Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cauliflower Soup

A very frugal filling soup.  

One oversized locally grown cauliflower        2.99
Large Onion                                                       .15
celery top                                                           .15
Two pats of butter                                              .25
carton of vegetable broth                                 1.00
Quarter cup hormel real bacon crumbles           .50
Quarter cup store brand shredded cheese          .40

The day I made it we had 6 soup bowl servings.  I had another cup the next day, I had another soup bowl today and I froze 4 more servings in individual containers.   .45 cents a serving!

Celebratory Sauce with meatballs and sausage

When the Uncle comes we cook. This is his arrival dinner plan. Johnsonville sausage mild Italian. 2.85 pounds purchased at BJ's warehouse for just $4.50 with coupon.
48 meatballs. Little bit larger than a golf ball size. 2 1/2 pounds of 85% lean ground beef bought fresh this week from big Y at 2.89 a pound. Combined with 1 pound of locally raised ground pork, onions breadcrumbs, two eggs, salt and pepper.

Two large pots of sauce made from a 6 pound can of Contadina Crushed tomatoes (purchased a while ago at Costco, and it was time to use it up) two one pound cans of Tuttoroso crushed tomatoes with basil.  A large batch of garden basil, dried oregano.  Two large onions chopped and one clove of garlic chopped and softened in olive oil.  Secret ingredient, several pats of butter.  Meat added, simmered for 5 hours on the lowest setting. 

Final result

House Party, fun way to try products for free NO Cost to you (and noreferral link from me)

A lot of fun if you get chosen to host a 'House Party'.  I haven't done one in the last few years,  I recently tried to get in on, and was chosen for a Tazo Chai party.

You do have to blog about it (if you have one) post pictures on social media and jump through a few hoops on twitter/facebook, but it only take a few minutes.

I usually host the event at the studio with my ensemble.  It's an easy way to give them a treat as well as get some freebies for me.  I will be hosting these beverages with the ensemble this week!

In the past I have gotten a coffee maker (best one!)  Dozens of glade products, Aprons, cutting boards, bowls, samples to share with 'guests' plus free coupons to share too.

This one I really didn't get a 'keeper' for future use item, but I did get a over a dozen TAZO tea bags, a carton of their concentrated Tazo Spice liquid, game ideas, cups, and coupons for free products to share with my guests.

Here are photos of what I received.  I was impressed with the packaging.  Came delivered by UPS.

Visit and see if you qualify for a party today!

Finished Pantry Door

My house was built by my Grandparents in 1958.  As a child this pantry had a 'country bar' double swinging door.  I used to love to play with them, and see them.   I was disappointed when my Mom removed them when it became our immediate families home.  My Mom hung a curtain on a pressure rod.  I never liked it.

Now it's my and DH's home (with my Dad Gpa P and our daughter)   This pantry has been an eyesore and bone of contention for me for the last 6 years.

Not any more!  Our great handy man made a custom door for this odd frame.  $100.00 well spent, with magnetic catch, hinges and handle.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Still not sure about Zaycon? Live Web event (referral link)

Refer a Friend!
Zaycon customers who refer their friends earn Zaycon Credits which can be used towards their next purchase. My referral link is

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  • We tried it, it was fun. So let's do it again!
  • This Friday at 10am, it's an encore of our very first live webcast!
  • Learn about: What is Zaycon, What's in the box, ask questions in real time!
Proudly Announcing an Encore Zaycon Foods Live Event!
We had lots of fun during our very first Zaycon Foods Live event two weeks ago, and apparently so did all of you who participated. Thanks to your enthusiastic response (and to how much we like seeing The Two Matt’s ad-lib act), we’re doing it again– and this time, instead of a small test audience, everyone is invited.

This Friday, 10/24, at 10 AM Pacific Time, you can join up with dozens of other Zaycon Foods fans to interact live and…
- Ask members of the Zaycon Team questions and get answers in REAL TIME
- Watch Matt the Driver cook a meal right before your very eyes!
- Learn about our chicken and what makes it the best (hint: freshness and price)
- Learn a bit more about what makes Zaycon “tick” from Matt H. and Matt K.
This encore event is free for all Zaycon Foods enthusiasts, and our Zaycon Foods Live events are a great way for your friends and relatives who don’t know about us to get acquainted with our quirky company. Invite the whole gang – you never know what the Matts might say, but you know you don’t want to miss it!
Just head to this link at 10 AM on Friday and we’ll see ya there, live online!
See ya in the kitchen!
Team Zaycon

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A new way to try products for free (referral link)

We all like getting samples in the mail.  I'm checking out this new program.  Smiley360.  I am adding my referral link, and will add more information as I learn about it this evening.  It's free to join, couldn't hurt!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage planned leftover

Yummo, Broccoli Rabe, one of my favorites.  I bought three pounds last week when Shop Rite had it on sale for .89 a pound.  An amazing price for this good for you green.  I cooked some last week for a side dish, and this week I cooked down the last two pounds. This time I also added just two links of italian sweet sausage crumbled.  So it became a meal.  I just use olive oil, some water and some chopped garlic.    So far, we have gotten 5 servings out of it.  There are at least 5 more. Approximately .32 cents a serving!  YES!!!!!!

I froze the other 8 links worth of browned crumbled sausage for another day.

SNAP! New way to save at the grocery store. Referral link and other ways to save discussed (no smartphone needed)

I have had good luck with payouts with previously reviewed apps of Savings Star and Ibotta.  I have cashed out several times (totaling over $65.00) without any problems through Paypal.  Cashout on these apps start at $5.00 through paypal or with a few gift card choices.  I have also saved alot with Target Shopping Cart (SC)  You DO NOT NEED A SMART PHONE!  Google Target Shopping Cart. You can print off your scannable to you UPC and laminate it keeping it in your purse.

The jury is still out on Checkout 51, as you cannot cash out until you hit $20.00.  I am at $11.50.  Cash out is only a check they mail to you.  I cannot find a way to refer you, and it looks like you DO NOT NEED A SMART PHONE!

Now Snap (previously I believe SnipSnap) has been acquired by Groupon.  I found this app more interesting than SnipSnap, so I bit. Snap requires a $20.00 minimum for you to cash out, and a check will be mailed to you.  So it will take me a while to accumulate.  I really like that this program has lots of produce.  I have already logged in for a $1.00 back from apples, bananas, green beans and lettuce.   No assigned stores, just take a picture of your receipt showing these items and the money is saved to your account.  You DO NOT NEED A SMART PHONE.  You can do it from a regular computer.  Here is my referral link, I will be compensated if you join through it.

I was also able to 'triple dip' with the bananas on checkout 51 (.25) and the lettuce 20% back from Saving Star.

Saving Star you do NOT NEED A SMART PHONE.  You link it to your rewards cards at local stores.  You can create it online.  You can choose payout (after just 5 dollars) to your bank account, paypal account, gift card (I just found this out, and am THRILLED!) or donate it to a charity. Savings Star was created by Upromise.

I would re-check out these companies.  Things are changing for the better for those of us who do not have smart phones.  *Full disclosure, I own a business, and use my smart phone, tablet and laptop to run this business.  All my family members have smart phones.  We are a tech family, and I use them to the fullest.

Here's to getting money back!

Target and a freebie in the mail this week

Nice Sample received from my DM.  Three K cup samples from Chock full of Nuts and a coupon with the opportunity to get more.  I tried the Dark Roast, it was OK.  I'm very picky about coffee.  Some are this way about wine.  

Being that it's such a tight month, it was time to use the Target gift cards I've been hoarding.  I earned $35, but gave one to a student who came to her lesson on her birthday.  (The amount of reasons students don't attend lessons are getting out of hand, so I wanted to reward her).  So I had $30.00 to spend.  

It was also spend $25 get $5 off of frozen foods week.  So, with only my phone, and gift cards (no coupons) off I went. (DD came too, girl time!)

She also had a gift card of $30 that she earned at work, which she used within this order for jewelry and makeup, so I will not count those purchases in this post. 

Tostito tortilla chips 3.99 

Beef Jerky               3.99 on sale

Goldfish bulk box    6.99 not on sale, but compared to smaller pkg on sale, this was the bargain

AF wheat bread        2.42  after 10% shoppingcart* discount

Wonder Bread          2.29   less 1.00 snap

Target frozen vege    3.14   big bag of individual servings of veggies, good for me plus 10%  SC*

Target frozen vege    3.14   big bag of individual servings of veggies, good for me plus 10%  SC*

Jim Dean Bkfst 4pd   6.16   4 good for DH breakfast sandwiches, quality ingredients, 250 calories

Evol Burrito Chix       3.49   enough for the two ladies in the house to split for lunch

Evol Burrito Beef       3.49    enough for DH or Gpa P for a lunch quite oversized, why ladies would split

PF Changs eggrolls     3.03   treat for DD 5% off with SC*

4 Pace salsa, LARGE 7.47  total for all 4.  Got 10% SC* AND was buy 3 get one free DH snack of choice

2 Campbells crock pot sauces 3.98 PLUS got a box of Minute Rice Brown FREE

MP chunk cheese    5.50 got two for 2.25 each after 10% *SC)

MP snack tray cheese 3.39 after 10% *SC

Total 62.47 less saved gift cards -30.00 now 32.47 less 5.00 phone coupon $27.47 out of pocket, and $1.00 back from so $26.47.  I was happy with this haul.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday short ribs

The last of our local grass fed beef short ribs.  I had 9 short ones and two very long ones.  I shook them in flour, pepper and salt and then browned them in olive oil.  The two large one's are shown in the fry pan.  The one in the glass bowl represents the size of the other ones.      After they were all browned, I de-glazed the pan with apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, some brown sugar and the last of some bottled barbecue sauce.   Everything went into a crock pot on low for 8 hours.   So far we have gotten 8 servings of meat, with two more left.  I will be making stock from the bones.  Not my favorite, but DD and Gpa P really enjoy them.    Accompaniments were homemade coleslaw, mashed potatoes and canned corn.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Meals this past week

So far this week we have had turkey chili (used 40 ounces of ground  meat prior to cooking) two cans of kidney beans, a can of refried beans, onions, peppers, two cans of tomatoes and spices.  In one crock pot was all but the beans, in another crock pot all the beans/tomatoes/a third of cooked meat. 

Two quiches, one broccoli onion, one zucchini onion.  Both had a tablespoon of bacon jam in it. Broccoli Rabe. 

I baked a pan of Immaculate Brownies that I got with Ibotta and a .75 cent coupon doubled.  Still pricey, but they were pretty tasty.  

Six pork chops that came from the $1.49 a pound pork loin.

A roasted chicken, with mashed potatoes and broccoli. 

Chicken soup made from the remains of roasted chicken. 

Lunches were from assorted leftovers. 

Today I made fake baked potato soup.  (Cauliflower, half onion, one box vegetable broth, celery, black pepper, one big tablespoon of sour cream, half stick of butter, quarter cup of shredded mozzarella and quarter cup of hormel real bacon bits)  Since most of these items have been in previous planned purchases in past months, the only this month cost was a HUGE and beautiful head of cauliflower for $2.99. 
I also made two bags of Marie Callenders cheese biscuits.  I believe after coupons these cost me a total of .50 cents.  Each bag said it was to make 5 biscuits each.  If you wanted them the size of your head!  I got 21 biscuits.  

Big spends this month, and it is only October 11th!

This month I will push all the saving limits, as well as really start to hit the pantry and freezer.

I knew we would have a lot of expenses this month, and as income came in, I made sure that all bills were covered and cash needed for various things was put aside.

It's been a heavy spend month in various ways.  Two weddings (though one I had to bow out of the day before due to a blocked eye gland that makes me look like half of my face was pummeled) Grateful my actual eye is not bloodshot, but the pain has been excruciating, I even took the day before the wedding off from work to seek medical care and rest.  Doesn't change the fact that we put aside money for the wedding gifts, and I will still give both gifts as planned.  Just without enjoying one of the festivities.  :(    Wedding gifts put aside $200.00, doctors co-pay $30, prescription $20.

Substitutes for me for one full Saturday and one half Saturday put aside. Six hours total. $150.00 cash.

A bathroom repair ended up being $350.00.  But a new floor and new pipework has resolved the issue. New vanity and faucet.  Purchased new at Lowes.  We used leftover flooring from our kitchen remodel, so that saved some expense.

Refurbishing and neatening up our kitchen and pantry has been on the to-do list.  We stayed below budget by searching various areas, including craigslist, Ikea, tag sales.  Then as we discussed more what we both envisioned, we realized we wanted a free standing on legs pantry.  We visited various hardwood unfinished furniture stores.  We finally found what we were picturing.  Got a pantry and a potato/onion cabinet.  We wanted to spend no more than $500.  Got both pieces with tax for $437.00.  We then moved the stainless steel shelving to the garage.

We have a planned weekend business/leisure trip prepaid for the last weekend of the month.  I am meeting with some composers whose work I have permission to arrange, and am delivering the score to them at a convention in NJ.   At the same time, my DH, DD and her BF will be going with us to the events. We prepaid for rooms at a hotel a few miles away from the hotel hosting the convention.  By prepaying AND using AAA we got rooms with a HOT BREAKFAST for $80 plus taxes each.  It's also part of the Marriott group, so it will go towards our points that we are saving up for a someday trip.  (We have two rooms saved already)  The tickets for the events came to $220.00.  Since I have to be at this event to meet with the composers as well as meet with some other musicians I feel it is a work related expense for my portion of the costs.

Last kitchen update is in process and will be completed next week by the same workman who did our bathroom.  He is adding a door to our open air shelving in the hallway to GPa P's apartment.  $100.00 for this job.  Here is what it looks like now.

I have been searching for a smaller viola for myself.  Due to a work related injury almost two years ago and perhaps shrinking with age, my viola was just too large for me to use anymore.  We went to a luthier's home who was closing shop, mainly to get some great brand violin strings at a huge discount, and purchase one half size and one three quarter size violins for students to use (I provide instruments to my students when necessary).  The deals were amazing, I had planned on spending no more than $1000 (cash check only) We were there almost three hours.   We got two half size violins (now I can take one back from a student that needs some work done) two three quarter size, 10 full sets of Dominant strings at a real deal, a dozen bulk dominant E strings and a VIOLA FOR ME.  A very good instrument, with one 'scar' to it's front, but no ill effect to the body or the instruments integrity.  An instrument I never could have afforded in any other instance.  Only $540 for this beautifully sounding German Hand Made instrument with a New German Bow.  But we are now over budget.  I wanted to put two of the student sized violins back, and DH convinced me that in the long run, we would need them, the prices are amazing, and I have been looking for a long time for a viola that fit me better.  So, I wrote a check for $1431.00.  Gulp.   Now trying to sell my old one.

But with all this spending and gifting, we still have a little wiggle room.  I do have another Dr. appointment with my Eye Doctor this week coming up, depending on how my GP's treatment plan turns out.  Which will mean more money out of pocket for co-pay (and another Dr. bill as I haven't met my deductible for the year, which I see as a triumph, a great health year!)

It's only the 11th of October!  All bills (including disbursement to independent teachers at studio) are written out of scheduled.  I know I'm still blessed that we can do so many of these other things, I still find it very stressful that the checkbook is looking so low.

Here is to a frugal month in the kitchen!  Which will be my next post.  :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stocked up on bath supplies at Target

So, we were running low on bath supplies.  We do have a huge amount of soaps (both regular old deodorant soaps, dove and my fancy designer soaps which are gifted to me often as every one knows I love them) But we were OUT of deodorants and liquid bath soap.

I have been watching for a deal, and I am happy with what I did today.  I got 3 old spice shower soaps (large 20 ounce bottles) 4 Olay of Olay bath soaps (large 21 ounce bottles) 1 old spice deodorant and 4 secret outlast deodorants plus 2 very large Pantene shampoos.  I received $15.00 back in gift cards, total spent before my coupons was $55.50.  Since these supplies will last the three of us six months, that's $9.25 spent on bathroom supplies.  But wait, the coupons!  $12.00 also in coupons!   $43.50 or $7.25 per month.

I'm pleased.

I also got 2 bags of Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats.  $2.99 each, $3.00 coupon.  $2.98 for two bags.  Nice!