Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Stockpiling Fun

It's kind of hard to get excited about the other ads after my wonderful shop at Pro Ranch Market today (see previous post). So I say go to Food City and get a 20-oz bottle of Food Club Mustard (I like mustard and if you need it and don't coupon, this is a good price).

Also get 6 of the FUD brand Queso Freso. My kids have fallen in love with this stuff. I don't know why. It's really bland...

Hey! Maybe that's the reason!

Pick up 3 pounds of apples, 3 bags of carrots, 4 pounds of white onions, 3 pounds of Bartlett pears and 4 Chayote Squash - These are all pretty well priced for tomorrow's Thursday Only specials. Add 3 rolls of toilet paper to the mix and you've spent less than 16 bucks total at Food City.

Safeway has Lucerne milk $1.39/gallon, first 2 only. Sprouts has cantaloupe for 50c each. Sunflower Market has Short Grain Brown Rice in the bulk bin for 69c/lb.

Albertsons has Half and Half for 99c and 25 sq ft of aluminum foil for 99c. Also strawberries for a buck a pint.

I think the 99c/can for Evaporated milk at Fry's is pretty good. I'm debating whether it will go cheaper. I think it will. Back in my pre-children days, I kept a few cans of these around for my coffee in case I ran out of milk and didn't want to run to the store. And if you're desperate for corn flakes, the Kroger value brand is on sale for 99c.

Which brings me to Basha's and my most recent obsession - dehydration. Broccoli and cauliflower are 69c/lb at basha's. I'm wondering if I cook and dehydrate the broccoli if I could then Magic Bullet it in a coarse powder and use that to make 'instant' broccoli soup at a later date.

I'm thinking I could toss it into a watered down chicken broth, maybe add some half and half or milk, a little salt and onion...

I'll let you know. I googled for homemade dehydrated broccoli soup, but all I could find were companies that sell already dehydrated stuff for camping or preparedness or bachelors who do their cooking over a bunsen burner.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Pro Ranch market again for the chicken meat mentioned in the previous post. I'm also going to check the store out a little more closely.

Oh! Challenge Butter is 88c for 1/2 pound at basha's this week. Go to the Challenge Dairy Website and sign up for a printable coupon. Once it doubles, the butter will be free. You should be able to print it twice. That makes for a pound of butter for free.

Free is good.
Couponing is fun.

Coupons can make a kinda blah week like this into a more interesting week. CouponSense makes it easy. If you'd like to give it a try, go for a trial month at CouponSense for $4.00. Please use my referral number noted in my profile and asked for Mindy C***** as your instructor.

If you're already with CouponSense and do not have an instructor, I'd be happy to work with you. Just email and let them know you'd like me for an instructor. They'll put us together.

Doing the Stockpile-Part 1, at Pro Ranch Market

Everybody should check this place out at least once.

Here is what I bought there this morning because I wanted to take advantage of their Wednesday specials. I'll do a better stockpile tonight, but I don't want you to miss out on these great prices.

Here ya go:

7.34 lbs Bartlett Pears (99c/6 lbs!)
3.87 lb Black Beans (99c/2 lbs)
3 8 oz packages of mushrooms (99c each and they were GORGEOUS)
6.23 lbs peaches - (99c/2 lbs) I know I bought from Bountful Baskets a couple of weeks in a row, but they're all cooked down and frozen already!
5.45 lb Tomatoes - 99c/4 lbs
6 Avocadoes - 99c/4
9.06 Seedless Watermelon - 99c/7 lbs
8.17 lb bananas 99c/4 lbs
2 half gallons of OJ - $1.99/each
Two enormous bottles Downy Fabric softener (1.99/first 2)
48 rolls of toilet tissues. (24 paks - $3.99 each)

Total, including tax was 32.25!!

This store may be out of your way, and they don't put up their ad until midnight on the day the sale begins, but I think planning a run for their Wednesday special is probably wise. I'll be dehydrating and cooking down and freezing most of the bounty. The kids are going to love seeing that watermelon.

Pull out the cost of the toilet paper, the OJ and the fabric softener, it was about 16 bucks for almost 42 pounds of produce and 6 avocados. That's about 34c/lb on average.

There are other great Wednesday specials going on like Yams 33c/lb and Kiwi 7 for 99c. Also there are Strawberries for 99c/pint, but they hadn't arrived yet when I was there. I know the 99c Only Store has them for the same price this week, so I didn't wait.

Tomorrow, I plan a return for boneless, skinless chicken leg meat for 88c/lb. I was so happy to get it for $1.29/lb at Food City a week or so ago, now I'm REALLY excited.

By the way, Food City has the leg meat again for $1.29/lb today, as part of THEIR Wednesday special. They also have liver for 69c/lb. If you liked the liver a few weeks ago, now is your chance to try your hand at it again.

Tomorrow, Food City has some pretty good produce specials - Chayote 4 for $1, for example. It's a good alternative if it's not practical for you to find a Pro Ranch Market.

I'll be back tonight with a little more info on stockpiling. I have to unpack the groceries!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Find me on Facebook!

Hello, $50 Stockpile People! Find me on Facebook. I'm:

Mindy Likestocoupon

Clever, huh?

If you're already on Facebook, friend me. I'm lonely over there. If you're not already on Facebook, join and friend me. If you do, you'll see my lame profile pic. I even give you permission to point and laugh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pick and Choose Week - Stockpile Post

There's some really good stockpiling out there this week, but it requires a little planning. Here's what I'm buying:

Today, I head to Pro Ranch Market (Location #5) for their Wednesday Specials:

tomatoes - 25c/lb
Bananas - 33c/lb
grapes - 69c/lb
zucchini (Italian Squash) - 33c/lb
brown onions - 6 lb/$1

Also, here are items on sale thru Tuesday that I'll pick up today:

dried pinto beans - 50c/lb
The Jamaica Hibiscus tea I wanted last week - $2.39/lb
Verdolagas (aka Purslane) 33c/lb - I found this YouTube video that tells you about Verdolagas and how to cook them. They're very good for you.

By the way, here's the ad page for the Thomas St. Store for what is catching my eye at Pro Ranch Market. Different stores have different prices, so go right to the ad to figure out what you want to buy, or if the prices warrant a visit.

Also cheap this week at Pro Ranch are Golden Delicious apples at 33c/lb and pears for 33c/lb, but I'm putting the pears in the Food City list because that store may be more convenient for most people.

Food City
has some great deals this week in produce. Check out their Thursday specials:

Chayote Squash and Cucumbers are 5 for $1. Remember way back when I talked about making a cooling drink with the cucumbers? You'll have to look it up, no time to look for links right now. Also, for those who didn't purchase from Bountiful Baskets, peaches are 50c/lb and as I mentioned previously pears are 33c/lb.

Pork chops are 88c/lb at Fry's this week, limit 2 and pineapples are $1/each, limit 4. I'll also head to Safeway on Friday, Saturday or Sunday for 99c raspberries, limit 4.

That's it for me this week. What am I doing with all that produce? The tomatoes will be dehydrated and also turned into an al fresco tomato sauce, which I'll freeze because I'm too lazy to can. (Yes, al fresco and freezing is a controdiction in terms, but you get the idea. Just cook the stuff down and put it in freezer bags.)

I'm cooking down what fruit we don't eat, or dehydrating it. My kids are lately into smoothies, so all the bananas and fruits are making healthy snacks for them. Also, I put anything overripening into muffins and pancakes, or cook it down. Produce never goes to waste in my house.

Do I seem like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter? That's because I am. I prefer my family eat fresh food, minimally processed. I try to keep sugar and bad fats out of their diet. This is autumn, the time of bounty and a great time to put it all away because in winter, it's apples and bananas until you want to scream. Not so much here in Phoenix, but prices do go up in winter. Stockpiling now, while prices are low, ensure you won't be spending that cash as the holidays close in. And wouldn't it be nice to have plenty of food on hand in January, when all the holiday bills come due and it's time to pay taxes?

Other good prices - cantaloupes 50c/each at Sprouts. Walnuts are $2.99/lb in the bulk bin at Sunflower markets.

Have a great week, everybody!

EDITED TO ADD: How to cook a porkchop!

This is an old Italian method of doing it and very fast.

Put a couple of cups of water in a skillet.
Add Pork Chops
Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes, simmering and adding more water if the water boils away.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs
Turn off heat, let finish in the dry pan. The bread crumbs absorb most of what moisture is left. Since there is fat on the pork chops, that boils off with the water and provides enough coating on the pan to keep the chops from sticking.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Adventures in Cooking

Today I went to Dottie's Kitchen Store out in Sun City for a lesson in pressure cooking. It was almost my first time there. Greg demonstrated how to pressure cook a hamburger rice medley, chicken and dumplings, and a bread pudding I might well be tempted to commit a crime to get.

Of course, I had to buy the pressure cooker, if, for no other reason than to keep me out of jail. And it's a nice pressure cooker, a wonderful pressure cooker, a cadillac of pressure cookers.

Or at least I presume, it won't arrive in stock for a week or so. In the meantime, I decided to pressure cook a chicken in my old pressure cooker, an ancient presto that was ancient when I picked it up for a few bucks at a flea market 20 years ago.

Here's what I learned:

It is indeed true that one can pressure cook a chicken from the frozen state. It's equally true that if one pressure cooks a chicken for longer than the recommended time, one will have high-calcium chicken because the bones will melt.

I'm eager to make that bread pudding, but it has to wait until my new baby arrives. Don't worry, my old pressure cooker is finding a good home with a friend who does not have one.

Whole chickens are 49c/lb at Basha's thru Tuesday. Limit per store visit is 3. Buy the limit. Go back and buy more. If you have a pressure cooker, you can get that chicken from frozen to done in under an hour.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Handle the Great Ho-Hum - This week's stockpile post

Blech. Nothing excites me this week. Even the coupon deals aren't making my heart go pitter-pat. I'm sticking with my Food City list I gave in my previous post, but I'm adding a few things:

Bashas has whole chickens for 49c/lb, limit 3. Buy 3. Go back and buy 3 more. I don't know how big the chickens are. I'll guess 4 or 5 pounds, so that's about 4 chickens for 10 bucks. That equals 8 dinners:

Slow cook the chicken whole the first day. Add a little water, onion, celery, etc. Save the resulting broth. On the second day, or maybe the third (have something else the evening in between) cook rice in the chicken broth. Add whatever leftover chicken meat there is to the dish. If you didn't season it heavily when you first made it, toss the chicken/rice mixture with a little Italian salad dressing.

I'm checking out a new store this week - The Pro Ranch Market. There are six locations in Phoenix. The stores on Thomas, Indian School and Camelback have better prices than the others. I'm hitting the Indian School store tomorrow to pick up tomatoes at 25c/lb and avocados 6 for $1. Also probably some bananas, because bananas taste good. I'm also intrigued by the Jamaica Hibiscus tea, sold as loose flowers by the pound. I'm on a diet, so I'm interested in making it iced with stevia as a treat.

OOPS! My bad. Pro Ranch Market runs it's ads from Wednesday to Tuesday as do most of the grocery stores. I was looking at an expiring ad last night. It's still worth a trip if you are somewhat nearby one in your travels because the really good Wednesday specials are bananas 3 lb/99c, carrots, 4 lb/99c and 10 lb bag of potatoes for 99c.

Otherwise, I'm going with Bountiful Baskets again this week. I'm getting more of the peaches and more of the gala apples. My dehydrator and slow cooker were my best friends this week. The apples came out so sweet, just like candy. I'm dehydrating some peaches overnight. I'll let you know how they came out. Otherwise, I used my slow cooker to make compote with allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon and just a little honey. So simple. Toss as many peaches as you can into the slow-cooker, stir it up, leave it alone for a few hours.

And no, I didn't peel the peaches. Or any apples. Believe me, if I have to start peeling stuff, I won't make it. I think everything came out just fine.

This year, I've decided not to buy fruit out of season, especially peaches. Peaches out of season are nasty. They rot instead of ripening and mostly taste like plastic.

I'm going to dehydrate some of the pears from Food City, also.

And here's a recipe to go with everything, courtesy of my friend, Tracy. This is from the Crockpot 365 blog. I think it looks really good, but I had to laugh at the end when the blog author said she wouldn't be making it again. If you try it, let me know how it came out. Chicken and apples and chicken and peaches would be good search terms for recipes this week.

Here's the recipe:

Well, there ya go. Maybe not so ho-hum as I was thinking, just required a little more searching to find good deals. Those of you out in the Chandler/Mesa area should check out Superstition Ranch Market. My fellow couponers at CouponSense say it's a great place for produce out that way.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mmmm...good eating on a budget and a giveaway!

Calling all stockpilers! Head over to my friend, Jeri's blog (Budget Menu, link in sidebar or right here) and check out her ideas and menus for the week. She has a recipe for celery bread pudding/stuffing that actually had me salivating just to read it. That's a good thing because celery is only 50c a bunch at Sunflower Market this week. Jeri's pairing it with pork.

Also, it's the last day for her Fry's gift certificate giveaway, so get on over and put a comment on the post she references.

Also, for anybody looking ahead, I've been checking out the Food City ad. Food City runs their ads from Monday to Sunday. On Wednesdays, they have extra terrific prices on meat/cheese/fish items and on Thursdays, you'll find really great deals on selected produce.

This week, on Wednesday, they have boneless chicken leg meat for $1.29/lb and crema for 99c/lb. On Thursday, white onions are 20c/lb, pears are 33c/lb and peaches are 50c/lb.

Additionally, Fud brand Queso Fresco is 99c for 9 ounces and 7 oz bags of Pagasa Pasta is only 17c/bag.

Now I like whole wheat pasta, but do see uses for regular pasta, like making homemade chicken helper you can freeze for a cook-ahead meal. I'll be back on Wednesday with a recipe for it. I want to try it out first, but I'm thinking 2 lbs chicken meat, queso fresco, onion, garlic chopped up, maybe some coriander, put in a freezer bag and frozen. When ready to cook, defrost ahead of time, put in skillet, cook a minute just to give the chicken a little bit of go ahead, then add 2 cups of water plus the noodles and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. A little cornstarch should help to thicken things up. Add more water if the noodles aren't cooking quite right.

Gotta go. Also, the chayote squash are 3 lbs for $1 at Food City this week. I love that stuff.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bountiful Stockpiling

Food City is my choice this week for general stockpiling. They have boneless chicken breasts for $1.39/lb. I don't know if the chicken breasts are also skinless. Even if they are not, it's still a great price.

Also, on Thursday, Food City has some great prices on produce. This week it's

White Onions - 20c/lb
Barlett Pears - 33c/lb
Granny Smith Apples - 25c/lb
Peaches- 50c/lb

Bananas are 33c/lb, limit 10 lbs, until Sunday

Also, the Bar-S Bologna is still 49c/package, limit 4 packages and sandwich bread is 79c/loaf if you're looking for something cheap to make school lunches.

Here's what I'm doing this week - I'm purchasing from Bountiful Baskets. This is a local co-op that offers high-quality produce at good prices. This is only my second time purchasing from them and I enjoyed my first basket so much, I decided to give them another try. In addition to their normal 'basket' ($15.00 for repeat customers, $18.00 if it's your first purcahse) I'm purchasing a 38 lb box of Gala Apples for $16.50 (that works out to about 43c/lb) and a 32 lb box of Utah peaches for $20 (that's 62.5c/lb).

If you want to give Bountiful Baskets a try, you have to order by 10 pm tomorrow night. The pickup date is Saturday and they have a variety of pickup spots around the city and the state as well as sites in other states. Check them out. Be sure to read all their terms and conditions before you purchase. There are no refunds and if you miss your pick up, your order will be donated.

Yes, apples and peaches are cheaper at Food City, but the apples aren't galas and I don't know if the peaches are from Utah, so I'm giving this a shot. Since I'm a repeat customer, I'll pay $53.00 total for a big basket of fruits and vegetables and the Galas and the Peaches. Were I a new customer, it would cost me $56. By the way, the produce from my first basket with them lasted my produce loving family more than a week. Pretty good deal for 15 bucks.

And yes, it's a lot of fruit and no, I'm not canning it. I'm not even freezing most of it.

I'm dehydrating it.

You read right - I'm drying it out.

About 15 years ago I picked up a Mr. Coffee Food Dehydrator, used it a couple of times and packed it away. I pulled it out the other day because I had some produce getting ready to go bad. I dried banana slices, apple slices, and tomato slices. I got the idea for the tomato slices from a fellow couponer at CouponSense. She suggested drying them down to chips, so I did.


I mean, WOW!

So sweet and nice. Next time I get tomatoes for cheap I'm going to salt the slices before dehydrating and enjoy the crisp, sweet, salty flavor. I'll also dry some to a more pliable state for sun-dried tomatoes.

Here's the deal - I like dried fruits, but I don't like the price tag. I also don't like the added sugar and preservatives often added to them. My dried apples contained apples, nothing else. The bananas were made of banana. In the future, I plan to try my hand at fruit leather and I'd like to try pureeing cooked vegetables, salting them and making dehydrated veggie chips - no oil.

Do some googling on dehydrating food. See if it's something you'd like to try. Before you purchase one, try out a friend or neighbor's unit. When you do purchase one, go cheap and see what you can find at Salvation Army, or St. Vincent dePaul or Goodwill for a few dollars. Run it during the cheap electricity hours to cut down those costs. My understanding is that more expensive units use less power because they work faster, so it's a trade-off, but best to be sure you like this kind of cooking before making a big investment.

Dried fruits and veggies keeps beautifully and are great for a stockpile. You can reconstitute them in water, add them to soups, use them in baked goods, endless possibilities. Because the fruits are so sweet, they make great snacking for the kids. Also great for backpacking because they're so much lighter.

Other great deals for this week:

Milk is $1.43/gallon at Basha's, $1.39/gallon at Albertson's and $1.37/gallon at Fry's. All are for the first 2.

Fry's is running it's Case Lot sale. You can buy by the unit. Tuna is 47c/can and the Value Brand sugar is $1.69/4 pounds. Fry's tomato sauce is 15c/can. Check the ads, lots of good prices. If you'd like to get a lot of the sale items for way cheaper than the ad, check out CouponSense. It's only 4 dollars for the first month. Please use my referral number 1707971 when you join and choose me, Mindy C*** as your instructor. I'll show you how to get the most for your money.

EDITED TO ADD: Raspberries are $1 for 6 oz at Fry's. Y'all know how much I love raspberries, so enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And what if all you have to spend is 50 bucks?

I'm doing something a little different this week. I want to show how you can spend 50 bucks and get enough food to feed your family dinner, some breakfasts and some snacks and still have items to stockpile. No cakes and cookies on this list – if you've been stockpiling with me you probably have baking supplies stockpiled, cooked down fruit frozen in the freezer, possibly even frozen cream and half and half for making ice cream. No frills, this is a list of mostly fresh food that will give you a pretty varied diet without making you feel as if you are on a budget.


ribs – 88c/lb – limit 2 packs. I don't know how many pound are in a pack, so I'll presume 7 pounds each for a total of 14 pounds at $12.32

chicken leg quarters sold in 10 pound bags at 38c/lb or $3.80 for one, total $7.60 for 20 pounds.

10 of bags of russet potatoes – limit 2 – for 99c/each – buy 2 for $1.98

Stop right there – That's $21.98 for 44 pounds of food. Pretty good deal. Take the potatoes out of their bags and store in a basket in a cool, dark, dry place – like your pantry. Use to make side dishes. 20 pounds should last you 2 weeks or more.

Also get a seedless watermelon for $1.99 – there's 12 to 16 pounds in size. Who needs dessert when you've got watermelon?

An aside: Have you noticed that watermelons never have seeds? I prefer the taste of the seeded variety. I also like to spit the seeds into the grass, or speculate if a vine would grow in my stomach should I swallow one.

By the way - with the coupon on the front page of the Basha's ad, you can pick up Bar S hot dogs for 28c with an additional $20 purchase, so you just make it with the items purchased above. Go here and print out a coupon for the hot dogs, stack it with the store coupon (don't worry, that's allowed) and you get those hot dogs for FREE. (Isn't couponing fun?)

Sunflower Market

eggs – 99c/dozen

avocados – 3 for $1

raw almonds - $2.99/lb (this is a SMOKING price)

Avocado makes a wonderful sandwich mashed with a little salt and balsamic vinegar on toast. If the toast is whole wheat (preferably homemade), it's a very healthy and filling lunch.

Eggs would be great for breakfast a few mornings a week with some of the leftover potatoes from a previous night's dinner.

Almonds are great in cooking, in cereal, with fruit and yogurt and alone for snacking.


Vine ripened tomatoes for 77c/lb

Corn on the cob - 20c/each

Toss some sliced tomato on that avocado sandwich, or in the eggs, or grill them with the ribs or chicken. One of my latest things is to saute tomato cut side down in a flat pan with white wine vinegar and chopped garlic. No oil. Very tasty, very low calorie.

And corn goes with bbq. At 20c/ear, eat a lot of it.

Fresh and EasyBold

Strawberries – 98c/lb

red bell pepper – 2 for 98c

Bell pepper is great in eggs, cooked with chicken, chopped with avocado. Put the strawberries in oatmeal I hope you purchased a few months back when it was 50c/lb and eat for breakfast on the days you aren't eating eggs. Or you can pick up some cheap cornflakes for 98c/box instead.

Food City

Campbells Pork and Beans are 25c/can – pick up a dozen. These are great for quick lunches, as a side dish for dinner or breakfast and even make good snacks. Great to have around when you don't have a plastic container full of pressure-cooked pintos on hand.

Cucumbers – 25c/each – salads, snacking, in sandwiches

broccoli or cauliflower – 69c/lb – I like both and both are so full of vitamins and fiber.

Cantaloupe – 33c/lb

It's a melon kind of week – most other fruits are a lot more expensive. I meant to get this list up earlier and tell you to run to Food City for their Thursday specials – today is was cheap apples, oranges and pears, also onions. I'll do better next week. Definitely check out the Food City ads when they come out on Monday. They often have wonderful deals on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Also, pick up a couple of pounds of Tilapia fillets at $1.99 pound


chunk of shredded Kroger cheese for 97c/8 oz. Pick up 6


Pasta at 99c/box – pick up 2

Milk is cheapest at Fry's and Basha's for $1.99/gallon this week and if you MUST pick up store bought bread – Fresh and Easy has it for 88c/loaf.

There ya go. You'll spend at most 50 bucks on the above – and that's with stuffing your fridge. You'll have enough to make 2 rib dinners, 2 chicken dinners, 2 pasta dinners (al fresco sauce and shred some cheddar over it, if you like) and a fish dinner. You'll have at least a rack of ribs to stockpile in the freezer and probably 15 pounds of chickens to store there also as well as a couple of pounds of cheese. Breakfast is taken care of and so are a lot of lunches. And there's plenty of healthy snacking. Remember all that rice I had you buy last week. Shred cheese over it, slice some red pepper rings on it, or some tomato and cook until bubbly. That's a great lunch or dinner. Makes a good side with eggs the next day.

That's it for this week. If you'd like to learn more about eating good on the cheap and getting lots of groceries for free, log into CouponSense, sign up for a trial month, list me as your referral (number 1707971) and choose me for your instructor (Mindy C****). It's only 4 bucks for the first month and I promise you you'll get that investment back many times over in the first week.

Have a great holiday!