Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy Busy Busy....

I have been busy preparing for Christmas...I think all of my "stuff" is done now - I just have to do a few minor things. I would really like to make and freeze Brown Sugar Biscuits on Tues. to take to my Mom's house on Christmas morning. I would also like to make a Stromboli recipe to eat one this week and freeze one to eat for lunch with company later this weekend. I need to go to the grocery tomorrow also, so we'll see if all that happens! Oh- chex mix too...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mexi-Mac Skillet

Last week I got home around 5:30 with no idea what to make for dinner - I know - big mistake. I remembered this recipe for Mexi-Mac Skillet from Taste of Home that includes ingredients we always have on hand, so I pulled it out (I had printed it) and got to work. We ate around 6.

The only adjustment I made was to add a can of black beans and a little more water....I just watched the skillet to make sure it did not get too dry before the pasta was done. It was great and we had leftovers for two lunches!

For more great quick meal ideas, visit the Ultimate Recipe Swap at LifeAsMom!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homemade Granola

I have been wanting to make Granola at home for a while now and I finally found a recipe that I could adjust so it would not have a ton of calories per serving. I adjusted this recipe (which looks delicious, but I could not consume it everyday).

My Version of Cinnamon Crunch Granola

8 Cups Rolled Oats .80

2 T Cinnamon

2 cups flaked Coconut (I used sweetened) .50

1/2 chopped Pecans .75 (guess - I buy a huge bag at Costco)

1 and 1/4 Cups Grape Nuts Cereal - I used Aldi's Nutty Nuggets (.20 - on sale for .89/box)

3/4 C Brown Sugar

1/2 C water

1/4 C Vegetable Oil

1/2 C Apple Juice

2 t vanilla

The brown sugar I buy in a huge bag at Costco, the Apple juice we have tons of and a lot of it was close to free, the veggie oil was close to free on a Buy _ Get _ sale at Jewel - So I am not going to add in the cost of those items.
For 12 cups of granola - or approx 24 - 1/2 Cup Servings, the total is $2.25 - not spectacular for cereal, but for cereal I know what is in it, I think its great!
For more frugal ideas, visit LifeAsMom!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here is the menu plan up until Thanksgiving - For complicated reasons that I would be glad to spell out if anyone is interested, we only eat at home 3 times a week - so here is the plan for the next 3 weeks!

Week of 11/9

1 - Crockpot Pasta Fagioli with Focaccia Bread
2 - Italian Beef Sandwiches with leftover Focaccia Bread, Easy Oven Potatoes, and carrot sticks
3 - Chicken Strips, Mac and Cheese, frozen veggie - green beans and corn

Week of 11/16

1 - Black Bean Soup (or some version of it) with quesadillas
2 - Oven Chicken Breasts, AuGratin Potatoes, Frozen veggie (mixed)
3 - Costco Pizza

Week of 11/23

1 - Oven Chicken Breasts, Easy Oven Potatoes, on sale veggie
2 – Beef or chicken noodle soup with grilled cheeses
3 - Chili
For more menus, visit

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Local Apple Orchard

Our local apple orchard also has a farmer's market connected to it, so last Sunday when we went apple picking, we got a ton of apples - plus some goodies from the farm store. We got everything pictured above plus a huge pumpkin sugar cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, and a no-bake cookie for 8.20 total.

The pie pumpkins were .5o each and the Speghetti squash were .50 each. The little pumpkins were for our 3 yr old - she really, really liked them. The cider was 2.99, but it was soooo good. I do not have the itemized receipt, so I am not sure how much the green beans were, but they were so good in stir fry, I don't really care :)

For more Super Savings Saturday, visit MoneySavingMom.

Big Lots

Our Big Lots was having a drug store blowout - I got everything in the picture above for 5.57 - plus a candy bar that was .50 - hey I am 5 months pregnant, so my 3 year old can easily talk me into sharing a candy bar! :)

Here is a breakdown:

Saline Nose Spray - .30 ea

Bud Hat for gift - .50

Gloves - .20 ea

kid toothbrushes - .30 ea

ornament hangers - .19 ea

Listerine mouth strips - .50

Candy bar - .50

Total: $5.57
For more Super Savings, visit MoneySavingMom!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Custard

My grandpa asked me to make this dessert, and to be honest at first, I was like "ewww". But, I dug out the recipe from my mom and decided to make it. I tasted the "batter" and was pleasantly surprised at how creamy it was.

Pumpkin Custard
2 C. canned pumpkin (I used a 15 oz can)
6 eggs
4 C milk scalded
1 and 3/4 C white sugar
1 t cinnamon
5 T flour
Combine pumpkin and eggs - beat. Combine dry ingredients while milk is being scalded. When milk is warm, pour a little into the egg mixture and whisk it together. Then pour the egg/pumpkin mixture into the dry and continue to add the milk. Whisk well. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set inside a larger pan filled with hot water. Pour custard into pan and bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. Insert knife in center , if it comes out clean, it is done. You can see in the lower picture above where I stuck the knife in (2 times). If you use a really sharp knife I am guessing you will not get such large marks - I used a butter knife :)

Community Sale

Our community has a big sale for just baby/toddler items and I went to the recent annual sale in search of a bouncy seat. We have a bouncy seat, but I found with my daughter it would be super handy to have one on each level of the house - so I wanted to find a nice used one for that purpose! As you can see in the picture above, I found one - it was $10, which is more than I wanted to spend, but it was nice and I figured there would not be too many yard sales in the cold months - since I am due the 7th of March.

Breakdown -

Bouncy Seat - $10

Maternity Shirt - $1

Pair of Children's place jeans for 3yo - $1

Pair of columbia boots for 3yo - $1
Onesies for new baby - .10 ea

Sweater coat for 3yo - $2.00
Sleepers for new baby - .25 ea
Sweatpants for 3yo - .25
I am so glad I decided to buy the bouncy seat used - I not only saved at least $20 on that, I got my daughter a pair of waterproof boots for the winter for $1.00- which are a lot nicer than any boots we would have bought new. Yay for resales!
For more frugal ideas, visit LifeasMom!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baking Pie Pumkins and Pumpkin Muffins/Bread

I found there pumpkins at the local apple orchard market for way cheap (.50 ea). I decided to bake one of them yesterday following these directions - except I just sprayed the pan with non-stick spray, then added an inch of water and did not brush the pumpkin with the honey.

I then put the flesh into the food processor and got about 3 cups of pumpkin puree. I used 2 cups to make the Muffins/Bread/Mini Muffins pictured above.

Pumpkin Bread
2 C Sugar
1 C Veggie oil (I used 1/2 C oil and 1/2 applesauce)
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 C pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
3 1/2 C flour (I used 1 C whole wheat)
2 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
2/3 C water
2 apples - peeled and grated

Stir sugar and oil. Stir in eggs and pumpkin. Blend in dry ingredients alternately with the water. Stir in grated apples.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 min in 2 - 9x5 loaf pans, or separate it between loaf pans and muffins tins.

Let stand 10 min and remove from pan. I found the fresh pumpkin to be less "pumpkin-y" than canned pumpkin, but still yummy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Puppy Chow

I make this for a good friend every year for her October birthday, so it makes me think of fall - she loves it! It reminds her of our high school days when my mom used to make this by the truck load. It is super easy and I am sure anyone would be happy to get a pretty bag full of this good stuff as a gift!
Puppy Chow
1 stick butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
10 cups Rice Chex
3 cups powdered sugar

Find a big paper grocery bag and put the powdered sugar in it. Set aside. Put the first three ingredients in a saucepan and melt slowly over low heat. Pour over the rice chex in a large bowl. Mix to coat and pour cereal into grocery bag with sugar and shake until coated.

Make sure it is completely cooled before being sealed up - if there is any left to put away! :)

$5DollarDinner Giveaway! Mod Mum Baby Sling

Erin, from $5DollarDinners is giving away a Mod Mum Baby Sling! Hop over here to enter! This sling could be very handy to me come mid March!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good Habit Challenge

LifeAsMom has challenged the blog world to "Get a Good Habit Going." I have listed three habits in the comments to this post that I am going to try really hard to get going!

I have three little steps.

1. I need to spend more time off of my computer and tuned into my family.
2. I have a baby (meaning new and tiny) blog that I would like to post more - 3-4 times a week.
3. Stay on top of the laundry. - There are only three of us (soon to be 4), so it shouldn't take much, but I still get behind - maybe try a load every other day?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I won, I won!

Thank you Malt-o-Meal. Thank you so much! The Fed-Ex man dropped by my house the other day with a tiny envelope. Inside: A letter stating I was a grand prize winner - FREE Malt-o-Meal cereal for a year in the form of 52 Free bag coupons (up to $5.50) - so its the big bags! This will feed our little family breakfast and snacks with some to share for over a year!

Moral of the story: Entering contests really does pay off. I had been skeptical until now, but I will play on. A few short minutes of my time can really pay off.

For more frugal ideas, visit LifeAsMom!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easy Oven Potatoes

This recipe is one that my family LOVES and is so simple. I usually make these when I am already baking pork chops or chicken.

Easy Oven Potatoes

6 - 8 large Baking potatoes- peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp garlic salt
dash of pepper

Mix the above in a large ziploc bag (or you could use a bowl) and pour onto cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes - stir and bake until desired crispy-ness. We really like ours crispy and they usually take another 15-20 minutes.

The spices could be mixed up to match whatever main dish is being served - it is mainly the method of cooking the potatoes that we really like.

Visit LifeAsMom for more great recipe ideas!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jewel Week of 10/19/09

I did 4 transactions at Jewel this week.

Transaction #1:
2 - Multigrain Cheerios @ 2.00 ea
4 - Total @ 2.00 ea

Used $2.25 in coupons
Total: $9.75
Received: $10 Catalina

Transaction #2

5 - Boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars @ 2.50 ea
3 - 5 # bags of Gold Medal Flour @ 2.00 ea
1 - can of Green Giant creamed corn @ .75

Used 3 .40 coupons and $10 cat from above
Total: $8.05
Received $10 Catalina

Transaction # 3

3 - Pillsbury Pie crusts
1- Bag of Chex mix
5 - cans of green giant veggies
1 - box of Nature Valley granola bars
2- Fiber One 4 pks of yogurt
1 - dozen eggs
1 lb Broc. crowns

Used $10 cat from above and $3.5 in other coupons
Total: $12.46
Received $10 catalina

Transaction # 4 (not pictured)

1 Gallon Organic milk @ 5.99
1 - Box miltigrain Cheerios @ 2.00
3 - Boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars
1 - Fiber One yogurt 4 pk
4 - Pillsbury Grand Biscuits
1 - Pillsbury Orange Rolls - YUMMY
Used $1.60 in coupons and $10 cat from above

Total: 14.73

Received: $10 and $3 Catalinas

Total at Jewel this week: $44.99 and I have $13 in catalinas to use next week.

For more Super Savings, visit MoneySavingMom!

CVS 10/18/09

My CVS trip on Sunday consisted of these items:

2 - 20 ct Advil PM 4.50 ea- 2.00c x 2

4- Chapsticks - I could have made this deal better by buying more Advil, but I use a ton of chapstick. 1.50 ea

1- Robitussin 5.50 - 2.00 c

4- Lindsay Black Olives - 1.25 ea - 1.00/2 c x 2

Used 6.50 in ECBs

Total : $12.41

Received: $10 ECBs for next time
For more Super Savings, visit MoneySavingMom!

Visit to the Orchard

My 3 year old had a BLAST at the apple orchard earlier this week. She is SO into apple picking, I think we will go to another orchard this weekend when my husband can go with us.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Target 10/7/09

I had two transactions at Target this week and this is what I got:

7 - 64 oz bottles of Mott's Apple Juice
3 - 6pks of Mott's Natural Apple Sauce
1 - 3L Ice Mountain
1 - Little Debbie Oatmeal cream pies (treat for my 3 yo who was being VERY GOOD :) )
2 - 2 Ls of Diet Sunkist
1 - Package of Garage sale Blockquotelabels
Total Spent: 19.18 and I have a $5 Target gift card for the future.
For more grocery store fun, visit MoneySavingMom!

Aldi 10/7/09

I made a trip to Aldi this week. I usually go every 3 - 4 weeks to stock up on items. I will go more frequently if I need some of their special buy produce. My canned items are hard to see in the photo, but I got 6 cans of tomato sauce, 4 cans of black beans, 3 - 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes and 4 - 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes.

The highlights this trip were:

3 pk of caramel apples for $.99
12 pk String Cheese for $2.69
2 small cans of pumpkin for $.79/ea
A bag of 5-6 jalapeƱos for $.99

Total Spent for what is shown above: $ 31.96

For more grocery store fun, visit MoneySavingMom!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Frugal Friday

I often buy pork chops at Costco, which run $12 - $13 a package for 9 -10 big, thick chops. When I get the pork chops home, I cut each chop in half – like I am butter flying it, only I go the whole way. The chops are then the same thickness as the ones I get in the grocery store. I freeze them in 4 chop portions and that is more than enough for our family- plus, it usually gives my husband lunch the next day. The package I just bought from Costco was 12.79 and I got 20 nice size chops. That will feed our family 5 times for a total protein cost per meal of $2.56 - which is much better than our local grocery store’s sale of $1 per chop.

I will take a picture next time, but I was in a hurry when I got home from the store and got them in the freezer ASAP.

Visit Frugal Friday at LifeAsMom for more money saving ideas!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yummy Pastry

Above is the Raspberry Danish my husband and daughter went out last Saturday morning to get for me. They also brought me home my favorite cup of coffee just the way I like it- half caf and cream. Mmmmm…..

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jewel - 9/25/09

I went to Jewel to take advantage of the “buy 10, save 10”. Below is what I got –
2 Frosted mini wheats .75 ea after sale and 1.50/2 c
3 Special K crackers .50 ea for 2 boxes and 1.50 for the 3rd box after sale and 1.00 c (had 2 coupons)
1 All Bran Crackers 1.50 after sale
2 Nutrigrain Bars 1.50 ea after sale
1 Keebler crackers .95 ea after sale and .55 c
1 Cinnabon Cereal Bar .50 after sale and 1.00 c
I also got 1 box of Kelloggs Fiber Bars- they were on sale for 2.50 with a 1.00 coupon hanging next to the bars. 1.50 is not spectacular for 5 bars, but I had wanted to try them and we are going to an out of town wedding in a few weeks and will need breakfast/portable snack foods to take along.
The baby food was .40 each and I had 2 coupons for 1.00/3 – so they were .40 total for 6 jars.
Not pictured – a bag of Candy Corn pumpkins – yummy – on sale for 1.25. Total, I spent 13.18 for the above.
For more Savings, visit MoneySavingMom!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Making Applesauce

Every year, I buy lots and lots of Macintosh apples. You could say it is a love affair. Love them. That is about all I can say. When we go to the local Harvest Festival, I always buy at least 3 bags(pecks) of Macintosh. Last year, they were about to go bad (gasp), so I made them into a simple applesauce – no canning- just froze the extra in freezer bags in about 2 cup amounts. YUMMY! I bought one bag to eat and two to make into applesauce this year. I recently made a very impromptu pot of applesauce – I used 1 peck of apples (just one of the bags in the picture above).

I put an inch to an inch and a half of water in the bottom of a large pot, peeled and cored the apples (added ¼ C sugar and a 2 T lemon juice) – and boiled it until the apples became soft. Then I put the apple “stuff” in the blender and blended it smooth. I froze the yummy goodness in 2 cup increments (enough for our family to eat as part of a meal) and kept a little in the fridge to eat now. Could not be more simple!
For more great recipes, visit LifeAsMOM and the Ultimate Recipe Swap!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apple Picking

Last week, my DD and I were watching Rachael Ray and she mentioned using apples they had picked in upstate NY. My DD promptly said “Rachael Ray goes apple pickin’ just like we do.” This is funny because DD has been apple picking once and it was a year ago when she was 2 (about the time of the photo above).

We plan to go apple picking this year, we just have not made it to an orchard yet - last year, we went toward the end of October, the weather was a little chilly, but perfect for sweatshirts and hot apple cider!
Check out other Fall traditions at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvest Festival

Every year, we pack up our “wagon” and make our way to the local Harvest Festival. We LOVE the apples and they are soooooo cheap - $5 a bag and we always splurge and buy 4 or so bags (the extra bags in the wagon are my parents and grandparents - we make a big apple run). I like to make applesauce with a couple of bags and the rest we just eat. DD loves to ride the horse carriage and watch the sheep shearing, or “haircut” as she calls it. For some reason, the old time ways always signify fall to me – maybe it’s the campfire smell and the cooler air – although I did manage to get some sunburn this year!