Archive for October 2010


Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am SO excited right now! There's one food that I'm completely and totally addicted to- SUSHI! I woke up starved this morning and couldn't stop thinking about it. After I did some research on Urban Spoon, My very sweet hubby agreed to take me to a new Japanese restaurant that we hadn't tried before, Samurai.

We don't go out for sushi very often because it's so expensive, so I was super excited.
When we arrived they handed us lunch menus, and to my surprise, they had a really awesome deal- 3 rolls of your choice (from a list), miso soup and ginger salad for $10.95. I was a little skeptical of how the quality would be because of the low price but all my fears were laid to rest!

The miso soup was possibly the best I have ever had. I can't say what made it stand out, but it was SO good! Lots of tofu and seaweed.

The ginger salad was okay. Just a basic salad but it seems who ever made the dressing today really liked onions, as the onion flavor in the dressing really overpowered everything else. I love onions though so no biggie for me.

The sushi...I ordered a chicken tempura roll, a spicy tuna roll, and a yellow tail roll. Everything was SO fresh and delicious! If you like raw fish (I LOVE it) the yellow tail was phenomenal! I couldn't believe all the food we got for just a little more money than a meal at McDonalds.

Of course, no sushi meal is complete without some sake. :)

I enjoy making sushi at home and have the equipment to make it, but I likely would have spent as much on ingredients as we did on this awesome lunch.

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Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween! Time for ghosts, goblins, and of course Halloween parties! We had a fun get-together last night, and I wanted to share a few of the frugal and fun recipes for the party food.

Mr. and Mrs. Meathead

These are so simple to make and are so cute for Halloween. Simply cover a fake skull (I got a 3 pack of these on Amazon for about $4, but sometimes you can find them at the dollar store as well) with whipped cream cheese, then use that as a glue to stick shaved ham to it. Insert olives in the eye sockets and wala! Spooky!

Jello "Shots"

Another really simple recipe thats perfect for Halloween. I used 3 boxes of red gelatin (that I got for free from a recent Walgreens sale). Dissolve the gelatin in 4 cups of hot water, then add 2 cups of vodka. The syringes came from Ebay- I got 50 for $26.95. Fill the syringes, chill overnight and you're all set!

Bloody Good Punch

I came up with this recipe on a whim. I had some leftover jello shot mixture so I used that as a base. I mixed in a 2 liter bottle of lemon/lime club soda, about a cup of grenadine, a cup or so of Kirsch (cherry liquor) and about 2 more cups of vodka. Of course, no spooky punch would be complete without a scary frozen hand (Just fill a disposable glove with water and freeze).

Hope everyone had a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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Good for you Enchiladas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alright, if anyone actually reads my posts I'm sure they can tell by now I am bored as can be. I've been quarantined for 4 days with a contagious virus, so my only outlet is the internet (joy!). I've posted about every meal I've made/eaten today and then some. Hopefully I'll be able to go back to work very soon, but until then I'll just be blogging away!

I've been on this Hungry Girl kick lately. I was surfing around earlier and came across this recipe for Enchiladas with White Sauce. They look amazing but with 624 calories and an entire day's worth of saturated fat in one serving, I knew I could do much better. Here's my very own version:

Tina's Good for you Enchiladas (2 servings):

1 cup of soy crumbles (I used these by Boca)
2 whole grain flat-out wraps
1/2 can (about 6-8tbs) fat-free refried beans
1 laughing cow light cheese wedge
3 tbs fat-free sour cream
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2-3 tbs chopped onion
diced tomato (optional)
chopped green onion (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Warm the soy crumbles, diced onion, and spices together in a saucepan over low heat.

Melt the laughing cow wedge in a saucepan over low heat, and stir in the sour cream.

Cut both of the flat-out wraps in half (not lengthwise- the other way). Spread 1/1/2- 2 tbs of refried beans on each half, followed by 1/4 cup of the warmed soy crumble mixture.

Roll the enchiladas up and place in a pan. Top with sour cream sauce mixture. Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and green onions.

I served these with the jalapeno hot sauce I made and half of a 100 calorie pack of guacamole. I estimated that these were about 350 calories (including the guac), and very low in fat. Not too bad compared to the original version!

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Got a pack of peppers? Make hot sauce!

Over the summer I planted a little garden in my backyard. Most of the plants did great this year, and my jalapeno plant was no exception. I harvested about 20 jalapenos from my lil plant today.

This of course poses the question- just what does one do with 20 jalapenos? I wasn't really in the mood for poppers- I wanted to do something more creative. After some time searching the web I ended up on my favorite recipe website again-, and found this recipe for jalapeno hot sauce.


  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 10 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

  • In a medium glass or enamel lined sauce pan over high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion and salt; saute for 4 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add the vinegar.
  • Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator.
WOO WEE this stuff was HOT! I only used 8 jalapenos too! I'm thinking that it's because I let them ripen to the point of getting red. I'm so glad I wore gloves while I was cutting them. I gobbled this up tonight with some enchiladas that I made and it was awesome!

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Frugal Hungry Girl Meals

I've been home sick all week. I've never missed this much work before, and I'm starting to go a bit stir crazy. One thing keeping me sane is making meals from my new Hungry Girl cookbooks. Here's what I've had so far today:


Eggs Bene-Chick


  • 1/2 light English muffin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 slice extra-lean ham
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Hellmann's/Best Foods Dijonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon yogurt (or plain yogurt with a squirt of lemon juice)
  • Cooking Directions

    To make sauce, combine mayo, Dijonnaise, butter, and yogurt. Set aside.

    Crack egg gently into a small dish and set aside.

    Fill a medium pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower temperature until a steady (but very low) boil is reached.

    Gently pour egg into the pot and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes (3 for a runnier egg, 5 for a very firm one), or until egg white is mostly opaque. Carefully remove and plate egg with a spatula. Use a paper towel to soak up any excess water.

    Heat ham and muffin (toast muffin, if desired). Microwave sauce for about 20 seconds and stir (add more water for thinner sauce).

    Top muffin with ham and egg.

    Cover with sauce and enjoy!

    Eggs Bene-chick

    183 calories and 8g fat

    Eggs Benedict, Average

    Calories: 892 | Total Fat: 71.9g (HOLY CRAP!)

    Okay, I just had to look into this further. Here's some more nutritional info for the tradional eggs benedict recipe on the link above:

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 892
    Calories from Fat 647

    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 71.9g 111 %
    Saturated Fat 38.3g 192 %
    Cholesterol 805mg 268 %
    AGGGG Factor A Jillion%

    And for Lunch:

    Big Bad Burger Wrap

    1 large La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb/High Fiber tortilla (I used a Flat-Out Multi-Grain wrap - still has 100 calories as the tortilla does but more fiber & nutrients)
    1 Boca Original Meatless Burger (I used Morningstar Farms brand)
    1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
    1 pickle spear, chopped
    1 tsp mustard
    1 tsp ketchup
    2 dashes Franks Red Hot original cayenne pepper sauce

    Prepare Boca patty according to box directions. Chop patty into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

    To make sauce, combine mustard, ketchup and hot sauce in small dish; stir well and set aside.

    Warm tortilla in microwave for 10 seconds. Lay tortilla flat and spread cheese wedge on top.

    Place chopped burger and pickle in the center of tortilla. Top with sauce. Fold the sides of the tortilla in, and then then roll it up from the bottom.

    makes 1 serving.

    This recipe is from the Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 Cookbook.
    I made a few changes when I made mine; didn't use the pickle or hot sauce, and instead of mustard and ketchup I used a squirt of Dijionnasse (just 5 calories per serving!), and left out the pepper sauce. This was very good! Definitely one that I'll make again.

    I served this with a simple greek salad- lettuce, a couple of tablespoons of reduced-fat feta, and cherry tomates splashed with some red wine vinegar- yum!

    199 calories, 5.5g fat, 27.5g carbs, 16.5g fiber, 23,5g protein

    McDonalds Mac Snack Wrap- 330 Calories, 19 g Fat, 26g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 15g Protein

    (Keep in mind that the nutritional info is for the original recipe, not for my version of it. )

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    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    I recently discovered an awesome cookbook author, Lisa Lillian aka Hungry Girl. The concept of her cooking method is taking every day food that everyone loves, and transforming it from calorie-laden messes into healthy, delicious dishes!

    Here's a little bit about Lisa:

    Hungry Girl is not a nutritionist. She's just hungry.

    Lisa Lillien (aka Hungry Girl) is a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Hungry Girl brand. She is the founder of, the free daily email service that entertains and informs hungry people everywhere. Lisa is a typical woman battling the same food issues most females struggle with every day. Lisa considers herself a foodologist, not because she has some kind of fancy degree, but because she is obsessed with food how wonderful it is, and how much of it she can eat and still fit into her pants.

    After some shopping around I found the Hungry girl books were the cheapest on Amazon. I ordered two- 200 recipes under 200 calories and recipes and survival strategies for guilt-free eating the real world, in addition to a set of handy recipe cards.

    The books are amazing- filled with tons of great recipes, tips, and entertaining food facts. All of the recipes have nutritional information as well, which is great! I hit the grocery store today armed with a list of ingredients I needed to start making these recipes, and a fistful of coupons.

    Tonight for dinner, I made:

    Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich:


    * 1/3 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original)

    * Dash each salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, or more to taste

    * 1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)

    * 3 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast

    * 1 tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

    * 1 small hamburger bun (light, if available)

    * 2 slices tomato

    * 2 hamburger dill pickle chips

    * 1 leaf romaine lettuce


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Using a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Season the crumbs with as much salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder as you like, and mix well. Place crumbs in one small dish and egg substitute in another.

    Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with a dash each of salt and pepper. Then, coat chicken on both sides—first with egg substitute, and then with seasoned crumbs.

    Place chicken on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Top chicken with a light mist of nonstick spray.

    Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

    Flip the chicken over, and add another light mist of nonstick spray. Cook for an additional 10–12 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and coating looks crispy.

    Spread half of the mayo on each half of the bun. On the bun bottom, place chicken, tomato, pickles, and lettuce, and then top with the other half of the bun. Enjoy!

    PER SERVING (1 sandwich): 283 calories, 3.75g fat, 940mg sodium, 45g carbs, 11.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 28g protein

    (KFC's original chicken sandwich has 450 calories and 22 grams of fat).



    • 3 ounces fat-free block cheddar cheese
    • 1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss Cheese
    • 2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup light soy milk
    • 1 cup low-fat turkey or vegetable chili (I didn't use the chili)
    • 1 (7-ounce) bag baked tortilla chips
    • 3/4 cup salsa
    • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

    Yields 6 servings.

    Place all 3 cheeses in saucepan with soy milk. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally. Continue until all cheeses have melted and your cheese sauce is thoroughly mixed and hot.

    Prepare chili according to package directions.

    Microwave chips in bowl until warm and then spread them out on large platter.

    Pour cheese sauce over chips. Top with chili. Spoon salsa and sour cream on top.

    Nutritional analysis per serving: 216 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 671 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugars, 13 grams protein.

    (Taco Bell's Nacho Supreme has 440 calories and 24 grams of fat! Yikes!!!)

    I have to say- I am SO impressed! Both of these recipes are insanely good! The Fiber One used as breading sounds strange, but OMG it was awesome! The queso sauce for the nachos was so good you would never know it was low fat at all!

    I can't wait until tomorrow so I can try more HG recipes. :)

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    FREE Gain Dish Soap at Wal-Mart!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    HOT Deal alert! Gain Dish Soap is $.97 right now at Wal-Mart. There's a $1 coupon in the October P&G insert making this totally free!

    I just ordered 20 coupons on Ebay for $1.93 (including shipping). That will make each bottle under $.10...stock up time!

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    Baby Deals

    I'll admit, since I don't have any (human) babies I don't really pay attention to those deals. However, in the past couple of weeks I've gotten quite a few requests from my mommy friends on deals for kids. Here's a tribute (via a compilation of several blogs) to all the moms!


    Over at The Thrifty Couple they create a list of the best deals on diapers every week, including a full list of printable coupons! Check it out by clicking HERE.


    Right now, has a coupon for $3 off any Similac Formula. Both Walmart and Target have bottles of the ready to feed formula for just $3.86. Making it just a mere 86c after the coupon!

    You can sign up with many of the major formula companies to get high value coupons & samples mailed to you periodically.

    Enfamil- click HERE

    Similac - click HERE

    Gerber- click HERE

    Everything Else:

    The Frugally Fabulous mom has an entire section on her blog devoted to baby/kid deals of all kinds- including toys, clothes, and everything in between. Check her out- click HERE!

    There are SO many mommy blogs out that keep you informed of all of the most current amazing deals. Have a special request? Let me know- I'm sure I can find just about anything you're looking for. :)

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    Groupon! Amazing Deals for your area- sign up NOW!

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    If you haven't signed up for Groupon yet you really should! It's totally legit- I've bought things on there with absolutely no problems! Here's how it works:

    Explore Your City at 50%-90% Off

    12 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 13 14Groupon negotiates huge discounts on popular local goods, services and cultural events. Then we offer the deals to thousands of subscribers in a free daily email. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy. So our subscribers get a great deal and the business gets a ton of new customers. Win-win.

    If you sign up by clicking HERE, you'll receive an email once a day with a new hot deal. Sometimes they are for local restaurants/businesses, and sometimes they are on-line deals. All of the deals are phenomenal though!

    Sign up now and start saving some serious cash!!

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    CVS Scenario week of 10/24/10

    Well, this is a pretty slow week at CVS. The rumors on the web is that they are saving all of the awesome deals fro Black Friday- let's hope that's the case! Anywho, here's how I'll be rolling my ECB's this week:

    Transaction #1:

    Bayer Contour $14.99 Get $5 eb Limit 1
      -$10 Bayer or Contour Glucose Meter or A1C Self Check (exp 10/31/2010) 8/8/2010 RP

    AZO Itch Relief Cream 1 oz or wipes 12 ct ($6.99) get $5 EB Limit 5

    = $21.99
    -$10 Bayer Q
    - $2 Azo Q
    - $7.99 ECB from last week
    = $2.00 + tax OOP

    Earn 5 and 5 ECB

    The monitors typically sell out very quickly. In the event that they don't have any I'll buy two Azo's. My OOP will be a little higher but I'll earn it back with ECB's.

    Transaction #2:

    AZO Itch Relief Cream 1 oz or wipes 12 ct ($6.99) get $5 EB Limit 5 x 2

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    Walgreens Scenario - week of 10/24/10

    This is a pretty good week at Walgreens. There's quite a few things free after RR. If you haven't started doing Walgreens deals yet this would be a great week to start! Here's my plan:

    10/24 - 10/30 weekly deals

    FREE After RR items:

    Contac Cold + Flu 28 ct $6 get $6 RR ($2 money maker!)

    • -$2 Printable Coupon HERE

    Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste 6 oz $3.49 get $3.50 RR ($1 money maker!)

    • -$1 Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste (exp 10/30/2010) 10/10/2010 SS

    Fillers (you need to have at least one item per coupon at Walgreens (RR's count as coupons, so I need to buy something cheap to raise my item count so the register doesn't beep)

    Royal Gelatin (perfect timing for the Jello Shots I'll be making for the Halloween party this weekend!) 5/$1

    Walgreens panty liners x 2 @ 2/$1

    Total = $11.49 + tax

    - $1 colgate Q
    - $2 Contac Q
    = $8.49 + Tax
    8RR from last week
    = $.49 OOP

    Earn $6 and $3.50 RR (and have 2.59, and 2 RR from last week).

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    Home made BBQ Sauce

    On my meal plan this week is BBQ Chicken. I've been thinking about it so long that I'm craving it like crazy! Imagine my disapointment when I opened the pantry and realized that I was completely out of BBQ sauce. Sure I could run to Publix and pick up a bottle, but (a) it's not on sale right now and (b) I'm quaranting myself to the house today due to a yucky case of pinkeye (BOO).

    I've made my own BBQ sauce before, and it is delicious and SO simple! Just dump a bunch of ingredients in a pot and sit back and enjoy the scent of sweet and smoky BBQ while it simmers. And to make matters even better, you can make it with staples found in your panry! Here's the recipe I'm using (modified slightly) from my favorite webiste,

    Big Al's K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce

    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1 cup tomato sauce
    • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
    • 2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.
    2. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary. Brush sauce onto any kind of meat during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

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    Meal Plan for the Week

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    I'll admit it- I've been terrible about following my meal plan. I've ordered pizza, Chinese, and made McDonald's runs. This isn't only bad for our budget, it's not good for out health either. I'm making a vow to stick with my meal plan this week, and I'm going to try to spend as little out of pocket as possible (I already have a majority of the ingredients for most of these meals).

    Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo, salad

    Wednesday: Pot Roast, noodles, salad

    Thursday: Gyros, greek salad

    Friday: Free Day- (going to Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens)

    Saturday: Shredded Beef Enchiladas (made with leftover pot roast)

    Sunday: Pork Tenderloin (sides TBD)

    Monday: BBQ Chicken, corn, & Mac & Cheese

    I plan on assembling these meals ahead of time (starting tonight) so I can just pop them in the oven (or slow cooker) when I'm ready to make them. Hopefully I'll be much better at sticking to my plan this week!

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    Fettucini Alfredo for dinner tonight!

    It's been a while since I have posted. I have been SO busy lately! Tonight my plan is to go home, do some cleaning, and cook a nice dinner for hubby and I. Here's what's on the menu (modified slightly from

    Unfortunately blogger isn't letting me upload any pics of this fabulous recipe, but if you click the link above it will take you directly to the recipe & pics.

    Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

    ecipe Photos


    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 cups milk
    • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


    Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

    I have a huge stockpile of pasta, cream cheese, and milk because of all of the recent Publix deals so this will be a perfect budget dinner for us. I make it all of the time, and it's definitely one of our favorites!

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