Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 11.30.09

Check out orgjunkie and post your own Menu Plan!

Is it time for Menu planning again already? I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I didn't plan my menu since I knew we were eating a lot of leftovers.

This week for dinners:
Beef Stew
Chicken Pockets (w/ turkey)
Beef Stroganoff
Sheperd's Pie
Homemade Rice-A-Roni
Chicken Broccoli Casserole

For sides, we're having Green Giant steamers. I bought 4 for $1.10 each at Walmart (using a $0.40 Q). I'm slowly remembering to add more veggies in each meal.

For breakfast, we still have lots of cereal left. But now that we are not on WIC I am rationing everyone's milk consumption. Publix alo has Fiber One Yogurt on BOGO for $2.50 ($0.25 each using $1 Q). Sometimes I dilute yogurt with milk and add it to cereal. It sounds weird but it works, especially on Fiber One Cereal (which can use as much flavoring as possible). I'm still able to snag FREE Kashi waffles at Target using the $4 peelie (found on boxes of TLC bars- Q for ANY Kashi). Look at your Target to see if they have these too. They taste quite good.

Lunch is another story. It's all about survival recently. So I'll need more planning on that.

Publix Deals Nov 27-Dec 1

Visit Iheartpublix for more super deals! My total came out to about $4 for everything here!

Fisher Fusions is BOGO, 2 for $1.79
use two $1 off Qs from 11-22 SS & get $0.42 overage

BOGO Scotch Giftwrap, 2/$2.49
Use two $1 off from Publix Winter Savings, pay $0.25 each

BOGO Fiber One Yogurt, 2/$2.50
Use two $1 off here or $1.25 here or 10/04 SS

BOGO Dole Salad Blends, 2/$5.
I used two $1 off 1 Target Q & $1 off 2 MQ

$2.50 Earthgrains Thin Buns
Use tearpad Q (FREE produce up to $2 wyb buns)= 2 FREE Salads
*Have you been to the new Publix by Cordova Mall? They have an eating area near the entrance, perfect for a quick lunch. I got the Winter Savings Booklet & also a grand opening booklet that had $5 off $30 by asking for booklets at Customer Service. The Mobile Hwy store said that they would take the $5 off $30 even if it's says good only at the new store. (I'm glad to hear this. Since they accept competitor coupons from Walgreens, it only makes sense they would accept Qs from another Publix.)

Food World Deals Nov 27-Dec 1

Computers at Food World? Totally missed that. But according to their ad, they had quite a few deals going on.

As for Groceries, here are the best deals I see this week:

$1.39/lb ground beef, family pack, 3lbs or more
$1.69/lb beef shoulder roast, family pack
$0.88 each iceberg lettuce
$2.50 gallon milk
$0.77 Food World bread, 20 oz
BOGO Tombstone pizza, 2/$5.79 (limit 2 Free)

Walgreens Deals Nov 29-Dec5, $11 Money Maker!

Did you get to great deals from Black Friday at Walgreens? This week is a little slower. But there are still a few deals to be had. (I will only get the contact solution because I don't have coupons for the others. These may be regional coupons. If you don't have them either but it is worth it to you to make $11 in overage, you can buy coupons from here.) Final price is after RRs.

Complete Solution, Buy at $7.99 Get $8 RR
Use $1 off from 10/25 Redplum
=FREE + 1 overage

Band-Aid 20-60 pack, Buy 2 for $3, Get $1 R
Use two $0.50 off 1 from 8/2 SmartSource
Stack w/ $2 off 1 Walgreens Q from Walgreens Coloring Book*
(*will take off $4)
=FREE + $3 overage

Ecotrin, $1.99 w/ in-ad Q (Buy 3)
Use $10 off 3 Q (Advantage Brands) from 10/11 Vlassis
=FREE + $4 overage

Oral B Stages or Zooth Toothbrushes, Buy 4 for $10, Get $5 RR
Use four $1 off Q from 11/1 PG (expires 11-30)
Stack with $1 off 1 Walgreens Q from Walgreens Coloring Book*
(*will take off $4)
=FREE + $3 overage

Check out I Heart Wags for other deals and coupon match-ups. Also MSM and TTM.

Here is a $5 Scenario: Go to KTKF for other $5 deals.
1st Transaction
Buy 1 Complete Solution, ($7.99-$1 Q)
Buy 3 Ecotrin, ($5.97-$10 Q)
Pay $3 Get $8RR

2nd Transaction
Buy 4 Zooth Toothbrushes ($10-$8 Q)
Buy 2 Character Band-aids ($3-$5)
Pay $0 Get $5 RR

Total Paid: $3
Receive $13 RRs
Money made in overage: $11

Just a word of caution:
When I was looking at the match-ups for this week, I was dissapointed that I didn't have the coupons needed for the deal. Nor have I found the Walgreens Coloring Book. So I can still do the first transaction a few times if I buy coupons online. But what would I do with all the Ecotrin? Donate them. Is it worth the hassle when I already made some money from Black Friday deals two days ago...

Sometimes I have to stop and check myself like this. I have to question my needs vs. wants. There will always be deals. So it's ok if I skip a great deal once in a while. Make sure you do the same. The drugstore coupon games can be fun but it's easy to get sucked into doing too much. And that's not the point of saving money.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." - Gal 5:1

Saturday, November 28, 2009

$3 Watches at Walgreens

While doing Black Friday deals at Walgreens, the cashier at the cosmetics counter said watches were now 75% off. Walgreens will discontinue carrying them so they are on sale. Some were $3 and others $4.75 like the ones in the picture. These would make nice Christmas gifts. The best part is that you can use up those extra Register Rewards if you need to get rid of a few.

P.S. I think these would make a nice gift for young adults who could wear them for job interviews to round out their outfit. We were visiting with family friends whose daughter was home for college. And her list of Black Friday items to get were mainly professional clothes for job hunting. A nice watch is a great "grown-up" accessory.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CVS and Walgreens Black Friday Deals

UPDATE: I did get a chance to stop by CVS on Thursday and Walgreens on Friday, both at night. Of course the stores were not crowded. To my relief, they were well-stocked. At Walgreens, they even put all the Black Friday deals all in the same endcap. Total: all FREE + $4 overage after ECBs. Plus I'll get $9 for Just for Men Rebate!

Total: all FREE after RRs! I had $6 overage from coupons which went to pizzas and crayons (were $1.99 each).

My two favorite stores, CVS and Walgreens are also having their Black Friday deals starting Thursday. Today is the best time to pop over there and get a few items for free after ECBs and RRs because everyone will be too sleepy from all the turkey they ate. Last year, I was able to buy all the presents I had for myself (make-up and a hair dryer) for FREE at these two stores. Check out the deals from this list of stores. Also, Dollar General is having a Thursday only and a three-day sale. Kristin did a great job posting all these deals, so now I don't have to!

But I did want to share highlights with you for CVS (I got my deals from I Heart CVS):
Take this medicare quiz to print a $5 off $30 Q. Give this before all other coupons.

*2 BIC Soleil Razors FREE
DEAL: Buy at $6.99, Get $5 ECBs; limit 2
Print two $2 off

*Sheer Infusion Vaseline Lotion, $1.50 money-maker!
DEAL: Buy at $7.99, Get $7.99 ECBs
Print $1.50 Q

*Philips earbuds, FREE
DEAL: Buy at $6.99, Get $6.99 ECBs; limit 1

*Schick Quattro Titanium Razor, FREE
DEAL: Buy at $9.99, Get $8 ECBs, limit 1
Use $2 off Q from last week's paper, deal good for women's razor too

*Just for Men Touch of Grey, $8.99 Money Maker
DEAL: Buy at $8.99, Get $8.99 ECBs
Plus submit for $8.99 Mail-In-Rebate
(Even if you have to donate this item because your family does not need it, get it anyway and make $9 on it!)

OK, for Walgreens, Register Rewards deals: (I got my deals from I Heart Wags.)

*Dove Ultimate, $2 Money maker
DEAL: Buy at $3.99, Get $4 RR
Print $2 Q

*Infusium 23, 8 or 16 oz, $2 Money Maker
DEAL: Buy at $4.99, Get $5 RR
Use $2 from last week's paper

*Nivea Men's Shave Gel, FREE
DEAL: Buy at $2.49, Get $2.50 RR

Cook Turkey in 1.5 Hours!

Apparently, some Wal-Mart stores ran out of turkeys yesterday. If you were lucky enough to buy extras when they had them on sale for $0.40/lb, hold on to yours because they may not get any more for a few days. If I had known that there would be a turkey shortage, I would have bought more earlier. For lean meat, you can't beat this price.
Here is a tip for cooking a turkey quickly. If you cut up a turkey, like you would for chicken, it cooks in less than half the time. I used kitchen scissors to make things easier. Our turkey was 20 lbs and cooked in an hour and a half. The night before, I soaked the whole turkey in a brine solution (water plus lots of salt- about half a cup). Then I roasted the thighs, legs and wings at 325 degrees.
The turkey breast went into the slowcooker with an inch of water for about 3 hours. One half was sliced for sandwiches and the other half cubed for salads and casseroles. The back and neck went into another slowcooker for making broth.
When I cooked this turkey a couple weeks ago, I used all convenient foods for sides: Stovetop stuffing, Betty Crocker potatoes, and Steam Fresh green beans. For Thanksgiving, I made these from scratch. But I am looking forward to whipping out the box versions sometime next month when I'm in a cooking time crunch. It's cheaper than take-out, right!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! There are so many things to be thankful for this year. For one thing, starting this blog! I've learned so much and have been so blessed by all the tips and tricks from other bloggers and shoppers. Another thing I am thankful for is that I will NOT be going Black Friday shopping at 5am. Although that's one event I've been longing to experience all year, due to scheduling conflicts, I won't be able to make it out that early. In a way, that's a blessing because I get to sleep in and remember to be thankful for the closets full of bargains we already have. However, later that afternoon (and Thursday night) I'll be hitting my favorite box and drugstores for some deals too.

If you are going for the American-version of the Running of the Bulls, aka, Black Friday, remember to:
1. Pray that you get what you want, if not just what you need.
2. Mind your manners, even when others may not.
3. Have a list and a game plan, include breaks!
4. Eat and hydrate for optimal mental capacity.
5. Have fun! Black Friday is more of a hunt than anything.
6. When you get home, wrap up or hide the presents right away, in case of wandering eyes.
7. Be thankful for what you got!

Check out the list of bargains at different stores & also best prices on toys, electronics, etc from Couponing to Disney. She also has a list of Black Friday Store Opening Times which may come in handy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Super Shopping Walgreens 11-23-09

This is what I bought in one transaction:
2 Theraflu
2 Triaminic
Almay One Coat Mascara (double pack)
Riccola Mixes Berry Cough Drops
4 Coffeemate
2 Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup
6 Hunt's Tomato Sauce
3 Lubriderm
4 3 Musketeers Candy Bars
2 Kleenex
1 Jordana Lip Liner
Total Cost: $21.90 (saved $69 or 76%!)
Got $19 RRs back (only $2.90 after RRs)

These are the coupon matches and transaction breakdown:
(MQ= Manufactrer coupon; Wags= Walgeens; HSB= Health Savings Booklet found by weekly ads; DY= Diabetes & You Magazine by pharmacy; NOV= November booklet-- also note that you do not have to give up your Walgreens coupon or get multiples. The cashier just scans it and it automatically takes off the number of coupons per number of items bought.)

The Walgreens $5 off $25 I used at the end after all the coupons and before tax. My total came out to $26 and the coupon still didn't work. So I grabbed a $1 lipliner and it worked fine. It helps to check out at the cosmetics counter because my cashier was patient with me and all my coupons (I had at least one for every item bought!) and she waited for me to get my filler items. So, get to know your cosmetics counter cashiers because they are part of your money-saving team!

Theraflu: Buy 2 for $10, Get $3RR
Use two $1.50 MQ Theraflu (blinkie next to it)
Use two $2 Wags Theraflu Q (HSB)
=$3, Get $3 RR; FREE after RR

Triaminic: Buy 2 for $10, Get $5RR
Use two $1.50 MQ Triaminic PRINT
Use two $2 Wags Triaminic Q (HSB)
=$3, Get $5 RR; FREE + $2 overage after RR

Almay One Coat, $6.99 (Bonus packs also work!)
Use $4 off Wags Almay Q (NOV)
=$2.99 or $1.50 each!

Lubriderm: Buy any 3, Get $8 RR
Mine was $3.79 each
Use $2 MQ off 1 from paper
Use three $1 off (DY)
=$6.37, Got $8 RR; FREE + $1.63 overage after RR
If you only had $1 DY coupon, 3 lotion would be $0.87. So every $2 MQ used will give you overage!

Kleenex: $0.89 w/ in-ad Q (limit 3)
Buy 2
Use two $0.75 MQ PRINT
=$0.28 or $0.14 each
Thanks Hip2Save!

Coffeemate, BOGO 2/$2.49
Buy 4 (my store only had Hazelnut!)
Use four $1 Coffeemate PRINT (register first) or HERE (don't need to register)
(For every encouraging note to sent, they donate $0.50 to Dress for Success. Plus you get $1 off Q. Hit the back button twice to get two Qs!)
=$0.96 or $0.24 each!

Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup
Buy 2, $0.59 each w/ in-ad Q
Use $0.50 for 2 Tomato Soup
=$0.68 or $0.34 each

Hunt's Tomato Sauce, $0.39 w/ in-ad Q
Buy 6 (my cashier let me get more than limit of 4)
Use 2 $1/3 Play Recession game to PRINT Q
=$0.34 or $0.06 each
Thanks Jamie!

Nabisco Crackers: Buy 5 for $10, Get $3 RR
Use one $1 MQ Nabisco from newspaper
Use two $1/2 MQ Nabisco Print ?
Use two $1/2 Wags Q (DY)
=$5, Got $3 RR; only $0.20 each after RR

Riccola Berry Mixes
Use in-ad Q (makes it $0.99)
Use $0.50 MQ Riccola (HSB)
=$0.50, Get $1 RR; FREE + $0.50 overage after RR
(mine did not print though)

Reynold's Wrap, $0.99 w/ in-ad Q

3 Musketeer's, $0.49 w/ in-ad Q
Use two $0.55/2 MQ (from Winn-Dixie blinkie)
Use two BOGO Q from paper 11-8?
=FREE + $0.12 overage (I could only use one $0.55/2; so $0.11 each)

$5 off $25 Wags Q (no longer valid. But all these deals are still good through Saturday!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Walgreens Scenario with $5 off $25 Q (Q for TODAY only!)

For those of taking advantage of the Walgreens $5 off $25 TODAY, check out this scenario: (Thanks to iheartwags for coupon match-ups!)

Theraflu 2 for $10 (DEAL: Buy 2 Get $3 RR)
Triaminic 2 for $10 (DEAL: Buy 2 Get $5 RR)
Almay Pure Blends Mascara, $7.99 (DEAL: Get $5 RR)
Almay Pure Blends Foundation, $9.99 (DEAL: Get $10 RR)
Almay One Coat Mascara, $6.99

Use these coupons: (MQ= Manufactrer coupon)
two $1.50 MQ Theraflu (blinkie next to it)
two $2 Wags Theraflu Q (Health Savings Booklet)
two $1.50 MQ Triaminic PRINT
two $2 Wags Triaminic Q (Health Savings Booklet)
one $4 Wags Almay Q (November booklet)
$5 off $25 Wags Q PRINT

Pay $26 out of pocket
Get $3+$5+$5+$10 = $23RRs back!

Perfect for newbies with a little extra money. Then come back to Walgreens for Black Friday deals and rollover your RRs!

Other deals and filler items:
Riccola Mixes Berry Cough Drops, $1 (DEAL: Get $1 RR)
Coffeemate BOGO, 2/$2.49
Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup, $0.59 w/ in-ad Q, Buy 2

Coupons to Use:
one $0.50 MQ Riccola (Diabetes & You Magazine)
two $1 Coffeemate PRINT (register first)
one $0.50 off 2 MQ PRINT

*Sometimes, I get stumped at Walgreens when the item I'm buying is out-of-stock and it messes up my deal scenario. So, it's better to have a back-up list, like above, of other deals to get.

Also, if you have not submitted for Kraft Jingle in Your Pocket Rebate:
Buy $10 worth of Nabisco Crackers $2 each=$3RR
(Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Ritz and select others)
Deal Scenario:
Buy 5 Wheat Thins or Triscuits $2 each=$10
Use five $1/1 (11/8SS) or $1/2PRINT
Use $1/2 Wags Q (Diabetes and You Magazine)
(will deduct $2)
Pay $3
Get back a $3RR
Final cost FREE!

Do this twice and submit for the Rebate (Must buy 10). Remember NOT to use the RR from the 1st transaction or you will NOT get another RR for the 2nd transaction. (Thanks Hip2Save!)

Publix Deals and Shopping

These Publix Deals will run through WEDS since Publix is closed Thursday. The new weekly ad comes out on Friday. But you can go here to see the sneak peak.

UPDATE: I did make a second trip today and got through the checklist below! I added more deals and pictures at the end of this post too. Total was $12, saved $26.50 or about 70%.

Plus I picked up more Craisins for $0.15 each and spices for $0.50 each. Not pictured are four 12-roll Charmin at $6.49 each. (Total was $21.29, saved $17.21 or 45%). I used a $5 off $25 Walgreens coupon (good through today) and gave one to the lady in front of me buying Gerber baby food. I don't miss those expensive baby-shopping days!

This trip only took 18 minutes to get in and get through the checkout! All in all I paid $17. But I have a few things that need to get fixed. Like the Dole (BOGO 2/$1.57) which has $0.50 Print Qs that I forgot to bring with me. And the Rachel Ray Mag and cheese deal where I couldn't use the Publix coupon. Otherwise all these items are less than $0.30 each except for the cereal ($1.25 each) and Jimmy Dean Sausage (pure impulse buy $2 using $0.55 peelie).

I'm going back tomorrow to:
1. Beg them to let me use the Rachel Ray mag Publix Q. (I got $3.75 back!)
2. Fix the Dole coupon.
($1 back!)
3. Use the Walgreens $5 off $25 Q to stock-up on Charmin toilet paper ($6.49 for 12-big roll). Most Pensacola Publix will take Walgreens coupons as competitor coupons. BUT this $5 off $25 must be AFTER all other coupons. So I'm getting toilet paper because that never has a high-value coupon and next to stocking up on diapers, it's the one thing you wouldn't ever want to run out of.
(Bought 4 for $21.50. Will not have to buy toilet paper for months!)

Apples & Eve Organics 3pk, 3/$4
Buy 2
Use $1/2 from Greenwise Fall 2009, page 6
Use two $1 off 1 from Winter Family Savings, (after the middle of the booklet)
=FREE + $0.33 overage

Rondele cheese, BOGO 2/$4.09
Use two $1 Q from 11-15 RP
Use $3.75 off Everyday Mag
Use $3.75 off Everyday Mag PUBLIX Q (Winter Savings Booklet)
FREE + $1.42 overage

Sorrento Riccota Cheese, 2 for $5
Use two $1 Q from 11-15 RP and the magazine Qs above
FREE + $0.42 overage

*My store would not let me stack both $3.75 Qs but I'll try with a manager tomorrow. There are reports of stores letting you do this. So check with your store first!)

These deals were just great!
BOGO Cool Whip, 2/$2.07
Use two $0.50 here
=$1.07 or $0.54 each

BOGO Craisins, 2/$2.29
Use two $1 Peelies from Ocean Spray 100% Juice (Target & Walgreens)
=$0.29 or $0.15 each

BOGO I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, 2/$2.99
Use two $0.75 Target print
Use two $0.75 print or blinkies next to product
* Some stores do not take Target coupons as competitor coupons like Orange Beach. And don't do like I did: accidentally printed on top of the Target coupon so wasted that coupon... trying to save paper by printing on both sides works only if you're paying attention.

Philly Cheese, $1.29
Use $1 Q here or Winter Savings Booklet

Dole, BOGO $1.75
Use two $0.50 Q here
=$.38 each
=$0.57 or $0.28 each

Breakstone Sour Cream, $0.99
Use $1 off 2 Q from 11-15 RP
=$0.50 each

What holiday would be complete without Chex Mix!
BOGO GM Cereal, 2/$3.49: Chex & kid cereals
Use $1/2 from 11-15?
=$2.49 or $1.25 each

Sargento Shredded Cheese, 5-8 oz, 3/$5
I used three $0.55 MQ (blinkie next to product)
=$1.12 each

I could not resist this deal (beef sausage included!)
Echrick loop sausage, $2
Used two $0.50 MQ from 11-15?
=$1.50 each!

Check out I Heart Publix for even more deals and coupon match-ups!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Storytime at the Library

Southwest Branch Library off Bauer Rd across Big Lagoon is having a Thanksgiving-themed storytime on Weds 10:30am-11am. They always do a great job and have songs, stories and crafts, even picture time (they gave us all copies from the Halloween program).

Southwest Branch Library info:
12248 Gulf Beach Highway
Pensacola, Florida 32507
(850) 453-7780
Mon. Tues. Wed. & Thurs. - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed Sun.

For more kids' events at all area libray locations, visit their website!

Walmart Price-Match Shopping Nov 16

(Local to Pensacola only)
Wal-Mart price-matching is so much easier than Target. Except for the lack of Wal-Mart store coupons, I would only comparison shop there. This week is a great time to stock-up on cheese! If you are new to price-matching at Wal-Mart, read my post here.

Click on the store name to see weekly deals at these stores, good through Tuesday and see other deals to price-match:
Food World, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Greer's, Barnes

This stock-up trip last week was $33. Even though I would love to eat all those cookies, they'll be donated to the food bank.
Yesterday's stock-up trip was $43. Not pictured are 8 more bags of cheese. And the potatoes have a rebate here. (FL, NY, MS, OR only) Thanks Saving Advice!

Barnes Supermarket has block, shredded and cream cheese, 8oz for $1. I bought 16- sharp, mozzarella, fiesta, cream cheese, swiss and parmesan shredded. The last two were only 6 oz but the cashier let me get them. I thougt they were 8 oz too. Since cheese freezes, it's perfect for holiday cooking.

Lots of vegetables are also on sale at other stores:

I bought the above all at Wal-Mart! But they are matched from 3 stores!
At Barnes, 3lb bag of onions & 16 oz baby carrots for $1
At Winn-Dixie, vine ripe tomatoes for $0.99/lb, 8oz mushrooms or Dole Classic salad for $1.25, $0.79 for mangoes and 10-cent limes!
At Publix, $0.99/lb for green beans, zucchini or squash.
Plus regular (Wal-Mart) rollback prices:
Bananas for $0.39/lb
Pomegranates for $1 each
Little Debbie snacks are $1: Nutter Butter, Honeybun, Swiss Roll, Oatmeal Cookies

Hillshire Farms Lil Smokies, $2
Gwaltney Bacon, $2
3lb roll of Ground beef, $3.75 ($1.25/lb)
5lb roll of Ground Beef, $6.25 ($1.25/lb)
Campbell Cream of Mushroom or Chicken Soups, $0.58

For the Thanksgiving meal (or otherwise):
Riverside Turkey for $0.40/lb (limit 2)

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, $0.88
Jiffy Cornbread Mix, $0.43
Green Giant Can Veg., $0.50 (select)

Betty Crocker Potatoes $0.78. Heinz gravy $0.78
Stove Top, $0.78 ($1.50 twin-pack)
Duncan Hines Cake Mix, $0.78
For the Potatoes: Use $0.40 from here or paper, and it's only $0.38!
I picked this kind because it has 3 Box Tops. That's $0.30 to my homeschool league from something that cost me $0.38!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beach Bums

Sunday morning, we are all dressed and ready for Church. No CVS trip planned since I lacked coupons needed for most deals. While in the car, hubby asks me, "Where are we headed since we are already late for Church?" Uh, oh... I guess I was in the bathroom longer than I thought. So we headed to the beach, still in Sunday clothes.

It felt like an early summer day. The water was blue and still. Without a single wave. Black dolphins swimming in pods were leaping off the water. I've never seen that before and had been praying I would. (Its cheaper than Sea World!) We all cheered whenever one of them showed off jumping! Later, stingrays made their way near the shore like black triangle submarines. We saw seabirds: a sand piper, looms, pelicans and seagulls; even migrating monarchs fluttering about. Our daughter collected seashells; our son threw them in the water. The splashes made perfect circles, disturbing the stillness of the ocean.

This was a time of necessary peace for our family. Our hearts rested in God while He reminded us of His majesty through His creation. We are so blessed to live near the beach and have access to this display of beauty whenever we want. A truly Finer Thing.

Visit here to see other Finer Things celebrated this week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Filipino Dishes I Wish I Was Cooking

Flag picture from

I love Ms. Connie's site. She is a great food photographer & cook. Although we don't eat as much Filipino food at home, it will always be my mother taste. The problem is that I don't know how to cook most of the dishes & have long since resigned myself to the excuse that ingredients are hard to find. But, they're not. Most Asian stores carry Filipino (or like) spices & condiments. Since I cried for days every time I looked at a Filipino dish on her blog, my avoidance is all due to homesickness.

I remember clearly when we moved out of my grandparent's house to our own place. My mom had to cook for us for the first time. Good thing that take-out was readily available. Better than any fast food, she always served us good meat & veggie dishes from these cafeteria-style cantinas. Even school lunches were like the comfort food served at home. My mom did become a real great cook. But her love for simpler dishes (she grew up in the country) steered most meals away from the meat-heavy Filipino favorites. So I never really knew how to cook these meals my heart longs for.

Soon, I got over my homesickness, cured mostly by visiting my mom this summer & eating tons of corned beef and potatoes (not the Irish version, but the Filipino kind, using canned corned beef from Australia of all places). I frequent this blog & imagine my mouth agreeing with my imagination of how scrumptious the taste that can only be Filipino.

One of these days, sooner than later, I hope to try these dishes:
Apritada (chicken stew with chorizo sausage)
Molo Soup (like wonton soup)
Rellenong Manok (deboned and stuffed chicken)
Nilagang Baka (boiled beef with veggies)
Bistek (fast and easy beef dish)

These recipes all look great & simple enough. I've made a few versions from my own cookbook (shockingly Americanized for convenience). They didn't taste quite as good as I recall growing up. Thankfully, my mom did pass along her chicken adobo recipe, which must be wired in every Filipinos' DNA, & I can make a mean version my family loves.

Menu Plan Monday 11.15.09

Menu planning saves me time and energy. But I didn't really get going with it until I started linking with orgjunkie's weekly Menu Monday post. If you want inspiration or share your own menu visit here.
Turkey was the main event this week, in salad, soup, and roast.

What frugal cook can't resist. At $0.40/lb from Wal-Mart, it's a real bargain. We were out of Miracle Whip though, and had to settle for Mayo and Grey Poupon.

But now for this week's menu. Since heavy-duty shopping has already been done, I'll spend more time cooking. I'll need plenty of motivation. Much of our staycation was spent staying in. Which is fun, if that was the plan. Along the way, my brain started a boycott on cooking. And I hardly made anything I planned and kept avoiding the kitchen. I did roast a turkey, which may explain the hazy-lazy feeling.

Guess what we are having for breakfast? That's right, yogurt! BOGO sale at Publix plus two $1 off Qs makes these only $0.25 each!
Yogurt and Fruit
Waffles (FREE) & Banana compote
Cereal (FREE) and Smoothies
Oatmeal ($1.25 a box) with Raisins
Cheesy Grits (FREE with WIC)

Being Florida, summer veggies, squash and zucchini, are still widely available and on sale for $0.99 at Publix and Food World.
Turkey Salad
Grilled Sausage with Zucchini
Porkchops and Honey Carrots
Mc Donald's 52 FREE Meals
Turkey Casserole
I'm trying to get dinner super early (like 5pm) since the kids no longer nap. This means serve whatever they will eat the fastest, hence cereal. No matter how much they eat before AWANA, they are hungry when they get home that night. I'm counting on the milk in the cereal to get them all sleepy. If that doesn't work, we'll have oatmeal!
Breakfast for Dinner
Cereal (AWANA)
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Porkchops and Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Burgers
Turkey Casserole

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