Wednesday, May 29, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 5/29

I don't know who thinks this stuff up but today is National Learn About Composting Day.  I found this graphic that shows how easy it is to make black gold.  This is not an exact science like you have been led to believe and are probably scared off, thinking that you don't have any browns (me).

Basically all you do is decide what kind of vehicle you are going to compost in.  I have a kitchen composter that you feed in the top and get the finished compost out the bottom.  Works like a charm.  I also have a new double barrel composter which is turning out pretty good looking compost.  But you don't need anything fancy.  Wire bins work great.  I've actually seen great big piles of compost under tarps that produce good stuff, too.

Once you have decided on your method all you do is start adding coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, veggie and fruit peels, egg shells - the list is endless.  Just no meat or dairy.  For the brown I add leaves, weeds, plant prunings, and used dirt from the deck pots.  Occasionally I will throw in a small bag of chicken manure just to jazz things up.  If it looks dry, I spray it down with the hose.  Turning it adds air which speeds things up but I've been known not to bother.  That's it!!  Easy peasy!!  Have at it.

Okay, let's go shopping for food.  QFC has a decent ad this week with some nice produce selections and fresh halibut going for $14.99 a pound.

Here are my suggestions:

Orowheat Bread - $2.50/loaf
Private Selection Spices - $2.49/ea
Seattle's Best Coffee - $5.99/12oz
Rosarita Refried Beans - $1/16oz can
Chobani Greek Yogurt - $1/6oz
QFC Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Red, Green Leaf, Romaine or Boston - $1.25/head
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $1.49/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1/ea
English Cukes - $1/ea
Driscoll's Blueberries - $3.88/18oz
Red Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.50/lb
Vidalia Sweet Onions $1/lb
Certified Angus New York Strip - $6.99/lb
Fresh Halibut - $14.99/lb
Crest Toothpaste - $1/ea
Sun Tea Jar - $4.99

I checked out the tea jars and they are glass.  Making sun tea is really a snap.  Fill up your gallon jug and add 6 to 8 tea bags.  Put the lid on and sit it in the sun all day.  When you bring it in the house, fish out the tea bags (for the compost) and refrigerate.  Makes surprisingly good iced tea.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fast Cars & Bald Men

I'm so happy that I've been blessed with an 18 year old grandson because he is happy to go see the type of movies that I truly love but my friends wouldn't be caught dead in.  This weekend we went to see Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious 6 and we were not disappointed.  Lots of fast cars and racing and men on steroids.  What's not to love??

Also, the Bradster and I met up with the KnowItAlls on Saturday for lunch at the Indian restaurant.  We were worried that the food would not be as good because the couple who owned the restaurant got a divorce and left town.  But guess what??  It was better!!  Does that ever happen??

We then sidled over to The Rose and got our 3D glasses so we could watch the new Star Trek movie.  I'm sure we were a vision - four 60 year old people, complete with 3D glasses (two of us had them over our regular glasses so we could see) in the balcony, thrilled with the movie.  Who knew that the hokey show that we watched in the 60s would still be so popular??  The line about Spock's bangs is priceless.

Switching gears to the garden.  I got real reckless and planted my tomatoes.  I noticed that the second planting of green beans is breaking ground so I thought it might be safe.  Our weather has been rainy and cloudy with sun breaks, but mild.  I think that this is better than warm days and cold nights for growing veggies.  Those cold nights shock the shit life out of tender plants and they have a hard time recovering even on warm days.

This year I'm growing the usual Sun Gold cherry tomatoes because you can't beat them, and one called Siletz, which is new to me.  The other new one is called Glacier.  According to Red Dog Farm, this one did very well even in that nasty summer of 2010.  I'd pretty much given up on growing big tomatoes because my season isn't long enough, but I'm gonna give it another try.

You may be wondering why I've taken a picture of a day lilly.  If you look close, you can see that is about to burst into bloom.  Isn't it early??  The trick with day lillies is deadhead, deadhead, every day and they bloom forever.

This is a shot of the dry shade garden bed.  The astilbes are starting to take off and bloom their lovely feathery flowers.  It is hard to believe that this entire bed dies down to the ground every winter.  Below is a shot of the big hosta by the back gate.  I put my slipper there so you can see how big this guy is.

Is Don Juan the most beautiful rose, or what??  And he smells wonderful.  But!! he catches everything and hates the rain.  I've been diligent with him this year and even handpick aphids.  Ick!!  He got real leggy this year and is now taller than the house.  Next February I'm taking him down to about two feet and see how that works.

I'm going down to Weight Watchers on Saturday and throwing my myself on the scales.  I gained six pounds in January when my back went out and haven't been able to lose a pound.  It feels like 60 pounds because it has made my clothes uncomfortable and I refuse to buy new ones.  I can't believe that I'm 64 years old and still dealing with weight.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 5/22

I saw this little lady at the feeders this morning and didn't have a clue who she might be.  According to my guide, this is a female Black-Headed Grosbeak and this picture doesn't really do her justice because she is a looker.  Not like her old man, of course, but better looking than most female birds.  The guide says that they migrate up from Mexico in May, and here she is.  I look forward to seeing more of her and the rest of her tribe.

Are you ready for the long holiday weekend??  Snuck up on me this year but I welcome it - the first weekend of our summer season and high gas prices.  I noticed that they are over $4 a gallon when I was in town today.  That is just not nice.  Raise the price of gas just when it is time to go on vacation.  Very mean spirited.

Anyway, QFC has a decent ad this week, with lots of things for grilling.  Miss MaggieMay commented on the lack of "real" food in the ads when we were on a walk today.  Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny agrees and really hates that and has made it her mission to help you find "real" food at a good price every week.  Here are my suggestions for this week:

Coffee-Mate - $3/32oz
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
QFC Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Draper Valley Split Chicken Breasts - $1.47/lb
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $3.99/lb
USDA Ribeye Steaks - $5.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $6.99/4lb (time for jam)
Organic Fuji Apples - $1.99/lb
Red Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.49/lb
Vidalia Sweet Onions - $1/lb
Green Beans - $1.99/lb

If you are grilling this weekend, the split chicken breasts are the best deal at $1.47 a pound.  My surefire way of grilling chicken is a little unorthodox but always turns out good chicken that is not burned on the outside but bloody in the middle.  I marinate it and then bake it halfway done, then throw it on the grill and start basting.  Perfect every time, and this is a biggie - no food poisoning!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Garden Photo Dump 5/20

Do you want your shrubs to be happy??  Want to water less??  Want your flowerbeds to look pretty??  I've got one word for you - MULCH!!  Chris (the Yard Barber, my neighbor) has a source for good, organic mulch and I've been having him and his helpers bring it on for about five years.  The improvement has been dramatic.  The little pink flowers peeking through are on the Bleeding Heart.  He came on later than usual this year.

This beat up stem is my clematis.  You might remember how excited I was about what I had going in the corner of the yard.  I had visions of a purple clematis spilling all over the fence and trellis, joined by the Debbie Dodd (really the Debbie Saxon) rose, all in pink, with a big stand of red Lucifers in the front.  Well, it all got taken out by the innocent looking creature below:

The renters next door have a new puppy which they let run around loose and Poppy got into a fence fight with it.  I now have the area barricaded, hoping that it will all recover.  One can hope.

In this shot of the first garden, you can see that the potatoes are coming up like crazy, along with the dahlias from last year.  The chives look much better after I dug out that huge old clump and gave it some cosmetic surgery.

This is the middle garden with two sowings of lettuce, beets, and broccoli.

The first two rows of green beans are coming up after only a week!! which is a record for me.  Usually they take two weeks before they break ground.  I'm planting another two rows today, in hopes that that will stagger the harvest, but it usually all comes on at once like gang busters no matter what I do.

I'm really excited to see how this purple pot is going to turn out.  This is my first time with a sweet potato vine - the lime green plant on the left.  In this pot I've also planted a Pinto Red geranium, Obsession Scarlet Verbena, trailing dark blue lobelia, and white Bacopa.  I used this white trailing plant for the first time last year and was very happy with it.  It blooms all summer and maintains its good looks, even when it has been accidentally dried out.

I stuck my camera up and got a shot of the begonias coming up in their pot.  I also stuck some white and dark blue lobelias up there.  This pot was crazy beautiful last summer and I'm hoping for a repeat.

I dumped and cleaned all the deck pots and put new Miracle Gro potting soil in before I planted.  Miss CutiePie gave me this idea a couple of years ago and I now swear by it.  I know it isn't organic but I don't eat my deck plants and they need all the help they can get out there on the deck.  I mix the Miracle Gro with compost and this combination is the bomb.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 5/15

I'm so happy with Mr. Dogwood.  About 10 years ago my son gave him to me for Mother's Day and I promptly planted him out in the yard, thinking that I would get a couple more to act as a screen so I wouldn't have to look at the renters next door.  He proceeded to dwindle down to a twig and never bloomed, so I moved him into the corner of the front flowerbed about five years ago.

As you can see he is deliriously happy there.  This dogwood is called Cherokee Chief and his flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummers.  I know this because a hummer was buzzing around when I took this shot.  I'm hoping to keep him from getting too big by pruning him down.  I understand that this is done in winter.

Here is a closeup of the blooms:

The QFC ad is such a yawn this week I almost skipped it but there are a couple things to pick up.  The good news is that Copper River salmon is coming soon and that means the fresh salmon season is on its way!!

My suggestions:

Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Chobani Greek Yogurt - $1/6oz
QFC Butter - $2.29/lb
QFC Large Eggs - $1/doz
Pork Shoulder Roast - $1.49/lb
Fresh Rockfish Fillets - $5.99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.25/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.50/lb

I want to mention that ebates is having their birthday celebration and several stores are at 14%, including Nordstrom, so if you need something, now is the time.  Did you know that Nordstrom always offers free shipping and returns??  Me, either, but it makes me happy.

I picked my first lettuce and was again surprised at how much better it is than store bought.  This is lettuce that overwintered after I threw some leftover seeds in the garden last fall.  I transplanted the little plants into the salad garden and they really took off.  I was worried that they would be tough and bitter.  Not the case.

This little piece is all that is left from three nice pieces of fresh halibut that Mr. CutiePie sent my way.  He gets how much I love fresh fish and remembers me.  He didn't earn the MoneyPenny Seal of Approval for nothin'.

I breaded and baked all three pieces and proceeded to wolf down the first two in one sitting.  Yesterday I made fish tacos out of half of the last piece.  The other half is going on top of my salad tonight.  What more could a person ask for??

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Costco Coupons 5/9 - 6/2/13

Happy Mother's Day everybody!! and just in time for our "normal" May weather.  I don't mind it though.  Some overcast, some sun, some rain, and high 60s.  Perfect gardening weather, in my opinion.  This week I'm going to fill up the deck pots because we should be free of frost by now.  And speaking of deck pots, check out this beautiful petunia pot from my daughter-in-law, Miss PeggyRae.  That girl never disappoints!!

So, moving on to the Costco coupons for this month.  I didn't see any real standouts this time but in keeping with my method of keeping my house stocked for the least money, there are always some decent coupons that I can use.  Remember that the coupon is for money off, not the actual price of the product.

Here are my suggestions this month:

Reynolds Wrap - $3.25
Shout - $2.50
Crest White Strips - $10
Brita Pitcher/Filters - $8
Refresh Eye Drops - $3
Kirkland Signature Fish Oil - $2.50
Tide - $2.50
Dove Bar Soap - $3.50
Cascade Action Pacs - $3

There is also a $10 rebate at under the "coupon" tab making the White Strips $19.99 - a very good price for a Costco size pack of strips.

Also, don't forget - if you need a new smartphone or tires, there are always coupons for them.  The people at the Verizon booth and Tire Shop are the best - and, no waiting in lines.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 5/8

I'm late getting the grocery basket out this week because of an unplanned visit to the hospital.  On Tuesday morning I did as much housework and laundry as I was going to do, cleaned and painted three window sills, and was headed out to work outside.

Before I went outside I talked to my sister on the phone, and when I hung up I had the absolute worst vertigo attack that I've ever had and I'm a dizzy broad, so I'm used to a little room spinning.  I was literally hanging on for dear life and felt like I was going to pass out, so I put my head between my knees and immediately got bad heartburn.  Then I burst out into crazy sweating.

I just felt terrible so asked Miss KnowItAll to take me to Urgent Care to see if they could give me something to make me feel better.  They immediately freaked out and said I need the aid car because I was having a heart attack.  I assured them that I wasn't but headed for the ER anyway.

I walked into the ER and proceeded to do some really impressive throwing up.  That did get their attention.  They were also sure I was having a heart event because my symptoms were classic for a "post-menopausal woman" - ewww!!  Who knew??  After an EKG (that was fine) and a lack of high blood pressure and any other markers, they decided I needed to stay overnight and be monitored.

So, after a day and night of EKGs and several blood draws, they turned me loose.  I was exhausted after not getting any sleep but they now know that a heart attack shows up as an enzyme in the blood, hence all the needle sticks, and some of those guys were better than others at finding a vein.

This might seem like too much information but I want to make sure that everybody knows what a heart attack can look like, especially in women.  There doesn't have to be chest pain or pain running down the arm like in men.  My symptoms were what they called "classic" and even though I didn't have a heart attack and did racked up some pretty impressive medical bills, I really enjoyed all the time I had visiting with my son, the plumber, although I felt a little guilty that he left the job site to hang out with me.

Now that I have that out of the way, let's go shopping.  They are still running the Buy 4, Save 4 promotion at QFC, so check your May P&G insert for Proctor & Gamble products that you might need.

Here are my suggestions this week:

Franz Bread - $2.50/loaf
Del Monte Vegetables - $1/can
Chobani/Oikos Greek Yogurt - $1/6oz
Darigold Butter - $2/lb
QFC Cottage Cheese - $1/16oz
Nature Made Vitamins - BOGO
USDA Choice Ribeye Steaks - $5.99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $6.99/4lb (think jam or shortcake)
Asparagus - $1.99/lb
Broccoli Crowns/Cauli - $1.49/lb
Organic Fujis - $1.99/lb

On Monday, Shane, the world's cutest handyman, came by and pounded in the posts for my raspberry beds.  This is a closeup of the plastic coated wire that I bought.  It is easier on the plants and won't cut them like wire can.

I've been trying out lawn clippings as free mulch this year.  So far it seems to be working great.  You just have to be careful to leave the crown of the plants free.  The idea is that I won't have to water so much and the mulch should help to keep the weeds down.  One can hope.

Monday, May 6, 2013

May - The Best Month to Buy...

We have been having just stellar weather around here and I have been smelling steak on the barbie almost every night from the neighbors.  I am surrounded by young people in my neighborhood who like to party and make noise.  I'm okay with that.  I was young once and I would have passed out if you had told me then that I would be the old lady of the neighborhood some day.

Since it is barbecue month you should be able to find good deals on everything related to it - from foods to equipment.  Look for sales on hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, relish, briquettes, grills, and so on.

Good sales on mattresses should start heating up around Memorial Day to make room for the new models coming in over the summer, especially in Mattress Stores.

Here is the list of what you should see on sale this month:

Patio Furniture
Slow Cookers
Vacuum Cleaners
BBQ Condiments & Products
Pet Supplies

Seasonal produce:

Sweet Vidalia Onions
New Potatoes

Garden Update:

I planted out the potatoes this weekend and set up the "tomato station" for later.  So far I've planted three kinds of onions, chard, lettuces, mustard greens, beets, and broccoli.  When it cools off this evening, I'm going to plant my first row of bush beans.  I have very good luck with Territorial's "Jade" for taste and continued harvest, but you gotta keep picking to keep them coming on.

I also potted up the begonia bulbs which had already sprouted in their bags.  This is my first year with the bulbs.  I usually just buy the little plants but Costco had a good deal on the bulbs and a good selection.  They are next to the house, under the eaves, so they should be fine if a little cold snap snaps.

Food Waste Update:

Nasty tomato!! and a cup of really old coconut milk.  These two just got away from me.  I don't have a good excuse.

Cha Ching: $2

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fun in the Dark : The Company We Keep

Taking in a film at The Rose in Port Townsend just ruins it for all the other movie houses.  The films are carefully handpicked by Rocky, a real movie connoisseur if there ever was one.  We get all the big blockbusters, of course, but we also get to see a lot of the winners from the film festivals from around the world - movies that we would normally only see in big cities.  And - get this, someone comes down and stands in the front and tells us about the movie we are going to see.

On Saturday afternoon Miss MaggieMay and I set out to spend her gift certificate from The Rose by catching the latest by Robert Redford, The Company We Keep.  This movie is both directed and starred in by him, and includes a five star supporting cast, such as Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, and Chris Cooper. Shia LaBeouf, whom I've never seen before was brilliant as the young newspaper reporter.

The Company We Keep, based on the novel by Neil Gordon, is about a group of radicals (Weather Underground) from the 60s who were against the Viet Nam war.  There was a bank robbery and a bank guard was killed.  The group split up and went separate ways with new identities, always looking over their shoulders.  After 30 years one of the members (Susan Sarandon) decides to turn herself in but is arrested before she can do so.  This sets the rest of the group in motion.

A young newspaper reporter played by Shia LaBeouf sniffs a story and starts digging.  In the process of beating the bushes he uncovers one of the group (Robert Redford) who takes off, leaving his law practice and young daughter - with the FBI hot on his trail.  I'll leave it there because I have a bad habit of giving away punchlines but you can see that things are gonna get intense.

This film deals with questions of loyalty, redemption, guilt, love, family, and principles.  All good questions when we look back at that unsettling time in our nation's history.  I remember it well.

Both MMM and I are big Robert Redford fans and really enjoyed this film.  Robert used to be beautiful back in the day but so were we.  Here is a look back:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 5/1

Welcome to my favorite month!!  I love May even if it was only 28 degrees this morning when I got up, but that is what happens when the skies are clear around here.  The weatherman is calling for splendid weather for the next several days and it couldn't have come too soon.  I am done with wintery type weather.  I even put the sun tea jar out for the first time this year and the darn thing leaks.  Usually it is the nozzle but that is not the case and the jar is glass.  Hmmm.

I went up to Hadlock Building to get my dahlia bulbs today but they don't have any, so a trip to town is in order.  I did find some tall, sturdy, green supports for them, though, and got them stuck in the ground.  While I was there I picked up a Coreopsis for a bald spot in the front of my flowerbed.  This is what it will hopefully look like when it blooms:

According to my research, this plant doesn't mind dry, lean soil after it is established, so it should be thrilled to pieces to be in my flowerbed where it will get regular water and the soil is healthy.

Okay, let's go shopping.  The ad is pretty ho-hum this week with very little in the way of produce on sale.  They are running the Buy 4/Save 4 promo, which is a lot like the Buy 5, Save 5 promo, don't ya think??

Here are my suggestions:

Franz Bread - $2.50/loaf
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Draper Valley Whole Chicken - $ .89/lb
Fresh Wild Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Red Tomatoes on the Vine - $ .99/lb
Vidalia Onions - $1/lb

Buy4/Save 4 Promo:

Tide - $4.99 50oz or powder
Duracell Batteries - $2.49/pk
Crest Whitening Toothpaste - $1.69/6-6.2oz
Pantene - $2.79/12.6oz


Don't worry about the frozen pansies in the top picture.  They popped right back.  They don't mind freezing temps - unlike petunias, geraniums, begonias, etc.  I'm still gonna hold off planting my deck pots until after the 15th, but it will be hard to resist with all this warm sunshine during the day.