Friday, July 1, 2011

My First Couponing Experience

I haven't written in a while because I took the time to gather coupons from the Sunday newspaper, online, and through friends. It was hard! Glad I read some blogs that had beginners' guide to coupons because this was hard work! I spent several hours cutting coupons, organizing them, and matching them to what was on sale and I had to throw away a lot of coupons because they expired before I could even spend them. I really have to find a way to print as much coupons as possible without wasting them. Grr... still learning....

Above is some of the coupons that I was organizing last week (which took about 3-4 hours that one night to organize and I wasn't done!). I decided to go with the binder system because I could easily take it with me and I bought those photo plastic inserts to keep my coupons. I just have to be wary of the expiration dates. The only thing that annoys me about this is that the coupons keep sliding around the plastic inserts, so I have have to make sure that I don't lose them or that they don't spill out of my binder.

After several hours of trying to organize and match coupons to sale prices, I decided to take my first coupon trip to Walmart. There were several stores on my list but I decided to use Walmart's ad match to make it easier by saving gas and time.There were only a few items on my list because I just wanted to get my feet wet, but I was sooooo nervous! At the end of it, I felt very good and I'm going to go on another trip to take advantage of the sale and the coupons.

So here's what I bought:

-Lawry's Garlic Salt 11 oz $1.99 (sale price at Long's)
-Hoy Hoy Trap a Roach (stupid cockroaches in our kitchen are growing in numbers!) 5 Pack $2.99 (sale price at Walgreen's)
-Shick Quatro for Women $6.99 (sale price at Walgreen's after Register Discount of $3) but I had a coupon for Buy 1 Get 1 Free so I got two packs for $6.99
-Stayfreee Feminine care 14 pack for $2.49 (sale price at Walgreen's) minus $1.00 coupon = $1.49 each (I bought two)
-Dove Men + Care Deodorant/Antiperspirant (for Beb) at $3.99 (sale price at Don Quixote) minus a $2.00 off coupon = $1.99 (so sad I didn't have more coupons for this but it was a newspaper coupon so I only had 1 at the time!)
-Dove Body Wash and Deodorant/Antiperspirant 4 for $11.00 (sale price at Walgreens) minus 2 $1.00 coupons for the deodorant, 1 $0.75 coupon for one of the deoderant, and 1 $1.00 off coupon for the body was which came down to $7.25 for all four or ~$1.81 each

I didn't buy the other stuff on my list because they didn't have it (Carnation brand evaporated milk), I need to buy the refills which were $5 each (Air Wick Freshmatic Ultra Starter Kit even though the kit was only $1.39, I didn't want to spend more later), and I wasn't sure how to use the coupon with what they had (they had a lysol wipes pack which connected together and I had a coupon for $100 of 2).

I thought I did pretty well. I had a budget of $25 and I spent $30 (I bought one more garlic salt and one more Hoy Hoy, and I forgot to include tax in my original budget).

My thoughts on the experience: it took a lot of time to do this, but as Beb says, it's my first time and it gets easier later when I've developed a routine. I believe that I'd rather spend time than money since that 's all I really have. I'm not going to let it take over my life or anything, but I do have lots of time right now, so I might as well turn this into a hobby. What do you think?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Extreme Couponing

 I, like all viewers, are fascinated by TLC's newest show "Extreme Couponing." We all want to try it because we all want to save money and get free stuff especially in these times. I've tried to do some couponing a few months ago when I first watched the show, but I thought it was a waste of time.
Last night, after a couple of episodes of "Extreme Couponing", I decided to start couponing again. I was very much inspired by the Scotty B from New York who had the same DJ name as Scotty B from Star 101.9 and because he lived in an expensive place such as New York but was still able to save money using coupons (~$500 to $50).
I've been reading a lot of blogs, directions, and have clipped many coupons since last night. I know that it takes a lot of time (they say sometimes 3-4 hours a day!), but I figured I better change my mentality about this and treat it like a second job where I work hard at it, save money on groceries, and don't have to pay taxes (kind of). I want to be able to reach a point where this becomes second nature to me.
After trying to cut down on my bills and reorganize my life financially, I'm still living paycheck to paycheck with nothing to safe. I literally only have $50-$100 after paying bills to spend per 2 weeks when I get paid and that has to pay for groceries, gas, and anything else I might need. I know I have to get a cheaper place.  I currently pay $800 a month on rent which includes utilities, cable, and internet, which is reasonable for Honolulu but still very expensive for me since I have a car loan, a credit card, and two big student loans that I have to pay for since graduating in May 2010. I love my job and I don't plan to go anywhere anytime soon, so the next big step that I must do to survive is to do this. Hopefully it works out. I'm going to do my best to blog this.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Chamorro Dish: Kadung Pika (Spicy Chicken)

One Sunday, I decided to make Kadung Pika since my sister was staying over with me that weekend and I try to give she her a home-cooked meal every weekend before she goes back to the base. Kadung Pika is a Chamorro dish that I've had a couple of time back home in Saipan. It is basically spicy adobo (a Filipino dish with soy sauce and vinegar).


The ingredients are:
-1 Stewing Chicken cut up (I used chicken wings; use whatever you prefer actually)
-1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
-1/2 cup Vinegar
-2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
-3 Garlic Cloves (you can cut it up or toss it in whole; I'd rather it be whole so that I can take it out easily)
-1 1/2 Teaspoon of Crushed Tinian Pepper (or regular hot pepper; make sure to taste it because it can get pretty spicy!)
-1/2 Cup of Water
-A Dash of Black Pepper
-A Dash of Onion Powder (because I don't like adding real onions!)
-1 Tablespoon of Veggie Oil

1) I fried the chicken wings and garlic cloves in the veggie oil until it becomes brown.
2) I'm not sure why I didn't take any more pics after this but, when the chicken turned a little
brown, I added the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for about 20 minutes (I just covered the pot but I made sure that there was a small hole for steam to pass through). I then checked and stirred it every 10 minutes or so to make sure that it was fully cooked before serving.  If it's not pink or bloody then it's ready (I just had it when I cook chicken and it's not fully cooked which is why I tend to over cook it; hence the 20 minutes).

Just eat it over some hot rice with the sauce from the pan and you've got a great and easy meal!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bangkok Chef

About a month ago, Beb wanted to go to Bangkok Chef. We haven't been here in a loooong time and I'm not sure why because it's a great place for people on a budget!

They have several locations now: near Manoa Marketplace, in Nuuanu, and across Best Buy on Nimitz (their newest location).  Check out their link for the locations, hours of operation, and menu at
Their meals are around $6 a plate which usually comes with rice (jasmine or sticky rice) and it's the cheapest but great way to get some great Thai food! Seriously! In the bottom right was my order of Thai yellow curry. To the left is an a la carte order of chicken wings (so good and huge for chicken wings!) which we were craving because we could smell it in the air! On top is Beb's order of a kind of sweet and sour chicken (which I didn't enjoy much). We also had two orders of Thai iced tea (about $2.50 each). Our total was about $25 with tax! Pretty good deal I thought, especially because we had a lot of leftovers! We were so full! So if you are ever craving some cheap but good Thai food, check it out! I promise you, it's a great find!

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Good Eats: G Sushi

Ugh! I ruined my workout the other at the gym where I burned 450 calories on the Full Body Workout with dinner at G Sushi but I don't regret it (I semi-regret it)! lol!

G Sushi is located at the Market City Shopping Center near Kapahulu (next to Blazin' Steaks). I like going here because it's a change from Kuru-Kuru and Genki Sushi, but the only thing that makes it hard to come here often is the parking. It is horrendous especially near Foodland during weekday afternoons, so I try to avoid this shopping center altogether except for this place! It is also a pretty small place; nice and homey.

The thing that makes G Sushi different from places like Genki and Kuru Kuru is how the sushi is served: instead of served on the usual revolving conveyer belt, the sushi is served on little boats on top of water that fit two sushi plates. I'm not sure exactly how it moves, but it is very calming.  Another thing that makes G Sushi unique is that they rarely have a full house so they tell you to sit anywhere you want.  I'm not sure why it's not as popular as the other sushi places since it is as pricey as Genki, but I think it's a good thing because the waitress is more attentive to you than in other places where they are always running away from you. lol!

When I come here, I always get my favorite sushi set: Captain Cook ($8.79). It has two pieces fried ebi (shrimp), two pieces fried fish katsu, two pieces fried scallops, and two pieces spicy ahi (it is supposed to be fried spicy ahi, but I asked not to fry it because it's a little too much for me to have everything fried! lol!) all of which are on top of pieces of rice. It's a pretty good deal because if you buy them individually, it would cost about $10 or so dollars. They have other sushi sets as well; I've also tried the all spicy ahi set (fried spicy ahi, spicy ahi roll, and I forgot the other two! lol!) which was pretty good especially if you are a spicy ahi lover like me (sometimes!). It always surprises me how full I get after this because if I eat at Genki or Kuru Kuru, I spend about $10-15! I do wish I could show you other good items to get here so you can get a better picture of what to order here, but I'm such a boring person that I only come here to get my "usual". lol!

The ratings: G Sushi gets 3.5 cherries for its price because it compares reasonably with Genki but not as cheap as Kuru Kuru! They have different colored plates similar to those places but the great thing about G Sushi is that they have a $0.99 yellow plate special and they have an Early Bird Special (choose 5 items from the list that they have for $6.79)! Their sushi sets are also a great deal! Moreover, G Sushi gets 4 cherries for customer service because the waitress (they usually have a waiter and a waitress working there but we have always gotten the same waitress even when I take out) is very attentive and we get our meals quickly (even when I take out!). I do give G Sushi 4.5 cherries for the likelihood that I'm coming back because I always come back when I crave for their Captain Cook set (5 cherries for taste just for this plate! lol!)!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strawberry Haupia Pie

Beb and I did some late night shopping for dinner and we saw this at Don Quijote!

It looked soooo good! I've tried Ted's Macademia Nut Pie and Chocolate Haupia Pie, and they were sooo good that we decided to try it. AND it was $10.99 (compared to $12.99 at Foodland)! Time to check out!

This is my second slice because it was that good! It wasn't too sweet, was light and fluffy, and was surprisingly light in my tummy (Beb made beef broccoli for dinnah!). Even though I blew half my $20 budget (broke again!), it was worth it (I'll just have to eat it for breakfast! LoL!).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Second Attempt at Red Velvet Cake: SUCCESS! I

Since it was Spring Break and I didn't really have anything else to do, I decided to attempt Red Velvet Cake again for another church gathering (I didn't want to post the pics I took of my first attempt because it wasn't that great -_-*). This time, I decided to use white cake mix (instead of making everything from scratch) and sour cream (because I was trying to finish it before it spoils and because I found some red velvet recipes that uses sour cream anyways! yay!). A tip for you: buy things you know you will need when they are on sale! I knew I was going to be baking red velvet again, so I bought some cake mix and icing when it was on sale for about $2 each (I forgot where I bought them. lol). Usually, it's about $2.50-2.99 each, so I saved some... lol!


After looking at several recipes online, I found one that I like that was simple enough and I tweaked it a bit (this time my tweaking worked! lol!). So my ingredients are:
-One box Super Moist white cake mix
-1 cup sour cream (yes! It was just enough for me to finish the container!)
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

I also, and firstly (is this even a word? lol!), followed the ingredients on the cake mix and the directions as well. So I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees and I used the following:
-3 egg whites (I used the egg yolks to make scrambled eggs for lunch. Ugh! So caloric, but I didn't want it to go to waste!)
-1 1/4 cup of water
-1/3 cup veggie oil

I sprayed the silicon molds with baking spray after pre-heating the oven and then I began my mixing!

I just mixed everything together including the sour cream and the cocoa powder using a whisk. So Sad... I didn't get to use my new electric mixer, but mixing it wasn't so bad.

I did the food coloring last because the only reason why it's Red Velvet is because of the food coloring. I'm not sure why they decided it needed food coloring. Without it, it is fine, and it's just simply chocolate cake. I was pretty bummed though when I first started googling recipes to find that it was just plain chocolate cake colored red. No wonder I liked it so much... lol... I just don't like the idea of adding so much red food coloring. I just kept adding food coloring, which ended up to be the entire bottle (and what was asked for in the recipe that I found online the second time around; the first time around, it looked more chocolate than red velvet)!

I then poured about two cups of each mixture into the top and the bottom each because Beb said that the directions for the mold said it had to be even! And now look how it turned out! The top (which is in the bottom of the picture) is bigger than the top (which is on top of the picture)! It was a totally uneven giant cupcake... :(
Anyways, I baked it in the silicon molds for 25 mins and checked it in between my dish washing (about every few minutes or so) using a BBQ stick which I poked through both molds. If the stick came out with wet batter, it wasn't ready so I added more time until the stick came out clear or with cooked batter (the bottom finished faster than the top so I took it out earlier; I don't know why when they had the same amount of mixture). I then let it cook in the molds until the cupcakes were done.
When they were done cooling, I took them both out of the mold (be careful because the mold can still be pretty hot!). I was then careful about slicing the top of the cupcake (which is in the bottom of the pic) because the top gets shaped like an actual toy top after baking so I needed to slice of the top part of the top so I can put it on top of the bottom part of the giant cupcake (if that makes any sense at all! lol!).

I added the rest of the mixture to my baking sprayed cupcake tin because I though it would be cute to have little cupcakes around the supposedly giant cupcake... lol.... I baked it for 20 minutes and added more time when I the BBQ stick came out wet. I made sure to test several cupcakes.

I had leftover icing from the last time I baked which I left on the counter to get to room temperature before I used it (according to the label) because it was pretty hard.

This is what the cupcakes looked like when it was done. I let it cool a bit in the metal tin and then took them out to cool before I added icing (I tried to add icing to a cupcake that was a bit warm and the icing melted and dripped all over the cupcake!).

I only had enough vanilla icing to cover the giant cupcake and two mini cupcakes and used chocolate on the rest. Apparently, they liked the mini cupcakes more because it was easier to grab, but most liked it overall at the gathering. I thought it tasted pretty good too, and so did my sister since she ate the leftovers twice this weekend! So try it and tell me how it tastes! I'm not exactly sure how the sour cream changed the flavor, so maybe next time, I'll try it without, but I considered this attempt, a SUCCESS!

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