Monday, June 28, 2010

Ice cream

No picture, but we decided to take advantage of the HEB ice cream deal again. OOP = $5.48 Saved = $4

Menu Plan Monday 6/28-7/4

We had some slip-ups last week from the menu plan. We are hoping to do better this week.

Monday - chicken and black bean wraps

Tuesday - chicken fried steak

Wednesday - black beans and corncakes

Thursday - beef fajitas

Friday - tuna steaks

Saturday - BBQ chicken

Sunday - Lompoc beans (a recipe I am very fond of because it reminds me times spent with my wonderful Mama Ruth)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rebate, quick trip, and salsa!

I received a $10 rebate today to put back into the budget!

We also went to HEB to take advantage of a sale/coupon special they have going. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE ice cream! HEB had a sale on ice cream with a coupon for buy one 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell ice cream ($5.48) get a 1/2 gallon of HEB brand ice cream for free!

Total OOP = $7.48
Total Savings (including sales and Q) = $4

James was able to make 6 pints of homemade canned salsa using the tomatoes we got for free! The salsa is delicious! You'll only notice 5 pictured because we already opened one to eat with carnitas tonight!

meat clearance and more free tomatoes

James went over to the neighbor's house again since they are still gone. We got about $15 worth of tomatoes for free (based on prices at the store today). I am thankful that our neighbors let us pick their tomatoes while they are on vacation. James is going to make some canned salsa today with our free goods. We hit the store for some canning supplies, and ended up with some more goodies.

We got several packages of meat on clearance today. James doesn't complain but I know he misses eating other types of beef. Because beef is expensive, I cut out a lot of it when we started our $1200 challenge. Thank goodness we just happened to be at the store today at the right time.

Total before sales and Q: $36.20
Total sales: $8.79
Total Q: $2.96
Total OOP: $24.45

** We also went to a local donut shop for breakfast. OOP = $5.65.**

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bought more than I planned

I made a quick run to the dreaded Walmart today to pick up a few items. The Red Baron Pizza by the slice has a rebate associated with it. It was on sale for $2.96 - $1 MQ = $1.96 for two pieces of pizza and I'll get the entire $2.96 back with the rebate! Found the brownies on sale from $1.34 to $0.75 each. I like to have these on hand for quick chocolate cravings. The cashier actually scanned my free cracker with cookie purchase Q twice, which I just noticed, so my saving for that meant that I got the crackers and cookies for $0.70. Good trip overall.

The tomatoes are from the garden of my neighbor. He's on vacation and he told us we could pick the tomatoes. The plastic bag has some fresh oregano that my boss at the restaurant gave me. I'll probably put some in tonight's turkey burgers. Total savings here = $2.

Total before sales and Q = $13.32 Total sales = $2.20
Total Q = $6.36
Total OOP = $4.76

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan 6/21-6/27

We are trying some new meals this week, hoping everything turns out well.

Monday - hot dogs and Kraft Homestyle Mac-n-cheese (got for free with MQ)

Tuesday - turkey burger and tater tots

Wednesday - Lentil soup

Thursday - pizza

Friday - tuna steaks

Saturday - Barbequed chicken

Sunday - Pink pasta

Sunday, June 20, 2010

No picture, but I did bake today

I forgot to take a picture of the fruits of my labor today. I made German Chocolate Brownies (for James), chocolate chip cookies, and mini banana nut muffins.

Our plans for the evening got changed, and I didn't have a back up plan for dinner. We ended up going to get a pizza. Good news is that we did use a coupon to save $2. We also picked up 3 dozen eggs. OOP = $13

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tomatillo Sauce a la James

I had planned for chicken fajitas and tomatillo sauce last night, but since I was working, I asked James to cook these. He is a much better tomatillo sauce maker than I am. This sauce is so yummy and flavorful. James thinks he would have liked it better cold, but I liked it hot.

Tomatillo Sauce:
6 tomatillos
2 Poblano peppers
2 Jalapeno peppers
1 small onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
handful of cilantro (this is really to your taste)
salt (to your desired taste)

1. Over hot coals, roast the tomatillos, Poblanos, jalapenos, and onions until black. Place in a paper bag and after a few minutes, peel the skin off of each. (If you are sensitive, or not used to working with peppers, you might want to wear gloves.)

2. Place all items in a blender and puree.

So easy and yummy! We hope you enjoy!

Adding savings

I finally remembered the cost of the products I got for free from the CostCo Summer Snack giveaway so I am going to add that in.

2 Boxes of fruit roll-ups @ $9.98 each = $19.96

1 Box of Nature Valley Trail Mix Bars = $11.98

Also adding in the Kraft Homestyle Macaroni Dinner that I got for free via a MQ from Kraft First Taste = $2.00.

Grand total of savings = $33.94

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

I've been trying to find a few new, quick recipes to try at our house. This Moroccan Chicken was yummy and healthy! The flavors were subtle, but just right; plus the chickpeas add a nice bit of texture to the meal.

The original recipe is from the "Great Food Fast" cookbook published by the folks at Everyday Food. I changed it up a little by making it a crockpot recipe, and altered the amounts of and some of the ingredients.

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 carrot, peeled and thin sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 onion, sliced thinly
1-3/4 c chicken broth (I used homemade)
3/4 c water
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t curry powder
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

1.) Mix all the ingredients, except the couscous, together in a crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
2.) When fully cooked, take chicken out of crockpot. Using two forks, shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Add these pieces back into the crockpot and let them continue to cook for about an hour. Salt and pepper to taste.
3.) Cook couscous according to package directions. Put some couscous in a bowl and then top with the Moroccan Chicken.

I hope you enjoy this little exotic dish!

Grocery trip for the week

I made a trip to HEB on Monday and have just been too busy to post my trip. I got James some fruit and picked up some quick breakfast stuff for me so the trip was a little higher than normal.
OOP = $42.48
Saved = $5.29

Sunday, June 13, 2010


We made a trip to CostCo today to pick up a package of Gatorade that was on sale. Since I am working outside this summer (again), I really need to keep up my electrolytes since I sweat all day. The Gatorades and copious amounts of water should help stave off dehydration. We also used a coupon for the M&M's - BIG SPLURGE. We also bought two pieces of pizza while at CostCo.

Total before Q = $30.95
Total Q = $4.50
Total OOP = ZERO ($28.30 on gift cards that I received from BlogSpark and a rewards card!)

We also spent $9.90 on an ice cream treat at a local ice cream shop called Amy's Ice Cream.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Waffles

I made a batch of these waffles this morning so I could freeze them and have some quick breakfasts for the upcoming week. I don't remember where I got the original recipe, but I've tweaked it in my own way, so that's what I'll post. These waffles have a very strong whole wheat flavor, but are surprisingly light.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Waffles

2-1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 T vanilla soy protein powder (you could omit this)
1 T agave syrup (if you don't have this substitute 1-1/2 T sugar or honey)
4 t baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
2-1/4 c milk (I used skim)
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 t salt
Cooking spray for waffle iron

1.) Preheat a waffle iron.
2.) Mix the ingredients together using an electric mixer or by hand.
3.) Spray your waffle iron with a light coating of the cooking spray and make waffles according to the directions associated with your waffle iron.

Happy breakfasting!

Wanchai Ferry Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Christine for winning the Wanchai Ferry giveaway. Here's what she had to say about what her favorite flavors would be:

"Beef and broccolli (which they now have)is my go to now that my metabolism has slowed. I also like chicken and mushroom or cashew chicken. Something a little lighter than the sweeter stuff like Orange chicken. It's great that it has no msg."

Christine, I'll have an email out in the next 15 minutes to you. You have 48 hours to respond before I offer the giveaway to a different winner.

Thanks to all the entered!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Working has it's advantages

I am working all the time. Between both jobs, I feel like I don't have time to do anything around the house. However, despite a lapse in housecleaning, I am not doing too bad on the home front. We have been sticking to the house for meals, despite a desire to go out to eat. We are cooking dinner at night, just much later than usual. I couldn't do it without James' help. He's picked up a lot of the slack. I'm pretty proud of us for trying to stick to our challenge and our plan!!

I just wanted to give an update on why there haven't been a lot of posts. We haven't really tried cooking anything new, we are just sticking with old, quick standbys. I haven't even been to the grocery store in awhile...we are using what we have in the house. I think I'll eventually need to make a milk/egg run, but we are hanging in right now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meal plan

We did pretty well last week without a meal plan, but I am going to try to have a basic idea of things this week.

Monday - breakfast (biscuits, eggs, bacon, and potatoes)

Tuesday - Double decker tacos

Wednesday - Chicken pita wraps

Thursday - Pizza

Friday - Tuna and rice (James cook)

Saturday - James cook

Sunday - a day off so I'm not sure what our plans will be!!

Wanchai Ferry review and giveaway!

We recently received the opportunity to sample Wanchai Ferry's new Beef and Broccoli for two frozen meal. Thanks to Wanchai Ferry for providing me with this sample via MyBlogSpark. All opinions are mine or James'.

Here's what we received in this packet:
Before going into our opinions, here's what Wanchai Ferry has to say about their new product:

"Wanchai Ferry frozen entrées are perfect to have on hand for those nights you´re in the mood for Asian cuisine, but would rather enjoy it with a relaxing night in. Available in the freezer section of your local grocery store, Wanchai Ferry frozen entrées come complete with everything you need to make a restaurant quality meal in the comfort of your own home.

The newest Wanchai Ferry flavor, Beef & Broccoli, is the first beef dish in their line of great-tasting, complete Chinese meals for two. Ready to serve in only 14 minutes, Wanchai Ferry Beef & Broccoli comes with tender beef strips, and an assortment of Asian-style vegetables, including broccoli florets, red peppers and water chestnuts. It even includes rice and a rich brown sauce accented with soy and garlic for an authentic flavor experience.

Be sure to try the two additional new flavors of Wanchai Ferry frozen entrées, Kung Pao Chicken and Szechuan Style Chicken, which will soon join five other delicious varieties including Orange Chicken, Shrimp Lo Mein, Spicy Garlic Chicken and Sweet & Sour Chicken. Additionally, all of the entrées have no added MSG!"

And now onto our opinions!

I have to admit that I only sampled the beef and the sauce. I don't eat vegetables so that portion didn't seem appealing to me at all. I found the beef to be a little tough, but James said it wasn't that bad. I thought the sauce was delicious, if a little sweet. James, who ate a complete portion, liked the Wanchai Ferry Beef and Broccoli meal okay. He said it comes close to the Chinese food you would expect to eat in a restaurant, but that it is not 100% restaurant quality. He felt that there was too much sugar in the sauce but that the vegetables kind of balanced it out a little.

The statement about the meal being quick and easy to prepare is completely accurate. I just followed the directions and it took about 14 minutes to finish. I can see how this would be beneficial to many families.

I suppose it boils down to this: if we ate processed meals, we would probably purchase Wanchai Ferry products to eat.

The good news is that Wanchai Ferry has offered a coupon for a package of their food and two tea sets to giveaway to one of my readers. You have until noon on Friday to enter. You must include these items in your comment to be entered:

1) an email address for me to contact you
2) An answer to this question: What Chinese meal would you love for Wanchai Ferry to offer as a frozen meal?

Thanks, and happy eating!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grocery trip

Quick trip to the store for some necessary items and some free items. The dog treats that are in the picture don't apply to my grocery budget. . .I spend way more on the dogs than I do on us!

Total before sales and Q = $28.42
Total sales = $0.51
Total Q = $14.88
Total OOP = $13.03

Then like the lazy people we've become we went to Taco Bell for dinner instead of cooking/cleaning, and blew my grocery savings on dinner. Ridiculous, I know! Total OOP = $10.25

CostCo Sunny Days Snack Pack Giveaway winner

Shawn you are the winner!! Please check your email so I can get the info I need to send out your prize pack.

I'll have another giveaway in the next couple of weeks so keep checking the site everyone!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CostCo Sunny Days Snack Pack review and giveaway

I was recently given the opportunity to receive a CostCo Sunny Days Snack Pack which included the items shown below.

Just to fulfill legal terms, let me tell you that General Mills provided me with the free product, information, and gift cards through MyBlogSpark. All opinions provided are mine or my family's and are completely honest.

Here's what General Mills had to say about the products:

*Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Bars are a delightful, 100% natural, combination of tastes and textures you’ll love. Now, you can get 25% more of the whole almonds, peanuts, raisins and cranberries in every bar! With no artificial flavors or colors and only 140 calories, Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars also contain 8g of whole grain per serving.

*Simply Fruit Roll-Ups are a better-for-you treat that kids love! Simply Fruit Roll-Ups are an excellent source of Vitamin C and are available in a convenient variety pack of Strawberry and Wildberry flavors. Every delicious roll is made with 90% real fruit and fruit juice and packs a full serving of fruit. Even more exciting? They’re gluten-free and contain only 50 calories per roll.

I don't eat fruits and vegetables, but James was very willing to try these products out and give his opinion. He really liked the flavor of the Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, and so did I. I have to confess that I picked out the raisins and cranberries and tasted the other pieces. The bars, in both our opinions, were tasty and gooey. James felt that he would have liked the bars more if they would have stuck together better, essentially he felt they fell apart too easily. He prefers the Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Bars (not included in this sample pack, but products we have purchased before at CostCo), but that the Trail mix bars will make a decent substitute.

I drew the line at sampling the fruit roll-ups, but may eventually talk myself into trying them. James loved the flavor, he said they were "sweet and tart" at the same time, with some different mix of berry flavors. His one complaint about these was that because we live in such a humid climate, he had difficulty peeling the fruit roll-ups off the papers.

I had a problem with the $25 CostCo gift card given to us with the promotion. When we recieved it and I tried to use it/activate it, I received the lovely message of "this card is invalid." A simple email to the blogspark people fixed the problem and now I have an activated $25 CostCo gift card to use. . . super excited about this!

And now the exciting part...General Mills (via Blogspark) has offered me a second CostCo Sunny Days Snack Pack to giveaway to one reader. Here's what you need to do:
1.) Let me know in the comment section what easy snack you like to carry around for the summer. (Hopefully it is a product that can be purchased at CostCo).
2.) Within your comment leave me an email address that I can contact you to get information so that the pack can be sent to you.

I'll leave the giveaway open until Friday, June 4, 2010 at noon. Thanks and happy eating!

No meal plan

I haven't had any time to meal plan, and I don't feel like doing it now so I guess I am just going to wing it this week and hope things don't go poorly. Here are a couple of pictures of things we've eaten or made over the last couple of days.

Chicken and Mozzarella ravioli in an al fredo sauce. Super quick and yummy!

James used one of the big bags of dewberries we had picked a couple of weeks ago and made 4 pints of dewberry jam. We haven't tasted them yet, but James is sure they will be delicious.

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.