Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekly Shopping Trip of $75.10

This week I didn't go to CVS or Walgreens because I didn't *need* anything, my storage space is full and I am questioning when enough is enough. So I went to Meijers and a smaller grocery store(Family Fare) to get just a few sale items along with some WIC to get us to next payday.

My Meijer run...

4 loaves Aunt Millies Bread Buy one @ $2.99 Get 1 Free minus 35 cent coupon
2 pkgs Aunt Millies Potato Buns Buy one @ $2.79 Get 1 Free minus 35 cent coupon
2 pkgs Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts(2.5lb bags) Buy one @ $9.98 Get 1 Free
1 pkg Bob Evans Roll Sausage $2.39 minus 50 cent coupon
Fritos/Cheetos Buy one @ $2.49 Get one Free
2 pkgs Chicken drumsticks @ 79 cents/lb --$2.43
2 pkgs Ground beef from round @ $1.99/lb--$5.46
2-3lbs tubs Country Crock margarine $4.00
2-24 roll pack Northern TP $11.00 (brand worthy!)
1 Cantaloupe $1.25
2 tubes of Crest Kids Toothpaste $3.98 minus 2-$1.00 coupons that hubby picked up at his dentist appt! That made the tubes 99 cents each!
2 packages of Bob Evans Maple Sausage Links $4.18 (This was my extra item!! I couldn't pass up looking thru the markdown meats!)

Total for my Meijer Run... $46.34
Total Savings Total $37.66

I also walked out of there with a coupon for $5 off my next purchase of $75 or more! :)

On to Family Fare....

3 bottles of Tropicana Twister 3/$5.00
4 Cordon Bleu $4.00
2 heads of lettuce $1.16 (58 cents/head)
bananas $1.29
Pork Loin $1.69/lb--$6.03
2 family pks ground chuck $1.69/lb--$11.28

Total for Family Fare Run...$28.76
They don't have the savings total at the top of the receipt like what Meijer does. So I'm guessing here but I think I saved about $15 maybe a bit more! :)

Total for both stores....$75.10

I did not do too bad! However, I am sure that others did better than me! Go check them out over at Shopper Show N Tell and Super Savings Saturday

Frugal Friday

Over at Crystal's it is Frugal Friday! Today I don't have a specific tip as much as looking for some encouragement, advice or ??? I have read many articles, websites, books, and blogs on frugalness but I am still finding myself questioning my intentions and motives behind stockpiling and getting things for free or nearly free.

Above you see pictures of my pantry! If I took the time to take pictures of the shelf with all my health and beauty items and my upright freezer you would see that those areas look very similiar to my pantry. The areas are full!! Granted it isn't as organized or as full as here! But I have organized things the best I can for the space. So with those pictures in your mind, let me ask some questions. (Questions that I wrestle with almost on a daily basis!)

  1. How does one not go to the extreme of feeling greedy or being obsessive?
  2. When does one say that enough is enough and work at emptying the stockpile?
  3. While working at emptying the stockpile, one finds a good deal does one act upon the deal or just think that they do not need anything else or for that matter do not have room for anything else!?
  4. Should one be doing stockpiling of goods if the rest of the family(especially hubby) does not have the same desire or think it is necessary?

I thought I had pretty much figured all the ins and outs to being frugal. I have been working a little bit at a time putting them into practice over the last several months. However, I am finding myself in discussions(sometimes heated) with my hubby as to how much is too much. For example, he thinks that us having 30 boxes of cereal(at last count) is extreme! Is it extreme?! As a family of 7, we won't even eat that much in the 6 weeks!

The best reasons that I have come up with for the stockpile is "I got the item for free or nearly free." OR "I don't want us to have empty cupboards should we get blindsided with another unemployment." (we have had four periods of unemployment in our 12 years of marriage, two of which were longer than 6months and one of those two was over a year). OR "Its saving us money."(Actually, I have spent more in the first four months of this year than last year, however, I am attributing some of the difference due to rising costs.)

What are your thoughts, advice, or encouragement? How does one take all the information on frugalness, deals, living within your means, etc. and apply it to their lives in a reasonable and balanced way?

*looking for a nice calm discussion*

For actual advice, resources, tips, or ideas, head over to Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A-B-C Muffin Mix

I have made some of the variations below(look for the bold) but haven't tried them all. Thanks to my friend, Leni for sharing this mix recipe with me! :)

Compiled and adapted by Pat Lancaster

Keep this mix in the freezer until ready to use.

18 cups WW flour or white
5 cups sugar (Brown, white, whatever)*
2 1/4 cups buttermilk blend or non fat dry milk
6 Tb. baking powder
2 Tb. baking soda
2 Tb. salt
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

* or other sweetener {or leave out & use honey when making muffins}

Stir together well, breaking up lumps.

Place ingredients in a large airtight container labeled with the date and contents store in the freezer. Mix makes enough for about 5 batches of 24 muffins each.

If desired, dry sweetener can be omitted then stir in 1 cup honey for every 24 muffins as you make them.

{I used 1/2 recipe & made 18 muffins - don't know what size muffins tins she used. I used 1/4 cup batter per muffin} Preheat oven to 400.

Coat muffin tins with an oil/lecithin mixture, grease with butter, or spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat:
4 eggs / 3 tsp. vanilla / 2 cups water / 1 cup oil*
* or butter- this measurement is up to your tastes and desires. We find them perfectly acceptable without ANY fat, but any amount of oil can be added up to one cup.

Stir in 5-1/2 cups muffin mix and any additional ingredients (listed on chart below) just until moistened.
The batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown. {I baked for 15 minutes, depends on your oven & pans}

Muffins freeze well. To reheat frozen muffins, microwave on high for 30 seconds per muffin. (or heat in the oven until warm)

These two toppings would go well with almost any of the ABC muffins. Sprinkle mixture atop uncooked muffins before popping them into preheated oven:

STREUSEL TOPPING for 24 muffins:
Mix together:
1 cup sucanat (sub brown sugar)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup flour {ww pastry}or Kamut
cut in 1/2 cup cold butter until mixture is crumbly.

CRUNCHY TOPPING for 24 muffins:
Mix together:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sucanat
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
cut in 1/2 cup softened butter with fork or pastry
cutter until crumbly

Ingredients to add to mix before baking:

3 cups raw grated apples
1 tsp. gr. cloves
1 cup nuts or raisins

sprinkle with cinnamon and sucanat mixture before baking

1 cup applesauce omit oil

1 cup chopped dried apricots

2 mashed bananas
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

2 cups fresh or frozen rinsed blueberries

Use only 3 cups of muffin mix.
Stir in:
4 cups bran cereal
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup raisins

2 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1-1/2 tsp. allspice

2 cups unsalted coarsely chopped cashews

2 cups fresh or dried pitted cherries

1-1/2 cups cocoa {try carob}
1/2 cup sucanat
3 cups mini carob chips

3 cups toasted flaked coconut
reserve some to sprinkle on the top

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup nuts
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tb. orange peel

1-1/2 cups currants
1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped nuts

4 tsp. rum extract
2 cups eggnog (omit water from recipe)
before baking, top with mixture of:
2 Tb. sucanat
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 cups dried chopped figs
1 c. chopped walnuts

2 cups dried diced fruit

1 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2 Tb. ground ginger
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups raisins

reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add:
1-1/2 cups granola
Top with additional granola before baking

reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add:
2-1/2 cups grape nuts
1 tsp. allspice

2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 cups chopped hazelnuts

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sucanat
2 eggs
Drop this mix by Tb. onto top of muffins before

1-1/2 cups jam or preserves
(strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

omit 1 cup water and replace with 1 cup lemon juice
{haven't tried this, but sounds like too much lemon juice to me.
I would start with 1/2 cup}
use 4 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges chopped and
reduce water to 1 cup
1-1/2 cups shredded carrots

6 Tb. maple syrup
reduce water to 1-1/2 cups

1-1/2 cups orange marmalade
1 cup chopped nuts (opt)
1 cup orange juice (omit 1 cup of the water)

1-1/2 cups mincemeat

reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add:
1 cup oats
use 4 eggs
up to 2 cups raisins or grated apples

2 cups sour cream or yogurt
1 cup nuts or coconut (opt)
2 cans (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges, drain
use 4 eggs

2 cups fresh or one large can (drained) chopped

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
3 mashed bananas

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
drop 1 Tb. jam into each muffin before baking.

2 cups fresh or one large can (drained) chopped

2 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 tsp. maple extract

1 cup grated carrots,
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1 tsp. ground cloves
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
1 jar (7 oz. or about 1 cup) macadamia nuts,

2 cups fresh or canned plums, chopped

1 to 2 cups chopped prunes
1/3 cup poppy seeds

2 cups or 1 can solid pack pumpkin
1 Tb. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup each chopped nuts and raisins

2 cups fresh or frozen whole, unsweetened

3 tsp. rum extract
before baking, top with mix of:
2 tsp. sucanat
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup toasted sesame seeds
before baking, top with mix of:
1/2 cup nuts
4 Tb. sucanat
4 Tb. sesame seeds
2 Tb. flour
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

omit one cup of the water and add:
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
2 cups nuts
2 tsp. grated lemon peel (opt.)

2 cups mashed squash
1 Tb. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup each chopped nuts and raisins

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped

1 Tb. allspice
4 Tb. dry orange peel
2 cans (10 oz each) sweet potatoes, mashed,
well drained (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 cup dried mango or papaya, chopped
1 cup chopped banana chips or 2 fresh mashed
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
2 tsp. lemon peel, grated

2-2/3 c. wheat germ
use 4 eggs
1/2 cup extra water
before baking, top muffins with mix of:
1/2 c. wheat germ
2 Tb. sucanat

reduce water to 1-1/2 cups and add:
2 cartons (8 oz each) yogurt -- plain or flavored

2 cups grated zucchini
2 Tb. cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

The other day when I was posting my banana bread recipe, I realized that I do several things with my quick breads that many others might not do! So I decided to share them for this week's Kitchen Tip Tuesdays over at Tammy's Recipes.

One thing I do with quick breads is make them into muffins instead of loaves. I find that making them this way accomplishes two things:
  1. The muffins bake in less time than a loaf. I can get 24 muffins made and baked in one hour! :)
  2. I can individually wrap them and stick them in my freezer and then they make a quick grab for snacks or on the go breakfast.

Another thing that I do is any fruit that I might use in the batter is put in as the last step of the recipe. I find this makes the fruit "taste" bolder in the bread once it is baked. The fruit doesn't get "lost" in the taste of the bread. Of course, if you are adding berries to the batter they don't turn to mush if you add them in last. :)

I don't like nuts of any kind! I think it is a texture issue or something. However, I have family members that do so I make the batter up and divide it so that I have some plain muffins and then add nuts to the remaining dough. To know which ones have nuts in them, I take a whole half piece of a walnut or pecan and stick it on the top of the muffin before baking. The nut ends up being stuck in the top of the muffin well enough that it makes for a good marker.

For more tips or ideas to use in the kitchen, head over Tammy's Recipes!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

National Library Week

Celebrate National Library Week 50th Anniversary...Take the time to visit your local library this week!!

Don't forget to say thank you to the librarian for the job that they do! :)

Also Share your story as to why you love your library!!

Menu Plan Monday

**Another week is upon us so that means it is time for another menu plan! This is just a plan and it could change on the cook’s whim!

Last week, I made it thru my hectic week! It is a new week and not much is planned this week so hopefully I can keep up with housecleanin’, homeschoolin’ and cookin’! Also last week, I did make everything, except chicken clubs on Saturday, on my menu. I figured with having out of town guests here this past weekend that my plans would change on those days and it did! We had my FIL and his wife and my parents here for dinner on Saturday. I served up some oven fried chicken (#5), mashed potatoes, corn, homemade coleslaw, strawberries, and homemade honey oatmeal rolls. Everyone enjoyed the meal so much I ended up with very little leftovers!

As for my new recipe, Marlboro Man's Sandwiches, that I made last week it was not that big of a hit with my family. It was good for something different but I had three of seven that decided that they didn’t even want to try them. My hubby had two sandwiches but his review of the sandwich was “it is good for something different, once in a blue moon.” The three that didn’t want to try it were served leftover sloppy joes for sandwiches and then at the rest of what I fixed to go with the Marlboro Man’s Sandwiches.

Lunches listed are for the kids and me. Hubby usually will take dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at her site! **

Sunday (4-13)

Breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage links, and cinnamon rolls
Lunch: McD’s on the way home from church
Dinner: lemon pepper pork chops, rice, green beans and leftover rolls
Snack: snack basket

Monday (4-14)
Breakfast: cereal and leftover banana muffins or cinnamon rolls
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Easy Beef Stroganoff(no mushrooms and making own beef gravy), noodles, peas/salad, and biscuits
Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (4-15)
Breakfast: French toast and sausage links
Lunch: sandwich, chips, apple slices and carrot sticks
Dinner: chicken club sandwiches(#6), seasoned potatoes(use fresh rather than canned), corn
Snack: "mystery snack"

Wednesday (4-16)
Breakfast: cereal and bagels
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: Chicken Veggie Stew (#8), and homemade honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: cookies & milk

Thursday (4-17)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice” –have an early morning doctor’s appt.
Lunch: @ my parents’ house
Dinner: “quickie meal”---chicken nuggets/breaded fish, potato pancakes, corn
Snack: snack basket

Friday (4-18)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: “1st of the season grilling out” burgers/hotdogs, fries, and carrot sticks
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Saturday (4-19)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ?????(it’s the weekend anything goes!)
Dinner: grilled chicken/catfish/shrimp, potato pockets, green beans, and leftover rolls
Snack: popcorn or snack basket

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Singing Sunday

Shout to the Lord
by Darlene Zschech

My Jesus, My Savior
Lord there is none like You
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My Comfort, My Shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You


Shout to the Lord, all the earth
Let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands
Forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in

My Jesus, My Savior
Lord there is none like You
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My Comfort, My Shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Shout to the Lord, all the earth
Let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands
Forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in


let the earth sing
I declare your great name
all of my life i will
with all of my breath
I will praise you
lift it up, life it up


nothing compares to you
I shout your praise
nothing compares to you
Nothing compares to the promise I have in YOU!