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August – 2011 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

August 2011

End of the Golden Era

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Otherwise known as my last day on the Gold plan from Freshology! I have loved eating their food this past month and am so excited to continue on the Silver plan this next month. My meals arrive tomorrow and I’ve decided to start them on Monday so it’ll be easier to keep track of the start of the week. This means I have four days in between the Gold and Silver plans. I’ve decided to use these days to see if I can incorporate some lessons I’ve learned while on Freshology. I’ll still be tracking what I eat and how many calories are involved. And tomorrow I’ll still be doing a video update, so be sure and check in to find out how much I’ve lost this week.

Breakfast: Banana Raisin Muffin with Fresh Fruit, Cream Cheese and Turkey Bacon (390 calories)

Such a great breakfast to end with! The muffin was great – I ate the bottom half first because everyone knows the muffin top is the best (you Seinfeld fans know!) and I didn’t even end up eating the cream cheese. I loved having the orange, too – it’s almost like getting a little fresh-squeezed OJ.

Lunch: Southwest Chicken & Vegetable Soup with Side Caesar Salad (280 calories)

I love this soup – it’s another one that I’d choose to eat any day. It feels like a lot of food, too – especially with the salad on the side. The flavors were spicy and there were tons of veggies and chicken pieces in the bowl. It was a nice touch having the beans added to the salad, because it gave it more substance and seemed to tie the salad in to the Southwestern soup well.

Dinner: Whole Grain Mustard Crusted Pork Loin with Green Beans and Butternut Squash (280 calories)

I couldn’t get over how MUCH food I got for just 280 calories with this meal! The pork was pretty good (but we all know I’m not a huge fan of it in general). The veggies were great! The green beans were slightly al dente and had an almost buttery taste to them. The butternut squash was sweet and delicious.

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies (200 calories)

These cookies were good but were so little, especially for 200 calories! It was crazy to me to look at my plate full of dinner and realize that I could get alllllll of that for just 80 calories more than two small cookies. Still, they were delicious, rich treats and I probably couldn’t have eaten much more than the portion provided. I heated them in the microwave for 10 seconds and they almost melted in my mouth!

Be sure and check back tomorrow for my video wrap-up. Can’t wait to share my final thoughts on the Gold plan and talk a little about the Silver plan I’m about to begin!

Freshology Gold Plan Giveaway Winner!

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Thanks so much to everyone who entered – we had a great response! If you’re not the lucky name I’m about to share, be sure and pay attention to Freshology’s Facebook page, because they’ll share any deals and discounts there!

Let’s find out who the winner is……

Congratulations, Yona! I’ve passed your email address on to the people at Freshology, and they’ll be getting in touch with you to set up your delivery.

Wordless Wednesday: A Day in the Life of a Puppy

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Playing with friends:

Chilling out:

Sounds like a perfect day to me!

A Second Opinion

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I can’t wait to update you on my weight loss tomorrow, because this has been a good week! For now, though, I’m checking in with a post to tell you about Tuesday’s meals. I’m sure you’re wondering about the title of the post – I’ll explain here in just a minute.

Breakfast: Feta and English Pea Frittata with Fresh Fruit and Chicken Apple Sausage (300 calories)

I had mixed emotions about the frittata prior to eating it. On one hand, I love feta cheese. On the other, I hate peas. What’s a girl to do? Well, give it a try, for one thing. And I liked it! The flavor of the cheese kind of masked the peas to me, and I really enjoyed it. I was happy to get some strawberries, too, because those are one of my favorite fruits.

Lunch: Grilled Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl (300 calories)

Here’s where the “second opinion” comes into play. I had tried a Vietnamese Noodle Bowl a while back, and it wasn’t really my cup of tea. So, I ate a lunch that equaled 300 calories and let Brian try this to give his opinion, since it sounded like something he’d like. He had to work through lunch and ate it up at his office, but he sent me the photo above and then this one shortly after:

Along with a text saying, “Verdict: Awesome!” He said he thought it was great and that he could eat this meal day in and day out. It didn’t seem like a “diet” meal to him at all. He’s a much more adventurous eater than I am, so he’s always a great person to get food feedback from.

Dinner: Citrus Lavender Glazed Chicken with Vegetable Ragout & Brown Jasmine Rice (390 calories)

I enjoyed this meal; at first I wasn’t sure about the lavender element of it, but combined with the citrus flavor it was nicely balanced and made for a great chicken dish. The ragout was filled with tender veggies and I especially loved the zucchini. I knew I’d like the rice, because we’ve tried Jasmine rice before and loved it! This felt like a step up from a meal we might normally have in our house – it had the basic elements, but dressed them up with another layer of flavor.

Dessert: Peach Cobbler (170 calories)

I heated this up in the microwave for 15 seconds, then broke up the breading and mixed it with the peach filling – YUM! I would’ve liked a little granola or something to provide some crunch, but overall it was a great dessert.

Today is my last day on the Gold plan! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to try three days of the Gold plan for yourself – it ends today at 2pm Central/12pm Eastern!

Crazy Day

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Have I mentioned before that I’m an emotional eater? ‘Cause I am – or used to be, anyway. If I had a bad day, I’d treat myself to something. If I had a great day, I’d celebrate with something. Either way, bad idea, right?

Well, yesterday was insanely busy. First of all, it was a Monday. If you like Mondays, I’m happy for you – but for me there’s always a bit of an adjustment back into work mode. Our weekends are good, but almost always busy, so it’s not like we’re ever really starting off the work week refreshed and energized. So, I worked on my projects on work, ran across town at lunch to let the dogs out, came back, worked some more. I needed to get home quickly so I could get ready to teach my online class that started at 6. Being in a rush should have clued me in as to how things would go. When I was heading to pick up the boys I remembered my empty light was on, so had to stop & get gas. Then when I got to the day care, I had to trek back out to the car to get my ID since there are new teachers. I’m really glad they’re cautious, but yesterday was just bad timing. Then, we get home and Josie (our 7-year-old mini dachshund) had gotten into the bathroom trash and made a huge mess. All in all, not the worst day ever but in the past I would’ve used it as a reason to go get ice cream, or to make cookies.

That didn’t happen, though, and to me it was a sign of overcoming a big hurdle towards a healthier lifestyle. I ate my Freshology food like normal and decompressed after the class was over by relaxing on the couch with Brian and some good old HGTV. I am seeing results by eating healthier, and the desire for that is finally outweighing the short-term want for comfort food.

Breakfast: Sweet Corn Tamale with Canadian Bacon and Fresh Fruit (220 calories)

This was one of the rare instances where the meal seemed to get jostled a bit in transit and had a messy look to it. Everything tasted really good, although there didn’t seem to be much of the actual tamale filling – probably because of all the carbs. I liked this meal, but it wasn’t as filling as some of the breakfasts I’ve had on Freshology. I still didn’t end up feeling hungry until around lunchtime though, so it was plenty.

Lunch: Basil Marinated Chicken Salad with Mango, Watermelon Radish and Orange Dressing (350 calories)

This is another salad where I ate the components separately. It felt like a lot of food that way, and it was easier to eat it neatly that way than if I’d tried to toss the elements together in the tray. The dressing was nice and light and a good compliment to the spinach. The chicken that’s been in my salads has all seemed to be basil marinated, which is the way to go because I love the flavor! Having chicken with my salads while on Freshology has inspired me. Instead of eating grilled chicken leftovers the same way we ate them the first time around, I could dice it up, add some sauce and throw it in the fridge to use with a salad the next day. And I am totally going to start using lemon juice on all my salads – SO good!

Dinner: Rosemary Scented Lamb Sirloin with Baby Carrots, Sauteed Broccolini & Balsamic Glaze (490 calories)

I have only had lamb once or twice before, and it’s always been a protein I’ve been a little hesitant about just because it’s different. I was really impressed with this and have decided I actually like lamb! My friend asked me if it was gamey at all, but it really wasn’t. The flavor was mild and I could really taste the rosemary coming through. The glaze on the broccolini was nice, although I still like broccoli better! The carrots were perfect – and C loved them too because he snagged one to eat for his bedtime snack, since I had to eat late after my class was finished.

Dessert: Carrot Bundt Cake with Creme Cheese Frosting (150 calories)

Like the other desserts, I’ve had this one before, and like the other desserts, I love it! I had a small cup of skim milk to go with it.

Don’t forget – YOU could try Freshology for free, if you win my giveaway! Take a second to enter – the winner gets three days of food, a value of $169!

Giveaway at Wholesome Chick

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Have you ever heard of solid shampoo before? Well, a great new blog called Wholesome Chick is hosting their first giveaway for solid shampoo from Lush.

It’s vegan, using natural ingredients to make your hair soft and silky. I’m really intrigued to try it and am going to go enter the giveaway myself – you should, too!

Teacher Monday & Del Monte Giveaway – Over $100 in Prizes!

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This fall Del Monte Fresh will hold its second annual online contest, “Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms.” The program awards cash and fresh fruit to kindergarten thru 12th grade school teachers across North America to encourage them to incorporate healthy eating and living messages into classroom activities. Sixty teachers will win a total of $1,000 in cash to purchase school supplies and fresh fruit for their students. Top winners will also get a Del Monte Fresh Field Day event for their school in which the entire student body will enjoy a day of Del Monte fresh fruit, games and fun activities. Salad bars for schools will also be given away through promotions at supermarkets.  Go to www.fruits.com for more details!

Find out more about Teacher Monday in this adorable video:

This giveaway will have FIVE winners! Four lucky readers will each win $25 to get Del Monte fresh fruits:

And one reader will win a backpack full of school supplies to give their favorite teacher!

This contest is open to all US residents. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Wednesday, September 14.

Mandatory Entry: Comment below telling me who the most influential teacher in your life or your child’s life has been.

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: I was provided with a Guest Pass for the review, along with three Guest Passes for the giveaway. All opinions provided are honest, and are those of myself and my family.

Sam’s Club Gift Card Winner

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Congratulations, Sherry!

VTech InnoTab

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If you haven’t heard about VTech’s InnoTab, you probably will soon. This learning app tablet brings interactive and animated reading, educational gaming, creative activities, and a rich collection of applications to children ages 4-9. And it’s now available for pre-order!

Out of the box, InnoTab comes with a full suite of pre-loaded applications including an interactive, animated e-book, motion games, creative activities, MP3 music player, photo viewer, video player, alarm clock, calculator, calendar and an address book.

InnoTab is supported by a cartridge library that features kids’ favorite characters, including Cars, Toy Story, Dora the Explorer and Disney Princesses. Best of all, you can download more interactive e-books, learning games and other content from VTech’s Learning Lodge Navigator and more than 100 downloads will be available by year end.

InnoTab features a 5” color touch screen LCD, a tilt-sensor for motion game control, USB interface, SD card slot for memory expansion, along with a stylus and a headphone jack. All of these are housed in a sleek, durable and compact design for easy portability.

Check out these videos to find out even more about the InnoTab:

·         Behind the Scenes with VTech’s InnoTab

·         Behind the Scenes: InnoTab’s Creative Activities

·         Behind the Scenes: InnoTab’s E.Reader & More

·         Behind the Scenes: InnoTab’s Touch Screen & Motion Games

Menu Plan Monday Aug.29-Sept.2

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Menu Plan Monday

Before I get started, I have to mention my Freshology giveaway that’s going on right now! I hope you’ll take a second to enter – the winner will receive three days’ of food from the Gold plan, a value of $169! This giveaway ends at 2pm Central on Wednesday, so be sure to enter soon!

I am running in overdrive right now, because I am going to adjunct and teach a couple of classes this semester, so I’ve been busy working on preparations for those. I’m excited about it, because I love teaching. I spent a lot of time Saturday and Sunday working on class prep, but the rest of the weekend was really nice and relaxed. Yesterday afternoon we all curled up on the couch and watched Tangled – such a fun movie and we all enjoyed it! I think some parts were a little scary for J & C, but overall it was a hit.

We’re still in the housebreaking phase with Sally (our new puppy, in case you missed the post about her). I’m sure we’ll be in this phase for a while, if she’s anything like Josie was! She will ring the bells on our back door to go out, but she still has accidents every day too. It’s funny to me because it seemed like so much bigger of an ordeal with Josie… but now that we’ve had kids and have been through diapers and potty training, this is nothing!

Alright, let’s talk food. We’ve got something going on almost every night this week, so planning is especially important. And leftovers are my friend.

Monday: Taco Night! Lean ground beef, refried black beans,  medium-grain rice are our staples for this meal.

Tuesday: Chick-Fil-A – we’re eating early before C’s gymnastics class. Brian has a meeting so I’ll be on my own… wish me luck!

Wednesday: Chicken Teriyaki with carrots, onion and zucchini. We use the Veri Veri Teriyaki and love the flavor of it! Of course, Wednesday is my last day on the Gold plan and I’ll be enjoying my Freshology food – Pork Loin with green beans and squash is on my menu!

Thursday: We’re having friends over and are making whole grain pasta with a semi-homemade meat sauce. We’ll serve it with green beans and garlic bread. Simple but I figure it’s something almost anyone likes.

Friday: Pasta leftovers – yet another reason to love making pasta dishes!

Let’s catch up on my meals from this weekend… and I have to tell you, I think I’m going to hit the 10-pound mark this week! I am so happy with the success I’ve had on Freshology so far.

Saturday Breakfast: French Toast with Raspberry Compote, Turkey Bacon and Fresh Fruit (330 calories)

I’m a huge fan of compotes and will have to remember to continue using them in place of syrup in the future. I like syrup in some instances, but a lot of times it’s too sweet on its own. The fruit compote is a great balance of tart and sweet, and is a good solution for me!

Lunch: Chicken & Mushroom Pizza with a Side Caesar Salad (320 calories)

PIZZA! I have really enjoyed every pizza I’ve had on Freshology. This was no exception, mushrooms and all. I let Brian try a bite (’cause I’m all generous like that) and he said he could eat that every day. It gives the satisfaction you get from eating “regular” pizza, but none of the guilt.

Dinner: Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Steamed Cauliflower and Green Asparagus (320 calories)

The steak, as always, was awesome. The asparagus was cooked well and I am learning to like it more, although I like the tips mostly! I have never liked cauliflower, but I tried it with an open mind… and discovered I still don’t like cauliflower. Oh well!

Dessert: Marbled Cheesecake (185 calories)

Good stuff! I mix up the chocolate so it’s spread all throughout the cheesecake. Because as we all know, chocolate makes everything better!

Sunday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Cheddar, Chicken Apple Sausage and Fresh Fruit (380 calories)

This was a nice breakfast and similar to something I would have had pre-Freshology. I did add a little salt to the eggs to give them additional flavor. The sausage and toast rounded this out for a nice, traditional breakfast.

Lunch: BBQ Pork Salad with Zucchini, Roasted Corn & Lime-Ranch Dressing (300 calories)

This salad was incredibly flavorful. I let Brian try this one too and he LOVED it – I think pork is more up his alley than mine, but I definitely appreciated all the flavor and texture in this dish coming from the marinated pork, the black beans, the zucchini and even the roasted corn.

Dinner: Pan-Roasted Flat Iron Steak with Asparagus & Saffron Quinoa (320 calories)

It was a little odd to me that I had steak and asparagus two nights in a row, but I’m definitely not complaining about the steak! I’m hooked. The quinoa was my favorite I’ve had – the saffron infused the grains and it seemed more tender than some of the other quinoa I’ve had. SO good! This felt like a meal I’d see on Top Chef.

Dessert: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (165 calories)

Talk about the ultimate comfort-food dessert… these took me back to childhood! I heated them in the microwave for about 10 seconds and OH MY WORD they were so good! I could taste cinnamon and a slight spice maybe provided by cloves… whatever the ingredients, the flavor was perfect and I loved these.

I’m excited to start the Silver plan on Thursday of this week and can’t wait to let you know about the types of meals I get to try. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Freshology Update AND a Giveaway!

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I am SO excited about the giveaway I get to announce in this post, but first things first – let’s get caught up to speed on my meals this week. Thursday and Friday were both super busy, with things we needed to get done around the house and then with company coming over last night.

Thursday Breakfast: Muesli Granola with Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt, Fresh Fruit and Turkey Bacon (300 calories)

I’ve never had wet granola, that seemed more like a thicker oatmeal. That being said, it was really good. It was sweeter than the oatmeal (even though I actually really liked that) and because I was so busy, I didn’t even get up to run to the microwave at work and warm it up. I guess it might be better warm, but I liked it just fine as it was! The yogurt seemed really thin to me and more like milk, so I poured it into the granola and stirred it, giving a thinner consistency to it.

Lunch: Spinach and Baby Mozzarella Salad with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes (380 calories)

This salad reminded me of one I had before – and with that salad, I didn’t enjoy having the dressing on the mozzarella. So, I learned from that experience and ate this meal deconstructed – snacking on the cheese and beans by themselves and then having the spinach, cucumber and dressing (poor tomatoes got ignored… I just haven’t learned to like them yet).

Dinner: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Celery Root Puree & Wild Mushrooms (330 calories)

This was a very monochromatic meal. I had never tasted celery root before, and the puree was surprisingly good! It had a mellow, almost buttery flavor to it. I didn’t really care for the greens but the chicken was great!

Dessert: S’mores (180 calories)

Yay! I was really happy to have this dessert again. I want to figure out how to make my own low-cal version of it once I’m finished with Freshology because it is seriously SOO good.

Friday Breakfast: Soyrizo Egg Layer Cake with Caramelized Shallots & Fresh Fruit (330 calories)

I was really impressed with this! For those of you that don’t know, soyrizo is a soy-based product that mimics chorizo but is much healthier. I couldn’t tell one bit that it wasn’t the real deal. It was flavorful and had a nice kick to it. Probably one of my favorite egg dishes I’ve had while on Freshology.

Lunch: Asian Beef Salad with Carrots, Napa Cabbage & Ginger Soy Dressing (310 calories)

This was an interesting flavor combination. The beef was tender and I really liked it a lot, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing. That’s most likely because I have a sensitivity to ginger. A tiiiiiiiiiiiny bit of it in recipes is really all I can stand; any more than that and it’s pretty much a given I won’t care for the dish. I just squeezed the lemon over the salad and ate it that way.

Dinner: Turkey Breast Scaloppini with Squash, Tomato & Green Beans (340 calories)

Pretty good meal! I of course love green beans, so I just added a little bit of salt to them and thought they were delicious. The squash was buttery tasting and cooked to just the right consistency. The turkey was really tender and it felt like I got a lot of it with this meal. Once again, I ignored the tomato. It looked pretty, though, and I’m sure it was really good with the seasonings it had on it.

Dessert: Zucchini Bundt Cake with Mascarpone Cream (190 calories)

I’ve got to be honest with you – I didn’t eat this dessert. I’ve had it once before and really did enjoy it, but… Brian brought home thumbprint cookies from our favorite local bakery. I let one of our friends have this dessert, and I ate a couple of thumbprint cookies (I found out the caloric value and matched up the amount in the Freshology dessert). Those cookies are a huge weakness for me, so I felt like it was a good trade.

I know this has already been a long post, but I’ve got to share my weekly video with you. Find out where I stand with weight loss, and get a good look at just how much the winner of the giveaway will get!

One lucky winner will receive three days worth of free food (including shipping) from Freshology – that’s three breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts, a value of $169! This contest is open to all US residents. This is a QUICK giveaway – entries will be open until 2pm Central on Wednesday, August 31.

Mandatory Entry: “Like” Freshology on Facebook. Let them know Frugal Novice sent you! Comment here letting me know you’ve done so.

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 3 entries, for example, comment 3 times.

Note: Freshology provided me with the food for review and is providing the food for the giveaway. All opinions provided in this post are honest and my own. I am not being compensated monetarily for this post.

Karen Kane Clothing Review

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Karen Kane is a well-known name in women’s apparel. She launched her first collection out of her garage in 1979, and now has grown to be sold in department stores and boutiques nationwide. Karen designs with ease, luxury, and longevity in mind, as you can see in the photos of some of her clothing below:

I got the chance to review an outfit from Karen’s fall line:


I seriously wish you could reach through the computer right now and touch these clothes, because you can immediately tell their quality. The sweater is soft and has a great banding around the collar. It drapes down and I know it will be perfect for wrapping up in once cold weather finally decides to grace Texas. The shirt is a sheer faux-wrap – I wore it over a simple black tank. I’ve never owned an item of clothing with animal print before, but I think paired with the sweater it’s neutralized a bit and I really like it a lot.

The jeans fit perfectly. There’s some elastic in them, so they hug nicely without being uncomfortable at all. The legs are a skinny cut, which will make them great to wear with boots this fall and winter. And ladies, these jeans are slimming. Who doesn’t want that?

I think Karen Kane clothing provides the best of both worlds – you get stylish clothes that are figure-flattering. The line does run on the pricier side, but the quality and style definitely supports the price point – these feel like items you’d have in your closet for a long time to come.

You can find Karen Kane clothing online at their site or on Amazon, along with retailers such as Nordstrom nationwide.

Note: I received an outfit to facilitate my review, but all opinions are honest and are my own. I was not compensated monetarily.