Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy, Busy & Money Saving Meals

No pictures since my camera batteries are dead. I have to remember to put good rechargeable batteries on my shopping list. I finished up working on Monday except for a few hours of paperwork that I will go in and complete next week. I had good intentions of staying home all week. The lure of the sales at CVS and the need for cat food got me out of the house Tuesday. I thought I could last longer without shopping. I was able to take advantage of most of the CVS sales and ended up with $11 more in extra bucks than when I went in.

Yesterday was some early spring cleaning. My house is in sad shape and needs a good thorough cleaning. I started in the bath and laundry rooms. I hope to finish each area within a week. If not I will just work until everything is marked off the list and then move on to the next room. Tomorrow's main to-do is to clean the cabinets in the bathroom and the pantry area in the laundry room. I can restock the bathroom from my stockpile and get a good idea of what I have in smaller pantry.

Today was plenty of cooking. I made a reasonably priced pot of Brunswick stew. The pork was free thanks to my dad who killed a hog at the end of last year. I had $4 in chicken breasts, $4 in vegetables, cheap ketchup and barbecue sauce at about $2, and free Worcestershire sauce. I will say I had $10 in the entire pot, and I got 8 meals out of it. I think $1.25 is reasonable for a meal for two with probably one serving of leftovers. I packed it in reusable freezer containers.

My second big cooking today was pizzas. I made six to put in the freezer. I did the dough in my bread machines and par-baked it. I added cheese ($10), turkey pepperoni ($3), ground deer ($0), mushrooms ($1.50), piece of onion found at the bottom of the fridge, half a can of crushed pineapple ($.50), part of a bell pepper ($.50), and a large can of olives which we chopped ourselves ($1). I used about a bag of flour ($5). The rest of the dough ingredients including the yeast were minimal so I am not going to try to figure out the cost of those. Let's round up to $24 for the total cost; that is only $4 per pizza. Keep in mind I live out in the country so delivery pizza is not an option. The closest pizza place is about 10 minutes away and a pizza the size of the ones I made is $15 and loaded with grease. I can cook these frozen pizzas in about 20-30 minutes. I was able to use healthier ingredients. Give homemade frozen pizzas a try. The trick is to put the cheese on the crust first and add sauce sparingly.

I admit DH did pick up sandwiches on the way home as I was sick of both pizza and Brunswick stew and too tired to cook anything else. We did get two meals out of the sandwiches and ate chips plus drinks here at home. I saved some of the chicken and chicken stock from what I cooked for the stew. We will have chicken and noodles (found a piece of a pack of those in the fridge too) tomorrow night for supper.

Today's cooking took pretty much the entire day but I have 14 meals for the coming weeks. Both are things we really like so I have no doubt that we will eat all of them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Adorable Baby Pictures and a Couple of Camera Hogs

Just to prove that I really do live in the country, here are some cute farm baby photos. The goats have started to have their little ones.
First up is Daisy, who is a pygmy goat.

Here she is with her mom, Bluebell.

Next is Snowbaby, who has triplets.
Her three are fond of playing follow the leader.

Here are the camera hogs. Rhett is the larger of the two, and he is a big pet. Stormy is proud papa of all of these little ones. He bites...hard. It is more of a nibble really, but when he sneaks up and bites you on the leg, it is not fun! I never could get a good picture of them. When I would step back, they would step forward.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

I have two excuses, er...reasons, for my absence from my blog. This is first is my crazy DSL connection, which has been going in and out at random. It has been more out than in though. I have my toes crossed that this goes through. I need my fingers to type or they would be crossed too.

My second excuse, which is definitely an excuse, is this.............

It is the Nintendo DS Lite that I won from Red Baron's instant win game last November. The UPS driver dropped it off last week. It was just the game system, but I had bought a $10 game from Amazon at Thanksgiving and a skin from FatHead ($5 for this one plus one for Dh's PSP). I really, really love it. While I might not have seen myself paying $130 for one, I can tell that it is completely worth it. This thing is fun and addictive. I am searching for good deals on some more games. Fortunately this Touchmaster game has 20+ mini games on it and was well worth the money.

To make the win even more fantastic, the DS Lite is cobalt blue. Dh and I looked at the DS Lites in Wal-mart, and I told him I really wished for a blue one. Receiving one was dumb luck since I had no choice of color.

The instant win games done by major companies are legitimate, and the prizes do arrive. Patience is required as I waited nine weeks. My next big prize should be here in a month.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shopping Adventure

After work I ran errands and picked up the weekly sale items. It was more hectic and stressful than it should have been. I was told at one of my favorite regional stores that coupons were no longer being doubled. Turns out the cashier was just improvising although I had to call the store's customer service number to find that out. The store is still doubling. Then I was almost in a car accident in another store's parking lot. Someone was cutting across the parking lot rather than driving down the appropriate lanes, which is another major pet peeve thing that I am obsessive/compulsive about. Honestly her SUV was inches from my car. It was a relief to get home.

My first stop was Walgreens. Using my gift card, I purchased the Right Guard deodorant that is giving a $5 register reward (RR) first. This is the deodorant that DH perfers so I buy it when it is on sale. I used the $5RR and my gift card to purchase the other items. I bought multi-purpose solution, Zucol lozenges, Revlon lipgloss and concealer, Thermacare patch, Contour meter (I have low blood sugar and like to test occasionally), and Garnier spray. My total was covered by the gift card. I will get 90 cents more than I paid when I submit for the rebates. The deodorant and meter were the only items not part of the February rebate. I only paid tax for the meter as I had a coupon.

Next I went to the grocery store where I had a problem with my coupons. I did not purchase the items since I was buying them due to having coupons that would double. I went to the same store only a different location and used one coupon to purchase mustard. It doubled so I knew the first store was incorrect. Hopefully the district manager will be able to get the cashier's trained on coupons. I am not one to call and complain, but I have had problems for months at this store and enough is enough. Total OOP was $1.04.

Next was Walmart. These were items that I had coupons for or the smaller store I went to last week did not carry. I bought mini corn on the cob, SeaPak poppers, ham slices, coffee creamer, Johnson's Buddies soap, Kashi bars, and imitation vanilla. The vanilla is for my warm milk at night. I just needed something cheap to give it a touch of flavor. My total was $10.43.

Last stop was Dollar General for canned soup and boxed mac & cheese. The Kraft mac & cheese is my stress food. I was certainly stressed so that was my lunch. Total OOP: 2.63.

My total for the day was $14.10. I had a dime in my purse so I rounded down to $14 OOP. I have $120 left in my February budget. My coupon savings for the month is:$28.98.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Night Meals

I made out my entire February menu last week prior to my shopping trip. I do not have a set weekly plan but will pick and choose off the monthly list. Sunday nights are especially hectic here. I am at church when DH comes in from work. He comes to church afterward. We get home between 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm so I need a quick meal that does not require a bunch of cleanup. I usually turn to my crockpot.

This one was purchased used at a yard sale. It still works great and is the perfect size for a meal for the two of us.

On the menu for Sunday nights this month is:

Chicken Tortilla Soup - We are having this tonight. I cooked black beans yesterday. Those get tossed in with some canned tomatoes, two boneless chicken breasts, and some salsa. I serve it with cheddar cheese (from the large bag purchased at Sam's) and tortilla chips. I have leftover chips but I usually bake some tortillas that I cut in strips.

Chili and Cornbread - I make my own chili seasoning mix and add in some onions and bell pepper to the ground deer meat while it is cooking. I do use the Jiffy mix to make my cornbread as this is what DH likes.

Hot Ham Sandwiches & Barbecue Chips - I got the recipe for the ham from The Homespun Heart. We eat this on homemade rolls. This month we are having chips with the meal since I purchased these as part of the Pepsi promotion.

Cheesy Chicken Chowder - This is a new recipe and I have yet to try it out. DH often feels like a guinea pig since I test so many recipes on home.

I will be sharing the rest of our menu in the coming weeks. It feels great to have a set list of meals so I am not digging randomly in the freezer for something to cook. Shopping for the month is also better for my budget. I tried to use what I had on hand as well to help my budget. I live much too far out in the country to make random trips to the grocery store or a take out place.