Monday, January 21, 2013

Recipe for Greens & Rice Casserole (Modified)

I recently modified the recipe for the Greens and Rice Casserole, using one pound of fresh spinach I had frozen and adding grated carrot. We were pleased with the results!

This really does make a great meatless meal!
I also cut the original recipe in half:

1½ cups frozen spinach, cooked (measured after cooking, not before)*
1½ tsp dried onion
¼ tsp “Mrs. Dash” seasoning (optional)
½ cup carrot, grated
1½ cups cooked whole-grain rice (measured after cooking, not before)
1½ cups shredded cheese (1 cup medium cheddar + ½ cup mozzarella)
½ cup “broth” from cooking the spinach
3 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt (optional)
*One pound of fresh spinach equals approximately 1½ cups cooked. I used Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spinach from Sam’s Club. (Definitely great quality!)

In a small saucepan, cook the frozen (or fresh) spinach in about one cup of water until tender. Reserve at least ½ cup of the “broth” for baking. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into an oiled 8x11-inch (or 9x13-inch) baking dish.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the middle. (Test with a fork.)

  • I sprinkle a generous portion of extra (mozzarella) cheese on top!
  • Next time, I plan to increase the grated carrot to one whole cup.
  • I’m still hoping to try this recipe with chopped or grated zucchini instead of greens...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Amazon Mom Appreciation Event

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to join Amazon Mom so you can take advantage of the Amazon Mom Appreciation Event:
The Amazon Mom Appreciation Event is an exclusive 20% off promo code: BABY2013 good for savings on thousands of eligible baby products in select colors and styles, for up to $100 in total savings.
Qualifying Amazon Mom members can use the code on eligible items from January 18, 2013 until 11:59 PM PST February 1, 2013. To shop the event, simply add qualifying baby products in select colors and styles to your shopping cart on or before February 1, 2013, and then enter promo code BABY2013 at checkout to apply the discount.
Do note that if you join Amazon Mom or Amazon Prime after this promotion has started on January 18, 2013, you will need to wait 24 hours for the promo code to become active.
You can learn more about Amazon Mom via this link.

ThredUp: $10 off your first order – until 01/21!

In yesterday’s post (Saving: On Clothes) I mentioned ThredUp, my favorite online consignment site.

Well, ThredUp has extended their latest offer until Monday, January 21. New customers get $10 off their first order by using coupon code SAVE10 at checkout.
Prices start at $2.99 per item, so you should be able to get as many as three items for around $6.95, which is the flat rate for shipping. (Or shipping is free with orders of $40 or more.)
ThredUp is an online consignment sale, offering gently-used brand-name kids clothing for very good prices. Many are even NWT: New With Tags! If you’re new to the site, keep in mind that inventory changes constantly; you’ll want to check back often to see what’s been newly added...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saving: On Clothes

Go shopping for clothes and save money – and time!
Can that happen? We think so! And I’m sharing ways we’ve been able to save (a lot!) when buying clothes, especially for the kids.
I now (almost exclusively) shop at seasonal consignment sales. Our favorites are:
I’ve also shopped at WeeCycled Wear once and was very pleased with my finds.
These sales are well-organized. (I’ve even gotten my dear hubby to go with me!) And we’ve found great (name-brand!) clothes for the whole family. The links above are for sales in my area, now gearing up for spring and summer clothes sales in the next month or so. If you don’t live in the Upstate, do a quick “Google” search for local consignment sales in your area.
If the dates for the seasonal sales don’t coordinate with our (travel) schedule, I shop at local consignment shops. My favorites are:
Again, the links are for sales in my area, but do a quick online search for similar shops in your area. Or ask other moms at church, etc. That’s how I found out about Kids & More!
I shop online to “fill in gaps” for items still needed but not found at consignment sales or shops. My favorite online consignment site is:
Right now (through January 18 extended through January 21!) use coupon code SAVE10 at check-out to get $10 off your first order at ThredUp!
Whenever possible I shop through either Ebates or ShopAtHome to get a percentage of cash back. Every little bit really does add up! I’m currently expecting over $30 in cash back from ShopAtHome and about $7 from Ebates. (You can read about Ebates in an earlier post: Get $5 plus a $10 gift card when you place your first order!)
I click through either Ebates or ShopAtHome (whichever is offering a higher percentage of cash back) when I shop online end-of-the-season clearance sales, especially at The Children’s Place and Gymboree.* These are typically quality clothes that wear (and resell!) well. I’ve found clearance sales to be a great way to shop ahead for birthdays, too. Just this past summer I found Olympic t-shirts for the nephews for an average of $2 to $3 each! And I’m excited that online-clearance-sale-shopping-for-birthdays is something I’ll still be able to do when living out of the country!
*Clearance at Gymboree is especially good when you can pair sales with GymBucks, and The Children’s Place has recently developed a rewards points program.
You might want to check out the clearance sales going on right now at The Children’s Place and Gymboree!
I shop at outlet malls for items typically not found at second-hand sales (i.e. underclothes and socks).
I include needed clothing items on Christmas and/or birthday wish lists. Admittedly, said lists are right now authored mostly by me, and I can take advantage of the fact that our kids are still too young to object to getting undershirts from grandparents for Christmas!
And some practical tips I’ve picked up along the way...
Before going online or to a sale, make lists of needed items. Then look for items that will coordinate with other items on your lists or with items you already have. I learned this lesson late (as I was “buying ahead” for our move overseas), so I’ve been especially thankful for current online sales that included some child items needed right now!
Unless you’re saving clothes for younger little ones, resell clothes (as your kids outgrow them) through local consignment sales (where you’ll get a higher percentage by doing the tagging yourself) or take them to a local consignment shop (where you’ll get a lower percentage by simply dropping them off). Save and then use the profits to offset future clothing purchases.
Avoid going to the mall to “just look!” This probably goes without saying. And I admit that it’s easy for me to say because I just don’t like going to the mall unless I’m going for a specific purpose (like taking a specific list and going to spend GymBucks I’ve already earned). But avoiding the mall is probably the top way to avoid becoming discontent.
What are your ideas? How do you save when shopping for clothes?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Favorite Recipe: Tomato Bread

An experiment just over three years ago resulted in a favorite recipe for our family: Tomato Bread! (Click the link for the recipe.)
It’s a pleasing pumpkin-color – and is very yummy! (I need to take a picture to post.) I recently (and successfully!) substituted cooked, mashed acorn squash for the pumpkin puree.
I most recently served this bread with Lentil & Ham Soup, and we took the leftover bread as a snack on a recent trip. It’s also great as sandwich bread – just put your imagination to work!

Recipe for Lentil & Ham Soup

Right before Christmas we were given a ham bone. I had lentils on hand so I looked up my recipe for Lentil & Sausage Stew, compared it to a recipe for Split Pea & Ham Soup, and came up with this one! We enjoyed this simple yet hearty soup, served with homemade Tomato Bread.*
I made one huge batch and froze the rest for later. (It freezes well.) The following recipe, paired with homemade bread, easily makes two meals for our family of four. (For a smaller batch, divide the recipe in half.)

3 cups dried lentils
12 cups water
1 Tbsp dried onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt (optional)
4 to 8 medium carrots, grated (approx. 2 to 4 cups)
(I like to add lots of veggies!)
1 meaty ham bone

Rinse and drain lentils. Put lentils and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer. (Add onion, thyme, and salt.) Add ham bone and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender and ham is “falling off” the bone. Remove the bone and chop (or break up ham pieces to desired size). Add grated carrots and simmer 15 minutes more before serving.

Garnish with freshly ground pepper, freshly grated carrot, etc.

(Yields approximately ten 1-cup servings.)

*Tomato Bread pairs perfectly with this soup!