Sunday, February 1, 2015

Planning a Super Bowl Party on a College Budget

Super Bowl isn't an official holiday, it certainly gets the same special treatment. On the day of the big game, roads clear and stores empty as millions of Americans crowd around TVs to watch the perennial battle for the ultimate American sporting prize.

Though the
The game is free to watch but the cost of hosting a party adds up quickly. When you're working on a shoestring college budget, this can feel like a major obstacle to having the supreme Super Bowl shindig. While you probably won't be able to afford the coveted nacho-cheese fountain, there are still plenty of low-cost ways to set your party apart. As you plan your Feb. 5 festivities, keep a few of these affordable ideas in mind.

1. Create a Custom Centerpiece
If you weren't able to sell your parents on a 42-inch plasma TV as an essential school supply, you'll just have to make the most of what you have to work with. Get your friends to assemble easily portable TVs and spare coaxial cables a day or two in advance. Then, pick up a splitter from Radio Shack or any other tech store and connect multiple televisions for room-to-room, sports-bar-like coverage.

2. Bring Your Own
It doesn't take college-level calculus to know you can cut costs by having everyone chip in on expenses. If you're willing to have your place occupied by rowdy football fans, it's not unreasonable to ask those guests to contribute something like chips and dip. Plus, as the host you enjoy the benefit of free reign on leftovers after the final whistle blows. Anyone trying to collect their last guacamole dregs shouldn't be invited back, anyway.

3. Get Sneaky with Savings
If you're the host with the most and don't like your guests lifting a finger (or don't trust their culinary aptitude), at least do what you can to cut your own expenses. If the college coupon book is lacking in practical savings at supermarkets, get a discount store gift card from such websites as GiftCardGranny and save up to 35 percent instantly.

4. Find Something to Bet On
A college budget means cash is usually in short supply so, clearly, no one will make $5 million dollar bets like rapper/producer Brian "Birdman" Williams. Compensate for your lack for dollar bills by making a wager where you or your friend has to perform some strange, semi-embarrassing act. Even if you're not into the on-the-field action, try the over/under on beer commercials or how often announcers swoon over Tom Brady.

5. Get Free Delivery
Every now and then, it's important to take a departure from your Ramen-noodle rations, and Super Sunday is the perfect opportunity. Pizza is standard college cuisine that requires no cooking and is quite affordable when everyone chips in. To avoid paying extra on your order, use this list of 54 pizza joints that don't charge for delivery. Just make sure you get the order in early or your guests are going to be hungry through the first few quarters.

6. Party With the Pros
Unless you were the lucky winner of some kind of sweepstakes, it's unlikely the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be joining you in your living room. Still, you can stay tuned to what he and the rest of the NFL have to say about the action with the free NFL Pro Tweets app. It combines tweets from players around the league in one place.

7. Play Your Own Game
For most red-blooded Americans, the extravagant entertainment nightmare that is the half-time show is the perfect opportunity for a quick pick-up game, so keeping a football on hand is essential. Make things a little more interesting by having the losing team take clean-up duties at the end of the day.

8. Keep it Classy
Word of mouth works fine when you're trying to cram as many people and kegs as possible into a two-bedroom apartment, but a Super Bowl party tends to have a more restricted guest list. If you need to know every detail is covered before you sleep soundly, consider managing the guest list and potluck using They have tons of free football templates, and you can easily manage everything online. Even the common-college party benefits from bit of organization.

Brandon Farestad-Rittel is a college-savings expert for Kinoli Inc. Based on his own college experiences and extensive research, this recent graduate has covered a variety of topics, including the college selection process, for-profit colleges, and the modern era of textbooks.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Countdown to Valentines Day!

How about a Valentine's Day celebration that lasts for two weeks?

My gals at The Dating Divas have made that a reality!
I am sooo in love with their new Valentine's Countdown! Don't you just love all of their gorgeous stuff?!


For two wonderful weeks, there is either a cute love note, a random act of kindness idea, or a pre-planned date night for each day! {And, of course, everything is super-duper creative!}

The toughest part about putting something like this into motion is knowing when to do it, and how to make it all a success. This countdown totally takes care of that! Talk about a perfect solution!
Of course, you can bet there is a big finale planned for the 14th, with lots of romantic and spicy suggestions!

I love that they also encourage couples to think outward, too. Showing kindness to others in your sphere of influence is so huge in a marriage! It always helps us take our mind off our own selves and problems, and reminds us that our problems are a lot smaller than they seem. We love creating all of those memories, too! Here is just a lil' sneak-peek into a totally "heart"-warming Random Act Of Kindness to do on Day 4!

So sweet, right?

This gorgeous countdown has everything I need to help me accomplish my marriage resolutions for 2015 - I am so excited to make it all happen!
Isn't it just the cutest?

Hurry and snatch yours up, get it prepped, and countdown with your spouse along with me to the big day this year!

Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate for the Dating Divas and earn a commission on products you purchase through these links - Thanks for buying some awesome stuff and helping keep Pink Lemoande in business!

Swap Your Classic Game Day Grub for Edgy & Exciting Recipes


Instead of the same old recipes, try swapping your classic game day grub for edgy and exciting recipes courtesy of “The Rebel Chef.”

Antoine Sicotte aka “The Rebel Chef” is the author of the award-winning cookbook, Le Cuisinier Rebelle. Since then, he’s gone on to publish another cookbook as well as one on mixology. Just in time for Super Bowl, join The Rebel Chef as he shares a sneak peek of recipes in preparation for the debut of his third cookbook.
With exciting recipes like Burger with the Worx, Funky Chorizo and Loaded Quesadillas, you are soon to be known as destination-central for the ultimate tailgate. The Rebel Chef is also a big fan of Frank’s® RedHot® Cayenne Pepper Sauce, the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo wing sauce recipe since 1964. According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 billion servings of wings were consumed during Super Bowl weekend, totaling more than 100 million pounds of wings overall.  To ensure authentic, restaurant-style wing flavor, fans insist on using Frank’s RedHot Sauce.

Frank’s RedHot has the perfect blend of flavor and heat. It is the distinctive flavor profile of Frank’s RedHot that has The Rebel Chef and flavor fans everywhere declaring they love to put that sauce on everything, starting with an endless list of game day favorites like chili, burgers, pizza and nachos. It’s the “must-have” for any winning tailgate party!

“So many game day foods taste even tastier when they are #Franked,” says Antoine. So try these delicious tasting recipes from the Rebel Chef and don’t forget to amp up the flavor on all your game day favorites by “Franking” your game day buffet.
Additional recipes available on

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip
This robust creamy dip tastes like Buffalo Chicken Wings but without the mess! Serve hot with celery sticks, veggies or your favorite chips.
Prep Time: 5 min.  Cook Time:  20 min.

1 (8 oz.) pkg Cream cheese, softened
½ cup Blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
½ cup any flavor FRANK’S® REDHOT® Sauce
½ cup Crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz. each) SWANSON
® White Premium Chunk Chicken
                                                                                                Breast in Water, drained

1. HEAT oven to 350ºF. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir  until smooth.
2. MIX in salad dressing, Frank’s RedHot sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
3. BAKE 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or cut up vegetables.

Makes 4 cups dip

Microwave Directions:  Prepare as above. Place in microwave-safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 5 min. until hot, stirring halfway through cooking.

Tips:  You may substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.

Slow Cooker Method: Combine ingredients as directed above. Place mixture into small slow cooker.  Heat on HIGH setting for 1 ½ hours until hot and bubbly or on LOW setting for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Stir.

Tailgating Tip: Prepare dip ahead and place in heavy disposable foil pan. Place pan on grill and heat dip until hot and bubbly.


Prep Time: 10 min.     Cook Time:  20 min.

2 ½ lbs. chicken wing pieces
¾ cup any flavor FRANK’S® REDHOT® Wing Sauce

  1.  BAKE wings in foil-lined pan at 500°F on lowest oven rack for 20 minutes until crispy, turning once.
  2. TOSS wings in sauce to coat.
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tip:  You may substitute ½ cup FRANK’S® REDHOT® Sauce mixed with 1/3 cup melted butter for the Wings Sauce.

Alternate Cooking Directions: Deep-fry at 375°F for 10 minutes.
Broil 6-inches from heat 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
Grill over medium heat 20 to 25 minutes, turning often.

deluxe_burgersDeluxe Burgers – Burgers with the Worx
Makes 4 burgers

1 lb. ground beef (a mixture of veal, pork, and beef, or meat of your choice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
3 oz. pancetta or bacon slices
2 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. goat cheese
2 tbsp. Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce
1 large onion, sliced
1 package mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 avocado, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
Dijon mustard
4 English muffins (or any other buns of your choice)


To make patties, combine ground meat, chopped onion, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into 4 patties and set aside. Cook pancetta or bacon in a pan or in the microwave until crispy. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, goat cheese, and Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce and mix until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a pan, over medium heat, sauté sliced onion until lightly golden. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. In the same pan used to sauté the onions and mushrooms, cook patties in olive oil. To assemble burgers, toast English muffins and spread bottom halves with Dijon mustard. Top each bottom bun with bacon, a patty, a few tomato slices, a few avocado slices, and 1 tbsp. mushroom and onion mixture. Spread the top half of the English muffin with cheese mixture. Close burgers and enjoy!

Funky Chorizo
½ lb. chorizo sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
4 thick slices 2-day-old country bread, cubed
2 tbsp. Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce
1/3 lb. whole green olives in oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Paprika to taste


In a pan, heat the oil from the olives and add garlic, cubed bread, and Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce. Cook until bread is golden brown. Add sliced chorizo, and olives, and sauté for about 2 minutes.

Tip: Sprinkle with parsley and paprika and serve as an appetizer!

 Loaded Quesadillas with Beans, Cheese, Avo & Ham
Serves 4

Loaded Quesadillas

8 tortillas
1 can (19 oz) red kidney beans, drained and puréed in a food processor
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 avocado, thinly sliced
8 slices ham
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup sour cream
1 lime


2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
1 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. Frank’s RedHot Chile ‘n Lime Hot Sauce
Salt and pepper


To prepare salsa, combine and finely chop all ingredients in a food processor, but don’t reduce to a purée. To make the quesadillas, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan. Place a tortilla in the pan and top with ½ cup cheese, two slices ham, and ¼ of the avocado slices. Spread a layer of bean purée on another tortilla and place, bean side down, over the tortilla in the pan. Lift quesadilla, add a bit more oil to the pan, and then flip. Cook until cheese is completely melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 quesadillas. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, with salsa and sour cream on the side for dipping. 

FRENCH’S Foods, a division of Reckitt Benckiser Inc., the maker of FRANK’S® REDHOT® Cayenne Pepper Sauce, is a leading manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of food and household products. Some other well known, trusted household names in the Reckitt Benckiser Inc. family of food products include, FRENCH’S® mustards and FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Festive Cocktails for Sunday's Big Game!

Football season may be coming to a close, but female football fans know the best is yet to come – the teams are set, the sides are chosen, and the cocktails are made: it's almost time for the Big Game (party)!
Smirnoff Ice celebrates Ladies With Game, women who have the confidence to cheer on their team just as loudly as the guys. Whether you'll be enjoying next Sunday’s game tailgating at the stadium, at a party with friends, or even a quiet evening at home, these Game Day cocktails will give you something to cheer about.


Sweet Victory Sangria
·         2 cups Smirnoff Ice Screwdriver
·         2 cups pinot grigio
·         Fruit slices (optional)
·         Serves 3-4


Playoff Preparada
·         Smirnoff Ice Green Apple
·         Fresh chopped Fruit
·         Chili Lime Seasoning
·         Chamoy


The Pre-Pre-Gameday Shandy
·         1 bottle Smirnoff Ice Original
·         1 bottle Red Stripe


Moscow Mule
·         1 bottle Smirnoff Ice Moscow Mule
·         Limes



Go Team Bellini 
·         1 Bottle Smirnoff Ice Peach Bellini
·         Peaches


Screwdriver Sunrise
·         1 Bottle Smirnoff Ice Screwdriver
·         Cranberry Juice
·         Orange Slice​

Pink Lemonade and Smirnoff remind you to please drink responsibly.

Healthy Superbowl Recipes from the Flat Belly Diet for Men!

Football and unhealthy food often go hand in hand. Chips, dips, nachos, wings -- we all know that the best food for watching the big game is not necessarily the best food for our waistline. With the Superbowl approaching this weekend, we've got some recipes from Prevention's book, The Flat Belly Diet! for Men.

Every recipe in this book, written by Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief of Prevention, with Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, weighs in at less than 400 calories per serving and boasts a MUFA, or mono-unsaturated fatty acid, which have been proven to help shed belly fat (including the dangerous visceral fat that increases your risk for a number of serious health problems) and improve heart health.

Preparation time: 10 minutes / Cooking time: 16 minutes / Makes 4 servings

¼ cup olive oil (MUFA)
12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces shredded 50% reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) French baguette, split lengthwise

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and reserve. Return the skillet to the stove and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, oregano, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 9 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute, or until starting to brown. Add the chicken, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Cook 1 minute, or until hot. Remove from the heat and add in the cheese, stirring until melted.

2. Top the baguette with the chicken mixture. Cut into 4 portions and serve.

Preparation time: 10 minutes / Cooking time: 30 minutes / Makes 4 Servings

4 ounces wagon wheel pasta
¼ cup olive oil (MUFA)
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dired oregano
1 (15-ounce) no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
½ cup water
½ ounce semisweet chocolate
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, then drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic.  Cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook 1 minute.  Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate has melted.  Serve over the pasta.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

7 Home Environment Tips to Help Sensitive Children Flourish

By Dr. Idelle Brand

Contaminants are found everywhere in our environment: in our food, water, air, and inside our homes. Unless you live in the wilderness, it's difficult to avoid them. 

As we continue to bring modern technology and pollutants into our home, we continue to expose our children to invisible toxins affecting their physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Children who have high sensitivities and enriched sensory abilities are often acutely affected by things like light, noise, household chemicals, toxins in food, and even electromagnetic frequencies. Their developing brains and bodies may react to a less-than-ideal home environment with stomach upset, insomnia, breathing difficulties, mood changes, learning difficulties, and other symptoms. 

For parents of sensitive children, here are seven simple techniques you can employ right now to help your child be safer and healthier in the comfort of their own home.

1. Remove all electronics from the bedroom. A good night's sleep is important to a young growing child. Television, digital clock radios, computers, and cell phones each put out a continual dose of EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies), which disrupt the natural electrical pathways that are so sensitive in young children. 

2. Stop using the microwave. Microwave ovens are radiation ovens. The microwave distorts the molecular structure of the food, which affects our children's vulnerable immune system. It also destroys vital nutrients. It's best to cook children's food the old-fashioned way--on the stove top or in the oven.

3. Invest in a flat-screen monitor for the computer. The old box-shaped cathode ray tube computer monitors have high levels of radiation. This is not healthy for anyone in the home, but can be especially harmful to a young person whose brain and body are still growing.

4. Put EMF protectors on all electronics. This would also include cell phones and cordless phones. You can purchase these online. They can be pricy--but it's a great investment in your child's and family's health.

5. Filter your water. Municipal water is usually laden with chemicals to make the water potable. If these chemicals are killing microbes in the water, just imagine what they're doing to your sensitive children. Quality water is pure with no additives. Purchase the best filter system you can afford.

6. Invest in an air purifier. Indoor air pollution may be worse than outdoor air pollution. Air-borne toxins such as mold spores, dust, cigarette smoke, pet dander, and hydrocarbon toxins with remnants of chemtrails (from outside) can affect a sensitive child's ability to breathe. 

7. Connect with nature daily. Earthing or grounding ourselves to Mother Earth for 20 minutes a day will help a child release sensory overload. Taking a walk, playing outdoors with a pet, or playing an outdoor game every day will help your child develop a healthier mind, body, and spirit. 

* * * * * *
Dr. Idelle Brand is a holistic dentist, integrative healer, and teacher of diverse complementary healing modalities. She is coauthor, with her daughter, Diandra Brand, of the new book, Enlightened Indigo Child: A Personal Guide to Flourishing with a Sixth Sense (2014, $17.95).

How to Save on Super Bowl Snacks

Super Bowl XLVI just days away, fans are starting to make plans for one of the best parties of the year. Anticipation for the big game doesn't only surround the battle for supremacy between the NFC and AFC, but also the chance to consume large quantities of French onion dip and other salty snacks. This privilege is afforded just a few times a year, so it's worth making the most of it.

With Football fans -- both fanatic and fair-weather -- aren't the only ones gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday. Grocery stores in particular view the event as an opportunity to mark up party must-haves, and with at-home food prices on the rise, it's especially important to shop smart. To keep your pigskin party from breaking the budget, try these six strategies for saving on a winning Super Bowl spread.

1. Chips
White or yellow corn? Original or wavy? Kettle or baked? There are more tortilla and potato-chip options than there are teams in the whole NFL. Even die-hard Tostitos fans should give store-brand options a try. These generic chips are often taste just as good and are quite a bit cheaper. At the very least, compare prices of competing brands before reaching for your go-to.

2. Chicken Wings
It shouldn't be surprising that the price of chicken wings tends to skyrocket around the Super Bowl. No party is complete without this sports-viewing staple. Avoid paying through the teeth by stocking up on frozen wings weeks in advance. Costs can be further reduced if you buy gift cards for your local supermarket at a discount from sites like GiftCardGranny. Shopping for party supplies this way will save as much as 35 percent over cash or credit.

3. Taters
What are wings without french fries to sop up excess hot sauce and Ranch dip? While frozen frites are the easy way to go, both your budget and taste buds will benefit from homemade potato skins. It doesn't get much cheaper than a big bag of potatoes, and toppings can be as simple as cheese and salsa.

4. Veggies
Avoid the temptation to buy a prepackaged tray of veggies; you're only paying for convenience and presentation. Those two features are easily attainable with a sharp knife and a big plate. Pick up a few fresh items that are easy to prepare such as carrots, peppers, celery and snap peas, and arrange them around a sumptuous bowl of dip. Since you choose what stays and what goes you'll never get stuck with a pile of leftover cauliflower.

5. Dips
Just like veggies, you can get more bang for your dipping buck by going the homemade route. Ranch and French dips require no more than a package of seasoning and some sour cream. Guacamole is as simple as coarsely chopped avocado with garlic salt and lemon juice. If you consider yourself a true dip aficionado and are looking for something more advanced, check out these tasty recipes from The Huffington Post.

6. Drinks
Liquor stores are a madhouse during the days leading up to the game, so consider stocking up on your favorite liquid provisions a week out. Hit up Costco and Sam's Club for up to 30-percent off grocery store prices. Keg beer is another money-saving staple for big parties. Better yet, make it a BYOB event.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and has been featured among such top media outlets as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Local Expert Gives Super Bowl party cleanup tip

Super Bowl is great for fan and non-fan alike, the commercials are always a talker,  but the mess from the party…. it’s just a mess that needs cleaning up.  Most of it can be trashed or recycled, but if the furniture is messed up, that can call for an expensive game plan.

So here are the top four ways Super Bowl parties trash your furniture and suggestions for cleaning it up.  

1)      INK : Your buddy uses a marker to write down all the wagers in the scoring pool. Except the number “12” gets written on the couch.
  • DON’T use dish soap or hair spray to remove the marks.  The degreasing agents in dish soap can permanently de-gloss and damage the top coating on the leather surface. Hair spray has alcohol in it and will ruin the surface coating on your leather.
  • DO use a soft sponge and specialized leather cleaner. Buy it at most leather furniture retailers – but for serious problems your local Fibrenew franchise can help. 
2)      FOOD OR WINE STAIN: Your brother-in-law eats an entire pizza and drops a greasy cheese and his fifth glass of wine on your leather loveseat.
  • DON’T use window/mirror cleaner because it contains alcohol which will dissolve and destroy the surface coating on your leather.
  • DO use a damp towel to wipe up the mess and a dry one to finish the job.  Fully-finished leather is pretty much water proof, so a little spill isn’t going to hurt as long as you clean up quickly before it soaks through. 
3)      ANIMAL SCRATCHES AND PICKS:  The dog gets scared when the crowd cheers for a big play and jumps onto the couch. The nails dig in and provide extra leverage.
  • DON’T touch up the spots with shoe polish because it makes an ugly, sticky mess.
  • DO try to reduce the visibility of the problem by snipping off the cotton interior strands that often get pulled out when leather gets picked. DO use a hair dryer and massage minor scratches with leather cleaner to try to rub it out.  Call a professional to fix larger scratches and holes - this is not a DIY kind of job.
 4)      BURNS AND DISCOLORATION: The victory cigars are great, except for the ashes falling on the couch.
  • DON’T try to rub it out and blend it with the surrounding area, you’ll only make the problem bigger.
  • DO bring in some help. When leather or faux leather gets damaged by heat, the only solution is to call in a professional. Regardless of size, a professional repair can make that burn look brand new and can be done on the spot in your own home.  
There are several types of leather, and the following tips apply to all fully-finished leather, which makes up 85 percent of the leather market. 

Tips courtesy of:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl Party SOS: 14 Fast-Food Dinner Fixes

From Super Bowl parties to Valentine’s Day dinners, the coming months mark the start of a busy entertaining season. Whether you’re planning a last-second soiree or need a stand-in for a botched meal, comes to the rescue with 14 Fast-Food Dinner Fixes.
To make entertaining a cinch, they’ve served up creative ways to use fast-food favorites—like Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins  and Chinese takeout rice—so you can craft a tasty menu and take all the credit. Some quick fast-food fixes include:
·         KFC’s Grilled Chicken à Simple Chicken Sammies: Need a quick, but classic game day dish? Pick up a bucket of the Colonel's best, and then slather the breasts with a healthy coating of sauce. Set out some fresh-baked buns from the market, some lettuce, cheese, and tomato, and you'll see that whipping up a self-serve sandwich spread has never been so easy (and finger-licking good).

·         Chinese Sauce Packets à Crunch-Time Pork Chops: You have pork chops, but no marinade, and the guests are coming in a little more than an hour. Have no fear — if you have some of those little packages of soy sauce, duck sauce, and mustard that come with your takeout order you're in luck. Mix all three packets with a dash of salt, pepper, and olive oil, and you’ve got a superb marinade in minutes.

·         Dunkin’ Donut Munchkins à Profiteroles In-A-Pinch: Burnt the cookies you were planning on serving for dessert? Save yourself another trip to the store and stop at the local Dunkin' drive-thru for the makings for instant profiteroles — glazed doughnut holes. Split each hole in half, stuff it with your pick of ice cream, and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

·         Chinese Takeout Rice à Breathe-Easy Burritos: Need rice for burritos, but don’t have time or a rice cooker on your side? Order in a couple boxes of inexpensive, Chinese white rice, fill burritos with all the fixings, and enjoy.

For more resourceful recipe ideas, visit The Daily Meal.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Healthy and Tasty Food Alternatives For Super Bowl

After a long, grueling season, Super Bowl XLV has finally arrived. This year, two teams will face off on the NFL’s biggest stage, and frankly it doesn’t get bigger than that. Now that the teams have been picked, the real question is what are you going to serve all your hungry friends and relatives come Super Bowl Sunday?

Many will turn to the standard artery clogging, fat building, colon wrenching fare; however there are so many foods out there that are healthier and tastier than the everyday norm with the same amount of prep time.

As such, Carl Germano, RD, CDN, a NY Board certified clinical nutritionist and Chief Science Officer of Inergetics - makers of SURGEX, recommends the following delicious, healthy food alternatives for the big game.

Instead Of These Party Killers, Try These Low Fat, More Calorie Friendly Alternatives!
Instead of:     Beef Sliders with Cheese
Try:                Turkey Sliders with sliced tomato

Instead of:     Franks in the Blanket with Mustard
Try:                Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Instead of:     Nachos with Cheese & Jalapenos
Try:                Baked Nachos with Guacamole, Tomatoes and Jalapenos

Instead of:     Fried Cheese Bread Sticks
Try:                Sourdough Bread Bowl with Low Fat Spinach Dip and    celery, carrot

Instead of:     French Fries
Try:                Baked Potato Skins with tomato/basil bruschetta

Instead of:    Beef Chili with Shredded Cheese
Try:                Low Fat Turkey Chili with Black Beans, Corn & Salsa

Instead of:    Fried Buffalo Wings with Ranch dip
Try:                Baked Chicken Wings with hot sauce dip

Instead of:    Regular Pizza
Try:                Whole Wheat Margarita Pizza

Instead of:    Chips, Cookies & Brownies Platter
Try:                Air Popped Popcorn, Oat Pretzels, Fresh Fruit,

Instead of:    Beer, Soda, Juice 
Try:               Flavored Seltzer and Water

Cheap Ways to Party on the Super Bowl

With New Year's Eve a distant (and possibly hazy) memory and Memorial Day still months away, the Super Bowl is one of the only party-worthy occasions of the season. Last year's game saw more than 111.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV show in US history.

Though Americans gather around the television in droves to take in the big game, it comes at a time when money is tight. Between catching up on Christmas credit card bills and dreading impending taxes, most aren't spending more than they have to. Luckily, celebrating the Super Bowl doesn't require much expense or extravagance; try these tips for a fun and frugal football party.

1. Create a Game Plan
Each NFL game requires intense preparation from the players and coaches. While your party won't require any film study, it's still wise to have a game plan going in. Set a budget and stick to it; there's no reason to go above and beyond when most will be satisfied as long as the game is on. You can also consider trimming the guest list to reduce additional expense. There's no room for small talk during the Super Bowl anyway.

2. Don't Decorate
Do you have a television, couch and plenty of beer? Good, that's all the decor you'll need. Fancy invitations and football-themed decorations are a waste of money. The real star of the show is the on-field action. Realistically, your guests want to see Joe Flacco throwing bombs and Colin Kaepernick making crazy runs -- not cleat-shaped coasters and team-colored streamers.

3. DIY
Those pre-made relish trays are tempting but they always come with a hefty mark-up. Since it's the Super Bowl and no one expects gourmet, most snack staples can be made at home for a fraction of the cost. Save money by cutting and washing your own veggies, or whip up a simple seven-layer dip.

4. Make it a Team Effort
There's no shame in asking for a little help from your friends. Since you're already providing the accommodations, it's not unreasonable to ask for contributions. When everyone pitches in with chips and dip or a six-pack of their favorite beer, no one ends up spending too much.

5. Buy in Bulk
As with any large party, buying in bulk is a surefire way to save money. Frozen wings and pizza are much more cost-effective than ordering in, and can be found at Costco or Sam's Club for relatively cheap. If you don't have a membership at one of these warehouse stores, use the Coupon Sherpa app for grocery store savings. It's filled with coupons you can add directly to your store loyalty card; no clipping or printing necessary.

6. Pass on Paper & Plastic
It's tempting to load up on paper plates and plastic silverware to avoid doing dishes, but they're an unnecessary added expense. If you have enough dishes to go around, use them instead. There's usually at least one guest who will take pity on you and pitch-in for cleanup.

7. Cover the Kids
While kids may enjoy throwing the ball around the backyard, they don't often have the attention span to make it through an entire televised game. To keep them occupied while you watch, hire a babysitter for the duration of your party. This allows guests to bring kids and everyone saves on the expense of hiring their own sitter.

8. Get Free Delivery
Super Bowl Sunday is to pizza restaurants what Black Friday is to retailers. The phone rings off the hook with orders pouring in faster than Torrey Smith runs a go route. If you plan on ordering a pie or two, get them from someone offering free delivery. This list of 54 restaurants with free pizza delivery from is a good place to get started.

9. Search for Specials
Sometimes you'd rather get out of the house than host. Thankfully, there's no shortage of bars and restaurants willing to take on the responsibility. As you start to plan where to watch, consider who's offering the best specials using the DrinkOwl app. Available on both Android and iPhone, this handy app details drink specials and happy hours in your area.


Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Home Sweet Homemade: DIY Jam

Summer's best friend is the berry!  These days, Luscious, red, juicy and bursting with flavor berries are available year-round - what's not to like?  What's more, whether you grow your own berries or depend on the farmers who grow berries for Driscoll’s,  you know that they are not only at their best but plentiful too.  So the next time you're at the market, pick up a few extra clamshells of Driscoll’s berries for a yummy DIY strawberry jam.  It's easy and when you do it yourself you can personalize it with subtle nuances of flavors that take your jam from comfort food to gourmet.  What's best is that you made it yourself!

 Strawberry Jam
Makes roughly four half-pint jars

35 oz. Driscoll’s strawberries washed, hulled and cubed
35 oz. granulated white sugar
1 lemon, sliced
1 packet pectin, such as CERTO or Sure-Jell
1 Tbsp butter (to reduce foaming)

Combine the strawberries and sugar in a large, nonreactive pot; enamel or stainless steel are best. Let stand for at least 20 minutes, up to two hours.

Stir the contents of the pot well, and put over medium-high heat. Add the lemons, pectin and butter. Stir frequently, taking care not to burn the sugar. Bring to a boil and maintain a rolling boil. Skim away any foam that forms; if there is too much foam, add a little more butter.

Once a boil has been reached, take the temperature with a quick-read thermometer. Continue boiling and stirring until the mixture consistently reads 220ºF. Turn off the heat. Remove the lemon slices. If canning, process immediately (see On Canning, below). Otherwise, allow to cool, then pack in jars and refrigerate, or freezer-safe containers or bags if freezing. 

For an extra berry punch, replace some of the strawberries with an equal amount of Driscoll’s® organic raspberries, blueberries or blackberries.

Or, once the jam reaches the target temperature, try giving yours a twist by adding one of the following:

  • 1 Tbsp real balsamic and a few fresh cracks of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Campari
  • A handful of mint or basil, finely chopped
  • Seeds from a vanilla bean
  • Whatever you like
On Canning
As a rule, fruit preserves can be canned using the water-bath method. Water-bath canning is not difficult, but it does require attention to detail. You’ll need some specific equipment (see Equipment, below), and you need to make sure your jars, lids and utensils are well sterilized.

The USDA publishes a very thorough guide to home canning, with excellent instructions on how to can safely. We recommend reviewing this carefully before canning. You can view the guide here:

Before you start cooking up your berries, make sure you have the following items:

  • A large pot *
  • A rack that fits in the bottom of the pot *
  • A pair of canning tongs *
  • A magnetic lid wand *
  • A jar funnel *
  • A ladle *
  • A quick-read thermometer
  • A kitchen scale
  • Cooling racks to set the hot jars on
  • Plenty of kitchen towels
  • Plenty of jars, rings and unused lids
  • Patience, and a sense of humor

Most of these items, as well as a variety of jars, lids and rings, are readily available in most hardware stores, as well as some grocery stores.

* You can often find kits that have all these elements together, rather than purchasing them separately.  

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