Tobins' Tastes: March 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 4/19

Publix is finally back on its regular sale cycle again this week. The new ad will start this Thursday (or Wednesday in some areas) and looks like a pretty good list to me. There are lots of carry over "Spring Cleaning" sales from the last ad and some have even better coupons to go with them from last week's paper.

I still have one last $5/$30 Publix Spring Cleaning Sale coupon to stack with my Enjoy The City coupons or a possible Albertson's coupon depending on what I see in tomorrow's paper.

Here are my favorite sales from the new ad with coupon match ups:
  • Kashi Cereals, on sale for $2.99
  •  Kraft Fresh Takes, on sale BOGO at $2.99 ($1.50 each)
    • Used a BOGO free Publix coupon from Cooking With Kraft
    • Possibly stack with the $1 off or .55 cents off manufacturer coupons from
    • In Florida, makes it FREE plus possible overage
  •  Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, on sale BOGO at $2.29 ($1.14 each)
    • Use a $1/2 coupon from the 4/15 SS
    • Makes them .64 cents each
  •  Smart Balance Milk, on sale for $2.50
    • Use a $1.50 coupon from the 4/1 SS
    • Makes it $1.00
  • DiGiorno Shredded or Grated Cheese, on sale BOGO at $4.79
    • Makes them $2.39 each, pretty good price if you like a little higher quality shredded cheese

You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up Party & Features {#3}

Welcome back and happy new week! Hope you had a restful and relaxing weekend. You don't know how happy it makes me to see this recipe link up party growing slowly but surely. I really appreciate those of you who have linked up and linked backed. Your support means more than you know : )

This week I decided to pick two different features from two different parts of the menu. As this party grows I can't wait to be able to have enough link ups to pick a feature from every part of a full meal.

The main course feature for this week is Black Bean & Salsa Sloppy Joes from Searching For Dessert.  This is such a great idea and it would be an amazing option for a meatless Monday or for anyone who doesn't eat red meat.

This week's dessert feature comes to us from Dorothy at Crazy for Crust. I seriously love her desserts and many of her recipes appear on my "Desserts I Will Make Soon" pinterest board. These Tiramisu To Go Cups are no exception and they would be the perfect treat to bring to a party or cookout. So easy to transport and clean up after.

You can also check out my newly created pin board for Mealtime Monday Features where I will be pinning  the original links to the items featured here each week.

If you were featured you can feel free to grab a button from my sidebar. I am hoping to soon be fancy enough to include that in my posts and will hopefully be designing a Mealtime Monday and an "I was featured..." button in the not too distant future.

Can't wait to see what you have been up to lately and I love being inspired by all the delicious looking dishes you create.

I will be featuring my favorites next weekend and I will be pinning things to my Pinterest boards too. Make sure you check out my Link Ups page for lots more fun places to link up at too.

As I teacher, I enforce rules all day so I am going to call these my suggestions.

I would love it if:
  1. You would link back to this post/blog. You can do so by grabbing my button (upper right hand corner), linking back to this post in your post, or by adding this blog to your list of places you link up to/party at on your Link Parties page. The more people who link up the better it is for all of us : )
  2. Please follow this blog through GFC, Linky Friends or Blog Lovin.
  3. Please only post directly to your recipe link. No giveaways, etsy shops or anything not family friendly. 
  4. Visit at least two new blogs and show them some love.
  5. Come back next Monday and link up!
Show me what you got!

Menu Plan Monday 4/16

Happy Monday! I can't believe we are already half way through April. It will be summer before we know it...

You may have noticed the lack of red meat on our menus. Truth be told, I don't really eat red meat. In fact, I have never even had a hamburger. Justin eats dinner at the fire station about 3 times a week so he gets his fill of red meat there and we just stick to chicken or meatless dishes at home. Saves us a little money and it's better for us too. 

This week I am going to be making some of our recent favorites that are also quick and easy. We need to clean out the fridge and freezer a little this week so our dishes are based on what we have on hand. 

We will be having:
Homemade Whole Wheat Naan Pizzas
An easy dinner of soup, salad and bread

For a sweet treat I am going to be attempting to make Margarita Madness cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to get ready for Cinco De Mayo.

Make sure you stop by Mealtime Monday and link up some of your favorite recipes!

What are you making? I would love for you to comment and let me know what you are making this week or leave a link to your menu plan post.

I am linked up at OrgJunkie.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Not So Bad For You Peanut Sesame Noodles

I have been trying to find some more quick and easy dinner recipes that we can whip up on a week night using things we have on hand in our stockpile/fridge/freezer. When I saw the original recipe from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, I knew this was something we would love and could add to our regular rotation of week night meals.

 I easily adapted this to work with what we like and what I had on hand. We ate it hot but it was even better cold as left overs the next day. I was shocked at how flavorful it was using such simple and relatively light ingredients. It is like the little bit better for you version of Thai take out.

By breaking this recipe up into eight servings, each serving is only 6 Weight Watchers points plus. Not too shabby if you ask me.  It made for tons of left overs which was perfect for lunches the next day.

Not So Bad For You Peanut Sesame Noodles
 Makes 8 servings, 6 Weight Watchers Points+ per serving
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  •  3Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  •  3Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used the equivalent in our minced garlic from the fridge)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 13 oz uncooked whole wheat spaghetti noodles (a regular sized box)
  • 6 small carrots, finely shredded (or any other veggies you like)
  • 1  1/2 cups frozen peas (or any other veggies you like)
  • Crushed peanuts for topping (optional)
1.) Combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, peanut butter, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. I found it took a little while for the peanut butter to dissolve into the mixture but it eventually did.

2.) Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and sesame oil.

3.) While the sauce is simmering, boil and the pasta according to the directions on the package, drain and set aside.

4.) Add the cooked noodles and veggies to the sauce and toss until evenly coated.

5.) Top with crushed peanuts and serve warm. (But is just as good or even better served cold the next day). We also added some left over chopped up chicken to ours the next day too.


This is what we had left over after Justin went up for seconds and even thirds!

Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.

***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Five Enjoy The City Books For $29 Shipped- Back Again Through April 17th

    You can get 5  Enjoy the City coupon books for a total $29  plus free shipping. Use the code FUN at check out to get the deal. 

    You have to put all 5 books into your cart for the deal to show/work. If this is anything like the last 5/$29 deal they did you can also mix and match books from different areas to get your five. It will show your discount at the bottom of your order and you might have to click all the way through the checkout process to right before you pay to see the deal reflected. 

    I have bought a couple of these books through fundraisers and the best part about them is the four $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupons which my Publix also accepts. (note: not all books have the Winn Dixie coupons in them) That in itself pays for the book at more. My area's version also has tons of great coupons for restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. 

    You can actually preview you area's entire book to make sure you like the coupons before you buy. I am not sure how long this promotion lasts so you may want to take advantage of it now if you are interested. 

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Weekly Totals Link Up & Saved $80 At Publix Today 4/12

    Spent $42 for $120 Worth

     After a few weeks of lack luster shopping trips (in my opinion), I was so happy with how today's trip turned out. Today was the perfect balance of buying what I needed for our life/meals and stocking up on couponed items. I was finally able to break out of my two week slump of saving less than 60% this week. I ideally like to save 70% but because I coupon a little more "realistically" than extreme types, I don't always save that much since I still try to buy what we want within reason and not buy more than we need of the super deals.

    I was lucky to have the $5/$30 Publix coupon from this past Sunday's paper as well as the option to use either a $5/$30 Enjoy The City Winn Dixie coupon (hate parting with those!) or a $5/$50 Target catalina that printed for me last week. I didn't know if I would hit $80 before coupons but surprisingly I did and I was able to use the Target once which expires in 10 days.

    I only spent $42 today which includes a 5 pound whole chicken, trash bag, sandwich bags, salad, 2 boxes of Kashi bars and much more. Pretty good day in my book. I did hit up Target Easter clearance earlier this week and spend about $15 so that still keeps me under our weekly spending budget with a little extra left over from the week to stick into our new camera fund : )

    Remember to link up below and show off how well you did this week! We have had 25 link ups or more the past few weeks and I just love seeing how you all save and finding new blogs to read.

    Breakdown of today's trip:
    Total retail value: $120.64
    Total spent: $41.79
    Total saved: $78.88
    Percent saved: 65%

    What I bought with sale/coupon match ups:
    • 2 bags of Fresh Express Salad, retails for $3.99 each, on sale BOGO ($1.99 each)
    •  2 bags of Alexia Frozen Sweet Potato products, retails for $3.79 each, on sale for $3.00 each
      • Used two $1.00 coupons from
      • Stacked with two .75 cents off Publix coupons from the Freshen Up Your Menu Booklet
      • Made them $1.25 each
    •  2 bags of Cape Cod chips, retails for $3.79 each, on sale for $2.50 each
      • Used a $1/2 coupon from the 4/1 SS
      • Made them $2.00 each
    •  2 boxes of Kashi granola bars, retails for $4.05 each, on sale for $2.99 each
      • Used two $2.00 off coupons from Recycle Bank
      • Made them .99 cents each
    •  1 half gallon of Silk Almond Milk, retails for $3.49, on sale for $2.50
      • Used a .75 cents off coupon from
      • Made it $1.75
    •  4 bags of Goldfish crackers, retails for $2.39 each
      • On sale BOGO, made them $1.19 each
    •  1 bag of Terra Sweet Potato Chips, retails for $3.50
      • On clearance rack for $2.00
    •  2 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, retails for $1.59 each, on sale for $1.00
    • 1 bag of Kraft Shredded Motzerella cheese, retails for $4.19
      • On sale 50% off, made it $2.10
    • 1 package of whole wheat Tandoori Naan retails for $2.99
      • On sale for $2.50
    •    Almost 5 pound Purdue whole chicken, on sale for $1.29 a pound
      • Made it $5.93 
    •  2 packages of Kraft Big Cheese slices, retails for $3.19
      • On sale 50% off made them  $1.59 each
      • Used two $1 off manufacturer coupons found in the store, I had some from a few weeks ago but there was also a display of them in the aisle at my store
      • Made them .59 cents each
    •  Banana, on sale for .28 cents
      • Used a $1.00 off produce WYB Kraft Cheese slices Publix coupon from Cooking With Kraft
      • Made it FREE plus .72 cents overage
    •  Lemon, .67 cents
      • Used a $1.00 off produce WYB Kraft Cheese slices Publix coupon from Cooking With Kraft
      • Made it FREE plus .23 cents overage
    •  Glad Tall Kitchen trash bags, retails for $8.11, on sale for $5.99
      • Used a $1 off coupon from
      • Stacked with a $1 off Publix coupon from the One Stop, One Store booklet
      • Made them $3.99
    •  4 Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaners, retails for $2.29 each, on sale BOGO ($1.14 each)
      • Used two .50/2 coupons from Lysol's website
      • Made them .89 cents each
    •  2 boxes of Glad storage bags, retails for $3.49 each
      • On sale BOGO made them $1.74 each
    • 1 loaf of Publix Bakery Sourdough bread, retails for $3.65
      • Used a $1 off Publix bakery item WYB Kraft Shredded Cheese from Cooking With Kraft
      • Made it $2.65
    How did you do this week? Inspire me (and everyone else) with your amazing savings and deals this week. Please link up directly to your specific post. No main pages, giveaways, or etsy shops please. I would love it if you would link back to this post or grab my button from the sidebar : )

    Click below to link up your posts!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Baked NYC's Sweet & Salty Brownies


    Do you ever see something on TV and tell yourself "I am totally going to make that tomorrow" only to go online look up how much work is involved in making said item and then completely blow off the project? That is what happened with me and these brownies. 

    I love Food Network. Borderline obsessed. I often talk about the people on Food Network to my husband as if they are real people we know personally and interact with on a daily basis. I actually have a season recording set up on my tivo for multiple Food Network shows. It's embarassing. 

    One of my favorite shows (and by one of, I mean one of my top 20 favorite shows on Food Network), is The Best Thing I Ever Ate. We have actually planned vacation schedules around eating at the places on this show. Again, embarrassing.

    This Sweet & Salty Brownie from Baked Bakery in NYC was featured on one of the episodes. A dark chocolate brownie with fleur de sel caramel sauce baked right into? Yes, please. And since caramel and chocolate could be one of my favorite combinations of all time, I knew I had to make it. I was totally pumped to get baking that very night until I found the recipe online and it had about one million steps to it. 

    Needless to say, my bubble was burst and there was no way I was making that brownie anytime soon. Fast forward a year. I got ambitious. I was going to do it. I started step one and began making the homemade caramel and due to some inattention on my part, I burned to caramel to the point of no return. I was so discouraged that I never made it to step two. 

    Fast forward another year and a half to tonight. Armed with a candy thermometer, the perfect sauce pan and no distractions, I was ready to tackle that caramel. 

    Yes, it is a complicated recipe. Yes, there are a lot of steps involved. No, I would not try to multitask while you do this. But despite what these photos may indicate, these brownies are totally worth it. (Why is it that the most ooey, gooey, delicious things never photograph the way you want them to?)

    They are they perfect combination of dark chocolate and sweet, salty caramel. The bitterness of the dark chocolate is exactly what this treat needs to keep it from being overly sweet and the random flakes of sea salt and sugar sprinkled on top are an amazing contrast to the whole thing. 

    This recipe is taken from and adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.

    Baked NYC's Sweet & Salty Brownie

    1 c. sugar
    2 TBSP light corn syrup
    1/2 c. heavy cream
    1 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt)
    1/4 c. sour cream

    1 and 1/4 c. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    2 TBSP dark cocoa powder (I used Hersey's Special Dark)
    11 oz. quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped (I used Ghiradelli's 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips)
    2 sticks unsalted butter, cut up and at room temperature
    1 & 1/2 c. sugar
    1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    5 large eggs, room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla

    1 and 1/2 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt)
    1 tsp coarse sugar ( I used demera sugar)

    Make the Caramel:
    1.) In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 c. water, stirring together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat, until a thermometer reads 350 degrees and is dark amber in color.

    2.) Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble up).  Then add the fleur de sel.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool. I put it in a separate bowl so it wouldn't burn if left in the pot. 

    Make the Brownie:
    3.) Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water.  

    4.) Whisk in both sugars until completely combined.  Removed bowl from pan

    5.) Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.  Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined.  Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated.  Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies may be dry or too dense.

    6.)Add the flour mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just barely combined. 

    7.) Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  

     8.) Drizzle and 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce (not all of it) over the batter, trying to stay away from the edges. Gently spread the caramel sauce evenly.  I used an off set spatula.

     9.) In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the remaining batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently over the caramel. I drizzled the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the batter before baking or you can save it to serve with them later.

    10.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Sprinkle the mixture of sea salt and sugar on top for the perfect crunch. (It really does make a difference I swear.) Allow to cool before serving.


    Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.

    ***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    New Publix Ad & My Favorite Deals 4/9

    The new Publix ad started yesterday. Yes it was a Monday. Since the last ad ran through Easter this new ad started on Monday 4/9 and will run through Wednesday (4/17) or Thursday (4/18) depending on where you live. There are tons of great store coupon booklets floating around right now as well as a new Yellow Advantage flyer that started on Saturday too.

    Here are my favorite deals this week. Check the bottom of the post for link ups to my favorite sale/coupon match up links too.

    • Kashi Bars and Cereals on sale for $2.99
      • Used a $2 off any Kashi product coupon from Recycle Bank
      • Makes them .99 cents each
    •  Alexia Sweet Potato Fries, on sale for $3
      • Use the $1 off coupon from
      • Stacked with either the $1 off Target coupon from the Easter Coupon booklet handed out in stores or the .75 cents off Publix coupon from the Freshen Up Your Menu booklet available in Publix stores
      • Makes them as low as $1 each
    •  Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Cling, BOGO at $2.29 ($1.14 each)
    • Pepperidge Farms Goldfish, on sale BOGO at $2.39
      • Makes them $1.19 each
    • All Kraft Shredded, Sliced, Chunk, Cubes, or Cuts Cheese on sale 50% off
      • Tons of manufacturer and store coupons to use with this sale to get some great deals. Check your binders or Cooking With Kraft for coupons
      • Pretty good deal even without coupons if you need cheese : ) 

    You can also visit Publix's website for the full ad from your area as well as some new printable Publix coupons as well. Visit HERE and HERE for my favorite sale/coupon match ups for this week's ad. 

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Food On The Table Menu Planning Service - Free Lifetime Membership

    Food on the Table is a website that lets you plan your weekly menus using sale circulars and weekly ads from your local grocery stores.

    Now through the end of April you can sign up for FREE and get a LIFETIME premium membership for FREE as well.  Sign up through this link and use the promo code SPRINGFREE good through the end of April.

    I signed up for this a few months ago and I love how easy it is to pick the grocery stores you shop at and see recipes using the sale items. You can even set your preferences to what you like to eat (meat free, chicken, low fat, fish) or for any allergies you may have (gluten free, no dairy, and so on).

    It is always nice to have a place to find new recipes and what makes it even better is that these are recipes using stuff that's on sale. My favorite!

    Menu Plan Monday 4/9

    Hope you and your families had an amazing Easter weekend. We have off school again today so I am loving this extended break.

    I still have family in town tonight and we will be doing stuff with friends this weekend so only cooking from Tuesday through Friday is find with me.

    This Week's Menu (Tuesday-Friday)

    I can't wait to try CopyKat's version of make at home Cold Stone Cake Batter Ice Cream for our sweet treat this week.

    Make sure you stop by Mealtime Monday and link up some of your favorite recipes!

    What are you making? I would love for you to comment and let me know what you are making this week or leave a link to your menu plan post.

    I am linked up at OrgJunkie.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Fresh Takes Pasta Bake

    As a couponer, it is great to be able to get a certain product for free or really cheap with coupons. Whenever I can get an item for free, I like to stock up on as much as possible within reason as long as I am not clearing a shelf. Many times I donate items like this but other times we keep them on hand for our own use. 

    If you are a couponer, than you may have a fridge full of Kraft Fresh Takes from the last few weeks of Publix sales and deals. While I love using them for their intended purpose (breading chicken and fish), we have been trying out new ways to cook with them. When I saw this sun dried tomato spaghetti from Cozy Cakes Cottage, I knew it was something we could work with. 

    What to do with a fridge full of Fresh Takes?

    Justin and I love easy pasta dishes and this meal is as easy as it gets. We adapted the original recipe to use what we had on hand and the Fresh Takes made for a perfect crunchy topping that only added to the flavor of this pasta. This pasta seems like it could be adapted to use whatever you have at home and want to throw on in.

    On a side note, I am in no way writing this post in any connection with Kraft Foods nor am I being reimbursed in anyway for using this product. I just happen to have close to 15 packages of them that I got for free with sales/coupons and needed to start making some room in my fridge/freezer : )

    Fresh Takes Pasta Bake
    • 1 package of spaghetti (we used whole wheat because it's what we have on hand)
    • olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 2 Tbsp flour
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded/chopped up ( I had a bag of left over shredded chicken in the freezer and I just used that)
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth (we used low sodium)
    • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk, again because it's what we had)
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (we just used the kind in the bag that were BOGO at Publix a while back)
    • 1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese (or any kind you like)
    • 1/2 the package of Kraft Italian Parmesan Fresh Takes (or any blend you prefer)
    1.) Boil spaghetti to al dente, drain and set aside. I toss it with a little olive oil so it doesn't dry out or stick together.

    2.) In a large sauce pan, melt butter and then stir in flour and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in broth and milk. I also added my frozen, shredded chicken to reheat in while I brought the mixture to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture thickens up.

    At first, I thought it was too thin but it thickened up quickly.
     3.) Stir in peas and sun dried tomatoes (or any other veggies of your choosing).

    4.) Add spaghetti to the pan and toss until completely coated. Transfer mixture into a lightly sprayed baking dish.

    5.) Top with shredded cheese. Then top with Fresh Takes mixture until completely covered.

    I went a little lighter on the cheese but feel free to add as much as you like : )

    Topped with the Fresh Takes mix of cheese and breadcrumbs
    6.) Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and nicely crispy.

    Try to let it cool down before you dig in.
    Can you tell we liked it?

    Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.

    ***Depending on the day this post may be linked up to any of these fabulous linky parties.***

    New Coupons On

    Check out some of the fun new coupons from  Remember that printable coupon sites are updated regularly and that most sites will allow two prints of each coupon per printer.

    Some of my favorites include:
    $1.00 off one Kashi steam meal
    $0.75 off Multi Grain Cheerios
    $1.50 off 2 Pledge Furniture Care products
    $1.00 off one bag of Starbucks coffee 11 oz

    And lots more!

    Mealtime Monday Recipe Link Up Party And Feature {#2}

    Thank you, thank you to everyone who linked up last week at my first ever Mealtime Monday! I know it has started out small but I can't wait to see this link up grow week by week.

    My favorite post of last week was the Easter Sugar Cookie Bars from Whitney at Keeping Up With The Cyprets.  They look delicious and I can't wait to make them and adapt them for all types of holidays to come.