Posts Tagged ‘mom’

To Coupon or Not to Coupon

    I’ve spent the last week and a half scouring sale papers and internet sites, logging prices, printing coupons and making lists all in preparation for my new shopping approach. I made it to Target, Kroger, and CVS; sadly, the only Walgreens that I know of in my area isn’t open yet, so no $3.99 Quilted Northern for me :( It was a good three hour shopping trip. I keep a running tally of my purchases to ensure I stay under my grocery budget and A (my daughter, in case you didn’t know) just had to have one of those buggies at Kroger with a car attached to the front, which is like trying to drive a mack truck through Disney Land. Needless to say, it took a while. I had my Walmart receipt from the previous two weeks and decided to compare the prices of some of the items I buy on a regular basis. Here’s what happened:
“sb” stands for Store Brand.
Bold indicates the store that had the lower price.

Item Walmart Kroger Difference
Rotel Tomatoes .88 .92 .04
sb Black Beans .64 .67 .03
sb Tomato Paste .42 .59 .17
Toaster Strudel 1.98-.55 (coupon) 2.69-1.10 (store coupon+manuf.) .16
Orange Danish 1.66-.40 2.39-1.15 (store+manuf.) .02
sb Cream Cheese 1.67 1.72 .05
General Mills Cereal 3.24 2.69-1.05 1.60
Nutrigrain Bars 2.68 3.59 .91
Mini Raisins 1.98 2.49 .51
Fiber One Yogurt 2.00-1.00 2.69-2.00 (store+manuf.) .31
Ground Beef 2.78 5.28 2.50
Tuna Lunch 2 Go 1.72 2.09 .37
TOTAL 19.70 22.51 2.81 more at Kroger

    So, not exactly what I was hoping for. To give Kroger credit, there was a promotion going on that if you bought 10 certain items, you’d get $3.00 off (they were discounted .30 if you met the 10 required items) and I missed it by one item! So some items might’ve ended up the cheaper of the two had I kept better track of what I was buying (did I mention driving the Semi through there?). Still though, for all the work and extra driving that took place, I was hoping for a little more. Kroger isn’t that much further than my Walmart of choice, but it’s further.
    I have to admit that getting caught up in the coupon/sales paper hunting is fun for me. I’m a nerd, what can I say? But at the end of the day was it really all worth it? I did learn that Target actually has some decent prices on their dry good foods, cheaper than Kroger actually. I also learned that some of the sales at the drug stores can be worth it too (did I mention the $3.99 toilet paper?!). CVS also had Goldfish 2/$3 (way better than Kroger).
    So what’s my bottom line? I don’t think I’ll be leaving Walmart any time soon (groan with me everyone!). I think Kroger is worth it on some occasions, like when you have a store coupon uploaded to your Kroger card AND a manufacturers coupon. Or, even better, if Kroger is having a sale on something and you have those two coupons OR if you have a .50 coupon, which Kroger will double. But that’s only about 10 items, right? Is it worth it to me to make multiple trips to multiple places to complete my grocery shopping (what do you do with perishables when you’re hopping from store to store?)–I’m not convinced yet that it is. So, unless there’s a perfect storm of sale+coupons, you’ll probably find me at Walmart.

Pork Chops a la Giada

    Let me start off by saying that I got a little behind and began dinner a little late. I was rushed and trying to do about 5,783 other things (I’m a great multi-tasker), so when you plan on making a brand new recipe, give yourself the proper time to accomplish the task! It will come out better and you will enjoy the experience more :) The full recipe can be found here.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced. Note: I didn’t have any so I used garlic powder instead. Not ideal, but you gotta use what you got girl!
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced.
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning.
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese. Note: Out yonder (aka where I live), goat cheese is not readily available so I substituted Feta cheese and it was fantastic.
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese.
  • 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Note: I always make my own using bouillon cubes because it’s cheaper.
  • 1/2 lemon, zested. Note: Omitted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.

    The way Giada lists the ‘to-do’s’ in her recipe were out of order for me. I would start out by first cutting the pocket into the pork. After completing this, I would put the sauce together, even though it’s not used until later. I’m a Type A person and like to have everything mixed, set out, chopped up, etc before actually beginning the recipe, but that’s just me :) So now that you’ve done all that, back to Giada’s way.

    My cream cheese wasn’t all that great; it was the rectangular kind and not all that susceptible to smushing, which presented a problem for me.

Entirely too chunky!

    Buy the soft kind or try a blender or food processor? I just review ’em, I can’t always fix ’em :) After some laborious stirring, I got it to the consistency I remember seeing on the episode.

Bigger bowl, desired consistency

    Frozen spinach is just disgusting. I’m not even gonna lie. Squeezing the water out of it was not fun, but what Giada said, I tried to do! P.S. I think the spinach smells bad too, yuck. I want so badly to like frozen and cooked spinach, but so far, not good. Cooking the cream cheese/goat (or Feta) mixture went just fine. Smells kind of scary but press on.

    I was a little apprehensive about cutting a pocket into the pork chops and I’ve always avoided recipes that involved such a task. Why? Who knows, but it went great! I bought a two-pack instead of four because the two-pack chops looked thicker and more suited to having a pocket cut into them. Don’t cut too deep and slice your hand open. I’m very accident prone and you might be too–cut slowly.

Pork Pocket


    No surprises with the pocket stuffing, pretty straightforward. Giada and other recipes always say to cook meats like this four minutes per side. Does this ever get a meat done for anyone? Am I missing something!? It’s more like 10 minutes per side for me, if not more, and I’m a medium doneness kinda girl! The cooking from here on out went downhill for me :(

    Making a reduction. Pretty sure I’ve never succeeded. I tried though, I did! I let it simmer for the recommended eight minutes and it was still very liquid-y. So I thought, what the hay, my chops aren’t done either, lets cook it all together shall we? OH! I also squirted some regular mustard into the ‘sauce’ for some reason, um, so that’s completely up to you. Not a ton, but a few squirts.  Ok, back to the mess in the pan. Sauce and chops cooking together. Waiting for it to reduce. Daughter is standing on her knees on a chair ‘washing’ dishes in the sink. Next thing I know she’s tumbling off the chair–she’s totally fine, no worries. There were tears shed and a mess to be cleaned, sorry porkchops (a measuring cup full of water tumbled with her and I’m a sucker for a mess). Crisis solved, back to the stove I go, and lo and behold! My sauce has reduced…to a dried, burnt on hot mess. I was a little sad about not having a sauce, but the chops kept cooking and finally finished.


Bon appetite!

    So how was it?! DELCIOUS. I find it hard to make really flavorful pork for some reason. This was just insanely good. It didn’t look good, but it was flavorful and tangy from the feta and cream cheeses, moist. I gave daughter a few bites of pork and spinach mixture, looked up a few minutes later and it was gone! She didn’t like the spinach/cheese mixture alone, but with the pork she ate it up. I liked it all; seperate, together, whatever. Great. Now, husband abhors frozen spinach. In fact, the first thing he said when he finally saw it was, “Uh, you put spinach in it? I hate cooked spinach.” But he was in class and wouldn’t get some until later, re-heated…his verdict?

Husband rating: 8.5! He loved it :)

Would I make this for someone: Possibly. I’d want to make it again with the sauce, with plenty of time to make it. It also wasn’t that pretty? I mean, you can judge for yourself. I’d consider making this if I ever had a couple over for dinner, but no, I wouldn’t send this out to someone. Not really a traveling kind of meal.

Blogging, really?

Most people reading this are doing so because I thought they might be interested and told them about it. For those of you who stumbled here some other way--a little about myself. I’m a Christian. Not an awesome one, but I do love the Lord and my desire is to live in such a way that is pleasing to Him. Some people who know me might even be surprised by that, which means I haven’t done all that great a job, but I am a work in progress (Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus). Christian, check. I’m also a wife. I’m not trying to get stalked or anything crazy like that, so my name is wife and my husband’s name is husband. I love him bunches. Since this is introductory, I won’t go into a lot of detail about that, but I’m sure it’ll come up again. I’m also the mother of a darling angel named, you might have guessed it, daughter. She’s beyond description in the best possible way. I’m a daughter and sister too.
 I’m a stay at home mom, which is way harder than working outside the home. How do I know? Because I work evenings and midnights outside of the home too. I wouldn’t call my outside job hard,  but it just complicates things and causes me to be outside of the home where my real joy and love and work is, but I do have time to blog there! Ha! I’m old-fashioned. I cook and clean and grocery shop, all that jazz. Husband is great to help when I ask and sometimes even when I don’t. It’s dizzyingly exhausting some days, but shockingly rewarding too. I wouldn’t change it. Well, to be honest, that’s a lie; I would love to not have to work at all so that I could focus on what I think I do best, taking care of my family. Anyhow, I digress. 

So why one earth do I think I need to start a blog? Because I have hours of free time just sitting around waiting to be wasted, that’s why! Not really. I’m not sure why exactly. I love to talk about myself, obviously? No, not that. It started out because I try to cook dinner five or six nights a week (try, don’t judge me if I only make it to four or something) and I try to keep things poppin’ and mixed up, so it was going to be about my dinner adventures. I also make other random things: muffins, cookies, bread and so on in order to pass the time on slow days with daughter. Then I came up with a catchy name to include things beyond dinner, so that if I wanted to do a movie review one day it would fit within the parameters of my description. And so, Dinner & Discourse (D&D) begins.	 So that’s that. I’ll do it as often as I feel keen to and time permits. I’ve got my hands full, but I like to talk :) And smile, and share dinner and recipe ideas, etc.