$100 iTunes Gift Card Giveaway!

No matter what kind of music you’re into – rap, rock, metal, country, or classical, you are going to LOVE our iTunes giveaway!  Your Strong Tower and Super Frugal Stephanie are excited to co-host this great giveaway sponsored by FatWallet!     Four lucky winners will each win a $25 iTunes gift card!

iTunes isn’t just music!  You can spend your gift card on apps for iPhone, digital movies to watch on Apple TV, or e-books to read on your iPad.  Did you know that FatWallet offers 2.5% cash back on iTunes purchases and access to coupon codes?  In addition, they also offer 1% cash back at the Apple Store – so you can earn a little extra money when you purchase ear buds or a new cover for your iPad.

The contest runs from January 30th to February 3rd   Enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Open to US residents age 18 and up.  Winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 to respond and claim their prize.

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Meal Planning Monday ~ Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

             Last night’s new side dish was a complete and total failure!  I was attempting to make mashed cauliflower.  “Your family won’t know the difference between this and real mashed potatoes,” the recipe declared.  Yeah, right!  The texture was all wrong – more like sauerkraut than mashed potatoes.  The taste was okay, but hubby and I thought it would be a waste of good gravy, and made some instant mashed potatoes instead.  The failed kitchen experiment went into the trash.

            Mistakes and flops are a part of life, even in the kitchen.  Sometimes it’s the cook’s fault and sometimes the cause is a bad recipe.  I’ve resolved to try at least one new recipe per week this year.  I’m sure I will find some new favorites, but I expect that some will be mediocre and a few will be total flops. I used to take failure in the kitchen very personally, but I’ve realized there’s no point in beating myself up over it.  My new motto is: Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

            I’ve actually been trying quite a few recipes and cooking methods to go along with my recent Detox Drop and Carb Stepping process with the Diet Free Life methodology.   So I have been searching for some yummy recipes that are lower in carbs, thus the mashed cauliflower experiment.  I’ve even created a Pinterest board for those low carb recipes I want to try.  Below is my meal plan for this week.

Monday ~ Mmmm Chicken, sautéed mushrooms, and parmesan baked zucchini.  This chicken is a new recipe, and it looks easy and delicious.  Put four boneless chicken breasts in a glass baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of sour cream (I’ll use reduced fat sour cream) and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.  Spread over chicken breasts in a baking dish.  Sprinkle Italian bread crumbs on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Tuesday ~ Eggplant Rollitini with a spinach salad.

Wednesday ~ Out to dinner with a friend to one of my favorite restaurants – BoneFish!

Thursday ~ Fish tacos and refried beans.  My version of fish tacos is very easy.  Season some tilapia with Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime seasoning.  Pan-fry it with some olive oil cooking spray.  Divide among tortillas, and top with mixed salad greens, shredded cheese, some salsa or hot sauce, and guacamole.

Friday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

Saturday ~ Pesto Chicken Thighs in the crock pot with garlic roasted asparagus.

Sunday ~ Lately Nick and I have been eating Mexican carry out on Sundays.  If not, I will make my “grown up grilled cheese” sandwiches and vegetable soup.

Total Money Makeover Book Giveaway

Your Strong Tower is excited to host this giveaway for a copy of The Total Money Makeover, sponsored by DaveRamsey.com! This book contains the 7 Baby Steps for attaining true financial peace.  If you’d like to build up your savings, pay off your debt, and get your spending under control, this giveaway is definitely for you.  This incredible book has spent 140 weeks (that’s almost 3 years!) on the New York Times Best Seller List, and has been recently updated.  As a Dave Ramsey Financial Counselor, I recommend this book to all my coaching clients.

            So, if you are serious about keeping your financial resolutions this year, I recommend that you add this book to your reading list whether you win it or not.  Be sure to check out Dave’s Facebook page, too!  It’s chock-full of great articles and encouragement to help you stay on track with your financial goals.

            Entering the giveaway is easy with the Rafflecopter below.  Contest starts on Wednesday, January 23rd and ends on Friday, January 25th.  Open to US residents age 18 and up.  DaveRamsey.com is responsible for prize shipment.  Winner must respond to email notification within 48 hours; otherwise another winner will be selected.

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Meal Planning Monday ~ Mix It Up

We all need to shake things up occasionally to get ourselves out of a rut.  This is also true for Meal Planning!  If you keep eating the same meals over and over again, you’re going to be tempted to ditch the meal plan and order takeout.  You don’t have to try strange and exotic recipes – unless you want to – to mix things up and inject some variety into your dinners.  Here are some easy ways to do this.

  • Buy in-season fruits and veggies and devise your meal plan around them.  I love going to my local co-op and seeing what’s on sale.  I just bought four pounds of blueberries for $7 this week, so there will be blueberry pancakes, muffins, and berry smoothies on my breakfast menu.  I’ll be freezing a good portion of them for later use, too.
  • Mix up your meats.  If you typically make spaghetti with meatballs, try a different pasta dish like lasagna, chicken cacciatore, cheese ravioli, or eggplant rollitini.  The same thing goes for tacos.  If you usually make them with ground beef, try using canned chicken, pork cooked in the slow cooker, ground chicken, or even some fish tacos.
  • Mix up your cooking methods.  Usually grill your steaks and chicken breasts?  Try pan searing steak or broiling chicken this week.  Do you always cook your rice or potatoes the exact same way?  Try adding different seasonings or beans to your rice.  There are so many ways to prepare potatoes, so pick one you don’t usually do – baked, mashed, boiled, oven fried, hash browned, or fried in a skillet with onions and butter.
  • Incorporate a new side dish into a family favorite.  Instead of having mashed potatoes with your meatloaf and green beans, try some parmesan potatoes or mac and cheese.  Instead of rice and beans with your tacos, try some spicy quinoa instead.

            Be adventurous and work a few new meals, side dishes, or cooking methods into your meal plan in the next few weeks.  What are some of your tips and tricks to keep boredom from infecting your dinner time?

Ky Girl’s Crafts Valentine’s Shirt or Onesie

Happy Win It Wednesday!  We’ve got a special Valentine’s Day themed three-day giveaway from KY Girl’s Crafts!  If you’re the winner, you’ll receive a custom embroidered onesie or toddler t-shirt of your choice with your child’s name on it!

KY Girl’s Crafts’ prices are VERY reasonable!  Many of their shirts are only $10.75 plus shipping and they will embroider your child’s name for FREE.  They will also do custom embroidery for you.  Check out the adorable Valentine’s, Easter, and spring designs they offer!  You can find additional designs on KY Girl’s Crafts Etsy page.

Entering the contest is easy with the Rafflecopter form below.  You can earn extra entries by commenting here on the blog and telling us which Valentine’s design is your favorite!  Contest runs through Friday night.  Good luck!  I’ll draw a winner on Saturday morning.

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Mommy Bear Media Giveaway

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Have you ever heard of Mommy Bear Media? It is a great site that sells family friendly movies. I really like how they rate each movie, so you can tell at a glance how family friendly it is. They always have deals going on and a great assortment of movies. They have new movies, old movies, video games, TV shows and even exercise videos. Mommy Bear Media currently has a clearance sale, a BIG sale (over 50% off), and a Faith and Family movies sale.

Plus, all orders have FREE 2 to 5 day shipping!

Katrina, from Enchanted Savings, also received a $25 gift code to Mommy Bear Media. She ordered Ice Age: Continental Drift. She has also ordered from Mommy Bear Media before and was very happy with her order, the deal she got, and the fast shipping.

Would you like to win a $25 gift code to Mommy Bear Media? Just enter on the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway will run until 11:59 PM EST on Friday, 1/18.

Good Luck!

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Meal Planning Monday ~ Cold Weather Means Comfort Food

This week’s post is by Leah Kelley.

I am not a fan of winter, but I am a fan of cold-weather comfort food.  Cold weather makes me want to eat chicken and dumplings with cherry cobbler for dessert.  Here are some of my favorite comfort foods.

  • Chicken and Dumplings ~ I especially love the fact that I can make these in the crock pot!
  • Chili ~ I’m a fan of chunky chili, with lots of meat, lots of beans, and lots of tomatoes.  I’ve recently started making black bean chili for my husband and it’s growing on me.
  • Cobbler ~ When I think of comfort desserts this is at the top of my list.  Blueberry and Cherry cobbler are my favorites.  Not only is it delicious, it’s easy to make!
  • Chicken Noodle Soup ~ I make some mean soup!  I’ll share my easy recipe below.
  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup ~ This is one of the times it’s completely okay to use Velveeta cheese.  I’ve tried recipes with and without Velveeta and the recipes with it always win hands down.

We still have two months of winter left, so warm up your family with some comfort food favorites tonight!

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • Diced Carrots
  • Chopped Celery
  • 2 Cartons of Chicken Broth or Homemade chicken broth
  • Italian Seasoning

 

Throw all these in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high 4 hours.  30 minutes before you serve put in a cup of egg noodles.  Remember noodles expand!  I learned that the hard way.

 

Coming Soon! XBox Bundle Giveaway ~ Blogger Sign Up

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Xbox Bundle Giveaway Event

Hosted by: Mom to Bed by 8 and Giveaway Bandit

Prize Package includes: Xbox 360 S Console, 250GB Hard Drive, Kinect Sensor, Wireless Controller, Kinect Adventures and Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do

Event dates: 2/15 – 3/1

Free Blogger Event: Sign Up HERE

Debt = Financial Cancer

Debt can be as dangerous to your finances as cancer is to your body!  See why I think this is so and learn the  steps to start turning your situation around with my guest post for the Healthy Time Magazine!  (Article is found on page 14.)

Win It Wednesday ~ Unclaimed Prizes

There’s nothing quite like a New Year to make you want to start with a clean slate.  That’s why I’m cleaning out my prize closet!  It seems there are several flash giveaway prizes that no one claimed.  Can you believe it?  Here are the prizes that are up for grabs:

  • Purple cosmetic bag loaded with Clinique and Estee Lauder deluxe-sized samples.
  • A Dave Ramsey cash envelope wallet.
  • Full-sized Avon Vanilla Body Lotion & Body Spray.

There will be three winners – one for each prize!  Which one do you want to win?

            Contest starts on Wednesday, January 9th  and ends on Friday, January 11th .  Open to US residents age 18 and up.  Your Strong Tower is responsible for the prize shipments.

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