Turkey Day

Nov
2011
30

posted by on Food & Cooking, Homemaking

Every year after Thanksgiving and Christmas I hit the stores looking for the holiday meats that have been marked down. Last Friday I went to Kroger looking for marked down fresh turkey. Normally I would buy a turkey that is .25 a pound or less, but this year we are having to do things differently. Due to dietary restrictions we aren’t able to buy the frozen turkey because it is injected with all types of things before they freeze them. So, from now on it’s fresh for us.

When I went to the store to buy my turkeys they only had 22 pounders left. They were some huge birds! I bought two of them planning on roasting, carving and putting them in small portions in the freezer. We’ll use the meat for soups, salads, and casseroles. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to them for a couple of days and put them on ice in a large ice chest. I use my ice chests a lot during the holiday season since my refrigerator is usually packed. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of doing that, it has sure been a lifesaver since I started doing it.

I bought my two disposable roasting pans Monday and was ready to roast on Tuesday. I usually use my table top roaster for my turkeys (can’t say how much I love that appliance!) but these birds wouldn’t fit in it. Tuesday was going to be turkey day! I was ready, and I had a plan. I was going to roast the turkeys one at a time in the oven because I didn’t think there was any way to fit them both in at the same time. I wasn’t injecting them because I was going to be using the meat in different ways. It was going to be simple; rinse the birds, throw them in the pan and roast them.

I should know by now that simple doesn’t exist in my house. I am the type of person who always hopes for the best, and thinks things are going to run smoothly, I don’t know why I am always surprised when they don’t. You would think I would have learned by now. Well, on turkey day who do you think awoke with a stomach bug? If you guessed me, you’d be right. On top of me being sick, Caroline also had a stomach bug an Hannah is suffering with a major migraine which left Rachel to run the house and cook two turkeys. Did I mention that I am the only one in the house to have ever roasted a turkey? As I was getting back into the bed about to pass out the thought came to me that it was turkey day and I had two humongous turkeys that were going to take about 8 hours of cooking. The idea of sticking my hand inside a naked, dead, & cold (which is a greater reminder of its lack of life) bird was enough to turn my stomach, not that it wasn’t already doing somersaults.

When I told Rachel my dilemma she cheerfully told me that she would take care of it. I was in that state of half-awake, half-passing out when I gave her directions as to how to cook the turkeys. I am sure I was quite clear in those directions, they made perfect sense to me. After I awoke from my coma to smells of turkey wafting in the air, I walked stumbled into the kitchen to check on the turkey. Much to my surprise I found two turkeys in roasting pans crammed into the oven. I asked Rachel how she had prepared them because they looked different than anything I had done before. She told me that she had adapted a dry brining method we had heard about from a friend. She separated the skin from the birds and rubbed a mixture of olive oil and sea salt generously all over the bird. On top of the skin she rubbed a little more of that mixture and more oil on them to make them crispy. She cooked them breast down, which allows all of the juices to run into the breast, and slow roasted them at 325 (F). The only problem with cooking them breast down is that the skin isn’t crispy on the breast. You can alleviate that by flipping the bird and cooking it breast side up for the last 45 minutes or so. For me, I would rather the juicy meat and I don’t worry about the skin. Besides, who wants to try to flip two hot 22 pound turkeys?!

We were rather dubious at first, thinking that the meat was going to be too salty. Once we carved the bird and tasted it, all fears were gone. Those were the best turkeys we have ever tasted! It was all moist and juicy and had just the right amount of saltiness to it. I don’t have pictures to share, I wasn’t up to taking any last night, and I sure wish I could give you a taste through your monitor, but since I can’t, you are just going to have to trust me.

Beginning Couponing

Jul
2011
09

posted by on Homemaking

I recently began extreme couponing and have been sharing my experiences with some of my friends locally. I wanted to share on our blog as well. As time goes on I will share some hints of what I have done that have made it easier for me. I will also share my blunders in an effort to help you not make the same mistakes. Tonight I want to share with you a trip I made to Target. I learned a very valuable lesson that I’m sure will help me in the future and you as well.

This is the breakdown of what I purchased:

4 Milo’s Dog Jerky Treats – $1 each
3 Kraft Salad Dressings – .73 each
1 Loaf of Bread – free
4 Dove Men’s Deodorants – .38 each
1 Zantac 24 – .59
2 Gold Bond Hand Sanitizers – $1.99 each
4 Ortega Black Beans – .50 ea
2 packs Paper Mate Pens – .24 each

Most of these items were stacked with Target and manufacturer’s coupons. Here is where the lesson I learned came in (ok, I just double checked my receipt and apparently I have more to learn). The girl checking me out did not scan all of my coupons. She missed both of the Target Dove coupons (which were for $2 each). I saw that she missed those and went to customer service and they refunded my money. She also charged me for an extra deodorant, which they refunded. I just realized she left off all four of my dog treat coupons. I will go back to Target tomorrow and if they won’t refund me for the coupons, I will return the treats. So, if my transactions had gone like they were supposed to, I would have spent $14.68 for all of the items. At this point I spent $20.68. The percentage of savings as it stands now is 65%, after the adjustment it will be 75%.

One thing that really helped me was I had a print out with me of all the deals I intended to purchase. I was on the Krazy Coupon Lady site and I copied and pasted each of the deals I wanted to do into a Word document. It was a tremendous help at the store as I was collecting my items, but also helpful for me at customer service as I knew exactly what coupons I had used and their value. This is the first time I have ever had such problems with coupons. When she first saw my coupons she looked them over very carefully, as if I was doing something wrong. I don’t really know what happened, but I may talk to the manager tomorrow and see if there is something I can do in the future to prevent this type of problem.

I look forward to sharing other coupon trips with you as well as giving you a peek in my binders. I will also share my sorting system, which works very well. If you have been couponing, share your hints, or experiences with me, I’d love to hear them.

**Update**

Update

I went back to Target this morning. I had with me a copy of the coupon policy (which I didn’t need), a typed out list of what my transactions should have looked like with coupon amounts, and my receipts. I also had the dog treats (in case they didn’t give me my money, I was going to return them), and the pens they didn’t charge me for. I spoke to a lady in management first. I explained that I was concerned not only for my coupons, but also for them as I was concerned that the checker was somehow trying to steal from the store by charging me so much extra. She told me that couldn’t happen and then told me that I would need to talk to a PA (I think those were the letters) and that he would be able to look at the tape to see exactly what happened. She didn’t think he was in and said I would have to come back, but after checking the schedule found he was in the store.

He was very kind and helpful. I explained my concerns and he asked to borrow my receipts and told me he would be back in a minute. He brought back a print out of the transaction that showed every keystroke that the cashier made. If she canceled a coupon, or it didn’t take, it showed up on that sheet. We compared my receipts, the sheet he had and my list of what should have happened. He was very patient and more than willing to help me out. When it was all said and done, my total to be refunded was $6.76 (this included the .24 I owed for the pens not being charged to me). He commented that he could tell that I was being honest and how much he appreciated my patience (a smile and kind words go a long way). He rounded the amount up to $7 and took the papers to the manager and told her to pay me. He apologized again. I commented at one point that I really didn’t think anyone could make that many mistakes in one transaction, and he said that he would be having a chat with this cashier.

I am so thankful for the extra effort that they took in working everything out for me.

posted by on Family

Last fall we went to dinner at the house of some friends and I particularly noticed their couch. It wasn’t fancy or expensive, it was a simple couch that was wooden with cushions. When I saw I thought it was simple, comfortable and homey. I waxed nostalgic wishing that I could find a couch like theirs, alas, they don’t make them like they used to.

My very long day actually got its start last Saturday when Rachel, Caroline and I went to one of our local resale shops, KCM. While we were there I saw a couch that was very similar to my friend’s. The only problem with that couch was that the cushions for the back were missing. They had been replaced with several throw pillows. The couch & love seat that we had were in really bad shape and very uncomfortable, even with the cushions replaced with pillows, that couch was an improvement.

The girls and I then ran some more errands and ended up going to the other KCM on the other side of town. We found some good deals on skirts and then, lo and behold there was another wooden couch, much like the other one. This one was a little bit more money, but it was in really good condition and had all of cushions. When I arrived home I told Gene about the couches and we decided that we would check back in on them on Thursday when he had the day off.

And so begins my very long, very busy, very tiring day. We got out of the house about 11am and went to the first KCM to see if they had a couch. They did, we bought it and they held it until we could come back for it later in the day. We then went to the second KCM to see if they had the second couch. They have about 25 couches and when I approached the place where the couch had been on Saturday, I was disappointed to see that it was gone. I then looked back one row and there was another wooden couch. It was it great shape and had all of its cushions. We bought that couch as well and made arrangements to return for it later in the day.

Now the real fun began. If you ever think about buying a 12 passenger van thinking that you’ll just whip the seats out whenever you want to transport some cargo. . . think again, or have a lot of strong sons instead of a bunch of girlie daughters. Gene and I pulled, tugged, lifted (ok, Gene did all of the pulling, tugging and lifting when the seats were in the van) and I helped him get them out of the van and put them in the yard. After we recovered we went to the car wash so Gene could vacuum out the van, it’s so much easier when the seats are all gone.

We went to the closest KCM and they had wonderful helpers there to load the couch into the van. I was getting a grumbly in my tumbly and I suggested that we head to my absolute favorite fast food restaurant, Chick fil a. After some nuggets, Chick fil a sauce, waffle fries and a Dr. Pepper I was ready to get to work again. We took this couch to the house, took the love seat and couch out of house, which was no easy feat, and brought in the new couch. For those of you who don’t know, we live in a mobile home, which means each trip with a piece of furniture means a set of steps.

Gene and I got back in the van, made a quick stop at the library, and then went to the second KCM. We loaded that couch up in the van with the help of a young man and headed back home. We unloaded the couch and put it in the house.

After we unloaded the van and got things situated in the house Rachel and I headed out. First we went to Sam’s to pick up Sarah’s meds and a couple of other things. We then went to Walmart to get some throw pillows for the couches and hoping to get a Rug Doctor, which they don’t rent anymore. The couches have several scratches on them and I was trying to find something to cover the scratches and at first I looked in the hardware department. I didn’t find what I wanted there, but when I was looking at furniture polish Rachel found the perfect thing. It is Old English Scratch Cover for dark wood (there is also one for light wood). It worked wonderfully and the wood on the couches looks almost like new.

We made a quick trip to Kroger to pick up the steamer and the cleaners and then went home. After unloading the van I began to get things ready to steam while Rachel made waffles for dinner. I didn’t realize that I had to have another product for the the steamer so I had to make a quick trip to Randall’s to pick it up. I finally began to steam the couches about 8 pm. As I finished steaming the couches Caroline would blow dry the cushions. We took a couple of breaks to go over the couches with the Old English, using q-tips to get into the smaller spots. I was amazed at how good they look!

One of the couches does still have a slight odor to it, and tomorrow I am going to put each of the cushions in a trash bag with baking soda. I think that will eliminate it. I finally finished the couches about 12 am and then went to soak in a hot bath with epsom salt. It has been a very long, very busy, very tiring and very rewarding day!

I hope to put up pictures of the couches in the next couple of days, after I get everything back together.