background & pinterest, facebook script

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yea shopping!

I felt the need to pat myself on the back, so I wanted to write about it.
I bought a pair of gloves (the same pair I bought myself last year that was stolen a week later) and a pair of pants for Connor at And I paid almost nothing!

I knew that I waned to buy some things as JCPenny so I went to and I found a JCPenny gift card for 15% off the card value. It took almost 2 weeks to get it, but just in time for the good sales.
Today and tomorrow the store is having a big sale like they do every year. I looked at and to see where the greatest discount is. Timing is everything. Shopathome is having a bonus day and giving a rebate of 6%. Naturally I went to JCPenny though their link, chose my items then used the coupon code HUGENESS online to get $10 off any $25 order plus free shipping to my local store.

This seems like a good deal to purchase this way... until you add up the numbers and figure out that it was AWESOME!

Here is what I bought:
Gloves (originally $45) bought for $23.99
Pants (originally $20) bought for $11.99 
   with $5 shipping and 1.89 tax =  TOTAL $42.87
   subtract shipping for code = $37.87 
   subtract $10 for the hugeness code = $27.87
   subtract 15% for giftcardrescue = $23.69
   subtract 6% for shopathome rebate = $22.27

So I saved (if everything was at full price): $49.62 
Ho-ray for the Internet!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ketchup at last

 So after making my spaghetti sauce I mentioned that I still had tomatoes left for Ketchup, or Catsup if you prefer. I was very excited about that since it forced me to make it sooner rather than later. This was super simple to make. I left the skins on the tomatoes, through the ingredients in the slow cooker (see a pattern here? Everything goes into the slow cooker!), and 8 hours later I had lumpy Ketchup.
The only down side about making this myself would be the ketchup smell that permeated the air in my house. But it made me confident that I was making what I set out to make. It was also very messy to use my blender because my blender doesn’t work as well as it should - the top shot off when I turned it on and made a mess everywhere! I think Santa should get me a hand immersion blender for Christmas so I can leave it in the pot when I blend. (... update: I couldn't wait for Santa. I had a store credit at bed bath and beyond and went over there to pick out my new toy which I've used a couple times in the last week since its purchase ;)...)

I really like that there is very little salt in this recipe. I tried to cut down on the amount of blending I had to do when the ketchup was finished by pureeing everything before I started the cooker. I am sure that this helped but I still had to puree in the end.

I still have a little ketchup in the refrigerator, so I just canned all of it. This made 4 pints.

Slow Cooker Ketchup

15 tomatoes (about 3lbs), chopped
1 can (15.5 oz) tomato paste
1 onion white or purple, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup red wine or apple cider vinegar (I used vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of dried red chili flakes

Put all of the ingredients into a large Crock Pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally. Puree when done.
Add spices to suite your taste—cinnamon, cloves, paprika, celery seed, peppercorns, bay leaves and basil are commonly simmered into homemade ketchup.

Also found at Linky Party
This can store in the fridge for up to two weeks or freeze for up to six months. I canned and sealed them so they would last a little longer in the cabinet. So far the kids don't know the difference. But I know it is sooo much better for them!

Learned from the Ranch Dressing, and put my Ketchup in an empty bottle when it was finished. My son didn't say a word and asked for more and more as if it was the other Ketchup. ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Marinara Sauce

The other day, my mom and I were riding past a tomato field to get back to the ranch. “Those tomatoes look so good! Too bad we don’t have a bag to pick any” Mom said… well then I got a text the next day that the farmer was going to level the field with all those ripe tomatoes so we needed to get our butts over there and get picking. I wasn’t able to, but my dad went and got a whole bunch. Mom got enough to make tomato soup for an army (it was GOOD!) and I got a whole bag too. Nice!

Continuing with my “sauce project” I was going to try my hand at catsup. But my husband requested marinara sauce, which I was thinking about – until I went to make pizzas and realized we didn’t have any pasta sauce. Well, that convinced me. I went online and took the best ingredients from a couple recipes. My Mom has a recipe, but I really wanted to add veggies.

So I did it! I decided to put it in the crock pot overnight so it would be ready to can after I dropped Connor off at school.

Jeremy reluctantly helped me chop vegetables after trick-or-treating. If I was using canned tomatoes & tomato sauce, this would be a really fast prep. But since I was using fresh tomatoes, it took a while. I boiled water and added a couple tomatoes at a time, took them out of the water, and allowed them to cool so I could take the skin off and deseed them. I ended up using about 25ish tomatoes (I lost count). I cut up the firm tomatoes and tossed them into the crock pot, while I pureed the squishier tomatoes.

Here is the recipe that I used as a guide:

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Marinara Sauce

5 tomatoes, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste (I didn’t need this)
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 1 tbsp of crushed)
1 bell pepper, chopped
12 mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
¼ cup red wine (I used a sterling that was open ;D)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black pepper
¾ tbsp basil
½ tbsp oregano
¼ tsp sage
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp  red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar

Put all of the ingredients into a large Crock Pot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Stir occasionally.

Towards the end of the 10 hours I had it cooking, it looked to me like there was a little too much water, so I uncovered the pot for an hour and that did the trick so I didn’t have to add the tomato paste. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to. When it was finished, it resembled a thick and chunky soup, so I took out a couple ladlefuls to puree. I wanted it to have a thick consistency, but still act as a sauce.

This smelled and tasted amazing! It ended up making 5 pint jars that I canned, sealed and labeled so they wouldn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator. When canning, you need to first sterilize the jars, submerge the jars and lids in boiling water, then fill the jars with sauce and cover asap. The top of the lid should be sealed under pressure so that air is not getting in. This process was quick since my 4 year old was at school, but I had to step over my 1 year old and keep her out of my sandwich bag drawer – which presented a different challenge.

Next time I cook spaghetti sauce, I don’t think I will cook it overnight – it made the house smell so good that it distracted our sleep. My husband is so excited to try it and is feeling particularly spoiled; I am thinking that I am going to have to make up another batch when this one is consumed. 

And I’m sure you won’t believe it, but I still have enough tomatoes left for a batch of catsup!