Save money...check this out!

A few weeks ago my mother calls me frantically, filled with excitement over something my uncle told her about. She rambles off a list of food items and says, "How much do you think all of this stuff is worth?"

I give her my ballpark dollar amount (because I grocery shop once a week...I should know how much everything costs by heart at this point).

"NOPE! It costs $30!"

So she starts telling me all about this organization called Treasure Box near my uncle's home in Anaheim. Because she's so excited about it, I hop onto the trusted laptop while she's rambling on to see if they have a website because these days EVERYONE has one, right? She's telling me how she and my aunt have already discussed placing their orders and her driving all the way to Anaheim to pick up her food. I think it's a silly idea to waste the gas to save a few bucks, but that's just me.

I poke around their website and discover a pickup location close to my mother's home and tell her about it (mostly to save her from driving to Anaheim which is at LEAST 25 miles from home). Not only is there one close to HER home, there's a pickup location close to mine as well.

The thing you don't know about my mother is that her excitement is contagious...

Next thing I know, I'm whipping out my phonebook and checking all of the zip codes for all of my friends and family. Once I verified that EVERYONE in my phonebook has a pickup center close to them, I send everyone a link to Treasure Box...because saving money is a GOOD THING.

I'm not sure if it's outside of California or not, but it's certainly worth looking into.


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Fall Comfort Food - Tuna Casserole

My mother made Tuna Casserole for me when I was a child. The combination of tuna, a cheesy sauce and pasta still makes my tummy rumble when I think about it! Over the years I've made it and taken it to pot-lucks and it always turns out to be a huge hit...I never know why because it's so simple to make that I end up sharing the recipe ALL THE TIME!

Today is a cold, rainy day in Southern I decided to make some comfort food to greet my children with when they come home from school. I certainly hope you like this as much as I do!


1 - 12oz can of Albacore Tuna (or chunk light...I prefer Albacore because it doesn't taste as fishy)
1 - 10.5oz can cream of celery condensed soup (any brand will do)
1 - 10.5oz can cream of mushroom condensed soup (any brand will do)
1 - 14oz can of baby sweet peas (drained)
2 3/4 cups milk
3 cups cheddar cheese (divided)
1 - 16oz bag extra wide egg noodles
garlic salt and pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil entire bag of egg noodles until tender (set aside). In a separate large pot, combine both cans of soup, tuna and milk. Warm on medium high heat until the soup becomes smooth. Add 1 cup of cheese once the soup is heated (for easier melting). Season to taste then add entire can of drained peas. Mix everything well.

In a large oven-safe bowl pour in half of the cooked noodles. Pour half of the cheesy soup mixture over the pasta.

Combine the sauce and pasta. Sprinkle one cup of cheese over it.

Pour the remaining pasta over the cheese and pour in the remaining cheesy tuna sauce.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Place the bowl in the oven and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

To make an entire meal out of this dish, add a salad and some garlic bread!

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Chicken, Chinese Kale and Mushrooms in Black Bean Sauce

My cousin got married last weekend. Afterwards they had a FULL ON Chinese Wedding Banquet - complete with an EIGHT COURSE MEAL!! I won't go into detail because it'll only make you hungry and jealous of me! HAHAHAH!! But one of the dishes was Rock Cod in Black Bean Sauce.

Now, I'm not much of a fish eater, but it was BEST fish I've EVER had! I've only prepared fish for my family once - and fish sticks for the kids doesn't count! I went on a hunt for rock cod - not knowing that it was EXPENSIVE as hell in the local Chinese I decided on Chicken (read: cheap fish substitute).

I was always under the belief that Gai Lan (Chinese Kale) was Chinese BROCCOLI, but you gotta love the Internet with its abundance of information and pictures! I've only found it in my local Chinese market, but in the event you can't find it feel free to use whatever vegetable that you want.


2 - 3lbs. boneless, skinless chicken leg meat (or thigh meat)
1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion, sliced
3 - 4 bunches (think handfuls) gai lin, broccoli or bok choy
1-1/2 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce (found in most Asian sections of your local store)
14 ounces chicken broth
3-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (divided)
4 tablespoons sesame oil (divided)


1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons rice wine (NOT TO BE MISTAKEN WITH RICE WINE VINEGAR), dry white wine or sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cooking oil

**NOTE: This can EASILY be prepared as a vegetarian dish by substituting the chicken for FIRM tofu and ANY vegetable would go well with this sauce.


Using cooking shears, cut chicken into small strips and place in a bowl. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Prepare vegetables. Rinse gai lin WELL and cut into 2 inch pieces diagonally.

Heat wok and add sesame oil. Stir fry gai lin, mushrooms and onions over high heat for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are 80% cooked. Set aside.

Add remaining sesame oil to the wok. Add chicken and stir fry until the meat is completely cooked. Add black bean garlic sauce and mix well.

Add vegetables and continue to cook for another minute. Slowly pour in 1/2 of the chicken broth. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the last 1/2 of chicken broth until completely dissolved. Pour into the wok and mix well. The sauce will thicken as it continues to cook.

Serve with rice and enjoy!

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