Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I was super happy about how my Walgreens trip went today!

M&Ms  4 bags on sale 2/$3 - $3 in MCs = $3 for 4 bags or $0.75 per bag

Starburst Jelly Beans 2 bags on sale 2/$3 - $1 MC = $2 for 2 bags or $1.00 per bag

Wax Paper 75sq ft on sale for $0.89 with SC. I bought 3

I had $5 RR from my last trip so I spent a total of $3.95 out of pocket. According to my receipt I saved $22.26! That's the best I've ever done!

Now to hide the candy from my husband! : )

Monday, April 18, 2011


I am a firm believer that the Lord provides the things that we need. We recently had to buy 4 new tires for my husband's vehicle. No choice in the matter. The thing is we only had half the money in the budget for this almost $500 expense. We decided to have a garage sale during the all-town garage sales. What you need to know is we live on a very small dead end street that no one in town has ever heard of. Last year our garage sale was a total bust so, I was very doubtful about this one. I bought the brightest, most obnoxious colored signs so we'd stand out and people could find us. On the morning of the garage sale it had rained and poured buckets all night and into the morning. We debated postponing thinking no one would come. Plus all of our signs were ruined. We decided to go ahead and try to have the sale anyway. I quickly made new signs and this time laminated them. My husband went and hung them. At first it was really, really slow but, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Then, lots of people came. In the 4 hours that we were open we made enough to cover the cost of my husband's tires. I know that it was through, faith, prayer, and paying an honest tithe that we were able to make the money we needed.


Tonight my husband did the initial tilling of our garden. We are doubling its size this year. I am so excited about it! I love the smell of the freshly turned soil. It made me think of all the yummy goodness we are going to plant soon. This year we are planting; strawberries, roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green onions, sweet onions, zuchini, green peppers, celery, peas, green beans, lettuce, and of course sweet corn. I can already taste it.

I have lots of plans for homemade spaghetti sauce, zuchini bread, and lots of freezing and canning.  My Grandpa has grapes, apples, and blackberries that I can't wait to get my hands on. I plan on making apple pie filling, applesauce, and apple butter. My husband requests blackberry jam and pie. I love cherry tomatoes! When I was a little girl my grama always had cherry tomatoes planted along side her house. I called them, "balls." I would pick them and pop them straight into my mouth. There is photo evidence of this too.

Nothing tastes better than fresh produce. There is an indescribable satisfaction of planting a seed, caring for it, and watching it grow. There's a lot of work before the harvest. Along with the garden comes weeds, sweating, and mosquitoes. All things that I am not a fan of! I am literally a mosquito magnet! But, it is totally worth it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby Steps to Using Your Freezer

Along with the crock pot the freezer has become my BFF! I really like the kitchenstewardship website. It is where I've gotten a lot of my from scratch recipe. I love how she explains things so simply. If I can do this anyone can. When learning how to best utilize my freezer I found this really helpful article. Please check it out:

Things you'll find in my freezer:

Chopped onions - This saves soooo much time when cooking and I only cry once instead of everytime I need onion. A bag of onions on sale would go bad in our house if it wasn't for the freezer.

Chopped assorted peppers

Fruit- grapes

Pancakes- take them out pop them in the toaster or microwave for a really fast breakfast

Meat- I buy in bulk. I'll divide up the hamburger into 1 lb chunks. Out of 1lb I'll make up a meatloaf and freeze it.  Another pound will become meatballs. I also like to just fry some up in a skillet plain to use later for sloppy joes, tacos, spaghetti sauce, etc.
Chicken- I love to buy the big packs of chicken and cook them all day on low in the crock pot. I create different dishes with it to freeze too.
Bacon, pepperoni,  and other meats

Bread- for seasoned bread crumbs and homemade stuffing.

Pie Crusts, Pizza dough, Cookie Dough

Cheese- sliced and shredded

Frozen juices- way cheaper than premade and you can make them go farther by adding some extra water.

Homemade Freezer Jams

There's a lot more too. Take a stroll down your freezer aisle and look at all the foods that you can create at home for a fraction of the price. They will be better for you too. No additives and preservatives. Start out by making double batches of what you are making for dinner or dessert. Eat one and freeze one for later. I still haven't gotten to where I can take a whole day to freezer cook for a week or month. My busy lil man kind of prevents it.

Another good source is the site Simple Organized Living
This post will even give you printables about how to store things in your freezer. It is super helpful!

Just like with everything else start with one thing. I chose onions and as I got comfortable with that I gradually added in more things. It is overwhelming to expect yourself to take on a whole new lifestyle all at once. Just take it one thing at a time and before you know it you will be where you want to be.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I don't know why I hadn't started doing this sooner. It was probably out of convenience. On sale I can get Spaghetti Sauce for $0.99. On sale I can get plain tomato sauce for way cheaper. So, now I buy the plain sauce and add my own chopped onions, green pepper, italian seasoning, basil, and some garlic powder. This way I am getting it my way and it tastes better. It's very versatile. You can add pretty much anything you want to this sauce; mushrooms, chunks of tomato, other veggies, etc.

This summer I am growing Roma tomatoes and I plan on making up tons of sauce to freeze and can.

Homemade Tortillas

To go along with your homemade taco seasoning why not some homemade tortillas? I found these really easy to make and they tasted the same as the ones in the store.

Flour               2 cups
Salt                 1/2 tsp
Shortening       1/4 cup (cold)
Water              1/2 cup (cold)

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in cold shortening. Add your cold water. Mix until just combined. Divide into 10 balls and roll out flat and thin on lightly floured surface. Place on hot griddle. Look for brown spots to turn. It takes less than a minute.

Store in airtight container or ziploc bag. Store in fridge and they freeze well.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

My friend, Angie, e-mailed me a great question and a couple of websites. She asked about making your own taco seasoning. I have a recipe but, I haven't tried it yet.

Chili Powder             6 tsp
Cumin                       4 1/2 tsp
Paprika                     5 tsp
Onion Powder          3 tsp
Garlic Powder          2 1/2 tsp
Cayenne Powder      1/8-1/4 tsp

Place in an airtight container to store. This is really powerful stuff so use very little until you get the right ratio and spice. I hope this is helpful.

Here are the websites Angie sent for you to check out:


Thanks Angie!!

Bread Machine Wheat Bread

Cold Water                      1 1/3 cups
Oil                                   4 tsp
Honey                              1/3 cup
Salt                                  1 1/4 tsp
Whole Wheat Flour          3 1/4 cups
Bread Flour                      3/4 cup
Active Dry Yeast              4 tsp

Add ingredients in order from top to bottom. I altered this recipe. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of whole wheat flour. I found the flavor to be too overwhelming and my family didn't like it. So, I experimented with the ratio by adding bread flour. We like this version much, much better. It is very fillling.

Bread Machine White Bread

Cold Water            1 1/4 cups
Oil                          3 Tbsp
Sugar                      3Tbsp
Salt                          2 tsp
Bread Flour             4 cups
Active Dry Yeast     1 Tbsp

Add ingredients in order from top to bottom. This makes a 2 lb loaf.

This bread is light and fluffy and goes fast in our house.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Syrup

I am really enjoying cooking from scratch. I have the time and I have the ingredients on hand and I am willing to try just about anything once. I got this recipe from the book; Miserly Moms. This is the second recipe I've tried for chocolate syrup and this is the one I'm sticking with!

Chocolate Syrup
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
1 Tbsp vanilla

Combine cocoa and sugar in a medium saucepan and blend with a whisk until all the lumps of cocoa are gone. Add water and salt. Mix well while cooking over medium heat. Bring it to a boil. Remove pan from heat once it starts boiling. Let it cool completely and then add your vanilla.

This syrup makes the BEST chocolate milk and it's great poured over ice cream!

Pizza Dough

I quit buying premade pizzas a while ago and haven't missed them at all. I found out that the dough can be made ahead and frozen too. The dough is also very versatile. On the website; http://www.ourbestbites.com/ they talk about making homemade "hot pockets." This is ingenius and I wish I had thought of this. All you have to do is make up your dough, divide it into smaller pieces, roll it out, fill it, bake it then either eat it or freeze it. I made ones with scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese. The other ones I filled with chicken, bacon, and ranch dressing. They turned out great! They froze really well too. Here is the recipe for the dough that I use all the time.

Pizza Dough
3 cups of flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on large pizza pan. Top as desired. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

I like to brush the dough with olive oil and then sprinkle on italian and basil seasonings to give it more flavor. Sometimes I'll actually  mix the herbs directly into the dough. You can also make these into breadsticks or calzones. We roll out some dough, add pepperoni, and string cheese. Roll it up and pinch all the edges. Bake it and then dip it into marinara sauce. So good! Use your imagination. There are so many possibilities with this dough!

The Greatest Granola Bars

I have been exploring the web for some new recipes. I have a kid with peanut allergies and it seems like all labels say, "May contain peanuts." It is extremely frustrating as a parent because you don't want to take the risk of your child having a reaction. Even granola bar labels say this so, I have started making my own. I am now on my third recipe and it is the best one! It's easy, fast, and soooo good. They don't last in our house at all! My son thinks they are cookies and he thinks they are a special treat. He has no idea that they are good for him! I found the recipe at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/. I am really liking her site. It is definitely one to check out!

Granola Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup honey
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of add-ins

Butter your 9x13 pan. Combine the butter and honey in the pan. Then, add and combine all the other ingredients except the add-ins. Once combined stir in your add-ins. I find that a fork works best for mixing and pressing the mixture firmly in the pan. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool about 10 minutes and cut into bars. Let cool completely before removing and serving.

I must recommend butterscotch chips. They are soooo good!


I took a little break from shopping. I have enough hygiene items stock piled to last us a while. My husband has been joking about waiting to find toothpaste packed in his lunch box. I told him if all else fails we will at least have clean teeth. Honestly, I haven't been too impressed with the sales at Walgreens and CVS lately. I have been keeping my eye out though. Today I did a big shopping trip.

I started out at Aldis because we needed ground turkey. It's $1.39/lb there so that's where I get it. I also needed some frozen corn and peas. Chips were also cheaper than the sale price at County Market. I spent $14.80 and got; 3lbs of corn, 3lbs peas, 3lbs ground turkey, box of graham crackers (it's smore season), 2 bags of chips, and a bag of sweet potato fries. I am totally addicted to the fries!

Hooray for the 10 for $10 get the 11th item free sale!! Their produce rocks!
Carrots 3lb $2.49
the precut and washed carrots were on sale 10 for $10. I still got a better deal washing, peeling, and cutting my own carrots. The coupon mom's rule is don't buy convenience if you can do it yourself in 5 minutes. It saves $.
Cucumber $1.00
Celery $1.00
Red, Yellow, Orange Pepper $3.00
Tomatoes 1lb $1.00
Romaine Salad 2 bags $2.00
Pretzels $1.00
Old Orchard Concentrate juices 11 for $6 (they were 10 for $10) I had (2) $1.00 off 4 juices MC and (1) buy one get one free MC, plus the 11th one was free
I spent $23.24 and saved $20.55

Eggs 4 dozen at $0.99 per dozen
at the register I got $0.50 ECB
I spent $3.49 and saved $3.30

County Market
Bananas 2.93lbs at $0.39/lb = $1.14
Chicken breast on sale at $1.99/lb 2.52lbs = $5.02
Cereal on sale 4/$10 in ad coupon for $4.00 off made them 4/$6 or $1.50 per box (that's cheaper than Aldi)
I spent $13.79 and saved $12.40

Huggies big box $26.99-$3.00 Target coupon - $3.50 MC = $20.49 for 126 diapers or $0.16 per diaper
Up Wipes 500+ count $9.19
Up Diaper Rash Cream $2.24
I spent $38.11 and saved $6.50

Granny Smith Apples $1.00/lb 2.81lbs
Pork Ribs $1.99/lb  $3.40
Pork Chops $1.99/lb $2.41
Pork Sausage $0.99/lb $1.60
Ground beef $2.98
Philadelphia Cooking Cream on sale for $1.99 - $1.50MC = $0.49!
plus in ad coupon for $1.50 off of chicken when you buy the cooking cream!
Chicken $3.66 - $1.50 = $2.16
I spent $16.04 and saved $4.20+ whatever the meat is regularly priced at. Everything was on sale that I bought.

My husband and I have already washed and chopped the cucumber, peppers, carrots, celery, and onions tonight. I'm going to do some freezer cooking tomorrow with my sale meat and I hope to post it then. My fridge is overflowing with yummy goodness!