Good morning

Good morning sunshines. Who has already started their day? I'm having coffee and trying to muster my energy for Thanksgiving shopping and housework!

Good morning sunshines. Who has already started their day? I’m having coffee and trying to muster my energy for Thanksgiving shopping and housework!

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Weekend Cooking Plan Nov. 21

Weekend Cooking Plan Nov. 21

Weekend Cooking Plan Nov. 21 could also be called “heat and eat.” We’re in the third week of a virus. Our appetites are coming back but not my energy.

This weekend’s menu plan could also be called “heat and eat.” I don’t have energy to do a lot of cooking. I haven’t even started  getting ready for Thanksgiving.

What energy I do have, I’ve got to use for baking projects, which are piling up.

I’ve got a pie to bake for Wednesday for the middle jazz band booster club bake sale.

I was supposed to bake and post about a new product two weeks ago.

I’ve got to get 3 dozen cookies baked and shipped for the annual food blogger cookie swap.

Whew.

Thus the plan to heat and eat.

What’s everyone else cooking this weekend? Would someone please tell me they’ve gotten all kinds of dishes already prepared for Thanksgiving? I haven’t even bought my turkey yet! I’ve never gotten this close to the day without already having a turkey.

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Your Shaw’s Stock up List

Here's what you can stock up on at Shaw's Supermarket to save money.

Here’s what you can stock up on at Shaw’s Supermarket to save money.

Here is my Shaw’s Stock Up List for the sale starting tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 21:

Saving money on groceries helps you have money for other things, which is why I like to spend as little as possible.

Here’s what I plan to buy:

College Inn Broth, 14.5 oz – $0.60

Domino Granulated Sugar, 4 lb – $1.99

Gold Medal All Purpose Flour, 5 lb – $1.99

Tropicana Orange Juice, 59 oz – $1.99 (Friday through Sunday)

Land O Lakes Butter, 16 oz – $2.99 (this isn’t a great price but butter is skyrocketing)

Potatoes, Sweet, per lb – $0.50

Apples, per lb – $1.29

Pineapples 2 for $5

Fresh Express Salad Blends, 5 – 11 oz pkg – $1.77

Tomato pints- $1.77 3 Day Sale, Friday Nov 21 through Sunday, Nov 23

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Do This One Thing to Dramatically Improve Your Meals

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay anymore but I receive a small portion of the sale, which helps keep the lights on here.)

Do this one thing to dramatically improve your meals: use spices.

Use spices liberally and with love.

Keep them fresh.

Don’t be afraid to mix and mingle them.

Spices make meal time a joy. They create little explosions of flavor in your mouth. The right combination of spices can dress up a .99 cents a pound roasting chicken like nobody’s business.

Spices can transport the whole table to the Southwest, the Far East and everywhere in between.

Spices also save you money because they make eating bean and vegetable-based dishes more satisfying.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a spice I didn’t like, except for curry. Curry and I don’t hitch horses. But that’s okay. I have so many other spices to enjoy.

Here are my 7 Favorite Spices and Dishes to Put Them In:

Garlic Powder: garlic lime chicken, turkey rub
Ground white pepper: mashed potatoes, marinades
Onion Powder: voodoo chicken
Chili Powder: Best Ever Spicy Beef Chili
Cumin: Kid-Approved Quinoa Chili, Sensational Southwestern Marinade
Cayenne powder: Best Rib Rub, Best Ever Spicy Beef Chili
Smoked Paprika: (sweet or hot) Best Rib Rub, Best Ever Spicy Beef Chili

But, spices are amazingly versatile. They can go in sweets, of course, and drinks.

Have you ever had a Mexican hot chocolate? Here’s a recipe for brownie version, Chocolate & Chile de Arbol brownies from Food52.
 


De Arbol Chile (Whole) – $6.00

from: Food52

There’s a variety of chile powder, called Ancho Chile Powder, which is especially good for Southwestern dishes, like my Southwestern Quinoa Salad. I always have to order Ancho Chile Powder because it cannot be found in my little corner of rural, coastal Maine. Believe me, I’ve looked everywhere.


Ancho Chile (Ground) – $7.00

This chile powder is probably richer and darker than any you’ve seen, but don’t be intimidated — it’ll add a new level of depth to marinades, sauces, and chili. Made in: Mexico. Size: 2.2 ounces.

Star Anise Spice can be used in baked goods or soup but my very favorite use for it is in an Ayurvedic tea. I learned to make this recipe from my yoga teacher’s former best friend. It wasn’t my business to ask what happened. All I know is that they had a seemingly beautiful, supportive friendship and then it was over. But I digress. This is what I drink many winter mornings. The heat and spice melt away the pervasive chill that is a Maine winter.


Star Anise Spice (Whole Hand-Select) – $10.00

from: Food52

Here’s what you do: in a pot or if you’re at work, a Thermos sprinkle a few crushed cardamom pods, 2 whole cloves, a star anise pod or a bit of crushed star anise, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a cinnamon stick or two. Cover with three cups of very hot water and let steep. Drink up. I’m in the newsroom for a good chunk of the day unless I have interviews to do. But frequently, I’ll have to go shoot a house fire or a car accident in the cold and snow. It’s so nice to have a pot of that Star Anise tea waiting for me in the newsroom.

Your turn, tell me what your favorite spice is and how you like to use it.

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Postcards from Maine: Sunflower

Sunflower, Blue Hill, August

Sunflower, Blue Hill, August

 

Sunflowers are my husband’s thing. He loves them. I don’t. But I like rows of them in our front yard as a cheap privacy hedge against all the summer traffic that passes by on our busy road. And now that it is November, nearly December, in Maine, the land of unforgiving winter, I like to look back at this sunflower he grew. Summer will come, it will.

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