Monthly Archives: August 2011

couponing w/kaseface pt. 2

Standard

I hope you’ve had enough time over the past few weeks to study up a little on coupons, because I am about to delve into where I get my coupons and how I cut and sort them. If I don’t feel like I’m rambling on too much, I’ll also give you a sneak peak into how I actually organize the coupons so I can always see exactly which coupons I have.

So, where do I get the coupons? Once you start looking for them, you will find them everywhere! I use some internet sites like coupons.com, if you “like” your favorite brands on Facebook, they usually give away coupons. Coupons can be found on packaging, in magazines, you’ll be surprised how many coupons you find by simply increasing your awareness of them.

The vast majority of the coupons I use arrive in the Sunday Paper(The Baltimore Sun delivers the inserts a day early so I get mine on Saturday). I had to invest in a subscription, but it paid for itself within the first three weeks of couponing. It is way more expensive to buy a paper at the store, unless you want to buy it on Monday at a discount. It’s up to you, but I have a weekend subscription for 16 weeks and it was only like $16 bucks.

So when you open up the paper you will see the huge section of weekly ads.

These weekly ads include valuable coupons that can really help you save big when you “stack” them with a manufacture’s coupon. I usually set all the weekly ads I want to save aside. We will come back to them later. In the meantime, look for the SmartSource, RedPlum, or P&G Brandsaver inserts.

It helps to have more than one copy of a coupon on hand. Sometimes, an item that I need ends up being free with a coupon. When that happens, I like to get multiple copies of the paper or inserts so I can stock up until the next time it’s free. When I say stock up, I mean I usually buy about four of an item at a time, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the price, coupon restrictions, and what the item is.

To get multiple copies of coupons you have several options including but not limited to:

  • Ebay: you can buy multiple copies of inserts by searching, for example, “smartsource 8 21 11”
  • Buying discount Sunday papers on Mondays
  • Asking your friends/family who don’t coupon to save the inserts for you instead of recycling them or throwing them away
  • Walking around the block and picking up papers that are delivered to houses that you are sure nobody lives in.
How you get your coupons is up to you. I have done a combination of them all, depending on the week. After I gather all the inserts I need it’s time to actually do the clipping. Today I am starting with 4 copies of SmartSource.

I separate the insert by page, I will have a different pile for each page. After the insert is separated by pages I cut the coupons out. The reason for separating before you start cutting is to save time, so you don’t have to cut out each coupon more than once. It’s time consuming in the beginning, but saves a lot of time in the end.

Side Note: You may also want to start recycling if you don’t already! The amount of paper is borderline obscene…So grab a paper bag to throw the scraps in!

As I’m cutting out the coupons, I try to pay attention to where I set them. I try to put all the food next to each other, all the personal care together, all cleaning together, etc. I can also go ahead and start a pile to send to my military family in Japan (more on that later!) because there are lots of things that I know I’ll never buy, no matter how cheap, that I still clip the coupons for.

After I cut up all the coupons, I go through them once again to filter out which ones I think I will use and which ones I can let go. The ones I can let go of are placed in an envelope and set aside for later. The ones I am going to use are now ready to be filed in my binder.

There are several ways to organize your coupons. I have found that the binder method works best for me. I’ll show you in the next post how I put together my binder(S). Get busy clipping!

Advertisements

Cooking w/Kaseface: Spicy Turkey Tacos

Standard

This is the first of the recipes that I plan to share with you and it’s definitely one of my favorites, if not my very favorite. I use it all the time, especially recently. I find that turkey tacos are something that I can eat and enjoy when I’m hungry but don’t necessarily have a taste for anything so here’s how I make mine:

Spicy Turkey Tacos (serves 2-3)

1lb ground turkey

1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, chopped

3/4 cup cheese, grated*

1 cup lettuce, shredded*

1 cup tomato, chopped*

1 package of Lawry’s or McCormick’s Spicy Taco Seasoning Mix

1 package of corn tortillas (I use Mission White Corn)

vegetable oil

seasoned salt, to taste

taco sauce, to taste

*Taco toppings, use as much or as little as you want.

1. In a large pan, brown turkey meat with onions, green pepper, and jalapeno pepper. Stir occasionally, until brown.

2. Add seasoning mix and 3/4 cup of water like the package says. Simmer, stirring occasionally.

Side Note: Do NOT forget the water!!

3. While your turkey is cooking, get a skillet and pour a shallow amount of vegetable oil in it. Heat the oil on med-high until hot. This is where you will be frying your chips and shells.

Side Note: Frying the shells is the hardest part of the whole recipe, but it is worth the extra effort! The fresh chips and shells really set the tacos off. BELIEVE ME! Just keep the kids/adults acting like kids out of the kitchen and away from the stove!

4. So to fry the shells you will need a pair of kitchen tongs. Drop the tortilla in the oil and let it fry for about ten seconds. Pick up one side of the tortilla with the tongs and hold the tortilla as it folds sideways (should look like a taco shell!). Fry one side of the tortilla until crispy, then pick up the other side of the tortilla and fry the side you were holding. To make sure you have room in the middle for fillings, once the shell has taken shape you can push out the sides with the kitchen tongs (see the picture below). Place the finished shell on a plate with paper towels to dry off. Repeat for as many shells as you would like.

Side Note: You want to fry them long enough that they are crispy. I deem them ready once they reach a rich golden color. It can take some practice, but once you figure it out, I can’t imagine that you’ll ever go back to store-bought shells. I never did!

4. To make chips, you simply cut the tortillas into fours and place into the grease. Fry for a few minutes on one side, turn, and fry on the other side until crispy. Place on plate with napkins to dry off. After they dry, salt to taste.

Side Note: I usually go through and dry off all the fried items again with a paper towel to make sure the extra grease is off.

5. The hard part is over, now all you have to do is put together your tacos and serve! I served mine with an ice cold Dos XX Amber.

If you don’t like spicy food or have small children, cut out the jalapenos and get the regular seasoning mix. If you are so inclined, you could also substitute chicken and buy the chicken taco mix. All variations of these tacos are very tasty.

In fact, I tried a new variation today and I had to update this post to tell you!  I made Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps.  I swapped the shells for lettuce and added a little bit of light sour cream, which made the texture unbelievable.  If you’re looking to go the healthy route, I definitely recommend these.

If you do decide to go make chips and have leftovers, you can make nachos! You can store the extra chips or shells in a baggie to keep them fresh. These were my next-day nachos.

My mom taught me how to make tacos this way many years ago, as they were a favorite of many of my friends when I was in high school. This recipe has been a staple since I was about 15 so I hope you try it and love it as much as I do. It’s great if you live someplace like Baltimore, where the comida de “Mexicana” es MUY mal. Let me know if you try it and how you liked it! Feel free to ask questions too. Til next time…

My Little Green-Eyed Wonder

Standard

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but I’ll go ahead and admit it. I love kids. Okay, it shouldn’t be a shock at all because if you’ve ever gone anywhere with me where kids are, you’ve seen my inability to control tears welling up in my eyes at the sight of a cute baby. I can’t help it, I have a soft spot for kids in general. There was one particular kid though, who really made an impact on me when I was teaching pre-school. And this is a little story about him.

I’ll never forget him. He was the littlest three-year-old in my class with the cutest face and the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. His name is Ethan and, even though he stole my heart the second he smiled at me, we had a tumultuous relationship from day one. He was loud, disruptive, uncooperative and completely unreasonable–to say the least. His tantrums could be heard radiating throughout the center’s thin walls on a daily basis. Ethan made many decisions that even he knew would lead to him sitting at a table in “quiet time.”

But I liked Ethan. Even though the majority of the time he was “actin’ up,” as he referred to it, when Ethan did do his work, he did it very well. When he was being cooperative he was the sweetest little kid in the entire place. I started calling him my “little green-eyed wonder” because I wondered about the two sides of Ethan and how he processed his tiny world. It couldn’t have been easy for him. He attended a rigorous pre-school program for 10 hours a day, his mom was expecting another baby, he was potty training and, on top of all that, he had a new teacher who made rules and enforced consequences for not following them!

Looking at things from Ethan’s perspective really inspired me to help put some stability back into his life in the only way I could- by putting stability in the classroom. I researched and implemented teaching techniques that slowly transformed not only Ethan’s behavior, but also the behavior of the majority of my other students. With encouragement, individual attention and a little discipline, they went from being the class of terrors that no one even wanted to visit, to being one of the most well behaved classes in the school. Ethan’s tantrums were few and far between and he was doing great on his lessons. I could see that he was slowly adjusting and it was very rewarding to be a part of the change. The classroom was much more fun as a result.

One day, as I was tucking Ethan in for a nap, he told me he was moving away. I took the information with a grain of salt and continued to pat his back and wait for him to close his eyes. Then, he looked up at me and said,
“Miss Kasey, I’m your favorite?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Was it that obvious?
“Yes, Ethan…you’re my favorite.” I said.

His parents confirmed the news later that evening and two weeks later was Ethan’s last day. His mom picked him up from school that day and thanked me for all my help with him. I asked him if I could have a goodbye hug, but he was distracted and went running out of the room, his mom chasing after him. I sat on the floor, fighting tears and continued “movie day” with the rest of my class. Five minutes later the door opened and I felt a tiny pair of arms hugging me behind my neck.
“Goodbye Miss Kasey!” Ethan screamed into my ear.
“Goodbye my little green-eyed wonder.” I said as I hugged him back.

Even though Ethan was only in my life for five months, he had such a big impact on my experience as a teacher. He tested my patience and forced me to see the world from his perspective. In doing so, I feel like it made me not only a better teacher, but a more understanding person.

couponing w/kaseface pt. 1

Standard

Hey friends, how’s it going? I’m doing really great at the moment because I’m so excited about the great deals I got at Safeway. I walked away with all this for only $12.04.

The retail value of this stuff was around $40 so I think I did great considering I went to the store on a whim to see if I could get any deals with my coupons that expired that day.

The savings are very encouraging:

  • Two boxes of cereal .50 cents each
  • Gallon of organic milk 3.09
  • Two boxes of popcorn .75 cents each
  • Detergent FREE!
  • Carefree FREE!

The bread was by far the most expensive thing I bought for $3.39 (I felt bad about it, but it’s my favorite and Safeway is the only grocery store in walking distance), the deodorant was 2.99, and the People magazine was only 2.99! I had coupons for everything , but the cereal and popcorn were on clearance, and combined with the coupon worked out to be a really nice deal. I was able to get the free items because my Safeway doubles coupons with denominations under $1. I had three .50 cent off coupons for Carefree with no size restrictions, and one .50 cent coupon for Tide with no size restrictions. Since I was only trying to get rid of the coupon, not spend any money, I headed to the travel section and found trial size packs for .99 cents. The coupons doubled to $1 and viola, FREE!

So how did I learn how to do this? Well, there are all kinds of websites about couponing. I started with The Krazy Koupon Lady. By going to the beginners section, I started to learn terminology, rules, and general guidelines. Many, many other sites offer a plethora of information to people who are new to the process. The Coupon Wizards even have live webinars going on this week, I plan on attending the one tonight.

In addition to offering general information about couponing, these sites are an invaluable resource in reducing the amount of time it takes to find deals. Literally, all you have to do is click on the store you plan on going to and all the big deals are already put together for you. However, they cannot possibly find all of them! I find that to be half the fun of going to the store. I love the clearance section. If I’m lucky enough have a coupon for something in the clearance section to make it wildly cheap or free, it’s on like Donkey Kong!!

As I was writing this, I realized that the topic of couponing is going to have to be a series of posts. When I write about couponing, I’ll always label it “Couponing w/Kaseface.” Anything else will be titled accordingly. In the next part of Couponing w/Kaseface, I’ll start to explain how I gather and organize my coupons. Hopefully by then you will have had a chance to get familiar with some of the verbiage so you know what I’m talking about! It’s easy to get overwhelmed but just take it as slowly as you need to. The posts aren’t going anywhere and it’s easy to start small then, once you kinda get the hang of it, do more and more. ‘Til next time…