Friday, March 20, 2009

All things Asparagus

Can you believe that I never had asparagus before I was married? I just never bought it at the store being a single lady. I would look at the tall green stalks and move on to the lettuce. Asparagus scared me. I didn't know how to cook it and it seemed like too big of a pain. In that line of thinking and with it being on sale lately, I thought I would share my love of all things asparagus.

About Asparagus:

- Asparagus is one of nature's true food heroes as a source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

- Asparagus is one of nature's true food heroes as a source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

When choosing asparagus

-Wait till its on sale. Most stores have it on sale every other week or so. It can be quite expensive so look at the ads.

-A bunch can give my family of four a side dish for 2 dinners.

-The spears of asparagus should be straight and green, the stems should be shiny, plump, and smooth without blemishes and the bunches should be compact.

Storing Asparagus

- Asparagus may be stored for longer periods of time simply by placing bundled stalks upright in a bowl or dish with and inch of water (or just enough to keep the stalks moist).

-Is to wrap the cut ends of Asparagus in a moist paper towel. To trim the fresh asparagus about cut about a 1/4 inch at the stem and wash in warm water several times. Pat dry and place in moisture-proof wrapping like plastic wrap. Cover Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality.

-To maintain freshness, wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water. You can also use Tupperware’s freshness saver products in your refrigerator.

Cooking the little suckers

I am going to include a link to every possible way to cook the little green suckers here. I , however, wanted to share how my husband fixes it. Its how I became addicted to the stuff. Its delicious quick and easy. Try it one time and you will be hooked too!

Grilled Asparagus

You want to wash and trim the ends of the stalks that appear whitish. ( I also take the potato peeler to the very ends that can be tough but by no means do you have to )

You then place the asparagus on a large plate and drizzle olive oil on the stalks. Then sprinkle some kosher salt on the stalks.

Place the stalks on the grill along with your meat. ( DO NOT PLACE on the grill until the last 5 minutes of the meat cooking. It does not take very long at all to cook!!! ) You want to cook the stalks until its tender crisp. You don't want it mushy or hard as a brick.

So if you haven't tried it, I hope you do. I am not paid by the National asparagus association or anything..... is there such a thing? If so e-mail me :)

Sweeping in the Dark

I always try to clean my house on Fridays. I know its crazy. My mom did it and it drove me absolutely mad. Why clean house before a weekend of activity where its sure to get trashed. I guess I like that my house is all sparkly and clean before the week begins and its one thing I can cross off my list!

This particular Friday I was trying to do as much as I could while my babies were sleeping. My daughter is a very light sleeper and if I breath too loud, she wakes up. I decided to save sweeping for nap time since its quiet.

So there I was in my dark hallway sweeping away while squinting trying to be thorough and quiet at the same time. It was during this time that I really felt like God was teaching me a valuable lesson.

Here I was sweeping in the dark! I could see enough to sweep but not enough to fully see the dirt that I needed to get. How efficient was that? I gave myself a mental head slap as someone bigger than myself showed me an important lesson.

How often do I want God and others to do the same thing? I want my life to be fixed, perfect and happy without being exposed. I do not want my ugliness, selfishness or "issues" out there for anyone to see! But how in the world am I supposed to work of these things without them being revealed fully? How can the one who loves me, help me without shedding light on the situation? I want to be swept in the dark.

Much to my dismay I realize that sweeping in the dark only leads to big dirt piles left in spots that cannot be seen. So this morning, I am straying from my usual humor. I guess you can say that I will look at adversity a little differently. It may just be an opportunity to see where my dirt piles are. I hope God has a huge Swiffer :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Livin in LA-LA Land!!!

I happened to catch a talk show a couple weeks ago. I normally am the road runner so middle of the day talk shows are all but a luxury if I don't DVR them. What I saw absolutely shocked me. I must confess, the shock melted quickly into a mixture of disbelief and anger.

Said talk show host was sending a man to random people doors and offering to organize a room for them. Ok... all good so far. I like that. I am big into organization (except my basement and pantry of course, because where else would I put all the junk?) Anywho, this guy was pulling up to peoples apartments along with 8 VW bugs filled with organization tools. Whatever, I'm still good. I have nothing against bugs that don't have multiple legs.

Then comes the clincher. They go into these peoples homes and organize them. They bring the people back in 4 hours later and wah lah. They have pimped ( yes I used the work pimped) out these rooms. Totally have added shelving systems, new furniture and chandeliers. Yes sister, you heard me right, chandeliers. All while smiling at the camera trying to convince us that we too can have all of this.

Ok........ let me break this down. The fact that this daytime host offered this service to random people was a great and lovely gesture. But don't tell the American public that we too can have all of this too. Have you seen the news? Have you seen what is happening in this world? Most people do not have $2000 to spend on closet organization. I am guessing that the majority of my friends would not spend $500 on a Pottery Barn chandelier to "spice up a room". Are you living in la-la land? Hellloooooooooooo...........

Let me tell you what I want to see from this daytime host. I want to see them knock on peoples doors offering to organize a room. Then I want them to use items from Odd Lots, the Dollar Store and Wal-mart to do real life organization that won't break the bank to achieve. I have done it. I know it can be done and can be done in lovely way. $4 colored bins adorn my hall closet. Each one is labeled and color coded for each member of my family. In that bin is everything for that person that they would need for outside. Simple, clean and under $20. Why do I need a fancy shelving system for $200??

What would have been really interesting is if they showed us how to organize closets and whole rooms for under $50. Great ideas do not have to have to be expensive. A glue gun and creativity can sometimes transform a room. I know that a lazy susan transformed underneath my bathroom sink!

So there is my rant for the day. I think that this talk show host is so rich that "reasonable" to her is outrageous to most of us.

Can I get a amen?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Giant Eagle Bargain meal of the week- Sour cream pork chops

Bargain Meal of the Week

Giant Eagle has pork chops on sale this week for $1.99. My family loves pork so I am always looking for new ways to fix it! This recipe is supposed to be awesome!!! Happy Eating!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Giant Eagle. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Sour Cream Pork Chops

6 pork chops (On sale for $1.99 a lb) $2
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick .50
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream (Heluva Good Sour Cream on sale and w/c .50) .25

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then dredge in 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chops in a small amount of oil.

Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water and pour over chops. Cover, and cook on Low 7 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).

After the chops have cooked, transfer chops to the oven to keep warm. Be careful, the chops are so tender they will fall apart. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons flour with the sour cream; mix into meat juices. Turn slow cooker to High for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Total cost of this meal: $2.75

Add Pierogies ( Mrs. T's on sale and w/c .67) $3.42

Add Pierogies and asparagus (On sale for 2.99) $4.92

Click on the image to go find more Bargain Meal of the Week!

Kroger Bargain Recipe of the week- Cheeseburger Quiche!!

Bargain Meal of the Week

This week I didn't see any huge meat sales so I had a tough time coming up with a recipe. I did however find this one and I am excited to try it! I am hoping that the eggs and beef will get some protein in my fussy eaters!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Kroger. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Cheeseburger Quiche

3/4 pound ground beef (Ground Angus on sale 2.99 a lb) $2.25
1 medium onion, chopped (3 lb bag on sale 1.97) .28
1/3 cup chopped green pepper .75 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup evaporated milk .99
2 eggs, beaten (On sale $1) .16
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (Sargento ale w/c 1.99) 1.50 1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell $1

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the flour, seasonings, milk, eggs and cheese. Transfer to pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Total price of meal: $6.93

Add salad ( Dole on sale $1.47) Total cost of meal: $7.67

Add salad and hot french bread ( B1G1 On sale for 1.99) Total cost of meal: $8.17

Click on the image to go find more Bargain Meal of the Week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No posts on Monday... and a confession.

I was MIA on Monday. I didn't post my menu plan or my bargain recipes. I promise to be back to my schedule today but wanted to let you know why I was missing in action on Monday........

I was asked by a local reporter to help with a story about how coupons and store sales save your family money. (If you haven't checked out Cara Connelly on 10 TV in Columbus, you must do so. She is a delightful young lady who knows what she is doing!!) So on Monday I was at my local Kroger doing my routine grocery shopping. Except I was being followed by a news reporter, cameraman and two Kroger reps. ( Talk about pressure!!! )

The whole thing was a blur really. I got home and felt like I was going to look a little like the Joker. You know goofy grin, alot of uh-huh's and my nervous habit of pushing my hair behind my ears. I am just praying that the power of editing does its magic and no ex boyfriends are watching.

The reason I agreed to do the piece is because I really do use my coupon and store ads and I really do save a ton of money each week. I went from never using a coupon in my life to saving $40 - $100 a week.

I really did my grocery shopping. I bought nothing that I normally would not buy. And I was thanking God that my I saved $86!!! ( Can you imagine if I was having a off week and saved, oh I don't know, $5 ?? ) I would have crawled under the register and refused to come out. God is good though because I came in under budget at $79 and got 7 dinners, breakfast, make-up and personal items.

So now its confession time. I live a double life.... well not really but that sounds so much more dramatic and exciting!

When I started this blog I was not sure how it was going to go. I choose to use a alias name of Susan. I was on a public blog and anyone could read what I was writing and .... well the world is scary and there are scary people out there. (If you are a scary- stalker- freaky freak please stop reading immediately and move to the next blog.) Since the newscast is going to reveal my real name I thought I would save alot of confusion and just introduce myself.

My real name is Summer. All the other facts remain the same. I have 2 lovely children and my wonderful saint of a husband is a fireman who looks awesome in uniform. :)

Nice to meet you!

Meijer recipe of the week... Honey-Garlic Pork ribs!

Bargain Meal of the Week

Meijer has Pork ribs on sale this week for .99 !! You know how I love good deals so this is the perfect recipe for this week. Hope you enjoy!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Meijer. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Honey-Garlic Pork Ribs

4 pounds pork spareribs (On sale .99 a lb ) $4
1 cup honey
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard

Cut ribs into serving-size pieces; place in a large resealable plastic bag. Combine remaining ingredients; pour half the marinade over the ribs. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain and discard marinade from ribs. Place ribs on a rack in a greased shallow baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Drain. Pour reserved marinade over ribs. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until meat is tender, brushing occasionally with pan juices.

Total cost of this meal: $4.00

Add Dole salad ( On sale $1) Total cost of meal : $4.50

Add salad and buttery corn ( Green Giant on sale $1) Total cost of meal: $ 5.00

Add salad, corn and Rolls (Meijer brown and serve on sale for $1) $5.50

Click on the image to go find more Bargain Meal of the Week!

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday!

Happy St. Patricks day!!! In celebration I am posting a recipe for corned beef and cabbage. Hope you enjoy... oh and make sure to wear green!!!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

4 ounces baby carrots

1 corned beef (3 lbs) with seasoning packet

1 quart (4 cups) water

1/3 cup prepared mustard

1/3 cup honey

Place cabbage in slow cooker. Top with carrots.

Place seasoning packet on top of veggies. Place corned beef, fat side up, over seasoning packet and vegetables. Add water. Cover, and cook on low 10 hours.

Discard seasoning packet. Just before serving, combine mustard and honey in small bowl, if desired. Use as dipping sauce.

For more tempting recipes visit Blessed with Grace!