Friday, August 5, 2011

All in a Day's Work: The Final Tally

Great success! I got an insane amount of freezer cooking done today and it feels great! Look for these items to pop up in my weekly meal plans over the next couple of months!

Here's what I made:

1 loaf of Whole Wheat Banana Bread - but let's face it, that's not making it into the freezer!

8 cups of pulled chicken - I kept 3 pieces out for Shabbos

4 cups of roasted peppers and onions

10 cups of homemade tomato sauce

15 cups of rice pilaf

I divided all the items into sandwich bags before putting them in the freezer bags. That way, I can just pop out a bag at a time as the recipe calls.

Ok, time to get ready for Shabbos! Shab Shal!

Freezer Day!

It's been a long time since I did some real freezer cooking! Since I'm home today I'm going to get to some freezer cooking. Nothing too structured because as of 7:52 this morning, I have no idea what I'm going to make!

I am going to start this morning with a banana bread recipe since we have 3 ripe bananas ready to go. It's a very simple recipe, found here.

It's just the 3 of us for Shabbos, so I will probably cut the bread in half when it is done to freeze.

Let's see, what else can I make...the Rachael Ray mag had a freezer cooking article that included building blocks for lots of recipes, including roasted veggies, tomato sauce and pulled chicken. I'm thinking I will make this stuff in the afternoon.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August! Cash Envelope Check-In!

Hi! I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing weekend. We had a great Shabbos with family and friends in honor of DH's birthday and it included total yumminess! I also got all the leftovers stored away in the freezer for this Shabbos, which is great!

Since we are now in the 9 days, this week's menu plan is SUPER simple - pasta, sauce, cheese, pizza. What could be bad? I actually haven't quite decided, but I will probably make some type of spaghetti pie tonight to have for a couple of days and then pizza. So really nothing to post (or brag) about.

I did want to give everyone a follow-up on the cash envelope system I used for purchasing groceries for the month of July. We budgeted $400 for groceries for the month of July. We came in at around $370 for the whole month - so SUCCESS. A lot of this success came from my whole chicken experiments and the general menu planning and keeping to the budget. Overall, I think the cash envelope is a great system.

However, it was sometimes annoying to carry around an envelope with cash and coins and it also got a little confusing to decide when and how to use the envelope. For example, at Target, I buy groceries and home items...I didn't want to do 2 transactions so I would end up paying for everything with cash and then just factoring that in, so that got a little troublesome.

Also, I love my credit card. I know a lot of budget blogs tell you that is the first thing you should get rid of, but thank G-d, we have been able to pay our credit card in full every month, and we receive points to put towards other things. For example, I just got a blender/food processor with credit card points. Since groceries are such a big part of our monthly budget, I really don't want to give up putting them on my credit card.

My mom had a really great idea about using Monopoly money in my cash envelope instead of real money. Basically you pay with your credit card, but then take the fake money out of your envelope. This way you don't have to walk around with tons of cash and you can still use your credit card.

I think for the month of August I'm going to just keep to my credit card and keep an Excel document to keep track of what we are spending. But, if this doesn't work as well, we might just go back to that cash envelope.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Say Mmm

I just found a really cool new website called "Say Mmm". It is a meal planning and grocery list website. I haven't looked into it too much yet, but I love fun websites to help me feel organized. It makes the process so much more fun. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recipe Share: Salsa Burritos

Here's a recipe I picked up from a fellow KOAB reader. I love how simple it is to make and it really tastes fantastic!

Salsa Burritos
Serves 6

1 bag Morningstar Veggie Meat Crumbles
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (or use a 10 oz bag of washed spinach)
1 1/4 cups chunky salsa (use the heat strength of your choice)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 medium flour tortillas - warmed

In a large skillet, defrost crumbles over medium heat. Season with chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir in spinach and salsa; heat through.

Remove from heat; stir in cheese.

To serve, spoon approximately 1/2 cup mixture in center of each tortilla. Fold bottom edge up over filling; fold sides to center, overlapping edges.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan: July 24, 2011

Here is this week's menu plan. A special shout out to the hubby who turns the big 27 on Wednesday, giving us an excuse to eat out one night this week!

Sunday: Hamburgers, corn, potatoes. I ended up buying 15 lbs of extra lean ground beef yesterday for $3.99/lb. So I turned 3 lbs into hamburgers and froze what we didn't eat for next week.

Monday: Tri-color Rotini with edemmame. Do you like how I just turned pasta and sauce into something really fancy sounding?

Tuesday: Salsa burritos...I will share the recipe later today.

Wednesday: Out for dinner!

Thursday: Taking out the 2nd whole chicken I bought a couple of weeks ago and cooking it up in the slow cooker. We will eat some for dinner and I'll turn the rest into chicken soup for Shabbos.

Friday: In honor of hubby's birthday and my MIL coming for a visit, I will be making a special Shabbat dinner. Chicken soup, Gigi's famous sweet and sour meatballs, butternut squash souffle, broccoli, quinoa, and cranberry peach oatmeal kugel.

Saturday: We are having people over for lunch. I will probably make cholent and leftovers from the night before and some friends are bringing items as well.

It's going to be a good week of eating!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You paid whaaaat????

I am 100% in love with Amazon. There are so many great features that can't be beat! I love their Subscribe and Save feature, as well as Amazon Mom. With these 2 features, you can save 30% on all types of objects! Plus, you never have to pay for shipping and things usually arrive within 2 business days.

So, with my love of Amazon in mind, I'm going to start a new feature on this blog called "You Paid Whaaaat????" The goal of these posts are to show an Amazon deal and compare it to the "real world" deal. I hope you enjoy and I hope you hop on the Amazon band wagon and purchase some of the deals! Please let me know of any deals you find or if there is something you want me to keep an eye out for!

"Real Life" Deal

Target Up & Up Size 4 Diapers Club Box (124 count)

Amazon Deal

Luvs Ultra Leakguards Diapers, Size 4, 204-Count

PLUS save 30% with Amazon Subscribe and Save and Amazon Mom!
Price drops to $26.59

Ok, I know saving $.03 a diaper isn't a huge deal, but if you save $.03/diaper for a whole year it can add up! For 124 of the Luvs diapers verses Target, you are saving $3.72. So, just for simple math, if you use 124 diapers a month, you will save almost $45 for the whole year!

Note: This post contains a link to my affiliate site with Amazon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Menu - July 17, 2011

I hope everyone had a great week and a nice Shabbat. We hosted lunch this Shabbos and I tried something a little different. Usually I make cholent and also buy chicken to make a whole separate entree. Definitely not budget friendly! So, this week I took out one of the bag's of marinated chicken on Friday morning and cooked it in the slow cooker. I took 2 breasts out for our dinner Friday night, and sliced the other 4 into strips for a big Italian chicken salad. Paired with cholent and sides, I think everyone left satisfied!

This week's menu is pretty simple as I work through stuff in the freezer. What's on your menu this week?
Sunday: Spinach cheese Filo Pie (from Trader Joe's)

Monday: Southwest Rollups from freezer

Tuesday: Egg Roll Lasagna from freezer

Wednesday: Parents might be in town, if not, some type of stir fry

Thursday: Homemade pizza

What's on your menu this week???

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Osem Printable Coupons - save the link!

Thanks, Kosher on a Budget for pointing me towards these Osem (read awesome, haha) coupons. They are valid until May 2013 so you shouldn't have to buy a full price Osem product for a long time! Save the link, or download to your desktop, to print at your convenience!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How I Stretched an $8 chicken

This week, I picked up a couple of whole chickens at one of the local Kosher grocery stores for $1.99/lb. What a great deal! I also came across a new blog with a post on how to stretch a chicken into many different meals. She worked with a 7lb chicken, and the biggest I could find was 4 lb, so I wasn't able to do quite as much, but I'm pretty proud with everything I did!

The main reason I loved this idea is because I'm letting my slow cooker do all the work. If you know me, you know how much I love my slow cooker, so this is really a perfect match. Here's how my day went:

7:00 am: Placed the whole chicken in the slow cooker and seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. I wanted to keep it bland so I could use for other recipes. I set the slow cooker to low, got the boy ready and off to daycare/work we went.

12:00 pm: Got excited that I had a whole chicken cooking in my slow cooker and it would smell so good when I got home!

5:00 pm: Sent hubby a text message to ask him to shut the slow cooker off and take out some chicken for ds (dear son - I'm going to start using blog lingo because I'm that cool).

6:00 pm: Got home and enjoyed the lovely smell from the kitchen. DS surprisingly ate all the chicken that DH (figure that one out) put out. I took the chicken out of the slow cooker and started separating some of the meat from the bone. It was literally falling off the bone.

6:15 pm: There were a lot of chicken juices in the crock pot so I used some as a gravy and a couple of cups to cook some quinoa for a dinner side tonight and tomorrow. Also cooked up some green beans.

6:30 pm: I was starving so I ate my portion of chicken, quinoa and green beans for dinner while DH and DS played downstairs.

7:00 pm: DS eats what seems like a cup of quinoa and then goes to bed. DH takes out what he wants to eat for dinner. Basically what was left of the chicken were some side bones with meat and the breast portion.

7:30 pm: I separated all the meat from the bones and put the bones in the crock pot. I decided to take the meat and freeze it for a later date. I think I will probably use it for a big pot of chicken soup at a later date.

7:40 pm: Now the best part. I put all the bones back in my crock pot, added an onion, a bay leaf, some seasoning and 8 cups of water and set to low to cook a chicken stock overnight. I have never made homemade stock before so I'm really excited to see how it turns out!

So, that's how I stretched my $8 chicken. How do you stretch your food? I would love to hear your ideas, especially because I have another 4 lber in the freezer!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan: July 11, 2011

I wrote out my whole post, but I accidentally deleted it, so sorry this will just be a recap of the menu plan!

Monday: Taco pasta. We have leftover taco meat so I am just going to mix it with pasta and sauce...what could be bad.

Tuesday: Mushroom barley soup.

Wednesday: Pineapple cranberry chicken - ended up not making it for Shab so still have all the ingredients ready to go!

Thursday: Homemade pizza

Friday: Marinated chicken

What's on your menu this week? Please share your ideas with me!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My First Target Coupon Trip

Can you guess how much I spent at Target? Here's what I bought:

1 Up and Up Dishwasher Detergent
4 boxes Market Pantry Cereal
2 boxes Barilla Pasta
2 boxes Morningstar products
1 Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste
1 Oral B Floss

The retail value of all these items is $26.87 and I got them all for $15.18! Go me!

Ok, so it's definitely not extreme couponing, but let's be honest, those people get JUNK! All of these items we use on a regular basis, so I might as well buy them with cuopons than paying full price.

Here's the key to my success. Let other people do the work for you! There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of blogs out there that give you weekly deal match ups for all different stores. They tell you what's on sale and where to find the coupons. For example, check out Hip2Save.

For instance, the Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste is on sale this week at Target for $2.49. There was a $1 off manufacturer coupon in the newspaper and an additional $1 off coupon that I could print. That means I got the toothpaste for only $.49! If you ask me, that's a pretty great deal!

Now, I'm not about to go around digging through people's garbage to take their newspapers, but these sales happen all the time. I don't care what kind of toothpaste we use, so I can just buy whatever's on sale when we need it.

So, over all - it was a great experience and I suggest you give it a go, too. Good luck shopping!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan: July 3, 2011

Sorry I'm a little late with the menu plan - I don't even know what day it is! Anyway, here's my plan for this week. What are you planning on making?

Sunday: Barbecue

Monday: Leftovers from barbecue and Shabbos

Tuesday: Black bean burgers - I love these, they are super easy to make and delicious - you will love them, too!

Wednesday: Spaghetti Pie - we have a lot of cheese to use up so I am going to make 2 - one for now and one for freezer

Thursday: Pizza using homemade pizza dough

Friday: Pineapple and cranberry chicken - just throwing it together. I have had a can of crushed pineapples for awhile so I wanted to find a way to get rid of them

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Cash Envelope

I want to start by saying I love using my credit card! It's so simple and quick that you really can't beat it! is not helpful to budgeting. It is too easy to shop, shop, shop and swipe and go. So, we are starting something new this month. It's a tip I learned from Money Saving Mom. The idea is to have cash envelopes (literally, an envelope) for different aspects of your budget. For example, you would have different envelopes for groceries, gas, household items, etc. At the beginning of the month (or week), you will take out the budgeted amount for that envelope. We are going to begin with just a groceries envelope since that is the part of our budget we have the most control over. On July 1, I went to the bank and took out cash for our groceries this month. I will update how the envelope goes at the end of the month! Oh, just heard ds, gotta go - have a great day!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Did ya miss me?

Hi followers (and those who haven't figured out how to "follow" the newest and coolest blog)! Did you miss me? I've been a little busy because I'm home with my son while his daycare is closed. I don't think I'll get to do any freezer cooking this week but I did get to make my pizza dough last night and have 3 ready to go in the freezer.
I always question myself when I decide to make homemade dough, especially when Trader Joe's dough is fabulous, parve and cheap! I haven't fully priced it out yet (but I will next time I buy the ingredients), and I'm pretty sure the cost of making homemade and the TJ version is very similar. So, what's the deal? I do it because it makes me feel really good about myself. It makes me feel that I can make cool things and have them taste just as good as store bought (as evidenced by dh and ds gobbling it all up for dinner)!
Ok, the hubby needs to use the computer so I gotta go - but let me know how you are doing out there!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe Share: Egg Roll Lasagna

I received several questions about the Egg Roll Lasagna I posted about, so I wanted to give everyone the recipe. I first found the recipe on This is a subscription website, but if you are interested in receiving weekly menu plans (from someone other than me!), check it out. I hope you enjoy the recipe! I love doing fun things with egg roll and wonton wrappers - do you have any other fun ideas?

1 lb Morningstar Crumbles, slightly defrosted
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
16 oz cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups marinara sauce
16 oz. egg roll wrappers
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. That the spinach in the microwave and drain thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, egg, and spinach.

In a 9x13-inch rectangular baking dish, build the lasagna in the following order: 1) one cup of sauce; 2) one layer of egg roll wrappers (to cover the sauce); 3) all of the Morningstar Crumbles; 4) 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese; 5) one cup of red sauce; 6) another layer of egg roll wrappers; 7) cottage cheese-spinach mixture; 8) 1/3 of the mozzarella; 9) one cup of sauce; 10) final layer of egg roll wrappers; 11) final cup of sauce; 12) final 1/3 of the mozzarella.

Bake the lasagna, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until it is lightly browned and bubbly.

Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before cutting it. Or, refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Week's Menu Plan

Check out this week's menu plan. For now, I'm just going to post the main entree. For most meals, I usually make frozen green beans because it's easy and I know the boy will eat them. What are you making this week? Please share your recipes with me!
Sunday, June 26: Southwest Rollups - I'll be taking one bag out of the freezer to cook up and have for the week. Hopefully the son will like it and then I can have them for lunch during the week. Remind me to cross a bag off my freezer inventory!
Monday, June 27: Eggroll Lasagna - This is a recipe I love. I use eggroll wrappers in place of lasagna noodles. It's yum! Since it is still just me and the kid, I'm going to make a whole pan and freeze half for a later date. I think it should freeze really well.
Tuesday, June 28: Chicken Tortilla Soup (in the comments section). I'm hoping to freeze some for Shab as well.
Wednesday, June 29: Takeout in honor of hubby being home! We will be using one of our Groupons! I'm also out of pizza dough (scroll down for honey pizza dough) in my freezer so I'm going to make a batch of that tonight to restock!
Thursday, June 30: Homemade pizza using some dough from the night before
Friday, July 1: Leftover chicken tortilla soup, marinated chicken
So, there we have it. Week 1. What do you think?

Creating a Freezer Inventory

I hope everyone had a nice Shabbos! Thanks for all the wonderful feedback I received on the blog - it makes me want to keep writing!
My sister (and most avid reader) made the suggestion that she would like to know how I froze things and how I plan to use them in the future. Obviously a very good idea and that's why it's a good thing I have readers! So, her question made me think how I was going to use the food...I hadn't really thought about that, lol. I just wanted to cook a bunch of food in an hour. I'm sure in the future I will be more organized (maybe).
So, I decided my next best step would be to create a freezer inventory. I'm going to create a Google document of all the food I'm creating and storing in my freezer, along with the date. That way, when I am planning my weekly menu plans, I can look at my freezer inventory to see what I have on hand.
Stay tuned for this week's menu plan and my first taste of the Southwest Rollups!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let the Games Begin! I go! My plan is to make marinated chicken, couscous (to be eaten over Shab), Southwest rollups, and taco meat.

3:20pm: I brought my laptop into the kitchen so I have easy access to all the online recipes and the blog. I brought out the two pots that I will need - a large saute pan for the taco meat, and a smaller pot for the couscous. I also need a bowl for the Southwest rollup fillings. Other than that, I compiled all my other ingredients for easy access and I'm ready to go!

3:30pm: The first thing I decide to do is create the filling for the Southwest Rollups. That way, as I'm cooking other stuff, I will be able to compile the rollups. After I got those ingredients mixed up, I put the water in the pot for the couscous to bring it to a boil. I just realized that I'm running around the kitchen like a crazy person to make sure everything gets down in an hour. Just remembered, who really cares?!

3:35pm: Ok, I'm going to make a couple of rollups while the water comes to a boil. Need to get out the cheddar cheese.

3:40pm: My water is boiling so I pour in the couscous. I turn off the heat to let it sit for five minutes and get back to making my rollups!

3:45pm: The couscous is done so I will let it sit to cool off. I'm halfway done the rollups so I'm just going to finish them before moving on to anything else.

3:55pm: I'm totally going to do this! The rollups are done and I cleaned up my work space a bit. I think I'm just going to get the chicken bagged up since it is so easy and then finish up with the taco meat!

4:01pm: Chicken is done and I'm moving onto the final step! Taco meat! Just realized I should be listening to's so quiet in here - next time! While I'm browning the meat, I will start transferring the cooled couscous into a ziploc for transport to Shab lunch tomorrow!

4:20pm: I'm done! Ok, so I still have to tidy the kitchen and clean the dishes, but if hubby was here he would do that, so for future endeavors I'm done! That was awesome! I feel so productive! And it also shows how much you can get down in such a short amount of time!

So here's what I made:

2 bags of marinated chicken...I really like making Italian chicken because its so easy. I'm not quite sure if this makes it any easier than cooking fresh, but I guess if there is a good sale on frozen chicken breasts it would be good. My plan is to do the slow cooker method.

1 bag of couscous (forgot to put it in the picture!)

1 bag of taco meat

2 bags of Southwest Rollups - I obviously didn't include the chicken so hopefully it will be filling!

Anyway, that wasn't too bad! So what do you think? Was this helpful? Fun to read? Let me know your thoughts!
Shab Shal!

A couple of notes...

So I just got back to the grocery store to find that I already have 2 followers! I am so popular. Anyway, I have a couple of notes I want to make before we really get started.
1. It will not always be so easy for me to blog. I got the idea this morning, and all the stars aligned. My husband is out of town (coming home Tuesday!), the son is at daycare, I'm off work, and I don't have to make much for Shab. As this project goes on, I probably won't be able to blog every hour (which you will be grateful for!), but I will try to stay committed to updating with my menu plans and how everything is going.
2. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. This blog will NOT change your life (sorry!). I do hope I can give you some ideas and inspiration along the way, and that you can help me, too.
3. Eventually I want to include money saving tips as part of this blog, but first I want to learn how to save money! I'm currently working on cutting our weekly grocery budget, but at this point, I'm too embarrassed to actually post how we're doing. So I'll keep those posts to myself and will hopefully be at the point where I want to share them with you!
Ok, I'm going to fold a few loads of laundry and then get started with my cooking. Check back later today for pictures (if I can figure it out) and how everything goes!

My first post!

Welcome to the new blog of this Koshy Mommy. I wanted to be Kosher Mama, but it was already taken so clearly my ideas aren't original :) In fact, my ideas aren't original at all! For the past several months, I have been reading a lot of blogs about budget planning, menu planning, and couponing. My two favorite blogs are currently Kosher on a Budget and Money Saving Mom. I love reading all their great ideas about how to save money and menu plan. But now I think its time that instead of just reading their great ideas, I put them into action (and *hopefully* come up with some of my own ideas, as well).

The main reason I'm writing this blog is because I think it will force me to stay on track with my menu planning and cooking endeavors. I hope that you enjoy reading about my adventures as a "Koshy Mommy" and that you share some of your tips with me, too!

This afternoon I'm going to do my first "freezer cooking in an hour" session. The idea came from Crystal at Money Saving Mom and I hope I can do it justice. The idea is to set out an hour for cooking and prepare simple items for your freezer. In a couple months, we will be getting a full-size freezer, so expect this part of my blog to grow.

Sorry if I'm rambling and disorganized, I hope to get better as we move forward! Is this even the website I should be using for my blog? Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Ok...I'm out...I'm going to print coupons off the Internet, head to the grocery store and then start my 1 hour cooking session! I will try to post again before Shab! Wish me luck...