How to Coupon

Recipes With Zucchini

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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zucchiniThe best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s when you can find it at the lowest price of the year. Wait too long, and it will go out of season again (and the price will go up). Zucchini is one of the many lovely vegetables that goes in season during the month of May. Here are some recipes that feature zucchini.

Zucchini Bread
Food Network has a zucchini bread recipe that was created by Paula Dean. This recipe will yield two loves of zucchini bread. You will need:

All-purpose flour, salt, ground nutmeg, baking soda, ground cinnamon, sugar, vegetable oil, four beaten eggs, water lemon juice, chopped nuts, and 2 cups of grated zucchini.

Those of you who know how to bake bread will find this recipe incredibly easy. Further details are on the Food Network website. You can make the zucchini bread in 2 standard loaf pans or in 5 mini loaf pans.

Zucchini Oven Chips
Cooking Light has a recipe for zucchini oven chips (that appears on the My Recipes website). This one is incredibly easy to make and will produce 4 servings. You will need:

Breadcrumbs, grated fresh Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, some fat-free milk, and 2 and a half cups of zucchini slices. They recommend you cut the zucchini into ¼ inch slices. You will also need some cooking spray.

You will end up with breaded, oven-fried, zucchini chips that taste as though they had been fried. They are a healthier substitute for french fries or potato chips. They make a good treat, snack, or perhaps even a side dish.

Stuffed Zucchini
AllRecipes has a recipe that features zucchini. This one is definitely a main course. The recipe makes four servings. You will need:

3 zucchini, pork sausage, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, a jar of spaghetti sauce, some grated Parmesan cheese and some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Brown the sausage. In a bowl, mix the seeds with the sausage, garlic, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Stuff the zucchini with that mixture. Put it into the oven and pour some spaghetti sauce over it. This recipe is a nice alternative to pasta.

Other ideas
Slices of cooked zucchini make a nice addition to your “regular” pasta recipe. People who enjoy drinking their vegetables in the form of juicing can add some fresh zucchini to a mixture of carrots and apples.

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Free Kids Events in May

Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsEvery month, there are plenty of kids events that give children the chance to make an art project, put together a wooden craft, build something, or sit and listen to a story. Even better, many of them are offered for free. Would your kids like to attend some of the free kids events?

LEGO Stores
LEGO stores offer a free mini-build event every month. It is for kids who are between the ages of 6 and 14. The event begins at 5:00 in the evening and is offered “while supplies last”.

May 5, 2015: Koala – Kids will build a mini model that looks like a Koala.

Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids has different kinds of free kids events every month. Check with your local store to make sure it is one that will be holding the event.

May 4, 2015: Tissue Paper Flower craft – Kids will make a tissue paper flower craft to give to their mothers in celebration of Mother’s Day.

May 5, 2015: Mother’s Day Story Time – Kids will listen to a story that includes a mom. Children that become a book club member will receive a special gift after attending five story times.

Home Depot
Home Depot offers free workshops for kids who are between the ages of 5 and 12. All kids get to keep the wooden craft they build. They also receive a free certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin. Parents must register their children in order to have them attend the event.

May 2, 2015: Picket Fence Photo Frame – Kids will learn how to build a photo frame that has a cute picket fence around the base.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow
offers free kids clinics for children. Kids will get to keep the wooden project they make. They will receive a free apron, goggles, and a patch. Parents must register their children in order to have them attend the event.

May 9, 2015: Mother’s Day Planter – Kids will put together a kit that makes a planter. The side says “Happy Mother’s Day!”. There is a photo frame in the center of the planter.

Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning offers free kids craft events on Saturdays. The events are for children ages 3 and up.

May 2, 2015: Thank-A-Teacher Tote Bag – Kids will decorate a canvas tote to give to their teacher.

May 9, 2015: Garden Blooms Photo Frame – Kids will put together and decorate a photo frame that resembles a flower in a pot.

May 16, 2015: Fly Away! Hot Air Balloon! – Kids will create and decorate a paper hot air balloon that has a “basket” made from a plastic foam bowl. It is designed to be hung from the ceiling.

May 23, 2015: Memorial Day Flag – Kids will put together a flag made from painted craft sticks.

May 30, 2015: Hello, Sunshine! Mobile – Kids will create and decorate a happy sun out of paper plates. It is designed to be hung up.

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Cleaning With Baking Soda

Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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Baking Soda and ToothbrushMany people have concerns about the content of the cleaning products that they currently use. Is it safe to use around babies? What about around pets? One option is to substitute baking soda for some of those products. There are many things that can be cleaned with baking soda.

Clean the Fridge
Good Housekeeping has a simple solution for getting rid of a bad smell that is in your refrigerator. Obviously, you should take the time to go through the contents of the fridge and throw out anything that has gone bad first. Wipe off the shelves and drawers.

Sometimes, doing all that is not quite enough. The bad smell lingers. The way to get rid of it is to open a box of baking soda and put it in your fridge. It will absorb strong food odors and make the fridge smell better.

Clean the Bathroom
Reader’s Digest tells you how to make a nontoxic bathroom cleaner. It includes baking soda, liquid soap, water, and vinegar. Check their blog for the correct amounts of each. They suggest that you put the finished mixture into a spray bottle.

This nontoxic bathroom cleaner can be used on any bathroom surface. Reader’s Digest says it cuts through soap scum and mildew just as well as any commercial bathroom product. Even better, the baking soda based mixture is super inexpensive!

Clean the Dishwasher
All You has an easy way to clean your dishwasher. It will get rid of the “gunk” that can build up and make the dishwasher smell fresher. Start with an empty dishwasher. Don’t add soap. Add baking soda instead. Run the dishwasher while it is empty.

Clean the Microwave
Care2 has a good suggestion on how to clean your microwave. Start with a clean sponge. Get it damp. Add some baking soda onto the sponge. Use the sponge to clean the microwave. Care2 says that you should rinse the microwave well with water after you are done cleaning.

Cleaning Pet Items
You can make your pet’s bed smell better with baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda on it and let it sit. (Make sure your pet cannot access the bed while the baking soda is on it). Vacuum up the baking soda. The smell is gone!

Baking soda can also be used to freshen your cat’s litter box. Start with an empty litter box. Sprinkle some baking soda into it. Add the litter on top. The baking soda will help cut down on the odor.

You can also use baking soda to keep ants and other insects away from your pet’s food bowls. Surround the bowls with baking soda. It will prevent the ants from getting anywhere near the food.

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Things You Can Clean With Vinegar

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 at 1:52 pm
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Spray BottleHave you ever gotten ready to clean your home only to discover that you have run out of the cleaning products that you need? One option is to use vinegar instead. There are plenty of things that vinegar can safely and effectively clean.

Pet Stains
Cesar Milan says you can use vinegar to clean up pet stains on carpets. For light pet stains, he suggest a mixture of 2 tbsp of salt and ½ cup of white vinegar.

For heavier pet stains, use 2 tbsp salt, ½ cup of white vinegar. For tough stains that have been ground into the carpet, use 1 tbsp of white vinegar and 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Soak a washcloth into each mixture and use it to rub out the stain. Let the solution dry, and then vacuum it.

Coffee and Tea Stains
Are your mugs looking a bit dingy? Coffee and tea can stain the bottom of the mug. Your dishwasher might not be able to remove that dark ring of stain. It can also be difficult to scrub it out by hand. All You says you can brighten coffee cups and teacups by gently scrubbing stains with equal parts vinegar and salt. (Or, you can substitute baking soda for the salt).

Shower head Residue
One would think that the showerhead wouldn’t be able to get dirty. In reality, it can. Residue from hard water can build up on it and be very difficult to remove. There is an easy way to get rid of it that doesn’t involve a lot of scrubbing.

Better Homes and Gardens suggests you pour some vinegar into a plastic bag and secure it to your shower head with a twist-tie. Put enough vinegar into the bag so that the bottom part of your shower head is completely submerged Leave it there overnight. Remove the bag before you shower the next morning.

Unclog and Deodorize a Drain
Your sink is clogged and you’ve run out of the cleaning product you use to unclog drains. What can you do now? Reader’s Digest suggests you use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain.

Use a funnel to pour ½ cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar, into the drain. It will foam. When it stops foaming, flush the drain with hot tap water. Wait five minutes. Flush the drain again, this time with cold water.

Clean Floors
Real Simple says that you can use vinegar to clean almost any type of floor. Add ¼ cup of vinegar to a bucket or warm water. Mop your floor with that mixture instead of a store-bought cleaner. Real Simple points out that you should not use this mixture on marble or wood floors (but the rest are fine).

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Make Money by Recycling

Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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piggy bank, woman saving moneyWe all know that recycling is good for the planet. Did you know that you can make some money by recycling? It isn’t a “get rich quick” type of scenario. In most cases, you will only make a few extra dollars for your efforts. Over time, those dollars can add up and help you to stay within your budget.

Cans and Bottles
You might live in a state that pays people to recycle their bottles and cans. In California, people can take their bottles and cans to a RePlanet recycling facility and get paid by the pound or by putting individual cans and bottles into a reverse vending machine.

You can get 5 cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers that are 24 ounces (or over). The cans and bottles must have the CRV “California Redemption Value” mark on it.

In Michigan, people can take empty beer bottles, soft drink cans, carbonated and mineral water bottles, wine cooler bottles, and empty canned cocktails to a retail store for recycling. They will also accept any airtight metal, glass, paper, or plastic containers that are under 1 gallon.

People can receive 10 cents per bottle or can. Each container must have a state-specific mark on it in order for it to be recycled for cash.

Wine Corks
Yemm & Hart Green Materials is now purchasing wine cork stoppers. They are only accepting the wine corks in bulk amounts with a minimum package weight or 13.79 pounds. You can earn 1/2 cent per wine cork.

The wine corks must be full cylinder, real corks. This includes: whole cork, twin cap and agglomerated wine cork stoppers. They will not accept broken corks, gnawed corks, drilled corks, Champaign corks, tapered corks, cork coasters, cork sheet, synthetic stoppers, corks attached to or containing wood, metal, plastic, ceramic, glass, plastic, wax, string, paint, or any other non-cork material. Check their website for full details.

It might also be possible to sell a smaller amount of wine corks on eBay. There are people who make crafts out of them and who would be willing to purchase a smaller amount than is required for Yemm & Hart Green Materials.

Cell phones and Smartphones
EcoATM.com is a company that recycles cell phones, smartphones, MP3 players and tablets. Put your device into an EcoATM test station. It will tell you how much cash your can get for it. If you agree to that amount, you will receive cash on the spot.

Check the EcoATM website to find out where their nearest one is located. Be prepared to bring a government or US state issued identification card. Your device doesn’t need to be functional in order to recycle it through EcoATM.

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Recipes With Cauliflower

Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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Mashed CauliflowerThe best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s the time you will find it at the lowest price of the entire year. Of course, once you buy the produce, you are going to need some great recipes to use it in. Cauliflower is in season during the month of April. Try some of these recipes that feature cauliflower!

Aimee’s Mashed Cauliflower ‘Potatoes’
Allrecipes.com has a great recipe that turns cauliflower into something that resembles mashed potatoes. It’s a healthier version of a comfort food and includes a lot less carbs.

You will need: 1 pound cauliflower florets, some mashed potato flakes, some low-fat milk, margarine, salt, pepper, and some shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. Steam the cauliflower florets until they are tender. After that, put them into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mash them. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, sprinkle it with Cheddar cheese, and bake until the cheese melts.

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Eating Well has a simple recipe that features cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower can make a nice, healthy, side dish.

You will need: 8 cups of 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, extra-virgin olive oil, dried marjoram, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese.

Toss the cauliflower with the oil, marjoram, salt, and pepper in a big bowl. Put the florets on a baking sheet. Roast them for 15 to 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. Add the cheese, and roast them a little more until the cheese melts.

Cauliflower Fritters
Food.com has a tasty recipe that turns fresh cauliflower into fried cauliflower fritters. It could be side dish or a main dish with other vegetables added.

You will need 2 pounds of fresh cauliflower that has been broken into 1 inch (to 1 and a half inch) pieces. You will also need 3 eggs (lightly beaten) minced garlic, minced onions, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, flour, baking powder, paprika, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and oil.

Cook the cauliflower until it is soft enough to mash with a fork. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Heat the oil and drop batches of the cauliflower mixture into it. Flip it over. Remove it and place each fritter on a paper towel. The recipe suggests that you serve it with sour cream.

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Free Kids Events in April

Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Earth Day TreeWould your kids enjoy creating art or building a project on the weekend? There are plenty of free kids events happening in the month of April.

LEGO Stores
LEGO offers a free monthly mini-build event for kids who are between the ages of 6 and 14. It is offered “while supplies last”, so you may want to get there early. The events begin at 5:00 in the evening.

April 7, 2015: Build a Mini Model UFO

Pottery Barn Kids
This month, Pottery Barn for Kids has a couple of Earth Day related activities for kids to enjoy.

April 21, 2015: Plant it for the Planet – Kids can decorate biodegradable flower pots and receive plant seeds in celebration of Earth Day. Kids will learn about pollination and receive a special takeaway to track their flower’s progress. The event starts at 11:00 in the morning. RSVP is required.

April 21, 2015: Earth Day Story Time – Kids will listen to some Earth Day related stories. Children who become book club members will receive a special gift after attending five story times.

Home Depot
Home Depot offers free kids workshops for children ages 5 – 12. Kids will receive a free certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, a commemorative pin, and will get to keep the project they built. Parents must register their child in order to have him or her attend this event.

April 4, 2015: Build a Chalkboard Planter Stand – Kids will build a stand that holds a small flowerpot and that has a chalkboard above it.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow offers kids the chance to build a wooden project. Kids will receive a free apron, goggles, patch and will get to keep the project they build. Parents must register their child if they want him or her to attend this event.

April 11. 2015: See-It-Grow- Kids will build a wooden planter that has a plastic see-through portion which allows them to watch a plant as it sprouts and grows under the dirt.

Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning offers free craft events for kids ages 3 and up. They take place every Saturday from 11:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. No registration is required.

April 4, 2015: Cute as a Bunny Basket – Kids will make a cute basket out of decorated paper plates that look like a bunny’s head.

April 11, 2015: Sunny Days Birdhouse – Kids will make a decorative birdhouse that uses tissue paper. Hang it in a window and let the sun shine through it for full effect.

April 18, 2015: Whirly Twirly Windmill – Kids will make a small windmill that really turns!

April 25, 2015: Butterfly Pencil Holder – Kids will make a decorative butterfly and attach it to a tube that can hold pencils.

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Ways to Make Easter Candy More Frugal

Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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easter-candy It’s not an Easter basket unless it contains a chocolate rabbit. Most kids expect that there will also be a lot of other chocolates and sweets in their baskets. Families who have several children will quickly realize that all that candy can get expensive. Here are some ideas on how to save money on Easter candy.

Use your coupons.
Coupons are a quick and easy way to make the cost of candy a little bit lower. The weeks before Easter are the best time to look for coupons for Easter candy.

Start with the printable coupons that are right here at FreeCoupons.com. Here’s a quick list of the ones that are available right now:

* Save $1.00 off 2 MARS chocolate M&M’s (and others)
* Save $0.50 off Butterfinger Easter Mini Bars (11 ounce size)
* Save $0.50 off NESTLE Crunch Easter Mini Bars (10 ounce size)
* Save $1.00 off 2 NESTLE, Butterfinger, Crunch, NestEggs
* Save $1.00 off 2 NESTLE Jelly Beans, Laffy Taffy, Nerds

Target has some coupon for Easter candy, too. These coupons can only be used at Target:

* Save $1.00 when you buy two 9.45 ounce (or larger) M&M bags
* Save $1.00 when you buy two 14 ounce Starburst Sweet & Sour jelly bean bags
* Save $1.50 when you buy two 7.94 ounce (or larger) Dove chocolates

Don’t forget to use the store’s loyalty card when you shop for Easter candy! People who have the loyalty card can get extra savings and sales. Target also has a savings app called Cartwheel that can help lower the price of some items.

Divide things up.
Pour a small amount of M&M’s into a plastic Easter egg. Stick some of the filled eggs inside each child’s Easter basket. Open up the packages of individually wrapped candy and divide it up by putting a couple of pieces into each of your children’s Easter baskets.

Dividing things up lowers the cost because you are spreading one package of candy out instead of giving one entire package to each child. It also makes it possible for all of your kids to receive a little bit of a wide variety of candies. Visually, it will look like more candy than it actually is.

Re-use what you can.
There is another way to fit more Easter candy into your budget. Instead of buying brand new baskets, re-use the ones that the Easter Bunny left last year. Find out how many plastic Easter eggs you already have at home before you buy new ones. Consider using shredded newspaper as a “filler” instead of the plastic Easter grass.

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Easy to Make Recipes With Fish

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fish Fry BreadingFish can be a healthy alternative to beef or pork. There are some who may want to try recipes with fish but are hesitant because it’s outside of their comfort zone. Others may need some new fish recipes to serve to their family during Lent. Fortunately, there are some easy to make recipes with fish that you can try.

Easy Fish Sandwich
Food.com has a super easy recipe for a fish sandwich. The recipe was created on a day when a woman didn’t want to go into town for dinner. The name of the recipe is: “Don’t Want to Go to Town Fish Sandwich Longmeadow Farm”

This recipe calls for frozen fish fillets. Those are pretty easy to cook! Just follow the directions on the package. You will also need sandwich buns. It is recommend you toast them. Put cheese on the bottom half of the bun after it has been toasted. Add some tartar sauce, and you are all set. You can also add lettuce and tomato slices.

Pan-Seared Salmon Nuggets
Southern Living has an easy fish recipe for pan-seared Salmon Nuggets. Cut salmon fillets into 2-inch pieces. You can season them with salt and pepper if you like.

Spray them with vegetable cooking spray and cook them in a hot non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side. Picky eaters may find fish more appealing when it is presented in a format that resembles chicken nuggets.

The recipe is specifically for the pan-seared Salmon nuggets. It is up to you what you would like to serve them with. Some easy suggestions include: rice, pasta, or salad.

Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets
This is a different take on the traditional “fish and chips”. Typically, that recipe includes battered fish that has been fried and a serving of what American call french fries (which are called chips in the UK). This recipe actually uses what Americans call chips (which are called crisps in the UK) to coat the fish.

Start with 6-ounce cod fillets. Put them on a parchment lined cooking sheet and brush them with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with salt. Press some crushed chips into the top of each fillet. Cook the fish as you typically would. It will come out crunchy even though it wasn’t fried.

This recipe is only for the fish. It is up to you what you would like to serve along with it. Steamed vegetables would be a healthy option. French fries are always popular.

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade Safety Tips

Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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St. Patricks Day Hat and MoneyThe annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is a tradition that everyone can enjoy. Unfortunately, it can also be a big distraction that thieves will take advantage of. There are ways to prevent having to spend money to replace or repair stolen or broken items. Here are some safety tips to follow to make your St. Patrick’s Day parade watching experience an enjoyable one.

Lock your Vehicle
Everyone is busy watching the parade. That’s when thieves peruse the parking lots in the hopes of being able to steal valuable items that people left in their vehicles. No one wants to have to replace an expensive item that was stolen from them.

Make sure that all the doors of your vehicle are locked before you leave the parking lot. Doing so makes it that much harder for a thief to get into your car or truck. That may be enough to make a thief consider selecting a different vehicle.

Another option is to take your valuable items (like your smartphone, tablet, or GPS device) with you to the parade. Put them into a bag that can be zippered shut. Some people prefer to put devices into the glove compartment where they won’t be seen by thieves. The best advice, of course, is to just leave those things at home!

There’s another good reason to make sure your vehicle is securely locked long after the parade is over. Many people choose to consume a lot of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day. An inebriated person could mistake your car for his own, or be inspired to get in and cause some shenanigans. If you are able, park your vehicle in your garage and make sure the garage is locked.

Lock your Home
If everyone in town is watching the parade – that means the nobody is home. Thieves try and take advantage of this by breaking and entering people’s homes during the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Obviously, they are hoping to find expensive stuff that they can steal and try to re-sell.

Lock your home before you leave for the parade. Use the deadbolts. Turn on your security alarm. Ask a trusted neighbor, who is not going to attend the parade, to keep an eye on your home while you are gone.

Drive Safe
The weekend of St. Patrick’s Day is an excellent time to practice defensive driving. There could be people on the road who have had too much alcohol to drink. Pay very close attention to what’s happening on the road around you. Turn off the music you might normally listen to while driving. Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears his or her seatbelt. You might be able to avoid getting into an accident.

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