admin / September 19, 2013

Saving With Coupons

September is all about coupons. With the price of just about everything increasing, including food, using coupons can stretch your budget even more.

On some of my trips to the supermarket I won’t buy anything unless I have a coupon or it’s on sale and it’s amazing how much you can save.
Here are some of my coupon tips I’ve stumbled upon over the years-

Meal Planning
If you’re in the mood for some real penny pinching, plan meals around the coupons you have on hand. I’ve used coupons for tacos, refried beans, pizza, frozen potatoes, soup etc. Some of these meals have become favorite standbys even when I don’t have coupons for them. It’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen too.

Combine Deals
Supermarkets are getting kinder to us and they usually put on sale at least a few items that have corresponding coupons. It’s the perfect way to save even more. And sometimes with a little homework on your part you can find combo deals yourself. Sometimes I’ve found toothpaste I’ve ended up paying just five cents for. And if you need some help, check out this site http://www.freecoupons.com/blog/store-deals/

Double Coupon Day
For years I was envious when I heard people say their local store had double coupon days. Finally a store very close to where I live started Double Coupon Wednesday. Just five coupons and nothing over a dollar, but if you pick the right item and it’s something you need, you save a lot. Check out stores in your area for similar deals.

Stock Up The Pantry
Coupons are a great opportunity to stock up the pantry on things like ketchup, butter, flour etc.

Wait For the Holidays
I’ve found that some of my best couponing days are during the holidays when lots of things go on sale. And an added plus is once again they’re for items I can store in the pantry or in the freezer for year round use.

Put Some of the Budget Aside
I always spend about ten dollars on buying items with correspondings coupons that I can save and store. A good pick are non-perishables like dishwashing liquid or tissues. You know the prices are going up so it’s a good way to beat the increase.

Not Just Groceries
Coupons aren’t just for food items. I use coupons for hair salons, restaurants, cinemas, etc. More companies are using them and if you search online you’re likely to find one you can use. Check out this site http://www.retailmenot.com/

Where You Find Them
I no longer receive a Sunday paper so I’ve been using sites like Coupons.com, also lots of food packages have coupons on the back or inside that you can clip.

And here are a couple of links to sites that are useful in tracking down even more coupons. The first one gives you a preview of what will be in the upcoming Sunday paper…great way of planning meals ahead of the shopping trip. And the second one is a site that lets you print coupons-

http://www.freecoupons.com/sunday-insert-grocery-coupons/
<a
href=”http://www.grocerycouponcart.com/subscribe”>http://www.grocerycouponcart.com/subscribe

admin / September 16, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Stuffed Peppers with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Homemade Pita Chips

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Last week was all about peppers. I had red and green peppers, hot peppers, lipstick peppers…you get the picture. After an hour or so roasting them, drying them, and chopping them to put in the freezer for fall and winter eating, I still had too many peppers. As I always do, I checked what other ingredients I had on hand and brainstormed what I could make. This is the result. Peppers stuffed with a mixture of lentils, rice, and newly purchased dried apricots, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and served with homemade pita chips.

For the stuffed peppers-
6 peppers, your choice. I used smaller red ones and the larger size green lipstick variety
1 cup cooked rice (I always use brown)
1 cup lentils ( I used brown because I had some sitting the freezer but I think red ones would work well too)
1 onion, chopped and divided
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch of salt, pepper and cinnamon
oil for cooking

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
(remaining half of the onion)
Good sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder and depending on how spicy you like your food, red pepper flakes
oil for cooking

For the Pita Chips
4 whole wheat tortillas, cut into triangles
cooking spray
salt and pepper
some cumin or if you can find it, smoked cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and cut the tops off the peppers and remove the membranes and seeds. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Cook for about ten minutes or until lightly softened and slightly charred. Set aside while you make the filling.

Over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant. Add half of the onion and sauté until softened and golden brown. Add the lentils, rice and apricots and then the salt and pepper and cinnamon. Continue cooking for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Cool slightly.

Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

Stuff each pepper with the stuffing mixture. (For the long thin peppers I find the end of a wooden spoon is great for pushing the mixture to the very tip).

Place peppers in the casserole dish and set aside.

Over medium high heat, warm another two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the onions and cook until softened. Add the tomato sauce and stir in the garlic, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat through and then pour onto the peppers in the casserole dish.

Cover the dish with foil and cook for about 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the sauce is bubbling.

For the pita chips-
Place the tortilla triangles on a couple of baking sheets and coat each one with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and cumin and bake at 375 degrees for about ten minutes or until they are hardened. Serve immediately with the stuffed peppers.

Serves 4-6

admin / September 9, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Smoky Black Bean and Red Pepper Burger with Tomato and Corn Relish

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One thing that budget and vegetarian recipes have in common is the need for something to give them a little more pizzazz. So on each visit to the supermarket, one of my goals is to find a new ingredient that will do just that. My latest find was smoked cumin. It’s sat on the pantry shelf for a few weeks but I’ve been itching to give it a test drive. Last week I thought I’d add it to this recipe. Don’t worry if you can’t find the smoked variety, regular cumin is fine too.

The relish part of this recipe was inspired by the cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and ears of corn in last week’s CSA box. I think they are a perfect match for a black bean burger.

For the Burger
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten ( I found this holds the mixture together better than flour but if you can’t find it, use flour)
oil of sauteeing

For the Relish
3 ears of corn, remove corn from cobs
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
Handful of cilantro (more or less, depending on your love of this herb)
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

For the burger-
Put the black beans, egg, breadcrumbs into a food processor.
In a skillet over medium high heat, heat oil and then add chopped peppers and onions and cook until slightly golden.
Add the cumin, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and the paprika and cook the mixture for another five minutes, making sure everything is well incorporated into the peppers and onions.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Add the mixture to the beans in the food processor and pulse until everything pulls together.
Put mixture into fridge and let it cool for about ten minutes.
Remove and make the burger patties. ( I made 7 from this mixture but depending on how big or small you want them, it will vary.
Place the burgers on a plate and let sit in the fridge while you make the relish.

For the relish

In a glass dish add the corn, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper and stir together. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

In the same skillet you cooked the peppers and onions, over medium high heat, heat the oil, and cook the burgers for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately with some of the relish on the side.

Serves 4-5

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