Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homemade Syrup, Homemade Ranch and a Flour Tortilla Update

I am going to live!  This afternoon, after being sick for 5 days, home from work for two days...I am going to survive my very nasty cold.  My gosh...this was one of the worst colds I have had in a loooonnngggg kicked my butt!

However, today I ONLY took two small naps, took a stroll to soak in some unexpected sunshine and made some homemade tortillas.  I am ready to head back to work tomorrow.

Here are a couple of recipes I made before I hit the couch for an extended stay:

Homemade Maple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. maple flavored extract

Bring the water and both sugars to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the maple extract.  Simmer three minutes longer; can be stored in the refrigerator. 

Next up ~ our favorite ranch dressing.  This recipe was created by the Everett Public Schools Food & Nutrition department.  We needed to find a good dressing, that kids would like, but had less sodium.  This recipe is a winner.  My hubby LOVE's this dressing.  Feel free to tweak the onion and garlic powder if you like a little less bite or a bit more.

Ranch Dressing
2 cups buttermilk, low fat
3/4 cup mayonnaise, light
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. parsley, dried
2 tsp. granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Dressing will thicken as it sits.   Keep refrigerated.

and a Flour Tortilla Update...

I made homemade flour tortillas tonight for our steak fajitas...they were wonderful.  I used barely any flour when I kneaded and rolled them out and I cooked them at a lower temp for less time; these changes created a really good tortilla.  Next time I will cut the salt in half.  I could taste the salt and I don't think it is necessary to have it be such a bold flavor.

Last but not least...rumor is that Albertson's will be having double coupons in this upcoming Sunday paper...woo hoo!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Really Sick but Still Had to Coupon!

Ugh ~ my last three day weekend until the end of May and I am sick.  I had planned on heading over to Whidbey Island for a couple of days but...I am home sick with a pretty good cold.  I did send my favorite youngest daughter over there so she could get some relief from a whining mom.  I am a BIG baby when I am sick and do my best to make everyone around me miserable.  Fortunately for them...they left me to fend for myself. 

In the midst of my severe sinus congestion and ringing, itchy ears...I remembered I had two coupons set to expire.  Yikes...I am NOT going to waste $5.00 worth coupons, God forbid!

First up ~ Fred Meyers.  I had a $3.00 coupon to use along with a couple of $2.00 off coupons AND my Rewards Card rebate of $5.49 PLUS a coupon for a free Totino's Party Pizza.  So I had a total of $12.49 of free money plus a free pizza coupon...and here is what I got:

6 pack of hoagy rolls, 6 banana's, 2# of cheese, package of turkey pepperoni and a lime

Retail:  $12.58,   Total Paid: 9 cents! ~ just about a 100% savings!

Next up...Walgreens.  I had a $2.00 Register Reward that I needed to spend or it would expire as well.  I needed Tums.  I had a $1.00 coupon so I used it along with $2.00 Register Reward to get a good price.  Unfortunately, my favorite youngest daughter was with me and just LOVED this kind of juice...and since I was in a cold medicine fog ~ I gave in and bought it for her. 

Retail:  $6.51  Paid: $3.51  ~  47% Savings

I would really love to have a good stock up deal on Tums!

That is all the shopping I could is time for another nap.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A GREAT Deal and NO Coupon Needed

Here's your chance to get a great deal at Safeway and no coupons are needed:

These Icee's are on sale at Safeway for $1.49 per 4-pack.  However, if you buy 3 save $3.00 instantly!  So each package would only cost 49 cents.  That means that each individual Icee cost 12 cents. 
I have 6 packages in my freezer and plan to get more. 
Is this another sign that summer is coming?

Thanks CouponConnections for sharing this on your website. is a GREAT website that is local and she features the deals that are going on locally. She was also featured on Extreme Couponing ~ so she knows her stuff.  Go to her site and subscribe to her daily email...she shows you how to make couponing easy!

Weight Watchers Update and a Great Veggie Burger

I lost 7 pounds this week...woo hoo!  I made a much better effort this past week by journaling everyday.  I have lost a total of 11.6 pounds so far.  What I have learned is that I need to feel satisfied...a green salad for dinner doesn't cut it!  With journaling I am able to plan my day and make a menu that works for me.  I have also eaten 5+ fruits and vegetables 5 out of the 7 past days.  Next up?  Regular exercise. 

One drawback with losing 11.6 pounds?  I lost a daily point...

Here is a veggie burger that I call a hummus burger.  I am not a bean eater but I LOVE these burgers as does my hubby.  My favorite oldest daughter loves them too...but not my favorite youngest daughter ~ which is a big surprise.  She took 3 big bites and then she was allowed to make a peanut butter sandwich ~ it is like negotiating with a 5 year old sometimes.  :)

Veggie Burger aka Hummus Burger

Veggie Burger aka Hummus Burger

3/4 cup onions, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
3/4 cup red pepper, chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1¼ tsp. cumin
1¼ tsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1½ tsp. bread crumbs

Finely chop the onions, carrots and red pepper in a food processor.  Remove veggies from processor and set aside in a mixing bowl.  Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.  Place garbanzo beans and eggs in the food processor and pulse, approximately 15 seconds until they are slightly mashed.  Add mashed garbanzo beans/egg mixture, spices and bread crumbs to the chopped vegetables.  Mix thoroughly.  Form mixture into 1/3 cup balls, and then pat into patty size shapes.  Place on a baking pan and cook at 350° for 15 minutes.   Top with the Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise sauce along with veggies of your choice.

Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise (light)
1/4 garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Chill and cover.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yahoo for Albertsons!

What a great week to shop at Albertsons.  I went to two different Albertsons today and used my last 12 double coupons. 

Full Retail: $38.89  Paid: $7.77  ~  80% Savings
PLUS I have one more $1.00 catalina.

  • The Krusteaz pancake mix I made money on.  They were on sale for $2.00 each.  Buy 2 and earn a $1.00 catalina (or register reward that I often mistakenly call them).  I used (2) $1.00 catalinas that I previously earned and used 2 double coupons on them.  So I paid ZERO for them PLUS earned a $1.00 catalina.
  • Next up...the Planters Nutrition bars.  I doubled the $1.00 coupon that I had for each of them...making them 50 cents a piece.  But...I also earned (2) $1.00 catalinas on them.  So they were free...and they taste really really good. 
  • I was able to use one of those $1.00 catalinas to buy the fresh asparagus.  Normally that little bundle of aspargus would cost $4.75 (ROBBERY!) but was on sale for $3.56 (STILL ROBBERY) and I used my catalina and a double bringing the cost down to $1.56.  That is going to go great with my yummy Valentine dinner I am making tomorrow night!
  • I made money on the tuna.  Had a coupon for $1.00/2.  Tuna was on sale for 89 cents each.  I used a double and made 11 cents on each can of tuna;  which I then in turn applied to the buttermik and sour cream that I bought.
It was fast and fun shopping.  It took a little preparation...but I saved 80% in a very little amount of time. 

Let me repeat...lovin Albertsons tonight!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Groceries This Week

I took it easy this week.  I did go back to Everett Cash & that place!  I also visited Albertsons a few times. 

Albertsons ~ 24 jars of Ragu and 6 packets of Taco Bell taco seasoning (not shown).  I took advantage of the buy 10 get $5.00 off...and I did this transaction 3 different times.  Each jar of sauce ended up costing 49 cents each.  I am glad to finally stock up on pasta sauce...I was out. 

Retail:  $89.10  Total Paid $14.70  ~ 84% Savings  

Today in the paper were double coupons for Albertsons.  On everything, except the juice, I used a $1.00 coupon which was then doubled. Every item above (except the juice) costs 50 cents each!

       Retail: $43.37  Paid: $9.66  ~ 78% Savings        
** I also earned $3.00 in register rewards!**

Cash & Carry ~ 10# of potatoes cost $2.13, Bananas are 48 cents a pound and the carrots cost $1.98.  These are some great prices. 

Retail:  Approximately $40.00  Paid: $19.04  ~ 50% Savings

Seattle Flower & Garden Show

Today was a first...I got to go to the Seattle Flower and Garden Show.  Wow ~ if that doesn't make you want to start gardening...nothing will.  I had to laugh at myself because I got the most excited by the various samples of compost and mulch.  I found myself asking the sales reps if I could touch it.  Not even the jewlery vendors could get me that excited.  I went with my mom who LOVED looking at each and every orchid.  She walked away with some great orchids at a great price... I even got one from her! 

I got 6 free packets of seeds, 2 free pansy plants, lettuce start, an orchid (from my mom).  I also picked up a cool self watering multi-layer pot that I think I am going to grow herbs in.  And...there is a mother's day gift that I picked up for a very special mom as well. 

My mom and favorite youngest daughter getting organized ~ matching up what free item/coupon goes with what vendor...God forbid we don't get those free gardening gloves or bracelets!  By the way...does my kid ever wear any other shirt????

Cool idea ~ using a wood pallet to grow herbs and lettuce.  Just tightly secure landscaping material to the back, add some dirt and seeds and a pallet full of food will grow!

Honey~Do list...

Such a cool idea!

Flowers by my front door.  I am not a real fan of primroses but when I was at Sunnyside Nursery I noticed these cool double flowered primroses ~ so cute!  Even better, buy 10 or more and they only costs 99 cents each.  It is starting to look a little like spring now!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortilla

One of the best ways to stretch your monthly grocery budget is to cook from scratch.  Today I decided to try making flour tortillas.  I had everything on hand and was excited to use my lefse pan for something other than lefse!

Here's the ingredient this recipe used:

After mixing and kneading:


And the finished product...

Flour Tortillas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 t salt
1 ½ t baking powder
2 t vegetable oil
¾ cup warm milk
Stir together flours, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in the oil and warm milk (I warmed up in the microwave).  Gently knead for a couple of minutes until the dough is soft and supple.  (You may need to add a couple more tablespoons of flour to ward off the stickiness, but don’t overdo it.  Too much flour and the resulting tortillas will be tough.  Cover the dough with a clean dishtowel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.  Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll out, using as little flour as needed, into rough circles, about 8-inches in diameter and 1/4th to 1/8th inches thick.  Fry them on a hot cast iron skillet for about 45 seconds per side.  As you finish the tortillas, wrap them in a clean cloth.  Serve warm. 
So...what do I think?  They tasted good ~ especially with melted cheese....even my very picky favorite youngest daughter liked them.  That is until melted cheese dripped down her volleyball tshirt and left lots of grease stains; which meant that I had another load of laundry to do immediately (she needs to wear it to volleyball training tonight).

However, I am still testing this recipe because the person who orignally posted this recipe said that they could not be warmed up in the microwave.  I don't have time for finicky I am going to see just how they hold up to the microwave and being stored in the fridge.  I will keep you posted.

I originally found this recipe on this blog:  Please note...hers look better than mine but I will keep practicing.

Onion Update...

I replanted them all, set them on top of a heated grow mat and placed them under a grow light...they darn well better grow!
(Please cross your finger for me!)

Oh My! This Breakfast was Good!

I never have time on the weekdays to make I like to do a bit more on the weekends.  Today I wanted Dutch Babies which is a baked pancake.  I altered the recipe to make it a Weight Watcher friendly recipe.  Instead of topping it with butter, syrup and powdered sugar...I made an amazing blueberry sauce. 

Dutch Babies (Baked Pancake)

2 T. light butter
1 egg
3 egg whites
1 cup flour
1 cup milk, fat free or low fat

Preheat oven to 425°.  In a blender add the egg and egg whites and blend at high speed for 1 minute.  With the blender running on a lower speed, add the milk and flour and continue to blend for 30 more seconds.  In the meantime, add the butter to a 3 or 4 quart ceramic dish and put in the oven for 1 minute to melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, pour the batter into the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes.  1/4 of this baked pancake = 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus.

Berry Sauce
2 T sugar
1 ½ to 2 T cornstarch
2 cups berries (blueberries are my favorite)
1/3 cup water
1 T Lemon juice (optional)
There are 2 Weight Watcher Points Plus for this entire recipe.
Place blueberries (or berries of choice) into a saucepan; mash them up.  Add sugar and cornstarch and mix.  Add water and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Tastes wonderful over the Dutch Babies, pancakes, waffles, cheesecake, angel food cake, scones…and the list goes on.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Onion Failure

Three weeks ago I planted lot's of onion seeds...and now?


EXCEPT for these:

4 itty bitty onion start.

I am not giving up...I am planting another round.  I will keep you posted.

Weight Watchers Update

I though I had better post an update on my Weight Watchers's a slow journey!  I have lost 4.6 pounds the past 3 weeks.  I would like to lose it faster but I have been working on some bad habits and am pretty happy that I have not gained these past 3 weeks!

Here is my favorite Weight Watchers dessert so far:

       Banana Boat

1 banana split in half ~ lengthwise
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips (or any size you have on hand)
2 large marshmallows sliced in half

Gently spread the banana in half on a piece of tin foil.  Top with the chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Wrap the foil around the stuffed banana loosely.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

When you have a chocolate craving...this hits the spot plus you are still eating a fruit and it is only 3 points plus (based on my own calculations).

Apple Pie Baking in the Oven

On Sunday's I love to make a home-cooked dinner and is a great way to finish the weekend.  This past Sunday my hubby came home to the smell of apple pie baking in the oven.  The best part was ~ it was super easy due to the apple pie filling I had canned this past fall.

Apple Pie in a Jar

4 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
10 cups water
3 tbsp. lemon juice
7 quarts apples ~ peeled, cored and sliced

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stock pot.  Fill pot with hot water.  Sterilize (7) 1 quart canning jars, 7 lids and 7 rings by placing on rack, jars upright.  Bring water to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Remove with a holder and allow jars to air dry.  Save water for processing apples. 

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and water in a large saucepan.  Place over high heat and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Tightly pack apples into sterilized jars.  Slowly pour syrup over apples, covering them completely.  Gently tap jars on countertop to allow air bubbles to rise.  Screw lids on jars. 

Carefully lower jars into pots using a holder.  Leave a 2 inch space between jars.  Add more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water.  Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.  Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.  Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid shouldn’t move up or down at all).  Sealed jars can be stored for up to a year.

My Favorite Pie Crust

4 cups flour
1 ¾ cups shortening
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 egg
½ cup water

With a fork, mix together flour, shortening, sugar and salt.  In a separate dish, beat remaining ingredients.  Combine both mixtures with a fork until all ingredients are moist.  Using hands, mold dough into a ball and chill at least 15 minutes before rolling it into desired shape.  Dough can be left in the refrigerator for up to days or it can be frozen until ready to use.  Makes (2) 9-inch double pie crusts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy, Busy Shopping Day!

I woke up early Saturday morning and kept busy ALL day long.  First on the list...lots of grocery shopping.  In fact, in the last few days I have spent $205.00 of my $250.00 monthly grocery budget.  Yikes.  I splurged on a big chunk of beef...but we are out and this sunny weather we have been having has me craving a steak! 

To date I have spent $205.00.  Full retail would have been $493.20...saving $288.20.  I hope to spend what little I have left and get HUGE savings in the process.

I ordered these from Amazon.  I used free gift cards I earned using "Swag Bucks" and
only paid $2.06 for all four boxes of cereal...combined.

Next up ~ Target.  Full Retail: $40.55, Paid: $15.60 ~ 62% Savings

Franz Outlet Store.  Full Retail...unknown.  Paid: $13.00.  Saved at least 50%

Bartell Drugs had a couple of good deals...I do NOT like couponing at our Lake Stevens Bartell Drugs ~ the checkers are really big coupon snobs.  I always get attitude when I use coupons but I choose to ignore them, after's all about saving my money.  Full Retail: $16.96, Paid $3.56 ~ 79% Savings.

Haggen rocked this week.  I LOVE these Johnsville Chicken Sausage and I was able to pick up each package for $1.50 using a coupon with a sale.  Normally each package cost $4.79...what a great savings!  Full Retail: $69.52, Paid: $26.64 ~ 62% Savings

Rite Aid was my "go-to" place for snacks.  Full Retail: $23.50.  By using coupons and past "UP" rewards...I only paid $5.26 ~ 78% savings.

Everett Cash & Carry had some good prices on basics.  Not shown are the 7 bananas I bought.  That blob of red is a top sirloin that we turned into 7 dinners worth of steaks and 5 dinners worth of fajitas.  Full Retail: $126.07, Paid: $62.02 ~ 51% Savings. 

I did two transactions at Walgreens:  #1 included the (4) Alka Seltzer Plus and the (6) candies (which I got for free using a coupoon)  Full Retail: $32.43, Paid: $9.43 ~ 71% savings BUT I got a $5.00 Register Reward as well which I used on transaction #2.  #2 includes the (2) Head and Shoulder shampoo.  Full Retail: $12.81, Paid: $3.83 ~ 70% Savings.

Safeway had a couple of good deals.  The mustard was buy 1 get one free...and it would have been even a better price if I had remembered to use my darn coupon that I left in my back pocket...ugh!  Full Retail: $33.54,  Paid: $16.82 ~ 50% Savings

Fred Meyers had a good deal on the dog food I use.  Buy 24 ~ get a $3.00 register reward.  Taking that into account along with my (2) $2.00/12 coupons...I dropped the per price from 75 cents to 46 cents.  Full Retail: $26.97,   Paid $22.20 ~ 16% Savings....Plus I received a $3.00 off coupon for my next visit.

Did anyone else get that fantastic Michaels coupon???  It was get $5.00 off a purchase of at least $5.00.  To me that means...FREE!  I was able to get the icing colors for free plus I bought some butter flavoring to get me over the $5.00 mark.  Full Retail: $6.98, Paid: $1.98 ~ 78% Savings.

Thanks for letting me ramble.  I am not going to do anymore big shopping trips this month but I will be keeping my eyes open for some freebies.