Great depression

Coupons, Coupons and More Coupons!

Times are tough.  The pundits on all of those financial news programs keep insisting that the economy is rebounding despite the fact the cost of living keeps increasing but take-home pay keeps diminishing.  Unemployment continues to be a Great Depression levels with no sign of getting better anytime soon.  America needs a little help.

coupon on WannabeTVchef.comOne place to get that help is one of the many coupon web sites out there.  Grocery and restaurant  coupons have gone 21st Century – online and printable.  But whether you frequent CouponMom, CouponBug or CoolSavings there are a few points of coupon etiquette to remember.

We’ll start with restaurant coupons because there are really only two rules.  The first rule is never ask the restaurant to give you something other than what is listed on the coupon – dickering is not allowed.  Period.  Second, coupons do not apply to the tip.  Your tip should be the same with or without the coupon.  If that puts you in a financial pinch, you can ‘t afford to eat out.  Other than those two rules couponing a restaurant is groovy.

Grocery coupons have a few more rules.

  • The first rule for restaurants also applies to grocery coupons or any coupons for that matter.  No dickering ever.  The conditions on the coupon are non-negotiable.  The retailer is fully within their rights to refuse your coupon if you try to alter the conditions listed on it.
  • Always, without fail, have all of your coupons ready to go.  If you have to dig for it forget it.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.The Coupon Mom on WannabeTVchef.com
  • If it works; it works.  If it doesn’t work; it doesn’t work.  Coupons are not binding contracts.  The people who issue them are free to change any or all aspects of the offer at any time for any reason without notifying the public.  The store does not have to honor the coupon.  Neither the producer nor the retailer should be penalized for a misprint that costs either profit.  So if the cashier scans it and it doesn’t work; move on.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
  • Price matching.  I am fully against retailers that price match but at the same time I get the business end of it.  What I do not understand is the person that pulls up to the register with a basket full of groceries and circulars from every grocer within a 100 mile radius.  If Winn Dixie has a better price on rump roast than Kroger then you need go to Winn Dixie to get it.  Retailers should have one register dedicated to price matching if they insist on following the practice.  If there is not a designated “price matching” lane then the customer should have to go to the customer service desk.  The people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.
  • Finally, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the people in line behind you should never be inconvenienced by your frugality.  If your coupon compulsion extends the check out process by more than a minute or so then you need to divide your savings equally among the other people in line behind you.  You owe them that.  You never have the right to decide how much of their time you waste.  Their time is more important than your bottom line.
  • Oh, one last rule.  The word is pronounced kyoo-pon or if you bow to it’s Frankish origins koo-pon but never koo-pun.  That just makes you sound silly.

Review: The $7 a Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook

Despite what the media and politician’s (let’s face it; they are the same thing) keep saying, the economy is only getting worse. Americans love their sequels but I don’t think the Great Depression II is one they have been looking forward to. Never the less it is here. The big wigs in DC may not be feeling the pinch but the rest of us are and like our predecessors we are pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Chef Susan IrbyTake Chef Susan Irby (the Bikini Chef) for instance who has just published her new The $7 a Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook (Adams Media, 2009). Irby is a cheflebrity who has cooked with the likes of Todd English and Ming Tsai and for the likes of Patrick Swayze, David Spade and Kate Segal. But in this 332 page guide she teaches you how to cook like a celebrity chef without blowing your fiscal or time budget.

The 301 recipes found within sound expensive but are not like the Grilled, Herb-Custed Pork Chops with White Wine Sauce ($6.96), Baked Tortillas with Crab and Basil ($6.60) and London Broil with Merlot Marinade ($7 flat). But what really sets Irby’s work apart from others is the way she gives you a basic recipe then teaches you how to elaborate on it. Take for instance the humble omelet; first the Bikini Chef gives her basic omelet recipe then she expands on it with the Roasted Red Pepper Omelet, Vegetarian Omelet and the Golden Apple Omelet made with both Parmesan and Bleu cheeses.

Each recipe is broken down with a chart that details prep time, cook time, total cost, calories, fat, protein, cholesterol and sodium content. The book consists of fifteen chapters thirteen of which are recipes. The first two are purely instructional with chapter one providing information for those new to the home cooking game include a list for a properly stocked pantry and freezer while chapter two is full of tips for shopping on a budget.

The $7 a Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook is perfect for the 20-something just starting out or the family that is having to reinvent itself because of trying economic times.

Review: The $7 a Meal Healthy Cookbook

The Bikini Chef, Susan Irby, has just published another $7 a Meal cookbook.  The $7 a Meal Healthy Cookbook (Adams Media) features over 300 nutritious, healthy recipes that you and your family will love.  Irby is a cheflebrity who has cooked with the likes of Todd English and Robert Irvine and for the likes of Patrick Swayze, Baby Face Edmonds and Katey Segal.  In this 332 page guide she teaches you how to cook like a celebrity chef without blowing your budget or your diet.

Irby starts the reader off with two very informative chapters on the basic elements of good nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.  Topics she is well versed in since she has cooking Bikini Cuisine since she was a child.  What is Bikini Cuisine? According to the chef-author-TV star it is “figure-flattering flavors.”

After the two instructional chapters, Irby then embarks on the 13 recipe filled chapters.  She starts off with breakfast (the most important meal of the day) then rolls through appetizers, salads, soups, entrées featuring proteins that fly, walk and swim.  There are chapters for vegetarians, on sandwiches and even desserts.  No stone is left uncovered.  Each recipe is broken down with a chart that details prep time, cook time, total cost, calories, fat, protein, cholesterol and sodium content.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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