Wednesday, April 15, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 4/15



Have you paid your taxes yet??  I just wrote out the check and put it in the mail.  Now that I'm retired I take care of my own taxes instead of having my employer do it and I hate it!!  I know that it is apples and oranges but I didn't feel it so bad when it was done for me.  How juvenile is that??  Anyway, I have a spot in my monthly budget for taxes or else I would have to use savings and I really don't like to touch my savings.  Something else to think about when you are planning your retirement.

I know you hear this from me every year about this time but try to hold off buying those oh so tender plants that are showing up at the market.  Like you, I'm raring to plant my pots on the deck but with nighttime temps at freezing or below, they would quickly be wiped out.  The best I could hope for would be that they would sulk and never really reach their full potential.  And that would be a big waste of time and money.

If you have to have a pot right now, and I do, try a big blast of purple pansies.  They don't mind a little cold.  In fact they don't even care if it snows on them.  I've actually seen this.  But - as far as petunias and geraniums are concerned, unless you are really sheltered, wait until May when night temps are well above freezing.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  First QFC is running their Buy 4/Save $4 promo so if there are any packaged items that you need be sure and check it out.  Also fillet of sole is on sale so think about cooking Miss Jeannie's recipe from last week.  You can't go wrong with any of her recipes and that is from my experience.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Franz Organic Bread - $2.99/loaf
Simple Truth Organic Beans - $1/can
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $2.50/24oz
QFC Milk - $1.25/1/2gal
Boneless Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - BOGO
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild Dover Fillet of Sole - $6.99/lb
Hormel Marinated Pork Tenderloins - BOGO
Laura's Lean Ground Beef - $5.99/lb
Anjou or Red Pears - $ .99/lb
Asparagus - $2.49/lb
Broccoli Crowns or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
Eggplant - $1.50/ea
Organic Bunch Beets or Carrots - $2/bunch
Roma Tomatoes - $ .99/lb

If you have started up the grilling season at your house give the marinated pork tenderloins a try.  They also make good kabobs with peppers, onions, and pineapple chunks.  If I could eat shellfish I would be making myself a giant salad with that fresh shrimp meat.  I remember the days when I made Shrimp Louies complete with the dressing and hard cooked eggs.  To round out the meal I would cut French bread in half and slather with butter and Parmesan cheese and put it under the broiler.  Beat that for a tasty meal at a good price.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 4/8


How was your Easter??  Wasn't it a gorgeous day??  Rarely do we get to hunt our Easter eggs in such nice weather.  This is Miss AslynGrace and she is taking pretend pictures with her pink camera.  I have a feeling that she is gonna be a good little photographer by the time she gets a real one.

You may wonder why we are all sitting out in the parking lot.  My son, the plumber, and his Uncle Jeff, pictured below, were putting together Miss AslynGrace's new playhouse and it was good entertainment.  This is going to be quite the house when they finally finish it.  It has the cutest kitchen and Aslyn was in there doing her cooking while they were working and cussing.  Now these are two talented guys, so it was funny listening to them get beat up by a play house.


If you had ham for Easter and you have any left, now is the time to do something with the leftovers or get them in the freezer.  We had barbecue because we are not fans of ham but I do miss that old ham bone because it makes a pot of navy beans taste yummy.  Talk about stretching a buck...you can't do better than a big pot of tasty beans and if you add a pan of cornbread, we are talking heaven here.

And speaking of heaven - Miss Jeannie rose to the challenge and sent her recipe for fillet of sole.  She says that it is an old Julia Child recipe and is very easy and delicious.  I'm gonna try it the next time fillet of sole comes on sale which is quite often.  Here it is:


I tried to make it bigger but the next step up was so big that it didn't fit on the page.  Basically what you do is salt and flour your sole and saute it in butter.  Keep it warm in the oven and melt more butter in the pan.  Add capers, parsley and lemon juice.  Serve over the sole with lemon slices and lots of pepper.  This has to be good.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  In my opinion this is a crappy ad.  I call them as I see them.  Luckily my pantry and fridge are well stocked so we won't starve at the MoneyPenny house but this is definitely a good week for that pot of beans or split pea soup.

Here are the highlights:

Draper Valley Whole Chicken - $ .99/lb
Flank Steak - $6.99/lb
Anjou or Red Pears - $ .99/lb
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea
Minneola Tangelos - $ .99/lb
Organic Kale - $1.50/bunch
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.25/ea
Zucchini or Yellow Squash - $1.29/lb


When I got home Sunday evening after the festivities I discovered that the Easter Bunny had left me a basket on the front porch.  My good buddy, Mr Daniel, has parents that grow a huge organic garden up Port Angeles way and they are good enough to share some of their seed potatoes with me.  Good timing because I just received my new giant potato grow bag.  On Monday I went over to Chimacum Corner Farmstand and bought a big bag of Short's Miracle Dirt.  Let the planting begin.

A week ago I cleaned out the strawberry bed and gave it a good jolt of new compost.  Yesterday I noticed that the plants are covered in white flowers and you know what that means!!  Yep - lots of strawberries gonna be happening.  I can't wait!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 4/1



I was able to get a snap of my wheel barrow daffodils before they faded.  Who knew that you could grow so much cool stuff in an old wheel barrow??  I put it out to pasture after it sent me to the ER.  The darned thing is actually too big for lady garden use.  My favorite ex husband bought this for me years ago and like everything else he bought it had to be heavy duty.  I'm actually still using one of the hoses that he bought in 1990.  It is so heavy that I can hardly carry it.


This is Lou in 2015.  Lou was my daughter-in-law's mother and she was a sweetheart of a lady.  After she passed Miss PeggyRae split up her giant shamrock and gave away pieces to people that cared about Lou.  I got this one and it is still in its original pot.  It goes crazy and blooms all spring and summer.  Come fall she gets leggy and sad looking so I give her a butch and let her winter in the guest room.  She always lets me know when she is ready for prime time.  I bring her out and give her a good jolt of food and away she goes.

I want to mention that Miss Jeannie sent me a text telling me that she has a killer recipe for fillet of sole after I posted the ad last week.  Okay, girl, let's see it.  I'll share when I hear from her.  Miss Jeannie and I were roomies for a year and I can vouch for her amazing cooking skills, so this should be good.

Are you getting ready for Easter??  Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  My mother always made a big deal out of Easter.  We would get a new outfit (handmade by her), go to church, have an Easter egg hunt, and she would cook a big ham dinner.  I carried on the tradition except for the outfit and church part.  Now the kids do it and they have a diabolical adult Easter egg hunt that really brings out the worst in us.  We don't drink before the hunt so you can see how serious we are.  None of us like ham so usually barbecue is on the menu.

If you are having ham be sure and get bone-in so that you can make navy bean or split pea soup afterwards.  Also be sure and get those eggs back in the fridge soon so they don't go bad on you before you can make deviled eggs.  I've never been sick from bad Easter eggs but I imagine that it can't be pleasant.

Okay, let's look at the ad for this week.  The first thing I notice is there aren't any big sales on eggs.  What is the deal with that??  Anyway - asparagus and strawberries are going for $1.88 per pound.  I like to make strawberry shortcake for Easter and I make actual shortcakes - none of those icky spongy things that taste like sweet mushy something.  You can make the shortcakes ahead so they aren't a hassle at the last minute.  My mom always buttered them first before adding the strawberries.  I know it sounds strange but it was delish.

Here are my suggestions:

Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Private Selection Spices - 33% off
Tillamook Cheese - $5.99/2lb
Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Slice Half Ham - $1.88/lb
Top Round Roast - $3.99/lb
Fresh Wild Alaska Cod Fillets - $7.99/lb
Asparagus - $1.88/lb
Celery - $ .99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $1.88/lb
Green Beans - $1.99/lb
Green Onions or Radishes - $ .69/bunch
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Organic Broccoli - $1.49/lb
Red Garnet or Jewel Yams - $ .99/lb
Whole Pineapple - $2.50/ea


My sister posted this on Facebook for growing viney things like squash and pumpkins since they take up a lot of space in raised beds.  I think that this is a great idea and I'm gonna try it.  When everything is done growing just shoot the whole thing into the compost.  Genius!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 3/25



When Miss MoneyPenny finally goes bankrupt and is drug off to debtor's prison it will be because of this old girl.  Remember how Miss MoneyPenny told you that the wild card in your budget is either your health or your pets??  I've been proving it to you for the last three years.

Two years ago I spent a tenth of my income on her vet bills and got pretty close last year, but what are you gonna do??  Pici is still a wonderful little girl as long as she gets her meds and an occasional steroid shot which isn't bad for a 15 year old schnauzer.  Yesterday morning I set her on the floor and she took off after the cat.  What could be better than that??

I've been doing a lot of planting in my veggie gardens.  We have had such a warm winter and spring that it is perfect for getting in the cool weather crops that love to bolt in the heat we have been having for the last few summers.  I remember, back in the day, when I grew lettuce all summer long.  So far I've got my lettuce, carrots, radishes (already coming up) and parsley in.  The beets are next for my pickled beets.

I noticed that the purple clematis hasn't shown its face yet.  Maybe I finally killed it, or I should say Poppy, the Boston Terror, when she was fence fighting the neighbor's pit bull.  Anyway I had a pack of sweet peas so I decided that they would look great on that trellis and smell wonderful along with the climbing Lucia rose and the lilac.

I haven't planted sweet peas since I lived in Portland.  We lived in a duplex that had a six foot fenced in small yard and patio.  I promptly dug up the little yard and planted it in veggies.  I cleaned up the sweet smelling old rose along the fence and planted sweet peas.  It smelled like heaven.  On hot summer nights I would get home from waiting tables and discover my favorite ex husband and his buddies sitting out there drinking beer and smoking dope.  They called it the arboretum.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  Remember when we wrung our hands and gnashed our teeth at paying $16.99 a pound for fresh halibut last year??  Well, that was nothing!!  Get ready to pay $19.99 if you can't live without it this year.  Man, I never knew how lucky I was to have a husband who loved to fish.  Of course, there was the expense of the boat and all that beer.

Also, QFC is running their Buy 10/Save/$5 promo again so if there are any canned or packaged goods that you need check it out.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Best Foods Mayonnaise - $2.99/30oz
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/ea
QFC Large Eggs - $1.79/doz
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
QFC Milk - $ .99/1;2gal
Boneless Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Fresh Wild Dover Sole - $6.99/lb
Fresh Wild Halibut - $19.99/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2.50/lb
Fugi, Gala, Braeburn Apples - $ .99/lb
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.25/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea

Buy 10/Save $5 items:

Land O'Lakes Butter - $1.99/lb
Marie Callender/s Pot Pies - $1.78/ea
Del Monte Tomatoes - $ .69/ea
Barilla Pasta - $ 69/ea


The above picture is what I get up to every morning and sometimes, it is worse.  Poppy, the Boston Terror, drags everything out every night including her toys, cat bed, dog blanket, and always the couch blanket.  She usually ends the evening with herself all wrapped up in the couch blanket.  The KnowItAlls have a huge dog toy box and when she stays there she drags everyone of them out.  They left it one time so I could appreciate the mess when I picked her up.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 2/25



Who are these people??  The man is Dr. Robert Lustig and the lady is Cindy Gershen.  You might remember that he wrote a huge bestseller about the dangers of added sugar in our diet and all the processed food that we now all consume.  Miss MoneyPenny went to school to become a dietitian but got waylaid by the library world but I'm still very interested in nutrition.  I read his book and thought that it made perfect sense but I just kept on with my bad habits.

Well, I caught him on PBS the other night and what he had to say hit me right between the eyes.  I KNOW all of this stuff but still choose to drink my coffee with a healthy dose of Coffee Mate every morning.  If I don't have Coffee Mate I don't drink coffee which means that I'm really just drinking my Coffee Mate every morning and this really gives my poor old system a real jolt.  This sets me up for the rest of the day and not in a good way.

What I'm leading up to here is that I'm going off the Coffee Mate again.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is really hard because it seems I've picked up a real addiction.  This whole dessert thing, and my coffee is really a dessert, has to be brought under control.  My plan is to partake of a yummy dessert once a week like he suggests, like I used to when I was slender, and make it a seriously decadent treat.

I'll keep you posted but in the meantime pick up his Fat Chance Cookbook because it goes over his ideas without all the footnotes and is easier to absorb.  And by the way, Cindy lost 100 pounds in six months just following his suggestions and has kept it off for 15 years.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  The best deal this week is QFC butter at $1.99 a pound, so stock up because it freezes just fine.  I also want to mention that according to my Puget Sound Fresh chart nothing that is fresh and local is on sale at QFC this week.  What is up with that??  Anyway check out your local co-op and you will find it all and for a good price.

Here are my suggestions for "real food" this week:

Mission Flour Tortillas - $2/8ct
QFC Milk - $ .99/half gal
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/10-12oz
Simple Truth Organic Canned Beans - $1/15oz
Herdez Salsa - $2/16oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
QFC Butter - $1.99/lb
Boneless Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Whole Chickens - $1.29/lb
Lean Ground Beef - $5.99/lb
Medium Avocados - $ .99/ea
Cara Cara Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Organic Fuji Apples - $1.99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $ .99/ea
Zucchini or Yellow Squash - $1.29/lb

Reminder:

Be on the lookout for your American Express bill.  Miss MaggieMae got her rebate check this month.  I still haven't seen mine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Photo Dump 2/18



You can always tell when Miss MoneyPenny is done with winter when the Christmas wreath tops the garbage can.  Usually Mis KnowItAll comes over and jerks it off the door and gives me a disgusted look but I beat her to it this year.  I got my wreath from Costco last Christmas for $15 and it was a good deal.  That was a really fresh wreath.  Even though it looks a little bedraggled it still had not dropped any needles, so I will be back for another one this Christmas.


And because I'm done with winter I'm starting spring with a big pot of primroses by the front door.  I got these at QFC on Saturday for $1 each and they are very healthy.  You notice that on the side of the pot there is a little viola from somewhere.  Remember that slugs and snails are thrilled with primroses, so hit them with the Sluggo.  In fact I will be doing the whole perimeter of the house again in my effort to battle them.  This actually works pretty well.


This brunnera called "Jack Frost" started coming up about two weeks ago and is now sporting his pretty blue flowers.  This plant just thrills me and I'm gonna see if I can't find a couple more.  This guy only wants good dirt, a little water and sunshine and he is good to go.  I cut him down to the ground when he dies off in the late fall.  That's it!!


Don't you just love crocus??  They are always the first bulb to show up in my flower bed.  I've got patches of them all over the place and can't even remember the last time I planted any.


And speaking of crocus - here is the single giant crocus coming up in one of my raised vegetable beds again this year.  The raised beds must be a lot more fertile that the flower beds judging by the size of him.


I noticed that the flowering plums in my neighborhood all have a blush to them.  On closer inspection it looks like they are getting ready to do their thing and be all beautiful.  I don't know why and it breaks my heart but it seems like every year when they are all budded out and gorgeous we get a big giant wind storm and the ground looks like it is covered in pink snow.


Even though I was wearing gloves I still got this nasty blister.  What a bad spot.  Now that it is healing it is itching me crazy.


This is my beloved Italian garlic looking all green.  I planted double what I did the year before and selected large cloves so I should have a wonderful crop this summer.


I planted these daffodils in the zucchini barrel years ago and they keep coming up every spring.  They are just about to burst out into beautiful yellow flowers.


Who knew that African Violets bloom pretty much all year??  These are ready for bigger pots again.  When I water them I set them in a pan of warm water and let them soak all day with a little Miracle Gro added.  My grandma told me that they like north light and hate to be moved.  Okay.  So I follow her advice.


Here is my big fat check from Ebates.  I don't do a lot of shopping any more so my check was only $43 but it is money for nothing.  My sister who shops for her three grandchildren and her accounting business buys everything online and gets huge checks.  Basically all you do is go through the Ebates site on your way to Macy's or Home Depot or whatever and you rack up a percentage of what you spend.  Easy peasy.  Yesterday Macy's was going for 6% so if you bought $100 worth of merchandise you would have $6 added to your Ebates account.  This can really add up over time and it truly is money for nothing.

I also want to mention that it looks like Costco and American Express are getting a divorce and it will be final March 2016.  There are negotiations with other cards like Capital One going on.  This will be easier for me because the only place in my little town that accepts Amex is QFC and Chevron.

Remember to be on the lookout for your Costco Rebate Check in your Amex bill.  They say it is for February billing so that must make it the March bill.  I don't know for sure but keep an eye out and don't throw it away like I did once.  EEK!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

QFC Grocery Basket 2/11



When I first started channeling I mean writing Miss MoneyPenny I was working a full time job with a lot more income than I am living on now.  Now that I'm retired my income is down about a third and I do pretty good.  If I had it to do over, I would have made sure that my mortgage was paid and that was totally doable back in the day when I was spending like a maniac.  But I didn't.  Luckily for me my mortgage is quite low, and as my sister says, pretty cheap rent.

One of the big reasons that I started blogging was because of QFC.  Now, I'm not a big fan of QFC.  I think it is terrible that such a high priced market decided to come to our very working class town.  Granted - we have Port Ludlow on one side and Kala Point on the other but for the most part it really is the rest of us.  We are the retired, homeless, underemployed single moms, and hard working families who struggle to make ends meet.

Since our local market is QFC I searched the web for bloggers that covered the deals.  At that time I couldn't find anybody doing it.  They covered Safeway and Albertson's, but no QFC.  I contacted a couple of them and asked why there was no QFC.  The best answer that I got was that it was too damned expensive.  Okay, but other than QFC we had the baby beginnings of Chimacum Corner Farmstand which was starting to grow from a local Sunday Farmers Market so it was all we had.  So I jumped in.

My mission with Miss MoneyPenny was to search out the best deals on "real food" each week from the ad.  This has not been as easy as you would think because in the three and half years since I started posting, food prices have gone through the roof.  No surprise to anyone who grocery shops, I'm sure.

I now have a four pronged approach to grocery shopping that doesn't just involve QFC and it is pretty cost effective while providing good food and other grocery items.  First - I always check out the QFC ad and circle the deals.  Second - and because I have storage I get as much toilet paper, cleaning products, cereal, almond milk, coffee, etc. kind of stuff at Costco.  I try to time everything with their coupons which really adds to the savings.  Third - I grow a small kitchen garden which provides several different veggies and berries.  And lastly - during the winter months I get a lot of produce from Chimacum Corner Farmstand.




My sister fell in love with this store when she was here last year taking care of me after hip surgery.  Remember she is the one who thinks that a kale salad with a couple of eggs on top is a fine breakfast.  Anyway this is a picture of some of their produce before they expanded.  During our growing season they get their produce from our local growers.  In the winters they try to get it as close as possible and organic.

Okay - so let's look at the ad for this week.  Again, it is a two weeker - meaning that it runs through the 24th.  I want to mention a couple of nonfood items.  Tulips!!  don't they just make you happy??  They do me.  Anyway, they are on for three bunches for $10.  It was not in the ad but I've noticed that they have been offering their beautiful primroses for $1 each which is cheaper that Walmart at $1.38.  I'm gonna take down the Christmas wreath this weekend and plant some by the front door.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Franz Natural Bread - BOGO
Spice Island Spices - 50% off
Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz bag
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/10-12oz
Marie Callendar's Chicken Pot Pies - $1.88/ea
Draper Valley Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts - BOGO
Fresh Wild Dover Sole Fillets - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild Pacific Cod Fillets - $5.99/lb
Flank Steak - $6.99/lb
Asparagus - $1.77/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries (California?) - $2.50/lb
Eggplant or English Cukes - $1.50/ea
Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts - $1.99/lb
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Organic Lady Alice Apples - $1.99/lb

Since I bought Brussels sprouts, carrots with their leafy tops, and beautiful lettuce at the Farmstand I will only be picking up the asparagus and strawberries, if they smell good.  I will also be getting a couple of the spices as I'm almost out of cinnamon and red pepper flakes.  And the cod.  Man, I love the cod.  You do know that QFC in Port Hadlock has one of the best fish markets around??

I want to share with you a yummy recipe that I got from the Barefoot Contessa for Brussels sprouts.
All you do is clean a pound of sprouts and cut them in half.  Add a quarter pound of pancetta, diced.  Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes until browned and the pancetta is cooked.  Stir halfway through.  When done, drizzle with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  So crazy delicious that I eat the whole pan.