Thursday, November 13, 2008

French Toast Muffins

These are great when money is tight! The recipe uses staples you keep on hand all the time. They will need to be stored in an airtight container or I guess you could freeze some of them...they don't make it that far in our house!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease regular size muffin pan or line with liner.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Make well in center of mixture (using the measuring cup just move it in a circle in the center of your bowl until you reach the bottom).

In a separate bowl stir the lightly beaten egg, milk, and 1/3 cup melted butter (heat and then let cool to room temp).

Place these wet ingredients into the well that you created in bowl #1. Gradually incorporate the wet and dry ingredients.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes (will depend on your oven but I always use the toothpick method).
Remove from oven when done and make the following items:
Bowl A. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a bowl
Bowl B. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dip either top only or all of your muffins (depends on preference) in Bowl A and then Bowl B.
Serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container to keep them moist.

Hamburger Meat Tips

1. Always look for sales on Hamburger Meat so that you can stock up and freeze these items. I usually buy items in 5 lb packs for our family of 3. If I get a really good deal I try to buy more depending on what my budget allows for.

2. When you get home with your purchases PLEASE fight the temptation to put them in the freezer. This will only cause you frustration later. Either place the items in the refrigerator for a day or two or continue to #3.

3. Grab that huge pot you only use a couple of times a year for large family gatherings. Place all the meat you purchased (okay, be realistic and don't overflow your pot) into the pot. Begin to cook. I like medium heat for this but use your own judgment. Why do this? It is much easier and a better use of your time to cook all the meat rather than freeze, thaw, and then cook later on. Keep reading you will enjoy.

4. Watch this so you don't burn the bottom and keep stirring. Once cooked I use a colander and pour my meat in there to drain off all of the fat. Then, if I feel like it, I actually rinse my meat. Some people don't prefer to do this and that is okay. It is your personal preference.

5. Next I wait until the meat is cool enough to handle and get my regular sandwich size ziploc (or Walmart brand) bags out. I date the outside of the bag with a permanent marker just so I will know. I measure 2 cups (not an exact science so a bit heaping is okay) and place this into the bag.

Note: If you use a higher fat content than 80/20 you may need a bit more than 2 cups but this measurement works fine in our household.

6. I then place as many bags as I can into a Gallon Size Ziploc or Hefty Freezer Bag (a good brand is needed on this to keep it from freezer burning). By doing many smaller bags into one large freezer bag I am saving cost because lets face it those freezer bags aren't cheap. I then place these bags into my freezer for future use. You can usually keep these in your freezer for up to 3 months. I try to use mine in 2 but I usually don't have a problem using it in 1.

The Day I need it:

Rather than thinking about that frozen solid mass of hamburger meat you normally have in the freezer try coming home happy because you can just pull out one of those bags and cut it open, place it in either the microwave or on the stove, and warm it up. It will be as if you had just cooked it. You can go ahead and add in the rest of your ingredients, add it to a soup (you can actually do this without even thawing if you let it sit in an already hot soup), or add it to spaghetti sauce (same, no need to thaw). It will break apart just as it was when you first cooked it.

Trust me, I can come home and have a nice pot of Taco Soup on and done in 20 minutes including simmering. I will NEVER freeze raw hamburger meat again...EVER! Spaghetti??? Piece of cake...although I usually use my frozen homemade meatballs for this one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello from the Kitchen

When I work in the kitchen I try to do a number of things that save me time. I worked at a restaurant in college and then sold food as an independent distributor for a while. While I don't do those things anymore the concepts that I learned have greatly improved how I view my kitchen. What I hated worse than anything was the 4:00 p.m. timeframe sitting at my desk at work running through a number of recipes in my head trying to picture what was in my cabinet and what I had in my freezer. I almost always thought of something that included some kind of meat that was usually frozen solid, raw in my freezer. That was the past and I hope this blog will help you to understand how to better manage your time in the kitchen because the less time you spend in front of the stove, microwave, etc. the more money you will save in the end.

On the side of my blog are Labels. Please look at the Kitchen Tips and Recipes Sections for Items that I think are great. For the recipes some are ones I have created and some are internet inspired.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Homeland Buys 11/09/08

I love my Homeland! Okay, so I left a couple of things out of the pic food/usage. Here is what's left out: 1 bag Chex Mix Snack Mix (2yr old found them), 1 Jumbo Bag Huggies Diapers, 1 Box Stove Top Stuffing Mix, and 1 can Hunt's Diced Tomatoes.

Kraft Bagel-fuls on sale 2.35 ea - $1/1 (dbld) = 0.35 internet
Kellogg's family size cereal on sale 2.74 ea - $1/1 (dbld) = 0.74 internet
Progr. Broth on sale 1.49 ea - .50/1 (dbld)= 0.49 internet
Welch's Juice on sale 3.09 ea - $1/1 (dbld) = 1.09 Sunday Coupons
Knorr Sides on sale 1.39 ea - .60/1 (dbld) = 0.19
Chex Mix on sale 1.49 ea - .60/1 (dbld) = 0.29 internet
Chex Cereals on sale 1.84 ea - $1/2 (dbld) = 0.84 ea Sunday Coupons
Carnation Ev. Milk 0.83 ea - $1/2 (dbld) = FREE (no overage just $1.66 off)
Huggies Diapers 10.99 ea - $1/1 (dbld) = 8.99 not great but needed them
Bread, Stove Top, Bertolli's Alfredo, and Hunt's were all on sale but no significant savings.
So, in total I bought $151.82 (pre-tax) worth of goodies for $38.58 (post tax)...not bad.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quick Update

I am soo happy to report that I have been trying to follow some blogs today and have located several that will work to my benefit in couponing. One I just recently came across is at There are some great posts out there and this one in particular is having a giveaway. What a great idea! Have a post, save some money, and share the wealth. Of course I will have to learn how to make enough money to support a payout to bloggers but there is always a start!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Update 11/2/08

I stopped at Homeland this weekend and got some good deals on the above items. Here's the breakout:

Bagelfuls on sale 2.00 less 1.00 coupon doubled= FREE (better than last week)
Kraft Cheese clearanced out at 0.99 no coupons (was 2.91 originally)
Chex Mix $2.00 used 0.50 coupon doubled= 1.00
Ekrich Sausage 2/5.00 -1.00/2 (dbld) =3.00
Welch's Juice 64oz reg 4.39 on sale 3.09 less 1.00 coupon (dbld)=1.09
Era on sale 3.50 (cheaper than Walmart) so I got it
Biz on sale 5.39 less 1.00 coup (dbld)= 3.39 still not too bad and we needed it
Meat near sale date so it was on sale saved 1.19 on it
Lever 2000 was 2.39 less 1.00 coup (dbld)= 0.39

So, I bought $50.32 in items and paid $20.86 (considering $6.89 of that was detergent I needed this wasn't too bad).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Historical Items up to 11/1/08

I started my tallying about a week ago before starting this blog so in the last week here is what I have gotten so far. I make multiple trips to the store by my preference as the stores are not out of my way. We have eaten/used a few items so the items missing from the picture are:

Breyers Yogurt Crunch (reduced item due to date), French's Yellow Mustard Squeeze bottle, Yoplait Yo-Plus Yogurt Pack, 2 packs of Kraft Bagel-fuls, Hiland 8oz French Onion Dip (reduced item due to date), Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2 pkgs Huggies Jumbo Pack Diapers, Northern 9pk Toilet Paper, 2 pkgs Twix Mini Candies (Halloween), and Lifesaver Gummies candy (Halloween). I realize most of the items are missing but after a week things are bound to start being used. I will try to be better about the pics later.

This gets you up to date with what I have and where my OOP (out of pocket) has gone to. Diapers are a big portion of my spend and even with coupons they are still pretty expensive. I dropped about $14.00 on these two packs after coupons and a discount. Details on the savings will come with future blogs but all the above items cost me $43.02 after discount, coupons, etc. I have the detail just not listed here.

No rebates for any of these items but I did get a Catalina coupon for the 2 Twix which I used on the Lifesaver Candy. The real savings came from the Kelloggs Cereal which ended up being $0.66 a box and the Bagel-fuls were $0.35 a box (free this week so my last two coupons will go there). These were from Homeland Grocery Store. There were no coupons used on the Toilet Paper but it was a necessity item.

Getting Started

Okay, I have always wanted to do coupon shopping more regularly. I have used coupons in the past and have had success but now I want to actually keep track of what I am saving. I am hoping that this blog will allow me to do so.

I think the best I have done to my minds knowledge is the time I went to Albertsons in town while they were having an 8 hour sale plus doubling coupons at the same time. The goal when I went was to stockpile a few things because I was 7 months pregnant so I didn't have to leave the house so much during those first few weeks. I took my trusty coupons which was not a large stack by any means. I went down each of the aisles and compared the coupons I had with what was on sale. If after the coupon it was what I was willing to pay for the item I grabbed it. I think I tried to stay under $1.00 or so (this was a couple of years ago so bear with me). Two hours later I finally made my way to the checkout (the excercise was good) with my coupons in tow. The lady added up my total and it was $170.00 and then the 8-hour sale prices kicked in and it dropped to somwhere around $80.00. This was not too bad. Then I handed over my coupons. The lady made me feel kind of bad for having coupons and the comment under her breath made me feel bad (what's so wrong with free money???). Anyways, the joke was on her and I felt elated to discover that my originally $170.00ish total was now a mere $35.00. HA! I saved $135.00 in one trip to the grocery store!

My husband had to help me unload the items when I got back because my trunk and back seat were stuffed. We lived in an apartment at the time so we all know how much kitchen space they have. By the time my son arrived we only had to hit the store for milk, bread, and eggs (the usual- which my husband gladly did for me during those first few weeks).