Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I Never Buy Sour Cream

Today is the STARR writing test here in Texas. Little miss is off to school and ready to go. This year she will get the help she needs, since she has been diagnosed with dyslexia. However, this is the hardest test for her since she she will be graded on writing along with spelling. Spelling is the most difficult for children with dyslexia, since they may know all the letters that make up a work but are unsure what order they go in. We were able to write her a letter letting her know we believe in her and her abilities and not to worry about this silly test. If you can say a little prayer she does well today.

~ ~ ~

Healthy Couponing

Sour Cream 

There is a ton of junk food out there you can get with coupons or great deals on junk food. I am not going to say I never buy junk food. I do buy some things because I think it is OK for a small treat every once in awhile. Everything in moderation. I want them to understand you can eat certain food like cookies and ice cream, but only on occasions. Just like cake I don’t have it everyday, so that when it is served I can have a piece and not feel guilty about it. These are treats and should be considered as such.



I started to research how can I provide similar tastes of products that aren't as healthy, but with more nutrition for my growing kids. I am always looking for way to add calcium, protein and additional vitamins to their diets. Protein tends to stick with you and make you feel full longer than empty sugar calories.  If I am providing a high carb meal I see if there is a way I can sneak in more protein and not change the overall quality or taste of the food.



One switch I have made is using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has 8grams of protein per one cup serving compared to sour cream only 6grams. I add this to a lot of breakfast items we eat. This gives more protein in a carb packed breakfast such as pancakes or muffins. We also use this instead of sour cream to top tacos, taco soup and anything else delicious you would normally add sour cream to. Where ever you can use sour cream you can use plain Greek yogurt. It is very similar in taste and texture. Whenever there are coupons for Greek yogurt I always make sure I print these healthy coupons.


I cannot always find coupons for plain Greek yogurt. There is a store here in the Dallas area called Sprouts that run sales all the time on Greek Yogurt. I make sure I buy enough to make it last until the next sale. I will make sour cream recipes like stroganoff or tacos when these are available. If I don’t have the greek yogurt we normally don’t have these dishes. That way we still get to enjoy these family favorites, we just do this around sales. That is the secret to reducing your grocery budget. Reviewing what sales are going on to see what items you can purchase on sale and make your meals around those items. By do this, you will greatly reduce your grocery budget every week and still buy healthy items.

Have you tried Greek yogurt before? How do you cook with Greek Yogurt?

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Super Saving Saturday

Wow there are a lot of coupons to print. Great savings on Cleaning and Air Freshners. Stock up on your Spring Cleaning supplies now!

Groceries



Glade Coupons

CLEANING PRODUCTS! 
Wow here are a lot of coupons you can print now. Some are limited print only. If the link doesn't work then the print limit has been reached.

Healthcare and Beauty

Toys

Affiliate links are used in the above post. I may be compensated for clicking on links or printing of coupons from those links.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Finals - Kroger Mega Event, Tom Thumb, Sprouts, Walgreens

Wow I can't believe it is Friday already. This week has flown by. I have all kinds of news today I am excited to share. First I am glad the week after vacation is over. This has been a tough week, since we had to adjust to the time change this week and getting back in the groove of everything. I also have been working on several giveaways that will be coming up in the next few weeks. I am very excited about a product review and giveaway with a green products company. Come back in a few weeks when this is up. 


I have another announcement of my LINKY Party List page. Do you have a linky you post every week? Share you link with others under the categories I have provided. One for recipes and crafts Link Parties by day and lower on the same page Shopping link Parties by day. 


Sorry no post last week. I was on Vacation. You click vacation to see pictures. 






Walgreens - 03/20/12


4 Blue Diamond Almonds B1G1 $3.79 - 4 $1/1 Blue Diamond Almonds
1 Reach Floss $1.99 - Walgreens Q $1/1, $1/1 Reach Dental Floss
1 Candy $0.20


Used:
$3.00 RR these were expiring 03/20/12. I had to use them


I spent $0.77 and saved $17.38 on $18.15 worth of food and healthcare items at Walgreens this week. These almonds are so delicious!


Sprouts

2 Voskos Greek Yogurts $2.00 each
            -Final $2.00 each
2 Spices $1.39 each
            -Final $1.39 each
Used my own bag $0.05 credit

I spent $6.73 and saved $0.05 on $6.78 on Yogurt and spices this week.

Tom Thumb

4 Welchs Juice $4.49 – Card savings $1.50, Store Q $0.50, $1/1 Welchs Juice
            -Final $0.99 each
1 Mission Flour Tortillas $1.79 – Card Savings $0.80, $0.55 Kroger Coupon Mailed
            -Final $0.44
6 Yoplait Yogurt Clearence $0.35 - $0.40/6 doubled Yoplait Yogurt
            -Final $0.22 each
2 Mrs. Baird Bread B1G1 $3.19 - $0.55/1 Mrs. Bairds Bread
            -Final $1.32 each
1 Land O Frost lunch meat Clearance $2.24 - $0.55/1 Land O Frost 1lb Lunch Meat
            -Final $1.69
1 Odwalla Bar $1.49 – Card savings $1, $0.15/1 tripled Odwalla Bar
            -Final $.55

I spent $15.97 and saved $25.87 on $41.84 worth of groceries at Tom Thumb this week.

Kroger 03/20/12

2 Gallons Milk $2.58 each
1 Package Cheese 16oz $2.99
2 18 count eggs $1.77 each

Kroger eCoupon $1.09 – for them not having the Cracker Jack for a prize I won.

I spent $10.60 and saved $5.11 on $15.71 worth of groceries this trip. I needed to make a quick trip, since we had just gotten back from vacation. I didn’t have time to put together a mega event shopping trip.

Kroger Mega Event 03/22/12
MEI = Mega Event Item - $0.50 off price

1 Whole Wheat Artisan Bread Clearance $1.00
            -Final $1.00
12 lbs Chicken Breast @ $0.99lb $11.92
            -Final $11.92
4 Smart Balance Milk $2.99 – MEI, 4 $1.50/1 carton Smart Balance Milk
            -Final $0.99 each
1 Thermacare Heat Wrap $1.99 – MEI, My Kroger ecoupon did not work for this, should be  FREE
            -Final $1.49
2 Country Crock Margerine $1.49 – MEI,2 $1/1 Country Crock Printable
            -Final FREE
2 Planters Peanut Butter $3.39 – MEI, 2 $1/1 Planters Peanut butter
            -Final $1.89
4 Got2B Gels $3.00 – 4 $3/1 Got2B products
            -Final FREE
2 Pace Picante Sauce $1.99 – MEI, $1/2 Pace Picante
            -Final $0.99 each
2 International Delight Creamer $2.50 - $1/2 International Delight Creamer Blinkie
            -Final $2.00 each – Coupon in this Sundays Paper!
2 Packages Whole Wheat Tortillas Clearance $0.75 each

I spent $30.35 and saved $64.41 on $94.76 worth of groceries and healthcare items at Kroger this week.

Altogether I spent $64.42 and saved $112.82 on $177.24 worth of food and other items. Can I get a whoot whoot?

It's MEGA Swagbucks day! I am swagging for a $5.00 gift card. Sign up TODAY! What are you swaggin' for? 




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How did your shopping go this week? I can't wait to see your savings. Looking at how others shop shows you how to coupon and where to find more deals. Click on a few sites to visit below.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our Family Spring Break

I didn’t post much last week, since we were on vacation. We had a great time in Destin, Florida. I don’t like to announce I am on vacation. It just doesn’t seem safe that everyone knows my house is sitting alone empty. Together with my husband we agree to not post on Facebook when we are gone either.

I tried to put up a post using my husbands iPad for my Friday Finals, and I just couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted to. So I just didn’t do anything. Now I feel bad I didn’t explain why there was no post on Friday. Oh well that is in the past.

All five of us trekked from Texas to Florida in the Tahoe. It was packed to the top with all our stuff. We have a small shelf in the back for a cooler filled with groceries for the week and a couple of suitcases. I did a menu plan for the week. We brought all of our own food, since we normally get a place with a full kitchen. This saves so much money while on vacation. We pulled an allnighter on Friday and drove to Florida.

I really unplugged last week, and it felt great. I was able to read an entire book. I don’t know when the last time I was able to do that. I rarely checked Facebook or my blog. My numbers on my blog plummeted greatly I might add. I only had one post scheduled for Wednesday the Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. Next time I will schedule the Friday Finals post early and have it ready to go for when I am out. Just in case. Stop by tomorrow to link up your shopping trips for the week.

We played on the beach with all three kids. We would quickly try to build sand cities, while Little Face would be Godzilla and destroy them all. He was way more interested in destruction than building. The sand is so white and the water was clear bluegreen. It was my first time there and I fell in love with it. This is on my list to go back. My husband used to go here all the time when he was younger.

Little Miss and my stepson enjoyed jumping the waves and playing in the surf. Then they all enjoyed playing in the heated pool to wash all the sand off after the beach. We borrowed the Harry Potter movies from a friend and watch a movie every night. The kids really enjoyed this. We are on the fifth movie and plan to watch those next weekend when we have all the kids together again.

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Here are a few pictures we took while we were there.



Our view of the Beach.







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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Enchiladas & Sauce

I have been couponing for a year and I haven't seen enchilada sauce go on sale nor have I seen a coupon for it. To be honest I haven't been searching too hard for it either. I have been craving some enchiladas lately, since they are so easy to make and freeze great. Instead of buying enchilada sauce for $2.00 a can, I even saw one for $4.00 and it was not organic, my frugalness came out, I researched how to make it. I knew I had a ton of tomatoes that had to be the main ingredient. 

I had some smoked chicken in the freezer I needed to use. Traditionally chicken enchiladas are made with a white sauce, but I decided to be different and wanted red sauce for these. This is also a great Stockpile Recipe.

The original recipe was found on All Recipes app on my phone however I adapted to what I thought would be a better sauce. If you haven't figured out by now. I rarely use a recipe I find exactly. It is modified to what I have on hand.


Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
~   ~   ~

Red Enchilada Sauce


Ingredients:
1 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp. Onion - I added a little more
1/2 tsp. Oregano
2 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Basil
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/4 cup Salsa
1 14.5 can Diced Tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until the onions become translucent. Add Chili powder, Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Salsa, Tomato Sauce and salt and pepper to taste. 


2. Mix together. Bring to a boil. Then with an immersion blender, blend all ingredients in sauce pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 min. 

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:
1/2 Chicken
Enchilada Sauce from above
14 or so corn tortillas
Cheese


1. Make the enchilada sauce above.



2. Pull chicken off bone and shred with two forks. Place in a bowl.




3. Take a skillet and heat on med high heat. Place corn tortilla on skillet for 1 minute and flip for 1 minute. Remove from skillet. This makes the tortillas easier to roll.




4. Place two tablespoons of shredded chicken in the center of tortilla and roll. This should be easier, since the tortilla is warmed. 




5. Spray a 9X13 baking dish. Place enchilada seem side down in dish.




6. Repeat steps 3 -5 until baking dish is full or chicken is all used. 




7. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of all enchiladas.




8. Top off with cheese and bake at 350 for 30 min.



~   ~   ~

This becomes a dance to warm the tortillas in the skillet and keep the assembly line going with chicken. Sometimes I talk to myself to remind me to put the tortilla on the skillet while I am making the other one. It makes the build process easier if you have an assembly line going. 


Let me know if you try this awesome dish. I loved the flavor and freshness of these. I served it with some re-fried beans and Spanish rice. Have you ever made enchiladas?


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Monday, March 19, 2012

How I Save Money by NOT Eating Cereal for Breakfast











I rarely buy cereal any more. There are some great cereal deals out there right now and I just don’t feel the need to buy cereal when I have great items I can make for breakfast ahead of time and freeze.

Here are a few items I like to make pancakes, muffins, french toast and hard boiled eggs and sausage. I make extra on the weekends and freeze these to eat throughout the week. Just simply pop them in the microwave for a minute or two and you have a quick and easy breakfast. 


Cinnamon Swirl French Toast - $1.44 for a family of Five
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins - Fruits and Veggies in a muffin
Make Your Own Muffin Mix  - Don't buy prepackage muffins, make your own to have on hand at anytime
Healthy Smoothies for Kids - My kids think they are getting Ice Cream for breakfast $0.50 per serving
Then kids were lucky enough I made the Cinnamon Swirl French Toast and Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins last week for them to choose for breakfast.

My grocery money for high carb cereal is now going towards wholesome ingredients such as multigrain pancake mix, eggs, fruit and whole wheat flour while trying to stay within my budget of $50.00 a week for a family of five.


Do you have any great breakfast ideas other than cereal for breakfast?


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recipe Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

I normally get the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread loaf at Kroger when it is in the discount section for $1.00. I take it home and freeze it right away. This recipe will feed all five of us for one meal; However, I like to make this on a weekend afternoon on my electric griddle and freeze it, so the kids have this for breakfast instead of cold cereal. I warm it up in the toaster on a higher setting and press the frozen button. This past week they were lucky enough to have freezer muffins and Cinnamon Swirl French Toast to choose from.

If you do not have an electric griddle here is one from Amazon that is very similar to mine. This makes an awesome gift too.




~   ~   ~
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast
1 loaf Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
4-6 Eggs
½ Cup of Milk



1. Toast both sides of the Cinnamon Swirl bread on and electric griddle set for 350 degrees for a couple of minutes on each side or until starting to turn golden. After the bread is toasted allow to cool for a few mintues. Otherwise the bread gets too soggy.

2. Take 2 eggs and crack them in a large flat bottom bowl and add ¼ cup milk. Mix well.

3. Dip the bread in the egg mixture and let it soak a minute or two on each side. The egg should soak into the bread. Keep dipping pieces until the egg mixture is gone. Once gone add another couple of eggs and the remaining milk until all bread is soaked and on the griddle.

4. Spray electric griddle with spray oil and lay the egg soaked bread on the electric griddle. Let fry for a couple of minutes. The egg will get brown around the edges of the toast. Flip and let the other side brown.

5. Once complete serve with powdered sugar, apple butter, apple sauce or syrup.

~   ~   ~

Last time I made Cinnamon Swirl French Toast I only used four eggs and a little milk. This costs me $1.00 for the bread and $0.44 for the eggs. So for the main part of the meal I spent $1.44 to feed a family of five for breakfast. This meal includes protein, carbs and a fruit.

How much do you spend on breakfast for your family?

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Finals - Kroger, Tom Thumb, Sprouts, Walgreens, CVS


I have been a shopping fool this week. I am over budget again, but I am not shopping next week for sure. Sometimes a good deal is hard to pass up. With prices increasing and the amount on the coupons decreasing, if I find a deal I grab it. However, I think I am buying more wants than needs lately. I need to reassess my shopping and cut back to needs only.

Stop by to see the great shopping trips from these fabulous sites from last week. The top clickiest from last week are:




~   ~   ~
This is only half a all I purchased this week.

Tom Thumb 03/06/12

4 Kraft Cheese B1G1 $3.99 – $1.35/2 Kroger Home Mailer, $0.50/2 doubled Kraft Cheese Printable
            -Final $1.40 each avg.
2 Ducan Hines Cake Mix $1.25 - 2 $0.35 tripled, Duncan Hines Cake Mix
            -Final $0.20
6 Quaker Oatmeal B1G1 $3.39 – 2 $1/3 Quaker Oatmeal Moments to Save
            -Final $1.36 each
2 Cream of Wheat $3.99 each - $1/2 Cream of Wheat
            -Final $3.49 each
4 Progresso Soup $0.99 - $1/4 Progresso Soup GM 02/05/12
            -Final $0.74 each

I also used a $2.00 off your next shopping order I got from my granola bar purchase before. I went back later that day to get the Duncan Hines Cake mix for $0.20, since Tom Thumb will only double or triple one coupon. Cake mix for $0.20 is just too good to pass up.

I spent $21.77 and saved $33.09 on $54.86 worth of groceries this shopping trip.

Tom Thumb 03/08/12

1 Community Coffee $4.99
            -Final $4.99
1 Cheese Nips $1.67
            -Final $1.67
2 Bear Creek Soup B1G1 $4.49 - $1/1 Bear Creek Soup SS 10/23/12
            -Final $1.75
1 4 roll Toilette Paper $0.99
            -Final $0.99
1 Package Pork Chops 50% off $10.61
            -Final $5.30
1 Odwalla Bar $1.00 - $0.15/1 Tripled Odwalla Bar SS 01/08/12 <on sale until April>
            -Final $0.55
I used $3.00 off my next order I got from the cheese from my previous purchase.

I paid $13.82 and saved $18.93 on $32.75 worth of food and necessary items this trip. I am going to keep getting the Odwalla bar. This was delicious. I had planned on rolling my $3.00 for frozen items, but I left my coupons on the table. DARN.

Kroger 03/08/12

2 Gogurts $1.99 - $0.75/2 Gogurt Printable NLA
            -Final $1.61each
2 Kettle Low Fat Chips $2.29 – 2 $1/1 Kettle Brand Chips, RP 01/08/12
            -Final $1.29 each
4 Progresso Soups $1.35 - $1/4 Progresso Soup, GM 02/05/12
            -Final $1.10 each
1 Starbucks 4 pack $4.99
            -Final $4.99
2 Helluva Dips 1 $0.60 clearance, 1 $1.49 – 2 $0.75/1 blinkie coupon
            -Final $0.30 each
1 Kroger Sliced Cheese $2.99
            -Final $2.99
1Oreo 2.98 - $1.50/1 Kroger eCoupon – During Cart Busters
            -Final $1.48
2 Ortega Taco shells $1.50 - $0.50/2 Ortega Products 01/15/12
            -Final $1.25 each
2 Tortillas clearance $0.99 each
            -Final $0.99 each
1 WaterChestnuts $0.79
            -Final $0.79

I spent $26.61 and saved $13.29 on $39.90 worth of groceries at Kroger. The Helluva sour cream and onion dips were all clearanced to $0.60 each, this was a $0.15 money maker for me. The blinkie was right on the door too.

Sprouts

1.8 lbs of sunflower seeds $3.58
1 Pepper Jack cheese $4.56
1 Pork Roast $7.90

I paid $16.04 for groceries at Sprouts.

Walgreens

2 Soft Soap $4.49– 2 $0.50/1 Soft Soap SS 02/12/12
2 Kettle Chips $1.99 - $1/1 Kettle brand Chips RP 01/08/12

Used $3.00 RR

Received $3.00 RR

OOP $5.39

I spent $5.39 on groceries and necessary items and saved $6.00 on $11.39 worth of products.

CVS

3 Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish $4.79 each
1 CVS Training pants $6.99

Used:
$3.00 CVS redbox coupon Revlon Cosmetic item Printed a while back
$2.00 ECBs
$7.00 ECBs
$4.00 ECBs

Received:
$9.00 ECB on nail polish
$2.00 ECB on Training Pants

OOP $5.36

I paid $5.36 and saved $16.00 on $21.36 worth of products at CVS this week.

Altogether I spent $85.99 and saved $87.31 on $173.30 for groceries and healthcare items this week.

Want to reduce your grocery budget read my series on

How did you do this week? One of the best ways to learn good strategies is reading how others shop. LINKY is open below.

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