Wednesday, September 17, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 9/17

The Bradster and I headed out to Sol Duc Hot Springs on Sunday.  This was the first time that he has gone with me.  Usually he stays home with the critters while I have a wonderful time.  And we did have a wonderful time but it was too darned hot to spend much time in the hot springs.  I hate this global warming business.  Until the last couple of years the September trip up the mountain was either rainy or at least cool enough that you could enjoy a good long soak.

Staying at Sol Duc can get real expensive if you don't plan ahead.  We stayed two nights and it cost us about $400 including the pet fee for Pici.  We ate breakfast at the lodge every morning and lunch at the cabana by the pools.  The food is very good but expensive.  The dinners run close to $30 before dessert and wine so we opted to eat out of the ice chest.  We had beer, hard cider, cheese, hummus, crackers, cookies, and grapes.  We were quite happy with that.

Okay - let's look at the weekly ad.  Fresh wild caught King is on sale for $12.99 a pound this week which is as cheap as I've seen it all season so I will be buying some.  It looks like the new "sale" price for colored peppers is going to stay $1.50 each instead of the old $1.  The last time I looked you can still get six peppers at Costco for around $6.  Find a friend and share and while you are at it you can share a bag of avocados for about a dollar a piece for nice big ones.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Mission Tortillas - $1/10ct
Simple Truth Organic Beans - $1/15oz can
Tully's Coffee - $5.99/12oz
Special K Cereal - Buy 3, Final cost $1.99/ea
Bumble Bee Tuna - $1/can
Coffee Mate Creamer - $2.50/qt
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
Nature Made Vitamins - BOGO
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Fresh Wild Caught King Salmon Fillets - $12.99/lb
Lean Ground Beef - $5.99/lb
Pork Country Style Ribs - $3.49/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Broccoli or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Grape Tomatoes - $2/10oz
Green Beans - $1.49/lb
Greens - $1.50/bunch
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea

I can't believe that the Bradster is smiling after I soundly trounced him at our nightly Scrabble game.  We worked two crossword puzzles and he really was good at that - after all, he is a reference librarian.

Next year we are planning on taking advantage of the end of season discounts and going in October when, hopefully, it will be much cooler.  It looks like they offer a BOGO deal on their cabins - buy one night and get the other free.  For that price we could afford to stay longer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 9/10

I'm waiting for my sister, Miss SmartyPants, to show me up with pictures of her dahlias.  She is the dahlia growing queen and people actually come by her office just to look at them.  I'm just so-so at it but you got to admit that this one is a real beauty and way too heavy for her stem.

You can tell that the seasons are changing when Miss MoneyPenny drags out her crock pots.  On Sunday I had dueling crock pots - one with apples and the other with a chicken carcass.  Miss Tammie waits on the Thursday Ladies Who Lunch and she brought me a big bag of apples from her trees and I made applesauce.  I always make it in the crock pot and then run it through the food mill.

I ended up with a quart for Miss Tammie and her boys and four half pints for the freezer.

Look at that rich broth!!  I let it go all day and night and it turned into liquid gold.

I used one of these quarts for a big pot of soup and froze the other two for later.  I bought the chicken so why not use every bit of it.  The QFC ad has Simple Truth Chicken Broth on sale this week for $2.50 a quart.  It looks like I saved $7.50 from something that most of us just throw in the trash.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  I talked to the world's best fish lady the other day when I was buying the King salmon that was on sale and she said that the season is almost over for fresh and wild salmon, so take advantage of it.  Another sign of the changing seasons is that the hard squashes are showing up in the ad so look for Acorn, Butternut, etc.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz
Simple Truth Organic Beans $1/15oz can
Valley Fresh White Chicken - $1/5oz can (good to have in pantry)
QFC Large Eggs - 3 for $5
Fresh Wild King Salmon - $16.99/lb
Simple Truth Organic Ground Beef - $6.99/lb
Fresh NW Shrimp Meat - $3.99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/12-16oz
Bartlett or Red Pears - $1.49/lb
Eggplant - $1.50
Hard Squash - $ .79/lb
New Crop Gala Apples - $ .99/lb
NW Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.49/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb
Red, Green, Black Seedless Grapes - $1.99/lb

I noticed that Poppy, the Boston Terror, was sleeping in the cat bed which is way too small for her.

And this was the reason why.  The cat was on her special blanket so turnabout is fair play.  Look at that cat looking all fat and innocent.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Costco Coupons 9/4/14 - 9/28/14

On Saturday we headed over to Jenny and Donnie's for a concert on the porch.  The day was hot and so was the music.  This is a group (The Gone Johnson Review) whose members started out in Wyoming back in the day.  I know that Donnie (on the drums) and Amy and Corey (guitar on the left) came from there but I'm not sure about the keyboarder or the fiddler.  These guys put together some really fine music and we enjoyed it immensely.

This is our friend, Donnie, who normally plays the drums.  I'm sorry to say that we had to leave before he switched places with Corey.  I would love to have heard him.  Donnie has played rock and roll his whole career except for a stint in Viet Nam.  Miss Jenny tells me that if someone needs a drummer over in Seattle he gets the call.

This is Mick (Mick Jagger) - one of their two pugs (the other one being Charlie (Charlie Watts), the pretty doggy girl).  Mick really wanted to be on stage with the band.  After repeated attempts to get him down they just gave up.  After all, he does have music in his blood.

Okay - changing gears, here.  There are several coupons that I'm going to take advantage of this time.  One of them is Palmolive.  I use it in my soapy dish brush and also fill my hand soap containers with it.  I understand that they don't want us using antibacterial soap all the time.  Also good in the aphid mix I spray on Don, the rose.

And if you are a Cetaphil user as I am, now is the time to stock up with a $4.25 coupon.  It only goes on coupon a couple times a year so I hit it hard.

Here are my other picks:

Nexxus - $4
Keurig Brewed K-Cup Packs - $5
Pedigree Dry Dog Food - $4.50
Starbucks French Roast Whole Beans - $4.50
Kleenex - $3
Palmolive - $2
Kirkland Ultra Soft Fabric Softener - $2
Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies - $3
Cetaphil - $4.25
Listerine - $2
Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Toothpaste - $4
Breath Right Strips - $3 (think winter colds)


On Friday evening before a bunch of us went to see the new Helen Mirren movie we did a strange thing.  We went to the hospital (Jefferson Healthcare) for dinner.  Get this - the food was really good and it would set you back about $7 for a dinner or lunch.  Arran Stark is the chef and he tries to use all local organic food for his menus.  Miss MaggieMae, who knows him, says that you can find him at the Co-op and the Farmer's Market buying the very freshest food.

On the evening that we were there the menu was grilled flank steak, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob.  The steak was served with a spicy green sauce but the two that had the full dinner didn't try it.  I would have been all over it.  I had a bowl of cream of broccoli soup, a roll, and a homemade cookie.  I also bought a bottle of fizzy water which exploded all over the table when I opened it making everybody real happy.

Anyway, this is premium food prepared with care at a good price.  I will be returning.  If you want to see the menu for the day you can go here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 9/3

There are grandmas and then there are "real" grandmas and I happen to be lucky enough to have two in my family.  My sister, Miss SmartyPants, took over the raising of her three grandchildren about four years ago and I am totally in awe of her.  These kids don't sit in front of the TV all day.  They are busy with soccer, basketball, baseball, dance, art class, swimming, hiking...and on and on.  My sister spends many Saturdays watching several games with different kids.  I don't know how she does it with running a business and the thought of getting three kids ready for school boggles my mind.

The shot above is Miss PeggyRae, my daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter, Miss AsylnGrace.  Momma works at Costco so most Saturdays you will find this little sweetie with her grandma.  This little girl loves her grandma who obviously will do anything to make her happy.  I was supposed to meet them this last Saturday but was not feeling well and I'm mad as heck that I missed the elephant ride.

Okay - let's talk groceries.  The new crop of apples are starting to show up in the stores which means that you better grab the peaches and nectarines while you can get them because they aren't going to be available much longer.  I had my first apple since the strawberries came on in early summer.  In my quest to eat locally (as from my backyard) I've just been eating berries and not buying apples or bananas.  I've been lucky enough to have strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries but they are all slowing down.

Also - the fresh King salmon is on sale for $12.99 per pound which is about as cheap as I've seen King this season...and it won't be around that much longer either.  And QFC is running a Buy 5/Save $5 promo so if you need some non-fresh items go through your digital and paper coupons for a bargain.

Here are the highlights for this week:

Franz Bread - $1.99/loaf
Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz
Chicken of the Sea Tuna - $1/can
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Boneless Pork Loin Chops - BOGO
Fresh Wild-Caught King Salmon Fillets - $12.99/lb
NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Flank Steak - $7.99/lb
Bartlett or Red Pears - $1.49/lb
Broccoli Crowns or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Greens - $1.50/bunch
Honeycrisp Apples - $2.49/lb
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.99/lb


Time to start thinking about getting the flu shot.  After years of not getting the shot, I decided at 60 that I might not survive the flu like the last time I had it.  And besides - who wants to waste time being sick??  Knock on wood but I have not had the flu or even a cold in five years so something is working.  The vaccines are easy to come by.  I have a doctor's appointment for something else this afternoon so I'm gonna ask if they will shoot me up while I'm there but you can easily get one at your pharmacy or even Costco.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Photo Dump 8/31

If I didn't have a calendar I would know that fall is on the way by the Sedums turning pink.  Even though my big maple hasn't turned its brilliant fall red it is starting to lose a few leaves and the blackberries are starting to peter out.  I love the fall with its crisp nights (so a person can sleep, for crying out loud!!) and warm hazy days.  Miss MoneyPenny considers it to be fall from September 1st through Halloween.  You can't count on November so it gets to be winter.

I'm always taking pictures and I'm gonna share.  Having a garden is a wonderful thing because you just go out and pick what you are going to eat that day.  Here are some of my good eats:

I have two blueberry bushes - one that produces early in summer and this one which still has a couple pickings left.  They don't taste like store berries.

I have three tomato plants this year.  One is a Sungold and one WAS a Roma but it produced about a dozen tomatoes and then curled up its toes and died.  I also have a big sprawly volunteer cherry tomato that has taken over half of bed #3.  I think it went back to its roots during the winter and came back all wild and crazy but the tomatoes are delicious.

I didn't pay attention and Nasturtiums took over the bean patch but what I am able to find are worth the hunt.

My strawberries are coming on again and I'm thrilled because the blackberries are almost done.  I love fresh fruit on my Special K and get tired of bananas during the winter.

This is my second batch of pesto, having eaten the first.  I found these cute Ball half pints at Don's Pharmacy where you can find anything including a lunch bar with homemade soup.

And speaking of taking over...this must be the year for it.  Check out these crazy petunias taking over the geranium pot.  I've never had such good luck with petunias.  Usually by now they have gotten all sticky and died.

My front porch pot in the morning sun.  It looks like I was on a real pink roll this year.  I wish I knew what those pink flowers are in the front.  Could they be Bacopas??

Every year I buy a scented geranium.  This is rose scented and I love the delicate pink flowers that bloom all summer.  The pot looked lonely so I stuck a Creeping Charlie and a white Bacopa in.  This is my ice tea table but as you can see I now have to put it down on the deck because there is no room.

I was talking to Steve the other day about our pets and their habits.  We decided that we are retired so what else do we have to do but indulge them.  This is DC who insists on going and coming out the front door even though the back one is open almost all summer. And she won't quit screaming and scratching the door but in the evening when I bring her in for the last time because I don't want her chewed up by bobcats I have to put a baby gate across the back door or she will sneak out.  Go figure.

Taking her morning nap in the sun.

This is my pretty great-niece, Miss RyaLaine.  I haven't set eyes on her in a long time.  I think it is time before she is taller than me.

This is Suzy my 12 year old schnauzer.  She is a seriously sweet dog but with a bark like a German Shepherd, or, as a boarding lady said - she has a pair of lungs on her.  She just cost me $1300 in vet bills but she is totally worth it.  What are credit cards for anyway??

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 8/27

Miss MoneyPenny rarely buys cut flowers, except in February when she needs all the help she can get.  That is a bad month around here with nothing but endless cold and gray.  Maybe I will go down to Arizona and surprise the Bradster's parents.  I'm sure that once they got over the shock everything would go smoothly.

And speaking of the Bradster - we are heading out for a couple of days at Sol Duc Hot Springs where we will take the waters and just generally goof off.  I usually make an annual trek up there but last year I was being such a big baby about my blown out hip that I wasn't doing anything, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Anyway - the above photo is Don Juan in all his glory.  I've finally come to the conclusion that I am not a very good rose grower and usually Don really show this off by looking crappy.  This spring Chris, my yard mower, took a saw to Don and cut him down to about two feet.  I thought that would be it for Don and was thinking what to replace him with but he has been gorgeous this summer.  And in the late afternoon he smells wonderful.  You can bet that I'm gonna give him a haircut again next February.

Okay - let's look at the QFC ad this week.  There are a couple of things to mention.  Kellogg is having a promotion where you buy 4 of their products and get a free gallon of milk.  Teenage boys and husbands can go through a lot of cereal in my experience.  And there will be a four day sale with a good sale on new crop Gala apples.

Here are my suggestions for real food this week:

Franz Buns - $1.88/8ct
Kellogg's Cereal - Buy 4/Get Milk
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Tillamook Cheese - $5.99/2lb loaf (note higher sale price)
Fresh Alaska Cod Fillets - $7.99/lb
Fresh Bonneville King Salmon Fillets - $12.99/lb
Hebrew National Beef Franks - $4.99/12oz
Lean Ground Beef - $4.99/lb
Ribeye Steaks - $7.99/lb
Ronzoni Pasta - $1/16oz
Driscoll's Blueberries - $2.50/pint
Green Beans - $1.49/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Leaf Lettuce - $1.25/head
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.48/lb
Sweet Corn - 5 for $2
Sweet Yellow Onions - $ .99/lb
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.99/lb
Zucchini or Yellow Squash - $1.28/lb

4-Day Sale (Fri - Mon):

New Crop Gala Apples - $ .99/lb
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce - $1/18oz

This is my old girl, Pici, taking a little nap.  She recently had a pretty severe stroke but she is doing much better after a couple of visits to the local vet.  She turned 14 in June so every day with here is special.

My other schnauzer, Suzy, who is 12, has always had bad teeth no matter how much brushing.  Her latest visit to have her teeth cleaned and nine extractions cost me almost $1300!! and with Pici's visits, it came to $1700.  Isn't that shocking??  My savings got hit hard because I only had $600 in the Pet Fund.  This is an example of the wild card in your budget but taking good care of my pets is not optional.  Due to this expense I will no longer be taking in strays and as my girls pass on they will not be replaced.  One dog is enough.

Garden Update:

I will be doing a garden sum up again this year.  I've had some huge successes and some shocking failures, so I will be trying to figure out what went wrong and right.  I'm trying not to take the lack of zucchini personally but it is hard.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Miss MoneyPenny Braids Garlic

Miss MoneyPenny mentioned in an earlier post that she wanted to braid her garlic harvest.  And everyone who knows her knows that she can't braid hair worth shit a darn.  It would help if the braid was in front so I could see it.  This is when YouTube helped me out.  What did we do before YouTube??  Anyway it looked like something I could do and it turned out to be pretty simple.

This is my garlic after harvesting and it came from a four foot row.  I'm not a big garlic lover but I do like to cook with it.  I laid it out on cardboard in the carport for a couple of weeks.  Every so often I would go out and give it all a turn.

What you need is a piece of twine (about two feet) and a long twisty tie.  My bread ties were short so I put them together and twisted the ends.

I trimmed off the hairy roots.

This shot doesn't really show it very well but what you want to do is start with three garlics - a large one in the center - and tie them tightly with the twisty ties.  Then as you add in a new garlic (with the stem in the center) you start braiding every time you add in a new garlic.  Just like hair.

When you run out of hair take your twine and tie it tightly making a double loop in the back to hang it from.  Of course I had to cut another piece of twine because I accidentally braided my first one in but I think the braid turned out pretty good.  We do want rustic, don't we??