Friday, October 30, 2009
It's been a hard week around here with myself being ill, a flopped meatloaf and a spilled half gallon of chili. There just isn't enough food to waste any when you've only got $50 a week, and I sure didn't have the energy to be dealing with that kind of stuff! We broke down and ended up ordering a pizza last night. I can't tell you how long it's been since we did that. I COULD have thrown together something, but I was just at my wit's end. Plus, it was a CRAZY week of baking various Halloween goodies. I discovered this week that Halloween is a very busy time in the social life of a pre-schooler. Next year, I think I'll take a few days off.
Anyway, this is our first trip for the week. Here is what we got:
4 cans of Campbell's chicken noodle
4 cans of Campbell's tomato
2 packs of Trident Layers
1 2 liter of Coke
1 box of Progresso Stock
1 gallon of hormone free white milk
1 lb of fish sticks
6.23 lbs of various apple varieties
5.52 lbs of pears
My pre-tax total was $20.04. I saved $24.96.
I'll make one other stop this week. It's going to have to be a good one because we sure can't live on fish sticks and chicken noodles for a whole week! I do at least still have plenty of bananas to make banana bread, and I'll be making pumpkin muffins tomorrow for a hoard of preschoolers that are coming to visit. I also bought plenty of apples and pears because my girls have been eating a TON of "baby's favorite." (I think I'll do a mini-lesson on how to make homemade baby food (or applesauce in this case) for those of you who might not have tried it. It is easier than you would guess!) I can guess we'll be eatin' some cavatini and grilled cheese with tomato soup. My family will be thrilled!
See our other trip this week here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
So, let's be honest here...
"Funeral potatoes" are a fancy name for your good ol' hash brown or cheezy potato casserole, but let's not take for granted that "everyone" knows how to make this staple. My mom has always called them "funeral potatoes," and I love it. How about we stick with that too?
This is a HARD recipe to mess up. Let's start with the ingredients --
2 lbs of frozen hash browns (shredded or cubed)
2 cans of cream of celery soup (or chicken if you prefer)
8 oz of sour cream
1/2 stick of cubed butter
8 oz of cheese
Cornflakes (I didn't have any!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
We're going to start with thawed hash browns. (I learned the hard way NOT to thaw these in the bag one Christmas. They will taste like plastic.) Once your hash browns have thawed in a big bowl, mix in the soup, sour cream, 4 oz of cheese and half of the cubed butter. Transfer to casserole dish or crockpot. Top with 4 oz of cheese, the remaining half of the cubed butter and a few handfuls of cornflakes. Cover and bake at 350 for an hour or until bubbly. You can remove the foil for the last 5 minutes to help brown the top of the casserole if you wish. Or, if you're using a crockpot, you can let this cook on low for 4 or 5 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
So easy! So delicious! A favorite around here. Don't worry if you're missing an ingredient, if your measurements are off, or if you want to add, change or omit something. Funeral potatoes are always awesome! We'll be eating lots of it for as long as I can keep getting hash browns for free!
Don't forget to share in the recipe sharing fun at LifeAsMom, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table and Vintage Recipe Thursday.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
We made our second grocery trip run this afternoon. I didn't think the sales at Hy-Vee were that great this week, but there were a few things on my list. I intended to make a trip to Price Chopper this weekend too, but I'm out of money! I also forgot to mention that I lost the list that I made, so I had to totally wing these last two trips. (See this week's other trip here.) What can I say?
I'm not feelin' a break down right now, so a picture will have to suffice! I came in at about $32.00 pre-tax. I saved about $6.00 with coupons and will receive a UPromise credit of $1.
I have meatloaf and funeral potatoes in the oven right now. I'll also be making EVEN MORE whole wheat banana bread, and our favvvvvvvvorite chili recipe (I make it with half the meat and double the beans!) for our pumpkin carving event on Tuesday night. Stay tuned for the recipes! Other than that, we'll be eating things like pancakes and french toast from the freezer, scrambled and hard boiled eggs, homemade apple/pear sauce with oatmeal, packed lunches, and quick dinners like grilled cheese if we run out of meatloaf and chili leftovers! It should be a week of good eatin'!
Edited to add that the meatloaf was HORRIBLE! Simply horrible! I think it's the first thing I have ever made that my husband would NOT eat. It was soooooooooo soggy. Way too much milk! ICK!
Please join in the menu sharing fun at orgjunkie.com.
Friday, October 23, 2009
We made a quick trip to Hen House after dance last night. I was intending on using a $10 gift card I have from a rebate, but I TOTALLY forgot. We'll be stretchin' $50 the old fashioned way again this week!
Here's what we got --
1 2 liter of Coke
1/2 gallon of hormone free strawberry milk (Good news - Roberts Strawberry has SUGAR, not HFC!)
1 dozen extra large Eggland's Best eggs
1 dozen Eggland's Best cage free eggs
1 Yoplait Delights
1 gallon of hormone free white milk
2 Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls
1 box of fish sticks
1 Hormel Turkey and Gravy
4.31 lbs of bananas
1 bag of Berry Ricola
Pre-tax total was $17.38. I saved $20.08. Pretty good, but once again I'm wondering how that little food could REALLY cost $40???
Also, I got some kind of crappy news today. Our health insurance premium is going up $40 a month. That, and everyone in my department got told LAST week that we will not be getting raises for the second year running. I'm trying so hard not to be irritated because I know so many have it much, much, much worse than a $40 health care inconvenience or frozen salary, but I am really sad. Anyway, I'm not wanting to cut any of our existing extras OR savings, so I'm considering after 1+ year of the $50/week grocery challenge going for the $40/week grocery challenge. I KNOW we can get buy on $40 a week. My problem will be self-control. I already have a pretty hard time passing a good sale or saying no to things I know my family would like to have in the fridge. Cutting the budget by 20% would make it that much harder. But, we shall see! Stay tuned!
See our other grocery store trip this week here.
Please share in the frugal fun at Life As A Mom.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Lunch - homemade chicken noodle soup
Dinner - ate at Alpha
Lunch - leftover homemade mac and cheese from my mom and applesauce
Dinner - sausage and cheesy eggs
Lunch - packed lunches all around
Dinner - whole wheat pancakes and apples with peanut butter
Lunch - packed lunches all around
Dinner - grilled cheese and tomato soup
Lunch - packed lunches for mom and dad, girls with eat with grandma
Dinner - something really fast as it usually is eaten on the way to or from ballet
For the record, a sample lunch is something like PB and honey, frozen peas, a piece of fruit and cottage cheese. It is often our most well-rounded meal of the day. With our busy schedule, it tends to be the best time for any of us to really sit down and eat!
Join in the recipe sharing fun at orgjunkie.com!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Maybe we could call it "Why Does the House Smell Like It's Burning Down?" Apple Crisp, or perhaps "How Am I Going to Get THAT Off the Bottom of My Oven?" Apple Crisp.
It was jusssssssssst starting to smell SO GOOD, so I cracked open the oven and slid it out a little bit to see if it was done. My 15 month old came RUNNING for the open oven to "help" me. The end result was a spilled apple crisp but a thankfully safe baby! Luckily, I had a cookie sheet on the bottom rack beneath the Corning ware, so it caught MOST of the topping. I'm not gonna lie though -- there is a good amount charred on to the bottom of my oven. I'll be googling "best way to clean an oven" here in just a second.
I'll share the recipe anyway since it's just SO good. I originally took it from a Barefoot Contessa recipe, but I've made it enough times now that I can basically wing my own version of it.
- 2 pounds firm apples (10 apples)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:nocoupons
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 2 stick of melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Also, feel free to play around with the butter. I basically just add enough to make sure that the crumb topping is "wet." It totally doesn't "need" two whole sticks. You could also try replacing some of the butter with canola oil.
Join in the recipe sharing fun at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table and Slightly Indulgent Mondays!
I actually had time to get my coupons in order before I went to the store. That is always my biggest help! I did, however, have two really tired children with me when we hit the store after dance at 8 o'clock last night. We made it though, and I thought we had a pretty good trip!
Here is a breakdown of items --
2 lbs of generic unsalted butter
1 dozen generic eggs
1 box of Pampers wipes
4 lb bag of C&H sugar
1 bottle of generic cinnamon
2 packages of Musselman's unsweetened applesauces
4 Ragu spaghetti sauces
2 Skippy Naturals PBs
1 Sobe water
1 box of Kashi Vanilla Organic Promise
1 box of Kash Happy Trail Mix cookies
1 box of M&M ice cream treats
3 boxes of Hormel sausages
1 half gallon of Heartland Dairy hormone free white milk
2 half gallons of hormone free chocolate milk (Didn't realize Roberts has HFC. I'd prefer not to buy this kind again!)
1 big tub of Robert's cottage cheese
1 package of Cascade Action Pacs
about 6.75 lbs of bananas
4.5 lbs of apples
1 lb of carrots
1 package of celery
My pre-tax total was $41.77. I saved around $15.00 with coupons, and as usual with Hy-Vee, I don't know what I saved on sale items. However, every LAST item on this trip was on sale, the number should be pretty good! For the record, I'm planning on having my mom pick up a huge bag of fish sticks with the difference. My family LOVES them, and I think they are so great to have on hand when you're tempted to run through McDonald's or something. (Which of course, IIIIIIIIIIIIIII never do, but my HUSBAND, AHEM.)
I was very happy to stay under budget today, but I will admit that even after our trip things are looking a little sparse! I mean, we'll be FINE, of course. (I wouldn't ever put us at risk!) There are times where this project stretch us a little bit -- especially as we have cut out eating out almost entirely. This is when I start praying for good sales next week!
We have chicken noodle soup and apple crisp on our cooking agenda for the day. I'll try to get back and post the recipes later! I'm also sensing there is some banana bread in my future. Sure seems like we can eat it faster than I can make it!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I did go a little over. I DIDN'T use a lot of coupons. I must admit -- I am SO TIRED of seeing coupons for the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame stuff over and over and over. I'm really looking for some coupons with something DIFFERENT or for staples. Please, coupon people, help me out here! I was so frustrated after going to the store on Sunday, I didn't even buy a paper. I'm sure there were at least a few in there I could have used but BLECK.
Here's what I got at Hy-Vee -
Simply Raspberry Lemonade - $2.88
6 boxes of Barilla pasta - $.99
2 Campbell's bowls - $1.25
2 boxes of Cheez-Its - $1.87
6 oz cans of generic tomato sauce - $.25
1 64 oz can of generic tomato juice - $1.00
8 oz of walnuts - $2.08
2 Musselman's Healthy applesauces - $1.57
1 can of Rotel - $1.09
2 bags of Sara Lee 100% whole wheat mini bagels - $2.39
3 cans of Swanson brother - $.68
1 bag of Reser's frozen hash browns - $1.00
1 half gallon of whole hormone free milk - $1.79
8 2 liters of coke - $.68
1.77 lbs of pears - $.88/lb
2 cucumbers - $.79
My pre-tax total was $34.45. I saved $6.75 with coupons and $6.82 with rebates on the Coke.
We're really pretty well stocked on things, and I am mostly done with taking food places for at least the foreseeable future. I feel a little like I would like to skip a week of groceries to put back towards our car loan, but I think my husband might think I'd lost it entirely. Well I'm sure we wouldn't have trouble "getting by," he might have a fit if he didn't see anything new to eat for that long of a stretch.
Also, I thought I'd mention that my little girl took whole wheat mini bagels, plain whipped cream cheese and cucumbers for a snack to preschool today. I thought they could make cucumber sandwiches if they were fancy, or they could just snack on either or both as they wished. Incidentally, the teacher said all the other kids didn't know what to do with the cream cheese and didn't know what cucumbers were. My husband was funny as his report back on that was, "I guess we're the only ones that feed our kids yummy delicious food!" While I know that's not the entire truth, I am proud to say that my kids LOVE healthy food and have plenty of it. Even on a $50.00 budget.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The other thing that is exciting about it is that it has only 6 ingredients -- fast AND frugal. So my style! However, I was a little worried because I don't have a food processor. I just followed the directions with my KitchenAid, and it whipped up just fine. It was REALLY, REALLY easy. I think it's a good base dough recipe too. I'd be interested in trying it with chocolate shavings, citrus zest, etc. I also wonder what it would be like with other flavored teas. I bet a chai blend would be good!
Without further ado--
I was a little disappointed because you really can't see the purple flowers unless you know they are there. The Earl Grey flavor is very light, but overall, they are DELICIOUS. The cookie recipe it's self is flawless and fool-proof, but I think I'll try it with maybe a citrus zest blend next time. Even still, I only baked half of these up, and I'm going to take the other half to Alpha. I think they will go over really well. They're impressive!
From www.foodnetwork.com --
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart (2 probably needed depending on size of sheets). Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.
We started by making a quadruple batch of pancakes!
I use the Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat mix. We really like it, but I do doctor it up a little. My favorite way is to add canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. However, I have yet to see pumpkin puree on sale at the store. I hear there is a shortage. This time, I tried replacing the oil with chunky cinnamon appleauce. It's not quiet as apple-y as I would have liked, but it's still good!
The finished result!
We'll save some of these for a quick breakfast for the girls in the morning, and I'll freeze the rest. The girls love just eating these dry for breakfast, or sometimes I will pack one in their lunch. I also keep a bottle of syrup at work, so I can grab a few frozen ones if I need to grab a lunch on the fly.
Next, we made baked whole wheat spaghetti. I usually make this with Campanelle or Gemelli and call it "cavatini," but I was out. (Thankfully Barilla is on sale for $.99 this week! I'll buy 8 or 10 boxes as we eat this a lot!)
I basically make this like a lasagne. I boil the noodles about half way and layer in a cheese mixture and sauce. For the cheese mixture I use --
1 big tub of cottage cheese
1 8 oz bag of some sort of Italian cheese
About a half cup of Parmesan cheese
A few shakes of parsley, garlic, oregano and basil, salt and pepper
I also make my own sauce sometimes, but I'm finding I can get jarred organic Ragu on sale with a coupon for cheaper than I can make it. And, a little secret -- this time I used a little leftover Campbell's tomato soup. I'm thinkin' no one will know the difference!
Not my best photography effort, but here it is!
I actually made one to bake today, and a mini one to freeze in a Tupperware for a busy work night. I've never tried freezing one in anything other than a foil pan, so that will be interesting! Hopefully I'll be able to thaw a little and transfer to another dish.
This bakes at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half until bubbly in the middle!
Next up, Earl Gray shortbread cookies, and I'll be making apple crisp tomorrow!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I know it looks a little roasty-toasty, but give it a chance!
We reallllllllllllllllly love this banana bread recipe. It gets the most gorgeously browned crust I have ever seen! I originally took it from a Food Network recipe, but after about 50 loaves of it, I've adapted it to a yummier and slightly healthier variety.
Here it is. Makes TWO full-sized loaves.
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
3 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
7 or 8 overripe bananas
2 cups of sugar
3 sticks of unsalted butter (I KNOW.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of walnuts (Love those omega 3s!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip 6 of the bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Finely dice the remaining 1 or 2 bananas. Fold in the nuts and the diced bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.
You can eat warm out of the oven, but I think it's best after sitting for a day or so and re-heated in the microwave. Yummmmmmmm! I usually make 6 or 8 loaves in an afternoon. I'll take one to work and one to my parents. Between breakfasts and sack lunches, we usually eat two more before I have a chance to freeze them! So much for getting ahead!
A few additional notes - I've also made this without the diced bananas, and everyone still loves it. Of course, you can omit the nuts. I've also added a couple of handfuls of blueberries for added nutritional benefits, and I really love it that way. I've ALSO done half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose. It is denser for sure, but we like it! It seems to need about 5 less minutes baking time though to prevent it from getting overly dried out. It works just fine with 100% all purpose flour too, of course.
Hope you enjoy! Let me know how it turns out for you!
And a picture of my girls having a bedtime banana bread snack!
See also LifeAsMom.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
A picture! Finally!
And...I'm glad I got one because I'm sitting here looking at it like, "THAT'S IT?!?!?!"
The part that KILLS me is I saved more than I spent! Pre-tax my total was $23.71. My savings total was $27.89. What if I had NOT saved that cash??? Then what would I be saying?!?!?!?!
Let's break this down...all prices are pre-coupon
2 2 liters of Mountain Dew - $.86
2 cans of Progresso - $1.69 (Ok, maybe these were the bank breaker.)
1 loaf of Oroweat 100% whole wheat - $1.79
2 Pillsbury Grand Cinnamon Rolls - $1.86
1 box of Texas Toast - $2.50
1 Belfonte "scround" - $2.28
2 lbs of strawberries - $1.86/lb
approx 10 lbs of apples - $.86/lb
I saved an additional $3.05 with coupons.
That's it! Obviously, produce is a kicker, but I insist on providing a good variety for my girls. That, and I probably should have done without the Texas Toast! I was just thinking it would be a nice treat with our usual spaghetti with organic Ragu.
I will make one other trip this week, and I'm gonna have to stretch it! No extra money, and as I mentioned, I'm on the hook for several things -- banana bread and apples and caramel for a good friend with family in town for a memorial service, Boston Cream "casserole" for a friend's birthday, mini bagels and cream cheese for my little girl's preschool class AND now apple crisp and ice cream for my brother in law's birthday too. I REALLY love baking and feeding people, but it gets stressful squeezing it in to the budget sometimes!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I'm unleashing a family "secret" recipe here, people -- Pumpkin Cake with Buttermilk Fudge Frosting!
This cake is PERFECT. My mom has made it every year for my dad's birthday (September 13th) for as long as I can remember. It is the epitome of fall for me. It symbolizes everything that is cozy, perfect and PUMPKIN. Try it people. It's insane. AND, eat your frosting first -- or someone else will! TRUST ME.
Pumpkin Cake -
Mix together -
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 cup oil
1 small can (2 cups) pumpkin
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
3 tsps baking soda
1 1/4 tsps salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of nuts (I like walnuts.)
Pour in to well greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Done when knife comeso ut clean.) Cool in pan.
or: 34 muffins - bake 20 minutes
or: 2 layers plus bake 45 minutes plus 8 muffins bake20 minutes
Buttermilk Frosting -
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine in large sauce pan over medium heat to 230 degrees or "soft ball." Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Beat until it loses its golss. Spread quickly on to cake. This frosts ONE layer. We usually double the recipe.
Don't forget to join in the recipe sharing fun at LifeAsMom, JoyofDesserts, HoosierHomemade, and Beauty and Bedlam!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Here is what we got --
2 16 count packages of donut holes
1 bag of multi grain bagels
1 bag of Reames noodles
5 Tony's pizzas
1 Betty Crocker Scalloped potato mix
2 cans of Old El Paso refried beans
3 bags of Lays potato chips
2 boxes Ronzoni whole wheat linguine
1 can of Rotel
1 brick of Velveeta
1 Cascadian Farm raisin bran
1 box of Nabisco Graham crackers
1 Nature Valley Nut Clusters
1 Hormel meat loaf
1/2 gallon of hormone free strawberry milk
1 gallon of generic whole milk
1 package of Huggies diapers
8 bags of generic cheese (Hy Vee cheese is perfectly good and such a good deal! I totally recommend it. We've been eating it for years.)
2 Philadelphia whipped cream cheeses
2 2 litres of Diet Coke
4.6 lbs of bananas
2 red bell peppers
My after tax total was approximately $62.00. I saved right around $10.00 with coupons. Not quite sure on the general sale total.
And, a public service announcement -- MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS for correct prices. For some reason one of my bags of potato chips rang up as $2.88 instead of $.99, and the Betty Crocker potatoes were supposed to be free but cost $.65. I find something wrong with my receipt ALMOST every time I go to the store. I try to check before I leave, but I usually forget. Instead, I will put today's receipt with my coupons and ask for the overages to be refunded. It may seem trivial to some, but the overages plus tax equal $2.75 -- over 5% of my weekly budget. Overages of that amount would cost me $142.18 a year -- or enough money to send my little girl to dance class for 3 months and 1 week. (How's that for perspective???) I will admit that I HATE doing this because it seems pretty nit-picky. I just always apologize profusely and tell the person at customer service that I appreciate them making it right. That usually helps ease my embarrassment. : )
Friday, October 2, 2009
4 cans of Libby's canned corn
2 Yoplait Delights 4 packs
1 Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry juice with DHA.
5 Lean Cuisine pizzas
1 Digiorno flatbread
2.76 lbs of pears
My pretax total was $16.80. I saved $23.92. $5.75 of that savings was with coupons.
I was so happy to snag the Minute Maid with DHA. I am a big believer in DHA's importance, but it isn't terribly easy to work it in to my family's diet! I usually don't let my girls drink much juice -- definitely not every day, but they sure do love when I show up with this one!
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