Grocery savings with meal planning

I have to say that I love Pinterest and Google. They are life savers when trying to meal plan. Eric (hubby) has recently decided to try to be vegan so I happily switched the rest of the family to a vegetarian diet. Now my 7 year old is suddenly very into meat (honestly she almost never asked before haha). We might occasionally have Meat Mondays, kind of like how I see a lot of family’s have Meatless Mondays.

Now none of my posts are sponsored but if I post referral links I’ll state that’s what it is and that I’ll receive a commission if you decide to use that service (like the grocery rebate apps post).

First thing we did was scour Google and Pinterest for vegan and vegetarian meals that we liked. We chose five for this week. We only meal plan for dinner, as we eat either cereal, vegan pancakes, or oatmeal for breakfast lately – all of which we already have at home. The vegan pancakes were absolutely delicious and filling. I ate four small pancakes and felt pleasantly full, not overfull. Eric is the morning cook. I’m not sociable or human before lunch 😂. The recipe he found was here:

https://tasty.co/recipe/the-fluffiest-vegan-pancakes/

Eric also used 1/4 tbs baking soda and 2 1/2 tsp stevia instead of white granulated sugar and baking powder. Use maple syrup or your favorite topping as you choose.

The dinners we chose for this week are ones we haven’t tried before so not sure if we’ll love them or hate them or be ambivalent towards them. They sound amazing, even with the extra work since my blender broke and I now have to use a manual food processor (I’m seriously feeling like I’ll build muscle this way!😉).

Here’s the recipe we tried last night (it’s after midnight so that’s last night hehe).

https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/roasted-garlic-artichoke-burgers

Honestly the kids hated them (but they’re very picky) and I was ambivalent. Eric loved these though so I may make more if I’m feeling nice someday.

For tomorrow we have these planned:

https://freshaprilflours.com/2017/07/06/veggie-nuggets/

Veggie nuggets sound good. This one is vegetarian as it does have eggs. The kids go crazy for nuggets so I’m really hoping they’ll love them.

For the rest of the week we have these planned:

https://www.veggiebalance.com/wild-rice-soup-vegetarian/
I’m really looking forward to this one, as I love rice and soups.

https://primaverakitchen.com/wp-content/cache/wp-rocket/www.primaverakitchen.com/spinach-and-zucchini-lasagna/index.html_gzip

I’m also looking forward to this recipe as I love lasagna and this would be a healthy alternative. It will take a lot of prep work though.

https://www.readyseteat.com/recipes-Vegetarian-Sloppy-Joes-5288?WT.mc_id=RSE_SEP_08_A&WT.mc_ev=click&fmid=14556918#review-anchor_21909572

Now the kids actually don’t like Manwich 🙀. I loved it growing up. I found out that Hunts can is vegan, it’s just what we add to it that determines whether it is vegan, vegetarian, etc. This recipe uses lentils.

So with these recipes we were actually only missing 13 items. Our shopping this week was really reduced. We spent less than $40 ($38 and change – FL doesn’t tax food). That trip we only got two 96 oz bottles of Unsweetened Original Almond Milk, so Eric will have to get more at some point this week. Still it’s much less than we normally spend on a meat centric diet, or fast food.

A YouTube Channel that Eric introduced me to has really helped with meal planning and has other great videos. It’s called Pick Up Limes and I really recommend you check it out. She has printable shopping lists for specific meals, beginners, and fully stocked pantries. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq2E1mIwUKMWzCA4liA_XGQ

I grew up eating fast food and drinking soda. I didn’t know how to cook. So Google, Pinterest, and YouTube are great teachers. I honestly didn’t know what a food processor was until a couple weeks ago 🤣. The manual one I use is one I bought at Walmart. It has a bunch of other functions and it was only $10 when I got it. Cook Works by Art + Cook 13-Piece Super Slicer

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cook-Works-by-Art-Cook-13-Piece-Super-Slicer/51985509

Anyway, I hope some of this helps others. I’m still a newbie at cooking, prepping (doesn’t always get done lol), planning, and trying to save and eat healthy. It’s all part of trying to lose weight and improve my mental and physical health for myself and the rest of the family. Have a wonderful day!

~Levia

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Amazon

8-5-18 Editing to add that I was able to get this (mostly) fixed. I’m able to post reviews again, but it’s best to follow my book reviews on GoodReads. I cannot promise that Amazon won’t freak out again. My reviews from before are gone. They won’t restore them. It still makes me cringe that they can remove reviews they don’t like (both positive and negative) like this. They could have had me prove who I am, and that I’m a real person. I will say that I no longer trust their reviews. From what I’ve seen this only affects reviewers who do post reviews often.

Original post:

So if you know me or follow me then you may know that I absolutely love to review stuff. Products, books, things I buy, and things given to me. Well I reviewed a book last night that I read through Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon has apparently decided they won’t post any of my reviews because they believe me to be fake or biased. I am hurt and angry that all my past reviews are gone. I will no longer trust Amazon reviews since they can remove the ones they do not like willy nilly. I will do my best to post my reviews here, and my book reviews will of course still be on GoodReads, unless Amazon strikes that hammer blow too.

Long time since I last posted

Sorry I know it’s been a while since I last posted. We had a lot go on last year. Hubby was discovered to have a brain tumor in Dec 2016 and had to have emergency surgery in January 2017. The tumor is one that normally presents in childhood and causes swelling. It’s on his brain stem so they cannot biopsy or remove it but we are monitoring it. His fluid flow has been restored thanks to his surgery and he’s almost completely back to normal. They will continue to monitor the tumor most likely for the rest of his life.

We moved to Florida to be closer to his father and step mother. It’s really awesome having family close by and occasional childcare is a plus too. ~.^ We do plan to move back to Kentucky later this year though.

I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last couple of years. I currently weigh about 197 and I’m about 5’4. I apparently carry it well (lol I’ve been told that by a couple people now and it amuses me) so I don’t look big, just overweight. I don’t like being overweight because it makes me worry about the health disadvantages. So last week Eric (hubby) and I started going to the gym together. We’re also trying to eat healthier. That isn’t always easy when you have me (lazy and I hate cooking) and he works delivering one of my favorite foods (pizza). Honestly, activity is the kicker for me too. I’m not active at all. I actually rarely even meet a 3000 daily step goal (love my fitbit, found it on LetGo for fifteen bucks!). So I also bought a cheap indoor stationary bike and I try and spin a bit every few days. It was only about 20 and putting it together wasn’t too hard since I had directions and could look up the one difficult part in a YouTube video.

I don’t really agree with setting yearly “resolutions”. I feel like they are setting myself up to fail. However, I do have goals. I’d like to lose 30 pounds at least and to tone my body a bit. I’m fine being a little plump but I don’t want to be asked when I’m due (yeah that one threw me lol). According to the nifty little handheld video game looking device the gym has, I have about 40% body fat. Eric has much less haha. I also found out that females have a minimum of around 12 or more, which when you factor in boobs etc that makes sense.

So we’re exercising two days per week at the gym, trying to be more active by taking the kids to the park or even just deep cleaning the house some days (that can be extremely exhausting haha). And of course eating better. Instead of drinking a mocha frappe from McDonald’s I have Eric pick up some Strawberry and Banana Naked drinks and drink those. I’m also trying to limit my (home, chicory) coffee to one per day and drink more water. I’m really bad about not drinking enough water. Which makes it really hypocritical when I get on to the kids for not drinking enough during the day. Of course they don’t drink soda (our personal choice).

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling updates ^.^ Hopefully talk to you soon.

And here are some pictures of me after I worked out at the gym in my wordy shirts:

The first day we went I wore: If only sarcasm burned calories. The second I wore: Perfect is boring. Be imperfectly you.

Blessed Be!

Review of Little Flame series books 1-5

Review of NINE30 by Melissa Lummis.

For a short story this has definitely hooked me. Already I can’t wait to start the next book. Of course a super powerful heroine is going to captivate me. Add in a potential romance and some issues to work out, some mystery and intrigue and you got a great start. I was not expecting it to end so soon.
I received this book free for an honest review.

Review of Electric by Melissa Lummis.

I received this book free for an honest review.
This still seemed short to me, but perhaps longer than the first. I’m glad I’m reading them altogether as a set.
In this we learn a little bit more of what she is searching for and why. She thinks she’s found it but then doesn’t stick around to find out… We learn more about Tati who maybe isn’t as annoying as in the first book but then she’s sick and quiet for most the book soo…..
I have my suspicions about who her partner might be and I really think opening up at least to Dee would be in her best interest.
Given how giving and self sacrificing she is I really don’t get how she’s survived this long.

Review of StarLand by Melissa Lummis

I received this book free for an honest review.
I love that there always seem to be new paranormal types to meet in this series. I really really don’t like the vampires in this. They’re too shallow and manipulative. This healing was sad, and it sucked that it couldn’t go any other way. Finding family is always nice though.

Review of LimeLight by Melissa Lummis

I received this book free for an honest review.
This one is definitely a short installment, but a lot happens. When reading you start to feel like you are the main character and phew she’s a magic yo-yo. The poor woman is pulled to both these guys, one definitely bad for her, the other a mystery. It’s no wonder she gets headaches all the time.

Review of Echo by Melissa Lummis

I received this book free for an honest review.
Action packed and very steamy. I love this series and absolutely cannot wait to read what happens next! Connections become stronger in this and secrets are revealed. Did not expect mom, and I look forward to seeing how that pans out.

 

 

Bottom line I really enjoyed this, since I read them as a set it worked out and felt like a full book instead of a series of novellas. I definitely recommend these.

Dangerous Desires book 1 and 2 review

Deadly Bequest by Sherrel Lee – book one

Decent short story for adults. A lot more sex than I’m really into but it made for an amusing read. Holy cow that was a mind boggling mystery and the culprit/s were never ending. I enjoyed the ending but it could have had a sex scene lol. I’d come to expect it by then. A fun read.
I received this book free for an honest review.

Dangerous Desires by Sherrel Lee – book two

I received this book free for an honest review.
I will say that the amount of sex in this book is quite a bit much for me. That said I liked Cynthia and Vonn better. I love that this is a positive book that includes polyamory. The cases they solve are intriguing but they always seem to include a bdsm angle, at least so far in these first two books. I have read these first two books in the series and even with the amount of sex I will continue to read them. It’s very interesting storywise too. The bdsm scene abuse made me uncomfortable but I love how they were exposing it and showing how bdsm can and should be. This books was thankfully longer than the first, or at least didn’t make me feel like it was to short :).

Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent

Food for thought for all the parent’s who are getting ready for public school. If you have money to buy extra then you can donate them to your local schools. As a kid I had classmates who couldn’t afford school supplies. So donating extra that you have the money for is very helpful.

So we started doing the school supply shopping this week. A daunting task even as the kids get older and the lists get shorter. Gone in my house are the days when the most expensive i…

Source: Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent

#zzzquil #influenster #voxbox

I received a Zzzquil VoxBox from Influenster yesterday. It contained on sample.

zzzquil

I sometimes have really horrible insomnia and this week has been one of my worst. It doesn’t help that I lost my eyecover. My brain doesn’t want to shut up. I figured it was worth a try so I took the sample last night.

On the card it says that it helps you fall asleep in less than 20 minutes. Nope my brain kept going for at least another hour. I got to be the unlucky person that it didn’t really work on :(. It did make me go to sleep though so hey that makes me happy!

I was also happy that when my kids needed me I was able to wake up and respond and help them even if I was drowsy. Now I would not have driven on it because I was definitely not drive safe. But helping a kid get a sip of water and back to bed or calm a nightmare and let the child sleep next to mom and dad I could do.

I slept for about 9 hours and woke up still exhausted. That was not a plus. When the kids took a nap I took one. Then I had a cup of coffee and I’m awake now.

I’m glad I tried it but I won’t be buying it. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for someone else though so if you are wanting to try it I say go for it.

I received this sample free for an honest review.

One Nation, Indivisible

I really respect that people are talking out about this. The United States was not founded to be Christian, it was founded in one part to allow religious freedom and choice. As a country we’ve forgotten that.

Biblebelt Witchy Mama

Ah, July 4th.

One of the times of the year where it seems most everyone, no matter their day-to-day politics, becomes a staunch right-wing Republican with cries of “It’s “One Nation Under God” or get the fuck out!” all over social media.

There’s only one problem.

It’s not. At least, it was never supposed to be.

The Founding Fathers NEVER intended to have our nation to be perceived as a Christian nation- a theocracy, and they surely never wanted to  become so embattled with each other over spirituality.

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
—John Adams

The First Amendment that the Right likes to construe to their agenda:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the…

View original post 546 more words

Apps that save me $$

I use quite a few rebate apps to help our money stretch a bit further every week and month. Since I’ve reviewed products on here, I felt I should review these as well.

1. Ibotta
Ibotta is probably my favorite. I go in weekly and check the stores I usually frequent. Currently for us that is Kroger and Walmart. I unlock items that interest me, go shopping and buy what I need, and scan the barcode and take a picture of the receipt. I love that Ibotta has any brand rebates. They might only be 25 or 50 cents, but that does add up.image

I’ve been using it since May 2015, and while I haven’t got a huge amount back I have gotten a decent amount back.

You can withdraw the money into your PayPal, venmo, or choose gift cards. instead. $20.00 minimum to withdraw for PayPal and venmo.
If you’re like my family then you use a lot of milk and bread. They also have rebates on diapers, formula, and other items you might use often.
They do offer a referral bonus as well. The people you invite will receive $10 after they redeem a rebate and you will receive $5. If you’d like to use my code it is tcocouk. It can be used on a computer or Android. I’m not sure if it’s available on an IPhone.

2. Shrink
Shrink has organic brands and a two any brands per week. Plus you get points for the items you buy in those brands even if they don’t have a cash rebate available for it at the time. You can use brand’s points to unlock more rebates. For instance, I like the KidFresh meals. They are really easy to make when I have a migraine and just can’t make anything complicated. I had a rebate for some when I first unlocked the brand, and I’ve used the points I’ve gotten buying more to unlock more rebates for that brand. Each brand’s points cannot exchange to another brand. Shrink exclusive also offers a 50 point rebate for receipts every day and you can exchange those points for cash added to your balance. Then when you get $20 you can get it sent to your PayPal or venmo.image

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This also offers referral rewards. When you refer a friend you receive $2 when they redeem their first receipt and they receive 1000 shrink points, which can be saved or exchanged for $1. This is available on Android and iPhone. If you would like to use my referral code it is WSKMEI. I’ve only been using it since August and I don’t use as many of their brands so I’ve only gotten about $18.00 back. But that’s $18 I didn’t have before.

3. Checkout 51
I haven’t used this as often. They have a choose your offer every week for different produce. They also have 25 cents cash back on and receipt over $60. I don’t use a lot of their rebates but am happy to wait for the ones I do use. Some weeks there’s a lot, others I only use the produce and receipt rebates.image

My balance on there now is almost $10. Cashout is available at $20, and is a paper check. They do not offer a referral bonus. You can use the app on Android, iPhone, and you can use it through the browser on your computer.

4. Berrycart
I actually haven’t used any of these rebates. They are all crunchy brands, organic, etc. That kind of stuff. I may not ever use this but I keep it just in case haha.image

They have coconut milk and water on there so I may start using it more soon. Process is the same, you unlock rebates, buy the items, scan the barcodes, snap the receipt and wait for it to be approved. Cash out is only $5 on this app. They do offer a referral bonus. When you refer someone and they redeem their first rebate you get $2. If you’d like to use my referral link it is https://www.berrycart.com/rf/0Rzmg2TBuC. I believe this is available on both Android and iPhone.

5. MobiSave
This is a new app for me. I installed it this month or in January. For this one you have to unlock your rebates before you go shopping or they may deny your receipt. They have quite a few and brand items and other items people regularly use.image

Rebates are automatically deposited into your PayPal once approved. They do not offer a referral bonus.

6. Shopmium
This one hasn’t had a lot of rebates, just some but I have used it quite often. They recently sent an email out that they are adding more rebates, so I look forward to that. They tend to have cheesecake on here a lot haha.image

Those are some of the rebates available. They don’t need to be unlocked. This app is available on Android and iPhone, and they do have a referral bonus. When you refer a friend you get $2 and then get a free Lindt chocolate bar. Trust me that was worth it, but I’m obsessed with chocolate. 😉 If you’d like to use my referral code it is KUCFMGCL. Rebates are deposited directly into your PayPal once approved.
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7. Savingstar
This is available on Android, iPhone, and your computer browser. You can add loyalty cards, or scan products and receipts.
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They also have some online shopping rebates but I haven’t used them.
Cash out is available at $5 and can be deposited in your bank, PayPal, or you can buy a gift card. They also actually allow you to put the money into your UPromise account too.
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That’s it for cash back apps. I will create a post about point redemption apps and points/cash for apps that monitor your cell phone, tablet, and computer usage at a later date.