Money Saver Sunday

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A little side story for everyone, we once lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment while we waited for our house to sell and to buy our new home.  In that tiny apartment there was not much in the way of cabinets.  However there was one deep cabinet that was kind of a blind cabinet because you could barely see around the corner and could hardly reach what was in it.  So it became my bag storage area.  When we went to move my husband was helping to pack and pulled out a mountain of bags.  My husband was nice enough to display a picture of this mountain (up to my waist) of grocery bags on facebook.  I believe he even counted (just over 100).  So he likes to joke I am a grocery bag hoarder.  I make a point today to only have 5 or less bags on hand at any time.  (there have even been a few times my husband has asked for a bag and I haven’t had any)  Hopefully everyone gets a little chuckle out of my little story.

Another great tip comes from Summer Social.  Use old cleaning wipe containers for a grocery bag holder.

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I have also seen others use an old tissue box to hold grocery bags, thought that was a nice idea too.

What to do this weekend, Paint it Pottery

I’m always trying to find ideas for things to do as a family over the weekend.  I don’t want to look back on the ‘younger years’ and think I just let them pass by because with kids life is just so hectic.  Every Friday I will be trying to think of something to do as a family, and likely will be something we will be doing.  So maybe I’ll see you there!

 

There is a fantastic new pottery shop that just opened in Carthage.  It is run by a wonderful mitiary family.  I can’t wait for my 3 year old to be able to go and paint some pottery.  What a great idea for a Birthday party for a young kid.  I am just so excited.  Check out there site…

http://www.paint-it-pottery.com

 

Garlicky Baked Chicken A ++

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ImageLately I have been posting about Meals By The Week, a meal planning service with recipes and shopping lists which coincide with grocery store sales.  Kinds takes the headache out of meal planning.  All you do is sign up, and they give you a list of 7 new dinner recipes every week.  You can change the recipe amounts depending on how many you are cooking for, and print of a shopping list made specifically for the size of the meals.  I’m also very happy that they have added a vegetarian menu to the list.  Yay for all those out there looking for more vegetarian meals!

 

So This past week I tried a few different recipes.  The first was a slow cooker pork chop recipe, that was a complete failure.  Not due to the recipe but just due to me leaving my slow cooker at my moms and I attempted a 6 hr bake in the oven at 200 degrees.  Turned into dinner for the dogs rather than for the family.

 

However this Garlicky Baked Chicken came out absolutely wonderfully!  It is a new family favorite, and oh so easy.  

 

It didn’t take any new grocery shopping, pretty much all things in an average homes pantry.  Took 8 mins to prep and since I used 1 huge chicken breast cut into 3 pieces, it only took about 40 minutes to bake.  

 

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Smoothies for breakfast

I LOVE drinking smoothies.  I don’t even mind substituting a big bowl of icecream for a smoothie.  They are so easy to make I just wanted to share my oh so yummy smoothie with everyone.

What I use…

Juice of any kind
Frozen or fresh fruit
Yogurt flavored or plain
Blender

Throw everything in together and blend away, if your blender isn’t making a tornado inside the blender, add more juice until it is all easily blended.

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My AWESOME Homemade Hot Caramel Latte

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I’m not going to pretend to be a coffee connoisseur, but I do enjoy a nice Dunkin Donuts Hot Caramel Latte.  It is difficult to drive by a DD without stopping.  I started drinking more when our youngest was having trouble sleeping at night.  These had just enough get up and go to make me productive during the day after little to no sleep at night.  My husband on the weekends would go get me one and a newspaper, sometimes two so I had one in the fridge for the next day.  So this definitely started adding up.  $3.24 per latte, plus you gotta grab a few donuts for the rest of the family, thats $7.28.  So this weekly expense of $10 – 15, or $40-60 a month, just was not the best idea.  After reading and watching you tube videos on making lattes at home I decided I wanted a french press.  I didn’t have anything to make coffee at home and I found that a french press was a great way to make good single serve coffee fast.  And it was cheap $18.97.  Here is what you need…

French Press ($18.97 at walmart)

Dunkin Donuts Coffee (or anything that you like, I believe for a true latte you are suppose to use espresso)

Milk (fat free, whole, whatever you like or have on hand)

Whipping cream (or whipped cream from a foam can, I use whipped cream for cooking as well so I typically have a little on hand)

Flavoring such as caramel topping, chocolate for a mocha etc.

Microwaveable bowl

Whisk

Spoon

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Step 1

Heat 1 cup of boiling water, I heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

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Step 2

Measure out the desired amount of coffee, I use 1 lg scoop for a lg coffee.  Place in french press.  When my water is fully heated I dump it in the french press and place the top on for 2-3 minutes, the longer you let it ‘steep’ the darker and smokier the flavor will be.  So adjust to your liking (I like a light flavor).image

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Step 3:

While I am waiting for my water to heat up I whip a little whipping cream to top my coffee.  If I really want it thick I put it in my mixer and mix it for 2 minutes on high.  If like today, I just wanted a quick and easy coffee I whip with a whisk while I wait for my water to heat up.

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Step 4

Add sugar to your whipping cream to sweeten it, and sweetens your coffee.

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Step 5

For my lg coffee I use 1 cup milk to mix with my 1 cup coffee to make the latte.  Not exactly the true latte mixture but it gives me a similar taste to dunkin donuts latte.  So I heat the 1 cup milk in the microwave for 1 minute.  You can whip this to make it frothy if you would like (I don’t notice enough of a difference so I skip that step).

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Step 6

Add whatever flavor you like best, I like using a caramel ice cream syrup for a yummy caramel latte.

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Step 7

ENJOY!

By the way the amounts for making my coffee are for a medium travel sized cup, or about 1.5-2 small mugs like pictured.  Taking a picture of my travel mug with a top just wouldn’t look as yummy as this.