Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Spaghetti Squash Marinara (Makes 4-6 Big Kid Servings)

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 15 Ounce Can Chunky Tomato Sauce (I use Organic Muir brand)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Onion, diced
1 Carrot, peeled and shredded
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
3. Place the squash on a lightly greased baking sheet and cook for 45-50 minutes or until softened.
4. Heat the oil in a saucepan over low to medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and carrot for 2-3 minutes or until onion is translucent.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the basil.
6. Remove the squash from the over and let squash cool for several minutes.
7. Shred the squash with a fork until stringy. Tip: Hold the stem end of the squash with a towel or a glove so you don’t burn your hand while you’re shredding it.
8. Place the spaghetti squash in a bowl and top with the marinara sauce.
9. Serve.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Wishing my readers a "Happy Birthday!". When you celebrate with freebies, the celebration extends all year long and you need to be signing-up for new freebies well in advance of your birthday.

Birthday Freebies:
Stores & Companies
Ace Rewards – $5 off $20 coupon
Baltimore Orioles - free ticket month of birthday
Border Rewards – free dessert and 15% coupon
Chicken of the Sea - 25 cent coupon - birthday card, 15% coupon upon sign-up
DSW Rewards – coupons (values vary by location)
Hollywood Video - free rental on your birthday, no sign-up
Lancome - 5 lipsticks & free shipping w/purchase month of birthday
Sephora - lip gloss trio or vanilla cupcake bubbles (in-store or online)
The Children's Place - coupon for 15 or 20% off
The Coconut ScrapShop – gift certificate
Disney World or Disneyland - free admission on your birthday

Sweet Treats: Coffee, Ice Cream & Donuts
Baskin Robbins Birthday Club – free ice cream
Bruster's - free ice cream
Caribou Coffee - free drink
Cold Stone Creamery Birthday Club – free ice cream
Culver's - free sundae when you buy one
Dairy Queen- free Blizzard when you buy one
Dunkin Donuts - free ice cream
Friendly's - free ice cream or kids meal w/purchase
Krispy Kreme- free dozen when you buy one
Marble Slab Creamery - free ice cream
Rita's - free small Italian Ice
Sheridan's Frozen Custard - free treat
Starbucks - free drink on your birthday


Applebee's - free dessert (no sign-up)
Arby's Extras - free food w/purchase
Bd’s Mongolian Grill – free meal plus dessert
Bakers Square- free pie
Biaggi's - free dessert
Black Angus Prime Club – free dinner w/purchase
Black-eyed Pea - free food
Boston's - free pasta or dessert
Buca di Beppo eClub - free dessert
Buffalo Wild Wings - free dessert
Captain D's - free meal
Dave and Busters - $5 game play
Duke's Chowder House - free entree
Famous Daves P.I.G. Club – free food, kids included
FirstWatch Cafe - free entree
Fuddruckers - free shake w/purchase
Houlihan's - free entree
Islands - free dessert month after your birthday
Joe's Farm Grill - free meal plus dessert
Joe's Crabshack - free appetizer w/purchase
Lone Star Steakhouse - $15 gift card
Macaroni Grill- free dessert w/purchase
Maggiano's- free dessert, $10 coupon with sign-up
Mimi's Cafe - free food, free breakfast with sign-up
Minsky's Pizza - free menu items
Moe's Southwest Grill - free entree
Noodles & Company - free entree
Orange Julius - free food
Old Country Buffet- free buffet when you buy one
On The Border - free food
Outback Steakhouse - free dessert on your birthday, no sign-up
Papa Murphy's - free food
Provino's - free meal, no sign-up
Qdoba Mexican Grill - free burrito w/entree purchase
Quizno's - free cookie
Ram Restaurant- free Mile High Mud Pie
Red Lobster - $5 coupon
Red Robin – free burger
Ruby Tuesday - free burger w/purchase
Salsarita's - free burrito w/drink purchase
Schlotzky's - free sandwich
Sonic Cruisers - free food
Subway - free meal w/purchase
Sweet Tomatoes - free meal
Texas de Brazil - free meal w/purchase
Texas Land & Cattle- free food w/purchase
The Melting Pot's Club Fondue - free dessert with purchase
The Keg Steakhouse- free prime rib meal, in-store sign-up
Timber Lodge Steakhouse – free food
T.G.I.Friday's - coupon
TODAI – free meal on your birthday in party of 2, no sign-up

Birthday Freebies 4 "Kids Only":
Check with your local grocery store because many give free birthday cakes to celebrate a 1st birthday.
Applebee's - free meal for child, fill out postcard at restaurant
Bob Evans Kid Times Birthday Club - free food (12 & younger)
Burger King - free kids meal
California Pizza Kitchen - free meal (10 & younger)
Captain D's Kids Club - free food (12 & younger)
Cheeburger Cheeburger - free kids meal
Chuck E. Cheese's- free tokens (12 & younger)
Denny’s – free meal (10 & younger)
Geoffrey’s Birthday Club – Toys 'R Us coupon value varies (ages 2-10)
HEBuddy Birthday Club – free points and coupons (Texas only)
IKEA Kids Club – free stuff (in-store sign-up)
Marble Slab Kid's Club - free ice cream (12 & younger)
Michael’s The Knack Kids Club - coupons all year long (12 & younger)
Shoney's Kids Club - free meal (10 & younger)
Sonic Wacky Pack Birthday Club – free meal (13 & younger)
Target Birthday Club - sign-up to get some treats
The Old Spaghetti Factory Kids Club- free meal (12 & younger)
Zaxby’s Kidz Club - free meal (10 & younger)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Portobello Pizzas

Portobello Pizzas (4 Big Kids)

1 15 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/4 Tsp Thyme, Basil and Oregano
1 Tsp Salt
4 Portobello Mushrooms, stems removed (wiggle the stem back and forth gently to remove)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a bowl to combine.
2. Preheat the oven the 400 degrees.
3. Place a piece of foil on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with olive oil.
4. Place the mushrooms stem side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. If there’s a lot of excess liquid on the cookie sheet, discard.
5. Place the mushrooms stem side up, cover with 2-3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
6. Bake the mushrooms for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
7. Serve.

Explaining pink eye to a 3 year old.

Me: Don't cough in your hand and rub your eyes.
Mak: Why?
Me: You know what, just don't rub your eyes period.
Mak: Why?
Me: Because, just don't.
Mak: Why?
Me: Because you're sick.
Mak: But my eyes itchy.
Me: Ok, well don't rub them.
Mak: Why?
Me: Because you'll get pink eye.
Mak: I want pink eye.
Me: No you don't.
Mak: Yes I do.
Me: No, trust me you don't.
Mak: Yes I do. I looooooove pink.
Me: Yeah, but trust me you don't want your eyes to be that color.
Mak: I think I will look beautiful.
Me: Yeah ok, with crusty, goopy, nasty, pussy eyes.
Mak: But it will match my dress.

It's like talking to a brick wall some times.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use Sittercity For Free!

The Defense Department now is paying for an Internet service that helps military families find in-home child care, nannies, tutors, elder care providers, pet sitters and other services in their local communities. Active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps members and their families, as well as National Guard and reserve members and their families, can receive a free membership to the service, which costs an average of $120 a year. Retirees are not eligible.

You must go to to activate your free membership. Those looking for the services can do it in two ways, through a sitter search or by posting a job. Those looking for child care, elder care providers, pet sitters and house cleaners can use specific search criteria, including geographic areas. The database will pull from more than 600,000 child care provider profiles nationwide. But there are more than 1 million care provider profiles across all five types of care — child, tutoring, senior, pet, and home, said Mary Schwartz, spokeswoman for Sittercity.

The program provides military families with instant access to caregiver profiles, including background checks, pictures, references, reviews, a four-step screening process, and a specialized matching technology to help select the right caregiver. They also are working to include military spouses who provide family child care in their homes, too. doesn’t employ the caregivers; it simply helps match them with families. The family hiring the caregiver negotiates the salary or fee with the caregiver.

The Taco Bell Diet

Ok Taco Bell, you've got my interest... Actually this is one of the few fast food restaurants I ever eat at since they will custom make any of their food by replacing the meat with beans. When I went to their website to check the nutrition information I was greeted by sad news. Apparently their founder Glen Bell passed away earlier this week )-:RIP Glen Bell, now I understand the name of your company.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mediterranean Diet

This is a new diet I'm going to try. It doesn't take much change on my behalf since I don't eat meat anyway. BUT I get to eat more bread, rice and grain which I'm really excited about. HaHa.

Healthy eating is becoming more and more important in United States. If you are focused on eating better and getting healthier, consider making a few changes by following the Mediterranean diet. Actually, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet. It is simply a healthy eating pattern – a pattern close to the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association. This diet is high in the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) as present in fish, olive oil and nuts; and low in saturated fats and trans fats. It provides excellent source of fiber and antioxidants through encouragement of eating lots of plant-based foods. Eating this way has many significant health benefits, while not sacrificing taste or feeling like you are on a diet.

Numerous studies have found that people living in the United States are more prone to obesity, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and high cholesterol than those living in a Mediterranean culture. Leading contributors to our health concerns include unhealthy eating patterns, a lack of physical activity, or a combination of the two. The eating habits of people in Mediterranean countries show significant health benefits in the these and other major disease categories.

This pyramid is a great guideline to follow:
I liked what the research was saying about the long term weight and health benefits of diets found in Mediterranean cultures so I developed the Meditermerican System for my family and created my upcoming book, Fast Life, Good Food. It combines Mediterranean eating principles and healthy convenience foods together to have delicious healthy meals at home without spending hours in the kitchen.

How do I start creating a Mediterranean eating pattern?

  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That is where you will find the healthiest and unprocessed foods

  • Eat 7-10 fresh fruits and vegetables servings each day. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks.

  • Incorporate beans, nuts, cereals and seeds into your daily routine.

  • Olive oil as the main source of dietary fat – EVOO baby!

  • Choose cheese and yogurt as your main dairy foods. Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2% milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese

  • More fish, seafood, and poultry – fewer eggs and red meat.

  • Be creative with your grains and starches (see the Great Grains blog)

  • Replace processed salad dressings with Olive Oil and Vinegar

  • Fat free or cholesterol free is not a green light for healthy living. Some foods will replace natural fats with high amount of sugar or transfats to keep it tasting good.

  • Make label reading a habit. Good rule of thumb, if the ingredients don’t sound like food they probably aren’t.

Once you experience the delicious and healthy choices the Mediterranean diet has to offer, it just might become your favorite diet.

Mac Snack Wrap

This makes me kinda queezy to look at... Blah! McDonald’s (or at least our local McDolands) has started marketing a new snack-wrap called the "Mac Snack Wrap". Ingredients include everything inside of a Big Mac but in smaller quantities: 1/2 of an "all-beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions". But instead of the sesame-seed bun, the Mac Snack Wrap is neatly tucked into a warm flour tortillia. In the US it sells for $1.49.

I don't know who McDonald's is trying to fool with this one... With the Mac Snack Wrap containing a whopping 330 calories vs the 540 of the BigMac, chances are, between the low price, and the fact it only contains half a meat patty, folks will feel more inclined to eat two... Consuming 660 calories, rather then the 540 of just eating a Big Mac... I don't know if McDonalds is REALLY trying to pass this off as a healthier alternitive to the BigMac...

But just a word of advice, if you're going to McDonalds craving a "snack wrap" their Grilled Honey Mustard Snack Wraps, Ranch Snack Wraps, and Chipotle BBQ Snack Wraps only contain 260 and 270 calories... Which IS a little more calories then you want to consume for a "snack" but choosing the chicken option would atleast save you almost 100 calories a wrap!

Swag Bucks

Swag Bucks is an online search engine that allows you to earn "digital dollars" called "Swag Bucks" for simply searching the web. "Swag Bucks" can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise on Just try it out...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Octo-Mom's Bikini Body

Hmm... Something smells fishy... This woman had 8 kids just a year ago (January 26, 2009) and in that year has gone from 270lbs to 120 lbs? Gotten rid of all her stretch marks... And where's her C-Section Scar?

So we're supposed to believe that she didn't have ANY work done? Ehh... I'm not buying it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Free Online Tutoring for Military Families

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Free and unlimited tutoring in a variety of subjects ranging from secondary education mathematics to resume writing is now available online for all service members and their families.

A new service provided by the Department of Defense matches youths and adults with certified, professional tutors at Tutors can assist students in more than 16 subjects - from kindergarten to college-level calculus, statistics and physics - as well as state standardized tests and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) exams. The website always matches one student with one tutor, an individual certified in the student's subject and level of education. Students and tutors will meet in an interactive workspace through a chat session. An uploaded book report, for example, can be opened in the workspace, allowing both student and tutor to review the material. Specialized workspaces for subjects such as math or chemistry include toolbars with functions for creating equations, charts and graphs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Black Bean Cakes

Black Bean Cakes (Makes About 20 Patties)

1 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Ear of Corn, cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted)
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup Cilantro, packed
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
2 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
1 Egg

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree.
2. Heat a large saute pan over low to medium heat.
3. Place 1 Tbsp of the bean mixture in the pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture into an even circle (the size and shape of a pancake).
4. Cook for 3 minutes.
5. Flip on the other side and cook another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Cook remaining patties and move to a plate.
7. Cool and serve.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes (Serves 6-8)

1 Onion
4 Potatoes, peeled
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Flour
Vegetable Oil
Apple Sauce, for serving
Sour Cream, for serving

1. Grate the onions and potatoes into a large strainer over a bowl (you could also do this through the grating blade in a food processor).
2. Press on the potato mixture in the strainer and discard any clear liquid in the bowl under the strainer.
3. Place the onion, potatoes, egg, flour, salt and peeper in a bowl and throughly combine.
4. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a saute pan over medium heat.
5. Place one heaping tablespoon of potatoes in the oil forming a circle.
6. Cook for 2-3 and minutes or until golden and flip over.
7. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until cooked through and remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
8. Can be served immediately or kept warm in a 300 degree oven until all latkes are prepared.
9. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Freebies

Get a free sample of Post-It Durable Tabs directly from Post-It. Post-It has sent me great free samples in the past. And get coupons to Save $1 on Post-It Flag Durable Tabs.

Another free gift pack offer from SC Johnson's Right@Home website: free Right@Home Glade Fresh Start Gift Pack goes to the first 3,000 to register and qualify for it. Each gift pack has a Glade Sense & Spray Automatic Freshener. In order to qualify, you must be a member of Right@Home (easy to sign-up and free to do so) and
you can not have won a gift pack within the past 180 days. Guess what? It's pretty much impossible to figure out between the request time and the time you receive it if your last gift pack disqualifies you. So go ahead and request it and let SC Johnson sort it out. I'm guessing that I should be due to get one of these gift packs (if not this one then the next one). Good luck!

Get a free sample of Slim-Fast Peanut Butter Crunch Time snack bar from Sam's Club (no membership number required). Click on the yellow button "Get a Sample Now". Thanks goes to Pink Coupon Cafe for this new sample alert! The free samples from Sam's Club and Costco are great ones to get, and usually they do not require that you be a member to request them (just leave the membership number blank if there is a space for it). You should receive your free sample within about 4 weeks.

Also from Sam's Club, you can get a free sample of Mariani Dried Plums. Click on the yellow text "Get a Free Sample" and type in the code SUPERFRUIT. The free samples from Sam's Club and Costco are great ones to get, and usually they do not require that you be a member to request them (just leave the membership number blank if there is a space for it).

But if you do happen to be a Sam's Club member then you can also get a free sample of Bounce Dryer Sheets.

If you are interested in finding out more about Atkins, you can sign-up for a free Atkins Quick Start Kit that includes 3 free Atkins bars, a Carb Counter, and a Quick-Start Guide. You should receive your kit in 10 to 14 days.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Purse Organizer

I bought my mom one of these Purse Organizers last Christmas... And honestly I always wished I would have gotten myself one. Well here's the latest project I've been working on... I found the instructions on Craftster a while back and FINALLY got around to making it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

5 years ago today...

My husband and I got married!

Yeah, dressed like that... January 7th, 2005 in a little courthouse in Arizona... We had been talking about marrage for 6 months... My husband happined to get off work at lunch (it was on a Friday) and he said "hey, lets go get married today". So we rushed down to the court house for got our marrage lisence. While waiting the three hours till our apt to get married, we realized we never got rings... Even though we had been talking about getting married for 6 months, although my husband will tell you he never thought I was serious about getting married, we never gave the rings a second throught... So in the 3 hour wait we had between getting the lisence and being able to get married... We ran to Walmart (the only place we knew in town who sold rings) intending on getting some fake $10 thing... We were supprised to find out they actually sold wedding sets... Nothing great, but atleast they were labled as "wedding sets". So we quickly picked out a $299 engadgement/wedding set... Which was VERY simbolic of our marrage... Cheap, and a last minute thought. HaHa.

Start the Year Right...

Choose from 5 different magazines that can help you get fit in 2010. I ordered my Vegetarian Times and Fitness this morning!


List Price: $29.94
Our Price: $5.00
You Save: $24.94 (83%)

Fitness (1-year)
List Price: $38.50
Our Price: $5.00
You Save: $33.50 (87%)

Vegetarian Times (1-year)
List Price: $44.91
Our Price: $5.00
You Save: $39.91 (89%)

Yoga Journal
List Price: $48.24
Our Price: $5.00
You Save: $43.24 (90%)

Backpacker [1-year]
List Price: $29.98
Our Price: $5.00
You Save: $24.98 (83%)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cereal Box Storage Bins

I love these storage bins by Urban Nest! Unfortunately now I have to wait to actually save up cereal boxes to be able to make them myself. If you'd like to make these butties yourself you can download the template and instructions directly from her site.

LeapFrog Tag Book for $5.99

This is a pretty big deal for us, since Lil-Bit is addicted to these books. I think she got 4 or so for Christmas... And we were needing to start stocking up for her birthday in April. Well anywayz, here's how to get the books at the deep discounted rate. Print this coupon twice to Save $4.00 on any LeapFrog Tag Book. Target is a great place to take that coupon where Tag Books are on sale for $9.99 each this week. That brings the price down to $5.99 which is the lowest price I've ever seen these books for... Full-price these books are $13.99 to $16.99 each. After printing this coupon the first time, you'll find it at the very end of the list of coupons and you can print it a second time before you reach your computer's print limit.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes (Makes 4 Big Kid Servings)

2 Baked Potatoes
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Milk
1/2 Cup Broccoli, cooked and chopped
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes for 1 hour.
2. Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
3. Cut in half and scoop out potato flesh, leaving the skin intact.
4. Mash the potato flesh with the butter, sour cream, salt and milk. Fold in the broccoli and cheddar cheese.
5. Refill the potato skins with the mixture.
6. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
7. Serve.