Monday, December 13, 2010

Safeway Daily Deals!


Safeway has some nice one day sales going on right now. They started yesterday and I would guess they'll run until Christmas or close to it. The really nice thing that I see is that there is NO MENTION of a minimum purchase in order to get the deal. So today for example, I picked up Safeway brand flour, 5lb for .59, which is awesome! There is a limit of 2, and the tag in the store says "per household", so I chose not to do another transaction to buy more. Tomorrow, 12/14, they have store brand baking chips at .99/bag (and if you got the coupon book that was in the stores around Thanksgiving, there's a coupon for .50/1 bag to make them .49!), and then on 12/15 the 42oz quick oats are .99/canister. I assume we'll see the deals for the following days once the new ad comes out on Wednesday, and I'm planning to stop in and take advantage of at least some of these deals without buying anything else, so I'll let you know if that gives me any trouble. If you go past Safeway, you might consider running in really quick for some of these items!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am so thankful for my awesome family, especially my sweet husband and beautiful son, and I'm thankful that I get to be a momma again! I hope you all have just as much to be thankful for, and that you enjoy the day with your family!
PS, just in case you thought I had lost my mind, I will not be Black Friday shopping this year! No deal is worth that kind of stress to me. If you go, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The ultimate excuse for failure to do just about anything...


So here's why I haven't been posting lately. We're officially 15 weeks, and I'm feeling great today, but I've learned that that does not mean I won't start puking at midnight. Sorry for the double negatives in that sentence! Anyway, I'm really hoping to pick up the reins again, we'll see how I do.

Cheap M&M's, hurray



So there's a nice deal at Walgreens this week, the perfect way to get your feet wet with Register Rewards and get started on picking up holiday baking supplies, or holiday overeating, whichever is up your alley. I saw this on Hip2Save, and there's a lot of conversation over there about exactly which varieties of M&Ms to purchase in order to minimize the stress of the transaction possibly not working for you.


M&Ms 9.9-12.6oz bags are on sale for $2.50 each, buy 4 bags and receive a $5 Register Reward (RR) Remember that the RR is a coupon that prints after you pay for the items, can be used on your next purchase, and expires in 2 weeks. There are a few coupons out there that you can use on the M&Ms that will make this deal even better, although even without any coupons it's still a decent price for the candy.

Facebook has a coupon for the new pretzel variety, $1 off each bag. Just like them, and then you can print 2 copies per computer. Yesterday's paper had $1 off 2 bags of the holiday varieties too. I used 2 of the FB coupons, and one of the holiday varieties to get my out of pocket cost down to $7, and I still get the $5 RR to use next time. One note if you're not familiar with the RR, you CAN use that RR to do this transaction again, BUT it won't print another RR, since it's the same manufacturer.
I'm so proud of myself, I already started baking! I used Paula Deen's recipe for Monster Cookies, and they are yummy.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Voting location FYI for Piedmont Valley


At my family Halloween get together last night, we discussed where voting would take place tomorrow, since the Piedmont Gym is in the construction area. My mom had heard it was at the Piedmont Library, but then when we headed home I noticed that the American Legion building's sign says that it will be held there. I didn't see exactly what it said, since my husband was going roughly the speed of light in order to get home to catch the rest of the Steelers game, and unfortunately the Meade County website hasn't been updated, but that seems to be the story. So go get the vote out tomorrow! Vote yes on 12! Or don't, it's up to you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

My unsolicted opinion on the time/sapce continuum.

Not really. But after being a stay at home momma for over a year now, I definitely have some things to say about prioritization, and I've been wanting to share. Please feel free to weigh in! What I wanted to talk about today is deciding how to pick out money saving tasks that you want to commit to doing, based on how much time you have to set aside for those tasks. What I mean is that there are so many things you can do to save money in your day to day life, but you gotta decide which ones are worth your time investment, AND that you enjoy doing enough that you won't drive yourself freaking crazy trying to keep up with them. An example;
  • I love to make bread, truly love it, especially in the colder months. And I will NEVER make our sandwich bread. I have a lot of reasons for this; although I use some whole wheat flour (pastry flour is the best) in several of the breads I make, I have yet to make 100% whole wheat bread that doesn't sit in your belly like a rapidly hardening batch of concrete. Commercial 100% whole wheat however has overcome that issue through some kind of sorcery that they do, so I say, let them do it right and I won't worry about it. Homemade bread just doesn't last on the counter like commercial, so I would have to make it every few days, and then figure out what to do with the stale stuff, cause we just don't burn through it that fast (and I just don't need that many bread crumbs). Commercial bread however, especially if you freeze it until you need it, always stays acceptably fresh (again, sorcery). Finally, if my darling husband were faced with an unsliced loaf of homemade bread when he went scrounging for a sandwich, I'm pretty sure he'd look for some cereal instead. It's a guy thing, I think, and honestly I don't really blame him! I don't think that you should forgo all convenience in the name of frugality, particularly when the savings isn't huge. I can buy sandwich bread for $1/loaf (maybe less if I get lucky at the bakery thrift store), and while I've never figured the cost of a batch of homemade (umm, cause I don't like it anyway, so what do I care), I can't imagine it would be much cheaper.
  • So that's my platform, vote for me! I will continue to make pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, Cuban bread, and refrigerator yeast rolls on a regular basis to satisfy my need for my house to smell like Heaven. But I'm just not messing with sandwich bread!

So, while not every task needs to be examined in such detail, I think it's really important to spend a little time deciding what you want to do, and where you'll take some help from the grocery store. And if you hate doing some frugal task, figure out a way to make it less painful, because you're not likely to stick with something you hate, and then you'll feel all guilty about it. Why waste your life feeling guilty? Go watch Jersey Shore so you can feel better about yourself!


Here's a nice Groupon deal if you're planning a trip to Sioux Falls between now and April. Spezia is a really scrummy Italian restaurant on Louise Street, and you can get a $50 gift certificate there for $25. It expires 4/25/11, and cannot be applied towards gratuity or tax. Spezia has great food, and the prices aren't bad, plus the desserts are really nice. I definitely think you could get a nice meal for 2 for $50! Try the Shrimp Fra Diavolo!
We always used to go to SF in the fall and do some Christmas shopping, but I can't think of any stores there that I would want to go to now, other than World Market of course! So, sadly I'll probably skip this deal. I doubt I can convince my husband to go, unless I promise a meal at Famous Dave's.....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rapid City Swim Center Promotional Spot (and a pretty unflattering picture of me).


Obviously, I'm not affiliated with the Swim Center, but I wanted to tell you guys about some of the stuff they offer. First of all, they have a really nice indoor pool, so if you've never been, I really recommend it! It's always clean, and they work really hard to make sure there aren't any unsupervised kids running around raising cane, so we enjoy going, even with a toddler. There are actually 2 pools in the building, a lap pool and a leisure pool. The leisure pool has a zero entry side (like at the beach, you can just walk in to the water), a really nice play area with a slide and other fun stuff, and also a walking channel. The channel is like a walking path with a current of water, so it's a good workout if you want something low impact.

As far as programs, they have plenty of stuff going on. I started taking junior to Water Moms in Motion when he was 3 months old, and I can assure you that he loved the water from the start. I've never seen a baby there who didn't look totally comfortable, even the little tiny ones. Water Moms in Motion is an aerobics class for pregnant women, or women with new babies, and they offer it on Tues/Thurs at 5:30pm. I haven't gone for quite a while, but it's a good workout and I would definitely recommend it. Another thing we have taken advantage of is swim lessons, and they have another session coming up soon. The next session runs from Nov 6-Dec 21, and online registration starts 10/22. Prices range from $30-$45, and most of the sessions are one day/week. We plan to sign up for Aquatots this time around, and I can assure you they really do teach useful stuff, even to babies/toddlers. Another thing we go to routinely is Family Swim. It's offered on Tues/Thurs/Sun evenings. Finally, we go to Chocolate Splash, which is on Fridays from 11-12pm, and is for kids under 6.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christmas gift idea, for the XY set


So the Groupon deal today in Sioux Falls is for the online retailer Red Envelope, which is very much a gifty kind of site. The deal is that you get a $30 credit at Red Envelope for $15, which is a nice savings. I picked one up so that I can buy this item for my bro for Christmas. I realize this is the smallest possible picture, and would love for you all to guess what the heck it is, but I'll be nice and just tell you; they're called fire wires, which are like flexible skewers for the grill. You can thread food onto them, marinade it in a bowl, and then throw them on the grill, and they'll take up less room and generally be easier to use. Here's the link to Red Envelope, there's plenty of other interesting items!

I'm still standing, promise.


I honor of upcoming Halloween, I had to pick a creepy gravestone for this post. My point is that I'm really not dead, I'm still kicking. So here's the deal. I haven't posted for several days, cause frankly it's been all I could do to get out of bed, feed my son, and maybe take a shower. I have not been feeling well, but I think I'm doing better now, and I want to get our little blog back on track.
One of other my roadblocks has been trying to figure out what I should really be writing about. I don't want to post deals that are inaccessible to you guys, because I want budget living to be convenient and minimally time consuming. I have always tried to make it a point to post local deals that were available either without coupons, or with coupons that were currently available to print from somewhere on the Internet (or maybe in a current store ad, or something else that was still available). But then I got more into posting my grocery store trips, and I realized that they may be frustrating to you if you aren't already at that level of coupon use. But on the flipside, I think it's good to see what's possible by couponing. The other thing about living frugally that I want to emphasize is that it's sooooo not all about coupons. There are so many ways to save money on certain expenses, so that you have freedom to spend your money on the things that are important to you and your family.
So my point in all this rambling is that I'm looking for your input as to what you would like to see me focus on. I'm assuming that my only readers are people I know personally (if you don't actually know me, Hi, isn't the Internet a trip?!), so as I see you guys, will you tell me what you think? In the meantime, I'm going to try out some different topics and see what I feel like makes a good fit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cheap pumpkin related fun for the whole fam!


There's a Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival going on tomorrow in Rapid, here's the link for the info on the Journal's website. I would love to go see Charlie Brown at the Elks, but I do not think for one second that my child would sit still for that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday ad picks, 9/26-10/2

Okay, really quick, no frills, here's what I spotted.

Target
  • Orowheat bread is $1.50/loaf, I usually try to pay $1 or less per loaf of whole wheat bread, but this is definitely not a bad price for this brand.
  • A dozen eggs are $1, over my target price, but egg deals have been lacking lately.
  • If you have little kids, the infants and toddlers Hanes fleece is $3.50/item, so pants and a sweatshirt for $7. This is my favorite way to dress little kids when it's cold, absolutely no fuss!
  • If you're in the market, they have some Playtex bras on sale for $12, and mind blowingly, a handful of them have $2 coupons right on the label. I was in the market since I recently retired my nursing bras. Even this one.

Walgreens

  • Here's a Register Rewards deal for you, Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotion is $5.99, and you'll get a $5 RR back, plus you can use the coupon here (must register) to save a buck. They will have a couple of good deals next week that you can use the RR on if you want to give it a try, and I really like this lotion so I think you might too!
  • One other thing that just cropped up, they have a FREEEEE collage print if you use the code FBCOLL at checkout, and pick it up in store. This is good 9/30 and 10/1 only, and it's a Facebook promotion, just so you know where it came from. If you don't have a local Walgreens (that would be you Bubbles!), you can have it shipped to you for only .99, I think, so still a good deal. These are so nice, I always get recent pictures and just keep it on the fridge until the next free one comes along.

Family Thrift Center

  • I'm irritated with them, they haven't had good deals on anything that isn't processed crap and I'm sick of it! Meat and produce please? This week, the American Beauty pasta is a decent price, .60/lb. There are some in-ad coupons for cheese, lunch meat, etc. but the prices are nothing great. I'm not going!

Monday, September 27, 2010

If you shop at Safeway, consider this fair warning...


Okay, so I didn't get any recipes up today, I'll really try hard tomorrow! I also need to post Sunday ad picks, I'll really try hard tomorrow! I swear!
In the meantime, I had to share this with you; finding other people's shopping lists is one of my favorite grocery store games! Seriously, I love this peek into other people's lives. In the above example, I'm assuming the list writer is female, because the handwriting is super neat. I was excited to think maybe it was left by a Spiffy Biscuits reader (slim chance but you never know), because the first item is raspberries, which of course I've had things to say about. But then I saw "entrees", which I can only assume means packaged, frozen, whatever. So that's probably not someone looking to be super frugal with the grocery budget. Be forewarned, if I find your grocery list, I will conduct a highly unqualified psychoanalysis of whatever is on it! God help me if anyone ever finds my grocery list, complete with highly complicated annotations about coupons, e-coupon, catalinas, etc. Scary.
Check out this book on Amazon, someone is even more into this topic than me? I actually bought this book as a gift for someone, and regretted not reading it before I gave it to them.

Menu Plan, 9/26-10/2

I am really ready for fall and cooler weather, but it's supposed to be in the 80's most of the week, so I'm trying to minimize my use of the oven still. Also, my menu plan fell apart completely last week, I didn't feel well and really didn't want to cook (or eat), so I made this week's menu really super easy so that I will have better luck following it (this is a promoting success kind of menu in other words!)
  • Sunday we had white chili.
  • Monday; grilled cheese with apple and mustard, and green salad (these sandwiches are the bomb, just slice the apples really thin)
  • Tuesday; taco salads (homemade taco salad bowls are really easy, just shape flour tortillas on an upside down muffin tin and bake for a few minutes, and then fill as desired)
  • Wednesday; asparagus quiche that I was supposed to make last week.
  • Thursday; crock pot pot roast.
  • Friday; BBQ chicken drumsticks, potato salad.
  • Saturday; meatball calzones

I haven't decided what sweets I'm going to make, maybe just some no-bake cookies.

Shopping trip, 9/27


I had a really fun shopping trip this morning, not sure why but I just enjoyed myself! Thanks to my mom-in-law for watching junior, and to my awesome Safeway cashier Kimmey, who I adore! Here's what I did;


Safeway: I had a $5 catalina from my last trip, so I was ahead before I even started! I also had a few free item coupons that were set to expire on 9/30, so I burned those babies up. I'm going to try and write a feature on where to get free coupons soon, cause they are the funnest coupons of all! So here's what I bought;


  • The $2 Chex Mix was better than free after e-coupons from Cellfire and Shortcuts, plus a paper coupon from here.

  • The Pace queso was better than free after coupons from a contest that's over now, sorry guys.

  • The Coke was free after a coupon from mycokerewards.com

  • The Always pads were free thanks to a coupon that was included in a sample I requested a long time ago. Always request samples for things you use, they usually include good coupons.

  • The Campbells soup was free.

  • The eggs were $1.99.

  • The yogurt was .79/4 pack thanks to a rain check and coupons from here. The YoPlus is only $2/4 pack right now anyway, so $1 after coupon here if you need some.

  • The raspberries were 2.99

  • The Babybel cheese was 3.99 for 2 packs, thanks to a BOGO coupon from a while back.

So my total out of pocket at Safeway was 6.84, which is a 91% savings. I mentioned that the sales were pretty weak, so I picked up only things that I needed (eggs, yogurt) a couple of splurges (raspberries and the cheese), and of course the free things.


Next I stopped at Haggar's as usual for produce. I spent $7.92 on bananas, apples and squash, so we are set for the week! So, my total for groceries this week was less than $15, which is right in line for me; I mentioned last week that we usually spend $40/week, but when the sales are less than great, I cook from my stash and spend very little for the week.

Okay, so my plan is to write a menu plan and get that posted, and then I promised a couple of you my recipe for Key Lime cheesecake, so I will try to get that up today too! Here I go...



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wednesday Ad Picks, holy late edition, 9/22-9/28

I just realized I hadn't posted this, sorry guys! I'm going to blame my oversight on the total lack of exciting sales!

Safeway
  • 12oz Raspberries are $2.99, I got super excited for a second because there's an e-coupon for raspberries here, but it's only for the smaller sized containers. Boo. Still that's not a bad price, especially since they're out of season.
  • Fresh Express bagged salads are still $1, when I was in the store last I thought the pickings were pretty slim.
  • Lucerne cheese is $4.99/2 lb, block or shredded, this is an okay price if you need it, but I wouldn't buy it just to throw in the freezer.
  • Campbells Select Harvest Soup is $1 per can, so free after coupon here or here.
  • 18 eggs are $1.99 with the in-ad coupon, not a great price, but better than $1.59/dozen.
  • Jif peanut butter is still $1.49/18oz with in-ad coupon.
  • Silk Soy Milk is $1.99 with in-ad coupon, so only .99 after .75 off coupon here (must register), which will "double" to $1 off. You know how I've harped on you to try almond milk? Well, I've never tried soy milk, does anybody have anything to say about it?

Haggar's

  • Bananas are .33/lb.
  • Celery is .59/bunch.
  • Jonathan or McIntosh apples are 3lb bags for $2.
  • Squash is .59/lb.
  • Green peppers are .60/ea.
  • They're having a Mega Meat Sale, which sounds pretty rad, right? I didn't see any mind blowing prices though. Chicken quarters are .59/lb, which is okay. Chicken tenderloins are 1.99/lb, again just okay.

Don's

  • Onions are .69/lb.
  • Oranges are .69/lb.
  • I haven't mentioned the store coupons that they update every week for a while, you can always find them here. They haven't had anything good for a while though!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Groupon, 101 (WADE, DO NOT READ THIS ENTRY UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH)

Okay, this is just one of those things that sound so strange but are truly awesome. For those of you completely unfamiliar with Groupon, it's an online retailer that focuses on providing local deals for local businesses, like restaurants, spas, retailers, etc. By being featured on Groupon, these businesses can pick up some customers who might otherwise have overlooked them, and to entice us into buying, they offer a deeply discounted voucher for a limited time period. Unfortunately, Rapid City is not one of the locations where Groupon is available, BUT the featured deals for any given city may be an online store of some sort. And in that case, ANYONE from ANYWHERE can pick up the item. So, for example, today's Sioux Falls deal is a 16X20 canvas on which they will print your picture, and ship it to you for the price of $39. The site lists the value of this as $125, which of course I would never pay. But $39 for a BIG canvas is a nice deal, especially considering it includes shipping and tax (you gotta watch for the details of that with these kinds of deals, every one of them is different).

If you are interested in taking advantage of this, or any Groupon sale, be aware that it's only available for a little while. This deal will expire in about 12 hours, so get on it!

So I picked one of these up as a Christmas present, and I'll have a picture from our recent trip to Pittsburgh, featuring my adorable husband and kiddo hamming it up in front of Heinz Field, the home of the Steelers. This will go great in our shrine to all things Steelers corner of the office (not my idea of decorating, but I really like the guy so I indulge him).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shopping trip, 9/21


So here is my Safeway stop today. I also ran in to Wags for the milk, and then on my way home stopped at Haggar's again for the chicken. My total cost was 16.25 at Safeway, and I got another Catalina for $5 off my next purchase, thanks to the garbage bag deal I described in the video here. At Walgreens I spent $3.25 on the milk, and then at Haggar's I spent about $6 on the chicken (I realized how low I'm getting on chicken, so I picked up the drumsticks that are on sale through today only at .99/lb). So my week's worth of groceries was around $40, which is about right for us. I could probably have a tighter budget, but I like to have plenty of produce and milk around, and those things don't come free!


One thing people mention is that they don't want to make a lot of trips to various stores just to save a few bucks, and I completely agree. Usually, I have a 1 store limit, especially if I have baby cuteness with me. Today I was lucky enough to shop while he was at Grandma's, so I took advantage and made a few stops. But if I do have him, I just consolidate grocery stops in with other outings; when we go to story time on Thursday, I stop at FTC if they have anything, or maybe Target. After work on Wednesday, I might go into Wags since I drive past there. My point is, spending an entire day shopping is not my idea of fun, so I split it up to make it much easier. The other part of this is that I am a big planner. Seriously, I plan my entire shopping week at home with the ads, write out my lists in order of how the store is laid out, and consider whether I am going to additional stores and when to do so. I cannot tell you how much time this saves me in the store, it is sooooo worth it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shopping trip, 9/20



I'd like to start sharing my shopping trips a little more routinely, so that you can actually see what I buy, how much I spend, and then it will tie in with my menu plans too. Plus, I love to look at other people's shopping trips, I don't know why, but it appeals to me somehow. I also used to love the feature in the Rachel Ray mag that detailed everything someone ate during a random day. Maybe I'm just obsessed with food? Anyway, I'll make a real effort to post these while the sales are still going on, we'll see how well that goes!

So this was my Haggar's trip today, me and Junior walked there, so I totally think we get bonus points for being earth conscious! I spent $14.18, and this is a pretty typical trip for me, I buy a lot of my produce there. I mentioned pretty much all of the prices on these in my Haggar's post here, and the prices are good through 9/21.

I think they have fair prices, and I've never been disappointed in the quality. I have a theory on the fruit by the way; I think of fruit as short term vs. long term. For example, the peaches, bananas, and pears are short term, and when they're ripe, you don't have time to ponder whether you should eat them or not, so I don't buy them in large quantity. The oranges however, will be fine in the fridge for a few weeks, so I can eat them now, while I wait for the short term stuff to ripen, and then go back to them after the short term stuff is gone. I know that buying too much is a problem for some of you, so try to think about it this way and see if that helps. My other long term fruit favorite is apples, but I've yet to see any great deals on them. The veggies I don't worry about as much, since I work them into my meal plans I know they'll get used within just a few days. The little jar is ginger, I've been wanting to make gingerbread, which is a seasonal craving that I have occasionally; not often enough to buy a quantity of ginger, which would be cheaper by the ounce, but wouldn't get used very quickly.

I'm planning on hitting Safeway tomorrow, and also Walgreens for some milk, so I'll post that promptly!

Menu Plan, 9/19-9/25

Sunday; we broke rank and picked up Chinese take out. I am still swollen from salt overload, but it was so good!

Monday; I'm in a fall mood, but it's hot outside, how did that happen?? So, I guess we're grilling tonight, chicken cordon bleu and potatoes, I'll try to post recipes soon.

Tuesday; Chicken strips, deep fried and everything, and oven fried cauliflower and broccoli. Bar food comes to my house!

Wednesday; Our meatless choice for the week, asparagus and havarti quiche, so yummy you won't miss the meat! I'll post this recipe too.

Thursday; Honey dijon chicken, green salad. I haven't made this for probably 4 years or so, but when I was writing the menu I asked my husband if he had any requests, and he pulled this one out! How funny, we'll see if I remember how to make it.

Friday; Meatball sandwiches, green salad.

Saturday; I'm thinking calzones this week, my pizza dough recipe works great for this, fill with whatever you want and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. I'm thinking a seafood alfredo calzone would be a nice treat. Also, I wanted to mention if you'd like a wheat pizza dough, you can sub 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, and it won't change the taste in the slightest. I haven't experimented with more whole wheat flour than that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday ad picks, 9/19-9/25

Safeway has a Sunday ad, it's medium at best.
  • Fresh Express bagged salad is $1/bag.
  • Jif Peanut Butter is $1.49 with the in-ad coupon, which is not bad since it's still an 18oz container.

Family Thrift Center

  • I was really hoping for a great deal on eggs, but no luck this week. They have a few of their organic products in the ad that match up with coupons here, for example 220z of apple juice would be $1.69. For some reason, I can't open their normal page for store brand coupons, but I don't think I'm missing anything too exciting. It looks like cheese is 2.49/lb with coupon from here if it will open for you, which isn't bad if you need it, but not a stock up price.

Target didn't have anything that caught my eye. We were there on Saturday, and I know they have the LaCroix 8 packs of flavored sparkling water on a price cut right now to $2.50, so $1.25 with coupon here. I love this for entertaining, and I also love that the package lists the French name for grapefruit, "pamplemousse". Perhaps the funnest word ever.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Did you just hear a holler of joy from Piedmont?


Milk will be $1.99 at Walgreens starting Sunday! Hooray!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday Ad Picks, 8/15-8/21

Safeway
  • I've read that the Scrubbing Bubbles deal I talked about here is going on until 9/21, but I can't confirm that. If I do it again I'll let you know if it's still working, but really I think I'm done. 12 cans is a lot for our household, I'm actually a vinegar and baking soda kind of girl, BUT I don't do bathrooms, so my darling husband will be using this!
  • There are a handful of produce deals; CO peaches are .99/lb, potatoes are still 10lb for 1.99, pears are .99/lb.
  • There's a buy 5, save $5 promotion that will make for a decent price on 2 things I need, Nabisco saltines will be .99, and Maxwell House coffee will be $1.99 for the 10-12oz cans, plus there is a coupon here for $1 off 2. There are probably lots more items included in this sale, but only a few are included in the ad, so look for the special tags in the store to see if there are more good deals to be had. And don't go crazy buying Saltines, they don't keep as long as other crackers!
  • Kraft cheese slices are 2.49, and if you want to buy 5 (or a combination of these and other Kraft cheese products), the coupon that I mentioned a couple weeks ago, which you can still print here, would save you $5 total. Not bad, sliced cheese (other than nasty Singles type stuff) is expensive, and it keeps fine in the fridge.

Haggar's

  • Lot's of good prices on produce; green grapes are .99/lb, broccoli is .99/bunch, cauliflower is $2/head, oranges are 4lb for $3, pears are .99/lb, asparagus is 2.99/lb. Something tells me I'm going to spend most of my budget for the week at Haggar's.

Don's

  • Flour is 1.29/5lb, which is the best I've see for a while. I just bought 25lb at Sam's for $7.54 out of desperation.
  • Oranges are .69/lb, the best so far for the season.
  • Green peppers are .59/ea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Someone better take the butter away from me.



I was in a mood tonight, and nothing was going to fix it except chocolate. And this my friends, is about as much chocolate as this girl can handle. These cookies are pretty stinkin' indulgent, and I would definitely recommend if you need a fix! Mine are nowhere near as cute, but I've never had much patience with roll out cookies anyway. Even if these cookies don't trip your trigger, you should check out this blog, it blows my mind. I wish I had as much patience as this woman!

Free movie rentals!



I hesitated to post about this, because I've had trouble with it, but after some customer service intervention, I thought I'd better share with you! There is now a Blockbuster Express kiosk at the Westside Safeway store, and Blockbuster seems to be pretty generous with free rental codes! I got an email with one on Monday, and it didn't work, but I rented a movie anyway. The previous couple of codes that I tried haven't worked either, so I emailed customer service, and they refunded the charge; you may have to do the same thing if you give this a try. Usually the codes are valid for one day only, and the one they emailed me today is WDVD1, valid till midnight today only. If you want the codes to be emailed to you, just sign up for their newsletter. If you don't use a code, it's only a buck/night, so cheap entertainment either way.


Redbox is the other company that has these DVD rental machines, and if you sign up for text messages with them, they'll text you a code for a free rental on the first Monday of every month. I actually prefer Redbox because there are more locations. They also charge a dollar/night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's the math on that?

Okay, here's a "quick" video about a nice deal that you can get in on at Safeway right now. I'm sorry, I don't know how long this deal will last, so I would get in there if you want to take advantage of it. As I mentioned in the video, Bargain Blessings is where I got the details for this deal. She does a great job with Denver division Safeway, check her out.

I can't upload to Blogger, so I'm giving you the youtube link again. Sorry. I'll work on that someday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan, 9/12-9/18

Okay, at least I'm posting it, even it if is late. Again.

Sunday; Hawaiian meatballs, which we were supposed to have last week, but I had to rearrange my entire universe to use up some chicken first. These meatballs are responsible for the scallions/green onions debate, see previous entry. They have a lot to answer for. But they were pretty good!
Monday; I had some chicken to use up. Again. Not sure why. Anyway, I made chicken lo mein, which is my code name for chicken with Ramen noodles, and I swear on those 130 dollar Dansko's that it is good. Basically you boil some water, cut some chicken into bite sized pieces, stir fry it for a couple minutes, throw in some minced garlic, cook a pack or 2 of Ramen noodles in the boiling water for 2 minutes or so, throw in some frozen veggies (or fresh really, I used fresh broccoli and frozen pepper strips tonight), add the noodles, a little bit of sesame oil if you have it, and about half the seasoning pack from the Ramen. Stir the whole mess up, and dinner is done. I got this idea from Real Simple, I think, a few years ago, maybe.
Tuesday; cabbage rolls, cauliflower with cheese sauce. Holy comfort food!
Wednesday; chickpea spaghetti, I'll let you know if it's a keeper. Meatless Monday is being relocated a lot lately.
Thursday; Date Night! We're actually going to see Rodney Carrington, will I see any of you there? Here's the kicker, we're going to see Jeff Dunham in November, so I told hubs that October date night will consist of a Wine Tasting followed by a Ballroom Dancing lesson.
Friday; Lentil soup maybe?
Saturday; pizza night, hurray for pizza night.

Spiffy biscuits invesigates the unknowable.


So, I often find myself wondering about random things, and I wonder if others wonder the same things, but are not bothered enough to investigate? I'm afraid that I am often too lazy to just google it, whatever "it" is, but then other times I find myself sucked into Wikipedia for 3 hours, clicking on the related links. Either way, I annoy myself with my triviality.


But this, I needed to share with you. Hubs and I were debating the other night about green onions vs. scallions. The same? Surely not too different? He said they were different, I voted that they were the same. And now I'm tempted to go wake him up to gloat! Indeed, they are the same darn thing, although it seems that most recipes prefer "scallions", while the Safeway ad usually says "green onions". I think the recipes are putting on airs. Personally, I say gronions, which is a holdover from my high school years slinging hash at Taco Bell.


Regardless, I win!

You're going to spend my college money on those ugly shoes?

I guess not cutie. Rest easy.

OMG, how 'bout these?


I NEED these shoes. Anybody got 130 bucks I can borrow?

Dear Lord, they're like a piece of art! Does anyone understand where I'm coming from?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday ad picks, 9/12-9/18

Safeway has a Sunday ad that has a couple of good deals.
  • 10lb of potatoes are $1.99. Cheap eats people, I am planning to share some potato recipes too.
  • Cantaloupes are .99/ea with in-ad coupon. If you didn't get a paper today, and therefore don't actually have this Sunday ad, you may or may not find it in the store. Just be forewarned, but if you strike out check with customer service.
  • Whole wheat sandwich bread is .99/loaf with in-ad coupon, hurray! Now I'm hoping that they will be sold out when I go in to the store, so I can rain check that baby. My freezer continues to be quite full. I keep thinking I need to cook that stupid turkey. Please don't ask how long it's been in there. This message will now self destruct.
  • Store brand creamer is $1.69/32oz, again with in-ad coupon.
  • Organic people; 1/2 gallons of milk are $1.99 with in-ad coupon, I love that Organic milk tends to have a really long storage time. Is it longer than regular milk? Maybe it's a carton vs. gallon thing? Feel free to weigh in, I'm even more rambly than usual tonight. You can ramble too!

Family Thrift Center gets a pass this week. I didn't see a single thing that I felt would be a good deal. Target was a snooze too, but I didn't really look very close, I'll holler if I see anything.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Greek Chicken, authenticity not guaranteed.

I really know very little about Greek food; Spanakopita, Feta cheese, olive oil and the healthiest diet in the world, right? That's about the extent of my knowledge. But I love trying new things, I think because I have about 25 years of picky eating to make up for (sorry about that Mom, I'm starting to see what a pain in the butt I must have been!) So, thanks to a great deal on Feta, (thanks Merissa!), I have been inspired to use my fabulous, salty cheese for more than just salads. Here's what I made last night.

Greek Chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise and salt and peppered
1 TBSP olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup chicken stock, or white wine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup or so of artichokes from a can or jar (water packed, not marinated), drained, quarter them if they're big
1 can sliced black olives, or a handful of pitted Kalamata olives chopped
8 oz Orzo pasta

Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add the oil. Once it's hot, put the chicken breasts. Don't move them, just let them cook for a few minutes so they get some color. Once they're golden, flip and brown them until they're cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate. Throw the onion and garlic in to cook until translucent, add more oil if need be. Pour in the stock to deglaze all the little bits off then pan, then add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, the basil and oregano and let it all simmer for a few minutes. At this point, your water should be boiling for the Orzo, so throw that in the pot with some salt and cook according to directions. Once the sauce has been simmering long enough for the diced tomatoes to be cooked, taste it and adjust seasonings, then add the artichoke hearts, and the olives, and put the chicken back in with any juices from the plate it's been resting on. Stir it carefully once the 'chokes are in, you don't want to break them apart. When the Orzo is done, plate it all up and put some Feta on top.

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Cook's ramblings
  • If you have a lemon, I would squeeze some juice in just before serving; a little acid would definitely brighten it up.
  • Orzo is a very small pasta, shaped somewhat like a grain of rice.
  • This would be great with shrimp. I was also think grilling the chicken would be really nice. But I can tell you my hubs raved about it just the way it is.
  • The great deal I got for the Feta is a buy one, get one free coupon that I used at Safeway, where the 24oz packages are only 5.99. The great bogo Athenos coupon still shows up on Facebook, so grab yourself one! Just like Athenos cheese, and then click on the coupon tab to find it. The sale at Safeway runs through 10/31, (I think) so plenty of time to use it! If you are not a Facebook user and you want a coupon, let me know, I still have one left. 2 big tubs for $5.99 is a great price!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday Ad Picks, 9/8-9/13

Safeway has lots of in-ad coupons this week! Remember, you CAN combine a Safeway store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon.
  • 7-Up 6 packs are $1.49 with in-ad coupon. Just a heads up, I was going to pick some up today (a splurge, usually I only buy soda if it's free), and the 8th Street store does not carry them. I guess I didn't really need it!
  • Mission chips are $1.29 with the in-ad coupon, and there are e-coupons at Cellfire for any Mission product. If anybody ever finds the MDA booklet, there are .55 off coupons in there that will double to make these only .29/bag, but again I didn't spot any of the booklets, bummer.
  • Welch's Healthy Start juice is $1.99 with the in-ad coupon, and there are coupons on coupons.com for $1.50 off, so only .50! I use this in smoothies all the time.
  • Hormel Lunch Meat is $1.99/8 oz package with the in-ad coupon from the smaller Safeway pull-out ad, and there is a coupon here for .55 off, which will double and give you a price of .99. I plan to buy a few of these, it's tough to get lunch meat in quantity, so while this isn't a mind blowing price, I'll still stock up. These usually have a sell-by of at least a couple of months out, so they'll be fine in the fridge for a while. There are also blinkie coupons in the 8th Street store for .55 off, but I can tell you these WILL NOT double. If you want to use them, just go to customer service after you check out and they'll reimburse you (I prefer to avoid the hassle)
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are .99/lb.
  • Sandwich bread is $1.25/loaf for the whole wheat, this seems to be the best price they're offering lately.
  • Frozen chicken breasts are $7.96 for a 4lb bag, and there is an e-coupon you can load here to take off $2. Remember, the e-coupons that you load from Safeway are notorious for not coming off, so if you choose to do this, I would definitely print your list of loaded coupons and be prepared to go to customer service. I'm not sure I want to deal with the hassle, but I can tell you these are really convenient; I used to be kind of snotty about frozen chicken (I honestly have no idea why, I sincerely doubt it's any different than the fresh stuff, maybe even better since it's not been frozen and thawed like the "fresh" stuff usually is), but I am a convert. I just used some of this tonight for Greek Chicken (no, that was not the menu plan, a deviation was required). Very handy!

Haggar's has some great produce sales!

  • Onions are 3lbs for .98, God bless you Haggar's! Paying .99/lb for them has been chapping my rear.
  • Pears are .99/lb, as are Gala apples.
  • Red potatoes are 1.48/5lb.
  • Gronions are 3 for $1.
  • Carrots are 2lbs for .99.
  • Cabbage is .29/lb.
  • Split chicken breasts are .99/lb.

Don's didn't really impress me, some decent produce prices but nothing I'd make a trip for. Haggar's definitely has them beat this week!

Family Thrift is on my list. And I don't mean my shopping list. Remember the pasta and pasta sauce prices I posted here? Well I printed the coupons, and you actually save .50 on 2, not 1. So price is .75 each, nothing special. I really found this to be misleading in the ad, and even on the coupon page on-line, it said nothing about buying 2 until you actually print the coupon. Grrr!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan, 9/6-9/11

I thought I'd see if I can make this more of a habit, we'll see how I do. This post will be retroactive since it's already Tuesday!

Sunday; broccoli/cauliflower cheese soup and homemade bread (I save all my broc/caul trimmings in the freezer for this, broccoli stems in particular are great to use and you can keep them out of the garbage.
Monday; we had tentatively planned a family get together at my Mom's, so I didn't plan anything; we ended up having to reschedule the get together, so I pulled out my secret stash of cheater products from the freezer and pantry, breaded fish, french fries, and a can of corn. I am definitely not above doing this!
Tuesday; tacos and homemade refried beans
Wednesday; chicken and mushrooms in a creamy pink sauce, roasted potatoes, green salad
Thursday; Hawaiian meatballs over rice, green salad
Friday; chicken tacos, guac, green salad (I'll think of you when I make these tacos Bubbles! Do you want the recipe for the marinade?)
Saturday; my adorable hubs turns 32 (!), so dinner is at mom-in-laws; what should I bring?

I would really like for my son to eat salad, so I'm going to try the immersion tactic and throw it on the table 3 nights in a row, with the hopes that he'll give it a try. Anyone interested in betting how well this works?

I made magic cookies yesterday, and I'm going to make raspberry-lime sherbet (or sorbet maybe) sometime this week too. Have you ever made magic cookies before? They are super easy, and produce no dishes, you mix graham cracker crumbs with butter, press it into a pan, throw whatever chips (chocolate or otherwise) and nuts you want on top, then pour sweetened condensed milk all over the top. I use homemade sweetened condensed milk, so I can't be sure, but I think the recipe is on the can of the name brand stuff (of course I have to do it a bit differently!)

Pass on the Sunday ads, 9/5-9/11

I think there were a few deals to be had, but darned if I really care enough to find them!

Safeway
  • There is a Sunday ad, but it's lame to the extreme. What's with the junk food Safeway? I'd like some produce deals please.
  • I did want to mention if you're interested in the iTunes gift cards deal for a $5 catalina for your next purchase when you buy 2 cards, I was happy to find that they have $15 iTunes cards, so only $30 out of pocket and you get the $5 cat. Remember this ends tomorrow!

Family Thrift Center

  • Canned fruit is .58 each, 18oz of peanut butter is 2 for 1.98, a jar of pasta sauce is .50, and 16oz of pasta is .50, all with coupons here. They also have a few coupons for frozen items, like strawberries and pancakes that might go well with the frozen foods sale, see below.
  • The only other thing I saw that really seemed great is the frozen foods sale, one day only on 9/11; it looks like all frozen will be an additional 20% off. The Jack's pizzas are only $2 right now, so $1.60 after the sale, and I have a coupon for another $1 off 3, I'm really sorry but I don't know which circular it came from.

Walgreens and Target aren't even worth mentioning. Again, there are some Register Rewards deals at Wags if you want to try that out. Let me know if you have questions!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of meatball cookies.

So I made meatballs this afternoon. I don't know what it is about them, but I just love the little things, and having a supply in the freezer makes it so easy to pull together a meal when you barely have the energy to take your shoes off. And then you get to eat them! I wanted to give you a quick (hah!) overview of how this all works, not necessarily the specific recipe, but more the technique. I ended up with 12 meal sized portions of cooked meatballs, and what I want you all to see is that it really isn't any harder than making a big batch of cookies. In fact the parallels are significant.



You need a sous-chef. Discourage him from eating the "cookie dough".





There's the beef! This is about 7 pounds, remember it's $1.49 at Haggar's til Tuesday!



This is important; once you do your egg, bread crumb, onion and whatever the heck else you want treatment, you'll want to check the seasoning before you commit. I just made little bitty patties from both batches of meat, fried them up really quick, and tried them out. Perfect!

This is a meatballer (I made that name up, just go with it), much like a cookie scoop but it shapes all sides of the meatball. If you are making big batches, or even small batches, I recommend you drop a few bucks on one. It won't make perfect meatballs, you'll still have to shape them a bit, but it will give you a good start and ensure a uniform size.

I never fry meatballs, because the attention they require and mess that they make causes me extreme irritability. I bake them at 350 for about 15 minutes, and they keep their shape so much better, and don't splatter grease everywhere. Don't they look like greasy drop cookies? No?

By the time you get to the bottom of the bowl(s), your thumbs will be tired!

The end result. My 7 pounds of ground yielded 12 meal sized portions of cooked meatballs, which are now nestled into the freezer, waiting to be further crafted into spagetti, meatball sandwiches, pizza toppers, Swedish meatballs, and certainly many other yummy things. I know you guys are busy, so I want you to know that I timed this whole process, and even with breaks to dance with my sous-chef while singing "Carry on my Wayward Son", it took me almost exactly one hour, done and dusted! Hilarious side note; in the above picture, my crap camera advised me "a subject has blinked", and even highlighted the offending meatball with a little yellow box. Much like small children, it's very difficult to get your meatballs to cooperate for a picture.

My best Chinois yet.

I love Chinese food, but making it at home can be a royal pain. It goes so quick and requires so many ingredients that I find myself stressed out trying to pull it together, with every pot, pan, and wooden spoon that I own dirty. Grr. So I have finally come up with a recipe that works beautifully for me, doesn't require a ridiculous amount of ingredients, tastes great, and left me with only one load of dishes. As it should be. Here's the recipe, then I have a few more comments to make. Cause I can't shut up?

Crispy beef stir fry

3/4-1lb round steak, very thinly sliced across the grain, lightly peppered
1/3 cup cornstarch
canola oil to 1" depth in a wok or large skillet
2 cups green beans
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef broth (low sodium would be best)
1 very heaping tablespoon of black bean garlic sauce
a couple splashes of vinegar (rice wine is great if you have it, if not any vinegar would be fine)
a dash of toasted sesame oil
a couple splashes of soy sauce (again low sodium if possible)
a couple squirts of honey
steamed white or brown rice

Heat oil over medium high heat. Combine broth, black bean garlic sauce, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl; stir well and set aside. In a zip top bag, toss the steak strips with the cornstarch to coat. Once the oil is hot, fry the steak in batches until very crisp and dark golden brown. Remove and place on a flour sack towel to drain. Carefully drain the oil out of your wok, leaving just enough to coat the pan, return the pan to high heat. Add the veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, and then add the sauce mixture. Cook until the sauce is bubbly and starts to reduce and thicken, still over high heat. Once the veggies are cooked to your desired consistency, add the beef back in to the mixture, but do not toss to coat, as you will lose the crispiness. Serve over rice.

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Okay, so here are some things I wanted to mention.
  • I buy round steak only when it is super cheap (duh Megan, isn't that the point of this blog?). I paid $1.99/lb for it at Safeway, probably in May, and bought a motherlode. I cubed and sliced all of it and froze it in meal sized portions. I cannot tell you how handy this is!
  • I know you may not have black bean garlic sauce or sesame oil in your fridge, but you should. Really, these are the only 2 ingredients in this recipe that are the least bit exotic, but it makes the flavor of this meal. Buy the tiniest bottle of sesame oil you can find and keep it in the fridge, and seriously go light with this stuff, it is strong. I'm sorry I'm not more specific with measurements, but you're making stir fry, not a souffle, so you don't have to be precise.
  • It probably goes without saying, but you can use any veg that you like. Broccoli would be great, carrots would work, mushrooms would be nice, etc. The green beans were great, thanks to my husbands coworker who gave us a ton, and whose name I never got! We appreciate it!
  • I don't salt the beef because the broth, soy, and black bean sauce have plenty of salt in them.
  • I always used to make fried rice when I made a stir fry, and letting go of this compulsion has definitely made me more relaxed about stir fry. Fried rice is really easy, but I don't like having to tend to multiple things that all need to come together at once, so steamed rice is a better pick for me. Anyone interested in a fried rice recipe? The beef alone would be great with fried rice.
  • I have to thank Sandra Lee from the Food Network for the idea to coat the beef in cornstarch and fry it, she was making some kind of stir fry on Money Saving Meals, and that was the only part of the show I caught. Frying the beef is offset by the veggies, right?

More random stuff.

I stopped at Walmart today, and they have corn on the cob for .10/ear, that's a nice price! I didn't see anything else that was great price wise, I was hoping for cheap berries, but no go. They did have something that made me break my produce rule of nothing more than $1/pound though. Have you ever had champagne grapes? They are tiny little red grapes, smaller than a Skittles candy. They are soooo sweet and yummy, and it's really rare to see them in stores, usually only once a year do I actually come across them. If you are masochistic enough to go to Walmart, you should definitely check them out! I bought a clamshell package of them for $2.99, interestingly I didn't see a weight on them but I would guess maybe 12oz?

One other note, if you are interested in free swimming; the current free advertiser thing that the Journal puts out has a coupon for free family night swim at the Swim Center. This is a great deal, family swim is usually $9 I think (it may have gone up), and they have it every Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday evening. We used to go every Sunday without fail, but we took the summer off. I'm looking forward to starting again! You should find the Advertiser in the blue dispenser things next to where they sell the Journal. By they way, there is also a coupon for a free aerobics class, they have some great water aerobics there. I should probably start that again too...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spiffy biscuits humbles herself, for a minute anyway.

So I have to apologize to Haggar's. I recently commented on how much I dislike their ad as it always seemed like a mess to me, too much random stuff everywhere. But I picked up their current ad today, and I am super impressed, it flows logically for me, and the pictures actually match the descriptions! Oh the little things. Anyway, if they are on your route, I already mentioned a couple of nice deals here. I also see they have green peppers at .60/each, and on the 5th page there is a coupon for .75 off a gallon of milk, which will be 2.50 on Tuesday (sorry, I don't know the usual price of it, but they always advertise that it's 2 for $5 on Tuesdays), so with the coupon only 1.75! I am obsessed with milk.

One other note, on the $5 Kraft coupon here; through Saturday, Thrift Center has their shredded or block cheese, 8oz packages at 3 for $5, no limit is listed in the ad. I'm going to use my coupons there rather than at Safeway so that I don't have to mess with the limit of 3 that Safeway has in place. That will make the price $1.34/lb! Hurray for cheap cheese!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How much are Egg Beaters?

This might make for a good deal, but I honestly don't know. There is a coupon for Egg Beaters here, and you can load an e-coupon to your Safeway card here. That would make for a total of $1.50 off, anybody know what these go for? Handy if you're making mousse or ice cream that calls for raw eggs. Chocolate mousse sounds good...

Wednesday Ad Picks, 9/1-9/7

I'm baaaack! Thanks goodness too, traveling with a toddler is a tough gig; for those of you who haven't done so, just don't. For those of you who already knew that, why didn't you tell me??? Were you all laughing at me behind my back? Just kidding, it wasn't that horrible, but we are so glad to be home. Here are a few deals for you;

Safeway
  • First of all, just a comment, I will definitely be waiting to see if there is a Sunday ad this week before I go shopping. Since Monday is a holiday I would bet there will be some more deals come up for Sunday-Tuesday.
  • Mushrooms are .99/8 oz pack.
  • 3lb grapes are 2.99 (I don't like to buy 3lbs at a time though...)
  • Hidden Valley dressings are 1.99/16oz bottle, if you've been loading e-coupons you should be able to get 2 for free. There are also coupons in the Make a Muscle book, but I've heard that several of you still can't find them.
  • There's an in-ad coupon for Kraft cheese, 8oz slices or 6-8oz shredded or chunk at $1.69. There is also a coupon here for $5 off 5 items. Unfortunately, the limit on the in-ad coupon is 3, so you'll have to find 2 other Kraft items if you want to use the manufacturer's coupon. When you print the MF coupon, it gives you a list of the participating products, so check them out to see if this is still a good deal.
  • Coffee-mate creamer, 32oz size is $1.99 with the in-ad coupon, so only .99 after the MF coupon here - you have to register in order to print the coupon.
  • This isn't mind blowing, but I'll probably take advantage of it; if you buy 2 iTunes gift cards, you'll get a Catalina for $5 off your next grocery purchase. This is nice because you're not going to get any perks for buying iTunes cards at a store like Target or Walmart. I like to buy these for my husband, so he'll get one for his b-day and I'll save one for Christmas. I definitely prefer to use these cards rather than keeping a credit or debit card on file with iTunes, this puts a limit on how much damage you can do!

Haggar's

  • I haven't really looked at the ad, as I find their ad to be terribly annoying with random things everywhere. BUT, junior and I walked to the store this morning (huge mistake, the wind almost knocked me over), and picked up 80% ground beef at $1.49/lb (I really am going to make meatballs, and that's a great price, you probably won't do better unless you find some marked down due to a short date), peaches at .99/lb, strawberries at $2/package, and grapes at .99/lb (thanks Haggar's for not making me buy 3lbs!) I'll let you know if there's any other fabulous finds there.

I wasn't around to pick up the Sunday paper, so I don't have a FTC or Walgreens ad yet. You can find them both online, but I like to have a paper copy to write notes on (what can I say, I think I'm a coupon artist or something, so I must have my needs met in order to perform!). Again, if I see anything, I'll let you know! I did glance at Walgreens ad to check for cheap milk (no dice), and noticed they have several free after Register Rewards items this week, so it might be a good week to give that a try and figure out how it works.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How to save money on a vacation

A surprise post with ideas for how to save money on a vacation!
  • Don't take a small child.
  • Don't eat at Joe's Crab Shack.
  • Don't step foot in Ikea.

That's all I can think of for now, back to normal posts on Thursday, hopefully! I miss everyone, see you soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

In my absence...

So I probably won't have anything to say until I get back from our trip, and I wanted to turn you on to some other girls who have plenty to say about saving money! I added some links on the right side of the page to some blogs that I enjoy, check them out!
  • Hip2Save is a super active blog, there are always many, many posts every day. She covers lots of online deals, and also drugstore deals.

  • My Frugal Adventures is another really busy blog, she does online deals and grocery stores too. She's in CA, so her Safeway deals are a bit different from our Denver division store, but there's always enough overlap that it's worth checking out.

  • Bargain Blessings does an outstanding job of covering Denver division Safeway, and uses a great grading system on her grocery store deals, so you have an easy reference as to what's a good price. For example, free things get an A, and really good sales get an A-.

  • Little House on the Prairie Living is a local gal who covers all our local grocery stores, and also posts great frugal living tips. This is the only place you'll find stores like Family Thrift and Don's Valley Market (at least that I know of!), how cool is that?!

  • The Coupon Goddess is totally hilarious, so even though she's on the east coast and her stores are different, you should read her for a laugh. She does cover Target and drugstores, so some of her deals will apply to us out here in the midwest. I think of her as a provider of ridiculously funny anecdotes for a couponing mom to appreciate.

  • Change of pace; Knock off Wood is a site devoted to plans for furniture that you, yes you, can build yourself. I have done a couple of projects recently that I'll show you when I get home, in the meantime, start looking around! The woman who writes the plans is amazing to me, and I am always inspired by her site.

Are there any blogs you have found that you love? The beauty of the blog world is that someone is writing about every conceivable subject, in pretty much every language, you just gotta find them. See you all next week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Everyone loves pizza! It's cheesy goodness!

One of my menu stand-by items is homemade pizza. I absolutely love to make it, eat it , and even clean up the dishes from it! I really do feel that strongly about it, so I wanted to share the script with you. Here's the recipe, then a few comments.

Homemade pizza, yields 2 pizzas

3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
1 TBSP oil (I use olive, any oil should be fine)
1-1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor with the dough blade in place. If kneading by hand, add oil and most of the water, knead for 10 minutes. Add more water if too dry, or flour if too wet. If using food processor, while it is running pour in the oil and then about 1 cup of water. Add water just until it forms a ball, and then continue to run until the ball has circled the work bowl about 15 times.

Cover the dough with a bit more oil, place in bowl and cover. Allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. If time allows, gently knead back down and allow to rise again; this will make for a chewier crust, but is not necessary.

Heat your oven to 450, and prepare your pizza pans by greasing and dusting with cornmeal. Divide the dough in two pieces, and roll them or stretch them to fit the pan. Top with pizza sauce, then toppings of choice. Don't apply the cheese just yet. Bake at 450 for about 10-12 minutes, until the crust starts to turn golden, then apply the desired cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes.

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Okay, so here are my tips, brevity is not my gift.

The dough is super easy, and perfect if you have never made bread or kneaded something before. Here are some reference pictures. I have never had it fail, so don't be scared. I used to try and be neat when kneading by keeping the dough in a bowl; don't do this. You get better leverage if you knead on the counter, so it will get to the smooth/elastic stage quicker. If you have a food processor with a dough blade, this dough will come together in like a nanosecond.

This crust is good if you let it rise once; if you have time to let it rise twice, it's awesome. It becomes chewier, rather than just crispy. I'm sure you could throw it in the fridge if you want to make it a couple days ahead of time. Seriously, it's not fragile, so don't be scared. I like to brush the outer edge of the crust with butter and then sprinkle on some garlic salt for a special touch.

We have no need for 2 pizzas unless we have company, but I use this recipe to make 1 pizza and 1 batch of dough balls as I call them. I love bread sticks, they are the best part of take out pizza in my opinion, so I needed some kind of homemade answer to them in order to be satisfied with homemade pizza night. To make them, cut 1/2 of the above batch of dough into 24 equal sized pieces. Roll them into balls and place them in mini muffin tins that you have greased. Bake them for about 8 minutes in your 450 degree oven; you want them cooked through but really blond, not browned. Pour them into a bowl and toss them with butter, garlic salt, and Parmesan. They are the bomb!

Use pizza tins, cookie sheets, or pizza stones if that's your thing. Personally, I use these, pick them up at Walmart if you want to try them, I paid less than $10 a piece.

Toppings are the funnest part of making pizza. Some of my favorites are deli ham, black olives and canned artichoke hearts (water packed, well drained). I also make cheeseburger pizza, complete with dill pickles. Pizza can be a great way to use up leftovers. I made a BBQ pulled pork pizza with less than a serving of pulled pork, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and green peppers; my husband loved it. Salami and sliced green olives is yum. Pepperoni and green peppers is a great combo, I like to slice the green pepper into rings for an attractive presentation (somebody stop me, I'm turning into Martha). Canadian bacon or deli ham and pineapple is another classic. Someday soon, I will make a chicken/broccoli/Alfredo version; I have no doubt it will rock.

Hmm, did I miss anything? I've never really done the math, but homemade pizza is cheap, cheap, cheap! Often, the most expensive component for me is the black olives or artichokes, which are pretty much a must. If you're a Sam's shopper, they have pepperoni there, which freezes well. Mozzarella freezes fine when it's less than $2/lb of course, and I use tomato sauce rather than pizza sauce (what's the dif, really?).

Time wise this is a winner too. 10 minutes to knead the dough, then come back to it and spend the time it takes for your oven to preheat actually laying it out, and you're pretty much golden. Go open a beer!

Oh heavens, I almost forgot. This dough is perfect for making calzones too, I'm still drooling over one that had cubed ham, broccoli, and the motherlode of cheese in it. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes if that's what you're after.

Sunday ad picks, lazy edition, 8/22-8/28

I'm going on vay-cay Wednesday at the crack of o-dark:30 as we call it, and I don't need anything else cluttering up my fridge, I'm trying to clean it out! But since we do have to eat until then, and probably once we come home too, there are a few things worth noting.

Walgreens milk is $1.99 a gallon, you know how happy that makes me! I picked up 2 gallons this am, and the use by date is 9/7, so it will be fine in the fridge. The Land O Lakes milk is in the opaque plastic containers, and I don't know if that affects shelf life, but I have read that it helps the milk retain its vitamins, in comparison to clear plastic. Random note for you.

Safeway has a Sunday ad, It's full of junk food. And copy paper, 10 reams for $30. I have no idea if that's a good price, I just wanted to share that I think it's an odd thing for Safeway to sell.

Family Thrift has butter at 1.59/lb with coupon here. This is good marketing on their part, I wouldn't have paid any attention to the ad if I hadn't seen this on the front. They also have 80% ground beef at 1.79/lb, and I might pick some up, I used my last batch of freezer meatballs last week, and there's an empty spot in my freezer and my heart that I need to fill. Actually that's a lie, there's no room in my freezer, but I make room for meatballs. Anyway, if I make a batch of freezer meatballs, any interest in a pictorial? Okay, enough about meatballs. 34.5oz of coffee would be $4.49 with coupon here, is that a good price?

The Target ad bored me to tears, it might have been full of fabulous deals but I didn't see any.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Non-budget biscuit pampering

So I had a gift certificate for a pedicure (thanks to my coworkers when I quit my job, a year ago), and one for a massage (thanks Mom for the b-day present!), and I went whole hog yesterday and used them both.

I gotta say, if I had $50 to blow, the massage is a waaaay better choice. Having someone fuss over my feet for an hour made me feel vaguely uncomfortable, and my heels are still like sandpaper! Obviously, I would have to put forth some effort to have smooth feet, and that's probably not going to happen.

But an hour long massage transfers you to paradise for a little while! Check out Margo if you're interested in a massage, she's a sweetheart.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday Ad Picks, 8/18-8/24

Safeway has some sales again this week, though nothing as mind blowing as the sales with Catalinas last week!
  • Sargento cheese slices are $1.99/package with the in-ad coupon, combine that with the MF coupon you'll find in the MDA booklet and you'll pay .99/package after the MF coupon doubles. I also have a couple of e-coupons saved for this stuff. There is a limit of 3 and a minimum purchase of $10 to use the in-ad coupon, remember that minimum is pre-MF coupons, so always give the store coupons first at Safeway.
  • Jumbo Raw Shrimp in a 2lb bag are on sale for $9.98, and I'll use the $2 coupon from the Get out and Grill cookbook to pick up a bag of these.
  • 93% lean ground beef is 1.99/lb, that's not bad if you prefer lean beef.
  • 3lb clamshells of grapes are $2.99. Remember the produce coupon from the Serve up a Sandwich pamphlet!

I was in Target yesterday to pick up a script that I forgot to pick up the day before, when I made a trip specifically to pick up a script. Grrr. Anyway, they have a fair amount of clearance, including Glad brand garbage bags and Target brand frozen fruit. If you're going, check it out, those are items that you don't get for free, so clearance is nice!

Egg recall to be aware of.

There's a huge recall on eggs that may be tainted with salmonella, and though I don't see that there are any cases in South Dakota, you should double check the eggs you have in the fridge. Here's the link to the current list of recalled brands and their lot numbers. I see that Lucerne is listed on here, that's the Safeway brand so double check! All my eggs have come from FTC lately, and their store brand is not listed. If you have a recalled batch, take them back to the store and get your money back, don't just throw them away.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday ad picks, 8/15-8/21, actually make that just FTC ad picks.

FTC
  • I like to have the occasional cup of tea, and fall is coming (hurray!), so $1.29 for 20ct organic tea bags seems reasonable to me, use the coupon here.
  • 4pk of organic applesauce would be $1 with coupon here, if you aren't an organic person, it's cheaper at Target with the coupon from the Safeway Make a Muscle booklet.
  • 8oz packages of Our Family cheese are 2 for $2 with coupon here.
  • The $1 coupon is available for Our Family organic milk half gallons, right here. I don't usually print this one in anticipation, but sometimes you get lucky and they mark this milk down to .99 when it's near sell by, and then you can use this coupon to get it free! I've noticed that my husband now sniffs the milk before he drinks it, apparently he's leery of me and my marked down finds! Milk freezes fine, just pour a bit out of the container so it can expand.
  • Not a produce or meat deal worth mentioning in my opinion!

I'll pick up Target and Walgreens tomorrow, if there's anything good anyway!

Triple X Biscuits

Okay, this post will not save you any money, and it is definitely for adults only. But for some of you, who have nursed babies, I have no doubt it will crack you up.

So somehow, I am on the mailing list for Frederick's of Hollywood, which is like Victoria's Secret only trashier for those of you who aren't lucky enough to get their catalogue. Part of me thinks maybe I should call and request to be removed from the list, but I gotta be honest, some of the stuff amuses the heck out of me. Case in point; nursing bras are not particularly sexy, and I'm sure Frederick's would agree. Very much a form follows function kind of item, right? But amazingly, Frederick's carries a nursing bra, though they probably don't realize it. Check this out and tell me that your first thought isn't easy access for a hungry baby. And frankly, twenty eight bucks for a nursing bra isn't that bad! Probably wouldn't hold up very well in the laundry.

The best part is that when I pointed it out to my husband, he said "hey, is that a nursing bra?". Why yes honey, I think it is!