Thursday, February 25, 2010

No More Onion Smell

To get rid of the smell that lingers on your hands after you have handled and onion hold on to a stainless steel butter knife and hold it under cold running water for a few minutes. Rubbing salt between your hands for 30 seconds and rinsing off with cold water will do the same thing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Diet Coke Chocolate Cake

Thought I'd share a fun recipe today. Sunday I was craving a chocolate treat, and Jessica suggested that we make the cake that she had eaten at Mutual. She had been raving about it. Since anything with the words Diet Coke and chocolate in it have my 100% approval; I thought we would give it a whirl! I called my friend who gave me the recipe (she got it from her sister who is a heart health educator at the hospital. So apparently, it is also a healthy choice option! Hooray for me!). It is very simple:

1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used devil's food)
1 (120z) can of Diet Coke

Mix together. Spread batter in a greased 13x9 in cake pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Just warning you it does not come out light and fluffy, it is fairly dense. It tastes wonderful, though. It is best with a dollop of whipped cream on top (so much for healthy options. Oh, well!).
You can replace yellow cake and Diet 7 up if you are not a chocolate fan. I'm thinking about adding a can of light cherry pie filling into to the batter next time for variety.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sour Cream Substitute

I took advantage of the fabulous cottage cheese sale at Smith's about six weeks ago (it was $.88 a 16 oz. container) and bought 8 containers. Usually my family devours it and I can't keep it in the house. So, no worries. Well, when I cleaned the fridge out last week I found four cartons that had been kicked to the back of the fridge. Crud! It is at it's expiration date. Usually, I treat expiration dates as a suggestion, but we are pushing our luck now. To use it up I have gotten creative, and started using it in place of sour cream in recipes. I substituted a cup of it in The Sour Cream Blueberry Muffin recipe I got off the Idea Room. Delicious muffins, by the way! I pureed another cup and mixed it in with the sour cream for Chicken Enchiladas for dinner Tuesday. Today, I threw a carton in the food processor with two tablespoons of milk and a package of ranch dip mix. My family liked it better than when I use sour cream (and it's healthier, too). Tomorrow, I am using the last of it in baked pasta (basically my lasagna recipe, but I cook macaroni and use it in place of lasagna noodles).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Caselot Sale!

Just wanted to let everyone know that Pocatello Ridley's Marketplace is going to start their case lot sale on March 2nd. They usually run for two weeks. I have also noticed that most Associated Food Stores offer their case lot sales around the same time, so check with your local stores! Case lot sales are usually a great place to stock up on staples like flour, sugar, oil, toilet paper, beans, fruits, veggies, etc for a great price. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grocery Deals Week #2

This week I hit Albertsons to take advantage of their doubler coupons and the Kellogg's cereal sale, Fred Meyers to use the rebate coupons I received in the mail, Costco for use the monthly coupon flyer, and Winco for a few necessities.

3 boxes of Kellogg's Little Bites. $1.88 on sale. Used 1 coupon $1/1 with doubler ($2/1), final cost FREE, used 1 coupon $2/2 making two boxes $.88 each.
2 boxes Kellogg's Frosted Blueberry Mini Wheats. $1.88 on sale, used coupon for $2/2, final price $.88 a box
2 boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, on sale for $1.88 a box, used coupon for $1.50/2, final price $1.13
1 box of Apple Jacks, 3 boxes of Kellogg's Fruit Loops, 2 boxes Kellogg's Corn Pops, on sales for $1.88 a box, used 3 coupons for $1/2, final price $1.38 a box
(This week when you purchase 5 boxes of Kellogg's participating cereal it prints out a Catalina for $4.00 off your next purchase. I purchased 10 participating boxes and got 2 $4.00 off Catalinas)

2 (4 packs) of Dannon Activa yogurt, on sale for $1.99, used 2 coupons for $1/1 (one with a doubler, final price $.99 for one and one for FREE
6 Dannon Light and Fit yogurt, on sale for $.50 each, used coupon for $1/6 with a doubler ($2/6), final price $.16 each
6 Dannon Light and Fit yogurt, on sale for $.50 each, used coupon for $.60/6 with a doubler ($1.20/6), final price $.30 each
4 boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (14oz), on sale 10 for $10, used to coupons $1/2 with doubler ($2/2), final price FREE
Beginning total(before tax): $38.42
Total spent (before tax): $17.81
Total savings:$20.61 (not including $8.00 in Catalinas to use in the future)

Fred Meyers:
2 tubs Fred Meyer butter spread, on sale for $1.19, with in store coupon $.88 each
3.67 pounds of red tape bananas at $.29 a pound, final price $1.06
2 (9 oz) Oscar Mayers Deli Fresh lunch meat, on sale for 2 for $6.00, with in store coupon 2 for $5.00, used store rebate for $2.00 off purchase, final price 2 for $3.00.
Beginning total(before tax): $9.44
Total spent(before tax): $ $5.82
Total savings: $3.62

6 pounds of Anjou pears for $3.79 ($.63 a pound)
10 pounds of yellow onions for $3.79 ($.38 a pound)
2 loaves of Harpers Bran Bread for $3.75 ($1.88 each)
2 loaves of Harpers White Bread for $3.75 ($1.88 each)
5 dozen pack of large eggs for $5.99 ($1.19 a dozen)
4 gallons of milk $6.72 ($1.68 a gallon)
2 gallons of apples juice for $6.49, with $2.00 coupon, final price $4.49 ($2.25 a gallon)

1 Tampax (100 count) tampons for $11.99, used $3.00 coupon, final price $8.99
1 8 count pack of large Kleenex tissue for $13.99, used $3.50 coupon, final price $10.49
1 Dove shampoo (40 oz) for $6.99, used $2.00 coupon, final price $4.99
1 Kirkland brand Liquid Fabric Softener (174 loads) for $8.59
1 Kirkland brand Laundry detergent (110 loads) for $13.59, used $2.50 coupon, final price 11.09
1 box (2 gallons) white vinegar for $3.35
Beginning total (before tax): $92.78
Total spent(before tax): $68.61
Total savings: $24.17

.32 pounds of dried onion (at $3.38 pound) for $1.08
2.35 pounds of Cream of Wheat (farina cereal) (at $1.20 pound) for $2.82
2 boxes of Hytop lime gelatin for $.35 ($.70 for both)
1 box Jello lime gelatin for $.50 a box
1 package paper plates (100 count) for $4.12
1 box of wax paper for $1.16
1 container cupcake liners for $.78
1 bottle Witch Hazel (16 oz) for $2.28
2 cans of Hytop Enchilada sauce for $.65 each ($1.30 for both)
3 (16 oz) cartons light sour cream for $.98 each ( 2.94 for all three)
1 case (24 count) chicken ramen noodles for $3.98
1 box of Borax for $3.62
1 box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda for $2.67
1 (12 count) English muffins for $1.98, used coupon for $.55/1, final price $1.43
3.06 pounds of celery ( at $.78 pound) for $2.39
5.61 pounds of bone in chicken breast for $7.56, used $3.00 in store coupon, final price $4.56 ($.77 a pound)
5.20 pounds of bone in chicken breast for $7.66, used $3.00 in store coupon, final price $3.66 ($.70 a pound)
5.65 pounds of bone in chicken breast for $7.23, used $3.00 in store coupon, final price $4.23 ($.74 a pound)
Beginning total (before tax): $53.77
Total spent (before tax): $44.22
Total savings: $9.55

Beginning total for week #2: $194.41
Total spent for week #2: $136.46
Total savings for week #2: $57.95

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Crockpot Apple Butter

Today's post is dedicated to my dear sister in law (and you know who you are, Shannon) who has been requesting for quite some time that I post how to make apple butter in a crock pot. Well, after our conversation last weekend (where she informed me that she has boxes of mushy apples in her basement that need some attention), I have been guilted into it (just kidding). Apple butter is yummy, but a very time consuming process, if you follow the traditional methods. Several years ago I stumbled across this recipe in a cook book, and have tweaked to my families tastes. The secret is to place the handle of a wood spoon under the lid to allow the steam to escape slowly. That's what allows the butter to thicken. Stir it hourly also helps to break down the apples faster, too.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

3 quarts of apples
2 cups apple juice or cider
2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar (less if using sweet apples)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 ground cloves (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Peel, core, and chop apples (I like to use my apple peeler, slicer, corer) . Combine apples and juice in slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours (keep the lid on a this point you are cooking the apples right now. I start it before bed time and let it cook overnight). Next, stir in sugar to taste, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (if desired) and lemon juice. Prop up lid with spoon and continue to cook on high 4 - 6 hours (stirring hourly) until it reaches the desired consistency (a little bit thicker the applesauce). Pour into containers and freeze or pour into pint jars and process in water bath canner. Makes 5 pints of apple butter

You can tweak this recipe to make pear or peach butter, too. Fruit butters are a great way to use up mushy, over ripe fruit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Few Beauty Tips

I have to admit I am reaching the age where I'm starting to care that there are little lines forming in strategic areas of my face. It makes my very sad to admit that saying I'm 29 is no longer kosher (for several reasons). No body should have to worry about zits and wrinkles at the same time, right? Anyway, I hate to pay an arm and a leg buying facial washes and scrubs geared toward my skin type and not be happy with them. I have discovered that Noxzema skin cleansing cream (the kind in the blue tub that my mother would slather all over my sunburns every summer of my childhood) works just as good as anything. It cleans my face without being to greasy or drying. My next problem though, was the dry flaky patches that have appeared since the start of winter. Fed up, I mixed a teaspoon of baking soda into about a tablespoon of Noxzema, wet my skin and rubbed the concoction all over my face (I don't recommend using this on your eyes; too abrasive). After gently scrubbing, rinse it off and viola, my face felt refreshed and no more flaky patches. Witch Hazel makes a great astringent; plus a cosmetologist told me witch hazel helps tighten the facial skin, minimize pores and WRINKLES (Yoo Hoo!). I will admit that I did break down and buy a jar of wrinkle reducer the other day (with a coupon, of course). As for zits, make a paste of baking soda and water. Place in on the zit for a few minutes and then rinse it off. The baking soda kills the bacteria and shrinks the pimple faster. A little bit of toothpaste placed on the pimple will do the same thing (and reduce the redness).Also, mixing your foundation into your lotion helps it go on smoother, and it helps stretch your foundation further.
This is totally off topic, but I just thought of it. You can also mix a tablespoon of baking soda into a palm full of shampoo, and wash as usual. The shampoo won't lather as much, but it still works great, and it will remove the product build up in your hair. I lather up, scrub, and let the shampoo sit in my hair for a couple of minutes before I rinse it out. Follow with some conditioner. It amazing the difference!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Cleaning Supply Recipes

Check out the great articles on the PYP blog page (! There are instructions for making your own laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, cleaning and baby wipes. I love making my own cleaning supplies! I write down the recipes on 3x5 cards and tape them to the inside of the kitchen cupboard by the sink. Whenever I need to make a new batch the recipes are easily accessible. Check out my older post for the recipe for multipurpose disinfecting spray. I swear by it. ( I use it to clean everything....except the kids and the dog!).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coupon Deals Week #1

My Relief Society has asked me to teach a class on couponing and saving money on groceries next month for Enrichment Night. I am kind of excited to do this! So, for the next month I am going to be blogging my couponing adventures each week.The idea being that I can turn my blogs into a flipchart to show the ladies how to combine coupons with sales to get optimum savings. I'd also like to show them how to use multiple coupons to stock up or start their food storage. This week great deals are (drumroll, please):

Fred Meyer's:
Suave Professional Shampoo and Conditioner - on sale for $1.99, after in store coupon $.99 each
2 Tillamook 2 lb. bricks of Medium Cheddar Cheese - on sale for $4.99, with in store coupon $3.99, used two coupons for $1.00/1, final price $2.99 for each brick of cheese.
Beginning total (before tax) $13.96
Total spent (before tax): $7.96
Savings: $6.00

4 boxes of Crispy Hexagons on clearance for $1.00 a box
1 box of Crunchy Corn Squares on clearance for $1.00
1 box of Cocoa Puffs on sale for $1.88, used coupon for $.75/1, final price $1.13
1 box of Trix on sale for $1.88, used coupon for $1/1, final price $.88
6 boxes of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest pasta(14 oz) on sale for 10 for $10, used 3 coupons for $1.00/2 boxes, final price $.50 each
2 bottles of All Small and Mighty on sale for $3.49, used coupon for $3.00/2, final price $1.99 each
1 bottle of All Small and Mighty on sale for $3.49, with in store coupon $2.49, used coupon for $1.00/1, final price $1.49
Beginning total(before tax): $25.23
Total spent (before tax): $15.48
Total savings: $9.75

10 lb. bag of carrots $5.29
6 heads of Romaine lettuce $2.99
5 lb bag of petite peas $5.35
2 gallons of 1% milk $3.36
2 loaves of Harper's Bran bread $3.25
Total cost (before tax) $21.56

This week Smith's was running a promotion. If you buy 10 participating items you get $5.00 off the total purchase price. I'll mark the items included in the promo. with an*.
4 Diet Pepsi 12 packs, on sale for 4 for $11.00
4 Diet Coke and 1 Sprite 12 packs, on sale for 5 for $14.00, used two coupons for $1.00/2, final price 5 for $12.00
4 dozen large eggs, on sale for $1.25 a dozen
2 containers of John Morrell lunch meat, on sale 2 for $6.00, used 2 coupons for $2.00/1, final price $1.00 each
5 boxes of Fiber One granola bars, on clearance for $1.29 a box, used 5 coupons for $.40/1, final price $.89 a box
2 loaves of cinnamon bread on clearance for $.59 each
6 tubes of Colgate Total Care toothpaste, on sale fro $1.67, used 6 coupons for $1.00/1, final price $.67 each
1 package of Dole salad, on sale for $1.00, used coupon for $1.00 off produce with purchase of 2 Kraft Salad Dressings, final price FREE
2 Kraft Salad Dressings*, on sale for $1.99, after promo $1.49, used coupon for $1.00/2, final price $.99 each
1 jar Kraft Miracle Whip* on sale for $2.49, after promo $1.99
1 jar Kraft mayo* on sale for $2.49, after promo $1.99
4 (8oz) packages of Kraft shredded cheese on sale for $1.99*, after promo $1.49, used 2 coupons for $1.00/2, final price $.99 each
2 bags of Lay's Potato Chips*, on sale for $2.28 each, after promo $1.78 each
Beginning total (before tax): $76.13
Total spent (before tax): $53.13
Total savings: $23.00

Beginning total for week #1: $136.88
Total spent for week #1: $98.13
Total savings for week #1: $38.75

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Save Your Containers!

I was washing out a peanut butter jar just a little while ago, and I was inspired to remind everybody to save those 18 oz. peanut butter jars. If you were like me, and bought peanut butter on Smith's case lot sale awhile ago, or when it was 10 for $10 I know you have a lot in your storage. Right now we are in the dead of winter, but before you know it, it will spring and summer. If you make freezer jam(which is very easy and a great way to start learning how to preserve your own food) with all the yummy raspberries and strawberries that go on sale throughout the summer it's sometimes hard to find enough containers to hold it all! I discovered a couple years ago when I was in that exact predicament that empty peanut butter jars make the perfect jam containers. They stack beautifully in the freezer.What I love about them is that the containers are clear so I can see what kind of jam it is and the screw top makes it somewhat spill proof. When they are empty wash them out and save for next year. Empty frosting tubs work well, too.

Here's some food for thought: You know you are a tightwad when you are more excited about getting the container an item comes in, than in the actual item!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Awesome Banana Bread

So, as I have stated before, I am banana challenged! I cannot for the life of me balance the quantity to consumption ratio when it comes to bananas. I either can't keep them in the house, or they sit in the fruit basket until they turn into squishy black lumps (appetizing thought, isn't it). Well, this week falls into the later category. I have had four black bananas staring me down for the last two or three days. One of my New Year's resolutions was to not throw any food in the garbage. So the guilt I have been feeling over the questionable bananas has been HUGE! I have also confessed that I make crappy Banana Bread. It always comes out dry and flat as a board. Now I do pride myself on the fact that I can master most recipes fairly well, but Banana Bread has alluded me for years. Yesterday I decided to conquer my fear, and attempt to bake a loaf. Let me backtrack a little bit. As I just mentioned, I have been trying to creatively use up odds and ends of food instead of throwing them away. When I was getting out the ingredients to start my baking project I found a container holding 1/2 cup of applesauce and another one holding a cup of leftover oatmeal. I thought what the heck, I'll throw those two items in with the other ingredients and see what happens. I have added leftover cooked cereal into my bread dough before ( a little trick I got from a rationing cook book published during World War II), and it actually makes the bread moister. It worked with this recipe, too. It made the Banana Bread delicious! It was moist and had a great texture! Now I am a happy girl! I recylced my potential food waste into a delicious treat, and I have made a decent loaf of Banana Bread! The kids snarfed it right up; so I'll take that to mean that this recipe is a keeper. I guess I can mark another item off my Bucket List (HA! HA!) Anyway, here's the recipe I concocted (the original recipe that I tweaked came from the BHG New Cookbook).

Moist Banana Bread

Sift together in a large bowl:
2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup white flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium bowl combine:
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil

Mix in until blended:
1 cup leftover cooked cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc)

Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Pour into one greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan(I spray the bottom of the loaf pan with cooking spray. Next place a piece of waxed paper cut to fit in the bottom of the pan. Then spray the waxed paper again with cooking spray and lightly flour. When it's time to take the bread out of the pan loosen the edges with a butter knife and shake the pan gently. It will come out perfectly every time!) Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the pan rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Roast Beef Redo

Bless my dear sweet friends and family! They have saved my behind repeatedly over the last twelve days. Ever since my darling husband decided to fall knee first onto the pavement at work(effectively shattering his left knee cap and rendering himself immobile). Someone has showed up daily with a meal, a treat, or a shoulder to cry on! I am overwhelmed with gratitude! There have been so many yummy things to eat at our house, my children have been in hog heaven (literally)! One of the many contributions was a delicious roast. This was a particular treat because beef roast appears on our table only if I can find a fabulous deal, usually we end up eating pork roast. I did not want even one smidgen of the roast to go to waste, so I have been recreating it every night to use it up. Here's what I did:

Sunday: Roast, baked potatoes, green jello salad(the children sang with joy over this),rolls, and cake arrived at our door.

Monday: Cubed up two cups of roast and added it to brown gravy, served it on mashed potatoes, and added corn on the side. The kids finished the jello.

Tuesday: Leftover roast and gravy (from Monday) served on rice. Added some broccoli, cauliflower, carrot medley on the side.

Tonight: Three more cups of cubed roast were added to the crock pot along with a quart of tomatoes, a stew seasoning packet, two tablespoons beef bullion, 6 cups of water, the two leftover baked potatoes (from Sunday's dinner), leftover corn (from Monday's dinner), the last of the frozen green beans, a bottle of canned carrots (from last years garden), and a big handful of split peas (we are out of frozen peas; I have just discovered), sprinkled in some pepper, and added a bay leaf on top. I'm letting it cook on low all day. The house smells wonderful!

I'm so proud of myself. I made one roast last for four meals! We have been truly blessed in our hour of need! Thank you to everyone who has helped and prayed for us! You will never know what it has meant to our family!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tightwad Mom's Frugal Book Pick Of The Month

This month I thought I would spotlight "Family Feast For $75.00 A Week" by Mary Ostyn. As I have already admitted, I am a sucker for a good cook book. When I can find one that has great frugal recipes, and money saving ideas, it's like I've died an gone to heaven. I loved this book for several reasons:
1. I'm always trying to shave a few extra dollars off the family food budget.
2. I love getting someone else's ideas on creatively tweaking my grocery shopping game plan.
3. The author is the mother of ten so I know she has had real world experience with balancing the grocery budget!

Mary Ostyn's book is a step by step plan for shopping wisely and trimming your grocery budget. The book is great for beginners, but even as a seasoned veteran I gleaned several useful tactics.
She includes handy guides for pantry staples, seasonal produce, the life span of produce, cooking legumes, and organic vs. regular produce. She explains the merits of shopping in a variety of stores, and what deals can be found in each one. She also highlights coupon shopping, bulk buying, and sales tactics. I found her ideas for breakfast and lunch very helpful.

The majority of the book is a collections of her tried and true budget friendly recipes. She includes some ethnic recipes that sounds delicious. Mrs. Ostyn also includes numerous make your own mix recipes, which I love. Now you can have convenience and a stay within your grocery budget! I have tried several of her recipes with great results. I give this book four star! Check out your local library to check out a copy soon. It is well worth it!


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