Tips From The Man Cave: Ideas On Saving Money On Meats!

 

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Good afternoon, savvy savers! Its Wednesday, and that means another great guest post from  Tips From The Man Cave post, by my husband, Daniel:

 

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Meat has been a staple in the American diet since the first settlers came across the Atlantic in the 1600’s. It is a status symbol and some cuts of meat or types of fish have in their history been seen as only eaten by the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich. For example crawfish, catfish, and even lobster were considered trash foods. Never look down your nose at something. If your family is anything like mine, than you are trying to save money and make the most out of every sale. Let’s look at a few types of meats and how we can make the most of whatever we find on sale.

1) Chicken,  is one of the most common and cheapest cuts of meat on the market. The easier the cut of meat is to work with the cheaper the meat should be. For example boneless chicken breast is one of the more expensive cuts of raw chicken. You can fry it, bake it, and grill it right away with little to no prep and still come away with a good meal. Lesser cuts, usually with the bones still attached tend to be more issue. Thighs present a wonderful challenge. I have seen a package of three thighs sold at the dollar tree in my home town and at other location for the same relative price but for a larger package. Here is where the savvy shopper can use their imagination to take a lesser cut of meat and make more from it. The basic option would be to marinate it overnight (see my last post for ideas) and either grill or bake it. That’s wonderful on its own. You could also boil them, clean the meat off and use it in salads or mixed with spices, cream cheese or mayo to make a sandwich spread. Whatever you do with the meat after boiling save the stock, you can use it for soups or in gravies with a good roux. Another cheap cut of meat available is chicken wings. This part of the chicken that was once a throw away cut. As Americans have developed a taste for Buffalo wings, the price for wings has gone up. When you are looking through the meat case you should find that chicken quarters are cheaper than the bags of pre-butchered wings. These are great values if you are willing to get your hands dirty because you get a great piece to fry/bake and then two “chicken wings”. Like all cuts of meat or really anything else you can buy at different stages of completion, the closer to finished the more it will cost.

2) Beef, is one of the types of meat that really takes some thought. Skirt steak, roasts, even ox tails can be prepped right into some of the best meals you can make. Not to get too deep into the myriad of cuts you can get at bargain prices, I will go over my basic rules on how to deal with each cut. The basic steak cut (this covers T-bone, New York, Filet mignon, porterhouse) is best to me with a little salt, pepper, and right on the grill. The firmer the meat is before cooking the longer it will need to cook to make the most of it and take some of that toughness out. Low and slow are the keys to turning those cuts into gold. Using your smoker, grill, or even the oven, any cook with a little imagination and patience. Start with either a good marinade or dry rub. 200 degrees for three to four hours and it should fall apart. Crock pots are wonderful for those who prefer to prep, drop, and basically forget.

3) Pork falls in line with beef. Low and slow is the way to go for the bigger and tougher portions, season and fry for the straight forward cuts. Pork tends to be cheaper than beef so you can usually finds some great deals all year long. Hams tend to vary depending on what time of year you are in. We try to buy or hams three to four weeks before the holidays (New Years and Easter), so as not to get caught up in the price hikes, we know are coming due to demands of the product.

4) As well, fish such as Salmon, Tilapia, Cod, and Flounder can be had at some of your bargain store for great prices. Wrap in tin foil, season with a little butter and garlic, throw in a dash or two of one of my favorite go to’s Tony Chachere’s, and bake. Also, you can pick-up inexpensive cuts of fish weekly at Winn-Dixie, generally on BOGO promotions, as well as the $1.00 double packs of Salmon fillets at the Dollar Tree for $1.00! Can’t miss with this method!

Hopefully this has been helpful. Keep in mind that all cuts can be useful in the right hands. You just have to have some imagination and an open mind.

I’m off to the cave…until next week!

Daniel

 

 

Tips From The Man Cave: Marinades!

 

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Tips From The Man Cave, guest post by, Daniel.

Good morning, savvy savers! For this weeks Tips From The Man Cave post, we will be discussing marinating!

Cooking in any form can be a satisfying experience. From French to Italian to Chinese, food can be complex, layered, and even in the hands of master chefs, a work of art. Cooking from the man cave tends to focus on a basic approach to food. With that said let us focus for a time on the three basic elements of the cooking I usually do; main ingredient, seasoning, and heat. All three play a big role in the final outcome of any dish. No one element can be ignored. A $50.00 steak is worthless if it overcooked. A $5.00 pack of pork chops can become so much more with the proper prep and use.

In the following post, I would like to give you my take on how to put all three elements together to get the most out of your food for less of your food budget. Let us begin with the a few thoughts on initial prep or marinating.

Marinating is by www.dictionary.com is “seasoned liquid,usually of vinegar or wine with oil, herbs, spices,etc., in which meat,fish, vegetables,etc.,are steeped before cooking”. I would add other elements to that list. Milk or buttermilk, fruit juices, and salad dressings can be used as cheap ways to make more out of the meats and vegetables you find on sale. The following short list will give you some examples of how I like to use the marinade process to add value to my main dish options.

Meat Marinade Use:

Chicken thighs: Use Orange juice to make stir fry.

Pork Chops: Use Italian dressing;  Bake or fry them.

Pork roast:  Apple juice; Baked or grilled.

Chicken breast: Italian dressing/Citrus juice; Baked/grilled/fried.

Use your imagination. Most white meats, including fish, would go well with any citrus juice (Orange, Lime, or lemon). Dry rubs can also be a great alternative to wet marinades. Combine salt, black or white pepper, cayenne, lemon pepper/salt, sage, thyme, and even cinnamon together in whatever form best suites your pallet to add depth to any cut of meat. Don’t forget the hot sauces. Tabasco or some of the newer Thai and Korean hot sauces along with Soy sauce can add a lot to your prep seasoning. Just add your prep seasoning, allow them to refrigerate for at least 12 and then freeze for cheap ready to go meals.

That’s all for this week. Next time we will hit on the subject of the cheap but tasty main ingredient.

 

Tips From The Man Cave: Economic Reason To Have A Gym Membership!

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Guest Post, Tips From The Man Cave:

Hello again from the comfortable depths of the man cave! Time to give out a little more money savings advice from a man’s perspective.

One of the ways I help save money in our household is with a gym membership. You might ask, how can a recurring gym membership save you money?

Here’s a few reasons how:

1) Of course the main reason to join a gym is the direct benefit it does for your overall health, but what could it do for the health of your wallet? For one it could have an affect on your health insurance. Depending on your specific insurance company, there are many discounts available for be proactive about improving your health in this way.

2) Other smallers ways to get more out of you membership come from amenities many people fail to grasp for how good it really is. Showers could be used to drop your water bill and the towels if provided by the gym would be one less thing to have to run through your own machines at home. Many gyms provide saunas and even whirlpools. You really can get a lot for the relatively small amount of money you pay for your membership. Many gyms offer classes and other ways to make really get some enjoyment out of the time you set aside to improve your health.

3) Joining a gym also forces your hand a bit to get the most out of it. When you try to work out at the house you may be inclined to blow it off, but when you are paying a set amount for access to the gym it becomes harder to give in to that urge to let things slide. As much as it is about getting yourself healthier to enjoy life to the fullest it also can give you a sense of accomplishment to set a goal ans then reach it. Maybe it would be adding a few pounds to your bench press or cutting a few minutes of your run time.

4) One last thing could make a gym membership worth while; a racquetball court. The gym at the University of Southern Mississippi had several courts and I spent a good bit of my time there as a student playing friends, and losing a bit more weight with every game. I was a bit chunky in high school.

Hopefully this has at least given you a few ideas on how to get the most from a gym membership.

Wishing you good health and a healthy bottom line.

Daniel “Daddy Bear” Roberts

Tips From The Man Cave: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft!

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Good afternoon, savvy savers! This post is coming from Daddy Bear, otherwise known as my husband! I have decided to spotlight a weekly series from the male perspective on saving, which will be called, “Tips From The Man Cave.” This week I asked Daddy Bear to spotlight a game that could be obtained, played, and maintained by kids; this posting is focused on children from the age of ten and up.

So, without further ado, here is a Tip From The Man Cave:

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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a online collectible card game much in the same vein as Magic: the gathering and Pokemon. I would like to offer a quick review of it and some great deals that you could cash in on for your spouse, your kids, or if you enjoy good online games like I do….youself!

First and foremost, let me let you know I am already a big time supporter of all things Blizzard. I already play World of Warcraft (Blizzard’s headliner franchise) and Diablo III. Blizzard as a company is constantly giving fans of all their games something to look forward to and a great game experience with whatever the title. I played Magic: the Gathering in college and for several years thereafter, and within the last year I have started playing a local comic book store, in my area. I enjoyed playing in the event nights they had every Friday. It was great. I could play, hang out, and even manage to win a few tournaments. Then bang, the shop closed. I began to give up on the idea of having something Magic-like to enjoy. Suddenly, in the last few weeks I discovered Hearthstone. Hearthstone is a game I first heard about in the podcasts genre, and was I pleasantly surprised to discover that it was free to play, and decided to download it and give it a try. Low and behold, I found a good a replacement for Magic as could be found; I can have the fun and excitement of planning a deck and playing others, without having to wait for Friday to come along!What’s better, is that I am to customize the amount of time I play around my busy working schedule, I can play whenever have a few extra minutes to sit and unwind.

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The game itself is straightforward. This is an online, kid-friendly, non-monetary card deck game. Players earn their started deck by playing against the computer. Players are represented as heros in the game. Starting at 30 life, or level 30, the game proceeds in a turn by turn format as each player uses their 30 card deck of creature cards and spell cards to reduce their opponent’s hero to reduce their opponent’s hero to zero life. After six rounds of playing against computer run opponents that explain the game mechanics and how different cards interact, the game sets players up to play against other in head to head matches or in the Arena. Head to head matches can be practice or ranked, and often feature bright, colorful screens! Practice matches are straightforward head to head with nothing online but a single game, and can help build useful math skills as well. This mode is best for putting together deck you want to play with for the other mode, ranked. Ranked play allows for the collection of ranked levels. The amount of wins needed to advance a rank gets larger as you advance and loses will move you backwards. It can be pretty competitive but winning in ranked play really feels great, especially if you play with a deck you created on your own.

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Another great aspect of the game is Arena play. Arena play offer a lot of the same thrills as ranked play but offers a new aspect that makes it more of a challenge but also easier to succeed, all players must draft the cards they play with. This mechanic allows any player with knowledge about the worth of the cards offered to put together a competitive deck without the worry of having to have the best of the best cards to be competitive for the top spots. Players receive rewards for completing tasks in play mode, but those rewards are even bigger in Arena play.

What’s best about this game is free to play, there are no additional token, add-ons, or the like to add to the game, ever! The game rewards the player with gold and Arcane dust that can be used to buy expert pack (gold) or to create specific cards you really want (Arcane Dust). Cards in your collection can be turned into Arcane dust but will be gone from your collection until you receive another as either an in game reward or from an expert pack. The game funds itself. Kids earn their achievements in the game, and in turn their playing equipment as well.

This is a great game for the whole family. It is challenging enough for adults to enjoy without being so complicated that younger family members would be overwhelmed. I recommend you download this game and give it a try. As well, I wanted to mention that this review is unpaid, unsolicited, and is merely my own opinion of both the Hearthstone online game, as well as Blizzard Entertainment itself!

Thanks for hanging out in the cave!

 

Men’s Fitness App Review & Reader Giveaway!

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Hello, savvy savers! Today I wanted to share with you a review of an app I was recently given the opportunity to review, Men’s Fitness UK. This review was requested by the publisher.

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Thanks for getting in touch about reviewing Men’s Fitness new app and subscription. You can download the app for free from iTunes now and we’ll sign you up for a free digital subscription so you can get the full experience. You are also very welcome to offer a digital subscription as a prize to give away.

Let me start by saying that in my general experience, most exerciser magazines, and apps for that matter, are generally very generic and generally not that useful. As well, I have also found that many iPhone workout apps, especially those connected to publications, are overpriced and under-informed! This was not the case with the Men’s Fitness UK app! I found that the app downloaded easily, via the iTunes Store, and the cover and index were well placed. I also enjoyed the fact that the workout calendars, or form guides for exercises, were packed full of useful information; the app gives the viewer the appearances of being face-to-face with an actual trainer in the privacy of one’s own home!

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The app also features a section called “My Fitness Instructor,” which offers a park-based workout class, and simulates an outdoor workout regime and was just awesome. The app also caters to all fitness levels, from the basic to the more disciplined militaristic stylings, without being overly grueling or being too regimented. Being a first-timer to the app, I choose to view the basic Workout section, and I was presented twenty different classes and demonstrations, all with experiences trainers; this aspect of the app allows you to grow with the app right along with your increased fitness training! From Cardio, Muscle, to Training Both, I choose Cardio. There is a 15-minute session for everyone. There is also a clever Start My Workout heart rate monitor as well! With extensive abs, back, chest, arm and leg workouts to help you burn fat and build muscle, Men’s Fitness will help you reach your fitness goals whatever your level.

With more than five million exercise combinations, there is something for everyone, and the best part is that the app is only a one-time fee of $2.00, which includes the magazine and the app as well! Thanks to My Fitness Instructor, the iPhone has finally become a device that can help you make serious fitness gains. You can also check out the apps selection of Men’s Fitness content for free, or buy individual issues for $2.99 for the magazine itself.

Points to note, the app is available on iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Android devices. The MyPages Tool and Video Sharing option, an option to share workouts with friends and on social media outlets, is fully-integrated and is included in the app for free! There is also a new diet and nutrition advice column, as well as interviews with some of the world’s biggest sports and movie stars including Chris Hemsworth, Usain Bolt, Henry Cavill, Michael Phelps, Hugh Jackman and Chris Evans!

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What’s even better is that Men’s Fitness UK is offering one reader a complementary app and 12-issue magazine subscription!

To enter, comment below on what you look forward to in a fitness app! I will be selecting one winner, at random, 3/17!

Good luck, everyone!

Upcoming Items of Importance For Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

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With the upcoming MLK, Jr. Federal Holiday fast approaching, it is important to find creating and economic ways to celebrate this wonderful holiday!

Here are a few ways to remember this important American leader, volunteer, icon, and hero:

1) Learn about the day:

Everyone should know who Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, and it is even more important for our children to be taught to warmly embrace the vision that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to share with the world. Ways to learn about his vision are:

Participating in the national The Day of Service volunteering effort.

-Familiarizing yourself with the fame  I Have A Dream speech in its entirety.

-With the following school activities: HereHere, and Here.

2) Check your local papers Neighbors section for local Black History Month Parades and Cultural events; many great events leading up to Black History Month, next month, often start on MLK Day and are generally free to the public.

 3) Visit a National Park; all National Parks will be free to the general public on MLK Day!

4) Reading as a family, some of the many writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; here is a great resource from the King Center Foundation Archives.

5) Show common kindness to others! What better day to help those around us, and help eradicate poverty in America, a cause so very near and dear to the spirit of MLK Day, than to take a bag of items from your couponing stockpile, and donate them to a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or Veteran’s Home!

Remembering the heritage of this great leader, is everyone’s responsibility and legacy!

In the words of Dr. King,  “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SheSpeaks #AdvancedHaircare Twitter Party Has Been Postponed!

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Good afternoon, readers! Just a heads up, out of respect for the tragedy in Oklahoma, SheSpeaks has postponed tonight’s #AdvancedHaircare Twitter Party, until Thursday, May 30 at 9PM ET.

As well, everyone continue to keep those recovering from the tragic events yesterday in Oklahoma in your thought this evening!

Thanks to you all!