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July 2011

Seeking Help from Food Bloggers for a Special "Good Cause" Project

Colebear The Cheap Gourmet is seeking help from food bloggers for a special "good cause" project. This involves preparing a recipe and taking a photograph that will be included in a recipe e-book.

The recipe collection is being used as a "Thank You" gift to individuals that contribute $5 or more to the Out of the Darkness Community Walks hosted by the American Foundation of Suicide.

On July 5, 2010, we lost a very important person in our life; a beautiful 20 year old young woman named Nicole. Nicole was my daughter's best friend for years and was like a daughter to me. 

She was a gorgeous, vibrant girl who brought laughter and joy into our life and her passing has left a major void in the lives of many.

To honor Nicole, my daughter, along with many of Nicole's family members and friends have formed Team Nicole and will be walking to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The walk is taking place on September 10, 2011 at Celebration Plaza in Indianapolis.

In effort to help raise funds for this worthy cause, The Cheap Gourmet is putting together a recipe booklet filled with Nicole's favorite recipes. It will be called, "Cooking for ColeBear" in memory of her nickname.

I am looking for a few food bloggers who would like to join forces with me. What I need is a few people to make the recipes and take a high quality photograph. In exchange, I will include a link to each blogger's website or blog in the "Cooking for Colebear" recipe booklet and on The Cheap Gourmet blog.

The "Cooking for Colebear" recipe booklet will be provided to anyone that makes a $5 donation to Out of the Darkness. While I am unable to offer compensation for ingredients, blog posts, or photographs, the booklet offers great opportunities for participants to have their blog shared with countless people, as well as being reflected as a blogger that gives back to the community!

Please note, the recipes can be scaled back to make only enough for one serving to reduce ingredient costs. If you would like to take part in this volunteer opportunity, please contact me at kathy at thecheapgourmet.com, or leave a comment below.

The following is the list of recipes that I will need photos of. I will supply the recipe to you.

Green Pepper Steak and Rice

Red Lobster Cheese Garlic Biscuits

Peach Crisp

Caramel Apple Salad

Potato Soup

Broccoli Rice Casserole - Claimed by Tara Burner at TaraBurner.com

Oatmeal Scotchies - Claimed by Viveca Stone-Berry at AdrenalFatigueBeGone.com

Sweet Potato Casserole - Claimed by Marina Sweat Owens, Independent Pampered Chef consultant

Please note, food photography is needed no later than August 7th.

When you contact me, please advise which recipe you would like to prepare and photograph. As bloggers claim the recipes I will mark them off this list and include a link to your blog so that everyone knows who is participating is this worthy event. Upon receipt of your email correspondence, I will provide the recipe, along with ways to promote this event.

Thank you for your time! I very much look forward to working with the foodie community and greatly appreciate your support and time in helping me create "Cooking for Colebear".

UPDATE: A BIG "Thank You" to DepositPhotos.com for providing photos and illustrations for "Cooking for ColeBear." We greatly appreciate their generosity and support. Anyone that needs great artwork for websites, blogs, and presentations should visit DepositPhotos. They have beautiful and unique artwork for all your publishing needs!

Announcing the Goya Foods Birthday Bash

Goya-birthday-bash The Cheap Gourmet was recently contacted by Goya Foods with a request to let you know about their exciting Birthday Bash. The company is celebrating their 75th birthday and want to invite you to join the party!

The Goya Birthday Bash consists of a mega cash prize of a whopping $75,000. This promotion can be played four ways. There's an online game, an on-pack game, mail-in sweepstakes, and Goya's Greatest Fan video/photo/essay contest. Participants have 10 different opportunities to potentially win $75,000.

In addition to the Goya Birthday Bash promotion, participants can receive  the 75th Anniversary Series GOYA Recipe Booklets featuring cuisine from Mexico, Caribbean, South America, Central America, Spain, and Latin Fusion. These cookbooks can be yours at no cost by mailing in 75 UPC codes from Goya products. All participants will be entered into a drawing to receive 1 of 75 digital cameras.

I was introduced to Goya Foods years ago while working at a health food store. We used their beans, rice, and condiments in nearly all of our recipes. My personal all-time favorite is Adobo Seasoning. I use it on pretty much everything, but it is particularly tasty on chicken. It adds a hint of color and a delightful seasoning that eliminates the need for salt.

Goya carries over 1,500 products from every region of Latin America and Spain. Some of the more popular include: beans, seasoned rice mixes, green olives, olive oil, nectars and juices, tomato-based products, spices, hot sauces, and salsas.

The Goya website offers a wide range of delicious recipes including: Starters and Salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Desserts, Drinks, Quick Meals, Affordable Meals, New Classics, and Latin Fusion. Visitors can setup their own recipe box which allows them to personalize each recipe, add notes, and create customized meal plans.

Visitors can subscribe to the Goya Foods mailing list to receive regular newsletters consisting of cooking tips, brand new recipes,  special promotions, and money-saving coupons.

I have been enjoying playing the Goya Birthday Bash online game. All that is required is to put in your birthdate, hit the pinata until Goya products fall to the ground, and click on a product to reveal a number. Collect all numbers in your birthday and you could win $75,000.

I hope you will take a few minutes to check out the Goya Birthday Bash and Goya product line. These are great products that will infuse your meals with flavor and pizzazz!


Disclosure: The Cheap Gourmet received the Special Edition, 75th Anniversary Series Goya® Recipe Booklets as a thank you for sharing the word about their products.

The Cheap Gourmet is Trying the HCG Diet

I hate to admit it, but since starting The Cheap Gourmet food blog back in 2007, I've added an extra 30 pounds of padding to my already robust stature. I'm uncomfortable. It's become harder to breathe and my knees ache far too often. It's time to revamp my diet plan and regain control over what passes through my lips.

I recently won the HCG Diet Program Giveaway hosted by Tara Burner.  I received a 40-day supply of homeopathic HCG Plus drops and a bottle of homeopathic vitamin B-12.  Tara provided a ton of literature, step-by-step directions, and recipes, plus I did a lot of research on my own. What I discovered is there is a lot of controversy over this weight loss plan.

Instead of reading a bunch of sales hype from websites trying to sell me HCG and hypercritical info from drug manufacturers, I downloaded the original research report presented by Dr. Simeon; the guy who did the scientific research some 50+ years ago. Click here if you want to download the PDF report, "Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity."

Dr. Simeon's protocol is based on HCG injections. The concentration level is much more powerful than what's in the HCG drops. I feel the controversy stems from the fact that HCG is NOT recommended for weight loss, and the drops ARE NOT approved by the FDA.

Another reason for controversy is the HCG Diet is extremely restrictive in calories. To the tune of about 500 per day. Human beings cannot normally sustain nutritional balance on a mere 500 calories per day.

However, Dr. Simeon's research report explains how the HCG helps your body release stored fat. Essentially, you're downloading necessary calories stored in fat cells throughout the diet. Once you reach a maximum 34-pound weight loss or complete the 23- or 40-day plan you stop and gradually reintroduce carbohydrates.

I'll be honest. I'm on the fence and somewhat skeptical about the HCG Diet. But, I want to give this a fair shake because after reading Dr. Simeon's report it makes perfect sense to me.

For me, organization is going to be the key to success. Using the food charts and recipes supplied by Tara, I created my first week's menu. The most challenging part was coming up with a menu that would be enjoyed by my really skinny husband who can shove 5000 calories in his mouth in a day and never gain an ounce. Oh, he's also a meat and potato guy and potatoes are prohibited on the HCG Diet.

Believe it or not, I managed to work it out. This evening I went shopping for our week's menu and did not buy one thing that wasn't on my list. We'll be having Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce, No Mayo Tuna Salad, Mahi Tacos with Strawberry-Cucumber Salsa, Balsamic Mustard Steak, French Onion Soup, Lemon Zest Crab Cakes, and Lemon Pepper Chicken. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

I placed the menu on the fridge with the times I need to eat, what I'm going to eat, and when to injest the drops. I have no idea how well this will work, or if it will work, but from the looks of my menu I'm going to be eating much better than I have in months AND I'll be eating small meals throughout the day, which is something I am really bad about. I eat one huge dinner and that's it. No breakfast or lunch except once in awhile on the weekends. That is the worst eating habit ever and will really keep the weight on.

I'll be posting recipes throughout the week, as pretty much everything we're eating is brand new to us. We're going to toss out the spicy hot chocolate covered bacon and bacon waffles and all those high-carb foods we love so much and give this healthy eating another try.

If you have tried the HCG Diet, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll do my best to keep you posted on the weight loss. Supposedly, you can lose 1 to 2 pounds per day. I'd be ecstatic to lose 1/2 pound per day.

Please note that the opinions expressed here are merely my own. I'm not being paid to promote HCG drops, nor am I selling HCG drops. I'm just trying to change my eating habits and eat healthier foods and trying to fast track my efforts by using the product that I won.

Always consult with  your physician before starting any weight loss plan. Especially one that limits calories to 500 per day!