Colie's Kitchen

Recipes, Cooking, Easy week night meals, Product Reviews, Giveaways, Saving Money, Couponing, Life in General, Coupons,

Colie's Kitchen - Recipes, Cooking, Easy week night meals, Product Reviews, Giveaways, Saving Money, Couponing, Life in General, Coupons,

*Kitchen TIP* Wilted Stink Celery? No Thanks! Keep your Celery Fresh for Week!

Don’t you hate it when you open the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator only to find, limp, faded and sad looking celery? Suddenly adding celery to your salad doesn’t sound so appealing!

Keeping your celery super fresh and crispy for weeks is as easy as wrapping it up in tin foil. Who knew right? I have been doing this for months and I must say that it truly is the greatest tip I have ever found. Who wants to pay money for something that doesn’t last long enough to use it all?

Do NOT wash the celery, simply remove the plastic wrapping your celery comes in, then proceed to take a generous piece of tin foil and wrap the celery up in it tightly. Each time you use the celery re-wrap it back in the same tin foil. Your celery will last for many more weeks than it conventionally has, and it will look just as great and remain as crisp.

You will want to do this as soon as you get home from the grocery store to help slow down the aging process as soon as possible. This is quick, easy, and painless what more could you ask for? Give it a try! I would love to hear how it works for you!


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Reader Question: An Easy Meal on the Cheap! -Breakfast for Dinner!!

I received a great letter and question from one of our readers so I thought this would be a great time to answer her question and see if we could help her. If you have any advice for our reader please post below.

Dear Colie,
My family and I are struggling financially right now. Because of everything going on we can’t possibly go out to eat so every night we are forced to eat at home, but in all honesty even eating at home is becoming a struggle. I say forced but I am happy we can at least eat right now.
Do you have any advice for me as to how I can make an affordable meal that I can feed my family of four on a budget that will go a long way, and will be good at the same time?
Just making it in Indiana 

Dear Just making it in Indiana,
I certainly can sympathize with what you are going through. There are many people in your shoes so don’t feel alone. With the way the economy is going, the jobs are fading, and the gas prices are going up, there are a lot of people reading your letter that could have written it themselves.
I don’t know if you have a Dollar Tree, or Aldi in your neighborhood but to me those are great places to shop when you are on a budget. Aldi is my favorite. I think breakfast for dinner is an awesome way to make a fantastic meal that goes along way, but keeps your family on a budget.
At the Aldi I shop at (I can only speak for our Aldi) you can normally get a 5lb. bag or either Idaho or Red potatoes for .99 cents, 3 Green Bell Peppers for $1 and 3 pounds of onions for $1. Using 2.5 pounds of potatoes, 1 bell pepper, and 1 onion you can make a mean pan of Chunky O’Brien Potatoes. These potatoes go a long way and are very filling.
Eggs are always easy and for the most part cheap! Once again if you have an Aldi in the neighborhood you can get eggs for .79 cents a dozen maybe a little more depending on where you live. One recipe I like is Fluffiest Scrambled Eggs! It’s a nice variation of the same plain old scrambled egg.
Another go to of mine is prepackaged pancake mix. I found these at my local HEB grocery store 2/$1 and this wasn’t even on sale. This was enough to make 12 pancakes.  You might even have what you need in the pantry right now and can save that dollar and make pancakes from scratch. Here is my favorite recipe for Super Fluffy Pancakes
If you have left over fruit in the refrigerator or freezer that needs to be used up make a fruit or Berry Compote up verses buying syrup because syrup can be expensive. You can use any fruit (you might leave out the Bananas) to get a delicious compote that will taste great on those pancakes.
Eggs, Pancakes, and O’Brien Potatoes will be plenty to feed a family of four and you can easily do it for under $10. If you are needing to cut your budget even more leave out the bell pepper and onion and simply pan fry the potatoes, and they too will be delicious. 
Even consider serving oatmeal with your breakfast. You can buy a small store brand container of oatmeal for under $2 this will be very filling and will be a nice side with eggs and toast. Make the oatmeal extra special by adding sliced fruit and cinnamon to the top!
Pancakes with Berry Compote
There are so many variations you can make to keep your family on a budget. One of my all time favorites is the Trash Can Spiral Omelet! It’s called the trash can omelet because you are taking everything in your refrigerator that is days away from going in the trash but instead you are saving it and turning your trash into dinner. Add things like lunch meat, vegetables, or even left over steak, burgers, bacon bits, or potatoes!! 
Breakfast for dinner is always a winner in our house. This can be a great dinner and a breakfast of champions! For a small amount of money you will make your family feel like they are eating at their favorite pancake house!
Have a question for Colie? Email us at

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To Eat the Egg or to NOT Eat the Egg… That is the Question!

If you are like us egg are either feast or famine in your house. We either go through them like water or they expire. Well lately it’s been expiration city. I found eggs for a sweet price at one store and I forgot I had already bought some at another store so then during the “no one’s eating eggs” season I had two dozen eggs that were expired.

I don’t know about you but I hate the idea of wasting food even eggs, and I hate eggs. But a chicken worked really hard to make the egg that are now expired and the money we spent is now wasted too! No one wins!

All of these Eggs were bad! Bummer!

The good news is even if the carton indicated that your eggs are expired they still might be good and maybe good for longer than you think!

Here is a good way to check if your eggs are expired or not.
  1. Fill up a large mixing bowl full of cool water and place a few eggs at a time in the bowl of water. Don’t overcrowd the bowl just a few will do. 
  2. If the eggs rise to the top of the bowl then they need to be thrown away. If the eggs sink they are still good. 
  3. Don’t judge the carton by one egg try them all out because you may have a few that are still good.
Bad Eggs! Bummer!

So how do you know the egg is bad because it rises to the top of the water? The reason the egg rises to the top of the water is because the white of the egg has started to evaporate which is leaving the egg hollow. The lighter the egg the quicker it rises to the top of the water. If the egg rises it needs to be thrown away. If it sinks you still have time, but I wouldn’t wait too long. 

Good Eggs!

Boil the older eggs or even fry them up if you are in a pinch.  Better yet have breakfast for dinner to use up those eggs. It’s an inexpensive meal and it’s a great way to get rid of eggs without them going to waste.

If you are still a little nervous about the egg let your nose be the judge! It probably won’t fail you, but I have found the bowl of water trick to work every time!

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Summer Savory Spice … Who Knew?

When I was a kid my Nana would make a cheeseball at Christmas time that I always loved. Recently I decided I was going to make the recipe myself. I added the ingredients to my shopping list which were your common cheeseball ingredients, then I came to this… Summer Savory!

I had never heard of this spice in my life. I had never even seen a recipe that required it. I did my homework online only to find out it wasn’t a combination of spices but an actual spice called summer savory and apparently there is a winter savory too.

After a little digging the only brand I could find was Spice Islands that even mentioned having it. Then after 3 different grocery stores I found it and yep it was Spice Island, but wow the price! I paid almost $6.00 for this small bottle!

It’s probably a good thing I don’t have any other recipes that require it. It’s a bit too pricey for me, but as my husband put it, you only use 1/8 a teaspoon in the recipe so it should last awhile.

Have you ever used it in a recipe?

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A Public Colie’s Kitchen Service Announcement….

If you are strolling through old posts here on our site you might find that there are some post that no longer have pictures. The reason they are missing is because recently a blogger was sued by a photographer for a large sum of money because she placed a photo she thought she was free to use on her blog. She found the photo on Google Images and gave credit to the photographer but it didn’t matter.

The photographer sued the blogger for a large sum of money and sadly the blogger lost. She wasn’t using the image to make money it was just used in an everyday blog post but that didn’t matter.

I had quite a few images that were not mine, and although I gave the artist credit I am not willing to take a chance of having the same issue happen. I don’t want to be sued nor do I want to shell out a lot of money for something that wasn’t making me any money anyway.

So long story short if you see that old blog posts are missing images you now know why. If it’s not my image or I am not given the image I won’t be using it. I suggest all other bloggers do the same thing. It’s simply not worth it.

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The Day the Corn Stopped Popping

A few weeks ago we were going to have movie night so we decided to pop some popcorn and get ready for a great movie. I placed a bag of popcorn in the microwave set it for 4 minutes then walked away for about 1 minute.

When I came back in the room I looked in on the popcorn because I could smell something burning. How was it possible that it was already burning? Sure enough the bag was burning! Oh no!

I opened up the microwave and saw that the bag never really inflated it just burnt! I tired another bag, then another bag, and finally all 6 bags were not only un-popped but they were all burnt.

The next day I sent an email to Jolly Time to find out if it was my microwave or the popcorn. I received a response back right away. Apparently during the popcorn bag sealing process machine errors can occur that leave pin size holes in the seal that are unseen by the naked eye. Sometimes it just happens!

They not only apologized but they replaced the box of popcorn. I have so much respect for a company that no only explains the process, admits that errors happened and don’t just place blame and then apologizes and replaces the item! Thanks Jolly Time for being a stay up great company! You’re one in a million!!

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Canned Verses Homemade… Which One Is Cheaper?

Over the last year I have been buying a lot of canned chicken from Sam’s Club. I buy the Members Mark brand which comes in a 5 pack. Each can is 13oz for a total price of $9.98 (We don’t pay sales tax on food in Texas).

A few days ago our grocery store HEB had whole fryer chickens on sale for .67cent per pound. I decided to buy one and do an experience to see if it’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken, cook it myself, remove it from the bones, and separate it into 2 cup servings, then freeze or was it cheaper to stick to the cans and not worry about all the work? 

Don’t get me wrong I knew it was pretty obvious what the outcome would be, but I wanted to know the numbers. We had friends over for dinner and a whole chicken was left over so I thought what the heck! Let’s see what we can find out!!

The chicken I purchased was 5lbs. for a total of $3.35. which is .67 per pound. After I cooked the chicken it weighed exactly 4lbs bringing the total cost up to about .84 cents per pound. After I removed all the skin and bones the chicken meat weighed 2.1 pounds bringing the total up to $1.59/lb. OUCH in that case you are almost better off buying boneless chicken breast and forgetting about the hassle of de-boning the chicken. I can normally get boneless chicken breast between $1.50-$1.99/lb.
  • Sam’s club is 5 cans for a total of 65 ounces for $9.98 
  • Homemade deboned fryer is 33 ounces for $3.35
  • Sam’s club is .15cents per ounces
  • Homemade is .10 cents per ounces

The difference between buying canned verses homemade is a .05 cents savings per ounce when you go homemade. OK so .05 cents doesn’t seem like much but when you consider 1 pound is 16 ounces 16x.05 cents = a savings of .80 per pound.

Almost $1 a pound … I will take a little extra work on a Sunday afternoon to save some money. I over paid on my 5 cans of chicken buy $3.25 OUCH!

I can also see buying the boneless chicken breast when they are on sale and saving myself a ton of time and work!

If you make your own chicken broth you have the leftovers to bring down the cost of your chicken. You can’t beat a freebie mixed into that equation!

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Works for Me Wednesday (Clogged Sink Miracle)

I made the biggest bone head move while making dinner a few nights ago.  I was already late cooking dinner so I was trying to get dinner done as soon as possible. I suppose that was mistake number one. Here is where mistake number two comes in. I peeled 5lbs. of potatoes and put all the peels in the sink, ran water, and turned on the garbage disposal… BIG mistake!

I looked down in the sink and all the ground up potato peels and water were swirling around and around but not going down. OH NO! You have got to be kidding me not this week!! I knew I didn’t have time to wait around for a repair man and I needed to get dinner done but it wasn’t happening with this sink disaster. I got the plunger and went to work on the sink… nothing. I started the dishwasher hoping it would push through… nothing. I plugged up one sink and plunged the other at the same time… nothing. Then I had a meltdown…

I had my laptop sitting on the kitchen cabinet so I went in search of a fix for this problem. I have used Draino more times that I care to share, but it NEVER works I mean never! I hate spending all of that money for something that doesn’t work and stinks up the kitchen. Plus you have to let it sit forever and I am sure it’s terrible for the environment.

I can across an article that mentioned using baking soda and vinegar to unclog a clogged sink. At this point I was willing to try just about anything although I KNEW it wouldn’t work.

The instructions were pretty simple.
  1. Remove as much water out of the sink as possible
  2. Heat 1 cup of vinegar in the microwave for 1 minute
  3. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the clogged hole
  4. Add vinegar to the clogged hole and watch it bubble up (OK the bubble up is kind of cool) Make sure all the baking soda has gone down the hole.
  5. Then walk away and (My instructions here) take a deep breath. Maybe scream into a pillow, or have a drink whatever you need to do.
  6. Wait 5-1o minutes before turning on the garbage disposable

5-10 minutes later I went to check out what I hoped would be the miracle I needed. I certainly needed one at that moment. Both sides of my sink were full (almost to the top) with water. Wow where did all of this extra water come from? Remember I drained the sink first?

I held my breath and turned on the garbage disposal. Suddenly everything went down. It was a miracle!! In 10 minutes I saved over $100.00 and a ton of time. I didn’t need a repairman … heck I didn’t even need my husband for this one, but was sure proud of my accomplishment! I was pretty proud of myself too.

I had exactly 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda left to use for this miracle. Right after dinner that night I ran to the grocery store to stock up on baking soda and vinegar. I think we are set for awhile.

I looked at so many articles I don’t even know who to thank. Whoever you are out there thank you for saving me a ton of time and money!!

It worked for me! I hope it works for you too!! 

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Christmas Gift Card Savings Plan

A year or so ago my friend Krista gave me a great idea that she lives by. I thought it was such a great idea that I am going to give it a try this year. She calls it her Christmas Gift Card Savings Plan.

Every payday she buys a gift card that does not have an expiration date like for instance a Wal-Mart Gift Card. She stores her gift cards in one place and then stores a sheet of the gift card numbers in a different place just in case something happens to them.

She knows her daughter Casey loves Macy’s so she will go buy a $25 gift card there one pay day, and the next pay day she might get one at Sephora. Nope none of them expire.
Krista buys a lot of stuff at Wal-Mart during the holidays, in truth I think she does the majority of her shopping there, so she always make sure she purchases the majority of her gift cards from Wal-Mart.

She also knows that her Dad always wants a gift card for a sporting goods store, her mom a hobby store, her sister and brother in law love to eat out, that’s another gift card, her kids love iTunes, and Amazon, and her Mom loves anything from Bath and Body works.

When Krista walks into Bath and Body Works right before Christmas she can pick her Mom up some sweet deals and pay for it all on the gift cards she may have bought in June! The great thing is she stays within her budget, and the money has already been set aside for her Mom’s gift.

By the time Christmas Rolls Around in 2013 Krista will have 25 Gift Card because she doesn’t buy any in December. At $25 each that’s a grand total of $625 dollars.
WOW that’s a lot of money you don’t have to worry about at the last minute. She is so smart that she even buys two gift cards from Home Depot throughout the year because she knows they are going to buy their Christmas tree there. No cash needed she just whips out her Home Depot Gift Card! 

Okay so you know the critics are going to have something to say about this…

“Why not just put the money in the bank and draw interest on it?”  

Although I would agree with you … you could put it in the bank, but how many people are so disciplined? If you are GREAT! That is wonderful, but if you know yourself better than that you could always try the Christmas Gift Card Savings Plan. You are not going to be losing much in interest anyway!

Just remember to do your homework and only buy Gift Cards that don’t expire. Do you think this is something you could do? I think the biggest problem I would have would be remembering to buy the gift cards each payday!


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How to Cut a Measuring Cup in Half

OK so we are not going to be literally cutting a measuring cup in half, but this is a chart that tells you how to cut a recipe in half using awkward measurements. This information has come in handy so many times for me. This is brilliant because there are many times that you just don’t have the time or the patience to do the math. 

Figuring out half of 1/3 of a cup is a real pain in the you know what when you are talking about measuring cups and spoons. This tells you exactly how to do those things using teaspoons and tablespoons and just makes it’s less complicated.

This is a great post from “The Nest” I am not only linking the original article, but I am also going to copy the conversion table and paste it here because so many times such great information gets removed from sites and they are gone forever. In my opinion this conversion chart is too good to lose.

  • 1 cup (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.) 
  • 2/3 cup (1/3 cup) 
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 cup) 
  • 1/3 cup (2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp.)
  • 1/4 cup (2 Tbsp.) 
  • 3 Tbsp. (1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp.) 
  • 2 Tbsp. (1 Tbsp.) 
  • 1 Tbsp. (1 1/2 tsp.)

Visit The Nest to read more

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