Holiday Meals from Whole Foods

DSC_3456 copyI’m a Whole Foods shopper.  This is so true of me that I drive 20 minutes to my Whole Foods.  Call me crazy or devoted.  Both might be true.  It’s no secret that I love food.  If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen food covering my feed…and my table.Whole Foods carries fresh unique food, amazing handmade meal choices, and they support local farms on top of it all, which is so important to me.  I don’t know another store who does that.

This year, Whole Foods Del Mar asked a group of bloggers to come sample their new Holiday Meal choices they will be offering for those who desire a homemade meal without putting in the work themselves.  I had no idea how amazing the food would be.  My friend Christina is one of the Chefs at the Del Mar Whole Foods store.  She loves our local farms as much as I do (a local farm is actually where we met!).  The food was fresh, traditional flavors with fun flavor twists, and didn’t have ANY junk in it.  If I didn’t love to make holiday meals, I’d be all over this food.  In fact, I often treat myself to a dish that the Whole Food‘s chefs make as a treat for completing yet another grocery store trip with 3 kiddos.  My choice is usually roasted brussel sprouts.  Mmm…so good.

Here is a summary of the menu items Whole Foods Del Mar is offering this holiday season:

(Check your local Whole Foods for similar options)

Diestel Farms herb roasted turkey with house made gravy

Suzie’s Farm acorn squash stuffed with turkey sausage stuffing

Farro Salad with pomegranate seeds, nuts, and an amazing vinaigrette

Delicata squash stuffed with yams and pecans (no added sugar or fat)

Roasted brussel sprouts with prosciutto

House-made cranberry sauce (served above with double cream brie cheese)

Drinks: Bon Affair Sauvignon Blanc or Syrah wine spritzer.  Great option for your healthy guest or anyone who desires a little wine but without the guilt.

Suja Organic Juices.  Add the juice to Bon Affair wine spritzer for a quick, light drink or add to regular champagne for an easy but flavorful mix!  Also, you can bookmark Suja for after the holidays when your body is ready to cleanse with juice and deliciousness.

Does that sound like your typical grocery store ready-made food?  I think not.  This food is like having a personal chef make it all for you and you simply place it in your shopping cart.

Now, there is no excuse but to invite some family and friends over this holiday season!

Who will you be inviting over?

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Local Love: Homemade Holiday Pies from Chinitas Pies!

chinitaspiesSan Diego Friends!!!
As seen on my Instagram
I am so excited that my friend Christina is offering homemade holiday pies.  She is an amazing chef/baker whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a local Suzie’s farm event a few years ago.  Christina made the most amazing strawberry rhubarb bars for the MIHO food truck and after I tried one, I knew we had to be friends.  Last weekend I got to sample her new creations at a “pie stop-by” she hosted at her cute house in Golden Hill.
Now, she’s offering homemade pies for YOUR holidays tables as well!  Get your order in now for Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas Dinner or New Years!  I’m placing an order myself because even though I like to bake, there are so many people around my house during the holidays, I KNOW I’ll need more.
Plus…HOMEMADE, people!  Can’t beat that!
Christina’s 2013 Holiday Pies:
(email her at chinitas.pies@gmail.com to order NOW)
Black Sesame Kabocha Pie (MY FAVE!!!)
Japanese pumpkin pastry cream over a black sesame graham crust, topped with whipped cream.
9″pie for 20
2″pie for 1.5
Hidden Rose Apple Galette with Pepita Crumble
Cinnamon spice apples inside an all butter pastry, topped with a pumpkin seed crumble.
9″ for 25
2″ for 2
Smaller 2″ hand pie shown above.
Some photos from Christina of the “hidden rose” apples used in the Apple Galettes and some mini Black Sesame Kabocha Pies amongst some other galettes:
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Which one looks the best to you?
Email her at chinitas.pies@gmail.com to order!!!

Minted Winner and My Final Card Choice!

MIN-X0M-HYC-001ACHRISTMAS_C_PDSo excited for my cards this year using this Holiday Floral choice with scalloped edges!  EEK!  Thanks so much for your help everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of $100 to spend at Minted!  DON’T FORGET to use their 15% off coupon expiring today or check back for other offers after today.  I’m off to order mine right now!

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My Christmas Cards with Minted!

MIN-6R6-HYC-001OCHRISTMAS_A_PD1. It’s a Wonderful Life

You guys, have you ordered your Christmas cards yet?  Yeah, me neither. I am getting really close to pressing the order button but I need your advice.  I totally can’t decide which style I like?!

I have been a customer of Minted for almost a year now.  I started with my business cards which you can see here on Ez’s blog Creature Comforts (2nd picture down).  In the summer, I used their party decorations which arrived in a sleek and lovely box to make this tea party for my daughter Faith. I truly love Minted as a regular person shopping for good products.  I feel so blessed to get to work with them as a blogger.  A dream.

So, when I was planning Christmas cards, I immediately thought about them.  I’ve designed my own the last few years but that Kinkos scene a few times in one week with 3 kids got old reaaaaallly fast.  I knew this year I wanted to just order them and have our nice mailman, Juan, deliver them with a smile.

My favorite features:

Scalloped edges. Are you kidding me?

Gold pressed foil. Yes.

Thick Recycled Paper.  Win for trees. Win for me.

Cards shaped as ornaments for long-term saving? Ideal.

So, which ones are your favorites?!  I REALLY need help deciding…

MIN-X0M-HYC-001ACHRISTMAS_C_PD2. Holiday Floral

MIN-X0U-HYC-003_A_PD3. Peace Botanical

MIN-IJ1-HFS-001_A_PD4. Joy

MIN-X29-HYC-001DHOLIDAY_A_PD5. Scalloped Cheer

MIN-WYQ-HYC-001MCHRISTMAS_B_PD6. Wreath

MIN-X3V-HYC-001NHOLIDAY_A_PD7. Modern Peace

MIN-IM0-HFS-001_A_PD8. Chevron Gold

Ok, so while you go check out my favorites…PICK SOME FOR YOURSELF because…

Minted is giving one of you guys $100 towards Christmas cards!!!  Are you kidding me?!

AMAZING!!!

Giveaway starts 11/20/13 at 7pm and ends 11/27/13 at 7pm (next Wednesday night!).  Winner announced PROMPTLY on 11/29/13 so you can order your Christmas cards IMMEDIATELY. ;)

The gift money will be good until 1/1/14.

Yay! Go enter NOW!!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

The opinions in this post about Minted are my own.  I was supplied Christmas cards in exchange for my opinion but we all know I would have ordered them anyway because Minted is awesome.

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Herbed Fennel and Leek Chicken Stock

 

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I posted a picture on Instagram this week about some stock I was making and apparently there was quite a bit of interest in what I put in it.  Like most of my food posts, there’s usually a story…

Homemade stock and I do NOT go way back.  Gasps here wouldn’t be inappropriate.  I had made plenty of stocks, yes, but when I was looking to make a soup at home, I had often purchased store-bought organic chicken or vegetable stock because it kept on the shelf and I could just grab and go.  No biggie, right?

WRONG!

It was my sister’s boyfriend, Erik, who first inspired me to never buy stock again.  Basically, Erik would ask to take home the carcasses from our turkey, chicken, or goose dinner (last years Christmas dinner!) so he could make stock.  It had never really occurred to me to make stock on a regular basis, but seeing his habit and process made my see the possibilities.  Now, time has past and he has made me wiser.  My freezer currently has 10 quarts of stock.  I make and use it pretty much every week with our leftover chicken bones, the ends of my onions I don’t need, herbs from the garden and anything else I have in my fridge that I can throw in the pot!  Stock has become my favorite things to make because it is so easy to throw together, it leaves an amazingly awesome scent in my kitchen, and I can drink it on it’s own.  Call me weird, but try drinking it yourself and we’ll see if you feel the same way.

If you like, remove the chicken bones for a straight up veggie stock.  The measurements below are only for those who need them.  The beauty of stock is that you can really use whatever you want.  As long as you have onion, garlic, salt & pepper, and some sort of herb, you can’t go wrong. The addition of leeks and fennel are just related to what the soup will become.  This stock could be the base of a soup or gravy and therefore need to be at the top of its game.  Try the stuff from the store and tell me if it doesn’t taste like the distant relative of water. Blech.  I learned my lesson.  Homemade stock is the only way for me. I’m just doing you a favor and converting you now so you don’t lose any time like I did!

Herbed Fennel and Leek Chicken Stock:

1 whole chicken carcass (sorry, there just isn’t really a better word!)

2 leeks, end and green tops removed and slice down the middle

1 large fennel bulb or 2 small

the ends and skins of several onions, maybe 5

1 head of garlic, broken into cloves

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1/4 cup of salt

3 sprigs of rosemary

2 sprigs of dill

2 sprigs of thyme

7 quarts of water or enough to fill up a 8 quart stock pot after all the ingredients are added

Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for at least 1 hour.  Although, I prefer at least an hour and a half so I can get the richest stock possible. Strain and you’re ready to go!

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