Friday, January 29, 2010

homemade croutons

I LOVE homemade croutons. I usually make a bit more than I need just so I can snack on a few. They are super easy, way cheaper than store bought, and WAY better.

Watch out with this 'recipe' though because there is nothing exact about it. That's what I like about it. That, and there's butter involved.

Start with bread. This can be anything. I used to buy french bread from Walmart with everything on it (all the toppings like poppy seeds, garlic, and other good stuff). If I ever have leftover homemade bread that's going to go bad, this is the perfect use. Sandwich bread works in a pinch. You can really use any bread, but the better the bread, the more delicious the croutons tend to be.

Then I cut it up into little squares, about an inch each, no worries about being exact.

At this point you can use them now or put them into a big freezer baggy and freeze until you need them. Just pull out as many as you need, put them in a smaller bag with some melted butter or margarine and whatever seasonings you want. I usually just throw in some salt and sometimes some garlic powder. Shake them up until they are all covered with butter and bake them on a cookie sheet at 375 until they are crunchy. Stir them around once or twice while they are cooking.

That's it. Yummy. Crunchy butter bread. Who needs the salad?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Buy Low

I really didn't mean to buy anything else, I promise. But I was at Buy Low for my produce for WIC and just couldn't resist free stuff. And cheap potatoes. Free stuff and cheap potatoes.

Retails: $13.73
Total Spent: $1.30
Percent Off: 91%

How did I do it?

Potatoes, 10 lbs, reg. about $2.50
- on sale $1

Sure Deodorant, reg. $2.59
- clearanced at $1
- used $1 coupons from last Sunday's newspaper

Money Left for the Month: - $6.56


Retails: $21.03
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

menu 1/26

Picture of Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Menu for the Week:
  • Oven Baked Chuck Roast with Potatoes (sort of following this recipe)
  • Greek Chicken Wraps
  • Flash Roasted Crispy Ranch Chicken
  • Beef Stroganoff (thanks Paula Deen!)
  • Chicken Verde over rice
  • Pasta and Meatballs with homemade sauce and bread
  • Chicken Pot Pie
Sides: fresh/frozen/canned fruits and veggies, salad, rice, whatever we feel like...

Need to Buy for Menu:
- fresh fruits and veggies, compliments of WIC, including cucumber, tomato, and lettuce
- Nothing else. I menu plan around what I already have in the house so I don't have to pay full price for items on my menu. In this way I'm able to afford to stock up on all the great deals every week.

Beef Roasts: How do you cook them?

Is it just me or are roasts the trickiest? There are so many different names and cuts and my brain is like cotton candy. I can never remember which part of the cow needs to be braised and which should be broiled and which works in the crockpot and which should be pan fried first and, you get the picture.

In researching the roast that I am cooking tonight (yes, that roast that was on the menu 2 weeks ago. I'm a bit behind) I found this great resource from the Texas Beef Council. Texas Beef Council? You know that's going to be good. While they don't give specific seasonings, they give you the general idea of how to prepare your slab of beef. I will definitely use this site again!

Monday, January 25, 2010

homemade laundry soap

I've been experimenting with homemade laundry soap for a while now, thanks to my brilliantly homemakered sister-in-law Casey. It is really easy to make and from what I've read it seems like the softer the water you have, the easier it is to find the right ratio of ingredients. Unfortunately, we live in Hard Water Central and I've had to try a few different combos.

I made a new batch this morning and here is my latest recipe:

- 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha laundry bar soap
- 1 cup Borax (among other things, this is a water softener)
- 1 cup Washing Soda (this is NOT baking soda. Learned that one the hard way...)

Get 6 cups water heating in a saucepan. Grate the Fels Naptha soap with a cheese grater and add to the water. Stir until it is dissolved. Add the Borax and Washing Soda and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 cups of water to a larger plastic container (I use an old ice cream bucket) and add the mixture you've just made. Add one more gallon of warm water and mix.

This is the hard part: Put the lid on it and wait 24 hours.

When you open it up the next day it is all goopy and chunky and perfect. I take a potato masher and squish it up, but you don't have to. Then I use about 1/2 cup with each load, but I'm going to have to experiment with this with the adjustments I made above. (I added more borax and washing soda) In the past I've added a small scoop of Oxi-Clean to each load too and a dash of bleach to every few washes of whites. We'll see if I'll need to still do that.

There are also dry laundry recipes that call for the same 3 ingredients that you can just put in a mason jar. I have a front loader so I wanted a liquid.

I think I was able to get all of these ingredients at Maceys. I know that's where I got the Washing Soda. As a side note, I called the manufacturer Dial at 1-888-468-6673 and got a $.35 coupon for the Fels Naptha among other coupons. The lady I talked to said I could request coupons every 3 months. Sweet. I think it's time to call again. I don't remember too well about where I got this stuff because it has been so long since I had to buy it. One batch of laundry soap lasts a long time and each of these items makes multiple batches.

If you're interested in more info, here are some links I found on homemade laundry soap:
- The Simple Dollar: a step-by-step picture guide to making the liquid stuff. He also has a break-down of the cost to make it.
- Tip Nut: has 10 different recipes for laundry soap, some of them liquid and some dry.
- Choosing Voluntary Simplicity: she actually is not so fond of the liquid stuff, but there are a ton of really good comments with variations on recipes that have worked well for people.

Target: the trip that puts me over-budget.

Wow, with such a promising title, this is sure to be a great entry!

Retails: $130.25
Total Spent: $50.21
Percent Off: 61%
Plus I have a $5 gift card to use on anything at Target!

How did I do it?

Target has a great promotion on Pampers and Huggies this week: Buy 3 Jumbo packs, get a $5 gift card. To minimize out of pocket expense, I did this in 3 transactions so I could "roll" the gift cards.

Transaction #1

Pampers Cruisers, reg. $12.79 (reg. prices from but they seem a little high. oh well.)
- on sale $8.99
- used 3 $2/1 cruisers diapers Target coupon from 12/06 Red Plum insert in newspaper
- used 3 $2/1 Pampers manufacturer coupons from 12/27 Proctor & Gamble insert in newspaper
- paid 16.06 with tax
- got back a $5 gift card

Transaction #2

Pampers Swaddler Sensitive Diapers, reg. $12.79
- on sale $8.99
- used 3 $2/1 Swaddler diapers Target coupon from 12/06 Red Plum insert in newspaper
- used 3 $2/1 Pampers manufacturer coupons from 12/27 Proctor & Gamble insert in newspaper
- used $5 gift card from previous transaction
- paid $11.06
- got back a $5 gift card

Transaction #3

Huggies, reg. $12.79
- on sale $8.99
- used 2 $2/1 coupons here and 1 $1.50/1 coupon from the mail

Huggies wipes, reg. $6.79
- on sale $5.49
- used $.75 coupon here

- used $5 gift card from previous transaction
- paid $23.09 with tax
- got back a $5 gift card

According to UtahDealDiva, taking the gift card into account the final price for the
Pampers are $3.32 + tax
Huggies $5.32 + tax

Want more info on this deal? Check out Smart Couponing for more online diaper coupons, Utah Deal Diva for her description of the deal, and Hip2Save for this and other great Target deals.

While I am still over-budget, my very generous big sister has given me money to use towards diapers for this-baby-that-better-be-coming-extremely-soon-or-I-will-pop. (that's his official name for now) I am subtracting $16.06 from my total and taking it out of that budget. So that being said...

Money Left for the Month: - $5.26. Yikes.

Buy Low

Oops. I totally forgot to post this one from Saturday. Sorry! The paper towels were on sale only on Saturday.

Retails: $12.45
Total Spent: $5.83
Percent Off: 53%

How did I do it?

Paper towels, reg. $.68 each
- on sale Saturday only for $.33 each

Orange Marmalade, reg. about $1.50? (they don't post reg. prices on a lot of things)
- on sale $.50

Jumbo Eggs, reg. $2?
- on sale $1

Money Left for the Month: $28.89


Retails: $12.80
Total Spent: $.82
Percent Off: 94%

How did I do it?

Puppy Food, reg. $11.99
- used FREE puppy food coupon got in the mail, requested through a blog forever ago.
- only paid tax

Money Left for the Month: $34.72

Friday, January 22, 2010

last minute breakfast-for-dinner ideas anyone?

wow. 4 pancakes? At once? who's eating this?

There is nothing worse then realizing that it is 5pm and not having any idea of what to make for dinner. Ok, there are worse things, but it stinks. This quickly becomes Dinner Out Night all too easily for me. Dinner Out is wonderful if it's part of the plan, but when it becomes the default I gain 27 pounds and wonder why we even have a budget. For a good laugh?

In an attempt to help myself, I thought it would be good to share a few last minute ideas for Breakfast-for-Dinner for future reference.
- waffles
- pancakes
- breakfast burritos
- basic breakfast potatoes (thanks pioneer woman)
- omelets
- french toast
- my sister in law makes eggs on the waffle maker. just cracks them right on the grill. cool.

Also, I just found this post from Meal Planning Mommies on Breakfast-for-Dinner with a few links to recipes they've already posted. I'm not sure how quick any of them are but how do you go wrong with Stuffed French Toast?

Do you have any other quick breakfast ideas? Leave a comment! I would love to try something new, as would Mr. Picky Pants, I mean Matt.

Monsters: aka German Pancakes

So we had one of those great Throw-it-Together-Real-Quick meals last night and I thought I'd go ahead and share. Aren't you so glad?

These are Monsters (or German Pancakes to the rest of the English speaking world) and I would officially like to thank the Cramers from back in our newly-wed days for introducing us to this spooky friend. They are super easy, super fast, and the ingredients are staples. Perfect! Plus, they are pretty fun to watch cook.

Um, the Monsters are actually the stuff on the top right, although both the yogurt and potatoes look pretty scary too. I guess photography is a talent I need to develop. (that was SO dumb. sorry.)

These are a staple to our Breakfast-for-Dinner rotation at our house.

Tammy's Monsters

6 tablespoons butter/margarine
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

- preheat oven to 450
- slice up the butter into 6 chunks and put in a 9 x 13 pan
- mix all the rest of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until smooth
- when the oven has warmed up, put the pan in and melt the butter
- remove pan and add batter. Don't mix the butter and batter. (well, that's fun to say!)
- bake for 15 minutes. My original recipe says 18 minutes, but they burn if I cook them that long. (don't open the oven to peek!). This step is why it's called Monsters. Flip on your oven light and watch the last few minutes. You'll know when they're done because the edges will be browned. Don't worry when they flatten down when you take them out of the oven.
- serves 6 (unless you're gluttons, like us. Then it serves 3). serve immediately. We put syrup over it. Matt likes to put peanut butter on it first and then the syrup.


Retails: $16.55
Total Spent: $4.98
Percent Off: 70%

How did I do it?

Pasta Roni, reg. $1.49
-on sale $1
-used $1/3 coupon from newspaper (I just realized that I totally goofed up! I should have bought 6 to use 2 coupons! Yikes! The cashier didn't catch it either, darn it.)
-$.67 each Apparently Matt loves these- will be good to have after I have the baby!

Animal Cookies, reg. $3.89
- on sale $1.67

Seventh Generation Dish Soap, reg. $5.69
- on clearance $2
- used $1 coupon from manufacturer
- $1

Money Left for the Month: $35.54


Retails: $10.08
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sams Club

We got new contacts! Hooray! We just have to wait a week for them to show up, but hey! What progress we're making in the world.

While I was at Sams I walked through to get samples (will walk for food) and noticed the price on their butter. Their 4 pack of butter is $1.58 a pound, better than Smiths sale price of $1.67 that I was going to grab a few of this week. I guess Sams Club IS worth something in the grocery department after all. Occasionally.

Total Spent: $6.53

Money Left for the Month: $40.52

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

oh yeah, smiths

I forgot that I dropped by Smiths 2 nights ago and snagged a loaf of day old bread. I was right next door at RC Willey and was really wanting rolls for dinner, much, much too late to actually make them. It turned out to be a good stop because my darling son turned on the charm and scored us 2 free cookies from the bakery and I found a 10 pack of Matchbox cars on clearance for $3 that will make a sweet birthday present for him. And no, I'm not counting the cars on my grocery budget.

Retails: $1.33
Total Spent: $.63
Percent Off: 53%

Money Left for the Month: $47.05


If you're interested in fruit snacks and granola bars, this is the deal for you- the coupons are all online!

BUT, this is a bit complicated so only read this if you really care.
Translation: LOTS OF WORDS!

Retails: $64.47
Total Spent: $12.50
Percent Off: 81%

How did I do it?

There is a General Mills Promo going on:
Save $5.00 instantly when you spend $20 on participating products.

Nature Valley granola bars, reg. $3.89
- $2.50 before instant discount
- $1.88 after instant discount
- use $1/2 coupons from here
- $1.38 each

Betty Crocker fruit snacks, reg. $2.99
- $2.00 before instant discount.
- $1.50 after instant discount
- use $1/2 coupons here and $.40/1 coupon here
- $1-$1.10 each

(like gift cards you can use on anything in the store in the next 2 weeks)

Buy Nature Valley Granola Bars
Purchase between 12/28/09 – 1/24/10
Buy 3 & Get $1.50
Buy 4 & Get $2.50
Buy 5 or more & Get $3.50

Betty Crocker fruit snacks
Purchase between 12/28-1/24/10
Buy 3 get $1.50
Buy 4 get $2.50
Buy 5 or more get $3.50

So what I did was:
- Bought 5 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks for $10.00 (use the total BEFORE instant discount to get to $20)
- Bought 4 Nature Valley Granola bars for $10.00
Subtotal = $20.00

- $5 off instantly at checkout= $15
- used 2 $1/2 fruit snacks coupons= $13
- used $.40/1 fruit snacks coupon= $12.60
- used $1/2 granola bars coupon (had problems printing the 2nd)= $11.60
- with tax= $12.05

Plus, I got catalinas for $2.50 and $3.50 off anything in my next transaction!

Final price is essentially $5-$6 for 9 items.

check out the way they explained it if I was too confusing.

Then I took those catalinas and paid for the rest of my items with them in another transaction
(after coupons and the catalinas I only paid $.45, including tax!):

Quaker Rice Cakes, reg. $2.19
- on sale $1
- used 5 $.75 coupons from newspaper
- $.25 each

Albertsons Butter, reg. $2.49
- in ad coupon $1.79

Birds Eye Veggies, reg. $2.69
- on sale $.99
- used 4 $.35 coupons from newspaper
- $.64 each

Slimfast bar, reg. $.99
- had a TRY ME FREE sticker on it (in a display box by front entrance)

Football napkins, reg. $3.99
- on clearance $.50

compiled list from pinchingyourpennies

Money Left for the Month: $47.68

Monday, January 18, 2010


My sister and I went to Ikea today and I admit to having to buy their frozen meatballs, the DELICIOUS gravy mix, and the lingonberry sauce, coming to $12.80. This will make multiple meals for our little family, but more than that, it is so yummy. Look at me, paying full price.

I swear I could drink that gravy.

Money Left for the Month: $60.18


I got my rebate from Rite Aid on Saturday, meaning I've got more money to spend this month! Whoo hoo!

Rebate: $8.99

Adjusted Money for the Month: $72.98


Retails: $36.52
Total Spent: $18.64
Percent Off: 49%

How did I do it?

No Yolk Pasta, reg. $1.59
- on sale $1
- used 2 $.75 coupons from
- $.25 each

Saf-Instant Yeast 16 oz., reg. $5.69
- on sale $2.99
the yeast that comes in the jars are only 4 oz and retail for about $2.50. I'm using this brand of yeast right now and haven't had any problems with it. The bag it comes in is annoying though. I use an empty yeast jar and use this as a refill, freezing everything.

Sugar, 25 lbs, reg. $11.99
- on sale $9.68
this is cheaper than both costco and the cannery

Safeguard 4 pack soap, reg. $2.79
- on sale $1.88
- used 2 $1 coupons from newspaper
- $.88 each 4 pack

Zest 3 pack soap, reg. $2.59
- on sale $1.88
- used 3 $1 coupons from newspaper
- $.88 each 3 pack

compiled list from pinchingyourpennies

Money Left for the Month: $63.99

Thursday, January 14, 2010

menu 1/14

Menu for the Week:
  • Pasta with alfredo sauce, chicken, and bacon with garlic rolls
  • Chicken Paillards with Lemon Butter Sauce (didn't make this or the roast last week- substitutions)
  • Roast with Gravy and homemade rolls
  • Leftover roast sandwiches on homemade buns from freezer (froze 1/2 uncooked buns last week)
  • Chimichangas (this is short video with a great trick to making these bad boys)
  • Breakfast for dinner: Egg mcmuffins, homemade hash browns
Sides: fresh/frozen/canned fruits and veggies. I'm really craving the brussels sprouts I have in the freezer. (I didn't know I liked brussels sprouts until I had them cooked this way. They're more like french fries then anything. mmmm)

Need to Buy for Menu:
  • Nothing. On purpose I menu plan around what I have stockpiled in my house. I'm able to make meals from food I get at my price points, the lowest amount I'm willing to pay for things.

Oh, and I don't menu plan every meal of the day. It about kills me to have to come up with the main meal. Is it just me or is menu planning the most painful thing in the week?

Breakfasts are usually eggs, cereal, cream of wheat, oatmeal, or sometimes I get crazy and make waffles or pancakes that I'll freeze and pull out. We are eating our main meal most days at lunch because of my husband's wacky schedule. Dinner for me and the baby is leftovers while Matt has a sandwich. Just in case you were wondering... As if you're still reading all this... Too... Many... Words...

Target: for free! (almost)

Retails: $21.05
Total Spent: $1.35 (tax!)
Percent Off: 94%

How did I do it?

Tide 2x Ultra trial size, reg. $.97 each
- used $1 coupon from newspaper (coupons were all adjusted down to the price of the items- no overage)

Rolaids 30 count, reg. $1.99 each
- used $4/2 coupon from newspaper

Band Aid trial items, reg. $.97 each
- used $1 coupon from newspaper

Money Left for the Month: $82.63


I hit Albertsons and Target tonight (they're right next to each other) because I needed to exchange a lunch bag at Target and I actually remembered to bring it with me! Hooray for me!

Retails: $27.67
Total Spent: $10.40
Percent Off: 62%

How did I do it?

Tillamook Cheese 2 lb, reg. $6.99
- in store coupon for $3.99
- used 2 $1/2lb coupons from (ID and UT only)
- $2.99 for each 2 lb loaf

Pasta Roni, reg. $1.99
- on sale $1
- used $1/3 coupon from newspaper
- $.67 each

compiled list from pinchingyourpennies

Money Left for the Month: $83.98

Buy Low

Buy Low doesn't show regular prices on many of their sale items, making this a guessing game. Sorry!

Retails: $19.92
Total Spent: $7.41
Percent Off: 63%

How did I do it?

Western Family yogurt, reg. $.44 each
- on sale $.22 each
- used 2 $.75/4 yogurt coupons from
- $.03 each!!!

Don Julio tortillas, reg. about $2.19 each?
- on sale $.88 each (I got 6 packages- they freeze great!)

English Muffin Bread, reg. about $2?
- on sale $.88

Red Potatoes, reg. about $.50/lb?
- on sale 3lb/$.88

Money Left for the Month: $94.38

wic produce

I got 4 1/2 lbs jonagold apples, 2 lemons, a bunch of spinach, 2 1/2 lbs bananas, and a bunch of green onions.

Retails: $6
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I went to Walmart today to exchange a belt for Matt. I forgot the belt.

Retails: $54.15
Total Spent: $14.72
Percent Off: 73%

La Victoria Salsa, reg. $2.12
- used 2 $4/2 coupons from online I printed a long time ago
- $.12 each

Mayo, reg. $2.36

Uncle Ben's Rice, on rollback $1.34
- used 5 $1 coupons from newspaper
- $.34 each

Reach Floss, reg. $.97
- used $1 coupon from newspaper

Downy Travel Wrinkle Releaser, reg. $1.47
- used FREE coupon from online
- the coupon only took off $1. Oops.
- $.47

Tomato Paste, reg. $.50
Tomato Sauce, reg. $.42
- used $1/4 coupon from online
- paste: $.25 each
- sauce: $.17 each

Cumin, reg. $2.56
- used $.75 coupon from newspaper
- $1.81

Curry Powder, reg. $2.12
- used $.75 coupon from newspaper
- $1.37

Tucks Pads, reg. $5.97 (delivery, here I come)
Tucks Take Alongs, reg. $2.74
Rolaids Multi Symptom, reg. $1.86
Rolaids, reg. $1.32
- used 2 $4/2 coupons from newspaper
- pads: $3.29
- take alongs: $.60
- rolaids ms: FREE
- rolaids: FREE

Money Left for the Month: $101.79

Family Dollar

I think this is the 2nd time ever that I've gone into the Family Dollar store. It's kind of fun in there. It's good to know that they take coupons too.

Utahdealdiva broke down the cost of these bad boys using a killer coupon we got in the newspaper. If you've got the $2.50 off coupon I would check out her post here to see where you can get them the cheapest. Just know that she doesn't take tax into consideration with her price per tablet.

Retails: $16.01
Total Spent: $3.51
Percent Off: 78%

How did I do it?

Electrasol 12 count dish soap, reg. $3 each
- used 5 $2.50 coupons from the newspaper
- $.50 each, plus tax

Money Left for the Month: $116.51


I can tell you right now, this percentage stinks. I don't care. I got things at a good price, and that's what's important.


This is a big day: the end of being REALLY, REALLY poor. Now we're back to just being pretty poor again. Beautiful.

Retails: $44.51
Total Spent: $25.16
Percent Off: 43%

How did I do it?

Yoplait yogurt, reg. $.60 each
- on sale for $.48 each
- in store coupon: buy 10, get $1 off ($.38 each)
- used 2 $.75/4 manufacturer coupons from (ID and UT only)
- $.23 each

Flour 25 lbs, reg. $8.99
- on sale for $6.98

Diced Petite Tomatoes, reg. $.79
- on sale for $.48 each

Pasta 48 oz, reg. $2.99
- on sale $1.78

Maraschino cherries, reg. $1.19
- on sale in front of store for $.50 each

compiled list from pinchingyourpennies

Money Left for the Month: $120.02


Retails: $28.11
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

Monday, January 11, 2010

microwaved cake?

So I stumbled upon this microwaved cake recipe from thethriftychick a while back and was very interested in it. Tonight Sam asked for cake. Weird. I didn't even know he knew that word. I looked it up again and here it is. The great thing is that you make it in a mug. In the microwave. And cook it for 3 minutes. Sweet. I didn't add the optional chocolate chips but suspect it would have been tastier if I had.


Retails: $5.65
Total Spent: $.36
Percent Off: 94%

How did I do it?

7th Generation Wipes, reg. $5.29
- used FREE item coupon I got from a posting from hip2save?
- only paid tax of $.36

I normally don't go to a store for 1 item, but we had a single wipe left and Smiths is the only store around here that carries that brand. They didn't have anything else I wanted.

Money Left for the Month: $145.18

p.s. I'm hoping the money freeze we are currently on will be ending very soon. Stay tuned.

3 Beans and Sausage YUM

So both Matt and I were very pleasantly surprised by this meal. It was WAY better than we thought it would be. I got it from the 2007 Taste of Home Quick Cooking book. And yes, that is a picture of my actual meal.

1 1/2 lbs smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

In a 5 quart slow cooker, combine ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-4 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaf. Serve over rice.

Yields: 8 servings

Ease of Preparation: A
- pretty easy. Gotta love the crock pot! Threw it all in before we went to church and had dinner all ready to go when we got back. nice.

Taste: A- (Matt and I agreed)

Overall: A-

I did make a few changes. (shocker, I know) I used different beans then the recipe called for: black and pinto beans from the freezer that were seasoned so I'm not sure how much of their flavor added to this. I also used garbanzo beans because that is what I had. I didn't have celery, so I threw in some celery salt.

This was a great way to use up some of the sausage from the freezer I buy when it's close to the expiration date and on clearance.

We had this with homemade wheat bread. It was very filling, I'll tell you what. I'd make this again.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Menu 1/8/10

Look at me, posting a menu 2 weeks in a row. Wow!

  • Three Beans and Sausage
  • Sloppy Joes with homemade buns
  • BBQ Chicken and Pepperoni Pizzas with homemade dough (from baking day)
  • Roast with Gravy
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chicken Paillards with Lemon Butter Sauce
Sides: fresh/canned/frozen fruits and veggies, including roasted asparagus and glazed carrots, homemade rolls

To Buy for Menu:
  • fresh fruits/veggies with WIC voucher, including celery, spinach, shallots, lemons

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Retails: $16.55
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

homemade tortillas

Yes, an actual shot of my little beauties. Notice how many different sizes you can see.
That's how you know I'm a "professional."

If you're a bread person like me then you may want to try out making your own tortillas. YUM. Yes, they do require some work, but hey! I'm counting making these today as a "workout." My OB would be so proud. Speaking of which, you should see my growth chart from after the holidays. Yikes.

Anyways, here's the recipe I've been using. I used to use one that had baking powder in it and couldn't figure out why the blasted things kept puffing up so big. I got this basic one from my step-mother-in-law who is a fabulous cook.

Ana's Tortillas

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup warm water

I throw this all in my mixer and it makes this super easy. Mix the flour and salt. Add the shortening and mix until tiny balls have formed. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Let rest for 20 minutes. (this is the hardest part for me because I just want to get going on them, but the rest time is apparently important)

This is the time consuming part. After the dough has rested, break off small chunks and form into a ball. A little goes a long ways. Roll out until the dough is almost transparent. No worries if they aren't perfectly round. Nothing says "love" more than imperfection. Cook on medium heat on a large fry pan, flipping when bubbles form. The second side cooks in a few seconds, so don't go anywhere.

This makes about 16 tortillas, depending on how big you make them. Mine were a little bigger than taco sized. I throw any leftovers in a big baggy and freeze them for later.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I know I’m not spending any money right now, but I couldn’t help myself! Plus, this went on a Visa gift card, so I really didn’t spend cash. And we go through cheese like candy. And we got all this for less than the regular price of one of the blocks of cheese.

(This is what I told Matt tonight. Are you convinced? I don’t think he was either.)


Retails: $23.97

Total Spent: $4.46

Percent Off: 81%

How did I do it?

Cheese, reg. $5.49 each for 2lbs

- $2.99, in ad store coupon

- used 2 $1 manufacturer’s coupon from (ID & UT only)

- $1.99 each

Solo Paper Plates, reg. $3.49 each

- on sale $1.99 each

- used 3 $1 coupons from newspaper

- used 3 Albertsons Twice the Value coupons from newspaper (took off another $3 total)


Money Left for the Month: $145.54

I’m keeping a running total in case we become ‘un-broke’ sometime soon so I can go crazy.

December 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 brown sugar 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.

And as a side note, I spent way under our $150 budget for December. We were out of town for some of it. Plus, we are BROKE right now. Thank goodness for food storage!

not including wic:

Retails: $278.35

Total Spent: $96.90

Percent Off: 65%

This month I was able to stock up on diapers, stocking treats, ground beef, pasta, paper towels, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cheez-its, tabasco sauce, chili powder, chips, chicken, corn starch, cheese, flour, baggies, cough meds, chicken broth, coconut milk, tomato sauce, cream soups, and chocolate chips.

WIC items

Retails: about $73

Total Spent: FREE

thanks WIC!

Friday, January 1, 2010

DELICIOUS french bread

My little sister makes the BEST french bread. And the best part? It only has 4 ingredients! I have yet to make this but think she should bring by another loaf sometime very soon.

Here's the link.