Custom Search

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

mmmm, dinner!

Here it is: fried rice and egg fu young!  It was delicious!  For the fried rice, I used white rice, brown rice, leftover chicken cooked in the slow cooker last week(froze it after divying up into bags for 3 or 4 meals), broccoli(frozen earlier in the year), canned corn, and green beans from our garden that I picked today!

I did need something sweet this evening, so I made Trenton a frozen hot chocolate, and then used the base of that to make myself a frozen mocha...a nice end to the day!

Frugal & Fabulous: Giveaway: Dress from Fashion to Figure!

Frugal & Fabulous: Giveaway: Dress from Fashion to Figure! Check out Lindsay at Frugal & Fabulous blog...she posts some great online & offline deals, and is hosting several giveaways, including this one for Fashion to Figure, a clothing store for the fluffier ladies! I browsed through and saw some really cute dresses and blouses...I would definitely give them a try if I won the giveaway...go now to enter for your chance to win!

Making sushi at home, Grocery Challenge Day 11

After a trip to the zoo this morning, we came home starving...glad I did a little prep for lunch last night.  This was my first time making sushi rolls, and they were very good for a beginner.  Trenton liked them, also, but he says he'll never eat sushi again because he choked on a piece.  Literally, really, honest-to-God, scared his mama, was very scary, his face was red, I tried patting his back, then had to actually perform the Heimlich...I'm not sure if it helped or not, but finally he was able to get the seaweed out, and then the tears started...poor kid, it really terrified him!  I tell him at almost every meal to chew his food better before swallowing, but seaweed is a whole different ballgame!
Back to the pleasant part:
Last night I cooked the rice, then set in the fridge to cool.  This morning before we went to the zoo, I sliced the cucumber into strips, and prepared the rice:  to 3 cups of rice I added 2 t.salt, 2T sugar, and 1/4 cup rice vinegar.
To assemble, I placed the seaweed shiny side down on a large lid(I don't have a rolling mat), I spread out some rice, then stacked crab, avocado, cucumber, and cream cheese...then you roll it all up tightly, then slice with a very sharp knife. 
I had mine with soy sauce and wasabi, and it satisfied my craving.  It was fine for just crab, but for special rolls(I like the tempura lobster and crab and shrimp rolls) we will go to the experts.  I can bet I'll be making these again when I have a craving, even if it's just for me!

cereal for most of us, baby and I split a slice of bread with PB
homemade sushi
chicken fried rice and EggFuYoung

Here's my blog post on Fried Rice...I have some chicken I stuck in the freezer from when I cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker last week...we'll add that to the rice for protein.
I LOVE Egg Fu Young, but when you order it in restaurants, it is typically greasy, so I steer clear!  I make mine with cabbage(napa is best, but I had some leftover green cabbage which worked fine!), diced green onion, salt, pepper, and mung bean sprouts(I sprouted these myself in a jar for 3 days...I put cloth over the jar mouth, affixed with rubber band, and rinsed with fresh water several times a day until they sprouted).  You should add some carrots, peas, etc, but I will have lots of veggies in the rice, so I will just stick to cabbage, sprouts, onion, and eggs.  You need enough eggs to hold the cabbage in, but don't want the cabbage swimming...I used 8 eggs for 1/2 head of cabbage(I used the cabbage's outer leaves for cabbage rolls last week).  In a hot and oiled skillet, spoon the cabbage/egg mixture into the middles, about the size of  small pancake.  The trick to successful cabbage pancakes is to only flip once, so my trick to perfect Egg Fu Young is to put my pancake in to cook, then walk away and get distracted with the baby, the time I get back, time to flip!  Make sure your heat isn't too high, so it doesn't burn!  Here's a close-up(I made them last night so I would have half of the dinner done already today), but when we get all plated up tonight, I'll try to snap another(better) pic!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free Produce

I got a nice surprise when I picked my son up from my ex-MIL's house...she apparently has a friend who owns a Produce Company.  When they over-order or under-sell, he gives the extras to her.  Ssalad, lettuces, squash, eggplant, peppers.  They share and eat what they can, and give the rest to their animals...apparently their chickens enjoy lettuce!  Anyhow, today the friend sent her 30 cases of salad mix, much more than they could use up, so she sent us home with 15 pounds of salad mix, 2 large eggplant, and some bell peppers.  I had to go through the salad, as ot was starting to turn, but we still ended up with around 7 or 8 pounds.  Wow!  Tonight we had larger salads then originally planned, and we'll be eating salads at every meal for a few days!  No complaints about that...we have plenty of salad dressing, and we all enjoy a nice salad with our entree! 
This is a great addition to our Grocery Challenge stockpile...I am hoping we can make this a semi-regular happening!

Thanks to a couple friends...

As my 'Thanks' to a couple ladies in my life, whom helped me by writing Letters of Recommendation for my College Admission, I bought gift certificates for them to  I know they both enjoy good food and social life, so I thought it would be a nice gesture!  I used promo codes to save money on my purchase...I paid $8 for 2 $50 certificates!!  Since that is food related, although it is a gift, I think that better count toward my Grocery Challenge allowance...that puts me at $12.20 for Week 2 so far.

My monthly spending is still negative, despite my purchases, because I received an unexpected refund check from a garden supply group that I ordered from a couple months back.  I wasn't satisfied with their service/shipping, but did not expect a refund.  It was for $13.95, so technically it would cover my grocery challenge for the week, but it came from different source than food rebates, plus I actually paid oop 12.20, so....

Target and CVS 6/29

Quick runs this morning...
25 digital prints
2 8x10 prints
2 Powerbars
Xtra detergent
3 12 pks DrPepper
used 5/30, free digi prints, 2 free 8x10, & $1/xtra
also used 8ecb, pd 1.64 on a gc, got back 3ecb for DrP & 1.98 ecb for Powerbars
Applied 2 missed Qs to my last trip for Kerr lids(thanks, Anna, for the Q!), so I got back $1.65 cash.
Then I bought 2 Pedigree dog food, 7 SB power sprayers, 2 Dole pineapple juice, 15 Fleischman yeast, 3 Qtips.  I used Qs and gift cards to pay $0.00, got a $5 gc for the Pedigree. I need to go to another Target later to do a similar transaction...trying to use up all my SB Qs before the end of the SCJohnson rebate...I have already done the rebate myself, but I figured some of my cousins would like the extra money.  I gave my ex-MIL a rebate receipt this morning...we traded for a credit toward several dozen eggs when I need some next...I thought that was a good trade all around!

My spending for the month is still in the negative because of rebates I've done, I think like 50 cents negative, and my savings are around $2000 for the!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Day 10

I may be busy much of tomorrow, so posting  now the menu plans for Tuesday.

cereal, fruit(the usual)
Vince will have a packed lunch;  Trenton is going to visit his Granny, so he will eat there;  Garrett and I will plan on having PB&J, chips, and a green beans.
pizza and salad with jicama and bacon dressing

We've had this salad once before, and I really enjoyed the contrasting flavors.  The original calls for spinach, but I don't have any ready right now, so I will pick some different lettuces and mustard greens for the salad.  I will peel and chop the jicama and toss that into the lettuce and greens.  For the dressing, I will break a couple slices of cooked bacon into pieces, and throw them into a skillet with a little olive oil.  When that sizzles, add a spoonful of sugar, then some garlic maybe, and some Balsamic vinegar.  Let it cool slightly before tossing into the salad...yum!

Grocery Challenge, Day 9

I have been busy doing a little gardening and random housecleaning all day, so I think I'll skip making a new meal tonight, and just get rid of the remainder of the leftovers from last week.
cereal, fruit
I packed hubby a lunch; Trenton and I had Tornados(I know, not very healthy, but convenient!), and Garrett had hummus, sour cream(he's odd, lol), and Cheerios.
finish up the leftovers: tabouli, hummus, pita, cabbage rolls
Vince will be having tabouli and cabbage rolls.  Garrett had pears and cheese.  Trenton made bread in our new bread machine, so he and I had turkey bacon, eggs(from his Granny's farm), and fried potatoes so we could sample a slice of his bread.  It was great, and now we have bacon leftover that I need for a recipe tomorrow!
I used Garrett's naptime to order gift certificates from for our upcoming Dallas mini-vacation.  I had $5 in my paypal account already, and I transferred another $7.30 from a survey site.  My total for 8 $25 gift certificates was $16.50, so I paid oop $4.20 for the deal!  I went through MyPoints to further enhance this deal, since they give you points per purchases.  I paid the $4.20 with my Discover for a little more cashback.  So, even thoough we won't use these until the end of July, they count toward our grocery bill this week...$4.20.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Day 8

We went out of town to visit my Grandma...she has suffered several strokes, and not doing too well with cognition and taking care of herself.  My 2 uncles, and now a cousin, are there everyday, all day, all night, to care for Grandma.  It's hard to be there to visit, especially since I can't do much to help, as I have a toddler getting into trouble constantly.  It was nice to go visit today for a few hours, plus my uncles made lunch!

cereal, the usual
grilled hamburgers, sausage, tator tots, beans
leftover chicken noodle soup
I was very snacky today...among other things: ice cream bar, yum!  I am not sure what my problem is, but I am so hungry all the time...sometimes I figure it out that maybe I just need more water or more protein, and I take care of the need...but lately, just starving all day!  You'd think with the hot weather I would eat less..nope!  Of course, I am still nursing, and maybe that is part of my hunger issue...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CVS week of 7/4

hmmmm...anything look good?
Charmin, Bounty, hefty trash bags, not free but you can pay with ecb ;-)
lots of bogo: bumbkebee tuna, sobe, gatorade, edys ice cream, purex,
moms:  ragu & skippy 3/$5
another dove deal: spend $15, get 5ecb, dove hair, lotion, deo
olay deal, spend 24.99 get 10 ecb, and Qs coming out in the 7/4 P&G(too bad the Olay rebate ends 7/2)
Post cereal 3/$10, get 5ecb

the only free after ecb is Bausch & Lomb BioTrue solution 2.99 get 2.99 ecb, limit 1

Personally, it doesn't look like a great week to me, but if you need the usual drugstore stuff(shampoo, deo, toothpaste( you might find something.  I have several ecb expiring that week, so I better find something to roll into!


I usually try to stick to the same dinners month after month, a little pasta, a few rice dishes, an occasional roast or steak, etc.  Once in awhile, though, I feel a little adventurous and try a new recipe.  Okay, try a new meal idea...I don't like to follow recipes, I just eye-ball things, and it works.  I took 2 years of Chemistry in high school, so I'm not sure why I think it's okay to skip measuring of ingredients...
Anyhow, this past week I made hummus, pita, & cabbage rolls, which was rare for me, but not unheard of.  I have plans to have a Chinese night, with Egg Fu Young and maybe a fried rice.  I also plan to make sushi rolls, and I have some miso soup mix, so I can make that for hubby to enhance sushi night.  I have a steak I want to grill soon.  I have hot dogs, but no buns, so I need to find a good recipe for pastry to make pigs in a blanket.  I found an enticing recipe on the V8 site for Chicken Italiano that I will put into play sometime soon, since I have lots of V8 sitting around(thanks, Harps and Homeland!).

Surely, some other ideas will pop into my head to keep things during the challenge interesting.  Besides, I really need to use up some of our stockpile..I get lazy and grab the stuff that I recently bought because I know it's there, when there are plenty of 'forgotten' foods I could be and should be using...

I can tell I'm tired--kind of rambling now!  Think I'll head to bed...

Growing so fast!

The boys...getting so big, so fast!  Trenton will start 8th grade in August, and we'll soon be looking into what high school he'll attend.  He is busy making sure I know how my parents must have felt when I was a teenager, and mouthy!  All told, he's a good kid, just needs to be reminded he's a kid, not an adult.

I am such a slacker about writing in Garrett's baby book, so I guess if I blog some recent happenings, maybe I'll remember to record them in his book...Garrett finally started walking about 2 weeks ago, and he's getting pretty good at it!  He likes to rip his hand away from ours so he can walk solo.  He is chattering quite a bit...he has been saying the usual words for awhile, 'Mama', 'Dada', 'bubba', 'byebye'.  He started saying 'balloon' and 'ball' around his birthday.  Now, Garrett is also saying 'more'(he signs it as well), 'kitty', 'booby', 'belly'(and lifts up his shirt to point to his belly), 'night-night', 'gone-gone', & 'uh-oh''s pretty cute!

Grocery Challenge, Day 7...end of Week 1!

We made it...week 1 was pretty good here! 
cereal, fruit, toast
hummus, pita, tabouli
chicken noodle soup

I set a whole chicken in the crockpot this morning.  When it was cooked fully, I pulled it out so I could pull all the meat off the bones.  I froze half the meat for later use.  The rest, I put back in the crockpot with green beans, carrots, and corn.  Added a little salt, pepper, chives.  When I was ready to serve dinner, I cooked some Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles.  Pasta does not do well in the slow-cooker, in my experience, so I served it by the bowl:  a bowl full of noodles topped with the tastiest chicken and veggies was very good!

Summary of spending for Week 1:
Spent: $5.29 oop, saved $93.21 with coupons, sales, a rebate, & gift cards.  I did alot of 'cooking from the stockpile'.

You can track my Grocery Spending for the Challenge here.

Homeland trip 6/26/10

The boys and I got bored today so we ran out to Homeland, a local grocery that offers double coupons.  I did 2 transactions, but the cashiers were really nice today so I asked if anyone would mind if I did 2 more, so I did!  How nice is that?!  I was smart and brought a cooler and ice glad I was able to use all my rainchecks in one visit!
Each transaction was the same, except I added a Reeses candy to two of them(for Trenton and I, a treat), so I will list the totals only:

4 Blue Bunny fudge bar 6pks 1.69 each(raincheck), used 4 $1 IPs for overage
4 BestLife butter spread 1.19 each(raincheck), used 4 $1 mqs for overage
4 Tornados frozen snacks 2.19 each, used 4 $1 mqs
4 Hunts ketchup $1 each, used 4 $0.20 mqs
8 Tonys pizzas $1 each, used 4 $1/2mqs
8 Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce 1.00 each, used 4 $1/2 mqs
4 Oat Revolution oatmeal pks 1.00 each, used 4 $0.55 mqs
4 Hiland sour cream 1.00 each, used 4 $0.45mqs
4 Borden Singles Sensations 1.99 each, used 4 $1 mqs
4 v8 singles 1.00 each, used 4 $0.50 mqs(tearpad Qs someone gifted me)
2 Reeses cup 0.77 each

total oop 1.38+tax=$4.28, savings of $87.36

I intended to use the last 4 of my Hormel Qs which expire tomorrow, but HL got smart and didn't have any of the smaller packages for sale, so I passed on buying meat...I don't need it unless it's almost free!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Target madness!

...madness, in a good way!  I began today with around $60 in Target gift cards from previous gc deals...
Target #1:
5#GreenGiant potatoes, used free product Q
4 Wishbone salad spritzers, used 4 0.50mqs & 4 0.75 TQs
wasabi(needed it for sushi)
jicama(needed it for a salad)
dried chives 1.38 clearance
grapes 2#
6 A&H toothpaste, used 3 $2.50/2 mqs
4 Nivea Q10 shave gel, used 2 $4/2 mqs & 4 $2TQs
6 Old Spice bw, used 6  MQs & 3 $1/2 TQpeelies
10 Sobe, used 5 bogo mqs & 10 0.50 TQs
3 reusable bag credits, 2.32 + tax, used a gc, received 3 new $5 gcs

got a rc for Olay bw, hoping Olay will put out another rebate that I can use!
7 Dawn detergent, used 7 0.25/1 mqs
4 Aveeno shampoo, used 3 $1.50mqs(had a 4th mq, lost it?)
4 WarmDelights, used 4 0.75mqs
used 5/30 from email and 22.00 in ecb, then 0.23 + tax on gc, received 10 ecb for aveeno, 1 for bagtag, and will submit for $10 Aveeno MIR

Target #2:
8 Scrubbing Bubbles Extend a clean(first time they've been in stock since I got coupons 2 weeks ago!  hope I like them...), used 8 $5mqs & 8 $3TQs
4 Scrubbing bubbles refills, used 4 free mqs
3 Kerr lids & bands, used b2g1 mq
3 Clean & Clear moisturizers, used 3 $2 mqs
4 Nivea Q10 shave gel, used 2 $4/2mqs & 4 $2TQs
6 Old Spice bw, used 6 mqs
10 Sobe, used 3 bogo mqs & 10 TQs
5 reusable bag credits, pd 0+tax on a gift card, received 3 new $5 gcs

Target #3:
Treated myself to a Starbucks iced latte, pd with gc!
Found the motherlode of baking clearance at this store...splurged a little!
1 Scrubbing Bubbles Daily Shower sprayer, used $5 mq & $3tq
4 Smuckers sugarfree grape jam 1.12 clearance
7 Smuckers dessert toppings clearance 0.94, used 4 bogo mqs & 2 $1/2 mqs for all the smuckers
2 single serve Rice Dream boxes, 3 pk(like juice boxes), 1.38 clearance
2 McCormick basil 0.98 clearance
Archer Farms oregano 1.98 clearance
Archer Farms sesame seeds 1.98 clearance
4 Krusteaz bread machine mix 1.04 clearance
4 Market Pantry pudding mix 0.37-0.41 clearance
6 Kerr lids 0.76-1.04 clearance
12 Old Spice bodywash, 12 mqs
pd 23.03+tax on gc, received 4 new $5 gcs

I ended my Target trips with $61.93 in gift cards, so everything I bought was free!  That was alot of shopping for one day...I haven't had a chance to go all week, and I was surprised they had such good stock since it's Friday...usually if I wait til the end of the week I miss some stuff...looks like they are ordering a little better(except the Scrubbing Bubbles and Vanish...only found the Scrubbing Bubbles at 2 stores, and NO Vanish toilet discs).  Another thing I'll mention:  I had some issues with coupon acceptance my last couple trips to Target #2, but I had zero, zilch, zip, nada issues at any stores today...either I chose wisely in my cashier selection, or corporate had some chats with the store.
My recepts show savings of more than $400!
There was a ton of other great baking clearance at Target #3, but not low enough yet to jump on it...I'll be going back in about 2 or 3 weeks to see if further discounts have applied!

Grocery Challenge, Day 6

Busy, busy today!  Lots of Target, a little CVS. I'll just say it:  I am awesome!  I will try to post details later, but for now, just adding today's menu:
cereal, toast, the usual
Vince had a packed lunch, Trenton went to his Granny's, I had cabbage rolls, baby had toast & pb
leftover cabbage rolls, tabouli, hummus, pita

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Day 5...a MiddleEastern Theme

I decided the other day I would make hummus, so yesterday I soaked 16oz bag of chickpeas to get started.  I read that if you add a little baking soda to your soaking water, it helps remove some of the gassiness of the beans.  Soaked overnight, then rinsed.  I then heated them in fresh water until they were softened, about 30 minutes.  During heating, I skimmed off the foam, to further reduce the gassy properties of the beans.  I ladled the beans out, so I could reserve the liquid to use during the grinding..don't use all of it, just add a little as needed.  Ground the chickpeas, placed in the fridge to cool.  Later in the day, I added about 1 cup tahini, about 4-6 T. minced garlic, 1t kosher salt, 4-6 T lemon juice, and 1/4-1/2 t. cumin.  When I serve it, I'll add fresh parsley, and drizzle with olive oil.  I will check the blend first before serving, we like lots of garlic and lemon, and may need to add a bit more.

I will serve the hummus with pita, of course, and I am making my own for the first time. ever.
This Pita Bread recipe is similar to the one I am using, except I used honey instead of sugar.

When I decided to make hummus, I thought I could probably throw together some tabouli as well.  My family makes the Tabouli mixes/packages you can buy at most grocery stores.  I'm not really sure how that got started, the cousin that makes the packages isn't Lebanese, Mediterranean, or's a mystery!    For my version of tabouli, I soak a pkg of bulghur wheat in 1.5 c lemon juice and 0.5-1 cup oil.  Then, I dice 3 or 4 tomatoes, and 2-3 bunches of green onion, and a few sprigs of fresh parsley.  Stir all that together and place in the fridge.  Stir a few times during the day.  Don't serve until the next day.  I usually add a bit of salt & pepper, and my hubby likes lots of parsley and lots of lemon, so I add more to his portions!

The theme continued...I got excited about the hummus, tabouli, and pita, and decided I'd make cabbage rolls.  I usually just layer it all like a casserole because the cabbage never cooperates, but I tried something new today, which worked surprisingly well!  I washed the cabbage head, and cut off the bottom/cored straight across.  I put the whole head in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Then, a few layers were easily removed without breaking, plus they were wilted enough to roll, but not too wilted that they fell to shreds.  I had to microwave several times, since the inner layers were not as heated, but it wasn't a big deal to heat a few times to be able to peel the layers off so easily.  When I got 12-15 layers peeled, and I was getting down to the core, I cut the core out, and chopped the rest of the cabbage, and I will save the chopped cabbage for a dish I have been craving...I'll make Egg Fu Young in a few days with it!
While I was prepping the cabbage, I mixed together 1 lb uncooked ground beef(or use turkey, lamb, whatever), 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 egg, chopped onion, 8oz tomato juice(or sauce) and 1-2 t ground cinnamon.  I poured a layer of tomato juice into my slow-cooker, and stared to fill the cabbage leaves.  I placed a spoonful of the filling in the leaf, then rolled it closed, and set in the slow-cooker.  When all the leaves & mix were used up. I poured the remainder of my tomato juice over the rolls.  I used an entire 64 oz bottle of juice, but you could use less in the slow cooker, because the rolls will steam, but I like them very saucy, so I used the whole bottle!  I had a few cabbage leaves that had ripped, and with those I just placed a 2nd ripped leaved stacked underneath before filling and rolling...they will be just fine, and have extra cabbage to enjoy!  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I can hardly wait!  I will try to remember to snap a pic of our meal before we sit down to dinner!

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch:  packed Vince a lunch, the boys & I had grilled cheese, green salad, & chips
Dinner: hummus, pita bread, tabouli, cabbage rolls

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reorganized my Bathroom Cabinet...

ugh...needed to find our toothbrush holders for our upcoming mini-vacation, and decided I'd pull out everything from my bathroom cabinet and reorganize.  Well, it needed to be done!  My husband says it looks as cram-packed as before, lol...True!  I managed to put like items together:
bottom shelf:  toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, mouthwash
next: bandaids, deodorant, liquid handsoap
then: lotion, face wash, haircolor(gasp!), feminine hygiene
next: sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, first aid
top: womens bodywash, mens bodywash, misc.

I also stacked up the cleaners and air deodorizers a little neater in the bottom cabinet.

So, the problem is:  I don't have room for bar soap or hair stylers, which I did have in the cabinet before.  Also, I have a few more bodywash in a bag in the bedroom that need to be shelved...shhh, don't tell hubby!  I think I'll be going over my reorganization again soon to figure out a better way...

This much I know:  I really need to stop purchasing drugstore items for awhile, unless I intend on taking them directly to a donation site! 

Grocery Challenge, Day 4

Still going strong...maybe a little better than usual!  I feel inspired to try new recipes, and Trenton, my 13 year old, is helping alot with cooking.  He has asked to learn how to cook basics like grilled cheese, lol, but I am having him assemble meals a little right now..he is doing a great job, and learning for his future!
We went to Walmart for a few things..milk, produce, etc.  I had a small gift card, plus the baby gets a teeny bit of things on WIC through the Cherokee Nation(teeny, really teeny, like 3 gallons of milk, some cereal, and $6 in produce a month...that's not much produce, lol).  I also bought a Red Baron Pizza by the Slice, used a $2IP, to turn it into a money maker on their Try Me Free promo.  We bought 1 head of cabbage, 1.25 lb tomatoes, green onions, 1 gallon of milk plus a quart, garlic, avocado, Red Baron pizza, and lemon juice.  After WIC and gift card, I paid 3.61, but we'll get back $3 from the rebate, so total is $0.61!!!  Most of those items I need for tomorrow's meal...more to come on that tomorrow!

apple muffins
layered tortilla bake(trenton made it--chips, corn, spinach, pepperjack, chicken, rotel, cheddar, guac)
the meat I set out isn't thawed yet, but the sausage I set for breakfast tomorrow is, so we'll do breakfast for dinner tonight, and just have muffins or cereal for tomorrow's breakfast.
homemade waffles, sausage, eggs

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Day 3

So far, so good!  I canned the remainder of my apples, 10 more quarts.  There were several quarts left, but I am out of jars, so I froze a few bags full!

This morning, I made apple muffins, with some chunky applesauce I made Saturday.  They were pretty excellent!  Basically, I took a basic muffin recipe, then used applesauce instead of, fat free and delicious!
Another thing I discovered today:  yogurt as a meat tenderizer!  I make my own yogurt, and had some extra on hand.  I set some pork cube steak in a dish last night in yogurt.  The baby got fussy, so instead of cooking the pork for dinner, I made pizza.  Decided to use the pork today...I took it from the yogurt and immediately felt how moist it was.  I dredged the pork in a flour/herb mixture, then in egg, then in the flour mix again, and browned in a light olive oil, before placing in a baking dish to let it cook through.  My, oh, was THE most tender, moist, delicious pork cube steak I have ever had!  I will definitely be using yogurt for tenderizing meats in the future! 

apple muffins, eggs
breaded pork cube steak, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, rolls
cucumber-cream cheese sandwiches, Sunchips, salads

Monday, June 21, 2010

Grocery Challenge Spreadsheet

I will post my spending for the Challenge in Google Docs.  Click here to see what I've spent so far.

AllYou Grocery Challenge, Day 2

Thanks for lunch, Trenton!
Garrett is fast asleep in my lap now, and we arrived home from an appointment thirsty and hungry.  How's mama supposed to eat?  Trenton offered his help...He made is 'famous' cucumber-cream cheese sanwiches.  (Yes, I did take a bite before I snapped the pic..I was HUNGRY!)  These are fresh cucumbers from Vince's grandparents' garden..yummy!

varied:  Garrett & I had yogurt & apples; Vince & Trenton had Raisin Bran
cucumber cream cheese sandwiches
pasta salad(leftover from party Sunday)
green salad
I packed Vince a lunch as usual
I'm thinking oven baked breaded pork cube steak, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, and rolls.
I thought wrong! 
 Baby is sleepy/fussy, so I'm going simple with a couple frozen pizzas and some green salads

We ran a few errands, picked up a few items at Homeland, pd 0.40 for Blue Bunny ice cream bars, Fruit Chillers, and a can of first grocery spending of the challenge!  We also went to Target, did really well with the Old Spice gift card promo, used some overage on a can of chicken chunks and some juice boxes for the baby for our upcoming road trip, then pd the 0.88+tax with a gift card, so the juice & chicken cost 0.00, for the purpose of this challenge!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Boomer Sooner!

I got my acceptance letter into the University of Oklahoma yesterday!  I am so excited!  I set up my university accounts and looked over various enrollment and class information much of the day.  I found out their online program is better than expected.  I planned to just go part-time, taking just 2 classes per semester, but they set up 8week periods so I can take 2 classes at a time for 8 weeks twice per semester.  Once I get the hang of it, I will add another class or two per semester, but I can't believe I will actually be considered full-time! 

On a similar note, I asked my husband if we can move one of our two desktop computers back into our bedroom, so I can have access while the baby naps/sleeps in our bed.  I later jokingly asked if we could just get a laptop, and he said YES!  He said he has been wanting one anyway, but thought I would tell him no, lol.  So, let the search begin!  He wants one so he can do his schoolwork from the hurts his back to sit at the desk for too long! 

I feel pretty spoiled now...4 people in the house, three computers.

2010 AllYou Grocery Challenge, Day 1

Ah, I love a good challenge.  Day 1.
I threw a jar of my canned apples into the slow cooker this morning, then poured about a cup of apple juice, which I had diluted cornstarch into, over the top.  When the apples and juice got very hot, I mixed up some drop biscuits, added a bit of sugar and cinnamon, and dropped those biscuits into the liquid.  While that cooked, I put sausage into the oven, and scrambled some eggs.  Yummy breakfast!

Our day 1 menu looks like this:

eggs, sausage, apples & dumplings, juice, coffee
June Bday/Fathers Day Bash at the Grandparents', we are taking a pasta salad.
The full menu included:
grilled salmon, baked pork loin, my pasta salad, green salad with garlic dressing, vegetable salad(squash, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber), bread, potatoes, and dessert of bday cake, peach cobbler, and cherry pie.  It was all wonderful!

Pretty easy day for mama!

Apple Harvest

I checked our apple tree yesterday, and decided to snag a few of the big ones.  I ended up with 3 large grocery bags full of apples!  Since daddy was home, I handed baby to him and started cutting & coring.  I prepared 13 quarts for canning with a simple juice of no sugar, just juice, water, and spices.  I had 3 casualties from accidentally touching the jars together, so I still have 10 good quarts.  Plus, I have that many or more apples left uncut!

Friday, June 18, 2010

June Spending, and Grocery Challenge.

June has been great to me!  I have spent -$18.17, and saved $1287.35.  How? rebates, rebates, rebates. and cashback sites.  Good thing since we are planning a mini-vaca next month, and my hubby and I are both taking classes in the Fall. 

We are participating in the AllYou Magazine's Grocery Challenge.  It starts Sunday, June 20.  Basically, we can spend $25/person/week on food, but my aim is to spend far less than that.  What worked for me last year during the Challenge was to blog daily/weekly our meals and spending.  I'll try to do the same this go-round, and am now saying 'farewell' to go work on an Excel Worksheet to help me track our spending during the challenge.

CVS trip 6/18/10

Thank you, CVS for stocking me up on all the necessities!  Earlier in the week I purchased many other items, including 2 3pk Brita water filters.  I still haven't spent much money there this month, and my hubby had to fill some prescriptions, so I am rolling in gift cards.  My son saw 1 $25 gift card and said 'That should last you a month!'  ;-) maybe a little longer!

Here's what I got today:
trans 1:
Huggies boxed dipes 19.99, used $3mq & $3 crt
2 Godiva gems 4.99 each, used 2 bogo Qs from crt
caramel 0.33
used a cvs 5/30 and 9ecb, pd 2.40 on a gift card, received 10ecb
trans 2:
Brita filter 3pk 17.99, used $2mq from brita's website
coke 2ltr 1.25, used free coke cvs Q
cvs brand cotton swabs, used $3 cvs brand Q
used 10/20 grand opening Q and 5ecb, pd 0.42 on a gift card
trans 3:
2 OFF clip on refills 2.99 each, used 2 $1mq, 1.50crt, $3 cvs Q
11 Warm Delights 1.00 each on a raincheck from last month, used 11 0.75 mqs
4 Snapple 1.29 each, used 2 bogo mqs
used 5/30 cvs q, pd 2.56 on a gift card

Harps dqe

Harps is doing their double coupon event this week...I did 4 trans, so I think I am done for the month!
Total, I bought 133 items, including a couple splurges, and a couple things my son grabbed by accident, oh well!  Total oop was $45.62, with a rebate of $3 coming baxk, so $42.62 oop, savings of  $160.08.

Wow, I haven't spent that much in awhile.  No regrets, I stocked up on condiments, snacks, rolls, etc...some convenience items that will last us quite some time.  Plus, because of rebates, cashback sites, etc., for the month, I am still holding onto a profit!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CVS week of 6/27

lots of bogo & bogo50%, including Edys ice cream...

some ecb deals and sale items:
A&W, 7up, Sunkist, Canada Dry 12pk 3/$11, get 3ecb, limit 1

Spend $10 Get $5 ECB wyb any of the household items (2/$5) listed: Limit 1

Glade Sense & Spray refill, scented oil candle refills 1-3ct, holder, essential oils candle 4oz, gel refills 3pk, Oust 10oz, Fabric & Air, Fantastik, Shout, Windex, Pledge spray, Fabric sweeper 1ct, Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner, shower foamer, toilet cleaning gel kit, Ziploc freezer 10-20ct., storage 15-25ct.or sandwich bags 50-100ct. (2/$5)
lots of Qs out for this deal, if you need the stuff!

Clean & Clear spend $15, get 5ecb, limit 1

Aveeno spend $25, get 10 ecb
deal idea:
buy 4 shampoo/conditioner 6.49 each, pay 25.96, get 10 ecb and 10 on rebate
rebate spend $25, get $10 rebate
hmmm...I have lots of ecb expiring soon, so I guess I'll be doing this rebate!

John Frieda hair $5 each, spend $10 get 3ecb. 
there is a $2.50 mq on the john frieda website(take the quiz) so you could get down to $5 oop, get 3ecb

Spend $20 Get $10 ECB wyb ANY Schick or Playtex Feminine Care products Limit 1: includes Schick razors, shaving creams
This is great if you have the schick hydro Qs, or the schick Qs from AllYou mag

If you are looking for a money-maker and have money to burn, Tena pads are 12.99, bogofree.  There was a try me free form in the 4/25 SS, and there is a $2.50 mq on the Tena website.  The rebate is for the ultra-thins, so get the right variety.  CVS is great because you can use Qs on the bogo free item, so add this to one of your transactions to make a little rebate money:
2 Tena ultra thins 12.99, bogo
use 2 $2.50 mqs
pay 7.99 oop, send in rebate for 12.99. $5 money maker!

Kodak picture movie dvd 9.99, get 9.99 ecb...nice gift idea!

Kelloggs cereal 2/$5, get 1ecb,limit 1. shows raisin bran crunch and special k...cereal is always good as a filler if you have ecb to burn, or are trying to get to $20 to use a cvs Q

Pampers 8.99, get 1ecb, limit 1...not bad if you have a $1.50 mq and the $3 cvs Q from a recent mag or digital mag

xtra laundry liquid 2/$3, there was a $1 Q in the 6/6 SS

There's a starting point...

CVS scenarios for the week of 6/20

Here are some deal opportunities at CVS next week, I'm including some cvs email Qs I have, so you'll need to check your own Qs and see what you can do.
4 Olay Total Effects bodywash 7.00 each, use 4 $4mqs
4 Ivory bar soap 1.29-2.99 each, use 4 free ivory wyb olay mqs
use 5/30 emailed cvs Q
pay $7.00 oop(with ecb if you have it), get 7ecb back=free olay & ivory!
Huggies box 19.99, use $3 mq & $3 crt from scanner
pay 13.99(use ecb), receive 10ecb, would be better if we get a 4/20 in the email this week ;-)

There are also deals on Powerbars, colgate total, Fusion Proglide, and Pantene, but I'm all stocked up on that sort of thing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Here's a treat for the kids(or mom) for these long summer days!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

10 ice cubes
2 pkg instant cocoa mix
1.5 cup milk

Throw that in the blender, adjust to your preferred thickness with more milk or ice, serves 2 big kids, or 4 little kids!

You could also try the same method that I use for frozen coffee treats:
make your hot chocolate or coffee according to directions.  Pour into ice cube trays.  When you are ready for a treat, toss about 6 cubes with your preferred flavorings and milk/creamer in the blender...yum!  I do this with coffee alot...I usually make a double strong pot of coffee, so it's like espresso.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Someone stop me!

Just kidding...I went to CVS this morning, my weekly hubby had filled 3 prescriptions yesterday, so we got 3 $25 gift cards, but with savings like this, who needs gift cards!
I did 5 transactions, but I'll just lump everything together:
5 2liter cokes
3 pk Brita water pitcher filters
2 Colgate Proclinical
2 Gold Emblem sour gummy worms
125 4x6 digital prints
1 8x10 digital print
1 cvs lipbalm
1 caramel
2 Dove candy bars
5 24pk water
2 Coppertone spray sunscreen
2 M&Ms
2 Gillette bodywash
2 Gold Emblem bgs pretzels
Tena pads
2 Chug cookies & cream milk(the price I pd for asking my 13 year old for help)

I used mostly coupons(thanks to the awesome Grand Opening fliers), only used $4.97 in expiring ecb!  I have a ton left to use up by 7/04.  Better be a good ad soon!
subtotal 1.89
tax 1.61
oop 3.50, but I used the gift cards so 0.00 oop
new ecb received: 1 for bagtag, 2 for colgate, 10 for coppertone, 2 for colgate, 4 for gillette.
I will do rebates/satisfaction guarantees for both the Colgate Proclinical(3.99 each) and the Tena(9.99).

That is a Grand Total of (drumroll, please!) 0 oop, with 19 in new ecb and $17.97 in cashback from rebates!

I am worn out!  I'm glad the next ad doesn't appeal to me much, maybe I can take a break(except for the Huggies box deal I will do once on 6/20)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

CVS 6/6

We took the kids to the Splash Pad on Riverside this morning before it got too hot.  Wore the little one out...fell asleep in the car!  So, I stopped at CVS to make some quick money!
trans 1:
Nexxus 9.69

Tena 9.99
coke 1.50
24 pk water 2.88
used 10/20. 2.50 mq for tena, free coke Q, $3 off cvs brand Q
pd with 7ecb and 0.87
trans 2:
Nexxus 10.49
Tena 9.99
coke 1.50
24 pk water 2.88
used 10/20. 2.50 mq for tena, free coke Q, $3 off cvs brand Q
pd with 7ecb and 1.48, received 10ecb for spending $20 on Nexxus

I will see if a friend wants the Tena pads, or I will donate them.  There was a TMF form in today's paper, so I will send one for me and one for dh, and we'll get 2 rebates of $9.99 each back!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

CVS again...

ugh, I went was fussy and needed a change of scenery, so I thought I might as well shop ;-)

I bought:
24 pk bottled water 2.77
3 OFF clip on refills 3.99, $1 off promo
2 Bioluxe hair products 9.99, bogo
2 ltr Dt coke
used $10/$20 grand opening Q
$3 off cvs brand item
free coke cvs Q
3 $1 OFF MQs, and 2 $3CVS Qs for OFF
pd tax only, 51 cents!

Now, I need to find a tmf tag for the Bioluxe....

Target Coupon Acceptance

Here is the info I posted about as a result of my tried & failed, tried again & succeeded Target/Olay trip.

Coupon Acceptance when the Register prompts cashier

Coupon Acceptance Instructions, including admission that HQ may have not processed the set-up completely

Friday, June 4, 2010

Goofy boy

One word.  Goofy.

Garden Progress

I built another raised garden bed this week.  This one is in the front of the house, on a flatter area, where I hope my lettuce seed won't wash out as easily.  I am working on a frame and screen to cover the box, as well as two others, that will help shade the plants from our blistering sun, and also maybe keep the cabbageworm away from my broccoli and greens!  I haven't taken the camera out back with me lately, so my only recent garden pick is from the window...corn!  Can't wait!


I love spinach, on everything, apparently!  I made homemade pizza the other night:  homemade dough, sauce with various herbs and lots of garlic, pepperoni, spinach from the garden that I steamed first in the microwave, and homemade ricotta--no mozzarella. It was delicious!  And, the fam approved:

Wow, CVS!

Some friends of ours have a new baby girl, and I offered to pick up some diapers for them this week at CVS.  I figured that I could get 3 of the big boxes of Pampers for about $39 after tax and ecbs used.  They wanted 1 box, so they sent $13 over to me.
Well, my deal didn't pan out because I couldn't get any of the Grand Opening coupons when I expected.  On to Plan B.  Plan B worked out much better...CVS had many clearanced diapers: Huggies, Pampers, and CVS brand.  Plus many other clearanced and sale items...I am in shock over all this:

6 Huggies mega packs(for Garrett)
4 OFF clip on refills
8 Pampers swaddlers(for babygirl)
2 CVS dipes(for Garrett)
1 CVS dipes(for baby girl)
4 bgs peppermints
2 bags pretzels
2 sports wet wipes
1 lip balm
4 baby Orajel
2 Huggies jeans dipes(for Garrett)
1 Airwick
1 Huggies wipes
1 Listerine pocket spray
3 Suave shampoo/conditioner
2 John Frieda hair styler
6 Dove deo
3 Powerbar
1 Charmin Ultra 9roll
4 12pks Coke
3 2liter Coke
1 Dove dark choc candy bar!
2 Old Spice deo
4 bottles vitamins
1 Conair ionic hairstyler(untagged clearance 12.49, from 49.99!)
1 Conair Ceramic flat iron

oop $10.12
ecb used $48.98
new ecb received $46.97
The new ecb replaces most of what I used, so I can say it was like spending $12.13 on everything listed...a profit considering our friend gave $13 toward diapers!  They were expecting 90 diapers, and they are getting about 300!

After CVS this morning, we ran into Target to see if they had restocked the Kraft cheese that they have been out of everytime I've checked the past 2 weeks.  They had indeed restocked, and the Qs expire tomorrow, so I did buy more than I normally would.  They also had a TPC on Taylor Farms organic romaine hearts...$1!
I bought 4 pkgs romaine hearts & 14 pkgs of cheese, used 3 free product Qs, 11 $1.50/1 Kraft Qs(from a House Party) and 7 $1.50/2 Kraft cheese Target Qs...paid 99 cents plus tax!