Shopping, Great Prices and Shopping Tips

Just got back from a marathon shopping trip (left the house around 10:30 a.m. and got home around noon) – let’s see: ACO (Mountain Dew 4/$5, Kleenex big boxes 4/$5), Gordon Foods, Fresh Food Depot (great canned goods prices Libby canned veggies corn/peas/gr. beans 88 cents ea, turkey gravy 99 cents & chicken broth 99 cents – all major name brands) then KMart for twin bed comforters $17.99 each! I realized the other day that the comforters that the boys have on their beds are the same ones we bought a good 12 years ago, when we bought the bunk beds!  Happy with all my purchases (also got middle son a small desk/table lamp and some deep ceramic cereal bowls, plus toothpaste & bar bath soap – he’ll need them when he moves). It always makes me feel good when I can purchase items we would normally use and get them at great prices.  Was just watching several short videos on Yahoo Financial Facts which said that, due to this summer’s drought our food prices would be higher very soon (but then, you knew that already, right?). One thing they suggested is: if you’ve got the money- buy your Thanksgiving AND CHRISTMAS turkey NOW – the prices will be going up. They said that prices for an average family of 10, last year, was $49.20 for a holiday meal and this year it will go up by approximately $10 for that same meal, $59.04. I always try to buy two turkeys before Thanksgiving simply because the price is right! They mentioned that Kroger will be featuring really great frozen turkey prices very soon, something to watch for, for sure! They mentioned fruit prices will be going up, hence your holiday desserts will cost more; their suggestion: buy pumpkin and they are a dry weather ‘fruit’ which wasn’t affected by the drought. Right now there’s a big pork roast & carrots (with cranberry sauce) in the crockpot. Dinner will be the roast, carrots, baked potatoes & tossed salad – YUM! Got a great deal on spareribs, too – another crockpot special we like here. Let’s see if I can ‘copy & paste’ the two videos I mentioned above:

The first one is about what are the best days to shop certain stores like KMart/Target/Penney’s etc:   Title: Secret Strategies Retailers Use

The second one is about the rising food prices, SAME SITE:  Title: Why Thanksgiving Will Cost You More


Meatballs in crockpot

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 heaped T. oatmeal
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
salt & pepper

(flour – for coating, oil
for browning)

Mix ingredients together; shape
into 12 balls. Coat balls in flour,
brown in hot oil in skillet, then
transfer to crockpot.

Sauce for Meatballs:

3 medium leeks, washed &
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes

Stir-fry leeks, garlic & green
pepper in pan used for meatballs.
Add tomatoes, bring to boil. Pour
sauce over meatballs in crockpot,
cook on High 3 hours.

(recipe: Linda-slowcooker digest)

Quesadilla Pizzas

8 (6 in) fajita-style flour tortillas,
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 T. cooking (or olive) oil
1/2 C. pizza sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 C. refried beans, warmed
1/4 C. diced green chiles
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 C. (1 oz) shredded Monterrey
Jack cheese
1/4 C. sliced ripe olives

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Place 4 tortillas on baking sheet;
sprinkle with Cheddar cheese
evenly, top with remaining
tortillas. Brush lightly with oil;
bake 4 minutes. Combine pizza
sauce & cumin in a small bowl.
Spread on tortillas, spoon beans
evenly over sauce, sprinkle with
chiles, green onions, Monterrey
Jack cheese & olives. Bake 3 minutes
or until cheese is melted; cut
into wedges. Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe

7-Layer Cookie Bars

1/4 lb. butter
1 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 C. coconut
1 (6 oz) pkg. chocolate chips
1 (6 oz) pkg. butterscotch chips
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix butter & cracker crumbs; press in

9 x 13 pan. Pour in both chips, spread
around & top with coconut. Top with
chopped nuts then pour Eagle Brand
milk over entire mixture. Bake 30
minutes or until golden brown.

(recipe: Rhonda G – Marys Recipe

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves 2 C. (12 oz bag) milk chocolate chips (NOT
nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with spray or line with
parchment paper. Beat butter until smooth, using
elec. mixer. Beat in sugars, a little at a time, until
mixture is light & fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time,
then mix in vanilla & pumpkin puree. In large
bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon,
ginger, nutmeg & cloves. Slowly beat flour mixture
into batter, in thirds. Stir in chips. Scoop cookie
dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared
cookie sheets. Bake 15-20 minutes or until
cookies are browned around edges. Remove
cookie sheets from oven, let rest 2 minutes.
Take cookies off with spatula, cook on wire racks
Makes approx. 60 cookies.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

4 slices bacon, chopped
3 T. balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1 butternut squash, peeled, cut into
3/4-inch cubes (about 3 C.)
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 red peppers, quartered
1 onion, cut into 6 wedges

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp.
Remove from skillet, reserving 2 T.
drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on
paper towels. Pour drippings into large
bowl; add dressing, mustard & sugar;
mix well. Reserve 1 T. dressing mixture;

set aside. Toss vegetables with remaining
dressing mixture; spread onto rimmed
baking sheet sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 30 minutes or until
vegetables are tender, turning after
15 minutes. Spoon vegetables into bowl.
Add bacon & reserved dressing mixture;
mix lightly. Makes 8 servings (3/4 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

Salsa-Cheddar Chicken

2 T. Zesty Italian salad dressing
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large tomato, chopped
1 C. chunky salsa
1 C. shredded mild Cheddar cheese
2 C. hot, cooked long-grain brown rice

Heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add
chicken; cover. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or
until lightly browned. Remove from skillet, cover to
keep warm. Add peppers to skillet, cook 5 minutes,

stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes & salsa. Return
chicken to skillet; simmer, covered, on medium-low
heat 10 minutes or until done (165 degrees F.)
Top with cheese; cook, covered, 4-5 minutes or
until melted. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

NOTE: Can also add 1 (15 oz) drained can of corn or
black beans with the tomatoes & salsa.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Saucy Pepper Steak

1 each: red, green & yellow bell peppers,
cut into strips
1 small onion, cut into strips
1 lb. boneless, beef sirloin steak,
well trimmed, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 T. soy sauce
1/2 C. barbecue sauce
2 C. hot, cooked long-grain brown rice

Heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with
nonstick spray on medium-high heat. Add

peppers & onions; cook & stir 6-8 minutes
or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer
to large bowl; cover to keep warm.
Add meat, garlic & black pepper to skillet;
cook & stir 3 minutes. Add soy sauce; cook
1 minute or until meat is done. Stir in
barbecue sauce; cook 2-3 minutes or until
heated through. Spoon meat mixture into
bowl with vegetables; toss gently. Serve
over rice. Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Southwest Ranch Spread

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
1 packet ranch salad dressing mix
1 (10 oz) can mild Ro*tel tomatoes*
2 T. cilantro, diced fine
juice of half a lime (or 1 T.)

Process all ingredients in food processor
about 30 seconds or until smooth. Makes
about 2 1/2 C.

*can use hotter Ro*tel, if desired.
Serve with crackers, fresh veggies or chips

(recipe: Lou-RDJ 09/14/12)

Crockpot Sweet Potatoes

5-6 medium sized sweet potatoes

Wash potatoes well but don’t dry.
Place on bottom of crockpot, cover &
turn on Low. Cook 6-7 hours or until
tender. Serve with butter & salt.


Fried Apples

1-2 T. butter
3-4 apples, cored & sliced (skin on or off,
your preference)
1/3 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
– Melt butter in medium frying pan. Add sliced
apples, brown sugar & cinnamon. Simmer over
medium low heat until bubbly. Continue cooking
for about 10-20 minutes (depending on how
thick you cut your apples) until apples are tender.

NOTE: If you want more syrup with apples, increase
butter & brown sugar.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

How’s your weather holding up? It’s been clear here the past two days – still in the mid 40’s and a bit breezy, but not bad for November.


On to a subject I don’t usually mention: Health. This past week has seen me become much more aware of just how blessed I have been with my ‘cancer’. I have learned that two very lovely ladies I know well both are struggling with cancer – not the ‘easy’ kind I had, but for one of them the diagnosis is she has 3-6 months left. What an awful blow! This lady is awesome – mother of one of my special needs kids, pillar of her family and anyone she comes in contact with; you need something done? She’ll be there – with bells on and out-work almost anyone there, young or old. I love her dearly and it truly grieves me to know that part of the entire problem is: she didn’t take care of HER health. She’s like many of us who look after OTHERS before ourselves. She knew she should go to the doctor after experiencing constant diarrhea, but she put it off. When she finally went, she had colon cancer. Surgery, chemo, radiation – done. Not more than 4 months later a check up found that it had metastisized to her liver – 3 spots there. Operable – yes; great! Last week they called her in to do more blood work & tests (before any surgery) – the tumors have doubled in size and number – no surgery and now it’s also in the lining of her stomach, hence the 3-6 month diagnosis. The reason for this writing: PLEASE, I’m BEGGING YOU, if you know you have something in your body that ‘just isn’t right’ OR you’re due to go for a check up of some sort (ESPECIALLY Mammograms/Colonoscopies) GET IT DONE IMMEDIATELY! Who knows what ‘might have been’ for my friend, if only she’d gone to the doctor much sooner.  It’s almost the same story for my other friend – waited to see doctor about a unhealing sore on her chest, near her shoulder. At the moment I don’t have an exact diagnosis for her, but I know that they were telling her that her mammogram wasn’t good. VERY SCARY stuff!  I was truly blessed to have gone through cancer surgery twice and come out on the other side, rejoicing. Who knows what’s in my future, but I’m certain that I can spread the news that you REALLY need to keep up with your own health. Caregivers/family members, those who look after others – NEED to look after themselves FIRST. I truly care for all of you (even though many of you I’ll never meet face-to-face). Cancer is a very scary disease – and the best prevention is EARLY DETECTION! I KNOW!

Enough of my soapbox for now. Hope you have an easy-going weekend; stay warm, rest when you can and treat yourself a little today!




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