Saturday, July 30, 2011


Today was the day I discovered that I have a VERY high pain threshold.  How do I know?  I broke my leg this morning.

Went for a hike with a friend.  We were maybe 10 minutes in, still near the road, when I hit a patch of loose sand.  One foot went one way, the other went another...and I heard a pop.  Oops! 

I tried to set weight on it and realized that No, that was NOT a good idea.  So, we flagged down a passing bicyclist who got the ranger, who brought along the local fire department for assistance.  They pulled me to my good foot, I threw my arms around two of them and we hobbled up to the road.  The head fireman said, "Wow!  You're so calm!"  "Well, that's because it's not really hurting yet...and really, freaking out doesn't do anyone any good, right?"

They quickly checked me out and then allowed my friend to drive me down the hill to the county hospital where they discovered that yes, I had broken both lower leg bones in my right leg.   They had to set my leg two times before they got it right and the most I did was to calmly state,  "Ouch.  That hurts."  LOL  So yeah, high pain threshold.

I'll need surgery sometime in the next 2 weeks.  *uber sigh* Until then, I'm hobbling around on crutches and depending on my friends to bring me food and run errands and clean my house.  This is hard for me - I hate asking for help - but I will deal with it.  Of course, keep in mind that I'm a single mom of a 4 and 6 year old.  And keep in mind that I don't have insurance AND I'm a freelance writer who's barley making ends meet NOW. 

This is going to me a fun fun FUN 10-12 weeks.  *sigh*  Do me a favor and pray for me and my sanity, 'k?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Leftover Ideas - Broccoli Slaw

There's been some great sales on broccoli lately - 49 to 99 cents each week - so as you can guess, we've been eating a LOT of broccoli.  Our favorite (and quickest) way of fixing it is to steam it in our microwave steamer, toss it in melted butter, salt and pepper while it's still pipping hit, and then cover it to finish cooking while I fix the rest of dinner.

Now, my kids LOVE broccoli tops (they call them "yummy little trees") but they're not big fans of the stems, but I just couldn't stand the idea of just tossing them!  (Remember - nothing goes to waste in this house!).  So, of course, by the end of the week, I had a bag full of broccoli stems and no idea what to do with them.

Then it hit me!  Broccoli Slaw!!!

I shredded the stems using my old salad shooter (but a food processor works great too!) and then added in my favorite slaw ingredients - homemade olive oil mayo, salt, pepper, a touch of vinegar, and a little cream.  You could also use your favorite paleo-friendly salad dressing - just make sure you add in enough to coat everything well to ensure nothing turns brown or dries out.

What would you do with leftover broccoli stems?  Comment below!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just because they say they're the low price leader...

Repeat after me - "Just because they say they're the low price leader...doesn't mean they really are."

This is a lesson I confirmed once again this weekend when I updated my grocery price book.

A True Life Example
What's a price book, you may ask?  Well, it's this nifty tool that helps you compare prices of products at different stores.  This tool comes in handy when you're looking at the weekly grocery ads and wonder, "Gee, is that a good price on tuna?"

Some use a notebook system but I find that too clunky and time-consuming for me (I'm a single mom - time is a short commodity around here).  Instead, I use a price book app on my itouch.  It does all the calculations for you...and best of all, I don't get strange looks from grocery clerks - it looks like I'm texting someone instead of writing down pricing information.  ;-)

The last time I updated my book was back in April of 2010.  Add to that the fact that I recently renewed my Costco membership, it was about time I updated the thing so I knew precisely where to shop for what.  So, I spent last Saturday popping between stores, quickly taking down notes while I finished the weekly shopping.  (And yes, I lead such an exciting life!)

What did I discover that day?  Well...
  • Peanut butter prices went up $2 - 4 a jar in the last year!!!  That almost made me faint.   (Yes, I know it's not paleo but my son LOVES PB&J sandwiches and won't eat any other nut butters.)
  • The stores that have huge banners proclaiming that they're the "low price leader" usually are lying.  Maybe their junk food prices are the cheapest in town but when it comes to the typical staples and healthy stuff, their prices suck.
  • The prices at Safeway, the largest chain here in Nor Cal, was good for laugh...that's about it. 
  • Costco is great for the staples (eggs, string cheese, sour cream, peanut butter, mayo, olive oil, raisins, tuna, garlic, etc) but their bread prices suck. 
  • Eggs are now around $1.99/dozen at regular stores.  If you want cheaper prices, buy in bulk, join Costco (15 dozen box for 1.21/dozen)...or look in other types of stores (my local Target had them @ 1.69/dozen).
  • And most importantly, shopping around DOES save you money.  I wouldn't suggest that you go to individual stores each day - the gas costs will eat up your savings - but hitting them in a chain, one after the other, works great.
  • Oh, and I found a new place to buy inexpensive produce!  Yes! 
(Yes, the screenshots are from my own little pricebook.  Please excuse any strange spellings or abbreviations.  Typing quickly on the itouch keyboard was....interesting.  ;-)  )
    Do you shop around?  What sort of trends have you seen lately?

      Sunday, July 17, 2011

      Look who I "ran" into this morning!

      I got up early this morning (5:30 AM) so I could be out at Rancho San Antonio Open Space before the weekend crowds descended upon the place.  Glad I did because I met a new friend:

      Running into this guy was quite a surprised.  I was on my way back from the pond when I rounded a corner in the trail and found him standing in the middle of the path.  I immediately stopped and we stared at one another for at least a minute. Then I ever so slowly took off my pack, unzipped the front pocket, pulled out my cell phone, and snapped that picture.

      You'd think he'd run.  Nope - he just stood there and stare at me.  Then he took a sample of the grass beside the path before wandering off down the hillside.  I guess he was out for his morning hike too....

      (And before anyone thinks "Yum!  Dinner!", RSAOP is a nature preserve - no hunting!  ;-)  )

      Saturday, July 16, 2011

      Chicken, chicken, and MORE chicken

      ***  Sorry for the long delay in posts.  I've been super busy around here - I've spent all of my spare time working on a piece of fiction that I hope to publish soon.  Between that, work, and kids, I just don't seem to have a lot of brain cells left by the end of the day.  Ah, the life of a single mama!  ***

      I was at my local Target early this morning, doing a little shopping and updating my price book (more about that later!) when I found these babies:

      $2 off?  Wha?!?!?!

      First of all, I have to tell you - I rarely EVER browse the meat cooler at Target, mainly because their meats are soooooo overpriced.  Today...well, I was waiting for the stock guy to come back with my quarts of cream ($3.79/quart - cheapest place in town) when I spotted these cute guys just sitting there.

      Now, we all  know why these babies were discounted - they were nearing their expiration date (7/17) and the store would rather sell them than toss them.  I have no problem with "close to expiration" food as long as they're sealed, well taken care of, and not turning colors...

      But anyway, back to Target.  Since I had a few minutes, I whipped out my itouch and did the calculations:
      The average price of the chickens were $5.25, so.... 5.25 minus the $2 coupon meant they were $3.25 a chicken OR approx 65 cents a lb.  I leapt at that deal, snatching up all 6 chickens that had the sticker on them.
      I know some people will tell you that that's an okay price...but I live in an area where the sale price on whole chickens rarely ever go below 88 cents a lb.  You have more luck finding chicken parts (usually the leg quarters) for under that price, which...I know, I just strange.

      So, you can guess what I'm doing today.  Yep, roasting chickens.  Here's the first three fresh out of the oven...

      Yummy protein goodness!!!

      Now to wait for them to cool so I can strip the meat off.  Then the meat will be portioned out into meal-size chunks and frozen, along with a big bag of chicken bones for future broth-making.  Yum!

      This is just another example of how discounts can be found in the strangest places.  Yep, I bought this month's chicken from Target!  LOL