Still relatively new to Arizona. I have lived on both coasts...I may be working my way inward now. :) I am the mom of a pretty awesome 17-year-old boy (though at this point he would wig out on my saying boy, kid or anything less than teenager) and the wife of a very amazing man. I have been blessed beyond measure when it comes to love, and isn't that really where the blessings count the most? I like to watch people and often I like to comment. I also enjoying helping people, but I kind of get saddened by seeing the same person always in the same boat.
Enjoy EVERY moment in your wedding gown. You can't stay in it forever...SO UNFAIR!!!!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Yeah I'm Getting Ready for Christmas - a post from my day job
Okay Christmas is coming. We have about 107 shopping days until Christmas, and I am working overtime on figuring out ways to spend less money where I can so I can move that saved money towards Christmas. I plan on sharing several money saving ideas through the next few weeks. And truly, I am starting my Christmas planning now.
The first way I am focusing on saving money is of course in grocery shopping. When I am being more vigilant I follow these rules.
1- I am even more of a stickler for using coupons. I will print coupons, upload coupons and get coupons from the newspapers and store fliers. Check the bottom of this post for some coupon sites for printing or uploading coupons to your store loyalty card.
2- I will only shop the sales and big deals and leaving the other items behind. This means that even if I want mashed potatoes, I will hold off until potatoes are on sale. I am more flexible with side dishes and main dish options.
3- I will totally scope out the manager's discounts. You can find incredible savings there, but I will not buy what we don't need just because it is on sale.
4- I will make more desserts from scratch. We all have sweet tooths, but that doesn't mean I need to give in to buying candy bars. I always stockpile cake mixes when they are on ridiculously good sales and if I can't do that, I will do it on my own with a good recipe.
5- I will really think about what meals I am cooking. This means more than ever that I am going to try to make one meal stretch into at least three meals.
6- I will make lunch changes. I will be making my husband more sandwiches rather than sending him to work with frozen meals. The frozen meals are definitely easier, but unless they are on sale they are pretty pricey. *Note you can pick up Healthy Choice and Marie Calendars meals at Safeway this week for a low price of $1.69. All in all though, it is much cheaper having him bring a frozen meal than to have him spend the money on even a value meal from a fast food restaurant.
*7 -(I am adding this one) If a store does not have the item I want, I always ask for a rain check. Definitely take advantage of store's rain check policies in order to save on items that the store ran out of. Some items are on a while supplies last deal and you aren't going to be able to get a rain check, but the cashier will tell you if that is the case.
Right now lets go over meal stretching.
After looking at the sales fliers, I thought I would go with covering stretching a pork loin. Safeway has a boneless whole pork loin sold in the bag at $1.99 a pound.
This is a break down of the four meals I made with my 5 pound pork roast last week. Mind you I bought mind for $1.77 a pound, but $1.99 is my cut off, and I would definitely purchase at that price.
1 - Slow cooker pork roast.
The first thing is utilize my crock pot. If you do not have a crock pot, invest! Especially if you have an electric oven. A crock pot uses much less electricity (about 10 cents for 8 hours of use), and it makes meats incredibly tender.
You can simply add an inch of water, broth or stock. I highly recommend taking advantage of leftovers like whole chicken carcasses to make an inexpensive stock that you can save up in your fridge. I have saved quite a bit just on not purchasing stock, and it really adds a nice flavor to your slow cooked meats.
Cook the pork on low all day. I usually add some vegetables to the crock pot when I get home unless I am prepping potatoes in the pot. I will add cut up potatoes from the get go, because I definitely prefer them pliable. You can also take advantage of the flier coupon at Safeway for DelMonte canned vegetables which are 59 cents each with a limit of 6. If you decide to go for some mashed potatoes on the side (which is great when they are on sale), save some of the water from the potatoes. You can add this water to the drippings in the crock pot once you remove the pork to make a nice gravy.
2 - Meal number 2 is pork quesadillas. I love this meal because it is quick and uses left overs that I have on hand from other meals.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Chop up several slices of pork from your roast (usually no more than three), add one chopped green onion and heat up on stove. Lightly oil four flower tortillas. Put two of the lightly oiled tortillas oil down on a cookie sheet, spread some refried beans or black beans on two of the tortillas, add the pork mixture and whatever else you have on hand (cheese a little cilantro). Place two slightly oiled flour tortillas (oil side up) on top of the prepared tortillas and bake for 7 to 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Remember you can totally turn your oven off at about 5 or 6 minutes and the food will continue to cook. I love making these because they are really easy and quick.
3 - Simple, simple pork and gravy on bread.
Use any kind of bread that you have in the house. You do not need to go fancy though it is really good on a heartier bread like rye. Just heat up some of your left over gravy with some shredded up pork roast. Serve whatever sides you may have on hand from left over veggies to salad.
4 - Barbecue pork sandwiches
The pork is definitely not the main star of this meal. Simply shred up the last of your pork, put in a pot with some barbecue sauce and heat it up. Add it to hamburger buns. Make some good sides with salad and veggies. Alertson's has green, red leaf, and romaine lettuce on sale for $1.00 each this week or use their flier coupon for a head of iceberg lettuce for just 49 cents (limit 2). Safeway has some awesome vine tomatoes for 99 cents a pound. Fry's has gala apples or bartlet pears for 2 pounds for $1.oo you can make a great green salad with apples.
5 - This isn't a meal, but a side note. I usually have plenty of gravy left when I make a roast in my crock pot (especially if I stretch it with the potato water before adding a thickener). If you have left over gravy, hold onto to make a good base for shepherd's in the next few days or even freeze it to add to another crock pot meal (or shepherd's pie for that matter). A little hamburger, some veggies, and a mashed potato topping goes a long way towards a few more meals.
There are certainly other meals you can make with pork leftovers. These are just the ones I used last week.
Take advantage of your crock pot. You will be thrilled with all the meals you can make. Search around online or go to one of my favorite sites A Year of Slow Cooking. You can find all kinds of great tested recipes. You might want to check out the recipe for slow cooker yogurt. I am definitely going to test that one out (a gallon of milk is on sale at Albertons for just $1.67). I love the idea of making homemade yogurt.
This Sunday September 12th is Grandparents day, and Old Spaghetti Factory has an awesome freebie for your grandparents! Bring your grandparents in for lunch or dinner on September 12th, 13th or 14th and the grandparent will get their entree free! One free grandparent meal is available per one entree purchased. I found an Old Spaghetti Factory in Phoenix. More details on this awesome grandparent freebie below. I also have another link for a location map.
One of my favorite magazines, All You has an awesome freebie right now. This could be gone by morning, but I am hoping for the best. You can sign up for a free NEW Slim-Fast 100 Calorie Snack Bar in Peanut Butter Crunchtime. Follow the link below.
If you like trying out new fragrances, I have a great one for you. LaCoste is offering your choice of three different perfume samples. You can choose from LaCoste Challenge, LaCoste Essential Sport and LaCoste Love of Pink. You can also sign up for their VIP Club.You must be over 18 years of age.
One of my favorite websites is Vocalpoint. Through Vocalpoiint, you get to try products and give your opinion. This is a great way to help shape new products as well as get a few free items. Check them out at the link below. If you haven't yet, sign up. Right now they are looking for people to try a new fabric softener from Downey and Kashi GoLean Crisp. My advice is once you join and do try something out, keep out there so you get more opportunities.And just a heads up, the page for the samples seemed to load really slowly so be patient.
The Afters new CD "Light Up The Sky" will be released in a week! Right now you can head on over to Freeccm.com and get a free download of "Life is Sweeter" from that upcoming CD. Just register. It couldn't be easier. You can also still get a download from Phil Wickham, Sara Groves, Catalyst Music Project, The Choir, VOTA and Phillips, Craig & Dean!
For the fun of it, I looked up Kari Jobe and found an old link through iTickets.com for her version of "Revelation Song." I just LOVE her voice. Anyway, if you are an iTickets.com member sign in, click on the link below, and download your song. If you aren't a member, sign up first and then come back for this link. I am not sure if you can get to it from their regular download page.
Quaker has a try me offer. If you purchase Quaker Hearty Medly between 9/7/2010 and 12/31/2010 and do not like it, you can send in the form at the link. You must have the receipt, UPC code, and form with the reason you did not like the Quaker Hearty Medly in order to get a refund up to $4.29. This is a great opportunity to give a product a try. If you like it, GREAT! If you do not like it, you aren't out anything other than tax.Thanks Common Sense with Money.
Keebler Wheatables has a similar money back offer. Purchase Keebler Wheatables Original Golden Wheat or Keebler Wheatables Toasted Honey Wheat between 7/19/2010 and 3/30/2011, and if you do not like them send in the receipt, UPC code and your request form and get the purchase price up to $3.89 back. Be sure to follow all the directions on the form and mail it in time. The request needs to be postmarked by 3/30/2011 and received by 4/13/2011. Link below.Thanks Common Sense With Money!
My next deal is a great thing to do this weekend that will help others out.
Check it out:
Sunday, September 12th in the Prescott Courthouse Square will be the 13th Annual Empty Bowls event. From 11am to 2pm. For a donation of $15, you will be able to select a bowl that has been handmade by a local artisan and then enjoy two servings of delicious soup that has been prepared by chefs from Prescott area restaurants (bread and water are included). You get to keep the beautiful bowl and the money is given to the Yavapai County food banks.
Here are the sales items that really made me take notice:
Progresso Vegetable Classics Soup at 5 for $5 (I have also found coupons through the paper and cellfire.com for Progresso) Barilla Pasta at 5 for $5 Post Cocoa or Fruity Pebbles 3 for $5 On the vine tomatoes for 99 cents a pound Ragu Pasta Sauce for 99 cents each but you must buy 6 or more (well worth stocking up on) Healthy Choice or Marie Calendar Meals $1.69 for 8.5 to 21 oz Rancher's Reserve Top Round London Broil for $1.99 a pound There are also some great flier coupons in our local Safeway flier including Safeway Apple Juice $1.29 (limit 4) Del Monte Canned Vegetables 14.5 to 15.25 oz 59 cents (limit 6) Mission Tortilla Chips 14 oz for $1.29 (limit 4) *Great for taco salads Lucerne Large Eggs 18 ct Grade AA $1.99 (limit 2)
There is a lot more in the flier, but those are amazing, AND you only have to spend initially a minimum of a $10 purchase to use those coupons.
Fry's Don't forget that Fry's is still accepting competitor coupons and manufacturer coupons are all now worth $1.00
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast is just $1.67 lb Gala Apples or Bartlet Pears are a steal at 2 pounds for $1.00 Quaker Cap'n Crunch, Life, Oat Squares or Instant Oatmeal is just $1.77 each Fry's Quick Oats 18 oz are just 10 for $10 (great price and next week I am going to include a recipe for homemade granola) Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix or Syrup $2.49 each Kroger Dinner Sausage 18 oz for $2.99 (I use the Italian to make an amazing sausage lasagna using three of the five links)
Albertson's gallon milk is just $1.67 (Fry's has it for $1.77) Seedless Grapes in red, green or black are just 79 cents a pound Extra large shrimp are $3.99 a pound (use some for scampi and some for shrimp tostadas!) Malt 0 Meal cereals 12 to 14.5 ounces $1.00 Albertons Instant Oatmeal 10 count varieties $1.00 Chuck or Shoulder Roast or Steak $1.99 a pound Pork picnic Roast Bone in for $1.29 a pound Alberstons also has some great flier coupons too
Iceberg Lettuce for 47 cents each (limit of 2) Albertons Sandwich Bread 24 oz for 77 cents each (limit 2) Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey 93% lean in a one pound chub for $1.99 (limit 2) M&M Mars, Nestle or Wonka Single Candy Bars 3 for $1 (if you got to buy some candy get it cheap)
There are a lot more deals in each store, but again those were my faves. Also don't forget that if you can't get to the grocery store of choice bring your flier to Walmart where they will match your store's sales.
Or you can enter below for an email, you cutie patooties!
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Hubby portraying pomposity (not a word...I think)
Because IHEART RADIO STINKS IMO
Welcome to my mind...
What there is of it anyway. I am a person who is consistent only in the fact that I am consistently changing. I am a happy wife and mother. I have been blessed with an amazing son and an amazing husband. They both are quite generous in their love for me, and they both enjoy me for the oddball I can be. I am rich in my life and my experiences. I am not rich in the wallet, but you can't take it with you anyway...so I'll have nothing to miss. :)