TTSPTip: Play With Your Food! (Faking Your Way Into Baking)

In my view of things, a great way to learn how flavors interact with one another is to start with semi homade ingredients, and slowly add your personal touches to them. I think this lessens the pressure on the individual to make a “perfect dish” while making their way around unique seasoning combinations.  I started cooking, and most recently baking, but taught myself how flavors meshed together by experimenting with box cakes.  I am all about expressing one’s self creatively through food, and took it upon myself to create unique flavors, by adding things like pudding, or flavored syrups to cake batters.

Butterscotch pudding cake, with rum, coconut and a chocolate glaze. Semi-Homeade!

Why pudding? Pudding, (along with pieces of pineapple, carrots, and even apple sauce) add a richness to a cake, but also a lot of moistness.  My mother taught me this trick, an I have made it a point to experiment with fruits, pudding, and even Greek yogurt to discourage dry cakes.

One cake I experimented with was a yellow cake, but added about 1/4 of butterscotch pudding mix, (or less according to taste and awareness of sugar content) a little rum, and coconut flakes, and allow it to bake.  I drizzled melted chocolate icing from the package on the cake, giving the cake a somewhat homemade feel (because of the flavor originality) and a moist texture that made it much more indulgent. So, fake your way into baking by using semi homemade recipes

Two layer box cake with a homemade icing, and strawberries in the center and on top.

and jazzing it up! Now, I can say I have a much stronger sense that certain ingredients like vanilla can enhance other flavors, but nutmeg and cinnamon can be paired up with certain fruits to round it out or add depth. Now, I am a baked good snob, and often make cakes and other baked good from scratch. The same goes for non baking food; adding a pinch of garlic, or pepper, or even exotic ingredients to pastas, means, and rices can make cooking more adventurous and exciting. Play with your food, and you’ll have a better sense of how seasonings work, and more confidence!

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TTSTip: Spicing Up Your Fiber! Healthy Post!

I just scooped some apple filling on it, and has a wonderful oatmeal experience.

Do you want to spicy up yor oats? No really! Here’s a quick tip to get extra spice in your oatmeal, Sure, it does involve adding a little ore sugar, but it’s sure to please your buds Instead of buying bulk packs of flavored oatmeal that is full of added sugar, corn syrup (yuck) and sodium, why not just make your own oatmeal and flavor it yourself? It’s easier than you think 😉 Just add a taeaspoon of apple pie filling, or canned apple pie flavor with spices added, and you have a quick, hearty, spiced up oatmeal dish.  I recommend also adding nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, with a pinch of salt (alla the directions) and a little sugar, cooking and then adding it o top, but you can also add a teaspoon to cooking oatmeal with your spices, and I promise you’ll love it! It’s bliss!

I usually just flavor my oatmeal whenever I cook it, and the add whatever fruits I want. If I’m making a berry type, I just add vanilla and sugar to my Quaker oats, and then let it boil. I could never eat the oatmeal plain, and I think a lot of people dislike oatmeal because they follow the directions on the back, and don’t add extra things to it.

Money-Saving Tip- Going Generic

One can save loads of money by bulking up on generic brands. I frequent Publix, and they aren’t quite cheap, but offer competitive generic products. For example, I just bought a pack of butter (the normal 4 sticks) for $.99! I was glad about that(considering the other prices were nearing the $3 range.) Target and Wal-Mart also offer great deals on generic produts. I will post them shortly.

Money Saving Tip: Quiznos Coupon! *Now Expired*

Save $1.00 of a regular sized sub, or $2 off a large sizd Quiznos sub! Click and print the coupon link to save! Expires May 16th, 2011

Quiznos prices.

http://www.couponsgalaxy.com/resources/brand/images/05_16_11_Quiznos_09_May.jpg

Money-Saving Tip: Half Off on Frappuccinos! (Starbucks Happy Hour)

Mocha Coconut, Double Chocolate Chip and Strawberry Creme Frappuccinos.

From May 6 to the 15 between the hours of 3 to 5 pm, Starbucks is offering their “Happy Hour” special which includes getting your favorite fraps at half price!! me and a friend bought 2 frappuccinos at $1.87 each!!! that is incredible!

Choose From The following flavored syrups: Caramel, Mocha, Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, White Chocolate Mocha, Raspberry, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Dolce, Green Tea, Peppermint, Toffee Nut (also yummy), Double Chocolate Chip, and Coffee. Add soy milk, low fat, or regular milk, and add extra portions of coffee, topping it off with whipped cream, or flavored drizzles!

Money Saving Tips: Managing Your Latte Love

Thanks, Ben!

According to www.Feedthepig.org, many Americans spend nearly $5 each day on the fluffed up lattes, adding up to $20-$30 weekly.  Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with spending that amount of money to get your eyes to stay open for a few hours, but in actuality, spending that amount on name brand coffee is not the only option out there.  To save yourself some cash, you can follow one of these easy tips and have you coffee as well.

1) If you must drink that certain name brand coffee daily, try opting for their coffee of the day versus that $4 and change espresso with syrup, too much sugar and whatnot.  I know, I know.. you want that special Cinnamon Dolce flavor that makes your tongue sing whenever you take a sip. Well, simply ask for that syrup. Usually, coffee of the day can range from $1.50 to $2 and change, saving you bucks right there; the syrup may be an additional $.20-$.30, and also you can add as much sugar and cream as you want, having your say in how you want you coffee made.

2) Buy your own coffee and make it yourself.  That’s right! You can go to either a farmer’s market that will have worldly coffees available at wonderful prices, or you can even go to Marshall’s retail stores where you can get a pound of flavored coffee for less than the price of one of those little pretentious espresso, fluffy drinks.  I went to Marshall’s recently, and came across dozens and dozens of assorted flavored coffees from your traditional vanilla and hazelnuts to the more exotic Hawaiian coconut, chocolate raspberry, butter pecan, butterscotch and creme brulee flavors.

Assorted Coffee Syrups. Pictured are Davinci and Monin brands. Also, Torani is also a popular brand.

 The prices ranged anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99, which is slightly the price of one cup you’d spend elsewhere. Simply add sugar, milk/cream and you’ve got flavor, coffee and savings! Boo yaw! Also, if you like Folger’s and Maxwell House brands, they offer coupons for additional money-saving in you weekly paper.

*If you like for example, Starbuck’s coffee syrup flavors, they are often times available for purchase at Target stores (Usually $6.99, but on the website it’s $10.99!). Other coffee syrups can be purchased at www.baristaproshop.com.

3) Why stick with coffee when it’s just the caffeine you need? Try teas that have caffeine (like green teas, white teas, red teas and black teas).  Studies show that these teas are full of anti oxidants which contribute to healthy aging, memory strength, higher metabolism and cancer prevention to name a few benefits. Teas are a healthy way to get caffeine without the jitters or guilt of high calories. While some flavors are an acquired taste, they do not have as much caffeine as espresso drinks, nor do they have the calories. Often, some teas are prices at $2.00-$3.25 depending on the brand, with 20-30 bags. Also, green teas are offered in new and exciting variety like Green Tea and Orange, Green Tea and Pomegranate, ect.

4) Try 5 hour energy drink.  One of these little bottles contain vitamin b and niacin with a little caffeine to keep you going for 5 hours and cost less than the $4 coffees you’d get elsewhere with a longer “keep you up and active” factor coffee does not have.  Yes, I said it.  While coffee is great, it usually stops working after say 3 hours, later accompanied by the ever so fun “crash”. My experience with this drink was total refreshment, as if waking up after a power nap. Mind you, I drank about 3/4 of the container, scared at first and expecting my tongue to fall off, but the beverage was not too sweet, had a refreshing berry taste.  It did not make me feel the jitteriness I have felt when partaking in the ritual of drinking some espresso drinks. Also,  for me, there was no crash afterwards. ( I will be doing a review on this drink in the near future, so stay tuned).

5) If none of those tips work, simply purchase coffee from your local convenience stores.  I frequent Quik Trip, where they have fabulous coffee flavors and good coffee, for roughly $1.17 for a 16oz size.  This again is cheaper than buying an espresso drink for $4. Their coffee does the trick and you are given more options without paying extra for adding syrup.  also, they get festive and creative around the holidays, offering Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee and Chocolate Cinnamon. (My fave currently, is the Vanilla Cupcake Cappuccino.)

So there it is guys and gals- options to save you money each day that are not hard to try an meet your needs. Cha-ching!