Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recipe Of The Day: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Soup

Ok, so I don't normally "LOVE" new recipes I make, because I'm too hard on myself, and used to my "normal" recipes. But this recipe I can truly say I enjoyed, and it was SOOOO EASY as most crock pot meals are. I kind of invented my own recipe by merging 2, so I don't have anyone to give credit to.


3 Cans Cream Of Chicken Soup
1 Can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 Can of chicken broth or something equivalent
3 chicken breasts (can be thawed, but mine was frozen!)
1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 packet italian dressing seasoning

Garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste.
Shredded cheddar cheese.

Add cream of chicken, cheese soup, chicken broth, cream cheese and "garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste" in the crock pot. Cook on high for a half hour to let every thing melt together. Mix well after half hour, using an electric mixer if necessary.

Combine 1/4 tsps of salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian dressing seasoning in a bag or bowl, and season the chicken with the mixture. Add chicken to crock pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. At this point, chicken should "fall apart". Shred chicken.

I used instant rice. I made 2 cups of rice. Rice should be prepared prior to cooking, so you can cook it however you prefer. Once cooked, add to crock pot and stir. Serve. I topped it with a little bit of shredded cheese.

Voila!! Nice and easy! You don't even NEED to thaw the chicken!! And I'm sure as long as the cream cheese was soft enough, you wouldn't need to do the whole half hour thing, which I know is a pain if you are going to work, but you could always throw the stuff together, take your shower and get ready, and then finish it up. This was a VERY filling soup, and I thought the flavor was perfect.

Bill added salt, but he likes to swim in salt so.... yeah...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How I got a $50 cell phone case for "free"

Sorry I've been slacking lately. Holidays, and not feeling well, I haven't been cooking or shopping. So here is my deal of the day! A PINK (of course) Griffin Survivor Case for my new iPhone 4S, for "free".

Now you know there are many levels of free, some are outright free, some are via auction sites and what not. This is a bit complicated so bear with me.

I bought this item on e-bay. This was buy it now, for 28.95. So already, we have a savings of 21.04.

Next, I spent $17 of this from a promotion from this morning. If you downloaded this app on iPhone OR android, you received a $5 amazon gift card. Awesome, but not part of this deal! But, you could refer up to 5 friends, and received $5 for each referral, as well as $1 for joining. I signed Bill up (so now we have $10 in amazon gift cards!!) and 2 people from one of the blogs I follow joined using my link, so I earned $15 in referral dollars, and can potentially earn $10 more on my account, and $25 more on bills account (use OR if you want in, must have iPhone or android, not sure if it will work on iPod touch.) .

So that got the balance to 11.95, which I paid using money I earned selling "junk" on ebay, so it was "free" money in my opinion.

AND I earned 0.68 in eBay bucks, so this was actually a money maker in my book!! Woohoo!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today's dinner: Crock pot mac and cheese.

Today's recipe came from A Whisk And A Prayer. I have mixed feelings about the outcome, but let's get to the recipe, and then i will dialog.

1 1/2 cups milk
One 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temp
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, par cooked and drained
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with cooking spray or grease it with olive oil. Combine milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and salt in slow-cooker and whisk until until smooth, 
Add the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) and macaroni, sprinkle with black pepper (and whatever other spices you want to use). Stir gently with a spatula to coat evenly. 
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to LOW and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender. The macaroni and cheese may sit in the cooker on the KEEP WARM setting for 30 minutes before serving. Before dishing it up, I sautéed some bread crumbs with olive oil and sprinkled them over the top to make it a little fancier. 

How i made the bread crumbs: 
1/1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp garlic salt
Saute in olive oil. 

I forgot to cook the pasta a little bit before putting it in, but i don't think that was an issue. The pasta cooked good, the cheese melted good, although I think the pasta to cheese ratio was a little off. Needed more pasta or less cheese. I also think it might have cooked a bit too long, as the outside wall was a bit overcooked. Maybe like a half hour less. I think I would avoid the seasoned bread crumbs too, but I don't eat a lot of things that are that seasoned, so it was a bit too much for me, but someone who likes a lot of flavor, that would be perfect for you!!! I think there was a bit too much parmesan cheese too, as that seemed to be a pretty strong flavor, and really overpowered everything too much.

Overall, I would say this was pretty good, it's worth trying especially if you want a more homemade mac and cheese without the effort. Just needs a bit of tweaking. Bill has not tried it yet, he will try it tomorrow and let me know how he feels about the flavors.


Here we go with the freebies I got in the mail today!!! I will explain where everything came from as we go.

Today's first freebie was from Listia. For those of you that don't know how this site works, think e-bay but with little or no money being exchanged. You get a certain amount of points when you join, you can also earn points by like signing up for netflix, referring friends, etc. The best way to get points is to "sell" stuff. People bid their points to win your stuff. You can either choose to charge shipping, or pay for it on your own, and same with auctions. Some auctions are free shipping, some are not.

Item #1 is a cute little ornament/key chain of an angry bird. It's small, but really cute. I think I'm going to hang it on the tree, and then on my keys after Christmas. This required no shipping so was ENTIRELY free to me.

Item #2 is a box full of awesome various goodies. This was also from Listia, I paid $10 shipping on this, and it was totally worth it, as you will see when this list comes up!! Here we go:

1 black shopping bag
1 shiny pink purse like thing
2 Hello Kitty Pens (new in package)
2 Butterfly Clips (new in package)
Avon Skin So Soft Original Creamy Body Wash (full size)
Mary Kay Satin Hands (full set, full size)
2 tubes of chapstick brand chapstick (new in package)
1 auto expressions car air freshening flamingo (pineapple passion, brand new)
3 brand new re-usable produce bags (i think i'm supposed to use these in the stores instead of the plastic bags?)
1 burts bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Bar
1 kitchen sponge (new in packaging) 
1 travel size sewing kit
1 brand new Riviera Leather wallet (was in packaging)

All below are Bath & Body Works FULL SIZE:
-Mango Mandarin Foam Burst Body Wash
-CO Bigelow Ginger Mentha Revitalizing 2 in 1 bath and shower foam
-Spiced Gingersnap Body Lotion
-Nutcracker Sweet Body Lotion
-Breathe Delight 24/7 Radiant Moisture Gradual Tanning Body Lotion
-Breathe Happiness 24/7 Moisture Boost Body Lotion

 Some of the lotions are used a bit (less than half gone), but who cares??? They still work!

Now we move on from Listia. Freebie # 3 of the day is a sample box of Hills Brothers Mocha Mint Cappuccino. This included 3 packets (think hot chocolate size) as well as a $1 off coupon. I have no idea if this product is available locally, but I'm drinking it as I type, and it's awesome! It actually has little candy cane pieces in it!!!

Onto Freebie #4, today's last and final freebie! This might be my fave, although the Listia package is pretty awesome. This was a promotion a couple weeks ago, where I could send a Gluten Free gift box to someone. It was a Facebook promo, you had to post the link on your friends wall, and then they had to order the promo themselves, so if you are GF, and didn't get one, I did post a link!!! It is UDI brand, and everything is GF. Included was a 4 pack of hamburger/sandwich rolls, a 4 pack of double chocolate muffins, a package of snicker doodles, and a 4 pack of cinnamon rolls. I'm not sure if I know anyone locally who is GF, and I can't afford to send it, but if you would like it, let me know! I'm willing to ship it if you pay exact shipping, but I may just test the products myself, and post a review.

That's it for today's freebies! I will be checking on my dinner in a few mins, and posting that as soon as I test it!!!

Deal of the day! Burts bees item!

My deal of the day comes from Vitacost. This is a Burt's Bee's gift pack, I cannot say which one because it may or may not be a gift for someone who may or may not read the blog. So, when you join Vitacost you get a free $10 credit, which will be sent to your e-mail, with a code, which you will need when checking out.

The item I purchased was originally 14.99, it is a 5 piece kit. It was then on sale for 10.99. After the $10 credit, my cost was 0.99 plus tax and shipping, bringing the grand total to 5.98! So it would have been 19.98 before sale and credit. This site also offers free shipping if you want to spend $49 or more. Not sure if that is before or after credit.

Total savings: $14 or 70%!!! Can't wait to give this as a gift.

(plus 4% back on ebates which will be 3 or 4 cents!!! hey it adds up!)

Stay tuned. I have 2 more blogs coming tonight!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deal of the day! Boots!!!

I am a flip flop girl to the core. I refuse to wear anything else until there is snow on the ground. Well, this has worked out for me, since we have gotten 1.5 inches of measurable snow in December so far, so I have not had to wear anything else. Well, a few weeks ago, I put on my boots. These aren't winter boots, but they have done the trick. Savannah hasn't really been into snow until this year, so it wasn't an issue. Well, she LOVES snow this year. So I decided I finally needed to get real winter boots.

I received an e-mail for Payless, about their clearance being 60% off in store only. Well, I lack a car, so I decided I'll check out their website anyways. I found a pair of boots, normally 39.99. It was on clearance for $21.99, which is still FAR too much for me.

So I jump over to my friends at Retailmenot (best place to find coupons for anything btw... if a coupon exists, it's there!!!) and the best I could find was 15%. Not good enough!! So i scrolled down, and found an old 30% off coupon, which was expired, but it had a lot of comments attached to it. Read through the comments, and someone posted code "59863" which was good for 40% off. Why not? Worth a try. It worked!!!

Now to shipping. Shipping is usually 5.95. Yes, it's nice to get the package right at the door, but not for $5.95. It shipped to the store, FOR FREE.

Oh but I'm not done!!! 3% cash back on e-bates!! (thats about 0.41) making it 13.31

So, grand order total was 13.72 SHIPPED plus I will get 3% back!!!

Total WOULD have been 47.54 if it had been full price and i had payed to get it shipped. So, I saved a possible 34.43 when you figure in sale, coupon and cash back!! That's a 72% savings!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Creamy Potato Chowder and Brownie Houses!

Today's recipe was creamy potato chowder. It came from a blog called Real Mom Kitchen. Here is the recipe (slightly modified from the website):

Crock pot Potato Chowder
8 cups diced potatoes
1/3 cup onion, chopped
6 cups of chicken broth
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
½ lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
Dried parsley or sliced green onions for garnish – optional

Combine potatoes, onion, water, bouillon, and chicken soup in the crock pot.Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender. Add cream cheese to crock pot and blend.Top with bacon and parsley or onions before serving. 

Now, I did not use onion, because I don't like onions and/or peppers in my food, though I like the flavor, so I just used a couple of dashes of onion powder instead. I also added a couple dashes of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Probably not even a teaspoon. I was VERY happy with this meal, though I would change a couple things/modify what the recipe says.

I did not peel the potatoes. The recipe did not say which should be done, so I left the skin on, and although it was edible, the skins were falling off the potatoes in the chowder, so it made it a little awkward to eat. I cooked it on high for 4-5 hours, instead of the 8-10 hours on low it called for, just because of timing for dinner. It turned out fine, although I wish it would have been a but thicker. I don't know if cooking it longer on low would have helped. I also could have used flour to thicken it up, but I never mess with the recipe on the first try. The only other thing I would try, would be crispier bacon. That is the only thing I used as a garnish, and because I then mixed it in the bowl, it was not nearly crispy enough to be in the soup. I was really looking for that "crunch" and didn't get it. I also wish I had softened the cream cheese, and given it at least an hour to melt in to the soup. I wasn't planning on waiting so long, but it did eventually melt.

Overall, GREAT meal, VERY filling. I wouldn't imagine it would be too unhealthy, since it is mostly chicken broth and potatoes. Highly recommend this recipe!! I ended up using 2 larger potatoes and 2 medium ones, and that seemed to be a good amount. I will absolutely make this again!!

Now for dessert, we had some fun!! My mother in law bought Savannah and I a Halloween Haunted House brownie kit on super clearance, a week or so ago. I decided we could make cute little Christmas houses! Savannah probably ate more candy than she actually put on her house, but it was a lot of fun. She made a clown out of M&Ms, her words, not mine!! hehe. Nice part is, I lined the foil trays WITH foil, so i can re-use the trays!!

Now to try and sleep. Not sure what is to come tomorrow (today??) but I will update if it's something worth posting!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No cooking, but my deal of the day!!!

So no matter how much I convince myself I'm done Christmas shopping, I never really am. Today, I went online looking for a good deal on a bathing suit. Yes, I know it's December, and despite the fact that it has yet to snow enough to even measure, I figured I could find a good deal for Savannah for next year.

I did not have much luck, because all the ones I could find were full priced. But, I did come across a sale on Oshkosh shirts. Long sleeve shirts, of all sizes were buy 1 get 2 free. At first, I was like EEK $20 is a lot for one shirt. However, after doing the math, 3 shirts for $20 from Oshkosh is not a bad deal!! After shipping and tax, it ended up being about $9 a shirt. I got one that says something about a cool daddy, a camping shirt, and either a purple shirt, or a grey shirt with snowflakes. I don't remember. My brain is taking over my body today. They are long sleeve shirts, and you can never have too many of those!! So, I was happy at the end. Still never found a bathing suit though!

While I'm at it, I'm going to post the deal I got Friday. Lands End. I love Lands End. The quality of their stuff is AMAZING, the prices aren't too awfully expensive, and they have THE best return policy to ever exist. A couple weeks ago, they had their half zip fleeces for 10.50 (regular price 29.50) plus tax, shipped. So I ordered that, and a hat for savannah for a total of 12.59 shipped, plus cash back on ebates. Well, I didn't order one for my mother in law, even though I was considering it, and really regretted it. So, I get an e-mail about them having a 40% off sale, and decided to see how much the fleeces were, if they were still on sale. They were!!! I actually got her fleece for 8.74 SHIPPED, plus 6% cash back on ebates, and its guaranteed to be here by Christmas! That actually made my day!!!

I think I am becoming addicted to shopping, but practical shopping!!! It's like every day is a new challenge to see what kind of deal I can grab.

Well, I am going to try to sleep, if my pain stops and the hubby stops snoring.

For tomorrow... Potato Chowder made in the crock pot!!! Stay tuned folks!!!

My Plan

So I have decided, after finally getting the cord back on my crockpot, I am going to start a blog about various recipes I try either from the internet, or that friends suggest to me. The plan is to post the recipe I use, as well as any modification I have made, the source I received it from as well as the feedback from the family.

On top of that, since I'm too lazy to do 2 blogs, I am also going to post about my shopping experiences. As some of you know, I spent $213 on Christmas stuff (this is not all inclusive, just what I was able to find after the fact) and without my savings, I would have spent $583. So using a variety of techniques, I saved $370!!!

So sit back, relax, as long as grocery shopping goes smoothly, I should be posting my first recipe tonight!!! Woohoo!!!