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thanks, oprah

6 May

Just wanted to let y’all know that, thanks to Oprah, you can get a free KFC grilled chicken meal!
Head here, and you’ll be able to print up to 4 coupons good for a free 2 pc. grilled chicken meal including 2 individual sides and a biscuit. The coupons are valid from 05.05.09 to 05.19.09, not including Mother’s Day, and must be printed before 9 p.m. tonight (05.06.09).

I tried the chicken during Free Day, and while I wasn’t super-impressed with it, it’s definitely worth the price in this case. If your family is into The Colonel, this is a great way to make a poor choice into a better one. The stats are fairly good, and if you pick your sides right and toss the biscuit, you’ll have a decent little meal for a whole of zero dollars. We don’t really do the KFC thing, but I did print up a few in case my mom wanted to try it in a couple of weeks when she comes down for a visit. If you have tried it, let me know what you thought of it!

Boot Camp, Burns and Gardein

27 Apr

Good morning!

It’s nice to be able to write a post at the beginning of the day. Normally, I’d be at the gym right now, but I’ve been waking up pretty stiff (and very sore!) lately, so I decided to give myself a break, and take a day off. Because I wasn’t rushing off, I got to enjoy a delicious and relaxed breakfast, and take my time eating and enjoying it. I couldn’t decide if I wanted something sweet or savory, so I decided to have both.
My plate included:

  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat plain yogurt with a teaspoon of pure Quebec maple syrup (thanks, Steph!) and 2 tablespoons of Glucerna Crunchy Flakes ‘n Strawberries
  • 2 thin slices of roast turkey breast
  • half of a peanut butter-chocolate chip bran-style muffin
  • 1 piece of whole wheat toast spread with a tablespoon of roasted red pepper hummus

Oh, and a great cup of Celestial Seasonings’ Lemon Zinger; it’s so delicious and good for you that I really should drink a cup more often!
I love that Lemon Zinger is caffeine-free and all-natural. Plus, the hibiscus and rosehips give it a really pretty cranberry color. It’s doing a great job perking me up this morning!

Breakfasts count came in at 381 calories, 63g of carbs, 3g of fat and 24g of protein. As a whole, it’s a little more than I usually eat, but the stats are still really good, so I’m satisfied.

This weekend was actually really fun. Saturday, E and I started off to the gym bright and early for boot camp, which was broken up in three parts: sliding, spinning and toning. I’d never tried sliding before, but I knew from past experience that for me, spinning = hyperventilating, so I decided to do sliding for both periods, totaling an hour. I’m glad I ended up taking it as long as I did, because it took me almost 20 minutes to be able to slide back and forth without freaking out about falling! I had a blast sliding, but man, is it hard – it definitely works up a sweat, and really gets the job done. For me, the best part of boot camp is meeting up with the other participants and getting to hang out, chat and compare notes. The exercise is a bonus, granted, but it’s an added one.

After boot camp, E and I decided to work in our ‘garden’, and work on getting the yard into shape for planting. After 2 hours or so, I developed quite a tan (and I use the term loosely), and decided that it was probably time for me to get out of the sun. Being the industrious, hard-working wife that I am, I then took a nap.
May I just say that it was the best nap I’ve had in a long time?
Just saying.

The next morning, while I let E sleep in, I locked myself out of the house, and spent an hour banging on the door and ringing the doorbell until E woke up. That pushed breakfast back just a touch…okay, by 3 hours. Thankfully, I made E Very Berry Pancakes, and he forgave me. Don’t worry, this stack was for both of us!

The mix included:
– frozen mixed blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Bob’s Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix
– egg substitute
– sugar-free apple butter
– nonfat milk
– vanilla extract

Once the pancakes were cooked, I sprinkled a little pure Quebec maple syrup on top, and we dove in. We each had 3 pancakes, and the stats (including syrup) came in at 359 calories, 51g of carbs, 4g of fat and a whopping 13g of fiber and 38g of protein. This is the second time we’ve used the low-carb baking mix, and it’s really great. The pancakes were less dense and fluffier than last week’s banana-maple chip version, but both were amazing! I haven’t tried much of Bob’s Red Mill products, but I’ve loved every one that I have tried.

Because breakfast was so filling (and late), lunch never happened, so I moved on to dinner. It was awesome, and took 10 minutes to prepare, start from finish. It was also really, really good, and E noted that he could eat it once a week for sure, which is a glowing endorsement.

We had:
– spinach and mushroom salad with cucumber ranch dressing
– whole wheat couscous cooked up with a little red enchilada sauce, – sweet corn niblets and green chile
It’s All Good Santa Fe style black bean and corn stuffed chick’n

I’m a flexitarian who loves her meat, and the faux meats usually don’t do it for me at all. But this? This was amazing! It was juicy, flavourful and tender without any weird aftertaste or smell. It looks small, but at 5 oz., it’s a perfect portion. I’d definitely eat this chick’n again. I was so shocked by my sudden love of chick’n that I decided to do a little research. I discovered that It’s All Good is a Gardein brand, which is a Canadian company specializing in vegetarian products made with a “garden-grown protein”. According to the packaging:

Really, protein from the garden? You bet!
Gardein is a savory blend of nutritious vegetable and grain ingredients (soy, wheat, peas, beets and carrots) prepared and slow-cooked to have the authentic taste, texture and nutrition of premium lean meat.

The nutritional information is also impressive; one 5 oz. serving has only 160 calories, 5g of fat, 9g of carbohydrates (3 of which are fiber), 19g of protein and 35% of iron’s RDA. Take that, chicken! In all seriousness, I think this a great product not only for those who lead a meat-free lifestyle, but for everyone. It’s a great alternative source of protein, free of cholesterol and saturated fat and tastes great. Plus, it’s easy to prepare, either in a microwave, boiling it in a bag, over the stove top or baking it. I chose the microwave method, and it came out perfectly. For those of you in the Tri-State area, we got ours at Drug Emporium/Healthy Life Market out by the mall.
I have the Glade Sense&Spray giveaway going on until midnight tonight – there’s 5 coupons to be had, and only 2 entries so far, so if you enter now, you’re pretty close to being guaranteed a winner!

Friday Finds: Glade Sense & Spray

24 Apr


As a BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to review new products at no cost, which could possibly be the most fun thing ever (at least to me!). Not only do I get to hear and learn about new products, but I also get to try them out for myself, and see if they actually live up to the hype. Plus, I get to share that knowledge with you!

The first product I received was the Sense & Spray, a new automatic air freshener from Glade. I am an absolute air freshener junkie, so this was a perfect product to get my feet wet with. After using the Sense & Spray, I learned very quickly that this is no ordinary air freshener. After all, the Sense & Spray is motion activated, putting it in the category of “why didn’t anyone think of this before???” It works in two ways, releasing scent when:

  • motion is detected from 5 feet away
  • someone presses the button on the front of the unit

Translation? No wasted sprays!

I was definitely skeptical about this working; I figured it would go off every time someone walked by, or it wouldn’t go off at all. To test the unit, I put it on top of the toilet in our 1st floor bathroom, which gets the most use. I soon realized that while it sometimes takes a couple of seconds to release the scent, it has a lock feature, which times out the unit from spraying automatically for 30 minutes. I also liked that the unit was fairly attractive, didn’t take up too much space and was easy to assemble and operate. Having used it for 30 days and having the canister still half full, I can also say that the Sense & Spray lives up to its claim of being long-lasting.

I received the Clean Linen scent, and while it didn’t completely win me over, it’s a pleasant enough fragrance to keep around. Refills are also available in Apple Cinnamon, Country Garden and Powder Fresh, which gives you the option of finding the perfect scent for you, and at only $3.49, aren’t a fortune to replace, which is always a bonus.

Would I purchase the Sense & Spray for myself? Probably – I find it a convenient product, and I like that it gives you options. Plus, when you purchase the starter kit, you get everything you need in one package: the unit, 2 AA batteries and a refill canister (either in Clean Linen or Apple Cinnamon). It’s a little pricey at $8.99, but it makes up for it in quality and convenience.

To give you the opportunity to try out the Glade Sense & Spray for yourself, I have 5 coupons for $4 off a starter kit to give away, and they’re good until August 31st, 2009 (US only). The giveaway closes on Monday, April 27th at 11:59 PM EST, and there are three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment with your e-mail address and favourite scent
  2. Post about this giveaway on your blog, and leave a comment with the link
  3. Subscribe through a reader or by e-mail, and leave a comment letting me know. If you’re already a subscriber, leave a comment and you’ll be entered as well.

Digging the Daregal

23 Apr

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Matt.
Matt, as it turns out, works for Daregal, a company that specializes in fresh frozen herbs.
Matt wanted to know if I’d like to try out these oxymoronic herbs, and tell y’all about them.
And be completely honest about the whole thing.
I bet you could tell how quickly I said yes, huh?

Herbs, for me, are like water and air. I can’t function without them, and am beyond annoyed when I run out. I also try to keep as much salt out of our food as possible, so herbs are the be all and end all around here. I use a lot of dried herbs, which are great in the long run – shelf-stable, convenient, and easy to use. Sometimes, though, a girl just needs some freshness in her life. Fresh herbs around here are really expensive and can be hard to find. They also seem to go bad in our fridge rather quickly, putting a damper on our wallets.

Enter Daregal and their ingeniousness (and generosity!).
Not only did I receive 6 varieties to sample, but they were the full-sized containers! Shipped with dry ice, I received Dill, Oregano, Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Basil and Original Blend (a combination of basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme).


As you can see, in my enthusiasm, I swiftly opened every single container upon arrival as quickly as my hands would move. I’ve been using these babies in everything lately, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m beyond satisfied. Not only do the herbs keep beautifully in the freezer for up to 36 months, but they’re super-convenient! Pre-chopped, it’s so simple to just throw them in any dish, and they defrost instantaneously. Also, because they’re lightly misted in vegetable oil before packaging, there’s no clumping inside the container – just shake and use. I’ve also tasted them on their own, and not only do they look like fresh herbs, they taste like them, too – amazing!

I’ve sprinkled dill on brown rice, cilantro on nachos, and on roasted vegetables for a quiche. My absolute favourite combination so far was today’s post-workout snack – nonfat Greek yogurt, honey, sliced strawberries and basil. This just screamed summer, and was incredible; the basil brought everything together without being overpowering. I could seriously eat this every single day. So cheery and yummy! Plus, how beautiful and fresh does that look?

Now for the downside.

For now, the only stores where Daregal herbs are sold are A&P, D’Agostino, Giant Food, Kings, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Waldbaum’s and Shaw’s, none of which are in our area. You can also buy them online at Daregal, but with shipping it becomes a little pricey. Well worth it, but pricey.
Also, I’d love to see mint and chive added to their product line, because I’d be on it like peanut butter on toast!

When it comes down to it, I would totally buy these herbs. They’re delicious, convenient and ‘shelf’-stable, and the quality is exceptional. Seeing as my biggest issue is that it’s a PITA for me to get another batch, I don’t know that I’ve ever been this satisfied with anything before. They would make a great gift, and they’re worth trying – I’d be shocked if you weren’t completely satisfied.

Right now, Daregal is hosting Gourmet Sweepstakes 2009, where they’re giving away an 8-pack of fresh frozen herbs every week (I’ve totally entered). Plus, Daregal does offer some great deals:

  • buy any 4, get any 1 free
  • buy any 6, get any 2 free
  • buy an 8, get any 3 free
  • buy any 12, get 4 free


Since I’ve gotten a few e-mails on my lack of food posts lately, I’ll leave you with one of our favorite dinners of this week, Spaghetti Sauce Sandwiches. Served on Ezekial with a little 2% shredded cheddar on top, these were totally satisfying, quick to make and great as leftovers. It would also be really good on top of pasta or over some rice or a baked potato.

I used Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles instead of ground turkey or beef, and it was a great substitution – they looked and tasted like the real thing, and was better for you, too. What more can you ask for?

Spaghetti Sauce
makes 4 servings

  • 2 cups Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 16 oz. no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tap water
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1 Tbsp. each of Daregal basil, oregano and Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic powder and Italian seasoning blend, and saute for another minute.
  4. Add in the crumbles, and stir until defrosted and they begin to brown.
  5. Pour in the tomato sauce and the water. Add in the balsamic vinegar and the bay leaf, stir and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Add in the basil, oregano and Italian parsley, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Serve!
nutritional information per serving:
106.9 calories, 1.9g fat, 1.5g polyunsaturated fat, 0.4g monounsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 260.8mg sodium, 111.1mg potassium, 13.4g carbohydrates, 3.7g fiber, 4g sugar, 9.6g protein
12% Vitamin A, 59.7% Vitamin B-12, 23.2% Vitamin B6, 9.5% Vitamin C, 15.6% Iron

I <3 Little Black Box

4 Dec

I have a new love.

And I’m sure we’ll be together a long time *wink*.

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Etsy, a marketplace that links buyers and sellers of all things handmade and/or vintage. I’ve made many purchases over the year from jewelery for myself to my bridesmaids’ gifts to Christmas presents. The items are always unique and priced reasonably, the sellers are attentive, responsible and creative, and the recipients are always thrilled.

Well, I’ve found the next best thing for all Etsy lovers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet The Little Black Box, the sampling mecca of all things handmade.
From their site:

The Little Black Box is the perfect place for consumers to learn about our wonderful online retailers before purchasing. It’s a handmade revolution! Are you tired of supporting “the man”? Once a month we put our promo boxes on sale with promotional and full size items in every size and shape to satisfy your every need. In past months we’ve had jewelry, bath and body, candles, bookmarks, keychains, buttons, magnets, luggage handle wraps, silk scarves, dog treats, stationery, photography, tissue cozies and much much more!

Put your product in our boxes and let the world know you exist! Do you feel the need to impress our box buyers? We feature everything handmade. No big box retailers here. Contact The Little Black Box for more info. GO INDIE!

A new box is released every month, with varying prices and samples. I ordered my first box last month, which was sponsored by The Crocheted Baby, and it cost $15 including shipping. Well, my box showed up yesterday, and was I ever impressed upon opening it – I got some fantastic goodies (20 samples in all), and many vendors included coupons!

Here is what I received:

Mrs. Kwitty’s Cottage – bird bookmark
Receive 10% off when quoting code BBTAG in note to the seller

Girls Jusy Wanna Have Fun
– face scrubbie made out of yarn

Miss Courageous – recycled record vinyl charm

The Little Black Box
– peppermint cocoa

The Chunky Butt Bath & Candle Co.
– apple cider bath cream
Buy one, get one free using code BB Bogo

All the Numbers – unique fabric-sewn flower card

Soapsations
– peppermint stick snowflake guest soap, lotion bar, silk and satin hand & body lotion

Terri Taylor Designs – magnetic note pad
20% off your entire purchase (before 12.31.2008) when paying with Paypal – enter NOV Black Box in message to sender

Queen Vanna Creations – polka dot clothespins

Glutenada – gluten-free chocolate spoonfudge
save 15% when quoting LBB15 on any order before 12.20.2008

Historically Inspired Designs – peach vintage earring hair clip
mention Little Black Box at the checkout before 12.31.2008, and receive 15% off

Winklepots – winter wonderland ribbon hair elastic

The Ivy Keep – artisan flowering tea

Move the Needle Creations – matchbook notepad
save 10% when using code MATCH5

Like Mother, Like Daughter – blue crystal and glass bead cell phone charm
custom orders welcome – save 15% plus free shipping on any order before April 2009. Convo with code LBB2

Painted Laydies – 2 samples of mineral eyeshadow – Morrison (blue) and Cowardly Lion (gold)
coupon code WAHM

Sunshine & Ravioli – Home Sweet Home cupcake house notecard

Mia Beads – earrings and note tag
save 10% when quote code 10BB in message to sender

From My Hand – milk glass, tourmaline and citrine gold-plated flower earrings
Convo to get 15% off purchase

The Bumble Bee Studio
– wildflower seeds
get 15% off your first order of $15 or more

Eclectic Oddities – broach

The Soap Seduction – handmade soap (mango?)

C & S Embroidery and Gifts – angel patch

Mattie Reid Chicago – button ring

Wyrding Studios – pendant
receive a free pair of earrings in the colour of your choice with your first order of $35 or more before 12.31.2008 with code LBB08

I more than got my money’s worth, and am very impressed with the quality of each item. December’s box, sponsored by Blue Raven Tea, is being released today, and you can bet I’m going to get my order in ASAP! If you live within the U.S., I definitely suggest trying one out, and getting your hands on a Little Black Box of your own. You can also send a box to a friend, and it would make a fantastic gift or pick-me-up. They do not ship internationally, but their sister site, My Little Purple Box, does.

Since this was such a joy for me to receive, I’m going to give one of you the same pleasure! Just leave me a comment with your favourite find and your e-mail address (or profile that lists your e-mail address) before Sunday, December 7th at 10 p.m. EST. I’ll pick at random, and post on Monday with the lucky winner!