Monday, March 31, 2008

Delicious, Inexpensive Cold Fighter

This tip comes from one of my lovely college girlfriends, but I am not sure which one! Anyhow, you can make a tasty (and cheap!) cold fighter with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Just heat some water in a tea kettle or in the microwave until very hot and steamy, and at a few tablespoons of honey and lemon juice. I can't give exact measurements because I like it with more honey, but hubby says its better with more lemon. Anyway. It tastes good and makes sore throats feel much better!

Visit Tammy for more kitchen related tips!

My previous kitchen tips:
Making do in the kitchen (with oatmeal)
Crockpot (perfection) baked potatoes
Perfect Turket Every Time
Using Up Lots O' Beans
Saving $$ on Organic/Soy Milk
Saving H2O while doing dishes by hand

Menu Plan for the week of 3/31/08

Lots of menu plans can be found here every week!

Monday: Beans and Rice;) with salsa, avocado (I will puree some for baby) cheese and salsa.

Tuesday: Hot Dogs and Homefries (my husband doesn't mind hot dogs, but doesn't really enjoy them either, so I'll have this while he's still at youth camp)

Wednesday: Hubby's back from camp! Hamburger/Vegetable Soup with homemade bread (I finally got some cheap yeast...our Costco does carry it!! --yes I am a dork)

Thursday: Crock Pot Pork Roast with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies

Friday: Homemade Cheese Pizza

Saturday/Sunday: Might be out of town so I will leave the weekend open for now. If need be we'll have Tuna Helper, something we don't normally eat;)

Lunches: Leftovers from the night before (each recipe usually makes 4-6 servings, so this makes plenty for lunch with only 2 of us eating real food at this time!)

Breakfasts: This week I will be making special food since I am not working (on Spring Break...yeah!) We'll have cinammon rolls and possibly homemade doughnuts if I have the time. Healthy I know!

Snacks: Cold Cereal (we get name brand cereal for $0.75/box or under--but we don't like it for breakfast!), homemade hummus and carrots, homemade rolls w/honey, peanut butter or jam, homemade cinammon rolls, and fruit

Back from Camp...early. And two praises!

My little "happy camper" wasn't so much on the happy part at camp this weekend. At least at night. Mommy and girlie didn't sleep much, so we decided to hitch a ride back home with two of our youth gentlemen (and I meant that sincerely, they were very gentlemenly;) this morning. Girlie loved being held by all the youth girls and leaders and getting so much attention, but I think it all left her a little over-stimulated by night time. Anyway, we are back now and I am catching up on our ginormous laundry pile and various other things like grocery shopping that need to get done.

The cool thing about arriving home 2 days early from camp was that I was here for the arrival of our sweet new technology...our Dell laptop!! We've been planning on getting one (a requirement for school in the fall) for some time, and finally got a check from our "fair housing" settlement for $600, plus some Christmas and tax rebate money to pay for it. God's provision for this laptop has been a testimony to His unmerited goodness to us. Not only that but I checked our mail and not only did I get some sweet free photo paper in the mail, but a $100 check from Walgreen's Spa Rewards (from last fall!!!). I guess momma has some shoppin' to do;) Lately I've been having a hard time thinking of what to do with money like this (or for a Christmas or Birthday present). We have no debt, and we are in the process of downsizing our apt. so we can move frequently with ease (since that is what we'll be doing every 9 months or so for the next 3 years)!Here is what I think I might like to do with some of it: buy some home hair clippers (since I finally got permission to start cutting my husband's hair...pray for me!;), suprise my hubby with a dinner out with a coupon (he only reads this blog when I show him something on it;) or buy some fancy goodies for a picnic out, and maybe buy a gift cert for a family that we know needs a night out more than us. What would you do with a semi-unexpected $100 (besides pay down debt/buy groceries, etc.?)

Well, Punker-nootie's nap is almost over, so I better get busy!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Off to youth camp!

Today at 11:00 we are going to the Jungle! Well, not exactly, but that is the theme of our church's youth camp...Jungle Safari! Hubby and Punker and I are all going to be in the jungle for 4 days with all the wild youth animals, so it should be fun times. Here are a few blurry pics from our now replaced camera for your viewing pleasure. Oh and Punker-nootie just cut her first 2 teeth...bottom front! I am bracing myself for my first bite;) All that to say, I will not be posting again until Wednesday, so come back for lots of camp pics and other fun then.

Lots of cheap goodies at Safeway & Walgreen's

Here is a very bad photo (but we have a new camera this should be our last round of bad pics!) of our haul from Safeway. Its actually from last week, but we were out of town last weekend. Pictured above are several gallons of organic milk, lots of beef, cabbage, apples, cottage cheese singles, yogurts, lots of name brand cereal and lots more, and since it was all front-page loss leaders or reduced, it came to be around $19.00!

At Walgreen's we finally found the elusive Venus Embrace Razor, which I had a $2.00 off coupon for, (razor price $9.99) and register rewards were generated for $5.00, along with continued eligibility for a full rebate this month (since they were out most everywhere last month!). After all is said and done, I will not only have made $2.00 on this purchase, but I used the register reward to buy diapers so they were only $1.50 out of pocket! If only we had a CVS...;)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Do it myself Hair: Cut and Color

So out of a bit of desperation last weekend, I broke down and cut and colored my hair myself. Actually my mom assisted me, which was a dangerous proposition(hi mom!) if you see pics of how she cut my bangs when I was a little tyke! Anyhow, I have been trying to get in to the local skills center beauty school (or cosmetology to be more politically correct;) to get my hair cut/colored for almost two months, but no dice. I work M,T,W generally, so those days are out, and recently I've had meetings on Thursday afternoons when my babysitter or my lovely Pastor's wife could watch my punkin'. I can't afford to get my hair done in a salon on the weekends when hubby is available, so I was at an impass. I've done the color thing myself for years previously (and messed it up more times than I can count!) but never even attempted cutting my own hair, I think for good reason!

But desperation puts things in a new light, so last weekend at my parents' house, I enlisted my mom, used some free haircolor from Walgreen's, a pair of sharp scissors and mustered up some courage! I have long hair, so I had a lot left even if I really did a number on my hair. So DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME unless you either have more training than me, or have lots of hair left to lose;) I can actually say I was pleased with my results. The first pic is the scientifically based method I used to cut the hair;) I tried doing it other ways, but I have thick hair and I didn't have anyone willing to help with the back (and I don't let my sweet mother cut anyplace I can't see;). The result is a good amount of layer and it looks pretty decent if I put some product in it. Oh and I did the bangs myself, but I am growing out part of them...I don't like the heavy big bang look they gave me last time I went to the school to get it done. I cut about 3 inches off the botton, for your information;)

Visit Biblical Womanhood for some great frugal ideas(I can't say more great ideas, because this would imply my idea was a sane and GOOD one, which I can't say it was!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Safeway (NW) Deals for 3/26-4/1/08

Visit the Grocery Gathering at BeCentsAble for more grocery deals!

Boneless Beef Chuck Pot Roast $1.99/lb

Manor House Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breast (4lb bag) &1.49/lb

Pork Shoulder Blade Roast $0.99/lb

Sweet Roma Tomatoes $.99b

Green Seedless Grapes$.39/lb

Fresh Express Green & Crisp Salads $1.00/each

Super Coupons! (with minimum $10 purchase)

Hormel Marinated Tenderloins 4.69/each 1.15 lb package

General Mills Cereal and Fruit Snacks $4/4 select varieties
(includes Strawberry and Chocolate Chex, Cheerios,Trix, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, and ??) Use coupon at for Strawberry or Chocolate Chex to get these for $0.45/each or free if your Safeway doubles!

Doritos Tortilla Chips $1.49/each for 12.25-13 oz

Betty Crocker Cookie Pouch 17.5-oz (BOGO) $1.30/each)
Use $0.50/2 03-16 S2
Final Price $0.80 each!

Blue Diamond Almonds 6oz $2.50
Use $1.00/3 coupon from 03-09 S
Final Price $2.17 each!

Duracell CopperTop Batteries AA or AAA 8-ct., C or D 4-ct., 9 Volt 2-ct $5.49
Use $0.75/1 coupon from 03-02 PG
Final Price $4.74

Suave Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler 6.5 to 15-oz $1.00
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 02-10 RP
Final Price $0.50/each

Freschetta Original Pizza 10.3 to 29.64-oz $5.00
Use $1.50/2 coupon from 02-10 S
Final Price $4.25 each

What deals do you see?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ESV Daily Bible Reading

I have talked about this before, but I am able to have extended time in the word almost every day because of a wonderful tool called the ESV daily Bible reading. I periodically post something that has stuck out to me that day see here, here and here. It is an excellent tool because I can turn it on and listen while playing with my baby girl, or tending to other things. It doesn't substitute for other Bible study, but it helps me to stay on track when my little person needs more attention than usual. This was an especially helpful tool when she was a newborn. ESV daily Bible reading works for me!

Making Do in the Kitchen

After dropping off hubby at work yesterday morning (which was after a 3 hour drive from my parents on the other side of the state) I had another hour of driving and wanted COFFEE. And doughnuts. And more coffee. But I being the frugalite that I am, I couldn't bring myself to stop for any. Plus I needed to get home and go to work myself, so I convinced myself that I could get some strong brew going when I got home and could make something that I like just as much as doughnuts--coffee cake.

Upon arriving home, I find that I do not have enough flour to make my beloved treat, and need to do some work so I can just run to the store (nor do i want to!) I remembered that I had a bunch of oatmeal in the pantry (the old fashioned kind) so I thought that maybe, just maybe I could throw some in the food processor and sub that for some of the flour. It worked! I subbed about 1 1/4 cups of ground up oats (it wasn't totally fine like flour because our processor is old;). The consistency was a little different, but still good. So the moral of the story is that you can have your coffeecake (and coffee!) and eat it too;)

Visit Tammy for more kitchen inspiration.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Menu Plan for the week of 3/24/08

Menu Plan Monday

After getting home just this morning from the my folks' for Easter, I am a little (okay--A LOT) late in getting this up! I'll be back to regular posting now after this weekend's hiatus for family fun;) Here's our simple and inexpensive menu for this week:

Monday: Leftover Cabbage Soup and Corn Muffins

Tuesday: Broccoli Cheese Fritatta with Toast

Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies with Rice

Thursday: Egg Salad Sandwiches and Taco Soup from Freezer(So many eggs I know!...but we stocked up last week when they were reduced due to their "sell by" date)

Friday: Homemade Pizza Night!

Saturday: At our church youth camp

Sunday: Still at Youth Camp!

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu planning madness;)

My Soul Thirst for You (ESV)

Psalm 63
63:1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

Courtesy of the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Moving on the Cheap...your answers to my dilemma!

So last week I asked for your input on how to move across the country as inexpensively as possible. In case there are others who need this info, I thought I would compile your most excellent advice for today's Frugal Friday! It also happens that I had to work an extra day this week, so I don't have a lot of time to think of new frugal ideas tonight;)

Here are your tips for moving frugally:

1. ABF UPack was mentioned as a less expensive alternative to UHaul by Samara and April. It looks like this option would save us up to $500. We also would not be responsible for driving the truck with this option, they show up on your doorstep! You can pay for square footage with this option and April had the great idea to tape off the equivalent square footage in your home (corresponding to the amount of space you want to pay for).

2. Penske: this is also a cheaper option for us than UHaul and the equivalent and was mentioned by readers Sue and Mrs. Byers

3. Moving by Freight Train can also be a cheap option, says Martha, if you don't need to move a lot of furniture.

4. CC says her family found that using a POD or something similar worked well for them and was a less expensive option.

5. Ask friends to see if they know someone who has a truck and wants to go on a trip if you pay for the gas!

6. Have lots of yard sales and move less stuff!

Thank you for all the great suggestions last week...I hope this helps someone else as it will help us soon!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stuffed Peppers, our way

Here is our family favorite recipe, which again doesn't require a real recipe (if you've been reading my recipes, do you see somewhat of a theme;)? I thought I did not like stuffed peppers until I made them a little differently, (probably by accident) one day. Instead of the traditional hamburger/tomato sauce, broil til its tender (or most likely mushy), I did a ground sausage/brown rice/onion filling and did not cook it. Okay that came out wrong. No we don't eat sausage raw;)Here's my attempt at a recipe, before I end up grossing everyone out. Its good, really!

When peppers are less than a billion dollars a piece at the grocery store (hasn't happened in a few months, sad to say), we could eat this weekly.

Sausage Stuffed Sweet Peppers

4-6 bell peppers, halved and cleaned(we like orange or red sweet!)
1 package ground sausage, spicy style if you're daring
1 onion, chopped finely
1-2 cups rice, cooked according to package directions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In skillet, cook sausage meat and onions until sausage is cooked and crumbly. Add rice (already cooked) and mix thoroughly. Spoon into halved peppers while meat mixture is still super hot. Top with cheese immediately. That's it! This is very tasty, but very messy. And I will almost guarantee that you'll have some filling leftover (unless you have a large family). If you do, it makes a great breakfast burrito filling if you scramble some eggs with it and serve in a tortilla.

Another of our favorites, which uses up a lot of that cheap St. Patrick's cabbage can be found here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Safeway (NW) deals for 3/19-3/25/08

Safeway (NW) deals for 3/19-3/25/08

Visit BeCentsAble hosting the Grocery Gathering to see stores near you!

Deals of note (w/o coupons)

Whole Gold Pineapple $2.99/each

Butcher's Cut Whole or Shank Half Ham $.99/lb

Fresh Express or Eating Right Salads Buy 1/Get 1 Free

Pepsi or Coca Cola 12 packs, Buy 2/Get 2 Free

Fresh Strawberries Buy 1/Get 1 Free

5 day only Super Coupons (with minimum $10 purchase):

Lucerne Butter $1.99
Nabisco Snack Crackers 2/$3
Best Foods Mayo 2/$4

Kraft Salad Dressing 16oz $2.00 each
Use $.75/2 coupon from 3/2 S
Final Price: $1.63 each!

Nature Valley Granola Bars 5.3-8.9oz $3.00 each
Use $.75/2 coupons from 3/2 S
Final Price $ 2.63 each

Nestle Baking Morsels 10 to 12-oz $2.50 each
Use $.50/2 from 3/02 S
Final Price $2.25 each

Rosarita Refried Beans 16oz $1.00 each
Use $.40/2 coupon 1/20 S
Final Price $.80 each

Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage 12oz BOGO $1.90 each
Use $1.00/2 coupons from 3/2 S
Final Price $1.40

Not a super hot week all in all. What deals did you see that I am missing?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What to do with all that cabbage?

I don't know about you, but every year about this time we have an abundance of those tasty, healthy greens called cabbage. Around my part of the NW, its not always this economical ($.39/lb), so when that price comes around we stock up! Here are some recipes that work for me to make the most of that cabbage:

Cabbage Patch Soup

Cabbage Rolls

Here's our personal favorite, which you don't need much of a recipe for:

Skillet Cabbage and Kielbasa
Heat up some canola or olive oil (about 1 TBS) in a fry pan and add one kielbasa type sausage (1/2 inch chunks) and bite sized chunks of cabbage. Stir/cook on medium until kielbasa is heated through and cabbage is crisp tender. Add salt/pepper to taste! We could eat this every week...its fast, reasonably healthy (especially if you use turkey "kielbasa") and inexpensive! Serve with noodles, rice or even rolls to make this meal work for more than 2 people (with leftovers).

For the weary

Luke 3
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Psalm 37
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Courtest of Crossway Bible, Good News Publishers, ESV daily Bible reading

Bulk yeast...where do you buy it?

Where I live in the NW, there aren't any easily accessible health food stores, nor any big box stores that carry yeast in bulk. Does anyone have a good source that can be found online? I have searched before, but didn't know what a good price was, or if it was reputable. Thanks for any ideas you can give!

Visit Tammy's Recipes to help solve more kitchen dilemmas!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday-using those sweet Safeway deals

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Corned Beef, Cabbage and Taters for St. Patrick's

Tuesday: Taco Salad and cornbread

Wednesday: Cabbage Patch Soup and leftover cornbread

Thursday: Leftovers (I have various kinds bursting out of my freezer!)

Friday: Egg Salad Sandwiches and carrot/celery sticks (we'll be eating on the road...on the way to my parents' house for Easter)

Saturday: At my parents...not sure what's on the menu!

Sunday: At my parents still, Ham, Cheesy potatoes, asparagus, homemade carrot cake

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Family News 3/16/08

We had a sweet day of praising Jesus at church and at home today! Although I missed most of the sermon due to someone's napping strike, it was aprofitable time of worshp and fellowship. We found out our church will be contributing financially to our trip to PNG this summer and were abundantly blessed in my trip to Safeway today.

I haven't done nearly as much praying before shopping as I would like to claim, but today I did. I specifcally wanted to find some marked down milk, preferably organic or hormone free milk. Walking to the dairy case I wasn't sure what to expect, but lo and behold, there were several gallons of organic 2% milk marked down! Not only were they marked down, but I paid less than $1 each for them (regular price is almost $7)! I got 2 gallons, along with a half gallon of another brand, which had a $1.00 coupon, making it almost free! The eggs/cheese/yogurt isle was just as good. I have never seen so many things marked down in my life! I got an 18 pack of eggs for less than $1, individual yogurts in packs of 4 and 6 for less than $.50 for the whole package, a carton of IMO sour cream for $.50 and on. Since I combined that with the Kellogg's catlina deal, I was able to get $100+ of groceries (I also got a bunch of ground beef, cabbage, apples, onions, corned beef, and 7 boxes of moderately healthy cereal) for just under $20! I have never come out with such an abundance for so little (especially things like meat, milk and produce!). The only downside was holding up the line while my checker individually entered like 30 $.75 off codes from the dairy, but the checker and those behind me were fairly good natured about it;)

On other topics, our punker-nootie (or boogie as we have been calling her recently...don't ask;) is getting ready to crawl! She can lift herself all the way to her knees now, and is able to roll both ways with ease. I regularly turn around to find her squirrelling around under a piece of furniture or several feet from where I left her. Today we had a scare when she got her entire leg stuck in between her crib bars during "nap time" (yeah right was a napping strike apparently--no one told me ahead of time though!) She is still nursing, but also eating sweet potatoes, spinach, green beans, and avocados. She makes us laugh daily with her squeals, goofy grins and antics (such as smiling at mommy and then lunging at her nose and latching on to it for no reason!) We are enjoying parenthood to the fullest.

Thanks to everyone who gave us moving suggestions! We are now waiting to hear back from the school in MO (New Tribes' MTC) regarding what furniture they will be able to provide so we can pack accordingly.

What are you up to these days?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sortof Super Savings @ Albertson's;)

This wasn't a super-well thought out trip, but I did get some cheap boxed potatoes (which are great on my working nights) and free eggs with the purchase of 2 applesauces, which I wanted to buy anyway for my baby daughter to try next week. Overall, the total for all this was a little over $15.

I had coupons for the Sweet potato boxes (Betty Crocker) and they were on sale for $1.00 each, so I ended up paying no more than $.60/apiece for those. The Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta was something we needed, (well we needed some sort of pasta for our Chicken Tetrazzini) and it was on sale for $2.00, and we had a coupon for $1.00 off! $1.00 for whole wheat or other types of healthy pasta isn't so bad in my parts. The sour cream was on sale for $1.00 each, which is a good price as well.

Today I am planning on getting some of the deals (especially the free after catalina cereal deal since our babysitter likes cereal) at Safeway listed here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Need Ideas for Moving on the Cheap

Anyone out there have any good ideas/experience moving across the country inexpensively? We will be moving basic household goods across the country this summer, but leaving almost all our furniture behind (we'd like to bring our bed, a few lamps in addition to clothes, baby stuff, etc.) We looked at PODs, U-Haul and both are around $2000 for the smallest rental, including gas. We are willing to pack very light, but there's no way we can fit everything in our Honda Civic!(there are three of us, including our baby). Any ideas?

Edited to add: Just for background: We currently have a 700 sq. ft. apt. We are moving to a school in MO for 9 months and then moving again to AZ for a year or so and then moving rather permanently overseas. So we will have to make several moves in the next 3 years where we shouldn't need much in the way of furniture, (but will need most of our other household stuff).

Could it be true? Free Starbucks this weekend?!!?

Another blogger mentioned free coffee at Starbucks may be happening this weekend (March 15th), because its happened in the past. Call before you go, since the link I posted earlier was for last year's promo. Just like I loves me some soda, I LOVE coffee (although my passion is much more for fancy latte's and I indulge less than once a month).

They did it the last two years...will they do it again?!? Since we live within the beautiful Northwest, home of the great coffee giant, I will definitely check this out! If this doesn't happen, my favorite at home brew is plain espresso with steamed milk AND whip cream with caramel or chocolate drizzled on top! Not so much a diet friendly drink;)

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more tips and fun from Frugal Friday!

Edited to add: some of you have pointed out what I mentioned above--this has happened in years past, and will possibly happen this year. I will (and so should you!) call the 'bucks before heading in expecting a free drink. I do know that they have done this in the past, that part is NOT a hoax...I know because I have gotten free coffee;)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Skillet Beef with Lentils

This recipe is along the lines of Hamburger Helper, the lentil version. It is much tastier, healthier and almost as easy as Hamburger Helper. It comes from my favorite cookbook, More-With-Less, but I have adapted it to make it quicker.

Skillet Beef with Lentils

1 1/2 cup lentils
2 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup brown rice
2T butter
2 medium onions
1 clove garlic
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t pepper
1 T cider vinegar

Boil 1 qt of water in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups lentils. Cook 20 minutes. Drain, but reserve liquid. While cooking lentils, cook 1/4 cup brown rice for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, saute 2 T butter, 2 medium onions, chopped, and one clove garlic, minced. Stir in 1 lb ground beef (you can get away with about 3/4 lb). Brown well and dissolve 2 beef bouillon cubes in the 2 1/3 cup reserved liquid. Add liquid to meat mixture, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lentils, cooked rice, 1 t sugar, 1 t salt, 1 t ground cumin, 1/2 t pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender and liquid is absorbed. Add more liquid if necessary. Stir in 1 T cider vinegar. Top with ketchup if you like (I do!)

My other new fav meal on a budget is crockpot potatoes wtih delicious chili on top!
For more great dinners (el cheapo style) visit The Natural Mommy!

Safeway deals for the week of 3/12-3/18/08

Safeway deals for the week of 3/12-3/18/08

Visit the Grocery Gathering at BeCentsAble for more grocery deals!

Ground Beef $1.49/lb

Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breast or Thighs &1.99/lb

Corned Beef Points $1.49/lb

Large Fuji Apples $.88/lb

Green Cabbage $.39/lb

Progresso Soups
18.5-19oz. 4/$5.
Use $.55/2 coupon here.
Makes them $1.95/2!

Mission Flour Burrito Tortillas 8 ct. $2.29 each
Use $1.00/2 coupons from 1/06 S1 insert
Makes them $1.79 each!

Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice 8.5-8.8oz, selected varieties. $1.50 each
Use $1/2 coupon from 1/06 V insert
Final Price $1.00 each!

Hot Lean or Croissant Pockets $2.00 each
Use $1.00/3 coupon from 1/27 S insert
Makes them $1.67 each!

Arm n Hammer Laundry Detergent 50 oz 2x to 100oz Liquid $3.99
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 3/02 S insert
Makes them $3.99 each!

Catalina Deals:

Many Kellogg Cereals are on sale for $2/apiece. (14-20oz) If you buy 7 or more, you will receive a $10 catalina ($10 off your next purchase). There is a coupon for Raisin Bran on SmartSource and may be other Kellogg's coupons out there that would make this a free/almost free cereal kind of a deal! Looks like Frosted Mini Wheats (2/24 RP), Raisin Bran and Frosted Flakes are all participating in this deal.

Edited to add: (thanks CC!)The 3/$3 coupon in Safeway's Sunday flier makes this deal AMAZING(esp. if you have other coupons). I ended up paying $4.30 for 7 boxes of cereal, getting a $10 catalina, which I applied to my next order (which I took a pic of for next Super Saving's Saturday;) And here's the deal, you can get Frosted Flakes, Shredded Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, and others(??) that are marked 3/$6 with that coupon, even though they aren't listed.

Next up is the Score $5 for the team deal. Sporty type snacks are on sale and when you buy any 4 of them (not $4 worth) you will get $5 off your next order (OYNO). This could be a good deal if you need any of these items or you have coupons, such as the $.70/1 for the Nabisco 100 Cal Bars. If you go through a lot of oranges, this may be a great deal for you-- they have 4lb bags 2/$5, which would end up being 16lbs of oranges for $5! Other items participating in this promo are Nabisco or Keebler Tray Packs, Oscar Meyer lunchables, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, Powerade, Capri Sun Drinks, Tropicana Pure Premium, Gatorade, G2 or Propel, Gogurt ($1/2)and others.

The Chills and Thrills deal is going on 3/12/08-4/1/08 and requires a purchase of $30 worth of participating frozen foods which include Green Giant Veggies (12-24oz) 2/$7, Delimex Taquitos (2/$9) among others. The $30 must be reached in 1 transaction.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crockpot Perfection Tasty Taters

I am sure many of you have already mastered the art of the perfect baked potato. I was not among you until this weekend! We had our church's fellowship group over at our house, so I needed to cook something that had minimal last minute prep time and was inexpensive enough (but stil tasty) to feed up to 14 people. I decided to make one of my personal favorites, Chili, over baked potatoes, with all the fixin's of course. In the past all my baked potatoes have been in the oven or microwave with less than stellar results. I thought there must be some way to do this part of the meal ahead of time without ending up with dry, tasteless taters. Allrecipes (and a bunch of other googled sites) to the rescue! All you need to do to have perfect, make-ahead baked potatoes for a crowd is pull out the trusty crockpot! Here's the lowdown:

Decide how many taters you need to serve (I did 14 medium sized)
Wash/Scrub thoroughly
Prick each tater with a fork all over
Roll each one in foil
Put in crockpot on high for 2 1/2-4 hours or on low 6-8 hours

Voila! Moist, tender baked potatoes.

Here's where you can use this tip to save even more time in the kitchen: Dinner the first night is baked potatoes with all the fixin's (chili, cheese, sour cream, broccoli, etc.) and a double batch of cornbread. Use the leftovers to make baked potato soup served with the second batch of cornbread!

Visit Tammy and Rocks in My Dryer for more great tips!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chili, cornbread and baked potatoes

Tuesday: Turkey Tetrazini with salad

Wednesday: Dr.ed up Tomato Soup with Tuna Melts

Thursday: Pork Roast with Rice A Roni or Pasta Roni, from last month's Safeway deal)--from last week...didn't do this one)

Friday: Homemade Easy Pizza with veggie sticks

Saturday: Skillet Beef with Lentils (More with Less Cookbook)

Sunday: BBQ pork roast on buns with homebaked fries and salad

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu planning goodness!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Adios catalina, come back soon!

Pictured here is what I got with my last $20 catalina from last month's Savings Rally at Safeway.

5 cases Pepsi products (yes, i know bad for me. But I loves me some soda). Buy 2/Get 3 free. Pretty decent deal
Ground beef (sale $2.49/lb) not that great, but I've been watching for sales for a MONTH. i think there is a no good deals on ground beef conspiracy here or something.
1 avocado $1.50 again, not that hot of a deal. But it will make 8-10 mini meals for my little one, just starting on solids.
5 lbs white flour $1.25, good deal here. I do the 1/2 white 1/2 whole wheat deal when baking.
32 oz. mozz. cheese. $4.99 Pretty good deal for these parts. For tonights pizza.
5 boxes of cereal $2.00 total. Great deal! Some of these will go to my little bro, who is a poor college student who thinks my blog is dorky. I am so hurt!;)
1/2 gallon vanilla icecream $2.98 for fellowship group, which we are hosting this week to go with brownies!

Total $7.46! Okay, so like the title suggests, I had a catalina ($20 to be exact) from the Safeway Savings Rally. It expires tomorrow, so I worked out a plan to get some great deals (soda, cereal and cheese) and some things we need in the near future that weren't on a super sale anywhere else (ice cream, avocado, ground beef). So if I hadn't had the catalina, it would've been $27.46, which is still decent considering I bought 5 12 packs of pepsi and 5 boxes of name brand cereal!

What deals did you see at Safeway this week?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Starting down the long road called "Budget"

Some great discussions about budgeting and its benefits have come out in blogland here and here. It is a topic that I am particularly interested in right now as we begin our next stage of life.

Budgeting is just plain ole' hard work. For some reason it has eluded me thus far. Luckily, both of us (hubby and I) have learned to live very frugally so this is very rarely a problem. But I have a feeling we would be so much more able to live with a sense of freedom from our money if we had a good budget in place. Since we will soon be living with reliance on money from other sources (as people begin to support us as missionaries-in-training) we will need to be fastidious about budgeting, not necessarily to change how we spend, but to know how we spend. In doing so we can give a good account (and know we've been good stewards of our money). I think the most difficult part is tracking those "unexpected" expenses, and those irregular ones. Groceries should not be one of those unexpected or irregular expenses in our household, so it seems to be a good place to work on budgeting.

This month I am working on a bare bones grocery budget, not out of necessity thankfully, but from the knowledge that soon it will be a necessity. All money for the month is coming out of an envelope. The amount I decided to put in the envelope was much less than I would have estimated previously, because of last months additional stockpile savings.

Since February was "eat from the pantry/freezer" month, we were able to spend significantly less on our grocery budget that month. I don't have a clear total, but it looks as if I spent around $110 for the month. I still have a $20 catalina left over (from Safeway's savings ralley) and a quite full pantry, which I was supposed to partially clean out!

Due to the above mentioned full pantry, I am going to try to use the surplus to make it possible to stock up on really good deals by planning meals mostly around what we already have. My goal is to be able to focus my meals around what I have gotten at rock bottom prices, rather than starting from scratch and then overpaying for certain items if they don't happen to go on good sales that week/month. Our situation is a little different than many of you, since we have no Aldi, no Kroger, no CVS, and no doubling of coupons. Although those would be really nice, I have to look on the bright side and work with what we do have. We have a Walgreen's, so I have been learning the free after rebate and other deal system they have there. I also utilize the frequently marked down salad, bread and sometimes even milk at Fred Meyer for staples, and have learned to combine coupons with Albertson's buy X, get $X off your order deals. Safeway, although generally overpriced, occasionally has overlapping deals which sometimes result in free or almost free items such as crackers, lunchmeat, or canned food. We also have a Grocery Outlet, which is a "banana box store" which Meredith references and explains on her blog today.

So even though it could be better, I have plenty to work with to get/keep my grocery bill down. Why does this even matter? Well, in just a few months we will be living on a missionary budget, which means our grocery funds will be coming from friends, family, and church friends, and it may vary greatly each month. I need to make the most out of what we get so we can rejoice in how ever little or much God's provides! So even though right now we could technically spend a lot more, we would rather: 1) gain the practice in spending little while its still a choice, and use the surplus to give to our church or missionary friends while we still can or to bless others with gifts I couldn't afford otherwise. I believe creative frugality (whether the grocery budget or some other area) can be an enjoyable challenge, rather than drudgery!

Caramel Popcorn

Okay so I can't resist. Right after I posted my cinnamon roll recipe, I remembered something that really is a snack, and only a snack (although I am sure my dad, who begs me to make this whenever I see him could eat it for a meal... hi dad!;) It is SO easy and SO tasty and SO unhealthy. So it definitely qualifies for snacks: the unhealthy.

Caramel Popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Put popcorn in large bowl (very large...or two regular largish bowls works too). Over medium heat in a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil w/o stirring for 4 minutes. Take off stove and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour gradually over popcorn, stirring as you go until all popcorn is coated. Place in two large baking dishes or jelly roll pans work as well and place in oven. Cook at 15 minutes at a time, for 1 hour total. After ever 15 minutes, stir well. Let cool before breaking up and placing in sealed container of your choice.

I can't button my jeans just thinking about this stuff.

60 Minute Cinnamon Rolls

Tammy's Recipes has more of Kitchen Tip Tuesday!
These are so good! Whenever I have the time to make these (usually on a Saturday morning) we eat them for breakfast and then we are lucky if they are still around for the next breakfast (there are only three of us eating real food here, and this recipe makes about 12!) So I guess that tells you we eat them for snacks;) These are less like what I think of as traditional cin. rolls, and more like caramel rolls or the like and take more like 65 minutes if you aren't totally proficient. This recipe comes courtesy of my lovely friend Wendy.

60 Minute Cinnamom Rolls

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cup flour (I use part whole wheat)
3T sugar
1t. salt
2 packages yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup H2O
1/4 cup margarine

2T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2t. cinnamon

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. nuts, chopped finely

Mix 1/2 c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Combine milk, H2O, and margarine and heat until very warm, but not hot. Gradually add warm liquid to dry ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. flour and beat 2 more minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto counter or board and knead for 5 minutes or so. Place in a greased bowl and turn dough. Cover bottom of 9x13 pan with topping ingredients (after mixed). Turn dough out on a floured board and roll into a 10x18 rectangle. Spread softened butter, then sprinkle cin/sugar mixture on top of butter. Roll dough lengthwise.
Should look like a long log at this point. Slice off approx. 18 1" slices. Put slices, sides touching, evenly over the mixture in the pan in 2 rows of 6 rolls.

Don't worry-these rise a lot!)
(Can be refridgerated at this point). Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Invert pan while rolls are still warm.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stubborn Stains-how do you do it?

I am wondering what works for you wonderful (and lovely I might add) readers in terms of getting out stubborn stains? I am really looking for something that works with greasy stains, and you get bonus points if it works even after you've washed and dried the garment! Thanks in advance for any tips!

Visit Rocks in My Dryer if you want to answer more stumpers like this one!!

Punker-nootie part 2

Can you see why I miss her while at work?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Perfect Turkey Every Time

My favorite meal of the year is the turkey and all the fixin's for Thanksgiving. So a few years ago, as a poor college student who also happened to not know how to cook, I endeavored to make Thanksgiving day dinner for my friends. I happened upon a funny little bag that was supposed to help you cook your turkey faster. Well I was all for that, so I gave it a try. These "turkey bags", which you can find in your grocery store for less than a buck a piece (usually they are a couple dollars but come in packages of 2), not only cook a turkey quickly, but it turns out wonderfully every time! I can get a thawed turkey in the oven in 10-15 minutes. All you really need to do is wash the turkey in cold water, pat dry, take the "innards" out, put a TBS. of flour in the bag, then put the turkey in the bag (which is sitting in a roaster pan) tie it up, prick it with a knife a few times, and stick it in the oven. So easy and so tasty! Hope that helps someone who is otherwise intimidated by the big bird;) as I was several years ago!

Also, if you are looking for some turkey meals/recipes, check here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Menu Plan Monday-planning with the sale fliers

In terms of menu planning, I use a combination of the sale flier/stockpiling method. I am not organized enough at this point to do a price book etc., but I do have a general idea of what a good price is for most of the items we buy frequently.

So if something that we will use (and I am very flexible on this point--as long as it is something neither of us hate, and we are not picky eaters at all), and it is a good price I buy more than enough for the near future, and if it is an exceptional deal, I will buy a lot. This happened recently with large containers of Quaker oatmeal. I bought (no joke) 9 of them. And we live in a 700 sq. ft. apt;)

Recently Albertson's had a great sale on a variety of products. All the products probably have something in common, but I sure don't know what that common denominator is! I ended up with 3 dozen eggs and 9 packages of frozen veggies, among other things. Because of this, we will eat more meals with lots of eggs in them in the next 2 weeks. I also consult my pantry and see what previous deals have held. I have a surplus of canned beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato soup right now from previous deals, so have been and will continue to incorporate those ingredients into meals we enjoy using the allrecipes ingredient search.

Our lovely, disorganized pantry;)

Without further ado, here are this week's meals:

Monday: Spinach, Bacon and Cheese Frittata (with leftover cheesy biscuits that I froze from last week)

Tuesday: Taco Soup with Fry Bread (from a mix)

Wednesday: Pasta with Carbonara Sauce (using the leftover bacon from Monday's dinner) with frozen mixed veggies

Thursday: Breakfasty type Burritos (I will scramble eggs, beans, canned tomatoes, onions and spices together and throw in homemade tortillas)

Friday: Homemade Easy Pizza with veggie sticks

Saturday: Bacon Macaroni Bake (use up the last of the bacon...s t r e t c h it) with peas

Sunday: Pork Roast with Rice A Roni or Pasta Roni, from last month's Safeway deal)

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu planning goodness!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Amazing Albertson's Savings

I started our "grocery month" a little early since I knew I'd be near Albertson's anyway earlier this week. I love it when they have their buy X number of products (specified), get $3 off or whatever. Sometimes, when the stars align;), I also have coupons for a bunch of the products making it a super fab deal. That was this week. So for my first shopping trip for "March", I spent $17.40 and got all this:

(I will break it down by transaction chunks, although they were all in the same transaction)
9 Steamfresh veggie packets (had $1/3 off coupons)
1 Hidden Valley Ranch packet (great for Taco Soup! yum)
= $4.00 after coupon and savings

1 Honey Bunches of Oats with choc clusters ($2/1 coupon)
1 Welch's Grape Jam (.50/1 coupon)
1 Daisy S.Cream (.50/1 coupon)
1 dozen egg
1 Smart Balance Butter (.50/1 coupon)
=$3.50 after coupons and savings(approx)

1 Honey Bunches of Oats with choc clusters ($2/1 coupon)
1 Dole All Natural Fruit Jar (.50/1)
Splenda packets
2 Dozen Eggs
=$4.50 after coupons and savings(approx)

2 5lbs C&H Sugar (.50/2 coupon)
Newman's own Casear dressing (we love this and it can be expensive)
1 Welch's sparling grape Juice ($1.00/1) (a treat for me!)
=4.60 (approx)

The final total for all this goodness, which also happens to be a bunch of stuff we'll actually use, was $17.40! I probably wrote some of the coupons down a little off(.05 or so), so that takes care of the funky math;)

Someday, when I am really cool and not running home with a tired/hungry baby, I will share pictures too.