Sweet Eats: Are my fruits REALLY organic (grocery store edition)?

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Walking into the grocery store can be a very daunting activity. If you’re anything like me, a person only able to frequent the grocery store during prime-time hours, grocery shopping is anything but glamorous.

I am forever flustered and feel out of place like Kevin McAllister during the supermarket scene in Home Alone.

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On top of trying not to run over the five-year old who has just gotten loose from his mother’s exhausted grip, or the eighty-five year old grandmother pulling out her magnifying glass to read labels, you have to try and determine what’s organic and what contains a boat load of GMOs (all while not losing your cool).

Intense, right?

Well stress no more! It’s all in the label, or the PLU code, to be exact.

What is a PLU code, you ask?

According to Plucode.com, a “PLU” code, or a price look-up, is a 4 or 5 digit number which has been used by supermarkets to make check-out and inventory control easier. However, the PLU code on fruits and some vegetables also indicates which items are organic and which are genetically modified.

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Minds blown, right? I know mine was when I was informed of this useful little sticker.

Now, next time you walk into the grocery store, you walk in there with your head held high, like the b0$$ that you are. You sidestep that terror of a five-year old, and moon walk past the blind granny in aisle 7; and you confidently walk to the produce section and you show them who’s boss. #itsallinthesticker

glen coco

xoxo

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Sweet Recipes: Oddles of Zoodles!

I have finally made my way to Bed Bath & Beyond and picked up a Veggetti! This thing is magic, let me tell you.

You can use any elongated, cylindrical shaped vegetable; such as a zucchini or a carrot, or even a potato, to achieve beautifully julienned strands of vegetable

. As you might have guessed from the title, I’ve gone ahead and used zucchinis!

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The veggetti comes with two ends, one side is for thinner “noodles”, while the other is for thicker ones. I did a mixture of both. With anything in cooking, use caution while operating the veggetti as it does have sharp hardware.

After spiralizing your vegetable, you have the option of boiling your zucchini noodles, or keeping them raw and crisp. I chose the latter.

What I would recommend with this recipe is adding a little bit of salt and pepper directly onto the zoodles; that way it has its own flavor on top of which ever sauce you use on top (if you so choose).

I added some organic, GMO free, tuscan vodka sauce from wholefoods, and ground “white meat” turkey. This recipe is definitely a healthier option to the spaghetti and meat sauce dinner!

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xoxo

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Sweet Life: A Fall Weekend in New England

Red, orange and yellow filled trees line the streets as the cold crisp air caresses your cheeks and nose. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches receive a gaggle of visitors both young and old alike.

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Cider is warmed and spiked and is accompanied by home made soups and apple crumbles. Chunky sweaters and neutral colored clothing drape the figures of the oh-so stylish.

That is the scene all over New England when Autumn falls upon us, and it is glorious!

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This weekend was a typical fall weekend in New England for me. It was filled with laughter, friends, loved ones and lots of food.

Friday night, my roommate and I (and her Airdale puppy named Gerdy) had a scary movie party and watched “The Rite” starring Anthony Hopkins. I made a delicious steak bomb (minus the cheese). My steak bomb was very simple: shaved beef cooked medium rare, sauteed yellow onions and green bell peppers with an assortment of spicy things and seasonings (a full recipe video coming soon!)

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Saturday was date night. My boyfriend and I are both food lovers; we live to eat rather than eat to live. We appreciate great flavors and different types of food. One genre of food that we love the most is Asian: sushi, thai, japanese and chinese. We do not discriminate.

We dined at an authentic Thai restaurant in Newton, MA called Amarin of Thailand. The ambiance was calming, warm and made you feel like you stepped into another world. You’re greeted by such awesome service and feel very well cared for all night. (I couldn’t stop raving about how wonderful our server was)

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Our appetizers at the Amarin were: shrimp in a blanket with a sweet plum sauce and pineapple fried rice with shrimp, chicken, crab meat, pineapples (duh), mushrooms, green peas and curry powder. The only thing I did not like in regard to the fried rice was that the crab meat was not fresh, but it was imitation crab meat. Other than that everything was perfect.

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Our main courses were a seafood madness (shrimp, scallops, squid, salmon and other chunks of fish in a hot chili sauce) and crazy noodles.

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The busy weekend came to end on Sunday with a harvest moon fest that my boyfriend’s family throws every year. It started as a get together for the children, but I think the adults enjoy it just as much, if not more, than the kids. The smell of cinnamon infused apple cider martinis, freshly carved pumpkins, slow cooked meatball subs, vegetarian chili and apple crumble gently engulfed me and filled my heart with content. The sounds of laughter of everyone and the true look of happiness on my boyfriend’s 100 year old grandmother’s face made me really appreciative of life in general.

We may get stressed and caught up in the busyness of life, but let’s never forget to decompress, grab a hot plate of food and enjoy!

xoxo

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Sweet Recipe: Quick and Easy Chopped Salad

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After being locked up in a building all day, shackled to a computer screen, desk and head-set, coming home to make an elaborate meal is the last thing on my mind.

I peek into my fridge and emerge with:

-lettuce wraps

-3 thinly sliced turkey cutlets (I marinated in bbq sauce the night before)

– red onion

-garbanzo beans

-red quinoa

-my roommates vegan Caesar dressing (I asked her permission first)

What could I make with these ingredients? Turkey and quinoa lettuce wraps? Nahhh, not in the mood for that. Think Janelle, think!

And that’s when the idea came to me! In the neighborhood where I was born in New Jersey (and where my family still live), there is this corner store deli, Sandwiches Unlimited, that sells amazing chopped salads. The lettuce is crisp and the deli meat is thinly sliced to an almost paper-like appearance. In front of you, the deli master (I’ll call him that for blog post purposes) swiftly chops all the ingredients that you have personally request. Then atop the salad, he drizzles, or drenches, your choice of creamy dressing. Heaven.

This recipe is simple, easy and quick. It was ready in 15 minutes. Saving you plenty of time to kick back, relax and watch your favorite star competing on some dancing show.

First, I cooked my turkey cutlets in a wok, allowing the hickory flavors of the BBQ sauce to infuse into the cutlet.

At the same time, I was setting up my salad station: chopping the lettuce wraps and slicing my red onion. In a mixing bowl, I combined the chopped lettuce, crisp red onions, organic garbanzo beans (from a can), and 2 cups of my already cooked quinoa.

After about 10 minutes (thin turkey cutlets cook quickly) remove the turkey and let them cool for a bit. Once they are cooled to the point you’re able to handle them, grab your knife and chop the smoking turkey into tiny pieces (as big or as tiny as you’d like).

Add your meat to the mixing bowl and toss the ingredients together, transforming it into a dazzling healthy and digestable rainbow.  Drizzle on your Caesar dressing, and SERVE!

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It is super simple and tastes like you went to Sandwiches Unlimited and were served on a white table cloth by candle light by the deli master himself.

Trust me, you’ll be making this many work nights to come.

Want more recipes and yummy #foodporn? Follow me on twitter: @thesweetscene and on Instagram: @thesweetsceneblog

xoxo

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