Saving on Saturday

I finally feel like I have a couple of ways we saved to share this week!
1. We turned off the air conditioning for 4 days. Saving approximately $20 for the week. Our electric bill came for this week and the only difference is use of the air conditioning. It jumped $80 from last month. I am going to use that figure of $20 a week as what it cost to run our air conditioning.
2. Buying conditioner and body wash at the Dollar Tree. The girls were out of conditioner (which neither Matt nor I use). So I made a stop at a Dollar Tree. I was able to purchase 3 bottles of conditioner for $3 as opposed to $3.99 a bottle anywhere else. I also picked up Zach and Matt a bottle each of body wash. Again saving at least $3 each on these purchases. On a side note, I usually buy shampoo, conditioner and body wash at CVS when I can purchase for less than $1. We have used all of our stockpile so instead of spending even $2, the Dollar Tree is a great option.
3. Ate at home for all except one meal this week. We have gotten into a habit of grabbing breakfast out on Saturday mornings. We keep the cost low at around $15 but this week, I made a plan for Saturday breakfast and saved that money. I also have been very focused on using up left-overs instead of cooking anything. We received lunches and breakfast from the school in addition to a few items from the garden. It is important that we use these items instead of letting them go to waste. I am excited to say that this week, we have eaten at home and eaten out of the refrigerator.
4. Order glass for Lily from Zenni. I was able to get a pair of glasses with transitional lens for $108. Lily has a stronger prescription and most places will not make her glasses for this reason so to be able to order for around $100 is a huge money saver. In comparison, I also purchased glasses for Zach this week as well. I used a BOGO deal at vision works and spent $410 for two pair of glasses or $205 each. This puts me at saving at least $100 on Lily’s glasses.
5. Purchased for $1 a 30 day supply of contacts for Kendall. We are going to try these out. My vision insurance starts again on July 1st and I will be able to order more regular contact for her but these should help us bridge the gap of what I can order and a true year’s supply.
6. Moved both Lily and Kendall’s braces payment from our regular account to my Medflex account, which renews on July 1st. This money is tax free! We saved $267 a month by moving these payments.
7. Purchased polo shirts for Matt at Costco for $9.99 for 2 shirts. We purchased a total of 6 shirts for a savings of at least $50 even finding items on sale.

Recipe Challenge 33,34 and 35

A couple of things have slowed us down on the recipe challenge. The first of which is the weather, it is finally summer time weather in North Carolina. I am definitely a seasonal eater, give me soups and casseroles in the winter and salads and sandwiches in the summer. Another reason, is that we are trying to eat and use up the items we are given from the school lunch. The kids usually get an apple juice, a chocolate milk, a fruit, a vegetable along with a lunch item and breakfast items. Given all this it may be a very good thing that we are WAY ahead on trying 52 new recipes this year.

#33- Pioneer Woman Mini Strawberry muffins- These actually were really good however they stuck in my mini muffin pan. We used a spoon to eat each individual muffin. I am going to label this a no because I don’t know what went wrong or how to fix it!

#34- Strawberry Coffee Cake. This is from my favorite recipe site Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures! It was awesome, we shared with friends and they had to have the recipe to make themselves. I did make a couple of changes, used fresh strawberries, mix the sugar and strawberries together for the filling and finally topped with Cool Whip.

#35- Creamy Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe- I am not sure where I found this one as it came out of my drawer. It appears to be from Tasty? but I am still unsure. Lily made this for dinner on Monday. Our chicken was not unthawed completely so it took a long time to bake. Kendall LOVED it and it was all eaten. I am going to give it a definite maybe. Lily followed the directions and kept the chicken whole. I am thinking I would like to cut the chicken up to smaller pieces so it will cook quicker but also so that it will be more of a casserole and the flavors will blend better!

Official Count of Recipe Challenge
Repeating 16
Maybe 8
No 11

Recipe Challenge

I mentioned on Monday that we were going to try something different this week with meals. I had received a free menu plan from Family Freezer so after printing it twice decided I need to give it a try. I will point out that this was a free plan so I am not sure if the plans you pay for would have similar issues. I did a quick shop in my pantry and freezer and made the list of items we would need for the weeks meals.

Sausage and Peppers were on the plan. Zach had picked this as his choice for the week. However once he read it and I read it. We decided it was not something we would eat or try. The problem we saw was that it had not sausage and not real suggestion for eating. This might work out great if you wanted to add to bread but we did not have the buns to try it on.

It was easier and less confusion if we at least assembled all the meals on the plans. On Sunday. I put together and froze both the Spinach Enchiladas and Chicken Noodle Soup. I will report on these once we actually eat them.

Interestingly enough this meal plan contained 3 meatless meals. I will be the first to admit that we are meat eaters so I was very skeptical about both Lily and Kendall’s choice.

#18- Tuscan Tortellini Soup- Lily chose to prepare this meal on Monday. It was very filling without meat and even with beans both Kendall and I enjoyed. Everyone agreed that this was a repeat meal!

#19 Chicken Philly Cheesesteak sloppy joes. Zach was in charge of this meal. On the menu plan this is listed as two separate recipes but both copies of the recipes it was actually one meal. I did buy the ground chicken. I read this recipe several times and just did not get a good feel of how it should work with ground peppers and the onions and peppers. I decided to have Zach put the onions and peppers in the food processors prior to cooking. This worked out great! This meal was ok. Zach has eaten left-overs for two meals but it was really bland. Zach and Matt added hot sauce so that is what made it better for them. Not a repeat.

#20 Honey Garlic Chicken- I was in charge of this meal so it went straight in the crockpot. I ended up shredding the chicken and we ate it over rice. It was a tad bit spicy for me. But everyone seemed to enjoy. The one downside to this recipe is that it made a TON of food. I suspect it will be an entire second meal if needed. Don’t think I will repeat this one either.

#21 No Bake Lasagna with Spinach- Kendall was in charge and this was very cool for her because she really does not like a lot of meat. This recipe did take around 45 minute to prepare so it was a bit more time consuming than I like but for lasagna it was a very simple recipe. This was the best meal of the week. Everyone finished and it was awesome! Definitely a winner and a repeat.

So we are ahead! I am so excited but also have some other new recipes already picked out to try in the next several weeks. At least Coronavirus is helping me to reach one of my goals for the year!

Recipe Challenge #17

The kids decided they all wanted a night to cook dinner. Thursday was Lily’s night. She ventured out on her own and found and made her own meal. I did end up helping/supervising with the dicing and cooking.

One Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Lily did have to make a couple of substitutions. She made and used her own “Italian seasoning” which did not include rosemary because she is highly allergic to this! Next we did not have mozzarella cheese so she cut up string cheese sticks and used it is place. Finally she used ziti pasta as her pasta.

Everyone cleaned their plate today! I thought it was a little light in the area of meat but really no one else complained. In fact it is said that this was a definite repeat!

Way to go Lily!