Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - September 29th

After last week's challenges of getting dinner made in the evenings after work, I decided to take a new direction with my menu planning this week. I took an hour Saturday afternoon and devoted it to meal prep for the coming week. I browned meatballs, made pizza dough and diced veggies in hopes it will cut down on the amount of time needed to get meals together. Thus making for a less stressful evening. And what a good week to start - homework for Ashleigh begins this week!

Jamie Oliver's Jools' Favorite Saturday Afternoon Pasta

Saturday - Jamie Oliver's Jools' Favorite Saturday Afternoon Pasta with organic salad mix & homemade wheat bread

Sunday - Roast Chicken with organic brown rice & asparagus and onions

Monday - Sunday Leftovers!

Tuesday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs with organic brown rice & fried squash

Wednesday - Lentil Chili & cornbread

Thursday - Homemade Pepperoni pizza

Friday - Fall Festival night at Ashleigh's school!

Grocery Totals - This week I spent $95.02 and had $60.90 in sales and coupon savings. Check out my deals under my Super Savings Saturday post!

For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

After last week's four days of triples, this was a nice calm week of grocery shopping. We've got a few more days before those Lowes Foods store coupons expire. So if you have any of the .75/1 Ziploc coupons, you still have a chance to get some FREE ziploc bags. Electrasol gel tabs are BOGO this week at Lowes. Since Lowes rings up each item at half price for their BOGO sales, you can pick up one box of Electrasol gel tabs for $2.48, use the 2.25 off 1 coupon, for a final price of .23 after coupon!

The Harris Teeter quick sale bin was generous to me this week. I found fresh asparagus, yellow squash and green peppers still in great condition! The green peppers were a great score because they were cheaper than the peppers that were on sale I was planning on buying. Also at Harris Teeter, I was able to combine a good sale on whole chicken (.59/lb) with a coupon for $2 off chicken I got for buying three Wishbone dressings. As I recall, I bought the salad dressing during a triple coupon event, so I think they were .25ea, if not free. So I got a 5lb whole chicken on sale for $2.97 for .97 after coupon! Who says there's never coupons for meat?!?

Grocery Totals:

Total Spent: $95.02
Total Savings: $60.90


6 bags KR shredded cheese (sale 3/5)
8 jars Beech Nut baby food (.47 ea - 1.50/8 Q)
1 broccoli bunch (sale 2.00)
1 Private Selection Organic spring salad mix with herbs (sale 3.33)
4lb bag organic Valencia oranges (sale 2.99)

Total oop: $21.02
Total savings: $12.09

Lowes Foods:

4 White House apple juices (LF store Q 2/3)
2 cans LF diced tomatoes 28oz (LF store Q .89ea)
1 Electrasol gel tabs (sale BOGO - 2.25/1Q = .23!)
4 Ziploc Easy Zip gallon storage bags (FREE! LF store Q 1.39 - .75/1Q doubled)
1 Hormel pepperoni (sale BOGO ---> item rings up at half price)
1 Butterball Deep Fried sliced turkey (sale 2.99 - 1/1Q)
4 Meow Mix cat treats (FREE! sale 1.29 - .75/1Q doubled)

Total oop: $11.70
Total savings: $34.02

Harris Teeter:

3 gallons HT Organic milk (sale 4.99)
1 Hefty kitchen trash bags 40ct (sale 7.99 - 1/1Q)
5lb HT Whole Chicken (sale 2.97 - 2Q = .97!)
1.67lb bag of fresh asparagus (quick sale .84)
2-2pk bags of green bell peppers (quick sale .75ea)
1.79lb bag of yellow squash (quick sale .90)
1/2lb fresh green beans (sale .99/lb)

Total oop: $27.49
Total savings: $12.79

To help in maintaining my sanity, I sent Dave out to Target for a box of Huggies Pull Ups and a box of Target brand wipes - total oop: $34.81, coupon savings $2.00.

Super Savings Saturday is hosted by Money Saving Mom ~ helping you become a better home economist!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Expectations

Last night, I stood in my kitchen feeling every bit like a homemaking failure. Why you ask? Because we were down to just three diapers and a handful of wipes. Shocking I know LOL! I laugh now but yesterday it felt more like evidence of my inability to manage my home. I told myself if I was more on top of things, we wouldn't run out of diapers. If I was better at stockpiling we would never run out of the things we use and need the most. How come I can get loads of free cat treats and Ziploc bags but not diapers?!?

After a bit of quiet time and reflection, I realized I was being a bit overly dramatic. After all, running out of broccoli doesn't send me over an emotional ledge LOL! Like most things, diapers are apart of my weekly grocery list. I buy for the week and when those run out, I buy some more. My initial reaction had very little to do with the actual diapers themselves but more to do with the unrealistic expectations I place on myself.

I've come to the conclusion, that I have to learn how to say NO to myself. To realize that I do have limitations and that I can't do everything. That I have to put down my desire to be the perfect - Christian, wife, mother, daughter, homemaker, couponer, from scratch cook, crafter, thrifter, worker, etc - and just do my best. Easier said than done! Intellectually, I know perfection is absolutely unattainable. But it's almost like knowing that makes me want it even more. It's weird, but that's where I'm at right now. So there's lots of room for improvement and growth!

Today, I said NO to myself by making a change to our menu plan. Originally I had planned to make our favorite BBQ turkey meatballs. I've really been working hard at preparing home made meals for dinner during the week even with working all day. But knowing the time it would take to assemble the meatballs once I got home and not wanting to have another evening of rushing to make dinner while keeping Reedy from getting into everything, I opted for a much simpler Breakfast for Dinner tonight. Not the "perfect" home made meal, but it's the best I can do today!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn Treasures

The other day I came across the blog, Inspired Room and her list of 20 Things to Treasure in Autumn. I knew I had to join in because Fall is my favorite season!

My 20 Little Things to Treasure in Autumn

1. My Birthday!

2. The leaves in their coats of red and gold

3. The State Fair

4. Hot apple cider

5. The cool, crisp morning air

6. Cold, starry nights

7. Snuggling under a warm, heavy blanket

8. Pumpkins

9. The smell of Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie spice

10. Running through a pile of leaves

11. Apple slices dipped in honey

12. Baking delicious homemade pies

13. Candle-lit jack-0-lanterns

14. Chrysanthemums

15. Fall festivals

16. Warm knit sweaters & knee high boots

17. Friday night football

18. Hay rides

19. Decorating the house with fall accents

20. Spending time with my family

Now that I've made my list of Autumnal simple pleasures, I'm making a vow to take extra care in experiencing the joy in each one this year!

Share your list of Autumn treasures at the Inspired Room!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - September 22nd

Family Favorites are in the spotlight this week at Menu Plan Monday!

One of our family favorites is something you'll notice appears on our menu quite regularly - BBQ Turkey Meatballs! As I was evaluating our grocery budget and looking for ways to cut back, I took a look at ground turkey as an alternative to the 93/7 ground beef we used all the time. I was seeing no sales for ground beef but ground turkey seemed to be on sale every week. I was always hesitant to try ground turkey. For me, turkey came in two forms - sliced on a sandwich or whole on a Thanksgiving platter! So if I was going to try it, I figured meatballs smothered in BBQ sauce would be a safe bet.

To my surprise, I loved it! We all loved it in fact. Since then, I've gone on to use ground turkey in other recipes as well. I love how it blends in with the other ingredients and seasonings so well and doesn't have a strong competing taste like ground beef. The recipe I use for my turkey meatballs is based on the Kraft Foods & Family recipe for Manhattan Meatballs with changes to the quantities used and meat.

BBQ Turkey Meatballs

1lb ground turkey (I use fresh or frozen Shadybrook 93/7)

1 cup homemade bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup diced onion

2 teaspoons dried parsley

ground black pepper to taste

favorite BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons oil

1. Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, diced onion and egg in a large bowl. Season with ground black pepper. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.

2. Heat oil over medium heat and brown meatballs.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place meatballs in a casserole dish and cover liberally with your favorite BBQ sauce (You could also mix jelly or preserves into the sauce as well).

4. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Very simple and delicious! And if you're pressed for time, make and brown the meatballs ahead of time.

Our Dinner Menu

- Veggie Lo Mein

- London Broil marinated in teriyaki sauce, with brown rice & steamed sweet peas

- Sunday Leftovers!

- Chicken Salad Sandwiches on whole wheat

- Country Fried Steak with Gravy & Brown Rice, steamed veggies on the side

Thursday - *Family Favorite* BBQ Turkey Meatballs

- Chicken Fajitas


Photos from my first two shops

After four days of triple couponing at Harris Teeter, I think I need another day at the spa! We relaxed the grocery budget this week to take advantage of the deals with triples as well as the BOGO meat sales. Even still we only went about $17 above our normal weekly budget.

I use triples mainly as a way to cheaply boost my stockpile, while focusing on items we use. It's not a deal if we won't use it, don't eat it or have enough of it already!

6 Martha White corn muffin mix (FREE)

5 Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning --- .54ea

12 Quaker Old Fashioned oats 18oz (FREE)

4 Smart Balance cooking spray --- 1.49ea

5 Lipton tea bags 16ct (FREE)

4 Coffee Mate powder --- .49ea

6 cans Valley Fresh chicken --- .82ea

3 Land O Lakes light butter with canola --- .39ea

5 Lysol Dual Action wipes (FREE)

3 Dole Pineapple (light syrup, no HFCS) --- .85ea

2 Dole Peaches (light syrup, no HFCS) --- .85 ea

3 Kikkoman Soy Sauce --- .34ea

6 Meow Mix cat treats (FREE)

5 Edge shave gels --- .74ea

5 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner --- .50ea

2 Pace Pico de Gallo --- 1.00ea

5 Hormel Natural Choice chicken strips --- .85ea

6 Eggo Buttermilk frozen pancakes --- .54ea

3 Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen cleaner (FREE)

2 Purell hand sanitizer (FREE)

Other deals:

6 Mott's Apple Juice --- sale BOGO - 1/2Q

2 Huggies Pull Ups Mega packs --- sale 12.99 - 2/1Q

3-1.5-2lb London broils --- BOGO (each items rings up at half price)

4-1/2lb pks of Angus cubed steak --- BOGO (each items rings up at half price)

2 HT Whole Wheat tortillas --- sale 2/3

2 Arnold Double Fiber wheat bread --- sale BOGO

Received code for free Redbox rental for buying 3 Eggo's in single transaction.

Total oop: $94.70

VIC Savings: $82.53
Coupon Savings: $148.99

Total Savings: $231.52!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Change of Plan

This morning we were all set to run our errands. My Mom had a couple of places she needed to go and I wanted to get some triples shopping in too. I made breakfast, quickly got the kids dressed and loaded everyone in the car. Only to find - a flat rear tire :( In a way, it was a blessing it happened on a Saturday instead of yesterday or Monday, when we were getting out for work and school. I really would have liked to get a triples shop in today and taken my Mom to run her errands, but none of it really needed to be done today. And thankfully, this time triples is a four day event, so I'll have tomorrow to make one last run at some deals. Oddly enough last night I was wondering when I would have time to clean up for my mother-in-law's visit on Sunday. Guess that problem was solved LOL! And we should easily be able to handle this visit from Murphy with little impact to the budget. That truly is a blessing. Guess there was more to smile about today than I thought :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Joy in the Ordinary

Last week in all the craziness, I completely forgot to post my Gratituesday post! The fact of the matter is, I didn't really feel very grateful last week. We were in a rough patch with Ashleigh's adjustment to school, and just so much going on at work. At the end of the day, I felt both physically and emotionally spent.

I struggled to write even five things I was grateful for each day last week in my gratitude journal. By number three, I was hitting a blank wall. There were the obvious things - the health of myself and my family, our home. In Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach says there are some days where you're just thankful the day is over. I was a bit worried because EVERY day seemed like that kind of day for me.

To help refocus and get myself back in the right mindset, I took some time over the weekend to write out my simple pleasures. Some simple pleasures are so ordinary and such apart of everyday life, that it's so easy to miss the joy they bring. The way Reedy smiles, it's truly infectious! He has the tiniest little gap between his two front teeth and his lip curls up in such a way. Just the thought brings a smile to my face. Seeing the lights of Dave's car as he pulls into the driveway at night. I have this big sigh of relief when I know Dave is finally home. That we're all home and all safe. And sometimes because I'm thankful my backup has arrived when the babies are a bit shall we say "challenging". Even a clean bathroom. Tell me I'm not the only one that stands and admires a shiny tub and freshly mopped floors? Even if they are circa 1970's harvest gold LOL!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - September 15th

What a busy (but fun!) week ahead. On Wednesday, I'm headed out for a day at the spa, all expenses paid for by my company! Of course I have a business meeting in the morning, but I think I can suffer through it for the sake of the chocolate souffle pedicure :) And Thursday, if the rumors are true, will begin a four day triple coupon event at Harris Teeter!

Here's our menu for the week. For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

~ Dinner ~

Saturday - Jamie Oliver's Jools' Favorite Saturday Afternoon Pasta with steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Sunday - Homemade BBQ Turkey Meatballs with homemade mashed potatoes (potatoes blended with cauliflower and sour cream) & corn on the cob

Monday - Veggie Lo Mein

Tuesday - Garden Vegetable Pasta (zucchini, squash and diced tomatoes served over whole wheat spaghetti)

Wednesday - Family Fend for Thyself LOL! I will be away at my meeting/spa afternoon/dinner reception and won't get back until late. If I have time on Tuesday night, I'll make up a homemade a pepperoni pizza so all my Mom and Dave will have to do is heat it for themselves and the kids.

Thursday - Crockpot Tamale Pie

Friday - Taco Style Lentils & Rice

Grocery Totals ---> This week I spent $82.37 (including a trip to Whole Foods!) and had savings of $55.74. Check out my Super Savings Saturday & Sunday post for a breakdown of my good deals!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Super Savings Saturday & Sunday

Let's talk stacking! Some stores (Lowes Foods, Target, Walgreens, CVS to name a few) will allow you to pair a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. This is called "stacking" and can create great savings! I get real excited when Lowes Foods issues new store coupons. The coupons are usually valid for four weeks and cover both store brand items as well as name brand items that typically have manufacturer coupons available. For instance, one of the Lowes store coupons is for Ziploc storage or freezer bags 10-20ct at $1.39 each. When you "stack" the store coupon with the .75/1 any Ziploc bag with Easy Zipper coupon from today's Smartsource insert (which doubles at Lowes), you've got FREE ziploc bags!

Grocery Totals:

Total Spent: $82.37
Total Savings: $55.74

Lowes Foods:

3 gallons Full Circle Organic milk (sale 4.99)
4 Ziploc freezer quart bags (store Q 1.39 - .55/1 Q doubled) ---> .29 a box is not bad
3 Ziploc freezer quart bags (FREE! store Q 1.39 - .75/1Q doubled) ---> but free is better!
8 cans PAWS cat food (store Q 4/$1)
4 White House Apple Juice (FREE - price scan guarantee)
1 Huggies wipes (3.69 - .50/1Q doubled)
1 LF diced tomatoes 28oz (store Q .89)
4 Meow Mix cat treats (FREE! sale 1.29 - .75/1Q doubled)
1/2 lb zucchini (with green points .79/lb)
1/2 lb yellow squash (sale 1.79/lb)

Total oop: $34.77
Total savings: $36.00

Harris Teeter:

2 dozen Born Free Cage Free large white eggs (Manager's Special 1.00)
2lb bag apples mixed variety (quick sale 1.63)
1 organic tomato (quick sale .42)
1 small bag of oranges (quick sale 1.00)

Total oop: $5.15


3lb Shadybrook 93/7 frozen ground turkey (sale 3/5)
2 bunches broccoli (sale 2/4)
1 organic cantaloupe (sale 2.00)

Total oop: $10.20
Total savings: $8.74

Whole Foods:

5lb bag whole wheat flour
3lb bag organic yellow onions
1lb organic strawberries
2lb organic bananas
2 boxes Annie's Cheddar Bunnies crackers (sale 2/5)

Total oop: $15.99

CVS for 2pks of Huggies Pull-Ups (sale 8.99 - 2/1Q) total oop $16.26, total savings $11.00.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Week That Was

And boy, was it ever a week! Last Tuesday, Ashleigh started kindergarten full time - if you're keeping score, this is like our third "first" day of kindergarten LOL! We were all a bit nervous and anxious that day. I could barely concentrate once I got to work. And couldn't get back to Ashleigh's school fast enough. But to my relief, I found her having a ball on the playground with the other after care kids under the careful supervision of the coordinators.

By the time Dave got home that night, I was just a ball of emotion. It was our anniversary and I ended up crying on his shoulder much the same way I did on our wedding day. It wasn't necessarily because I was sad, it was just such an emotional day. All the anxiety that had built up came rushing forward. It just felt so good to have survived the day and be back in his familiar arms.

Ashleigh is still adjusting to kindergarten. She thoroughly enjoys after care (she gets to do her favorite thing - the playground), but is nervous each day about the cafeteria. She told Dave she gets grossed out by seeing other people eat with their mouth open (you would think with a 3yo and 1yo brother that kind of thing wouldn't be shocking LOL!). Coupled with the noise and the teacher trying to get her to eat more of her lunch, its been pretty stressing. We are continuing to talk to Ash on our end and Dave even spoke to the teachers about it, but they've been less than helpful. I know they have other kids to attend to and this is probably just part of the adjustment, but we were under the assumption that school is a team effort between the parents and teachers. We thought they would want to know about something that might affect how Ashleigh performs during the day. But I guess now we've labeled ourselves as "those" parents (the over-involved, pains in the you know what). But this is my baby and if just one little hand on the shoulder and "Are you doing okay, Ashleigh?" will help to get her over this bump, is it really too much to ask?!?

Work was/is tremendously busy. We are in the process of implementing a new computer system. While the new system will make my job less tedious and more streamlined, for the month we are running parallel with the old and new systems. Which means double the work - how fun! The new system does bring some benefits but it also means the elimination of one of my dear friends' position. I know he is moving on to bigger and better things, but it's kind of bittersweet. Add all that to having to prepare for our "big" hospitality and meeting for our members and helping to cover the front desk (yeah, I'm versatile LOL!) and it's just been crazy.

Please tell me this gets easier!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - September 8th

Another busy week ahead. I really wanted to just pull the covers over my head and wish today away. But I got up and asked the Lord for strength today. Instead of going in dreading the week, I gave all my concerns over to God and will go forth in confidence! And despite what happens, I get to come home and bless my family with a nice dinner.

Here's our menu for the week. For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

~ Dinner ~

Saturday - Cheese Quesadillas made with whole wheat tortillas & organic black beans & brown rice

Sunday - Crockpot Potato Chowder topped with shredded cheddar cheese & bacon

Monday - Leftovers from Sunday!

Tuesday - Veggie Lo Mein

Wednesday - Garden Vegetable Soup with homemade wheat bread

Thursday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs with brown rice & corn on the cob

Friday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

Grocery Totals ~ This week I spent $101.79 (a little over budget) and had coupon & sales savings of $72.63. Check out my Super Savings Saturday/Sunday post for a look at my good deals!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Super Savings Saturday/Sunday

Gotta love free toiletries! This week Colgate toothpaste was on sale at Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods for 2/$3. Using the .75/1 Q, which doubles at both stores, means more free toothpaste! No toothpaste enters this house unless it's free LOL! Also 4pk Cottonelle toilet paper is .99 at Kroger. Using the .50/1 Q, which doubles, means free toilet paper! Toilet paper has to be the most difficult thing for me to stockpile. We just seem to use so much of it. Anytime I can get it for free, is a blessing!

Here's my deals for the week!

Grocery Totals

Total Spent: $101.79 (just a smidge over!)
Total Savings: $72.63

Harris Teeter:

3 gallons HT Organic milk
1-5lb bag white potatoes (sale 3.00)
1pk Hormel pepperoni (sale 1.09 BOGO)
3 Colgate toothpaste (FREE! sale 1.50 - .75/1Q doubled)

Total oop: $21.43
Total savings: $10.56

Lowes Foods:

1 LF pizza sauce
1 LF cream of chicken soup (sale .80)
1 Full Circle Organic tomato paste (sale .69)
1 LF chicken broth (sale .60)
8 cans Paws cat food (sale .25)
1 LF aluminum foil (sale 1.00)
4 Ziploc quart storage bags (store Q 1.39 - .40/1 Q doubled)
3 Colgate toothpaste (FREE! sale 1.50 - .75/1Q doubled)
1 LF cola 3Lt (sale 1.00)
3 Bird's Eye steamfresh (sale Q .99 - 1/3Q)
3lb cabbage head (.39/lb using greenpoints)
6 Mott's apple juice (store Q 2/3 - 1/2Q)
1 Kashi Go Crunch Lean cereal (3.69 - 1.00 store Q - 2Q)
1 Butterball sliced turkey (sale BOGO - 1/1Q)

Total oop: $24.45
Total savings: $40.53


1 Huggies Pull Ups (10.99 - 1.50Q)
3 Cottonelle 4pk toilet paper (FREE! .99 - .50/1Q doubled)
1/2 gallon Private Selection Organic milk
6 KR shredded cheeses (sale 1.66ea)
3-1lb Shadybrook 93/7 ground turkey (sale 3/5)
bag Organic valencia oranges (sale 2.99)
1 broccoli bunch (sale 2.00)
6 ears yellow corn (sale 2.00)
3 Clif Kids Organic bars (FREE! sale .59 - .50/1Q doubled)

Total oop: $37.48
Total savings: $21.54

Trip to Costco for 18ct Eggland's Best eggs, 3lb container salsa and 1 take & bake cheese pizza for lunch - total oop $18.43.

Super Savings Saturday is hosted by Money Saving Mom, helping you be a better home economist!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Step Closer!

Time for an update on our Total Money Makeover! In July, we paid off the minivan (yay!) and thanks to an extra pay period, were also able to send a good sized snowball to our last debt - the HELOC. I never really paid much attention to the psychological aspect of debt. But it felt so liberating reading the letter that accompanied our van title stating the lien had been released. Freedom!

Since paying off the van, our debt snowball has really gained momentum! For the last two months, we've been able to send one of my paychecks entirely to debt! In a way I feel like this is just one step closer to our goal of not being dependent on two incomes. And with Dave's extra pay period in October, we anticipate having the HELOC paid off by December - fingers crossed!

Even though our snowball is pretty healthy, I've been looking for ways to bring in a few additional dollars. Since my time is limited with work and home, my focus right now has been on small money makers. The Caregivers Marketplace is a consistent source of rebate funds since I buy diapers weekly. I've also started doing paid surveys and product testing as well as Inbox Dollars, which pays to read emails. As Money Saving Mom cautions, you will not get rich by doing any of these things. But combined, those dollars do add up!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

8 Years

Today, I'm thankful for 8 years.

I, Mary Ellen,
Take you, David,
To be my husband;
To have and to hold your precious children,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
As long as we both shall live - which isn't long enough.

Happy Anniversary Honey Bunny!

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - September 1st

As we're enjoying our weekend, our thoughts and prayers are going out to those in the path of Hurricane Gustav.

Wow, September already! A new month, with new beginnings - Ashleigh starts school tomorrow! It's going to be a busy week, but dinner will served as usual LOL! Here's our menu for the week. For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

~ Dinner ~

Saturday - Cheese quesadillas made with whole wheat tortillas & Black Bean Salsa (from Heavenly Homemakers)

Sunday - Easy Cheeseburger Casserole made with ground turkey, steamed peas & organic carrots

Monday - Hamburgers, seasoned fries & fresh corn on the cob

Tuesday - Veggie Lo Mein (Recipe below!)

Thursday - Taco Style Lentils & Rice served in warmed, hard taco shells, with shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream & salsa

Friday - Belated Anniversary Dinner!

Grocery totals
---> This week I spent $93.85 out of pocket and had $48.15 in savings. Check out my Super Savings Saturday post for a breakdown of my deals.

Mary Ellen's Veggie Lo Mein

First a disclamer - I'm sure there is a proper, more authentic way to make Veggie Lo Mein, but this isn't it! This recipe was created as a way to quell a pregnancy craving for Chinese food and has since become a family favorite. It's also pretty easy to throw together and very flexible as far as ingredients.


Veggies on hand - I like to use broccoli, carrots, cabbage and onions. But I've also added in green peas or snow peas on occasion.

Whole Wheat spaghetti

Soy Sauce

Minced Garlic

Red Pepper flakes

1 - 2 tbsp of oil

1. Cook whole wheat spaghetti according to directions on package.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add minced garlic and sliced onions. Cook until onions become tender (about 3 mins).

3. Add shredded cabbage to skillet along with red pepper flakes to taste (I usually add about 1/2 - 1 tsp).

4. Add in broccoli and carrots along with soy sauce (about 1 -1 1/2 tbsp) with a tablespoon of water. Cover and cook until broccoli and carrots become tender.

* I usually steam the broccoli and carrots separately and then add them to the skillet with the onions and cabbage. But either way works. Told you it was flexible!

5. Drain pasta and add veggie mixture. Add more soy sauce to taste.