Thursday, April 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing!!!

Has anyone seen this show on TLC?!?!? WOW....they are obsessed! I use coupons, but I'm doing good to save $20 on a $150 bill. But now I know why...they have hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, bottle of mustard (really, how can you use 100 bottles of mustard in your lifetime?) And, who has the storage space? One woman had a room dedicated to her coupons!

So, how would you like to come home with over $1,000 of grocery items and pay less than $5...amazing, right? Here's how she did it (just one example). She bought 114 night time pain relievers. Original price $5.29. The store had it on sale for $1.99. She used a $2.50 off coupon on every single one, which means she MADE $.51 on every one that she bought. On this one item, she made $51.00, which she used to buy items that she could not get for free. Again, I say WOW!

So inspiring, yet seems so unattainable....hmmm...what if I seriously gave it a go for the next month? If I found one item that I could get for free (combining store sale with coupons), and got 10 of them? That would be a good start! I'll let you know what I find!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5 months old!!

We went to Chicago last month and had a great time!!!! Chicago is SO big! And oh my, the shopping is incredible. I heart Nordstrom Rack!!! For those who don't know what that is, it's basically where Nordstrom sends all their sale items (good deals!!). The pizza was amazing! Who knew that deep dish pizza was so good?!?? Here are some pics from our trip...

With Natalie at Gibson's

Us in the hotel room getting ready to go to Gibson' was SO good!!!
I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Pizzaria Uno...fabulous!

Pizza vs. Cory...Pizza won!

Look at that pizza! It's literally a pizza pie!

View of the city from Navy Pier

Kiss on Navy Pier...I love my hubby!

View from the top of the John Hancock Building

What a shopping experience...just looking at all the pretty things was so fun! I ended up buying a pair of jeans, a shirt, and some shoes, all from Nordstrom Rack!

I think this was in front on the Wrigley Building

Moving on to Will....My Darling Will is 5 months old! I can't believe how fast the past 5 months have gone by...he'll be 16 before I know it! He's enjoying tummy time so much more and rolling over from his tummy to his back, he still hasn't figured out he can go the other way. No teeth yet....every night I go to bed thinking "Is this going to be the first of my sleepless teething nights??" I know we'll get through it when it happens, but I'm not liking the waiting game!

Well, we have been having so much fun trying new foods! He can now eat oatmeal, rice cereal, bananas, prunes, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, pears, and apples. It's so gross b/c he rubs it all over his face and it gets on his clothes and on his hands and on my hands...ha! Here's some pics from the past few weeks! are some pics!

Til next time ya'll! (Was that Paula Deen or what?!?!?)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More recipes!!

A few days before I started cooking, I had to get my grocery list together which was LONG.

A few suggestions:
1) Buy in bulk. We have a Costco membership and they have 10lb bags of chicken (Purdue chicken that's frozen goes from freezer to oven and is VERY good). This goes for beef, too. You might have to buy 4 or 5 lbs depending on what you're making.
2) Cook and chop the chicken and veggies the day before. It saved so much time to cook the chicken the day before. I just did a couple rounds in the oven. I seriously cooked about 10 chicken breasts and chopped them!
3) Make sure you have enough freezer containers, freezer Zip Lock bags and the disposable casserole dishes work the best...
4) Make labels for your dinners ahead of time. I wrote what the dinner was, the date, how many servings, and how to get it ready for serving. I think next time I cook, I'll type them. So I can just print and stick it on the dinner.

ok...enough about are a couple more recipes!

Wild Rice Chicken Serves: 6

1 6 1/4-ounce package of quick cooking long grain and wild rice (I used brown rice)
1 cup cooked chopped chicken (I used 2 cups b/c I wanted more chicken)
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup light mayo
1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup (standard can size)

Cook rice according to package directions. Combine rice with chopped chicken, water chestnuts, celery and onion; put mixture in a 1-gallon freezer bag.

To prepare for serving, thaw rice mixture, remove from bag, and place in a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Stir mayo and cream of mushroom soup together, and spread over top of chicken mixture. Bake covered in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Enjoy!

This is an example of a meal that does take a little work the day of eating, but not near what it would be if you made the whole thing the day of!

Chili Hamburgers Serves: 4

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp finely chopped green bells pappers
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp chili sauce (I couldn't find chili sauce, so I just left it out. But they were really good!)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 hamburger buns

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except buns. Shape into 4 patties. Freeze in a large freezer bag with wax paper between each one. If freezing for more than a couple weeks, you can freeze the buns too. Bread freezes well.

To prepare, thaw patties and buns. Grill or fry to desired pinkness in center. Serve on warm hamburger buns.

This is a recipe that you can modify to your hearts desire! Next time I cook in bulk, I plan on making several varieties of burgers to have on hand for hosting company!

ok...enough for today!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cooking for 2 weeks!

Hello everyone! I have proved to myself that cooking for 2 weeks can be done, and can be done without breaking the bank!

I will be the first to admit that I am not the best house keeper, but I am a pretty good cook (when I have a recipe to follow), so I decided to put my skills to work! It was so gratifying that I did this for me and my husband and to ensure that 1) I am not stressed about what's for dinner 2) we have good quality meals and 3) they don't take too long to prepare or clean up! Also, this can greatly cut down on your grocery bill b/c your using the fresh veggies/meats right away therefore not wasting money and food.

Let me clarify, when I say cooking for 2 weeks, I do not meal breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I just mean dinners. However, many of the dinners have more than 2 servings so the leftovers make great lunches!

You can either do it all in one day or you can break it up into a day and a half or 2 days. I found it easier to break up b/c of the baby. Below, you'll find the recipes that I made, how many they serve, how to store/freeze them, and what to do to prepare them when the time comes to eat them.

Here are the recipes:
Corn Chowder (my mom's recipe is SOOOOO good)
Spaghetti sauce with meatballs (Cory's family recipe, again SOOOOO good)
Cheesy Mexican Casserole
Chili Hamburgers
Sloppy Joes (my version)
Wild Rice Chicken
Chicken Packets

There are a couple more that I want to try, and I'll post those recipes when I do.

Corn Chowder: Serves: 8
1 roll of regular sausage (I suggest Bob Evans Original)
1 roll of frozen creamed corn (I suggest McKensie's)
4 medium russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (divided)

Brown and crumble sausage, drain well. Add corn, soup, stock and diced potatoes. Mixture will be fairly thick until corn thaws.
Let simmer on low, stirring often; corn will stick to bottom of pot; until potatoes are done, about 1 hour. Add milk, stir and heat through.
To freeze, remove from heat and let cool a bit and place corn chowder in gallon zip lock freezer bags. One batch will fit in one bag, but I suggest freezing half in one bag and half in another to make two meals. Place 1 cup of cheddar in a small freezer bag and attach to the chowder. Don't worry, cheese freezes well.
To serve, thaw chowder and heat in microwave or stove. Sprinkle with cheddar and enjoy! This is really good with cornbread or oyster crackers.

ok...the other recipes will have to be posted tomorrow! Gotta get to a crying baby!