Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $33.33 Plus

Meijer and Aldi shopping trip

Well I was trying to make it on two weeks with what I purchased last week, but I found myself getting into the store for a few of the sale items along with getting some items that I missed for completing meals!

Also, one of these days I am going to write down grocery store prices of items that I get on a regular basis from Aldi's or Save A Lot so I can really know how much I am saving when I shop at the "cheaper" stores. 

I did very well at Meijer this week picking up some of the sale deals along with using coupons, I almost saved more than I spent!!  I spent $1.07 more than I saved!  Not bad considering that I needed to get a couple of things that were not on sale or price drop. 

Here is the breakdown of shopping trips...

  • 1/2 gallon buttermilk $2.39
  • 1 box Bakin' Miracle mix $1.69
  • 4 bags Sargento cheese $6.36 ($1.59/8oz)
  • 2 gallons milk $3.96
  • 5 Warm Delights $6.00
  • 1 tube cinnamon mini bites $1.20
  • 1 tube italian bread $1.00
  • 1 tube crescent rolls $1.25
  • 1 box muffin mix $1.26
  • 2 bags cookie mix $2.44
  • 6 jars Smuckers jam $6.90($1.15/jar; reg. $2.39)
Total OOP: $29.35
Total Savings: $28.28
Total without sales or coupons: $57.63

Family Fare: 
  • 2 bags frozen hashbrowns $4.67
  • 1 pkg flour tortillas $1.99
  • 1 box taco shells $2.09
  • 1 jar taco sauce $1.94
  • 2 dozen eggs  $1.96
  • 2 bottles Rootbeer $2.20(with deposit)
Total OOP: $14.85
Total Savings: $5.05
Total without sales or coupons: $19.90

Save A Lot:
  • 2.42lbs bananas 81¢ 
  • 4 bags egg noodles $3.96
  • 1 can kidney beans 59¢
  • 4 boxes jiffy corn muffin mix $1.00
  • 2 jars pizza sauce $1.98
  • 1 tomato $1.20
Total: $9.54

  • 4 cans lemonade $3.56
  • 1 lb carrots 99¢
  • 1 lb baby carrots 89¢
  • 4 cans evaporated milk $2.76
  • 2 pkgs. cream cheese $1.58
Total: $9.78

Grand Total OOP: $63.52
Grand Total Savings: $33.33 plus what was saved shopping at Aldi's and SAL.
Grand Total without sales or coupons: $96.85 (includes totals for Aldi's and SAL)

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Summertime Desserts

Everyone has a sweet tooth that needs to be "filled" on a consistent basis. During the cooler outside temps it is easy to just turn on the oven and heat the house up and bake our favorite chocolate concoctions. :) However, during the summer months turning on the oven makes the house turn into a here are some ideas for no bake summer treats!

Lemonade Ice Cream Sandwiches 

1-1/2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, softened

1-3/4 teaspoons sugar-free lemonade soft drink mix

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup reduced-fat whipped topping

8 whole graham crackers, halved

Place the ice cream in a bowl. Dissolve lemonade mix in water; stir into ice cream. Fold in whipped topping. Freeze for 20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Spread about 3 tablespoonfuls onto eight graham cracker halves; top with remaining crackers. Wrap individually in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 ice cream sandwich equals 106 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 106 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

Banana Pops (I found this one at Living On A Dime a while ago, and I don't remember exactly but I think it was in one of their e-books or newsletters that I received.)

Slice bananas into disks

Roll banana discs into PLAIN yogurt (you can use vanilla yogurt, but I used plain because that's what the recipe said, and that was back in my super healthy days)

Add any kind of topping you wish. We rolled our disks in chopped pecans. I know that's expensive, but we love pecans so much. After freezing these we ate them AND YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE THE TASTE! It was like eating a frozen candy bar. Okay, maybe not that good, but they were sweet and refreshing, and I didn't have to put a limit on how many the kids could eat.

Other toppings that work well: chopped raisins, granola, any kind of nut (cashew, peanuts, almonds), peanut butter (this would be without the yogurt), and of course, melted chocolate or chocolate chips.

My son is not a fan of bananas, but he really liked this treat. You can even eat them plain. Oh, yeah, another topping we did was a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Believe it or not, it was good too! I will warn you that it's messy because of the yogurt. And super messy if the kids help! But you don't have the guilt of giving them something unhealthy, and it's a cheap "popsicle."

Peanut Butter "Toffee"This is a recipe that I concocted using up some things I had in my pantry for a quick treat for my kids!

I melted some Hershey's chocolate bars. While the bars were melting in the microwave, I take saltines and lined a plate with them and then spread them with peanut butter and then took my melted chocolate and poured it over them and then set them in the freezer til the chocolate was firm. Then I broke them apart and ate! Yummy!

I am always on the look-out for other no-bake easy desserts for the warmer months! What are your favorite, easy, summer time desserts??

Other recipes of mine that you can are:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday--Plastic Ice Cream Pails

In honor of Earth Day, today I thought I would share one thing that I reuse that works for me!

We like having ice cream, esp. homemade chocolate shakes, at our house so I get ice cream in 5qt. pails! Once the ice cream is gone, I wash and dry the pails good. I then reuse the 5qt. pails for my flour (all purpose and bread), sugar (white, brown, 10x), powdered milk, noodles and oatmeal that I buy in bulk from Sam's Club.

I also found that the pails are good for storing bags of dry beans or other poly bag type things(like small bags of candy or baking chips!) so the items don't get crushed or lost in the pantry.

For some of the smaller quantities items (like wheat flour) I reuse 5lb margarine tubs.

Also, I have heard that you can go to Sam's/Costco's bakery and ask them for their big tubs that they get frosting in to be able to take home and reuse for bulk items. I haven't tried this yet because I have found that for me using the 5qt. pails has worked better for my pantry space.

The main reason why I use plastic pails/tubs over glass jars is because I have "little hands" that like to be my helpers. I have had those "little hands" drop too many jars that have broken in their short life so I find the plastic route to be safer and easier for my little hands to handle. 

For more Works for me Wednesday, head over to We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monthly Sam's Run--April

Last week, I made it to Sam's for my monthly run. The day after I went to Sam's I got a renewal notice in the mail with a "coupon" saying that if I renewed my membership in the store that I would get $10 gift card by showing the coupon. Well it just so happens that I did renew my membership in the store so I have to make another trip to Sam's to show them my receipt so I can get me that $10 gift card!   So in order to have my receipt with me when I went again, I kept it in my purse, hence my forgetting to post my April run!  Now that I have explained my delay, here is what I purchased this month at Sam's.

  • yearly membership $40
  • 2pks bagels $4.36
  • 4 pk Ritz crackers $6.14
  • 3 1/2lbs all beef hot dogs $7.86
  • 2 pk Nilla wafers $5.22
  • 4.22lbs pork loin chops $12.14
  • 6lbs spaghetti noodles $5.64
  • 48ct string cheese $6.86
  • 2-40 oz Jif Peanut butter $6.83
  • 5 lbs Country Crock $4.42
  • 72 ct American cheese slices $6.52
  • 200 ct bag Halls cough drops $6.22(with tax)
  • 5 lbs frozen cut corn $4.88
  • 6lbs shredded hash browns $4.88
  • 12 ct mini pizzas $10.76
  • 60 ct. Eggo waffles $7.79
  • 5 qt. pail vanilla ice cream $4.77
  • 4.5 lbs grated parmasen cheese $18.88
  • 3-44oz bottles Heinz ketchup $6.37
  • 2 pk chips $5.88
  • 12 ct. tomato soup $8.28
  • 12 ct. chicken broth $7.42
  • 15 oz minced onions $4.64
  • 12.11lbs boneless/skinless chicken $23.86
  • 12ct-6pk chocolate donuts $4.18
Total without membership renewal: $194.18 
Total: $234.18

Next month should be interesting as to the final total as there will be several staples(flour, rice, fries, etc.) that I will need to replenish the supply. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pantry Meal--Beef Gravy and Noodles

Toward the end of last week, we had roast, carrots and potatoes for dinner. At the end of the meal when I was putting the food away I realized that the roast leftover was not going to be enough to make another big meal for the seven of us so I was a little stuck on what to do with it. Taking the time to reheat roast as is causes it to dry out and making veggie beef stew wasn't an option either because it isn't a favorite with the family.  I didn't want to shred it for tacos either.  

So I started thinking about what to do with it, and then remembered that I had on my freezer spring cleaning list another small roast(1.83lbs) that I had picked up on a meat markdown rack that I hadn't found a use for either.  The light bulb went on and another pantry/leftover makeover meal was created!  Here is what I created...

I cooked up the little roast in a skillet on the stove with a little water. Once it was done cooking, I diced up the roast and removed the fat.   I then diced up the leftover roast and added it to the roast I just cooked in my skillet on the stove.  

I added enough water to cover the meat in the skillet.  I then added minced onions, worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, beef bouillon cubes and seasoned salt.  I brought the meat mixture to a boil and then added in flour/cornstarch/milk mixture to thicken to a gravy consistency.  Brought the mixture back to a boil and then let simmer with a lid on the skillet while I cooked the noodles and the green beans to compliment the meat. 

I served the meat over egg noodles and served the green beans on the side. It was a delicious meal!  My hubby even commented that he loved the flavorful meat gravy! He asked me what I did differently...the only thing I did differently from other times that I have done this dish is I made the gravy from scratch using bouillon and water rather than using a can of beef broth!

Here is the recipe:

1 1/2- 2lbs beef roast, cooked & diced
4 cups water*
3-4 tsp. dry minced onions*
2-3 tsp. worchestershire sauce*(used for coloring purposes rather than flavoring)
1 tsp. garlic powder*
1 tsp. seasoned salt*
4 beef bouillon cubes

Combine altogether. Bring to a boil.

In a separate cup, mix together 3 heaping spoonfuls of flour, 2 heaping spoonfuls of cornstarch. Add in enough milk to make a thick pourable paste.  Once mixture doesn't have any lumps pour into the meat slowly(Might not use all the of the flour/cornstarch paste!!). Stir meat while pouring the flour/cornstarch paste in to the skillet. Use just enough of the paste to thicken the meat.  

Serve over egg noodles that are cooked al dente.

*the amounts are approximate!

This post is linked at:

Menu Plan Monday 4/19-4/25

 Last week's menu plan went pretty smoothly despite not having two days planned out ahead of time.  It proved to be a little stressful on those days as I would really have to think about what to do for dinner. 

It was “payday week” for this week’s shopping trip so I was able to get other meat in the house except for ground beef.  This week’s shopping trip also involved my monthly trip to Sam’s Club.  All my grocery shopping was squeezed in between soccer practices & games, church drama practices, hubby’s mentoring group, my dentist appointment and our suburban in the shop for half a day!  I am still working at doing a pantry & freezer spring cleaning event for the month of April.   I had to replenish some “staples” that I love to keep stocked so that must be a good sign that things are going well. 

This week’s menus is the third full week of my spring cleaning event however, I have a few more meats in the freezer now so meals should have a little bit of a variety to them. I am going to try a couple new meals this week despite having yet another busy week!! 

Lunches listed are for the kids & me. Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or baby carrots along with fruit juice or water.  Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie’s site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists! 

Sunday (4-19)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage or steak, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: McDonalds after church

Snack: snack basket


Monday (4-20)

Breakfast: cereal, toaster strudel, yogurt

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: beef gravy over egg noodles served with green beans

Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (4-21)

Breakfast:  waffles and sausage

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner:  chicken alfredo pasta(new recipe) served with homemade garlic toast and fresh veggie tray.

Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (4-22)

Breakfast: bagels, eggs and yogurt

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner:  cube steak served with hashbrown casserole(new recipe), corn and rolls

Snack: cookies & milk 

Thursday (4-23)

Breakfast: Pancakes and sausage

Lunch: chicken nuggets and hashbrowns

Dinner:  pork chops served with mac & cheese and peas

Snack: snack basket


Friday (4-24)

Breakfast: cereal and donuts

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: grilled chicken served with potato pockets and corn

Snack: ice cream night                                          


Saturday (4-25)  

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch:  ???

Dinner:  bacon cheeseburgers served with French fries and fresh veggie tray

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn





Sunday, April 19, 2009

National Turn Off TV Week--April 20-26

Next week is National Turn Off TV Week, how about turning off the TV for the whole week and engaging in one or all of these thirteen activities with your kids!?!

  1. Put a puzzle together.

  2. Plant flowers, herbs or a garden.

  3. Read aloud a book.

  4. Visit your local public museum.

  5. Go to the local public park.

  6. Take a nature hike.  Collect different items and make a collage.

  7. Go bowling.

  8. Visit the local bookstore.  Barnes & Nobles has events planned...go here to find a list.

  9. Play a board game together.

  10. Make a craft together. 

  11. Bake cookies together.

  12. Go camping or have a campout in your backyard.

  13. Visit the library.

Did you know???

  • Number of 30-second commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5
  • Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
  • Percentage of children ages 6-17 who have TV's in their bedrooms: 50
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
  • Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
  • Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66

  • This post is linked at:
    **bringing post up to the top for those looking for ideas for the week!***

    Singing Sunday

    1. Dare to be a Daniel
    2. by Phillip Bliss

    3. Standing by a purpose true,
      Heeding God’s command,
      Honor them, the faithful few!
      All hail to Daniel’s band!
      • Refrain:
        Dare to be a Daniel,
        Dare to stand alone!
        Dare to have a purpose firm!
        Dare to make it known.
    4. Many mighty men are lost,
      Daring not to stand,
      Who for God had been a host
      By joining Daniel’s band.
    5. Many giants, great and tall,
      Stalking through the land,
      Headlong to the earth would fall,
      If met by Daniel’s band.
    6. Hold the Gospel banner high!
      On to vict’ry grand!
      Satan and his hosts defy,
      And shout for Daniel’s band.