Friday, February 19, 2010

Favorite Things: Desserts for Under $1 (or almost!)

I love baking. And I love it when cake and brownie mixes are on sale for $.69. I always stock up. Why? Who doesn't love fresh baked brownies? Or a strawberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting? All yours for under $1. Imagine 24 cupcakes for just $.69! Sure beats those cupcakes that are $4 each! Add some frosting and sprinkles to something homemade with love. Priceless.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deal of the Day: Spring Fling on Land's End

Just like their St. Nick's Picks in December, Lands' End is now offering daily deals under the title Spring Fling. Today's deal featured men's and women's tank tops and tees for $10. While you are on the website, check out their new Canvas line, featuring some classic summer staples. Good prices, great quality ... that's what I call Cheap and Cheerful

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Favorite Things: "Birthday for Frances" Bows

We have a little tradition in our family based on the children's book Birthday for Frances. If you are the sibling of the birthday boy or girl, you get a small "Frances" gift to drown the sorrow that it is not your special day. Today, our "it's not my birthday" girl got a hula hoop but I really wanted to get her some custom bows from Etsy. Click here and here and here if you love hair bows for girls. For $5 or less, they make a perfect treat for the special girl in your life.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: Do you do "Frances" gifts? If so, what are your favorite ones to give?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grocery Game: Good Deals All Around

To illustrate how you can plan a menu and spend about $100 per week for a family of four, I present a few "finds" from my shopping trip this week. Safeway had some great deals that fit in nicely with items we had on hand so I spent $129 and shopped for almost 2 weeks! I may need to fill in with a small trip for milk, fruit, and bread but we have plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner items to last 12 to 14 days.

Here's our dinner menu for the next 10 days (with 2 nights for leftovers built in):

Homemade pizza and salad: only needed to buy lettuce, all other ingredients on hand

Turkey Tacos: buy one get, one free ground turkey, tortillas on sale for $1.99, all other ingredients on hand

Turkey Burgers and Asparagus "Fries": buns on sale for $1.99, asparagus on sale for $1.79 per pound, Lipton Onion soup mix to flavor meat on sale for $1.59

Spaghetti with meat balls and green beans: had all ingredients on hand

Breakfast for dinner: buy one, get one free eggs and bacon!, potatoes for $.99 per pound

BBQ chicken and corn: had all ingredients on hand except for corn

Panini: use ingredients from pizza night, sourdough bread on sale for $1.99

Bean Tostadas and Corn Salsa: refried beans for $1, red bell pepper $.99, had all other ingredients on hand

Other two dinners from freezer meals: sausage and peppers, ravioli or tamales

Other great deals:

Cake mix: $.69 (usually $2.15)

Icing: $1.35 (usually $2.85)

Crispix: $1.88

Yoplait yogurt: $.50

Gala apples: $.79 per pound

Bananas: $.75 per pound

I think my new challenge should be to spend only $75 a week!

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What great grocery deals have you seen lately?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Favorite Things: Puff the Magic Dragon

This beautifully illustrated book, with companion CD, will warm your heart. I have such great memories of the song from my own childhood and I have really enjoyed sharing this book with my children. You can find it here for less than $15 from several online booksellers or take a walk and see if your favorite neighborhood shop has it on hand. Relive a little magic; invite Puff back into your life. (And keep some Kleenex close by the first time you read it. Just in case.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: A Valentine's Day Dessert

Is there anything better than a little strawberry shortcake on Valentine's Day! I think not. Use a heart shape cookie cutter to form the cakes for extra sweetness.

10 oz. strawberries (one large container, sliced in half)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or more if you like lots of strawberry "sauce")

1/3 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon coarse decorating sugar (or granulated sugar if you can't find this type)
3/4 cup whipping cream (Fresh is best -- Add vanilla and a dash of confectioner's sugar to heavy whipping cream. Whip in a chilled metal bowl.)

Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
In medium bowl, cut butter into flour, 1/3 cup sugar, the baking powder and salt, using pastry blender or 2 forks, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in milk. Place on lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 7 times or until dough forms. Pat dough 1/2 inch thick; cut out 12 rounds with 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush egg yolk over rounds; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. In chilled small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries between halves and over tops. Top with whipped cream and additional strawberries. (And additional whipped cream!)


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