Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip---Savings $69.31

This week's shopping trip was uneventful. After my meat stockpiling last week I did not need much in the way of groceries other than milk, fresh fruit & veggies, a couple of things to complete meals and I picked up a few deals. I also made a trip to the bakery outlet to stock up my bread supply since I did not do that last week.

I spent less than $85 for everything that I purchased this week. Once again this week, I did not use much in the way of coupons. Sorry no pics again this week, hubby needs to work on my computer(read thinks he needs to do an upgrade!) so I have been trying to keep my "additions" of things to a minimum so there is less to back-up or lose.

Here is the breakdown of my purchases:

  • 3 tubs Country Crock margarine $1.67
  • 2 Tombstone pizzas $5.66
  • 1 Edwards pie singles $1.50
  • 3 lbs baby carrots $3.75
  • 1.48 lbs fresh catfish $5.91
  • 1.84 lbs green cabbage 53¢
  • 2.15 lbs zucchini $1.66
  • 1.85 lbs summer squash $1.42
  • 2.59 lbs red grapes $2.54
  • 1.71 lbs cherries $1.68
Total OOP: $26.32
Total Savings: $21.53
Total without sales & coupons: $47.85

Family Fare: (1st trip)--went in for milk and I went by the meat counter and found some markdowns!
  • .73 lbs sirloin tip steak $1.63 (30% manager markdown)
  • .67 lbs thin cut sirloin tip steak $2.44 (30% manager markdown)
  • 4.66 lbs ground round beef $8.13 (50% manager markdown)
  • 2 gallons milk $3.76
Total OOP: $15.96
Total Savings: $12.09
Total without sales: $28.05

Family Fare: (2nd trip)
  • 3 lbs stick margarine $2.37
  • 6.78 lbs peaches $6.72
  • 2 gallons milk $3.76
  • 4 boxes General Mills Cereal $4.96 (deal: buy 4 boxes get them for $1.49 each, plus I had a $1/3 coupon to sweeten the deal so I got 4 boxes for $1.24 each! Plus they were out of the one of the varieties that was part of the deal so I got a raincheck for the variety as well!)
Total OOP: $17.81
Total Savings: $16.10
Total without sales: $33.91

Aunt Millies Bread Outlet:
  • 4 loaves sandwich bread $3.56
  • 2 loaves Texas toast bread $2.98
  • 3-8pks hamburg buns $1.38(buy 2 @ 69¢ each, get 1 free)
Total OOP: $7.92
Total Savings: $19.59
Total without going to the outlet store: $27.51

Save A Lot: (needed to stop here for a few things that I was needing to replenish and knew I could get for cheaper than the other stores)
  • 1 bottle Worchestershire sauce 99¢
  • .62 lbs tomato $1.17
  • 3 jars pizza sauce $2.97
  • 1 gallon chocolate milk $2.00
  • 2 pkgs. egg noodles $1.98
  • 2 boxes breaded chicken nuggets $4.98
  • 3.09 lbs bananas $1.03 (3lbs for $1)
Total OOP: $15.12

Grand Total OOP: $83.13
Grand Total Savings: $69.31(not including the savings from shopping at Save A Lot!)
Grand Total without sales, coupons and shopping at Save A Lot: $152.44

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Tis the season to have LOTS of fresh fruit in the house, however, I have several family members that will not eat many fresh fruits--maybe an apple or banana if I am lucky! Which means that when I have fresh fruit in the house it might take a while for those us who like fruit to eat it.

I had purchased 3lbs of strawberries a couple of weeks ago on price drop at Meijer for 99¢/lb. My oldest son and I are the only ones that eat the strawberries fresh and so I chopped them up and we ate some of them fresh. After a few days though they started to get a little mushy so I decided to use them up before they went bad and make some fresh strawberry muffins for the first time.

I used Nancy's fresh strawberry muffin recipe as my guide and went to work creating a yummy healthy muffin!

Here is my recipe:

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 eggs
4 cups flour (2 cups white, 2 cups wheat)
4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped strawberries
6 tsps. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture. Add sour cream and vanilla. Gently stir in strawberries. Scoop batter into muffin pans. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Notes: I made 2 dozen muffins and 1 small quick bread loaf. Allow to cool before eating! As you can see from my picture above, they are a bit crumbly if you try to eat them right out of the oven!

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Once A Month Cooking(OAMC)---MY Way!

This past week, I did one of my bi-monthly shopping trips where I stockpiled meat. This is what I do with the meat when I get it home...

For 15-20lbs of ground beef I take and make burgers and meatloaf with the raw meat and freeze them. The burgers get stacked with wax paper between them in a freezer bag. Each freezer bag has the number I need for one meal. I also make meatballs but I cook them and then flash freeze on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a freezer bag. I also brown some of the ground beef and put in plastic containers/freezer bags the amount that I need for a meal of spaghetti, chili, goulash, and sloppy joes.

For chicken meals, I normally just get the Quick frozen boneless chicken breasts/tenders because they are usually on sale more than fresh chicken. So I just take a bag out the night before for the dinner meal the next day. This week however, it was fresh chicken that I had gotten at Sam's in 6lb packages. When I get home I clean and de-fat them and put them in a freezer bag in the number I need for a meal(usually 5-6 breasts do it for my family of 7). Lately, the fresh chicken breasts from Sams have been averaging a pound each and have been thick! So I have only needed to use 3-4 breasts for each of our meals. With the breasts being thick I butterfly them to make the meat stretch a little more. It also helps to butterfly them when you know that you are grilling them because they will cook a little more evenly! I also will cut up the raw chicken to pull out for using in soups and such. I didn't get any whole chickens this week, however, when I get a couple of whole chickens on sale, I like to have them to pull out of the freezer for the next day for a drop in the crock pot and forget type meal! LOL

For pork chops...I get one of those half boneless pork loins and bring it home and slice it into pork chops(or you can have the butcher at the grocery store do it too!) and once again make sure that I put wax paper between the chops and divide it into the meals in freezer bags. OR I get the really thick already cut chops at Sam's and bring them home and butterfly them into thinner chops to get more meals out of them.

The other thing I do is have a baking day where I get a bunch of quick breads/muffins, cookies, and other snacks in the freezer.(This I did a couple of weeks ago before I went shopping) The quick breads/muffins can be used for breakfast along with some scrambled eggs. The cookies are just nice to have for that sweet tooth! LOL

Another thing for breakfast that I have made ahead for my boys is "Mom's Egg McMuffins" toasted english muffin with scrambled egg patty, sliced american cheese, and bacon or ham or sausage patty. Wrap the individually with plastic wrap and then put in a bread bag. When you want one take it out microwave for 20 seconds and then turn it over and microwave for another 20 seconds, if still cold in the middle microwave for 10 more seconds. Let set for 2 minutes and eat! You can use croissants or biscuits for the same type of sandwiches. These can be frozen too!! After making them, just let them cool and double wrap! You can put a frozen sandwich in the microwave and heat for 30-40 seconds! or you can let it thaw in the fridge and then heat up.

I found doing things this way I am not tied down with the precooked meals in the freezer. If I want to try something different/new for a meal I can without having to go to the store to get other meat to use. I also found that doing my meats ahead and putting them in freezer, I have been able to cut the time in the kitchen preparing the meal in half! Most of meals I can get done in an hour or less, unless of course I am using my crock pot! LOL I have found too that it makes planning out my meals for the week a lot easier. After writing down menus, I post them where my dh or dc can see what is going to be for dinner and they can help me make sure that the next day's meat is out thawing the night before we needed it! I also found that when I had a new baby I was able to nurse baby and put down for a nap and then prepare and eat dinner before baby would need my attention again. If I am using my crock pot I would just put the items in the crock pot when I had about 5 minutes in the morning before lunch.

The results of this week:
  • 27 burgers made for 3 meals
  • 18 pork chops made for 2 meals
  • 4 bags browned ground beef for 4 meals
  • 6 bags chicken for 6 meals
It has been too hot to bake this week, so I premeasured some fruits and zucchini to freeze for breads or muffins for when the weather is cooler. I have:
  • 4-2 cup bags of shredded zucchini
  • 2 bags mashed bananas
  • 6 containers of blueberries

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken Taco Salad

We are not much of a salad family. I don't make many pasta salads or green leafy type salads. Usually our "salad" consists of a plate filled with raw carrots and a bowl of ranch dressing!

However, my favorite salad is my homemade chicken taco salad! When I make my Taco Bar night I always try to make more chicken taco meat than what we will need so that I can use it for a leftover lunch or two during the following days. I love the fact that making this salad I am using leftovers and it doesn't require much in the way of heating up! This salad tastes great cold or warm.

Chicken Taco Salad

3 boneless/skinless chicken breast, cooked & cubed
2 TBSP taco seasoning
1/4-1/3 cup mild taco sauce

Combine altogether. The taco sauce I use instead of water so that the chicken doesn't taste dried out.

To make the salad:

Layer the following on a plate:
  • tortilla chips or crushed taco shells
  • chicken meat
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • Sour Cream or Ranch dressing(for the adventureous type)

My kids love it when I stick each of the toppings into a bowl or plate for them to make my own salad bar on the counter for them to make their own salad. It gives them a bit more control of their plates when they fix them and not me. They seem to eat more and are less picky when they can make their own plates.

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Works for Me Wednesday--Storage Organizers

My hubby has been working at having his odd n end screws and such organized so he got these little containers with dividers in them to sort his things in. I got thinking that I could use those little storage containers too but for other things!! Did you know that these little storage containers could fit into one of those big Lego tubs?? Well it can so I got one for my boys with TONS of Legos to put their littlest pieces of Legos in so they aren't having to dig thru the big tub and so they don't have to dump out the big tub to scatter little pieces for my 1yo to find and put in his mouth.

These containers are also good for hair rubber bands, clips, and barrettes. It makes for a life easier to find those little things rather than shoving them all into the bathroom vanity drawer. All of my daughter's head bands, and bigger bows are in a basket in the vanity drawer.
So not only will these containers find their way into homes for fishing tackling items, or for those odd n ends of screws and nails but they can be used to sort small Lego pieces in your child's toys and for those small hair accessories that find themselves lost in the bottom of a drawer or basket.

These work for me to keep those small things organized and together.

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**originally posted January, 2008

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 7/19-7/25

I am so glad that last week's menu plans were not set in stone because they were all over the place!! We did not order take out any night for dinner but we were at my parents’ house four days out of seven so that meant me either taking our dinner in a bag over to their place to prepare/cook, share and eat with them or relying on my sister(who still lives at home) to make us dinner. Friday night’s dinner I took over 4lb bag of chicken to make into my saucy chicken and served with rice, green beans, corn and homemade bread. That amount of chicken barely fed 11 people…there was no leftovers! I haven’t quite got down the amounts I need to feed a group larger than my family! I like to have leftovers so that my hubby has lunches for the following week! This week his lunches are going to be a little on the slim pickings because there was several meals last week where there was no leftovers to be saved. I guess I am going to have to do what my mom used to do and save a leftover portion before the meal is served so I have something to put in hubby’s lunch!

This week was payday week so my shopping trip was to get stocked up on meats and other items that I needed. Oh I got some deals this week too! I keep telling myself that I am not going to the stores this coming week for anything but milk! We shall see if I can do it or if I end up needing to hit up deals of the week too!

I can tell that my hubby helped me with this week’s menus because most of the meals are my hubby’s favorites! We will be staying home most of the week rather than working at my parents’ house in the evenings so that will help some in fixing the meals. Nothing like working in my own kitchen preparing food for my family! I am not going to plan a dinner meal on Saturday because I know that we will be at my parents’ for the day.

I have a list of baking that I would like to get done this week but I might have to run the air conditioning in order to do it! I have zucchini that needs to be used so zucchini bread/muffins are in order!! It has been requested that some orange juice muffins be made! I might try a new recipe this week as I also have some bananas that are more than ready to be used in some kind of recipe as well!!

For this week’s lunches, that are listed below, are for the kids and me! Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or carrot sticks along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch so I don’t take the time to plan his lunches. He just takes the next oldest leftover on the stack in the fridge. This week there isn’t much in the way of leftovers so I think hubby will have at least one day out for lunch and cold sandwiches for another day!

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 300 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 (7-19)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage(kids) or steak(hubby), hash browns, and cinnamon rolls

Lunch: McDonalds

Dinner: mini pizzas & pizza rolls

Snack: snack basket

Monday (7-20)

Breakfast: cereal and toaster strudel

Lunch: leftover pizza

Dinner: beef gravy served over egg noodles with green peas and homemade bread as sides.

Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (7-21)

Breakfast: waffles and sausage

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: grilled lemon pepper chicken served with mashed taters, and corn

Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (7-22)

Breakfast: bagels, cereal, eggs

Lunch: leftovers


Snack: snack basket

Thursday (7-23)

Breakfast: pancakes, and sausage

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: grilled burgers & dogs served with fries and corn

Snack: snack basket

Friday (7-24)

Breakfast: cereal and toast

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: chicken pot pie and homemade bread

Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (7-25)

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: ??? parents’ house

Dinner: ??? parents’ house or church group gathering

Snack: snack basket or popcorn