Friday, May 30, 2014

$50 Challenge: How Many Meals Can I Make?

It is no secret that I love saving a buck. And something you may not know about me is that I thrive on a good challenge. So when Indiana Family of Farmers asked if I wanted to be an IFOF Ambassador for the Affordable Food Tips For Your Family, From Our Family Series  and take the $50 Challenge, it sounded like fun to me!

We love to eat around here, but we also love to save money on basically everything we purchase, including food. I don't coupon. I WISH I could, but every time I have a great coupon, I usually ending spending way more than I would have without the coupon. I'm obviously not doing it right!

So since I am coupon-challenged, I had to find another way to stretch out our grocery budget. It was honestly a TON easier when I was single and just buying for me. Now that I have a family, I have a secret weapon....Ruler Foods. Now, I realize everyone doesn't have a Ruler literally a mile from their house, but I am guessing that other discount grocery stores like Save-A-Lot and Aldi will give you similar bangs for your buck. The everyday prices at Ruler are almost always cheaper than the sale prices at it's sister store across the street!

We have very few items that we buy the name brand of and there are two reasons for that...the price of the store brand at Ruler is usually insanely cheaper than the brand names, but more importantly...we actually like the store brand as well if not better than most name brands! I never would have guessed it!

I knew we were getting a deal at Ruler, but I had really had not realized how far we could make our grocery dollar go until this challenge. I am just floored...and humbled after seeing the chart below. I complain as much as the next person about the price of included. However, I now see how good I do have it. AND with some meal planning, that dollar at the grocery store can REALLY stretch! I am completely grateful of the fact that I live in this great country and am not spending close to half of my income on food!

Now for the fun! Here's what meals I came up with for my $50 Challenge! And actually, I thought things cost more than they did when I was planning, so I ended up only spending $43.20! I still have an extra $6.80 left! Hmmm...guess I should have bought a bigger roast! :)

Meal 1: (Breakfast 5-6 servings)
French Toast and Bacon....mmmm, bacon

Meal 2: (Dinner 4 servings)
Hamburger Biscuit Casserole (Recipe Below)
Green Beans

Now this is one of my absolute favorite recipes from my childhood. Michael had never had it before, but it won him over immediately. He is just as excited as I am when I make it. Now Cris is not a fan of this recipe. In fact, there is a great debate any time either one of us mention this recipe. So, I'll let you decide (that I'm right!).  :)

Meal 3: (Dinner 4 servings)
BBQ Pork Chops on the grill
Brown 'n Serve Rolls (LOVE these!)
Mashed Potatoes

Meal 4: (Dinner 4 servings)
Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

Meal 5: (Lunch 6 servings)
English Muffin Pepperorni Pizzas

Our recipe is basically this recipe from Cris, but we add on some pepperoni. Yum!

Meal 6: (Brinner 4-6 servings)
Cheesy Sausage Egg Skillet

Meal 7: (Dinner 4-6 servings)
Slow Cooker Steak with Gravy
Brown 'n Serve Rolls

This Slow Cooker Steak with Gravy is amazing! I highly recommend it! I adjusted my recipe this time because I could get a Bottom Round Flat Roast cheaper than I could get a Flat Iron Steak. I always adjust recipes to go with the deals I find in the store and have had great success!

Now that is some bang for our buck! We don't have a grown boy in our house yet (although Michael often eats enough for two people!), so meals last a big longer in our house than it would for some, BUT this is going to be feeding our family for well over a week! Awesomesauce!

Bonus: (Breakfast or Dessert)

Monkey Bread

If it has cinnamon, it can be called a breakfast food in my book, but since I realize that isn't how everyone thinks, so we will just call this a "bonus" recipe. I needed to use my two extra tubes of biscuits anyway...right?! :)

I used this Monkey Bread Muffin recipe from Cris with a few adjustments. I made it in my bundt pan (because I got it for Christmas and need to break it in!). I also used the remaining two packages of biscuits from my 4 pack instead of Grands biscuits.

Hamburger Biscuit Casserole

This recipe is super easy, kid friendly and a family favorite around here!


1 lb of ground beef
1 pkg of brown gravy mix
1 c cold water
1 tube of biscuits


Preheat your oven according to 400.

Brown your ground beef.

Place ground beef in bottom of a greased, round, 1.5 quart casserole dish.

Mix brown gravy mix with 1 cup of cold water and pour over browned beef evenly.

Place biscuits on top of the browned beef mixture.

Cook for 15-20 minutes...until the biscuits are golden.

Serve it up with your favorite veggies!

This post was sponsored by Indiana Family of Farmers, but the opinions and awesome meal planning are all my own! The recipe is from my Momma. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's a...

So it has been confirmed by four different ultrasounds!

Meet Miss Iyla Jane.

The most asked questions I get are "How do you spell/say that?" and "How did you come up with her name?"

Obviously, you can see how to spell it since you are reading it. ;) And you pronounce it Eye-la.

Her name actually comes from different family members.

Michael's Great Aunt T's first name is Ila. (We just decided to add the "y".) The first time I heard that name, I fell in love. So when we wanted to come up with a name for our little girl, Michael and I were definitely on the same page for her first name.

Now for her middle name, I had decided that when I was a child. My Grandma's name was Elsie Jane. I was all set to be named Sara Jane until another family member protested so much that my middle name was changed by the time I was born to be my Momma's middle name. Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE my middle name, but I always said that if I had a little girl, her middle name would be Jane after Grandma. THEN I marry Michael and lo and behold, Mamaw James' middle name is Jane! So it is a double tribute, and I love it! :)

Now for some cute ultrasound pictures...well, I say cute, but that may just be the proud Momma in me talking. You may not be able tell at all what in the world all that static is, but if you can see her, you can oooh and aahh with me at our precious little girl.

Here she is with in her "The Thinker" pose. (Her head is on the right hand side of the picture and her hand is directly under her chin.)

Her karate kick to the camera. Hiyah! ;)

And she's waving to say hi!

So there ya have some highlights of little Iyla Jane's photo shoot. As of Saturday, we will be halfway there!
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