Wednesday, April 30, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/30

Finally!!  Cooper was born Monday morning at 5:25 coming in at 9.5 pounds.  Probably just bypassed all of his newborn clothes but we don't care because he is so beautiful!!  I can't wait to get my hands on him.  Congrats to the CutiePies for a job well done.

Can you believe this crazy weather??  Looks like we are gonna get close to the 80s for a couple of days before turning back to our normal spring weather which is cool with a mixture of bright sunshine and black skies with hail.  Oh, yeah...and throw in some wind while we are at it.

I'm resisting planting my deck pots because they are out there in the open and will surely sulk or die once this freakish warm weather passes.  I usually wait until at least the 15th of May before I perform that risky business because it is pretty cool up here on the Peninsula until then...and even beyond.

Okay, on to the ad.  May 5th which is next Monday is Cinco de Mayo.  That came up quick.  Anyway if you are having a party you can find deals on cheese and avocados which as far as I'm concerned are the most important part of Mexican food, along with sour cream.  QFC is also having a four day sale running Thursday through Sunday with some good deals.  I hate these sales within a sale thing.  Just put it on sale, for crying out loud, or not.

These are my suggestions for this week:

Dave's Killer Bread - $3.99/loaf
Mission Flour Tortillas - $1.50/10ct
Pace Picante Sauce or Salsa - $2.50/16oz
Boneless London Broil Steak - $4.99/lb
Draper Valley Whole Chicken - $ .99/lb
Fresh Cooked NW Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild-Caught Steelhead Fillets - $8.99/lb
Anjou Pears - $ .99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/16oz
Greens - $2/bunch
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Roma Tomatoes - $ .99/lb
Sweet Vidalia Onions - $ .99/lb

4-Day Sale (Thurs - Sun)

Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz
Kroger Cheese - $4.99/2lb loaf
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Colored Bell Peppers - $ .99/ea
English Cucumbers - $ 99/ea

This morning Tina and I were talking over the fence and dreaming of all the fresh strawberries and raspberries that we both will be eating soon.  One of the fun things about gardening is talking to other gardeners and sharing seeds and starts.  I had extra seed potatoes from Mr Super Genius so I passed them over to Tina for her garden.

Last year I was worried that her first try at gardening wouldn't turn out and she would give up.  Wrong!!  Her garden was fabulous and beautiful because she started out with Magic Dirt from Short's Farm.  The two beds pictured are the only ones that I have Magic Dirt in and you can see how crazy they are.

My best gardening advice??  The soil is everything.  Last fall I covered all my beds with the small leaves from my Red Maple and you can see the result.  Not only did the leaves protect the soil and plants they also fed them over the winter.  I just mixed what was left of them into the soil when I cleaned up the beds this spring.  Somebody said the other day that I even farm the tree.  Well, yeah.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Miss MoneyPenny's Top Ten Rules For Living Happily Ever After

I belong to a group of friends who believe that a good way to force us to get off our bums and clean out the house is to throw a party.  This is what Miss KnowItAll calls panic cleaning.  As you can see from the above invitation Miss Jenny is throwing a Porch Party because their new porch is finally finished.  What a good reason to have a party!!  I'm really looking forward to it.

After the disaster that was my hip surgery I went into a funk.  When I finally came out on the other side it was because of a couple of visits to my friendly counselor and her efforts to get me back on track.  She encouraged me to remember what was important to me and what made me happy so here is my list.  You can take it with a grain of salt but if you are feeling stuck, maybe you need to make a list that reflects you.

1.  Keep a budget and track every penny if you want to accomplish your goals.  This is an ongoing process
     as life happens.

2.  Grow a savings.

3.  Buy as much as you can from Costco for good quality and value for your money.

4.  Drive your car for at least 10 years (Suze Orman) and take excellent care of it.

5.  Eat "real" food.

6.  Get outside and move around, for crying out loud.

7.  Keep a garden of flowers, veggies, berries, and herbs.

8.  Keep learning.  Study what interests you.  Read widely.

9.  Indulge your hobbies.

10. Avoid men with addictions whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling, even smoking, etc. unless you enjoy
      playing second fiddle in your relationships.

As I was looking at my group of friends the other day at lunch I got all misty thinking that I've known these ladies for almost 30 years and here we are still meeting up regularly.  The only difference from those bygone days is that instead of talking about our men and children we were talking about our gardens.  My how things change once we learn that number 10 should really be number 1.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/23

When I noticed the three volunteer potato plants sticking their heads out of the compost the other day I thought I might be hearing from my supplier, Mr SuperGenius.  And I was right!!  His parents put in a huge organic garden up in Joyce and are kind enough to share some of their seed spuds with me.

This magic box holds eight different kinds of potatoes with charming names like Desiree (reminds me of my son, the plumber's first girlfriend) and Purple Majesty.  We also have Butterball, Yellow Finn, Bintje, and my fave - Mountain Rose.  If you've never grown potatoes in your garden you really should because you will be a huge success with anyone that you share with.  And, of course, they are delicious.

In case you are wondering how to grow seed potatoes, I can assure you that it is easy peasy.  A few days before you want to plant cut your potatoes in pieces with at least one eye.  Let them dry on newspaper in a cool place.  I spread the paper out on the bed in the guest room.  I've been told that this process reduces the risk of rot.  When you plant it is best to not add manure as you can get rough patches on the skin of your spuds, so heap on the compost instead.  Also plant your spuds in a different area of the garden for better crops every couple of years.

So on to the ad.  QFC is running their Buy4/Save $4 so if you need cleaning products or processed type foods check it out.  I heard on the CBS news this morning that coffee prices will be going up starting next month but I see at least a dollar increase in the sale price this week on Starbucks.  By the way, I buy my coffee from Costco and save a heap.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz
Dannon Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
Boneless Top Sirloin Steak - $6.99/lb
Draper Valley BS Chicken Breasts - BOGO
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Organic Ground Beef - $6.99/lb
Boneless Flank Steaks - $5.99/lb
Anjou Pears - $1.28/lb
Eggplant - $2/ea
English Cucumbers - $1.25/ea
Tomatoes on the Vine - $ .99/lb
Zucchini/Yellow Squash - $1.28/lb

This is a snap of Mr SuperGenius who wouldn't look at the camera but you can still see that he is one handsome guy and very sweet, also.  He is the one that convinced me to grow potatoes.  I shall be eternally grateful.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/16

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

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

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

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

Here are my suggestions for real food this week:

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

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/9

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the highlights this week:

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

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 4/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the highlights this week:

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

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