Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winner of the Rada Cutlery Giveaway

I drew the winner of the giveaway tonight!

I used the random number generator at, and it picked comment #2.

The #2 comment was made by Emily, who said "I also shared on Facebook."

Congratulations, Emily!  Please contact me to claim your prize.

Thanks to all of you who entered!

31 Days:: Wrapping It Up

Phew!  We made it!  This is the last day of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.  I have one problem:  I didn't run out of ideas, I just ran out of days!  Therefore, you might see Saving Money in the Kitchen articles in the future.  I'll include them in the "31 Days" tab, even though they won't technically be part of the series. 

Now that I'm done blogging every single day, maybe I'll have time to follow through with some of my own tips.  (Just kidding.  OK, maybe only half kidding!)

31 Days:: Organize Your Pantry and Your Stockpile

[Today is the last day to enter the Rada Cutlery Giveaway!  Winner will be announced this evening.]

Keeping an organized pantry, stockpile, and freezer is essential to saving money in the kitchen.  What good is that clearanced-out box of Oreos if you can't find it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days:: Personal Garlic Bread

I have this bad habit of buying too many hotdog buns.  They're not usually on my list, but often I'll get to the store and think "Oh, I should probably pick up a package of buns."  If I see that the buns are on sale, I'll for sure grab that package.  And then I'll get home and realize that I have 2 more packages already in my freezer.  Or 3 buns left in one package and 4 in another.  I add the new ones to my collection and by the time I actually need them, they're duck food.  Unless, of course, I can hide the fact that they're horribly freezer-burned.

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days:: Make Your Own

Did you know that you can make your own yogurt?  And if you're out of cream of mushroom soup, you can make your own in a pinch!

31 Days:: Shop the Clearance Rack

**Want to win a paring knife and vegetable peeler?  Don't forget to enter the's open until Wednesday**

I've always shopped the clearance rack for clothing, but only in the last few years did I realize that there are clearance racks for food as well!

The "clearance racks" at the grocery store are usually department-specific, so look for one in the meat department, produce, bakery, and general grocery.  Some stores have specific days or time of day that they load up the reduced-for-quick-sale racks.  Ask the department manager or employees what days are best for shopping the clearance rack in their department.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 10/28/12 - 11/3/12)

Here are a few dinner and snack ideas, using ingredients from next week's Meijer sale:

31 Days:: Do a Pantry Challenge

This month, I've shared a lot of ways to save money on your food bill.  One of the things I've talked about is stockpiling.  When you hit a good sale/coupon combination, you should buy more than you need for the current week.  If you practice this regularly, eventually you'll have a nice stockpile of food in your pantry and freezer. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds

[This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 10/28/12 - 11/3/12]

These bite-sized appetizers have the chewy texture and all the flavor of potato skins...without all the work!  The classic toppings of bacon, green onion, and cheese combine to create an easy and delicious treat. 

31 Days:: 7 Alternative Sources for Herbs and Spices

Spices can transform an ordinary piece of chicken into a mouth-watering morsel...but at a cost!  Spices are not cheap, particularly at the grocery store.  Coupons and sales will occasionally coincide to give you a good deal on a jar or two, but I hardly ever buy spices from the grocery store anymore. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days:: Go Paperless

I've read articles on creating a paperless kitchen, and the idea intrigues me.  Yes, you have to spend money to save money (by investing in plastic plates, extra rags, cloth napkins, and more).  But then again, not having to buy paper plates appeals to me.  They always seem so pricey for something we just throw them away! 

You don't have to go "hard-core" to go paperless.  Pick one place to start and see how it goes. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days:: A Giveaway!

(Update:  This giveaway is now closed!)

Yesterday, I told you that one of the ways you could save money on kitchen gadgets was to enter a giveaway.  Today, I'm pleased to announce that I am giving away some of my favorite kitchen tools!  They are...a brand-new Rada Cutlery Regular Paring Knife and a brand-new Rada Cutlery Vegetable Peeler (both with the black, stainless steel resin handle).

Rada Cutlery is an American company that uses all American materials to produce their knives and other kitchen tools.  Their kitchen tools are commonly sold as fundraisers for church and school groups, and can also be found at various flea markets.  In addition, you can order them direct from Rada.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days:: 7 Ways To Save Money on Kitchen Gadgets

I don't know about you, but I have much more than just food in my kitchen.  Cookie sheets, a stand mixer, good knives, a pancake flipper, and more are all essential to my time in the kitchen.  Here are a few ways to save on non-food items:

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days:: Aldi, Part Two

This is Part Two of a guest post by Bobbi over at Favorite Family Foods.  Don't miss Part One!

A few more interesting things about Aldi:
  • Fit & Active food line is Aldi's line of healthier foods. This makes it easy to feed your family well without paying more.
  • "Special Buy" items are the different buys that Aldi offers weekly.  Sometimes the special buys are food, sometimes they are utensils, sometimes they are toys. These items are available only while supplies last and Aldi CAN limit how many you buy.  You can find out about these Special Buy items by checking out the sale ad at the store, or online at    
  • Seasonal items are items that are only available during a certain season. A few examples:  marinades and dry salad dressing packs are available in the summer, pumpkin and apple pie filling in the fall, and when the holidays are near there will be plenty of baking powder, cocoa and corn syrup to buy.  If you see something you love and it says "seasonal" on the price tag, be sure to stock up!  It just might not be there the next time you come!

31 Days: Aldi, Part One:

The following is Part One of a guest post from Bobbi over at Favorite Family Foods.  I asked her to write this article because she is the expert on all things Aldi!  I'll post two articles today as part of my 31 Days series, since I don't post on Sundays.
Thank you, Lisa, for inviting me to do a guest post about Aldi during your 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen series! I am honored and happy to share my Aldi tips.
Maybe some of you are unfamiliar with Aldi, but are curious about it.  Or maybe you are a regular Aldi shopper and can share your own advice or favorite things about Aldi with us!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

On Vacation

Hello All,

There will be no new recipes or Recipe Round-up this weekend, because I'm on my way home from Iowa right now.

Come back on Monday for more of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.  Recipe Round-up and (hopefully!) a new recipe will be back next weekend :)

Thanks for reading!

31 Days:: Lift the Flap

As I push a cart up and down the aisles of my grocery store, I am surrounded by little signs that scream "Sale!", "Price Drop!" or "In-Store Special!"  Those little signs list the sale price, and in many grocery stores, they are arranged in such a way that they cover the original price.  Sometimes the signs play fair and they tell you how much you are saving ("Save .30"), but other times, you're on your own.  Do yourself a favor and lift the sale flap.  You might be surprised at what can be called a sale!

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days:: Make the Most of Your Meat: A Guest Post

We've already talked about serving some meatless meals.  (And all the husbands say "What?!?!?")  But sometimes, you (or they) just aren't willing to go that far.  You want to include some meat in your meal, but you also want to keep your grocery bill down.  Is it possible to eat meat and still eat on the cheap?  Of course!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days:: Go Meatless

As you probably know, meat is (usually) the most expensive component of any meal.  If you leave it out, you'll save money.  Simple, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days:: 8 Ways To Save Money on Beverages

Water is the cheapest ~ and healthiest ~ beverage available.  However, most of us drink more than just water.  Here are a few ways to save money on drinks:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days:: Costco, Part Three: What I Buy

[This is Part Three of a Costco mini-series.  Part One and Part Two appeared yesterday.]
OK, drumroll, please...
What follows is THE LIST.  This list was created after I had a few people ask me "What do you buy at Costco?"  I've emailed this list to at least 10 people over the last couple years, and each time I send it out, I add a few more things to it...because I keep finding more great deals at Costco.  This list is also the result of conversations with other Costco members over the years.  I'll randomly ask other people the same question..."What do you buy at Costco?"  If they mention something that I haven't tried yet, I'll often price-check it and then purchase it if it's a good price on something I use regularly.  
Some items are followed by an explanation, some are not.  If there is no explanation, it means that, plain and simple, the item is cheaper at Costco than it is if I would have bought it at Aldi, or on sale with a coupon at Meijer.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days:: Costco, Part Two: 10 Tips for Shopping at Costco

[You can find Part One of the Costco mini-series here.]

[I did not publish an article on Sunday, so I'm posting two articles today as part of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.]

Now that I've convinced you to join Costco (right?), here's what you need to know about shopping there:

31 Days:: Costco, Part One: The Good and the Not-So-Good

[Please note: I did not publish an article yesterday, so today you'll see two articles as part of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.]

Those of you who have asked for more articles about Costco and Aldi will (hopefully!) appreciate the articles that will be published this week and next.  Today and tomorrow, I'll give you the lowdown on Costco.  And next week Monday, I'll publish two guest posts that will cover all things Aldi.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 10/14/12 - 10/20/12)

Here's (the short version of) what you can make with what's on sale at Meijer this week:

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

[This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 10/14/12 - 10/20/12]

I love this variation on the classic chicken noodle soup.  It's creamy and cheesy, but still packed full of veggies.  I'm sure it's not nearly as healthy as the original, but of course, that's probably why it tastes so good :)  Pair it with a loaf of homemade bread for the perfect supper after a chilly fall day!

31 Days:: Find a Buddy

[Please note:  I will not post the next article in this series until which time you will see two articles.]

Wow, saving money can be a lot of work!  I think it's about time for me to give you an easier task.

Partnering up with a friend is an easy, fun way to Save Money in the Kitchen.  It can be as simple as tipping each other off to that great deal you found.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Days:: Buy Generic

Most stores carry their own brand of almost every product, in addition to stocking the national name brands.  Sometimes you can tell a difference between the two, but most of the time the taste, texture, and smell of the store brand (or generic) are almost identical to the national brand.

In addition to being just as (or almost as) good as name-brand products, store-branded products are usually cheaper.  That is, when you compare the regular prices. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days:: Substitute on the Fly

How many times haven't you been in the middle of making supper, only to realize that you are missing an ingredient?  Or there's this yummy-looking recipe on Pinterest that you just can't wait to try, but it calls for some weird, random ingredient that you don't have in the house.  You could just quick run out to the store a minute, right?  While you're there, you'll see that your kids' favorite cookies are on sale, and "oh that's right, I should pick up another package of hotdog buns," and before you know it you're spending $ addition to the gas you spent getting to the store.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days:: Package Your Own Snacks

Those individual bags of chips and miniature cookies are so convenient, aren't they?  They almost make me look forward to making lunches!  Oh, wait, I guess I won't go that far!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Days:: Slice, Dice, and Chop

Diced ham, in perfect little 8 oz packages.  A plastic bowl in the produce cooler with a pretty arrangement of cut up strawberries and pineapple.  Bags of torn lettuce, all washed and ready to go. 

It's convenient, right?  But almost without fail, it's more expensive than chopping it yourself.  I've used those bags of lettuce myself.  But not the ham.  Never the ham.  Do you know how much that ham is?  I found it on sale for $2.49 for an 8 oz package.  That's $5.00 a pound!  Gulp.  A nice, boneless ham (see, you don't even have to cut around the bone!) is $1.99/pound regular price.  Pick it up on sale and you'll save yourself even more!

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days:: Make the Most of Your Produce

Last week, we talked about ways to bring home the healthy stuff without spending a mint.  Today, we're going to talk about what happens after you get your fruits and veggies home.  

Here are a few things you can do to make the most of that cheap produce:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 10/7/12 - 10/13/12)

Planning your menu around sale items is a great way to Save Money in the Kitchen!  Here are some things you can make with what's on sale:

31 Days:: Produce Drawer Quesadillas

[This recipe was first posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 10/7/12 - 10/13/12.  It's also part of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.]

This delicious version of quesadillas was created one night when I emptied out my vegetable drawer.  I had little bit of a lot of different that was what went into the quesadillas.  Making quesadillas is a great way to use up bits and pieces of vegetables (or other leftovers) before they go bad.   For that reason, I'm including this recipe as part of 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen.  Oh, and it just so happens that the ingredients I used in our quesadillas are on sale at Meijer this week :)  We loved this combination of vegetables, but feel free to customize it and use whatever you have in your produce drawer!

31 Days:: 7 Ways to Save on Produce

We all know that we should include plenty of fruits and vegetables in our diets.  But sometimes the healthy stuff is more expensive than junk food!  Is it possible to eat healthy and not blow your grocery budget?  Of course!

Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days:: Time is Money

We've nailed down the basics:  sales, coupons, and menu-planning.  We have a whole lot more to talk about.  But before we move on, I want to remind you that (almost) every suggestion I give you, every idea I have, every tip I share...will take time. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days:: Menu-Planning, Part Two

Yesterday, I convinced you to start planning your meals, right?  Because menu-planning saves money, right?  So now that you're convinced (ha ha!), you're ready to sit down and start planning.  But sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Don't worry...there's not really a wrong way to do it!   Simply taking the time to plan your dinners is the first step towards saving money!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days:: Menu-planning, Part One

[Find Part Two of this article here.]

Good Morning!  Do you know what you're having for supper tonight?  Menu-planning (or meal-planning, as some call it) is foundational when it comes to saving money in the kitchen.

How does menu-planning help you save money?

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days:: Maximize Your Coupons, Minimize Your Time

Using coupons is a great way to cut your grocery spending.  Clipping, organizing, and utilizing coupons can be time-consuming, but there are ways to reduce the time spent on coupon-related tasks.

(OK, bear with me...this is kind of long.  I almost split it into two posts, but I'm anxious to get beyond sales and coupons, so I put everything coupon-related into one article!)

31 Days:: The Basics

If you're a novice at slashing your grocery spending, then this post is for you :)  If you're an expert at saving money in the kitchen, then please add your own "basics" in the comments!

Here are the basics, in a nutshell: