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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekly Menu 9/29+


chicken spaghetti
garlic bread

pork ribs
baked beans
cucumbers in sour cream

garlic bread

ham cheddar & red onion bread pudding
fruit salad

really ez mexican casserole

leftover chicken casserole
sliced tomatoes

cheeseburger pizza

Grocery Deals 9/26+

Sprouts           boneless thighs 1.97/lb, red seedless grapes .77/lb, apples .99/lb, pears .99/lb, strawberries $2/lb, lettuce .99, avocados .50 (vs $1 Randalls & HEB), squash .99/lb, green beans .99/lb

Randalls         t-bone steak 5.99/lb, 85% lean ground meat 2.79/lb, cake mix .99 (with coupon). 
If you haven’t looked into ‘coupons for u’ at Randalls, I can recommend it, they had a coupon that allowed me to buy milk for $1.99/gallon which is the lowest I’ve seen it in quite a while.  It was in a section labeled personalized coupons or something like that. 

HEB                 pears .77/lb, tomatoes .98/lb, whole chicken .77/lb, pork chops 1.97/lb

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frugal Friday--Half Price Books

Since J had a tip on Tuesday I thought she could finish off the week with a follow up she had after the Frugal Friday  subscriptions post.

I discovered that if you take your magazine in to a Half Price Books store, you can receive a few bucks for it.  Of course, the more current the magazine, the better the return.  I took a stack in yesterday and received enough to pick up a Hardy Boys book for my son.  That was a nice trade!

Keep those magazines rolling through your house!  Thanks for sharing extra tips!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weekly Menu 9/22+


creamy fettuccine with bacon & mushrooms

pork roast
mashed potatoes
green beans
bunny blondies

slow cooker brisket bbq chili
yogurt & apples

farmers market chicken skillet

pulled pork sandwiches
cabbage slaw

grilled chicken
grilled corn

lasagna pizza

Grocery Deals 9/19+

Sprouts    85% ground beef 2.99/lb., strawberries 1.25/lb., grapes 1.50/lb., gala apples (vs 1.47 HEB), cluster tomatoes 1.25/lb, red/green bell peppers .50, onions .50/lb., cabbage .50/lb., red potatoes .50/lb., green beans .99/lb., lettuce .99, boneless chicken 1.97/lb.,
                  Thursday/Friday only: Colby jack 1.99/lb., ozarka water 2.99, pineapple $1, avocados .33, boneless thighs 1.67/lb.
              Thursday noon-2pm at Great Hills only: 15% off your entire order if you say “I Love Sprouts” during checkout. 
HEB          pears .97/lb., grapes .98/lb., mushrooms 2.50/lb., pineapple 2.50, STL pork ribs 1.97/lb., TX beef ribs 1.97/lb., legs/thighs $1/lb. (vs 1.49 Randalls)
Randalls    country style pork ribs 1.99/lb., 93% lean ground beef 2.99/lb., pears .99/lb.
                Friday only: rotisserie chicken $5

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday--Halloween Costumes

I received this great reader tip from J.  She always seems to have great ideas around the holidays and I'm quite thankful for her input.  

I want to share that it’s a great time to clean out the old Halloween costumes.  Take them to a children’s consignment store this month and receive a few bucks for them.  Or, have a costume swap and swap costumes with friends so that everyone has something new to wear. Also, you can find new gently used costumes at the consignment stores or go to Goodwill for fresh ideas.  Party City often offers a coupon/discount in Sept. for brand new costumes.  Be on the lookout for it in the paper and save a few bucks. 

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Middle Age Dinner

Early last week J started telling me about how during the Middle Ages they didn't have silverware to eat with.  The number two thing we get on him about during meal times is not using his utensils.  Number one is talking with food in his mouth, but that's not as relevant to this story.  :)

So we laughed and I said next time he wasn't using his fork I would remind him we weren't in the Middle Ages anymore.  Then he asked if we could have a Middle Ages party, chicken legs and other foods.  

Last night we had just that.  I invited our neighbors over to share in the fun, but apparently texting an invite about coming to a middle age party is not as inviting via text.  You can add that to the list of things you shouldn't text about.  Also on that list: Your brother in law was hit by a bus, but will be fine.  Once K understood it was the Middle Ages not a middle age party they were in.  

Here's a few glimpses of our menu, all things you could eat with your hands.

You'll notice that the very brown items in the bottom right corner were not always that way. They started out as frozen tater tots.  
We decided the extra crispiness lent to the authenticity of the tough times of the serfs of the day.  Ok, so it's not likely anything they had in the Middle Ages, but it was definitely something that we could eat with no silverware.  

Did you know that if you cook tater tots for too long the potatoes inside evaporate into nothing?  

K added in some bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, and a loaf of bread that we tore with our hands, then her daughter realized we could use the bread as napkins.  

We topped it off with smores. 
What you don't think the serfs had marshmallows in the Middle Ages?  Well the middle class, middle aged people sure enjoyed them last night.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weekly Menu 9/15+


smoked chicken
cauliflower mac & cheese
green beans

mexican black bean lasagna


ranch chicken
baked potatoes

chili mac

chicken fried rice
egg rolls
mandarin oranges

bacon, corn & poblano pizza

Grocery Deals 9/12+

HEB            Sirloin steak 2.97/lb, breakfast sausage 2.50, chicken fajitas 1.97/lb, chicken breasts $1/lb, tomatoes .98/lb, plums .88/lb, tangleos .77/lb, grapes .98/lb, potatoes $4/8#
Randalls    chicken legs/thighs .88/lb, boneless chicken 1.99/lb, ground turkey buy 1 get 1 free, pork chops 1.79/lb, pot roast 2.99/lb, 90% lean ground beef 2.99/lb, strawberries 2.49/lb, broccoli .99/lb, gala apples .99/lb (vs 1.69 Sprouts), granny smith apples .99/lb, barilla pasta 1.25, frozen fish patties 2.99.
With coupon: Prego 1.49
Friday only: NY strip $5/lb., sugar 10#/$5
Sprouts     cantaloupe .99,grapes .88/lb, kiwi .20, oranges .88/lb, pears .88/lb,  avocados .88, roma tomatoes .88/lb, green beans .99/lb, broccoli .99/lb, celery .99, spinach .99, red/green bell peppers .33, lettuce .99, pork chops or roast 1.99/lb, country style pork ribs 1.99/lb (vs. 2.49/lb Randalls), pork sausage 2.99/lb (I have a lot of sausage recipes coming up just FYI). 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tip Tuesday--Gift Exchange

It's not quite Christmas in July anymore, but the next time you go into a large retailer you will no doubt be bombarded with any number of the upcoming holidays, including Christmas.  

Don't get me wrong I love Christmas and am very much looking forward to it this year because J, C & c will be visiting starting on the 26th.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Great Noodle Caper of '12

I like to think that my life is pretty well organized on a daily basis, it's fun living in this fantasy world, please don't wake me... so a few months ago when Mr. N at church asked if the Women would help with the celebration for Pastor K's 25 years in ministry event, I checked with the board and they all agreed it would be fun to help out... little did I know then.  

Oh and sorry there are no pictures today...

We decided on a menu based on what K likes the most and we did manage to avoid a full carb load (noodles, brown beans, potato salad, and bread) to go along with the BBQ that the Men would be cooking. We would add in cole slaw instead of the potato salad and we quickly came to our senses that we would buy the slaw.  I had the great idea of buying the slaw from a BBQ place in town.

We also switched out the brown beans for green beans, but as every good Lutheran knows you can't have a meal with more than 100 people without serving noodles.  THE noodles.

That was fine.  Mrs. Pastor K, T, picked up the noodles from the sweet ladies down in Serbin where they make them by hand.  Serbin is where all the good Texas Lutherans come from.  They are nice, and well how can I saw this politely, German women who are over 60 and well they have some pretty strong opinions about how things are supposed to be done.  So T received a great deal of instruction on HOW these noodles were to be prepared and they even questioned if she would be ABLE to prepare them.  She said they were concerned when she left.  The instructions were handy because there is a consistency thing we needed to be prepared for.  I've eaten these noodles at lots of events and one thing is true, they are as consistent as the women who make them.

Sometime early last week I learned that I was a bit more in charge of things that I had originally suspected.  That was fine, because I was ready to step in and do the work, and I had the added benefit of not completely stressing about feeding 650-700 people.  Yeah.  I didn't make a typo there.  BUT Oh my gosh, what had I gotten into.  That was clue number 1 that I was not so together.

Thursday I went in and met with the school kitchen chef and learned how to operate all the big stuff in the kitchen.  

On Friday T reported that the chicken base had been driven in from Thorndale.  Thank goodness, cuz I didn't even know we needed that.  Clue #2, there's special chicken base???

T typed out the instructions and sent them to all of us since she would be a bit tied up in church that day, but she was able to come into the kitchen a couple of times and check on us.  

Tensions were high because it takes a long time to bring 14 quarts of water to a boil.  That was what we would need for pot #1 of 5, but we got the water hot early and kept it just below a boil.  

I should also mention that none of the women working the kitchen this morning had ever made these noodles, but many people came by the kitchen asking if we'd be having noodles.  One person was helpful enough to mention that whatever we did, we'd better not make soup.  Thanks, like I needed the extra pressure.  

So we set about to make the first 'test pot' of noodles about 10:30, the first meals were to be served at 11.  
  1. Bring 14 quarts of water to a boil, check.  
  2. Add chicken base and return to a boil, check.  
  3. Add 5 bags of noodles and boil 10 minutes, check.  
  4. Add 1 stick of butter, check.  
  5. Let stand 10 minutes, check.  
  6. Sprinkle with parsley, stir and serve.  
Uhhhh, the only thing I saw in the pot was soup.  The very thing I'd been warned NOT to make.  Swell.  

That's when the hero of the story steps in.  L had just arrived with 30 gallons of coleslaw.  Yes, 30 gallons.  We could have gotten by with 20-25 gallons in case you were curious.  

He immediately went into male problem solving mode and I couldn't have been more thankful.  He figured out that the proportions we had going were all off and that we needed 12 bags of noodles for 14 quarts of water.  We were WAY short of bags in pot #1.  I'm not exactly sure how he got that first pot 'right', cuz I just got out of the way and tended to other things.  

Never mind that people are pacing outside the kitchen wanting to know when we are going to start serving.  L kept his cool and figured it out in a flash and in the end they tasted just like everyone expected them to.  Whew, disaster averted!

S was a great help too with the green beans.  If you need help feeding a really big crowd, call L, he's your man.  If you want to come over for dinner, I can take care of you just fine, but put L in a commerical kitchen and he will shine.  

Oh and we had very few leftovers.  :)

I think the ladies from Serbin should send out trainers, supervisors, or some sort of hands-on help from now on for the rookies like me.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Frugal Friday--Use Your Subscriptions

Maybe not everyone is like me, ok yes, I can hear you laughing from here.  

Ok, so thankfully not everyone is like me.  

The idea of this post though is to be sure you are getting the most from your subscription dollars.    Whether it is netflix, magazines, newspaper, gaming site, cell phone package (I'll be cautious here, to keep my day job :)).  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weekly Menu 9/8+


cheesy turkey stromboli

grilled chicken
green beans
baked potatoes
ez peanut butter cookies

potato kielbasa skillet

chicken n dumplings

ez sloppy joes
salad w/ avocado
corn chips

chicken broccoli stroganoff
sliced tomatoes

french bread pizza
orange fluff

Grocery Deals 9/5+

Sprouts  cantaloupe .99, grapes 1.49/lb, kiwi .25, strawberries 2.50/lb, avocados .33 (vs $1 Randalls), onions .50/lb, red potatoes .50/lb, green onions .50, green bell peppers .50, broccoli .99/lb, green beans .99/lb, lettuce .99, tomatoes .99/lb, cauliflower 1.25, Atlantic salmon fillets 4.99/lb,
In case you’ve ever wanted to try out buffalo it’s on sale this week.  Ground starts out at 6.99/lb, roast is 9.99/lb, steak 16.99/lb and filet 34.99/lb. 

HEB         cantaloupe .98, pears .98/lb, peaches .98/lb, red bell peppers .50 (vs .99 Sprouts), organic salad mix 3.98/16oz (vs Sprouts 3.49/10oz), TX beef ribs 1.97/lb, pork chops 1.97/lb, HEB ice cream 3.50

Randalls   there was nothing I could recommend this week. L

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tip Tuesday--Back to School Chaos

We have now completed two and a half weeks of school and I'm thankful for the first holiday.  It's been an interesting start and not without plenty of chaotic moments that really reached it's hilarious peak Thursday the 23rd, and then caused me to rethink how things were clearly not working and make a new plan. 

I've enjoyed the summer break of not driving to Austin everyday since my neighbor K is doing the driving for me by taking J with her to the daycare where she works during the summers. It's a wonderful break and I am ever so thankful to her.  

Reality set in mid-August and we were back to our normal school year routine, except that we were struggling to find what that routine was.  The 23rd was the worst of it.  This year we have a rolling backpack for the first time, but it rides in the trunk as we make our daily pilgrimage.  So there were days 'that week' that J didn't get the right supplies into the car with us.  

There is also this zipper binder that has sent a stack of notebook paper flying as the binder rings closed too quickly.  

Finally, the homework folder which has a daily sheet that needs to be signed.  

Thursday morning almost as we pulled into school J realized that he had forgotten his homework folder.  He knew the penalty for such an offense, five lost minutes of recess, but the teachers are trying to teach the kids integrity by admitting when they get it wrong and not making the penalty too harsh.  

That same morning he narrowly remembered his zipper binder from in the car. 

Thursday afternoon, as we talked about the day I found out that the homework folder had never made it home the day before.  Oh, whoops.  

Then he asks what are we having for supper.  I had no idea.  I know isn't that crazy?  Exhaustion was beginning to take its toll on both of us.  In complete exasperation he says, mom you should really plan out a menu so you don't have this problem.  Thank you son for your wisdom.  

Thanks to an early bedtime Thursday, for me not J, I had a little more energy by Friday morning.  Then it was problem solving time.  I decided that we both needed a checklist.  Both J and I like them, so why not?  

It only needs to run M-F.  After the first week I already had to make some adjustments, but it made things OH so much smoother, plus I had to correct a spelling error.  Here's a closer look at two of the days.  

J only takes lunch on Thursday's so that needed to be on the checklist.  Last year take his lunch day was Monday and I did forget to send a lunch to school with him the first week.  Yes, I do recognize that cinched the deal on me NOT getting mother of the year.  It's always something.  Thankfully I was able to send an email to the cafeteria and she fed him anyway.  

So there ya go.  One week down with a more civilized, ordered life, and yes I do have a menu plan again.