Sunday, August 2, 2009

A day in the kitchen

Remember my post a few weeks ago about my couponing/bargain shopping adventures? Well, it has become a bit of an obsession for me lately and, man, am I scoring BIG on groceries and other personal items! It definitely takes me more time to plan my shopping trips, but I am getting more and more efficient with organizing my coupons and finding the best deals. As an example, I went to Meijer this week and spent $27 on groceries, but saved $57! Woohoo! I was able to get several items for free between coupons and sales. I hate wasting money when I know I can get an item cheaper or free! Especially when it means we then have more money available for other things that are important to us.

Such as....

We have always wanted to get a pop-up camper, but there was always something else taking priority. So, we have decided to set it as a goal to save for right now and hopefully we can get one sooner than later! We also want to buy a bigger house. Okay, not quite as big as the one in the picture, sure is beautiful, isn't it?!?! I don't think I have mentioned that we decided to hold off on putting our house on the market this year (mainly due to the economy), but we plan to try selling our house in the spring. Since we know we will not be able to sell our house for as much as we'd like, we need to start saving now so we will be ready to purchase another house when that time comes.

Why am I telling you this? Well, this post is primarily a public reminder to myself that all the time and effort I put into cutting our spending will pay off when we are creating family memories by the campfire and finding a new home for our family to grow. And, sometimes making personal goals public adds even more motivation!

So, today I had a little impromptu stocking up day in the kitchen to make it easier later on to whip up dinner and reduce any excuses to eat out when we are feeling lazy! I started around 11:15am and worked for about 2.5 hours total throughout the afternoon (with a few breaks here and there so not to bad!) I found a great deal on potatoes this week so I cooked some in cubes and some in wedges for french fries. I then froze them with my vacuum sealer (LOVE IT!) so we can just pull them out of the freezer and throw them in the oven or microwave. I then browned 2lbs of ground turkey with red peppers that can be quickly thawed for tacos, pasta, or whatever! In the meantime, the crockpot was busy cooking up pulled pork that is now in the freezer and ready for fajitas, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. Since I was already browning the ground turkey I decided make one of our favorite recipes: Black Bean Casserole. YUM! I actually got this recipe from my mother-in-law. I make it different every time, which is the beauty of this recipe! Plus, it is soooo easy. I will share the recipe in a separate post since this one is getting long.

After his nap, pea decided to "help" me out with baking a few loaves of Blueberry Banana Bread.

His idea of helping was flinging flour around, shaking the vanilla, dumping cinnamon on the table...but he loves to help!

All in all, it was a pretty productive afternoon. I hope to have one of these freezer stock-up days about once a month. But, I noticed that we have ton of basil ready in the garden so I will need to make some of my pesto stock very soon and we are starting to be bombarded with summer squash. So, I may have another stock-up day sooner than later!

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