Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December grocery totals

 Hey, I didn't necessarily follow my low spend December plans… However all of these items are stockpiled if they are nonperishables. $710.29  I feel I got some amazing deals.  Except for one total fail which you will read about. All freezers are packed to the gills.  I have told Gpa P and DH no meat purchases for the next 4-6 weeks UNLESS it is an amazing deal and we our out of the product. 

December 5 BJ's wholesale warehouse $108.61 25 pounds of white rice, a loaf of rye bread, a loaf of country white bread, 24 ounces of mushrooms, four cartons of liquid egg whites, Johnsonville turkey sausage links a three pack, a three pack of Oscar Meyer center cut bacon, a gallon of milk , 2 1/2 pounds of salmon, a three pack of Tropicana orange juice, a three litre bottle of Italian olive oil, a gallon of apple cider, a quart of light cream

December 7 Big Y. 47.32 (before $5 back) This trip was mainly to restock our Goya Sazon shelf.  DH loves to cook with this stuff, and he has been bugging me that we were out.  Since I knew that there was a $5 SavingStar offer that expired the end of the month, I figured now was the time.  A litre of Goya EVOO, Goya wafers, 9 Goya azafran, Bag of Goya navy beans, jar of sofrito and jar of recato.  5 lbs of onions (man we go through these like water) 2 lbs of 31/40 raw shrimp (for holiday cocktail)  Not bad.  6 months worth of his favorite seasoning (I hope)

December 9 $9.02 Shop Rite 1. 31 pounds of peppers and I earned $.25 back from checkout 51 and another $.39 back from savings star. 2.58 pounds of 80% lean ground beef for $7.71

December 13 Stop and Shop 93.28 after IBOTTA Loaf of Arnold's country white bread. Three breakstone sour cream. Two dozen Nellies organic eggs. I like these if I can't get to the farmers  stand. These are for eating only (not baking/cooking).   Ten yocrunch yogurt for DH lunch 10 yocrunch yogurts (he is in a temporary work position and I am again packing lunches). 2 boxes of pie crust dough (Christmas ...I dislike making butterdoughs) 1/2 lb deli roast beef, 2 large bags UTZ chips, chips ahoy cookies, 8 pk Diet Pepsi minis (Christmas) Two 35 bottle spring water cases, oatmeal cup (free) 12 assorted Green Giant canned veggies (.49 each) two 12 packs Diet Coke and one 12 pack Coke Zero.   Two packages BSCB which were B1G1F.   2.85 lbs of sweet Italian sausage, 1.36 lbs of bananas, 2 lbs of 26-31 count shrimp (Christmas)

December 14 Shoprite 75.73 Three 24 packs Poland spring water, 5 lbs sweet potato, 4 boxes lasagna noodles, 6 boxes tomatoes, 4 Shoprite organic vegetable stock, 1 progreso chicken stock (.49 after coupon!) 6 pack of hunts paste pouches, 4.95 lbs bone in rib roast 3 lbs clementines, chestnuts, Four sorrento mozzarella blocks, Four sorrento ricotta, refrigerated cocktail sauce.   I think I did amazing on this trip.

TJ Market, this trip TOTALLY HAS ME PISSED OFF.  We got bamboozled into having people over New Years, we discussed menu, was told we would be reimbursed.  Spent $255.49 on various seafood at the request of the uncle.  Now he has changed the GD menu and he will do the shopping.  We have lobster tails enough for the entire year now.  I will be having a chat with him after the holidays (he invited people to our house on New Years Day and we compromised to do it on the Eve, but we found out he had done this MONTHS ago.  Never asked.  Invited people we really don't know and/or had already invited to Christmas)  No wonder his son rarely sees him.  I am totally fed up.   My DH and I have had 5 major fights in 20 years, and 4 of them were rooted in the Uncle doing this.  If you are ever considering buying a family home when some of the elders are alive DO NOT DO IT.   That's the excuse all the time.  He acts like he is the host, yet we are the one's cooking, cleaning and waiting on his guests.  Okay, whining over.  I do intend on having a strongly worded conversation with him.  DH and I should not be at odds or financially put out because he wants to entertain. 

Shoprite 12/20 $38.12 6.25 lb beef rib roast, broccoli, 1/4 lb turkey breast, 1/4 lb roast beef, fresh mozz and one hard roll.

BJ's 12/20 $39.44 Panera broccoli soup 4 pack, twin pack baking powder, 80 ounces mushrooms, 2 lbs baking yeast.  2 dozen mini croissants.

12/24  $73.28 Best Day to go to Costco?  Christmas Eve!  We only go to this warehouse store twice a year, and usually no matter when we go it is INSANE.  Now we know, 45 minutes BEFORE closing on Christmas Eve this huge warehouse store near my DH's hometown is EMPTY.  We were able to browse at everything we wanted, pick up some non food household items that we felt would work for our needs.  I also got 6 loaves of Chabaso Ciabatta (a local bakery, what I paid for these loaves was a dollar more than one loaf at the stores that carry it), 2 lbs of smoked salmon, 5 lbs of ground beef (we were out and DH decided he wanted it in the lasagna I made that night) so I used a pound of it and froze the rest, 6 lbs of sweet Italian sausage.  2 pounds of pecorino romano and a gallon of milk.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Day after Sale

This year I planned on going to Target.   I was up at 5 am, read for a while, went back to bed.  Up again at 6 and took a shower.  Really hemmed and hawed about going as I wasn't in the mood for crowds.  But I went.  Glad I did.  I was feeling Hefty when I left the store.  Get the puns yet?

The only truly Christmas only items I bought were a box of holiday crackers (think Boxing Day) and some beautiful large linen dishtowels (5). 
The rest though a bit holiday themed so it was marked 50% off will be used year round AND I had coupons. 
Gorgeous 4 jar set of blue canning jars, final price $1.89
9 jar wide mouth larger jar set of regular clear canning jars final price 5.99
Two large twin packs of Rubbermaid takealongs (big round ones)
two packages of cut out three d decorative bows (in brown neutral colors for crafts)
4 glass Pyrex 4 cup with lids bowls (have snowflakes on them) these were my best score, $2.49 each
12 boxes of Glad holiday ziplock bags
2 large hefty round three packs of containers
2 glad square three packs of containers
a dozen bread baking pans (decorative for giving away)
After coupons and gift cards I paid $45.42 out of pocket   I didn't pay the difference of what was over $200.00.   And I am set for storage for at least two years as I reuse bags (with a good washing) that only held veggies or baked goods. 
I still had three boxes from my last holiday haul two years ago.
And I left plenty for other people. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season.   DH and I did finally get a tree on the 10th.  We went to the Charlie Brown Tree Farm in East Hampton this time.  We didn't really judge the tree size by us standing up next to it, just by shape.  It is the perfect shape.  It also seemed to be very large compared to the other trees in this particular field. 
Until we heard the fellow say, I can just throw this in your trunk......and we had the small 20 year old mercury..........ummmm.
But it actually worked out okay, and we are calling it the year of the little tree.  I am only 2 inches shorter than the tree. 

To put it in better perspective, can you find the tiny tree?  lol
But it was a good holiday.  We were able to see everyone, and I was also able to bring DD (who was able to come home!!!) to visit my DM.  So everyone was happy. 
We even had to save the day for the Uncle, who didn't think having people be able to help him get a tree on Christmas Eve would be a big deal (because we really have no other obligations or things to do)  He now calls me Amazon (as in because if he needs something we have it!   His prelit tree crapped out after one Christmas, and it was pouring on Christmas Eve and he didn't want to go to the tree lot.  Though he could get one Monday (ummm, don't think so)  he also thought he could get colored lights on Christmas Eve near him (again, boonies, wrong again)  So, DH and I went to the studio and got the 7 foot tall prelit tree that we didn't put up and brought it over.
It does look a bit better once it was gussied up.  We only did the delivery, setup and star on top.  Uncle did the rest.
Now, it wouldn't be the holidays without a bit of family drama, but we will discuss that after the 1st (or when we post the grocery totals, whichever comes first)
We were gifted two pounds of FRESHLY CAUGHT cod.  I made fish stew for Christmas Eve.  My first time making a fish stew.  I thought it came out very well (I made it clear, no cream or milk) celery, onion sautéed in butter, diced browned bacon and potato.  Old Bay seasoning.  Was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.   I also made lasagna for Christmas Day.
   For Christmas Day we had Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushrooms (crab and sausage), lasagna filet mignon on the grill, baked potatoes, mushrooms and onions and broccoli.  Dessert was lemon meringue pie (requested by DD) and Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake made by my Aunt.
DH was wearing a Santa shirt on Christmas Eve and a man came up to him at the gas station and gifted him an adorable magnet that he himself had made.  He said he made 40 of them and shared them with people who were filled with the Christmas spirit.  His name was Tony and he signed and dated it.  DH was really excited!  Here is a pic
I love the wire rimmed glasses!

Was a good weekend. 
My smallest nativity and my DMIL Star of David that I keep at the studio
My newest nativity gifted to me by a dear friend.  It's nesting dolls!

I didn't want to open this vintage nativity, but supposedly it has never been put together!

A beautiful jewel crested set that we got last year. 

Part of my largest set

My newest Amish set, I love this one. 

Little Drummer Boy nativity.  We finally figured out my love of crèches and donkeys must be because this is my favorite Christmas Cartoon since I was very little.

An antique book of the story of the Birth of Christ.  Love the cover.

My first Creche, again I am only putting out the holy family and some of my kings.  This set is huge, from the trip to Bethlehem to the escape to Egypt.

I have a rubber peanuts one at the studio as well

From Russia

Christmas Museum in PA

Amish inspired

Holy Family in an egg shell with a donkey in a walnut

A polish basket nativity complete with wafers...a beautiful tradition

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Unstuffed cabbage soup

I am sorry I didn't take a photo.     I wish you could have smelled it.   I think this is the best soup I have ever created.     Browned ground beef, shredded half a head of cabbage,  shredded four carrots and one onion (I used a box grater).   Paprika and Hot Paprika.    I have some sample spice packets from a tea and spice shop in Guilford.  It is called The spice and tea exchange.     I used the colonial herb mix.    A can of diced tomato.   Half a cup of uncooked rice.     Crockpot for four hours on high.     It was very very good.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Broccoli Soup

I mentioned in earlier posts about the huge deal on Broccoli we got in PA.  I have blanched and frozen 3/4's of it, we had some with two different meals.  But I hated to throw out the stalks.  I cut off the root end, and peeled some of the rougher spots away.  Boiled it until it was tender.

Added an onion, 4 small carrots, half a carton of low sodium chicken broth and two tablespoons of butter into my 5 quart stock pot. 2 hours on high and then low for 6 more hours.  Blended it with my immersion blender 8 hours later.  Added about a half cup more of the stock, and 4 ounces of shredded cheddar. 

Yummo!  It is a pea soup color.  But I think it's better than Panera's broccoli cheddar, which I love.  Probably a lot less calories too. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cashing in on Facebook

Pros, stored items that have not been used in a long time yet are in excellent condition make me some cash.

Cons, being strung along and having people not show up when you've told other people it's been spoken for.

Make sure you meet up in a safe place.    Cash only.  

 Currently I have sold five items this month, with one other items scheduled to be picked up and paid for today.     Not making huge amounts of money, but enough to subsidize other activities.

This is what I sold this week.    So far I netted $24 for very little work.   I love the new setup where you can post to multiple sale pages with just one setup.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

December Grocery Shopping

Money spent in November went way over my plan of a four hundred dollar budget. However a lot of the foodstuffs that I purchased were bulk items, and also holiday purchases.  Except for some sausage and one chicken pot pie as well as baked goods that were purchased while we were away over the holiday weekend all of the bulk items have not been touched yet

 I definitely have enough root and green vegetables for the coming month. I don't need to buy potatoes nor do I need to get stuffing, turkey, gravy needs or baking items.

We were out of rice and today I purchased a 25 pounds bag. The price for this was $11.79 . I decanted some into a gallon glass container . The balance went into the garage freezer which is now empty except for ice packs .  This rice should last us a year.

 I will need to get cheeses for lasagna and seafood for Christmas Eve . I have no seafood in any of the fields freezers, and I do try to eat seafood at least once a week. So today I also bought salmon.   I plan on purchasing shrimp , pick crabmeat, and some Phyllo dough or puff pastry for New Year's Eve treats.  

 Other than that I don't plan on doing major shopping this month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thinking of the holidays (bit of a long ramble)

DH and I went away for Thanksgiving.  I cooked the traditional spread on Wednesday between lessons (only taught 3 hours) and we fed Pops (aka Gpa P) that evening.  I got stock going for over night.  I packed a dish for myself and made sandwiches for DH.  Put those in one of our coolers.

We ate it in the Hershey Chocolate World parking lot at 3 p.m.  We went on a trolley holiday lights ride at 530 p.m.  Was wonderful.  We sang Christmas Carols and ate Hershey kisses.  We didn't have any children with us, but we enjoyed watching other parents and their children.  Our DD went to her boyfriends Grandmother's house.  She texted me for a while saying she missed me, and wanted my cooking. That she should have come home. I know it was just that she is used to the way I did things around the holidays.  DH and I discussed how she needs to start her own new traditions.   I gave her some game ideas (we are big on charades and word games when we have a crowd) and she disappeared for a few hours.  Texted me later that things got better.

Christmas, was always a big deal.  When DD was 5 years old it was a rough year financially.  No cash.  NONE.  The only gifts under the tree were those from my students.  I still don't open gifts from students until Christmas Eve (not that I get many, but for some reason, that year, so long ago almost 20! I had a truly abundant pile of wonderful gifts from students)  We took turns unwrapping one at a time, ohhhhing and ahhhhing.

We try to focus on the meaning of the day.  We have always been bible readers, but also don't believe we need to go to a building to be good Christians.  We have tried to be giving, and forgiving, and keeping the story of baby Jesus' birth alive.  It's why the Creche is more important in our house than the tree.  Don't get me wrong, we put up a tree (later in the month due to my allergies, mold and dust on a fake one or a real one, doesn't matter I suffer after about two weeks)  But it's the Nativity scene that means more in our house. 

As I have gotten older, I have been gifted, or found at auctions, antique shops, tagsales more and more beautiful creches.    While we were away for Thanksgiving (PA again!......we really need to purchase a residence there I think) I was so excited to see so many homes, so many BUSINESSES with a nativity scene on their property.  Herr's Potato Chips not only put on a free drive through holiday light show but also have a HUGE and beautiful nativity scene in front of their factory.   Private homes have them in their yards (as will we come tomorrow) but this one won the prize.  It still doesn't do it justice.  This is in front of their barn.  At night it is even more amazing, with heralding angels and animals illuminated.  Just stunning. 

Another small house, with an amazing display
As we have gotten older, we have tried to gift experiences more than things.  I have a milestone birthday coming up soon.  This holiday trip was my gift.  We went to the National Christmas Center that was truly inspiring and thought provoking.  I went for the Creche collection, and spent time talking to the man who started it all (He is the Keeper of Christmas) and had to go back and thank him before we left.  He refurbished some life sized nativities.  Many of the items were his own.  There is a full size walkable town of Bethlehem.  Amazing. 

 What is great for our children to see is the above Woolworths Holiday replica.  How simple things were compared to now.  I think we should go back, that our children should not be using ipads and tablets before age 10.  Imaginations are not blooming anymore.  As an educator and a parent it troubles me. 
I hope that everyone will remember, it's not just about the gifts.  There is so much more we can do for our children. 
Okay, rant over. 

New soup concoction

 I have been staring at a can of creamed corn for a while now. No one in the house will eat it as is, and I only use it to make a corn pudding that I can no longer eat. It's still well within date… But I wanted to use it up.

I put it in the crockpot With a quart of frozen diced multicolored peppers, a can of the sciracha flavored kidney beans, the rest of the pork loin diced up and a carton of low-sodium chicken stock.

It smells very good.    Hope Gpa P agrees.

November Grocery totals

Turnip bigger than my hand!

Ugh.  $790.08, but most of it is still in freezers or fridge.  Purchase freeze for December.  Do not need veggies for a LONG time.  See amount of potatoes bought in PA.  DH could not resist. 

10/26 $32.47   Shoprite, 3 cases of Poland Springs Water.  4 pounds of Shoprite Butter (1.49 a pound, amazing price) 4.71 lbs of 80% lean ground beef. Two 30 count eggs just $1.77 each!

10/29 Target. $39.90  They had a cartwheel deal on a lot of items that we were out of 31% off in honor of Halloween I guess!  2 boxes Ritz Crackers, 1 bag Ritz 'chips', 1 box Premium Saltines, 1 bag of Premium oyster crackers, 2 boxes of Pillsbury cake mix, 2 cans of Pillsbury frosting, 2 Boxes of Betty Crocker brownie mix, 3 boxes of Starbucks K cups (was down to my last box already opened at home)

10/30 BJ's 43.69 after Savingstar refund 2 6 packs of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.  I am sure it will go on sale, but Gpa P eats this all year round and I saw it and figured I better stock up.  A large bottle of McCormick Taco Seasoning (I use this in chili too), Salmon, Large box of Bisquick.

10/30 Farmers Market $36.75

11/2 Stop and Shop,  3 large jars Heinz beef Gravy $7.92

11/2 BJ's warehouse, $51.59 Daisy's Sour cream, two 24 ounces boxes of mushrooms, 10 lbs of russet potatoes, gallon milk, Johnsonville turkey links and sirloin tips. 

11/4 Big Y $22.06   (everyone get ready to laugh) A bottle of diet coke (splurge) and 8 lbs of butter. I'm set for a while.

11/6 Farmers Market $36.25

11/6 Ct Natural Food/Produce Market $37.18  3 pastry sweets, 1 lemon/poppy seed bread, 2 lbs of Italian sausage, nacho cheese dip and honey mustard (DH requested for pretzels), bibb lettuce, celery and sesame sticks (for me)

11/9 Stop and Shop $7.00   Two tubes of Jones Pork Sausage (for stuffing), 2 yogurts and a FREE 7 ounce package of butter.  Then got a $1.00 back on SavingStar on the butter!

11/11 Shoprite 63.80 Hecker Flour, Ricotta and Mozz cheeses, 3 cases Poland Springs Water, Pepperidge Farm cookies (ugh, ate to many of these, gave cousin the rest to take home), a HUGE pork loin (10.05 lbs) for .99 a pound (the reason I went there), 2 twenty four ounce packages of Wrights bacon.  3 lbs of Halo Clementine's.  Salted Cod (Christmas is coming!) a large turnip and a surprise for DH fried chicken from the prepared food (he loves it for some reason_

11/12 Target $2.84 Gallon milk minus .25 Ibotta $2.59   Cheaper than the warehouse store this week.

11/13 Farmers Market, $3.25 loaf of bread.  Uncle treated me to all other produce.

11/13 we went to two Polish Markets in New Britain.  Spent $14.22 in one and 7.34 in another on cookies, some apples, mustards and spices.

11/14 BJ's warehouse, $25.12  3 lbs of sweet potatoes 3 packages of Johnsonville turkey breakfast sausage and Salmon.

11/14 Target $43 even!  Did the spend 50 get 10 off. All items were on sale, I had coupons and/or target shopping card app.  3 bags of Hershey Kisses (Christmas stockings and baking) Perrier (DH requested) Marie's Blue Cheese dressing.  8 Delmonte canned veggies, 4 Heinz beef gravy.  4 Swanson broth and 5 College Inn broth (all 32 ounce cartons).  Chopped walnuts, bananas, 12 pk Sunkist diet orange, 3 Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (redeemed $1 saving star)

11/20 BJ's warehouse $60.96 after Ibotta milk refund.  white bread, 24 count nuts, milk, Mahi Mahi, frozen veggies, chicken pot pies (DH lunches) and grated parm. 

11/21 PriceRite. $8.03 My first time in this store.  It may become a monthly stop.  10 lbs of potatoes, 3 lbs onions and 5 dozen eggs (yes, 5......baking time is coming, and Gpa P will cook six at a time, one for the dog.  Eye roll at no charge)

11/21 Stop and Shop $62.59, apple pie, pumpkin pie, OJ, whipped cream, peppermint whipped cream (coffee treat!) 35 pk of water, 2 Starbucks coffee beans on sale with coupons, hellmans mayo, 2 bags of fresh cranberries (b1g1) 2 celery hearts (b1g1) one fresh turkey organic, one frozen turkey.  Price was after coupons and preorder gift card for fresh turkey.


11/26 in PA, various farm stops.  50 lbs of potatoes, $12, 4 lbs of broccoli $4, 2 huge heads of cauliflower $4, 3 lbs of brussel sprouts $4, 3 huge purple topped turnips $1, yogurts, cider, apples, crackers, canned goods  $50, meats and meat pies $70

11/28 Stop and Shop 39.12   Lunch items for DH  Cold Cuts, Fried Chicken (reduced as it was end of day, saved $3!) yogurt, cheese and pepperoni. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nice freebie

a co-educator was gifted several bags of coffee beans from her sisters new beau (manager at SB).  She gifted me a bag.   Ground for my French press it filled a half gallon canning jar.  Nice!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


DH made sausage and potatoes as well as grilled some chicken breasts he had pounded.  Served with assorted veggies, we had odds and ends left over.  What to do?  Make soup!  I took all those protein and veggie leftovers, added some escarole and boxed chicken stock and voila!
What to do with leftover pancake batter (both 'white' and buckwheat)?

Mix the batters together, add three eggs
Saute leeks in butter

Add leftover swiss chard and use immersion blender to pulverize

combine with batter/eggs, add cheese, put into greased pans

Voila!  Savory pancake puffs

I also prepped and froze 3/4's of the ten pound pork loin I bought.  DH roasted two pounds of it with Kohlrabi greens and rice.  I also made a small meatloaf with leftover meatball mix I had frozen for Gpa P.
Using it all up!