A coupon miracle.

Want to save 50% at the supermarket? Here's help.The last time I visited my daughter I lost my coupon holder, a black nylon wallet with pasteboard dividers. FLOUR/SUGAR. CRACKERS/SNAX/DESSERTS. DAIRY PRODUCTS. TOILETRIES. FROZEN FOODS.

I emptied my backpack and suitcase. Nothing. We took the place apart but couldn’t find it. Abby called the stores we’d visited. No luck.

This truly bummed me out, and not just because of the coupons it held. I’d had the holder for at least 25 years after ordering it from a Parade magazine ad, and it had seen a lot of hard use.


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Eaters of pie.

thToday being Pi Day I joined the who-knows-how-many folks across the country (and maybe around the world) celebrating mathematics through pastry.

I rarely jump on bandwagons, probably because so few involve pies.

What I should have done was kick back with a book, given how hard I’ve been working on my just-launched writing course. Yet every time I bake a pie I think, “Damn, this is good! Why don’t I do this more often?”

Probably because I’m busy with other things, or because desserts like rice or tapioca pudding are so much simpler. However, since our springlike weather (temps in the 30s) disappeared and we’re back to zero or thereabouts, I decided a little comfort baking was in order.


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thSince last Thursday I’ve eaten very little: toast, dabs of oatmeal, a cup of tomato soup, hard-boiled eggs, a bit of yogurt. In part that’s because nothing tastes good when you’re sick. But it’s also because prolonged coughing spells left my abdominal muscles so strained I frequently felt queasy.

All I could manage this morning was some cocoa, and nothing after that until almost 2 p.m. At that time I knew I should eat something, but what? More oatmeal? Yum.

That’s when I saw the German Butterball spuds DF had brought up from the basement storage. My mind went instantly to mashed potatoes with plenty of butter and salt and pepper.


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A mess of beans.

th-1The temperature is about five below zero, which isn’t unusual for an Anchorage winter. Even though we’re hard by Cook Inlet, it still gets chilly in the winter.

This hasn’t been an ordinary winter, though. We’ve had hardly any snow and temperatures in the 30s and even the low 40s, which is just against God. When it finally started snowing the other day even non-skiers like me were greatly relieved.

But apparently my blood has thinned, because as the thermometer settled toward the zero mark I was unreasonably cold. Wool socks weren’t keeping my feet warm. A fleece layer was necessary even in the car. I considered pulling out the long johns and maybe even zipping my coat.

Clearly what was needed was a mess of beans.


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The bonus turkey.

thIf you’re still seeing good prices on Meleagris gallopavo in your local supermarket, buy an extra one. In fact, buy the biggest one your freezer can hold.

Here’s why.

Last month we bought a bonus 20-pounder, i.e., one not for Thanksgiving. After DF cooked it on the Weber we wound up with 18 pounds of meat and more than a quart of broth for future soup or gravy.

We gave ourselves extra Frugal Points for skimming the cooled fat off the top and freezing it for future sautéing purposes, and for picking tiny bits of meat off the boiled-down carcass. Hey, we got enough for three turkey salad sandwiches – and we ate them that week, because we weren’t sick of the bird yet.

That’s because it was the week before Thanksgiving and we hadn’t already undergone an unending series of turkey leftovers, hot turkey sandwiches, creamed turkey, turkey soup and turkey surprise. Those 18 pounds of bonus turkey went first into quart-sized canning jars and then into the pressure canner.


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