On my afternoon off, we did something that we wouldn’t think of doing on a weekend. We went outlet shopping in Wrentham Village, less than an hour south of Boston. Wrentham is great and has an array of shops, everything from Calphalon to Adidas to Kate Spade. Weekends, and especially weekends between now and January, get crazy and unbearable. I am not a very patient shopper, so going when the crowds are all at work worked for me.  
The nice thing about Wrentham, as opposed to a mall, is that you do all of your walking outside. One of my favorite shops is Le Gourmet Chef. This store is a foodie’s dream with every type of sauce, spice, mix, and gadget you can imagine.
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They have an entire aisle of tea and another aisle of coffee and French Press coffee makers!   image image
They sell dozens of flavors of hot sauce, salsa, rubs for meat, candy, and way more. The best part? They have lots of free samples. Now I know some people are wary of sampling, and I probably should be too with germ season kicking into high gear, but I have always been a sucker for a free sample of food. I can remember waaay back when we were kids when our mom took us to a place in NJ that had samples of cheese, candy, peanut butter. It was one of my favorite things to do! In addition to trying food samples, we also stopped at Guess and Banana Republic where I got some great deals. All of the shopping of course made us hungry. Wrentham does not have too many food options, so we decided on Ruby Tuesday’s as I knew they at least had good salads. I went for the salad bar. Lots of really fresh veggies with cottage cheese and a couple of dollops of dressing on the side. I was able to bypass a lot of the mayonnaise-laden salad options by filling up on cottage cheese, a satisfying protein and calcium rich favorite of mine.
When we got home, we unpacked our purchases which included a bottle of olive oil infused with habaneros and a jar of 4 different spice blends which include Jamaican jerk and Burmese curry.
By the time we got home, it was freezing, and I wanted to make a rustic dinner with ingredients we already had in the house. I started with miniature potatoes from Trader Joe’s. They are SO cute, some of them just the size of marbles!
I rolled them in a bit of habanero oil and popped them in the oven at 425. Then I got started on the main course, apple chicken sausage and peppers. So easy, and fairly healthy too. I just took a melange of frozen peppers from Trader Joe’s and 1/4 chopped white onion and cooked them in olive oil until soft. Then I added in the chopped sausage and some of the new jerk seasoning.
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Everything came out great. The best part was how warm and delicious smelling the kitchen got! I love roasting veggies in the winter, then standing by the open oven when they are done :) No heat until December! I finished up the meal with a piece of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate topped with Blue Diamond honey almond butter. My new favorite combination for dessert. It is so rich and satisfying. Dark chocolate is a cure all!  
We will be out for most of today at the Bin Ends fine wine flea market. In addition to looking for some nice Zinfandels for the house, I am also on the lookout for Cabernets and Chardonnays for our friends’ wedding next summer. They are allowed to bring in their own alcohol, so we are helping with the wine buying process starting now. Buying wine is definitely something I could do for a living ;)

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Tags: Boston, Food, recipe, shopping, wine

  1. Kelly’s avatar

    Oo this makes me want to go to Wrentham. I was just thinking today that I should start seriously thinking about Christmas presents so I don’t go crazy (and poor) all at once in December.


  2. Simply Life’s avatar

    Wow, Le Gormet Chef looks like a place I could easily get lost in :)


  3. Jolene (’s avatar

    Wary of free samples – really people are wary of them!!!?? Free samples are my BFF. Seriously. The only reason I go to Costco.


  4. pandabox33’s avatar

    Slobber slobber…Your post puts me in a trance ! I’m buzzing. I love shopping for gourmet stuff. I wish we had Le Gourmet Chef here.


  5. Caroline’s avatar

    I love outlet shopping but I am with you on hating the crowds. Free samples make me so happy and I actually plan my shopping trips around them sometimes. My favorite is Stonewall Kitchen :)


  6. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    How fun! I love the look of The Gourmet Chef!!!


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