Sunday, January 31, 2010

As my 2nd Freezer Cooking Day draws to a close, I am finished! Here is what I accomplished:
Pancakes 4xs
Bone Broth Soup
2 Roasted Chickens
1 batch of sugar cookies
Vanilla Wafer Cookies 2xs
20 mini hamburger rolls
I never got to the pizza pockets! Oh well. My freezer is packed! Many other people participating in these cooking days seem to have planned on making whole meals or at least part of a meal. At this point, our meals are very simple, so there usually isn't a lot of prep for them besides remembering to take the meat out of the freezer. Plus my boys don't seem to be eating a wide variety of foods lately. I will have to work on that. I do enjoy having homemade baked goodies in the freezer for lunches and having a ton of bone broth on hand is such a time saver. As a full time working outside the home(school year only!), freezer cooking has been helping me stay a bit more sane!

Hannaford Deals 1/31 - 2/6

I feel it is a slow week for great deals at Hannaford this week. Here is what I am definitely making a trip for:

85% Lean Ground Beef - $1.79/lb
Homestyle Roasting Chicken - .59/lb

Price Chopper Deals 1/31-2/6

here are the good deals that I see at Price Chopper this week:

Fresh Blueberries - B1G1F
Fresh Bagels - buy 6 get 6 free
Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn - B1G1F
Maxwell House Coffee $4.99 with isave coupon
Hillshire Farms Smoked links - B1G1f
Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs - B1G1F
Skippy Peanut Butter - $2.00
Quaker Life Cereal, Oat Squares, or Mini Delights rice cakes - 2/$5
Capri Sun Fruit Drinks 10 pack - $2
1/2 price Thomas' bagels or mini bagels
Farm Rich Appetizers all varieties - B1G1F

Also in the flyer this week - "Double any colgate coupon"Coupon and 2 "Double any manufacturer's coupon" Coupon

Freezer Cooking - Day 2

Another day to cook. Unfortunately I have no energy at this point. I am hoping I will hit my stride later today. We have lunch at my parents and then I am hoping to get some cooking in after that. Here is my list for today:

Vanilla Wafer cookies 2xs
Pancakes 4xs
Pizza Pockets
Finish up the Bone Broth

My bone broth has been simmering for about 15 hours and as soon as it cools a bit, I am going to strain it. I'll keep some aside for this week and the rest I will freeze. Pancakes are up for our dinner tonight so I can just make a lot of extras and freeze for breakfasts. Vanilla wafer cookies will hopefully get done later this afternoon. I also still have my usual Sunday night chores of getting things ready for the week. I do want to boil up a few eggs for lunches for me and I was hoping to make some fresh juice for Steve. What a busy day! Plus, the downstairs still needs a cleaning and laundry has to be folded and put away. Thank god for Steve who actually does the laundry for all of us!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freezer Cooking Mid-Point Check in

alright, I am in freezer cooking mode. I have made hamburger rolls and 2 roasted chickens. I have sugar cookies in the oven and big batch of bone broth soup simmering on the stove top. I am going to attempt pancakes and pizza pockets tomorrow. I also got the upstairs of the house cleaned! The kids have been cooperative and have been entertaining themselves until about 20 minutes ago. I guess it is time to go play with some children!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Freezer Cooking

Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom are hosting another Freezer Day(s) January 29th -February 2nd. I have big plans for this weekend. In addition to the usual weekend chores of cleaning and laundry, I will be cooking up a storm. I have never really been as ambitious as Crystal and Jessica but I do have a few food items planned for this weekend. Here is my list:

Hamburger rolls
Pizza Pockets
Vanilla Wafer cookies
Sugar Cookies
2 roasted chickens
Bone broth(made from the roasted chickens)

I am sure I will think of more to add to this list as the weekend progresses. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Price Chopper Deals Week 1/24-1/30

Price Chopper has a lot of good sales on their meat this week. Here is what I think are the best meat deals:

Boneless Bottom Sirloin Steak $1.99/lb
Boneless Chicken Breast $1.99/lb
Boneless Pork Loin $1.99/lb
Cook's Spiral Sliced Ham $1.69/lb
80% lean ground beef $2.49/lb.
Hatfield Traditional ham Steak 2/$5

I am most definitely using my extra grocery money to stock up on some of these deals! Remember join Price Chopper's facebook page and you could also see some exclusive coupons!

Last Week of Eat From the Pantry Challenge

Alright - the last week is here and all I can say is thank god! We went over our $400 a week budget but not by much. I want to try and keep our grocery budget to $500 a month for the next two months. Here is what we will be eating this week:

Choice of cereal, toast or bagels
Boys: Cheese and crackers, PBJ sandwiches, leftovers
Me: salads
Steve Soup and salads
Hamburgers(using my new slider grill!)
london broil
leftovers 2Xs

I am glad that this month is just about over and I am still left with money leftover. Price Chopper has some fab deals on meat and I am going to use some of the leftover money to stock up on that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eating From the Pantry Challenge- Week 4 (almost)

It is just about the last week of the Eating From the Pantry Challenge and thank god for that! I am scrambling for lunches and snacks for the boys. I have decided not to buy any more lunch meat and they can't have peanut butter at their school because of the number of kids that have peanut allergies. I do a happy dance anytime I see they are going to buy their lunch at the school. Any ideas would greatly be appreciated! I tried a recipe for homemade graham crackers and not one of my kids would even try them. Tonight we made homemade vanilla wafer cookies. The general consensus was that they were yummy. I also made pizza bites. Basically I used our regular pizza dough recipe, rolled it out in a square, made half a white pizza and half a regular pizza. I then cut it into smaller pieces and rolled them up. I then brushed them with a little olive oil and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top. I did have some problems rolling them up and pinching the ends to stay closed. They certainly don't look like the frozen kind you can buy but I know exactly what is in them! No one had any complaints eating them at dinner. I also dug out a package of gluten free pizza dough for me. I made a white pizza with a little basil and tomatoes for me. I guess these recipes have been the extent of my creativeness this month (besides the chicken soup). It is really hard to be creative when your kids refuse to eat much. Lately, I feel it is a fight every meal to get them to eat. My middle kid has been especially picky this month. He has gone a few nights not eating anything at all because I refuse to give him a separate meal. He did tell me he would be willing to eat applesauce, cut up apples or french fries! Let's cross our fingers and hope this is a stage!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here it is, the middle of the third week of Eating From Your Pantry and my pantry is EMPTY! I ran out to the grocery store tonight and got some good deals to restock but I am now officially out of grocery money for the month. I did my shopping at two stores and I was really careful about what I bought. Here is the break down:


Helavua Good cheese 2 @ 2.19
Keebler Club crackers with cheese 2.00
Nabisco yogurt covered pretzels 2.00
Nabisco 100 calorie mini chocolate cookies 2.00 plus the package had an instant !.50 off coupon!
Roasting Chicken 3.37
4 pack Star Kist tuna fish 2.79
8 lb bag oranges 4.99
Total spent including coupon 20.03

Price Chopper
4 packages of Price Chopper brand frozen veggies 1.00 a bag
Gallon of skim milk 2.57
2 boxes Pop secret popcorn 3.19(B1G1F)
Price Chopper brand individual applesauce 1.50
3 london broils - 1.99/lb
2 Dole Salad 3.49 (B1G1F)
2 Wheat breads 3.39 (B1G1F)
2 cans of pears 1.oo each
can pineapple 1.29
4 pack Danactivn yogurt 2.89 (1 off coupon)
5lb bag grapefruit 2.99
bag of pears 2.99
plum tomatoes .99/lb
fiber one yogurt 2.79 (1 off coupon)
18 eggs 1.78
Price Chopper brand french fries 1.99
Total Spent 48.22

Altogether I spent 68.25. Obviously this is lower than my 100 a week goal but if I added all of what I spent the rest of the month the total is: 454.57 a little over my 400/month goal. I really am going to try and make it until the end of the month before I go back to the grocery store. I still have 200 left to restock. Now if I could spend only 450/month all of the other months of the year!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Target Deals

Target has a good deal on Fiber One Bars this week. They are $2.33 a box. Use a .40 coupon off of 1 box found here and they are $1.93. This is a lot less than they normally are. I was able to print out 2 of these .40 off coupons plus I had a $1.00 off 2 boxes coupon, that I can't remember where I got it. I got four boxes for only $7.52.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eat From Your Pantry Week 3 Menu Plan

Alright, the third week! It is starting to be more of a challenge this week but I do have one dinner we didn't eat last week to roll over to this week AND my birthday is Friday so we are having my family over and ordering out(money for this is coming out of our Birthday envelope). I was able to pick up ground beef this past shopping trip and have been able to add some variety to our menu. Each week is starting to look the same to me!

cereal, pancakes, toast or bagel

Same as always!

Roasted Chicken 2xs
Grilled cheese or egg sandwich
My b-day - ordering out!

Rice cakes

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Grocery Shopping

As we enter week three of Eat From the Pantry Challenge, I am definitely feeling the "Challenge" part. I really thought I had more food than I did. We are pretty much out of meat, flour, eggs, milk, butter, etc. I still have a lot in my cupboards for side dishes and breakfasts. I made a few different shopping trips this week in order to take advantage of some good sales.

First up Walmart -
3 bags Birds Eye Steamed frozen vegetables - 1.25 each - used $1.00 off 3 bags coupon
2 pack Colgate toothpaste - $3.00 - used .75 off coupon

Total spent - $5.00

Next was Price Chopper. I wouldn't list EVERYTHING I bought but I did get some good deals. Ground beef was on sale for $1.99 a pound so I bought about 5 pounds. I haven't seen ground beef on sale for awhile and we haven't had red meat in quite sometime. I spent a total of $127.85 but with coupons and sale prices subtract, I spent out of pocket $98.59. Not bad but still with the Walmart run added in, I am 3.59 over budget this week. Steve also ran to the store once for a few supplies I had forgotten and we now have about $75 left for the last week. I think we can make it but the last week will be challenging!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Decluttering- weekend results

I had planned on going through all of the kids' toys and books this weekend. I didn't realize what a big chore it turned out to be! I managed to go through the boys' bedrooms and with their help, decluttered their toys and books. My younger two sons had no problem parting with many toys no one uses, books no one reads, they even cleaned out their "special" drawers. Each boy has a drawer in their nightstands that they like to keep little knick knacks and other things they feel are very special to them. My oldest son didn't part with very much at all. In fact he insisted on keeping his valentine's that he got in kindergarten (he is now in 3rd grade!). Oh well, he must take after me. Anyways, I did get three bags to donate to the daycare, a bag for the salvation army, a bag to toss, and a few things to tuck away in their baby boxes. It definitely took more time than I imagined and what with our regular weekend chores, I never got to the toy box in our family room. I figured I have a whole year for this decluttering plan, so waiting until next weekend is no big deal. So, new plan, next week I will tackle the toy box in the family room and the basement shelves the weekend after that.

Week 2 of the Eating From The Pantry Challenge

Week 2 finds me with a pretty bare refrigerator and empty cabinets. The masses are clambering for food! We made it through the first week with no problems. The second week is another story. Maybe I don't have as much food stored up as I thought. It is definitely going to be a challenge to stay at $400 for groceries this month. I keep trying to think of what I want to spend the extra $250 that I should have leftover from our grocery budget. There are so many things I could spend it on. I think, I will end up spending it stocking up on some good deal next month. I also want to use some of it towards so organic foods, replenish my cleaning supplies(essential oils, Dr Bronner's soaps, etc) as well as some herbs for teas. Here is what we will be eating for Week 2:

pancakes, cereal, toast or bagels

same as last week

Waffles with fruit
Individual Pizzas and salads
Scrambled eggs or eggs and sausage muffin

goldfish, vanilla wafers,cookies, smoothies, fruit

For more menu planning ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grocery Shopping Trip

As we enter the second week of the Eat From Your Pantry Challenge, my freezers, refrigerator and cupboards are quite bare! I went to three places today in hopes of replenishing our foods. As I posted early, I am on a strict diet and I am also trying to avoid foods with red dye 40. It is amazing how many yogurts geared towards kids have red dye 40!!! Any ways, I did pretty good sticking to our $100 a week budget. Because I did really well at Target and Aldi's, I am going to bore you all and give you the break down!
Target Trip
Bought 2 Juicey Juice 8 pack juice boxes for 2.25 each
Bought 2 bottles of Juicey Juice for 2.25 each
Yo-baby yogurt - 2.29
Coupons used -
2 Target coupons - $1 off 2 Juicey Juice
Stacked with 2 MFR coupon - $1 of 2 Juicey Juice
1 $.40 off yo-baby yogurt
Total Spent: 6.89

5 Grapefruits - .39 each
Broccoli - 1.59
2 packages of peppers - 2.59 each
bag of onions .99
Bag of apples $2.39
Bananas .99
Box of Saltines .89
bag of mini marshmallows .69
Bag of baby carrots 1.19
2 bags of salad 1.99 each
Gallon of milk $2.09
2 containers of grape tomatoes 1.99 each
Box of vanilla wafers $1.99
2 dozen eggs $1.17 each
Package of cheese 1.99
can of black olives $1.19

Total: 32.72

I also spent 40.40 at Walmart bringing the week's total to $80.01. Not bad! Best part of my shopping trip - I went with a good friend and had a coffee and adult interaction:) Now off to make cookies with my youngest.

Eating Healthy

I have found a very informative website aimed at helping people eat healthy foods that do not have all of the additives and preservative our society has decided to add to our foods. Check out Nourished Life here. I am taking baby steps to overhaul my family's nutrition and I would love to wean us off foods that contain unhealthy additives and preservatives while keeping our grocery costs down. Currently I am trying to avoid all products with yeast, sugar, dairy(to some degree) and any processed foods. It is difficult to do especially since we are in the middle of our Eating From The Pantry Challenge. I am planning on using our left over grocery money from this month to try and stock up on some healthy alternatives but in the mean time i am trying to do the best I can. This will certainly be a learning process but I truly think our overall health will be most improved from this diet change.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I spent a lot of time over the Christmas break trying to organize different parts of my house. I was able to get the toy closet in good shape, clean out my sock drawer(for some reason this is the drawer I stash things in!), organize my craft closet a bit, clean out the linen closet and under my bathroom sink, and organize the Christmas decorations. I definitely have a ways to go in the decluttering though. I love the idea of getting reid of at least one thing each day for the next year. For more specifics go here. I don't think I will actually get rid on one thing a day but I will try and spend some time in the next few weeks going through different parts of our house and get rid of things we no longer use or need. I hate throwing things away since our landfills are already bursting. I would rather try and find new homes for our things or recycle them if we can.
Seriously though, we have so much stuff it is amazing! Half the stuff we are no using but it is certainly taking up space. I do have to admit I am a bit of a pack rat and have a tendency to not let things go. If I look around our basement, there are boxes and boxes of textbooks left over from my college years. Why do I still need them? Since I haven't done anything with them except move them a zillion times in the last, ahem 16 years, I think it is time to let them go. I plan on helping the kids declutter their rooms and our toybox this weekend. My youngest son's daycare is having a toy drive to help replenish their toys. It would be a perfect place to donate toys no one wants anymore and help declutter our house. Next week I want to try and tackle the basement. We have a few shelves up that are filled and I would like to clean them out and use them to store all of the food I have stocked up on. That is, if we have any extra left after our month of eating from the pantry!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cleaning Closets

An annual activity that I always feel compelled to complete this time of year is cleaning out closets and storage spaces. I tackled the kids' toy closet last week; today was our linen closet and under our bathroom sink. Would you believe I found 6 deodorants and 8 toothbrushes?! I threw away more expired medicine than I imagined we even had. I found leftover iron pills I ahd to take after my youngest, who is now 4, was born. Wow, apparently I haven't really looked under the sink in awhile!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Menu Plan - Week 1

Alright - here is what we will be eating this week -


toast, cereal, pancakes, or eggs


Soup for Dad
Soup and salads for Mom
Kids- some days the bigger boys are buying, other days I still am trying to come up with ideas. Maybe cheese and crackers, leftover pasta, leftover pizza, grilled cheese, or BP&J.


Ham with scallop potatoes
Individual Pizzas - Mom and Dad - roasted peppers, oldest boy - white pizza, littler boys - regular, salad, carrots, and fruit
Chicken with mash potatoes, veggie and fruit
Pasta with egg and parm. cheese and salad
Leftovers (pasta and chicken)
Kielbasa with rice and veggies
Homemade Waffles


Popsicles (my kids are addicted even in the cold weather!)
Bread and butter

For ideas and menus, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie's website here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A month of meals

I have been thinking and planning for the Eat From The Pantry Challenge. I think,as I stated before, we will try and spend $100 a week, mostly on perishables, and try and eat the core of our meals from the pantry. I sat down earlier today and tried to plan out a month menu. It really was difficult to figure out what we are doing for the entire month AND plan our meals around our activities. Instead, I decided to take inventory of the main courses we already have in the freezers and list out 27 meals. This way, each week I can pick from this master list. I only have to plan 29 meals because I already planned the 1st and the 2nd's menu, plus we will be getting together with my family 2 times this month to celebrate my sister and my birthdays.
Here is what I found in our freezers:

3 Kielbasas and 9 meals worth of chicken
Wow, not a lot. I really thought I had more meat in the freezers. Maybe there will be a super sale on meat this month! I am planing on adding the following meals to my list:

Pasta 4X
Homemade Pancakes 2X
Homemade Waffles 2X
Homemade Pizza 2X

Now I just have to come up with 6 more meals. I am thinking grilled cheese and soup, maybe ground meat will be on sale one week this month, and eggs for another night. I am trying to come up with lunches for the boys and I am having trouble thinking of things to pack for them. I am trying to stay away from lunch meat because of the additives and preservatives that are in them. I have been packing cheese and crackers and left over pizza for them. I think I could get away with leftover cold pasta for my oldest and a cold grilled cheese for the youngest. Breakfasts are easy - cereal, toast, bagel or pancakes. We have a lot of bread and bagels in the freezer and I have a good stash of cereal. I think that I just need to commit to planning out each week, cook some of the food ahead of time (pancakes, waffles, pizza dough), and making sure we follow through!

Eat From the Pantry

Some blogs are hosting Eat from the Pantry Challenge for this month. Check out Life as Mom here. While I certainly can't avoid the grocery store all month, I decided, with support from hubby, to only spend $100 a week this month for perishables. This way I can certainly use up some of my stockpile but still have fresh healthy foods. I need to sit down and plan out what we are going to eat this month - a month menu! I have been struggling with completing a weekly menu lately so a month will be a challenge. I also am going to try out a few new recipes for snacks for the kids. I have been really exploring the whole food movement and really want to concentrate on avoid a lot of the preservatives and food dyes found in many snack foods. I will be sharing by monthly menu as soon as I can made one up! Meanwile, I still have to pack up all of the holiday decorations, take down the tree(I have been itching to do this since December 26th!), entertain some friends this afternoon, play with my boys and enjoy the last few days until it is back to the grind!