Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Whole Foods Tour

Yesterday I went to my local Whole Foods Market to participate in their Value Tour. I was the only customer who showed up for it, which was unfortunate, as it was filled with great info on how to shop the store on a budget. Now I don't usually shop at Whole Foods. I go every now and then to pick up some special ingredient or product that I need, such as saffron, or those delicious Annie Chun's potstickers, or an organic hair care product. Walking through those aisles I am always in foodie heaven! Love love the quality of their fresh produce, seafood, meat and the variety of their products. (I saw fresh tamarind there yesterday...sweet!)

Being on one income as a SAHM means we follow a strict budget (or try to anyway), so for me searching for the lowest prices and couponing and shopping sales is routine. So I have to admit when I saw the flier advertising the Value Tour I was skeptical. Whole Foods on a budget? Hmmm.... But I decided to give it a go, and boy was I happy I did.

The super nice Whole Foods guy - Jonny - took me on a half hour or so walk through our Coral Springs, FL store. What I learnt is that Whole Foods is the coolest grocery just because of the "extras". 99 cent sausage on Wednesdays featuring a new sausage flavor, made in store. At the seafood counter, they can season and bake your seafood for you, so you can enjoy it at the cafe if you wish. Build your own 6 pack of beer (great gift for Father's Day!) using recycled beer packs. The staff in the fresh produce section walk around with small knives so you can ask for a taste or check fruit for ripeness.

They have so many discounts and savings promos it was shocking. Weekly specials, coupon booklets, online coupons, BOGO products, 10% case discounts, 10% discount on 6 bottles of vino, "Happy Hour" at the prepared food deli, 10 cents off your bill per reusable tote, and so much more. Needless to say I was impressed. I would never have thought Whole Foods offered so many ways to save.

Whole Foods is known for its commitment to the environment and communities, and offering organic and natural products as much as possible. Jonny explained the ANDI rating system score - Aggregate Nutrition Density Index, which analyzes the nutrients in a food product on a scale up to 1000. They have hanging posters that show the ANDI score of particular items, for example, kale has a score of 1000, while potato chips are around 11. There is the Health Starts Here program, Animal Welfare Standards, donating to environmental organizations, offering sustainable seafood, and so much more. I also liked that in the produce section, the signs below each fruit show the state and farm that they come from. Jonny said they try to source as locally as possible, showing me fruit from a farm in Homestead (near Miami). And don't forget they are the place to go for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and for other special dietary needs.

I am definitely going to try to work Whole Foods into my Saturday shopping, using their sales and coupons to look for deals on such high quality fresh food. Happy shopping everyone!

For more info on Whole Foods and where its food comes from, visit their blog at Whole Story blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summertime is for Cherries!

Whole Foods is holding a Kid-Friendly Cherry Recipe Contest, and I am so excited to enter because sweet red cherries are one of my favorite fruits! The challenge was to use cherries in a delicious way, and of course kids must love it too! The recipe could only have 7 ingredients or less (not counting salt, pepper or olive oil), and must include 2 other types of fresh fruits and/or veggies. Below is my entry, an easy to make taco that's perfect for kids and summertime!


4 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided use

3 farm-raised tilapia filets, cut in half lengthwise

8 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided use

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup organic unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes

1 lb fresh, red sweet cherries, pitted and quartered

3 tbsp sugar

3 cups coleslaw mix

6 yellow corn taco shells

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil onto baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, 4 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper. Dip tilapia halves into mixture, then coat with coconut flakes. Place tilapia on baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork, about 13 minutes.

2. In a medium pot, combine cherries, remaining lemon juice, sugar and ½ cup water. Cook over medium-high heat. When sauce begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Pour cherry lemon sauce into coleslaw mix and mix well.

4. Fill each taco shell with the tilapia and then some cherry lemon slaw. Makes 6 tacos.

Cook's Notes: You can find the prepared fresh coleslaw mix in the produce section of Whole Foods, and the coconut flakes in the baking aisle.

Check out the Whole Story Blog for cool background info on the food at Whole Foods, as well as sales, recipes and events.

Now I'm off to eat more cherries! :)

Trini Corn Soup

Photo courtesy of

We had barely returned from our trip to Jamaica, when we decided to make a trip to Trinidad. This time it would be myself and Bugs alone, since hubby had to get back to work. We were having a family event, and now Bugs would finally get to meet the rest of his fam on his Mommy's side. Now I was a bit worried about travelling with a super active toddler by myself, but guess what, it went pretty well. He once again slept through almost the whole flight, much to the relief of the other passengers.

Triniland was fun; I hadn't been home in over 2 years, and seeing all of my extended fam and dear friends was great. Of course the next best part of going home is the food lol. Roti, doubles, corn soup, callaloo, bake and shark, pelau, Royal Castle chicken and chips, and the list of deliciousness goes on and on. When I got back to SoFL I immediately decided to make a pot of corn soup, and I used the recipe from, a site that's quickly becoming one of my favorites. The soup came out perfect, so feel free to try this recipe on your own as well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blueberry Wontons

We all know that blueberries and cream cheese go well together, so I decided to take this combo to another level. Blueberries + cream cheese + mascarpone cheese, all wrapped up in a wonton wrap, fried until hot and melty and delicious, and then served with a blueberry lemon sauce. These are easy to make, fun to eat, and make a fantastic dessert!


For the sauce:
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water, divided use
6 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the wontons:
4 oz whipped cream cheese
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
8 egg roll wraps
canola or vegetable oil, for frying

1. Mix cornstarch in 2/3 cup water until dissolved. Pour into small pot, and add brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until mixture thickens. Add blueberries and 1/3 cup more water, and let cook until boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, and let cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, combine whipped cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and confectioners sugar and mix. Fold blueberries into mixture gently.
3. Lay egg roll wrap diagonally on a plate, and place some filling in the center. Fold bottom corner over filling. Fold in both sides snugly against filling. Moisten edges of last flap. Roll wrap up and seal top corner. (See pictures below)
4. In a large pot, pour oil to about 2-3 inches. Heat over medium-high heat. Using a large spoon, gently place wontons into oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden, turning occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
5. Serve wontons with blueberry lemon sauce. Let cool slightly before enjoying. Makes 8 wontons.

For more info on blueberries and delicious recipes, visit the Blueberry Council.

Also check out their Facebook page to connect with other blueberry fans!