Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fiber One Brownies & Giveaway


When I was given a chance to try the new Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies from Fiber One and General Mills through MyBlogSpark, my first thought was…yummm. Well, maybe my first thought was chocolate, then brownie and then yum. Have you tried these great brownies yet? They actually sent me the Chocolate Fudge Brownies and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies. Both are delicious, but my favorites are the Chocolate Fudge Brownies. I’ve already been trying Fiber One bars for a quick breakfast or snack. So, I was excited to hear about their new brownies. They definitely did not disappoint and make the perfect evening snack. Then again, a little chocolate for breakfast never hurt either!

Want to try them for yourself? Check out this giveaway:

Fiber One and General Mills through MyBlogSpark are providing me with a Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownies gift pack to give away to one of you! The gift pack includes:

  1. a box each of the Chocolate Fudge and the Chocolate Peanut Butter brownies

  2. a Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownie themed duffel bag, jump rope. water bottle, snack case, headband, bracelet

How to win? Just leave a comment on this post, and tell me:

  • when you plan to enjoy their Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownie - as an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening indulgence

You’ll receive a bonus entry as a follower of this blog. Hurry though, contest ends June 30th, and I’ll post the winner July 1st.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Making Your Corner of the World Better

If you think about all that is wrong in the world today, it seems like too much to fix. But, I really do believe that we can all help out in small ways and make our little corners of the world a little better. If you ask any charity, I bet they'll tell you all those little donations of $10 and $20 add up to more than the 'big' donations.

I read somewhere that one of the instructions they give you in the event of a problem on an airplane is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then your children. That goes against instinct because you want to protect your children first. However, if you pass out before you get the mask on them, how can you help? So, put the mask on yourself first. In charity, I think that means taking care of yourself, your family and your friends. Chances are in that large group, there is always someone in need. Then, expand out from there. Local homeless shelters, food banks, charities and animal shelters are always in need of donations. Check out the charity or organization before you donate so that you know what they need and how it will help others. Unfortunately, there are a lot of well meaning organizations that fail to get items to the needy because of red tape. It's often why they ask for money first because the organization can purchase the needed items rather than spending precious time going through donated goods. You don't want to bring them a truckload of paper towels if they have no place to store them. But, with a few phone calls, you can find an organization with the need and storage space.

We all have coupons that we don't need or use. Consider using those to purchase items to donate to local charities. For instance, you can stock up on dog or cat food and treats. Then, donate them to a local animal shelter. It's a clear way of stretching your donation dollars. One of our local shelters maintains this list of needed items on their website:

Leashes (not retractable)



Pine Sol

Paper Towels

Dish Detergent






Kitty Litter


Contractor Trash Bag

Cat or dog Treats



Stainless food and water bowls

When you think about it, this list makes a lot of sense. But, if you had asked me before what a shelter could use, I would have just said food. So, consider some of the above items when you're going through your coupons. By combining the same coupon/sale strategy to your charity dollars, you'll have more to give than you think. And, you'll be making Fluffie's little corner of the world a little better until her 'forever' family adopts her.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Couponing Has a Dark Side

Does couponing have a dark side? I say, yes, it can. I almost titled this post 'How to Save Hundreds of Dollars by Gaining Pounds!' Until last year, I lived in the normal coupon world. I used coupons for products I would have normally purchased anyway and sometimes for a new product I wanted to try. I usually saved around $10 on each grocery trip. I had heard of 'extreme couponers' and knew there was a 'secret' to getting free stuff or hundreds of dollars in groceries for pennies. I finally did a little research online and figured out how it all works by combining sales, store coupons, manufacturer coupons, etc. On my first try, I saved tons of money.

Other than the free products I snagged, my best deals were name brand sanitary napkins that I purchased for less than fifty cents a box! And, the sales kept coming. As I shoved more and more boxes into the closet, I slowly began to realize I probably had more than a year's supply on hand. But that couldn't mean I had a problem. I mean, it's not like they were going to 'expire'. Well, at least not until menopause.

From that, I moved on to dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent. Same thing...I have enough on hand to last a year, maybe even longer. Toothpaste? I'll be reaching that goal pretty soon. Deodorant? problems there. Pain killers? Allergy? Vitamins? I could stock a small pharmacy. Granted, this is all stuff that I will use, but how much does one family really need? The upside is that these were really good deals and I saved a lot of money. Of course, I had to spend it a lot sooner than I normally would have due to buying a year's worth of products in a few short months. But, over a yearly budget, most of what I purchased was at least 50% off or more based on the normal cost. That is a savings that is hard to argue with when considering couponing's dark side. There is a fine line between being well stocked and hoarding. So, just be cautious if you have hoarding tendencies.

Chocolate. I love the word almost as much as the candy. I try not to allow it in the house because I'll eat it. But, who can resist practically free chocolate? With coupons, it's possible. First, I thought I'd stock up for the holiday's. Like Valentine's Day or Easter. Funny how none of the candy lasted that long in the pantry, but it's still on my hips. So, okay, I told myself I could still buy it, but for other people. My friends love chocolate and it was costing me practically nothing. Strange thing happened; it cost money to give away chocolate to my friends. While they were quite happy, it really defeated the purpose of 'saving' money with coupons. Free or cheap is not necessarily good for you if it causes you to gain weight or become some sort of 'chocolate pusher' among your friends.

Saving on groceries is a necessity. By combining sales and coupons, you can really save a lot of money. But, this takes time. Nothing is more frustrating than making a list only to find the store out of the products you want because other 'couponers' have scooped up the sales. And, like chocolate, just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's good for you. Since organizing my spending and coupons over the last few months, I've consistently saved over 50% on staples like soup, mustards, sauces, etc. There are free or almost free items too. Most local stores will double fifty cent coupons, so each one is like a dollar off a product. It's easy to combine those with sales and find items for pennies on the dollar. On most other grocery items, I save at least 20% on each trip. I'm happy with that considering I buy a lot of fresh produce and meats that don't usually have coupons.

Even with all my planning, I still end up with tons of coupons that I'll never use. There was a time when each one was merely paper, but now I see dollars slipping away. Surely someone wants that unused coupon. I've tried all different kinds of outlets for the ones I won't use and the best one is trading with friends. It's free and easy. And, the expired coupons or ones that no one I know will use? I send those overseas for use on our military bases. Check out the Overseas Adoption Program. They can use expired coupons for a few months after the expiration date. So, in the end, everyone saves a little. The trick is not to become too obsessed and to stay away from the dark side.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Foodie News - Cooking Channel Highlights for June 2011


Ben Sargent Hosts First-Ever Seafood Series: ‘Hook, Line & Dinner’
New Episodes of ‘The Originals with Emeril’ and ‘From Spain With Love’
Season Premiere of ‘Kelsey’s Essentials’ and Summer Kicks Off with “Grilling Week”

NEW YORK – May 16, 2011 – Cooking Channel sizzles into summer with a series and season premiere along with countless new episodes of fan-favorite shows. New primetime series Hook, Line & Dinner reels viewers in on Tuesday, June 7th at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT as host Ben Sargent teams up with local experts to secure the catch of the day and cook it up in the best seaside kitchens during this one-of-a-kind seafood-focused series. Emeril Lagasse highlights the country’s most iconic restaurants in new episodes of The Originals with Emeril on Thursdays at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT, and Annie Sibonney continues her culinary trip through notable Spanish regions in new episodes of From Spain with Love on Saturdays at 9:30pmET/6:30pmPT. “Grilling Week” airs Sunday, June 12th - Saturday, June 18th from 8pm-11pmET/5pm-8pmPT and features grilling-themed episodes of Cooking Channel favorites, while offers the ultimate burger guide for summer grilling. And, Kelsey Nixon returns for season two of Kelsey’s Essentials on Saturday, June 25th at 2:30pmET/11:30amPT. Join the Cooking Channel conversation on Twitter and Facebook.


Hook, Line & Dinner
By bike, boat, car or surfboard, Ben Sargent embarks on the ultimate coastal road trip in his primetime Cooking Channel series, Hook, Line & Dinner. From Florida and Louisiana to California and Oregon, Ben uncovers the country’s best seafood joints and regional specialties while taking viewers on the awesome journey from sea to table. Crab shacks, lobster pounds, and chowder houses – to Ben, they’re more than just places to get a hot meal. They’re hangouts for eccentrics, where locals swap stories and fishermen share tales from the sea. In each episode, Ben visits a new coastal locale where he teams up with the expert locals to secure the catch of the day, and then he follows that catch straight to the best seaside kitchens.
Premieres Tuesday, June 7th at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT – SERIES PREMIERE! – “Bayou Country”
Ben’s first stop in Bayou Country is Bayou Sorrel to meet fisherman Carey Carline. Next, he heads to Breaux Bridge, the ‘Crawfish Capital of the World’ to visit Crazy ‘bout Crawfish and try his hand at making crawfish etouffee. Then, Ben’s off to learn how to boil purged crawfish at Cajun Claw and then finishes his trip with a visit to Café des Amis for Cajun catfish.
Premieres Tuesday, June 14th at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT – “Miami & the Everglades”
Ben travels the Miami River aboard Lord of the Tides en route to Biscayne Bay to help harvest spiny lobster, and then he completes the ultimate sea-to-plate experience by sautéing lobster Cuban creole style at Garcia’s Seafood Grille. He whips up ‘down-home style’ frog’s legs at Coopertown Restaurant, and last on the adventure, Ben heads to sea with Lee Noble of Leebo’s Rock Bottom Bar to highlight South Florida’s other famous crustacean – the stone crab.
Premieres Tuesday, June 21st at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT – “Charleston, South Carolina”
Ben discovers Charleston’s current culinary renaissance with the region’s rustic Lowcountry cuisine and its seemingly timeless union with all things fresh and aquatic. He begins his journey at Bowens Island Restaurant, a local marsh-side oyster house. Then he heads to Husk in historic downtown Charleston for pan-seared sheepshead fish, and prepares stuffed blue crab at T.W. Graham & Company in nearby McClellanville.
Premieres Tuesday, June 28th at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT – “New Orleans”
Ben travels to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and joins shrimper Brian Drury for the catch before whisking the crustaceans into the kitchen with Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, where they specialize in creole gumbo. Then, Ben travels south of The Big Easy to meet Jacques Leonardi of Jack-Imo’s to blacken fish fillets New Orlean’s style. Finally, Ben journeys to the Mississippi Delta to get a first-hand look at oyster beds nearly a year after the oil spill before heading to Castnet Seafood to make a giant oyster po-boy.


The Originals with Emeril
Premieres Thursday, June 2nd at 10:30pmET/7:30pm PT – “Atlanta”
Emeril ventures to Atlanta to visit Mary Mac’s Tea Room for spicy Cajun shrimp and grits, the Busy Bee Café for fried chicken and Horseradish Grill for char-grilled Georgia mountain trout, braised greens and fried green tomatoes.
Premieres Thursday, June 9th at 10:30pmET/7:30pm PT – “New York”
Emeril heads to New York to visit Il Vagabondo for their world-famous Veal Parmesan, King Yum for butterfly shrimp and savory Wonton Soup and Keens Steakhouse for their popular Porterhouse steaks and timeless mutton chops.
Premieres Thursday, June 16th at 10:30pmET/7:30pm PT – “Chicago”
Emeril discovers culinary charms of the Windy City when he visits The Berghoff for a Reuben sandwich, Twin Anchors for Chicago-style ribs and creamed spinach and Gene and Georgetti’s for “garbage salad” and “Chicken Ala Joe.”
Premieres Thursday, June 23rd at 10:30pmET/7:30pm PT – “Miami”Emeril explores three original establishments in Miami: Joe’s Stone Crab for tasty Key Lime Pie, Casa Larios for “fried cow,” and Tobacco Road for smoked ribs and chicken.
Premiering Thursday, June 30th at 10:30pmET / 7:30pm PT – “New Orleans”
Emeril returns to New Orleans to stop by Casamento’s for its fresh oysters, Café Du Monde for beignets and Antoine’s for Oysters Rockefeller and Baked Alaska.

From Spain With Love
Premieres Saturday, June 4th at 9:30pmET/6:30pmPT – “Paella: Tradition in a Pan”
Annie explores all aspects of the traditional Spanish dish – paella. She visits a family in La Mancha to pick saffron and later talks to the “Queen of Saffron,” Chef Maria José San Román, at her restaurant in Alicante. She ends her journey in Barcelona, where everything - including paella - is done with a twist.
Premieres Saturday, June 11th at 9:30pmET/6:30pmPT – “Madrid: Dusk ‘til Dine”
Annie starts her evening in Madrid at the historic Mercado San Miguel in the heart of downtown Madrid and later enjoys the local street food of the city. Annie savors a fantastic multi-course dinner at El Fogon de Trifon, and ends her evening with an early morning treat of hot chocolate and churros.
Premieres Saturday, June 18th at 9:30pmET/6:30pmPT – “Preserves: Keeping the Flavor Alive”
Annie feasts on locally-sourced conservas (canned food) at Quimet y Quimet in Barcelona. She then prepares traditional dried salted cod (bacalao) in Bilbao and explores a range of meat smoking techniques in Catalonia. She also prepares chicken and vegetables in the traditional escabeche style.
Premieres Saturday, June 25th at 9:30pmET/6:30pmPT – “Seafood To Die For”
Annie helps female clam diggers of Galicia gather clams before the tides come in and later risks the dangerous surf off of Spain’s “coast of death” in search of percebes (goose barnacles). She enjoys a Galician-style octopus party and works alongside Chef Marcelo Tejedor to cook local seafood in his restaurant in Santiago de Compostela.

Kelsey’s Essentials: Season Two Premieres Saturday, June 25th at 2:30pmET/11:30amPT – “Summer Desserts”
Kelsey whips up delicious desserts including Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Icebox Cake; Sugar Cookie Crust Pizza; Watermelon, Ginger and Lime Granita; and Cucumber, Meyer Lemon and Lavender Granita.

Grilling Week: Sunday, June 12th - Saturday, June 18th from 8pm-11pmET/5pm-8pmPT
From healthy hamburgers and scrumptious sides to thirst-quenching libations and delicious desserts, Cooking Channel gets grilling with tasty themed episodes of fan favorite shows offering up expert tips and techniques perfect for summer entertaining.

Premiere and encore episodes of series and specials include: BBQ with Bobby Flay; BBQ Boot Camp; BBQ Circuit; Bitchin’ Kitchen; Ciao America; Eat St.; Everyday Italian; Food(ography); From Spain with Love; Giada’s Weekend Getaways; Hook, Line & Dinner; The Originals with Emeril; Two Fat Ladies; Unique Eats; and United Tastes of America.


Cooking Channel’s Best Burger Blitz
From bison burgers and bacon-wrapped meatloaf burgers to crab burgers and Aussie chicken burgers, has the perfect patty to satisfy every craving, including exclusive recipes from Food Network Kitchens, Hungry Girl’s Lisa Lillien, Fan Fave Chef Kevin Gillespie, and Kelsey Nixon from Kelsey’s Essentials. also offers up a rare gem: a burger recipe from legendary chef, Julia Child.

In addition to the above series, new episodes of hit Cooking Channel series air throughout June.
Chuck’s Day Off: June 5th, June 12th, June 19th and June 26th at 11amET/8amPT
Eat St.: June 14th, June 21st and June 28th at 8pmET/5pmPT
Unique Eats: June 5th, June 12th, June 19th and June 26th at 10pmET/7pmPT
Unique Sweets: June 19th and June 26th at 10:30pmET/7:30pmPT
David Rocco’s Dolce Vita: June 4th, June 11th, June 18th and June 25th at 1:30pmET/10:30amPT
From the Kitchens Of...: June 12th at 10amET/7amPT