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I got French! January 24, 2015

Filed under: Hot Deals,Interests,Meal Planning,Saving Money,Sharing and Caring — clappingonthedownbeat @ 2:57 PM
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Let me start off that I am writing this in my “house pants”, that is sweat pants.  I have just realized that between culinary school and teaching yoga I spend 5-6 days of the week in elastic waistband pants.  It’s going to be a transition to go back to jeans……

Last week, in A la Carte class,  we were randomly assigned our Executive Chef dates for the Red Room.  I got French Service!  The first half of the semester I will be learning FOH (front of the house) and serving in our student restaurant, The Red Room.  The second half of the semester the class switches and I will be in the BOH (back of the house) cooking or baking in the kitchen.  The Red Room is only open one night a week and it is completely run by the students.  The executive chef is in charge of creating the menu, costing the food, requisitioning and ordering the food, coordinating with the dining room manager, assigning kitchen staff duties and overseeing the preparation and then expediting the food on the night of service.  The dining room manager oversees reservations, designing the menu with the chef, and overseeing the wait staff for the night of service.  This is the capstone class for culinary students.  It ties all the classes together.

I will be Executive Chef of the Red Room on May 6th and Dining Room manager March 4th. What’ s the Red Room? It is the restaurant that is run by students at Collin College as our capstone class. Want more info or a reservation? Email me!

The entire schedule should be posted soon since we just got our assignments. The first service is Feb 4th with English Service. We’ll be open Wednesdays nights from 6-8. I highly, highly encourage reservations. Last service/class is May 13 with a Buffet.


Eat to live, not live to eat January 14, 2013

Filed under: Hot Deals,Interests,Yoga — clappingonthedownbeat @ 8:25 PM

I opened my Whole Living magazine today and found a spread on juicing/smoothies and a diet cleanse.  It is perfect timing since in 2 weeks I start teaching EVOLVE, which is a 4 week detox and cleanse yoga program at Lifetime.  I am going to try some of the recipes this week and I will post the ones I like by Thursday.

Tomorrows juice is “green lemonade”.

2 cups spinach

1/2 lemon

1 cucumber

2 green apples


Here are some great deals I saw:

Head on over here to send a friend a personalized e-card, and they’ll receive 2 FREE samples of Yogi Tea! Note that Yogi Tea will send an email to your friend letting them know that you selected a FREE pair of Yogi Teas for them. Your friend will then need to click on the link in the email to supply their mailing address.


Head on over to Amazon where you can currently download this Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine eBook completely FREE for your Kindle (regularly $14.95!)! If you don’t have a Kindle, keep in mind that you can still read books on your computer or other mobile devices with theFREE Kindle Reading Apps found here.


If you’re looking for a yummy gift for a family member or friend (or you just want to treat yourself :D ), you may want to head on over to your local Edible Arrangements store! Through January 20th, participating Edible Arrangement stores are offering up one Dozen Dipped Fruit (may consist of bananas, oranges, strawberries, apples, pears and/or pineapple) for only $12 (reg. $29).

Note that orders may be placed online, in-store or by calling 877-DoFruit; however, orders placed during this promotional period must be picked up in stores no later than Wednesday, January 23rd (these $12 dipper fruit boxes are not eligible for delivery or shipping).

Sounds yummy! Head on over here for more details.


If you’re looking for a yummy all-natural, gluten-free snack idea, then you’ll definitely want to check out these new coupons and Walgreens deal! Head on over to the Snikiddy Snacks Facebook pageand “like” them to print several new coupons under the “Coupons” tab. Just click “print”, watch the video that will pop up automatically, share to Facebook and your coupon(s) will print!

*$2/1 Snikiddy Cheese Puffs, Baked Fries or Eat Your Vegetables (4 oz+)
*Buy 1 Snikkidy Cheese Puffs, Baked Fries or Eat Your Vegetables (4 oz+)
*$1/1 Snikkidy Cheese Puffs, Baked Fries, or Eat Your Vegetables (4 oz+)

Then, head on over to Walgreens to score the following deal..

Buy 2 Snikiddy Eat Your Vegetables Chips 2/$6 or $3.29 each (valid through 1/26)
Use 2 $2/1 Skikiddy coupons found here 
Final cost $2 total – just $1 per bag!


Meal Plan 8.8.12 August 8, 2012

Filed under: Hot Deals,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 9:28 PM


Gatorade is on sale across the board this week- fall sports will be starting practicing.  I have also seen school supplies rise in cost so stock up now.  Crayola crayons which were once $.29 a box, then $.39 are now 2/$1.  I have also noticed in the past when Texas has it’s tax free weekend, there are no sales.  All the sale prices will come before or after that weekend.  Labor Day weekend is a good time to hit sales and stock up for next summer.  Try buying kid clothes in the next size or two.  Stock up on summer essentials.

Price Matching:


Eggo waffles $1.88

Dawn dish soap $.88


Totinos $1

Fritos $1.99

Mission Tortillas $.99


Blueberries 2pts/$3

Cucumbers, green onions, green peppers $.50 each

Cabbage and red potatoes 2 for $1

Inspired by the book I am reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

MONDAY: Potato and Leek Tart

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2  leeks (white and light green parts), cut into half-moons
  • 2  small zucchini, cut into half-moons
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2  cup  crumbled Feta (about 2 ounces)
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh dill
  • 2  Red potatoes (8 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1  store-bought 9-inch piecrust
  1. Heat oven to 375º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, zucchini, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Feta and dill. Add the potatoes and toss to combine.
  2. On a piece of parchment paper, roll the piecrust to a 12-inch diameter. Slide the paper onto a baking sheet. Spoon the potato mixture onto the piecrust, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edge of the piecrust over the edge of the potato mixture. Bake (covering with foil if the crust gets too dark) until the piecrust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.


TUESDAY: Chicken and Cauliflower Gratin

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Add broth and wine.  Bring to a boil; remove from heat.  Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Cauliflower Gratin

  • Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, split
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Gratin:
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound cauliflower florets
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Make the sauce: Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan with the bay leaf and garlic. Cover, turn off the heat and let infuse, about 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thick. Stir in the Gruyere, season with salt and pepper and reserve.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Make the gratin: Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt it, as for pasta, and blanch the cauliflower until just shy of being tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the sauce and dump into a gratin dish. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and bake until bubbling and gratineed on top, 5 to 10 minutes.

WEDNESDAY: One Pot Pork Chops

  • 4  pork chops
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (NOT russet or baking potatoes, red or yukon gold will work)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup white wine, cider or beer
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut slivers in the pork chops and slide in slices of garlic. Cook bacon.  Reserve fat. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and brown them in bacon fat, about 3 minutes per side.

Arrange half the potatoes and onions in a casserole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay the chops on top. Scatter over the bacon. Cover with the remaining potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Pour over the wine. Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the potatoes and pork chops and lay it in on top. Bake the dish for about 1 hour 30 minutes, pouring in the stock halfway through baking. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

THURSDAY: Quinoa and Skillet Veggies

  • 1  cup  quinoa
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2  small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10  ounces  button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2  cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1  bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4  cup  dry white wine
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  grated Parmesan (1 ounce)

  1. Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and beginning to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the kale, wine, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Serve the vegetables over the quinoa and sprinkle with the Parmesan.


FRIDAY: Super Bravo Tacos

Cooked ground beef or turkey with taco seasoning

Refried beans (empty can in a sauce pan and add 1/4 c. water and heat and stir till smooth)

Warmed hard shell tacos and tortillas

Fillings: cheese, onion, lettuce, avocado, salsa, tomatoes…..

Take one flour tortilla and spread refried beans on.  Place a hard shell taco in the center of the tortilla and fill with meat, cheese, and other goodies.  Wrap flour tortilla around hard shell and enjoy!


Tuesday Deals April 24, 2012

Filed under: Hot Deals,Interests — clappingonthedownbeat @ 5:28 PM

In class last night we had the Frisco city health inspector come to talk to our class.  I am amazed at what the Health Department is responsible for.  One great thing he showed us was that all the scores for the restaurant inspections in Frisco is on line.  Is is a demerit system not a percentage so anything below a score of 20 is good, although I would like to know what they got written up for…..does your city have score on line?

HERE is the city of Frisco… with caution, especially if you just ate out recently.

Here are the deals from Jill’s Steals and Deals  these will expire tonight at midnight!!

Sydney Summer by Danielle Stevens Peace Necklace
Retail price: $50
Steals and Deals price: $20
Percent discount: 60%
Promo code: **Like TODAY on Facebook to find the promo code and to buy the product**
(To purchase the necklace, click on one of the links above. Click on the “Steals and Deals” logo below and to the right of the image of our anchors. If you aren’t a fan of TODAY, like us on Facebook then click the link. If you’re already a fan of TODAY, click the link. On the landing page, enter the promo code and click submit. Click “More info” below the desired necklace. Select the color and click “Add to cart.” Then complete the checkout process.)

Sydney Summer is the latest line for girls from Steals and Deals favorite Danielle Stevens, and the company is offering the Dani Peace necklaces at big discounts for TODAY viewers.

The necklace features a peace sign pendant comes in three colors: green, orange and pink.

The company says the estimated arrival date of the products is no later than May 8, and the estimate shipping price is $7.95. For more information and to find the promo code for the $50 necklace for $20, click here.

Image: Mira Handbag from Amrita Singh

Mira Handbag from Amrita Singh
Retail price: $250
Steals and Deals price: $59
Percent discount: 76%
Promo code: TODAYBAGS
(To purchase the bag, click on one of the two links above. On the landing page, enter the promo code and click submit. Click “More info” below the desired bag. Select the color and click “Add to cart.” Then complete the checkout process.)

This soft, faux-leather with a delicate natural grain handbag has five separate pockets and comes with adjustable straps and side buckles and removable handles. It’s offered in a variety of colors including beige, black, camel, chocolate brown, orange, red, sea green, & turquoise.

Amrita Singh says the estimated shipping for the handbags is $12.95 and they will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. For more information and to buy the $250 product for $59, click here.

Image: The Stationery Studio Luxury Notecards

The Stationery Studio Luxury Note Cards
Retail price: $225
Steals and Deals price: $54.95
Percent discount: 75.6%
(To purchase the note cards, click on one of the two links above. On the landing page, enter the promo code and click, “Submit.” On the next page, select your desired type font and click “order.”  Then, complete the order form and click “add to basket.”  Next, click “checkout” and complete the checkout process.)

The Stationery Studio Luxury Collection of elegant note card sets feature 100 cards, 100 matching envelopes with elegant liners and printed return addresses. It is printed in raised ink on triple-thick, extra heavy-weight stock on either ivory or white cards. Choose from six styles, 11 imprint colors and 16 designer envelope liners. The sets come elegantly packaged in white gift boxes with white tissue.

The Stationery Studio says the estimated shipping for the note cards is $11.95 for the first order and $4 for each subsequent Luxury Note Card orders shipped to the same U.S. address and they will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. For more information and to buy the $225 product for $54.95,click here.

Image: Lisa Stewart Necklaces

Lisa Stewart Necklaces
Retail price: $85
Steals and Deals price: $25
Percent discount: 71%
Promo code: TODAYMOM
(To purchase the necklaces, click on one of the two links above. On the landing page, enter the promo code and click submit. Click “More info” below the desired necklace. Select the metal and click “Add to cart.” Then complete the checkout process.)

Lisa Stewart is offering three different necklace styles, each available in silver and gold. They include the Open Heart Mom necklace, the Open Circle Mom necklace and the “Love Mom Forever” pendant, which can be engraved.

Lisa Stewart says the estimated shipping for the necklaces is $10 for the first order and they will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. For more information and to buy the $85 product for $25, click here.

Image: Keratin Earth Smoothing and Straightening System

Keratin Earth Smoothing and Straightening System
Retail price: $99.95
Steals and Deals price: $30.00
Percent discount: 70%
Case-sensitive promo code: TODAYKE
(To purchase the hair products, please click on one of the two links above. Fill out the order form on the landing page. You MUST include the promo code in this process — if not, you’ll purchase the product at full price.)

Keratin Earth is a natural, formaldehyde free, at-home hair straightening and smoothing system treatment. The package includes shampoo (8 fl. oz.), straightening therapy (6 fl. oz.), nourishing masque (2 fl. oz.) and protein conditioner (8 fl. oz.). This is enough for a 60 day supply.

Keratin Earth says the estimated shipping for the system is $9.99 and it will arrive within two weeks, in time for Mother’s Day. For more information and to buy the $99.95 product for $30,click here.

Editor’s note at 9:50 a.m. ET: Please note that the promo code is case-sensitive. Enter TODAYKE in all caps.

Image: Michelle Jonas Carmen Dress

Michelle Jonas Carmen Dress
Retail price: $198.00
Steals and Deals price: $49.50
Percent discount: 75%
Case-sensitive promo code: todaycarmen
(To purchase the dress, click on one of the two links above. On the landing page, click the box with the Jill’s Steals and Deals logo. Select the image of the dress with your desired color. Select your desired style and then click “Add to cart.” Enter the promo code on the following screen and then complete the checkout process.)

Michelle Jonas is offering their jersey dress at a big discount for TODAY viewers.

Made in Los Angeles, Michelle Jonas’ Carmen Dress is flattering for any body type. It is offered in black, white, magenta and sapphire and is wrinkle-free and machine washable and dryable.

Michelle Jones says the estimated shipping for the dresses is $15.00 and it will ship within 72 hours. For more information and to buy the $198.00 product for $49.50, click here.


Meal Plan 4.18.12 April 18, 2012

Filed under: Hot Deals,Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 10:51 PM

If your current skincare just isn’t cutting it (or maybe you’re simply looking for something different), then take note of this offer! On April 22nd (Earth Day), you are invited to “trade in” any one of your existing skin care products (can be full or empty!), regardless of brand, for a FREE Origins Moisturizer while supplies last at Origins retail stores and department store counters! You will have the choice between two full size products – Origins Starting Over Age-Erasing Moisturizer or Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer!

Hurry on over here to snag a FREE sample of Rachael Ray Healthy Weight Dog Food. Note that due to the overwhelming response, it may take up to 90 days to receive your sample.

I am getting ready for a weekend retreat and I am putting together an Earth Day Freebie list.  Did you cash in on any of the Tax Day deals?  I just have a meal plan for this week:

Meatless Monday:  Mascarpone Pasta

1 pkg. fettuccine

2 c. milk

2 Tbs. fresh basil chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

4 Tbsp mascarpone cheese  ( can sub cream cheese)

Cook pasta till al dente.  In a sauce pan, heat olive oil and add flour, cook 2 minutes (make a roux).  Add milk, basil, salt and pepper.  Stir constantly for about 3 more minutes to thicken.  Remove from heat, add cheeses and toss with pasta.

I served this with steamed broccoli and some shrimp I had that I sautéed in butter, garlic and lemon juice.

Tuesday: Grilled chicken 

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice  (or lime juice and then use cilantro instead of oregano)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
8 to 12 chicken drumsticks

Whisk all ingredients (through the black pepper) in a bowl. Pour marinade into a large Ziploc bag and add the chicken drumsticks. Marinate for at least 60 minutes to overnight (the longer the better).  Sometimes when I bring home the chicken from the store I toss it in a zip lock bag with my marinade or leftover salad dressings and then put right into the freezer.  When you are ready for your chicken, let it thaw out in the fridge and then it has already marinated and is ready to go!  Throw the chicken on the grill!

Pea, Pesto and Arugula Soup

1 loosely packed cup basil leaves

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons pine nuts

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 small zucchini, finely chopped

3½ cups chicken or vegetable broth

One 16-ounce package frozen peas

1½ loosely packed cups arugula


1. Make the pesto: In a food processor or blender, combine the basil with the garlic and pine nuts. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the Parmesan and pulse until just combined, adding a splash of water if the pesto is too thick. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Make the soup: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and the broth and simmer until the zucchini is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the peas and arugula, return the soup to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes longer.

3. Let the soup cool for 15 minutes. In the food processor, blend the soup in batches until smooth.

4. Reheat the soup in the saucepan and divide among 4 bowls. Serve immediately with a tablespoon of pesto swirled into each serving.

For dessert, use the rest of your mascarpone cheese for this tart!

Honey-Glazed Apple Pear Tart

• All-purpose flour, for dusting

• 1 sheet (1/2 a 17.3-ounce package) all-butter frozen puff pastry, thawed

• 1 Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

• 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

• 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 cup honey, warmed

• Mascarpone cheese, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with nonstick cooking spray.

Dust a cutting board with flour and unfold the puff pastry onto it. Dust more flour over the puff pastry and gently roll out the creases. Transfer the puff pastry sheet to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Using a fork, pierce a border around the edge of the puff pastry, 1/2-inch from the edges. Prick the center of the pastry as well, about 10 times all over. In a bowl, combine the sugar, and cinnamon.
Arrange the pear, and apple slices on top of the pastry in 4 rows or diagonally, overlapping fruit slices and avoiding the border. Brush the fruit with melted butter and top with cinnamon-sugar. Bake the tart for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and beginning to puff.
Brush honey over the fruit and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm with mascarpone cheese.

Wednesday: Wilted Lettuce Salad

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c.  sugar
  • 1/3c. water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 head leaf lettuce – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 6 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes halved
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove from skillet, crumble and set aside.
  2. To the hot bacon drippings, add green onions and saute till tender about 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar, sugar,water and pepper and boil 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and tomatoes. Add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with bacon.
 Thursday: Slow cooker Asian Ribs

• 1/4 cup sesame oil

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

• 4 cloves garlic, chopped

• 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, chopped

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1/2 cup chili sauce

• 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

• 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

• 1/4 cup honey

• 2 large racks pork baby back ribs (4 to 5 pounds)

• 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the ginger, garlic and green onions until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and 1/2 cup water. Whisk until fully incorporated. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Sprinkle the ribs liberally with salt and pepper and place in an upright position in the slow cooker. The meaty side should be facing outwards. Spoon the sauce over the ribs and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain the sauce from the slow cooker into a saucepan and remove any accumulated grease from the top. Combine 1 tablespoon water with the cornstarch and whisk together in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the sauce until thickened and serve with the ribs.

Friday is left overs!


Tax Day Deals and more April 9, 2012

Filed under: Hot Deals — clappingonthedownbeat @ 2:14 PM

Through 4/10 only, Blockbuster Express is offering up $1 off any movie rental with the promo code 1DOLLAROFF at checkout! Go here to find a Blockbuster Express kiosk near you.

Here’s a great coupon to use for a Mother’s Day or Graduation Day gift!  Head on over toHallmark Gold Crown and send a FREE e-Card to score a coupon for $5 off any $10+ purchase (valid only at your Hallmark Gold Crown store)!  Start by clicking on the E-Cards tab and look for the ones that say “FREE” (instead of Subscription Only).  After you complete your order, the option to print the coupon will appear. Keep in mind that the coupon is valid through 5/9/2012.

Tax day freebies for April 17:
Stop by any Office Depot and they will shred up to five pounds of paper and make 25 single-sided black and white copies for free. It’s a smart way to get rid of old bills and receipts and get a copy of your tax forms before you send them off.

Cinnabon is giving away two Cinnabon Bites to every customer between 6 and 8 p.m. on tax day. It’s their “Tax Day Bites” promotion.

MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery and Marble Slab Creamery are both giving a scoop of their new yogurt from 4 to 7 p.m. It’s their “Yogurt Yo-bate” promotion. The frozen yogurt flavors include lemon crème, decadent birthday cake and forest berry.

PF Chang’s 15% off your total order

Arby’s will have a coupon for free value curly fries on April 17. Visit the Arby’s Facebook page starting April 13 to get a coupon and enter its sweepstakes to win $5,000 in tax relief.

Bruegger’s will offer its Big Bagel Bundle for just $10.40 — a savings of up to $5 — April 14 through April 17. The Big Bagel Bundle includes a baker’s dozen of Bruegger’s 15-plus bagel varieties and two tubs of Bruegger’s cold-packed cream cheese, available in more than ten varieties. You’ll need a coupon, which you can download from Bruegger’s Facebook page.

Chili’s coupon for a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an adult entree April 16 through April 18. You can print the coupon or show it to your server via smart phone.

Panda Express will give a free single serving of its new Shanghai Angus Steak at participating locations April 17. To get this free offer, you’ll need to download a coupon by “liking” Panda Express on Facebook starting April 11.

Hooter’s will offer 20 boneless wings for $9.99 as a Tax Day Special April 17 at participating locations.

HydroMassage locations nationwide will provide free massages between April 16 and April 20 to help eliminate the stress of tax filing. Get a coupon for a free message at and call ahead to schedule a sessio

Whole Foods in the SW region is offering a free 120z cup of coffee

Get fit for free before summer:
Gold’s Gym offers a free seven day membership that allows anyone try out the facilities free of charge and with no commitment to purchase anything more. The membership comes with an opportunity to consult with a trainer.

Gaiam is offering a 10-day free trial to their new streaming video service, which is usually $9.95 a month. You will find hundreds of fitness, health and wellness videos that you can watch online and on portable devices.

Free apps to help you lose weight:
The Lose It! app let’s you set your daily calorie goal and helps you stick to it by tracking your caloric intake and burn rate. Using the searchable database, you can log the foods you eat throughout the day and subtract calories burned during exercise.

There’s nothing worse than being in an unfamiliar location and not knowing where to find a healthy meal. The GoodFoodNearYou app uses GPS to recommend nearby healthy food options based on your current location.

For runners who want to keep track of their progress, RunKeeper offers plenty of options for storing stats on the duration, distance, pace and speed of each run. It also uses a built-in GPS to map and record running paths plus it uses a web-based history tool to show your improvement over time.

Other freebies this month:
Need a jolt of coffee after getting your taxes finished? Head over to any Sur la Table store where they will whip up a free espresso, cappuccino or latte made from premium coffee manufacturers like Jura, Nespresso and Breville.

Sign up for an account at the Walmart Photo Center and you will receive 25 free 4×6 prints. Plus once you are a member you get free unlimited secure photo storage.

Viggle is a new free app that gives you rewards for watching TV! All you do is tap your smartphone while you watch your show and you start racking up points. You can use points to buy items including DVDs, movie tickets and Starbucks lattes. Watching TODAY just got even more valuable!

Pretzelmaker is offering free soft pretzels on Thursday, April 26th, which is National Pretzel Day. But there’s a twist: you have to sing or dance in the store to cash in. (If you are really too shy to sing or dance, just mention that it’s National Pretzel Day and you will still get a free pretzel.)

Nordstrom has what they call “Sample Saturdays.” Shoppers just need to follow Nordstrom on Facebook and click on the Beauty Central tag or follow @NordstromBeauty on Twitter. Once you’re a “follower,” you will get a sneak peak each week of what’s being given away that coming Saturday.


Meal Plan 4.4.12 April 4, 2012

Filed under: Hot Deals,Meal Planning,Yoga — clappingonthedownbeat @ 10:03 PM

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I had class again tonight and learned lots of important food safety rules.  I will share a few here:
  • Leftovers are good for up to 7 days.  HOWEVER before you eat them they should be heated to 160 internal temperature before consumed again.  For example, I have leftover chicken that I want to make chicken salad with.  For safety sake, I should heat the chicken up again to 160 internal temperature, let the chicken cool and then chop to make chicken salad.  DO not mix hot food with cold ingredients.  Food should all be close to the same temperature when mixed.
  • The TDZ (temperature danger zone) is 41-135 degrees.  Food needs to be kept out of the range as much as possible.  This is the temperature bacteria like to grow in.  Your fridge should be set below 40 degrees because it is opened and closed a lot and that effects the temperature.
  • Cooked food has a 4 hour window before it is no longer safe to eat.  If you make a large Easter buffet and the food is cooked and set out for a total time of 3 hours, your leftovers only have 1 hour left to be pulled out, reheated and eaten.  Cold food like potato salad, cut vegetables, ect, has 6 hours.
  • Watch for cross contamination.  In the fridge, eggs and raw meats should be on the lowest shelf.  When preparing foods try to have separate, even color coded cutting boards and other items to prepare raw food with.
Have you heard the news on “pink slime”?  It has totally grossed me out.  I went to Whole Foods today to buy some beef cubes for my ragu (spaghetti sauce) specifically because I know they buy local grass fed beef and butcher in house.  They had signs all over the counter explaining this and I asked the butcher if it was because of the pink slime media coverage.  He said yes.
Here’s a link to Jamie Oliver’s Food revolution that started the whole thing.  Watch out, it may turn your stomach.
Ok, now you may not feel like even thinking about food.  BUT, it is important to be informed about where your food comes from and what you are putting into your body.
Lots of sales on traditional Easter dinner foods.  Ham, beans, yams, flowers……
Here are a few great recipes I tried this week:
Chicken Bundles
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 4 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
  • 3 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk, dill, salt and pepper until blended. Stir in the chicken, celery and onions.
  • Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into 12 rectangles, four from each tube; place on a greased baking sheet and press the perforations together. Spoon 1/2 cup of chicken mixture into the center of each rectangle. Bring edges up to the center and pinch to seal. Brush with butter; sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  • Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce ( I use Bull’s Eye)
1/4 c. real bacon bits
1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added)
sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper. Grill chicken until no long pink (we used our George Foreman grill) and place on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon bar-b-que sauce, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/4 c. tomatoes, green onions and one tablespoon of bacon bits. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).


8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), or one per person
olive oil
course salt
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
2 T. light brown sugar
1/3 c. pecan pieces
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise 1/2 inch thick. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil (we brush it on both sides); season with salt.  Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.  Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly. Bake until sugar is carmelized and hard, about 10 minutes. Toss gently; serve immediately.

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.  MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.  ADD pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Ham and Cheese Sliders
24 Sara Lee Dinner Rolls

24 pieces good honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy seed sauce
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. You do not have to use all of the sauce! Just use enough to cover the tops. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm.

hot cross buns

1 cup currants or raisins
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, well beaten with a teaspoon of water
hot cross bun frosting (recipe follows)

1. Place currants in a small microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 1 minute, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together flour, cinnamon, instant yeast*, and sugar. Pour in milk, egg yolks, melted butter, and salt. Scrape down the bowl if necessary, and knead for 10 minutes, until dough is sticky and elastic. Drain currants or raisins, and mix into the dough.

2. Turn dough out onto a well floured board and knead a few times. Shape into a ball, and place in a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30-45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 13×9 inch baking pan, or two 8×8 inch baking pans. Divide dough into 16 equal portions, and shape each piece into a ball. Cover with a buttered piece of plastic wrap, and let rise for 20-30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush each bun with egg wash, and use kitchen shears to cut a cross into the top of each bun. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until buns are shiny and golden. Allow to cool for several minutes. Place frosting in a disposable pastry bag, and cut off the tip to make a 1/4 inch opening. Decorate the buns.

hot cross bun frosting

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and mix together until smooth. Add more cream or sugar as necessary to achieve desired consistency.