I Like Food: Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Coffee

5 Dec

Love meeting up with your friends over coffee, but you’re tired of spending all of that money on overpriced ‘specialty drinks’?  Honestly…I’d rather deal with the overpriced coffee than the people who order their drinks with 13456578453 steps to it.  Stop going out and start staying in!  Turn your kitchen into you’re own personal coffee house.  Channel your inner barista, strike up the Pandora and enjoy your conversations more.  Just think of how focused you can be on the gossip that’s dripping from your best friend’s lips instead of being constantly distracted by hipsters’ ridiculous facial hair or others’ overly loud conversations.

Check out this SIMPLE recipe for a gourmet blend that will knock your socks off and keep your money where it belongs – in your wallet!  Not only is is financially friendly – it’s figure friendly too!  With less-than 100 calories for an ENTIRE POT – feel free to indulge with various creamers to find your perfect drink.  I LOVE this coffee with Almond Joy flavored creamer and it’s great with vanilla caramel as well!  Please note that FCCs listed are for the coffee ONLY.  Anything added after will of course be different.

Fill your coffee pot with water and add to the machine.  With the grounds in the filter, add the cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir so it’s well incorporated.  Brew as normal!!  As an added bonus when making coffee, I always make ‘coffee cubes’.  For those of you who don’t know me – I love me some coffee – especially ICED coffee.  If I have a substantial amount of coffee left, I will use it to make ice cubes in a plastic tray!  That way, when the ice melts – it won’t water down the coffee!!  If I don’t happen to have enough left to fill up a tray, what I’ll do is reuse the grounds!  It’s a GREAT way to get another use out of something that you would normally just throw out.  Generally I will fill the pot half way (6 cups for most standard makers) and simply run the machine with the original grounds from the first pot!

Yo, Check It! Your Girl Friday, My Other Half

4 Dec

Your Girl Friday - Virtual / Freelance Executive Assistance

For those of you not ‘in the know’ (don’t feel bad, I’m typically not) – I have another project of mine called Your Girl Friday.  YGF is a virtual / freelance assistance company that had been wanting to start for some time now.  I can offer a boat load of services for customers both local and world wide.  Please feel free to take a look at the site, as questions, or pass along the link to anyone who you might know in need of a hand!  Thanks everyone!

I Like Food: Baked ‘Loaded’ Chips

16 Nov

Baked ‘Loaded’ Chips

Servings: 2

Calories: 218
Fat: 9
Carbs: 26

– 3 med. yukon gold potatoes (sliced in small, uniform pieces)
– 2 deli slices munster cheese (torn up into small pieces)
– 2 tblsp sour cream
– 4 slices bacon (crumbled / fat reserved)
– salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon in a skillet, drain on paper towels and reserve half of the grease. Toss the chips in bowl with the grease and seasonings so it’s evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for one hour, tossing halfway. For extra crispy chips, broil for the last few minutes.

When done, cover the chips with the bacon and cheese and bake until the cheese has melted. Add the sour cream in the center, dust with paprika and serve.

* Dairy can be swapped out for soy based products to make dairy free.  Swap the bacon for soy and the grease for olive oil to make it vegan friendly!

Testify! Roll Your Own Cigarettes & Not In A Hipster Douchebag Kind Of Way

3 Jul

$2.70 for a pack of smokes?  I’m sorry, did I just step out of my DeLorean and travel back in time to my youth?  No, but I did stumble upon a very magical place in Skokie called Smokes & Such not too far from my home the other day.  It’s a tiny little shop just off of Dempster & McCormick that could easily be overlooked if not, well…looking for it.  I had done a quick Google search while trying to find something specific, called ahead, got the all clear and made my way down.  What was waiting for me inside that tiny little store front was something big.

Step right up folks and witness the Everlasting Gobstopper machine of cigarettes.  What this newfandangled piece of equipment you’re looking at right there is a ‘Roll Your Own’ cigarette machine and it’s going to become you’re new best friend.  Sure – we’ve all seen people with their little pouches of tobacco, wrestling with a pack of papers, struggling to balance everything in one hand so you can add the tobacco with the other just to roll the most pathetic looking cigarette you’ve ever seen in your life and for what?  What kind of pleasure or enjoyment are you getting out of something that you have to spend 5 minutes making when you only have 10 minutes to enjoy it in the first place?  Jesus, I need a smoke just thinking about that.  Well never you mind any of that folks, because it’s no longer needed and I’m going to tell you why.

First, let’s discuss why are cigarettes so damn expensive in the first place.  Nothing has changed with cigarettes since they started adding filters – so what gives?  I can recall the joys of my youth, spending a whopping $2.50 for a pack of Camels.  Even then older people would complain about the price, because in their youth, it was a quarter!  In addition to all of the chemicals and evil that get added to cigarettes – the real killers are the taxes and with silly taxes come loopholes…

The two carton machines (out of only six in the state) and the smaller machines used for single packs use pipe tobacco.  What’s the difference?  Beats the shit out of me, because I couldn’t tell the difference.  I’m not expert on tobacco, but this ain’t my first time to the rodeo.  Come to find out, there really isn’t much difference at all, except for the way it’s taxed.  Cigarettes such as Camel, Marlboro, etc. are made with with ‘cigarette’ tobacco, which is taxed $25 bucks a pound.  Pipe tobacco is nearly a tenth of that.  There is also a HUGE break on the taxes because the customer is technically rolling their own – the store is simply supplying you and giving you instructions.  It looked pretty intimidating, but my dog, Harley, could learn to do it.  Speaking of Harley, he got to come inside the shop and hang out!

Marcia, owner of Smokes, was super friendly, easy to talk to and really interested in getting to know how to reach out to her customers more and more.  As I said, it could come off as intimidating when you’re not sure how it all works, but she stepped right up, asked me what I normally smoke and we went from there.  They had all typical styles of tobacco that would accommodate major brands as well as varying strengths.  Being the Camel Light smoker that I am, I got a mild Turkish blend with a light filter.   *As dumb as we are for smoking, we all know that a “light” cigarette means absolutely nothing health wise, it’s just a different filer – right?  I hope so, but I digress.   She gave me a cigarette to try out and it was great.  It’s a bit bigger, almost like going from a regular Camel to a Camel Wide, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.  It’s a very smooth, mild flavor and dare I say light and airy?   There’s less smoke, which I enjoy, and it is in fact cleaner.  With rolling your own, it’s tobacco and that’s it.  There are no chemicals, rat poison, carpet glue, etc.  in the tobacco or the filters that you’re using, so it is actually a healthier cigarette AND it’s a third of the price!  You can make a carton or make a pack (obviously it’s cheaper by the carton) and they have cute little cigarette packs available for purchase.  Another selling point – these will go out on their own without the help of some toxic chemical that most CERTAINLY changes the flavor.  I’m on to you, Camel….

The whole thing takes about eight minutes for a carton and a little bit longer for a pack.  Since you’re doing the pack by hand, it takes a bit longer and the cigarettes are less uniform, but they still smoke great!  It’s pretty neat, the smaller machine.  It’s almost like a casing machine for making sausage, but for cigarettes!  With the carton maker, you add a carton’s worth of tubes/filters into the machine at once like a cartridge, you add the tobacco, press a few buttons and presto change-o, you have a carton of smokes in under 10 minutes and you’ve probably had a lovely conversation with Marcia or one of her staff members.  I have to say, it’s nice to be able to actually talk to people who work at a shop and ask opinions and recommendations without fear that you’re going to call it the wrong thing and bullshit like that.  Kudos to that.  In addition to how easy the machine is to use, you have the ability to make the cigarettes looser or packed tighter – you could even mix the tobaccos to make a custom blend!  They offer major cigarette brands in addition to the RYO, smoking accessories, incense, herbal potpourri, lotto, drinks, shirts and more.

All in all – my new haunt.

Ya Cheap Bastard: Couponing – Do You Really Have To Be That Extreme?

16 Jun

Couponing – Do You Really Have To Be That Extreme?

Simply – no.  Those freaks, more than likely snake handlers or close to it, don’t need to spend $2,000 at the grocery store.  They don’t need to be clearing out the aisles and aisles of goods so that the every day shopper who actually needs ONE of something has to go to another store.  If something is a killer deal, I might stock up.  You know, when chicken’s on sale I might buy three packages instead of two.  (Seriously do that.  Chicken is EXPENSIVE, so if you can buy at least one extra package, throw that ‘some bitch in the freezer.)  What these people need, in additional to some good oral hygiene and a time machine to get them back from the 1980s, is to be on TV.

I’m not saying that what they are doing isn’t smart, interesting, money saving, etc.  Hell, I do watch the show myself – but a show is all it is.  You can apply the same basic principals of what they are doing to your every day shopping (by ‘every day’, I mean ordinary and sane – if you are food shopping every day, you’re probably losing money).  The fact of the matter is, you don’t have to buy 100 of an item, just to get the same discount.  I’m sure there is some formula that is figured out and monitored and tracked, that if they are saving a few pennies off of a pallet of goods, it will equate to something free down the road or on the list.  Who has the time for that?  Most of these women (and some men) live in a single income family – and they ain’t the ones bringing home the (figurative) bacon – but they might bring home 300 packages of it at a clip!  Not to mention the room for all of that?  I can barely squeeze into my apartment as it is, I don’t need an army surplus stored away for when the zombies rise.  I’ll be going to my friend Amy’s house – she’s well prepared and has the space.

The key is looking at what’s on sale that week at your local grocer, a little planning, a little digging and a little clipping – coupons that is, not knees.  Check the weekly circular (found in print or online) for your local grocery stores.  I’m fortunate that I live in a three mile radius of three different grocers, so in addition to savings, I’m not driving all over town wasting $10 in gas to save $0.50 on a carton of milk.  Things like that are what needs to be taken into consideration.  Well, this was about a buck cheaper at the last place I was at – is it worth going back?  NO – your time, effort and GAS is not worth a dollar.  Make a note of it and buy it at the other place the next time you need it.

The easiest way to start clipping actual coupons is to see if your grocer offers online coupons in addition to what their customer loyalty card is offering for that week.  Visit sites like http://www.coupons.com, http://www.couponsuzy.com, http://www.couponmom.com (most sites have the same coupons, but some might have a few more than others – doesn’t hurt to have duplicates!).  Check out manufacturers’ websites for coupons, rebate offers and more.  Subscribe to a Sunday paper.  Not sure what national prices are, but for a Sunday paper here in Chicago (the Trib), it was $2.00 (well worth it at the time).  Then there was a subscription card inside where  it comes out to $0.50 an issue!  Yea, I think I’m gonna go with that option.

Most importantly – the biggest tip or trick I can share with you is coupon stacking.  This is when you have different coupons for the same item.  Say Jewel is running a deal, two Clorox wipes for $5.00.  That’s Jewel’s offer.  Then I have a manufacture’s coupon for $1.00 off any two (2) packs of wipes.  So it was basically a BOGO (buy one, get one) offer from the store, with a buck off.  I’d say 99.9% of places allow coupon stacking, so long as it’s a store and a manufacturer coupon.  Bed Bath & Beyond is amazing for this kind of thing.  They had a sale last week on four Brita filters for $23.99.  I had a $2.00 coupon, a 20% off coupon and there was a $4.00 mail in rebate.  In addition to that, I had a $5.00 off coupon towards the purchase of a new pitcher.  I got a 5c Brita picture for free!

I Like Food: Baked Chicken With Curried Sweet Potatoes And Broccoli

15 Jun

Baked Chicken

Servings: 2

Calories Per Serving: 303

Fat Per Serving: 7

Carbs Per Serving:  15.5

  • 2 – 4oz chicken breast
  • 2/3c GF Bisquick
  • 1tblsp butter
  • 2 eggs (beaten)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Season the Bisquick with salt, pepper, garlic salt, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and chili powder.  Melt the butter in a Pyrex dish and coat the bottom well.  Take the chicken and dip in the egg, coat in Bisquick, repeat and place in dish.  Bake for 35 min, flip the breasts and bake for another 15 min.  Start the potatoes when you flip the chicken.

Curried Sweet Potatoes

Servings: 5

Calories Per Serving: 187.15

Fat Per Serving: 4.86

Carbs Per Serving:  36.6

  • 1 can of cut sweet potatoes (large)
  • 1.5tblsp butter
  • 3pkts Splenda
  • 1/4c skim milk
  • 2tblsp vanilla caramel creamer
  • Curry powder
  • Salt & pepper

Melt butter in a pot, add Splenda, can of potatoes, milk and creamer.  Stir until all ingredients are combined and smooth.  Add curry powder and salt & pepper to taste.

Green Giant Just For One: Broccoli And Cheese Sauce

Servings: 1

Calories Per Serving: 60

Fat Per Serving: 3

Carbs Per Serving:  7

  • Salt & pepper

Peel back and vent.  Cook for 3 min and let stand for 1.  Add salt & pepper.  I generally make fresh veggies, but these are good in a pinch.  I drain most of the sauce.

Total meal: Calories: 550.15 / Fat: 14.086 / Carbs: 59.1

Cheap Whine & Cigarettes: Sudden Death Syndrome Which May Be Fatal To Your Health

15 Jun

 

Sudden Death Syndrome Which May Be Fatal To Your Health

So it turns out that in addition to to the slew of other shit going on inside of this toxic waste dump I call my body – I got asthma.  Who knew that my DECADES of coughing in the mornings was actually an asthmatic response to the acid and bile that was creepin’ on a come up in my esophagus.  What happens when you have a weak stomach and you’re coughing for a good 20 minutes?  You puke.  You’re not blowing chunks (mooooost of the time), but all of that acid and bile has to go somewhere!  So there it goes, into to the toilet.

So here I am, not feelin’ so great..having a bit of trouble breathing and this cough just starts going nuts.  This is happening for a few days and then – I can’t take it anymore, not being able to breath and the HEADACHES!!!  The other part of this problem is the headaches that you get from the coughing.  Fuck asthmatics who wheeze, I’ve felt like I’ve had a concussion for four days!  I had a dream about Primatene Mist, so I wake up, walk the dog, go to CVS and the damn thing’s $20 bucks.  I couldn’t even ask for it because I was coughing so much.  The pharmacist recommended that I call my doctor right away prior to using this more than a few times.  Hmmm.  Ok.  I jokingly said that I’ll risk dying if it just lets me breath right now.  If only I knew…heh.

I get in the car, I look at the directions and just below it, I see the warning.  Well I’ll be a son of a bitch – every damn thing listed is something that I either have or I take what they say not to take with.  I look at Harley, I look at the inhaler, I cough some more and said fuck it.  I told Harley that if I died, that he was a good boy and that I love him.  I took a pull off of this thing and that shit tasted terrible!  A little bit more coughing and suddenly, I could breath.  I kissed the dog and drove home.  Clearly I didn’t die, but I could have – if I used it too much I could have gone into cardiac arrest.  Awesomeeeeeee.

I get an appointment with my doctor and he listens to my lungs for three deep breaths before I break out into a coughing fit.  He makes me do a breathing treatment and then gives me an inhaler that he wants me to use.  Symbicort…ever hear of it?

*For the sake of the reader, I am only listing items that pertain to me &/or I can make a decent joke out of.

Updated Important Safety Information, including boxed warning

  • WARNING: Long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists (LABA), such as formoterol, one of the active ingredients in SYMBICORT, increase the risk of asthma-related death.  Oh – you don’t say?
  • SYMBICORT is NOT a rescue medication and does NOT replace fast-acting inhalers to treat acute symptoms. Thanks, but um…what should I be using if I’m having an asthma attack and it’s not at my scheduled time for my two puffs?  You got nothing?  Oh, ok…cool.
  • Due to possible immunosuppression, potential worsening of infections could occur; a more serious course of chickenpox or measles can occur in susceptible patients.  AWESOME!  I’ve never had chickenpox before and because I’m older now, I’ll probably get Shingles.  Thanks for that.
  • As with other inhaled medications, paradoxical bronchospasm may occur with SYMBICORT.  Um – isn’t that what I’m taking this for?
  • Glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure, and cataracts have been reported following the inhaled administration of corticosteroids, including budesonide, a component of SYMBICORT.  Sweet, and I won’t even be able to smoke pot – CAUSE I HAVE FUCKING ASTHMA!
  • In rare cases, patients on inhaled corticosteroids may present with systemic eosinophilic conditions.  I don’t even know what that is, but I reckon it’s bad.

Additional Information Specific to Asthma

  • The most common adverse reactions ≥3% reported in clinical trials included nasopharyngitis, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, pharyngolaryngeal pain, sinusitis, influenza, back pain, nasal congestion, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and oral candidiasis.  Mmmmm, that all sounds great.  I’ll have that.

Are you kidding me?  Are you seriously kidding me with all of that shit?  Not only do I now have to use something with all of THAT going on, I now have to start taking an antacid at night.  “But don’t worry, you can take over the counter.”  Oh gee, thanks doc!  It’s probably more expensive over the counter per month than getting a prescription with my insurance!