During our meet-up on Sunday, the girls and I got to talking about shopping online. I shop more than I probably should, but I have some basic strategies.
1) I almost never buy anything full price (like these shoes that I ended up getting for less than $15). Seriously. Unless it’s already incredibly cheap (like the adorable necklace I bought from Forever 21), I wait for it to go on sale. Most of the time I head straight to the sale or clearance racks without even looking at the full priced items.
2) Get on mailing lists – even if you devote on e-mail address simply to store promo items, it pays off with the amount of coupons and special deals they send!
3) Use Ebates when shopping online. I read about this on another blog and it’s great. I’m still trying to remember to click through their site when I order things, but it’s basically free money! They also list coupon codes that can help you save even more.
4) Get coupon codes when you order online. I always check Retail Me Not to see if there is a coupon code for the store I’m ordering from.
5) Use daily deal sites like RueLaLa, Gilt, and Beyond the Rack. Daily coupon deals are great too – but check the fine print – sometimes they expire quickly or are only worth a value less than the product you want to use them toward.
6) Braving the black friday crowds? I love it and consider this day the super bowl of shopping, but I will not sit in the cold for hours on end or get trampled over saving a few hundred dollars. Last year I wanted to get my mother a Nook from Best Buy – the line was all around the parking lot at 5AM when they opened and they only let a hundred people in the door at once! I walked around the mall for a few hours instead, returned at 8 am, and got my Nook and was on my way! If you’re looking for a particular item, check out black-friday.net for scans of all of the popular store’s ads.
I can’t wait to hear about the deals you score!
On to food…
I’ve posted this recipe once before, but this time I added zucchini. And it was a great idea.
An even better idea? Making my “noodles” with spaghetti squash.
I can’t believe I don’t make this more often. I almost over-roasted it, but it’s definitely better in the oven than the microwave and worth the extra time.
My husband still had regular pasta noodles.
This sauce tastes like a million calories but honestly isn’t so bad.
With cheese added to the already creamy base, I swear it’s still pretty healthy.
Okay, the Romano topping wasn’t my idea.
Creamy Cheesy Mushroom Pasta Sauce
1 can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 cups prepared tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic’s Garlic Roasted Garlic)
1 small can mushroom stems & pieces (drained and rinsed)
1/2 tsp onion powder (half a sautéed onion would be delicious, I just didn’t have one)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary (I’m obsessed with it right now)
vegetables of choice (I used half a zucchini, sautéed in cooking spray)
1/3 cup 2% milk cheese of choice (I used a Monterey/Colby jack blend, but a cheddar gives it a more mac & cheese with ketchup flavor)
1) Heat all ingredients but cheese in a saucepan over medium heat for 15 minutes.
2) Prepare noodles of choice.
3) Turn off heat, stir in cheese until melted.
4) Add noodles to sauce (or top noodles with sauce).
It tasted just as decadent as it looks – and would be great with other veggies added in. I had planned on using roasted red peppers as well, but they were starting to get moldy. I didn’t even miss them!
Approximate nutrition (for 1/5 of recipe, approximately 1/2 cup of sauce): 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 6 grams of protein
Topping 1 cup of spaghetti squash with this sauce made my entrée only 162 calories!
What food do you love but only remember to make once in a while? I love spaghetti squash, and it’s so versatile and tasty – I just never seem to remember to buy it!
Any shopping tips to share?