Extreme Couponing

Hey guys!  Did you miss me?  Kidding. 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Now for the regularly scheduled program—the food.

DSC01162

Breakfast Smoothie in a Bowl:

~1 frozen banana

~handful frozen strawberries

~cup lowfat milk

~scoop vanilla whey protein powder

~teaspoon blueberry flaxseed meal

All blended in the blender.

~handful vanilla honey granola (on top)DSC01159

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

DSC01165DSC01163

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

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

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

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

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

 DSC01168

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

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

For the Love of Fall

Aaahh!  Today brought on the weather I’ve been waiting for!  Cool, dry air.  It won’t last too long in Southern Louisiana, but I’ll take it while it’s here. :)

My morning began with a cold mixture of cereal and milk.  I had about 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean, 1/4 apple cinnamon o’s, 1/4 cup of blueberry corn flakes, and a small sprinkle of granola.  I topped it with 1 cup low fat milk.  Refreshing! 

9-21-10 001

I had a cup of hot chai tea on the side.

9-21-10 002

Mixed Cereal Bowl—Thank you Hungry Girl for letting me know it is okay to mix different cereals. 

For lunch I topped some baby spinach with rest of the chicken salad from Saturday’s lunch.  It was better today because it had time to marinate all the flavors while sitting in the fridge.

9-21-10 004

I had a banana for some additional carbs and fiber.  Oh, I also had a brownie made by a colleague of mine.

9-21-10 003

I did not make it to the gym today because I stayed a little while after dismissal to finish grading last Friday’s tests.  My inner and outer thighs are a little soar from yesterday’s strength training anyways, so I am totally okay with letting my muscles rest even though I have not exercised consistently for two weeks.  I plan on going to the gym straight from work tomorrow.

When I got home I had a snack.9-21-10 007

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Next up, what’s for dinner?  I knew I wanted to incorporate some Italian chicken sausage into stuffed bell peppers, but wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make it.  I ended up using cous cous as a filler along with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

9-21-10 015

Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Bells

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cous cous, cooked according to package

4 bell peppers

1/2 pound Italian chicken sausage, removed from casings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

Oregano

Garlic Powder

Basil

Salt + Pepper

1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese

1 slice of reduced fat provolone cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*.  Remove stem top and seeds from bell peppers.  Put in pot of water to cover and bring to a boil.  When slightly tender, remove to ice water to stop cooking process.  In saucepan, heat oil.  Add chicken sausage and onion.  Saute until browned.  Add cous cous, seasonings to taste, and gorgonzola cheese and mix.  Add 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs and combine.  Stuff peppers with cous cous/ chicken mixture evenly.  Sprinkle each pepper with bread crumbs and top with 1/4 of provolone slice.  Place in glass casserole.  Put small amount of water in casserole dish to prevent burning and sticking.  Cook in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

9-21-10 021

9-21-10 008

9-21-10 012 9-21-10 014

My thoughts on the peppers are they were quite tasty and I enjoyed them.  But I do wish I had parmesan instead of gorgonzola.  The gorgonzola cheese has a very pungent flavor similar to that of blue cheese.  So if you are not a fan of blue cheese, you may not be a fan of this.  However, parmesan could definitely be substituted and I would use that myself if making these again.

Served with some cucumber and tomato salad + Light Italian dressing9-21-10 016

 9-21-10 019 9-21-10 020

While the peppers were baking I simmered some homemade veggie stock on the stovetop for an hour.  I threw in two carrots, two squash, two onion, garlic, the bell pepper tops from the peppers, bay leaves, fresh basil leaves, and a few whole black peppercorns.  I plan on using the stock in a fall soup recipe tomorrow night if all goes as planned.

DSC01383

Question of the Night:  What is your favorite fall vegetable to cook with?