I am so stoked about this offer! 10,000 points is a $10 gift card (there are 20+ brands to choose from. I usually get Amazon)
Complete 3 referrals. Get 10,000 points.
Get 4,000 bonus points* when you share Fetch Rewards with three people from June 13 to June 23! You know three people, right?
Here’s how it works:
For each completed referral, you get 2,000 points when your friend scans a valid receipt. They get 2,000 points, too!
Complete three referrals, get a 4,000-point bonus.
Congrats, you earned a total of 10,000 points!
To get started, click here, or download the app from the app store or wherever you get apps. Use my code ND2TB when you sign up and you’ll score points after you scan in your first receipt with Fetch Rewards. Then you can refer friends and earn up to 10,000 points!
Just by doing my usual shopping this year, I’ve earned $30 in Amazon GC trough Fetch Rewards!
My disclosure statement is here. I’m here to help ya’ll save money, not make a million dollars!
Sunday Night I went to the grocery store to pick up milk, bread, and a few other things.
I spent $42 and it was not all that much stuff. While I was waiting in line, the lady behind me in line was going through her coupons, and her grocery list. We got to talking, I showed her the store app, where she was able to find a few more coupons. We started talking about how expensive it was to eat healthy, and I confessed to her that this was not my weekly shopping trip, I was just picking up stuff that I only buy at Food4Less:
Milk (it’s cheapest at FFL),
A specific kind of higher protein bread (it’s the cheapest place to buy this type of bread and has no High Fructose Syrup),
A specific kind of popscicles
5 lb bag of bananas (cheapest place to buy that many bananas)
And I picked up a few other misc. things that we needed and were on sale (cheese, oranges, and a 5 lb. bag of Gala apples), and a 2 liter of diet Cherry Pepsi and a jar of maraschino cherries (Mama needs a cocktail sometimes, OK?).
She asked about my grocery budget and where I shop the rest of the time. I told her my shopping strategy, after I make my grocery list:
My Top Ten Deals at 99 Cents Only– Start there for fresh produce. Salad, carrots, celery, berries, pineapples, zucchini, squash (all kinds), onions, potatoes are all types of produce that are regularly stocked. They usually have other interesting seasonally available produce too. They also have great sauces, condiments, herbs and spice blends.
Keep a Price Book- I know the best place to buy Milk, cheese, bread, and butter. I keep my price book in my phone now, but I used to use a little spiral bound notebook that lived in my purse.
Stock up on food that you will eat frequently when it does on sale. I’m not talking about fresh produce that can’t be kept (like lettuce), but if you find a good deal on strawberries, for example, chop and freeze some for smoothies or baking, make fruit leather, or dry some (they are really tasty dehydrated). Bread can be frozen, so can butter! Canned goods, shelf stable foods are perfect for stocking up. I also like stocking up on chicken when it’s on sale. I can butcher a whole chicken in a few minutes, and I frequently will break up large packages of chicken breasts into meal sized portions, season them, and put them into the freezer. Learn more about meal prep here.
For our family, meal prep and meal planning saves us a lot of time and money. There are always multiple choices for each meal at our finger tips, so the allure of getting food from take-away is gone. I always have a batch of pizza dough in the freezer too! I make two batches once a week- one for the freezer, and one to go in the fridge that gets used within 1-2 days of making.
The eternal question at Costco: Is Bigger Better? Learn about Price Per Unit here.
In addition to price per unit, you might consider starting a price book as well.
If you live in San Diego County, check out this list of Neighborhood Distributions all over the county. You can pick up 15-30 lbs of free produce each week. No proof of need is required. Just show up with your reusable grocery bags!
There are also food share programs in almost every community in the US. They provide low cost food boxes to families and individuals. A quick google search can help you find one near you!
In San Diego County, there are monthly distributions through the San Diego food bank at various locations. Colloquially called “commodities”, it’s officially called The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP). Locations throughout the county distributes USDA food each month. If you live outside San Diego County, check with your local county or municipalities food bank network for more info on this service.
Don’t forget there are tons of money saving and rebate apps. My list is here.
Bartering: Most of us know someone with a backyard garden. Trade your skills (housecleaning, organizing, babysitting, car washing, you get the idea) for some home grown produce, or eggs (some of us live in areas where backyard livestock is ok). This may not be available to everyone.
Menu Planning is another great way to cut down on food waste- It’s a lot easier than you think once you get started.
Talk Back: I’d love to hear your tips for stretching your grocery budget!
We love Ice Cream! But, it can be expensive, a carton that’s not a half gallon can run upwards of $5.00 around these parts. Most cartons of ice cream are 1.5 to 1.75 quarts, that’s a decrease from 2 quarts or a half gallon just 10 years ago. Same price (or more) and less product. No thanks.
And honestly, there are a lot of weird ingredients in store bought ice cream. Food stabilizers, thickeners (like seaweed), and artificial flavors/colors. No thanks!
After meeting with a nutritionist recently regarding my big kids food issues stemming from sensory issues related to ASD, she recommended more full fat dairy products to help make sure he was getting enough fats in his diet. A kid can only drink so much milk, so I decided to make some ice cream from scratch.
I borrowed my parents Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, which you can buy on Amazon, or probably at your local Bed Bath and Beyond. It makes 2 quarts at a time. It comes with a great cook book full of all kinds of great recipes and ideas.
After looking through that cook book, as well as looking through several of my own, and a quick internet search, I came up with several ideas on how to concoct some tasty ice cream. I asked the kids for flavor suggestions. Two choices were the big winners:
Peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips- I opted to use PB Fit instead of blending peanut butter into the milk/cream/sugar mixture- so it would have a better texture. I was also worried that the extra fat from the peanut butter would mess with the fat ratio and inhibit the hardening of the mixture.
Chocolate Malt- I used the basic recipe below, but added 1/4 c malt powder. I buy a huge container of malt powder on Amazon every quarter, but you can get smaller sized containers at Walmart or in the grocery store.
Making Ice Cream is easy. If you’ve got an ice cream maker, you just mix up your ingredients, pour into the drum of the maker, put the lid on, flip the switch and 15-20 minutes, you’ll have a pretty soft ice cream. Scoop it into an airtight container with a lid (like Tupperware), and freeze it for about 2 hours. Then it’ll be hard enough to eat.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t fret, you can use two coffee cans (cleaned out of course), some ice, salt, and duct tape and make it at home- This is the method we used when I was a kid. You can read all about it here along with a true and funny story about making ice cream with kids. This is also a fun thing to do while camping- You can pre-mix the ingredients and take it in your cooler.
Here is the basic recipe I use. Please note that the ingredients used are chosen specifically for their fat content so the ice cream will be creamy. If you alter the ingredients at all, the ice cream will be gritty, grainy, or have ice crystals in it.
Ice Cream Base (makes about 1.5 quarts)
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream- DO NOT USE half and half, fat free half and half or non-dairy creamer).
1 cup whole milk- You have to use whole milk or you’ll get ice crystals
3/4 c sweetener (I used white sugar, you can also use brown sugar, or 1 for 1 Splenda)
1 T Vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Prepare Ice Cream maker as machine instruction call for, or set up your Coffee Can ice cream maker.
Place all ingredients into chilled mixing bowl, and mix with hand mixer until all ingredients are well blended,
Pour into cream cream maker.
Turn on ice cream maker, or start rolling your coffee cans!
If you want to make my PB Fit ice cream, add 3/4 c PB Fit and 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips in step two.
Chocolate Malt ice cream is the base recipe with 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 c malt powder, and an additional 1/2 c brown sugar.
Now onto the economics: Is making your own ice cream cheaper? Usually, yes. We used flavorings that we already have on hand, and I recommend that you do the same- You know what flavors you like, and you probably already have some flavorings on hand.
32 oz. Whipping cream- $4.99
1 qt. Whole Milk .99
That’s enough cream to make 2 2-quart batches of ice cream.
You can watch a video of the ice cream maker going here, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram too! I post all kinds of fun stuff there!
Disclaimer: I have linked to items on Amazon. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Monies earned through commissions are used to offset the costs associated with running the blog (and the occasional cup of coffee).
Talk Back: What is your favorite flavor of Ice Cream? Have you ever made Ice Cream at home before?
Ugh, last week was rough! Bitty Bird was sick, and now I’ve got it, and I think Ehrny might be coming down with it too. So in that vein, this weeks meal plan is super fluid and it’s going to heavily rely on stuff from the fridge and cupboard. Thankfully Iwent to an awesome swap yesterday and we scored some amazing goat cheese. I can’t wait until my tummy feels better.
I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.
Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.
Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!
D:Soup and quesadillas
D: Special dinner for Hub’s Birthday
D: Crockpot Chili
D: Quiche and fruit salad
D: Crockpot Soup and Biscuits
D: Red Beans and Rice with Veggies
The menu may change, as I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).
I received free product in exchange for my honest review. I love this time of year- We go to and host so many events: Holiday Parties, Craft Play Dates, College Football and NFL Watching Parties, and of course Coupon Meet Ups!
Snacks are a huge part of any event, so I was stoked when Social Insider and Hormel asked me to review Hormel Gatherings Party Trays. If you’ve never heard of them before, it’s basically a party in a tray! They are an easy, stress-free appetizer option.
There are three varieties: Hard Salami & Pepperoni Party Tray, Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray, and Supreme Party Tray. They all contain Sargento Cheeses and Hormel Meats.
I chose the Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray for our recent dinner party. We got together to play games and hang out.
The tray is super sturdy, which is definitely a plus. Each component is packed up in the tray. All you do is open each sealed bag, and arrange the tray in a manner that suits you. Because of the tray and great snap-on lid, I think this would be a great addition to any tail gating event or potluck! Super easy to transport and store any leftovers- But who am I kidding… There won’t be any leftovers.
If you are feeling fancy, you can set out condiments that would go with the meats and cheeses. I mixed up some honey mustard and opened a jar of spicy stone ground mustard.
Here is the plate that Henry made for one of our guests. For a 6 year old, I’m impressed- He also took the picture with my phone. I love having the kids help with holiday events. It helps them get into the spirit too, and reminds me that these kind of events should be low stress.
Bitty Bird “helped” by stacking up paper napkins and announcing when guests arrived (“Mommy and Daddy, Peoples is in our HOOUSSSEEEE!!”), and Henry helped me by picking up the toys in the living room, taking coats, and getting drinks. He pretended he was a waiter. It was pretty funny. He refused to let me take his picture, but at one point he had a kitchen towel draped over his arm. He has asked that we serve PB Sushi at our next “fancy grown up party”.
Hormel Gatherings Party Trays are available at Walmart, so you can pick one up on your next visit while gathering other party supplies.
I’m giving one reader a chance to share Hormel Gatherings Party Trays at their next get together! One lucky reader will win a coupon for $15 off the purchase of any one Hormel Gatherings Party Tray 28 oz. or larger.
Entering is easy: Just leave a comment with your favorite holiday beverage to serve at parties. I’ll choose one winner on December 5, 2017.