Dinner Party Idea: DIY Ramen Potluck!

file5741236529320.jpg

We love to entertain. Dinner parties are a great way to have friends over to hang out and enjoy a good meal without breaking the budget.

We also love Ramen- not Top Ramen, but delicious, mouthwatering, tempting noodles, velvety broth, veggies, and soft boiled eggs. Doing a Ramen potluck is great way to try out new flavors that you may have never thought of.

In doing research for this article, I found out that there are so many ramen toppings and ingredients that I had never heard of (like corn, which you can see in the picture above). So some of the ingredients listed below may not make it into your potluck, but know that somewhere out there there is someone putting it on/in their ramen.

The host can provide the broth. As far as ramen broths, there are lots of options. I like Tonkatsu, which is pork and chicken based. Here is a great recipe.  Not interested in making it from scratch? You can buy Tonkatsu broth concentrate on Amazon.

If you are vegan, Ocean’s Halo makes a great seaweed based ramen broth. Miso is also a popular ramen soup base (Ocean’s Halo also makes great miso, pho, and veggie broth). We usually try to have two big pots of broth to choose from.

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 9.26.13 AM.pngAs far as noodles, you can get regular ramen noodles at any Asian grocery store (or most 99 Cents Only locations). I’m not talking about the kind that come in a little bag with a pouch of salty broth, those are fried so they cook super fast and aren’t really all that healthy.

I like the Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods. As a bonus these are gluten free and have protein in them. Our local Costco sells large packages, which is great for parties.

Some people like Soba noodles (thick buckwheat noodles), and some people like zoodles (the spiral cut zucchini “noodles”).

Now that you’ve got broth and noodles down, it’s time to get creative with toppings! Here are just a few ideas for guests to bring:

  • Eggs: I love a good soft-boiled egg on my ramen.
  • Scallions/green onions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Seaweed/Nori sheets
  • Canned Bamboo shoots (they will need to be rinsed and probably sliced to made bite-sized.
  • Corn Kernels (defrosted frozen, fresh, or canned with no salt- drained and rinsed).
  • Mayu/Black Garlic Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Fish Sauce
  • Kimchi
  • Fried Tofu
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sliced fresh Jalapeños
  • Fried or pan steamed Gyoza
  • Roasted /braised slices of pork (fattier cuts of pork are great in ramen)
  • Cooked Shrimp (I can’t really give you any other suggestions on cooking/serving, I’m allergic to shellfish)
  • Fish Cakes (available at your local Asian Market)
  • Bok Choy
  • Mushrooms (Sliced shiitakes are nice, as are enoki)

And some people like rice as a side to their ramen. I prefer sticky rice, it’s easier to eat with chopsticks.

If you’ve got friends that don’t cook, don’t forget you’ll need chopsticks, bowls, spoons, and beverages.

Talk Back: What is your favorite type of Ramen? 

Is Part of Your 2019 New Years Resolution to Save Money?

file7251237401168.jpgDoesn’t everyone want to save money?

There is no better time to start than January 1st- New Year, New Start!

If you want to start the year off with a frugal mind, check out my posts below. I wrote most of them a few years ago, but all the advice/tips/tricks are still applicable.

Here are the top ten resolutions, and tips on how to make them all happen!

Resolution: #1 Make More Money!
Resolution #2: I want to save money!
Resolution #3- Live a richer, fuller life (without spending more money)
Resolution #4- Spend More Time with your Family (without breaking the bank)!
Resolution #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight
Resolution #7: Get Organized
Resolution #8: Learn Something New
Resolution #9: Quit Smoking
Resolution #10: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you feel like you are too busy to “deal with” coupons:

6 Tips to Save Money WITHOUT Clipping Coupons!
How to save money without coupons: Part One- Meat!
How to save money without coupons: Part Two- Produce!
Simple Steps to Save at Target

I hope these tips and articles help!

 

Talk Back: How do you plan to save money in the new year?

HARRY’S Free Trial + Gift Sets

600x986Looking for a new razor for yourself or a loved one? I recently ordered a razor from Harry’s for myself, and I love it.

The shave is super close, and the price is super! When you purchase the trial, you receive a weighted rubberized handle, a five-blade razor cartridge, 2 oz of foaming shave gel, and a travel blade cover. And all you pay is shipping- $3!

Harry’s is a subscription service dedicated to providing their customers with a close and comfortable shave for less money! They offer high-quality razor handles and blades, as well as natural shaving gels. Before each shipment, you will get an email from them with enough time to modify or cancel your plan!

And if you need a gift, there are new Gift Sets available – Winter Winston Set $25, Truman Gift Set $20 and Winter Winston Deluxe Set $35

Click on SHOP GIFTS tab to get redirected to a page for 3 different Gift Set options.

Click on GET STARTED tab to get redirected to a page for the FREE Trial Set for $0, just pay shipping.

 

It’s Freebie Time!

8101f95433a1458fa8c2371f3b11b849So, I’m a few days late.. I’ve been busy getting ready for winter vacation. Lots of crafts to prep, gingerbread houses to decorate, and let’s not forget wrapping presents and  helping friends and family over the holiday.

 

None the less here are some pretty great freebies (and a couple swell deals).

Samples

Magazines

 

Deals/Events

Kiddolab Toys and Win a Trip to DisneyWorld!

Recently the cool people over at Kiddo Labs asked me to review a product from their website. Uh, yeah! I love reviewing toys!

unnamed-1.jpg

KiddoLab is a new brand which supports the initiative to provide babies with a solid foundation for the development of early skills during play. I love that all of the toys are made in vibrant colors with interesting textures and lights and/or sounds.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 5.44.31 PM.pngI chose the 2-in-1 Activity Center, which features:

  • AN OCEAN OF FUN CHARACTERS: This interactive activity center is decorated with adorable sea creatures including a fish, turtle, clam, crab, and starfish.
  • A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES: More than just a toy piano, all of the fun ocean creatures double as activities of their own; a click-clack fish, a rattle spinner, a sliding star, a push-down squeaker and a baby-safe mirror.
  • LIGHT-UP PIANO KEYS: Three big, brightly colored light-up piano keys are easy to press for little fingers. Intended for ages nine months plus.
  • TWO MUSICAL MODES: Loaded with cheerful music to entertain babies and toddlers, you can choose between free play and tunes to play along with.
  • ATTACHES TO YOUR CRIB: This activity table boasts detachable legs and can then be easily attached to your infant’s crib.

I set it up, added batteries and let Margaret go to town. She played with it for about 20 minutes. She had a great time.  What I like it that it’s easy to set up and change to attach to a crib. The sounds aren’t high-pitched or tinny, so listening to the sounds wasn’t like most baby/kid toys (parents- you know what I’m talking about!). I love that it’s a toy that can grow with your child. The crib straps and the legs are both easy to install and remove.

Right now, Kiddo Labs is offering my readers a a 25% discount with coupon code: TTPM25  To get started, visit Kiddolab here.

Oh, and it gets better. Not only does Kiddo Labs have great, fun toys for your littles, right now they are giving away a vacation to Disney World. Visit their website to learn more.

 

Thanks so much to Kiddo Labs for the fun toy! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review. Please see my Disclosure Page for more information about reviews.

My New Favorite Cooking Oil: Malaysian Palm Oil!

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 10.41.45 PM.pngAt The Moms Meet Wow Summit last month, I was introduced to Malaysian Palm Oil. As someone who cooks daily, I’m always looking for new, healthy ingredients to incorporate into the family diet.

I’d never tried palm oil before, nor had I heard of it, so here are some cool things I learned:

  • Palm oil comes from the fruit of a special species of palm tree grown near the equator. Oil palm plantations are incredibly high yielding and also provide an environment where native animals can thrive. You can learn more here.
  • Palm oil comes from the palm oil fruit, not the tree itself, so there is no deforestation. Also each tree produces fruit all year long for up to 25 years! In Malaysia, palm oil is only produced on legal agricultural land in compliance with Good Agricultural Processes. Fifty percent of Malaysia’s land area is mandated forest cover.
  • It’s better for cooking as it is stable at higher cooking temperatures, is free of trans-fatty acids, rich in vitamin E tocotrienols, and red palm oil is also an abundant source of pro-vitamin A carotenoids.  Red Palm oil has more carotene than carrots and tomatoes.
  • I recently used the Malaysian Palm oil in place of Olive Oil when making Pizza Crust last weekend. It didn’t change the crust at all texture-wise, but it did give it more or a golden appearance and a more buttery flavor.
  • Overall, Malaysian Palm oil have a very velvety, butter mouth feel and taste.
  • I like that Malaysian Palm oil is a Non-GMO. More than 90% of other cooking oils (soy, corn, rapeseed/canola) is made from crops grown with genetically modified seeds,
  • Malaysian Palm oil is a natural substitute for partially hydrogenated oils (the trans fats). That’s great news for me, since I cook a lot of scratch!

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 9.30.53 PM.pngI wanted to showcase the oils natural buttery taste and feel, so I whipped up some popcorn on the stove top, the old-fashioned way.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 9.31.27 PM.pngAll you need is:

  • 3 T. Malaysian Palm Oil
  • 1/2 C. popcorn kernels
  • Whatever seasoning you like (I like salt and pepper)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot (6+ quarts, I have this one), heat the oil and add 3 kernels. Cover with the lid,
  2. Cook on medium-high heat until kernels pop. Remove the pot from the heat, scoop out popped kernels, and add in the rest of the unpopped popcorn kernels.
  3. Cover with the lid, and give the pot a good shake (use potholders!). Let sit off heat for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
  4. Put pot back on the heat (medium-high), set the lid slightly askew, so the steam may escape. Shake the pot a few more times. Once the popping starts, it pops quickly.
  5. Once the popping has slowed, remove from the heat and pour the popcorn into a bowl and top with desired seasonings, butter, etc.

A big thanks to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council for the bottle of Palm Oil and Popcorn to try out this recipe. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

I can’t wait to substitute Palm Oil into my favorite recipes!

 

OhmConnect: Get a free Nest thermostat after rebates!

This is a great deal for those of us with SDG&E as our utility provider. If you use OhmConnect, but you are not and SDG&E customer, check with your utility to see if this offer exists.

Check out this sweet deal:
SDG&E’s Energy Efficiency Rebate: Get $75 off instantly when you purchase an eligible energy-efficient thermostat.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 6.38.07 PM.png

SDG&E’s Automated Demand Response Rebate: Get another $50 via a rebate after installing your new thermostat and connecting it to a program like OhmConnect. Click here for instructions.

OhmConnect Connection Incentive: Buy a Nest device from the our store, connect it to your account, and receive an additional $45. There is no application, just connect your device!

That’s $170 in rebates- SCORE. In addition to getting these sweet rebates, you’ll also be saving money on your utility bills.

 

If you are new to OhmConnect, you can learn more about OhmConnect here, and sign up here.