Thursday, April 30, 2009

If You Love Indian food, you'll love This

This was awesome! I love how Indian food fills your house with such amazing aromas. I was dying to try this as I was preparing it because with every spice I added the air changed making me hungry and curious. It was great, a tad on the spicy side for me and I even cut back the chili powder. Unfortunately I didn't read the directions for naan very carefully the night before because it was still rising while we were eating dinner. Bummer, this would have been awesome with naan, but we made do with french bread that was leftover from the night before.


Curried Chicken with Cashews $3.30
Serves 6
From The 99 Cent Store Cookbook
1 large onion, chopped .093 T. butter .13
3 t. minced garlic .15
1 t. ginger powder .02
3 T. curry powder .101 t. chili powder .023 t. salt .01
1 c. canned whole tomatoes or 2 whole tomatoes skinned and then chopped .50
1 c. cooked chicken cubed or shredded 1.682 t. coriander powder .02
2 t. pepper .01
1/2 t. cumin seeds (or 1/8 t. ground cumin) .02
Dash of ground cloves (or 2 whole cloves), nutmeg & cinnamon .021/2 c. plain yogurt .10 (homemade)
1/2 c. cashew pieces finely chopped or ground .60 (I left them whole)

Heat butter in a large saucepan and gently fry onions, garlic and ginger until golden.

Add curry and chili powder and stir 1 minute.

Add salt and tomatoes and cook to a rich pulp stirring with a wooden spoon. Add chicken stirring well to coat. cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the spices and yogurt and simmer uncovered for a few minutes, stirring to ensure that the spices do not stick. stir in the cashews, heat through and serve with naan.

Naan $0.71
Makes 8 loaves

3/4 c. lukewarm water
1 pkg. yeast .203 t. Sugar .011/4 c. plain yogurt .051 egg, beaten .091/4 c. butter melted, plus more for greasing .202 t. Salt .01
3 1/2 c. Flour .152 T. cumin seeds (I omitted)

Fill a small warm bowl with 1/4 c. lukewarm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Leave for a few minutes to soften, then stir to dissolve.

Add 1 t. sugar, stir and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until it starts to proof (it will become frothy). Make sure this happens or you'll need to start over.

Stir yogurt until smooth in separate bowl and mix with remaining sugar, and remaining lukewarm water, egg, 1/4 c. melted butter and salt stir in the yeast mixture.

In another bowl put 2 c. flour and make a well in the center. Pour the liquid in the well and beat until a smooth batter is formed.

Add remaining flour a bit at a time until stiff enough that must start using your hands to knead. Knead for 12 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add as little extra flour as possible. Form into a ball and let rest.

Warm a large heat proof bowl with boiling water for 3 minutes. Dry it well and then grease it.

Put dough in bowl and then turn over so top is greased. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size and a finger leaves an impression, about 1 hour.

Punch down and divide into 8 balls. Let balls rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 and place two ungreased baking sheets in the oven to heat.

Pat dough into circles about 1/4 inch thick.

Pull one end out until the loaf resembles a teardrop the size of your hand with the edges slightly thicker than the center. Repeat with the remaining loaves.

brush both sides of each loaf with melted butter and sprinkle with cumin seeds.

Place loaves on baking trays and cook until golden and puffy, about 10 minutes. You may brown under a broiler to achieve the desired color. Serve warm!

For more great recipes check out the Recipe Swap over at Grocery Cart Challenge on Friday.

Southwest Twist on Tamales

Growing up we had tamales every Christmas Eve. It's certainly a labor of love because they require a lot of work to prepare. I love this easy casserole dish that has the tamale taste, but without all the work. It can even be frozen or prepared in advanced and refrigerated.

Beef Tamale Pie $5.25
Serves 6-8
From The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, How to Cook Now and Save Time Later

1 t. veggie oil .01
1 lb ground beef 1.99
1 medium onion minced .09 (great deal at Aldi this week)
1 medium jalapeno chili minced with seeds removed (omit if you don't like spicy food, add a bit of the seeds if you love spicy food) omitted because I'm a wimp!
2 T. Chili powder .05
4 medium garlic cloves minced .10
1 T. tomato paste .05 (great deal on Muir Glein tomato paste this week)
1 T. minced fresh oregano or 1 t. dried .02
1 t. ground cumin .02
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (less if you don't want it as spicy) .01
1 can diced tomatoes .50
1 can black beans rices and drained or 1 1/2 c. cooked .20
1 1/2 c. frozen corn (do not thaw) .50
2 cups Cheese of your choice (Monterrey Jack is an excellent choice) .86
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro leaves .20
4 t. lime juice (2 limes) .10
Ground black pepper .01
Cornbread topping .54 (see recipe below)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering, if using lean meat. Add beef and crumble it as you cook. Stir in the onion, jalapeno and 1 t. salt and cook until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.

Stir in diced tomatoes with their juices, scraping up any browned bits. Remove from heat and add black beans, corn, cheese, cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place beef mixture in 9x13 dish. Prepare the cornbread topping and spread on top evenly, pushing it to the sides of the dish. (Can be frozen as is or stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil and then foil, don't forget to remove plastic wrap before you bake it.)

Bake at 375 degrees with the oven rack in a medium position. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden and baked through. about 45 minutes.

If prepared a head of time and stored in the fridge, bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes.

If frozen allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 50-60 minutes

Cornbread Topping
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour .05
1 c. yellow cornmeal .15
6 T. Sugar 05
2 t. baking powder .01
3/4 t. salt .01
1/4 t. baking soda .01
1 c. buttermilk (regular milk with a couple t. vinegar added) .10
8 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled .38
2 large eggs .16

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until uniform. Use as directed for the topping to Beef Tamale Pie.

Happy Savings!
Erica

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dillons 4/29-5/05

There are a few great deals this week at Dillons I don't want to miss out on. I hope you can find some good deals that fit your family's needs this week.

Produce
Ripe-N-Ready to Eat Avocados or Mangoes .88
Red Ripe Roma Tomatoes or Spicy JalapeƱo Peppers .99 lb.
First of the Season: Fresh Green Beans or B-Size Red New Potatoes .99 lb
Kroger Value California Oranges, 4 lb, Texas Grapefruit 5 lb or Red Delicious Apples 3 lb 2.99

Meat
Sterling Silver Fresh Ground Chuck 1.99lb
Boneless Pork Sirloin Chops or Pork Steak BIGI Free 2.67-3.69lb.
Farmland Roll or Link Sausage BIGI Free 2.79/2!
If you have any Q’s from Farmland mailers makes these an even better deal!


Other Grocery Deals
Dillons Eggs .99 (Cheaper at Aldi)
Kroger Peanut Butter .99
Kroger Cheese Singles 1.38 (beat Aldi Price)
Kroger Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream or Dips 1.99
Private Selection Frozen Fruit 2.99
Kroger or Private Selection Spices, Extracts or Grinders 33% off

Kellogg's Cereal 2.18Use 1.00/1 MF (from vocal point mailer) Frosted Mini WheatsUse 1.00/1 IP Frosted Flakes or 1.50/2 IP Frosted Mini Wheats or Raisin BranTotal=$1.18/1 or $2.86/2

General Mills Cereal 1.88
Use .55/1 IP Honey Nut Cheerios, no longer available but if you printed it off the beginning of the month you might have it.
Total= .88/1!

Sara Lee Classic White or Wheat Bread 1.68
Use .65/1 MF
Total=$0.68!

Kroger Orange Juice 2.98
Use .65/1 SC from Dillons Mailer
Total=$2.33

Pringles 2/$3
Use 1.00/1 MF (Super Stackers) **expires on Thursday & .50/2 P&G esavers
Total=$1.50/2

Ortega 33% off Products
Use .75/2 MF


Pace Picante Sauce or Salsa 2/$4
Use .50/1 MF
Total=$1.00/1!

Household Products
Sunburst Liquid Laundry Detergent 1.88

Dawn Dish Detergent 1.99
Use .50/1 MF & .50/1 p&G esaver
Total= $0.49!

Charmin Basic Bath Tissue 12 pk or Bounty 8 rolls 4.99
Use 1.00/1 MF Charmin & .50/1 P&G esaver or 1.00/1 MF
Total= $3.49

Happy Savings!
Erica

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I love Garage Sales

Spring is here and I love it. We've been enjoying the great outdoors and last week I enjoyed one of my favorite part things about spring, garage sales. You can say I'm a recent convert to garage sales. There was a point in my life that I hated digging through other peoples junk, but now I love it, it's the thrill of finding a great deal. This past week my best deal was scoring Mother-Ease Cloth diapers for $50, and I got a whole set including 6 covers. I am still giddy over this purchase. I've been looking into them and was a little hesitant because of the upfront cost of purchasing them. What a blessing to find them at a garage sale.



I do believe you must go into a garage sale with a clear idea of your needs. Make a list before you go so that you know what you are looking for. Last summer I stocked up on clothes for the whole year for my son. After each day of shopping I came home I entered what I bought into an excel spreadsheet, so I knew exactly how many long sleeved shirts, shorts, pants, etc. I'm really not that organized, I just flipped through the clothes I had stock piled and realized that I had purchased six 18 month jackets. I decided that it was time to take inventory after this, and hence the excel sheet. What I love about it is that I can print it out so I always know what I'm looking for. It helps me be accountable and to not purchase something if we don't need it. Also don't forget to budget for garage sales and only bring the amount of cash you have budgeted for.

Set a price on how much you are willing to spend on a specific item. It helps knowing how much you would spend for an item brand new. I have hardly ever bought a new toy for my son, everything he owns was either given to him, I found it on Craig's list or came from a garage sale. Since I scour the ads each week I have an idea of how much things are based on sale prices, so I know a good deal when I see it. Having a price in your head going into to a garage sale will also help you bargain. I have also found if I purchase several peices of clothing most people will give you a better bargain.

Also try not to buy something you don't love. A rule of thumb for me is that if I wouldn't buy it at the store I won't buy it at a garage sale. When flipping through clothes I tend to pull out everything I like then look over each item for stains, missing buttons, etc then I decide what I want to buy.

If possible try to hit neighborhood sales or city wide garage sales and walk. If you are bringing your kiddos bring a stroller or a wagon. You can always swing by and pick up large items on your way out. My son hates getting in and out of his carseat, so this garage sale season you better believe I'll be on the look out for those great neighborhood sales.

If you are bringing you kiddos make sure you pack some most loved snacks and if your kids are older why not have them earn some money before hand so they can buy something too. When the money runs out it's time to play with what they purchased. Know your limits with your kids, don't try to push them into going one more place. It's tempting I know, but I've found almost always my son has melted when we should have just gone home. Trust that motherly instinct, God gave it to us for a reason.

For more great tips this week Check out We Are THAT Family on Wednesday.

Here are the city wides around the Wichita area this season:(If you see an error please let me know)
April 25th – Valley Center (24th & 25th), Peabody, Oxford, Rose Hill, Benton
May 2nd – Goddard, Mulvane, Wellington, Sedgwick, Sedan, Garden Plain, Bentley, Inman
May 9th – Fredonia & Buhler
May 16th – Towanda
May 30th – Belaire (29th & 30th) & Smith Center June
June 6th – Garden Plain, Derby, Clearwater, Howard, Park City, Andover, Hesston, Halstead, Cheney
June 13th – Kechi
June 20th – Augusta
June 27th – Potwin
August 8th – Haysville
August 15th – Minneapolis
September- Chetopa
September 19th – Council Grove & Marysville (18th & 19th)
September 26th – Park City
October 3rd – Sedan & Howard

Happy Garage Saleing!
Erica

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monday Meal Plan

This week we are increasing the amount of meals with meat. At my toddler's 18 month check up last week we found out he was a little anemic. He officially loves his flintstone vitamins, but I'm hoping he'll develop a taste for meat. He's just so finicky about eating meat. So that's why you'll find more animal based protein on our menu this week, and I'm planning on sneaking some spinach in our baked spaghetti. I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for some good manager specials on meat. Thankfully we were able to switch to cow's milk so that will give me a bit more money in our budget for meat. Adios soy milk!

Breakfasts:
I'm planning on making a triple batch of Lemon Yogurt Muffins
We'll enjoy some Homemade Yogurt this week.
My toddler will love it when we have Breakfast Cookies!
And I need to make up some more waffles for the freezer.
I'll probably have a couple toast days in the mix too.

Lunch:
Leftovers
Macaroni salad
Breakfast Burritos

Dinner:
Monday- Curried Chicken with Cashews, Naan & Steamed Veggies

Tuesday-Classic Baked Spaghetti, Tossed Salad & Steamed Veggies

Wednesday-Tamale Pie, Tomato Wedges & Jagger Pie

Thursday-Leftovers

Friday-Sweet and Sour pork, rice & fruit.

Saturday-I'm Hosting an Uppercase Living Party and we'll be enjoying a nice brunch complete with mini croissants w/nutella, Apple Sauce Oatmeal Cake, Lemon Yogurt Muffins, Fruit Salad, and mini breakfast casserole cups. I'm planning on serving this with some orange Julius, coffee and tea. Most of this I can prepare the during the week, which will make for easy prep Saturday morning. For dinner we will enjoy some leftovers from the week.

Sunday-Stromboli, Steamed Veggies & Fruit Salad

Check back on Thursday for the recipes and price breakdowns for Curried Chicken w/ Cashews & Tamale Pie.

Don't forget to check out Org Junkie to see what's cooking around the country.

Aldi Cinco de Mayo Sale

I'm defiantly not missing out on this sale.

1.99 Whole Pineapple
.49 pack of jalapeno peppers
.49 3lb bag of sweet yellow, white and red onions! (You can freeze onions to use in casseroles so I'm going to grab two bags!)
.49 Avocado!
1.99 chorizo

Happy Savings!
Erica

Walgreens Deals 4/26-5/1

See my post below about how to make Register Rewards work for you if you have any questions about how to effectively utilize RR at Walgreens.

Here are the best deals I see this week.

Register Reward Deals
Pepsi products 12 pk 3/$11
Get $3 in RR wyb 3
Total=$8.00/3 after RR

Scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner kit $13.99
Get $3 in RR
Use $7/1 IP
Total=$3.99

Revlon dryer or Hair straightener $24.99
Get $10 in RR
Total=$14.99 after RR

Got2b Hair 2/$10
Get $5 in RR wyb 2!
Use two $2/1 IP
Toal=$1.00/2 products!!!

Suave or rave hair care 3/$5
Get $2 RR wyb 3
Use $1.75/3 MF Suave Shampoo, Conditioner or Hairspray
Total=$1.25/3 after RR

Schick quattro, Quattro trimstyle, or Intuition $8.99
Get $3 in RR
Use $4/1 MF
Total=$1.99 after RR

Nivea body wash 16.9 oz $4.99
Get $4.99 in RR
Use $1/1 IP when you sign up with Nivea Clubhouse
Total= $1.00 overage after RR

Rembrandt toothpaste or mouthwash 16 oz $5.99
Get $5.99 in RR
Total= FREE after RR

Bayer quick release crystals 4 ct $2.49
Get $2.49 in RR
Use 1.00/1 MF
Total=$1.00 overage after RR

Ecotrin 45 ct tablets $2
Get $2 RR
Use $1/1 MF
Total=$1.00 overage after RR

Bandaids $3 or Benadryl or Neosporin $4
Get $4 in RR wyb $10
(Buy 2 packages of bandaids and one tube of Neosporin)
Use three $1/1 MF for bandaids and neosporin
Total=$3.00 after RR

Contour Meter $14.99
Get $5 in RR
Use Bayer Breeze2 or Contour Meter, free (up to $30) MF
Total=$5.00 overage after rebate!

Other Great Walgreens Deals This Week
Smucker's Jellly 2/$4 w/ in-ad coupon
Use .55/2 MF Total=$3.45/2

Campbell's Soup $0.59 each w/ in-ad coupon
Use 1.00/2 IP
Total=$0.18/2!!!!

Glad Cling Wrap $1.99 w/ in-ad coupon

Scotch Packaging Tape $.99 w/ in-ad coupon
Use .50/1
Total=$0.49

Rimmel cosmetics BOGO FREE
Use two 1.00/1MF
Total=$2.00 off price of one product

Hallmark Gift Wrap or Tissue Paper $.39 w/ in-ad coupon

Happy Savings!
Erica

Making Register Rewards Work

Well the Easy Saver Rebate program is over, sniff sniff, but it appears that Register Rewards are in abundance. For those unfamiliar to Register Rewards, they are coupons that print out after your purchase that are good for store credit on your next purchase.

The trick to rolling Register Rewards (RR), getting more RR when paying with a RR, is that you cannot use them for the same product, if this happens you will not get a new register reward. Register Rewards are usually sponsored by a specific brand and as long as you use your register reward to purchase a different product you should be fine at the register. Clear as mud?

Take this week’s RR deals Purchase the Nivea body wash and get a RR for 4.99 you can then use this to purchase the Rembrandt toothpaste and you will get another RR for 5.99. The trick is knowing which products are under the same brand so start familiarizing yourself with P&G products, Pamolive Products, etc.

You also must take into consideration your RR when counting your products and coupons. At Walgreens you must have the same amount of coupons and register rewards as products. Make sure you count up the items in your cart before you check out because if you have more coupons than items you’ll hear an unfortunate beep at the register.

The best way to utilize RR in my option is to try to limit your out of pocket costs as much as possible. Often this means multiple transactions. Get to know the cashiers at your Walgreens, mine know me now and know that I often make multiple transactions. It’s a blessing to be known by the cashiers as long as you are sweet to them and don’t make their job a nightmare. I also like to check out when there isn’t a line to avoid frustrated customers, if there is a line and I want to do multiple transactions I often jump back in line. I like to shop on Monday mornings because I know the store isn’t as busy at that time.

I hope this helps you make the most of your Walgreens. I’ve been so thankful for the savings I have had at Walgreens. Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekly $ Report

This week I spent $52.63 on groceries and $13.92 on household products. My best finds of the week are in bold. I hope you guys did well this week.

Dillons

$20.29 groceries

2 Bags of Bird's Eye Steamers .50 each!
5 Boxes Green Giant Frozen Veggies .40 each!
3 boxes whole wheat spaghetti 1.25 each MS
2 Boxes whole wheat pasta 1.25 each MS
Kroger Crinkle Cut Carrots 1.00
MS Cottage Cheese 1.00
3 lb. grapes 2.72
1.5 lb. ground beef $2.97
Cantaloupe 1.99
Reusable Shopping Bag FREE!





Aldi

$29.38 groceries & $1.19 household products

Household products
Plastic wrap 1.19


Groceries
5 lb. Red Potatoes .99
Skim Milk 2.30
Whole Milk 2.35
Lunch meat 2.99
Turkey Half Ham 3.74
2 Loaves Bread 1.29 each
2 packages Green Peppers .99 each
Tomatoes on the Vine .99
Flour Tortillas .99
2 pkgs Unsalted Butter 1.49
American Cheese Slices 1.49
Cream of Mushroom Soup .49
Salt .33
2 Bars of Cheese 1.29 each
Eggs .79


Walgreens
$2.90 groceries & $12.73 household products

Groceries
Pringles Chips 2.00

Household Products
4 packages plastic ware 2.00
2 pack light bulbs 3.79
Physician's Formula Organic Blush/Bronzer 7.39*
Physician's Formula Organic Eyeshadow 3.79*
*Submitting for a $10 rebate.
Walmart
$0.96

5 lb. Bananas


See how other did this week. Check out Money Saving Mom's Saturday Savings

Friday, April 24, 2009

Frugal Family Fun in the Garden

Hasn’t this weather been perfect for being outdoors? Our family has certainly enjoyed the extra outdoor time, in fact we have to drag our toddler inside these days. And when he is indoors his face is glued to the window, dreaming of all the rocks, sticks & dandelions he sees.

If you haven’t planted your garden yet it’s the prefect time, so go ahead start digging up that soil. If you haven't purchased your seeds yet Home Depot has a sale going on this week, 50% of seeds .


Since gardening is not only fun but frugal it's a great way to spend time together as a family. Have you considered letting your kids help with the garden this year? You can even designate a specific plot of land for their garden. They can be a part of the amazing experience of watching tiny seeds grow into something edible. It also might increase their veggie intake since they are eating their own veggies. Make sure your boundaries are clearly marked because if you are like me you don’t want little fingers digging around in your vegetable patch. (My poor oregano and basil bit the dust due to curious little fingers.)

If you don’t want your children to plant something in the garden, why not keep a little area tilled and add your own garden surprises, of if want less mess throw a bag of mulch down. Your kids can plant fake flowers. You can hide plastic bugs and if you’re feeling up to a mess give them a watering can filled with water. Don’t forget to grab a set to plastic garden tools the next time you are at the dollar store to make this experience even more fun.

For further science exploration let your kids use a magnifying glass to give them a closer look at what is in the garden (although make sure you're not using it in peak sun). You never know what insect you might find. This is a great way for everyone to enjoy working in the yard and you even get to do it together. So go ahead, what are you waiting for? This beautiful spring weather is calling your name.

Happy Gardening!
Erica

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Give me 20 minutes I'll give you Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

This is such a quick and easy meal. I'm sure it will be seen on our menu for years to come. I love it when I stumble upon a meal I can whip up in a hurry.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara $3.19
4 Servings
From the 99 cent cookbook



8 oz. dry spaghetti .63
1 c. diced chunks of ham or cooked bacon 1.87 (I used turkey ham)
2 eggs .18
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese .50Salt & Pepper to Taste .01
Cook spaghetti until al dente. While spaghetti is boiling, cook ham or bacon in skillet until browned or crisp. Separating into bits as it cooks.

In a bowl beat eggs well then add parmesan cheese, saving a bit for topping and season with salt and pepper.

When spaghetti is cooked drain and return to pot quickly and add egg mixture. (the heat of the pasta will cook your eggs, if you wish you can add a little heat to ensure fully cooked eggs but be careful not to overcook them.

Add ham or bacon and toss well. Serve immediately and top with parmesean cheese.

To see my menu this week with links to other great recipes click here.
For more great ideas check out the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap on Friday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Savings

Visit Walgreen's today and use this coupon to receive a free reusable shopping bag and get 15% off your purchase. You must use this coupon at the register at the beauty counter or photo counter and you must purchase something.

Want to try the new Recycled Reynold's wrap? Print this coupon today only and receive a rebate for the full price of this foil.

Visit Kroger's website and design your own shopping bag, once it's approved and you've voted for your favorite you will receive credit on your shopper's card, Dillons in our area, for a free reusable shopping bag.

Happy Freebies!
Erica

Dillons Deals 4/22--4/28

There are a few great deals this week I'm sure you don't want to miss out on.

Produce
4 lb. Red Ripe California Strawberries 4.99 (1.29lb)
10 lb. Kroger Value Russet Potatoes 2.99
1 lb. Driscoll's Strawberries (includes organic) 1.99
Kroger Value California Oranges 4 lb, Texas Grapefruit 5 lb or Red Delicious Apples 3 lb 2.99
Washington State Extra Fancy Cameo Apples .89/lb

Fresh Express Salads 2/$4
Use 1.00/2 MF & 1.00/2 Shortcuts eQ
Total=$2/2

Meat
Tyson Fresh Chicken Drumsticks or Thighs .99/lb

Other Grocery Deal
Kellogg's Cereal 2.18
Use 1.00/1 MF (from vocal point mailer) Frosted Mini Wheats
Use 1.00/1 IP Frosted Flakes or 1.50/2 IP Frosted Mini Wheats or Raisin BranTotal=$1.18/1 or $2.86/2

Chef Boyardee or Campbell's SpaghettiO's $0.88
Use 1.00/5 Chef Boyardee
Total=$3.40/5 or $.68/1

Frito Lay Snacks (Doritos & Cheetos Pictured) or Hunts Pudding Packs $1
Use .50/2 Hunts Snack Pack (will not double)
Total=$1.50/2

Rice Roni $1
Use $1.00/3 IP
Total=$2.00/3

Pillsbury Brownie Mix $1
Use $1/2 MF
Total= $1.00/2

Gallon Dillons Milk 2/$5 (Aldi has a better price this week)
8 oz bar cheese or 2 cups Shredded Cheese $1.28 (.01 cheaper than Aldi for bars)
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish $1
McCormick Grill Mates Seasoning Lawry's Marinades, Kraft Barbeque Sauce, or Kroger Ketchup, $1 each
Kroger Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream or Dips $1
Lay's Potato Chips $1.88
Pepsi Cola 5/$5 wyb 5
Kroger Value Biscuits $ .37
Kroger Value Cereal .99
Kroger Value Bread .78
Kroger Value Ice cream .99
Sara Lee Whole Grain White or Honey Wheat Bread 1.99
Naturally Preferred Organic Milk 2.99


Household Products
Sun Burst Laundry Detergent $1.88
Aveeno Hair Care 6.99
Use 1.00/1 MF or 1.50/2 MF
Total=$5.99/1 or $12.48/2

Get $3 off instantly when you spend $15 on Comfort Products
Comfort Boxed Diapers size 3-6 $15.99
Use $3/1 IP
My coupon says one per customer, so it looks like you probably can't use more than one of these at a time. Let us know if this works. Remember you can only print two of these per computer, so if you want more try the library or beg a friend to print one for you.
$ 3 taken off at the register
Total=$9.99 for a large box of diapers

Comforts Formula $13.95

Comfort Wipes 2/$4

I'm sure there are other comfort products a part of this deal. I haven't been to Dillons today, if you've been there, let us know if there are any other products a part of this deal.
Happy Savings!
Erica

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I Love Life with One Car


Shortly after returning to the states last year we had to make some heavy purchases, one of which was a vehicle. We were committed to staying debt free, but we also wanted something reliable that would also get great gas mileage. The Lord placed this little Corolla in our laps and we love it. It's the only vehicle we own and we make it work.

A few of the benefits of having one vehicle is that we only have to fill one car up with gas, and we save a lot of money by only paying to insure & maintain one vehicle as opposed to two.

Having one vehicle takes some work and cooperation but it works for us in this season of life we are in. When my husband was job searching he accepted a job within biking distance of our house, rather than a job across town. This has made this arrangement very easy during the summer & fall months, but during the winter we had to makes some adjustments. I learned how to run all my errands during the same day and to go back before the next week.

Having one car has allowed me to get moving and to discover our neighborhood. I found out that there is a park within walking/jogging distance, the grocery store is only about 2 miles away, and Target is only a mile away. I not only get a good workout in, but I also don't feel stuck at home. By traveling on foot I am also limited to how much I can buy, which limits me spending money on unnecessary things.

We've also been able to invite people over, if we are without a vehicle. My toddler always loves it when he has a buddy to play with. It changes it up a bit and doesn't make us feel stir crazy.

If having one vehicle isn't an option for you family, how about carpooling to work. You can trade off weeks and I'm sure you'll start noticing the savings on gas in a hurry. Try having several no spend days each week where you don't step foot inside a store, it will save you time and money.

So it is possible to be a one car family living in the Midwest, where public transportation is very.....underdeveloped. It's works for us.

For more great tips Wednesday check out We are THAT family.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meal Plan for the Week

I absolutely loved last week's freezer meals, I haven't experienced anything like that since my son was born, 18 months ago. (That cooking I owe to my hubby who prepared 15 meals for us while I was on bedrest, he's awesome.) It was a great break from cooking, since we rarely eat out. I thoroughly loved the extra time I had. I'm thinking of establishing a freezer meal week every month, but this week I am back to normal.

Breakfast:
Chocolate Chip Muffins- making this week
Waffles (from freezer)
Baked Oatmeal
Banana Crumb Muffins (from freezer)
Omlets

Lunch:
Tomatoes & Scrambled Eggs
leftovers
Ham & cheese

Snacks:
The only out of the ordinary thing we will have this week will be Homemade Pretzles. I'm making a few for my hubby's lunches this week, I'd score bonus points if I added some processed cheese dip too (I'm not a fan, but he loves it).

Dinner:
Monday-Chicken Packets, Asparagus & Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday-TX Cowboy Pie (using up leftover Roast)

Thursday-Tuna & Rice Souffle & Steamed Carrots

Friday-Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Tossed Salad & Steamed Broccoli

Saturday-Leftovers

Sunday-Simple Risotto, Steamed Mixed Veggies & Fruit

Check back on Thursday to find the recipe for Tuna & Rice Souflee and Spaghetti ala Carbonara. For more great meal plans visit Org Junkie.

Walgreens 4/19-4/25

Has anyone else noticed that there has been an increase in Register Rewards lately? It makes me wonder what Walgreens is up to, I can’t wait to see how things change starting in May. I do hope it is an easier system.

Good Deals this Week
Nature Valley Granola Bars 2/$4
Use .60/1 MF
Total=2.80/2

Dawn Dish Soap .99 w/ in ad Q
Use .50/1
Total=$0.49

Angel Soft 12 Rolls TP 2/$6 w/ in ad Q
Use two .50/1 IP
Total=$5.00/2

Pringles 2/$3 w/ in ad Q
Use 1.00/2 MF
Total=$2.00/2

24 pack plastic cutlery 2/$1 w/ in ad Q

Walgreen’s Pain Relievers 4/$4

Nuts 2/$4 (cashew halves, dry roasted peanuts or mixed nuts)

Easy Saver Rebate Deals
40% off Physician Formula Cosmetics
Use 1.00/1 MF
#6 ES Rebate buy $10 of Physicains formula organic wear makeup get $10 back
Total=possibly free after rebate

Accu Chek Aviva or Compact Plus Blood Glucose Monitor 14.99
Get 14.99 back in Rebates
Total=FREE after Rebates

Register Rewards Deals
Claritin 19.99
Get 5.00 in RR
Use 4.00/1 IP
Total= 10.99

Tide or Gain 12.99
Get 2.00 in RR
Use 1.00/1 MF
Total=9.99 after RR

12 pack 7-Up, Hawaiian Punch, A&W, Canada Dry, or Sunkist 3/$11
Receive $5 in RR
Total=$6.00/3 12 packs after RR

Windex (liquid or wipes), Scrubbing Bubbles (liquid, wipes, action scrubber refills), Shout (liquid, wipes), Nature’s Source 2/$6
Get $1 RR
Use
Use 1.00/1 MF any Nature’s Source
Use.75/1 MF any Windex
Use .75/1 MF any Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom
Use .55/1 MF any Shout
Total= $3-3.90 for two products after RR

Pledge (sprays, wipes, or fabric sweeper), Scrubbing Bubbles Cleaners (toilet cleaning gel, action scrubber, mega shower foamer), Draino (gel or foaming liquid) 2/$7
Get $1 RR
Use 1.00/1 Pledge furniture care product
Use 1.00/1 MF or 2.00/1 MF Pledge Fabric Sweeper
Use 1.00/1 MF Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel
Use 1.00/1 MF Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer
Total= $3.00-$4.00 for two products after RR

Glade Plugins Scented Oil Refill or Fan Warmer 2/$5
Get $1 RR
Use two 1.00/1 MF
Total=$2.00/2 after RR

Glade Scented Oil 2 pack or Lasting Impressions Refill2/$10
Get $1.50 in RR
Use two 1.00/1 MF refill
Total=$6.50 after RR

Skintimate Shave Gel or Edge Infused or Energy Shave Gel 2.99
Get $2.99 in RR
Total=FREE after RR

Mitchum Antiperspirant/Deodorant 2.99
Get $2.00 in RR
Total=$0.99

Happy Savings!
Erica

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekly $ Report

I came in underbudget this week so that takes care of my overage from last week and I'm still under budget for the month, which always makes me happy. This week I spent $41.35 on groceries and $14.65 on household products.

Dillons
$26.24 grocery & $6.78 household products
Grocery:
Multigrain Cheerios 1.67
Cinnamon Toast Crunch 1.17
Nature Valley Granola Bars 1.67
Gallon Whole Milke FREE
Green Onion .63
Asparagus 2.01
Pineapple 1.99
Strawberries 1.88
Cauliflower 2.50
Garlic .40
Soy Milk 2.50
2 boxes Wheat Thins 1.50 each
Sour Cream 1.00
Chocolate Chips 1.00 each
Sugar 1.90
Household Products
Sport Eggs .75
Cookie Cutters .55 each
Bubbles .99
2 boxes Tampons 3.50/2
Aldi
$14.22 grocery & $0.42 household products

Grocery
Skim Milk 2.46
Eggs .89
Sweet Potatoes 1.49
Roma Tomatoes 1.49
Avacado .89
Iceburg lettuce .99
Bread 1.29
Parmesean Cheese 2.39
Butter 1.49

Household Products
Easter Grass .39
Walgreens
$5.76 from gift card, used 3.50 in RR, and received $2 back in RR

3 Rolls of Bounty towels $2
2 jars of skippy peanut butter $1.29
Hair Rubber Bands 1.99
6 envelopes 2.00

Walmart
$0.89 grocery & $7.45 household products



Bananas .89 (Price matched to Leeker's, Thursdays only)
Head and Shoulders 3.00
Purell Hand Sanitizer 1.50
Travel Soap .50
Oxygen Clean 1.96
Check out how other have been saving this week at Super Saturday Savings over at Money Saving Mom.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Frugal Family Squishy Fun

What is more fun than play dough! I even enjoy playing with play dough. It's something that the whole family can do together. I'm sure many of you have made play dough before but I've tried several different recipes, since I was a preschool teacher and this one is my favorite.

Playdough
1 c. flour
1 c. Warm Water + food coloring of your choice (Add food coloring to water)
2 t. cream of tartar or alum
1/4 c. salt
1 t. oil

Start with dry ingredients and while heating on the stove add the liquid ingredients stirring constantly. The heat will make your play dough thicken and will eventually form a ball around your spoon. When thickened remove from head and allow to cool slightly then knead. I like to use my silicon baking sheets to knead with since they are heat resistant. I have also use parchment paper in the past and that does the trick. Please remember this is very hot so you'll need to let it cool for several minutes before you touch it. Store in an airtight container, Ziploc bags work best.

I have also added packages of kool aid & extracts like orange & lemon to the water to give it some color and scent. I do not recommend doing this with toddlers because they will already want to eat it, adding a scent will only increase the playdough consumption.

Fun things to add with play dough:
Straws
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes*
Potato Head Parts
Marbles*
Garlic presses
Meat mallet
Pine cones or other fun textured objects

For older kids give them a theme and watch them create. The possibilities are endless when it comes to play dough.

*not recommended for toddlers

Happy Family Time!
Erica

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chicken Freezer Meals this Week

As promised here are the recipes for the 3 hour cooking marathon. For detailed instructions of how to prepare 5 freezer meals in 3 hours go here.

Chicken Pot Pie $3.39
I usually use a biscuit topped pot pie, but instead of having to add the "pie topping later I just made a pie crust so I wouldn't have to worry about it later.

Crust:
2/3 c. & 2 T. shortening or butter .55
2 c. flour (I used half whole wheat, half white flour and had to add more water) .20
1 t. salt .01
4-5 T. COLD water free

Cut shortening or butter into flour mixture until fine crumbles form, then add cold water until crust forms a ball.

Divide in half and roll out into a desired size for your pie plate.

Filling:
1 can cream of chicken soup .49
1 c. chicken .84
2-3 c. frozen mixed veggies .75

Mix filling together and add to pie crust. Top with remaining pie crust and vent. Before cooking add a bit of salt to the top and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until gold brown.

Chicken Noodle Soup $2.01
Broth from crock pot (free)
1 c. chopped celery .25
1/2 chopped onion .20
1-2 c. chopped carrots .20
1 c. cooked chicken .84
1/2 t. pepper .01
Favorite noodles .50
Salt to taste .01

Combine all above ingredients and salt to taste. (If freezing this recipe stop here and place in a freezer bag or container.) Bring to a boil and cook until veggies are tender. In separate pot cook noodles. Add to bowls when they are finished and pour broth mixture over the top.

(I learned this trick from friends and now I always keep my noodles separate in my soups and add as needed. It helps them to not become mushy.)

Chicken Burritos $2.85
1/2 c. brown rice uncooked .30
1/2 t. cumin .02
1/2 t. chili powder .02
2-3 T. Chicken broth (from whole chicken free)
1/2 t. salt .01
1 1/4 c. boiling water (free)

Boil water, add broth, spices & rice. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or according to package directions. Fluff with a fork when finished.

1 c. cooked chicken .84
1t. taco seasoning (more or less as desired) .20
1 1/2 c. cooked pinto or black beans (or 1 can of beans drained and rinse beans) .25
1/2 c. Shredded Cheese .22
1 package tortillas .99

Prepare rice. Then add cooked chicken to skillet along with beans. Sprinkle on taco seasoning according to liking. Add a bit of water and simmer. Once mixture has simmer for about 5 minutes use a potato masher and mash beans.

Add rice to tortillas then chicken and bean mixture and top with cheese. Roll up tortilla and wrap in foil. Bake 12 minutes if defrosted or 30 minutes if frozen. These turn out nice and crispy. Top with shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa & guacamole.

Chicken Packets $4.90
(I did not make this into a freezer meal but it can be done. All you need to do is cook completely and store in a freezer bag once cooled.)

2 c. cooked chopped chicken 1.68
1 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese .79
1 T. Chopped chives or green onion .10
2 T. Milk .02
Salt to Taste .01
½ c. crushed seasoned crouton crumbs, or bread crumbs with 1 T. Italian seasoning & 1 T. Parmesan cheese .30
2 pkg. Refrigerated crescent rolls or homemade crescent rolls 1.00½ c. melted margarine or use cooking spray 1.00

Mix Chicken, cream cheese, chives, milk and salt in medium bowl with wooden spoon. Unroll crescent rolls. Press dough along each of the perforation so that the rectangles to not separate, or roll our homemade dough and cut with pizza cutter into . Place about ¼ c. filling into center of the rectangle. Fold dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal tightly. Dip each packet into melted margarine and coat with crouton crumbs. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

If freezing this dish place in ziplock bag. To reheat, thaw and either bake it or microwave it until it is warm.

For more great recipes check out the recipe swap on Friday over at Grocery Cart Challenge.

Beef Freezer Meals

As promised here are the recipes for the 3 hour cooking marathon. For detailed instructions of how to prepare 5 freezer meals in 3 hours go here.

Home-Style Meat Loaf $2.76
½ c. chopped onions .20
1 lb. Ground beef 1.99
2 large eggs .16
2 c. fresh breadcrumbs or crushed saltines .25
½ c. water free
¼ c. ketchup .10
2 T. chopped fresh parsley or 1 t. dried .02
1 t. salt .01
¼ t. ground black pepper .01
½ t. dried basil .02

Preheat oven to 350. Finely chop onion. In a large bowl place onion, ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, water, ketchup, parsley, salt, pepper, meat. Mix well, it mixes best using your hands. Place mixture in loaf pan. Bake meat loaf 1 hour. When meat loaf is done, let stand 10 minutes to set juices for easier slicing. (Freeze when cooled, to prepare simple defrost and warm.)

Calzones $2.14
Use this pizza dough .56
1 c. shredded moz. cheese .43
1/4 lb. pepperoni .50
½ c. ricotta cheese or cottage cheese .25 (cottage cheese)
½ c. chopped fresh basil leaves or a 2 t. dry basil .05
handful fresh spinach chopped .20
dash of Ground pepper .01
1 large egg slightly beaten .09
2 T. parmesean Cheese .05

Make dough for pizza crust and let rest 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F. Grease 2 cookie sheets.

In small bowl combine riccotta/cottage cheese cheese w/ basil, spinach, pepper, egg, & parmesan cheese.
Divide dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a 7 inch circle on lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin.

Top half of each dough circle with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, ricotta/cottage cheese mixture, basil and tomatoes to within 1 inch of edge. Sprinkle with pepper. Carefully fold dough over filling; pinch edges or press with fork to seal securely.

Place calzones on cookie sheets. Brush with egg. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Freeze once cooled. To prepare, defrost & warm.

For more great recipes check out the recipe swap on Friday over at Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dillons Deals 4/15-4/21

Phew! I am thankful for a slow week at Dillons, now I won’t have to work wonders with my grocery list to try to stock up on good deals, it's back to basics this week. There are a few deals to take note of this week. I particularly like the frozen veggie prices and the grapes, but I’ll also stock up on some ground beef too. I hope you guys can find some good deals at Dillons this week.

Produce
Seedless Red Grapes $1.00/lb
Summer Squash, Fresh Zucchini or Yellow Squash 1.29 lb.
5 lb. bag Texas Grapefruit 2/$6

Meat
Sterling Silver Fresh Ground Chuck 1.99 lb (this is the price I like to stock up on)
Pork Loin Assorted, Center Cut or Loin Cut Chops BIGI Free $3.29-4.19 lb

Other Grocery Deals
3 pk or Quaker Quakes 3-3.6 oz Select Varieties 10/$10
Use .50/1 MF
Total=FREE

Kroger Frozen Vegetables, Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables, or Green Giant Frozen Vegetables $1 each
Use .50/2 MF or IP Green Giant Boxed Veggies
Total=$1/2 of Green Giant (I like to stock up on frozen veggies when they are $1/bag.)

Kellogg's Cereal 2.18
Use 1.00/1 IP Frosted Flakes or 1.50/2 IP Frosted Mini Wheats or Raisin Bran
Total= 1.18/1 Frosted Flakes or $2.86/2 boxes Frosted Mini Wheats or Regular Raisin Bran

Rice o Roni 1.00
Use $1/3 IP
Total=$2.00/3

Pepsi Cola 3/$11 plus a free bag of chips

Gallon of Milk $2.50

Household Products
Sunburst Laundry Detergent 1.88 (great price, if you don’t mind buying the cheap stuff)

Happy Savings!
Erica

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why I love Freezer Meals

I love freezer meals because it means less work on my part, but in our house freezer meals are always homemade and not from the freezer section of the store, so they do take some time to prepare. We have limited freezer space, since we don't have a second freezer, and one week of meals is about all we can cram into our freezer.

The benefits of freezer meals far outweigh the time and mess involved when you initially prepare them. Gayle over at GCC did a nice post last week about making a double batch of a main dishes and freezing them for later. I highly recommend you read her thoughts, especially if you have the freezer space.

It took me 3 hours start to finish to prepare 5 meals. When I say finished I mean the kitchen was cleaned and mopped. (I did have a few things still on the counter cooling.) Here are the meals I prepared during my cooking marathon:
1. Chicken Noodle Soup
2. Chicken Pot Pie
3. Meat Loaf
4. Calzones
5. Chicken & Bean Burritos

You will want to do some prep work before your cooking marathon. The following is what I recommend:
1. Cook chicken needed for your recipes and any other meat needed.

I used a whole chicken for my chicken dishes, which gave me enough meat for 5 meals (one of which I doubled.) I simply put a whole chicken in the crockpot after I washed it, and added a little water to cover the bottom. Cut up one onion into large wedges and sprinkle them around the chicken, then added some salt, pepper, & thyme. I set my crockpot on low and cooked it for 8 hours. De-bone the chicken the same day once your chicken has cooled a bit, and make sure you save your broth.
To save your broth simply put a fine strainer on top of a bowl and pour the remaining chicken bones and broth into the strainer. If you don't have a fine strainer line your colander with paper towels and then dump the contents of the crockpot into your colander.Use a spoon and skim off the oil located on the top of the broth. Then add a bit of water and you have some delicious broth that you didn't have to buy.


(I stuck the whole crock in the fridge because I didn’t have time to de-bone or strain it the day before. So I warmed it up in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the broth became liquid again right before the marathon.)

2. Chop Veggies
I tend to chop veggies and freeze them when I find a good sale, so I already had some onion & celery chopped up in the freezer. If you are using dry beans make sure you have some cooked before you’re marathon day. I did have a few veggies I had to chop on marathon day, and I wished I had thought about chopping them earlier. So if you are making this exact meal plan chop some carrots in addition to your onion, & celery while you are at it.

Cooking Marathon Day
1. Start with a CLEAN kitchen, because you’ll have a ton of dishes to do at the end of your marathon and you’ll want all the sink space & counter space you have.

2. Pull out enough bowls, spoons, and other kitchen gadgets needed to prepare your meals.

3. Make a game plan. Decide on the order that you need to prepare you’re meals. The following was mine:

  • Make Pizza dough & let it rise for one hour
  • Start Rice for burritos simmer for about 45 minutes or according to package
    Make Pie Crust for Chicken pot pies
  • Finish Pot Pie & wrap in foil (but do not bake)
  • Cut up carrots and onions
  • Skim & Strain Broth and add to chicken, carrots, onion & celery, freeze
  • Make Meatloaf & Bake (1 hour)
  • Season Chicken for burritos w/ taco seasoning
  • Finish Burritos and wrap them in foil
  • Prepared the filling for calzones
  • Finish and bake calzone
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Rest
4. Next place bowls along counter and add any dry ingredients needed for each recipe near or in the bowl. (This will elevate having to go to the cupboard several times hunting for spices and cut down on the time it takes to prepare these meals.)

5. Gather up your refrigerated ingredients and place them on the top shelf of the fridge, in the order of use.

6. Get started and freeze once your dishes have cooled.

7. Make sure you write what the meal is using a sharpie and how long you’ll need to cook that dish and at what temperature.

8. Clean up your kitchen and try to put your feet up for a bit after you are finished.

To use simple take out what you want to have for dinner in the morning and place it in the fridge or you can put it in the oven frozen you’ll just want to add about 20-30 more minutes to your cook time.

For other great ideas this week check out We’re That Family for Works for Me Wednesday. Also if you want the recipe for any of these dishes come back on Thursday.

Happy Savings!
Erica

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

Thanks to Darcy Lee for this sweet award. As a recipient of this award I get to share 7 things I love.

1. The gift of grace I have been given through Jesus. I am so unworthy of that gift but I am unexplainably humbled by it at the same time.

2. My family. I am blessed to have a husband who is my best friend. I can't imagine life with out him. We've been through a lot and it's fun to see the road we have traveled together the past 6 1/2 years. My son who is truly a joy and a little energy ball. I love his laugh and kisses, our little games and just watching him grow. It's amazing that he is already 18 months. I have great parents who support us through our many journeys, and even didn't attempt to give our toddler candy this Easter. Thank you, even if you think we are crazy. I have fun brother and sister, who have put up with a bossy big sister since they were born. I have wonderful in-laws whom I wish we lived closer to. A loud and crazy extended family, who loves each other and values family and getting together. Then there is my family who is not related by blood. You know who you are, thank you for walking beside us and being a part of our lives.

3. The nations. I love new cultures and languages and of course new foods. One of my favorite things in the world is sitting down to tea enjoying being a part of another culture, while delving into each other's lives.

4. My Dishwasher & Dryer. I'm quite serious. I hate doing dishes and since we've been back in the states the dishwasher has become one of my favorite things. I also love fluffy towels and soft socks. After several years of putting on sandpaper socks and drying off with a scratchy towel. I thoroughly love the dryer!

5. Creating new things. Whether this is in the kitchen or at my sewing machine. I love trying new recipes and challenging myself to create something using my sewing machine.

6. Strawberry Shortcake. But it must be drenched in heavy cream, yep the liquid stuff. It is heavenly and I've decided very few know how it's eaten best.

7. Couponing! I love finding great deals and seeing how much I can save our family. It is hard for me to pay full price since I have started couponing. There is such a thrill and challenge in hunting for best prices and utilizing sales in order to make it happen.

So there you have it. Instead of giving this award to 7 people here are my 7 favorite blogs (sorry Darcy I'm a little bit of a rebel too)
1. Grocery Cart Challenge
2. Rocks in My Dryer
3. Money Saving Mom
4. Biblical Womanhood
5. Homemade by Jill
6. Domestic Fashionista
7. We Are That Family

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Freezer Meal Plan


This is a freezer meal week. The only main dish I have not already prepared are the Chicken Packets only because I am taking these to friends this week and wanted them very fresh and piping hot when they arrive. Check back later this week for my guide on how to prepare 5 meals in 3 hours start to finish. I'm looking forward to the extra time outside of the kitchen I'll have this week.

Breakfasts:
Muffins (from freezer)
Amish Baked Oatmeal
Homemade Yogurt & Fruit
Waffles (from freezer)

Lunches:
Hummus, Greek Pita Bread & Green Peppers
Chicken Fried Rice
Leftovers


Monday-Burritos w/ guacamole, sour cream & tomato wedges & fruit

Tuesday-Chicken Packets (doubling & bringing to friends), Asparagus, & Fruit

Wednesday-Chicken Noodle Soup over mashed potatoes

Thursday- leftovers

Friday-Meatloaf & Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Saturday-Calzones, Salad

Sunday-Chicken Pot Pie & fruit

For more great meal plans this week head on over to Org Junkie!

Happy Meal Planning!
Erica

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Walgreens 4/12-4/18

Good Deals this Week
Coffeemate 16 oz 2/$3
Use $1.50/2 IP
Total=$1.50/1

Skippy Peanut Butter BIGI Free 3.29
Use two .40/1 IP
Total=$2.49 for 2 jars

Chex Mix .99
Use .50/1 MF
Total=.49

BIGI FREE Lysol Products
Use .50/1 MF Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Use .50/1 IP All Purpose Cleaner Pourable
Use .50/1 All Purpose Cleaner Trigger
Use .55/1 Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner
Use .55/1 Bathroom Cleaner
Use 1.00/2 IP Lysol Disinfecing Wipes

Bounty Paper Towels 3/$5 w/ in ad Q
Use 3 $1/1 MF
Total=$2/3 Rolls!

Tuft Trashbags 2.99

Hefty One Zip Storage Bags BIGI free 3.29

Scotch Paper Bubble Mailer 3/$1

Charmin 12 pack 6.99
Use 1.00/1 MF
Total=5.99

Easy Saver Rebates
Bayer Breeze2 or Contour Blood Glucose Monitor 14.99-14.99
Submit $14.99 for ES Rebate
Total=Free after Rebate

Register Rewards Deals
Colgate Max White Or Max Fresh Toothbrush $3.29
Use $1/1 IP when you sign up or .75/1 MF
Get $3.29 RR
Total=either 1.00 or .75 Overage after RR

Fiber Choice 10 ct $2.49
Get $2.49 RR
Total=FREE after RR

Scunci Elastics 18 pack $2
Get $2 RR
Total=FREE after RR

Axe Shampoo or Conditioner, Body Spray, Shower Gel 2/$10
Use two 1.00/1 MF
Get $3 RR wyb 2
Total=$5.00/2 after RR

Claritin Allergy Relief 24 hr 40 ct
Use $2 MF
Get $5 RR
Total= $7.00 off price after RR

Dasani bottled water 24 pk 2/$10
Get $3 RR wyb 2
Total=$7.00/2 after RR

Dove Chocolate Minis 2/$7
Get $2 rr wyb 2
Total=$5.00/2 after RR

Kashi or Kellogg’s cereal 3/$10
Use three 1.00/1 MF
Get $3 RR
Total=$4.00/3 boxes after RR

Get $2 RR wyb 4, get $6 RR wyb 6
Caress body wash or 6 pack bar soap
Use 1.00/1 MF

Degree 1.7 oz or larger deodorant
Use .75/1 IP

Dove body wash or 6 pack bar soap
Use 1.00/1 or 1.50/1 IP Cream Oil

Dove Deodorant

Dove Hair Care

Lever 2000 Bar Soap 8 pk

Ponds Skin Care

Q-tips 500 ct
Use .30/1 MF

Sunsilk Shampoo & Conditioner

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion
Use 1.00/1 MF

Happy Savings!
Erica

Weekly $ Report

This week I spent $56.82 on groceries at Wal-mart, Dillons & Aldi and I spent$20.20 on household products. All these groceries are for two weeks worth of main course meals. I made several freezer meals for next week due to a busy coming week. I only went over 6.82 for two weeks worth of main dishes. Next week should be pretty light as I only need to pick up a few things to complete our meals.








Walmart $11.62


Brown Rice 1.42
Vinegar 2.50 (not pictured)
Lentils .94
Black Beans 1.18
Ranch Dressing .08!

Trip 2 $5.11
5 lb. Bananas Priced matched to Leeker's
Loaf of Bread
Container of Plain Yogurt
Eggs


Dillons
Food $23.77 & Household items $17.51


Premium M&M .79 (I confess this was an impulse buy, they were MS and I had a coupon plus I love mint chocolate…..they were sooooo good!)
2 Boxes Wheat Thins 2.00
Red Tape Bananas .34
2 packages Ground Turkey 1.74/package
Soy Milk 2.50 each
Cantaloupe 1.58
Canned pineapple .83/each
Broccoli 1.24
Pecans 1.50 (not pictured)
Mach 3 Razors 1.50
Venus Razors 1.50
Gillette Body Wash Overage of .50!
Secret Deodorant 2.09
Tampax 2.79
Pampers 5.99
Washing Soda 2.85
Fels Naptha 1.29



Aldi
Food $21.43 & Household items 2.69






Whole Chicken 3.70
Lunch Meat 2.99
Tortillas .99
Skim Milk 2.30
Pepperonni 1.99
Bell Peppers 1.69
Sweet Potatoes .79
Mild Salsa 1.49
Cream of Chicken Soup .49
8 oz. Mozzerella Cheese 1.29
Bread 1.29
Dishwashing gel 2.69



Walgreens
Total taken off of gift card: 11.27

I received $3.50 in RR & will submit $6.00 for rebates

4 Bags of Candy $8.50 (submitting for a $5 rebate)
Oust Air & Surface Spray .99 (submitting for $1 rebate)
Colgate Toothpaste 2.74

Friday, April 10, 2009

Frugal Family Easter Fun!

I love Easter, probably more than Christmas because there aren’t as many distractions that take away from the reason we celebrate. It gives my heart more time to reflect on the gift Jesus gave to us.

I want our son to understand from an early age the importance and significance of this “holiday”. So I hopped on google and tried to find some good ways to help a toddler celebrate. Even though our son is still a bit too young to comprehend what is going on, I do feel that building traditions into our family from the time our son was a newborn will help our family continue them as it grows.

One neat way to help give kids a good picture of what Jesus went through is by using Resurrection Eggs. I had thought about trying to find some on sale after Easter, but I stumbled upon how to make them, which is the cheapest option and more fun.

All you need is the following:
One Empty Clean Egg Carton
12 Plastic Eggs
Sharpie
Paper to decorate with

Fill each egg with the following:

1. Small Piece of bread (don’t forget to throw this away and replace every year)
2. Coin
3. Piece of Purple cloth
4. Thorns (I clipped this off of our rose bush)
5. Small Piece of rope or a thick string
6. Cross (I hot glued two sticks together)
7. Nail
8. Sign with the words: This is the King of the Jews
9. Sponge
10. Spear (I just whittled a point on a stick)
11. Rock
12. Empty

Go to this website to find the verses that accompany each egg. In my opinion it is best to read these directly from the Bible, so I wrote the verse on the eggs with a Sharpie. I want our son to learn that this isn’t just a story but it comes directly from God through his Word.

A friend of mine also posted a great idea of making Easter Story Cookies. When I read the title I thought these would be sugar cookies decorated to tell the Easter Story, but I was wrong. This project uses ingredients that in my opinion very effectively represent the story. It’s a great way for kids to interact with some ingredients that share the story of Christ's death and him raising from the dead. What a wonderful tradition for your whole family to do the night before Easter, plus when they wake up in the morning they’ll find the finished project. Check out Meshellyn’s Blog for full details.

I do think egg hunts can be great fun, in fact we have had several egg hunts already, my toddler is very into putting things in buckets recently. We prefer to have our own hunts, I'm not that into crowds especially when children and candy are involved. But if you have a hankering for a public egg hunt here is the link to the Wichita City Egg Hunt taking place this Saturday at Watson Park starting at 10:00 a.m. Check the site for hunt times for your child's age group.

Also taking place this Saturday from 10:00-3:00 is Easter Eggstravaganza at the Sedgwick County Zoo. There is no egg hunt involved but there will be a special guest hopping around, games and goodies found throughout the zoo, so bring your Easter Basket.

This year instead of candy I’m cutting out pictures of things my son loves and putting them inside. I may even add a few rocks & dandelions. (I love this age. The simplest things, often free things, make his day.) You can use clues for older children to help them find the next egg, which could lead to the ultimate prize. Be creative, I am sure that your children will remember it for years.

I hope you have a great Easter!
Erica

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Ham

My dad makes the best ham, I cannot wait until Sunday for one of my favorite meals in the world. Since ham is often out of our price range this meal is quite a treat. This is definately worth the labor of watching the clock to cook it.


1 good quality, whole, bone-in ham (NO WATER ADDED, our family loves Fanestil Hams)
3/4 -1 t. dry mustard
Whole Cloves
1 8 oz. can sliced pineapple, drained but save the juice
1/2 c. brown sugar


1. Place ham in pan, fat side up and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

2. Remove ham from oven and pull of the hide (if ham has one), then score the fat side into diamonds and put in cloves at the points of the diamonds. Bake the ham for 60 minutes.

3. Mix brown sugar, dry mustard and pineapple juice. Baste ham with mixture and bake for another 30 minutes.

4. Remove ham and baste again. Place the pineapple slices on the ham and bake another 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove ham from oven and let it rest for 10-30 minutes before slicing.
For other great recipes check out the Recipe Swap on Friday over at Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dillons 4/8-4/14

The P&G Event is still going on and there are several other great buys this week. I hope you can find some good deals this week that fit with your family's budget.

Produce
Driscoll's Strawberries 1.88
Jumbo Artichokes or SnoBall Cauliflower 2/$5
Sweet Potatoes .99 lb
Del Monte Gold Pineapple 2.99Use .75/1 IP (if you printed these out earlier this month)Total=1.99

Meat
Cook's Spiral Sliced Hams 50% off (3.99lb.)
Cook's Rump Half Ham 1.39lb
Pacific Salmon Fillets 50% off
Private Selection Whole Frozen Turkey .79lb


Other Grocery Deals
Dillons Large Eggs .99 (cheaper at Aldi)
Kroger Cheese 8 oz. bars or shreds 1.58 (cheaper at Aldi)
Kroger Whipping Cream 1.99
Kroger Dips or Sour Cream $1
Philadelphia Cream Cheese $1
Cool Whip Topping $1
Blue Bonnet Margarine Sticks .77
Kroger Milk Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Baking Chips $1!

Duncan Hines Cake Mix $1
Use .35/1 MF
Total=$0.30

Nabisco Snack Crackers 2/$4
Use 1.00/2 MF or BIGI FREE Artisan Crackers
Total=2/$3 or 2/$2 for Artisan

Folgers Coffee 23-34.5 oz 5.88
Use 1.00/2 MF
Total=$10.76/2 large containers of coffee

General Mills Cereal, Nature Valley, Fiber One or Chex Mix Bars 3/$8 plus a FREE
Gallon of Milk
Use three .55/1 IP for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios & Multigrain Cheerios on side bar
.60/1 IP on side bar Nature Valley
.50/1 MF Chex Mix Bars
And use the following
.55/1 eQ (shortcuts) Honey Nut, .55/1 eQ (shortcuts) Cheerios .50/1 eQ (cellfire) Fiber One, .50/1 (cellfire) Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Total=$5.00 maximum for 3 boxes of cereal and a gallon of milk

Household
Kotex Pads, Liners or Tampons 3.00
Use 1.00/2 Cellfire eQ & 2.00/2 pkgs of pads IP or 1.50/2 pkgs tampons on sidebar
Total=$3.00/2 packages pads or $3.50/2 packages of tampons

Buy 3 Select P&G Products Get $3 off at the register
You may receive 3-Rewards per transaction
Prices reflect $3 reward & Best Deals in my opinion are in bold

Cascade Complete Dish Detergent Gel/Powder or Action Pac 4.99
Use .25/1 MF & .25/1 p&g esaver
Total=$4.24

Dawn Dish Detergent 56 oz. 3.99
Use .50/1 MF & .50/1 p&g esaver
Total=2.50/1

Bounce Fabric Softener 105-120 sheets 4.99
Use$1/1 & .50/1 p&g esaver
Total=$3.49

Bounty Paper Towels 6.99
Use 1.00/1 MF & .50/1 p&g esaver
Total=$5.49

Febreze Fabric Refresher Sprays 3.99
Use 1.00/1 MF & 1.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=1.99

Tide Laundry Detergent Liquid or Powder or Cheer Laundry Detergent Liquid or Powder 10.99
Use 1.00/1 MF & .50.1 MF Tide
Total=9.49

Charmin Bath Tissue 12 Big Roll 6.99
Use 1.00/1 MF & .50/1 p&g esaver
Total=$5.49

Crest Toothpaste 6.2 oz Twin Pack
3.771.00/1 MF & .75/1 p&g esaver
Total=$2.02

Head & Shoulders 5.29

Olay Soap 6 Bars 4.99
Use $1/1 MF & .50/1 p&g esaver
Total=$3.49

Secret Flawless Deodorant 3.29
Use $1.00/1 MF & .25/1 p&g esaver
Total=2.04

Always Pads, Liners or Tampax Tampons Pads, Liners, Tampons 4.79
Use 1.00/1 MF & 1.00 p&g esaver
Total=$2.79

Gillette Body Wash, Ivory, Safeguard or Zest Soap 2.50
Use 1.00/1 Gillette & 2.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=$0.50 OVERAGE!

Mach 3 or Venus Disposable Razors 5.49
Use 1.00/1 MF Mach 3 & 3.00/1 p&g esaver; 2.00/1 MF Venus & 2.00/1 Venus p&g esaver
Total=Mach 3 $1.49 Venus 1.49

Duracell Batteries AA or AAA 8 ct, C or D 4 ct or 9V 2 ct 5.99
Use 1.00/1 MF & 1.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=3.99

Iams Cat Food 12.99 & Dog Food 15.99
Use 2.00/1 MF 3.00/1 p&g esaver
Total= $7.99 Cat Food & 10.99 Dog Food

Oral-B Advantage Artica or 123 Toothbrushes 1.99
Use .50/1 p&g esaverTotal=$1.49 (I often can find free toothbrushes)

Pampers Sizes Newborn-6 Jumbo Pack, Pampers Easy Ups Sizes 4-5 Jumbo Pack or Under Jams Sizes 7-8 Jumbo Pack 8.99
Use 2.00/1 MF & 1.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=5.99

Pampers Wipes 4.99
Use .50/1 p&g esaver
Total= $4.49

Prilosec OTC 23.99
Use 2.00/1 MF & 3.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=$18.99

Febreeze Noticables 5.5 oz Select Varieties Noticeables Kit 1 ct Select Varieties 4.99
Use 1.00/1 MF
Total=3.99

Olay Regenerist 17.99
Use 5.00/1 MF & 3.00/1 p&g esaver
Total=$9.99

Happy Savings!
Erica

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why I love Containers

One of the simplest ways to cut costs in your grocery budget is to bring your lunch to work. I'm sure you've heard it over and over again, but buying prepackaged food is ridiculously expensive. Even if you do take your lunch to work often times you'll go through ziplock bags like there's no tomorrow.

When we lived overseas ziplock bags were treasured items, and since we've returned to the states I've had a hard time throwing them away, even if we do live in the land where ziplock bags are readily available. When I think about how wasteful it is to throw a perfectly good bag away I'm encouraged to try to use containers as much as possible, and because I HATE to wash ziplock bags. I absolutely love these ziplock and glad containers. Not only are they cheap but you can fill them will all sorts of goodies that bring a little zest to your lunch, they will pay for themselves before you know it. Now I don't condem using ziplock bags, but we try to limit the number we use and it's amazing how infrequently we have to use them.

By doing the prep work for these containers before the week begins or Monday morning it's easy to grab a container in the morning and throw it in my husband's lunch box as the week goes on. Which makes this mama, who is not a morning person, very, VERY happy!


Here are some ideas you can fill your ziplock and glad containers with that are great cold:

  • Crackers (chips are often too big)
  • Homemade cookies, just make them small enough to fit into these containers
  • Hummus
  • Veggie Slices, or Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Veggie Dips/Salad Dressing
  • Fruit Slices
  • Fruit Dip
  • Applesauce
  • Baked Apples
  • Pudding
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Chex Mix
  • Rice Cakes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dry Cereal
  • Homemade yogurt
  • Dried Fruit & Nuts
  • Cubed Cheese
  • Summer Sausage
  • Chicken Salad/Tuna Salad/Egg Salad
  • Salad Toppings so your lettuce will stay nice a crisp
  • Cold Quesidillas slices
  • Salsa
  • Chip Dip (On of my hubby's favorites!)
  • Mini Muffins
  • Small peices of cake
  • Cole Slaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Ants on a Log

The possibilities are endless. So now that you've read my list, what do you add to your lunches to make them a little less boring? Post a comment and share your idea with the rest of us. I always love new ideas.

For more great ideas this week check out We're THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Aldi This Week

There aren't too many great deals this week at Aldi, but a few worth mentioning.

10 lb. Russet Potatoes 1.49
Garden Salad Bags .79
Whole Pineapple 1.99
3 lb. Bag Sweet Potato .79
Appleton Ham 2.99 lb.
Cook's Smoked Ham-Butt Portion 1.19
Cook's Smoked Ham-Shank Portion .99 lb.
Butterball Turkey .99 lb.
Milk, cheese, eggs and butter are cheaper at Aldi this week.

Happy Savings!
Erica

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meal Plan for the week


It looks like it will be a busy week in the kitchen despite the shorter week at home. There is a strong possibilities my toddler and I will be gone the week after Easter. I'm preparing some freezer meals just in case, so that my hubby won't have to worry about meals while we are gone. My breakfast selection is running low, so it's time to do more baking to keep up my supply of quick breakfast foods.

Freezer Meals:
Taco Meat
Burritos
Chicken Pot Pies

Breakfast:
Oatmeal
Toast
Lunch:
We'll eat up the leftovers. I'm also hoping to make up some chex mix this week to send with my husband in his lunch and some basketball sugar cookies. I'm hoping my toddler can help with these cooking tasks. Lately I've been trying to involve him when I cook. It's helped me keep an eye on him and he loves it.
Dinner
Monday: Vegetarian Stir Fry with a side of Sweet Potatoes & Fruit
Tuesday: Pizza Omlets, Corn & Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan Fingers Over Garlic Spaghetti, Salad & Steamed Broccoli
Thursday: Date Night! Hooray for a no cooking night!
Friday: Black Bean Quesidillas w/ salsa, chips and steamed mixed veggies
Saturday: Out of town
Sunday: We'll be enjoying Easter with my extended family. I usually bring the rolls, but I haven't found out what I need to bring. I'll post my dad's Baked Ham recipe on Thursday, it is very tastey. Our family enjoys a nice Easter meal followed by Strawberry Shortcake! I cannot wait! It seriously is one of my favorite meals of the year. There is much to love about Easter, but the great of all is the One who has Risen!
Check out other meal plans at Meal Plan Monday Headquarters over at Organization Junkie.
Happy Meal Planning!
Erica