Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Shop on a Shoestring

I have to share with you my latest outing. I think someone is looking out for us. I found $20.00 at school on the floor and my husband came home with $50 he found on the pavement. Both couldn't have come at a better time! We headed to the grocery store first thing this morning. Here is all the things I purchased for under $40.00.  Here are some tips for you:

  •  Our store has a clearance meat section. If your store doesn't have one, look for meats to be marked down on Mondays. Stores are looking to get rid of meat that is at the end of  it's freshness date. I purchased 6 lbs. of hamburger for $12.00, a bag of chicken breasts for $6.00, brats for $2.00 and a whole corn beef brisket for $4.00. Huge savings! That hamburger will be divided up and frozen and lasts a long time.
  • If your store has a "savings card," sign up for it! This particular store doesn't have a shopping card but has incredibly low prices. 
  • Make a list and stick to it. Use coupons. Sit down on Sunday and plan your meals for the week based on what you have in your pantry and freezer. 
  • Look for clearance vegetables. I was able to get a bag of 6 green peppers for .79 cents. I also got clearance cans of veggies marked off only because there was a dent in the can. 
  • Buy grains, pasta, and beans in bulk. I purchase a 20lb bag of Riceland rice at a time and it lasts me for months and months. Dried beans are also very inexpensive and a budget extender. 
  • Buy generic or off brand items. They taste the same if not better. We buy bulk cereal and my kids don't know the difference. 
  • Buy a Soda Stream soda maker: We got ours for free by hosting a house party from It is worth it's weight in gold! The CO2 costs $12 to exchange every month and flavors start at $4.95 and make 30-50 one liters of soda. We save $15.00 a week from not buying soda or bottled water. 
  • The Seagram's Wine coolers I also got for free by hosting a HouseParty this weekend. All you do is invite your friends over to try new products, get free coupons, and other goodies, and they don't  have to buy anything, just come over and have fun!
  • If your gas station has a rewards card, use it! I got 4 items for free this week. You need gas and save at the same time. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bubbly Pizza

This is such an easy recipe to make any night of the week. Who doesn't like pizza right? This uses store bought biscuits along with your favorite toppings to make a treat for the whole family. It all comes together in under 30 minutes.

Bubbly Pizza

2 cans Pillsbury biscuits cut in half
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. pepperoni slices
1 cup shredded cheese
veggie toppings of your choice

Note: If you are using veggies soften them a bit in a frying pain before adding them to the pizza or they will not cook.

after the first 10 minutes
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. I am using the smaller regular biscuits for this recipe. Divide each in half and place in the bottom of a casserole or 9x13 dish. Bake the biscuits by themselves for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the sauce and the toppings of your choice. This step is essential, otherwise, your biscuits won't cook through. Place back in the oven for 15 more minutes and divide into 12 slices. Enjoy!
with the toppings 

The finished product

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekly Shopping and French Onion Soup Time!

My house is in turmoil this week!  My oldest daughter has been ill with this mass in her neck. She had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic so she is covered in hives.  We have been running back and forth to the docs. Then my youngest comes home with cooties on Tuesday and I immediately freak out! There is an epidemic at her school. I did her first treatment on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday. I  have been so paranoid all this week, not sleeping, and cleaning like a maniac.

Flash forward to today: I finally went grocery shopping. I only spent $31.00!  We pretty much have been living off our freezer for the past week. I have missed a week of school and work so I need to keep things as simple for my hubby as possible. This is the plan for this week. All of these recipes can be found by using the search function in the upper left of my blog:)

Last night about 6:30 PM I made BBQ riblets with mashed potatoes
Today: French Onion Soup with a baguette (the left over soup is frozen into bags and used)
Crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup (maybe Monday)
Crock pot Lasagna

It escapes me now, what else I am going to make but I am going to be out the door in a few minutes!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake!

My daughter and her boyfriend came home from Walgreen's wanting to make cake but brought home a corn bread mix instead with a container of frosting. This would not do. I had all the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge to make our own homemade yellow cake within 35 minutes. This is a delicious cake that you can't tell if Sara Lee or I made it. But I know better! This recipe would do fine as a layer cake but I chose to bake it in a 9x13 glass Pyrex pan.

Yellow Cake

1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or one cap full
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 c. All Purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar (you can substitute Splenda if you'd like)

Pre-heat a oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a glass 9x13 pan with butter or Crisco so the cake won't stick. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl  give them a mix with a hand blender, and then add the wet. Blend for 2 minutes being sure to get the flour out from the bottom of the bowl. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. Let cool for 45 minutes and frost with your favorite frosting. My daughter purchased this one but you can also make your own delicious frosting by combining a few pats of butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bananas Foster Night

I love going to my local Woodman's and scoring clearance fruits. This week it was bananas. One of my favorite desserts to make is Bananas Foster. We haven't been to the Bahamas since 2011 but I was sure to bring back a bottle of banana rum. You can use any type of rum you would like, but I think the banana rum gives it a bit of something, something!  I also use brown sugar. You will see some recipes call for regular granulated sugar. This goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream and is very easy to make. The mix of caramel and rum is the perfect combination to pair with the ice cream.
Bananas Foster

4 bananas cut into slices
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP butter

1 piece of spaghetti

First melt the butter and add the sugar. The sugar will begin to melt and bubble. Add the rum. Use a piece of spaghetti and light it with the burner flame. Place the flame into the rum and it will begin to burn off the alcohol. Keep your face away from the flame! It will burn out in a minute or two. Add the bananas and cook for 3 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve hot over vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Milwaukee's Melthouse Bistro Hits the Spot!

One of the first lunches every child has is the grilled cheese. Melthouse Bistro on Milwaukee's near East side has taken the grilled cheese sandwich to the next level! They are constantly developing new flavors. Tuesdays they have a college student discount and they also have other discount days such as the "Kid's Eat Free Brunch" on Sundays. There are a few different price levels but trust me, there will be a sandwich that catches your eye. We are members of the VIP club and Melthouse sends us special promotions such as the buy one get one free gift certificates we used today. They also have a wide array of locally brewed beverages. See the menu here:
Today I chose to go the "healthy" route and chose the "Sergeant Pepper" which is a grilled cheese on Texas toast with roasted red peppers and cauliflower. Delicious! It's made with pepper jack cheese which gives it an extra zip. Tempura fried onions and sour dough bread complete the sandwich. I of  course couldn't have the grilled cheese without the tomato soup.

My husband chose the "Buffalo Bill" which had a healthy breaded chicken breast dipped in the perfect Buffalo  hot sauce and topped with both sweet and sport peppers on sour dough bread. Blue and Monterrey Jack top off this perfect grilled cheese. My husband had to ask for help eating this one.
The children's meals are a choice of grilled cheese or their awesome mac and cheese and come with choice of side or fruit. What a value for the family! We love coming here for the Sunday brunch.

Don't save this for a rainy day, come and check out this favorite!