Friday, May 9, 2008

Money Saving Trick #1

Just a quick note. A great way to save money when running a large family household is to consider cutting your family's hair at home. I know this sounds daunting, but it is easier than you think. Even if you resort to giving your young boys a buzz cut, it can save you money even if you take the olders ones to the beauty shop. For more information and ideas, check out this article.

Speaking of beauty shops, over at the Mega-Moms blog, I talk about some of my recent hair-cutting adventures, complete with pictures and all. If you're interested, take a peek.

And the Winner is....

Okay, before I go and announce this, I do want to apologize. This challenge was a bit unorganized. That was due to my whirlwind idea to do it on short notice. So I do extend a "sorry" to those who couldn't participate due to the tight timeframe. We're hoping our June challenge runs a bit smoother.

Anne has a post on her blog to all of the entries, so I'll just link to that post. However, I am going to link to all of the entries which were posted on official blogs, so be sure to visit and check them out.

Annie Jones' entry at Real Life Living for 5 people

From Lisa at Living Easy serving 5

Aside from the one below, I also had a person entry listed on my family blog Coffee & Chaos.

Oh, and the winner is: Annie of Living Life Real! We loved that Annie managed to get dinner and desert! Great job, and thanks to everyone for reading and participating.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The LOK Entry for the Cooking Challenge

Since we are hosting this Challenge, we are not eligible for the prize...but we/I want to play along too. So, here's the submission.

Note, this entry isn't officially late...the pictures are! I made this dish this past weekend and intended to post this on Monday, but our camera seemed to run off and hide for a while. Though all small children in this house are claiming innocence...

This was actually the dish that inspired the April Cooking Challenge. When I first made it I was so impressed how cheap it was, and how it fed my whole family. It was created after I searched for a good one-dish breakfast. The use of sour cream was inspired by all of the quiche recipes I looked at!

As with my personal entry, this is made using "grocery store" stuff. I wanted to do that to show that even moms who might not feel they are from-scratch cooks could still throw together a dish that was great to eat but inexpensive. Also, I was trying to be fair and using some of the higher prices I have seen around. I am sure I could make this dish cheaper, such as I got eggs for $1.25 at the store last night, would would reduce the overall cost by $1.54.

Rich Breakfast Casserole

1 dozen eggs ($2.79)
1 carton sour cream ($1.00)
1 2lb package of frozen tater tots ($2.00)
1 8oz pkg of shredded cheddar ($2.00)*
1 loaf of white bread ($1.20)

Defrost tater tots (I put them in the microwave). Place in glass casserole dish, breaking the tots up with a spatula into smaller pieces. Crack all dozen eggs into a bowl and add 1 cup of water. Beat until frothy. Add whole carton of sour cream and 1/2 of cheese. Mix well. Pour over tater tots and stir until blended and egg is evenly distributed. Cook in 425 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until eggs are set. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Cook for 3-5 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve with buttered toast.

This come in at $8 and feeds my family of 11. We eat meatless a couple times of week, and this has become one of our favorite non-meat dishes. However, I have also made this using packaged bacon bits ($2 a package on sale) or cooked and diced brown-and-serve sausage ($2 or cheaper on sale). Simply add the meat to the potatoes and mix before pouring the beaten eggs over the top. Note, for the meat version, I only put in half a carton of sour cream. Even with the addition of meat, it still comes under the 11 for $11.

*You could use another type of shredded cheese, but I found that cheddar gives the dish a much richer taste than say shredded mozzarella. A good alternative is to put cheddar in the casserole and mozzerella on top.

Those with smaller families were doing the 5 for $5 thing. This dish easily comes in on that:

1/2 dozen eggs ($1.40)
1 cup cheese ($1.00
1/2 carton sour cream ($.50)
1 lb of tater tots ($1.00)
10 slices of bread for toast ($1.00)
TOTAL = $4.90


And here's the pictures. I made 2 dishes, one non-meat, and one with bacon bits. I should note, my family ate the non-meat one for dinner that evening and we had leftovers. We had the bacon one for brunch the next morning.

Making the casserole. Doesn't look pretty at first...

• In the oven.

• Perfection! The meat version is the one in front.

• The non-meat entry, cut and ready to serve.

• Ain't it pretty?