Sunday, November 30, 2008

Super Sample Sunday

A smaller collection this week. But, some very practical freebies. Stayfree and Always are good to keep for back-up (I do prefer the comfort of cloth...) and, the Mori-Nu coupons I got will be used up very soon by me!

What kind of freebies did you get this week??

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Soap Bits are here!

My life is now just a little bit easier.

With a tip from Laura, I have now made some really great soap solution bits. Normally, when I would prepare my cloth baby wipes, It would consist of pulling out various bottles to create my concoction. I would use water, an oil, some type of cleanser and a fragrance. I would mix these together then pour them over a pile of clean cloth baby wipes in my Wipes Warmer.

Now, I just pour a cup of hot water over one of these little guys, and, voila! wipes are done.

Interested? Take a Peek!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

just my vegetarian rant...

I have such a problem with the popular 'Turkey Pardon' done each year. President Bush Senior did not start a heartwarming tradition in my mind.

How can one feel so high and mighty making such a big deal pardoning ONE turkey its life? Later the next day supporting the killing of another. How about all the other 45 million turkeys killed each Thanksgiving?

Do something good Mr. President, pardon the rest of them as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thrift store buys

My favorite thrift store had a 50% off sale today.  I am on their email list and get notified a few days before big sales, so had been planning to go today.  This sale included probably 80% of their total items for sale.  

I was able to get some things we really needed for our little one for super cheap prices.  Many items were just $1.  The most expensive things were the shoes; 2 were $3.75 a piece and, ironically, the best quality, the Buster Browns, were only $2.  Oh, how I love a good bargain!!

11 board books
3 bath toys
2 bath mitts
1 cow stackable toy
11 pairs of quality socks (many Baby Gap)
4 pairs of jammies (one Hannah Anderson!!)
3 pairs shoes
1 pair short overalls (for next summer, I can't resist the dollar rack!)

All in all I spent $42.  You could say our Christmas shopping is done now!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Boca burgers
Oven fries (usually I make w/out a recipe, but just like this!)

Green salad

Something from the freezer.... we will be cleaning house for Thanksgiving here!!!

Thanksgiving;  (mom and I are splitting the work, shes doing the Tofurkey!)
Cranberries- regular with sugar
Mashed Potatoes
Peas or green beans
cookies or brownies or other...

Pizza night
veg tray

leftover thanksgiving


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Super Sample Sunday

I got a really unusual array this week! First came this shirt with the Swedish Fish sample, I barely even remember signing up for this forever ago! The Clif bar sample came with a pair of pants I exchanged for a different size via mail (thanks, REI). The Glad sample came in our Saturday newspaper this morning (one sample plus coupon, ONE baggie? I thought, how comical!) and the magazines, of course, I signed up for!!

What did you get this week??

Really healthy Friday night dinner.

Day 7 of our Healthy, Healthy Vegan Month;

What a great dinner we had last night. The vegan pizza turned out really well, and I am a little surprised after the bread dough incident.

I made this great whole wheat pizza dough recipe for the first time in my bread machine. When the dough was done it looked bad. Very runny and had sunk a ton after rising. I took it out, and after some advice from my mother, kneaded some white flour back into it. Well, it was a little hard to work with, kept falling apart, but I'd say it was still a success as we loved it. I am not sure if I made a mistake or the recipe was not designed for a bread machine and thats what caused it. If I try it again I will let you all know!!

What did turn out wonderful was the pizza sauce I made. I figured since we were going to be cheese-less, then the sauce better be darn good. Hunts Pasta Sauce in a can just wasn't going to cut it. I did double the oregano and the garlic in the recipe and we felt that was a very wise choice, it was to die for. I am planning to make this again and freeze a bunch.

We snacked on a fresh veggie tray and water while we cooked. My husband even put some peanut butter down some of the celery for a special treat. Mmmmmmm...

Next were the cookies. I have been searching for a good vegan, sugar free, fat free, whole wheat cookie. Oh, and I wont use artificial sugar 'substitutes' either, not even Splenda (NOT natural, by the way). Of course I could not find what I wanted on the web, so I adapted a recipe and came up with some pretty wonderful Oatmeal Cookies. Half the batch had raisins, half did not. We preferred the raisin batch. My daughter loved them both the same (she is one). I did put a little sugar in them, 1/4 cup, but that is not terrible dispersed out between a couple dozen big cookies.

Here is my recipe. (or scroll down to previous post) Try them, they are so very quick and easy to make. I was done with the dough before the oven was even warmed up!!

Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs liquid stevia
lots and lots of raisins

Preheat oven to 275 F degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients. Mix well. Stir in raisins. Drop onto greased cookie sheet by large spoonfuls. Be sure to flatten each (with the back of a greased spoon) a little bit as dough will not spread at all. Bake 23 minutes. Try to let them cool on rack before eating to avoid burnt fingers!

Friday, November 21, 2008

the cutest little rubber duckies...

Check out my other site to see more of these cute little
rubber ducky soaps I just made!!
I love them!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 day Vegans

We have decided to stick to a 100% healthy vegan diet for the next 30 days.

Well, actually we've already started Saturday, just planning to go through the weekend, but thought it best to do this for a whole month.

Usually we eat 'almost vegan'.  I cook primarily vegan with the exception of parmesan cheese and light sour cream, my two favorites.  We also do have cheese on our pizza on fridays, sometimes ice cream and other treats containing dairy on occasion.  I don't touch meat, and due to mercury/breastfeeding concerns no seafood for me as well. (don't worry, I do take a hight quality fish oil supplement) 

My husband does have some meat and dairy when he buys lunch during his workdays when I don't get time to make him a healthy sack lunch.  We also have been eating a large amount of treats lately.  Be it Halloween candy, goodies when guests are in town, lots of birthday cakes and other yummy indulgences as well.

We are going to swear off all dairy (99%, I won't worry about milk powder in prepared breads and the like), stay away from sugar and desserts, and keep excess fat out of our diets.  All this for 30 days.  We are both excited to see the results.  

I have a few more pounds I want to shed to make some of my pre-baby (and pre-secretary jobs!) clothes fit better.  I am so excited that I can once again fit into some really nice pairs of pants I bought just 6 years ago and just 2-3 pounds more and they will actually look right!!  Thus feeds my desire to lean down a bit.

My husband will continue working out 2-3 times per week after work, as he has started to do a few weeks ago.  I have started to do yoga in my living room (with daughter laughing at my feet) last week.

Wish us luck and I will share our progress and some really, REALLY healthy recipes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

not a frugal buy.

I did it, I did it!!

I just paid full price for something I have really been wanting.  I actually think this is the most I have ever spent on a pair of shoes, ever. Yes, I am certain.

With the help of some birthday money (thank you Diana, see, I DID spend it on myself!!!) I was able to splurge on some boots I just love to death.  They are those 'trendy Uggs', but this style, the Knightsbridge, is just sooo much cuter than their original.  And they have made a name for themselves for comfort, and thats got me sold.  Plus, they are the cutest thing ever, did I mention that part?

Zappos said they should be here in 4-5 days.....  I dont think I can wait that long!

EDIT:  I just got these boots delivered to my door by the Fed Ex Home Delivery man.  I think they over-nighted them as I placed the order 8pm wednesday.  I didn't even pay for shipping!!  I just might remember Zappos for the next time I want to purchase some really nice shoes!

By the way, they are soooo comfortable and super cute!

(the moral of this story;  we work very hard to save our families tons of money.  treat yourself when you can, you deserve it!)

My Albies trip.

Check out the Grocery Gathering for your favorite Store!

Did fairly well at Albertsons today. Had my $10 catalina to use up so I bought some oranges. I thought the pre-bagged ones would be a good idea as they come with an additional $1 off sticker along with the sale price of $1.50 a pound. I know oranges are higher priced at the Commissary right now so I thought it was a smart buy. Guess I should have weighed them first as that little bag contains almost 12 lbs!!! Yikes.

All in all, I did okay spending $8.13 out of pocket, after I get the $5 gift card back for the popcorn.

If you haven't yet gone for the free popcorn yet, be sure to check out the Jolly Time website for some great coupons. But be very patient. I have had nothing but problems with this site for months. I was only able to print ONE coupon this time after spending way too long trying. Oh, well.

Free vegetables make me happy.

Commissary Deals Pac NW

Check out the Grocery Gathering for your favorite Store!

Some deals at the commissary this week as follows;

Muir Glen Whole tomatoes 32 oz .50 - .75 recent coup or $1/1 = .50 profit
Hunts tomato paste .50 - $1/2 printable (expired) = free
8 O'Clock Coffee, whole bean $4.24 -$1 coupon = 3.24 (a great price, I only hope the coffee isn't horrible!)
Wacky Mac pasta .89 each - recent .50 or .50/1 here = .39 each
Renolds Wrap foil Heavy strength 50 ft 2.19 each - recent $1 coupon= 1.19 each
Parchment paper $1.69- recent $1/1 = .69 each

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pillsbury Coupons

Now Pillsbury has a free coupon book!!  Get yours HERE.  I just got Betty Crockers in the mail and was happy with it, lets hope Pillsbury comes through just as well!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Albertsons Ad is Here!!

Its here, its here!!

hot off the press at 10:46 pm.  We can thank my daughter for this one as normally I would be in bed by now.  We are taking turns nursing (okay, Im the only one doing that part) and rocking her as she REFUSES to sleep.  She has never been a big fan of sleeping and has recently gotten into a stage where she wont nap much and doesn't want to go to bed. 

big sigh.

Menu Plan Monday

We will be going out of town for Christmas this year and seeing family we haven't seen in a while.  I just dug out my 'nice clothes' today to see if any fit, they are all pre-baby and some even pre-secretary-sit-on-my-butt-for-8-hours-a-day jobs.  I was really happy to discover that I fit in just about everything.  There are a few pairs of pants I need a little 'help' fitting into, to actually look good, so, we will be eating very, very healthy for the next month.  Oh, and my husband wants to drop a couple of pounds as well, so he will be nothing but encouragement for me!

Very, Very Healthy Menu Week One

Irish Potato Soup  (this is leftover in the freezer, it was very good)
100% WW bread in the machine (I also made this last week, it is awesome!!)

Summer Fettuccine from my McDougall Quick and Easy Cook Book
Green Salad

Potato Enchiladas from McDougalls
side of beans and rice

No Hurry Vegetable Curry from my favorite Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Pizza night Vegan style (no cheese, extra veggies)
green salad

San Antonio Quinoa Salad from McDougall
Leftover potato enchiladas or tacos

Chili in the crock pot

grocery list;
white flour
corn tortillas
green onions
garbanzo beans?
better than boullion

Tofu Sour Cream

On of my favorite foods is Sour Cream. I love regular dairy sour cream, light sour cream, IMO (ever had that?) and even tofu sour cream. As I know that dairy is harmful to our bodies, plus make us fat, I try to eat as many substitutes as possible. There are excellent substitutions on the market but they are all so expensive. I have found a great recipe, after changing a few to my liking. Try this sometime, it is quite tasty.
Tofu Sour Cream

1 box Firm Silken tofu ( appx 10oz)
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 or 1 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
A few drops stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)

Place all items in food processor, scoop tofu out of container by spoon to make it fit. Blend well, end product to be creamy and yummy!

Chill and enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Super Sample Sunday

I got a few good ones this week. My favorite being the All You magazine, there are some great coupons in this one! This is my first 'trial' and the other magazines are actual free subscriptions.

What freebies did you get this week??

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Frugal Friday; homemade starch

My husband irons his clothing for work. (yes, I do know how lucky I am that he irons his own clothes!!!) He is also a huge fan of starch, I think he has a 'starch addiction'. We go through a lot of starch, a lot!

A few days ago we ran out of starch and quickly discovered that we did not have any reserve cans left. To avoid a slight crisis I did a little bit of research and discovered that we could make our own using simple corn starch.

2 cups warm water
1-3 Tbs corn starch

mix corn starch into warm water and pour in spray bottle. for fun I added a few drops of essential oil (do be careful with oils as they can stain clothing!) Shake well before each use.

1 Tbs= light starch
2 Tbs= medium starch
3 Tbs= heavy starch

Not only was this really cheap, we are so much happier using a chemical free product and my husband even thinks it works better than the aerosol stuff.

Six cents per 2 cup 'bottle' for the Light Starch!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving.

I have been asked maybe a million times what I eat for Thanksgiving. Gee, most foods served at the table are vegetarian and all can even be made vegan using margarine instead of butter and soy instead of milk, ect. Potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, mmmmm....

Except that darn turkey. There is just no substitute for a dead.... okay, I'll be nice. There is no substitute for genuine poultry , unless you try Tofurkey. Tofurkey is an awesome vegan turkey substitute for people stuck in the old fashioned tradition of having to have a cooked animal on display for the holiday gatherings. We love it!

I have eaten my fair share of Tofurkeys and particularly love the package meal-deal that comes with everything from the 'bird', to the stuffing, and cranberries. They also come in just the roast, which is more affordable.

I buy mine at my local Central Market but Im sure most natural grocers sell them as well. Print off your $1.50 coupon here and see how your family likes it this year!

Computer printing error

So, recently I was trying to be helpful to the lovely Rachael over at Beans and Rice not waste her time installing an unnecessary printer on an additional computer to print more coupons at her home.  

I have tried to do this before.  At my last home (we just moved a month or so ago) we had high-speed internet service through our cable provider.  I thought I could be tricky and print additional coupons using multiple computers and multiple printers.  It didn't work.  My husband informed me that our home puts out just one IP address through our service and the coupon printing companies (ie; Bricks) must be limiting their coupon based on these parameters.  

When we bought a new home we could not keep our same service providers as they were not offered in our area.  We purchased Satellite TV and now have DSL internet service, no different in my mind, really, than what we had before.

When I told Rachael not to bother hooking up her laptop to her printer I saw a few readers say they were able to print coupons from multiple computers in their home with DSL.  

Whaaaat?  No fair I thought.  I then realized that maybe our service was different as we had just moved.  I had to ask my husband (sad, I know) if we had DSL now and he said we do.  I then hooked up my laptop to our printer and tried to print a coupon I had already printed twice earlier and knew I was at my limit, and.....  It printed 2 more times!!!

So, long story short, If you have multiple computers and DSL you can hook them up to print extra coupons.  If you have high-speed internet you still may not be able to.  Not fair, and I totally understand.

So; I will leave you with some good coupons to print, print, print!!

$1/1 Reynolds Wrap Foil (excludes 25 ft)
$.75/1 Fresh Express Complete Salad
$1/2 Nabisco Crackers (Triscuit, Ritz, Wheat thins)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Healthier Food on a Dime

Since jumping into the Coupon World I have started to purchase so many foods I have never even thought of eating in the past.  Many of these foods are not very healthy, but a good couponer just cannot turn down a great deal, especially when an item is just pennies or even free!!

I have discovered that some of these prepared meals can be quite handy and made healthier while saving lots of precious time during those nights you need it the most.  Here are my tips to creating those packaged dinners into healthier meals.

Box Dinners
Macaroni Grill meals; instead of chicken I use broccoli and a little fresh garlic,  also throw in a handful of whole wheat noodles when you cook the pasta
Macaroni and Cheese; use just a dab of margarine or butter, substitute soy milk, add steamed broccoli and a can of drained italian diced tomatoes
Hamburger Helper; try beans instead of meat, also add fresh or canned tomatoes and frozen spinach, fresh or dry oregano and italian herbs, it will make it more 'lasagna like' anyway
Waichi Ferry Chinese; we used tofu instead of chicken and it was fantastic, also added fresh garlic and broccoli, plus threw in some brown rice with the white it came with and cooked together

Pantry Items
Instant Potatoes; I make mine with a lowfat unsweetened soymilk, also look for other ways to use them, potato soups can be very healthy
Knorr Sides and other noodle/rice side dishes;  make them using very little oil or butter and add lots of vegetables.  Look on the back of the package at the ingredients for ideas on what to add.  If it contains carrots and basil, add more carrots and basil!

Dairy Items
Yogurts; contain a lot of sugar so mix with a bunch of fresh fruit to create a fruit salad.
Cheeses; save these for dishes that really need them= pizza

Frozen Dinners
Dipping foods (chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, hot pockets); serve with fresh cut up veggies to dip as well
Lean Cuisine type meals; if you are eating these you must be in a hurry so also throw some frozen veggies in the microwave and mix them in!
Large Prepared Frozen Meals (like Bertolli) add other frozen vegetables and cook together, also spice it up a little with some seasonings

Box Desserts
Brownie Mix; substitute applesauce instead of oil, add some chopped nuts and dust with powdered sugar instead of frosting
Box cakes; substitute half of the oil for applesauce, add a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour or ground flaxseed, add fruit if it would be appropriate (raisins in a spice or carrot cake, strawberries in a berry or lemon cake) dust with powdered sugar instead of frosting.
Muffin Mix; add a few spoonfuls of oatmeal to the mix, add frozen berries, cut half the oil with applesauce
Cookies; add a few Tbs of oatmeal or ground flax, add raisins and nuts

Also beware of harmful chemicals in these foods.  MSG, chemicals, and added coloring are not good for our growing childrens bodies.  I do not feed these foods to my daughter and encourage you to find other options for you little ones as well.

Do you have any great healthy alterations you make to food?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Albertsons, one last time

Alright, I had to go just one last time.  I went to my moms to print out a few more coupons (thanks, guys!) and did two more transactions.  Now baby can eat Wheat Chex till the cows come home.

 The eggs you see there are from a Valpac ad/coupon for a local Red Apple grocer offering free eggs with a $25 purchase.  As we all know, Albertsons takes competitor coupons!  Your welcome, hon (my husband has been asking for eggs).

I spent $14.11 on all this.

Albertsons Ad is Here!! UPDATED


Here it is!  I think with some coupon matching this might be another good week....  but wait, Im still not even done with THIS week yet!!

Coupons to print;
If you have access to any other computer locations, print these a couple of times!

$1/2 Any  Orville, Pam, Reddi Wip, Peter Pan or Swiss Miss  (LOOKS LIKE THAT ONE IS EXPIRED ALREADY)


Egg Beaters are in the buy 20 get $10 catalina deal.

Buy 8 egg beaters (or other items) for $20, get a $10 catalina back = $1.25 each (before coupon!, after coupon Egg Beaters will be .25 each)

Reddi Wip and Orville Popcorn will be $1 each after the catalina, so - $1/2 makes for .50 each.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Getting back into the routine of life.  House is unpacked, well, mostly!  And, its my birthday this week, the big, er...  twenty-ten!  Yikes.  I feel older already.

Leftover WW bread made sunday
Green Salad

My big day! Go out to eat with hubby and baby.

Some type of easy vegan Calzone with spinach. mmm...
Green Salad

Irish Potato Soup (actually I made last week, unplanned and leftovers are in the freezer, it was FANTASTIC, even my 1 year old liked it! Make a double batch.)
Fresh Bread maybe?<<<

Pizza night
Veggie Tray

I am thinking Indian, maybe 'quick, easy coconut stirfry', caution, her blog is a little raunchy! ( think I'll bookmark it! Plus, I use/agree with all the ingredients she uses)
Brown Rice

Whatever strikes our fancy.  Leftovers, something quick, Taco Del Mar, whatever the day brings us.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Super Sample Sunday

Well, I havent posted this in a while. But, as we are more settled in our new home now and most mail is being forwarded(and I am signing up for samples again!), here it is!

This week I got;
A Venus Razor
A Baby sized grocery tote
A coupon Booklet from Taste of Home

What did you get free this week?