Homemade Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars

So when I want to the store the other day I was disappointed to find that my favorite granola bar was out of stock. Seeing as how this has become a staple for our picked lunches I had to come up with an alternative solution. You see I am very picky about the granola bars I buy for my family, ones that are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup are just not okay with me. So I decided that this time I would try my hand and making them myself.

So after reading a few different recipes but couldn’t seem to find anything that sounded right to me. So I decided to try my hand at creating my own. For my first attempt I decided to surprise my husband with some chocolate dipped ones.

When the granola finished baking I was sorry to say it wasn’t what I had at first wanted. On its own it wasn’t quite sweet enough. But funny how things work out because once they were dipped in the chocolate I discovered that the combination was perfect. Having the granola not too sweet made these a delicious treat that wasn’t too sickly on the stomach. Definitely a winner for my husband.

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Coupons shouldn’t be a thing of the past

When I go to the store, with a fist full of my printable coupons I am sad to say most of the check-out attendants comment that I am the only person that they have ever seen use them. I feel coupons have often been associated with a negative stereotype in our so society. This idea of someone cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper gives one the idea of poverty. But I think this negativity around coupons is unfounded and foolish. Because if someone gave us a buy one get one free for something like an amusement park we would be the first to jump on it but do the same for a coupon for a grocery item and we aren’t likely to use it.

Another reason why people might not use coupons is that the savings might not seem enough to make a difference. The amount saved might seem small in our instantaneous society but the long term effects of saving money can make all the difference when it comes to saving for the future and paying off debt. I can personally attest this as my husband and I were able to pay off several large debts this year. Nothing changed about our income coming in, the only change we made was to our spending. And what we saved went to paying off debts. But the trick for actual savings with coupons is using coupons for something that you would already normally buy.

It may take some effort but there are in fact a large amount coupon resource out there. One that I have used a lot is , I receive an email every day about new coupons and on every day items I purchase like Windex, yogurt and even lotions.

Another trick I use is when I am creating my meal plan and grocery list I build it from looking at what is already on sale at my local grocery store. I receive circulars from the grocery stores every week and I use them to build my list. But if you can also use SmartSource.com. Smart Source lets you type in your zip code and displays your local grocery’s circulars as well as other manufacturers coupons. Planning your meals around sale items is another way to make sure that you keep your food budget on track.

Also never forget Google search. I have Air Wick brand air fresheners in my house and much to my dismay Glade seemed to be the only coupons I could find. So I Googled Air Wick coupon and low and behold I found several printable Air Wick coupons. You can also check the companies website. Most of them have their own coupons on their websites or they will have you sign up to receive emails about future coupons. If you are concerned about spam what I do is give them an email address I created specifically for my coupons sites so that way I don’t get inundated with spam on my business/personal address. I then have it forwarded to my gmail to a specific folder so I don’t have to check multiple accounts but I won’t get too much into that as it could be a bit overwhelming. If anyone wants details on how to do that I would be more then willing to answer it.

And of course I must mention another great resource, the coupon queen herself Crystal Paine of moneysavingmom.com. She is a fountain of information and already has a wide list of printable coupons as well as money saving tips that is well worth a look.

If you are looking for more information on ways to save check out this article, on Makeuseof.com it features the top 10 coupon sites and is well worth a read. Just remember small savings can add up.

Mashed Rutabaga (Mashed Swede)

Have you ever walked into a grocery store and seen something that you had no clue what it was, let alone what you are meant to do with it? The average person doesn’t have the time or money to waste buy something that they are unfamiliar with. But I want to share with you the amazing flavors of some of these things because I believe they can and should be more familiar in our kitchens.

The first food item I would like to share with you is the Rutabaga, also known as Swede. This wonderful root vegetable is often neglected and is so filled with wonderful nutritional value and a sweet, delicious taste that I think people are missing out on. They are a very good source of vitamin C, have no cholesterol, very little calories and have less starch and carbohydrates then white potatoes. They can be steamed, boiled and mashed, sauteed, baked or roasted.

One of my husband’s favorite ways to eat Rutabagas/Swede is mashed. So tonight I decided to prepare a spin on an English classic, Bangers and Mash. (Sausages and Mashed Potatoes)

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Chef’N Palm Peeler-best peeler you will ever buy

Have you ever come across something that made your life so much easier that you just wanted to tell everyone? I don’t know about you but I have these memories of leaning over a sink during the holidays peeling potatoes or apples for my dad. We had one of those awful stainless steel peelers that after a while started hurting my little hands. It would take forever and after it was all done my hands would itch and hurt. My dislike for peeling things continued into my adulthood. I wouldn’t even buy regular carrots because I didn’t want to have to peel them, despite my husband not liking them I would buy the bags of baby carrots to make my life easier. But one day I came across the Chef’N Palm Peeler and it all changed.

In my opinion Chef’N has some of the best kitchen utensils out there and this is just one of several products that I have personally purchased and love. The Chef’N Palm Peeler slips over one of your fingers and sits in the palm of your hand. The movement is so natural and quick; I find that jobs that once took several minutes now take seconds. There are a lot of kitchen tools out there and not all of them are actually useful. I mean seriously who actually uses a salad spinner consistently enough to justify buying it. But this little peeler is seriously the investment I have made so far.

Soon to come; a look at purchases that make our lives easier

For the next few weeks I am going to be talking about purchases that not only make our lives easier but can also save us time and money in the long run. I am going to talk about a few amazing things I found on CSN. CSN is an online retailer with over 200 stores, selling everything from dining room chairs to one of my favorite things food storage containers, and I am going to share my personal hidden treasures that I found. I mean seriously people we all need fun things that make our lives easier.

I am really excited about my first post. I am going to be talking more about the most amazing peeler you will ever purchase. Stay tuned for more.