• Categories

  • Archives

  • Subscribe for FREE!




    * = required field
The Frugal Diva on Facebook


Eating

Made in the USA – Food

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 23rd July 2014

Do you want pickles that have traveled halfway around the world? Why send a fish from across the ocean when we have two coasts and numerous lakes?  Do you need out of season fruit picked thousands of miles away? If there is one time you want to shop local it’s where nutrients are concerned.  Shelf life shouldn’t be into the next millennium for food.

What I like about Annie’s Organics is that there really is an Annie.  Annie lives on her certified organic farm in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters, where she grows a wide variety of vegetables and flowers for her local co-op and farmer’s market.  She remains the inspiration and corporate conscience for the Annie’s family of products. Her products are a twofer – organic and grown in the USA.

Lundberg Family Farms has been producing rice in California since 1937. They have branched out into other rice products such as chips, rice cakes, and rice flour however most of their products are still organic and sustainably farmed plus they participate in the Non-GMO Project.

For the best local fruits and vegetables try the farmer’s markets. My only problem was figuring out where and when.  This site solved all my problems. LocalHarvest.org has all the markets nationwide so you can keep up with any changes, find out what’s fresh that day, and plan your weekly produce shopping.

Let me know your favorite local provisions and they will be added to this ever growing list.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Six Healthy and Inexpensive Foods

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 31st March 2014

Our guest post is written by  + Stu Lieberman the writer for Nutri-Health.com, an online High Quality Probiotics and Health Store.  Assisting people and helping them find quality natural supplements and health products online is what Stu hashttp://www.nutri-health.com been doing for over 2 years.  Nutri-Health.com carries Digestive Supplements to Probiotics to Joint Health.

According to research from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets. That ends up being nearly $550 per year, per person. A family of four would be looking at an additional $2,200 annually. That can be a pain in the pocketbook!

Luckily, there are healthy options at that won’t leave a dent in your wallet.

Beans: Beans are available in both canned and dry varieties. Buying dry beans in bulk is the most economical option. Beans are a great source of protein and dietary fiber. They’re also rich in folate and magnesium. Use beans to make a hearty chili, serve them as a side, or add them to soups. Cost: About 25 cents per serving (1 cup cooked).

Brown Rice: To produce brown rice, only the outermost layer—the hull—is removed, leaving most of the nutritional value of the whole grain rice intact. Brown rice is a good source of manganese, selenium, magnesium, and protein, among others. You can add brown rice to soups, serve it as a side dish, or incorporate it into a stir fry. Cost: About 20 cents per serving (1/2 cup cooked).

Canned Tuna: Tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that support your heart and brain. Available in both chunk light and albacore (white), it’s the chunk light version that has been shown to contain less mercury—and is less expensive! To keep your tuna healthy, be sure to skip the mayonnaise. Add tuna to salads, or make your own sandwich on whole grain bread. Cost: 75 cents-1 dollar per serving (5 oz.).

Eggs: Eggs had a bad rap for a while, but recent research has found that consuming eggs will not raise your cholesterol or increase your risk of heart disease. Eggs are low in calories, a good source of protein, and provide a good dose of choline, selenium and iodine. Cost: A dozen eggs can range from $1-$3 depending on where you live. Even if you use the high end of the price scale, the cost for a 2-egg serving ends up being just 50 cents.

Oats: Oats are a filling, and a high in fiber to help support digestion. Once only available in a canister, you can now get oatmeal in pre-packaged, flavored packets. However, those packets are not only costly, they’re also loaded with sugar. Keep your oats healthy and inexpensive by sticking with the canister. Cost: About 50 cents per serving (1 cup cooked)

Bananas: This sweet yellow food is one of the few fruits available year-round. Bananas are a great source of potassium, providing 400mg per serving. Eat them on their own or add them to cereal. For a delicious dessert, stick them in the freezer for a few hours. The peel will turn brown, but the inside tastes like banana ice cream. Cost: About 40 cents per serving (1 banana).

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Pop Your Cork

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th January 2014

The Frugal Diva cannot tell Two Buck Chuck from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild so it was up to my friends to inform me of this policy at many restaurants – free corkage. You bring the wine and they provide the glasses, you sip and they serve, you pay nothing and they stand by at your service. In an effort to brave the new realities of consumer spending, many restaurants allow patrons to bring in their own wine at no fee.

This is a great perk for those who have an extensive collection of wine or for those who just want to stop by a market and pick up a decent bottle for $8 to $12. Twelve dollars is just about what a  glass of wine goes for in many places and you will be getting four full glasses for the same price. When choosing restaurants for a night out this usually leads to a minimum savings of  about $50.

Opentable.com allows you to check out which restaurants are letting you bring wine at no charge.  Some like the Daily Grill only allow it on Tuesdays, others such as Roy’s have a changing policy, and Magnolia in Hollywood allows it anytime. On the Open Table left hand side they have free corkage and BYOB listing for restaurants in every city.  Policies change quickly so always call to verify before making a reservation.

Stop by Fresh & Easy on your way to dinner and find award winning bottles at great prices.   I pick wines, the same way I pick race horses-by their names.  So I was drawn to Pacific Coast Highway’s Chardonnay and took it when joining friends for dinner.  Everyone applauded my choice of this lovely white wine and no one guessed it came in under $10.  Unlike my choices at the track, this wine was a winner for price, quality, and remembering long wonderful rides up the coast when I first moved to LA.

Another plus about Fresh & Easy, you don’t have to negotiate through an huge store when in a hurry or high heels.

Disclaimer: Fresh and Easy sends The Frugal Diva occasional samples and gift cards plus her stepson works there as a buyer.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Category Test, Eating | Comments Off

Birthday Freebies

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 9th December 2013

A Guest Post by Shannon Byrne in Free Offers

Ever wonder why every major restaurant chain has invented its own birthday song when “Happy Birthday to You” is literally the most recognizable song in the world? It’s not just because it’s hard for servers and patrons to clap along to – it’s because the proprietors want to avoid copyright infringement. That’s right: the 150 year old tune is still under copyright until at least 2030. (That’s also why you’ll seldom hear it in movies or TV shows, either.)

Even though you have to wait ‘til you get home to listen to the real birthday song, one birthday tradition only seems to be gaining strength … and it’s one we can totally get on board with – free birthday food! While you may be used to a free birthday dessert and serenade, the advent of Internet mailing lists (and companies’ desperation to get you to join theirs) have increased the popularity of free birthday treats tenfold, and we’re letting you in on all the best birthday freebie secrets.

Tips for Redeeming Birthday Freebies

Sign up now for the email lists, even if your birthday is months away. Some require membership on their email list for at least a month before they’ll relinquish the coupon. Depending on the list, you may get coupons for free stuff more often than just your birthday, too.

And don’t think that the only night you can redeem your freebie is on your actual birthday. Check the coupon – many are valid for a whole week or even the month.

One more tip: Don’t try to beat the system and just print a copy of someone else’s coupon. Most restaurant systems are savvy enough to catch a duplicate coupon.

Check out their list of birthday freebies at this link. If you can’t find info for a merchant you love, let them know in the comments and they will try to find one for you.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Think Inside The Box

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 5th November 2013

Thanksgiving and holidays are a wonderful time for cooking however The Frugal Diva works and wants to enjoy the day just as much as anyone. Why worry about a dry turkey?  Starting today, you can make the holidays a breeze by ordering one of the F & E yummy holiday boxes. Each box serves 8 people for between $50 -$65 including a main course, three or four sides, and a pumpkin pie.  Also, holiday products are beginning to make their way back into stores, so look out for your favorites! Chocolates anyone?

If you are in the mood to cook, Jennie-O frozen turkeys are just .59¢ per lb.

With weather changes and the holiday season getting closer, Fresh & Easy has some great deals this week to help you stock up.

·         fresh&easy boneless beef New York steak twin pack, $4.99 per lb.

·         fresh&easy bacon, 2 for $7 when you buy multiples of 2

·         fresh&easy shredded cheese, 2 for $5 when you buy multiples of 2

·         fresh&easy orange juice, $2.99

·         fresh&easy butter, 2 for $5 when you buy multiples of 2

·         Tostitos or Ruffles, 2 for $6

·         fresh&easy sparkling cider, 2 for $4

·         Montcadi Cava, 2 for $12

Wine is at its best price in the fall, so holiday party planners, start buying now!

Disclaimer: Fresh and Easy has sent The Frugal Diva samples, coupons, and gift cards plus her stepson works there as a buyer.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

To caffinate or not to caffinate?

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 4th November 2013

That is the question. For the Frugal Diva the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. Now what happens when it’s a chilly afternoon and you want have a cozy cup of something however it has wandered into the no caffeine portion of the day. Meaning that I will be up way past my bed time if I indulge.

In steps Teeccino Herbal Coffees with some very tempting flavors for that afternoon break. While many think of these drinks as a coffee replacement, I prefer to think of them as a separate category. A lovely mellow warm drink with no harshness or acidity and it’s own nutty taste. You can drink it straight or with some milk, and a bit of sweetener and not have to worry about why you are still counting sheep at midnight.

My favorite way to enjoy these drinks is using a french press. I have a large one so that you can make either a small one portion or treat friends and coworkers.  Teeccino is also great for traveling since you can get them in tea bag portions.  Practically every hotel room has a small coffee maker for boiling water, just pop in the bag and use those extra dollars toward your dinner budget instead of an increasingly expensive coffee drink. With flavors ranging from hazelnut to dandelion caramel to (let’s not forget) chocolate, Teeccino truly believes in variety being the spice of life.

Disclaimer: Teeccino sent The Frugal Diva some samples for review.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Staying Above Water, Staying Hydrated And Why Is It So Crucial

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 31st July 2013

Today’s guest post hits the spot with information about staying hydrated.

Your body relies on water for functioning; water is the key element to our survival. Water makes up more than half of your body weight.  Each and every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on the powerful properties of water to function properly, your body uses water to maintain its Homeostasis, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is a core ingredient for optimum health.

When going about our daily routines, our bodies rids itself of water each and every day.  When use the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe, when you exercise or in the heat of the summer months you tend to lose water at an even faster rate. Vomiting, fever and diarrhea can also lead to significant fluid loss. If you don’t replenish the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration consist of:

  • Diminished or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • No tears when crying

Please do not wait until you recognize symptoms of dehydration to get help. Dehydration warning signs are difficult to recognize when you are already dehydrated, and pay close attention to those of the older age groups. Be proactive in the prevention of dehydration, by drinking plenty of water.

There are multiple recommendations regarding daily water consumption. Most generally people have been advised that they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is an attainable goal for most individuals. However, various individuals need different amounts of water to maintain hydrated. Generally healthy people can stay adequately hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, less than 8 glasses of water may be enough. Other people may need significantly more than 8 glasses of water each day.

Those individuals that are at a higher risk of dehydration include those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are ill, or are unable able to get an adequate amount of fluids during the span of the day. Older adults are also at greater risk, because you age your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and relay the signals for thirst.

If you are worried that you may not be drinking enough water, observe your urine output. If your output is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are probably are staying well hydrated.

There are times you may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking, especially if you:

  • Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones  or bladder infection
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are going to be outside during elevated temperatures
  • Are going to be active or exercising
  • Have a fever, or have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea
  • Are on a weight lost diet.

Water is the best choice for staying hydrated. There are a variety of  drinks and foods that can assist in providing you with an adequate amount of water, so that you can get the amount of water that you need, but some of these other options tend to add  many extra not needed, unhealthy calories from sugar to your diet.

If you feel that water can not be your only option, due to its tasteless flavor, drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you should get each day. Even caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, count toward your daily water intake to a certain limit.  It is best to limit caffeinated drinks, as caffeine is a diuretic and tends to cause some people to urinate more frequently, or feel anxious or jittery. A moderate amount of caffeine, 200 to 300 milligrams (about the amount in 2 to 4 8-ounce cups of coffee), is not harmful for a majority of people. Another option for those looking to incorporate more hydrating foods into their diets, should know that water can also be found in fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, and in soup broths.

Generally water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration on the most part. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for an extended period of time, a sports drink may be of help because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. Sports drinks can also help replace lost electrolytes if you spike a fever, have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea.

When choosing a sports drink, choose wisely, as they are often high in calories and may contain high levels of sugar and sodium.

Recap on How to Stay Hydrated

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Invest in  a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap rather than buying bottled water, which is expensive and  causes plastic bottle waste.
  • If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • If you’re going to be exercising, make it a priority to make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
  • Start and end your day with a glass of water.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
  • Schedule your water drinking, if you have a hard time remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water every hour or so.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s economical too!

Here is a great recipe I found for making an all-natural orange flavored homemade sports drink.

·         1 quart of water (we use distilled water)

·         2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (optional)

·         1/2 teaspoon of Sea salt

·         1 pint orange juice

·         Juice from 1 lemon

Directions

Heat 1/2 cup of the water to boiling, remove from heat, add honey and sea salt, stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water to a pitcher, add the honey water, orange and lemon juice, stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to drink.

+ Stu Lieberman has been writing about Medical, Health and Beauty Supplies for 3 years; from Vitamins and Supplements to Therapy Equipment to Online Medical Supplies.  Stu uses MedicalSupply123.com for all his personal medical needs.

Tags: ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Buca Di Beppo

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 10th July 2013

Buca di Beppo is of my favorite places for getting together when you have a crowd and want to dine without breaking the bank.  Birthdays, wedding showers, and office parties are more fun when the dinner is family style.

The menu contains Italian favorites such as Caesar salad, chicken Marsala, and spaghetti marinara.  Everything comes in small or large size. For example the apple Gorgonzola salad in the small size which feeds three is $13.99, the large feeds six for $19.99.  Pizzas are in the same price range.  Pastas and entrees average from $15 to $18 for the small and $22 to $32 for the large.  And it’s always better to under order here since the portions are big(and by big, I mean huge).

Let’s do the math. A family of four orders a small Caesar salad for $11.99, a small penne arrabiata for $18.99, and a small salmon Sorrento for $23.99. Before tax and tip, it will come out to about $15 per person and probably enough left over for lunch the next day. If you sign up for emails they will send coupons that usually give you a $10 discount on a specified amount or a free dessert. Yes, even desserts are huge so order with caution.

The quality of the food is very good for the price point.  Flavorful sauces, pasta al dente, tender chicken, and innovative new dishes make this a true deal for The Frugal Diva.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Eating | Comments Off

Spice It Up

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 17th June 2013

In a frenzy of spring cleaning, the Frugal Diva attacked her spice rack to see how long some of these little bottles had been living in the pantry. As it turns out, the rosemary had been hanging out there since the nineties.  I made a list, checked it twice, and promptly went into sticker shock at the market.  It was cheaper to follow the spice trail to India then to restock.

Since I love to cook there needed to be a solution that cost less and still provided me with high quality spices. Hailing from the Midwest, Penzey’s was an alternative however their prices were still pretty high. Luckily I ventured into the store near me and found a loophole in the spice price. Buying spices in bottles, still high. Buying spices in bags and transferring them to your own little bottles, quite a bit lower. Let’s do the math. A bottle containing .8 ounces of cracked rosemary leaves goes for $3.55. A resealable bag containing one full ounce goes for $1.89.  What are you going to do with an abundance of any spice or herb? The other great tip is that you can store the sealed bag in the freezer for at least six months.

If Penzeys is not around the corner, then order from the website. Now they do charge for shipping however if you split orders with friends, you can save even further. Have a party of spice or herb inspired recipes with friends and turn each shipment into an event.

Find ethnic markets in your area and check out what they have to offer in the spice, herb, and oil departments.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Category Test, Eating | Comments Off

The 99 Cent Chef

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 30th April 2013

The 99 Cent Chef features a world of cooking ideas with low prices as the main course. Just to make matters clear, the 99 Cent Chef is not affliated nor does he use only products and produce from the 99 Cent Stores.  While the 99 Cent Store has many of his selections,  Billy Vasquez heads all over to buy items that bring the basic cost of cooking way under average.  An accomplished photographer, the stills show off many recipes and give you guidelines for steps along the way and what the finished product should look like.

This month is destination Cuba. Starting with a simple and yummy salad, he will continue with Cuban Baked Beans, a Cuban Sandwich and Roasted Pork.  Or if you are in a more Brazilian mood, try the Moqueca Fish Stew. Amazing how he grabs a few cans, some veggies, and frozen fish transforming them into an exotic stew to serve over rice.

Learn how to cure your own salmon for a Jewish Taco that he dubbed the Loxaco.  This brings the cost down and as a bonus all the ingredients are kosher. Try it, you’ll like it!

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Category Test, Eating | Comments Off