Trader Joe’s doozies

I am a huge Trader Joe’s fan and always love to try new things there. I have my favorites, of course, and i’m always finding new favorites. I could write a several page long post about my favorites. Now that I come home later and don’t have much energy to cook after work, I love Trader Joe’s for quick meals and microwaveable, frozen foods since I know their food isn’t chock full of unidentifiable chemicals like convenience foods from traditional grocery stores are (and TJ’s doesn’t break my bank like Whole Foods tends to).

Anyway, I had one of the rare doozies tonight. They were the portobello, asagio, marscapone cheese ravioli. I guess I was expecting more cheese? But they really weren’t wonderful. I have more left and will have the rest for dinner tomorrow (in these times, I can’t waste food), but I won’t be buying these again.

Thinking of doozies, I mean doozers.

Eggplant tagine

Now that I’m coming home relatively later from work, I can only really cook on the weekends. So, usually I like making something big Sunday and eating that during the early part of the week for dinners.

Tonight I made eggplant tagine, coming from a recipe in this month’s Vegetarian Times (they also had a chickpea tagine that sounded good, but I love my eggplant!). I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but basically, this was what my revision of their recipe was:

2 eggplants, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 yellow onions chopped fine
half a bulb of garlic crushed (they called for 2 cloves of garlic I think, bah humbug that’s nothing!)
a nice amount of coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes
a 28oz can of whole tomatoes (crush them yourself with your hands)
a nice handful of chopped cilantro
I also added a few chopped Serrano peppers to the crushed tomatoes

Method is really easy. In a Dutch oven, just saute the onion & garlic for about 3-4 minutes in some canola oil, just until they start browning slightly.

Pour in your chopped eggplant and let it start steaming and softening. I added some more oil and a little water so the food wouldn’t burn the bottom of my pan as it was cooking. After about 10 minutes of steaming & softening, add the tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and put in the cilantro. Let it all sit and absorb for about a minute.

I had mine over some plain ol’ couscous.

And the Vegetarian Times recipe also had a cilantro-mint yogurt side to go along with it, that I made too. Just use your hand blender (or food processor/chopper) and blend together some Greek yogurt, cilantro, fresh mint and olive oil.

So, the dish actually came out really well and I’ll definitely be making this again. To see a picture, here it is here:
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Mmm…Oatmeal scotchies

After finally finishing my errands today, I came home and baked a batch of my favorite cookies, oatmeal scotchies. Here’s a picture of the finished product.:

I put some extra stuff into my usual recipe to kick them up a notch (I *hate* Emeril, but I do like that little phrase). I threw in a sprinkle of cardamom, some cloves, some nutmeg and a little bit of orange peel.

They’re always so good to nibble on when we have a rainy day like this.

I will leave with a few old Quaker Oats ads:

from the 1950s with the Nelson Family

Popeye pushing Quaker Oats:

Wilford Brimley

New cookbooks

I inherited a Barnes & Noble gift card over the weekend and this morning I made a visit to the big store downtown. I haven’t been there in years, I think, and these days when I get books I either go to the library or get them from Amazon.com. So I spent some time perusing around the store. I sat down and browsed/read Eat This, Not That. I was waiting to get this from the library, but haven’t gotten it yet. It was an interesting little read. I don’t eat at chain places much so this was pretty irrelevant for me, but it might be useful for someone that does go to chain places a lot.

I ended up buying two cookbooks:

Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking by Beth Hensperger, which looks like it will be another good go-to cookbook for me for quick meals. I already own Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two and started using it pretty regularly after I got it last year. I really like the writer’s style and that they provide such easily accessible recipes.

And I purchased Nestle Classic Recipes. As the title suggests, this cookbook has all of the classic Nestle recipes…the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, my favorite Butterscotch Oatmeal Scotchies and a bunch of mouthwatering, tasty cookies, brownies, and sweets. I really can’t wait to try them all. 🙂

I will leave with a video clip from Friends where Monica tries to find out Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookie recipe, which ends up being the recipe for Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe:

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Today I had a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch for the first time in awhile. Something about that soup really comforts me…I guess it’s just simple and has a comforting, familiar taste. I know it’s not the most healthy thing in the world, but I always have it with some Triscuits or Wheat Thins to give it some substance.

I noticed today, though, that Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup has a lot less noodles & chicken pieces than it used to. Maybe this classic soup has fallen victim to what has been expressed in this article: Food Packaging Shrinks, Prices Stay The Same. The can looks like it’s the same size as it always has, I don’t have an older can to compare it to. The broth probably doesn’t cost as much to produce right now as the noodles & chicken pieces.

So, I do love the broth so the broth and few sad noodles & chicken pieces made me happy.

I will leave with a funny video from Scrubs of Janitor trying to eat soup with a fork:

Baking cookies

After watching Stranger Than Fiction again this weekend, I was really in the mood for fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. So, when I got back from being out of town, I figured I’d bake some up. I did a bunch of my errands and such this morning and came home to bake.

I made plain ol’ chocolate chip cookies, of course. And I was also craving one of my favorites, Butterscotch Scotchies. Unfortunately, butterscotch chips were *extremely* expensive each place I went. So…I ended up twisting up my oatmeal cookies and making oatmeal cookies with Craisins and sunflower seeds since they were already in my cupboard. They actually came out pretty well. A fun little twist to the usual oatmeal raisin cookies. So, if you’re planning to make oatmeal cookies, that might be something different to try.

And for dinner tonight, I’m really doing a throw together thing. I bought some Ronzoni Smart Taste penne and am going to toss that with garlic, olive oil and a can of cannellini beans. And I have some fresh Jersey corn I picked up from a farm stand over the weekend.

On a somewhat blog-related note, I do plan to write up a little blog about McCain and his choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate since I have lots of thoughts on it, but I have been on a Internet news hiatus all weekend.

I will leave with some classic clips of the Cookie Monster: