Tips & Ideas

Football Parties

In: Tips & Ideas

With the start of Fall right around the corner, there are several things I am looking forward to include the cool weather, the changing colors of the leaves, and football.  Yes, I admit it, football is ok in my book.  I don’t think I could sit down on the couch and watch a whole game, but I know that it brings happiness to many around the world- including my husband.  One way that I enjoy watching football is if there are people over!  Here are three tips for having your own budget friendly football party.

1. Keep it small
The thing is with large parties, there are usually large messes.  Having a small number of guest (I say anywhere between 4-8) insures that the mess stays under control.  Another nice thing about a small party is everyone can have space.  It is nice when people can sit comfortably and aren’t crammed into your living room like a can of sardines.  If you are having people over, you shouldn’t expect them to stand for the whole game.  Finally and most importantly, smaller number or guests means less cost.  It is as simple as that.

2. Be gracious
Everyone once in a while it is fun to play “host” and wait on your guests like they are the most important ones there.  This little form of generosity catches people off guard and makes them feel good about being in your home.  Go ahead and refill everyone’s drinks at a commercial.  Offer them seconds on that great dip you have around- or better yet-read number three…..

3. Make yummy food
If you are having people over to “watch the game,” chances are they are pretty good friends of yours.  So whether you are having them over for dinner or just some munchies, have something that you know they like.  Remember not to go overboard on the chips and dips- have something a little healthier like roasted red pepper dip with some wheat crackers.  Instead of three bags of chips, make a taco dip.  One thing that I love to do  is have something that can last throughout the night.  A yummy chicken tortilla soup with homemade chips and salsa is a perfect combination.  You have something that will sustain their appetites and something else to snack on if the game goes into overtime.

So whatever team you are cheering on this Fall or whomever you are entertaining, use these tips to ensure a good time.  If you are hosting a football party and need some ideas, send me an email and I will be glad to help you out!

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With another holiday quickly approaching, many people are asked to bring side items to the dinner. Most families probably have their traditions of who brings what- everything from main course to dessert. If you fall somewhere in the middle, like I do, you may get to bring a little appetizer. This year I am bringing the vegetable tray. Now, that may seem really easy- run into the store- pick up one of those pre-made store ready ones and pay over $10.00- ya, right- that is NOT me. I can’t believe how expensive those trays can be and honestly once you bring them home, the celery is usually brown, the carrots are turning white, and they give you enough broccoli to turn green. Not my idea of yummy.

So if you are like me, why don’t you just make it yourself. This week’s grocery ad let me buy a bag of pre-washed baby carrots for a dollar. I bought a bag of celery for $1.50, two red peppers for $0.89 each, and three cucumbers for one dollar as well. So I bought 4 different vegetables (just like the pre-made one in the store) for $5.28. A bottle of ranch dressing or a pre-made vegetable dip might set me back about $2.00.

The point is, when you make it yourself-you save. When YOU pick the vegetables- you know they are fresh. If your family doesn’t like raw broccoli-you don’t have to get it! You can get other items like peppers. A little rinsing and cutting of some vegetables doesn’t take much time and you can assemble it right when you get to your destination. No food will go to waste and you can keep the cost down.

What item are you always asked to bring to your family events? I would love to hear about them!

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BFC Benefits – Storing Your Food

In: Tips & Ideas

Don’t you hate it when you open up a new bag of pretzels or chips only to forget about them and a week later you have stale food? Here is a quick money saving tip: pre-package your treats.

I know it may sound like a hassle and you may be telling yourself, well-this doesn’t happen too often, well try it anyhow. They make these great snack sized baggies that are perfect for this!

Next time you purchase a bag of pretzels, Chex mix, cereal, fruit, or veggies; portion your food into those snack baggies. This is something that kids love to do-after they have clean hands, of course. I really love getting all of our snacks ready to go. In the morning, I can just grab my snacks for the day and I am good to go! This process is great to get into the habit of doing especially if you haves school aged children who take a lunch to school or you brown bag your own lunch (like we do). Your mornings won’t be filled with little chores-the kids can even choose their own goodies.

In addition to having all this work already done for you, you won’t fall into the habit of 10 crumb-filled bags of stale treats all lying around your pantry. Your shelves will be clean and you will never again pick up a bag of chips only to find the crumbs or stale pieces left.

Take some time the next time you open up a bag of treats-portion them out-place them into a container or a shelf and enjoy not having to throw away and waste your food and money.

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Make It Yourself AND Save: Cakes

In: Tips & Ideas

I was walking through the grocery store the other day and happened upon the bakery section.  I could not believe how much they sell a 9 inch round cake with simple frosting-$12.99!  Yikes!  This peeked my interest so I swung by the frozen foods isle.  One small frozen square cake-$5.99.  So of course, I wanted to compare prices and see how I could make it myself and save.  I went down the flour/cake isle of the grocery store and here is what I found:

Box of cake mix: $1.49

Frosting (pre-made): $1.99

Total: $3.48

Yes, making the cake may take a little while and it is something that you would have to schedule into your day or week, but making it yourself shows that special someone that you really do care, plus saving as much as $10 isn’t too bad either!  Usually, cake mixes can make a double layer cake, 9 x 13 inch cake, or even cupcakes.  Plus there are so many differen types of cakes out there that you can really customize your cake to whomever will be eating it.  The options are really up to you and if you make it yourself- you can take all the credit!

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Budget Friendly Kitchen Tips-Bread

In: Tips & Ideas

There is nothing worse than getting ready to make yourself a nice grilled cheese on a rainy cold day, only to discover that your bread it moldy!  YUK!  I hate this and it used to happen more than I liked.

We love to make peanut butter toast for a treat almost nightly.  However, that is about the extend of our bread use.  We don’t use it to make lunch sandwiches or have it for breakfast, but it is a staple that we like to have around.  So the problem here is how to keep the bread from going green.  Our solution: refrigerate it.

Growing up, bread was not put in the refrigerator probably because with a house full of kids, bread was used daily.  There was no need to make it last longer or keep it fresh.  Now, with a house of two, we go through a loaf of bread probably every 2-3 weeks.  With keeping  our bread in the fridge,  we don’t have to worry about any green stuff growing.  Our bread stays fresh until we go through it and we can go away for the weekend, knowing that when we come back, we can count on a fresh piece of peanut butter toast to welcome us home.

So if you also have this bread problem, go ahead and keep your bread in the fridge.  Don’t keep it in the crisper drawer or in with your lunch meat, just find a nice litle shelf in which it can hang out and wait for you.

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This Week’s Menu (09/21/09)

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken with noodles and green beans

Tuesday: BBQ with coleslaw and french fries

Wednesday: Beef Fried Rice

Thursday: Creamy chicken with mushrooms, noodles, and broccoli

Friday: Fish fry! (out to eat)




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