Healthy, Frozen Fruit Pops!

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It’s summer and my kids would eat popsicles 24/7 if I let them. Most commercial popsicles (or as they are sometimes called, frozen dessert confections) are full of sugar and artificial ick. A few months ago my dad bought me a package of Zipzicles on Amazon. Zipzicles are long, skinny zip top freezer bags that can be filled with whatever you’d like and frozen. Think DIY Otter Pops.

What I really like is that you can be creative, use what you have on hand, and create healthy and fun treats with your kids.

Here are two recipes that the kids and I came up with. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pictures recently.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.47 AMMixed Berry Pops

Makes about 12 pops

  • 2 cups mixed berries (use whatever you have, I used 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 t. honey

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Use a small funnel to fill the zipzicle pouches. Place all Zipzicle pouches into a cup or larger zip top bag and place in freezer. Ready to serve in approx 4-6 hours, or as soon as frozen solid.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.35 AMTropical Pops

Makes about 20

2c frozen bananas
2c frozen Strawberries
1 pkg frozen mangoes
2c Orange Juice
Blend together, pour into Zipzicle pouches ( I use a funnel). Store in freezer until it’s time to consume.

They are so good, and no extra sugar is needed, because the bananas are so sweet.

Next, I think we’ll be making Bachelor Mousse treats. I think it will freeze well, and everyone loves fudgsicles!

For your convenance, Zipzicles can be purchased here (affiliate link), but you can also find them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

What would you put into your Zipzicles?

Checkout51 Save, Save, Save, Win, Win, Win Sweepstakes!

You know I love Checkout51! It’s a cashback app that you can use AT ANY STORE!  Even stores like Dollar Tree, 99 Cents Only, and Grocery Outlet!

Right now, Checkout51 has a great Sweepstakes! You could win thousands of dollars in prizes every week, 7 weeks straight!

All you need to do is redeem any offer from the weekly offer list in the corresponding sweepstakes week and you will be automatically entered to win up to $2,500 a week!

There will be a total of $25,000 in prizes to US members every week & a total of  $12,500 in prizes to Canadian members every week.

Yep, thats right, $175,000 total to US members throughout the 7 weeks and a total of $87,500 to Canadian members throughout the 7 weeks.

If you haven’t checked out Checkout51 yet, here is their current offer list.

Common Kindness: Save Money and Help Others!

CKLogocolored.jpgSaving money is awesome, but helping others while saving money is even better! That’s why I like printing coupons onCommon Kindness.

Common Kindness donates a portion of each coupon amount redeemed to the charity of your choice! At no cost to you! They have mostly Organic/All Natural food coupons, but they’ve also great HBA coupons:
Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.25.22 AM.pngThese items are available for sale at Dollar Tree (which accepts coupons).

If you need to stock up on HBA, Common Kindness is a great resource for printables!

.50 for a bottle of body wash or shampoo/conditioner is a great deal, and that price is even great for donations to your favorite charity!

If you want to learn more about redeeming coupons at Dollar Tree, check out their Coupon Policy Here.

 

 

Saving Money When Coupons Aren’t Plentiful…

wallet-money.jpgI’m not sure if ya’ll have been noticing, but the coupon in the Sunday paper and online have kinda sucked lately.

Now that the shininess of New Years Resolutions has worn off, there are no more healthy food coupons, and the Big Game is over, so the snack-y food coupons have petered out too.

Values are lower and lower each week, and coupon redemption has reached an all time low (I read this on Coupons in the News a few weeks ago). So what’s a saver to do when there isn’t much to clip or print?

Don’t fret! There are still lots of ways to save money!

Check out other printable coupon websites. I have my list of old dependables here, but I also like Common Kindness. Common Kindness donates a portion of each coupon amount redeemed to the charity of your choice! At no cost to you! They have mostly Organic/All Natural food coupons. They also have a lot of printables that match up with rebates on Mobisave and Checkout 51.

That brings me to rebate apps! My full list is here. Don’t forget to check those out each week when it’s time to hit the store.

Don’t forget your Price Book, if you’ve neglected it, it might be time to update!

An updated Price Book can help you determine if items are a good deal, and it can also help you with Price Per Unit (This is super helpful if you shop at warehouse stores, like Costco).

Look for deals other places! I love to check out Living Social for discounted deals on fun stuff for family date night, or the occasional meal out with Hubs.

If you need to do some shopping online, try using an online shopping site/cashback site. I like both Mypoints and Topcashback. You can learn more about how we save while shopping online here. And don’t forget to look for coupon codes while doing online shopping.

Lastly, if you find yourself in need of food, and the ends just aren’t meeting like they used to, please do not be too proud to check out local sources for food. An updated list of local San Diego area food resources can be found here.

 

Wanna Save Money in 2017?

8f235f4422591a09bd341f17958e172c.jpgOne of the most common New Years Resolutions is to to save money. And it’s a good one!

Last year I wrote a series with the top ten resolutions:

 

If you feel like you are too busy to “deal with” coupons:

I hope these tips and articles help!

Cutting the Cord: Going without Cable

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Disclaimer: This money saving strategy isn’t for everyone- I’ll admit it. If you HAVE to watch “your shows” or sports games and they aren’t available to stream on the TV channel’s website (FOX, CBS, NBC, and AMC have tons of their shows streaming on their site), this won’t work for you.

We don’t have cable.  Never have. Mr. C watches sports over Antenna TV or he’ll go to the gym and spend time on the treadmill or StairMaster while he watches football!

In my area, cable tv (with Cox Cable) is $61.99/mo for the cheap-o plan.  It’s usually on special for less, or you may get a discount if you bundle it with your home phone (we don’t have one!), but after any introductory rates have expired, the monthly price is $61.99/mo at a minimum.

So, in the 10 years we’ve lived together, we’ve saved roughly $7500 by not having cable. That’s A LOT of money.

There are a few things to consider:

If you want to cut the cord, before you call your cable company and tell them to shove it consider this. How old is your TV?  If it’s older than 3 or 4 years old, you’ll need a digital convertor box.

Why?  In 2009, the FCC made the switch from analog (over the air) TV to digital TV to free up analog airwaves for emergencies.

So if you have an old tv, plug it in and flip the channels, you’ll get static because your TV can’t access the digital airwaves without a convertor box. Convertor boxes run between $40-$60 and can be purchased anywhere that sells electronics. You need one convertor box PER television in your house that is over 3-4 years old.  If you are unsure if your TV has the convertor internally, check online or call the company that manufactured your TV.

Pick up a convertor box.  But you’ll still need one more thing.

An Antenna.  Not a pair of rabbit ears.  Newer antennas plug into your television, and the wall (yup they have an amplified signal, so you’ll get more channels!), and they hang on the wall. You’ll need one for each TV in the house.

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This is what ours look like, it’s a slim, shiny back box that hangs on the wall. They run anywhere from $45-$90 (depending on what type you get)

OK, so Convertor box (if needed)-Check!

Antenna– Check!

Now your are all set.

The directions that come with the antenna will tell you how to set it all up and find your local channels.

Now, you can call the cable company! Remember to return the cable boxes and remotes so you aren’t charged any extra.

Now the next question I get is: How many channels will  I get?

Depending on how strong the signals in your area are, you should be able to receive:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS
  • V-me (Spanish PBS)

There are additional networks that are available in various areas of the county.  Here in So Cal, we also get:

Plus we get a few more spanish language channels.

So- the take away is this: depending on how many TV’s you have in your house, and their age, you may spend a few hundred dollars up front to get all set up, but you may be paying a few hundred dollars a month on cable or the dish.  It will pay for itself in just a few months.

You won’t get ESPN or MTV or any of the other eight million other channels. But, you’ll get more quality time as a family.

We’ve never had cable. We’ve lived together for 10 years, and we’ve lived with broadcast TV (over the air with an antenna and converter box), Netflix- Streaming only (a gift from hubby’s parents!), and we have a HuluPlus subscription (at a whopping $7.99/month).

We’re not addicted to TV.  We watch Netflix or a show or two on Hulu at night, and Little Man and I watch PBS in the morning for Sesame Street and many other educational cartoons. We read, talk, or play games while most people are glued to the tube each night for 4-5 hours. We go for to the gym, or for a walk as a family.

 What would you do with an extra $700+ per year? What would you do with the extra time you could have not being glued to the TV each night?

 

 

Buying in Bulk: Real Savings (without food waste)

I’m sure by now that you know one of my major pet peeves is food waste. That’s why buying in bulk can be such a dangerous proposition. If you can’t use up all of something before it goes bad and you have to throw it away, that’s the same as throwing away money.

One of the ways we save money is by purchasing cheese in bulk. I buy the pre-shredded cheese. There are a few reasons.

  1. I love cheese. I will eat an entire pound block of cheese in a few days. However, I have never sat down and ate pre-shredded cheese straight from the bag.
  2. I don’t own a cheese grater. I don’t want to own a cheese grater. I don’t own a food processor. I don’t want one. I’m not a huge kitchen gadget fan.
  3. For me, it’s a trade off. I would rather pay a few more cents per ounce for the convenience of shredded cheese. My time is worth a few cents per ounce.

IMG_3214Once I’m home from the store, I set up my cheese packaging station. All you need is a stack of ziploc bags, a glass, a salad plate, and a measuring cup. (stack of bags not shown in this photo)

I measure my cheese out into 2 cup packages. That’s the size of most grocery store sized bags of shredded cheese.  I keep 1-2 bags of each kind of cheese in the fridge, and the rest of the bags go into the freezer. Yes, you can freeze cheese.

IMG_3215Put the bag into the cup and wrap the top of the bag (the part with the zip top) over the mouth of the cup. Using the measuring cup, measure however much cheese you plan to store per bag.

After my last trip to Smart & Final, I came home with a 4 lb bag of Mozzarella, and a 5 lb bag of cheddar.

I ended up up with 6 2 cup bags of Mozzarella, and a little left over, and 9 2 cup bags of Cheddar with a little leftover. I used the leftover cheeses to top a pizza. It was a little under 2 cups with both leftover cheeses combined.

IMG_3213Trying to figure out if this is a good deal? Let’s do some math…

The same brand of cheddar cheese in a 2 cup bag at Smart & Final is $2.59.

The 5 lb bag of cheddar cheese was $12.49, and it contained roughly 19 cups of cheese. That makes each cup of cheese .66, making each zip loc bag of cheese containing 2 cups of cheese $1.32. That’s a savings of $1.27 per bag over the pre-measured zip-top bag. When I’m not sure which is a better deal while I’m in the store, I check the price per ounce on the shelf label. Here are two examples of a shelf tag that shows the price per ounce for two separate products (Uncle Ben’s Rice and Carnation Instant Breakfast).

priceperounce

 

Different stores have different shelf tags, so it may take you a few minutes to decipher each stores tags.

Now you have to factor in the cost of the ziploc bags. We re-use our cheese bags, so after they are empty, I wipe them out, put them inside another bag (marked “for cheese”) and stash them in a drawer. I buy ziploc bags en masse when they are on sale. I don’t always re-use bags, but I try to as often as I can.

There you have it. Shopping smartly, taking advantage of a good deal, and how to store your food with little to no waste. That’s what being a savvy shopper is all about.