What: Old Chicago Restaurant Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting
Date: Monday, March 19, 2012
Start Time: 10:45 a.m.
Location (address): Old Chicago
12300 Singletree Ln # 100
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Be one of the first 100 people in line to experience the NEW Old Chicago and get FREE world-famous pizza for an entire year! Join us as we celebrate a new menu and look with a ribbon cutting ceremony and check presentation to PROP food bank (People Reaching Out to Other People).
Go to www.oldchicago.com to find out more about Old Chicago and to view their full menu.
Notes from Lisa:
I am sharing this because I received it as a PR announcement (and verified it), but also because I’ve eaten at Old Chicago and think it’s worth going to!
This is a potato soup recipe from Nancy, a friend from church. It’s simple, very good, frugal and filling!
What you need
2-1/2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1-1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp. thyme (don’t omit)
2 tsp. instant chicken bouillion
2 Tbls. flour
Bacon (cooked, cut into small pieces – I like Trader Joe’s turkey bacon)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use 1/3 cup or so)
How to Make it
1. Combine potatoes, water and butter. Heat until boiling.
2. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered 15 min. Stir often.
3. Stir in flour, bouillion and thyme.
4. Remove from heat and stir in milk, bacon and cheese. Stir until cheese melts (may need to put back on burner on low).
Serves approx. 4.
Note: Can omit cheese.
Fare for All is a unique, low-cost option for buying groceries in the Twin Cities area. A cooperative purchasing program, they buy fruits, vegetables and meat in bulk to save you up to 40% off grocery store prices. Open to everyone (no income restrictions), Fare for All supports the Emergency Foodshelf Network and the more people who use it, the more people save! Check out their website HERE.
Groceries are sold in “packs” – produce only ($10), meat only ($11), or a combination of the two ($20). There is a monthly special “pack” as well, such as mega meat packs or holiday packs.
There are three options for buying groceries:
1) Traditional Fare for All – Pre-order and pre-pay by phone. Pick up at distribution site, available once per month.
2) Fare for All Express – No pre-ordering necessary. Cash and carry. Distributions held throughout the month at various sites in the Twin Cities area.
3) Shop at their Warehouse in New Hope, open every other Monday. All “packs” available for purchase plus individual items which can vary.
I checked them out for the first time last week by shopping at their warehouse in New Hope. I was curious about what was available and how much $$ I could save.
The warehouse is located at 8501 54th Avenue North in New Hope, MN 55428. (Check out their site for directions.) The building is a huge warehouse with offices, but to access the Fare for All sales you have to go to the side of the building as pictured here.
There’s plenty of parking and shopping carts are available. I saw about a dozen other shoppers of all ages.
One area of the warehouse is sectioned off for Fare for All sales. It was smaller than I expected but you could fill up a cart with plenty of nutritious food. There some freezers with all kinds of meats – pork loin, Jennie-O ground turkey ($3 for 3 pounds), and whole chickens ($5 each) for example. There were boxes of the various “packs” available. There was a wall of pantry staples such as pasta and canned vegetables. I didn’t recognize most of the brand names but I’m sure they were as good as other brands. There were also tables with some produce such as oranges (5 for $1.00), apples ($4 for $1.00), onions ($.50 for a small bag), plus potatoes, rice, beans and more.
I DID buy some frozen meats – three packages of Gold’n Plump chicken breasts ($3 each, that I usually buy at stores for at least $4 each), two packages of bone-in chicken breasts ($4.50 for two or “Buy one get one free” with a Fare for All coupon I received by subscribing to their email list), a bag of frozen sole fillets ($3) and celery ($.75). It totaled $17.25, plus I got a free 1/2 gallon of lactose-free milk (with an ALDI brand label, not pictured) as they were giving them away – one per household.
Here’s another moist and yummy banana bread recipe that’s a little bit “good for you”.
What you need:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 – 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
How to Make the Banana Bread
1) In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2) Stir in bananas, sour cream and milk. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir into banana mixture just until moistened. (Add more milk if batter is too dry.) Fold in nuts (if desired).
3) Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick or fork inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Let us know what you think of this Banana Bread Recipe below!
What: Eagle’s Nest Indoor Playground
Where: New Brighton Community Center, 400 – 10th St. NW, New Brighton, MN 55112.
How much: $5.50 daily admission for children ages 12 months to 12 years. $3.00 after 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. No charge for parents or caregivers. Youth punch pass for $55.00 includes 12 passes for the price of 10.
Extras: Birthday parties are an affordable option here with packages as low as $9.00 per child. Check out website for hours and more information.
Mom Rating: Fun place to take the kids any time of year!
If you’re looking for a great place to take your kids for a couple of hours of fun on a cold or rainy day, one great, affordable place is the Eagle’s Nest Indoor Playground in New Brighton.
It’s a playland with tunnels, slides, a ball pit & a climbing wall, all created for kids under 12 years old. There’s a special area for toddlers (under 3 years old) with plenty of smaller structures to play in, a slide, a ball pit, and a reading corner with books (though it’s hard to sit kids down in this place!).
There are tables for adults and families to sit together and have a meal (there are 3 vending machines with snacks and ice cream). In addition, there are chairs right within the play areas so parents can be right there with their kids. You’ll find plenty of open cubbies to put shoes and jackets, and there are lockers you can use (locks are available to borrow).
I took my kids there twice recently and they had a blast. My 4-year-old enjoyed going through all the tunnels and down the slides, and my 1-year-old loved the toddler area and all the balls he could play with. We spent 2 hours here our first time, and over 1 hour here our second time. They burned off a lot of hanging-out-in-the-house-too-much-in-the-winter energy and had great fun.
The only thing I don’t like is that there is no simple, open way to access the slides. I once climbed up through the tunnels with my daughter to go down one of the slides and have to say, though I’m average-sized, it was not easy! Kids have to climb in narrow spaces and through tunnels with not-the-best air circulation to access anything above, including fun lookouts (one like a plane cockpit) and the various tunnel and wavy slides. Though adults can play with their kids here, I’m guessing it’s designed this way partially so not too many adults clutter up the space! (Hey – we like to have fun, too!)
But overall, it’s a great place to take your kids – whether as a mom home during the day with restless kiddos, or as a family for a “picnic” and playday.
Oh -and on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00am to Noon your child’s admission includes playtime in the gym nearby with a bouncy house and other activities. Have fun!
There are dozens of ALDI Food Markets in the Twin Cities area. They’re small, no-frill super(small)markets with mostly their own brands of grocery and household items. Soon we’ll discuss the top ten great buys at ALDI-Food Market.
The first time I shopped in one was in 2007, before the recession really hit. I was not impressed. There were only a few shoppers, the store seemed “low-class” and I didn’t recognize any of the food brands. I left without buying anything.
Then as the recession began, I checked it out again, to see if there were a few items worth buying to save a little money for my growing family (our first child was born in 2008). I bought a few things and was pleasantly surprised – the prices were lower than anything else, and the quality was just as good as anywhere else (at least of the items I bought).
I continue to shop at other stores, especially SuperTarget. But in the past few years I’ve shopped more and more at ALDI and have been thrilled with how much $$ I’ve saved.
One note – I’m VERY health-minded. I buy organic and natural products whenever I can. ALDI has a few of these items, including a “Fit and Active” line of lower-fat, more healthful products. I won’t buy white pastas, sugary cereals, and anything with a lot of ingredients I don’t recognize. So I won’t be listing items in those categories, but ALDI does have plenty of foods to please everybody.
Here is a list of TEN great buys at ALDI-Food Market that I’ve come up with:
1. MILK = $2.49-2.59 a gallon. Skim = $2.49, 2% = $2.49, Whole = $2.59.
2. Bread = $1.69 a loaf. Only recently have I started buying bread at ALDI because all their bread used to contain high fructose corn syrup – a No-No! in our house. Now it doesn’t contain any. I now buy the 12 grain or whole wheat bread.
3. Potatoes = $2.89 for a 10-lb bag of russet potatoes, or $1.99/5-lb bag of red potatoes.
4. Flour and sugar = $1.50/5-lb bag of all-purpose flour, and $2.98/5-lb bag of granulated sugar. I bake a lot at home. I buy whole wheat flour elsewhere since ALDI doesn’t carry it.
5. Frozen juice = $1.29/12-ounce can of 100% orange juice, and $.92/12-ounce can of 100% apple juice. They have other varieties including grape.
6. Fresh Pineapple = $1.49-$2.49. Their fresh pineapple often goes on sale for $1.49 or so. I’ve never seen it more than $3 or so. It is usually $3.99-4.99 elsewhere.
7. Cheese = $1.99 for a brick of cheddar. I just bought three of the “Wisconsin Extra Sharp Cheddar” that I had never seen before. There are other varieties including colby and mozzarella.
8. Frozen fish = $2.99 & up. We eat a lot of fish in our house. I bought a 1-pound 3-oz box of “Fit and Active” Reduced-Fat fish sticks for $2.99. I’ve also bought frozen “wild-caught” salmon for under $5 that’s been great.
9. Whipped light cream = $1.49. Comparable to Reddi-Whip. Gotta have whipped cream for homemade waffles, pancakes & ice cream!
10. Canned vegetables = $.59 for a 14.5-15 oz can. I stock up on canned green beans, sweet peas and cream corn.
Mom-approved & recommended: 9-cube organizers to get your kids’ toys (or anything in your home) under control!
For months I had been meaning to get the toy-takeover of our home under control. With only clear storage bins that held about 25% of their massive assortment of plastic mayhem, it was NOT happening. So…the toys continued to spread out across every last bare surface of our home – the corners of the living room floor, the middle of the hallway, the counters in the kitchen, and even the top shelf of the fridge (seriously!!!).
I had been aware of those 9-cube organizers made by Circo and Closetmaid for quite some time, having seen them at others’ houses and at the kids’ daycare. They come in various colors like white, pink, blue and expresso (ahhh…coffee…). So a few weeks ago, I finally decided that’s what we needed, and started to watch the Target ads for them to go on sale (while enjoying some coffee…).
The ones made by ClosetMaid went on sale at Target this week (see pg. 13 of their ad), so right away after church on Sunday I stopped by and picked up one in a light wood design (called “Alder” – $39.99 down from $51.99) and a few solid color fabric drawers ($5.99 each). Then I fell in love with some of the fabric drawers made by Circo – the ones with the cute kid patterns and animal faces – and despite their not being on sale, I bought 3 for $9.99 each (the frog, the monkey, and the flower). Okay…that part wasn’t so frugal of me…BUT it was the…
BEST THING I’VE EVER DONE TO GET OUR HOUSE UNDER CONTROL!
You have to put together the organizer yourself…which I did myself in about an hour with a screwdriver and a hammer. (My hubby was willing to at a later time – but I was feeling ambitious to try to do it for myself plus he had enough stuff to do…)
The only thing I don’t like is that the instructions say you HAVE to bolt the organizer to the wall. I understand why – it can be a bit wobbly and you don’t want it to fall forward on one of your kids or something. I would prefer a way to keep it securely upright without doing something permanent to the wall.
But overall I recommend these great organizers. I’ve heard from other moms that they love them as well. And you can fit A LOT of toys in them. If you’re going to get one, get one now at Target. If you decide to wait, I know they go on sale there from time to time. Otherwise, on amazon.com, they’re $59.99 with free shipping. Great, mom-recommended buy!
I’m very excited to be a member of Coupon Mom. Coupon Mom is a great resource for us busy moms. If you’ve never heard of it, all you have to do is register for a free account, then you’ll get regular emails with the latest grocery deals you can get at various stores such as Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Aldi, and more. There are lists for each store, updated weekly, with deals you can get with coupons.
How to use it
Many of the coupons you can print online – there are links as you go through the lists. If you can’t print them online, there’s a coding system (don’t worry, it’s simple and makes sense) that helps you find coupons from your local Sunday paper. Seriously, the Coupon Mom resource makes it super easy for us.
I myself do not have the time to do what I COULD do with this site – go through lists for stores in my area, marking off the deals that appeal to me and clipping all the coupons noted. But I do use some when I find really good ones, and it’s fun to see just how much you can really save if you put in enough effort.
What other stores are there?
NOW – I just found out today – there are lists of deals for three new stores – Whole Foods Market, Staples and OfficeMax. (I think more and more stores are catching onto how much using coupons is catching on among consumers!) I really like the Whole Foods Market list because it has many printable coupons (actually available at the store’s website coupon page http://wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons/). The page says “Whole Deal Coupons” and there are recipes and money-saving tips on the right side of the page.
My dream would be to buy 100% organic groceries for my family. With the high cost of organic food, this resource makes providing the best quality food and products for my family that much more affordable!
Our 26″ flat screen Sylvania TV died on Black Friday at about 1pm.
We had only had it for four and a half years. To me, that’s not very long. But I suppose that in today’s world of “planned obsolescence” and the fact that there’s always being something better to upgrade to, it probably was.
Darn! That thing cost us over $500 in 2007!
It wasn’t in our Christmas budget – or budget at all – to be replacing a TV that day, despite the great deals everywhere. My hubby, dad and I went out shopping a little bit that afternoon to see what they had, but as we expected, by then all the best deals were sold out.
I did some research and decided that if we would get a new TV, it would make the most sense to get something better and longer-lasting (we wouldn’t want to go through this in less than 5 years again!). I figured a 40″ LED TV would be ideal. But that would be at least $500, and we would need a new TV stand as well…
Since we didn’t have $500 for this, and weren’t going to put one on our credit card, or tap into emergency savings for it (I SUPPOSE this didn’t count as an emergency, right?), we took my 10-year-old, college-graduation-present 20-inch tube TV out of the bedroom and hooked it up in the living room (where we have basic digital cable). Then for the bedroom I bought a 13-inch color tube TV I found on craigslist for $10 (the seller was REALLY nice and threw in some accessories for cheap).
Except that it was supposed to be a temporary solution until we got a new TV, and now, a month later, no new TV.
HOWEVER…Interestingly, with the smaller, simpler TV now in the living room, I’ve noticed Heidi, our 3-year-old, not asking to watch her cartoons as much. Since that day, she has played with her toys and her 1-year-old brother more.
Woohoo! Okay – yeah – now with all the new Christmas toys, she’s got reason to be more toy-occupied, but seriously! The TV has definitely been on much less…hmmm…
Our lives have actually adjusted fine to this “downgrade” in technology in our home. We still enjoy watching shows, news and movies on my old TV (which keeps going and going!). So honestly, we’re not in any hurry to get the bigger, better deal…and here’s what I’ve learned from this experience:
1) Flat screen TVs do not last that long. Five years is actually pretty good. It’s quite a bummer. Yet tube TVs seem to last longer. Therefore…
2) Used tube TVs are available EVERYWHERE! Craigslist had tons of them when I looked…old ones, huge ones, free working ones. If they weren’t free they were pretty cheap.
3) Life can be just fine without a flat screen TV. I never thought we’d ever be without one yet here we are, but hey, at least we’re NOT $500 poorer!