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FRUGAL FOODIE Volume 1, Issue 1


Keeping College Cooking Classy

Coupons, Then and Now

E V I S U L C EX A Day in the Life of Hy-Vee’s Chef Andrew

A brief history of bargain buying

Top 10 Frugal Finds May 2014




Grocery Gourmet A day in the life of Hy-Vee’s Chef Andrew Ungs


Top 10 Frugal Finds Low-cost foodie fare in the Cedar Valley... and where to find it


The Scoop on Coupons A brief look at the evolution of grocery coupons

Cover Story: Cheap Eats 101


Kara Weiler talks food, fun, and finances


Budget-Friendly Ingredient Substitutions Easy swaps to save money, without sacrificing flavor


Letter From the Editor/May 2014


Stingy at Sea

he words “free refills” have always held a special place in my heart. Every penny-pinching foodie understands the rush one feels when taking full advantage of a quality fountain drink selection (Pepsi products or bust). So, it was only natural that I capitalized on one such opportunity while I was recently aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas cruise ship. My parents were kind enough to buy their three adorable children the “Royal Replenish Package.” Sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it? Well, it was in fact quite the package, offering an unlimited supply of coffee, tea, bottled water, orange juice, non-alcoholic cocktails, and fountain soda. To top it all off, we were even given a souvenir cup! The one downfall to this seemingly incredible deal was that the only fountain sodas offered were Coke products. However, even this unfortunate circumstance could not prevent me from filling up my cup a minimum of six-eight times per day. For those of you out there who are good at math, that is five days at sea times eight sodas per day. Needless to say, I had severe caffeine withdrawals for some time after this excursion. If you have never been on a cruise before, you may not know that aside from beverage packages, which are an additional cost to ticket prices, the majority of food onboard is free...and unlimited. If this isn’t sounding like a frugal foodie’s paradise to you, then you may need to consider perusing other magazines. Thanks to the daily buffet-style dining options, I had the opportunity to try cuisines from all around the world, ranging from Indian curries to Jamaican jerk chicken. The highlight of the trip, however, was an incredibly decadent molten chocolate cake. At least one member of my family ordered this marvelous dessert each night of the trip. It truly is a miracle that people don’t return from cruises thirty pounds heavier. Though fountain soda and unlimited food was fabulous to say the least, one of the best parts of this particular trip was that we were aboard the ship to ring in the New Year. The actvities offered alone were enough to make it a memorable evening, but what put the party over the edge was every cheapskate’s dream: free alcohol. That’s right folks; the champagne

Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas on New Year’s Eve


Jordan Brelje Jordan Brelje, Editor in Chief

Grocery Gourmet: A Day as Hy-Vee’s Chef Andrew Ungs


Above, Chef Andrew Ungs presents his Mediterranean chicken dish. At left, he preps ingredients to be sautĂŠed.

Clockwise from top left: The ravioli are formed with the help of a pasta cutter; Dough is rolled out to create ravioli; Pesto filling is added to the homemade dough.

Chef Andrew rolls out pasta dough for pesto ravioli, above, and sautĂŠes vegetables to accompany his chicken dish, at left.

Chef Andrew creates gourmet dishes for Hy-Vee customers on a daily basis, such as Mediterranean chicken and Mandarin orange salad, pictured below.

Customers can see that a product is Chef Andrew’s creation, thanks to the sticker pictured at left. Below, several of his products line the shelves at the Cedar Falls Hy-Vee.

FRUGAL FOOD “FINDS” in the Cedar Valley


Cottonwood Canyon Coffee

Nest le d in t he he ar t of dow ntow n Waterl o o, C ottonwo o d C anyon fe atu res f resh ly - ro aste d c of fe e, homema d e p ast r ies , s andw i che s , and a one- of- a - k ind Jamai c an at mosphere.


Sub City

St ar te d in Ne w Jers e y by B ob Dick s on , t h is sub shop hand slices e ver y pie ce of me at and che es e. Taste t he d i f fe re nc e. . . Ne w Jers e y st y l e.


Golden China

T h is f u l l - s er v ice C h i ne s e re st au r ant of fers a w id e s el e c t i on of ma de - to order favor ites . E a ch me a l e nds w it h an ex t ravagant pres ent at i on of for tu ne c o ok i e s .


Tony’s La Pizzeria

T he s e cond old est pi z z e r i a i n t he Waterlo o/ C e d ar Fa l ls are a , Tony ’s has b e en s er v ing qu a l it y pi z z a for over 5 0 ye ars . C r av i ng a l i g hte r me a l? Tr y t he f ant ast i c s a l a d b ar !



Moo Roo

G e t you r f i l l of Hans e n’s Far m Fre sh D ai r y pro duc ts at t his dele c t abl e l itt l e out l e t store. From hard i ce c re am to che e s e c urds, Mo o R o o is t he C e d ar Va l l e y’s d ai r y de st i nat i on.




Scratch Cupcakery

C hap a l a Fam i ly Me x i c an R e st aurant del ive rs a t r u ly aut he nt i c e x p e r i e nce. If t he addi c t ive ch ips and s a ls a are n’t e nou g h , go for one of t he i r g arg antu an bu r r ito s. Top it a l l of f w it h a si g nature pi ña col ad a smo ot h i e.

Arg u ably one of t he mo st f amous de st i nat i ons i n C e d ar Fa l ls, S cratch Cup c a ke r y has b e e n g iv i ng g ue sts t he b e st i n sug ar h i g hs for ne arly four ye ars . Wit h more t han 2 0 f l avors to cho o s e f rom d ai ly, S cratch is sure to s at isf y any swe e t to ot h .


Ginger Thai

The rel axe d at mo sphere, mo d est de corat i on, and phenomena l fo o d ma ke t h is Thai re st aurant one to put on t he l ist. If you c an’t get e noug h w h i l e v isit i ng Ginger Thai, don’t f re t; t he y c ater to o!


J’s Homestyle Cooking

Th is home st y l e di ner’s “C ome as a st range r...l e ave as fami ly” motto cou l d not b e more appropr i ate. O ne bite of Mama J’s hot b e ef s andw ich w i l l have you ho oke d for life.


Newton’s Paradise Cafe

R oundi ng out our top ten is Ne w ton’s Paradis e C afe, w he re f resh fo o d me ets sp e c t ac u l ar s ce ne r y. Enj oy a mout hwate r i ng w rap or s cr umpt ious s a l ad w h i l e t a k i ng i n dowtow n Waterlo o f rom t he outdo or p at io.


The Scoop To market his new soft drink, Coca-Cola, Asa Candler offers paper tickets valid for one free glass of the soda. This is the first known use of coupons in history.

1909 C.W. Post begins using one cent coupons to promote a new breakfast cereal called Grape Nuts.

The Great Depression spurs a rise in coupon usage across the United States.

The Nielsen Coupon Clearing House is created as the first company devoted completely to coupon redemption

1965 By 1965, over fifty percent of American families are clipping coupons.

2008 Companies begin offering coupons to customers via mobile phones.


On Coupons 1888



1990 Printable and downloadable coupons become possible with the invention of the Internet.


CHEAP EATS 101 How college student, Kara Weiler, makes big-time meals on a small-time budget

By: Jordan Brelje


s a senior elementary education major at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Kara Weiler is, in many ways, a typical college student. In addition to her studies, Weiler is heavily involved in her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and her church, Calvary Baptist of Waterloo, Iowa. Originally from Peoria, Ill., she chose UNI because of the excellent reputation of its College of Education and because her father is an alumnus of the university. In her free time, Weiler enjoys playing pranks on her sorority sisters, spoiling her beloved Welsh corgi, and watching as many Vine videos as possible. Though she may appear to be an average 22 year-old, there is one thing that makes her truly unique: she is a phenomenal cook.

Weiler’s passion for cooking started at a very young age. She recalls spending countless afternoons in the kitchen with her grandmother and father, learning such basics as how to properly grease a pan and the best methods for tenderizing meat. Her grandmother was especially adept at Southern cooking. “Grandma’s fried chicken is the best you will find, hands down,” beams Weiler. “That stuff is like my own personal crack.” Those who have tasted this famous fried chicken often ask for the recipe, but they can forget any hope of a straight answer. “She’s always saying, ‘You just throw some stuff together,’” says Weiler. “That’s how it is with cooking though. Sometimes, the best dishes are those that aren’t planned down to the teaspoon. You have to go with your gut and let your taste buds lead the way.”

“Sometimes, the best dishes are those that aren’t planned down to the teaspoon.”



When it comes to “daddy’s girls,” Weiler is the epitome of the term. Growing up in a family full of women, her father, Ken Weiler, was forced to quickly become familiar with all things feminine. “They’re my girls, and I would do anything for them,” he gushes. “They may not have wanted to throw a football around in the back yard or go fishing for a day, but we managed to find common interests to connect on.” For Kara and her dad, that common interest became cooking. “We would be sitting on the couch on Saturday afternoon, and he would turn to me and ask, ‘What should we throw together today?’ Those are some of the best memories, just hanging out in the kitchen and creating these totally random meals. Sometimes, they would turn out great, and other times, we would have to order a pizza. No matter what, though, we always had a blast, and it allowed me to spend some true quality time with my dad.” Ken has also been incredibly supportive of his daughter’s involvement in sorority life. “I wasn’t sure how he’d take it at first, but he has stood behind me every step of the way,” Kara beams. Above, the two show off an Alpha Delta Pi fathers’ t-shirt Kara gave him as a birthday gift.


When she’s at home in Peoria, Weiler has access to the full gamut of culinary accessories. Unfortunately, such equipment is not always readily available while she is living in her home away from home, the Alpha Delta Pi house. One thing Weiler does have at the ADPi house, and thankfully so, is a grill. “Personally, I love grilling,” she says. “It’s something about the charred flavor it injects into the meat and vegetables. In the summertime, I absolutely can’t get enough.” What’s her go-to grilled meal? “There is this one dish called ‘boy scout potatoes.’ They are russet potatoes, with bits of bacon and carrots tossed in. You also add a whole slew of seasonings and cheese, lots of cheese. The entire meal is so easy to throw together and incredibly delicious!” Though her cooking skills may set her apart from her peers, there is one aspect of her life which she shares with nearly every typical college student: she’s on a tight budget. In order to create such extravagant, and seemingly pricy, meals, Weiler must often get a little creative in her methods. “I really try to make meals that are large enough to give me tons of leftovers,” says Weiler. “That way, I can make my dinner for every night of the week in one sitting. Proper portioning is also key. Not every meal has to be a big one. That helps to keep me from over-eating too.” What are some other ways she manages to cut costs? “I have found that there are tons of great ingredient substitutions that can be made without affecting the flavor of the food too much. Some of my tricks include substituting bacon for prosciutto or bottled fruit juices for fresh fruit. I also try to pick fruits and vegetables that are in season because they are far less expensive than those that aren’t.” Weiler also makes it a priority to set out a meal plan for the week and creates a list of necessities before heading to the store. “I use Pinterest a LOT to find new and exciting recipes,” she explains. “Usually, a theme for the week will spring out of one that catches my eye. For example, last week I saw this really great recipe for chicken enchiladas. After reading through that, I decided to make it a Mexican week and cooked some yummy tacos, fajitas, and veggie burritos. No matter what theme I choose, though, I make sure to write down all of the ingredients I will need before I take a trip to the grocery store. That way, I can make sure that I don’t allow myself to impulse buy. You would be amazed at how much money you can save when you actually stick to the lists you write for yourself. Sure, that bag of Chex Mix looks really great now, but the $3.50 it costs looks even better in my bank account later!”

Weiler sure is a rock star in the kitchen, but she is no slacker when it comes to the classroom either. She packs in a full 14 credit hours, including a Level Two field experience in a sixth-grade classroom at Hansen Elementary School in Cedar Falls. Weiler admits that with everything she has going on, it is sometimes difficult to find the time or motivation to cook a real meal. “People, especially college students like me, think that cooking on time constraints is hard, but it’s really not,” says Weiler. “You just have to be willing to get a bit creative. When it comes to those instances, you just have to go for the box of pasta and jar of sauce. You can add any number of vegetables or spices to make common pantry foods more interesting. Anything is better than a frozen meal or takeout in my book.”

“People, especially college students like me, think that cooking on time constraints is hard, but it’s really not. You just have to be willing to get a bit creative.”

Above, Weiler slices peppers for a barbecue chicken dish. Below, she enjoys a spring day on the ADPi house patio.

She may be attending university courses to become an elementary school teacher, but Weiler knows that the lessons she has learned in the kitchen will prove helpful in her career endeavors too. “I cannot wait to make all sorts of things for my future students!” Weiler beams. “Every holiday or special occasion will give me an excuse to try cute little snack recipes or to bring in a fun treat for the kids. I would also love to incorporate cooking into my lessons themselves. It can teach children a lot of valuable skills, and it’s a ton of fun!” She’s also looking forward to cooking for a family someday, and a big one at that. “I want to have at least four kids, so I am definitely preparing to cook for a crowd. I was lucky enough to have people in my life who inspired me to get in the kitchen. I hope to be that person for my own children someday.”


WHAT SHE’S GOT COOKIN’ (Nearly) Famous Chicken Marsala Total Time: 40 mins Prep: 20 mins Cook: 20 mins Makes: 4 servings Serving Size: 1 breast Ingredients: •

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

All-purpose flour (for dredging)

4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Marsala sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation: Place all four chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board, and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Using a mallet, pound them down until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Put some all-purpose flour in a shallow dish and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Use a fork to stir and evenly distribute the mixture.


Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the oil is good and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken breasts in the flour and spice mixture, shaking off the excess. Place the chicken in the pan and fry for five minutes on each side, turning once, or until golden brown. Do this in batches if not all four breasts fit comfortably in the pan. Once cooked, removed the chicken from the pan and place in a single layer on a large plate to keep warm. Lower the heat to medium, and add the prosciutto to the drippings remaining in the pan. Saute the prosciutto for one minute in order to render out some of the fat. Next, add the mushrooms, and saute them until they are nicely browned and all the moisture has evaporated. This should take approximately five minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala sauce in the pan. Then, slowly stir in the chicken stock, and allow it to simmer gently for one minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter, and return the chicken breasts to the pan. Allow the chicken to simmer gently for one minute, until it is heated through. Season with some more salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley if desired.


“It was the most time-consuming, frustrating, and rewarding meal I have ever made for myself,” Weiler explains. “There were so many steps to work through in order to bring the whole thing together; it took me nearly two hours to make it through the process the first time I took this recipe on. I have made this chicken several times since then, and I can easily get through it in 40 minutes now.” She continues, “It’s a recipe that is very dear to my heart because it is the one I am most proud of myself for accomplishing. Very few college students take the time to cook a real meal, let alone one that requires such time and effort. I don’t mean to brag, but I certainly take pride in the food I prepare for myself. Chicken marsala will definitely be served often in my future household, and I hope that someday I’ll be able to drop the ‘Nearly’ in the recipe name!”

“Each new recipe is like a challenge. I love taking a bunch of random ingredients and mixing them together to create something completely unexpected!” As the end of the school year quickly approaches, Weiler looks forward to the unforgettable months to come. “I cannot wait for this summer because I have been given the amazing opportunity to complete my capstone course abroad,” says Weiler. At the end of May, Weiler will travel to England and Ireland for a total of fourteen days to visit some of the countries’ major industrial and cultural sites. While there, she will be able to experience firsthand the impact industry, ecology, and culture can have on environmental issues. As if the site-seeing itself is not enough, Weiler will also have the opportunity to taste some incredible food. “I think I am most excited to try Irish food,” Weiler smiles. “I have had the ‘Americanized’ version of a few Irish dishes before, but I have no doubt that the real deal will be one thousand times better.” Weiler hopes that she will be able to learn enough about the cuisine while overseas to bring some recipes back to the states upon her return. As she looks to the future and her impending graduation in the winter of 2014, Kara Weiler cannot help but look back and be grateful for all of the people that helped to get her to this point. “I know just as well as anyone that I would be nowhere if it weren’t for the amazing, supportive people in my life,” says Weiler. “From the very beginning, my family was devoted to helping me become whatever I wanted to be. They were always there when I needed them, and they went out of their way to spend the time to build relationships. That’s where food has played such a huge role in my life. So many of my memories from my childhood right up until today are of my family and I in the kitchen, laughing, cooking, and just being together. Through food, they taught me important life skills, like how to think on my feet, how to persevere through my problems, and how to be patient. Cooking also gives me a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Each new recipe is like a challenge. I love taking a bunch of random ingredients and mixing them together to create something completely unexpected! There is no better feeling in the world than taking that first bite and knowing that I was the one who created it.” - Jordan Brelje -

Above, Weiler preps meat for her barbecue chicken pot pie. The finished product is pictured at left.




USE Pure cranberry

Red Wine


Buttermilk (1 cup)

Maple Syrup

juice Cream cheese + A bit of heavy cream





Vanilla Bean (1 inch long)



Brown sugar with a little water

1 tsp. dried herbs

Fresh Herbs

Unsweetened Chocolate (1 ounce)

1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar (let stand for 10 minutes)


3 Tbsp. cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Scallion greens

I pledge allegiance... to my

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