Couponing for the Rest of Us

New Years Eve Appetizers: Kid-Friendly Finger Foods (Sausage Balls & Smokies in a Blanket)

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Jamie here, whether you’re throwing a little family New Years Eve party or a bigger gathering – you’ll always need to have some “Kid-friendly” finger foods on hand – here are my two favorite recipes for quick and easy party food that my kids love to eat (and me too!)

Sausage Balls:

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Now let me start by saying that these are NOT the sausage balls that are super-greasy and brownish – but a more biscuity version that works well for parties or for an easy Christmas Morning finger-food breakfast!

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Olympic Team USA Pancakes!

Are you getting in to the Olympics with your family?  My husband is the super-fan here in my house – but this year he’s gotten the kiddos super-hyped about it too.  In fact – he may or may not have teared up several times already….

Well, here’s a fun way to keep the Team USA Olympic adrenaline rush going – make some fun pancakes for the kids this weekend!

Photo and explanation courtesy of A Penny Filled Pantry

Am I the only mom out there that has trouble getting my kids to eat? Surely not! My kids LOVE pancakes it’s pretty much an every morning go too for us here at the Bowen household. But this morning I decided to change things up a little just to see what kind of impact it would have……

As you can see from the pictures we had Olympic Team USA pancakes! Super easy all I did was mix up my usual hungry jack mix and threw in about 6 drops of different colors of food coloring! They were a HUGE hit!

Recipe: Homemade Pop Tarts

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Does anyone else love Pinterest? I see so many DIY décor ideas for my home, crafts that my kids would love, and recipes I want to try I could get lost for hours. We’ve asked our friend Tori Vest, self-professed Pinterest-lover, crafter, cook, and DIY extraordinaire to help us out. Take it away Tori…..

 

When searching for a small pastry to satisfy kids sweet cravings, there is only one main requirement. It has to be delicious. Poptarts meet this requirement perfectly! The sweet combination of crust to sugar is flawless. Because poptarts are on such high demand with children, I decided to venture into the kitchen and try to make poptarts from scratch! This adventure paid off, and truly met the requirement of being delicious.

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Recipe: Homemade Pop Tarts
Breakfast
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Cut the softened butter into small pieces, then drop one-by-one, drop these into the bowl.
  3. Whisk one of the eggs and milk together and slowly stir them into the dough.
  4. You may need to knead the dough briefly on a well-floured counter.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, wrap it in seran wrap, and chill over night.
  6. Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator allow time to soften in order to become workable again. (approx 20 min)
  7. Take one half and roll it out on a well-floured counter top until it is ⅛” thick, and larger than 9 x 12”.
  8. Trim it down to a 9x12 rectangle. Repeat this process with the other ball of dough.
  9. Next, cut each rectangle into thirds – you’ll form nine 3 x 4 rectangles.
  10. Lightly beat the second egg.
  11. Brush the egg onto the top of half of each rectangle. The egg will act as a glue to hold the top and the bottom of the poptart together.
  12. Choose your filling! I used a simple combination of sugar and cinnamon. You can also use jelly, melted chocolate chips, marshmellows, brown sugar, etc…
  13. Place a heaping spoonful of your filling on top of the poptarts that have the egg brushed on them.
  14. Leave a ½ boarder around the filling.
  15. Place the second piece of dough on top of the filing.
  16. Push together the edges and make fork marks around the edges to seal the dough together.
  17. Then, poke a few holes in the top for steam to escape.
  18. Repeat this process with each poptart.
  19. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 


To make the dough:

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, wrap it in seran wrap, and chill over night.  Once the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and give it time to soften and become workable again. This should only take about 20 minutes. Take one half and roll it out on a well-floured counter top until it is 1/8” thick, and larger than 9 x 12”. Trim it down so that it is a 9×12 rectangle. Repeat this process with the other ball of dough. Once this is done, cut each rectangle into thirds – you’ll form nine 3 x 4 rectangles.

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Choose Your Filling:

I used a simple combination of sugar and cinnamon. You can also use jelly, melted chocolate chips, marshmellows, brown sugar, etc…When you have chosen what you want to use, put a heaping spoonful of your filling onto the poptarts that have the egg brushed on them. When you do this, make sure that there’s a ½ boarder around the filling.

 

 

 Enjoy! What is your favorite Pop Tart flavor?

 

 

Apple Cider Muffins!

 

Apple Cider Muffins

 

Up here in the Northeast, we really like our apple cider donuts.  I’m not quite brave enough to attempt donuts, but I was up for modifying my regular muffin recipe to make a healthier (ok, a *slightly* healthier) version of one of our favorite desserts.

 

So, here’s the recipe!  Makes 12 muffins.

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease muffin tin.

2. In a bowl, add:

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter (just grab the whole stick, we’ll be using the other third later)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

3. Break up the egg so that it will spread evenly in the batter, then mix until everything is moist.  This won’t take long, and don’t overmix!

4. Spoon in 1/3 cup of batter into each segment of the muffin tin.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on them!)

5. Remove from oven and let them cool.  While they’re cooling, melt the rest of that stick of butter in a bowl, and in a different bowl mix mix together sugar and cinnamon.  When the muffins are still warm but not hot, you’re going to dip the top of the muffins in the butter, then dip them right into the cinnamon sugar and then set them on a plate to dry.  (Or not.)

 

Cider Muffins Ready for Dipping

 

6. Enjoy!

I figure that the oats and the honey have to make it at least slightly healthy… right?  Maybe?  A little bit?  Well, regardless, it can’t be as bad as a bunch of apple cider donuts, and they’re simple enough and there are enough good deals on cider right now for this to be our favorite Fall breakfast treat.

 

The Muffin Man

The Muffin Man agrees.

IHOP: Reminder Free Scary Pancakes for the Kiddos 10/28


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It’s too late to get a reminder call from Count Spatula (if you signed up earlier you would have gotten a reminder call). Instead, you’ll just have to settle for a reminder from the Time 2 $ave girls. Can’t make breakfast? Take the kidlets out for an “upside down” supper . That’s what we say when we have breakfast for supper.
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Tomorrow only (Friday, October 28th)  kids ages 12 and under get a free Scary Pancake (No Purchase Necessary!) between 7am and 10pm.

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Plus, mom and dad can enjoy  IHOP’s Pumpkin Pancakes, made with real pumpkin and spices and topped with a creamy whipped topping, as well as All-You-Can-Eat Buttermilk Pancakes, are available a la carte or in a combo, which starts at $4.99 and begins with fluffy pancakes, eggs any style and golden hash browns.

Roll call. Leave a comment with your city and state if you plan on going.  Pretty please - you’ll get more whipped cream on your pancakes.

Menu Monday: Frugal Party Guide & Recipes!

Clever and simple Halloween Party idea: Use Pringles for tombstones to turn ordinary brownies/cakes into ghoulish brownies or create a whole graveyard on top of a cake!  – Thanks to Pringles for this cool idea!

 

We frugal foodies have unique challenges that normal shoppers don’t.  This little segment aims to help by offering:

  • Stockpile-cooking ideas
  • Clever Casseroles in which to hide your leftovers from the hubby & kids
  • Kitchen tips & tricks
  • And really, everything but the kitchen sink!

Our very own “Deal Detective Kim” takes the time to compile her recipes and tips for us (aspiring food writer that she is) – so take it away Kim!

I talked about this last year, after the fact. For the newbies, and to give the rest of you an advance heads up, here’s the Deal Detective’s guide to party planning on the cheap!

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Pantry Cooking: Lighten-Up! (Eat light while couponing)

 

We frugal foodies have unique challenges that normal shoppers don’t.  This little segment aims to help by offering:

  • Ideas for cooking from your stockpile or from what’s on sale
  • Clever Casseroles in which to hide your leftovers from the hubby & kids :)
  • Kitchen tips & tricks, and Freezer-cooking recipes

Thanks to DealDetectiveKim - who writes our weekly segment … take it away Kim!

It’s almost Memorial Day, and you know what that means–bathing suits are headed our way!  I don’t care who you are or what you look like, EVERYONE stresses over this.  I am no exception.  For many years, I was blessed with metabolism that moved at warp speed.  I ate anything and everything, and got totally spoiled, and then MY BODY BETRAYED ME!!  The last 5 years or so, it’s crept up, bit by bit.  My friends are kind, they swear they can’t tell a difference, but I can.  I am already struggling with not being able to eat all I want, when I want; the last thing I want is for it to get out of control–to wake up one day and realize my health is at risk because of the food choices I make.  So since last week I’ve been working on limiting my calorie intake and seeing what I eat and how much.  No chips.  No dip.  No candy bars (well, OK, but just ONE!).
I read an article by a former Biggest Loser competitor who’s also a police officer HERE Crazy hours, even crazier schedule, and he lost 133 lbs, most of it on his own after he was eliminated from the show.  His biggest tips were:
1. keep track of what you eat–every bit of it and
2. plan ahead for 5 meals/snacks a day, no more than 400 calories each.  (5×400=2,000 calories/day, which is all we all should be having anyway!)
Can you do this and still coupon?  Yes, you can!  Thursday for lunch I had a hot dog–plain with mustard, which was around 300 calories; for dessert I tried one of the new Skinny Cow crispy bars (100 calories).  I got everything at Bi-Lo: catalina for free Southern Home buns, Ball Park franks were BOGO and I used $1/1 coupon.  Someone else had not taken their BOGO Skinny Cow singles candy catalina, so I snagged it.  I’ve been drinking Crystal Light.  By the way, I started to get the all-beef hot dogs, thinking they’d be better for me, but believe it or not, the plain cheaper franks were 10 calories fewer AND had less fat–probably because they’re a mix of beef, pork, and turkey.  So watch your labels!
Thursday night for dinner I had:
Fantastic Feta Chicken
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast (130 calories)
  • Lemon juice (0 calories)
  • Fresh or dried oregano (0 calories)
  • Fresh ground black pepper (0 calories)
  • Feta cheese (90 calories for 1/4 cup crumbles; I used way less than half of that on one piece of chicken)

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Pantry Cooking: Dinners on a Dime (Using this & last week’s cheap deals!)

We frugal foodies have unique challenges that normal shoppers don’t.  This little segment aims to help by offering:

  • Stockpile-cooking ideas
  • Clever Casseroles in which to hide your leftovers from the hubby & kids
  • Kitchen tips & tricks
  • Freezer-cooking recipes & planning
  • And really, everything but the kitchen sink!

Thanks to DealDetectiveKim - who writes our weekly segment of ideas!  Send her an email or leave a comment with any suggestions you’d like to see!

Last week, Jamie and I were chatting about using the “Best Buys of the Week” column as a basis for the “Pantry Cooking” column. I was GOING to do this for this past weekend, but things got a little out of hand (again!) and Jamie gracefully covered for me with a Homemade Bulk Taco Seasoning Recipe. (Thanks Jamie–you rock!) Please note that unless stated otherwise, the prices listed are from last week’s ads.

So this column is less about recipes and more about ideas for using those best buys to get something on the table fast and cheap.  

Let’s start with those Boca meatless entrees (.26 at Publix the week of 3/3).  There are quite a few things you can do with them:

  • The crumbles can be substituted for ground beef in pretty much anything. You could use them to make Hamburger Helper (.33 at Food Lion!), cutting your time nearly in half because you don’t have to brown them first!
  • The “Chicken” patties can be used to make a quick Chicken Parmesan–just combine them with jarred pasta sauce (Ragu–.45 at Food Lion this week) and cheese and you’re done! Do this with the fried-looking ones, and -
  • Use the grilled-looking ones to shred and use in a chicken casserole or to make chicken salad.

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