Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $76.68

There wasn't much in the way of coupons used this week due to "my" grocery stores having their store brand sales. Despite the sales I was still able to save on the items that I did get this week.  It also seemed like I needed several items this week due to my running out of items that I love keep stocked in my pantry so I made a quick trip to Save A Lot for those items.

Here is breakdown of my shopping for the week:

Save A Lot: 

  • 4 cans beef broth $2.52
  • 7 cans cream of chicken soup $4.13
  • 1 box cornstarch 79¢
  • 2 bags egg noodles $1.98
  • 2-29oz cans pumpkin $3.38
  • 1 jar pizza sauce 99¢
Total OOP for 17 items: $13.79  (averages out to 81¢ each)  

  • 5.70 lbs ground beef from chuck $10.77
  • 9.45 lbs split chicken breasts $9.35
  • 4 lbs stick margarine $2.36
  • 2 rolls wax paper $2.10 (includes tax)
  • 3 cans frozen orange juice $3.75
  • 2 lbs butter $3.76
  • 4 gallons milk $7.00
  • 2 lbs tilapia fish $5.98
  • 2 lbs bacon $4.00
Total OOP for 24 items: $49.07 (averages out to $2.04 each!)
Total Savings: $31.93
Total without sales: $81.00 (no coupons used)

Family Fare: 
  • 3 dozen eggs $3.18
  • 3 Warm Delights $3.50
  • 6 Totinos Pizzas $6.50
  • .49 lb smoked deli turkey $2.45
  • .50 lb oven roasted deli turkey $2.50
  • 2 boxes Jiffy muffin mix $1.58
  • 16 lbs potatoes $2.58
  • 5.64 lbs pork loin chops $11.22
  • 12 cans green beans $3.48
  • 12 cans green peas $3.48
Total OOP for 42 items: $40.47(averages out to 96¢ each)
Total Savings: $44.75
Total without sales & coupons: $85.22

Grand Total OOP: $103.33
Grand Total Savings: $76.68
Grand Total without sales & coupons: $180.01

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Recipes, Crafts & More!

Here in the next couple of weeks, we will be going pumpkin picking! Looking for just the right pumpkins to decorate our house or to carve or to cook to make into pies or in soups or a combination of things! I was doing some looking around online and instead of keeping the information all to myself, I thought I would share my findings!

Thinking on doing a unit study with your children on pumpkins, head over Easy Fun School where they have lesson ideas to recipes for pumpkin pie leather and pumpkin pie chips to pumpkin suncatchers crafts and pumpkin pie spice ornaments to a pumpkin book list!

Looking to do some kind of hands on activity with pumpkins but do not know what to do! How about doing The Pumpkin Seed Experiment?! There is six different activities with pumpkins and pumpkin seeds involving tallying, weighing, graphing, and more (from

Looking for crafts for the children to do, the list over at DLTK's Pumpkin Crafts should keep them busy for a rainy afternoon!

Are you wanting to expand your palate and try new recipes, The Pumpkin Patch has tons of recipes anything from breads, biscuits, muffins to main dishes to cakes, pies, and cookies!

Here are my favorite pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin Cake Squares

Pumpkin Oat Strusel Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

2 c sugar
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. oil
4 eggs
1 (15-oz) can of pumpkin

Mix together all dry ingredients first, then add oil and eggs. Once this is mixed well (it will be thick), add pumpkin. Put in 2/3 cup batter into well greased muffin cups or or greased wrappers. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins (my oven baked them just right at 18 mins). I iced them with Cream Cheese icing!

So there are my pumpkin findings! Sound off: What are you planning on doing with your pumpkins this year? Do you have a tried and true pumpkin recipe that you would like to share?!

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**originally posted October, 2008

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Baking Day!

Today, I did something in my kitchen other than just throw a meal together!!!  I baked a few things to help me get back into the groove of baking again now that the weather is cooperating!  It is so fun to spend the day in the kitchen baking with the windows opened and not worry about heating up the house too much with the oven running for an extend amount of time.

I started out my day by putting 4 bone in and 2 boneless chicken breasts in my roaster to cook instead of my oven because I knew I would be needing the oven for other things.

Then I made up a Jewish Coffee Cake because the crew keeps asking for one!  I am sure that you have heard the conversation before..."Mom, when you are going to make __________?(in my case, Jewish Coffee Cake) Because you know it has been a while since you made one!"

Then I made a two Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix pouches from my pantry stockpile.  I decided to make them in my bar pan so that I could melt a bag of milk chocolate chips over the top!

Nothing like melted milk chocolate!!!

Here is what my kitchen looked like in the middle of my baking day!!!  Just a little messy don't you think??!!  You can see on the left in the picture my bread machine sitting on the counter rather than put away in a cupboard!!
I made TWO batches of honey oatmeal bread dough today!!

One batch I made into mini loaves for a side to a couple of dinners and then the other batch I made into pull apart rolls!  First time that I tried my hand at making pull apart rolls!

Then it was on to making dinner tonight with those chicken breasts that I had started at the beginning of my day!!!  Chicken Pot Pie along with homemade bread is what was planned on the menu!   Didn't take much to put together the "inside" of the pot pie!

There was chicken leftover so I decided that a nice small pot of homemade chicken noodle soup was in order!  So easy and simple to throw together....

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
1 can chicken broth
2 carrots cooked and diced
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced,
1 1/2 cup of dry egg noodles
a few dashes of onion & garlic powder
1 chicken bouillon
few dashes of black pepper.

Simmer together until egg noodles are al dente! Enjoy!

Now it is time to enjoy my dinner and finish cleaning up the mess I made in my kitchen!

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Works for Me Wednesday---Laundry Stain Removal

Laundry is just a fact of life! Here are some techniques that will help you keep your clothes clean and stain free!!

Ever been in the situation where you are emptying clothes out the dryer only to find bright pink marks ALL over them?? Only to find that it was a crayon that you had missed in a pocket of your daughter's pants! I have been there and I was able to remove every spot of pink from the clothes, including hubby's good white shirt!

Crayon–washed and dried removal:
  1. Take off as much wax as possible.
  2. Take liquid Wisk(I have had the best success with Wisk over other brands!) and Peanut Butter and smear over the crayon spots.
  3. Use NO Bleach!! including liquid Wisk with bleach.
  4. Rinse clothes and then wash and dry clothes again.

**Crayola has stain tips guide on their website but I have found my way to actually work better!

“Magic Solution”

½ cup automatic dishwasher soap to ½ cup bleach mixed into 2 gallons of water. Put soap in with as hot of water as possible. Stop running water pour bleach into water, stir in completely. Then place clothes in solution. Let soak. (You can do this right in your top load washer! I usually do it in my big white laundry tub or in the bathtub as I have a front loader washer.) You can see that the measurements are such where you can do a smaller amount or a bigger amount with not much thinking.

** I have used this solution on many clothes, esp. those clothes that I have gotten as hand-me-downs that have had stains set in them. It is also great for those baby formula stains (even those stains that have been set in), those crayon marks that you find on clothes before you dry them, it has even worked on tempera paint removal from clothes(doesn't get all of it but makes the clothes look good enough for play clothes where you don't have to dump them in the trash). I have used on many stains(food, grass, and set in stain) and have great to good results with it. **This is good for colored clothes as well...use with caution–some colored clothes are not color-fast and colors will fade from bleach.**

Ink or Permanent Marker Stains(in clothes or carpet!):

Good old pump(not aerosol) hairspray!!

Spray the hairspray and use a dry cloth rag(that you can throw away cause the ink will go into the rag!) to rub the hairspray into the spots. Don't use paper towels as they will just shred.

Spray the spots let sit for about 20 seconds for the hairspray to start working and then blot out the ink from the carpet or clothes. Repeat til the spots are gone.

The trick is to not let the hair spray sit too long as it can have the opposite effect and set the ink into the carpet or clothes for that matter. If you are getting ink/marker out of the carpet--Use some carpet cleaner to get the sticky film from the hairspray out of the carpet. For clothes, I wash them immediately in a wash load after having treated the ink/marker.

Tomato/Ketchup Stains:
These are a little hard to remove if you don't take cold water to the fresh spots! However, they can and will come out with soaking in cold water and then spot treating with Dawn or Palmolive handwashing dish soap. Then wash as usual in a wash load. Check the item BEFORE you put it in the dryer because it might need another round.

Grease Stains(even washed & dried spots):
Put handwashing dish soap(like Palmolive or Dawn or the like) right on the grease spots. Let stand for a few minutes and then wash as usual. I love having an old toothbrush around where I can use it to "rub" in the soap into the stain.

Deodorant Stains:

For getting out deodorant stains, I have found that soaking the stain in hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes right before washing is best. Then rinsing out the peroxide and then rubbing Felsnaptha soap or Era laundry soap on the stains and washing as usual in a wash load. Deodorant stains are hard to get out especially if they are old and set in but I have done several of hubby's white shirts with repeating the process several times.

I have also had very good success with soaking in Oxy Clean for colors and whites with just about any kind of stain! These stain removal techniques are what work for me in keeping our clothes clean.

For other works for me, head over to We are THAT Family, where this week everyone is sharing their greatest cleaning tips.

**originally posted March, 2009

Pumpkin Cake Squares--Fall Favorite

Pumpkin Cake Squares

1 yellow cake mix(save 1 cup for topping)
1/4 cup stick margarine(do not melt)
1 egg

Mix and pat into greased 9x13 pan.

1 can(14oz) pumpkin pie mix
2 eggs
2/3 cup evaporated milk

Pour over cake in pan.

1 cup cake mix
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup stick margarine(do not melt)
1/4 cup sugar

Sprinkle over cake. Bake 50 minutes @ 350°--done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool!

Top with Cool Whip.

Notes: If using plain pumpkin add 2-3 tsps. pumpkin pie spice. You can make this the day before! To keep longer, place in the fridge for storage.

This recipe gets rave reviews by everyone who has tried it. I have even had people tell me that they like better than just plain ol' pumpkin pie because the pumpkin isn't as strong tasting in this layered cake.

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** originally posted in August, 2007

Monday, October 5, 2009

Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Last Friday, I took my parents grocery shopping to help and show them how to save money on their grocery bill. They seem to have forgotten how to savings shop now that most of us are grown and out of the house.  Now that my parents are retired and on a fixed income, it is important to me to help them work with what they have and find ways for them to eat healthy on their income rather than relying on restaurants for their meals.

One item that my Mom was wanting to get from the store was some kind of already made boxed pancake mix. So we went over to aisle to find a box and found that none of them were on sale and I do not cut coupons for those types of things as I make mine from scratch so I didn't have a coupon to share with them either. I also found with doing some quick mental math that I could put together a pancake mix from scratch for cheaper than a box mix!(Just for the record, a 28 oz box of regular Bisquick when not on sale is almost three dollars!!!)

I told my Mom that I would take the time to get out my buttermilk pancake recipe and do up the dry ingredients so that she could have some pancake mix!  She already had eggs, and buttermilk in her fridge so this would help her use those items up as well.

Today, I finally took some time to do up some pancake mix for her.  First I took my recipe and divided it back down to a single batch of pancakes. Then I measured out all the dry ingredients and canola oil and then blended that together with my pastry blender. After I had mix blended well, I measured it to see how much total the dry ingredients were so I knew how much mix was needed for the amount of egg and buttermilk that was called for in the recipe.

Here is the final results that I am going to give to my Mom:

Buttermilk Pancake Mix

1 ¼ cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. veggie oil

Mix together with a pastry blender. Store in a sealed container for up to 6 weeks. You can put the mix into the freezer for longer storage.

To make pancakes:
1 ½ cups pancake mix
1 egg
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
Mix together. Cook on griddle until golden brown.

Add-in options:
½ cup frozen blueberries
½-3/4 cup chocolate chips

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