Tag Archives: trader

No Restaurant Challenge

This 4-day weekend {kids had a furlough day on Friday and Jay took it off} we decided to stick close to home and not make any major plans since the past few weekends have been beautifully busy. We also made an agreement not to eat out at all.

That’s a biggie.

We enjoy eating out a little on the weekends whether it be trying out a new restaurant or revisiting one of our old favorites.

So, I did a Trader Joe’s and Vons run and stocked up on fruits, veggies, meats, etc.

I do love to cook and bake, but with 12 meals over the long weekend, that means a lot of messes and a LOT of dishes!

BUT, we did save a lot of money and enjoyed later, leisurely dinners as a result.

Tonight we tried a recipe that Jay spotted in the June issue of Sunset magazine ~ STEAK a la PLANCHA.

I’d never had chimichurri, but have always wanted to try it. I found a beautiful tri tip and Jay got that marinating yesterday overnight for grilling this evening.


1 bison or beef tri-tip 1.5″-1.75″ thick and about 2 pounds, trimmed of fat {we stuck with beef}

3/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tbsp. freshly cracked pepper

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Combine tri-tip with oil and seasonings in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Chill about 24 hours.

2. Take bag from refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking. Meanwhile, set a cast-iron griddle or large cast-iron skillet on a grill and heat grill to high {450*to 550*}. Jay just used our Weber charcoal grill.

3. Lay tri-tip on hot griddle. Cover grill and cook, turning once or twice, until meat is deep brown and an instant-read thermometer reaches 130*{medium-rare; don’t overcook}, 15-20 minutes total.

4. Transfer tri-tip to a board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve with chimichurri.


In a food processor, pulse 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup packed parsley sprigs {I used Italian/flat leaf parsley}, 7 garlic cloves {I used about 12-14}, 1/3 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves, 2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 1/2 tsp. each red chile flakes and sea salt to coarsely chop. While pulsing, pour in 2/3 cup EVOO. Let sauce rest at least 1 hour; or chill up to 3 days, then bring to room temp.


This meal was perfection. The spicy, fresh flavor of the sauce is so different. I loved the extra garlic!!

We’ll be enjoying the rest as leftovers and lunches this week and will definitely be making this again ~ possibly with flank steak next time.


I can’t get enough sweet white corn at this time of year.

While I was choosing my ears of corn, a nice little older woman told me to look for smaller kernels that are in a straight line for your best corn experience. Just pull down the husk and check it out in the store…I suggest leaving the husks on if you’re going to grill. Be sure and soak them in water first and grill for 15 minutes, turning along the way ~ that’s it! Oh, and mark my words, you’re going to want to drizzle a little chimichurri sauce on your corn. Yup.

I call this the K.I.S.S. salad. Keep It Simple Salad. I am always trying to add so many ingredients into our salads that sometimes I get stressed out and we may not even have a salad! This was a sample at Trader Joe’s…sweet butter lettuce, halved grape tomatoes and their Hummus dressing. That’s it. The hummus dressing is amazing and can be found in the produce section with all the other refrigerated dressings. {Elliott even liked it!}

Part of our big grocery shopping trip was a HUGE container of strawberries. I cut several up, added just a little sugar and let them macerate overnight, made biscuits {just good ol Bisquick} and had rustic strawberry shortcakes for dessert tonight, too!

Talk about summer on a plate…


We may have not gone out of town this weekend, but we ate GOOD!

Eating IN certainly does have it’s benefits ~ it’s a lot less expensive and you can control what you put into your food and how much you eat.

We’re going to try to keep this up until Father’s Day ~ Sunday, June 16th.


Tomorrow we’re meeting some friends at the park and then having a little Memorial Day get together on our block. Not sure what dish I’m bringing yet, but I am going to throw together some red, white & blue sangria ~ 2 bottles Chardonnay, 1-liter Fresca {or ginger ale or lemon lime soda}, 1/2 cup triple sec, strawberries, white peaches or nectarines {if available} and blueberries.

I hope you all have a blessed day and remember our {fAllEn HeRoEs} as you celebrate with friends and family.

Smooth Sailing

Hi friends!

Happy Humpday.

Hope your week has been smooth so far. Mine has been drama-free thus far and I have been able to get up to the gym the last couple nights which was always good for me and seems to make life smoother.

Last week I {invented} a little breakfast smoothie with one of my new finds via Instagram. A friend posted some {Cookie Butter} from Trader Joe’s during Lent and I immediately fetched a jar to enjoy on/after Easter! It is fabulous alone on a spoon, on bagels, Ezekiel toast and graham crackers, but I thought I’d incorporate it into a smoothie in place of peanut butter and see what happened!

{Cookies & Cream} and Banana Smoothie

You will need: 2 cups crushed ice, 1/2 cup almond coconut milk, 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt, 1 banana, 1 tbsp ground flax {flax meal} and 1 tbsp. TJ’s cookie butter

Place all into a blender and blend ’til smooth!

Pour into a glass, add a straw and enjoy!


And speaking of {sailing}, we plan to take a quick little trip to the beach this weekend.

Last time we went to the beach {in January!} Jay captured some cute pics of the kids just frolicking in the sand…this time I wanted to plan a little better with their wardrobes and hair and have a little Nautical inspired photo shoot at the shore.

I had originally picked up the anchor tee for a gift for a little girl….when the guy rang it up, it came up as boy’s. I thought it’d be cute on Holden so I set out to find something complementary for Elliott and stumbled upon this little striped number with the big bow on the shoulder. Both of them will wear rolled up jeans and bare feet ~ I think it’ll be perfect for some fun photos to get us excited for summer.


Make the most of the rest of your week…Saturday and Sunday will be here before you know it!


The Memo

Hmmm, apparently Summer didn’t receive the memo that we’ve moved into Fall.

It was over 100* here again today and it’s not supposed to cool down anytime soon as far as the little weather widget on our computer is concerned.

I was SO ready for Fall.

Earlier this week I was inspired to make a chicken pot pie. Couldn’t stop thinking about it…I’ve never made one so I was excited to give it a shot.

I wanted to use fresh veggies and the tail end of a bag of peas at the bottom of my freezer. I just sauteed some sliced baby carrots, diced onion, halved haricot verts {thin green beans}, and some fresh thyme in a little butter, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. I then added a little chicken stock and cooked that off for another couple minutes and added the frozen peas at the last minute to help them keep their bright green color. I then cheated and used a can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup and added that to the veggies.

In the meantime, I baked off some chicken tenderloins that I had defrosted and drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. {350 for about 3o minutes}. Chopped them up and added them to the veggie mixture.

For the crust, I purchased 2 pre-made frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s and defrosted them at room temperature for about an hour. I used my old trusty dusty 9X9 Corningware and put one crust down on the bottom and fit it to the corners of the dish. I then dumped all the chicken/veggie mixture on top of that and then laid the other crust on top and tried to crimp the edges as pretty as possible {it looked a little more rustic than I wanted it to}. I cut a few slits in the top to let out the steam.

Bake at 425* for about 35 minutes until crust is golden brown and inside is bubbling.

I must say I was a little nervous about how this was going to turn out. But let me just say that it was D-E-L-I-S-H. The crust was super flaky and done to perfection. I cannot wait to make it again. Next time I think I’ll add some fresh mushrooms, use cream of potato soup and a little white wine instead of the chicken stock. Yum!

So, take that Summer.

We’re going to enjoy some comfort food despite your lingering temperatures.

I HIGHLY suggest whipping one of these up. You could certainly use a rotisserie chicken and some frozen veggies to speed up the prep time and enjoy it quicker. Would also be great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!

So glad to have a new favorite to add to our Fall menu favorites.


Here’s to a comfy, cozy weekend no matter what type of weather you’re experiencing!

Tuesday Tidbit

New Trader Joe’s discovery thanks to my friend, Janet!

Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant & Garlic….it’s great on all sorts of sandwiches, especially turkey and avocado! I have started using it in place of mayo. I love mayo on my sammies and prefer to use the full fat stuff rather than the light, but this new “wonder condiment” totally gives the old white goo favorite a run for it’s money.

According to TJ’s it’s a “seasonal” item, so if you try it and LOVE it like me, then be sure and grab an extra jar or two for when they don’t carry it. You will miss it on your ‘wiches once you introduce yourself to it!

Here’s the breakdown per Tablespoon:
Mayo 100 cal, 11 g fat
Spread 15 cal, 0.5 g fat

I’ll save the mayo calories for my tuna or egg salad!