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Friday, December 30, 2011

I've got lots of Apricots!

Everyday Foods....a wonderful cookbook/magazine!

Apricots thawing. 

I cut into it to test it....should have taken the picture first!

Thanks to my smart daughter, we used a plate to cover the cake for flipping it to this position.

It is soooo yummy! What a wonderful use for all those wonderful apricots!

20X the points at Shoppers

Now that the mega redemption has passed and a new year is on the horizon I thought I would do a post about 20x the points days and when they are worthwhile to do.
Tomorrow Shoppers is offering 20X the points when you spend $50. To make this a good shop here are some key steps.
1. Buy a Shoppers Drug Mart gift card,you get points for buying their cards $50=500points (if you have the Shoppers Optimum Mastercard you get more points if you buy the gift cards with that, or wait until Nov each year to get bonus points for buying gift cards)
2.Plan your shop carefully with the flyer and the sales and coupons(coupons are available at,,, and are some great discussions on the Smart Canucks forum
3.Use Mail in Rebates. Right now there are 2 you can print off. You usually need to send in your original receipt so you need to do one at a time. The scented oil Air Wick starter kit is here They will give you up to $11.99 for the product and it's taxes. It seems to be around $7.49 at Shoppers. The Air Wick scent ribbons candle is here They will give you up to $13.99 for the product and it's taxes. It seems to be around$10.99 at Shoppers.
4.Combine bonus points on products when possible. Bonus points are updated regularly here.
5.Use worz to calculate your shop. It calculates tax at 13% so adjust according to your area. You can make an account for free and then click on calculators and then Shoppers Drug Mart. It will total up your shop with and without taxes and coupons! Very helpful.
You can click on the pink picture to make it large and see a sample shopping list.
With this list you would get 10200 points. At a Mega Redemption 95000 points is worth $250 so one point is  .0026315(approximately, ha ha!) so at that level these 10200 points are worth $26.84
This shop cost $42.77 - MIR of $12.30 for a total of $30.47.  If you were to subtract what this shop would be worth at a Mega redemption($26.84) this shop would cost $3.63.
Sometimes there aren't good enough sales to make it worthwhile, but this time it seems like there is!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 3 Favorite Christmas Treats

This Christmas I asked which Christmas treats I should make. These are the top 3.
Peanut Blossom Kisses
I don't usually buy the actual kisses, I usually use chocolate wafers(the same  ones I use to make chocolates).
However, this year with the big Mega Redemption shop at Shoppers I splurged!


I made one batch with nuts and peanut butter and the other using  just chocolate chips.

Why do I only make these at Christmas?
Which recipes are your Christmas favorites? 

50% off one item at ZellersI

Zellers is offering a 50% off one item coupon.
You can print it by clicking here (Zellers has removed all coupon links, but if you have already printed it you can use it still but only on regularly priced items, not things on sale) It is good until Dec 31, 2011. 

I bought this crockpot when my last one died at Value Village. As you can see it cost $9.99. Now, a slow cooker is supposed to cook...slowly, right? This one only knows turbo cook and so has been VERY challenging ! I decided that with my 50% off coupon I would buy a crock pot. I have had bad experiences with Hamilton Beach crocks(brand new ) and so I didn't see any point in getting one of those. Then I saw the Crock pot brand crock pot and thought, surely this one will work well! So, the original price was $39.99 and I got $20.00 off. A little while ago I got a notice from my HBC credit card saying  they were changing banks and if I would verify my identity they would give me $10 on my January statement. So, that makes this brand new crock pot $10,plus taxes and enviro fee.
What are you needing???

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When Life Gives you Lemons(or Grapes)......

My husband loves pie! I don't really do the pie thing as the whole pie crust making is daunting...My sister-in-law and I took a pie making course many years ago and we walked away saying..."We aren't cut out to make pie!" My mother-in-law however IS cut out to make pie, great pie! Whenever she visits and asks what to bring I often ask her to bring a pie for her son!
My girl friend is in town...and her husband likes pie too! They were coming for dinner and so I thought I should make pie! I went down to the grocery store and used my coupon for Tenderflake pie crusts( My total was $1.47!) So, I didn't feel bad about skipping the homemade crust making! :)
Then I got out my America's Test Kitchen Baking book and found a lovely recipe for blueberry pie. It made a point of saying don't use frozen berries so I was feeling quite organized as I took out my big Ziploc of blueberries the night before.(Ever heard it said pride goes before a fall??)
The next day as I was about to rinse and drain them when I thought to myself, these blueberries aren't quite the right shape. The size was right, as the blueberry patch where we pick has huge berries, but it didn't have that little blossom thing on the bottom. On closer examination(I know....I should get my eyes tested soon) I realized my blueberries were GRAPES!
Well, what does one do when they are handed lemons grapes when you were thinking you were getting blueberries? Well, what I do is run to google! After a quick search I found this recipe for GRAPE PIE! Why do you care about grape pie when Concord Grapes aren't readily available??? I blog this for next summer when grapes are plentiful and I write this to say improvising is allowed....even a good idea! Don't let the naysayers in your life tell you otherwise!
I didn't follow the recipe exactly as our grapes have no seeds. So, I skipped the taking the skins off step. I also used an extra 1 1/2 cups of grapes. I did all the cooking(5-10 minutes) in the microwave.

There is a nice crumble for the top crust.

I baked it the whole time with the crumble on so it would brown nicely.

I made sure to make this way before supper so it could cool and set. It had a nice sweet and tart taste combination. I must say some people were skeptical about my grape pie...but in the end this is the last lonely piece!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tasty Christmas Treats

I don't think I have ever blogged about making chocolates.
They are very easy. I got all my molds at garage sales. I have Christmasy ones, Easter ones, Barbie ones???and multi occasion ones.
You can fill your chocolates with anything you can think of.
Today I wanted to make caramel chocolates and chocolates with cashews inside.
I bought these chocolate wafers at Cooper's. You can get them at almost all the grocery stores. They were .59/100g. You can also buy some specialty chocolate at the bulk foods stores. 
I bought 2 bags like this which were just under 2kg in total weight for $12.83. This will make A LOT of chocolates. As you can see in the cup in the first picture you only need a handful of wafers at a time. The chocolate hardens quickly so just warm what you can use up quickly.
First step is to melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave. Usually a minute or two depending on how hot your microwave runs! Put them in for a minute and then stir. Make sure no water gets in your chocolate!
Here are the empty trays. The square ones are perfects for caramel chocolates or even Nutella. The peanuts work great for nuts and 

peanut butter.

Next you CAREFULLY paint the trays with a thin layer of chocolate. Why carefully??? Well, if you miss a spot(it's never happened to me!) you will have a whole in your chocolate where your filling can run out. It's easy to check, you just lift your tray up and look underneath for clear spots. I am sure there is a special tool for painting chocolate molds, but I don't have it. We used to LOVE McDonald's little plastic spoons they had to stir your coffee, do you remember those? My neighbor in Alberta would have coffee there almost everyday and when he found out I loved those little stir sticks for chocolate making he gave me his. Problem is they broke and got lost and now they are no longer. So, my point is find a very small spoon. You need to use very little chocolate so that you have room for the filing and the coating. Now set them outside, or in your freezer for a few minutes so the chocolate can harden.
Next you add the filling. These ones I filled with liquid caramel. It's in the jam and honey section at the grocery store.
I just warmed it for 30 seconds in the microwave so it softens.
You want to fill your trays below the top so you have room to put 

the last layer of chocolate on.

Here you can see the cashews in the peanut trays. The top ones have already been covered with chocolate. Now they need to be set outside, or in the freezer to harden. Once they are done you turn the trays upside down and pop them out onto waxed paper.
Here I put them in a plastic container from store bought chocolates.
I have also used Christmas tins in the past.

There is still room for another layer of treats so of course I HAD to make some microwave caramel popcorn. The recipe is here. My next problem was packaging! I wanted to put another layer in here, but you CAN'T give someone just a small bit of caramel's just not right! So, since I seem to be very low on Christmas tins, I decided to use a gift bag lined with a waxed paper bag.
I am sure you can do something fancier than this, but here's what I managed to make as a gift bag liner bag. A little tissue paper and you are all set.

I tried to get that Ferreo Rocher sticker off but it just wasn't budging! The best way to make homemade chocolates is to do it with friends with Christmas music and something hot to drink. It's easy but can be a bit tedious so conversation and atmosphere help! If you are all inspired now and want to make chocolates right away you can look for the molds at your neighborhood second hand store. You could also buy them at Michael's using their coupon they usually have on their flyer. If you are going to Michael's can you check to see if they have a chocolate painting tool??? Now I'm curious! Happy Chocolate Making!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Cleaner

Yesterday I felt like washing my kitchen walls and ceiling. Usually when I feel like doing something like that I lie down and the feeling passes! :)
Actually, to be honest....Christmas is at our house this year and I thought it just had to be done!
I wanted a cleaner that would work well for ceiling paint. (I can't tell you how happy I am they don't usually put popcorn ceiling in kitchens!) I had tried spot washing it before only to do a little spot smearing! :(
So, I decided to try this one and I LOVED it. Not only did everything smell nice and washed my ceiling and walls beautifully(whenever I think of washing walls I think of my high school friend, Jackie, who says whenever her walls need washing she paints them!)
I am posting this so you can try it, if you feel so inclined and so that I have a forever record of the recipe, just in case someday I feel like washing ceilings and walls again!
Homemade Cleaner
1/4 cup vinegar
1/8 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup ammonia
2 liters of warm water
Mix all together. Wear plastic gloves.
I actually made double this, I have that bucket in the picture left....maybe today I'll do the bathroom????
Happy Cleaning!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogging Help!

Do you blog? Would you like to be able to do neat things on your blog? Want to learn how? Head over to Sneaky Momma Blog Design. I learned how to do my picture banner, snow, adding links and many more things! Jill is a great teacher! Her instructions are simple enough for me to understand! :) She has tips for beginners to expert! Head over and check her out, I am sure glad I did! Thanks again's snowing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When Saving Money Isn't a Good Idea!

I think you should have a laugh, at my expense. I want to tell you a story. Now that you have seen my Mega redemption pictures you know I color my hair(I know shocker!)My natural color these days is a dirty blonde(emphasis on dirty) and gray!(I know don't tell anyone!)Anyways, my mom used to be a hairdresser, and so when I started coloring my hair she said,"Don't buy the really cheap colors, and once you find one that works DON'T SWITCH BRANDS!" Well, that advice worked until the first time I found a box of color at $3.99! My regular brand goes as low as $8.99, but not often! So, I thought I'd be frugal and save some dollars! :) The result???? Greyish pink hair! YIKES! Well, I wasn't going to do that again, right? Wrong! Fast forward a year and guessed it, more on sale hair color, only this time it is the same company, just a different type of only takes 10 minutes. Okay, so maybe I am frugal and a tad impatient at times??(really working on that second one...wish I could hurry up and get patient!) This time my hair is a very sad shade of brownish orange(I know what was I thinking??). Well, this has happened more times than I care to confess here, so suffice it to say I got lots at the Mega in hopes I wouldn't be tempted to buy on sale hair color because I was out of mine. When is saving money not a good idea? For's on my hair color. What is it for you?

10% off Day and TOO MANY FLYERS!

So, obviously I have TOO many flyers at my house! Somehow last week's didn't get thrown out, recycled, so my list for what to get at Extra Foods was a week late! Yikes! I still didn't clue in until I got to the store where the very kind dairy man was stocking the cheese. I asked him how come I had a different price in my flyer, from what was on the shelf. He was puzzled too, until we discovered it was last week's flyer! I guess I was thrown off by the 10-25% off coupons being on last week also! Anyways, I ended up getting some nice big mandarin oranges and a few other things... :)

This is what I got at 10% off day at Safeway. The pile on the floor to the far left, those products were all free.

You can click on this picture and make it larger so you can read the numbers. I was off on my idea of what those Kraft product prices would be! My grand total before coupons and 10% off was $75.74. I got $5.89 off for the 10%. My coupons were $28.33. The eggnog was on sale and discounted due to expiry date, so that was $1 off. My total was $40.52. I received 91 airmiles(or half a full movie package :)
I don't think you can bring your total below $35 before tax, that's what they always tell me...I need to check into that. Anyone ever done it???

Monday, December 5, 2011

10% off Tuesday and Combining Deals

As you probably already know, Tuesday is 10% off day at Safeway. I don't often participate in 10% off day as I find it quite difficult to find $35 worth of stuff that is at a good price! Well, this week I am going to do some combining of deals to get to $35. I will use these coupons. If you got the Kraft Sample box you will have also received the top 3 pictured here. I am guessing that each product will run me about $3-$4 each. That's $9-$12. The Tampax will probably be $3-$4 each. The oasis juices are $1 each when on sale, but at Safeway they can be close to $2 each! So, I am close to $20 dollars here. I need to buy tp and the Purex is 24 for $4.99 plus 30 airmiles for buying 2. Right there I am pretty close to $30! I will get a few limes 2/$1, maybe some Imperial Margarine if it is a good deal(it says BOGO on the front of the flyer) What I noticed the last time I did the 10% off day was that they added all the REGULAR prices of the items I was buying and gave 10% off of that! Bonus! So a $35 shop actually saved me $6 plus the coupons I used!

These are some mail in rebates that are available right now.  The ones on the left are good for Air Wick Scented Products.  One is worth up to $13.99 which covers the cost of the item, it's taxes and postage. The other is worth $11.99. You can print off your own form here The one for Finish is from the Smartsource insert that was in your newspaper.
Now,with these mail in rebates you need to send in your receipt. So, usually I do each one separately. In order to combine deals you could buy the $13.99 one next Saturday if you are going to do the 20X the points day at Shoppers. I used these mail in rebates many times with many different products to bring down my total at Shoppers 20X the points days.(There were lots out there last year!)
If it's a regular 20X the points you will need to spend $50 to qualify. So, this would bring you down to less than $40, needing to be spent.
You could buy one at Safeway. I might use the Finish one on 10% off day.
There are also the 10-15%off coupons when you spend $25-$100 at Extra Foods. They have the following:
Pineapples $1.97
Yams .46/lb
Cabbage is .38/lb
Broccoli Bunches are .96
No Name Cheese is $7.98 for 800g (limit 4)(I will buy some and grate it and freeze it.)
These are just a few ideas for combining deals and saving money. What do you do to save on groceries??

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shoppers Drugmart Mega Redemption!

These pictures were taken at 2 in the morning, so please excuse!

This weekend is Shoppers Mega Redemption. What is that you ask? Well, if you have a Shoppers Optimum card(they are free)you get points every time you buy something at Shoppers.

Last November I decided to see what all the fuss was about as I thought of Shoppers as having the odd loss leader but overall was overpriced. Thus, I decided to "study" the way of Shoppers Optimum points. My first stop was the Smart Canucks Shoppers Drug Mart Forum

I learned that Shoppers has 20X the points days that are the best time to buy things if the things you need are on sale. I also learned that you can use coupons to lower you out of pocket expenses.

I learned that it is best if you buy a Shoppers Drug Mart, preloaded gift card before you do your shop, as you get more points that way!

Long story short it works! I redeemed in Feb($200) and then carefully tracked everything I bought at Shoppers from then on.

I participated in 7 20X the points days. I made sure that the loss leaders were things I used and needed. For example, milk, eggs, bread, butter, toilet paper.

Since Feb I spent $631.00. This weekend I had enough for $625 worth of redemptions. This is what I got!

More gifts...had coupons for the deodorant.
More Christmas gifts. The yogurt had a $2 off coupon.
More Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers!

Hubby picked some Christmasy treats, I had a coupon for one! I had coupons for the dishwasher detergent. The iTunes cards are stocking stuffers and had an additional 2500 bonus points.

There are presents and stocking stuffers and chips for hubby! I had a coupon for the razors.
The spatula was a fun present to me as mine fell apart a long time ago!
The Oasis came with a coupon for a free 960ml-1.75L of juice. There was a $2 off coupon attached to the juice. I had a $3 coupon for the dishwasher soap and a $1 for the cereal.

The yogurts, the juice and the creamers had coupons off attached to them. (the advantage of shopping at midnight!) The Janes chicken has $11.50 worth of coupons inside.(I didn't realize this until I got home!) I had coupons off on the margarine and High liner fish.
In the end the grand total spent(not including the iTunes) was $640.94. I had to pay the taxes on anything taxable, so my total out of pocket cost was $45.20(less than the cost of the 2 Wii contollers!).
I used $26.25 in coupons. I got another 7621 in Shoppers points, a free juice and $11.50 in coupons. Like I said my spending for the year was $634. I enjoyed this experiment! It was fun to have extra grocery and present money at Christmas! Maybe you want to do your own Shoppers experiment???