Baked Fruit Oatmeal + Coupon Trip # 1.

Happy Monday dear ones! Hope today has been filled with joy for you. I always love the start of a new week, a blank canvas with so much potential. Well, Ben and I have started trying to eat a little more healthy this year. In order to make that goal a reality we have started making a point to eat breakfast every morning. I have made smoothie packs with cut up fruit ready to go in the blender with some milk or juice...freezer breakfast sandwiches, and refrigerator raisin bran muffin mix, just to name a few recipes to make this goal not only achievable but easy on me for preparing in the mornings. 

Last night I decided to give this Baked Fruit Oatmeal a go, and it was hit. It is healthy, warm, and not overly sweet. Packed with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and bananas there is tons of fruit and natural sugar in this easy casserole. 

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted, divided (I didn't have on hand so I skipped this part)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup maple syrup (I used 2 TBSP molasses + a TSP of honey)
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided (I also threw in some frozen raspberries and blackberries)
Heat oven to 375º. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Combine the oats, half the pecans, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Toss together with a fork. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the syrup, milk, egg, butter and vanilla. Place the bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish and top with half the blueberries. Evenly sprinkle the oat mixture over the fruit, then pour the liquid evenly over the oats. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and blueberries.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top has browned and the oats are set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from: Cook Like a Champion Blog 
I actually made this all up last night and then baked it this morning. It was the perfect warm, healthy breakfast to kick start our week. 
Okay so part two of this post is dedicated to my trip to CVS today. This was no ordinary trip to the store, I used coupons. So many of you have expressed an interest in my posts on Instagram and Facebook about couponing. I am super excited to have recently had a crash course in this practical money saving task by a church member. Natalie, who I would kindly refer to as my couponing coach haha, would recommend Southern Savers to anyone and everyone at all interested in couponing. This website is the best thing EVER. Jenny, the writer, links ALL the up to date coupons to her sale lists for various grocery stores, drug stores and so on...all in one place. It is incredible. She does all the hard work for you. 
So after I spent some time clipping coupons from our Sunday paper, printing coupons from the Internet and checking out the weekly CVS ad on the Southern Savers blog, I got to work planning my trip. 
{For those who do not know, ECBs stand for Extra Care Bucks. These are "free CVS dollars" linked to your rewards card that you receive when participating in certain weekly sales in the store. The ECBs can be used on anything in the store.}
So here is the run down on my trip today. I broke it into two transactions (was supposed to be four but I ended up only doing two because they were our of somethings), in order to get the most savings, and maximize on the ECBs. 
Transaction # 1
(1) Got2be Hairstylers Product (I bought a heat protecting serum). On sale at CVS this week for $4.99 and you receive 2 ECBs when you purchase. 
  • - $2.00 Coupon from Red Plum insert in yesterday's paper
Total Due: $2.99 Plus I got 2 ECBs (which would make this .99 cents if you want to think of it that way.)
Transaction # 2
(1) Crest ProHealth Mouth Rinse - on sale this week for $3.99 and you receive 3 ECBs when you purchase. 
  • -$1.00 Coupon (from Internet)
  • -$2 ECBs (from Transaction # 1)
Total Due: .99 cents plus I got 3 ECBs. 

I had planned to do two more transactions after these two, but the Starkville CVS was out of the items in my 3rd and 4th transaction so I did not complete them (you can ask for a rain-check on a sale and most stores will honor that, but since it was for toothpaste and this goes on sale a lot I decided to wait). I will show them to you any ways in a sec, to help your wheels turn. But today for my run I spent $4 out of my own pocket but received $9 worth of merchandise AND have $3 ECB to spend next time I go to it was like getting $9 of stuff for only $1...pretty sweet deal if you ask me. 

Okay just for the purpose of ideas and further examples, here are my other two planned transactions for this morning (that I did not end up doing).

Transaction # 3

(1) Crest 3D White Brilliance toothpaste- on sale for $5.99 plus you get 4 ECBs when you purchase. 
  • -1.00 Coupon from Red Plum insert in yesterday's paper
  • -$1.00 off $3 spent on toothpaste (CVS store coupon)
  • -$3 ECBs (from Transaction # 2)
Total Due: .99 cents plus I would get 4 ECBs

Transaction # 4

(1) Crest Sensi toothpaste- on sale for $4.99 plus you get 3 ECBs
  • - $1.00 Coupon (Internet)
  • -$4 ECBs (From Transaction # 3)
Total Due: FREE plus I get 3 ECBs.

So if I had completed all 4 transactions today. I would have walked away with hair serum, mouth wash, and two tubes of toothpaste. I would have spent a total out of pocket of $5 (about). I would have received about $20 worth of merchandise. But if I include the 3 ECBs I got in transaction # 4 that makes my grand total come out to about $2 for $20 worth of stuff...

Does this not make you want to coupon? I am just beginning and it is so exciting to me to think of how much money I can save our family. I challenge you to give it a try and let me know how it goes!! I plan to blog about most of my trips in hopes of helping readers with examples and inspiring many of you to try this yourself!! You can do it!

Happy Monday Friends!