Monday, September 30, 2013

Eggplant anyone?

      And here I was worried that I wouldn't get much from my eggplant ... Ha!

       We've been having eggplantapalooza here at the Casa de Chaos.    So far, this $3 plant has paid for itself several times over. (Considering that the going rate for eggplant here is around 99 cents a pound.)

      We've had:

       3 meals of baked eggplant, each of them producing 1-2 extra servings that went into work lunches.

        1 meal of ratatouille, which also produced a serving for a work lunch

         1 stir-fry meal, which produced 2 extra servings for a work lunch. 

          1 bowl of baba ganoush for snacking. Wasn't sure about it at first, but it grew on me.  It also saved me the cost of a tub of hummus.)

         3 more fruits were gifted ... I'm told one made a very nice eggplant parm ...

         It is nice to sit down to a dinner in which most of the food came from my own garden.  Makes the work (and the expenditures) worth it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Use it up: Fruit chunk muffins

     Had a bit of canned tropical fruit left in the fridge.  While I usually like this brand, this particular can of fruit didn't have a lot of taste ...     
     So. rather than waste, I decided to disguise it.   I adapted a muffin recipe to work with the "tropical" flavors and make this a bit more tasty.  

Fruit Chunk Muffins

1/4 cup butter or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt (see note)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped canned fruit 
1 teaspoon orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin. 

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, beating well. Add the yogurt, vanilla and orange peel and beat until combined. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the fruit.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. 

Bake 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on rack 

Makes 6-9 muffins, depending on size of the pan. 

Note: The yogurt I used had a thin consistency. (My batter was a bit looser than traditional muffin batter.) If you use something thicker, like Greek yogurt, you might  use a bit less and thin it out with milk. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Unexpected linens

        On a whim, I stopped at our Goodwill outlet ..
      And this, dear friends, is where I tend to get in trouble. 

       I was looking for something specific, but came out with:
       1 snowman flannel sheet. I thought was that this would be good fabric for a project.  When I got it home, I realized that it was queen-size.  And I don't have any flannel sheets for the queen-size guest bed.  Uh, oh.
         1 flannel regular-size pillowcase with snowmen. (Why, yes, I like snowmen. Why do you ask?)   My first thought was a project, but nah ... this one's for me.
      1 swath of plaid material.  I believe it is a flannel sheet, though the texture is a bit rough. (Fortunately, it doesn't fit any of the beds.) It might make a nice tablecloth or topper with matching napkins. It also might make good fabric for those sleep pants I still intend to sew. We shall see.

      And 1 large plastic flowerpot....

       Can't say I broke the bank here. I spent all of  $3.28. But I'm supposed to be decluttering!

(Oh yeah ... any fabric/clothing from the thrift store gets bagged, and once home,  gets a good shaking outside, then goes straight to the washer.)


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh, that's sneaky

     Had a coupon for $1 off of 2 tubes of a certain brand of toothpaste.  So I thought I'd try my luck at the dollar store.

     They had lots of this brand ... but the coupon had a rather long list of sizes that it wasn't good on.

    And guess which sizes were on the shelf?  Yep, every one of them.  (not enough profit margin, perhaps?)

      So, no toothpaste for me .... 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finding bargains in odd places

Speaking of spare parts ....

I've been on the lookout for a new coffeemaker  ... sort of a spare if you will.     Actually, the coffee maker we're using originally was a spare ... after two machines with timers croaked in short order, we started using the current, basic one.

Anyway, I stopped at my favorite spot at the supermarket ... the markdown bin.  And there, with the canned goods, sat a half-dozen coffee makers. Originally $12.99 ... marked down to (drum roll, please) ...


I couldn't resist.  I bought one.  (Yeah, just one ...)  So if this one croaks, I'm in no danger of going without coffee.  (Trust me on that one.)

On the other hand, if it's anything like the bread maker ... this machine may sit on the shelf for another four or five years, LOL!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dump bread anyone?

  Needed to make a loaf of bread, so I loaded up the bread maker and turned it on.

Instead of whir... whir... whir ... I got click .. click ... click.

The spindle that turns the paddle in the bread pan seems to have frozen.  So, pulled the pan and dumped the contents into another bowl so DH could try to loosen things up with a wrench.   No go.

So, now what?   I remembered that we'd bought a similar bread maker at the thrift store a while back, specifically for the paddle. (The old one got chewed up.)   Maybe ...

Pulled the pan from that one and checked. Yep, it fit.  So, the dough makings got dumped into this pan, and we were back in business.

 The bread doesn't seem any worse for wear ...

Note: I went back to look for the post in which I talk about buying that bread maker.  Holy moly, it was four years ago.  And the original bread maker is still with us ...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Might as well get something good from this

    I'm nursing a sore mouth today ... had to get a tooth pulled.

  (Darned if I know how, but I managed to break a wisdom tooth. And when your dentist takes one look and shakes his head, you know you're in trouble ...)

    Anyway, I needed to get a couple of prescriptions filled afterwards.  Was about to tell DH to head to the nearest drugstore when I remembered: I had a catalina from Meijer that would give me a coupon for $20 in groceries if I got a prescription filled at their pharmacy.  

So, a little silver lining ...


(The best part was when the tech asked if I wanted to get a flu shot, too.  Er, no ... I've been poked with enough needles for one day.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And things continue to shrink

  Came across this story from the Wall Street Journal ... seems the makers of tissues and TP are, er, short-sheeting us again.  (Or as the headline calls it, "desheeting.")

But hey, the product is better, so we need less, they say.

It's getting to the point where I really hate buying TP, even when it's at my target price ... the variance between manufacturers is amazing.
  Even the number of sheets isn't a good indicator.  Of  two packs in my closet, both 264 sheets, one has 352 sq ft, the other has 369 sq ft. 

Anyway, here's the link  to the story:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

August freebies

A very very light month ...

The tally:  2 packages of dog food, which will go to the animal shelter's pet-food bank.

And one biggie:  Firewood!  One of the neighbors took a big tree down and left the wood in the yard with a "Free" sign.   Not a lot of takers ... the pieces were a bit on the large side.  But we did get a few carloads.  

 Nice find, since we had been running  low on supplies from last year. So that, along with the dead wood we culled from the mulberry trees will top things up very nicely.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cheaper Tide?

  In the news ....

 Proctor & Gamble is going to sell a less-expensive version of its flagship detergent. 

But as growth in developed markets has slowed and P&G expands in emerging markets, the company has been working to become more balanced in its offerings, with more goods at both the low and high end of the price spectrum.
"There are consumers for whom a lower price is a more critical element of their personal value equation," said CEO A.G. Lafley at a Barclays conference in Boston on Wednesday. "We need to have brands and products that are relevant for them as well, and we increasingly will."

   Interesting .... I wonder what the difference will be.  I generally don't use the product, but I have friends who swear by it.  I wonder how well the "cheaper" version would go over with them.

     Anyway, here's the link:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sometimes, you punt

We've been doing quick and easy meals from the pantry at the casa de chaos as we get back into our regular routine.

The other night, dinner was  to be pasta, using the jarred sauce in the fridge.

Oops .. not enough sauce.  No problem, we'll get a jar  from the pantry.

Double oops.  There wasn't any sauce in the pantry.

So, DH dug up a can of roasted-tomato cooking sauce and added it to the mix.  It was a bit thin, so we pulled a container of tomato paste from
the freezer and threw that in, too.  

Threw in some extra seasonings and the rest of the previously made meatballs from the freezer.

Not bad ... not bad at all.