Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Couponing

Today at an early birthday lunch with my friend Amber she mentioned that she wanted to get into couponing! That got me excited! 
I started rambling off about how much I love coupons and where I get them and how I use them and yadda yadda yadda.  I love to talk about coupons! 
Apparently there was a lot of info coming at her and she said, "Just write me a blog post about it." So I said, "I did write a blog post about it." :)  She suggested I write one geared at beginner couponers like her.  Okay - I can do that!
I have written 3 other how-to guides to couponing you can check out:
- Crazy Coupon Lady
- Extreme couponing tips
- Extreme couponing on TLC

Today's post, however, attacks couponing from the sheer basics. A lot of this will be most useful if you live in Central Florida like I do, but it can be adapted to any location.  I'm just more familiar with the coupon policies here.

If you're ready to start couponing and have NEVER done it before.  Here's how to start:
    1. Order the Sunday paper.  Order 2 if you live in Florida and want to maximize Publix's BOGO (buy one, get one) sales. There's a gift card deal on the Orlando Sentinel right now. 
    2. Create a coupon only email. For example, This will reduce coupon related spam in your actual email box.
    3. Bookmark several sites on your computer that have good deals, coupons, or match-ups.  I recommend:

    4. Know your store's coupon policy.
  • At Target you can use a manufacturer's coupon (like you would find in the Sunday paper) and a Target store coupon (like you would find online) for each item. 2 coupons = more savings.
  • Each Publix store accepts competitor coupons from its nearest competitors.  This should be posted in the store.  You can use manufacturer's coupons, Publix specific coupons, AND competitor coupons all on the same item! This is where I get the best deals.
  • BOGO deals.  Some stores, like Publix, will accept a coupon for each item in a BOGO sale.  Therefore if pasta is $2 a box and on BOGO and you have 2 $1 off coupons, then your pasta will be free.
So now that you're set up with an email, paper, and online coupons here is your week 1 couponing assignment!
    1. Starting Sunday clip coupons for items you may buy.  Paperclip the rest of the inserts together, date them, and store them for any great deals that pop up.
    2. Visit online coupon sites like, and Target's mobile coupons and print any coupons you might need.  You can print each coupon twice per printer.  Print them now, because they can run out.
    3. Watch the tutorials at CouponMom. That's the easiest way to get an understanding of how to maximize coupon savings.  Then select your state and store and create a list of the "sale" items you want that week.  You will she that she has listed where the coupons are for that item.  This is a good thing to do each week to make sure you're not missing any major bargains.
    4. Organize the coupons in a binder, file folder, or simple envelope and take them all to the store.  If there's an unexpected sale and you left that coupon at home you would be sad! Trust me!

I think that's enough for week 1. What do you think?

If you want to do more then I'd say make a habit of checking Totally Target and I Heart Publix once a day.  Honestly that's how I know which sales are best.

Good luck!  It's really easy I promise!
I am still brand loyal.  I have just become aware of the average prices of the things I want and I can buy more when it's really a good deal.  I save about $35-$50 dollars a week at the store.

Today I got a great coupon score on Halloween candy!
- 2 40 oz. bags of Butterfingers at Publix - $9.98 each - $20 total
- They were a BOGO item so that dropped my total to $10.
- I had two $1.40 manufacturers coupons + 2 $1.50 Target coupons
- Total - $4.22!!!!  Booyah!

Are you a couponer?

Love and pennies pinched,

Carissa & Kyle

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fit Tips - 3 Weight Loss Tips

Happy Friday! 
Let's talk fitness. I love blogging and I love fitness.  
Sometimes I get so excited about meals and life that I forget to share my love of fitness and fit tips with you.  I hope you enjoy seeing my Sunday suppers just as much as you love learning awesome ab exercises.  :)
But just in case you need some new diet tips for your arsenal here are 3 that I'm digging right now.

Friday Fit Tips:
1. Eat eggs.

  • Eggs are packed with protein and good fat, which keeps you fuller longer.
  • Studies have shown that eggs enhance muscle strength and mass.
  • Studies have also shown that people who start their days with eggs have an easier time losing body fat.
  • People who eat eggs in the am also consume less calories throughout the day.
  • Eat the yolk. For an explanation read my other egg blog.
  • Try my healthy egg muffin recipe for a quick an egg breakfast.
Egg muffins. Grab 'n go in the am
2. Lift heavier weights.
  • Yes, ladies...heavier weights.
  • Studies show that lifting heavier weights for less reps causes a greater and longer increase in resting metabolic rate.  That means you burn MORE calories AFTER you're done working out when you lift heavier. Even if you do less reps.
  • It relates to your EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) and it's the truth!
  • Try it and within 4 weeks I'm pretty sure you'll see results without even spending more time in the gym.
3. Drink cold water
  • Drinking appropriate amounts of water is key to losing weight and looking good. (water  helps your skin)
  • Drinking COLD water can boost metabolic rate by about 30% according to German researchers.
  • Anytime you can up your metabolic rate. That's good.  It means you're burning more calories.  Things that slow your metabolic rate (like skipping meals) are bad if weight loss is your goal.
Chug, chug....headache..tooo cold!
3 steps. 3 ideas. The weekend is 3 days.  Can you integrate one a day?  I know you can!

Love and looking lean,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Skinny Italian Turkey Lasagna

I may not be Italian. And I don't think I'd ever refer to myself as "skinny". I prefer "fit". 
But if Teresa from Real Housewives coined the term "skinny Italian" for her book, then I'd like to give it a run for its money with the fantastic and HEALTHY turkey lasagna I made this week.
If I didn't have 2 herniated discs in my neck then I would totally give myself a pat on the back.
This lasagna uses lean ground turkey, whole wheat noodles, and part-skim ricotta.
I also make my own sauce, since jarred sauces have a ton of added sugar, and I sneak zucchini into the sauce for extra veggie power! 
For best results allow the sauce to simmer 1-2 hours.
Skinny Italian Turkey Lasagna

  • 1lb Jenny-O Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2T garlic
  • 1 15 oz can Muir Glen crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • EVOO
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3T oregano
  • 1T red pepper flakes
  • 2T Italian seasoning
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 1T onion powder
  • 1t salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles - uncooked
  • Additional shredded Italian cheeses to top  lasagna (if desired)
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • Dice zucchini and cook in a skillet coated with Pam.  While the zucchini softens add the crushed tomato, tomato sauce, water, and all the spices to a different large pot.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Bring to a simmer.
  • Add softened zucchini to tomato sauce.
  • Sauté onions and garlic in a little EVOO until tender.  Add turkey to the same pan and cook until no longer pink breaking it up into the smallest pieces you can.
  • Add turkey and onion mixture to tomato sauce.  Simmer on low 1-2 hours. Adjust spices as needed.
  • In a bowl beat 2 eggs.  Add ricotta, shredded cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.
  • Using a 9x13 pan begin the lasagna forming process.  
  • Cover bottom of the pan with 1 cup sauce. Layer 3 noodles.  Top with sauce then add 1/2 ricotta mixture.  Add 3 noodles. Top with sauce then add the remaining ricotta mixture evenly.  Top with 3 noodles and top with remaining sauce. Add additional shredded cheese on the top. I don't add a lot of cheese, because I find it doesn't add that much flavor compared to the extra calories.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or broil to achieve desired "browness" on cheese.  I like browned cheese...when I eat cheese.
  • Let cool.
  • Top with fresh parsley and enjoy
Lasagna also makes amazing leftovers that I always look forward to come lunch time!
I may not be Italian, but I am a true Real Housewife of Healthy Living! 
What's your favorite healthified comfort food?

Love and "that's amore",
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Remembering Asia

I haven't blogged in a week. I've just been too sad.  Last Wednesday our beautiful cat Asia (who you might have seen on the blog) passed away.  She had been fighting kidney failure for about 7 months.  It has been an impossibly sad time for us and it feels like there's a huge emptiness in our home.  The biggest comfort has been having Asia's baby, Polie, still here to love and comfort us. Nonetheless it is still a heart-breaking time.
I'm still not ready to think about food, fitness, and the usual blogging topics. I simply want to honor Asia and all the joy and happiness she brought to us.  She was a beauty.  She loved being outside and sitting in your lap.  She greeted every visitor to our home and lovingly woke me up by pawing me in the face many mornings.  She will always be our angel.  We love you Asia.
Love forever,
Carissa & Kyle