Monday, May 30, 2011

A few words on "extreme couponing"...

Who doesn't, save money?!?!?  At this point, who doesn't need to save on purchases?  There's more buzz than ever before about people really trying to work coupons and customer loyalty programs to maximize their savings.  I watched one episode of the show "Extreme Couponing" and I can assure you, it was the last one I will ever watch.

One of the women profiled really caught my attention.  I may be fuzzy on my details; so while my opinions may be a little misguided, here are two particular points I took away from this person's story:
  • She spoke of spending $70 on a "clipping service".  Whether this was for one shopping trip or, say, a month, was unclear.  However, what is clear is that this money she spent to "buy" coupons needs added to her "total" in some way.
  • She also spoke of carrying $35,000 of insurance on her hoard of soap, toothbrushes and candy bars.  This is another cost that needs to be added to the total that makes viewers "ooh" and "aah" over how much this woman saved.
Essentially, I think this is another level of hoarding.  Filling up space with items that can't conceivably be used before their expiration dates (or in some cases, can't conceivably be used during a LIFETIME) is not in any way saving money.  I see where families do benefit from stacking savings from coupons and other savings programs.  However, this "extreme couponing" track seems to advocate hoarding and gluttony, in my opinion.  Dragging home anything you don't need or can't use, is wasteful.  I do see instances where folks are using savings to purchase items that they donate.  That I can get behind.  The family with 457 candy bars?  I just can't.

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Welcome Summer and the Sun Tea Jar

    Memorial Day weekend is here and it's official.  Summer is here!  It's only been this last week that it FEELS to me like summer is anywhere nearby.  Maybe this has to do with the fact that while out and about the evening of MAY 3RD, I wore a SKI PARKA.  At any rate, this last week has finally found me turning on the central air, planning, buying  and planting the annuals in my summer flower pots for around the house and getting my hands dirty in the raised beds of my vegetable and herb gardens.

    Now, I'm a year-round lover of iced tea (Luzianne tea bags, heavy on the sugar, please).  I prefer it to soda and always have a pitcher in the fridge.  Summer comes and I can't keep the pitcher full.  While I was grocery shopping the other day with the kids, I saw that our friends at Kroger had the glass sun tea jars I remember my mom and grandma sitting out in the sun each year.  I had to have one!  And this morning, its maiden voyage on my deck:
    It couldn't be easier to make.  Just fill the jar with tap/filtered water (NOT boiling!!!), 4-6 tea bags and sugar (I like my tea to be like hummingbird food, so I use 2 cups...don't judge me ;-P).  Allow the jar to sit in the sun until the tea is brewed to your preferred strength then bring the jar in and pop it in the fridge or on your kitchen counter.  Serve over ice with a nice slice of lemon.


    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Veal Saltimbocca Burgers

    These are just plain amazing.  A new burger twist worth trying.  I pick up the ground veal at Wheeling's Miklas Meat Market

    Saltimbocca Burgers
    Rachael RayFrom Every Day with Rachael Ray
    September 2007

    1 1/2 pounds ground veal
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    15 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
    Salt and pepper
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    4 slices prosciutto (about 1/4 pound)
    6 ounces fontina cheese, sliced or shredded
    Eight 1-inch-thick slices semolina bread
    2 cups chopped romaine lettuce from the heart
    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    1. In a medium bowl, mix the veal, garlic and sage; season with salt and pepper. Form 4 patties, pressing your thumb in the center of each burger to prevent it from bulging while cooking.

    2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the burger patties and cook through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Top the burgers with the prosciutto and fontina. Cover the skillet to melt the cheese, about 3 minutes.

    3. While the burgers cook, toast the bread and set aside.

    4. In a medium bowl, dress the lettuce with the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and the lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Set each burger on a toasted bread slice; top with the romaine and another toasted bread slice.