Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In honor of the first day of Fall

my first soup recipe of the season. Tonight I made Cheesy Ham & Potato soup using ingredients that I had in my pantry and fridge/freezer. It was absolutely delicious but I need to figure out how to keep the potatoes from getting so mushy they fall apart. If you have any suggestions leave a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you! I am sharing this recipe because even with crumbly potatoes it was so yummy!

Cheesy Ham & Potato Soup

4 cups chicken stock (I use homemade)
1 cup water
4-5 medium potatoes
1/2 of a ham steak (packaged slice of ham)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can of milk
shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat the chicken stock and water over medium-high heat to boiling. Add garlic powder, onion powder and paprika to stock. If you use low sodium stock you may need to add salt or you can adjust the seasonings in the end. While the stock is heating dice the potatoes. Add to the stock and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Add the cheddar cheese soup and milk. Cook until warmed through. Serve sprinkled with cheddar cheese.

I hope you make this and enjoy!

I calculated in my head how much this cost for 6 servings and it is around $4.00 so if you can get the ingredients on sale you have a very comforting and thrifty meal.

Drop what you are doing and go sign up for Vocalpoint

Let's talk about Vocalpoint today. I joined a few months ago after seeing posts about it on several of my favorite blogs and websites and really loved the idea of it. Vocalpoint sends out samples, high value coupons (sometimes even free item!) for you and also really great coupons for you to share. I love being a member of Vocalpoint because I have had the opportunity to try several really great products.

One of my favorites recently is Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal. My husband is anti-health food so I got him to try it and he LOVED it. He thinks it tastes like Captain Crunch. It is slightly sweet and crunchy and is also great for snacking on dry. I have loved handing out the coupons for that product for my friends and family to try because I know that I'm not only giving them the opportunity to try something really great, but that it is also good for them.

I highly encourage all of you to go to www.vocalpoint.com and sign up for this great site. The only thing that they ask of you is to pass on the coupons and to review the products on their site. I haven't been that great about reviewing the products on the site as I tend to be much more likely to tell everyone I know in real life when I like something but look for more product reviews on this site and I am going to try really hard to post more directly to the Vocalpoint website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Got a great Target coupon book in the mail today

I just got home from a great trip to Publix (more details later) and opened my mailbox to find a great coupon book from Target. All of the coupons expire 11/02/2009.

The book says Savor the Moment. Seize the Coupons. Here is what is inside:

$.75 off Tide laundry detergent (excludes trial size)
$.50 off Clorox bleach
$1.00 off Cottonelle (Bath tissue or flushable wipes)
$1.00 off Bounty paper towels
$1.50 off with the purchase of two Crest toothpastes (excludes trial size)
$1.00 off Dial (Bar soap or Body wash- excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 off with the purchase of two deodorants (Secret or Old Spice- excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 off with the purchase of two feminine care products (Always or Tampax-excludes trial sizes)
$.50 off Ziploc (bags or containers)
$1.00 off Swiffer (starter kit or refills)
$1.00 off 35-ct or larger Clorox disinfecting wipes
$1.00 off Right Guard deodorant (excludes trial sizes
$1.00 off multipack Extra gum
$1.00 off with purchase of two Ore-Ida frozen potatoes
$.50 off Kellogg's (cereal or Pop-Tarts)
$1.00 off Nestle Halloween bulk candy (shows large packages and note that it doesn't expire until after Halloween so you can wait until it goes on clearance!)
$1.00 off with purchase of two Suave hair care products (excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 off Neutrogena facial product (excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 off Iams (dry dog food or dry cat food)
$2.00 off 21-lb or larger Fresh Step scoopable cat litter
$2.00 off Purina ONE dry dog food
$1.00 off Purina ONE dry cat food
$1.00 off Purina dog treats
$1.00 off 13- or 30-oz Purina ONE wet dog food
$1.00 off Oral care product (1-liter or larger Listerine or Reach Total Care toothbrush or Reach Total Care floss-excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 off Hanes apparel (socks or underwear)
$1.00 off 6-ct or larger Market Pantry (Granola or cereal bars)
$1.00 off with purchase of two 8-oz or larger Archer Farms trail mixes
$1.00 off with purchase of three 8-oz. or larger Archer Farms chips
$1.00 off with purchase of two 64-oz Market Pantry juice drinks
$.75 off 11.25-oz or larger Market Pantry cereal
$.50 off Archer Farms salsa

I will do a little digging and see if I can figure out how I got this so that maybe you can get one too!

Did you get anything fun in the mailbox today? Leave me a comment and let me know!

September 21, 1989

Twenty years ago today in a tiny town in South Carolina a young girl looked out of the window at her grandparent's house across the land that she loved and watched as a terrible storm swept through the countryside. What she saw that night was only a tiny fraction of the impact that Hurricane Hugo would have on her state. As she ate pumpkin pie and watched Doogie Howser, M.D., the monster, as she would hear it called, was ripping apart homes, destroying landmarks and eroding the beaches that she loved.

She would get home a few days later and see that the fence in her yard had been knocked down, tree branches littered the yard and things just generally looked amiss. When she would exclaim "oh no the fence is down" her mother would remind her "be thankful that it was only the fence, some lost all."

Today this woman remembers those that lost all. Where is this woman twenty years later? She still lives in the Midlands of South Carolina, the land that she loves so much that it is a part of her. She is on constant alert during Hurricane season because she knows how much destruction one "storm" can cause. The mere sound of thunder leaves her with the desire to hide under her desk until it is all over. I carry this with me but I also carry a sense of gratitude that my family and loved ones escaped most of the harm of the storm.

I mourn for the lives lost, the families that lost everything that they had and for the historical monuments and artifacts that were lost in the storm that can never be replaced.

That is my Hugo story, most South Carolinians that lived here during that time have one. I invite you to share yours, if you are so inclined.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A great HomeGoods giveaway

Amy from Cheeky Monkey Play is giving away a $100.00 HomeGoods giftcard! Go to her website at: http://cheekymonkeyplay.blogspot.com/2009/09/homegoods-and-blogher.html and enter to win!

Good luck to you all!
The Diva

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers Sweet Hickory BBQ Chicken Product Review

Disclaimer: Healthy Choice has never heard of me. This is an unsolicited and unpaid review of a product that I had never tried, is fairly new and have not seen a review of. This is my opinion, hopefully Healthy Choice won't mind.

There is a great coupon out there right now (link below) to save $2.00 off a Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers. I bought 2 at Publix on Sunday. They were priced at 2/$5 ($2.50 each) so after my coupons I paid only $.50 each! Now that is what I call a cheap lunch!

I was in a hurry this morning so I didn't take the time to pack my lunch like I normally do and it was very convenient having this in my pantry to fall back on.

Here is what the front of the package looks like:
Apparantly I'm an idiot. I tried to upload a picture but it didn't work. I'll have hubby help me later. Picture to come!

The instructions call to add water to the rice at the bottom of the container and to steam in the microwave with the specially made top for 5 minutes. You then let it sit for one minute and then combine with the meat, veggie & sauce container that also comes in the package. You have the option of microwaving the meat, veggie & sauce container for 30 seconds. I chose to as I did not think that it would be very appetizing at room temperature.

Now here's what I think about it now that you have the background info: Was this gourmet? Absolutely not. Was it easy? You betcha. Was it satisfying? Yes. Was it as good as I can make at home? Oh no. Was I at home to make it? Nope. In other words, I wouldn't pull this out of the pantry for dinner one night just because I was feeling lazy, but for lunch on a lazy day it serves its purpose. It is good enough and worlds better than those nasty Ronzoni pasta pouches. Do not try those... I couldn't even finish the one I tried a few months ago and instead preferred just to go without lunch that day.

Here's a look at the nutritional information:

Not bad overall for this type of product. I would really like to see them do something with brown rice, but I understand that may be hard to do in a product like this where it is steamed in the microwave and time is of the essence. I certainly wouldn't want to wait half of my lunch break for my food to finish microwaving so I understand if they are unable to do so, but it would still be nice to have that option. :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The deals as I see them

I got my ads a day early this week so I'll share the potential really good deals as I look through them.

Piggly Wiggly (yes, that is the name):

Boston Butt Pork Roast $0.89/lb.
Ribeye Steak $4.99/lb.
Country Style Pork Ribs B1G1 (around $1.49/lb)
Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.99/lb
3 lb. bag of apples $1.99 (Gala, Gold or Red Delicious)
Loose Russet Potatoes $0.59/lb.
10 lb. bag Russet Potatoes $3.99
Kraft BBQ sauce 5/$5 (or $1/ea)

Food Lion:

Split Chicken Breasts $0.97/lb.
New York Strip Steak $4.99/lb.
50% off Smithfield Center Cut Ham Slices ($2.50/lb. after % off)
Country Style Pork Ribs $1.49/lb.
Chips Ahoy B1G1
Ground Turkey 20 ounce package $1.99 ($1.59/lb ish)
1 lb. package strawberries 2/$5 ($2.50/ea)
Buy One pound of Sara Lee Turkey get 1/2 pound of Sara Lee cheese for free (turkey costs $6.99/lb. after free cheese they each cost $4.66/lb.)

I am sure that there will be some more deals once coupons are figured into the scenarios.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It has been more than a year

I am a slacker. What can I say. I got busy and a day turned into a week then a month and now it has been more than a year. I have no doubt that I have disappeared from any google reader that I may have once appeared on, but I promise I'll be back and better than ever. I am going to have hubby teach me to put pictures in this thing. Also, this blog will reflect all of my interests, which now includes saving hundreds of dollars a month at the grocery store using coupons! I am going to post my shopping trips and tell you what coupons that I used to get those deals. Today I made two trips to Publix (one for me & one for mom) and I spent a total of $21.00 for over $110 worth of groceries. That is pretty significant savings.

I hope to be able to link to a few other sites where I get a lot of my information. I will be asking those blog authoresses in the next couple of days.

Here's to the future,
The Diva