Monday, April 26, 2010

Operation Closet I

Yesterday I decided to start organizing my closet.
I normally put the summer clothes away in the fall and take out the winter stuff, and vice versa in spring, but last year I didn't do it.
My closet is not all that big, so it's a HUGE mess.

Step 1:
Empty out the closet and cull what I haven't worn in at least one season.
Project Closet
I only managed to do the shelves yesterday. All the "hanging" clothes are still up there.
It seems I wear a lot of t-shirts...
I also had to put the clothes back in the closet before I was ready last night because I needed the bed to sleep on.
The donate pile is already pretty large.
Project Closet
Today I'm hoping to get some closet organizing tools and tackle the hangers.
Stay tuned.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

(Not) Blowing in the Wind

If there's no wind, how do they decide which direction it's blowing?
North at 0 mph?
Just wondering.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Are those coupons worth it?

Yesterday I spent 30 minutes clipping coupons and printing out lists from The Grocery Game.

I went to the grocery store with my coupons and list in hand.
I spent more than an hour buying $70 worth of groceries. My grocery store has all these "Buy five or more and get a really good price" specials which, combined with coupons, could add up to great savings, but are a real pain to figure out. A REAL pain. Because it's mix and match. You can buy 3 of this and 2 of that and get the discount, or 5 of one thing, or...
You get the idea.

And then, because I was tired and stressed, I bought this:
Not on the list and not on sale.

Then I got home and discovered that I had NOT bought five of the correct item combo; or bought an item which was not eligibe for that discount, etc.
Now even more disillusioned, I ate the above item. I have stuff to return AND I have to exercise an hour more to burn off those calories.

Here are the savings:
ItemQtyOriginal PriceFinal PriceSavings
Duncan Hines Brownie Mix1$2.39$1$1.39
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters1$3.99$1$2.99
Nature Valley Granola Bars4$3.99$1.30$10.76
Fiber One Cereal1$4.99$1.75$3.24
Cascade 2 in 1 Dishwasher Detergent1$5.99$3.49$2.50
Seven Up Soda4$2.19$0.85$5.35
18 large eggs1$2.59$1.88$0.71
Total Savings:$26.94

Worth it? What do you think?
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Fever

It's finally Spring in Seattle. Time to get my winter butt off the couch.

On Friday I started the Couch to 5K running program.
It guides you from couch potato (or, in my case, office chair potato) to being able to run a 5K in nine weeks. I've done it before, so I can attest to its success.
Running Shoes
If all goes well I should be able to run a 5K in June!
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Is this a sign...

...or is it spam?
I'm going shopping anyway.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

Yum, yum, yum!
These are not diet or budget friendly but, oh my!  So good!
Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
(Recipe by the Barefoot Contessa in House Beautiful Magazine)
Makes 4 tarts

3 tbs good olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 c thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tbs white wine
2 tsp minced fresh time, plus sprigs for garnish
1 package (17.3oz) puff pastry sheets, thawed overnight in the refigerator. Use cold.
4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz garlic & herb Montrachet goat cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4"-thick) slices
3 tbs julienned basil leaves
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan (or two - see notes) with parchment paper.
  2. Heat 3 tbs oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet.
  3. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  4. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11" x 11" (see notes) square. Using a circular object as a guide, cut two 6" circles from each sheet of puff pastry.
  5. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, score a circle 1/2" inside the edge of each pastry. Prick the pastries all over with the tines of a fork and place them on the sheet pan.
  6. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
  7. Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edges.
  8. Crumble 1 oz of goat cheese on top of the onions.
  9. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart.
  10. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper.
  11. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. If the pastry is warm, chill for 15 minutes.
  12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
  13. Garnish each with a sprig of thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.
Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
  1. Four pastries will not fit on one sheet pan - at least not the ones I have. I used two, and I have two ovens, so it worked out just fine. If you have a convection oven, you can put two sheet pans in there with no problem. If you don't, you may have to bake two at a time, and keep the others in the fridge until you're ready to put them in the oven. Or buy a large sheet pan, which I think I'm going to do anyway.
  2. I did not garnish these with sprigs of thyme, but if you're making them for guests you can.
  3. Remember to take the pastry out the night before.
  4. Parmesan cheese off the shelf next to the pasta is NOT grated Parmesan cheese. You need to find it in the deli, next to the other cheese.
  5. Don't skimp on the cooking of the onions. They are the most important part of this dish, in my opinion, and need to be sweet and yummy.
  6. I couldn't find Montrachet goat cheese and used another brand, so I think as long as it's garlic & herb it'll be just fine.
  7. You can buy Parmesan cheese already shaved.
  8. An 11" x 11" square will not cut into two 6" rounds (duh!) so I cut one and then pressed some of the cut-off pastry onto the remaining bit to make it big enough.
  9. You HAVE to score the pastry border and keep the toppings inside of it if you want a puffy look.
  10. I did not drizzle extra olive oil over the tomatoes or the top of the tarts. Puff pastry is fatty enough already, thank you.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Coupon Clipping Time

Every so often the need to save money pops to the forefront and I start clipping coupons, because groceries are one of the easiest places to trim the fat, so to speak.
After a while it gets a little old, so I tend not to stick with it.
But this time I will.
I think.
First off:
I would not be clipping coupons at all if it wasn't for the Grocery Game web site. (I'm not affiliated with them at all.  This is just my personal experience.)
Time is of the essence to me and I don't have time to walk up and down the aisles matching my coupons to products and then still not knowing if it's a good deal or not.
The Grocery Game gives me a customizable list of all items on sale at my local grocery store and tells me which coupons to use and whether the final price is a good one.

I have a whole bunch of "rules" for clipping coupons, but I'll save that for another post.
My coupon organizer:
Coupon organizer
As you can see, the coupons are organized in categories.
I also have my phone number in there because I've left more than one of these in shopping carts in the store parking lot.
Coupon organizer
This time around I want to see if my Grocery Game ($2.50 a week) and Sunday paper (about 50c a week, I think) subscriptions are worth it.

Here are today's savings:
10 x cans of diced tomatoes - regular price $1 - coupon price 50c - savings $5
10 x 6oz containers of Yoplait yogurt - regular price 79c - coupon price 40c - savings $3.90
3  x Axe Shower Gel - regular price $5.49 - coupon price $2.67 - savings $8.46
Total savings: $17.36

There was more, but these were the most quantifiable items.
Please note that these are items I buy regularly anyway.  My teenager has expensive taste in yogurt and shower gel.

Bottom line:  Definitely worth it

(It does take about 20-30 minutes a week to clip coupons and customize your list, and about 15 minutes extra in the grocery store making sure you have everything you wanted to get.)
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I've been neglecting this little blog terribly. Things have been a little crazy in the nest...
...but I'm hoping to get back to it soon.

Happy Easter!
Easter 2010
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