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Andorra: Padron Peppers y queso de cabra (Padron Peppers & Goats Cheese) – Padron peppers with goats cheese, what can I say? Unpredictably spicy or mild, padron peppers are a hit for those whose taste buds like a little spice action. An absolute delight with great flavours but with the simplicity of quick and easy to make tapas. Goats cheese works extremely well with padron peppers and you use one laced with garlic the end result is even better – goats cheese dressed in rosemary also works and adds another angle in the flavour department. I’m eating the little guys right, left and center. What I usually do is sauté them up with a teensy tiny bit of olive oil and salt and munch whole-so scrumptious!! Lately though, I’ve been whipping them up in other forms. I could actually eat these beauties every day! That’s why I’m making these again tomorrow! Now I want another! Making Pimientos de Padrons And Here We Are. I made padron stuffed chicken breasts recently and now these-stuffed padrons. YUM! If you’re not familiar with padrons, they’re little peppers that aren’t spicy, but instead just deliciously smokey and slightly sweet. In Galicia they have a saying: “Pimientos de Padrón, unos pican e outros non,” basically translated as “Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not,” as the saying goes, but those heat-seekers better also be gamblers if they’re looking to pimientos de Padrón to stoke their flames: They’re sometimes known as “the roulette pepper” because of that random rare surprise. But 99 times out of 100, they’re flawlessly amazing. I’ve probably eaten at least 200 and haven’t gone, “WOW, that was hot.” Yet. But they are tasty! But you take heed to yourselves; every rare now and then, one might find a padron that’s surprisingly hot. Only about one in ten of the small green peppers from the Spanish municipality of Padrón, in Galicia, are wildly hot, while the rest are as mild as a green bell pepper. Padron peppers have been popping up at all my local farmers markets recently – but they are literally there for like 10 minutes and then their disappear. People are snatching these little peppers up like hot cakes! I buy them at the farmer’s market this week, as I do every week. Last week I made an extra effort to get to the farmers market super early so I could be one of the lucky ones. These bite sized peppers are pretty mild in taste, with about 1 in 5 being hot, similar to Shisitos. (and if you’re ever with me at a restaurant and we order Shisitos, it’s probably best that we each order our own, because I could literally eat pounds of those by myself.) Padron peppers are one of the foods I look forward to the most in the summer. Let’s get back to how it tastes, shall we? They are generally pretty mild in their heat level although occasionally a spicy one sneaks into the mix which makes devouring them even more exciting! True love at first bite…if that’s a real thing. Padrons are more common around the markets here… find whichever you can. I’ll never forget my first visit to a farmers market. I was 22, a college student in Seattle. Set in a winding labyrinth of halls near the waterfront, Pike Place offers everything from fresh cut flowers to ripe red cherries and lots of cafes and restaurants. I finished eating just in time. I ducked shyly into the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s famous food mecca. There is a … Maybe I just don’t like crowds, standing in long lines, waiting for food. One of the more frustrating parts of grocery shopping is waiting in line, and determining which line will get you through the quickest somehow becomes a big deal. When you add one person to the line, you’re adding 48 extra seconds to the line length (that’s “tender time” added to “other time”) without even considering the items in her cart. Meanwhile, an extra item only costs you an extra 2.8 seconds. Therefore, you’d rather add 17 more items to the line than one extra person! Of course, other variables, both known (dedicated bagger) and unknown (payment type, coupons, cigarettes) affect on the speed of the line, but this is a good rule of thumb to use as a baseline. To save time and money before you get to the checkstand, try shopping every other week and make an organized list before you go shopping. The thing about the self-checkout lines is you actually check out slowly than a cashier does. So that would have to be factored into the math as well; it may very well be slower. I have figured out a “hack” for the self checkout line, this only works if you have a few items. Scan the item, put it on the platform where the bags are but do not bag them, keep on doing this for the few items you have, press Pay Now, Debit or Cash, swipe, then toss your items in your bag as soon as it says “receipt printing” and gtfo. My fastest time so far is 20 seconds. The Farmers Market dates back to 1934 when it was opened as a produce market for local farmers to see to local residents. These days the Farmer’s Market is less about produce than it is about dining, my grandma was actually rather disappointed in our outing to the market, said it was nothing like what she remembered. On weekends, parking can be tough, there are several pay lots near the market. Be sure to get your ticket validated to get the reduced rate (free for the first two hours with validation). Or you can park in the Grove shopping center garage which was free for the first hour, a couple of dollars if you stay longer. Favorite Dish I’ve tried the Gumbo Pot twice, most recently in November 2007, both times I ordered the fried oyster po’boy and both times the po’boy was good but too much bread for the small portion of oysters. I’ve tried both the gumbo ya ya and the seafood gumbo, I couldn’t finish either because they were too spicy for me and didn’t seem to have a lot of seafood so I don’t think I’ll be going back there. The crepes from the French Crepe Company, however, are heavenly! I’ve ordered a banana nutella crepe from there twice, delicious! In May 2007, I stopped at Loteria Grill for some Mexican food, it was pretty good. In November 2007, I tried some donuts from Bob’s Coffee and Doughnuts, an LA institution when it comes to donuts. My 1st was a chocolate frosted cake donut which was OK but the apple fritter was great. At the Farmers Market in Los Angeles, you can find a very international selection of food stands/restaurants. There is Chinese, Japanese, Korean BBQ, Mexican, French, Middle Eastern, Brazilian, Greek, Malaysian, and much more! You can also find food from across the United States, from New York style pizza, to New Orleans Cajun food, to Texas BBQ. Bring your appetite to the Farmers Market! If you’re wandering about the Farmers Market, be sure and stop in at Monsieur Marcel. This French deli is also a gourmet cheese shop, PLUS has wine tasting on Wednesday and Thursday evenings! There are many imported specialties to buy, including (when I was there) inexpensively-priced French tableclothes for $28-$29. Favorite Dish Order one of the combination plates containing both cheeses and meats. If you’re shopping for cheese, get the Brillat de Savarin or the Pave d’Affinois; they are DIVINE!! There are all kinds of other delicious looking options-Turkish style pizzas, seafood, Korean, an old fashioned ice cream parlor, sandwiches, baked goods and Magee’s Kitchen & Deli, the 1st restaurant to open at the Farmer’s Market. My grandma said they have delicious corned beef. Grandma also likes the pot pies from DuPar’s. Fodors recommends the BLT on sourdough at the Kokomo Cafe. Maybe next time! Alright, let’s get back to that awesome article, shall we? After shooting the breeze for a few minutes, I entered to join the line, into the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s famous food mecca, where I spend an hour there, sampling sweet white nectarines at Sosio’s Fruit and Produce, watching the famous fish throwing spectacle at Pike Place Fish Co, and indulging in a grilled cheese sandwich at Beecher’s, where the cheese is made on site behind big glass windows. This is the most popular restaurant/takeout at the Farmers’ Market. You can tell by the long line that the food is good. It is sort of a buffet style until you get to the meat and then you tell the person what you want and he slices it right off of the skewer. I could smell meat cooking somewhere nearby. OH! THE SMELL!!! TOTAL, COMPLETE BLISS, I TELL YOU! WOW, so many different food vendors, Musicians, fruit, flowers, entertainment. The first vendor I saw up close was this nice bearded gentleman selling Italian sausages. I requested chicken breasts, which were at the time the sole cut of meat I knew how to cook. There was a beat, and then he said, a bit impatiently but not unkindly, “We believe in using the whole bird here. We don’t just cut up the parts everyone likes and sell ’em and waste the rest.” Flustered, I left without buying anything. I looked Into the strangers eyes and shrugged him away, “I don’t need your help I’m fine” I snapped at him as I bent down to pick up my bag and started walking. Am I a total jerk if I try all of your samples and don’t buy anything? I looked around confused and the guy I banged into started walking away. Needless to say, farmers markets can be intimidating for the uninitiated. And why not? If you’re like me, you grew up wheeling metal carts around brilliantly lit aisles, examining potential purchases in complete privacy, independence, and control. All of the pieces of fruit are unblemished, waxy, perfect spheres—and always, it seems, in season. All of the animal parts are neatly cut, separated, and glossed over with the clean, anesthetic sheen of plastic. Compared to that, a farmers market is a rustic, intensely personal experience with its own set of rules and expectations. Now that we’ve covered that, let’s jump into this recipe. Padron peppers have been used in Spanish tapas for years. But now there’s a new kid in town. The Shishito. Are they the same pepper? No, not really. You can use either Japanese shishito or Spanish padron peppers for this dish. If you are new to the shishito pepper craze, don’t freak out at their spicy-good-looks. They look nearly identical and both have a mellow, slightly sweet flavor — except for the occasional spicy surprise! They’re nearly the same in flavor… both oh-so good. Hard to tell any difference really, other than a teeny little ridge that runs along them. But they are darn close and I think they can be used interchangeably. Especially for this preparation. Roughly one pepper in every handful will buck the norm and set your mouth (pleasantly) on fire. Fresh shishito peppers are available at some farmers’ markets and at Japanese markets. They are usually available fresh in grocery stores and farmers markets well into the fall, though you can often find packages of shishito peppers at Asian grocery stores year-round. Keep them in a crisper drawer in your fridge until ready to eat; they’ll be fine for a few days until you get around to roasting them. Both peppers are long, slender and thin skinned. Both of them are generally mild, with Padron having a bit more spiciness throughout a batch, but still, neither one is overly hot. Look for peppers between two inches and five inches long that are bright green and very firm. As a matter of fact, I can safely say I have not had a “hot” one in any of the batches of peppers I have consumed, either at home or in a restaurant. Padron, the Spanish version shows heat in about 1 in 20, with Shishito, the Japanese version claims heat in 1 in 10. What is at market depends on a combination of location, season, and market rules about what can be sold. Many farmers markets only carry locally-grown, locally-made and/or locally-processed, foods, and create a system of guidelines that ensure vendors are producing what they are selling. Others have more flexible policies. The great thing about farmers markets is that if you are ever unsure about what a product is, where it came from, or how it was grown, you can just ask! Some smaller or fine food markets with good produce sections will carry them when they are in season, but they are so easy to grow yourself that there is no reason not too. They grow very well in containers and a couple of plants will give you enough peppers to satisfy your pepper cravings. While some purists might insist they can tell the difference between them, I grew both this past summer and mixed and matched them as they became ripe noticing little difference in taste or texture. So if you are familiar with Shishitos by some random chance, you kind of know padrons. One of the easiest and tastiest recipes you can make at the peak of the summer harvest. The hardest part of this recipe is going to be finding the pepper, be it Padron or Shishito. Highly recommend you try either. Made my first-ever BATch last night and it was UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS! This was my second-clearly hungry, excited to eat more, and hurrying. “HURRY, I’M HUNGRY!” we say, no care for closing that seal at all, but turns out the cheese didn’t ooze out anyway! Haha! I’m always on the go so I tend to eat in a hurry. I tend to eat meals while sitting at the computer and with the TV on (talk about multi-tasking!) So don’t worry about it being too tidy. So back to these little goat cheese stuffed padrons… to die for. Well in my padron-obsessed mind anyway. If you like hot, and you liked stuffed jalapeno peppers this is the recipe for you! Minus the breading and frying, they’re a similar concept. Little not-spicy peppers stuffed with creamy cheese. Now how can that be bad?! I’ve had a ton of goat cheese around lately (for my other obsession-the little fig and goat cheese toasts), so it was a no-brainer. Enough talk, time to cook! Cooking Padron or Shishito peppers is simple. And literally in just about 10 minutes from start to finish,1 cazuela or frying pan, 3 ingredients and worth every little effort it takes! These guys will be cooked and wilted and perfect for snacking. Feel free to tinker with the seasonings if you’d like. (And if you happen to have some fancy salts at home, this is a perfect time to use them!) Heat a pan over medium high heat (this is a great time to use that cast iron skillet); add some olive oil, then add the peppers. Step back as they will sizzle and splatter. That’s what happens when you add something that contains water to hot oil, old rule of thumb, we all know it…oil and water don’t mix. But they do fry, so add the peppers carefully, and toss them using some tongs or by tossing them in the pan like a pro, then when they are nice and blistered and browned and collapsed, turn off the heat and squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top then sprinkle them generously with salt, preferably kosher or fleu del sel. Grab an end and eat them right up to that end cap and stem, seeds and all. These are super good and great if you’re craving a crunchy snack! So next time you crave a snack, put down the chips and have a bowl of Pan Fried Padron or Shishito peppers instead. They are fast to cook, easy to devour, and will leave you craving more…every time! Feel free to double or triple up this recipe. Anywho, I pretty much eat my weight in padron peppers during its short season. Ha! Ha! Now, you mustn’t laugh when I tell you this, but this is based on a True story: “No, seriously”. A TRUE STORY. My boyfriend and I eat Padron Peppers & Goats Cheese all the time as a side dish for dinner. I made this batch as a little appetizer for my boyfriend and I sauteed them up, piled them up on a plate, and then took a pic. But then, something awful happened. I ate one, just to try it. And then I ate another, And another. And another. I didn’t really notice until I went to take another picture, excited about how tasty they were, that I had only one left on the plate to photograph. COULDN’T control myself, it was that good. Love them!!! Talking about this. time to laugh. Ha! Laughing is good for you! ‘O god give me some good food please’. ”I think my letter came”. Good Food, Laugh D, Truth, Things, Food Wins. Padron Peppers & Goats Cheese sounds too good to be true – yum! They are sooooooo good! RIGHT? Dying laughing because it’s the TRUTH. SORRY, couldn’t help myself. But these Padron Peppers & Goats Cheese Bites are seriously good stuff. These blew my mind and rocked my socks and all of those other expressions you use when something is REALLY, REALLY GOOD! A wonderful nibble – people just can’t leave them alone! Very tasty, but be careful – one in every 30 packs a fiery punch! Oops. Needless to say, more I made. Feel free to double or triple up this recipe. They’re crazy addicting I tell you-WATCH OUT!! Just BE PREPARED. You may very well want to eat the entire batch. Laughter Is Good Medicine … Oh God: Say it With Laughter. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. It is a scientific fact. Studies have proven that laughter helps with depression, decreases stress, and improves the immune system. I believe that a joyful heart and laughter should be part of are daily routine. Laughing out loud has a way of refreshing and revitalizing us. It ranks right up there with good food, restful sleep, and fresh air. I can’t imagine a day with out it. It is vitally important to be able to laugh, particularly at ourselves, or at least at family members. I’d like to take a moment now and teach you a laughing exercise. Please stand up. It’s all right—no one will see you. Reach down and grab your stomach. You are holding your stomach for a belly laugh—none of this little “he he” stuff. We want a big, out—loud, stomach-jiggling. You are going to laugh for thirty seconds. Now, just think of something or someone funny. Okay, here we go, on the count of three: 1 … 2 … 3 … ha ha ha! Laugh…Laugh out Loud and you will feel happy. Now don’t you feel better? Think maybe you can turn that empty room into a laughing room? As long as no one pads the walls, you’re okay. Life is too short to be too serious. Sometimes you just gotta Get Your Laugh On! Anyway, back to the Padrons. CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THESE PADRON PEPPERS! Padron peppers are typically served whole, as is with just a little salt. No measuring here… just make however many you want. Let it cook in the olive oil or butter for about 45 seconds, and then turn/flip in the frying pan or cazuela to brown other sides and sprinkle with a little salt. When the peppers are sizzling and browned, remove them with tongs to a clean plate. So easy RIGHT? Make something special for dinner tonight or for your next event. The trick is with this padron pepper recipe is to serve them as soon as they are ready. Fabulous Spanish tapas blending quality products from two famous areas of Spain. These peppers are best sprinkled with crunchy salt and eaten within minutes of coming off the heat. Even with high heat and quick cooking, they’ll wilt and lose their crispiness the longer they sit. Everyone salt preference is different-you may want to sprinkle on more, you may not. A pinch isn’t really an accurate measurement since everyone’s pinch is different. …. a bit more or less can make a dish, it truly is a matter of preference in savoury. Serve the peppers with a cool, creamy dipping sauce to tame the heat of those few spicy specimens. This Magic Summer Sauce is a favorite; I swap out the yogurt for sour cream or mayo (or a mix) when I want something a little more indulgent. You can even add a bit of chopped jalapeno for a kick of spice if you’d like, or dip them in a mix of sriracha, creamy horseradish, and mayo like I did! Want to kick these Padron Peppers & Goats Cheese up a notch? Substitute the Sriracha flavored mayo for the Chipotle. Either way, I don’t mind trying a bunch of variations just to be sure … Although those Padron peppers kicked my butt. I’m stuffing these little bad boys like mad lately!! And If there’s one thing I love peppers! I could eat it by the truckload! LOVE food. LOVE making it and LOVE eating it. But more than anything else LOVE how it brings people together. There is NOTHING like breaking bread with friends and family. They are the most special times in life. That’s why I like food and recipes – and people! – that are authentic. Old school recipes, real people, locally sourced ingredients make the best food. Simple recipes using seasonal whole foods, so your belly and body will be happy. Enough talk: try it out! Eat up and Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:

10 Fresh Padron peppers 100 – 150g Goats cheese Olive oil

HOW TO MAKE:

Take each padron pepper and using a small knife cut a slit down the side if each one.

Divide the goats cheese into 10 pieces/slices.

Stuff the cheese into each pepper.

Heat a splash […]

Andorra: Setas del ajo y tocino (Garlic Mushrooms & Bacon) – SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! These Garlic Mushrooms & Bacon look INCREDIBLE! Mushrooms and Serrano Ham is a well-known combination in the Spanish tapas world, with loads of garlic, of course and some wine, for sure and we couldn’t miss a sprinkle of parsley… it only had to dance flamenco to be even more typical Spanish! This is the perfect little tapa, accompanied by some good ol’ crusty bread or can easily be transformed into a tasty side dish to go with any meat or fish, for that matter; it makes really good friends too with fried eggs for a light brunch. There are many versions of the humble garlic mushroom dish and this recipe for garlic mushrooms and bacon adds a little extra flavour through Spanish bacon (you could also use thinly sliced serrano ham). The ultimate comfort dish – earthy mushrooms pile up on the toasts and top with the prosciutto and more parsley. Tender mushrooms sauteed with butter, garlic and onions. Nice served with pasta (I used thin spaghetti, but angel hair is even better) into a large bowl. Garlic Mushrooms & Bacon. Fluffy mashed potatoes. The two together make the perfect pair. Try this once, and more than likely you’ll make it again and again. As a bonus you’ll save time and money. An easy make-ahead dish, good enough for a dinner party. Then I made it. I made this on the night before we went grocery shopping for the week. Turned out very yummy, should have used more mushrooms. Overall a must try recipe. Everyone loved it and came back for seconds and thirds! I used this recipe to cook oyster mushrooms which I absolutely love, but I had a look in the shops and at least here in New Zealand you pay a little fortune for a tiny tray, so I decided to use the more reasonably priced white button mushrooms, although it is not the same… If you can source wild mushrooms of any sort, I urge you to try them in this recipe, the combination of flavours it is really something special. Well, my beloved friends, another little morsel from my beloved Spain… I’d say… Olé! I LOVE mushrooms and have them often “al ajillo” or with garlic. These sautéed mushrooms work as a quick, weeknight side dish. As quick Spanish tapas this dish is ideal, is served hot and very quick to make, pre peeled mushrooms saves even more time and the dish can also be reheated so a good recipe to get ahead with for the tapas party! Serve as a tapa, with crusty bread or as a side dish

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INGREDIENTS:

24 Medium white mushrooms 200g Bacon 1 Small onion, diced 6 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 50g Butter 1 Tbsp freshly ground black peppercorns Salt Olive oil

HOW TO MAKE:

Peel and quarter the mushrooms, cut the bacon into thin strips and set aside.

Heat the butter in a […]

Andorra: Serrano jamón y ensalada de salmón ahumado (Serrano ham and smoked salmon salad) – Ever wish you could make a quick, easy meal that is highly nutritious and low in calories and fat? Are your taste buds craving a flavor-popping crunch? A salad is a healthy option for any time of the day. This recipe for serrano ham and smoked salmon salad combines Serrano ham and a gourmet olive oil from the Jaen region of Andalucia. A simple salad starter with great flavours. A rich and flavourful salad great to impress guests. Especially good for eating “al fresco” and at any time during the summer months or Christmas day. It might be quick and easy to make, but this great flavour combination will have your taste buds in raptures for hours. The key is to buy the best ingredients to make these fabulous flavours work. My daughter really liked this dish and she even hates Mayonnaise. When I made this recipe I doubled it. This recipe calls for 200g Hand sliced Serrano ham, 200g Sliced smoked salmon “Gourmet” extra virgin olive oil, 4 Sliced rings of red pepper, 4 Slices of cucumber, Mixed salad leaves. HOW TO MAKE: Arrange the salad leaves on side plates or Set leaves on plate and allow guests to create own lettuce wraps. Cut the ham slices into strips and arrange over the top of the salad. Add the red pepper, a few more slices of ham then the slice of cucumber. Roll up the sliced salmon and carefully place on top. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil.

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INGREDIENTS:

200g Hand sliced Serrano ham 200g Sliced smoked salmon “Gourmet” extra virgin olive oil 4 Sliced rings of red pepper 4 Slices of cucumber Mixed salad leaves

HOW TO MAKE:

Arrange the salad leaves on side plates.

Cut the ham slices into strips and arrange over the top […]

Andorra: Jamón Serrano Quiche (Serrano Ham Quiche) – WOW, definitely trying this cooking method. Will try and see if it really works the next time I make breakfast. Serrano Ham Quiche is a take on this well-known French classic with a Spanish twist. A delicious combination of serrano ham tacos, caramelised onion, Manchego cheese and sweet ripe tomatoes, all brought together with a creamy egg filling and light crust pastry. Make in advance to take on a picnic or serve warm with a selection of sliced meats, almonds, tomatoes and green salad for a relaxed lunch with family and friends.

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INGREDIENTS: (For the pastry) 175g/6oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting salt 75g/2¾oz butter, plus extra for greasing Ice cold water

INGREDIENTS: (For the filling) 250g/9oz manchego cheese, grated 2 tomatoes, sliced 200g/7oz Serrano ham, chopped into tacos 1 onion, peeled and sliced finely 6 eggs, beaten 100ml/3½fl oz […]

Andorra: Al horno Huevos y Jamón Serrano (Baked Eggs and Serrano Ham) – WOW my new favorite way to have eggs for breakfast! Fresh, fast, and full of protein: the right kind of breakfast for dinner if you’re a sensible adult. Whip up this Spanish favorite for lunch or brunch. It makes a nice, ultra-flavoursome change from ham, egg and chips! Eating the right food throughout the day can jump-start your battery. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. LOVE to eat breakfast first thing in the morning and it has to be a quality time. Yes yes yes, I’ve always been a morning person. I just love how peaceful mornings are, plus getting up early makes the day so much longer, and makes me more productive. Breakfast parties are the best, which is why they last for hours. I made a breakfast party with friends last weekend and I made these babies. It’s so much nicer to start a day early in the morning and spend some time with people you love or with a good magazine and some music. I love listening to music and when possible I even use an alarm that actually plays music. I try to find uplifting songs or ones that have peaceful melodies. One of the best times to listen to a self-help tape or program is right when you wake up. Think about how the effect this will have on you if you do this for about thirty days. If you listen to inspirational/uplifting material right when you wake up, then you will eventually condition that message into your mind and connect it with waking up in the morning. Turning on the TV is one of the most insidious things you can do. The news can have such a negative impact on you that you might not even realize it. The news is generally about everything that’s wrong in the world and this is the first thing you become exposed to in the morning. I encourage you to just enjoy your coffee or breakfast for about twenty minutes. What’s the first thought that goes through your head when you wake up in the morning? Is it deliberate or is it the default “Oh shi#$, it’s six!”? If that’s how you start your day, then it’s likely your day will be filled with anxiety and stress. It’s not exactly the most productive mechanism for getting things done. Questions are quite powerful if used in the right way. Starting your brain off with so much information overload right when you wake up can’t possibly be healthy. A good night’s sleep and a nice start to the day always ensuring a solid night’s sleep. I like to retort with the example of a swan, gliding across a lake. One thing that we know from years of self-help is that our minds tend to be extremely receptive in the morning. That’s why I encourage you not to turn on the TV if you’ve been doing it. I think one of the most challenging things about meditating is to free yourself from thought. As somebody with a mind that moves at what feels like a million miles a minute, this isn’t something I’m great at myself. Early in the morning your mind is in a fairly quiet state and even five to ten minutes of deep-centered relaxation/meditation can make a huge difference in your day. How do you start your morning routine? This Spanish recipe for baked eggs really is a true campo dish in every sense. The eggs are cracked into terracotta cazuelas then covered with vine tomatoes and slices of serrano ham before being sprinkled with herbs and then baked. Delicious, easy and very Andaluz! So, let’s breakfast! All you need is 8 Eggs, 150g Serrano ham (hand sliced), 2 Vine tomatoes, 1 Tsp Smoked paprika, 1 Tsp Dried oregano, Cracked black pepper, Equipment: 4 x terracotta cazuelas (14cm). HOW TO MAKE: Crack two eggs into each cazuela. Place three or four slices of serrano ham over each dish. Arrange slices of tomato over the top of the serrano ham. Sprinkle with oregano and season well with black pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with “patatas fritas” or fresh bread.

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INGREDIENTS:

8 Eggs 150g Serrano ham (hand sliced) 2 Vine tomatoes 1 Tsp Smoked paprika 1 Tsp Dried oregano Cracked black pepper

Equipment: 4 x terracotta cazuelas (14cm)

HOW TO MAKE:

Crack two eggs into each cazuela.

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Place three or four slices of serrano […]

Andorra: Mini Chorizo Tortillas (Omelette with Chorizo) – Make an omelette the Catalonian way, a classic dish made simple with only 5 ingredients. It’s a dish you make when you have “nothing” at home to cook, because well… you always have some eggs on hand Right? With that said, I am like you. I always have these on hand. Always. I like to have eggs, especially milk and butter. I use both milk and butter on a daily basis. All of my beverages like tea, chocolate drinks, and coffee, have to have added milk. When we run out of eggs we would do without them for a couple days, but for the most part, I like to have them handy, especially for breakfast. Gotta keep the cereal and peanut butter, jelly and bread in the house at all times. When these items are in the house, everyone has something to eat, even if it is just a bowl of cereal. Cheese is something I would buy regularly, but I do not always have it on hand. It is a fairly pricey item in my country also. I especially like to use it for making a sandwich. If all you’ve got in your refrigerator is eggs, chorizos and onions, you’ve got yourself a meal. If you have a few peppers in your fridge, they make a great addition to the mix. It’s a dish you prepare to take out on trips, because it tastes even better cold. You can have at as a main or side dish. You can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great for a grab-and-go breakfast for during the week. This would also make a great lunch or dinner. These mini tortillas are very convenient and good either warmed in the microwave oven or at room temperature. For this recipe, I added home made ‘Orce Fire Chorizo’ to add a serious extra kick to proceedings although picante and dulce versions work equally well. It was smelling heavenly. This potential meal has sent my salivary glands into overdrive. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this delicious omelette. Loved every bite. These eggs were absolutely wonderful and soo GOOD! The basic version only has eggs, potatoes, salt and pepper, but you can throw in whatever you have laying around at home. You can REALLY play around with this recipe and make it your own, adding shredded Serrano ham, roasted piquillo peppers, or smoked paprika as you fancy. The next time I make this dish, it’ll be bacon, spinach, and cheddar cheese or maybe all-vegetables with white cheese and tomato, mushrooms, truffles, smoked haddock, ham, smoked salmon, to name but a few. The fillings for omelettes are endless. From leftover chicken, to seafood or in this case: Chorizo. These are the kinds of recipes I love: Recipes I can play around with and make even when the only ingredients I’ve got on hand seem like a mishmash. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–use whatever fillings you like best. Just mix and match your favorite ingredients, add them to beaten eggs and you’ll have a satisfying and nutritious on the go meal or snack. This mini chorizo tortillas recipe combines the most famous of Spanish sausages into one of the most famous Spanish recipes – the tortilla. A Spanish tortilla can be cooked in small (14cm is ideal) terracotta cazuelas or ‘sartenes’ (cazuelas with handles) making mini tortillas ideal for both shared tapas and starters. Colourful and packed with flavours, this thick, flat omelette, called a tortilla in Spanish, tastes good served at any temperature. The classic recipe contains 2 x Orce Fire Chorizos, 5 x Fresh eggs, 1 x Small Onion, Ground pepper, Olive oil and Fresh parsley to garnish. This recipe can be made as one large chorizo tortilla or four smaller ones, served in their own sarten these tortillas make a tasty simple starter and can be served in the terracotta sarten they were cooked in. This authentic Spanish tortilla recipe is perfect every time! When made right, a Spanish omelet is the definition of traditional Spanish cuisine: simple to make, clean flavors, and the best ingredients. Not only is it easy to make, it’s budget-friendly, waistline-friendly and no-time-to-cook friendly. Ahhh, my mouth is watering now. All you need to do is slice the ‘fire’ chorizos into thin segments. Crack and Beat the eggs. Dice the onion. Heat a splash of olive oil in a terracotta sarten and brown off the fire chorizo and onion. Pour over the beaten egg and season with pepper. Mix until the egg begins to thicken then leave to cook until done. My dear friends, brunch is served. Relax, enjoy and sink your teeth into this delicious omelette.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 x Orce Fire Chorizos 5 x Fresh eggs 1 x Small Onion Ground pepper Olive oil Fresh parsley to garnish

HOW TO MAKE:

Slice the ‘fire’ chorizos into thin segments.

Beat the eggs.

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Dice the onion.

Heat a splash of olive oil […]

Andorra: Pollo y morcón Kebabs (Chicken and Morcon Kebabs) – Try this easy chicken recipe and turn into one BADASS MOTHER CLUCKER!!! Too Good Too Pass Up! Your guests will love these colorful bite-sized treats. These spicy North African sausages are popular in Morocco, where they’re served plain, with couscous, in sandwiches, with eggs or stuffed into pastries. Is there anything that a good sausage can’t satisfy? Don’t go there. Instead, enjoy sausages threaded on skewers with multi-colored peppers and add whatever other fresh veg you like! (I added zucchini and red onion to mine!) What an invention this was. And surprisingly easy to make, so don’t skimp on a frozen deal, make one yourself. They can be made from ground lamb, ground beef, or a mixture of the two. Anyway love lamb, and one of my favorite lamb things is merguez sausage-a Moroccan lamb sausage seasoned with Middle Eastern spices like sumac, cumin, and lots of garlic. The spices work beautifully with the natural flavor of the lamb and the aromas that fill the house while you’re making them will seriously transport you somewhere far away (assuming you’re not in the Middle East because then they’ll just transport you down the street). It’s an easy sausage to make as you simply have to mix the meat with some oil and spices then shape it into patties or tubes. If you have casings, you can use them, but there is really no need. I love the rustic look of the simply grilled or pan-fried sausages. I serve them atop a simple cucumber salad with a minty yogurt dressing for an incredibly satisfying meal. Kefta is a seasoned ground beef that you can specify to order at your local Moroccan butcher where they will grind all the spices in with the meat. A trip to the butcher in Fez guarantees you a glimpse of some cute, and hungry, kitties! Luckily, you easily make your own. When making merguez at home, you can opt to feed the mixture into sausage casings or simply shape the mixture into patties or cylinders. You’ll want to have Merguez Spice Mix and harissa on hand. I like to form my kefta into long sausage-like cylinders, but you can shape them into flat patties or round meatballs if you desire. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, kneading the mixture well to evenly distribute the spices, herbs and harissa. Shape as desired. (Alternatively, you can pass the ingredients through a meat grinder and feed the merguez into sausage casings.) As with any sausage, fat is key to flavor and texture. Try not to skimp too much if you feel the need to adjust the recipe. This sausage keeps well, so make a large batch and freeze individual portions of the uncooked sausage for future meals. I like to portion them out into groups or 4 or 6, wrap them in plastic wrap, then place in freezer zipped baggies. For best flavor, allow the merguez to sit for 30 minutes (or longer in the fridge) before cooking. Wish I had this smokey meat in front of me right now. Can’t wait to try this out again! These were fantastic–made them for a dinner party last weekend! I threw a big barbecue at my house and invited a hundred of my closest friends. These types gatherings aren’t unusual. I have been barbecuing for YEARS, and my skills improved, and my next goal was competition. Fast-forward another five years or so (hey, quit trying to figure out how old I am) and I met my husband. I’m the grillmaster in my house and I have ovaries. Don’t assume that the men/dads are the only ones who know how to work the grill. Actually I think I said that they’re the ones who *can’t* cook. Don’t look a fool in front of your buddies or worse, your girlfriend’s dad at your own bar-be-que. Grilling Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make (But Probably Do) Don’t agree with the half a pit coal placement. Hot spots occur naturally. Also, I only use the lid for a wood/charcoal fired grill for preheating the grates. I take the lid off for steaks, chops, kabobs, sausages and vegetables. You want that oxygen, you want that sear. Learn more about how to recognize your hotspots and use them. Moms and Dads of young cook wannabes, you need to read this, too, and you need to make sure your kid does too. In 25 years of high end restaurant cooking. We had embers under the entire grilling area and never had a lid. Don’t use lemon juice, put that in the base for a citrus flavor. Use two layers of foil, and pack it loose and a little bit below the foil. Small needle sized holes all the way through the foil and into the tobacco, and a lot of the holes. My only quibble is that true “rare” aficionados would prefer more red, less pink under rare. IMO, (which means “in my opinion.”) their rare is my medium rare. I’ve used a chimney for years to start my charcoal. My success rate with newspaper was always about 50%. Since I started using a couple of paper towels dowsed with vegetable oil I’ve had 100% success. Some cooks throw whole logs into their pits, but you must have the right pit and skill set to pull this off. Done improperly this can easily ruin your meat. More commonly, pitmasters cooking with wood preburn the logs reducing them to embers before cooking with them. Smoking with logs usually needs to be done at a higher temp, perhaps 275°F rather than 225°F at which most smoking is done. It needs this higher temp in order to create clean smoke. And no matter how long you have been cooking BBQ it’s always a good idea to do a few practice runs so you will be in-sync with the turn-in times of the cooking contest. And now let’s hop to the recipe. Excellent stuff! They’re the perfect party bites because they’re easy to make, beautifully presented and can be eaten standing up without any cutlery! Bonus: they’re super easy to make, too! It’s hard to come by creative party food. Make them the night before and cook them the next day. Bottom line, if you want to start the party, make these Chicken and Morcon Party Kebabs! Morcon is a large, round Andalucian sausage ideal for both tapas recipes and as an ingredient in Spanish cooking. Here we have chicken and morcon kebabs – similar to barbequing chorizo but with a slightly different flavour. LET’S. BEGIN. COOKING. All you need is Half a Morcon sausage, 2 Skinned chicken breasts, 1 Large onion, 1 Red pepper, 1 Green pepper and 18 – 24 button mushrooms. Less stress when preparing recipe. Read the entire recipe carefully in advance of needing to prepare it. Determine which ingredients and equipment you will need and have them nearby. Any missing ingredients that are not in your pantry can be purchased before it’s too late for a quick trip to the store or your neighbor next door. Once you have your ingredients together, prepare them so they are “cooking ready.” This can mean different things depending on what recipe your using. Don’t forget food safety as you cook. All you need to do is cut the morcon sausage into inch sized cubes. Cut the chicken breasts into inch sized cubes. Cut the onion and peppers into bite sized pieces. Place the ingredients onto kebab skewers alternating. Barbeque for 10 minutes and enjoy. So getting back to this QUESTION! Should Men Who Can’t Cook Be Ashamed Or Proud? Nothing is as sweet as having your man sometimes cook your dinner as a treat while you remain in bed. And believe it or not I think anybody, man or woman that can’t cook should be ashamed. Culinary skill sure is a plus. **All of the Future husbands out there, take note** 

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INGREDIENTS:

Half a Morcon sausage 2 Skinned chicken breasts 1 Large onion 1 Red pepper 1 Green pepper 18 – 24 button mushrooms

HOW TO MAKE:

Cut the morcon sausage into inch sized cubes.

Cut the chicken breasts into inch sized cubes

Cut the onion and peppers into bite […]

Andorra: Setas Barbacoa mantequilla (Barbeque Butter Mushrooms) – Tapas is exciting and there’s always a real buzz in the air so if you’ve never tried it, give it a go, you will love it! I made these last weekend and they were delicious. This recipe for barbequed butter mushrooms was actually a complete experiment one afternoon when I decided to barbeque. This is the good news: Bad Day Turned Good Some neighbours turned up out of the blue so I decided to create some quick and easy starters and side dishes to accompany escalivada and stuffed peppers. This turned out to be an unexpected party. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves tremendously, and we’re satisfied with the food. We were pleased to see everybody so happy. Had a good-time. This is a very easy recipe. You just need to pop a very small knob of butter every few inches on top of the mushrooms. Wrap mushrooms in foil using Drugstore Wrap technique. Bring the 2 long sides of the foil together above the food; fold down in a series of locked folds, allowing for heat circulation and expansion. Grilling delicate mushrooms in foil protects them and creates a rich sauce. Fold the short ends of the foil up and over again. Crimp closed to seal the foil packet. Place foil packet on preheated grid and then grill or bake the mushrooms in the oven. You can even use a tandoor or grill if you have these. In this recipe I have grilled the mushrooms. however, you can fry them too. Normally, I would bake these, but the grill works just fine as well and ends up giving the final mushrooms a smoky flavor. Can also be cooked with finely chopped garlic cloves for barbeque garlic mushrooms. Now, finally, the recipe! Barbeque for 5 minutes, turn and barbeque for a further 5 minutes. Be careful that the mushrooms don’t fall between the grates! These mushrooms are pretty sturdy, but don’t overcook them or they will just turn soggy and lose their texture. When the mushrooms are done, the cheese should be melted all the way though. If you want to get fancy, you can transfer these to a serving plate, but if I’m having a party, I just serve people straight off the grill with a pair of tongs. Who doesn’t love a good stuffed mushroom?! You must remove from the grill and carefully remove the foil parcel. Open packet carefully to serve. Serve mushrooms as a side dish or tapas drizzling over the remaining melted butter.

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INGREDIENTS:

500g White mushrooms, quartered (mixed mushrooms also work) 75g Butter Cracked black peppercorns Salt

HOW TO MAKE

Clean the mushrooms under the tap and cut the base from the stalk, you don’t need to remove the stalk completely. Cut the mushrooms into quarters.

Tear off a sheet of […]

Andorra: Aceitunas marinadas con limón y tomillo (Marinaded Olives with Lemon & Thyme) – Be the talk of your block when you bring these crowd-pleasers to your next neighborhood cookout. You can really WOW your holiday guests by serving a few simple and tasty appetizers before sitting down to the table. Marinaded olives with lemon and thyme make perfect tapas and turn normal pitted Manzanilla olives into something quite special. An easy Andalucian recipe using fantastic fresh ingredients and one which can be rustled up for the tapas party or Spanish themed evening a day in advance. I tend to buy the jarred, or the self serve. It’s more convenient than cans! Just make sure you avoid “pizza olives” or “black olives” – they don’t have any flavour. It’s worth buying semi-decent quality ones. Any grocery store will have a selection of decent olives. Better ways to increase your chances of buying “good” olives is to buy a jar that is labeled with the variety. Also, be sure to buy them WITH the pits and remove the pits yourself. So, how do people buy olives? Stop in to Lombardi’s Import Market for a true taste of Italy! You will be amazed at their selection and quality. This Italian grocer I frequent has around 20 buckets of bulk olives for sale. And as long as we’re talking bulk, they even have bulk dutch process cocoa, flax, steel cut oats, and other dry goods. Best Italian import store in Syracuse, New York. Italian specialty stores are few, but fantastic. The neighborhood known as Little Italy is located in Lower Manhattan, between Canal and Houston Streets and Lafayette and the Bowery, bordering Chinatown. The area has long been home to New York’s Italian population, including those who came through Ellis Island in search of a better life in America. There is no place on earth like New York City. It is quite a city and I’ve been lucky to have visited on three separate occasions over the past six months. If you have never been, It is hard to describe New York City. It is so busy, overstimulating, overwhelming and congested with people from all over the world that as much as I love it, it also wears me out. “Great holiday decorations, few patrons”. The holiday lights were great and our eventual dinner choice was perfect. Just walking a few blocks down the streets of Little Italy is enough to make my mind swirl and go into overdrive trying to process everything I see. felt an awful lot like navigating the holiday shopping mall kiosk battlefield – restauranteurs begging for you to choose their (empty) establishment for dinner. The people. The places. The restaurants. The shops. The poverty and the wealth to the extreme. The homeless living in the dirt of a noisy street right outside of Prada. The brand new Ferrari pulling up curbside at a small cafe in Little Italy to eat. It is sometimes amazing and other times overwhelming. In the busy city of NY, the area was lovely and calm. With lots of great restaurants and some fashion stores it was good to smell real Italian food, smell of garlic in the air. Menu’s are lined up all along the sidewalks making it difficult to decide. If you like good food, you’ll love Lombardi’s! Give this area a vist. Lots of fun Italian food and a great price on olives. They have dozens of varieties of olives to choose from each with a different shape, size, and color. Some are stuffed, some aren’t. But you use a ladle and scoop as many as you want into a plastic container, and they charge you by weight. I usually only eat these olives whole or skewered in a martini. They really are good. Jam packed with authentic Italian and Mediterranean goods. There is a large selection of cheeses as well as a big case of imported cheeses, breads, fresh homemade pastas, pastries cookies, selections of olive oils, balsamic and their dry cured meats were amazing. You Name It, “They Have “IT”. Bottom Line – I absolutely love this grocery store and come here to buy non-GMO Italian 00 + semolina to make my fresh pastas. Lombardi Fruit & Imports been around for ever. My Dad and I used to come out here when I was a kid and I still love it. It’s my second stop after I grab a loaf of bread from Columbus bakery. My dad live in California now and anytime we visit he makes us bring cold cuts from Lombardi. Ooh, I love cinnamon raisin bread! Of course, when so many of us love cinnamon raisin bread a single loaf can be eaten in a day! Especially, when it’s fresh out the oven and the whole house smells like a bakery! Yummmmm! People Talk About: sandwiches, their sandwiches are to die for!!! FINALLY dropped by Harry’s Hot Sandwiches and Oh, Boy! What A Treat! Best sandwich, hands down, in the area. Love the sandwiches and the service! The specials are always amazing! Had the Cubano sandwich…this is what dreams are made of people! I loved it!! Just one suggestion. Make the sandwich more thick! You want to hear the congas and timbales when you bite into one. Moy Beuno! My eyes gazed off into a thousand mile stare when my taste buds exploded in pure escalation of joy due to the sheer authenticity of the cubano sandwich that so perfectly graced my palate. Cubano with egg was real. Quinoa with jicama was a great side. Pulled pork had a great balance of flavor (heat-sweet-tang). Harry’s puts some love into there food. Cubano is perfect every time. Always want a second one. If I wasn’t already married I might marry the pulled pork sandwich. Try the julio iglesias & add the frickin bacon!!!!! Black bean arepas! Two of ’em! 8 bucks and change! C’mon! Best! Yes yes & YESSSSSS! Nice tight menu. “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. Arepas are a personal favorite. Extra habanero salsa! Oh my gosh! I can eat that everyday! Harry’s hot sandwiches are so good they’ll make you wanna slap your grandmother! I’m going to Amen myself right there. How awesome. Try yelling that out loud. Best news you’ve heard all day right? Well, I did not understand all that just yet. so…Moving along. Amazing food & people alike. do yourself a favor and try the tuna wrap. God bless! Excellent food and best pizza. Friendly staff. GREAT Deli! Lots of fun Italian food and a great price on olives. Love this place! The Little Italy neighborhood is fairly small, and you might combine it with the rest of the 5 Boroughs (well whats left from them anyway), and at least with the China Town. Roaming the streets you can’t help but revert back to all of the Hollywood movies featuring this neighborhood, and its fascinating and often tragic and violent history. You must not leave Little Italy before you try at least one Canolli! In general, leave some place for desert. La Bella Ferrara is the best bakery in NY, or anywhere I can think of for that matter. This Italian bakery has the most variety and one of the best taste of cannoli in Little Italy, New York. They have at least 7 different flavours of cannoli: regular, red velvet (my fave!), tiramisu, chocolate chips, peanut butter, strawberry and choco mint. They come in different sizes: mini, regular and Holy Cannoli (super huge, by request only). They also have different shells: the classic ones and chocolate covered ones. The crust should be very thin, and the best pastry makers prepare it that way. Ideally, the shells should be filled immediately before serving, and the cream should be cold but not close to freezing temperature. When you order one, they should be filled just as you place your order as sitting can make the shells soggy. This is definitely the bakery to go if you’re a fan of cannoli, or simply want to try different varieties of it. Other delicacies they sell include biscotti, Italian cookies, cakes, gelato, cream puffs, fruit tarts and many more. They have seating area outdoor, which is perfect when the weather is good. Since they have so many good stuff to eat, there’s no way you can eat them all there, you might want to take some home. Leftover baked goods – haha like I ever have leftover baked goods!! If there’s any left over bring it hither. Eat the rest hahaha! There’s no leftover deserts of any sort in this house. LOL hahaha just about spit up my coffee…..”live” stream this shit! Soooo good! it was hard to decide what to get, can’t wait to go back to try more! For those of you who are interested, here’s the address: 110 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013 (between Canal & Hester) A must for any visitor to New York, great atmosphere, so many wonderful, local restaurants, deli’s, cafes, to quirky boutiques, has it all. PLEASE READ FURTHER! Oh yeah, go ahead! “Never mind me! I’m just eating lunch.” I’m just sitting in the corner eating chocolate strawberries. And strawberries are healthy, RIGHT? YUMMMYY! just sayin’. Well, let’s talk some more. I don’t know about you, but I love the Whole Foods Market. You know what it’s like to shop there. Who doesn’t love a bargain? The highlight of a shopping trip can be scooping up something with a slashed-through price or a big “sale” sticker on the shelf. But stores have gotten increasingly sophisticated about shoring up their profit margins in a climate where people just aren’t spending the way they used to, so those discounts and deals aren’t always what they seem. When it comes to what we put in and on our bodies, Whole Foods Market believes the full story of those products is important as we make our choices. It is amazingly fresh and you cannot beat the price. I admire Whole Foods Market not only because of the high quality standard they set for their products, but also because I respect their values and philosophy about life. Talking about this. Well, like those apples and that beef, Whole Foods Market stores are certified organic. “WAIT, WHAT? We love Whole Foods, but it really isn’t close enough for us to become regular shoppers. That is probably a good thing. “Shit can get expensive real quick when you shop in bulk so pay attention! When you get to the register. I have spent way too much at the Whole Foods olive bar (and at Whole Foods in general– I need to cut back on how often I shop there). I love marinated olives from the olive bar and even got my husband hooked on it. It costs way to much. Oh olives are one of my favorite foods! Budget vs. great food – the battle! How much do you spend on food each month? Don’t know? That’s okay. The battle over our grocery budget has been front and center in our mission to save money and improve our cash flow situation. Based on conversations that we have had with friends and family, the amount of money we spend on groceries is pretty much higher than, well…  everyone else. Cutting our grocery costs is essential if we are going to get and stay out of debt. But without a doubt, Aldi is going to be part of our weekly grocery ritual going forward… Luckily, we have lots of grocery stores within a short driving distance of our house (including Aldi) that fit every budget. It is amazing to me that up to this point in my life, I was too proud to shop at a discount grocer like Aldi. Now I realize, that I was just being stubborn and wasteful….and yes, kind of snobby, etc.” This is the very type of behavior patterns that has caused our debt problem, and the very behavior that we are now eradicating. Aldi has come in handy for my family more times than I can count (I even did an experiment a few years back and over 6 weeks, we saved more than $100 just by making the switch for most items. It would have been more but, well, you know. Things happen). It is amazing how much $$ you save for food that appeared to be the exact same quality as what you would find at our regular grocer. My receipt from that first shopping trip is shown here: FRESH. GROUND BEEF. $2.99Lb. SAVE $2.00 LB! Holy smokes! Fresh wild caught Sockeye Salmon fillet $9.99/lb, First street shrimp – Raw 51/60 ct. EZ peel or Cooked 61/70ct, tail on (sold in 2lb bags)= $13.98 ($6.99/lb) Maruchan Ramen Noodles, 12 ct – $1.99 Includes: Select varieties, Snuggle Liquid Fabric Softener, 150 oz – $4.99, Submit for $3/1-(12pk) Corona and 1(any brand 9.5oz potato/tortilla) bag of chips Ibotta rebate, Banana chips: $1.99/lb, Butter toffee peanuts: $1.99/lbs, Granola bars, potato chips, and raisins for much lower prices than the normal grocery. My kids’ brown bag lunches just got much cheaper! Change the meat and snacks up each time you rebuy and it never gets boring. Go even cheaper by buying hot dogs and buns if you’ve got a microwave at the office. Now its time to either put up or shut up. They’re everywhere – in almost every grocery store, department store, and bulk item superstore. Depending on where you live in the world, you might call them carts, trolleys, carriages, buggies, or wagons. The guys from MTV’s Jackass practically built their careers on them. And yes, you have to put a quarter in the cart to use it. They have these little thingies (I really don’t know what else to call them) on the handle of the cart that you put a quarter in that unhooks the cart from the cart in front of it.  When you are done shopping, take the cart back to the cart corral and connect the cart back to the others and get your quarter back. Oh, and boo-hoo, you have to bring your own bags or buy one from them. WOWZA, look at that! A company that’s ahead of the game and has been environmentally conscious since before it was trendy to do it. So horrible! Take your reusable shopping bags, your grocery bags from a previous shopping trip, or you can buy bags at the the check out. They have brown paper bags, plastic grocery bags, reusable shopping bags, and insulated bags for purchase. You are also welcome to use any of the empty boxes you come across in the store to pack your grocery up. At ALDI, the clerk will scan your groceries (at an impressively rapid rate) and just put them back in a cart. They don’t bag the groceries for you; you will do that after you pay. They provide a bagging area with lots of counter space to organize and bag your haul. The first of several great–really great–things about ALDI is their double guarantee. If you don’t like a product or If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, for ANY reason, they’ll take care of you with a full refund or exchange. You can even get a refund on worn merchandise purchased over a year ago, with or without a receipt. If you don’t have a receipt, they’ll give you the current selling price of the item. The other bonus of Aldi is we know where everything is. Oh, and here’s another bonus – You really do save money! Woooo! Yeah! jolly, full of good humor and high spirits. Greatly pleasing; enjoyable: had a jolly time. Anywho, that was my Friday. All went well! But the worst part is that I didn’t have any change to rent a grocery cart,. No… Boo-hoo. Oh, yeah. Everything was goin’ my way. Or so I thought. So, I basically just grabbed as many items as I could fit into my arms, and made my way to the front of the store. The difficulty of grabbing an item is quite clear, so it’s not as tempting as a seemingly-easy variable-strength game. The man in front of me in line was counting out pennies to pay for his food. This was not something that I had seen often at our regular store, and really got my mind spinning. The room is so loud and crowded, it reminds me of when I was in steerage. The man laughs out loud and I sigh. There are so many foods in front of me that my mouth has started dripping. Here we had a guy, just like me, who was trying to pay for food to feed his family. He was apparently barely making ends meet, but more importantly, he *was* making ends meet. This is especially important to avoid further debt. Making ends meet is a challenge for almost every family. I am a credit card junkie (and have been for many years, I had bought my groceries on credit cards with money that I didn’t really have. Why have I always been afraid to shop at Aldi? People have told me great things about Aldi, but like you were at first, I’ ve always been hesitant. Basically, borrowing from my family’s future so that I didn’t have to pay attention to prices at the store or spend the time to clip coupons. And from here on out, I vowed to be more like the man in front of me in line, and only buy groceries that I could afford. If money is tight one week, then it is good to know that I can actually stretch my dollar pretty far at a place like Aldi. I wish I had started shopping there sooner! I’ve been shopping at ALDI regularly now for about 6 years. I go to the cheapest grocery store possible – I always have. My mom didn’t though, even as a single mom, I guess she outweighed her opportunity costs for driving across town with two screaming, fighting kids in the backseat, lol. But groceries in Canada are just so expensive. I’d be broke if I went to Whole Foods! These are the stores we have grocery shopped almost entirely in the past ten years, where we have regularly spent well over $1000/month. There are Shop n’ Saves and the super Wal-Marts, which are comparable to the local chains, but with a few less amenities. The stores are often a little bit chaotic and messy, and the produce and meat quality isnt quite as good. Want to save even more money? Then you might want to try Aldi, “the discount grocer” It’s a smaller store with fewer choices, but ridiculously good prices. The produce is good and they have a great selection of meats and bakery items. And hey, what about those specials, particularly on non-food items! From one visit to the next you never know what incredible bargains you might find. In that sense each visit to Aldi is like stopping at a thrift store or a yard sale, frequently with similar, obscenely low prices on high-quality merchandise. If you’re reading this, good for you. It means that you’re at least willing to admit that you should get around to doing something about savings. Ugh. I know. I’m a Extreme typical Budget Shopper, that’s all. So, if I’m a typical shopper (and I believe I am), I’m proof of the pudding. Rebates really are making a comeback. The bottom line here is price, price, value, price. I’m not cheap, but I do like a good deal, and I don’t want to overpay. I also appreciate good quality food, which is why I happily shop at Aldi. I’m always surprised when friends act like shopping at the discount grocer is weird or they’re too embarrassed to go there. So here are my counter-arguments to them and why I say, “Get over not shopping at Aldi.” Look guys, it’s a grocery store, not a tourist destination or not a thrift store. If you don’t yet shop at thrift stores, why not? For heaven’s sake It’s not like the food is used or like I’m suggesting you shop at The Gleaners Kitchen. Aldi just doesn’t have fancy or elegant packaging. Other than that, for the most part, it’s the exact same food as any other grocery store. In fact, in a blind taste test, done by my friend when she was in school for some sort of food science degree, her class found that the generic brand of canned green beans were way better quality than name brand ones. “Eww, but not produce, right?” OK, I’ll admit, the produce isn’t always the best. It’s not all bad, though, and it is getting better. I’ve had really great strawberries from Aldi, and Cuties are hard to mess up. Plus, when it comes down to it, an onion is an onion. A potato is a… patato (sorry). I don’t have any official proof to back this up, but trust me; my friend wouldn’t lie about this. A can of tomatoes is a can of tomatoes. Is it really worth spending $.40 more for them just so you can make the Joneses family richer? Sure there are some, shall we say borderline personalities, that shop at Aldi. Who cares? Maybe they think YOU’RE weird. Besides, it’s not like you have to talk to anyone. People with BPD Will Try To Make Things Complicated (to most people). And they will do things to throw you off and get a reaction out of you. But this isn’t so much of a conscious decision that they make. Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder – impulsive or borderline type or emotional intensity disorder, is a personality disorder. The essential features include a pattern of impulsivity and instability of behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and self-image. A Borderline doesn’t wake up and say “Hmm, what can I do today to piss off my partner?” I know you feel like they are to blame (and you’re often right), but you also need to understand that they aren’t purposely trying to hurt you. Like I said – when you actually understand what’s really going on, and you learn what keeps a Borderline attracted to you, these relationships are great every day. I mean, you should be polite, don’t be a dick, but you’re not REQUIRED to interact with anyone outside of the cashier if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to interact with “those people” then don’t. You’d probably find out they’re just normal people, but whatever. And moving right along, LOVE Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately it is also usually the most expensive. I know you don’t have a ton of choices at Aldi (in the city, I think there’s not a lot of choice in my area), but honestly, how many choices of the same crackers do you need? I know that in some cases, brands make a difference. I’m not asking you to compromise your values here. I eat Twizzlers, not Twazzlers, OK? Foods like popcorn and pretzels are all the same. By the way, Aldi often carries name brand items, too. I’ve gotten M&M’s, gourmet chocolates, Jenny O’ Turkey and even a Martha Stewart brand heating blanket there. Heating blanket? That’s right, they have fun, weird, and random shit at this grocery store. It’s actually kind of fun, like a game you get to play every time you shop. Will you come home with bread and eggs, or will you come home with bread, eggs and a fondue pot? For friends and relatives that like cosmetics and beauty products, I find high street drugs stores like Boots and Superdrug to be really useful. Additionally, I have also discovered little ways to get even more for your money from here: I look out for free gifts with products. Two of my friends and my sister are make-up obsessives, and I know that they wanted make-up items as their present so I have regularly looked for the offers given at the counters for free gifts when certain items are purchased. For example, I needed a new mascara the other day, and discovered that a free make-up bag, complete with good quality miniatures in the colours that my sister uses (she also travels a lot and often complains about the fact that miniatures aren’t sold in the way that toiletries are), was offered with the purchase of the mascara that I wanted. I got the points, and the free gift. Now, instead of spending money on two or three larger make-up items for her, I’ll buy one and give her the extra gift as I know it is going to be useful for her, and I’ve saved money! I’ve gotten cookware, bedding and even cute little purses that come with fabric-safe markers to stylize it yourself. They were for my nieces, but hey, I could get one for myself if I wanted. I’m good at staying in the lines. I’m not embarrassed that I did some of my Christmas shopping at Aldi. The giftees don’t know where I got them, and why would anyone care anyway? With the money I saved, I could buy them two presents! I didn’t, but I could’ve. So, what’s the point here? The point is that you can get most of your basics at Aldi. Maybe you don’t want to go to multiple stores. I can’t expect any one grocery store to be perfect. That’d be like expecting a restaurant to be good at making Mexican, Italian AND Chinese food. Usually, places specialize in one or two things. Grocery stores like Mariano’s are cool with their huge assortment, salad bar, pizza, sushi and all sorts of freebie samples, which I admit, carries a lot of weight. But I want to do my grocery shopping and be done. I’m not looking for an event just because I need some chicken. Plus, these big fancy stores are usually a huge pain in the ass in terms of parking. You can’t just run in quickly, and even if they’re having a good sale, it’s not going to be as inexpensive as the no-frills Aldi. Besides, who do you think pays for that sushi bar and cupcake corner? Also, did you know that Trader Joe’s owns Aldi? That’s right, it’s the same company. It’s not always the same products, but specialty items do occasionally make it to Aldi’s shelves. They even have a decent selection of wine and beer, including Goose Island’s 312. If you really want to be a cool hipster, forget Trader Joe’s, Aldi is where it’s at. Because who cares what others think about your grocery shopping habits? Get over it. My shopping adventure was successful. I’m not finished. But so far I got. A teal hoodie, and a olive green sweater thing. It looks comfortable for the fall season coming up. I bought an authentic jersey, after buying many a fake jersey in the past, and it is really worth the investment. I have washed this in a machine multiple times ( I hang it up to dry) and it’s never dulled, the letters aren’t peeling off. It’s one of the better jerseys I’ve bought. Definitely worth the money I paid. And to top it off navy pair of shoes that I’ve been longing for. And a crunchy wrap supreme from taco bell. I really want that Soul Eater leather jacket, but I don’t think I’ll be getting it. Sigh. I really want it. I don’t know what else I should buy. More t-shirts? You can never have enough. I don’t know. I want a nice skirt, something flowy. I can wear that with t-shirts. I need to clean out my closet. There’s so much things I need to do and I’m just chillin’. Reminds me of my favorite Mohicans song. Off topic. I should look online and stuff. Maybe I’ll find something worth purchasing. Couponing and deal sites are still popular: Saving money is so important, shoppers have shown their willingness to work a little harder if it means a lower price. 77% of those surveyed said they’d drive up to ten minutes out of their way to save $10 on a $50 sale. With gas prices being what they are, that might not be a great trade-off! Anyway, enough rambling about that! Let’s skip the chit chat and get down to the nitty-gritty. Crazy about olives too these days. I like to go to the Mediterranean bar in my favorite grocery store and get the big green Sicilian olives stuffed with feta….so good!!! Especially the ones stuffed with almonds! Yummmmmmmm. Honestly I could probably eat a whole jar of olives by myself. In one sitting. Just sayin. I am constantly craving spicy virgin bloody marys with green olives. They harvest from October to January. The greenest olives are harvested in October, the red or pink in November, the black in December, and the wrinkled black (not to be confused with olives that have shriveled due to curing in salt) in January. Olive harvesting takes place at different times depending on the area. In most of the Mediterranean olive harvesting occurs in the months of November, December, and January; however, in the more Northern areas such as Tuscany olive harvesting must be carried out earlier due to early frosts. Indeed, in this region olive harvesting begins as early as September. The different times in which olives are harvested results in the different tastes of each region’s olive oil. The younger olives of Tuscany result in a peppery taste. Similarly their young age produces less oil making their olive oil scarcer. Since each olive contains about 20 percent oil it takes an average of around 200 olives to produce one liter of olive oil. The weather can also affect the outcome of the harvest. Any form of moisture during harvesting has the potential to damage the olives since they are more likely to spoil in their crates. Therefore, olive harvesting must be carried out before the rainy season hits Italy resulting in an earlier harvest season than other areas. Yes. They are even better now and we are having them everyday. Get out of my way…they are miiiiiiiinnnnnneeee! …. I can’t tell you how much we enjoy them. Anyway, I can’t wait to whip up a batch very, very soon! But when it comes to delectable food such as this – we’re all about the eating.  I absolutely love them! I definitely have an olive fetish–any way you slice or stuff them I love to pop them in my mouth! Then the other day I had a brainstorm. Ah yes, ye old brainstorming session. Why don’t I marinate my own olives? I make all of my own salad dressings…how hard could it be to make a vinaigrette and save a little money? Turns out it’s pretty easy. And a lot cheaper. And, B-I-N-G-O! There was the answer. *BEST* solution. Yes, I have … It answers the question: “Why should I buy? ….. Ha ha, the ‘clueless ramble. Why don’t I marinate my own olives? I make all of my own salad dressings…how hard could it be to make a vinaigrette and save a little money? Turns out it’s pretty easy. And a lot cheaper. We’ve all been there, and have had varying degrees of success with the process. But what makes for a great brainstorming session, and more importantly, what drives a session to produce some truly great results? So do yourself a huge favor and make certain that you don’t pay olive bar prices when you can make your own marinated olives with ingredients you probably already have in the house! I made this recipe last night – it’s amazing! My coworkers couldn’t stop commenting on how good it smells. It’s truly THAT good. This will def. be a repeater! BA HA HA!!! The Shit was SO good that I couldn’t control myself. I pulled two glasses out of the cabinet. I really wanted a stiff drink. Not a bloody soda or an icy cold beer! “I’ll just have a few shots of whisky and a couple good Old Number Seven! Or just get some really good whiskey. Maybe a “Double shot of Jameson, light rocks, splash of water” That should do the trick! Let’s Get Saucey (I couldn’t help myself) that the sauce was SO good, it was just sitting on the counter calling my name. There’s nothing like fresh loaves of thick, crusty country French bread for dipping directly into the juicy sauce that is left at the plate. Delicious, these ended up being heavenly and oh so craveable. Oh my, another reason why I have to go to France; french bread truck. French bread truck – France is calling me. And thankfully, Rosemary doesn’t like olives, so that meant more for me. What a perfectly healthy and super-satisfying snack. Add them to salads for a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, which can help prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering levels of bad cholesterol and raising levels of the good stuff. At just 26 calories for five olives, it’s easy to keep your diet in check. Once you make this dish, you’ll see how easy it is to put together. Olives are perfect to set out on the table as your guests arrive and enjoy drinks. Who doesn’t love marinated olives? But when was the last time that a restaurant put a plate of them in front of you that made you stop and say: “Wow! These are different and delicious!” You can whip these up in 10 minutes and marinate for 12 hours. Eat at room temperature or cold, serve these timeless olives with crusty bread or alongside wine. Anyway, I can’t wait to whip up more over the holidays. Talking About: Food for Tomorrow. Need to put this on my grocery list. I better go pick up some items for dinner tonight, ha! Also, don’t forget to bring a quarter to unlock a shopping cart. Anyway, that’s all.

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INGREDIENTS:

400g Tin pitted Manzanilla olives 100mls Extra virgin olive oil Half of one small lemon 3 Sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

Equipment: Plastic freezer bag

HOW TO MAKE:

Drain the brine from the olives and pour the olives into a cazuela or mixing bowl.

Slice the lemon then […]