Free Credit Score and Monitoring with Credit Sesame!

Just like your home, your finances need to be cleaned up regularly. If you haven’t taken a look at your credit report lately,  it’s time to give your finances a fresh look and get your credit in tip-top shape.

Did you know that the recent FTC study found that over 20% of Americans or 40 Million credit reports have reporting errors that are costing consumers money in credit card interest rates and loans?

Start by making sure that your credit report does not contain erroneous information that could be impacting your credit score. Keep tabs on your credit report activities and your score by signing up for free credit monitoring and score services like Credit Sesame, so that you can easily protect your financial good standing.

* Receive daily credit monitoring alerts
* Get your FREE Credit Score Monthly
* Limit ID Theft Damage
* Find Potential Errors Sooner
* Get Access to Better Loans and Save Money

What are you waiting for? Click here to register for free in under 2 minutes. You’ll get your free credit score and a complete view of your credit and loans. Plus, when you turn on the Credit Monitoring feature, you’ll be notified of changes to your credit profile, along with $50K identity theft insurance and live agents to help you restore your identity in case of theft. All for free. All in one place.

 

Earn Money When You Eat Out with Mogl!


Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 10.09.39 PM.png

Mogl is an awesome App/website that I have forgotten about until recently. In 3 easy steps, you could be earning rewards at restaurants without having to clip coupons or carry loyalty cards. 

  1. Sign up for an account and link your cards. Sign up for free I have all of our credit cards and debit cards linked.
  2. Explore and add offers– their app shows you real-time offers for restaurants near you.
  3. Enjoy your meal- Pay with a linked card and you’ll instantly earn rewards. The amount varies by restaurant, but it’s usually between 3-10%.

Once you reach $10 in your Mogl account. I have the money credited to my debit card, so the money goes into my checking account.

My favorite part of Mogl is that most Jack in the Box’s are part of the program and when I am jonesing for their tacos (Don’t Judge!!) or a large ice tea, I get rewarded!

Three Easy Recipes for Curbing Food Waste!

About 40% of the food in the US is wasted– That is from the fields to your fridge. Pretty sad, right?  40% seems like a lot, and it is- if you break that down, on average, the typical American family throws away over 25 lbs of food per family member each year!  Throwing food away is throwing money away.

Here are some simple, frugal recipes that can help you curb the food waste in your home.

To curtail my family’s food waste, I cook mostly from scratch.  When it looks like fruit or veggies are about to go bad, I turn them into something.  Recently, I made spicy Pomodoro sauce when the tomatoes at my parents’ house were starting to look squiffy (we were house-sitting for them).

 

Mom had left 6 tomatoes in the fruit basket and they were starting to get soft.  I took them home and pulled the tomatoes and half of a sweet onion I had put in the freezer just a few days ago. The sauce was easy to make!

 

Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

Makes about 4 cups of sauce

  • 11 fresh, whole ripe tomatoes (they can be frozen)
  • 1/2 chopped large sweet onion (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon butter (or olive oil if you are vegan)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1T. Basil (dried)
  • 1 T. Oregano (dried)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon (a pinch) of crushed red pepper flakes.

 

  1. Saute onions in butter until clear, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook on low, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  3. Add whole tomatoes (it’s ok if they are frozen), cover pot and simmer on medium for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes start to fall apart.  Stir every 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add herbs.
  5. Simmer for 1-2 more hours.  Sauce will be chunky. Break up tomatoes as much as you’d like with a potato masher or a stick blender. Add Red pepper flakes about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Serve sauce on pasta of your choice or on a bed of lightly sauteed spinach.  If you don’t like your sauce spicy, omit the red pepper flakes.

 

86ed9fe0ab9a414c3c58b748e8ea6560.jpgAnother recent “from scratch” dish I made was strawberry syrup.  We’ve been getting a lot of strawberries lately, but last week, we didn’t get around to eating them all before they became a little squishy.

I hulled and chopped them up and tossed them into the freezer, in a bag with other chopped up hulled strawberries that were dead ripe.  The bag was getting full, so Saturday evening, I decided to make strawberry syrup for our Sunday morning pancakes.

I used my mom’s recipe for homemade pectin free jam and just didn’t cook it as long. You can substitute in any other fruit you prefer, except pineapple, kiwi, mangoes, bananas, or coconut (those fruits lack natural pectin and the mixture won’t thicken).  This is best with berries.

Strawberry pancake syrup

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups chopped ripe fruit (can be frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white sugar (do not use Splenda or honey)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  1. Add all of the ingredients together in a pot, cook on medium, and stir every 5-10 minutes to keep the sugar from burning.
  2. Once it has boiled and the fruit has thawed (if working with frozen fruit), mash up the fruit with a potato masher.
  3. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture looks glassy.
  4. Remove from heat, pour into a container with a lid. Once cooled,  you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The mixture will be slightly chunky, and not as firm as jam, but a little more substantial than pancake syrup. This is also good on ice cream or pour a few tablespoons into plain Greek yogurt.

There are a lot of great dishes you can make from scratch anytime- you don’t need to wait for the veggies or fruit to start to turn!

We make applesauce from scratch at least 3 times a month.

Applesauce in the Crockpot

It’s Simple! Peel and chop apples (whatever quantity and variety you have on hand), toss them into the crockpot with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and let it cook for 4-6 hours. Hot applesauce is the BEST!

I’d love to hear about how your family combats food waste. If you are looking for additional ideas, check out my post about food waste in 30 minutes here.

 

Family Recipe: Easy Chicken Parm Meatloaf!

046I found a cache of yummy, frugal family recipes, so I’ll be posting them over the next few weeks.

Most of these were formulated by my relatives to feed a hungry, hard-working family with kids. Everyone in my family is frugal, so these recipes won’t contain any expensive or strange ingredients in small quantities- There is nothing worse than trying a new recipe only to find you only need 2 Tablespoons of an ingredient that you’ve never used before, or worse yet, only comes in a HUGE container/package.

I will try to include the sides that we’ve traditionally served with the main dish to round out the meal.

Chicken Parm Meatloaf (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
  • 1 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh white mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 t. Salt and pepper (each)
  • 1/2 c. Your favorite red pasta sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a loaf pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except for pasta sauce.  Mix well until all ingredients are well combined and mixture resembles a meaty paste (about 3-5 minutes of mixing)
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan, shape into a tidy loaf.
  5. Pour pasta sauce over the top of the loaf.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until meat is cooked through. If you are using a meat thermometer, it should read 165 Degrees. I use this one.

I serve this dish with a green salad and Riced Caulifower with Italian Cheese.

 

8/30/19- Weekly Freebies and Deals!

file000845666076

This week there are some good ones!

Samples

 

Events/In-Store

Magazines

Deals

 

Be a Taste Tester for Jack in the Box!

DSC00593.jpgIf you live in the San Diego, CA area and like to eat and earn money, this is an awesome way to earn a little extra scratch.

I’ve been doing it for 10+ years, as have several of my friends and family members.

And I know they are recruiting because a friend got a sticker on his Jumbo Jack last week with a link to a taste tester sign up.

Visit the website here and sign up. Please don’t comment or email me to sign up- I don’t work for Jack in the Box, I am just passing on a great opportunity.

Cents of Style: The Perfect Boyfriend Tee- $7.95 & FREE SHIPPING

Now this is a sale I can get behind!

I love Cents of Style, they have great sales, but this sale is the best one I’ve seen in a while.

Jagger Boyfriend Tee Promo- ONLY $7.95 Shipped w/code JAGGER Through 9/8/19, you can save $17 on the Jagger Boyfriend Tees. These super soft tees come in 24 COLORS! WHAT?? Crazy, right? Favorite TopsBut wait, they come in sizes s-3xl, so there is a shirt for almost everyone out there!

I can’t wait for mine to come in the mail! What color(s) are you ordering?

Boyfriend Tee

 

 

Gazelle: Lock-in Your Trade-In Price Before the New iPhone Arrives

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


Right now, Gazelle has a great deal going on…Check Out Gazelle‘s Secret Discounts for an EXTRA 10% Off Select Devices with code SECRET10

And if you are looking to upgrade or sell your phone…

With the anticipation around the new iPhone launch in early September, now is the time to trade-in their old phone at Gazelle. Offer values decline quickly when new phones are released. You can say goodbye to your old phones and lock-in their trade-in offer before it’s too late. Between September 3rd and September 17th with Gazelle‘s offer lock feature, customers can lock-in a great trade-in price and they don’t have to send their phone to Gazelle until October 18th allowing enough time for them to receive their new phones first.  Pretty cool, right??

The process is simple:

  1. Get a free trade-in quote: Go to Gazelle.com, find the gadget you want to sell and answer a few easy questions.
  2. Ship it to Gazelle: After you receive your new phone, ship your old phone to Gazelle by October 18th.
  3. Get paid! You can choose the payment method—check, Amazon.com Gift Card, or PayPal.

Oat Flour Banana Bread Recipe

IMGP1937.jpg

The big kid LOVES banana bread, so I am always looking out for new recipes, especially those that are higher in protein or lower in added sugar.

Recently we found ourselves with an overabundance of oatmeal, so I looked online for recipes to use it up and I discovered Oat Flour. You basically grind up oatmeal in your blender or food processor. Because it doesn’t contain any natural gluten, you have to use another flour with it otherwise your bread just… falls apart. It also doesn’t rise, so you will need to add leavening (baking soda in this recipe).

I also had received 30 bananas the next day, so I knew the time had come… TO MAKE BANANA BREAD!!

After looking through several recipes, I cobbled together a recipe that incorporated what I had on hand, and had all of the appropriate chemicals via ingredients to form quick bread. If you are interested in learning about baking and cooking ratios to form new recipes, check out Ratio by Michael Ruhlman– It’s great!

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Oat Flour
  • 1 3/4 c. AP Flour
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. melted butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, not packed
  • 2 ripe banans, mashed up
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1/2c chopped nuts (I like pecans, but walnuts work too) OPTIONAL

Directions:

  1. Grease a loaf pan and set aside Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix flours, soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar until well mixed.
  4. Add bananas and continue to mix until incorporated.
  5. Add eggs one at a time. Once they are blended, add yogurt and vanilla.
  6. Combine dry ingredients into wet, and add nuts (if desired). This batter is very wet!!
  7. Pour into greased pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.
  8. Once the bread is cooled, remove from loaf pan and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Options:

  • To make the recipe Gluten-free, use gluten-free oats, and a 1 for 1 Gluten-free flour.
  • To make the recipe vegan, use coconut oil in place of butter, substitute a flax egg, and use dairy-free Greek-style yogurt.

8/27/19- Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

Our out of town guests left this morning, so we are back to meal planning! And school starts on Wednesday for the big kid, so I’ll be doing shopping for school lunches this week with part of the grocery budget.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and Bitty. The big kid takes his lunch to school, but once in a while, I can convince him to buy his lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit salad. With so much great fruit available right now, I’ve been making a big batch of it weekly to go with most of our meals.
  • Tuesday:  Spaghetti with veggie sauce (I took a jar of sugar-free store-bought pasta sauce and added onions, shallots, garlic, sliced sweet bell peppers, and spinach). I tossed the spaghetti in the finished sauce and topped it with freshly grated parm.
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner-Scrambled Eggs with cheese, flaxseed waffles, fruit salad
  • Thursday: Smoothies and Dave’s Killer Bagels
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night
  • Sunday: Leftover night

 

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?