Fairway Market

Wow Fairway….just wow. This place was seriously impressive.

Tasked with picking up wine for Thanksgiving, I decided to go only slightly out of my way and visit Fairway Wines & Spirits in Pelham Manor after work yesterday.  It was a little crowded, but I scored some really great deals and was seriously impressed with both the supermarket side and the wine side.

The two stores are adjacent to each other, similar to Stew Leonards in Yonkers, and I decided to start with the market side to pick up a few things.

I grabbed some sweet, pork sausage which was on sale for $2.99 a pound, to be used for stuffing tomorrow.  The guy behind the butcher counter was very gracious while I was deciding what to get and had it wrapped up quickly.

008Two containers of these blintzes (made in Brooklyn) jumped right into my basket, one apple and one cheese.  I’ll update on how these are once they’re consumed.  I was really excited to see quality looking products on the shelves that aren’t always in big box stores, but also that there was a huge range of price points.

009This brie for example, is a HUGE wedge.  It might be awful, but it was on sale and that price was pretty great.  I’m hoping we can indulge in some with wine and apples while the whole family is getting together this holiday.  I love letting brie sit out at room temp, getting creamy and easy to spread onto things.  Sip of wine….bite of brie…yup losing focus here.  Back to my grocery trip:

002This beer aisle.  So much going on here; basic, generic supermarket beers sitting across from some seriously amazing craft beers.  I wasn’t even planning on buying any but I couldn’t stop browsing the shelves.  This definitely requires a return visit.  Anything great I should keep an eye out for?

I grabbed this salmon and wheatberry salad to eat for dinner, since it was running late and I was tempted by all the prepared foods on display.  It was really good and I scarfed it down too quick for a full photo.  Oops!

Honeycrisp apples, gingerbread cookies, ginger snap cookies, almond milk, and some store-brand natural peanut butter made it into my cart.  All of these items seemed to be at really good values.  Especially the peanut butter, which had no ingredients other than peanuts. Good stuff.

With an armful of grocery bags, I walked over to the wine store.  I loved that they had big turkey stickers on their wines they were recommending for Thanksgiving; thanks for that helpful tip!! I won’t even pretend I’m a wine expert, because a big bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay definitely went into the basket, but I did grab some bottles of interesting looking wines that I’m looking forward to trying.

The Fairway Wine store had really impressive signage that was incredibly helpful; describing the flavors of the wine, laying out the price very boldly, and suggesting pairings.  The text on most of these signs was HUGE, so I wasn’t squinting or struggling to read anything.

Big thumbs up Fairway, I like you pretty much so far.

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Quick and Easy: Office Lunch

I like to keep easy staples on hand in my office kitchen so I don’t always have to worry about what I’m going to have for lunch (or a snack).

Some great basics:

  • unsalted nuts
  • dried fruit
  • tuna [I prefer the packets so I don’t have to worry about a can opener, and packed in water instead of oil]
  • almond milk [the shelf stable cartons are great to keep on hand for smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, etc.]
  • oatmeal
  • rice cakes
  • granola
  • protein powder
  • tea
  • peanut butter

Having a variety of things on hand makes me more likely to have something nutritious while I’m in the office, and less likely to fall back on fast food or a not-as-great choice.  I try to bring leftovers in, or meal prep ahead of time, to supplement my stash; since this is a holiday week, I didn’t want to grocery shop or meal prep so I’m heavily relying on what I’ve got on hand.

014.JPGToday’s lunch wasn’t the most visually appealing option, but it was really good.  I’m actually looking forward to having it again tomorrow.

I mixed one tuna packet with half of an over ripe avocado, smashed them together in a bowl.  Mix in some seasoning (I keep salt, pepper, salad dressing, salsa, and hot sauce on hand for these situations) and spread on a rice cake.  Seriously, this was crunchy, creamy, salty goodness.  I mixed it with a cilantro lime dressing that I had in the fridge, and a little bit of salt and pepper.

Side Note: don’t judge me on the rice cake situation, I really don’t consider these diet food!  I LOVE rice cakes.  They’re crunchy, and the lightly salted ones go with everything.  The flavored variety might not have as good nutritional stats but they’re still a really good option.  Buttered popcorn, chocolate, caramel, ranch…seriously I would have a hard time giving up rice cakes!!

Happy lunch time!

While a lot of people are gearing up for Thanksgiving, I started indulging a little earlier.

This past weekend Mister came down to Westchester so of course there were the requisite downstate bagels and pizza; there was also cheese, cupcakes, cake, and a list of snacks.

Saturday morning, we went to Mount Kisco Bagel Co. pretty early.  The last time we went closer to the afternoon, the line was out the door and lets just say Mister and I aren’t exactly patient people.

We are huge fans of black and white cookies, so when we saw a black and white cupcake on display, I eagerly added that to our order.

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Oh yea, we ate that thing of beauty in the car within minutes of leaving the parking lot.  Moist, buttery cake topped with thick icing.  [then we went home and ate bagels, no regrets]

Saturday afternoon, we ran some errands and found ourselves hungry enough to navigate Stew Leonard’s for some food to take home.  Thankfully, this wasn’t Mister’s first trip to Stew’s, because seriously that place is overwhelming on my fiftieth time going there; there is a lot going on.

We picked up some really good food from their hot bar, and a bowl of fruit for good measure.

Saturday night, we headed to Stamford for a birthday party.  Mister’s brother had ordered Dinosaur BBQ, and we were responsible for providing the cake.

I’ll admit, I panicked a bit; I wasn’t familiar with any bakeries in the northern Westchester or CT area.  The last thing anyone wants to do is bring a bad cake to a party.  Everyone remembers bad cake.

Thankfully, I read a ton of yelp reviews and settled on The Pastry Corner in Mt. Kisco.

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Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. It was really great, and the staff of the Pastry Corner were all genuinely nice to deal with.  Highly recommend.

Sunday, I was a sleepy monster.  All the carbs, and lots of barking dogs running around made me feel like a bloated sweat pants monster.  But we pushed through that for some pizza before Mister headed back to Albany.

We went to Pelham Pizzeria, which is my favorite for slices near Mom’s house.  This was the first time, however, that I ordered something other than pizza [well I mean, I addition to the pizza I scarfed down, don’t worry. ]

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I got Escarole and Bean soup to go, and ate it for a late dinner last night.  They packed it with some Italian brea, and I added some Parmesan on top.  This was really good stuff, with little chunks of pancetta and a surprisingly complex broth.

I could have easily eaten the entire quart, but thankfully I forced myself to save half for lunch today.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to focus a little more on healthy eating before the gluttony of Thanksgiving.

Optimistic Salad

A salad can be an easy way to brighten up your day, which is essential during gloomy weather.  Soup and hearty dishes might be great, but sometimes your body needs some fresh veggies and pretty colors.  Yea, trust me on that one.

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My best approach is to just grab all the produce that looks good.  Don’t worry about having a plan, or how its going to end up.  Broccoli, radishes, yellow and orange peppers, baby spinach, avocado, jalapeno peppers, cucumber.

I prepped a few salads at a time, which is a good plan of attack if your just one or two people: that way you get a few bites of everything in each salad, instead of being faced with the daunting task of forcing down a giant bowl of one or two ingredients.

058.JPGokay, so it wasn’t as pretty the next day. (I added a Boca Burger, and smashed the avocado on top)  But yum.  Some tea on the side and bring on the gloom.

Trader Joes: Pumpkin Soup

Trader Joes is fantastic in every way, so much so that I’m willing to overlook some of their errors [i.e. cookie butter fiasco ].  They are also very gracious about accepting returns if its something you’ve only partially consumed and really couldn’t handle.

This was only a small bump in the long road of previous goodness; Trader Joes Pumpkin Soup.

Its sold in a small carton (sorry I threw it out before taking a picture), two servings to the carton.  I picked it up a few weeks ago and it had been sitting in my office kitchen, waiting to be consumed as a backup meal.

That day finally came and I was excited for some warmth and spice…the carton definitely said something about ginger and maybe even cinnamon?

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Popped the whole two servings into a glass bowl, microwaved for 2 minutes and thirty seconds and then carefully carried it to my desk.

Its bland.  Really thin.  And I’m pretty sure someone snuck coffee grounds in here.

You know that feeling when you hit the bottom of a bad cup of coffee (or the kuerig hasn’t been cleaned in a while) and there’s that little swirl of coffee grounds?  I’m pretty sure that’s whats hiding in my soup.  TJ will probably claim its those illusive spices, but they’re tiny little crunchy nibs of junk.  I don’t like this one Mister Trader Joes.

Fortunately, their pumpkin season is almost over and we’re approaching Peppermint everything in the store.  I do appreciate how the store commits to a seasonal theme and really runs with it.

A Classic Twist

I’m sure any of you whom read Facebook have seen those Buzzfeed “Tasty” cooking videos.

If you haven’t, they do a really great job of breaking down recipes into short, visual instructions.  They also summarize the recipes in simple ways, without over complicating the ingredients or the steps required.

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Last night, mister and I tried the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs.  So very worth it.

As per the above recipe:

Pre Mixed ingredients

In a large bowl I mixed together 2lbs of ground chicken, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko, some italian seasoning mix, lemon zest and juice, 1 cup chopped parsley (fresh), 1/2 cup of fresh diced onion, and 1 cup of grated parmesan.  Then form meatballs, I like them on the bigger side personally.

Formed chicken meatballs

Formed chicken meatballs

Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  Put cubes of mozzarella cheese into those chicken meatballs.  Yeah, that sounds like a great idea!

Mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella cheese

Its all blissful indulgence from here on out.  I promise.

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Dip each cheese stuffed meatball into flour, egg, panko + breadcrumb mixture.  [Sidenote: everything should be served breaded in this manner. Its fantastic]

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Brown those beauties in a pan, then bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Time everything perfectly so that your sauce, pasta, and meatballs are done at the same time and sit in gluttonous indulgence on the couch.  Preferably with your sweatpants on.

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Update: Mister says 30 seconds in the microwave and 5 minutes in the toaster, just as good as the first time.

Granola Bender

I think I’ve written before about how I’ll eat the same thing on repeat throughout any given week.  When you’re usually shopping for one its just easier to buy ingredients for one or two big meals and then portion it out throughout the week.

One way I keep myself from really hating this plan of action it by switching up toppings or add-ins.  If you’re eating chili every day, have it with diced avocado two days, cheese two days.  It keeps things interesting [or I just have a very low bar set for what is interesting]

This week, I invested in a box of “Just Clusters” granola from Trader Joes, I think its vanilla almond but I’m too lazy to go check.  To go with that, I bought a carton of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk, a container of blackberries, and a container of pomegranate seeds.  I like to go for a healthy combination of good for me and easy to eat; on Sundays I grocery shop and on Monday’s everything gets packed up, driven three hours to the office for consumption during the week.  The glamour of a long distance relationship!

One day I had the granola with almond milk, blackberries, and a scoop of vanilla protein powder mixed in.

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Another day, granola + almond milk + pomegranate seeds + cinnamon.

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Most recently, granola + raw, roasted almonds + blackberries

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I know, I lead a pretty exciting life filled with granola and desk lunches.  You have to find what works for you in terms of convenience, access, health, taste.  Its Friday, so I’m already thinking about what I’ll cook up this weekend for next week’s lunches.  Suggestions appreciated!