Sunday, March 03, 2013

Oatmeal and Amazon

We have a few favorites around here.  In the cold cereal department, I save money by combining coupons with B1G1 deals at our local Publix.  (I think Kroger's up north has similar policies).  When our faves are on sale, I stock up.   This will get me boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats, for example, at around $1.50 apiece.  Since I started throwing a pinch of salt into the freshly opened milk jug, I haven't had to throw out any sour milk. 

We also eat several hot cereals:  steel cut oats, buckwheat (both me ;o), and grits.  These are cheap, cheap considering that a very little makes a whole lot.  I like McCann's quick-cooking steel cut oats, and find buying both the oats and buckwheat in bulk through Amazon makes the most "cents" for me.

Quick-cooking steel-cut oats should take no more than 5 min in the microwave to cook.  OR, for the same health benefits and a great arm workout, you can buy the regular steel-cut oats that you stand in front of and stir for half an hour.  Um, no.  The buckwheat cooks in 3 min. in the microwave, as do the Wal-mart brand of instant grits.  Cheap, cheap.  Soothing and great choices if you have to need to add extra fiber to your menu.  Note:  Oatmeal bubbles more than the others in the microwave and needs a deeper bowl.

Muffins are another favorite.  These get cooked in large batches and frozen.  (In our house, if you are freezer safe, dryer safe or dishwasher safe, you are a FRIEND!)  A zap in the microwave and they are still delicious!  Kathryn loves pumpkin chocolate chip muffins year round.

Smoothies are a great way we save money, and I still sneak in extra nutrition for the kids.  I buy bananas when they are on the "we ordered too many; these are overripe and already have gnats around the bag" stage.  Mere pennies.  Peel, halve and freeze.  Pop a frozen banana, 1 c. milk, a dash of vanilla flavoring, (and I throw in a scoop of vanilla protein powder for my munchkins) in the blender, and voila! a shake that they love!!!  It makes just enough for two kids.  I do this so much that my blender lives on my countertop now.  If I only have under-ripe bananas, then I stick one in a paper sack with an apple overnight, and add a couple of ice cubes to the recipe.  I drizzle a bit of dishsoap inside the dirty blender, fill it half-way with water, and turn it back on.  Self-cleaning!

On my next post, I'll include the recipe for the muffins and my favorite smoothies, too!

*Speaking of Amazon, it is one of our family's methods of choice for saving money.  Nathan's addiction to books spurred this decision on.  He has a layman's library that many pastors would give good money for ;o)  We pay $70 a year for Prime Membership, which provides us with free 48 hour shipping for a year.  It's ridiculous how quickly this pays for itself.  I often buy things cheaper on Amazon than I ever could at Wal-Mart.  If you can wait two days for the product, you don't have to waste gas/time/money on an extra trip to the store.  What do I buy from there?  Well, recent orders have been:
1.  a pair of tennis shoes for me(the size and brand that makes my feet happy):  this saved me from running around town looking for that specific type of shoe and was cheaper to boot (no pun intended)  I go through at least two pairs of year pounding the treadmill.  Nathan says that's ridiculous, but I seriously wear them out.
2.  a small cast iron griddle (cheaper than the store)
3.  a small rolling cart- homeschool expense
4.  rubber shower door sweep
5. 3 pack toner for the printer (far, far cheaper than the store)
6. frontline-type flea treatment for our Schnauzer from a wholesale supplier (80% cheaper than the store)
7. hot cereal

*Some of the above I got for free.  We use an Amazon credit card on all our in town purchases, and accumulate points in their reward system.  I often just save them up and let that be the bulk of our Christmas budget.

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