Thursday, December 19, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 12/18/13

The other night I got a call from my son.  He said that they had read on my blog that he was cooking rib roast for Christmas dinner.  It seems that they aren't!!  I guess after Thanksgiving they are ribbed out.  I'm hoping that he will grill some burgers.  His are the best.

I always cook rib roast for a small Christmas Eve dinner for a few friends but this year I told everybody that I was doing a beef curry recipe from a Japanese friend back in the 80s...and I'm sticking to it.  I remember this as being delicious and I'm sure it will be.  If not there will be plenty of Indian curry type condiments to cover it up.  Everything tastes wonderful with enough Major Grey's Chutney, in my opinion.  If it is a success I'll share the recipe with you guys.

Okay.  Even though I'm not doing the prime rib this year, I'm still going to pass along how to go about it.  I always wait until it goes on sale before I buy it because this is a spendy cut of meat.  Loosely figure two people per rib but don't go crazy and break the budget.  Say you have $50 to spend on your roast.  QFC is selling it for $7.99 a pound this week, so that will get you a generous six pound roast, which should feed six to eight people along with all the side dishes.

I have found that a bone-in roast makes for the tastiest meat.  Plus - when carving I hide the bones before anybody can get their hands on them because they make fabulous BBQ ribs around February when I hate the world.

So to cook your roast give it a good rub down with olive oil and Worcestershire Sauce.  Then give it a generous coating of Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Roast in a preheated 325 oven with the fat side up.  Your meat thermometer is your best friend here so keep it handy.  Rare is around 23 minutes per pound so keep your eye on it.  I try for medium rare in the middle because I like my meat less rare. Your oven and roast will vary but I know you can do this.  Leftover roast makes the best French Dip sandwiches the next day, if you are lucky to have any.

Let's look at the ad this week with an eye out for our holiday meals.  I mentioned the rib roast at $7.99 but QFC is also selling turkey for $ .59 a pound - if you spend a minimum of $30 - not counting the bird.

Here are the highlights this week:

C&H Sugar - $2.69/4lb (remember the hummers)
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Swanson Canned Broth - $1/14.5oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1/16oz
QFC Butter - $2/lb
QFC Whipping Cream - $2/16oz
Tillamook Medium Cheddar - $4.99/2lb (good house cheese)
Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Roast  - $7.99lb
Fresh Whole Crab - $4.99/lb
Private Selection Turkey - $ .59/lb (see promo above)
Green Beans - $1.99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $ .99/ea
Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith Apples - $1.68/lb

New hip update:

I'm a month out and no longer use my cane to get around.  I piled the walker, etc. into the back of my car and will drop it off, with a check, to those wonderful folks at ECHHO.  They provide all the equipment that you could possibly need for a donation, so if you have anything that you no longer need that you purchased just drop it off and it will get used.  Besides, none of us want an adult potty chair hanging around the house.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 12/11

This picture doesn't do this wreath justice but I was freezing to death when I snapped it.  The bow is actually burgundy and works well with my front door.  This wreath came from the ladies at the Nordland Garden Club who have been putting out swags and wreaths for years.  I remember way back in the 80s when my favorite ex-husband always bought one for the business so they've been around for a long time.

Okay kids.  As you know I went in on the 18th of November for a new hip.  Well, everything went to hell and I ended up spending five days in the intensive care unit.  The thing that they put down your throat during surgery poked a hole in my trachea and collapsed my lung but they didn't know that.  They thought I was having an allergic reaction.  It wasn't until I ended up in the Harrison trauma unit 12 hours later that I was literally saved by a trauma surgeon back from the Mideast who realized what the problem was.

As my friend, Miss Judith, says - there is no such thing as a routine surgery.  And my new hip??  It's doing great!! and I'm getting around much better than before.

Anyway, now on to the QFC ad which is pretty lame this week.  There are a few things that you can stock up on for holiday cooking.  EEEK!!  Christmas is just two weeks away and I am totally not prepared.  I'm just happy that I can take a shower by myself but I am starting to float a few ideas around in my head but that is it.  I'm thinking that I will not be doing prime rib for my Christmas Eve party because the kids will be doing it for Christmas Day.  And they did it for Thanksgiving.  As you can tell our family loves prime rib!!

So here are the highlights from the ad:

C&H Sugar - $2.69/4lb (also good for the hummer feeders)
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Swanson Broth - $1/14oz
Coffee-Mate Creamer - $2.79/qt (I get mine at Costco)
Darigold Butter - $2.50/lb
QFC Whipping Cream - $2/16oz
Fresh Wild Dungeness Crab - $4.99/lb
California Cuties - $3.99/3lb
Colored Peppers - $1.50/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.50/ea
Honeycrisp Apples - $1.99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb

I grew up on the southern Oregon coast and I ate a lot of seafood, including crab.  I can't believe that I am now allergic to shellfish!!  How unfair, because I love it.  When you buy your crab be sure and have them back and clean it for you.  You will have to pay for the whole crab but at least you won't have to deal with the cleaning.  If you decide to do it yourself, throw the shells and guck into your compost.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 11/13

What is it, you ask??  This beautiful piece of titanium is what my new hip will look like and I'm pretty sure it will set off all the bells and whistles at the airport from now on.  Dr. Watters tells me that he will saw (oooh!!) off my old hip and stick this thing down into my bone which will then grow around it.  My socket will not be replaced but he will "machine" it so that it will be nice and smooth again.  Sounds pretty straightforward.  I can't wait!!

Getting ready for a major surgery and the recovery after has been a real big deal and I'm not talking about the many doctor visits, x-rays, and blood work.  I have been surrounded by endless lists hoping to make things go smoothly.  My motto has been "plan for the worst, hope for the best."

I had to arrange for someone to stay at my house and take care of my babies while I am in the hospital.  My old schnauzer, Pici, requires meds twice a day and a diaper at night because sometimes she wets when she goes into her deep, deep sleep.  There are also two more dogs, a cat, and a couple of horny parakeets that have to be tended to.

I need someone to pick me up when I'm ready to go home and my dear sister, Miss SmartyPants, is putting her life (which involves raising her three small grandchildren and running a tax accounting business) on hold and driving up here from the southern Oregon coast.  The thought of spending time with her is getting me through all this with a big smile.

My son, the plumber, is bringing his crew up today to start installing a new walk-in shower which will certainly make things easier and safer.

I just spoke with Miss Judith who runs the HomeLibrary program for the library which I used to be involved with.  This is a wonderful program which allows shut-ins to have library service.  The way it works is - once a month Judith comes to your home with books, music, movies, etc., and takes back the empties.  She will either choose for you (after an interview about your tastes) or you can choose your own materials on the library's website.  It never occurred to me way back then that I would be using this fabulous service.  My tax dollars at work!!

Okay - let's look at the ad this week.  I thought that we would be looking at sales on turkey this week at QFC.  Maybe next week but Safeway has it on sale for $ .68 a pound and Butterballs for $1.29 per pound.  QFC is still running the Buy 10/Save $5 promo on a lot of items that come in handy for holiday dinners.  Don't forget to visit their website and download digital coupons to help with the savings.

Here are the highlights this week:

Kroger Spices - $2.50/ea
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Kroger Pumpkin - $1/15oz
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Cheese - $2.99/lb
QFC Large Eggs - $1.99/18ct
Handi-Foil Foilware - $3/1-3ct
Draper Valley Whole Chickens - $ .99/lb
Winter Squash (select varieties) - $ .89/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
California Cuties - $3.99/3lb bag
Cranberries - $2.59/12oz bag
Jumbo Artichokes - $2.50/ea
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.69/lb

Buy10/Save $5 Promo:

Betty Crocker Cake Mixes - $ .99/ea
Carnation Evaporated Milk - $ .89/12oz
QFC Milk - $1.29/64oz
Campbell's Cream Mush/Chick Soup - $ .69/ea
French's French Fried Onions - $2.49/6oz
Hunt's Tomatoes - $ .79/14.5oz
Swanson Broth - $ .49/14.5oz (those cans are getting smaller)
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce - $ .99/14oz can
Challenge Butter - $1.99/lb
International Delight - $2.49/qt

This will be the last post until after my surgery because I have so much to take care of between then (Monday) and now.  Don't worry, I will tell you all about it.  I'm also going to talk about maneuvering the health care system and its high cost.  I have excellent insurance and have already forked over $2000 plus in co-pays and we are not done yet because we still have 48 days left in 2013 and a major surgery coming up.  Remember when I said that medical and vet bills were the wild card in your well thought out budget??  Man!! I sure knew what I was talking about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November, the Best Month to buy...

Yesterday when I slapped down my new Medicare card for my new titanium hip I knew without a doubt that I am no longer young, or barely middle aged, for that matter.  How the hell did that happen??  And when?? 

Before I retired last year I had a really spiffy job as the Acquisitions librarian which involved all the materials ordering for the library, along with selecting the adult fiction, and time on the Reference Desk.  Cool job, huh??  I was surrounded by very intelligent and funny coworkers who really kept me on my toes intellectually, if I could use that term when referring to myself.  I was up on all the new books, movies, music CDs, and magazines, plus, all the new technology that came down the pike.

Now that I'm retired the trick to keeping all those gray cells up and running is front and center.  As I've mentioned before I belong to a group of the world's best whack of knitters.  This is a combination of two knitting groups that was held at Port Hadlock Yarns before it closed this summer.  We are a loud and lively group who shuffle back and forth between the library and the Shold Center for our weekly get togethers.  We have been told to pipe down at both places.

The fuzzy picture above, and I apologize, was taken last night and it shows nine different socks knitted by one of our whack who is doing a sock knit along.  The tenth pair was still on the needles.  What I'm getting at here is that being around all this excitement where knitting is concerned is quite heady and thrilling. 

I have always knit by "throwing" which means that I carry the yarn in my right hand.  I am now being tutored by a really patient knitter on "Continental" knitting, or "picking" where the yarn is held in the left hand and it has been a real adventure.  This is just like learning to knit all over again and my fingers and brain are getting a workout.  I think I was about 10 when I had a piece of knitting so full of holes, slipped stitches, and yarn overs from who knows where - all knitted so tightly I can barely get the needle in each stitch.  But I'm determined.  I'm starting to feel better about knit stitches but those darned purl stitches are a real bugger.

Okay, let's take a look at November's deals, being on the lookout for a good sale on:

Aluminum Foil & Plastic Wrap
Disposable Baking Pans
Carpeting & Flooring
Trees, Shrubs, Bulbs
Recreational Vehicles
Air Conditioners


Baking Supplies
Holiday Dinner Items (cranberry sauce, etc)

Seasonal Produce:

Pears, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, Kiwis, Citrus Fruit, Winter Squash, & Root Veggies

For those of you who are certifiably insane Black Friday is coming up the day after Thansgiving and more and more stores are opening at 8pm Thursday night.  That gives you time to take a nice nap after putting away enough calories to last until Christmas when we do it all again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 11/6

I was talking to an old friend of mine the other day who is getting ready for retirement at the end of the year.  I told her that one of the really cool things about being retired is that you actually have time to stop and smell the roses.  When you have a job your whole life revolves around it and you are always in a big rush to get things done so you can get to work.  But now that things have slowed down I notice the "little" things around me, such as the sun shining through the leaves of this plant...and that the ficus needs a serious going over.

Okay - let's get to the add because there is a lot to cover.  QFC is running the Buy 10, Save $5 promo on a lot of items for holiday meals and baking.  There aren't any real good deals on proteins this week but we have all stocked up when there was, haven't we?? so we can shop our freezers.

Here are my suggestions:

Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.25/16oz
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/12oz
Fresh Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Grape Tomatoes - $2.50/10oz
Honeycrisp Apples - $1.78/lb
New Crop California Navels - $ .68/lb
Pomegranates - $2/ea
Zucchini/Yellow Squash - $ .99/lb

Buy 10/Save $5 Promo:

Orowheat Bread - $2.49/loaf
Betty Crocker Cake Mixes - $ .99/ea
C&H Sugar - $1.99/4lb
Carnation Evaporated Milk - $ .89/12oz
QFC Milk - $1.29/64oz
Campbell's Cream Mushroom Soup - $ .69/ea
French's French Fried Onions - $2.49/6oz
Hunt's Tomatoes - $ .79/15oz
Swanson Broth - $ .49/14.5oz
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce - $ .99/14oz
Challenge Butter - $1.99/lb

I love all cranberry sauce but I REALLY love my sister's and I'm hoping that she will make it this Thanksgiving.  The plan is for her to arrive on Saturday before Thanksgiving to help me out after my hip surgery.  She mentioned that she would cook us up a turkey dinner but if things go as well as I hope with my new hip, we might bundle up and head to my son's house for their big blowout dinner, complete with Miss AslynGrace, my great granddaughter.  Check her out watching "Christmas Vacation" with Grandpa.  We start them out young in our family.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Costco Coupons 10/30 - 11/20/2013

Well, here we go again.  I'm nothing if not an optimist.  I thought that this amaryllis bulb was done for after sitting out on the deck all summer and doing absolutely nothing.  I took the bulb out of its pot and inspected it only to find that it was all soft and squishy, so I just left it laying on a shelf in my mini- greenhouse, intending to throw it into the compost.  Imagine my surprise when I found this when I was cleaning out the greenhouse the other day!!

I rummaged around and found its old pot and filled it with Miracle Gro potting soil, being careful to leave the top third of the bulb above the dirt.  It is now taking a short vacation in the dark and cool recesses of my walk-in closet.  I figure that when I get home from my hip surgery it should be about ready to do its thing.  At that time I will water thoroughly and hit it with a good jolt of Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer and let it sit in the sunniest place in my living room...and hope for the best.  After all, this bulb is four years old, only blooming its second year of life.

Anyway, here is my list of interesting coupons for November:

6 QT CrockPot - $10 (with additional $5 mail in rebate)
FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System - $30
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer - $60
Swanson Chicken Broth - $2.30
Gain Detergent - $4.50
Palmolive - $2
Pine Sol - $2.50
Finish Powerball Tabs - $3.30
Neutrogena Rainbath - $4
Colgate Optic White Toothpaste - $4
Halls Cough Drops - $2.50

The Bradster and I were down at Costco today and I took advantage of the broth, Gain, and Palmolive.  I've been stocking the larder for my hip rehab since I probably won't feel like traipsing the isles of Costco for a while, but I'm pretty sure that the critters will still want to eat and use the cat box.

I checked out the CrockPots and they are pretty fancy looking, so if you need one, or, another one, take a look.  It is even a better deal with the mail in rebate. 

I have two CrockPots and I couldn't keep house without them.  The person that came up with that idea really had some smarts.  Must have been a woman...actually, I just did a quick search.  Irving Naxon dreamed up the idea, which he got from listening to his Jewish grandmother tell of her days back in the shtetl in Lithuania.  He was bought out by the Rival Company in 1970 and the rest is history.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall Photo Dump 11/2

Last night the Bradster and I attended Ray Serebrin's retirement party, as well as everybody else in the county - or so it seemed.  The party was held in the barn at the Olympic Musical Festival site just out of Quilcene and it was a great party with good people, food, and drinks, of course.  Ray is leaving our precious library in the very capable hands of Meredith Wagner who has been with the library for about 25 years or so.  Knowing Mer like I do, I know that she is going to be great as library director. 

Ray has threatened promised that he will return every Thursday for his reading, viewing, and listening materials before heading out for his Rotary meeting and afternoon radio gig because we have the best library around.  I can vouch for that since my library card is the most important card in my wallet.

Okay - let's take a look at the photos. 

When I add a plant or shrub to my flowerbeds I'm always thinking about how they will look in the fall after all the crazy gorgeous blooming is over.  The dahlias in the veggie garden froze to death last week when we had a 30 degree night but the two out front, which are protected by the house, are still going at it.  I love this fall colored yellow beauty with pinkish tips pictured above.

As the weeks go by the sedums just get deeper in color and more beautiful.  My sedums came from the Lucia homestead and I have shared them around with my gardening friends.  Remember:  when your sedums get large and want to flop in the middle, prune in June by a third, and they won't be ugly come fall.  Scary idea, I know.  Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Miss PeggyRae for this tip.

I'm a lover of barberries - you know those prickly shrubs that you see along highway dividers??  There are several varieties and colors to choose from and they are bullet proof and really add something to the garden.  And they have little bright red berries for the birds.

I'm not real sure what to do with this smoke bush.  My friend, Miss Cassie, suggested it and I think it is lovely but I'm going to have to do some research on getting the best from it.  If anyone has ideas, feel free to let me know.

Remember my giant hostas from Jurassic Park??  In the fall they turn this gorgeous color then melt down into the ground for winter.  I clean them up and compost the leftovers and spread mulch over where they used to be.  In the spring they rear their little heads and start over again.  I douse them really well with Sluggo when they start to peek out of their winter bed because the slugs and snails love them.

I tried to get this shot with the hydrangea in the background so you could see how beautiful the blueberry bushes get in the fall before they drop their leaves.

This was a surprise!!  I was looking for DC, the cat, yesterday and spotted these.  I had a pot of them on my front porch last spring.  When they got all yellow and ugly looking I dug a whole in the back of the flowerbed and threw them in because I didn't want to compost them, and then forgot about them.  Who knew that they would come back??  Mrs CutiePie says she has some from her father-in-law's garden that she has had since he passed away and they just keep coming back.

What is it, you ask??  Remember that I had that big sunflower in my garden this year that came from God, or the birds??  When I was cleaning up that bed I cut the stalk about two feet down and hung it in the tree.  As you can see the birds have been at it.  In the past when I used to grow a lot of these big boys, I would hang the heads in the shed and then feed them out all winter.

And here we are at the end of garden season.  This is my old workhorse composter which I just keep piling more on.  The pile actually goes down about a half foot every week.  My double composter is full on one side and I'm working on the other.  I give them a turn every time I empty my inside compost bucket and they make beautiful black gold.


Turn your clocks back tonight before you go to bed or you will be early for your seat down at the Valley for the 1:00 Seahawk game tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

QFC Grocery List 10/30

I knew that things had changed for me when I started looking through the clothes at Hadlock Building Supply.  Miss MoneyPenny used to buy her clothes at Nordstrom back in the good ol' days when the money was flowing freely, thanks to her favorite ex-husband.  These days I'm waiting for payday so I can purchase the above Carhartt hoodie complete with logo.  My grandson, the plumber, wears a lot of Carhartt so I know that I will be stylin'.

They also had some good looking tees like this one which will work well in my present wardrobe of hoodies and jeans with a few bibs thrown in:

Okay - let's take a look at the QFC ad for this week.  Miss MaggieMay and I were talking about meatloaf the other day.  I only like meatloaf in sandwich form and I don't care for meatballs, either, but I love burgers.  Go figure that one out.  Anyway, ground beef is on sale for $2.49 a pound but you have to buy the three pound roll which is not a problem.

When I get it home, I divide it up into a two pound piece and the rest gets shaped into patties for the grill.  Then into the freezer for later use if I'm not gonna make meatloaf right then.  No problem at all.  Buy more if you are feeding a family with kids.

Here are the highlights this week:

La Brea Bakery French Baguette - $1.99/loaf (bread crumbs when stale)
Orowheat Bread - $2.50/loaf
Spice Islands Spices - 50% off
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz or 12ct
La Victoria Salsa - $2/16oz
QFC Large Eggs - $1.99/18ct
Draper Valley Whole Chicken - $ .88/lb (stockup for the freezer price)
Lean Ground Beef - $2.49/lb
Celery - $ .68/lb
Fuji/Braeburn Apples - $ .99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine $ .99/lb
Mayan Sweet Onions - $ .99/lb

I make a fabulous meatloaf and I got the recipe off the Onion Soup Mix box back in the 70s and it has never let me down.  I added my own touch which is a glaze that really makes a tasty loaf.  Here is the recipe straight from the box with my glaze:

2lb ground beef
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I have used oatmeal with success)
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3cup ketchup
I also add a good jolt of Worcestershire

Get in there with your hands and give it a good mix.  Shape it into a loaf and bake at 350 until done.  The recipe says one hour but I usually give it 30 minutes more and keep an eye on it.

30 minutes before it is done mix up this glaze and paint the top of the loaf liberally:

1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar

This is really good the next day after it has set up.  Grill some slices with cheese and make a delicious sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on sourdough.  Yum!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

2013 Garden WrapUp & Critique

Isn't this a cool picture??  I found this in a group of like minded photos on the web and this one really tells it like it is.  We have been stuck in this Puget Sound Stagnation forever and I'm starting to get sick of it.  My favorite ex-husband used to call days like this suicide gray and he was right for once.

The first thing that I want to say about this garden year is that it was spectacular!!  The best I've seen since I left Portland and the Willamette Valley.  I don't know what to tell you if you had a lousy garden this year because everything that you need for success was in place - lots of sun and warm temperatures.

Even though my hip blew out in June and I wasn't able to keep up with the weeding my garden was still fantastic because of our fabulous summer.  I've taken some notes and thought I would share my successes and failures and what I plan to do next year. 

I'm a big fan of Territorial Seeds because these guys grow their stuff in Cottage Grove, Oregon, so they are always looking for seeds that do well in the Pacific Northwest.  Be sure and request their catalog for garden dreaming and planning in the winter.  I also really do well with starts from Red Dog Farm which is just next door in Chimacum.

Lettuce:  I like to start my garden year off with starts from Red Dog and then plant seeds at the same time - kind of like a jumpstart.  This year I planted seeds of New Red Fire and Tom Thumb Butterhead and was happy that they didn't bolt in the heat.  Next year I'm going to add Salad Bowl and Drunken Woman Frizzyhead just for the name alone.

Beets:  This year I grew starts from RD and was quite happy with them but next year I'm going to try Boro seeds.  Territorial says that this variety is good for pickled beets which is the only reason I grow beets.

Tomatoes:  Again these came from RD and it was a banner tomato year.  The varieties that I grew were Sungold, Glacier, Siletz, and Koralik.  The last three were new to me and I would recommend them.

Onions:  Walla Wallas, red onions, shallots, sweet white onions - all from RD.  This is the second year for me with the onions and I'm really hooked.  Who knew that they were so easy to grow and delicious right out of the garden??

Zucchini:  Starts from RD that did well but I'm going to try them from seed next year.  I'm looking at Patio Star from Territorial because they are bred for containers and I grow zucchinis in an old wheel barrow.

Cucumbers:  Starts from QFC that did well in their big pot in the old lawn chair.  Again I'm thinking that I might try Patio Snacker seeds because they are bred for containers.

Potatoes:  I get these from Mr. SuperGenius, who gets them from his parents.  This year he brought me five different varieties and they are a pure joy.  These are not like potatoes in the store.  Give them a try.

Green Beans:  As always I grow Jade which is a very tasty bush bean.  Keep picking and they will keep producing enough for you and all your friends.  In fact you will get sick of them before they finally quit producing.

Radishes:  This is a true story.  I found an open envelope of Territorial French Breakfast radish seeds in the shed after my grandson, Eli, cleaned it out.  I thought what the heck and sowed them.  I had wonderful radishes and those seeds were at least five years old.  I will plant them (new seeds) again next year along with a variety called Cherry Belle.

Herbs:  I had good luck with Profumo (basil) this year from seed.  This was my first year from seed and I am much happier than with starts.  I also grew Long Island Mammoth dill and Santo Coriander cilantro which also exceeded my expectations.  Herbs just do better from seed, in my opinion.

Berries:  First year for everbearing strawberries and raspberries (not everbearing) and I was thrilled with the harvest.  I had a good crop of blueberries but when I went out to pick them they were all gone.  I suspect the little shits boys that like to play catch in my yard.

Flowers:  I like to grow flowers in the veggie garden because I believe that they encourage bees and, of course, they add beauty.  This year I grew Teddy Bear sunflowers and they are still blooming.  I also grew California Giant Mix zinnias and I will again next year because they are real beauties.  Next year I want to try out Waooh and Solar Chocolate Gold sunflowers, along with the Teddy Bears.

The Failures!!  Peppers - I got my starts at QFC and they really flourished but as soon as they outgrew the mini greenhouse and got planted in the garden they started to go downhill and turn black.  If I can't grow them in a summer like we had I better give up on them.  My other failure was with broccoli starts.  They immediately turned yellow (what the slugs didn't get) and bolted.

I know that this seems like a lot of garden but it really isn't.  I have two 4x12 beds and one 3x5 for the veggies.  I also plant the big old wheel barrow and the cucumber pot.  I grow the strawberries in a 5x5 pyramid and the raspberries in a 2x8 bed.  I used to have five blueberry bushes in the back yard but had to move them after Poppy took out three of them when I first got her.  They now live in the east facing flower bed and do very well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

QFC Grocery List 10/23

I was hoping that this spider web would show up better in this shot but Miss MoneyPenny is not the world's best photographer...and this was the best of five shots.  Our fall mornings and most days for that matter have been blanketed in fog and coolish temps which is giving the beautiful begonia a real hard time:

I figure she has a week, maybe two weeks tops, before she winters out in the compost.  I don't overwinter my begonias because I don't really have a place big enough for them.  They are too big to come inside and for my mini greenhouse.  The garden shed is too cold and besides I like to try out new colors and varieties every year.

I've been getting the place ready for winter.  I've had the roof cleaned and the gutters swabbed out.  I changed out the battery in the smoke detector and I had the heat pump serviced.  I turned the mattress and bought a new set of flannel sheets. 

I'm in the process of taking down the veggie gardens.  I have one completely ready and one almost done.  I started on the last one this morning but got caught up in turning the compost in my old composter and digging out a wheel barrow full of the black gold.  That stuff is amazing!!  And free!!

Next week I will take my car up to the Car Wash in Port Townsend and have them give it a good going over.  It costs about $45, including tip, and they also do the windows.  I will also make an appointment at Satch Works for a winter service, making sure I get new window wipers.  I had my tires rotated this summer at Costco.  When you buy your tires there you get free rotations and I take advantage of that while I do my shopping.  My dear old dad, who was a tire man, said that rotating your tires is important, so I do it.

On to the ad - QFC has a decent one this week.  Pork roast is going for $1.79 a pound and there are all kinds of things that you can do with it.  The Know-It-Alls served it for our Supper Club and I believe they roasted it covered with a green salsa for a Latin flair.  It was delicious!!

Here are the highlights:

Orowheat Bread - $2.50/loaf
Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz or 10ct singles
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream - 3 for $10/14oz
Colgate Toothpaste - $1/ea 4.6oz
Pork Shoulder Roast - $1.79/lb
Beef Flank Steaks - $4.99/lb
Asparagus - $2.99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1/ea
Cucumbers/Green Peppers - $ .59/ea
Gala, Jonagold Apples - $1/lb
Pears - $1/lb
Pineapple - $1.99/ea
Pomegranates - $2.50/ea

I love the idea of pomegranates in the fall but the eatin' is something else again.  What a mess!!  I think that it is best to put on a big bib and go outside and have at it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Save Money on Groceries - Part 2 (The Hard Part)

Now you know how Miss MoneyPenny loves graphs.  This is a good one from the folks at NRDC and it really tells it like it is but these are just averages which means that some of us waste a lot less and some of us waste a lot more.  In fact studies show that the average family of four wastes over $2000 in food per year!!  Scary, isn't it??

So it is all about not wasting the groceries that we spend gobs of money on once we get home and have dragged into the house.  Our culture has gotten away from good stewardship when it comes to food, which is another scary thought if you think about it.  Big parts of the world do not have enough to eat and here we are wasting it.

I know that I'm going to hear groans about how we just don't have enough time to plan and manage our food dollars.  If you have plenty of money to waste - read no further but if you would rather spend that $2000+ on something fun, stick with me.

Of course planning is the biggie here and those of us with a smartphone or pen and paper handy have no excuse.  This is when you can set the stage for the most money saving.  Decide what meals you are going to have for the week, or more if you are ambitious, taking into account what is in your pantry, in your freezer, and in your garden.  Shop your house first, then check out the weekly ads noting what is on sale and in season and make your list.

Really most of us only have about 10 to 15 main dishes that we regularly prepare. And who doesn't live with a picky eatin' kid or husband??  We are not living with Guy Fieri after all so most of us are just cooking up stews and pastas with some chicken thrown into the mix.  Just regular food.

Since we are pretty much cooking these 10 main dishes, with some seasonal meals, we know what we need to have on hand, so stock up when they are on sale.  When you get them home take care to use up the perishables first and freeze what you can for later. 

Miss MoneyPenny thinks that it is smart to cook with an eye for leftovers.  If your family doesn't like leftovers, get rid of them, the family, I mean.  If you decide to keep the family, change up that roast chicken and make chicken enchiladas a couple days later.  I have yet to see any husband turn up his nose at Mexican food.  There is very little in a leftover that won't live again deliciously in an omelet, pasta, or pizza.  Be creative.  There are several sites on the web to help you with leftover ingredients.  Try for one.

If you know that you aren't going to be able to eat your leftovers, freeze them like an individual TV dinner.  All your hungry teenager has to do is grab and nuke when he gets home from soccer practice.  Kind of like a fast food restaurant in your freezer.

So it is all about the planning.  This is a very good habit to reach back and borrow from our Grandmothers and like all habits, it takes a while before it becomes second nature.  You only have to be as efficient as you want here, depending on how much money you want to save, so go easy on yourself.

Food waste update:

Now that I've been going on and on about food waste, check mine out.  The picture doesn't do the slime justice.  This is the last of a bag of cole slaw mix that I picked up for $2.50 on sale.  I love cole slaw and knew it was there and I had plans for it.  I was going to mix it with a chopped apple, celery, nuts, and blue cheese and have it for lunch.  Instead it went straight to the compost.

Cha Ching:  $ .63

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 10/16

This is the last of my beautiful summer lettuce along with some purple onions.  From now on I will be getting my lettuce at Chimacum Corner which is grown locally.  After my spring lettuces all started to bolt during the hot weather this summer I decided to try summer lettuces from Territorial seeds and was pleasantly surprised at how well they did.

Here are my suggestions from the grocery ad this week:

Orowheat Bread - $2.50/loaf
Spice Island Spices - 50% off
Fage Greek Yogurt - $2.50/17.6oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.99/24oz
USDA Boneless New York Steak - $5.99/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Celery - $ .68/lb
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea
Mayan Sweet Onions - $1/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Sweet Tango, Ambrosia, Honeycrisp Apples - $1.88/lb

I'm off to Costco this morning to get a new smartphone.  I've been ready for a new upgrade for about a year but have been putting it off until my charger no longer charges.  GRRRRRRR!!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photo Dump 10/14

I thought I would share a few more of the pictures from my great granddaughter's first birthday party.  Again we have the little princess thrilled with the box.  This box actually has windows drawn on the sides which you can just barely make out in this shot.

Mommy and Daddy looking pretty and handsome, in that order.  They put this picture on their Thank You card.  Cool idea.

These were some seriously tasty cupcakes.  They had lemon curd in the middle and butter cream frosting.  The cake in the upper right is sitting there not having a clue what was going to happen to it at the hands of a one year old.

Mommy's beautiful friends.  I know for sure that the one in the middle has been her friend since about birth.

I told you that things got interesting as the party wore on.  Before it was a fashionable skirt this flounce was on the highchair.

My friend, Miss Cassie, came over and did a great job of mercy weeding for me.  Having a bum hip doesn't work very well with crouching.

My hydrangea did not bloom on the top!!  What is that all about??

I love this hardy fuchsia.  He comes back every spring and blooms his little heart out all summer and fall, until the first hard freeze.

I know this is kind of blurry but I was trying to take this shot while trying to keep Poppy from getting it.  Isn't this the most perfect of little bitty frogs that Miss Cassie found in the flowerbed??  It is on her wrist and Cassie is pretty itty bitty herself.

Speaking of itty bitty - I noticed this little traveler on the side of the dahlia bouquet.  I carefully carried him out and put him in with the sage and oregano.  I know.  I know.  I battle slugs and snails so seriously in the spring that I buy my Sluggo at Costco.

Poppy loves warm blankets just out of the dryer.

Somehow she gets that big heavy lid off so she can dig in the compost.  It scares me to think what she might be after.

The little Teddy Bear sunflowers blooming away with the last of the onions.

The dahlias were not happy with the 32 degrees last night but they are still blooming.

I'm very serious about the red maple's leaves.  They make fabulous mulch and they add that "brown" that we are always looking for in our compost.  And the best part - they are free!!

Come on, admit it, you had one of these back in the day.  My son, the plumber, got me this one for Christmas back in the 90s when I told him how much I used to enjoy mine.  All you have to do is replace the bulb when it quits doing its thing.  I wonder how many get tossed??  I know my old one went to the dump in Reedsport, Oregon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October - the Best Month to Buy...

I did it!!  I cleaned off the table and it is still clean but only because the Bradster is coming over for lunch.  After that...who knows??

This is the first morning of Fall that I wanted a bowl of oatmeal instead of my usual beloved Strawberry Special K.  I'm sure one of the reasons is that I'm not getting very many berries now, although, the raspberry patch has lots of green berries that will probably never ripen in these shorter days and cooler temps.

Baking season is just about to get going so we should start seeing sales on those kind of ingredients.  I've already seen bargains on butter.  A cookie that isn't made with butter is a scary thing indeed.  Remember that butter freezes well so you can stock up.

Here is the list that you should start seeing good deals on:

Canned Foods
Large Appliances
Air Conditioners
Trees, Shrubs, Bulbs
Lawn Movers
Smoke Detectors

Seasonal produce:

Apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, chard, cranberries, lemons, parsnips, pears, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, turnips, yams.

Miss MaggieMay and I are waiting for Costco to put out their fresh cut-up butternut squash.  This stuff is seriously good roasted in a hot oven and then made into soup.  I agree with MMM that if I had to peel and cut it up myself (complete with emergency room visit for knife cuts) it probably wouldn't get eaten in my house.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 10/9

Yesterday Miss MaggieMay and I went to see the new Ron Howard movie Rush and it was really just that - an exciting rush.  This is the real life story of the competition of two Formula One drivers back in the 70s.  If you love racing, and I do, and even if you don't, Ron Howard does a wonderful job getting to the real core of the sport.  These guys are just plain and simple crazy thrill seekers.  My favorite ex-husband did some stock car racing in the 90s so I know of what I speak.

Before the movie, we stopped at one of our favorite places to eat, Snug Harbor CafĂ© in Port Ludlow.  Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny really hates to put down her hard cold cash for restaurant food that isn't better than what she can do at home, so Snug Harbor is a welcome addition to dining out. 

This is cafe food done carefully and with pride.  All of the bread products are homemade and totally delicious including the hamburger buns and their fries are amazing.  There is a daily special and homemade soup all served up by a really good waitress.  Snug Harbor serves breakfast (very good), lunch, and dinner, and in good weather you can sit out on the deck.

I did not need to eat dinner after this most perfect of cheeseburgers.  The meat is fresh organic grassfed beef and is hand shaped for each order.  I always wonder about those frozen hockey pucks that most restaurants serve up.

Okay - let's look at the QFC ad and see if we can find some real food for a good price, always looking for on sale and in season.

Orowheat Bread - $2.50/loaf
Tully's Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.99/24oz (I put CC in my smoothies for protein)
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Tillamook Butter - $2/pound
Pork Shoulder Roast - $1.79/lb
USDA Chuck Roast - 50% off
Fresh Rockfish - $5.99/lb
Asparagus - $1.99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Cucumbers/Green Bell Peppers - $ .68/ea
Honeycrisp Apples - $2.99/lb
Mayan Sweet Onions - $ .99/lb
Organic Fuji/Gala Apples - $1.99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $ .99/lb


Time for your flu shot.  I got mine yesterday while I was at my doctor's office but they are available everywhere this year.  Getting the flu is a rotten waste of time and money.  The last time I got the flu I worried that I was gonna die but every since I started getting the shot I've been flu free.  Knock on wood.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Costco Coupons 10/3/2013 - 10/27/2013

Miss MoneyPenny never thought that she would have a table that looks like this.  The sad thing is it usually looks like this, sometimes even worse.  The only time it gets cleaned off is when company is coming.  I thought that if I posted this picture I would be shamed into keeping it tidy.  Who knows??  It worked really well with my food waste problem.

Instead of cleaning house I was outside raking leaves and slowly getting the garden put to bed.  I deadheaded the zinnias and dahlias hoping to get more blooms before they get frozen to death and I planted my first crop of garlic.  I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ladies from my knitting group gave me some garlic from Italy.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Last week while I was at Costco I picked up a new set of flannel sheets.  I use flannel all year long because I love the way it feels.  This is my third set of Costco flannels and this one seems even more luxurious than the others and you can't beat the price of $29.99 for a set of queens.

The Costco coupons are exceptionally good this month.  Here are the highlights:

Keurig Platinum Brewer - $25
Vizio 80" TV - $600 (yes, really)
Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips - $2
Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chips - $2.50
Kleenex - $3.50
Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner - $2
Tide with Downey - $6.50
Kirkland Signature Diapers - $5
Huggies Pull-Ups - $6
Crest Toothpaste - $4
Dove Beauty Bars - $3.25
Crest 3D WhiteStrips - $10
Brita Pitcher/Filters - $8
LED Motion Activated Security Light - $10
Sonicare Replacement Brush Heads - $10
Cottonelle Flushable Wipes - $3

Remember if you use Verizon that Costco is the best place to get your phone.  And if you need tires there is a $70 coupon for Michelins this month.

At checkout just show them the coupons on your smartphone or show them your coupon booklet.  No more clipping coupons and leaving them on the kitchen counter. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 10/2

My sister, Miss SmartyPants, sent along some new shots of her sunflowers.  Pretty amazing!!  I happen to know that she owns a beautiful hand thrown pot with sunflowers painted on it that she bought just for sunflower bouquets.

This is how they looked a couple of days later, after the big storm.  Good thing she took pictures before the wind hit.

You would think that Mother Nature would appreciate my sister's offer of sunflowers and spare them, although it looks like the little Teddy Bears in the front did okay.

Okay, let's look at this week's ad.  QFC is running whole chickens at $ .99 a pound so if you didn't stock up a couple weeks ago, grab a couple for the freezer.  It makes me feel secure to have bags of frozen cooked chicken at the ready for soups and other recipes.

Here are the highlights:

QFC Large Eggs - $1.50/doz
Foster Farms Whole Chickens - $ .99/lb
Fresh Northwest Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild Alaska Coho - $9.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Bartlett/Red Pears - $ .99/lb
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea
Gala Apples - $ .99/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ ,99/ea
Mini Peeled Carrots - $ .99/16oz bag
Roma Tomatoes - $ .99/lb

Since it is the beginning of the month I went to the QFC website and downloaded the few coupons that I use to my loyalty card.  Almost all of the coupons are for heavily processed food items so there isn't much there for me but I did click on the one for $2 off Tide.  The trick is remembering what I downloaded or where I put the printout.