Wednesday, October 29, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/29

Check out my new enameled cast iron pot!!  I mentioned in an earlier post that my old one from the 80s was not big enough so I jumped on the sale at Macy's.  Who knew that these things sold for $149.99??  Anyway with the sale and my $20 off coupon I ended up paying $54.99 which is a savings of $95.  I also ended up with a new fleece jacket and five Bali brassieres for $100 so I had a good day at Macy's.  If you are patient, keep track of your Macy's coupons, and watch the sales you can save a lot over retail.

Are you ready for Halloween??  I'm not a big fan of this holiday but I still bought a giant Costco sized bag of treats yesterday for $15 rather than spend a small fortune at QFC.  On our way home we got caught on the bridge.  We decided to try out the candy while we were waiting.  Good thing we were only stuck for about 10 minutes.  After that I decided that the best place to store the candy was the car.  No need to even bring it in until the goblins get here.

Okay - let's look at the ad for this week.  To be honest it is not very exciting but there are a couple things to mention.  Ground turkey is on for $3.99 a pound which would make a yummy pot of turkey chili if you are having people over for Halloween.  If it is just you and your sweetie you could make an elegant meal with a couple of Cornish game hens at $3 a piece.  My sister makes this killer dish with game hens.  Maybe she will share the recipe.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Spice Islands Spices - 50% off
Peet's Coffee - $6.99/12oz or 10ct K-Cups
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
QFC Large Eggs - $2.50/18ct
Tyson Cornish Game Hens - $3/ea
Kroger Frozen Vegetables - $1/10-12oz bag
Farmland Pork Rib or Loin Chops - BOGO
Foster Farms Ground Turkey - $3.99/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
Fuji or Braeburn Apples - $ .99/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea
Organic Grape Tomatoes - $2.99/10oz

I also want to mention that if you have been watching the sales and managing your pantry you would have all of the ingredients for chili on hand.  All you have to buy is the ground turkey, and frankly, nobody would know that it is not ground beef by the time you get done adding beans, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of spices.

Last summer I bought this very soft king sized blanket at Costco.  I thought that it would look nice folded up on the end of my bed.  As you can see and I don't know how she does it but somehow Poppy flips that thing around and around and drags it up to the eyelet pillows.  Then she makes a cocoon and there she stays - all nice and warm.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cooking Rachael's Mulligatawny Soup and Green Raita

This is the last of anything to eat from my garden, except for the chard.  I needed onions for my soup but decided that once I got out to the garden I might as well harvest the whole shooting match.  As you can see there are peppers, Walla Wallas, shallots, spuds and carrots in the pile.  I will really miss going out to the garden and deciding what's for dinner but it will all happen again next spring.

Okay - I made the Mulligatawny Soup and the Green Raita.  I wasn't that impressed.  Maybe it was
because I had Miss Jenny's very excellent chicken curry recently and this soup is basically a chicken curry soup served with a spoon of rice and raita to garnish.  Don't get me wrong here.  It was good but needed much more in the way of spices.  If I were making it again I would add a couple tablespoons of curry powder and maybe more ginger than she called for.

The good thing that came out of this exercise is that I actually for the first time in my life cooked good rice.  Normally I just boil rice like pasta, then drain it and I'm good to go.  I decided to try the directions on the package using a heavy small dutch oven and it turned out perfect.  I think that the heavy bottom of the pot is the secret because I've always burned the rice.

Even though I was disappointed in the Mulligatawny Soup I will be trying more of Rachael Ray's soup recipes because that Butternut Sausage soup was way over the top delicious...maybe something that the Soup Nazi might make.  I had to find this clip from Seinfeld where Elaine had so much trouble getting a bowl of soup from him and you can watch it here.

There are few sounds as sickening as your glass coffee pot hitting the sink just right during morning dishes.  Not only are you not gonna have coffee tomorrow morning but you gotta dig the glass pieces out of the soap suds.

I have been using one of those free Gevalia coffee makers that I got about ten years ago after agreeing to buy their coffee for about six months.  It has been a wonderful coffee maker.  I decided to go on EBay and see if I could get a replacement.  Man are they expensive.  You could get a whole new setup from Ebay cheaper that the replacement.  I went to Gevalia but they want $16.99 plus $7.00 shipping.

So I dug around in my cupboards looking for one of those cone things that you put on your coffee cup and then pour water over the grounds.  The picture below is what I found:

I do not recognize this coffee maker.  There are no bells and whistles and, of all things, it is white!!  I would never buy white because it shows every little coffee drip.  The only thing that I can think of is that one of the assortment of men who have tried and failed to live with me left it here.  It works great so I'm gonna continue keeping it until somebody asks for it back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/22

Check out this unreal picture that my sister took while she was hiking the Grand Canyon a couple of weeks ago.  Doesn't it look like it should go on an expensive calender??  Even though this place is gorgeous you couldn't pay me to hike there.  What about snakes!!??

My whole life I've had an over the top fear of snakes and spend a lot of time watching for them when I'm out in the great outdoors.  I was even looking for them when the Bradster and I were up at Sol Duc last month.  My favorite ex-husband used to assure me that there were no poisonous snakes on the Olympic Peninsula when we were out for a hike but...he used to assure me of lots of things and we know how that went.

I've been working on getting the MoneyPenny household ready for winter and I'm almost there.  My car has been serviced, my heat pump also, I've gotten my flu shot, the gutters have been cleaned out, my deck furniture cleaned and stored, and I've got flannel sheets on my bed.  I'm in the process of putting my gardens to bed and getting the leaves raked for compost.

I do all these things to avoid spending my money on expensive repairs and replacements and getting sick.  That would not be stretching a buck.  Miss MoneyPenny's motto is "Maintenance not repair".

As far as the garden is concerned I've learned that if I spread mulch and steer manure and then cover the raised beds with cardboard or my assortment of old rugs they are ready to go in the spring.  The best part is there are hardly any weeds to pull and what there are (all yellow looking and sickly) come up easily.  When it is time to plant I just remove the rug from the section I want to work on and leave the rest until I'm ready for them.  Genius!!

Okay - let's look at the ad and see if we can find some real food for a decent price.  I was at QFC last week picking up some bulk sausage and ground beef for meatloaf.  I was shocked at the price!!  I asked my cute friendly butcher what was going on.  He told me that the prices on meat are skyrocketing and even they can't believe it.  At that point my sister-in-law, Miss Denise, who also works in the meat department told me that the lamb that they just got in was $3 a pound more than last week.  I guess that means we'd better be very careful how we buy our meat.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Napolean Olive Oil - $4.99/16.9oz
Seattle's Best Coffee - $4.99/12oz
Del Monte Vegetables - $1/can
Bush's Beans - $1/can
Hunt's Tomatoes - $1/can
Ocean Spray Craisins - $1/5oz (for those of us who hate raisins)
Starkist Chunk Light Tuna - $1/can
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1.50/16oz (note the higher sale price)
Chuck Roast - $3.99/lb
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast -BOGO
Fresh Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Pork Shoulder Roast - $2.49/lb (remember when we could get it for $ .99/lb??)
Asparagus - $2.49/lb
Colored Bell Peppers - $1.50/ea (used to be $1/ea)
Red, Green or Black Seedless Grapes - $1.68/lb
Ghiradelli Baking Chips - $2.69/12oz

Since it looks like we are finally leaving our summery fall days behind us I've been on a soup kick.  I've been looking for hardy soups that don't break the bank but are still delicious.  Last week I made Rachael Ray's Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage soup and it was crazy good and made lots.  I'm thinking that my next soup will be her Mulligatawny Soup which uses chicken and lots of Indian type spices.  If I find that it is wonderful I will share.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cooking Rachael's Soup

Hands down, in my opinion, Rachael Ray makes the best soups and stews, or stoups, as she calls them.  They always look so good when she makes them so I thought that I would give it a shot.

I've been looking for a recipe that uses that cut up butternut squash that Costco sells.  Now you know that there is no way Miss MoneyPenny is gonna cut up a hard squash because that would most likely be a quick trip to the emergency room.  The best I can do is those tasty Delicatas because they are small and sometimes that can get dicey.

 I came upon Rach's (we are bffs) recipe called Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Alborio Rice Soup and that one sounded really good.  Of course, I did change it up a bit by using orzo pasta instead of the rice because I didn't have it.  As you can see from the above photo it turned out crazy good.

The first thing I did was brown a pound of bulk Italian sweet sausage in a large Dutch oven.  Mine was barely big enough so that gives me the excuse I've been needing to buy a new one.  Then add a chopped onion and three cloves of chopped garlic (all from my garden).

After they have sweated out for about five minutes add a bay leaf, two pounds of cut up squash, and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  Stir in the six cups of chicken stock and two cups of half & half and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and add a bunch of cut up Tuscan kale.  Simmer until until done.

When the soup had cooked down some, I took my masher to the squash making it thick and yummy, leaving some chunks for texture.  I cooked 3/4 cup of orzo separately and added it to the soup.

At serving, Rach suggested a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of Parmesan.  I didn't do the olive oil but the Parmesan really took the soup to perfection.

Here are the ingredients:

2 T olive oil
1 pound bulk Italian Sweet sausage with fennel (couldn't find it so I went with just sweet)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 pounds butternut or pumpkin squash, cut up into 3/4 inch dice
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups half & half
1 small bunch Tuscan kale (any kale will work or maybe even chard)
3/4 Arborio rice or orzo pasta
Parmesan for topping


Several years ago, Miss Know-It-All told me that WD-40 should be in every woman's tool kit, so I bought some and it has languished up in the cupboard.  Until Saturday morning.  I got up and turned on the coffee, let the dogs and cat out, and let them all back in again.  I fed, watered and medicated everybody, grabbed my cup of coffee and sat in my chair to watch the news.

Now my LazyBoy came about in the early 90s when my favorite ex husband was racing stock cars.  He usually kept his winnings to put back into the car or buy beer for his pit crew but one night he gave it to me and I bought the recliner.  And it is the most comfortable chair in the world and holds myself and all my critters at one time but that morning the footrest got stuck at half mast and wouldn't budge.

People that know Miss MoneyPenny know that she did not get the fixit gene...just like my dad,  I immediately break out into sweat and start cussing when something needs me to fix it.

I decided that maybe something had come loose underneath, so to the chorus of all three dogs barking at me, I turned the chair over and looked.  All I could see were bells and whistles and springs that meant nothing to me but everything seemed to be intact.  Then I was hit with a stroke of genius.  I grabbed my can of WD-40, hoping that it would still spray, and gave everything that even looked like it could move a good squirt.  The whole house smelled like WD-40 but I sat on the couch and had my coffee.

After my coffee I felt almost human and brave enough to turn the chair upright.  Guess what??  It worked like a charm.  After years of fighting that stiff handle on my chair I can now raise the footrest up or let it down with one finger.  Who knew!!

Miss Know-It-All always know best.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/15

I grabbed my camera yesterday afternoon when the sun peaked out and got this picture of my red maple all ablaze and looking gorgeous.  My son, the plumber, gave this to me for my birthday the first year I lived here.  At that time it was a twig in a five gallon bucket and I worried that it wouldn't make it because the ground was so hard and cold when we planted it at the end of the year.  But 19 years later you can see that it did just fine.  My fence is six feet so you can see how big it got.

It is hard to see but there is a rake in front of the tree.  I go out every day and rake leaves until there are no more.  Leaves are like gold to me because they are the "brown" in your compost.  I just throw them in all three of my composters and they break down fine because the leaves are fairly small but if you have larger ones you can run them over with your lawnmower.  I also mulch with them and get great results.

I mentioned earlier that my besties and me were putting together an Indian meal.  This is a great way to try out new foods and recipes that you might not be familiar with.  Miss Jenny made a true chicken curry with all the wonderful spices and there wasn't a drop left.  Miss Know-It-All took care of the rice and made the above desert.  Now - I want you to know that she knows her deserts but this one definitely needs more work.

Miss CutiePie provided the big kitchen, the naan bread, and the cute baby.  I brought the cucumber raita (sp?), dal, and my peach chutney.  The cucumber dish and dal were pretty good but I'm glad I brought along some storebought chutney.  I thought that the chutney was expensive to make and not near as good as storebought but most of it got eaten.  Good friends are wonderful aren't they??

I didn't get a QFC ad this week (probably because of the holiday) so I got this list off the website.  I hope it is accurate.  If you are gearing up for holiday baking check out the ad because there are lots of deals on ingredients.  Kroger spices are 50% off  and canned pumpkin is $1 a can.  A 4 pound bag of sugar is $2.99 and I will buy some for my hummers.  You do know that this area has hummingbirds all year long??  I found out a couple of years ago when I saw them hovering around the seed feeders.

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Gold Medal Flour - $2.79/5lb
Kroger Sugar - $2.99/4lb
Kroger Spices - 50% off
Starbucks Coffee - $6.99/12oz bag or 10/ct
Kroger Pumpkin - $1/15oz can
Chobani Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/7oz
Kroger Sour Cream - $1.50/16oz
Kroger Cottage Cheese - $1.50/16oz
QFC Large Eggs - $1.99/doz
Boneless Pork Tenderloin - $2.99/lb
Fresh Wild-Caught Cooked Dungeness Crab - $6.99/lb
Pears - $ .99/lb
Greens - $1.50/bunch
Simple Truth Organic Grape Tomatoes - $2.99/10oz

This handsome little guy is Cooper Lee.  It seems like we waited a long time for him to get here.  Mr. BlueEyes sat at the table and interacted with us.  He would smile and look us in the eye and listen to everything that was being said.  He is a very calm and relaxed happy baby.  His mommy and daddy are doing good work here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/8

Have you planted your garlic yet??  I got mine in on Sunday.  I've never been a huge garlic lover but after growing my first crop I'm in love with all things garlic.  This year I planted twice as much as last year using the biggest cloves from the last crop.  My sister has asked for some of my garlic but I'm gonna make her come up here to get it.  I think that it is worth a ten hour drive.

The picture above is my begonia in October.  Still looks gorgeous, don't you think??  But every morning when I go out to water him there are blooms all over the place suggesting that he is getting ready for the first hard freeze.  Begonias aren't crazy about full sun but this poor guy is now in total shade so I'm thinking that has something to do with the dropped blooms.

I've been wanting to go out and put the veggie gardens to bed but the flowers are still blooming.  No way could I rip out the above beautiful blooms.  I've mixed dahlias and zinnias in this bouquet.  I always thought that zinnias were like granny plants until I started growing them.  All you do is plant the seeds and stand back and enjoy the show.  I think that they add a touch of beauty to the veggies.  They do curl up their toes at the first hard freeze though.

Since I haven't been able to put the garden to bed I went after the blackberries.  What a job that was.  I'm beginning to think that cutting them off my fence (from the neighbors) is making them grow even more because they were seriously thick.  I've got piles like the above all over the yard waiting for Chris to take them away.  I want to make clear that none of these blackberries came from Tina's side of the fence.  No blackberry would be stupid enough to grow in her perfect yard.

Check out this colander full of beets, carrots and onions from my garden.  I've been in a real nesting mode lately and had decided to make a beef stew using my produce.  I did buy the mushrooms and turnips.  I let it simmer all day and it was really good for dinner.  I froze two containers for later.

The next day I made a big pot of spicy chicken soup using up the leftover meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken.  By the way, you do know what a good deal one of Coctco's chickens is don't you??  They go for $4.99 and they are much larger and tastier than supermarket chicken.  My sister gave me the idea of taking all the leftover skin and bones and throwing them in the crock pot with some water for free broth.  I rarely buy chicken broth any more.

On Sunday I'm getting together with my besties for an Indian feed.  Miss Jenny, who used to own a restaurant for about 30 years, is making a chicken curry.  She is a serious cook and is going to roast and grind the spices!!  We are meeting at Miss CutiePie's house because she has the biggest kitchen and Mr CutiePie will be gone hunting which is a good idea because I don't think that he appreciates spicy foods.

I volunteered to make chutney.  I found some recipes on the Internet that I'm going to cherry pick the ingredients for peach chutney.  I know I should probably just follow the recipes but where is the excitement in that??  Just to make sure that we have decent chutney I will be buying a bottle of Major Grey's yummy chutney, also.  If it turns out to be a hit I will share my chopped together recipe.

If you are wondering about the QFC ad there isn't one.  Or rather, they are running the one from last week again and you can check my last blog for the highlights.  I don't know why they are doing this.  Maybe to save money on printing the ad and changing all the signs??  You got me.

I bought this bath mat and it is so thick that it takes forever to dry and it throws my washer off balance but it feels good on my toes.  I took it out of the dryer when it had been in there for an hour and found a sunny place at the end of the deck to finish drying it.  Guess who found it??  Yep.  The Boston Terror who loves all things warm out of the dryer.  Her leg looks cut off in this picture but it isn't.  She has it folded under.  Anyway, the last time I looked she had all four legs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

QFC Grocery Basket 10/1

My sister sent this to me and it sure is true around the MoneyPenny House.  Miss MoneyPenny wears shorts and capris all summer long and leg shaving gets to be a real drag but getting dressed is sure easy...just a clean pair of shorts and t-shirt and I'm good to go.  Now we are all about socks and hoodies and keeping warm.

And cooking soups and stews.  Isn't it funny how good a hot bowl of soup sounds now??  Just a couple of weeks ago I was still into salads and lots of fresh fruit but with the change in weather I'm planning a big pot of beef stew.

I make a fairly normal pot of stew except with the addition of turnips and mushrooms.  I also add a can of beef broth to the water for added flavor.  My favorite mother-in-law taught me how to make stew and she knew what she was talking about.  Oh, and by the way, she was not the mom to my favorite ex-husband.  I like to pick and choose my favorites.

Okay - let's look at the ad.  Again QFC is running their ad for two weeks.  Didn't they just do that a little while ago??  I don't think that it is such a wonderful ad that it needs two weeks but that is just my opinion.  Groceries have gotten so darn expensive.  I really got spoiled eating out of the garden but that is coming to the end because I don't grow a winter garden.

A couple of things to mention about the ad - Kroger Cheese is going for $5.99 for a two pound brick so if your family eats a lot of cheese stock up.  It will keep well unopened.  Also the cod is on sale again this week for $7.99 a pound.  I bought it last week and it was delicious!!

Here are my suggestions for this week:

Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs - $2.50/doz
Bush's Variety Beans - $1/can
Hunt's Tomatoes - $1/can
Kroger Cheese - $5.99/2lb
Tillamook or Chobani Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3oz
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - BOGO
Fresh NW Cooked Shrimp Meat - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild Cod Fillets - $7.99/lb
Fresh Wild Dover Sole Fillets - $6.99/lb
Barilla Pasta - $1/box
Asparagus - $2.99/lb
Bartlett, Bosc or Red Pears - $1.49/lb
Broccoli Crowns - $1.49/lb
Honeycrisp Apples - $2.49/lb
Medium Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Organic Hard Squash - $ .99/lb
Organic Kale - $2/bunch
Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.28/lb


Get your flu shot!!  I was at the beauty shop this morning and one of the ladies was out with the flu and her whole family had it, so it is going around already.  Flu shots are easy to come by.  Most pharmacies have someone who can shoot you up if you aren't going in to see the doctor.  I had mine last week and it didn't hurt at all and I'm a big baby when it comes to needles.