Saturday, June 30, 2012

Taking A Break With Poppit


I have a confession to make. I secretly love playing online games. I really do. I think it started in college when I would need a break from writing a paper, doing online research or just studying all night. Sometimes all it would take was a few minutes of mindless fun and I would be ready to get back to work.

Even though I am not in college any more, I still spend a lot of time doing research online for my classes and for lesson planning. I still sometimes find myself needing a little “online break”. That is why I love games like Poppit on Pogo.com .

It’s funny, I am so not a video game person. In fact we don’t even own a video gaming system. But I do love online games. I especially puzzle type games like Poppit. I think that they are just challenging enough to keep me interested and provide some mental stimulation without being so complicated that they end up not being a break at all.

Poppit is the perfect way to take a break whether you are studying, had a stressful day at work or are just looking unwind. Poppit was easy to learn how to play, was fun but still mentally challenging. Each game is just long enough that you can get a little break without spending too much time, unless you want to that is : )

The best part about Poppit (other than how fun it is)? It’s free to play. And if you have read this site at all you know I love free!

In fact, you don’t even have to visit Pogo.com to try it out (although I would recommend visiting the site to see all the other fun and free games they have available.) You can now get a little taste of Poppit right in this post. How cool is that?


Race against the clock and pop as many balloons as you can. To play the Poppit!™ Sprint puzzle game, all you have to do is pop groups of two or more balloons of the same color in one minute. Fast pops of three or more balloons of the same color increase your multiplier and score.

Play the full version of this puzzle game for free* on Pogo.com. Once you register, you will also be able to save your high scores, tokens, and  be able to enter daily for a chance to win prizes**. Join Pogo now and play over 100 free* online games!

*Internet connection and EA account required.  Must be 13+ to create an EA account.

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Eligibility restrictions apply. See Official Rules for details and alternative means of entry.



This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for writing it but all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weekly Totals Link Up: Saved 70% At Publix Today

Spent $37 for $122 worth of groceries.
I had a very fun week of shopping this week. I was able to save 70% at Publix today and I saved 55% at Target earlier this week on some fun groceries and household items. 

I loved this week's Publix ad. I had all the coupons I needed and everything was the right size/type/price to match my pre-planned list so the trip went quickly and smoothly. I had finally cleared some space out in our fridge and freezer thanks to a few weeks of eating mostly from our stock pile. So, clearly, the logical thing to do was buy tons of stuff to fill them back up to the brim again : )

I went for broke today with the frozen treats because we really do enjoy having a treat once a week but we never buy them because full price on those types of things is way too painful and unnecessary. Today I took full advantage of the sales from the June "Dairy Month" Yellow Ad. flyer since I don't know when we will see sales on some of those products again.

I was able to use a $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupon and I had a small money maker in the form of dog bones so even though I bought some non sale items and a whole chicken my Publix total was still pretty good. I did go over my usual $50 a week with my Target trip but all in all, I feel like I got alot for my money this week and I was able to stock up on things we need and use all the time so I am thrilled.

Make sure you check out my super fun giveaway of the Publix Smart Savings Booklets and some Winn Dixie $5/$30 competitor coupons too!

Breakdown of today's Publix trip:
Total retail value: $122.47
Total spent: $37.45
Total saved: $85.02
Percent saved: 70%

Breakdown of what I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 2 packages of Purina Busy Dog Chewnola treats, retails for $3.79 each, on sale BOGO ($1.89 each)
  •  2 boxes of Luigi's Italian Ice, retails for $3.39 each, on sale BOGO ($1.69 each)
    • Used two .75 cents off coupons from the 6/24 RP
    • Made them .94 cents a box
  •  4 boxes of Magnum Ice Cream Bars, retails for $4.49 each, on sale for $3 each
  •  2 tubs of Cool Whip, retails for $2.03 each
    • On sale BOGO, made it $1.01 each
  •  2 packages of Sargento Cheese Slices, retails for $3.19 each, on sale for $2.50 each
  •  1 Publix Whole Chicken on sale for $1.29 a pound
    • Made it $5.97 
  •  2 tubs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, retails for $2.77, on sale for $1.25 each
    • Used a .75/2 coupon from the Kraft 2012 Booklet
    • Made them .87 cents each
  •  4 bottles of Dial Hand Soap, retail for $1.49 each, on sale for $1.00 each
    • Used four .35 cents off coupons from the 6/17 RP
    • Stacked with two .50 cents off Target coupons (I could only get two prints)
    • Made them .40 cents each
  •  1 box of Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, $2.05
  •  2 packages of Chinet Dinner Plates (perfect for our August BBQ), retails for $6.39 each (!), on sale BOGO ($3.19 each)
    • Used two $1 off coupons from a Chinet email
    • Stacked with a $1/2 Target coupon
    • Made them $1.69 each
  •  2 Kraft Sizzling Salads Kits, retails for $3.27 each, on sale BOGO ($1.63 each)
    • Used two .55 cents off coupons from the 6/17 SS
    • Made them $1.08 each
  •  1 bag of Publix Hearts of Romaine Salad, retails for $3.09 on sale for $2.00
  • 2 large Baking Potatoes, $2.71
  • 2 boxes of Mueller's Pasta, retails for $1.59 a box, on sale BOGO (.79 cents each)
    • Used two .55 cents off coupons from a product email
    • Made them .24 cents each
  •  4 Chobani Greek Yogurts, retails for $1.30 each, on sale for $1 each
  •  2 Dole Smoothie Shakers, retails for $1.99 each
    • Used a $1.99/2 Publix coupon from the Yellow Ad Flyer
    • Stacked with a $1.25/2 coupon
    • Made them .37 cents each
  •  2 packages of Velveeta Cheese, retails for $4.39 each, on sale BOGO making it $2.19 each
  • 2 limes, retails for .30 cents each, on sale for .25 cents each
  • 2 jars of Planters Peanuts, retails for $4.51 each, on sale BOGO ($2.25 each)
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the 6/24 SS
    • Stacked with a $1/2 Target coupon
    • Made them .75 cents each
  •  1 bag of M&M's Snack Mix, retails for $3.19 
 
How did you do this week? Inspire me (and everyone else) with your amazing savings and deals this week. Please link up directly to your specific post. Do not link up to your blog's home page, giveaways, or etsy shops please. You can now "like" Couponing & Cooking on Facebook too! I would love it if you would link back to this post or grab my button from the sidebar : )

Click below to link up your posts!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Printable Coupons

Here are some fun new coupons to break up your week:

.55 cents off any flavor Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Mix

 $2.00 off two or more frozen Bacardi Mixers

$1.00 off ONE DEPEND Real Fit or Silhouette, 12ct

$1.00 off two Tone Body Wash

$0.55 off One Pint of Talenti

$1.00 off any ONE Milk-Bone Trail Mix dog snacks

 $0.50 off Lysol Brand Scrubber Sponges

$1.00 off Palmolive Dish and Fresh Sponge

$1.00 off Scotchgard Protector or Cleaner

$2.00 off 2 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet gel

$1.00 off Comet stainless steel cleaning item

$1.00 off 2 Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles or fantastik

$1.50 off 2 Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush Refill

$0.75 off 1 Comet Bathroom Spray

$2.00 off Armstrong Concentrated Floor Cleaner

$1.00 off On the Purchase of Spot Shot Pet Aerosol

$20.00 off Bissell Steam & Sweep

$1 off any two Vanity Fair Napkins



Happy Wednesday and see you tomorrow for my weekly totals post and link up!

This Week's Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 6/27

 
I am pretty excited about this week's upcoming Publix ad. I have a feeling I might be going a little over budget this week but I have some reserve grocery money from the past few weeks so I should be ok : )


I am planning on stocking up on some of the 4th of July/BBQ sales as well as some frozen summer treats and household items too. Here's hoping my coupons match up correctly with the sale sizes/specifications when I hit the store tomorrow!

Here are my favorite deals with match ups and you can always click the links below for the full sale ads with matchs. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my Weekly Totals post and link up to your shopping trips this week.

My favorites:
  •  Whole Chicken, on sale for $1.29 a pound
  • Kraft Shredded Cheese, on sale for $2 a bag
  •  Dial Liquid Hand Soap, on sale for $1 each
    • Use a .50 cents off Target coupon
    • Stacked with a .35 cents off coupon from the 6/17 RP
    • Makes it .15 cents each
  •  Luigi's Real Italian Ice, 6 counts, retails for $3.39 each, on sale BOGO ($1.65 each)
    • My 6/24 RP (South Florida) had a .75 cents off one box coupon, use two of those
    • Makes it .90 cents a box for a fun summer treat

You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Corn On The Cob In The Oven?


Maybe I am the only person in the world who didn't know this, but I am going to throw it out there in case some of you are in the dark as I was until a week ago. You can cook corn on the cob in the oven and it is amazing.

I love corn on the cob especially in the summer when it is so fresh and so cheap at all the local grocery stores and produce stands. But I hate boiling a huge pot of water just to make two ears of corn for Justin and I's dinner. I read somewhere last week that you could cook corn in the husk in the oven and I had to try it to see if it would work.

We were already heating up a pan of Skinny Cheesy Potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees so I threw the corn on a baking sheet, and cooked it for the 30 minutes the potatoes were in. Justin was convinced the husks were going to catch on fire so he literally looked in the oven every three minutes to make sure they weren't about to burn our house to the ground. Oh the joys of being married to a firefighter : )

Before I trimmed up the ends
I took them out after 30 minutes and let them cool a little before I dehusked them (is that a word? spell check is telling me it's not...). They were perfect. The kernels were crunchy and fully cooked and we both agreed that it tasted way fresher out of the oven then it does when we boil it.

Right out of the oven

We have made it again since our first try and I have found that it is best to trim up the longer ends of the husks and to lightly wet the husks before baking them. This made the husks easier to peel once they were cooked and made Justin slightly less nervous about them catching fire in the oven.

Ready to eat!
I know I said it before, but I feel like I have figured out a huge secret about corn preparation and I am hoping you are even half as excited about this idea as I am.

Enjoy!


Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

Request Your Summer Publix Stocking Spree Booklet


If you shop at Publix you may want to head on over to the Stocking Spree website and request your summer savings booklet.

This booklet which is sent to you by mail always has tons of great, name brand Publix store coupons. Past booklets have had coupons from brands like Bounty, Charmin, Kraft, Nabisco, and so many more. The best part is they are store coupons and can be stacked with manufacturer coupons for even greater savings.

If you have already requested one in the past you should already be on the mailing list to get one but you may want to double check just in case.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Saved 55% At Target

Spent $28 for $63 Worth

We had a fun and random trip to Target after church on Sunday night. Justin rarely goes with me on shopping trips but he actually loves Target and always wants to tag along. I get a little bit distracted and tend to stray from my list when I have company but aside from the super cute clearance candle holders I did pretty well.

My Target had tons of mark downs and clearance with the highlight being the entire patio and outside decor section being 50% off or more. We have our eye on a few things for the backyard but decided to wait in hopes that things get marked down even more in the next week or so.

I didn't save a huge percentage but since it was mostly stuff we needed or use a lot I am pretty happy with the overall trip. Make sure you come back on Thursday for my Weekly Totals Shopping Post and Link Up

Breakdown of Sunday's Trip (6/24):
Total retail value: $63.39
Total spent: $28.29
Total saved: $35.10
Percent saved: 55%

What I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 2 bottles of Palmolive Dish Soap, retails for $2.69 each
  •  2 jars of Archer Farms Popcorn Kernels, retails for $2.99 each
    • On sale for $1.48 each
  •  4 cans of Bumble Bee Tuna, retails for $1.59 a can, on sale for $1.46 a can
  •  1 Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm, retails for $2.59, on sale for $2.24
  •  1 Biore Facial Toner, retails for $6.49
  •  1 Axe Detailer, retails for $3.49
  •  1 box of Glad trashbags, retails for $8.29, on sale for $7.45
    • Used a $2 off Target coupon
    • Not a match for the Facebook coupon
    • Made it $5.45 (not a great price but we are running low)
  •  1 package of Bounty Napkins, retails for $3.09, on sale for $2.66
    • Used a $1 off coupon from a Vocal Point mailer
    • Made it $1.66
  •  2 bottles of Kraft Anything Dressing, retails for $1.99 each, on sale for $1.89 each
    • Used two $1 off Facebook coupons
    • Stacked with a $1/2 Target coupon
    • Made them .39 cents each
  •  2 medium sized tea candle lanterns, originally $3.99 each
    • On clearance for $1.18 each
  •  2 small sized tea candle lanterns, originally $2.99 each
    • On clearance for .88 cents each
  •  2 jars of Planters Sunflower Seeds, retails for $1.89 each
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the 6/24 SS
    • Stacked with a $1/2 Target coupon
    • Made them .39 cents each

Champagne Cupcakes!


I have been wanting to make some version of champagne cupcakes forever. First it was Valentine's Day. What a perfect date night treat and so romantic. Never happened. Then it was my sister's surprise engagement party but my mom had already ordered professional cupcakes and I wasn't going to compete with those. So when it came time for my parents' surprise 30th anniversary party (can you tell we like surprises around here?), I knew exactly what I would be making.


I was expecting these to be good but I was not prepared for how good they really were and how much they really tasted like champagne. You could actually taste the bubbles in every bite. The cake part was not too sweet and little bit savory (thanks to the surprising addition of sour cream to the batter) which paired perfectly with the sweet and bubbly champagne buttercream icing.


People went nuts for these at the party and I ended up making them later in the week for family members who didn't get to have one the night of the celebration. I made them in mini form (obviously) and I think that they might be too much in regular cupcake form. My friend Carrie had the genius inspiration to use the left over buttercream to fill strawberries and raspberries and people couldn't get over how great it tasted. All in all the fruit and cupcakes made for a super cute dessert display.



I actually used prosecco instead of regular champagne because it is a little sweeter and through trial and error in making these a few times I have found that the brand does matter. My favorite version was using Cupcake Prosecco (ironically appropriate!). It was actually the cheapest bottle I used too, about $7.50. And there was enough left in the bottle for me to enjoy a glass or two while the cupcakes baked and cooled, an added bonus in my opinion : )


You can probably tell that I had way too much fun taking photos of these so please bear with my excessive pictures.



Champagne Cupcakes adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

For the cupcake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (try not to skimp or go with reduced fat, it will change the texture/flavor)
  • 1/2 cup champagne, prosecco, or even sparkling grape juice, just make sure it is something with bubbles : ) 
1.) In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


2.) Add in eggs one at a time and then vanilla mixing well after each ingredient. 


 3.) Combine the rest of the dry ingredients together and set aside. Then whisk together the sour cream and champagne/prosecco. It will bubble, it will seem weird, but believe me it works.


4.) With the mixer on medium, add in half the dry ingredients, then the  entire sour cream champagne mixture, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients making sure the batter is well combined but not over mixed. It will be pretty thick.


5.) Fill muffin liners/tin a little more than half way full. These will bake up nicely. Bake at 350 degrees and I baked the minis for about 12 minutes. You will want to adjust for different sizes. They are done when the tops are just starting to look golden and are firm to the touch. Let them cool completely.

In they go...

Out they come.
For the Champagne Buttercream Icing:
  • 1 cup of champagne/prosecco/what ever you used in the cake recipe, plus one tablespoon set aside
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1.) In a small saucepan, simmer the champagne on medium to high heat. It will take awhile but it should start to reduce down. (this is a key step in the process to get the right flavor in the icing)


2.) Once it has reduced down to about two tablespoons, remove from the heat, transfer to a small bowl and let it cool.

This is what I ended up with.
3.) In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream together butter and sugar.


4.) Beat in reduced champagne plus the extra tablespoon of regular champagne and whip until light and fluffy. It will seem watery at first but should fluff up soon.

Butter and champagne: a match made in heaven?
5.) Using a pastry bag (I used a Wilton #30 tip), ice your completely cooled cupcakes and decorate them any way you like.


Enjoy!
Check out the Spiked! Recipe Challenge for more champagne recipes!

Click the MAGIC button below for nutritional info and WW points+





Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up Party & Features {#11}

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Hello, hello! Another week has come and gone. Why is it that during my summer vacation the weeks seem to fly by but during the school year they drag on forever? Last week was our biggest party yet and I am so amazed by everything you all linked up.

I want to make everything from last week's link up and I ended up picking four features this week (almost all desserts!) because everything looked so good.

The first feature of the week is a healthy one to precede the parade of desserts to come. We are still learning to cook and experiment with quinoa and this Southwest Quinoa Salad from Dishing With Leslie is something we will trying soon.


 Next up are these delicious looking No Bake Cookies from Five Little Chefs. Living in South Florida, I am very partial to any type of dessert that doesn't require turning on my oven, not to mention how yummy these sound.


Justin and I love peanut butter pie. We love testing out different version at restaurants and we have actually made quite a few different recipes at home in an attempt to find the perfect one. This Peanut Butter Pie from Delightful Curiosity caught my eye right away and has already made its way onto our list to make.


Last but in no way least are these decadent Loaded Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods from Sally's Baking Addiction. Talk about ridiculous! Warning: DO NOT visit this website if you are counting calories or trying to stay away from sweets. Every single post is more mouth watering than the next. I spent way too much time on it this week pinning one million desserts to try.



Thank you all again for linking up! I love having lots of new menu ideas to add to our weekly rotations. I would love for you to spread this word about this link up by grabbing a button or by linking back. The more the merrier!

You can also check out my Pinterest board for Mealtime Monday Features where I will be pinning the original links to the items featured here each week.

If you were featured you can feel free to grab a button from my sidebar  (I am still working out the kinks in the html but they are a work in progress)

Can't wait to see what you have been up to lately and I love being inspired by all the delicious looking dishes you create.

I will be featuring my favorites next weekend and I will be pinning things to my Pinterest boards too. Make sure you check out my Link Ups page for lots more fun places to link up at too.

As I teacher, I enforce rules all day so I am going to call these my suggestions.

I would love it if:

  • You would link back to this post/blog. You can do so by grabbing my button (upper right hand corner), linking back to this post in your post, or by adding this blog to your list of places you link up to/party at on your Link Parties page. The more people who link up the better it is for all of us : )
  • Please follow this blog through GFC, Linky Friends or Blog Lovin.
  • As an added bonus you can now become our Facebook fan too!
  • Please only post directly to your recipe link. No giveaways, etsy shops or anything not family friendly.
  • Please do not link up to posts you have already linked up to before. Also, the recipe needs to be something you made with photos of your own and should give credit where credit is due : )
  • Visit at least two new blogs and show them some love.
  • Come back next Monday and link up!

Show me what you got!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Request Your Gather Together P&G Coupon Booklet



Sign up here for the new Gather Together coupon booklet from Home Made Simple (P&G).

The booklet has over $25 in coupon for P&G products like Febreeze, Cascade, Swiffer, Dawn and Mr. Clean. You can usually request these booklets every few months. They will get mailed to your house in a few months.

If you haven't already, make sure you sign up for free and also take advantage of the P&G brandsampler program which lets you request samples and coupons a few times a year.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weekly Totals Link Up: Saved 60% On Mostly Meat & Veggies

Spent $19, Saved $30
Today was a quick and easy shopping trip. We are overly stocked on almost everything so I didn't feel the need to take advantage of most of the food deals this week since for us the prices weren't that good especially when we have so much on hand. I was hoping to take advantage of a few deals on household items but I either couldn't find the coupons or the sizes/specifications once I got to the store didn't match my coupons.

It was nice to be able to buy some meat and veggies without spending much at all this week thanks to a $5/$30 coupon and no other real grocery needs. I felt like we were missing something when we went to checkout with so few items and almost no coupons. As my receipt below shows, I only used $1.45 worth of manufacturer coupons so everything else I saved was from sale prices or Publix coupons found in store.


I only shopped at Publix this week. I meant to make it to Target this week but I just never got motivated to do so. Hopefully Sunday's ad will have some good deals in it and I will make it out to my local Target soon. Make sure you link up your weekly totals posts below and show us all how you did!


Breakdown of today's trip:
Total retail value: $46.18
Total spent: $18.59
Total saved: $27.59
Percent saved: 60%

What I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 2 bags of Fresh Express Salad, retails for $3.99 each
    • On sale BOGO, made it $1.99 each
  •  Publix Greenwise Chicken Thights, retails for $4.54 for the package
    • On sale for $3.73
  •  Two pound bag of Publix frozen chicken tenderloins, retails for $6.29
    • On sale for $5.99
  •  4 ears of Yellow Corn, retails for .75 cents each ear
    • On sale for .33 cents each ear
  •  4 Dole Smoothie Shakers, retails for $1.99 each
  • Bag of baby carrots, retails for $1.79 
    • On sale for $1.29
  •  1 package of four double rolls of Angel Soft Toilet Paper, retails for $3.39, on sale for $2.50
    • Used one .45 cents off coupon from the 3/25 RP
    • Stacked with a .55 cents off Publix coupon from a donation sheet
    • Made it $1.50
  •  2 boxes of Ritz Crackers, retails for $3.99 a box, on sale BOGO ($1.99 each)
  •   Gulden Spicy Mustard, $1.50 
  • Publix Spicy Mustard, retails for $1.39
    • Part of the Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free promo
    • Made it FREE

How did you do this week? Inspire me (and everyone else) with your amazing savings and deals this week. Please link up directly to your specific post. Do not link up to your blog's home page, giveaways, or etsy shops please. You can now "like" Couponing & Cooking on Facebook too! I would love it if you would link back to this post or grab my button from the sidebar : )

Click below to link up your posts!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Join Me In My Homemade Bread Challenge!

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Welcome to the Homemade Bread Challenge! I have been wanting to do this for so long. My goal over the next few weeks is to master the art of making a few different types of bread from scratch. I will be blogging about my results (and possible failures) and I wanted to invite all my fellow bloggers and readers to join in the fun.

My plan is to follow the schedule below and to post the finished product every two weeks.On each listed date I will post the recipe and photos of the listed baked good. Each recipe post will have a "blog hop" link up and the code will be available to anyone who wants to join in the fun.

If you are planning on doing the challenge with me and using the blog hop code on your blog too let me know and I will include your name/link/button on the posts that you will be joining in on/co-hosting in a way. Just leave a comment or shoot me an email to couponingncooking@gmail.com  You can also grab the new "Homemade Bread Challenge" blog button from my sidebar now too : )

If you don't want to make the item or use the recipe I am using that week then you are always welcome to make any kind of homemade bread and link that up too. I am excited to improve my bread making skills and to see what other people create as well.

June 27th: Light Whole Wheat Baguette
July 11th: Homemade Pitas
July 25th: Simple No Knead Bread
August 8th: Old Fashion Pull Apart Buns
August 22nd: Cheesecake Factory Bread
September 5th: Homemade Croissants! (still figuring out what recipe I want to use for these)

I have started a Pinterest board for inspiration and will be pinning my result posts and what other people link up to it as we go. Hope you will join me and good luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes {On A Diet}


I would eat cheesy potatoes all day every day if it was socially and medically acceptable. There I said it. Go ahead and judge me. I would probably weigh one million pounds and have a heart attack before the age of thirty so for those reasons (and so many others) I reserve the making and consuming of cheesy potatoes to special occasions and get togethers where there are enough people present to keep me from eating half the pan by myself.

That being said, I still find myself wishing I could have cheesy potatoes as a side dish to some of our normal weeknight dinners. I decided to find a way to have my cheesy potatoes and eat them too (just without the one million calories and grams of fat in the original version). It was like Erin from the Spotted Lamb read my mind when she created her Slim Potato Casserole and pinned it for me to find.


I will admit it, I was skeptical at first. The original is so good, so cheesy, so sinfully delicious. This new version was shockingly good. It tastes just like the real thing (ok not just like it but close enough for a weeknight). I thought it would be dry, it wasn't. I thought it wouldn't be creamy enough, it was so creamy. I thought I would miss the butter, sour cream, cream of chicken soup and extra 2 cups of cheese but I honestly didn't.

This dish is better than a lightened up substitute. It's actually something I would consider a treat and a wonderful addition to any meal. We had it with hot dogs and corn on the cob and it was like our own Tuesday night BBQ. You could also serve them as a breakfast side dish too so you would have a little more room on your plate for biscuits and bacon : )


Lightened Up Cheesy Potatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen potatoes, thawed (I used the shredded hash brown style)
  • 2 cups of plain, fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of low fat milk
  • 1 cup of any kind of reduced fat shredded cheese (I used monterey jack)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
    • side note: you can adjust the type and amounts of seasoning to your personal preference 
1.)  Mix everything together in a big bowl. I left out 1/2 cup of the cheese and saved it to put on top of the dish.


2.) Pour the mixture into a lightly sprayed 9x13 pan. Top with the remaining cheese and any seasoning you like.


Just enough cheese on top : )
3.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the top is a little crunchy looking.


Enjoy!
As prepared, according to the WW recipe builder, if divided into nine servings, each serving is 4 WW points+. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, I just plugged in the ingredients to see : )

Get nutritional info and WW points+ info by clicking the magic button below!





Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.


***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

This Week's Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 6/19

 

This week's Publix ad doesn't really thrill me but maybe it will have some things you need in it on sale. It is probably a good thing that there isn't too much for me (I say that and watch me come home with tons of stuff on Thursday) since we have had some pretty busy grocery weeks lately.

The things I am most excited about are actually some of the household items instead of groceries which is good because I like to make sure that I don't focus so much on saving on and stockpiling food that I forget to get deals on the other things we need like trash bags and shampoo. I actually found that I use to spend so much on those things that it was painful.

Here are my favorite deals with match ups and you can always click the links below for the full sale ads with matchs. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my Weekly Totals post and link up to your shopping trips this week.

My favorites:
  • Fresh Express Salad Blends, $3.99
    • On sale BOGO makes them $1.99 each
  •  Nabisco Ritz Crackers, on sale BOGO at $3.89 ($1.94 each)
  •  Neosporin Antibiotic Cream, Spray or Ointment, on sale for $3.49 each
    • Use a $3 off coupon from 6/10 RP
    • Makes it .49 cents!
  • Solo Bare Paper Plates or Cups, on sale for $2 a package
    • Use a $1 off coupon from the 6/17 SS
    • Makes it $1 per package
  •  Glad Trash Bags, on sale for $4
 
You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up Party & Features{#10}

Happy Fathers' Day! I hope you got to spend the day relaxing and celebrating with your families. Sorry for the lack of blogging this week but last night we threw a surprise 30th anniversary party for my parents and this week was crazy with cleaning, decorating, shopping and cooking so I just didn't get around to many of the posts I had planned.

I do promise that the first installment of the Homemade Bread Challenge will be up on Wednesday and I will have the recipe post on the mind blowingly delicious champagne cupcakes I made for the party Saturday night up in the next few days too.

You all blew me away with your link ups last week. It really makes my week to see so many new people linking up and sharing the love. I can't wait to see how many link ups we can get this week. My features this week are all appetizers and desserts, my favorite part of any party : )

When I saw these Crispy Spoon Crackers with Goat Cheese from Life and Linda, I felt like she had looked into my subconscious and made my dream appetizer. Goat cheese on a homemade cracker shaped like a spoon? Yes please.


 The next two features are both from the cookie family which you know I am all about. First we have these super cute and amazing looking Brownie Stuffed Cookies from Back For Seconds. Stuffing one delicious dessert with another one sounds perfect to me. Why have one or the other when you could have both?


Next up are these Nutella Butterscotch Cookies from the Better Baker. I love both of the main ingredients so there is no way these things could be anything short of amazing. I am definitely putting them on my never ending "to bake soon" list. 



Thank you all again for linking up! I love having lots of new menu ideas to add to our weekly rotations. I would love for you to spread this word about this link up by grabbing a button or by linking back. The more the merrier!

You can also check out my Pinterest board for Mealtime Monday Features where I will be pinning the original links to the items featured here each week.

If you were featured you can feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.

Can't wait to see what you have been up to lately and I love being inspired by all the delicious looking dishes you create.

I will be featuring my favorites next weekend and I will be pinning things to my Pinterest boards too. Make sure you check out my Link Ups page for lots more fun places to link up at too.

As I teacher, I enforce rules all day so I am going to call these my suggestions.

I would love it if:

  • You would link back to this post/blog. You can do so by grabbing my button (upper right hand corner), linking back to this post in your post, or by adding this blog to your list of places you link up to/party at on your Link Parties page. The more people who link up the better it is for all of us : )
  • Please follow this blog through GFC, Linky Friends or Blog Lovin.
  • As an added bonus you can now become our Facebook fan too!
  • Please only post directly to your recipe link. No giveaways, etsy shops or anything not family friendly.
  • Please do not link up to posts you have already linked up to before. Also, the recipe needs to be something you made with photos of your own and should give credit where credit is due : )
  • Visit at least two new blogs and show them some love.
  • Come back next Monday and link up!

Show me what you got!

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