Saturday, May 31, 2014

Zaycon Purchase! (referral link)

This is the first time I organized a purchase from Zaycon to be shared with one friend, perhaps two.  93% lean ground beef, hormone and antibiotic free american raised.  40 pounds, at 3.99  a pound.  We will pick it up at 8 a.m. in July, and then we will break it down to one pound packages.

What made this deal even more exciting is that I qualified for a 40 pound box of boneless/skinless chicken breasts for just $1.49 a pound (40 cents cheaper than the usual price)   We have to wait to order this when they have the Fall sale, but it will be welcomed and used!

So excited.  I will earn a credit towards a future purchase for every referral that makes a meat purchase.  If you are interested in checking them out, or even placing an order, please consider using this linkZaycon Referral

The vegetable beds

Here is a shot of the beautiful chive's I have, that share the asparagus bed.

More views of the asparagus raised bed, and Gpa P's old SUV..   Why it's on the side of my garage I have no idea.......

New young asparagus plants added to the bed.

These big leaves are Horseradish.  Excited to see how 'potent' this will be.   Wintered over from last year.


An entire 4x4 raised bed of just Strawberries!

This bed has Greek Oregano, Walla Walla onions, Parsley and rows of Swiss Chard.

Same bed, background is a shot of the Herb/Pea bed.

Rosemary, Dill, Fennel, Basil, Cilantro, Wild Scapes, Sage, Peas and Thyme.

More Basil and Rows of Mesclun Mix.

Can you see the wild scape poking out of the ground?  Red tip bent to the right?  I bought three bunches for $12.00 dollars at the City Seeds Market in Edgewood Park on Mother's day.  I cooked with them and put the bulbs in water until they started to sprout.  Then I transplanted them.  Hope they survive, I liked them, but don't want to keep paying $4.00 a bunch.

Better shot of the peas.  Has anyone tried eating just the shoots?  Worth trying, or wait for the pods?

Close up of the walla walla onions.  They actually  are dispersed all over the yard.....

The front donkey flower bed

I love gardening.  This is what used to be my fairy garden (hence the chairs) but I was given the wagon/donkey for Mother's Day last year, and the theme has now changed.  I've added a few other front flower bed shots.  Note the metal donkey and the green donkey planter.  I have a collection of at least a dozen different donkey planters on my fireplace 'stoop'.  That's for another day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Meat Purchase Score and other shopping

I haven't been posting much, have been busy with life and gardening, I'll do a post about the garden later in the week when I can get good pictures.

I haven't done any new baking or recipes in the past week or so.  We have been eating out of the freezer and pantry.  Haven't even been checking the sales flyers.   But we were starting to get low on too many things, so I read through the flyers this week with gusto.

I now have many 'will only pay this' prices for items.  I.E.  I only buy eggs if we can get them for .99 a dozen.     Shoprite had a coupon in their flyer for that price on vegan eggs  if you spent 25 dollars.  So I did get those.  I also will only buy ice cream if I get it for .99.  Again, Shoprite came through for that (just as I was hearing the calls of 'aren't you going to buy any ice cream?'

So, at Shoprite this week I spent 32.50 after coupons (both store and manufacturer)  I got 3 28 packs (bonus 4 bottles in each pack) of Poland Springs water for $12.00 plus deposit.  We were down to just two bottles.  I am now trying to drink more tap water with lemon, so that we can save more on this not so frugal or good for the planet purchases.  I can't get everyone else to do it, but I can do my part.

I got three boxes of Special K for $4.98 after coupons, Ajax laundry detergent (also .99) 4 mullers mango yogurt for DD (3.00 after coupon) Escarole which is cooking as I type for just .71 cents (.60 a pound, great price!)  this was not in the flyer, but I'm learning shoprite rotates a cooking green for an unbelievable price in the East Haven store.  I've gotten Broccoli Rabe for .89 a pound, I stock up when that happens, and cook and freeze)

Two Yo Crunch greek yogurt for DH, Minute Maid OJ (from concentrate, oh well) .99.  Still doesn't seem like much for that price.

Today I went to three other stores (doing laundry and baking a lavender bread for Margaret H...I had to give the last one I baked to Nicole P as Margaret and I didn't meet up)  This is what I got:

Stop and Shop I spent 57.35.  More than i intended, but I did buy a few unplanned deals to try.  I'm learning that it's ok to go over the monthly budget IF it's a good deal, we will eat it, and it's really going towards the next month which is what this will be.  4 Minute Maid Lemonades, priced $5.00, but I found a coupon online and got it down to my go to price of 1.00 each.  Two more Ore Ida fries/hasbrowns, we will now get $5.00 back from Saving Star.  I haven't tried to make homemade baked beans yet, so when I saw B & M 16 ounce cans on sale for .88 I bought eight cans.  Two jars chichi's salsa $3.00 after coupons.  Two Kraft dressings dollar each after coupons.  Grey Poupon Course Ground, on sale for 2.99.  This was a want of mine.  Sparkle Big Roll 6 pack 2.99 after coupons.  Garden Delight Zucchini Souffle (i love these, but they are not cheap.  I can make a quiche so much cheaper )but I did have a $2.00 coupon about to expire, so I bought one for 1.29.  Not so bad for a carry to studio lunch.  Then I bought three packages of meat from the gourmet section (where the butcher is)  I got two (2 breasts in each package) of marinated barbecue chicken and one (two loins) of pork marinated in bourbon sauce.  I thought they'd be a nice treat if we were just cooking for two of us.  4 servings of the chicken, 6 servings of the pork.  $2.00 off each pack.  Not the best after coupon cost (16.00) but they are for in a pinch.

It was Big Y where I scored big.  I'm learning to check out the meat departments the last day of a flyer.  I also have learned to check just before the end of a month.  Today was both of those points.  My bill was $49.71 after on meat coupons.  I saved 42% of the original prices.   I got three packages of country style pork ribs, two packages of Lamberti Sweet Sausage coils, One Angus Rib Eye Bone In, Two Angus Rib Eye boneless, two Shoulder London Broils and one Top Round London Broil.  Total without Card 86.47 - card savings of 11.64 minus on meat coupons savings of $25.00!  If we can continue to portion out these meats in a sensible size (still working on Gpa Paul to remember there are four of us here) I have more than enough meat between this and the chicken/fish in freezer for two months!

Now, if BJ's warehouse will just reduce those Hams from Easter!  I'd be in heaven.  They are almost at their sell by dates, so I check every few days.

I think I did ok, what do you think?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brimfield, Meals and Produce Market

Well, our year long anticipated trip to Brimfield (this time going up after work on Saturday (leaving at 2 p.m.) and staying overnight to go to the sale both Saturday afternoon and Sunday was a bust.  The pouring rains the first few days made the dealers grumpy.  A lot of them were packing up on Saturday.  I was so disappointed.  DH did get me a cute Eeyore print for $12.00 (I love donkeys) and I found some vintage rag magazines from the 30's-50's for him for $20.00.  That was it.  We decided upon wake up to just follow the road and ended up in New Hampshire.  We had lunch at a roadside stand and ice cream parlor.  Since this trip was an instrument scouting trip I felt justified in having Studio pay for it.  Unfortunately, we came back empty handed.

Grandpa P is back from his Florida Keys trip, and his being gone for almost 12 days did prove that he is a huge chunk of our food budget.  We made two chicken breasts, six turkey burgers and 3 steaks (the last of our locally raised grass fed beef) last for the three of us for the entire time.  We got Chinese take out once.  I spent $19.00 on groceries (not counting take out) the entire 12 days.

Today I spent $32.00 at the produce market.  Baby carrots, mushrooms, reduced swiss chard (two bunches, just one leaf not usable) for .79 cents!   Wish I could find that more often.  Tomatoes, celery, broccoli, iceburg lettuce.  Two salad dressings in hard to find flavors around here and a treat sub for the hubby.

On way home from the studio I stopped to get cat food (6.40), french fries (Savingstar!) healthy choice frozen yogurt (treat) and brown rice.  Total spent $19.32.

Today we finished as a family the leftover chicken breast and the steak.  Huge salad was finished by me this evening.  I also made swiss chard/pink beans/garlic/homemade turkey broth from freezer.  I also threw in rest of a jar of roasted red peppers.  There is probably one serving of that left.

Tomorrow I will make Moroccan chicken stew (with more frozen turkey broth, leftover frozen previously chicken breast diced, leftover chinese takeout rice, assorted chopped veggies)  Chicken sausage also taken out as DH won't eat this stew.

We also have four more chicken breasts and two sandwich steaks from the freezer defrosting.

That's the week!  How is your meal plan going?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wild Scape Quiche

I bought some bunches of Wild Scapes at the City Seed Farmers Market at Edgewood Park in Westville on Mother's Day.

I prepped and washed them yesterday, and munched on a bite as I did so.  My those greens are spicy!  I sauted them in olive oil, added some Hormel Bacon Bits (I keep a big bag of these on hand as they are lower fat, precooked and last in the fridge a long time)  Bits of two containers of cream cheese (less than an 1/8 of a cup)  a cup of heart healthy bisquick, three tomatoes and a cup and a half of organic egg whites.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Today was a good day (even though allergies even with multiple meds are out of control), went to the Edgewood Park City Seed Farmers Market in Westville with DD.  Got some wild ramps (lots of plans for these this week) and visited the Sono Bakery table and treated us to Monkey Bread (DD), Chocolate Croissant (DH) and Basque cakes (myself and Gpa P) .

Then we drove to my Grandmother's (so lucky to still have her with us) where DD gave her a hair cut.

Then to Big Y.  Not much, renewed my silver card membership (I have found it a wise choice to do this yearly, 20 dollars spent once a year saves me more than that throughout the year) Cat food (6 dollars) and then a few more treats.  Bill came to $80.00, but I think we are done with grocery shopping this month except for exceptional meat prices and produce.  Why?

Cuz Gpa P is on his way to Florida for 10 days!  I feel like I'm on vacation.  We can make what we do have in the house last for the entire month.  I am elated.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Saving Money in the Garden

This week I picked a pound of asparagus.  I love it, and was worried the plants had died over this awful winter we just had.  But suddenly there were spears, and today is just Wednesday, I picked two days ago and can probably pick again.  We will have it today with some Veal (a real treat, haven't had this in at least six months if not more)

I am counting the seed purchases as part of the grocery budget.  Last month we bought walla walla onion starts.  Today I planted a gallon basil plant that I split as well as mesclun mix, swiss chard, and peas. More mesclun will be added every week, as well as green beans this weekend.

We have strawberries in a bed starting to blossom and lots of chive and asparagus as previously mentioned.  I hope to harvest some horseradish in a few days (wintered over from last year).  Lemon balm and oregano are in other perennial beds.

I don't have good luck with tomatoes in this property (my land in Hamden 20 years ago was amazing for tomatoes and corn, my little urban garden)  I have over an acre of land here, but I only have 5 raised beds, one that is asparagus and onions/chives, one that's all strawberries, and three that I rotate what crops I put into them.  I probably will get some rosemary and a few other herbs that might winter over.  Otherwise that's it.  I will purchase tomatoes/cukes/corn from the local farmers market.  I love salad, especially spring mix, and it is so expensive.  If just the greens do good, I will be happy.

We also have a pear tree and two apple trees.  We don't spray them or treat them in any way, so we don't always get a harvest.  Or the deer get a lot of tasty treats.

I'm waiting for the local produce market or farms to have fiddleheads.  I could buy them from an organic produce delivery service out here, and the price of the product is what I know I would pay here, but the delivery fee is outrageous (for me to spend, not for them to charge, I feel it's a fair charge) so I will just wait and hopefully get a taste of them in their short window of time.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Planned baking (this post contains a referral link)

I have a great new friend Margaret H who turned me on to Zaycon and canning (though I haven't tried that venture yet)  She HAS shared some of her delicious creations with me, and I in turn wanted to return the favor, and promised to make Lavender Lemon Cake to share with her (and a few other friends)

My lavender I felt was too old, and I actually used some of it for sachets at Christmas.  So, I had to order some more.

I went to IHerb, as I felt they had the best price.  I also ordered Coconut flour to try and some Ghee.

Free shipping for all orders over $20.00, and new first time customers get $5.00 off their first order under $40, or $10.00 off if their order is over $40.00.

They also have a great referral program, so if you want to check it out, please do so through my link
IHerb   as I will get credit if you order through this link towards my own future orders.

Happy Shopping!