10/21/19 Weekly Meal Plan!

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This week is going to be busy with appointments and running around, so I’ll be leaning on stuff in our freezer. This week batch cooking will be saving our bacon!

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 in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked. I did a lot of prep for the coming week over the weekend. I cut up the produce, bagged it for meals, made up some smoothie kits, and cut up cantaloupe to have this week. Thanks to some frugal shopping over the weekend, I’ve only spent half the grocery budget for the week. I will probably use it all.

  • Monday: Spaghetti or zoodles with Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce 
  • Tuesday: Omelets with cheese, bacon, veggies. And Dave’s Killer Bread 
  • Wednesday: Chinese Chicken Salad, garlic bread
  • Thursday:  Taco Salad (Taco meat from the freezer)
  • Friday:   Date Night!
  • Saturday:  Breakfast for dinner: Smoothies and Bagels with cream cheese
  • Sunday:   Leftover night

 

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

Great Buys at Dollar Tree!

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A few years ago I wrote about my top ten buys at 99Cents Only, but now that there is a Dollar Tree right next door to our house, I’ve had times to peruse the aisles, and I’ve come up with a list of Dollar Tree purchases that are a great deal!

1- Cards! Most discount stores sell off-brand greeting cards, but Dollar Tree sells Hallmark cards! Heartline by Hallmark are 2 for $1, and Expressions by Hallmark are $1 each! And they have tons of cute options for every and all occasion!

2- Party Supplies. From party favors, disposables (cups, silverware, plates, bowls, etc), DT has you covered. I love that they have plain colored stuff, in addition to themes, including baby shower supplies!

3- Craft Supplies. Y’all know how much crafting we do. Dollar Tree has a lot of good, name brand products. Crayola crayons, markers, colored pencils were spotted on my recent trip.  I also like their construction paper, pom poms, chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners), white glue, and small craft kits.


4- Hair accessories. Hair elastics, barrettes, brushes, combs, headbands, you name it! Besides the store brand, you can also find Goody brand, among others.

5-Kitchen Towels, Hot Pads, etc. If you are looking for a quick kitchen makeover on the cheap, Dollar Tree has a lot of great kitchen linens and kitchen decor. For $20, you can give your kitchen a little facelift without a trip to Home Depot!

6- Frozen Veggies. KT Farms and Pictsweet are two of the usual brands that DT stocks. Most bags are 12 ounces, which is a great size for $1!

7- Juice boxes and powdered drinks My kids like the small Juicy Juice juice boxes, so .25 or less each is my price point for juice boxes. Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only both stock these. The powdered drink sticks sometimes vary by store, but we love the strawberry lemonade the best. And as a bonus, a few times a year there are coupons available. Oh, yeah, Dollar Tree accepts coupons too. Their coupon policy can be found here.

8-Push up/freezees/bolios pops. Whatever you call them, most Dollar Tree locations stock these in different varieties. Our local Dollar Tree sells Sonic Drive-in brand, and two types of Kool Pops. 10 pops in a box for $1 is a great deal, and it’s my price point (or less), so we stock up monthly.

If you need a lot of a specific item, you can order them from Dollartree.com, and have them shipped for free to your local store. Saves time, and shipping fees!

I’ve been shopping at Dollar Tree for years, and I’m stoked to be working with their affiliate program. Please be aware that if you click on any of the links above, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase. You can see my disclosure policy here.

10/18/19 Freebies and Deals!

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Woo Hoo! Friday means Freebies and deals! There are a lot more freebies and deals this week. I’m excited to share!

 

Free Food:

 

Free Personal Care/Beauty:

 

Free Magazines:

 

Events/Etc.

10/17/19 National Pasta Day!

d885edea4dac6850a5f9bdde459b5c86.jpgDid you know that 10/17/19 is National Pasta Day?

I didn’t. There aren’t tons of freebies. Like… None.

Olive Garden has some sort of shenanigans going on via Twitter, but ain’t nobody got time for that. IF you sign up for their email club, you can get a free app or dessert.

For those of us who don’t have time to chase deals, and want to eat a bowl of plain ‘skettis at home, here are some yummy pasta recipes to try:

The kids have requested Mac and Cheese for dinner- so we’re celebrating!

Quick & Easy Meal: Ravioli Soup

cooking-1.jpgThis recipe is super easy, you can add meat (like in the picture) if you like, or keep it meat-free and add some extra vegetables.

I try to have the ingredients for this soup on-hand. It’s quick and perfect for when you want a hearty bowl of soup in a hurry.

Ravioli Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 c. each: chopped carrots, celery
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 14.5 ounces (or so) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1-quart vegetable stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 T. Mural of Flavor
  • 1 9oz. package of Ravioli (I Like 4 cheese)
  • 1/2 c. good quality parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, heat olive oil and saute all of the veggies for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium/low, add tomatoes, tomato paste, and veggie stock.
  3. Simmer on medium/low for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add ravioli and cook 8-10 minutes, until ravioli are cooked.
  5. Ladle into 4 bowls, top with cheese and serve with a green salad.

It’s that easy!

Substitutions-

  • Add 1/2 lb. of protein- your choice. I like cooked, crumbled Italian sausage. Meatballs or  Italian sausage sliced into rounds work great too. Add into the soup after step 2.
  • Use ravioli with meat if you prefer.
  • Use Gluten-free ravioli if you need to.
  • If you want more veggies in your soup, add 3-4 cups of fresh spinach when you add in the ravioli.

 

 

Cents of Style: Fall Sweaters WITH POCKETS!!

Yup, you read that correctly- Sweaters with POCKETS! I don’t know why, but I love functional pockets.
Graphic Sweatshirt

With five designs to choose from in sizes XS-3XL, these babies won’t last long. Now through 10/21/19 they are just $24.95 and FREE Shipping w/code: SNUGFALL

This is the one I ordered:

Graphic Sweatshirt

I love the different styles and sizes that Cents of Style offers!

California Climate Credit- Savings on Your October Utility Bill!

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 10.10.07 PM.pngWOO HOO!! It’s back! The second California Climate Credit  is back for it’s second installment of the year!

And if you have any of the following utilities: PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities, your October bill will have a credit.

The California Climate Credit. From the CPUC website:

“Twice a year, millions of California residents receive a credit on their utility bill identified as the “California Climate Credit.”  The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change.  This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas distributors and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits.  The credit represents residential utility ratepayers’ share of the payments from the State’s program.  The credit program was created by the CPUC, which also oversees the program’s implementation.

Currently, all residential and eligible small business electricity customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities receive the credit, as do all Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) customers.  In addition, natural gas residential customers of PG&E, SoCalGas, Southwest Gas, and SDG&E also receive the credit.  Customers don’t need to do anything to receive the credit – it is automatically applied to their bills.  The credit amounts vary among utilities, CCAs and from year to year.

If you’re not sure whether you’re receiving the Climate Credit, the first thing to do is contact your utility or CCA, the same as you would do with any billing questions.  That’s because although the CPUC oversees the credit and can help with any remaining questions you have, your utility or CCA is best positioned to access your individual records and answer questions about individual accounts.”

In addition to this credit, we also use the TIME OF USE billing to our advantage. Here is an article I wrote about last summer with some tips about how to save on your utility bill. Time of Use billing isn’t for everyone, but we use it as I am able to do the bulk of our energy using chores during off-peak hours, such as dishes and laundry.

And one thing that I find super helpful- We signed up for Ohm Connect a few years ago and it texts and/or emails you when you should conserve more power due to the demand on the power grid. It’s a win-win situation: You save money on your power bill, and you earn points from Ohm Connect that you can cash out for Paypal, Amazon or Target Gift Cards, OhmConnect store credit (to buy energy-efficient thermostats, smart plugs, etc.) You can learn more about OhmConnect here. When you sign up here and link your utility account, you’ll earn $10 in rewards! We’ve earned over $50 in 2019 so far!

 

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.