Thursday, September 30, 2010

Restaurant Review: Croissant Gourmet

Chris and I decided to go out to breakfast, and we tried Croissant Gourmet. It's at 120 E. Morse Blvd Winter Park, FL 32789.
I am not the average pastry lover. I mean, some previously frozen corn syrup glazed item from Panera Bread does not entice me. This bakery is the real deal. We're talking butter everywhere. Butter nay-sayers can just skip this altogether because it was butter heaven.

The smells are so alluring that even from the street everyone peeks through the large glass windows. There is a counter to the left when you walk in, it's filled to the brim of almond croissants, cinnamon pastries, cheese danishes, fruit tarts, chocolate desserts and other delicious looking things you wanted to pop into your mouth while the sweet girl behind the counter wasn't looking. I'll admit the visual appeal might be the same as the corporate previously frozen bakery you have in your neighborhood but wait until you taste it.

Chris had the fruit tart. He let me have a bite, what a good guy. It was moist and flakey on the bottom, the effects of much butter I am sure. The tart part was genuine. No rock hard cardboard or soggy flour. The custard might have been vanilla, or plain... is plain even a flavor? The fruit was fresh, we watched them bring in fresh strawberries while we were there. It was glazed in real sugar with maybe some lemon. Bright flavors. Overall: Delicious Fruit Tart (4 stars)

I had the Jalouise. What is that? It is perfection. It's like a strudel and a turn-over mixed together. Mine was Almond Raspberry flavored. As you can see, it was the small size. Alright alright, it was huge. I do contest that it was airy and light so most of the height is air pockets and those don't count. The part that was dense and sweet though... oh it counted! It was almost sweetened almond paste with raspberry jam. The pastry part was buttery (sensing a theme?) and light and not burnt on the edges but delicious the whole way though. Overall: Surprising New Pastry: (4.5 Stars)

Pricing was not markedly cheap or overtly overpriced. Our total for 2 pastries, 1 espresso, and 1 coffee was $10.26.
Happy Pastry Eating!

Thursday's Lunch

I had planned to have Pita Pizza's on Friday, but I wanted one today. Plans were made to be changed slightly, right?
1 whole wheat pita
1 plum tomato
about 1/8cup of Reduced Fat Italian Cheeses (I used Sargento)
Salt, Pepper, Basil, and Garlic

1. Dice tomato.
2. Toss with Basil, Salt, Pepper, and Garlic powder.
3. Spread on top of pita.
4. Sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Bake at 350 for maybe 5 minutes. Then Broil for 2-3 more minutes.

Told you it was so easy! I didn't use any extra oils or anything so it's a pretty high protein, low fat lunch. Here is the link to my Calorie Approximations.
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Dinner time again!
Tonight we had Steak Quesadillas using the leftover steak from Monday.

1/2 yellow onion
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
4 Small Flour Tortillas (you could use whole wheat but Chris would never eat those, so we still use flour.)
Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese blend
4-6oz Leftover Steak
Salsa and/or Sour Cream

1. Pre-heat the oven - How about 350?

2. Cut up your peppers and onions. If you have a purple onion I think that'd be fine. or green peppers instead of red and yellow. I like to use peppers because they add some vegetable and they are crunchy.

3. Toss some Cumin, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and Parsley in with your

4. Heat maybe 1tsp olive oil in your pan until hot and add your peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

5. I covered my baking sheet in foil.
less messy.

6. Build your quesadillas, Tortilla, Steak Strips, Cheese, Peppers and Onions, and Tortilla on top. Be careful not to get too overzealous in your filling. You don't want the quesadillas to be spilling out everywhere.

7. Bake in the oven for about 5-6min
then flip (gently) and 5-6min on the other side until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy.

8. Yum!

Happy Eating!


Have you ever been to Cheryl's Website?
They ship cookies and delicious baked goods.
Normally... that means they send nasty hard things called cookies and they sit in people's homes and conference rooms until they get thrown away.
This stuff isn't like that!

I've sent Chris baskets of goodies for Valentine's Day and Halloween. (Boys are hard to buy gifts for... I send cookies.) I got the halloween mug from his present last year out of the closet this week. Married Tip: Make sure you like the gifts you give your spouse because they will be coming home to your house!

If you want to send something pumpkin themed all the fall stuff is out and I got a coupon in the mail that I am sharing with you!

$10 off any purchase of $40 or more. Use code: SCARE10 before October 31, 2o1o.

If you want to send something to me, I like this adorable pumpkin bowl.
Happy Saving Money!


Tuesday night we had dinner with our friends at Thai Basil.

Do you like thai food, because I love it! Chris had the Pad Thai which, I realized, I had never tried before. Pad Thai is a rice noodle dish with a red chili sauce that is sweetened. It was a little sweet for me actually. I had the Yellow Curry Chicken, which is onions, potatoes, and carrots in a mild yellow curry coconut milk stew. It was delicious.

My favorite part though isn't even the delicious foods, it's the Jasmine Tea & Jasmine Rice. I've been trying to cut back on my coffee (it's not going well, as I sit here with my mug) but I love Jasmine, it's the smell. The smell is so calming and restorative. Smells can play a big part in which flavors we like. Curry, for example, Chris doesn't like the smell and wouldn't kiss me last night after I enjoyed my dinner. :) What smells do you like?

How's your week turning out? Are you making the items you planned or has there been some unexpected trips to the store? We're on track for some steak quesadillas tonight!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


iPhones, iPods, iMacs... are you an apple addict like our family? Chris has been working in IT for about 10 years and it's safe to say we are an apple family. The new iPhone 4 was something we wanted but I wasn't sure was going to fit into our budget.
We ended up selling both of our iPhone3G for $160 each, making the cost of our new phones only $40 each! I can't think of a more budget friendly price.

You might know that I am sort of cheap and Apps that cost money are a splurge I rarely take. Chris laughs at me all the time, "It's only $.99!" but I don't like buying Apps. Which means I know very little about them, I play solitaire on my phone; seriously.

but this App is the coolest thing EVER! It's called RedLaser and it transforms my phone into a scanner gun! I can scan any barcode and find nutrition information, allergy information, and price comparisons. Most of the price comparisons are online shopping, so even if the price is lower, it would be additional for shipping. If you're going to shop at a few stores and try to price compare, this app is a great choice.

Check out their video:

(I am not getting paid or receiving anything from RedLaser, I just think the product is cool)
Happy Scanning!


Monday: NY Strip Steak, Roasted Red Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus

Mondays are good days for us to have a "fun" meal. What I mean is it has to be fun to cook and fun to eat. 1. Because if it isn't fun to cook then I will probably pick up some rotisserie chicken at the grocery store instead and 2. because if it isn't fun to eat we won't like to be eating leftovers all week.

I often pick fish or something that doesn't last well all week in the refrigerator.
This week I bought about 1.5lbs of NY Strip Steak. It wasn't cheap but I'm planning on using the meat in recipes all week.

We make our steak like this:
Heat up the cast iron skillet until it's super hot. Heat up the oven to "super hot" as well, it's a technical term used in Mel & Chris' Kitchen. We like to keep the steak room temperature too. Then we put salt and pepper on the steak. both sides. Then a tiny smear of olive oil. Then sear for 60 - 90 seconds on each side in the super hot pan. Then 3 - 4 minutes in the super hot oven. Viola! Delicious Steak.

Roasted Vegetables: I put the oven at 400
degrees. Then mix olive oil, Sage, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, and White Pepper. It forms a little paste. Cut up your potatoes & asparagus and coat them in the herb paste. Spread them out on a baking sheet in an even layer. I put them in there for about 25-30 minutes. It kind of depends how crunchy you like your vegetables.

It turned out really delicious! and come on, if I can do it, then it can't be that hard.
Happy Eating!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Today I spent $79.49 which is about $20 more than I planned to spend... I am not super proud of my overspending BUT... it happens and maybe I didn't overspend but simply under-plan :D

Above is what I bought at Publix for $48.79. I got some amazing deals!! (be excited) I saved $46.13! Cha-ching.
Savings Recap: Oatmeal was BOGO plus $1 coupon, Tuna was BOGO plus $.50 coupon, Crunchmaster Crackers were BOGO plus $1 coupon, Coffee Creamer was 2/$3 plus $1 coupon off two, Contact Solution was BOGO plus 4 $1 coupons, Cheese was 2/$4, and the frozen Pizza was 2/$10 plus $1 coupon.
I tried to hide the cookies under the tuna but you all can probably still see them, those were $3.69 I didn't need but I've already eaten two since I've been home! Those Olive Crackers were on Sale and I had a $1 coupon but they rang up as the wrong price and so Publix being amazing, gave me them for free and still took my $1 off coupon, so I made a dollar!

I made out pretty well at Freshfield Farms as well, which is where I spent the other $30.70. 3lbs of Organic Apples, 10 small Red Potatoes, 4 tiny Clementines, 3 Bananas, 4 Tomatoes, 1.39lbs of Asparagus, 1 Yellow Pepper, 1 Green Pepper, 1 Red Pepper, and 2 Large NY Strip Steaks.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meal Planning

This is the last week of the month... which means all my planning and special budget spreadsheeting is coming to the test. Did I do it right? and Do we have enough? Have been bouncing around in my head like little ping pong balls of questions.
I was anxious to just get to the store and find out! I never head right to the store though; here are my plans for the week.

I want to buy some things because they are on sale and/or I have a coupon, like Tuna Fish, Frozen Pizza, Contact Solution, Coffee Creamer, and Instant Oatmeal.
I want to buy some things because we need them, like Milk and Peanut Butter.
I am trying to combine the things that are on sale with things we already have to make a menu that doesn't require purchasing too many more things.

Menu Planning:

NY Strip Steak, Roasted Red Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus

Leftovers from last week for Chris & Tuna Sandwich for Mel
Eating out at our favorite Thai Restaurant with some favorite friends

Eating out with some more amazing friends (Eating out twice in a week!)
(Leftover) Steak Quesadillas with Grilled Pepper and Onions.

Black Bean Salad & Cheese Quesadillas
California Pizza Kitchen Frozen Pizza

Pita Pizzas

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chris has Surgery

There has been almost no grocery shopping and no cooking at my house lately.
Which is sad... for the blog and for my spirit.
I love creating and I may never been a painter or a sculptor but I love creating meals, and then consuming them!

Chris had his gallbladder removed on Wednesday and I've been working so blogging have been pushed to the back burner, so sorry!

You have to see this super cute feel better present Chris got from his Mom and Dad, the balloon is a chicken! and the mug says "Get Well, Eat Veggie Soup"
Almost as cute as cows telling you to eat chicken, chickens telling you to eat vegetables.

Hope you are all eating your vegetables!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crab & Fin

Eating out isn't something Chris or I do too often. Cooking is so much fun, I hate to give the fun to someone else!
This weekend we were away from our kitchen so we got to enjoy the cooking of some professionals :)

Mom and I went to the Crab & Fin on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota. Delicious! I can't even wait to tell you about it.

We ended up arriving in time for "early dining" which was kind of a fluke but the ever budget friendly part of me was jumping for joy. Chris and I actually hit the early bird special at Kobe for my birthday back in August. It may not be as trendy to eat early but I love it! It gives you plenty of time for nighttime fun and it costs less. Early dining at this place meant selected entrees were about 20% off and included a free appetizer.

The waiter said the restaurant prints their menu's daily so this isn't the one I had yesterday but here is a sample menu. I had Gazpacho and Icelandic Atlantic Char.

Gazpacho is amazing. If you have never had it, all I can say is that I strongly suggest that you do and if you're in Sarasota I strongly suggest you try the Crab & Fin's. It's a chilled tomato soup with fresh crunchy vegetables like cucumber, bell pepper, celery, and onion. plus other delicious things. It's really great in the summer and can be truly healthy. Mine, as you can see, was super beautiful and I assure you super delicious. It was served with croutons and sour cream on top.

My entree was the Atlantic Char with jasmine rice, coconut curry broth, and various vegetables like peppers. I am pretty sure that is lemongrass on the top but I am not totally sure. Either way it was so crazy delicious I couldn't stop eating it and I ate the whole thing! The fish was tender, not oily, crispy on the edges... sigh, I'm salivating describing it. The waiter described the fish as similar to salmon in texture but less oily and I was excited to find his evaluation correct.

Vacation eating is the best isn't it? Where do you like to eat on vacation? Do you order items that remind you of home or things you would never make at home?
The gazpacho and curry-coconut sauce are definitely things I wouldn't make at home.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kitchen Shopping

Living in Orlando we have a bunch of outlet malls. People come from miles away to partake in the cheap shopping. It's stressful.

I went to Sarasota with my mom this week end on the way to the beach, we stopped at their outlet mall. It seems so un-stressful since they aren't the ones in Orlando.

PLUS... there are three kitchen stores. heaven. What is it about useless gadgets and kitchen-aid attachments that is so exciting? I am not sure but I love kitchen shopping.

Everything was halloween themed; pumpkin cookie cutters, bat hot mitts, spider spatulas. I was very proud of myself though, the only thing that left the store with us was some Keurig Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cups. Unfortunately since we were on the way to the beach and my Keurig is at home, I can't try them until I get home.

Happy Kitchen Shopping!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's Lunchtime... one of my favorite times of the day and man I am hungry!

Do you find that lunch is the meal when you're the hungriest? On a scale of 1 - 10 with one being starving and ten being thanksgiving full, I probably start eating breakfast or dinner when I am about a 4. At lunchtime thought I feel like I make it down to a 2!

Lunch is also tricky because we have jobs, right. It's tricky to find time to have a delicious lunch right in the middle of all the other things we do every day. (it's 2:26pm and I am finally having lunch)

I thought I'd show you what I'm having...
Romaine Lettuce, Red Onion, 4-5 Cherry Tomatoes, Red Pepper Hummus, Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, 3/4 of a lemon's juice, a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt, & pepper, and a half of a whole wheat pita! Delicious.

What did you have for lunch?
Happy Mid-day eating!


I'm taking Chris to the airport this morning. Although we are only leaving the house at 8am it feels like 4:30am!
Something about being awake early and going to the airport only makes me want one thing...
Do you ever crave certain things based on what you're doing? Maybe road-trips make you crave peanut butter and jelly, or fast food hamburgers.
Have a Great Day and don't forget to eat breakfast!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meat Cupcakes

I wanted to make these meatloaf cupcakes, and I honestly don't remember how I thought of it or how I decided I wanted to do this. I think it had something to do with my cake obsession (that seems to have past). It's meatloaf in muffin pans with mashed potatoes on top to look like icing! Super cute, right?

It took two tries, because well, the first try was not good enough for the blog on it's own. I was embarrassed that my attempt had failed.

Take 1:
I loaded the meatloaf into the muffin pan. I loaded what seemed like a normal amount of meat, I thought. but cake rises in the oven and meat, sort of shrinks. My cupcakes turned out looking a lot more like hockey pucks. Chris said he likes hockey, so it's okay. I dunno about that.
I made the mashed potatoes as normal and they were a little lumpy for mypastry bag and the thing kept getting jammed. I was getting frustrated. There were a lot of breaks in the "icing" making it look, well, more like turds. What a horrible thing to admit about one's cooking but it's true.
Take 1 was actually very tasty despite the not so attractive appearan
ce. We used a bunch of spices and the Ezekiel 4:9 bread which gave the meatloaf a nice nutty flavor. Plus Chris loves meat of all kinds so it was a pretty simple decision to try again.

Take 2:
Learning from Take 1 we loaded up the muffin pan this time! See how the meat is overflowing from the pan. We got 6 "cupcakes" instead of 9.
As you can see here, they look much more cupcake like than the shrivels of meat pucks we had last time. I think they even resemble un-iced cupcakes! (at this point in take 2 I was getting excited that my plan was going to work)
Then we changed the way we made the potatoes too! I mashed them in the kitchen aid instead of by hand so they would be more mashed. The kitchen aid worked super great, I love that thing!
I also ditched the failed pastry bag, stupid thing! I went back to the old ziplock bag. It works so great as a piping bag and I can snip the opening as big or as small as I want, so whatever lumps the kitchen aid didn't take care of wouldn't stop the icing from flowing.
I think Take 2 was much more successful! Look how cute the little meatloaf cakes are! It even felt weird to eat a cupcake with a knife and fork! This time we actually used the Genesis 1:29 bread instead of the Ezekiel 4:9. The genesis one has seeds in it and I liked the texture of the seeds a lot!

I read something online that suggested using beets to dye the mashed potatoes pink, so it would look even more like cupcakes. How cute!

Maybe the next time the meat lover in your family has a birthday, a meatloaf cupcake is the way to go!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quinoa Salad


[keen-wah, kee-noh-uh]
a tall crop plant, Chenopodium quinoa, of the goosefoot family,cultivated in Peru and Chile for its small, ivory-colored seed,which is used as a food staple.

Do you like Quinoa?
It's super easy to cook, like rice. It's a complete protein! It has so many nutritional qualities, I'll give you a link!

Quinoa Salads are sort of a "trendy" food right now. Another blogger that I read posted her Quinoa Salad recipe and I sort of wanted to scream! She was boasting all about the nutritional value and, personally, I thought her recipe left much to want in the nutrient area.

It can be challenging when adding healthy foods into a bowl to add extra fatty items, like avocado, nuts, cheeses, olive oil, olives, seeds, or bacon. Now, I normally would consider cheese a source of protein, especially if you're eating vegetarian. If not, it's important to consider that cheese is higher in fat, like most other sources of protein, so if you have chicken and cheese, it's double protein but also double fats. Try to limit the fats in your recipes to one or two, and stick to portion sizes. Make sure to add plenty of vegetables and maybe you could squeeze a fruit in there with some figs or dried cherries... (I didn't but it's an idea)

Here is my Mediterranean version of Quinoa Salad:
Cucumber (1/3 of a large one)
Cherry Tomatoes (5-6, Cut up into little pieces)
Greek Olives (3-4, Cut up very small)
Red Onion, (Small dice! and you might want to rinse)
Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
Quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
Salt & Pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

Gimmie you're versions!
Happy Eating!


I went to Publix and bought groceries!
I saved $17.54
The Special K Cereal, Trail Mix, and Dole Salads were BOGO.
That hummus was $2.99 and I ended up using 2 coupons for $1 off so I paid $.99!
I had coupons for the tuna and eggs, Has anyone used those pre-cooked hard boiled eggs before? Chris is interested in trying them for quick high protein snacks.
I splurged a bit on some feta cheese, it's only a splurge because Chris will not eat it. I think I can put a whole package away by myself though :)
Yes, those are twizzlers hiding in the corner, Chris asked for those for his trip this weekend to Colorado.

Chris and I are both out of town this weekend! Chris is going to the great american beer festival in Colorado and I am going to the west coast of Florida to Sarasota for a stay on the beach. We both think that our trip sounds better than our spouse's.
I'm sure I'll take plenty of pictures!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Does pasta ever feel cliche to you?
Pasta dishes normally feel so cliche to me, like every movie has a scene of someone making pasta and sipping red wine while sad music plays in the background.
Either that or very "mom on-the-go"; boxed pasta, jar of sauce, done.

The sad thing is that I do like pasta but I normally convince myself that I don't. Plus, it's on sale practically all the time!

Well, a while back the whole wheat pasta was actually on sale BOGO which is more rare than the white pasta. Whole wheat pasta is high in fiber and protein so it's a great choice.

I made the whole wheat thin spaghetti and I decided to skip the jar of sauce and use fresh tomatoes, pretty much raw, I didn't make my own sauce or anything. We added a little diced green pepper, garlic, and basil. I decided to change it up and add lemon, almost a whole lemon of juice actually. It added a bright flavor and kept the pasta from being so heavy.
I topped it with my favorite splurge: Parmesan Reggiano.

Tasty, Healthy, and only mildly cliche!
Happy Eating!

Edamame Ginger Bean Salad

I've mentioned once before that I love bean salads. I wasn't even kidding. Today I made a killer bean salad for lunch!

Red Onion
Purple Cabbage
Ground Ginger
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper

Since the salad was purple and green Chris and I made a whole pretend menu for a purple and green lunch. The asian edamame ginger bean salad. California sushi rolls and the crab salad has a little purple dye in it. Green tea ice cream with lavender. Purple and green grapes, frozen (Chris' Idea).

Do you ever plan meals around colors? Chris says that purple and green foods seem healthy to him, do certain colors in foods make you think the food is going to be better or worse?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Have you ever used food as a gift?
maybe you gave Christmas cookies away to your neighbors or made soup for a family member who was sick.

I love making food for other people. Chris is a great sport about eating all of my food but it's nice to have an objective audience. I'm pretty sure Chris is telling me the truth about my food but you never know...

I'm in a bible study once a week and I like to bring them treats. One time it was Berger cookies, which are my favorite cookie in the whole world. One time it was pumpkin scones. Tonight I made little apple turnovers.

Something about September says "cook with apples!" So I did. I didn't measure nor did I use a recipie but here is what I did.

1. Dice apples very fine.
2. Simmer sugar and water on the stove.
3. Coat apples in cinnamon, a little salt, a little sage, and a smidgen pumpkin spice.
4. Add apples to simmering sugar water.
5. Boil until thick. Stirring some.
6. Defrost frozen pastry puff.
7. Make small squares, making sure to make an extra one for the husband.
8. Add a dollop of apple filling and press into a little triangle.
9. Brush the top with an egg wash; 1 egg and a bit of water.
10. Bake 350 degrees until brown and golden looking.

Go have fun making other people happy with food!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vegetable Soup

Chris and I made vegetable soup for dinner.
It was delicious. but I am the biggest fan of soup! If I could find a t-shirt that said I (heart) soup, I'd buy it.

Easy Recipe!
1. Roast veggies.
Potato, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Carrot chopped into a large dice and coated in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, sage, white pepper, or whatever spices you like. I make the spice oil rub and then add the veggies. Spread them out on a sheet tray and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for maybe 20 minutes.

2. Start soup.
Onion, Carrot, and Celery chopped into a fine dice. Saute in a little olive oil. Add some stock, I used chicken because I had it but vegetable would work great and would keep the recipe vegetarian. Add a can of diced tomatoes too.

3. Combine.
Mix roasted veggies with soup base. It's nice to have a helper since the veggies are hot.

4. Simmer a while.

5. While simmering I made some crusty bread strips.
I used the Genesis 1:29 bread. then the secret ingredient... Papa John's garlic dipping sauce! I spread it over the bread and bake for 15 min at 300 degrees. The dipping sauce is processed and terrible but SO easy, plus we had 4 of them hanging around the refrigerator.

6. We had two servings of leftover meatloaf (more detailed blog to come) so I crumbled them up and added them to our bowls and poured the soup over them. They were really good in the soup but I mostly used them because otherwise they would have been thrown away.

Happy Eating!

Planning Saves Money

I plan out all the meals here at the Howe house. Meal planning was one of the first things that I did to get into coupons and saving money in general. I noticed we were throwing away leftovers and running to the grocery store for miscellaneous things almost every night.

I look at our social calender and work schedules to see what nights we will be able to eat together and then try to make sure I can use the leftovers from an early day in a meal later in the week. It is easy to have leftovers when you're only cooking for two. If you're cooking for a larger family you might need to plan to cook extra. It seems like a lot of work up front but it's soooo great to know that I have every ingredient for dinner and when Chris says, "What's for dinner?" I don't have to groan.

We made shrimp tacos with citrus slaw yesterday for labor day, seriously one of my favorite recipes. Check it out, it's so easy and delicious. Plus I don't measure any of it! I served it with watermelon which was only $4.49 for a half seedless watermelon at Freshfields Farm, compared to $3.45 at Publix for a quarter seedless watermelon.
We had some slaw leftover and no shrimp, but we had 1 small grilled chicken breast leftover from "Dinner Chris Style" so I had grilled chicken tacos with citrus slaw for lunch and nothing got thrown away.

If you're going to worry about getting the best price, don't throw away food! Make sure you can use all of something before you purchase it. The only downfall is that we have a tendency to have themed weeks. I use broccoli 3 times during the week to make sure we eat all of it. It's broccoli week! Maybe if you have kids you could use it as a learning opportunity. During dinner you could talk about all the cool things broccoli does for your body (or maybe I'm nerdy).

There are a TON of websites out there to help you with meal planning. I can't really recommend any of them because I don't use one. Do you use on that is great? Please share if you have one, I found this super cute visual aid to help you remember to have balanced meals.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chris Style

I normally work on the weekends while Chris works during the week. This means Sunday is normally our only whole day together. That also means we normally spend the day being together and don't really accomplish anything. Since today is Labor day and we are both off of work yesterday became a day to be productive and today became lazy day.
Yesterday was a crazy Sunday of errands and chores. So last night we made dinner, Chris style.

I've told you Chris loves all his foot cut up into bit size pieces and served all together in a bowl, so that's what we did. and we even ate it on the couch instead of at the table!

We made Kraft macaroni and cheese from the infamous blue box. I added a little extra cheese, sour cream, and milk. Then, in the same pot, we added steamed broccoli and grilled chicken. It was easy, balanced, and actually pretty good! I did add a few green onions and mushrooms for some extra flavor.
I don't know what it is about the bowl that makes it so comforting but the same meal, separated, on a plate doesn't give him the same level of satisfaction.

What do you eat after a hard day? Do you have a method of cooking that makes you sit back on the couch and go "ahhhh"?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Discounts...

Today at Publix I had my very first opportunity to fight for my discount! Seriously, I punched a girl! ok, no I didn't. But I went to customer service at least.

If you know me, then you know a little arguing never scared me. I don't particularly like fighting or confrontation, but if I'm right and it's nothing personal (like a price) then, bring it on!

The advertisement said General Mills cereals were BOGO. I had 2 coupons for 2 different General Mills cereals that gave me $1 off one box. Math time: $4.29/box is $8.58 total. Minus $2 in coupons and minus $4.29 for my free box = $2.29. Divide by my two boxes and it was $1.15 a box! Oh man, saving money never gets old!

BUT... when I looked at my receipt on the way out I noticed I did not get my $4.29 deducted for the free box. It simply wouldn't do after the delicious coupon to sale matching I did.
The customer service gentleman had a small boy (How young does Publix employ people because he genuinely looked 8) run to the cereal isle and check my already flawless reading of the fine print. Then we had to grab a lady to check the advertisement. Turns out... I was right! $4.29 in my hand cash.

Happy Coupon Clipping!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Las Vegas

Food in Las Vegas is separated into two categories: expensive casual (think $11 hamburgers) and expensive luxury ($45 steaks). The idea of the $2.99 buffet may look nice in movies when the main character has lost all his money gambling, but the buffet we went too was $29.99.
The last time we were in Vegas we had the ultimate pleasure of eating at Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys. We would LOVE to do that again but we were on a special wedding package and couldn't possibly justify a $400 meal.

Rick Moonen's RM Seafood has a "downstairs" that is a little less formal. For lunch we could get in and out for $50. This is probably my forerunner, I really liked Rick Moonen on Top Chef and I'd love to try his restaurant. His restaurant's mission statement includes; "At Rm Seafood, we are committed to use organically grown, sustainable produce and sustainably caught seafood." Sounds fabulous and responsible.

I definitely need a new dress, or two, for the trip. Victoria's secret's dresses are totally vegas appropriate and don't cost more than my plane ticket! I like this one. Anything goes in Vegas fashion but I don't know if I can do anything too flashy...

We are staying at the Wyndham Grand Desert. It's just off the strip. Last time we stayed right on the strip which I liked but this has a much more resort feel to it and their website says they have a free shuttle to the strip, so bonus!
Has anyone out there been to Vegas a bunch of times and have some advice for us? Any great restaurants we should find?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Potatoes are kind of like a super-food. They say blueberries are a super-fruit so maybe we could get the word out about potatoes.

There are many awesome things about them.
1. they are gluten free
2. they can be boiled, baked, steamed or sauteed
3. they can be mashed to a pulp or served whole
4. they can be put into soup
5. they can be the base for delicious things like chili or broccoli or cheese
6. they are 100% natural
7. they are inexpensive ( $.89/lb this week)
8. they come in red, purple, brown, and yellow
9. they grow in the ground!
10. they make delicious chips

There are probably more cool things about potatoes but that's plenty for me.

Mashed potatoes are probably my favorite food. I think I have said that about other foods so I'll clarify and say my favorite starchy vegetable.
Mashed potatoes are a crazy thing because when I say that we are all probably thinking of totally different things. Creamy or chunky? red or brown potatoes? skin on or skin off? milk?butter?
The options are close to endless.

I like to add some mashed cooked cauliflower to my potatoes. (cooked is key, don't forget that step or your potatoes will be inedible. I forgot that step once)
Today I was chatting with a good cook friend of mine and he said he adds a little cream cheese to his mashed potatoes for texture.

What do you add to your mashed potatoes?

Tip: If you like skin off mashed potatoes, boil the whole potatoes for a few minutes and then remove the skin under cool tap water. The skins peel right off without the waste of using a peeler on raw potatoes. Then you can chop them and add them back to the water to finish cooking.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I never liked sweets.
We didn't even have cake at our wedding because, I didn't like cake. I always preferred salty foods like popcorn, chips, nacho cheese, even pretzels.
Well I don't know why, but for some reason after getting married I decided I love sweets!

I told you Ina Garten was one of my favorite chefs, well I have been craving this cake she makes called Beatty's Chocolate Cake.
and... Chris, very kindly, pointed out that buying cake by the slice every night is costing us too much. He thought I should make the cake and then it wouldn't have high fructose corn syrup in it (Publix's cake sadly does have HFCS) and it would be cheaper than spending $3 a night on cake. He's smart.

I don't know about cursing on the blog but goodness! this cake was good. I'm not going to copy the recipe down because you can just click the link. It's the softest, most chocolaty, bestest cake ever!

and we even made the buttercream icing which I had never done before
but most definitly am going to start doing on a regular basis because it was like heaven; imagine soft fluffy butter that has melted chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, and starbucks via. very wonderful.

Thank you Chris

Chris is an amazing husband.
really stellar.

but I need to take a minute and tell all of you readers that without Chris I would never cook anything. seriously.

Chris washes every bowl, dish, and gadget I use while I cook. He washes them every night and never asks why I needed 12 bowls to make rice. He never asks why the sink is covered in melted chocolate. He lets me cook and washes my dishes. Without him I wouldn't cook because I hate washing dishes and I would never want to dirty any. I wouldn't be inspired and I wouldn't have the freedom I have to mess up our entire kitchen.

Thanks Chris. I love you.