Late last year during my blogging hiatus, my BFF Laura talked me into drinking the “Extreme Couponing” Kool-Aid with her. Laura and I have a long history of being serial hobby enthusiasts. I’ve heard it goes with the territory of adult ADD, particularly in women.

Our kitchens are littered with the proof of our various attempts to change our lives with the newest craze. Well, mine is. Laura is MUCH better than I am at selling things on Ebay and Craig’s List. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a hoarder and hold on to my crap like a fecal obsessed potty training toddler.

For example, I own a wheat grinder and over 25 pounds of various grains, a juicer, the equipment to grow my own sprouts, a tortilla maker, a waffle iron, a panini maker, personal shake mixers, an applesauce press, and three crock pots of various sizes. And I’m just talking about the kitchen. You don’t even want to know how many crafts I have temporarily engrossed myself in over the years.

So when I saw Laura’s coupon binder last year and the semi-crazed glint in her eye when she shared how much money she was saving each week, I took the bait.

I bought a special binder.

I bought fancy tabs for that binder.

I bought enough baseball card holders to safely encase thousands of coupons.

I started buying 4 newspapers a week.

I bought a subscription to all*you magazine.

I joined every frequent shopper club I could at every local store and pharmacy.

I bought a bag tag at CVS.

I started frequenting couponing websites.

And then I started flipping, and clipping, and filing, and carrying that huge-ass binder with me everywhere I went. It was a full-time job.

And I sucked at it.

The math, and planning, and organizational skills required for this obsession totally overwhelmed my creative little brain.

I found myself buying all kinds of products I never would have purchased without a coupon just because I was getting a deal. And the time involved hunting down the obscure products I didn’t like in the first place! Dumb.

I’m talking Axe body spray that repelled animals, maxi pads the size of flying carpets, a lifetime supply of hideous lipsticks I wouldn’t even use to write REDRUM on the bathroom mirror and freak out my kids.

In the end, my extreme couponing was short lived, like my home wheat grinding, sprout farming, and tortilla making. Still have that damn electric tortilla maker if anyone wants it.

Now a days, the only time I’ll use a coupon is if somebody sends me one to shut me up, like that sweet executive at General Mills who responded immediately to my x-rated Tweet about the broken taco shells. Bless his heart.

As for that subscription to all*you magazine, I am ashamed to admit I have NEVER clipped a single coupon from it. What a waste; the coupons are outrageously good.

But I will say this, the recipes in all*you are consistently awesome. And believe you-me, I know a good recipe when I see one.

In the October 2011 issue, there is a whole section of recipes dedicated to using your slow cooker. I’ve already made their Corn Chowder with Shrimp TWICE, and it’s still October…it is that good.

I did tweak it just a tiny bit, so here’s my slightly modified version of the all*you Corn Chowder with Shrimp recipe:

Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 6 hr. 15 min.
Serves: 6
Cost per serving: $3.06


  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  16-oz. bags frozen corn
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 russet potatoes, diced (don’t peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • half a frozen blob of chipotle puree  (or 1/2 tsp. or so of chipotle powder)*
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1.)  Combine broth, corn, onion, bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, 1 cup water, and 1 tsp. salt in slow cooker (use your big one). Cover and cook on LOW until vegetables are tender, about 6 hours.

2.) Puree 3 cups of the soup in a blender and return to clow cooker. Stir in shrimp. Cover and cook until shrimp are pink and firm, 10-15 minutes. Stir in cream, if desired, and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and peppper, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

My kids said it looked like vomit, but smelled really good.

*The only thing I did to modify this recipe was add some chipotle flavor because I thought it was a little bland. But other than that, delish! So easy to throw together in the morning and have waiting for you on a chilly autumn evening. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and you have a completely satisfying meal.

Nature Boy has texture issues so I pureed his whole bowl separately. He didn't like it, even after I kowtowed to his pain-in-the-ass "special needs." Ingrate. Good thing he's so cute or I'd have surely killed him by now.

PER SERVING: 371 Cal., 10g Fat (5g Sat.), 141mg Chol., 6g Fiber, 25g Pro., 51g Carb., 710mg Sod.

Seriously, want a tortilla maker? How about a coupon binder complete with tabs and plastic inserts? Make me an offer. Free shipping. I’ll throw in a high value Old El Paso coupon.

Let’s make a deal,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.