Monday, June 28, 2010

Barbeque and Grocery Shopping

We had a barbeque last weekend and had a few couples over.  It was lots of fun!  But, if you're going to feed people, you have to shop.  I looked over the sales and decided to offer the following menu:

Cheese & Sausage on crackers
Pretzels with home canned Hot Pepper Mustard
Barbeque Glazed Chicken Cutlets on Deli Flats with swiss cheese, tomatoes and homegrown lettuce
Italian & Hungarian Sausages on buns (they were supposed to be with grilled onions, but I forgot them in the oven) *sigh*
Baked beans
Hawaiian Salad
Greek Pasta Salad
Lemon Bars
Sangria, beer, iced tea, water and pop

Here's the deals I got:
Jewel brand 16 lb. charcoal $5.99 Buy 2 save $5 Paid 6.98 for both
Rold Gold Pretzels sale price $2.99, preferred card $1 off, mfr coupon $1 off Paid $.99
Best Deal: I stacked a $3 off when-you-buy-all-three store coupon with a $2 off when-you-buy-all-three mfr. coupon on Honey Maid graham crackers (Sale price $4.75, Preferred Card $2.25 off) Kraft marshmallows (Sale price $1.70, Preferred Card $.70 off), and Hershey bars 6 pack (Sale price $4.89, Preferred Card $.90) Paid $2.49 for all three

The barbeque? It was a blast!  Everyone brought food, so there was way too much, but we all had some of everything.  Anna's foccacia is to die for.  She's Italian; need I say more?  Her apple tart disappeared very fast with good reason - it's lightly sweet, moist and yum! Karen H's bean and corn salad went so fast I barely got a spoonful.  Souri's (pronounced Suri) salad was amazing. I asked for her salad dressing recipe and unfortunately, she is a 'pinch of this and a dash of that' kind of cook, so I won't be able to duplicate it.  What can I say? I know some amazing cooks.  We never made the s'mores; I didn't even mention them.

The next day Walt and I went and worked out.  I put in a few extra reps everywhere.  I'm trying to give my body a fighting chance.  But the way I love food, it's not really a fair fight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free Stuff!

Look at all this stuff I got FREE today.  Yep, Free! The Crystal Light Fitness samples came in the mail along with 3 $2.00/1 coupons.  I could have kicked myself, because I left them at home and it's on sale at Jewel for $2.99 a 12 pack.  The Beef Garlic sausage was on sale for $2.99 and I had a $3/1 coupon = Free

The rest of the items are things I may not normally have bought (at least not all at the same time) because we try to avoid pre-packaged snacks and cook from scratch, but I got a very nice coupon booklet from Kraft with 8 coupons for totally free regular size items.  In a week or so, they will email me and ask how I liked them.

Sign up for email alerts at and follow those links.  All I had to do was input my name and address and agree to rate the products. Easy-peasy.

This week is the last week to take advantage of Jewel's Dairy Month Buy 5, Get $5.  Something went wrong and the $5 Catalina didn't print.  I talked (nicely, always nicely) to the customer service rep and she gave me a $5 bill.
That's even better than $5 off my next trip!  So far, this sweet deal has saved me $25.  And, I only buy what I would buy anyway.  That's just how I am.

So this trip, my savings were:
Preferred card: -$36.36
MFG coupons: -$30.82
Catalina used:  -$5.00
CASH Back (instead of Catalina): +$5.00

Tomorrow night, I'm attending Jill Cataldo's Super Couponing 1 class.  Maybe I'll get better. I hope so!  It's free throught the library.  Man, I love free stuff! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The bread I like runs $4.00 a loaf at the grocery store.  It's much cheaper to make my own.  I found this recipe  Angel Bread at last year and have been making my own bread ever since.  Since the recipe makes 2 loaves, and my husband and I only eat one loaf a week, I often form some of the dough into hamburger buns or dinner rolls. 

The recipe uses the dough cycle of the bread machine, but you can make it in a mixer with a dough hook or knead it by hand.  I find I get the best results with a couple of tricks:
  • warming the egg (still in the shell) in hot tap water while I measure out the dry ingredients
  • combining all dry ingredients with a whisk, including the yeast, before adding it to the wet ingredients in the bread machine

  • checking the dough consistency after the machine runs for 5 minutes (this needed a couple more tablespoons of flour).
In 90 minutes, I have perfect dough ready to be formed into loaves.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grocery Shopping Day

I love to use coupons.  Especially when the item is on sale and I use a high value coupon and THEN get a cash reward catalina.  Jewel/Osco is celebrating dairy month with buy 5 get a $5 catalina towards your next shopping trip.  Yay!  One of their qualifying items: Dean's dip on sale for $1.99 + $1/2 coupon. I buy 2 for Father's Day. Almond Breeze on sale $2.45 + $1/1 coupon.  Kraft cheese + $1/1 coupon. Dean milk (no coupon, cometimes you have to suck it up).  Now I've bought 5 and I get a $5 catalina for next visit.   On to BOGOs: Cherub tomatoes BOGO +$.55/1    Jays potato chips (to go with the dip, natch) BOGO + $1/2 coupon.  We use a lot of shredded parm. The almost real stuff over by the deli in little tubs. The good news is it lasts a long time, so I stock up when it's on BOGO. Not only was it on BOGO - there were $1/2 coupons on the shelf!  I could hardly contain my glee.
Spent prior to Preferred Card: $74.09
After Preferred card: $58.68
After coupons: $46.56
After lst week's Catalinas: $36.56
Got Catalinas for next time: $5.00 cash plus coupons

Next stop: Aldi
I love Aldi.  Mine is new, clean and has very high quality produce, meats and cheeses.  The shelves are always well-stocked.  I spend a lot of money at Aldi a couple times a month.  This is where I stock up.  Today I spent $108. But, I got a TON of food including 90% lean ground beef, tilapia, dried fruit, fresh fruit, peppers, cucumbers, celery, cheese, olives, spices, cute paper plates and napkins for our BBQ and 3 packages of frozen chocolate covered fruit sorbet bars that my daughter assures me are to-die-for.  I had one for lunch - they are! You can't use coupons at Aldi, but no way I'll spend so little, even with coupons, anywhere else. 

Last stop: Butcher-on-the-Block
Real honest to goodness butcher.  I spent $60 on 6 steaks (2.3 lbs of filet mignon) for Father's Day. Bought nothing else there. It's a once or twice a year special occasion, clear-it-first with Walt type of place.  But worth it, SO worth it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jewelry Making

I LOVE JEWELRY. I love making jewelry, reading about making jewelry, watching videos about making jewelry and teaching jewelry making. However, I'm picky about my jewelry creations.  If they're not quite right, I take them apart and reuse the beads.  I have a basket in my work space that is full of bracelets, necklaces and earrings that, for one reason or another, are waiting to be recycled into something more pleasing.

I am recently enamored with wire and wire wrapping.  I like the way you can hammer, twist and otherwise manipulate wire to create interesting shapes. I've been working with copper wire, mainly because precious metals are too, well, precious.  I simply can't afford to work with silver and gold wire while I learn how to get the wire to do what I want it to do.  Copper wire is cheap.  I buy it at the hardware store.  If the piece doesn't work out, I toss it with no regrets and start again.  For every piece I think is pretty good, there's a couple feet of mangled copper wire in the trash can.

So is it worth the time, frustration and wasted wire?  When I finally get something I like - oh, yes!