February Savings

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Georgine shares tips for saving big in February.

The shortest month can be long on savings mainly due to the 2 big holidays Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

Flowers and Chocolates

If you can hold off until the 15th of the month, you will really snag the deals. Of course, flowers after February 14th won’t earn you any points in the romance department, but they will take less out of your wallet. Buy some Valentine’s candy for yourself. At half-price you won’t care it comes in a heart-shaped box.

Outerwear

Shop for winter outerwear now. There will be plenty of cold days ahead to wear your purchases and you’ll save a bundle while the stores make the room they need by ridding these bulky coats for light and sheer spring frocks.

Think Ahead

Early winter is a good time to shop for air conditioners and BBQ grills. These aren’t foremost on most shoppers’ minds, but you can get a deal plus you’ll be ready for the first day that the temperature rises.

Jewelry

You will find bargains in jewelry before Valentine’s Day so look for sales. Likewise, look for anything red in the lingerie departments and specialty stores these will most likely be on sale. Her favorite fragrance will be on sale too, so look for promotions in drug and department stores.

Big Ticket Items

You can save up to 50% on big ticket items such as refrigerators, mattresses, sofas, and other furniture. President’s Day weekend brings the biggest and first sales pitch of the New Year on cars. Look for rebates, discounts, and low financing.

Electronics

Last year’s electronics models have to go because there is always something new debuting. You can get a great price on digital cameras, HDTVs, DVD players, and MP3 players.

At the Supermarket

In the grocery stores, cereal will be reduced, in particular, oatmeal. Be sure to combine coupons with frozen snack foods sales that will be advertised for the upcoming Super Bowl. After the 14th, you’ll get lots of bargains on chocolates and Valentine’s candy. Steak and seafood will also be on sale then because they are favorites for Valentine’s Day dinner and the stores will have had filled their shelves with them.

Southwestern Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Pot Pie

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I already told you about the two potpies I planned to make this week. So far I’ve only got around to putting together one and here it is. It’s Southwestern Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean. Chopped cooked chicken can also be added too.

You’ll need half of the food processor pastry recipe I posted on the blog the other day and just a handful of other ingredients which are-

 

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large zucchini, roughly chopped

Oil

Good sprinkling of salt and pepper

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained.

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbells® Condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Add the vegetables to a large roasting pan and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and then drizzle on the oil and ‘massage’ everything together.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes until the veggies are caramelized. I’ve found it helps to stir them every five minutes or so.

Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the black beans and soup. (If the mixture seems too thick, just add some milk). Mix everything together and then pour the mixture into a large pie dish.

Cover with the pastry and make three holes to vent the steam.

Place the pie in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and the mixture bubbling.

Serves 6.

 

Next week I’ll be posting the second pot pie recipe.

Food Processor Pastry

Preparing the pie

I love anything that’s a shortcut in the kitchen. Something that’s so easy that it will encourage me, even motivate me to make it more than I normally would. Case in point; this pastry. It uses the food processor to do all the work for you… well apart from rolling it out that is.

Just four ingredients. And yes, two sticks of butter are rather over the top, fat and decadence wise, but it does make a nice melt in your mouth pastry. If you’re worried about calories or want something cheaper, opt for margarine or low fat spread, but you won’t get such a firm pastry, but nevertheless still delicious.

This recipe makes two pie crusts with generous leftovers for making small pastry treats.

This week I’m making two pot pies with one batch. One is a Southwestern pot pie, the other a seafood one, so stay turned for the recipes to follow in a later post.

 

2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter or margarine or low fat spread

½ cup ice cold water

 

Put the flour and salt into the food processor and pulse a few times.

Cube the butter and add it to the food processor. Pulse until the butter is blended throughout and the size of a pea.

Add the cold water and pulse until everything starts to pull together.

Take the dough from the machine and place it on some plastic wrap. Mold everything together and wrap tightly. Place this in the fridge for at least an hour.

Take it out of the fridge about ten minutes before you want to roll it out. Divide in half and use both halves or put the other half back in the fridge and it’s good for about a week.

I haven’t tried freezing this but I’m guessing that would be just fine.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

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Since the over indulgence of the holidays, I’ve been trying to make meals with less fat content and more veggie centric. This is one I tried out yesterday and if you want to add meat, ground turkey or chicken, would work too. The key is to roast the vegetables and to add the higher fat cheese just on top. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, but I’d suggest at least using onion and carrot to add sweetness and caramelization that takes the favor up a notch or two.

 

7 layers of lasagna pasta (I use the oven ready kind to save time)

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 onion, peeled and roughly diced

1 large zucchini, roughly chopped

1 cup chopped broccoli

Oil for oven roasting, also good sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper

1 cup of pasta sauce

1 14 ounce can, chopped tomatoes (I used the variety with added basil and oregano)

1 ½ cups cottage cheese

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To a large roasting pan, add all the vegetables and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and then drizzle with the oil until each one is well coated

Place in the oven and roast for about 35 minutes, stirring frequently until all the vegetables are slightly browned and softened.

While the vegetables cook, spray a large cooking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes together.

Mix the cottage and Parmesan cheeses together.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the pan from the oven and then start assembling the lasagna.

Start with a layer of the pasta sauce mix, add some of the lasagna pasta, (don’t worry if you have to break some in half to fit), top with a layer of the vegetables and then a layer of the cottage cheese mixture.

Continue layering until all the ingredients are used.

Sprinkle the sharp shredded cheese over the lasagna. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pasta is cooked, the cheese melted, and everything is bubbling.

Serves 6.

 

Mediterranean Dried Tomato and Herb Bread

Some recipes come about in strange ways, this being one of them. I’d purchased a two pound bag of sun dried tomatoes just before the holidays, had a handful of herbs left in a container, and a small amount of bread flour. I wasn’t in the mood for the long process of baking bread by hand, but do have a bread machine that always comes to the rescue. So this recipe was born. It’s simple to make and if you want you can add some shredded cheese for extra flavor. This bread turns into a gorgeous light red color with flecks of sun dried tomato throughout, and is perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches, add some fries or a side salad, and you’ve got supper.

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I set my bread machine for a 1 ½ pound loaf so the amount of ingredients is for that size-

3 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or even agave nectar

2 tablespoons dry milk powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 ½ tablespoons oil

1 ¼ cups warm water

½ cup roughly chopped sun dried tomatoes (not the kind in oil, although you probably could use them but I’d cut down on the amount of oil you use in this recipe)

2 generous tablespoons dried Italian seasoning

½ cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

 

Place everything in the bread machine in the order that’s recommended for your particular brand. Mine is yeast first then flour, rest of the dry ingredients, and then water and oil last. Mine also recommends adding extras, in this case the sundried tomatoes, cheese and herbs, a quarter of the way into the blending stage so check your instructions.

 

January Savings

To kick off the New Year and new savings, Georgine shares news about what’s on sale this month-

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Happy New Year and let’s start the year off by saving money.

Clothes

Begin updating your wardrobe by stocking up on winter clothing, coats, sweaters, boots, and more that are on clearance. Holiday returns have added to stores’ inventory and they need to make room for the spring fashions that are waiting to be put on display. If you need a new suit, you can get a good, brand-name that will last longer so it’s worth the splurge. Shop for brands that sell separates so you have more control over the fit; that way you avoid pricey tailoring.

Cards, Paper and More

Of course, grab some holiday themed decor, cards, wrapping paper, etc. that are reduced 50%-75% and put away until next year.

Resolutions

January is the month that everyone’s New Year resolution is to lose weight. Get bargains on exercise equipment and fitness DVDs to help you get started. If you are sports-mined, it’s a good time to shop for warmer weather activities. As the temperatures drop so do the prices of these sporting goods. Come spring you’ll be ahead of the game.

White Sales

Home goods, such as linens and sheets will also be at discount prices during White Sales. Think future wedding gifts. Put away until you need these.

Electronics

The latest gizmos will soon be released during the Consumer Electronics Show so mid-January look for deals on anything leftover from 2015.

At the Supermarket

In the supermarket, keeping with the weight-loss theme, diet foods will be on sale. Look for frozen appetizer foods, and soda deals as Super Bowl Sunday approaches. Of course, there are stores like Target, CVS, and other that drastically reduce all the holiday candy and snacks. You can really, practically steal anything that has red and green packaging as stores have no need for these now. Use these for baking, snacking, and brown bagging.