Monday, March 31, 2014 samping: OxiClean laundry detergent!

Through I received a coupon for a free bottle of laundry detergent by OxiClean. I had previously used OxiClean to pre-treat, but never as a laundry detergent, but I had some clothes that needed washing and I could not wait to see how OxiClean would work out.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - attacks even tough dried-on stains - okay, we will see!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - no perfumes or dyes - love this in my laundry detergent!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - bright colors, sparkling whites and even though the stains were allowed to set.
So what is the verdict? I had some clothes sitting in the hamper for 1 week, plenty of time for the stains to set. But OxiClean worked well. The colors were bright and the whites were sparkling - I really was impressed by how well OxiClean worked. I will continue to use it and pay especially attention to how bright the whites are because I want my whites to sparkling white and not even a hint of gray in them. I have had issues with some bargain detergents in the past that left the clothes clean, but the whites not really white. OxiClean certainly does not have this problem. Maybe I am imagining this, but to me the colors were brighter too. Again, for a first try with OxiClean I am happy with the outcome and would even a brief - I am impressed - statement.

Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free product to sample the product and review it. The opinions expressed in this blogpost are solely my own and have not been influenced by or any third party.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Moms Meet sampling event: Fresh Express Salads

Thanks to Moms Meet I was able to sample something very healthy this spring. I got free coupons to indulge in Fresh Express Salad mixes. Available locally at most grocery, including Kroger and Harris Teeter, Fresh Express mixes come in a large variety of flavors and sizes. I opted for the mixed greens bags rather than buy salad kits, such as Cesar Lite. I usually add a trip to the salad bar for some protein- or fiber-rich add-ons, such as orzo salad, bean salad or corn salsa. Adding some extra cheese or ham to a layer of Fresh Express salad, topped with a spoon of the corn salsa or the orzo mix will make for a gourmet salad at very reasonable prices.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - a bed of Fresh Express greens topped with chickpeas, sweet peppers, and turkey!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - a bed of greens from Fresh Express, topped with Asian dressing, orzo, ham, beans & radishes

copyright Durhamonthecheap - all you need for a week of ever changing salads 0 Fresh Express and salad bar add-ons!
If you go to the Fresh Express website here you can convince yourself just how many varieties are available. Some varieties include my favorites such as veggie lovers, green and crisp, baby spinach, spinach and arugula. They also have salad kits that come with the greens, toppings and dressing - everything you need for a filling salad in one bag.

Since I am really picky with dressings and usually prefer just plain oil and vinegar, I usually buy the bags with just greens in them, stop by the salad bar for some fiber-rich and protein filled add-ons such as orzo salad, bean salad, or corn salsa. Sometimes I also buy items such as sweet peppers, fresh mushrooms or radishes to add color and crunch to the salad. Then I always have shredded cheese or ham at home, sometimes a hard-boiled egg and in a few minutes I have made a wonderful salad that did not break the bank, but tastes like a salad from a regular restaurant - which would have usually cost me about $10.

I made use of a sale at my local grocery store and stocked on some more salad. I love the Fresh Express Sweet and Crunchy variety because it has green and red butter lettuce. This is perfect for a light salad. I simply added some shredded cheese, sliced pastrami and a light dressing of oil and vinegar. I paired this salad with some small toasted slices of bread covered in pate. Perfect for a light dinner on a (finally) warm spring day!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - picked up a couple of more bags, in particular my favorite Sweet and Crunchy!

copyright Durhamonthecheap -another healthy dinner, sandwiches and Sweet & Crunchy with Pastrami!
What is your favorite blend of Fresh Express Salad mixes? Do you prefer the plain salad mixed or do you usually buy a salad kit with dressing and toppings already included?

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the salad was mixed with some Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (light version) - YUM!

Disclaimer: I received free samples from Moms Meet in exchange for hosting a sampling event and an honest review of the product. The opinions expressed in the blogpost are solely my own and have not been influenced by Moms Meet or any third party.

Product Review: FIT Tea - a natural detoxing regimen #FitTeaDetox + Giveaway!!

I was provided a free sample of FIT Tea, which is a natural detoxifying agent for a review. I have done some detox before, but usually they involved something less appetizing than a tea. So I was willing to give this product a try since I usually drink tea in the morning anyway instead of coffee. I like the process of boiling water and letting the tea leaves steep because it provides a calm start to what usually is a hectic day.

I was happy to see that the sample pack provided enough tea for a 14 day trial period and I also got a cute water bottle as well as  some vitamin pills to increase fat burning. If you want to experience a more significant detox effect, FIT Tea offers a pro pack here that increases the effect on your waistline and is a 28 day detox regimen.

The tea is nice loose leaf tea and tastes fruity and refreshing. It is hard to describe the taste of the tea, but I think I can taste the pomegranate and the ginger. Again, the flavor is fruity and refreshing, just the right combination to get your day off to a good and energetic start.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the FIT Tea sample pack, added bonus- some fat burning caplets to go with the tea!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - per instructions, I am adding one teaspoon of tea to boiling water

copyright Durhamonthecheap - here you can see what it in the tea, a mix of herbs, dried fruit and tea leaves

copyright Durhamonthecheap - all added to the glass with some natural sweetener thrown in for good measure

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the final product - light color, but good flavor, fruity and refreshing!
So what is in FIT Tea?
FIT Tea contains Organic Green Tea, Oolong Wu Yi, Organic Rooibos, Ginger, Pomegranate, Guarana, Birch, Stevia, Corn and Honey Powder. These ingredients are not only all organic, but this mixture will boost your immune system and give you more energy, it also helps as a natural detox with weight loss by suppressing your appetite. I should also mention, in case you did not guess it when you read pomegranate, the tea is rich in natural antioxidants, another healthy benefit of FIT Tea.

Ideally you should have a glass of FIT Tea in the morning to get your morning off to a good start with some tea that boosts your metabolism to the degree that the makers of FIT Tea promise "Give us a few weeks and we'll give you a new waistline". If you are eager to try out FIT Tea, you can buy it online here and read testimony by other users of FIT Tea here.

Natural teas like FitTea have been used all over the world for thousands of years for weight loss and increased energy which helps anyone with a fitness program. I am really happy that this is an all natural tea and so I do not have to worry about adding chemicals to my body. FIT Tea also offers a caffeine-free version, but I usually drink caffeinated tea, so I do not mind that FIT Tea has caffeine int. In case you are concerned about caffeine intake, I want to point that the caffeine free option exists and its ingredients are Holy basil (Tulsi) spearmint, rosehips, lemon myrtle and linden blossoms. More information about the decaf version is available here.

If you want to win a free 28 Day Detox Pack of FIT Tea - simply enter below.   Good Luck!!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample of Fit Tea as well as additional gifts in exchange for an honest review and sampling of the product. This is a sponsored post, with some financial reimbursement taking place. The opinions expressed in the blogpost as well as are my opinion and have not been influenced by FIT Tea or any third party.

Crowdtap sampling opportunity: Viva Vantage Brand towels!

Through Crowdtap I received a sampling opportunity for a new kind of Viva paper towel, Viva Vantage. The new towel is supposed to be more stretchy, stronger and therefore longer lasting when doing real housework, you know the one that requires often a clothes towel because paper towels tear too easily. I received four rolls of Viva Vantage and was eager to try them out because on a rainy weekend, cleaning sounds like the perfect way to get through the day.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - now only is Viva Vantage stretchy, you can also select a size!
 I noticed right away that the Viva Vantage towels had more texture than the usual towels and they were also select a size, which I like because as a frugal person I like to pick the size that fits the job and make my paper towels last longer. So being a clean freak, the bacon spatter from breakfast was really annoying me and I decided to put Viva Vantage to the test.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - very stretchy, compare the regular towel that tore easily - Viva Vantage wins!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - hate grease spatter on my stove top, let's see how Viva Vantage holds up!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - scrubbing away with a degreaser and some Viva Vantage - so far so good!
copyright Durhamonthecheap -after the clean up, Viva Vantage held up beautifully and the stove is clean!

 As you can see, I picked a really tough job for a paper towel. Normally I would have taken a clothes towel to clean the stove top, especially with that much grease spatter and some of it caked to the stove. But Viva worked well. I scrubbed away, never fearing that Viva Vantage would tear and after about 10 minutes I not only had a clean stove, but still a paper towel in one piece, rather than bunch of shreds.

Viva Vantage really works well - I am very impressed and will now take Viva Vantage to work next week, so we can try the Viva Vantage in the shared kitchen, where paper towels are constantly needed to clean up messes. Wait on episode 2!

As promised I took the Viva towels to work today and did the switch, replacing the usual brand paper towel with Viva Vantage to see if anyone would notice. I came early and made the switch - then waited.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - innocent enough, the usual brand towel at work - in dire need of a Viva Vantage Intervention
 I did not have to wait long. Our office manager noticed right away that the towel was different. In her words, it seemed stronger and had a totally different texture. I told her about how it stretched and she was happy to try it out by adding some fresh-washed fruit to it and it did NOT tear. A big plus in her book since she usually put rinsed fruit on a towel and had it several times, leaving grapes in the sink.  A win in the book for Viva Vantage already and it was not even 9AM yet.
copyright Durhamonthecheap -more stretch and much stronger, Viva Vantage on the holder after the switch!
The next test came at lunch. I noticed that plenty of Vantage towels had been used by then, obviously people liked the towel because the roll was a lot thinner in the few hours that it was up there. Our marketing person noticed that the towel felt different and seemed stronger and she noticed that it stretched too. I explained about Viva Vantage and she had seen ads for it, wanting to try out the towel. She was very happy to now be able to try out the towel already without having to go to the store. Another easy win for Viva Vantage! Overall, no complaints about the switch to Viva Vantage and several positive remarks about how durable the Viva Vantage towels are!

Disclaimer: I was provided free samples through Crowdtap in exchange for an honest review and trying out the product. The opinions expressed in this blogpost are solely my own and have not been influenced by Crowdtap or any other third party.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thomas BagelThins - the flavor of a bagel, the crunch of a bagel, but so much less guilt and fewer calories + GIVEAWAY

I was given an opportunity to review BagelThins and was excited to see that my local Harris Teeter is carrying several flavors, including my favorite bagel flavor - EVERYTHING! So I bought a package and then also added some coldcuts and salad-style toppings to my shopping list to make a healthy, but flavorful sandwich. I made use of the current sale on Turkey Pastrami at Harris Teeter. I love the Turkey Pastrami because it is healthy, but very flavorful due to the pepper crust. Asking for nice, thick slices made sure that my sandwich would be oozing with Pastrami-flavored goodness.
Below is my little photo-type essay on the makings of one yummy, but healthy BagelThins Sandwich!If you cannot think of your own flavorful recipe to BagelThins in, you can find inspiration here.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - one toasted Everything BagelThins with some healthy butter-alternative

copyright Durhamonthecheap - add one thick slice of Turkey Pastrami with pepper crust

copyright Durhamonthecheap - add some healthy toppings such as onions, peppers and olives
copyright Durhamonthecheap - after some shredded cheese of your choice and quick heating in the microwave

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the sandwich is done, gooey cheese with flavorful pastrami and veggies

copyright Durhamonthecheap - who does not love such a sandwich?
So what flavors and kinds of reduced calorie, Weight Watchers approved bread varieties are available? Look no more! Below you can see the products that are available from a variety of companies, all lower in calories and only counting for Weight Watchers®: 3 PointsPlus Value®

Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Products
All Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls are cholesterol-free foods, containing zero grams of Trans Fat and no high fructose corn syrup.

Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls
Weight Watchers®: 3 PointsPlus Value®
Flavors: 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain, Honey Wheat, Flax & Fiber

Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Pocket Thins® Flatbread
Weight Watchers : 3 PointsPlus Value®
Flavors: 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain
Thomas'® Bagel Thins® Bagels
All Bagel Thins® are 110 calories, cholesterol-free, low in fat and contain zero grams of Trans Fat
Flavors: Plain, 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin and Everything 

Now the best part - GIVEAWAY time!!! 
One lucky winner can get a GC for $25 and free product coupons. The entering is easy through the Rafflecopter below. Deadline is Midnight on 3-17-14 (St. Patrick's Day). and I have only one special question and then additional entries for liking social networking presences associated with this blog. 
The winner will have to provide me with their complete mailing address and prizes will be mailed directly to them. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I was provided the coupons for free product, information, and gift card by Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins® and Bagel Thins ®. Despite the sponsorship, the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Bargain shopping trip and a value meal from McDs

So weekends are bargain shopping trip times and this weekend was no different. Stopping by Kroger to pick up the latest Freebie Fridays and then treat myself to a dinner out - also known as select a couple of items from the Dollar Menu at McDs.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - bargain trip at Kroger - total amount spent less than $8
 So what did I get at Kroger? I had coupons for free bread and frozen vegetables, both Private Selection brand and I settled for frozeon soybeans and a nice Chiabatta bread that goes well with butter and jam. I also picked up the Friday Freebie Chobani yogurt. Then used up coupons for a free Skintimates product and Gevalia K-cups in Cappuccino flavor. I also found some clearance priced Fage Greek Yogurts and then finally remembered that I needed butter in the house. Not only did they have the big tub of margarine on sale, but someone was nice enough to leave a coupon for $1 reduction on the fancy margarine behind that I happily used to save some more on my trip.

So less than $8 spent and enough groceries to go for another week. Saturday morning was well spent.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Dollar meal at McD and the freebie cafe drink aka chocolate covered strawberry frappe!