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Blissful and Domestic is now on Youtube!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Breakfast and Lunch: Meal Planning and Saving Tips

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

 I am still working through e-mails from the How Does She Do a Budget Post. Thank you all for your sweet words and for being patient with me. I just wanted to let you all know that I updated the Q and A post. Check it out to get all your questions answered. (If your question is about where we live and how we got a house for $30,000 check out the Q and A I answered it there). If your question had to do with produce, it will be answered later this week

I also received a question from one of you lovelies, which basically inspired today's post.....

The question was asking me what I do for breakfast and lunch to save money. Seriously such a great question. I was even working on a post like this in my head. It just hadn't made it to the computer yet. You guys always deliver when I ask for post ideas, so thank you a ton! You keep this blog going with all your ideas. So today I am going to answer that question and let you know what I make that family of mine for breakfast and lunch and how we save doing it! I am going to be stepping out from the normal cereal and PB and J. We do those for lunch too, but we like to change it up with some of the ideas below. Enjoy and feel free to pin and save for meal ideas later on.

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Ok so first of all I have been asked if I plan my breakfast and lunch meals for the month. To be honest I have tried this and it doesn't work for me. I know for some it does, but not for me. It is hard for me to judge because a lot of our meals are inspired by what we had the night before. If we have leftover chicken, I will try to incorporate it in our breakfast in an egg scramble or lunch in a quesadilla. I basically have a stock in my pantry of lunch items. I also have a list I pull breakfast and lunch ideas from. It is in my head and I am pretty good at keeping the meals changing, so we don't get too bored. Here is an example of stuff I would need for the month to make breakfast and lunch. Now these items are also used for baking and dinner, so you can see where everything overlaps. I try to keep a good stock of items in my freezer and pantry. This allows us to go longer between shopping trips if it needs to be. I like to think ahead. I don't always know when we will have a pay check. I like to plan for the months when the money may not be there to buy groceries.

Here is my Lunch Staple List.

Lunch meat- When these go on sale I stock up and freeze them.

Tuna- buy when it is on sale! I look for it under .60 cents.

Eggs- I purchase 5 dozen a month for $6 and change at Winco

Bread- I make my own. Find my recipes here.

Condiments (syrup, butter, margarine,mayo, mustard, relish, etc)- I always try to have at least 2 of each in my food storage. I replace them as I use them. We make our own maple syrup for pancakes though. It is healthier (no HFC) and so much tastier!  When it comes to butter and margarine.  I use margarine for everything. I get mine from Wat-Mart or Winco for around .98 cents. I try to have about 6 in my freezer each month. Butter I usually only have one or two packs in my freezer. I only use them for extra special baking and when making homemade icing. I find it is easier to buy store bought icing because butter is so expensive.

Fruits and Veggies- we use these as side dishes and I use both fresh, frozen, and canned

Lettuce and Spinach leaves are used as we have them in the 
beginning of the month, when they are fresh  (more on this tomorrow)

Instant Jello and Pudding Mixes- These make a yummy treat to have with lunch. I  purchase both the instant and the cups. The cups I purchase from Costco.  I like to have about 4 boxes of each of our favorite instant pudding mixes. THey are great for baking!

Chips and Crackers-I only buy chips when they are crazy on sale. I sometimes get lays or Pringles (in the tubes) when they are .98 cents at Winco. I save these for picnic days at the park. Super special for the littles. I do buy graham crackers (generic), saltines, and goldfish (on a rare occasion). These are great to have as a snack or with a lunch on the side.

Yogurt- I buy the 32 oz size. It is under $2 at Winco (a local grocery store). I also sometimes buy yogurt cups (Wal-Mart brand). These are a fav of mine and are a splurge when we have the extra grocery money left over. When I do buy them on sale, I stock up and freeze them.

 Tortillas- I buy them in two packs at Costco or Winco. I keep one package
 in my fridge and freeze the rest. They thaw out perfectly!

Pizza Toppings- I make my own dough here. I make our spaghetti sauce. I also save sauce and sausage, when I make spaghetti for dinner. These are usually the perfect amount for a lunch pizza. I freeze the leftovers until I am ready to use them. Also, left over chicken can be used for Chicken Alfredo Pizza. We also love Spinach Mozzarella Pizza. Yum!

Re-friedBeans- I buy pinto beans in bulk from the LDS Cannery. I then cook them in my pressure cooker. I store these in the pantry.  Perfect for a side dish with Quesadillas or put in a tortilla, with cheese, for have a burrito for lunch.

Frozen Meatballs- I buy these when they are on sale for way cheap. I like to see them under $2 for a bag of about 30 meatballs. I wait for these to go on sale and buy like 10 bags
when they do. We use these for lunch and dinner.

Drinks- We usually do water, fruit punch, lemonade, or milk. Milk I buy and freeze. You can see how I do that here. For punch I have a few things I do. I will buy the Hawaiian Punch jugs, but only when they are under $2. This is same for the powdered mixes. This is a splurge for us and our budget. Fruit punch and stuff is always a splurge and is not bought every month. It is only bought when on sale and when we have a little extra to use on what I call "fun items". When it is on sale I try to stock up on a few if I can. We like to use these if we have family over for dinner and such. We also buy Crystal Light Packets. We get them for about $2 a box. Hubby drinks these. He use to drink soda all day, everyday. He switched to Crystal Light to save money and to be healthier. I will usually buy 10 boxes every other month or so. We make these last, since $10 of our $400 budget adds up fast.

Pasta- I buy pasta all the time. It is a staple in our pantry and is used for lunch and dinner. For lunch I try to have Mac n' Cheese in the pantry. I buy generic and only buy it when it is less than $.50 cents a box. I stock up when it is. I also buy ramen noodles. We like these too and they are a great thrifty lunch. Other noodles I buy are egg noodles, rigatoni, angel hair, and such. We use these for dinner and lunch. I will use leftover plain noodles from dinner and have them for lunch. Add some butter, Parmesan, and veggies and you're golden! YUM!

Soups and Such- We do buy some canned soups and Spaghettios. We do generic on all. I get generic Spaghettios for under .75 cents at Winco. I usually will buy 6-8 cans. I also will buy 5-6 cans of soups. The type depends on what is on sale. We buy these more in the winter when we want a hot lunch.

As you can tell I have a few side ideas for my lunches in my staples list above. I usually serve a main dish for lunch (sandwich, pasta, salad, meatballs, etc) and offer two side dishes (yogurt, fruit, jello, pudding, crackers, etc) I do this because I want my kids to fill up on a healthy lunch. This allows them to be able to go from breakfast to lunch without a snack. We usually have a fruit or veggie plate before dinner ( I just cut up fruit/veggies and have them snack, while I make dinner).

Now that we have that rundown let's move on to where I get
my meal ideas and what some of those ideas are.......

I swear I am not that creative, I am just really good at researching. I am a book nerd remember. This really helps me in all aspects of my life. Especially in the kitchen. I love to read, so when I want to learn something new or make something better, I go to books.

I love pinterest and I L-O-V-E cook books. You will find me constantly at the library looking for meal ideas and such. I love to change it up. I get bored if things are the same always. To start off I will share a few of my favorite cook books, which I receive daily inspiration when dealing with breakfast and lunch.

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
my absolute fav!

I also pin recipes like crazy on Pinterest.
See what I have pinned here and follow along.

I also have many recipes already listed in my "EAT" section of B and D.
Check them out HERE.

Ready for the meal ideas?

Let's start with breakfast....

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
We love Chocolate Pancakes! We also love my buttermilk pancakes and even love to do themed ones for the holidays! I usually make up a double batch and freeze the leftovers. Then we have these to eat later in the week. My kids love to be able to just pop these in the microwave or we will put them in the toaster.

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
We love muffins. I will sometimes bake these fresh in the morning and have them with deviled eggs, fruit, yogurt, or smoothies. We like this smoothie recipe here. Cassidy has lots of yummy recipes. This is always a super yummy breakfast! Want to make it quicker? Bake your muffins in advanced. I usually bake a few dozen at a time and freeze them in groups of six. I take out a bag of muffins the night before and we have yummy goodness for the morning. Great for busy mornings or even healthy snacks! Some of our favorite are Applesauce muffins and Lemon Poppy-Seed Muffins. I always love to try out new recipes for muffins. This is where the library comes in handy.


Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
Sausage McMuffins are always a yummy weekend breakfast! They are super filling and a family favorite. I buy my English muffins in bulk at Costco, probably every other month. I freeze the muffins and only take them out the night before we have this meal planned for the morning.

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
Cinnamon Rolls are super yummy! We don't have these all the times, but when we do we sure do enjoy them. We usually have these on the weekend and try to share with friends. We also like to make hot cross buns.

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
Waffles are a must for this family. We make them all the time. Again I make these in batches and freeze them. My kids will reheat these or even eat them frozen. They love to dip frozen waffles into cool whip. Crazy but they do, so I let them! Why by the store bought freezer waffles, when you can do it yourself? Saves you money too! I use Krusteaz Buttermilk Mix or try out a few of my own I have found in recipes books. We really like this pumpkin waffle recipe during fall time. It is so dang good! YUM!

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
Oh and of course I can't forget french toast! Oh my yumminess! This Banana Puree French Toast is from one of my favorite cookbooks. My littles gobble these up!

Some other things we love for breakfast are Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. I either make this from scratch or I do by the generic boxed Oatmeal (instant) when it is on sale ($1.99 or less). I stock up when it is! We love to have egg scramblers. Scramble up some eggs, add your favorite cheese, meat, and veggies, and you're good to go. Cereal is a must always for those quick Sunday mornings before church. ( I buy the bags of cereal in the bulk section) We also of course do cinnamon toast, bread and Nuetella, and when I am feeling extra fancy I will make dough-nuts.


Now For Some Lunch Ideas....

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

I always keep about a dozen hard-boiled eggs in my fridge. These are great to whip up egg salad sandwiches, put on salads, make deviled eggs, etc. These are all yummy lunches and my family loves them all!

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

We love sandwiches, but sometimes get tired of the same old bread type. We like to change it up with a wrap. We add spinach leaves, tomatoes, turkey, pepper jack cheese, and mayo. So yummy. There are so many ways you can do a wrap.

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com

We love Mac n' Cheese. Whether it is kraft or homemade, we gobble it up.We also love to do simple noodles with butter and then we add yummy veggies like tomatoes, peas, or corn. Great way to use up left over veggies in your fridge!

Blissful and Domestic - www.blissfulanddomestic.com
We make homemade pizza often. Either with friends or just us. Pizza is a yummy weekend lunch or a great dinner idea. We love regular pizza, Chicken Alfredo Pizza, or Spinach Mozzarella Pizza!

Some other things we do for lunch are tuna sandwiches, different kinds of salads, pasta, chicken salad (using leftovers). We eat leftovers ALOT. (Got to use up those leftovers somehow)  Hubby loves Quesadillas or Burritos with leftover meat (chicken, pork, etc) or we have just cheese! BBQ meatballs are good too. I get bags of meatballs, when they are on a crazy sale. I then cook some up for lunch in BBQ sauce. We have them by themselves or with leftover rice/noodles on the side. We also have it on rolls. Serious yumminess right there!

Before I finish up this post let me address a question 
I can already see brewing in your minds...

What do I consider "Splurge Items"...

Well for us splurge items are those "fun items" you don't NEED to have. Prepackaged snacks for those littles, fruit snacks, premade desserts, Popsicles, fruit juices, ice cream, store bought cookies, name brand items, juice boxes, and such. These are not things we have to have each month. Sure they would make my littles happy, sure I could convince myself we need them each month, but we really don't. Once I realized this, my ability to stay within our budget greatly increased. I learned what the "basics" really were. My children truly appreciated when we get one of those "splurge items". I try to get one or two a moth (sales permitting). They look forward to seeing what "treat" I brought home for them. I love it and they do too. We explained to them that all those things weren't good for us and we wanted to eat healthy and save money. They understood. Talk to your children if you want to eliminate some of those snacks. Help them understand that they can have a little "something" each week, bi weekly, monthly (however you shop). You will be a happier family when you are staying within budget and they will be more thankful for the treats they do get.

Also please don't fret. I do not deprive my children. We make lots homemade. The store bought kinds are the only splurge items. We still bake cookies and such. We just do everything in moderation:)

There are so many fun things to do for lunch and I am always looking for new, fun ideas. One thing I can stress is browse for new recipes. Browse blogs, pinterest, books, the library, your friends cookbooks. Seriously folks...my family can attest to this I am always checking out my sisters cookbooks and writing ideas down. I can't help myself! Get your littles involved and have them help. They will love it. I know mine do. I hope this post gave you some great ideas for some thrifty meal ideas.  Remember it is not easier to grab McDonald's or such for lunch. It really isn't and it isn't healthier. You are doing yourself and your littles a dis-service if you think that. If you have a few breakfast and lunches ideas in your back pocket at all times, then when hunger strikes you will be prepared. Being prepared is the KEY word.

So let's get prepared this week. Say no to eating out and save some money.
Let me know what you think and if you have any other meal ideas. I would love to hear what you do for breakfast and lunch. Also as always let me know if you have any questions or I left something out.
I love all your comments and all the input. It makes me a better, more informative blogger:)

Let me know if anyone would like a printable staple list of all the things I purchase at the grocery store. It might give you a better idea of things to always have on hand, so you are always prepared.

Have a fabulous day lovelies! 

I also love these books for great money saving inspiration





XO Danielle


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92 comments:

  1. LOVE this post. Seriously...so many wonderful ideas, I am pinning the crap out of it! ;) Thank you for all the great meal ideas, dinner is really easy for us but lunch is much harder for me to be creative with! Thank you thank you!!

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    1. Thanks for pinning the crap out of it. You rock!

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  2. You've got some really good ideas! I'm also surprised to see we both do some of the same things (Hunt's spag. sauce, 32 oz. yogurt, etc.) Hope you'll share at my party!
    http://kraftykat76.blogspot.com/2012/07/gettin-krafty-with-it.html

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  3. You have given me some great ideas on how to improve my menu and the staples I keep on hand.

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    1. Thanks I am trying to improve my current list and then maybe I will post for all you lovelies

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  4. I am new to your blog, but have enjoyed so far, thanks for sharing. Not sure where you are located, but you really should check out if there is an Aldi near you. Crazy savings!! As I was reading prices on some of the food you buy, the aldi's price for the same item would jump into my head! :) thanks again!! ~Megan

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    1. I will check that out. I am always looking for places to save at:>

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    2. I second the Aldi comment! I pay .35 for mac n cheese, .49 for canned veggies, and I think .59 for spaghettios. (that may be incorrect) Either way though, you rock at staying within a budget. For the last 4 1/2 years, I've been feeding our family with $200 a month. It is hard, but doable. Love your blog!! Thanks for all the info.

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  5. These food looks so tasty!!Thanks for your ideas!!

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  6. These photos are so beautiful and the colors are amazing!! Jamie is a gifted photographer.

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  7. After reading this, I make up my mind to have a try!Good luck to me!!:)

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  8. Thanks for your post, I like this post very much.

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  9. The food looks so delicious!!I'd like to have a try at home!

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  10. just a lil note - we are doing really REALLY good this month. we are doing the cash payment method. and so far we are staying within our alloted budgets - i'm relearning my ways(yesterday people probably thot i was crazy BUT i was determined to stay within my $30/week budget after monthly sams/meat run i was putting stuff back up and talking to myself alot - lol). we even had a surprise expenditure for this month, we went to my hubby's best friend's military retirement ceremony out of town this past weekend. hubster thot it was the end of july but it was beginning of july BUT because we started the cash payments and trying our hardest to stay within budget we were able to go and pay cash for it! we are going to probably break even this month, but for the last few months that we have been having to put unexpected things on credit cards - it was nice to know that we were breaking even and not going in the red. thanks so much for putting all this out there, i know it takes alot because the more you put yourself, ideas, and ways out there the more vulnerable you are so i just want to say THANK Y'ALL SO MUCH for sharing with us!

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    1. You are awesome lady! I am so proud of you. I know you have been trying hard!

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  11. You are amazing Danielle. Such an inspiration for me!

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  12. I would love a list of your staples. You have inspired me beyond what you can know. Thank you!
    lmorgan06(at)gmail(dot)com

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  13. I would love a list of your staples. You have inspired me beyond what you can know. Thank you!
    lmorgan06(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Absolutely I am working on it now:>

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    2. I'm new to your site, and am really loving it. :-) Would love a printable list of your staples, too.

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    3. I'm new to your site, and am loving it. :-) Would really like a printable list of your staples, too.

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    4. I would also like a printable list of your staple, I am a stay at home mom of 3 and love finding ways to save my family money. Your site is great!!! Thanks ashley

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    5. Sorry I forgot to send my email address, going2school4us@yahoo.com thanks ashley

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    6. I would love a copy of your staple list too!! I just found your blog via pinterest and LOVE it!!!! I just recently stopped working...we're due any day with our first baby....and hubby just picked up a low-paying job, so we have to be super frugal! We are terrible at just eating out for the convenience of it but I always feel super guilty when that happens, knowing we could have eaten at home for less!! Thanks for all your tips!! I've signed up to receive your RSS feed in my email and can't wait to put some of these tips to good use!! First up...menu planning for at least the next week!!! Can't wait to see your staple list too!!! Oh and do you have a price list that you follow for what is a good price on items?
      Thanks!!! (Email is ps1819grits @ gmail.com (just remove the spaces))

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  14. My family of 3 just qualified for food stamps ($249/mo) as my sband is disabled and I was laid off last month...I just found your blog and plan on using many of your tips to shop for the month! Thank you for sharing this great advice. I have pinned you and will be back. :)

    Dana

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  15. I love your blog! I am excited to start saving so my hubby and I can buy a house! I want to try making a shopping list that will work for us but would love to use yours as a starting point! Could you please email your list to me at kwad07@gmail.com??

    Thanks bunches for all your tips!
    Katlyn

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    1. I am working on that list now. Hopefully in the next week:>

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  16. Thanks for the info, great tips! Just wanted to suggest, though, you may want to read up on margarine vs. butter, I think it's pretty widely accepted now that butter is healthier (albeit more expensive, but an item worth the extra cost!) than margarine.

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    1. What she said. I also agree about butter being healthier than margarine. :-)

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    2. Margarine is absolutely, positively NOT healthier. Chemicals in our bodies cost more in the long run.

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    3. Margarine is simply terrible for bodies. Chemically based products cost us more in the long run healthwise for sure.

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  18. Sabrina- sethnsabrina05@yahoo.comJuly 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I am really inspired by your blog and want to incorporate into my family's lives. The only "problem" I have with grocery shopping is that my daughter has severe food allergies. I find it incredibly difficult to be frugal when her food is so expensive. As a family we try to make homemade things for her such as muffins, bread, etc but the consistency of them is off, so naturally it wouldn't freeze well. Not sure if you have any suggestions or advice, even a little encouragement would help! Again, wonderful blog.

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    1. Is it glueten that she is allergic too. I have seen so many recipes on pinterest now that are glueten free. I would start googling it and you might have someone out there going through the same thing and finding ways to make it work. What are the food allergies and I can see what I can find for ya:>

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    2. Sabrina,
      If gluten is the problem, almond flour is the way to go. I have done tons of baked goods with it and it freezes great. You can buy it in bulk at http://www.goldalmonds.com/ for much cheaper then at the store. http://elanaspantry.com/ has some of the best GF/low sugar recipes I have ever tried. Hope this helps

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  19. I would love to get an email of your shopping list when you get it finished. My husband and I are trying to get our budget under control. He travels for months at a time for work and then will be home for months at a time, but when hes home there is no paycheck. So we are really looking into way to cut our spending so we can save more for the months he isn't getting paid. I think our groceries will be a great place to start! Thank you for you blog, it is so inspiring! shorti503@msn.com

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    1. I am so happy you are enjoying reading. I am working on that list to. be on the lookout for it:>

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  20. Amazing tips! I was laid off a few months ago and also am in Grad school with 2 kiddos. I'm always looking for new ideas to save a penny or two. I'm not familiar with freezing things, but noticed on another post that you freeze beans? How do you prepare them to store? Also wondering why you purchase canned refried beans? They are crazy expensive and so simple to make out of dry beans. Is there a flavor difference or convenience? Also I've found that butter can be made much cheaper than purchasing the pre-made version (and you don't need a cow :). Heavy whipping cream in a food processor for about 10 min. with a bit of salt, it is absolutely delish! Hand mixer works too :). If you have a sec I would love to see your shopping list, e.mail is kramirez04@student.se.edu

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    1. So I have tried to make my own refried beans and failed. Right now I buy the store canned out of taste and convience, but am hoping to learn to make homemade ones soon. I also like canned ones for our food storage. Now with other beans it is cheaper to buy dry beans, cook them, and freeze them. this save a ton (I have a post coming soon on how to do this) I do look for crazy sales on the canned beans every few months because I put them in food storage. but mostly I cook them myself and freeze them.

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    2. You can make great refried beans out of Bush's canned whole beans. Just sautee some chopped onions (for flavor), pour the can of beans, allow them to get warm and use a potato masher to get them to the right consistency. If you are out of time just put them in the blender and pour over the oil. They'll thicken when you take them off the stove. You can also make them from scratch using a crock pot: Put beans, water, a quarter of an onion, salt, pepper and a dash of worcestershire sauce and cook for a few hours until tender. You can add a dash of hot sauce if you like.Beans take the flavor of whatever you put in them, some times I add bits of bacon. Remove the onion and proceed with the beans the same way you would with canned beans. Either way is healthier than canned refried beans because they use hydrogenated oils and other chemicals. Hope this helps.

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    3. I just made my own refried beans a couple weeks ago! We just finished our first portion of them. This is the recipe I used:
      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/refried-beans-without-the-refry/detail.aspx
      I didn't have a jalapeno pepper, so I just skipped it. Have your children smash the beans!

      This works well, requires little time, and makes delicious and healthy "refried" beans. Just be sure to put the slow cooker out in your garage, mudroom, or somewhere else that isn't the kitchen. This recipe smells strongly while it cooks!

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    4. I make my own beans. I buy the dry beans and soak them over night in water. Then I rinse them and put them in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low with some seasoned salt. Then I drain the water and mash mash mash. I add more seasoned salt until they taste how I want. They're not exactly like the canned beans but super cheap and taste great alone or in burritos.

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  21. I really love your blog! I have a money saving tip on beverages for you, sweet tea! Tea bags usually run about $3 a box. I have a family of 3, and a box will last me usually a month or 2. I use 6 little tea bags a time with a cup and a half of sugar, and I make a gallon at a time. I know not everybody likes tea, but just a suggestion. I was spending $15 to $20 a month on soda, but since I have started making tea again I spend like $3 on the Kroger brand soda. At one time we were spending $150 a month on groceries (household items included), but we recently increased it to $300. I am thinking about lowering it to $200, so that I can get away from all the processed food. Wow, sorry this was so long! Anyways thank you for posting this blog.

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  22. I would LOVE a list of your staple grocery items that you buy monthly. I'm a single mom of two girls and would love to try your method and help our little family save some money! My email is bluid_baby@yahoo.com. Thank you!!!

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  24. I second the Aldi comments. :-) Save a lot & the quality is good. If you hate something you can return it - gotta love that!

    Also, since you already cook your own beans from the dry bags, you can make your own refried beans easy peasy! Just take leftover beans (cooked) and mash them with a fork in a frying pan on medium. Add some olive oil a tablespoon or so. Add spices (garlic, onion, cumin, hot peppers) whatever you like. And keep mashing and cooking till you get them the way you like them. :-) You can add broth or just plain water to smooth them out - we like them a bit dry, so I cook them longer.

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  25. definitely bookmarking your blog!!! i love these ideas!!! but i have a question, when you freeze things (like your homemade muffins, the english muffins, etc) and then take them out to thaw, do you keep them in your fridge or put them on your counter?? i'm clueless & new to meal planning lol

    feel free to email me!
    cheekybaker at yahoo dot com

    thanks!

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  26. I like your blog! I'll be looking through it for some time. I have to disagree with you about the margarine, though. It isn't healthier than butter because it's fake. I buy our butter at Costco for 1.74/lb. Cheapest anywhere. There are 7 of us in the family and I shop twice a month (when hubs gets paid). My shopping trips are epic and I'm glad to find a source for more money saving ideas. Keep it up!

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  27. Love this blog. The other thing I have been doing the last few months is to make yogurt myself. You can make a whole gallon of yogurt for a little over than the price of that gallon of milk itself. Freezes well, tastes like the store bought thing, maybe better. And great on the wallet!

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    1. How do you make your own yogurt?!?!?! That I would LOVE to do, I have 4 kids and all of us live yogurt and I substitute it into other recipes. I have a ton of digestive issues that apparently removing my gall bladder just made worse and my daughter has IBS and my boys have gluten sensitivities. Substituting yogurt has been a huge help for us and better for our health and digestion. Extremely expensive though. Right now I buy the 32oz plain Greek yogurt and add jam for the kids snacks if they want flavors but that way I only have to buy one kind of yogurt. Now I have to go hunt how to make yogurt lol!

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  28. I like a lot of your ideas, but would like to say that margarine is not healthier then butter, but to save money on butter, you can use half butter and half avocado. This is way more healthier and if you can get avocados in bulk, when they ripen you can freeze those too. Do you use various types of flour or just white?

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  29. totally digging your blog!! I just saw ur breakfast ideas.. ur egg mcmuffin one reminded me of something I saw on pinterest.. u crack an egg into your cupcake/muffin pan (i guess spray pam first) and bake them.. it's the perfect shape for eng muffins! =) you can also add veggies for some yummy muffins..

    going to try and food shop for two weeks - wish me luck !! =)

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    1. I've seen people use metal cookie cutters to keep the shape somewhat circular, of course this could scratch certain types of pans so your mileage may vary.

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  30. I love this blog. I am a 24 year old stay at home mom who is always looking for amazing saving tips and ideas. I have recently started couponing and I have save loads.
    I have also worked hard on saving money on produce.
    So the last thing I have to work on is drinks and meat.

    I would love to have your list, because I know I don't have the items that I am supposed to have. I always run out of sugar, I don't have flour, mayo is always too pricey for me..blah blah blah..

    Thanks again for an awesome blog!

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  31. Awesome info! I'm a total tightwad but can always learn more: I had no idea you could freeze milk. Also, I cook pinto beans in advance and freeze them and when we want refried beans, they're super easy to make yourself instead of the canned stuff. Put a little oil in a frying pan, heat it up, add the beans (make sure you freeze them with the liquid) and mash. Thin it out with some of the bean liquid. Add some chili powder if you like, and salt and pepper to taste. Super cheap! Also, margarine isn't necessarily more healthy than butter (because of the hydrogenated veg oil) but it sure is cheaper. I use margarine a lot, though.

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  32. Currently my son needs to make weight for football so I have him on a strict diet where I'm minimizing his bread and starchy carbs so for bfast I've been making a dish of Greek vanilla yogurt and cut up half a peach and half an apple in it an cinnamon in top. He loves it and it fills him up. Then I use the remainder of the fruit for snack later in the day.

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  33. Kraft Mac & Cheese comes in 15-box packages at Costco. The price averages out to about .50/box, maybe a little less! Just FYI. :)

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  34. I would love a copy of the list as well. Thank you so much for the inspiration. Recently I have been using a price book to track the sales and get better food deals. Like you I am always looking for new ideas. My email is mdtjsearle(at)gmail.com
    Would you mind if I write up a post about your blog on my food blog? It is www.smittenwithmykitchen.blogspot.com

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  35. Here's something better than butter, cheaper and much healthier. Use your food processor and cream 1/2 cup butter. Then put 1/2 cup buttermilk in a mixing cup along with 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Turn on the food processor and drizzle it in. The mix will be very soft. When thoroughly mixed, scrape it into little plastic containers.

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  36. For a cheaper, healthier version of butter: use your food processor and whip together equal amounts of real butter, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It will be really soft. Scoop into plastic containers. It will solidify but will not be too hard. GREAT for toast and bread.

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  37. Love your bolg I do some of this really well others I'm still working on. To help me save money on lunches when my oldest started school she got a lunch pail to take cold lunch in and my younger ones just though a lunch pail was the coolest thing ever so I picked up 2 more on clearence , I pack lunch at he same time I make daddys and big sisters then lunch is always ready and if we're going out of the house I just grab them and I never have to stop for fast-food or come back home then out again some time they eat in car between stores and sometimes we stop at the park. But it keeps money in my pocket and they feel like big kids. Thanks for all you great ideas!

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  38. Love your bolg I do some of this really well others I'm still working on. To help me save money on lunches when my oldest started school she got a lunch pail to take cold lunch in and my younger ones just though a lunch pail was the coolest thing ever so I picked up 2 more on clearence , I pack lunch at he same time I make daddys and big sisters then lunch is always ready and if we're going out of the house I just grab them and I never have to stop for fast-food or come back home then out again some time they eat in car between stores and sometimes we stop at the park. But it keeps money in my pocket and they feel like big kids. Thanks for all you great ideas!

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  39. so this budget is for for items only i take it?? i dont see anything addressing household and personal products. nor is this including clothes or crafts, etc. ???

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    1. Nope I have a separate budget for that. Will share in the new year how I do household items.

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  40. Hello, I am having lots of fun reading your blog. About saving money and eating healthy, one change I made and am very happy about is making my own cream chicken/mushroom/celery soup. At first I thought how do I always make this from scratch everytime time I need some. It really isn't that hard to do and doesn't take long. Most recipes make two cans at once. and you can freeze it. usually if I freeze it I use it in casseroles, sometimes it seperates, just use your blender if you want it smooth again. Search Homemade cream of chicken soup on Pinterest. I will never go back to bought soups. My husband turns up his nose at the mention of some type of casserole for supper, I don't think it is quite so bad now, personallyu I think homemade tastes sooo much better.

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  41. Thanks for all the helpful budgeting ideas! Very useful stuff. Just one thing that really worried me. You mentioned in this post that margarine is healthier than butter. I have done a bit of research on this, and it seems to be a major misconception. The chemicals used to produce margarine actually can actually cause much more artery clotting than the natural fat in butter. Here is a link that you may find helpful: http://wellnessmama.com/2193/why-you-should-never-eat-vegetable-oil-or-margarine/ It is advertised as a food to help with weight loss, but studies show it has quite the opposite affect. Just thought you might find this interesting. But do your own research and see what you think for yourself.

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  42. Do you have a sample shopping list with a menu list that I could look at? I think that would make this so much easier to grasp! Thanks!!

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  43. I love your tips! We are trying to cut back on food expenses and this is very helpful! One thing we do now for breakfast is cook one pound of sausage and put it in the bottom of mini muffin tins. I top it with a pancake mix and bake it at 350 for 13-15 minutes. They freeze wonderfully and I can pull them out a few at a time for a quick breakfast for my kiddos! They love they get to dip them in syrup! Recipe found on Pinterest!

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  44. Have been reading through your blog and all your budgeting tips and I guess we are doing better than I thought b/c it's all stuff I already do lol! I shop at ALDI and manage to spend about 80$ a week for a family of 4, and I could really cut that back even more but I like to get everyone some treats (veggie chips for 1.50 a bag, lite ice cream sandwiches etc.) My husband is in the army like yours was (mine is reserve now b/c him staying in is the cheapest way for us to get good health insurance) and if there was one thing we learned by being a young military family it was how to manage money b/c on low ranking enlisted pay we had to!

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  45. I'd like a printable staples list, that would greatly help us. We are a family of 4 and my hubby makes around $20k and it's so hard! I'd love know anything that would help.

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  46. I've read in other posts, that y'all are starting to eat a more plant based diet, and get away from the processed food. How is that working into your budget? My husband and I are not only trying to be better with our budget, but also eat healthier. Would you be willing to so another blog post on how your shopping list has changed? It would be awesome to see how you're doing it. (I really really wished that we have a Bountiful Baskets closer to us. The closest is an hour and a half away. Boo!)

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    1. I will work on a post for ya. I still shop just them same, but I read labels more. I buy dry beans more, since we don't eat meat really. Oh and the money saved on all those processed goodies and meats, is used for more fruits, veggies, and grains.

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  47. For breakfast, hillbillyhousewife.com's brown sugar granola would be good with a few nuts or some fruit added, much less expensive and healthier than cereal. My kids liked it. The website has a lot of other frugal recipes, and some of our favorite bread recipes.

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  48. Thanks so much for your grocery posts. I am trying to find ways to cut back and groceries seem the easiest place to start. since its just my husband and I, I am trying to keep our monthly budget to $150 and this will really help me do that.

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  49. I loved your blog!!! I was wondering if you would post your egg salad recipe? My grandmother used to make it when I was little and I cannot find a recipe anywhere. My email is snykemper@yahoo.com

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    1. You can find my egg salad recipe in this weeks menu plan #7 http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2013/02/menu-plan-7-with-printable-recipes.html

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  50. I am glad I found your blog, it has some really great recipes especially ones about cleaning solutions! But I wanted to share a couple oatmeal recipes our family uses. I thought of this one day after the kids were tired of apple cinnamon oatmeal and they all groaned at the thought of another morning of eating it. I peeled 3 bananas, mashed them up and added 1 Cup of water, 1tsp of vanilla flavoring, and 1/2 of sugar. Boiled that for a couple minutes then added 3 more cups of water. Bring that to a boil then add in two cups of old fashioned oatmeal, water/oatmeal ratio depends on how thick or thin you like it. They loved it! I also learned I can use canned fruits. We had a bunch of cans donated to us by friends who didn't like them. They were in light syrup so I just dumped the whole can of peaches in the pot, mashed em up, added 1/2 of powered sugar, then 3 cups of water with 2 cups oatmeal. Again it was a hit.

    I sure look forward to reading more of your blog and learning even more tips and tricks to start adding to our family.

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  51. This blog seriously saved my dept and my relationship. We were eating out EVERY DAY! When I found this blog, it got me thinking. James and I are now eating better. We still eat out but we are only budgeting to day we feel rushed. After reading this, I realized that we can bake and freeze. We don't even have to eat out on the busy day. I love your blog and I am so happy that it helps.

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  52. Just found your website and it is truly inspiring. I printed off your June meal plan and went shopping. I am totally enjoying the new recipes, and feel good about taking care of my family and contributing to our financial goals by saving where I can. The key is leaving out those "quick trips" to the grocery store- you are so right. I am now a faithful follower! I've shared your posts with my sisters so we can all work on saving money, planning menus, and living within our family budget. Many thanks!

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  53. I just found your blog and instantly became a faithful follower! I printed out your June meal plan and went shopping. I am really enjoying trying out the new recipes and feel like I am really contributing to saving money and reaching our family goals. Some that we had this week were the broccoli cheese soup and the stroganoff with meatballs- delicious! Now I have plenty of meatballs for more meals (if I can keep my husband from dipping them in bbq for snacks!) Thanks again for sharing your wisdom! Staying away from the grocery store for those "quick trips" really is the key- you are so right! Looking forward to trying more of your money saving tips!

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  54. Hi there, I just discovered your blog through Pinterest and I love it! I thought I might add a couple of ideas, too. The first is iced tea. I make iced tea every day. I boil about a quart of water with about a quarter cup sugar then steep 8 tea bags. when it cools I put it in a 3 quart ptcher with ice and cold water. saves a lot on drinks. I also make pizza all the time! I make my own sauce with a big can of crushed tomatoes and a tablespoon of oregano. Simmer on the stove until it's thick enough for you. Start the sauce first and it should be ready by the time you are ready to put your pizza together. Crushed tomatoes are the key. So much fresher testing and less salty than pre made pizza sauce.

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  55. Thanks for this and I've got a copy of an ebook of those recipes.

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  56. I found this blog from bing. Love it! I recently reduced my grocery bill to $40 a week from $60- $70. Now I am motivated to bring it down to $20 and $30 on weeks I need soap or personal care items.

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  57. Let me just say, i love love love your blog. Just found it yesterday, and its like a good book, i cant put it down!! Thank you!!!

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  58. Hi thank you so much for your advice, really like the idea of meal planning, will incorporate that into my life style that's for sure. I have recently moved in with my fiance and we are on very tight budget at the moment as I am not working, so seeing this blog for me was so inspirational. I had led simpler lifestyle since last year on my own so adapting this for two now is a bit challenging, but we are getting there. I agree by sticking to basics can be fun and it is completely less stressful and more satisfying. Looking forward to seeing more posts like this :) Keep up the great work :)

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  59. Hi, thank you for a great blog, I really like the idea of meal planning which I will be incorporating into our lifestyle. I have recently moved in with my fiance and we are on a very tight budget as I am not working currently, so it was very inspirational seeing this blog. I had led a simpler lifestyle last year myself, but now it's two of us so it's a bit more challenging, but we are getting there. My fiance is very good with money, me not so much, I still have some of them naughty credit cards to pay off, but he is very supportive and encouraging. I totally agree that going back to basics can be fun, less stressful and rewarding in the end. Looking forward to seeing more blogs from you, keep up the great work :)

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  60. You are such an inspiration!! I am so thankful for people like you. It can be done I see. So I will start budgeting and stick with it because of you. Thanks so much

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