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!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Another New Crockpot (referral link to ebates)

Gotta Love Kohl's!    I pay attention to their deals, I think their regular prices are sometimes a bit out there, but boy, if you play the coupon/sale/promo code game well you can really score. 
As regular readers know, I love my crockpots.  I gift crockpots, I use them every week in my own kitchen.  Thanksgiving Dinner uses every crockpot I own.  I can never have enough of them. 
Kohl's had a deal.    This is what I paid out of pocket according to my receipt
 showing the codes I used. 
Order Summary
HONOR10- $10.00
TURKEY30- $6.00
Shipping & Surcharges:FREE
But WAIT!   It gets better.     I have a $10.00 rebate that I just mailed off today.   Down to $4.88
But WAIT!!  It gets even better.  I went through EBATES and got an additional $1.12 off.  Making my final total $3.76.  I received it yesterday, here is a pic!  A 7 quart crockpot for $3.76    The rebate comes on a VISA card, I will then turn around and buy an Amazon giftcard with it.  This is what I do with all these little rebate cards. 
If you haven't been using EBATES, I suggest you do.  I try to make all purchases through their site, most online retailers are affiliated with them.  I get a check each quarter.  They have ranged from $14 to $80+ over the years.    If you are interested in benefitting us both, you will get $10 and I will get $25 if you start shopping through EBATES.   Here is my referral link. 
Thanks, and grab those deals!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Farmers Market 11/13/16

Uncle treated this time!   He had his out of town God-Daughter with him, so I think he wanted to show off a bit.  I asked him not to several times, and then decided to let him feel good. 

Carrots, Broccoli Rabe and Swiss Chard from my Market Share Farm "Four Root Farm" These cost $9.00

I paid $3.25 for this loaf of light wheat sliced bread.  Unusual for there to be sliced bread at the City Seed Bakery Table.

Sourdough Boule Uncle bought, $2.75

Broccoli, 3.00

 And what I have been waiting for, Brussel Sprouts!    $6.00


Over a pound of these cabbage tasting greens

Naked Stalks

Almost half a pound of the sprouts

Monday, November 14, 2016


I am so lucky to have such beautiful wildlife literally in my backyard.    Wanted to share the beauty.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nice Freebie

I am so loving these Stop and Shop offers!  This one is a useful freebie.  Got this email late last week

Item was a NEW product to the store, 7 ounces was on sale for $2.99

Yes Please!

I picked up the unsalted version today when I went to order my
Nature's Promise Fresh Turkey for .99 a pound PLUS $5 off coupon.

Thanks to Carol at CTONABUDGET for cluing me in.

Update.    Made money on this deal!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Getting Back in the Cooking Groove

Yesterday I made stew.  I had beautiful already chunked filet mignon (from a previous meal) in the freezer.  2 lbs worth.  I assembled two crock pots. Also a sourdough baguette to go with.  Leftovers to be dished up with some going home with Uncle.

The oval one is just a true meat and potatoes (plus onions and a lb of carrots, but don't tell anyone)

The round one is my heaven.  I will pay, but the medication at least is keeping me pain free.  (I have Crohn's, and though I was told to eat no raw, very very mushy cooked veggies is on the ok radar, but even in small quantities veggies are not my friend.  Funny for someone who always preferred veggies, and in retrospect yes, I suffered a long time.  I just though that was the price for a high fiber diet.  Potato, Sweet Potato, onion, carrot, turnips, mushrooms.  Only a 1/4 lb of that meat went into this one.  I know Gpa P will dig into whichever one floats his boat at the moment of attack, but this is the one I will have a serving out of.

Today (Monday) I will be at home in the morning and apparently will have the house to myself from 630 am.  (Friends are picking up Gpa P for breakfast and a day at the 'club').  I plan on making lasagna (already have all the fixings in the house....noodles, ricotta, mozz and I will use jarred sauce) That will be for dinner and leftovers for lunches as well.

two trays accomplished!  It's amazing what I can accomplish when alone.  

This week I will also be preparing Swiss Chard with Sausage, and I took BSCB out of the freezer.  I still feel blah aka blue but I am doing what is right for the family's health and the pocketbook.  No takeout!

If you read my Farmers Market post for 11/6/16 you read that I purchased a huge zucchini.  Here it is:

I took out the seeds and ran it through the food processor with a shredding disk
I also ran three onions through the processor as well. 
The foreground bag is enough zucchini and onion for 2 quiches if not 3
The background bag also has the last of the mozzarella I had shredded but didn't use in the lasagna as well as grated cheese.  Just need to add eggs and a bit of biscuit mix.  I flattened both bags out and added to the freezer.
What are you cooking this week?