Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
- 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!
Friday, October 15, 2010
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
Friday, October 1, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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.
- 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
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
Monday, September 20, 2010
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
- 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
Thursday, September 16, 2010
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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
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.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
- 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
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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- 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
- 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
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!)
- 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
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.
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?
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
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
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
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
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
- 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!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
- 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!
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!