Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Food and Feelings

Do you eat certain foods when you experience certain feelings?
Ice cream when you're sad, or Potato Chips when you're happy, or meatloaf when you're homesick.

I believe there is a fine line between dangerous emotional eating and a completely healthy connection between food and emotions. This fine line is difficult to walk. Uncontrolled bingeing on cookies when you're sad isn't going to make you happy, and it's an unhealthy way to deal with sadness. A soothing cup of creamy soup when your cold and lonely may help perk you up and be nutritionally fine.

Enjoy the foods that give you pleasure reasonably and embrace both the nutritional and emotional side of eating!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Publix Alternatives

I normally shop at Publix, where shopping is a pleasure and also convenient considering there is one at every corner and basically not another grocery store for miles.

There is something to be said for having the monopoly in the market!

I wanted to try and not shop at Publix for a week and see if it really made a difference in our prices. This week also happened to be one of those weeks when I needed non-grocery items like lotion. Code for more expensive.

I started at WalMart, there is a new one in the area. Where I saved $19.55 in coupons! Pretty awesome. I only bought non-grocery items and frozen foods. It may be a little crazy but I don’t trust the produce or perishable items. Not too many memorable coupons, just a little here and a little there. I was particularly excited that I printed $1 off any Skinny Cow item and later this week I’m having mint ice cream sandwiches! I also was able to use a lot of the coupons in my organizer where the item isn’t sold at Publix. Like I had a coupon for bogo Soyjoy bars but only individual bars and Publix only sells them by the box. Same with the protein bar coupon that I had. Last week I was eyeing some Terra Chips at Publix since I had $1 off coupon but they were still pretty pricy, at Walmart the same chips were $1 less to begin with so I went for it!

Then we went to Freshfields Farm where the only sell meat and produce. It’s small, a farmers market type of feel but much bigger than say, a roadside stand. The produce is labeled by where in the world it is from; today they had bananas from Honduras and Costa Rica. We purchased a lot more produce than we would at Publix. We bought corn on the cob, bananas (from Honduras), Grapes, Organic Baby Spinach, Strawberries, Baby Carrots, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Apples, and Nectarines. Our produce total was $16.19. I can’t add up the savings because I don’t know how much it would have cost at Publix, but I will say that it would have been at least double.

We had looked at farmers markets in the area as an alternative to Publix’s produce but they were rotted or eaten by bugs or old and soggy. These items really were fresh and delicious looking. Chris is eating a nectarine as I am writing and he says it’s great.

We don’t eat a lot of meat normally so we only bought 2 New York Strip steaks from the meat section at $7.90.

Unfortunately I am breaking down and going to Publix later tonight because I need some sliced deli meat and I like Boars Head.

Does anyone know of a good deli in Orlando where I can get high quality sliced meat?

Happy Healthy Cheap Eating!

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Week at Publix...

Normally we go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon.
This past Sunday was father's day though and we drove to see my father.
so we didn't go grocery shopping.
It kind of messed me up all week. You know when you normally do things one way and just a small tweak and it's like the schedule is spinning.
I'm back on track!
I went to Publix yesterday.
My total was $38.28 and my total savings was $17.54

Some of the more exciting items were the Nature's Valley Granola Nut Clusters. I had a coupon for $1 off and there was a coupon sticking to the bag for another $1 off, so I used both and brought the price of the granola from $3.19 to $1.19.

Another exciting purchase... Ragu Tomato Sauce was on sale at Publix bogo plus I had a coupon for $.60 off two bottles of Ragu. At the original price of $2.53 a bottle, my sale and coupon averages it out to $.97 a bottle!

The only other bogo I took advantage of this week was the Planters Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts. I learned a little about nuts from Chris' trainer and if the ingredient list says more than the name of your nut, don't buy them! It makes sense, I guess the roasted or honey nuts have a lot of added oils that you don't need. We got peanuts, just peanuts, for $1.60 a pound.

Other noteable coupons... $2 off my Al Fresco Chicken Sausage making the price $3.49. Buy 2 get 1 free on Chobani Greek Yogurt, making the price $.89 a piece. $1 off the organic granola we buy for Chris' trail mix, making the total $2.99.

I also discovered that the Publix I visited accepts all competitors coupons, so I used 2 $1 coupons for Whole Foods at Publix.

It was a pretty great week even though I didn't make it to the store until Thursday.
Happy Healthy Eating!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I normally blog about food.
normally all I spend money on is food :)
but lately I have been decorating our bedroom. after my rant the other day I thought I'd show you where I choose to spend some of my money.

I'm doing a "lovebirds" thing in our bedroom. Hopefully it will look modern, clean, and relaxing when I'm done. We already have taupe sheets, a chocolate duvet & dust ruffle, and an ivory coverlet. We like the color palate so I just wanted to add pops of color and neutral browns.

First I chose this print of a tree with two birds for over our bed. The birds will be purple in ours (our wedding color and we have wedding photos around the bedroom, I posted a few pictures). There will also be our initials in the tree, awww.

Second I chose this beautiful birdcage to hang in the corner. I ordered the little white bird vase to put in the birdcage, since it doesn't come with the cute bird-y in the picture. Plus the vase is seriously adorable. I was thinking about putting a tiny potted plant in there with the bird...

Third I decided to replace my jewelry holder, currently a wiry dress form, to a natural looking tree. I like the idea of the tree to go along with the bird theme. I think next will be curtains with a leaf pattern.

I bought these items from and

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Managing Money

I don't know much about economics or recessions.
I know that most Americas don't worry how they will find drinking water or food.
Most Americans actually have food they like and dislike, a luxury not afforded to many countries.
Most Americans have a roof over their head where they can lock their door and be safe.
Some Americans even have roofs over their cars!

I have not spent a lot of time in other countries so it can seems like a fiction story to hear tales of life in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, or Haiti. It isn't fiction.

As much as I worry about free range eggs, grass fed meat or whether to buy organic rice or just regular rice, there are many people who worry about feeding their family anything edible. or kids that worry about finding a place to sleep where they won't be abducted and turned into soldiers.

This article at talks about the upside of a recession for Americans being an interest in financial literacy. It's true. I think it's great that we care how we spend our money. Personally, I think how you choose to spend the money you have, no matter how little, is much more of a vote for what you support that any political vote.

Today's blog may be a sort of soap box but the money we have matters. It matters to more than just our family. Even if you clip every coupon and shop every sale, you're spending money and what businesses you choose to support decides what succeeds and what fails in this country. Take an interest in your finances.

Monday, June 14, 2010


A family joint opened up recently in the Orlando area; 4Rivers Smokehouse.
They sell smoked meats and all sorts of southern sides: fried pickles being my most favorite!

Anyway... I've been using the meat in recipes of my own lately. The intense smoke flavor is unbelievable!

Here are some of my recent ideas:
The pulled chicken is great in Chicken Packets, which are a take on Pillsbury's Recipe for Savory Chicken Squares. The smoked chicken is shredded and then their signature barbecue sauce is added so it makes the recipe more like "BBQ Chicken Packets" but I liked it! Try adding some chopped pickles or corn into the mix before baking to change the texture.

The smoked chicken comes in more bird looking form, I like the chicken breasts. (They are maybe my favorite thing on the menu). Instead of shredding the chicken I took the smoked chicken breast and shredded it with a fork, the meat is so tender it just falls apart. Then I added it too some tomato sauce and served it with pasta. So simple but so delicious. Don't leave the meat warming in the sauce too long though because the smoke flavor is very strong.

The turkey is probably my second favorite meat on the menu. Order the turkey dinner with sweet potato casserole and green beans and it will be thanksgiving in july! The turkey does have a tendency to dry out so it can be difficult to work with at home. I used it in a spinach egg white omelet and it was juicy and complemented the eggs well.

I did steal a recipe idea from 4Rivers for a party I went to on Friday. Only though catering 4Rivers offers a brisket bruschetta that I replicated at home using a *gasp* jarred bruschetta topping. Layer the toasted bread, the brisket, and the bruschetta topping.

Any other ideas?
Happy Eating!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Lance Armstrong has this website:
I love it.
I use the website to track everything I eat every day. It works out so well because they have an app for the iphone as well as the website.
but they have a lot more on the site than just the calorie database, and I thought I'd share this article about living healthy on a budget!

The article has some great points. One of which I touched on in a previous post about frozen vegetables. Maybe at Whole Foods it isn't as trendy to buy frozen but often times they are actually allowed to ripen longer on the vines if the vegetable is going to be frozen. Fresh vegetables are often picked before they are ripe so they don't bruise during transportation.
Something to think about, especially when (like last week) steam in the bag frozen veggies were only $.99.
Happy Heathy Eating!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Starbucks on a budget

It's no secret that in the past I've had a small starbucks addition.
When I met Chris he was shocked by how much starbucks I actually drank and how much money I spent on it. Over the past couple years I've really really cut back on the coffee and the spending. Thankfully I am still getting benefits from my previous mass starbucks consumption. Example: I am a starbucks gold member and I just recently received my gold card in the mail. it's shiny.
I get reward points and free stuff for being a gold member and I also am privy to surveys and opinion stuff online, for which I get more free stuff! genius.
With my gold card was a coupon for a free drink and I hurried over to my local starbucks to enjoy it (where I might add no one recognized me or knew my order as the barista's used to). As I sipped my free venti (there is no restriction on size!) I wondered how I could get more of this sweet nectar for free or close to free.
Reward systems like my Gold card are a great way to get stuff for free.
With my gold card each time I buy a drink using money pre-loaded onto my Gold card I earn points. After 15 points I get a free drink! I also get free flavored syrup, free soy milk, free refills of brewed coffee, a free tall beverage when I buy a pound of coffee beans, free wi-fi, and of course, a free beverage on my birthday.
I turned to the coupons to see if I could get even more savings. Luckily there are coupons on the internet for $1 off Starbucks Via which I can make at home and avoid going to the store to be tempted by mugs and pastries.
I would also like to mention the line of Starbucks drinks that they sell at 7-eleven. One bottled Starbucks frappucino at 7-eleven was priced at $2.27 yesterday. This my friends is a rip-off. Go to the store, if you're going to splurge then get the real thing. A tall beverage will not cost you much more than that bottled variety.

Even though I've cut back and there is no mistaking it, I can still get the flavors I miss for less.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Rollins has this thing called Clean Sweep every year when all the items students leave in their dorms at the end of the semester are displayed yard sale style and the staff can take whatever they would like.
We made out like bandits this year! (last year I was not very educated about the free stuff and didn't make us arrive on time) We got so many great things. Sperrys, Rainbow sandals, Brand name Clothes, Williams & Sonoma kitchen stuff, but the thing I love the most... our new printer! It is a scanner, copier, printer and it even had ink in it when we got it.

This printer has opened me up to many things... Scanning old photos, copying stuff, and printing coupons!
I have decided that I have plenty of time in my life to clip coupons and I think I could save some money. The printer was sort of my first step. We also subscribed to the Sunday Orlando Sentinel.
This week I printed coupons for $1 off any Muir Glen Organic Product, $1 off any Cascadian Farms Organic Product, and $.30 off Greek Yogurt to name a few. I am using websites like redplum. Then the Sunday paper arrived and it was a smorgasbord of coupons. Organic Milk, Greek Yogurt, Eggs, Snapple and so much more!
Disclaimer: I do not buy products that are full of Monosodium Glutamate, Resistant Corn Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, High Fructose Corn Syrup or things of that nature. So I am only clipping coupons for items that I will, in fact, eat. A bit of a let down this week: I printed a coupon for $.55 off Green Giant frozen just for one veggies. Unfortunately all the varieties had sauce and the sauce included high fructose corn syrup. Thankfully Publix frozen vegetables were on sale for $.99 and were free of corn product (besides the frozen corn of course).

Everything I have been finding on the internet about saving money using coupons has been on grocery items I won't eat. Even if the product is free, what good is it if you don't eat it? I didn't think I would find enough coupons for fresh foods that would make my search cost effective. So far though, it is. There are coupons for items that contain nutrients and offer your body digestible substance. It was a happy realization for me. This week at Publix my total savings was $31.82.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Chris and the boys went deep sea fishing on Thursday and although I was worried about everything in the water being covered in oil, they made it before the fishes are killed.

Chris actually caught some fish too! Mackerel. I uploaded a picture of Chris on the boat but my Dad has yet to send me one of him holding his catch. There isn't much online about how to cook fresh Mackerel, just canned (which grossed me out). The boat captain filleted the fish for us, for which I am ever so grateful!
The fillets just look like white fish so I figured, we will just make up some recipes.

First we baked the fish in 400 degrees with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and lemon slices. We broiled the fish for about 5 minutes at the end. It was actually really good! Nutrition information online leads me to believe Mackerel isn't a low calorie fish so I didn't want to add to many heavy toppings. We ate it with quinoa and steamed broccoli.
We have about 4lbs of fish so we tried another recipe too!
We grilled the fillet on our George Foreman grill and served it over a salad. I made a little tex-mex salad so it would be similar to fish tacos. I added red and green peppers, some corn, some carrot, a few olives, and we used salsa as our dressing. It was seriously good!

I was really excited about skipping the seafood section at Publix and being able to eat such fresh food!