Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bargain Meal of the Week: May 26-June 1, 2010

I am not gonna place any bets on it, but........
I think it is finally summer!

This week, the warm weather has hit and everything looks sunny and green and SUMMER-Y!

I love the summer time, especially because it is filled with fruit and salads and ice cream treats.

And to welcome summer, King Soopers has some great deals on yummy bbq/picnic foods. So get out there, and grill and picnic to your heart's content!

Grilled Barbecue Chicken with Corn on the Cob and Baked Beans

Chicken Drumsticks--$0.98/lb. (use 2 lbs: $1.96)
Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce (Honey Chipotle kind)--10/$10 (use 1 bottle: $1)
Sweet Corn--4/$1 ($1)
Bush's Beans--3/$5 (use 1 can: $1.66)

Est. Cost: $5.62

Remember to check out the Grocery Gathering this week!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You CAN have your cake and eat it too!!!

Ok, so here is my dilemma.....

I love to make birthday cakes for my kids. Store-bought cakes are much too expensive (and many times disgusting). Plus it is kind of fun to do it yourself--makes it more meaningful!

But I reeeeeeally cannot stand the taste of store-bought frosting. It tastes like sweetened chemicals, hidden in fluffy goo to me. :-) Kind of like when my mom would give me a nasty, bitter pill but shove it into a spoonful of ice cream. (That helped Mom, thanks!) Not a fan......

I have tried a few home-made frosting recipes but they were all too sweet. I am a cream cheese frosting/cool whipp-y texture kinda girl. And they all were way too heavy for me, especially when you are trying to decorate with them!

So here is where YOU all come you make homemade frosting? If so, is it yummy and non-sickening-sweet? ;-) You need to share your recipe with me, so I can continue make frugal birthday cakes......and now they can be ones that I myself would actually eat.
Help a girl out, won't ya?!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My family loves smoothies.

And I love to make them because:
1. They are easy.
2. They are healthy.
3. They are filling.
4. Did I mention they are easy?

*Buy fruit when it is on sale, and store it in the freezer.
(These strawberries were on sale for $1/16 oz and the mangos were 3/$1!)

*Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks that are easy to chop up in the blender.

*Freeze the chunks on a cookie sheet until solid.

*Divide the fruit into portions for a smoothie.
(I use this much fruit for a smoothie that serves 5)

Now my freezer is stocked with enough fruit for 5-6 smoothies!

And here is the easy recipe I use:

1 banana
5-6 strawberries, halved
1/3 mango, sliced
2 cups orange juice
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup yogurt (I use Mountain High strawberry or vanilla)

Chop up fruit with other items on low speed.
Blend on high speed until smooth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bargain Meal of the Week: May 12-18, 2010

This week's ad left me lacking any brilliant meal plans--did anyone find great meal deals?

Here is all I could come up with.....hopefully next week's ad will be more inspiring! :-(

Twice Baked Potatoes and Green Beans

Jumbo Russet Potatoes--2 lbs./$1 ($2)
Kroger Cheese--2/$5 ($0.60)
Farmland Sliced Bacon--$2.99 ($1)
Kroger Sour Cream--$1.12 ($0.28)

Kroger Canned Vegetables--$0.69

Est. Cost: $4.57

On a side note, I DID find a great deal on Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers! They were on clearance in our dairy section for $1.69 (8 pack). Make sure you check out the clearance sections in all of the departments--you can find some great deals, especially if you have coupons to use!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


We eat lots of refried beans. I buy a huge can from Costco, and it lasts us for a month. My kids love them, so I make bean burritos for them. My husband and I enjoy bean dip (with all the toppings--cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, olives).

The only thing that bothers me about store-bought refried beans: the amount of preservatives that I know are in them! And since I am on a DIY, non-preservative kick, this thought does not appeal to me at all.

I planned on looking for a good homemade refried bean recipe, and I stumbled across this one tonight. It looks delicious! I am going to be trying it soon.....I will let you know how it turns out.

Do you make refried beans at home? If so, share your recipe and tips!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Hominy

My family is very good about trying new foods. In fact, we eat such a variety that they really are not surprised by much.

Except ethnic foods.

Because of our tight budget, I am not good about looking outside of the normal grocery store fare, to cook ethnic dishes for my family. I don't add many different ingredients, besides the normal fruits and veggies and grain products that are common in American cooking. So, they are not keen on "weird foods", as they call them. Hopefully we are never called to be missionaries in a foreign land.....they might waste away to nothing. ;-)

Therefore, when I found a recipe for chicken tortilla soup and excitedly made it, it was not met with as much enthusiasm as I had. Because it had HOMINY in it.

(Heaven forbid.....)

I grew up eating hominy. We lived in Idaho when I was little, and it was a pretty common staple in grocery stores. So I thought nothing of adding it to this fact, I was excited for a reason to use it! My family was NOT excited.

It looked delicious when I served it, and I was able to eat my fill (for once!) due to my family's lack of enthusiasm. And this recipe made enough for two meals, so I served it over rice the next night, which seemed to help a little. I guess rice disguises hominy? Who knows......

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 t. olive oil
2 zucchini, cut into small cubes
1 can (29 oz) crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) white hominy
1 1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (I left this out)
1 deli rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded (I used 2 cooked chicken breasts)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Optional toppings: sliced avocados, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, fresh limes, sour cream

1. Heat oil in a stockpot. Add the zucchini and saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, hominy, cumin, cayenne pepper and shredded chicken. Heat to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro just before serving.

3. To serve, place a handful of tortilla chips in the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle hot soup over the tortilla chips. Add a generous squeeze of lime and top with additional toppings, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy birthday to......ME!

I celebrated another birthday last week, and as I have done in years past, I did it by getting myself some free food. What more would you want for a birthday present than free food? lol

Most restaurants (especially chain ones) have websites where you can sign up for email alerts. If you become a fan or member of their online club, you can benefit from specials and coupons that the "common consumer" will not know about. will get free stuff on your birthday!

Here is the run-down on my freebies this birthday:

* Free gourmet burger from Red Robin (my favorite place!)
* Free entree at Noodles & Co. (up to $9 value).....I even got my drink thrown in--I just had to pay the $0.70 overage.
* Free shake from Del Taco (chocolate, vanilla or strawberry)
* Free dessert shooter from Applebees
* Free buffet at Souper Salad (my kids are excited about this one--it's their favorite place)

(Note: all of these expired anywhere from a week up to a month after my birthday, so you do have to pack alot of free food into a small amount of time.)

So get out there and sign up for all of your birthday treats!
I LOVE getting free meals.
Now if I could just get a free membership to the gym........ ;-)