Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kinda, sorta a stockpile post.

Sprouts has fresh pineapples for 97c each. Buy a lot of them, prep them, then freeze them.

Know what I like about pineapples? The juice is as good as the flesh and it tastes so soooo good with pork. Pork chops are 97c/lb at Albertsons this week.

I feel a recipe coming on. Here's one. I love Google.

Peaches are 49c/lb at Sunflower Markets. They are 39c/lb at the 3rd St. and Bell Ave. location. You know what that means, don't you? SMOOTHIES!!!

Here's how to make a peach smoothie:

1) Buy unbelievably cheap milk ($1.37/gallon at Fry's, 99c/gallon with a $50 purchase).

2) Put a cup of the unbelievably cheap milk into the blender.

3) Cut peach away from pit and, don't peel it first, lots of fiber and vitamins in the peel.

4) Put peach slices in blender.

5) Add a little honey, or sweetener of your choice.

6) Sprinkle in a little powdered cloves and a little powder cinnamon.

7) Pulse, pulse, pulse, blend, blend, blend.

8) drink.

Some people add ice to their smoothies. I don't because I'm too lazy to get the ice out of the trays and I think the ice makes it kind of watered down.

Buy 10 or 20 pounds of peaches for $8 to $10 total. The ones you don't put in smoothies this week can be frozen once they ripen (that's when they indent with finger pressure). Instructions on how to freeze them can be found here. You could cook them down a little as I suggested a few blog posts ago. And there's always freezer jam.

And muffins.

And pie. (Be kind to yourself, skip the homemade dough. Use store bought frozen. Layer in peaches, cloves, cinnamon, honey, dot with butter, bake according to pie crust instructions. Add almonds - $3.49/lb at Sunflower bulk bin - if you like)

And blintzes. (Make a thin pancake batter for the crepe part. Cook the peaches down some with brown sugar and spice ahead of time, then put some in the crepe, roll it up and serve with sour cream - $1.39/16 oz at Bashas - and good maple syrup.)

Don't miss the bulk bin raisins at Sunflower for 99c/lb. They never go on sale that cheap. Now is the time to get them. Keep them in an air tight container. If they get dried out, you can rehydrate them by heating them in water on the stovetop, so go ahead and buy LOTS of them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not actually a stockpile post...

I'm in Kansas hanging out with a chick named Dorothy and her annoying little doggie - TuTu or Toe-Toe or Ta-Ta or something like that. Aside from all the yip-yapping going on, having a really nice time. Kansas is a really pretty state. Today I ate the best pastry I have ever eaten. It was a peach turnover made by a lady named Rose of Rose's Pastries and purchased at a place called Yoder Meats in beautiful downtown Yoder, KS.

If you ever get to Kansas check this place out. It's a central site for the surrounding Amish community to sell some of their wares. I picked up some sausage, some cheese and some dried beef (not beef jerky, dried beef, it's different) and those wonderful turnovers - not overly sweet, full of the luscious peaches, light crust...

I've decided something.

I'm going to learn to make a good turnover because life is too short to waste on bad pastry.

Considering I'm on a diet that supposed to avoid bread, this should be interesting.

P.S. - In keeping with my previous post about eating out of grocery stores when on a road trip - we ate the meats and cheeses for lunch and dinner. And the pastry for dessert. Sort of. The pastry was mostly gone by the time dessert rolled around.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Eating cheap while on a roadtrip

Toured a candy factory and a distillery today. On my way to Branson tomorrow for a few days. Have decided that even if you throw away half the food you buy, the cheapest way to eat on vacation is out of grocery stores. Go ahead and buy the fancy deli trays even though you could do it cheaper with packaged lunch meats. Don't compare it to making the food at home, compare it to eating out at a restaurant, or even comparing the quality to the dollar menu at fast food places. Grocery stores are way ahead of both in both price and quality.

We've been eating tons of fruit, grape tomatoes, orange juice, some soft drinks, milk, and deli stuff like cheese and meat trays, baked chicken, meatloaf, potato salad etc. I don't keep leftovers of the deli stuff, even if I have a fridge and a microwave. I just toss the leftover chicken or whatever and buy fresh the next day.

Special bonus - no waiting around for wait staff and no worries about leaving tips. All the hotels we've stayed at have offered some kind of free breakfast with the room, from continental to full breakfasts. If I'm staying several days, I book places with kitchens so I can cook. I'm been trucking around a box of salt, some pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and cinnamon (for my coffee). That takes care of most of our seasoning needs.

Personally, I prefer grocery store food, or cooking my own. I like knowing what's in my food.

Stockpile post is next.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Canned Tuna and Pitting Cherries

I don't know where my head was when I was looking at the ads and the CouponSense database the other day, but I forgot to mention canned tuna:

At Fresh and Easy - 5 oz cans, packed in water for 50c each.

This is about as low as tuna goes and it's so versatile that every pantry should have about 20 cans on hand. School starts in a month, time to start stockpiling supplies for brown bag lunches (preferably sent to school in reusable containers). Depending on what you add to your tuna salad, you can get 2 to 4 sandwiches out of a single can.

I add relish, celery and fat-free mayo to my tuna salad, BTW. I pick up the mayo and relish for free with my coupons. I've a ton of it in my pantry.

That brings me to another topic - Fry's Mega 10 deal. Even without coupons a lot of the prices offered are good deals, but did you know that if you use coupons many of the items are free, or close to free? Here's my commercial:

CouponSense is a database for matching up the coupons you get online and also in the Sunday paper with the sales being offered by the local grocery stores week to week. I've tried several of the local and national systems including several freebies and another to pay for (which cost waaaayyyy more than CouponSense for far less service and close to unintelligible listings) and I can honestly say that CouponSense, at $4/first month and $15 (including tax) for subsequent months is the easiest and most comprehensive system to use. It's all there, the filing system (as in it takes NO TIME to do that), the database, personal instructors to explain to you how to do it and use it most efficiently, an accurate database and a message forum that will give further tips for making best use of the deals, as well as informing of other local deals. That message forum is an unbelievable source. People will even list what they find in clearance bins at what locations, clothing sales, local freebies, vacation planning, hotel deals, stockpiling ideas, recipes, etc.

Disclosure: I'm an instructor. If you want to give CouponSense a try, tell them Mindy Likes to Coupon of this blog sent you and they will assign you to me.

Soooo...what all this means is this - though Kraft dressings are only 99c/each with the Fry's Mega 10 deal, with coupons, the dressing is free as are Glaceau Smartwaters and Sunny D Smoothies. Electrasol dishwasher soap is free at Target with coupons. McCormick Marinades are free at Basha's with coupons.

Don't want any of that stuff? How about mustard, catsup, Red Hot sauce, the above mentioned mayo and relish? Lawry marinades? A-1 sauce? Do you wash your hair? How does free shampoo sound? Do you like to keep boxed side dishes around for dinner for the days you're really rushed? Yep. Free.

Cookie mix?
Granola bars?
Body wash?
Tooth brushes?

Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. And Free.

Maybe not this week, maybe not all at the same time, but has been free in the last year and some are free repeatedly.

[/end of commercial]


I went googling and look what I found!

A Cherry Pitter!!!!

At $6.99 this is a deal. I liked it over others because there's an actually rounded cup the cherry sits in and I feel like that will keep the cherry from squishing up. I'm ordering this and will pay for it with my free Amazon gift certificates from Swagbucks. Swagbucks is where I do all my googling and believe me, I google a lot. Check it out.

Enough of that. There's a carton of blueberries and a seagull calling my name.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Promises, Promises - The Stockpile Post

Have y'all noticed that I keep promising to post about something, then I don't? That's because I'm roadtripping and vacationing and when I have to watch the tide come in, then watch it go out again, there just isn't a lot of time for hanging out on the internet.

So while I've been watching the birds fly over the marshes, it seems the price of blueberries has gone cheap in Phoenix at $1.00/pint at Fry's and .99/pint at Sprouts. Good. Get a whole lot of them and eat them in smoothies, cook them down with a little honey to put on pancakes, bake into muffins and breads (you can freeze those!!) make freezer jam, dump on cereal, eat straight from the container, and make blueberry pie (you can freeze those, too!). Don't forget to stir the syrupy topping into your homemade yogurt. When you run out of blueberries, buy more.

Cherries are also insanely cheap at 99c/lb at Sunflower and Sprouts. I'll be honest, I haven't the foggiest how to put up cherries, or cook them down or make pie or anything. That's because I'm lazy and I don't deal in pits. I'll bet if I googled, I'd find out there's a really easy way to deal with cherry pits and make all the good things I mention above. However, if all else fails, my best recommendation for cherries is to EAT THEM.

Are you a fish lover? Tilapia and Swai are both $2.99/lb at Albertson's. I have a confession - I have NO IDEA what Swai is, but if I were in town I'd go buy a pound and check it out. Flounder is a steal at Basha's for $3.74 a pound and what's not to like about Flounder? Also, WILD-caught Keta salmon is a mere $3.88/lb at Fry's.

In Phoenix, $3.88/lb for wild-caught salmon is a price worthy of knocking over little old ladies at the fish counter to get to it before it runs out. I just spent $4.99/lb for some at Shoprite here on the Jersey shore and felt like that lady in the Ikea commercial who can't believe how low the price is and tells her husband to keep the car running.

And DO NOT buy farm-raised salmon. That stuff tastes anemic and they dye the flesh to make it pink and lots of people react to the dye they use. I learned a lot about salmon while I was in Alaska, where farm-raising is illegal. Trust me, buy the wild-caught.

Milk continues unbelievably cheap at $1.39/gallon at Basha's. Did you know that you can make yogurt cheese? It's very easy. Dump your homemade yogurt into a clean linen or cotten dishtowel and hang it over a bowl. Let all the whey drip out. After a few hours you've got a really thick concoction which has SUCH a lovely taste, especially when combined with black olives and pimento. You can use it in place of cream cheese with lox for low-fat alternative. It's sour and tangy and may be an acquired taste, but give it a try.

By the way, if you wonder what I'm nattering about regarding homemade yogurt and whatnot, just check earlier posts where I prattle on about those subjects - the seagulls are arguing on the dock and I don't have time for a lot of hyperlinks right now.

What else would I buy this week?

CHICKEN. Whole ones are 67c/lb at Fry's. That's a stock up price. I'll check back at some point and see if I've already posted my litany about what you can do with a whole chicken. If I haven't, I'll post here. I PROMISE.

Also, MANGOS are only 33c each at Food City. Why are you still reading this? Go immediately and buy a bunch! Have you any idea how good Mangos and blueberries taste together? No? Well go find out!

While you're at Food City, pick up broccoli and cauliflower also. Both are 69c/pound and freeze well. Also good for quiche and with eggs so cheap at Fresh and Easy ($1.47/18 ct) and Sunflower (99c/dozen) you should make some. Quiche bases are very easy to make (just google for more recipes than you know what to do with) and make good use of leftovers.

And be absolutely certain you head to Basha's to pick up boneless round roast at $1.49/lb. Have the butcher grind it into ground beef for you. It's lean and makes very nice ground beef at a fraction of the typical pricing for lean ground beef. Also, you can ask the butcher to run the steaks through the cubing machine to help make it extra tender for marinades and slow-cooking.

Gotta go! A turtle just swam past and I have to watch it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I have a confession...

...I like warm salad. Pile a plate with chopped lettuce, tomato, mushroom, sprouts, radicchio, arugula, shredded carrot, olive and pimento and some feta cheese, top it with homemade dressing made of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a little crushed garlic and that $1/bottle Italian seasoning I'm always talking about, pop it into the microwave for fifteen seconds and serve with some nice crusty bread to clean the plate after eating and I'm a happy woman.

Something about the heat that brings out all the flavor of the vegetables. It's a nuance unlike the typical cold salad. Give it a try. Get the vinegar at Albertson's for $3.29, the Olive Oil at Basha's for $3.99, the lettuce at Fry's or Albertson's for a buck a head, tomatoes at Albertson's, mushrooms at Sprouts.

I'm down the Jersey shore for this leg of my road trip and cackling over all the blueberries. Hammonton, NJ is the blueberry capital of the world, or so their sign says, and the blueberries here are fresh and plentiful and cheap, cheap, cheap.

Good, because we're eating a lot of them.

Strawberries aren't cheap, though. They aren't in season. I don't know if it's a matter of location, travel distance or what. Though nearby Philadelphia is a major port, this area does not enjoy the almost year round influx of cheap typically seasonal berries as Phoenix does. So enjoy, Phoenix! While I'm munching on .60/pint pick your own blueberries still warm from the field, you can still pick up strawberries for $1.00/pint at Fry's.

Cherries are $1.18/lb at Basha's. If you haven't bought any yet, stop reading this post and get them now.

What else is catching my eye? The $1.58/lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Safeway and the 97c/lb pork chops at Albertsons and the insanely cheap $1.39/gallon milk at Basha's.

(You're all making your own yogurt, correct? If not, read the previous post.)

Aside from being abysmally late, this stockpile post is abysmally disjointed. That's because I have to depend on the kindness of neighbors for my internet.

I'll be back with tales of the lovely wild-caught colassal shrimp I'm barbecuing tomorrow night. The seafood is soooo good here and generally reasonably price, often downright cheap. We even catch our own crab.

Gotta go. I need a snack.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A time to stockpile, a time to wait...

This week is a time to wait. There's NOTHING in this week's ads that makes my heart go pitter-pat. There are kinda good prices on a lot of items, but for any of you who've been stockpiling with me here, and earlier at CouponSense, you already know that the chicken has been cheaper and you've had the butcher grind london broil into ground beef for you for way less. If you coupon, you know that you've gotten the condiments and cereal for free and even if you don't coupon and will spend real cash money for things like fruit loops that the store brand at Albertson's will be on sale for a buck a box soon enough.

So I say now's a good week to eat out of your freezer. Round out the dinner plate with fresh produce from Sprouts or Sunflower and a pineapple-upside down cake made with the $1 pineapples on sale at Basha's this week and the yellow cake mix you stockpiled a few week's back when I was on the sausage and cake mix kick. Put the $50 towards a freezer. Or in a savings bond. Or as an extra payment towards a credit card instead.

To keep me occupied until next week, tomorrow or the next night, I'll post up something about eating cheap while on vacation. I'm on a road trip with the kids and have mostly eschewed eating out in favor of buying souveniors and I have a few tips to share.

P.S. Be sure to binge on the big bag of Bing cherries at Sunflower Market this week. They're 99c/lb at the 3rd St and Bell Ave. store.