New Finds and Old Favorites

I went shopping in Omaha last weekend, and really just spent way too much money.  The Engineer was working on getting a wort hog taxidermy mount sown up…..TRUE LIFE STORY, so I took his truck and drove into the big city for some shopping.  It’s probably a big relationship step when you get to leave town and drive into Omaha with your boyfriend’s truck!!

I’ve occasionally taken the truck around town at home, and usually end up driving it to the gym on weekends because it blocks my car in the garage.  This was the first time I’ve taken it out of town, down the highway, jumped on the interstate, driven in congested traffic, and had to park it in relatively crowded parking lots.  I also had to navigate a sudden lane merging around a burning semi truck that did actually cause a couple accidents around me when cars didn’t stop quick enough!  Turns out the smoldering semi trailer was full of hot dogs.  Would have been so delicious to stop and grab a snack had I known what it was at the time!

Rest assured, I didn’t hit anything!  I really only vaguely know where I’m going in Omaha, but I know just enough to get myself to the mall and to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  First stop was Trader Joe’s to restock some of our favorite things and try out some new finds.

Our must have items from Trader Joe’s!

  • Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels…..the salted kind!
  • Pork Pot Stickers
  • Hatch Chili Mac and Cheese
  • Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Last weekend’s new finds that we’ve tried!

Image result for trader joe's iced coffee concentrateIt’s such a delicate, light coconut flavor, but it’s delicious.  I wish it came in an large bottle like the regular coffee concentrate.

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Honestly, a big flavor let down.  It sounds so good, but it’s quite bland.  Not spicy, not really smokey.  It’s very sweet and does have some good peach flavor, but I wouldn’t buy it again.  Stick to the Roasted Tomatillo and Mango salsa….you’ll be happier!

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It was too cute and funny not to buy, and The Engineer likes Corona so I thought I’d give it a shot.  He drank a few, but I’m not sure he’d request I go back to the store for more.  I bought the regular, but it also comes in light and dark.

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Mostly I bought these cute little taco spice packs because I thought they would be good for camping.  They come in pretty sturdy feeling plastic baggies and seem like they would survive being tossed in with our camping cooking gear.  We tried a pack the other night for some nachos and they aren’t bad….aren’t great but like I said they will serve a good purpose for camping ease.  The instructions say half a pack of spice per pound, I’d say just use the whole pack.  It wasn’t overwhelmingly flavored at half a pack.Image result for trader joe's dog treats

Scout-A-Roo seems to have no complaints about these.  They are most dry sausage textured than jerky, but her emergency stash of treats in her travel bag needed to be filled

Things I bought but haven’t tried yet!

  • Jarred Pizza Sauce
  • Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles

After Trader Joe’s I was off up the road a couple blocks to the Whole Foods.  Now, I had never been to a Whole Foods so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Now having gone to both I think I prefer Trader Joe’s, but only situationally.  I will say that the food court area of the Whole Foods all looked amazing, and if I had actually needed food for lunch or something to take home to make for dinner I would have been all over that area.  I did pick up a Carmelita bar from the bakery for a snack and a loaf of the Cinnamon Raisin Brioche Bread.  The Carmelita was a bit….chocolatey for my liking?!  It didn’t really taste like caramel at all which was a big disappointing, but it was still a tasty little snack.  The bread is so fluffy you might almost die!

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My actual reaction when I picked up the loaf of bread!

 

Not really as oomphy with cinnamon as I would have expected.  I bought it with intentions of freezing it and pulling it out in the future to make french toast.  I’ve since proceeded to eat most of the loaf toasted up and slathered in Kerrygold butter.  Whoops!

My best Whole Foods find was a Rebbl protein drink that I only tried because Juli at PaleOMG talks about them all the time!  I was really feeling like a health food blogger after spending most of the morning wandering around Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods getting my shopping on.  I think it’s a sign that I’m getting old and lame that buying potentially overpriced, healthy, and organic food is a major source of weekend excitement for me!

 

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My little protein pick me up was so good!  Thick and creamy, but not chalky like some protein shakes.  Little bit of coffee, little bit of protein, little bit of coconut milk which i love with my coffee…..perfect little snack to get my through my power shopping adventures!  The only major bummer is that I can’t find these at home.  Several of the HyVees in town carry Rebbl products, but I can’t find the protein drinks.  Ugh…..major buzzkiller.

If like me, you don’t live in a place big enough for a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods….but big enough for a Costco…I’ve got a tasty little find for you!

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Seriously….proceed to your nearest Costco and buy as many as your deep freeze can hold!  My only criticism is that it is a little heavy on the roasted veggies.  Great that they don’t skimp you, but I’m a roasted veggie eating machine and I could see how it could be a bit overwhelming for some people.  The Engineer and I added some frozen pepperoni before baking, because who doesn’t love a pepperoni pizza?!  If you don’t love pepperoni on your pizza we probably can’t be friends.

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#judgingyou

The pizza bakes up really nice and the crust gets nice and crispy.  If you didn’t tell someone it wasn’t a regular pizza crust I honestly don’t think they would notice.  If I had kids, this seems like an excellent way to get more veggies into them without them even knowing.  Milton brand makes several other pizza “flavors” but roasted veggie is all my Costco had stocked.  The Engineer said, “It’s not the best pizza I’ve ever had…”.  Well….it’s a frozen pizza…..none of them are ever going to be the best pizza you’ve ever had!  But, it does make a good freezer item to have on hand for rushed nights when you want pizza and you need it quick!  Would 100% buy again!!

Hopefully my little shopping adventure has given you some ideas of staples and fun new things to stock your pantry with.  I always think it’s fun to go and try out new versions of the foods we eat everyday.  You won’t find your favorite new beer or salsa if you don’t try something new.  Plus side, even less than amazeballs beer and salsa are still better than no beers and no salsa!

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Outdoor Adventure

A couple weeks ago Lil B bought herself a pop up camper, so of course we all had to go test it out! I snagged what appeared to be the only open campsite in the Black Hills for the weekend, and The Engineer and I, his sister and brother in law, and Lil B and her girls all met up to have some fun in the sun and a few days without cellphone service!

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Lucky for The Engineer and I it didn’t rain, though for awhile on Saturday night it did look a bit dark and stormy.  We were just in a tent……a small tent once you put all our stuff……and Scout a Roo and her things…..into the tent.  The tent came from the premier retailer of outdoor equipment…..Menards :/

I wasn’t sure it would actually keep us dry if it needed to. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in that tent for anything other than a warm, sunshiney weekend….but for the $20 The Engineer spent on it it got the job done. Scout spent more time in the tent than anyone.  Having only briefly recovered from a 4th of July filled with death booms courtesy of our neighbors, the crackle of a nice campfire was more than her delicate nerves could take.  She spent the first night wedged between the tent wall and the air mattress, nose pointed as far from the fire as she could get.

My purchase for the trip was a percolator, and I was maybe more excited about it than a normal person should get! Come to find out, Lil Bs camper had several percolators stowed away inside, but better to have too much coffee than not enough! Actually, Lil Bs camper came with all sorts of forgotten camping accessories: roasting sticks, veggie roasting baskets…..it seemed like anything anyone had forgotten Lil B could scrounge up in her camper!  The cost of everything that was left inside the kitchen of her camper maybe totals more than she paid for the camper….it’s in great shape for it’s age and a bottomless supply of all things outdoor adventure related.  She found a great little buy!

Saturday morning we just made coffee on a camp stove……it wasn’t really my ideal camping experience, but it was fast and the girls desperately wanted to walk down to the lake. We all spent the day drinking and relaxing in the shade on the shore.  Well, the girls swam, and I did take my newly purchased giant unicorn float for a lap around the lake, but mostly we hung out and enjoyed the breeze. Our campsite, while it did have plenty of shape, did have a severe lack of breeze. Even Scout got in the camping spirit with several unforced dips into the lake. She doesn’t like to swim, but did spend some time walking around in chest deep water investigating things, so I was pretty proud! I became less proud when she discovered that campfires create lovely, crunchy, charcoal cube snackies and proceeded to hoover them up at an alarming pace.  Plus side it got her over her fear of campfires and she spent all of Saturday night out by the fire with us.  Down side…..she pooped…..a lot. :/

 

 

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Floating away from life’s bullshit on my mystical unicorn Misty!

I actually started a fire to make dinner that night, even though everyone said, “Just use the camp stoves, it’ll be so much easier.” No! We hauled The Engineer’s Grandma’s cast iron pan all the way out there, and God created cast iron so that mankind could cook directly over a smokey fire in nature!  So I made deer nachos over a campfire and they were amazeballs!  I think I’m just more down to rough it than maybe The Engineer is.  I’m willing to work a bit harder for some extra smokey flavoring!

Sunday morning I was the first one up, and I was determined to use my percolator over a fire……so I did!

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And then……I made bacon….and it was fantastic!  I think coffee tastes better slow brewed over a fire, but I will admit it does take some time. Having only used a percolator once, I spent several minutes in a panic and readjusting the pot over the fire being quite sure we had just experienced beginners luck the day before.  Suddenly…..percolation…..coffee was within my gasp! And, I only burnt one pan of bacon before I figured out the proper fire to pan placement!!

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We finished up our camping adventure with a trip to Lewie’s for beer and a burger for lunch, and I almost killed The Enginner making him hike up to Seth Bullock’s gravesite…..plus side he made his activity goal for the day in his new Apple Watch! I’m just trying to be helpful like that!  All in all it was pretty successful for our first camping trip!  The tent survived, Scout concurred some fears, no one got food poisoning, the camper didn’t roll spontaneously down the hill, and there were no major injuries!

 

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