Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hearty, Healthy & Cheap: Barley and Lentil Soup

Here is a recipe with all the qualities I love. It's super healthy, super easy, it sticks-to-your-ribs, and it's inexpensive. Oh, and it's very, very tasty, too! In the photo, I served it with a big slice of bread machine whole wheat bread. Yumm-a-ramma!

Barley and Lentil Soup

1 c. onion, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
2 c. carrots, sliced thin
1/8 t. garlic powder
1 x 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 c. lentils
3/4 c. pearl or hulled barley
7 c. water
3 vegetarian or chicken bouillon cubes, or 3 t. granules
1/2 t. dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 t. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 or more pepper

Add all ingredients to heavy soup pot. Cook 40 minutes or more until vegetables and barley are tender.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Great Publix Shopping. 89% Savings

Well, I've been shopping at Publix, but it's been a while since I have posted. Here are my finds this week.

10 x Fiber One yogurt, $1.25 - $1.35 MQs = FREE plus $1.00 total overage
(I received these from a coupon trade. They are not from a newspaper insert.)

Cover Girl Powder, $3.19 - $2 Publix Q from green flyer - $1 MQ = 19c

Publix Chocolate Milk, $2.65 - FREE coupon WYB 2 gallons white milk, any brand.
(This coupon rang up at $3.75, but the cashier manually adjusted it, so I did not receive overage.)

3 x Alexia Waffle Fries, $1.45 each - $1 Q = 45c each. These should have rung up at $1 each per the ad, making them free, but I did not catch it. I will take my receipt back next time, and should receive the Publix Promise. They should refund my money on one, and adjust the price to the advertised level on the other two.

2 x Kotex, $1.60 each - $1 MQ - $1 Target competitor Q = Free plus 80c overage total

4 x Fisher Fusion trail mixes, $0.90 each - $1 Qs = Free plus 40c overage total

Publix Frozen Pizza, penny item, 1c

With my overage I bought 2 gallons of milk, bread, and a big carton of Stoneyfield yogurt (for my beloved husband!)

Total before Taxes $9.77
Should receive $2.35 for Publix Promise price adjustment
Adjusted total: $7.42
Total Saved: $62.84 or 89%

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Doll Clothes Sewing Patterns

If you have a little time and a little bit of sewing skill, here are some fabulous and free sewing patterns for American Girl Dolls and other dolls. Some are simple, and some more involved. lists a few simple patterns, including some which are suggested for giving to Toys for Tots. What a fabulous idea! They even provide a free downloadable certificate to accompany your creation when dropping off the doll clothes that you make.

Click HERE for "Twirls for Girls" skirt and top patterns.
Click HERE for a "pettiskirt" for doll and child

AG Playthings offers free downloadable original American Girl patterns for six of American Girl's historical dolls. Click HERE to see the doll patterns.

The Prudent Homemaker also lists many great sewing for less ideas. Click HERE for inspiration.

I'm not sure if I have enough time this December to make the Toys for Tots doll clothes, but I'm thinking that it will be a great activity to make up some of these next summer with my daughters, when I will have more free time. Maybe I can squeeze a few in this month!

Do you have any sewing for less ideas?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lighter Fare for a Holiday Potluck

This time of year, the yummy, heavy, starchy food seems to come at us from all sides. Not that I don't enjoy it. I do, but we all just don't need to eat too much of it. I'm usually invited to a few pot-luck meals during this season, so I usually try to bring a lighter dish. Here's a colorful spinach and spring mix salad, easy on the hips. I'm pairing it up with some of my free salad dressings that I snagged earlier in the year.

Helathy blessings this season to you!

For more Thanksgiving recipes, go to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Publix Savings/ Spent $47 Saved $114 (71%)

Free and Super-Cheap at Publix

6 x Yoplait Fiber One yogurt, $1.25 (raincheck) - $1 MQs = 25c/4-pack

Blue Bell Ice Cream, $3.99 - $1.50 MQ = $2.49

Nature Valley Nut Clusters, $2.50 - $1.60 = 90c each
(I had a Food Lion Q for $1/2, but my Publix apparently stopped taking Food Lion, otherwise these would have been 40c each.)

Pears, 69c/lb

Eggland's Best Eggs, $2 - 50c Q, doubled = $1

Snuggle, $3-$3 MQ = FREE

Bird's eye Lightly Sauced Veggies, $1.19 - 50cQ, doubled = 19c each

Bird's eye Mixed Veggies, 89c - 50c Q, doubled = FREE plus 11c overage

2 x Bandaids, 79c each - $3/2 = Free plus overage

4 x Sundown Vitamin D, $2.99 - 2 x $6/2 Publix Q - 4 x $1/1 Sundown Q = Free plus $4
overage, total

4 x Children's Tylenol Meltaways, $4.09 each - 4 x $2 Publix Q - 2 x $3/2 MQ = 59c each

Arm & Hammer Toothpaste, 2/$2.99 - 2 x $1.50 Q = FREE
(I am still on a quest for free toothpaste that doesn't bother my husband's gums!)

2 x Lactaid, $3.49 each - $4/2 MQ = $1.49 each

3 x Glade Fragrance Collection Mini Candles, $3.19 each - $3 Qs = 19c each, Plus this qualifies for a $5 rebate from S.C. Johnson. Spend 57c, get back $5 rebate!

2 x Scott wipes, $1.10 in-store special - 50c Qs, doubled = 10c each!

Publix Candy Corn, Penny item, 1c

Skintimate Shave Gel, $2.17 - $1.50 MQ - $1.50 Target competitor Q = Free plus 83c overage!

Yakisoba Noodle Bowl, 79c - 50c Q, doubled = Free plus overage

The Rest of the Haul
Other Deals of Note
2 x Fresh Express Spring Mix, BOGO $3.99/2 - 55c/2 Q = $1.72 each
Progresso Broth, $2 each - 50c Qs, doubled = $1 each
Sun Chips, $3 - $1 Q = $2
Aunt Jemima Syrup, 2/$3.79 (raincheck) - $1/2 MQ = 2/$2.79

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Great Read: Coupon Burnout

OK, I admit it. I get coupon burnout sometimes. In fact, I burned out last week with coupons. That is one reason I decided to shop at Aldi this week. If you feel burned out, this article at Southern Savers will help you to put it all into perspective. Read and enjoy.

The Great Aldi Experiment

All this for $37.18 plus tax

I've been reading on some of my favorite Frugal blogs about how much Frugals love to shop at Aldi. Up until recently, I wasn't willing to drive the half-hour to my closest store to take advantage of the savings. Just in the last few weeks, a new Aldi has opened up about 10 minutes from my house. I was determined only to buy the very basics this week (milk, produce, cheese) and I didn't want to stock up on any major coupon deals at the regular grocery stores.

Here are my observations from my fun Aldi trip:

(1) Bring your own bags and a quarter. Aldi strives hard to minimize their overhead costs. A few of the amenities we are accustomed to at traditional grocery stores do not exist at Aldi. They do not employ baggers or courtesy clerks. If you want to use a grocery cart, pop a quarter into the receptacle to check out a cart. The quarter is returned when you return your cart. Also, bring your own bags, and plan on spending a few minutes at the "bagging area" after you check out.

(2) Aldi is a small grocery store. They mostly carry house brands to minimize costs, and they do not accept coupons. They have a fairly good selection of groceries, but did not carry everything I wanted. For example, they had only white rice, and not brown rice. The dried bean selection consisted only of pinto beans. They were also out of spring mix salad blend, but did carry other bagged salad selections.

(3) Some of the produce prices were amazing! The produce section was small, but the quality of the produce looked good. Here are some of the amazing prices I found:

3 lbs. large gala apples, $1.19/bag (I bought 2 bags!)
whole Dole pineapple, 99c ($2.99-$3.99 elsewhere)
48 oz. zucchini, 99c
large pumpkin, $2.49 (These are $5.99 at other stores!)
bananas, 39c/lb (69c at other stores!)
broccoli crowns, $1.49

(4) Aldi is a good place to buy basic baking supplies. I bought a bag of all-purpose flour for $1.49. I'd have paid at least a dollar more at Publix or Kroger. I also bought a 2 c. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips for $1.69. Basic baking supplies rarely go on sale, except for a little bit around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I usually do not stock up at the holidays enough to last all year, so it's nice to have a lower cost source.

(5) Aldi has great prices on dairy products. Dairy is another thing we go through quickly. I bought skim milk for $1.49/gallon. Whole milk was an incredible 99c/gallon. I also bought blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese for $1.49/8 oz., a good price.

(6) Aldi has a double guarantee on their house brands. If you don't like something, they will refund your money and replace the product.

Have you shopped at Aldi? Do you have any good tips to share?