Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm Just Sayin...

OK-I know I have made this point before, but I am feeling the need to make it again...

I went to Walgreens today and spent $2.87 + tax on all of this and left with $10 in Register Rewards (which is a coupon you can use on anything at Walgreens). The value of all of is this $44.33 so that is a savings of $41.46

I went to CVS yesterday and spent $4.78 + tax for all of this and left with $5 in Extra Care Bucks (which is like money to be used at CVS). The total value of all of this is $91.44 so that is a savings of $86.68.

So my point is not-WOW! Look how much stuff I got! My point is LOOK AT HOW MUCH MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SPEND! Grocery stores and drug stores GIVE STUFF AWAY! If there is the slightest wish in your heart that you could find a way to save some money, this is where to do it-On your grocery and personal care bills. I went to the grocery store the other day and I got $200 worth of groceries for $60! Right now at Publix you can get 4 cans of Progresso Soup, a big box of Premium Saltines, 4 cans of Pilsbury biscuits, and 4 reusable grocery bags for $3.09. I mean seriously!?!
It's done with a combination of sales, coupons (yes, coupons. For heaven's sake-its just like free money!), and working the stores' loyalty programs. Does it take some work? Yes, it does. But even if you think you don't have the time to get it all together there are SO many websites and blogs out there that do all of the work for you and just tell you (for free!) how and where to get the best deals. Also, once you have shopped like this for a while it just becomes second nature.
Look-If they sell it at CVS or Walgreens-you shouldn't pay more than a few cents for it ever again! (I am super sorry to those of you who do not have access to these stores, but I'd encourage you to check out your local drugstores and see what kind of deals you can find.)
Ok so you might ask--8 deodorants?? Yes, 8 deodorants because I paid $1.43 for them and got back a $10 Register Reward which I will be able to combine with my left over $3 register reward and my $5 off Enfamil formula coupon and pay $6 for a can of formula instead of $24. But, how long will it take you to use 8 deodorants? A super long time considering I don't use that kind of deodorant (I mean, deodorant is really one of those things where you gotta go with what works for you), but I know of a few different people who could use a bag of toiletries and a couple of local organizations who would love the donation.
How to accomplish all of this? Just go here. Jenny at Southern Savers has done a fantastic job of outlining how to shop at the different drug and grocery stores and how she handles coupons among other things. I was blessed beyond belief back in the early Spring to be able to sit down and talk for a long time with a wonderful woman who has been shopping this way for close to 20 years. She shared all of her wisdom and time-tested methods and tips with me and it truly has changed the way I view money, my job in my family, and of course shopping. So I'm always happy to share what I have learned with anyone at any time. I am directing you to Jenny only because she has already done all of leg work.
A lot of people seem to not consider shopping this way because either they think it takes too much time, or that you can't get good products, or maybe they're just too cool for it, but none of that is true! Just give it a try-see how much money you don't spend and you will not want to throw money away ever again!
Like I said--I would love to help or answer questions or heck even go shopping with you if you are in the Bham area.
PS-shopping at drugstores like that can be addicting (no, seriously--just search some blogs and you'll see what I mean) and that's never good, so I encourage you not to look at it as a game, but rather a way to maximize your dollar.

Hot Mexican Soup Brings Me Back

I've had several request for this recipe lately so I figured this would be a good way to deliver it to all at one. Daisy Martinez contributed the original recipe to the September issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. We have made it probably 10 times and have changed it a bit to suit us. She calls it Mexican Chicken Lime Soup, but that just does not tell the truth about this soup. It has some HEAT! Hot Mexican Soup just seems to be more fitting to me. It is soooooo good and there is something very comforting and healing about it. But just a warning-it may not be for the small ones in your family. We haven't tried it out on ours, and even though he likes spicy food, i think this may be the wrong kind of heat for him. But don't be scared off by all of my talk of hotness...I don't like a lot of spicy heat and I LOVE this so I encourage you to give it a try. Ok here is what we use:

Extra-virgin Olive Oil
3 bone in, skin on chicken breast
1 onion finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (this is where the heat comes from. You can find them in the ethnic aisle at your grocery store)
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1 avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise
tortilla chips

First let me talk about the chipotle chiles. The original recipe says, "two canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce." However, the first time I made it I read, "two CANS chipotle chiles in adobo sauce." Tragic mistake that led to inedible soup. So be warned-Don't use TWO CANS! You do have two options as to how you want to use them though. You can take two chiles out of the can, chop them finely and then also take out two Tbsp of sauce and throw all of that in the soup. Or you could just throw the whole can of chiles and sauce in the food processor or blender, make a puree and use two Tbsp of that and keep the rest in the fridge for something later. We do the later.

Here's how ya do it:
Put the chicken breasts in a baking dish, cover them with lots of EVOO, salt, and pepper and bake them at 350 for about 40 minutes. When they are done take the skin off and the meat off the bone and shred the chicken. It will probably need just a tad more cooking.

In the pot you use for your soup, heat about 2 Tbsp of EVOO over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to brown-about 7 minutes or so. Add the shredded chicken and cook a little more. Stir in either your 2 chopped chiles and 2 Tbsp of adobo sauce, OR 2 Tbsp of puree. Then stir in your chicken broth. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
To serve place several slices of avocado in each bowl and pour in the soup. Top with tortilla chips.

The whole thing will take less effort than it just took to read all of this. Give it a try-if you don't like it bring it to us...we'll eat it.