Friday, April 22, 2011

Starbucks Celebrates Earth Day With Free Drinks

In honor of Earth Day, Starbucks invites everyone to bring in a reusable mug or tumbler and get a free brewed coffee or tea. It's your choice of brew, hot or iced. Hurry, this offer lasts today only!!!

Also, something I just learned. Year-round Starbucks will give you 10 cents off your drink just for bringing in your own reusable mug! Apparently a lot of you already knew this. In 2010 alone, reusable mugs were brought in to Starbucks more than 32 million times, keeping nearly 1.45 million pounds of paper out of landfills.

For more info:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Week - Green Tip

Common Misconception: Handwashing dishes uses less water than a dishwasher.

Fact: Actually, it's quite the opposite. Handwashing your dishes uses about four times more water than a dishwasher.

Moral of the Story: Be lazy and skip the handwashing, even the prewashing (if you can bare it). Your saving the environment while making more time for yourself!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover Mocha Matzo Cake Recipe

Passover food is never a favorite, but I've found that the following cake recipe is a hit among my in-laws and is gone by the end of the first night. As long as I bring this, I'm always invited back...

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours

Recipe Ingredients

·       1 cup sliced almonds
·       2⁄3 cup (4 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
·       1 1⁄2 cups sugar
·       1⁄2 cup matzo cake meal
·       9 large eggs, yolks and whites separated into large bowls, whites at room temperature
·       1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
·       1⁄8 tsp ground cloves 1⁄8 tsp salt
·       2 Tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1⁄4 cup boiling water, cooled
·       1⁄3 cup oil
Glaze & Decoration
·       1⁄2 cup (3 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
·       1 Tbsp oil
·       1 pt strawberries, rinsed and patted dry

Recipe Preparation
1. To start, separate egg yolks from their whites and leave out on the counter. You will need the whites at room temperature before whipping them, so it's best to get them separated first thing.
2.Heat oven to 350°F. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet and a 10 x 4 1⁄2-in. tube pan with a removable tube insert.
3. Cake: Spread almonds on baking sheet. Bake 5 to 6 minutes until lightly toasted, then cool.
4. Meanwhile, pulse 2⁄3 cup chocolate chips in food processor until finely ground. Scrape into a medium bowl.
5. Pulse almonds, 1⁄4 cup sugar and the cake meal in food processor until almonds are finely ground. Add to chocolate; stir to blend.

6. Beat egg whites with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (see picture below) when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in 1⁄4 cup sugar and continue beating just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. Set aside.

7. Beat yolks, remaining 1 cup sugar, spices, salt, the coffee and oil just to blend. Fold in 1⁄4 of the whites, then the nut mixture. Fold in remaining whites; pour into ungreased tube pan. (I wholeheartedly disagree with this. If the pan is ungreased, the cake will never come out. It doesn't affect the integrity of the cake or its shape to grease the pan.)

8. Bake 55 minutes, or until top looks dry and cake springs back when gently touched. Immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely, upside down.
9. To unmold: Gently run a knife around edge of pan and inner tube. Holding tube, lift out cake. Run a knife between bottom of insert and cake; invert and remove insert.

10. Glaze and decorate up to 1 hour before serving: Melt chocolate as package directs, but with the oil added. Stir together until well combined. Cool chocolate for 4 minutes. Drizzle most over cake; dip berries in remaining glaze and place on cake.

* Recipe courtesy of Woman's Day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Couponing Is Not For The Healthy

Like many people out there, the rejuvenation of the couponing craze has hit me. The thought of checking out with a 98% savings is addictive. For stay-at-home-moms especially, saving hundreds of dollars is validation. “Yes, I may not be bringing in a paycheck, but the $600 I save in groceries a month is as much of a contribution to my family as a part time job.”
Well after several months of attempting to achieve similar cost-saving levels as these “Extreme Couponers” I’ve come to a realization. Couponing is not for the healthy. If you follow the rule that most of your time should be spent on the outer perimeter of the store – where the fresh produce, meat, and dairy products are located – and less time in the center aisles – a Mecca of processed foods – you’ll be hard pressed to find any significant savings. There are no coupons for fruits and vegetables and the periodic store discounts are a.) not that significant and b.) usually for items that are losing their freshness and about to expire.
And we haven’t even begun to discuss those with Organic diets and environmentally friendly households. While some “natural” companies are beginning to offer coupons, they are not as widespread as mainstream groceries. Add in several kids and you’re talking about a huge chunk of your monthly allowance spent on a very costly, yet worthy, cause. What’s a girl to do?
I’m never one to give up. So the search for healthy cost savings continues. Hopefully one day I’ll be “earning” that part-time job while maintaining a (mostly) healthy diet. In the mean time, maybe this is where growing your own organic food comes in.