Sunday, August 31, 2014

Photo Dump 8/31

If I didn't have a calendar I would know that fall is on the way by the Sedums turning pink.  Even though my big maple hasn't turned its brilliant fall red it is starting to lose a few leaves and the blackberries are starting to peter out.  I love the fall with its crisp nights (so a person can sleep, for crying out loud!!) and warm hazy days.  Miss MoneyPenny considers it to be fall from September 1st through Halloween.  You can't count on November so it gets to be winter.

I'm always taking pictures and I'm gonna share.  Having a garden is a wonderful thing because you just go out and pick what you are going to eat that day.  Here are some of my good eats:

I have two blueberry bushes - one that produces early in summer and this one which still has a couple pickings left.  They don't taste like store berries.

I have three tomato plants this year.  One is a Sungold and one WAS a Roma but it produced about a dozen tomatoes and then curled up its toes and died.  I also have a big sprawly volunteer cherry tomato that has taken over half of bed #3.  I think it went back to its roots during the winter and came back all wild and crazy but the tomatoes are delicious.

I didn't pay attention and Nasturtiums took over the bean patch but what I am able to find are worth the hunt.

My strawberries are coming on again and I'm thrilled because the blackberries are almost done.  I love fresh fruit on my Special K and get tired of bananas during the winter.

This is my second batch of pesto, having eaten the first.  I found these cute Ball half pints at Don's Pharmacy where you can find anything including a lunch bar with homemade soup.

And speaking of taking over...this must be the year for it.  Check out these crazy petunias taking over the geranium pot.  I've never had such good luck with petunias.  Usually by now they have gotten all sticky and died.

My front porch pot in the morning sun.  It looks like I was on a real pink roll this year.  I wish I knew what those pink flowers are in the front.  Could they be Bacopas??

Every year I buy a scented geranium.  This is rose scented and I love the delicate pink flowers that bloom all summer.  The pot looked lonely so I stuck a Creeping Charlie and a white Bacopa in.  This is my ice tea table but as you can see I now have to put it down on the deck because there is no room.

I was talking to Steve the other day about our pets and their habits.  We decided that we are retired so what else do we have to do but indulge them.  This is DC who insists on going and coming out the front door even though the back one is open almost all summer. And she won't quit screaming and scratching the door but in the evening when I bring her in for the last time because I don't want her chewed up by bobcats I have to put a baby gate across the back door or she will sneak out.  Go figure.

Taking her morning nap in the sun.

This is my pretty great-niece, Miss RyaLaine.  I haven't set eyes on her in a long time.  I think it is time before she is taller than me.

This is Suzy my 12 year old schnauzer.  She is a seriously sweet dog but with a bark like a German Shepherd, or, as a boarding lady said - she has a pair of lungs on her.  She just cost me $1300 in vet bills but she is totally worth it.  What are credit cards for anyway??

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 8/27

Miss MoneyPenny rarely buys cut flowers, except in February when she needs all the help she can get.  That is a bad month around here with nothing but endless cold and gray.  Maybe I will go down to Arizona and surprise the Bradster's parents.  I'm sure that once they got over the shock everything would go smoothly.

And speaking of the Bradster - we are heading out for a couple of days at Sol Duc Hot Springs where we will take the waters and just generally goof off.  I usually make an annual trek up there but last year I was being such a big baby about my blown out hip that I wasn't doing anything, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Anyway - the above photo is Don Juan in all his glory.  I've finally come to the conclusion that I am not a very good rose grower and usually Don really show this off by looking crappy.  This spring Chris, my yard mower, took a saw to Don and cut him down to about two feet.  I thought that would be it for Don and was thinking what to replace him with but he has been gorgeous this summer.  And in the late afternoon he smells wonderful.  You can bet that I'm gonna give him a haircut again next February.

Okay - let's look at the QFC ad this week.  There are a couple of things to mention.  Kellogg is having a promotion where you buy 4 of their products and get a free gallon of milk.  Teenage boys and husbands can go through a lot of cereal in my experience.  And there will be a four day sale with a good sale on new crop Gala apples.

Here are my suggestions for real food this week:

Franz Buns - $1.88/8ct
Kellogg's Cereal - Buy 4/Get Milk
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1/16oz
Tillamook Cheese - $5.99/2lb loaf (note higher sale price)
Fresh Alaska Cod Fillets - $7.99/lb
Fresh Bonneville King Salmon Fillets - $12.99/lb
Hebrew National Beef Franks - $4.99/12oz
Lean Ground Beef - $4.99/lb
Ribeye Steaks - $7.99/lb
Ronzoni Pasta - $1/16oz
Driscoll's Blueberries - $2.50/pint
Green Beans - $1.49/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Leaf Lettuce - $1.25/head
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.48/lb
Sweet Corn - 5 for $2
Sweet Yellow Onions - $ .99/lb
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.99/lb
Zucchini or Yellow Squash - $1.28/lb

4-Day Sale (Fri - Mon):

New Crop Gala Apples - $ .99/lb
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce - $1/18oz

This is my old girl, Pici, taking a little nap.  She recently had a pretty severe stroke but she is doing much better after a couple of visits to the local vet.  She turned 14 in June so every day with here is special.

My other schnauzer, Suzy, who is 12, has always had bad teeth no matter how much brushing.  Her latest visit to have her teeth cleaned and nine extractions cost me almost $1300!! and with Pici's visits, it came to $1700.  Isn't that shocking??  My savings got hit hard because I only had $600 in the Pet Fund.  This is an example of the wild card in your budget but taking good care of my pets is not optional.  Due to this expense I will no longer be taking in strays and as my girls pass on they will not be replaced.  One dog is enough.

Garden Update:

I will be doing a garden sum up again this year.  I've had some huge successes and some shocking failures, so I will be trying to figure out what went wrong and right.  I'm trying not to take the lack of zucchini personally but it is hard.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Miss MoneyPenny Braids Garlic

Miss MoneyPenny mentioned in an earlier post that she wanted to braid her garlic harvest.  And everyone who knows her knows that she can't braid hair worth shit a darn.  It would help if the braid was in front so I could see it.  This is when YouTube helped me out.  What did we do before YouTube??  Anyway it looked like something I could do and it turned out to be pretty simple.

This is my garlic after harvesting and it came from a four foot row.  I'm not a big garlic lover but I do like to cook with it.  I laid it out on cardboard in the carport for a couple of weeks.  Every so often I would go out and give it all a turn.

What you need is a piece of twine (about two feet) and a long twisty tie.  My bread ties were short so I put them together and twisted the ends.

I trimmed off the hairy roots.

This shot doesn't really show it very well but what you want to do is start with three garlics - a large one in the center - and tie them tightly with the twisty ties.  Then as you add in a new garlic (with the stem in the center) you start braiding every time you add in a new garlic.  Just like hair.

When you run out of hair take your twine and tie it tightly making a double loop in the back to hang it from.  Of course I had to cut another piece of twine because I accidentally braided my first one in but I think the braid turned out pretty good.  We do want rustic, don't we??

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 8/20

This is my begonia pot in August.  I think that it is beautiful, especially with the added peachy colored Verbena (I think that is what it is), but not as gorgeous as my usual pots.  I like to buy my bulbs from Costco but I didn't this year because there are like 12 bulbs in the pack and I only need three or four.  I was talking to Miss PeggyRae and we decided that we would buy a pack next year and share them so that we could both get those superior bulbs and colors.  These plants came from Hadlock Building Supply.

Now you know how Miss MoneyPenny is always on some bandwagon or another about things that she thinks are important.  And, as you know if you read this blog, "real food" is a biggie around here.  I love to garden so I grow a veggie patch for myself and to share with friends.  I want to share with you some of the ways I use my produce other than just eating it raw.

On Sunday I pulled some carrots and onions and dug around in my spud stash for these beauties.  I had a couple of meaty chicken thighs so I thought that I would roast them all for Sunday Supper.  It was crazy good and I got two meals out of it, plus extra potatoes.

I also cut a batch of chard to go with all these root veggies:

Chard is really easy to cook and very addicting.  After rinsing the chard I pull the tough stems and stack the whole mess up and run it through crosswise with a knife.  In a large skillet I heat up a pat of butter with equal amounts of olive oil.  In that I throw in a couple of smashed garlic cloves and some red pepper flakes.  I let this simmer until the garlic starts to turn brown and then remove it.  I then douse the whole thing with a couple of good dollops of sherry vinegar and then add the chard, with salt and pepper.  After stirring to get all the leaves flavored I put a lid on it.  It really cooks down fast and is ready in just a few minutes.  At that point I taste and, if needed, add more vinegar and salt and pepper.  Yum!!

You might have seen this on Facebook which is where I got this next recipe.  Basically it is a fresh and chunky tomato sauce with eggs cooked in it.  They call it Eggs in Purgatory which is very strange but I had all the ingredients except the coriander (actually I had it but it was so old it didn't smell or taste, so I threw it out) so I thought I would give it a go.

This is a picture of their eggs:

This is mine with obviously not as fresh eggs:

This was dynamite and so easy to throw together for a meatless meal.  Mine is more golden because I used a lot of Sungold cherry tomatoes.  This is the recipe and everything came from my garden.  If you want to fancy it up you could grate some cheese over it and add a dollop of sour cream.

Eggs in Purgatory
Serves 4


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 small fresh hot chile, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large eggs
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Fresh bread for serving


Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Then stir in the onion, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chile, coriander, and cumin. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, until the tomatoes are tender and falling apart and the sauce is slightly thickened. Make 4 divots in the sauce, and crack an egg into each. Cover the skillet, and reduce the heat to very low. Let the eggs cook, covered, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the dish with the cilantro and serve with the bread.

If you want to read the whole article you can go here.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  Wait!! there is no add.  QFC decided that last week's ad was so wonderful that they would run it for two weeks and you can look at my suggestions here.  I didn't think it was that great but there you have it.  Maybe next week's ad will be more exciting.

This is my fearless great granddaughter's idea of riding the horsey.  Good thing her mommy and daddy have good health insurance.  She is such a little daredevil that they may need it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mothers & Daughters

Miss MoneyPenny always wanted a daughter.  In fact for some crazy reason I was just sure my baby was going to be a girl and didn't really have any boy names in mind.  Well - baby turned out to be a boy and let me assure that there is nothing girly about my son, the plumber.

I've been storing pictures of my tribe and I thought that I would share.  The above picture is my sister, Miss SmartyPants, and her daughter, Miss JessieLee.  Yep - she looks like a Redmond and she even sounds like her mom and me.

This is Miss JessieLee with her beautiful daughter, Miss RyaLaine.  I can't believe that she is almost 12.  Where did the time go??

Above is my daughter-in-law, Miss PeggyRae, and her daughter, Miss Haley.  These two are tight and definitely on the same wave length.

This one is Miss Haley and her daughter Miss AslynGrace.  I know my grandson, Eli, is not a daughter but isn't he a handsome devil??

Garden update:

This is the time of year that us gardeners live for.  The garden is going gangbusters and giving up so much beautiful produce.  If you really want to stretch a buck...grow a garden.  During this time I rarely visit the grocery store because I have so much good food at home.  All I need is filler to go with the veggies.

This morning I picked a quart of blueberries and a quart of strawberries for the freezer.  My winter smoothies will remind me of this best time of the year.

Day before yesterday I harvested cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic and roasted them up in the oven with pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Just before they were done I added some leftover green beans from the garden so they could warm up.  When everything was all roasted I dumped the whole works into a large bowl with a big spoon of my homemade pesto.  Next came the pasta and some Parmesan cheese.  Do I need to tell you how delicious it was??  And the leftovers were even better.

Everything came from the garden except the pasta and Parmesan.  That came from Costco.  And the olive oil.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 8/13

What you are looking at are the Three Sisters.  They are three volcanic peaks in the High Cascades of Oregon and are all over 10,000 feet.  You may wonder what they are doing on Miss MoneyPenny.  This is proof that I was switched at birth and my sister, Miss SmartyPants, is not really my sister.

My sister just spent seven what she calls blissful days on the trail in these mountains with a 40 pound pack on her back.  Crazy.  Backpacking is her passion.  I do not share that passion.  What about snakes??  What about bears??  What about no shower??  Miss MoneyPenny considers the BackYard to be as much wilderness as she can take.

This is my sister on the trail:

Okay.  Switching gears.  Didn't you just love that summer rain that we got last night and this morning??  It was the kind of rain that really wetted things down good.  And I'm happy about that because I've been going bankrupt keeping everything watered and I don't even water my lawn which is hard as pavement and brown..  It will green back up in the fall and be just fine.

Let's talk about the ad for this week and it is weak.  But we gotta eat.  This is the second week that cherries haven't been featured so I'm assuming that they are winding down.  I ate tons of them, so I'm good to go until next year.

Be sure and take advantage of the salmon as that season will be winding down also.  My son has been fishing Mid-Channel and has yet to catch a salmon.  Halibut but you can't keep them.  And the crabbing has also been dismal.

Be sure and go to QFC's home page and load the digital coupons to your card for added savings on the products that you use.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Franz Natural Bread - $2.50/loaf
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb (it only takes a half pound for a big Louie for the family)
Fresh Fraser River Sockeye Fillets - $10.99/lb
Fresh King Salmon - $16.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $5.99/lb
Flank or Strip Steaks - $6.99/lb
Broccoli or Celery - $ .99/lb
Cucumbers or Green Bell Peppers - $ .79/ea
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2.50/16oz
Hatch Chile Peppers - $1.49/lb
NW Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.49/lb

I have a lot of produce from my garden and one of my favorite ways to eat it is raw or lightly steamed as in the case of green beans.  I'm always looking for something to dip my veggies in and the other day I made an easy peasy blue cheese dressing.  And it was good!!  This is what I did:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 grated garlic clove
Cracked black pepper

I really was surprised at how tasty it was.  I didn't add salt because the cheese and mayonnaise seemed to add enough.  You could play with the recipe and add red wine vinegar or cream instead of buttermilk or more or less blue cheese.  Make it to your liking.  I did.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Costco Coupons 8/7/14 - 8/31/14

Check out all this garlic.  Steve loves, loves garlic, so he grows a lot of it.  After he harvests it he hangs it from the rafters in his garage.  When he needs some garlic, which is all the time with him, he just goes out to the garage and there it is.

I don't have a garage and the garden shed won't work so I've been looking into braiding my garlic.  I know everybody says it is easy but I can't even braid my own hair, so it might be a challenge.

Okay, let's look at the coupons.  You know, of course, that if you really want to stretch your bucks shop at Costco using the coupons.  I buy almost all non-food items there, including pet food.  I rarely buy the produce because I can't get through it by myself before it goes bad and I hate to throw out food. I always shop with a list because if I don't I can easily blow a couple hundred bucks.  No problem.

I've noticed that some items go on coupon quite regularly, while others just a couple times a year.  Usually you can depend on some kind of laundry detergent having a coupon.  If you use Tide - now is the time to buy, even if you still have some left at home because you will be paying the least for it.  You can't count on it being on coupon when you need it and maybe don't want to try a different detergent.  So think ahead.

Here are the highlights:

Starbucks House Blend K-Cup Portion Packs - $5
Huggies Snug & Dry Plus Diapers - $6
Best Foods Mayonnaise - $2
Tide Liquid - $3.50
Tide Advanced Power Liquid - $4.50
Tide Powder - $6
Bounce Dryer Sheets - $2
Resolve Spray 'n Wash - $2.50
Charmin Bath Tissue - $4.20
Pine Sol - $2.50
Ziploc Freezer Bags - $2.30
Finish Powerball Tabs - BOGO
Dove Beauty Bars - $3.25
Ziploc Space Bags - $5
Brita 10-Cup Monterey Pitcher or Filters - $6

Now we got trouble.  Miss AslynGrace has discovered how to see what is going on out of her reach.  Is she cute?? or what.  And smart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 8/6

Miss MoneyPenny was never a fan of James Brown because he scared her.  All that sweaty violent man sex but when Miss MaggieMae wanted to see the new docudrama produced by Mick Jagger I was in.  The movie, Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman as James Brown turned out to be very entertaining.  It tells the story of his sad upbringing in extreme poverty in South Carolina to his hugely successful music career.  The story jumped around some but I told Miss MaggieMae that it would be too hard to watch if they told his story in a straight line.  Oh, yeah.  The music was fabulous!!

This morning I went out and dug up the spuds.  As you can see some of them are huge!!  It was so fun because it felt like digging for gold in the garden and actually finding it.

Okay, let's look at the ad for this week.  Not very exciting but there are a couple of things to mention.  I didn't put the Olathe corn on the list because I discovered it comes from Colorado which is way too far.  I did put the heirloom tomatoes on because I'm gonna buy a pound's worth to see if they are really worth the price.

Here are my suggestions for real food:

Tully's Coffee - $6.99/12oz
S&W Canned Tomatoes - BOGO/14.5oz
Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Fresh & Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets - $10.99/lb
Simple Truth Organic Ground Beef - $6.99/lb
Fresh Draper Valley Whole Chickens - $ .99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Hatch Chile Peppers - $1.49/lb
Heirloom Tomatoes - $2.99/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
NW Yellow Peaches or Nectarines - $1.49/lb
Walla Walla Onions - $ .99/lb

I'm going to roast a whole chicken this week.  I always eat the legs and wings and then chop up the rest for the freezer.  I have a lot of beautiful sage in a pot on the deck so I think I will rub the chicken all over and under the skin with butter and then slip a few leaves under there, too.  I haven't decided if I'm going to roast it in the oven or in the crockpot.  Depends on how hot the house is.

I found these beautiful allium type things growing in my garden.  I didn't plant them.  Actually I have a lot of different volunteers in my garden this year.  They had grown about five feet tall and then the wind blew them over.  I pulled them up thinking that there would be a big onion but there was only a small clove of something.  I thought that they were way too pretty to compost.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hot Summer Day & Pesto

Miss MoneyPenny hates to sweat.  It is very unladylike but if you want to get anything done in this kind of heat you have to sweat.  That's all there is to it.  If I get too hot I take a quick stroll through the sprinkler and that works for a while.  It is shocking how fast you dry off.

My greenhouse basil needed a haircut and my in-the-ground basil was too leggy, so I took the shears to them.  By the way, even in this hot summer, the greenhouse basil has far outgrown the dirt ones.

Anyway I filled up my food processor to the top and then packed it in with basil.  Then I grated five cloves of garlic over the top, threw in a handful of almonds and Parmesan cheese, and a good squirt of fresh lemon, and let it rip.  Then I drizzled in some olive oil until it was my idea of pesto consistency.  Easy peasy.

This is what I ended up with - two fabulous half pints of green amazingness.  I'm taking one of them over to Steve's tomorrow.  He said he will have the pasta on the boil by the time I get there and we are going to pig out.  Once you start making your own pesto, you will never go back to store bought.  And this stuff freezes beautifully.

My first picking of green beans.  I also dug up a garlic to see what it was doing.  I've never grown garlic before so did not know what to expect.  I was surprised that the head was bigger than the one from the store.  You might remember that this is from the garlic brought back from Italy by a friend of a friend in my knitting group.

The Boston Terror is hot but she insists on being in her deck chair.