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My Couponing Haul

20 Feb

Yesterday, I had the (rare!) chance to make it to both a Target AND a Walmart! While we try to avoid Walmart as much as possible, this week there were a lot of free items and moneymakers available so we decided to stop in. At Walmart, we picked up 5 Vaseline Aloe Fresh lotions, Theraflu and a Glade plug-in oil warmer – and they paid me $.48 to take it all! This is how:

Theraflu Warming Relief Liquid $4.97
Submit for Free Retailer Gift Card worth $5.00 when you buy Theraflu Product
Final Price: Free

(5) Vaseline Aloe Fresh Lotion, 3 oz $0.97, Sale
Use (5) $1.00/1 Vaseline Total Moisture, Aloe Fresh or Cocoa Radiant, 3 oz. or larger from RP Unilver 1/29
Final Price: Free, Plus $0.03 Moneymaker

Glade Plug Ins Scented Warmer, $.94, Sale
Use $1.50/1 Glade Plug-Ins Scented Oil Warmer from SS 2/12
Final Price: Free, Plus $0.56 Moneymaker

Total OOP: $4.52, with the Retailer Gift Card that makes it $.48 profit!

At Target, I got 3 Advil PM 20 ct and 5 Breathe Right 2-packs because they didn’t have them in stock at Walmart, and I made $1.90! Target normally doesn’t allow overage on coupons, but the cashier I had did – I wouldn’t bank on this though, and would try to get everything at Walmart where they do allow coupon overage so that you can score the same moneymaker deal.

Buy 3 Advil PM, 20 ct $4.39, Regular Price
Use 3 $1.00/1 Advil, 40 ct or larger, Advil PM, 16 ct or larger, Children’s Advil, 4 oz or larger or ThermaCare, 2 ct or larger from RP 1/29
Pay $10.17, Submit for $10.00/3 Pfizer products Mail In Rebate from RP 1/29
Final Price: $0.06 each when you buy 3

Breathe Right Strips, 2 ct. $0.97, Regular Price
Use $1.50/1 Breathe Right Strips 12 ct. or smaller from RP 1/29
Final Price: Free, Plus $0.53 Moneymaker

Total OOP: $8.10, with the $10 rebate for the Advil makes it a $1.90 profit!

Thanks, Krazy Coupon Lady for pointing out these great deals!

Free Face Mask at CVS!

16 Feb

I was browsing through CVS yesterday and found this great freebie – Freeman Feeling Beautiful Face Mask was on sale for $3.99, and had a coupon on it “Try It For Free” with a full rebate! Just fill out the little sticky attached to the tube and send it in with your receipt for a full rebate of the purchase price. I got the anti-stress dead sea mineral one, which I’m super excited to try. Check around your CVS beauty department to see if you can find this deal too!

Free Got2b Hair Products at Walgreens until Sunday!

16 Feb

Walgreens currently has Got2b hair products on sale buy one for $5.99 get one free. Paired with (2) $3 off one full size Got2b product coupon found in Red Plum 2/12 and it makes it FREE!

I got four products (2 glossy anti-frizz shine serum and 2 rockin’ it encore fresh dry shampoo) and had to throw in 2 caramels at $.33 a piece (with all of the coupon deductions, it wouldn’t let the last coupon go through because of taxes so I had to get 2 caramels). Grand total? $.76!

Dry shampoo is amazing for those days when I straighten my hair and want it to last longer than a day, when I accidentally use too much product in my hair and it looks greasy, or when I do a light work out and don’t have time to shower so I was pumped when I saw that I could get some for free with this deal! I also read about how your hair can freeze if you go out in the cold with wet hair, which can lead to breakage and frizz and a remedy (besides blow drying!) was to work some serum through you hair and tuck it under a hat before you go out. I’ve been trying this out over the past few weeks and it’s worked wonders! I no longer need hairspray and my hair feels so soft – another score!

If you have these coupons, run on over to Walgreens before this awesome sale expires! And don’t forget, if they’re all out get a rain check ūüôā

Homemade Bread Pumpkin-Style

10 Feb

The other day I was in a baking mood and was poking around in my cabinets to see what I could come up with. I ended up finding some cans of pumpkin (my mom and my boyfriend’s mom stocked me up over the holidays – they are the best moms ever!) and I also noticed that we were running low on bread. So what’s a girl to do? Throw it all together and make homemade pumpkin bread!

Now this isn’t a dessert bread like most pumpkin breads are. This is a bread you make hearty sandwiches on or dip in your soup. With a tang similar to sourdough and the density of a wholegrain bread, this bread was exactly what I was craving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached whole wheat bread flour

  1. Pour the warm water into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let sit until frothy — about 10 minutes. Then add your brown sugar, olive oil, and pumpkin and whisk until smooth.
  2. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a dip in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in your wet ingredients.
  3. Start mixing everything together with a spatula. Eventually, you will use your hands to start kneading the dough. Keep kneading, and adding more flour as necessary, until you have a ball that’s elastic, but not sticky.
  4. Put your dough ball inside a lightly oiled large boil, flipping over once to coat both sides with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Then, tear the dough ball in half and roll into a loaf shape.
  6. Place in a bread pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch.

I made one loaf and froze the other half for a loaf later. I pulled it out of the freezer this morning and plan on making it to go with a nice Valentine’s day breakfast – maybe heart-shaped pumpkin French toast?!

Greek Yogurt, Anyone?

8 Feb

Greek yogurt is a great way to get some extra protein in you diet, not to mention it is absolutely delicious and gives you some extra calcium and vitamin D too! Now, I’m normally a Chobani girl but when it’s not on sale 10/$10 I just can’t justify paying the $1.39 per cup for it so I’ve been exploring other brands of Greek yogurt that have come on the market. Brown Cow is so creamy and not as tart as Chobani, but again – same cost problem. Yoplait recently came out with a few different lines of Greek yogurt, and not only are they frequently on sale but Yoplait puts out a lot of coupons too! This past weekend at Shaw’s, they had Yoplait YoCrunch Greek Yogurt Parfaits BOGO (normally $1.39 a piece). I also had a coupon for $.55 off two, which my store would double to $1.10 off so this made for a great deal of 2 yogurts for $.29! They also have coupons on their facebook page too if you “like” them but they weren’t as good of a deal as the one I found in the paper. I grabbed the strawberry and peach ones and decided I’d try them this week in my lunches.

Oh my goodness am I glad I did, they were phenomenal! The strawberry one tasted like any other strawberry yogurt but was still delicious. The peach, however, was out. of. this. world. I normally don’t like fruit at the bottom of my yogurt but it was outstanding! With 11 grams of protein per cup and 20 grams of sugar (mostly in the granola on top) this is a great addition to a meal to give it a bit more heft. I’ve also tried the non-parfait Yoplait Greek yogurts and they too are delicious, healthy¬†and are only $.99 a cup!

The flavored kinds are great to eat all on their own, but I also buy the plain flavor as well and use it as a healthier substitute for sour cream in many of my recipes. Can’t tell the difference in taste at all, but I’ll tell you one thing – it keeps you full a lot longer!

 

Fast, easy and cheap way to make beans!

7 Feb

One of the best ways to save money while eating a healthy diet is to buy dry beans and cook them yourself. One pound of dried beans makes about 6 cups cooked, so if a can of beans is $0.79 and contains¬†1.75 cups on average, and a pound of beans costs $1.09 and can make 6 cups cooked, to get an equivalent amount of canned¬†beans it’s cost you almost $2.70!

I used to make them by the rinsing/soaking method, which took forever and a day. But, I recently discovered a new way of cooking them while perusing the internet and decided to test it out. Basically,¬†1 pound¬†of rinsed and sorted dried beans + 8 cups of water. Stick it in a crock pot and let it cook on high for 4 hours and that’s it! Drain the beans and they’re ready to go. I drained mine and then put them in 1 cup serving sizes in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner piece. Such a time saver!

Even better than black beans, I made some garbanzo beans. You know what that means…HUMMUS! I made my trusty hummus recipe, but was craving something with a little more zip. I was poking around in the fridge trying to find something I could throw in there, and I found tobasco pickles. Yes, it is odd. Yes, it tasted delicious! With only a slightly greenish tinge, it tasted just like regular hummus with the loveliest little kick of tanginess. Delicious! I also froze a bunch of chick peas too for a hummus crisis… it’s just too easy!

 

 

 

Quick and Dirty Butternut Squash Soup

7 Feb

Butternut squash soup is my favorite soup in the entire world, I could eat it by the gallon! Actually, I could eat butternut squash (or anything orange really – pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, etc.) itself in mass quantities.¬† So I came up with a super quick and dirty recipe to satiate my cravings when they strike…

1 medium butternut squash
drizzle olive oil
1.5 T curry
1 can coconut milk
1 t black pepper

  1. Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Drizzle with olive oil and place outside up in the oven at 375F. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until soft when pricked with a fork.
  2. Take the squash out of the oven and let cool until just warm. Scoop the flesh out of the skin and place in a medium sized pot on low heat. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
  3. Add all other ingredients. Mash and continue to heat up.
  4. Once warm, remove from heat. Pour into a food processor and process until smooth.
  5. Either pour directly into bowls, or put back on stove (depending on how hot you like your soup!) You could also just let it sit until cool, then put the lids on and stick it in the fridge/freezer for a quick dinner during the week. Yum!

In a hurry? Substitute one bag of frozen, pre-chopped butternut squash for one medium butternut squash and save yourself about 40 minutes! Just throw the entire bag into a pot and start at the middle of step 2. Depending on the season this could also save some serious cash.

Enjoy!

 

Budget Friendly Recipes

3 Feb

While on Pinterest the other day (Ok, when am I not on Pinterest?) I stumbled across this awesome blog, Budget Bytes, that not only has recipes for fantastic meals but the cost of each of them too! This is great for those of us that like to stay at or below budget for food and make a meal plan for the week ahead of time. I never used to be a fan of making a meal plan, but it saves some serious time and money!

Photo Courtesty of Budget Bytes

Baked pumpkin pie oatmeal for $0.46 a serving, anyone?

My Journey to Becoming Healthier

2 Feb

Over the past¬†year or so, I’ve slowly been phasing out meat and any sort of packaged foods. Although many people probably haven’t noticed, I often get the question of “why?” or a quizzical look from a family member when I turn down eating a hot dog, which was a favorite treat of mine as a kid. Alas, I feel the need to explain why I’ve moved in this direction…

First and foremost, I’m hypoglyemic. I didn’t find out that I was until I was 16, and was told to just keep snacks on me. Well, ok! So I kept miniature sized candy bars, cereal, granola bars, crackers, chips – whatever I could get my hands on with me at all times and ate when I’d feel like I was going to start getting shakey. As you can imagine, this had a substantial impact on my weight and did nothing for my hypoglycemia other than make the next blood sugar¬†drop come even faster than the last one, which only led me to eat more (a vicious cycle, let me tell you). Finally, in the summer of 2008 I had had enough. I couldn’t take planning my day around food,¬†and I knew eating like this¬†wasn’t healthy¬†so I put my foot down. I¬†started reading up on managing it through diet, and began cutting back on sugar and all refined carbohydrates (crackers, white bread, white rice, etc.) and started incorporating more fruits, veggies and¬†meat into my diet. Now, this wasn’t as easy or quick as it may seem – it was a gradual progression over a couple of months. But, I felt the effects almost immediately – I could go longer than 2 hours without feeling shakey! And, what was this? Is this stomach growling thing, but without the feeling of passing out, hunger?! I was beyond thrilled that I had finally found a way of eating that worked for me and my body.

While I still have to avoid foods with a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates (although I find I no longer crave it, and I actually feel sick when I do eat it), over the past year or so I started thinking about just how much meat I had been eating. Not due to any PETA activism or other holier than thou moral issues, but as a result of various pathophysiology and nutrition courses I had been taking. Breakfast frequently had turkey bacon or sausage links, pepperoni or cheese for snacks, chicken or tuna for lunch, and chicken, beef or pork for dinner. That’s a lot of meat for one day! Added up over time, I knew that it couldn’t be good for my body¬†so¬†I started trying to find alternative protein sources to eat so that I wasn’t eating it at every meal. One of my friends introduced me to the vegan blog Oh She Glows for recipe ideas, and I immediately fell in love with the variety I found in her recipes. Her blog also led me to other healthy living blogs Edible Perspective and Never Home Maker that also had fabulous vegan and vegetarian recipes!¬†Gradually, when faced with eating a dish with meat in it I actually found myself not wanting it. Why? It could be because I got used to not eating it, or that I found the alternatives being offered much more preferable but to be honest, I have no idea! I¬†began realizing¬†that looking back at my childhood,¬†I¬†have never had a particularly strong taste for meat; I guess I just kind of ate it because that’s what I was raised with and avoided the parts that grossed me out. Now, however,¬†my diet has never been so diverse and so delicious I don’t think I could ever go back to¬†meat taking center stage!¬†Eating meals that aren’t centered around meat forces you to think outside of the box and explore new foods that not only are delicious, but that are incredibly healthy for you.¬†I never thought that I would eat kale, but now I spritz it with olive oil, some salt and pepper and throw it in the oven to make kale chips ūüôā

Cutting out premade and packaged foods has just kind of come along with eating more of a vegetarian diet¬†but also with knowing what is actually in the product.¬†If an ingredient is on the package that you wouldn’t add if you made it homemade, chances are it shouldn’t be in there or in your body (Trust me, having been present for multiple autopsies the effects of a poor diet on your organs are not pretty by any scope of the imagination. Gross, but true.)¬†I also can’t eat a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates like I said before, so that cuts out about 95% of all premade and packaged foods. That’s ok though – I think my homemade crackers taste much better anyway!

Now that I eat a pretty clean, plant based diet I have noticed even more changes in my body other than a more stable blood sugar. First, I have way more energy than I ever did before and my hypoglycemia is even less of an issue now. Second,¬†my grocery bills are actually lower than they were before and my skin has cleared up significantly –¬†these are all things I can definitely live with! Does this mean that I will never again eat meat or anything that comes out of a box? No. If I feel like eating meat I will, if I feel like eating a few Cheez-Its (my family knows my childhood addiction to them) I will – it just means that I’ve chosen to¬†make those types of foods a very insignificant part of my lifestyle ūüôā

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health care professional before embarking on any sort of diet or physical activity change.

Crispy Tofu Strips

31 Jan

Tofu is one of my favorite sources of protein because it is just so versatile! So when I had a block of it sitting in my fridge, and this recipe sitting in my inbox I knew I had to make it!

The original recipe is from one of my favorite vegan blogs, Oh She Glows, but I modified it slightly to fit the ingredients I had on hand. They turned out so crunchy and delicious – even when they were reheated in the microwave for lunch! The only thing that I would change would be to add a bit more cayenne pepper so that you can really taste the heat (if you aren’t one of those people that enjoys sweating while they eat, then these proportions should be fine!)

Ingredients:

1 package firm or extra firm tofu
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
sprinkle of kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Press the tofu. This will get all of the excess liquid out of it so that it crisps up nicely. There are a variety of ways you can do this, but I flipped a plate upside down in my sink and put the block of tofu on it. Then I put a paper towel on top and set a heavy jar on it for about 30 minutes. Easy clean up, and easy slicing it into strips!

3. Make coating. While the tofu is pressing, whisk together the milk and cornstarch in a dish shallow enough to allow dipping the tofu. In another bowl, mix together the cornmeal, wheat bran, salt, and spices. Set both of these aside.

4. Slice tofu. Once you remove the jar and paper towel from the tofu, slice into 8 strips, lengthwise. With one hand dip the tofu strip into the milk mixture and then into the cornmeal mixture.  Coat both sides entirely, either by patting the mixture all over it or flipping it over and then place on a baking sheet covered with tin foil. Repeat until all the strips are coated.

5. Bake. Place tofu on middle rack and bake for 20 minutes. Flip then bake for another 20-25 minutes until crispy.

6. Dip in favorite sauce and eat!

Super simple and easy to make, and with the awesome deal at Whole Foods making Nasoya Tofu only $0.50, you could make this for as many meals as you’d like!

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