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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!