Monday, March 30, 2009

It pays to wait

My kids gave me a $100 gift card for my birthday, and I've probably stretched it at least 2x as far as the ordinary person. "Ordinary person" does not, of course, include my fellow frugal bloggers!

Okay, so I've had my eye on the Vidalia Chop Wizard for a while now, but even with the gift card I wasn't sure I wanted to pay $20. So I kept passing it by.
What do you know? Today I found it on the clearance rack at Walgreen's for only $12.99! Seven dollars saved just by putting it off.

Think about it. How often do you just 'need' something, but it's really a 'want'? If you are willing to wait a bit, most of the time those 'wants' go on sale for a much better price. At the very least, if you wait until they show up on an "As Seen on TV" shelf, you won't have to pay for shipping.

I've heard a vast range of reviews for this puppy, mostly very good, so I'll have to let you know how I like it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: electric knife

Do you have an electric knife? If you do, chances are it sits in a drawer forgotten most of the year. Well, it can be useful for more than carving roasts or turkeys! Use it to prep raw meat, too.

Today, I got a *BOGO deal on top round. This is what we usually put in the pasta sauce my husband makes on Sundays. Life is a lot easier when the meat is already cut up and ready to go.

So, today I took out my electric carving knife and went to work on two nice steaks. I was able to trim them and cut them into bite-sized pieces in half the time it would take for a regular knife. The pieces went into labelled bags and are now in the freezer. Four Sunday's worth of beef for sauce in less than 20 minutes! (BTW, we also add sausage and sometimes meatballs or brasciole. My husband makes a gooooood sauce.)

Hey, speaking of BOGO: whenever you have a deal like that where the items have various prices, be sure to match up the prices as closely as possible for the maximum savings. Remember, they always discount the lowest price, so you want that low price to be as close to the high price as possible.

For more great tips, visit "Tammy's Recipes" for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays. The link is over there on my sidebar!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Easy Onion Rings

I rarely fry anything. It makes too much of a mess. But once in a while, I get in the mood!

I don't have a deep fryer. I use a regular 3-quart pot and fill it about halfway up, then I use a thermometer to make sure I'm at the deep-fry temperature. Having your oil at the correct temp and making sure you have enough in the pot is key to successful frying.

So here is the recipe:

Onion cut into rings (Sweet onions like vidalias or mayans are best)
Complete Pancake Mix
any spice you like--I use just a bit of onion powder.

Mix the onion powder (or whatever) in with the pancake mix. Add seltzer until you have a nice consistency--not too thin, not too thick. Just a little thinner than actual pancake batter.

Dip the onions, then fry them a few at a time. Never overload your oil! You want to keep it at a steady temp, and too many goodies will bring it down. That will result in mushy onion rings. They cook up fast enough, so don't worry if you only do 2 or 3 at a time.

Drain on paper towels and add salt, as you go along.

Keep an eye on the temp, and either let the oil sit a minute to gain or remove from the burner for a few moments to let it cool again.

When you are all done, enjoy! But put a few in the freezer for the future. I flash-froze about 8 of them and put them in a bag. Today, I took them out and reheated them at 350 degrees in the toaster oven. They were great!

BTW, seltzer makes them 'puff' a little, so they come out just like diner onion rings.

PS...I strain and decant my oil into a canning jar and use it again. Twice is about my limit, but I think you can use it a few times with success.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CVS Trick

I can't believe it took me two years to figure this one out. Unfortunately, it won't work for everyone. But if you have a 'spending account' card, it will work for you.

In case you don't know, a spending account card comes from your insurance company. At the beginning of the year, you put a certain amount in the card. It's your money. This is like a debit card, except that it has a specific purpose. In my case, to buy medical things or services. Everything medical that is not covered by my insurance can be paid for with this card. (You have to use it up within the year or you lose it. And it comes right off the top as a tax deduction.)

That includes most OTC meds, which is where the CVS trick comes in. The other day, I used the card to stock up on some cold medicine, bandages, etc. One product gave me $3.00 in ECBs. I was also picking up some fabric softener that was BOGO (yes, I use vinegar and baking soda, but sometimes I just want something that smells nice), which made it 2 for 3.99. So I used the $3.00 ECB and got the softener for about 50 cents a bottle!

I hope this helps a few people out there to save a little money!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Oh, boy, an award!

Look what I got from Debbie J! Debbie's blog is link is on my sidebar.

Debbie makes awesome things, including an adorable clothespin bag for me that I love! Check it out on the old post:

Thanks, Debbie. You are definitely one of my favorite people!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Frugal Friday: Time Saver and a Thank You

First I want to say 'thanks' to Crystal over at Biblicalwomanhood for hosting 'Frugal Fridays' these past few years. I've learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and it has been a treat to find great tips all in one place. Crystal's passing the baton over to a fellow blogger. Details and today's tips here:

I've posted before about measuring out dry ingredients for several recipes at once. We all know one of the biggest kitchen messes involves measuring flour! (Okay, maybe that's only true in my kitchen.) But I'm not sure if I posted this idea: measure out the same recipe twice!

Today I'm making Tollhouse Cookies. When I measured out the flour and other dry ingredients, I also measured the same into an empty coffee can. Then I put the sugars I need into a small bag, which fits right in the can on top of the flour. I labeled the can and put it in my pantry. Now, in the future, I've got half the work done when we're in the mood for cookies!

Saving time=being frugal!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thoughts on Commercials

It's been a long time since I commented on TV commercials that bug me, so here goes.

Other bloggers have mentioned the "High Fructose Corn Syrup" commercials. I still don't 'get' the whole anti-HFCS thing except that the darned stuff is everywhere. I actually saw the one where the couple is on a picnic quite a few times before reading another blogger's (sorry, can't remember who--maybe Kelly the Kitchen Kop) post mentioning the popsicle. Then it hit me: who the heck brings a popsicle on a picnic? And only one????

Commercial two, for KFC: they show that you can't make the same chicken at home. Okay, I'll buy that you don't know what's in the secret spice mixture. But they have the kids buying chicken (probably full price) and a whole bag of flour. Even if you didn't have the flour at home, you aren't using the whole thing in your recipe! Duh! So maybe I can't duplicate the exact meal, but I sure can come close for a lot less.

And finally, a commercial for Applebee's, I think. I hate Applebee's. Lousy service, lousy food. Anyhoo...the commercial says you can eat there for the price of a meal at home. Then they advertise a 2 for $20 special. you know what I could make for $20 if I was only feeding myself and my husband? Hey, throw in two of the kids and I could still do better. $10 a person would mean really good steak and all kinds of sides, possibly even shrimp. A real special-occasion dinner, not a weeknight meal.

Who do these people think they are kidding?

BTW, I do eat out. I like to eat out, although we haven't done 'fancy' in years. (Our favorite is a seafood restaurant that is part seafood store. Good prices, great food.) I used to like KFC but I think they've gone downhill.

It's just the commercials that take us for dummies that get to me.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Scrapbooking Freebies

I've found some nice freebies for scrapbookers, card-makers, etc. I hope you enjoy them!

Joni Gray has the prettiest "Snow Drops" kit in soft greens and white. There are other beautiful freebies on her blog, too!

Over at KatLen Kreations you'll find an adorable and cheerful "Happy Birthday" kit in bright primary colors. It's part of a bigger "Blog Train," which means you'll also find links to other blogs offering birthday kits! How awesome is that? And, oh, my gosh, you have to scroll down and check out the baby goats! Oh, the cuteness!!!!!

Over at "Digitreats" are some cool alphabets! I like these because they download as individual letters rather than one sheet from A-Z.

BTW, I have downloaded and extracted these items with no problem at all. If you want to know how to do that, let me know. It helps to have some kind of scrapbooking or art program in which to use them, too.