Archive for March, 2013

I call this salsa-pepper salad mix “Pepper Melody” and very versatile. My darling husband LOVES this mixture. I originally came up with it because I wanted to make mini-pizzas using whole wheat English muffins for the crust, but wanted healthier toppings besides the usual sausage and pepperoni.  I rarely eat pepper, olives, mushrooms, and onions on my pizzas. It’s largely because I’m a texture person…I don’t like how most people put on these large chunks of these toppings.  I like my minces or chopped finely.

Well, I got peppers (red and green), a can of minced olives, and small onion.  I chopped vegetables up small how I like it.  I then realized instead of individually putting each topping on my mini-pizzas, I could mix all these ingredients together first!  I instantly loved the way it looked, so bright and cheery.  It tasted extremely well. I think the olives really bring out and add to the flavors of peppers and onion.

A close-up of my Pepper Melody. A little blurry, sorry!

A close-up of my Pepper Melody. A little blurry, sorry!


While enjoying my mini-pizzas, I thought upon my Pepper Melody and came to the thought that it could be very versatile for many meals. My husband loves to put in his salads! It would work great for stir-fry, soups, tacos, salsa…anything your imagination takes you with it!

I know, I know…you want to know the base recipe right? Well, here it is!

  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 small can of minced olives
  • 1 small (or half medium) onion

Just chop up the veggies and mix! Simple, right? Just a few minutes of your day!

Pepper Melody

Pepper Melody

Now sometimes you may end up with red peppers larger than the green (or vice versa ), this is okay! If your doubling, tripling, and so forth, the recipe just use less of the larger pepper…or all of it!

The best thing about this mixture is you can easily adjust to your tastes.  Add mushrooms, add yellow or orange peppers, swap an item for another! I suppose you could also season it, but I suggest tasting with different meals before you do.  Yes, can freeze this beautiful melody. I just did so today for the first time.

I made a HUGE batch of Pepper Melody today.  I originally brought:

  • 5 green peppers, normal sized (.69 a lb or $3.45)
  • 5 red peppers, large ($1 each, on sale)
  • 5 small onions (from 3 lb bag for 1.29, over a dozen in the bag)
  • 5 small tins of sliced olives (.88 each)

My husband helped me make it up today, because he was so eager to have some for his salad. (He actually looked at me with puppy eyes, side glancing at the peppers…LOL!). I had him put the olives in my manual food processor (from Pampered Chef) to mince up.  He did the same with the onions (faster and less tears!). I chopped up the peppers, which he jumped in helped with.  AS we chopped, we occasionally mixed up the mixture to decide if we had enough peppers in it. When we were done, we had 1 and half large red peppers left and 2 green peppers left, plus the “tops” of 7 of peppers. (I sliced off the tops and ripped out the guts like you would to make stuffed peppers.)

My husband used some immediately for his salad.  I decided to try my hand at making some mini-breakfast burritos. I had 4 packages of small tortilla shells (paid $2 for 4 after sale and doubled coupon). I used only package, the rest are in the freezer.  I scrambled up 6 eggs with ground black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  I laid out the tortilla shells and using a large spoon I scooped on egg to 7 shells and a scoop of the Pepper Melody. I folded each like a burrito. I ended up ripping 3 shells, so had to toss those and use another from the open package.  I froze 6 of the burritos using wax paper first, then aluminum foil, then put into baggies with a name, date, and cooking instructions (350 in toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes). I cooked one burrito up right away to taste test. It tasted good, but really needed a meat, maybe sausage or bacon. (At least for my tastes.)

I ended up bagging 3 cups of the Pepper Melody to freeze and still had about 2 times that left over to eat for the week.  The left over peppers I had chopped in to big chunks about 1 inch. I mixed together and then bagged 6 cups of this pepper duo mix to freeze (2 cups per bag). I knew we wouldn’t eat them anytime soon and refused to let it go to waste.  I decided to freeze them in large chunks, because I can use them for stir-fry at later date. (

FYI: I date all my bags with the day I bagged them and the amount in the bag. I also freeze them laying flat at first in my small freezer, then transfer to my chest freezer later.  Always freeze your bagged foods flat to save on storage space…fruits, vegetables, soups, etc.  Once completely frozen you can stand on end in a basket or file away like magazines or books.

Please, enjoy my Pepper Melody! Make it your own!


I wanted to make a quick post about me trying to plan a coupon shopping trip on a super tight budget.  I can’t type much right now as I have a stress headache forming on the left side of my head and neck. I will be okay, I know what to do. I only take medicine as a last resort.

A  couple weeks ago I decided to join a group of ladies (possibly a man or two) this Saturday, March 2nd, for a coupon exchange and tips/advice exchange.  We are all part of an online coupon group called “Northern Illinois Couponing Moms.  (Facebook page: (Website: I have to do a quick shout out to the lady who heads this group and got all started.  She spends part of busy schedule doing match ups for us to local major stores we all use regularly. Thank you so much for your time!

One of the deciding factors to go to this group was I looked over my pay schedule for the next month (child support only right now) and noticed that I HAD to spend the next payday on food. The one right after that will go to the car insurance (a must in IL and don’t want to get caught without it having no jobs right now). After those to paydays we should be okay…tax refund, hopefully unemployment will finally approve my husband, and I will have a job…got one in the works with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), they help people with disabilities get jobs (hard of hearing, I am!)

Well, after taking care of a couple small thing this week, I ended up with a budget of about $55 for nearly 2 weeks. I’m okay with this budget, I’ve dealt with it before and bought home almost 2 weeks of food, along with some nonfood items like toilet paper and dish soap.  Only reason I’m edgy on it is because I know this is all I have if unemployment or the job doesn’t come through for us.  My plan with this budget is to pick up what we “must have” and few other meal staples, but no meats.  Later next week my monthly allowance for LINK ($55) comes in.  I will be using this to buy my meats…should be enough for a month if I find it on sale.

I have spent an hour or so everyday since Sunday sorting my coupons, reviewing what I have, making up lists, looking at online store ads, and checking online printable coupons.  I will have to go to my mom’s to print, because I am out of ink for my printer (tax refund “must have” to get).  Thanks to N. IL Couponing Moms match up for Schnucks/Highlander/Logli’s, some of my time was shortened and used more wisely. I have come across some good deals that are actually on NOT on my must have list, but I will be picking up because they are under a dollar, a few even under 50 cents.  (FYI: Schnuck’s stores double coupons 55 cents and under everyday…one reason I found some good deals…match coupons up to sales and WA-LA! Magic savings!)

As organized as I am with my coupons, I’m still some what overwhelmed with list making and budgeting. I know some people make specific budgets for like meat, nonfood items, etc. I haven’t gotten that far and I NEED to. Ugh…I will learn and figure it out.

I have spent the week begin jittery and worried about my budget. Going back and forth over what is most needed to get us through a couple of weeks. I even made of an inventory of food in the house (which I need to redo tomorrow night). Despite my jitters I had 2 blessings this week…no, wait…THREE.  One I already had in line…my mommy is giving me a bit of money for gas to go to Rockford, IL (45 minute drive for me) and do my shopping.  The 2nd is Shea came by with a little money from Jen and Chris who decided to help us out a bit on our food budget and nearly tripled it!  The 3rd is my County Market Penny Pincher coupons came in this week. (CM doesn’t double, but they do allow a manufacturer coupon stacked on to their store coupons! Many times I have gotten stuff there nearly free or under $2 because they do this).

So as a result of my increased food budget, I am now taking a new look at my lists and what I may print out for coupons when I go to my mom’s tomorrow.  I am even looking at a couple of freezer meal prep books I have to try a couple for the first time. I’m considering freezable breakfast foods, since I’m often to groggy when I get up to actually cook and I want to go with my hubby to the gym in the mornings.

Thanks for joining me on this little adventure of mine.  I will post about my shopping trip either Saturday or Sunday and if I do freezer meals for the first time.