’ Find

I was in the deadly Wegman’s the other day roaming through the aisles and an aisle-end product display caught my eye.  The main ingredients/flavors were things I like, the nutritional value was good, so I had to give them a try.  The product — Lesser Evil’s (love that name) Super 4 Snacks, White Bean, Quinoa, Lentil, Chia, with Kale & Roasted Garlic.  And, after visiting their site, I noticed a product I’d tried before that’s addictive, the Chia Crisps.

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A serving has 46 pieces — that’s a nice amount to be able to eat!  And has 110 calories, 3g fat, 2g monosaturated.  There are 18g carbs per serving, with less than 1 of the grams being sugars.

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The pieces you eat are light and hollow, the shape of ziti.  They just sort of float in your hand, they weigh so little!

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Very flavorful.  They were a little bit salty, and going back there are 220g of sodium per serving.  Overall though, addictive…  There are a couple other flavors of them, too — Roasted Red Pepper and Cheesy Nacho.  And, on the back of the bag, they nicely note, the product fits into a lot of (positive) categories:

-all natural
-gluten free
-beans are low glycemic
-kosher
-corn free
-good source of fiber
-no MSG
-baked not fried
-not genetically modified
-empty calorie free
-no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors
-no milk hormones

No-Cook Delicious Meal

Well, it’s still nice and hot here in DC.  That makes turning on anything in the kitchen unappealing.  For the last week I’ve been craving gazpacho and finally got it done today.  My favorite recipe is beyond simple.  It barely requires a knife.  Though it’s not from my favorite chef, I’ll give ’em dibs on the amazing recipe.  It’s called Macho Gazpacho.

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I add garlic to the recipe because that’s just essential to life and this kind of soup, and I cheat with Tabasco vs. jalapenos.  I also didn’t use the entire amount of cayenne and used a regular vs. English cucumber (just cleaned out the middle/seeds).

You just cut some of the ingredients into smaller pieces, throw everything in the food processor, blend, eat.  Before the actual eating part, I added some pre-cooked shrimp.

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I served this with Stacy’s Pita Chips, olives from the olive bar at Wegman’s (ahhh, bliss…), some hummus and a new wine that the two sommeliers at Wegman’s recommended…a nice, crisp white from Spain, the Valminor Albarino.

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Despite the heat, my friend and I sat outside to enjoy the meal and watched a thunderstorm roll in.  It was a perfect meal and nice way to wrap up a weekend.  Cheers until next time.