Not only is Krispy Kreme giving away donuts, but Ben & Jerry's is giving away free scoops of ice cream on Tuesday. And for this one, you don't have to have voted; it's just a celebration of the election. Yum!
If you're planning on voting on Tuesday, you can get a free donut from Krispy Kreme! I assume if you kept your sticker from early voting you could use that too.
Time Warner and NBC must have worked out their agreement, because yesterday I noticed that NBC is back! Now I can finally watch The Office live again!

I got a day off from tutoring today, so I decided to work from home so that I could make some yummy beef stew that I made last winter and Brian has been asking for for a while now. It takes over three hours, but it is definitely worth it! I use our cast iron dutch oven that my Aunt Emily and Uncle Rodney got us for our wedding. (Thanks, Rachel, for writing down who got me what!) Anyway, here's the recipe.



Hearty Beef and Potato Stew (Cooking Light, month/year unknown)

Cooking spray
16 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups chopped onion
3 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1.5 cups chopped carrot
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1.75 teaspoons salt
.5 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1.25 cups water, divided
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2.5 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
Chopped parsley (optional)
2 (8-ounce) baguettes, each cut into 6 equal portions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic; saute 1 minute or until garlic just begins to brown. Remove garlic from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add onion to garlic. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef to pan; saute 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add beef and any accumulated juices to onion mixture. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add remaining beef to pan; saute 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add beef and any accumulated juices to onion mixture.
Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef mixture. Stir in carrot, rosemary, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Add 1 cup water, broth, and tomatoes; stir to combine. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; cover and bake at 300 degrees for 1.5 hours. Remove from oven; uncover and stir in potatoes. Combine remaining .25 cup water and flour; stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir flour mixture into stew. Cover and bake an additional 1.5 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serve with bread. Yield: 12 servings (about 1 cup stew and 1 portion bread).

Here's a link from BeCentsAble to save $2 off Kashi TLC Cereal Bars. I haven't tried these, but every Kashi product I've bought has been good.
BeCentsAble had a good post today about how to donate to charity even when money is tight. I think it's a great idea to always keep trying to help others out; volunteering is another way to help that is free (besides gas and time)! I'm tutoring again this semester, but when I stop, or during the Christmas break, I'm going to look into volunteering at a pet shelter. I love playing with dogs!
I've been wondering for a while what is going on with my rose bushes out front. The last owner of the house planted them just before putting the house on the market, so they are only about 4 months old. The one on right right side of the garage is nice and full, and the flowers are beautiful!

The one on the left side, however, not so much. Some of the leaves are turning brown near the bottom of the plant, and it just hasn't had much growth at all. I noticed when it poured a week or so ago that it bloomed again, so I have been watering it every day to see if that helps, and it has a bit of new growth but it is still slow. I wondered if being inbetween sidewalk, a driveway, and the house meant that it wasn't getting enough water. I have also fertilized with some Miracle-Gro pellets that time-release fertlizer for up to three months, and some of the pellets are still there. But then, when it bloomed again, I noticed something - it's a different variety of rose all together!

These are the blooms on the right side - round and different colors of pink.

On the left, the petals are much more pointed. I haven't done my research yet, but maybe this variety doesn't do as well in Texas weather and/or soil. If so, maybe I should swap it out with one of the other kind so that it can catch up in size. Anyone have any ideas?
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I read some in a book that Brian got for me from the Round Rock Library, "Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver" (which by the way, is an awesome book), about planting seeds. It warned against planting seeds in potting soil, which has a lot of nutrients. Since the seed itself contains all of the nutrients it needs, the extra nutrients from the soil may overwhelm it, cause the inital sprout to shoot up high, and then it may fall over. Sounds like my lettuce! It recommends using a "sterile germination mix especially designed for seed-starting." Guess I'll have to do that for the spring!
I made money again! Woohoo! I forgot to take a picture of what I bought, but it was:

2 Bic Comfort Advance Disposable Razors, 4.99 with $4 ECB each, with a $2 coupon each = profit of $1 each (I had two more coupons and the limit was 4, but I could only find the two after going to three different stores. I shouldn't have waited until 10am!).
4 SoyJoy bars, $4 total with $4 EBC, and two B1G1 free coupons = profit of $2.

That was it for the profit stuff. I also grabbed some soda:

4 12-packs of Dr. Pepper for $12 with $3 ECB = $2.25 each.

So, overall, pretty good!
So it seems that the garden is having a bit of trouble. The lettuce that I planted in pots inside and then moved outside are probably dead. When I moved them outside, the small sprouts fell over and have never gotten back up. I'm going to bring them back inside and see if that will help them. The two rosemary sprigs that I planted in dirt aren't doing well either; the leaves are starting to turn brown! I guess that the root starter is pretty important. Oops! The one in the glass of water is still green, though, and has started to grow some very tiny roots. Hopefully that one will keep going so that I can plant it. My tomato plants have some brown spots on the lower leaves. I read some today and I hope it's not blight; I'm going to have to check the spots out again once it is light outside to diagnose it correctly. If it is blight, there is no cure and they basically have to get thrown out. The bell peppers, onions, and garlic are doing well, though. I spread some Preen pre-emergence seed killer between the plants to stop the weeds from growing. It seems to be working pretty well. I still have some weeding to do, but that is clearly not going to be avoidable.

I went to HEB today to get some sugar cookie mixes that were on clearance (they expire in a few weeks). They were on sale for $0.41 and I had a $0.40 coupon for each, so I only paid a penny for each one! Tomorrow morning I will go to CVS again, and this is going to be a decent week there. It looks like I will make about $6 profit from disposable razors and Soy Joy bars. Let's hope they have everything I want!

And if anyone needs a Halloween shirt, Old Navy has some for $1. If you are one of the first 100 customers tomorrow (or today, but it's a little late for that), you get a game card with a certain number of dollars off of your purchase, up to $150. I got $5, which I was happy with!