Make 10 Organic Freezer Meals from Costco in 60 Minutes!

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Kelly from New Leaf Wellness shows you how to make 10 Organic Freezer Meals from Costco in just 60 minutes.

Here’s what she made:

  • Two freezer bags of Italian chicken
  • Two freezer bags of Asian chicken and vegetable potstickers
  • Two freezer bags of crockpot “Monster” burgers
  • Four freezer bags of hearty tomato vegetable soup – two with chicken and two with beef

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Head on over to Kelly’s site for more details, the price breakdown, and to see pictures of the finished and cooked meals that she served her family.

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Gretchen’s $44 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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Walmart

2 cartons Strawberries – $1.29 each

1 pkg Celery – $0.69 (Price matched to Aldi)

1 Cantaloupe – $1.29 (Price matched to Aldi)

1.03 lbs Asparagus – $0.71 (Price matched to Aldi’s $0.69/lb)

Total with tax ($0.40): $5.67

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1 Bar Keepers Friend – $1.50, used $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

1 Glad Cling Wrap – $2, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

2 Lance Cracker Packs – $1.67 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – $0.67 each after coupon

2 Rosarita Refried Beans – $1 each, used $0.40/2 printable (doubled) – $0.60 each after coupon

2 Kellogg’s Cocoa Rice Krispies – $2.50 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – $1.50 each after coupon (Buy 2, Receive Free Jet Puffed Marshmallows)

1 Jet-Puffed Marshmallows – $1.50, Bought 2 Cocoa Krispies – Free after sale

6 Hiland Yogurts – $0.44 each, used $1/6 printable (doubled) – $0.11 each after coupon

2 Red Bell Peppers – $0.33 each, Received $0.25 back from Checkout 51 – $0.20 each after rebate

1 Sargento Shredded Cheese – $2, used $0.50/1 printable (doubled) – $1 after coupon

Total with tax ($1.10) after coupons, sales and rebate: $8.67

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Dillons

2 gallons Dillons Milk – $1.99 each

1 bag Kroger Spinach – $2.50

1 Jello Pudding – $0.89

2 dozen Dillons Eggs – $0.99 each, received $0.50 rebate from Ibotta – $0.74 each after rebate

1 Kroger Dishwasher Detergent – $3.49, used $2/1 mailer coupon – $1.49 after coupon

1 Dishsoap – $0.99, received $0.25 rebate from Ibotta – $0.74 after rebate

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

1 bag Kroger Flour – $1.49

1 Turkey Hill Ice Cream – Marked down to $1.92

2 Cucumbers – $0.50 each

2 Green Peppers – $0.50 each

1 Kroger Applesauce – $2.19

Items a part of the Mega Sale (Buy 10, Get $5 off):

1 Fritos Chips – $1.49

2 Bic Razors – $2.49 each, used 2 $3/1 coupon from the 3/8 SmartSource insert – Free plus overage after coupons

2 Prego Spaghetti Sauce – $1.49 each, used $0.40/2 coupon from the 3/1 SmartSource insert – $1.29 each after coupon

2 half gallons Kroger Orange Juice – $0.88 each

1 Nature Valley Loaf Bread – $1.49

2 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $0.88 each

Total with tax ($2.59) after coupons, sales and rebates: $30.15

Total for all grocery items: $44.49 

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Toast & Eggs x 3

Cereal x 2

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake, Orange Juice, Fruit

Oatmeal with Strawberries

Lunches

Baked Potatoes, Oranges

Turkey/Cheese/Crackers/Veggies x 2

Peanut Butter Quesadillas, Celery

Lunch at our friend’s house

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

Leftovers

Tossed Salad/Spinach Smoothies x 5 (for me)

Dinners

Bean and Rice Soup, Biscuits

Venison Roast, Carrots, Potatoes, Banana Fudge Muffins

French Toast, Eggs, Bacon, Juice

Chicken Noodle Casserole, Tossed Salad, Peas

Chicken Fajitas, Fruit

Build Your Own Haystacks

Date Night (We’re celebrating our 6-year engagement anniversary this week!) :)

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7 Ways to Save on Organic Groceries (No Coupons Required!)

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Guest post from Molly of Perfect Pea

It’s no surprise that there is a consumer demand for organic food — with sales of organic food enjoying double-digit growth year over year.

But with cost of organic food being 10-30% higher than the conventional alternatives (based on USDA estimates), organic food can break the budget very quickly.

Since not all of us have the time or space to plant gardens, and farmers markets aren’t usually year-round, many of us are left paying higher prices at the grocery store during “off season”.

If that sounds like you, here are 7 tips to save on organic food at the good old grocery store:

1. Focus on the Worst Offenders

Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists are a great place to start when trying to focus your organic purchases. These lists will help you steer clear of the stuff with the most pesticides, and save money buying conventional when it comes to the cleanest fruits and veggies.

2. Search for Seasonal

Buying berries in December can be brutal on your budget. But look for produce that’s in your local growing season, and you can save big on the organic options.

3. Look for Local

Know which grocery stores stock local and price compare with the imported alternatives. Sometimes you can rake in dramatic savings on organic goods when you’re not paying the added packaging and transportation cost of food. However, this is not always the case, so be sure to look closely!

4. Buy the Bag

Bulk purchases can mean big savings. For example, just one organic apple may seem outrageous, but right next to it might be a bag full at a big discount.

Be sure, however, to purchase only what you’ll eat. Even if it means adjusting your menu plan for the week, if you’re not going to use it all of what you buy, chances are you’ll wind up wasting money.

5. Minimize Meat and Dairy

Adding lots of organic meat and dairy to your shopping cart is a quick way to skyrocket your grocery bill. Since buying conventional versions of these ingredients may mean exposure to chemicals you’d rather avoid, try cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption all together so you can select organic, knowing you’ll use these ingredients more as a side dish than the main entrée.

6. Find Frozen Fruit and Veggies

Fruit and veggie smoothies are a great way to get your greens all year round. However, buying these ingredients organic 12 months a year isn’t always realistic.

Before abandoning produce all together, take a look in the frozen section and you may be surprised to find organic, frozen alternatives can mean fantastic savings.

7. Compare with Conventional

Believe it or not, buying conventional over organic isn’t always cheaper! Although avocados are on the clean fifteen list, sometimes the organic alternatives sitting right next to them in the produce section are actually cheaper! In this case, you may want to opt for the organic option.

What are your tips for frugal organic finds?

Molly writes for Perfect Pea, a food blog focused on making dinnertime healthier, more fun, and less stressful for families who already have enough on their plates. Perfect Pea’s quick and easy recipes, dinnertime activities, and informative food facts help families avoid the bad stuff like processed foods, get more of the good stuff like fresh, organic vegetables, and have fun bringing family time back to the dinner table.

photo source

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Two books I read this past week + the BIG stack of books I’m currently reading

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I’m SO excited that this gem showed up in my mailbox this week! Rachel’s book, Hands Free Mama, was a game-changer for me as a wife and mom and I can’t WAIT to dive into this pre-release copy of her brand-new book. I’m prepping myself to be highly challenged and convicted again!

2 Books I Read This Week

How Do I Get It All Done? And Still Have Time to Enjoy It? — This was not an “I have it all figured out, come learn from me” book, but a “Come learn alongside me as I’m figuring it out” kind of book. And I found it inspiring and thought-provoking.

It’s a quick read and there are some typos in it, but overall, it’s a great book if you’re struggling with prioritizing and time management. Lots of great refresher ideas and motivation. I especially loved these three quotes:

So the first step in getting it all done is to define ‘it all’. This is the act of very purposefully defining your priorities, as well as discovering your unique gifts and talents and how God wants you to use them. It’s all too easy to get distracted into doing those things that are not for you to do. You must know what it is that you are to be about in order to do those things well.
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When God gives you an assignment, he doesn’t leave you alone, he equips you with whatever you need to accomplish what he had called you to do.
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Whenever you choose to do something, you choose not to do something else.

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Lizzy & Jane — I really enjoyed this book. It was well-written, engaging, and just an all-around great read. It makes you want to read Jane Austen and become a better cook!

Speaking of which, I’m not a foodie and have only read a little bit of Jane Austen, so if I enjoyed the book, I think those of you who love Austen and/or food-related books will especially find this a good read.

As I’ve just walked through Michele’s cancer journey with her, I found the sections on chemo and the losses and grief related to cancer to be very authentic and real — and something that would be helpful to those who are trying to understand what it’s like to go through chemo treatments and to experience the heavy losses and hard burdens that cancer can bring.

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11 Books I’m Reading This Week:

The Green Ember — This read aloud has come highly recommended to us by multiple sources and, so far, we’re really enjoying it. It is well-written and keeping all of my kids on the edges of their seats.

Dear Mr. Knightley — My friend, Lisa-Jo, says that I must, must, MUST read this book. And considering how much I enjoyed Lizzy & Jane (by the same author), I’m pretty positive she’s right. :)

The Meaning of Marriage — I’m reading through this with my friend, Allison, as part of our weekly accountability meetings. We’re aiming for two chapters every week and then we’ll discuss it when we meet.

Galatians for You — And another Tim Keller book! This one is what we’re going through in our new Community Group. Again, we’re doing just a few chapters every week and discussing them when we meet. So far, it’s been really good.

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Their Lives and Your Life — This is a devotional I’m currently reading with the kids. My mom gave it to me awhile back, if I’m remembering correctly.

Parenting the Wholehearted Child — Can I be really honest with you? Parenting books aren’t my favorite genre. In fact, I typically steer clear of them.

I was raised in an age and culture where many families followed parenting books and discipline plans to a tee and, well, much of the fruit from all that didn’t turn out so great. It left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole “follow steps A, B, and C as a parent and you’ll be a Godly family/good parent” etc.

So yes, I kinda prefer to stay far away from anything that remotely resembles a system or method of parenting. Because I truly have come to believe that there are no one-size-fits-all plans.

At any rate, I was hesitant to start this book because it fell under the “parenting book” genre. But I’m so glad that I did. I’m two chapters in and it is honestly turning out to be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

I just want to sit and read the whole thing in one sitting. But on the other hand, I want to process it slowly so that I can take it all in!

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She Reads Truth Lent Study/Bible — I am loving the Lent study so far… as I have loved all the She Reads Truth studies. Seriously, one of the best things I’ve invested in for my personal spiritual development and relationship with God ever.

Stepping Heavenward — My friend, Allison Burr, loaned me this book and said it was one of her very favorites ever. Can you believe I’ve never read it? I’m working on remedying that stat.

Love Without Limits – For years, Nick Vujicic has been a huge inspiration to me. I was excited to see that he had gotten married and is a dad now and am looking forward to reading this book from he and his wife.

Long Walk to Freedom & Kaffir Boy — I’m slowly working through these as I seek to understand more about South African history.

See all the books I’ve read so far in 2015 here.

What did you read this past week? Any must-read book recommendations?

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Brigette’s $70 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

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Aldi

1 head Cabbage – $1.29

2 4-lb bags Oranges – $4.98

2 12-oz bags Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – $3.18

2 16-oz cartons Egg Whites – $3.98

1 2-lb bag Lemons – $2.29

2 3-ct pkgs Romaine Hearts – $3.98

1 2-lb bag Tilapia Filets – $5.49

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $1.39

1 24-oz pkg Zucchini – $1.99

2 dozen Eggs – $3.50

1 16-oz bag Wild Caught Salmon – $3.89

Total: $35.96

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Target

10 boxes Mom’s Best Cereal – $10.00

4 Up & Up 2-ct pkgs Cleaning Sponges – $4.16, used $3/4 Up & Up Cleaning Products/Tools printable – $1.16/4 after coupon

4 bags Market Pantry Frozen Broccoli – $3.84, used $1/4 Target Mobile coupon, plus 5% off Market Pantry Frozen Vegetables Target Cartwheel Offer – $2.69/4 after coupons

2 12-oz cans Nestle Evaporated Milk – $1.92, used $0.55/2 printable, plus $0.50/2 Target printable, plus receive $1 back from Checkout 51 – $0.13 MM after coupons and rebate (these got put in the Harris Teeter picture accidentally – I will blame it on multi-tasking and having my children help me with unloading groceries/taking pics :))

2 15-ct pkgs Juicy Fruit Starburst Gum – $1.98, used 2 $1/1 Target printable – FREE after coupons

Used a $5 Gift Card

Total after Coupons, Taxes, Gift Card and Rebate – $8.77 

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Harris Teeter

3 bottles Pantene Shampoo – $10.00, used $5/3 Pantene Products, exp. 4/30/15 (P&G 03/29/15), plus $5/3 Harris Teeter evic – FREE after coupons

2 boxes Betty Crocker Cake Mix – $2.00, used $0.75/2 printable (doubled), plus $0.75/2 Harris Teeter evic – $0.25 MM after coupons, plus receive $0.75 back from SavingStar

3 jars Skippy Natural Peanut Butter – $6.00, used 3 $0.55/1 printable (doubled) – $2.70/3 after coupons, plus receive $0.25 back from Ibotta

2 15-oz cans Dole Sliced Pineapple – $2.00, used $0.50/2 Dole Canned Fruit, exp. 5/31/15 (SS 03/22/15 R) (doubled) – $1.00/2 after coupon, plus receive $1 back from Snap by Groupon

1 McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning – $1.39, used $0.75/1 McCormick Spice, Herb, Extract or Food Color, exp. 4/19/15 (RP 03/15/15) (doubled) – FREE after coupon

1 2-ct package Hass Avocad0s – $1.67

2 8-oz bags Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Cheese – $4.00, used 2 $0.50/1 printable (doubled) – $2.00/2 after coupons

2 32-oz containers Sorrento Ricotta Cheese – $5.49, used 2 $1/1 printable – $3.49/2 after coupons

1 gallon Milk – $2.99, plus receive $0.25 back from Ibotta

Total after Coupons, Taxes, and Rebates – $8.95

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Save-A-Lot

2 5-lb bags Flour – $2.98

1 5-lb bag Golden Delicious Apples – $2.99, plus receive $0.25 back from Checkout 51 – $2.74 after rebate

1 5-lb bag Granny Smith Apples – $2.99

Total after Rebate: $8.71

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Food Lion

3.56lbs of Ground Beef (@$2.49/lb) – $8.86 (also pictured is 5lbs of ground beef given to us this week by our retired butcher friend!)

Total: $8.86   

Weekly Total: $70.98

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Cereal x 3

Easy Whole Wheat Muffins/Toast and Eggs x 2 (Veggie Omelettes for me)

Apple Baked Oatmeal (adapting this recipe) x 2

Lunches

Stir Fried Veggies over Rice, Apples x 2

Build-Your-Own-Tossed Salad Bar x 2, Crackers

Baked Potatoes with Cheese, Oranges, Carrot Sticks x 2

Leftovers

Dinners

Pan Fried Tilapia, Crispy Carrot Fries (substituting carrots for the sweet potatoes), Steamed Broccoli, Homemade Freezer Biscuits (Easy Paleo Biscuits for me)

Chicken Gravy over Brown Rice, Tossed Salad, Steamed Peas

Meat Potato Quiche (using leftover ham from the freezer), Steamed Broccoli, Easy Whole Wheat Muffins (I will make a double batch to have leftovers for breakfasts)

Venison Roast in the Crockpot, Sliced Baked Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Bread (recipe coming soon!)

Taco Salad, Best Spanish Rice, Oranges

Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwiches (meatless), Homemade Applesauce, Green Beans (from the freezer)

Leftovers

Snacks

Protein Smoothies or Muffin in Mug (for me), Popcorn, Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars

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