Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grocery store bargains

A few months ago, I was introduced to Five Dollar Dinners. I'd like to say I'm good at saving money at the grocery store, but wow! I'm always so impressed at what Erin comes up with for only five dollars!

Each week, she posts about her grocery shopping trip and takes a picture of everything she bought and explains how much she spent. I'm always so intrigued by this, especially because she uses the same grocery store chain that I do. While we don't live in the same area, a lot of the sale prices are the same, so I like to get tips from her when I can! :)

I thought I would post about some of the great deals I found during our shopping trip today. I was quite excited about a few of them! Hey, everybody needs a hobby! This is mine.

Stop laughing.

Bought today at Kroger:
  • Two loaves Healthy Life bread, on sale for $1.39/loaf, plus $0.35 off coupons, which doubles to $0.70 off (two coupons means I bought two loaves of bread) = $0.69/loaf of bread
  • Bisquick pancake mix, regular price of $3.59, with $0.60 off Shortcuts e-coupon, plus $0.50 off coupon, which doubles to $1 off = $1.99 for the box (40 oz.)
  • Dole salad mix, on sale for $1 {with what I assumed was a $0.75 off e-coupon, but apparently was for a different flavor... maybe? Going to have to look into this...} = $1/bag of salad... FAIL. Thought it was $0.25!
  • Yoplait Greek yogurt cups, on sale for $1, plus $0.45 off coupon, which doubles to $0.90 off = $0.10/yogurt cup!!
  • Two packages of hummus, on sale for $1 each (regular price is 3.99!)
  • Dawn dish soap, marked down to $1.39?!?, plus $0.50 off coupon, which doubles to $1 off = $0.39 dish soap!
  • No Sugar Added Del Monte fruit cups, marked down to $1.39, plus $0.75 off coupon = $0.64 (This is the kind of thing I won't usually buy because individual packages are almost always more expensive... but for sixty-four cents, it'll be handy to grab and go!)

The last item pictured is this trail mix from the produce section. I never EVER buy these unless I have a coupon, but I love me some trail mix! It ended up being on sale for $3.99 (regular price is $4.49) and I had a store coupon for $0.75 off, making this good and healthy snack $3.24. Not too shabby, considering how spendy these "specialty" mixes typically are!

Last but not least of my good deals today -- two whole chickens for $0.98/pound. Every once in a while, I like to make a roast chicken in the crock pot. It's so moist and delicious, but I absolutely DETEST the clean-up! However, when I wanted to make a roast chicken a few weeks ago (and use up some of my produce drawer for flavorings), I bit the bullet. I threw some things together and was very pleased with the honey citrus chicken that resulted. I was not pleased, however, when I got home from the store and realized the bag was leaking chicken juices all over my kitchen. Yuck! So, it went straight into the crock pot for dinner the following night. Because it wasn't done cooking until it was time for me to go to bed, I just stuck it in the fridge overnight and sliced it up the following day. I could not believe how much easier it was slicing the bird COLD rather than freshly cooked! I feel like I always waste so much meat when I'm trimming it off while still warm... like it's hard to tell what's good meat and what's yucky parts. By letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I could get entire chicken breasts and tenderloins off whole, and just sliced them up from there. So easy! I also felt like I got a TON more meat off of it than usual. It was enough for dinner for three PLUS a small Pyrex dish full of leftovers that were frozen (which are going to be chicken enchiladas tonight... yum!). So I'm going to try that method again and just freeze the meat in bags this time. I'll just pull a bag out as I need it.

  1. The price for the whole chickens was $0.88/lb., not $0.98. Even better!
  2. After posting, I filled out a dispute form at Shortcuts about the coupon that wasn't applied to my bill today, and I already received a response. They've credited my account with $0.80 (five cents higher than the value of the unused coupon), which will be applied to my next grocery bill. Woo!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One's company... two's a crowd?

I'm sitting here with the windows open on a lovely 72-degree day... and hearing the neighbor kids argue with each other. A 12-ish year old girl is screaming at her 3-ish year old brother because he broke the rules of some bike racing game they were playing. Seriously? How old are you?

And more importantly for me, why exactly would I want to listen to these kinds of shenanigans in my own home? I'm sorry, but when I can sit here and listen to my two-year-old quietly playing and making me laugh with the funny things she says, the idea of siblings (you know, the live-in kind) just doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

It's a good thing, too, because I saw a high school friend's newborn this weekend, and wow... that didn't do me any favors. I'm pretty sure my uterus started twitching.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A quick breakfast treat

Last week, I attended our church's moms group, and I was among those whose turn it was to bring breakfast. At nine o'clock on a weeknight, I didn't really feel like running to the store to buy ingredients for something tried-and-true... especially when American Idol was coming on. :) This is what I threw together with ingredients on-hand, and it seemed to go over pretty well!

Refrigerated crescent rolls. We had a package leftover.

Cream cheese. Oh, how I love thee!

Almonds (any nut you like would work here).

Strawberry jam, canned last summer.

Open your crescent rolls... and please don't be alarmed if this happens.

Even if you find pieces of dough halfway across your kitchen on a rug somewhere. Or if you continue finding those dried out dough pieces for the next two days. It's okay.

Smoosh the rolls into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, and don't worry if it doesn't look pretty. No one will see this part. I sprinkled a little cinnamon and sugar on the dough, and then baked at 375 degrees for about ten minutes (until it's somewhat "firm" to the touch).

Spread the cream cheese on in a thin layer (it will be melty since the crescent dough will still be hot, but I found that helped it spread a little easier). Next goes a layer of strawberry (or whatever flavor) jam. Apple butter would work nicely as well here! Continue baking at the same temperature for another twenty minutes (give or take a few). Don't be concerned if your jam looks runny when you pull it out of the oven... it will set up as it cools.

I had toasted a couple handfuls of almonds and chopped them up. Sprinkle them on top while your jam is still hot. Cut into squares and enjoy!

I was a little nervous bringing a complete and total experiment to a social gathering, and when I walked in to see all kinds of delicious-looking treats, I felt even more unsure! When I was asked what my breakfast was (someone thought it was a cobbler), I laughed and said that it was just what was in my fridge, and that they shouldn't feel obligated to eat it if it wasn't terrific. :) But I'm relieved to say that it was tasty, though a bit on the "sweet" side for my personal taste. The strawberry jam was definitely the most strong flavor, and I was really glad I'd added the almonds on top. Nevertheless, I brought home a nearly empty pan, and was even asked by two moms for the recipe. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring is here

And I couldn't be happier.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lesson learned

When you find yourself wanting an iced coffee and Dunkin' Donuts is closed, don't fool yourself into thinking you can settle for cheap Speedway gas station iced coffee. It is truly terrible. And it's not any cheaper than McDonald's... and there's certainly always one of those nearby.

That sludge was $1.93 wasted.