Friday, November 12, 2010

QFC Deals

We're here in Washington. It is super. I've been having a WONDERFUL time learning the new stores around here.

After researching around a bit, I've discovered that QFC is a Kroger store. While they do have the same general promotions they tend to be a little more on some of the items than Smiths.

Retails: $88.05
Total Spent: $25.53
Percent Off: 71%

How did I do it?

QFC has a promotion: Buy 10 Mega Event items, get $5 off instantly, meaning $.50 per item. This is the 2nd week of the sale and darn it all, some of the items are a little more this week.

Here are a few of the printables. For more deals, check out the Coupon Project, although this is from last week, so some of the prices have risen.

Campbells Cream of Mushroom or Chicken Soup, reg. $1.29
- on sale for $1.25/$.75 when you buy 10
- use $1.50/3 printable coupon. Print twice.
- $.25!!!

Stovetop Stuffing, reg. $2.29
- on sale $1.50/$1 wyb 10
- $.75 each!!

Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, reg. $2.39
- on sale $1.49/$.99 wyb 10
- use $1/2 coupon. Print twice.
- $.49!!!

Also, this Saturday and Sunday only a 2 lb of Tillamook cheese is $2.99! Crazy low! There's a limit of 1 per person.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guess What, I'm Moving!


After over a decade, I am leaving Provo. It is a happy move- Matt got a job! Hooray! It's hard for me to think of life away from Utah but we're looking forward to this next stage in our lives.

I will still be blogging, although probably not so much in the next few weeks as he starts his job VERY soon and we aren't exactly "packed."


We are moving back home to Washington where I'm excited to find new resources for grocery shopping. Anyone from Western Washington have some great match-up sites? I've spent some time looking and haven't been too impressed with any sites for QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway and others.

Anyways, thanks for being patient with me as my life gets completely out of balance for a while. Must be because I'm always so on top of things and am super prepared. Yikes.

Incidentally, how many bottles of hairspray am I allowed to pack before it becomes ridiculous? What about toothpaste? Shampoo? Soap? Just wondering.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken Breast $1.29/lb, 5 cent/lb Pumpkins- Buy Low


I looked through Buy Low's ad today and in addition to their great produce prices, I was impressed with a few things:
  • Pumpkins are 5 cents/pound yesterday and today only (Wed and Thurs). The cheapest price I've seen is 8 cents/pound at Winco.
  • Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast is $1.29/lb Friday and Saturday only. Their chicken breast are HUGE and do require some trimming of fat, but it's not bad. One breast is about a pound. Crazy big. We usually use 1 pound for a meal so I put each breast in a sandwich baggy and put them all in a gallon freezer baggy. It's the easiest way I've found of freezing chicken breast. This is a great price by the way. I haven't seen boneless chicken breast under $1.50 in a LONG time.
  • Chex Mix, Bugles, or Gardetto's are on sale for $.98. With these $.50 coupons below they are only $.48. These are always nice to have on hand for all the end of year parties coming up. Oh and FYI: Those chocolate covered Bugles are deadly- SO good. Coupons: Pillsbury, Coupons.com, and Smartsource.com
  • Campbells Chunky Soups are $.99. Campbell's website has a bunch of $.50 coupons, making them $.49 each.
check out here to see their ad.

Getting Rain Checks

A few weeks ago Rite Aid had a killer price on diapers and my Rite Aid was out. Of course. Instead of calling all over the valley and driving to Timbuktu to get them I got a rain check.

My diapers finally came in yesterday and I picked them up this morning.


Why am I telling you this? Two reasons:
  1. to brag about my great deal
  2. to tell you to ask about rain checks whenever what you want isn't on the shelves. You can't always get one, depending on the way the sale's set up, but it is so much nicer if you can.

These 6 packs of diapers would have
retailed for about $75 and I spent about $18. That's about 75% off!

They couldn't have come in at a better time as I had like 5 diapers left.

Money Left for the Month: $133.30

Monday, October 18, 2010

What to do with Cream Cheese?


So what am I going to do with all of that Cream Cheese I got for free at Smiths? Really good question. Here are some ideas:
Any other suggestions?

Some Produce


I hit Buy Low this morning for some fresh produce. Isaac has decided that he LOVES to eat solids. He is deeply offended every time I eat anything that he can't have a taste of, poor little man. He can destroy 1/2 a banana in a matter of minutes.

Buy Low always have some great deals on produce. I am a fan.

Total Spent: $5.85
Money Left for the Month: $151.30

For a copy of their ad, go here.
This sale ends Tuesday night.

Smiths Freebies- Cream Cheese and Creamer

We took a last minute 2 week trip and just got back this weekend. Sorry for the lack of posting, but I was having a great time not doing anything and hanging out with family.

This week at Smiths is AWESOME. If you haven't gone, I would definitely check it out tomorrow as the sale ends tomorrow night. I hit Provo Smiths around 4:30 today and was surprised to see them so well stocked.

UPDATE: While I was in Washington, I discovered that QFC is a Kroger store like Smiths and had a lot of the same prices they did. If you're in WA, go and get some free cream cheese!


Highlights:

Philadelphia Cream Cheese, reg. $2.18 each
I got these all for FREE!

10, you may ask? Yes. 10. I'll give a few bricks to my sister and have plenty to make all sorts of delicious treats and meals through the end of the year. These don't expire until the end of December. I stock up when the price is right so I don't have to pay full price later on when I need it.


CoffeeMate Creamer, reg. $2.49
I not only got these for FREE but made $.21 on each! No, I don't drink coffee, but my cocoa will never taste so delicious. Any other ideas for it?

Also, there was a Jell-o coupon in the SS insert of Sunday's paper, making each large package of pudding or gelatin only $.35. They're regularly $1.09.

Oh, and if you have that Nabisco BOGO coupon from facebook a few weeks back, this would be the time to use it on Oreos. Not counting the milk you had to buy to use the coupon ($1.89) each package ended up being $.35! Nice.

I am feeling fatter just talking about all of this food.

Before I typed in my Smiths number, my total was $98ish.
After promotions and coupons I spent $20.07,
78% Off!

Check out the PinchingYourPennies grocery list for details.

This sale ends *Tuesday* night!

Money Left for the Month: $157.15

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What to do with Tomatoes?

Is it just me or do you get overwhelmed with tomatoes too? It seems that they do VERY well in my weed-infested joke of a garden, so well that I have struggled with what to do with them all.


Things I've done that I have NOT liked:
  • This should read "Thing" not "ThingS." Matt does not like big chunks of canned tomatoes. He hates them in fact, something about being slimy. Therefore I have had to dice the tomatoes pretty small so that he'll eat them in whatever I cook with them. They were great to use and used up quite a few of the tomatoes, but it would take me like 20 minutes to fill a pint with all the seeding and dicing. I can buy a can of tomatoes for $.44 on sale, basically the same size as a pint. Forty four cents was not worth 20 minutes of my time.
Things I've done with Tomatoes that I have liked:
  • I have made mass quantities of pasta sauce and then frozen it flat and thin in gallon sized baggies, braking off a hunk and microwaving what I need.
  • I have made homemade salsa. Mmmm. I love fresh salsa. Mix diced and seeded tomatoes with diced onion, jalapeno, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper and it is Delicious.
  • I have frozen them whole, just washed them, thrown them in gallon freezer bags and put them in the deep freeze. Then when I need tomatoes in a recipe I can deal with them then. I pretty much do this when I have a bunch that I don't have time to do anything with. FYI: when you thaw tomatoes the skin just rubs right off of them so don't try to get the skin off first.
  • Right before the first frost of the fall I pick all of the tomatoes. The frost will ruin them, turning them into mush. I put the green ones in my basement in boxes or paper bags and put newspaper between each layer. They will slowly turn red, giving me more tomatoes for a few more weeks. Don't stack them too deeply because you'll need to be able to check their reddening. Also, as you're stacking them, put the super green ones on the bottom and the ones less green at the top. They need to be in a cool place, not a freezing place like a shed or they will just freeze.
  • This year I've tried something new: I've dehydrated tomatoes! These are also known as sun-dried tomatoes. Fancy me! This is my new very favorite thing. All you do is half them then use your thumb and middle finger to seed them really quickly. I then cut each half into thirds. Lay them on your dehydrator trays cut side up, leaving room for air to circulate, and sprinkle them with salt. Watch them and take them off when they are dry but flexible. You don't want them brittle. My dehydrator took FOREVER, like a day and a half but my mom's was done in 12 hours or so. Just like anything you dry, they will be done at different times so check on them periodically and pull out the dried ones. I just put them in a quart jar in the fridge. Even if you don't have a dehydrator, you can do this in the oven. These are yummy cut up in bite sized pieces in pasta and pizza or a salad.
I never have done Fried Green Tomatoes, but I think that my current love affair with fried foods will force me to make a batch this year.

Any other great ideas you've had to use your tomatoes?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homemade Powdered and Brown Sugars

Ok, I am super dense. I LOVE my new Vitamix and have made all sorts of fun things with it: ice cream, fruit and green smoothies, tortilla soup, broccoli potato soup.


It has made me realize however how truly dumb I am. Guess what Cream of Wheat is? Wheat, creamed or chopped up. Duh. (delicious, by the way)

In looking through the cookbooks that came with the mixer I found a highly complicated one for Powdered Sugar. Guess how you make this- you powder sugar, or blend it. Crazy! Just 30 seconds in the Vitamix and wow, powdered sugar. I Googled it and it looks like you could make it in a regular blender as well. Some people say to add a bit of cornstarch to keep it from clumping.

It got me wondering about cost. A pound of powdered sugar is 3 3/4 cups, and 2 1/4 cups of granulated sugar makes a pound of powdered.

You're doing pretty good to get 2 pounds of powdered sugar for $1.25, or $.63/lb. A 5 lb bag of granulated sugar runs about $2.50 on sale, or $.50/lb.

So 1 pound (2 1/4 cups) of granulated sugar makes 1 pound (3 3/4) of powdered sugar. Again, duh. 1 pound = 1 pound. I won't tell you how long it took me to arrive at that genius statement. Wow. Impressive math skills, eh?

This is all very good for me to realize. It is cheaper to make my own powdered sugar, especially if I can get sugar for cheaper than $.50/lb.

It also made me wonder if you could make brown sugar. Well, yes you can! Cool! Matt, the resourceful man he is, googled that and we discovered you use 1 cup granulated sugar and mix in by hand 1-2 Tbsp of molasses. That's it! Homemade brown sugar!

Have you ever made either of these? We did the powdered sugar today and it was super fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rite Aid 99% Off- Humidifier, Diapers, & More for Pennies

I had an awesome trip to Rite Aid today!

I got a pack of Huggies, a humidifier, 3 trial sized TRESemme, 2 ice packs, and some candy. Guess how much it cost?

IMAG0192.jpg

Retails: about $35
Total Spent: $.64
Percent Off: 99%

64 cents. Crazy.

I did use a $4 gift card but I also got a $2 UpReward (like gift card).

Want details? Check out Hip2Save here and here. She also tells about how to get free Halloween candy from Rite Aid here. Would have been helpful to see before I went, but whatever.

When I shop at Rite Aid I make sure to buy in $25 increments so that I can use a $5/$25 purchase Rite Aid coupon. Then I use store and manufacturer coupons.

Money Left for the Month: $177.22

Friday, October 1, 2010

Menu


Main Dish:
We are loving our Vitamix and have been having Green Smoothies for breakfast. I feel so fancy and healthy.

When I make my menu I look at what I have stockpiled in the house or ready to use in my garden and then find recipes to use them. We're adventurous around here so it's no biggie for us to try a bunch of new recipes. By using what I've gotten really cheap in the past for our meals I'm able to free up money to stockpile what's on sale this week.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cheap, Cheap Produce

I know that the month hasn't started yet, but it was very important to start my budget over. Why? Because I was already over-budget and I wanted to spend more. Good reason.

Buy Low has some great prices this week. I had a great time today, tossing in fruits and veggies left and right. Produce is normally SO EXPENSIVE. What did I ever do before Buy Low?

With that new Vitamix holding down my cupboard, I've got to have some serious produce so I was very happy to see a really good week at Buy Low.


Here's the ad.
Highlights: bananas 4lb/$1 (Wed & Thurs only), spinach 2/$1, oranges and pears 3lb/$1, 18 count L eggs $.99, chicken legs $.48/lb

Don't forget Buy Low has extra produce deals on Wed and Thurs every week.

Total Spent: $22.14
Money Left for the Month: $177.86

Buy Low Review


Things about Buy Low:
  • Their address is 2250 N University Parkway in Provo. They are in between Shopko and Cafe Rio where Food4Less used to be
  • They have really good produce prices
  • They have extra produce prices Wednesday and Thursday
  • They have extra meat prices on Friday and Saturday
  • They have 10% off for students Monday and Tuesday
  • Their carts have 2 spots for little ones to sit in and they also have carts with the fun driving cars in the front
  • With the amazing prices they have there are items that aren't the highest quality. I've never had problems with their apples, bananas, berries, and many other items. However, the spinach is always covered in dirt (easy to wash off!) and after looking at some things I sometimes don't get everything I've planned. It is SO WORTH it for me to pass over things and every once in a long while, throw something away.
  • There is no PinchingYourPennies GrocerySmarts list for Buy Low
  • I like to make bigger trips here every other week or so, using canned/frozen produce until I get to the next trip.

Vitamix, You are AMAZING!

Christmas came early this year. It came early and it came Awesome.

My mom and dad got us a Vitamix, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of blenders. It came 2 days ago and I love it.


We made ice cream tonight with it. Ice cream! Two nights ago we had soup that we poured steaming hot right from the blender.

We've made fruit smoothies that have had such great texture.

I did grind wheat with it and it worked fine. My wheat grinder is a better option for that though. (we got that from my parents for Christmas a few years back) I wasn't a huge fan of the bread you can mix in it but it was pretty cool to make bread in a blender.

I am really interested in the green smoothies. We'll give 'em a shot for breakfast.

Thanks Mom and Dad! I have dreamed about even knowing someone who owned one of these and look at me now! There's a shmancy blender on my counter as we speak! Hooray!

Weight gain, I mean loss, here I come!

September Budget Review


I'm not a regular grocery shopper. I buy stuff before I even need it, matching manufacturer coupons with store sales. This way I'm able to "shop" from my own pantry and pay a fraction of retail with items I use. No, we will not use all that chicken breast this month, but we will use it this year. When I make meals for us, I menu plan around what we already have on our shelves and in the freezer. There are occasional items I have to pay full price for, but they are the exception as I build up my food storage with stuff we actually use, all for less then I used to spend just to get us by every month. Want to learn how I do it? Check this out.

Total Spent: $235.32

Besides perishables like eggs, milk, and produce, this month I was able to stock up on cheese, sour cream, frozen veggies, soda, pasta sauce, diapers, tooth care, hamburger, fruit snacks, vanilla, toilet paper, candy bars, chips, bone in chicken breast, boneless chicken breast, baby food, pepperoni, mandarin oranges, vegetable oil, vitamins, flour, salami

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit.

We love our beans around here. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, snacktime, and dinner. Ok, we HAVE eaten them for all of those times but we don't do it regularly. We do have beans a few times a week. I love my black beans.

With so much bean-consumption going on, I have figured out what works really well for me. In fact, it works so well, it might be the reason we eat so many beans.


Occasionally I will buy canned beans to have as a back up, but we pretty much live off of dried beans. Why, you may ask? Basically 3 reasons:
  1. They taste better. My accomplished sister in law Alicia passed on her secrets on the wonders of crockpot beans and eating canned beans now tastes similar to cardboard. By the way, crockpotting them is the way to go. I get so mad every time I try to do them on the stove top. They take WAY longer then the bag ever says and you have to keep an eye on them the whole time they're cooking.
  2. They are so much cheaper. A 15 oz can of beans costs around a dollar. For that same price you can get a pound, or 16 oz, of dried beans. Isn't that the same? No sir-ee Bob. These are DRIED beans. They are beans minus the water. When they are done cooking 1 pound of beans is equivalent to 3 cans of beans. You're getting 66% more just by grabbing the bag instead of the can!
  3. This reason should be a subset of #2: I don't waste anything. I cook a whole bunch at once and then freeze them flat in gallon sized baggies. When I want some beans I just break off a hunk and throw it in the microwave. I only cook what I'm going to use. Maybe it's just me but whenever I open a can of anything, I use what I need and then either A: leave it out on the counter still in the can for a day or so and then end up throwing the rest away or B: transfer it to a container for the fridge where it will rest indefinitely until the smell/lack of containers forces me to clean out the fridge. Either way the little cash register inside my head is telling me how much that cup of beans down the disposal just cost me and I am not happy.
As far as current prices go, Maceys does have WF canned beans on sale for $.48 as part of their caselot sale, the best price anywhere all year (unless some random crazy high value coupon comes out- unlikely) so if you're going to get canned beans, this would be a good time.

The last I checked Target was the cheapest price for a pound of black beans at $1.09 for a pound. As I look at the Caselot Price Comparison at PreparedLDSFamily, it looks like the LDS cannery has the best price on bulk beans at $14.50 for a 25 lb bag if you can get them. They don't sell them when there is a greater need somewhere else in the world. The next best price is at Maceys (Harmon's sale is over- they were better priced than Maceys) for $17.58 for a 20 lb bag.

If my math is right then it would still be a little better than 1/2 the price to get the Cannery beans verses the canned Macey beans.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reuben: Best Thing Since Sliced Rye

When Matt and I first got married I was appalled with his choice every time we would grab a sandwich somewhere. He would always order a Reuben. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I had no idea what this even was Before Matt, but even if I did, I am POSITIVE I would have never tried it. Ever. In a million years. Ever. It has weird dark bread and is filled with stuff I was pretty sure tasted as bad as they smelled.

Then one day after years of insistence, I tried a bite. I may or may not have had a "This is Going to Be Disgusting" look on my face while trying it, but I tried it. Lo and behold, I liked it. Darn it all, I loved it. I don't think Matt will ever recover from that triumph.

Apparently I also like artichokes and smoked oysters too. And Green Eggs and Ham. Shoot. That is all besides the point though, which is that Reubens are Delicious.

If you're looking for a good laugh, check out this beauty here of when I "made" rye bread. Next time I get domestic, this looks like a tasty recipe for it. FYI: You can get rye flour at Winco in the bulk section.

Traditionally Reubens are made with corned beef, but that stuff runs $6.98/lb at the deli at Walmart and $6.89 at Sam's. Yikes. I tend to use pastrami, but you could use any lunch meat your little heart desires.


This makes 9 sandwiches, based on the number of slices of bread in the bag I bought.

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf Rye Bread, homemade or store bought
  • 1 lb shaved corned beef, or any other lunch meat
  • 14 slices Swiss cheese, or any other cheese. I've used Colby, Cheddar, and Mozzarella
  • 14 oz or so of Sauerkraut, drained
  • Russian or Thousand Island dressing
  • butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat a skillet on medium-high and throw in the sauerkraut and corned beef until heated through
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Turn them over and put the cheese on half of them. My bread was big so I needed 1 1/2 slices. On top of the cheese, spread the Thousand Island. We recently discovered this order made the sandwich less soggy. Put the corned beef and sauerkraut on top and slap on the other Thousand Islanded slice, butter side out.
  3. Put sandwich in the skillet and grill, flipping it over to brown both sides.
  4. Eat warm. Thank your lucky stars that you're not Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

60% Off at Smiths!

Smiths has some great deals this week.


The final prices are $.44 for the 2 liters, $.99 for the Kraft cheese, $.88 for the sour cream, and $.55 for the Green Giant veggies (factoring in the $3 catalina when you buy 6).

For details on this and other sale items, see the GrocerySmarts list.

I'm not planning on eating those 3 sour creams, those 5 packs of cheese, or the 6 2 liters this week, but we will use them before they expire. When I find great prices I stock up. I also got a raincheck for cottage cheese.

This sale ends Tuesday night.

$.50 Ragu at Fresh Market!

Fresh Market has their Ragu on sale for $.99, a good price. They retail for $1.89. I was planning on using my $.30/1 coupon from the 9/12 RP newspaper, making them $.69 each.


When I went to grab some at the Provo Center Street store, I noticed these $1/2 peelies on some of them on an endcap, making them $.50 each! Sweet! That's 74% Off!

The coupon expires on the 30th of September, FYI.

For a list of everything on sale at Fresh Market, check out the GrocerySmarts list.

This sale ends Tuesday night.

Super Shopping without Kids!


Oh, how I love you Saturday! I love that you came and brought me a husband at home. Thank you for allowing me the joy of shopping WITHOUT children. It was a blissful day.

I hit Rite Aid for a few more packs of diapers and some toothpaste (came to $.78), Smiths for some random stuff ($17.43- post coming soon), and Fresh Market for their One Day Meat sale ($13.12).

Total Spent: $31.33
Money Left for the Month: -$7.19
oops. Oh well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Paella

We’ve used what we’ve had when we make this- canned diced tomatoes, chicken breast, etc. Our favorite is with artichoke hearts, olives, shrimp, chicken, and sausage. Also, the recipe doesn’t mention covering the pan while it cooks, but we’ve found we’ve had to do it for the rice to cook.

Paella

There are many, many “paella” recipes. Originally paella was a dish made in Valencia using chicken, rabbit, snails and three kinds of fresh beans. Now paella is almost always associated with seafood, chicken and vegetables. There is no right or wrong recipe, only the recipe that pleases you. Paella ingredients vary from place to place, and time to time, depending on local traditions and the ingredients available. Anything from fresh garden produce to holiday left-overs can inspire a cook to create an original version of this one-dish feast. The dish was named after the pan it is cooked in, a Paellera, which is also used for a variety of rice dishes, such asarroz negro, as well as the Spanish pasta dish fideua. This is only one recipe, use your imagination and the ingredients at hand, varying the ingredients can make Paella an everyday dish:

· ½ c uncooked Valencian Rice per person

· 1 c chicken stock per ½ c of rice, more if using Bomba

· 5 threads saffron per person, dissolved in ½ c white wine

· 4 Tbsp or more olive oil to cover bottom of pan

· 1 piece of chicken, such as a thigh, per person

· ½ to 1 soft chorizo, such as Bilbao or Palacios, per person

· ½ tsp Spanish sweet paprika per person

· 1 clove garlic per person, minced

· ¼ c chopped onion per person

· 1/8 c grated tomato (cut in half, grate and discard the skin) per person

· 2 shrimp or prawns per portion

· 2-4 small clams and/or mussels per portion

· Re piquillo peppers cut in strips

· Artichoke hearts, green beans or peas

· Cooked garrofon beans from Valencia

· Lemon wedges for garnish

Heat stock and keep warm. Toast saffron gently in a small pan. When aroma is released, add white wine. Allow to come to a boil then remove from heat. Heat pallera over medium heat, add olive oil and fry chicken. When chicken is golden and the juice runs clear, add garlic and onions and saute until translucent. Add chorizo and cook until heated. Add the rice, stirring until well coated with oil (about one minute). Add the paprika and grated tomato. Stir, add saffron flavored win e and hot stock. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of pan, then add piquillo pepper and artichoke hearts, green beans, cooked garrofon beans or peas. Adjust heat to maintain a slow boil. After about five minutes, add the seafood. Cook another 15 minutes, or until rice is done. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, garnish with lemon wedges and serve. To ensure proper cooking, clams may be steamed in a separate pan, then added to the paella with their nectar substituting for some the chicken stock.

Traditionally, Paella is not stirred during the second half of the cooking time. This produces a caramelized layer of rice on the bottom of the pan considered by many to be the best part. With a large pan, it is difficult to accomplish this on an American stove and you may prefer to stir the Paella occasionally or move the pan around on the burner. Another alternative is the finish the Paella by placing it in the oven for the 10-15 minutes of cooking. Paelleras can also be used on a barbeque, over any open fire (the most traditional heat source) or on a counter top grill.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I was flipping through the October Parent magazine, looking for the FREE Cache Valley Cheese coupon last week and stumbled on this darling idea: cupcakes in ice cream cones! How cute. It seems that everyone else in the world has seen this idea, but I never had. In an effort to save someone out there from feeling as foolish as I did, I thought I would post.

Oh, and I got these multicolored cones at Walmart. They were $1 something for 18.


Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Ingredients:
  • Cake mix with eggs, oil and water
  • 30 ice cream cones
  • icing
  • sprinkles
  • 30 red gum drops (optional, but how cute is that?)
Directions:
  1. Mix up cake mix according to instructions on box
  2. Pour batter into ice cream cones, leaving about an inch at the top. The cake will rise as it cooks and leaving that space will keep it from making a big mess.
  3. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake as directed for cupcakes on the cake box. Be careful as you move the sheet around. The cones are kind of tippy. If your cones don't stand very well you could use a small crunched piece of foil at the base to stabilize them. I didn't have any problems.
  4. Let them cool completely and then ice them. I iced then put the sprinkles on each one, one at a time so that the icing wouldn't set before I could get back to put the sprinkles on.
  5. Enjoy your fancy work.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Chicken Fried Rice

    I made this Chicken Fried Rice for dinner tonight and it was pretty darn good. I used this recipe as a base and made some changes and additions. If you've got cooked chicken and leftover rice, this is a fast meal.


    Couple things here:
    • You have to use cold rice here, not hot rice. It apparently DOES matter. Hot rice will turn this to goo. I just cooked mine an hour or so before, spread it across a big plate, and put it in the fridge to cool it down quickly.
    • Make sure the chicken is in pretty small chunks. Big ol' hunks of chicken would not be delicious.
    • Last time I made this I didn't even use chicken and used this as a side dish with Sweet and Sour Chicken. We had it as the main dish tonight.
    • The original doesn't call for fish sauce or Maggi sauce, but they are the reason that this tastes so good. My little sister told me to buy both of them and I am so glad. Thank you Ashley for forcing me to pay full price for a few things. Sorry I am a cheapskate. They are both just a few bucks at Walmart or Winco. I'm sure they sell them at just about any other grocery store too, but you know they'd be cheapest at Walmart or Winco. Ashley says she uses them in just about every Asian recipe she makes. Oh, beware of the smell of the fish sauce. Believe it or not, that stuff smells WORSE than you'd think. Urg.

    Chicken Fried Rice

    Ingredients:
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 onion (about 2 cups), chopped
    • 1 cup carrot, chopped
    • 3 cups cooked white rice, cold
    • 3/4 cup frozen peas
    • 2 1/2- 3 Tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
    • 2- 2 1/2 tsp fish sauce
    • 2- 2 1/2 tsp Maggi sauce
    • 3/4 tsp pepper
    • 3/4 cup cooked, chopped chicken. You could use chopped ham instead.

    Directions:
    1. In a small bowl, beat egg with water. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add egg and leave flat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and cut into shreds.
    2. Heat oil in same skillet; add onion and carrots and saute until soft. Then add rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, Maggi sauce, pepper, peas, and chicken. Stir fry together for about 5 minutes, then stir in egg.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Peanut Butter Bars

    I swear I have gained 5 pounds just thinking about these little beauties.

    How can you loose with these? Peanut Butter + Chocolate = True Love.

    These bars were a favorite with my class at church growing up and we named them "Sister Mooth Bars." Thank you Sister Mooth. Your legacy lives on. In my thighs, specifically.


    Peanut Butter Bars

    Ingredients:
    • 1 package graham crackers (the plastic sleeve, not the box)
    • 1 cube butter, melted
    • 1 pound powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I've used both smooth and chunky)
    • 1 bag (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
    Directions:
    1. Crush the graham crackers. Demolish them, however you want to. I've put them in a gallon baggy and rolled them with a rolling pin. My new favorite is to just put them in the food processor. You just want them like dust.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the graham crackers with the butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter.
    3. In one of those cookie sheets with the edge around it, sprinkle that mixture across the pan and press it down so that it is so smooshed. I use my fingers and get it good and squashed and then pull out the rolling pin and finish the job. You can dust it with a little more powdered sugar if it sticks. If this is crumbly, your cookies will be crumbly.
    4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips pretty evenly across the top and put in the oven at 350 for a few minutes. Be careful here: you're not baking this, you're just melting the chips. THEY DO NOT CHANGE APPEARANCE so take the back of a spoon and try to spread them after a few minutes. When they smear easily, take it out and spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture.
    5. Let it set. I have no willpower or patience so I usually throw this not in the fridge, but the freezer to set the chocolate quicker. Cut into bars.
    6. Eat until you think you're going to throw up. Thank me and dear Sis. Mooth.

    3 Packs of Huggies for FREE at Rite Aid

    Free diapers? Yes. Well, sort of. Let me explain.


    Huggies jumbo pack, reg. $12.49 each
    - on sale $8.99

    Buy 3 packs, totaling $26.97
    - use $5/$25 Rite Aid purchase coupon here or here ($21.97)
    - use $1 Video Values coupon you get from watching a Huggies commercial on Rite Aid's web site ($20.97) You can only get one of these.
    - use 3 $2 or $3 coupons, depending on the type of diapers you are getting. (see coupon list below) I used the $2 coupons ($14.97)
    - Pay $14.97 + tax = $16.45 in utah
    - 3 $2 UpRewards print. These are like a gift card or catalina that you can use on just about any non prescription items in the store in the next two weeks. You can even use them immediately to pay for another diaper transaction. ($10.45)
    - apply for $10 Rite Aid Rebate online ($.45) You can only do this one time.

    Ok, so you do end up paying $.45. Sorry. I guess it's not quite free. Almost.

    The Pure and Natural diapers are the ones that have a $3 coupon available and if you do these it ends up being an even better deal. They were all out of these when I went this morning but I got a raincheck which includes the $2 upreward and will be getting a few more packs when they get in. Even without the $10 rebate they end up being $2/pack when you buy 3 and use the $5/$25 coupon. That's 8.7 cents a diaper for a size 4! Costco is 20.8 for Huggies and 21.3 for Kirkland.

    Printable Coupon List
    (there are no current newspaper coupons)

    thanks SavvySisterShops for the coupon list!


    Retails: $40
    Total Spent: $16.45
    Percent Off: 59%
    plus I have $6 in UpRewards to use on anything at the store in the next 2 weeks and a $10 Rebate coming. Factoring that in,
    Total Spent: $.45
    Percent Off: 99%

    Check out Hip2Save for other things on sale at Rite Aid this week.

    This sale ends Saturday Night.

    Money Left for the Month: $24.14

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Indoor Smores

    Oh boy. I would recommend forgetting you ever saw this because it has a tendency to force you to eat the entire pan.

    These are called Indoor S'mores and they are Good. Thank you (or not) to bro-in-law Morgan who proved his before-questionable baking skills with these beauties a few weeks ago. This recipe is found on the Betty Crocker website.


    Indoor S'mores

    Ingredients:
    • 8 cups Golden Grahams cereal (1 small box)
    • 5 cups mini marshmallows (1 bag, divided- last cup used below)
    • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (most of a bag)
    • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
    • 5 Tbsps butter or margarine
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup mini marshmallows
    Directions:
    1. In a large bowl, pour cereal. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. In a medium microwavable bowl add the first 5 items and microwave for a few minutes, stirring after every minute until melted and smooth when stirred.
    2. Pour over cereal and mix until completely coated. Stir in 1 cup marshmallows. I had a 'situation' and wasn't able to do Step 2 right away. After I tried mixing it into the cereal I discovered the marshmallow/chocolate wonder wasn't quite soft enough so I popped it back into the microwave for another 30 seconds or so and it stirred much better.
    3. Press mixture evenly in pan, using buttered back of spoon. Let stand uncovered for at least an hour to help set. You can throw it in the fridge to speed that up. Cut it into 6 rows by 4 rows.

    Party and Walmart deals.

    So I threw Matt a surprise party yesterday and wasn't able to post anything because I didn't want to blow it, but I spent about $50 on food. Let's just say I over-bought a little bit. I ended up buying most of it at Walmart Thursday and had to literally sneak it in the house, past him talking to our sweet neighbor. Thanks Grandma Lola!

    Because I can, I am taking this out of the "birthday budget" and not the monthly budget. I just wanted to tell you that for 3 reasons:
    1. In case you saw me at Walmart filling my cart
    2. In case you wonder how I got the ingredients to make the recipes I will be posting soon
    3. In case you even care. Who reads this anyways?

    I did get a few things from our grocery budget there.


    I price matched the Betty Crocker deal from Smiths- I didn't have those coupons when I went there. See here for details. They end up being $.75/box.



    I also found this huge guy of vanilla for $.98. It was twice the size for 1/2 the price of any other ones. I go through vanilla, I'll tell you what. For the last few Christmases we've been given vanilla from friends and I've recently hit the bottom of those, darn it all.

    I spent about $10 so with that,

    Money Left for the Month: $40.59

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Free 5 lb Cache Valley Cheese!

    Ok, so if you get Parents magazine, check out p. 80-something of the OCTOBER issue (Sorry for leaving that month part out earlier. Details, details, details). Here in Utah there is a coupon for a FREE Cache Valley butter or cheese. The best part about it is there is no price or size limit! Sweet. So of course I greedily used it to get the biggest hunk of cheese possible. This is a 5 lb block I got from Smiths and retails for $16.99. How much did I pay for it? Nothing!

    I've heard that Walmart carries it as well.


    If you don't get Parent magazine, look for it. I didn't see it at Maceys or Smiths. Anyone know where they sell it? It is totally worth the $2 something to get this cheese for free. Someone said that they didn't get it in their magazine in Idaho, so check out the magazine before you buy it to make sure the coupon's in there.

    I'm planning on leaving a couple pounds as a block and then shredding and freezing the rest.

    The best part about this whole deal is that I didn't even pay for the Parent subscription- I got it for free last year from some online deal. Love it.

    thanks PYP

    Smiths: Charmin Double Rolls $.25/roll!

    There are a few great deals at Smiths this week. Here's my favs.


    Charmin, 12 Double rolls, reg. $8.25
    - on sale $5.99
    - used $3 ecoupon (load to your card, automatically comes off at checkout)
    - $2.99!
    This ends up being $.25/double roll, a great deal.

    Butterfingers, reg. $.79
    - on sale $.50
    - used $1/2 coupon I found again from a tearpad in the store.
    - FREE!
    The display was moved at Provo Smiths today. It was on an endcap on the end of the candy aisle.

    Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
    - on sale $1
    - used $.50/2 coupon from GM 8/8 or 9/12 newspapers or Group A or here
    - $.75!

    There was also 75% off summer stuff in a couple places throughout the store, so keep your eyes out.

    This sale ends Tuesday night.

    For more info on this sale, check out the GrocerySmarts list. FYI: the GM cereals are like a dollar more than they are listed on this list here in Provo. I hate it when that happens. Provo was very well stocked with fruit snacks and cereal today if you're interested.

    Retails: $41.32
    Total Spent: $9.72
    Percent Off: 78%

    Money Left for the Month: $50.59
    I may be in trouble.

    Fresh Market: Chicken Breast $1/lb

    A couple of GREAT prices this week at Fresh Market's statewide grand opening. Seems weird to me that this is their grand opening since our local one had theirs forever ago.


    Bone In Chicken Breast
    - on sale $1.99/lb
    - on sale Buy One package, Get One Free
    - If you get 2 packages the same size, it ends up being $1/lb!
    I love to BBQ bone-in. The bone really helps that chicken be so flavorful. It also is great to throw in the crockpot and shred.

    Grandma Sycamore
    - on sale 2/$3
    - use in-ad coupon: buy 2, get 1 Hillshire Farms 5 oz lunch meat FREE (limit 1 coupon per customer)
    - for $3 you get 2 loaves of bread and 1 lunch meat.
    The bread freezes great if you don't think you'll get through 2 loaves.

    Bananas
    - on sale $.38/lb

    Grapes
    - on sale $.79/lb

    Oh, and there was a cart filled with $.10 plates and napkins over by the ice cream at the Center Street Fresh Market today. They weren't the cutest things I've ever seen, but they were $.10.

    See GrocerySmarts list for more prices.

    This sale ends Tuesday night.

    Total Spent: $15.04
    Money Left for the Month: $60.31

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    $10 Prescription Glasses!

    We just got our order from Zenni Optical today. Matt is SUPER excited as his current glasses not only have masking tape across the middle, but a toothpick underneath to help stabilize them. I'm kind of sad he won't be wearing them anymore- they were always good for a laugh. (yes, that IS the kind of wife I am, poor man.)


    I read about this site over a year ago on MoneySavingMom and there were tons of really positive reviews about it. I've heard some of these online glasses sites can be a bit shady, but with so many great experiences with this one, I figured it was worth a shot. I bookmarked the site and we finally ordered about 2 weeks ago.

    They weren't the easiest site to navigate, but it is so worth it. A pair of glasses run at least a few hundred dollars. We paid $42, including shipping, for 4 pairs of glasses. $42! Crazy!

    The glasses start at $8 and go up to around $30. There is the option of adding fancy extras, but we just did the no bells or whistles option and are just fine with them. Both of us have pretty bad eyesight but the lenses aren't too heavy or anything.


    Couple of things:
    • You do need your prescription to order. We just had our eye doctor write it down for us (11 months ago...)
    • Shipping is a flat $5, no matter how many pairs you order.
    • We got Matt 3 pairs in case he didn't like how one of them looked. For $8, it's completely worth it, especially when shipping doesn't cost any extra.
    • If you currently own glasses you may want to use them to help decide on shape and size. We measured Matt's glasses to help choose his new ones.
    • They have Men's, Women's, and Kid's frames to choose from.
    We are both totally happy with the quality of these glasses. I would be thrilled to pay $42 for one of these pairs. They seem very sturdy and durable. Oh, and they're cute. What more is there to say?

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Rite Aid: Real Cheap Gerber

    Ok, now do I really NEED anything I bought tonight? No, with the exception of the animal crackers. There may have been 4 bags when I left the store. They are Good.


    I don't need all this stuff now, but I bought them for the following reasons:
    1. I need to attend Shoppers Anonymous meetings
    2. I had $5 in UpRewards (rite aid dollars) that were going to expire
    3. For the good of everyone involved, Mommy needed a trip out, and of course that means to the store
    4. I like to buy ahead. The Gerber stuff is a bit beyond Isaac, but he'll get there soon enough, well before the expiration date. After coupons and sales, they end up being a pretty decent deal. I just wish they had more stuff on the shelves so I could have gotten more of what I wanted.
    Rite Aid has a rebate of $5 when you buy $15 of Gerber food and drinks. They are also having a Buy One, Get 50% Off the 2nd sale. I had a Buy 2, Get 1 Free coupon from Rite Aid's Video Values from last month and a few cheapo Gerber coupons that came in the mail a few weeks ago.

    I bought the rest of the stuff mostly to get my total up to $25 so I could use a $5/$25 purchase Rite Aid coupon. I also used $5 in UpRewards that printed a couple weeks ago.

    By the way, don't those bowling pins look awesome? Oh Mom, if we had only had this set growing up! Think how many cups this would have saved you from washing. It's only $2.50 in the clearance Summer stuff.

    Total Spent: $11.17
    plus I have a $5 rebate coming, so factoring that in
    Adjusted Total Spent: $6.17

    Money Left for the Month: $75.35
    Yikes. This is not looking good...