Monday, February 28, 2011

Staring down frostbite...


As you can see in this picture snapped behind the market Saturday, it was a wicked cold weekend in Palouse. But, The Grocer and I stared down frostbite and headed out on an afternoon field trip straight to the heart of an even winter-ier locale (hint: there were people actually ice-fishing...wow). Pics and post to come. 

-The Grocer's Wife

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quick dinner to warm you up...


We've been in the midst of an excruciatingly cold and snowy stretch of weather here in Palouse and the surrounding area, with nighttime lows in the single digits (below zero in some areas)...brrr. So, in the midst of all this bone-chilling cold, here's my take on a quick and easy chili to warm you up.

Ingredients:
  1. 3 T olive oil
  2. 1 onion chopped fine
  3. 1 rounded tsp crushed garlic
  4. 3 T chili powder
  5. 1 4 oz can chopped jalapenos (for a little extra heat)
  6. 1 can kidney beans
  7. 1 can black beans
  8. 1 can Great Northern beans
  9. 1 large can or jar spaghetti sauce 
    *meat is optional (add any cooked chicken breast, cooked ground beef, cooked shredded beef - whatever you like - or keep it vegetarian)

    Directions:
    • Drain and rinse all beans. Set aside.
    • In a heavy pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes.
    • Add all of the beans, spaghetti sauce, jalapenos, chili powder, and the meat (if you choose to).
    • Stir well. Cover, and heat through. Once it's piping hot, it's done. (If it's ready before you are, reduce heat and let it simmer.)

    Serve with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips:


    With a side of cornbread (this is a Marie Callender's mix - all you add is water):


    Or, grab a spoon and eat it straight out of the pot (this, however, should not be captured in pictures). 

    Happy Weekend (and stay warm)!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Cabin fever...


    Oh man, I've been suffering from an acute case these days. 

    It's just such a tease outside. Some days, it looks like it's mild. It beckons you to “come out and play." And you get sucked in. You do it. Like someone who hasn't grown up in the Northwest and doesn't know better...against your sound judgment, you head outside. And then you remember - it hits you square between the eyes! 

    Holy Abominable Snowman, it is NOT spring! It is still collllllllld!

    That was pretty much the scene that played out for The Grocer and me last weekend. 

    I convinced him to come with me to Steptoe Butte State Park, about a 40 minute jaunt from Palouse, in hopes of finding some lovely photo inspiration.

    Standing a touch over 3,600 feet tall, Steptoe Butte offers stunning views of the surrounding area. And, get this...you drive to the top. No need to even break a sweat. The downside, however, is that because you're in the heated warmth of your vehicle, you forget that it's not quite the same conditions on top of the butte as it is down at the base.

    So, oblivious to what awaited us, we drove. 

    We rounded the final corner.

    We parked the car.

    We flung the doors open.

    And, we gasped!!! In unison.....we GASPED! 

    The wind whipped through our hair and stung our eyes...it battered our pant legs like kites and left our ungloved hands recoiled. (I admit, there may be a little literary dramatization at play here. But, there's no denying, it was COLD.)

    All in all, we lasted about 15 minutes on the butte. And, most of that was in and out of the car in short spurts.

    I did nab a few photos:





     It really is incredibly lovely there. And, we'll go back again...maybe in a month or two:)

    -The Grocer's Wife

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Presidents' Day...

    the Washington Monument



    inside the Lincoln Memorial

    In 2009, The Grocer and I had the great pleasure of visiting our nation's capital. To describe it as awe-inspiring is a huge understatement. There are no words to capture what I felt there; I just kept thinking how truly proud I was to be an American.

    Happy Presidents' Day.
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Wild winter skies...


    It's that time of year on The Palouse when one day the sun is out and you'd swear it was spring; the next day, it's frigid again. It's the in-between of late winter/early spring when you never know if you'll need your sunglasses, your down jacket...or both.

    Typically, it's the rolling farmland that creates the 'movement' on The Palouse landscape; but, last week, it was all about the wild winter skies. The clouds were low and dense and it almost looked as if you could reach right out and touch them.





    Made taking the road less-traveled mighty enticing. 

    Happy (long) Weekend!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    A recipe from The Grocer's mom...Confetti Brownies

    circa 1971 - the lil' grocer and his mom
    From time to time, I'd thought I'd share a recipe from The Grocer's mom. 
    Confetti Brownies are still one of The Grocer's favorites.

    NO-BAKE CONFETTI BROWNIES
    1. 1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
    2. 2 cups mini rainbow marshmallows (you can use plain, but they're not as festive)
    3. 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (38 squares or 19 whole crackers smashed to bits) 
    4. 1 cup powdered sugar 
    5. 12 oz pkg chocolate chips
    6. 1 cup evaporated milk
    7. 1/2 tsp vanilla or peppermint flavoring
    Directions: 
    • Mix ingredients 1-4.
    • Over low heat, melt chocolate chips in the evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. 
    • Remove from heat. Add vanilla or peppermint flavoring. Reserve 1/2 cup to drizzle over the top of the brownies. 
    • Add the rest of the chocolate mixture to the crumb mixture (1-4). Stir well and pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan (if you line with waxed paper, you can lift the whole thing out). 
    • Press firmly.
    • Drizzle the 1/2 cup reserved chocolate mixture over the top and chill until firm. 
    • Yields 9 - 2 1/2 inch squares. (Keep refrigerated.)
      
    The beauty of no-bakes - that's it! Enjoy!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Manic Monday?...

    If the Monday/holiday combo finds you a bit keyed up, I have an antidote courtesy of a few 'quick takes' near Kamiak Butte (click on any of the photos below to enlarge):






    Works for me every time. I pretty much just drive a few miles out of town, pull over, and stare:)

    Happy Valentine's Day!
    -The Grocer's Wife 

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Sometimes, you gotta take the stairs...

    the footbridge in town

    Do you ever have trouble sleeping?

    I do. Often.

    I struggle with what I not-so-lovingly refer to as 'insomnia jags' (I don't think I'm quite using jag correctly, but it has a ring to it, no?).

    It happens if I'm starting something new; if I'm worrying incessantly about someone or something (can I get an 'amen' from all my fellow moms out there); or, sometimes it happens for no apparent reason whatsoever.

    I know the culprit of this particular sleeplessness: it's the 'starting something new' (as in this blog and, as of Wednesday, a Facebook Page for the market—yay!) and the subsequent worrying incessantly that follows.

    In my mind, it plays something like this:

    “I don't know what I'm doing.”
    “Who am I kidding?”
    “How will I figure it out?”

    Repeat that 500 times (faster....faster)...yep, that's what it's like.

    New things are scary. Being out of your element is intimidating. And the last month has found me knee-deep in both. Even though I'm loving this blog format, it's definitely a whole new world for me.

    So, Wednesday night as I lay awake, my thoughts kept wandering to the footbridge in town (see pic above). It's lovely. It runs behind the market and takes you across the river, and it looks like something out of a child's storybook.

    I kept thinking how standing in the middle of a footbridge feels a lot like life.

    So often, you find yourself in a place where you must decide: Do I go 'this way' or 'that way'...'forward' or 'back'? One direction takes you back to what you know - in the case of our footbridge, that's Main Street in town. 

    back to Main Street

    The other way takes you forward - up a staircase whose top you can't quite see over yet.

    the staircase

    Does it sound familiar to you, too?

    Standing on a footbridge and trying to decide which way to go.

    So, in the case of this blog and the new Facebook Page, I'm going to pick 'the staircase'. I can't quite see over the top just yet...but, the sunlight's beginning to peek through.

    Happy Weekend!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Sneak peek - THEY'RE HERE...

    Holiday floral deliveries at the market are FUN! The boxes arrive, and you can't wait to break them open to see what's inside:





    There are lots more! Roses, arrangements, bouquets...oh my. Come by and take a peek. Even if you don't need any flowers, it's still fun to look. Reminds you that spring is on the way!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Five ideas for your valentine that won't cost a thing...


    Remember Shrinky Dinks? 
    The Grocer made me this one eons ago when we first met:)


    1. A PICTURE'S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: Take a walk down memory lane - peruse your old photo albums, iPhoto library, or that plastic bag in the corner (with the prints still in the envelopes). Find one that reminds you of a special moment you and your valentine shared. Photocopy or scan and print it, add a note, and leave it somewhere for your valentine to find. 
    2. USE THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE: Another 'peruse' - this time your music library - MP3 files, CDs, or if you're as old as The Grocer and me...cassette tapes (gasp!). Find a song from your past that triggers a smile, pull your valentine close, and play it for him/her.
    3. TAKE YOUR BABY BY THE HAND: Grab your valentine, bundle up, and head out for a stroll. Hold hands. Talk. Laugh. Remember.
    4. THE WAY TO A MAN (OR WOMAN'S) HEART: Breakfast in bed - even if you're not a cook, warm up a pastry and nuzzle it up to a hot cup of coffee. Ahhh, nice. 
    5. REPETITION IS A GOOD THING: Say "I love you"...honestly, don't you love hearing it? Never gets old.

    Crazy thing is...oftentimes, it's the 'Shrinky Dink heart' that ends up being the favorite.
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    If we didn't have the ticket stubs to prove it...

    1998 street caricatures - The Grocer and me

    I'm not sure what happened by the time I came around in my family; but, somehow, when the athletic prowess was divvied up, none was left for me.

    Both my brothers and my sister were naturally gifted athletically.

    I, on the other hand, was the painfully shy girl with blue glasses, always picked last in PE, cowering in the outfield and praying to anyone or anything who might be listening: "PLEASE don't let the ball come to me. PLEASE don't let the ball come to me. PLEASE don't let the ball come to me."

    Fast forward to today - I'm still not a big sports fan.

    As for The Grocer, well, I blame it on his line of work.

    You see, working in grocery, you rarely, if ever, have weekends or holidays off. When everyone else is enjoying The Big Game, grocers are where they are most of the time - at the store.

    Now, this isn't a plea for sympathy. But, one consequence of such a lifestyle is that you must revel in sports vicariously through others. Getting fixated on games that you're rarely going to be able to watch isn't practical. And, The Grocer is VERY practical.

    So, anyway, once the two of us got together --- the painfully-shy-non-athletic-girl and the destined-to-be-lifelong-grocer --- well, we just never watched much football.

    That's where we found ourselves in 1998 when (through a stroke of luck that should never befall non-sports fans) The Grocer came home to announce that he'd won an all-expense-paid trip for two to Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, California!

    "Who's playing," I inquired.

    "I don't know," he admitted.

    But, before we knew what hit us, we were whisked away by limousine at the airport and dropped off at a luxury hotel on the sands of Laguna Beach. If we didn't have the ticket stubs to prove it happened, to this day I'd question whether we were dreaming. It was indescribable.

    We ate decadent delights from the most elaborately presented cuisine imaginable. We stayed in hotel accommodations whose taxes were more than we were used to paying for rooms. And, we watched the Denver Broncos defeat the Green Bay Packers 31-24.

    proof positive

    Now, some 13 years later, where will The Grocer be this Super Bowl Sunday? --- In the market, of course. And, until yesterday, neither one of us knew who was playing.

    Wishing you a Happy Super Bowl!
    -The Grocer's Wife


    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    What's a party without the food?...

    The Big Game weekend is fast approaching, and if you're in need of some sustenance while you root for your favorite team, come by the market. 

    We've got the usual suspects: chips, nuts, sandwich fixins, and a bevy of beverages, but The Grocer also brought in a couple of party trays just for this weekend. 

    football nacho tray--mm mm

    football veggie tray--on the lighter side

    And, we always have an array of pizza options, both frozen, and our ever popular take-n-bake pizzas, made fresh here at the market.

    our very own take-n-bake pizzas

    In honor of the BIg Game, click on the coupon below to print and save $3.00 off a large take-n-bake. 
    Happy Eating!
    -The Grocer's Wife

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Sunset on The Palouse...


    My timing isn't great so It rarely happens, but I love it when I catch a sunset on The Palouse. I was treated to this dandy a few nights ago on my drive home.


    Sunsets in this area have a quality that reminds me of looking out into the ocean...it's as if you can see into forever.

    By the way, the word is in --- the groundhog is calling for an early spring!
    Happy Groundhog Day!
    -The Grocer's Wife