Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review | Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs

Lately I have been discovering so many new gluten free products by brands that are deciding to jump on the gluten free bandwagon. I actually discovered this product through a catalina coupon that printed during a trip to Giant Eagle. Intrigued I decided to look for the product next time I was in the store. 

This product can be found in the freezer section at Giant Eagle (I also noticed it at Kroger as well). Both stores had the product listed for $6.99. However, I purchased this item at Giant Eagle using my catalina coupon which was for $2.50 off, so only $4.50 a box. I think it is important to note that the regular corn dogs by this brand were the exact same price at $6.99.

I was quite surprised at just how large this box was. It contains 12 full size corn dogs. Not bad at all for the $6.99 price tag. That is less then 60 cents per corn dog....even less if you consider I used a coupon.

You can cook the corn dogs three different ways: deep fry, microwave, or oven. I chose to go the oven route though I am interested in trying the deep dry method. The instructions say to cook the corn dogs for 18 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I found that 18 minutes was the exact amount of time they needed, which in my opinion is rare. I always feel I need to cook gluten free products longer then recommended.

18 minutes in the oven is just long enough to give the corn dog that nice golden brown color and the inside was cooked thoroughly. I can honestly not say enough good things about this product. They are amazing! 

I definately give this product a 10 out of 10. They tasted exactly like how I remember a corn dog to taste. They were not mushy at all. They were soft but had a nice crisp to them as well and the hotdog they used was great! This is the third type of store bought corn dogs I have tried and by far they are the best taste wise and the cheapest option out there that I know of. I would definately recomment these and will buy them again.

One thing I did want to mention is the production of the product itself. By law, in order for a company to have a gluten free label on their product they are required to test the product and it must be 20ppm or below. This currently is the only regulation required in testing gluten in products. For many though, 20ppm can still be too strong and cause a reaction. Foster Farms, actually tests their product for 10ppm! Which is amazing for those who are a little more sensitive to gluten. Just something to keep in mind, if you are looking for gluten free options that tests for lower traces of gluten! 

I would love to hear if there is a product that you would like me to review next! Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review | Tyson Gluten Free Chicken Breast Strips

Awhile back I was walking through the freezer section at the grocery store not really looking for anything in particliar and I stumbled across something pretty neat. Tyson gluten free products! Now growing up as a kid, before I discovered I was gluten intolerant, I lived on Tyson chicken nuggets. They were my favorite thing to eat as a kid. I have fond memories of eating chicken nuggets & macaroni and cheese with my cousin on multiple occasions while visiting each other. So I was quite surprised to see Tyson had created a gluten free version of some of there products: chicken nuggets and chicken breast strips. I decided to give them a try and wanted to share my views on this new product with you. 

I found this product at both my local Walmart & Giant Eagle. At both stores the Tyson gluten free products were $6.99 for a package. 

In case you are interested in the specs for this product,I found them listed on the Tyson website.
Photo @ Tyson website.

Inside the package I found 6 chicken breast strips. I will say I was a bit disappointed at how little you got in a bag. At $7 a bag that is more then a dollar for each piece and some were quite smaller than others. 

In terms of cooking, I chose to go with the oven route. Directions called for cooking your chicken strips in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
I found that at the 20 minute mark they were still pretty soggy and I prefer mine a bit crispy. So back in the oven for another 10 minutes they went. They were in the oven for a total of 30 minutes. I found this helped to crisp up the pieces a bit more but not too much. 

Overall, the taste was pretty decent but nothing spectacular. The breading was a bit more on the soggy side and even with additional time in the oven it did not help with that issue too much. I will say the chicken was very moist and tender and that was a big plus.However, I don't honestly think I would buy these again unless I needed something in a pinch, there are better options out there. I personally love the chicken products by Bell & Evans and find they are of higher quality, though around the same price.

I would rate this product a 3 out of 5.

Have you tried any of the new gluten free products by Tyson? I would love to hear what your opinion on their products are.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

We Went Camping!

Hi everyone! This weekend my husband and I went camping. We have been trying to go camping all summer and it just never worked out. It was always either raining, supposed to rain, just rained (too many muddy paths), we had family obligations (weddings,etc) or Colby had to work haha. So many things were keeping us from doing the one thing we really wanted to do this summer. But, we finally made it! So I thought I would share some photos from our trip!

Be sure to check out the video of our camping trip below!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We are going to Ocean City!

We are going on vacation!!! 
I am so happy to be typing those words. The last real vacation Colby and I have gone on was our honeymoon, unless you count a weekend we spent at Virginia Beach for his cousins wedding. Four years since we have gone on a vacation just the two of us and I am so happy we are going to get to go on one this year. Where are we headed you may ask…Ocean City, MD. We went on our honeymoon there for a glorious week and it was so much fun. I cannot wait to go back! 

Some of you may wonder how we are able to go on vacation and how we are paying for it. I have mentioned in the past that we follow a budget but that we also set money aside for certain things we need to pay for throughout the year. So starting at the beginning of 2014 I started putting some of the income that I make from Youtube aside in a vacation fund. I am happy to say that we have enough to pay for our hotel, gas, food and any other extra things that we may want to do while there. There are a few things that we are doing though that is saving us money and I thought I would share them with you in case any of you are planning a vacation.

Here are 5 ways we cut costs.

1.    Take a vacation during the off season or at the end of summer. For us, one way we cut costs with our hotel is by booking a date later in the summer. We will be going in the beginning of September. This cut our hotel costs by almost half!

2.   Go for a weekend/long weekend or just a couple of days. Instead of going on a long vacation for a week or longer, we opted to take advantage of the weekends which Colby has off and make it a long weekend. This meant Colby only needed to take 2 vacation days from work opposed to a whole week. We will be going for 4 days (3 nights). This reduced our costs as we are only paying for 3 nights in a hotel and allows Colby to still have plenty of vacation days to take around holiday time (Thanksgiving/Christmas) 

3. Stay somewhere that offers a free breakfast if possible. Although this is one thing we were not able to do at the hotel we chose, there are other ways to cut costs on breakfast if the hotel does not offer one. Find a hotel that does have an in-house restaurant. Many times the hotel may offer a discount or coupon for a free breakfast (this is especially true for kids. IE. Buy 1 adult breakfast and child eats for free). Another way to cut costs on breakfast is to take advantage of the amenities in your hotel. Most hotels offer a fridge, microwave and coffee maker. Bring food items with you and make yourself some cereal, oatmeal or fruit! The costs of buying these staple items which will last for the entire trip are significantly cheaper than paying for an actual breakfast. Now this isn’t to say you cannot go out for breakfast, but it is one way you can cut costs.

   4. Take advantage of special offers. Quite a few hotels will offer discounts if you book a certain amount of nights. For us, we received a 15% discount if we booked 3 or more nights. This lowered our cost on our hotel even more.

 5. Last but not least…choose what is most important to you. If you do not care about what your hotel looks like, you will be able to find some great deals! For us, we 100% wanted a hotel that was within walking distance to the ocean/boardwalk. This to us was non-negotiable. We stayed within 2 blocks of the boardwalk on our honeymoon and it was so nice being that close to the beach. We could relax on the beach for a while, walk back and shower, grab some food, and go back out when we were ready. There was no driving involved. Honestly, we only drove once and that was to visit the outlets and a sea food restaurant Colby insisted upon. By staying within walking distance this saves us on gas as well as time. If those items aren’t important to you, check out some hotels that are 20-30 minutes way, you will reduce your hotel cost significantly. However, do remember to factor in the cost of gas.

I hope these 5 tips help and remember it IS possible to go on a vacation even if you live on a budget. Where there is a will there is a way. I can honestly say I am super excited and our whole vacation: hotel, gas, food & spending is costing us less than $600. Completely budget friendly!

Have you gone on vacation this summer or do you plan on going on vacation sometime soon. I would love to hear where you are going and if you have any tips to save money on vacations?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan | July 28th- August 2nd

Hi everyone! 

I have not made a post about our meal plan in quite awhile, so I thought why not, lets share this weeks meal plan. This week is a bit of a busy one. We have some family obligations to attend to, so we will be eating out once or twice this upcoming week. Other then that, all meals will be served at home.

What's For Breakfast?

Colby's latest kick has been oatmeal with fresh fruit (usually strawberries)
I have been loving cereal (gluten free whole O's) or toast w/ scrambled eggs (both w/ fruit)

What's For Lunch?

This week Colby has 3 options
 (served with fruit & celery w/ peanut butter)

-Tuna sandwiches
-Grilled cheese w/ tomato soup
-Clam chowder soup

For my lunches I will have one of the following:
(served with fruit & celery or salad)
-Leftovers (I eat leftovers about 90% of the time)
-Grilled cheese sandwich
-Homemade grilled chicken burgers

What's For Dinner?

-Banana foster french toast w/ bacon
 (we generally have breakfast once a week)

-Roast beef w/ noodles & green beans
-Penne pasta w/ salad & garlic toast
-Burgers w/ broccoli & roasted potatoes
-Chicken parm w/ pasta, salad & garlic toast

Dinner out 1 or 2x

What is on your meal plan for this week?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fashion & Growing Up

Hi everyone! So first I want to apologize for not posting in almost a month! I know, I know, I am a terrible blogger haha. I promise I am going to try to get back to 2 posts a week. Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about today's post...Fashion & Beauty. 

Now, this is not going to be a normal post about fashion and beauty. Instead, lets talk about how fashion & beauty confuses me....at the age of 26! 

Before we get to the fact that I am 26 and have no idea about the fashion/beauty world, lets back up and find out exactly how I got here.

When I was a little kid I was 100% a tomboy. My mom would send me to school in pretty dresses and I would come home covered in mud. My favorite pastime as a kid was making mudpies, riding bikes, and anything that involved dirt. Now my sister was 100% girl but I was 100% tomboy and due to that nature I became the "son" my dad never had. My dad taught me how to throw a spiral football, how to hit a ball with a bat, took me fishing, etc. My best friends ever since I was little have pretty much always been boys. Growing up my next door neighbor "J" and I were around the same age and were pretty close. Having a boy as a best friend rocked! As I got older I still continued to spend more time with males opposed to females. 

When high school rolled around though, I switched fashion wise and became obsessed with shoes, mainly high hells. I wore high heels and dresses/skirts to school ALOT! However, even then, I was never very fashion oriented. While I tried to be somewhat fashionable, I failed pretty miserably lol

 Lets just put it all out there, I dressed pretty weird...and due to this I dealt with quite a bit of unwelcome comments from everyone else. I switched fashion wise again and instead of wearing what I wanted and trying to find my style, I chose simple/plain clothes. Anything to take the comments away from what I was wearing.

 As I progressed through high school and went off to college, fashion took a backseat. Like most college students, I hated waking up early and would roll out of bed at the last possible second and toss on whatever was near me. Yes, I was one of those college students who went to class in sweatpants, pajamas, or a pair of jeans and sweatshirt. Totally fashionable right?

Despite the fact that I have friends who were fashionable, somehow it never rubbed off on me. I have always been pretty clueless as to how to dress fashionable. Although I do try, being girly is just not in my nature.

 I paint my nails and it chips off. I try the latest fashion trend and it looks horrible. I try to create cute hairstyles and end up looking like I was electrocuted. I play around with makeup and it all looks the same.

I will say though that although I am nearing 27 and still haven't a clue how to dress stylish, I am honestly OK with it. While I wish I could pull together outfits easier or create cute hairstyles and have amazing makeup, that just is not me. I am completely OK with having a bare face, no makeup on, and walking out the door. I am OK with wearing something that makes me happy but others might question. 

While I may be a fashion misfit, at least I don't t try to be anyone I am not.

Maybe one day I will figure out fashion and beauty but until that time comes, I will enjoy trying new things out and playing around with clothes/makeup....even if it turns out awful. The only way to learn something is to keep trying. Eventually it will pay off! 

I would love to know if any of you out there are fashion misfits as well? Does fashion/beauty confuse you as much as it confuses me? I would love to hear from you.