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.

  • 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
  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


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.


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

  • Cake mix with eggs, oil and water
  • 30 ice cream cones
  • icing
  • sprinkles
  • 30 red gum drops (optional, but how cute is that?)
  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

    • 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.

    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

    • 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
    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

    • 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
    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.

    - on sale $.38/lb

    - 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...

    Maceys: $4.49 2lb Tillamook Cheese

    Since I was in the neighborhood, I thought I'd stop in at Provo Maceys.

    They have their Tillamook 2 lb Medium Cheddar and Colby Jack on sale for $5.49 and there was a $1 coupon taped to the cheese. I like paying under $2/lb for cheese, but hey, it's Tillamook!

    The sour cream was $.99, not an advertised price. I've been all out, unless you count the tablespoon or so that's in the bottom of the container my little sister left in my fridge like 2 weeks ago. I have your sour cream Ashley. Want it back?

    Here's the grocerysmarts list for other items on sale

    This sale ends Tuesday night.

    Total Spent: $11.94
    Money Left for the Month: $86.52

    Smiths: Case Lots and Cheap Pepperoni

    Smiths has the best prices on oil ($2 each), evaporated milk ($.65 each), mandarin oranges ($.33 each), and 5 lb bags of flour ($1.25 each). Keep in mind that you do have to buy an entire case to get the case price at Smiths. Check out the Case Lot Comparison Chart for more info.

    FYI: I just read on PYP that Wesson oil is $1.99 at Winco right now so if you're heading there and don't want to have to buy a whole case, check them out. I'm not sure which Winco had that price though- sometimes they are different.

    I'm splitting some of the evaporated milk and the oil with my sister in law but I'm way too lazy to just get a shot of that.

    I love finding clearance stuff. Looks like I've got dinner covered tonight! Good. I can use a break from cooking after the last few time-consuming dinners I've made.

    Couple items of interest:
    • The gummy vitamins are still on sale, the Marvel ones, and Provo has the 180 count back in stock. With the $1 coupon from the 8/29 RP or they are $6.49, reg. $14.49. The 60 count are $3.99 or $2.99 w/coupon, but the 180 count is a better deal.
    • The Hormel pepperoni is on sale for $1 and there is a $.55/2 coupon here and here, making them $.73 each. They don't expire until February, so I'm thinking we've got pizza and sandwiches in our future. Maybe some Pizza Joes, we'll see.

    Total Spent: $62.12
    Money Left for the Month: $98.46

    Comparing Case Lot Prices

    Looking for the best prices at the case lot sales? Me too. This amazing woman at has a price comparison sheet where she compares the case lots against each other and Winco, Walmart, Sams, Costco, the Cannery, and Emergency Essentials.

    Even if you're not local and are looking to stock up on stuff, this would be a great comparison for the other stores.

    I'll be heading to Smiths later for vegetable oil, evaporated milk, mandarin oranges, canned veggies, and flour. I love case lot sales!

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Oops. Budgets are Overrated?

    I am admitting to 2 things
    1. I am not on top of anything in my life.
    2. We bought a few odds and ends this weekend with family in town and didn't record it.
    Sorry. I'm guessing it came to about $10, so we'll call it that.

    Also I hit Buy Low yesterday for some produce. I love their produce prices, you can't beat them. The grapes are $.78/lb, bananas are $.25/lb. There's always some great deal there, especially on their extra produce days- Wed and Thurs. I'm excited to try this Roasted Garlic Cauliflower to use some of that $.50/lb cauliflower. We'll see how it turns out.

    Total Spent: $8.13

    Buy Low's ad is here if you're interested in prices.

    And since I'm such a cheater, I'm rolling over my extra $28.13 from last month. I forgot to do that when the month started. I'm excited to have this extra money as it will mean I go less over budget this month with all the caselot sales.

    That being said, I'll subtract $18.13 from the $28.13 (no way- they're exactly $10 apart!) and add $10 to my budget for the month.

    Money Left for the Month: $160.58

    Chinese Food Heaven

    I was cooking for a while yesterday, but man, was dinner good. Is that braggy? I don't mean it to be braggy. Ok, that's a lie. Yes I do.

    We had Sweet and Sour Chicken, Fried Rice, white rice, and Egg Drop Soup (super easy and fast).

    It was the best Chinese I have had in a really long time and I would completely recommend each of the links. Of course I didn't make the Chicken or Fried Rice exactly as written. When has that ever happened? Which does occasionally make for "exciting" meals incidentally. This time it worked out.

    Here's my interpretation of Sweet and Sour Chicken, the most complicated of the recipes, but SO worth it.

    Oh, and if you want to mix it up a bit, the breaded chicken is really good on it's own and would make great nuggets to dip in ketchup and the Sweet and Sour Sauce would still be really good over non-breaded chicken.

    If you're wanting to premake things a bit, the sauce can be made before hand and just reheated. Also, it took me a while to fry all the batches of chicken. The comments in the original recipe said that you can fry the chicken earlier in the day and then reheat it in the oven at 350 if you don't have time to do it right before dinner.

    Breaded Sweet and Sour Chicken

    8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
    1 recipe Batter (below)
    1 recipe Sweet and Sour Sauce (below)
    1 8oz can pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved for Sauce!
    2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 quart vegetable oil for frying

    Sweet and Sour Sauce
    1 1/2 cups water
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    reserved pineapple juice from can
    2 drops orange food coloring or 1 drop red and 2 yellow
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup water

    In a saucepan, combine the first 5 items and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Combine the cornstarch and 1/4 c water in a cup first (otherwise lump city!) and then slowly stir into the saucepan. Stir until mixture thickens.

    2 1/4 cups self rising flour or 2 1/4 c all purpose and 3 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    2 Tbsp cornstarch
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1 egg
    1 1/2 cups water

    Combine everything except water in a large bowl. Add water gradually to make a thick batter. Add chicken pieces and stir until chicken is well coated.

    1. Heat oil in skillet or wok to 360 degrees F. My burner was on medium-high. Fry battered chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Don't overcrowd the pan! It took me 4 batches. Remove chicken. I like to drain it on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in a warm oven. Throw a few paper towels in between to help with cleanup. This is also a great way to reheat breaded things- the bottoms totally don't get soggy.
    2. Dump the leftover oil, leaving a little bit still in the pan, and quickly stir-fry the bell peppers and pineapple.
    3. I served this over white rice, put the chicken down then topped it with the sauce then peppers and pineapple.
    Serves 8

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    It's About Time.

    Hooray! A menu! I don't know who is happier when I post this, Matt or me. He loves new recipes and I hate coming up with them.

    Sweet and Sour Chicken I Recipe

    Main Dish:
    To Buy for Menu:
    • cilantro
    • corn tortillas
    • fresh fruits and veggies including cauliflower. I'll be hitting Buy Low for their produce deals either today or tomorrow- their extra produce sales now last 2 days.
    I am cheap. I will not only admit it, but I am quite proud of this fact. It may drive everyone around me a bit nuts, but I HATE paying full price for anything. To avoid this, I stock up on stuff when it is cheap, meaning that I have a stockpile of food to make my meals from. That's the goal, anyhow. I'm also using some of the produce that has miraculously grown in my weed patch, I mean garden.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Springville Reams: Chicken Breast $1.59/lb

    I drove out to Reams today to pick up chicken for my sister and me. I was so out of chicken. $1.59/lb is a decent price and one that I'm willing to pay with none in my freezer. You do have to get it in 20lb boxes for $31.80.

    We're splitting one of these boxes.

    Total Spent: $49.42
    Money Left for the Month: $150.58

    This is what the chicken looks like. It is in one big bag. The chicken is frozen individually and not in one big blob, but if you're looking for beautiful, perfect breasts, this is not the chicken for you.

    The pieces are all in random shapes and sizes, not a big deal if you make a bunch of dishes where you cut up/shred the chicken. If you're getting it to primarily BBQ whole breasts then I'd skip this deal. I'm happy enough with it. There's enough bigger sizes to do whatever I'd want with them.

    This chicken price is good only this weekend and ends Monday.