Sunday, December 28, 2014

Slow cookers

Just a quick one here.   Slow cookers can be your best friend in the kitchen if you know you are going to have a busy day or you don't feel well.    Put  something in it, the recipes out there are plentiful.   Look on the Betty Crocker  web site.   Sign up for e mails for the things you are interested in.   They sent me a calendar for free.   Anything with chocolate and cherries on it can't be bad!   LOL.  

When our freezer went out, we still had chickens with ice crystals on them.   I needed to cook four chickens in a hurry.  Some I roasted.  Some I found a recipe for in the crockpot.   I shun away from raw meat starting on low.   I think it has to come up to temp faster to be safe.  Just a fetish if mine.  
This recipe is super fast ( I was recovering from hip surgery) and did the trick.   You put a cut up onion on the bottom of the pot.   Make a slice rub.   Wash and dry the chicken, rub it with slice rub and cook it on high on the pot for an hour a pound,   I think you could reduce the cooking time a little .  Watch it the last hour and pull ot when it is done.  It provides itself a lot of chicken stock.   The breast meat on top is in tact.  The meat that cooks in the juices is fall apart done.  Great for enchiladas, pot pie. Tacos etc.    it's a no Brainer if you need to cook a chicken and have no time,

The entire family including the baby loves sausage bean soup.   I leave the sausage out for the vegetarians.   It's another quick and easy cheap dinner.    Start dumping :

2 -15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes.   2 cans of beans of your choice.  ( I use two different kinds.) a quart if chicken stock or veggie stock, two to three cups of veggies, chopped and astute until limp.
Use anything you have, I use mixed peppers, onion, celery, carrot.  

Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.  

We top with grated parm or other hard cheese of we have it.  

I either make bread, or heat brown and serve baguette that I can still get at business Costco or sometimes at the bakery outlet ( franz on 164th on Lynnwood. )

There is always chocolate decadence!  

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

On dishes .

There seems to be a misconception on dishes out there , especially for the younger generation.
So here are some facts to clear things up.

The health department won't allow ironstone dishes used in a place where one is  feeding outsiders.   Ie a nursing  home or adult family home, bed and breakfast or eating establishment.   They chip easily and harbor germs.   China chips less easily.  Restaurant      china is porcelain and is more durable.    Restraunt china can be purchased at Costco wholesale cheap.   I bought a set of plates and coup soup dishes we use all the time for every day.  I also have a set of buffet dishes that are open stock at pier one, they were three dollars a plate.  

Good china with a good or silver rim can be washed in the dishwasher if you do it properly.   Rinse the dishes after scraping them with a rubber spatula, in a dishpan of sudsy water ( dawn ) .  Put them in the dishwasher with no soap and no heat dry cycle of you have an old less energy efficient dishwasher.   It's the old fashioned heat cycle and the harsh detergent that kills the gold.

Sterling does not have to be polished nearly as much as the stainless steel fridge.   If put away properly and kept away from painted walls, it  only,needs polishing once a year.   It does need to be polished though.  If let to go black, it is not good for it.   A silver tea set last I checked was in the thousands of dollars, it needs to be polished and put in tarnish cloth bags.   Ditto other sterling Halloware .    Mustard and other acidic foods will pit sterling.

Children need to learn what the finer things in life are and how to take care of things and treat things with respect.  My granddaughter at two knows how to open my I pad and how to use one finger to carefully navigate to her sites.  She also knows that china is not to be used as a frisbee.  LOL.  I think it is a mistake to raise a bunch if hooligans that don't know what a seafood fork is for.   We are loosing a heritage that is a shame to be lost.

We are living in a throw away society where electronics go obsolete  on purpose and it soo important to have the latest and the finer things in life are not important.   I think we are loosing something here.   When was the last time you set a table and all ate at the table for dinner?    I a, as guilty as the next person at this.    We need to do it more often,   It builds family and I think is being lost on the electronic bustle of our lives.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Almost free pizza

I got a bread machine for Christmas!   But, I have a pizza crust recipe that uses the food processor and is quick , and simple.  No rising!  

Almost free pizza takes some planning.  But not much.  Take a couple of freezer bags, and mark one veggies and one meat.   If you don't like mixed meat, mark each separate.   Every time you are chopping a veggie that goes on a pizza, set a little aside for the pizza  bag.  Same with leftover meat.  Chicken pieces, ham pieces?   When you have enough, make pizza.  All the chopping is done and you have saved a little from each meal.  

Study a pizza menu from your local take out and get new ideas for pizza.  
Buffalo chicken pizza os a favorite.  

You can also set aside a little pasta sauce from the pot next time you are making pasta.  Or I use a 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.  It's .25 every once in a while from ALBERTSONS.   Just add onion and Italian seasoning,  

Cheese is cheapest at the business Costco.   It comes in five pound bags.  

The recipe for pizza crust os on an earlier post.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas breakfast

It's Christmas.   Merry Christmas.    I don't usually worry about cost of food for the holidays.   We are bringing food to family and I don't skimp.   Besides, the specials are not what you are going to find Christmas week.   I did get ingredients that were not perishable ahead of time when I found good prices.  

We spend Christmas morning just the five of us.   My son hasn't made it to Chrostmas for a lot of years now.   That would be a fun experience with his three girls.   We have breakfast and open packages after breakfast.  Santa, of course, came last night and I'm sire will be opened first thing.  

We are having
Belgian waffles
Fresh fruit
Sparkling cider
Sweet rolls.  

The table setting is centered with  crystal trees under a bed of snow and tiny lights.m. The tablecloth is a Waterford blue woth snowflakes.   The goblets are clear with blue and white snowflakes.  
We don't all sit down for breakfast at the same table often, I want ot to be festive and memorable.  

Next week it is back of economy!    I got a bread baker for Christmas,so we will be making bread.  I haven't cost ot out yet, I'm not sire it is cheaper than buying bread at the bakery outlet.  
It is a misconception that scratch is always cheaper than ready made.mmsometimes scratch tasts better and has less preservatives, but it os,not especially cheaper so,stores.   You have to do the math, If the math says I am not saving a legitimate amount, I don't bother.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fred Meyer ad

New York roast  3.99
1/2 roast 4.88
Broccoli .99
Crayons 1.00
Frozen veggies .99
Frozen potatoes 1.99
Blues 2.99
Jello 1.00
Oranges .78
Celery .59
Radishes  2/.88
Green beans or Brussels sprouts 1.99
Lettuce .99

Women's pjs  16.99

The ads... A joke

I got the ads this week.  They are pretty much a joke for those trying to keep a budget.   Christmas week is not the time to buy your traditional Christmas dinner.    They know that you are going to buy the ingredients at any price and they take advantage of that.  

Case in point.   Sparkling cider or juice.  I got it for 3/5 at SAFEWAYS a few weeks back.    It is,now 2/5.   And the list could go on!  

We finally saw that the ribs  were  back at SAFEWAYS.   We have a rain check on them. Mom course, they didn't come back until after the coupon  I had expired!  Can't win them all.  

When we were growing up, we had a dinner menu for holiday .  We had turkey,dressing, gravy,sweet potatoes that were mashed, a marshmallow put in the center of a ball, and  rolled in corn flakes, creamed baby onions. Green beans with bacon, a green jello salad with green pepper, pineapple and cucumbers, mashed potatoes and a relish tray with green and black olives and stuffed celery with cream cheese and cheney's  choice!  

Christmas dinner was prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.  

The year my youngest was born, I had chicken chow mein in the hospital.   LOL
Held a ice,cube on my mouth so my fever would go down so I could  get to my moms house for leftovers!   LOL

Random thoughts.

I made bread in the bread baker this  week.   We don't eat a lot of bread, but there os something about hot bread from the oven that tastes so good.   I especially like it with homemade soup.  

One year most of the family was in Europe and we had soup and a mixture of salad the kids brought home from macdonalds after shift.   One year I made stuffed pork loin for part of the family that wasn't in Europe.   I got a call in the middle of cooking that my Dad had had a massive stroke.  I really don't know how I finished dinner.  My mom had a lot of support around her.  I finished dinner and presents without a word,and got my MIl to take the kids home so we could go up north to the hospital.  

There have been good and not so good Christmases. They all have been memorable.  

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meal plans

This is a repeat!   Prices have changed and I have had to make adjustments to compensate.

Before I start the basic thing again, I thought I would do four weeks of main dishes on the cheap. you can eat a variety of meals and still stay on a thrifty budget. It's not all about the top ramen!! LOL

My matrix ( outline) for variety and nutrition is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

Yours might be different. I am trying to satisfy a meat eater, two semi- vegetarians and I eat about everything. I don't particularly like picky eTers and am trying to introduce the baby to a variety of foods within her mothers guidelines.

Week one

Chicken soup
Chicken breast
Tuna Caserole
Mac and cheese
Beef vegetable soup

Chicken breast
BBQ thighs
French cheese sandwich

Chicken stir fry
Clam cakes
Meatballs and spaghetti
Sausage and potatoes
Cheese sandwiches, tomato, blue cheese and basil soup

Pork chops
Chicken pot pie
Meat loaf
Meat balls
Split pea soup

Shrimp stir fry


There are some repeats because kids especially love some things. There are some things that do well to feed a split household. ( vegetarian/ meat eaters, )

Chicken is a mainstay. I can almost always find it at least once a month for a buck. I get ground beef for less than three dollars a pound in bulk and make taco meat, meatballs, meat loaf, and beef crumbles.
I got sausage with sales and coupons for 1.33. There is a recipe for pizza crust on an earlier post. Fast and easy.
I have been getting shrimp on sale on five dollar Fridays. Pork chops and pork loin is still about two dollars a pound. Eggs almost always are a bargain.

Obviously, prices have changed.  This  was from about a year ago.  I can still get chicken cheap.   Sausage has taken a hike and beef has gone through the roof!   I can still find a minute steak for a decent price.   Some cuts of beef I can find for four dollars.  That is cheaper than good ground beef . When that happens, I make my own ground beef.  ( really, my husband and I make it ) 
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The ads


Cream of mushroom soup .69
Ham 1.99
Oranges .99
Grapes 2.99
Berries 2.99
Kiwi 2-1
Ice cream 2/5

Five dollar Friday
Chicken wings
Snack bites
Truffles 2/5
K cups


Chuck roast 3.99
Butter 2/5
K cups 5.99

Buy 4, save 4.  Net prices
Pizza 4.49
GM cereals 1.49
Potatoes, frozen 1.99
8 pack yogurt  3.49
Classic pasta sauce 1.49

Apples .99
Ham 1.97

Quarter deals
Yoplait .50
Tomato sauce  8 pz .25
Tomatoes 3/10
Salad 1.00
Pears 1.00

That's about all

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Note, I put k cups on because I know there are people that just buy them for holiday company.   It is,not necessarily what is appropriate for a bRe bones budget!  LOL.  

I have not downloaded coupons yet, but I'm sire it would be worth your while to check the matchup sites and download coupons,com.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Off the subject

I thought I would talk about Christmas decor today.  Just to mix stuff up.  

Last year I didn't put up the trees.   We have a two and a half year old in the house.   This yeR I put up one tree and I gathered every white decoration that I had collected over the years that wasn't breakable.  I augmented them with six dollars worth of ornaments from the dollar store.   I'm using it as a test for the dear granddaughter.   She only got into the tree once.  We had a discussion before, but she forgot.   I reminded her sternly, and she has left it alone ever since.   She was playing with her play mobile toys.   The snowman told the tree that we don't touch the tree,  we just look at it.  

Decorations take in more if a presence when you group several together.   It makes more of a statement for less.   I started collecting santas years ago.   I got santas for presents and added one Santa a year.  Now the kitchen windowsill is full of santas.   I made a valance out of some Christmas material that has santas making their lists.  

I used to decorate a lot.  Now, I have cut way back, but I still decorate because I think the grandchild needs to see the traditions.  

I'm sorry all of my grandchildren aren't here to see them.   They are missing out.  I didn't have a grandmother.   Both if them died before I could know them.  

One year I was running a care center for mental patients.   We had no budget for decorations.  I bought a spray can of gold paint and a bolt of red ribbon.   Anything that didn't move got spray painted and a red bow.   We got donations of ornaments and a little elf made a chrostmas tree magically appear on our doorstep.   It was a great Christmas.   The residents folded readers digests to make a skirt for an angel and we pit them together and spray paints them gold.   We brought in greens and pinecones and sprayed the pinecones with gold paint.

My daughter saw a video making stars out of paper just using scissors and a stapler.    She works at a Christian school.   She made stars for her classroom and one for a tree ornament.   Almost no cost and equipment that any house, office or school usually has.  

This year I made reindeer food and fixed boxes / bags for it for my daughters class and my granddaughters class.   I made enough for cousins and the neighbourhood kids that were age appropriate.   It's sometimes the little things that make a big difference. It  doesn't have to cost a lot of money, just a little imagination and time.  I'm years past I made snowman soup and designed a package.    I think it was cheaper to make the snowman soup.  

Thanks for stopping by.

I would love to hear of your traditions.    Food!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

This weeks ads

Here we go

Grapes 1.99
London broil 3.99
Milk 2/5@@
Libby veggies 2/2@@
5lb potatoes .99@@

Buy 5, save 5, net prices

GM cereals, fiber one bars    2.69
Kellogg's cereals 1.99

Ice cream 2.49
Coffee dreamer .99
Kraft singles 1.99
Cake mix .99
K cups 4.99
Grey pompon 2.49
Digiorno 4.49

English muffins 2/3
Berries 3/10

Milk 2.99
Peppermint ice cream 2/7

5 dollar Friday
Cheese pizza
Grapes 2 lbs
Boston cream cake
G cereal  3/5
Crisco oil
K cups


Oranges .69
Buy 4, save 4, net prices
GM cereal 1.49
Frozen potatoes    1.99
Pasta sauce 1.49, glass jar

Berries 2.99

That's about it

Be sure to cross off anything that is cheaper elsewhere.   Note there are usually coupons for cereal , maybe pasta sauce.  




Wednesday, December 3, 2014


We all know this time  of year is crockpot mania.    This is the time of yearning we all wish there was an extra six  hours or so in a day.  

I just found this web site.  

Thousands of recipes.  Program the type of food you want, the size if your cooker and the ingredient you want to use.

Enough said!  

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Monday, December 1, 2014


Tonight we are having sloppy joes, garlic fries and leftover spinach salad.

Spinach salad


I'm usually more organized for Christmas by now.  My illnesses are kicking my butt.   I did make reindeer food packets thos week end and have my list .  Not having to go to work will help in the catching up.  Some things that I can't physically do I'm going to deligate. If they don't get done, I guess it wasn't important enough to the person to have  them done and well do without.  LOL

Now is a good time to find easy meals to free time to get the mirage of extra projects done that make Christmas   happen.

Our sloppy joes tonight are case in point.  The hamburger was already fried and in the freezer.  All I had to do was to bang it on the counter and put it on a fry pan.  I added the ingredients for sloppy joes and let it summer.   I put French fries in the oven on convection and got the bag of salad I had left over from yesterday out of the fridge.   Dinner was ready on 20 moniters-- most of which was passive cooking,




Shopping trip

Yesterday I braved the cold...LOL ... And went shopping.    We just went to grocery outlet.    I saved as much as I spent,     Coffee is always a. Season.  We got regular coffee and I got a package of k cups for three dollars.   I always get two cups out of a pod.  

Cheese continues to be a bargain.    I got cookies for 4/1.00 and there are foit cookies on the package.   Kinda remind me of the snowballs we got occasionally when we were kids-- a whole lot smaller .  

Cream puffs were on a sale.  Thought I would have them for holiday!   The look on granddaughters face was priceless!     Sunflower seeds are a treat for my husband.    Yoplait was a reasonable cost.  

Organic soup base and beer bread.  

Sounds like a hodge lodge, but I spent 2/3 of the grocery money and saved as much as I spent.   Shopping the.soecials that are truly soecials means that you done have to buy a weeks groceries.   You have stock and can buy what is in sale that week. I have a turkey on the freezer.  

Grocery outlet is not a bargain on everything,   I link for certain things,    Cheese and coffe are the main draws for us,   Usually you can get five pounds of fries for a small amount too.   Sometimes sweet potato fries.  

Betty Crocker has a month of December meals on their e mail this week.   Fast and easy.   A lot of them call of a ready made,but most ofmthemti,emyou,can get enough of a inspiration to make it from scratch.  

To answer a question I got, white sauce is what cream of mushroom soup is if you want to replicate a recipe without using a can.  

I try to get Christmas work done before mid month.   I am far behind other years because of ill health and having to rebuild the business.  On the other hand, I don't have to go to work so I can get more done. Things will work put.  I don't bake anymore. No one eats ot and my children bake.  

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