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Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Nana's Buttermilk Pie

Confession time. I really wish I could be one of those amazing food bloggers I follow - like Pioneer Woman, Bakerella, and I am Baker. I love to see all the yumminess they share! So please indulge me when I pretend to be a foodie blogger and share some special recipes here. Pretty please?!

Today for our summer birthday gathering, I'm making two of my Nana's favorite pies. Almost 20 years ago, my mom made our first family cookbook. My copy is battered, stained, and worn with time and lots of love. I use it often! Being a bit of a messy baker means my cookbooks get worn out - but to me it shows how much I love them and use them!  It means so much to have these recipes from our family's best cooks.  My Nana is now 88 years old, and she still loves buttermilk pie!!

The first time I made them this year, my six year old tried it with much trepidation. to his surprise, and my delight, he loved it! I think this is a great dessert for kids, because it has only a few ingredients, and they are all natural and yummy. A few hours after he tried the pie, this is what he made for me:

If you can't read his bubble letter sign, it says I want more pie.... and you guessed right, I gave the kiddo more pie! How could I not?!

So back to the pie. It's very simple and I usually have all the ingredients. I keep buttermilk frozen in the freezer (when I buy a new carton, I measure out the
1 1/3 cup portions needed for this recipe, then bag them up and freeze them!) and the rest are standard ingredients you probably already have.

My Nana's Buttermilk Pie (makes 2 pies)

2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 unbaked pie shells
5 large eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp self rising flour
1 tsp lemon extract (which I never have, so I add a dash of lemon juice, it doesn't seem to do any harm!)

Cream sugar and butter.

Then add flour, beaten eggs.

Now add the buttermilk, vanilla and lemon extract or juice, and whisk it all together.

Pour into the unbaked pie crusts. Mine are on my PC stonewear bar pan, and they kind of overlap, which means your crusts will get funky on one side - but that's ok! It will still taste incredible.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and transfer pies on baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top, and it tests done with a toothpick.   PRINTABLE RECIPE 

Even if you don't like buttermilk (my family does not like it, except my husband, who drinks it regularly!) you will love this pie. It's sweet, creamy and the perfect comfort food!

If you try this, please let me know what you think! This is one of those old-fashioned recipes that never goes out of style!

End of the month = expired coupons

So today is the 31st. I usually feel bad about throwing away expired coupons - such a waste of money, time cutting them out, etc. But I've learned two things that make it all better!

* If you are going to the store today, leave some of your expiring coupons on the shelf next to the corresponding items. Bless someone else with a coupon that way - it's a very small random act of kindness!

* If you still have expired coupons at the end of the month, mail them here:

Qpon Qutie
1720 Mars Hill Rd. Ste. 8 Box 335
Acworth, GA 30101

She gathers up coupons each month to mail them overseas to US military facilities. Did you know our military families can use coupons up to 6 months past the expiration date? She does ask you to please sort them by food and non-food items.

You can also follow Qpon Qutie on facebook, too - she offers many tips and ideas on saving money!

Have a wonderful Saturday, y'all!! We're off to my mom's to celebrate the whole family's summer birthdays. Gonna be fun!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to make Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon

Tonight I wanted to use some items from my stockpile to make dinner. I had plenty of pasta, several bags of cheese, and cans of evaporated 2% milk, so I decided on macaroni & cheese! I got a great deal on Hormel Bacon Pieces at Publix (50 cents a bottle with their coupons!) so I wanted to use those as well....

On the back of my Mueller's Pasta box I discovered this recipe:

Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni & Cheese

8 oz (1/2 pkg) Mueller's Macaroni
1/4 c margarine or butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 c milk (this is where I used the evaporated milk)
2 c shredded cheese (I used some sharp cheddar and some colby jack)
1/3 c bacon pieces or bits (my addition - not in original recipe)
1 c croutons

Cook elbow macaroni for 9 minutes, drain, cover & set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In medium saucepan, melt margarine, blend in flour, mustard, salt & pepper.
Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly, gradually add milk.

Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; simmer one minute, stirring constantly.
Gradually mix in cheese, stir over low heat until cheese is melted.

Add in bacon.

Add pasta, mix together lightly. Pour into buttered 2 quart casserole dish.

Top with croutons, dot with butter, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.

I can't tell you how delicious this was! Everyone enjoyed it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bear Hollow Nature Trail in Athens

We live about 25 minutes from Athens, Georgia. Athens is home of the University of Georgia; it's a fun little college town. A few weeks back, I wanted to do one of our "mystery road trips" with the kids. We don't tell them where we are going, and it is always fun to hear their guesses along the way! It's always a blast when we do these trips, and this one was no different.

We headed out early, as Bear Hollow opens at 9 am. I wanted to be there early, before the heat set in in. We drove into Athens, and the kids were tossing out ideas as to where we were going - but they had never heard of this park, so they didn't guess correctly!

When we pulled in and parked, they were baffled. I just laughed, since I knew they would soon be having FUN! We were in the parking lot for Memorial Park, and followed the signs to the Bear Hollow Nature Trail. It's a small section of the park with Georgia native wildlife. We were able to see black bears, bobcats, alligators, red tail hawks, bald eagles, several types of owls, snakes, an opossum, and even a tortoise!

There were two adorable but very strong black bear cubs playing with their keeper! They were a couple months old, but almost able to knock her down already!

There were informative (& sometimes interactive) plaques at each display. This one let you compare your handprint with the pawprint of a black bear!

It was really fun. It's a completely free mini-zoo. There is also a swimming pool off the parking lot, and there are supposed to be places to picnic, but we didn't look for those. It was hot & humid though, and once we made the loop through the park, we were ready to go.

Then we drove through Athens, down Milledge Avenue to look at all of the sorority & fraternity houses, through some of UGA's campus, and then we headed to a favorite restaurant.... The Varsity!!

Now, this place isn't somewhere you want to eat often. Trust me! It's SO good, but the grease, plus the the fat & caloric counts are just plain awful for you! But when you want a meal that is so bad for you it's good, you HAVE to find one of the Varsity locations!! There are a few in the metro Atlanta area to choose from. The Athens one is our favorite.

When you go in, the person behind the counter will shout at you: "What'll ya have?" and I always get the same thing - chili cheese dogs, rings and (don't judge!) diet coke!! Randy likes the same, but with onions for his dog, and a frozen orange to drink. Katie gets a cheeseburger & fries, David likes a naked dog & fries, both with the frozen oranges. Such a treat to eat at the Varsity! They have cute little paper hats for the kiddos, and fried pies or ice cream for dessert. Seriously, what more could you want from a drive in restaurant?! (Oh, forgot to say that the Athens location isn't a drive in, but the downtown Atlanta one is!)

A note about the pictures. I had to let my husband know that most every picture of him is in this orange shirt. He LOVES it. Got it on a business trip to Memphis and he'd wear it daily if he could. But since he has a job that requires more professional attire, this has become what is known as his "Saturday shirt". I asked if he could try another shirt next time we take pics on a Saturday! Also, our daughter doesn't like being photographed. She comes by that naturally, as I'm the same way. But until she moves out, it's my God-given right as her mama to take as many pictures of her and her brother as I want, so I do. So please excuse her funky faces. She thinks I won't publish a funky-faced photo. She's SO wrong!

One last thing we did in Athens was to keep a lookout for the handpainted dawgs scattered throughout town. Here was one of our favorites:

We finished our trip to Athens with a stop at a local thrift store. We found the cutest shirt for Katie, books for both kids and ourselves. Athens has lots of shops downtown that we plan to explore next time we go, so watch for an update!

I can't seem to get clickable links to work, so if you are interested, cut and paste these links for more information!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making a Price Book for couponing

I've not been couponing for long, but already there are some items that I know I can find for less than a dollar, or even less than 50 cent. Now I can decide if a sale is truly worth my time. I've started writing these items down as I find great deals, so when I am in a rush, I can look to see when & where it was lowest, and decide if I need the item then, or can wait til it goes on sale again. One of the great things about stockpiling is that I usually buy items in multiples of 6! By the time I'm down to one or two, the item usually goes on sale at either Publix, Kroger, or one of the drugstores.

I use a spiral notebook, and jot down the item, date, place, price, and which coupons or deals I used with it...

here are a few of the items in my book so far:

Bounty paper towels - 8 pk - $4.99 on sale @ CVS June 27 (use with $1 CVS coupon & $1 mfr coupon) These went on sale with better coupons the next week, but that was a holiday, so I doubt I'll get them for $1.99 again! $3.99 is a really good price for these.

Daisy Sour Cream ~ goes on sale often at Publix for 99 cents, and there are lots of 55 cent coupons. 45 cents is about the highest I'll pay for sour cream!

Toothpaste - with various sales, ECB deals, and coupons, I will not pay more than 50 cents for any toothpaste, I change brands with sales!

Deodorant - same as above - I don't pay more than 75 cents for it. I'm not brand-picky.

Almond milk - the shelf stable box is usually $1.99 at Kroger. They will mark it down about once a month to $1, and I have 55 cent off coupons. We love this stuff!

Bread - I buy Pepperidge Farms brand when Publix does BOGO, and I can usually find coupons. I am picky about buying whole grain bread with no high fructose corn syrup, and they have several varieties! I buy alot when BOGO and freeze it! It is usually less than $2 a loaf this way for the really good stuff.

Applesauce - June 20 Publix had Musselmans 6 cup packs at BOGO $1.14 each and 75 c off store coupons - DEAL!

Ground turkey - this is a staple. I started mixing it with an equal amount of ground beef, but now that my family is used to it, this is what I use for casseroles, soups, tacos, burgers - everything! I brown it with garlic powder, onion powder, and liberal shakes of worcestershire sauce, then package it in two cup portions for freezer bags. I will go to Kroger early on Sunday mornings and often find the 1 lb rolls of Honeysuckle White ground turkey for $1.99, sometimes for 99 cents. I get as much as they have, brown it and freeze it!! We only eat ground meat once or twice a week, so it lasts a while! This way, I don't have to pay alot more for ground beef, and this is a lot healthier for our family.

Shampoo - I keep my ECBs handy because almost weekly, there is a sale on Herbal Essence, Pantene, Aussie etc. I buy shampoo that gives me ECB back, that is on sale, and that has coupons. Then I use ECB from the last shopping trip to buy the new products, combined with coupons, and I get more ECB for next time. All I spend oop (out of pocket) is sales tax. DEAL!

Once you get an idea of the sales rotations, you will know how often the items you buy often go on sale, and can decide how much you need to buy at the lowest price to stock up. Keeping a price book really helps you understand the sales rotations in your area.

If you have any questions, please email or leave a comment and I'll try to help!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


So I just found a very cool site. They have great items for you to personalize - luggage tags, jewelry, bags, photo books, and SO MUCH MORE! I ordered two adorable dog tags - one with my son & my Nana's picture on it, and the other with both kids on it. The cost? $2.49 for two, with free shipping - which is a savings of $14++! And they each come with a 30" chain!

I have a nifty referral link that will get you great deals, and gives me credit for future purchases ~ It's a win win situation!


If you want to try the two dogtags for $2.49, use this code at checkout:

but use it soon, it expires August 12!

Thanks for looking

Friday, July 23, 2010


A few weeks ago, we took the kiddos to Washington Farms, a local pick your own fruit farm. We've done strawberries (well, David and I have!) but never blueberries, and this was the first time we all went together.

We got there at 9 am, before it got so hot! We paid our money ($1 for the bucket, $12 for a gallon of blueberries) and hit the fields. It was a lot of fun, but the freak-out factor for me was all of the bugs & grasshoppers - they were everywhere. I got over it though, and I did enjoy finding a pretty butterfly/moth? amidst the bushes!!

After about an hour, our bucket was close to being full. My suburbanite kiddos were hot, complaining, and over it. So we gave the bucket to Dad, and he finished up the gallon. It was a lot of fun, but hard work, too. Everyone enjoyed the next day when I made a fresh blueberry pie with some of our pickings. The rest are patiently waiting in the freezer, destined to become a cobbler or two this fall & winter!! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Always read that fine print!

I learned a valuable lesson this week!! I was in Charlotte visiting my Dad, and was so excited to shop at Harris Teeter. HT used to be in Atlanta, about 10 years ago, but Publix pretty much ran them out of town. I LOVE the upscale, elegant design of their stores, and have missed them! So when I'm in Charlotte, I try to make a quick stop in there for a few things we love (Like their deli's egg salad - yummm!).

Anyway, last night I got out all the sale papers for the local stores - Bloom, Food Lion, Lowes & HT. One thing I had heard about HT was that they double coupons up to 99 cents. That's unheard of here!! So I was making a list, but the prices in the ads seemed very high. I started looking at prices I've written down in my "price book" of the best prices on certain items that I buy regularly. Well, NC prices are HIGH! (much higher than they are here!!)That is why they run double up to 99 cent coupons, because it doesn't affect the bottom line by much when you are charging $4.50 for a pack of bacon, or $5.99 for a 12 pack of Coke!! It's very comparable to double coupons in Atlanta, where they double up to 50 cents.

Needless to say, after looking at the prices, and the fine print on each of the ads (some stores said BOGO applies only when you buy 2, but only use one coupon per BOGO, or no competitor coupons, no double coupons, etc - different rules for every store!) I decided to wait and shop at home!

That is why spending some prep time at home before you shop, looking online & at sale ads, then matching your coupons to the sales will prepare you for a fruitful shopping trip that will save you money! Hope y'all are having a super week!