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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Weekly Ads 12/25+

Merry Christmas!
I'm a day late in posting the ads, but I don't blog for Ebeneezer.  Hey KC folks... you're getting your own Sprouts on 1/8 at 135th St!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tip Tuesday--New Year's Resoltuions

Yes, I recognize that you're reading this right around Christmas.  You're already questioning me, I can hear it!  It's not time for a New Year's resolution yet.

I still have a full week of living my old ways.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Grocery Deals 12/18+

Sprouts:   Cuties $4/5# (vs. 4.77 HEB, $6 Randalls); oranges .68/lb. (vs .97 HEB), apples .98/lb., onions .48/lb., cucumbers .48, squash .98/lb.
HEB:    ribeye roast $8/lb., should roast $2.97/lb., boneless chicken 1.97/lb., pork roast 1.47/lb., legs/thighs $/1lb, bone-in ham 1.27/lb., pork chops 1.97/lb., green beans .98/lb., potatoes 2.50/5#, pineapple .98 (2.50 Randalls),
Randalls:   whole ribeye roast $5/lb., spiral ham 1.49/lb.

Weekly Menu 12/21+

Monday feeling as if I hadn't had enough veggies in a while I made broccoli and carrots and then

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Citrus Edition

Citrus season is fully upon us.  I'm already on my 5th orange, and 3rd grapefruit and loving every bite.  I finally remembered to snap these all important pictures to help you.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weekly Menu 12/14+

Last week we spent a lot of time finishing up leftovers from Thanksgiving and for J that meant eating mashed potatoes for breakfast almost every morning.

Grocery Deals 12/11+ (Happy Birthday Mom)

Sprouts:  grapefruit .33 (vs .68/lb. HEB), oranges .69/lb. (vs .99 Randalls), pineapple 2.50, apples .99/lb.,  avocados .33, cucumbers .50, winter squash .69/lb., celery .99, lettuce .99, tomatoes .99/lb., rib roast $8/lb., spiral sliced ham 1.99/lb.,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Grocery Deals 12/4+

Sprouts:   oranges .48/lb. (vs .99 Randalls), grapefruit .33, apples .98/lb., pineapples 2.50, avocados .48 (vs $1 HEB), cucumbers .48, green peppers .48, onions .48/lb., green beans .98/lb., celery .98, lettuce .98, roma .98/lb., Colby jack bulk cut 2.99/lb., oats .69/lb.
HEB:         ribeye 5.97/lb., pork loin 1.97/lb., boneless chicken 1.97/lb., pork roast 1.47/lb., chicken or pork fajitas 1.97/lb., zucchini .98/lb., carrots .64/lb., oranges .25 ea
Randalls:  NY strip 5.99/lb., sirloin 3.99/lb., 80% lean ground beef 2.99/lb.

Weekly Menu 12/6+

We've had a number of great leftover items this week.  However, the best was a turkey pot pie, I made up the filling recipe myself because every recipe I've tried before it fell short of what I had been looking for.

This was so good the first night, that two days later L asked if I would make it again.  That RARELY happens, so I figured it must be good and worth sharing with all y'all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Menu Planning

This week we have a guest blogger.  J will take you through some of the how to's of menu planning and how she got started.

Please welcome guest blogger J... 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weekly Menu 11/30+

Weekly Ads will not update this week.  It is the one week the grocery stores don't make a new ad starting on Wednesday.  I guess everyone needs a break.

For your weekly menu, be sure to use up all those leftover turkey remnants.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Thanksgiving Week

Here we are the week of the big show....

Mon Thaw turkey in fridge
Set aside more ice 
Calculate what time everything needs to go into the oven on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Weekly Menu 11/16+

Welcome to the new readers that I met last week when I spoke to their Mom's group.  What a fun time we had.  I hope they have that much fun every time they get together.  I have a feeling they do.  :)

One of the attendee's was C's 4th grade teacher.  And to prove it is a small world... Another lady I met was J's sister's 3rd grade teacher.  How fun is that?

It's hard to have a weekend meal around here without having hamburgers and Sunday night was the night for us last week.

Monday night we had super fast meal... steak, salad and garlic bread made from leftover hamburger buns.  J and I had to dash off to his 4H meeting.

Grocery Deals 11/20+

Sprouts:     Blue/blackberries 1.50 (6oz) (vs. 1.77 HEB), oranges .69/lb., apples .99/lb., grapefruit .50, celery .99 (vs 1.25 Randalls), green beans .99/lb., winter squash .69/lb., green bell peppers .49, cucumbers .49, yellow onions .49/lb., sweet potatoes .49/lb., carrots .49/lb., boneless breasts 1.88/lb., bulk cheddar cheese 2.99/lb., 85% lean ground beef 2.99/lb., fresh turkey breast 2.99/lb.,
HEB:     ham 1.27/lb., NY strip 4.97/lb., pork butt 1.47/lb., chicken legs $1/lb., sweet potatoes .33/lb. (vs. .49 Sprouts, .69 Randalls), green beans .88/lb., grapes 1.88/lb., pineapple 1.98, pears .88/lb., boneless chicken 1.97/lb.,
Randalls: ribeye roast 6.99/lb. (vs. 8.47/lb. HEB), pork roast 1.49/lb., with randall’s coupon/card: flour 1.89/5#, sugar 1.99/4#, cake mix .99,
(P.S. on the HEB ad, I did check a 'non-value HEB’ store’s ad and these meat prices are good at the fancy stores too).  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Thanksgiving Prep

Earlier this week a friend asked me to plan her Thanksgiving dinner.  Then during a work meeting that kicks off with a 'funny' each time the theme was preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  Being a person who is a little slower to catch on than most, it wasn't until the 3rd time that someone mentioned cooking Thanksgiving dinner that I thought, "Hey, I could blog about that."  Third time is a charm, right?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grocery Deals 11/13+

Sprouts     raspberries 1.50, pears .99/lb., apples .99/lb., oranges .69/lb.(vs. 1.47 HEB) , avocados .69 (vs $1 Randalls), cucumbers .33, leaf lettuce .99, squash .99/lb.,
HEB              grapefruit .25 (vs .33 Sprouts), gala apples 2,47/4# (.62/lb. vs .99 Sprouts), cherry tomatoes $1.67 (vs $2 Sprouts), romaine .98, tomatoes .97/lb., potatoes 2.97/10#, whole chickens .87/lb., beef roast 1.97/lb., pork chops 1.97/lb.
Randalls         honeycrisp apples 1.99/lb., 93% lean ground beef 2.99/lb., ham 1.69/lb.,
w/ store coupon: mayo and miracle whip 1.99 (I’m already well stocked), cake or brownie mix .99,
Friday only:  $5 rotisserie chicken, 2# chunk cheese $5

Weekly Menu 11/9+

A couple of weeks ago we were supposed to have steak.  However, the propane tank would not release any of the gas so necessary to getting things fired up, which meant I had to exchange it.  Of course before I could do that I had to also remember to take it with me.  That turned out to be the largest part of the challenge.  

The beginning of the week was not terribly note worthy, but the end of the week was all about clean up the fridge and freezer.  

Then thanks to our first cold snap on Thursday last week I made Beef Barley Soup which really turns into more of a stew.  Of course it cooks really well in my dutch oven.   I was working from home last week Thursday because J was home sick.  During my lunch break I happen to be digging around in the freezer in the kitchen (as opposed to our deep freeze), and found all these little bits of this and that.  

Taking advantage of being at home during the day I found a couple of small containers of beef broth that were left over from pot roasts of yore.  Those went into my soup.  

I also found cake batter and a note to myself that read it would make six cupcakes.  Plus about one muffin's worth of banana muffin batter.  No, I don't know why I saved that either.  So I combined the two into a small glass bowl and baked it in my toaster oven.  It just seemed too small a 'cake' to heat up the whole oven for.  Then I had a bit of cream cheese frosting that was left over from something and that almost got used up on the cake.    

Again home on Friday, I used up the last of the pork roast in King Ranch Casserole.  I used a can of cream of mushroom soup, two fresh tomatoes, diced, green onions that were chopped in the freezer in a small container, plus all the left over pork roast, a square of white velveeta cubed, 10 leftover corn tortillas, and of course freshly grated cheese.  

Saturday we had hamburgers at Hilbert's on Burnet Rd, but were so full from our late lunch that we didn't eat supper.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Frugal Friday--Overdraft Fees

This is probably an obvious statement to most of you.  The best way to save money on overdraft fees is to not ever incur them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Weekly Menu 11/9+

First up it is Dutch Oven-day.  There is nothing better than a good juicy pork roast, unless of course you or someone in your house doesn't like pork roast.

Grocery Deals 11/6+

Sprouts:   apples .88/lb. (lots of varieties, except honeycrisp), oranges .98/lb., cucumbers .48, squash .98/lb., red/gold/orange bell peppers 1.25, tomatoes .98/lb., boneless chicken 1.99/lb. (vs 3.99 Randalls), Jack cheese 2.99/lb.,
72 hour sale (Fri/Sat/Sunday only): fresh cranberries $1 (vs 1.47 HEB),
HEB:   NY strip 3.97/lb., chicken breasts $1/lb., pineapple .98, tomatoes .77/lb., (vs .98 Sprouts),
Randalls:  pork loin .99/lb., chuck roast 2.99/lb., turkey .59/lb. (with $50 purchase), 80% lean ground beef 2.99/lb.,

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Frugal Friday--What Not to Stock Up on

Hopefully you don't think I'm beating a dead horse here, but I keep stumbling on ideas and want to share them with you.

There are items that you should not stock up on.

Anything that you won't use up before it expires. That includes diet soda which actually do go bad within about six months.  Of course if you're an advid (aka addicted) drinker of things like diet coke then you are all too familiar with stumbling along on someone else's expired stash of diet coke.

Of course that expiration warning could be applied to cheese, milk, the three heads of lettuce at Costco that seem like a great deal.

Then there are things that you don't want to be eating a lot of.  Three or four half gallons of Blue Bell seems like a good idea, until you're eating it night after night.

Another item you don't want a lot of are things you haven't really tried.  Once I bought these weird energy bars at Sam's with the assurance from the sample lady that I could freeze them and make them last longer.  Well they certainly lasted a mighty long time, because no one including me would eat them.

I've touted the idea of making a double batch of various casseroles and freezer meals, but if you've never tried the recipe before, this is not the time to double up.  You definitely want to only do that with the tried and true family favorites.

If you find a super deal on 100 pounds of rice, but won't be able to use it all before some critter of warm blodded or arthropod variety finds it.  That is no deal.  Not to mention that storing that much rice (or whatever) can be it's own challenge.  I'm confident that we'd end up spilling a big bag before it was all over.  What you could do though is share the cost of the bag with a few friends. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grocery Deals 10/30+

Sprouts   honeycrisp apples 1.49/lb, avocados .33, onions .77/lb, tomaotes .99/lb, squash .99/lb, cucumbers .50, green bell peppers .50, grass-fed Colby jack 2.99/lb,

HEB          blackberries .77(vs .99 Sprouts), apples .97/lb, romaine lettuce .88, celery .88, red bell peppers .88, grapefruit .16 (vs .50 Sprouts), boneless chicken 1.97/lb, ribeye steak 4.97/lb, beef fajitas 2.97/lb,

Randalls     NY strip 5.99/lb, T-bone 4.99/lb, 93% lean ground beef, *with store coupon: Mayo or Miracle whip 1.99 (this was selling at $3+ at HEB the last couple of weeks)

Weekly Menu 11/2+

Monday I made Pioneer Woman's drip beef sandwiches

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Counter Intuitive Mess

Today is Saturday, chore day and this week I had quite a list running around my head every time I walked through the house I would see another 'thing' that needed to be done.  Even walking around outside I would see a thing or two that needed attention.  Why is it that no one else sees these things?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frugal Friday--Make it Harder to Shop Online

Online shopping is wonderful.  I find it to be a bit like year-round Christmas.  Brown paper packages (not tied up with string) arrive at my door/gate and I always get my favorite things.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weekly Menu 10/26+

I lost a little momentum last week and didn't get this menu posted in time, but we took an extra trip back to Austin on Wednesday evening for a dr. appt. for J; he's fine just a sprained knee.

Sunday I'm still loving the dutch oven meat cooking.  This week it was beef roast, with mashed potatoes (yukon gold yum!) and peas.  

Next, on Monday I'd been seeing the adds for Hellman's Mayo Parm Chicken and after slicing my chicken breasts in half horizontally to help them cook faster I mixed Parmesan with mayo, topped the chicken then sprinkled on some panko and Italian seasoning (oregano and fresh basil).  I think I served it with yellow squash which has come back to life in my garden.  

Tuesday we had food that I didn't write down and now have zero recollection of.  

Wednesday all day I was ready to make these great looking pizza burgers that we had all watched on Pioneer Woman's Saturday morning show.  I even went back across the store to find the pepperoni (now located by the beer instead of that weird entry area to the back stockroom by the eggs).  However, when we got home L said, "Hey, let's go out and eat at Chisholm Trail."  Of course I said yes and the burgers had to wait until Thursday.  

They were fabulous.  I did purchase the lower fat, not turkey, pepperoni pieces and cooked them in a separate skillet before I put them on the burgers.  I did that partly to remove any extra fat, because I had forgotten I purchased the lower fat ones and secondly to heat and crisp them up; which they did.  

We also didn't want the bell pepper rings on our burgers, so I left those off, but the mix of ground beef and bulk Italian sausage was great in the base burger.  

Friday I used up the leftover roast and made chili with a seasoning mix that I purchased at a craft show last year.  I also had an avocado and tomato and coarse chopped those and topped with some jalapeno ranch dressing.

Grocery Deals 10/23+

Happy Big 6-0 Birthday Mr. G!

Sprouts      blackberries .99 (vs. 1.77 HEB), apples .99/lb., avocados .50, red/gold/orange bell peppers .99, cucumbers .50, butternut squash .50/lb. (or free if you can find a way to meet up with me to get one from my garden, they are baby sized—as in the size of a baby).  Squash .99/lb., tomatoes .99/lb., boneless chicken 1.77/lb., country pork ribs 1.47/lb. (vs 2.49 Randalls), bulk pork sausage 1.99/lb.

Randalls   pork chops 1.99/lb, pot roast 2.99/lb,
Friday only: 8 piece fried chicken, large pack of little smokies, canned chili $1

HEB           grapefruit .16, cantaloupe 1.37, corn .33, potatoes .98/5#, squash .88/lb, beef roast 2.97/lb, pork roast $1/lb, pork chops 1.97/lb

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Frugal Friday--Stock Up

The last two week's posts have been about staying out of the store; staying away from buying opportunities if you will.

This week I want to talk about stocking up when you do go to the store.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Frugal Friday--Stop Reading Store Flyers

Back in the day (15 years ago) when we used to take the Sunday newspaper my favorite ad to look through was the Target flyer.  There was always some great deal that prompted me to head on over to the store and take advantage of it.  And it was common that I would spend $30-$50 each week on 'necessities'.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weekly Menu 10/12+

Two weeks ago Sunday I prepared this delicious Peach-Whiskey BBQ chicken, that was so good, J didn't even realize it was chicken.

Grocery Deals 10/9+

HEB     black grapes .67/lb, pears .77/lb (vs .99 Randalls), oranges .77/lb (vs .98 Sprouts), apples .77/lb, pineapple 1.77, celery .88, red/green cabbage .38/lb (.48 Sprouts), broccoli .88/lb, zucchini .88/lb, green onions .47, leg/thighs $1/lb (vs. 1.79 Randalls), beef fajitas 2.97/lb, Italian sausage 2.29/lb

Sprouts   apples .78/lb, butternut squash .78/lb, yellow squash/zucchini .98/lb, green beans .98/lb, cucumbers .48, green bell peppers .48, tomatoes .98/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb

Randalls    pork roast .99/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, pork ribs 1.99/lb, 90% lean ground beef 2.99/lb,

Friday only: ribeye steak $5/lb

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Frugal Friday--Shop Less Often

One of the ways that I started saving money on groceries, was actually to not go into the store in the first place.  I go to the grocery store only once a week.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grocery Deals 10/2+

Sprouts     strawberries 1.67/lb, raspberries 1.67-6oz (vs. 1.77 HEB), cantaloupe 1.50, honeydew melons 1.50, cluster tomatoes .99/lb, cucumbers .50, green bell peppers .50, red/yellow peppers .99, squash or zucchini .99/lb, celery .99, green beans .99/lb, onions .50/lb

HEB           romaine or green leaf lettuce .75, apples .67/lb—or 3lb bag at .50/lb (vs .99 Sprouts, 2.49/lb Randalls), green or red bell peppers .47 (vs .49 and .99 Sprouts), oranges .77/lb, corn .33, gold potatoes 1.47/5#, NY strip 4.97/lb (vs 6.99 Randalls), boneless chicken 1.99/lb, chicken breasts $1/lb, bulk Italian sausage 2.29/lb

Randalls    pork loin 2.99/lb, 93% lean ground beef, corn .25

Weekly Menu 10/5+

Two weeks ago Sunday I prepared a beef roast in my Dutch oven that was seasoned by HEB.  I picked it up on a reduction of some sort and think I only paid $1.50/lb for it.  I tossed it right into the freezer when I got home and this week I pulled it out when I was ready to prepare it.  Cooking the roast was very simple since it was already seasoned with Texas rub, I did add an onion and some beef broth.  The leftovers were put aside for Thursday evening.

Monday was a super quick and easy meal; Italian sausage meatball subs.  Remove the casing from Italian sausage and form dime sized meatballs.  Place meatballs on an olive oil coated pan and bake at 375 for about 15 min. Heat some jarred spaghetti sauce and I served over leftover hot dog buns topped with mozzarella cheese.  I could have fixed a salad, but I didn't.

Tuesday was supposed to be grilled chicken, but it wasn't.  I cant really account for what we ate that night, but the chicken didn't get prepared until Wednesday.

Thursday I cooked about 1.5 cups of frozen mixed veggies.  While that got started I cut/shredded the leftover roast into bite sized pieces and combined it with a package of brown gravy mix to make super fast beef stew, adding in the veggies when they were finished cooking. There was just enough of this to almost make lunch for one of us

Friday's are begger's cant be chooser's night around here, mostly because I'm tired and don't want to cook.  I'm pretty sure people ate something.  Even if they didn't I can attest that no one starved to death.  Oh now I remember.  It was raining (YAY GOD!) almost all day Friday and L and I shared a pizza for lunch.  I brought the leftovers home.  See I provided a solid solution.

I'm liking this real life version of what's for dinner.  C & J already provided some feedback that I've incorporated.  Feel free to let me know your opinions too.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tip Tuesday--National Homemade Cookie Day

It's official, Tuesday October 1st is National Homemade Cookie Day.  Let me go on the record and state that my favorite cookies are soft cookies.  Though I've seriously never met a cookie I didn't like.

A few weeks ago my friend Katy who makes great cupcakes and super good frosted cookies gave me some cookies that she had leftover from back to school night. She had planned to take them with us to the women's retreat, but in our rush to get out the door, they were forgotten.

Always one ready to help out a friend, I volunteered to take them off her hands.  Because they were almost a week old, they were starting to get a little crispy.  When I brought them home I wanted to soften them up.  So I put them all in a plastic container with a slice of bread.  The next day they were super soft again and magically delicious!  You can even see a soft broken piece at the bottom of the flower.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Weekly Menu 9/28+

I’ve decided to take a slower pace at getting back into the menu blogging, one that mirrors a little closer to the reality that we are living these days.  We are eating every day; goodness knows I won’t miss a meal on purpose.  However, I have not been cooking something new seven days a week. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Welcome Mr. Goose

Please welcome Lucy Goosey or Mr. Goose

We really aren't sure of the gender, so we tend to call it 'the goose'.

He was incubated by a fellow church member who had been incubating and hatching chicken eggs.  When he started to grow into a full sized goose he needed to find a new home in the country.  City life was not for him.  I don't think Austin minds chickens, but geese can get a little louder than chickens.

After the passing of Aflac, Mrs. K asked if we would be interested in a new member of the flock.  We were agreeable and so the goose came to live with us.  At first he would follow any of us around when we were outside as he had been more of a pet and companion when he lived in town.

Mr. Goose is also not fond of the big tank, though he did stay in the water a bit longer than the ducks when they were introduced.  However, once he found his way out, he came right back to the house and started pal-ing around with Daffy and the hens.

Look what a good lucking duck Daffy has become.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grocery Deals 9/18+

Hello?  Is this thing on??? Hi, remember me?  Well I'm almost fully back from a bit of a blog vacation.  Hang in there, if you want.  But I have heard from at least two of you that you were missing the weekly ads, so back by popular (is two popular??) demand... 

Sprouts    raspberries 1.25 (vs $3 Randalls), organic apples .68/lb. (vs .88 HEB), watermelon $4, pears .98/lb., cluster tomatoes .98/lb., broccoli .98/lb., celery .98, peppers .48, onions .68/lb., boneless chicken 1.98/lb., (bulk cut) pepper jack cheese 2.99/lb.
HEB           strawberries .98/lb, red grapes 1.27/lb, avocados .50 (vs. 68 Sprouts), potatoes .98/5#, broccoli .88/lb (vs .98 Sprouts), tomatoes .98/lb, squash .88/lb, chicken or pork fajitas 1.97/lb, legs/thighs $1/lb, sirloin steak 3.97/lb, ice cream 3.50,

Randalls    boneless chicken 1.99/lb, 80% lean ground beef

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Pall at the Coop

You might have noticed I've been absent from random stories for a little while.  That's mostly because I have been absent from home, traveling and gallivanting all across the country.  But this story must be told today.   

This story begins two weeks ago today, Thursday.  I was out of town, again, but due back that evening.  J was at camp.  L was left here to keep things rolling along, and he was doing a great job.  While he was taking a dip in the pool, he noticed that he was intruding on some duck love.  Yep, the mystery has been solved.  Daffy is a boy.  Aflac is a girl.  

Wouldn't have guessed it from their first few days here.  

Aflac will double in size from this first picture, mostly around the middle.  And Daffy has become a beautifully colored mallard with this great teal/purple/blue/green stripe on his wing.  Of course they still don't like to swim in the tank, despite being fully grown now.

Ahhh duck love... then a week ago Monday L and J found two duck eggs.  They fashioned up a make shift incubator on the porch.  The next morning I looked up everything we needed to know about incubating duck eggs.  The ideal solution was to have a duck or chicken sit on them.  Aflac was not interested, and an incubator was $45 and in town.  I wasn't going to town that day.

After I checked with my neighbor D to see if she had an incubator I could borrow, J reported back that one of the chickens had turned broody.  Perfect.  We relocated the eggs and she now has her own food and water service so that she doesn't have to get up and go too far for any of her basic necessities. 

Then Tuesday another egg.  Wednesday another.  This is getting exciting.  Friday morning J discovers that one egg is open already, and get this, hard boiled.  hmmmm.  I think the make-shift incubator did more cooking than warming.  

Saturday I try candling them, and I think that there are two good viable eggs and one more that is likely hard cooked.  I based that on the fact that I could not see through it with either a candle nor an LED flashlight.  It is still back under the broody hen for now.  

Monday night we notice that Daffy is trying to get lucky with the hens.  They aren't so fond of the idea.  

Last night, really it was super early Thursday morning, think 3am-ish.  I hear Aflac quacking.  She is not a quiet duck.  Daffy you can barely hear, ever.  Aflac could do the commercials on tv.  So I put my glasses on and there is Aflac sitting right by the yard gate in the grass just quacking up a storm and not in the coop.  

My 3am brain decides that this is perfectly normal, she's obviously alive, and I can just ignore her and go back to sleep.  I crawl into bed again and she starts quacking louder, if that was possible.  So I wake L up to tell him I'm going outside to check on the duck.  He hears her and soon follows.  

There is no sign of imminent danger outside.  Daffy is right there by her side, as usual, quacking quietly.  She long ago stopped liking to be picked up so I try to herd her back to the coop and it is obvious she is having trouble walking.  No signs of obvious damage.

L goes on a reconnaissance mission to see if there is a looming predator out there.  Nothing.  He checks on the chickens to be sure everyone is where they are supposed to be and yes, they are all 7 accounted for. Except now they are awake and wandering around outside the coop.  I carry Aflac into the coop to sleep the rest of the night, but then we have to herd chickens at 3-something in the morning.  Who wanted these silly birds in the first place??? Oh yes, I remember, me.  Finally, we can go back to bed.  

In a few hours when we are supposed to be awake, L and I decide that we should leave everyone cooped up for the day in case the predator is still lurking.  

When J and I return home this evening from school/work I send him over to let everyone out to stretch their legs.  Unfortunately, Aflac did not make it through the day.  There was still no sign of obvious trauma, though a little bit of blood on her beak.  

So instead of hitting the pool first thing, we dug a good sized hole in the corner of the garden and had a duck burial.  J took it hard.  He removed four feathers.  

One for himself, one for me, one for L and one for Mrs. K (who gave us the ducks) to remember her by.  

I recited Job 1:21b "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."  

There were a few tears.  

Some anger against the other chickens who may have done her in the rest of the way.  

He asked if we could have a duck funeral.  I asked if he meant, like say a prayer and read some verses?  No, like have Mrs. K over and talk about Aflac and what a good duck she was.  

Then there is the hope that the duck eggs will continue to grow the remaining 18 days to hatch. 

I think we're moving through the stages of grief pretty well.

She was a good duck.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grocery Deals 8/7+

HEB:  cantaloupe .97 (vs 2.50 Randalls), grapes .88/lb (vs 2.99 Randalls), apples .97/lb, blueberries 1.47/pt (vs 2.50 Sprouts), raspberries 1.47/6oz, celery .88, hatch peppers .78/lb, gold potatoes $3/5#, legs/thighs $1/lb, t-bone steak 5.97/lb

Randalls:  pork loin .99/lb, 80% lean ground beef 2.99/lb

Sprouts: peaches .69/lb, strawberries 2.50, cantaloupe .99, apples .99, green beans .99/lb, corn .25, pears .69/lb, plums .99/lb, pork chops or roast 1.79/lb, 85% lean ground beef 2.99/lb,

8/9-11 only: seedless watermelon $3, Italian sausage 1.99/lb, tomatoes .98/lb, pork loin 2.99/lb

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grocery Deals 7/24+

Sprouts   seedless watermelon 2.50 (even if you only eat a small portion and throw the rest away you’ll save a ton over the already cut up stuff), pears .48/lb., nectarines .98/lb., blueberries 1.98/pt, avocados .68, tomatoes .98/lb., red/green bell peppers .48 (vs .88 HEB), zucchini .98/lb., roma tomatoes .98/lb., celery .98, boneless thighs 1.99/lb.
HEB:       peaches .67 (vs .98 Sprouts), plums .67 (vs .98 Sprouts), cantaloupe .97 (vs 2.50 Randalls), cucumbers .48, mangos .33, whole chicken .88/lb., ice cream 3.50, ground beef patties 2.47/lb.
Randalls:  bi-color corn .33

Weekly Menu 7/27+


turkey burgers
red potatoes & green beans
chocolate choc chip cookies

skillet paella
cantaloupe & blueberries

frito salad

king ranch chicken

bruschetta chicken
garlic bread

beef shepard’s pie

sausage calzones

--Turkey burgers are a great recipe to double and keep the extras in the freezer wrapped individually in waxed paper
--These cookies were very good, be careful and don't over bake though.  J was able to make them 98% on his own.  I needed to show him how to measure cocoa and also how to measure baking soda, but beyond that he was flying solo while I made supper. 
Turkey Burgers(Taste of Home)
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup dry red wine or Progresso ® Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion in butter for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrot; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the wine, salt and pepper; simmer for 2-3 minutes or until liquid is evaporated.
Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (if you are in a rush, you can skip this step)  Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear, brushing occasionally with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.

Red Potatoes & Green Beans
Dice potatoes and bring to a boil; cook for 15 min.  Add in green beans until potatoes and beans are tender; about 10 more minutes.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate.  Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Place the all-purpose flour, baking soda, kosher salt and cocoa powder.  The mixture will appear homogenous with no separate ingredients showing.  Add the flour and cocoa mix to the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix together until the dough appears completely combined - about 3 minutes.  Add all the walnuts and chocolate chips and stir them into the dough.  Drop by two teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Or roll into balls, place about two inches apart on the sheet, and flatten slightly with your fingers.  Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees.  The cookies will appear to be just barely firm with a sheen to their surfaces.  Allow to cool on the sheet for about one minute before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.
If the extra seafood makes this dish too expensive feel free to just make it a sausage and chicken dish. 
Skillet Paella (Food Network)
Spice Mix for chicken
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3lbs chicken thighs (skin removed)
1/4 cup  olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (optional)
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (optional)
2 lobster tails (optional)
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.   Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.   Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.  In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld.  Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains.  Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron.  Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice.  The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook.  Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.

Cantaloupe and blueberry salad

Frito Salad
1 lg. head lettuce
1 onion, diced finely
2 c. grated Cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, diced
2 c cooked ground beef (seasoned for tacos if you want)
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle Catalina dressing (eyeball this so you don't soak it too much)
1 green pepper, diced
1 pkg. Fritos, crushed
Chop up everything, combine in a large bowl (except for Fritos) and mix in enough dressing to coat everything well.  Think chop salad at a restaurant.  Add in the Fritos for each serving so they don't get soggy. 

King Ranch Chicken
2-3 c cooked chicken
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel (partially drained)
Corn tortillas (cut in wedges)
Cheddar cheese
Green onions for garnish
You can use the crockpot to simmer this all day (minus the tortillas, cheese and green onion) or put it in a saucepan before putting layering with tortillas and cheese and baking in the oven.  Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Pound this chicken flat and dredge through flour, egg and then a parmesan/breadcrumb mixture or grill the chicken. 
Bruschetta Chicken
Boneless chicken pieces, pounded flat between pieces of wax paper
¼ c flour
1 beaten egg
½ c breadcrumbs + ½ c parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Finely chopped tomatoes
Basil chiffonade  (roll up the leaves and then thinly slice through all layers)
Dredge chicken through flour, then into egg and finally into breadcrumb mixture.  Pan fry in olive oil in medium hot skillet.  Top with tomatoes and basil.  Of course a little more parm is a good idea too. 

Garlic bread

Beef Sheppard’s Pie
Cooked ground beef or cut up raw beef
16oz frozen mixed veggies
1 can cream of celery
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 ½ c water/broth or wine
Combine all ingredients in crockpot and let it cook for the day.  Top with mashed potatoes when ready to serve. 

Sausage Calzones
1 lb frozen bread dough, refrigerated pizza crust, home made crust, crust you buy from Sam’s etc
1-2 c Italian sausage
1 c frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
¼ c Parmesan
½ c cottage cheese
½ tsp basil and oregano
1 c mozzarella cheese
1 c diced tomatoes
Combine spinach, cottage cheese, parmesan, basil and oregano.  Divide dough into four pieces.  Roll out each piece into a large rectangle.  Top each piece with ¼ of the tomatoes, sausage, and spinach mixture, keeping toppings on one end of the rectangle.  Fold over the non-covered half and crimp edges.  Carefully move to a baking sheet and top with olive oil and some kosher salt.  Cut slits in top of calzone and bake until crust is cooked. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Moving In

I recently had the fun, ok my way of having fun, of helping J&C move a state or two further south.  Thursday morning it was time to load the last minute items, blankets pillows, toothbrushes into the car and Scout could tell something was up.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grocery Deals 7/17+

Sprouts:    blueberries 1.48/pt (vs 2.50 Randalls), cherries 2.98/lb (vs 4.99 Randalls), plums/peaches/nectarines .98/lb, mangos .48, watermelon $4 (vs Randalls $6), lettuce .98, celery .98, roma tomatoes .98/lb, zucchini .98/lb, red or green bell peppers .48, onion .68, chicken legs .99/lb, oats .69/lb

Randalls:     whole chicken .99/lb, 85% lean ground beef 2.99/lb, red grapes .99/lb,

HEB:           blueberries 1.50/pt, apples .77/lb, peaches .67/lb (vs .99 Sprouts), zucchini .88/lb, cantaloupe .97 (vs $2 Randalls), beef roast 2.97/lb, legs/thighs $1/lb, pork roast 1.97/lb

Weekly Menu 7/20+


smoked chicken
grilled okra

beef/cheese enchiladas

fried chicken & gravy
mashed potatoes
green beans
fudgy cake

el rancho grande

cucumber salad

smoked chicken casserole

frito pie
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies