Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Check out my cake!!

So last night course one of my Wilton Cake Decorating class series came to a conclusion. I must admit, I am kinda sad it's over. As crazy as it was to try to bake and frost a cake every Monday night then go to class with said cake every Tuesday night, I will definitely miss it next week. I REALLY learned a lot, and not just about decorating! It's definitely not a baking class but Linda, our instructor at the Michael's in Des Peres, taught us all kinds of tricks to making your cake bake nicely so you have a good "base" for your decorations. I think I touched on these in an earlier post but check these bad boys out...Wilton Bake Even Strips claim to help your cake bake nice and level and evenly throughout. I haven't bought them yet but Linda says she always uses them and her cakes all turn out great! Instead, I use the Wilton Cake Leveler to knock the hump off my cakes. Works like a charm...wastes a little bit of cake. Wait, take that back, Tom eats the cake I shave off the top so I guess its not really wasted. Lucky boy. :)

So, last night we got the chance to decorate a cake any way we wanted using any of the techniques we learned over the past several weeks. I am SUPER proud of how my cake turned out...check it out!!!

Here is the famous "Wilton Rose!" We learned a new step for the rose each night of the class so it took us 3 weeks to learn how to do the whole thing. They are tricky!!!!! Also notice the fancy leaves and vines.

For the border I used my 2D tip to make large, white drop flowers and then sporadically put pink spiral flowers on top using tip 16, I believe. Had some extra green from the leaves and vines so I gave them contrasting centers.

One more shot from above...

It's a shame course two isn't being offered until November but that will give me a chance to practice everything I have learned so far! Don't worry, hubby, the cakes won't stop here! And Michael's will have to find someone else to terrorize the cake decorating aisle for a few weeks...maybe. ;)

Anyone have any ideas for a cake for me to decorate? I love a challenge!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meal Plan and Grocery Store Combo Post!

Well, I figure if I had to disappear for a week that I better make up for it this week eh? Here goes nothing!

So when trying to plan dinners for this week, I decided to go through the grocery ads and figure out what all sounds good. I have some chicken and fish stocked up in the freezer so I figured if it was a "bad" week I could make due just fine with what we had...especially with tonight being Chili's night (more on that later) and tomorrow being my last cake decorating class (read: leftovers tomorrow). However, I was lucky to see that the grocery stores are not disappointing us this week!

Shop 'N Save: Shop 'n Save is running a $5 sale with some decent savings on things like pork tenderloin (1.5lb. pkg for $5), chicken leg quarters (10lb. bag for $5), tilapia (2 lb. bag for $5), and cooked shrimp (1 lb. okg. for $5). They also have boneless beef chuck roast on sale for $1.87/lb. Now that's a pretty nice deal! Other notables: buy 3-12 packs of Pepsi products and get another 12 pack for free OR get a 24 pack of Pepsi for just $6.88.

Dierbergs: Dierbergs is comin' up big with their 50% off sale again. Ground round is just $1.99/lb. and pork chops are just $2.79/lb. Complete salad kits (Fresh Express) are just $1.99. My personal favorite...tostitos are just $1.99/bag! I'll definitely have to swing by for a few bags of these...I go through them quickly. :) And have you ever seen a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes for just $0.99?? I haven't...looks like I'm gonna be making potato chips again...or potato soup...mmm. And that's just the front page...there's lots more great stuff on the inside!

Schnucks: And just when I thought it couldn't get much better...Schnucks is having their $0.89/lb. meat sale! But don't get too's what their advertisement says is included: whole chicken, pork butt sliced into steaks, bone-in ham, and Hunter hot dogs. I'm not sure I'm really in the market for any of those things. Tropicana orange juice is $2.99, though, and that's a pretty good deal...that stuff is expensive! ANd I know TOm will be excited cause Edy's ice cream is on sale 3 for $10...I've seen it on sale cheaper but it's still way better than $5.99 each!

So...what's for dinner this week....well...that's the question of the day but here's what I'm thinking we'll go with...

Monday: Chili's for St. Jude's night
Tuesday: Leftover BBQ deliciousness from last night's family BBQ
Wednesday: Beef roast, potatoes and carrots, and maybe some applesauce (if I can remember to pick some up...I always forget!)
Thursday: Tilapia, broccoli, mixed veggies
Friday: leftover roast...yumm

I'm thinking we'll be ready for a nice big pot of chili next week now that the temperature outside is finally cooling down. That is sounding delicious right about now.

What else can I tell you about this week...well, tomorrow is my last cake decorating class until November (course 2 isn't offered until then so I have to take a break...sigh) so be on the look out for a post about that. Oh and if you'd like to come support me and my Homemade Gourmet endeavors this Saturday you can come visit me at the United Methodist Church in Fenton from 11-6. I'll be the one in the cute red apron with all the yummy food! :)

Happy cooking, eating, shopping......happy everything! :)

I'm baaaaack!

Hi everyone! Sorry to leave you hanging but last week was NUTS! Now that things are getting back on track, I'm ready to blog so I hope you're ready to read along and cook!!

But before you fire up your grill, oven, stove, or microwave (slow cooker? panini maker??) consider this lovely option for your dinner tonight! All across the country today Chili's restaurants are donating 100% of their profits to St. Jude's hospital. St. Jude's is one of the premier children's cancer research hospitals so it's only appropriate that Chili's chose them to support as September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month...were you aware? You are now!

So if you're still asking yourself, "Self, what's for dinner?" I'm not sure why cause I just answered it for you! Go to Chili's! You can even call in your order ahead of time and pick it up at the curb. Easy as 1-2-3!

For me, this is also serving as a way for me to procrastinate and not make this week's meal plan quite yet. Maybe I'll think about it while I enjoy some quesadillas, fajitas, or one of those delicious western style burgers with the onion straws and bacon and bbq sauce at Chili's tonight...oh buddy. So come back later and see what I'll be cooking up the rest of this week...fall weather is in the air...I sense a pot of chili coming on!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cake decorating!!

Have I mentioned lately that I love cake decorating? Cause I do. Even with all the headaches my first cake gave me (have you heard me talking about "ugly cake"...yep, that's the one) the second one is turning out great and I'm really enjoying it.
This week was the first time we got to get hands-on with cakes and icing. I was so excited! All last week and this weekend were busy but I was thinking about all the possibilities for my cake. Devil's food, chocolate fudge, strawberry, yellow, white, or funfetti cake? I had picked them all up at Schnucks on Sunday cause they were only $1 so I had lots to choose from. I decided to go with two 9" round pans and cherry preserves for filling (remember she showed us how to do filling with a cup of pudding last class). Chocolate fudge for the cake. Chocolate icing...I thought I was all set. Then I got to Monday night and the actual baking/making of icing.
Ah, "ugly cake." You looked so great straight out of the cake pan...and then I tried to add the filling and things started to fall apart. Then I tried icing you...that just made it worse. Next thing I knew, one quadrant of the top of the cake had cracked off and was sliding across the cherry preserves filling and onto the cake board. Cherry filling was oozing out everywhere, even after I had put icing all around. I decided that slapping more icing on the cake would fix it. It did not. In fact, it made it even worse! (if that was possible) Now the top of the cake looks like a butt. Yes, you heard me right, it looks like a butt.

Poor Tom had to deal with me during this "crisis" of sorts. I was not exactly a happy camper. Granted this was all happening the night before class so I was in a bit of a time crunch and really wanted to have a nice first cake to decorate. I have never had this much trouble with a cake in my about frustration. Take a look for yourself...
The view from above...doesn't look too bad from up here.......

Then you get to see the side view. See the butt cheeks? And the filling oozing out everywhere? I bet you can tell where I tried to "glue" the cake back together with globs of icing too. *sigh*

Tom ensured me that "ugly cake" would still taste delicious but I didn't care. What good was a delicious cake when no one at decorating class was going to eat it...they were just going to see what a scary cake I had made and snicker. I was secretly praying that I was not the only one having a Monday night cake nightmare. Not nice, I know, and not that I would wish this on anyone, I just wanted some company to joke with on Tuesday really. Frankly, I was out of time cause it was too late to bake another cake that night.

Tuesday rolled around and I could NOT STOP THINKING ABOUT UGLY CAKE! I had to do something about it. I could NOT bring that cake to class. Lucky for me, I remembered that we had two options this week for class.

Option 1: Bring a round cake pre-iced and ready to decorate.

Option 2: Bring a character cake (made from any shaped pan) without icing to decorate.

I decided I could pull off option 2 if I could just get a cake pan and some eggs (I was now out of those...) So after work I ran to the store, got a teddy bear pan, got some eggs, and ran home to whip up another cake. This one looked MUCH better....mostly cause I didn't have to ice it. One leg did split open when it released from the pan but I figured I'd get Linda to help me repair that rather than attempt it on my own....we saw what happened to the last cake I tried to fix.

"Pretty cake," as I now call it, worked out great! Linda showed me how to fill in the cracked leg so no one would be able to tell and I was able to finish the main frosting color during class last night. I used a tri-tip star pattern. Take a peek!

"Pretty cake" in all it's current glory....more colors to come tonight!

So tonight I get to finish this bad boy up...and then try not to eat it. We'll just work on boosting "ugly cake's" moral tonight by telling it how good it tastes since I haven't been so nice the past two days...and my does it taste good! My husband is a lucky least until the end of the month. ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lovin' every minute of it....

....lovin' every minute of it!

"It" being meal planning!! I feel like my life is so much simpler, well, at least in regards to the dreaded "What's for dinner?" question, now that I meal plan. And now that the deck is finally finished we can put grilling back in the rotation! (That's right folks...we finally finished building our own deck!) The scent of burgers, brats, steaks, chicken, ribs, and pork cooking on our neighbors' grills has tortured us for some 4-5 weeks now as we have worked diligently on our deck every evening. Now we get to return the better believe I have some grilling worked into this week's menu!

Monday: burgers, grilled mixed veggies tossed with evoo and pepper
Tuesday: HG Southwest chicken, spanish rice, leftover grilled veggies
Wednesday: Pan seared scallops with Tarragon White Wine Sauce served over angel hair pasta, broccoli
Thursday: Sirloin steaks, baked potato, corn on the cob
Friday: Either leftovers (if there are any) or we'll eat out!

I'm already bout you?

And I have to admit I cheated and looked up the Schnucks ad online to see what was for sale this past week to help with the planning...that's where the scallops (10 pkgs. for $10) came from. I'll also be stocking up on cake mixes for class while I'm there since they are on sale 10 for $10 as well!

Cake Decorating contest!!!

Well, I guess it's not really a cake decorating contest, but it is a contest to win something cool to decorate cakes with! I was just recently turned on to this blog and I am super excited about all the possibilities they have to offer! They have all kinds of custom templates for decorating AND can design pretty much anything you want! I have my fingers and toes crossed for this one!

Check out the contest here!

I've added the site to my favorites list too so you can access it straight from here whenever you need to. Happy decorating!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ask Lauren: back-to-back

Wow! I am so excited that "Ask Lauren" is taking off! Keep the questions coming! I could see this someday becoming its own blog....not anytime soon...just someday. :)

Anyway, today's question comes from my good friend, Natalie. Natalie likes to come up with clever "middle names" when she signs her emails and they always make me laugh...she signed the email containing her "Ask Lauren" question with "I-only-cook-snacks" as her middle name and I got a kick out of it so I thought I'd share.

Back to the question/request!

Question: I would like to make meatballs or lil' weenies for the Husker football game this Saturday, preferably in a crockpot. Any good recipes you can share?

Answer: Why yes, Natalie, I do have a recipe to share! This recipe comes from my mother-in-law and is yet another of my hubby's favorites. Hope you and all the other Huskers fans enjoy them tomorrow!

Cocktail Surprise Meatballs (I'm still trying to figure out what the surprise is....)

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1 sm. onion chopped
1/3 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
dash of pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and roll into 1 inch balls. Place on greased cookie sheet (or line cookie sheet with foil) and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Drain fat.

Sauce for the crock pot

3/4 c. ketchup
1/3 c. grape jelly (maybe this is the surprise?)
1/3 c. water

Combine ingredients in a skillet, add cooked meatballs, and boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered.

Transfer to crock pot and enjoy!!

Thanks for the question! Keep em comin'! Until next time...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ask Lauren: Mini Post

So this edition of "Ask Lauren" wasn't really directed at my blog but a colleague of mine made a comment the other day about chocolate chip cookies that got me thinking to myself..."Hey self, I bet other people have this problem with their cookies too!" I thought I would share my little tricks.

The problem: Cookies always turn out flat and I can't figure out why.

The answer: Your butter is probably too warm when you cream it with the sugars!

The solution: Instead of microwaving your butter or margarine to soften it, slice it into small tabs and allow to sit out at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes to soften itself. If you get your butter out first and then gather the rest of your ingredients and bowls and mixers and everything else you need, wash your hands, etc, should be about ready!

Bonus trick: My sister taught me this one. :) (Thanks sis!) Ever wonder how some people get nice, puffy cookies with those neat cracks in them? Well, once you have mastered the puffy (above), all you need to do is bake the cookies, then drop them on the counter or stove top when they're done cooking. That's right, drop them! (not on the floor!) Literally take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let it fall a few inches onto your stove top or counter (be careful not to scratch it...might want to lay out a kitchen towel first). Voila! Perfect cookies every time!

Happy baking!

Oh and my sincerest apologies...I'm gonna have to skip out on the grocery ads again this week. Time has just completely gotten away from me. I promise I'll try to do that more regularly. In the meantime, you can check them out here if you're looking for something specific: Dierbergs, Schnucks, and Shop 'n Save.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cake Decorating!!

Well folks, last night was my first cake decorating class. I must admit, I have mixed feelings. For the most part, I am so excited about it all!! Looking through the Course 1 book and seeing what all I can do, plus all the little tricks our instructor, Linda, already taught us has me itching to go bake a cake right now! However, I did have a few disappointments. First, we didn't get to really do anything the first night except watch...and realize that I need to start collecting Michael's coupons. We just need to buy a bunch more stuff than I was banking on. It will all be great to have but I'm really starting to wonder where I'm gonna store all these nifty tools. Hmmm. Third, and this one is totally my own fault, I got "courses" and "classes" confused when looking into signing up. Turns out I need to sign up for 3 or 4 different 4 week courses to learn everything I thought I would be learning just in September. Each "course" has 4 "classes" that cover all the topics listed for that that clear as mud to you too? I'm hoping I wasn't alone on this one.

But I promise not to be "Debbie Downer" this whole post (whom whom) cause mainly I'm just super excited about it all! So let's see what I can tell you about. First, I'm taking official Wilton Method Cake Decorating Classes at Michael's. Our class is HUGE! Apparently there were only 8 of us signed up (still a large class according to our instructor) but then 8 more signed up Sunday and Monday and we were suddenly up to 16. One didn't show up, three got up and left about 45 minutes into the class (I don't know if they got overwhelmed or were just mad there wasn't room for them at the table...who knows) so now we're down to an even dozen. Hopefully next week when we're actually decorating there will be enough room.

So, this week, we learned some tips and tricks to baking a nice, iceable (did I just make up a word?) cake. Such tips include things like allowing the cake to cool completely before trying to ice (duh) AND flipping the cake over and icing the bottom! Who knew?! This drastically reduces the amount of crumbs you get in the icing...a problem I ALWAYS have. Next, she showed us all kinds of tools like this nifty cake leveler which you can use to level out a lumpy cake top (which remember, is actually going to be the bottom!) OR it can split your cake in half, allowing you to add filling!!!

Speaking of cake filling, Linda used a single serve pudding cup (chocolate...yumm) to fill her 8" round, 3" deep yellow cake last night. That's one very easy option but you can also use icing of any flavor or fruit preserves (or several pudding cups...heehee!) to fill your tasty treat. I have my eye on some raspberry preserves for my first cake next week...oh buddy!

And how do they get the icing so smooth?! Hint: you don't have to use fondant to get a nice smooth look to your icing. Spread your buttercream icing over the cake and wait for it to be dry to the touch, you don't want it tacky! Then lay a sheet of wax paper over the cake and use a spatula to help smooth it. I'll try to take pictures when I do it for the first time...I know my mouth was hanging wide open when she did this. Why didn't I think of that?! Oh and if you're not a fan of typical buttercream icing, did you know you can add vanilla or almond extract to change the flavor? I sure didn't. Just make sure you use clear extracts so your icing doesn't end up looking kind of funky from using dark extracts. Wilton makes some terrific clear extracts you can try. Something else about icing...we can either make our own from scratch using the Wilton recipe (which would make me feel kind of guilty giving out on the blog...ah morals!) or you can buy Wilton premade icing for quick and easy icing you know you can trust to give you a perfect finish.

Wow I really have a lot to tell you about icing...I guess that makes sense since that's what I'll be using to do all the decorating! :) Decorating takes different consistencies of icing for different tasks. There are three consistencies to work with: stiff icing is for making roses or other flowers or decorations that have to stand up off the cake on their own; medium icing is for stars, piping, borders, and flowers with petals that lie flat on the cake; thin icing is used for icing the cake, writing, vines, and leaves. Whew...had to consult my official Wilton book to make sure I got all that right. Guess I have some studying to do this weekend!

Next week we get to start decorating...that is, if I don't make a practice cake this weekend! Stay tuned to hear more about it as I destroy, er, decorate round cakes, cupcakes, character cakes, and more!! Maybe if you're lucky (and you work or live with me) you'll get to benefit from some of my creations...we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime....I'll be searching through the grocery ads for sales on cake mixes cause I think I'm gonna need quite a few over the next few weeks. Good for my hubby and his sweet tooth, bad for me getting on the bathroom scale. Oh well. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oishi Sushi and Steakhouse (in review)

This weekend Tom and I were lucky enough to celebrate our good friend, Katie's, birthday with her. Lucky for us, Katie wanted to go eat at Oishi Sushi and Steakhouse in Chesterfield: think sushi bar meets hibachi grill. This particular eatery is located in the very popular Chesterfield Valley. I like to think of "the Valley" as West County's restaurant hot spot. They have a little bit of everything from upscale dining to Taco Bell. There are literally dozens of restaurants in the area to choose from...dozens. It can sometimes be overwhelming so it was nice to have someone else make the decision on where to go.
And what a good choice Oishi Sushi and Steakhouse was! Now it has been a long time since I had been to this type of restaurant. I think we decided the last time we went to a Japanese steakhouse was for my 19th or 20th birthday...yikes. Having your food cooked in front of you, teppanyaki style, is so much fun that it serves as your entertainment for the evening as well! (Keep that in mind when checking out the prices on the menu...)
I believe we had 7 o'clock reservations but there didn't seem to really be a wait, even on a Saturday night, so that was nice to know for future visits. Don't get me wrong, it looked like a full house, there just wasn't anyone waiting in the lobby area. No patios here but I suppose that could be a tricky set-up, eh? There are actually two main areas to Oishi. The first (to the left when you enter) looks more like your typical restaurant. Simple table set-up in a nice atmosphere perfect for when you are just looking for some terrific sushi rather than the whole she-bang. To the right you see all the grills with chefs cooking away! It's fun to watch different "tables" reacting to all of the different phases of cooking. My favorite was watching the chefs flip pieces of chicken or shrimp for the customers to catch in their mouths...took me two tries to get mine! The chefs all seemed to to be following the same general routine while adding their own special flair. (No, not the TGIFridays kind)
There were lots of options on the menu: chicken, steak, shrimp, lobster, salmon, etc, etc. You could even order up a combo of two or three items if you couldn't settle on just one. (I went with the shrimp and chicken.) Be prepared for an additional charge if you want brown or fried rice. White rice is the standard here. The prices seem a little high at first glance ($18.95-$34.95 per person) but it is important to keep in mind what all you are getting with your dinner. Each dinner comes with soup, salad, a very generous bowl of rice (we all went with fried rice), "shrimp appetizer" (2 shrimp served up whether you ordered shrimp or not...beware if you are allergic to shellfish!), lots of delicious veggies, your choice of meat or seafood, and noodles. Matt and I enjoyed some amazing sushi appetizers (spider roll and spicy tuna roll...delicious!!) before any of this even came and ended up taking large "to-go" boxes home with us. Add on the value of the "show" and it's really a spectacular deal!
Here are some pics of the "show!"
Here's the "onion volcano!" This is a pretty typical trick for this type of restaurant but I still think it's cool every time I see it. :)
Here Juno, our chef, worked on the veggies (hiding behind the water glass), shrimp (center), and two lobster tails (hiding behind the glass on the left). Talk about multitasking!
Here's a pic of Tom's meal. He ordered the sesame chicken with fried rice...delicious!
So how do I rate Oishi overall?
Setting: 4--Chesterfield Valley has a lot to offer and is a great location for us but tends to be a little far for our "city friends" to travel to.
Ambiance: 4--I liked that they didn't have all of the grills on top of each other, just grouped in 2s back to back and I understand why they make you sit with other parties but it would be really cool to have a group large enough to take up an entire grill so you aren't sitting with strangers. The grill set-up also made conversation difficult with other members of your party but with everything going on, I guess there wasn't much time for conversation anyway!
Service: 4.5--Service was terrific! We had a waiter, chef, and another server attending to our table (9 of us at the table). They kept us all happy and well-fed the entire visit.
Food: 5--How can I not give this food a 5?! The sushi was terrific and the entrees were incredible! The leftovers made a phenomenal lunch the next day...doesn't get much better than that.
Drink: 4.5--Small wine list, nice selection of Japanese beers/saki. Plenty of Budweiser products available for the purists. Cocktails (with and without alcohol) were also available. Good prices too!
Overall I'd give Oishi a 4.5. I would highly recommend it for groups of all sizes, for special occasions, or just for a nice meal out with a friend or significant other. Definitely worth it!
So many places I'd love to try next (Iron Barley is definitely on the list Amanda...thanks for the suggestion!) Have I mentioned lately that I love food? :)
Happy Labor Day!

Week 3...still planning!!

I am slowly beginning to love meal planning. It gets me excited for dinner each night...getting to really think about what I want to eat and then knowing ahead of time exactly what we're having for dinner AND that I have all the ingredients already because I planned ahead! LOVE IT!

Here's what's on the menu this week...

Monday: BBQ at Mom and Dad's (I'm bringing HG Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Dip....way yummy!)
Tuesday: HG Taco Chicken, corn, salad, chips and salsa
Wednesday: Spicy Vodka Pasta (one of Tom's favorites!), bread, salad
Thursday: Leftover pasta for Tom...I'm going out for sushi with my girls! :)
Friday: Kind of up in the air right now because of possible plans...if we get in a bind maybe we will use my Pasta House gift certificate I won at school last week. Woot!
Saturday: Culinary Row at the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton (They have ALL KINDS of delicious stuff from area restaurants...can't wait!)

Anyone else out there meal planning? I'd love to hear how it's going for you...and what's on YOUR menu!

Stay tuned later tonight...I have another restaurant review coming!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Empty fridge? Time to fill up!

Sorry about the lapse in weekly ad reviews last week...I'm not sure how I missed that one.

We're gonna start with Schnucks this week cause, well, that's where I do the majority of my shopping. It's the closest to my house and even though there's a Shop 'N Save right across the street, my car just seems to go on autopilot into the Schnucks' parking lot whenever I'm headed to the grocery. Having a BBQ this weekend? Stop at Schnucks to pick up pork steaks for $1.39/lb. (pork butt sliced into steaks is just $0.89/lb), sirloin steaks for $5.99/lb. or split chicken breasts (I picked up a 3 pack for tomorrow night's picnic chicken) for $0.99/lb.! While you're there, KC Masterpiece sauces are $1.00 each, corn on the cob is $0.25/ear, and there are lots of pasta salads and slaws available at the deli for $3.99/lb.....that is, if you're not interested in making your own. ;)

Shop 'N Save is on deck...the front page is ALL about bar-b-que! Well, except for the Cheerios which are on sale for $1.97/box. Haha! Turn the page and you'll find more great deals including potato salad, coleslaw, or macaroni salad for $1.00/lb! Then there's a couple pages of extra coupons on things like A1 Steak Sauce, Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs, and Miracle Whip that you might be interested in clipping (or printing). Keep flipping and you'll find one of my all time favorite comfort foods, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (I've got the blues...) for just $0.73/box!! I might just have to make a special trip to stock up on that.

Next up, Dierbergs! There's no 15-hour sale or 50% off sale advertised this week but they still have some pretty good deals to check out. One thing to pick up this week is Dr. Pepper or 7up 2 - 12 packs, get one free. So you're basically looking at 3/$7 or $2.33/each which is pretty cheap considering you'll pay almost $5.00/ea if they aren't on sale. I'll take it! They also have some of my favorite dressings (from Kraft!) 2/$4. You can also get a pretty good deal on pork spare ribs at $2.49/lb. or St. Louis Style ribs $3.19/lb. What's the difference you ask? They are actually both taken from the same part of the pig (the belly) and are a little less meaty than some other cuts of ribs (rib tips or country style ribs) but they tend to be more tender because they have a bit more fat. Remember that a little extra fat when slow cooking (the best way to cook ribs!!!)=more tender meat! Anyway, back to the difference...St. Louis Style ribs remove the sternum, cartilage, and rib tips so they have a more rectangular shape. Fancy huh?

Have plans this holiday weekend? Need a recipe to take to a pot luck or bbq? Let me help!!