Sunday, May 25, 2008

Media Fast

As part of an emphasis on priorities, my pastor has asked us to participate in a media "fast" this week. Taking this break from media input will allow us to focus more on God and our relationship with him instead of on the numerous things that distract us from Him. So, along with my church for the next week, I won't be blogging, or checking other blogs. I'll just be focusing on God and the best things He wants in my life. I'll be back next week. I'll "see" you then.

Honey Garlic Chicken

As promised, here is the recipe. We love it, it's really pretty easy.

6 Chicken pieces
1 ½ t garlic powder
3 t salt
¼ t ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
2 T honey
4 T margarine/butter – melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Place rack in baking sheet with lip. Spray rack with oil.
Mix garlic powder, salt, pepper. Rub mixture into chicken pieces.
Place chicken skin side down on rack.
In small bowl, beat egg yolk, honey and butter. Brush over chicken.
Bake 30 minutes at 350.
Turn chicken over and baste with remaining butter/honey mixture.
Bake at 400 for approx. 20 minutes or until internal temperature equals 180.

Notes: I found the original recipe on, but wanted more garlic so altered it to the above recipe. I use chicken thighs and legs; if you use breasts you may want more of the spice rub. I also suggest lining the pan with foil as this makes a sticky mess as it bakes. This recipe would also be good on the grill. (Also, I'll try to get a photo up soon.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Banana Circles

My picky kids have recently discovered a new favorite (healthy!) snack. - Take one banana; slice into circles; add small dab of peanut butter; freeze long enough to fix a drink; serve. They love these "Peanut Butter Banana Circles". I love them because they are inexpensive and healthy. It doesn't get any better than that!

For more frugal ideas go here: here

Friday, May 16, 2008

Frugal Snacks

My daughter LOVES popcorn for a snack. For a long time I was going to BJs and buying big boxes of microwavale popcorn bags (and thinking I was saving money by buying in bulk at BJs). About a month ago, I ran out and didn't have a chance to get to BJs. As I was digging around in the cabinet trying to find a snack she would find suitable I realized I still had a jar of popcorn kernels, and I have a microwave popcorn bowl (which I'd found for free at a yard sale). So, I started popping kernels in the microwave in our own bowl. Why did I buy the bags for so long? - purely convenience. It takes maybe 2 minutes to prep a bowl of popcorn and 2 minutes to wash it out when we're done. So for 4 minutes time I was wasting how much money on convenience? I haven't done the math yet, but I'm sure using kernels is much cheaper than the bags.

For more ideas for living frugally go to Crystal's blog: here

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cooking from Scratch

I generally think of myself as someone who cooks mostly from scratch. But recently as I’ve been cutting our grocery budget, and have been reading (A LOT) about ways to be frugal/a tightwad, I’ve realized there are many recipes I make that are more “semi-homemade” (thank you Sandra Lee) than made from scratch. So today, I’m posting my current list of foods I could, but don’t, make from scratch:

* Yogurt (have a recipe, never been brave enough to try)
* Applesauce (need a recipe, possibly some instruction)
* Blueberry applesauce (my daughter’s absolute favorite)
* Cheese slices (okay, this doesn’t require a recipe, but why am I buying them wrapped in plastic???)
* Spaghetti sauce (need recipe)
* Pizza sauce (need recipe)
* Shake-n-bake chicken, especially nuggets (recently found a recipe, haven't tried yet)
* Marinated Chicken Breasts (These are family favorites that I currently buy bottled. I need to find or make a recipe for them):
* Lemon-Pepper
* Sesame-Ginger
* Sweet Vidalia Onion (Ken's salad dressing)

I will update this list from time-to-time as I find recipes I can make from scratch.

For more ideas on living frugally, check out Frugal Friday on: Biblical Womanhood.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Walgreens -- Frustrating trip

I just can't seem to make Walgreens work well for me. There's just too much fine print that messes up a good deal. I went today planning to buy 2 packs of Zantac and use those Register Rewards to buy the Venus razors, each item in a separate deal. Then I would use the RRs from the razors to purchase the P&G items that were on sale. The beginning of this worked fine. I bought the Zantac and rolled the RRs and used a $4/1 coupon to buy the Venus Razors. However, from there it was rather frustrating.

I had a bunch of P&G coupons from newspaper inserts, so the P&G sale looked really good. I spent a long time last night figuring out which items were 1) on sale (2/$5.00), 2) I had coupons for and 3) that we would use. I even thought I might get a little bit of profit from it. The problem is that the Venus razors are also a P&G product, so I couldn't use the RRs from the razors to help pay for the cleaning supplies and toothpaste. So, my last transaction ended up costing me $20.00 and I got $20.00 back in RRs. I went ahead and did it because it gave me all these cleaning supplies basically for free.

In all today at Walgreens, I spent $34.40 Out-of-Pocket, spent $6.00 RRs I'd earned today, and netted $32.00 RRs. I think this all means the trip cost me $2.40. Not bad really, but the real trick will be making sure I find things to spend it on in the next several weeks -- preferrably, things we will actually use and not just things that are on sale!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Grocery Store Preference

I live in Eldersburg, Maryland. We're sort of a large town -- about 20,000 people I think. In some ways, it's sort of an odd place to live at times. Few people actually work in this community. They mostly commute to Baltimore or to D.C. But they come home to Eldersburg. We have three grocery stores within a 6 minute drive:
My personal favorite is Martin's. It's large with lots of selection (better than Food Lion) and has good prices, sometimes really good prices (much better than Safeway). All the other local chains are at least a 20-30 minute drive, which kind of defeats the purpose of looking for deals. We do have a Shopper's Food Warehouse that is being built. I believe it's scheduled to open in the Fall. I'm not a big fan of shopping at multiple stores, I find it to be time consuming. But, as Shopper's has a reputation for good deals I'll definitely be checking it out.

What is your favorite grocery store in Maryland?

You May be Right, I May be Crazy!

Remember the old Billy Joel song that said, "You may be right, I may be crazy!"? Tonight as I was sorting through this tremendous stack of coupons that I've collected over the past two days I had this song ringing through my head. No kidding, it took me about 2 hours to get them all sorted and organized into my coupon box. I think I've become a maniac trying to clip coupons and save as much money as possible from them.

This week I had coupons from four newspaper inserts, 3 magazines, and a bunch I'd printed online. The pile was tremendous and it just seemed to keep growing. I don't usually have coupons from magazines, but I'd seen another post about "All You" having coupons that matched some of the May CVS deals. I think I made money on the magazine purchases in the ECBs I got back at CVS. But, as I sorted this huge stack tonight I really began to wonder - was it really worth it??

Maybe it's because I've only started collecting them in earnest over the last few months. For a while I had given it up completely because I just didn't have the time. But, this winter our budget became very tight and I realized I had to cut some costs. Coupon clipping seemed the most logical place to start. After doing some reading on I decided to start clipping basically everything. In just a few short months I've gotten to where I collect hundreds of coupons each week, and yet, I think I only use about 10-15 in a given week. So, now I'm wondering, Have I gotten out of control? How do other people keep their coupon clipping beneficial and not let it take over their lives?