Extreme Couponing

Hey guys!  Did you miss me?  Kidding. 

Anyway, did you see that new show that aired last night on TLC?

 

Extreme Couponing goes into the lives of people who go to extreme lengths to get a deal or shall I say steal.  On the show last night, one families’ grocery total amounted to over one thousand dollars.  They paid $30 for the entire bill.  Yes, thirty dollars on a thousand dollars worth of purchases.  That just amazes me!  How does one go about saving $970 on his or her grocery bill?

I have a lot to learn in that department.  I generally pay little to no mind at the cost of items when grocery shopping.  Well, I take that back, I do compare the different prices for tomatoes, for example, and go with the cheaper variety.  However, I do not go with the store brand mustard just because it is cheaper.

Funny how I happened to catch the show this week.  On this coming Saturday, I am actually invited to a brunch hosted by some ladies who are sharing information on “Maximizing Your Grocery $avings.”DSC01177       

After watching the show, I can’t wait to learn more.  I wanted to start clipping coupons immediately–if only I could save a fraction of the money the shoppers saved.  Though I do worry I won’t be able to save all that much because most of the shoppers on the program appeared to be purchasing a lot of boxed goods.  I do have some staples that come in boxes like pasta, rice, cereal, but for the most part my shopping time is spent around the perimeters of the store.  I hope I learn some useful tips on Saturday and if so I’ll definitely share with you.

Now for the regularly scheduled program—the food.

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Breakfast Smoothie in a Bowl:

~1 frozen banana

~handful frozen strawberries

~cup lowfat milk

~scoop vanilla whey protein powder

~teaspoon blueberry flaxseed meal

All blended in the blender.

~handful vanilla honey granola (on top)DSC01159

My meat free lunch hit the spot.  I had a salad with greens, a roma tomato, a tablespoon of goat cheese, a few sesame almonds, and 2 tbsp. of light raspberry vinaigrette.

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I enjoyed a Chobani Peach Yogurt for some protein and sweetness.

On my way to the gym I had a Cinnamon Roll.  Larabar that is.  My energy bar fueled me through 33 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training that went something like the following with very little resting between sets to keep the heart rate up.

Machine Weight Reps/Sets
Pectoralis 35 lbs. 15/3
Triceps 30 lbs. 12/3
Biceps 15 lbs. 10/3
Crunches Bodyweight 25/1
Torso Twists Bodyweight 25 per side/1
Hamstring Curl 50 lbs. 12/3
Leg Press 60 lbs. 10/3
Low row 40 lbs. 10/3
Lunges Bodyweight 25 per leg/2
Wall Squats Bodyweight 25/1

I ended with a couple minutes of stretching before deciding I was super-hungry.  I called Chris once in the car and we decided to get take-out from Come Back Inn.DSC01169

I ordered a 9” veggie pizza with onions, bells, mushrooms, olives, and jalapenos.  I ate about 1/3 of it plus I had half of an Italian salad and two of the hub’s mozzarella sticks.  Underneath all of that cheese on the salad is an olive salad which has lots of flavor and some oil to coat the entire salad so no extra dressing is needed. 

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I still have not satisfied my cupcake craving, but I did come across this several.month.old. cookie in the back of the pantry cabinet to satisfy my need for something sweet.DSC01172

Big Question of the Night:  How do you pronounce coupon?  Do you say cue-pon or coo-pon?  I say the latter, coo-pon.  My friend from AL says cue-pon.  I’m thinking cue-pon is more of a southern country accent.  If you reply, please let me know where you’re from as well.  Just curious if the phonetics of the word is dependent upon region of the country in which people reside.

Smothered Potatoes and Sausage

Last night I wanted to cook something that did not take hours to cook, but was a home-cooked meal that would satisfy both me and my husband.  I remembered a coworker a few years back explaining what she was eating for lunch one day—leftover smothered potatoes.  The smothering technique involves cooking potatoes, meat, vegetables such as cabbage (smothered cabbage with pickled meat is an old favorite that Mom has cooked since I was a child) on low heat in a little bit of liquid in a covered saucepan.  Combining the smothered potatoes with the sweet Italian chicken sausage I purchased on Sunday made for a fulfilling, tasty meal.  I had a simple lettuce and tomato salad on the side topped with Newman’s Light Honey Mustard Dressing.

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Smothered Potatoes and Sausage

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. garlic

1.5 lbs. fingerling potatoes, chopped in 1” cubes

1 lb. sausage of choice, sliced (I used sweet Italian chicken)

1/4 + 1/2 c. of water

Salt and white pepper to taste

Tony Chacherie’s Creole Seasoning

1/2 c. green onions, chopped

Directions:

1.) Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add onions and cook on medium low about ten minutes until tender.

2.) Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

3.) Next add sausage and 1/4 c. water.  Cook until browned.

4.) Add potatoes and 1/2 c. water.  Season with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning and stir.

5.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes are soft and almost creamy. 

6.) Stir in green onions, heat about 5 minutes more, and serve.

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Today’s Breakfast

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Kashi Heart to Heart, Kashi Vanilla Island Shredded Wheat, Flaxseed, Blueberries, and 1 c. lowfat milk + Chai Tea

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Lunch: Turkey, Reduced Fat Swiss, Spring Mix, Honey Mustard + McIntosh Apple + Cherry Tomatoes

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I ate an apple pie Larabar before tutoring to tide me over til I got home.  That did not do the trick because I came home and snacked on pumpernickel pretzel sticks with greek olive hummus.  Then I decided to take it easy and watched “The Town” (since Chris and I started it last night but did not finish because I fell asleep), which was recommended during lunchtime talk yesterday.  I totally enjoyed the romantic action packed movie.

As for my stress free evening, I continued in that route by heating up a Kashi Roasted Vegetable Pizza.  Another simple salad was eaten alongside my pizza slices.

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I think I need some hot chocolate to finish off the stress free night.

Husband Turns 32

Yesterday was Chris’s 32nd birthday.  After work I asked him if he wanted to do anything to celebrate and he just wanted to stay home and get some pizza.  So I went to Come Back Inn to pick up a pizza with Italian sausage, onions, green pepper, jalapeños, mushroom, and black olives.  The pizza crust was thin and crispy just the way we like it.

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We also had a large Italian salad on the side which was full of mozzarella cheese, olive salad over iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, sliced egg, and salami.

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I had a slice and a half of pizza with some of the salad.

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Then I had some of the cake I bought for two.

DSC01604 It was not all that great because it was more chocolate candy than actual cake, but still a sweet treat nonetheless.  Rather than blog last night I decided to spend some QT with Chris since after all it was his birthday.

Yesterday morning I just wasn’t feeling my hot oatmeal so this morning I went with another favorite—peanut butter, yogurt, banana, and sweet potato pecan topped whole wheat toasted English muffin.

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Plus some hot chai tea.

For lunch I started with a bed of spring mix.

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Topped with some of the Italian salad from last night.

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I also had an apple for some sweetness.

After work I headed straight over to the gym.  I grabbed a Ultramet Lite Vanilla Smoothie at the cafe since my stomach was talking to me.  Then I proceeded to do 15 minutes on the elliptical, 40 minutes of weights, and 7 minutes on the stair climber to finish.

Dinner had to incorporate some of the broccoli from the husband’s garden. 

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I picked up some flank steak the other day with intentions on making fajitas, but I nixed that idea two nights ago to make bean enchiladas and saved the beef for tonight’s beef and broccoli.

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I used a recipe I found online that used a marinade of dry sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch (used flour instead).  It was a good thing I didn’t salt the dish because the lite soy sauce made it super salty.  The beef and broccoli was served over brown rice.

Finally, I had a small handful of granola and 2 dates since I was feeling snacky.  I also took a bite of last night’s cake too.

Now it’s time to hit the hay; only one more work day ’til the weekend! Yay!

Indecisiveness

I was indecisive about breakfast…

I couldn’t decide between an egg sandwich or peanut butter.

So I ate exceptionally late (more like lunch) and went with both.

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I was indecisive about gift buying…

So I went to three stores for one person and in the end made some purchases.  But I’m still unsure about the gifts.

Anne-Indecisive

source

I was indecisive about eating lunch since I ate such a late breakfast…

So I ate a Cherry Pie Larabar and a banana instead.

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I was indecisive about what toppings to put on my pizza…

So I put them all.

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Spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella—which resulted in tasty but soggy pizza. 😦

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I went back for a second slice.

I was indecisive about going to the gym…

So I wore my work out clothes all day and ultimately decided not to go.  Instead I rented a movie.

hemingway 

source

While snacking on a treat from a coworker called White Trash

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You might know it as Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies.  Basically it is Chex cereal coated in a mixture of peanut butter, butter, and melted chocolate; then dusted with powdered sugar.  It is very sweet for those with a sweet tooth.

Have you been indecisive about anything lately?

Walking in New Orleans

On Friday and Saturday, after enjoying some of these…

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Apple Spice Muffins (will share recipe in another post)

and lots of this…

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and all of this…

Lemon Cupcake with Raspberry Filling9-21-10 006

I desperately felt the need for a good workout.  After baking muffins and finishing some leftover pizza from Friday night, I met Mom at work so we could get our “swole” on. ;) 

Mom and I had to take another trip to the jeweler downtown so we decided to do that before working out.  Once downtown I mentioned how gorgeous the weather was and that we should just go walking the quarter to get our exercise rather than head back to the gym.  It was way too beautiful to be indoors.  So we decided to go walking in New Orleans.

There is nothing like walking around downtown hearing the sidewalk bands play well-known songs customary of New Orleans, listening to people chatting and laughing, hearing the sounds of the ferries and streetcars, children tapping on the street to earn a buck, or the bars filled with cheering crowds.  Not to mention all the sights one might come across.

F quarter 

Mom and I walked up and down the river and made a stop at the flea market.  We came upon a dance competition where people mostly in their twenties and thirties were swinging away. 

Dancing Dance 2 Dance 3

We then headed through the flea market where you can find all kinds of neat things.

 Fruit

HandmadeJewelry

Pics  Handmade 2 Masks

We continued with our walk past Jax Brewery.

Jax Brewery

Walking

Mom in the zone.

River

View of the river and Crescent City Connection. My apologies for poor picture quality; I only had my iphone on me.

me 

Once we got to the end of the Riverwalk, we both agreed we needed some fueling.

We stopped at the Time Out Sports Bar and Grill right outside the Riverwalk Mall and sat al fresco taking in the sights and sounds.

We started with a refreshing Arnold Palmer.

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And shared some Ultimate Nachos.Ult nachos

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They definitely could have used something else.  More beans, the addition of salsa.  The cheese was concession stand, movie theater cheese.  I hoped for real cheese since the menu described it as cheddar cheese.  I guess my hopes were set to high and I should have gathered that it would be fake since the waiters were dressed like referees in black and white striped shirts and most of the patrons were decked out in purple and gold as they cheered on the LSU football team as the sounds played in the background.   

After finishing our drinks we headed back to the car to get home.   Once I got home my hub suggested he and I go for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  It was nice to get out and do that with him.  And we decided we would take the bikes to the levee along the river to do it more.

I really shouldn’t have eaten the nachos earlier in the day because hub and I had plans for a dinner date.  After showering, we headed to Sun Ray Grill right around the corner.

We started with the delta mushrooms. 

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Broiled with butter and parmesan served with French bread for topping.  It was tasty and buttery to say the least.  I had two slices of the bread with the mushrooms.

Next up, I tried the soup special, Butternut Squash Soup.  Hub had the gumbo.

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The soup was a bit too creamy for me, I thought it would more of a broth based soup.  I couldn’t even eat half of it.  Also, there was no meat in it, but it tasted like meat based stock was used—much like the sausage that was in hub’s gumbo.

Finally for my meal I ordered the pan roasted fish orleans served with whipped potatoes and veggies.  When the dish came out it looked nothing like brown buttered fish with potatoes and veggies.  It was more of a casserole that was brought to me.  So I waited for the waitress to return and asked what the dish was before me.  It turned out she thought I wanted the Mixed Seafood Pan Roast.  They took the casserole back and I decided I would just share hub’s Cioppino Pasta  rather than have the fish. I did eat a massive amount of nachos earlier in the day, so I wasn’t that hungry anyways.

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My portion on a salad plate.  The pasta was a creamy tomato sauce with shrimp that were cooked just right, mushrooms, and fried calamari with a tasty green sauce on top.  Looking at the menu, I do not remember tasting any crab in the dish, but maybe I just did not get any in my portion.

Overall, I enjoyed the food, although it is rich.  I am sure one could find some lighter fare if desired.  The service was great as there were not that many other people dining.  The chef even makes a visit to all tables to see how the meal is.  Hub and I agreed we would be back to try some other items on the menu.

All in all, Saturday was a wonderful day with plentiful eats and spending time with people who matter most.

Question of the Day:  When dining out, do you eat what you want or try to order healthier fare?

Family, Football, Food

Today was my usual relaxing Sunday.  I started the day off with some coffee to give me a bit of a pick me up.  I can’t recall who, but last week another blogger recommended adding cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing.  Well I took her advice and tried it.  It was a very nice addition to my coffee and chicory brew.  So if you like cinnamon give it a try.  I dare you!  :) 

Shortly after my first cup of coffee and blog reading/email checking/bill paying it was time for some food.  I fixed myself two pancakes using Bisquick Heart Smart mix.  The directions call for milk, but I was all out. 

My mixture included:

  • 1/3 c bisquick
  • 1 egg
  • water
  • fat free powdered coffee creamer (to replace milk)
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • cottage cheese (on top)
  • maple syrup (on top)

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Pancakes on hub’s garden box containing broccoli plants

After devouring these bad boys, I felt the need to go to the gym.  I had not been in over two weeks due to getting a cold and my attempts to let my hip heel, but I haven’t felt my best self lately.  So I went to the gym for some cardio and strength training.  I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by 30 minutes of weights, and 15 minutes on the arc trainer.  My weight routine looked like this with 3 sets of each:

  • 12 reps biceps at 15 lbs.
  • 15 reps triceps at 30 lbs.
  • 12 reps pectorals at 30 lbs.
  • 10 reps leg lifts at 30 lbs.
  • 12 reps leg extension at 45 lbs.
  • 20 reps total abs at 60 lbs.
  • 18 reps adductor at 60 lbs.
  • 15 reps abductor at 50 lbs.
  • 12 reps leg press at 40 lbs.
  • 10 reps row at 40 lbs.

When I got home from the gym I needed some food.  The Saints game was on so I quickly heated up a slice of pizza left from Saturday night.

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It was still tasty and filling.  After eating I headed to my sister’s to visit with her family and their new addition.

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She is such a little angel!

I may or may not have brought and eaten some of my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and some of my nephew’s goldfish crackers.

After watching the miserable loss of the Saints (we’ll get those birds next time) I headed home after stopping at the grocery to get some staples for the week.

Instead of cooking dinner, I nabbed one of the rotisserie chickens to throw onto a big spinach salad.

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Spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, gorgonzola cheese, fat free raspberry vinaigrette—yummy restaurant style salad!

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I finally finished off my night with this sweet treat my hub surprised me with.9-21-10 015

Not the healthiest, more like portioned controlled, but still 170 calories.  And it was appreciated and delish!  Thanks babe! 😉

Question of the Night:  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

My favorite ice cream flavor is, hmmmmm….., peanut butter cup or pistachio.