Thursday, November 24, 2011

End o' coupons

Coupon Day 3: Commenced on Monday November 21.  I had a ginormous list of groceries to get, and a fair amount of coupons in my wallet.  I saved, I think, about $5.00.  Two of those dollars were on some small Pyrex baking dishes (for when we do small brownies again, or cakes, or pie, or...oh my!).  Also, I saved .40 cents off 2 small Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, .50 cents off the red Tide liquid laundry soap (because I think I need to try a different kind), $1.00 off Drano snake, and $1.00 off 2 Lysol disinfectant wipes, Okay, so really $4.90.  Maybe I'm just really bad at this coupon thing, that or maybe I'm just too particular.  ALSO!!!  I saved $15.88 (no coupon), at our local grocery store, if you bought $100.00 worth of stuff you got a free turkey, and I of course spent over that, so that was really exciting! (p.s. the turkey is sitting partially eaten on my stove).

And so, I cancelled the newspaper subscription on Monday.  However, it won't stop coming until this Sunday, so I will get 4 more that day.  AND, unexpectedly (it being Thanksgiving day) I got 4 this morning!  Weird!  P.S. I'm not a day after Thanksgiving shopper...unless you count some much needed ice cream, but I think we'll have enough leftover pie that ice cream will be unnecessary.  And as far as the diet goes today...its a free/cheat day!  We've been doing really good.  I think the average daily caloric intake last week for me was 1700-ish, and hubby was 1400-ish.  I think we're getting there.  It sucks because the numbers aren't going down as fast as we like, but its a lifestyle change, not a quickie fix, so it will take time.  Plus, the other day I went and got a recumbent bike, so maybe we can inch that in there somewhere, maybe while we're playing Nintendo.

Speaking of Nintendo, I was really naughty the other night, because we only had 3 games before for the Super Nintendo.  I went to Graywhale, up the street, and got 7 more Nintendo games!  A couple of really dumb ones, followed by some super awesome ones, we got Super Mario all stars, Zelda (which I was particularly excited about), Mario Kart, Tetris and Dr. Mario (which Dr. Mario is way fun), and Donkey Kong 3 - Dixie something or other.  I haven't been playing too much, but that is okay, I find I get bored really easily, so its probably better.  Hubby's been playing Zelda a lot, which is cool, I kind of like watching him, and he likes having me watch.

Another bit of news!  Hubby got offered an internship with John Deere!  It will start next May and last for 3 months!  I'm not excited to have him gone for that long, but it will be a really great opportunity for him!  Hopefully he'll get a job there for after he graduates!  That would be so wonderful!  :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Small batch brownies...

Since hubby and I are counting calories now, I'm always in search of delicious desserts.  I found a bunch of cookie recipes in my christmas cookies book that are pretty cheap, I think I might try some of them here soon.  Yum!  Also, so far today we've been pretty low on calories, only like 1000, so we decided to kind-of-but-not-really splurge on some brownies.  I halfed a box of regular fudge brownies and only did one egg (well, about 1.8 ounces of egg substitute), 1/3 cup oil, and 1/8 cup water, I baked them at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes...  They are done and cooling on the stove.  I am very excited!  We figured that the whole box of brownies, brace yourself, is 3400 calories!  So if we halfed the box it would only be 1700, and if we each had half of the half, we could get away with only 850.  And since we're so low already, it would still be in our diet!  Hehe...Sneaky, Sneaky..  I'm very excited!  And I usually don't like brownies all that much, but we get to eat a whole half pan!!!  Yeah!  Calorie count for the end of the day will probably be around 1860!  We had freezer stuff for brunch and a hugenormous salad for dinner. :)

I get my (probably last) round of 4 newspapers tomorrow, I might cancel it on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fruit dessert

Well, we've been watching our calories and have been doing pretty good the last few days, I think we've been doing this since sunday, so almost 4 days and I think we've averaged about 1600 a day..  I never realized just how many calories are in everything, its CRAZY!  I just had a can of western family mini ravioli (I ate every single little bit on my plate, even all the sauce!), and before I probably wouldn't have hesitated about eating a second can.  But, since we're watching calories I looked and one serving (about half of the can) is 240, so the whole can is 480!  Thats a big chunk!!  So, no way I'm gonna think about eating a second can. 

On that note, here is what we've been having for dessert the last few days...its very very good! 
1 large apple, 1 medium banana, 1 large pear, a serving of frozen strawberries, a small kiwi and 2 yoplait light yogurts (about 100 cals each).  We cut it all up and separate it out equally and that is just enough for one person!  Yum! and its about 320 calories!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

4 cal per gram

I realized that all sugars are about the same, calorically speaking. 
Even the ones that say they are "no calorie."  Here's my reasoning:
Before me lies a box of packets of "stevia in the raw."  On the side of the package it says "Each serving contains less than 4 calories which the FDA considers dietetically zero."  Eack packet is 1 gram (of almost everything in a packet, Sweet 'n Low, Equal and Splenda), and almost every package I looked at last night at the store had the 4 calories and under verbage on it.  So...1 gram is 4 calories.  1 tablespoon=12 grams, there's 16 tablespoons in 1 cup, 12g x 16T=192 grams in 1 cup.  So 192g x 4 cals=768 cals per cup.  Regular granulated sugar is about 4 cals per gram, granulated Equal is 4 cals, Splenda, the sugar blend for baking, is 385 cals per 1/2 cup, so thats 96 grams in that, so you divide those and get about 4.01 cals per gram.  (Most of this information was taken from the 2006 edition of the Calorie King Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate counter book.)  It could not be true (meaning my facts could be incorrect), but it seems right, I always figured that they were all about the same.  It looks like xylitol would be the best bet, calorically speaking because (based on several web sites I just looked at) it only provides 2.4 cals per gram, so that is quite a bit of savings!  So, instead of 768 cals per cup, its 460.8 per cup!  Plus, I've heard bad things about aspartame and sucralose (same thing), so I usually just opt for sugar. 

P.S. Hubby and I decided to start watching our calorie intake.  Man, its really reeeeally hard!  Everything is so calorically expensive!

Slight correction (several days later): I can see why people would use the stevia and aspartame and all that, they say its like 200 times sweeter than sugar, so 1 gram of them would do the same job of 2 teaspoons of sugar, so that kinda makes sense.  Overall, if you used it based on that ratio, it would definitely save you a lot of calories.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coupon day 2

Went shopping on monday instead of tuesday this week...
I think I saved a whole total of $7.50.  I saved the most on 2 boxes of Delimax Taquitos from Walmart. They were about $5.50 a box and I had coupons for $2.00 off each package, so I saved $4 on those...That was the most exciting!  Then, I saved .75 cents on any gallon of milk, .40 cents on each of the 4 pouches of cookies that I bought (Betty Crocker), also like .75 cents off 2 boxes of Betty Crocker streusel muffin mixes, and .25 cents off any Charmin product.  All of that stuff was on my list to get anyway (well, I lied, not the cookies or the muffins, but we eat them and we were almost out anyway).  Some rules that I've seen on couponing say that to get the most out of the coupons, get the smallest of the product that the coupon will allow, in this case the smallest of the toilet paper was a 4 roll pkg that had 176-ish 2 ply sheets per roll (FYI, I don't usually pay this much attention to that number).  They were $4.25 each.  And the same size rolls in a package of 12 was $9.50.  So, as you can see, I can pay $16 for the same amount of toilet paper and save $1.00 with coupons, or, I could get the $9.50 one and save .25 cents and make it only $9.25.  I ended up buying the mega rolls of toilet paper in a package of 12 (there's like 386 2 ply sheets per roll too!) that was on sale for 12.99, used the .25 cent coupon and it was only $12.74.  But I'm happy with my purchase..More for my money, I think.  And, I spent all my money, except for $8.00, so I'm afraid I won't be going shopping next week.  OH, and the only coupons that I used that came from the newspapers was the taquitos, the cookies, and the charmin product.  So as far as the coupons go, we actually did save the most from the newspapers rather than printed from the internet this time!  I think our best bet is turning into just continuing to shop smart instead of with the coupons.  I'll still get them, I think, but just print them off the internet instead of with the newspapers..
Sorry coupons, strike 2.  :(

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Disappointing dinners

Unrelated to dinners, we lost power yesterday morning at about 2 am and didn't come back on until 7 pm, so we had most of the day in the dark.  No tv or anything like that so it was pretty exciting and I made dinner by tea light (because we didn't have any real candles).

Saturday night, I made (from Campbell's 1-2-3 cookbook), the homestyle beef stew recipe, included carrots, potatoes, stew meat, thyme (I used basil and oregano because I didn't have any), bay leaves, beef broth and I think that's it.  You let it simmer for like an hour and a half and then add the carrots and potatoes, then another half hour.  It was not very good...well, in all honesty, we didn't eat it, it didn't smell delicious, so I put the lid on and pretended it didn't happen until today when I threw it away.  In lieu of the stew, hubby had egg noodles and butter and I had chicken pasta roni.

Tonight, Sunday, I made a recipe I found online.  With my newspaper subscription, I get it every day and am able to read some of the articles in it.  I found this article about this girl who did a year of slow cooking, and of course it intrigued me and I looked at recipes on her blog.  I also thought that maybe she might have the same taste buds as me, because her taste-o meter sounded kind of like mine might, she gave it 4 stars out of 5, so I hoped I would like it too.  I found one called Honey Garlic Chicken and all the ingredients sounded like it might be good.  Anyway, so we made that today and it wasn't very good.  The chicken was nice and tender and juicy, but the flavor of the sauce that was infused in the chicken too just rubbed me the wrong way.  And hubby at least tried it, but he didn't care for it either.  I was really disappointed because I was very hopeful.  Hubby said that on his mission (to Chile) there was someone that did their chicken in the slow cooker with milk and garlic, so we might try that sometime, also something with barbecue sauce would be good too.  I also thought that even just doing the chicken in water or whatever would make it good too.

So, I put most of the chicken that we didn't eat in 2 trash bags, along with the yucky stew and we pretended the whole thing didn't happen.  The "good" dinner consisted of country fried steak from the freezer and egg noodles with salt and pepper.  It was pretty good, obviously not awesome, but good nevertheless.

On the bright side, I made peanut butter candy cookies (Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix in a pouch) plus a bunch of candy.  Mostly sixlets, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate m&ms.  Hubby's crazy, it was his idea of course, but they turned out really good!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Found a recipe at work for super duper easy pumpkin spice cookies... I made them tonight. Yum!!!
Here is the recipe:
1 pkg spice cake mix, 1 15 oz can of pumpkin, and chocolate chips.
Mix together thoroughly and bake at 350 deg. for 12-ish minutes.
Yep!  Thats it! (I also added dashes each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, I also used white chocolate chips in my part of the cookies).  These cookies are highly recommended!  Hubby quite liked them too!

Also, recently discovered a blog about slow cooking.  Thinking of trying some of her recipes in the next few days...