It’s up — go check out what I had to say
This is the other “as seen on TV” gift that we got for Christmas. I thought it was the goofiest thing but tried it anyways…
I have gotten a few brownie mixes free last year and figured it was cheaper than trying to make them from scratch – so one box of brownies it was! I preheated the oven to 350 and popped that batter into the pan.Then, you spray the bejesus out of the insert and add it. If you DON’T spray it, you will have a large brownie with the insert stuck in the middle of it. (not fun)!Now THIS is where the fun starts…you can make each brownie different! I added the last of the holiday M&Ms, and a few chopped walnuts to them.30 minutes later – we just needed some cold glasses of milk and ripped into them!Bottom line: I wouldn’t have paid cash for this as I have regular pans but this is a fun toy to keep – I see several custom brownie batches in our future.
Nothing tastes as good on a cold winter day as a bowl of warm, dressed up, creamy, potato soup! It seems like the ultimate Midwest “comfort food” and let’s face it, I live in Wisconsin because it’s legal for me to have five starches on the same plate, LOL!
I promised this recipe – it is fast, easy and yummy! We LOVE it! I hope your family finds it as good as ours does
8 C peeled & cubed potatoes (5 lbs.)
3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (8 oz) brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 lb. bacon crisp-cooked & crumbled (With bacon over $6 a pound right now, I get 1/2 pound of cooked, crumbled bacon from the salad bar at the grocery store for $2.25. I use half in the soup and save the other half to garnish it as I serve it)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and more of that crumbles bacon of top!
A friend asked a GREAT question:
I am finding now that Fall is here – I struggle with costs of produce. I always come upon this in the Fall and Winter when fruit is harder to come by. My budget for fruit with my kids usually close to 40 dollars; any tips with fresh fruit?
The first thing that came to mind was bananas…they are ALWAYS a good price and one of the only reason’s I might stop at Quick Trip to get roughly 3# for $1. But let’s face it, how many bananas can you eat? Then comes banana bread, banana oatmeal cookies, bananas foster… You can feel like you are turning into a monkey!
So, I did a little homework. Common sense dictates that fruit is the least expensive when it is in season…so let’s take a look at what I came up with after doing an online search and talking to my friendly produce man:
October: cranberries, apples, pomegranates, grapes
November: cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, tangerines, pears, persimmons
December: pomegranates, oranges, tangerines, pears, papayas, tangelos, grape fruit
January: Florida Navel oranges, tangerines, lemons, papayas, tangelos, grapefruit,
February: oranges, lemons, papayas, tangelos, grapefruit
March & April: pineapples, mangoes
Granted, you may find some cheaper fruit at these times, but it is probably older/bitter/poorer quality. These listed items are at the height of their freshness, in their peak season and good to keep an eye on.
Cranberries are great when ground up and turned into a chutney or relish for pork or turkey dishes…we make a jam out of it with frozen strawberries added!
Apples and pears are easy to use – eat fresh, slice and can for those future pies, make apple/pear sauce and apple/pear butter.
Pomegranates are a HUGE source of great vitamins and fun to eat.
Pineapple can be sliced and frozen beautifully…grapes freeze well too!
Citrus is great all winter – that vitamin C helps keep you healthier when everyone else around you is starting to sniffle.
Keep an eye on the sales, figure a $.50 or less per serving price point and you should do really well!
As back to school time draws nearer and nearer, it’s time to talk about how you can save a lot of money, painlessly! This is my $1,000 lunch bag set.
Sound impossible? It’s true-it can save your family $1,000 or more!
Just think about it, if you work outside the home and you buy lunch out almost every day. If you only spend $6.00 a day on lunch and a soda, get two weeks of vacation a year, that is 50 weeks at $30 a week…for a grand total of $1,500 a year!
If you were to bring your lunch from home, use up some leftovers and your own juice, you could easily save $1,000 or more a year. If you are married, that is times TWO! We haven’t even added in breaks or afternoon chocolate pick-me-ups…However, if you brown bag it and use plastic wrap, foil, zippy bags and so on, four of those items pus the brown bag is only about $.1.15 a day that you throw away,…that adds up to about $359 per person, ,per year in the trash!
That is about $4,300 over 12 years of school – per kid! Just think, investing in a Tupperware lunch set for under $40, can net you a profit of over $4,250! It’s guaranteed for life, eco friendly and pretty stylish!
Check out my website for more ideas –> www.BuyCoolTW.com. I will let you know a secret: pretty hip “camo” ones are coming soon for boys and girls!
Now before you fall over in shock we did Wendy’s and their $1 value menu – two bacon cheeseburgers for $2. No drinks were needed as we had our water bottles with us so $2 was it. When we pulled up to the window, I saw the promo for their Wendy’s Frosty and Kid’s foundation.
For $1, customers at participating Wendy’s restaurants can purchase an all-access pass to five months of Jr. Frostys while supporting the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.
Yes, I spent another $1 for a keytag. The money goes to the Foundation and through the end of the year, any time we swing by, we get a free Frosty with any purchase.
I’m not proud of it, but I am fond of their baked potatoes and chili…yes, more things on the $1 menu -LOL! I DO see us occasionally going back there and taking advantage of our unlimited offer.
About the foundation – We are adoptive parents and love the idea of every child having a home…here is some more info about it:
“Every child deserves a family,” said Rita Soronen, executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a signature program of the Foundation, is assuring that children in foster care are adopted across the nation. Our partnership with Wendy’s and the sale of Frosty key tags makes it easy for everyone to support our work.”
“My dad always said giving back is the right thing to do. This key tag fund-raiser is one way of giving back to the community where we live and work, and most importantly, helping children without families,” said Wendy Thomas, one of the Columbus restaurant owners participating in the program. Thomas is the daughter of Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Restaurants and the Foundation. She is also the namesake for the national restaurant chain.
About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 150,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit www.DaveThomasFoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.
I suggest you call your local Wendy’s and see if they are participating, it’s a painless way to give back and pretty darned tasty on a hot day!
I found this interesting blog – the guy started on May first to pay only $1 a day for food (for just himself). So, he would have $31 to spend for the month of May. I find this fairly easy to accept as I spend about twice that a month to feed the three of us!
Here were his rules:
1) I will begin on May 1 and will have no accumulated food of any kind. I have $31 to spend ($1 for each day of the month). I can start buying food on May 1 and can not exceed the $31. I must document the cost of the food with receipts.
2) I can only use 2 computers to print coupons. Although I have access to more which would make this challenge much easier, we agreed that not everyone will have access to a lot of computers. However, we also agreed that anyone reading this has access to at least one computer and should be able get access to another one using a bit of creativity.
3. I can only use 2 inserts from the Sunday paper each week. Although I have access to many more than this (I usually pick up anywhere from 3 to 5 copies for free from the local coffee shop alone each week), we decided that not everyone would have access to dozens of inserts. We agreed that anyone could get the coupon inserts from at least 2 Sunday papers with a bit of creativity. I am allowed to use up to 2 of previous week’s coupon inserts that I already happen to have.
4. I can use as many coupons as I want that I can get in the grocery store where they are available to everyone.
5. I can only buy food from retail outlets (grocery stores, drug stores, food markets, etc). I can’t supplement what I buy at the store with free food from trees, dumpster diving, friends, food banks, donations, growing my own, etc.
6. I can only use deals that anyone else would have access to getting.
While I found it interesting to read through his posts — I was a little bothered about one thing: shopper courtesy.
He starts the month by taking 60+ coupons out of a dispenser for cream cheese at the store — and then bought them all that week! I try to be considerate of other shoppers: just because I COULD buy 40+ of something at one time doesn’t mean I would. It kind of stinks to be the shopper right behind someone who is taking an overabundance of an item and sees that they left none for the next shopper.
He had no intention of eating all of those, but new he wold get $.06 BACK on each one he bought (between the sale price and the coupon) – he was using that overage to keep in his budget and get other things like bananas, etc. He did donate 50 or so packs to the local food pantry so the food wouldn’t go to waste but gypped other shoppers the chance at the sale.
Here is what he donated (at the end of his 31 days) to the local pantry:
8 Deli Selections lunch packages
4 packages hardwood smoked turkey franks
2 Gillette body wash
3 sample packs of Maxwell House Vanilla Carmel Latte
1 Stayfree pantiliner package
1 Kotex U tampon package
5 Bayer children’s aspirin
2 sticks of deodorant
4 bottles Windex multi-surface cleaner
1 can of Pork & Beans
32 boxes of cereal
50 packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Minis
4 boxes (small) of Wheat Thins
2 Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean bathroom cleaner
2 Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean bathroom cleaner refill
A pretty impressive list but you can see what I mean- 32 boxes of cereal, 50 containers of cream cheese, etc.
If you are curious about the feminine care items, etc – he was really working the drugstore deals! He has a CVS Pharmacy and does some of the same things that I do with Walgreen’s. They have a lot of customer rewards too – we do have one in Madison, but it’s on the far west side and I can’t really make sense of all that gas to save a few $ — it seems like it would cost more to travel than to save.
He did drive a lot to do this — sometimes hitting 3 stores in one day, shopping almost every day. Again, that kind of negates the savings when you are spending 4x as much for gas than you normally do, LOL!
Read through for yourself, he can be pretty funny!
There are a lot of perks to having a chest freezer: you can take more advantage of sales on things that need to be frozen, buy more meat on sale and bake larger quantities of treats for future use. It really does pay for itself when you consider how small a freezer is in a freezer/fridge combo unit.
One thing I have been asked, is “how do you know what you have in your freezer?”
Simple. I have an inventory list! At the beginning of the month, I have a complete list of what is in it. As the month progresses, I cross off what we use, and write in what we add. At the end of the month, I put a * next to the original items on the list, pull off what we used and add in what we bought to have a fresh new list for the new month.
The * tells me it is an older item and I need to try to use it first. If it doesn’t get used that second month it becomes a ** item and HAS to be used the third month!
This keeps my inventory rotated, food from getting too old or “freezer burnt”, and makes me seem more organized, LOL! We no longer have UFOs (unidentified frozen objects) or throw a big bag of stuff out every 6 months. Let’s face it – you aren’t really saving money on food if you just bring it home and let it set until you have to throw it out!
Do you know what is in YOUR Freezer right now? I challenge you to do a freezer clean out! Toss the UFOs, make a list of what you put back in and post that list on the fridge – you will thank me later
Both my mother and mother in law have diabetes so I try to keep current on all the available information. I even sat in on the classes with my mother, who is now diet controlled. I am a big girl, but keep an eye on what my Mom deals with, so I can make sure that I don’t get the same thing!
The free magazine from the Pharmacy department at Walgreen’s, called “diabetes and you”, had a very interesting article in it. (summer copy) It says what we eat may be the key, more so than the risk facto of being overweight or inactive!
The paragraph I found the most interesting is:
The researchers who did the study found that people in these two groups who ate a lot of fats, meats, eggs and refined grains, had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also showed that vegetables help protect some people from getting type 2 diabetes. Diets rich in fruit, milk and yogurt were found to be very helpful, especially in women.
The first thing that came to my mine was “I TOLD my husband that eating like he does puts him in a high risk category all of his own!”
Then I took a look at what *I* eat: Fruits, Veggies, yogurt every day, whole grain wheat bread, brown rice, skim milk, wheat pasta, etc. (whew!) I do some fats, but usually the healthier ones like olive oil, etc. I also tend to stick with baked or broiled instead of the nasty fried variety. Instead of the red or process meats that they were saying were evil, I do poultry and fish more often. I try to eat the “rainbow” of colors in the produce world, and often try veggies in different ways instead of the same old presentation time after time. I know that WHITE is a bad word in the world of food and try to avoid it…
Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to indulge in the chocolate chip cookies that a friend makes, or have a second bread stick if I am having a salad at Olive Garden…I really think moderation is the key.
I have a “mini me” in the house, which means that Sarah is on the same path that I follow…her snack box in the fridge has everything from homemade granola to string cheese and she knows that she can have anything in there. (and occasionally reminds me that her choices are getting low…LOL!) She is empowered to make her own choices, but I have narrowed the field of selection down for her.
It’s not just for diabetes, the same diet can help prevent cancers, and more! Take a look at what you keep on hand in your home. The old saying is right: you ARE what you eat! Why be a pile of processed crap when you can make simple changes to change your future. You can save a LOT of money by staying healthy: less doctor visits, less medications, longer lifespan, and more. We can’t cheat death but we sure have the power to post-phone it a while.