Two hundred and thirty-five

I haven’t been cooking this month as much as I would like.  I am just loving the curries, though, as a comforting dish in the cold weather.  My friend Angie gave me the following recipe for Chana Masala, which I made this afternoon for lunch.  It is so tasty, with just the right amount of spice to make your whole body glow.  The leftovers I plan to take to work tomorrow so I can eat something yummy when everyone else is eating pizza (our managers at the pub buy us pizza on the really busy days, so we don’t bombard the kitchen with orders for food).  Being vegan you have to think ahead all the time, so you know you have something to eat.

Chana Masala with quinoa (I ran out of rice)

Chana Masala
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas 
onion, chopped 
tomato, chopped 
green chili pepper, chopped 
garlic cloves, chopped 
1 inch gingerroot, chopped 
2-3 bay leaves 
1 teaspoon red chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1 teaspoon coriander powder 
1 teaspoon garam masala powder 
3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Cut onion, tomato and green chili. Grind it in food processor along with ginger and garlic and make paste.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and fry bay leaves for 30 secs.
  3. Add the paste and fry on medium heat until golden brown (The oil starts separating from the mixture).
  4. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add water enough to make thick gravy. Bring the gravy to boil.
  6. Add can chick peas. Stir well and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped green coriander leaves and serve hot.

Vegan recipe websites

I know I’ve mentioned most of these before, but just to have them all in one place, here are some great recipe websites for vegan food:

Voracious Eats – vegan and non-vegan recipes by Tasha

Oh She Glows – all vegan recipes by Angela Liddon

The Kind Life – a collection of recipes by Alicia Silverstone and other vegan chefs

Post Punk Kitchen – vegan recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

The Vegan Project – three ladies (Bridget Burns, Jen Hanover and Jessica Grajczyk) from Vancouver learning about veganism and posting delicious-looking recipes

ChooseVeg.com – I haven’t tried any of these recipes yet, but they have hundreds of vegan recipes

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Day seventeen

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!  As I work at an Irish pub, have just finished a long shift and am soooo ready for bed, today’s post is going to be brief.  But important.  Peggy asked in a comment a couple of days ago whether getting something for free counts as ‘couponing’.  Absolutely!  Here are a few great resources of where to find free things:

  1. Smart Canucks has a forum page with over 50 links to how to get stuff free online (click here).  I’ve tried a couple that worked and a couple that were outdated, so best to just look through the list and give the link a try.
  2. My favourite Mrs. January has a page dedicated to Canadian freebies that she updates regularly (click here).  This is where I found out about the free hair dye I got from my Walmart shop that I wrote about on day three.
  3. Save.ca has a coupon right now for a free Mars chocolate bar for their Random Acts of Chocolate campaign.  They send the coupon to you in the mail. (click here)
  4. FreeStuffCanadaGuide.ca was recommended to me.  I find the site a little harder to navigate, but there seems to be some good stuff on here if you can sort through all the ads.

These are all Canadian sites to free things.  I’m sure whichever country you are in has many sites similar to these that offer databases of where to find coupons and free stuff.  I’m happy to do some research, if any of my international friends want me to look into finding some websites for them to use!  Just let me know.

Day five

A couple of people have asked what categories of coupons there are?  From the words of one friend: “I always think that coupons are for things I don’t want or need. Massages, dog food etc.”.  From the knowledge I’ve acquired over the past five days, there are coupons for practically everything (brand names of everything, but that is another issue I’ll get into another day).  In my handy accordion file I have nine categories: food, restaurants, fast food, health, beauty, household, shopping, entertainment, misc.  Right now in my food section I have coupons for juice, salad dressing, tea, yoghurt, cereal, rice, soup, coffee and even bagged salad.  As for the restaurant and fast food categories, most of those I found in the entertainment book, however you can also find coupons online at dine.to, menupalace.com and other websites like those in your city.  If you’re planning on going to a specific restaurant, check online before you go to see if there is a coupon you can print for it.  Even if it’s 15% off, you’re still saving a little money.  And couponing is fun (or at least I’m trying to tell myself that!).

Health and beauty have everything from vitamins, to makeup, to pain pills.  And there are coupons for every kind of household supply.  I like to use only natural products, so my favourite coupons for cleaning supplies and for a lot of food have been from thehealthyshopper.ca, which have coupons you can print at home.  I went to Loblaws today and bought some natural dish soap with a $1 off coupon from The Healthy Shopper.  Finally, for the entertainment category I’ve gathered coupons from both the entertainment book (movies, theatre, bowling, golf  – I don’t play golf, but my friends love these) and from different online sources.  A great source for things to do in Ontario is attractionsontario.ca where you can find all sorts of coupons for attractions in Ontario (go figure!).  Check out tourist websites or the tourist bureaus in the city you’re in – even if you live there. They offer great discounts on things to do in your area.

Day one

I can’t believe it’s the first day already!  I have thought and talked about this idea so much I wasn’t sure I was actually going to do it.  Well, here we are, March 1st – the first day of Extreme Couponing.  I’ve done quite a bit of research leading up to this moment, and as I have a few leftover groceries from last month and am not in need of buying anything today, I’m going to give a rundown of what I’ve learned so far.

I started a few weeks ago by joining different coupon websites.  I am now a member of Groupon.com, Teambuy.ca, Livingsocial.com, Wagjag.com, and Dealfind.com – all of which are greatly increasing the amount of junkmail coming to my Hotmail account, but are also sending me good deals on restaurants, shops, spas, and entertainment.  These sites are group-buying websites, where products or services are offered at extreme discounts, but the deals only go through if enough people purchase the product/service.

I am also now a member of Livingwell.ca and TheHealthyShopper.ca, which offer printable coupons for their members (free to join, although The Healthy Shopper makes you fill out a very long, annoying survey before you become a member). And I signed up to save.ca, P&G brandsaver.ca, websaver.ca, and gocoupons.ca, where once subscribed (also free), you can chose the coupons you want and they will send them to you in the mail (although you usually have to choose a minimum number of coupons).

Finally there are deal directories that show coupons, flyers, freebies and other deals, such as smartcanucks.ca, freestuffcanadaguide.ca, fabuloussavings.ca, flyerland.ca, and redflagdeals.com.

My favourite online resource so far is mrsjanuary.com, run by a 25-year-old stay-at-home mom in Mississauga.  She offers tons of advice for the newbie couponer and updates the site often with what’s on sale, coupons, free stuff and her spending habits.

my pile of coupons

My pile of coupons to get me started.

Although I’m enjoying my pile of coupons that I acquired online, and the few my grandmother clipped for me from the newspaper (including one for Trogan condoms – thanks nana!), I’m a bit intimidated of how to use them.  I also have quite a few concerns about this month. Will I end up buying a lot of things I don’t need or purchase brand names that aren’t as good (sustainable, eco friendly, etc) just because I have a coupon for them?  Am I actually going to save money? How am I going to buy meat and produce?  I generally don’t eat a lot of processed or packaged food.

On the bright side, I can’t walk into a store, browse, and buy stuff just because it looks good.  Maybe I will save money, if only because it limits what I can buy.  I will have to plan it out.  No spontaneous shopping.