Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cheaters are NOT tolerated!

I have had one user, listed as Susan Dean, enter all of my giveaways and actually completed NONE of the entries.  This is cheating and will NOT be tolerated on my blog.  This is the third time this has happened and I again have deleted all entries by this person.

Bloggers beware.....

Facebook profile is: https://www.facebook.com/SusanDean089

I hope I'm clear on this.  As a frequent entrant of giveaways, I hope that all bloggers check their entries for validity and remove those that aren't valid, and I am certainly doing the same on my site.

Chris Mann's New Album- Released Today!


I posted earlier this week about Chris Mann's new album getting ready to come out, well today is the today.  One year after Chris Mann appeared on #TheVoice, his debut album, #Roads, is out!  I was pleased to be able to listen to the entire album before it was released and I already have some favorite songs.  I really liked the title track, Roads, the best.  I also thought Blower's Daughter, On a Night Like This, and Viva La Vida were great songs.

If I had to compare him to any artist that I'm familiar with, I'd say it'd have to be Josh Groban.  Chris has a melodic and clear tone that is best suited to beautiful songs and not pop music.  His singing is beautiful and most of the songs on this album are slow, so you don't have to worry about disturbing others if you're listening to it at work.  I would categorize his music as easy listening, although I don't know what the official tag is that Universal Music has put on him.

You can purchase the album on iTunes or Amazon now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Have a Nestle Halloween at Walmart- Coupons & Recipes!

Nestlé® Fall Favorites Banner 7

I love, love, love good recipes and holidays seem to bring out the inner cook in everyone.  Nestle and Walmart are teaming up to offer some great deals for this Halloween and I thought I'd share with you since I know how much you all love to eat and save money at the same time.

Take a look at this yummy cookie concoction....ooohhhh, I can't wait to make this!

Nestlé® Fall Favorites Banner 7
Peppermint Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Right now, Walmart and Nestle are offering a coupon to get a FREE bag of classic Nestle candy including Crunch and Butterfinger when you buy 4 Tombstone pizzas. Print your coupon and stock up at Walmart before this Wednesday. Access the coupon in the Halloween section of the page which will be gone right after Halloween! 

Get this coupon and awesome recipes here on Walmart's website!

Information provided by Lunchbox.  I received no compensation to post this information.

Duracell Batteries: Trust Your Power - NFL's Patrick Willis

I watched this short video and was just awestruck at what this young man has come through in his life.  This is so inspiring and goes to show you that no matter what your background or disadvantages, you can endure, succeed, and become a part of something great.  God bless this man and his family for the strength and power he has shown to everyone.

Shared as a member of the Smiley360 group.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Neato Robotics Automatic Vacuum Cleaner Giveaway- ends 11/21

Neato Robotics 

Welcome to the Neato Robotics giveaway event hosted by Real Mom Reviews.  Cleaning sometimes takes a back seat to everything else in my hectic life and there are days that I wish there was some way I could automatically clean my floors.  Now, if I could just find something that will do the laundry, bathroom, and dishes for me, I'd be set!  
 Neato XV-21 
The Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner is specially designed for pet owners and allergy sufferers. With the most powerful suction of any robot vacuum, the XV-21 picks up dirt, debris, and even the toughest pet hair. The Neato XV-21′s special filter retains more than three times the amount of fine dust particles as standard filters, which is perfect for removing allergens from the home. A new combination bristle and blade brush improves the pick-up of pet hair, dander and fibers. 

One super lucky reader will win a Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner to enter all you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Please make sure you read the Giveaway Rules before you enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chris Mann Album - Pre-Order Now!


Chris Mann first appeared on the opening season of The Voice.  While I've not been a huge fan of that show, I think this is a really nice album by a gifted artist.  His debut album will be released 10/30, but you can listen to samples of the album on Amazon right now (and probably iTunes, but I don't have an account there to check).

Preview and pre-order it here:  

Amazon - http://amzn.to/XQpJc8
iTunes - http://bit.ly/SgkwJb


Information and links provided by One2One Network.  A copy of the album will be provided as compensation for posting about this release, but as always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest.

$50 and $25 Paypal Giveaways from All About the Mommies- ends 11/14


I'm pleased to be a part of several other bloggers to bring you this awesome giveaway where you can win Paypal cash!!!  This giveaway is right on time for some Christmas shopping season.  Will you put a little extra something in your own stocking if you win or use it for something else?

All About the Mommies is celebrating their 12,000 Facebook fans by giving away $75 in Paypal cash! All About the Mommies is a blog featuring coupon deals, freebies, internet & retail shopping, recipes, giveaways, and much more! A big thank you to our co-hosts Saving My Family Money, Dream World Traveler, and Lovingly Mama!

This giveaway will run from October 24th at 12:01 am EST until November 14th at 11:59 pm EST. The giveaway is open worldwide to people 18 years and older. The grand prize winner will win $50 Paypal Cash! The 2nd winner will receive $25 in Paypal Cash!

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. You must complete the mandatory entries to be eligible to win. You may complete as many of the other entries as you like, the more you complete, the greater your chances of winning! GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclaimer: SWVA Saving Money was not compensated for this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is void where prohibited. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Picket Fence Blogs, or Reclip.It.

Monday, October 22, 2012

First Annual Hunter's Giveaway- ends 11/12

 Welcome to the First Annual Hunters Giveaway hosted by Andersons Angels.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that my family is big into self-sufficient living, and for us, that includes hunting.  I'm pleased to help out a fellow blogger in an awesome giveaway for those who love to be outdoors (or want to start)!

This event will end on November 12th at 11:59pm EST.  There are multiple bloggers participating in this event, so be sure to head on over here to get the hop linkys!

Grand prize is:
Mathews Inc. - Hat and 2 Decals
ThermaCELL - Mosquito Repellent and Holster
Teton Sports - Sleeping Bag!!
Prize Value - $200

a Rafflecopter giveaway
SWVA Saving Money is not responsible for moderating the giveaway, choosing winners, or shipping of the prizes.  I have not received any compensation for this post or giveaway.

Canned spiced apples in light syrup

I don't know about you, but I love the fall.  I love the fall foods like pumpkin, apples, and spinach.  Over the last couple years, I've been making homemade applesauce and apple butter in the crock pot and then canning it for storage or gifts.  If you've done this before, you know what a pain peeling by hand can be, so I never went beyond these two recipes.

Now that I have my new peeler, I decided to delve into making canned spiced apples because my family loves the spiced fried apples I make so much.  It was so super easy that I can't wait to get another box of apples and start again.  Here's how to do it:

  • Bring water/sugar mixture to a simmer in a small pot and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  I used 2 quarts of water and 3 cups of sugar.  You can do more or less depending on your desired syrup thickness and sweetness.
  • Peel, core, and slice your apples- I used the Victorio peeler I mentioned above to peel the apples and then used an apple corer/wedger to core and slice them.
  • Place the apple wedges in clean canning jars (I used pints).  Add 1/8 tsp Nutmeg, 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or more or less to your taste) to the jars.
  • Fill jars with sugar/water mixture, leaving 1/2" head space.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and place lid and ring on.
  • Boiling water bath for 20 minutes (for pints).  
These are great on oatmeal, as a snack, or with dinner.  ENJOY!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cameras for Blogging and General Use

I've been on a quest to find a camera that will take better photos of food and products that I review for my blog.  The problem is, there are seriously a gazillion cameras, lenses, etc out there and I don't have a lot of photography experience to know what to look for.  What's the first thing everyone does when they're researching a product....THEY ASK GOOGLE!  :)  I searched a bunch of blogs for their ideas on the best cameras for blogging that aren't made for serious photographers.

I found this post that promoted a few cameras, but didn't really seem to have enough information and real life experience for me, so I continued the hunt.  THEN....I ran upon this post that was superb, so great in fact that I pinned it to my Pinterest board for later reference.  This post surveys well known food bloggers and gives the honest pros and cons to the camera of their choice, with sample shots of each camera.  If you're searching for a camera for food blogging, I highly recommend you go there and read the information.

Based on this research, I chose these two cameras to look at further:

Product Image
Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

Product Image
Canon Rebel XS 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black)

Both of these cameras run anywhere from $500-650 depending on where you go and if it's on sale or not.  Now this seemed a little out of my comfortable price range for an amateur blogger who only blogs for fun, not for a living.  I talked to some people who had the Nikon and they said it's really for a more experienced photographer who wants to adjust their f-stops, etc.  I'm not looking for something that's going to take 3 hours to read a manual on and that my hubby can't pick up and take a photo.  If I want to travel, I also don't want to lug around something that heavy, expensive, and with attachments.  So, I decided to check a little further and found this mid-range camera:

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Image Stabilized Zoom 25mm Wide-Angle Lens and 1080p Full-HD Video (Black)

This camera runs anywhere from $250-375, depending on where you go and current sales.  I found it on Amazon Wednesday for $265.  I also found someone that owns this camera and took food photos with it.  The quality isn't as awesome as the $600 camera, I'm sure, but it's worlds better than my little Kodak EasyShare camera.  He even took photos of a baseball game from the nosebleed seats with the 20x zoom and the photos came out crystal clear like he was sitting on the front row.  So, half the price, less than half the weight, and point and shoot with the ability to make high-end manual adjustments sounded pretty good to me.  I bought it Wednesday from Amazon and it should be here tonight.  I'll let you know how it works and post some photos with both my cameras so we can all see the real-life difference.

So, what kind of camera do you have?  Do you blog with it or is it just for family use?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Deals in the area today 10/17/12

I don't post every internet freebie or deal I see around because many of them are flooded on other sites and some aren't all that great of a deal.  Here's a couple that seem to be pretty good and are one-day only deals.

Spend image 

My Coke Rewards has a one-year subscription to Cooking Light magazine for just 150 points TODAY ONLY!  This is a great magazine and I believe you can also get the digital subscription free with the print subscription if I remember correctly!

Kroger's daily Cart Buster deal of the day is BOGO Chef Boyardee can or cup.  You can only load this to your card today and it expires 10/31/12.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops Review

Ever had the need for some throat soothing without all the calories of sweet mints and the medicines in the cough drops?  It's wood stove season time here in Virginia and one thing firing up the wood stove is sure to do is dry out my sinuses and throat.  I don't like taking cough drops that have menthol and other medicine ingredients in them when I'm not sick, and I don't want to get the calories from constantly having a caramel hard candy in my mouth either.  Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops are just the thing I'm looking for when I need some soothing in my throat due to dry weather and the wood stove.  These drops only have 5 calories each and are okay to give children over the age of 3.

Pine Bros. has been a trusted brand since 1870 and is made right here in the United States!  I always try and support local companies and when it comes to larger brands, I prefer companies based in the U.S. with products made here instead of outsourced overseas.

The Softish Throat Drops come in Cherry and Natural Honey.  Hubby and I preferred the Natural Honey while my teenagers thought the Cherry flavor was delicious.  These drops aren't sweet like mints or other sugary drops, but they're just naturally sweet enough to be pleasant.  What's also neat is you can get the drops either in a bag (not individually wrapped) or a handy puck that you can keep in your car, purse, or at work.  I like that I can use them as a quick "mint" or for actual throat soothing needs.  The taste isn't overpowering and there isn't an odor like you get with other menthol drops.

Have you tried these yet?  They're available now at CVS/Pharmacy's nationwide.

For more on the entire story of the Pine Bros. brand, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Noxicare Natural Pain Relief Review & Giveaway, ends 10/31

I recently tried out Noxicare's Natural Pain Relief cream.  Noxicare™ Natural Pain Relief is a breakthrough natural, patented pain relief formula that is a proprietary combination of 7 of the world’s most potent natural pain relievers that quickly and effectively alleviate inflammation, muscle aches and nerve pain—with NO known side effects and without a prescription.  Their natural pain reliever is basically odor free, so you don't get that strong smell that everyone around you can smell too.  The cream goes on just like lotion and doesn't have any greasy feel to it and won't ruin your clothes.

I found that the cream worked nicely for minor muscle and nerve pains.  I tried it on the neuroma on my arm and it seemed to soothe the irritation I had while doing housework.  I also tried it on my back after we did a lot of heavy working during the remodel of our bathroom and it didn't completely relieve the pain, but it did soothe it some.  I would recommend this cream for minor aches and pains in the muscle, joints, and nerves, but you might want to keep the ibuprofen close by for the heavy-duty pains.  I definitely like that this product is all natural and smell/grease free so I can feel free to use it for those minor aches that don't quite need something stronger.  Think I'll be carrying this in my work bag with me from now on!

Now for the best part!  Noxicare is graciously offering two of my readers the chance to win a tube of their Natural Pain Relief cream for themselves!  Giveaway ends 10/31 at 12:01 AM EST.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cook'n Recipe Organizer Review & Giveaway- ends 10/27

I recently tried out the Cook'n Recipe Organizer software, along with one of their add-on Fix & Forget It cookbooks.  Cook'n is an all-inclusive program that allows the user to buy recipe "books" from DVO, import recipes from websites, add your own personal recipes, and much more.  You can create menus, shopping lists, get nutritional information, print cookbooks, and customize the look and feel of the user interface.  You can access your recipes from any internet connected pc, android phone or tablet, or your iPhone.  That being said, according to their website, they have yet to get the sync interface to work and you may have to buy an app for that mobile device to be able to sync between your devices..

While you can add photos to recipes in the software, the photos that come with the software are very limited...there's only 116 recipes with photos out of 882 recipes that I have pre-loaded in the software.  It is very nice that you can add your own though so you can remind yourself exactly what the dish should look like or include them in your printed recipe book.

My favorite feature of this program is that you can scale recipes based upon your desired number of servings.  No more trying to calculate out what 2.5 times a recipe made for 2 means for the ingredient list.  The software does it for you!!!  Another really neat feature is that you can search for recipes based on ingredients you have on hand.  I like to do a pantry clearing month for my recipes, so this is a perfect fit for me.

The only thing I really had an issue with is the recipe search & capture feature that imports recipes you find on the web into your recipe book.  I can't see any way to type in a specific web address for when you know exactly where the recipe is that you want.  I was able to type in the web address in the "exact wording or phrase" search box and get the web page to come up.  Unfortunately, when I tried to capture the recipe, it didn't import anything other than the wrong title.  I was able to find a web page that it worked right on, but it seems hit and miss or it depends on how the website/blogger posted the recipe.  On other web recipes I kept getting an error message that the formatting is unknown or non-existent.

Cook'n Is The Easiest Way to...

You can check them out on Facebook or on Pinterest!  Or head to their website to take a look at more features of their program and all of the awesome cookbooks that you can purchase as an add-on for your Cook'n software.

I'd say this is a great piece of software for those who want to keep a permanent record of their recipes easily accessible, modifiable, and shareable.  They're constantly adding new cookbooks and software updates, so I am certain that this great software will be in the exceptional category in no time.

Want to try this out for yourself for FREE?  Enter this giveaway in the rafflecopter form below for your chance.  Contest ends 10/28 at 1201 EST.  OPEN TO US AND CANADA!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tasty Thursday - 10/11

I have fallen in love with the Progresso Recipe Starters (like you couldn't tell...this being my third post about it) and I wanted to share with you my latest creation...this time using the Creamy Parmesan Basil sauce.  I got the recipe from their website and gathered my ingredients.  I didn't use their ingredients exactly as stated because I pre-cook and shred chickens I cook in the crock pot and I make my own beans and freeze them after cooking.

  • Ingredients

    • 2 2/3 cups uncooked penne pasta (8 oz)
    • 2 cups chopped deli rotisserie chicken
    • 1 can (19 oz) Progresso® cannellini beans or other canned white beans, drained, rinsed
    • 1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ creamy Parmesan basil cooking sauce
    • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    • 1 cup diced tomato
    • 1/4 cup Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
  • Directions

    1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Heat oven to 375°F.
    2. In ungreased 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish, place pasta, chicken and beans. In small bowl, mix cooking sauce, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over top of pasta, chicken and beans.
    3. Cover with foil. Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil; top with tomato and bread crumbs. Bake uncovered 5 to 8 minutes or until top just starts to brown and mixture is bubbly.

Here's the final product (yep, a serving is missing out of it because I couldn't stop the kids quick enough before I grabbed the camera).

This was a great dish, but I recommend the following changes:

  • This needed a lot of salt....could be because I chose to use beans that weren't canned.
  • It didn't have a lot of zing to it, so next time I make it, I'll add some red pepper flakes to the sauce.
How about you.....have you tried any of their Recipe Starters yet, and if so....did you use one of their recipes or make one of your own?

Neato XV-21 Giveaway Event- Coming Soon!

I am participating in the FREE Neato Robotics giveaway event hosted by Real Mom Reviews. One super lucky reader will win a Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner  

Cost: Free with announcement post or 3.00 with out.  
Giveaway Open to: US only.  
The event dates: October 24th-November 21st.  
Free Link Option: Facebook  
Optional Paid Link Options: $2.00 for Twitter or Pinterest To sign up for this event click here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Must-Have Kitchen Tools

It's no secret to those around me.....I LOVE kitchen gadgets and tools. However, I am not one of those people who has everything under the sun in their kitchen, I only love stuff that works and is useful. I don't buy gadgets just because they're cool or because I might use it once a year, I buy them for functionality. I've had some dud gadgets and I've had some phenomenal ones. Here are the ones I just don't think I'd be happy without...sometimes it's not necessarily the brand of the product, but sometimes it is.
I love my garlic press.  I use garlic in almost every dish and the thought of having to finely chop and press every single clove is enough to make me cry.  I have the Pampered Chef garlic press now, but I've heard some good things about this OXO press.  What I love most is that you can put the garlic in the press without having to take the time to peel it first.


I fell in love with this Zyliss can opener the day I opened the package.  It doesn't slip off the can, it's smooth to operate, and it locks into place while you're opening the can so you don't have to exert continuous pressure.  My son is left handed, so he's broken all our other can openers, but this one works great for left or right handed people.

I've blogged about the many benefits of this apple peeler, corer, slicer before.  If you want to read the full review, check it out here.  Needless to say, this is a fantastic product for those who do a lot of apple dishes or canning in the fall.  It's saved me a ton of time and hand pain and I don't think this is one item that I'd want to do without.

This is such an awesome and versatile product.  The main use is as an immersion blender for things like making mashed potatoes, gravies, soup base, etc.  However, you can get some affordable attachments for this as well that turn it into a mini food chopper/processor, a high speed whisk, etc.  I use this all the time to avoid pulling out the bigger appliances.

I love this little appliance because of it's versatility.  Not only can you use it as your main toaster, but you can often times avoid using the main oven when you're making smaller dishes like scalloped potatoes, brownies, small batches of corn muffins, etc.  It saves me a lot off of my electric bill and also time in pre-heating the oven.

I could go on and on about some of the other essentials in my kitchen, but we'll save that for a later time!  So, do you own any of these?  What's on your "essential kitchen gadget" list?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Step 2 LifeStyle Legacy Kitchen Giveaway - ends 10/30

It's getting to be that time where mom's everywhere are starting to think about Christmas presents for the little ones.  My kids always loved play sets that made them feel like a "big kid".  While my kids are way too old for a kitchen play set, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a part of this great giveaway.  I know that this is something my readers would love to win....so come on and enter.  GOOD LUCK to everyone!

With Christmas just around the corner Real Mom Reviews, myself and a bunch of other bloggers have teamed up to bring you one of this years hottest gifts! The Step2 LifeStyle Legacy Kitchen is a fun-size kitchen that is perfect for any space with loads of value packed into a fun, multi-level kitchen great for any age boy of girl!
Features Include:
  • Fun, tasteful color and surface decals
  • Multi-level counter tops with sink & swivel faucet, two stove burners with clicking knobs, and a fun cutting board decal.
  • Accessory set includes 2 full place settings, 5-piece serving set, salt & pepper shakers, 3 bins for storage, coffee pot, phone, pot holder, and a pot and pan with lids
  • 2 electronic features include stove and phone
  • 2 "Woven" storage baskets and 1 recycle basket fit underneath
  • Bake a treat in the oven or make a quick snack in the microwave
  • Realistic refrigerator features "water" dispenser
  • Loads of built-in storage makes clean up a breeze
  • Durable poly construction
  • Minimal adult assembly required
One super lucky reader will win a Step2 LifeStyle Legacy Kitchen. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on 10/30 at 11:59pm! Please make sure you read the Giveaway Rules before you enter!

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Disclaimer: SWVA Saves Money is not responsible for shipping this item to the winner. No compensation was received for this post.

15 Bonus Points from My Coke Rewards! (expires 10/31)

Diet Coke
From now until the end of October, if you enter 5 Diet Coke codes on their site, you'll be automatically credited with 15 bonus points after you enter the 5th code!

Keurig Vue V700 Giveaway- ends 10/29

American Family is a super fun site that has online coupons, sweepstakes, quizzes, recipes and other great activities to take part in.  When you complete activities, you earn points that you can use to enter to win awesome prizes.  It's free to join and fun to be a part of.  Join now and check it out!

Mom Powered Media presents a Keurig Vue V700 Giveaway!

Prize Sponsored by American Family

The perfect way to warm you up just in time for the cold weather to come!

US Only - Ends October 29, 2012 @ 11:59pm EST

It’s free to join American Family and if you sign up to join them through this event you will also receive a free e-book filled with Fall Harvest recipes to complement your coffee with your new Keurig!

EARN BONUS POINTS FOR THE GIVEAWAY just for signing up for the the awesome e-book!

About the Keurig Vue V700 {$229 Retail Value}

The Keurig® Vue® V700 Brewing System gives you total control to brew your way: stronger, bigger, hotter and with more choices than ever before. With an interactive Touchscreen and revolutionary new Custom Brew Technology™ Vue® ensures every beverage is brewed to perfection, giving you perfect results – every cup, every time. 8 brew sizes, removable 74oz water reservoir and your choices are nearly limitless. In addition to coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages, Vue® brews delicious café and specialty beverages as well. This product is BPA free. Now you can fully customize your cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, iced beverage, specialty or café beverage to brew what you love, the way you love it – every time!

Now for the fun go and enter the giveaway on the rafflecopter below for this awesome Keurig Vue V700 brewing system for the chance to enjoy some warm and toasty moments compliments of this prize. Remember you can earn more points if you sign up for the American Family Harvest Recipes E-book! Please remember to only claim the entries you’ve actually followed through on as we will verify entries. Anyone who claims entries they did not follow through on will have all entries disqualified and may be disqualified from future events. Thanks for keeping it fair for everyone! Open to US residents 18 years of age and over only.

Now go and enter and GOOD LUCK!

Disclaimer: SW Virginia Saving Money is not responsible for prize delivery or shipment. I received no compensation for this post.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Progresso Recipe Starters - Chicken Parmesan

Photo credit: Progresso.com - Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

I have gotten hooked on the Progresso Recipe Starters since I was first offered the opportunity to try them as a BzzAgent.  I have bought the Fire Roasted Tomato sauce several times and love every recipe I've tried from their website (with a few modifications).  Tonight, I made the Chicken Parmesan recipe and I loved it basically as the recipe is written.  I don't like to use spaghetti noodles with dishes other than spaghetti, so I used rotini noodles.  I also didn't have any mozzarella, so I just used extra shredded parmesan.  I forgot to take a picture of the meal before everyone was digging in, but this stock photo from Progresso is pretty close to real life.

This dish was an absolute hit with everyone from the picky teens to the hubby that generally likes the standard faves and doesn't really like to try new things.  I thought this recipe was fabulous and it really was easy to make.  Everything other than the pasta is all in one pan and there's no need to fire up the oven for this one! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Skoy Cleaning Cloths Review

I recently had the opportunity to give Paperless Kitchen's Skoy cleaning cloths a try.  These cloths take the place of sponges, paper towels, dish rags, and other one-time or multi-use cleaning cloths.  Skoy's are 100% bio-degradable, which I love, because when they're no longer useable I can just toss them into my compost pile.  Paperless Kitchen's website said one Skoy cloth can hold 15 times their weight in liquid.  Of course, being the curious person I am, I decided to give the Skoy a little test to see just how much one cloth could hold.  I filled a measuring cup up with 1 cup of water and then put a dry Skoy cloth in there.  Once I thought it had soaked up all it could, I held it up and let the overflow drip off of it.  Once all the dripping stopped, I found that the cloth held 1/3 cup of water without dripping.  That's pretty darned amazing considering there's no way on earth a paper towel can hold anywhere near that.

You can toss these babies in the washer and dryer to clean or you can microwave them to kill bacteria.  I put one in the washer and dryer and it came out a lot smaller than it started, but as soon as it got wet again, it went right back to it's normal size.  I've been using them now for several weeks and haven't had any issues at all.  One side has a quilted pattern to it while the other side has a more aggressive ridge pattern.  According to Paperless Kitchen's website, one Skoy cloth can take the place of up to 15 rolls of paper towels....that's a HUGE savings in dollars as well for the trees.

You can check out their Skoy cloths and other great reusable and environment friendly items on their website.  You can also find their products on Amazon and other internet retailers.

Disclosure: I received product for review at no charge.  All opinions are my own and are 100% honest.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cellfire Coupons - October 2012

These offers are valid at Kroger and Kroger subsidiaries, Carrs, Genuardi's, Randall's, Tom Thumb, Shop 'n Save, Foodtown, and Harps. These offers will be available from 10/1 - 10/31 and they expire on 11/15/12.PB Rolled Pie Crusts Save $.75 Save $0.75 when you buy TWO packages of Pillsbury® Rolled Refrigerated Pie Crusts.
Totinos® Party Pizza Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy FIVE any flavor/variety Totino’s® Crisp Crust Party Pizza® Products.
Cascadian Farm® Save $.75
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Review & Giveaway -ends 10/13

I recently received the opportunity to try the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  I have to be honest, I have never tried coconut oil before and had no earthy idea how to use it. Thankfully, Tropical Traditions set up a website for people just like me that includes some awesome recipes.  I plan on trying the Coconut Oil Pie Crust Recipe next as soon as I can find a suitable coconut cream pie filling recipe to go with it.

I wasn't able to find a recipe on the website that suited me just now or included things I had on hand, so I went to AllRecipes.com and looked for a coconut cake recipe.  I wasn't exactly sure how using coconut oil in a non-coconut recipe would turn out, so I opted to try for the safe bet first.  Once I opened the coconut oil and read more about it, I realized that this is so versatile and can be used in place of any liquid oil or solid lard product.  You can heat it to become a liquid oil to use in anything from frying to baking and then cool it to use as a solid fat for things like biscuits in place of Crisco or butter.  It doesn't even smell like coconut, which I honestly expected it to.  I've definitely found a new product to replace several in my kitchen pantry.

Here's the Coconut Cream Cake I made, with a few modifications (which I'll detail below): 
  • I couldn't find coconut cream, so I used coconut milk.
  • I only used half of what it called for with the sweetened condensed milk since many of the reviews said it was too wet and sweet.
  • I used the coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil.
Outcome.....family LOVED IT!  I plan on making fried chicken next with the coconut oil.

Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Note for Canadian entrants: Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge for your prize.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.  Links in this post may contain referral links.