Posted in frugal tips, recipes

ZERO Waste Orange Cranberry Oat Muffins

So little Miss M told me we simply “HAD to have that 5lb bag of mandarin oranges just like she saw on TV.  I know the hubs likes oranges and so figured there wouldn’t be any harm in it.  Yeah…they sat in the fridge and started going soft.  The hubs had eaten one or two.  Little Miss M had had one.  The twins and the boys aren’t fans of oranges.


20120809-230450.jpgTonight I set about zesting them ALL. 20120809-230503.jpg







Then I used my lemon squeezer to juice them.

I put the “husks” aside for later.







I ended with 2 cups of juice and 1 cup of zest.

In the mixer went 1 cup of sugar, 2 tbsp milled flax, 6tbsp water, 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, 3 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups oats, 1tsp baking soda, 1tbsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1

1/2 cups dried cranberries, 1 cup bran cereal, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (could use more, but that’s what was left in the cannister).  You can put more cranberries, fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries, blueberries, nuts of any kind, or whatever.  Last, I added the orange juice and zest.  I let it sit for 30 minutes and mixed it again so that the bran cereal could combine better and soak up excess moisture.
I baked them in mini-muffin tins for the little princesses in the house and at 350 degrees until risen and firm.

The husks?  Those I put in a zipper bag and tossed in the freezer to use as garbage disposal cleaners later.  Ta-DA!!!     Zero waste!


Posted in all about the family, frugal tips, recipes

Pizza crust


Originally uploaded by nehifamily

So tonight the hubby and I have a thing to do. The kids still need dinner, right? I prefer to do something that they won’t complain about when my 16 yr old son has to be in charge. Tonight it will be pizza.

The dough was 2 packets of yeast combined with 2tbsp sugar and 2 cups warm water. Stir until dissolved and let sit 5 minutes. Then I dumped in 4 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt and 6 cups flour into the mixer with the yeast water. I used the dough hook on my kitchenaid and mixed well. I hit the preheat on the oven for 350. Then I turned it out onto a lightly floured counter…kneaded it 4-5 turns until smooth. I sprayed a mixing bowl with olive oil and plopped the dough into to it. Then I turned the oven off. I was basically just creating a warm environment for the dough to rise. I covered the dish with clear wrap and popped it into the oven for 2 hours-ish. Until it doubles.

Then I punched the dough and cut it into 3. Preheat oven to 400. I mashed out each section onto a stone pan.

In a prep bowl I combined spaghetti seasoning and olive oil. I brushed each crust with this and baked it 3-5 minutes.

Now my crusts get to sit on top of the stove until dinner time, when I will top them and bake them until melty and golden. But if you don’t want them tonight, after this pre baking and cooling, they can be wrapped in clear wrap and then in foil and frozen for future use.

Posted in frugal tips

coupons…my experience

In our area there aren’t any stores that double or triple coupons.  That’s where the big savings are.   We have three stores to choose  from, sort of.  Walmart, HEB, and the commissary.  HEB accepts coupons and they also have their own in store coupons.  I like this because you don’t have to remember them.  They tape them right to the shelf for you and even cluster their “meal deals” together.  For instance buy 1 lb of ground chuck and get taco seasoning, 8oz sour cream, 8oz shred cheese, tortilla chips, and salsa for free.  They call these “meal deals”.  They aren’t always great deals, like when you have to buy a fully cooked ham to get some free sides.  Well that ham is going to cost $25.  If you were going to buy it to begin with, then great, but I won’t pay that for a ham. 

Walgreens is a store that few people think of when it comes to savings.  They allow “coupon stacking” though.  There are coupons every Sunday in the Walgreens ad.  There are also coupons once a month in a monthly booklet available in store (and rebates).  If you have a Walgreens coupon for colgate tooth paste and you have a manufacturer coupon from the Sunday paper, the internet, from product packaging, or even a peel off coupon…as long as it says “manufacturer coupon”…then you can buy 1 tube of toothpaste and use both the store coupon and the manufacturer one together.  So Walgreens doesn’t have a lot of groceries, but they have a few.  It is a good place to save on house hold goods and hygiene though.  If there’s a limit, carry it out to your car and come back.  Technically then it’s a different visit.  They also offer “register rewards”.  This is a cash like coupon good towards your “next visit”.  If you have a list of items to get and you’re going to get rewards, consider breaking your order into multiple orders so you can use those rewards right away.  There are 4 Walgreens in a 15 minute radius of me.  I’m also fond of Red Baron pizzas which often go on sale 2/$5 with a limit of 4.  I will hit each Walgreens and use my rewards towards extra pizzas, bottled water, or hygiene items that also have a limit.  I don’t go out of my way.  😀  I just sort of make a circle. LOL

The biggest coupon mistake is buying something you don’t use or buy normally just because you have a coupon…unless its free or next to nothing.  To avoid temptation I usually get rid of coupons for products I don’t use.  You can recycle them, freecycle them, or even be a good Samaritan and leave them on the shelf next to the product.  There are coupon groups like coupon choochootrain.  I found these to be a waste of time.  I rarely got coupons I could use and there are rules and requirements for coupons you share.  It’s hard to get them through the mail to someone who can use them before they expire. 

Look into coupon policies at the stores in your area before you plan your shopping trip.  Check for a dent or short dated item area.  Some stores have a shelf or corner for these items.  Tacking a coupon on top of one of these items can easily result in a free item.  Use your own judgment and experience on past date items.  Me, personally, I don’t have a problem with most slightly past date can goods as long as the top doesn’t give any and there’s no bulging. 

Meat reduced for quick sale?  Go ahead and put it straight in the freezer.  If you are concerned about how long it will keep then cook it and THEN freeze it.  I don’t know what I would do without my FoodSaver.  Tonight my husband brought home 8 family size packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for .70 per lb!  I’m going to rinse it and vacuum seal it in spices just as soon as I finish this blog post. LOL  So I guess I’d better get on that!