Saturday, September 26, 2009

Have you seen this new website?

I've been using coupons for quite some time but one thing I've found is that the coupons are regional and sometimes so are the sales. This makes using a lot of sites difficult and even depressing sometimes. Those who are lucky enough to live in areas that have CVS pharmacy, Super Target and other stores that have great sales and are really competeing with each other....well, I guess you could say I'm a little jealous! LOL!

In our area, we have the choice of Walmart (Arkansas is Walmart country), Sam's Club, a small Target, Walgreens and a couple of regional stores called Harps/Price Cutter and CV's Family Foods. Thankfully we now have an Aldi's that does save us a little money as well.

Anyway, I've also noticed our coupons are not always the same as other regions of the country which makes this site even better. It only has coupons that were available in our area. It's new and growing so be patient but if you live in the Arkansas/Oklahoma might help you too! It's called River Valley Steals & Deals. Check it might like it.

Have a great day!

Mavis D.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

So....did you notice on Monday I didn't have a menu plan for the week? By Tuesday evening I noticed I didn't have one! I've been officially planning our menu for a little over a month now and this past week I just didn't get it done and I paid for it too.

The menu plan has helped me be a little more organized than usual when it comes to meal time. I know what I need to take out and I'm not searching at 4pm for something to fix for dinner. It also helps me plan around our basketball schedule because we usually have crockpot meals on those days.

If you haven't tried menu planning, why not try it. The way I started was to sit down and make a list of all the meals I make for our family. By the time I was finished I had a list of somewhere around 30 meals! Whoo Hooo! One for each day of the month! That would make planning a lot easier.

Almost all of the meals I make are made from items I normally have in the pantry and planning the menu on Sunday allows me to stop after church to pick up the items I'll need. This all makes for fewer trips to town (we live 12 miles from the nearest SMALL town) and one relaxed mom!

There are other ways to make menu planning easy and might be helpful to those with less experience. A friend of mine uses Saving Dinner but there are others out there that are similar. There are also programs that allow you to type in your recipes and then choose the ones you want to have for that week....many of those programs also have a shopping list function that after you've chose the meals you can print a "grocery" list from the ingredients. There are lots of programs to buy that do this but there are also several free programs. I recommend checking out the free ones first before buying one.

Do you have any menu planning suggestions? Share them with us!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Basketball practice starts this week so a couple of our meals will have to be easier than usual.

Monday - meatloaf, homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans

Tuesday - Scalloped potatoes and turkey ham in the crock-pot

Wednesday - Taco Salad (taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, tortilla chips) served with refried beans and sour cream

Thursday - Hot turkey ham & cheese sandwiches with side salad.

Friday - Homemade pepperoni & veggie pizza

Monday, September 7, 2009

Make Your Own Ketchup

Make it Yourself Monday

We've had a hard time finding ketchup without HFCS so I've decided to try my hand at making my own. I found a few different recipes and this one seems to be the best fit for us. It may have a little more garlic than you'd like but we like lots of garlic so it's not a problem for us. :)

I do think that once you try homemade ketchup, you'll end up preferring it, I know our family does and the cost savings is great!

Since I was also wanting to address cost, one requirement for the recipe had to be that it used tomato paste or sauce because it's cheap and easily stored. So, with out further delay, here is our favorite ketchup recipe!

2 6oz cans of tomato paste
4 tablespoons white vinegar (I accidentally used white wine vinegar but it still tastes ok)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons garlic powder (you can cut this back to one if your family isn't crazy about garlic)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/8 teaspoons all spice
1 teaspoon sea salt (we prefer sea salt but regular table salt is fine)
2 1/2 cups of water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on low heat for one hour until it's as thick as you like. Allow it to cool completely before you pour into bottles....especially if you are using plastic bottles!

This recipe yields about 1 quart of Ketchup at a cost of less than $1 and all of the items it calls for are regularly stored in my pantry.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm trying to get a little more organized in our kitchen and to make menu planning easier. Last night, I wrote a list of main dishes we usually have to see exactly how many we have. I ended up with over 25 meals that our family enjoys. I want to make sure that we allow some days for trying new things but I'll be using that list to help build our menu for the week. Let's see how it goes!

Monday - Burgers (on homemade buns), oven fries and cantaloupe

Tuesday - Crock-pot Beef Stew with crackers

Wednesday - Lasagna & salad

Thursday - Baked chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and cantaloupe

Friday - Homemade pizza (We have this every Friday and I don't even have to make it! Our 17 year old son is the pizza maker in our family....he also loves to bake cookies!)

What will you be having?