Welcome to Money, Munchies, and Movie Night
Today I am excited to share a new feature on the blog, Money, Munchies, and Movie Night. (MMM) The premise is simple, each episode we will give you a spoiler-free (mostly) movie review, a movie-themed food item to make for your movie night, and financial hack to pay for it all.
Think of it like a mash-up of Martha Stewart Living, and The Suze Orman Show… if they were both awesomely geeky and watched way too many episodes of USA Up All Night and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
To ensure our movie munchie is delicious and a work of art, I have teamed up Tye from EatTheDead.com, who uses her background in prop design to make epic horror-themed dishes.
To kick-off, this MMMadness…we picked Zoombies from The Asylum!
Zoombies, Tye's Take
I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: I love Saturday night creature feature films. I grew up watching Up All Night with Gilbert and Rhonda and of course, more Joe Bob Briggs than you could shake a stick at. And while those guys are no longer hosting those movie marathons, I’m grateful for the fact that there’s still a studio out there churning out these guilty pleasures of mine. I’m talking, of course, about The Asylum.
Released in 2016, Zoombies centers around a safari park on the cusp of opening to the public. Just before the gates open, a strange virus sweeps through the park, turning all the animals into flesh-eating zombies (yes, even the vegetarian animals!). A small group of staff and some college-aged interns are all that stand between the hordes of flesh-eating beasts and the general public.
I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t watched the film yourself yet, but I am going to say…
you’ll never look at koalas the same way again! – Tye
Note: Tye joined us on the podcast, where we discuss the movie in more detail, listen here. – Michael
Tye's ZOOMBIES Inspired Zombie Animal Cookies
Because this is a fun, campy romp of a film, I wanted to make a recipe that was just as fun and campy (and delicious)! Behold, Zoombie inspired Zombie Animal Cookies!
These cookies are a snap to bake up and easy to decorate, making them the perfect treat to bring to your own Saturday night creature feature festival!
Again, if you haven’t seen Zoombies, let me tell you…you are missing out.
To make your own Zoombie inspired cookies, you will need:
- ½ cup Butter Unsalted, Room temperature
- 2/3 cup Sugar Granulated
- 2 Egg yolk From large egg
- 2 tbsp Full fat sour cream OR greek yogurt OR cream cheese
- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
- Green food coloring
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Baking powder
- Black cookie icing
- Red cookie icing
- White cookie icing
- Candy eyeball decorations
- You’ll also need some animal-shaped cookie cutters.
Start by first pre-heating your oven to 350F/176C.
While your oven is heating up, cream your sugar and butter together.
Add in your egg yolks and your vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Add in your sour cream and continue to mix.
Add in enough green food coloring to turn the mixture a nice, sickly, zombie green.
Once well incorporated, sift in your flour, baking powder, and salt and continue to mix until you end up with a nice thick, silky smooth and soft dough.
Roll your dough out between two sheets of waxed paper until approximately ¼” thick.
Using cookie cutters, cut out your animals of choice.
To stay true to the film we chose:
*Our kit of cookie cutters had zero monkeys or koala cookie cutters, so we just took a bear and made some artistic choices, including adding a tail for a monkey and making the ears slightly bigger and off to the side for the koalas.
Bake your animal cookies for approximately 6 minutes. Then rotate the tray and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the edges are a nice golden brown.
Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing.
To ice, your cookies, make sure you’re using cookie icing. This stuff is magical! It dries to a subtle sheen in about 10 minutes, which makes your cookies not only safe to handle while eating them in the dark watching the film, but also stackable so you can make a huge pile of them and stack them to share with your friends and family.
Now that your cookies are cool, it’s time to decorate…and by decorate, I mean, have fun! The best part of these cookies is there’s no wrong way to decorate them! Broken leg? Add some red blood and a bone! Have you lost an ear? Add more blood! Did a cookie break in half? You’ve got it…BLOOD!
Regardless of how you decorate them…have fun!
Now that we’ve got your sweet tooth covered, what are we learning about Michael?
Saving Money Shopping
To make Tye's epic Zoombies inspired cookies, chances are you will need to do some grocery shopping, and for most household’s groceries are one of the most significant expenses. So it would seem fitting we discuss how you can cut your grocery expenses and save money by scanning your receipts.
Save Money Scanning Receipts
Scanning your receipts is a great way to save some money and get cashback for the shopping you are already doing on a day to day basis. All you need to do is download a couple of apps, and you can be saving hundreds of dollars a year.
Receipt Hog: Thematically Receipt Hog makes a lot of sense to include in our Zoombies inspired post. Receipt Hog is a free app where users scan receipts and earn “coins’ to exchange for either Amazon vouchers or a PayPal credit.
Each time you go grocery shopping, you can scan your receipt and earn some coins and entries into their sweepstakes. The App is fun to play around with, and you can win some rewards. However, several users reported that collecting coins is a slow process, and it can take a month or two to build up any serious cash. If you can get a few extra dollars from purchases you already making, it beats filling out surveys online.
Ibotta: ibotta is a receipt scanning app similar to Receipt Hog, where you earn cash back for your purchases. Before heading off to the store, you can search the app for relevant cashback offers and add them to your queue. (You may be asked a survey question before you can add an offer) Once you have loaded up your desired offers, you shop as normal. When you are done shopping, scan your receipt, if you purchased any of the items in your queue, you would receive cash.
Without going crazy with the app, we have found we can save between $3 and 10 dollars on routine sized shopping trips. The ibotta app offers bonus cash for referring friends, so if you can combine a few bonus offers with a few shopping trips, you can make $100 in no time. Paying for your awesome date night or movie night is as easy as scanning a few receipts.
With this simple little grocery hack, you can splurge on movie night guilt-free, enjoy!
Stay tuned for more episodes of MMM, and we would love to see your Zoombie inspired cookie creations. Share photos of your cookie creations on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #MoneyMunchiesMovieNight.
I want to thank Tye for sharing her review of Zoombies and her recipe with us. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to check out her website. I would also like to thank everyone at The Asylum for the work they do, making entertaining movies and their unprecedented support of the blog by facilitating so many of our excellent interviews. I encourage you to pick up copies of Zoombies and Zoombies 2; you won't be disappointed.
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.