Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rib Roast Coupon

I hope that if you are buying a rib roast for Christmas dinner that you haven't done it yet.  My sweet sister-in-law, Miss Denise, who works in the meat department of QFC, posted this link to a $10 coupon on Facebook this morning and I stole it.  It's okay because I told her I was gonna do it.  That's why she posted it.  Right??  Anyway here is the link so you can get $10 off of the cost of your roast.

This is a digital coupon which will link right to your QFC card, so if you haven't registered your card now is the time.  It's quick and easy and you can do it from the coupon page.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 12/17

My sister, Miss SmartyPants, works at least 60 hours a week at her business plus she is raising her three grandchildren.  Still she manages to get her Eugene house decorated for Christmas and maybe the one down on the coast for all I know.

And this is my next door neighbor Tina's place.  It scares me when she gets up on the roof and hangs over.  And, yes, that is a ten foot snowman.  This picture doesn't do it justice but it is the only one that I took that shows the snowman because he lights up every few seconds.

This is my decorating.  The ladies at the Nordland Garden Club forgot about me this year so I got my wreath at Costco for $15.  Not only was it $10 cheaper, it is bigger and fresher and I think it looks very nice.  Sorry ladies but I'm doing the Costco wreaths from now on.

I can't believe that it is almost Christmas already!!  How did that happen??  The Bradster and I are doing something different this year.  We are getting up seriously early on the 24th and heading for Oregon.  We should be in Eugene by noon if we avoid the traffic.  Sometimes getting through Portland during holiday rush hour traffic can be tricky.

My sister always has a big Christmas Eve dinner with lots of kids and relatives and we are going to join in this year.  We are planning to get there early so I can help with the preparation of the prime rib dinner.  We love to cook together and have turned out some amazing feasts over the years.

I want you to know that serving prime rib for Christmas is one of the easiest main dishes that you can do.  Nothing like a turkey but it is also probably the most expensive.  This year, at QFC, prime rib is going for $9.99 per pound which is $2 a pound more expensive than last year.

When you buy your roast you have to to decide on the size.  You could go for a rib per person or decide how much you are gonna spend and that is it.  Don't ask the butcher (who is usually your friend) because you might end up with a $120 roast like I did once.  So, if you have $60 buy a six pound roast and call it good.  With all the other goodies on the table you will be fine.

I never give leftovers to my guests.  I keep it all for me, if there is any, that is.  When I carve the roast I always hide the bones because they are delicious roasted with BBQ sauce later when the holidays are over and the days are dark and gloomy.

I consulted my sister to see how she was gonna do the roast this year.  She said she was going to oil it up and rub Montreal Steak Seasoning all over it.  This makes a fabulous roast.  I like to do this too, but I also add a good lube of Worcestershire Sauce.  Easy peasy.

She also said that she starts the roast out at 425 degrees for a bit (???) and then turns it down to 325 until done.  I prefer a medium roast but some people think that is a sin.  Use your meat thermometer to get it exactly like you want it.  For rare you want to cook it about 23 minutes per pound but all this is variable depending on your oven.  Example:  6 pound roast x 23 min = 138 min = 2 1/2 hours.  I would start checking at two hours.

Okay - let's look at the ad.  This is a big ad and lasts through Christmas Day so I won't be doing the next ad until the 31st.  Plus, I will be on the I-5 headed to Eugene.

If your budget won't expand for prime rib you could do a turkey because QFC is running the promo where you buy $30 worth of groceries you get a turkey for $ .69 a pound.  I did this for Thanksgiving and it turned out great.  You could also do a Hormel ham for $1.99 a pound or even Fresh Crab for $5.99 a pound.

I also want to mention that QFC is giving you a free gallon of milk if you buy four Chex cereals.  I don't really care for the cereal but my Aunt Barbara used to make this killer Chex Mix with it, so that might be an idea if you need snacks.

Here are my suggestions:

Gold Medal Flour - $2.50/5lb
Kroger Brown Sugar - $2/2lb
Kroger Spices - 50% off
McCafe Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Chex Cereal - Buy 4/get free gal Milk ($3/box)
Del Monte Vegetables - $ .50/can
Swanson Broth - $2/qt
Challenge Butter - $2.49/lb
Kroger Sour Cream - $1.50/16oz
Philadelphia Cream Cheese - 3 for $5/8oz bar
QFC Whipping Cream - $2.99/pint
Tillamook Cheese - $5.99/2lb
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/12oz bag
Boneless Sirloin Tip Roast - $3.99/lb
Rib Roast - $9.99/lb
Fresh Cooked Dungeness Crab - $5.99/lb
Hormel Cure 81 Half Spiral Ham - $1.99/lb
Private Selection Turkey - $ .69/lb (must spend additional $30)
Pears - $1.49/lb
Broccoli Crowns or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Celery or Mayan Sweet Onions - $ .99/lb
Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith Apples - $1.28/lb
Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts - $1.99/lb
Nature Sweet Tomatoes - $2.99/10.5oz
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea
Sweet Potatoes or Yams - $ .99/lb

My son, the plumber, gave me a Macy's gift card for my birthday and this is how I spent some of it.  I got it for 30% off plus another 10% from my Macy's Wallet and free shipping.  And 6% went into my Ebates account.  I hope that if you are doing online shopping that you are going through Ebates.  It really does add up and it is nice to get that check.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Garden Recap

I searched through my pictures to find a pretty picture of my garden to remind me how beautiful it can be because it sure looks crappy right now:

Isn't this just God-awful??  Believe it or not but we had a big giant wind storm the other night and when I got up in the morning all the cardboard and big heavy wet rugs had been blown off.  How could that be when they were weighted down with bricks??  That was a new one on me.

As you can see I've run out of rugs and cardboard so when I get a new box I quickly tear it down and go out to the garden.  After I weed a patch that matches the size of my cardboard I mulch it with compost and cover it up.  In the spring I just remove the cover from the section I want to plant and plant it.  No weeds!!  Genius.

I want to start with my successes from my gardening year.  First I get my seeds only from Territorial and my plants from Red Dog Farm which is a local organic farm.  In my experience they have worked the best in my gardening conditions.

Also, I now know for sure that I can only achieve success in growing basil and peppers by keeping them in my greenhouse all summer.  I grew several different peppers from Red Dog and they all did really well.  I also grew basil in the garden but it didn't compare to the greenhouse basil.

Now that I think about it I had good success with all my root crops and they were all grown from seed except the onions and potatoes.  This was my best year ever for carrots and beets.  I only grow beets for pickling and they are crazy good.  I had potatoes all over the garden because last year's crop volunteered.  I'm not gonna plant new ones next year and see what happens.  The radishes were beautiful and sweet and one of the first things for harvest.

Onions are the best!!  I love love the onions.  This year I planted Walla Wallas, yellow onions, red onions, and shallots.  I gave half of my starts to Tina and she grew them too.

And the garlic!!  This was my first year with the garlic.  I got my bulbs from a friend at my knitting group.  She got them from a friend who smuggled them in from Italy.  Everyone of the cloves that I planted grew into beautiful heads of garlic.  I even braided my garlic.  Now that was fun.  This year I planted twice as much as last year using the biggest heads.

I have blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry beds and they produced wildly all summer due to the different bearing plants.  I did not buy fruit from June  until October.  Oh, yeah.  I also got a lot of blackberries from the vines that hang over my fence from the neighbors.  I'm starting to worry that when I cut them back off my fence every fall that it just makes them come back like gangbusters.  I don't know.

I had mixed luck with my tomatoes.  I bought a Roma and a Sungold and put them in black tomato growing bags in the number 1 garden.  The Sungold, of course, went crazy and produced very well.  The Roma gave out 10 to 12 delicious tomatoes and curled up its toes, turned black, and died.  I had literally hundred of volunteer tomato starts in my gardens this year.  I pulled them like crazy but one got away from me and was quite large before I noticed it.  I thought what the heck and let it grow.  That thing gave off billions of cherry tomatoes.  You never know.

This is the year of the volunteer because nasturtiums ending up taking over the green beans.  I thought that they were pretty so I left them.  Wrong.  I had dinner sized nasturtium leaves and hardly any beans.  You live, you learn.

Since I grow my zucchini in an old wheel barrow and my cucumbers in a big pot I thought that I would try seeds developed just for pots.  I'm here to tell you that I did not get one zucchini or one cucumber.  Who every heard of that??  I'm never doing that again.  I don't know why it didn't work.  It just didn't.  Maybe I pissed off the gardening God.  Who knows.

Last summer was just too hot for lettuce.  My beautiful lettuce would just about be ready to harvest and the next day it would bolt.  I've decided that I'm not growing lettuce any more.  It takes up a lot of room when Chimacum Corners has beautiful lettuce grown locally and that is what I will be using from now on.  However, I will still be planting chard because I love the heck out of it and it does very well in my garden.

As usual I grew dill and cilantro in my garden, as well as sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds.  I believe, and I might be wrong, that flowers attract the bees for good pollination.  Plus, they add so much to the beauty of the garden.  And you can pick them for endless bouquets.

Growing a garden is a lot of work.  There is no getting around it.  And it can be heartbreaking.  But if you want beautiful produce that you know is pure as the driven snow, go for it.  And we still haven't talked about the effect of growing your own produce has on the grocery budget.  Talk about stretching a buck.  Not to mention the free exercise.

As I look back on my gardening year I think about how satisfying it is to go out in the garden every day and decide what the menu is going to be.  Eating food that is perfectly ripe is a real joy.  It just doesn't taste the same as what you get at QFC during the winter.  Who knew that the humble carrot could be so good??

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 12/10

My son, the plumber, has our family photos and every so often he will post one of them on Facebook.  They always bring back old memories of when we were all young and definitely having a good time.  I've mentioned before that my favorite ex-husband used to race stock cars and here is the proof.  Look at all that beautiful hair on my son!!  It makes me sad that at least three of these guys are dead, including my favorite ex-husband.  He always said to live hard and die fast.  He knew what he was talking about because that is just what he did.

This is when we hiked two miles into Surprise Lake to do a little spring fishing.  It was just us and the bear who took a brand new two pound brick of Tillamook cheese from our camp site.  We decided to leave then.

The only reason that we ended up on the Olympic Peninsula was because of the fishing.  My son is holding his much loved old cat, Dee Dee, when we lived in Port Angeles.  Look at the size of that salmon or maybe it is a steelhead.  I can tell by the long underwear and the waders that this fish was caught in the winter.  Probably on the Hoh or Bogachiel out on the West End.

My son and his friend Allen in front of our car repair business.  They are still good friends to this day.  I have no idea what they have been up to.  Maybe one of their famous camping trips which were really just excuses to drink beer out in the woods.

Okay - enough tripping down memory lane.  Let's talk grocery shopping.  QFC has boneless chuck roast on sale this week for $3.99 a pound which is a pretty good price, so if your family likes meat, stock up.  Once you get it home cut some of it up for stew before you put it in the freezer.  Also, they are running their Buy 4/Save $4 promo, so if you need packaged goods check it out.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz bag
Kroger Cottage cheese - $2.50/24 oz
Kroger Spices - 50% off
QFC Butter - $2.50/lb
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Marie Callendar's Pot Pies - $2/ea
Boneless Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Fresh Whole Cooked Dungeness Crab - $5.99/lb
Jennie-O Ground Turkey - $3.99/20 oz pack
Eggplant - $1.50/ea
Honeycrisp Apples - $1.88/lb
Organic Anjou Pears - $1.79/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.50/ea


Now you know how Miss MoneyPenny is all about getting a flu shot and I still think that.  But there is a little problem this year with the virus.  It took a left turn and mutated or something scientific so our vaccines are not as effective.  From what I understand it is only about 60 percent effective but will still offer some protection if you do get the flu.  In other words, you won't get as sick as if you hadn't had the shot.  So I'm still recommending that you get your flu shot because getting less sick is a good thing.  Don't you agree??

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 12/3

How did your Thanksgiving go??  And wasn't it hot that day??  It was so warm ( in the high 60s) that we had the door open while we were eating.  Then this happened on Friday night and it is still so cold that my backyard is still white, although it is starting to warm up.  This morning it was a tropical 21 degrees but it is still a full time job keeping the hummingbird feeders changed out because they freeze up so fast.

I used the cooking bag method for my turkey and it turned out better than I could have hoped.  The white meat was so flavorful and juicy that no one ate the dark meat.  Usually that is the first to go because the white meat is so dry nobody wants to try and choke it down.

I did discover that getting a greased up turkey into the cooking bag was really a two person job when I almost dropped the slippery devil on the floor trying to get it in the bag.  But that was the only problem that I ran into.  The directions on the box said that for my 11 pound bird it should take 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours and that was right on the money.  We then left it on the counter for an hour wrapped tightly with aluminum foil and covered with two thick towels.  It was still hot when we uncovered it to get the drippings for gravy.

Of course, I took all the bones and skin and made turkey broth jelly in my big oval crock pot.  I wonder if breaking up the bones somehow turns the broth into jelly.  Anyway, I made another one of Rachael Ray's soups with it.  This one is a lentil soup with sausage and kale and it is very good.  I followed the recipe except I used sweet Italian sausage instead of hot.  You can find the recipe here:

This is what it looks like:

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  QFC is running their Buy 4/Save $4 so if there is anything in packaged goods that you need, check it out.

Here are my suggestions this week:

Dave's Killer Bread - $3.99/loaf
Kroger Brown Sugar - $2/2lb bag
Kroger Spices - 50% off
Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz bag
Rosarita Refried Beans - $1/can
Nancy's Yogurt - $2/qt
Marie Callendar's Pot Pies - $2/ea
Boneless Chuck Roast - $4.99/lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - BOGO
Foster Farms Ground Turkey - $3.99/20oz
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Kroger Pasta - $1/ea
Anjou, Bosc or Red Pears - $1.29/lb
White Mushrooms - $1.99/8oz
Junami Apples - $1.49/lb
Large Navel Oranges - $ .69/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea

I also took some leftover turkey and made the Pad Thai recipe that I posted last time and it turned out really good.  I followed the recipe except that I doubled the veggies and added a half pound of sliced mushrooms that were on Manager's Special.  My QFC does not carry fresh bean sprouts due to too much ecoli (this from a produce clerk) so I used canned.  I rinsed them well in cold water and they worked out okay.  Instead of adding the carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, and scallions at the end, I stir fried them with the onion.  And instead of grating the carrots I cut them up into little matchsticks.

This is the final product and, by the way, the sauce is a winner:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Small Business Saturday

Are you ready for Thanksgiving??  I am.  Usually the Bradster and I go down to my son and daughter-in-law's for holidays but this year I'm cookin' because they are coming here.  Including what the Bradster and Miss PeggyRae are bringing we are gonna have a feast.

I've been taking a hint from my mom and trying to do as much ahead as possible.  Yesterday I made up my herb butter for the turkey.  I used fresh thyme and sage (from my garden), lemon zest, and lots of cracked pepper and salt.  I need it to be very flavorful because I'm gonna rub it all over the turkey before I put it in the cooking bag.

I hesitated to show this picture of my rolls because it shows how incredibly filthy my oven is due to melted cheese on toast.  My appliance guy told me that if I want my stove to last do not use the self-cleaning feature.  And, bless him, he said just scrape out the burned stuff and nothing else.  I've taken him at his word.  My KitchenAid stove is getting close to 25 years but sometimes the oven does let out a little smoke.

I had to try one of the rolls to make sure they were edible and they were.  This is a Parker House Roll recipe from my breadmaker book and it is a winner.  You just throw everything into the breadmaker, including an egg, and turn the thing on.  It mixes, kneads, and does the first rise for you.  You then take the beautiful dough and divide it up and make rolls.  It rises again until double in a warm place covered with a clean towel.  Then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Another trick from Mom was to paint the hot tops with butter.

When totally cool I wrapped in heavy foil and froze them.  I take them out the morning of to thaw.  It just takes a few minutes in the oven while the turkey is being carved to heat them up.  Outstanding with gobs of butter.  It is Thanksgiving, after all.

I took advantage of the turkey deal at QFC and bought an 11 pounder.  It has been in my fridge since Sunday and is still rock hard.  According to the formula (for every 5 pounds, allow 24 hours) it should be thawed by this evening.  My old fridge (also pushing 25 years) runs pretty cold but I suspect that by Thursday I should have a thawed bird.

Okay - let's talk about Small Business Saturday.  Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny does not do Black Friday because it is just too crazy.  Back in the late 90s Miss MaggieMae and I almost got into a fist fight with some rotten teenagers who came in the wrong way and took our parking spot that we had been looking forever for.  I still can't believe that I didn't flatten their tires.

Anyway, I do support SBS.  My whole family has been about owning small businesses, including my son and both husbands.  I'm one of those people who believe that small business is the backbone of our economy and if you want to get tough and build character try opening a small business.  That being said I still love Costco.

One of the things that I'm gonna do on Saturday is get my hair cut and toes done at my local beauty shop.  From there I could stop by Chimacum Corners and pick up some local produce.  I could also stop at Hadlock Building Supply and Garden Center which is one of my very favorite stores.  Then I could grab a pizza from Ferino's on my way home.  To cap it off I could hit the 4:30 showing at The Rose of the new Stephen Hawking movie, The Theory of Everything.

So you can see how easy it is to support local small businesses.  And it is kind of neat that they know your name and greet you when you walk in.  You are not gonna get that at Target or Walmart.

I was watching Melissa d'Arabian yesterday and she had a good idea for using up turkey leftovers.  This is her recipe and I'm gonna give it a try:

Turkey Pad Thai

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey
  • 8 ounces linguini, broken in half
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 scallions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
To make the sauce: In a bowl, pour the boiling water over the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha and stir. Place the leftover turkey in the pad Thai sauce and let it absorb the flavors while prepping the rest of the dish. Next, prepare the pasta: cook the linguine one minute less than the manufacturer's directions. Drain, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat until very hot, almost smoking. Add the onions and stir fry 1 minute. Add the garlic and stir. Then add the eggs and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the linguini and turkey with sauce and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Remove from heat and toss in grated carrot, peanuts, cilantro, bean sprouts and scallion. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 11/19

This precious little guy is Coopy and he is with his mommy, Miss CutiePie.  Hard to believe that he has gotten so big and handsome.  You can see what a charmer he is.  Christmas at the CutiePie's will never be the same.

I'm gonna get right with the ad for this week because it is a biggie.  As predicted QFC has their turkey on sale for $ .69 a pound but of course there is a catch.  Always with the catch trying to get more money out of our wallets.  The deal is you have to spend $30 in additional groceries to get that price and that does not include the turkey.  I guess they don't want us to swoop down and get all their turkeys and go buy our other stuff cheaper at Costco.  Whatever.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Cubes - $3/12-16oz
Gold Medal Flour - $2.50/5lb
Kroger Granulated Sugar - $1.99/4lb
Kroger Spices - $2/ea
Kroger Evaporated Milk - $1.25/12oz can
Starbucks Coffee - $5.99/12oz (must buy 3 to get that price - sheesh!!)
Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup - $1/can
Kroger Broth - $ .50/14oz can
Libby's Pumpkin - $1.99/15oz can
Swanson Broth - $2/qt
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce - 3 for $5/14oz can
Cool Whip - $1/8oz frozen
Kroger Sour Cream - $1.50/16oz
Philadelphia Cream Cheese - 3 for $5/8oz bar
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.40/doz
Tillamook Cheese - $5.99/2lb
Kroger Pie Shells - $2/2ct frozen
Pillsbury Pie Crusts - $2.50/2ct refrigerated
Cook's Ham $1.49/lb
Fresh Cooked Dungeness Crab - $5.99/lb
Fresh NW Natural Turkey Breast - $2.69/lb
Private Selection Turkey - $ .69/lb with $30 purchase
Asparagus - $2.99/lb
Broccoli Crowns or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Celery - $ .69/lb
Green Beans or Brussel Sprouts - $1.99/lb
Organic Hard Squash - $ .99/lb
Sweet Potatoes or Yams - $ .99/lb

I told you that it was a big list.  There are several things on the list that most likely have coupons, so if you use them, now is the time.  Also go to QFC online and download your digital coupons.  If you are a baker stock up on flour, spices, etc.  They may not be on sale when it is time for Christmas baking so why take the chance??

I know, I know.  You guys are getting sick of pictures of my homemade broth but I want to make sure that I drill into you how easy and cheap it is to make.  This is my jellied broth before I skimmed the fat off.  You can't get that kind of richness in a can.

I usually hit Costco twice a month and each time I pick up one of their rotisserie chickens for $5.  They are almost twice as big as QFC chickens and better tasting, in my opinion.

When I've taken the meat off the bones I throw all the bones, skin, and any drippings into my crock pot.  I usually break up the chicken carcass so it fits because I'm gonna add an onion (cut in quarters with the skin), a couple carrots, a couple ribs celery, a sliced lemon, a few peppercorns, salt, and a big bay leaf.  Sometimes I add fresh thyme and sage from my garden.  Then fill to about an inch below the top of your pot and turn it to low.  I let it go all day and night.  I then strain it and cool it before dividing it up into freezer containers.

Now tell me - is that stock in the box this rich looking??  And was it practically free??  If you make a lot of soups, stews, etc. this is the way to go.  Trust me on this.