Friday, March 30, 2012

My make-do meal

The weather's been cooler this week, so I decided something like chicken pot pie (actually, more like a shepard's pie) would be nice for dinner.

So .... didn't have any cooked chicken, but I did have some turkey in the freezer.

Didn't have the cream of chicken soup the recipe called for, but I did have cream of mushroom soup.

Had brain fade and put in twice as much milk as needed, so I added an extra cup of biscuit mix.

My favorite baking dish is gone (broken), so I used one of my other casserole dishes.

And after all that .... the pie came out great! In fact, the cream of mushroom soup gave it a different twist. We just barely have enough leftovers for a lunch!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bargain alert!

If your area has a CVS with a grocery department, you might want to stop by, especially if you have some ECBs to use up.

I was there on Monday and stumbled upon a clearance sale of their Gold Emblem products ... 75% off! Among the goodies:

Canned vegetables - 29 cents

1 lb spaghetti - 78 cents (and I'd just bought some at Meijer for 89 cents!)

1 lb elbow macaroni - 39 cents.

Unfortunately, someone else got to the 14-cent cans of tomato sauce. before I did.

I got a couple cans of veggies, couple of boxes each of spaghetti and macaroni. I don't know if the deals are chainwide, but if you need to stock your pantry (or want something to donate to the local food bank) it might be worth a look.

Also: CVS has cans of Dole pineapple on sale for 88 cents. In Sunday's Smart Source (and in the 1/29 Red Plum) insert, there's a coupon for 50 cents off 2 cans, bringing your price down to 63 cents a can. Not bad for a name-brand product (though admittedly it's more fun when those coupons double.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Monday: Cranberry-oatmeal pancakes

These might be more for adult tastes. The cranberry and wheat germ really stand out among the flavors.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon orange peel
11/2 cups halved fresh (or frozen) cranberries

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk and oil; mix in orange peel and cranberries.
Stir into dry ingredients just until blended.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden. Makes 12-15 pancakes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Repurposing: Shamrocks

Goosie's St. Pat's Day outfit needed a little something ... like shamrocks.

I was going to buy some felt, then realized that I had some squares of Pellon (that's the stiffening material used in interfacings, etc.) from another project.

So I found a template on the Internets, cut out a couple of Pellon shamrocks and tacked them onto the outfit.

Worked out well ....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Notes while shopping

Did the happy dance at Wallyworld today. A while back, they'd pulled the fabric department out of my local store, replacing it with pre-cut lengths of fabrics.

Today, I wandered to the back of the store and discovered that it's back! A full fabric department! Complete with patterns, though the selection was a bit more limited.

Course, I was wandering back there because I was playing "find the light bulbs." I know the marketing behind it: move things around so shoppers will be tempted to buy more while they search for the things they came in for. (Note, I'm not one of them: I just get aggravated and buy the thing elsewhere ...)

BTW: Is there a ground pepper shortage? I don't remember a tin going for $1.99 ....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Clean your plate, save the world

There's an interesting story on the global impact of food waste ... beyond the impact on our budgets.

One sentence, however, really got my attention: 30 percent to 50 percent of the food produced in the world goes uneaten.

Now this isn't just about our leaving lettuce to rot in the back of the fridge. It's also about developing countries losing food due to lack of refrigeration and poor infrastructure; the "not perfect" vegetables that go to landfills because they don't meet retailers' standards; and the restaurant portions that go uneaten.

There certainly aren't easy fixes for some of these problems. But it does make me want to try harder to use all the food in my house.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Free food for St. Pat's Day

Here's a little something to go with your corned beef and cabbage: Seems Burger King is offering free fries with green dipping sauce ... better known as green ketchup.

Wonder how it would go with green beer?

And I'm still looking for the free pot of gold, LOL!

Here's the news release:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Garden report: seed alert

For those of you with Walgreens stores ... just wanted to mention that seeds are on sale 5 for $1 with the coupon in Sunday's ad. (There's a limit of 10 ....)

Here at the casa de chaos, I took advantage of our summer-like weather to plant a 2nd pot of salad greens.

Haven't seen much from the first pot, but I'm hoping!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Monday: Carrot-Rutabaga mash

I'm told this is an Irish classic. There are several ways to make it, but this is easy, and produces a very festive-looking dish.

1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Boil carrots and rutabaga until soft, drain.
Return to pot, add butter and milk. Mash with potato masher, or use a food processor.
Season with a little salt, and lots of pepper.

You can make this in any quantity you like: just use equivalent amounts of the veggies, then add enough butter and milk so it will mash easily.

This still has a bit of texture to it ... if you want a softer puree, use the food processor.

Rutabaga takes forever to cook, so dice it a bit smaller, and allow more time than you would for say, potatoes. Last time, we nuked both veggies in the microwave for about 10 minutes, which softened them up nicely.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring forward

Just a reminder that tomorrow (Sunday) is the start of Daylight Saving Time. So push those clocks up ahead an hour.

(And we'll all need a couple of weeks to get used to it.)

And BTW: We'll drop back an hour on Nov. 4th this year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Garden report: A few notes

I'm usually a cautious gardener, but the weather's been so darn nice the past few weeks, I've decided to do a bit of planting.

Not a lot: Tucked a couple of sprouting garlic bulbs into the front garden, and started a pot of lettuce. I may just plant a second pot of salad greens, too. If the weather gets too cold, I can always bring them inside.

Oh, and for those who shop at WallyWorld: the 20 cent-packages of veggies and flower seeds are in. I also see 50-cent packs this year, too.

I got a few packages of bush beans, so I'm set for seeds.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

February freebies

Some interesting stuff this past month:

1 beer
1 honey bun
1 tin Nivea cream
Crest 3D White toothpaste
Crest 3D Whitestrips
Crest Complete toothpaste
Downy Unstoppables
1 pizza
1 small insulated cooler

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thinking out of the ... stall

Fair warning: We're talking kitty litter again ... though nothing too graphic this time.

Anyway, back in August, I was talking about switching to the pine pellets for my furbabies. The stuff works pretty well, but price wise, I have to hold my nose when I buy it.

As it happens, we were at one of those farm supply stores. (Hey, I'm a city kid, these places fascinate me. Who knew you could buy giant blocks of salt and post-hole diggers at the same store?) Ahem .... anyway, while wandering through the aisles of giant sacks of chicken feed and goat food, I came upon 40lb bags of pine pellet horse bedding.

This stuff looked just like the pellets I'm buying at the pet store. The bag indicates that it does the same thing as the cat litter. And best of all -- it was a third of the price!

Oh, yeah. Gotta try this.

So I bought a bag. So far, so good. Nobody's complaining. Course, when I check on the Internets, I find people have been using this stuff for years. Ah well, at least I now have an excuse to poke around the farm store again, LOL!