Friday, December 31, 2010

To 2010...

Boy, how a year (or even a few months) changes things. This time last year, the new year meant finishing up college; going on trips; and enjoying, what I now realize as, a lot of freedom. I was about to start the easiest but most time consuming (in a good way) semester of my life with 12 hours of classes and an internship in Jackson two days a week. Just a meer 12 months later? The last day of the year means grocery shopping because a ton of coupons expire today and cleaning out the leaves in the ditch in my front yard before the garbage men come. Weird, huh?

So, in honor of 2010, here's my last shopping trip of the year...

Swiffer Sweeper Dry Cloths 32 ct., $.50/1 (doubled) [was on sale, making it the price of the box half the quantity]
Sprite Zero, $.75/1 Catalina coupon
5 lb. box of clementines
Crest Mouthwash, $2/1 coupon
Goat cheese
Baby spring mix
Dannon Light and Fit yogurt tub
Kashi Go Lean Cereal, $3/1 coupon
(2) Kroger cheeses, B1G1
Kitchen sponge
Secret deodorant, $.50/1 (doubled)
Dawn Hand Renewal, $.25/1 (doubled) + $.50/1 Kroger e-coupon
Hillshire Farms Turkey

Total Value: $60.23
Total Spent: $35.66
Total Saved: $24.57 (41%)

This total made me cringe just a little bit because of my two "big ticket" items (Swiffer refills and clementines, each $5 after all deals) and because I know there are coupons for Dannon and Hillshire Farms, but I got caught off guard because the products I wanted were sold out! I guess that's the downside of actually shopping on New Years Eve. OK, so I may have only saved $2, but you know me.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the year! See you in 2011.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Oh Babalu, could you be any better?

The guacamole is still my favorite. I've got to try to make it at home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 27, 2010

I hope you had a Merry Christmas! We had a great time at my parents' house.

On Christmas Eve, we had our traditional dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. My mom always does the decorations for the tables and I love the fresh eucalyptus we found to use this year!

Spike was having a great time Christmas Day sitting in the middle of us and the wrappings. Gotta love a happy pug!

Yesterday we actually saw FLURRIES! To see anything remotely close to snow in Mississippi is amazing, so this was exciting. Still can't beat that snow we had in February.

Now I'm cleaning the house, packing up the Christmas decorations and enjoying my coffee from one of the cups Cary gave me for Christmas from IKEA!

Happy Monday guys!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Me + Chocolate = Happy

There's nothing better than chocolate during Christmas, especially if it's small pieces and put in a calendar to heighten the anticipation. Every year for as long as I can remember, my family has always had a Chocolate Advent Calendar to help count down to Christmas. Since there are 3 of us girls in the family, my mom would have to get a Sharpie and initial each day in rotation, so we each got chocolate on the third day (thank goodness the calendar has 24 days so it could evenly be distributed). I could go on and on about the years we had these, from us being extra gracious and cutting up our measly piece of chocolate so everyone could have a small bite, to the last year I was in high school and my mom bought us each our own calendar and we weren't as excited. The biggest rule about the calendar? You must show everyone your piece of chocolate before you eat it because each chocolate has a special imprint on it related to where it is on the big picture on the calendar.

Now that I'm on my own, I still have to have my calendar. When I saw Fresh Market putting them out (before Halloween, mind you), I knew I had to have one.

So, every day, my roommate and I have been rotating chocolate days, noted by our own Sharpie marks.

Yep, we're cool like that. Can't believe there are only 3 more doors to open until Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pizza Pizza!

Oh, this pizza. I've made it before. (See here and here for past posts), but it only gets better and better.

Eggplant and tomato pizza with fresh mozzarella. It's a Pioneer Woman recipe and you can get it here. My only changes are instead of doing her crust, I use the canned Pillsbury crust and instead of olive oil on my eggplant, I use spray oil.

While her's looks a little "sparse" of toppings, I load on the good stuff. In my opinion, you can't have enough eggplant.

Bon appetit (and a wonderful Monday)!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just gotta tell you about two quick trips. First was actually a stop I made yesterday to Petsmart, a place you don't normally find good deals. I buy Kitty more expensive (compared to other, major name brand stuff) cat food, so I'm always hunting for coupons. Petsmart isn't the cheapest store and don't have sales as great as a grocery store, so any savings is appreciated. Using Southern Savers Coupon Trader forum, I snagged two $5 off coupons. With another coupon, I got this cheaper than the smaller bag, which is half the size!

(1) 5 lb bag Wellness dry cat food

-$5 coupon
-$3 Petsmart survey coupon (they've been having these on the bottom of the receipts)

Total Value: $22.25
Total Spent: $13.69
Total Saved: $8.56 (38%)

I also made a quick run to CVS. I have honestly been scared to do drugstore deals, but I can see how it can get addictive. The biggest point is to get the Extra Care Bucks and you can maximize your savings in a single trip by doing multiple transactions. The guy in front of me did the same thing and got 4, 12 packs of Coke for $6. It obviously does work. Still a little intimidated, but the CVS check out lady knows what we are doing and doesn't mind.

Transaction 1:
Thermacare Heat Wrap
-$1 coupon
Get back 2.79 Extra Care Bucks (like getting it for free, plus $1 overage)

Transaction 2:
2 Pantene Pro V products
-B1G1 FREE coupon
-$2.79 Extra Care Bucks

Total Value: $10.44
Total Spent: $3.17
Total Saved: $7.27 (70%)

If you now consider that I have $2 to use at CVS next time I shop, I really saved $9.27 or 89%!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Solstice, an update

Solstice was fabulous, as always. It always gets me in the holiday spirit. If you didn't already know, Candy is a fantastic cook and Solistice dinner is a work of art. While Candy handles the dinner menu, my mom and I brought Sausage Balls and Captain Rodney's dip, aka Crack Dip. Make it and you'll find out why.

Captain Rodney's Dip
8 0z pkg. (fat free) cream cheese
8 0z. bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (light) mayo
2 green onions, chopped
6 Ritz Crackers
8 strips (turkey) bacon
1/4 cup of Captain Rodney's glaze, your choice of flavor

All in parenthesis are my variation on the original. Mix first four ingredients together and spread in to an 8x8 pan. Crush and sprinkle Ritz crackers over the top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. While baking, cook bacon. After out of the oven, immediately pour glaze (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but to me that is wayyyy to much) and crumble bacon over the cheese mixture. This dip only gets better as it sits. Perfect hot or room temperature (or cold out of the fridge the next day, if you can manage to have any left). Serve with Frito Scoops.

We had quite the appetizer spread. Guacamole, salsa, dips, crackers, Chex Mix.

Here's the menu:
Asparagus Vinaigrette Salad
Standing Rib Beef Roast
Twice Baked Potatoes
Green Beans Almondine
Acorn Squash Rings

We have this same table setting every year. I love how is screams holiday.

Plating station

My plate. Ohhhh so good.

We always do poppers after dinner. The big joke about them is that one year, Candy bought a set that had "Adult hygiene" products. When we "popped" them, scissors and nail clippers went flying! This year, we had history themed ones, I believe. (I got a water squirting grenade)

Oh my goodness. If we weren't done already, there was dessert. While we opened gifts, my mom popped hot fudge pudding in the oven. It's actually pretty cool! See here for the recipe. There is a layer of batter and a layer of dry ingredients. You pour hot water over the top and bake, which creates a layer of pudding and a layer of cake. It may look super chocolatey, but it's actually a subdued sweet flavor, which a like.

Perfect end to a perfect day!

Watching Ina Garten on the Food Network put together a Ploughmen's Lunch right now and thinking about our amazing Ploughman's Lunch last spring!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I love making holiday goodies! Tonight is our family's Solstice Celebration with our good family friends, the Woolvertons. When we were younger, we started this tradition when my younger sisters and the Woolverton kids watched Little Bear and we celebrated the Winter Solstice, just like Little Bear. That was over 10 years ago and we still celebrate on or near the solstice every year as our family Christmas get-together. My mom is their godmother and I consider Chris and Lucy my godbrother and sister (and Candy and Bill like my godparents), so it all works out.

I went over to my parents house to get ready and make appetizers. I love making Sausage Balls!

Sausage Balls
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar
2 cups Bisquick

Mix all ingredients (be patient, it takes some time) and roll in to balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

We are also making Captain Rodneys dip, which is to addictive. It includes 1/4 cup of this guy...

I'll post this recipe later!

Truffles says hello to all of you from Southern Savers (I'm #37)!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 16, 2010


It's been a while since I've taken you inside my grocery bags and thought it may be time to take another peek! This is piece-meal trip (quite literally) because next week is CHRISTMAS and I've got 3 parties to attend and food in the fridge that needs to get eaten.

2 Birds Eye Veggies, (2) $.50/1 coupons that doubled, making them FREE
1.25 lb of ground turkey
Kroger Bisquick
Simply Orange juice, $1/1 coupon
Duracell AA 4 pk, $1.50/1 coupon
Philadelphia cream cheese, $1/1 coupon (made it $.25)
Thomas English muffins, $1/1 coupon
Tidy Cat litter, $1/1 coupon (should have also been a $1/1 e-coupon, but it didn't show up)
Kashi crackers, $3/1 coupon (made it FREE plus $.51 overage)
Breakfast sausage
Cuties clementines, $.35/1, which doubled

-$.50 Cellfire special Santa Savings

Total Value: $36.75
Total Spent: $19.03
Total Saved: $17.72 (48%)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I am in a rut. A food rut to be exact. Working 8-5 leaves me with little time to prepare dinner, so I always pull out my few go-to meals. What to do? The only thing I know how: make a list. Last night I inventoried my pantry and fridge, just to see what I had and what I could do (differently) with what I still have left.

Looking at my list and noticing I had 3 very ripe bananas, I made banana bread muffins. I'm constantly looking for items to take on the go for breakfast and these muffins hit the spot. This is the exact recipe I followed with the only changes being that I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup and a muffin pan, cooking for 30 minutes.

Gotta love a little late night baking!

Especially when you get to use these guys. I love having cute cookware because it only makes me want to cook more. This measuring spoon set came from Anthropologie (like something that cute could come from anywhere else).

It's Hump Day! Make it a good one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just wanted to share one of the prettiest sunsets I've seen while working downtown. Since the time and season change, I get out of work just about at sunset and I was so surprised and excited to see this last night.

Happy Tuesday!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 13, 2010

To be a kid again...

I should have posted about this last week, but our latest attraction has opened in the city... the new Children's Museum. If only I were a kid again, it's so fun! Our office was lucky enough to get our own FAM (familiarization) tour of the museum last Thursday and I snapped a lot of pictures for work, so I'll leave you with some of the photos I took...

Walk around Mississippi and get inside the rotunda of the New Capitol! Probably my favorite part of the museum

Look under the hood or get in the driver's seat of one of the Mississippi-made Nissans

HUGE Scrabble board

You can "farm" your own Mississippi catfish!

The kitchen... another one of my favorite areas!

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I just had one of the most amazing lunches at the Raindrop Turkish House for the Institute of Interfaith Dialogue (see previous posts on IID here). Talk about cultural immersion - these are the nicest, most genuine, humble people I've ever met.

I honestly couldn't tell you the names of each dish but each was fabulous. Here are a few I can remember:
Creamy eggplant (like mashed potatoes but so much better) with beef mixture on top, roasted veggies, herbed rice (was amazing), white/navy bean mix, spinach pastry like spanakopita, and baklava. Unlike the Greeks, they make their baklava with simple syrup instead of honey and it's so light (which is much appreciated with all of the other foods).

Erin and I talked with a few of the women about learning to cook Turkish food and hope to do it soon!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Baby It's Coooold Outside!

Are you freezing in your neck of the woods? I thought I was ready for this cold weather, but now I'm rethinking it. Brrrrrr.

Monday night I made an awesome dinner (if I do say so myself) of chicken tacos, yellow rice, and seven layer dip. I had been craving that dip and I happened to have all of the ingredients, so I went for it.

This just happened to be one of those meals that was perfect because I got to use a ton of things from the fridge that really needed to be used. Chicken [frozen after I split up a big package], tortillas [realllly needed to be used], and tomatoes [getting soft].

Especially with Food Should Taste Good chips, which my roommate and I are obsessed with, this was great.

Yesterday, I also had a crazy day at work, helping Mary, our group tour manager, with a large group tour that including TWO buses. Since she can (obviously) only be on one motor coach at a time, I took the other one. We first switched off and each toured the governor's mansion and the local Jackson Episcopal cathedral. Both are so unique, especially decorated for Christmas. Afterwards, we each got on the motor coaches and did a hour and a half tour of Jackson, centered around a book, The Help, that takes place in Jackson. They LOVED it. We ended the tour at the King Edward, where we ate lunch. I did get to snap a photo of the KE Christmas tree for the blog's sake!

Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I have to tell you, Jackson is really amp-ing it up culinary wise lately. Babalu Tacos and Tapas just opened up in the Duling School complex and MAN was it amazing. I am still thinking about the guacamole.

When you first walk in, I Love Lucy is playing on the wall. As we were waiting for our table, it was a fun way to pass the time. Genius.

Their menu (among everything else) is creative and fun. The dishcloth "napkins" were really thoughtful and different - a really good hat-tip to the old school that used to be here.

The Baba-rita. Lime and pomegranate. Perfect.

This, however, was the mother load. Guacamole made right at your table. The guy making the good stuff talked us completely through the ingredients: 2 whole avocados, sun dried tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and green onion. It was spot on.

The photos stop here because we were way to busy eating by this point. Erin and I shared plates of flat iron steak tacos and tamales. Angels were singing!

I gotta go back... again and again.

BABALU Tacos & Tapas on Urbanspoon


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...