Colorful & frugal Black Friday deals make me want colorful cookies

ATTENTION GRABBER!

ATTENTION GRABBER!

These are the lovelies I’m currently experimenting recipe with. I’m in the process of trying to get perfect QUICK Christmas cookies: colorful, fun, gooey and delicious. Obviously there’s no color in these yet, just bear with me. šŸ™‚ I promise they’re DELICIOUS. Walnuts and dark chocolateĀ – can’t go wrong.

Now that we know what I’m up to in the baking world, my whimsy in the frugal world is Black Friday this weekend, for all the obvious reasons. I don’t usually shop on Black Friday, but I just happened to go to CVS last night to grab some Quaker Oats (deliciously mixed with a bit of honey and chopped walnuts!). This is what I ended up coming back with (grand total: $15.96; savings: $47.06):

CVS Loot

NUTS right?? Well, if you have an Extra Care card head on over to the local CVS because I think the deals last until today (you might want to double-check, never hurts)! What I basically did after wandering around the aisles with my Quaker Oats is pick up the things that were labeled ‘FREE’ after extra bucks rewards. Then I did 4 separate transactions and used the extra bucks coupons to shop for the rest of the stuff. Specifically, this was my breakdown:

Transaction #1:

GM Cinnamon Toast Crunch – 2.87 (sale: saved .72)

FiberOne Brownies – 3.99 (sale: saved .60)

Kleenex Cool Touch – 1.50 (sale: saved 1.07)

Cepacol Sore Throat – 4.99 (sale: saved .50)

TOTAL (w/ NY tax): 13.48

EXTRA BUCKS from Transaction #1 (comes as 2 separate coupons at end of receipt)

FiberOne Brownies: 3.99 EB

Cepacol Sore Throat: 4.99 EB

GM Cinnamon Toast Crunch: 2.00 EB

Kleenex Cool Touch: 1.50 EB

Transaction #2:

Balance bar Cookie dough – 1.69 (sale: saved .50)

Colgate Max Foam toothpaste – 2.87 (sale: saved .62)

Colgate Max White toothpaste – 2.87 (sale: saved .82)

Advil PM 4-ct – .99

Theraflu daytime 1-ct – .99

COUPONS USED FROM PREVIOUS TRANSACTION:

-3.99 (from FiberOne Brownies)

-4.99 (from Cepacol Sore Throat)

Total (w/NY tax): .94

Extra Bucks from Transaction #2

Colgate toothpaste x2: 5.74 EB

Advil PM: .99 EB

Balance bar: 1.69 EB

Theraflu daytime: .99EB

Transaction #3:

Listerine pocket strips 72 ct: 2.99 (sale: saved 1.50)

Listerine pocket strips 72 ct: 2.99 (sale: saved 1.50)

Softlips Cherry lip balm: 2.00 (sale: saved 1.19)

Carmex lip balm: 1.00 (sale: saved .99)

GUM 2-ct toothbrush: 2.99 (sale: saved 1.20)

COUPONS USED FROM PREVIOUS TRANSACTIONS:

-5.74 (from Colgate toothpaste x2)

-2.00 (from Cinnamon Toast Crunch)

-1.50 (from Kleenex Cool Touch)

-.99 (from Advil PM)

-1.69 (from Balance bar)

Total (w/ NY tax): .85

Extra bucks from transaction #3:

Listerine pocket strips x2: 5.98

GUM 2-ct toothbrushes: 2.99

Softlips cherry lip balm: 2.00

Carmex lip balm: 1.00

Transaction #4 (NOTE: This is basically the stuff I WANTED; You can replace these items with ones matching up 12.96 value OR leave it at transaction 3 until next time when you can use the 12.96 EB for something else. Your choice)

Healthy Hoof Nail & Cuticle cream (best thing ever for nails): 4.79

Jello: 1.19

Jello: 1.19

Quaker Quick Oats (finally!!): 3.79

Pepsi: 1.99

Pepsi: FREE (Buy one get one free)

COUPONS USED FROM PREVIOUS TRANSACTIONS:

-5.98 (from Listerine pocket strips x2)

-2.99 (from GUM 2-ct toothbrushes)

-2.00 (from Softlips lip balm)

-1.00 (from Carmex lip balm)

-.99 (from Theraflu)

Total (w/ NY tax): .69

Phew, done! If you’re silly like me and your CVS has a self checkout kiosk, I’d opt for that . It makes me feel less rushed. I had time to organize all coupons between each transaction without someone hovering in back of me rolling their eyes at my frugalness..joke’s on them anyway because you’ll be walking away with 4 bags worth of stuff for $15 (hey, the holidays ARE coming up!)

Here we go

A few people suggested that I start blogging about my baking.

Baking, in my brief life history, spans back to my childhood. I had the privilege of being raised by my grandmother. We all know mothers bake cookies once in a while and like spoiling us with home cooked meals. Well, grandmothers are naturally mother x 2. We didn’t just bake – we BAKED. Religiously baked everything.

I grew up in a small town in Ukraine so self sustainability was natural course of action (all fruits and veggies came from the garden, get the milk from the neighbor, make your own cheese, visit the chicken coup in the morning and stock up on eggs, etc.). I really didn’t understand the beauty of this well oiled machine until now, living in New York City, where every 5th person you pass on the street obsesses overĀ ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and ‘healthy’. Interestingly enough, I’m not buying into that trend. I guess it’s not so interesting. To be organic in the city is EXPENSIVE and time-consuming. I grew up organic because it was cheap and easy.

Now that we have the background, on to the skinny part. We all heard of the ‘French Women Don’t get Fat’ book. Here’s a secret: most non-American culture women don’t get fat. I learned about fresh air and chores and moderation. I remember my grandmother and I often cooked up a feast that spanned several days of cooking and baking. Yet everyone around was fairly fit and healthy. We worked in the garden, in the orchard, tended to animals, and toiled in the kitchen, hand-washing all utensils and working surfaces. Tending to animals, gardening andĀ up-keepingĀ the orchard is naturally impossible in the city. What is possible is simple and organic way of cooking (granted, with non-‘organic’ products sometimes since I’m short on money!), baking and living.

That last tidbit of information is to warn you that you won’t often find me scrimping on procedures to save time. I don’t like using mixes for baking or cooking and I will make everything from scratch when I can. It’s worth it thought. The most important thing I learned is when I revel in my cooking and spend time on it, I eat less afterwards as a result. I satiated all my senses in the procedure. I fully understand Trader Joe’s frozen meals are cheap, easy, and natural but when you heat it up in 10 minutes and scarf it down in the next 10, you’ll have another 4-5 hours to sit around and nibble on hundreds of additional calories. When you immerse yourself in a 1 hour cooking experience, you’ll WANT to enjoy it slowly.Ā So, put down that can of spam and ENJOY the cooking – or, baking in my case.

LESSON: Pay attention to your cooking. You’ll learn that your meal consists of several ingredients, and as a result you’ll be satiated with the portion of your meal more than from a pre-made meal. As a bonus, Ā you can input the measurements for each ingredientĀ into a calorie counter to get the total accurate calories per meal.