January 26, 2015

My Target Addiction: 9 Tips for Getting the Best Deal at Target

If I put a band together, I will probably call it My Target Addiction.

Target is one of those places that reminds me of the the local grocery stores of the past. Our relationship with our local Target is not just commercial. I mean sure, the sweatpants I'm currently wearing and the cup my daughter is drinking out of, and the pillow behind my back are all from Target. And yes, Target is where we bought the ONLY sheets that would not slide off our mattress. We buy groceries, clothes, toiletries, housewares, and a lot of other things we need at Target. I'm typing this to you right now, and as I look around at my house I can point to everything we bought at Target.

However, we know the employees at our Target. We talk to them. When Brian and I were first married, on the nights he worked much later than me, I would grab a small cup of tea and walk around Target for about an hour because I didn't want to head home to an empty house. Target is where I would push a newborn baby around in a stroller when it was raining. Target is where I picked up baby reflux medicine and the kind pharmacist showed us how to use it. Target Optical is where they first diagnosed me with optic nerve swelling, and I got an early diagnosis. Target Clinic is where I go to see my favorite nurse practitioner when I cannot get in to see my doctor.

However, unlike most people I don't think I've ever paid full price for anything at Target. A.) I'm cheap and B.) Because at some point Target will have a deal on it.

With these simple tips and tricks you too will know how to spend wisely at Target.

1.) Target RedCard (credit or debit). This allows you to save 5% off of every single purchase made at Target.

2.) Pharmacy Rewards. Sign up for Pharmacy Rewards and have your scripts moved over to Target. Every time you move a new prescription over to Target or you have up to 6 prescriptions filled at Target you get a 5% off your entire purchase coupon.

3.) Download the Target Cartwheel App. This is a FREE app with additional offers to those to download it. There are two ways to use it. You can look through it and add certain offers offers onto your Cartwheel to scan at checkout OR you can scan the items in your cart to see if they currently have a deal. Some items are always on Cartwheel and you can save every time you shop: like milk and cheese.

4.) Clearance Schedule. I know my local Target Clearance and Sale Schedules. I also ask my sales associates or managers when this might change. For example at my Target I know

Monday:Electronics, Kids Clothes, Baby Stuff, Accessories
Tuesday:Women's Clothes, Pets
Wednesday: Men's Clothes, Furniture, Health & Beauty
Thursday: Housewares, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Home Decor
Friday: Auto, Hardware, Jewelry

This means if I have my eye something I wait and see what day of the week it is before I buy it.

5.) Seasonal Cycles. It is good to know seasonal cycles at Target. For example,  right now we are in the midst of what I like to call "ORGANIZE/BULK/HEALTH" time at Target. This means this is the time of year in the seasonal section at Target when organizational items, workout clothes and sporting things, and bulk foods and items are available in the seasonal section. This also means that in a few weeks they are going to want to clear this section out to make room for what I like to call "SPRING INSANITY" stuff, which is all the planters, gardening stuff, outdoor decor and furniture, lawn toys for kids and the like. So to clear it out they will put it all on sale. There is always a rotation so if you have your eye on some hand weights, wait a week or two they might go on sale to make room for some patio furniture.

6.) Shop the end caps first. Some of the best deals I have found on sheets, towels, dishes, cups, table linens, or toss pillows are on the end caps. Especially, when it comes to home decor or housewares. These items typically follow the seasons, and are switched out often. The end caps are where Target puts older sale things to make room newer non sale items. 

7.) Goodwill and Target. Did you know that Target will donate things it cannot sell to local Goodwill stores who will sell it at even steeper discounts? 

8.) Don't forget your bags! Target will reward you for bringing your reusable shopping bags by giving you a $.05 discount for every reusable bag used.

9.) Text Coupons. Make sure to ask a sales associate or look on the shelf if there are text coupons available. Sometimes there are signs indicating text coupons for items available that will not exclude Cartwheel or other discounts.

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

January 13, 2015

Winter Pot Roast over Mashed Potatoes

This is the time of year when we kind of get into a "Winter Dish Rut" around here. I keep rotating the same things for dinner, and with the weather being cold I feel like they are all typically comfort food things like pasta, meatloaf, and chili. 

I was flipping through cookbooks in the library recently though, and I saw a picture for Pot Roast, and realized that my kids had never had it before. They had kind of always had a disdain for beef until recently, so I thought it was about time I try something new in my Winter dinner repertoire. I made a Winter Pot Roast and served it over Mashed Potatoes. 

I took all the things I love about pot roast, and made a recipe I thought my family and I would like. And I left out all the things I hate about old fashioned pot roast like soggy potatoes, and overcooked veggies.

The recipe seems long, but I promise the results are so delicious that the subtle changes and additions to the recipe won't bother you after your first bite!

So, here is my version of Pot Roast.

Winter Pot Roast over Mashed Potatoes (makes 6-8 large servings)

For Pot Roast 
1 2 1/2 to 3 pound beef roast
4 or 5 large carrots peeled and cut into half
3 stalks celery cut into chunks
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 or 2 dried bay leaves
1 32 oz box beef stock (I used low sodium)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp olive oil
1 TBS of butter
1 10 oz package frozen peas (2 bags if you like a lot of peas like my kids)

For Mashed Potatoes
1 5 pound bag of yukon gold potatoes peeled 
4 TBS unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

For Sauce (Optional Last Minute Addition)
2 TBS Butter
2 TBS Flour
A few ladles of beef stock drippings from slow cooker

Roast: In a slow cooker, make a bed of carrots, celery, and onion. Add the thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat add olive oil and butter. Coat roast in flour, salt and pepper. 

Sear the roast on all sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side) until a crust is formed. 

When roast is done searing, remove from pan and put in slow cooker. With pan on medium heat add a bit of the beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to get drippings. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker. Add the rest of the beef broth from the box. Turn on the slow cooker on high, cover. Cook for 6 hours or until beef is fork tender.

When beef is done, remove it from slow cooker and put it into a large dish. Shred with a fork and cover. 

Prepare frozen peas to package directions and add to shredded roast.

Potatoes: In a large pot add potatoes and cover with water. Put on medium heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for about 15 minutes or until just tender.

Drain the potatoes and add back into the pot. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper. Mash with potato masher.

Optional Sauce: In a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add butter. When the butter is melted whisk in flour. After about 1 or 2 minutes, flour will be dissolved, ladle in remaining beef juices from slow cooker. You may add as much as you want until desired consistency is formed making sure to stir consistently.

For a serving, in a bowl, make a bed of potatoes, add beef & peas, cover with sauce or just ladle some of the beef stock from the slow cooker. (My little ones preferred everything served separately on their plate, but they ate every bite just the same.)

I am already looking forward to making this again, hopefully next time for guests.

I hope your family loves this as much as we did.

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.