Thursday, May 28, 2009 now that I've actually started this little foodie blog, I figured that I should come up with some kind of organized format so this blog doesn't turn into a rambling, jumbled mess :)! So...starting with tomorrow's post, here's the kinds of things you can expect to see here on a daily basis:

Mondays – Kitchen Spotlight. I’ll share my favorite kitchen tools, gadgets, etc. The little (and not so little) things that make being a foodie so much easier and simpler.

Tuesdays – Restaurant Adventures. I’ll share restaurant news that I come across…and share dining experiences from some of my favorite restaurant meals, complete with pictures! What? YOU don’t take pictures of your food when you go out to eat?!?!?

– Lighten Up. I’ll take a high-calorie/high-fat recipe and show you how I lighten it up to make it healthier, but still delicious! Let’s face it…even if it’s healthy, you don’t want to eat it if it’s bland and boring!

 – Cookbook Corner. There are literally a bazillion cookbooks out there. I have amassed quite a collection over the years. I’ll share my favorites with you…and why I like them so much.

Fridays – Wendy’s Foodie Hall of Fame. The foods, places, and gadgets that are the cream of the crop!

– Wendy’s Wildcard. I’ll talk about whatever foodie stuff is on my mind that day. You never know what might show up: an iTunes playlist for a themed dinner party, a special party menu, or just random foodie thoughts ;)!!

Sundays – Recipe of the Week. I’ll share a recipe every Sunday…either a standby from my files OR something new that I tried and liked. Either way, I’ll try to include a picture. Sneak peek for this Sunday: Grand Marnier French Toast. I know…you’re drooling already. Trust me…it’s ok. This one is indeed drool-worthy!!

Now to get this blog officially christened!! As with most things in life, food and cooking are very subjective. What I love you might not…and vice versa. For instance, I simply can’t STAND olives…ick! But…since this is my little corner of cyberspace, I’ll be sharing my personal opinions and thoughts ;)! My first official task is to list 10 items that I always like to have on hand in my kitchen. These are the items that are always in my pantry, fridge, or freezer. With these items on hand, I can whip up a quick meal in no time flat! These aren’t in any particular order, by the way.

1. Extra virgin olive oil. For everyday use, I buy Colavita in the bulk section of my local grocery store. For special occasions, I recently discovered an amazing artisinal olive oil in Napa Valley. Round Pond produces a line of four AWESOME small-batch olive oils: Italian, Spanish, meyer lemon, and blood orange. All of them are fantastic, but I really love the meyer lemon!! They sell their products online…so check them out:

2. Parmigiano reggiano. Sure, it costs more than that grated Kraft stuff…but you get what you pay for, my friends! I buy it grated in small containers so it’s always fresh. I keep it in the fridge once I get it home.

3. Canned San Marzano tomatoes. Is there REALLY a difference? Yep…I’ve tried lots of canned tomatoes, but San Marzanos are just plain tastier. Why? According to my research, they come from a small town near Naples and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The soil is thought to serve as a filter for water impurities. Compared to a roma tomato, San Marzanos are thinner and pointier. They also have fewer seeds, and taste much stronger and less acidic. Here's what one of the more commonly found cans looks like:

4. Rao’s basil marinara sauce. Yes, it’s pricy for a jarred sauce, but it really does taste homemade!! A good friend recommended it to me last year (thanks, Andie!), and now it’s the only sauce Michael will let into the kitchen!

5. Feta. Good old Athenos is ok in a pinch, but I prefer to buy sheep’s milk feta at Central Market, a Texas-based upscale grocery store, when I can. The difference in both texture and taste is very noticeable. Any grocery store with a good cheese section should sell fresh feta, though.

6. Rustichella D’abruzzo organic penne. Michael brought this home from Whole Foods a few months ago.One try and we were hooked. Nice taste and texture. The only pasta we’ll buy now.

7. Organic baby field greens. I keep these on hand all the time so I can whip up a salad at a moment’s notice. Didn’t your Mom tell you to “Eat your greens!” when you were growing up? She should have.

8. Rotisserie chicken. I prefer the ones at Costco…they’re bigger and cost less! This is a MUST in my kitchen for busy weeknight meals. I get two meals out of one chicken…we eat half of it plain roasted one night, then I use the other half in a pot of soup, a salad, or a casserole the next night!

9. Salsa. I live in San Antonio…where salsa is the condiment of choice. Sure, it’s great as a dip, but it has so many uses! It’s great on eggs…and you can make a killer southwest dressing by mixing it 50/50 with your favorite light Ranch dressing! My preference is Pace Thick and Chunky Medium.

1o. Newman’s Own Lighten Up dressings. Light Italian con Limon and Light Raspberry Walnut are my favorites. I try to eat healthy, but I don’t ever like to sacrifice taste. With these two dressings, I don’t have to!! They taste just as good as their full-fat counterparts, with much less fat. One is tart, the other sweet…so I have all my salad bases covered with these two bottles. It’s a crisis if we run out of either ;)!

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