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:


I have been drinking plain ol’ black tea lately. I guess I’m finally weaning myself off coffee everyday and switching things up. There’s such a whole world of tea that I haven’t gotten into, but I can see how people can get really into it. Right now I’m having a plain ol Tetley Breakfast Blend one.

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 Member of the MOD Squad

By MOD Squad, I am referring to the Merchants of Death in the film Thank You for Smoking. In the film, lobbyists for the alcohol, tobacco and firearms industry meet together weekly for lunch and support. It’s a great film and if you haven’t seen it, go out and see it.

While watching Lifetime and ABC Family lately, I keep seeing these ads from the Corn Refiners Association saying that high fructose corn syrup isn’t quite so bad. They refer viewers to their website, Sweet Surprise which basically “debunks myths” about high fructose corn syrup.

These ads are creepy, really, and the people behind them would be a great fit in the MOD Squad. While looking for good info on HFCS for this blog, I came upon a few good articles that are worth looking at:

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Not So Sweet for the Planet

“The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide,” writes Pollan, a prominent critic of industrial agriculture. “Look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf [of Mexico], an area the size of New Jersey where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt. Then there is the atrazine in the water in farm country — a nasty herbicide that, at concentrations as little as 0.1 part per billion, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites.”

Milling and chemically altering corn to form high-fructose corn syrup also is energy-intensive. That’s not to say that corn is evil and other foods aren’t; all crops require energy to grow and transport. What makes corn a target is that federal subsidies — and tariffs on imported sugar — keep prices low, paving the way for widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup and, in the process, keeping the American palate accustomed to the sweetness it provides.

SF Gate: Sugar coated – We’re drowning in high fructose corn syrup. Do the risks go beyond our waistline?

Loading high fructose corn syrup into increasingly larger portions of soda and processed food has packed more calories into us and more money into food processing companies, say nutritionists and food activists. But some health experts argue that the issue is bigger than mere calories. The theory goes like this: The body processes the fructose in high fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream.

The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more and at the same time, we are storing more fat.

In case you haven’t seen the ads here are the two that keep airing:

And here’s a clip of Thank You For Smoking. At about 6 minutes into this clip they have the Merchants of Death.

80s/early 90s, Food – Part 2

Continuing from my last post. My visual retrospective of foodstuffs from the 80s/early 90s.

Giggles Cookies

Keebler’s Magic Middle Cookies

Hubba Bubba Gum

Doublemint Gum (this ad is from the 80s, if you can’t tell from the clothes 😉 )

Juicy Fruit, ad from the 80s

Ice Cream Cones Cereal

Crispy Critters Cereal….I completely forgot this existed ’till I stumbled upon this ad on YouTube. We used to get this all the time.

Bubble Yum, ad from the 80s

McDonald’s McLean Deluxe

O’Boise’s Potato Chips

PB Max Bars

Oatmeal Swirlers…we never got this, I think it was probably too “junky.” But I remember these ads running ad naseum on Nick:

Peanut Boppers….I loved these!

Quackers Crackers

Clearly Canadian


Lifesavers Holes

Mondo Drinks

80s/early 90s, Food – Part 1

I’ll admit that I’m rained in today and getting a bit stir crazy, which is partially why I’m writing these fun little retro posts. It’s a fun little way of passing my time today. 🙂

Anyway, here’s a nice visual retrospective of 80s and early 90s foods & candy that you may have forgotten about, but I personally remember eating or seeing people eating:

Big League Chew

Candy Cigarettes…before the PC police came along.

Charles Chips & Pretzels

Crystal Pepsi

Freshen Up Gum, the gum that squirted

Fruit Wrinkles

Bonkers Candy…I used to love their ads. I don’t think I ate the candy, I remember the ads more than the candy:

Indian sweets & munchies

I love the munchies they sell only at Indian grocery stores, particularly I love any snacks that have tons of spice and kick. I get bored with boring ol’ potato chips and Doritos, so these munchies fill a nice need for me.

And I love the burfi and jelabi.

So, I fulfilled my cravings today and I’m happy.

I will step out with videos, first of Kelly from The Office and of some Bollywood music:

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 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:

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