Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am sliding into the pregnancy homestretch and don't much feel like standing and cooking a lot. Instead of an elaborate menu plan, I've made sure we have the things on hand to make simple meals without much fuss. My can-make list:

Grilled cheese (lots of cheap Kraft cheese on sale)
Fruit smoothies and granola
Spaghetti and garlic bread (frozen)
Leftover baked beans (finally pulling it together today)
Velveeta Shells and Cheese
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Bratwurst and frozen Pierogies

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kroger Trip

Kroger total this week: $62

My best deals: Hunt's diced tomatoes for $0.16 each, Kraft 2% Cheese Slices for $0.49 each, Velveeta Shells and Cheese for $1 each. Still need to head to the health food store to spend $6 more on organic dairy-free frozen waffles and soy yogurt, making this week's total $68 out of my $70 budget.

This coming week, I am stocking up on Rotel and Uncle Ben's coupons to take advantage of their being free this week.

Weekend Deal Matchups

At CVS, FREE Physicians Formula Cosmetics, Coke 12-packs for $2 each, three Metamucil products for $3.31 each (usually $10 each!), Zegerid for $11.99 (more than 50% off), Herbal Essences or Aussie Shampoo for $0.49 each, Arm and Hammer 2in1 Fabric Sheets for $1.34 each wyb 2 (usually $4.69 each), Carnation Evaporated Milk for $0.50 each (I use it to make this Pear Oven Pancake), according to Deal Seeking Mom.

At Walgreens, FREE Natrol Melatonin, FREE Blink Eye Drops, FREE Arnicare Pain Relief Gel, FREE Accuchek Glucose Monitor, FREE IcyHot Gel, today and tomorrow only, four FREE Vicks Sinex, Wisk for $3.99 (was $6.99), four Dove deodorants for $0.50 each, two Advil products for $0.49 each, four Nyquil products for $1 each, Zegerid for $10.99, Aussie or Herbal Essences Shampoo for $0.49 each, according to Deal Seeking Mom. LOTS of freebies this week!

At Rite Aid, FREE Afrin, FREE AMO Multipurpose Solution, FREE Coricidin, FREE Neuragen Gel, FREE Colgate Toothpaste, FREE Stayfree Pads, Halls Cough Drops $0.25, V8 Juice or Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail for $1.50 each, FREE Lays Stax or 32 oz Gatorade, three Pepsi 12 packs, one Edy's Grand Ice Cream, and 3 Lays Stax for $3.98 total, Viactiv for $0.99, Metamucil for $3.99, Zegerid for $11.99, according to Deal Seeking Mom.

At Meijer, FREE International Delight Creamer, FREE Chi-Chi's Salsa, Manwich for $0.45, Kraft Cheese $0.66, Jimmy Dean Sausage $1.19 each, Dannon Yogurt $0.32 each wyb 10, Philadelphia Cream Cheese $0.75, Green Giant Frozen Veggies $0.60 each wyb 3, Michelina's Frozen Meals $0.68 each wyb 5, Mueller's Pasta $0.39 each, FREE French's Mustard, Frank's Hot Sauce $0.50, Eight O'Clock Coffee $1.99 each, Clorox Bleach $0.50, Crest Toothpaste $0.67, Oral-B Toothbrushes $0.17, according to Stretching A Buck.

FREE Heluva Good Dip according to Deal Seeking Mom.

At Kroger, Orville Redenbacher Popcorn for $0.49 each, Krusteez Cookie Mix $0.49, Frank's Hot Sauce $0.49, French's Mustard $0.19, Surf Powdered Detergent $1.99, Finish Dishwasher Detergent $0.74, Nestle Cookie Dough $1.29, Kraft Singles Cheese $0.49, Johnson's Baby Wash $1.50, Pampers Wipes $0.49, FREE Rotel Tomatoes, FREE Uncle Ben's Rice, Hormel Chili $0.27, Advil $0.50, Reach Toothbrush $0.50, FREE Colgate Toothpaste, Sunny D $0.50, Barilla Pasta $0.50, FREE Bestlife Buttery Spread, according to Stockpiling Moms.

FREE Yankee Candle this weekend only, and 24 FREE photo Valentine Cards, according to Frugal Coupon Living.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: hunt and peck, probably granola and fruit smoothies

Tuesday: Santa Fe Rice and Beans

Wednesday: leftover rice and beans

Thursday: Boston Baked Beans, in slow cooker

Friday: leftover baked beans, Beer Bread

Saturday: French Toast with Cinnamon and Bacon

Sunday: Homestyle Mac and Cheese

Hundreds more menu plans here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CVS and Target Trips

Two free cans of Similac from my brother's fiancee, who got them in the mail. Thanks!

My CVS trip: Used my ECBs from last week ($10.98), spent $5.98 out of pocket with coupons, and got $5 back in ECBs, for a total of $0.98 out of pocket. I was really excited about the Blink eye drops, as I use them twice daily for my autoimmune-related dry eyes. That stuff is pricey!

At Target, I got a large bottle of Dawn for $1.24 with stacked coupons from Target and the December P & G brand saver insert. We prefer Seventh Generation for our dishes, but use Dawn to strip our cloth diapers. The extra large bottles of Tide (we use Tide Free HE) are on sale this week for $17.99, and I stacked more coupons from Target online and P & G, to make it $15.99.

As far as our baby-needs list goes: at Babies R Us, Vicks Humidifiers were 50% off, so we grabbed one. There was an online deal for the Pediped shoes I wanted, nearly 50% off. I had decided I wanted simple black Mary Jane style, and now have a 0-6 months and 6-12 months style, paid for by my mother. Now, I am just waiting for a coupon or sale on the crib mattress, and need to find an acceptable baby book.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekly Kroger Trip and Menu Plan Monday

Spent only $64 this week for the three of us, the vast majority being fresh organic produce. I did have a $3 off Kashi cereal coupon from a free sample box I recently got in the mail, and since it was on sale for $3 at Kroger until today, I got it for free!

My frugal strategy this week is cooking fresh meals from scratch, the majority being meatless and from the new cookbook I got for Christmas, The Veganomicon. I baked our own bread last week, and will do so again this week, as well as making blueberry muffins for my son's day care snacks.

Sunday: sent home with loads of roast beef from my uncle, so leftovers with broccoli for a side

Monday: Black Bean Burgers from The Veganomicon, prepared the night before and cooked today, home fries

Tuesday: Pear and Belgian Endive Salads from The Veganomicon

Wednesday: Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Onions, spread on Wheat Toast with Avocado

Thursday: French Lentil Salad (similar to this)

Friday: Homemade Focaccia and Roasted Veggie Sandwiches (I'm using onion, eggplant, tomato, and bell peppers)

Saturday: girls night out

Sunday: Roasted Portobello Salad from the Veganomicon

snacks: fruit smoothies, Blueberry Muffins

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Mushroom Risotto, Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Monday: Chicken Wraps With Balsamic Onions

Tuesday: Whole Wheat Spaghetti and cheeseless Garlic Bread made on homemade bread

Wednesday: Black Bean Dip and Pita Chips made from leftover whole wheat pita, broccoli

Thursday: Pear Oven Pancake, Smoothies

Friday: Personal Calzones

Saturday: dinner with family, no cooking necessary

Snacks: Homemade fruit smoothies: Put 1 c frozen raspberries, 1 c frozen blueberries, 1 c frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 2 heaping TB milled flaxseed, 1/2 c. vanilla soy milk, and 1/2 c. 100% apple juice in a food processor and blend. May adjust liquid to taste. Makes 3 servings.

Hundreds more menu plans here!

CVS Trip

Opted not to do Walgreens today, as my stockpile has plenty of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss. I was at CVS when it opened at 10 AM this morning, and was bummed that they only had 3 Finish boxes left. Yes, I got those three, and then drove 15 minutes to another CVS, where I was happy to see they were fully stocked for all of us crazy couponers. The Snickers Bar, one of the Cokes, and Finish tabs were all free. I used 7 ECBs, and paid about $12 out of pocket. I got $10.89 in ECBs back, so a total of about $1.20 out of pocket for all of this. I gave 4 coupons for Finish tabs to my mom yesterday, and she called to say the first store she went to- at 11am- was sold out, but the manager gave her a rain check. She then went to a second store and was able to get three. Yes, as long as you use your CVS card to track your purchases, you can make multiple trips throughout the week to rack up the $20 in purchases you need to get $10 in ECBs back for this deal. She is asking around for 3 more coupons, and plans to go back later this week to get four more with the rain check. Yes, they are all coming to my house. Our daughter will be on formula, and we will likely be running the dishwasher one to two times a day. I love that I won't have to worry about buying dishwasher detergent for essentially a year!

I also headed to Walmart today to use a gift card. I am not really a big fan of shopping there- but free is free. I picked up some curtains for our daughter's room.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Weeks of Cash Only Challenge

If you read my Friday post at The Motivation Station a couple weeks ago, you know that one of my goals this year is to go mostly cash-only in order to stick like glue to the goal of paying off our mortgage within 7 years, and owing nothing to no one. I've stuck to it the past two weeks, and am happy to report that we have eaten out much less since instituting this. Even when I've bought diapers online, I've transferred the amount into a "redeposit" envelope to put back in the bank and pay on the card.

Our baby furniture should be in within 2 weeks, and I've purchased our gliding rocker using a 20% off coupon and gift cards I've won. We ended up getting another 10% back on the rocker after they gave us a broken ottoman and my husband complained. My coworkers kindly threw a baby shower for me (with the best cupcakes ever), and some of my gifts came in the form of gift cards. I'm waiting for another furniture coupon to come out, then I will use it plus the gift cards to buy the mattress. My mother is gifting us with the Pediped shoes I wanted to use. I found lavender curtains at Walmart for $12 each, and have a gift card from my dad I can use for that. All I have left to get after that is a baby book, 2 humidifiers, and a picture frame that matches the one holding our son's newborn picture.

I did get some great deals this week at Kroger: 4 tubes of Crest Pro-Health for $2 total, and 4 Oral-B toothbrushes for $2 total, as well as Kashi cereal for $0.99 each (usually $4.69 each). I'm excited about my drugstore deals this week- at CVS, I will get 7 Finish 20-pack dishwasher tabs for free, plus my mother is picking up another 4 free for me. We are almost near the end of the huge tub I got for free this summer with my Sam's Club winnings, and this should let us run a daily load with our new baby and need for bottles, for at least 7.5 months. At Walgreens, I can get Special K for $0.25 a box, free Colgate toothpaste, and free Reach floss and toothbrushes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Roasted Veggie Sandwiches on Foccacia, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Homemade Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita

Homemade foccacia in the bread machine. This smelled wonderful, and I can't tell you how easy it was. The most work I did was spreading it on the pizza stone, and sprinkling olive oil, rosemary, and garlic powder on it. It fluffed up enough to split it in half for a sandwich. Everyone loved it!

For the veggie filling, I used a hybrid of this recipe and this recipe. I was too lazy to wash another cookie sheet, so I just sauteed the baby bella mushrooms and red onion with olive oil.

I roasted some yellow and red bell peppers, eggplant, and tomato in the oven, brushed with olive oil.

I made the garlic mayo from the second recipe, and it tasted fantastic. Served with cheesy boxed potatoes I got for free.

I never made a pineapple upside down cake before, but it's my dad's favorite. I was skeptical about it sliding out of the pan intact, but it did! I'm not really a dessert person, so I didn;t eat any, but my father and sister were very happy with the results.

Homemade pita bread seemed a bit daunting, but it was surprisingly easy. Once again, I used the dough setting on my bread machine to make the dough. I used half whole wheat flour, baked them on cookie sheets, and covered with a damp towel to soften them. They puffed up a bit, but not enough to open and make a sandwich. Since we planned on cutting into wedges and dipping into hummus, it didn't matter. Yes, the homemade hummus drizzled in olive oil was a 3 minute task in the food processor, and tasted way better than any store brand.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Baba Ghanoush, Hummus, and homemade pita with feta

Tuesday: Pear Oven Pancake

Wednesday: Black Bean Burritos

Thursday: hunt and peck, probably eggs and toast

Friday: Creamy Tomato Baked Rigatoni (using broccoli and spinach)

Saturday: Black Bean Burgers, Oven Fries

Sunday: Whole Wheat Pasta with No-Cook Sauce

Hundreds more menu plans here!