Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five Free Shirts!

Thrift stores are a great way to save money on housewares and clothing, but every now and then you get great stuff at such a ridiculously low price that you wonder how anyone lives without shopping at thrift stores. Case in point: 5 long-sleeved shirts for free.

I recently signed up for the store's email and text alerts. Every so often I get a notification of a half off sale or a 50-cent sale in which every item of a certain color tag is $.50. One day I got a text letting me know that there was a half off sale that day. It also said that if I showed the text to the cashier, I would receive a coupon for $5 off my next purchase. When I went, I bought a few things for the house and a few books that were on my wishlist (I love it when that happens!). The coupon was good $5 off a minimum purchase of $5.

I inventoried the house and our wardrobes to see what we needed. I found that I only had 2 long-sleeved shirts that were fit to wear out of the house.

I went back a couple days later and found out that there was a 50-cent sale going on for blue colored tags. As I searched the shirt racks, I kept an eye out for all blue tags. I insisted that every shirt I would buy had to fit me well, feel wonderful and that the color complement me.
Four shirts were blue tags so they were $.50. The other shirt was $3. The cashier used the coupon before applying tax, so there was none. They were completely free!

What have been your best thrift store scores?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stove Top Pizza

Stove top pizza is a quick, easy and delicious meal. I consider it a convenience food, really, because if I make up a double batch of the pizza crust dough, I can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. When I'm ready to make pizza, I let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, then fry it on the stove top. Dinner will be ready with only 15 minutes of hands on work. My pizza crust dough is a variation of Valentino's Pizza Crust on This recipe makes two pizzas in a large skillet.

1 c hot tap water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 TB sugar

Add yeast and sugar to hot water and allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes until it becomes frothy.

Meanwhile, mix together 2 1/2 c flour, 2 TBSP oil of any kind, and a dash of salt. I like to replace half of the flour with whole grain flour, or up to 1/4 c with wheat or oat bran. I also add seasonings to the crust such as Italian seasoning, garlic powder or toasted sesame or poppy seeds. Sometimes for the oil, I use chili oil or a flavored olive oil. Mix in the yeast/water mixture. Allow to sit on the counter, covered, for at least 15 minutes, but I've allowed it to sit for up to 3 hours with no problems. While you are waiting, cut up any toppings you want to use: pepperoni, bacon, tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms. Have ready tomato sauce and cheese.

Divide in half. Shape into a circle just smaller than the size skillet you are going to use. Heat shortening (I haven't had luck using vegetable oil, but by all means try any oil you'd like to use; I've had good luck using bacon fat also) on your skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is melted and hot, place your dough into the skillet and cover. Allow to cook until there is steam built up on the lid. Carefully remove the lid. At this time, press corn meal into what is currently the top of the crust. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Immediately top with enough tomato sauce to cover, all toppings and a generous topping of cheese. Cover. Turn the heat down to low-medium. Fry until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

So how does it turn out? My only real problem with it is that I like to have crisp, browned cheese on the top of my pizza. The cheese on this pizza never browns, just melts and the steam build up changes the texture a bit. Trucker loves this pizza more than a home-oven-baked pizza because the crust is crispy and sturdy. You can really load on the toppings and it will hold up.

This is perfect, not only if you have a broken oven, but will be perfect in the summer when the last thing I want to do is heat up the kitchen. It's also quicker and more energy efficient than heating an entire oven to make pizza for two.

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