Sunday, July 28, 2013

First experiences with Cartwheel

Target has a coupon/social media app called Cartwheel. I have used it for some odds and ends, but today I had a list and I'd thought I'd see what I could save.

The first item on my receipt was Finish Dishwasher cleaner. I used to use Dishwasher Magic but neither Target not Wegmans carry it anymore. So we'll try this. Nothing on Cartwheel. $3.59

Fresh express fresh spinach, on sale for $2.50. The only salad coupons on cartwheel were for the salads we used to make in the café.

Market Pantry Mac and cheese, 2 boxes, 67 cents each, plus cartwheel discount of 5%, reducing the price to 63 cents.

Goat cheese crumbles, 3.99. Splurge. To cool off my buffalo chicken salad.

Archer Farm Breakfast Bread, apple fritter, $3.99

Pepperidge Farm blueberry swirl bread, $2.99 plus 10% off for cartwheel, $2.69

(The Pepperidge Farm loaf is way smaller than the Archer Farms one, so without the coupon I suspect the price per slice may be the sand.)

Tuna in water, 12 ounce can, two of them, normally $2.34 each, 5% off for cartwheel, makes the price $2.22.

Sunmaid golden raisins, 1.5 cups, 2.99

Market pantry raisins, 20 ounces, $2.79 plus 5% for cartwheel, $2.65

Café popcorn, normally $1.29, 10% off for cartwheel, 1.16

Total: 29.26
Team member discount: - 2.93
RedCard discount: - 1.32
Tax: 24 cents

Total: 25.25

Chicken salad variations

To use up the cucumber salad, my husband and I opted to make chicken salad. We had some skinless, boneless chicken in the freezer that he cooked.

We mixed the cucumber salad with the chicken once we chopped it. Then we added spices: Italian seasoning, garlic pepper. I also added golden raisins.

I split the chicken into two bowls, one heavy on the cucumber and the other heavy on the meat. The meaty bowl got mayo while the other got serious amounts of buffalo sauce. I added soft goat cheese crumbles to both.

Served on apple fritter bread with heaps of fresh spinach.

Beverage was a strawberry yogurt smoothie. (Serves three.)
- two cups strawberries
- one container strawberry rhubarb noosa yogurt
- one carnation instant breakfast packet in French vanilla
- about four ounces very vanilla soy milk

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Another cucumber salad

I'm not eating the homegrown cucumbers nearly fast enough. I'm worried I'll lose them to the ravages of time. 

But seriously, cucumbers are one of my favorite summer foods. They don't provide nearly the same feeling in winter. The cool flavor, the burst of water in each bite... They provide relief in summer.

Since a friend was kind enough to share her garden bounty, I have three large cucumbers. I've grown cucumbers, but this year my tortoise ate all the plants. She likes cucumber, too.

So to make sure we eat these beautiful vegetables, I made a cucumber salad. And it's vegan!

- 3 large cucumbers, diced
- 4 slices vegetarian bacon-style strips, cut into tiny bits
- about 3/4 cup black olives, sliced (i used canned whole olives and sliced them myself but I *really* wish I had good olives on hand)
- about 1/2 cup flax seed
- garlic pepper to taste
- Annie's lemon chive dressing, to taste 

(I kept both the dressing and the garlic pepper to a minimum since I want the cucumbers to keep their clean, fresh taste.)

Mix. Chill. Serve.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garden Beans Caeser Zaatar

One of my colleagues gave me some beans from her garden so I made a variation of green beans Caesar.

I steamed the yellow beans for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Make a sauce of two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar. Add about 1/2 teaspoon four color pepper and 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder.

Make crumbs of about 1/4 breadcrumbs,  2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons zaatar spice.

Toss beans in sauce. Sprinkle with paprika. Top with crumbs. Bake 15-20 minutes.

I put mine on a bed of shredded cabbage and cucumber.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hearty food day

No real time for cooking so far today so when daughter requested leftover vegetarian baked beans and Morningstar breakfast patties for breakfast, I thought that would be a hearty, warm meal.

Then for lunch we had sandwiches: commercial peanut butter, homemade peanut butter and strawberry rhubarb jam we bought at the farmers' market. Sandwiches were on hot dog rolls.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


So we grew kohlrabi.

When we harvested it, some was too old and some was too immature.

I have never even tasted kohlrabi before, let alone grown and cooked it. I started by peeling it. I didn't peel enough. I wasn't aware that you would eventually find a potato-like center.

Then I sliced it and brushed it with coconut oil and roasted it in the oven with a sprinkle of garlic-pepper. 

Where it wasn't surrounded by a tough outer skin-- completely unchewable-- it was delicious.

So the moral of the story is to peel the kohlrabi better.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spicy corn salsa

First canning project of the season. Spicy corn salsa.

For the salsa:
- corn cut off six ears of fresh-from-the-farm sweet corn 
- about one cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- about 1/4 cup mild green chili pepper
- about 1/4 cup medium jalapeño, chopped

For the sauce: 
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon local raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon each of ground pepper, cumin, chili powder and hot chili powder
- 3.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Mix everything together. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered 10 minutes, ladle into jars.

Process in hot water bath 15 minutes.

Buffalo chicken orzo

My daughter and I went on a six mile bike  today. Man, I am out of shape. But I never was an athlete!

When we got home, the family whipped up a hot lunch of leftover orzo with chopped chicken.

My husband and daughter had theirs with sugar snap peas, lima beans, and brussel sprouts drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with herbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

I had no lima beans and used Archer Farns buffalo sauce on mine.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Peanut butter protein snack

I started this morning with almost two cups of coffee, two blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. I cleaned the kitchen, fed and cleaned up after the cats, weeded the jungle... I mean garden... and then I carted clothes up and down from the attic.

I started to get shaky, even though I wasn't remotely hungry. I hopped in the shower while husband made huge salads of iceberg lettuce, shredded cabbage, carrots, a pinch of Parmesan cheese, sliced almonds, whole almonds, a couple of cranberries, and Annie's Goddess dressing. Beverage was a few ounces of Welch's white grape peach something 100% juice diluted with carbonated water  made in our SodaStream.

It was delicious.

But about 45 minutes later I didn't feel better. I needed more protein. I wanted to keep it healthy. So I asked husband to get a square of ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate, layer some commercial peanut butter on it, and then he sprinkled our thick and somewhat dry homemade peanut butter on it.


Special delivery pancakes

My mother-in-law called as I was drinking the first sip of my coffee. My father-in-law was going for gas so she made blueberry pancakes, put them in a thermal bag and had him drive them the 12 miles to our house.

She even included a bottle of real maple syrup.

Yes, they were still warm.

Last night we had dinner of chicken noodle soup at her house.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pharmacy rewards at Target

Grocery shopping at Target, in my opinion, is not ideal. There is always some item they don't carry or they only carry certain brands or depending on the Target, the fresh produce is limited.

That said, when you know what you normally pay for certain products, Target offers some great deals and a lot of convenience when you need something more than just groceries. The everyday prices, even for food, are quite competitive.

Since I am a Target team member, I get ten percent off everything in the store. In addition, if I use my RedCard, I get another five percent. That's the same five percent anyone can get if they open a RedCard account-- available as a credit or debit card. I highly recommend these cards. They have other perks, too, such as free shipping on all items from

Now, we don't use much medicine in this house, but about once a year we fill the five prescriptions necessary to earn Pharmacy Rewards. This is an additional five percent off everything in the store for an entire day.

When I get one of these, I stock up. Even if I have to borrow money from my kid. That was me yesterday. 

I spent about $300. Let me tell you some highlights. All prices are BEFORE the approximately 18% price reduction at the register.

Cat litter: Tidy Cat, 35 pounds, two containers at $12 each, plus free $5 gift card.

Welch's juice (no sugar added), on sale for $2 a bottle

Honest Kids organic juice boxes, $3 per 8 pack (Juicy Juice 100% juice juice boxes were $2.54, got some of them, too)

Chock Full of Nuts coffee, 28 ounces, on clearance for $7.64 (regular price 8.99)

Starbucks Dark Sumatra whole bean coffee, 12 ounces, on clearance for 6.78 (regularly $7.99)

Archer Farm Irish Cream coffee, 12 ounces, on clearance for $4.54 (regularly $6.49)

Celestial Seasonings orange tangerine tea, on clearance for $1.67 (regularly $2.39)

Tazo decaf chai tea bags, on clearance for $2.44 (regularly $3.49)

Stash herbal tea, peppermint, and Stash chai green tea, on clearance for $1.94 (regularly $2.29)

Archer Farms organic black tea, chai, on clearance for $2.08 (regularly $2.99)

Stash jasmine blossom green tea, on clearance for $1.60 (regularly $2.29)

Pop tarts (I have a craving, it's better than brownies, right?) on sale for $1.89

Fleischmann yeast, 4 ounces, on clearance for $1.98 (regularly $3.99)

Chobani Flipz, on sale $1 each

Noosa yogurt, $2.39 minus 35 cent manufacturer coupon

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cheesy spinach orzo

It's 95 degrees here and for some reason, I get the idea it would be *nice* to have baked mac and cheese for dinner. My mother gave me this really nice block of aged sharp provolone. She deemed it "too stinky" for her crew to eat.

But then I had no full sized pasta, just spaghetti or orzo. So I made orzo. A LOT of orzo.

- about eight ounces aged extra sharp provolone
- about three ounces Monterey Jack
- about two ounces cheddar
- about 4 ounces grated Parmesan 
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground four color peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
- 1 block frozen spinach, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare pasta as desired. Set aside.

Melt butter in pan, slowly mix in flour. When bubbly, slowly mix in coconut milk so flour-butter roux blends in nicely.

Add desired seasonings. 

When bubbly, add all cheese but Parmesan, in tiny chunks. Remove from heat. Stir. When melted, add spinach.

Mix sauce and pasta in oven safe dish. Top with Parmesan. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

Mediterranean veggie burgers

In my quest to get myself moving more, we met our friend Ally at the park for a one mile plus walk. Since the walk occurred at one of our favorite local parks, child and I stopped at Wawa and bought apples with peanut butter and cut watermelon for a picnic breakfast.

Lunch today is Morningstar Mediterranean style veggie burger with lots of lettuce, salsa and Goddess dressing in a wrap. I also put srirancha sauce on mine. Washed down with home brewed unsweetened sun tea.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Breakfast after bloodwork

As some may know, I have a past history of stress-induced severe anemia. This is what ended my almost decade of a vegetarian lifestyle. This also ended my relationship with my former doctor, and led my to a new team of medical professionals who make me feel like they care whether I live or die.

That's a good thing in a doctor. 

So, today I pledged I would take care of my annual bloodwork. Fasting. And of course, my child, the early riser, sleeps until 9. 

But I manage not to eat and we walk to the lab about a half-mile from the house. It's about 9:30 and I'm sweaty already. 

We get home at 10:10 (walking home I'm mentally calculating the distance to the nearest diner). I am completely inept at making coffee. No matter what I do, my coffee turns out double strength. This made me very popular in the Lehigh Valley News Group newsroom. Reporters like caffeine.

To make a decent cup of coffee, I have to use my little espresso machine. Which I did. I took advantage of the fact that I had the espresso brewer out to warm and steam some almond milk to give my daughter a hot cup of chai with local raw honey. I drank what didn't fit in her cup and it was good!

Breakfast was scrambled egg wraps, with a pinch of garlic pepper and a drizzle of Annie's Organic Cowgirl Ranch and a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sliders on the Grill

Yesterday we bought some hamburger sliders on clearance at Target.

We bought three packs of eight, one of which were bacon cheese sliders. The regular beef sliders were $1.99 a pack. The fancy ones were $2.49.

My husband proposed grilling them. It rains every time we grill. And we never get a good fire going. It took us about an hour to grill the sliders, a rousing success.

I served with my homemade multigrain biscuits, lettuce and the first tomato of the season.

Fête Nationale

Slept in this morning and since it is "Bastille Day," my husband had procured croissants from Wegmans.

Coffee, croissants and jam from the farmers market.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blender day!

We finally bought a blender. A 700-watt Black and Decker with "easy pour" glass pitcher.

It was 29.99 at Target, and I was debating about a 450-watt on clearance for 19.98 or a 700-watt at a higher price. My husband kept saying not to cheap out. I just wanted the right amount of blender. My research indicated that most people and most use only require 450 watts. But lots of ice and harder to grind stuff, well, some folks get impatient with the 450.

And our old one was a Hamilton-Beach, but I have no idea what the wattage was. 

And the Hamilton-Beach models at Target were ugly and more expensive.

So, I got the Black and Decker 700-watt. It turned out to be on sale for $24 even before my employee and RedCard discount.

Made the family strawberry smoothies with coconut milk and Greek yogurt for dinner. I think my old blender was 450 watt, because I blended for the same amount of time "as usual" and they came out as strawberry milk. Delicious but milk.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meaty hot lunch

It's another day expected to tap out at a max of 90 degrees. Another day of errands, doctor's appointment and finally work at 5 p.m.

I slipped back to Market after my shift last night for lettuce and noticed a ton of meats going out that night-- the ones that say sell by or freeze the next day.

Guess who bought a mix?


Steak. Pork chops. Chicken breast. And my lunch today-- Angus beef sirloin medallions wrapped on bacon. And my lettuce. $17.54.

The sirloin I'm making for lunch normally sells for $9.79.

I'm cooking the beef and some roasted cauliflower for a main meal with the family at noon. That beats the heat and allows me to have a nice meal before an evening shift.

The basic premise for roasting cauliflower:
- wash
- preheat oven to 450
- break or cut into hunks no bigger than a golf ball.
- spread on a cookie sheet
- brush with olive oil
- sprinkle with salt
- cook for 35 to 45 minutes turning every 15 until browned in a speckled fashion. You want crispy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hot summer night equals nachos

It's darn hot.

So we had nachos for dinner: chips, lettuce, black beans, salsa, black olives and a light layer of cheese.

It made me laugh when I noticed our salsa collection, mild for baby bear, medium for papa bear and extra hot for mama bear.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday biscuits

Yesterday I bought a pound of ground chicken at Target for $1.50 and asked my husband to make his spinach-chicken meatballs today.

Meanwhile, I made biscuits with real lard-- straight from the butcher. I wanted to see if I could tell a difference in the final product. I couldn't. But it worked well.