Thursday, January 26, 2012

Price-wise, things are harder to replace..

Yeah, it's no big surprise that prices tend to go up. And up. And up. But I recently had a very specific experience with price/availability that shows that it can go up reallly quickly...

I've written in the past about the price of ground turkey--we like to buy it in "bulk" (if you can call 3 lb. packages "bulk") brown it, and freeze it in meal-size packages. Having done so, we went for a while without doing what we call "big-time shopping"--quite a while, in fact, and just picked up milk and the like occasionally instead of planning out weeks' worth of menus, and making do with what we had without adding to our storage.  (This applies to food and non-food items.) Not surprisingly, our storage went down, down, down while some prices were going up, up, up. Here's what happened with the ground turkey during this time:

I noticed as I was picking up milk or whatever that the ground turkey wasn't there. So I decided to keep an eye on it, because in the past it seemed to be a first-come, first served basis for the turkey, and you just had to be there at the right time. But this time, there didn't even appear to be a place marked for the packages of  turkey that I usually bought.

Fast forward to when I really needed to get some more turkey. We found that there were 2 pound packages available at our other preferred place for grocery shopping, and if memory serves, when we first started buying ground turkey there, it was $3.98/2 lbs. Since then, it has gone up to $4.98/2lbs.

Bad enough, right? Well, at our used-to-buy turkey place, ground turkey made a reappearance, perhaps a different brand, and perhaps a different fat content or something, but the bottom line is that there is only one kind of package of ground turkey available last time I looked, and it was $3.98/1.25 lbs. Ouch. Hopefully it does not soon become our buy-again-turkey place because it becomes the best buy in town again. Might have to swear off turkey if that happens...

Anyway, my point is that having some food on hand for price hikes alone is a good idea because they most likely will continue to go up. At least if you have something in storage, it gives you a little time to save up for/look around for your next purchase without going hungry in the meantime. It doesn't have to be an emergency per se  for a person to be glad they've put something aside for a rainy day...

And speaking of rainy days, it sounded like a rainy day outside the window today, but it was because of the melting snow, which was not melted enough after falling today to not require some shoveling when it came to the driveway. :) And thanks to all who participated in the poll about snow. I have mislaid the results, but if memory serves, 85% said they were getting less snow than normal, and everyone else who answered doesn't usually get snow where they live. The roads have been easier to drive on, but the really uncharacteristic lack of snow makes me wonder about the water supply.

Oh, I just found the post on my other blog where I wrote about the price of turkey. It used to be $6.22/ 3lb. package. Hope it comes back--it's happened before... :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

A bean recipe--and lots o' links--for the recipe file

I am always looking for more ways to use beans, and my family loved this one for taco soup over at Marie's Cooking Adventures (Yeah. No, that's not me, but I like the name... :).

It's wonderful what you can find when you go blog-hopping. Almost the entire family loved this soup. The only thing I had to change wasn't really a change--I followed the recipe as stated, and you really couldn't get any easier. I cooked it on low, but when I checked it about an hour before we were supposed to eat, it tasted really salty to me. To be fair, I had two of my children taste it as well, and they didn't think it was too salty, but I peeled and cut up a couple of potatoes and dumped them in  for the remainder of the cooking time, because doing so is  supposed to help remove excess salt.  I removed them before serving, and  the soup didn't taste too salty to me anymore, so it was all good. If I had been on the ball, I would have just cooked some black beans on my own and added those, because I wouldn't have added salt, and perhaps the seasoning packets I used were saltier than some others or something... In any case, this soup was an absolute hit here, and uses mostly canned foods, and I have wondered if you could just use canned chicken if you wanted instead of the ground beef (we used ground turkey) and then it would be an entirely pantry-friendly recipe. I highly recommend it. It has gained a place in the coveted recipe rotation. So many, many thanks to Marie for the recipe!

And now, at the risk of future posts, I am going to list some links to other recipes that caught my eye while I was doing some aforementioned blog-hopping. I haven't made them yet, but they look wonderful, (and ok, let's not forget that they also look like they would be easy to try, in most cases) and sometimes I just want to share what I've found sooner than it takes to actually make them.  Another one on the same blog is here  for Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls. (A little trickier, I guess, for just food storage, but I am thinking canned chicken, canned corn, and the cheese and frozen spinach might just to have to be freezer storage unless someone else has a suggestion... :) I actually found Marie's Cooking Adventures via

-- Cupcake Diaries, which also happens to have the recipe for the soup-I-am-most-likely-to-make-next-in-my-crockpot, aka Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup . This just looks really good to me, and combine the ease of a crockpot, a use for any potatoes that are lonely in storage (which I don't have currently, but have in the past and expect to have in the future) and it's all win-win-win. I would suggest checking out this recipe and others while you are there--you might find something else you would like as well. Thanks Cupcake Diaries!

--And of course, I check out the Harried Homemaker site regularly, and the recipe for chicken soup found here looks interesting. True confessions: I don't recall ever having cooked with parsnips before. But this recipe might convince me to start, seeing as how it is supposed to help you get over sickness and looks delicious in the pictures. It apparently is rather work-intensive, but soup that acts like an antibiotic might be an incentive for many people... In any case, talk about blog-hopping potential: beneath this recipe are links to 63 more soup recipes--thanks Harried Homemaker!

So, thanks again to the wonderful people who share over at Marie's Cooking Adventures, Cupcake Diaries, and Harried Homemaker! You make adding new recipes into the rotation during the New Year all that much easier... :)


Friday, January 6, 2012

(Next to) no snow, and cool gift possibilities for next year...

It's amazing to me that here it is, January 6, and we have had very, very, very little snow here in Idaho. Don't get me wrong, the car and I are really ok with this when it comes to the roads, but I am worried about a drought factor coming into play later on because of the lack of moisture. What's it like where you are? I put up a poll to the right, but it ends soon. Just wondering if there is a lack of moisture everywhere...

So just some thoughts that I thought I'd share (plus, if I put this up now, I can just look at it next year when I am trying to think of something to give that's not all that expensive, but useful/helpful in some way) about some things I observed/received/in some way learned about over the holidays:

--One of the neighbor gifts we got this year was canned apple pie filling. Wow, it looks great, and I would imagine tastes even better than it looks. I can't imagine it will remain in storage long, but it is a great food storage item....

--There was a great comment left on the post about great, inexpensive gifts that I already linked to on December 19 (this link) where someone (thanks, Kristen B.) suggested wrapping paper, with a tag that reads: "May your Holidays be wrapped with Joy!"  Clever, and something that could be given out at the very beginning of the holidays and you would be done, and people would have something they could totally use. Seeing as I'm a procrastinator, this one might not work out that well for me, but who knows? :)

--We went to visit some relatives, and saw what one of their neighbors was giving out for neighbor gifts--paper towels! There was a roll of paper towels with a candy cane, and the note said something to the effect of  "absorb the Holiday spirit". Again, very useful...

--Amazing that, seeing as how we discovered just prior to Christmas that all of our flashlights could not be accounted for, two new ones showed up as gifts under the tree. Great minds think alike, I guess, because I provided one of them and my husband provided the other. Odd that we couldn't find the ones that are supposed to be in a very specific place in case of a blackout, but good that we found out that we couldn't find them when it wasn't an emergency. The previous ones, which will hopefully eventually show up, really had been in the same place for ages. So here's my question for you--it's not an emergency--do you know where your primary secondary (ha!) light sources are? We would use our flashlights to find our candles--seems easier that way... :)

Well, seems unusual to still be talking about the holidays, but guess where I'll go looking sometime in November for those ideas I want to remember? Plus, I got the link to the gift ideas to work this time (hurray!) so that's a plus! Thanks again to Fabulous Finds (I love when the links actually work) for the above link, and when I went to go get that link, I saw that there is a giveaway for a free stencil  that ends soon that is on the current post, so thanks for that too! (I know that the giveaways I post for aren't always strictly on this blog's subject, but who doesn't like a free giveaway? :)

Anyway, happy 2012!! More on things I'm working on/need to work on to come---because yes, I still have a lot to learn/do/ practice.... :)