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Coupon Haul

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about couponing. Tonight I feel even more accomplished than normal, because my husband and I have started Dave Ramsey’s program for budgeting/dealing with finances. So, suddenly I find myself being very very aware of what I spend. But, I love food. I don’t want to eat garbage just because it’s less expensive. And let’s face it. Good (“real”) food is spendy! Especially things like cheese & produce – which are two things I will not sacrifice for cost savings. I spent an hour or so clipping coupons and headed out to my local Albertson’s (where, they have the nicest employees on EARTH!). Here’s my haul:

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Three Cups of Tea

I just have to give a little plug for a gift I was recently given. My grandma got me some cupcake liners and toppers from a local shop called “Three Cups of Tea” and I cannot get over how adorable they are! They are made by Meri Meri and are just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. They also make all kinds of other stuff, all as cute as these babies. [Read more…]

The Perfect Lemon Drop

My most loved cocktail in the world is a lemon drop. I order them whenever I’m out having a drink, but I’ve yet to find a restaurant that makes a really good one. They are still my favorite, but they’re always either too sweet or just too blah, not enough kick (which, I’m sure comes from not enough vodka). Anyway. I decided to create my own perfect drop. The other night I “tested” my recipe with my husband and came up with what I think is just sublime. You can use store-bought citrus vodka, but I think those have a bad aftertaste…I infuse my vodka with lemon by placing a few slices in a bowl and pouring the vodka over it…let sit for about an hour or overnight in a covered container. [Read more…]

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

I was out Christmas shopping all day today with one of my favorite people on earth. My sister Amy. Who is not a shopper. Not at all. She was such a good sport today though and we both finished our lists! Yippee.

We rewarded ourselves with a Mexican dinner at one of our favorite places – where I decided to be adventurous and try something new. The description on the menu read: Cazueta de Carne – Combination of chicken and top sirloin steak sauteed with mushrooms in our special homemade moicajete sauce topped with Monterrey jack cheese. Served with rice and beans, garnished with lettuce, avocado and pico de gallo.

Mmmmmm. It sounded absolutely amazing. Trouble is, after taking my first bite, I felt like my entire mouth was going to explode. Lucky me, Amy is very quick with the iPhone camera and caught the whole delightful experience on video. [Read more…]

Not “Doren” – Banana Cream Pie

My dad is the best in the world. You only think yours is, because you didn’t have mine. I love him and he’s amazing. We had a special time together as a family tonight to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Instead of cake, I made him his favorite – Banana Cream Pie. I was going to name this pie “Doren” after my dad, but he doesn’t have much in common with a banana cream pie. Aside from it being his favorite – I can’t really come up with great comparisons or interesting observations about my dad and a cream pie. So, he’ll have to wait for his signature dish for the bakery. Maybe I’m just too exhausted right now to do justice for my dad’s pie — I mean, he’s kind of goofy like a monkey, and they like bananas too. Perhaps I shall revisit the possibility of this being the “Doren” tomorrow. For now, Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.

Birthday Banana Cream Pie

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Cowboy Caviar

A special shout out to my Aunt Nola – who brings this amazing salsa to family functions. I got the recipe from her and made it today for our small group’s football party. So awesome. Serve with “scoops” style chips — you’ll want big bowl chips to scoop up all the goodness in this stuff! Nola’s original recipe calls for a can of black eyed peas with jalapeños, but since I couldn’t find those at the grocery store, I did regular black eyed peas and added in some fire roasted chiles.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
Pepper to taste
1/2 pound Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
2/3 cup sliced Green Onions
2/3 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
15 ounce can Black Eyed Peas, drained
11 ounce can Shoepeg Corn (or sweet white corn), drained
1/3 c diced fire roasted green chiles

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Free Cheese!

I love couponing. It saves me so much money. I cannot believe I used to pay full price for things at the grocery store. I love this site and this site. They help me stay on budget for groceries. Tonight was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had at Albertsons. Why? Because I got free cheese. Yes, you heard (saw) right. I said FREE. Lots of it.

Free Cheese!

Shopping Trip:

10 bags Kraft Cheese (2 Parmesan, 3 Mozzarella, 3 Cheddar and 2 Co-Jack)
4 Jars Kraft Mayo
4 Packs Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs
2 Tubs Cool Whip

Full Price Cost: $87.40
Price I paid: $8.96
BUT — I also have in my hot little hand $6 in catalinas that I can spend the next time I’m in the store. So really, I paid $2.96 for all that stuff.
Total Savings: $84.44

Now that’s a good night at the grocery store. Yup. Yup. Gonna freeze the cheese. Well, most of it. The hot dogs too. Probably give some of the mayo to my sister. Will use the Cool Whip in a Margarita Fruit Dip for my other sister’s bridal shower this weekend…I’ll post that recipe and photos when I make it. 🙂 But seriously. All that cheese would have been almost$45. And I didn’t pay a dime for it. Did I mention I love coupons?

*I’ve been requested to share my couponing tips…so here they are:

1. Read the two links I posted.

2. Subscribe to the newspaper. (I get 5 Sunday papers)

3. Stock up on things you frequently use when they are on sale plus you have coupons. And I mean STOCK UP. Like, buy as many of the thing as you can.Especially non-perishables. Cereal is one of the easiest things to save on — and to stock up on because it lasts a long time in your pantry. Canned soups, fruit snacks, granola bars etc. are great too. Think about what you can use/freeze and buy up.

4. Cook from your stockpile as much as possible.

5. Allow your family shopper to coupon-grocery shop in the evening without the munchkins. Coupons and kids in the checkout stand do not really mix well.

Weighty Matters

One week ago I was a mere 6 pounds away from my goal weight. A goal I have been steadily working towards for two years. Actually, I guess it’s only been 15 months since I threw it all out the window the 9 months I was pregnant with my second child. I have spent as  much time as possible in muscle torturing, make Jillian Michaels proud, sweat inducing workouts. I have counted calories, weighed food and kept a journal of all that I put in my mouth. I tried many different “diet” things to lose weight. I drank half my weight (in ounces) of water daily. Which made me really have to pee a lot, but not much else. I ate plain chicken breasts for dinner. I even tried eating Lean Cuisines. Yuck. Finally I found something that worked well. I made food completely boring, meaning I spent about 6 months eating exactly the same thing pretty much every day for breakfast and lunch. Which gave me the freedom to eat just about whatever I wanted for dinner and still be within my allotted calories for the day.

I am 5 foot 3 and when I began this journey in January of 2008, I weighed 204 pounds. That weight was BEFORE I’d tacked on another thirty with my first pregnancy. After my daughter was born, I went right back to my “pre-pregnancy weight” which I thought was incredible, but in hindsight was just an excuse not to do anything about how heavy I’d become. [Read more…]

Not worth a “trophy”

Recently I heard about a “fabulous” local cupcake shop called Trophy Cupcakes. They have two locations and are opening a third. Within just a few days I heard from several friends that this was THE place to get an absolutely amazing cupcake.

So, I was thrilled when one of my girlfriends brought a variety of these little gems to our weekly Bible study as the munchie of the evening. But I was far from blown away when I actually tried one. It was good, but not over-the-top amazing as advertised. I tried a different flavor thinking maybe chocolate chocolate wasn’t the way to go, but the vanilla was just as uninspired.

Still, these mini-cakes had been so highly touted that I vowed to give them another chance. This weekend, I decided to make a batch myself – thanks to the following recipe I found online. [Read more…]

A steaming serving of guilt

Today I will be returning to visit Jim. Jim is not a friend. He is not a member of my family. In fact, he doesn’t really exist.

Jim is what I call my YMCA. Actually, it’s more than that. Jim is who my YMCA is to me. I created the concept of “Jim” shortly after my son was born in December – I had the desire was to lose the baby weight, but zero desire to workout. I tried to rethink how I was viewing exercise. It dawned on me that I thought of it (as most of us do) as something I was supposed to do, not something I actually wanted to do. So, I put the following picture in my head.

Do you remember when you first met your spouse? Some of you have to think back many many years for this, but stay with me.  Think about the first few months of your relationship. How many times did you drive somewhere just to be with them for a few minutes between jobs, or school? When you were away from that person – what were you thinking of? [Read more…]

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