New PinchMe Samples Drop 10/11/2022!

Sample Tuesday is Coming on 10/11/2022- Mark your calendars, and set an alarm on your phone!

Don’t have any idea what I am talking about? PinchMe! Join PINCHme and receive free samples that you can provide feedback on.

PinchMe is awesome! Once you are signed up, they will email you reminders when new samples are about to drop, and remind you when it’s time to leave feedback.

Answer a series of questions about your household and shopping habits in the Member Profile. PinchMe learns what you like and offer samples just for you.

Once you’ve had a chance to try the samples, complete a short feedback survey to tell PinchMe what you think of the samples.

I get PinchMe samples every month. Here is what arrived at the end of September for the September 2022 box. Fiona really dig the Delectables Squeeze up Cat Treats- It’s like a gravy Capri Sun for cats!

What are you waiting for? Sign up here and get on the free sample bandwagon! I’ve gotten all kinds of awesome sample/trial size items, as well as full-sized items to try out from PinchMe!

October 2022: New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

The printable coupon market is slowly coming to an end. Smartsource no longer offers printable coupons, and you may notice that there are fewer coupon inserts in your Sunday newspaper. This is in favor of more offers available on apps. But if you love printable coupons….

  • Coupons.com (printable coupons, e-coupons, and a cashback app)

Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

Here are a few of my favorite printable coupons:

Save $0.75 on any ONE (1) Café Bustelo® Coffee Product (excluding instant)
Save $0.75 on ONE (1) Waterloo Sparkling Water 8 pack or ONE (1) Waterloo Sparkling Water 12 pack
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Folgers® Coffee product (excluding instant)
Save $0.75 on THREE (3) Avocados From Mexico
Save $1.50 on any ONE (1) Primal Kitchen® Sauces or Ketchup
Save $1.00 on any TWO Kellogg’s® Cereals (Including Kellogg’s® JUMBO SNAX)
Save $5.00 on ONE (1) Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel 150g or larger
Save $2.00 On any ONE (1) ARM & HAMMER™ CLUMP & SEAL™ Cat Litter

October is the beginning of The last three months of the year. And those months are packed full of holidays and entertaining possibilities. Sales, rebates, and cashback offers will most likely be for the types of food and beverages that are associated with entertaining.

  • Candy, nuts
  • Fall/Winter clothing
  • Fabric, Patterns, sewing machines (Halloween)

For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Free Food Resources for October 2022(San Diego County)

Woo! A new month means a reminder about all of the free food options there is here in San Diego County.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions, especially those that serve a large portion of the community.

I recommend showing up a little early with a bottle of water and a book and waiting in line. Time passes quickly in these lines, and it’s a great time to learn from others about community food options. Remember to socially distance and follow local masking regulations.

You can find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for October 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such. You can learn more here about the Feeding San Diego Together Tour.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

10/3/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWoo! Halloween is in less than 30 days! Time to start planning and sewing my friends.

With the surprising increase in the price of gas over the past 10 or so days, I decided to inventory the pantry really well yesterday and plan meals based on what we already have, or that require not too many additional items.

For my lunches this week, I’m making a pasta salad using up marinated artichoke hearts, jarred roasted peppers, bow tie noodles, and some leftover veggies from the fridge. I may also add cubed cheese too.

I hit up the grocery store and picked up milk, bread, and a few veggies (onions and strawberries), and our meal plan for the week is ready to go.

No CSA box this week, we got a jumbo box last week and we are still munching through it.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. I received 5 coupons last week, and I need to hit up Sprouts this morning before work to redeem them.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. This is really helpful for the summer when for some reason, kids are starving all the time.

Dinner: I’ve got a couple casseroles/freezer meals this week, and other than that we’re eating easy and quick stuff so I can spend time playing, coloring, building legos, and swimming, which is the plan for the week.

  • Monday: Protein shakes or smoothies (We’re going to a special advanced screening of Lyle Lyle Crocodile)

  • Tuesday: Chick’n nuggets, Buttered noodles, fruit, cheese & crackers

  • Wednesday: Dream Dinners Pesto Tortellini bake, green salad, garlic bread

  • Thursday:   Dream Dinners Lucky Dragon Pork Tenderloin with Jasmine Rice, stir-fried veggies

  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday:  Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit

Sprouts Monthly Sampling Program is Ending!

That’s right, the Sprouts full-size sampling program has been canceled. Honestly, it was really hard to get them on the app or find them in the store, so I’m not at all surprised that this program is closing.

BUT- Never fear! With in-app coupons from the Sprouts app, as well as savings/cash back apps (find my favorites here), there are still tons of ways to save at Sprouts!

Awesome Breakfast Deal at IHOP 2x2x2 just $5

IHOP has a great deal right now, and it’s ending soon!

Last call for one of the sweetest IHOP deals ever, the 2x2x2 Breakfast Combo for just $5!* Dine in today for 2 eggs your way, 2 custom-cured hickory-smoked bacon strips, or 2 pork sausage links, and 2 fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Don’t sleep on this yummy deal – it ends soon and is available all day, every day. Dine-in only.

Find your local IHOP here.

Meal Kit Round Up and Deals- Updated for 2022!

In my 12+ years as a blogger, I have reviewed a fair number of meal kits on the market. With the seemingly never-ending quarantine and the new normal being social distancing, something different is now more appreciated than ever.

I love trying out meal kits, they are a great way to try new recipes with new ingredients that I may not already have on hand. Here are a few of the meal kits that I’ve tried, links to reviews, and any deals or coupon codes I could find.

My number one local Meal Plan company is Dream Dinners (a review can be found here). There are locations all over the US, and my go-to location in La Mesa.

If you’ve never checked out Dream Dinners, Check out this great deal!

Learn how to meal prep with Dream Dinners. Available at our local stores, the Meal Prep Starter Pack will help you get dinner on the table with up to 4 family-style dinners for just $79.00.

  • Chef-created, family-friendly recipes are prepped in our local assembly kitchens.
  • Ready-to-cook frozen dinners leave you prepared for dinner.
  • Easy to follow instructions making both cooking and clean up simple and stress-free.
  • 20 years of experience.

Overall, my favorite mail order/delivery meal kit company is Dinnerly.

They have a nice mix of kid-friendly dishes and stuff that is decidedly more “grown-up food”. I wrote a review here. In addition to having a nice mix of dishes to choose from, the other thing I like is that Dinnerly is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving. My big qualm with meal kits is that the meals can sometimes be upwards of $8-$10/per serving. At that point, you might as well go out for dinner!

Freshly is the next up on our highly received Meal companies. I reviewed Freshly in 2016, and it’s a little different that most of the other meal companies in that all of the food comes already cooked. All you do is heat and eat.

The portions are big, so if you wanted to stretch them, all you would need is an additional side, like a green salad.

Right now when you use Promo Code: LAUNCH15 you will save $60.00 on your first 4 orders($15 per order).

Gobble has a really great deal. Choose your meals and receive Gobble box for $36 for 6 meals. I recently ordered this, so we’ll see how it turns out! Here is why I decided to try it:

    • Choose your meals from our diverse weekly menu. Gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, & vegetarian options are available.
    • Their team of chefs does all the tedious prep work for you — no more chopping, measuring, or sink full of dishes
  • Your freshly made 15-minute dinner kits will arrive in a refrigerated box to your doorstep. No commitment. Adjustable to your schedule.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about Meal Kits that you have tried and which ones have worked for you and your family!

9/26/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI skipped meal planning last week. It was very busy, and there have been some kiddo-related issues that I’ve been dealing with, as well as working extra hours in the morning at my day job.

I hit up the grocery store on Sunday for milk, bread, and a couple things for school lunches. Again this week but we’re eating out of the pantry and our  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, which will be delivered this afternoon.

I did a mini bundle at Dream Dinners this month, and we’ll be enjoying a few of those meals as well.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. I picked up 5 new products to try this week at Sprouts last night using my Social Nature coupons!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. These snacks make up most of the kid’s lunches during the school week. School lunches are still free, but on most days, they prefer to bring their lunches from home.

Dinner: Now that school is in session and our weekday schedule is cemented, I’m using one weekend morning to do some baking/side dish meal prep, and Monday afternoons after school/work to prep the CSA box goodies.  As the price of groceries goes up, I find myself buying less meat, relying more on sale/clearance prices, and repurposing leftovers.

  • Monday: Dream Dinners Jambalaya (no shrimp for me), roasted veggies

  • Tuesday:  Breakfast for dinner (bagels, fresh fruit salad, protein shakes)

  • Wednesday: Loaded Smashed Potatoes – we didn’t have them last week, Salad

  • Thursday:   Chef Salad, garlic cheese toast

  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday: Dream Dinners Central Park Chicken with Creamed Peas, fruit salad

Recipe: Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans (a la PF Changs)

In our recent Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, we received 5 fistfuls (about a pound) of fresh green beans. I cleaned them, put them in a large ziploc bag in the fridge until I could be struck by inspiration.

I was doing the end-of-week veg prep Sunday morning (to make room for the new box arriving Monday), and I came across the green beans. I was watching tik tok last night and saw a video for spicy green beans. I decided to give it a go.

To start, I searched online for a bunch of recipes and Frankestein’d together a recipe using what we had on hand, which wasn’t much. Our fridge died last summer and I still haven’t replaced all of the condiments, in part because of supply chain issues, and also because of freaking inflation.

Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 T. your favorite cooking oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 2 T. Diced Garlic (It’s ok to use the stuff in a jar)
  • 1 T. Chili Paste or Sriracha (whatever you have)
  • 2 t. onion powder
  • 1 green onion, white and light green parts only
  • 3 T. Soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. rice vinegar (or white- whatever you have)
  • Juice of half an orange

Optional, but tasty

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. In a large pan or wok, heat oil.
  2. Cook green beans for 5-8 minutes, or until they start to brown and wilt. If your green beans have been stored in the fridge, it will take longer.
  3. While the beans cook, add the 1 T. garlic, chili paste, onion powder, and green onion to a small bowl and combine.
  4. After the beans have browned and wilted, add the chili/garlic mixture and combine/coat the green beans. Cook for 3-ish minutes on medium until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining liquid ingredients (I poured all of them into a mixing cup and set it aside until this step, but you can pour them directly into the pan/wok), cooking on low until some of the water evaporates. Remove from heat, and add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (less than 1 tablespoon each).

This is a great side dish for any Asian food. I served it for breakfast -grown ups only- over basmati rice, topped with a jammy egg. It was very filling.

This recipe is vegan/vegetarian. If you are sensitive to gluten, replace your soy with tamari or coconut aminos.

Using CVS Offers to Your Advantage! How I Paid $5.47 for Over $50 in products!

I have posted about it before, and I am a huge fan of CVS. They have their CarePass, which is pretty inexpensive ($5-ish a month or $48/year if you pay for it all at once).  One of the perks is you get a $10 ExtraCare Bucks each month, for a total of $120 per year. I posted about it before but I got more information here, and overall I think it’s a pretty great deal.

You probably also remember one of the reasons that I love CVS is they have Pharmacy and Health Rewards. When you fill 10 prescriptions at their pharmacy you receive a $5.00 ExtraCare Bucks that you can spend any place in the store.

With the number of prescriptions my family has, we earn a $5.00 ExtraCare Bucks every two months. Which is pretty decent. Between the CarePass, and Pharmacy and Health Rewards, we usually have between 10 and $15 in “free“ money to spend at CVS at any given time.

I went in this morning to go pick up a prescription and noticed that they had a lot of snacks on sale/marked down, and with ExtraCare Bucks rewards. I quickly scrolled through my CVS app and noticed I had six dollars off any purchase of $30 or more and my $10 CarePass ExtraCare Bucks, and a $5.00 Pharmacy ExtraCare Bucks Reward.

Knowing that we needed both cereal and snacks and I walked up and down the snack/cereal aisle and quickly set upon a plan.

  • Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies are 2/$7 or 2/$8 (depending on the product) this week. When you buy two select, you’ll receive a $2 ExtraCare Bucks (limit one per person/account). My kids loved both Oreos and Chips Ahoy, so I picked two of each.
  • We were also out of Motts fruit snacks, and they are buy one get one free so I snagged two boxes as well.
  • Rice crispy treats are buy one get one free, so I grabbed two of those.
  • Cereal was on sale buy one box get one free with select Kellogg’s varieties, so I grabbed two boxes as well.

Now, this may look like a lot of junk food, but this is about three weeks’ worth of stuff to go in lunches (and about 2 weeks worth of cereal for me). The cereal is for me, but the rest is going to go in kid’s lunches or be available for snacks- I portion out the snacks and put them into the snack box in the cupboard. I will be hiding about half of it so that they don’t know we have tons of it and just mow through it.

As you can see by looking at the video about and all the stuff I got, it’s a pretty substantial amount. I ended up paying $9.47 out of pocket, and I received $4.00 back in ExtraCare Bucks.

$2.00 for purchasing to select Nabisco Oreo cookies, and a second $2 ExtraCare Bucks for purchasing two chocolate bars, cookies, select chips ahoy, or premium crackers.

Making my grand total after ExtraCare Bucks $5.47. That is one heck of a deal. I’ve also submitted my receipt to Fetch Rewards for points, and to Receipt Hog for points!

And I was in and out of the store in less than 20 minutes (including time to wait in line to pay). Doing drug store deals doesn’t have to be long and tedious. And sometimes it’s a small deal.

It’s worth the time to download the CVS app, join the ExtraCare club to save money, and join CarePass. You’ll find deals weekly (or monthly in my case when I go in). You’ll be saving money in no time!