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Dear HG Subscribers,

Since this is the LAST "Ask Hungry Girl" of 2009 (and of the decade!), I've decided to answer some of the most-asked Qs!

Hungry at the HG HQ (a.k.a. Me)
So here they are, in no particular order...

1. Do you get paid to mention products in the editorial content of the daily emails?

Noooo. We absolutely do not accept money (or favors, or free snacks...) in exchange for editorial coverage, i.e. the bulk of the daily emails. We do run ads in the form of banners, "Side Dish" emails, and "Guilt-Free Groceries," but those are always clearly marked. Regardless, I ONLY write about and recommend products I truly like. (I've turned down many would-be advertisers because I didn't like the products.) So anything you see in our emails -- whether it's an ad or editorial content -- is HG-approved. 100%.

2. Do you really drink FRS all the time?

Yes. I use the Low Cal Orange Concentrate daily. Am I aware of the fact that the FRS people like to push their AutoShip option and it's easy to get sucked into that accidentally? YES. And I don't love that at all. My advice? As with any online purchase, read everything carefully before you order. And DO NOT sign up for AutoShip unless you really want it. That being said, I LOVE FRS Low Cal Concentrate and make a drink with it every morning. Give it a try!

3. Am I the only one who just can't get into the texture of Tofu Shirataki?

A LOT of people don't love those noodles. But TONS of people do. I love the super-low-cal pasta swap and eat it all the time. It works best in soups, in stir-frys, and with creamy sauces. Also, the noodles NEED to be rinsed and dried VERY well. (Click here for more Tofu Shirataki advice.) I know it's a little "chewy," but it has just 20 calories a serving and, if prepared right, tastes like real pasta. AMAZING!!!

4. Are you ever going to do a Hungry Girl TV show?

Maybe! I have been exploring TV options for a while. I like the idea of it, and maybe one day a Hungry Girl TV show will be playing in your living room. That would be pretty cool! There are no definite plans in place right now, though, so keep reading the emails for updates!

5. Is that the HG cartoon character I see in the show open of iCarly?

Yes, it is! iCarly is my favorite show... but not because HG is in the opening credits (and not because I made a brief appearance in iCarly: iGo to Japan) -- because it's insanely funny!

Thanks, and Happy New Year! But before I go, I'll answer one more Q (below)...

Dear HG,

Have any money-saving tips for me? I'm trying to cut back on food spending this time of year, as I am sure many people are. What'cha got?

Thrifty Kate
Dear Kate,

Gotta be honest, I'm not always the best at saving money on food. (I splurge on food purchases the way some people splurge on spa treatments.) But my preferred method is simple: When I want to save, I look for deals and buy what's on sale. Easy, right? Okay, for some more in-depth cost-cutting tips, I turned to my new pal Dawn Welch. She's the author of Dollars to Donuts, a new book that has lots of delicious, budget-friendly recipes (many of which can be tweaked to save tons of calories and fat!) and other money-saving ideas. Here are a few quick suggestions she offers...

1. Eat at home this time of year. It's ALWAYS cheaper. Plus, you can control what goes into each dish and how much oil is used. (Excellent point.)

2. Make your own spice blends. It's much cheaper than buying the pre-made ones. (Another good point, but I recommend Googling them a bit first, so you know what goes into each blend. Or try out a couple from Dawn's book -- mmmmm, Tex-Mex rub.)

3. Buy meat, fish, fruit, and veggies at warehouse stores. In other words, in bulk. Use what you need and freeze the rest. (We do this ALL the time at the HG HQ, especially when stuff is on sale.)

Good advice, DW! For more tips on saving cash when it comes to food, read this HG piece over on Yahoo! and check out Dawn's book, Dollars to Donuts. And now, oddly, I'm craving donuts...

This Saturday, December 26th, is National Candy Cane Day, and next Monday, December 28th, is National Chocolate Day. We recommend stocking up on Candy Cane Tootsie Pops to prepare for both holidays!
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