Friday, April 27, 2012

Amazon's Best Kept Secret - apparently one either LOVES it or HATES (but secretly even the ones who profess to hate it still love it at least a litte!)

I personally think it's great - my orders are shipped free (mostly - some things don't qualify) and arrive in two days (or less) because we have a Prime membership.  From October thru January the UPS guy(s) and I are on a first name basis!

But what I'm really learning to love about Amazon is their "subscription"  feature.  Anything you use on a fairly regular basis is probably available via subscription to

Example:  I love to cook (might not have mention that before) and often use stock - chicken, beef, vegetable, occasionally turkey.  I suppose I could make it from scratch but until recently it involved time (which I don't always have) and tossing of whatever meat was used (which seemed very wasteful).  Couldn't see myself doing that.

Stock-in-a-box is a great option but if you're like me and don't want to make another special trip to the grocery store for that one item (see previous posts) it isn't ideal and storing it takes up a LOT of space. 

I couldn't even tell you how I discovered this but somehow during one of my seredipitous wanderings on the Amazon site I stumbled across:
Savory Choice Chicken Broth Concentrate, 5.1-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4)
  • Savory Choice Chicken Broth Concentrate - little tubes of concentrate that take up practically no space and are delivered right to my door.  The webpage also shows that I could Subscribe to this product and have it shipped automatically at whatever interval I choose!  And if that weren't fantastic enough, subscribers automatically get free shipping and 15% off of the Amazon current price.  WHAT A DEAL!!!
Naturally I signed up!  There is absolutely no downside to this idea.  I control how often it will ship and Amazon is great about notifying me in advance of their shipment.  That way if I need to "skip" a shipment, I can simply click on the button and decline that shipment.  Conversely, if I somehow run out between scheduled shipments, I can ask Amazon to go ahead and send my next shipment immediately.  There is no penalty at all - I can cancel or make any changes to my subscription at any time.

The only problem I've encountered is trying to actually explore all 23,000 items available for subscription (Amazon only loads about 8-10 items at a time which limits the amount of time I can remain seated at the computer!), but so far, I've found a number of things that I just like to get more conveniently:
  • Savory Choice Liquid Beef Broth Concentrate (every 6 months) and Savory Choice Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth Concentrate (every month - go thru that a lot!)
  • If You Care Unbleached Large Baking Cups (6 months)  Okay I won't go thru them all in 6 months (even though I share a shipment with Jenny) but figured I'd just skip the next shipment until I actually do need them.  No point in paying full price if I don't have to!
  • Let's Do Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (6 months - can't make granola without it!)
  • Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (3 months)
  • Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour (6 months - we really like Belgian waffles!)
  • Kitchens of India Paste for Butter Chicken Curry (6 months - won't go thru it that often but this stuff is scrumptious and really handy to have on hand to make a quick meal!)
  • Twinings Earl Grey Team K-Cup for Keurig Brewers (6 months)  I don't have a machine but Jenny does and I thought I'd get some to have at her place so I can have a cup of tea when visiting!
  • Stonewall Kitchen All Natural Jam Collection (6 months)
I haven't made it thru all 23,000 items (nowhere near!)  which include not only grocery items but also household cleaning supplies, baby care, office supplies, automotive, and pet supplies. As you can see I'm rather eclectic in my choices just yet but I've been more than happy with this service from Amazon and will no doubt be adding to my list of subscriptions soon!

~later, tw

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Want to Save LOTS of $$ on your groceries?

This being Thursday today I received my weekly "box" - a large box of organic produce delivered to my front step each week.

A year or so ago I saw an article in the paper about a local produce company that delivers produce to your door.  How amazing it that?!?!  Turns out it was the same company that my niece (Beth) had delivering produce when she and her husband lived out in the Alaska bush country (Kotzebue).  AND it was also the very same company that was delivering produce to our friends, Jeff & An.

Full Circle

I cannot recommend Full Circle Farm highly enough!!!

Here's why:
  • I actually save $$ each month - more than enough to justify having them deliver to my door each week!  I also seem to have plenty of "proteins"  in my freezer and still go to my local grocery to stock up on sales.  But I find myself not making the (often) daily trip to the store - a "quick" trip for one little thing for dinner, only to find myself out the store an hour later with a $75 bill because I saw something I just had to have.
  • It's fun!  On Friday at noon I get to see what's coming in next week's box.  Even if it looks pretty darn good to me, I always check to see what I could "trade" for (substitute) because sometimes I just don't want green kale, red kale and swiss chard all in the same week.  We certainly have our favorites (I've totally rediscovered how much I love swiss chard - something my grandpa grew when I was a kid.  I don't remember really loving it as a child but then I don't remember my mom frying up some bacon, sauteing some shallots, adding the chard and some chicken broth, braising for 30-45 minutes while getting the rest of dinner finished and adding that splash of red wine vinegar at the end to complete the dish.  Actually come to think of it, I don't really remember my mom having shallots, chard or red wine vinegar as staples in our house!) 
  • It's educational.  I've discovered vegetables I never knew anything about.  Some have turned out to be treats (see chard/kale above), some were interesting but too labor-intensive to want to see again (fava beans - though they do go well with a nice chianti!) and some (not many...actually at this point only one) will not make a reappearance anytime soon in my box (Jerusalem Artichokes - which oddly are neither from Jerusalem NOR artichokes - are just not interesting enough to use up one of my weekly choices).
  • It's fun!  I know I already used that reason but it really is.  Who doesn't like get a package? Each week on Thursday morning before 5 am (in the 1 1/2 yr. that we've been getting boxes, they've only missed twice!) I have a package on my doorstep.  It's quite a big box (we get the Garden size box.  I thought about downsizing to the new slightly smaller Sprout box but we actually eat the veggies - all of them - with little/no waste so until that changes we're staying with the bigger box!) filled with 12-14 "treats" - both fruits and vegetables.
  • It's soooo convenient!  Full Circle has expanded their options/services so they now have 4 different sizes of boxes, and though you are limited to what day you will have produce delivered (either to your home or to a nearby drop location), they are so responsive if you want to make changes:  promptly responding to any emails I send, correcting any delivery problems, vacation holds, whatever!
Seriously folks!  If you are in Washington, Idaho, Alaska, (and soon) SF Bay area, you should check out Full Circle Farm.  You won't be disappointed!  (Tell them I sent you!)

~later, tw

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm watching my own blog now...

I have a little routine - each day after Gerry goes out the door, I head to my computer with my teapot and mug and start checking out the latest.  First I check my girls' blogs because I love to see what they (and their boys) are up to.  Then I check out the blogs of our "adopted" kids because they each have a little girl of their own (so I have SIX grandchildren to check up on).  I know these kids are busy with their kids and jobs and life in general (translation = not enough photos/updates for me) but I try to be patient.

I, however, really haven't as much of an excuse for not updating.  I always mean to...but something else seems to come up.  I will try to be better.  (It's like sending Christmas cards - you get lots more if you send them out first!  So I must strive to be a better example for my kids.)

The real telling moment was when I realized that I'm actually watching my own blog these days.  Not to check out the little that I've posted but because I've added The Pioneer Woman Cooks to my list of blogs to watch.  If you're not checking out her recipes, you're really missing something!  And darn her, she's got a new wonderful thing for me to try at least every other day.

So now you know - you don't have far to look.  It's right next to my blog (usually near the top of the list).  Tonight I'm trying her Cauliflower Soup because I've got a head of cauliflower from my "box" that was just looking for a recipe!