Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Successful dinner-recreating LO's with pantry staples

Well, we had a successful creative dinner tonight and I am pleased. In fact DH took his plate into his room and I have not heard from him for almost 5 minutes. such sweet silence LOL

I made a Pasta e Fagioli, so simple, in the CP, using frozen LO spaght sauce-maybe 2 cups.

Cut up 1/2 big onion, 3 garlic cloves, 2 celery stalks, and a dozen or so baby carrots, cut all veggies similar size. Brown up 1/4# ground sausage in 2T EVOO then add veggies and soften a few minutes, pour into crock then add frozen sauce, also add 4 C water and 3 beef bouillon cubes along with pepper, garlic and onion powder, and italian seasoning. cook on low a few hours, add in 1 can white beans along with 1 good T worschteshire and maybe some more seasonings. cook another hour or so. finally add in 2/3 C ditalini pasta cook at most a half hour.

Serve with garlic bread for dipping and green salad. This was a crowd pleaser all my kids ate it!!!
Also, I have linked this with Dining withh Debbies Crockpot Wednesday So, Enjoy!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cheese, Cheese, wonderful cheese

Thanks to my sage neighbor- Becky (of the infamous Will and Becky) -who has her fingers in every pie here in our little town d' Podunk, told me that Rumiano Cheese was having a word only back door sale of their cheeses for $1 a pound various varieties. I got about 4 pounds of different cheeses such as Colby-jack, provolone slices, American slices, and good ol motz. While there I asked how often they did this and how I would know they said about every three months and to keep my ear to the pavement to hear about it as there is no schedule. So, I will. I will also be researching allrecipes to find some scrumptious meals that use provolone.This one sounds good, don't ya think?? I can also tell lasagna is going to be on our menu again in Feb so, if you read this and live close by - GO!!!

And next time I will be better prepared and bring about $15 and STOCK UP!!! Today I only spent $4. Hopefully, a wisely spent $4.
BTW::She is the great neighbor that gives me her Sac Bee coupons every Sunday. So once again, thanks Beck!!!
Lastly, I have linked this post to the following bloge : Grocery Cart Challenge,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last week of Jan 2010 menu plan-Pantry challenge

This has been fun - creating from what is on hand and using up packages that had been opened that were just sitting in my small pantry. Thank You Pantry Challenge.

Here is what I have learned::: I do have a small pantry - holds about 1 1/2 months of 2+ meals a day groceries. I need to gain more control and organize this situation to create more space. For this, I need to help hubs get the garage cleaned out and have a better shelving/storage system. I want to plant a garden this year and can some things this summer/fall. I will need that storage by then.

I do have a pretty good shopping system in place,we shop twice a month at big box stores that are out of town, it fits our family and our budget, but I can reign it in a bit more to make the weekly food allotment for us 4 (and usually a guest) to $75 from $100.,We can sustain that price reduction, just need to reduce more prepared foods, stockpile some more loss leaders, and let my older picky tweenaged eater go without snackies a few nights if he chooses not to eat what has been prepared for the family dinner. (I do not make him something special he just snacks later on in the night)

So without further ado, here is what is left of the menu for this month :::

fish sticks, french fries, orange slices Sat dinner 1-30
Au Jus French Dip sammy, green salad Sun dinner 1-31
pork steak, scalloped pots, greenie beanies Wednesday 1-27
pancakes, sausage and mandarins Tuesday 1-26
helper and corn or peas Monday 1-25
CP roast with pots and veggies Thursday 1-28
canned beans and rice with fruit slices Friday 1-29
pork chop broccoli soup, rolls Sunday dinner 1-24
chicken noodle veggie soup, garlic bread exchange menu item
ham and eggs over toast, fruit/yogurt smoothie Sunday brunch 1-24

These menu items are what I originally created I could squeeze so much more from what I still have in my pantry. At this point in this working menu no days are specific meals (the green dates are tentative) I will be determining this as the week goes on. However, as usual most will stay the same because choices are getting limited.

I need about $10 for this week to get some more breakfast and lunch things such as cereal, milk, bread and maybe some produce. Our tree still has a few oranges so those are incorporated in our menu however, a little fruit variety might be a nice change!!

Our lemon tree is also brimming this year and was wondering if anybody has ideas on how to store the lemon juice for more lemonade in the summer. Do you think the regular pectin type canning would work? Please reply!

Lastly, I will be linking this with the following blogs::: Grocery Cart Challenge, MPM at Orgjunkie, life as mom and money saving moms as they become available.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shopping for this week (and next)

Well, we made our car purchase so that took up almost all the tax money (well, that and 3 years of payments that were more than I wanted-for this car DH has to and I do mean HAS to quit smoking - there is no other way!!!)with the rest we got $28 in gas, $35 in fast food on 2 trips, and $28 on groceries also in 2 trips

!st grocery trip - DH went to WM and got some junk food $8

Trip #2 we got milk, cereal, bread, salami, chips, yogurts, cheese - this was kind of the last run of the month for breakfast and lunch stuff. spent $20

Fast Food was #1 for me and DH on our way to work the other morning $7 spent at McD's and #2 was $21 taking all 4 of us out to BK while we drove the new to us car.

I can tell by my buyers remorse frustration I need to find some biblical passage. Do you have any to suggest?
This post is being linked with the following blogs:: Grocery Cart Challenge

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pantry Suprise

While digging through the pantry, which yes, I can see through to the back of them, I discovered a box of Quaker Oatmeal Pancake mix that I had gotten at Grocery Outlet about 3 months ago for about a dollar. We tried it and it was good but...well, so here sits a box of pancake mix that needs to be used so I created this::

2 1/3 C pancake mix
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
2/3 C milk - well, 1/3C milk, 1/3C water - ran out of milk
1/3 C Molasses
1/3 C sour cream (light)
1 egg
good dash of vanilla - loves me the vanilla LOL
Topping ingredients listed below

Mix dry together in larger bowl - put aside about 1/2 C, whisk wet in medium bowl, pour wet into dry, mix together

Put into 8X8 or so size pan these ingredients probably too small for a 9 X 13 but a bundt?? I may try that next time! (That's for you Gina-my friend) And in a bundt, I would put the topping (listed below) in first then the cake mix on top.Yum!!

Mix together set aside dry ingredients with 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/4 C butter (and nuts??) crumble over tops of cake.
Cook 350 a good 30 minutes. Let sugar cool on top then enjoy, it's crumbly at first then soft and spongy a day later.

My boys asked for seconds - they had a 1/8 size piece for their after school snack with some hot cocoa - it was really raining today yet Hubs and I walked to get taxes done. We get a small return, Yippee!!More money for the car down payment savings. Walking to work in the rain stinks!! Silver Lining:: I have a job to walk to, I can walk to my job, My job is close enough to walk to - take your pick I know I am blessed!!

As usual, I have this linked to the Panty Challenge I love reading what everybody is doing with their challenges.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Please help alter recipe for pantry challenges

I have most all these items and this sounds good but, I have no potatoes. However I do have pasta so I am thinking I add maybe 1 1/2 cups noodles when I add in the broccoli in at last 10 minutes of cooking to replace potatoes? Here's where I'm stuck do you thik 1 1/2 cup noodles is about volume equivelent as 3 chopped potatoes? Please reply Thank You

Also, No broth but I do have bouillon so I will add 3 cups water to 3 cubes to equal broth needed. However, I may put in 2 chicken and 1 beef give it a heartier flavor or never know 2 beef and 1 chicken???

Lastly, to alter this to crockpotting I will start the meat around noon, add other veggies in at 2 then noodles at 4:45 broccoli at 5 and in bowls by 5:15 served with some nice brown and serve dinner rolls for dipping - yummy this sounds good, I just want to make sure my alterations will be OK.
Also, I will be linking this to life as mom and money saving mom and any other pantry challenge links in search of ideas and/or confirmation that I am headed in the right direction.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This is one of my weeks with no shopping, no money = no shopping but really, we did BIG shopping last week at the Shopping Olympics so for 2 weeks we are eating out of our freezer/pantry.

Also last week, I created the menu plan for the remainder of the month from what we got while shopping, and what we already have, so these are "what's for dinner".
  • ham and eggs on toast, fruit/yogurt smoothie Sat 1-23-10
  • chicken tacos, fixins, fruit slices Wed 1-20-10
  • Chili cheese dogs, mixed fruit Sun 1-24-10
  • tamale pie, green salad Thur 1-21-10
  • SOS, steamed carrots Sun 1-17-10
  • beans and rice, apple slices Fri 1-22-10
  • pork chop noodle soup and biscuits Tue 1-19-10
  • chicken stuffing casserole, green beans Mon 1-18-10

These are in no particular order (the blue date is tentative) and can be changed or altered at any time for any reason. However with this being one of our pantry weeks most things will be pretty close to what is scheduled. I will be adding and changing this post during the week while I use the items.

Go here to read about why my Hubby is my hero. It's cute!! Also, please go here to help me with pantry challenge recipe alterations.

I have (or will when available) link this post to the following blogs click on the link for all the other exciting posts that they are offering:: Grocery Cart Challenge, MPM at OrgJunkie, Saving our cents, Money Saving Moms,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reason # 4972 that My hubby is my HERO!!

This is icky, so if you're squeamish - click to another blog ha ha ha.

Well, last night about 11 pm, all was quiet in my house. The cookies had been baked, the dishes were done, the kids in bed and My Hubs was in the recliner with a blanket gettin a snore on. So, I quietly went into the kitchen to hard boil some eggs for breakfast. (Being homemakery) anyway, I open the oven to get the pot that I needed that I keep stored in there and a mouse started to run out of the oven. I scream, slam the oven door and start hyperventilating lol. I practically barfed. Hubs yelled "WTH???" I scramble into the living room tell him. He kinda made fun of me at that point. Tells me to "shut the lights off", then we went to bed.

So forward to this morning:::I still have to make breakfast, right?? so I brave myself up, open the door to get the pot and BAM!! there he is, the mouse - squished by the oven door. Man-0-man I guess when I slam a door, I really slam a door ha ha ha

Now to the hero part or can you already guess, yep, Hero Hubs to the rescue, he got rid of the mouse without me having to see the remains, or even know he did it. And, the kids had cereal and milk. So, now I've set the oven to clean, and Pizza has been ordered - vegetarian, not into eating meaty protein for dinner (sorry, told ya it was gross!!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Menu items that keep hanging around

Chicken Noodle Soup has been on my menu for awhile yet I am struggling to make it. It is one of the issue I have with too much food available hehehe.
To "force" myself to make it I did start the chicken in the CP around noon Wednesday so I have cooked chicken and broth ready to add the goodies too yet Wed night I just could not bring myself to make it. I guess we will be having it Thursday, right??

How do you make you chicken noodle soup? What's your tricks?
Edit:: made this tonight and it turned out well, used 1/2 a bag of mixed frozen veggies, chopped up the 2 pcs chicken and about 1/4 box fettuccine noodles cut into fourths - my biggest mistake is I burned the garlic toast - had to scrape off a few tops lol

My other menu item that has appeared and not been prepared for SEVERAL weeks is a beef roast with veggies and potatoes. Your basic CP faire. It just doesn't appeal when it is the night ot cook, or I forget and then it's too late to start it, or, or, or...you get the drift...too many excuses.

Do you suffer from this malady? How to you deal with it? Please comment

Sunday, January 10, 2010

San Francisco Joe's Special

Some say this famous San Francisco specialty was devised by a San Francisco chef as a variation on the Italian frittata. Others insist it was created as an after-hours snack
by dance-band musicians of the 1920's. A third theory attributes the dish to miners who frequented the city's riotous Barbary Coast district in the 1850's. Whatever its origin may be, this hearty mixture of beef, onions, spinach and eggs makes a satisfying meal any time of the day or night.
Joe's Special
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; or 1/2 pound fresh spinach, rinsed, stems removed, and leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
4 to 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Heat oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Crumble in beef and cook, stirring often, until browned. Drain excess fat.
Add onions, garlic and mushrooms; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in salt, nutmeg, pepper, oregano and spinach; cook for about 5 more minutes. Add eggs. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, just until eggs are softly set.
Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Menu Plan for this week and a guide for the rest of the month

Hi all, I did my shopping on Saturday (see this post) and then,while putting it away, I created a menu for the rest of the month. I will post this menu plan with those from many other of us bloggers at Menu Plan Monday when it opens up.

::This weeks plan::

  • Meatloaf, scalloped pots, green beans - Sunday 1-10-10

  • chicken noodle soup, garlic toast - Thursday 1-14-10

  • beef tacos, fixins, mango - Tuesdsay 1-12-10

  • pancakes, sausage, ?eggs? and mandarins Still available

  • tamale pie, green salad - Thursday 1-21-10

  • alfredo tortollini, steamed brocolli - Monday 1-11-10

  • spaghetti, corn - made lasagna Saturday 1-16-10

  • BBQ pork steaks, BBQ pots, applesauce still available

::Guide for the rest of the month::

  • spaghetti noodle soup and biscuits ++wk3
  • fish sticks, french fries, orange slices

  • beef tacos, fixins, pineapple slices

  • chili cheese dogs, mixed fruit++wk3

  • SOS, steamed carrots ++week 3

  • chicken enchiladas, green salad

  • Au Jus French Dip sammies in CP, fruit salad

  • ham and eggs on toast, fruit/yogurt smoothie++wk 3

  • chicken tacos, fixins, fruit slices++wk3
  • PBJ and canned soup

  • helper, green beans
  • beans and rice, apple slices ++wk3
  • CP beef roast, vegs and pots
  • pizza, salad, Round Table on payday??

I am excited that I got this done and as usual it comes with my disclaimer that Ican change at any time for any reason. I will be changing/updating this as I use the menu items.

I again need to clean out/organize my freezer and pantry for better access and availability. DH put away the canned groceries.

I am looking for a Joe's special recipe(found one) with GB, spinich, & eggs, & a pasta e' fagioli recipe that I like and is easy and is with what I have in my pantry.

Lastly, remember to go see what is going on in Crock Pot Exchange at CafeMom and there as here, I am mom2priceboys.

Shopping Olympics have come and gone for the month of January

Well, It is done. My $250 is spent!! This included lunch at Sani Food deli for $6 (Congrats Ella she and her hubs are expecting after a few years trying) and JIB dinner for $6 also $15 for gas to get to and from Willows to Chico. It was my first experience truly using coupons. Found some great deals,(Yo-Plus yogurt 4 pack was $1.38 had $1 off so 38 cents) trying some new products (JIF crunchy - WinCo out of smooth - had $1 off and we need pb) total coupons saved $6. Well, I guess 6 is the number of the day hahaha

We learned that Grocery Outlet does not accept manufacturer coupons. that was disappointing.(I returned the items - lol) however, when we went to WinCo the items that I did not get at GO were even cheaper at WinCo so I actually saved even more money.

My tally breakdown for this week is:::::::::::::Drum roll please

Sani Food:::$27.60 all food - $21.33 MEAT,misc & 2-99 cent choc chips
Local Food for More but they can have good sales so I appreciate them, oh yeah and the staff is so friendly and the meat guy is cute and funny hahaha-tell em' Julie sent ya

Dollar Tree:::$16.41 - $11 food, $5.41 misc (cleaning items)

Grocery Outlet:::$36.98 - $22.39 food, $14.59 misc (cat food $10)

WinCo:::$132.61 - $127.37 food, $5.25 misc (detergent, incense, dog biscuits)

So I am trying to do this coupon thing, trying to plan better for my family, Focus Julie Focus!!!, all attention is on the prize, when low and behold here comes my boss doing her shopping. (She's so provisional, she brings her own bags, lol)

My Golden Ticket of coupons that I got last week was 75 cents off McCormicks spice, well, I got to use it on a big bottle of Real Vanilla extract - YIPPEE!! One of my frugal budget consessions has been to buy imitation extracts and off brand seasonings so this is such a fun luxery.

There are a few things that I would like from the store (Fresh milk and produce) but if I can't get there we'll be OK!! (Canned fruit and condensed to reconstitute)
Please go here to read and post about this weeks shopping experiences over at GCC.

Now to go complete my menus for the rest of the month and more.....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Redbox code

We had redbox issues here in Podunk over the holiday season, We had a movie and the doors were closed to WM when it was time to return it so we got stuck with a 2nd day rental. (big deal $1.08) but other people in my area got stuck with their movies for 3 and 5 extra days because I guess it was full or something and wouldn't accept the returns. So, Redbox sent me a code to use for a free movie. Give it a try for yourself and see if it works.....Good Luck.....

Redbox cod::::RBX2NITE

If it works for you, great, send me a comment so I can know it was used.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ill tody

Hi all who may read this. I am ill today, with some pain on my left side. Hoping it's not stones again!!! So, I take pills and sleep. My homeschooler is taking advantage and not getting his work done independently so now he climbed in bed with me to read his health and science.
Silly sidenote::In Heath it's a small unit on the excretory system, Well, we are getting a good example of it right now hehehe.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Doing the coupon thing this morning.

Thanks to all the advice and the gift of the Sunday coupons from my neighbors Sac Bee, I am going to give couponing a serious try. I have them organized per my WinCo aisles.
So, to decide which coupons to pick:: I usually only get the coupons that are for 1 product. For example, we had a choice for $1 off 1 or $3 off 2. I know the $3/2 is a better deal as far as discount but I don't need that 2nd product it tends to create clutter in my house. We do not have a lot of storage, or rather I should say, we are not using our storage wisely.
For food items I tried a few name brand products like Fiber 1 cottage cheese, well, I know that the store brand is cheaper but it is $1 off so that will make it the same as the store brand so why not try it??
Loved the face lift in a box coupon $5 off. I did cut it out because I might find that on sale then I won't feel so bad spending money just on myself hehehe - silly mom guilt
Well, my golden ticket coupon this week in the MANY that I saw was 75 cents off a McCormick's seasonings. I am going through my seasonings as we speak deciding what extravagant one I should get. I love seasonings!!!
So I will be using these coupons some this next week at WM then my big grocery shopping with payday on the 9th. and yes, this time I will be taking and posting pics
Silly sidenote::I was wondering if cutting coupons was the reason my mom gave us when they locked the bedroom door on Sunday mornings?? Just a thought

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shopping for this week $40

Oops, I got it all put away before I thought to take a pic so this week I will just write but I will be working on getting pics for next weeks big shopping. Today, we went to 3 stores 1st:: Dollar Tree, 2nd:: WinCo, & 3rd::Hostess Outlet

Dollar Tree:::batteries, ritz(2/$1), bologna(2/$1), french bread(2/$1), candy, mustard, clippers&baked beans, it was $11.25 total

WinCo::::meat $9, apples, banans, salad mix, cucumber,grape tomatoes$5, milk,marj, cheese, sour cream $5, fresh salsa $1.78, mayo, gravy pkt, brownie mix, bread $6 it ws $26.83 total

Yes, We had a few dollars left over so we stopped at the Hostess Outlet Store and each of us got a special treat choice in the 5 for $3.89 bins and I got 4 for $1 single cupcakes for desert tomorrow at lunch. Shopping for this week is done and rather thorough. DH an I got the extra little cupcakes that we split last midnight. so yummy!!

Fun experience, I was at the Dollar Tree in Chico today and a fellow savy, frugal,shopping lady, notices my list and we started talking about the Pantry Challenge she is following it also this month. We had a quick talk about what to do with excess noodles and tomato soup. Nice to know I'm not alone on the West Coast with this project. hahaha So if you read this you will know it is me..... Julie

PS:: OK trying to do this...to see other grocery shopping experiences go here
PSS::I am still working on learning links and will be trying some ideas out to see if I can follow directions. haven't had luck yet.....J

Menu Plan Monday - Welcome 2010 with weekly Pantry Challenge Meanderings

Hi all, How is your new year starting out? Are you still working on your new goals? I am getting my menu ready for next week and I have a few things that are regular menu items but they may have a few glitches with alternate ingredients exchanged. For instance, I swore I got 3 cans of Rotel last shopping trip but what got home were 3 cans of Italian flavored tomatoes well, anyway, they must are what we have so my menu may have a Guido marries Juanita flavor.
While starting to get my pantry more organized I found over 10 cans of off brand tomato soup. Not my fav for sure but DH acquired them and since we are using what we have well, they must get used. So I ask the following question

Do any of you have ideas for condensed tomato soup and pasta?What would you do with these? Please, oh please leave a comment!!

My menu is looking like what is listed below with my usual disclaimer, I an alter at anytime for any reason yet, limited quantity means limited choices therefore less alterations.....

Mon::hamburger patty, Alfredo noodle, fruit slices
Papa Murphy's pizza - DH paid from small paycheck
Tue::chicken noodle and gravy with steamed carrots
Burger King - Dollar menu I had side salad w/nuggets
Wed::CP Mexican pork, rice and tropical fruit salad
spaghetti, peas, DH cooked forgot garlic bread
Thur:: spaghetti, peas, garlic bread
mexican pork tacos, lettuce/tomato
Fri::beans and rice, orange slices
ham and eggs on toast with fruit slices
Sat:: fast food and shopping day then soup and sammys
expect as planned
Sun::CP roast, potatoes, veggies - been on menu plan for 3 weeks lol
expect as planned or some type of CP meal
For more menu plans here or go to http://www.orgjunkie.com/ - still working on my linking skills Instead of the big bulky link I want to be able to use the words without the www stuff Thanks.....Julie

::::::::::Pantry Challenge Meanderings::::::::::2nd, 3rd& 4th thoughts

Wow, with this menu planned I just realized that I will be doing my WinCo shopping this next weekend. I am afraid if I do not do it when I get food money then I will nickle and dime it at my local Food for more store. Thus, I am thinking that I can actually reduce my original plan of $40 for the next 2 weeks shopping to $25 this week total.Edit:: went grocery shopping for this week and well, it was $40!! there were some expenses that I forgot to calculate see next blog... Again, My biggest goal is to keep DH out of the fast food drive thru at 9 pm for "just a hamburger and soda." This expense costs us maybe $30 a week lol but that is $120 a month and that could be half a used car payment, right?? Now, If I could only get him to quit smoking hehehe
So far I have failed at keeping DH out of the drive thru when HE gets a check...We ate out both Monday and Tuesday--pizza, $15 for take and bake (and cookies) and $10 for burgers and fries (and my salad and nuggets lol) I will not give up and it will be easier as all bills are paid with $8 leftover. I hope I get my paycheck on the 10th but IDK since time card was turned in later because of holidays so we may only have the $8 for groceries. That would cover 2 gallons milk, a pound of margarine, and a few apples.