November 2, 2007

Garlic Ginger Butter

One of my biggest gripes in the kitchen is garlic skin & onion skin. I hate how it gets stuck to everything. It’s soooo hard to remove!!! I know it’s worth the effort….. but gaaaaaaahhhhh! Get it off my cutting board & fingers. And why is it stuck to my knife??? Total pet peeve of mine. Fret no more!

Drum roll please….

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #2: Premium Peeled Garlic

sealed garlic from tjs

One of the newest additions to my Trader Joe’s cart has been their pre-wrapped garlic. This trio of garlic is tightly sealed and shares a little bag with at least 4 other trios. I wonder how they come up with three….. What if I only needed two or one? Either way, I find something else to put garlic in that day. When I made butternut squash soup the recipe called for only two cloves. I used three and it tasted great. How could one extra clove really ruin something? Maybe if you are a raw garlic eater?

ingredients to make garlic ginger toast

So here’s a recipe a good friend shared with me. It’s called garlic-ginger spread. It will cure your cold/ailment with the fighting power of garlic and ginger. You might also have the taste of garlic in your mouth for awhile, but believe me it’s worth it.

How to make it:

  • Melt 1 stick of salted butter
  • Grate a large knob of ginger (at least 3 inches)
  • Chop & mince 6 cloves of garlic (just 2 packages of the tjs kind!)
  • Stir in some Sriracha sauce (about 2-3 heaping squirts- depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • mix all together!

You can use it when the butter is melted, or when it hardens up! Works both ways.

What it Looks Like:

garlic ginger toast concoction

Many Uses:

-Spread liberally on toast- devour (this is the main way I consume it)

-Smear on top roasted chicken & let the butter melt

-Mix with eggplant & put that on top of toast!

-Toss in steamed broccoli

-Rub it inside your favorite sandwich

-Mix it in some mashed potatoes or rice

-Throw some in while you’re stir frying…..

***I made some last night because of my horrendous cough, and I’m already starting to feel better. It’s not something I feel guilty about eating because I know it will do more good than harm. ***

November 1, 2007

why i love trader joes:

So, I’ve decided to do the Nablopomo thing this year. Why? Who knows….. I think I’m up for the challenge. It might be annoying but we’ll see. If I can do this, then maybe I can lose that extra 10lbs I’ve gained since I’ve been married. I have discipline, I swear.

I digress…..In the next month I will uncover why I love Trader Joes. If you don’t have a Trader Joes in your area, I’m soooooo sorry. Write them and demand that you get one! Put it on your Christmas list maybe?? If you do have one, hopefully you will be inspired to purchase all my favorite things there. Or maybe you have a few things that you would like me to try? The fact is, you are either a TJ’s lover or a hater. Most of the hatred comes from waiting in long lines. I totally understand. I’ve been there. You just have to pick the right time of week to go, and all will be right with the world. I promise.
So in the next month you will see:

-key ingredients that make up tasty/easy dishes

-good snacky items that i love

-how to whip together a simple/easy appetizer spread for a party

-how to satisfy a spouse with a serious sweet tooth through

-tips & tricks to use while shopping at a Trader Joes

-how wonderful it is to get 4 bags of groceries and pay less than $100 for it!!

So Let’s Begin!

Favorite Item #1 :

Dark Chocolate Almonds (made with Belgian Chocolate & sprinkled with Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar)

tj's dark chocolate almonds with sea salt & turbinado sugar

These almonds are sooo wonderful. Trader Joe’s finds the perfect balance between salty & sweet. You will be amazed that this came from Trader Joes. You’d think that Jacques Torres started his own TJ’s brand…

While we were on vacation recently, I accidentally left a tub of them on my coffee table. My neighbors who were watching our cats tried sneaking an almond here or there between visits (both mother & daughter didn’t realize each other were doing it!) They ended up eating the entire tub while I was gone! Shame shame shame!!! I would have been been more mad about the situation if I did not understand the compulsion/addiction myself. They apologized profusely & replaced the tub they devoured.


***WARNING*** These almonds can be hard to find. When you do, snatch up a tub or two. It’s worth it! Just make sure you don’t leave them lying around on a coffee table. You never know what might happen!


October 30, 2007

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

chives & yogurt added

butternut squash soup up close

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4-6 people

(recipe from my Mom)

  • 2 medium butternut squash -roasted & gutted
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 cloves are garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cups of veggie stock or chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste

-Cut butternut squash in half and dab the halves with olive oil & salt. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until soft. This should take about 20-30 minutes. When done, let cool and scoop out filling- set aside. Heat up your soup pot (medium heat). Add oil & onion-garlic mixture. Sweat onions/garlic until soft. Add all of the spices and stir to get that nutty flavor. Add the squash, stir around until incorporated. Pour your stock in and let simmer for roughly 25 minutes. Transfer to blender, or use an immersion blender. Now you’re good to go!

***I topped this with a little plain yogurt & chopped chives. I think that sour cream or marscapone would be delish too! This soup is not only comforting but extremely creamy.  This is surprising because there’s absolutely no cream involved***

October 29, 2007

red sox, 2007 world champions

first of all- Red Sox won!!!!! *woot woot!* We are on cloud nine in the bean household.

back from oregon. tons of fun. one the best trips up there ever. i loved every moment of it. Even staying up til 5:30am…. Worth every second. Right now i’m trying to heal as I caught the cold/flu bug. Here’s the breakdown:

ingredients for the vegan french toast erin fixes me a cup.  i love this cup moss, please aftermath from the party converse club fav punkin ever you know you want to head butt my legs again litle fluff i stepped in dog shit right after i took this littery paws existed here trunk is loaded with pumpkins! breakfast spread toast is my favorite morning hair shadow morning coffee on the deck pumpkins before carving erin's birthday goodies cream cheese with punkin butter whats that little fruit? red blue green i love oregon fall crackled old eugene house love you!

happy birthday erin. i love you!

October 25, 2007

dear oregon,

please don’t rain on me (too much) while i visit you.  i’ll be forever grateful.

much love,


October 23, 2007

ain’t that the truth:

street lamp meets plane


We were watching the movie Weather Man for the second time last night. For all you haters, it’s much better the second time around. We love that dry humor/comedy in my household. We LIVE for it.

Michael Caine’s character says this to his son, played by Nicholas Cage:

“The harder thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing. Nothing that has meaning is easy. Easy doesn’t factor into grown-up life.”

Ain’t that the truth!

October 21, 2007


trader joe's makes pumpkin butter, try it! take a peak at my bread i love you, dear sourdough bread toast with butter & pumpkin butter my husband is a blue hanger my side of the bed you're supposed to be filled with fresh veggies! what i look at while cleaning dishes new shoes rogue leaf sometimes my mess is better than my painting hello paint, i've missed you up close- meatball sub i could eat fries all day long goat cheese fondue with fresh tomatoes park chow menu- food/drink new pins (the right two) from craft mafia fabric scraps from craft mafia i had to have you. sprout studio! so exciting to meet you! chez panisse! october 20, 2007 i made some pom-poms for craft room

this weekend was filled with:

-pumpkin butter & toast (oh yes, it’s that time of year)

-craft mafia with the girls & a yummy comforting lunch at Park Chow in SF (fun & yum!)

– eating at chez panisse with the family (excellent! pictures need to be uploaded still)

-relaxing time at home with the hubby (briefly)

-checking cellphone for Red Sox updates/watching my hubby go nuts! YAY RED SOX! Good Luck Wednesday!

-making pom-poms for craft room (thanks martha stewart!)

-finishing a painting for my friend (can’t wait to see her this week)

-making broccoli-lemon soup (recipe posted tomorrow perhaps?)

more soon! time to watch dexter!