Search Frugal Divorced Liz

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So my $25 menu is going to have to be a $35 menu

I have tried and tried, but I just can't make $25 work! I could actually do it for my family, because we can shop at the commissary, but no other store around here even comes close to matching commissary prices. I've decided to make it a $35 emergency menu instead. I probably could make the $25 work, if I included a lot of ramen noodles and other junk food, but it's really important to me to create an actual viable meal, that won't cause harm. So now I have more to work with and I think the $35 menu plan should be up soon!:P This project has really turned out to be harder than I thought it would.

Recently I had a reader e-mail me with the question, "Liz, what is your favorite, frugal way to use up vegetable odds and ends in the fridge, so they don't get wasted? Just this week, I had 3 zuchinni, 1 leftover baked potato, a lone carrot, 1/2 of a cucumber, and half a pint of grape tomatoes go bad!" I have two words for her: ROASTED VEGETABLES! Roasting vegetables is so easy! Here is my favorite way to do it:

Zuchinni cut into big chunks
carrots, peeled and julienned
bell peppers, cut into big chunks
potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
any other vegetables you want! Leave quick cooking vegetables in big pieces and slower cooking vegetables should be cut up small, so that everything finishes cooking at the same time.
seasoned salt
olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Place all vegetables in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and drizzle with olive oil. Stir to mix well. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and nicely crisped and browned. Enjoy! Sometimes I like to eat the roasted vegetables with some raw tomato and cucumber, diced up small and sprinkled on top.

I like to serve these vegetables with rice or pasta!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The power of coupons...

Every Wednesday, Publix changes their sales, so I always check out their weekly ads to see if I want to buy anything. This week I scored big! Now the stuff I bought isn't exactly healthy, or necessary, so luckily, it was really cheap when I combined sales with coupons! Here's what I bought:

Betty Crocker brownie mix, 2 boxes
Total spent: $.90
The brownie mix was buy one get one free, and then I had two $.40 coupons which doubled to $.80 each, for a total of $1.60 in coupons! The brownie mix is usually $2.50 per box at Publix, so I saved a total of $4.10 by using sales and coupons together! That brownie mix will definitely be a big help when I am the "snack mom" at the preschool, or when I have people coming over and no time to cook!

Immaculate Baking Company cookie dough, 2 packages
Total Spent: $1.09
These were buy one get one free and I had two $1 coupons! Usually, each package of this cookie dough is $3.09, so I saved a total of $5.09 by using sales combined with coupons! I like this cookie dough, because it has no dyes, or additives, and the company uses all natural ingredients. Normally, I just make my own cookies, but I seriously can't make them from scratch as cheap as I bought the dough. Also, sometimes you're in a time crunch, so it's good to have a few backup plans!

Ragu pasta sauce, 2 jars
Total spent: $2.19
I didn't have a coupon for this pasta sauce, but it was also a buy one get one free sale, so I thought it was worth buying. I saved a total of $1.09, so it wasn't too bad of a buy! Normally I make my own sauce, but sometimes I'm just really tired, so it's good to have a few easier options. There have been many times where I was prevented from getting takeout, because I had some pasta and sauce in the pantry.

Cantaloupes, 2
Total spent: $4
These were on sale for two for $4. I saved $1.98 total. I bought these, because we really love cantaloupe, and we haven't eaten any since August at least. In fact, we were so happy to get them, that my kids and I ate cantaloupe, with cucumber tomato avocado salad for dinner!

I know using coupons and watching sales can be a hassle, but sometimes, it's definitely time well spent. If I hadn't used coupons and sales, I would've spent $22.02 today. Instead I spent $8.60.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekly grocery and menu plan!

It's been a while since I did one of these...This is because I've once again been lax about planning my menus! I went to Sams club for my shopping trip, and I spent $85 for two weeks. This is unfortunately $5 over budget.:( It's okay, though, because I bought lots of fruits and vegetables for juicing! Here's what we're eating for dinner this week:

Carrot apple cucumber juice
Cottage cheese plate with pineapple, tomatoes, and cucumbers
Garlic bread rolls

Homemade corn chips
Carrot sticks

Orange carrot juice
Chicken salad sandwiches
Cucumber salad

Apple celery juice
Roasted potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers

Spaghetti with meatballs
Garlic bread rolls
Cucumber salad

Orange carrot juice
Chicken salad sandwiches on homemade rolls
Oven fries
Apple slices

Chicken and vegetable soup with barley
Bran rolls

For breakfast and lunch, we will be having cereal, leftovers, eggs, grits, homemade bread, and smoothies!

I'm still working on that $25 menu.:P Someday it will be done to my satisfaction. I'm taking so much time on it, because my hope is that it could actually be a valuable tool to help a family in trouble.

I haven't been writing as many blogs recently, because I've been doing a lot of gardening! I'm really excited about growing a garden this year. I've planted zucchini, corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, peas, and cucumbers. If any of my readers are successful gardeners in the South, please post your best gardening tips here!