Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things I Do And Can Do To Save Money

While I was drinking my coffee this morning ( at home ) and wandering around looking for new blogs (to me), I came across the Nourishing Cook and her blog post from yesterday. I have found that the best way for me to find new blogs is to become part of a blog party and then choose a few to read.
Here is a plug for one of my favorite blogs to find new people to read Real Food Wednesday
Well I am always on the hunt to look for ways to save money so off to her site I went to see what she had to say. 25 Things I do to Save Money over at the Nourishing Cook.
1. We have already gotten rid of our land line and bundled cable and Internet connection # 9 on her list.
2. We cook at home a lot more and eat out less which of course saves us a lot of money # 6 on her list. I agree it is a lot healthier than eating out. There portions are way to big.
3. We also brew our own coffee and rarely go to a coffee shop. Hubby does not like the fancy blends ( Folgers for him) and I buy my flavored coffee creamer on sale. I do have to admit while Christmas shopping yesterday I did buy a medium Mocha coffee using white chocolate. My goodness what a treat but a $4.00 treat. #10 on her list.
4. We do not go out shopping unless it is something we really need and then we price compare and if possible by used.. #5 and # 7 on her list.
5. We are cutting back on meat, instead of 1 pound of ground beef we are cutting back to 3/4 pounds. (not noted on her list but I guess it is part of her eating at home savings)
6. We buy our books at used bookstores or thrift stores and garage sales.
We sell books on eBay, amazon and on our own site.
These we have to find in good condition and mainly at thrift stores and estate sales.They have to be specific books and not the common titles.
I do not have a kindle and will not get one. They are the killer of the used bookstores plus the economy is hurting the used bookstores also. Support the independent business owner by shopping there once in awhile. # 5 and #11 on her list of saving money.

Other ways we save money

7. We do not use cash machines unless they are hooked to our bank. I hate ATM fees and would only do so in an emergency.
8. We use cash only no credit cards so no finance charges other than our car payment. We use our debit card if buying something or paying something on line.
9. Using coupons when possible but I do not buy something just because of the coupon. We price compare products.
10. Drive a used car rather than buying a new car. Drive off the new car lot and money is thrown out the window immediately. Would of been perfect if we had been able to save up the money and paid cash for the car. I did buy used from my nephew Brett who buys and sells cars in Houston so I did get a good deal.
11. Hubby pays the majority of our bills on line which saves postage costs.
12. We no longer drink Alcohol or smoke that saves us a ton of money and is improving our health.
13. We rarely go to the movie theater and mainly watch movies on no additional cost cable tv or buy at garage sales. We do not have HBO etc.
14. I do register my coke rewards that gives me some free coke, but I have not bought any coke to bring home in a month or more which is saving us $30.00 a month. I get my rewards when I buy it as a special treat or from sons.
15. We buy our gasoline from independant gas stations that can save us 02 cents to 10 cents a gallon. Plus we attempt to consolidate our shopping trips to cut down on gas.
16. We shopped for car insurance and saved $ this year.

What we can do to save money that we have not as of yet.

1. Start making my own refried beans, Nourishing Cook had a posting on Tips for making of Beans, but no recipe for her refried beans. I have never made refried beans. I never ate them till about 2 to 3 years ago, when we lived in southern California and the Houston Texas area. I have slowly fallen in love with them and now on the look for a good recipe.
Now guys please do not laugh. I grew up in northern Minnesota with lots of white colored food. Mash pototos, Mac and Cheese, Chicken gravy and even lutefisk ( never ate it ) My idea of Mexican food was Chi Chi's until then.
2. We plan to look for ways to cut our health insurance cost after the first of the year by shopping for a new policy and upping our deductible.
3. Start using swagbucks for searches more than the other big name search engine. I would love to work towards get gift cards

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's For Dinner .. Hubby's Rich "Sloppy " Burgers

I have been married to my hubby for over 20 years and early on he won me over with some of his recipes.

His beef stroganoff is fantastic and usually on the menu New Years Eve if we are staying in town. I would rather be in Vegas but with living on a budget and no longer spending money on credit cards that has not happened in a couple of years.

The other item he cooked for me early on were what he called rich burgers and boy are they rich in taste.

That is what we had last night.

Ingredients ( he does not measure so this is a guess)
3/4 pound of ground beef
about 1/3 bottle of ketchup
handful of brown sugar
Lawry salt and pepper

He browns the hamburger then spoons off the grease.

Next goes all the ingredients.

Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes

Once done this is spooned generously on hamburger buns where he has placed a slice of Velveeta cheese.

This serves 4 .. for us it gives us 2 meals.

Served with chips, dip and maybe some beans and you have a easy, very tasty meal.
Thanks for stopping by... Grace

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now Is The Time To Look At Our Finances Past And Future

With the year coming to an end it is a good time to look at our finances. How did we do this year? Did we accomplish our goals and follow our budget? Was it a good year or tough year. For us it was a tough year. We decided to move home to Minnesota.

Good because we are now near the children and grandchildren.
Bad because we lost income and the cost of moving from Texas to Minnesota was costly. Then in September I got sick and ended up in the hospital. I am thankful that we had insurance but we still have hospital/doctor bills to pay off.

Now is also the perfect time to sit down and look at where we want to be this next year. What are our goals and dreams.

This process starts first with looking at our monthly income and monthly expenses.
Our monthly income is fixed with retirement and pensions. Our other income is flexible with our Internet book business. We can only cut our costs so much increasing our income is the only answer.

If you need to increase your income to accomplish your goals there are ways to do this.
You can go to your boss and ask for a raise. Be ready with reasons why you should get this raise.

Maybe you can work over time or get a second job.

Another answer is to find a way to make extra money using a talent or skill you may have. I know some one who is handy with tools and makes bird feeders to sell on the side. We have for years bought and sold books on the Internet. This is where we will have to increase our income this next year.

Another way is to clean and sell the clutter to pay down debt. As debt goes down life gets so much better. I have so much stuff in our home that needs to be sold. Books, vintage paper and just waiting to be sold . Costume jewelry to be sold. I may try and re purpose some of it to sell.

By looking at our expenses we can determine what is important to us. We do not need or want a new car or fancy furniture.

What we would like to do is pay off our used car and my hospital bill. We want to travel and see the beauty around us. We have dreams. What are your dreams? Now is the time to start looking at where we have been and where we want to go next year.

Thanks for stopping by...Grace

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan For The Week

What is on the menu at our house this week? I love planning our menu. I am flexible and things can change if necessary. This is what I have planned this week.

Italian Chicken soup recipe to come
Beef and Green Chili Enchiladas with re fried beans and tortilla chips recipe to come
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe to come
Layered Mexican Casserole
Hubby's Rich Sloppy Burgers recipe to come
Barbecue Meat Balls, Boiled Potatoes and Vegetable
Left over buffet

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's On The Menu This Week Layered Mexican Casserole For Sure

This on the menu for sure this week. I picked up this cookbook for 99 cents at a thrift store and tried it for the first time last March. Since then I have only made one other time.. why only twice? this is so tasty and easy really should be on my menu's more often.

Cook book is Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Weeknight Meals.

Layered Mexican Casserole.
8 ounces of ground beef
1 (12 oz) can of whole kernal corn drained ( more than hubby and I like so this time I will cut in half)
1 (12 oz ) jar of chunky salsa
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced pitted ripe olives drained
1 cup cream style cottage cheese
1 ( 8 oz) carton of dairy sour cream
5 cups of Tortilla chips ( 7 to 8 ounces)
2 cups ( 8 ozs ) shredded Wisconsin Chedder Cheese divided
1/2 cup of chopped Tomato

Brown ground beef in large skillet ; drain.
Add corn and salsa; cook until thoroughly heated.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of olives; stir remaining olives into beef mixture.
Combine cottage cheese and sour cream in bowl.
In 2 quart casserole, layer 2 cups chips, half of meat mixture, 3/4 cup of chedder cheese and half of cottage cheese mixture. Repeat the layers
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
Line edge of casserole with remaining 1 cup of chips; top with tomato, reserved 2 tablespoons of olives and remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and chips are hot.
makes 4 to 6 servings.
Serve with more chips if desired.
I loved the taste and the texture and isn't a pretty dish
Favorite recipe from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Brand.
I will be sharing this recipe
Check out some of the other recipes and maybe leave a comment starting here please.

thanks for stopping by.. Grace

Freezer Cooking Stage 2.. Lets Make Spaghetti Sauce

Stage 2 of my Freezer Cooking is making Spaghetti Sauce.This recipe will feed 6 but since it is just the 2 of us I can stretch it to 3 meals

As I browned the ground beef hubby diced up 1/4 of an onion.

Once the ground beef was browned we spooned out the grease and added the onion to brown.
To this was added sugar, salt, pepper,oregano, thyme, basil and garlic.

Then comes the tomato products

Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour and you are ready to eat.
Spoon over cooked Spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese ( if desired)

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef ( I used 85 percent)
1/4 of an onion
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt ( we are cutting down on salt)
1 tsp of pepper
1 1/2 tsp of oregano,
1 1/2 tsp of thyme
1 1/2 tsp of basil
1 tsp of garlic
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
1 oz can of diced tomatoes
I love our Spaghetti sauce, better than any I have ever had in an Italian restaurant. In the freezer it goes for future meals.

Thanks for stopping by .. grace

Freezer Cooking Stage 1 Our Fantastic Chili

With winter closing on us here in Northern Minnesota I am in the mood to cook and get some freezer meals ready for cold nights and easy cooking. Our freezer is really only the top of a refrigerator so I can not get that much in.
There is only 2 of us so what I am cooking this afternoon is our homemade Spicy (to me) Chili and I am dividing it in to 3 containers for 3 different nights.
We can add some crackers or bread for a fast tasty dinner.
My recipe is for 6 servings so would be a nice amount for 4 to 6 people.
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef 85 percent fat free

small amount of onion chopped up
2 tsp of garlic
4 tsp of Chili
2 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of oregano
2 16oz cans of Chili or Kidney beans
1 32 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 32 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 can of water

Brown ground beef

then add your spices and stir.

Add your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes

and chili beans

Simmer for about 45 minutes . It is now ready to eat or cool and freeze for future meals.

This pot has been divided into 3 containers for dinner and there was enough for us to each have a small bowl for lunch.

Stage 2 of Cooking will be coming up soon..
I am sharing this recipe at Potluck Sunday.. hope that you will check what other's are cooking and leave a comment maybe when visiting starting here.
Thanks for stopping by .. Lets keep saving together .. Grace

Grocery Shopping For Freezer Cooking

Went shopping today for this weeks groceries plus extra to do some freezer cooking at Cub Foods today. Boy was it ever chilly out.

They had 85 percent hamburger for $2.49 a pound ( not as good as last freezer cooking at $1.99 a pound but better than some weeks). I picked up 2 / 3 pound packages. This will give us 8 meals.
Cub had Chicken Breasts skinless at buy 1 get 1 FREE. I got two packages for 8.07. This should give us a few meals.
2 packages of Land O Frost lunch meats using a coupon for buy 1 get 1 FREE so 2 packages at $4.99
Chi Chi Salsa $1.79 used 50 cent coupon off
1 Enchilada sauce $1.89
Green Chili diced 75 cents
2 cans of peas 59 cents each
1 cub cereal $2.39
2 cub chili beans 79 cents each
1 package of Spaghetti noodles 99 cents
2 Cub Tomato crushed $1.19 each
2 Cub Tomato Sauce $1.19 each
1 Yolk less noodles $1.29
1 re fried beans $1.29
1 Mission Shells $1.99
Tortilla Chips $1.99
Potato chips $2.79
1 onion 68 cents
2 loafs of bread $1.49 each
1 shredded Parmesan cheese $4.13 ( thought it was $2.00 and did not notice till home)
1 shredded cheese $2.00
1 milk $3.19
2 sour creams $3.00 on sale
Total spent $67.66 this week
Total for the month $94.82
Remaining of monthly budget $105.18
I am sharing this at
thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together.. Grace

What's For Dinner " Chicken And Rice Casserole" So Yummy

What is for dinner? Last night we had a Chicken and Rice Casserole. So yummy..

Here is the recipe..
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In 13 by 9 pan (or a casserole dish as I did) combine the rice, celery, carrots, onion, butter, salt, soup and water.

Arrange the chicken on rice skin up. Sprinkle with paprika or poultry seasoning and bake uncovered 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.

I had 5 thighs.. cooked the other 2 in a baking dish. Gets crispier that way for those who want it crispy.

1 1/2 cups of rice $.50
1 stalk of celery $.25
1 carrot $.25
1/4 cup of onion diced $.15
1 can of cream of chicken soup $.50
2 cups of water
4 Chicken Breasts ( I used thighs) $3.39
1 tsp of salt
2 Tablespoons of butter $.05
paprika or poultry seasonings
Total cost for my meal $5.09
serves 4

This was so good the way we had it. I have also served with peas and a dinner roll. Any way served it tasty and a sure winner.
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep serving together... Grace