Cooking and Eating

Create Your Own Printable Personalized Coupons for FREE

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, Holidays, Low Money Fun, No Money Fun, Pets, Shopping, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Select from the coupons here to send or print out and give as a gift.  There are many cute ideas  for low or no money fun and thoughtful ways to show someone (romantic or platonic) you care whatever their love language:

Acts of Service –  like Personal slave for One Night coupon or offer to walk their dog or run personal errands

Quality Time – like a romantic dinner prepared or enjoy a FREE concert coupon

Touch – like a FREE foot rub or back massage

Words of Affirmation – how about a FREE advice or Win An Argument coupon?

Gifts –  FREE  shopping coupon or FREE tickets to a ball game

Just in time for Father’s Day!



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Recipe for low cost, low calorie Thai Yellow curry with Shiratake Tofu noodles and vegetables*

Posted on May 26, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating | Tags: , , , |

There is a noodle house near where I live that makes a delicious but high calorie yellow curry with thick Shanghai noodles and vegetables. The entree comes in a large bowl and is about $9.00 (before tax and tip).  So I made up my own version of the recipe that is very tasty, healthy, low calorie and low cost  (about the same price as in the restaurant, but you get approximately 6 generous servings.)
Ingredients
1 13.5 oz can lite coconut milk (280 cals for the entire can, .99 cents)
1 T red curry paste  (I use Thai Kitchen – 25 cals/T)
2 T fish sauce
2 large cloves garlic minced
2 T minced ginger
1 can 99% fat free chicken or vegetable stock
1 T vegetable oil (e.g., canola)
1-1.5 lbs boneless breast of chicken cut into bite size pieces (optional if you want to stay vegetarian/vegan)
1 cup of sliced onions/leeks/scallions (your preference)
3 8 oz. packages  Tofu Shirataki noodles, spaghetti or fettucini style (An entire package has only 40 calories. That’s only 20 calories per 4 oz. serving, and it is low carb and vegan.  I bought mine at Whole Foods for $1.39 each.)
2 cups chopped bok choy or baby bok choy (shredded Napa or Chinese cabbage works well too*)
2 cups green beans chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups sliced red, yellow and/or orange pepper
1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
1 large carrot sliced
1 large zucchini sliced
1-2 large sweet potatoes cut into chunks
fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped for garnish/to add on top
* you can add or exchange with almost any vegetable you like that is in season/on sale, e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, yellow summer squash, etc.
Cooking Instructions
1.  If you’re making this with chicken, chop and brown the chicken in 1 T vegetable oil. Then add the onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and sautee.  I like to make this recipe in a wok.
2.  Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, stock and let simmer.  If you like a little more sweet with your heat, add 1-3 tsp of sweetener to taste  (honey, sugar, agave nectar, splenda, etc.)
3.  Add the root vegetables that need a longer cook time. Then add the other vegetables.
4.  Rinse the tofu noodles very well under cold running water and let drain in a colander.
5.  Add the noodles and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
6.  Ladle into serving bowls and top with fresh chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
This recipe makes 6 good size portions at only about 300 calories per satisfying serving.  Enjoy!
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Article from EverydayHealth – Top 10 Budget-Friendly Foods (Healthy Ones!)

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Health & Beauty, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Top 10 Budget-Friendly Foods (Healthy Ones!)

Tightening your belt these days? You don’t have to cut back on healthy foods as you’re trimming your family food budget! Here are 10 top picks for economical and delicious healthy foods

1. Oats

2. Healthy Frozen Mixed-Vegetable Blends

3. Fresh Fruit: Bananas, Apples, and Oranges

4. Lentils

5. Beans (Canned or Dried)

6. Peanut Butter

7. Canned Salmon

8. Fat-Free Yogurt

9. Eggs

10. Sweet Potatoes

I’m happy to say these are all a part of my regular diet, though I should try to eat beans and lentils more often.

For the complete article, click here

(more…)

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The Oprah Winfrey Show/KFC Grilled Chicken Two-Piece Meal Coupon

Posted on May 6, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, No Money Fun | Tags: , , , , , |

The Oprah Winfrey Show/Kentucky Grilled Chicken Two-Piece Meal Coupon

Kentucky Grilled Chicken

Get two pieces of grilled chicken, two individual sides and a biscuit!

Limited Time Download
Coupon download available from 9 a.m. CDT on May 5, 2009, to 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 6, 2009. Coupon is redeemable at participating KFC® locations in the United States from May 5, 2009 to May 19, 2009—excluding Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009.

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Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night is Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 5pm to 10pm

Posted on April 4, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Low Money Fun | Tags: , , |

Mark your calendars for Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night on April 29th from 5 pm – 10 pm

http://www.baskinrobbins.com/Spotlight/31CentScoopNight.aspx

STORE LOCATOR:
http://www.baskinrobbins.com/StoreLocator/…icid=fas_000075

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Ben and Jerry’s free ice cream cone day April 21, 2009

Posted on April 3, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, No Money Fun | Tags: , , , |

Save the date! Ben and Jerry’s free cone day is April 21, 2009!

Find only shops that will participate in Free Cone Day here
http://www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/

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Flattery will get you freebies in the mail

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Cooking and Eating, Home & Garden, Pets, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I can attest to the strategy in this news article working and I use it.  I  received multiple $1.00 off coupons for one complimentary email to customer service about  Aidell’s mango-ginger sausages,  free cat food, and Snapple coupons for raving about their diet Cran-Raspberry juice.  Making an organized list of products and 800 phone numbers to be proactive  is a great idea!

— The BudgetMaven

Flattery can get you freebies in the mail

By Spencer Soper
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
Posted: 03/03/2009 11:44:44 AM PST

Do you like free stuff?

Of course you do.

Well, we have a great tip on how to get free stuff, or at least some coupons.

Here’s the tip from a closet coupon collector:

“People buy things at the grocery store and if you have a constructive comment to the people who make the food or the product, call the toll-free number on the product and compliment them,” our tipster said. “Typically, the companies will give you coupons or a complimentary. You really get some nice coupons in the mail.”

This is brilliant. Especially since the people answering the phones are surely inundated with calls from angry people complaining that, “there was a severed finger in my canned peaches,” or “the wrapper said 1,000 sheets of toilet paper and I only counted 999½.”

So we rummaged through the fridge and the cupboards, wrote down some phone numbers, and made some calls.

Think of something constructive to tell them. For instance, we told the makers of Irish Spring soap to change the product’s name to “Global Spring,” to gain broader ethnic appeal.

A few days later the coupons started showing up in the mailbox. A free pack of Irish Spring soap worth up to $2.99. Thirty cents off Krusteaz pancake mix. A buck off two containers of Hellman’s mayonnaise.

We got a total of $25.94 in coupons. Even better, they’re for products we actually use.

Don’t be a glutton and call every day. But if you followed this tip once a year for 20 years and used all the coupons, you’d save more than $500.

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San Jose Mercury News article: The basics of freezing

Posted on February 5, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Home & Garden, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The basics of freezing

Mercury News staff and wire reports
Posted: 02/03/2009 05:00:00 PM PST

Nothing ever rots. That’s the good and bad of the freezer. Good because its preservative powers let you stock up on bargain meat, save perishable ingredients, revisit your summer garden in February. Bad because, without the motivation of stink, it can become a bleak tundra of mysterious packages, their contents iced and freezer-burned beyond redemption.

To bring your freezer back from the dark side, some tips and inspiration:

The first rule of freezing

Do it fast. Slow freezing allows the formation of large ice crystals that will damage food’s cell structure. The two main components of quick freezing:

Cold. Keep your freezer at 0 degrees. If your refrigerator’s freezer gets opened a lot, consider using a stand-alone freezer for long-term storage.

Shallow.  Food to be frozen should be no more than two inches deep, so look for flat-storage options, such as shallow containers and bags laid flat. Don’t stack packages to be frozen.

The second rule of freezing

Reduce the amount of air around the food, by vacuum-sealing or storing in a tightly sealed container or bag. (Containers need an inch of head space to allow for expansion.)

The third rule of freezing

Label and date.  How long will it be good?

Safety: Food is preserved indefinitely at 0 degrees, though it needs to be handled properly before and after freezing. Bacteria or mold can become active again when thawed.

Freshness: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s maximum recommended storage times for quality range from a month (sausage) to a year (uncooked beef roasts). The main enemies are ice crystals and freezer burn.

Freezer burn — dryness caused by air — isn’t unsafe; just cut away the damaged spots.

Defrosting
The easy way is in the refrigerator, where food won’t get warm enough for bacterial growth. Next best are immersion in cold water (in a leakproof plastic bag) or, if you plan to cook immediately after thawing, in the microwave. The USDA warns against defrosting in your car, dishwasher or yard. Refreezing It’s OK to refreeze raw food that has been thawed in the refrigerator (though the texture may suffer). It’s OK to refreeze partly frozen food as long as it hasn’t been warmer than 40 degrees for more than two hours.

Containers
Food will be a lot better protected by containers intended for the freezer than by your old yogurt containers. A test of various methods by The Washington Post food staff yielded some general rules:

Plastic wrap and food storage bags tend to become less airtight over time. Even the heavier bags intended for freezing shouldn’t be trusted much past a month. For best results, use two layers, wrapping food in plastic wrap, then sealing it in a freezer bag. If microwaving to thaw, remember to vent bag at least an inch and watch that it doesn’t melt. Home vacuum-seal methods, like Food Saver, sometimes require multiple tries to get an airtight seal; most problematic are meats or items containing moisture. Recheck the seal after a month in the freezer.

Polypropylene freezer containers, of flexible plastic, are available in a range of prices, from supermarket products to more expensive models with easy clip or snap fasteners. The inexpensive ones are prone to lose their tight seal after a month in the freezer. And read the labels: Some are not made for microwave and dishwasher, and some should not be used for fats or oils. Polycarbonate freezer containers, of rigid, clear plastic, are good options for long-term freezing and for microwaving — though you’ll pay more. Brands include Freshvac and Snapware.

Eggs
Don’t freeze eggs in the shell. Egg whites can be frozen easily; some people freeze them in ice cube trays, then store in plastic bags. Yolks are more problematic, because they get gummy. The solution: Beat a quarter-cup of yolks with 1½ teaspoons of sugar or 1/8 teaspoon of salt, then freeze for up to three months. Then remember to use appropriately, sweet or savory.

Meat and poultry
They can be frozen in supermarket wrapping for a month or so; any longer than that, and you’ll want to give it more solid packaging. Meat vacuum-packed by the manufacturer generally doesn’t need more protection.

Produce
Most vegetables should be blanched before freezing — cooked in boiling water for two or three minutes — to halt enzyme activity that can diminish flavor and color. Most fruits benefit from freezing in syrup or with a sprinkling of sugar; some also need citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent discoloration. Bags of purchased frozen fruits and vegetables should be double-packaged inside a freezer bag to prevent ice crystals and extend shelf life.

Sources:
Washington Post, U.S. Department of Agriculture Resources General freezing guidelines: www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets
Freezing produce: www.extension.umn.edu/living; click on “food preservation” in the left column

Products:
Among retailers of freezer containers are the Container Store and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

What’s in your freezer? Some of my freezer staples include:

Homemade Stock

Tomato sauce

Butter

Bacon

Grey Goose Vodka

Parmesan rinds

Ginger root

Cookie dough

Frozen bags of organic fruit (for yogurt smoothies)

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CitySkoop.com – find local sales, specials and promotions,

Posted on November 19, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Low Money Fun, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , |

CitySkoop.com

Shopping SalesRestaurant PromotionsSpa & Fitness Deals

Sign up for FREE to win a $400 gift card!

WHAT IS CITYSKOOP.COM? CitySkoop.com is your source for local sales, specials and promotions.

Find Clothing & Furniture sales up to 80% off, Restaurants offering half price wine and food nights, discounts on Spa & Fitness services, Hotel specials and much more!

WHY SIGN UP? Membership is FREE and gives you the following benefits:

  • Deal Alert Newsletter – be the first to hear about hot deals
  • Save listings to your private folder
  • Email listings to your friends and family
  • Chance to win a $400 Gift Card* to a local business
    • Currently your choice of Best Buy, Mastro’s Steakhouse, The Palm or Bloomingdale’s

WHAT YOU’LL FIND

  • Food & Drink Promotions – Half-off wine nights, special holiday meals, happy hour specials, drink specials, Restaurant Week menus and more!
  • Shopping Deals – Sample sales, trunk shows, warehouse sales, holiday sales and more for Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Kids & Toys, Sporting & Outdoor and Pets.
  • Body & Beauty Deals – Spa discounts, special spa packages, salon discounts, yoga and pilates deals, fitness center discounts and more!
  • Home & Garden – Furniture sales, floor sample sales, lighting discounts and home and garden decor deals.
  • Travel – Hotel and Resort discounts, airline deals and promotions.
  • Online Shopping Deals – Clothing sales, electronics discounts, sporting goods sales, shoe sales and more!

WHERE CITYSKOOP IS LOCATED Look for them in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and San Diego. Coming soon to Las Vegas, Boston, Miami and Atlanta.

Membership is FREE, so sign up today!!

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Grocery Outlet and salvage grocery stores

Posted on October 11, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Cooking and Eating, San Francisco Bay Area | Tags: , , , , |

Shop at  salvage grocery stores and feed a family of four on $3 a day.

A salvage grocery store is a store that usually sells all the groceries returned by a supermarket to their warehouse. Why were they returned? Sometimes due to a case getting dropped or punctured which ruins one or two cans or boxes. Sometimes due to a manufacturer overestimating how many of an item to produce. Sometimes due to a label change or warehouse closing. For whatever reason these excess goods must be sold. Items whose packaging is compromised are discarded and the rest sent out by the truckload to end up for sale at your local salvage grocery store.

Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Grocery Outlet currently encompasses over 133 independently operated stores in 6 Western States.  Click here for their store finder page. Typically, Grocery Outlets are located in cities large and small and in all kinds of neighborhoods. . I have shopped at the store in Redwood City and also the two in San Jose.  I love shopping here, every trip is like a treasure hunt.  My big score last trip was all kinds of Nestle morsels (dark chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, etc.) for only $1.50 per package in anticipation of my holiday baking. On top of their discounted prices, they also take manufacturer coupons.

The only downside is that when you find something you really like, it might not be there again. I bought some packages of Aidell’s Ginger and Mango turkey sausage cheap . I grilled them at a BBQ with some friends.  Everyone raved about the sausage, it was fantastic.  I went back to buy more, but alas, it was all gone. I can’t even find it at any of the regular grocery stores near me.

There is a great downloadable brochure on feeding a family of four on $3 per day on the Grocery Outlet  web site with menus and recipes.

Last night, Inside Edition had a story about getting groceries for less by shopping at salvage grocery stores. You can read it here:

Here is a directory listing of State by State U.S. Discount and Salvage Grocery Stores

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