Weight Loss Breakfast: Zucchini Patties #Recipe

This is one of my favorite diet foods since it is quick and easy to reheat premade patties for  breakfast. They are filling and healthy. You will love them too! Serve as a breakfast item with some bacon or sausage, or serve as a vegetable side dish for lunch or dinner.
Nutrition Info: 95 calories for 3 patties (14 gm protein, 6 gm carb, 2 gm fat) 
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 medium zucchini, shredded by hand or in food processor (top blade only)
1 T. green onions, chopped
2 T. parmesan cheese, ground
1 egg, or 2 T. of egg beaters
Spray Pam or Olive oil for skillet lubrication
1. Shred zucchini and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add onions, parmesan cheese and egg.
3. Stir mixture until well mixed.
4. Put skillet on medium heat stove top burner, add lubricant, warm up the pan.
5. Place spoonful of zucchini mixure into pan, flatten and shape as desired. About six or seven spoonfuls will fill a skillet.
6. Cook zucchini patties until brown on bottom, then flip with spatula and cook other side too.
7. Place 3 or 4 patties on plate to serve, or cool for eating later.
Serves 2

My Publix Trip - Saved $121, Spent $1.24

What a great week to have the $5 off $40 PQ to go along with a sale! There are a lot of deals where I wish I would have had more newspaper coupons, but oh well - take what you have and be happy. The Mayo deal only worked Thursday because the PQ expires today. I wanted to get Snausages dog treats but there was only one lonely bag on the shelf for this BOGO deal. But a raincheck works too. And of course the elusive Seagrams Ginger Ale was nowhere to be found again. I asked my store to order it for me last time and still have not received a call. I think Coca Cola is slow on the stocking here. Plus they only have a small space for that flavor.

I had to buy some of the expensive B complex vitamins to get my order up over $70 so I could use the stacking Winn Dixie $5 off $30. Sometimes it's worth it to buy something you don't need (a filler item) to be able to buy something you want. That's a strategy that is hard for new couponers to understand and practice doing.

Anyway, I used the overage from the mayo, and the WD and PQ's to get some pork spareribs which are on sale. They are a pretty good deal, and with the BBQ sauce from last week, it makes for a cheap outdoor meal this upcoming holiday next week.

In the end it worked out to spending a little over a dollar on my Publix gift card, and saving over $121 dollars, saving over 98%.

27-Jun 35   106.60 35.23 71.00 tax 1.24 47 -98.84%
Product qty price subtl -B1G1 -Q 0.87 total Q# Q details
Pork Spareribs 1 8.82 8.82   2.00   6.82 2 $1/1 Pork MQ + 1/1 PQ fresh meat baby club
Pork Spareribs 1 8.79 8.79   1.00   7.79 1 $1/1 Pork MQ printable
cucumber 1 0.65 0.65       0.65    
Fresh Express Ceasar Salad Kit BOGO 2 3.99 7.98 3.99 4.00   -0.01 2 $2/1 MQ http://www.tonytantillo.com
Arnold Sandwich Thins bread BOGO 2 3.89 7.78 3.89 3.00   0.89 3 $1/1 MQ print + $0.50/1 TQ print
Reynolds Baking Cup 10 0.99 9.90   10.00 0.64 0.54 10 $1/1 MQ 6-23ss
Hellmans Mayo 30oz BOGO 10 4.77 47.70 23.85 30.00   -6.15 20 $2/1 PQ print + $1/1 MQ 6-23ss
Temptations Cat treats BOGO 4 1.75 7.00 3.50 4.00 0.23 -0.27 4 $1/2 TQ print + $1/2 MQ 6-16rp
Sundown B Complex vit 2 3.99 7.98   7.00   0.98 3 $2/1 PQ purple flyer + $3/2 MQ print
Publix coupon 1 0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5/$40 PQ 6-16 paper
Winn Dixie coupon 1 0.00 0.00   5.00 0.00 -5.00 1 $5/30 In the City booklets

30 Day Weight Loss Results

A month ago we stepped off a cruise ship after a long holiday weekend of lazing around and eating lots of yummy, fattening food. We each gained several pounds that needed to come off so our clothes would fit better and we would feel healthier. Here's a picture of us at St Johns USVI where we went on a nice catamaran and snorkling excursion. This is the "before" picture.

This is us each five pounds heavier, the "before" photo UGH
At first we kept up our regular meal plan of a carbohydrate rich breakfast of raisin bran with a banana, or homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal. But the problem was we were hungry for a morning snack about an hour later. Recently, the past couple weeks we've made turkey bacon for breakfast, alon with zuchinni patties (shredded zuchinni, parm cheese, egg beaters fried in a pan) Snacks in the morning are protein snack bars, cereal bars, almonds, beef jerky, fresh cut up melon or berries. Then lunch is a lettuce salad with chicken and veggie toppings, along with a nonfat yogurt for dessert. After work, we have a small snack of hummus or corn salsa on chips, then dinner is usually something from the stockpile like fish, pasta, rice or pork and of course frozen veggies steamers. Oh, and a couple beers. But no night time snacks, no eating after dinner for me.

our lunch salad, and a yogurt
I track my food and exercise using the MyFitnessPal app on my smart phone, If I am trying out a new exercise I track it live with the CardioTrainer app which uses a GPS to calculate steps, miles, calories, time etc so I know what it's all worth (It's a 2 mile trip around Busch Gardens). I try to eat about 1200-1400 calories a day, and burn up 400 to 600 calories with exercise (biking, walking. treading water in pool) each day. On Fridays and Saturdays, I may go out to eat (love those buffalo chicken wings!) so my calories can jump to 2000 per day. But my activity is up too so I think it evens out.

 I also read a diet book I checked out from the library (an ebook) The Adaptation Diet by Charles A Moss, which outlined a basically low carb diet with other ideas too. I've implemented some of the ideas, like eliminating anti inflammatory pills like Aleve or Advil because they cause a "leaky gut". I've pretty much cut out bread, and corn products and potatoes. I've cut back on drinking beer and we've never been sugar lovers, so sweets are easy to ignore.

Well, I'm pleased to report we have each lost five pounds in a month with this plan. DH doesn't bike like I do, so his plan includes less exercising, but men lose weight easier anyway. And the wonderful thing is, this lifestyle is frugal. There are no special foods, or pills, or drinks needed to lose weight. It's good old fashioned healthy diet and exercise. It's a lifestyle that can endure and be long lasting, with occasional treats that will not sideline your efforts because overall a healthy lifestyle can sustain the bumps in the road.

When we lose 5 more pounds, I'll post an "after" photo. Stay posted.

Easing of Rules: Electronics On Airplanes

I just got back from a conference this weekend in Cincinnati, OH and wasted a whole bunch of hours of my life on an airplane. As usual when traveling, I packed a lot of electronic gadgets to entertain me, connect me and enable me to keep up with the web. I also packed a good old fashioned hardback book, (Ironhorse by the estate of Robert B. Parker). I also was excited to use my mobile app on my Android phone to access my boarding pass, therefore avoiding the stupid security TSA rep, scribbling meaningless doodle on my boarding pass while giving me the evil eye and exasperated sigh for using my phone app.
Anyway, as you know, we earthlings are prohibited from operating electronic gadgets below 10,000 feet cruising altitude in an airplane. This means the time from backing away from the gangway all the way up to cruising altitude, we must shut off our electronics. For many flights, this is at least a half hour of sitting there with nothing to listen to, no pictures to be taken out the window, and no reading to be done.
But not me, I break the rules when they are simply there to annoy me. When breaking the rule does not hurt or offend anyone, I'll do what I want. So, I listened to the music on my ipod. I did have my book to read legally - I don't break all the rules. Nice picture landing in Cincinnati, huh? I only put my phone on airplane mode rather than powering off all the way. OMG you rule breaker! But, really. Wait - its actually quite harmless these days with weaker cell signals and more insulation on planes. Just today, it was announced that efforts are underway in the FAA to lesson restrictions on electronic devices on airplanes.
Expect the rules to allow expanded electronic activity as early as this fall 2013.

How to Open Wine w/o a Corkscrew

I was out of town this past weekend at the Savvy Blogging Conference, and it absolutely blew my mind. There were a ton of other great bloggers who shared their tips of the trade, and also some techies who explained how to do the computer stuff. And of course, there was lots of swag. One of the items was a bottle of wine, compliments of ALDI. But, since I packed light and didn't plan to check any bags on the flight, that meant I had to drink the wine at the conference. Well, on Friday night for the dinner and dancing, I did this frugal hack by just unscrewing the handle off a hanger and then screwing it into the cork until it pooked through on the other end. Then I simply poured the wine out of the hole in the cork. It only took a couple minutes and it worked like a charm.

How To Find Amazon Prime Lending Library Books

If you have Amazon prime, you probably are aware of the benefit of getting one free "prime eligible" ebook per month of your membership. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find books that fit into this category unless you apply a few filters. Here is an easy way to browse the free "lendable" books. These thousands of books can be borrowed using any Kindle device, but they are not transferable to other devices such as Ipads, Smartphones or PCs. There are no due dates, the book remains on your device until you return it. You can not "check out" a new book until you return the previous one.
1. Go to Amazon and make sure you're logged in. In the search box, select the drop down arrow and select the BOOKS department.
2. Then scroll down and select Prime Eligible. You must be signed into your Amazon account for this selection to show, if you don't have prime, you won't see this choice.
3. Then select Kindle Edition from one of Formats.
This will show you all the Kindle books that may be borrowed on your Kindle for free. Now to actually check out the book you must do this through your Kindle device.
So, to make this easier when you are on your Kindle, I browse the books I want on the computer, and then put them on my ebook wishlist that I created. Then when I am on the Kindle, I just click the shopping cart and go to my ebook wishlist and check out the book that way.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Mobility Matters

So we're planning on going to Kinetix again this weekend. It's a fun outdoor show at Busch Gardens in the center of the park. It requires a bit of planning to get there on time since there may be lines in the parking lot, bag checks at the front entrance, ticket scanning issues at the gate, and then of course the half mile trek back to the area where the concert is. For the able bodied person it takes at least a half hour to complete all those steps to get seated in time for the event with the fantastic party starters and dancers.

But now some friends are considering going too, and one person is not functionally mobile. It is a complication that could be remedied but there is some denial that there is an issue by the immobile party. I'm not being unsympathetic to this person, but the mobility problem is just an effect of some bigger health issues. We've experienced the issues of managing a person's ability to move around when DH was injured in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. It required a lot of patience and extra planning, and especially extra time. It also involves extra effort from the caretaker making extra trips to get equipment needed or securing proper seating ahead of time. But I didn't mind because it meant we could share time together doing things besides sitting around with a leg propped up.

From my experiences, the problem with dealing with mobility issues is that the affected party usually feels like they are  not really disabled and immobile, so they refuse help from strangers and their friends. They insist they don't need the wheelchair, or the walker or the cane to move about. So they stumble along in pain, whimpering from the stabbing aches and breathing hard like they are going to die. Or they insist that they are well enough to go along with the event and refuse to discuss accommodating their immobility. They know they are an extra bother and its true. But guess what, the caretaker or friends want to attend the activity bad enough, so they are willing to make the sacrifice to make sure the immobile party can attend to. Because unfortunately in some relationships if the hobbled one stays home, everyone must stay home.

My mother is dealing with immobility issues as she ages and has had some serious injuries from falls. She definitely needs assistance with her mobility. But she doesn't want to admit it. She feels like it is an admission of being old, which she is. She doesn't want to give up her independence and be reliant on others for her mobility. She wants to go for nature walks and go to the gym for an aqua class but these activities are beyond her ability now. She does not want to accept this. So she tries to go for walks outside by herself without a walker or cane, and falls. It is sad.

Mobility does matter. To all of us. But when you are immobile you need to admit it. Accept offers of assistance from friends, family and strangers to help you get through that heavy door, or up that ramp, or by taking their seat on a bench. You are doing no one any favors by being the difficult one who refuses to get in a wheelchair. If putting you in a wheelchair will improve the activity for others, then sit your butt in the chair and shut up. They will gladly push you around and if its a public event you might even get front row seats for the handicapped seating area. You will allow your caretakers to leave you seated comfortably at all times instead of panting and breathing heavy after you've walked 100 ft and can't find a bench.

The point being is that it's not all about you. Just because you can't walk doesn't mean you can't live. The world we live in today is very accommodating to people with mobility issues and you can do almost everything an able bodied person can do. So quit complaining and get the proper equipment you need to be mobile. Then live your life. 

Planning for the Demise of Google Reader

With the upcoming death of Google Reader at the end of the month; I've had to set up RSS feeds with another feed reader to capture blog and news updates from hundreds of web sites. I've set up with Feedly, TheOldReader and Netvibes so far and none of them compare to Google Reader. Maybe its just me needing to learn how to use all the features, but they don't all sync or display nicely across my devices - computers, Ipad and smartphone. The problem with Feedly is it requires the use of a non internet explorer browser to view on a computer. This is not an option at my work so I can't view my feeds in the day. On the Ipad and Smartphone it's my favorite though. So, I've settled for netvibes which doesn't require a special browser or downloading software, so I can use it a work - for now, until they block it.

I've noticed I'm viewing my feeds less often since it is not as simple as Google Reader, and that certain deal and coupon sites really are borderline spammers with ten to fifteen posts per day. If I follow 50 deal sites who all post 10 times a day that's 500 feeds. So, I've grouped them together under one tab because they clutter my other feeds. And guess what, I rarely take the time to read them. I simply click "Mark As Read". For a while I will probably continue to do this, but eventually I suspect I'll just delete that tab. One of the greatest benefits of not viewing all these feeds, is that I don't get the temptation to spend money on stuff. It's saving me money to not read those blogs.

Another feature that's nice about Netvibes is that you can set up different "dashboards" where  you can put different types of feeds. I could have one for deals, and one for personal finance and one for news. I have noticed that if I put all my hundreds of feeds in one dashboard it errors out and cannot pull them all. I think it is from the spamming type accounts like news sites and deal forums. These sites send out hundreds of updates a day and netvibes can't seem to handle them.

If you use Google Reader, I would recommend you find an alternative now so you can export your feeds to a new vendor instead of creating them from scratch. You can also download your feeds into a file to be imported later if someone develops a great new reader. However, if you wait too long - Google Reader will be gone and you'll have to start from scratch building your feed list.

There are a couple other apps that I've started to use also, to help capture articles I want to read later. Since I don't really care for netvibes on my smartphone and Ipad I use Feedly. When I see an article I want to read, I bookmark it, or send it to Pocket or Dropbox. I also can send my photos from my phone to Dropbox and then access them on my computers. These sites also have free apps at Google Play and App Store on your phones and Ipads.

This is not a sponsored post, I am simply telling you how I am dealing with the demise of one of my most useful internet applications. It's kind of teaching me not to get too dependent on one entity because they could sell it or get rid of it, and you don't want to lose your stuff. I personally don't trust Google to not end any of their features including Picassa, Drive and Blogger. They are shutting down iGoogle in November which will force me to figure out a new homepage. That will again change how I manage my time on the internet.

Frugal Indoor Projects For When It Rains and Rains

It rained all night, and more rain is expected all day. Actually rain is expected for a week. No bike riding in this kind of weather. Usually my criteria to ride is a prediction of less than 40% chance of rain. I just need a half hour window of clear skies at exactly the right time, two times a day and I will ride. It's pretty obvious that summer time in Florida it rains, but I'm determined to not let it side track my plans if I can. So I plan on getting wet.
What about you? Are you going to pout and whine about it raining, or being too hot? Shit happens like this in the summer. Everyday actually. It's either hot or rainy. Both are good things, in their own way. So you have to just live with it. This is NORMAL. Get over it.
Do what you would do anyway. If you can't do anything outdoors, guess what - I bet you could do some indoor projects. There are lots of times during the year when we know we need to do a job but put if off saying "It's too nice out, let's do that some rainy afternoon". Well, here's my list -
  • clean the bathrooms - sink, vanity, mirror, toilet, shower, tub.
  • vacuum the carpets, mop the floors, even get out the attachments 
  • wash laundry
  • change the bed sheets
  • polish and dust the furniture, table tops, vents
  • clean and organize my desk - get rid of the piles of old mail and papers
  • paint touch up spots we missed from our remodel, plus other walls needing it
  • toss expired coupons, booklets and flyers. Label and organize the valid ones. 
  • clean up the pantry and toss old food and spices 
  • bake some cookies like chocolate chip
  • have sex with your partner, or by yourself
  • make some salads - like corn salsa, pea salad or broccoli salad
  • go through closets and clean out those clothes you haven't worn in two years
  • organize your spare room whatever you use it for, there is stuff in there that needs to be tossed out or donated.
The point is there are a lot of productive things you can do when the weather is not cooperative. Just make a "Honey Do" list and post it on the refrigerator. And cross things off as they are accomplished.

How To Apply For A Passport

We just got back from two trips requiring our passports and mine is about to expire in less than 2 weeks. Both times the immigration officer made me aware of that, and I let them know I'm on it and have my new picture at home ready to renew upon return.
It's actually pretty easy these days to get your passport, if you're a US citizen that is. You might think that obtaining, renewing or updating a passport would be a hassle as most dealings with the government are, but they've made it simple. Everything you need to know can be found online at the  U.S. Dept of State website.
To get your first passport
To get your first passport, you'll have to show up in person. Make an appointment at an acceptance facility or passport agency; search for the one closest to you here. You likely live near a facility where you can get a passport. Many post offices and even some public libraries can accept passport applications. Arrive at your passport agency with:
• Your filled-in DS-11 application form.
• Evidence of U.S. citizenship. Find a list of acceptable documents here.
• Valid identification. Find a list of acceptable ID here.
• A photocopy of the front and back of the identification you're bringing on clean, white 8½" x 11" paper.
• Your application fee. For a first-time adult passport, the total fee is $135.
• Passport photos. You can read more about the specifications for passport photos here. But most major drug stores, such as Walgreens or CVS, will sell appropriately sized passport photos that comply with government standards; this makes things a little easier.
Or you can go online to ePassportPhoto and submit your own digital print and they will size it - all for free (this is what we did). It will size 6 2x2 identical face shots on one print. But Walgreens and CVS will not print passport photos because they offer the service, so you need to delete 5 of these and just print one 2x2 per print and they won't notice it and it pass the muster. Just wait for a sale where they offer free prints and submit your digital picture online for free to pick up later that day.
Renewing a passport
You have two options here: Either you have your old passport or you don't. If the former's true, you can apply through the mail as long as your most recent passport is undamaged, was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and isn't more than 15 years old. If you are nodding "yes" to all of that, simply mail in your old passport with the required documents and photos, and you'll receive a new one in the mail in roughly four to six weeks. (Don't worry. You'll get your old passport back.) Here's what you need: Form DS-82, your renewal fee ($110 for an adult), passport photos, and your old passport. Get more information about renewing a passport through the mail here.
Keep in mind that if you've changed your name since your last passport was issued, include an original certificate or court order that documents this; those without such papers must apply for a renewal in person.
Don't have your old passport? Then you can't get a passport renewed by mail. Head to a passport agency in person.
You can check the status of a pending passport application here.
Passports for kids
For children ages 15 and younger, the fees and requirements for getting a passport are a little different than those for adults. Essentially, parents need to provide identification in addition to proof that they are legal guardians for child applicants. Guardians in two-parent households must appear together with the young applicants or provide a notarized statement of consent from the absentee adult. Single parents must appear in person as well. And all parents must show proof of legal guardianship; this would include a birth certificate or a court order.
A passport for a minor costs $105. And the usual—Form DS-11, a standard passport photo, and the appropriate identification for parent(s) and child—must be brought to your local passport office. Read more about getting a passport for a child here.