The Thieving Bear

Couponing for the Real World

The Thieving Bear - Couponing for the Real World

Easy Peasy Smashed Potatoes Recipe. Healthy & Delish!


I’m always looking for a healthier alternative to a snack or side, and I found one in this, thanks to my wonderful MIL.  Potatoes are incredibly versatile, so this can be eaten for breakfast, as a side or as a snack.  It’s like a big french fried potato, but without all of the fat.  The best part, is that you choose what toppings you’d like, if any, and how to cook it.  Here’s what you’ll want to do:

Cook the potato, whole, in the microwave for about 6 mins for 1 or about 8 mins for 2.

Place them on a cookie sheet that has been greased with olive oil, and flatten them.  Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with spices.  I chose garlic salt and onion powder.  Cook at 350 until golden brown underneath.   Flip with a spatula and cook until the other side is golden brown underneath.  They will crisp up nicely.

Serve with whatever you’d like.  I chose ketchup to keep the fat content low.  Absolutely delish!  Why yes, that is a $.49 Milford Valley Chicken Breast ;)

Ahhhh-mazing Slow Cooker Pot Roast With Spinach & Mushrooms!

Slow cooker roast beef served with noodles and mushrooms.

The photo above was taken from

I saw this recipe on and knew immediately that I had to try it.  Please note, the photos to follow are my photos, but my camera ran out of batteries before I could take a photo of the finished product and I didn’t want to use up any new batteries with the storm coming.  I made this roast on Sunday and let me tell you, it was amazing.  It made an awesome mushroom gravy.  The best I’ve ever tasted. There are a couple of things that I would change the next go around (ie. omit the spinach), it really didn’t add any flavor and wilted badly when cooked in the slow cooker.  I also served my roast over mashed potatoes instead of noodles.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Boneless Chuck Roast (4 – 5 lbs) – this is the best roast.  Others are ok, but if you want one that falls apart when cooked, you’ll want a chuck roast.
  • 1 Can of Creamy Mushroom Progresso Recipe Starters (I used 2 and froze the left over gravy to use in a future recipe)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Package of Mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to Taste

Turn your slow cooker to high and let it heat up.  Next you’ll want to heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.

Sprinkle your roast generously with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder if desired. Brown your roast on all sides in the olive oil.  Be sure to remove the string at this point.  Place your roast in the crockpot.

Next, add the onion to the same skillet and cook until fragrant being sure to scrape up any of the drippings from the meat. This really adds to the flavor.

Add your Progresso Recipe Starters and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and cook until bubbly, stirring often.

Once it’s hot enough, add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt. About 4 minutes.

Pour your sauce right over the roast and cook on high 4 – 5 hours or low 7 – 8 hours.  You know when your roast is done when you can stick a fork in the meat, turn the fork and the meat just starts to fall apart. 

Just before serving, slice up your package of mushrooms and saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 tsp. garlic salt until desired doneness.  Top your roast with sauteed mushrooms.  Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.  YUMMERS!  Like I said, I will omit the spinach next time, but other than that, this was delish!  I also baked up a Fleischmann’s No Knead Bread that I got at Shaw’s for a dollar, and that was heavenly too :)

Slow cooker roast beef served with noodles and mushrooms.

Super Yummy Pumpkin Dip Recipe!

Harvest Pumpkin Dip Recipe

So, my little girl and I are about to make a banana bread and while I was looking through my recipes (ya know the little sheets of scribble paper that fall out of the closet when you open it!), I happened upon this awesome recipe and thought I’d share.  I have made this many, many times and it is always a hit.  I got this photo from Taste of Home, but I always serve mine with ginger snap cookies.  They really add to the flavor.  I do, however, suggest doubling the recipe if you’ll be bringing it to a party. It’s that good.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Cups of brown sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin (you can use 2 cans), 15 oz
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 bag of ginger snap cookies

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar.  Slowly add the pumpkin and spices.  Blend very well, about 4 – 5 minutes until smooth.  That’s it.  Refrigerate the leftovers.  Yeah right.  There won’t be any ;)

DIY: Homemade & Reuseable Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets = Pennies Per Load of Laundry!

Have you ever wanted to make a bottle of fabric softener last as long as 6 months?  I have been testing this idea for a few weeks and have to say that it works.  I have always made my own fabric softener (I used store bought for $2.99 for the scent this time,) so I thought that this may or may not work.  It works!  Each dryer sheet lasts about 4 – 5 loads of laundry, can you imagine that?!  Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 a cup or so of fabric softener – any will do
an old towel or rag – I used a towel
a bowl
a hanger or use the uncut part of the towel to dry

Start by cutting 2 – 3 inch strips from you towel or rag.

Next you can either fold the strip in thirds or in half to make smaller strips.  Since I was using an old towel I had to fold it in thirds.  You ultimately want to end up with 4 – 6 five inch long ”dryer sheets.”

Don’t worry, they don’t have to be perfect ;)

Next, you’ll want to pour your liquid softener over the strips.  Be sure to cover them all and let them soak for a bit.  Stirring them helps a lot.

Once they’re saturated simply put them up on a hanger or use the uncut part of the towel or rag to dry them.  Be sure to dry completely before using.  *Note* if you use a hanger to dry them, be sure to use a catch pan of some sort.  Fabric softener on floors is very slippery!  Once dry, just toss in the dryer and use 4 – 5 times before adding more softener!  AWESOMENESS!  Welcome to my frugal world ;)

P.S.  Don’t worry about using these on darker laundry.  The dryer does a great job catching the lint.

Easy Peasy Stuffed Meatloaf – That’s Right – Stuffed Meatloaf

I made this the other night and let me tell you, it came out awesome.  I have always made meatloaf, but decided to kick it up a notch, since I hadn’t made a stuffed one in a long time.  Sorry about only getting 2 pics, my camera died on me lol.  Here’s what you’ll need.  It’s super easy and guaranteed to please.

1 1/2 – 2 lbs ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs – seasoned
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of seasoned or regular salt

Options for stuffing – sauteed onions, mushrooms, cheese, crushed tomatoes or anything really.  I used 2 slices of American cheese and a little ketchup.  It’s amazing.

To assemble:

Simply combine all of the ingredients above minus what you’ll be using as your stuffing.  Mix well.  I use my hands, it works the best, but it is a little messy.  Once thoroughly combined take 1/2 the meat mixture and squish into the bottom of a bread/loaf pan.  Next add your filling, as much or as little as you want.  Top with remaining meat mixture and press firmly until fully covering the filling.  Top with ketchup or crushed tomatoes.  I grew up old school, so it’s ketchup all the way in our house :)

Stick your meatloaf, uncovered, in a preheated 375 degree oven for about an hour.  Don’t worry about the liquid when it comes out, most of that is just the juices, just transfer it immediately to a plate.  Serve with mashed potatoes and corn for sides.  Super yummy!  Can you see the steam?

Sunday’s Freezer Cooking – 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins! YUM!

Yesterday’s freezer cooking went really well. We decided to keep it simple to keep the costs low and make something that we already had most of the ingredients for.  I came across this recipe on Pinterest and just knew I had to try it.  It is simple.  No eggs, butter or oil needed for this one gang!  Here’s the recipe:

2 Boxes of Cake Mix (unprepared – just the mix) - I used 1 Vanilla and 1 Spice
2 Cans of Pumpkin
2 Cups Chocolate Chips
2 Tsp. Baking Powder – ok, so 4 ingredient muffins :)

Start by emptying the cake mix into a big bowl.  Add the baking powder and stir well.  I read the reviews on these on Pinterest and the people were saying that these don’t rise, so I added the powder and they did.  I was very happy! Once that is mixed well, add the pumpkin.  Once mixed thoroughly, add the chips and stir until well blended.  It’s a bit difficult to stir, so I had the hubby do it.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees and grease or line your muffin pan.  I filled the cups near full afraid they wouldn’t rise.  Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  I also tried them as cookies and they came out awesome!

So, we ended up with a boat load of muffins and cookies.  The pumpkin really makes the cake mix go even further.  I’d like to omit the chocolate next time and try walnuts.  Just keep in mind that the tops of the muffins won’t come out really smooth if you don’t smooth them down before baking.  As you can see from the photo above, they come out a little rigid looking, but oh so good!   It’s a great fall recipe. Happy baking :)

To freeze, simply stick them in an air tight zip top bag.  Allow to defrost before eating or stick in the microwave for a minute or so.