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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Grocery Bill Slashing

I haven't posted in a while, but that doesn't mean I haven't been couponing!  School is out for the summer so I figured I would really try and see what I could stock up on now so I don't have to do so much once school is back in!  This is just an example of what I got this week at 3 different stores:


2 boxes of Froot Loops, 1 box of Apple Jacks, 1 side of Mashed Potatoes, 1 side of Macaroni and Cheese, 1 box of Great Grains Cereal, 4 boxes of Betty Crocker Potatoes, 1 deodorant, 2 bags of Wacky Mac Pasta, 1 package of Bagel Thins, 2 Hormel Kid Meals, 2 packs of Chicken Nuggets, 4 bags of Frozen Pasta (ravioli, stuffed shells and tortellini), 2 boxes of Cheddar Bites
Total before discounts/coupons: 75.64
Discounts and coupons: 51.29
Total paid: 24.35
Percentage Saved: 67.8%


4 containers of Nuts, 6 boxes of Hamburger or Chicken Helper, 1 bag of Tostito Chips, 2 packages of Cheese, 4 Gallons of Milk, 1 carton of Eggs, 2 packages of Smoked Sausage, 5 peaches, 1 container of Dip
Total before discounts/coupons: 78.82
Discounts and coupons: 43.82
Total paid: 35.00
Percentage Saved: 55.6%


2 boxes of Raisin Bran, 2 packages of Oatmeal with Fruit, 1 bag of Sugar, 6 containers of Peanut Butter
Total before discounts/coupons: 32.42
Discounts and coupons: 17.56
Total paid: 14.86
Percentage Saved: 54.2%

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 3-Part of Week 5 of Slashing the Grocery Bill

Thanks to Southern Savers again,  I was able to do pretty good the past couple of weeks shopping.  Here is my Bi-Lo trip:
 Price before coupons/discounts: $42.06
Price after coupons/discounts: $18.12
Total savings: $23.94
What I got: 3- 8 pack Lance crackers, 2 packages of pads, 2 boxes of tampons, 2 jars of spaghetti sauce, 1- 4 pack disposable razors and 1- 3 pack Jell-O Temptations
My new favorite store, Publix:
 Price before coupons/discounts: $52.76
Price after coupons/discounts: $11.27
Total savings: $41.49
What I got: 2 bottles of salad dressing, 1 box cheese sticks, 6 containers of yogurt, 2- 4 pack kid's yogurt, 2 tubes of toothpaste, 3- 6 pack Propel water, 2 bottles Trop50, 2 containers of almonds, and a bag of dog treats
I can't seem to get the hang of it but still go to CVS:
Price before coupons/discounts: $14.72
Price after coupons/discounts: $4.80
Total savings: $9.92
What I got: 1 box of Q-tips, 1 bottle of laundry detergent, 3 containers of Pringles
Last, but not least, Ingles:
Price before coupons/discounts: $51.40
Price after coupons/discounts: $17.13
Total savings: $34.27
What I got: 4 cans of corn, 4 cans of green beans, 4 boxes (76 tubes total) powdered drink mix, bottle of mustard, 2 packages of hot dogs, 1 bottle of BBQ sauce, 1 package of napkins, 1 bottle of marinade, 2 packages of cheese

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Week 2 of Slashing the Grocery Bill

Well, I spent most of Tuesday night stalking the Southern Savers website waiting on all of the local store ads to update.  When they were all updated I did a little cheer and grabbed my coupons and came up with a plan.  A plus to David being home now is that I can do more shopping in the afternoon and not worry about having to rush to get the boys from daycare.  I went to 4 different stores this week and feel like I did pretty good overall. 
First stop was Ingles:
Price before coupons/discounts: $34.20
Price after coupons/discounts: $13.36
Total savings: $20.84

Next up was Publix:
Price before coupons/discounts: $28.98
Price after coupons/discounts: 9.79
Total savings: $19.19

Then I went to Bi-Lo:
Price before coupons/discounts: $18.33
Price after coupons/discounts: $8.46
Total savings: $9.87

Last stop was CVS:
 Price before coupons/discounts: $10.28
Price after coupons/discounts: $2.28
Total Savings: $8.00 + $1 ECB

Overall I spent $33.89.  I know I could have done a lot better had I had some coupons, but I think I did fairly decent with it being my 2nd week.  I did learn that you have to watch the coupons while things are getting rung up.  I went through the self-check out at Bi-Lo and realized later that one coupon did not double like it was supposed to.  A mistake I will not make again.  Also, they were out of the soap at CVS I was hoping to get for free.  Can't wait to see what next week holds! 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Slashing the Grocery Bill

I always thought of myself as a savvy shopper when it came to groceries.  I meal plan week to week and then I shop for the big bulk stuff at Costco and the other stuff I just get at Wal-Mart with coupons when I have them cause you know...Wal-Mart is cheaper...right?  Well, we found out almost 4 weeks ago that David was getting laid off the end of April.  What a total shock to us!  While I am very thankful that I still have my teaching job, we all know that there is no way I could support our family of 4 (still hoping for 5 someday) very long and keep up our current lifestyle. 

After having what I now call our week from hell, which included losing electricity one night/morning, hitting a deer and needing a new bumper for the van, and an ER visit for Jonas, I decided I needed to start figuring out more ways to save money NOW.  Thankfully I have friends there to help and teach me.  I have quickly learned that Wal-Mart is not the cheapest place to get all things!  I actually went shopping at Publix for the first time ever today.  I thought it would be fun to post every week about my savings.  Now, I am currently building up my coupon stock (please let me know if you would like to contribute) so it may take a while, but I already have a shopping trip I am proud of!  Check it out: 

Price before coupons/discounts: $13.45
Price after coupons/discounts: $2.74

I actually ended up getting paid 25 cents for the razors!  I don't plan to turn into one of those crazy people who can feed an army for several years on what they have stockpiled, but I do hope to be able to buy things that my family will eat for little to no money!  I am actually looking forward to the challenge ahead of me!  Stay tuned for next week's savings!

Golden Chicken and Noodles

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 10 3/4-oz. cans broccoli cheese soup
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 small onioin, chopped (I will probably leave this out next time)
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dried basil (I didn't use this)
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 4 oz. macaroni noodles, cooked
  1. Place chicken pieces in slow cooker.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients except macaroni noodles.  Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover.  Cook on High 1 hour.  Reduce heat to Low.  Cook 5-6 hours.
  4. Before serving, mix macaroni noodles into mixture.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Deep-Dish Layered Southern Banana Pudding

  • 46 Nilla Wavers, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 pkg. (3.4 oz each) vanilla flavored pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 tub (8 oz) cool whip, thawed, divided
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.  Crush 30 wafers; mix with next 4 ingredients.  Spread onto bottom of 15x10x1 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 5 min.; stir.  Bake 3 to 5 min. or until golden brown; cool.
  2. Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 min. (pudding will be thick).  Stir in 1 cup cool whip.  Layer 1/3 of the crumb mixture and half each of the bananas and pudding in 2 qt. serving bowl; repeat.
  3. Beat cream cheese and granulated sugar in medium bowl with mixer until blended.  Gently stir in 1 cup of remaining cool whip; spread over top, sealing to edge of bowl.  Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture,  Refrigerate 3 hours.  Top each serving with remaining cool whip and whole wafers just before serving. 

Sante Fe Soup with Melted Cheese

  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
  • 15 1/4-oz. can corn, undrained
  • 15-oz. can kidney beans, undrained (I used black beans and will drain and rinse next time)
  • 14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 14 1/2-oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. dry taco seasoning
  • corn chips or soft tortillas
  1. Combine all ingredients except chips or tortillas in slow cooker.
  2. Cover,  Cook on High 3 hours.
  3. Serve with corn chips as a side, or dip soft tortillas in individual servings in soup bowls.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tie Dye Cupcakes

These were a lot of work but turned out great!  The frosting was a bit of a challenge for me, but I thought of a better way to do it next time.  Sure hope my students love these! 

-1 box white cake mix
-water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
-gel food colors or paste food colors in read, range, yellow, green, blue and purple (I used liquid)
-2 containers white frosting

1.  Heat oven to 350F.  Place baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.  Make cake mix as directed on the box for cupcakes, using water, oil and egg whites.  Divide batter evenly among 6 bowls.  Add a different food color to each bowl to make red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. 
2.  Place 1 level teaspoon of each color batter into each muffin cup, layering colors in order of rainbow- red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Do not stir!  Each cup will be about 1/2 full.
3.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove to cooling racks.  Cool completely.
4.  Divide frosting evenly among 3 bowls.  Tint 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 blue with food colors.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes.  In large disposable decorating bag fitted with #6 star tip, place spoonfuls of each color of frosting side by side in bag, alternating colors and working up from tip of bag.  Do not stir colors together.  Starting at 12 o'clock on outer edge of each cupcake and using constant pressure on bag, pipe frosting clockwise for 3 rotations, working toward center and ending in small peak.

Of course my boys had to try them out and make sure they were okay!  I think they approved!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Sorry- these guys are not up for adoption!
I have debated for the past month to post this or not.  I am still unsure about it but decided to go ahead and post to try and get over some of my insecurities about the topic.  Long story short- David and I will be exploring adoption soon!  Now here's the long story:

Back in September 2009, our pastor began a series all about adoption.  This series looked at adoption in a variety of ways.  Several examples of adoption were given and David and I decided then to sponsor a child through Compassion.  This was the extent we were willing to go to at the time in regards to adoption. 
Fast forward a bit to January 2010 when our pastor announced our partnership with a children's home in Haiti and the possibility of an upcoming mission trip.  Once information came out about this trip, I debated back and forth about going.  I had decided not to go on the trip, (you will see where I am going with this story in a bit) but felt very unsettled about my decision.  I prayed about it and still felt unsettled but was sticking to my guns about not going.  A little later we had a cookout for our community group in our backyard.  During the cookout, Haiti came up and the possibility of going was brought to my attention.  I said a prayer in my backyard that night and decided I needed to go to Haiti.  I almost felt an instant relief when I changed my mind!
In July 2010, I went to Haiti.  This is a trip I will never forget and something that I feel makes an impact on my daily life.  I saw things that I never knew existed!  Now, I went into Haiti knowing adoption from Haiti was not an option since their minimum age requirement is 35.  That didn't change the fact that my heart ached for all of the children there who were orphans or deserved so much more out of life.  When I returned, I discussed with David the idea of adoption.  We kind of put it on the back burner as a possibility.
Several months later I revisited the idea through prayer and looking at it financially.  I decided that it wasn't the best decision for our family.  Again though, I had a very unsettled feeling about it (see, I got that's how it links to the Haiti situation).  At that point I figured I would give it up to God and just file it away as something not for our family.
A little over a month ago, I had a child placed in my classroom who is in foster care.  This brought the idea back to my mind and I brought it up with David again.  Of course, David is such a laid back person and is open to just about anything I am willing to consider.  Again, I decided it wasn't a good idea for us.
Almost a month ago, we were told about a little girl locally who might need a new home.  We were at church when I had this conversation and it was before the service.  I said I would think about it, knowing in my mind that we had decided it wasn't for our family.  Boy did God have something else in store!  Through our pastor's sermon, (which was about shalom or peace) I realized that most of the reasons behind our decision were for selfish reasons.  Most of my reasons revolved around money (which is there, but being spent in other ways currently) and the fact that I really don't like change.  I realized that I am too comfortable with my current lifestyle and I shouldn't be.  After the service, I decided I was interested.
We found out a little over a week ago that adopting this little girl is very unlikely at this time due to the entire circumstance.  While I was initially sad, I realized that this is a God thing!  Much like the cookout in our backyard, I needed a situation to show me the reason why I felt unsettled about adoption. 

Now, David and I are really going into this blindly.  We have family members and friends who have gone through the adoption process who I am sure I will bug between now and the end of the process.  While I am a major planner, I am trying not to over plan this entire situation.  I know God is in control and that there is a child out there for our family.  For the time being, we are planning to begin the process with DSS and go from there.  Now, we know there isn't a guarantee that we will get a child placed in our home through DSS, but it is a starting point for us.

I have been asked by several people so far about our reasons behind adoption.  Yes, I know we have two healthy wonderful boys and there really isn't a valid reason why we couldn't have more children.  We decided after Jonas, however, that we were done having biological children.  This is a decision I still stand firm by.  My personal reason for adoption is to give a child a home who might not have a home otherwise.  We are not seeking out an infant for several reasons.  For now, we are hoping for a child between 1-5.  For my own selfish reasons, I really want a little girl (this house NEEDS some pink). 

Again, I know God already has our child picked out and has seen this entire situation from the beginning to the end.  I am thrilled to see what he has in store for our family! 

South of the Border Chicken Soup

Sorry no picture, it wasn't really pretty once I remembered to take a picture, but it sure was yummy!

  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 4 cups 99% fat free chicken broth
  • 14 1/2 oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz. frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add chicken and cook until browned.  Remove chicken from saucepan and keep warm.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan.  Cook until tender.  Stir in cumin and cook 1 minute.  Add broth, tomatoes corn, beans and salsa; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.  Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.
Makes 10 (1 cup) servings  

Cheese Enchiladas

-8 oz. low fat cream cheese
-7 oz. fat free shredded cheddar cheese
-1 cup salsa
-6 flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
-sour cream (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese together.  Spread on tortillas.
  3. Place tortillas seam side down in a greased pan.
  4. Cover with remaining cheese and salsa.
  5. Bake covered for 20 minutes. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili

1 pound ground beef, browned (I used 1/2 pound to cut back a bit)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can corn
1 can black beans; rinsed
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce

Place all ingredients in your crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

Makes 5 (1 cup) servings

Smothered Steak

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (4-ounce) cubed steaks
3/4 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons canola oil
Cooking spray
3/4 cup thinly sliced onion

1.  Combine first 3 ingredients.  Dredge steak in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Reserve excess flour mixture.  Combine reserved flour mixture and broth in a 1-cup glass measure, stirring with a small whisk; set aside.
2.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add steak to pan.  Cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown.  Remove from pan.
3.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in broth mixture, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Return steak to pan.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes or until gravy thickens and steak is tender.  Serve sauce over steak.

Makes 4 servings

Chicken Scaloppini

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1.  Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
2.  Combine egg white and water in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.  Place breadcrumbs in another shallow dish.  Dip each chicken breast half in egg mixture; dredge in breadcrumbs.
3.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of chicken to pan.  Cook 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.  Repeat procedure with remaining oil and chicken.
4.  Add broth and lemon juice to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits.  Cook, uncovered, over high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup.  Drizzle sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings

Egg Mugs

Denver Omelette in a mug!
AKA...the best breakfast in a flash, ever!  I regularly get e-mails from Hungry Girl and thought these sounded totally gross at first.  I got brave one weekend and tried them out.  They are my new favorite thing to make for breakfast before work.  They are super quick to make and easy to clean up after as well.  I don't think I will make scrambled eggs or an omelette the old fashioned way again!  David and I tried two different recipes and loved them both.  If you are interested, head on over to the website and do a search for egg mugs.  A list of past e-mails with recipes will come up! 
Egg McMuggin'

Beef Steak in Mushroom Gravy

6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 (4 oz.) cubed steaks
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup jar sliced mushrooms (drained)- I didn't use these
1 3/4 cups beef broth

1.  In a small bowl, combine flour, onion flakes, and parsley flakes.  Coat steaks on both sides with flour mixture.
2.  In a large skillet, sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray, cook steaks for 3 minutes on each side, until browned.
3.  In a large bowl, combine mushroom soup, mushrooms, beef broth, and remaining flour mixture.  Pour soup mixture evenly over steaks.
4.  Bring mixture to a boil, evenly spoon gravy over steaks.

Makes 4 servings.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Roasted Potato Wedges

These are great as a side to just about anything!

-1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved (see below for my fab find)
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used Italian seasoning mix)
-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-cooking spray

I found this little bag of potatoes and thought I would try them.  While they weren't so cheap, they turned out great!

1.  Preheat oven to 475.
2.  Combine potato and oil in a medium bowl, tossing to coat.  Combine rosemary, cheese, and salt in a large zip-top plastic bag; add potato, tossing to coat.  Place potato on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 475 for 20 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Yields 4 servings (about 3/4 cup)

Smoked Sausage-and-Vegetable Pile-Up

-Cooking spray
-7 ounces smoked turkey sausage, diagonally sliced (I used 14 ounces)
-1 cup chopped onion
-1 cup chopped bell pepper
-1 cup sliced zucchini (I didn't use this)
-1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated garlic mashed potatoes (see below for what I used)
-2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn

I used these for my mashed potatoes.  They are great because they are low in just about everything and cheap!

1.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage; saute 2 minutes or until browned.  Remove from skillet; keep warm.
2.  Return pan to heat; recoat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion, bell pepper, and zucchini  Coat vegetables with cooking spray; saute 5 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown. 
3.  While vegetables cook, heat potatoes according to package directions.
4.  Add corn and cooked sausage to onion mixture.  Saute 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Serve sausage mixture over mashed potatoes.

Yields 4 servings (1 cup sausage mixture and 1/2 cup mashed potatoes)