Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Pasta Salad with Salami and Mozzarella

Bring on picnic season! This go-to salad from Real Simple is super easy and super tasty.

Cook 2 cups gemelli (or some other short pasta) according to the package directions; drain and rinse under cold water.

Toss in a large bowl with 2 cups chopped spinach, 1 cup grape tomatoes (halved), 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into pieces), and 2 ounces salami (cut into pieces).

Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

Transport the pasta mixture and vinaigrette separately; drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Favorite Things: Market Baskets

As I have revealed previously (over and over and over), I love monogramming! And I have been wanting a collapsible market tote. Today, I found this. Happiness. These would make a super cute birthday present or teacher gift or even for a new mom, filled with some baby goodies and mommy treats. I may need one in each color myself! I found it on an eBay store called Yellow Dog Embroidery which features lots of other cute monogrammed items such as toiletry bags and beach towel totes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Chatter: Summer Outings

I love being out and about in the summertime. Since the cost of fun outings can quickly add up, I always try to incorporate some free fun into the mix. This year, the kids are signed up for the summer reading program at the local library. There is a "bingo" card for them to keep track of their progress; when completed, they can turn it in and enter a raffle for Target and iTunes gift cards. Also, there are book readings and events, starting in mid- July and ending at the end of August, each Thursday at 4 pm at our branch. Best of all, they are really excited about something that does not cost me a penny!

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What free fun is on your schedule this summer?

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Summer Pasta from Sunset Magazine

Summer is my time to try new recipes. I've got more time to experiment and so many of the ingredients I like best are at their peak of freshness. I'm really excited about this one from Sunset Magazine.

12 oz. fettuccine
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. mild or hot Italian sausages, casings removed and broken into 1/2 in chunks
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 lb. zucchini, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to pot, and set aside.
In large nonstick frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring often, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a place and set aside. In the same pan over high heat, cook garlic, onion, and zucchini until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, pepper, and reserved sausage and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Combine sausage mixture with reserved pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan, reserving some for adding as you eat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Chatter: My First Rebates

Sometimes you have to see something to believe it, right? I was not so sure about mail-in rebates until this week. My first two rebates arrived today! The green check is from Hasbro. About 10 weeks ago, I paired some super coupons with already low prices to score 10 games for less than $30. (Read more about that here.) I also took advantage of a Swiffer promotion -- buy $20 worth of Swiffer products in a single transaction and get a $10 pre-paid Discover card in the mail. So, essentially, I got 4 boxes of Swiffer Wet cleaning cloths for $10. Not too bad when they are usually $7.99 per box. I think I see some more rebate schemes in my future.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Favorite Things: Moving Comfort Skort

Go ahead. Call me a girly girl. I adore this workout "skirt". In fact, I am not sure if I will ever wear running shorts again. The retail price isn't cheap but I scored a great deal on mine. After buying my running shoes, jacket, and socks at our local Fleet Feet, I had a $30 "rewards credit", making this skirt a whopping $15 including tax! Cha-ching.


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