Friday, February 28, 2014

Tuesday's Gaint Trip - Stocking the Freezer for Post-delivery

This week Joe and I cashed in our coin jar.  I added this money to the grocery envelope, in hopes of a ground beef sale, which there wasn't one.  Maybe next week, but I was able to stock up the freezer with some quick meals that Joe won't mind making for himself after the baby comes.  Mama Celeste pizzas and fish sticks/patties aren't the most healthiest options out there, but they are cheaper and healthier than most take-out.  I also picked up a few other deals while we were there, including PB Captain Crunch cereal, my latest pregnancy craving, but I suppose that could be worse too, at least I'm not craving brownie sundaes or something totally fattening like that.  Anyway, here's our deals...

20 Mama Celeste Pizzas $1.25 ea - $0.25 ea Sale - $10 off instantly when you spend $20 = 20/$10!
2 boxes Mrs Paul's Fish Sticks/Patties $5.99 ea - BOGO Free Sale $5.99 - $1/1 MC = 2/$4.99
2 boxes Eggo Waffles $2.79 ea - $1.29 ea Sale - $0.75/1 MC doubled to $1.50 x 2 = 2 FREE!
2 tubs Land O Lakes Olive Oil Margarine $2.19 ea - $0.19 ea Sale = 2/$4
2 pkgs Giant Butter Sticks $3.89 ea - $1.89 ea Sale = 2/$4
4 boxes PB Captain Crunch Cereal $3.39 ea - $0.89 ea Sale - $0.75/2 MC doubled to $1.50 x 2 = 4/$7
5 pouches Texas Toast Croutons $1.59 ea - $0.34 ea Sale - $0.50/1 MC doubled to $1 x 4 and $0.75/1 MC doubled to $1.50 = 5/$0.75
Total OOP: $76.23 - $45.49 Savings/Coupons = $30.74, Savings of 57%!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tuesday's CVS Trip

This week there weren't a lot of good ECB deals this week, but there were several good deals on things that we needed, like bottled water, and tissues.  I received a $5 ECB from the Beaty Club when I scanned my card at the red machine for coupons, so I got to use that towards my purchase today as well, which was a nice surprise!  I also used a rain check for some free after ECB allergy medicine.  All in all it worked out to be a nice trip.  Here's what we ended up with...

3 bags various Hershey's Candies $3.79 ea - $0.79 ea Sale - $2/3 MC - $2 ECB's wyb 3 = 3/$5
2 boxes Pop-Secret Popcorn $3.99 ea - $1.99 ea Sale - $1/1 MC x 2 = 2/$2
4 boxes Kleenex Tissues $1.77 ea - $0.78 ea Sale - $1/4 MC = 4/$2.96
3-24 pks Basics Bottled Water $3.99 ea - $1.55 ea Sale = 3/$7.32
1-5 ct box Mucinex Allergy Medicine $8.99 - $1.49 Sale - $5/1 MC - $2.50 MIR = FREE!
1-5 ct box CVS Allergy Medicine $4.99 - $1.30 Rain check Sale - $4 ECB's (from Rain check) = FREE + $0.31 Money-maker!
+ $0.91 Tax
- $11 ECB's used to Pay (including $5 Beauty Club Reward)
- $11 Mystery Coupons
- $4.08 CVS Gift card
Total OOP: $0.30, Earned $6 ECB's and $2.50 MIR (and I still have $10 leftover ECB's from last week)

Linked to Simply CVS!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ALDI Deals, Starting 02/26/2014

Here are some of the deals this week at ALDI...
  • Weds. 02/26 ONLY: Fresh Family Pk Chicken Breasts $1.59/lb
  • Avocados $0.59 ea
  • Roma Tomatoes 16 oz $0.99 ea
  • Multi-Peppers 3 pk $1.99 ea
  • Anjou Pears 28 oz pkg $1.19 ea
  • Red Grapes 2 lb pkg $2.18 ea
  • Pineapples $1.39 ea
  • Benita Tortilla Triangles 13 oz $1.49 ea
  • Benita Chopped Green Chilies 4 oz $0.69 ea 
  • Benita Mexican Style Corn 11 oz $0.79 ea
  • Benita Salsa Style Diced Tomatoes 14.5 oz $0.89 ea 
  • Casa Mamita Mexican Style Seasonings Assorted Varieties 1.12-1.62 oz $0.59 ea
  • Casa Mamita Taco Seasoning Mix 1 oz $0.35 ea
  • Casa Mamita Salsa Medium or Mild 24 oz $1.69 ea 
  • Casa Mamita Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies 10 oz $0.59 ea
  • Casa Mamita Assorted Pasta and Sauce Mix 4.3-4.5 oz $0.89 ea
  • Casa Mamita Refried Beans 16 oz $0.79 ea
  • Casa Mamita Taco Shells 4-6 oz $0.99 ea
  • Tuscan Garden Pepper Assortment Jalapeno Slices or Banana Pepper Rings 16 oz $1.49 ea
  • Dakota's Pride Black Beans 15.5 oz $0.59 ea 
  • Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen 16" Mexican Style Deli Pizza 31.3 oz $6.49 ea
  • Sweet Harvest Pitted Cherries Dark Sweet or Red Tart 15 oz $1.69 ea
  • Welby 9" Ice Bag $4.99 ea
  • Gardenline Seed Packets Assorted Flower, Herb, and Vegetable Seeds $0.49 ea
For more information about shopping at ALDI, visit their Homepage!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday: White Chocolate Pineapple Muffins

These tropical muffins came out of the pantry challenge in January.  It was one of those, I have this and this, ... they might taste good together.  And luckily, it does - another muffin recipe for the win!  Although next time, I'm going to try it as a loaf.  Anyway, these muffins bake up really nice, and whip together in a flash, so go make yourself some, they are pretty tasty!

2 c Flour (I use unbleached)
1/2 c Sugar (I use Raw)
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 c Milk
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 c Pineapple Chunks (about 1/2 a medium can)
1/2 c White Chocolate Chips

1.) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2.) Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.  
3.) Mix together the egg, milk, vanilla, and pineapple.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until well blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips last.
4.) Scoop batter into greased muffin cups until they are 1/2-3/4 full.
5.) Bake for 15 minutes, or until done.  As you can see in the picture, mine didn't get really golden brown, but they were done in the middle, and no one likes a dried out muffin :)  Store leftovers in an airtight container.  Makes about 20-24 muffins depending on how full you fill the muffin cups.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: 02/24/2014

This week I am hoping the energy burst and nice weather I had on Sunday will continue through the week.  Both really put me on the mood for Spring cleaning.  However, temperatures are suppose to drop again by Wednesday.  Here's to hoping maybe we'll get lucky?  There isn't really a lot on the agena this week, other than my doctor's appointment on Tuesday, which I'll run my errands that day as well.  Joe also has some errrands to run with his grandfather on Friday, like an oil change and a butchering pick-up.  So, I'm hoping to list some more on Amazon, price some records for sale, and continue to chip away at things in the nursery this week.  This is the last week on the month, next week brings a full grocery envelope, but this week, we're making do with what we have for the most part.  Here's what's on the menu...

Breakfasts: Cream of Wheat or Oatmeal for Me, Pumpkin Struesel Bread for Joe (*new recipe)

Lunches: Leftovers, Quesadillas, or Sandwiches

Sunday - Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice
Monday - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Ham and Cheese Omelets, Toast
Wednesday - Onion Gravy Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes
Thursday - Working at Joe's Grandfather's, so he'll probably treat us to Chili's for dinner
Friday - Butchering pick-up, Leftover Buffet
Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Extras: Chocolate Chip PB Oatmeal Cookies (*new recipe)

For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 02/16-22/2014

This week I did something I almost never do, I went and did a second trip at CVS, and while I was there I did something I have only done twice in the six years I've been couponing, I returned an item when an ECB deal didn't work out.  So, note to self, keep it to one shopping trip a week when your preggo and don't get too stressed out over deals.  Luckily the young lady who helped me was wonderful, probably irratated, but wonderful.  Only one more week left this month, thank God, I'm ready for a full grocery envelope again!  Here's how this week went down...
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip (no picture, just 2 spreadable cheese wedges, organic milk, eggs, mushrooms, crackers, and 2-3 lb bags yellow onions): $11.34 oop
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $9.60 oop, Earned $16 ECB's
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $18.09 oop
  • Tuesday's Staples Trip (no picture, just 1 ream Staples multipurpose paper): Zero oop, used Christmas $, Earned $3.50 Easy Rebate
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (no picture, 2 newspapers, and 1 pkg reusable containers to take food to family in): $3.18 oop
  • Saturday's CVS Trip (no picture, 1 Eucerin Lotion, 1 Nivea Chapstick, 2-100 ct CVS Probiotics): $2.69 oop - $2.69 Cash Refund (since Nivea ECB did not print) = Zero OOP, Earned $10 ECB's from Eucerin deal, and $4.08 CVS Gift Card for the rest of the refund
  • Earned $20.30 from Amazon  
  • Earned $5 Amazon GC from Swagbucks
Total OOP: $42.21
Total Earned: $58.88
Total Remaining for February: $40.11

Linked to Couponaholic! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tuesday's Giant Trip

This week there wasn't really much that we needed at Giant, so I decided to restock the fridge with onion rings and french fries.  It's nice to have them on hand for when I don't feel like cooking.  That way I can have Joe grill hotdogs or hamburgers, and I can just throw some rings or fries in the oven, and we are in business.  We were also out of butter and flour, so they were the only needs I picked up this week.  Here's how it went down...

6 bags Alexia French Fries, Potato Puffs, Onion Rings $4.29 ea - $1.29 ea Sale - $1/1 MC x 5 and $1.50/1 MC = 6/$11.50 + Earned $0.40/gallon for up to 30 gallons of gas!
2 tubs Land O Lakes Butter Spread with Olive Oil $2.19 ea - $0.19 ea Sale = 2/$4
1-5 lb bag Giant Unbleached Flour $2.69
- $0.10 Reusable Bag Credit
Total OOP: $32.81 - $14.72 Savings/Coupons = $18.09, Savings of 45%!!!

Tuesday's CVS Trip

The CVS deals this week were pretty scarce, but I did manage to roll my ECB's.  I am planning to go back Saturday and finish the Eucerin and Nivea deals.  Here's what I ended up with this week...
2 Colgate Total TP $3.79 ea - $0.79 ea Sale - $1/1 MC x 2 - $3 ECB wyb 2 = 2/$1
1 Cultrelle Probiotic $24.99 - $14.99 Sale - $2/1 MC - $10 ECB's = FREE + $2 Money-maker!
1 pkg CVS Size 1 Diapers $9.29 - $1.30 Sale - $3 ECB's = $4.99
1 Slim Jim $1
+ $0.61 Tax
- $4/$20 CVS Coupon 
- $8 ECB's used to Pay
Total OOP: $9.60, Earned $16 ECB's for next time!

Linked to Simply CVS!

ALDI Deals, Starting 02/19/2014

Here are some of the AWESOME deals this week at ALDI...
  • Weds. 02/19 ONLY: Tyson Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs $1.49/lb
  • Weds. 02/19 ONLY: Cattlemen's Ranch Fresh USDA Choice Beef Pot Roast Kit 2.75 lbs $7.99 ea
  • Green Bell Peppers 2 pk $0.99 ea
  • Mushrooms 8 oz $0.69 ea
  • Roma Tomatoes 16 oz $1.39 ea
  • Romaine 2 lb bag $0.59 ea
  • Carrots 3 pk $1.19 ea
  • Yellow Onion 3 lb bag $0.79 ea
  • Carlini Extra Light Olive Oil 17 oz $2.99 ea
  • Pure Olive Oil 16.9 oz $2.59 ea
  • Priano Lasagne Sheets 9 oz $0.99 ea
  • Priano Filled Italian Pasta Mushroom, Cheese, or Spinach and Cheese 8.8 oz $1.49 ea
  • Priano Assorted Tortellini Spinach Ricotta, Mushroom, or 4 Cheese 8 oz $1.29 ea
  • Priano Vodka Pasta Sauce 23.5 oz $1.79 ea
  • Priano Arrabiata or Primivera Pasta Sauce 24 oz $1.49 ea
  • Priano Alfredo Sauce Roasted Garlic, Light Creamy, or Sun-dried Tomato 15 oz $1.69 ea
  • Priano Italian Style Diced Tomatoes 14.5 oz $0.59 ea
  • Priano Shredded Parmesan Cheese 5 oz $1.99 ea
  • Simply Nature Yogurt Squeezies Assorted Varieties 4-3.5 oz pouches $3.69 ea
  • Friendly Farms All Natural Rice Pudding 22 oz $1.99 ea
  • Specially Selected Parmigiano Reggiano 7.05 oz $4.99 ea
  • Belmont Gelato Tiramisu, Triple Chocolate, or Mixed Berries 30 oz $3.99 ea
  • Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Cookies and Cream, Frosted Blueberry, or Unfrosted Strawberry 21.1-22 oz $2.79
  • Kitchen Living Stainless Steel Colander 5 Qt Red or Brushed $3.99 ea
  • Kitchen Living Stainless Steel Rotary Cheese Grater $6.99 ea
  • Kitchen Living 11" Cook, Fry, and Serve Pan $16.99 ea
  • 10" Tropical Plant $9.99 ea

For more information about shopping at ALDI, visit their Homepage!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday: Orange Chicken

Chinese is one of our favorite types of take-out, but when you start learning about what's in the food you eat, you begin to realize that most Chinese take-out has bad things in it, like MSG.  So I decided to try and create our absolute favorite at home.  I had great luck with egg rolls, so why not orange chicken too?!  This recipe has a long ingredient list, but it is all things that we keep in the house on a regular basis, so I was cool with that.  This recipe is perfect for 2 with a little bit leftover, so if you are feeding a crowd, you'll need to double or triple accordingly.  This recipe comes together very quickly, and is super tasty! 

1/2 c OJ
12 tbsp Brown Sugar
4 tbsp Sugar
4 tbsp Soy Sauce (which is about 8 take-out packets)
6 tbsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
2 tsp Ginger Powder
4 tbsp Water
2 tbsp Cornstarch
2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut into small chunks
1-2 Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper
Paprika, a couple shakes
1 c Flour
Olive Oil

Cooked Rice (We used Jasmine)

1.) Mix together the water and cornstarch and set aside.  Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a sauce pan, and heat over medium high heat until it reaches a gentle boil.
2.) While the sauce is cooking, mix together, eggs, salt and pepper, and paprika in a shallow bowl.  Place the flour in another shallow bowl.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Dredge chicken pieces in egg, then flour, and then fry in oil until crispy brown.  Remove the done chicken pieces to a towel-lined plate to drain.
3.) When sauce is boiling, add the water/cornstarch mixture slowly, while stirring.  Boil this mixture to your desired consistency, and then remove from heat.  Watch it carefully, because it takes no time at all to thicken.
4.) Serve chicken and sauce over rice.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

*You can add red pepper flakes to the sauce as well if you like things a little spicy.  We added about 1/8 tsp, and it was just right for us.  You can also sprinkle them on top of your personal serving, if you are the only heat-lover in your household. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: 02/17/2014

This week we got to have dinner with family to celebrate two birthdays, and I didn't even have to cook it!  I just brought a cake!  Then we have the usual cleaning, running of errands, trip to Joe's grandfather's house, working in the nursery, and hopefully NOT getting trapped in by snow.  I LOVE snow, don't get me wrong, but the quantity is getting a little large here in the mid-Atlantic.  We're starting to run out of places to shove it.  I planned a simple menu this week so I will have plenty of time to list stuff on amazon, and work in the nursery, only one more corner to go!  Here's what's on the menu for this week...

Breakfasts: Oatmeal for Me, Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread for Joe (*new recipe)

Lunches: Grilled Cheese or PB and J Sandwiches, Leftovers

Sunday - Birthday dinner, my niece made Chicken Ring and BBQ Sandwiches, plus a few other things, and I brought one of the two cakes we had.  Very yummy!
Monday - Baked Fish Sticks and French Fries
Tuesday - Homemade Waffles and Creamed Chipped Beef Gravy
Wednesday - Mushroom Mozzarella Chicken (*new recipe), Rice Pilaf, Steamed Vegetable
Thursday - Working at Joe's grandfather's house, so he'll probably take us to Chili's as usual.
Friday - Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Sweet Corn
Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Extras: Pudding Cookies (*new recipe)

For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 02/09-15/2014

This week went pretty well budget wise, a little over the $50 a week mark I try to hit, but that was mainly due to a need for cat litter.  I'm okay with that.  Overall for the month we are doing great.  I'm slowly trying to restock things that were depleted during the pantry challenge last month, as well as stock up on great deals for things we'll need once the baby arrives.  I've also been doing a LOT of baking each week, so that has been using things up as well.  Here's how this week went down...
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip (no picture, just Eggs, Honey, Pineapple Chunks, Butter, and a box of Granola Bars): $10.11 oop
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $11.32 oop, Earned $18 ECB's and $6 MIR
  • Tuesday's ALDI Trip (no picture, just milk and sour cream): $4.68 oop
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $22.86 oop
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (no picture, just 2 newspapers, and 1 pk Snickers Minis): $3.18 oop
  • Saturday's Wal-mart Trip (no picture, just 2 bags marked down Valentine's Day candy, and 1 container Baking Cocoa): Zero oop, used gift card to pay
  • Earned $5 Amazon Gift Card from Swagbucks 
Total OOP: $52.15
Total Earned: $29
Total Remaining for February: $82.32

Linked to Couponaholic! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tuesday's CVS Trip

The deals were to be had at CVS this week.  Our favorite cashier helped us out with the Eucerin deal, since they were out of the bigger sized lotion, so she forced the ECB to print for us, which I thought was super nice!  I also used a rain check for the Advil PM since they finally had it in stock, and I got a bonus ECB because it apparently counted towards this week's cold deal.  I broke my purchases up into two transaction to get the most band for my ECB!  So all in all a pretty amazing trip at CVS!!!  Here's what we ended up with...

Transaction #1:
3-24 pks Basics H2O $3.99 ea - $1.55 ea Sale = $2.44 ea or 3/$7.32
2 bottles Eucerin Calming Creme Lotion $8.49 ea - $3.40 (20% off CVS coupon) - $1.50/1 MC x 2 - $10 ECB's wyb $20 = 2/$0.58
+ $1.26 Tax
- $13 ECB's used to Pay
Total OOP: $6.16, Earned $10 ECB's!

Transaction #2:
2 bags Hershey's Miniatures $3.79 ea - $0.79 ea Sale - $1/2 MC - $2 ECB's = 2/$3
3-20 ct boxes Advil PM $5.99 ea - $1 ea Rain check Sale - $1/1 MC x 3 - $2/$10 CVS Pain Relief Coupon - $3 ECB's wyb 2 Rain check deal - $3 ECB's wyb 2 Cold weekly deal (not sure why this printed as it was for the Advil Congestion Relief) - $6 MIR wyb 3 Advil = 3/FREE + $2.03 Money-maker!
+ $0.19 Tax
- $10 ECB's used to Pay
Total OOP: $5.16, Earned $8 ECB's and $6 MIR!

Linked to Simply CVS!

Tuesday's Giant Trip

Lowe's was out of pine pellets, probably since it's been so cold here!  So I unfortunately had to buy cat litter at the grocery store where I got have as much for twice as much - ugh!  So, that was an unexpected purchase, but since there were a lot of other deals to be had, it balanced out okay.  Hopefully next week the deals will be sparse and I can stock up on some needed items as well.  Here's what we ended up with this week...

2 bags Utz Chips $1 ea = 2/$2
2 boxes Captain Crunch Cereal $3.39 ea - $0.91 ea Sale - $0.60 ea Promo ($1.88 wyb 5) - $0.75/2 MC doubled to $1.50 = 2/$2.26
2 boxes Quaker Instant Oatmeal $3.69 ea - $1.21 ea Sale - $0.60 ea Promo ($1.88 wyb 5) - $0.75/2 MC doubled to $1.50 = 2/$2.26
1 box Quaker Chewy Granola Bars $3.29 - $0.81 Sale - $0.60 Promo ($1.88 wyb 5) = $1.28
2 boxes Fiber One PB Chocolate Brownies Marked-down to $1.74 ea - $0.50/1 MC doubled to $1 x 2 = 2/$1.48
2 bottles Powerade Zero $1.19 ea - $0.31 ea Sale - $0.50/1 MC doubled to $1 x 2 = 2 FREE + $0.24 Money-maker!
1 bag Cascadian Farms Frozen Organic Sweet Corn $2.29 - $0.75/1 MC doubled to $1.50 = $0.79
1 bag Cascadian Farms Frozen Organic Red Raspberries $3.59 - $0.30 Sale - $0.75/1 MC doubled to $1.50 = $1.79
1-20 lb bag Pine Pellets Cat Litter $9.99
+ $0.65 Tax
Total OOP: $41.83 - $18.97 Savings/Coupons = $22.86, Savings of 45%! (even with the ridiculous cat litter!)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ALDI Deals, Starting 02/12/2014

Here are some of the AWESOME deals this week at ALDI...
  • Weds. 02/12 ONLY: Fresh USDA Choice Beef Tenderloin Filet Mignon $9.99/lb
  • Strawberries 1 lb $1.99 ea
  • Pineapple $1.39 ea
  • Gala Apples3 lb bag $1.99 ea
  • Yellow Onions 3 lb bag $0.89 ea
  • Broccoli Crowns 1 lb pkg $0.99 ea
  • Mushrooms 8 oz $0.69 ea
  • Fusia Asian Dipping Sauces Sweet and Sour, Duck Sauce, or Thai Chili 12 oz $1.99 ea
  • Fusia Wok Sauces General Tso, Orange Ginger, Sesame Teriyaki 12 oz $12 oz $1.69 ea
  • Fusia Sweet and Sour or Szechuan Stir Fry 21 oz $2.49
  • Fusia Sweet and Spicy Chicken or Honey Ginger Chicken Meal Kits 24 oz $3.99 ea
  • Fusia Mini Egg Rolls 7 oz $1.99 ea
  • Fusia Crab Rangoon 4.8 oz or Pot Stickers 10.2 oz $1.99 ea
  • Fusia Sweet and Sour or Crispy Honey Chicken 26 oz $4.99 ea
  • Friendly Farms Lemon Greek Yogurt 6 oz $0.85 ea
  • Bolt House Farms C-Boost Fruit Smoothie 32 oz $2.99 ea
  • Sterilite 2-bushel Laundry Basket $4.99 ea
  • Easy Home Woven Strap Hamper with Liner Drawstring Closure Espresso or Cream $12.99 ea
For more information about shopping at ALDI, visit their Homepage!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday: Homemade Brownies

I have been looking for recipes for boxed mixes using items that I keep in my pantry on a regular basis.  Most recipes include the same ingredients, so it was just a matter of playing around with the amounts, etc.  This works well during a pantry challenge, where the only thing I'd have to make sure I had was the eggs.  I also like that this dry mix can be made ahead of time, stored in bags/jars, and then you just add the wet items when you decide you want some brownies.  I used the Ghirardelli cocoa I already had for these, I think I might try it with the ALDI cocoa next time and see how it turns out.  I use the Ghirardelli for my homemade icing, and it's not cheap, so we'll see how it turns out.  However, these brownies are AMAZING, especially warm, and with ice cream.  They are better than any boxed mix I've had, but they only make an 8" pan.  I'm going to try doubling the recipe next time to see if I can get a 8x13" out of it.  Anyway, without further ado, the best brownie recipe ever...  and just is time for Valentine's day!

1 c Sugar (I used raw)
2/3 c Flour (I used unbleached)
1/2 c Cocoa (I used Ghirardelli, which turned out rich and fabulous)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 c Oil (I used Safflower)
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

Optional: 1/4 c Chopped Walnuts or Chocolate Chips, Powdered Sugar

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 8" baking pan.
2.) Mix together dry ingredients.
3.) Add wet ingredients to dry, and blend well.
4.) Stir in mix ins if using (optional).
5.) Pour into greased pan, and bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake 15 minutes more.
6.) Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional), and cut into bars.  Also try not to eat the whole pan by yourself, as it is totally possible!  :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: 02/10/2014

I cannot believe that valentine's day is already upon us.  Monday Joe has a Dr appointment, and I'm cleaning the house.  Tuesday we go for our 31 week baby doctor visit, and we'll probably run our shopping errands after that.  We are going to work at Joe's grandfather's house on Thursday to get ready for our next flea market in March.  And then Friday is Valentine's day!  It will be a full, productive week, but it should also be fairly easy-going.  I have a couple new recipes I want to try out this week, but other than that, I kept the menu fairly simplistic...

Breakfasts: Yogurt with Granola and Special K Bars for Me, Pineapple White Chocolate Chip Muffins (*new recipe) for Joe

Lunches: Leftovers, or Sandwiches

Monday - Parmesan Pasta with Broccoli (*new recipe), Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Baked Fish Sticks, Baked Onion Rings
Wednesday - Onion Gravy Chicken (*new recipe), Rice Pilaf, Vegetable
Thursday - Working at Joe's Grandfather's House, probably out to Chili's with him :)
Friday - Valentine's Day! Smoked Ribs, Baked French Fries, maybe Tossed Salad
Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Extras: PB Chocolate Chip Oat Bars (*new recipe)

For more AWESOME menu plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 02/02-08/2014

This week we went over budget, but I think it will work out by the end of the month.  Coming out of a month long pantry challenge, there were some things we just needed, like cat food, and I really wanted to take advantage of stocking up on things (like our favorite frozen pizza) for after the baby is born.  Overall I'm very pleased; I feel like I got a lot of quality items for my money, and that's what really matters.  Here's how the week went down...
  • Sunday's Target Trip (no picture, 2 large bags Cat Food, used Target and MC): $21 oop, Earned $5 Gift Card
  • Sunday's CVS Trip: $11.79 oop, Earned $13 ECB's
  • Sunday's Giant Trip: $14.79 oop
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip: $15.83 oop
  • Thursday's Thrift Store Trip: Zero oop, used Christmas $ (got 12 items for $12, Saved $22.88 with Dollar Days Sale, 1 Long Sleeve, 1 3/4 Sleeve, and 2 Short Sleeve Shirts for Me, and 3 Onesies, 2 Leggings, 1 pair Overalls, and 2 Sweat Shirts for Baby Rogers in bigger sizes, which it is very hard to buy neutral in!)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (no picture, just 2 newspapers): $2.12 oop
  • Saturday's Wal-mart Trip (no picture, just 1 jar PB): Zero oop, used gift card
  • Earned 1-$5 Amazon Gift card from Swagbucks  
  • Earned $6.75 from Amazon
Total OOP: $65.53
Total Earned: $29.75
Total Remaining for February: $134.47

Linked to Couponaholic! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ALDI Deals, Starting 02/05/14

Here are some of the AWESOME deals this week at ALDI...
  • Weds. 02/05 ONLY: Cattlemen's Ranch Fresh USDA Choice Filet of Beef Garlic Peppercorn 16 oz $5.99 ea
  • Weds. 02/05 ONLY: Fresh Family pk Chicken Breasts $1.59/lb 
  • Bananas $0.44/lb
  • Cantaloupe $1.29 ea
  • Blueberries $1.39/6 oz
  • Grapefruit $0.39 ea
  • Strawberries $1.99/1 lb
  • Pineapple $1.39 ea
  • Belmont 9" Chocolate Sampler Cheesecake 50 oz $9.99 ea
  • Beaumont Flavored Cappuccino Cups  Assorted Varieties 6.35 oz $5.79 ea
  • Baker's Corner Fudge Brownie Mix 18.3 oz $1.29 ea
  • Fit and Active Yolk-free Noodles 12 oz $1.29 ea
  • Stonemill Essentials 4-in-1 Gourmet Seasonings Assorted Varieties 4-5.3 oz $3.99 ea
  • Savoritz Oyster Crackers 10 oz $0.89 ea
  • Chef's Cupboard Condensed Cream of Mushroom, Celery, or Chicken Soups 10.5 oz $0.59 ea
  • Chef's Cupboard Cream of Potato Condensed Soup 10.75 oz, OR Chicken and Rice or Chicken with Stars Soup 10.5 oz $0.79 ea
  • Chef's Cupboard Hearty Soup and Chili Mix 10.4-12 oz $2.79 ea
  • Priano Cheese Tortellini 19 oz $2.49 ea
  • Happy Harvest Fire-Roasted Tomatoes 14.5 oz $0.89 ea 
  • Happy Harvest Whole Tomatoes 28 oz $0.99 ea
  • Assorted Bouquet Assorted Varieties $3.99 ea
  • Valentine's Love Bug Mini Roses Available in Red, Pink, or White $3.99 ea
  • 6 Stem Rose Bouquet Assorted Colors $3.99 ea
  • O-Cedar O-Duster Robotic Floor Cleaner $19.99 ea
For more information about shopping at ALDI, visit their Homepage!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sunday's Giant Trip

We were able to pick up some great deals at Giant.  I love being able to get organic and all-natural products with coupons; it enables us to eat well and stay within our monthly budget!  Here's what we ended up with...

1 bag Cascadian Farms Frozen Organic Blueberries $3.59 - $0.30 Sale - $0.85/1 MC doubled to $1.70 = $1.89
1 bag Cascadian Farms Frozen Organic Corn $2.29 - $0.85/1 MC doubled to $1.70 = $0.59
6 cups Yoplait Yogurt $0.75 ea - $0.25 ea Sale - $0.60/3 MC doubled to $1.20 x 2 = 6/$0.60
1 Newman's Own Frozen Pizzas $6.69 - $1.69 ea Sale - $1/1 MC x 2 = 2/$8
2 jars Muir Glen Salsa marked down to $1.99 ea -$0.50/1 MC doubled to $1 x 2 = 2/$1.98
2 pkgs Pampers Wipes $2.55 ea - $0.55 ea Sale - $0.50/1 MC doubled to $1 x 2 = 2/$2
+ $0.18
- $0.15 Reusable Bag Credit
Total OOP: $32.84 - $18.23 Savings/Coupons = $14.79!  Savings of 56%!!!

Sunday's CVS Trip

Since the weatherman was calling for snow early this week, Joe and I decided to go out Sunday and run our errands.  I'm glad we did, since we woke up to 4 inches of snow yesterday morning.  CVS was stop #1.  I had a $3/$15 coupon to use as well as some ECB's to roll, I could have kept my out of pocket lower by doing multiple transactions, but my preggo self just didn't feel like it this week.  Here's what we ended up with...

2 bags Mars Miniature Mix Candies $4.49 ea - $1.49 ea Sale - $1/2 CVS Coupon - $1/2 MC - $2 ECB wyb 2 = 2/$2
2-4 pks Travel Colgate Toothpaste $3.29 ea - $3 ECB x 2 = 2/$0.58
1 Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste $3.99 - $0.99 Sale - $2.25/1 CVS Coupon - $1/1 MC = Free + $0.25 Money-maker!
2 Curel Itch Defense Lotions $8.49 ea - $1/1 MC x 2 - $5 ECB's wyb 2 = 2/$9.98 ($4.99 ea)
+ $1.48 Tax
- $3/$15 CVS Coupon
- $12 ECB's used to Pay
Total OOP: $11.79, Earned $13 ECB's for next time!

Linked to Simply CVS!

Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday: Onion Gravy Pork Chops

This wasn't the prettiest recipe to photograph, but it was super tasty, especially served with a side of mashed potatoes.  Onion gravy pork chops is a perfect recipe for a pantry challenge (like the one I did last month).  It's easy to make, takes only a couple of inexpensive ingredients, and they taste delicious.  I plan to try this recipe with hamburger patties, and maybe chicken breasts as well.  Here's how you can make your own...

Pork Chops (I used ones that I de-boned and trimmed myself, about 1/4-1/2" thick
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
1/4 c Flour
2 Tbsp Butter (I have used olive oil, but butter gives it a richer flavor)
2 c Chicken Broth
2 Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves Minced Garlic (I used the jar minced, about 1 tsp)
Worcestershire Sauce

1.) Mix Flour, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne.  Trim your pork chops and roll them in the flour to coat, shake off the excess.
2.) Melt butter over medium high heat and brown your pork chops about 3 minutes per side, remove to a plate.
3.) Add onions to skillet and saute until softened.  Add your garlic to the skillet and cook a minute longer.
4.) Push the onions to the outside edge, add the pork chops back into the middle of the skillet, along with the chicken broth.  Add a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce on top.  
5.) Cover and cook until pork chops are done, this will depend on the thickness of your chops.  Mine took about 20 minutes.  Once they are cooked through, make a water/flour thickener for your broth.  Whisk it in and let it all cook another few minutes uncovered until the gravy has thickened.  
Serve with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes, and a steamed vegetable, and you have a delicious, cheap, and easy dinner!  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Enjoy!

Linked to One Project at a Time, the Homestead Barn Hop, and Homemade Mondays!

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Goals Update

So far, so good!  I've made a lot of progress this month!  Some of my goals won't get crossed off until December, but that's okay, I really want to work on perfecting those.  Here's what went down in January...
  1. Prepare a Nursery!  (this will probably have several update posts along the way) - We worked quite a bit in the nursery this month, progress post coming soon.
  2. Do a Deep-Spring, and Deep-Fall Clean in March and November.  As well as keep up with my weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleaning chores. - Not there yet.
  1. Give birth to baby Rogers, and be the best mom I can be! - Not there yet.
  2. Try every day to be a loving wife.  Some days this is harder than others. :) - I tried really hard this month to not nag the way I usually do about the house.  It was really hard, but I think Joe appreciated it, and a LOT got done in the nursery too!  Also, I made sure to keep some kind of sweet treat made every week for Joe.  This he really liked; he has such a sweet tooth!
  3. Take a trip to Maine in June with the hubby, and the baby. - Not there yet.
  4. Get together with family at least once a month.  (probably for dinner) - Since we were just together with everyone several days in a row the week of Christmas, we decided to take this month off, and I'm okay with that.  February has two birthdays, so we'll be getting together to celebrate those :)
  1. Have 2 Freezer/Pantry Challenges (January and July), post updates on the blog, and defrost the chest freezer - One down, one to go!
  2. Post my Menu Plan, Aldi Deals, and Weekly Spending Report every week, along with at least 1 other post per week.  This may be an update, a reveal, a recipe, a shopping trip, or a frugal find. - I did really good with this one.  I did my regular posted every week, plus I posted a Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday recipe post every week, and posted several shopping trips throughout the month.
  3. Plan and execute a 31 days post for October. - Not there yet.
  1. Lose at least 20 lbs (I did accomplish losing 20 lbs in 2013 as well, so it seems doable) - Not even starting this until after the baby is born in April
  2. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and do exercise of some kind everyday. - I drank plenty of water, ate a LOT of veggies and salads, and did my hip physical therapy exercises everyday but 2.
  1. Do at least 6 Flea Markets throughout the year, and list at least monthly on Amazon. - first one isn't until Feb. 1st.  I did list on Amazon this month though.
  2. Earn Swagbucks everyday by completing the daily poll, toolbar log-in, and NOSO offers daily. - did this every day, plus started using the SBTV to earn additional Swagbucks.  I earned 3-$5 Amazon Gift cards!
  3. Set a monthly budget, and coupon and deal shop as needed to stay within our budget. - I did a great job this month, and I blogged about it here.  It was really tight though, and I had to dip into our Christmas money, and gift cards.  I'm glad to be back up to $200 for the month in February!
  4. Pay off my credit card by June, and start putting extra onto Joe's credit card every month.  We won't have his paid off this year, but we'll be on the right track to have it paid off within the next year or two.  :) - Still working on this.
  1. Catch up my scrapbook.  I'm only about 8 years behind, but I think once I get rolling on it, I should be able to push through and get it done by the end of the year. ;) I also want to start one for the baby, and work on it monthly. - Haven't started this one yet, and probably won't until we get the nursery finished, first thing's first.
  2. Try something new at least twice a month and blog about it.  I have a LOT of new recipes and crafts I want to try, and this is the year! - January I tried 2 new recipes, and blogged about them here and here.
Linked to Money Saving Mom!

Menu Plan Monday: 02/03/2014

We awoke this morning to more snow on the ground, so I was very glad I ran my errands yesterday.  I have a lot of projects that I want to accomplish this week since I only have 10 weeks left before the baby arrives, I need to get my butt in gear and get back to crossing things off the list.  I have a couple of new recipes picked out for this week, as well as a few simple, easy meals for the days I'm planning on being busy.  Here's what's on the menu for this week...

Breakfasts: Chocolate Chip PB Muffins for Joe (*new recipe), Yogurt with Granola and Special K Bars for Me

Lunches: Leftovers, Sandwiches

Sunday - Nachos
Monday - Fried Pork Chops, Crock-pot Baked Potatoes, Steamed Vegetable
Tuesday - Orange Chicken (*new recipe), Jasmine Rice, Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday -Ground Sirloin with Mushroom Cream Gravy. Egg Noodles, Steamed Vegetable
Thursday - Homemade Pizza
Friday - Working at Joe's Grandfather's House, so probably Chili's with him

Extras: Homemade Brownies (*new recipe)

For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Budget Update

This month we did a Freezer/Pantry Challenge, so my goal for our budget, including household and health and beauty items was $160.  We did pretty good I think...

Week #1: $17.85 OOP, Earned $27.80 from Amazon, Earned $5 Amazon Gift Card from Swag Bucks
Week #2: $37.46 OOP, Earned $3.35 from Amazon, and $13 ECB's
Week #3: $48.61 OOP, Earned $10.79 ECB's, Earned $5 Amazon Gift Card from Swag Bucks
Week #4: $46.46 OOP, Earned $20 ECB's, Earned $5 Amazon Gift Card from Swag Bucks
Week #5: $8.96 OOP, Earned $7 ECB's

Grand Total OOP for January: $159.34
Total Earned: $96.94
Net OOP: $62.40

Weekly Spending Report 01/26-02/01/2014

This week there were a LOT of great deals to take advantage of, so I pulled out some of my Christmas money for Giant, and since half my list was out of stock at CVS, I picked up some rain checks as well.  All in all it worked out pretty well, I was able to get the things were were in need of, grabbed a lot if great deals, and stayed under budget for the month!  February is going to be a LOT easier since we are back up to our normal $200 budget, and there are only 4 weeks.  We have managed to clean a lot of misc. items out of the freezers and pantry.  It feels good to know we are using those tid-bits up, and they aren't going to waste.  I'm going to continue cleaning out the freezers and pantry throughout February so we can get the chest freezer defrosted, and continue to save some money.  Here's what we ended up with for the week...
  • Tuesday's Wal-mart Trip (no picture, 1 large Vinegar, 1 Hairball Medicine for the Cats, and lots of TP): Zero oop, used gift cards
  • Tuesday's Pet Co Trip (no picture, used a coupon for a free can of cat food): $0.06 oop (tax)
  • Tuesday's ALDI Trip (no picture, 2 boxes Fruit and Grain Bars, and 1 pouch Yogurt Covered Pretzels, all for Joe): $5.58 oop
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $3.32 oop, Earned $7 ECB's 
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: Zero oop, used Christmas money
Total OOP: $8.96 - $7 Earned Rewards = Net OOP: $1.96
Total Remaining for January: $0.66!