Saturday, November 27, 2010

Strasburg Mommy and Me Apron Set

I really am not a huge fan of posting deals on here, but I thought this one was too good to pass up. (Alas, I'm not buying it because we already have Mommy and Me aprons that my mom made.) It would be a great gift to mom/daughter, grandma/granddaughter, etc. Heck, it's really TWO gifts. Strasburg clothing is heirloom quality, so this price is amazing!

Deal is:

The regular price for the apron set is $19.99.

Use code Holiday25 to save 25% through Dec 28th. Your total would be $14.99 + shipping.

Late to the party...

I'm running a little late to the party on groceries this week. I did make one stop earlier this week for Thanksgiving perishables for my broccoli salad and cinnamon cider apples and a few other holiday sale items, but I just didn't have time to share it. Sorry about that! Truth is, I really didn't WANT to go to the store again, but we were out of juice, milk and pop, and that just doesn't fly around here. Plus, I wanted to pick up some frozen chicken breasts that were on sale. Of course, they were out of the frozen chicken breasts, and I still spent my entire $50. At least I got a rain check!

I've also been thinking a lot this week about how my grocery budget results look so much more sparse than some people's. I just really have stopped caring at all about having 80 bags of chocolate chips that I paid $.25 for and far prefer to have healthy and fresh foods that my family (especially my children) love. Yes, I paid nearly $2/tub of cottage cheese, and $1 per avocado, but they will get eaten! I feel better about that than having a pantry full of processed foods that I would prefer none of us eat.

Since I wasn't able to pick up my chicken breasts at the store, I'm a little short on meal plan ideas! I will probably make cavatini on Monday or Tuesday night. We've also been making and loving burritos out of our favorite black bean dip. We'll be snacking on Thanksgiving leftovers, homemade guacamole, cheese and crackers, bagels and cream cheese, etc. Sounds like good eatin' to me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Broccoli Salad

I had this salad for the first time at a Thanksgiving work potluck. I REALLY liked it, and while it wasn't traditional for our family, my friend that brought it said they eat it EVERY year. It's nice because it's pretty darn simple, but it's delicious. I also think it's really nice to have something fresh and crunchy on the Thanksgiving table. I've made it for the last few years now too, and my family really likes it. I hope you do too!

Salad -
4 crowns of broccoli, chopped very small
1/2 red onion, chopped very fine
1 cup of grated cheddar
4 strips of bacon for bacon bits (I use a package of bacon bits instead.)

Dressing -
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
Dash of pepper

(Place ingredients in sealed Tupperware and shake to blend.)

Just a little tip, I always serve the dressing on the side. It's VERY zippy, so I feel like people should be able to control how much they want. Plus, then your salad leftovers don't get soggy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Advent Conspiracy

We've had a lot of stress about Christmas at our house lately. The only gift we intended on buying for the girls (or for ourselves) was a bunk bed and dresser set, but we just can't afford to buy what we had been hoping for. So far, we haven't come up with a good back-up plan, and we have stumbled on any helpful deals either.  It's hard for me to know that my girls are not going to have anything other than a small gift from us at Christmas time because we haven't been able to figure this bedroom set out and can't afford to be out the money on other gifts.

Anyway, we decided as a family this morning that we want to give half of what we have set aside for that bedroom set that we can't afford anyway and give it to the Africa Water Project. In the mean time, we'll get prayin' about where our kids are going to sleep once this baby comes!



Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Shopping

 (It's so hard for me to believe this is my "LITTLE" girl!)

Ok, I may be one in a million, but I LOVE Holiday grocery shopping.  We had room in the budget this week to allow for $100 in groceries, and I'm very thankful. I will probably hit all three of our major local stores between now and Thankgiving. I picked up some general things today, and I'll definitely have to make another stop the day before Thanskgiving for some perishable items. If I have time and budget, I'll hit the sales at Hy-Vee before then.

This is what we picked up today -

Finish Powerball tabs
2 boxes of Jello
6 cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna
4 2 litres of various pop
1 generic apple juice
1 can of Eagle Brand milk
1 PAM vegetable spray
1 Bakers chocolate
1 Nature's Pride 100% whole wheat bread
2 cans of Planters cashews
2 tubes of Pillsbury Simply buttermilk biscuits
2 tubes of Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 Roberts french onion dip
1 Roberts Eggnog
1 dozen Land O Lakes brown eggs
1 big tub of Yoplait strawberry yogurt
2 lbs of Land O Lakes butter
1 lb bag of frozen spinach
2 Pet Ritz pie crusts
1 package of Reames noodles
1 package of Mariani yogurt raisins
1 package of Mariani dried cherries (My favorite!)

My pre-tax total was $42.67. We saved 49%.

I have lots of things on the Thanksgiving menu this upcoming week! I'm taking Olive Garden Spinach Dip and chips to our work potluck on Monday. On Thanksgiving day, I committed to green bean casserole, broccoli salad, French Silk pie and Double Spiced Pumpkin Pie. I think this weekend the girls and I will also make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies and test out a new recipe I saw for pumpkin empanadas. I will definitely be sharing the recipes for French Silk (it's a good one!) and my special broccoli salad. Of course, I'll let you know how the pumpkin empanandas work out. Should be fun!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Amish Baked Oatmeal

I wanted to make something different and special for breakfast on Saturday morning, so I whipped up a recipe I had been planning on testing for a long time, Amish Baked Oatmeal.

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It made such a nice breakfast, and was so easy to put together first thing in the morning. I was thinking it would be a great Thanksgiving or Christmas morning breakfast! I think for the holidays, I will adjust the recipe with apricots and dried cherries to make it extra special. Yum!

The adjusted recipe is as follows:


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I subbed raisins.)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Over Budget


(Crazy crooked picture! My camera is broken, and you have to SQUEEZE the front and back together to get the picture to take. Makes it hard to hold the camera still while you push the button!)

We made a super rainy trip to Hy-Vee last night. We were really, really low on groceries, to the point where it was getting really frustrating. I almost went crazy being out of cheese for a whole week! I also really wanted to stock up on pumpkin since it was so cheap! I've not been doing a great job of buying in bulk when things are a great price, and my pantry has been suffering a little bit. The next few weeks before the holidays, I'm going to try to make a purposeful effort to stock up on some of our non-perishable favorites! Aside from that, we just needed some food in the fridge! This is what we came home with:

1/2 gallon of Dole orange pineapple juice
1/2 dozen generic eggs
4  Freschetta pizzas
4 Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 Betty Crocker cake mix
1 Bettery Crocker frosting
1 cans of generic mandarin oranges
1 can of generic black beans
6 cans of generic pumpkin
2 cans of generic chicken broth
3 boxes of Halloween macaraoni
1 huge jar of Musselman's applesauce
1 Newman's spaghetti sauce
1 package of Quaker old fashioned oats
1 bag of Sara Lee bagels
1/2 gallon of generic 2% milk
2 loaves of 100% Earthgrains bread
1 Yoplait Splitz
1 Yoplait Plus
10 bags of generic cheese
1 package of Kraft Singles (accidentally paid full price. hate that.)
1 Kraft whipped cream cheese
1 package of tortillas
2.7 lbs of pears
5.5 lbs of bananas

My pre-tax total was about $71.00. I will take our overage from one of our other budgets this week.
This morning when the little one and I got up, we threw a pan of Amish baked oatmeal in the oven. (She is so cute! She is thinking it smells pretty yummy! I can't wait to try it either!) I'm also planning on making some whole wheat pumpkin bread to have around to snack on this week. I also keep having a craving for blueberry slump, so I may have to dig some blueberries out of the freezer and cook some up!

I don't have any official meals planned this week. As I'm creeping in to my third trimester, I've gone back to loosing some interest in food. It's so hard to meal plan when nothing sounds good! Lucky for me, my husband was so happy to see the American cheese that it seems as if the family might be content to eat grilled cheese for the next week. I'm so lucky they're so easy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My mom's chicken and rice...

I guess it is a vintage recipe kind of day! I was trying to think of a favorite recipe I could throw in the oven and have around for leftovers this week. I haven't made my mom's chicken and rice in really long time, so it sounded like a good option. Now, I said this is a FAVORITE recipe, not a HEALTHY recipe! Ha! Incidentally, I don't eat the chicken, just the rice. It's soooooo good!

For the rice you need,

1 2/3 cup of regular cook white rice
3 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup (You may be able to get away with 1 family sized can.)
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 small onion, diced
Pepper to taste

(I doubled the rice.)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and spread in to a buttered 9x12 pan. Then, all you have to do is place some bone-in, skin on chicken pieces on top! Pour an additional 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the chicken. Cover with foil. Bake at 300 for two hours. Then, remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes at 350.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies from my childhood...

I haven't had much of a sweet tooth lately. In fact, sweets have been making me completely nauseous for weeks. SO not like me. However, for some reason this week, I (or maybe the baby) really wanted a chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream. I decided to break out the box of recipes my mom gave me and make the recipe she used to always make when I was a kid. I'm not sure exactly if there is a "story" behind them, but she has always called them "Aunt Janice's Chocolate Chip Cookies." I'm sure she got the recipe from my Aunt. I'll have to see if I can get some more details on that event later.

In the meantime, here is the recipe:

1 cup or margarine (I used butter.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups of oatmeal (I used old fashioned.)
1 package of milk chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Of course, I was looking for some additional instructions, but I didn't have any. I just dumped everything in the mixer in order and mixed it as I went along! Worked out just fine, and the results were delicious!

Hy-Vee and the Cost of Commodities

I am 100% less than thrilled with my grocery purchase last night.  I had a screaming 2 year old, and I forgot my list. Oh well? What can you do?

In reference to last week's post about the price of groceries going up, did anyone else hear all the buzz about the rising price of commodoties in the news this week? Booooooooooo. The groceries items where I am really noticing an increase are butter, milk and bread so far. Pasta has been a little hard to find at my normal low too. Has anyone else noticed anything? I'm expecting to see more grain  products and also clothing made from natural fibers to follow. Gas also jumped as much as $.12/gallon here yesterday too.

Anyway, our groceries for the week included:

2 lbs of generic butter
1 Lipton sweet tea
2 big cans and 2 little cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup
3 boxes of Creamette pasta
1 generic salsa
2 cans of generic black beans
2 bottles of generic apple juice
1 package of Nestle chocolate chips
1 loaf of  Sara Lee 100% whole wheat bread
1 bag of Tostitos
1 box of white rice
1 gallon of generic 2% milk
1 tub of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 pint of Belfonte ice cream (not pictured)
2 lbs of Bartlett pears
5 lb bag of Russet potatoes (not pictured)
1 Marzetti's apple dip
3.25 lbs of Golden Delicious Apples
1/2 of a bone in, skin on chicken

My pre-tax total was around $44.00. I should save a little bit with UPromise as well.My small balance will go to cover the garlic bread that I said I'd bring to my nephew's first birthday party tomorrow.

My daughter is having dental surgery on Monday, so we will be home a lot this week. I'm planning on making my mom's chicken and rice recipe tonight for dinner. I also promised the girls that we would make chocolate chip cookies today. Other meals on the agenda are burritos filled with our favorite black bean dip, whole wheat pancakes and homemade hashbrowns. I'm not quite sure what else will make the list! We're super low on cheese, and that is a tough one around here!

Monday, November 1, 2010