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Meatless Monday…Sloppy Joes – Veggie Style!

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I’ve been wanting to try this concoction out for sometime now, so with my vegetarian sister in town, I had the perfect excuse!  At my house we are NOT vegetarians (we love-a spicy meata-ball!) but we eat a lot of veggies.  I constantly look for ways to add vegetables to our meals, sometimes I do this with salads, sometimes side dishes, and sometimes I add them to the main dish.

Recently I started I adding shredded green cabbage to my Sloppy Joe recipe each time I made it.  I don’t have official numbers to share, but I am sure that the calories, cholesterol, and fat are significantly reduced when you replace about half the meat with cabbage.

After doing this a couple of times, I became interested in making a totally meatless Sloppy Joe sandwich, which leads us to today’s recipe!

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (Recipe makes about 8 sandwiches)
6-8 Cups Shredded Green Cabbage
1 Carrot, Shredded
1/2 Green Pepper, Diced
1 Cup Corn (I used frozen, but fresh or canned will work too)
Water
 
Sauce
1 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
 
1 Package Buns 
  1. Add shredded cabbage and a 1/4 cup water to large saute pan over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Allow cabbage to cook for about 5 minutes.  You basically want to give it, a head start on cooking before adding the other vegetables.
  2. Add remaining vegetables to pan, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cook 2-3 minutes.
  3. Combine all ingredients for sauce in a medium size bowl.
  4. Add sauce mixture to vegetables, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium.
  5. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until cabbage reaches desired consistency.
  6. Scoop mixture on buns, eat, enjoy!
Nothing goes with Sloppy Joes better than Mac & Cheese! I recently used my couponing skills to buy Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese for $1, it was creamy, cheesy, and oh so good!
 The package comes complete with a tasty breadcrumb topping, after a few minutes in the oven, you’ve got a real comfort food classic ready for dinner!
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Super Double Coupons HT February 15, 2012

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Super Double Coupon Week at Harris Teeter!  This is the best time to put some high value coupons to good use.  Any coupon under $1.98 will be doubled, so if you have a coupon for $1.50 off an item, it will become $3 off an item!  This made for some good deals, let’s check it out…

  • 2 Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese: $2 Total
  • 10 Greek Yoplait Yogurts: $4.50 Total
  • 2 Boxes Honey Nut Cheerios: $1.50 Total
  • 1 Box Cinnamon Toast Crunch: $0.75
  • 1 Box Honey Nut Chex: $0.75
  • 2 Knorr Rice Sides: $0.50
  • Garlic Knots: $0.50
  • 4 Boxes Fiber One Bars: $3.60 Total
  • Johnsonville Chicken Sausage: $2
  • 2 Boxes Hefty One Zips: *Free*
  • 2 Bag Milo’s Dog Treats: $1 Total
  • Bic Pens: *Free*
  • Welch’s Pom-Blueberry Juice: $1
  • Loaf of Bread: $1.99
  • Half Dozen Bagels: $2.24
  • HT Frozen Yogurt: $3.33
  • Gallon Organic Milk: $7
  • 1 Organic Pear (for making baby food!): $2.39
  • 2 Packages Stride Gum: *Free*
  • Got 2 Be Hair Smoothing Serum: $0.19

Total Cost of Items: $77.68 (before VIC card or coupons)

Once my Harris Teeter VIC card was applied and then a nice handful of double coupons were subtracted, I only paid…

$37.07

Highlights for this trip were: cereal for less than a $1 a box, free pens and gum for my Operation Christmas Child Boxes.  If these savings aren’t dramatic enough for you, if you take out the gallon of milk alone, then I got all of the above for $30, not too shabby!

Organic or Conventional

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The following is a list of fruits and vegetables commonly referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” due to their high pesticide content.  When possible try to buy the organic variety of these.

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard grens

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the “Clean 15”.  A list of the “cleanest” fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide content.  If you haven’t fully committed to a 100% organic lifestyle, you can feel good about buying the conventional variety of these items.  (“Conventional” is the nice way a grocery store labels fruits and vegetables that are NOT organic.)

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocados
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Saving With A Baby!

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Oh babies!  So cute, so cuddly, so incredibly expensive.  To help you maximize your saving here are the ways to save when it comes to your baby needs.

Diapers – The following 2 reward programs allow you to collect points for purchasing their products.  The programs are free to join and easy to use.  You’ll find reward codes inside the product, you’ll enter them online, collect points, and redeem for coupons (or other great stuff!).   Creating your account is easy, just click the links below.

Pampers – Gifts To Grow

Huggies – Enjoy The Ride

Click here for a list of codes to get you started!

Luvs – join their mailing list

Formula – Another expensive need your baby may have is formula!  You can sign up with the following companies and they will send you information, samples and coupons/checks for formula.  I 100% support breastfeeding mommas, but even if you breastfeed you might eventually need formula.

Similac – Strong Moms

Gerber – Start Healthy, Stay Healthy

Enfamil

Baby Gear – These are just a few of the stores you might be shopping or registering at for your new baby, click each link to join their mailing list.

Baby Depot – they don’t send out a lot of coupons, but when they do, there usually aren’t too many restrictions.  So it’s a good place to buy some of your “big-ticket items”.

Buy Buy Baby affiliated with Bed, Bath & Beyond

Babies R Us – They offer a rewards program and you can combine it with your registry.  Personally, I am not a fan of Babies R Us , their coupons and rewards program are not very customer friendly, and neither is their return policy.  But, I have yet to know a pregnant woman that doesn’t register here (myself included) so I’m including it.

Target – like their facebook page (Target Baby) for special offers!

Motherhood Maternity – they offer a free gift bag for your first purchase when you register in the store.  My bag came with a $20 credit to Shutterfly – which we used to buy personalized thank you cards for lots of the baby gifts we received!

Organic Produce vs. Conventional – Cost Comparison

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In honor of Meatless Monday I wanted to share with you a comparison of the cost of  organic vs. conventional produce.  Using the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) list of the 2011 “Dirty Dozen” I gathered the cost for each item and listed it for you below.

A couple of notes: 

  • The higher an item is ranked, the larger the number of pesticides are found in it (ex: Apples have the highest pesticide content).
  • Prices listed are the “regular” prices, weekly sales and seasonal items were not taken into account.
  • All items listed are the fresh variety, not canned, pickled or frozen.
  • Every effort was made to compare “apples to apples” in terms of size, weight, packaging, etc.
The Dirty Dozen Cost To Buy Organic Cost To Buy Conventional Cost Difference
1 – Apples      
    Fuji $2.99/lb $2.29/lb $0.70/lb
    Gala $2.99/lb $2.29/lb $0.70/lb
    Red Delicious $2.29/lb $1.99/lb $0.30/lb
2 – Celery $2.99/bunch $1.99/bunch $1/bunch
3 – Strawberries $4.99/lb $3.79/lb $1.20/lb
4 – Peaches NA in fall season   NA
5 – Spinach $3.99/ 5oz. ($0.80/oz) $3.69/6oz. ($0.62/oz) $0.18/oz
6 – Nectarines (imported) NA in fall season   NA
7 – Grapes (imported) NA $2.79/lb NA
8 – Sweet Bell Peppers      
    Red Bell Pepper $3.99/each $2.99/each $1/each
    Green Bell Pepper $1.99/each $1.49/each $0.50/each
9 – Potatoes      
    Russet $1.99/lb $1.19/lb $0.80/lb
10 – Blueberries (domestic) NA $4.99/lb NA
11 – Lettuce      
    Romaine $3.99/12oz. ($0.33/oz) $3.79/16oz ($0.24/oz) $0.07/oz
    Spring Mix $3.99/5oz. $3.69/5oz. $0.30/per 5oz. package
    Green Leaf Lettuce $2.79/head $1.99/head $0.80/head
12 – Kale/Collard Greens $2.99/bunch $1.99/bunch $1/bunch

 How can you shop smarter?

  • Become familiar with your store’s organic section!  Most people avoid this area all together because they think buying organic is too expensive.  Cruise this section first while shopping to see if anything is on special, or just looks good!  Typically stores will put all of the organic items together in one area, which makes it convenient to see what they have, but it makes comparing prices vs. the same conventional produce more time-consuming.
  • Look for weekly sales.  Even organic produce goes on sale.  For example: Now is the time to stock up on APPLES–I’ve seen organic varieties sold for less than $1.50/lb!
  • Think QUALITY when it comes to QUANTITY.  If there is a particular food that you eat every day, you may want to make sure to invest in the organic version – for me this is carrots!  Even though they aren’t a “Dirty Dozen” vegetable I always buy organic carrots, since I eat them almost every day. 
  • It’s ok to go “half & half”.  Don’t feel guilty if you don’t buy everything organic, every time you shop.  When you can fit it into your budget and your menu, do it!  Every little bit will help.

How do you shop for organic produce?  Have any tips to share?  Leave a comment if you do!

Dinner Dish Under $4

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Sometimes I don’t cook dinner, I merely “assemble” it.  And this recipe (if you can call it that) absolutely showcases why I am NOT a chef! But I am definitely a couponer. 🙂

So in less than 15 minutes I had a tasty dinner put together and for an unbelievable bargain!

Creamy Arrabbiata with Chicken Sausage
1 Package Johnsonville Chicken Sausage ($1.99)
1 Box Barilla Whole Wheat Linguine ($0.67)
1 Jar Wolfgang Puck Arrabbiata Sauce ($0.50)
Heaping Scoop of Philadelphia Cooking Cream – Savory Garlic ($Free$)
 
Serves 4. Total Cost: $3.16
 
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.  While pasta is cooking…
  2.  Heat Arrabbiata sauce in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally. 
  3. Cut each link of sausage into 5 smaller “chunks”.
  4. Place sausage on cookie sheet and heat under broiler for approximately 5-6 minutes. *Using the broiler setting on your oven is a great way to heat/cook food quickly.  Since the sausage is already cooked, you just need to heat it up!
    OR
  5. Place sausage on microwave safe plate and microwave for approximately 1:30.
  6. Add scoop of cooking cream to Arrabbiata sauce and stir.  If you like it creamier, add more cream. 🙂
  7. Add sausage, then add pasta and SERVE!  Buon Appetito!

Using Johnsonville Chicken Sausage helped make dinner come together in no time at all!  The white bits in the photo above are cheese – I used the “3 Cheese Italian Style” variety. 

The sausage is regularly $4.99 and I had a coupon for $1.50 off , which was doubled, for a $3 discount, made it only $1.99!

 

The Philadelphia Cooking Creme has a consistency similar to greek yogurt and comes in a variety of flavors.  The “Savory Garlic” flavor complimented the Arrabbiata sauce well to create a rich, fiery flavored pasta sauce. 

Yes, I did in fact get the Philadelphia Cooking Creme for $Free$!  How?  My local HT had it on sale for $1.57 and I had a coupon for $1 off, and the coupon doubled!

I liked the creme, it made for a nice touch with the sauce and I can already think of other uses for it and look forward to experimenting.  Anyone else use it for something tasty?

Wolfgang Puck’s Arrabbiata was spicy and flavorful – as any Arrabbiata sauce should be!  Arrabbiata is Italian for “angry”, not because you’ll be angry you’re eating it, but more named for the feisty flavor it brings to any dish.

And yes, I got this jar for only $0.50.  How?  HT had the sauce on sale for $2 each.  I had a “$1 off of 2” coupon (that was doubled) as well as an HT eCoupon for $1 off.  So 2 jars would have been $4 total, but I received $3 off.  Therefore… 2 jars = $1 total!

As far as putting together an easy dinner on a tight budget, this is probably one of the most economical dishes I’ve ever made, and best of all it was spicy.  What can I say…I like it HOT! 😉

Kate plus Coupons?

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So I have to weigh in on the latest news that Kate Gosselin will have her very own couponing blog.

First, to be fair, back in the day when it was “John and Kate Plus 8”, and I enjoyed watching their chaotic, yet cute family, she did use coupons. 

How do I know this?  Well I distinctly remember an episode where John went to the store to buy something and DID NOT use a coupon.  And when he got home, his lovely wife–Kate–basically ripped him a new one, hard-core-raving-lunatic style.  🙂  I mean who could blame her really, she was a penny-pinching momma!  And it’s not like she ripped John a new one every day, just every episode I think.

So now she’s back in the spotlight with her very own coupon blog. The #1 thing this should teach all of us is….if Kate can do it…then anyone can do it.  Like seriously, ANYONE.  🙂

And let’s be real, she’ll probably have all her little worker bees, clipping and calculating everything for her.  Right now, I’m swearing off ever looking at her blog.  There are too many other great ladies out there working hard, and I’d rather support them!  But if I change my mind and take a peak at Kate’s, I’ll let you know.