Monday, February 27, 2023

Menu Plan Monday 02/27/23

Happy Monday everyone! Time for another menu plan. I didn't do much cooking yesterday, because we're keeping things somewhat simple by eating from the freezer. What's for dinner this week?

Monday : Slow cooker steaks with onions, peppers & gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies

Tuesday : Chicken stir fry with rice

Wednesday : Same as Monday

Thursday : Same as Tuesday

Friday : Mexican or Italian sausage from the freezer

Lunch : Leftovers or BWW chicken tenders from freezer with salad

Breakfasts : Gingerbread muffins, breakfast burritos, omelets, cereal, fresh fruit

There's always lots of fresh fruit, veggies & salad fixings available. 

I made a pot of refried beans on Friday, pulled fajita chicken from the freezer, added pico I made earlier in the week and had chicken nachos for dinner. Easy peasy. Now if I can just wean DS off Friday night fast food. 

The chicken stir fry didn't happen last week. I made a huge batch of frikkadel for the freezer (it never made it's way to the freezer, cause I eat it every day), so I figured we'd just have it for dinner 2 nights too. I added mashed potatoes, baked beans & carrots to that. No use cooking another meal when we already have food available. So it's on this week's menu. 

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't care much for the instant pot's slow cooker feature. I've tried it on both my old instant pot and the new foodi one and it just doesn't wow me like an actual slow cooker does. I'm added a new a new pot to my needs list. It makes really good pulled chicken too. I might just have to make pulled chicken next week. Something to think about.

It's cold & wet here today. Perfect weather for comfort food. It makes me want to bake something too, like bread or cupcakes. Maybe I should just take a nap instead. I've been wide awake since 2 am and I'm already dragging. It's times like these that I'm glad dinner's already cooked. I just need to make the mashed potatoes later.

Have a great day peeps! Stay safe & warm.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

How I shop for ourselves

Hi everyone

As promised, here is a post about how I shop (stockpile) clothes for ourselves. Remember that 'Extra 50% off clearance sale' that Kohls had 2 weeks ago. Here's what I bought DS.  

4 T-shirts. You'll notice different sizes. As mentioned before, sizing is off on a lot of items since the dawn of the pandemic. I normally hold DS's items up to myself, to see if it will fit. It It's easier than just buying his size & then discovering that half the items don't fit. 

2 UA sweatpants and 3 shorts. Look at the retail price of the UA pants - $60. I was very happy to pay $18 each. If DS could live in sweats & shorts, he'd be a happy camper. 

A sweater, because his mama loves dress clothes :)

A full zip sweater. I was so happy with the quality (it's heavy) of this item. Please take a closer look at the retail price - $99.50!!!! My total for everything was $111.69 + tax after discount and my $5 KC.

Retail value - $483.00 (a 76.88% savings)

Always remember that MSRP means Manufacturer's SUGGESTED Retail price. That doesn't mean we have to pay that price though. Wait for the end of season sale and stock up.

I would usually just add these items to the spare closet for when it's needed, but it's packed into boxes instead. No use hanging up everything now, just to pack it again soon. 

Now, on to my items. First. let's talk about my FREE $159 suede shoes. You read that right :). I've had these shoes in my cart for about 4-5 months. It's not my usual style, so it wasn't a need. I thought it's cute and it's genuine suede (say no more. I love the quality stuff). The shoes had been reduced to $49.99 over the months (little bits at a time), but my gut told me to not pay that price. It's not like it was a need or a Must Have anyway. I had a $10 Chicos reward in my account (rewards are usually good for at least 3 months). When the $10 sale started, I noticed that the shoes were reduced to $10! No frigging way. I immediately checked out and applied my $10 reward to it. Holy smokes!! I've scored really great deals over the years, but never got a FREE pair of genuine suede shoes before. Happy dance!!

The following items were all reduced to $10. This is not my usual style (too much print and I don't care for those tie neck nonsense). I'm a 'Less is more' kinda girl, so I like to keep things simple. I bought this blouse mainly on a whim. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about their Black Label brand. Look at the retail price - $169!! I'll be the first to say that there's absolutely no difference between this & their regular styles (other than the price). No fancy, extra quality fabric or style. It kinda reminds me of Ralph Lauren's Purple Label. To me, there's nothing special about it. Oh well, I at least have some old  cute shoes to (I love these shoes. It's the African in I can just add a black or brown dress pants or suit & call it a day. All is not lost. 

I almost didn't buy this top. Why? It looked more purple online and the reviews were not all good. Another 'just because' purchase. I figured I can sell it if I don't like it. Boy was this a pleasant surprise. This top is much prettier in person. I couldn't believe it. I guess they didn't style it well online. I love this top, especially the cuffs. 

This is my favorite purchase!!! I couldn't believe how beautiful this anorak was. The fabric is oh so pretty & soft. Who knew that polyester could look so good. The photos don't do it justice. It's a navy & black camo print (I'm color blind when it comes to dark colors, especially black & navy, so the photos don't look too good to me). I could kick myself for not buying the brown one too. It actually has long sleeves that are rolled up. 

A pair of dress pants. Not that I needed any more dress pants, but I liked the fabric.

I bought these capris mainly because of the cute embellishment. This jeans actually hugs my curves in all the right places :)

This is more my style. I have many of these cotton blouses, because they are just beautiful. They usually have 'drama' sleeves (different kinds of lace, embroidery or laser cut). I like the plain items that make a statement with just a simple design. I have this blouse in cobalt blue too (I paid $30 for the blue, because it sold out long before this sale). I can wear this black one with just about every single bottoms I have in my closet. 

This was a 'must have' purchase. I paid $40 for it. This blouse caught my eye, because it used to be a fashion faux pas to mix prints (I still stick to that rule). Besides, it's in my favorite color. How could I resist.

I bought several more items. I think I bought 18 (don't $10 items. That's $180. Heck, that Black Label blouse costs almost as much as my entire purchase. I like to keep things in my spare closet. When I need or want a new outfit, I just hit the spare closet and I don't have to break the bank for it. 

To top it off, I earned another $20 Chicos reward this week, because you earn points for every purchase. I currently have rewards to 5 different stores (that's all I can remember right now) and don't need a single thing. Trust me when I say, I need nothing. But if things go south in the world again (we all know that the last 3 years have been full of 'surprises'), then I don't have to worry about spending any money on clothes. We've got that area covered. 

Please don't pay attention to the sizes. Chico's has a weird sizing system. I can only dream of squeezing my behind into a Size

I learned that Kohls has an extra 30% off clearance again (not sure when it ends). I, personally, won't bite since I already shopped. Besides, I'm hoping for another 50% off. If you need to shop, check Rite Aid for a Kohls GC deal next week. You might as well take the extra RA rewards, then use the gc to pay for your purchases at Kohls. Who doesn't like free money?

Next time, I'll show you a bit of my style - how I mix & match my outfits (if anyone is interested). Trust me, I can live on a capsule wardrobe, but I'm not gonna do No way. I'm not a high maintenance woman. I don't do all this nails, spas & all kinds of other things that most women do (not that I'm against it. I wouldn't mind a spa day), so I hardly spend money (contrary to popular belief). So spending money on new clothes (especially at 90%+ off) isn't a big deal. 

Have a wonderful weekend peeps. Stay healthy, safe & warm. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Menu Plan Monday 02/20/23

Hi everyone

Thank you for the kind messages of care & concern. I'm feeling better, but not 100%. I know why it's taking me so long to recover. It's because I can't find Wal-act anywhere. I don't know what's going on at Wags pharmacies, but some of them are closed half the time (I'm guessing they're short staffed) and some don't have Wal-act on the shelf. I don't know if it's due to shortages or if it's been discontinued. I sure hope it's not the latter. I've been using that stuff for years and it normally heals me within 2-3 days. That's how well it works. I've been using other stuff from Wags and CVS and nothing's really helping. I'm also not sleeping well. I try to nap when I feel run down (usually in the afternoon), but then I just lay in bed wide awake. There's definitely something going around, because DS has had a runny nose since last week too and he rarely gets sick. 

Today I did a bit of grocery shopping and by the time I got home, I was ready for bed again. I'm surprised I felt so rough after being out, because the fresh air normally helps. Well, I managed to cook 2 items yesterday, so here's the plan for the week. 

Monday : Roti & curry

Tuesday : Chicken stir fry & rice

Wednesday : Same as Monday

Thursday : Same as Tuesday

Friday : Nachos or quesadillas. I'm going to use some fajita chicken from the freezer, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo

Lunches : Leftovers

Breakfasts : Banana oatmeal muffins, french toast & fruit (blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, banana) omelets, cereal. Pick your own breakfast

There's always fresh fruit, vegetables and salad fixings. Pick your own

I made the roti/curry & muffins yesterday. I discovered I was out of raisins and remembered that I still have a small box of golden raisins that I used to make hot cross buns (traditional for me for Good Friday). Phew. I picked up a box of raisins today. I like to make stir fry fresh, that's why I haven't cooked that yet. 

Above is a pic of DS's favorite chocolate brioche bread from Aldi. It costs almost $5, but is totally worth it. It makes the Best french toast. I add vanilla extract to my egg mix (I don't call it custard, because custard is a totally different thing to me) to kick things up a notch. If you have kids, you can turn this into a french toast sandwich. Just use 2 cooked FT slices. Top one with fruit of choice, syrup, cinnamon and place the other slice on top. This is a great way to get them to eat a bunch of fruit, if you have picky eaters. I, thankfully, don't have that problem. DS eats just about everything. Can't say the same for his 

I'll probably only post at the end of the week again. I have lots of catching up to do.

Have a wonderful week peeps! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Cheap eggs at Walmart

Hi everyone

Just a quick heads up. If you're looking for a decent price on eggs, try your local Walmart. I price checked all my local grocery stores and found 18ct eggs for $4.38 at Walmart. Kroger & Sams both charge $6.19 - 6.38 (don't even ask about Meijer's price). Needless to say, I bought 3 packs. I read that more birds will be killed off due to Avian flu, so chances are egg prices might increase again (I hope not, because we seen a reduction in prices).

On another note - I'm sick ....AGAIN! I'm so over this nonsense. I have the flu this time (thankfully no 3 weeks covid). I decided to ditch my face mask 2-3 weeks ago. I figured it was useless since I got covid 3 times within the course of a year, despite wearing a mask & being cautious. Well, that came to bite me in the behind, because I ended up getting the flu. I've spent the entire week in bed already. My whole body is so stiff, especially my hips (that's so weird). Everything's just sore and non-stop sneezing.  I don't like this at all, because there's so much to do for my move. I'm just going back to wearing a mask again. I don't care if people think I'm nuts. It sure beats getting sick. 

I'm thankful that I bought those 12pk tissues at Sams when it was still $10.xx. It sure has come in handy & the price has increased to $16.xx. Yikes! I'm gonna have to keep an eye out for good deals at the grocery store, because I only have 1 x 12pk left. 

I'm off to bed again peeps. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Menu Plan Monday 02/12/23

Hi everyone

I'm having a blue Monday. It's one of those days. 

On to the menu for this week.

Monday : Chicken alfredo, garlic bread & salad

Tuesday : Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies

Wednesday : Same as Monday

Thursday : Same as Tuesday

Friday : Something from the freezer (I'm enjoying eating down freezer food)

Breakfasts : Lemon blueberry pancakes, bran apple muffins, omelets, cereal, fresh fruit. Pick your own breakfast

Lunch : Baked chicken or frikkadel from the freezer & salad. 

I went to the produce market on Friday, so we're fully stocked on fruit & veggies. I was so happy to see colored peppers for 99c/lb (I should've taken a pic of what I bought). I love peppers (especially red peppers) and paid $1.69/lb last time I was at the market. I didn't buy a box, because they only had boxes of potatoes. I didn't need that much. 

FYI - I'd fix a different meal every day if there were more of us. Since it's just DS & myself, we eat the same food twice per week to avoid food waste.

Today I'm going to wash & dice all the peppers (I didn't get a chance over the weekend) and make some fresh pico and maybe guac (I bought avocados too). 

I didn't make dessert this week, because that apple pie made me gain weight. Oy vey. I got another 8 lb bag of apples, so I'm gonna make applesauce instead. Mine tastes like apple pie filling, so I'm going to enjoy 'guilt free' applesauce. 

Happy Gooey hearts day for tomorrow. 

Have a wonderful day peeps!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Why you shouldn't just get rid of your clothing & other things.

Hi everyone

I can't believe it's Friday already. This week went by way too fast. Probably because it was a busy week. Today was another hectic day. I went to 6 stores and it wasn't all fun & games. You already know which store I'm talking  It's been a minute since I've been to Walmart and I, once again, noticed more price increases. I picked up my favorite cereal & saw that the price has increased by another 28c. This doesn't sound like much, but all these little bits add up to big $$$. To top it off, the shelf was almost bare. There were only 3 boxes left, so I bought all 3. I'm not a shelf clearer, but this cereal has been hit & miss since the pandemic started. 

So let's talk about why I think you shouldn't get rid of your clothing. I might be repeating a few things, but it's for the sake of new readers. 

We all know that the world is still a mess. China keeps shutting down because of Covid. I don't know if anyone's aware of the tensions between China & Taiwan. This could also lead to war. The downside is that we depend heavily on China for many things. I've already noticed many changes due to fewer production/imports from China. Has anyone noticed that clothing don't fit like they used to anymore? We'll buy our regular size items at the same stores we've been patronizing for years, but now find that it's either too big or too small. That's because retailers/designers have had to scramble to find new manufacturers in other countries. They still want that cheap labor though, so they're not having anything produced locally. The world uses the metric system (I don't know why the US doesn't use metric, because it's so much easier. Everything is in 10s). So they're probably just converting inches to centimeters and then cutting the items wrong if their math is off. 

Well, I noticed something even worse than just the size differences. When I was at Sams sometime last year, I noticed that their bedding is now made of RECYCLED POLYESTER. That's when I started checking clothing tags too. I hate polyester. It's just cheap junk. I'm a cotton girl. I want quality items, not cheap junk. Please don't misunderstand me. I have absolutely nothing against recycling. What irks me is that retailers are now charging us exorbitant prices for these items. They're acting like it's a brand new product. Why on earth would I pay an arm & a leg for a recycled item? (I recently saw 'recycled cotton' on an item too).  I know & understand the manufacturing process & retail. No way am I throwing my money away like that. So check all your fabric products before purchasing. Ask yourself if its worth the tag price if it contains recycled fabric. 

There's more though. For those who shop at thrift stores. Have you noticed that there are fewer things/inventory in your stores? That's because some thrift stores are now selling their items online for even higher prices than you would pay in their stores. You will also notice that many retailers (especially designer brands) have been buying back used clothing (their own brand only) and calling it "Pre-loved" and all kinds of fancy names and slapping a huge price tag on it. What a rip off. They'll offer you a small store credit/reward for your used item, then turn around and sell it for 10 or more times as much. That means you have to spend that credit/money with them while they're raking in huge profits with your items. If you have to get rid of your items, please sell it yourself. You'll get a lot more for the items online. 

There are lots of shortages on many other things. Kohls sent me a 40% off Q shortly after my carafe broke. So I went online and added a new one to my cart. Their site said there were only 7 left in stock. I wanted to see if there's anything else I needed (the Q is one time use only), but had to take care of other things first. When I checked my cart later in the day, it showed only 4 carafes in stock. So I did the only logical thing. I ordered 2. Why? Because I did a google search and noticed that my coffee machine is only available at one store (It has since gone out of stock). So if the machine is now discontinued/NLA chances are that the carafe might be too. I'm trying hard to not break any more carafes for a long time. I love my machine, because it has a built in grinder. 

As I've mentioned before, our coat/jacket brand is hard to find too. Same with my favorite athletic shoes. There are personal care items that have been discontinued or are hard to find lately. Remember that if just one ingredient is missing in a HBA item (or cleaning products or a part is missing from appliances), then the item cannot be produced, because the formula is incomplete. I can go on & on about items that are in short supply. I'm a comfort creature. I like to have all my needs, so I work hard to ensure that we have everything. 

I'm not trying to say that we should just hoard all kinds of things and not get rid of anything. If it's something that you know you will never use again, please go ahead and repurpose it or get rid of it. If there's things that you think you might use in future, save it for a certain period of time to see if you might actually need it. If not, then do what you need to, to declutter. 

My gut says that we haven't seen the worst of things yet. Why? Because I stumbled (well not exactly stumbled. I know that my gut instinct is God pointing me in the right direction. I have enough experience with this, to trust my instincts) upon a big clearance sale at Chicos. Not once, but twice! This is unheard of.  Everything was $10. Chicos is part of WHBM group and their items are pricey. Ask me, I'm a regular So paying $10 per item, is a steal (I'll write a post to show you some of what I bought and their retail prices). Did I need any more clothing? Heck no. With the exception of socks & undies, I can probably go without clothes shopping for at least 5 years by just shopping from my spare closet. I leave the tags on everything in case I change my mind and want to sell it. Also, it's like a whole new shopping experience when I pull new things to wear. I know that's weird, but it's fun. I'm shopping my own 'store' for free. But did I go ahead & shop the sale? You betcha!! I don't sleep on a good sale. Besides, the items sell out before you can blink, so you have to be on your A game. Believe me. I did NOT want to shop, because I didn't need anything. However, I knew that there's a reason why I was led to this sale. I've had the same experience before the pandemic (Remember when I bought 50+ items at the WHBM sale?) and looky here. Most things are now hard to find or they're of a far less inferior quality. 

I didn't just go out and spend a whole bunch of money on this sale. You all should know me better by now :) I bought gcs for my birthday & Christmas. For the first time in my life, nobody gave me gifts, so I had to spoil Well, the gcs all came with bonuses - $20 for every $100. Did someone say free? At my favorite store? 

I know that many people believe that if you don't sign up for store emails, that you won't be tempted to shop and spend money. Well, I do the exact opposite. Guess who received free $15 gcs from 2 retailers this week :) Do I need anything? No. Am I going to spend that free $30? Most definitely. I'll probably just buy clearance and resell it. Free money in my pocket for a little retail therapy. I'm killing 2 birds with one stone. There's already been changes at Eddie Bauer. I read that they weren't honoring everyone's free after $10 Q items anymore (thankfully that never happened to me). Then they insulted me by sending me a $5 Q, instead of their regular $10 one. They bloody well know that they don't have anything at that low price, so I ignored the Q. The crazy thing is that I was about to sell one of my EB t-shirts. I had 2 of the same, because I only 'buy' the free items from them. Then they pulled this stunt and I decided to keep that extra tee. So when the old one wear out or gets damaged, I still have a free cotton tee to wear. Easy peasy. I could kick myself for not buying multiples of the Walmart sleep shirts when I found them clearanced to $3 before the pandemic. The sleep shirts are 60% cotton and have held up well. I'll wear them until they're see That new Polyester sleep shirts I bought last year don't feel half as good. Very poor quality.

I know that there are some of you that will think I've lost my bloody marbles or that there might be those who judge. I've seen people being judged on other blogs. I'm not going to apologise for what I do. I know that I save us thousands of $$$ every year. We live well and I pay 90% of the retail prices for what we wear. There's ALWAYS method to my madness. It's not easy to explain to others, but I sure know what I am doing. Also, many are not aware of all the other frugal things I do. There are many times that I don't spend money on certain things, because it doesn't feel right. Like that fact that I've wanted a new car for several years now. I am financially independent. I can go buy myself a new car, but I'm not going to do that. I have 2 vehicles that are both fully paid for (We've always paid cash for our vehicles). They're both almost 20 years old, but they are in great condition (no rust) and run well. Why would I want to waste my money on a vehicle that's just going to depreciate? (I'm not saying that I won't buy a vehicle in the future or that it's wrong to buy one. I just don't want to spend money on a car in the current economic climate). I've got other priorities right now, like buying a house. That's a far better investment for me. I'll probably drive my old vehicles until they fall apart, but that's okay. I'm saving myself $$$ for every year that I still get to use them. The world is a mess, so I'm trying to save every way that I can. By shopping for ourselves during these deep discounted sales, I'm actually saving money - believe it or not. We all need clothes and shoes. It's not like we can all run around 

I have never, ever done Back to school shopping. I shop the rock bottom sales year round, then pull new name brand clothing & shoes from our spare closet when school starts. I can easily buy a new school wardrobe for $100 (and that would be designer brands).  I know that not everyone wears name brands, but I do. The resale value on them is so much better. I always, always make a profit on our old/used items, because I buy them at deep discounts. I can show you $200 dresses or blazers that I've purchased for $10-20. If there's a special event, I can go into my closet & pull out a brand new outfit that cost me less than or around $50 (including shoes), instead of having to pay retail prices.  My style is polished and I wear timeless pieces, so I don't have to worry about something being dated. I also like to mix & match things. I can put together several different outfits with just a few key pieces. I also take very good care of my things, so I can wear them for years. This is why I buy quality. I don't mind paying more for some things, especially genuine leather shoes, if it's going to last me years. Just because something is inexpensive, doesn't mean you're getting the best deal/quality. I have a wool coat that I paid $20 for around 15-16 years ago and it's still in an excellent condition (more on that in my next post)

Another way that I've saved is through Kohls BF shopping. See, I have to move soon and I have brand new small appliances that I bought during the BF sales. Those are the ones we pick up for around $5 after rebate. Need a new toaster? Ms Goose has So I don't have to worry about all kinds of things, because my 'stockpiling' has paid off. It might seem like I'm over the top, but my methods always seem to pay off in the end. 

Many retailers are struggling right now, because people aren't spending money (recession, inflation, lay-offs etc). They're all having huge sales, so go take advantage of it. I picked up things at 95% off at Kohls last week. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Let's say you want to spend $50-100 on the whole family. Make a list if you have to. Know what your needs are. Don't go crazy at those sales. Be disciplined. I resell for a living and my parents worked in the industry, so shopping is my jam. However, I want to urge you to be smart about your shopping ways. If you have kids, buy a few things in the next size or 2. Only buy rock bottom items. 70% off isn't good enough for me (I'm not a cheapskate. I just know more about shopping/retail). I might bite if the item is good, but I want 80% and higher discounts. I know that retailers are still making money if they sell an item for $1. They are paying pennies on the $ and they also get bulk/volume discounts. Now is the best time to buy summer items if you can still find it. Don't stock up on winter yet. There will be far bigger discounts, the closer we get to summer. Please don't listen to those bloggers who tell you 'when is the best time' to buy certain things. I will tell you this much about clothing. The deeper you get into a new season eg. summer, the deeper the winter (and vice versa) discounts will be. Clothing is seasonal. Retailers always have to make floor space for the new season's styles, so they have to mark down items to get rid of excess inventory. 

I hope that this post makes sense and that it's helpful to someone. 

Have a wonderful weekend peeps. Stay healthy, safe & warm

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Our favorite muffin recipes

Hi everyone

For those who eat expired food, please be careful. I got food poisoning from a yogurt yesterday and it wasn't fun at all. In my quest to 'use it all up', I decided to drink DS's 2 yogurts (not all at once) that had an expiration date of 2/5/23 (yep, Sunday). He has a weak stomach, so I never give him expired food. I'm one of those people who check expiration dates and will rarely touch expired food. I do the whole FIFO (first in, first out) thing with food. Yep, I'm Anyhoo, after DS got home yesterday, I decided to have a yogurt (we have yogurt daily),because I know that yogurt & milk are good for at least a week after it's expiration date. An hour later, I got severe stomach cramps, followed by nausea. I just felt sick, I didn't know how to sit. Now, I have a strong stomach - I rarely toss my cookies, so I just had to suffer through the cramps & nausea. I decided to just go lay down with the wastebasket next to the bed (just in case). I didn't even have dinner, because I had no appetite. I did make a few trips to the bathroom (TMI), then went to bed early. I, thankfully, slept through the night and felt a lot better this morning. I had a big breakfast (I always do), so I guess I'm better. I did lose 1 lb though, so there's a silver lining to skipping dinner. I'm just so over getting sick. I never get sick this much. Crazy. 

As promised, here are our favorite muffin recipes. I like to rotate the recipes every week, so we don't have the same flavor more than once per month. 

Please note that I like to put my own spin on food. I'm a flavor girl. I will sometimes combine the best ingredients from 2 similar recipes, to make my own (it I've been cooking since I was 12, so I don't always measure everything. I just eyeball it. My tweaks are optional. I'm adding notes of it, in case anyone wants to try it too. 

With the exception of blueberry & cranberry muffins, sugar is replaced with crushed raisins. I crush the raisins in the blender, so that the sweet taste can be spread evenly throughout the batter. 

Bran apple muffins. It's actually called Flax muffins, but that sounds unappetizing (translation -

This is definitely my favorite, because it's loaded with so many good ingredients and nutrients. If you want a 'healthy' muffin, this is the one to try.

Carrot pineapple muffins

I recently started adding crushed bran flakes so DS can get some iron and extra nutrients. 

Cranberry Almond muffins

I use fresh cranberries instead of the sauce. I just add milk so that my batter's not too dense. Sometimes I skip the almonds and add vanilla extract and lemon zest instead. I know that orange goes with cranberries, but the lemon works great too.

Gingerbread muffins

This is one of those 'slap ya mama' muffins. I can eat this muffin every single day. The orange zest is optional, but if you want a taste of the holidays, please do add the zest. This muffin is a 'show stopper' with the zest. Just use the zest of a large orange. This muffin is great with or without zest. Definitely a winner in my book.

I add crushed/grated carrots, because I love carrots & it pairs well with ginger. 

Blueberry muffins

I use both fresh & frozen blueberries. I crush frozen blueberries in the blender. I'm a blueberry girl, so I want a taste of it in every single bite. I also add a tsp vanilla extract, cause who wants bland muffins? Alternatively, add lemon zest for a lemon blueberry muffin. So good!

I don't add the crumble to the muffins, because I don't like 'sweets' for breakfast. The muffin is still good without the crumble. 

Banana oatmeal muffins

The muffin recipe is no longer available on their site (I see that I printed it in 2015). I will type the recipe when I get a chance. In the meantime, enjoy this oatmeal banana bread recipe. The ingredients are similar. 

I hope that everyone will enjoy some of these recipes. 

Bon Appetit Peeps! 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Menu Plan Monday 2/5/23

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I'm back to waking up extra early again. I stay in bed hoping to fall asleep again, but end up tossing & turning for hours. I don't know why I bother. I should just get up early, then take a nap later in the day or go to bed early.

It was a crazy, productive Sunday with cooking & laundry. I'm glad the cooking is done, cause I was worn out from it. Had an early night & slept well. Here's our menu for the week: 

Monday : Pesto chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, veggies

Tuesday : Quiche & salad

Wednesday : Same as Monday

Thursday : Same as Tuesday

Friday : Burgers & fries for DS, something from the freezer for me. 

Lots of fresh fruit & veggies available. Same with salad fixings. 

Breakfast : Jumbo carrot ginger muffins, breakfast burritos, cereal, omelets, bagels. Pick your breakfast 

Lunch : Dinner leftovers or frikkadel/chicken breast with salad

I made a double batch of frikkadel. It was so good and I realised that I'm getting a good amount of protein & iron from the ground beef. I'm taking a break from my beef stir fry, because the stir fry sauce gives me heartburn sometimes. I think I'll make it once a month, so I can eat it for a week. 

I also sautéed mushrooms, garlic & parsley for our omelets. The rest of the veggies are diced and frozen, so we just need to cook the omelets. I like to make it fresh. 

I'm taking a page out of Jackie's book & just using up what we have. I'm eating from the freezer every Friday & Sunday. Last week it was pizza & salad. I've decided not to cook on Fridays, because there's lots of food in the freezer that needs to be eaten. No cooking & no money spent. I call that a win!

Yesterday I made milkshakes with ice cream I bought over summer. I like to add frozen fruit to help me feel less guilty about the sugars. Hey, whatever I added freezer strawberries, banana and blueberries. I definitely tasted less sugar. It was so good. I'll make more milkshakes this coming weekend.

It's been a crazy day. Time goes by way too fast. I made a run to the stores. Well, I was supposed to go to Wags to use that last 2 RRs that expire today. I made my shopping list, worked out Wags deals and then checked my wallet for the RRs. Huh? No RRs. I switched purses & wallets last Friday, so I figured it was still in the old purse. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Searched my desk too and eventually gave up.Those suckers will turn up when I least expect it. $8 down the drain. 

I made a quick Aldi run for bread & a few produce items. Left the store $25 later. Ouch! I especially didn't go over the weekend, because I knew that DS would want all kinds of Brioche products. Well, I ended up coming home with brioche buns for I'm such a Good thing they didn't have the chocolate bread. I'll buy some before the mid-winter break, so he can have french toast. It's so good! Stopped at RA for 2 more bonus gcs and earned $16.

I'll post the muffin recipes tomorrow or Wednesday. I'm in no mood for running around this week. I'm staying home to get things done. 

Have a great day peeps!

Friday, February 3, 2023

January 2023 numbers

Hi everyone

Firstly, here are 2 great deals for Kroger shoppers (ends Tuesday 02/07/23). These 2 are Weekly digital deals, so be sure to clip your Qs before going shopping. Discount won't apply if you don't clip your qs beforehand. 

18 oz Quaker Oatmeal $2.49. Earn $1.50 Ibotta & $1.20 KC (Kroger cash) 20c MM  (limit 5)

14-24 ct Stayfree pads $1.49. Mega event discount will also apply so you will pay 49c per pack (limit 5)

The Quaker instant oatmeal is also part of the ME sale (can't remember the price, but I think it was $2.29). Get $1.25 Ibotta and $1 KC (values might vary by user). Limit 5

Here's what I did today


5 x 18 oz Quaker oatmeal $12.45

5 x Stayfree 2.45

5 x Mission tortilla chips 7.45

1 x OM smokies 3.29

2 x 18ct eggs 11.98

Less OM free mailer Q (3.29)

Less eggs mailer Q (0.65)

OOP $33.68

Earned $7.50 Ibotta & $6 KC = $13.50

No free eggs Q from Kroger this month, but they did give me 65c off. Kroger egg price is comparable to Sams, so I decided to just get eggs at Kroger. I bought 2 packs in case the eggs price increases again.I noticed that Sams no longer has the 2 doz/$6 eggs that I bought last month :(

I also stopped at Sams, because DS was out of yogurt. He prefers Chobani drinking yogurt, so I just added a few produce items, snack box for him and ground beef (the frikkadel was so good, so I decided to make more). Used $50 gc (Ibotta) and $32.56 OOP.

My goal is to spend $250 on groceries this month. Last month was pricey, but I expected it because I stocked up on many items and I haven't done much grocery shopping since before Christmas. Prices are just shocking, so I'm stocking up on good deals to help combat inflation. I want us to continue eating well without breaking the bank. 

I've spent $66.24 OOP for February already. That leaves me with $183.76 for the rest of the month. Actually less, because my last Wags purchase will lower that amount by about $32. Well shucks, I can work with $ I don't need anything next week (only drugstore deals to redeem rewards) and we have enough meat in the freezer. So there's only 2 weeks that I need to shop for. I can do this. I've just got to shop carefully when I go to the produce market. That place is bad for me :)

On to January's numbers


CVS : $19.18

Wags : $60.85

RA : $12.05

Aldi : $38.08

Kroger : $109.06 

Meijer : $66.15

Target : $17.33

Sams : $359.26

Walmart : $90.89

Produce market : $46.33

Total OOP : $819.18


$41.04 Ibotta 

$7.50 KC

Total earned : $48.54

My earned drugstore rewards are not included in this amount.I count them when I spend it. 

I spent $60.85 OOP at Wags, but increased my rewards by $26. 

Before anyone is shocked by that number, let me explain. I've set a monthly budget of $500. However, that's what I need to average per month. I take my total for the year and divide it by 12 to see what we've averaged per month. Why? Some months there will be great stock up sales (like January) so I'll spend more, then other months will be cherry picking months where I spend less. 


GCs Earned $10 - Microsoft rewards

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $118.00

Drugstore items sold : $0

Total earnings : $128.00

As you can see, earning sites are slow as molasses. Also, I was sick for more than half the month, so not much was done.

YTD Earnings 

GCs (point earning sites) : $10

Ibotta : $48.54

Personal items : $118.00

Drugstore items : $0

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $128.00

YTD EXPENSES (Clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts)

OOP : $103.88 (2 new coats/jackets for me)

Christmas gifts : $0

Gift cards : $150.00 ($100 Kohls, $50 JCP)

Total OOP $253.88

The Kohls gc is what I purchased at RA earlier this week (I guess that's a February expense, but I'm too tired to edit this post). I then turned around and used that gc to shop the clearance sale. I'll sell the items and add it to our income. I'll do the same with the JCP gc if they have a BOGOF sale again. I bought the gc, because I earned $10 EB (CVS) on it. That's $26 I earned just for buying gcs. 

YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $253.88

YTD side hustle income (personal, drugstore) $118.00

YTD Balance ($135.88)

Yep, I'm starting out in the hole, but there's method to my madness (as explained above). 

Small bills savings

$1 Bills - 96 + 24 (Jan) = $120.00

$5 Bills - $185 + $55 (Jan) = $240.00

$10 Bills - $90 +10 (Jan) = $100.00

Total YTD savings : $460.00

I cashed in half of my coins for a $51.19 gc. I'll have to get my behind to a store so I can buy more clearance to sell. Same with my CC rewards. I'm just waiting on some good discounted gcs. There's nothing I like right now.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I applied for a new CC through my other bank. It comes with a $200 bonus too. So I'll use that bonus for more gcs. I'm so over that other $500 credit CC. I'm going to close that account. 

So there you have it folks. The good, the bad & the very ugly of January. I've noticed that I always go over budget in January. I think it's because I don't grocery shop the last 2 weeks of December. 

Have a great weekend peeps! Stay healthy, safe & warm

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Busy shopping week

Hi everyone

If you use Ibotta & shop at Wags, get yourself to your nearest Wags. There are several boosters that are stacking this week. x WYS $XX (I had 2 of these on my account and both applied), $7 WYS $25 on Beauty. Ibotta has several different Nivea offers too. Here's what I did.

After Wags, run to Kohls for extra 50% off clearance. ALL CLEARANCE, including household items and toys. But first, stop at RA, because they have Kohls gcs on sale this week. Buy $50 Kohls gc, get $8 BC (limit 2). I was going to Kohls anyway, so I figured I might as well get that extra $16 from RA too.


Trans 1

3 x Nivea Shave gel $12.57

3 x Nivea face wash 18.87

Less 4 RRs (14.00)

Tax 1.89

OOP $19.33 

Earned $34 WC ($9 Nivea, $7 WYS $25, $6 WYS $20, $7 WYS $25 Beauty. I have no idea what the other $5 is for) + $6.25 Ibotta.  I wanted to submit to too, but can't log into my account. I forgot my password (I don't even remember signing up) and tried the "forgot password", but I'm not getting any email link to reset my password. That would've added another $6.

Total earned $40.25

Somebody forgot to take the $10 gc to the store, but it was used today - see below. Huge MM deal for me. Happy dance!

You don't have to do the Nivea deal. You can add any beauty items (razors aren't included in beauty) to reach the threshold amount. I did the Nivea, because it's a big MM. 

Trans 2

2 x Softsoap b/w $9.98

Less DQ (1.00)

Less RR (4.00)

Less WC (5.00)

Tax 0.36

OOP $0.34

Earned $5 WC (My $5 RR didn't print, so CS added $5 to my account)

I stopped at the Dollar Tree to look for more Palmolive spray bottles. No Palmolive, but I found this placement. Isn't it just beautiful? I need a wall sign like this, but they charge an arm & a leg for it online and I can't find it in white & navy blue. Does anyone else go to the DT for something specific, then walk out with totally unrelated items?

Then back to Wags today to use RRs that are expiring this week. I only had the $7/25 Beauty booster on this account, but I received a $9/40 paper booster during my last shopping trip. Here's today's deal.

Trans 3

4 x Olay b/w $28.00

1 x Loreal moisturizer 18.99

1 x Loreal moisturizer B1G2nd 50% off 6.74

Less Loreal DQ (12.00) not everyone received this Q. It's a "For You" DQ

Less RR (4.00)

Less GC (10.00) My last gc from that great sale in December

Tax 2.98

OOP : $30.71

Earned $16 WC ($7 WYS $25 Beauty, $9 WYS $40) + $7 Ibotta ($5 Olay, $2 Loreal, should've been $4 Loreal, but I don't have the energy to follow up for just $2)

Total earned (see below) : $43

You already know that this transaction was a cluster. The cashier scanned all items, but scanned the Loreal items twice. Both showed full price, then also 50% off prices. No way! This isn't right. So I walked the cashier through the deal (I saw on her tag that she's new - started 2023). Plus the Wags system has been updated and everything was running slow. We finally got that fixed. 

Trans 4

2 x Colgate $7.98

2 x Kit Kat 2.50

Less Colgate DQ (4.00)

Less RR (4.00)

Less WC (2.00)

Tax 0.30

OOP $0.78

Earned $4 WC (Colgate)

I gave the cashier a Kit Kat for all the trouble. It wasn't my fault, but I always do this when things go south. This is Wags after all. I'm already kinda used to this. 

It was reported that the Olay Q didn't deduct, so I expected that. However, as I was driving to Kohls, I realised that I never received any RRs ($5 Olay, $5 WYS $15 PG) and my $5 Loreal WC. I didn't have time to turn around. I think I have it figured out. It seems that the RRs don't print when I use a Store RR. The same thing happened with the Softsoap deal earlier this week. That doesn't make sense to me, because it's not even the same deal/sale. 

When I got home I did Live Chat and they added $20 to my account. So I earned a total of $43 on the Loreal Transaction. Another nice MM. Free moisturizer is great, but MM moisturizer is even better. Whoo-hoo!

WAGS recap

Total items purchased : 18

Total OOP : $51.16 (approx $2.84 per item. price includes tax)

Retail value : $134.32

Total Qs used : $17.00

Total Gcs used : $10.00

Total rewards used : $35.00

Total rewards earned : $79.00

Total Ibotta earned : $13.25

Total spent (rewards + gc + oop) $96.16

Total earned (rewards + ibotta) $92.25


Trans 1

2 x $50 Kohls gcs $100.00

Earned $16 WC

Trans 2

1 x Large Tide $12.94

1 x Olay toner 6.29

1 x Secret deodorant 7.79

1 x Crest t/p 6.99

Less Tide DQ (3.00)

Less Olay DQ (2.00)

Less Crest DQ (3.00)

Less BC from trans 1 (16.00)

Tax 2.04

OOP $12.05

Earned $10 BC (WYS $30 PG)

Hold on! Why didn't my $5 Secret DQ deduct. I especially bought this item, because of the nice DQ. Well, it turns out you have to purchase 3 items for the Q to apply. Ughhhhhhh! Why don't they state it on the main Q pic like Wags, so you know that you need to purchase multiples. I know. I can't believe I actually praised Well, I at least got my Tide. I haven't shopped at RA in about a year, so I need to learn the ropes again. I also need to check if there's a PG rebate, so I can earn extra cash back.

Has anyone noticed any shortages at the drugstores or grocery stores lately? I've noticed that toothpaste was low at different Wags locations. This is very strange, because Wags is always the best stocked drugstore. I sure hope there won't be shortages on anything again. My goal is to ensure that we have at least 2 years worth of HBA and one year's groceries (non perishables). HBA is easy, thanks to the drugstores. I'm not stocking up on much food until I move though. 

Meijer has Kraft cheese on sale for $1.99 this week (please excuse the glare on the pic). It's part of the Buy 5 Save $5 instantly sale that ends on Saturday. My Ibotta offer is for 75c (limit 5). So this mama decided to "Shop smart, not hard". I did 3 separate Kraft transactions. This way, I can just submit my receipt when the rebate resets. No need to make a special trip to the store to buy more cheese. The rebate reset once already, so I have one more receipt to submit.

Oh yes, I bought 15 bags of cheese. We eat cheese daily and I'm not sleeping on $1.25 cheese. I've been buying Walmart cheese ($2/8 oz) when there's no good cheese sale. Remember, cheese can be frozen. I made sure to add the extra items (like cilantro & parsley that I needed to buy) to each transaction, so that Ibotta doesn't think I'm submitting the same receipt (cheese only) multiple times. I'm seeing quiche & homemade pizza in our future :)

I picked up the sale milk at Kroger. I only see Mission tortilla chips (my favorite) that I need this week. 

I am outshopped. I am seriously sick of shopping. I just need a break so I can catch up on other things. I'll post January numbers by tomorrow or Friday.

Happy shopping peeps! 

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