Yesterday Craig Coffey from FOX 21 News joined me in my kitchen to cook up a couple of kid-friendly, (and healthy) meals for a family of 4 for $10 or less. Not only did we make inexpensive meals, I served the food on Dollar Tree dishes and my entire outfit came from a new consignment/thrift boutique in town. The first time Craig and I filmed together we sipped on mimosas so I figured, why not have that our morning tradition, which Craig now calls “Mimosa Mondays.” Had to mention the mimosas since our champagne glasses were from the Dollar Tree too.
Even though my dishes, outfit and food were all bargain-buys, I don’t think they look, or taste it. So if your table needs some freshening up or you need a “new” outfit, check out some of these deals…
I like buying bowls and plates individually so I have exactly what I need and use versus having excess coffee cups and saucers when I buy boxed dishes. This pattern will look great when I want a “mixed up” look, using solid blue dishes I already own. One dollar per bowl at The Dollar Tree.
One of the recipes we made was a broccoli and bow-tie pasta dish, seasoned with a butter/garlic/lemon sauce that gives it a fresh and delicious flavor. This Dollar Tree bowl is large enough for a big salad, is dishwasher-safe and comes in multiple colors. Love these for summer entertaining.
There’s always a lot of prep work before we film and I always use these little cutting boards. They are so easy to chop on, then roll it up a bit and the food easily slides off. Three boards for a dollar (at the Dollar Tree.) They are also dishwasher-safe.
It’s just a slotted spoon but it works great, has held up and only cost a dollar. Why pay more?
Having fresh flowers on the table or throughout the house can get expensive. I am forever going out to the yard and snipping tree branches, cutting ornamental grasses or flowering bush stems for free arrangements. This arrangement cost me nothing since the empty olive oil bottle would have gone in the recycling bin. And if you don’t want the label on empty containers, just soak it off.
Stores charge, (in my opinion) way too much for cloth napkins. I mean it’s just a small piece of material that’s going to end up with stains, especially if you have little ones. I was running low on dish cloths the other day so I went to the Dollar Tree to pick some up. I saw these cute cloths that were 2 for $1 and I thought, why not use these for napkins and once they get a bit of “wear,” I’ll use them to wipe counters and dishes. Fifty cents for a “napkin” and you can re-purpose it later. The napkin rings were plain wood that I painted with white spray paint.
Another money-saving option when it comes to flowers is to buy a flowering plant instead. I bought this at King Soopers for $5.00, versus $7.99 for a small bouquet of cut flowers. This will live much longer too. I like to send guests home (most of the time,) with a little something to remember the evening by. A packet of seeds with your guest’s name on it serves as a place setting and take-home gift. I tied the twine around the plant and on the seeds to “tie” it all in.
For larger gatherings I’m always looking for easy ways to lay out the dishes for easy serving. A small pot from the Dollar Tree easily holds the silverware and makes it easy for your guests to grab.
Our local Safeway always has items from the floral department on clearance. The other day I saw these beautiful candles on clearance from $5.99 and $9.99 to 60 cents and a dollar. I bought them all. These of course will set the mood but they also would make fabulous birthday, Christmas, wedding shower or hostess gifts. They are so inexpensive you could also have these at each place setting and let your guests take one home. Check out your grocery store floral department from time to time for great bargains. (And now my family and friends will know how much I spent on some of their upcoming gifts!)
I have at least 5 of these dishes that I pick up at the Dollar Tree. Here I used it for grated parmesan cheese but I’ve also used it for salad dressings, nuts and candies, and as a vase for flowers.
I get more pleasure buying gently worn clothes than new ones. It’s not only the savings, but the hunt for that perfect deal. My girlfriend and 719Woman fashion contributor, Ashley Gillit, recently opened a store downtown Colorado Springs, called Ashley’s Attic. It’s my new favorite place to shop for clothes. Ashley does all the work finding designer-label, upscale clothing, all in perfect condition so you don’t have to. My dress ($14), Anne Klein shoes ($15), and bracelet and earrings (both $5 each), all came from her store.
I recently cut my hair shorter and I’ve been loving it. I have cut my time in half by not having to mess with it! I have used Ron Rather from Genesis Salon for the past year and while I was always thrilled with the work he’s done, I felt like I needed to check out other salons for research. I from time to time have someone ask me to recommend a salon (or other service) in other parts of town, so I’ve been trying to try out other places (I still love you Ron.)
Anyway, I just discovered Viva Salon and a stylist named Heather that I’m totally loving. Heather’s friendly, extremely talented, up on the latest hair styles, cuts and color and she doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. I saw Heather a couple of days before our shoot and I was so happy I did. She freshened up my roots and on the day of filming, I think I spent a total of 2 minutes on my hair! Which I totally appreciated at 4 in the morning.
It was another fun day of filming with Craig and I’m looking forward to future “Mimosa Mondays.” Prior to the show, I plan the menu, price the food, shop, prep, put the cats away and clean (just the noticeable messes cause it’s going to get really messy as the day goes on!) I typically spend about 12 to 15 hours before and then another couple of hours after, getting everything put away and cleaned up. Craig shows up at 4:30 in the morning so in order to get dressed, wake up with a pot of coffee and do last-minute prep, I get up at 1 a.m. Once Craig leaves, around 9:30, I put my pj’s back on, let the cats out (they have to be locked up because they are counter-jumpers), start the cleaning process and finish whatever alcohol that’s left! Then it’s back to bed for a nap. Here’s the “after” picture!!