What I'm Buying - Smith's 8/31

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Smith's is running a Proctor & Gamble promo this week - buy 4 participating items and save $4 instantly at checkout!

The deals aren't quite as good as we've seen in the past, but I think that is because of the overall rise in prices of consumer goods, along with some inflation, and also maybe a wee bit of backlash from the "Extreme Couponing" effect that many stores nationwide are suffering.

[I will refrain from unleashing my torrent of fury regarding the Extreme Couponing show, it's effects, and the irresponsible programming of TLC in general... ;) ]

ANYWHO..... *chirp, chirp* Now that I've scared you all away...

Here's what I picked up at Smith's today:

(1) gallon milk, on sale 2.48
(2) Kroger vanilla almond milk, on sale 2.19
(1) La Banderita tortillas, on sale 1.00
(1) TortillaLand uncooked tortillas, 3.14
(1) bag rolls, clearanced to 1.29
(4) Hunt's HFCS-Free Ketchup, on sale 1.00
(3) stainless steel water bottles, clearanced to 3.33 ea
(4) Ken's salad dressing, on sale 1.99 (.99 after coupon)
(5) Gillette body wash, on sale 2.99 (1.99 after promo, FREE after coupon)
(3) Herbal Essences hair care, on sale 2.89 (1.89 after promo, .89 after coupon)
(8) Old Spice deodorant, on sale 1.99 (.99 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(8) Gillette Fusion Hydragel shave gel, on sale 3.59 (2.59 after promo, 1.59 after coupon)

I used (4) 1.00/1 coupons for the salad dressing [see SS-8/14], (5) 2.00/1 coupons for the body wash [were from previous product packaging, but you can also find some in the P&G-7/31], (3) 1.00/1 coupons for the hair care [see RP-8/7], (4) 1.00/2 coupons for the deodorant [see P&G-8/28] and (8) 1.00/1 coupons for the shave gel [also from previous product packaging].

I also used (1) $15 Smith's Rewards certificate from last quarter and (1) $10 gift card from the Kellogg's gas rewards promo.

Total: $26.76

What I'm Buying - Walmart 8/30

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I made a quick stop at Walmart this afternoon to grab some cereal from this week's sales (they end today) - normally I would go to the actual store that has the item on sale, but I was too lazy today and decided to just price match at Walmart.

(10) Kellogg's Frosted MiniWheats Strawberry Delight cereal, on sale 1.99 (Macey's - on sale for 2.49, then 1.99 with in-ad vendor coupon and purchase of 10, which Walmart will match)

(4) Cascade Complete trial packs 3ct, .97 [free after coupon]

I used (4) 1.00/1 Cascade coupons [see P&G-7/31], (2) 1.00/2 cereal coupons [see RP-7/24] and (3) 1.00/2 cereal coupons [see RP-8/7].

Total: $15.65

Canning Recipe: Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate

Monday, August 29, 2011
I LOVE raspberry lemonade! So when I got my new canning book, I was so very excited to see the recipe for strawberry lemonade - that I could can! And I knew it would be no problem to substitute raspberries for strawberries.

I'm a big fan of the Simply Lemonade (Raspberry) drink you can pick up at the grocery store, but it just cannot compare to this homemade stuff. It is fabulous!

This drink reminds me of the amazing "aguas frescas" and fresh fruit juices that I used to get in Mexico and Ecuador - yum!!!

Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate
Makes about 6-7 pint jars

6 cups raspberries, washed and drained
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar

In a blender or food processor, puree raspberries until smooth. Transfer to large stainless steel pot. Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine. Heat to 190F over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes (25 minutes for Utah).

To reconstitute, mix one part concentrate with one part water or ginger-ale. Adjust to taste. (It can be a little sweet at this ratio, so we've been mixing it at about 1 part concentrate to 1 1/2 parts water.)

(Recipe adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

Hurricane Irene and Being Prepared

Great article in today's Deseret News...

Hurricane Irene and Being Prepared

Canning Progress

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I was up to my eyeballs in tomatoes and salsa yesterday. I had hoped to get all the tomatoes taken care of, but then we decided it would save time if we had a food mill so we didn't have to blanch and peel all of the tomatoes for the sauce or ketchup. So then we had to find a local store that carried the right kind of food mill. And wouldn't you know it, it was 30 minutes away - at Orson Gygi. And it being my first trip to OG and all, we had to spend time perusing the entire store, and of course we came out of there with WAY more in our cart than we intended... ;) Anyway, that put us behind schedule for the canning, and the salsa ended up taking FOR-EHHHHH-VER...

So, Saturday's canning menu ended up being only one item, 15 pint jars of salsa. (But we at least got all the plums off the trees in the backyard by the end of the night.) My husband has decided that his favorite salsa recipe is the stuff we make right from food storage, and he's not so fond of the canned salsa, so I'm not sure if the whole canned salsa thing was really worth it. Oh well, had to try it at least once, right?

We've still got a TON of tomatoes, and many are going bad fast, so I'm going to try some ketchup and some tomato sauce which I will attempt tomorrow.

And then there is a quarter bushel of plums that need to be washed, and halved, and pitted, and canned or made into jam...EGADS! :)

On Tonight's Canning Menu...

Friday, August 26, 2011
On tonight's canning menu:
Kosher dill pickles
Hamburger Dill Slices
maybe the starting of the salsa if I haven't keeled over yet

I went out to check on the plums on our trees today and they are ready to go NOW...

So tomorrow's canning menu is:
Plain tomatoes
Plum jam

I don't think the box of peaches we picked up last weekend will hold out and I don't see me having time to get to them this weekend - maybe I'll just slice and freeze them. Except there's no room in the freezer. GRR!!!

Yes, I am completely insane - certifiable even. And I'm doing this all 4 months pregnant...don't know what in the world I was thinking...oh well, better than doing it at 8 months pregnant, right? ;)

Have a Communication Plan

Here is an article from KSL reminding us all about the need to have a communication plan in place BEFORE an emergency occurs. Cell service was absolutely swamped for an hour or two after the earthquake on the East Coast. The same happened last summer here in Herriman during the wildfire and subsequent evacuations.

Story at KSL

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here's what's on the canning menu for tonight:

Raspberry Sauce
Chocolate Raspberry Sundae Topping
Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate

All recipes courtesy of my new copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving - I am LOVING this book!!!

Raspberries - $11.99/case

Ream's on 90th South has raspberries on sale, $11.99 per case (a case is 12ct of 6oz clamshells - making them about $1/clamshell).

If you don't want a full case, they are $1.50 per clamshell individually.

What I'm Buying - Petersen Family Farm 8/25

I haven't been posting my grocery purchases the last few weeks because, well, they haven't been all that exciting and I really haven't been doing much shopping quite frankly.

But I wanted to let you see what I picked up today. We have a local farm just two or three miles away, and we've had fun tasting some of their items from the local farmer's market on Saturday mornings. They also have a farm store that they operate on location Monday through Saturday, 9am to 6pm. I got on their mailing list two weeks ago after my first visit to their store. And I'm VERY glad that I did.

I've wanted to can salsa now for about two years, but have never gotten around to it. I was hoping I'd be able to at least make a small batch with my two tomato plants this year, but that hasn't exactly gone as planned. So when I saw the email from Petersen's this morning about a tomato sale, I figured there's no time like the present to dive into making salsa!

They are bursting at the seams with tomatoes, and need to move them quickly, so there are on sale! Here's what I picked up this morning:

(3) half-bushel boxes tomatoes, on sale $12 each (that's equal to or less than .60/lb)
(1) box pickling cucumbers, .99/lb so about $20 for the box
(2) pkg dried dill, $1.50 ea
(2) large yellow squash, .75/lb
(12) walla walla onions, I think 1.29/lb
(10) jalapeno peppers, I think 1.69/lb
(4) green bell peppers, .50 ea
(6) ears corn (picked this morning), .45 ea

Total: $68

All of the items are from this local farm except for the dill, which comes from a farm in West Jordan, and the onions, which came from a farm in the Layton area I believe.

I'm excited to try out some salsa and other tomato recipes this weekend - wish me luck! I may have taken on more than I can tackle!!! (Oh, and did I mention I bought two flats of raspberries yesterday that ALSO needed to be canned this weekend? Egads!)

Peru Earthquake

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
7.0 magnitude earthquake in Peru today.

KSL story

And another wildfire is threatening the western borders of Herriman, Utah - this one is at least a bit further away from us that last year's, but it's closer to more structures this time. Started by lightning from a tiny little thunder cloud this afternoon - crazy!

Earthquake Preparedness

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Do you know what to do in the event of an earthquake?

There was a 5.3 magnitude quake south of Trinidad, Colorado this morning.

There was a 5.9 magnitude quake in Virginia this afternoon and it was felt all the way up into Canada.

AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all reported that their networks were swamped with calls immediately following the quake on the East Coast. That is a good reminder that you need to have a back-up contact plan in place - it is very feasible that cellphone networks will be down or swamped during and immediately following a disaster. Have an out-of-state contact that you can call to let them know you are okay and where you are going (if evacuation is necessary).

Oh, and lest we forget, there is a Category 3 hurricane bearing down on the southern half of the East Coast...

Earthquake Safety

Hurricane Safety

Food Storage Yogurt

Think you can't have yogurt with your food storage? Think again!

It is easy to make homemade yogurt, and you can even make it with the powdered milk in your food storage! Fresh milk is not needed.

Check out the instructions and video from Crystal at EverydayFoodStorage.net.

I'm making a double batch with fresh milk today because I have a gallon in my fridge that is close to expiring. But even with the fresh milk, I'm adding powdered milk for more milk fats (makes the yogurt thicker). I've done the stovetop/cooler version before, and this time I'm trying the crock pot, which I think will end up being a bit easier.

I'm debating adding some dehydrated strawberries to the yogurt for extra fruit (I'm going to add some of my canned strawberry syrup to flavor some of the yogurt so it's not plain for the kids). And then some of the yogurt will be used to make yogurt cheese.

Uses for yogurt cheese

My next yogurt experiment will be to make soy yogurt (for the non-dairy youngster) from soy milk. I've heard it works just like the dairy-based stuff above, so wish me luck! And I've also got some peanuts that need to be used, so we're breaking out the blender and making homemade peanut butter! :)

Canning Season is Here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The late summer and early fall months bring lots of great harvests from the fields and fruit trees, and a wonderful way to preserve some of that goodness for use during the rest of the year is through canning.

It's not as difficult as you might think. If it's something that you think you'd like to try (and I HIGHLY suggest that you do), I recommend that you get yourself a copy of this lovely beauty, often referred to as the "canning bible":

The Ball Blue Book of Preserving - This is an older edition. The new cover looks quite a bit different I think.

It will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know, and it contains tons of great recipes to get you started! I've seen this available at Walmart in the late summer when they put out their canning supplies, but you can also pick it up online or get a copy from the library.

Another magnificent resource is this fine specimen:

I found a copy at Costco this week for only $12.99! I've been eying this one for awhile now and just had to pick it up. It is more of a recipe-book format, and although it does contain the basic information and instructions for the various types of canning methods, I thought the Blue Book was an easier guide to start with as a beginner.

I cannot wait to test out some of the recipes in this new (to me) book! There are certainly a lot of "gourmet" options that look very enticing!!

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
We went to the local farmer's market this weekend and were able to pick up a few things from a local farmer. It was towards closing time for the market, and he had a HUGE box of dried corn cobs leftover. I asked what they were for, and he said they were for popcorn! We bought cucumbers and potatoes, and he threw in some popcorn cobs for our two kids for free. We went home and made homemade microwave popcorn and were very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make and how good it tasted.

Here's what you'll need:

- paper lunch sack
- stapler (trust me on this one)
- popcorn cob OR 1/4 cup loose popcorn
- butter or olive oil (2 tsp if using loose popcorn)
- salt

If using a popcorn cob, slather it with butter just like you would an ear of corn on the cob. Place buttered cob in sack.

If using loose popcorn, add popcorn and butter or olive oil to sack and shake to coat.

Fold sack over at top and staple (once or twice). STAPLES WILL NOT HARM YOUR MICROWAVE. No sparks involved folks - I promise.

Place sack in microwave and set timer for 2-3 minutes. Listen as corn pops, and pull the sack out when kernal pops begin to slow down (several seconds between pops). (I pulled mine out at about 1 minute 50 seconds, and it was a tiny tiny bit burnt.) Trust me, you do not want to let the popcorn go too long or it will burn, and NO ONE likes burnt popcorn (plus it takes weeks to get the smell out of your house)...

Remove sack from microwave, open carefully, add salt and shake to coat.

You can also add other seasonings if you like (seasoned salt, garlic salt, cajun spice mix, etc.).

Pour popcorn into a serving bowl or enjoy it right out of the sack!

It's Pickling Time!

Monday, August 8, 2011
Here's what I worked on this weekend:

They must not have turned out too bad because two entire jars are already gone (I made them Saturday night). :)

I had hoped to be able to use some of the pickling cucumbers from my little plant outside, but we had some really strong windstorms a month or so ago, and both of my cucumber plants were damaged. I lost 2/3 of the big bush plant when the stalks snapped just above the ground on two of the three main vines. GRRR!!! The remaining stalk has produced two pickles...and one was picked a bit too early by an overly enthusiatic helper who was all too excited to show mommy what she found growing in the "garden". Ha ha!

Apparently I'm not the only one who had problems with pickling cucumbers this year. We have a family-run farm a mile or two down the road, and they have a farmstand open every day where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables that have just been picked. I went in on Saturday to get some corn and squash and asked them about their pickling cucumbers, but they said they have been so popular this year that there is a wait list of 3 weeks to get a small box worth! Apparently a lot of people experience problems with them in their gardens this year. So, I had to use regular cucmbers, (and also tried out a seedless Japanese variety), but that's okay because they turned out just fine.

I also canned 9 jars of strawberry jam on Friday night, but forgot to take a picture before they were taken downstairs on Saturday to be put away...

A thousand apologies...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I am still here, folks. Barely.

I apologize profusely for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. I have been battling some health issues and two severe colds almost back to back.

Plus I think I have a bit of writer's block. For some reason I just can't seem to find inspiration for interesting posts. Any suggestions?