Monday, November 30, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Another Thanksgiving Meal has Come and Gone" Edition--

Everything came out fine this year and was enjoyed by all.  I do think cooking only one turkey breast would have been enough however as College Boy only had 1 plate of food this year for some reason.
That's very unlike him....

So a big hunk of turkey roulade is going into the freezer this week for eating sometime in December, along with all the carcass meat I pulled off and a container of turkey stock so I can make turkey soup too when it's needed.
There are still stuffing, rutabaga, green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy to serve/eat this coming week though.

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week.......

1. Sunday--Leftover Meatloaf, G Beans, B Sprouts, Potatoes
2. Monday--Leftovers(chicken soup/beef stew) or Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Eating Out
4. Wednesday--Chili(from Freezer)or Leftover soup and/or stew or ?
5. Thursday--Turkey Dinner
6. Friday--Pecan Chicken, Corn Casserole
7. Saturday--Leftover Turkey Day meal

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftover Meatloaf, G Beans, B Sprouts, Potatoes
2. Monday--Leftovers(chicken soup/beef stew) or Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Eating Out-Chinese Buffet
4. Wednesday--Pizza take-out(using gift certificate)
5. Thursday--Turkey Dinner
6. Friday--Stromboli/Wings take-out(using gift certificate)
7. Saturday--Leftover Turkey Day meal

Inside of having to defrost Chili when we got home from getting College Boy on Wednesday and then start the cooking marathon for Turkey Day we used a pizza place gift certificate for dinner.  I also didn't make the Pecan Chicken on Friday and we used another gift certificate for Stromboli and Wings I had.  The less cooking I needed to do last week the better. lolz
We did accomplish finishing ALL the leftovers in the fridges before Thursday saw a ton more!

As for my grocery spending last week......a trip to Maine Source for cheap produce and mozzarella, 2 small trips to the local shursave market for loss leaders and .05¢ spend at Rite-Aid on the Black Friday deals for a total this week of $52.08 OOP.   Month to date is $295.96 spent for November.  I have $4.09 leftover in the food budget and I am done shopping for the month.  $28.42 of that spending was for a food bank donation.

Leftovers going into this week....where to begin!?!lolz......all the Turkey day side foods(plus pie)and Stromboli(they were HUGE!!!)

Here is this week's "food plan"--

1. Sunday--Leftovers-whatever you want
2. Monday--Butternut Squash Soup(something light), Garlic Bread
3. Tuesday--Pecan Chicken, Leftover Sides
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice, Leftover Sides
6. Friday--Chicken Parm, Spaghetti(for Hubs), Salad and/or Leftover Sides
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 4 new meals cooked and many MANY leftovers consumed.

What I need to buy for this menu?.........not a thing. Stocked to the gills on food here.  ;-)
I will be getting a few loss leaders(half n' half, napkins, canned tomatoes and whatever pops up on Thursday in the Weis ad)this week though, once December's food budget gets withdrawn on Tuesday.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Black Friday Ad Shopping.....Stretching a Nickel at Rite-Aid

Well it is done.

My Rite-Aid Black Friday Weekend Shopping that is!

I was up early Thursday to start cooking but before I began I made a quick trip to Rite-Aid to start getting the freebies.  I didn't have enough Plenti Points to get them all in one trip/in one day so I had to plan to go each of the 3 days of the sale to maximize my point usage.

I arrived 10 min. before the door opened.  I thought they opened at 7am on Thursday but it was 8am.
I left the house around quarter of 8 and was shocked to find the store wasn't open yet when I arrived. lolz
They opened at 7 am on Friday not on Thursday so I sat in the car a few minutes.  No biggie.

I went in having my scenarios all written and mapped out and in which order/priority to get items(since I didn't have enough Plenti points on either card to get everything the first day).  If they didn't have something I just went down the list to the next freebie.
Even doing 2 transactions(one for each card)I was in and out in under an hour.  There were people still wandering the aisles when I left who had gotten into the store before me.  Obviously they didn't have a plan. ;-)

I got this on my Son's card........rolling most but not all of the Plenti Points on it.

The freebies were the hair brushes, Sharpie pens, Tresseme trial bottles, Kleenex, Nail polish, cookie packs, light bulbs, gift tape, and small Russell Stover candy boxes.

The "moneymaker" items(due to the 20% Wellness discount being lower than the sale price and/or I also used a coupon)were the earbuds(.76¢, toothbrushes(.75¢, dental floss, Lubriderm lotion and Clear shampoo(.01¢ the gift pack of Planters nuts($5.60 ea. mm!).
The nuts were suppose to be a .01¢ ea. moneymaker(after rain check and Plenti Pts. earned)but the cashier somehow adjusted for the rain check too much and I was only charged .39¢ for each gift pack.  I tried to tell her they were ringing up too low but she was not having it.  lolz

Also, not only was the Clear 'poo a moneymaker but one of the bottles had a full sized bottle of conditioner attached to it as a freebie. Woohoo!

I spent $58.40 in points and earned back $68 in new points.  No $ spent OOP.

After that bunch I got this on my card..........rolling ALL the Plenti Points on this card but with tax I was a nickel over so owed them .05¢ OOP. ;-)

The freebies were the 1 Tresseme trial bottles, Kleenex, cookie packs, light bulbs, gift tape, Colgate Optic White(stacking a R-AQ and a ManuQ)and small Russell Stover candy boxes.

The "moneymaker" items(due to the 20% Wellness discount being lower than the sale price and/or I also used a coupon) were the toothbrushes(.75¢, dental floss(.01¢ the Colgate enamel toothpaste(.25¢

I used all $36.19 worth of Plenti Pts. on this transaction plus I went over my points total and owed a nickel.  Instead of putting that .05¢ on my free R-A gift card I slipped up and paid with a nickel in cash. ;-)
I earned back $39.00 in new points on this lot.

Then on Friday it was all about rolling more Plenti Pts. for whatever freebies were left on the shelves and then buying items we wanted that were very cheap OOP after sale/coupons.

First I bought all this on my son's card..............Zero OOP.

The freebies were 6 Nivea lotion tins.

The "moneymaker" items were the earbuds(.76¢, Max-Freeze pain rub($2 the Eucerin lotion tubes(.05¢

After sale/coupons/new points the 4 cans of Pringles cost .32.5¢ ea., the Carmex 3 pack cost .13¢, the 2 bottles of nail polish cost .19¢ ea., the bleach and dish soap cost .86.5¢ ea., the Toblerone chocolate bars were $1 ea., the Tic-Tacs were .45¢ ea. and the Venus razor packs cost .29¢ per pack.

I spent $47.52 in Plenti points and earned $41 in new points on this transaction.
Nothing OOP.

I also bought $100 in Home Despot gift cards on son's Plenti card using $100 of our home maintenance/repair Budget and received $20 in new Plenti points on this card.

I then turned around and used my Plenti card and bought another $100 in HD gift card using home/repair Budget funds and received $20 in new Plenti points on that card.

And this lot was bought on my card........

The freebies were 6 Nivea lotion tins and Sally Hansen polish.

The "moneymaker" items were the earbuds(.76¢, the Eucerin lotion tubes(.05¢ the Clear shampoo(.01¢

The other nail polish cost .19¢ per bottle, and the M&Ms after sale/Q were $1.50 a bag.
The Cerave lotion was on clearance for $2.64 and I used a $3/1 Cerave ManuQ so this was a .36¢ moneymaker.

This transaction used $39 in Plenti pts. and earned $36 in new pts.  With the tax I owed .61¢ after all my points were used and that amount was put on my free R-A gift card so again Zero OOP.

On Saturday was a few more items to pick up, first on my son's more freebies except the toothpaste......

3 large boxes of Russell Stover chocolate for $9.99 total($3.33 a box).
4 bags of Doritos(one is missing as it was pounced upon at the door lolz)for $7.96 total and gave back $2 in points so "cost" $1.49 per bag.
2 bags of M&M's with sale and Q were $3 total and I activated a Plenti reward of $1 in points online so each "cost" $1 per bag.
2 tubes of Colgate toothpaste was free after sale and stacking in-ad RAQ with ManuQ.
3 boxes of Tic Tacs were $1.35 total after B1G2F sale and B1G1 Q so .45¢ each.

$22.08 in Plenti points used and $3 in new Plenti points earned and Zero OOP.
$65 in PP left on this card.

And this stuff on my card................

Freebies on this card were the Tresemme travel size, 2 x Scunci hair bands.  After sale/points back/coupon the Venus razors were .29¢ per package.
After activating the M&Ms $1 wyb2 Offer on this Plenti card and using sale and a coupon each bag cost $1.

$19.52 in Plenti points used, $16 in new points earned on these items and Zero OOP.
$52.48 in Plenti points left on this card.

Total regular Rite-Aid retail price on everything I bought?  $500.36
Total OOP paid?  .05¢(when I forgot to use my free R-A gift card to pay).
All the rest of the OOP was paid on a gift card(.61¢)or rolling/using Plenti Points.

Now THAT is what I call Black Friday Weekend shopping! 8-)))


Saturday, November 28, 2015

November Food Budget....Spending Update for This Week

I went into this week with $56.12 left in my $300 November Food Budget.

On Monday I hit Maine Source for onions, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, mushrooms, butternut squash, a gallon of apple cider and 2lbs of mozzarella cheese for $29.68 OOP, a savings rate of 41.23% over reg. retail.

I then hit the local Shursave market for celery, 1 gal. of milk and 5 bags of assorted Hanover frozen veggies(.99¢ a bag!).  This all cost me $10.23 OOP, a savings rate of 44.50% over reg. retail.

And on Saturday I went back to Shursave to get more frozen veggies, ginger ale, ice cream, a can of "glop" and canned yams and spent another $12.12 OOP, a savings rate of 55.42% over reg. retail.

Total spending this week was $52.03 on $96.12 worth of reg. retail groceries and a savings rate of 45.87%.
And I have $4.09 left in my November budget, even with the $28.42 I spent on food bank donations I stayed under target.
Yay me! 8-)

I am done grocery shopping for this month.  Tuesday we start December(geez, already?!?)and I'll be back then with my November Food Spending Totals.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Time Again

Just had to reshare this again this year.
It's one of my favs.....

The only shopping I'm doing is Rite-Aid(of course)and Hubs went to Office Max this afternoon to pick up a couple computer mice.
We also went to Weis(PMITA)Markets for a few things and just got back.

Other than that I won't be going anywhere until Monday morning.

My shopping has been done for weeks now.
I just need 1 thing for Hubs to pick up(no hurry/no sale)and then write a couple of checks.

I wish you luck if you went/have to go out into that shopping madness fray.
Stay safe!

I'll be back later this weekend with a new Giveaway instead of posting it today like I had planned.
Contrary to popular believe I DO have a life outside of the computer. lolz


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving & Stretchy Pants Day!

Wishes for the kind of Thanksgiving Day you enjoy for you and yours today.

The stuffing is warming already here......

The pies were done yesterday and the roll dough will be cut into rolls to rise very soon.

And after a quick Rite-Aid run(like you really thought I wouldn't go today?!! lolz), the deboned turkey breast will be stuffed and rolled.

No snow like last year on Turkey Day and that's fine by me!



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Thanksgiving Cooking Time Line

This year I thought I'd plan out my cooking prep and cooking chores instead of just winging it like I usually do.

Frankly I've cooked more Thanksgiving meals in my lifetime than I care to count just now so the whole process is sort of on autopilot at this point.
I know what to do and when.

But this year I am going to "Do Ahead" certain foods/preps so as not to be so frazzled and rushed on Thursday morning.
And to complicate matters further I am not cooking a whole bird but 2 breasts and 2 legs.  I've been thawing 2 frozen turkey breasts(8 lbs. each)and I bought two fresh turkey legs for Hubs as he is a dark meat man while the rest of us prefer breast meat.....and of course everyone loves crispy skin. lolz

And then to but me more outside my box I am deboning both breasts, adding stuffing and then rolling and cooking them that way instead of on the carcass.
Deboning is not such a big deal if you've deboned chicken breasts's just that on a larger scale.
But......this is the a roulade of turkey IS different than cooking a whole bird, or even just a turkey breast.
It only take about 2 hours as opposed to the all morning extravaganza of cooking a 22 lb. bird whole.

So now I have to juggle in my mind when to put the turkey in the oven and that's gonna throw me off my game a big, thus the written down time line deal so I don't forget to do something when it needs doing.

Wednesday-after Lunch

Debone the turkey breasts, dry brine them and place in fridge overnight.
Put carcass with chicken broth, carrots, onions and celery into largest crockpot and cook overnight.
Make 2 pumpkin(or sweet potato)pies-still haven't decided which.
Make the stuffing and refrigerate.
Cook the rutabaga, mash it and refrigerate.
Cook the potatoes for mashed potatoes and rice them but don't add anything else, refrigerate.
(I also need some cooked potatoes to make the rolls so that's done too.)
Put 2 cans of cranberry glop in fridge to chill.

Wednesday Evening

Mix up my potato roll dough and let rise overnight.


9 am-Check roll dough, if risen well punch down and form into rolls to proof until dinner time....if roll dough didn't rise, start new batch of emergency rolls.

Remove turkey carcass and stock from crockpot, wash and put stuffing in to cook.

Prepare Dutch Oven for braising turkey legs.
Put legs in and cook 3-4 hours.

10 am-Put mashed potatoes into crockpot and turn on high.

Assemble GB Casserole.

Prepare Turkey Roulades-put stuffing in and roll and tie, season outsides.
Preheat oven.

Prepare sweet potatoes to roast, wrapping in foil.

Put stuffing into large crockpot, add some more stock and put on High.

11 am-1 hour after starting Turkey Legs, put Turkey Roulades into oven.

12 pm-1 hour after cooking Turkey Roulades, put Green Bean Casserole and wrapped Sweet Potatoes into oven on lowest rack.

Turn Mashed Potatoes to low and add butter, milk, seasonings, etc.

1 pm ish-Remove Turkey Roulades(and GB Casserole and Sweet Potatoes from oven.  Tent Roulades and let rest.  Turn off Turkey Legs and leave in Dutch Oven until ready to plate.
Turn now empty oven to 425F and put in panned rolls as soon as preheated.

Ladle out some stock(made in largest crockpot) to make gravy along with drippings from Turkey Roulades and liquid from Dutch Oven(Turkey Legs).

Put Bowl of Rutabagas into microwave or in small pot and heat up, adding butter and seasonings.

Take out rolls when done cooking.

Make gravy.

Have CB de-can the "glop".

Have Hubs slice 1 Turkey Roulade.

Adjust temperature and put pies into oven to warm.

Put everything onto platters or in bowls and serve.

Unbutton pants.
Eat some more.
Then eat pie.
Push myself away from the table and groan.

Talk someone else into doing the dishes and cleaning up.....yeah, that never happens. lolz

I hope your day before Thanksgiving goes well.  8-)


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Hacks.....Thinking Outside the Box of Stuffing

Here's just a few thoughts on Frugal Thanksgiving Hacks.....either time or money hacks I've used.

While frugal money hacks save you money, the frugal time hacks may not save you anything monetary but will preserve your energy and good humor when Uncle Fred starts his political ranting or Cousin Tiffany drinks too much and starts insulting or coming on to your husband at the dinner table.


* You don't need to buy pre-cubed stale bread for stuffing.  Just start saving the heels of your loaves of bread or rolls/buns that go stale in a bag in your freezer for a few months ahead of Thanksgiving Day.  By the time you are ready to make stuffing that bag will be overflowing with bread you would have just thrown out.  And a bonus time saver, you won't have to dry it out or toast it as it's already stale.  Have too much stale bread to use up?  Try making a bread pudding for an alternative to pumpkin pie for those who don't like pie(Who doesn't like pie anyway?lol).  Or use that extra stale bread for a french toast casserole Thanksgiving morning that you make ahead the night before.

Yeah to avoiding that bready food waste too!

*  Making a dish you only make at the Holidays and it calls for an ingredient you don't keep on hand? IE-Green Bean Casserole.....Worcestershire sauce is so expensive and you only need a dash of it so why buy a bottle of it if the only time you need it is once a year for this dish?
Try a homemade version of Worcestershire sauce with ingredients already in your sauce, lemon juice, sugar makes an adequate substitution without forking over $5 or so on a bottle of the pre-made stuff, especially if it's just an ingredient and not having to stand alone as a flavor.

*  Shop ahead.  You know Thanksgiving comes around every year, right?  So buy items you'll be needing ahead of time and don't wait for November to roll around to acquire ingredients.  This is especially good advice is you are on a limited food budget each month.  By taking a small amount out of each month's food budget and spreading the acquiring of Holiday foods throughout the year it will be easier to stay within your budget in November/December.  It's sort of like saving for Christmas presents in a Christmas Club throughout the year but for food.

Evaporated milk for pumpkin/sweet potato pies?  I bought mine in October when a sale combined with a coupon made it .50¢ a can.  The cheapest it is here in November is .75¢ can(if there is a coupon out to combine with a sale price).
Bell's seasoning(my poultry seasoning of choice)was bought at the Surplus Grocery Outlet for .39¢ a box last year(this stuff costs $4+ in the grocery store here)
I buy my cranberry "glop" after the Holidays when it goes on clearance here....last year I picked some up for .39¢ a can.  And yes, it's just as good a year from now as it would be if i bought a can the week before Thanksgiving.  My turkey breasts were bought last Feb. when they were on sale for .99¢ lb.  Turkey breasts typically don't go on sale cheaper than whole turkeys.  While this was a good price I combined it with getting free $ Catalinas for buying other items and using the Catalinas to purchase the turkey breasts.

*  Substitutions.  Pumpkin pie is typically the "go-to" Thanksgiving pie(unless you don't care for it).
But why not try another squash type pie if that squash is less expensive.  While canned pumpkin has come down in price a few years back there was a shortage and the prices were high for this vital ingredient.  So try a sweet potato pie, or a butternut squash pie!  All are Winter squashes and with the right spices taste very much like pumpkin when cooked into a pie.  Sweet potatoes are a lot cheaper fresh than canned pumpkin puree lb. per lb.  Other than the shade of orange being a bit different I bet nobody at your table will know it's not pumpkin unless you tell them.  ;-)

*  Be flexible and buy cheaper foods.  In order to keep the cost of your Thanksgiving meal down, be flexible on what you serve.  Why buy asparagus in the Fall when it's an out of season veggie in most parts of the country and quite pricey?
Buy and serve a seasonal veggie instead.  Roast some root vegetables if those are cheaper in cost.
Serving basic carrots and potatoes will save you money but by "gussying" them up your meal can still feel like a special event.   Add cheese, garlic, spices or something else you have on hand to those taters.  Turn your potatoes into a special dish like Twice Baked or Duchess Potatoes instead of plain old Mashed Potatoes.  Boring carrots is all you can afford?  Make a glaze of ginger and brown sugar or orange juice, butter and sugar to make them fancy at a small cost.
If all you can afford is boxed Stove Top Stuffing(or you don't have time to make a proper stuffing from scratch)this can be easily spiced up to taste more like home made--don't add the whole seasoning packet(as it has too much sodium)and then add stock or both and dried herbs you have on hand and any leftover bread or cornbread you may have, torn into small bits.  Add in dried fruits, nuts, leftover breakfast sausage, etc. to make it special.

*  If you are having guests for dinner request that they make and bring a dish.  If they can't cook then have them bring beverages, something else they can purchase like whipped cream for the pie, pre-made dip and raw veggies, a heat and eat appetizer, etc.
Doing this not only saves you time but money in that you don't have to buy and make every dish for Thanksgiving

*  Don't make so much food!  Americans typically cook and serve way more food than is necessary at the Holidays.  When did Thanksgiving stop being a time to gather with friends/family and savor your Blessings in Life to becoming a Day of gluttony?
Just scale back the amount you cook and serve.  Or scale back how many side dishes you make.  Why make that big bowl of "insert name of food nobody really eats here" just because it's a "tradition" if you know you'll be throwing the bulk of it into the trash in a week?
Leftovers are great to have at Thanksgiving time but don't over buy and cook.
This is a money AND a time savings measure too.

FRUGAL TIME HACKS--While making fresh always tastes better, buy convenience foods which will save you time and not taste significantly different or be of lesser quality will save your sanity. Everyone has to decide for themselves which items this encompass. Someone may think Sara Lee or Mrs. Smith or Marie Callender makes a pie that taste as good as their mom's or Aunt Edna's home made type and someone else may think that's a load of hooey.

If nothing is as good as homemade to you but you need the Time Hack of convenience foods then spend a bit of time/money on improving said food.  Store bought pumpkin pie?  Either sprinkle fresh grated cinnamon on it or make real whipped cream to top it.
Store bought rolls?  Make an easy and tasty compound butter to spread on them and no one will be any the wiser.
The same goes for mashed Potatoes if you buy a dehydrated potato product to save time.  Just put a bunch of enhancers into them to make them almost as tasty as homemade.

So over to all of you--
How do you keep the cost and scale of Thanksgiving dinner manageable?
What convenience foods do you utilize at this time of year to save your sanity?
Are there any foods you "have to" serve at this time of year?


Monday, November 23, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Will You Look At That!" Edition--

This was a potted hyacinth I bought last Easter for myself.  I love the smell of hyacinth.  It's one of my all-time favorite flower scents after gardenia.  After they bloom and die back I never can get the bulbs to bloom again if I plant them outside.
I didn't replant these but had thought the chipmunks that plague our yard had dug them up(as I left this pot on the back deck)and ate the bulbs this Summer.
Then in late Sept. I noticed green shots coming up out of the pot and it was the hyacinth bulbs growing again!  I brought the pot inside when it turned cold later that month, watered it regularly and put it by a window and week by week we noticed the green shoots getting taller.

And voila!.....they put out flowers last week!!  Of course the stalks are suppose to be about 8 inches taller before they flower but I will take this anyway. lolz
When the blooms died back the pot will go back outside in the deep freeze that is our yard now before bringing it back in about February to try to get it to bloom again.

Have you had any luck growing perennial bulbs?

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week.......

1. Sunday--meatloaf, sweet potato fries, Brussels sprouts
2. Monday--Italian Torta, Caeser Salad
3. Tuesday--Pecan Chicken, Mixed Veggies
4. Wednesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, green beans
5. Thursday--Rockfish, Cauliflower, Garlic mashed potatoes
6. Friday--Guinness Beef Stew
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--meatloaf, sweet potato fries, Brussels sprouts
2. Monday--Italian Torta
3. Tuesday--Leftovers(Hubs had tacos, I had chicken soup)
4. Wednesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, baked beans
5. Thursday--Guinness Beef Stew
6. Friday--Rockfish, Green Beans, Garlic mashed potatoes
7. Saturday--Hamburger on roll(We had Chinese out for lunch w/lots of veggies)

I had enough leftover roast chicken to make a small pot of chicken soup so I had that Tuesday for dinner and the Pecan Chicken got pulled from rotation.

The bag of frozen Rock fish we bought at that Grocery Outlet last month was a bust.  The "lemon pepper" marianate it was in wasn't peppery at ALL and the lemon part was a sort of "lemon flavored sludge" coating the top of the fillets.  After baking the fish I scraped the sludge off of mine before eating it after tasting it the way it came.  It was a good price, the product was fine but the marinade was far from edible.  We have 2 more pieces of this fish to cook but will be scraping the marinade off before cooking next time and we won't be looking for this product again. 8-(

The Italian tortas(think pizza pot pie)were so-so as well.  It was something different but I won't go out of my way to buy these again, unless they are very inexpensive(as these were).

As for my grocery spending last week......Target, the Bread Outlet to stock up, 2 small trips to Weis for loss leaders and Turkey day needs, and a few things bought at Ollies(Good Stuff Cheap!)for a total this week of $63.51 OOP.   Month to date is $243.88 spent for November.  $28.42 of that spending was for food bank donations which I am done buying for this load.
I still have $56.12 left in the $300 food budget for the month.

Leftovers going into this week.... Chicken Soup, Beef Stew, Meatloaf, Baked Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans.

Here is this week's "food plan"--

1. Sunday--Leftover Meatloaf, G Beans, B Sprouts, Potatoes
2. Monday--Leftovers(chicken soup/beef stew) or Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Eating Out
4. Wednesday--Chili(from Freezer)or Leftover soup and/or stew or ?
5. Thursday--Turkey Dinner
6. Friday--Pecan Chicken, Corn Casserole, Cauliflower
7. Saturday--Leftover Turkey Day meal

This week will be a hodge-podge of meals(1 night Eating Out, Leftovers 3 nights, 1 new meal)with Thanksgiving Dinner thrown into the mix.  Gotta eat all those Leftovers before Thursday to make room for all those Thanksgiving leftovers, am I right? lolz

What I need to buy for this menu?.........still need to buy celery, carrots and rutabaga for Thanksgiving Dinner, which will be bought later today.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Giveaway Winner

And the Winner is.........

KIM from "Out My Window" Blog!

I am so confused, is that a comment?

Congratulations Kim!
Please email me your mailing address so I can get this out to you asap.

And thank you to everyone else who entered and comes back here to read my pitiful scribblings every day.

One more Giveaway coming up for 2015 so stay tuned!  8-)


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Last Day to Enter..... giveaway, that is!

Get in one more entry to win all this nifty stuff........

Just make sure if your entry isn't link to a Blogger profile with your email address or a blog that I can leave a comment on to let you know you won that you put your email in your entry comment or email me your addy privately using my email linked on my Blogger profile.

I have had to draw a substitute winner once so please don't make me have to do it again.  ;-)

I have another Giveaway coming, due to start on Black Friday, and it should be a BIG one!

Anyway, the link to enter the Giveaway is HERE or use the link on the side bar.
Please tell me what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving on your last entry comment.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Our Trip to IL....Part 3 The Musical, History and Booze Weekend

 Despite the drinking binge of Friday evening and a night spent on the bed dubbed, "The Crippler", I was up early and feeling good.

Den was up early too and hard at work in the kitchen making a yummy breakfast with which to spoil us guests.
An egg, bacon and roasted red pepper with basil croissant sandwich?

Yes please!

Then it was off to explore Sonya's town.
We went up to the town's Historical Society Museum housed in an old town school building.

Hubs contemplating how much worse his current eye condition treatment might have been 100 years ago on this medieval-looking torture device.

A vintage dentist's set-up.  Open wide for that drill........

And yes I am a smart ass if you haven't noticed yet.
They had a display of hand painted porcelain china as a large national deluxe china factory is near this area and still in operation.

These vintage hand painted plates were on display with antique photos of the women who painted them.  I thought the plate on the left in this photo was amazingly life like.....that bug painted onto the plate was so realistic and I told everyone within earshot about this.

A second, closer look and I saw that the dead bug was in fact a dead bug laying on the plate.
I guess someone needs to tidy up the displays a bit sooner than later.  ;-)

After a leisurely poke around this small but jam packed museum(bonus points it was FREE!)Den took us up to Woodman's over the border in Wisconsin.
I kept telling Hubs about this Liquor Valhalla and he was eagerly anticipating this excursion.

And Woodman's did NOT disappoint!
Hubs took a good hour to make a decision about what to buy.

And this time I came prepared and had money put onto my debit card(Woodman's only takes debit or cash, no credit.)just for this visit.

Another great thing about Woodman's(besides the prices and the variety of beverages)is that sometimes if you buy stuff you get free stuff with it.

Eldest son wanted some MN made beers and Woodman's had a Deal on them-Buy 2 packs and get a free block of cheese........

Good beer and local cheese.  What's not to love?!?
I ended up with 2 blocks of free cheap for 4 packs of beer and I got to tick Eldest Son off my Christmas shopping list.

After coming home to Sonya's we sat and chatted the rest of the afternoon and Den worked his culinary magic and made us a feast for dinner.
Pot Roast with mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Corn and Butternut Squash.

More talking and imbibing followed well into the evening.

Another night on the "Crippler" and I was still doing fine.
Sunday morning Den again cooked up another great hot breakfast.  I was feeling rather spoiled and loving it!

Sonya Ann and I went up to CVS later that morning since Den was not feeling great(a sore throat and maybe the beginnings of a cold or flu)so we went to get him some cough drops, throat spray and soothing drinks.
I had an old CVS cash card with about $11 on it so it was as good a time to finally use that.

I could really get use to drug stores like this in Illinois........

My view down the liquor aisle at CVS.

I even found some bottles of liquor on clearance.
What is not to love about a sale on alcohol and using an old CVS money card to get it for free?!? lolz

Back home to Sonya's to get Den his sick supplies so he could rest comfortably for the rest of the day and recover before he had to return to work on Monday morning.

About 1 pm Hubs headed off to have an adventure at the local library.
Sonya had found that her library was hosting a Drumming Circle on the Sunday we were visiting so Hubs put this on his agenda.
Hubs drums.

Sonya and I went for the experience too, just to sit in the back of the room and spectate.
Well only 3 people including Hubs showed up for the activity so the leader of the group(behind Sonya in the photo below)coaxed us into service to participate.  She had brought extra drums and other noise making instruments, I don't have a clue what they are called, so Sonya Ann dragged me into the circle and soon we were joining in and whacking on musical instruments along with the rest.

Who knew we were so musical, right?
We may have totally embarrassed ourselves but with only 5 people there(and no recording devices in use)we are ok with it.  I think Sonya Ann found a new side of herself she didn't realize she had.
Not the ballsy "let's crash this party" side but the artistic "I can hit a ribbed gourd with a stick" musical side.  We practically fought over that ribbed gourd and stick thing and who got to beat on it......

Before we broke off and left there was time for a group selfie to commemorate the experience.

On the way out of the building Hubs noticed advertising in the lobby for other activities/group meetings, including one called "Chess and Cookies".
Hubs is a long time chess playuh and who doesn't like cookies?

The next week or so I kept hearing Hubs talking about maybe it wouldn't be so bad an idea to retire to Illinois near this library.
Sorry honey but that ain't happening.....

Us three "Artistes" did some shopping afterwards.
I had Kohl's Cash to use so we hit Kohl's.
I didn't buy these Chicago Bears growlers but found a couple of other things for Christmas presents there.........

We also hit a nearby Dollar Tree.
You can pretty much find the same stuff in all these stores nationwide but I did find a pair of readers in purple they don't have at my local DT.

How do you like my big purchase?

We saw this barn-like building on the way home from shopping.
I thought it was very odd to find advertising for Rock City in Northern Illinois......

Turn out that Rock City is also a village in North Central IL so this could have been advertising their love of Rock City IL rather than the tourist attraction in Chattanooga TN.

Den feeling as bad as he did still insisted on cooking dinner Sunday night.  I feel bad because I didn't get a photo of what he made but I was too busy stuffing my FACE full of the Barbecue Pork Sandwiches he made.
The poor man was standing outside in the cold with his charcoal grill smoking a pork butt to make this meal.

But it was so good I had seconds!

I had thoughts of asking Hubs if we could adopt Den but then decided not to, because that would mean since Sonya Ann and are are cousins that she'd be married to her adopted cousin.....or something like that.

Yeah, I am nice like that......


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Go Enter This Giveaway!

Fellow blogger, Linda, at Practical Parsimony is holding a giveaway which ends November 30th.
Use the link HERE to go enter it.

Be sure to tell her I sent ya! ;-)


More Rite-Aid, Ollie's & Weis

A return to Rite-Aid on Wednesday to get a prescription and do some deals.......

2 x Edge shave gel 20% wellness disc. price=$5.58
2 x Wet n'Wild nail color 40% off sale(.99¢reg.)=$1.18
4 x Wet n' Wild lip color 40% off sale(.99¢reg.)=$2.36
1 x Sure deodorant on sale=$2.00
1 x Brut deodorant on sale=$2.00

Coupons Used
2 x $2/1 In-ad RAQ=$4.00
1 x .50¢/1 Edge IPQ=.50¢
1 x .50¢/1 Edge RA Load2CardQ=.50¢
2 x .50¢/1 Wet n'Wild any item IPQ=$1.00
4 x .75¢/1 Wet n'Wild lip color IPQ=$3.00
1 x .75¢/1 Sure deodorant IPQ=.75¢
1 x .75¢/1 Brut deodorant IPQ=.75¢
Coupon Total.......$10.50

$13.12-$10.50=$2.62 + .16¢tax=$2.78 OOP
This OOP was put on a R-A gift card.
I earned $2 in Plenti Pts. back on this transaction too so this lot "cost" .78¢.
$19.90 worth of regular retail goods obtained.

Then I hit Ollie's to use my 15% off Q they mailed me this Fall before it expired on Sunday......

Some Tuna Helper(to have on hand for emergency meals), sea salt, minced garlic and paprika.
$6.99 OOP spent on $16.95 worth of regular retail goods.

Then it was off to Weis(PMITA)Markets before the sale week ended to get a few items........

Go HERE to see the video I made of this trip.

$17.85 OOP on $35.15 worth of food for a 49% savings rate.

These 3 transactions bring my grocery spending thus far this week to $36.59 and $216.96 spent for November. $83.04 left in the food budget this month.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kids Will Drive You Insane!

So last year College Boy was on the 14 meal a week Meal Plan at college.  And for both semesters he didn't eat all his weekly meals. (Each week starts fresh with 14 meals and none of them carry over to the following week in this plan.)  His schedule(both his practice schedule and his wake/sleep cycle) were so screwy that he couldn't get to the dining hall but infrequently. 
He's funny about eating......he'll not eat for awhile but then gorge himself at a meal then he'll skip 2-3 he was only eating 10 meals a week.

I hate wasting money so this year we moved him to a Meal Plan which isn't so structured so he can eat his allotted meals in whichever weeks he wants without loosing a significant number of them after each week is over.

The problem with this different plan is that it is equivalent to the 10 meal a week Meal Plan(meaning he gets 10 meals per week-or 2 meals per day average during the week and no meal son weekends).  He ate so little at the dining halls last year that 10 meals a week Meal Plan should have gotten him through the semester(with the addition of all the extra food I sent with him in the Fall) but it was going to be close.

Well it wasn't close at all.
He told me on Tuesday that they informed him at the dining hall that he was out of meals for the semester, Nov. 17th.  He still has 20 days left in the semester to eat there, so just short of 3 weeks left of dining.

For some reason unknown to God and man College Boy decided this semester to go from hardly eating at all to eating 3 or 4 meals a day.
I reminded him that he is NOT a HOBBIT and does not require FOURTH MEAL daily!
Plus he's been NOT going to the dining hall(where he can get seconds and thirds and fourths at a sitting)and has been going to the contracted(1 meal and out)venues on campus so he's not filling up and then having to grab something else(another meal on his card)to get through the day.

So I had to put Money on his ID card so he can eat for the rest of the semester....$300 worth.
This means that I have now paid the equivalent of a full 19 meals a week Meal Plan(but have gotten far from that amount of food for him).

They don't have a Flex Week Plan on the 14 meal a week level so I guess we are going back to a structured 14 meal a week Meal Plan for the Spring Semester.  I just hope he can deal with eating all 14 meals per week since they won't carry over on this plan.  A Flex 14 Meal Plan would be perfect for him if he knocks off that 4 meals a day thing but of course they don't offer that. 8-(

You try to save where you can but then your kids change their behaviors and it bites you in the ass.
2.5 more years of this and I am done!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Road Trip....Day 7 & 8 Shopping and Eating Bugs

If you want to catch up on this Road Trip Series use these links--

Part 1 PA to WV
Part 2 WV to KY
Part 3 KY to TN
Part 4 TN to AR
Part 5 AK to LA

Day 7, Saturday the weather was sunny and it was a good thing too because we had BIG PLANS for that day!

Daughter had to work in the morning and then go pick up her new-to-her car from the dealer so Hubs and I lingered over breakfast.

This Sleep Inn had a right nice breakfast menu.  Besides all the crappy carb loaded foods most motels have they had eggs and either sausage or bacon each morning, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and fresh fruit.

Here's my plate from most of our 8 day stay there.....eggs, meat, tea and fruit.

After breakfast we went out to World Market in Shreveport.
I love me some World Market, having discovered it last trip to Louisiana in 2014.
Unfortunately there is no WM around where I live so we stop when we find one on our travels.

We bought a few beers......

One from Utah.

One from Texas.

Lots of strange foods here too.
English goodies.....curried baked beans and mushy peas....neither of which I'd eat. lolz

But I might be persuaded to eat pickled veggies.....

I should have bought these Brussels Sprouts for my eldest.
When I served them when he was younger living at home he HATED them so he'd swallow them whole.
Luckily I never bought LARGE ones...lolz

People buy pickle brine for cocktails?  Hmmmm.

A German rose wine in a cat shaped bottle.

This pig barbecue was cute but just too tiny to be useful to grill anything.

I should have bought these when I saw them.  They would have made an AWESOME Christmas present for a couple of people I know(and you know who you are!).

Hubs makes fun of me because I can't use chopsticks correctly and I carry a "chopstick training wheels" device to attach to them like Asian cultures attach to their toddlers sticks who are learning to use them.
He suggested I buy these fabulous ones........

We went back to the hotel and awaited the Daughter's arrival.
Here she is with her new car.......

So what did we do that afternoon?
Well, we went to the Shreveport Mud Bug Madness Festival!

First order of business was getting seats inside the shady, tented area where the bands were playing.
Second order of business was finding "adult beverages".

We sort of found seats(out in the aisle, not at a table as people were saving their tabled seats all day long while they walked around--you had to get there early to get a table it seems)and then the drinking commenced.......

Here's one of the bands we heard and glimpsed through the people wandering around in front of us......

Another of the bands we heard....

It was a great place to people watch.
This old lady was drinking and dancing while smoking a cigar.  Thank goodness she didn't decide to go topless too!
Or maybe she did later

Time for a selfie!

Then we walked around a bit.

This vendor had mud bug themed goods......

The shot glass with the woman on it says, "You want me to suck what?" lolz

Hubs bought a spice mixture for making bread pudding from another vendor.
And I bought a hat and a souvenir pin.
Me in my visor/hat once we got home.....

Then we found the FOOD VENDORS and we were starving at this point!

Hey what's on the menu today? Why gator.

And After........

Gator on a stick.

Daughter and I went off in search of Boudin Balls but the only vendor serving those had a fryer problem so we ended up getting Boudin Links instead.
I took one bite and my head about exploded it was so HOT!!!
I gave the rest to Hubs and he gobbled it down.
I am a wimp when it comes to spicy stuff.

You know if we end up moving down there I might just get skinny because I won't be able to eat anything they make down there. lolz

Daughter and I shared a mud bug egg roll after that just to get something in me before I passed out from alcohol poisoning. ;-)

Then there was some posing behind silly signs...
Of course I am the short one with the big chest, story of my life. lolz

I think this one was for kids to use as it was very low to the ground and Hubs knocked it over at least once in the process of posing behind it....

Then there was more people watching......

Lots of old people on various wheeled contraptions here.

If this guy's beard was longer he'd have passed for one of those Duck Commander guys.

We didn't actually eat any boiled crawfish at the Mud Bug Madness since the smallest size they sold them in was a 3 lb. container like the old guy above, who I was sitting next to, is eating. Let me tell you the SMELL of those things boiled was horrendous.
Well at least I am hoping that foul smell was coming off what he was eating and not him.  ;-)

We passed by the "rides/games" area and saw this...........

As we got to the other end of the Festival Daughter decided to get one of these gimmicky ice cream concoctions.

The link to see a short clip of her licking an ice cream is HERE.  Of course it's sideways and I couldn't get it turned but I think it's better this way. lolz

Another family photo to commemorate the adventure.......

And then we started to head for the entrance/exit.
Next to the entrance we had seen a big set-up for Baby Ray's Sauces and Hubs and I had Daughter take our photo with the inflatable bottle of sauce.......

On the way out their booth was open and reps from the company where there giving away barbecue sauce.
Except to get a free bottle you had to pose with a silly sign and let them upload your photo to Facebook.
Sweet Baby Ray's is the Daughter's favorite barbecue sauce so she talked me into posing with her for a photo to embarrass myself on Facebook.
Yah, you know it didn't take much to talk me into that one............

Yes, if you are Facebook friends with me you saw me doing a really bad impersonation of a barbecue sauce bottle this past May. lolz
Hey, it's obvious I have no pride, especially when it comes to free food! (We each got 2 bottles for being such good sports.)

Then it was out the exit under a sign that read, "Thanks for Comin' Tail Pinchers".

Here's a video of someone's trip to the Mud Bug Festival in 2008 HERE.  You get more of a sense of the sheer numbers of people there from his video.  Evidently he stayed the whole day and night on his trip.
Unfortunately for us, we weren't there when any Zydeco bands were playing which is one of the reasons we went to it.  But we just couldn't stay more than a couple of hours at the thing as it was muggy hot(this is LA after all and it was late May), lots of walking and did I mention it was mobbed with people? lolz

We had take-out Chinese for dinner back in the room, swam some more and just relaxed the rest of the day/evening.  After an afternoon of sensory overload I was ready for unwinding.

Day 8 of our Spring Road Trip to Louisiana the Daughter took us to a flea market down the road from her house.
Everything was inside of a ramshackle old building that had three corridors and all the vendors were inside this building.

The vendors were a mix of discount, new merchandise and thrift store/garage sale or antique-y type goods.

There really wasn't much I really wanted to buy(except for a case of canning jars that I didn't feel like walking all the way back to haggle for-but I should have)but there was this one vendor selling Confederate themed items.

Comforters and sheet sets.....

to these lovely table lamps with confederate battle flag shades.....

I saw this photo for sale in a vendor area that wasn't open that day but you could see the goods through the chicken wire gate.....

There was a produce vendor outside that we bought a watermelon off of(Highway Robbery at $9!!!)for the picnic we were having the next day at Daughter's house.

Then it was off to find lunch.
Daughter took us to a place called "Superior Grill".

The place was highly recommended but was PACKED!
We had a 20 minute wait outside on the patio.  There was a lovely Magnolia tree in bloom out there and the warm breezy day had the patio smelling marvelous.

This place was quite pricey but as Daughter's BF's mother recommended it I am not surprised as she seems to enjoy the high life. ;-)

I had a rare drink at this restaurant(I prefer to drink at home for cheap).  A large margarita.....doesn't that look good?!?

Hubs and Daughter......

Some décor over by the bar area.....

I don't even remember what I ate there(too long ago and a faulty memory or was it that Margarita? lol)but it was nothing special and way overpriced.

We went back to Daughter's house to visit for awhile then we decided to all go back to the hotel and take a swim.
I rode with Daughter in her car and Hubs drove our car back to the hotel.  I went with Daughter because she wanted to take me somewhere first.
A drive-thru Daiquiri Store.

This drive-thru daiquiri seems to be quite popular not just in New Orleans but all over Louisiana. I first heard of this on a segment on Anthony Bourdain's old show.
I call frozen daiquiris "Adult Slurpees" myself.
But it's wild that you can by this at a drive-thru window.
I hear that it's also a "thing" in parts of eastern Texas now all the way to Dallas.

A link HERE to Anthony Bourdain's take on this phenomenon from his old show "No Reservations".

Here's the one I got.....Peach Gummi Rings Daiquiri...........

That thing was potent! lolz
Sonya Ann, we have to RETIRE HERE!!! lolz

After sipping our cocktails and a swim(and no, we didn't drown)we ordered a little something for dinner and had it delivered to the hotel.

I experienced a food first that evening.  My first real, honest to goodness Muffeletta Sandwich made in Louisiana.

The video is HERE.

It was an ok sandwich but the beer I had with it, Polygamy Porter, from Wasatch Brewing was outstanding!
I picked it up at World Market in Shreveport and figured we'd hit them again before leaving LA and I could stock up, but alas!, we didn't go back before leaving town.

It's a really good Porter.
And not just because they take the polygamy jokes and run with them, though those are great too.  ;-)
I especially like the line on the lable, "Take some home to the wives!" lolz

Seems they had a devil of a time with their advertising in Utah for this beer.  Local billboard companies refused their signs so Greg Shrif, the owner, made a commercial.......

It takes real balls to move from Milwaukee to Salt Lake City UT and start a brewery in a state where a large portion of the population doesn't believe in drinking, not even caffeinated sodas let alone alcohol.
Oh heck!

After some talking and tv, Daughter went home and Hubs and I floated off to sleep with full tummies, exercised muscles and alcohol induced dreams.