Monday, January 31, 2011

Recipe : "Cinnabon" Copycat Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, sorry, I know... that was just mean, wasn't it?

Today's recipe came from here:

The reason it came from there is, I couldn't find the one I had printed out to try, and this seemed to be pretty close to what I remembered.  And it did turn out pretty well, in spite of my forgetting the half-mixed dough on the counter while we went outside to make a snowman, then coming back to it after I don't know how long... Also, the recipe at the link is for a bread machine, but mine bit the dust ages ago so I did it the old-fashioned way.  Go, me.  Also, since I was out of cinnamon, but I did have some other goodies on hand, I "tweaked" it a little bit.  Read on... or click the link to read the original.  I think if I make this again, I will (a) stay focused and not wander off from the dough and (b) increase the liquid / decrease the kneading.  I did find that the dough was a little tougher than I would have liked.

Cinnamon Rolls



1/4 cup warm water
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 'poudre douce'
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional but really good)
(other possibilities include raisins or finely chopped apple!)

1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons milk


Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar.  Let rest til foamy.

In a large bowl (or using mixer), combine yeast mixture, melted butter, pudding mix, milk, egg and salt.  Gradually add flour, mixing well.  Knead to form a soft (but not sticky) dough.  Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over and let rise until doubled.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17x10 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.

Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into one-inch slices and place in 9x13 buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

My own variation... shamelessly plugging a Pampered Chef product for my party... instead of frosting them, I sprinkled the tops with Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle ... very yum. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Couponing : January 30, 2011

Today, I'm quite proud of my shopping accomplishment.  Even the cashier said it was some pretty smart shopping.  :)  Today's scores are brought to you courtesy of Shopper's Drug Mart!

Breton Crackers on sale for $1.99/box, minus a $0.50 coupon for each = $1.49/box
Head & Shoulders shampoo on sale for $4.99, minus a $2.50 brandsaver coupon = $2.49
Lipton Cup a Soup on sale for $0.99, used a coupon to Buy 3 Get 1 Free so they cost $0.74 each or $0.18/serving
Eggs on sale for $1.50/dozen, minus a coupon for $2.00 off when you buy 2 = $0.50/dozen.  Beat that!
Janes Chicken Nuggets/Strips on sale for $7.99, minus a $1.50 coupon = $6.49/box
Gillette Antiperspirant on sale for $1.99, minus a brandsaver coupon to save $5.00 when you buy 3 = $0.32 each!
Tide Laundry Detergent on sale for $4.99, minus a brandsaver coupon to save $5.00 when you buy 2 = $2.49 each!

... and see that pack of bologna in the front?  That was regular $3.49, with $3.00 worth of discount stickers on it since it was dated for tomorrow.  $0.49, some homemade bread, and a box of KD made the kids and hubby all VERY happy at lunch time.   Much to my personal chagrin.  No accounting for some tastes... lol

The overall totals from this transaction?

Merchandise:  $58.62
Various taxes & fees:  $1.51
Total:  $60.13
Optimum Points Redeemed:  -$10.00
Coupons Used: -$22.49
Actual Out of Pocket:  $27.64

A little side note from January 27 which I didn't get a chance to photograph...

Fleecy Fabric Softener, small bottles on sale at Walmart for $2.00, minus a $1.50 coupon that I got in a trade but I don't know where it was clipped from = a backup supply of fabric softener if I run out!

Campbell's Reduced-Sodium Tomato Soup, on sale at Walmart for $0.50/can, bought three cans minus $1.00 coupon when you buy 3 = 3 cans for $0.50, or $.17 each.  The cashier looked a little skeptical, but she took it.  :)

An in-store discovery - Bear Paws crackers for $1.97/box, with $1.00 peelie coupons on the front.  Kids' crackers for $0.97/box?  You bet!!

Recipe for a Home

Recipe For A Home

One-Half cup of friendship
Add a cup of thoughtfulness.
Cream together with a pinch
of tenderness.

Very lightly beat in a bowl
of loyalty.

A cup of faith, one of hope
and one of charity.

Be sure to add a spoonful of
each, of gaiety that sings, and
Add the ability to laugh at
little things,

Moisten with sudden tears
of heartfelt sympathy.
Bake in good natured pan and
serve repeatedly!!

Recipe : Chewy Chocolate Fudge

This is some intense chocolate.  Yumm-o.  But keep the pieces on the small side!

My friend Bobbiann shared this recipe a while back and I've been waiting for a chance to make it.  But I didn't want to have a whole pan of fudge floating around the house, because, well.... *ahem*  Anyway.   Well, Friday night I had a Pampered Chef party happening here, and what are those about if not FOOD?  So I whipped up a batch the night before, and le voila, le Chocolat!!

There are certain dangers associated with a recipe like this.  Like, for example, chocolate-coated spoons.  Or things like this:

 Approach with caution!   LOL

Anyway, the recipe:

Chewy Chocolate Fudge

1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 300ml can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla  - I also added mint extract

Combine the cocoa, sugar, condensed milk and butter in a pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently or constantly.  Boil for ten minutes while continuing to stir.

Remove from heat, stir in nuts and vanilla.  Pour into foil-lined pan.  Cool, then cut.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thrifty Tip : Homemade Wipes

The best paper towel to use for this is Bounty! The best way to cut the roll in half is an electric knife, and an old tupperware canister seals and holds the moisture in.

Cut a roll of Bounty Paper Towels (use no other kind) in half. Gently remove cardboard tube and place roll end up in a container with lid. Make mixture you desire and slowly pour around over the end of paper towel. Let sit overnight and it's ready to use.

Diapering Wipes - 2 Tbsp Baby Oil & 2 Tbsp Baby Wash & 2 1/4 Cup Hot Water

Face/Hand Wipes -  2 Tbsp Baby Wash & 2 Cups Hot Water

Bug Wipes - 1 Cup Avon Skin So Soft & 1 Cup Hot Water

Bathroom Wipes - 1 Cups Pine Cleaner & 1 Cups Hot Water

Window Wipes - 1 1/2 Cups Glass Cleaner & 1/2 Cup Water

Recipe : Chicken Noodle Soup

Mmmmm..... is there anything better than homemade chicken noodle soup on a snowy day?  Especially when there is leftover chicken in the fridge just calling your name, and you actually remembered to boil yesterday's leftovers for broth?  :-)   Keep reading for a super-cheap meal for the day after chicken... I used a 74-cent bag of noodles, a 50-cent carton of broth, leftover chicken, and veggies I already had on hand.  Sweet :)  Makes about 6 adult servings.

So.  You've just had a yummy meal of chicken.  Like, say maybe you tried yesterday's recipe for oven-roasted chicken.   Now you've got bones and skin and scraps all over the place.  What to do?  I'll tell you what to do!  You grab a big pot.  You dump it all in there.  If you're super-frugal I suppose you'd dump it ALL in there.  I personally do draw the line at individual plates.  If someone's fork has been in their mouth and in a piece of chicken, I don't use those parts.  But the parts that I shredded for the kids?  Absolutely.  That one lonely leg left over on the baking pan?  Yup.  Plus any bits that I can scrape off said baking pan.  All into the pot.  Including bones.  And skin.  Must have the skin, since it's got all the yummy flavor from baking but no one wants to eat it.  It's great for seasoning the broth.   But first, do go through and remove the useful bits of meat, put them on a plate and refrigerate.  You'll need them tomorrow.   Now chop up a carrot and a couple of celery stalks and an onion and throw them in the pot as well.  Cover it all with water.  Add a tablespoon of vinegar - apparently this leaches calcium out of the bones and makes the broth even better for you.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a long time while you're watching TV with a nice full chicken-dinner tummy.  Pour through a colander, collecting the liquid in a bowl but keeping all the junk out of it.  Now, if you want to, you CAN go through the mess and pick out any scrap pieces of meat.  Myself, I don't bother, because what's in there is hopelessly flavorless and has a lousy texture.  Taste it if you don't believe me.   Refrigerate the bowl of broth overnight - the fat will rise to the top and harden, making it easier to reduce the fat content of your soup.   The mess in the colander?  In case you don't know better, do not feed it to your dog. Let it cool, then throw it out or compost it.

Fast forward to the next day, about an hour before supper.

Get out the bowl of broth, the plate of chicken, four large carrots, three stalks of celery, one onion, a bag of rotini or egg noodles, salt and pepper.  Depending how much broth you have and how strong its flavor is, you may also want a carton of commercial chicken broth or a couple of cubes of bouillon powder to enhance the taste.

Pour the broth into a large pot.  Heat over medium heat while you prep the vegetables.  Dice the onion and add to the pot - use 1/2 to 1 whole onion, depending on your personal tastes.  Peel the carrots and slice fairly thin, about 1/8 inch.  Wash and trim the celery and slice between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.  Add to the pot.  Cut the chicken into small pieces and add to the pot.  

Judge the amount of broth you have and whether there will be enough once it has cooked down a bit and you have added the noodles, and if necessary, top it up with commercial broth.  I personally like the Campbells brand, both the regular and the reduced-sodium, in the tetra pack.  If you don't need more liquid but do need more flavor, add bouillon.  

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Cook til the vegetables are barely tender.  Add the noodles.  Cook until noodles are done.   Serve hot with fresh biscuits!  I made my usual recipe but this time I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups white.  It took a bit of fiddling and a little extra liquid, and they were a bit more dense rather than light & fluffy, but still very good.  And great for sopping up soup with.  :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Recipe : Oven-Roasted Chicken

No picture, sorry!

This is a quick way to take cheap chicken and make it yummy :-)   No Frills has bagged chicken legs on sale for $1.00/lb right now, so I expect I'll have a lot of chicken in the deep freezer before long.  Which means, needing some ways to make it nice ... and not always the same!!  This is pretty simple and turned out quite good!  Obviously you should adjust the amount of butter, garlic and herbs to suit your tastes and the amount of chicken you have.  I had six legs (with thighs) and this worked out perfectly.

Chicken parts
about 1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic
about a tablespoon of "fines herbs" or a similar mix of dried herbs

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse chicken parts.  Pat dry with paper towel and arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Place butter in a small bowl.  Mince the garlic into the same bowl.  Add herbs.  Microwave for about 25 seconds to mostly melt the butter.  Stir together with a fork.

Use a pastry brush to spread the butter mixture all over the top of the chicken pieces.

Bake until the meat is cooked thoroughly, about an hour depending how much meat you have and how thick it is.  It's best to use a good meat thermometer to make sure - aim for about 180 degrees.  The skin should be crisped and browned up nicely.

Serve with oven-roasted vegetables for an easy meal - peel carrots and cut into quarters, cut baby potatoes into halves, and whatever other veggies you'd like - toss with a mix of olive oil and herbs, arrange in a baking dish and bake alongside the chicken for about an hour.  Mix occasionally and check for doneness.

Leftovers?  Come back tomorrow!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe : Oatmeal Bread

This recipe is from the More-With-Less Cookbook (pg 60), which is one that I use a lot around here.  It's loaded with plenty of simple recipes that use simple ingredients.  Hubby loves this bread, too.  It's a little bit sweet but not overly - great with butter and molasses, or jam, and the texture is nice.   I did change the original recipe just a bit and I'm happy with the change - in the cookbook it says to do two raises in the bowl, then make the loaves and bake.  I prefer to do the second raise in the pan so that I'm putting nice puffy dough in to bake.  So I do the first raise in the bowl then punch it down, divide in half, form the loaves, put them in the pans, cover and let them rise til doubled, then into the preheated oven.  I have found that it takes the full 40 minutes to bake up nicely.

Oatmeal Bread
makes two loaves

Combine in a large bowl:
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Pour over:  2 cups boiling water

Stir to combine.  Set aside to cool.

Dissolve 1 package dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  (I add a little sugar)

When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast and stir.

Stir in 5 cups white flour.

When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto a floured board and knead 5-10 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let rise again.  Shape into two loaves and place in greased 9x5x3" pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Cool on rack, brushing loaves with butter for a soft crust.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe : YUMMY Brownies!

These brownies turned out sooo good..... fudgy and yummy and a crispy top... and guess what?  I'm even going to share my recipe.  :-)   I used a 9x13 glass baking dish but you can make this in a 9x9 as well, and metal is fine.   A note I came across - apparently brownies store best when wrapped individually and kept at room temperature.

YUMMY Brownies


3/4 cup butter or margarine
4 ounces (4 squares) semi-sweet chocolate
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups white flour
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.   Prepare a baking pan by lightly greasing the entire inside.  Optional - sprinkle cocoa all over the inside of the pan after greasing.

In a small saucepan, melt melt chocolate and butter together over medium heat.  Let cool slightly.

Mix eggs, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended.  Beat on high speed for about a minute, then beat in the chocolate/butter mixture.  (This extra beating is what will give you the crispy meringue-like top on the brownies.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in flour, mixing just until combined.

Pour into prepared baking dish.  Optional - sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.

Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, between 20-45 minutes depending on your pan size and type.

Allow to cool completely then cut into bars.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe : Easy Oven Beef Stew and the BEST Tea Biscuits

I won't say it's the prettiest stew I've ever made, but it's quite good, very filling and makes good leftovers.  And stew just gives good biscuits a reason for existence.  :-)

Easy Oven Beef Stew

No reference for you on this one, and the instructions are vague... just roll with it.  It's good.

Stewing beef, cut in large-ish bite size pieces
1/2 cup or so of flour
seasonings of your choice
Potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
Carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
Turnip/Rutabaga, peeled and cut in chunks
Frozen corn and/or peas
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix
1 envelope or cube of bouillon (chicken or beef)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix flour and seasonings together in a mid-size bowl.  Dredge the pieces of meat in it and brown in hot oil for a few minutes.  Arrange meat and vegetable pieces in an oven-proof baking dish or pot.  (I used a 9x13 baking dish setting on a large cookie sheet.)

Mix together the mushroom soup and onion soup mix.  Dissolve the bouillon in a cup of hot water and add to the soup.  Pour over the meat and vegetables.  Mix together.

Bake, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.  Add frozen corn/peas and bake for another fifteen minutes.  Serve hot with fresh biscuits.

The BEST Tea Biscuits

That title isn't really an exaggeration.  These really are the best tea biscuits I have ever made.  The original recipe comes from Ann Voskamp:   I figure, any recipe that begins with the word "Granny" is bound to be good.  And this is no exception to that.

Here are my comments on this one .... the milk can be replaced with water and they still turn out incredible.  Which is nice when you're half way through a recipe and realize you're out of milk.  The sugar can be drastically reduced when you're making them to go with stew, for example.  And obviously the raisins are optional.    What I usually do is mix the ingredients together with a spoon just until it becomes a little challenging, then dump the whole mess out on the counter and knead it together by hand.  Gently, and not for any longer than necessary. Over mixing is not nice for biscuits.   The dough should be quite soft but not sticky.   If it feels like it's just a little too soft, it's probably just about right.


3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
4 tbsp butter
1 egg
1 cup milk

1.Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking sheet.
2.Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut butter in until mixture has a fine crumb texture. Add raisins.
3. Beat 1 egg in 1 cup of milk. Stir in milk with a fork to make a soft dough. Knead a few times.
4. Roll out on floured surfact to a thickness of at least 1/2 inch to 1 inch.
5. Cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or glass.
6. Place on cookie sheet, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

By the way, Ann has a beautiful book available now.  Do check it out - her blog has literally been lifechanging for many people I know personally ... I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of her book!!! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Recipe : Surprise Muffins

This yummy muffin recipe comes from the blog "Safely Gathered In" where she often features recipes that can be made using only pantry supplies.  This one was a pleasant surprise - they are sweet, light, with a slightly crispy top on them... this would be an awesome base for a chocolate chip muffin recipe and I can totally see in my future an attempt to make them with Nutella in the middle.  :)

Now.... this particular baking day I had no white flour.  So I tried making them with whole wheat.  They were okay, but not nearly as good as when they're made with white.  Some things are just yummier with the white stuff.  Oh - and do follow the directions.  I'm a little lazy sometimes and just throw everything into the bowl, mix and dump... these do turn out better if you follow the correct mixing steps.  

Surprise Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

2 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c shortening
1/3 c powdered milk (with 1 c water)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Sift your flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. Also, use your powdered milk and water to create 1 cup of milk.

Stir in your sugar/shortening mixture and milk alternately into your dry ingredients. Stir until they are all combined.

Drop 1-2 tablespoons of batter into your muffin tin (or paper muffin cup). Next, drop a dollop of jam into the center of each (1/2 to 1 tsp of jam). Use the remaining batter to cover the jam in each of the muffins.

Bake at 425 degree for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe : The Easiest Pot Luck Meatballs Ever

Here it is:  a go-to potluck recipe that you can grab the ingredients for on your way to church, assemble before Sunday School and cook during the service ;)  

The Easiest Pot Luck Meatballs Ever


1 bag of frozen pre-cooked meatballs
1 bottle or 2 cups chili sauce
1 jar or 2 cups concord grape jelly


Whisk the chili sauce and jelly together til smooth. Put the meatballs in a large crockpot, pour the sauce mixture over, stir to coat. Cook on high for 1.5 hours, then keep warm to serve.

Optional extra step, but a good idea - cook the meatballs first in the oven for 10 minutes. It browns them up just a little and improves the flavor.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Couponing : January 22, 2011

Deal-gathering highlights for this afternoon...   no, really, I am NOT a shop-a-holic, but there are a lot of really good deals out there right now and the savvy shopper will stock up where possible to avoid paying retail for the same thing in the future!!

Shopper's Drug Mart:

Kellogg's Eggo Waffles: $1.99 - $0.50 = $1.49 coupon

Kellogg's Special K Cereal:  $3.99 - $1.00 coupon = $2.99.  Not great, until you realize that there is a coupon printed on the box for a free box... bringing the cost per box down to be actually $1.49.  :-)

Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste: $5.49 - $3.00 Red Plum coupon = $2.49.  Not phenomenol, but not bad.  And I want to try it so it's good opportunity.  Manufacturers put out good coupons when their product is new.

Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste: Reg. $2.79 but it was on the clearance rack for $1.99.  Minus a $1.00 manufacturer coupon = $0.99.  For the big tube.  Good deal.

Lever 2000 4-pack bar soap:   $2.99 - $1.00 in-store coupon collected weeks or months ago and saved, = $1.99.

Vicks BabyRub: on sale for $4.99 - $2.00 coupon = $2.99.  Good stuff to have on hand this time of year.

Mars Bars 4-packs.  $4.29 each, minus $3.00 each in manager's coupons (aka clearance) = $1.29 each, or $0.32 per bar.  A sweet deal ;-)


Wonder+ Bread:  $2.00 - $0.75 manufacturer coupon = $1.25 per loaf.  More than making it myself, but cheap enough to justify.

Oasis 1.75L Orange Juice:  $2.99 - $0.75 peelie coupon stuck on the carton = $2.24 each

French's Mustard: $2.00 - $2.00 wub2 coupon from a calendar I got in the mail = $1.00 each (retail was three something)

Lipton Onion Soup 2pk: on sale for $1.00 each.  Used "buy 3 get 1" coupons to buy six and get two free, for a cost of $0.75 per box or $0.37 per packet.

Secret PH-balanced Antiperspirant: $2.00 each, minus the brandsaver coupon to save $4.00 when you buy two equals, you guessed it, FREE!  This was a super-specific sale, only on that particular kind, and there were only four there of a scent I liked, so I didn't exactly "stock up", but four was enough to top up my stash a bit.  And my cashier was so nice I gave her one of my extra coupons so she could get some for herself.   Just cause I'm nice like that.  ;-)


Campbell's "blue band" tomato soup: on sale for $0.50.  I bought six and used two coupons to "save $1.00 wuen you buy 3" making them actually cost about $0.17 each.  I didn't go crazy here because I already have a stash of tomato soup but the stuff is dated for 2012 so I don't mind being stocked ahead a bit on it. 

Robin Hood 10kg Flour:  on sale for $9.97.  Even without coupons I would have bought two.  I plan on going back for more but need more cash first.  But as an added bonus, I do have some $1.00 coupons on hand so I paid $8.97 each.  Which is good.  But what is better is that Walmart even HAD any of them in the first place - it has been MONTHS since I've seen a stock of 10kg flour in our Walmart store.

That's it.  Hope you enjoyed shopping with me!  :-)

Couponing : January 21, 2011 (and a minor rant)

I didn't get a photo of the shopping haul for today because hubby put the groceries away for me and I didn't see the need to get in the way of that!  :)  However, here are the deals I scored:

Campbells Chicken Broth 900ml - on sale for $1.00 - used a coupon for $1.00 off when you buy two, making them $0.50 each!!  At that price, I stocked up a bit and bought ten of them.  I gave several of those coupons to a friend who was there shopping as well.

Knorr Lipton Sidekicks - all of them on sale for $1.00!  I have plenty of the pasta ones already kicking around here, but this sale included the instant potatoes & gravy, and their rice blends, so I bought five of each, and used "save $1.00 when you buy two" coupons to bring their price down to $0.50 each.

Minigo 6pk - on sale for $1.00, and I had two coupons for $0.50 off so I picked up a couple.  If I can get more coupons before the sale ends, all the better, because these freeze nicely into little yogurt pops.  :)

Danone Fruit Twists - on sale for $1.00, and somewhere in my travels I acquired two coupons for $1.00 off, so I got two of them for free!

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes - on sale for $1.00, and I had one $1.00 off coupon from so I grabbed one of them.  I don't use them often but they're nice to have in the bathroom.   Big points for the lady working the floor in grocery as she went to the back room and retrieved one for me (the shelves were already empty).

Eggs - $1.99/dozen, used a coupon for $2.00 off when you buy two dozen so one of them was essentially free :)

Egg Creations - on sale for $1.00 and I had a coupon for $0.75 off, so I picked one up.  I don't care for them much as scrambled eggs, but I plan to try it in baking.

Finally, Campbells 'Ready to Eat' 540ml soups, on sale for $1.00.  And I have a pile of "save $1.00 when you buy 3" for the new 'blue band' soups.  Turns out, yes they were included!  Yay!  So I piled 20 cans into the cart.  Which should have translated into being able to use 6 coupons.  (I read it wrong at first and thought it was "buy 3 get one" so I was planning 15 + 5 free)  

Unfortunately here is where I experienced a cashier fail.  :-(   See, No Frills has this thing where after 20 coupons the cashier needs an override from a supervisor for additional coupons.  And I forgot about it, otherwise I'd have split the transaction (I had 23).  So we hit this "too many coupons" warning.  And the girl who had up til now been doing great, had never seen it before.  So she thought it was some kind of warning meaning I hadn't bought enough of the right product.  Well, that would apply if we were in the US where they scan the barcodes.  But we're not - we're in Canada where they just punch in the dollar value of the coupons.  The computer doesn't know whether they match.  So I said, no, that's not it, I bought 20 cans of soup so I would be able to use 6 coupons.  I gave you five.  The problem is, you need an override to allow more coupons.  So she called over her supervisor.  Who was busy and irritated.  Unfortunately there was a busy spell right then.  So she came over, looked at it and said, "It's one per purchase." Yes, and I bought twenty cans so there are enough purchases to cover it.  "No.  It's one per purchase."  Cashier - "It already took two."  "It did??? .... Well, she can't use any more."  And she proceeded to take my other three coupons and stuff them beside the register.  "You know what, never mind, but give me those back."  "Oh, right."  (sigh)   After she left I told the cashier, "The manufacturer says one per purchase means one per product but you're busy and I'm not going to argue with her so I'll let it go."  So the supervisor cost me three dollars... if there hadn't been a line up I would have been tempted to have her void off some soup to make up for it and demonstrate the loss to the store that the attitude cost... but I didn't.   I did, however, write to Loblaws head office to get copies of their policies.  Because this is the same store that a cashier told me they wouldn't price match something unless it was also in THEIR flyer, when the flyer clearly says they will price match ANYTHING in their store that is in a competitor flyer.

I have a suspicion I might become "known" to some of the staff there.  I'll have to watch my step a bit, particularly since that show "Extreme Couponers" came out and people are more suspicious than ever of us freaky people who are looking for a good deal.

Anyway - lessons learned:

- When using coupons at Loblaws stores, split your purchase into multiple transactions if you are going to use more than 20 coupons.

- Try really hard to avoid cranky-looking supervisors.

- Carry a copy of a store's corporate coupon and price-matching policy with you when possible.

Recipe : "Grrrreat Potato Salad"

This is one of those recipes that I probably shouldn't share, because it's letting out one of my stand-by secret recipes for pot lucks and parties... however.  I'm just nice like that.

I made this hot and I liked it while it was still pretty warm... lukewarm it wasn't as good, though.  It either needs to be very warm or else chilled. I have by times skipped the bacon, olives and and/or garlic as I didn't have any of them, and it was always good.  The bacon is a nice addition, but I'm still not convinced about the need for olives.   That's just me, though.

This recipe is from're cooking!

Grrreat Potato Salad

8 large potatoes (white)
3 large eggs
Bacon (as much as you want)
1 bunch scallions
1 can black olives
1 large bottle of light ranch dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced


Boil potatoes until tender. Drain. Let cool then cut into large chunks.

Hard boil eggs. Cool and chop.

Cook bacon and let cool.

While bacon is cooling, cut scallions into small pieces. Add to bowl of potatoes. Add olives and boiled eggs. Crumble bacon into bowl and add ranch dressing. Mix well and add 2 cloves garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coupon Tips for Alberta for this week

Not that I'm going shopping for all of this stuff... LOL   But here is the list of items in this week's flyers that have corresponding coupons to improve the deals.   Walmart and Zellers still to come whenever I get the flyers... our flyer deliver people are less than consistent.

No Frills Alberta - Friday Jan 21 - Thurs Feb 3

Clorox Wipes $1.00 - $1.00 ( = FREE!!
Campbells Chicken Broth 900ml $1.00 - $1.00wub2 (exp Jan 31) = $0.50 ea
Del Monte Fruit Twists $1.00 - $1.00 (instore) = FREE
Vitasoy Soy Beverage $1.00 - $0.75 (Healthy Shopper booklet ) = $0.25
Knorr Sidekicks $1.00 - $1.00wub2 (various) = $0.50
Egg Creations $1.00 - $0.75 or $1.00 (various) = $0.25 or FREE
Minigo Yogurt $1.00 - $0.50 (gocoupons) = $0.50

Shoppers Drug Mart Alberta - Saturday Jan 22 - Friday 28

Sunday/Monday Only
Pantene, selected types $3.77 - $0.75 or $2.00wub2 (Brandsaver)
Pampers EasyUps $13.99 - $3.00 (brandsaver) = $10.99
Pampers Diapers $13.99 - $2.00 (brandsaver) or $3.00 (MF coupon from mailout) = $10.99
Enfamil A+ $24.99 - $3.00 ( = $21.99
Crest 3D Whitestrips $29.99 - $5.00 (brandsaver) = $24.99

Royale Bathroom Tissue $5.99 - $1.00 (gocoupons) = $4.99
Royale Facial Tissue $0.77 - $1.00 wub6 (gocoupons) = $3.62/6
Royale Paper Towels 6pk $4.99 - $0.75 (gocoupons)
Olay Skincare 20% off - looks like $10 coupon from Brandsaver could apply
Always / Tampax $6.99 - brandsaver coupons
Boiron Coryzalia or Stodal $8.99 - $1.00 (MF coupon in packages)
Hydrasense Congestion Relief 20% off - $2.00 (found in-store)
Vicks VapoRub/BabyRub $4.99 - $2.00 (brandsaver) or $1.00 (in-store)
Osteo Bi-Flex 20% off - $5.00 (Red Plum)
Nature's Bounty vitamins 20% off - $2.00 (Red Plum)
Advil Cold & Sinus $11.99 - $3.00 (in-store, exp Jan 31)
Vicks NyQuil/DayQuil 15% off - $2.00 (brandsaver)
Gillette Body Wash or Deodorant $4.99 - $1.00 or $5.00 wub3 (brandsaver)
Old Spice Body Wash or Deodorant $4.99 - $1.00, $3.00 wub2, or Free Body Wash with Deodorant
Crest Pro-Health Rinse $2.99 - $1.00 (brandsaver)
Crest Toothpaste plus Scope $2.99 - $1.00 (not sure where it came from)
Aveeno Body Wash $5.99 - $2.00 (
Always Infinity / Tampax Pearl $4.79 - $1.00 or $2.25wub2 (brandsaver)
Gillette Fusion facial care $3.99 - $2.00 or $5.00wub3 (brandsaver)
Old Spice Shave Gel $2.99 - $1.00 or $3.00wub2 (brandsaver)
Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor $11.99 - $2.00 (brandsaver)
Gillette Fusion ProGlide cartridge $19.99 - free body wash, deodorant or shave gel (brandsaver)
Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief $5.49 - $3.00 (Red Plum)
Olay Body Wash $4.99 - $2.00 (brandsaver)
Gillette Antiperspirant $2.99 - $5.00wub3 (brandsaver)
Huggies Wipes $6.49 - $1.00 (
Pampers Wipes $6.49 - $1.00 (brandsaver)
Aveeno Body Lotion or Body Wash 2/$12.00 - $2.00 (
Eggs $1.99 - $2.00wub2 (
Eggo Waffles $1.99 - $0.50 (
Special K Cereal $3.99 - $1.00 (
Kibbles n Bits $4.99 - Free Pup-Peroni treats with purchase (in-store coupon)
So Good / So Nice $4.49 - $0.75 (

Sobeys Alberta - Friday Jan 21 - Thurs Jan 27

Secret Antiperspirant $2.00 - $4.00 wub2 (brandsaver) = FREE
Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant $2.00 - $3.00wub2 (brandsaver) = $0.50 each
Olay Body Wash $3.99 - $2.00 (brandsaver) = $1.99
Pampers Mega Diapers $14.99 + Pampers Wipes $9.99 - $4.00 (brandsaver) + 200 Bonus Club Sobeys Points
Dawn dish soap B2G1 - $1.00 wub2 (brandsaver)
Ristorante Pizza $4.99 - $1.50wub2 (not sure where this came from)
Tide Laundry detergent 2.95L $12.99 - $5.00 wub2 (brandsaver)
French's Mustard $2.00 - $2.00 wub2 (calendar) or $1.50 wub2 (websaver)
Oasis 1.75L refrigerated juice $2.99 - $0.75
Knorr Lipton Soup 2/$2.00 - B3G1 (instore) or $1.00wub2 (various) = $0.50 each or buy 6 and get 3 free
Cloverleaf Solid White Tuna $2.00 - $1.00wub2 (instore) = $1.50 each
Maxx Cat Litter $2.00 off - $1.00 (

Recipe : Fluffy Brown Rice

Another entry borrowed from Keeping it Simple...  I just copied and pasted her post since there's really nothing I need to add to or take away from it...  :)

Instructions for Light, Fluffy Brown Rice

When we first started eating brown rice it was not good. NEVER cook it like it says on the bag. It is WAY too much water. I then found a way to bake it and it was very good, but I don't like to heat my kitchen with the oven if I don't have to. Today I went searching again and I found THE best way to cook rice. You don't have to measure your water, you have no sticky pan to clean, it's done on top of the stove, it's LIGHT, it's FLUFFY, it's EASY and it's PERFECT!! My entire family loved it and so did I. This will be the only way I cook brown rice from now on. So do ya want to know how to do it??? Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You don't have to measure it, just make sure it's way more than you need for the rice. Put your rice in, however much you want. Let it boil for 30 minutes, without a lid. After 30 minutes drain it in a wire colander. Let set for 10 seconds and return to pot. Put a lid on it and set it some where, but not on the stove, for 10 minutes. Don't open the lid. PERFECT brown rice!! I love the fact that it was fluffy and not sticking at all and that the pan was SO easy to clean!! Here is where I found the directions. She said to measure 12 cups of water out, but I didn't. As long as you have extra water that is not going to boil out while cooking, it's enough.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Recipe : Knock-Off Wendy's Frosty :)

Chocolate Milkshake (Wendy's Frosty)
1-1/2 c ice water
2/3 c sugar
1-1/2 c non fat dry milk powder
1/4 c cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS oil
5 second spray of Pam
4-5 c ice cubes

Put the first 6 ingredients in your blender and then spray with Pam. Add the ice and blend on high for 2 minutes. The ice is what makes it thick and the Pam is an emulsifier so it holds it all together.

Today's recipe comes to you borrowed from Keeping it Simple:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Couponing : January 19, 2011

Ever wonder about the variety of things you can get great deals on if you take the time to look?  Check this out!  And by the way, there are great deals on kids' rubber boots at Walmart right now... going back for those this weekend, methinks.

 I love receipts that look like this!!

A few random great deals (no coupons):
Cloth dance/gymnastics slippers for Cara - regular price $10.00, on sale for $5.00, reduced to $3.00!!
Fuzzy ballerina-style slippers with pink jewels - on sale for $2.00!  Hello, birthday present!
Simple Pleasures cookies - on the clearance rack for $0.50/box... the best before date is this month, but heaven knows they won't last long enough around here for that to matter.  LOL

Coupon Deals
Best deal of the day, hands-down.  Gillette Bonus Pack - Body Wash + Free Razor:  on clearance for $3.00 which is a great price to begin with.  Separate retail price on these two items is over $10.00.   But then take off a "$5.00 when you buy three Gillette products" coupon and you have a deal that makes it worth buying six of those puppies.  :)  $3.00 x 6 = $18.00 - $10.00 = $8.00, or $1.33 per pack.  Sweet.  :)

Beneful Dog Food:  $6.48 - $2.00 coupon = $4.48

Beneful Dog Treats: $4.97 - $1.00 coupon = $3.97

Robin Hood Flour 2.5kg: $4.48 - $1.00 = $3.48   Can I make mention here that if you use flour, you should be stocking up ahead and waiting for sales... our Walmart had NO, as in ZERO, 5kg or 10kg bags of flour in stock.  Just the dinky ones that are a pretty sorry deal at the best of times.  But with the coupon it was cheaper than the 'Great Value' brand, so... c'est la vie.

Catelli Smart pasta: on sale for $1.27! - $0.75 coupon = $0.52

Catelli Healthy Harvest pasta: on sale for $1.27! - $1.00 coupon wub2 = $0.77 each

Saran Wrap: $3.27 - $1.00 coupon (on the package) = $2.27

Green Giant frozen vegetables: $2.47 - $0.50 coupon = $1.97

Fibre1 Cereal: on sale for $3.97 - $1.00 coupon = $2.97  Not a fabulous deal, but not terrible either.

Two Scoops Raisin Bran Cereal: on sale for $2.47 - $1.00 coupon = $1.47  That's what I consider a good price for cereal :)

Janes Chicken Strips: $10.97 - $1.50 coupon = $9.47  More than I'd like to pay, but less than most brands.  They just don't go on sale nearly often enough, but when they do, I buy a LOT.

Natural Defense Dog Food: $13.98 - $5.00 coupon = $8.98 - This one was a slip actually... the shelf tag read a whole lot less than this, but I wasn't paying enough attention at the checkout and I completely missed the scanned price.  I'll check on this the next time I'm in.  I wonder if you can SCOP after the fact?  Hmmm.

Recipe : Pan-Seared Rib Eye Steak

I'm sorry, I really am.  I should have gotten a picture of these beauties, but I was too eager to get the meal served up to an appreciative husband and reaching for the camera didn't even enter my mind.  If I do this again, I promise I'll come back to this post and add a photo.  ;)

Also, this isn't exactly a "frugal" recipe, since rib eye steaks aren't exactly cheap.  UNLESS, that is, you have bought a bulk meat order from a local farm and there happens to be some rib eye tucked in there among the ground beef, stew meat and lesser cuts of steak.  In which case, this is a fabulous way to prepare them as a treat!  The original recipe called for Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I used sea salt and black pepper from a shaker and it turned out fine.

An important thing to know about this recipe is, it generates a LOT of smoke.  The stove fan won't handle it. Open a door, a window, or both... and unplug your smoke detector(s) before you start cooking.

Pan-Seared Rib Eye Steak, a la Alton Brown from the Food Network
with honorable mention to:

boneless rib eye steak, 1 to 1-1/2-inch thick
oil to coat - canola or olive
salt and black pepper

Pat the steaks dry with paper towel.  Place in a shallow dish.  Drizzle with oil, rub all over both sides.  Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Allow steaks to rest in the dish for 30 minutes to an hour.

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 1-2 minutes without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 1-2 minutes, then put the pan straight into the oven.   Bake for three minutes.  Turn steaks over with tongs and bake for another three minutes.  At this point you've got a pretty good rare to medium-rare steak.  Increase cooking time, or keep baking & flipping three minutes at a time until desired doneness is reached.  (For a well-done but not dry steak, I ended up baking it for a total of nine minutes on each side, flipped every three minutes.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and let for about five minutes. Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate.

A great finishing touch:  Add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cook over med-high heat, scraping the bottom well to get all the flavorful bits off.  Add a generous sprinkle of black pepper.  Cook down for a few minutes then add 1/2 onion, sliced thin.  Cook for a few more minutes then add about a dozen mushrooms, quartered.  Cook til the sauce is all but gone and serve hot over the steak.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recipe : Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

This is a really good recipe for a basic pizza crust that is family-friendly but a little healthier than average.   The recipe makes enough dough for one large pizza (like 18" across) or two 12" pizzas - it doesn't really look like it when you're making it, but trust me on this.

Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions :
In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recipe : 'Pikelets' (Sweet Flapjacks)

This is our standard "go-to" pancake recipe.   It's a little on the sweet side, and quite forgiving if you want to  use half whole-wheat flour.   If you make pancakes about 4" across, they will freeze quite well to use as toaster pancakes.  :)   It doesn't make a particularly big batch of batter, though, so I would usually double it.

The recipe comes from "Waste Not, Want Not - A Booke of Cookery" by E.F. "Ted" Eaton, subtitled "Some Interesting Recipes of Old Acadia."  It's a neat little cookbook from 1978, published by Omega Publishing in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  Not easily come by, but Abe Books does have it listed:


1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg 
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Extra butter to grease pan

Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

Using a whisk or fork, beat milk and egg in a small bowl until combined. Pour milk and egg mixture into the well. 

Gradually incorporate the flour into the milk mixture, whisking until a smooth batter forms. Mix in melted butter. 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly grease pan with butter. 

Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the frypan. Dropping the mixture from the tip of the tablespoon will give a round shape to the pikelets. Don't overfill the frypan as this will make turning the pikelets difficult. Cook until several bubbles appear on the surface (this should take about one minute).

Turn pikelets over and cook until golden brown.

Remove cooked pikelets from pan and repeat with remaining batter, lightly greasing pan between each batch.

Serve hot or at room temperature.