Thursday, March 30, 2017


Hmmmm, I am slacking on the photos

Saturday was POPS 75th bday.   He wanted hotdogs, burgers, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and macaroni salad.   Uncle wanted me to make all these things from scratch.  DH reminded Uncle that I had three very late nights in a row (9 on Wed due to ensembles, 930 on Thursday due to theory classes that I offered for free in honor of March is Music in our Schools Month and Friday a rehearsal) so DH purchased everything from Big Y.  I did not count this as grocery funds as it was part of the birthday celebration.  We did go to Lucibello's to pick up an ordered 6 inch Italian Cream cake.  I had one burger and a taste of each salad. 

We had grilled salmon (three portions, three meals for me), grilled chicken leg quarters (4) (cut in half, so it worked for 1 piece for me (Thursday lunch) and 2 for DH, and Pops had two meals...yes that is 5 pieces)  but these pieces are small.  I'm trying to get him to eat more veggies and protein and less bread.  I actually am not baking or buying bread anymore as he will just eat the entire loaf.

I also had mixed some tuna with some leftover macaroni salad/coleslaw from Sunday.

Men had sirloin tips with baked potatoes and asparagus on Wednesday.  I finished the salmon. 

Today (Thursday) I did steam some yellow squash in the microwave and I steamed the last of my farmers market turnips in the Instant Pot. 

Mashed with some butter

And you want to know what makes me salivate?  Vegetables.  The diagnosis of Crohn's last spring has been a struggle for me to keep a good weight (I've gained some with the food changes they required me to do plus meds) and to enjoy eating.   I love raw veggies, love salads, love vegetable soups.  Not for moral reasons, I just prefer to eat vegetables.  Not a big fan of fruit (will eat berries occasionally, perhaps a slice of watermelon).

Well, now with a lot of beano and a new medication taken an hour before a meal for stomach/intestinal cramping/pain (which has a whole new list of side I only use it when I know the meal will make me suffer)  I got to just enjoy this:

Mashed Turnips with butter and black pepper and steamed yellow squash no other add on's. I did eat a chicken drumstick too.  LOL
I am not a fan of all the meds I take (now up to 12 pills a day) but if it allows me to eat healthier and in a way that I would prefer, I will do it. 
I almost was crying with joy when I sat down to this meal.  So good.


Thanks to CT Mom over at ctonabudget who has mentioned Penzey's on more than one occasion I finally got myself on their mailing list and was able to get some fantastic spices for a very low cost.

They were running a special of Free Shipping on a $19.95 total.   But wait!  They also were running lots of other freebie deals and they allowed me to combine two of them.  But wait!  My total before coupons was over $45 so they even gave me another freebie!   Here is what I got.  My total spent out of pocket was $19.99

I paid for the Gumbo File, Wasabi powder, Epazote Mexican spice mix, Tsardust Moroccan spice mix and a Salsa salad seasoning.

I had coupons to get the Minced Garlic and the Pie Spices FREE (Pie was to keep one and share one, and my friend Margaret will be getting my to share jar)
The Tuscan Spice blend was off my radar as I felt I did not qualify for it, but it was in my box anyway!   I didn't enter the code.  Great company to purchase from.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Good Big Y Deals today (chicken and french bread flash sale)

......only in America is this a problem.     Pops went to Big Y for seniors 7% off.    They had chicken leg quarters for $.49 a pound and I knew I had enough room in the freezer for 10 lbs so I gave him a five dollar bill.  Guess who came home with 20 pounds of chicken because it was such a good deal.  He insisted on not taking the additional 5 dollars from me as he wanted to feel like he was contributing.

  This too, is an unusual event.   (Dad does not give us any money.......his money is for his enjoyment only.....)     I was able to freeze 15 pounds of it but I had to take some stuff out of the freezer LOL. Marinating the other pkg comes out to four legs and four thighs per package really good deal if you need chicken leg quarters.   This would feed a normal family for several days.  DH and I will probably eat 1.5 of the leg quarters between us.  Yes, Dad will eat the rest.  No, Dad is not morbidly obese.  I honestly wish I had his metabolism.  He forgets he eats, sometimes will eat to the point of illness (purging).  He could lose some weight, but he is not as big as you would think he should be.

Also, today only is a flash sale on French Bread.  Limit 2 nine ounce loaves at .59 each.  This is a huge deal if you like their bakery French bread. 

Hope you can get on the deals!

March Grocery Purchases

Total spent $443.58 averages $111 a week
I am so happy with this total
especially since a lot of it is in freezers and basement

Feb 26th 39.04 at Stop and Shop.   Gallon milk, 1/2 gallon rice milk, FREE Dannon Oikos drinkable vanilla, 2 lbs of Goya dried Northern Beans, 3 Cans of Goya black beans (see fail photo after this paragraph) FREE Barilla Pesto, 3.46 lbs of Ground Beef, 2.5 lbs Italian sweet sausage, 8 pc Fried Chicken from prepared food, 8 lb Navel oranges. 

ARGH, I need to spend 3 more cents?  Really?  Sheesh
February 28, 26.21 Big Y   Loaf of Ciabatta bread, 2 lbs of deli Chicken breast, 1/2 lb of LOL American, Thomas' toaster corn cakes (had a hankering), Tat's brownie thins (again, hankering, but haven't opened yet) 5 lbs of potatoes. 
March 6 $22.00 Reading Soda works 24 bottles of pop for DH
March 8, Stolftzfus Meats, $99.39
March 8, Kauffman Fruit Farm,  $60.47

(PA purchases on March 6-8 documented HERE)
March 9, BJ's Wholesale $47.48 two 40 pk spring water, 2 half gallons of silk almond milk, 2 lbs of wild sockeye salmon, loaf of levy's rye, gallon milk, gallon of OJ.

March 12 $33.48 Stop and Shop wonder white bread for DH (yuck) irish butter, 3 lbs of old fashioned oats, flat cut corned beef brisket, perdue oven stuffer roaster, 5 lbs of potatoes, 3 lbs of onions, 2 lbs of grapes, 9 lbs (yup!) of cabbage.  I thought this was a great shopping trip!

March 13, produce market $31.34 5 lbs of carrots, 4 lemons, celery, 1/2 gallon whole milk, baguette, blueberries, 3 large yellow squash, 4 green peppers, 4 orange peppers, loaf of sour dough bread. 

March 20, stop and shop $74.12 Tuscan round loaf, mini crisp chocolate chip cookies (dh lunch), pickles, turkey breast, land o lakes white American, roast beef and hard salami (1/2 lb all but the cheese 1 lb), utz potato chips, one can of Goya pink beans (spend .67 to hit the goal to get 4 dollars back), Over the Border tortilla chips (all for me, I hid them, lol), roasting chicken 9 lbs for 9 dollars I froze it.  3.5 lbs of 85% lean ground beef, 1 lb of asparagus, 1 lb of pink lady apples and 1 lb of honeycrisp apples. 

March 21 Big Y $10.05 Twenty lbs (Yes you read that right) of chicken leg quarters and two loaves of French bread. 

I don't anticipate shopping again this month, so I am posting today.  If I do it will only be for water and or milk. 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Cooking and feeling bleh

On Thursday I made Pork Roast with peppers and onions (sorry no photo)  I browned the roast, then put it in the crockpot with the veggies, fresh garlic cloves and a few shakes of Wosteschire sauce.  I can never spell that word right.  It smelled good, but I have not been feeling well since the storm, so didn't eat any.  Pops complained it was a bit dry, I don't know what he was talking about.  I shredded the rest of it with two forks to freeze for a future pork stew.  I think he just likes to complain. 

I also made more soup with the chicken carcass from last week, mushrooms, garlic, egg noodles, onion, celery.  Was very good.  I will live on this for days.

DH made corned beef with veggies on Sunday.  Uncle wouldn't come over as I was still sick, so DH kindly brought him some as well as some lemon scones I had made.  DH and I don't care much for corned beef.  Two servings for Pops and one for the Uncle and the entire piece of meat was gone.  I'm not kidding.  Thank God I got it at such a deal.  Original price for this 4.64 lb slab of meat was 30.11, bonus buy took 18.65 off and then I had a coupon to get it for an even lower price, so I paid $9.14.  There are plenty of veggies left, so I will turn those into a vegetable soup later in the week.

Today is the first day I feel 50% since last Tuesday.  I am looking forward to 80% and up.  Have not missed any work (though I thought about it) and have been sleeping am amazing amount of time.  Today I vacuumed and wrapped a package to send to my Grandmother.  Did some business related work this morning, scheduled an eye exam for Pops (luckily got a great time for next Tuesday, so I can bring him instead of DH) Now I'm trying to get my energy up to shower and head to the bank and post office before I go to the studio. 
On a happy note, I never had a fever or sore throat.  So, I am saying it's not an intestinal blockage (as I had last spring) or an 'eschemic event' as I had a few weeks ago with my vision being thrown for a loop.  So I got this!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spoke to Soon.....Storm got us in the end

Cardinal in lilac bush

So, just as we were finishing an early dinner around 5 pm (a treat for us as I work so late most nights) we lost power.  Ugh.    I was able to get somethings done or at least set up to be done before it got dark.  

I refilled the bird feeders

I filled the dishwasher and got it ready to go whenever the power came back on.

I broke down the rest of my dried oregano that was hanging in my office

And more fennel seeds that were also hanging in my office

I reassured Pops it would come back on and be ok.  He was in bed by 7.

DH and I read on our kindles til we wore them down, then we had an amusing few hours sitting in the candlelight and listening to what we could find on the shortwave radio.

We were in bed by about 930.   

All in all, it was a pleasant evening!  Power came on this morning, and we managed just fine. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Back to cooking

Easy 4 ingredient French bread.  Not a total fail, but not a true success either.
yeast, honey, salt, water, flour....hmmmm, that's five.  LOL  Maybe salt doesn't count? I am going with the water doesn't count. 
Anyway, I cut the salt way back, and it was definitely missing.  I went by feel of the water temperature, and think that's perhaps why the dough (though it doubled in size) wasn't as airy inside.  Was actually quite dense.  Maybe I didn't knead it enough?  I followed the recipe to the letter.  The crust was nice, though not browned enough, I think the next time I do it I would do a baking soda/water wash.  I also think though it doubled in size, my house wasn't warm enough to really get the rise going. 
To give full credit, I found this recipe on
I will definitely try it again as it is easy.

One of my favorite Amish treats/breakfasts is baked oatmeal.  I ate it when there every day, and brought some home.  I decided it was time to make it myself.  Next time I will make it in a round casserole dish.  I was very pleased with the outcome. 
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar (original recipe called for a full cup)
1.5 cups of almond milk (I don't use dairy except for occasional hard cheese and yogurt)
3 cups of oats (I used old fashioned)
1.5 tsp vanilla
Baked for 40 minutes 350

Next time I will add blueberries or dried peaches.  It was delicious, and here is the breakdown of calories

I roasted a chicken

Made stock with the neck and veggie peelings

Made soup with the meat of one leg quarter and wings, carrots, celery, onion, colonial seasoning mix, half a carton of rice from leftover Chinese food
Sauce on the stove as we are home today
I have a baguette and will make ziti for DH and a few raviolis for Gpa P
We had shrimp with rice on Sunday (I cooked) with the last of our frozen farmers market broccoli
and DH made salmon on Monday with rice and broccoli
On Sunday I also made tuna and egg salads (hid them in garage fridge) for DH's work lunches.

Storm Update

I think they might have missed this one.
Snow started around 130 am.  This is what it looked like at 9 am
It is 10 am now, and the cars are blown 3/4's clean, which is a nice bonus
Video taken at 11, now freezing rain
Street view, pardon the TV sounds
We have definitely had worse storms

Monday, March 13, 2017

Here we go!

Photo Credit and Blizzard Briefing from:

We are in the red, AKA Blizzard Warning

So, what have we done to prep?  Not much.  Gassed up vehicles, went to post office, went to bank. 

I did go to the produce market today to pick up some fruit and veggies plus whole milk for DH's hot cocoa. 

I took the front door wreath (now spring themed, should probably put out the poinsetta again)

We made room in the garage for at least one vehicle (there are four)

I already notified the 30 families who take lessons tomorrow that we will be closed due to the storm (we have snow days built into our 48 lessons per year schedule, so they won't lose the lesson, and the educators won't lose a day's pay)

I plan on baking, cooking and puttering all day.  

We may lose power, so I am grateful for lots of warm blankets, lots of books and things to well as craft projects I can work on to stay busy. 

How do you prep for big storms? Do you look forward to them?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I'm back! Working mini vacation

Was away for conference and a fiddle competition.  Of course since we were in PA for these events, we had to fit in a few days in my favorite getaway Lancaster county!

We did new things this trip, going to the Roots Auction and Farmers Market in Manheim PA.  Only open on Tuesdays.  This by far was the best one we have been to in PA, and I felt that way about the Green Dragon before now.  We purchased two baskets and talked to the people who made them.  One I will use for napkins, and a smaller notecard one for my Grandmother.   $25.00 for both, and they are signed by the maker.

 Wheat bread was 18 ounces, presliced.  Only 3 slices left.  We haven't even been home for 24 hours.  I did have 2 slices this morning!  Score for me.  Large quart jars (I think, pretty big) of 7 day sweet pickles, sweet hot pickles and hot pickled garlic.  $15

Quart of white mushrooms, $2.00.   Quart of Brussels sprouts $2.00.  2 avocados $1.50.  A book on the making of Charlie Brown Christmas, $6.00.  Two loaves of bread (wheat and asiago) plus a donut for DH, $6.  Soft pretzel sticks (8) cheese spread and bottled water, $4.45.   4 pairs of merino wool socks for Gpa P, $15

Freebies, dozen cookies from the onsite bakery at Kitchen Kettle Village, two coffee mugs, unlimited coffee from the three restaurants on premises.   Two bags of pretzels from Julius Sturgis PLUS one free soft pretzel with coupon.

Tour of Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory which should be called a museum. $14 for the tour, well worth it for the history.   Here is a photo of a diorama  
The machine that replaced all the pretzel twisters

Original pretzel ovens

drying racks that are hauled up to attic to make the soft pretzels harder

I officially can do the pretzel knot

We spent another $20 on various pretzels to take home, including a large tin full.  We also had a B1G1F soft pretzel coupon.
DH's favorite soda was not found at the farmers market, so I found out we could go right to the source!  Reading Soda Works for two 12 packs of bottles in his favorite flavors.  Cheaper than the farmers market!  $22
We also went to Kauffmann's, got 1.75 lbs  of dried mangos for DD, 15 lbs of blue organic popcorn for the neighbors (they reimbursed me),  3/4 lb dried peaches (for me) quart of lemon yogurt and three 8 ounce containers of blueberry yogurt.  1/2 gallon of cider (for Mom) Honey Peanut butter (Gpa P) lemon fry pie (for me!) Quart of apples (DH) 3 Soft Pretzel 1.5 lb mixes. 1.75 lbs of Sesame Sticks (for me!)  2 lbs of Kluski Noodles$60.47
Last stop, stoltzfus meats  8 Meatpies (2 for Mom) liverwurst, applewood beef jerky, 2.5 lbs sausage grillers, 2 lbs of kielbasa, 8 beef sticks, liverwurst, 2 lbs sausage patties, ham loaf and two baked oatmeals (for me!!)  $99.39  
Biggest planned purchase?  I have been saving for this one for 2 years.  Was so excited I was almost crying.  King sized hand made quilt.  Signed and dated by the Amish woman who made it, Fanny Fisher.
Antiquing as well.  Here are a few highlights
Had my eye on this the last two trips, finally was down to my price range.  Original planters display container for nuts from a drugstore counter cafĂ©. 
Original Guldens jar, $4.00

Replacement crinkle glass vase that got broken in carpet install, plus a cute mini

Was a good trip.