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.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Miss MoneyPenny Talks Turkey Again

Isn't it wonderful what cold fall temps do to the colors of what is left in the garden??  This sedum is called "Autumn Joy" and it certainly is.  The flowers start out green in early summer and continue down the pinkish color chart to this gorgeous magenta.  If I remember correctly Miss Judith gave me my first sedums and I have shared them with other gardeners that need a perfect spot of beauty in their garden.  They are very easy to grow and only require a pinch (prune in June by at least a third) to keep them from getting the floppsies.

Okay - let's talk turkey.  Lucky for me my son the plumber cooks Thanksgiving at their house.  Unlucky for me because I don't have leftovers but that is easily remedied by roasting up a turkey breast.

I'm assuming, and I could be wrong, but I think that QFC will be putting turkey on sale this coming week.  If they aren't on sale until next week there would not be enough time to thaw your bird.  I've done a little research and have come up with this formula for safely thawing your turkey in the fridge:

For every five pounds - allow 24 hours thawing time

So for a 20 pound bird (20/5=4) it would be four days.  Just to be safe I would start the thaw on Sunday.  A thawed bird is safe for at least two days in the fridge.

Miss MoneyPenny used to be famous for her dry turkey until a very sweet lady who used to volunteer at the library told me her secret and I have never looked back.

Yep - a cooking bag.  These things are genius and so easy to use.  All that you do is shake a tablespoon of flour in the bag.  Place it in a roasting pan.  I then add celery and onions.  This is a good place to use your homemade herbed butters to slather the turkey over and under the skin and all around and then place it in the bag and tie it up.  Cut six slits in the top of the bag and tuck the ends.  Roast at 350 as per the chart that comes with the bag.  Totally easy peasy.

When the turkey is done carefully remove and pour out all the juices for your gravy.  I add this to the giblets that I've been simmering on the stovetop.  My son takes everything from under the turkey including the veggies and zips them up in the food proccessor for a base for his gravy.  I've never had such good dark and full of flavor.

To stuff or not to stuff - that is the question.  I say no and the government backs me up on this but if you can get your stuffing to 165 on your meat thermometer (of course, your turkey will be like the one in the movie Christmas Vacation)...rock yourself out.

That being said I make crazy good stuffing and my sister has taken it to new heights by adding fried oysters.  Here is what we do (remember we are talking holiday cooking here):

1.  Melt one cube of butter in a large saute pan.

2.  Add chopped onion and celery and cook until translucent.

3.  To stuffing mix add beaten eggs (4 to 6) and lots of poultry seasoning.

4.  Mix everything together wetting as needed with turkey or chicken stock.

5.  If using fried oysters (flour, egg, cracker crumbs) layer with the stuffing and bake (350) until done
     and crispy on top.

The Bradster and his brother the Dougster went on a European trip and he brought me back this beautiful scarf from Venice.  This picture does not do it justice but it is Cashmere and is wide enough to be a shawl.  I was going to iron it but I'm afraid I might scorch it so I'm gonna just wrap it around my neck and body heat will take care of it.  It is so fine that you could probably get it through a ring.


Don't forget the hummers and the other birdies.  During this cold snap I have awakened to the poor little things trying to get at the frozen feeder.  I have two feeders so my remedy is to switch out the frozen one for the thawed one.  I set the frozen one in my laundry sink to thaw.

My recipe for hummingbird liquid is one cup of sugar to four cups of water.  I boil one cup and add the sugar, then add to the rest of the water.  This way it is not so hot and you can use it right away.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 11/12

Was it cold at your house this morning??  When I got up at 7:00 this morning it was 19 degrees!!  Now that is getting down there, don't ya think??  The first thing that came to mind was that I hadn't unhooked the outside hoses yet.  Actually, I've never done that but last year it caught up to me with a geyser the first time I turned on the hose last spring.  How embarrassing to have to listen to my son, the plumber, lecture me about good home ownership while he was fixing it.  This from a kid who you could smell his bedroom from the front door when he was a teenager.  Sheesh!!

So, with that in mind, I bundled up and headed out with pliers in hand only to be turned back.  I couldn't get the darned things to budge so to cover my back I sent a text to my son asking him to do it for me when he comes up next time.  That way, if it happens again I'll be covered because he didn't get up here to take care of it, so it would be is fault.  Smart, huh??

When I was out the other day hacking, I mean pruning my forsythia because it was laying all over the yard after the wind storm, I noticed how beautiful the hydrangea was.  I meant to take a picture but forgot.  When I went out this morning the above picture is what I saw.  You snooze, you lose.  I was also going to take a shot of my ex beautiful begonia girl but couldn't bare it.  It is shocking what a hard freeze will do to your garden and pots.

This is Izzy.  She has been at the shelter for months and nobody would take her home because she had been a feral cat and did not want anyone to hold her.  Of course, my sister the big softie, decided that she would be very happy at her office building, so she adopted her.  Izzy loves her new digs and while she doesn't want you to hold her is happy to have lots of petting and lovin'.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week which is a carryover from last week.  What I'm gonna do this week is take advantage of the Buy 10/Save $5 promo.  When I was there last week I was surprised to see the vast amount of items with this tag.  I am particularly interested in the canned tomatoes that come out to 49 cents a can, as well as canned beef broth.  I make lots of chicken broth but never any beef.  I tried it once but it turned out kind of gray looking and gross.

I've been making soup lately and I've decided on Rachael Ray's Lentil and Sausage Soup for my next adventure.  I have lentils left over from our Indian dinner so I can use them up.  I've been filling my freezer with soups, stew, and even a couple stuffed pepper meals.  It is so handy to have real food available when there hasn't been any cooking done for the day.  I just dump a frozen lump of stew into a heavy bottomed pan and let it simmer on very low for a couple hours.  Yummy!!

Another cat picture.  I'm really not a cat lady.  This morning I opened the front door for DC.  She insists on going out every morning before retiring to her chair.  This morning she headed out and then came to a screaming stop.  She then turned around and was just a blur as she headed for her chair.  Too cold for the kitty.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 11/5

I love barberries.  They come in so many different colors and are pretty maintenance free.  This one is a lime green in the summer and changes to this gorgeous mix of fall colors.  Notice the red berries.  The birds certainly enjoy them.  Notice also all the fir needles in my beds.  They are everywhere and not just in the flower beds but in my house, too.  Every wind storm brings more of them.  I wonder what my gutters look like...hmm.

Anybody who knows Miss MoneyPenny knows that she is addicted to cooking shows.  I mean where real people cook real food, not those competitions where everyone is rushing around madly and sweating like crazy into the food.  I mean cooks like Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, and Melissa d'Arabian who cook real food that is fresh and healthy, that anybody could make at home and not break the bank.

Melissa d'Arabian has a show called Ten Dollar Dinners where she makes a meal, usually complete with desert, that you could even serve to company - all for $10.  Recently she made a broccoli and cauliflower salad that looked pretty tasty so I tried it.

Since my garden is no longer producing I actually have to go out and buy my veggies and am shocked at the price.  I've noticed that broccoli and cauliflower go on sale a lot and are usually paired together (not this week, though).  When I saw this recipe I thought this is something that I could keep in the fridge for a few days and eat off of it - only adding the crisp bacon when I dish it up.  I'm here to tell you that this is good stuff!!  This is her recipe:

  • Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 slices bacon, cut in small pieces, cooked to crisp
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shock the onions in an ice water bath for 10 minutes to temper the sharp flavor, and pat dry.
Place the bacon, broccoli, cauliflower and onions in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking to make an emulsion. Mix in the mayonnaise and seafood seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.
I don't know what is so special about this pink cat bed but they all love it.  Poppy, the Boston Terror, grabs it from under the cat and hauls it all over the house and I've seen all of my critters in it at one time or another.  I wondered why Suzy hadn't come to bed.  When I went out to find her she was looking pretty guilty like I had caught her at something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/29

Check out my new enameled cast iron pot!!  I mentioned in an earlier post that my old one from the 80s was not big enough so I jumped on the sale at Macy's.  Who knew that these things sold for $149.99??  Anyway with the sale and my $20 off coupon I ended up paying $54.99 which is a savings of $95.  I also ended up with a new fleece jacket and five Bali brassieres for $100 so I had a good day at Macy's.  If you are patient, keep track of your Macy's coupons, and watch the sales you can save a lot over retail.

Are you ready for Halloween??  I'm not a big fan of this holiday but I still bought a giant Costco sized bag of treats yesterday for $15 rather than spend a small fortune at QFC.  On our way home we got caught on the bridge.  We decided to try out the candy while we were waiting.  Good thing we were only stuck for about 10 minutes.  After that I decided that the best place to store the candy was the car.  No need to even bring it in until the goblins get here.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  To be honest it is not very exciting but there are a couple things to mention.  Ground turkey is on for $3.99 a pound which would make a yummy pot of turkey chili if you are having people over for Halloween.  If it is just you and your sweetie you could make an elegant meal with a couple of Cornish game hens at $3 a piece.  My sister makes this killer dish with game hens.  Maybe she will share the recipe.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Spice Islands Spices - 50% off
Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz or 10ct K-Cups
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
QFC Large Eggs - $2.50/18ct
Tyson Cornish Game Hens - $3/ea
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/10-12oz bag
Farmland Pork Rib or Loin Chops - BOGO
Foster Farms Ground Turkey - $3.99/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
Fuji or Braeburn Apples - $ .99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea
Organic Grape Tomatoes - $2.99/10oz

I also want to mention that if you have been watching the sales and managing your pantry you would have all of the ingredients for chili on hand.  All you have to buy is the ground turkey, and frankly, nobody would know that it is not ground beef by the time you get done adding beans, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of spices.

Last summer I bought this very soft king sized blanket at Costco.  I thought that it would look nice folded up on the end of my bed.  As you can see and I don't know how she does it but somehow Poppy flips that thing around and around and drags it up to the eyelet pillows.  Then she makes a cocoon and there she stays - all nice and warm.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cooking Rachael's Mulligatawny Soup and Green Raita

This is the last of anything to eat from my garden, except for the chard.  I needed onions for my soup but decided that once I got out to the garden I might as well harvest the whole shooting match.  As you can see there are peppers, Walla Wallas, shallots, spuds and carrots in the pile.  I will really miss going out to the garden and deciding what's for dinner but it will all happen again next spring.

Okay - I made the Mulligatawny Soup and the Green Raita.  I wasn't that impressed.  Maybe it was
because I had Miss Jenny's very excellent chicken curry recently and this soup is basically a chicken curry soup served with a spoon of rice and raita to garnish.  Don't get me wrong here.  It was good but needed much more in the way of spices.  If I were making it again I would add a couple tablespoons of curry powder and maybe more ginger than she called for.

The good thing that came out of this exercise is that I actually for the first time in my life cooked good rice.  Normally I just boil rice like pasta, then drain it and I'm good to go.  I decided to try the directions on the package using a heavy small dutch oven and it turned out perfect.  I think that the heavy bottom of the pot is the secret because I've always burned the rice.

Even though I was disappointed in the Mulligatawny Soup I will be trying more of Rachael Ray's soup recipes because that Butternut Sausage soup was way over the top delicious...maybe something that the Soup Nazi might make.  I had to find this clip from Seinfeld where Elaine had so much trouble getting a bowl of soup from him and you can watch it here.

There are few sounds as sickening as your glass coffee pot hitting the sink just right during morning dishes.  Not only are you not gonna have coffee tomorrow morning but you gotta dig the glass pieces out of the soap suds.

I have been using one of those free Gevalia coffee makers that I got about ten years ago after agreeing to buy their coffee for about six months.  It has been a wonderful coffee maker.  I decided to go on EBay and see if I could get a replacement.  Man are they expensive.  You could get a whole new setup from Ebay cheaper that the replacement.  I went to Gevalia but they want $16.99 plus $7.00 shipping.

So I dug around in my cupboards looking for one of those cone things that you put on your coffee cup and then pour water over the grounds.  The picture below is what I found:

I do not recognize this coffee maker.  There are no bells and whistles and, of all things, it is white!!  I would never buy white because it shows every little coffee drip.  The only thing that I can think of is that one of the assortment of men who have tried and failed to live with me left it here.  It works great so I'm gonna continue keeping it until somebody asks for it back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/22

Check out this unreal picture that my sister took while she was hiking the Grand Canyon a couple of weeks ago.  Doesn't it look like it should go on an expensive calender??  Even though this place is gorgeous you couldn't pay me to hike there.  What about snakes!!??

My whole life I've had an over the top fear of snakes and spend a lot of time watching for them when I'm out in the great outdoors.  I was even looking for them when the Bradster and I were up at Sol Duc last month.  My favorite ex-husband used to assure me that there were no poisonous snakes on the Olympic Peninsula when we were out for a hike but...he used to assure me of lots of things and we know how that went.

I've been working on getting the MoneyPenny household ready for winter and I'm almost there.  My car has been serviced, my heat pump also, I've gotten my flu shot, the gutters have been cleaned out, my deck furniture cleaned and stored, and I've got flannel sheets on my bed.  I'm in the process of putting my gardens to bed and getting the leaves raked for compost.

I do all these things to avoid spending my money on expensive repairs and replacements and getting sick.  That would not be stretching a buck.  Miss MoneyPenny's motto is "Maintenance not repair".

As far as the garden is concerned I've learned that if I spread mulch and steer manure and then cover the raised beds with cardboard or my assortment of old rugs they are ready to go in the spring.  The best part is there are hardly any weeds to pull and what there are (all yellow looking and sickly) come up easily.  When it is time to plant I just remove the rug from the section I want to work on and leave the rest until I'm ready for them.  Genius!!

Okay - let's look at the ad and see if we can find some real food for a decent price.  I was at QFC last week picking up some bulk sausage and ground beef for meatloaf.  I was shocked at the price!!  I asked my cute friendly butcher what was going on.  He told me that the prices on meat are skyrocketing and even they can't believe it.  At that point my sister-in-law, Miss Denise, who also works in the meat department told me that the lamb that they just got in was $3 a pound more than last week.  I guess that means we'd better be very careful how we buy our meat.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Napolean Olive Oil - $4.99/16.9oz
Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz
Del Monte Vegetables - $1/can
Bush's Beans - $1/can
Hunt's Tomatoes - $1/can
Ocean Spray Craisins - $1/5oz (for those of us who hate raisins)
Starkist Chunk Light Tuna - $1/can
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1.50/16oz (note the higher sale price)
Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast -BOGO
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Pork Shoulder Roast - $2.49/lb (remember when we could get it for $ .99/lb??)
Asparagus - $2.49/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea (used to be $1/ea)
Red, Green or Black Seedless Grapes - $1.68/lb
Ghiradelli Baking Chips - $2.69/12oz

Since it looks like we are finally leaving our summery fall days behind us I've been on a soup kick.  I've been looking for hardy soups that don't break the bank but are still delicious.  Last week I made Rachael Ray's Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage soup and it was crazy good and made lots.  I'm thinking that my next soup will be her Mulligatawny Soup which uses chicken and lots of Indian type spices.  If I find that it is wonderful I will share.