Sunday, July 25, 2010

ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Hello everyone and welcome to this Sunday edition of The Frugal Mom! How are you doing today? I am in a rather funny frantic frazzle really... It's really quite humorous LOL. Time is ticking away for so many things and I know that life is going to get very hectic very fast! So I am left scrambling (my brain like eggs LOL) to try to bring life's little oops' together into one happy little bundle. So I cherish the serene time with you, my readers, as my "escape" from the frazzling frensy! So let's grab a cup of joe and enjoy our visit shall we?

Now I figure for frugal tips, I could bring you this article I saw on summer savings for trips, eating out, etc. Whether not I agree with some of them... that's another issue. However, they do offer some good tips overall and maybe some of them apply to you. So have a looksee...

Summer Savings: 21 Ways to Save Money on Restaurants, Day Trips and More
by Farnoosh Torabi

Summer's well upon us, and after last year's "staycation" trend there's some pent-up demand to go out, get away and have fun. At the same time, we still want to save money. From dining out to buying airline and concert tickets, here are some great saving strategies, ... and in some cases free deals!

Restaurants

Americans spent more than $200 billion eating out last summer, according to the U.S. Census. Some tips for lowering your dining bill include:

• Buy discounted gift certificates at restaurant.com for restaurants in your town or your destination.

• Search for free restaurant coupons at valpak.com. The site has tons of buy-one, get-one offers.

• At Happy-Hour.com find drink and meal specials at local restaurants.

Day Trips

• Look for Target free arts and culture events. The retailer offers free or discounted entry to museums, concerts and galleries across the country. This year there are more than 2,000 free events.

• Free summer movie days at Regal Theatres. The chain runs a "Free Family Film Festival," with a nine-week schedule of free movies with select days and times.

• If you're a member of a discount club like Costco or any other industry organization, like AAA, members may get discounts when they buy movie tickets in bulk. At Costco, you can buy two movie tickets for $15 and use them at participating theaters.

• The U.S. National Park Service is offering free admission on August 14-15 at more than 100 parks that normally charge a fee.

Travel

The average family of four will spend $4,000 on a vacation this summer, according to American Express. Eighty percent of those surveyed said they plan to lower their travel costs. Here's some help.

• Swap homes. Join a home exchange club like homexchange.com. There's also a housing swap section on Craigslist. Make sure to do proper background checks!

• Book plane tickets on either Tuesday or Wednesday when prices are cheapest, according to travel experts.

• Reserve hotel rooms on Sundays, when the weekend rush is over and hotel managers have time to talk on the phone and discuss available discounts.

• Take your family on a "volunteer vacation." Lodging costs are sometimes paid for (or at least offered at a big group discount rate). Earthwatch Institute and Wilderness Volunteers are two popular volunteer vacation groups.

• Travel with another family or a group of friends to try to get group rates. A group search on Priceline can help you find deals based on the type of group you are - bachelorette partiers, family reunion, school group, etc.

• According to a 2010 survey by travel site Hotwire.com, Atlanta, Orlando and Phoenix are the 3 cities that offer visitors the most bang for their buck this year. The calculation includes cost of getting there, accommodations and affordable entertainment.

• Jetsetter.com offers steep discounts on hotels, resorts and bed-and-breakfasts. I recently saved 70% on a reservation at a bed-and-breakfast in Maine.

Beach

• Hit up your local dollar store to get all your beach games and toys for much less. I found a pair of water goggles for a $1 last month at the local dollar store; when I got to the beach, a shop was offering the same goggles for $8.

• Similarly: Stock up on food, drinks, beach towels and chairs before you get to the beach. Otherwise, you're likely to pay a premium for things you can easily get for much, much less back home.

• Shop for bathing suits online on Sundays. The average discount on swim wear is greatest on Sundays, according to ShopitToMe.com.

Gas

Americans spent more than $1 billion a day on gas last summer from June to August, according to the U.S. Census.

• Fill up during the week. AAA suggests buying gas at independent stations and midweek, when it's cheaper.

• Ask your hotel if it's offering gas rebates or prepaid gasoline cards.

• Find the best gas prices online. GasBuddy will pull up a list of stations, ranked by price.

• Visit AAA at fuelcostcalculator.com to see how much gas you'll use up for a trip, and budget ahead of time.

OK folks I want to talk crafts. Are you getting excited? We sit here on the cusp of the Christmas Challenge and I thought about my mom's homemade stuffed ornaments she used to make for our tree when we were little. She would make ornaments of all kinds: Christmas trees, candy canes, wreaths, you name it. Then I thought how if you enlarged those patterns they make beautiful and/or whimsical decorative items for the holidays and good stuffed toys for the little peeps! You could make smaller plushies to hang on the presents you give (like decorate the package with) that people can use as ornaments. Or you could go all out and make bigger versions to use as toys and home decor for the holidays! Either way I think this is a great idea and I wanted to bring you one for consideration.



Craft Idea of the Day: Plushie Candy Canes

Materials:

Striped (preferably diagonal) red and white fabric about 2 ft x 1 ft
White thread
Polyester stuffing
Sewing machine
Two googly eyes
Small piece of red yarn
Craft glue
Scissors

Directions:

Fold the fabric in half so you have two layers of fabric with the wrong side facing you.

Sketch out your candy cane design around 10 inch in length and around 2 inch wide.

Cut out your cane allowing a little extra for sewing.

Sew your two pieces together leaving a gap at one end. Turn your cane the right way out.

Using the toy filling stuff your cane as firm or as soft as you would like it.

Finish up by sewing the end of the cane closed and gluing on your candy cane face.



Now... the Bible states that on the 7th day, God rested... and so shall the king. On this final day of PERFECTLY PRESLEY week, I want to talk about the King's (less than) graceful exit. Now many "enthusiasts" say the King is still alive. I don't believe that. The last 7 years of his life was plagued with hardships and worrysome lifestyles. By the end, he suffered from multiple ailments—glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, each aggravated, and possibly caused, by the heavy drug abuse. Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis on the evening of August 16, 1977, to begin another tour. That afternoon, Alden discovered him unresponsive on his bathroom floor. Attempts to revive him failed, and death was officially pronounced at 3:30 pm at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

President Jimmy Carter issued a statement that credited Presley with having "permanently changed the face of American popular culture". Thousands of people gathered outside Graceland to view the open casket. One of Presley's cousins, Billy Mann, accepted $18,000 to secretly photograph the corpse; the picture appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer's biggest-selling issue ever. Alden struck a $105,000 deal with the Enquirer for her story, but settled for less when she broke her exclusivity agreement. Presley left her nothing in his will.



Presley's funeral was held at Graceland, on Thursday, August 18. Outside the gates, a car plowed into a group of fans, killing two women and critically injuring a third. I'm sorry, I don't care who you are, your life is NOT worth MY death! (With the exception of my family of course...) Approximately 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother. Within a few days, "Way Down" topped the country and UK pop charts. An attempt was made to steal the singer's body in late August. After zoning issues were addressed, the remains of both Elvis Presley and his mother were reburied in Graceland's Meditation Garden on October 2. This just proves that even the famous are not perfect and we should regard them for who they truly are... deep down just ordinary people like you and I. I have great respect and admiration for Elvis and his work... He truly was a phenom in his own regards. R.I.P. Elvis... you are loved my dear!

So now tell me... we must have "the final supper" fit for a king right? Well I have brought you his favorites throughout the week. Now it is time for the week end's feast and I am gonna use the foods AGAIN but in a new light... are you ready for this interesting twist of culinary amazement? Just you watch this one! I'm COMBINING his favorites for some palate pulsing flavors bursting with the WOW factor! Eat & Enjoy!

Combining the mashed potatoes, bacon, and sauerkraut favorites gives us:



Perogies

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup cold water
1 pound bacon
5 pounds baking potatoes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound bacon
1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut - drained, rinsed and minced
3 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To Make Dough: In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, egg and water. Mix all together to form dough; cover bowl and set aside.

To Make Potato Filling: Place potatoes in a large pot. Add water to cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes from water and mash. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and stir into mashed potatoes. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

To Make Sauerkraut Filling: Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and place in a medium bowl. Stir in sauerkraut, then sour cream. Mix well.

Roll reserved dough out on a floured surface. Cut circles out of dough, using a small round container. Place a spoonful of potato or sauerkraut filling in the center of each circle and fold over, pinching edges together to seal. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; drop perogies in boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they float. Remove and drain for a moment and then deep fry them until golden brown and crispy.

Combining the Pork chop and peanut butter (from the sandwiches) gives us:



Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

On a plate, combine the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to distribute the spices. Coat the pork chops with the flour mixture, and shake off any excess.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pork chops in the hot skillet, and fry for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

While the pork chops cook, stir together the chicken broth, coconut milk, peanut butter, honey, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Remove the pork chops to a serving platter, and keep warm.

Pour the peanut sauce into the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Pour peanut sauce over the chops, and garnish with green onion, bell pepper, peanuts and cilantro.

And finally, let's combine the boneless chicken, the cornbread, and the blackberries from the pie... LOL and somehow bacon finds it way to a second appearance LOL, to give us:



Savory Stuffed Chicken Breast with Blackberry Glaze

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pieces cornbread, crumbled
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup blackberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Using a paring knife, cut a pocket into the side of each breast. Place into skillet and sear until lightly browned on both sides, but not cooked through. Set aside.

Combine cornbread, bacon, celery, onion, butter, and 1/4 cup chicken stock; mix until well combined. Stuff each breast with cornbread mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, bring 1/3 cup chicken stock to a simmer. Whisk in jam, and simmer over medium-low heat until most of the chicken stock has evaporated.

Pour glaze over chicken breasts, and cook for an additional 10 minutes and the center of the stuffed breast reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Okie dokie peeps... that's it for today. I have had an awesome adventure bringing you the life and times of one of my most favorite topics, Elvis Presley, this week and hope you have had as much fun as I have! I dunno what theme could possibly top this one with more fun and flare?! It will be a doozy for sure LOL! Either way I am having great fun bringing you themes with pizazz! So until next time my little Elvisites... "Elvis has left the building!"... "Thank you... Thank you very much"... HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"July 25, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Wow!! Those food combinations are FANTASTIC! Dont know how you pulled off that one. I would bow to your ingenious but I am still recouping from my second back procedure. So instead I will congradulate you on a week well done. BRAVO! And Long live the King! LOL Elvis definetly had some different favorite foods. But my motto is "try something new every time you get a chance". It makes life more interesting. I, too, would like to go to see Graceland, just to feel Elvis' spirit in things he loved. Oh well, maybe one day.
    The tips on traveling and vacations were very intriquing. I never heard of some of those sites but I plan on looking into bookmarking them. Seems to me those trip tips would be helpful, even if you are just traveling short distances or some place you go on a regular basis. It might make a usually boring trip more interesting if you could save money on gas and lodging to have to spend on site seeing and local events and dining prospects. Thanks for the article.
    Well, Elvis week has been fun, brought up some good memories, and made me want to" GO BOSA NOVA BABY". Til next time.......

    ReplyDelete