I Heart Simplicity

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I've been having one of those crazy, busy, stressful weeks -- the kind that make Friday seem like it will never get here.  The type that make me excited about coming home to make butternut squash soup, not because I'm in the mood to cook-- but so I can have a swig from the brandy bottle...

As I was walking home from the train station, I remembered we were almost out of milk.  I nearly passed our lovely gourmet grocer, telling myself we had a few boxes of "little milks" that could get us through to the weekend, but then I remembered how just walking into the store calms me.  So, I went in, grabbed a basket (instead of a cart so I wouldn't go overboard) and walked the aisles.  I always like to pick up one or two items I've never tried before, and tonight I hit the jackpot!

See if you can find them near you...I would love to hear if you'll be using them or not, or maybe you're way ahead of me and have already given them a try!

Simply Heinz:  Favorite tomato ketchup, but with no High Fructose Corn Syrup!  I have been trying to cut out corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup from my diet since before Thanksgiving, and the one thing I wouldn't give up was Heinz ketchup. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh and it is a sacrilege to use any kind other than Heinz.  So, I was thrilled when a friend pulled it out of her fridge on Superbowl Sunday.  It tastes terrific -- sugar replaces the syrup, and I can finally stop feeling guilty. Awesome!

Pomi Chopped Tomatoes: "No preservatives, colouring agents or GMOs (genetically modified organisms), only one ingredient: fresh sun ripened tomatoes chopped in delicious chunks and packed in the area of production bringing directly to the table an incomparable taste."  Also available: strained tomatoes and marinara sauce. I like not having to worry about BPA (Bisphenol A) and hate the "tinny" taste that canned tomatoes sometimes have. These really are the next best thing to fresh tomatoes--bright, great flavor.  They will get me through the rest of the winter until I can have some local Jersey Fresh tomatoes at my disposal.

Haddon House Tomolives: Pickled Green Tomatoes...need I say more?  They are tangy and briny and almost remind me of sour grapes.  I tossed a handful in a salad and ate another handful right out of the jar.  And, they wouldn't be terrible as a cocktail garnish either...martini, anyone?

And, finally, the coup de grace:

Philadelphia Cooking Creme: Spoonable cream cheese. It was available in original and Italian Cheese & Herb, and the instant I saw it, I thought "Stuffed Shells!" My secret to the fluffy, creamy filling in my lasagna rolls and stuffed shells is adding cream cheese and fresh herbs or flavored cheese spread to my ricotta...now it will be even easier and I can just imagine how great a dollop of this on top right before serving could take it to a whole new level of rich and creaminess.  Yes, this is the one item that has more than five ingredients listed, but come on...you have to love something this smart!

Anyway, I did remember the milk, and the squash soup came out lovely.  But, we are now out of brandy...back to the store!