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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coupons, Coupons and More Coupons

I spent all day yesterday clipping and organizing my coupons.  I was using one system that just didnt' seem like it was working so I had stacks of coupon inserts to go through.  But I'm glad to say that after 8 hours of sorting, clipping and tossing I finally got it done.  Now I'm ready to make a list for the week.
I'm not sure about you but with all these shows about couponing and saving money and getting things for free -- its a lot of pressure!  I feel like if I go to the store and don't save at least half of my bill then I'm a failure.  Although just one time I'd love to save 90%-95% just to say that I did it.
How about you?  Do you coupon?  What's your strategy?  Do you use a binder? a folder?
I'd love you to share your coupon "secrets" and strategies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gas Prices Got You Down?

It seems like the cost of everything is going up-- food, gas-- well everything.  But I came across something that just might take the sting out of filling up at the pump -- ride your bike to work.  Recently I heard that Boston has implemented a system of bike paths for commuting bike riders.  What a great idea.  But for those of us who don't live in Boston there is still a great opportunity to save gas and the environment and make a little money too.
There was a law enacted back in 2008 called the Bicycle Commuter Act that states that commuters who use their bikes to get back and forth to work can receive $20 a month from their employer. According to the law employers can reimburse employees--tax free--for reasonable expenses relating to their bike commute like equipment or repairs.  This provision is for those who use their bike and don't receive any other commuter tax-free benefit.  Yes, there are other benefits for those who car pool or van pool.
The provision is a lesser-known part of a larger Renewable Energy Tax Credit Initiatives legislation that will give cyclists a tax break only if they don't receive another tax free fringe benefit.
Here's how it works:
Your employer would reimburse you $240 a year (as long as you don't get a transit pass, qualified parking or other transportation benefit) then you an exclude up to $240 from your gross income.  Tax free for the employer and taken right off the top for the employee.
If you don't have a bike or don't live close enough to ride your bike to work there are other benefits for carpooling or van pooling that could amount to $115 a month.
For more information check out the website  www.bikewalk.org/bca.php
Have experience with this or know more about it?  Feel free to share.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Culinary Institute of America

I was wondering if anyone has been to the CIA?  The Culinary Institute not the government agency.  I'd like to plan a trip but I'm not sure what to expect.  There is a campus about 2 hours south of here (Saratoga Springs NY) and I'd like to make a visit and possibly take a class.
If anyone has been there please comment.  I know the classes are expensive but would like to know if they are worth it.
Hope everyone has a great Easter-- what are your plans?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Rescue My Recipe -- Stew

Whenever I make something out of something else I call it rescuing a recipe.  Lately I've been making menus with Sunday being a "big" dinner that could be a roast chicken or a roast or even a ham.  This past Sunday was Roast Beef Sunday dinner.  Whenever I make a "big"dinner I make sure that I can rescue the rest of the meal by making it into something else.
So for the roast -- Sunday was roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables -- the old fashioned kind.  A couple of days later -- sliced open faced beef sandwiches.  Then for the last rescue -- stew.

 I like to make stew the way my mom did, brown gravy base with carrots, onions and potatoes.  But I found an easy way to make it for a week night supper.
I found in the frozen vegetables specifically for stew.  So I take a heavy pot and melt some butter and some olive oil -- I find it makes the gravy a little extra silky--then I add flour (equal parts flour and fat)  once that cooks for a minute or 2 then add beef broth.  Cut up your leftover roast beef and add to the gravy and one package of vegetables, season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Let it simmer until its heated through.
That's it!
Serve it with some buttered biscuits and your favorite drink -- mine is milk -- and you can have a hot dinner on the table quick, perfect for this in weather between winter and spring.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A visit to the National Museum of Dance

On my http://saratoga.com/saratogatraveler blog I've written about the National Museum of Dance here in Saratoga.
Take a look, give me some feedback.  Do you like Michael Jackson?  The National Museum of Dance has an exhibit in his honor.  Like Dancing with the Stars?  See costumes on display worn by contestants and professionals from the hit show.  Ballet? Irish? Belly dancing?  They are all highlighted at the National Museum of Dance!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Blog is here!!!

For those of you who like this blog, then you will LOVE the new one.  Its called The Saratoga Traveler and will have posts about things happening in Saratoga, day trips to take, places to visit in Saratoga and hidden gems that most people don't know about.
You can find my new blog at http://saratoga.com
There will be lots of information and beautiful, enticing photos that will make you even more curious about Saratoga Springs and the NE.
So give it a read and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Saratoga Traveler is back at saratoga.com

About a year ago I wrote a blog for www.saratoga.com called the Saratoga Travel.  In this blog wrote about attractions and restaurants in the area along with day trips and hidden gems.
Well I'm going to be writing this blog again starting next week and am really excited!!
So if you follow this blog then check out the new improved one!  Let me know what you think or if you have a topic that you might like me to write about or a place in the Saratoga area or in the NE that your are curious about or plan a trip to.
I hope you will all come and take a look, read a post and make a comment.  The more the merrier so check it out!
www.saratoga.com/thesaratogatraveler