Monday, September 3, 2018

Moving On!

I have decided to start a new blog for this new chapter of my life.  Going forward, anyone who is interested in my musings will be able to find me at Mrs. Murphy's Microcosm -- where I will be posting about my life in retirement.

This blog was getting difficult to maintain so I've decided it's had a good enough run to retire along with me.  I want to thank everyone who has followed my adventures (and misadventures), whether lurking or commenting -- I've learned a lot and appreciate your all! 

The new blog probably won't be all that different, but will give me a chance to change some of the areas I focused on in the past.

I'll keep this blog up for a short-while just as a way to direct traffic to the new blog, but may eventually delete it.  For those of you whom I visit going forward, rather than seeing comments from Alex M, you'll just be seeing Mrs. Murphy.  I'm changing my address but not going away!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

White Tile

I hate the white tile on our kitchen counter.  We used to have it in the bathroom -- luckily it's gone now.  There is no way I will ever use white tile in a kitchen -- this was here when we bought the house, and I have been struggling to keep it clean ever since.  TBG did a good job of cleaning it a few weeks back, but he did it quickly and this is how it looked this week.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Z Bread

 I had two left-over zucchinis from our farm-stand hall the weekend before last.  This time of year, it's easy to over-buy them.  They were cheap and they were tasty -- but it wasn't possible to eat four in a week.  What is a girl to do? Of course, make zucchini bread.  One batch was made in a baking dish, the other was in a loaf pan.  We've enjoyed the baking dish version all week.  It's  breakfast, desert, and snack. No guilt either as I made it with oatmeal and whole wheat flour.  It's been yummy.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Working for the Weekend

It is nice to have time to cook ahead for camp.  We have a small fridge so storing multiple ingredients is out of the question.  This weekend, one meal with be a chicken coconut curry.  The cheap factor is that I am using a package of sauce that was a "Special Today" mark-down. The pans were end-of-season mark downs too.  These are drip pans for grill -- the perfect size for a toaster oven.  For ingredients: chicken breast, slaw mix, yellow pepper, onion, black beans and a packet of sauce.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Culinary Tools

I have needed a potato/tomato masher for some time.   There is probably one in a box in the garage that I have yet to unpack, but that doesn't help me now that it's summer and I am making fresh marinara.  Rather than heading to Target, I knew I'd do better at a thrift store.  I ducked into Amvets last Thursday and found this one for 79 cents.  The saute pan was a separate purchase on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chicken Again

It was chicken for 79 cents a pound this week -- again. I realize that a lot of people would be kind of grossed out to fully dismember a bird -- removing the skin, back and wings is a slimy job. It does take time and without a pair of kitchen shears, it would be impossible.  But I am always willing to get in and butcher a bird because it's one of the best ways to save money.  I like to dump the parts in a bowl, then rub them with oil and seasonings, prior to roasting it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Switching ISP/Cable Providers Sucks!

So we have broken away from Time Warner/Spectrum -- and am glad we did.  However, transitioning over has been a real nightmare.  The biggest hassle was changing email.  We've wanted to ditch TWC for quite some time but because I had been looking for work at various times, we didn't want to change our email address.  Now that I am done working, I don't really care.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Summer Score

 There is plenty of summer left, so I was happy to find another bathing suit and a pair of shoes suitable for the water.  At this point, I can't have too many comfortable bathing suits.  I wear one almost every day at home and at camp.  Having this suit means I don't have to pack one for camp -- I will leave this one there.  I will also leave these shoes there, rather than bringing the pair I found last week back and forth.  The convenience will help a lot since the shoes are rarely dry on Sunday when I need to bring them home.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Welcome to Retirement!

 Even in semi-retirement, I was keeping the bathroom clean.  The big difference now is that I don't have to rush through it after my morning shower, because I don't have to  be anywhere!  I've also added a few extra steps onto the task that I didn't often get a chance to do each day -- like cleaning the outside of the glass of the shower stall.  I'm also going to start sweeping the floor every day.  Woo hoo, do I know how to have fun or what?
I now have time to hang laundry out to dry.  One thing I like about having more time to do laundry, is that I can wash our bathroom towels more frequently.  They always smell fresh -- not always the case when we were struggling to get it done even once a week.  How gross is it that I just admitted that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday is Thursday this Week...

We are hosting a river cruise tomorrow night for TBG's best clients, so no dinner at home.  That is OK, I used left-overs to make dinner tonight and it's just like it would be if it were Thursday.  I had stock from last week, and a jar of marinara from last night.  TBG left a half a pepper in the fridge from his chicken wrap at lunch.  Add in half a zucchini,  pearl barley & red quinoa, onion, celery, the tail-end of a bag of cabbage/carrot slaw, and diced chicken breast from Monday, and you have a thick soup made with summer veggies.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


 There is a farm stand down the road from our camp.  They have great produce but also stuff they hold back as "Seconds" because the product is not perfect.  Well, not perfect is fine when you want to make marinara.  Four quarts of fresh tomatoes set me back four bucks and this afternoon, I cooked it all up.  These two jars are destined for the freezer.  A smaller jar is in the fridge for another meal this week.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hair of the Dog

 We have been doing very well dealing with Teddy's tendency to get hot-spots.  Knock on wood, but we have not had a single spot all summer.  Her allergy pills are expensive.  At the vet, they are well over three bucks per pill.  I had a large refill from an on-line pet pharmacy this spring for $2.49.  This time, I found a source for them at $2.24.  I will look for a lower price next time around.  I am so thankful for Internet pet pharmacies!

Because I am always aware of side-effects and also want to keep costs down, I've got her on a  minimum dose that seems to be working.  She gets a half pill (8mg) every other day.  On the off days, she gets either a Benadryl or Zyrtec.  Both are safe for dogs.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Rainy Day Bargains

We went to camp this weekend and it absolutely poured on Saturday, so we decided to go to the outlet mall.  I had needed to replace my water sandals. They are probably five years old and the soles are coming off. I will try to re-glue them, but am not optimistic.  I have also wanted a pair of basic black flats that I did not need to wear socks with.  The pair I have is too big unless I wear socks -- not the best for summer.  Famous Footwear and a BOGO-1/2 price sale.  My water sandals were $20 and the ballet flats were half of their sale price of $15.  I was so glad to find both on sale as they are normally fifty to sixty bucks a piece and I just was not going to pay that.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday Objective Met

My Thursday dinner goal is always to finish up whatever is in the fridge and to make dinner without buying any new ingredients.  It was a success again this week.  Of course it was a given that pizza was part of the plan since I made up three batches of dough on Tuesday.  Then I rummaged through the freezer this morning and found a snack-sized zippy back with small chunks of cooked Italian sausage.  There was also very small amount of chicken thigh left, and a third of a log of mozarella.  I've been going through a small can of Hunts tomato sauce (courtesy of the Dollar Tree) all week, and that was finished tonight too.  The  pizza was delicious!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I made "refrigerator" jam this afternoon.  Pup and I swam and went for a short walk after work, which took an extra hour or so out of the day.  Even though I wanted to do some housework, I've been wanting to make fresh jam.  Last week, blueberries were uber cheap, so that was what I thought I'd use.  Well, they weren't on sale, but strawberries were.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Chicken, Day Two

It was the second day with the chicken I cooked up yesterday.  We both had a wrap for lunch and then once that was done, I set about to start prep for dinner.  It was Taco Tuesday at Chez Petite.  The Ortega shells came from Dollar Tree, so they were cheap.  They are a slightly higher fiber/grain version.  Although by higher, it's 2g rather than <1g of fiber.  We had the shredded cabbage/carrot mix from pierogi night and I had purchased three red peppers.  These are the misfits that Price Rite sells for cheap ($1.49 per pound).  We were out of cheddar so for cheese, it was Swiss and Assiago.  Someone actually forgot to pack the package of Swiss and I found it in a cart I picked up at Aldi.  So I just dropped it in my car.  That wasn't stealing as someone paid for it but just forgot it.  The sour cream is actually cut 50% with plain Greek yogurt.

Monday, August 13, 2018

My Life of Inconvenience

I took advantage of yesterday's sunshine and scorching heat, and dried my laundry on the line.  While TBG doesn't like his clothes stiff from the line, I do.  As a result, I did a load of my clothes and then hung them out.  When I do loads with his clothes, I give them a quick tumble to soften them up.  However, I prefer saving energy by using the power of the sun.  It's a lot more effort than just throwing the washed clothes into the dryer, but it's economical and environmentally friendly so I am up for the extra work.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Free Food!

Jimmy Jam gave us this pound of ground venison quite some time ago and I'd never gotten around to using it.  Since it's been in the freezer a long time, I decided I wasn't going to make anything for us with it, but it would be just the thing to make a batch of dog food out of.  The large yam has been taking up counter space for a while too.  Even if food is free or it doesn't cost much, I am still loath to let it go to waste.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a Single Post

I made a blueberry pie on Wednesday after work.  Since I was so rushed for time, I bought the crust.  A store bought box of crust in the refrigerated section is around $1.99 near Thanksgiving, but for the rest of the year it is $3.99.  That's OK, because I filled it with fresh blueberries which were $1.29 per pint -- it took two.  Around Thanksgiving, blueberries are around $4.99 a pint.  So I'm fine with what I spent.  Had I purchased a pie made fresh with fresh blueberries, it would have cost twice as much -- if not more.  That's why I'm willing to "cheat" on the crust if I have to.   You will, however, rarely catch me using canned pie filling -- too much sugar (or worse, High Fructose Corn Syrup) and too many additives!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Getting Smaller

I am starting to cut back even more on what we spend on food.  More to follow on that later in this post.  The basis for tonight's dinner was a whole fryer (chicken) that I got for .59 cents a pound at Save-a-Lot.  I bought the bird for $3.02 on Monday and got to work on it as soon as I got home.  Before putting it in the oven, I cut off the back and wings, then cut off all of the skin.  That provided two big meals for the dog.  I roasted the meat and then pulled it off the bones.  The bones then went into stock.  We did not have chicken for dinner on Monday as I had pork from the weekend, so I made that into burritos.  Dinner for us both and three lunches!