Monday, July 20, 2015

Great Deals and Home Improvement

So many deals!

Saving more than I spent is awesome!
So This is part of my Grocery Outlet haul from last week. I loaded up on some basic spices until I find a store that sells bulk. They have very inexpensive spices, (some organic, some not) and they have a pretty decent selection. I was able to score Italian seasoning, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried sage, red curry powder, and lemon pepper. And a huge jar of crushed red pepper. Gotta have my spice! The box of organic green tea has one hundred bags, and it was $2.49! I found a box of Cascade Farms organic berry vanilla puff cereal for $.99!!! I was not allowed to eat sugary cereals as a child, so this will be a new, special treat! I also found a bag of Bear Naked coconut almond curry granola for I can't remember, but it was under two dollars. Yes, the granola has curry powder! I think it sounds interesting, and I know that I would never try it at regular prices. I later realized that the Boom Chicka Puffs have honey, so although they were a great price,  they are not vegan. These will go on to a loving, non-vegan family. The biggest score I found is coconut oil. They have several different brands, all or most organic, and it is such a steal!! I got a huuuuge, 56 ounce tub for ten dollars! This thing will meet all of my beauty and cooking needs for I don't know how long, but maybe forever! The receipt picture isn't showing the info as much as I had hoped, but the end result is I saved more than I spent! I love Grocery Outlet because as a person on a tight budget that has now gotten tighter, I can't afford to splurge on foods that I know I like, let alone things I've never tried. If you have a Grocery Outlet anywhere near you, I promise it's worth the trip. I like seeing discounted food stores selling healthy choices in addition to the crap. I'm all for people having the right to choose what they put in their bodies, but that means having healthy foods as an option too. So many discounted grocery stores sell the worst of the worst, and nothing slightly good. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore eating healthy can be expensive. Whole Foods is not an option for many people, for many reasons, including myself. Healthy food should not be only for people with money. I could talk for days on this topic. So, to reign it in I'm very grateful to have access to a Grocery Outlet again!
Today is a week that I've been in my new place, and I gotta say the world is much brighter. I was seriously questioning my decision to move here, why did I do it, what was I thinking, and so on and so forth. I still don't know if Seattle is the final place for me, but I know I'm getting closer, and I know Erie PA. was most definitely not for me. Anyway, life is great, the felines are finally getting used to the city noises. My apartment in Erie was on a residential, relatively quiet street. The loudest sound was the street sweeper. I think they are all understanding that this is home now. They're starting to claim they're favorite areas to sleep/lounge. I plan on taking some pictures, but first I have to fix a very pressing issue. For some reason, the powers that be for this complex thought it would be amazing to make statement walls in the living room and bedroom. I'm all for that idea, but they chose a burnt sienna for the statement! My statement is I'm gagging. No offense if you like that color, but it is not a color that I like, and it actually pisses me off. Luckily, you're allowed to paint over it, as long as you return it to burnt sienna when you move. So, today I'm getting paint, and I'm going to paint over the ugly! I'm planning on going with an eggplant purple, or the closest I can ge in that family. It's going to be beautiful. My plan is get supplies today, and deal with the internet guy, and then paint tomorrow! The sienna wall in my bedroom is the wall that my bed is against, and I swear it's giving me bad dreams when I sleep. So, I will take before and after pics of my home improvement mission. I hope I don't end up with too many paw prints in the paint.
Happy Monday!


  1. This is an amazing haul with incredible savings! Too bad about the Boom Chicka Puffs - they look like they might have been a fun snack :-/. I think you hit paydirt though with the organic green tea boxes (.025 cents a tea bag) and the 56 oz. NUCO Organic Refined Coconut Oil ! Those are exciting savings!:-) When I get back, I might just have to go on a foraging mission into one of these Grocery Outlets. I get the idea that it's kind of a combo warehouse grocery store / flea market experience, where you need time to search through shelves not knowing what items or bargains you'll find.

    The burnt siena color feels dry, like a desert . . .so I am not a fan of that color either. Colors in your home can have an impact on your mood, so it's no surprise that burnt sienna may be responsible for your unpleasant dreams.

    Here's what one article says about eggplant purple:

    "Purple in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic, and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury as well as creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly." See"

    Good luck with your paint project!

    1. Grocery Outlet is exactly like a warehouse/flea market. I find it's best to go there before you do you're regular grocery shopping, because you're right, you never know what you're going to find. It's such an amazing way to save money, and be able to afford some of the fun vegan specialty items. They also have amazing deals on various hummus brands. It's one of my favorite stores. They also have great deals on hemp, chia, and flax seed!
      Today is the last morning I have to look at this burnt sienna. I also have a used coffee table with some glass marks on top, so I'm going to paint the top of the table with chalkboard paint, so I can write notes to myself on my table! Deep purple is a very calming color for me, and I so want my life to be calm, so I think it's going to really make my home feel like home.
      It's getting closer and closer to you're amazing trip. You must be getting excited!!

    2. Well, I was having an introductory skyping conversation with the Chef who prepares all the food for the 50+ sanctuary staff, visitors and volunteers. We were discussing vegan meals during my stay there, which are relatively easy to convert from most vegetarian options. (As you know, there are no meat meals there, except for the obligate carnivore wildlife) He said he'll take me to the local markets once I get there and show me around, how to buy food, etc. He's going to teach me how to make something called nsima (which seems to be like polenta), mandazi, chapattis, masamba and hot plantain crisps or chips?

      Then, he asked if I wanted to use the kitchen facilities to prepare my own food during his days off. So, I said yes, that would be really appreciated. And, then he says: "Good, I will let everyone here know you'll be cooking vegan meals on my days off." Shocked, I quickly responded that I am not a professionally trained chef and that I am not familiar with Malawian cuisine. Plus, I have never made meals for fifty-some people. He says, you know what you like to eat, so you know how to prepare the food best. We like to try new food. Whatever you make for one person, just repeat it 50 times."

      So, he emails me a list of fruits and vegetables (odd, no grains?) that I can expect to easily find there for me to start creating menus for his days off. He takes one day off per week. If he wasn't joking around, I think I am now also responsible for cooking meals for over 50 people one day per week, during the time I am at the main sanctuary. This could be maybe 13 days worth of vegan meal prep (times 3 meals per day) not counting the 3-week orientation, which is mostly off-site, in-the-field and sometimes in Zambia.

      I am awed by the sheer thought of this massive vegan meal mission. This is serious business and if the staff doesn't like the vegan meals, it will really bother me. I know there's going to be at least 11 more people from all over the world in my team to help with the wildlife rescuing and caring responsibilities. I've been thinking of asking a couple of them for help. What do you think? Do you have any ideas?

      On Friday, I am scheduled for a 20 minute conversation with the vet there. I have a lot of questions but now I’m thinking to be more careful otherwise she might volunteer me for something else like walking the lions before I’m confident enough to face the danger!

    3. Wow, that is a "how did I get myself into this" moment! I would be so intimidated! I get very nervous cooking for one or two people, let alone fifty plus! I hope he was joking, but it kind of sounds like he was serious!
      I would be thinking stews and soups for sure. A nice hearty vegan stew, a big salad, and maybe if yo can find some bread to sop it up. You should definitely ask someone for help. For a professional cook fift people might be a breeze, but for anyone else, just wow. If it helps, I am intimidated for you!
      Here's one of my all time favorite stews ever in the history of stew. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like, and it seems like it would be easy enough to increase the recipe. I will definitely think of ideas over the next few days.
      I would use extreme caution when talking to the vet! I don't mean to laugh, it's just I'm glad I'm not alone in getting myself into awkward situations. Maybe this will

    4. My sentence got cut off! Maybe this will add to the life changing adventure you're getting ready to go on??

    5. Thanks for the recipe and the assistance. And I would definitely appreciate any other ideas. The life-changing has already begun as this unexpected responsibility has made me nervous and affected my sleeping.

    6. I bet. Remember you can always change your mind and say no. It shouldn't have a negative impact on your life, or the rest of your trip. Maybe check out some vegan party cookbooks, or cooking for crowds kind of books. I just realized, you have to do all three meals don't you, not just dinner? Yikes!