You did it. I did it. We did it.  However you look at it, it has been done.

The Chain Challenge has been achieved.

Thanks to everyone who has made a donation. And there is still time to push the total higher. Get your credit card and visit my donate page.

And, sincerely, thank you.

Grocery List: September 21, 2014


NOTE: As you read this, I am either in Binghamton or driving to or from there. This will be my third Walk To End Alzheimer’s event of the fall, leaving two more on the docket. It also means that time is running short for you to get in on The Chain Challenge.

I usually fill my Sunday grocery list post with something opinion driven, but as I sit here writing this I’m drawing a blank. So, there’s the grocery list.

Enjoy your Sunday. Spend time with your family. Eat an apple. Visit one of the local farms. Watch football. Make a donation. Heck, take a nap. Just enjoy the day.

Thursday Dinner: Cavender’s Lamb Burgers

2014-09-11 at 17-23-32

A long, long time ago, I asked for help to build a CNY food box for my friend in Little Rock, Ark. I did actually make one. It’s been sitting on my dining room table for weeks as I keep forgetting to pack and mail it to Allison. Her food kit arrived last month. Among the goodies involved was a shaker of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. Greek seasoning from Arkansas?

2014-09-11 at 16-39-20

Yeah, Greek seasoning from Arkansas. Cavender’s has been making their Greek spice blends in Northwest Arkansas since the 1970s. Now call me crazy, but I didn’t think the Ozarks were a hotbed of Greek immigrants. Apparently, I am wrong. Continue reading

Wednesday Dinner: Spicy Cuban Shrimp Soup

2014-09-10 at 17-24-03

Al Dente HQ is in the process of having its roof replaced. I’ll spare you, dear reader, the messy details about the job itself other than to say that the work crew has been here longer than planned and it’s not their fault.

As a result of the increased traffic and trucks in my driveway, I really don’t have a lot of room to haul out my grill at night. So, the pound of ground lamb waits in the fridge for another day. And, on a day where we topped out near 80 degrees, I made soup.

(Tangent: We went long stretches in Syracuse during the month of August where it didn’t hit 80 degrees, and not it has done so three times in the past seven days in September.)

So, soup on a hot warm day isn’t the worst thing thing in the world. This particular entry from Jennifer Olvera at Serious Eats has a crisp citrus flavor, which surprises you at each spoonful. Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Emmer Fettuccine With Beans

Farro is a great grain, loaded with fiber and nutrients. Here at Al Dente HQ, we are big fans of emmer —  a type of farro which can be grown in fields outside of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

In the case of this pasta, the field is in Tompkins County. Continue reading

Grocery List: September 14, 2014

2014-09-13 at 10-58-46

NOTE: I’m in Utica — New Hartford, actually — for a Walk To End Alzheimer’s event. This post was written on Saturday when I actually went grocery shopping.

The past week has been about restructuring and rebuilding here at Al Dente HQ. The roofers finished their work on our house. It looks good, but there were some unanticipated issues that led to an additional few thousand dollars in work. The seven roofs meant that we needed a second dumpster. All of the aluminum fascia had to go because the jackasses that owned our house never sealed the rafters with wood. Therefore, the aluminum was rusting from behind. We needed both wood and aluminum to finish that. Plus, we had some rotted wood at the base of the roof that needed changing out. That said, if you are in need of a roof, Al Dente wholly endorses the work of Pidgeon Roofing.

In other news, I spent some time restructuring my Pinterest page.


Rather than just dumping everything on to one board, I separated things into different boards based on genre and ingredients. There are now two different boards for Meatless Monday. One is full of my recipes and the other is called Meatless Monday Bloggers. Al Dente is now part of the Meatless Monday network of bloggers who have taken the challenge.

The hope for all of this is to build up my traffic as I look at building a new online home for Al Dente in the coming months. Stay tuned.


Chain Challenge: An Update


A few weeks ago, I introduced you to my Chain Challenge fundraiser for the Walk To End Alzheimer’s. The idea is that I’m a food snob that turns his nose up at commonplace chains like Outback Steakhouse (gag), Red Lobster (yuck) and Olive Garden (vomit).

Occasionally, I mention the challenge to people and they look at me funny.

Wait. You raise money and you can go out to dinner? Yes. I raise money and I go out to dinner. But, I exist at the whim of a mid-30s professor that spent his formative years in Lockport, N.Y. Friend, Roman and Smartest Guy I Know Prof. Brian Moritz is in charge of this expedition — as it was his idea — and he will be responsible with selecting the restaurant and my four-course fate. I get one preemptive strike, but there is plenty of chance for it to go horribly for me.

So, where do we stand?


I stand at 75 percent of my $1,500 goal with $1,130 banked.

A handful of people broke the $100 barrier for the challenge. They include Candy Johnson, Jeremy and Holly Hartigan, Phil and Julie LaBella, Tim Paventi, Scott and Jennifer Wolf, and Matt Traub. They will have the privilege(?) of consulting with Brian on what gets ordered during the meal.

I will formally recognize all of the donors later on this season.

There is plenty of time to get in on the action. Visit my Walk To End Alzheimer’s page, get your credit card ready and make a donation. And, if you have questions about Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or why this is important, visit

Coupon Offer: Nonni’s THINaddictives


Biscotti present an interesting challenge for me. You’re supposed to dunk them in your coffee to soften them to eat. I don’t like doing that. But, I also enjoy having teeth, so I don’t eat a lot of biscotti.

Enter Nonni’s. If I were to guess, they are probably the biggest store-bought biscotti brand out there. They have a new product called THINaddictives, which has all of the crunch and light sweetness of a biscotti but in a thin cookie.

Nonni’s reached out to Al Dente HQ to offer you, dear reader, a $1 off printable coupon for a six-pack of THINaddictives. Follow this link to their Facebook page to print your copy.

NOTE: I have not tried this product nor was I compensated for this post, though I would happily take Nonni’s money and/or product in the future.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,045 other followers

%d bloggers like this: