Tobins' Tastes: January 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Great Deals On Enjoy The City Books: Less Than $6 Each!

Enjoy the City has a great deal today and tomorrow only. You can get five (5) coupon booklets for a total of $29 using the promo code LEAP. This also includes free shipping. These books have great coupons and lots of them (at least the FL ones) have four $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupons (accepted at most Publix's) in the front which means the book more than pays for itself at this sale price. 

My area's book also has tons of great coupons for Papa Johns (a free medium pizza coupon!), McDonalds, and tons more. You can look through your area's entire booklet before you buy to see if the deals are worth it to you. 

These can also make a great gift too : ) 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Double Cash Back On Through Ebates

Ebates is offering double cash back on all orders from today. It looks like you can get 32% cash back on your ink purchases from them through Ebates today. This would be a great way to save a little money or actually earn a little back on your ink for all that coupon printing : ) 

Plan My Menu Monday With Recipe/Menu Link Up 2/27

Good morning and happy Monday! Spring Break is only two weeks away for my students so I am pretty excited about that : ) 

This should be a relatively low key week menu wise since Justin is working a few of the week nights and we are celebrating my dad's birthday dinner one night too. We are having a few couples over for dinner this week so I am excited to plan a menu for that. There will also be some birthday treats for my dad as well too. 

Be sure to link up your menu plans for the week or a recipe to help/inspire me to plan future menus below. 

What we will be making in our house this week:
Baked Brie Bites for our dinner party : ) 
Baked Italian Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes Pasta Bake (from the freezer)
My Mom's Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie
Peppermint Pattie Cupcakes

What are you making this week? Do you have a great recipe you have made lately that you want to share? Please link up to your post of this week's menu or to a post of something you have recently made. I would love to have some new ideas for stuff to spice up our menus. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today's Publix Trip & Weekly Totals Link Up 2/23

The only place I shopped this week was Publix. I had a $5/$30 Publix coupon from last week's Viva Italia flyer and a $5/$50 Albertson's coupon from yesterday's paper plus a $25 Publix gift card. My total before coupons (but after sale prices and BOGO's) was $81 so I was just barely able to use both coupons together. After my gift card and coupons, I only paid $8.98 for all our groceries this week so we will get to put plenty of extra money from our grocery budget cash into our short term saving envelope (for our spring break cruise!).

There were lots of good sales I didn't take advantage of this week since we are really well stocked on pastas, tomatoes, soups, sauces and meats. 

Also, be sure to check back Monday for a menu plan/recipe link up!

Here is the breakdown of today's trip:
Total retail value: $113.52
Total spent out of pocket after coupons and gift card: $8.98
Total saved: $102.99
Percent saved: 91%

Here is what I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 4 bottles of Sundown Naturals Folic Acid, retails for $3.79 each
    • Used four $3 off coupons from the Publix Green Advantage Flyer
    • Stacked with four $2 off coupons from a newspaper insert
    • Made them all FREE plus $1.20 each in overage
  • 2 boxes of Kashi granola bars, retails for $4.05 each, on sale for $2.99
  • 2 boxes of Pepperidge Farms Garlic Toast, retails for $2.89 each, on sale BOGO ($1.44 each)
    • Used two .50 cents off coupons from Facebook
    • Made them .94 cents each
  • 2 cans of Planter's Peanuts, retails for $4.09 each, on sale BOGO ($2.05 each)
    • Used a $1.50/2 coupon from the 1/29 SS
    • Stacked with a $1/2 coupon
    • Made them .80 cents each
  • 4 ThinkThin granola bars, retails for $1.66, on sale for $1.25
    • Used four $1 off coupons from the manufacturer's website
    • Made them .25 cents each
  • 4 bags of Pretzel M&M's (love having these on hand for baking), retails for $5.37, on sale BOGO ($2.68)
    • Used four $1 off printables from
    • Made them $1.68 each
  • 2 packages of Nasoya Wanton Wrappers, retails for $2.29 each
    • Used two .75 cents off coupons from the 1/29 RP
    • Made them $1.54 each
  • 2 bags of Fresh Express salad, retails for $3.99 each
    • on sale BOGO, made them $1.99 each
  • 2 tubs of DiGiorno grated cheese, retails for $4.79
    • On sale BOGO, made them $2.39 each
  • 2 packages of Publix Butter, retails for $4.05
    • On sale for $3.00 each
  • Asparagus, on sale for $2.49 a pound
    • Saved $1.69 on a $2.69 package
  • 1 bag of Doritos, retails for $4.29
    • On sale for $2.50
  • Large Publix Sour Cream, $2.59 (ended up being cheaper than the brands I had coupons for)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning, $1.09 
  • 5 pound bag of potatoes, $4.09 (no good sales on the kind I need...)

How did you do this week? Link up to your weekly totals, shopping trips or savings totals for this week. I love seeing how well every one did and getting great ideas and inspiration from the deals you all got! 

Please link directly to your post. No homepages please : ) It would be great if you could mention that you are linked up here and encourage your readers to do the same. 

Quinoa Mac & Cheese

We have been trying to experiment with quinoa at our house. We received a bag of it for free in an amazing Bob's Red Mill sampler promotion this summer and I have been trying to find ways to prepare it that we like. We experimented with a few different things and then I saw this recipe on Monica's Fitness and I knew we had to try it. If I can find a way to incorporate a health food into something like mac & cheese, that would be quite a success.

As I was making the recipe I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out. I made a few changes to the original recipe (when don't I?) and I was totally afraid it was too liquidy going into the oven. But I think the extra liquid allowed it to stay nice and moist even after baking. 

We had it for dinner with a salad and Honey Cornbread. Justin topped his with a little salsa and we heated it up for lunch the next day too. Justin even tried it for breakfast with a fried egg on top. All in all, we loved it and will be making it again for sure. 

Quinoa Mac & Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (or you could use red peppers)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk ( I used low-fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat), more for topping if you like
  • Panko Bread crumbs for topping
1.)  Heat 2 tsp of oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add tomatoes (or any veggies you want); cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins. (quinoa won't be fully cooked yet, it's ok.)

2.)  Add 3 cups water and season with salt and/or seasoning salt ( I used Lawry's). Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 5-10 more minutes, or until most liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Right after the water was poured in

After I had finished step 2
3.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Combine well.  Pour into baking dish and top with panko and I used a little extra cheese for topping too.

4.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until top and edges start to brown.


Weekly Totals Link Up Feature 2/23

Hopefully many of you visited last week's Weekly Totals Link Up. I post every week about my weekly couponing shopping trips and I also invite others to link up their totals so we can all see what kinds of great deals everyone has been getting. 

Out of the 30 link ups last week the most viewed was


Be sure to check back later tonight to view this week's post and link up all your great savings trips from this week too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

S'more Krispy Treats

Who doesn't love homemade rice krispy treats? I know I do. And if you follow me on Pinterest you might also know that I have a slight S'more obsession too. (Check out my S'more Cookies if you haven't already) I blame my friend Ashley who is certifiably obsessed with s'mores and makes amazing s'more treats all the time. I may even have to have her do a s'more themed guest post once she gets done with her very intensive school internships.

That being said, when I saw these on Pinterest (via Chef In Training) I knew I would be making them really soon. Like less than 24 hours after first seeing them soon. They did not let me down.

I had to force myself not to just go ahead and cut out that middle piece with all the marshmallow

They are as basic in concept and ingredients as the original rice krispy treats but with a mix of flavors that is anything but basic. They were easy to make except for that one and a half minute of stress and panic when  you combine the cereal with the marshmallow mixture and you're not quite sure if it will ever coat the cereal evenly. But other than that, it was cake.

S'more Rice Krispy Treats
  • Regular sized bag of marshmallows
  • Regular sized box of Golden Grahams cereal
  • Bag of any kind of chocolate chips, chunks or pieces ( I went with semi-sweet chips0
  • 1/4 cup butter
1.) In a large sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter and slowly stir in marshmallows until completely melted and smooth.

2.) Stir in cereal and chocolate chips until evenly coated with marshmallow mixture. I had to transfer mine to a large mixing bowl half way through because my pot wasn't big enough. I like to stir the chips in while the marshmallow is still a little hot because they get a little bit melty and more incorporated in to the whole mixture.

3.) Press mixture firmly into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.

4.) For best results try to let them cool off and firm up before cutting. It's hard, I know.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Meal Plan Monday & Menu/Recipe Link Up 2/20

Happy Monday! Hopefully you are getting to enjoy a day off of work/school. I know that I am loving being home today : )

Last week's new recipes were an amazing success and I can't wait to finish posting about them this week. Our Valentine's Day tapas style dinner turned out perfectly and we will definitely be serving the Baked Brie Pecan Bites at our next party. The Quinoa Mac & Cheese was the dish I was most apprehensive about and Justin and I were both amazed at how much we really liked it and we can't wait to make it again. (look for the post on that soon).

Our fridge, pantry and freezer are very well stocked this week due to some great shopping trips last week so I am excited to have plenty of stuff to cook/bake with this week.

Here is what I am hoping to make this week:

Pasta with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce (using our fresh pasta) with salad and garlic bread
Taco Pie (using the ground beef I stocked up on)
WW Honey Crunch Chicken with Veggies and Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
Giada's Springtime Pasta (never got made last week)
Salted Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

What are you making this week? Link up below to your meal plans/menus for the week or link up a recipe you recently tried. I am always look for inspiration! Please link up directly to your post and not to your home page. I would be great if you would link back to this post/site and please encourage your readers to do the same : )

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weekly Totals Link Up & Today's Publix Trip 2/16

After the excitement of my mid week shopping trip where I spent less than $2 for $190 worth of groceries including 10 pounds of fresh meat, today's trip wasn't too thrilling. The Viva Italia sale is going on right now with lots of great deals but very little of it appealed to me since we are pretty well stocked on pastas and sauces right now. I did get to use my $5 off coupon from yesterday's paper and stack it with a $5/30 Enjoy the City Winn Dixie coupon so that helped.

Make sure to check out the giveaway link and the weekly totals link up at the bottom of this post : )

Here is today's breakdown:
Total value: $92.19
Total spent: $23.71
Total saved: $68.48
Percent saved: 74%

Here is what I bought with sale and coupon match ups:
  • 2 twelve packs of Diet Coke, retails for $5.11
    • Used two FREE product coupons from
    • Made them both FREE
  • 2 packs of UP2U gum, retails for $1.39
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the 2/5 SS
    • Stacked with two .55 cents off coupons from
    • Made them both FREE plus .32 cents total in overage
  • 4 Progresso Bread Crumbs, retails for $1.83 each, BOGO (.91 cents each)
    • Used a $1/4 Publix coupon from in store display
    • Made them .66 cents each
  • 4 cans of Progresso Soup, retails for $2.39 each, BOGO ($1.19 each)
    • Used a $1/4 Publix coupon from in store display
    • Stacked with a $1.00 off coupon from the 2/5 SS
    • Made them .70 cents each
  • 4 bags of Kraft shredded cheese, retails for $3.49 each, BOGO ($1.74 each)
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the Kraft Best Of 2012 recipe book
    • Stacked with two $1 off printable from
    • Made them .75 cents each
  • 4 cans of Muir Glen organic tomato products, retails for $1.69, on sale for $1.33 each
    • Used two $1/2 Publix coupons from in store display
    • Stacked with two $1.10/2 coupons from
    • Made them .28 cents each
  • 2 bottles of Marie's Yogurt Dressing, retails for $2.89 each, BOGO ($1.45 each)
    • Used two $1 off printable coupons from manufacturer email
    • Made them .45 cents each
  • 2 thinkThin Crunch bars, retails for $1.67
    • Used two $1 off coupons from man. website
    • Made them .67 cents each (should be .25 cents after coupon with next Green Ad. Flyer)
  • Publix 18 count Eggs, retails for $2.85
    • On sale for $2.50
  • 2 packages of Butoni fresh pasta, retails for $2.49
    • On sale BOGO making them $1.25 each
  • Shredded carrots, $1.89
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas, $3.09
  • Fresh Express Salad, retails for $3.99 a bag
    • On sale BOGO, making it $1.98 each
  • Slim Fast Snack Bars and Shake Pack, retails for $3.99 each
    • Used two $1.50 off any Slim Fast product coupons from magazines
    • Stacked with two .75 cents of printables
    • Made them $1.74 each
Make sure you check out the $25 Publix Gift Card Giveaway while you are here!

Baked Brown Sugar Pecan & Brie Bites

How perfect is that?

I love brie in puff pastry. It is one of my signature appetizers to serve at parties at our house. When it comes out of the oven our friends and family decent upon it like hungry vultures. They can devour a large wheel of brie en croute faster than you can ever imagine.

This does however pose some problems. First of all, the serving plate is only so big. There is a limited amount of space for people to gather around it fighting for melted cheese. Second, it can be difficult with a large puff pastry to get the right ratio of pastry to brie to filling. Third, it can get messy. Cheese and filling end up everywhere and peoples hands leave sticky marks all over.

This little baby solves all those problems. I saw them on Pinterest (via months ago and I finally got around to making them for Justin and I's tapas style Valentine's dinner this week. I based mine on the original recipe just using what I had on had (I did not buy phyllo mini tarts as suggested, I just made my own from the scraps of phyllo dough I had in the fridge left over from Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie).

I left the pecans out of this one to see which I liked better. Pecans won.

They were exactly as I imagined them: the perfect ratio of cheese to phyllo to sweet filling. They were surprisingly easy and I can imagine that you could make all kinds of adaptations of them.

Baked Brown Sugar Pecan & Brie Bites
  • Phyllo dough sheets or pre packages mini tarts
  • Brie, cubed into half inch pieces
  • Pecans
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey (I used local, wild flower honey and it was amazing)
1.) Lightly spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

2.) Cut phyllo dough into 1 1/2 inch squares. (I used a pastry cutter). You could also use the pre made tarts.

3.) I used about 4-5 layers of dough for each tart and pressed it into the muffin tin. Lightly spray the dough with cooking spray so it doesn't burn.

Please excuse the excess of cooking spray on the tin.
4.) Place a cube of brie in each piece of dough. 

5.) Top each one with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pecans and a little drop of honey.

6.) Bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted and dough is golden brown.

7.) Let them cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pan. I used a spoon to help me lift them out without breaking the shells.

8.) Watch them disappear! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saved 99% At Publix!!!!

Spent $1.56 for $189.90 worth of groceries- 99% savings!
Today I hit the "holy grail" of couponing. I spent $1.56 for $189.90 worth of groceries. That is 99% savings. Today's trip also includes ten pounds of fresh meat and lots of high end/expensive Valentine's Day dinner treats (which I definitely upgraded once I discovered my deals). 

How you ask? I found the trial size packages of Crest White Strips on clearance at Publix for $2.99 each. I have been reading about people finding these in their stores and getting large amounts of overage so I always check and have my $10 off coupons handy just in case. I can't believe I actually found them.

I was popping into Publix to grab a treat or two to surprise Justin with for our Valentine's Day dinner tonight and at first I walked by the clearance rack. I didn't really have my coupons together today and I didn't want to deal with it. On my way out I decided to give it one quick glance and at first sight the Crest strips caught my eye. Much to my surprise there were ten packs of them all marked down. I had exactly 10 coupons in my binder that did not say "excludes trial size" so it felt like it was meant to be.

The product that made this all possible!

I basically panicked and quickly tried to figure out how much overage I would be getting, then break it down into three transactions (since the coupons state you can only use four like coupons per transaction). My Publix will give you back overage in cash or a gift card but I would feel so awkward doing that, threfore I use it to buy extra stuff with.

In hindsight, I could have been more planned with the way I used my overage and bought sale items which I had coupons for to make my extra $70 go further (I already had planned on close to $10 in overage from other products to pay for my Valentines treats) but I just used it to buy meat. We can never find good sales on meat and it was the quickest and easiest way I could find to use up that overage. I only roughly figured it out before hitting the register so I am so glad the numbers all worked out right.

To make it even sweeter, each trial pack comes with a $7.00 off coupon that also does not say "excludes trial size"  and expires in 2013 which means that I will be keeping my eye out for this deal again for a long time to come : )

Here are the breakdowns with pictures!

Transaction #1- .64 cents in overage

Transaction #1:
Total value: $59.07
Saved: $60.71
Saved 103% and got .64 cents in overage!

3 package of ground beef: $15.57
1 pork tenderloin: $6.81
4 boxes of Crest White Strips: $11.98
2 boxes of Peanut Butter Cheerios on sale: $5
Used four $10 off coupons making me .64 cents in overage!

Transaction #2: $1.90 in overage!

Transaction #2:
Total value: $61.30
Saved: $63.20
Saved 103% and made $1.90 in overage!

5 packages of boneless, skinless, chicken tenderloins: $26.12
4 boxes of Crest White Strips: $11.98
Used four $10 off coupons making me $1.90 in overage!

Transaction 3: Spent $4.10
Transaction #3:
Total value: $67.53
Total spent: $4.10
Total saved: $63.43
Percent saved: 94%
  • 2 boxes of Crest White Strips, on sale 2/$.5.99
    • Used two $10 off coupons
    • Made them FREE plus a total of $14.01 in overage
  • 4 boxes of Phazyme, retails for $3.49 a box
    • Used four $2.00 printable coupons from the manufacturer website
    • Stacked with two $5/2 Publix coupons from the Green Advantage flyer
    • Made them all FREE plus a total of $4.04 in overage
  • 2 boxes of Sominex, retails for $3.19 a box
    • Used two $2.00 off coupons from the manufacturer website
    • Stacked with a $5/2 Publix coupon from the Green Advantage flyer
    • Made them FREE plus a total of $2.62 in overage
  • 4 boxes of Keebler Right Bites, retails for $3.19 each, on sale BOGO ($1.59 each)
    • Used two $1/2 coupons from 1/29 RP
    • Made them $1.09 each
  • 2 boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix, retails for $2.05 each
    • On sale BOGO, made it $1.03 each
  • Publix Brie: $5.12
  • Publix Goat Cheese: $2.99
  • Prosciutto: $3.42
  • Mini Cannolis: $2.40
  • Publix Olive Bar: $1.92 worth of fresh olives
  • Publix 3 Cheese Demi Loaf: $2.49
This pretty much made my day/week/month. I was kind of feeling guilty about spending grocery money for our Valentines Day treats so being able to pay for all of them with overage made me insanely happy : )

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day "Cakies"

Not quite cookie, not quite cake.

As you know by now, I am addicted to Pinterest. These "cakies" (cake + cookies) are my new favorite Pinspired (via creation. A clever combo of cookies and cake these treats are amazingly simple and so delicious. I think that I am going to have to adapted the M&M color for every holiday to come. I even doubled the batch in anticipation of how good they would be.

Here is the recipe adapted from {gotta give credit where credit is due : ) }

M&M Cakies
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (just the mix, not the other needed ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bag M&M's (you can clearly see I went with the Valentines Day theme)
1) Mix together all the ingredients except the M&M's until completely blended and smooth. This took me a little while since the consistency is a little thicker than your normal cake batter.

2.) Stir in M&M's.

3.) Drop by rounded scoops onto a greased or parchment covered baking sheet.

4.) Bake at 350 for nine minutes or until the bottom edges are slightly golden (I know nine seems random but it seemed the perfect time for me)

5.) Let cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to eat or they will be very crumbly when you try to pick them up. Believe me, Justin tried.

And if you love this you can always Pin it : ) 

Monday Meal Plan 2/13

Hope you had an amazing weekend. I am really excited about what we are making this week and I have been looking forward to it since my shopping trip last week when I pre-planned what I needed to shop for. We also used some of our grocery money at the Farmer's Market this weekend to get some fresh veggies for our meals. 

I am really excited to be making some mini tapas and such for tomorrow night. Justin has to work until after 8pm so we are going to just do little finger foods when he gets home to celebrate. I am going to use this as an opportunity to try out a few little appetizers from Pinterest (where else?)

Here is what is on the list of meals for the week:

Quinoa Mac & Cheese
Giada's Springtime Pasta
Roast Chicken (compliments of a Publix sale awhile ago) and Veggies
Skinny Enchiladas and Salad

Valentines Day Tapas Dinner and treats:
Brie Bites
Marshmallow Bites
Salami (Justin loves this)
Valentine's Day Cakies

What are you making? Any fun suggestions for a tapas style Valentines?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Saved 77% At Publix 2/9

It was a pretty strange week in the world of Publix ad's. I couldn't really see a rhyme or reason to what was on sale or BOGO this week and I also found a few random unadvertised BOGO deals too. I was hoping to grab a bag of Purdue perfect portions on sale plus my coupon but I could not seem to find them in the Publix I went to today.

I was able to find one of the two money makers from the Green Advantage flyer but the other one was all out of stock at that Publix. I may try to see if I can find it at my other Publix and apply it to the bag of Purdue but we shall see if they have it.

I also used a $5/30 Winn Dixie coupon to help lower my total. I spent way less than my weekly budget so I will definitely have some cash left in our grocery envelope to go and buy some fresh produce at the farmers market to make a few of the dinners we are having next week.

Here is the breakdown of today's trip:
Total retail value: $116.39
Total spent: $27.29
Total saved: $89.10
Percent saved: 77%

Here is what I got with coupon/sale match ups:
  • 2 boxes of Sominex, retails for $3.19 each
    • Used two $2.00 off printables from the manufacturer website
    • Stacked with a $5/2 Publix coupon from the Green Advantage flyer
    • Made them both FREE plus a total of $2.62 overage on both
  • 8 bottles of Sambazon Organic Acai Juice, retails for $2.99 each, on sale for $2.00 each
    • Used eight $2.00 off printable coupons from and Facebook
    • Made them all FREE
  • 1 box of Multigrain, Peanut Butter Cheerios, retails for $4.59, on sale for $2.50
    • Justin has been dying for these : )
    • Used a $1.00 off printable from
    • Stacked with a $1.00 off coupon (regular or Muligrain Cheerios) from the Publix In Good Health booklet
    • Made them .50 cents
  • 2 tubes of Pilsbury Cresent rolls, retails for $1.59 each, on sale for $1.00 each
    • Used a $1/2 printable
    • Made them .50 cents each
  • 1 box of Dulce De Leche Cheerios, retails for $4.59, on sale for $2.50
  • 4 packages of Monteray fresh ravioli, retails for $3.99 each, on sale BOGO ($1.99 each)
    • Used four $1.00 off printables from
    • Made them .99 cents each
  • 1 box of Panko bread crumbs, retails for $2.49, on sale for $1.50
    • Used a .50 cents off coupon from the 1/8 GM insert
    • Made it $1.00
  • 4 boxes of Keebler Right Bites, retails for $3.19 each, on sale BOGO ($1.59 each)
    • Used two $1/2 coupons from the 1/1 RP
    • Made them $1.09 each
  • 2 boxes of Duncan Hines Cake mix, retails for $1.89 each, on sale BOGO (.94 cents each)
    • Used two .35 cents off coupons from the 2/5 SS
    • Made them .59 cents each
  • 4 tubs of Cool Whip, retails for $1.95 each
    • On sale BOGO, made them .94 cents each
  • 2 packages of Crysal Light mix, retails for $3.49 each, on sale BOGO ($1.74 each)
    • Used a $1/2 in store blinkie
    • Made them $1.24 each
  • 2 boxes of Morning Star Veggie Burgers, retails for $4.39 each
    • On sale BOGO, made them $2.19 each
  • 2 bags of California Sundried Tomatoes, retails for $2.79 each
    • On sale BOGO, made them $1.39 each
  • 1 box of Slimfast snack bars, retails for $3.99 each
    • Used a .55 cents off Publix coupon from the In Good Health booklet
    • Made them $3.44
  • Gallon of Publix Low Fat Milk, $3.59

Did you find any good sales? Comment and let me know!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Barefoot Contessa's Birthday Sheet Cake

The pictures of this cake do not do it justice. I was originally skeptical when Justin asked me to make this cake for his Fire School graduation in 2008. It had lemon in it and if you know me, you know I don't like lemon, or any fruit flavors for that matter, in my desserts. This cake is the exception.

We first saw it on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. It can also be found in her cookbook Barefoot Contessa Family Style .We love Ina Garten in our house but many of her recipes are very technical and call for expensive ingredients. Once again, this cake in an exception.

Ina's recipe calls for a chocolate ganache icing (which is amazing) but my friend who I recently made this cake for is not a huge fan of chocolate (impossible, I know). So I tried it with a cream cheese icing from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and it was delicious.

Barefoot Contessa's Birthday Sheet Cake
  • 18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • The zest and juice of one lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
1.) Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2.) While this is going, I zest and juice the lemon.

3.) On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice.

4.) Slowly add dry ingredients in with the mixer on low speed until smooth.

5.) Pour into a greased 12x18 sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned on top.

5.) Cool completely before icing.

Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Icing
  • 12oz of cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 sticks of butter room temperature
  • 1 pound (16oz) of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.) Cream together butter and cream cheese with an electric or stand mixer until smooth.

2.) Add in vanilla.

3.) Slowly add in powdered sugar until completely smooth and fluffy.

4.) Ice the cake before you eat all the icing by itself : )

Perfect ratio of cake to icing!
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