Sunday, February 27, 2011

This Week's Menu 2/27

 (last week's Bountiful Basket)

Hello there!  I apologize for the lack of posts last week, but it seems that a family full of sickies and a computer keyboard that went died seemed to get the better of me. However, things are looking up. The family is on the mend, and a new keyboard has been purchased and installed. The upside of being stuck at home with the invalids, is that I only spent $6.72  milk this week. My grand total spent on groceries for the month was $484.37. That puts me $84.37 over budget, but the larder is stocked and next month I should be able to stay within my $400.00 budget.

With this week's menu I will be using up some  meat out of the freezer that need's to be used. I will also be using up the rest of last week's Bountiful Basket. We will be eating:

Breakfast Burritos
Fruit Salad

Chicken Noodle Soup (I am tossing some wilty looking spinach in the soup to use it up)
Blueberry Muffins

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Homemade Buns
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Venison Steak with Gravy
Mashed Potatoes 
Green Peas

French Toast


Green Salad 
Home Canned Pears

I seem to have an abundance of cabbage ( I got two heads in my basket last week). So, my favorite Bloggy Friends,  I need your ideas! What are your favorite ways to use up cabbage?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Week's Groceries And Menu 2/20

It was another big grocery shopping week! I ended up purchasing a full basket from Bountiful Baskets this week. They have closed one of our local sites temporarily, so there are fewer baskets available for the next several weeks. I decided to get a full basket (vs. splitting one with my friend), and stretching it for two weeks. I'm hoping this will get me by until my normal site reopens. This week's basket contribution was $21.75, which includes a full basket of produce and 3 1/2 dozen tortillas.

I also took advantage of a couple great sales at my local grocery stores to stock up on a few things. At Ridley's I stocked up on Yoplait  yogurt. With coupons I ended up getting 20 yogurts for $6.60 ($.33 each). Smith's is running their annual Daytona 500 promotion. If you buy ten participating items you earn a $3.00 instant saving at checkout, plus you get a $3.00 off coupon to use on your next purchase. The Oreo's, Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta Sauce, and soap were part of the promotion ($15.93 after coupons and promo's) the toothpaste, toothbrushes, cottage cheese, and eggs were regular grocery items (all were on sale). I spent $7.67 for these items.

Finally, I spent $90.41 at Costco. I also bought a 50 lb. bag of Dog Food (not pictured), as well as, everything in the picture. I was very excited because the light bulbs included an instant rebate, so the flood lights were $3.59 and the regular bulbs were $2.99. I am switching out my old bulbs for energy saving bulbs.
This week I spent a total of $135.76. That brings my total for the month up to $477.65. That puts me $77.65 over my self imposed $400.00 grocery budget. I'm not super proud of that, but this seems to be my restocking month. I will definitely have to rein in next months grocery spending!

This week's  menu will consist of:

Soft Tacos
Lettuce and Tomatoes

Chili Cheese Baked Potatoes ( I will be baking extra potatoes for Tuesday's dinner)
Green Beans

Breakfast Hash

Spinach Salad

Leftover Night

Pigs in Blankets
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Orange Slices

Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reinforcing Reusable Grocery Bags

I am a big fan of reusable shopping bags. They are eco friendly, hold way more groceries than plastic grocery bags, and don't tip over in the back of the suburban. There is nothing worse than climbing up over the tailgate of the Suburban and into the cargo space to retrieve the spilled groceries that always roll into the far corner ( I'm sure the neighbors love to watch that performance!). I really love the bags I bought at Costco (they also sell similar ones at my local grocery store). They are made of a heavy duty plastic, so they can be wiped clean with a Lysol wipe after carrying meat or produce. They also have sturdy straps that won't rip off easily.

The only down side is that the are fairly large, so if you fill them up small items tend to tip in on each other. They are also hard to keep open when you first start filling them (or maybe I am just uncoordinated.). Of course, you know I am always looking for the cheapest ways to solve a problem, so I had been mulling solutions around in my head. Then, the other day  I had an ahh hah moment! I was taking some empty cardboard boxes out to the recycle bin, when I realized that several of the boxes were just the right size to put in the bottom of my reusable bags.

I'm so happy! I  reused a few pieces of  potential garbage, now the bags sit flat while you fill them up, and the reinforced bottom is much more stable when it's full of groceries (or produce from Bountiful Baskets).  I just tuck the pieces of cardboard against the side of the bags and fold the bags up when I'm not using them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrift Store Fabulous!

One of this year's resolutions is to live by the motto "Use It Up. Wear It Out. Make Do, Or Do Without!". I have been doing fairly well, and have been avoiding shopping (other than for groceries) in general. However, there has been recent growth spurts by several individuals in our household. Child #3 has grown taller. Child #4 has grown taller and broader (he is a big boned lad and so growth for him usually goes up and out!). Child #4 can wear Child #3's hand me downs, which is a blessing. I am sorry to say that I have not grown taller, but my pants have become unusually tight and uncomfortable ( I am chalking this up to a general lack of self control where sweets have been concerned, over the last several months). I could probably struggle through with my tight pants, but I am down to two pairs and both are getting very thread bare ( if the fabric gets much thinner; you'll be able to read the size label on my underwear. Something a well bred woman should NEVER divulge!). A trip to my local Goodwill seemed in order. I have been hitting the thrift stores in my area for several weeks, but really haven't found a whole lot of fabulous (last week I did find a pair of church shoes and two pairs of jeans for Child #3 for a grand total of $9.54). Yesterday, I hit pay dirt. All of  these treasures came from Goodwill. For my boy's I found:

Two pairs of shorts for Child #4, a pair of Levi's for Child #3, and a pair of shorts for Child #1. They are even plaid which makes them even cooler ( all of these where $3.99 a piece).

Of course, back packs at my house get used and abused. New back packs were not in the Back To School budget this year, and everybody has been making do with last years (or even the year before that). Some of them are starting to sub-come to their constant use. Child #2 has been safety pinning hers together.  I was able to score two today (the green one was $7.99 and the blue one was $6.99, but it was a YELLOW tag, which means it was half off this week. It ended up being $3.49). The fabulous fuzzy leopard print hat is for Child #2, who has a fondness for fuzzy and leopard print. It was $4.99, but now maybe she'll actually wear a warm hat to school for a change! The DVD was $3.00, not necessary, but it is the original version of "Belles On Their Toes", a book and movie that I love. Apparently I caved to want instead of need. The book is "The Egg and I" (copyright 1945) which is a book I love and have been looking for, for awhile (and it is a YELLOW tag item and cost $.99).

This is my favorite find today! I have been looking for a dress coat for several months now. I am getting tired of schlepping  to Church every Sunday in my  bright kelly green everyday coat (which I have to leave in the car before I go in, because a well bred woman does NOT  wear a shiny, bright kelly green, puffy coat into the Lord's house! Plus, it clashes with all of my Sunday wear.). A new dress coat is quite out of my price range, and the thrift store has not presented an acceptable alternative........until today. This fabulous coat is dark green and black herringbone, is wool,  and is a Worthington brand (very good quality). The tag had $17.99 printed on it, which I would have paid, but it was a YELLOW tag!!! Woo Hoo, baby! I only paid $8.99!! It is dry clean only, but no worries I have a Dryel cloth and a dryer, so dry cleaning isn't a worry.

For myself,  I found two pairs of  like new jeans ($5.99 a piece).  I am of the mindset that if you find a pair of jeans that fits, you wear them until they completely fall apart. Both of these fit well, so until I shed the extra fifteen pounds of chocolate cupcakes off of my posterior; they will work brilliantly! The stretchy skirt was $5.99. In my opinion, you can never have too many stretchy skirts ( they will fit you plus or minus fifteen extra pounds). This skirt will look nice with dress boots and a black sweater during the winter, and just as fabulous this summer with a black t shirt and flip flops.

I spent a grand total of $68.26 ( $77.80 with last week's thrift store purchases) . That did make a dent in my clothing budget, this month, but considering the coat alone would have cost more than that, and I clothed three almost naked (just kidding) people. Not too shabby! I am amazed at how many new and nearly new clothing items you can find at thrift stores. You do have to look for them. Believe me, I have seen my share of Size 20 mini skirts,  polyester pants, and well stained shirts; but obviously there are treasures to be found. The fashion police have yet to knock on my door, so I consider us somewhat fashionable in our second hand wear!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baking Day

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to start baking more from scratch. I came to this decision for several reasons: it's healthier (Dear Daughter's emergency gall bladder surgery in December has really gotten me thinking about all the additives in the food we eat.), it's cheaper ( I like bread with some body to it, and all the kinds we like to eat have gone up in price. I can bake a loaf for about $.67 or buy a loaf for $1.67. Plus if  I have odds and ends of  fruits and veggies, they can be pureed and put in muffins or quick bread.),  baking for me is a stress reliever ( I know that sounds  bizarre, but measuring, mixing, and seeing the end result makes me a Happy Little Camper. Plus, kneading that bread helps vent those frustrations!) Yesterday was the official baking day for the week. At the end of the morning I had baked:

I shaped half the dough into larger rolls to be used for buns. Child #4 likes to take the "buns" slathered with peanut butter and jelly in his lunch.

I have a confession! It is not totally whole wheat, yet. I figured if  I exposed my family to the joys of  TOTALLY WHOLE WHEAT bread suddenly, they might have a stroke. Instead, each week I am going to substitute one more cup of whole wheat flour vs. white flour into the recipe. TIP: If you make Totally Whole Wheat bread adding one tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten for each cup of whole wheat flour will help keep your bread light and fluffy (and increase the chances of your family eating it). 

I found this recipe on The Frugal Girl's blog.  I consider her a baking guru, and I haven't found a recipe of hers I didn't like. The family gave this bread a two thumbs up, in fact, one of the loaves disappeared. as soon as the kid's got home from school.  It tastes just like a cinnamon roll (delish!!!). If you notice the ugly loaf in the middle, the recipe says it makes two loaves, but when I rolled the dough up to put in the loaf pan it seemed awfully large.  I ended up cutting  part of the dough off of the ends and smooshing them together into a third pan. If you make this recipe plan on three loaves ( I'm sure you have a neighbor or friend who would LOVE to take the extra loaf off your hands!).

As, I mentioned in this week's menu post, I used the leftover mashed potatoes from Sunday's dinner in the dough for the whole wheat bread and the oatmeal cinnamon bread. I added one cup of mashed potatoes into the wet ingredients before adding them to the dry ingredients (you may end up adding in about an extra half cup more flour as you mix the dough together). Adding potatoes into yeast bread dough helps make the bread soft, and it will stay fresh much longer. If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes, just add 1/2 cup of potato flakes in with the first cup of  flour.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Little Mama Pride and Ridley's and BiLo's (Associated Food) Deals 2/15 - 2/21

First, I wanted to show off my children's ingenuity.  The kids in child #4's grade in school were challenged by a local bank to create a piggy bank. Of course, Child #4 is a sucker for contests of any kind (and being nine is totally optimistic he will win any or all competitions), and has been badgering me to help him create the perfect piggy bank. I have been a little short on time, lately, and hadn't gotten around to it. Last night when I came home from my night out with my Valentine, Child #2 had pulled out all sorts of household items (a.k.a. garbage) and helped him create his piggy bank. It warmed my little ol' heart to see them cooperating for a change (maybe there is hope for them, yet!). Isn't this the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

  Okay, maybe it is a face only a mother could love! The body is an empty vinegar bottle. The leg's and ears are disposable paper cups. The tail is a pipe cleaner, and the eyes are buttons salvaged from my button box. The paint came out of my stash of acrylic paint. The cost ...FREE! I was informed that he has green feet, ears, and a stripe to make him a MANLY looking pig!

Now, on to the real reason for this post. This week's Ridley (Associated Foods) deals. There are a few good sales, but not as many as I had hoped.
  • Yoplait (6 oz) yogurt cups (assorted varieties) $.37 each (for the first 10)
  • W.F. (18 count) carton of large eggs $1.77 each ($.09 per egg)
  • Two liters of Pepsi Products (assorted varieties) $.98 each
  • Angel Soft ( 9 mega, 12 double, or 24 single rolls) Toilet Paper $4.68 each
  • Sparkle (8 roll) Paper Towels $4.68 each
  • Large Box of Navel Oranges $11.97 ($.33 pound)
  • Small Pink Grapefruit 4 for $1.00
  • Jonagold, Braeburn, or Golden Delicious Apples $.87 pound
As a heads up, Ridley's and Nel's BiLo will be starting their case lot sales March 1st. Now is a good time to go inventory your pantries, so you can take advantage of the case lot sales.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This Week's Groceries And Menu 2/13

 (my half of this week's Bountiful Basket)

(this week's trip to the grocery store)

This week I spent $8.25 on my weekly contribution to Bountiful Basket, and $9.01 at the grocery store; for a grand total of $17.26. So far I have spent  $341.89 on groceries this month.  After last week's monstrous  restocking trip I didn't need a whole lot of extra things. The hash browns were going to be  included into this week's menu, until I realized that the family schedule this week is too hectic to incorporate the recipe I was going to make. I guess, I will save the hash browns for next week. Bananas are a staple at our house, so I always grab a bunch when I am the grocery store. This week I am going to start baking our bread again, so the mashed potato flakes will be used in my weekly bread (roll) baking. 

 It is a crazy week at my house with every body going different directions every night, so dinner's will be simple this week.  For some reason I thought when my children got older that life would be easier.......... apparently I have been deceiving myself! :D Anyway, this week's menu will consist of :

Roast with Gravy
Mashed Potatoes (the leftover's will be used in bread this week)
Steamed Carrots
Banana Cake

Dinner Date with my Valentine
The kid's will be having Macaroni with Tomato Sauce (they love the stuff)
Home Canned Pears 

BBQ Beef Sandwiches (with the leftover roast)
Homemade Buns
Stawberry Banana Salad
Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Noodle Casserole (from the freezer)
Green Salad 

Breakfast Hash
Pumpkin or Blueberry Muffins (haven't decided yet)

Leftover Night or Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Beans, Bacon, and Potatoes (bumped from last week)
Fruit Salad 

Have I mentioned that for somebody who used to dread planning a menu, I am actually starting to enjoy it. Our food waste has also decreased significantly since I have started consistently planning a menu each week. I guess you CAN  teach an old dog new tricks!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saving Money On School Dances

(my latest floral creations)

Now that I have teenagers, especially one that has taken a keen interest in the opposite sex, school dances have become part of our social repertoire. Any one who has high school age children, knows that school dances can be major budget breakers! I don't claim to be the know it all of saving money in this area, but I have discovered a lot of ways to save a little money.
  • I know I have brought this up before, but  making your own corsages and boutonnieres is one of the major ways to save money. I had a little hissy fit the first time I went to order a corsage for my Big Boy's date, and realized that the cheapest one I could find was $24.99 (which consisted of two measly flowers and a bazillion yards of ribbon). I found an internet tutorial, purchased basic supplies, and made a much nicer one than I could find at a florists for about $10.00.  Now  I watch for ribbon, corsage pins, and other supplies on sale or clearance. School Dances usually coincide with Holidays, so I can usually find flower bundles at Fred Meyer's or the grocery store on sale. An average corsage costs about $4.50 to make, a boutonniere about $.75. It makes it even cheaper share the cost of supplies with other parents that have children going to the dance. Today several ladies and I made an afternoon of it and created five corsages and three boutonieres.
  • If you have a daughter try dress swapping with a friend, or shop consignment and thrift shops. Check clearance racks at department stores after Christmas and after the prom season. I have seen gorgeous semi formal and formal dresses for 60% to 90% off. My neighbor just bought her daughter's dress off the clearance rack. She noticed that the zipper was broken, when she pointed it out to the sales clerk they gave her an additional 20% off. She had the zipper replaced for a minimal fee at an alterations shop. Sometimes if you let the word out you are looking for dance dresses, mothers with girls who have graduated will let you borrow, or buy their used dresses. If you are really lucky they will just give them to you.
  • If you have a daughter check out your local beauty school for hairstyles, manicures, and pedicures. Most beauty schools are much, much cheaper that a salon, and all their work is checked by an instructor. Another alternative is barter with a friend or neighbor that is hair savvy, to create the perfect updo.
  • If you have a son think about investing in a basic black suit at a thrift store. A nice suit with a cummerbund and tie look just as nice as a tux, and it's much cheaper. In my area a tux rental is around $100.00. I can buy a used suit and have it altered for $100.00 or less. You can buy a selection of basic ties at thrift stores that will usually match most dresses.
  • Instead of paying for dinner at a restaurant, host dinner at your house. If it's a spring or fall dance, dinner outside on the deck or in the backyard is kind of fun. It's amazing how festive your backyard looks with a few strands of clear Christmas lights strung around. Don't forget to dress up the table with pretty table linens, add a few candles, have some mood music, and place simple party favors by the plates (the last dinner dance I hosted I filled Chinese take out container from the Dollar Store with flavored popcorn and tied ribbon around the box).
 This is just a starting point! I'm sure there are dozens of ways to save money.  Have any of you, my dear bloggy friends, found ways to save money on your children's School Dances?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crockpot Refried Beans

 Last night was Child #4's Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet. This year's theme was "Fiesta". I was assigned to bring taco meat, but I live with a household of Refried Bean lovers (they are a strange lot!), who were devastated that there would not be any Refried Beans at the party ( I know, I know, they are very QUIRKY). I  was just going to open a few cans of  Refried beans, until I did the math, and realized Refried Beans for forty hungry people is a lot of cans of beans. I needed a Plan B! After perusing the Internet, I found a recipe on  that had a four and a half star review. Good enough for me, plus, they are cooked in the Crock Pot so they do most of the work by themselves. All members of the household gave them a two thumbs up, HURRAY! I will be making them again.  I did tweak the recipe a little bit ( I seem to do this a lot. I must have a wild streak in me, I didn't know about!). Here is the final product.

Crock Pot Refried Beans
(makes fifteen 1/2 cup servings)

3 cups dried pinto beans
1 cup of finely minced onion ( I chopped mine up in the food processor)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (4 oz.) can of chopped green chili peppers ( I tossed mine in with the onion and chopped them up more)
1 tablespoon chicken bullion
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
9 cups water
  1. Place dried beans in the crock pot . Cover with water and soak overnight.
  2. Drain water off of soaked beans and return beans to crock pot.
  3. Add onion, garlic, chili peppers, bullion, and spices to beans. Stir together.
  4. Cover with water. 
  5. Turn the crock pot onto high and cook for 8 hours. Check beans periodically. If the water seems to be evaporating (the water is below bean level) add  more hot water.
  6. When beans are soft and mash easily, drain beans. Reserve the liquid!
  7. Mash beans with a potato masher or mixer adding in enough bean broth to get a soft (not runny) consistency. You will not use all the broth. ( I cheated and ran my beans through the food processor in small batches. I just start the processor and slowly poured the broth in the neck of the lid until the beans reached the desired consistency.)
I did some math, and one pot full of refried beans cost me $1.38 to make or $.09 a serving. A can of  Refried Beans on sale is $.58 for four 1/2 servings or $.15 a serving. I did double the recipe for the banquet. This required me cooking the beans in two crock pots (beans swell after you soak them!!!). The regular recipe makes enough for dinner, with plenty of extra.   I scooped my extra beans into quart Ziploc  freezer bags and froze them for later. There was quite a bit of bean broth left.

I poured that into plastic freezer containers (in two cup portions) to use as a base in soup, stew, and chili.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cream Of Garbage Soup And This Week's Ridley's (Associated Food) Sales 2/8

 A dear reader, Amy, posted a comment and asked for more information about Cream of Garbage Soup. If you are a long time reader you may remember it. Cream of Garbage Soup is my children's name for the pot of soup I concoct periodically to use up leftover veggies, starchy foods, and meat. Since I live in Idaho, and I am usually the recipient of several 50 pounds bags of potatoes every fall, our pot of soup usually always includes potatoes. Cream of Garbage soup evolved from my mother in law's potato soup recipe. I have tweaked it over the years to suit what I have on hand, and my family's tasted. Soup is a great way to use up leftover odds and ends. If you are interested in reading all about Cream of Garbage soup you can check it out HERE.

I'm a little disappointed in Ridley's sale ad this week. There were not a lot of super fabulous deals. I am noticing that more and more with most of  my local grocery stores weekly grocery sales ads. I have started    buying more basic staples when I go shopping and making more things from scratch. Well, enough of the whining, these items did seem to be a fairly good price:
  • W.F. (56 oz) carton of Ice Cream (assorted varieties) $2.15
  • Nestle  Cocoa Mix (10 count) box $.85 each
  • Fresh Pork Picnic Roast $.89 pound
  • Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey (4 pound bag) $5.99 each
  • Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.99 pound
  • Boneless Pork Sirloin Chops $1.59 pound
  • Small Pink Lady Apples $.99 pound
  • Tomatoes $.99 pound
  • Three pound bag of Clementines $3.99 each
I noticed last week the Ridley's has raised the price of Harper's Homemade Bread back up to $1.69 a loaf. I have noticed the price has increased on Harper's bread at the other grocery stores, as well. Costco still sells it in a twin pack for $3.25.

Don't forget to check out Nel's Bi Lo Market for in store specials this week.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grocery Spending And This Week's Menu 2/6

This month I thought I would post pictures from my weekly grocery shopping trips, as well as, my weekly menu. Unfortunately, I have been scrimping along  for several months now, so it was time to stock up on some essential items. Yesterday's shopping trip also included extra food I don't normally buy, because Dear Hubby's brother's family has invited us to his house for a Super Bowl Party.

This is what I bought at Ridley's and Smith's on their sales. I combined coupons this sales for the crackers, canned tomatoes, cheese, toothpaste, and cream cheese (the cream cheese was $.50 each after coupons). The potato chips, some of the crackers, and two of the sour creams will be taken to the Super Bowl Party. I also bought the 5 twelve packs of Diet Coke from the previous post and  2 twenty packs of Diet Pepsi and a Shrimp Ring (all of which aren't pictured). I spent $32.41 at Smith's and $69.54 at Ridley's:

Of course, I picked up our weekly basket from Bountiful Basket (my half of the weekly contribution is $8.25):

At Winco (the cheapest grocery store in my area) I spent $109.07. I love that Winco has a fabulous bulk foods section. It makes it nice when I have to restock pantry staples.

The budget breaker this week was my trip to Costco to stock up on staples. We ran out of toilet paper, fabric softener, and garbage bags at the same time. I usually try to keep a back stock of these items and stagger what I buy each month so I don't have this problem. Oops!! I spent $105.36 at Costco.

I spent a Grand Total of $324.63 this week. That is also the lion's share of my grocery budget for this month. Luckily I have  restocked the larder, and other than milk and my weekly Bountiful Basket contribution I shouldn't have to buy many more groceries.

This week's menu includes a lot of family favorites, again. That's okay, at least I know everyone will eat dinner!

Super Bowl Party (I am bringing a shrimp ring, veggie tray, and chips, crackers and dip)

Shrimp Lo Mein
Green Salad
Leftover Rolls

Eating at Child #4's Cub Scout Banquet

Beans, Bacon, and Red Potatoes
Banana Muffins (I should have some black bananas that need used up)
Jello Salad with Fruit

Turkey Fricasee
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Carrots

Cream of Garbage Soup
Spinach Salad


I hope everybody enjoys their Super Bowl Sunday. I personally am not a football fan,but I sure do enjoy the commercials.........and the yummy party food!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Children Are Saved!

Ridley's ended up having 12 packs of Coke products on sale for 5 for $14.00 (or $2.80 each). That is not a fabulous deal I have gotten them for $2.00 a 12 pack before, but prices have gone up and I did not have coupons this time. $2.80 each is much better than $3.98 each (which was plan B). Now I can feed my addiction and the children are safe from the bodily harm that may have befallen them if I ended up having to go cold turkey!!

Meal Planning

I was e mailed a great article a few days ago, and I thought I'd share it with all my bloggy friends! This article includes simple no nonsense ways to plan a menu. Since, I must confess, that it is only recently that I have jumped on the plan a menu bandwagon, I found the ideas in this article helpful. Planning a menu around weekly sales, pantry staples, and freezer inventory is one of the best ways to keep your budget in check. Serving home cooked meals is also far healthier and cheaper that eating take out or fast food! Anyhow, go check this article:

I'd love to hear from all of you!!!!!! What tactics do you use to plan your menus and save money on groceries?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Apple Cake

I know that the picture of the Apple Cake isn't very appetizing, and it's probably not really selling itself, right now!  If you could only smell the delightful cinnamon, apple aroma as it's baking, and taste the gooey, warm'd be HOOKED! I had a bowl of soft semi wrinkly apples that I didn't want to toss in the garbage. What better way to get your family to eat potential trash than turn it into, DESSERT! Of course, I found the recipe in my new favorite cookbook, "The Taste Of Home Baking Book". I did tweak it a little, I added brown sugar in place of white sugar in the recipe,which is why the top of the cake looks like it is burned. It's totally worth it, the cake is very moist, and dense. I served it warm with vanilla ice cream for dessert, but I have to confess I ate some warmed up the next morning with half and half poured over it,and it was HEAVENLY! You could also add raisin or dried cranberries into the batter, but my family considers that highly offensive (the big Babies).

Apple Cake

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour (this would be a good recipe to use half whole wheat half white flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups diced apples (chopped mine up in the food processor)
1/4 cup nuts ( I used sliced almonds leftover from Christmas); optional

  1. In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, until light and fluffy. 
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla. 
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add to creamed mixture. The batter will be thick.
  5. Stir in apples and nuts.
  6. Spread into a greased 8 in  square baking dish
  7. Bake at 350 for 35 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
I 1 and a 1/2 timed the recipe and that filled a 13x9 inch cake pan.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ridley's and BiLo's (Associated Food) Deals 2/1 - 2/7

 There are some really fabulous deals this week at Ridley's. In fact, I am assuming most grocery stores will be posting Super Bowl Deals this week. I am certainly hoping that one of our local grocery stores has a sale on Diet Coke this week. I am down to my last 12 pack, and I am starting to worry. I can't justify paying $4.78 a twelve pack (the current price in our area) to support my bad habit. So, everybody pray with me that there is a great sale on my favorite vice this week. Better yet, pray for my children's health and safety, if it doesn't go on sale, and I have to quit COLD TURKEY! Some of the troops haven't learned that it is not wise to "poke a stick in the Badger hole when the Mama Badger is cranky"!

Anyway, on to the great deals. Check out your local Associated Food store for similar sale prices.
  • Medium Hass Avocados 2 for $.88
  • Navel Oranges $.49 pound
  • Green Onions 2 for $1.00
  • Roma Tomatoes $.68 pound
  • Petite Sirlion Steak $2.67 pound
  • Johnsonville Brats 3 for $10.00
  • Nautilus (16 oz.) Large Tail On Shrimp $3.87 each
  • W.F. (16 oz.) Sour Cream $.77 each
  • W.F. (6 oz.) yogurt (assorted varieties) $.37 each
  • W.F. (24 oz.) Tomato Ketchup $.87 each
  • 24 packs of Pepsi Products 2 for $4.88 (for your 1st two)
  • Red Baron Pizza 2 for $5.00
  • Lay's Potato Chips (assorted varieties) $1.85 each
  • Clover Club Potato Chips (assorted varieties) $1.58 each
  • Don Julio Tortilla Chips $.88 each
  • Nabisco Snack Crackers (assorted varieties) $1.88 each
  • Colgate Toothpaste (original ) $.97 each
  • VO5 (15 oz.) Shampoo or Conditioner $.77 each
  • Foamy (11 oz.) Shaving Cream 3 for $5.00
Don't forget to check out the great deals at Nel's Bi Lo Market. They offer weekly in house and local specials, in addition to the Associated Food's specials!


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