Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Whole Foods Recipe: Cabbage and Cheddar Gratin April 18, 2010

Filed under: easy,locavore,thrift,vegetables,vegetarian,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:16 am

cabbage casserole

Last night I baked up a recipe from the Whole Foods website for a cabbage and cheddar gratin.  Using Texas-grown cabbage (only 69¢ a pound at Central Market), Full Quiver Farm’s medium-sharp cheddar, Arrowhead Mills organic yellow cornmeal and Central Market organic Dijon mustard ($2.09 for the 9-ounce jar), plus a dash (about 1/3 teaspoon, actually) of homemade garam masala, I baked up this easy, hearty and tasty vegetarian dish.  Nearly vegetarian in my kitchen, anyways.  I used my homemade turkey broth instead of the vegetable broth called for.

For the herbs I snipped backyard sage, rosemary and thyme and just for funsies threw in a minced large basil leaf—’cause we’re growin’!  A scant teaspoon of salt (Real Salt) seasoned the lot just right.

We enjoyed this mustardy, filling main course and the preparation was simple.  I forgot to take a photo of the whole completed dish (sorry!) but you can get a gander on the link.  I did use a bigger baking pan than the recipe suggested.  I don’t know how they fit all that into an 8″ square dish.  I buttered up my 2.5-quart Le Creuset buffet casserole, over 10″ wide, and baked the gratin in the toaster oven.  For the initial baking, I put the lid on it, instead of using foil.  I raised the oven temperature to 400° for the last 15 uncovered minutes to promote browning.

Texas cabbage won’t be around much longer.  So get your hands on a head—it’s cheap!—and enjoy a cool afternoon of carefree baking.  You’ll be glad you did at dinnertime.


weekly specials December 18, 2009

Filed under: newflower market,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 2:09 pm

Newflower Market’s offering a great deal on all their bulk organic oatmeal:  rolled, quick or steel cut only 99¢ a pound!  (While supplies last.)  Throw your oats together with Wholesome Sweeteners organic light brown sugar at $1.99 for a 1½ pound bag, add organic butter and local pecans and you’re on your way to baking yummy holiday cookies.  Also on sale are Bob’s Red Mill 5# bags of organic flour:  all-purpose, whole wheat and whole wheat pastry varieties.  Lundberg Farms newest product, organic roasted brown rice couscous, is on special at $1.69 a box (plain, Mediterranean Curry, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil and Savory Herb).  Shady Maple Farms 1 quart organic maple syrup is still only $17.99 (grade A or B), and with bulk organic walnuts and almonds at $7.99 and $6.99 a pound respectively, you’ll be all set for the season’s sweetmakings.

Update!!!  Whole Foods is selling Organic Valley butter 1 pound packs for $4.99.  Bake those cookies!  WF also has Green & Black‘s delicious organic chocolate bars, assorted varieties, 2 for $5 and local Out to Lunch fresh salsa $2.50 a pint.


Whole Foods Coupons October 8, 2009

Filed under: coupons,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:08 am

Picked up the Whole Foods whole deal coupon newsletter recently (it’s available at the store).  Coupons I’ll be redeeming include: 75¢ OFF any Dagoba or Scharffenberger product, 75¢ OFF any Thai Kitchen product (I frequently use their fish sauce), $1 OFF any Green & Black’s product—I LOVE their 70% dark chocolate bar, $1 OFF any Organic Valley butter, $1 OFF any two Organic Valley cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, ricotta or whipped butter, 75¢ OFF Organic Valley whipping cream or ½-n-½, and possibly $2 OFF Spectrum organic olive oil.  Get more green for your green!


receipts, recipes and quick cocoa cake May 28, 2009

Filed under: cake,fast,microwave,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:07 pm

It probably goes without saying but ALWAYS check your receipt!  Maybe the baby won’t let you review it right away or–ideally–scrutinize as your order is rung up.  But don’t forget to get to your bill as soon as you are able to focus.  Besides overcharges on both sale and regular priced items, be aware of possible mistakes such as sales tax charged on non-taxable food products.  For example, cocoa powder and chocolate baking bars are NOT taxable in Texas.  And double check that any coupons you have tendered are properly credited.

I’m enjoying Dagoba organic cacao (cocoa) powder right now.  Dagoba’s organic chocolate products are Fair Trade Certified and the company practices what they call “Full Circle Sustainability.”  Sounds good and tastes delicious!  I buy it at Whole Foods for $6.99 for an 8 oz. canister but watch out!  The last two times I’ve purchased this they have charged sales tax on it.  If you buy some, please remember to double check that the store has corrected this mistake and hasn’t added that 58¢ to your total.

I don’t really cook in my microwave (although I’ve looked into it and continue to keep an open mind) but I certainly utilize it frequently.  Some folks have strong feelings about these appliances but I enjoy the convenience of course and it can use much less energy for a lot of kitchen tasks.  And it doesn’t heat up the house.  So when you get home with your tantalizingly fragrant Dagoba cocoa powder, you can make these funny and tasty cakes.

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cakes    makes enough mix for 4 cakes

  • 121 grams (1 cup) organic all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams (1 cup) organic granulated sugar
  • 41 grams (1/2 cup) organic natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together.  Now, for each large coffee mug put in 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dry mix.  Using a fork, thoroughly mix in 1 large egg (preferably local).  Next blend in 3 Tablespoons milk (your choice),  3 Tablespoons oil (preferably organic) and a little splash of vanilla extract.  Stir in 2 or 3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (dark, milk or white, or peanut butter chips!).  The chips are optional but they improve the texture of the cake and their sweetness is welcome in this otherwise not overly sweet batter.

Place your mug (one at a time please) in the microwave and nuke it on high for 3 minutes.  The batter will dramatically climb up, souffle-style, and threaten to topple.  Fear not.

Put your mug on the cooling rack for a moment while you round up your spatula or butter knife.  Loosen the cake’s sides with your chosen implement and tump out the cake into a bowl.  It’s hot!

Cuddle up your cake with a scoop of ice cream or a large dollop of whoop cream.  Was that quick?  Now make one for your kid.  Or your spouse.  If they’re old enough maybe they can even make their own while you relax and eat yours!


broccoli bonus May 17, 2009

Filed under: cake,thrift,vegetables,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:17 am
Tags: ,

yep. there's a carrot cake under those blossoms.

If you’re still buying broccoli at our farmers markets—cause you can—feel free to sneak some well trimmed shredded stems into your favorite carrot cake recipe.  It reminds me of the time in my college days when I saved up all my pickle juice to make pickle juice jello shots for a party.  Not in the interest of frugality, however.  Well a cold front just came through and it’s a wonderfully wet and cool May afternoon.  Local carrots continue to be available so I fired up the oven to bake a lower fat carrot cake.


Heat your oven to 350°.  Line a 13″ X 9″ pan with aluminum foil.  If you turn your pan upside down and drape and form your foil to the backside you can fit it neatly into the inside.  Grease the foil a bit however you prefer (spray, oil or butter).

  • 100 grams organic white whole wheat flour–about 1 cup minus 2 scant Tablespoons–(see “slow carrot cake”)
  • 203 grams organic all-purpose flour–about 1 2/3 cups–Unless a sale is going on, generally your bulk foods departments will be the best buy.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (preferably local or from your own hens)
  • 1 4-ounce jar of carrot baby food–I use Earth’s Best–Whole Foods printed coupons in their Whole Planet Foundation calendars for $1 off 10 jars (any flavor).  This is the best deal right now.  The calendars are technically sold out but you may find a stray one, as I did, loitering on some shelf in the store.  Snatch it up quick cause for $2 you get more than $20 in coupons for all sorts of products at WF.
  • 210 grams dark brown sugar (1 packed cup)–I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand, available at WF.
  • 1/2 cup (108 grams, usually easier for me to measure by volume) organic coconut oil, preferably extra virgin (unrefined).  I use a lot of this and WF sells their own brand in a large container that is usually the best buy.
  • 360 grams finely shredded carrots and finely shredded well peeled broccoli (about 3 cups); use at least 3/4 # untrimmed topless carrots
  • 1/2 cup medium fine chopped toasted Texas pecans (optional)
  • a little orange oil or zest, lemon oil or zest, and vanilla rum or extract (optional refinements)–see “slow carrot cake”

Whisk together your dry ingredients, through the salt.  With an electric mixer, whisk or egg beater (yeah that old-fashioned thing.  I love mine for small amounts of whoopin’ up), thoroughly combine your wet ingredients through the sugar.  Thoroughly beat in the oil.  Mix in the carrots then pour on the dry ingredients and top with the pecans.  Stir it all together quickly and gently til well combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake about 22-25 minutes until the center tests done with a wooden skewer.  Don’t overbake.  We don’t fuss with frosting unless we’re having an occasion.  No one will suspect the broccoli.  If your veggie haters are aware, they’ll put their scowl on as they wolf down piece after piece.  Not the same reaction I got with the jello shots, but I appreciate it just the same.


slow artichokes part 2 May 12, 2009

What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)?  Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half.  Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it.  I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker.  Three of these big un’s just fit.

First load up your cooker with:

  • ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
  • about 6 cups of water
  • some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag.  OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
  • a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag.  OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself.  Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
  • About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.

NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes.  Check for guidance.  Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves.  Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s easier than it looks.  If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke.  Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time.  Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up.  Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:

Put the slow cooker outside!

The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in?  Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours.  They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance.  Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic.  We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned.  And portable!