more fricken! (that’s free chicken)

welcome back to the all free chicken, all the time blog.  i mean the photos of lokate holding food blog.  only kidding, this is still ReceshBreak!  I just have to let you know that today’s free chicken deal at el pollo loco is more than just free chicken.  It’s free tortillas (your choice of flour or corn) and unfettered access to their salsa bar!

that’s a whole meal people!  yesterdays kfc free piece of chicken was good, but today’s free meal was amazing.  i’m not normally into eating chicken with the bones and all, but i found it kind of fun to assemble my little chicken tacos.  yum, yum.  this offer is good until 8pm tonight (4.28.9), it’s not too late!

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dinner plans tonight?

free chicken.i know this is last minute, but i had to do some research before i brought you this news.  KFC is giving out a free piece of chicken to everone who walks through their doors, TODAY ONLY!

by “research” i mean, i walked down to my local KFC and tried it out.  sure enough, they will give you a piece of their new grilled chicken just for being there.  it’s that kind of chicken that’s on the bones and you get all dirty trying to eat it… but it was pretty tasty.

so, if you have no dinner plans tonight… pick up a piece, just don’t forget to grab a napkin or two (or more, take them home, use them later…)

if you’re reading this post april 28th or later, don’t worry i can still help you out with those dinner plans… mmm.

UPDATE: word on the street (actually, on my facebook page, thanks mom!) is that El Pollo Loco is giving out free chicken tomorrow! and according to their website you get free tortillas with your free chicken!  Holy smokes!  I am so there!

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Podcasts (the internet’s greatest secret treasure)

i’m here! i know i haven’t blogged in a while, and honestly, i was letting this silly recesh get me down… and me down = lazy.  lame right?  So, i’m here to tell you about something i really truly love, and it’s FREE and it’s entertaining and it’s gettin’ me through this recesh, and it’s podcasts!

i called them a secret treasure (up there in the title) because some people just don’t seem to know how truely super they are.  if you’re already down with the p-casts, you can skip this p-graph.  i’m about to get all explainy.  what‘s a podcast?  podcasts are mp3s (sound files) that you can download for free and listen to on your computer or on your ipod and they generally feature people talking.  who? anyone! can make a podcast and put it up online for you to download for free.  most of my favorite podcasts are radio shows that they record and put online.  why not just listen to the radio? because if i have the shows on my ipod i can listen to them whenever i want to.  they are great entertainment for when you are walking to the store, sitting on the bus, getting ready in the morning… i even like to do the dishes after dinner (i know, right…) because it gives me a few minutes to listen to my podcasts.  so, lastly how do you get these magical gems?  if you use itunes it’s super easy, just go to the itunes store and look under the audio podcasts section and you can search around for something that strikes your fancy.  you can also usually download a p-cast straight from its coresponding website.   there are approximately one bafillion podcasts in the world.

to help you find the very best, i would like to recommend my personal faves:

Long-time producer Jen Flash Andrews, Sean DeTore (Japans #1 mixer) and your host Luke Burbank.

Long-time producer Jen "Flash" Andrews, Sean DeTore (Japan's #1 mixer) and your host Luke Burbank.

tbtl (the show that is possibly Too Beautiful To Live) is a nighttime radio show from seattle that i just can’t get enough of.  Jen, Luke, and Sean talk about anything and everything.  From waterbeds (what happened to them?), to what music they want played at their funerals, and even baby ninjas.  Every night they go through the news events of the day and declare them awesome (rawr!) or not awesome (come on!).

this american life is a public radio show where every week they choose a theme, and bring you a variety of stories on that theme… (are you hearing ira‘s voice yet)?  It’s great story telling!  Some weeks it’s so funny, sometimes dramatic, always tons of fun.  itunes will only let you download the most recent episode, but their website lets you stream every episode they’ve ever had!

wait, wait, don’t tell me is a news quiz where panelists and call-in listeners answer questions about the week’s news.  Paula Poundstone is sometimes one of the panelists, so pretty much it’s a news quiz and a laugh riot.

raul and jerry enjoyed this dinner party at apt. #81

raul and jerry enjoyed this dinner party at apt. #81

the dinner party download is “the show that helps you win your next dinner party.”  Every week they give you a joke to break the ice, hints about interesting news stories to bring up, a few history facts to make you sound smart, cocktail ideas and more!  I don’t go to many dinner parties, but i always listen to this p-cast.

the relevant podcast is made by the folks who make relevant magazine.  they talk about funny news stories and have musical guest come in and play songs.  They are the reason i know about Pigeon John.

and now: a note about gratitude (also free, also awesome).  Maria/Julie Andrews isn’t lying.  When you feel down, cause i don’t know, maybe you find yourself in the middle of some sort of recesh maybe… simply remember your favorite things and then you won’t feel so bad.  Thanks for letting me share my favorite podcasts with you!  What are your faves?

✩tbtl photo used by permission from the lovely Jen Andrews (no relation to Julie…), thanks lady!

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Five Dollar Fiesta!

I went to Lucky’s determined to pick-up a $5 meal for three (ani, brian and me again). Lucky for me, the produce was all crazy on sale. So i decided to make Taco Salad!  It’s easy to make and delish!

How did i make a top-notch salad for just 5 bucks?  Some stellar deals and one secret ingrede*!  Let me break it down for you:
Lettuce (great sale)!                 .79
2 smallish Tomatoes                .32
green onions                              .39
1 can chili beans*                      .99
1 cheddar cheese snack stick  .59
1 li’l bag of fritos                        .99
the smallest sour cream          .99
taco bell hot sauce packets      FREE

grand total 5.06!

oh! i know, six cents over budget.  but you can probably find that between the couch cushions, or you could charge each of your dinner guests 3¢, or you could tap dance outside of the grocery store and put out your hat ’till you collect six cents.

okay, so now that you have your beautiful ingredes, assemble away!  It’s only a matter of chop, chop, chopping up the lettuce (not the whole thing.  We used just over half, that means more salad soon!), tomatoes, green onions, and cheese stick (ani found it way too small to grate.  her chopping skillz were stellar).  If you happen to have a real chunk of cheese around you can just grate some of it up.  Now, my fave ingrede THE CHILI BEANS, just drain the can into a colander. You can give them a little rinse if you want.  They will still retain their chili-y flavor and give you some protein.  Finally, throw that salad together, top with some fritos! don’t forget the sour cream (i love that stuff) and bust out those taco bell hot sauce packets that have been sitting in your fridge forever.  (seriously, if you’ve ever been to taco bell you know, they give you about seventeen packets of hot sauce for each taco you order.  If you’ve never been to taco bell, I’m so sorry).

Just look at this yumtastic salad!  Keep in mind this is just an idea that can be modified in about infinity ways.  Green onions not on sale this week? no problem.  You could dig up the extra carrots you have left over from MnCnT night and grate some of those into the salad.  Anytime’s a great time to clean out the produce drawer into a bowl and smother it in sour cream, fritos, and chili beans!

Even ani was a little less bothered by the fact that, yet again, I have my camera pointing in her direction, because this time it means she gets to be having taco salad!

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Pop Corn Fun!

I am going to share one of my absolute favorite discoveries of the past year. Popping popcorn on the stove! Last summer i found myself sharing an apartment with a roommate who was firmly anti-microwave, which is how i discovered that corn popped on the stove is not only so much more tasty than the soggy microwave bagged kind, it is considerably cheaper! Cheap and Delish! Sounds like the perfect recesh treat.

Now, my variety of stove popped corn is the sweet kind (some call it kettle corn). It is soo good! How good? Let’s just say i’ve been known to make myself a pot-full and eat the entire batch for lunch! (warning: that is not actually healthy).

ingredes The ingredes:
1/3 cup yellow popcorn
1/3 cup sugar (regular type)
2 Tbsp. veg or canola oil
< 1 tsp. salt

a note about these amounts: this recipe is the perfect amount for the size pot that i use (you can see it in those pictures there). I used to use 1/2 cup popcorn and 1/2 cup sugar and slightly more oil and salt, because i had a bigger pot. What i’m saying is, the amounts are pretty flexible, just remember 1:1 popcorn to sugar (some recipes use less sugar, but they are crazy).

Also, i find it helpful the measure out the ingredes ahead of time.

oilStep 1: Put 2 Tbsp. of oil and three “test kernels” of popcorn in the bottom of a medium sized pot. The oil should just coat the bottom of the pot and not cover the kernels (that would be way too much…).  Now, put the lid on and turn on the heat.  I set my current stove to 6 (out of 10), you don’t want it too hot, but you also don’t want to sit around all night waiting for the corn to pop… So I guess, i will declare, set your stove to medium high.

all inStep 2: As soon as a test kernel pops, add in the rest of the popcorn and all the sugar.  I pour the popcorn in first, then sprinkle the sugar in evenly over the kernels.  Return the lid onto the pot.  The kernels will not start popping immediately, because the popcorn and sugar have cooled down the oil a little…



shake

Step 3: Shake, shake, shake.  Initially shake the pot about every 10 seconds.  Once the popcorn starts popping big time, shake it every 3 seconds.  Just keep shaking away and the popcorn will do its thing.  Keep this up, until you go 3 seconds with no new pops.





Step 4: Pull the pot off the stove and sprinkle in the 1/2 teaspoon of salt (you can always add more later, if its not salty enough, but it’s a big bummer if your popcorn is over salted).  Then put the lid back on and give it some more good shakes.

done
Step 5: Dump your popcorn into a bowl, and walk away.  This is the hardest but most important step.  When you transfer the popcorn to the bowl it is still very sticky and hot.  When you come back in five minutes it is much cooler and crispy!  Just give it a little stir and the individual pieces will break apart.  Now all that’s left to do is eat up!


Going to the movies is so terribly spendy ($10 ticket + crazy pricey snacks!) yuk. This popcorn is so yummy, you might just grow to prefer borrowing a DVD from a neighbor (it’s free-er than renting!) and making yourself this irresistible popcorn.

Today, I bought a heaping cup of popcorn kernels (from a bin at a produce store) and it cost me 88¢! That’s just 29¢ a batch.  A 5 lb. bag of sugar gives you about 11.25 cups for about $2.50, so for our batch of popcorn we use just 7¢ of sugar!  Add in the pennies worth of salt and oil and you have a totally super treat for about 40¢.  That is crazy.  If you have two friends over and make two batches, all three of you can eat yourselves sick for less than a dollar!  mmm.

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doesn’t get much better than FREE

During a recesh you can’t get a better deal than free.  today, i’ll tell you about two free things (frings).

Right now at Kashi.com you can sign up to be mailed a coupon for a FREE frozen dinner.  I just requested mine, so i can’t make any claims about the quality of the food, but it’s from kashi so i have high hopes.  Also, did i mention it is free, which is super.  I am mostly certain that they will just send you the coupon and not fill your mailbox (electronic or otherwise) with junk mail.  I am basing this on the fact that a while back they had a sign up on they’re website to get a sample of granola, which i got, and they didn’t spam me after that, so hooray for kashi!  FREE meal! (i feel that FREE is so super it should always be in caps, but i’ll cool it for now).

And now, a free (ugh, too boring FREE!) tip for my fellow bay-area-ites.  FREE chocolate.  no lie.  Ghirardelli Square, a total tourist trap, but the tourists aren’t stupid!  They give a free sample (which happens to be an entire ghirardelli square) to every single person who walks into their store.

Ghirardelli square happens to be in a lovely area, so you can make a really fun activity out of this free chocolate tip.  Take a walk (free) down by the water, enjoy a nap (free) in beautiful fort mason park (free admission),  then head up to ghirardelli square for a chocolate treat (FREE!).

thanks to wasabicube for cc licensing (free) their great foto of ghirardelli square!

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Party!

Being in a recesh can get you down, because let’s be honest the, the entertainment budget is usually the first thing to get slashed.  But that doesn’t mean you have to sit at home all day.  Sitting at home is free, i’ll give you that, but it’s not all that fun. 

So, you can try to get yourself invited to other people’s parties, that is free… but can you throw a party at your place for little to no money?  Of course you can.  And you can have a very fun party.  Possibly the most fun party of all time.

The bulk of a party’s budget goes to buying food for your guests.  So, why not trick your guests into bringing the food.  While you’re at it, why not trick them into cooking the food for themselves so you don’t have too.  How is that even possible?

It’s a Cook-off Party! and this is how it works.  Just ask each of your guests to bring one ingredient for the meal.  (See, you just saved yourself a bundle and you only asked each of your guest to spend a few bucks).  If you want to make sure you end up with a cohesive meal, you can assign ingredients.  (for example, mexican is a really simple theme to organize.  Keighty brings tomatoes, Jerry brings onions, Liz brings cheese, Raul brings sour cream, Richie (your friend with the big bucks, who still has his job) can bring some chicken, Ani brings tortillas, etc. until all necessary ingredes are accounted for.  The more folks that come the better variety of foods you get to have).  If you want a more challenging cook-off let your guests bring whatever ingredient they want!

When your guests arrive with the bounty, throw all the food onto the kitchen table.  Then divide your buddies into two teams. You can draw names from a hat, divide up girls vs. boys, or have two team captains choose sides old school style.  Then, and here’s the exciting part, divide up the ingredients.  One member of each team takes turns rolling a dice.  If they roll an even number they pick an ingrede off the table.  If they roll an odd number they get to steal an ingredient from the other team.  (Once a specific item has been stolen three times it is frozen, and cannot be stolen again).  Once all the ingredes are doled out.  The cooking begins!

forks2Set a time limit, you have to eat some time.  An hour is probably enough time.  Depending on the rowdiness of your guests, other rules can be set.  E.g. No knife-fights in the kitchen.  Each team has to come up with a couple of dishes, and over dinner, you can all argue about who cooked the better food!

BONUS:  Now that you have tricked your friends into buying the food and cooking it themselves, let’s take this to a whole new level.  The losing team has to wash the dishes!!!

And that is how you throw a party without spending loads of cash.  All you have to do is clean the kitchen before your guests arrive.  If you’re as good of a cook as you say you are… you won’t even have to do dishes!

✩yummy veg photo by eseering.  Thanks.

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