Wednesday, April 16, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/16

Did you make it through tax day in tact??  I always have to pay because I don't let Uncle Sam have any of my money during the year so I pay the piper at the end of the year depending on how many deductions I can come up with.  So far I've been able to cover it.  My sister, Miss SmartyPants, who has an accounting business says I should put something aside every month.  I know it doesn't make sense but I just can't bring myself to do it.  I know I have a bad attitude but I'm 65 and retired and have paid taxes for 50 years so leave me alone already.

Speaking of my precious money, before I retired most of my garden was put together with starts because I just didn't have the time and I only had one raised bed.  Rarely did I ever use seeds but if I did I would just throw the partly used packet into the garden shed never to be seen again.  Now that I have three beds I'm using seeds.  When my order to Territorial Seeds came in at $50 I decided to come up with a system to avoid waste.

I found the perfect box in my recycling bin and being an ex-librarian, my seeds are in alphabetical order.  When I use one of the packets I open it from the bottom so that the info stays readable.  After using some of the seeds I put it back in order with a big paper clip.  I even have room for my little jars of pelleted lettuce seeds on the side.  I can't tell you how smart this has made me feel.

Okay - let's take a look at the ad for this week.  For those of you who are cooking Easter dinner (the Bradster and I are going out for Easter Brunch) bone-in hams are going for $ .99 a pound.  I noticed the price increase for Tillamook cheese on sale at $5.99 for a two pound loaf.  For years the sale price has been $4.99 which proves the warning that food prices are going up.  I heard 27% the other day on TV but that seems extreme but we will see.

Here are my suggestions for real food this week:

Orowheat Bread - $3/loaf
Spice Island Spices - 50% off
Chobani Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
QFC Butter - $2.50/lb
Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese - $5.99/2lb loaf
Cook's Portion Bone-in Ham - $ .99/lb
Fresh Turkey Breast - $2.49/lb
Fresh Alaska Cod Fillets - $7.99/lb
Asparagus - $1.99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower, Celery - $ .99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $1.88/lb
Grape Tomatoes - $2.99/10oz
Greens - $2/bunch
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Radishes - $ .99/bunch
Yams - $ .99/lb

Notice the green feet.  The guys mowed yesterday and then it rained.  I was happy for the rain because I think that it is better for my garden than city water but had forgotten this little detail.  See that grass??  It is everywhere!! including my bed.  Picture a white down comforter.  As soon as I get the entire house vacuumed they want to go out again and so on...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Costco Coupons 4/10/2014 - 5/4/2014

This is Lou's 2014 pic.  When Miss Lou passed away her daughter, my daughter-in-law, Miss PeggyRae divided up her large shamrock and gave me a piece.  She is gorgeous until late fall when she gets really sparse and leggy.  I give her a butch and let her spend the winter in the guest room which is kind of dark and water her monthly.  When spring happens I bring her out into the light and give her a good jolt of Miracle Gro and she goes crazy, as you can see.

And speaking of Miss PeggyRae, we are celebrating ladies' birthdays tomorrow at Silver City Brewery.  This year there will be five of us since Miss Jenny will be joining us.  I started doing this at least five years ago because all my ladies have their birthday in March so I get them together all at once and we celebrate.  Miss Jenny is honorary because her birthday is in August but why not??

And speaking of Miss PeggyRae who works at Costco we segue into the coupons for this month.  I know that was weak but you try to put a blog post together a couple times a week and see what I mean.  Anyway, using the MoneyPenny system of looking for the best deals on "real food" and things that we really need and use, here are my suggestions for this month:

HGTV Home 8-pc Solar Pathway Light Set - $10
Hunter 54" Bronze Ceiling Fan with Light - $20
Foodsaver 2 in 1 Vacuum Sealing System - $30 (very good deal)
KitchenAid Stand Mixer - $60
Sonicare Elite Rechargeable Toothbrush - $20
Snapware Pyrex Glass Food Storage 18 pc Set - $6
Sak Crochet Tote - $10 (I bought one of these a couple years ago and still looks great)
Starbucks French Roast Whole Bean Coffee - $4.50
Finish Powerball Tabs - $3
Kleenex - $3.50
Pantene - $2
Tide Powder AND Bounce Dryer Sheets - $9

Poppy, the Boston Terror and her mortal enemy the cat warming up the pillows.  For some reason when everyone gets on the bed peace is declared.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/9

Isn't this a beautiful head of lettuce??  I bought this for about $3 at Chimacum Corners Farmstand and I want to make sure that none of it gets wasted.  Lettuce going bad is a common thing and once it gets that black slimy stuff on it...forget it.  I was up at the beauty shop the other day and one of the ladies asked me how to avoid this and, of course, I have a method, which is a combination of ideas from Miss Jeannie and one of the Iron Chefs.  Can't remember which one but here is how I do it:

First - take each whole leaf off separately and give it a good wash.

Then give your leaves a good long spin in the salad spinner.  It is shocking how much water comes off.  If I have to give it another go to get everything as dry as possible I do.

Then I put a piece of paper towel in the bottom of my old 70s Tupperware salad bowl and put the dry lettuce in, with another piece of paper towel on the top.  Then I give the top a burp to get rid of the air.

So, if I need a couple of leaves for a sandwich or enough for a salad it is ready.  Getting the lettuce as dry as possible and removing the air is the key.  You will be surprised how long your lettuce lasts.

Okay - let's take a look at the QFC ad for this week.  Remember to download any digital QFC coupons to your card for items that you use.  You do this by going to the QFC website and clicking on "digital coupons".

Here are the highlights this week:

Thomas English Muffins - BOGO
Spice Island Spices - 50% off
Starbucks Coffee - $5.99/12oz (you need to buy 3 to get this price)
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Tillamook Ice Cream - $2.99/56oz
Draper Valley Bnls/Sknls Chicken Breasts - BOGO
Fresh Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Ham - $1.88/lb
Ribeye Steak - $6.99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
Eggplant - $2/ea
Green kale - $2/bunch
Jumbo Artichokes - $2.50/ea
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb

Last weekend Shane, the world's cutest handyman, came by and replaced 20 boards in the fence and one in the deck.  While I had him, I got him to carry in 8 big bags of barnyard manure and 2 of Miracle Gro potting soil for my deck pots.  Yesterday he pressure washed the deck.  The deck looks brand new but the yard looks like hell with all the deck furniture and pots everywhere.  I can't put them back until he puts on the deck stain...hopefully this weekend.  Isn't home ownership wonderful??

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/2

Few things make Miss MoneyPenny happier than sitting out on the deck in the warm spring sun with the hummers dive bombing because I'm too close to their feeders.  I keep reminding the little kamikazees that I'm the one that feeds them all year round, including the freezing ass winter time when I switch out their frozen feeders for thawed ones.  Sheesh!!

I think that the only reason that my son, the plumber, didn't give me a harder time when he fixed my hose bib was because I told him that I was gonna put it up on the blog so nobody else would be so dumb.  Did I listen when my son told me to take my hoses off the outside faucet during cold spells??  Absolutely not!!  After all I had never had a problem so what did he know??  Well, it turns out that he knows more about plumbing than his mom.  What a mess!!  I'm going to have to have the boards replaced because they are all rotted from water spraying and dripping.  Dumb!!  Dumb!!  Dumb!!

So - yesterday Miss MaggieMae and I were discussing food prices which is not a new topic with us.  We were remembering when we were growing up and all the moms had a vegetable garden and did huge amounts of canning and freezing during the summer and fall because food was precious and expensive.  Then Big Food took over and we became addicted to cheap food that had been sprayed and processed and God knows what all until it became a food like product in many cases and we have seen the results of this in our health.

Because of the way that our food has been grown, raised, and invented in a test tube it is remarkably inexpensive compared to other countries who do not eat and waste like we do.  A lot of us are deciding not to eat in the old American way and are coming up against the cold hard fact that "real" food is not cheap and are having to adjust our food budget.

This is really hard on families where both parents work outside the home and there isn't time for a lot of cooking or tending a veggie garden.  I remember those days where everybody was starved when I got home from work and was expected to put dinner on the table - and I did, somehow.  Although, I do remember when my favorite ex-husband couldn't wait so he would just pull out a mixing bowl and dump a box of cereal in and call it his dinner.

Miss MoneyPenny scours the QFC ad each week in search of "real" food so that we can get the most from our hard earned money.  This means that we are gonna eat seasonally which is the least expensive way to eat and delicious, too.

Here are the highlights this week:

Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Challenge Butter - $2.50/lb
Kroger Sour Cream - 3 for $4/16oz
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/10-12oz
Boneless Pork Loin Chops - BOGO
Boneless Chuck Roast - BOGO
Fresh Dover Sole - $6.99/lb
Asparagus - $1.88/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
Green Beans - $1.99/lb
Leaf, Romaine, Boston Lettuce - $1.25/ea
Red or Yukon Gold Potatoes - $ .99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $ .99lb
Angel Soft Bath Tissue - $1/ea
Colgate Toothpaste - $1/ea

Poppy, the Boston Terror, and her mortal enemy, the cat, enjoying a patch of sun.  Everybody loves the sun.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 3/26

As usual, I apologize for my poor photography this morning but it was raining and I didn't have my glasses on.  What you have before you is the very best that my forsythia has been able to provide in the ten years or so since Miss Judith gave me a start.  She was surprised when I told her this at a party this weekend but it is true.  I have done such a good job pruning it that it never really bloomed.  Last year I left the darned thing alone which must be the secret.  I will be inviting Miss Judith over to show me how to properly prune this thing.

Check out the little bunch of tulips coming up on the right.  This is one of Miss MaggieMae's little gift pots that I mentioned in an earlier post.  I have them all over the flower beds.

Have you become a mouth-breather??  I sure have.  Man, the pollen is bad this year.  I probably say that every year.  It takes me a while before I realize that the reason that I can't breathe and am coughing my fool head off, plus, a little dizzy that I'm being attacked by allergies.  And when I go out to start my car and it is covered in yellow stuff and I have to use the little dogs (that is what my dad called them) and my windshield wipers to clear the windshield, I know for sure.

Anyway, if you are thinking of taking allergy medication, check Costco first.  Not only do they carry all name brand allergy meds, they have the generics.  This can save you some serious money, so I highly recommend taking a look.  The pharmacists are very friendly and helpful if you don't know which one is which.

Okay, let's take a look at the ad for this week.  Even though the weather is pretty crappy today we have had enough beautiful spring days that I notice that there is a change in what I want to eat.  I'm done with stews and I'm craving salads, salmon and halibut, strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus.  Funny how a little sunshine can make us feel lighter and more energetic.

These are the highlights this week for our search for real food:

Draper Valley Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts - BOGO
Anjou or Bosc Pears - $ .99/lb
Jumbo Artichokes - $2.50/ea
Large Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Red, Green or Seedless Grapes - $2.89/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Tillamook Ice Cream - 3 for $10/56oz

 Have you noticed how the gallons, quarts, and pints of things that we buy have changed but the prices sure haven't gone down??  Take for instance this week's "gallon of ice cream" at 56 ounces instead of the old 64.  In my book that is a half pound (8oz) less product.  And it doesn't stop there - a "quart" of Best Foods is now 30 ounces and a "pint" of tomatoes is 14.5 ounces.  I'm trying to decide if Big Food thinks I'm stupid.  Maybe I should be insulted now that I think about it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

QFC Grocery List 3/19

I have these little patches of daffodils all over my flower beds.  My friend, Miss MaggieMae, who isn't a gardener, cannot resist the little pots of daffodils that you see everywhere in the spring.  Once they are done blooming I just dig a hole in the flower bed and drop the whole thing in intact.  And, voila!! the next spring - up they come.

This is my old contractor's wheel barrow that I grow zucchini in the summer but it does double duty in the spring with daffodils, then tulips.

What is it, you ask??  Why - it is my first crop of radishes coming up, of course.  These are the Cherry Belles.

I cleaned out the strawberries and the raspberries behind them.  They are going great guns, as are the neighbor's blackberries coming through the fence.

My friend, Miss Theresa down Portland way, is a maniac gardener.  I was telling her the sad story of my first ever clematis and how Poppy had ripped it to shreds last summer while fence fighting the neighbors pit bull.  She said that it was hard to kill a clematis and that she cuts them down to the ground, so I should go take another look.  After I cleaned out the corner flower bed what did I see but my clematis starting to climb up the trellis!!  This is exciting!!  This corner is going to be a knockout with the deep purple clematis, pink climbing rose and red Lucifer's in the front.  Cannot wait!!!!

Isn't it magic how one week there is dirt and the next Mr. Jack Frost (brunnera) and his beautiful little blue flowers pops out??  This is another one of those plants given to me by a friend, Miss Know-It-All.  She bought it intending to plant it but never got around to it, so, of course, she brought it over to me.  And being Miss Know-It-All she told me where to plant it.

Okay, let's quit playing around and get to the QFC ad.  They are running the Buy 5/Save$5 promo and there are some good deals to be had.  Also the first showing of fresh Alaska halibut at $16.99 a pound.  I'm just thrilled to see that fresh fish season is starting.  I've been eating a lot of Dover sole this winter.

Here are the highlights:

Orowheat Bread - $1.99/loaf (5/$5)
Tully's Coffee - $4.99/12oz (5/$5)
Starkist Tuna - $1/ea
Clorox Bleach - $2.50/64oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.99/24oz
Mountain High Yogurt - $1.99/32oz (5/$5)
Nature Made Vitamins - BOGO
Lean Ground Beef - $4.99/lb
Fresh Wild Alaskan Halibut - $16.99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.50/ea
Eggplant - $1.50/ea
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2.99/lb
Jonagold/Cameo Apples - $1.68/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $ .99/lb
Organic Grape Tomatoes - $3/10zo
Zucchini/Yellow Squash - $ .99/lb

As I look at the ad I notice that all the ingredients for ratatouille are on sale this week.  I may just give the Bradster's recipe a try.  Or better yet, he can make it and share.  Basically the recipe calls for sauteing cubed eggplant and then layering it with all the other veggies, with grated Parmesan between the layers and baking it.  Sounds yummy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Peasy Fridge Clean-Out Curry

Lately I've been on a real Thai food kick.  Last week I had it three days in a row!!  As I was taking stock of my pantry before I headed out to QFC this morning, I noticed a few veggies that were starting to head for the dark side. Immediately curry came into my head but I needed cilantro and limes.  I had everything else on hand.  This is how I put it together:

I chopped up an onion and three garlic cloves.

In a tablespoon of coconut oil I added about three tablespoons of Thai Red Curry Paste (green would work just fine) and the garlic and onions.

Then came mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli.  I also added half of a withered red bell pepper that I found in the back of the crisper.  How does that happen, anyway??   Keep in mind that I am only using veggies that I have on hand right now.  Almost anything would work including those leftover veggie trays.

After the veggies came a can of coconut milk and one of diced canned tomatoes.  I also added a can of chicken broth to make it more smooshy.  Once I added the almost cooked noodles and let it simmer it was just right

This bag of frozen cooked chicken from November went in next.

At this point I added a few good jolts of fish sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, and red pepper flakes.  I also zested a lime and added that to the mix.

Instead of rice noodles, which don't reheat worth a darn, I used thin spaghetti.  I always have it around the house, so I boiled some up and added it, along with some chopped cilantro.

The first picture shows the completed dish.  I like to add a few squeezes of lime at serving.  This dish is beyond good and reheats well for leftovers and nobody would every guess that it came from a bunch of dodgy looking veggies and chicken.

Here is the basic recipe:

1 T coconut oil or olive oil
3T curry paste, red or green
1 chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
3 to 4 cups of assorted chopped veggies
Cooked chopped chicken
Can of coconut milk
Can chopped tomatoes
Chicken broth
Lime zest from one lime
A few good jolts of fish sauce
2t brown sugar
Small hot chili, chopped or red pepper flakes, to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Cooked noodles
Lime wedges

Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit your taste.  Instead of cilantro you could use basil and it would be just as delish.


Everything goes much smoother if you have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking.