simple coupon storage solution

I’ve been trying for a while to find an effective way to deal with my coupons. I love using coupons because I love feeling like I’m getting a good deal, but I also don’t want to spend much time or energy combing through the internet and newspaper/magazine ads to find coupons. Maybe someday when I have more mouths to feed and more groceries to buy I’ll become a coupon queen, but right now at this point in my life I am more of a haphazard catch-the-coupons-that-come-my-way type of gal.

There are a lot of great blogs with wonderful ideas for organizing coupons — binders, folders, accordian files, you name it. I tried to organize my coupons in a little accordian file from Target for a while {you know the kind — my fave $1 file folder I’ve also used to organize my stationary, take-out menus, and important car papers!} but the accordian file was a little too bulky to keep in my purse or backpack all the time, and I found myself forgetting what coupons I had and consequently forgetting to use them before they expired.

Here is a solution that works for me: a simple coupon envelope! If you’re someone like me who doesn’t have too many coupons to keep track of, this might be a simple fix that works for you, too.

This was a super-easy organization project. You know how sometimes stationary sets come with an extra envelope? {For example, a set of 10 cards and 11 envelopes?} I found an extra red envelope in my stationary folder and decorated the outside with a quick handmade label. All I used was some left-over scratch paper and crayola markers, and I attached the label to the front of the envelope with clear tape.

Then, I gathered up my coupons from their various pockets and corners and scattered places around my apartment and slipped them into the envelope. I organized them by expiration date {closest to expire at the front; furthest at the back.} That way, before I go to the store, I can flip through the coupons at the front and make sure I don’t miss any upcoming expiration dates.

I’m really loving the envelope because I can easily slip it into my purse or bag right beside my wallet. And the bright red color catches my attention as I’m grabbing my reusable grocery bags so I will never again forget to bring my coupons along with me!

I’ve had this system in place for a couple weeks now and it’s really working for me & Mike. Maybe it will work for you, too!

Do you use coupons? How do you organize and keep track of them? I’d love to hear any tips or strategies that work for you!

Happy Wednesday,
Dallas

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– Cost: $0
– Time spent: 10 minutes

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

Confession: I used to be afraid of crock pots.

It sounds silly, I know. I guess crock pots just sounded too good to be true! Throw a bunch of food in a crock pot, turn it on, go to work all day, then come home and dinner is ready? Are you sure there isn’t a catch?

I was worried about leaving something on all day in the kitchen without anyone being home. Isn’t that dangerous?

“No,” my mother told me. No, said the blogs and resources I scoured online.

“Why don’t you try it?” Mike encouraged me. He could tell I was wanting to make the leap into crock-pot cooking ever since I glimpsed the beautiful 4-quart brand-new crock pot his mom had bought him that he’d never taken out of the box.

A new era has dawned in our tiny apartment kitchen. Today I took that baby out of the box, rinsed the pot and lid with soap and water, and plugged it in. For my first crock-pot attempt, I tried something simple: chicken & veggie stew.

This recipe could not be easier or quicker. It took me ten minutes to prepare as I rushed to get ready and out the door for school this morning. Here is the recipe I used; you could easily substitute other veggies based on your preferences or what happens to be in your pantry.

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

– 3 or 4 chicken breasts
– 1 medium-sized sweet potato
– 2 carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 1 can corn, drained
– 1 can peas, drained
– 1 can green beans, drained
– 1 can chicken broth
– 1 tbsp garlic or onion powder
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 tbsp parsley

1. Dice the potato. Peel and slice the carrots and slice the celery.

2. Dump veggies into the crock pot.

3. Add chicken breasts on top.

4. Pour chicken broth over everything.

5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

6. 30 minutes before serving, sprinkle chicken with garlic/onion powder, chili powder, and parsley.

All day long, I thought about dinner simmering at home in the crock pot. Whenever I worried about something catching fire and the apartment burning down, Mike reassured me it would all be okay. {If you haven’t guessed by now, I can be a bit of a worry-wort sometimes!}

When we returned home this evening and opened the front door, a delicious aroma greeted us. The stew turned out fantastic! Yummy, warm, healthy, hearty … and ready to eat as soon as we stepped inside. What a treat to have a homemade dinner waiting for us on the kitchen counter!

It’s official: I am a crock-pot convert. I can’t wait to try all sorts of new slow-cooker recipes and share them with you on this blog. Please chime in below if you have any recipes or links to share!

Here are some helpful slow-cooker tips that recently were shared on one of my favorite blogs, I’m an Organizing Junkie:

Do you use a slow cooker to prepare meals? What are some of your favorite crock-pot recipes? How do you save time when making dinner on a busy weeknight?

Have a wonderful day!
-Dallas

incredibly easy pumpkin spice cookies

In honor of tomorrow being the Autumnal Equinox, or first official day of autumn, I decided to celebrate by baking these incredibly yummy — and incredibly easy! — pumpkin spice cookies.

I came across this recipe about a month ago on one of my favorite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers — I absolutely love pumpkin desserts and pastries, so right away I was on board. Then, when I saw that all you need is TWO ingredients to make these cookies, I was amazed. I knew I needed to try out this recipe for myself!

These cookies are thick, moist, and full of pumpkin goodness. They were super delicious warm from the oven yesterday and they still tasted fresh when I had a few for dessert tonight. Plus, since there is no butter, oil, or even eggs in this recipe — and pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A and C — these are pretty healthy as far as cookies go!

Whip up a batch of these cookies and enjoy a taste of autumn!

pumpkin spice cookies

– 1 box of spice cake mix {I used Duncan Hines}
– 15 oz can of pumpkin
– chocolate chips, marshmallow, white chocolate chips, nuts {optional mix-ins for the cookies}

1. Preheat your oven for 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, dump the cake mix and pumpkin. It will look like this:

3. Keep stirring until the pumpkin and cake mix are fully combined. The batter will be thick! {This recipe doubles as a great arm workout, haha!}

4. Drop the pumpkin by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. If you’d like, add chocolate chips, marshmallows, or nuts to some of the cookies. {I used white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips in about half the cookies, and the rest I made plain.}

6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cookies are firm in the middle.

Yummmm… ENJOY!

Happy autumn, everyone!
-Dallas

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-Time spent: 30 minutes {including bake time}
-Cost: about $4.00