Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chicken with creamy peanut butter / curry sauce over rice

So I had to make dinner out of pantry items and whatever I could find in the freezer. I wanted to use up some frozen chicken breast pieces to make space in the freezer and also had some colored peppers left that were getting soft. I decided to make a curry - no surprise, anything with curry is always welcome in my house.
But to change it up, I decided to make a creamy curry with peanut sauce.
I quickly sauteed the chicken and the peppers in some vegetable oil. Then I added from Thai Kitchen Peanut Satay Sauce (see product description here). To enhance the flavor and generate more of a sauce, I added some creamy peanut butter, a little bit more yellow curry and milk. This mixture yielded a nice creamy curry sauce with an interesting twist due to the Satay base.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - creamy peanut butter curry sauce with chicken and pepper over rice
I boiled some regular rice, even though Jasmin rice probably would have been better, and then added a nice helping of the chicken curry mix.
I really liked this recipe. I had previously made curry with peanut butter, but always found the taste to be somewhat bland. Using the Thai Kitchen Peanut Satay sauce as a base really upped the flavor and makes this an excellent meal.

Mango / Peach smoothie from Silk - ideal summer beverage!

I was selected for the houseparty.com with Silk and their new fruit/protein drinks. Since everyone seems to like mango, I went and bought the mango/peach silk smoothie. Great choice! The mango and peach flavor really comes through and despite being healthy, the smoothie is so good that most people will not even realize that it is soy-based. If you have friends or relative who really do not like soy, this is an excellent choice to convince them that soy-based beverages can be tasty.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - mango, mango everywhere!
The fruit/protein Silk smoothie comes in a little bit small container than their usual soymilk and retails for about $2.70 in stores. The flavor, as I stated above, is excellent. The smoothie itself is nice and thick and I would recommend adding plenty of ice cubes to the smoothie to keep it cold and make it a little bit thinner, if you are like me and like to use a straw for smoothies.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Mango/Peach smoothie on the rocks!
I added plenty of ice to the smoothie and then enjoyed it as a mid-morning snack. On a hot day, it was delicious and was an excellent pick me up in between meals.
For more information about this new product series from Silk - go to the Silk Fruit / Protein smoothie homepage here. The smoothie comes in additional flavors of Mixed Berry and Strawberry Banana.

Captain D's birthday freebie - sign up if you have a restaurant in your town

April is always a good month for me because I get lots of free stuff for my birthday. In exchange for signing up to restaurant mailing lists and loyalty programs, you get free stuff from restaurants. Many other types of stores have similar programs, such as cosmetic stores etc. But I will blog about a couple of freebies from restaurants. The first blog is about a free dinner at Captain D's, which is a fish restaurant.

This weekend I pigged out and got the two piece fish dinner. The portion was huge and even though I did not have breakfast, the portion was too much and I saved some of the dinner for later.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - two piece fish dinner from Captain D's
As you can see the dinner comes as a standard with french fries, cole slaw and hush puppies. The fish was excellent, the meat was nice and flaky and the batter was crisp and not greasy at all. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the fish. Tartar sauce is upon request and they will give you three packets of tartar sauce with your dinner. The sauce is okay, nothing special, but goes well with the fish. Overall, this part of the dinner was excellent.
The fries were not spicy enough for me, the flavor came mostly from the frying and I would like to see some more sea salt on the fries to bring out their potato flavor some more. The cole slaw was okay, not very strong in flavor, but nothing bad that I can say about it. These two parts of the dinner were acceptable, not great, just standard fast food fare.
The hush puppies were a disappointment. I love hush puppies and so I was looking forward to eating these since I rarely have them and usually consider them a treat. But these were not flavored at all. It was just cornmeal deep-fried. I would have definitely liked some more onions in them and maybe some actually corn kernels, anything to make then test better than deep-fried cornmeal.
Since I did not pay for the dinner, overall I am not complaining. But I would definitely go back for the fish and see whether they have a dinner or bucket just with fish and forget about the other items. The price for this dinner is about $5 at the Captain D's in Durham.

Since I felt bad about taking just a free dinner and nothing else, I decided to splurge on dessert and ordered the Banana Foster Cheesecake bites. The price for four bites was $1.99.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Banana Foster Cheesecake bites from Captain D's
As you can see the portion includes four small bites covered in caramel sauce and some extra caramel sauce for dipping. I actually was pleasantly surprised by the dessert. The bites are about half batter / cake and then the other half of cheesecake goodness flavored with banana and caramel. If you bite into one, the cheesecake mix bursts out and you can taste the bananas. I would definitely go back to Captain D's for this dessert. It is an unusual dessert, not the standard fast food dessert fare and the flavor was good and the little bites are fun to eat.

Target Spring samples and beauty bag - arrived this week

I had blogged earlier about a Facebook promotion that Target had. The promotion involved a free cosmetic bag filled with samples and coupons just for signing up. The bag arrived this week and the bag itself as well as the samples are very nice.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - samples from the Target promotion
Included as samples are for example:
- Simple cosmetic wipes
- Pantene shampoo
- Nivea lotion
- and others, as well as a whole booklet filled with coupons for use at Target!

I try to sign up for this promotion every year and while I may not always use all the coupons, the bag itself comes in handy and it is nice to be able to toss an older cosmetic bag and replace it with a new one at no cost. This year the bag is very nice and goes well with some of pink purses that I have.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - outside of the cosmetic bag from the Target promotion

bzzcampaign: Live Below The Line - how much do you spend on food each day?

I am enrolled in a bzzcampaign to visualize how little many people in the world can afford for food each day. The campaign is entitled "Live below the Line"and challenges participants to live on less than $1.50 each day.

Not only can people experience whether they can meet this challenges for one week, but through a partners page, participants can also sign up and have donations go to specific projects and organizations involved in fighting world hunger.

I enrolled a couple of weeks ago and have been thinking about some possible recipes that I can make. The main issue is to ensure proper protein consumption without relying on meat. If you plan on meat recipes, I would recommend to use meat in sauce to stretch it since even cheap meat like hot dogs or bologna will make it very hard to meet the $1.50 budget cap each day.

Possible recipes that I plan on using are:
- lentil soup
- pasta with brown butter and canned peaches
- chicken broth with noodles and egg
- sweet potatoes with some brown sugar and butter
- beans and rice

If you plan to participate in this challenge, you can go to the partners page and sign up to ensure that your effort will result in donations to the cause.
I should caution you, trying to make the $1.50 a day limit fit through use of coupons or freebies is not permitted. While you can use sale prices, saving your BOGO coupons or searching for free meals in your community will not help you!

Have fun and let me know if you have any interesting recipes that you plan on using to meet the $1.50 a day target.

From the bzzagent.com page on "Live below the Line"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

good eats - strawberry/rhubarb compote with vanilla icecream

This is the first year that the the rhubarb in my yard is big enough for harvesting. Rhubarb needs to be a certain size before you can start harvesting because unless the root is large enough, the plant, which needs to get nutrition out of the leaves to survive the winter, will not make it. I believe traditionally, a plant needs to be at least 2 years old before harvesting can begin.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my rhubarb plant after the initial harvest - this should be good for another few desserts!
Last weekend I harvested three big stalks from my rhubarb plant, washed them in warm water and then sliced them into small pieces. I added the rhubarb with a little bit of water and sugar to a small pot, loosely covered with a lid and put the stove top on medium high. While the rhubarb started to cook and soften. I took half a pound of strawberries, sliced them up and added them to the rhubarb. This mixture I allowed to cooked until the fruit was nice and soft.

The mixture can be either frozen or stored in the fridge for about a week. Rather than make pie, I decided to add the compote to vanilla ice cream.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - warm strawberry/rhubarb compote with ice cream
I heated a little bit of the strawberry/rhubarb compote in the microwave, then added a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was delicious, but healthy dessert. The tartness of the compote goes well with the sweet vanilla ice cream, a wonderful combination.

If you are not familiar with rhubarb - a few hints:
- never eat the leaves, they are poisonous
- rhubarb has several health benefits, in particular it reduces cholesterol
- it can be a non-dairy source of calcium
- it is high in vitamin K and anti-oxidants
- rhubarb is easily grown in the yard, needs no particular soil and very little water
- cooked rhubarb can be used in pies or as compote by itself or mixed with berries, such as strawberries


For more information about rhubarb, have a look at this website here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food Review: Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil - highly recommended for cooking

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
I was given a jar of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil to try out and review. I had never used Coconut Oil before, but knew that my mother and grandmother used to swear by it. So I asked my mother what she would recommend for a first use of Virgin Coconut Oil and she right away indicated to cook some meat because the coconut oil would not brown and would be ideal for pan frying. 
She also said that I needed to use the coconut oil in very small amounts and when I described the jar that I had received, she said it would last a long time. So I used some frozen veal  portions to try out my Virgin Coconut Oil.
Below you see the small amount of oil I used in a non-stick pan.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - a little of coconut oil will go a long way
 I set the stove top to high and waited until the oil was liquified to see whether it would brown. It stayed wonderfully clear and the smell of coconut was emanating from my stove!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - liquified coconut oil in the pan, clear even after a couple of minutes
 I then added my breaded veal portions to the pan. These were frozen solid, something I would never dare with regular oil since it would burn the meat. 
copyright Durhamonthecheap - frozen veal patties from freezer to hot oil
I flipped the veal patties a couple of times during the cooking process to make sure that they were cooked through and had a nice color before plating them with some cooked asparagus and rolls and butter. A wonderful dinner and it was super easy to prep the meat because the coconut oil is so forgiving when pan frying meat and the smell in my kitchen was that of coconut, not fried meat. I can highly recommend Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil for use in the kitchen. And I can certainly understand why two generations of cooks in my family swore by coconut oil as an essential kitchen ingredient. 
I will post additional food reviews as I experiment with Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil in the next few weeks. I am certainly impressed with my first use and very happy that I was selected to try out this wonderful product.
If you are interested in purchasing Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil or learning more about the wonderful products that are available through their website, please go here. They have recipes as well as a number of additional products available. 
copyright Durhamonthecheap - an extremely quick dinner that tasted wonderful!


Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in exchange for an honest review and / or worth of mouth advertising. The opinions expressed in the blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Tropical Traditions or any other third party.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bookreview: Redemption: A Rebellious Spirit, a Praying Mother, and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold

This book will be available on amazon.com starting May 1, 2012. I reviewed the paperback version through booksneeze.com

Book will be available on May 1, 2012 through amazon.com!

The book is aptly entitled Redemption because Bryan Clay has in his short time turned his life around from an endangered teenager that sought fights and was extremely aggressive to a focused athlete, a Christian and family man. It was not an easy story and the author does not try to hide or whitewash his past. The troubled upbringing, surrounded by fights and drugs, the brief respite a college that soon turned into endless parties and no schoolwork until eventually he turned his life around with the help of his first serious girlfriend that ended up becoming his wife and mother to his three children.

For those readers that do not know Bryan; he is the winner of the 2008 Olympic gold medal and the 2004 Olympic silver medal in the decathlon. He is again completing for the Olympics this year in London, competing in his third Olympics and he is only 32 years old - quite an accomplishment for any athlete.

Bryan in collaboration with Joel Kilpatrick wrote this memoir and it is a book that is recommended for any parent dealing with a rebellious teenager as well as younger readers that seek guidance in life. The story of Bryan is a story exemplifying that life can be turned around and no matter how low you may sink, there is hope and change is possible.

Bryan did not find his way to the top alone, there is a strong mother that never gave up a hope. There is a girlfriend that taught him hard lessons, but never stopped believing in him. No one has to go this walk alone and Bryan makes it clear that for him finding God was the beginning of turning his life around. 

 Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this review are my own and have not been influenced by either booksneeze or the author.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Restaurant style Pizza dinner on the cheap

Earlier this week, Domino's had their Facebook giveaway. A dinner just consisting of Domino's Artisan pizza, while not bad, just does not make it to the level of a restaurant-style dinner for Italian food. I did not want to just add a mixed salad, so I decided to throw together a home-made antipasto plate to go with the pizza.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - homemade antipasto plate - yummy, but very inexpensive
I still had some opened containers of the following in the fridge:
- marinated portabello mushrooms (can be bought at Aldi)
- pearl onions (really cheap at Kroger's if you buy the store brand)
- colored peppers (were on sale at Aldi a couple of weeks ago)
- three bean salad (also available at Aldi)
- asparagus / ham roll-ups (asparagus is on sale this week at Harris Teeter, ham was from Aldi )

For the asparagus / ham roll-ups, I bought a pound of green asparagus from Harris Teeter (on sale for $1.49) and then quickly cooked the stalks to ensure they were still crispy and not too tender. Then I rolled them up in some honey-baked ham from Aldi (regular price around $2.99).

Putting them also in bit-sized portions on a plate and the antipasto mix was the perfect home-made appetizer to a pizza dinner.

Instead of pearl onions or the portabello mushrooms, you can also use regular olives and pickles. I like to use a mix of sweet and sour, so sweet peppers and pearl onions with a small meat dish (the roll-ups) is always a nice combo.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Free Domino's Artisan Pizza - facebook acct required

I just had a wonderful Domino's Artisan pizza for dinner this evening because Domino's is giving them away through a Facebook promotion. The promotion will again take place tomorrow on 4/11 as well as on 4/12.

Instructions on how to get your free pizza:
To receive a free Artisan Pizza, visit the Domino's Facebook brand page (www.facebook.com/dominos) during the Giveaway Period and "like" the page. Then, click where indicated to receive a free Artisan pizza. Sponsor will give away a fixed number of free Artisan pizzas each day during the Giveaway Period as detailed in the chart below:

  • Date - # of Free Artisan Pizza's Given Away
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 15,000
  • Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 15,000
Please note that NO TIME is indicated. That means that the giveaway can start at any time during the day. Today, the giveaway started around 3PM and lasted for about 15 minutes (those thousands of free pizzas sure go fast!)


I would recommend, if you do get through in time, to select the order later option since you will then get a code in the email that you enter online when ordering your pizza. 


copyright Durhamonthecheap - the new Artisan Pizza by Domino's - tastes good,  but needs more toppings




I selected the Tuscan Salami and roasted vegetables. This pizza was described online as 
'Ideal proportions of salami, spinach, onions, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, and a dash of oregano, all over a garlic Parmesan sauce on an artisan-style crust."

I was initially hesitant to order the pizza since I really do not like garlic, but after one bite, the garlic flavor really was not noticeable and all you tasted were the veggies and the salami. The crust is very different from the usual Domino's crust, very light and buttery. The spinach is barely noticeable and I would have loved to have seen more of it. The onions and banana peppers I definitely tasted, but there were not enough of them on the piza either.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Artisan pizza Tuscan Salami and Roasted Vegetables

Overall, the pizza was good, I definitely liked the flavor, but the toppings were sparse. Looking at online reviews posted to the Domino's website, this seems to be a general point of criticism and I could not agree more. 
The regular price for an Artisan pizza is $7.99, not too pricey and it will feed two people. But the toppings should be increased, a little bit more spinach or peppers cannot cost that much and increased toppings will improve the flavor.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bookreview: A shot of faith (to the head) by Mitch Stokes, Ph.D.

I enjoyed this book more than I had anticipated. Because the book description listed it as an overtly christian, spiritual book I was worried it may be filled with stories about how much better Christianity is than Atheism, but the fear was unfounded. The book is a highly intellectual, thought-provoking discourse about what sets Christianity apart from Atheism and explains in clear and concise terms how to counter the critique by Atheists.
The book is divided into 20 Chapters and a conclusion. Each chapter ends with a small table entitled "Your Arsenal" that not only summarizes the chapter's discussion, but also lists the relevant arguments for Christians to defend their belief against Atheist critique. While this book is clearly embracing Christianity, it will be an interesting read even for someone who does not believe in Christianity because the book lists the most important and strongest arguments against Atheism that the author can think of. Especially for scientists, but also for philosophers, this book will be an interesting read since it is written like a sparring match, but a friendly one, between the believers that science excludes Christianity and the author, who feels that science and Christianity can co-exist without an issue. Philosophers will find the book interesting and a worthy read because the author touches on the most common Western philosophers, spending quite a bit of time on the philosophers of the Enlightenment, to provide the relevant arguments, with which Christians can defend their religion. In the process, the author adeptly summarizes a larger body of Western philosophy. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this review are my own and have not been influenced by either booksneeze or the author.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Aldi product review: Canned Three Bean Salad

I stopped by Aldi today to look for a quick lunch idea and saw that they had canned Three Bean Salad. I never realized that Aldi carried this salad before and grabbed a can since I love Three Bean Salad. The can retails for 99 cents and is the usual size of an Aldi vegetable tin.
For lunch I paired simple hot dogs in a bun with the canned salad and was quite happy with the flavor of the salad. It is not too sour, even though I have tasted the salad in slightly sweeter versions and they only include dressing, but no onions. If you like onions with your bean salad, you will have to chop some.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - hot dog in a bun and Aldi canned Three bean Salad
 The salad is simply dressing with green and yellow beans as well as kidney beans. Overall, for 99 cents it is a good price and certainly easier than starting to make the salad yourself, especially looking at the price of yellow beans these days. Since I love yellow beans or waxbeans, I have started to settle for the bean salad since regular yellow beans, even frozen varieties, are just too expensive on their own. Having them mixed in with green and kidney gives me the yellow bean flavor, but at a much more affordable price.

I will definitely continue to stock up on the Three Bean Salad from Aldi from now on since I also like to add a spoonful of the bean salad to regular iceberg salad as a source of protein.

Atlanta Cheesecake Company Gourmet cheesecake - Lemon Swirl - available at Kroger

I had previously reviewed a product by the Atlanta Cheesecake Company, namely their Mascarpone cake that was a weekly special at Aldi. Going through my freezer I stumbled across a couple of cheesecakes that I had bought on clearance at Kroger some time ago in late 2011 and was saving for a special occasion such as a holiday or birthday celebration. I realized that they were also produced by the Atlanta Cheesecake Company and so I decided that for Easter weekend the Lemon Swirl Gourmet Cheesecake would be an appropriate dessert.

The cakes (I also bought a carrot cake cheesecake) were originally priced around $13 at Kroger and reduced to about $4 to $6 at Kroger. Kroger does not seem to have them on sale often because I know that I was lucky to find the cakes on sale. They are stored in the frozen section of the Bakery department at the Kroger on S. Roxboro St. in SW Durham.I assume that they would be found in a similar location at other Kroger stores.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Atlanta Cheesecake Company - Lemon Swirl Gourmet Cheesecake
I put the frozen cheesecake overnight in the fridge to have it thawed out and ready to eat for dessert this weekend. The cake consists of 8 slices that are big. If you have small kids I would count one slice for two kids.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the luscious goodness of a lemon swirl cheesecake
I took one slice and saw that the cheesecake had lemon fruit-filling inside the cake as well. So I was hoping for a light, but creamy lemon taste and I was not disappointed. I had been very impressed with the Mascarpone cake that Aldi had on sale earlier and Atlanta Cheesecake Company did not disappoint either with their lemon swirl cheesecake. The cake had just the perfect balance between lemon flavor and light cheesy goodness to make this a dessert that can be served at a special occasion. Despite the fact that the slices are fairly big, the cheesecake is very light, but creamy.

Is the cake worth the regular price of $13.00 - for sure. But if you are lucky you may find one the Atlanta Cheesecake Company cakes on sale at your neighborhood Kroger. If you do, I highly recommend grabbing one. This cake was in the freezer for at least 4 months, but you could never tell, the taste was still perfect.

bzzcampaign: Hills Science Grain Free - loved by dogs big and not so big!

Through bzzagent I am enrolled in a campaign that involves a new dog food y Hills Science Diet Grain Free- a higher quality dog food that promises to be more nutritious and contain less fillers than other dog foods.

I involved a colleague of mine to see whether dogs of several sizes and "breeds" like the food. Below are two pictures of a big dog, a shepherd mix, and a not so big , okay smallish, dog busy eating the new dog food. It obviously was a hit with both of them and they seem to enjoy it. The price is relatively high compared to other dog food, but having no grain fillers and with chicken listed as the first ingredient, if you are concerned about the nutrition of the food for your canine, it may well be worth the investment.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - big dogs like the new Hill's Science Diet dog food

copyright Durhamonthecheap - and not so big dogs love it as well!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in exchange for an honest review and / or worth of mouth advertising. The opinions expressed in the blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by bzzagent.com or any other third party.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Food review: Aldi cookies - Continential Assorted Cookies

copyright Durhamonthecheap - outside of cookies that can be bought at Aldi
Coming from Germany, I like to have a couple of cookies with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon or after dinner. So I was happy to see that Aldi carries an assortment of "Continental Cookies". The make of the cookies reminded me very much of De Beukelaer (the website with an image of the original cookies is seen here). While for the price of $3.99, I did not expect something like the original, I hoped that the cookies would present a nice variety of buttery goodness, with hints of coconut, chocolate and almonds.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - for $3.99 you get two individual layers like this
I opened the box and it contained two packages, each with the same assortment of cookies. I recognized some of the cookies by the look as being similar to the De Beukelaer original. I picked some of my favorites on a little plate and gave them a try.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - selection of the Aldi "Continental Cookies"
The overall impression was fairly good. The cookies do have different flavors and you get a nice selection of cookies. If you are not familiar with De Beukelaer, they probably taste very European. I was happy with some, not so happy with others. Needless to say, the biggest disappointment was that one my favorite De Beukelaer cookies, the thin Almond crisp (the picture above in the upper right corner) tasted not crisp or buttery enough for my liking. Also the Russian Cigarette cookie (fairly explanatory which cookie is that in the picture) tasted rather bland and certainly was not as thin and crispy of a wafer as I am used to. Thankfully, the chocolate used in this product is quite good and so the chocolate covered cookies are excellent.

Overall, the cookies are a good value for the money. But I definitely prefer the original and for these, I would consider a cup of coffee a must. Are they better to my tastebuds than a regular chocolate chip cookie? Yes, you get more variety and overall the cookies are lighter and have a nice selection of flavors in a reasonably priced package.

good eats from Aldi - pork roast and red cabbage with pears

Still having some of the pork roast left over, but no more of the cauliflower, I opted for a more traditional combination today for lunch. I reheated the pork roast and then added some red cabbage to which I had mixed in some pears.

All ingredients were at one point on sale at Aldi.

The red cabbage was in a jar and tasted good by itself, but adding a pear, finely chopped, to it gives it a sweeter flavor that goes well with the pork roast.The image below shows the skillet with the cabbage just after I added the pear.


copyright Durhamonthecheap - red cabbage with Anjou pears

The final product - pork roast with a simple black pepper coating and red cabbage. Even though the pear was soft, it held up well in the cooking process and its flavor definitely came through. If you have a soft pear, do not cop it too finely, so that you can still see the pear pieces in the finished dish. Very nice meal and quite healthy!


copyright Durhamonthecheap - pork roast with red cabbage - all ingredients from Aldi weekly specials!

bzzkit: Quaker Oatmeal Squares - healthy breakfast that also tastes good

Through bzzagent, I am now enrolled in a campaign to advertise a new product by Quaker - Quaker Oatmeal Squares. This new breakfast cereal has a slight honey taste and is very healthy since it is low in sugar, but you cannot tell by the taste.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - bzzkit contents including a full size box of the new Quaker Oat cereal
I love hot oatmeal in the morning and so I was excited to try out this product. I opened the large box this morning and tried out a couple of squares without milk to see how they tasted without the milk. They tasted sweet and had a firm texture that promised to hold up in milk without getting soggy. I could definitely taste the sweetness of the honey and the nutty flavor came through every so slightly. I should make it clear that this cereal does not have individual nuts included, simply squares with the flavor baked. So it works well with added fruit.

I will definitely consider buying Quaker Oatmeal Squares as a breakfast cereal. They are healthy, good tasting addition to a morning routine. Quaker gets a thumbs up from me on this one!


Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in exchange for an honest review and / or worth of mouth advertising. The opinions expressed in the blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by bzzagent.com or any other third party.

Product Review: Chocolate Twinkies by Hostess

So I eat Twinkies from time to time - my guilty pleasure, but heck, I am only human, so something unhealthy must enter my stomach from time to time. I was now selected by Viewpoints to sample something new by Hostess, Chocolate Twinkies! Googling for Chocolate Twinkies, I turned up search results that indicate that they had a prior attempt at this several years ago, but people were turned off by the white color of the filling - which chocolate lover expects regular chocolate to be white and so Hostess must have gone back to drawing board.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - one coupon of what looks like Chocolate Goodness - new Hostess Chocolate Twinkies!
I tried one of the chocolate twinkies and shared them also with a couple of co-workers since I by no means an experienced twinkie eater and I wanted all the expertise I could get on this product.

One of my co-workers came back saying that vanilla ones are definitely better. These twinkies did not have enough chocolate taste. My other co-worker came back and said he liked them and did not comment on the lack of chocolate flavor.
So when it was my turn I could definitely approach the issue unbiased.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the twinkies look like reqgular twinkies on the outside, except for maybe the chocolate filling coming through
I split one in half to see how much filling I had. It looked like a good amount of chocolate creme to me and so I expected a taste similar to a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I had to admit that I was somewhat disappointed. The chocolate flavor did not really come through. I tasted cake and something sweet, but I could not clearly identify the flavor as chocolate. I am not going to buy them again, certainly not when I am in the mood for chocolate. Maybe Hostess should think about a dark chocolate filling to better bring out the chocolate flavor and suit more the tastebuds of the chocolate lovers that will gravitate towards a chocolate twinkie rather than a vanilla twinkie.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - certainly enough filling to expect a chocolate flavor to come through

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in exchange for an honest review and / or worth of mouth advertising. The opinions expressed in the blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Viewpoints, Hostess or any other third party.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Raleigh Durham area only - Free Chick-Fil-A breakfast every Thursday in April

Every Chick-fil-a in the Triangle area of North Carolina will have free breakfast Thursday throughout April. You will have to go here and sign up for a specific location, date and time. There is a limit of one breakfast per person throughout the month.

You get a choice of any of the Chick-fil-a breakfast items, including the burritos, the bagels and the chicken sandwich.

So sign up and enjoy!


Aldi eats - try this recipe to get your kids to eat cauliflower

Aldi recently had a sale of both cauliflower and pork roast. So I decided to roast the pork and use spices sparingly since I wanted the vegetables to contribute the main flavor. Initially I had planned to use the red cabbage that Aldi had on sale some time ago, but then the cauliflower on sale gave me the idea to prepare cauliflower that way my family had prepared it, if the vegetable had to carry the flavor of the meal.

I cooked the cauliflower in water until it was cooked, but still crisp. I wanted to use the florets whole and not get them all mushy. Once the cauliflower was cooked, I browned a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small skillet and then added breadcrumbs. I did not use flavored breadcrumbs since I used butter and the natural breadcrumbs allow for the butter flavor to come through.

I had previously roasted by pork loin for about 45 minutes at 400oF (for 3lbs). My pork roast had been patted dry with paper towels and gotten a simple covering of freshly ground pepper.

Below is the image of the complete meal.
Since I used no spices with the exception of pepper on the roast, the buttered breadcrumbs are coming through nicely. So if you have kids that do not like cauliflower, try this recipe to see whether it appeals to them.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - pork roast with cauliflower and buttered breadcrumbs


I had also found a recipe online in which the roast itself was covered in browned breadcrumbs. I suppose you could use Italian-flavored breadcrumbs, but I prefer to traditional breadcrumbs since I like the butter flavor to come through.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

two freebies from Walgreens Photo

walgreens.com offers a Free 5"x7" Personalized Folded Card (Assorted Occasions) after applying Coupon code FOLDCARD. Store pick-up is free.

walgreens.com also offers 25x 4"x6" Prints for Free after applying Coupon code FREEDEAL. Store pick-up is free.


Keep in mind, you must:
- have an account with walgreens.com
- select in store pick-up, otherwise postage will apply
- follow the guidelines regarding size and number of prints

I just ordered both of mine and the deals are currently working. Good luck and have fun!



Target Spring samples and beauty bag - FB account required

Target has their annual giveaway of beauty products  and they always throw in a nice beauty bag as well. So go to Facebook, like the Target homepage and select target Spring Beauty Bag giveaway here.

This year, I see samples from Nivea, Pantene, Nexxus and Simple, the new skincare line that I have been blogging about!



Fine print:
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. The Target Spring Beauty Bag Giveaway is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years & older. Void elsewhere and where prohibited. Starts no earlier than 4/3/12 at 11:00 AM ET and ends after an attempt to award 457,000 prizes or on May 26, 2012, at 11:59:59 PM ET, whichever occurs first. Click here for complete Terms and Conditions, entry requirements, odds of winning, and prize descriptions. Sponsor: Target Corporation, 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Walgreens - Photo specials (meaning something for free!)

Walgreens.com offers a 8"x10" Collage Print for Free when you enter Coupon code 7DDCOLLG at checkout. Select free in-store pickup. Offer valid today only 4/1/2012.

Walgreens.com also has a 8"x10" Glossy Print for Free when you enter coupon code CS6483 at checkout. Select free in-store pickup.

You will need to create an account and upload the images to then either order the collage or the regular print. If you select in store pick and pay at store, within a couple of hours the order is processed and you can simply walk into the Walgreens store and pick up the photo for free!