Wednesday, March 26, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 3/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

QFC Grocery List 3/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the highlights:

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

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Peasy Fridge Clean-Out Curry

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

I chopped up an onion and three garlic cloves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the basic recipe:

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

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


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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Things That I Only Buy at Costco

I found these bright little pansies up in the garden section of Hadlock Building Supply the other day and finally got them in the pot.  My photography doesn't do them justice but they are neon orange and neon purple.  This should brighten up the neighborhood once they get going.  Sometimes I think that I must have come from the gypsies with all my wild color combinations and love of dangley jewelery.

Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny loves Costco.  Over the years I've gone on and on about what careful shopping at Costco can do to help the budget.  I know this to be true from my own experience but "careful shopping" are the key words here.  Without a plan and a list you could shoot big holes in your budget and I used to do just that.  Now I shop with a list, coupons on my smartphone, and a set budget for that trip.

This list is just part of what I only buy at Costco but I didn't want to go all crazy on you, so these are the biggies.

1.  Tires (with the coupon)
2.  Smartphone (with the coupon)
3.  Sheets - regular and flannel
4.  Purrfect Cat Litter (screaming deal but 35 pounds)
5.  Kirkland Signature Dog & Cat Food
6.  Friskies Canned Cat Food
7.  Olive Oil
8.  Nuts
9.  Oatmeal
10.  Kirkland Signature Generic Allergy Meds
11.  Cetaphil Products
12.  Toothpaste
13.  Tuna
14.  Toilet Paper
15.  Bleach
16.  Brita Filters
17.  Sonicare Brushes
18.  Gain or Tide
19.  Eye Drops
20.  Kirkland Body Wash

This list is forever growing and evolving depending on what works in my household of one human.  I have a real hard time trying to get through the produce on my own before it goes to the dark side but sometimes will split with Miss MaggieMae. I usually pick up the 64oz size of Coffee Mate and a rotisserie chicken if I don't have any cooked at home.


DogFoodAdvisor gave Kirkland Signature dry dog food four out of five stars.  I feed my doggers the salmon and sweet potato blend and there has been no throwing up or diarrhea and their coats are beautiful - especially Poppy.  That little Boston "Terror" just glows because her coat is so shiny.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 3/12

I was talking to my friend, Miss Theresa from down Portland way this morning and we both agreed that today was a perfect day to break out the Sluggo.  It seems early but I have spotted a few snails travelling up the side of my house getting ready to leave their icky trails of snail poop.  The best way that I have figured to control them is to completely Sluggo the whole diameter of the house and gardens in the spring.  This works really well.

As you can imagine I go through a lot of Sluggo so I buy mine at Costco which means a big giant jug but I usually go through at least one a gardening season.  Also, I buy my garden gloves at Costco.  My daughter-in-law, Miss PeggyRae, turned me onto this idea.  If I remember right you get six pairs in the package - all bright colors so if you lay them down, you can easily spot them.  I keep my gloves in the cabinet by the back door so they are quick to find.  When they are dirty I just throw them in with the towels and dry them on the towel rack with my handmade socks.

Next Monday is St. Patrick's day so QFC has all the corned beef fixings on sale this week.  They are also running the deal where you buy three boxes of General Mills cereal for $2.49 each, you get a free gallon of milk.

Here are my suggestions for "real food" this week:

Irish Soda Bread - $2.49/loaf
Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Dannon Yogurt - $1/ea 5.3oz
Darigold Butter - $2.50/lb
Boneless Bottom Round Beef Roast - BOGO
Corned Beef Brisket - $2.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb (note price increase)
Pears - $ .99/lb
Asparagus - $1.68/lb
Green Beans - $1.99/lb
Green Cabbage - $ .58/lb
Jazz Apples - $1.99/lb
Red or Green Leaf Lettuce or Romaine - $1.50/bunch
Red or Yukon Gold Potatoes - $ .99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb

Readers of Miss MoneyPenny know that one of her big disaster dinner parties involved corned beef that was so salty that it was not edible.  Really!!  But we did drink a lot of beer to make up for it.  Now I cook my corned beef and all the stuff that goes with it in a cooking bag and everything comes out yummy and hardly any mess or boiled cabbage smell in the house.


This week QFC has all Washington wines on sale and if you buy six, you get 15% off, so stock up.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Costco Coupons 3/6/14 - 3/30/14

This morning I planted rows of spinach, beets, lettuce, and radishes.  It was so windy that it felt like it was going to blow my hair off but that is good because supposedly there is rain coming to water in my seeds.  I also mixed up my pink lug with manure and compost and spread it on the strawberry patch.

While I was planting I noticed this lone crocus in the middle of garden #1.  I have never planted crocuses (sp?) in my veggie beds, or even for that matter, this side of the fence.  He is about twice the size of the ones in my flower beds.  Go figure.

Anyway, Costco has some good coupons this month.  I want to mention that they are offering coupons for name brand allergy meds and Kirkland Signature generics.  If you are bothered with springtime allergies, as I am, the KS brand is a screaming deal and they work great.  They are offering a generic for every name brand allergy pill out there.  If you can't tell what is what, ask the friendly people in the pharmacy to help you.

Here are what I consider to be the highlights this month:

Best Foods Mayonnaise - $2
Swanson Chicken Broth - $2.75
Mini BabyBel Cheese - $2.50
Marie Callendar's Pot Pies - $3
Iam's Dog Food - $10
Palmolive - $2
Pine Sol - $2.50
Crest Complete Xtra Whitening +Scope Toothpaste - $4
Kirkland Signature Supreme Diapers - $5
Solar Powered LED Accent/Security Lights - $10
Royal 16-sheet Shredder - $20
Brita Pitcher and Filters - $8
Cascade Complete Action Pacs - $3

Isn't is cool that we don't have to cut coupons at Costco anymore??  I just flash the app on my phone and that is it.  Also, check your latest Costco American Express bill because there will be a check on the last page.  I consider this free money because I don't have to do anything different than what I always do to get the money.  No hoops to jump through.  I just use my card.  How easy is that??

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 3/5

Check out my pretty bouquet!!  Instead of buying my Territorial seeds from the local garden center this year I decided to order direct for better selection.  I placed my on-line order on Thursday and received my little Christmas package on Monday - which is pretty fast.  The shipping and handling was $7.50 which seems a little high but the service was great and the shipping bag is biodegradable.  Says so right on the bag.

I've been cleaning out my strawberry patch this week.  Last fall I mulched the whole thing with the small leaves from my Red Maple.  Nothing fancy.  I just dumped them on and called it good.  I was worried about whether my berry plants would survive the brutal cold that we have had this winter but the leaf blanket worked like a charm.  I didn't lose one plant and there are several more shooting up all over the place.  Once I've got the patch cleaned up I'm going to spread a mixture of my compost and steer manure.  That should do it.

Next month the CutiePies will be welcoming their first child, Cooper.  Look at what his grannies did to his room.  Just beautiful!!  This will be one well-loved little boy and that includes Miss MoneyPenny.

Okay - let's take a look at the ad this week.  Not bad.  QFC is having a three day sale within their normal sale and I will be stocking up on bark and soil at 4 for $10.

Here are the highlights:

Franz Bread - $2.50/loaf
Spice Island Spices - 33% off
Gevalia Coffee - $5.99/12oz
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Starkist Chunk Light Tuna - $1/ea
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
C&W or Birdseye Frozen Veggies - 3 for $5/ea
Boneless Chuck Roast - BOGO
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Broccoli or Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Grape Tomatoes - $3/10oz pack
Jumbo Artichokes - $2.50/ea
Large Lemons - $ .88/ea
Whole Pineapples - $2.99/ea

3 Day Sale - Friday thru Sunday:

Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese - $4.99/2lb
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.48/lb
Bark or Soil - $2.50/ea 1-2 cu fit

When my sister, Miss SmartyPants, was pregnant with her first child, Jessie Lee aka Miss SarcasticPants, she had a crazy craving for artichokes.  We ate tons of them.  We just trimmed them up and boiled them upside down until they were done.  When they were cool we ripped off the leaves (?) and dipped them in lemon mayonnaise.  Mush tastier than lemon butter, in my opinion.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Get the Most From Your Roast

Miss MoneyPenny was doing some research on predicted food prices for 2014.  As usual they are on the rise mainly due to drought and dwindling beef herds.  Although California has been experiencing flooding this past week it probably won't do much for the veggies but it could help with the snow pack down there, which bodes well for future crops.

So - you can look for higher prices on veggies, fruits, beef, bread, cereal, dairy, tuna, and shock!! chocolate!!  Personally I will be cutting somewhere else rather than give up the sacred Vitamin CH.

As far as the produce goes, I grow a lot of my own and things are getting ready to ramp up around the MoneyPenny household.  In fact I put in my seed order with Territorial Seeds last week.  I was telling my sister, Miss SmartyPants, that my total for the seeds came close to $50.  She informed me that she buys her sunflower seeds by the pound!!  Of course she does.  Check them out here

In an earlier post, I told you that I took advantage of the BOGO on beef roast.  On Saturday I fired up my Crock Pot.  This is how I cooked my roast:

1/2 pack onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Worcestershire Sauce
1 bunch of whole carrots, peeled if hairy

Place the carrots lengthwise in the cooker with the roast on top.  Mix the soups with a couple of healthy doses of Worcestershire.  When I rinse the mushroom soup can I add the water to the mix.  Pour this over your roast.  Put the lid on and cook on low for 8 hours, give or take, whenever it is done.

The first night was carrots and roast.  After dinner I put all that lovely beef cooking sauce, along with the leftover carrots and meat in the fridge.  The second meal was French Dip sandwiches.

This morning I removed the fat from the cooking liquid and added it to my round Crock Pot.  I chopped up the carrots and beef and added to the pot.  I also added some cut up potatoes and a small can of whole mushrooms and a little water.  I turned it to low and will have yummy stew for dinner.  The leftovers can be frozen for later.

I'm not done yet.  I took the leftover pieces of meat that were grisly and fatty and chopped them up for future doggie treats.  They love human food.

To summarize how I planned out to get the most from that roast purchase:

1.  Bought the roast on BOGO, cutting one up in chunks for the freezer and repackaging the other one also.

2.  Cooked the roast with an eye for leftovers.

3. Used every part of the roast from meat to cooking liquid, getting several meals out of a 3 pound roast.

4. Saved the grisly pieces for the dogs rather that throwing it away.

In the past when I've been short of time and something needed to be done with the roast before it got away from me in the fridge,  I've just chopped everything up and threw them together and froze them.  Just thaw and add potatoes, or whatever you like, and cook in the Crock Pot or on the stove or even in the oven.  Very yummy either way.