Monday, January 30, 2012

Last Night's Dinner- BLT-rific Mac 'n Cheese Online Recipe

Yes. Bacon. Cheese. Pasta. Good.
I'm not sure that I really need to say more except that I am a huge fan of Kraft Mac, so for me to to Hungry Girl's BLT-rific Mac 'n Cheese, you know it must be phenomenal. Somehow, we had already consumed the squash that's supposed to be in this dish before last night so I simply omitted it, but that, I'm sure, would simply enhance it and make it even more filling. Try it. Find the recipe here.

Dahubby says, "So good! Mmm (nummy noises here, but manlier than 'nummy')."

Dahoney's Chocolate Coconut Bites

1- 7oz bag of Sweetened Flaked Coconut (or about 2 1/2 cups)
2 egg whites
1 TBSP of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 350. Mix it all together and drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet (or spray with non-stick cooking spray if you don't have parchment paper.) Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before eating- if you can!

Makes 12 cookies- 62 calories per cookie

Tip: I have also made these sans-egg whites, formed them into little nests with craters in the middle and stuck some candy eggs in the middle for Easter. Works best if you adhere them with a dab of frosting. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY Tutorial- $1 Diaper Box Upcycle

I have seen a lot of tutorials on making diaper boxes into fabric covered lovelies. However, I don't have the money for fabric. If I did, I'd just buy the stinkin' things at Target and call it a day. SO, what to do with a bunch of empty diaper boxes lying around? Here's a quick and easy AND CHEAP tutorial on how to up cycle them into custom storage boxes:
Supplies: 1 diaper box
1 roll of shelf paper (I got mine at the Dollar Tree and it was more than enough for one box)
Box cutter
Use the box cutter to take off the flaps at the top of the box. Using the scissors, cut the paper to fit the 2 shortest sides of your box with a little extra for wrapping around the edge- about 1-2" extra. For my Huggies box, the length was 11" total. I just cut across the whole roll like I cutting wrapping paper and didn't trim it anymore than that. This will be a piece that you wrap from the top to the bottom of your box. Peel the backing off the paper and stick your box right on it with a 2-3" allowance on top. Cut out all 4 corners as shown above so that you don't have to fold.Stick it to the box, wrapping the excess into the box, around the corners, and under the bottom. It's pretty forgiving stuff, but try to stick it down flat the first time. Trying to push out wrinkles doesn't work too well though, so just lift and restick if needed.

Do this to the other side as well. Now both "handle ends" are covered. Don't worry about getting the edges perfect, they will be covered by the next two pieces. You will cut the handle section out last. Next, cut pieces to go over the longer sides. These need to be exactly the length of your box so that there is no side wrapping. For my Huggies box, I cut 13". Again, just cut across the roll like you're cutting wrapping paper and use the piece as-is. No need to cut out the corners this time, just start inside the box and wrap out, down, and around.
Use a box cutter to cut out the handle holes if desired. Voila! For just $1, you've made a cutie-pie storage box. The Dollar Tree often has a lot of different patterns of shelf paper that would be great for this project- toile, faux wood grain, checks, etc. Be warned, though, a light colored paper will allow the print on the box to show through. For me, this is ok since these will be used in my craft closet, but if you wish to go this light and don't want anyone to see the diaper label, just cover it in a solid paper first.

Happy Crafting!

Last Night's Dessert- Upside-Down Pineapple-Applesauce Cake

Well, last night I made Sloppy Janes for dinner from my Hungry Girl cookbook, and they were awesome...messy, but awesome. Since I cooked dinner from the cookbook, I thought I'd make dessert from the Hungry Girl website and show you what it looked like. Enter the Upside-Down Pineapple-Applesauce Cake. You can find the recipe here. I did not have the maraschino cherries (bummer), so I just omitted them. But, please, could this be any more delicious? Even if it had cherries? So good I really felt like I was doing something wrong. An eighth of this cake is only 189 calories (less without the cherries I guess), and I served it warm with a bit of Fat Free Reddi-whip. Yum! Try yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Dahubby says, "Yes. Perfect. Love it. So good. Keep making this."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last Night's Dinner- Online Recipe for Chicken Taquitos

Woohoo! Last night, we tried another wonderful Hungry Girl recipe that can be found here for Exploding Chicken Taquitos. So good! You might be surprised to hear that these use canned chicken. What?!? Yes. Canned Chicken. But, trust me, if you use the all white-meat cans, you are still making a healthy choice while making your life a lot easier. Although, hey, if you've got leftover chicken breast in the fridge, by all means, use that. These were designed to be an appetizer- hence being only 197 calories for 2!!!!- so I added some carrots sticks and a cup of corn chowder to round out the meal. All in, we were at about 400 calories for an amazing dinner. Follow the link and try them for yourself!

Dahubby says, "What's the catch? These are seriously good. They can't be as healthy as we've been trying to eat." No catch, sweets, just no oil!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Last Night's Dinner-Noodlicious Zucchini Pancakes

So, this week, I've decided to try out some of Hungry Girl's online recipes so that if something looks good to you, you can easily go and try it yourself without having to buy the cookbook. First up...last night's dinner was Noodlicious Zucchini Pancakes found here. I thought they were fantastic. Simply delicious! As easy as grating some veggies and mixing up batter. And a big dollop of fat free sour cream put it right over the top! Now, I super love croquettes, latkes, as well as zucchini and mushrooms which star in this particular dish. If you don't like those things, this may not be for you. Dahubs was not a fan, but that's ok. More for me! And, at 50 calories a pancake, why not have a few? They're just tofu noodles and veggies for heaven's sake. ;) Happy Chewing!

P.S. Aren't you glad I finally figured out how to do a hyperlink? Hehe

Dahubby says, "Not my favorite. I ate it to be polite. I think it was the texture. I like a dough-ier feel to my pancake."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Target Trip- Spent $19.13, Saved $25.82

Man! This was a great morning to be out couponing! Maybe the rainy weather kept my competition at home? Target was awesome! I spent $19.13, and saved $25.82. That's a 57% savings! Woot! Here's what I got and how:

(2) Up and Up single roll paper towels, $0.99 regular price
Used $1/1 Up & Up paper towel coupon from
Paid $0.00- Free!!
(1) Merona tank top, $3.60 on clearance
Used $3/1 Merona clothing item coupon from
Paid $0.60- pretty stinkin' close to free
(4) Power Bar Bites, $1.27 each regular price
Used 2 BOGO coupons from (may no longer be available)
Paid $2.54 for all four bags (or $0.64 each)
(8) Happy Tot Organic Smoothies, $1.79 each regular price
(8) Happy Tot Organic Squeezable pouches, $1.19 each regular price
Used 2 $1/4 Happy Tot items from (should still be available)
Used 7 BOGO coupons from Happy Tot (This is a Bricks coupon. I would use the coupon database at to find the link.)
Paid $9.31 for all 16 "squeezies" as we call them ;) (That's $0.58 each!!)
(2) Up and Up squeezable food pouches, $0.89 each regular price (can you tell we like 'em?)
Used 2 $0.25/1 Up and Up baby food pouches from
Paid $1.28 for both (or $0.64 each)
(5) Bic Pens, $1.00 sale price
Used 5 $1/1 Bic stationary product fm SS #2 1/08
Paid $0.00- free pens (these are earmarked for my friend K who has been looking forever)
(2) Up and Up Unscented Wipes boxes, $1.57 each regular price

Vons Shopping Trip- Spent $12.80, Saved $25.82!

What a great trip to Vons this morning! I spent $12.80, and saved $25.82! That's a 67% savings!! Hmm...that seems to be my number lately. Anyway, here's what I got and how:

(1) Precious Sting Cheese, $3.99 sale price
Used $1/1 coupon fm SS 1/15
Paid $2.99 (This is actually a better deal at Winco- $1.99, but I didn't know that until later.)
(1) Lucerne Large Grade AA Eggs, 1 dozen, $2.99 regular price
Loaded "free Lucerne eggs" coupon to my Vons card (go to and register to access exclusive coupons for your card)
Paid $0.00 Free Eggs!!
(3) Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Goldfish Crackers, $1/ea when you buy 3
Paid $3.00 for all three
(3) Post Honey Bunches of Oats, 14.5 oz, $1.99 with in ad coupon
Used 3 $1/1 coupons from
Paid $3.00 for all three
(1) L & A 100% Cranberry Juice, 32 oz
Clearance in the back along with other 100% juices
Paid $3.75

Many of these deals end tomorrow, so if you want to snatch them up, do so soon! Happy Shopping!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 3- Results Show

This was a difficult week- lots of traveling, soreness from my long walk last weekend, and overall exhaustion from the general busyness of life. Still....I lost another 1.4 lbs (that brings my total to 4 even), and made another $187 (for a total of $767 this month)!!

Steps forward:
  • Well, obviously losing weight is fantastic in any amount. And, 1.4 lbs is a safe, healthy rate even if it doesn't change my pant size just yet.
  • Despite having to eat out several times due to travel, I tried to make healthy choices (i.e. turkey burger, no fries)
  • We are continuing to have success on Ebay! I know this will taper off soon, but for now, we are enjoying the forward momentum. Plus, my trip to Plato's Closet this week was quite successful. Yay!
  • I discovered a new and delicious way to use all the canned Pumpkin in my stockpile. Ha! Check out my recipe earlier this week. So yummy!
Steps backward:
  • I'm not sure if I would even call this a step back because everyone deserves a little break now and again, but I totally chowed on pizza and cake at my nephew's bday party. I didn't even feel guilty...well, maybe a little now, but it was nice to have fun and not worry too much. Hey, this is a long journey, there will be pizza pit stops!
  • We spent more money than we wanted too this week. I think I've learned the importance of having some convenience foods in the house, despite their lack of nutritional super powers. It's better to eat a Digiorno at home for $6.50 and consume 800 calories than to spend $20 eating out and pack in 1800. Know what I'm sayin'?
  • I only got in 2 days of P90X and 3 days of walking this week. So, I guess I should be grateful I lost at all, huh? Sheesh! Hope I have better energy and more focus next week!
I am anxious to see how this next week goes. I really want to finish up this month strong. I am going to be doing a Jillian Michaels cleanse this week which should be interesting. NO, I did not say fast, I said cleanse. It's just a tea/juice/water concoction that she recommends to battle bloat and help your kidneys and liver get a little healthier. (If you weren't around me when I gave birth, you should know that my liver decided to spill toxins out my skin and made me itch like crazy for months. So, yes, I like to care for my liver and such, mkay?) I will post the recipe soon and journal my results.

Have a great week, friends!

Albertsons Trip- Spent $12.25, Saved $24.51 (67%!)

I just had a great trip to Albertsons! Remember that the soup and pasta are only on sale through today, so if you want to grab these deals, go do it!

Spent $12.25, Saved $24.51

House Foods Shirataki Noodles (spaghetti shape)- $1.99/ea, buy 2= $3.99

(2) Prego Pasta Sauce- $1.50 each

Used (2) $1.50/1 from Albertsons email

Final Price= FREE

(4) Essential Everyday Pasta, 12-16oz- $.50 each with in ad coupon

Coupon Only Valid 01/20-01/22

limit 4 = $2.00

(3) Large Mangos- $.69 each, get 3= $2.07

(1.79lbs) Broccoli or Cauliflower- $.69/lb= $1.24

Progresso Soup Rich & Hearty or Traditional 18.5-19oz, or World Recipes 18.5oz- $.99 each with in ad coupon

Coupon Only Valid 01/20-01/22

limit 4

Use $1.00/4 from 12/11 SS or 01/08 GM

Final Price= $.74 each when you buy 4= $2.96

Friday, January 20, 2012

Increasing Income- Tips for selling at Plato's Closet

Normally, I would write this kind of post on a Thursday as that is my "go out and make some money day", but our schedule got a little wonky it is just one day late. Hope that's cool.

One of my biggest secrets for extra cash is selling to Plato's Closet. For those of you who don't know, Plato's Closet is a clothing consignment store. They buy and sell gently used clothing, accessories, and shoes, then turn around and sell them for 2-3 times what they paid you. Now, I know that there are other consignment shops around town, but I have had so much success with PC that I haven't bothered going elsewhere. This week, I went in on Wednesday with 2 bags, sold 8 items, and left with $27.20 in cash. That's a heck of a lot more than I would've gotten on Ebay or at a garage sale.

Since I have sold there several times, and have chatted with the employees, I thought I'd give you some pointers.

1. Bring good stuff- Don't bog down your transaction with stuff you know they won't want. Save that for a clothing exchange party or donate it to Goodwill. They will only buy things that are somewhat current (like in the stores within 1-2 years), and still fashionable. So leave the '80's Cosby sweaters at home.

2. Bring clean stuff- Even if you haven't worn it since the last time it was washed, wash it again. PC employees do not want to sort through bags of musty, dusty clothes that smell stale. For shoes, use a magic eraser, microfiber cloths, or slightly damp towel to clean and buff. Don't even think of taking in your funky Birkenstocks, mkay? Mkay.

3. Bring your stuff in a nice bag- I like to put my stuff in gift bags or non-plastic shopping bags. I'm not really sure if this helps sell my stuff or not, but if I worked there, I'd rather buy something out of a gift bag than a trash bag. Think about what kind of message you're sending about the value of your clothes.

4. Bring separated stuff- Shoes in one bag. Clothes in another bag. Accessories in another bag. This is just common sense, but I see people sling it all up there together and it drives me nutty. Also, how long is that going to take to sort out?

5. Bring the right amount of stuff- Limit yourself to 1-2 bags. This will get you in and out more quickly and increase the percentage of items bought.

6. Buy good stuff- As a mommy whose weight has fluctuated up with baby and down ever after, I have been conscious of past and future size changes. So, instead of investing in long-term pieces, I've been buying less expensive clothes that I know they will want to buy when I shrink out of them. Then, the second it becomes too big on me, I sell it! For a full list of brands they like to buy, visit Just remember that this list does not guarantee that they will buy it from you later, so buy what you like.

  • Don't get upset when they don't buy what used to be your fav sweater, it's all about current stock and what's hot right now. They are taking a chance with every purchase and are simply buying pieces with the best chance of selling. I've actually had them tell me certain items are great and to bring them back in 6 weeks because they are overstocked. So I'll just chill on that item until then.
  • Don't sell more than 3 times in one month, or their computer will red-flag you and you won't be able to sell for another 6 months.
Hope this has encouraged some of you to clean out your closets and make some extra cash!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dahoney's Crustless Pumpkin Pie-lets Recipe

Have you ever been spending time you don't have surfing around Pinterest lusting over recipes you shouldn't make? Well, one caught my eye yesterday for a crustless mini pumpkin pie, but I just couldn't make it and stay on track with fat, calories, and sugar content. I thought to myself, "What would Hungry Girl do?" So I completely revamped the recipe. So much so that I'm going to call it my own, and share it with you. ;) BTW- this recipe makes 12, but some have already been consumed, and at 65 calories each, so what if we each ate 2? We were hungry, ok?

Dahoney's Crustless Pumpkin Pie-lets

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
15 oz can of pure pumpkin (puree, not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 granulated no calorie sweetener (I used Splenda)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or other egg substitute)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fat free milk

Optional: fat free Reddi-whip for the top!

Preheat oven to 350, and spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk it up!
In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Whisk it up!
Add the dry stuff to the wet stuff. Whisk it up!
Pour batter into muffin pan, dividing evenly between the 12 cups.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Let it cool in the pan.
Put the pan in the fridge to chill.
Use a knife or fork to gently loosen and lift out.
Serve cold with fat free whipped topping or without. Sup to you!

Serves 12.
Calories 65, Total Fat 0.6g, Sodium 106 mg, Fiber 3.3 g, Sugars 5.0g (less than a glass of milk), Protein 2.9g, Vitamin A 112% DV!! (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)

Last Night's Dinner- Rockin Good Tuna Noodle Casserole

Another great recipe using the House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles! This recipe used three bags (instead of 1 like the Spaghetti Pie) so it was much more filling. Hungry Girl uses a lot of Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese to make dishes creamy for very few calories. I highly recommend it! This tasty dish serves 4 (or 2 for dinner, and 2 for lunch), and it only has 167 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving! Seriously, Hungry Girl rocks. If you don't have her cookbook, just go to and print out free recipes!! Or you can look her up on

Dahubby says, "This was really good. I am used to a thicker noodle though." The recipe actually calls for fettuccine-shaped tofu noodles, but I've only been able to find macaroni and spaghetti shaped. It's the same thing, but next time I'll used the macaroni and see if this helps get the thickness right for him. Either way, it was a healthy hit!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Target Trip- Spent $12.53, Saved $22.57

Wow! This was such a successful trip to Target!! My little guy loves the "squeezies" as we call them. We go through quite a lot of squeezable, organic baby food. And these pouches run anywhere from $0.89- $1.89 depending on the size and whether or not you buy organic. The best price per unit that I've ever gotten was $0.80/each for the full-size, 4 oz pouches....until today!! I basically paid $0.47/each for these! Oh, and did I mention $0.19 for a 4-pack of yogurt? Ya! Here's my breakdown:

International Delight Creamer, $1.89
Used $0.75/1 coupon fm SS 1/08
Paid $1.14 (not a fantastic deal, but I'm a bit of an addict)
Dannon Activia Yogurt, 4 pack $2.19 each, bought 2
Used 2 $1/1 Activia coupon fm SS 1/15
Also used $2/2 Activia Target coupon from (no longer be available)
Paid: $0.19 each
Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root Tea, $3.49 (on sale from $4.99)
Used $1/1 coupon from SS 11/13
Paid $2.49 (you will see me use this in Jillian Michaels a cleanse next week)
Happy Baby Organic Happy Morning Smoothies, $1.79, Regular Price, got 8
Happy Baby Organic Happy Tot Pouches $1.19, Regular Price, got 8
Used 8 BOGO coupons from manufacturer (used multiple computers)
Used 2 $1/4 Happy Baby Organic Baby Food Pouches, Target Coupon fm
Paid $0.47 each!!!

Now, my understanding was that the BOGO coupons were to buy one smoothie, get a Happy Tot pouch for free (which is cheaper). However, when ringing up, the coupon automatically discounted $1.79 for each scanned. I clarified with the cashier, but she said it was correct and that she would not override it unless the coupon did not scan properly. So, this may not work for everyone, but even if you got $1.19 taken off for each coupon scanned, it's still a great deal at $0.77 each. It would've been the best price ever.

*Note: this only works because Target allows you to "stack" manufacturer and store coupons. I always remind my cashier that I love that about Target. I hope my gratitude is passed on, but more importantly, I continue to remind the cashiers that I can use 2 coupons on the same product so long as one is a manufacturer, and the other is a Target coupon.

Happy deal hunting, friends!

Last Night's Dinner- Super Duper Spaghetti Pie

Have you ever used Tofu Shirataki Noodles? If you read my last post detailing my trip to Albertsons, you might have been wondering what in the world I was going to use those for. Enter Hungry Girl's Super Duper Spaghetti Pie. Ok, the bottom is the Tofu Noodles mixed with tomato sauce, veggies, and Egg Beaters. Then, it's topped with more tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, and lots of ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese. It's some kind of delicious hybrid between spaghetti and pizza and it rocked! You get to eat a 1/4 of this pie for one serving, which is not going to bust your gut since this is not real pasta, but it's enough to satisfy. And the best part's only 83 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving!!!! Seriously, you could sit down and consume the whole thing for only 332 calories. Now that's what I call smart food. I only wish that Dahubby had not been in the kitchen while I was making it. The noodles have a tofu odor before you rinse and dry them that isn't so appealing. If, however, he had not seen/smelled that step, he admitted that he would not have known they were not super-carb-heavy pasta noodles.

Dahubby says, "Really good. Let's have that one again."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Albertsons Trip- Spent $17.75, Saved $18.19 (51%)!!

Spent $17.75, Saved $18.19

So, I was pretty happy with my Albertsons trip today. Anytime, I can save more than I spent, I feel like I've done my job. Some of these items had no available coupons, but they were at stock-up prices so I went for it. You will see the Shirataki Noodles and Laughing Cow cheese in some upcoming dinners. They are Hungry Girl staple foods. ;)

1 Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters (single pack), Sale $0.59
Used FREE catalina that I got on my last trip
3 Super Chill Soda, 2 liters- $0.67 each wyb 3
3 Albertsons Macaroni and Cheese- $0.53 each web 3
3- 6oz pkgs of blueberries- $0.98 each
4 House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles, Sale $1.69 each
2- Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges, Sale 2 for $6
Used $1/2 coupon fm SS 1/8
AND used a doubler
Paid $2 each

Week 2- Results Show

Ha! I can almost see Bob (from Biggest Loser) shaking his head. The dreaded curse of Week 2. No, I didn't lose any weight this week. Bummer. But I am not discouraged. Take a look at all God brought about in my life this week:

Steps forward:
  • I was well enough to add in P90X workouts to my week. Having taken so much time off from P90X, and needing to make my 1/2 marathon training the priority meant that I only got in 3 of the 6 workouts this week. However, I consider this forward progress and will not apologize for being more active than I was last week. So there!
  • I was able to train with my sister for the first time, and we walked 8 miles. If it hadn't been for the stoplights, we would've made it in 2 hours flat. Our goal is to get through all 13.1 miles of the 1/2 marathon next month in 3.25 hours. We are getting there! That's the farthest either of us have walked yet.
  • Despite having to travel out of town, and this meaning that I had to eat out, I made healthy choices (Turkey Burgers from Carls) and stayed within my calorie goal every day but yesterday. Hey! Walking 8 miles will work up an appetite!
  • Probably the most exciting step forward this week has been our continued success on Ebay! Man! People will buy anything! Dvds, books, old phones, even broken electronics to use for parts. We made an additional $380.0 this week!!! That's on top of Dan's guitar lessons and my babysitting. Seriously. This stuff was just taking up space in our home. We aren't selling stuff we don't use at all. And, the best part is...there are still a bunch of listings that haven't gone yet!
Steps back (yes, we have to be honest with ourselves):
  • We ended up going about $40 over budget this pay-period with groceries mostly because our little guy is eating like a horse and peeing like one too. All that money went to more diapers, wipes, and baby food than I had anticipated consuming. To correct this, I'm going to find the bestest deals on these items and put them at the top of my grocery list so that we don't run out.
  • We also, as mentioned, spent a little money on eating out- approx $15. Not good. Fortunately, we have not yet hit our $50/month eating out cap, so we are still ok there. It's a strange thing to see how accustomed we have become to "picking something up." It's a bad habit that God is stripping from our lives. Not easy, but worth it for our physical and mental well-being.
  • Yes, I will count the lack of weight loss as a step back. Actually, it's more like standing still which is not good either. I am pretty confident that I am retaining water in my muscles from the long walk I took yesterday. So, rather than get down about it, I am simply looking forward to greater losses next week.
I hope God is bringing about great things in your life this year and that you are making strides to be more physically and fiscally fit. Please leave comments with questions, suggestions, or recipes you'd like to see featured. I want to hear from you, friends! ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Free-day!

Not to shabby out there today! Once again, I went with coupons in hand to Walmart- the East Hills store this week to try my luck- and was once again disappointed. I was hoping for about $30 in coupon overages but couldn't find a single item on my list. Target, however, rarely disappoints. Despite being lower on stock than what I had coupons to purchase, I found a few great deals on the East Side. Here's what I got and how:

Bic Grip Pens, 7+2ct $1.00, bought 5 packs
Use $1.00/1 Bic Stationery Product from SS2 1/8 (exp 2/15)
Final Price: Free

Aquafresh Extreme Clean, 0.8oz Travel Size $0.97, Regular Price, bought 2
Use $1.00/1 – Aquafresh Extreme Clean, any – (
Final Price: Free

Eucerin Travel Size Lotion, $0.97, bought 2
Use $1.00/1 Eucerin Lotion – (
Final Price: Free

Gillette Fusion Proglide Shave Gel, 2.5 oz. $0.97, Special Price, bought 1 (all they had)
Use $1.00/1 Gillette Fusion Shave Prep, limit 4 like coupons in same shopping trip from PG 1/1 (exp 1/31)
Final Price: Free

Reach Floss, $0.97, bought 2
Use $1.00/1
Reach Floss – (
Final Price : Free

I just paid tax for the lot, and because most Target cashiers will accept the coupons at face value, they even applied the overage to the tax. Schaweet! Have a great Friday everybody! Grab yourself some freebies today!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Increasing Income- Getting paid to do what you love

Well, it's Thursday, so that means it's time to talk about increasing your income. Perhaps the easiest way to stay consistent in your additional income earning efforts is to do something you actually like to do! So here are some things that we like to do...

Dahubby teaches guitar lessons. He charges $20 for a half hour lesson. Each student comes once a week so the cost to them is reasonable, but the earning potential per hour is high. When we purchased our house, we immediately recognized the converted garage as a possible music studio. So, students start showing up at 5:30pm on Wednesday evenings and they don't stop coming till 8pm. He also teaches on Thursday nights, Saturday mornings, and he teaches a class for the North of the River Parks and Rec on Tuesday nights. Yes, this is a lot, and it is work, but he gets to practice, teach, and have fun with his students and make $40 an hour!

I, however, am not so accomplished. What I can do, though, is watch the crap out of some kids. So, as a stay-at-home mom, I was honored and excited when my friend K asked me to babysit her little girl 2-3 days per week. Our little friend is just 1 month older than my B-bear, and they are thick as thieves. It's a great opportunity to keep him stimulated and socialized while I earn extra income.

I also have an Etsy shop! You can visit it at . There will be more inventory added soon, but I have already made a few sales. If you're not familiar with Etsy, it's an online marketplace for exclusively handmade and/or vintage goods. I wish I could go back to my 12 year old self and say, "Yes, Virginia (er, I'd probably call myself Brittney), you can make money selling crafts!

So what are you good at? What do you love to do? Can you teach an instrument? Can you watch kids without letting them burn the house down? Can you knit a scarf? Figure out how you want to spend your time and pray about a way to make money doing it. It won't be non-work, but it will be the easiest work you'll ever find.

P.S.- We are continuing our clearance sales on Ebay, so there will be an update on Sunday in "The Results Show." Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Last Night's Dinner- Crazy Good Turkey Taco Meatloaf

I'm not usually a big fan of meatloaf. But, if you tell me something has Taco Seasoning, a vein of cheese, and salsa on top...I'm pretty likely to try it. So last night, I sautéed some pepper, onions, and mushrooms, threw them in with some lean ground turkey, some corn and said taco seasoning, layered it with fat free cheese, topped it with salsa, and baked for 30 minutes. The recipe said it served 6, but I think that might be children! Even when I divided it into 4 portions, the calories were so low it's insane- 285. I love Hungry Girl recipes, but for a grown man and a P90X-er like myself, it's not quite enough food sometimes. I also made some Knorr Spanish rice and pulled out some baby carrots to round out the meal.

Dahubby says, "Delicious! Definitely make this one again!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I was up to over the weekend....

Well, first, thanks to a tip on Facebook from, I checked out some clearance bins at Albertsons and found canned pumpkin for $0.25/can!! and Almond Bark for $0.50/package! Canned Pumpkin is a Hungry Girl staple, so you'll be seeing this a lot in upcoming recipe reviews. As for the Almond Bark, it's good till next Christmas, so no pressure to get baking, just a good item for the stockpile at an incredible price. Basically, I spend $3.50, and saved like $35.00!
Also, having given in and had personal sized Digiornos on Friday, I decided to make the Hungry Girl version on Saturday. I mean, who's going to say no to pizza even if you just had it the night before? Well, Dahubs is wishing I had. The crust was a mash-up of oats and Fiber One and Egg Beaters and it had this weird, slightly sweet, cookie-ish, graininess to it that we did not care for. Fortunately, there are about 7,000 variations of pizza in this cookbook. Hungry Girl knows what I like, we just have to find the perfect healthy version for us. How was your weekend? Get any good deals? Losing weight? Allowing God to transform your life into what He always meant it to be? Get on it!

My favorite go-to snack

I used to work for Jenny Craig (the weight loss company, not the chick). One day, one of our clients gave me the best tip. It was one of those- I'm a smart person, so why didn't I think of that- kind of tips. Stir Ranch Dip Mix into Fat Free Sour Cream to make a fat free dip, and keep washed and pre-cut snacking veggies ready to eat in the front of the fridge. Now, you might already know this trick, but are you doing it? I can't count how many times I have gone to the kitchen out of habit, boredom, or even legitimate hunger without a plan and end up gorging on chips or taking down 1/2 a block of cheese without even thinking about it. Veggies and FF dip will fill you up pretty quickly for very few calories. I actually consider this a "free" food. Try it sometime!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Possibly free Oatmeal at Winco

I just came from Winco, and guess what I spied at the end of the Cereal aisle? They have the 6.14oz packages of Mom's Best Naturals Better Oats Instant Oatmeal on sale for $0.48. If you combine this with the $1/2 coupon from here: or get the $1/3 from their Facebook page to make this either free or $0.15 each!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Physically, Fiscally, Fizzy-Cali Fit- The Results Show

As a way of holding myself accountable to my goals, I will be posting my results each week. So here's how we did:

Steps forward:
  • Lost 2.6lbs- This makes me happy, especially when I consider that I didn't get in much exercise this week. Ever try to jump around with a sinus infection? Feels like your face is going to explode. Also, the meals we ate were by and large healthier versions of the yummy stuff we like to eat. I, in no way, felt deprived or starved. I'm anxious to see what can happen now that I am well enough to "bring it." All my P90X-ers know what I'm saying.
  • Made $200 extra- We were able to sell an old coffee table and two matching side tables on Craigslist this week. They were cool, but not at all baby friendly. So that $120 combined with our $80 in Ebay sales (still several pending so that should make for a nice total next week), brings us to $200.
  • Stayed on budget for groceries- This may leave me with a challenge as I now have to finish grocery shopping for the week (some already purchased- see Albertsons post), as well as restock diapers, wipes and baby food on $50. Fingers crossed!
Steps back:
  • Ate out- We were bad yesterday and got a couple of Whoppers and fries. Now, we did use a BOGO coupon, but still, it was a reminder that old habits die hard. $7.50 over budget for eating out this week, and though we course-corrected for the calories later, the fat and sodium were unacceptable.
  • We ate "off menu"- On Friday night, I was supposed to make HG pizzas, but was so tired that we ended up having the Single Serve Digiornos that I picked up at Albertsons. It was within our budget and calories, but the fat was too high. And, I realized as I was pulling them out of the oven, starving to death, that I could have made the HG version a heck of a lot faster.
Que sera sera...I'd say we ended up ahead this week! Hope you all are having as much fun and success with your New Year's Resolutions!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Albertsons Trip- Spent $15.07, saved $29.78

First let me say that I was overcharged by $2.61. So, my real total should have been $12.46. Instead of a 66% savings, I should have had a 76% savings! The cashier did not apply my veggie coupon to both bags of veggies. Boo! Had I been alone, I would have made him track down the error before ringing out, but with a 15 month old who's getting 3 molars in the same week....well, I couldn't wait, and I found the error on my receipt later. Still debating whether or not to go back and get a refund. Here's what I bought....

Old Orchard Cranberry Juice, 64 oz- $2/ea, bought 2
Used B1G1 printable Q fm their website
Paid $1/ea.
Digiorno Pizza, single serve- $2.50/ea, bought 2
Used 2 $1/1 printable Q fm their FB
Paid $1.50/ea.
Mom's Best Naturals Cereal, 12-16.5oz- $2/ea, bought 2
Used $1/2 printable coupon fm their website
Also used Albertsons doubler from their mailer
Paid $1/ea.
Albertsons Frozen Veggies- $0.88/ea with in ad coupon, bought 2
Well, here's where I got messed up, and only one was this price
Starkist Tuna Pouches, 2.6oz- $1/ea, bought 7 (you will see this next week as a HG staple)
Used 7 $0.50/1 Q fm and RP 1/1
Paid $0.50/ea.

I hope this helps prove that you can get healthy groceries like tuna, vegetables, and all-natural cereal for less with coupons. These deals are still good through Tuesday night, so get to shopping!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Free-day!

No, that does not mean that I am taking a day off from healthy eating. It means, today, I went in search of free stuff. I had hoped to get some free Skinny Cow Candy, Kashi cereal, and Coke Zero. Sadly, today I came home with only one free item...
On the upside, when I checked out at Albertsons tonight (details coming soon), a Catalina printed for one free Skinny Cow candy bar. Nice! Hope to have more freebies for you next Friday. In the meantime, if you were fortunate enough to print the $0.99/1 Coke Zero coupon this last week, you can score yourself a bottle at CVS. You will only have to pay tax and deposit- $0.18!!!

Last Night's Dinner- Kickin' Chicken Pot Pie

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of my Facebook friends making chicken pot pies (with varying degrees of healthiness), and they all look so darn good, so.... last night I made Hungry Girl's Kickin' Chicken Pot Pie. Did you know that a regular Chicken Pot Pie can have 850 calories and 50 plus grams of fat? HG's only has 235 calories, 6g fat, and 723mg sodium...that is if you can stop at 1 serving...which we could not.

I don't think there's anything proprietary about the ingredients, so I'll share them: frozen mixed veggies (heated according to package instructions), can of 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, diced cooked chicken, and reduced fat crescent rolls. I mixed the first three ingredients together, dumped in a Pam-sprayed, 9" baking dish, cooked for 15 at 350, stirred, cooked another 10, placed rolled out dough (just three crescents) on top, baked another 15 till brown. Simple, easy, and....meh. I could eat nothing but Mexican and Indian food for the rest of my life, though, so perhaps my spicy pallet should not be the standard. Try it yourself and let me know!

Dahubby says, "It's delicious. 'Course, I was starving and after two helpings, I'm still hungry. Might have to try again to know if this is a keeper."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Increasing Income- Ebay

As stated in previous posts, I am attempting to find ways to contribute to our household income without going outside the home. So, each Thursday, I hope to bring you an update on how God is providing an increase in income. Today, I bring you the great and wonderful Ebay!!!

Once a year, Dahubby and I like to pull out DVDs, clothes, electronics, books, household items, etc. that we no longer use or need and sell them on Ebay. We find that this purge helps to keep us from drowning in belongings. I never want to be one of those people who has their house stuffed to the gills but isn't a generous giver with a healthy financial life. Do you? Do you have "stuff" that you haven't touched in a year? Instead of hanging on to it in case you start liking it again, do you want a little extra money to put toward your financial goals? Then clean out the cupboards, closets, the nooks and the crannies and get to listing!

Below is what we have made in the last 48 hours!! And I've only had time to list the DVDs!!

Selling totals
Will sell1
Sold (last 31 days)
Payments (last 31 days)
Not received
Total sales:

Last night's dinner- Spicy Chicken Sandwich & Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup

Chick-fil-A might be one of my favorite places on earth. They'll serve you a yummy heart attack with such impeccable manners. Dahubby and I especially love their Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich. And now they have a Chicken Tortilla Soup? What are they trying to do to me? Combined, they contain 800 calories, 32 grams of fat, and a whopping 2670 mg of sodium.

Instead, last night I made Hungry Girl's Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup. Together, they only cost me 490 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, and 1852 mg sodium. Yes the sodium is a little higher than it should be for one meal, but the rest of my day was virtually sodium free, so that's ok.

Who knew you could "faux fry" chicken breast in ground up Fiber One twigs and Egg Beaters?

Dahubby says, "It's just the right amount of spicy. Definite repeat."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Saving 90% on home entertainment!

As mentioned in previous posts, we are attempting to cut back- way back- and to find income in unexpected places this year. It's all in an effort to allow God to transform our lives physically, fiscally, and, I'm sure, otherwise.

We can't believe that we've been paying roughly $80 for cable TV when bundled with our internet! Now, we are big TV fans...many of our friends attribute their addictions to LOST, Chopped, and River Monsters to us. And, we maintain that good shows are fun and can be enjoyed as each family feels is appropriate for them. We like to veg out! But, we have also discovered that we end up watching less than stellar programming and too much of it, even with Tivo!

What's our proposed solution? Certainly not to give up all of our home entertainment. We will be switching to Hulu Plus. It's roughly 10% of our previous bill, and there's no temptation to leave the tube on all day in the background. You have to be intentional when viewing shows online, and that mommy likes!

As a side-note, since we will be viewing fewer fast-food commercials, and spending less time in general parked on the couch, I anticipate this being very beneficial to our fitness goals. Will it be an easy adjustment? Probably not. I will miss Matt Lauer and Sandra Lee. I miss my money more though. ;)

We'll let you know how it goes!

Last night's Dinner- HG's Famous Bowl

We Bings love fast food. If you've seen us lately, you already knew that by looking. ;) So, to start out our healthy eating, why not do some fast food rip-offs that will keep us from feeling deprived while sneaking in low-fat, low-cal, veggie-packed nutrition?

The KFC Famous Bowl (pictured left) has 680 calories, 31 grams of fat, and 2130 mg of sodium! And yet, it's at the the top of Dahubby's "want to get it but don't want the disapproving glares from Dahoney" list.

So, thank you Hungry Girl, for inventing your HG's Famous Bowl. With just 288 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, and only 967 mg of sodium, we can enjoy the creamy, corny, chicken-y, cheesy goodness and still move toward our weight loss goals. God bless you!

(Hint: Layer mashed butternut squash, a bit of corn, some "chicken-style" soy patty pieces, fat free chicken gravy, and fat free shredded cheese. And, best of all, I made 4 servings so 2 were immediately packed up for today's lunches. Built in portion control!)

Dahubby says, "That was delicious! A definite repeat."

Today's Grocery Shopping - Yogurt for $0.05!

Sorry the picture is so dark, I am still learning about my camera.

So, here's the part where I usually tell you that I saved 98% and paid with the change in my car. That did not happen today. I went to Target and Winco and was disappointed to find that they were out of the things I had hoped to get for free (namely Kashi cereal and Coke zero). However! My goal was to spend right around $80 for a week's worth of groceries, and at $88, I am sitting pretty on top of a mountain of healthy food as well as baby products and household items that should last through next week. Since it would bore you to read my whole shopping list, I will simply highlight my favorite deals, both at Target:

Maalox Tablets, 65 count $4.29 Regular Price
Buy 3, Get a $5 gift card back (through 1/14)
Use 3 $1.50/1 Maalox Advanced Products fm
Pay $8.37, Get $5 back (which I turned around and used on groceries)
Final Price $1.12 each when you buy 3!

Dannon Activia, 4 pack $2.19, Regular Price, buy 2 4-packs
Use $2/2 Target Coupon for Activia
AND use 2 $1/1 Activia coupons from
Final Price: $0.19 each when you buy 2 (or $0.05 per cup)!!

Stay tuned for healthy meals and money saving tips.

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Week's Menu

Dahubby and I have tried a myriad of menus throughout our 7 years of marriage, and we usually fall off the "healthy" wagon because we lack the will power to eat cardboard or spend 3 hours in the kitchen. Eventually, I'd love to be an all-organic, whole foods family, steps. From my experience in the weight loss industry and working with various doctors, I have come to believe that you will be most successful going slow and steady in the right direction.

With that in mind, we have discovered Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World by Lisa Lillien. I started using recipes from her website last year and it's the only time DaHubby has not turned up his nose or left more than 1/2 on the plate. So, when you see page numbers, you'll know that we are using our cookbook, and I will let you know about the hits and the stinkers.

Here's our Menu for this week:

Breakfasts: Super-Duper Veggie Scramble, pg 15, calories 183
Fancy-Schmancy Oatmeal, pg 17, calories 183
Breakfast Pizza, pg 18, calories 127
Cinnamonlicious French Toast, pg 20, calories 195
Cheerios with fat free milk, calories 150
Oatmeal with fat free milk, calories 150

Lunches: I will be making 4 servings of all dinners, serving up 2 for dinner, and immediately packing the other 2 servings into tupperware for the next day's lunch.

Dinners: HG's Famous Bowl, pg 98, calories 288
Fiber-ific Fried Chicken Strips, pg 112, calories 277
& Butternut Squash Fries, pg 280, calories 58
Spicey Crispy Chicken Sandwich, pg 114, calories 313
& Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup, pg 52, calories 177
Kickin' Chicken Pot Pie, pg 128, calories 235
Loaded'n Oated Veggie Pizza, pg 92, calories 231
Big Bopper Burger Stopper, pg 106, calories 202
& Super Skinny Skins, pg 102, calories 157
(Most of these will be served with salad and fat free dressing)

Snacks: Veggies with fat free ranch dip (simple recipe coming soon)
Protein bars and shakes (primarily for me since I will be doing P90X)
Turkey sandwiches, no cheese or mayo (mostly for Dahubby to meet calorie reqs)
Skinny Cow candy (needed to help us wind down from the holiday sugar high)

As soon as I am well enough to go shopping (battling a pretty wicked sinus infection), I will show you how I am using sales and coupons to purchase the ingredients for this menu for less than half the retail value.

Issuing the challenge

Yes. I believe in New Year's resolutions. They work for me. I believe they can work for you too with just a little adjustment in thinking. Instead of outlining what I will force myself (through sheer will) to do this year, I try to envision all that I feel God desires my life to be. Then, I break down those big ideas into some tangible, achievable tasks that are possible with God's grace (i.e. just outside of what I can achieve on my own.) Since I know I am relying on God's grace, there is no failure, only growth towards Him. It's like that old cheesy saying, "Shoot for the Moon, and you'll land among the stars." Not a bad place to end the year.

So, what are my 2012 resolutions? They are simple, but big ideas. Over the last few years, I have become increasingly convicted that Americans (of which I am chief) have become over-fed, over-indulgent, spoiled brats. We are fat. We spend too much money on things we don't truly need. All to our own detriment. Yes. My New Year's Resolutions are to lose weight and save money. Shocking.

Oh, you've heard it all, have you? You've seen your friends and families make claims of doing this and fall on their faces. Well, let me tell you why you should stick around and watch what God is going to do here at Dahoney Designs.... He has already begun!

Since my son was born, I have lost all 54...yes, 54lbs of baby weight! (Long story, don't ask.) I have worked for two of the most successful weight loss companies in America, and God is using that training to push me towards a healthier version of myself. I have confidence in Christ to carry me through the next several months as I get back to my wedding weight- a mere 36lbs more. Now, I don't intend to be your personal Jillian Michaels. I cannot give you each a menu to follow. But, I can show you mine, and prove to you that it is possible to lose weight while......saving money.

I am not interested in simply saving a buck here or a buck there. I want to consistently pay less than half of the retail cost of my groceries without eating Hamburger Helper. God has already brought coupons, and many couponing friends into my life. I have a small stockpile of healthy and beauty items, and I trust Him to grow that stockpile in 2012. But, I also want to find money in unexpected places. I want to honor my position as a stay-at-home mom by contributing to our financial goals, not just trying to stay out of the way and not buy new shoes. Most of all, I want to continue learning to be a good steward of what God has given me. I mean a crazy good steward. As in free stuff. Upcycling. Literally counting (and using) pennies. Shifting my priorities to get where God has called us to be- free of financial obligation to others and working towards a place in the future where our giving can exceed our spending.

Does this sound like fun to you? It sounds like exciting work to me. If you have ideas to share, requests to make, or comments to leave, please do so. My mind almost always underestimates my Lord, and I can't wait to see Him change our lives!