Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Surprize! (Yes, I know that's misspelled. You'll get it in a minute!)

In honor of my 100th post and our 8 months together, I'm having a giveaway! The lucky winner will receive a copy of Southern Living:Our Readers Top-Rated Recipes cookbook. This is one of my favorite go-to cookbooks with tons of mouth-watering recipes. Already have this one? Enter anyway and give it away as a gift!  

Here's how to enter: post a comment stating your favorite tip you've used from this blog. Post your comment by 9pm on Monday, October 4th and I'll annouce the winner on Tuesday morning. I'm drawing the name at random, so good luck! Thanks for the memories...may we have many more!
*As an added bonus, I'll email the winner a list of my favorite recipes in this cookbook!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Golden Egg Alert!

Total Cost: $.08!
I went to the store today to buy garlic for planting in the garden and left with this little cache. The Gillette body wash was in the clearance bin for $1.59 each and I had 3 coupons for them at $2.00 apiece. Kroger actually owed me money at this point, so I had to pick up a pack of gum to get a positive balance! Not bad for 8 cents!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Daily Grind

Coffee grinders can be pretty handy little gadgets. Although providing perfectly ground beans for a pot of joe is their specialty, grinders are great for other things too. Out of flour in the middle of a recipe? Toss some oats into your grinder and grind until it reaches a flour-like consistency. Not only is this a handy substitute, it's nutritious too! Coffee grinders can act as a mini-food processor, chopping nuts, seeds, baking chocolate, and grinding flax seeds. Concerned about cleaning? Toss a handful of rice and grind away to clean and sharpen the blades. Rubbing a piece of soft bread around the resevoir also helps to remove small food particles and flavors.

*This is off-subject, but I'm just letting you all know that yes, I know fall is officially here, but I'm not ready to acknowledge it yet due to 95* temps. Next week I'll have fall postings out the wazoo!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ice Queen

I usually clean out my garage freezer before summer produce starts coming in but this year, summer got away from me. Anyway, I ended up cleaning it out this weekend. I've found that if I don't clean out and organize the freezer at least once a year, I end up having to toss food because it was entombed beneath a huge pile of who knows what. If you stay on top of the freezer clutter, in the end you'll have a tidy freezer and you'll actually know what's inside. It'll do wonders for your soul!
*For the record, I will confess that I found a poor dejected freezer-burnt turkey bosom from May of 2008 in my weekend expedition! May it rest in peace.

Before: oh the carnage!

After: sweet relief!

Tips for cleaning out the ol' freezer:
  • Label things such as sauces or broth since they're hard to I.D. once frozen
  • Use plastic milk crates to store large amounts of one thing (mine are full of cherries and pheasant)
  • Group the food according to type. For example: breads, convenience foods, desserts, fruit, veggies, meat, ice packs, etc.
  • Invest in hanging freezer baskets
  • If you're feeling really crazy, draw a "map" of the contents and tape it to the door. (I did not do this, but I'm sure that someone out there really will. Good for you if you do!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Blooms

My dear husband came home this afternoon from a grocery run with some beautiful flowers for me in luscious fall colors. He knows how I adore this spectacular season and the flowers were a perfect way to celebrate! This is a fun way to "glam-up" your flowers naturally. Just snip a few handfuls of pampas grass and wind into a coil. Press the coil into a wide vase or glass cannister. Place flowers inside and add water. You can also cut flower heads off and float them in the water, which is equally pretty. Have fun and happy almost-fall! *By the way, the first official day of fall is Wednesday, September 22nd. Get out there and celebrate!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Be Prepared

Since we're heading into hurricane season on the east coast, I thought I'd blow some ideas by you about being prepared. Remember, these tips are for any type of disaster or power outage from snow, hurricanes, flooding, you name it. Did you know that the average grocery store has only a 3 day supply of food? That fact alone has inspired me to make sure that I have plenty of canned and dried food on hand. Some food suggestions include canned beans, oatmeal, granola, peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, vitamins, and baby food or formula. You can cook food on a gas stove or grill, but make sure you have matches to light the stove. The rule of thumb for water supply is one gallon per person for day with at least a 3 day supply. That's a lot of water! Don't forget to have an extra supply of prescription medications- especially for conditions such as diabetes. Take inventory of your supplies and replace batteries, candles, matches, and other supplies as needed. Make sure you know where your supplies are! If you know a storm is coming, make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Don't forget to check on elderly neighbors or friends who live alone. Not everyone reads this blog and will be as prepared as you! =) Now that I've scared some sense into you, check out these helpful websites for more info:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Golden Eggs

Kroger and CVS were having great deals today! Here's what I got for $3.40:

  •  Nivea Men's body wash (free w/extra bucks)
  • Skintimate shave cream $.25 with extra bucks and coupon
  • Active Vitamins free with extra bucks
  • Energy chews free with extra bucks
  • Glade soy candles $1 each on clearance with coupon
  • Chewable Vitamin C $1.35 with coupon
  • Vitamin D tablets $.10 with coupon
  • Ball fruit pectin on clearance $.30 credited to me with coupon!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Power of Dough

I cannot emphasize enough the value of cookie dough. No, I'm not talking about that stuff in a tube from the store that will last a decade from all of the preservatives in it! I mean the real deal, homemade with real butter kind of cookie dough. My freezer always has at least one log of cookie dough in it, ready for action! When I'm in the mood for something sweet, I just slice off a few cookies and throw them in the oven. No mess and no overeating! When I have to take dinner to someone, I almost always include a log of cookie dough with the baking instructions written on the bag. People dropping by? No problem- just slice and bake for a quick snack. Here's one of my favorite recipes. Just try not to eat all the dough before it hits the freezer!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
2 cups chocolate chips

Beat butter at medium speed til creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla til combined. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in oats and chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350* for 12 min. Cool on sheets 3 min. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes about 5 dozen.

To freeze: roll dough into 2 logs and wrap in waxed paper. Put wrapped logs into freezer Ziploc bags. They will last several months, but I've never had them longer than this!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ice Cube Trays

Since I'm low on kitchen space, many gadgets have to be multi-purpose for me to justify them taking up precious real estate in my cabinets. Ice cube trays fall into that category. Don't buy them new- they're usually super cheap at yard sales and thrift stores. Here are some favorite uses for this humble, often overlooked little gem!

Things to freeze:
  • Leftover coffee to add to iced drinks
  • Lemonade or punch to cool your punch bowl without watering down the contents.
  • Extra broth or soup stock.
  • Pesto
  • Leftover gravy
  • Fill halfway with water and add fresh herbs before freezing.
  • Extra egg whites (these keep up to 6 months-be sure to thaw in the fridge)
  • Leftover wine
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Tomato paste
  • Mini Jello molds for kids
More uses:
  • Soap molds
  • Drawer organizer
  • Craft organizer (beads, glitter, jewelry)
  • Separating your weekly pills/vitamins
  • Painter's palette

Friday, September 3, 2010

My New Hero

My new hero (besides my husband of course) is bald, muscular, and has a gold hoop earring. Any guesses? Yesterday, I found our daughter happily drawing with a black Sharpie on our light gray carpet. Oh the shock, the horror of it all! After a quick perusal online of tips for getting it out, I chose the easiest one: the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It worked! I just wet the eraser, squeezed it out, and scrubbed til the stains disappeared. I have no idea how or why this works, but it does. So next time you're faced with removing ink stains, call on the bald guy. He works wonders!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Big Cheese

Check out for a printable coupon for $5 off 5 Kraft cheese products. A list of qualifying products will print off with the coupon to make it easier. If you wait for a good $1 per bag of cheese sale, that's 5 bags of cheese for free! The coupon expires on 10/1/2010.