January 31, 2011

Any Flavor Quiche

This is a response to a reader request. It's a favorite recipe of ours, and though quiche can sometimes seem a little daunting, it's really easy to make ahead for later meals.  I'm going to post a recipe in true Roseanne fashion--first the original, then how I adjusted it to make it work for us.

I start with this recipe for easy as pie crust.  Because I'm making a savory dish instead of a sweet dessert, I do it more like this:
  • 1 1/2 C. flour (use half whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar (but it can also be left out)
  • 1/2 C. canola oil (or the oil of your choice)
  • 2 T. milk
First, mix together the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients in separate dishes.

Mix them together right in the pie plate. 

Press the crust into the pan.  Bake the crust at 425* for 10 minutes, then set aside to fill.

Nobody show this to my Grandma.  She's such a good baker, and I'm such a slacker.  Yes, it looks terrible, but it sure does taste good when it's done.

Then for the filling for the quiche.  You can use whatever recipe you want, but I found this one (mostly) in the freezer cooking book from 30 Day Gourmet.  It may sound a little gross, but it uses readily available ingredients and can be made lower in fat.  This is per quiche.  I make 3-4 at a time and freeze some.

  • 1/2 C. milk  (we use skim milk)
  • 1/2 C. mayo (I know, I know.  We use light or the olive oil kind.)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 T. cornstarch (or flour, if you don't have it)
  • Mix these all together.

Here's where you get creative.  Add the following:
  • Around 1 C. of the cheese of your choice.
  • Around 1 C. of the meat of your choice. 
  • Around 1 C. of the veggies of your choice.
  • You can adjust these so that they make about 3 cups total of solid ingredients.  Just make sure your veggies are well drained if you use canned or frozen.  
  • If you use spinach, put in a pinch of nutmeg.  Salt and pepper, or add the spices of your choice.  I really think simpler is better in most cases.

This is mine, with asparagus, ham, and swiss cheese.  I used frozen asparagus, but cooked it first.  Because of the length of time the quiche bakes, I think you wouldn't need to fully cook items first.  Bake at 350* for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.  If we're eating it right away, I tend toward the 50 minute range. 

If we're saving it for later, I undercook slightly.  Allow the quiche to cool fully, then wrap well with aluminum foil to freeze.


Some other great combinations we've tried--cheeseburger quiche (the original recipe) uses browned ground beef, American cheese, bacon.  Spinach and tomatoes, cheddar, and bacon are delicious.  What's your favorite?

January 30, 2011

West Ames HyVee 9 Cents/Gal off Gas

I posted a week or so ago about how to save money on gas, and was just alerted by a friend that the West Ames HyVee is giving 9 cents off a gallon of gas with a HyVee grocery receipt. The sign didn't say for how long, but their standard discount is 4 cents per gallon.

Another good discount that I noticed recently is the BP station on the corner of Hwy. 69 and 1st Street in Ankeny, which is offering a 10 cent per gallon discount if you pay with cash instead of credit or debit.

Does anyone else know of other good discounts to mention?

Three Ingredient Cookies

These are a favorite in our house. My neighbor gave me the recipe several years ago, and I have used it in a few different ways. The good thing about these is that they are gluten free as long as your peanut butter is.

There are only three ingredients, and it's even easier because you only have to remember the number one.
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
That's it!  Mix the peanut butter and sugar together first, then add in the egg.  Mix well.  It starts out looking like it will never be cookie dough, but keep stirring until you see it get the consistency of Play doh.

Once it gets the right consistency, you can scoop it out and roll it into balls.  I've found that you have to have the heat from your hand to make it form correctly and also to help hold it together after it's cooked.

Once you have the balls formed, you can either mash it down with a fork or leave the balls.  It will not spread out, but if you leave the balls, you can press chocolate stars into the top when they are done cooking.

(That's a well seasoned baking stone, not dirt.  I promise.)

Some modifications you can make:
  • Add semi-sweet chocolate chips, and I usually put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla in the mix to add a little extra flavor.  
  • Add walnuts, pecans, or dried fruits.
  • Use Splenda instead of regular sugar to make these sugar free.  
  • I have used crunchy peanut butter to make them a little crunchier as well.
  • I also use less than a full cup of sugar and natural peanut butter.  These would be REALLY sweet with the full cup and a pre-sweetened peanut butter.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350*, then remove and leave them to cool for 5 minutes.  Once they have cooled, you can put them on a cookie rack to complete cooling.  These are soft cookies, and can sometimes be a little crumbly, but they are delicious and easy.

Here are the ones with the chocolate chips.

And enjoy!  One batch makes about 15 regular sized cookies, perfect for an afternoon snack.  The kids can help make these, and older children would be able to do them from start to finish with very little help.

January 29, 2011

Deals From My Inbox, 1/29

Here are a few of the best deals I see this weekend.
  • 25% off $50 or more from The Children's Place with coupon code CHILLOUT through 1/30.
  • $10 off $30 from Fashion Bug--don't forget to check out the clearance section, which is an additional 20% off.  This deal is good in store with this printable or online with code 776430001.
  • Subway is having FebruANY next month, with all regular subs available for the $5 footlong deal.
  • 20% off at Randomhouse.com with code NEWYEAR (through the end of the month)
  • $10 off PostIt products with this rebate and here is a 55 cent coupon for Scotch tape.  This coupon is good for a few months and should be good for many prints.
I will try to do more later.

January 26, 2011

Reiman Gardens Picnic Antics

I know I post about Reiman Gardens often, but this looks like an awesome opportunity. From their Facebook page:

Picnic Antics event this Saturday and Sunday! Bring one nonperishable food item and get one free admission to the Gardens. See the leaf cutter ant display in the Conservatory and take part in kids crafts. The collected food will be donated local groups. Members are encouraged to still bring a food item or two. Please join us and help those in need.

Also, don't forget to keep voting for them in their contest.  This helps them get funding for an exciting new project.  You can see the details and vote HERE.

January 25, 2011

Coupons and Freebies

There are a ton of great coupons all together on the Wholly Guacamole page, for everything you need for a Super Bowl party--including $5 off a propane refill.  Click here for the full list.  I think you'll need to register to receive the coupons, but I've noticed that many of them are pdf files which allow for multiple prints.  The ones that go to Smartsource can be printed twice if you click the back button on your browser.

This one is also great!  You can send a free box of Quaker Oatmeal Squares to up to ten people.  These are a total favorite at my house, but they're usually over $3 per box.  I only buy them if they are under $2.50, so it's an occasional treat.

January 22, 2011

Deals From My Inbox, 1/22

I hope these deals come in handy. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • 30% off EVERYTHING and free shipping from Lands End.  You can use code JAN24 and pin 5381 through 1/24.
  • Today ONLY, get an additional 30% off all sale merchandise (some already 50% off!) from Fashion Bug-that's online or in store, no coupon needed.  They have free shipping to the store, or a $7 flat rate for shipping.
  • Get an $8 coupon for the new movie Secretariat.
I'm slowly getting caught back up, but those are the best I see today.

January 19, 2011

Great Daily Deals!

This is a pretty great deal all by itself, but it can get better. Living Social has a deal today only where you can purchase a $20 Amazon gift card for $10. If you haven't heard of Living Social, it's along the same lines as Groupon, which uses group purchase power to get 50% or more discounts and daily deals.

But wait! Before you make your purchase from Living Social, click through any Living Social link on the Trial Pay special offers on Swagbucks, and you'll get 280 swagbucks for making your purchase. When I can buy a $5 Amazon card for 450 SB, that's the equivalent of another $2.50 toward my Amazon habit.

Groupon's deal for today will interest my local friends!  Get a 1 year membership to the Blank Park Zoo for $34--$49 for a family plus membership.  You can also get 280 swagbucks for buying the Groupon deal through Swagbucks.

I would love to have the referral points if you haven't signed up for one of these sites, so please click through one of my links if you can--then share with your friends.

January 18, 2011

How to Save Money on Gas

Long time, no type.  Loyal readers may recall that I did the same thing last January. There becomes less to post about as I shift back to money saving from money spending.  So let's talk about some money saving ideas.

This morning, I have gasoline on my mind.  Ours is pushing $3.00 a gallon.  It hasn't yet broken past that magical mark, but I know it's a matter of time.  Gone are the days when you can scrape up your quarters, throw $5 in your tank, and cruise all night.  Now the $15 Visa card I got from Free Ride didn't get my car to half a tank, and it was gone in a few days of running everywhere.

So, how can we save money on gas?

Consume Less
There are the obvious answers--drive less, combine your trips, keep your tires properly inflated.  We also limit our out of town activities.  I try not to go "to town" unless I also have to work.   Some other hints:
  • Slow down.  In most cases, you use more fuel the faster you go, and you also will find yourself having to brake more often.
  • Smooth out your driving.  This goes along with slowing down, just drive a nice steady speed and avoid jack rabbit starts.  This is hard on your fuel economy AND your vehicle. 
  • Along with keeping your tires properly inflated, make sure you keep your vehicle properly serviced.  A car in need of a tune-up or oil change will not run as efficiently as one in proper running order. 
  • With winter, avoid the temptation to start your vehicle really early.  A minute or two go the engine to warm while you scrape your windshield is adequate to warm up the engine.  Idling for 10 minutes or more is wasteful.

Grocery Store Discounts

This is in my area, but I know there are similar programs throughout the state, and similar programs with different stores outside of the area.
  • We are able to get a 3 cent per gallon discount at Kum & Go printed on the receipts at Fareway.  
  • The Ames area HyVee stores have added some fuel pumps, and I've seen the same in other towns.  Here, you will receive a discount on gas if you present your grocery store receipt.  The discount seems to vary, but I've heard from people that they've gotten up to 10 cents off per gallon.
  • Sams Club also offers gas discounts to their members, as do many other club stores.
Random Tips
  • You can go to sites like GasBuddy or any number of price tracking web sites.  Many of these will even send texts to your mobile phone with updates.  In larger cities, there are many more choices for gas stations, so maybe this works well.  In my town, I'd have to drive to the other side of town in order to get cheaper gas, thus negating any savings.
  • Buy your gas on Thursday mornings.  Gas is best purchased in the coolest part of the day, and the best day to buy is Thursday, before the prices go up for the weekend.
  • Kum and Go has printable coupons, though it's rare that they have one for gas.
  • Casey's also has printable coupons, though theirs are mostly for food items.
  • My personal money saving tip is to avoid going in to pay for the gas (except Sunday, see below), because it keeps me from picking up a drink or snack. 
  • I also purchase gas from Kum & Go on Sundays, because they give a free paper when you purchase gas.  That's a savings of $1.50 off the price of the paper, not to mention all the coupons to help me save on my grocery bills.
What have my readers got?  Do you know a great gas saving tip, or where to buy cheap gas, or how to get the best discounts?   Add your hints in comments, and I'll add them into the post.  Have another request for a money saving post?  I'm always taking requests.

January 5, 2011

FREE Download of Entire Reading Program!

What an awesome freebie!

Funnix is a two year, complete reading program. It's normally $249, and it is FREE for the entire month of January! It looks like this can even be downloaded for schools to use.  I heard about this from a friend, who heard about it from Money Saving Mom, just to give credit where credit is due. 

You'll sign up on the link, then they email you the information on how to download the program.

OK, it took me an hour to upload, but I wanted to make sure it was legit before posting about it.  It looks like a really cute program, and I'm thinking it must be worth free.  Give it a try.

Mani/Pedi for $30 in Ames

The Groupon for our area today is a manicure and pedicure at Finesse Salon and Spa in Ames for only $30. If you haven't used Groupon before, it is legitimate. They use the power of group buying in order to get their members some huge savings. This deal will be good for one day, and they also have a $49 deal for a weekday stay at the Hotel Frederick in Boonville.

If you haven't signed up before, I'd love for you to use my referral link to register.

In the same vent, Living Social also has a great deal today!  $35 for 4 "adult" beverages and 4 plates of Tapas at Sbrocco Wine Bar in Des Moines.  You can save $1 if you like them on Facebook.  What a great day that would be, go and get pampered, then top it off with some delicious food and beverages.  Here is the signup for LivingSocial if you haven't already registered.

January 4, 2011

Two Good Local Coupons

These are only for the Ames area, though I think the Younkers coupon could work in any store. 

  • If you want a chance to check out Reiman Gardens (they're still open in the winter) now may be the time.  This coupon is good through August 31, 2011, and may be good for multiple prints.
  • Younkers has a 20% off coupon, good through January 29.  Again, it's a PDF file, so you should be able to do a few prints.
These and others are available at the Ames Chamber of Commerce website.

January 3, 2011

Some Freebies

I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging now that I'm back to my regular schedule. If you love freebies, you may already know this. There are two major discount chains that offer free samples of items. One I don't shop at or mention, but TARGET has some samples pretty regularly.

Today, it's only free dog and cat food samples, but you may as well give it a try. I've found most free samples come with some good coupons as well.

This inspires me to go and seek out some more freebies:
You can click the freebie link on my tag cloud and see some other freebies I've posted.  The thing with freebies is that sometimes they are all gone so fast that you don't get a chance to sign up, but sometimes they will come back in stock or they have a million available that they are still sending.  It's always worth a try.

Some more, and I think this will be all for the day:
 Please comment and let me know your favorite types of freebies!  I love the free samples of shampoo and deodorant.  They're perfect for packing in the toiletry bag for trips.