Monday, March 28, 2011

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

I found this recipe in the May 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. It quickly became a family favorite. It is quick and easy to make and OH SO YUMMY!! My mouth is watering just seeing the pictures.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
Cooking spray
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large Ziplock plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature for 25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
2. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes.
Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
Linking up to Tasty Tuesday!

Save Mart Trip March 28th

Save Mart:
Total Spent $9.94
Total Saved ??
The boys and I ran into Save Mart to grab the Nutella that was on sale. While I was checking out the cashier said the basket of bread was $.50 a loaf. I was so excited that I took them all. We go threw about 1 1/2 loaves a week so this was a great item to stock up on . I took them straight from my car to the freezer. I also got a package of hot dog and hamburger buns for the same price.
Nutella (Reg. $2.99 - .50 store q - $1 mfc Q = $1.49)
15 loaves of wheat bread (Reg. $1.59?, Clearance $.50)
Hot dog and hamburger Buns (Reg. $?, Clearance $.50)
I wish I knew the regular price of the bread so I knew my total savings. Next time I am in the store I will have to check.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menu Plan- March 27th - April 2nd

We are going to visit the grandparents this week so I only had to plan meals for 3 days. I am making things that are easy so I have more time to get ready for our trip. I love easy cooking weeks. Breakfasts: Cereal or Peanut Butter Toast Pancakes Oatmeal Lunches: Sandwiches Leftover Pizza Tacos Dinners: Homemade Pizza Taco Salad Soup and Bread

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Target Trip March 26th

Total Spent $44.03
Total Saved $42.15
Target Diapers (Reg. $15.99, Sale $14.69)
Auro Dress Socks (Reg. $5.99, Clearance $1.48)
Merona Socks (Reg. $2.50, Clearance $.62)
Merona Socks (Reg. $5.99, Clearance $1.48)
10 Kool Aid (Reg. $.22, Clearance $.11 - .50/5Q = .01 each)
Hungry Jack syrup (Reg. $2.94)
Wooden Slotted Spoon (Reg. $4.79, Clearance $1.18)
Wooden Spoon (Reg. $4.99, Clearance $1.24)
Wooden Skewers (Reg. $4.99, Clearance $1.24)
Wrapping Paper (Reg. $4.99, Clearance $1.24)
2 Ball Hoops (Reg. $2.50, Clearance .62)
Trash Can (Reg. $2.50, Clearance .62)
Charmin TP (Reg. $17.29, Clearance $14.68 - $1Q - $2.50 Target Q when you also buy Charmin wipes = 11.18)
Charmin Wipes (Reg. $2.99, Sale $2 - .25Q = $1.75)
My total was $41.00 plus $3.03 in tax, final price $44.03.

Save Mart Trip March 26th

Save Mart:
Total Spent $15.16
Total Saved $19.53
Percentage Saved: 56%
Tostitos Artisan Chips (Reg. $3.99, Sale $2.50 - .55Q = $1.95)
Milk (Reg. $2.99)
Fuji Apples (Reg. $9, Sale $1.86)
5 small Lemons (Reg. $1.65, Sale $.50)
5 Hillshire Farms Sausage (Reg. $4.29, Sale $2.99 - $1 store Q = $1.99)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Smith's Trip March 25th

Total Spent $15.58
Total Saved $69.46
Percentage Saved: 81%

I took my boys with me grocery shopping today. Usually I go alone so I can actually think while I shop. However, I had my trip pretty well planned out so decided to take them along. They were really good and helped me count the items as I put them in the cart. The Mega Sale is still going on where you purchase 10 participating items and save $5. I was able to find more pasta this week so we are completely stocked up for at least a year. I was also able to pick up some candy for our road trip next week.

10 Ronzoni Garden Delights (Reg. $1.99, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale - $1/2Q - .01 profit) 10 Ronzoni Healthy Harvest (Reg. $1.99, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale - $1/2Q - .01 profit)

Rosarita Refried Beans (Reg. $.89)

Philadelphia Cooking Cream (Reg. $2.99, Sale $2.59 - .50 mega sale - $1.50Q= .49)

12 Butterfinger Snackrz (Reg. $.79, Sale $.50 - $1/2Q= FREE)
2 Kroger Sour Cream (Reg. $1.35, sale $1 - .40 ecoupon, .45/2Q = $1.15/2)
4 Annie's Mac N Cheese (Reg. $1.62, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale = .49)
5 Vitamin Waters (Reg. $1.29, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale - $1/5Q = .29)
Bananas (Reg. $1.24)
2 Old Orchard juices (Reg. $1.99, Sale $1.89 - B1G1Q= $1.89/2)
Roma Tomato (Reg. $.36)
2 Tostitos Chips (Reg. $3.49, Sale $2.48 - $1.50/2Q = $1.73)
4 Hormel Pepperoni (Reg. $1 - .55/2Q = 2.90/4)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frozen Cookie Dough

When I make cookies I usually bake a few and then freeze the rest. This not only gives me cookies for later but also keeps me from eating them all in one day. I make up the dough and bake a dozen cookies. With the rest of the dough I scoop them out with a cookie dough scoop and put the dough balls on a cookie sheet. I put them in the freezer for a couple hours to harden. This keeps them from sticking together in the baggie.
Once the dough balls are hard I put them in a freeze bag. I write the baking directions on the baggie so I don't have to look up the recipe later when I am ready to bake a few. When I am ready for a fresh, warm cookie I pull out the number of dough balls I want and bake them. Now I can have a couple cookies whenever I want without making a whole new batch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monster Birthday Party

A couple weeks ago we had my youngest son's 2nd birthday party. The theme was monsters. We were able to rent the same cute little school house that we used for my oldest son's party. It was the perfect place to hold the parties for my boys.
The sign welcoming our guests to the party The Food Table- We had Monster Fingers (chicken nuggets), Monster Toes (mini corn dogs), Tentacles (pickles), Monster Bones (carrot sticks), Monster Brains (cauliflower and broccoli), Eyeballs (grapes) and Smiles (apple slices with peanut butter and marshmallows). The Dessert Table- Monster Munch (monkey munch), Hair (gummy worms), Fish Heads (goldfish), Fangs (candy corn), Monster Oreo Pops and cupcakes. For drinks we just did soda, juice boxes and waters.
There are vampire fangs for the guests to wear inside the monster.
The Centerpieces
There were Monster crafts on the tables. They were monsters that you decorate with stickers. The stickers were mouths, eye, etc.
Each guest got to choose a monster mask and monster feet to wear during the party.
Monster Beanbag Toss and bowling
Pin the Party Hat on the Monster
It was a very nice day out so the kids played outside as well as inside the school house. The party turned out just as I planned and my boys had a great time. Only 11 months to plan the next one. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chocolate Meringue Pie

When I first met my husband he told me one of his favorite things his mom made was Chocolate Meringue Pie. She made it every Thanksgiving. I was able to try this pie that next Thanksgiving and instantly loved it. It has been a family favorite ever since and one that I now make for our own Thanksgiving meal.
1 Baked Pie Crust
3 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1-ounce square Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 tsp vanilla
for meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Beat egg yolks, sugar and flour until creamy. 2. Melt butter and chocolate in microwave. Heat about 20 seconds and stir to soften chocolate. Heat more if needed--takes mine about 1 minute. 3. Put yolk mixture in pan. Add chocolate to egg yolk mixture in alternate with milk. Blend well. 4. Cook over medium low to low heat stirring constantly. Cook until very thick. 5. Test by putting a spoonful in the baked crust, let cool slightly and pull a knife through to see if line stays. 6. Add vanilla and cook just a little longer. 7. Pour into pie crust. Prepare Meringue: 1. Beat egg whites and cream of tarter until frothy. 2. Beat in sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not under beat. Rub a small about between 2 fingers to make sure there is no grit-you want all sugar dissolved. 3. Beat in vanilla 4 Heap meringue onto hot pie filling, spread over filling. Carefully seal meringue to edge of crust to prevent shrinking.
you can see at the top where my meringue shrunk a bit
5. Bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees, until delicate brown. Cool.
I am linking up to This Week's Cravings and Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Menu Plan- March 20th - 26th

I made a big chicken yesterday so I will have chicken to use in several meals. We have a fairly slow week so I am happy to jump back into cooking normal meals. It is nice to have an occasional easy meal but I much prefer a good home cooked meal. Breakfasts: Donuts Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Eggs and Toast Cereal/Oatmeal Fresh Lemon Muffins Left Over Oatmeal or Muffins French Toast Lunches: Eat Out Left Overs Sandwiches and Apples Dinners: Chicken Tetrazzini and Salad and Chocolate Meringe Pie for dessert-Will post recipe tomorrow Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak and Tomato-Vidalia Blue Cheese Salad Soup and Bread Chicken Cacciatore and Veggies White Girl Enchiladas and Rice Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon and Cheese and Salad Eat Out at my friends Restaurant Opening

CVS Trip March 20th

Total Spent $.43 OOP
Total Saved $37.36
CVS is running a deal where if you spend $15 on select products you get a $5 ECB. One of the items is Wheat Thins. We love to snack on Wheat Thins so this is a good time to stock up. I wanted to use up some of my ECB's that were about to expire so I had to pick up the Diet Coke otherwise I would have lost 58 cents.
8 Wheat Thins (Reg. $4.79, Sale $2 - $1Q = $1)
1 Diet Coke (Reg. $1.87, Sale $1)
I paid using $8.57 in ECB's plus .43 OOP. I earned back $5 ECB's. So basically I spent $4 for 1 Diet Coke and 8 boxes of Wheat Thins.

Kohl's Trip March 20th

Total Spent $4.57
Total Saved $19.76
I got a huge surprise on Friday when I checked my email and Kohl's had sent me a $10 off coupon to use on any purchase. They also sent me a coupon for 15% off. I didn't need much but went to see if I could find some clothes for my oldest son. I found some cute carpenter jeans that he can wear to school next year.
Sonoma Jeans (Reg. $24, Sale $14.99 - $10 Q - 15% = 4.57 including tax)

Walmart Trip March 20th

Total Spent $9.73
Total Saved $13.23
I woke up this morning and decided I needed to bake a Chocolate Meringue Pie. Of course I didn't have all the ingredients so I ran to Walmart. While I was there I got donuts to surprise the boys for breakfast. I score major mommy points if I bring home donuts. :)
6 Donuts (Reg. $3.48)
2 Bar S Franks (Reg. $.78 - $1/2Q = .28 each)
Creamed Spinach (Reg. $1.26 - free Q = FREE)
Pillsbury Pie Crust (Reg. $2.36)
Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate (Reg. $2.36)
Gain Dryer Sheets (Reg. $3.26 - $3Q = .26)
Always Pads (Reg. $2.97 - free Q = FREE)
5 Reach Floss (Reg. $.97 - $1Q = .03 Profit)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Smith's Trip March 18th

Smith's Trip:
Total Spent $9.35
Total Saved$53.45
Smith's is running a sale where you buy 10 participating items and you save $5. If you are running low on pasta now is the perfect time to stock up. There are coupons that will make the pasta free. You can find them here and here.
10 Quick Cook Pasta (Reg. $1.69, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale - $1/2Q = .01 profit)
10 Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta (Reg. $1.99, Sale $.99 - .50 mega sale -$12Q= .01 profit)
4 Rice a Roni (Reg. $1.49, Sale $1.29 - .50 mega sale = .79)
1 Country Crock Butter (Reg. $2.69, Sale $1.79 - .50 mega sale -.50Q = .79)
Danimals Yogurt (Reg. $2.19, Sale $1.99 - .50 mega sale = $1.49)
Sunny D (Reg. $1.99, Sale $1.39 - .50 mega sale - .25Q = .64)
3 Kraft Cheese (Reg. $4.39, Sale $1.99 - .50 mega sale - $1 ecoupon= $3.47/3)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechaun Tricks

Every St. Patrick's Day my kids wake up anxious to see what kind of tricks the Leprechaun's pulled while they were sleeping. This year the Leprechaun's spent most of their time in the kitchen and dining room. They over turned chairs and moved them around, pulled cups out of the cupboards and used the restroom. I didn't get a picture of that before my son flushed the toilet. Here are a couple pictures of the pranks that were pulled.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monster Oreo Pops

One of the treats I made for my sons birthday party is Monster Oreo Pops. My friends loved the ones I made at Christmas so I figured I would make some more and make them look like monsters. I started out with Double Stuffed Oreos that I took the tops off of. I gently pushed a lollipop stick into the white center.
I used melted chocolate wafers and put a little over the stick to keep it in place and then put the lid back on. I let it dry for about 15 minutes so it could harden. I dipped the Oreo Pops into the melted chocolate wafers and tapped off the excess. I used three colors to make these Monster Pops. I used a limey green, dark green and orange. I put the dipped Oreo Pop onto wax paper and added the eyes and Red Hots for the nose on a few of them. I found the eyes at Michael's Craft Store. I let them set for a few hours then used red and black writing frosting to make the mouths and eye lashes. These were a huge hit and disappeared quickly at the party. I am linking up to Tasty Tuesday, Not JUST a Housewife, This Week's Cravings and Time to Shine!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Menu Plan- March 13th - 19th

My mom is in town this week painting and fixing up her new house. I will be spending a lot of time over there helping out so I needed quick and easy meals. I also wanted to use up some of the food in our freezer so I skipped grocery shopping this week. Breakfasts: French Toast & bananas Oatmeal and banana smoothies X 2 Eggs, toast and grapes Cereal and smoothies Breakfast at Grandmas Peanut Butter Waffles and fruit Lunches: Eat Out x 2 Sandwiches and fruit leftovers Lunch at Grandmas x 2 Dinners: Beef Sausage, Steamed Broccoli and Mashed Potatoes Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas and apple slices Tomato Cheddar Soup and Irish Soda Bread Dinner at Grandmas Sloppy Joe's and Carrot Sticks w/ Ranch Hash browns, Sausage and Eggs Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Friday, March 11, 2011

Organizing Kids Movies

One thing that I really enjoy doing is organizing. Lately with all the party planning my house has become very unorganized and is driving me crazy. It puts me in a very grumpy mood to open a cabinet and see it messy. I have decided over the next 2-3 weeks I am going to go room by room and get my house back in order. I am hoping to get rid of a lot of "stuff" and get everything back in its place. Today I started out with a small project....the kids movies. Over the years we have accumulated WAY too many movies.
AFTER: I took all the DVD's of shows like Elmo and put them in the big CD binder. I threw away their cases to eliminate some clutter. I kept the actual movies in their cases and lined them all up. Now we can see what movies we have and flip through the binder if we want to see a show. Now lets see how long it actually says that way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homemade Mac n Cheese

My friend Claire used to have a cookbook hanging on her wall that had this mac n cheese on the front cover. Every time I would go to her house I would drool over the thought of this mac n cheese. I love anything with cheese in, on or anywhere near it. Finally after several visits I broke down and asked for the recipe. It has since become a family favorite and a standby to take to potlucks.
Homemade Mac n Cheese
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 Tbsp grated fresh onion
1 1/2 tsp margarine-melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp margarine-melted
1/4 tsp paprika
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first 10 ingredients. Stir well. Spoon into a shallow 2 qt casserole coated with cooking spray.
3. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp margarine and paprika. Stir well. 4. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over casserole. 5. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
I am linking this recipe to Tasty Tuesday and What's on your Plate!