Da Bomb (or the BEST) Mac and Cheese


1-3 boxes of Kraft Mac and cheese (please. no imitations)
1 Red bell pepper
1 zucchini
(if the squash at the store looked good, I would have added one of those too)
1 bag Birdseye Steamfresh Premium Selects Broccoli Florets
1 bag Birdseye Steamfresh Super Sweet Corn
Shredded cheddar cheese, colby jack, whatever floats your boat
its done no

I shall note, perhaps, that you can use fresh broccoli as well. You could throw in a bag of cauliflower (it's the only way my hubby eats cauliflower). . but really. . . just know. . the red peppers make it a bang! So, if you want to be uber cheap, just the red peppers make it ooooh so good!

Another note, if you use a whole red bell pepper, use two boxes at least.. . otherwise...it'll be spicey. .and your tummy may hurt. FYI. Not that I've ever made that mistake, but use precautions!

Total time is 70 minutes ish. Before you go crazy.. just know that this is slow cooking.. so, you don't necessarily have to be in the kitchen cooking...for 70 minutes.

1. Chop and saute the bell pepper on LOW heat for 30 ish minutes, turning somewhat infrequently.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and slice zucchini. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and black pepper and place on baking sheet for . . 30 minutes . . and turn halfway through.

3. 3o minutes in. . . the red peppers can jive on the stove, and you can turn off the heat if you like same with the oven. .and start cooking the Mac and cheese to package directions.

4. While Mac and Cheese cooks, stick the frozen veggies into microwave, separately.

5. Heat the butter and milk for the mac and cheese, otherwise it tends to turn your macaroni cold. No good!

6. Mix it all together, pour shredded cheese on top, and mix again. It helps to keep a lid on it. . so that it stays nice and warm and the cheese gets all gooey and stringy and such.

Devour! Yeah, Oh it's really Good. Preferably with coke. But that's just icing on the cake.


Tip of The Day - Overdosing on Laundry Detergent

Duuuuuude. Oh my gosh. I saw this on Consumer Reports a few weeks ago, and it was a HUGE HELLO. There was an article on concentrated laundry detergent and it stated that we often use too much.

Here I was always wondering why I buy these bottles of detergent that last for 70 loads and yet they are empty after more like 20 loads.

Well, that's because it's sometimes near impossible to see the appropriate line that you fill to for small size load, regular load, or supersize load. Guess what?? Even a super size load does not require a full cap full of detergent with Tide or All.

UGH! I guesstimate I sometimes use 2 or 3 times the necessary amount because I naively just filled the cap.. .

Make sure you are using the right amount. Who knows how much I've wasted.

The article states:

"Since some of the tested detergents cost as much as 65 cents per load, using too much cleaner could become expensive. Overdosing can also cause soap deposits and lint to form inside your washing machine, which, say some manufacturers, might contribute to mold and odors. It could also plug or restrict ports or filters, says Chris Zeisler, an appliance-repair expert at RepairClinic.com, who adds that those deposits could result in mechanical failure. And for some high-efficiency washers, overdosing can produce excessive suds and lead to extended wash cycles as the machine tries to remove the soap."

Here is the link to the original article


Delta Same Day Confirmed

First of all, let me say I amazed myself initially with the thought that I could purchase a next day ticket on Delta for $300 including all taxes and fees. The only problem of course, was that it was an evening flight and I wanted an early morning flight. The difference in price ranged from $400-$600 to score a morning flight. Of course that was way out of my price range, and thus creativity ensued.

Depending on the airline, you can fly standby on an earlier flight, or sometimes a later flight same day for free. Delta does not offer this service. No standby. None.

What it does offer is what they call "Same Day Standby". This comes at a fee of $50, and requires you to call within three hours of the desired flight to request a seat. If a seat is available, you'll be given a seat assignment and pay $50.

This may sound dandy, it did to me. In fact, I verified that there were plenty of seats available on the 5:30 a.m. flight when I purchased my ticket for 5;30 p.m. I was politely told it would probably be no problem to get on this flight.

I stay awake until 3:30 a.m. (the flight is actually for my sister leaving Kansas City and thus is an hour prior to me, which also adds to what soon becomes a fun dilemma). The polite customer service representatives that greeted me the day prior (as I verified multiple times how standby works to make sure I did not end up screwing myself) were replaced by rude representatives who were now demanding my reservation number before answering a simple question such as, "How many seats are available on Flight 5859?" They refused to give out any information without my reservation number. Every time I obliged, and would hear, "I am sorry, but there are no seats available."

The 5:30 a.m. flight was full. There was a 7:30 a.m. flight, which I would have to wait another 2 hours to call (has to be within a two hour window). Let's just say, that's about how the morning went. I managed to get about 45 minutes of sleep total, as I repeatedly attempted to call as soon as it hit within 3 hours of flight. I changed my initial approach to start verifying empty seats by acting as though I just wanted to purchase a coach seat. Still no luck.

Finally, four flight departures later, at 12:30 p.m., my sister was granted access to a seat on the flight. This brought her arrival time 5 hours earlier, which was better than a midnight arrival. In all, I saved roughly $400 with this approach, but would never, ever. . . . .ever use Delta Stand By Service again.

Too much hassle, rudeness, and ....financial cost, when you can simply say.. fly FREE with Airtran on a later flight same day as your ticket. Only issue there, is if the remaining flights of the day are full, you're out of luck and get to purchase a ticket for another day.


Watch At The Register

You would be amazed, or probably NOT so amazed at the number of times an item rings up incorrectly at the cash register. It happens to me more often than not.

I was reminded today at Wal Mart as I glanced at my receipt as I walked out the door. Those two Land O'Lake Boxes of Butter I bought with a rollback price of $1.00, actually rang up at $1.28 . I also purchased some Feta cheese for $1.88 but rang up at $2.98 . Yikes! Third time is a charm with pizza on the shelf at $4.50 but rang up at $4.75 . It doesn't seem like much, but in the long run it really adds up.

Checking your receipt after the fact is the next best thing if you forgot to watch as the items were scanned, as I just recently went through the line at Publix with one bag of salad at $3, and yet somewhat the same one bag was scanned 3 times. Luckily I examined the receipt, and made a return trip to Publix to get my $6 back, which sadly lacked an apology for their error.

In a search, I found this article at wakeupwalmart.com, it's a few years old I think, but appears nothing has changed in 2009 with scanning errors.


Interest Rates on Federal Education Loans to Drop July 1

Save By Consolidating Federal Student Loans after July 1st:

*The new rates only apply to federal loans with a variable interest rate. The rates for 2009-2010 are the lowest in history for federal student loans.

Lock in these rates by consolidating after July 1, 2009:

• Stafford Loan Consolidation (In-School/Grace Period): 2.00%
• Stafford Loan Consolidation (Repayment Period): 2.50%
PLUS Loan Consolidation: 3.38%

Some Exclusions Apply:

  • If you have already consolidated your loans, you are ineligible.
  • If the loans originated after July 1, 2006, they are not eligible for the new lower rate.
  • Private student loans cannot be included in a federal consolidation loan.
  • If you are still in school, you cannot consolidate until after you graduate.
  • There is no requirement that a borrower who consolidates his or her loans switch from standard ten-year repayment to a longer repayment plan, such as extended repayment or the new income-based repayment plan. Some borrowers may choose to use extended repayment to maximize the term of the historically low interest rate. However, if they do so, they should use the reduction in the monthly payment to pay down more expensive debt. Otherwise they are merely increasing the amount of interest they will pay over the life of the loan.
For more information, read the article at FastWeb here