Dollar Tree Deals for Easter!

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Hippity Hoppity, Easter’s on it’s wayyyyyy!!! Ok, so now that I’m done singing, it’s time for me to tell you all about some of the sweet stuff that’s going on down at Dollar Tree.

I live next door to a shopping center/strip mall that has a Dollar Tree, so I’ve seen all these goodies in the flesh.

First off: Crafts! Dollar Tree has some super cool craft kits for Easter. Perfect for Easter baskets, or if you are looking for something to keep your kids occupied during Spring Break. Not all of them are egg/bunny related. Lots of fun spring crafts, including their collection of fun wooden paintable items, canvases, and stickers. Our craft cupboard is full of paintables, canvases, stickers, and misc. craft kits from Dollar Tree. I spend about $20/month there just for craft supplies. The paintables and canvases make great gifts for family (grandparents especially).

Next up, dishes. If you are hosting an Easter/Spring/Equinox dinner, Dollar Tree has you hooked up with great table settings (both durable and disposable), table decor, and even leftover containers for your guests to take home leftovers- I can’t be the only one who does that?

Ok, and Finally: Spring Cleaning. UGH. But it’s gotta be done. Dollar Tree to the rescue with buckets and household cleaners (I’m a big fan of Formula 409 myself, Goo Gone, and the drop-in tank toilet bowl cleaners). For those of you who are on the more natural path, Dollar Tree has you covered! Vinegar, scrub brushes, baking soda and more natural choices too. If part of your Spring Cleaning includes reorganizing, Dollar Tree has lots of storage solutions too!

Q-insights Smokers Study -Pays $75

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Q-insights is another company that I do research groups, focus groups, and online surveys to earn extra money.

They have a lot of stuff in South Orange County, and less often San Diego County. These days they are doing most of their studies online via chat or online surveys.

Right now Q-Insights is currently recruiting for an online study on the topic of smoking

The study will run from March 23rd to March 24th and you will be compensated $75 via check in the mail as a thank you for your time.

If you are interested in participating please fill out the survey here. If you pre-qualify they will call you to ask some additional qualifying questions.

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.