Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Intro May 21, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 1:02 pm
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Over the last Christmas season, our family got to spend a few days at Racer’s mom’s house. While we were there, I was perusing her cookbooks. On the shelf, tucked in between some very modern looking books, was a yellow book with this cover:

Now, since Racer’s mom has been divorced for many years, I was wondering why this old book was on her shelf. When I opened it up, there was an inscription. Handwritten in blue ink are names that show the book was a wedding gift from Racer’s paternal grandmother (now deceased) to his mom. What an incredible find on a cold winter day!

As I looked closer at the book, it is part novel and part cookbook. The story tells of a young woman and her first year of marriage. The cookbook tells the recipes for the wife’s various kitchen endeavors throughout that first year. For a wonderfully inexplicable reason, I love this book! Add it’s age and the family history surrounding it… well, I asked Racer’s mom if I could have it. She obliged and the book came home with me.

So now, I have this idea for a new adventure. I am going to try to “recreate” this book. I’ll use Bettina’s recipes – making them modern day – and try to tell a story of how/when I cook them. Before I started though, I had to set up my “emergency shelf.” Here is what I needed (according to Bettina):

  • 6 cans pimento (I only purchased 3) – $3.87
  • 6 cans tuna – $3.90
  • 6 cans salmon – $11.94
  • 6 jars dried beef (I’m not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 12 cans corn – $5.88
  • 12 cans peas – $5.88
  • 6 cans string beans – $2.94
  • 6 cans lima beans (butter beans for any needing help like me) – $4.14
  • 6 cans devilled ham (I got something like Spam) – $10.14
  • 6 cans tomatoes – $3.30
  • 6 jars pickles – $8.94
  • 6 jars olives (I got home and only had 5 in my bag…) – $4.95
  • 6 small cans condensed milk (Aldi’s only had the 12 oz cans) – $7.74
  • 6 boxes sweet wafers (I got party crackers, 2 boxes each of 3 flavors) – $8.34
  • 1 lb box of salted codfish (not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 3 pkg. marshmallows (2 each of big and mini) – $3.76
  • 3 cans mushrooms – $1.65
  • 2 pkg. macaroni – $1.58

So my emergency shelf is set up and I’m anxiously awaiting my first story/recipe! Are you ready to start this journey with me?


Coke Sale at Food Lion January 22, 2011

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 1:29 pm
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This is really a random post, but since I try to pass my bargains on to others, I’m sharing this deal. It’s a huge deal since Racer is such a big Coke drinker.

Right now at Food Lion, there is a deal on Coke and Kraft products.  Buy 5 Coke or Kraft products, use your MVP card and get an automatic $5 off at the register. Coke 12-packs are on sale for $3 each. Buy 5 of them for $15, get the $5 off at the register and you end up with Coke for about $0.17 a can. Not too bad. If you recycle, you could even recoup some of that cost. 2-litres are also on sale – 4 for $5 – so if you buy 5 of them, you’d only pay $1.25 for the five bottles. 

Since you have to use your MVP card, I think you can only get the deal one time per day. Good news is though, the sale runs through the 25th, so we have a few more days to stock up!

I hope you can find a good Coke deal near you!


Apple Cranberry Bread December 11, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 4:43 pm
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A couple of Wednesdays ago, The Frugal Girl posted her baking adventure making cranberry bread.  I wondered at the time if it would be any good or not, but I wasn’t willing to buy cranberries just to try it out. 

Well, I bought cranberries.  Bags of whole cranberries were on sale, so I figured “Why not?”  I put them in the cart still wondering if anyone would eat the bread.  I decided I just wouldn’t tell them the red parts were cranberries…

So here is The Frugal Girl’s recipe – Cranberry Bread.  I realized that I didn’t have any orange juice, so I substituted 100% apple juice (hence the Apple Cranberry Bread title).  I actually quadrupled the recipe and made 3 larger loaves.  I ended up baking them for 55 minutes.

After I let them cool a bit, I wrapped one up to put in the freezer for later.  Then I tried it – I cut a slice and took a bite.

By golly the bread was good!  I can see how the orange juice would give the bread a little more of a tangy flavor, but the apple juice was a great substitute.  We’ll have it with my thrown together what we have beef stew tonight at dinner.

The other loaf I have is going home with our neighbor girl who is over here playing.  I hope they like it!  And I hope you like the bread too.  Try it and let me know what substitutes you made to make the bread work for you.


My Attempt at Homemade Yogurt October 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 12:09 pm
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My kids and I really like yogurt.  We like flavored yogurt the best, with vanilla and strawberry as top universal flavors.  I’m getting tired of buying it though, because I don’t buy it unless it’s on sale and I have a great coupon too.  The hassle of watching the sale/finding the coupon is getting too much for me right now, so when I read The Frugal Girl’s post about making yogurt I thought I’d give it a try.

So, on Saturday, I tried.  Here’s the recipe from The Frugal Girls’s blog – How to Make Homemade Yogurt.  Blue helped me that day (reluctantly) since I wasn’t sure this baby belly would allow me to lift and pour pots and hold jars and get the cooler out of the barn/shed, etc.  So during nap time, we went to work.

I did boil/sterilize my jars and next time I will have 5 jars ready.  There was a lot of temperature watching.  I think since it was my first time making it, I was overly watchful of the temps.  They are important, but I wasn’t sure how fast the milk and water would reach the temperatures necessary.  We did make the vanilla yogurt (using a vanilla flavored “starter”) and I would suggest adding the full amount suggested, if not a little more. 

The biggest hassle was the pouring.  I forgot about the suggestion to pour from the pot into a pitcher and THEN into the jars.  Pouring from the pot into the jars was a mess – I spilled everywhere!  Had I not made such a mess, I think I would’ve needed a 5th jar anyway, so I guess it all worked out.  I just hated to have had the waste I did. 

After waiting the 3 hours and putting the jars in the refrigerator, we tried some with dinner.  It was still warm and a little too runny, so not the best.  After curing in the refrigerator for a day, the yogurt was MUCH better.  Sorry, I just don’t like warm yogurt.  The vanilla taste was slight, but there.  Today I had some with granola in it – YUMMY!  I also bought frozen strawberries at the grocery, so smoothies are on the menu at some point.

Overall, will I make it again?  I think so.  I want to try to up the vanilla flavor, use a pitcher to pour into the jars and heat the milk up a little higher then cool it a little lower.  I think the heating/cooling will help make it a little thicker.  After reading some of the comment and suggestions from other Frugal Girl readers, I also think I’ll use a different brand of starter. 

It is WAY cheaper to make it than buy it (especially since I used a gallon of milk purchased with WIC vouchers).  The taste is good, the time is no different for me that what I took to search for sale/coupon combinations to make it reasonably priced anyway.  Occasionally, I would catch a deal that made the yogurt free at the store, but my new grocery doesn’t double coupons, so those “free yogurt days” are gone. 

I shared about my yogurt adventure – your turn!  Have you ever attempted homemade yogurt?  If you have, what was your experience like?  If not, try it and tell me about your experience!


Friday Food Plan September 10, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 9:38 pm
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I went grocery shopping today.  Inspired by The Frugal Girl and my friend who twice this week asked what I was fixing for dinner (her hubby even asked), I thought I’d share my shopping adventures and a sketch of what we’ll be eating this week.  I have really found that planning my meals for the week around what is on sale SIGNIFICANTLY helps my family eat for less.  Also, I’ve just discovered Aldi’s and, after only 2 weeks of shopping there, think I’ll be saving quite a bit.  Feel free to let me know what you’ll be eating too!

Here’s what I got at the store today:


Aldi’s Total:  $40.38  Purchased:  laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, corn flakes, head of lettuce, 2 loaves of bread, bagged lettuce mix, 3 boxes crackers, 2 bags bananas, 8 oz block cheese, butter, ranch dressing, baby carrots, shredded cheese, tortillas, tomatoes, flour, jelly, mayonnaise, sour cream, powdered sugar, jar of peanuts, 2 dz. eggs

Food Lion Total:  $11.36  Purchased:  chicken leg quarters, 2 2-ltrs Coke, 2 jars spaghetti sauce, grapes, salsa  WIC:  4 gallons milk, 2 jugs juice, 1 loaf bread (added value of $19.70)

Here’s what I “think” I’ll be making this week for at least one meal of the day.  For breakfast and lunch, we usually have cereal, toast, leftovers, sandwiches and lighter stuff on hand.  I have several things on hand in the pantry/freezer, so not everything for the week was purchased today.  Also, in our “preschool at home,” we are learning about the letter Cc, so we will be making a LOT of cookies this week!

Chicken Quesadillas with fixings

Chicken Parmesan (of some sort), salad

Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon

Meatless spaghetti, salad, homemade bread sticks

Baked Chicken legs, corn, salad

Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, grapes

Grilled chicken breasts, rice, ??? (can you tell chicken was on sale the last 2 weeks?)

I’ll probably end up making chicken salad for sandwiches at some point too.  I’ll also be using a gallon of the milk to try – for the first time – making homemade vanilla yogurt!  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Anyway, tell me what your plan is for next week!


Another Coupon Game Win! February 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 2:20 pm
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I did it again!  This time I saved 71% – YEAH ME!!  So earlier this week, I shared my first real success at playing the coupon game well.  Today, I’ve been doing even better.  I’ve been reading other blogs about frugal living, saving money and couponing.  So I used what I learned and went to my main grocery store, armed with my printable coupons and other coupons loaded onto my store savers card (click here and here for more info).  So, here is what I bought:

12 roll pkg. of toilet paper, 4 bags chex mix snack, 1 pkg. steam veggies, 2 boxes granola bars, 4 bags of fish crackers

The grand total:  $10.22 

That’s right – I saved $25.99 – 71%!!!  This was almost all snack stuff that I wouldn’t usually buy, but it was on sale, I had coupons in hand, PLUS my new love – coupons that you “send” to your store saver card that automatically deduct. 

As for the not shopping and cooking with what I have…  so yeah, I went shopping.  Let me say, however, that I have meals planned out for the entire next week based on what we already had at home.  Nothing that I bought will be used for meals – just snacks. 

So today’s dinner menu – chili with drop biscuits.  I’ve got lots of stuff marked in my trusty, go to cookbook.  Now if the kids will just cooperate and let me cook… 

Maybe I’ll just let them help!


Coupon Game Success!! February 2, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 11:52 pm
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Today, I am claiming a small victory at the grocery store!!  I went in prepared and came out a victor.  I matched my coupons up with what was on sale – especially the buy 10 save $5 items.  Then ground beef was on sale (with my store saver card) and so was frozen chicken, both of which my family eats a lot of.  Then I had some coupons for cleaning products – buy 2 get this product free (one of the options was on sale too).  Then I had 2 coupons for a new product out – $1 off a package of toilet paper and a $1 off OR a free roll.  So here is the list of what I got:

2 boxes store brand corn flakes, 96 oz. bleach, 12 rolls toilet paper made from recycled paper, 1.5 pt. ice cream, 3 boxes fiber granola bars, 6 bags fish crackers, 2 containers of disinfectant cleaning wipes, 3 lbs. store brand frozen chicken pieces, 1 lb. polish sausage, 8 lbs. ground beef

The grand total before discounts and coupons was about $82.  I paid $33.27!!  Yeah for me!!  The store paid me $1 to take the toilet paper out of the store (they read the coupon wrong in my favor) and I got the bleach and cleaning wipes for $2.01.  I know there are people out there who do a far better job playing the coupon game, but this was the best success I’ve had yet, so I just had to share.  I’m learning and that’s what it’s all about!! 

Now, on to my challenge to cook from what I have for the next 2 weeks (minus milk, bread and lunch meat).  I have the menu planned and ready to go.  I’ll let you know how it goes…


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