shopping

All posts tagged shopping

AAY: Free Shipping Weekend!

Published March 4, 2017 by lynn k scott

It’s time to walk on the wild side, if you dare, with this Zebra print vase filled with goodies.

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How cute would this be to order and treat yourself or a friend?  I like having a small assortment of gifts on hand.  We are always be invited to a birthday, wedding, housewarming, etc.  If I pre-buy gifts, when money is tight, I don’t have to worry about getting a gift I can’t afford at the moment.

Zebras don’t tickle your fancy?  Are you more the out of this world adventurer?  Well then, get ready to blast off and you’ll be all set with these bags!

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This weekend, all orders that $35.00 or more will get FREE shipping:  no code required!  Good through March 5, 2017, 10:00 p.m. Central time.

Feel free to browse the website for these adorable items and so much more!

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A Week’s Meal Plan

Published July 19, 2016 by lynn k scott

I am a working mother, wife, and an all around domestic goddess.  Ok, that last title is normally reserved for the weekend routine, but hey, I like the way it sounds, and quite frankly, I rock that title!

Being the only cook in the family, I am the one to come up with dinner ideas, making sure they are gluten-free and that my family, who are just a tad stuck in their dinner ways, will actually consume what is made.

I popped into the grocery store last night after work.  Ok, so I drove there and walked in, but “popped” sounds so much cuter, not to mention fun.  I wasn’t planning on spending much, and only went a tad over what I anticipated (go me!).

My daughter was with me, and as we were walking up and down the aisles, she said, “hey Mom…how about breakfast for dinner”.  Seeing as I would be starting dinner around 6:00 p.m., I thought that was a great idea.  So we had eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and toast.  Easy-peasy and I could crash early, seeing how I started my day at 3:00 a.m.

Then I caught a few sales and decided to buy the rest of the week’s meals

  • Monday:  Eggs and Bacon
  • Tuesday:  Tacos and Spanish Rice
  • Wednesday:  Grilled Pork Chops and Baked Potatoes with sauteed green beans and carrots
  • Thursday:  Baked chicken wings; half will be coated in wing sauce.  Served with rice.
  • Friday:  Grilled Tri-Tip and Scalloped Potatoes and corn on the cob.

Now all of these meals are homemade.  I don’t buy premade dishes, for the most part, esp. not at dinner.  As we will be home before 5 on Friday, I saved the longest prep dish for that day.  The homemade scalloped potatoes take a couple hours to prep and cook, but are so worth it.

It’s also nice to know how to plan different aspects my week, knowing how long dinner will take to make and clean up.  I am so pleased with myself, I need to make this a habit instead of a just picking a few meals for the week and winging the rest of the dinners we will need.

Never hurts to look

Published December 13, 2015 by lynn k scott

Everyone has a favorite kind of store.  I happen to love quality, kitchen-type stores:  Crate and Barrel, Macy’s (3rd floor), Williams-Sonoma, etc.

My favorite of these stores is Sur La Table.  It is my fantasy shop, my wishlist shop, my ‘I want this but can’t afford it’ shop.  However, several times a year, ok every other month or so, I get the opportunity to stroll around “my” shop.

While the pricing can be a bit high on certain items, Sur La Table does price-match.  They have a great return policy and the staff is incredibly helpful and engaging.  That might seem silly to some, but in today’s world where customer service is typically a phrase instead of a practice, I truly appreciate the effort the employees make.

Another fun part of perusing the aisles of Sur La Table, is the coffee section.  They have a variety of coffee, latte, espresso and cappuccino makers.  Ok, so you won’t find a Mr. Coffee pot or even a Keurig here, but the options that are available will make the true coffee lover think they’ve died and gone to Heaven.  From Nespresso to a Jura you can literally take your pick of high-end, barista-quality machines.

I had the pleasure of sampling coffee from the Jura J9.  They only go on sale once a year, around the holidays, and I have fallen in love.  I truly appreciate coffee.  While this machine is definitely not affordable on my pauper’s purse, at the moment, it’s something I would consider saving up for.  Yes, I love coffee that much and I can appreciate this machine just as any car enthusiast would appreciate their favorite vehicle “purring” as it idled and wanting to own it.

My favorite spot in the shop, which calls to my bargain-hunting, never pay retail mentality, is the clearance section.  You never know what is going to be on the two to three free standing racks in the back of the store.

I stumbled up on some ceramic measuring cups and spoons.  I thought they were divine.  The cups were $12.49 for four cups and the spoons were $9.99 for four spoons.  I thought the spoons were adorable, but couldn’t justify $10 for them.  The cups, I couldn’t put down.  I would pick them up, tell myself no, and set them down again.  After the third time, I knew I had to have them.  I am really working on limiting plastic cookware in the house and trying to use glass, ceramic and stoneware.

When I brought them to the register, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were marked down even further to $5.99.  Wait!  What?  Oh I had to go get another set at that price.  I ran back grabbed another set of measuring cups and then grabbed those delightful little measuring spoons too.  If the cups were on sale, then the matching spoons should be less than the current clearance sticker too, right?  YES!

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I managed to pick up two sets of measuring cups and the measuring spoons for a little over $18, including tax.  The original price tag was still on the spoons; they were $20!  I was elated at my little find in my favorite store.  It never hurts to look.

What’s your favorite store that just makes you all warm and fuzzy as you walk through the entrance?

 

Here chickie, chickie

Published March 23, 2015 by lynn k scott

This weekend I had an opportunity to stop by one of my favorite grocery stores:  Seafood City.  It’s not all seafood, but they do have a good selection of fresh seafood and meats.  Oh, I should probably mention it’s a Filipino store.  While I can’t do 100% of my shopping there, I do get to pick up on some staple items that I don’t always get at other stores.  I used to go there all the time before I moved, but now, I only go if I’m in the area.

One of my daughter’s favorite Filipino dishes is chicken adobo.  Depending on the province the family comes from, will depend on how the meal is prepared.  It’s a simple recipe:  chicken legs (or thighs, wings…you choose), soy sauce vinegar, bay leaves, fresh garlic and whole peppercorn.  I’ll make sure to leave the recipe before all is said and done.

I headed over to the meat counter to see what was available.  Remember, I always shop the sales.  I didn’t read the sale ticket correctly, because my husband had to point it out, when I overlooked the chicken legs.  I read, “50 cents off”.  The ticket actually read, “50 cents per pound”.  Wait!  Seriously?  In a time when meat prices are rising through the roof, there’s a store offering chicken for 50 cents per pound?  Sure enough, that was the price.  Their regular price was $1.39 per pound.  This chicken isn’t frozen either.  It’s cut up fresh and sold at the meat counter.

It was the first time in my life that I purchased 10 pounds of chicken in one trip.20150321_150917

I couldn’t help myself.  I mean at 50 cents a pound, that’s over half the price I normally spend.  If we are what we eat, I expect my family to start sprouting feathers soon.  We eat a lot of chicken because it’s the most affordable meat right now.  I also misread the ground pork sale tag, but didn’t realize that until I was at home.  I thought the ground pork was $2.99 per pound.  Turns out it was only $1.99 per pound.  I would have gotten more had I known.  I guess the chicken score threw me off my game.

I continued my shopping.  My daughter was elated that she would have her chicken adobo for dinner.  I needed a few more supplies though.  When I make adobo, there is no substitution for the Filipino soy sauce and vinegar I use.  It has to be these exact items or I just don’t make it.  I once tried a different vinegar and then again, a different soy sauce, not the same.  The reason for the variations, I had sent my husband to pick up the items.  That was before I sent him with a picture of what was needed.  I always use Silver Swan – Special soy sauce and then Datu Puti vinegar.  These were both on sale, so you know I had to scoop them up.

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We decided to get some pancit noodles.  Again, variety galore and preference when choosing noodles.  I prefer the bihon noodles.  These are thin, rice noodles (think rice angel hair pasta).  My husband on the other hand, prefers the canton noodles, which are an egg noodles and a lot thicker.  Thicker than spaghetti.  Pass.  As I am the only cook in the house, guess which noodles we picked up?  You got, the bihon noodles.  He wants canton?  Then he can go buy some from the Filipino restaurant when he’s at work.

Gather up some coconut milk, some carrots and a few other items and head to the register.  I just needed those items. Not related to the dishes I was preparing.  When all is said and done, I’m still in a state of shock over the chicken prices.  I told the hubby, I need to go back and get more.  It’s just too good a deal to pass up and it’s not like we won’t eat the chicken.

I headed back to the meat counter and ask for another 10 pounds of chicken legs.  They must think I’m throwing one hell of a party.  Now, if you’re keeping track, this family of 3, has just purchased 20+ pounds of chicken for $10.80.  Ok, so I would be wrapping and freezing chicken legs, but it’s a small inconvenience when savings like that are in play.

I made the adobo for dinner, using five pieces of chicken.  Then I set to wrapping and freezing the remaining chicken.  I put 6 legs in each package.  I ended up with 10 packages of chicken.  The math on 11 meals is 98 cents per meal. There’s only one thing that can be said; SCORE!!!20150321_201904

I didn’t forget about the chicken adobo recipe.  This is how we make it.  Again, there are many, many, many version of this dish.  Just depends where the family originates from in the Philippines as to how it’s made.

Ingredients:

Chicken legs (thighs, drumettes, wings)
1 Cup Silver Swan Special Soy Sauce
1 Cup Datu Puti Vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. Whole Peppercorn
3 Garlic Cloves – smashed
1-2 Bay Leaves

Directions:
Marinate the chicken in the above ingredients, minus the bay leaves, for several hours or over night. (This step is optional).

Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, cover at an angel to allow some steam to escape. Cook for 45 -60 minutes. Serve over steamed rice.

Note: Cooking time may vary if you choose to use a different cut of chicken. Adjust accordingly.

Onward to Pier 39

Published March 9, 2015 by lynn k scott

If you’ve been following along, this is the third installment of my trip in San Francisco yesterday, March 8, 2015.  There will actually be a fourth segment, but it won’t necessarily be tied to this particular trilogy of posts.  I realized I took so many pictures, there’s another post in the works but will still take time to cultivate before I can share it with you.

So far, we’ve made it from celebrating Chinese New Year’s in Chinatown, we’ve driven toward the Wharf and found underground parking for $15 for the day and we’ve commenced walking and are almost upon Pier 39.  Let’s continue the journey, shall we?

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We visited the back of the Pier first, where we were able to get a better view of the seals.   There aren’t quite as many pier seals as there used to be.  They tend to hang out in the winter, some take off for a bit, and some linger.  Over the years, there numbers have dropped quite a bit.  The docks used to be completely full.

             

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From this vantage point (picture on the left), you can see a the tourists across the way trying to see the seals.  Please excuse my photography skills,  Technology and I fight often.  Between my Note 3 phone and my old point and click camera, we had some technical difficulties.  Either way, I prefer viewing the seals without pretending to be a fish crammed into a tourist sardine can.  The picture on the right is an upstairs view from Pier 39.

Then there are the seagulls.  When I snapped this quick picture, my husband asked, “are you REALLY taking a picture of the bird?  I had to laugh.  Even the tourists laughed.  Like I mentioned previously, what I won’t do for my writing.  So, if you’ve never seen a seagull, say outside of watching “The Little Mermaid”, here you go.

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What semi-guided tour would this be if I didn’t slip in a mention of Alcatraz Island?

Tours sell out quickly, so you’ll want to book well in advance of your visit.  I actually worked a private catering gig on “The Rock” many years ago.

                                  It was amazing, esp. for a history buff like me.  What a memory!

Last picture before heading onto the Pier. This gives you a great glimpse into how San Francisco is “layered”.  Love the American flag waiving in the breeze.  Great shot of Coit Tower (center) and then the TransAmerica Pyramid, which is the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco.

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Ok, we made it.  We’re on the famous, Pier 39.  This pier has a bit of everything.  As one tourist remarked, “it smells like fish” (in a shocked voice).  It took all my collective being not to embrace my NY-side and turn around to say “DUH!”.  I mean really, you’re right on the water.  The majority of restaurants surrounding the area, are ummmm, SEAFOOD restaurants.  That’s like walking into Ghirardelli and saying you smell chocolate.  Sorry, cracks me up what they say sometimes.  Sorry..back to embracing my California side…back to the tour….

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These three sights are pretty much what you would see as you headed onto Pier 39, from your left, center and right views. The Aquarium isn’t too bad.  Much to the disappointment of most, you won’t see huge sharks in the Aquarium.  Kids really seem to like it and there are two levels (I think).  I know there are at least two.  It’s been a few years since I went on the tour.

Note, if you have to go to the bathroom, there are restrooms to your right after you walk under the Bubba Gump Shrimp sign.  Those are always PACKED!  Walk upstairs and toward the back and there are more restrooms there.  They too get busy, but not like the one in the very beginning.

100_0423I love this shop.  Being Irish, it’s fun to indulge my Leprechaun belief but also see things that remind me of why I love being Irish.  When we took my son here, he found his sister’s Celtic Zodiac sign.  He actually turned that into a tattoo, which is in his bicep, so he can keep his little sister with him no matter where the Army sends him.

Just across the way from this shop is my all-time favorite shop on the Pier:  Enlightenment.  They have a lot of Asian art, clothing, sayings, signs, incense, trinkets; you name it.  I am working on buying a couple paintings from them.

  100_0424              2015-03-08 15.28.43This is one of the paintings I am currently looking at.

Last stop on this “tour” is the carousel toward the end of the Pier.  In all these years, I’ve never written it.  Never fear, there are jewelry, fudge, clothing, chocolate, crepe, pet and fairy shops for your buying pleasure.  There is a plethora of snack shacks and restaurants to provide a light snack to a satisfying meal.  If you’re a people watcher, this is the place to be.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my seeing San Francisco, from the view of a non-native, who calls N. California her home.

Thank you for tagging along.

Until next time….

That’s the Bulk of it

Published March 6, 2015 by lynn k scott

I can’t believe as much as I am into cooking and living in the kitchen (or so it feels like), I don’t have a category for food and/or recipes.  Well, this post will take care of that.

It occurred to me when I did the post on being frugal, I left off one of my favorite ways to save at the grocery store:  the bulk bins! Not all stores have bulk bins, but those that do, it’s a great cost saver.

bulk bins

Winco bulk bins – Google search

Here’s why bulk bins are in.

  • You buy what you’ll use.  The picture shows spices and herbs in bulk containers.  Most recipes call for a couple teaspoons or tablespoons at a time.  Why have so much left over?  Not necessary.
  • You don’t buy a new jar/bottle each time.  If you cook at all, I’m sure you have a bottle for parsley, dill, onion powder, etc. already at home.  I bought dill last week from the bulk bin.  When I got it home, I put it in my existing dill jar.
  • Cost:  Buy a McCormick’s brand bottle of dill and you’ll easily spend $4.00+ for the same thing.  Even buying store brand will cost you over $2.00.  No sense in paying for advertising and jar costs.  I think I put in 5 spoonfuls and it cost me under $0.50.
  • Freshness:   Why store a spice by the bag or jar for months, esp. one you don’t use much.  Buy a bit here and there.  The store is constantly cycling out product as people use them.
  • Specialty items:  One item I need to use on occasion is Xanthan Gum.  It’s used in gluten-free cooking.  Now, there are premade flour blends that have the Xanthan gum in them.  It’s really quite convenient.  My only complaint is for 14 oz. of the flour blend, I have to pay $11.00.  Now, when I use the bulk bins for a gluten-free flour mixture, I can also pick up a couple of tablespoons of the Xanthan Gum.  I spend a lot less for the same type of flour and I combine them myself.  This specialty item, the Xanthan Gum, is over $18.00 per pound.  I don’t need to spend all of that at once.  I’d much rather spend $3.00 than $18.00 for the same item and use what I need.
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Winco bulk bins – Google search

  • Variety:  Perhaps you need a cup of this and a half a cup of that.  Did you really want to pay for two separate items, pre-packaged?  No?  Then head to the bins and gather up what you need.
  • It’s “green”:  Ok, I’m in CA, being green is in.  I’m still more of a turquoise than green, but I try.  The bins contain the same quality as the items that are prepackaged, you just aren’t paying for that package.  You have lots of containers at home that you can recycle and put your bulk items in.  See being green isn’t completely horrible.  I still find turquoise a better color though.  😉

From coffee to spices, to dog treats, to flours and mixes, bulk bins are becoming a popular store attraction.  People are learning to eat healthier using the items from the bins and cooking at home (another cost saver over eating out).  Next time you’re out, check out the bins you typically walk past.  See what all the fuss is about.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Frugality – Take 2

Published February 22, 2015 by lynn k scott

I’ve already written how “frugality” isn’t a 4-letter word.  In fact, I took my own suggestion and am adding a second installment to my original piece.  As I’ve previously stated, with the rising cost of everything these days, many of us need to make our money stretch farther than ever before.  Hopefully, some of the following tips might be useful to you.

  • When grocery shopping, make sure to check the discounted meat section.  Just about every store has one of these sections.  If items are expiring within a day or two, most stores will offer 25%-75% off.  Is the meat bad?  Not at all. However, the store can’t sell it past the “sell by date”, so you might as well save some money on perfectly good meat that needs to be eaten asap or frozen for a future date.
  • Use your crockpot.  If you don’t have one of these useful kitchen appliances, I highly suggest going out and picking one up.  I use mine weekly and have for the last four years, since discovering this time-saving appliance.  First, it allows you to buy tougher cuts of meat, which are usually cheaper than choice cuts of meat.  Since most crockpot recipes take 4+ hours to cook, that’s perfect for the tougher cuts which need that low and slow method.  Second, the crockpot is ideal if you have a very busy schedule as dinner is done when you return home.  It’s one less thing you need to worry about or fit into your schedule.  Lastly, the summer months can be brutal.  Why add the heat of an oven or even the stove for that matter?  The crockpot makes a variety of dishes, all while sitting on your counter and NOT heating your entire house.  Hint:  If you have to buy a crockpot, I recommend the digital kind that will automatically change the setting to “warm” when the cooking time has ended.  This is a great feature for if you’re out of the house all day.  You don’t have to be home to turn it off.
  • Purchase fruits and vegetables in season.  In season?  If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it means, when fruits and vegetables are usually grown.  Example, tomatoes are a summer item.  Buying them in the winter means you are paying higher prices for them to be imported to your area.  This is a good time to learn to eat new fruits and vegetables.  Believe me, you really don’t need to pay $2.00/lb for tomatoes in December.
  • Shop the sales, not the recipe.  Lately, I’ve seen lots of blogs about how to prepare meals ahead of time, freezing them, etc.  What those recipes fail to mention is that you still need to purchase the ingredients, if you don’t already have them on hand.  This could cost you more than the time you are saving by prepping them ahead.  If you’re not shopping more than one store, you’re wasting your money.  Plain and simple.  Today there are stores within a mile or two of each other; some even just across the street from one another  Plan to review the store ads, make lists, and make purchases based on the sales offered.  You’ll be surprised at how much you save.
  • Use club or store rewards cards.  Some people absolutely despise this option.  Yet, this is one of the easiest ways to save.  Most store rewards cards let you load the card online and then just go shopping.  It’s a good way to get the sales, but some are geared toward your purchases.  I like knowing I may receive $1.00 off a box of pasta because I buy it often.  Some stores offer gas rewards.  I have to go grocery shopping anyway.  Why shouldn’t I want $0.10 off my gas purchase the next time I fill up?
  • Coupon.  There I said it.  This one scares more people than using the club cards.  It’s not really difficult and can take time to learn, but even if you end up saving $10/week on groceries, that’s still $10.00.  If you learn to combine coupons with sale items, your savings increases considerably.  There are many online groups that can help you learn to coupon.  NEVER pay someone to teach you!  That’s just wasting money and they are taking advantage of the fact you’re still learning.  Ask coworkers, church members, or look for couponing sites online.  Heck, shoot me an email, and I’ll help you.  No sense paying for what you’ll eventually figure out and the object is saving money, not spending it.  Just a tip:  review each store’s coupon policy online.  It’s also a good idea to print and carry the store’s coupon policy with you while you shop.  You’d be astounded at the lack of training the cashiers and their managers have when it comes to accepting coupons.  Have the proof and you’ll have the savings.
  • If you have a smartphone, then you should be using shopping apps.  These are apps that pay you to purchase certain items.  You’re normally going to buy eggs, milk, juice, etc.  Why not earn $.25 to $1.00 on items you are already buying.  Some apps allow you to cash out at $10.00, while others cash out at $20.00.  Either way, they are easy to use and they reward you for purchasing items you use.  Some shopping apps I use are Ibotta, Snap, and Checkout51.  If you shop online, try using Ebates and/or Swagbucks.  It’s the same principal as the other apps.  Get paid on your purchases.  Every bit back helps.

I hope you’re able to use some of my frugality tips.  I’m sure there will be a “Take 3” in the near future.

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