Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet and Sour Beef Over Rice: Crock-Pot Recipe

I really want to get into the habit of trying new recipes more often. I'm thinking that will be one of my New Year's Resolutions this coming year, so why not start gearing myself up for it now.

It's funny all of the cookbooks we have. Joe and I used to pick up a new cookbook almost everytime we went to Sam's Club while we were first living together so many years ago.

Those cookbooks have gone neglected lately since Food Network has gotten so popular and recipes are so readily available on the Internet.

Since I don't have a lot of free time since Gracie's arrival, it's difficult for me to find time to sit at the computer in the guest room to browse for recipes. So, while she's in her bouncy seat or her swing, I like to sit on the couch and flip through the pages of some of our cookbooks.

The recipe I want to share today is from the Rival Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Cuisine cookbook. I'm thinking about trying this recipe this week. I'm sure that I will be making some changes to it (since I almost always change something in a recipe), but for now, I'll post it as it appears in the book.

Sweet and Sour Beef Over Rice

  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. margarine or butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 4-6 carrots diagonally sliced


  • Cut beef into 1-inch cubes.
  • Mix together flour, salt, and pepper.
  • Dredge beef cubes in mixture.
  • In a skillet, heat margarine and olive oil and brown beef cubes.
  • Place browned beef in the Crock-Pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for carrots.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours or on High for 4-5 hours.
  • Add carrots and cook on Low 1 1/2 hours or on High for 30 minutes.
  • Serve over rice.
  • Serves 6.

I'll be linking this Crock-Pot recipe to Dining with Debbie's Crock Pot Wednesday.

I will also re-post MY version of this recipe after I make it (later this week), either here or at My Vintage Kitchen (my food/kitchen related blog), so be sure to check back!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: November 16th ~ My Week Without a Plan

After many weeks of posting menu plans that listed meals that we didn't get to the previous week, I decided to go without a menu plan this week to see what happens.

My OCD personality, is giving me a bit of stress when I don't stick to the plan as posted and I feel that I am re-posting the same meals week after week. I'm thinking that a couple of weeks of winging it, will help me to get back on track, take inventory of my freezer and pantry, decide what to stock up on for the next couple of months and also decide on some new recipes to try.

Today, I pulled a bunch of stuff from the freezer to thaw for meals, including the whole chicken that I've been planning to make the past few weeks but never got around to thawing. I'm thinking that I may be trying a new recipe with that chicken and also a
new recipe for some diced London Broil. I'll be sure to post them either here on this blog or at My Vintage Kitchen (my food/kitchen blog).

Also, today, I made
enchiladas using a different filling than I've been using. We were really pleased with the results! What a wonderful way to use up leftovers and make a some room in the freezer for the FREE turkey we earned by shopping at Giant for spending a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time. I don't remember the details, but buying baby formula and diapers was a big help in earning us that FREE turkey. We'll be picking it up this week!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disney's UP: $10 printable coupon

I read about this great deal on Thursday night. Sadly, I cannot give credit to the wonderful blogger that posted the information because I was trying to cram a month's worth of blog reading into just a few hours...midnight to 3:00 in the morning...need I say more?

At first, I wasn't going to blog about this, since I am usually the last to find out about great deals like this. But after asking my friend,
Lisa, if she printed out her coupon, she told me she didn't know about it. Lisa is way more on top of things in the coupon department, so I figured if she didn't know about this great deal, then maybe my readers don't know either.

Just in time for the holidays...a printable coupon for
$10 off Disney's UP DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack.

Be sure to act quick since it expires SOON. November 17th, I think. Also, shop around....I saw this at Target today for $26 and some change (can't remember exactly-I just knew it was more than I wanted to pay even after the coupon). Shopping at Walmart later, I paid $9.99 for it after the coupon!

Don't forget, you can print this 2 times per computer. Buy one for a gift and keep the other for yourself!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fridays Favorite Five: November 13th

It's been a quiet week around here as far as exciting things to post about. But not quiet enough for me to find time to blog (posting, reading, commenting). Grace has been keeping me super-busy! I want to thank everyone for stopping by this week and last week.

Here's my Favorite Five for this week:

  1. Chinese Take Out. Saturday was my birthday and as a rare treat, Joe picked up some Chinese food on his way home from work! No cooking, yummy food and easy clean-up! Perfect!
  2. Clearance Racks. On Monday, we ran some errands and I found a sweet little dress for Grace at Target. It was on clearance for 1/2 off! I posted a picture of it on Wednesday if you want to take a look. She's going to wear it for her first Turkey Day!
  3. Grace's new bath tub. She was getting too big for her plastic tub, so we bought her a new tub on Monday...again, at Target. It's a big, pink duck and she loves it! It's all soft-sided (kind of like a raft...you blow it up). She splashes and plays like crazy in it!
  4. FREE Chicken. A while ago, Chick-fila had a promotion to sign up for free chicken coupons. We finally got around to using them on Monday while we were running our errands. YUM!
  5. Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Milk Shakes. I was so excited to see that Chick-Fila had these already. They are a seasonal item and I thought that it would be too early for them to be selling them since it's not even Thanksgiving yet. They are super-yummy with bits of chocolate and crushed up candy canes. Mmmm!

Check out Susanne's blog, Living to Tell the Story, to read what other people loved about their week.

Frugal Friday: Lodge Cast Iron - Enamel Cookware

Today is Frugal Friday over at Life As Mom. Be sure to check it out for great money-saving ideas!

Even before the Food Network days, I've loved all stuff kitchen related: gadgets, dishes, cookware, etc.

When we lived in our apartment, I kept promising myself that when we finally bought a house, I would buy myself a fancy Le Crueset Dutch Oven. I could have bought one sooner, but I didn't want to waste it on that awful apartment kitchen.

So, we finally found and bought a house and I quit my job since it was too far to commute. We made the decision that I wouldn't return to working and we'd start a family. Well, with the lost income, I couldn't bring myself to keeping the promise I made to myself. Have you seen the prices of those things?

Even though I couldn't rationalize the cost, I still wanted one. I really, really wanted one. Okay, I wanted an entire set, but would settle for one.

One day, I was in Walmart. It was after Christmas and a lot of their stuff was marked down. Not just holiday stuff.

That's when I saw these:

(Sorry for the bad photo.)

They are made by Lodge. They are enamel-coated, cast iron dutch ovens. They are super-heavy and look really nice. And they are RED!

They were perfect and marked down from their regular price! I really wanted the larger one (6 quarts), but sadly, I had to leave Walmart that day without them. We just didn't have the money for them that day, since it was so soon after the holidays. We had to stick with just the neccessary items on our shopping list that day.

I went home and just knew that they wouldn't be there by the time we had the extra cash. But after a couple of trips to Walmart (again for just neccessities), we finally had some extra money. I happily put the large one (6 quarts) into our shopping cart!

A few weeks later, they still had the smaller one (3 quarts) and it was still marked down and I just had to have it!

Now, I don't remember the actual price I paid for each of these, but I do know that the the cost of both of them if they weren't on clearance wasn't even near the price of one of the actual Le Creuset pots.

Williams-Sonoma currently has a 5.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven ON SALE for $230....that's the SALE PRICE!!! It's regularly $310.

At Walmart, you can get a 6 quart Lodge Color Enamel dutch oven for $65.97. Like I said, I was lucky enough to get this size and the smaller size (3 quart) on a clearance sale, but even at the regular price, it's a steal!

And since I've never cooked in a real Le Creuset pot, I have no idea if it's the same or not, but I don't think I am missing anything since I love to use my Lodge pots.

They are really great at keeping food warm. I can start a soup or stew early in the day and when it's done cooking the pot keeps it warm until dinner time! And they clean up easily too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REDnesday: November, 11th

I'm a little late for REDnesday, but didn't want to wait for next week to tell you all about the adorable dress I bought for Grace!

On Monday, I spotted this sweet little dress on a clearance rack at Target. It was the only one of it's kind and I was super lucky that it was Grace's size! Love the red courdiroy and the 1/2 off price tag!

This will be perfect for Grace to wear on her first Turkey Day, don't you think?

To read about more RED stuff, head over to REDnesday hosted by Sue at It's a Very Cherry World!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 9th.

Last week, I did really well following my menu plan. I never did get around to thawing the whole chicken for the crock pot, so that will get rolled over into this week's plan.

  • Monday: Fried Spaghetti (see below)
  • Tuesday: Bacon, Eggs, Fried Potatoes and Toast
  • Wednesday: Pork & Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
  • Thursday: Salmon, Rice, Broccoli
  • Friday: Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot
  • Saturday: Pork Chops, Mac n Cheese, Green Beans
  • Sunday: Leftovers

Leftover Spaghetti Tip:

A great way to serve leftover spaghetti is to fry it. Especially, when there isn't a lot of leftover sauce. When we have spaghetti (with meat sauce or plain sauce) for dinner and there is some left, I pack away the leftovers in the same container. Usually by the next day, the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Rather then opening another container of sauce (jarred or from the freezer) I will put the leftovers into a frying pan and fry it up until it's heated through. I like it to go a little longer than that and let some of the noodles get a little crispy!

My parents used to do this all the time when I was a kid and it's especially good with meat sauce. But the plain sauce works too! When my husband fries the spaghetti, he adds butter to the pan. I don't think that the butter is needed and prefer it without.

Free Sample:

Also, today, I want to share a free sample link that I found in my weekly email from MySavings.com. Click the icon below to sign up for your free sample.
Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

I'm not a coffee drinker myself, and hubby doesn't drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee, but the sample could make a nice addition to a small gift since the holidays are coming!

I'll be sharing this post with the following blog carnivals this week:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Frugal Friday: Bissell Steam Mop - $10 Rebate

Now that Grace is almost ready to crawl (where did the time go?) we're concerened that our floors aren't quite clean enough.

The other morning before Joe left for work, he saw a commercial for the Bissell Steam Mop Deluxe. Later that day, I saw the same commercial. We discussed it over dinner that night and we really think it's something that would get a lot of use in our home. The floors through out our home are all hardwood, with the kitchen and bathroom being an exception (tile in bathroom, linolium in kitchen).

Later that night, while searching the Internet for additional information on the steam mop, I came across a $10 rebate offer from Bissell to make it an even better FRUGAL deal!

Purchases must be made between 10/19/09 and 12/31/09; postmarked by 1/15/10.

For more frugal tips and ideas, be sure to check out Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: November 6th.

I needed to skip last week's Fave Five partly because it's been taking me a while to get back into the swing of things after the baby and I were sick and partly because after being stuck in the house for a week and a half, I didn't have anything to post about. It was a really quiet week!

I'm really happy to be posting my Friday's Fave Five this week, hoping things will get back to normal again soon!

  1. We're better! Swine flu has left our house! Thank goodness! And it left us just in time for Halloween! Aside from Grace being a bit clingy lately, we're both feeling much better!

  2. Blog Friends. I'm really enjoying blogging. I just wish I could find more time to devote to it. In just the few months that I've been doing this, I've gained some new friends and it makes me very happy!

  3. Family Time. Tonight, Joe actually got home from work while it was still light out. It's been his habit the past couple of weeks to take the dog for a walk as soon as he gets home. When it's dark, the baby and I can't go since the field we walk is full of ground hog holes. So, either the baby and I walk Remmy while it's light out or Joe walks her when it's dark. Tonight was a great treat for all of us to go together. Grace didn't take her eyes off her Daddy the entire walk! He said she had a huge smile on her face the whole time! (I couldn't see her smile since I was carrying her in her Snugli with her back to my chest.)

  4. Loving the cool weather. I love autumn. The cool weather is so much nicer than the hot, sweaty summer. At night, while I watch TV, I am often snuggled on the recliner with both the baby and the dog on my lap. Soon, it will be time to have a fire burning in the fireplace and Remmy will constantly be whining for me to snuggle with her next to the fire.

  5. Grace's first Halloween. I am so thankful that we were both over the Swine Flu in time for Halloween. I would have been really bummed if we were stuck home for the baby's first Halloween! It was a really great day and was so nice to finally get out of the house for something other than a doctor's appointment! We dressed her up and took her to my parents' house for a little Halloween party and then took her to see her aunt and uncle for a little visit. Wednesday, I posted pictures of her in her Lady Bug costume, you can see them here. I also took some pictures of her in a little black cat costume that someone handed down to me. Isn't she so cute?!

    To read more about what made others happy this week, check out Friday's Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

REDnesday, November 4th.

Today, over at It's a Very Cherry World, it's REDnesday!

I've been wanting to post to Rednesday for a few weeks now, and I honestly thought that my first Rednesday post would be on my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen, since I have collected a bunch of red items (some vintage, some new) to decorate my kitchen. But since there is still only primer on the walls and the kitchen is a wreck, I thought I'd share my favorite red item with you today:

My favorite red item is my baby, Grace, dressed in her ladybug Halloween costume!

Isn't she cute?! I had a heck of a time getting a good picture of her. My camera is super slow and she doesn't sit still for very long!

Not only is this my first post to Rednesday, it's also my first post to include a picture! I'm not much of a photographer, so you'll have to excuse the bad photos! But you have to admit, the model is super cute!

I really love the way her costume turned out!

  • The black onesie was purchased from Babies R Us.
  • Her black tights were purchased from Kohl's.
  • Her beanie and red peony flower clip were ordered from Lemon Drop Baby Boutique's Etsy Shop.
  • Her ladybug tutu was ordered from Pampered Princess Boutique's Etsy Shop.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 2nd

Wow! How odd it feels to type "November"~ don't ya think? This year has gone by so fast...too fast!

Last week, I did much better in following the meal plan. I still strayed a bit due to some lingering chaos from being sick for a week and a half. But we avoided take-out and finished up most of the leftovers in the fridge.

This week, I am in a cooking mood. At least at this very moment. Last time I claimed to be in a cooking mood, I got sick and didn't manage to follow my menu plan at all! Hoping things go as planned this week!

  • Monday: Meat Loaf, sour cream mashed potatoes, brown sugar-glazed carrots and onions.
  • Tuesday: Freezer Night. (Pediatrician appointment near dinner time.)
  • Wednesday: Veggie Pizza.
  • Thursday: Leftover Night.
  • Friday: Spaghetti with Meatballs and Kielbasa.
  • Saturday: My Birthday...undecided about dinner...maybe some Chinese take-out.
  • Sunday: Crock Pot Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole.

Be sure to check out my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen. I'll be posting some recipes there this week. Look for my recipe for meatloaf, veggie pizza, & scalloped potatoes. Also, I may be trying a new recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and if I do, I'll post the recipe after I make it.

I'll also be sharing my recipe for Fudge. It's really easy and makes a great gift during the holidays...or whenever!

For more menu planning inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday hosted each week by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Free Stuff

Lately, I've been signing up for a lot of free samples. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a bunch of links for websites that were offering samples of their products. Seemed to be a lot of feminine hygene products, but I figure, these days money is tight for everyone and every little bit helps.

If a small sample of shampoo gets you an extra hair washing or two...great! Right? Or you've been wanting to try a new product but really don't want to risk wasting money if the product doesn't turn out to be what you expected. Samples are wonderful things!!!

A while back, I discovered a website called MySavings.com. They are a site that provides information on Free Samples, Coupons, Online discounts, etc. For a while after I joined, I just deleted the emails without bothering to read them, let alone taking the time to sign up for the individual samples. But now, I try to set aside a little bit of time each week to check out their website to see if anything new is being offered.

Last week, I signed up for a FREE Snuggie. You know, the blanket with arms! I don't know anyone in my circle of friends that actually has one of these blankets so I am curious to see if they are any good. The commercials are a bit on the stupid side, but for a FREE one, I'll forgive them! The website does state that they will call for a quick survey after the Snuggie is received. I think I can handle that! I'll be sure to post back here once I receive it and let everyone know what I think of the Snuggie. If it's a hit, maybe there will be a few Snuggies under the Christmas tree this year! (Shhh! Don't tell!)

This week, MySavings.com provided information for FREE YoYo Lip Gloss. YoYo Lip Gloss asks that you follow them on Twitter and post a Tweet about them. Fill out the information "card" and provide the URL to your Twitter account so they can verify. They will then email a code or something for a free Lip Gloss mini. I followed and Tweeted just a few moments ago, but haven't gotten my email with the code yet.

Another FREE Lip Gloss offer, that I read about on MySavings.com was from Victoria's Secret. You can go here to print a coupon for a FREE Bra Fitting and Lip Gloss. I believe this offer is valid until Nov. 15. I haven't printed this out yet, since I am not sure if I'll be getting to the mall before then, but I wanted to be sure to share the information with y'all.

The last sample item that I'll share with you today is for FREE pancake mix. I received this information from MySavings.com too! SturdiWheat is giving away a FREE sample of their pancake mix. Call 1-800-201-9650 to receive 1 sample of pancake for FREE! Samples are currently: Buckwheat Pancake Mix, Original Pancake Mix, Traditional Shortcake Mix, Apple Crisp Topping Mix or Bread Pudding Mix. (I haven't called yet for our sample. I don't eat pancakes, so I'll let hubby decide what type he'd like to try.)

These are just a few of the offers that are available from MySavings.com. I couldn't possibly list them all. But I seriously recommend that if you aren't already signed up to get their emails, go and sign up now! It's FREE to join and you can get FREE stuff! What could be wrong with that??

I'll be sharing this post with Life As Mom and her Frugal Friday blog carnival.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Cross Contamination

I tend to be a bit squeamish about things. Sometimes things gross me out and sometimes they don't bother me. I guess it depends on my mood.

One thing that makes me squeamish all the time is raw chicken. Did you ever see that commercial on TV where they show the woman wiping down her kitchen counter and refrigerator door with a raw chicken leg? Blech!

I like to cook chicken. We eat it a lot. But every time I have to open a package of chicken or even worse, cut up raw chicken, I want to just throw away my cutting boards afterward. I never feel as if I can get them clean enough and fear cross contamination. Especially, when we lived in our apartment and didn't have a dishwasher. We "lost" more than just a few cutting boards in those days.

Then one day, I was in the dollar store and found some really thin plastic, flexible cutting boards. 2 in a package for a buck. Not a bad price. I didn't feel as bad using once or twice and then throwing it away. Plus, with our really sharp knives, they didn't really last much longer than a couple of uses anyway.

Now that we have a dishwasher, I use a regular heavy plastic cutting board for my chicken and other meats and a separate one for my veggies. I've labeled them "meat" or "vegetables" on the corners with a Sharpie Marker.

I still like to keep those other "disposable" cutting boards around, but we don't use them as often as we used to, but they do come in handy. Especially, for camping. Or when we're getting ready for a party and doing a lot of chopping.

Be sure to check out We Are That Family for more Works for me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diet Soda Cupcakes

I've mentioned before about following Weight Watchers and the recipes that I've accumulated during those days of dieting.

The recipe I am sharing today is a great one for when you are craving sweets. I've made these for holiday work parties and family gatherings while I was trying to stay away from higher calorie sweets. I've eaten my Diet Soda Cupcakes and didn't really miss the other sweets being served.

Diet Soda Cupcakes

  • Cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz. diet soda


  • Combine cake mix, egg and diet soda until well blended.
  • Pour into cupcake/muffin tins and bake according to directions on box.

I usually use chocolate cake mix and diet cola. Yellow cake and lemon lime soda is great too! Or what about a white cake mix and some diet cream soda or even a pineapple flavored soda. So many different varieties makes these cupcakes very versatile!

These are great alone or topped with whipped cream or lowfat whipped topping. They would also be great topped with Fantastic Frosting (just use lowfat ingredients).

For more cupcake recipes and inspiration, be sure to check out CupCake Tuesday hosted by Hoosier Homemade.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of October 26th

Last week, nothing went as planned at all. I had a great menu plan put together and was really, really in the mood to cook a bunch of great stuff. But then, Swine Flu struck.

Monday afternoon, I felt really tired and decided that canned soup was going to be dinner that night. I planned on taking Monday night easy and then get some cooking done on Tuesday. Nope, I woke up with a fever and body aches. I called my husband home early so he could take care of the baby while I tried to sleep. Instead, I called the doctor as soon as he got home and managed to get an appointment shortly after.

I wasn't as upset about the diagnosis of swine flu as I was when the doctor told me that he didn't want me handling the baby. How can he tell a new mom to not take care of her baby? Plus, how was I going to manage without handling her? I broke down in tears in the doctor's office.

After leaving the office, Joe took us home and he went to get my medicine as well as a flu shot for himself. I was very thankful that he was able to find the Tamiflu in our area, although he did have to try a few pharmacies.

Joe took Wednesday off of work and took care of the baby completely. It was very hard for me not to hold her or feed her. Thursday, he went back to work. But was home by 9:00am because I called to let him know that Grace had a fever and I was able to get her an appointment for 9:15.

The pediatrician prescribed her the liquid Tamiflu and again, we were very lucky to be able to find that in our area too. He did have to travel a bit further out for Grace's medicine though. But we were lucky to find it and also have it and mine covered (still, we paid a co-pay) by our prescription plan. Whew!

It's been a very long week. My poor husband has been running around like crazy taking care of the both of us and also working the weekend to make up some missed hours. Between the missed time from work and the extra expenses for office visits and prescriptions, etc., this will be another week or two (maybe three) of using what we have for meals. I know that I have at least a month's worth of stuff in the freezer and pantry. Probably more than a month, but I don't want to empty them totally.

This week's menu plan will be showing some repeats since we didn't get around to preparing much from last week's plan. I am really thankful that I didn't thaw everything at once like I normally do, because I didn't have much of an appetite and Joe didn't have much time to cook.

I need to check the veggie bin and be sure that my veggies are still good. If they are, then this is the plan for this week:

For more menu planning inspiration, be sure to read Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: October, 23rd

I want to start off by apologizing for not replying to comments left for me last week and also for not getting the chance to visit everyone's blog. I had a busy weekend last weekend.

The baby and I actually had a chance to get out of the house for a bit and do some shopping. But those couple of shopping trips came with a little gift....SWINE FLU.

We're both still sick and trying to recover. Amazingly, my husband hasn't gotten sick yet. He stopped off to get a flu shot on Tuesday when he picked up my prescription. So, hopefully that kicks in quick!

Anyway, as dreadful as I feel, I have some favorites that I'd like to share with y'all. I only have a few moments, Grace is napping and I should be too.

  1. My husband. I know I've posted him as a favorite last week. But with all that he's done for us this week, he deserves to be at the top of the list this week! Poor guy has been running around like crazy taking us to the doctors and getting us medicine and keeping up with making Grace's bottles, doing laundry, washing dishes, etc. All in addition to trying (I've had to call him home early twice this week and he took off one day completely)to go to work. All without a single complaint.
  2. Well-stocked freezer and pantry. With all the extra expenses this week (doctor co-pays, prescriptions, supplies), I'm thankful that we have a well-stocked freezer and pantry to fall back on for the next couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure we have enough to get us by for a month without going grocery shopping. Sure, we'll have to pick up bread, milk, eggs and fresh produce. But we won't have to do any major shopping for a little while.
  3. Last weekend. Even though it was the busy weekend that caused us to get sick, I still have to say that it was a great weekend! 1/2 price day at our local thrift on Friday was a great day! I managed to get something that I had my eye on last month and was amazed that it was still there. (More about that in a future post.) Also, I picked up a coat for Grace on Saturday at Kohl's and a few other things for her at Target.
  4. Clean linens. Wednesday, since Joe was home, I managed to find some time to change the linens on our bed. It was really needed, especially with the sweats and chills I had the night before. Normally, with Grace being up with only short naps during the day, I have a tough time doing chores like this. But he took care of her all day while I stayed away from her, hoping to not get her sick too. But, oh how nice it felt to climb into bed with the nice clean sheets and blankets. We'll be climbing back in after I'm done posting this.
  5. McDonald's. Ever since I was a little girl, I've craved McDonald's when I'm sick. I think it's because when I was 13 I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and HATED the hospital food. My Dad would visit during his lunch hour and bring me McDonald's so I didn't have to eat the hospital food. Now whenever I am sick, that's what I want! Yesteday, I asked Joe what we were having for dinner. He asked me what I wanted and laughed when I told him I wanted McDonald's. He should have known! Even on my worst days of morning sickness (lasted all day for me) I wanted McDonald's! French Fries cure everything! :)

So, there's my five. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to visit all of your blogs this weekend. If not, I am sorry. Once we're all better, I'll be back to blogging full time again!

To read about more favorites, check out Friday's Fave Five hosted by Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swine Flu....we got it....Oink! Oink!

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments on my recent posts here and on my other blog. I have not gotten a chance to read or answer all of them yet. I am currently dealing with swine flu.

On Monday, I wasn't feeling well and on Tuesday I felt worse. My husband came home from work early and took me to the doctor. We just figured I had a cold and let's take care of it quickly since we have the baby now. He waited in the car with the baby while I saw the doctor. Boy was he surprised when I announced it was swine flu!

At the suggestion of my doctor, we called Grace's pediatrician on our way home to see if they wanted to start some sort of precautionary treatment. Pediatrician said no.

This morning, Grace woke up around 6:00; much earlier than her normal 10:30 am. Her face was very red and her hands were warm. (Her hands are usually very cool.) I took her temp. and she had a 101.4 degree fever. I had to wait until 8:00 to get a doctor on the phone. The doctor didn't seem too concerned that I have swine flu and that the baby had a fever but I scheduled an appointment anyway for my own peace of mind.

Joe (my husband) came home from work and is now on the way to the pediatrician's office to get her checked out. I'm going to take a quick shower and make up the beds before he gets home that way Grace and I can get some rest when they get home.

I'll be back to blogging as soon as things are back to normal. I'll try to update about our recovery if I get the chance.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Easy, Crock-Pot Spinach & Tomato Soup

About 6 years ago, I followed the Weight Watchers diet. I did very well for a while and lost a good amount of weight. After a while my enthusiasm for dieting dropped and I had to stop paying for the program. No sense paying for a plan that I wasn't following.

Before I dropped out of WW, I had accumulated some diet-friendly recipes. The last I checked, the Weight Watchers Community section of the web-site is free for anyone to join. And it's a good source for diet-friendly topics and recipes.

Today I am posting a recipe that I am pretty sure I had gotten from the WW message boards while I was following the program, but from which particular member I don't remember. I do remember the recipe being super easy to make!

I only made this once and we really enjoyed it. Goes great with a salad and nice big chunk of garlic bread!

Spinach & Tomato Soup

  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes


  • Combine all ingredients in crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

I told you it was easy!

While we liked this recipe as it is, we both thought that some orzo pasta would be a great addition.

I'll be sharing this recipe with the following blog carnivals this week:

Menu Plan Monday: Week of October 19th

It's Monday and it's all about Menu Plan Monday today! Be sure to check out more menu plans at I'm an Organized Junkie!

I did pretty good last week. I managed to stick to my menu plan more than I've been able to the last few weeks. I still made a few changes here and there to accomodate our schedule. For example, Saturday was supposed to be our leftover night. That was switched to Thursday since we were going out near dinner time and I needed something quick for dinner. I made Gizmo Sandwiches to save some hoagie rolls from going stale.

We're still trying to avoid doing a full grocery list worth of shopping. But still picking up a few items here and there. And trying to keep the menu planned using mostly what is on hand.

Here's the plan for this week:

Other than the On-Cor Veal Parm, the links above take you to the specific recipe on my other blog: My Vintage Kitchen.

I have some mashed sweet potatoes that I'd like to use up. Looking to create them into something new.

I am also planning on baking Jen's Gooey Butter Cake that I posted about last week. I'd also like to attempt a few new recipes in the next couple of weeks. Here's hoping that Gracie cooperates so that Mommy can try some new recipes, so I don't run out of food to blog about!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Food On Fridays: A Lot of Talk About Food

I realized this week that I talk about food a lot! I thought it was just something that happened when I talk to my Gram on the phone, because my Gram talks about food A LOT. But no, it's not just her. Apparently, this is another trait I've picked up from her. (My mom tells me that we are a lot alike.)

So, I figured that my post for this week's Food On Fridays with Ann, I would recap all of my food talk between this blog and my other blog.

Let's start here Under the Big Oak Tree:





And today, Friday:

Now to recap My Vintage Kitchen's food related posts:




Now, that's a lot of talk about food, don't ya think! Gram would be proud! I'll have to call her this weekend and fill her in!

Frugal Friday: Gizmo - Quick and Frugal Meal Idea

Today is Friday and that means it's time for some Frugal Friday tips over at Life As Mom! Be sure to check it out for some great money-saving tips!

My tip for today is a quick and frugal meal idea. Thursday, our nephew turned 16. I knew that we would be leaving to go visit for birthday cake shortly after hubby arrived home from work. I wanted to eat dinner before we left the house, but didn't want to make a big meal since time was short.

We did really well with finishing all the leftovers last week and all that was in there was a small bowl of spaghetti (enough for one) and a good sized bowl of meat sauce. Originally, my plan was to boil up some pasta real quick to use up the sauce, but I really didn't want to wait for the water to boil, etc. I spotted some hoagie rolls leftover from out Frugal Cheesesteak dinner the night before.

I remembered something I used to order from the local pizza place when I was a kid. It was a sandwich called a Gizmo. It was so long ago since I've last ordered a Gizmo. And I cannot remember if there was meat in the tomato sauce or not. But I made-do with what I had on hand.

Alison's Gizmo Sandwich

  • 2 hoagie rolls
  • about 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce
  • handful of shredded mozzarella cheese


  • preheat broiler
  • heat meatsauce in microwave until heated through
  • place sliced rolls in baking dish
  • fill with desired amount of meatsauce
  • sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
  • pop under broiler until cheese is melted and rolls are toasty

I love how quick and easy these sandwiches were to make and I really loved the fact that I saved 2 rolls from the mold monster that lives in our house!

Each of us had one Gizmo and hubby ate the last of the pasta. I still have enough sauce left to use over pasta for a quick weekend lunch for the two of us.

***I will be sharing this make-do dinner idea with Shari from My Practically Perfect Life and her Make Do Monday blog carnival! ***

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: October 16th

This week has been a little more difficult to choose my five favorite things. It's been a quiet week, not much going on and a tad bit boring actually. And the weather is cold, damp and dreary...and promising to colder and more damp.

But I did manage to have a few bright spots this week:

  1. Walks with my baby and my dog. I've managed to take a few short walks with both the baby and the dog. Gracie has just started to like being in the Snuggli and really enjoys seeing the trees and feel the cool breeze. She especially likes to watch her crazy puppy run ahead of us on the leash. The dog is starting to realize (I think) that I have limitations with her when I have the baby with us. She walks differently with us than she does when my husband walks her. Hoping our yard and the field where we take our walks will dry out soon and the nasty weather won't last too long so we can take more walks.
  2. Dancing with the Stars. I know I mentioned the fall line-up, but I really want to focus on DWTS for this Fave. I am soooo loving that Donny Osmond is on Dancing with the Stars this season! I don't watch it every year and honestly only watched this year because he was a contestent. I really enjoyed the season that Marie was participating. The Osmonds was the first concert I ever went to. My aunts and uncles took me when I was in the 4th grade! I'm also really enjoying Kelly Osbourne on the show too! Twice, she has brought tears to my eyes. I cannot believe that she is the same bratty girl that was on the Osbourne's reality show a few years back! Not only has she kept her language clean, but she really looks like she is enjoying herself and gaining confidence each week. I really hope to see both of them stay a while on the show. Guess I should start voting, huh?
  3. Hot showers. With Grace sleeping such long hours at night, she doesn't often nap during the day. When she does, it's only for about 10 minutes or so. Hubby works long hours and often eats dinner, plays with the baby for a little while, then goes to bed. While he plays with the baby, I usually take that time to take a nice, hot shower. Sometimes I just stand there and zone out-forgetting that I am in there to wash my hair and scrub crusty baby cereal off of my arms!
  4. Husband that will eat anything I prepare for him. I love that my husband is not picky. Well, let's say 98% of the time he's not picky. He doesn't care when I announce that we are having leftovers for dinner...AGAIN. Last week, we ate a lot of leftovers. We managed to clean out the fridge without wasting a lot of food. Only one small bowl of soup needed to be tossed.
  5. My nephew. He turned 16 this week. Gasp! I'm not sure really, whether I should be happy or sad about this. But seriously, he's a really sweet kid and made my day when we left his birthday party. He doesn't hug me each and every time he sees me, (that's okay) but he really shocked me when he hugged me while his girlfriend was there. Usually, if friends are around, I can forget about him even acknowledging that us adults actually exist!

To read about more favorites, be sure to check out Friday's Fave Five hosted every week by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

October Fest Carnival of Super Foods

Katie from Kitchen Stewardship is hosting October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. This week, Katie is featuring recipes that contain 2 or more ingredients from the Super Foods category or the Honorable Mention category. Or recipes that focus on one specific Super Food ingredient.

I don't have a lot of healthy, super-food-type recipes at the moment, but I hope to add some to my recipe box after reading all of the posts that have been shared at the carnivals these past weeks.

I am re-posting my recipe for Pasta with Sauteed Chicken and Vegetables that I originally posted on my other blog (
My Vintage Kitchen). I'm re-posting so that you can easily see what ingredients fall in the Super Food category...I will highlight them in RED.

Pasta with Sauteed Chicken and Vegetables


  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • carrots
  • red bell peppers
  • onions
  • 1-2 bags baby spinach
  • broccoli
  • Italian Seasoning
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (I usually use linguine or penne)


  • Saute chicken in hot oil until slightly brown.
  • Add onions, peppers, carrots, garlic, Italian Seasoning and red pepper flakes.
  • Saute until onions just start to turn translucent.
  • Add baby spinach and more garlic, oil and seasonings if needed. (I usually add more oil and seasoning with each addition.)
  • Saute until spinach is limp.
  • Stir together, add more garlic and seasonings if needed. Cook for 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Add broccoli and cover. Cook until broccoli is to desired doneness.
  • Add to hot, cooked pasta.

***Notes: I've also made this with chicken stock in place of the oil. Zucchini and mushrooms are also good added to this dish. I didn't include measurements for the veggies, I usually just wing it every time I make it. Once I subbed bacon for the chicken and it was really good!

This recipe includes 7 Super Foods!

If you decide not to add oil with each addition, or if it seems like there's not enough "sauce" to cover the pasta, then the following recipe may come in handy:

  • Saute 8 minced garlic cloves in 1.5 cups hot extra virgin olive oil until garlic is slightly golden.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes and saute for about 30 seconds.

There are 2 Super Foods in that sauce recipe! I'm sure that if you want a really quick meal, some pasta tossed with that garlic and oil sauce would be excellent!

*****To learn more about Super Foods or cooking and eating healthy foods, visit Katie's blog at Kitchen Stewardship!*****

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Sample Links: Rachel Ray Dog Food, Oust, Pregnancy Tests and more!

I've mentioned before that I love free samples. Love them! When the samples are food items, like cereal or granola bars, I like to put them in the car for snacks on the road. I like to snack on dry cereal, so that's perfect for me. I hate when we are stuck in traffic or on our way home too close to dinner time. I get hungry in the car and we don't always want to stop at a drive-thru. Okay, yeah, I ALWAYS want to stop at a drive-thru since I am a junk food junkie, but hubby...not so much! So, cereal is a great option....even better when it's a free sample!

So, on the topic of samples....I wanted to share some deals with y'all today. I frequently get emails from different sample websites like MySavings.com. I wanted to pass along some samples that might be of interest to all of you.

Free Sample of Rachel Ray's Nutrish dog food. After you punch in your information, you are given the option to get a printable coupon for $3.50 off a 6 lb. bag of Nutrish OR you can click the option to wait for your free sample in the mail. I chose the sample in the mail.

Poise Bladder Control products. These are very handy to have around, even if you don't normally experience bladder control problems. I had a sample in my linen closet that I signed up for about a year ago. When my water broke on the day that Grace was born, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it from home to the hospital without being soaked. Somehow, I remembered the sample I had in the linen closet! Worked perfectly! Also, these worked great after the baby was born and I ran out of the heavy-duty hospital pads. Regular maxis weren't "cushy" enough or even absorbent enough to deal with the bleeding after delivery. Poor hubby had to go to the drug store to buy me some Poise! Not pregnant and don't need to worry about your water breaking? How about during cold season? All that sneezing and coughing can sometimes cause leaks....perfect FREE solution! Get your sample today!

Poise Sample Kit includes:

  • 1 Poise Liner
  • 1 Poise Long Liner
  • 1 Poise Ultra Thin Pad

Kotex Overnight with Wings samples are available on All You magazine's website. Also, after you enter all of your information, you are given the option to try 2 free issues of All You magazine!

Kotex Sample Pack, I'm not sure what comes in the sample pack, but even if it's just one pad...it's still FREE! Besides, I really like Kotex. It's the only feminine pad I can use.

Playtex Sport Tampon. I don't use tampons, except for the rare occasion that I want to go swimming and have my period. But I like to have some on hand for guests who don't prefer my Kotex pads.

Sacred Heart Mission is offering Free Ovulation Kits and Pregnancy tests. Limit 10 per household. Any combination of the 2 items equaling 10 items.

Little Debbie is giving away 125,000 cupcakes! Enter for a chance to win! You can enter once a day...every day! Promotion ends on March 31st 2010. Someone from Little Debbie will contact you by email if you are a winner! I'd love to know if any of my readers win, so be sure to post back here if you win!

Oust Air Sanitizer II. The first 10,000 requests will receive a FREE trial-sized air freshener. Click this link to request your sample and also get current coupons for other great products!

I love free samples! They make me smile when I find them in my mailbox!

This post has been shared with Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We are That Family and Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Soup Party aka Souper Bowl Party Crock Pot Style

My post for this week's Crock Pot Wednesday, isn't a recipe. But a tip involving the use of my crock pots:

Hubby and I wanted to host the last Super Bowl Party. Since I was pregnant at the time, I didn't want to spend that entire day cooking and washing dishes.

We decided to serve a pot of Chili and a pot of Chicken Corn Chowder and we ordered buffalo wings.

On the Thursday before Super Bowl, I did all of my chopping. Friday, I prepared the Chicken Corn Chowder on the stove. On Saturday, I prepared the Chili on the stove. On Sunday, before we left to pick up the wings, we put the Chili and Chowder in crock pots set on low. By the time we returned, we turned the crocks to the "keep warm" setting and started to put out some snacks (chips, veggie tray, cheese, crackers, etc). Everything was ready when our friends arrived.

Preparing the food ahead of time really helped to ease a lot of stress and helped to make hosting a lot more enjoyable. Clean up was simple since all of the cooking dishes were already done the two days before. I was able to visit with our friends and relax knowing that there was plenty of food being kept warm in the crocks.

I'm hoping to host New Year's Eve this year, (since I'd rather not be traveling with the baby this year) and if we do, I'll definitely be putting my crock pots to work!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Stale Crackers

My idea for today's Kitchen Tip Tuesday post comes from my aunt. She shared this tip with me during her visit on Thursday.

I posted in my Friday's Fave Five, that I had a visit with my family and that I was able to serve them a nice lunch without having to go grocery shopping and without having to deal with a lot of fuss. I just used what I had in my freezer, my fridge and my pantry. I served 2 different soups, my aunt and gram brought hoagies and my parents brought dessert. In addition to the soups, I put out some tortilla chips to go with the Cowboy Stew and some multi-grain crackers for the Beef Barley Soup.

Okay, are you still with me? I went slightly off track there for a moment. Sorry. Here's where the tip comes in:

As we were clearing the table and putting away any leftovers, my aunt told me that if the crackers had gotten stale, to put them on a cookie tray and put them in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes to crisp them back up! This may not be a NEW tip to any of you, but honestly, it never occurred to me to do that. I either ate the crackers stale or threw them away.

I didn't end up testing this tip out yet, since the crackers weren't stale and I sent them home with my Gram with the leftover soup. But next time I have stale crackers I'll be trying this tip! I cringe anytime something is wasted these days...all part of my new frugal life!

As for last week's post to Kitchen Tip Tuesday, in which I had a question about freezing, I didn't need to test that out either, since I served the Cowboy Stew for lunch rather than freezing it since I was concerned about not having enough Beef Barley to serve to my guests for lunch! But thanks, anyway for answering!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of October 12th

Last week was all about avoiding wasted food. Somehow, I've managed to accumulate a lot of leftovers on the bottom shelf of the fridge. We really wanted to avoid having to toss any of it into the garbage. So we chipped away at the odds and ends and finished almost everything and only one small bowl of Chicken Corn Chowder needed to be tossed.

Even though I only actually cooked twice last week, I feel accomplished. Accomplished in the fact that we didn't throw a lot of money away in the form of wasted food.

I had another accomplishment last week. I was able to host a last minute and frugal lunch without having to go grocery shopping. My aunt and Gram wanted to come and visit me (actually the baby) and I wanted to be able to prepare lunch. I also invited my parents over for lunch too. I had a lot of leftover Cowboy Stew and some Beef Barley Soup in the freezer. My aunt brought some hoagies and my parents brought a pie. And I sent my aunt and gram each home with a quart of soup!

This week will be another creative week of trying to form a menu plan using items we have in our freezer or pantry. I'm trying to avoid a large shopping order since we are still experiencing some unexpected expenses. But we're far from deprived.

Here's this week's menu plan:

  • Monday: Chick-fil-a (using coupons*).
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti and meat sauce, Texas Toast.
  • Wednesday: Cheese Steak wraps, waffle fries.
  • Thursday: Ham Steak, Baked Beans, Pierogies.
  • Friday: Salmon, garlic mashes potatoes, peas..
  • Saturday: Leftover night.
  • Sunday: Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole.

*A while ago, I registered on Chick-fil-a during a promotion they were having. Just this weekend, I received two coupons for FREE chicken sandwiches. Mondays tend to be our errand day, so if we're out and about we'll pop into Chick-Fil-A for an early dinner. If not, then I'll do some adjusting to the menu plan.

For more menu planning inspiration, be sure to read Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I'm also linking this to Make-Do Mondays since I think we did a really great job at making do with the leftovers! Again!

Frugal Alternative to Take Out

I am known to be a junk food junkie. Don't get me wrong, I like to prepare and eat healthy foods too. I just really enjoy fast food, take-out and pizza delivery.

I mentioned before that when we lived in our apartment in the city and we both worked, we spent a lot of money on food not cooked in our home. We were paying for the convenience of not only not having to cook, but also the fact that there was very little clean up involved.

Now that we have our own home and only one paycheck, going out to eat or ordering in doesn't occur that often. Occasionally, I've made my own pizza or resorted to frozen pizza. But being a Philly girl, I was really missing cheese steaks.

About a year ago, my friend Lisa (she is also a former Philly girl) told me about a minute steak product that she found at Costco that is an excellent alternative to expensive take out. The first time we tried it, we loved it! And it's one of those must have items that we pick up each trip to Costco (about once a month).

Steak-eze is frozen, chopped minute steak. When you first take it out of the package, it looks like a frozen burger. But as it cooks, it starts to break apart and looks like authentic cheese steak meat.

Each frozen patty serves one person. Although, we like our steak sandwiches really packed with meat, so I usually cook 4 patties for the 2 of us. This makes 3 hearty sandwiches for dinner plus one smaller lunch serving.

I either serve this on a long (hoagie, sub-sandwich) roll or on a tortilla with lettuce and pickle. Hubby uses mayo for his sandwich or wrap and I use ketchup.

I like to serve oven fries on the side too. Since, in my opinion, no cheese steak is complete without a side of fries!

I don't remember the actual cost per package of Steak-Eze, but I can tell you this...we get several meals from one box of Steak-Eze for less than it costs for take out for one night!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday. Since finding frugal alternatives for everything works for me! Be sure to check out WFMW hosted by We Are That Family for more great tips!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: October 9th

Friday's Favorite Five: Hosted by Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story.

This week brought me a handful of negative issues, but they were truly outweighed by the positive. Here are a few of my positives to share with you.

  1. Visits with family. Wednesday afternoon, I received news that I was going to get a visit from my aunt and my gram on Thursday. I haven't seen them since July, and I was really pleased (even though I know they were only coming to see the baby). I was especially pleased, because I knew that I could prepare a nice lunch for them with little effort, thanks to my freezer! I had some beef barley soup in the freezer and some stew in the fridge and had a nice visit with my parents, my aunt and my gram. I was even able to send my aunt and gram home each with a quart of soup or stew.
  2. Puppy dog kisses. My 2 year old Boston Terrier is such a sweet baby. Lots of times she's a terror, but really she is a sweetie! She's such a cuddler and gives lots of kisses. Especially to the baby. She loves "her" baby. But now that the weather is cooler, she loves to curl up on my lap and would sleep there for hours if I didn't have other things to do, like take care of the baby or um, go to the bathroom!
  3. Fall TV Line-up. I'm loving the fall line up this year. I just wish that Comcast showed more of the shows I watch On Demand. We don't have TIVO or DVR (not in the budget) and some shows overlap. Causing me to pick and choose. Right now, Dancing with the Stars is my choice over Two and a Half Men and the rest of the Monday Night shows on that channel. I'm also really enjoying a couple of new shows this year. The Good Wife and Flash Forward. I'm a jinx when it comes to new shows though...so for anyone else that watches those shows, I'll apologize in advance. :) Hope they stick around.
  4. Understanding Friends. Wednesday, I had plans with a friend. Nothing special. We were just going to head over to Aldi to pick up a few things. But after she was on her way over, Gracie had other ideas. She started fussing up a storm. So not like her. By the time my friend arrived, it was a total meltdown. Instead of going to Aldi, we put the baby in the car and took a ride until she fell asleep. We stopped at McDonald's for some sweet tea and fries and went back to my house to visit while the baby napped. We'll reschedule Aldi's for one day next week.
  5. Lemon Drop Baby Boutique. I had such a wonderful shopping experience with this Etsy shop. I haven't received my order yet, it was just finalized the other night. But I am certain that it will be perfect! I ordered this flower headband with an additional headband and a beanie for Gracie. It will be part of her Halloween costume. You can read more about it in a previous post here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Frugal Friday: Frugal Firsts: Coupons, Ebay Earnings and Halloween Costumes

This year, we're celebrating a lot of "firsts" with our daughter. Right now, she's just about a week older than 5 months old. Time is going fast and we're really trying to make each moment special and memorable.

This week, we bought her first Christmas present AND first Disney movie! The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack!

Walmart had it on sale this week for $19.96. (Normally, $24.96.)
I used the $10 coupon that I read about and printed. (Thanks, Frugal in Virginia!) So, after the sale and coupon, the movie was $9.96 plus tax! Not bad for TWO of Gracie's "firsts"!

Another first that we'll be celebrating soon is Halloween. We're pretty excited to dress Gracie up in her costume and take her to see her grandparents.

She's going to be a lady bug! And, oh what a cute bug she'll be! I really splurged on her costume, but I used the money I earned by selling some items on Ebay.

Instead of ordering antennae for her costume, I decided that a beanie with a big red flower would be the perfect topper to her costume. Plus, the hat and flower are more likely to be used again for normal wear than the antennae would be.

I found the perfect red peony hair band at Lemon Drop Baby Boutique. The peony I ordered was attached to a white hair band, I also added a plain black beanie and a black hair band to my order. Since the flower is removeable, I can switch it from band to band to beanie!

After a few friendly messages with Cindy, she set up a private order for me and it's now on it's way to me! (Be sure to check my blog for pictures and a shop review after it arrives!)

I am pretty happy to have been able to get a couple of things for Gracie this week. And even happier that I was frugal in the items I purchased.

Coupons, ebay earnings and double use items made some splurge purchase possible this week!

With Christmas coming up quick, I'm hoping to find some more frugal deals!

Check out more Frugal Friday tips at Life as Mom!
Also, check out Hooked On Fridays.

Frugal Friday: Free Herbal Essences

Today is Frugal Friday! Here's my frugal post for this week! Be sure to check out Life As Mom for more great, frugal tips!

From October 8th -October 12, EDT, Herbal Essences is giving away 18,750 coupons per day. The coupons are good for full sized products up to 12 oz. One coupon per household, while supplies last!

Use the following link to sign up for your coupon today!

Herbal Essences Gorgeous Giveaway - Free* Herbal Essences Product

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ultimate Recipe Swap: Where's the Beef?

Life As Mom is hosting another Ultimate Recipe Swap. The theme for this week is beef.

I have a few recipes previously posted for beef, both here and on my other blog and I figured that linking them in this post would be the easiest way to share them in today's recipe swap.

Recently, I've been pre-cooking and freezing ground beef. You can read more about that here in a previous post. It makes my life so much easier. Well, my life at mealtime becomes easier.

The pre-cooked and frozen ground beef can be used in any of your favorite meals that call for ground meat. I use it for the following meals:
  • Meat sauce for pasta
  • Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes
  • Hamburger gravy mixed with elbow macaroni
  • Tacos
  • Chili (I'll be posting my chili recipe to my other blog in a week or two)
And most recently, I used the pre-cooked burger in my Cowboy Stew recipe on my other blog. Do you know that I've skipped making recipes in the crock pot that call for browning meat in a skillet first? It just didn't make sense to me. I mean, I'm using the crock pot because I'm pressed for time in the first place. Why would I make something that involves another cooking process. Not to mention the extra dirty pan to wash!
Well, I was really in the mood to try that Cowboy Stew recipe. And I wanted to cook it in the crock pot. I remembered that I had some pre-cooked ground beef in the freezer. I added all of the other stew ingredients and then added the beef. Still frozen! How easy is that?
Don't forget to check out this week's Ultimate Recipe Swap for more great recipes using beef.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...