Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Family Favorite: Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Healthy" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weight Watchers Points Value: 2 pts. (per cookie)
Servings: 16

1/2 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Brown sugar
1/4 C. margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg white
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugars, margarine, vanilla and egg white. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by using a rounded teaspoon about two inches
apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Tip: To get soft-centered cookies, don't over-bake.

*I quadruple this recipe for my family. That way we have LOTS of cookies to stick in the freezer for easy snacks throughout the month.

Sneak Peak at Hy-Vee ad for 5/12/10

A big thanks to Kiley for pointing out that the Jordan Creek Parkway Hy-Vee  in West Des Moines puts out their ads from Tuesday to Tuesday. That means that if you go to the Hy-Vee website and choose that location, you can view the ads a day early! It seems like Wednesdays are a good shopping day for me so it is nice that I can look through the ad on Tuesdays and get my list ready to go. Here are some noteworthy deals that I see for this week:

Cottonelle, 12 double rolls, $5.00
-various MFC out there

Boneless, skinless chicken breast, $1.88/lb.

Dubuque plumper franks, $.99

Betty Crocker brownie mix, $1.00
- there may be coupons out for this

Sunbelt granola bars - 3/$5

Sara Lee bread, rolls and buns, $1.88

Dole bagged lettuce, $.97

Bananas, $.44/lb.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 4/26/10

Monday - Red beans and rice, green beans (in freezer)
Tuesday - Hamburgers, oven baked onion rings
Wednesday - Pasta Bake and bread (in freezer)
Thursday - Dinner at the McCarter's house :)
Friday - Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, sausage
Saturday - Church night (sandwiches in the car)
Sunday - ? (I need to make next  month's menu plan!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 4/19/10

Monday - Hamburgers, baked potato
Tuesday - Burritos, refried beans and rice (all three in freezer)
Wednesday - Steak, corn, cornbread muffins (muffins in freezer)
Thursday - Spinach salad and sandwich
Friday - PLC Volunteer Dinner (a night out for mom and dad - yay!)
Saturday - Sloppy Joes and baked zucchini fries (sloppy joe in freezer)
Sunday - Popcorn/leftovers

I'm wondering if anyone has some Weight Watcher-ish, freezer friendly meals that they'd like to share? I'm looking for something new for next month's freezer cooking day! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 4/12/10

Monday - Broccoli and Beef stir-fry and brown rice (steak cooked, veg and rice in freezer)
Tuesday - Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, toast and jelly
Wednesday - Spinach and rice casserole and cooked carrots (in freezer)
Thursday - Sloppy Joes and oven-baked onion rings (sloppy joes in freezer)
Friday - Tuna Melts and green beans
Saturday - Chili and cornbread muffins (in freezer)
Sunday - Homemade pizza (in freezer)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

OAMC for April is DONE!!!!

I finally finished up my OAMC list this morning, thank goodness! I'm not sure that I could've handled standing on my feet much longer and I have some serious dish-pan hands that need some TLC right now. The kids helped me make a quadruple batch of blueberry pancakes (WW recipe) and I baked up the cookie dough that we mixed up yesterday afternoon.  Just a side note here about the pancakes: I had some fat-free vanilla soy milk in my freezer that I used in this recipe and it was SO GOOD! It gave the pancakes such a yummy flavor and from now on, whenever I see this stuff on sale I'm gonna stock up for my baking projects! Yum!

Here are the kids enjoying the blueberry pancakes. The way they were putting them away I wasn't sure we'd have any left but thankfully after THREE, they decided their tummies were finally full!

Even Tade got to have a pancake this morning and boy, did he enjoy it! Just look at that smile!

We ended up with about four dozen cookies and enough blueberry pancakes to last us another two or three breakfasts for the kiddos. I am thankful to have a fully stocked freezer but I am even more thankful to be DONE! (Until May anyways when I'll tackle this seemingly impossible task yet again!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

OAMC: Day Two (and still not finished!) Results

Holy smokes! After about 10 hours on my feet in the kitchen, I am ready to sit down and relax for a bit! Wow - next time I am wearing my Asics while I cook so these poor feet don't hurt so bad!

I started off around 9:00 this morning cooking up some sausage and hamburger for use in breakfast burritos and sloppy joes.

Then I got out my breakfast burrito ingredients and assembled 14 burritos with egg whites, sausage, onion, green peppers and cheese. Yummy!

Macy got home from preschool and wanted to help in the kitchen. Seriously...do you see that mess??? I think I did dishes almost as long as I cooked food! 

Anyway, Macy helped me whip together our healthy chocolate chip cookie dough. We didn't get the cookies made yet, but the dough is ready and we plan to bake them tomorrow morning. 
She is such a good little helper!

Along with cookies I also did up 3 batches of baked brown rice,

cooked up two boxes of whole wheat pasta for my Spinach pasta bakes,

and made another batch of crockpot refried beans. I let these cool and then put them in the food processor to make really yummy, really healthy and really cheap refried beans to use in burritos and as side dishes.

To finish off the day I made 30 bean, rice and cheese burritos and did a whole counter full of dirty dishes. All in all I'd say that today was a pretty big success. Tomorrow morning Macy is going to help me make two batches of blueberry pancakes and we'll bake our chocolate chip cookies. That will complete our April OAMC!! Yippee!! Check out my final results below:
30  - bean, rice and cheese burritos
14- egg and sausage breakfast burritos
3 - 1.5 lb. bags of sloppy joe meat
8 - 4 cup bags of brown rice
16- cups of refried beans

2 - Spinach pasta bakes
4- batches of "healthy" chocolate chip cookie dough

April OAMC - Day One

So pleased with myself that I actually remembered to soak the beans before I went to bed Monday night, I woke up yesterday thinking that I had this whole OAMC thing in the bag. I quickly realized what I had forgotton to do:

1. Thaw out hamburger
2. Thaw out sausage
3. Thaw out steak
Off to a great start, huh? Oh - there's more.
4. Ran out of eggs
5. Forgot to buy blueberries
6. No cheese for burritos
7. Ran out of rice

It became quite apparent right off the get-go that I wasn't nearly as prepared as I had thought! I managed to push through and get some of my cooking done and then made a quick trip to town (right as the storm hit which produced golf-ball sized hail. Thank goodness for gas stations and over-hangs that saved my vehicle!) for the remaining ingredients. By the end of the day yesterday I was able to cook up two batches of rice,

a batch of crockpot refried beans 

and I got my scrambled eggs whites with onion and green pepper ready to go for my breakfast burritos.

I have been working like crazy in the kitchen all morning to try and get my OAMC list finished by the end of the day today. As of right now, I still have to assemble my burritos, make two pasta bakes, grill up my steak, make a quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookies and a double batch of blueberry pancakes. YIKES!!! Check back later to see if I am able to pull it off!

Monday, April 5, 2010

April OAMC Master Plan

FINALLY, I have my April OAMC Master Plan in place and ready to go! I just couldn't bear the idea of cooking up a whole bunch of food right before Easter and frankly, I just didn't feel like doing it today either. However, I have my beans pre-soaking and am ready to put on my apron first thing tomorrow morning. Now, due to the fact that my freezers are still VERY FULL, I am not going to be making nearly as much food this month as I did in March. I need to get these freezers emptied out in preparation for all of the produce we'll get from the garden this summer. Here is what is on my "to do" list for tomorrow:

Pasta Bake x 2

Bean and Rice Brown Bag Burritos x 30
(I follow this basic method, but just fill mine with refried beans, brown rice and cheese)

Breakfast Brown Bag Burritos x 10
(I'm gonna fill these with scrambled egg whites w/onions and peppers, sausage, and cheese. Hopefully these will be a quick and healthy breakfast item for my hubby to grab in the mornings.)

Sloppy Joes x 2

Blueberry pancakes x 3

Baked brown rice x 2

Crockpot Refried Beans x 1

Healthy chocolate chip cookies x  4

I will also grill up a package of sirloin, cut it up and freeze for use in salads and wraps

Wish me luck! (Or should I say wish me well-behaved children and a whole lot of patience?) Tune in tomorrow for pictures and progress reports!

Meal Plan Monday - 4/05/10

Monday - Egg Salad Sandwiches, green beans
Tuesday - Hamburgers, oven fries
Wednesday - Burritos, refried beans, rice (in freezer)
Thursday - Steak salad (w/egg), sandwiches
Friday - Pasta bake, bread (carb-loading for my 1st 5K!) (in freezer)
Saturday - Steak, corn and potato packets (if I survive the 5K!)
Sunday - Homemade Bacon Cheeseburger pizza (dough in freezer)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 3/29/10

Monday - Whole wheat waffles and scrambled eggs (in freezer)
Tuesday - Baked spaghetti and bread (in freezer)
Wednesday - Sloppy joe's and oven fries (in freezer)
Thursday - Vegetable soup, sandwiches
Friday - Easter dinner at Roberts'
Saturday - Church - sandwiches in car on the way home
Sunday - Easter dinner at Grandma Marks'

Another easy peasy week for me! I'm working on my April OAMC plan as we speak, so stay tuned to find out what I'll be cooking up next week!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm so sorry that I haven't had time to blog much the last two weeks - I promise that I will be blogging much more in the coming days! I have my April OAMC master plan to blog about, and I still need to get a picture up of my toilet paper stockpile! But for today, all I can think about is UNI Panther Basketball!!! As a UNI alum, I am proudly wearing my purple and gold today - even on my toes! Help us cheer on the Panthers tonight to earn a spot in the Elite Eight!! Gooooooooooooo PANTHERS!!!!

Panther Fight Song:

Hail our Panthers, we are ever loyal,
Showing our strength and unity.
As we rise, we firmly stand behind you,
Urge you on to victory.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
As you lead us on to fame and honor,
Fight! Fight! Fight! will be our cry.
So, give us a yell, Ho! the purple and the gold,
Victory for UNI!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 3/22/10

Monday - Hamburgers, oven fries, green beans
Tuesday - Nana Rosa's Pizza (with our TN cousins!)
Wednesday - Bible Study (Hubs and kiddos out to eat?)
Thursday - Rice, chicken and spinach casserole, peas/carrots (in freezer)
Friday - UNI Panther Tailgate with McCarters! Go Panthers!
Saturday - Church Night (sandwiches in car on the way home)
Sunday - Homemade pizza - (toppings and dough in freezer)

Have I got it made this week or what? We are going to be REALLY busy, but I'm not going to have to do much in terms of cooking, that's for sure!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wise Words

I found this quote on another blog today and think that I need to blow it up and place it in every room of my home so that I am constantly reminded that these days are going by too fast and that these little ones will soon be grown and gone and that maybe, just maybe it is okay that I can't see my living room floor and my hubby has no clean underwear and the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. Some day I WILL miss this profoundly.
"Be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."
-Thomas S. Monson

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 3/15/10

Monday - Hamburgers, zucchini fries
Tuesday - Tuna melts, carrots/peas
Wednesday - Broccoli cheese soup, sandwiches
Thursday - Baked spaghetti, green beans (in freezer)
Friday - Stir-fry veggies, brown rice (in freezer)
Saturday - McCarter/Roberts Family Fun Night!
Sunday - Homemade Pizza (dough and toppings in freezer)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MckMama's Misson Trip: 397 Children Sponsored!!!

I am so totally blown away by MckMama's blog, especially this week! She and her husband are in Nairobi, Kenya on a mission trip with Compassion. You can go here to see her amazing pictures, read about her heart-wrenching experiences and find out how you can sponsor one of the 554 children who still desperately needs help. Her blog readers alone have sponsored 397 children this week! If you're not able to contribute financially, you can PRAY for these children that they might receive sponsorship this week! God Bless!

Happy Hump Day - 3/10/10

I'm thinking that the strawberries from Hy-vee sound delicious and that the cheap whole wheat bread from Fareway is a GREAT deal! Too bad I'm under a self-imposed "Eat From the Freezer" Challenge huh? Happy Shopping!

Hy-Vee - click here for weekly ad
16 oz. strawberries - $1.38
Blue Bonnet margarine, $.49 with in-ad coupon
Creamette pasta - 10/$10
Pepsi 2 liter - 10/$10
Pillsbury cake mix - $.88
Jacks Pizza - 3/$7

Fareway - click here to view ad
Sara Lee whole wheat bread - $.99
-use $.55/1 printable = $.44! STOCK UP PRICE!!
cabbage - $.40/lb.
Starkist tuna - $.59
Blue Bunny ice cream - $1.99
Fastco 12 pk. pop - $1.88
Busch Lt., 18 pk. - $9.99
baby carrots, $.88
Russet potatoes, 15 lb. bag, $2.99
Fastco saltines, $.69
Hunts spaghetti sauce, $.88
Pepsi 2 liter - $1.00
Fresh boneless chicken breasts - $.99/lb STOCK UP PRICE!!

Aldi - click here to view ad

Monday, March 8, 2010

My $200 Freezers and $400 in FREE Groceries!

You might remember the Hy-Vee freezer deal that I talked about on Thursday. You purchase a 5.0 cubic feet deep freeze and you get $200 in Hy-Vee coupons for free food. Well, we decided that it was just too good to pass up so we went to town on Thursday evening to pick up one of these little cuties. When we got home we quickly unplugged our old beast of a freezer...
and transferred all of our frozen beef to the new freezer. After looking through the coupons a time or two, we realized that this was a REALLY great deal and thought hmmmm....should we go and get another? Well, if you know us you know our motto, "Go big or go home!" Of course we were going to get a second freezer! The next night we packed up the kids once again, hit up the Hy-Vee bakery for our free kids cookies and headed to the check-out to purchase our second $200 deep freeze and collected our second envelope filled with $200 in coupons. See how cute they are?

Knowing that finding all of the items in the coupon book would take a really long time, we decided that we would leave the kids with grandma while we did our FREE-coupon grocery shopping Sunday after church. That was probably one of the better decisions that we've made. I'm pretty sure that it took nearly 2.5 hours to find our items and check out with all of our coupons. We then had to head to another Hy-Vee in town to pick up a few items that the first store was sold out of. After a surprise flat tire, a trip to Wal-Mart to get it repaired, a romantic dinner date at Subway (while we waited for the tire to be fixed), a stop to pick up the kids and lots and lots and lots of unloading, this is what we ended up with:
You might not be able to tell it from this little picture, but my kids were really excited about all of the free ice cream, ice cream treats, granola bars, pizzas and other fun foods that we brought home. There are lots of items here that I would not typically buy, but they are going to be a nice treat for our family on special occassions. (I won't lie: I'm really looking forward to some mozzerella sticks and chicken tenders!) Oh, and a side note: I got two free half gallons of soy milk and that stuff is really, really good! I let the kids try it and they were fighting over who got the last little drop! I've got a ton of stuff here and I fully intend to use up as much as I can in next month's OAMC plan. I'm going to have to get creative, but I'm already thinking about how I can incorporate some of the items into my recipes. For instance; I'm going to use the vanilla flavored soy milk in my pancake mix. I'll cook up the sausage and use it in some yummy breakfast burritos and as a topping for homemade pizza. I plan on using the frozen veggies in shepherd's pie and tuna noodle casseroles. We are going to need to eat up a lot of stuff in our freezers though if I plan on making any more OAMC freezer meals. I have one freezer FULL of the free Hy-Vee food:

I have another freezer FULL of beef (and a few random items):

And yet another freezer FULL of OAMC meals, frozen veggies and bread:

You probably won't be surprised to find out that I'm going to do an "Eat From the Freezer" challenge this month huh? I am pretty sure that this is a ridiculous amount of food and there should be little or no reason for me to have to purchase anything other than milk, eggs, and fresh produce over the next few weeks. I've declared a self-imposed decrease in my grocery/toiletries budget for the next few weeks. Instead of $100/week I'm going to stick to a $50/week budget. This week I've spent $10 so far (on pop of course!). We need milk, apples, oranges, bananas and salad dressing before the week is over and if that is all we purchase, we should be well under budget! Did anyone else pick up a freezer at Hy-Vee this week or have ridiculously full freezer pics to share (so that I don't feel like a crazy hoarder)?

Meal Plan Monday - 3/08/10

Monday - Sweet and Sour Meatballs, brown rice (in freezer)
Tuesday - Nana Rosa's Pizza - Happy Birthday Grandma Judy!
Wednesday - Shepherd's Pie, garlic bread (in freezer)
Thursday - Rice, Chicken and Spinach Casserole, green beans (in freezer)
Friday - Sloppy Joe's, onion rings (in freezer)
Saturday - Chili, corn bread muffins (in freezer)
Sunday - Homemade pizza (dough is in freezer)

Are you starting to see how that OAMC thing really pays off or what? All I have to do is remember to take my meals out of the freezer the night before we are going to use them! Now back to eating my bon bons.......

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Super Deals - Fareway, Hy-Vee and Walgreens

I didn't buy all that much this week, but I did find a few REALLY GREAT deals! First stop: Fareway! This week Fareway has their Gold Medal flour on sale for $.99 with in-ad coupon. There is a $.75/1 printable coupon that you can pair up with the Fareway coupon making a 5 lb. bag of flour just $.24!!! STOCK UP TIME! They also have a really good Kelloggs sale going on right now and they have a $5/5 Kelloggs cereal coupon in their weekly ad. Rice Krispies, Corn Pops and Apple Jacks are all priced at $2. Paired with various manufacturer coupons that are out there, you could get cereal for $.50 a box or less! (There were previously some $1.50/2 printables out there and I also found $1/2 Rice Krispie blinkie coupons in the cereal aisle.) I had two $3/3 MFCs in my coupon binder so I was able to get 10 of my boxes for just $.10 a box! How cool is that?!?!


Oh - I almost forgot! If you printed off some of the $1/2 Bar S printables that were available a while back, this would be a great week to use them at Fareway! They have their Bar S hot dogs priced at just $.88 and paired with the $1/2 coupon, they end up being $.38 a package! I am COMPLETELY stocked up for the summer! (I have many, many more already in my freezer! We may be having a weenie-roast every night, paired with Rice Krispie treats of course!)


Next stop: Hy-Vee! Hy-Vee also had a Kelloggs deal this week with a $5/5 in-ad coupon and cereal sales. Macy LOVES Shredded Mini Wheats so I decided to stock up on a few boxes of these for her. I purchased 5 boxes at $2.48 each. I then used the $5/5 in-ad coupon, two $1.50/1 printables and one $1/1 MFC that I found in the cereal aisle. I got all five boxes for just $3.40. I also picked up a couple bags of lettuce for $.77 which is the sale price this week. My last great find: Kraft cheese on clearance for $.99 a bag! Upon looking through the cheese bin, I found three bags of pizzaria cheese marked down to just $.50 a bag! Luckily I had two $1/2 MFC in my binder and was able to get 4 bags of cheese for just $.50!!! I see homemade pizza in our near future! Mmmmmm.....


My final stop this week was Walgreens, where it was reported that the Pull-Ups Cool Alert  were on clearance for just $3.19. Out of the four stores that I went to, I only found two packages of clearanced Pull-Ups. I bought the two Pull-Ups and one package of Huggies diapers. I used a $5/1 Huggies coupon, two $2/1 Pull-Ups coupons, a $3 Register Reward and paid $4.89 in cash. I then got back a $5 RR for purchasing three Huggies products! I love free diapers! I also bought two bottles of Purex, on sale this week for buy one at $5.99, get one Free. I used a B1G1 Free coupon to get two bottles of detergent for FREE!!! Yay!

I know that keeping a coupon binder organized and stocked up takes a LOT of work (and I curse it every week as I sit and clip and organize), but this week it paid off for me big time! I hope it inspires you to keep on with your couponing efforts as well!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Thank you so very much to Shelley at Finding My Life in Faith for giving me this Beautiful Blogger Award!


* The rules for accepting this award:
1. Post a thank you, and link to the person that has given you the award.
2. Pass this award on to other Beautiful Bloggers whom you think are fantastic.
3. Contact said blogs to let them know they've won.
4. State seven things about yourself.

Seven things about me:

1. At one point in my life (early college days) I thought that I wanted to be a successful business woman and wasn't sure if I wanted to get married and have children - if I did, I was for sure waiting until I was forty!

2. At 31, I have been married for 6.5 years, have 4 children and am a stay-at-home mom.

3. My husband is absolutely the love of my life and the best father in the entire world!

4. As an avid couponer, gardener, and once a month cooker, I'm pretty sure that my wild and crazy younger self would kick my now conservative, frugal self's rear end!

5. My husband and I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class last year and our lives have been forever changed. We have paid off over $20,000 in debt in 12 months and can't wait to scream "We're Debt Free!"

6. I have three sons and one daughter. As their mom, I of course think that they are the most perfect, beautiful, wonderful children on earth. (They REALLY are!)

7. I love living in a small town in Iowa. (Other than the weather - I'd take 70 degrees every day! Oh- and back to #4...I would have NEVER said this 10 years ago!)

Hy-Vee - Buy a Freezer for $199, Get $200 in FREE Food!

That's right! If you are in the market for a new deep freeze, this might just be the deal for you! For the entire month of March, Hy-Vee has their annual Freezer Stock Up Sale going on. March 4-6, you can actually purchase a Haier 5 cu. ft. deep freezer for $199 and get a $15 Hy-Vee gift card and $200 in coupons for FREE food! There are some REALLY great coupons too that I can't wait to use! I was really excited that my cousin Kiley (who bought a freezer yesterday morning) contacted me right away to tell me about the awesome coupons that she got with this deal! We have two giant, totally energy-draining deep freezers in our basement right now, costing us between $30-40 a month to run for each one (that is around $800 per year!) This new, energy efficient freezer costs just $26 a year!!! The energy cost savings alone will more than pay for the cost of the freezer!!! I will also have a freezer full of yummy food to "shop" from for the next few months! In fact, I'm going to try and incorporate some of the foods into next month's meal plan and OAMC. The manager I talked to last  night said that they sell out of these every year so if you are interested in getting one for yourself I wouldn't wait too long! Here are the coupons included with the purchase of this freezer (Thanks Kiley!):

Hy-Vee coupons-
$15 Hy-Vee Gift Card
Sunbelt family packs-limit 2 max val $3.32
Wonder classic or wheat bread free up to $2.99
Tombstone pizza free up to $3.66
DiGiorno or California pizza for one free up to $2.88
Post cereal free up to $2
Hefty one zip bags-limit 2 free up to $3
Michelina's lean gourmet frozen meal-limit 3 free up to $3.75
Breyes or Klondike ice cream free up to $3.50
Edy's ice cream free up to $3.50
Hy-vee ice cream pail free up to $4.99
kraft cool whip free up to $1.99
hungry man dinners free up to 2.50
welch's juice-limit 2 free up to 2.36
grand frozen veggies limit 2 free up to $3.32
hyvee frozen juice limit 3 free up to 2.97
kemps premium ice cream or yogurt free up to 3.48
snickers ice cream free up to $3
hyvee cheese sticks or jalapeno poppers free up to 2.50
bagel-fuls free up to 2.39
rich's sea pak shrimp free up to $5.99
hyvee bread dough limit 2 free up to 3.36
farm rich snacks free up to 5.99
birds eye veggies free up to 1.98
hyvee potato patties free up to $3
coffee mate creamer free up to 2.68
dannon activia free up to 1.99
snickers candy bar limit 3 free up to $2
nestle fun size candy bars free up to $3
handi-foil basics limit 3 free up to $3
3M sponge limit 2 free up to 3.38
land o'frost free up to 2.50
Di Lusso deli meat free up to $3
tyson tenders free up to $14.99
pepsi 2 liters limit 3 free up to 3.75
soup dujour free up to 4.99
hyvee veggie dip free up to 3.49
hormel fully cooked bacon free up to 2.99
tennessee pride sausage free up to $4
Tony's snacks or Larry's potatoes free up to 2.50
rostello sliced deli meat free up to 2.50

Manufacturer coupons
Jones sausage
Mr. Dell's frozen potatoes
Old orchard juice
$5 off fast fixin
Weight watchers frozen novelty b1go
blue bunny frozen yogurt granola novelty b1go
Johnsonville breakfast sasage
Healthy choice frozen meal
Spice island or tones spices
asian sensation product
Tony's pizza
Mrs. T's Pierogies
Klement's brats
8th ontinent soy milk
ziploc freezer bags
3 free redbox rentals

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My March OAMC Recipes and Links

By popular demand, I have gathered together a list of recipes that I used this week to make my OAMC meals. I have used lots of tried and true recipes that have been "lightened" up so that they fit into our Weight Watchers diet. For instance, in a lot of the recipes I cut the amount of cheese or ground beef in half, saving us lots of calories and WW points. I have plugged all of the meals into the WW recipe builder and have the points values listed in the recipes. These are certainly not fancy meals but they are definitely low on fat, calories, and sodium. I am blessed to have really non-picky-eating children so as long as they get an occasional "healthy" cookie, they are more than happy to eat things like beans and spinach and rice!

Spinach, Rice and Chicken Casserole - 3 points

Spaghetti Pie - 3 points

Corn Bread Muffins/Corn Dog Muffins - 3 points
You can go here to see tutorial on how to turn them into corn dog muffins. Also, if you use light hot dogs, the points value per muffin stays at just 3 points!

Zucchini Bread - 4 points

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies - 2 points

Crock Pot Low Fat Refried Pinto Beans - 2 points

Brown Bag Burritos - 3-4 points
(I followed this basic method for making and freezing burritos but used my own fillings. In half of them I used 1T. refried beans, 1T. cooked brown rice, 1 T. of ground beef and a sprinkle of cheese. These are 4 WW points. For the other half I just used 2T. refried beans, 2T. cooked brown rice and a sprinkle of cheese. These are 3 WW points.)

Money Saving Mom's Pizza Crust - 3 points

Money Saving Mom's Whole Wheat Waffles - 6 points

Baked Brown Rice - 2 points (per half cup serving)

Got a yummy, easy-to-freeze meal that you'd like to share? Please leave your recipe in the comments section!

Recipes - Test

I am not sure how to go about posting my OAMC recipes. I'm not sure if I should just post them directly on my site or link them to a Google Document. You can go here to view them in Google Docs. I am just testing out a couple of recipes to see how this works. Please let me know if you have any trouble viewing them. Thanks!

Spinach, Rice and Chicken Casserole - 3 WW points

Spaghetti Pie - 3 WW points

Happy Hump Day - 3/03/10

Wow! Looks like a pretty good shopping week to me! Though both stores seem to have good deals, I will have to say that if this were a competition, Fareway would be kicking Hy-Vee's tail end this week!

Hy-Vee - click here for weekly ad
Applesauce, $.99
Kelloggs cereal, Buy 5, Get $5 off
Capri-Sun, $1.88
5lb potatoes, $.97
Hy-Vee ketchup, $.88

3-Day Sale: Thurs, Fri, Sat.
85% lean ground beef 16 oz., $1.88
Sunkist oranges 4lbs, $1.99
Hy-Vee chips, $.99
Hy-Vee salad bag, $.77
Purchase a Haier chest freezer for $199, get $200 in coupons!
(Thanks to my cousin Kiley for telling me about this deal! She asked a manager what would be in the coupon book and he said it would mostly be for items that are included in their frozen foods sales for March. I'll let you know as soon as I have more details on this one!)

Fareway - click here to view ad
Red or green grapes, $.99/lb.
Gold Medal Flour, 5lbs, $.99 with in-ad coupon
-use $.75/1 printable = $.24!! STOCK UP PRICE!!
Kelloggs cereal, 5/$10 (Corn pops, Apple Jacks and Rice Krispies)
-use $5/5 in-ad coupon = $1 each!!
-used various manufacturer coupons = even cheaper!! STOCK UP PRICE!!
Betty Crocker brownie mix, 5/$5
-use $.75/2 printable = $1.25 for two!
Betty Crocker pizza crust mix, 2/$.69
Fastco cheese puffs, $.99
Sunbelt granola bars, 3/$5
Bar S Hot Dogs $.88
-use $1/2 printable = $.38! STOCK UP PRICE!!
Fastco frozen veggies, $.88
Dole bag lettuce, $.99
Red delicious apples, $.69/lb.
All Detergent, $2.99
-use $1/1 MFC

Aldi - click here to view ad

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My OAMC Master Plan is DONE!

Whew! Finally I am done with my March OAMC. Or should I call it TAMC (Thrice a Month Cooking) as it took me three days to get everything accomplished? Regardless of how long it took me, how many hours I stood in the kitchen, how many dishes I scrubbed, how many spatulas I licked (kidding), how many cookies I taste-tested (four. no lie.), or how many baby puffs I had to feed to my seven month-old to keep him from crying so that I could do just "one more" batch of something - regardless of all of that, I am SO HAPPY with the results! I have SO MUCH food in the freezer. I am pretty sure that I can just hang out in front of the TV everyday eating bon bons because I don't have to cook supper for the next 29 days. Okay, so maybe I'll have to get up now and then to do a load of laundry or to change a diaper or vacuum or bathe the kids, but NO MAKING SUPPER for me! Yay! Check this out people! How cool is this?!?


Here is my final OAMC list for March:
10- Beef and bean burritos
10- Bean and rice burritos
2- Chicken, spinach and rice casserole
2- Spaghetti pie
2- Sloppy Joe meat
4- Brown Rice
10- Refried beans (2 C. portions)
24- Corn dog muffins
24- Corn muffins
3- Chickpeas (for salads and soups)
2- Whole wheat pizza dough
20- Whole wheat belgian waffles
24- White cupcakes
12- Zucchini muffins
2- Zucchini bread loaves
5- Dozen "healthy" chocolate chip cookies

What I learned:
1. Be PREPARED!!! I thought that I had everything ready to go before I started but ended up running out of tin foil and muffin liners. Not a big deal, but having to run to the store definitely slowed up the process a little bit. I also should have multi-tasked a little better. There were many times when I should have had the oven and stove-top going at the same time to get things done quicker.

2. Be PREPARED for the unexpected!!! When you have little ones at home, you can pretty much plan on something happening that will keep you from getting as much done as you had planned. For example; a fussy baby that just wants to be held. It is really hard to assemble burritos while holding a flailing child. Another example would be kids puking all over your house the night before you start your OAMC. (This one REALLY slows down the process!)

3. Be PREPARED to be really tired!!! I fell asleep on the couch at 8:00 last night and did not get up until almost 8:00 this morning. I know - I am a loser but that is just how tired I was.

4. Be PREPARED to feel like you really accomplished something big!!! I might be tired and my kitchen may be a little messy and my kids might have been a little neglected for a few days but I am really pleased at everything that I was able to get done! I know that for the next month I am going to have healthy, budget-friendly, and wholesome meals ready to serve to my family.

Check back tomorrow for recipes and Weight Watcher's points values for all of the meals that I prepared!

Yesterday's OAMC Results

Well, I thought that yesterday was going to be a total bust (with the stomach flu hitting our house and all) but as it turns out, I was actually able to cross a lot of things off of my OAMC master plan. I am still cooking away today, but I think we are going to be able to get it all finished up by late this afternoon! Yay! Check out yesterday's cooking results:

I've got my batch of brown rice cooling and my whole wheat waffles cooking....

The yummy pinto beans are cooling while I cook up some whole wheat spaghetti for spaghetti pie......

I have the shredded zucchini thawing out on the counter while the waffles cool down on racks...

Ta Da! Two baked spaghetti pies!

Ta Da! Two Chicken, Rice and Spinach Casseroles!


Ta Da! This is what I was left with when all the cooking was done!

Here is what is on the agenda for today:
Cook one batch of pinto beans (in progress)
Puree beans from yesterday to make refried beans
Assemble bean, rice and cheese burritos
Throw together a double batch of chili (beans and hamburger are ready to go)
Cook up black beans and freeze
Cook up chickpeas and freeze
Cook up small red beans and freeze
Hey- it's a "beans and rice" kind of life in this house!
Make a double batch of whole wheat pizza dough and freeze
Make cookies
Make rhubarb shortcake muffins
Make double batch of zucchini bread

Okay, I'm starting to panic a little now. That list is a little bit bigger than I thought it was going to be. Time to get my rear end in gear and get BUSY! I'll post my final OAMC results tonight (if I don't fall asleep on the couch at 8:00 like I did last night. Oops.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

OAMC - Almost a Disaster!

Wow. I had really expected to have a lot more done by 3:00 today. I had really intended to start cooking right away this morning and maybe even be working on cleaning up by now. I had really NOT planned on two of my kiddos getting up in the middle of the night with the stomach flu. UGH! After cleaning beds and sheets and doing laundry and bathing four kids, I was FINALLY able to start my master plan around 11:00 today. I realized that I had forgotten to soak the pinto beans overnight so I had to do a quick-soak method right away and get those cooking. Then, because I only have one large pan, I had to wait for the beans to finish cooking so that I could get the spaghetti cooking for spaghetti pie (remind me to pick up another one of these if ever I see a good sale would ya?). I made about 24 whole wheat belgian waffles, 2 spaghetti pies, 2 chicken, rice and spinach casseroles, a whole bunch of pinto beans (to be made into refried beans later) and 9 cups of cooked, brown rice. Okay, so I guess I did get quite a bit accomplished, huh? Check back later tonight for some pictures of everything that I made today!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Just Couldn't Resist!

Every time I look at these pictures I just can't help but crack up! I was getting ready to feed Tade some baby cereal one afternoon and got side-tracked with laundry or e-mail or dishes or whatever it might have been, and Tade was screaming his little head off. All of the sudden, I noticed that the crying had stopped and it was quiet. I turned around to find this:


Levi, obviously sporting a peanut butter and jelly mustache, had taken it upon himself to feed his little brother. Do you see that smile??? That is one proud, happy, mess-making little boy! This photo is for sure in my "favorites of all time" folder. You wanna' see another one that made it to that folder?

He might be a little messy, but I guarantee a little cereal in his hair (nose, ear, neck, etc.) wasn't bothering him. This kid likes his food and he doesn't care who is dishing it out or how close to his mouth they are/aren't getting! Do I have some precious boys or what?

March OAMC - Day One is a Success!!

I really had no idea how I was going to get everything on my March OAMC list done in one day. In fact, I wasn't sure that I would get it done in one week! Thankfully, due to some pretty amazing planning on my part (pat, pat) and my wonderful husband's offer to take the non-nap-taking baby on a little road trip, Macy and I were able to get a TON of my list knocked off on Saturday afternoon.

We started off by making a nice big batch of Cornmeal Muffins.

Then we stuck some hot dogs in them and voila!: Corn Dog Muffins

While the muffins were cooking we browned some hamburger (my hubs did this when he got home with the finally-happy-after-taking-a-nap baby), cooked two batches of brown rice, mixed up three pounds of sloppy joe meat, cooked, cooled and chopped up 2 pounds of chicken breast and got everything ready for the freezer. 
All told we spent about 3.5 hours in the kitchen but I really feel like we got a lot accomplished. I know that it is going to make for a much easier cooking day on Monday!

Our results:
24 Corn meal muffins (to go with chili)
24 Corn dog muffins (for kids' lunches)
18 cups cooked brown rice (to use as sides and for casseroles to be made on Monday)
2 pounds cooked, chopped chicken (to use in casseroles on Monday)
3 pounds sloppy joe meat (two meals worth)
4 pounds browned ground beef (for chili and baked spaghetti to be made on Monday)

Check in tomorrow to see how the rest of our March OAMC Master Plan goes!

Fareway - CHEAP lettuce, veggies and bread!

What was I thinking?!? I totally almost forgot to post this picture! I was SO excited to see that Fareway has Sara Lee whole wheat bread on sale for just $.99 this week! I try to buy whole wheat bread as often as I can and stocked up BIG TIME when I found it for under a buck a loaf. I also had some coupons for the Green Giant veggies and fruit snacks that I was excited to use this week. My kids weren't over-the-top about the frozen peas, but you should have seen their eyes light up when they saw the fruit snacks! (These things are SO EXPENSIVE and we have not had them in the house since last summer!) Remember: Fareway deals are Wednesday to Tuesday, so you still have some time to get in on these sales!


12 - Sara Lee whole wheat bread - $.99
-used (2) $.55/1 MFC (from paper)
3- Dole lettuce, $.59
6- Green Giant steamers, $.99
-used (6) $.50/1 printables
5- Kelloggs fruit snacks, $1.67
-used $1/1 printable
1- 5lbs. potatoes, $.99

I got all of this for less than $20!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My OAMC Master Plan for March

I am SO excited for this month's once a month cooking event! I did this last month kind of on a whim, and I only made a few things, but we have REALLY been enjoying all of the ready-to-go meals from the freezer! In fact, tonight we had enchilada pie, brown rice and homemade refried beans, all from the freezer, and it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! I have a much more extensive list of goodies to freeze this month and I can't wait to get started! When I am finished, I will end up with so many pre-made meals in the freezer that I'll only have to cook one or two nights a week for the entire month of March (and I have really easy dinners planned on those nights)! I have also noticed that while it takes a few extra groceries to do the OAMC, I haven't had to buy nearly as many things on my weekly shopping trips; basically just milk, eggs and fresh produce. I truly think that the OAMC will not only make for some easy meals, but it will help me lower my monthly grocery spending every month as well.

I strongly encourage you all to give this OAMC thing a shot. You don't have to try and tackle a ton the first time - maybe just make a couple of lasagnas and stick them in the freezer. You will be amazed at how rewarding it is to take that yummy meal out of the freezer on a busy day and have dinner already made and ready to go! I know that my kids appreciated all of the tasty waffles they got to have this month for "special suppers." (AKA mommy needed something quick and easy so I could get the kids to bed quickly and easily!)

Here is my OAMC Master Plan for March:

Corn Dog Muffins x 2
Quinoa & Red Bean Burritos x 2 (I still haven't actually found quinoa. Can anyone help me on this one?)
Rice, chicken and spinach casserole x 2
Baked spaghetti x 3
Sloppy Joe meat - 4 lbs.
Brown Rice x 4
Crock-pot Refried Beans  x 2
Whole Wheat Waffles x 4
Cookies x 2
Rhubarb Shortcake Muffins x 2
Zucchini Bread x 2
Whole Wheat Pizza dough x 2

You can go here to see what Money Saving Mom is making this month. You can also go here to see how Money Saving Mom plans her once a month cooking and get free worksheets to help you get started!
Anyone going to join me on Monday? Please let us know in the comments section - I'd love to find out what you are all making!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuna: It's What's For Dinner

I sure hope everybody in my family likes tuna becuase we're gonna be eating it for quite a while! I ran into CVS last night to check for any good deals or clearance items and didn't find much but I had a $4 ECB that had to be used up. Here is how I spent it:
10- Bumblebee tuna cans, $.49 each
-used (2) $1/5 MFC = $.29 each
2- Honey Nut Cheerios, $1.99
-used (2) $1/1 MFC = $.99 each
Total = $4.88
Paid with $4 ECB and $.88 cash. (I love free (or almost free) food. It is my favorite kind!)

Target Bulk Items on HUGE Clearance!

So my love affair with Target is more of a love/hate kind of a thing. You see, I LOVE Target because they keep on having these AMAZING sales and deals and clearance items but I HATE Target because I am a deal-seeking, bargain-shopping, stock-piling kind of crazy woman and when I find premium toilet paper at just $.19 per double roll, I simply CANNOT pass it up! I had been doing really well the last couple of weeks sticking to my $100 grocery and toiletries budget. We even had friends over last weekend and I was able to buy some tasty adult beverages and lots of extra groceries for a big yummy dinner and I still stayed under budget. I was doing so good this week too.....spent maybe $16 total before I walked into Target. When I stumbled upon the warehouse/bulk clearance aisle it was all over for me and my budget. I actually had to take Tade out of his carseat (which was in the shopping cart) and carry him on my hip, and then fill his car seat, the rest of the cart, under the cart and then under Macy's feet (she was in one of those cool new 2-seater style of carts). I had almost 200 rolls of toilet paper jammed into my cart along with a HUGE box of baby wipes, and LOTS of other super-cheap stuff. I'd love to encourage you all to run out right now and get yourself to Target for some cheap goods too, but if you are in my town, you are OUT OF LUCK! The Cedar Falls and Waterloo Targets are out of everything other than some cereal and the Quaker oatmeal. (You wanna know how I know that right? Okay, okay, so I tried to go back today to get even MORE toilet paper! I swear I'm not crazy! I just love me some dirt-cheap tee pee!) Here is what I got and how much I saved buying it on clearance and with coupons:

1- box of 770 Pampers wipes  WAS: $15.99  PAID: $8.48
5- kids gloves                          WAS: $1.00    PAID: $.50
2- Quaker Oatmeal, 30pks      WAS: $6.99    PAID: $2.48 (used $1/1 MFC)
1-Softsoap refill, 2pk.              WAS: $6.99    PAID: $3.48
4- 3pk of gallon bags               WAS: $5.99    PAID: $2.48
5- 36 double rolls t.p.              WAS: $15.99  PAID: $6.98 (used $1/1 MFC)
1- Sharpie markers, 10ct.        WAS: $12.99  PAID: $2.94
1- packing tape, 4 rolls            WAS: $8.99    PAID: $4.18

Total amount before sales and coupons: $174.85
Total amount paid: $78.36
Total amount saved $96.49

Even though my stores are out of these items doesn't mean that every Target store is! If you find that your store still has some of these sale items left, please leave a comment and let us know where they can be found!

Happy Hump Day - 2/24/10

It seems like a pretty good shopping week to me! I am looking forward to super cheap lettuce and the kids are going to think it is CHRISTMAS when they see fruit snacks again (it has been a LONG time)! If you see any other good deals while you are out and about shopping, please share with us!

Hy-Vee - click here for weekly ad
Dole head lettuce, $.59 (GREAT price!)
Oscar Mayer hot dogs, 2/$1 (with instant coupon)
Hy-Vee microwave popcorn - $.68 w/ in-ad coupon (limit 1)
MCF frozen veggies - $.88

Fareway - click here to view ad
Sara Lee whole wheat bread - $.99 (GREAT price!)
Era detergent - $2.99
Fastco pop, 2 liter - $.48
Green Giant Steamers, $.99
 - use $.50/1 printable = $.49 each
Dozen large eggs - $.99
Russet potatoes, 5lbs. - $.99
Fruit snacks - 3/$5
-used $1/1 printable = $.66 each!
Cheez It crackers- $1.67
-use $.75/1 printable = $.92 each!

Aldi - click here to view ad

Monday, February 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 2/22/10

Monday - Shepherd's pie (5 WW pts), freezer corn
Tuesday - Stir-fry veggies and brown rice
Wednesday - Chicken noodle soup and bread
Thursday - Sloppy joes, oven fried onion rings (2 WW pts)
Friday - Enchilada pie (already in freezer), spanish rice
Saturday - Tuna melts and green beans
Sunday - chili and cornbread

Monday, February 15, 2010

My First Attempt at OAMC - I LOVE IT!!!

So I mentioned about a week ago that I was going to try my hand at OAMC (Once a Month Cooking). I have to tell you, it was quite a lot of work over a couple of days but SO WORTH IT!!!! I didn't make as much as I originally had wanted to becuase I didn't get around to doing it until the second week of February, but I ended up with lots of goodies to put in the freezer for some simple breakfasts, easy weeknight meals and yummy afternoon snacks for the kids. Here is what I made:

Shepherd's Pie - 2 meals
Whole Wheat Waffles - 5 meals
Brown Rice - 2 meals
Banana/Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins - 4 batches
Apple/Cinnamon Mini Muffins - 3 batches
Homemade Refried Beans - 5 meals (These were REALLY yummy!)

Stay tuned for my OAMC plan for March! I have TONS of meals planned and can't wait to stock my freezer up again!

Meal Plan Monday - 2/15/10

Monday - Baked steak, green beans
Tuesday - Broccoli cheese soup (2 WW pts), sandwiches
Wednesday - Pasta bake and garlic toast
Thursday - Roasted vegetables (0 WW pts!), black bean wraps
Friday - Hamburgers, oven fries
Saturday - Steak dinner with friends
Sunday - Homemade whole wheat pizza

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WAGS - 15% OFF, Tomorrow Only!

S-W-E-E-T!!! I just found out over at Hip 2 Save, that Walgreens has a special 15% off coupon out!!! The coupon is only good tomorrow, February 11th so hurry on over to your store to snag some super-dee-duper (yep, we watch lots of Barney here) deals! You can also go here to check out the deals that Hip 2 Save has put together for us! I see even more diapers in our future! Hooray!!!

In WAGS Heaven!!!

Some of you may have heard me talking about my glucose monitors last week. I acquired 20 coupons (on eBay) for glucose monitors that were on sale last week at Walgreens. I was able to get them for FREE after coupon and got a $10 RR for each one that I purchased. In total I ended up with $260 in RR to start off this week's Walgreens shopping. I knew that a diaper sale was coming up, so that is why I got in on as many of the meter deals that I could. Walgreens has their Huggies, Pull-Ups and GoodNites on sale for $8.99 this week and you get a $3 RR for each pack. Paired with a $2.00/1 MFC, that makes these packs just $3.99 each! Yippee! I had to do over 40 transactions in two different days, but check out what I was able to accomplish!!!!

Trip One:

Total purchased: $131.14
Paid out of pocket: $27.89
Coupons and RR used: $103.25
Register Rewards left to spend: $66.00
(I basically MADE $38.11 for buying all of this!)

Trip Two:

Total purchased: $471.70
Coupons and RR used: $356.00
Paid out of pocket: $115.70
Register Rewards left to spend: $111.00
(I will go back this week and buy another 12 pkg. of diapers with the $111 in RR)

After factoring in the $64 I spent on meter and diaper coupons, and accounting for the $111 in RR that I still have to spend, I will have spent about $208 out of pocket. The diapers alone would have cost me over $500 at $8.99 a piece. Check out everything that I got!!!!

56 packs Huggies
1 Pull Ups
1 Good Nites
5 Kleenex
6 Pudding
4 Valentine cups
2 Valentine day cards
3 Paper towels
2 bags of candy
15 body wash
7 dozen eggs
6 Valentine candy for kids
3 Mike & Ikes
3 Valentine pencils
1 make-up bronzer

I know that I spent a little out of pocket for all of this, but I shouldn't have to buy any diapers now for five or six months (or body wash for like the rest of my life)! That will really help me keep my weekly budget down! THANK YOU Walgreens!!!