Saturday, August 31, 2013

Last Deal Diva of Aug.

Here we are, Labor day week-end.  The start of fall!  In the good 'ole days, where I came from, school would start the first Tuesday after Labor day.  Big culture shock for us moving down here.  In a good way.  Once we got use to it : )  Either way; Labor day is the gate way to the holiday season.  Here at my house twin son is already on a count down to pumpkin patch day.  We usually pick a day the first week of Oct. and he hasn't missed one yet, including when I was pregnant! LOL  Our family believes it is in the top 3 most fun events of the year.   We also have many birthdays starting Oct. 2nd. with dd Bre.  Many things to look forward to, including cooler temps, I hope!  LOL
So with dreams of end of summer bon=fires in my head and bbq's,  I headed out to do my weekly hunting and gathering.  There are two truths in grocery shopping; the first of the month is crazy - for obvious reasons - and the end of the month is slim pickings, again for obvious reasons (store inventory - all about the money folks).

With that said, I did find a deal at my local Save A-Lot on ground turkey.  I grabbed all four packs of 1.25lbs. each, at $1.99 @.  Making it cheaper than ground beef, and leaner.  I can mix this with the ground beef I got at the beginning of the month (16 chubs).    Great for chili or meat loaf, two mainstays here.
I had to shop the store ad's at Kroger but did get these organic cage - free brown eggs  for only $2.99 each.  Only needed two dozen , so didn't break the bank there.
Then, unwilling to give up the dream and remembering a wonderful memory, I grabbed these bratwurst at Wal-Mart.  Not healthy in the least, but a yummy treat.  Hubby and I got married down here and had a giant BBQ at our church for the reception.  One of the things we offered was Bratwurst.  The gentleman in charge had never cooked them before and many folks had never even had one!  Thankfully they were a big hit, to the point that hubby and I spied a couple of guests stuffing their pockets and purse with some before they left - LOL  Memories : )
If you have never cooked these before, I recommend par=boiling them for about 20 minuets before grilling.  That will kill everything and cut the cooking time in half.
Praying all have a wonderful holiday week-end.  Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Suprise ~ it's leopard print!

I am soooo, blessed.  Yesterday around 4 a.m. I awoke with a major headache.  You know they are bad when they wake you from sleep.  I though if I got up it would feel better - wrong.  It quickly became a migrain : (  I spent the day either in the bathroom (admiring the cleaning job Bre did on the tub) or in the comfy blue chair (a/k/a the sick chair).  I was scared to go up and lie down, made headache worse.  Children were great (twins were thrilled with a day off school - wait till I tell them we are making it up Sat.!) and hubby brought them lunch from Mc'D's on his lunch break (perk of working local).  Around 5 p.m. I started to feel better, no nosia but still a headache.  I texted hubby to bring home cat litter and not only did he, but he brought me home a little surprise to make me feel better:   a couple of these super cute leopard print pumpkins!!!!!!!!!!!!  Anyone close to me knows how I feel about leopard print, and those who don't are always surprised!  LOL  Fall is my favorite time of the year and this was just too cool : )
I worried all day yesterday that I wouldn't feel well enough to take dd Bre to oral surgeon today, to have her wisdom teeth removed.  That dang migraine hung on like 18 hours - geese.  Almost thought I would have to cave in and make some coffee.  Hubby kept urging me to, but I held my own : )  Anyway, woke up much improved this morning and made my famous Amazing Banana and Blueberry muffins for breakfast.  Shame Bre couldn't eat : ( 
Her appointment went well but she has been sick since she has been home. She is now the one in the comfy blue chair (a/k/a sick chair) I don't remember being sick like that when I had mine out 9 years ago.  I worry.  I almost cried when they wheeled her out to our car.  She was so drugged and helpless looking : (  One minute I see that she is soooo grown up; helping with the housekeeping, cooking dinner last night (Dr. Pepper baby back ribs) and even getting your 3rd. molars out means you have reached a certain mature age.  Then I see her sick, helpless, miserable . . .  gotta love parenthood.    Either way, I am blessed.  She is the such a blessing.  All children are blessings.  Not just mine, but all children are gifts from God.  And I was doubly blessed by finding my soul mate over ten years ago, who not only loved me but all my children.  That man took up the reins another man dropped and our lives have been better ever since.  That man rushed out today to get his little girl some pain meds and chocolate ice cream, just because he loves her and that is her favorite.    I see these people everyday and know God loves me, and this is His way of blessing me.  I am so undeserving, but grateful nonetheless . 
Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mini post- dinner tonigh

Not much exciting going on here, which is a good thing.  Mostly dental appts. for dd and me, like every day it seems.  I have a bad case of 'mommy~itis' and don't feel like cooking.  But everyone was counting on me and hubby is at work.  So I went for stir-fry.  You can do ANYthing with stir-fry.
Here is the super cool stir=fry cookbook I got from our local library book sale, circa 1990.  And it does have anything!  They have recipes in there for stir=fry lasagna, beef stroganoff and taco salad!  LOL
I made a Hawaiian chix dish with the uber organic breasts I bought back on Friday,  I also found a bag of frozen stir=fry veggies in the bottom of my freezer.  These had pea pods and those are not my twin sons fav.  So he spent a large amount of time 'shelling' them before eating them!  ROFL  Now THAT I should have taken a pic. of : )
Feeling kind of rice out and not inclined to even drag out the box of minuet rice, I instead opened the unhealthy bag of chow=main noodles I found at UGO last week.  Kids thought that was cool/different and I saved face, a bit.
So there ya go; chix breast, pineapple chunks, frozen veggies and chow mein noodles = dinner tonight.  Thought I would share so you could keep stir-fry in mind for the next time you have 'mommy-itis'.  Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Deal Diva 8/23/13

Wow, what a crazy week it was!  Good news is that I got plenty of chances for searching out deals for meals  : ) 
Thur. I ran into $GM and found these reduced baby backs, score!  Have been hankering these for a while but since I won't pay full price and we won't buy from Smithfield anymore . . .   Not a huge fan of Tyson either, but at least it doesn't come from China, like all other recalled food items from the past three years.
I have a killer recipe for these, made with Dr. Pepper.  Healthy?  No, but I win mother of the year with middle daughter : )  Was hoping to be able to make these while army son was here.  Sigh.
As you can see I also purchase reduced produce.  Makes for a great lunch treat for the children, and with oranges you don't eat the skin, so not so picky about organic here.
Friday saw me at the 'ghetto' Kroger again, and buying more reduced greek yogurt ; )  We really like the mini bite, with dark chocolate.  Great for me and dd during PMS week. Shhhhhhh, don't tell her I said that out loud.
At the Wal= Mart I did pay full price for a 3pk. of organic b/s chicken breast, but got these Angus beef patties and country ribs reduced.  I love getting my burgers at less than a buck a burger, and the ribs will be a great bbq meal.  I make my own sauce, so done there.  : )
Some days I feel like I deserve a cape, and others I just want to blend into the woodwork and not have to fiddle with 3 meals a day, every day.  But I know God has blessed me and my hands, to make me a Proverbs 31 mom and I can feel his love for us everyday.  However, know this, if I had a cape; it would be leopard print!  LOL
Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, August 22, 2013

menu maddness

Here we are again, it's Friday and you know what that means; Deal Diva is prepping!  LOL    I thought I would use this post to show you how a couple hours of prep (not all at one time) can save you some money when it is time to shop.  Everyone knows the basics; plan your meals before, make a list, use your coupons  and shop in-store specials.  And that is exactly how I do it, just not your reg. coupons or store sales.  It also takes dedication.  I am a stay home mom, whom home schools, this is MY JOB and I take just as seriously as I would any joy I have held in the past (maybe more so).  For example, today I had to be in town early and used that as a chance to visit a couple different stores and search for reduced items to include in next weeks meal plan, which I am making today.
I work on my menus a few minutes everyday, basically whenever I get a idea for a meal, but I know that Thur. is my deadline.  When I go to bed Thur. night I have to have my menu and shopping list done for the following week, so I can be ready to shop Fri. morning at the crack of dawn for those great deals : )
This is my menu book, a reduced notebook from the dollar store.   I have my cup of tea, ink pen, highlighter and phone ~ I am ready to rumble!  By the way, I love Perry the Platypus and the never flinch refers to menu plans in my case - LOL
Each week has it's own page, labeled with the date it encompasses at the top.  I run a list of days of the week down the side, with the three meals of the day branching off from each day.  I also include any outings, special plans or things to be done; on that given day and highlight it for easy reference at a glance latter.  I have some room at the bottom of the page and label that Notes, and write down numbers, on-line orders to place, or blog notes : )  I also reference and highlight any food prep that needs to be made ahead of time.
The page in the book right behind the menu is labeled for the upcoming shopping day  As I plan a meal, I turn the page and record the ingredients I need for that meal.  This  allows me to keep a running shopping list during the week of any item I may run out of.  I also do this for paper, pet and any misc. item be purchased on that same shopping trip.  That leads to another tip, plan all shopping trips to coincide with other outings, so as not to waste gas.  Lastly: as you can see from the picture,  keep all coupons together with your shopping list.
During the week I cross off menus or items I have already used.  This helps me stay organized, as my old brain gets confused easily and I like to be able to see at a glance what still needs to be done, when and what my menu choices are.  Just because I wrote down a food item for Monday, doesn't mean I ate it then.  I might eat Tuesdays food Monday, Wed. food Tuesday, etc.  You get the idea, the list is just to help you stay organized.  The list is your friend - LOL  Basically I now have a list of what I can make with what I have bought and can eat it whenever.
Once the menu is done (the hard part)  I take a sheet of scrap paper (backside of junk mail) and organize that shopping list I have been keeping.  I make different sections for different stores, since I don't get all my items at one store.  I list the food for each store in the order I shop, as best as I can remember the aisle layout.  I also list any coupon for each store I will use it at.  Don't you just HATE when you get home and find out you didn't use your coupons?  I do!  Every little bit helps : )
That's it!  Your done for another week!  Stick that bad boy in your purse before you forget, and you are ready to be a Deal Diva in the morning!    Now that you have a list, when you see a special at the store you can quickly see if it is needed for this shopping trip or if you start planning ahead you might find something for the next week that you can take home and freeze.    Either way doesn't matter.  This is just how this OCD SAHM does it and stays in budget (mostly) (sometimes) (well it helps some) - LOL
Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Apples, apples, who has apples ?

We have!  LOL  We planted dwarf apple tree's , two - to pollinate, about three years ago.  Last year we harvested just a few, this year a few more : ) 
Not one to waste and not one for pie making (except on a holiday), I decided to whip up an easy peasy apple crisp for dessert last night  ; )

Love my apple corer, make sure to NOT get plastic!  This also works OK for dicing eggs for egg salad.

Tell me, what DOESN'T taste good with sugar & butter?  LOL

This received 5 thumbs up at dinner (one from each of us) and tasted twice as good since it was our own apples - No GMO'S  LOL
Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Deal Diva 8~17~13

Howdy folks, it's that time of the week again or should I say week-end - LOL  That's right, lets see what the Deal Diva has found to brag about : )
Scored some organic chix tenders at the 'ghetto' Kroger.  The marked down price is still more than the store brand, but if I have a chance to eat clean at a half way decent price I jump on it.  I now know what 'ignorance is bliss' means, especially concerning where our food comes from!
Grabbed six of those organic tenders, enough for 3 meals.  I like to grill these on the table top for a quick lunch for the children.

Same is true about eggs and what the chickens are feed.  Kroger had reg. eggs on special for .88 cents, but I chose these reduced antibiotic free eggs.  The taste difference is amazing!

Children talked me into more Greek yogurt in a tube (not the best choice, but hey they have had worse - LOL) and this reduced rump roast will become beef stew.  See, found away around that whole stew meat Ponzi scheme! 

These were purchased at Wal-Mart.  I usually make my own ranch but sometimes I run out of time.  I chose this brand based on a web site I found listing over 400 GMO free foods.  The cheese I like to grate myself for best flavor, although I recently found out that all pre=shredded cheese has anti=caking chemicals in them.  YUCK!  So will be shredding ALL my cheese from now on.  Thank goodness I got a great micro planner for Christmas, but I mostly just use the good 'ole box grater like grand dad had : )  Could use the food processer but it cakes easy, even with really cold cheese.
So, now ya know.  Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Army Son Bagels

I made bread machine bagels today, for a quick grab and go breakfast tomorrow (I will be deal diva then).  I use to make these with my now army son, they were his favorite.  He called for the first time from S. Korea last night.  I would like to say that is what inspired me, but it is more like a God thing as I plan my menu a week or more in advance.  Yes that is me.  I already have a rough draft for the first week of Sept.  I keep a day planner in my purse and as I add to it I also add to my menu notebook.  Hey!  I think I smell a new blog idea!  LOL
Anyway, had a request for this recipe so here it goes:
Bread Machine Bagels
1 cup warn water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBS. sweetener
3 cup flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 qt. boiling water
3 TBS. sugar/sweeter
3 TBS. molasses*
1 TBS. cornmeal
1 egg white
poppy seeds, parmesan, sesame seed or sea salt - optional
1)Add water, salt, sweetener, flour and yeast in the bread machine pan in that order.  Select dough setting.
2)When cycle is complete, let dough rest on a lightly floured surface.  meanwhile in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to boil.  Stir in sugar and molasses
3)  Cut dough into 8 equal parts, and roll each piece into a small ball.  Flatten balls.  Poke a hole I the middle of each with your thumb.  Twirl the dough on your finger to enlarge the hole..
Cover bagels with clean cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.
4)  Spray a baking sheet with oil, or some cornmeal.  Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water.

Boil for 3 minutes, turning half way through.  Drain briefly on clean towel.  Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet.  Glaze tops with egg white, and sprinkle on your choice of toppings.

5)  Bake in a preheated oven of 375 degree for 25 minutes, until well browned.

These will be denser/chewier than store bought, but oh so much better!  You will never want to go back : )
Note*  I use molasses to obtain the typical bagel color that is usually produced from malt, as it is healthier.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tea Time

I am happy to report I am 3 1/2 months coffee free : )  Do I still crave it? Yes! : (  What does that mean?  I have nooooo idea, but it does play havoc with my self esteem! - LOL  Anyway . . . I found this new tea on special at the "ghetto" Kroger last Fri.  (could have been at all) ~
It is a black tea, but decalf.  Thought this might be a good coffee sub.  It just tasted odd, not use to black tea any more.  The tea it self is fine, I even tried it a second time with almond milk and stevia (same combo I use in my coffee) but it was still just . . . fine.  Probably won't go out of my way to purchase again (like I do with my cranberry tea).

I also purchased these tea's.  Just so you know, they are 75 cents cheaper at Wal-Mart VS. Kroger.  There are several blends in this brand and we enjoy them all.  They are made with real pieces of fruit in them.  I like them hot or I will add to my giant jar that I make sun tea in.  I use 6 bags reg. size green tea and 1 fruit pyramid bag.  You can actually see the fruit juice bleed out of the bag and into the water! 
I prefer green tea, but some of these are white, and I was told red or robieoo tea is best for me.  The only red tea I enjoy is Tazo Apple Cinnamon.  Although I did see reg. robieoo bagged tea at United Grocery Outlet, for a good price and packaged out of Shri Lanka.  Seeing as how it is not my favorite, I passed.  Just wanted to point out that UGO is also a good place to get tea/coffee.  I have even seen Neman's Own organic coffee there.  So, now ya know - LOL
Blessings, Beth  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Oil or no oil

I am trying so hard to eat better, for me and my family, despite the finance hardship.  So I will budget it a bag a chips for lunch and make sure we each have an equal serving, and that is the end of it.  No mindless grazing if you will.  So Fri. when doing my deal diva thing, I ran into Kroger for my oil.  That is the only place to find it, except on-line (well I haven't checked Publix either).  I saw these 'healthy chips' on special and decided to give them a go.  Honestly, not sure I could eat anymore greasy  bag chips.
So this is what we chose.

Here is what they look like.  We liked them.  Pretty tasty.

Here is the label.  Not bad.  The only thing that concerned me was the canola oil.  I thought I had read somewhere that canola oil was the worst and would kill you.  Never mind whatever 'expeller pressed' did for it.  So I Googled, or in my case Swag bucked and here is what I found: 

Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed, a plant in the cabbage family. Rapeseed oil is the traditional cooking oil of India and southern China, but the kind we use was bred in Canada to contain less erucic acid, a toxic fatty acid, than other varieties. This Canadian oil became known as canola oil.
I use canola oil in moderation, when I want a neutral-tasting oil, but I always look for organic, expeller-pressed brands. The lower-cost products sold in supermarkets have often been extracted with chemical solvents or high-speed presses that generate heat. Both methods alter the oil's fatty acid chemistry in undesirable ways. Furthermore, canola oil producers use a lot of pesticides on their crops, and I suspect that residues find their way into the finished product, so be sure to check labels.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
These are the only oils I use, besides real butter.
So, now ya know.  Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Deal Diva 8/10/13

Good Sat. morning all.  Finished up my weekly shopping this morning and found a few deals to make me feel less overwhelmed about the state of our food industry.  I know, must be the dreary weather we seem to keep having.  I also just finished reading a blog story on the top 10 US foods banned in other countries.  Yea, might need to find something more uplifting to perk up my day : )
Most of the good deals came from United Grocery Outlet, where I have been getting this whole grain bread for sandwiches.

I also visited the 'ghetto' Kroger again, they seem to have the best reduced dairy.   I picked up these Greek yogurt tubes and some chocolate milk as a lunch treat for the kids.

Visited Dollar General Market (our version of Aldie's) and found some mark down buns - great for this time of year : )
I also picked up this sausage at UGO.  I make it a rule that if I find some for under $2, get it.  I use it in my pasta sauce, meatloaf and other places that ground beef could be used.  At under two a pound, it is much cheaper and adds wonderful flavor.

I try not to make to many processed meals for lunches around here, so grabbed this small roast to make pulled beef sandwiches (will used some of the mark down buns here).  This was found at our local Save A-Lot, the meat there seems to be the best in town.
Going back to the Aldie's reference; I also read a blog story on how that store is the best for keeping grocery cost down, selection, etc. in the cheap store category (not a giant like Publix, Kroger, etc.).  Save A-lot came in second.  Am I missing something?  I never find what I want or need at Aldie's.  I really don't think they are any different than our Dollar General Market.  I guess if I had one or the other, that is where I would go, but Save A-lot has at least fresher meat and not the hassle of the non-food items clogging the aisles. But if I am missing something I hope someone will clue me in.  Most likely it is just a personal location and how they are managed, i.e. cleanliness and all that jazz.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, August 8, 2013

mini post ~ me

Army son and middle dd at the drive-in movies.
 Just a short note to say things are well at the old homestead.  Been a crazy couple weeks with army son home.  He is now off to S. Korea for the next year.  Everything went smooth and many memories were made.  The twins were over the moon, he is their hero (maybe mine too).  I have gotten a few text from him and mostly all he had to say is that it is hot, humid and rains most the time!  Hmmmmm, sounds a bit like middle TN. in the summer - LOL  Guess he won't get too home sick : )
Some of the goodies I am making for oldest niece.  Shhh, don't tell her, it's a surprise!

 What's on the sticks you ask?  Been mostly working on gifts for the up coming holiday season.  Just finishing up a care package for my oldest niece, but might put that on the back burner for a few weeks.  A good friend asked me to set up my table at an up coming church sponsored event, so now in a rush to finish some more stock.  I am thrilled and nervous at this inclusion with my Sisters in Christ : )
Lastly I wanted to issue an invite to all my local friends, to book club.  It meets the first Monday of every month at the local library.  And if your not local, find one in your neck of the woods!  You won't be sorry.  It's a great escape for adults, with like minded people and we all need that ~ at least once a month!  Last month my group read The memory keepers daughter, by Kim Edwards.  It was rich, deep and insightful in an area of the past few talk about.  I enjoyed it and think I will give her second book, The lake of dreams, a go next.  Love my library and the folks you work there!  Hope you all get to know yours too! 

Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, August 2, 2013

Deal Diva 8/2/13

Here it is Friday again, so I went out shopping, trying to get back on track.  What a BAD idea!  I had no idea it was tax free week-end.  I really don't keep track of those things.  On top of that, public schools open next week.  Can we all say CRAZY.  So glad I only need a couple things.  I had all 4 kiddo's with me, that's right, even army son.  Funny how quickly they all revert to acting like 'little' kids when they are together.  All I can say is thank goodness it is over!  While I didn't get any screaming deals on grocery items today, I did want to share that even my hobby relies
 on mark down items.
I have been shopping for a new comforter for my bed, for about a year. 
Then I found a great knit afghan pattern and thought, voila'.  I will just do it myself.  Then I found this yarn;

but it is $7.99 a skein and I need 10 for my bed.  I was dying.  This was the PERFECT yarn.  I LOVED the beachy colors.  But how was I going to work this into my budget?
Enter this yarn: (made pic x-big so you can compare)

When I was at Wal Mart I ran down the craft aisle (who doesn't) and saw this yarn in a mark down section, only $2 a skein!  PTL  It isn't exactly like the other yarn, but close.  Life is about compromise and I can not justify $80 on yarn when a $20 solution presents it's self.  I am happy about this and will not feel one bit guilty why I am knitting a little someth'n - someth'n for myself.
Bottom line; there are deals to be had everywhere, if you have the patience to look for them and the  common sense to accept them.
Blessings, Beth