Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mama knows best! - Turning stains into beauty!!

We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Somehow we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!

I love having parties and get together's. For some reason our house seems to be the stopping point for people and I feel blessed to have them in my home! One of my favorite things to do is to feed people. I tend to cook for an army anyway so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, come on in!!

Since we frequently use tablecloths, we are constantly dealing with stains. I tend to use white / cream until they are so stain riddled that I cannot possibly place dishes to hide them. Then someone passed this idea that was brilliant!!

Take your light colored tablecloth and soak it in a bucket of strong black coffee. It dyes the material a lovely brown color and covers any coffee stains on the linen !!! Its like getting a brand new table cloth and perfect for fall. :)

To spice it up even further, send your kiddos outside to collect some colorful leaves. Place the leaves along the center of the table for some fall color. Or fill a glass cylinder with the leaves and place in the center of the table. (If you have time you can even spraypaint them a lovely copper or gold.) Beautiful and cheap!!!

Do you have a money/time/sanity tip to share? E-mail me at !

Giant Eagle Bargain recipe of the week: Easy chicken noodle soup

Bargain Meal of the Week

I love chicken noodle soup! What I don't love so much, is the carving out a day for the homemade goodness. This soup fits the bill perfectly! Its quick, easy and wonderful! Get creative with your noodle choices and spices to add some extra flair. (I also always add garlic to mine which kicks it up a notch) Don't be afraid to experiment with flavor.... you can always add more water :) Happy Eating Y'all!!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Easy Chicken noodle soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite size pieces (On sale $1.59/lb) $1.59
1 cup sliced carrots (On sale $1.25 for a 1 lb bag ) $.32
4 cups chicken broth (College Inn on sale $1.33) $2.66
1 cup chopped celery (On sale $1.25 ) $.42
1/2 red onion, chopped $.20
3/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (On sale $.99) $.75
1 cup uncooked noodles (Giant Eagle Pasta on sale $1) $.50

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Fry chicken pieces in the oil until slightly browned and the juices run clear. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat chicken broth over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Add the noodles and cook for 10 more minutes or until noodles are al dente.

Total Cost of Meal: $6.44

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WFMW: Keep the stockpile close!

I admit it. My name is Summer and I am a stockpiler. It happened gradually. I used to snicker at my BFF who had 175 Juicy juices lined in a row under her island. (Okay maybe not that many.,... but it was alot. Trust me.)

Then I had a couple of coupons for Knorr noodles that made them free. So I grabbed as many as I could. Then I got macaroni and cheese for $.25 a box. So I did what any sensible bargain shopper would do. I got a crazy look in my eyes and emptied the shelf. A little here.. a little there. Next thing you know my hubby is telling me I better not even think about bringing another box of Cheerios into his garage!

Stockpiling is great in theory. Until you have thrown it all into your garage and don't know that half of it is there. My hubby, being the saint that he is, came up with a great solution for me.

He made these very easy shelf's right outside my garage door. I don't even have to step foot in the garage. Everything is clearly displayed and I can grab what I need and go. Nothing goes bad and I can see what I need more of. ( As if !!! ) He said they took 5 minutes and anyone could do it. And that totally works for me !!!

To see more great WFMW ideas, visit We are that Family!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meijer Bargain Recipe of the week: Rigatoni with Italian Chicken

Bargain Meal of the Week

This recipe sounds delicious to me!! I love pasta dishes with chicken.... yum! Pair it with green beans, or a salad. Happy eating Y'all!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Rigatoni with Italian Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (On sale Tyson $1.99) $1.99
2 cups Italian salad dressing ( Wishbone on sale $.99 W/C $.49) $.24
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rigatoni pasta (Ronzoni pasta on sale $.99) $.99
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (Red Gold on sale $.79) $.79
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese $.50
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Place chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag, and pour in the Italian dressing. Seal bag, and marinate chicken 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Drain, discarding dressing, and dice.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rigatoni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with diced tomatoes.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet, and season with red pepper. Cook and stir 15 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. Serve over the pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese, and garnish with parsley flakes.

Total Cost of Meal: $4.51

Add Italian Bread ( On sale $1.69) Total Cost of Meal: $5.35

Add Green Beans (Meijer frozen brand on sale $.99) Total Cost of Meal: $6.35

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Kroger Bargain Recipe of the week: Roasted Vegetable Chicken

Bargain Meal of the Week

If you have ever read this blog before, you know that I am a nut for all things fall! One of my favorite things is a big, hearty, warm dinner!! Use the leftovers for homemade chicken noodle soup. This one sounds like one that my family will love! I hope your family loves it too..... Happy eating Y'all!!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Roasted Vegetable Chicken

1 (3 pound) whole chicken (On sale $.89/lb) $2.67
salt and pepper to taste
6 whole onions (3 lb bag on sale $1.67) $.84
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces $.45
4 stalks celery, chopped $.50
6 potatoes, peeled (10 lb bag on sale $2.99) $.90
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste; place in a large roasting pan. Arrange vegetables around chicken, add water to the bottom of the pan, and cover pan tightly.

Roast at 325 degrees F , basting occasionally, for 2 hours or until chicken is golden brown and tender and juices run clear.

Total Cost of Meal: $5.36

Add take and bake crusty bread (On sale $1.50) Total Cost of Meal: $6.11

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A teachers view: Monster cookies

I am blessed to live next to a elementary school teacher who loves my kids and we love her!! She has multiple education degrees and is the first person I run to when I am worried about speech, development or anything learning related!! She has agreed to write a weekly post for me on some common concerns involving little ones and just great tips! If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed, please e-mail me at

Monster Cookies

This recipe was a hit with my babysitting kids over the summer. Don’t tell your kids, but these cookies are actually decently good for you – protein and fiber all in one cookie. Bonus – no flour for kids with wheat or gluten issues, although they do contain peanut butter. As we are buying ingredients, I got the “I don’t like oatmeal!” complaints, but one bite of these babies had them asking for seconds!

Monster Cookies

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 stick butter

1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter

3 eggs

¾ tsp vanilla

¾ tsp baking soda

4 ½ cups rolled oats

¼ bag M&M’s

¼ bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine sugars, butter, and peanut butter. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda and mix well. Stir in oats, M&M’s and chocolate chips. Form into large balls, place on cookie sheet, and press with fork. Allow room to spread. Bake for 12-15min.

P.S. – You might want to limit your darlings to one or two of these, they really do pack a fiber punch J

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Leftovers used!

I love this weeks menu! I am stretching my dollar by using leftovers throughout the week, which makes me let out a little squeal. (If you would have told me in my 20's I would get excited by saving money, I would have looked at you like you were crazy!!! ) I am using the Pork roast for quesadillas and the chicken leftovers on a big salad at the end of the week. I am even using the left over mashed potatoes for a potato cake side!! Happy eating Y'all!!

Monday: Tender Pork Roast, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes and crescent rolls

Tuesday: Easy Italian chicken, tomato salad, butter noodles

Wednesday: Super simple chicken dinner, broccoli, Potato cakes

Thursday: Pork quesadillas, re fried beans, Spanish rice

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Leftover night- If its not movin you can eat it but Mama's not cookin!

Sunday: Grilled chicken salads, Italian bread

To see more menu plans check out I'm an Organizing Junkie !!