Friday, April 10, 2009

A Story About The Frugal Maven

Once, several years ago, I fell in a manhole. I am not known for my ability to walk and often congratulate myself when I realize that it may have been at least two weeks since I have fallen publicly and injured something that I will have to have replaced in about 10 more years. Like a knee. Anyway, several years ago I worked for a hospital that shall remain nameless except don't take anyone you love there and it's in downtown Louisville. I had to report to work at 6 a.m. for my crappy paying job where I worked in the lab across from a person named Karen. I could watch her beard grow and by the time I left in the afternoons she needed a shave. Every day. It was the most interesting thing about working there.

One morning I was meandering across the parking lot and onto the grassy divide when all of a sudden whoosh! Down I went, straight into a manhole whose cover was not where the cover is supposed to be, like on the manhole. My manhole was not fabulous and did not say "Ville de Paris" like the one pictured above. My manhole cover, if I could have found it, probably said,"I have been moved from my rightful spot so watch out when you walk across the grassy divide or you will find yourself assdeep in sewage and lose one of your good flats and have to be trundled into the hospital in a wheelchair".

I was not the only one to suffer, though. An elderly gentleman was idling in his gigantic yellow Cadillac with his lights on directly in front of me waiting to pick someone up from the night shift. When I went whoosh I apparently disappeared before his very eyes. He thought I had vanished and came flying out of the car screaming, "Oh sweet Jesus! Oh, she's gone! She was right there and she's gone!" He actually attracted more attention than I did and took longer to calm down.

Here's two of the reasons among many why I quit that job soon thereafter. One, my supervisor came to the E.R. where I was ensconced, sans one flat, with a sprained ankle and a very bruised hip and in a wheelchair and informed me that she would have to mark me late if I didn't report for work soon. And two months later I got a bill for $16 for the single footie they gave me to wear in lieu of my shoe that was floating out to the Ohio River.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Going On Vacation!

Frugal Maven and Travis McGee are headed to the beach! Neither of us could be happier. We are long overdue for some rest and relaxation. There are lots of wonderful things going on in the next week while we vacate. Here are some of them:

  1. I don't have to set an alarm or punch a timeclock.
  2. Travis doesn't have to unclog toilets or let tenants into their apartments at 2 a.m. 'cause they left their keys somewhere.
  3. My brother and his wife and three kids will be with us for the first three days. Can't wait to see them. They've already been there for a week so we overlap and get just enough together time.
  4. Our friends are throwing a party while we're there. We'll see lots of old friends and maybe meet some new ones.
  5. It's 84 degrees there today. Yay sunshine.
  6. We get to do Easter Sunrise service on the beach.
  7. We're taking one of our pups with us to help fill up the king-size bed.
  8. I can get a Rolli pork sandwich which is like juicy pig heaven falling off of a squishy bun.
  9. I'll have time to shave both my legs instead of a swipe per day which is how I usually roll.
  10. My freckles will have a chance to meld into what passes for a tan after the burn goes away.
  11. I'm going to do a giveaway while I'm en vacance. Stay tuned for info and pictures of the Maven and Travis being the laziest people on the planet.

We start driving in the a.m. Fourteen hours and we'll be looking at palm trees!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Little Bit Of Luxury

Every now and then even the frugallest of Frugal Mavens needs a bit of luxury. This Frugal Maven has a scarf fetish to go with the shoe and purse and glove fetish and the nonceasing purchase of books. No wonder we can't afford to buy laundry detergent and have to make it instead. While cruising a consignment shop this weekend I scored this fabulous find, a cashmere/silk Pucci scarf, stunningly modeled by long-suffering Benz. It was $79, way, way, way off its' original cost but still a pricey purchase for someone in frugal mode. Well, I really don't care. Sometimes you just have to spend a little mad money. I wore my new used scarf today since it is winter again this week in Kentucky. And I looked marvelous and felt marvelous. Worth every penny!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Proctor & Gamble Deals

Proctor & Gamble is quite ambitious about relieving consumers of their money. They routinely offer coupons and samples to get people interested in their products. One of the easiest ways to make use of their deals is to sign up for P & G Esavers. Once a month P & G offers coupons that are loaded onto your grocery card. You choose the coupons you want and the grocery you use and they come off automatically when these products are purchased. They also have a great printable list of your coupons so you can keep track of what you have.
These coupons are stackable with other coupons. Here's an example: I have $1.00 off coupon for Tampax tampons on my esaver. I also have a paper manufacturer's coupon for .50 off. Recently 18 packs were on sale for $3.35 at Kroger. I can get the sale price of $3.35 minus $1.00 esaver minus .50 paper coupon doubled makes them $1.35. Bargain!
The P & G company comprises tons of different brands. The coupons tend to be heavy on Tide, Crest, Bounty and Bounce but all sorts of things show up on the list. It's just one more way to keep more money in your pocket and less in theirs.
For more deals, also try Cellfire and Shortcuts, two other sites that load directly onto your grocery card.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lard Is Back!

Yesterday we had real sugar--today we have real fat. Thanks to Fiedler Farms, purveyors of fine grass-fed, chemical-free pork, lamb and beef, I have real honest-to-goodness lard! Back in the day we always cooked with lard until Wesson and margarine took over. Still, biscuits were always made with lard. Other than the yellow and white bucket on the bottom shelf of the oils in the grocery, I don't think I've even seen lard in years.
Apparently, while the rest of us were trying to low-fat ourselves to death, lard has been making a stealthy, slow comeback. Real unhydrogenized lard has no trans fats. Grocery store lard has them, as do corn oil and most other oils. Olive and coconut oils are exceptions. Originally oil along with many other foodstuffs were and continue to be hydrogenized to extend the shelf life. Made to last until only the cockroaches are still around to use it.
I paid two bucks per pound for 4 lbs of this creamy, rich, melty goodness. I then immediately made a batch of beef stew just so I could fry cornbread in some lard to go with it. And it was good. I mean real good. It had that crispy texture that is perfection and the lightness that goes with cooking in something that doesn't impart a heavy flavor, just an airy taste that is hard to describe. I'm going to make some biscuits soon just to watch them rise and get fluffy and get that slight crunchiness that makes them perfect. Then I'm going to make a pie crust and make fried apple pies and use lard in the crust and then fry them in lard hoping to recreate a taste that has eluded me since I was about 10 years old. And then I'm going to have to live on my Healthrider.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Kosher Coke Time!

It's Spring, and that means lamb on sale and Kosher Coke, two things the Frugal Maven loves! If you are not familiar with Kosher Coke, it's Coke that is made using sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Coke with sugar is not in and of itself kosher, but keeping kosher during Passover means imbibing no HFCS so part of the production run is made this way. This is all second hand information, incidentally, as I am not Jewish but a poorly represented Baptist who is worshipping at St. New York Times this morning.
Most grocery stores will carry at least some of this product and occasionally it will be advertised as such, at least during most of April. We have friends who stock up for half the year when it becomes available. It tastes like I remember it tasting back when I was a kid before the 80's came and Coke ruined their recipe in favor of the almighty dollar and worshipping at the altar of Monsanto and Con Agra. Not helpful to you, I know, but that's the only way I can describe it.
If you decide the non-HFCS is the way to go, there are other avenues to get your fix. If you spend much time in the international foods aisle of your local grocery chain, occasionally you may see a few bottled packs of Coke in with the Hispanic foods. Chances are, these are HFCS free as this is how Coke is sold in Mexico and many groceries will accomodate their Hispanic clientele. Or hit a Mexican grocery. We have about twenty or thirty in our city. Many of them carry Mexican Coke and tons of other stuff you've never seen and won't know you need until you're there.
Additionally, Pepsi is joining the bandwagon and not just for Passover. They have announced that they will be launching Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, both HFCS-free. I haven't seen these products yet but look forward to giving them a try.
If you feel, as we do here at the Basilica, that less is more and HFCS is one ingredient that needs to get less play in our diet, then vote with your dollars while these products are available. Tell your grocer, drop an email to the manufacturer, tell someone else and help make them more aware of what they are consuming. We are trying to limit manufactured additives as much as possible and really want to save our empty calories for things that truly can't be done without, like Toaster Strudels, one of the great chemical compositions of the 20th century. Funny thing is, I really don't drink soft drinks much at all. I'm an iced tea girl from way back but when I want a Coke I want a real one. Happy Passover, Spring, Easter and all that. Tomorrow-- lard. We're going real old school!