Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh My Goodness! HALLOWEEN!!

When did my kids become such social butterflies? Seems all I'm doing is dealing in costumes and parties and errands. This is a great week for those who coupon. The deals are amazing. Here's a way to take advantage if you're just thinking about couponing:

Check the ads from yesterday's paper. There's a $3 off $30 coupon in there on the Fresh and Easy ad. Fry's is accepting competitor coupons this week, so if you take advantage of their Mega Event, even if you aren't using coupons, you can get $3 off your purchase of $30 worth of food. Also, Albertson's has a $10 off $100 coupon. Same deal.

This is a quick post:

Other deals at Fry's:

1. Pork Spareribs - 97c/lb
2. New York Strip Steaks, bone-in - $3.77/lb
3. Milk is $1.47/gallon

Moonlight Madness at Fry's today. 3 pm to 9 pm. If you're not there early, the deals will be GONE. I learned this last year. No rainchecks will be given. Good deals on apples and candy. Check the Fry's Ad.

Reasons to go to Safeway:

1. London Broil is $1.77/lb. Have the butcher grind some of it for very lean ground beef.
2. Shop before 10/31, you can buy Lucerne Ice Cream for $1.99 1.75 quarts with their 'Spooky Savings' Promo
3. Spend at least $20, you can use Safeway In-Ad coupons to purchase:
  • Safeway Apple Juice - 88c
  • Fritos - 88c
Good deals at Albertsons:

1. Whole chickens - 48c/lb - limit4
2. Bananas - 39c/lb
3. John Morrell Weiners 49c (use in-ad coupon)
4. and a $10 off $100 purchase.

Reasons to check out Bashas:

1. Bashas Sour Cream or Cottage Cheese, 16 oz - 99c (first 4)
2. Honeycrisp apples - 87c/lb - AWESOME price for honeycrisps
  • Heh. I see apples and cottage cheese together and I'm happy. I had it for breakfast this morning.
3. The Sunsations brand dish liquid is 99c/25 oz - that's a really good price. I use dish liquid for all kind of cleaning - floors, bathrooms, kitchen...even spot cleaning on the rug. I add a little vinegar to the water. It does a great job and is a lot cheaper than most commercial cleaners. If you're not sure about a surface, test an inconspicuous spot first.

Halloween Party at Basha's on Saturday!!

They have a 'Decorate Your Own' Jack-O-Lantern Cake for $5. Looks like fun. Also free cookies and cider. Another chance for the kids to wear their costumes. Go and support our hometown grocer!

Sunflower has pears 25c/lb! Doesn't a softly cooked pear over rice pudding sound good?

Also, they have Fuyu Persimmons for 50c/each. If you've never had a persimmon, now is the time to try them. They're good. Let them ripen to soft and eat like an apple, or slice to serve.

Gotta go! Hopefully next week will be less hectic!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why you should stop reading this and...

...go to El Rancho Market immediately:

See previous post for addresses for the two locations. Sorry, no website yet, I asked at the store, but boy are they serious about customer service!! I filled out a card with my name and address so they can mail me their ad every week.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts are $1.47/lb
Bananas are 4 lbs/99c
tomatoes are 3 lbs/99c (if you missed the screaming deal at Pro's Ranch yesterday)
Carrots are 25c for 1-lb bag
Onions are 5 lbs/99c
Iceberg lettuce is 33c/head.

Also, on the side of the ad are coupons good for today only:

64 oz Sunland Orange Juice - 99c - first 1
Food Club MaC and Cheese 33c - first 6
8 oz Food Club Shredded Cheese - 88c first 4
24 oz loaf IGA white or wheat sandwich bread - 69c first 4
Farmland Link Sausage - 50c, first 4
Tyson Bacon - $1.88, first 2


I was interested in the OJ, shredded cheese, bread and sausage. They were out of sausages, but cheerfully handed me a raincheck and advised me to keep it with the receipt and show that when I redeemed it.

I did not buy the chicken (though it is a terrific price) because I have so much chicken already, my freezer is clucking. Instead, I purchased $10 worth of goat meat ($1.79/lb) to make my own version of Birria.

The link isn't my own version of Birria, it's a recipe for authentic Birria. I'm marinating the meat in lemon juice and pico de gallo for a day or two, then will slow cook until the meat is mouth-watering tender.

I digress.

El Rancho Market, like Food City and Pro's Ranch Market, has special sales on different days of the week - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Thursday coupon specifically states the $10 purchase does not include the coupon items. The checkers are on top of that and will cheerfully offer to set your coupon purchases to the side until you find another 10 bucks worth to get the coupon prices. There were a couple of young guys who had me chuckling. Their basket contained only the coupon specials and a case of beer.

I'll post again with regular stockpiling.

BTW, if you're still on the 'Should I Coupon?' Fence - today I picked up 20 cans of Campbell's soup - tomato and chicken noodle and 2 jars of Ragu (the cheesy alfredo white ones). Without coupons, the sale price would have been $12.34, still good, but not near as good as the $5.34 which I paid. Took me a minute to check the CouponSense database. Another to cut the coupons. I hit the store on my way while doing other commuting. Seven bucks for 2 minutes of my time. Pretty good return on my investment.

I mean - who doesn't need to keep a few cans of soup and a couple of jars of pasta sauce on hand?

If you sign up, please use my referral code 1707971 and ask for Mindy C****** as your instructor.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here's what I bought at Pro Ranch Market Today!!

I'll be back later for a better stockpile post, but I don't want anybody to miss out on these deals if they are anywhere near a Pro Ranch Market.

3 1 lb bags carrot
14 large onions - 7.16 lbs
2 enormous cabbages
8 kiwis (the fruit, not the people)
8 piloncillo (I have to look up what they are again, but I remembered when I saw them that I'd looked them up before and decided I'd buy them when they were on sale again. Well, they're on sale again. Look like a brown sugar thing.)
2 pretty large pumpkins, about 15 pounds each - 16c/lb. So well under 5 bucks for the two. This is the cheapest I've seen anywhere so far.
2.76 lbs Red Yams - The color on these was extraordinary. Simply extraordinary.
5 cucumbers
10 lb bag of russet potatoes - 89c/bag
9.61 lbs tomatoes
7.77 lbs bananas

Grand Total - $16.82


I found the carrots cheaper at El Rancho Market at 8901 N. 19th Avenue - 4 1-lb bags/99c and the kiwis are cheaper at Food City if you go there for the Thursday special (1o/$1) but overall, I feel like I got away with robbing a produce bank.

And my cart looked soooo beautiful, all yellow and red and orange and green (light and dark) and brown. I wish I knew how to use the camera on my phone because I wanted to take a picture.

Can't give you a welsite for El Rancho Market, though I looked long and hard. (well for a couple of minutes, anyway) It's an IGA market I just found. It opened in July. There's a second location at 1076 N. Arizona Avenue in Chandler. I didn't have time to check it out, beyond buying some beautifully fresh garlic bulbs (nice and firm, not all dried out and nasty) for 79c total. If you live near either location, I think they're worth a look see. Produce prices are much cheaper than the mainstream stores, although not as good as Pro Ranch from what I could see.

I did other shopping today, using COUPONS. I purchased

16 boxes/bags of granola bars and Nature Valley Nut Clusters
8 12-packs of coke
3 Thai Kitchen Noodles
2 big bags and 2 smaller bags of Nestle Crunches for the Trick-or-Treaters
4 boxes of Cheezits
2 candy bars (for the kiddies)

Grand total of those purchases? $26.11.

No, I'm not lying to you. No, I'm not some super-duper genius who spends all day surfing the web for deals. I'm just an everyday mom who found a Coupon Sense. Give it a try. Seriously

Give. It. A. Try.

It's 4 bucks for the 1st month, about $14 for every month thereafter. Just in the list I made above I saved enough to pay for several months worth. I do that week after week.

When you sign up, please use my referral code 1707971 and ask for Mindy C****** as your instructor (it's in the drop-down menu, you'll see it). I'll help you save big bucks for the kids' college fund, or maybe just to make the mortgage payment.

If you are already with CouponSense and you DO NOT have an instructor, please contact them and ask for me. Reference this blog, they'll put us together.

Instructors are FREE, so...take advantage of me. ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I'm cooking tonight


More or less. I had some leftover steamed carrots from the weekend, and some sweet potatoes I made last night so I went to All Recipes, plugged in the ingredients and got the mash. I have plenty of cooked apples. I'm still cooking down the honeycrisps I picked up from Bountiful Baskets a week ago. I'm pressure cooking a small pork roast I picked up for 4 bucks at Fry's a few months ago to go with it. From start to finish, this is a half-hour meal.

Good eating is as easy as having yummy ingredients in your stockpile. Leftovers aren't leftovers, they're another chance to make something that will keep your family at the table and under budget.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pro Ranch is the best deal on produce this week!

This is just a nudge. I'm away and not able to do a full stockpile post. Check out Pro Ranch Market this week for great produce deals and some pretty good meat deals. Today's Wednesday produce deals are awesome pears 6 lbs/$1 for example and potatoes 10 lb/79c. Tomatoes are 4 lb/$1 all week. Pick up a bunch, make and freeze your own tomato sauce.

If Pro Ranch isn't possible for you, Food City has some pretty good produce deals on Thursday - Cukes are 5 for $1, for example. IF you've no Food City near you, check out Sunflower Markets, or Sprouts. Bashas has 5 lb of potatoes for 69c - excellent price. Bashas also has a great deal on Shamrock Farms milk - $2.99/2 gallons. It's a Buy One, Get One that works out to $1.50/gallon.

Also, Safeway has their Lucerne milk, $1.37/gallon, first 2.

If you're looking for Halloween Candy, the 99c Only stores have some pretty good deals this week.

Frys has whole chickens, 49c/lb, limit 4. Buy 4.
Safeway has Ribeyes and T-bones, bone-in, $3.77/lb. That's a good price for those cuts.
Basha's has b1g1 on it's Value pack Boneless Cross-rib or bottom-round roast. I think that will work out to $1.50/lb because the cross-rib and bottom round is $2.99 pound elsewhere in the ad. Basically, buy the big pack, get one free.

And Frys has Kroger PB, 99c/18 oz jar, which is a decent price. They are having their 'Anniversary Case-lot' sale. The prices are so-so.

If you need regular pasta, Sunflower Market has Luigi Vitelli for 77c/1 lb package.

Sorry this is so truncated. I'll post up something better when I'm back in a few days and can spend more time with the ads.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can we talk? - baby food

When I was a new mom, I thought babies were some strange species requiring food different from the rest of us. When mine moved to solids (I had twins, I always refer to kids in twos!) I only fed them properly sealed 'Baby Food' in tiny jars and boxes lest I poison them. If there was a sale, I loaded up, but if there wasn't a sale, I loaded up anyway because the kids ate all the time and they had to have the special Baby Food or they would starve.


So one day, I'm wondering what babies ate before special Baby Food was invented. How did those pioneer ladies keep their babies alive? What did moms in third world countries do? How did Roman babies live to become Roman citizens? And how did early man ever evolve to walk on two feet without Beech-nut?


They ate food. They ate the same food their parents ate just mushed up smooth and devoid of spicing.

Duh. I knew all those degrees I got would come in handy one day. Also, I saw on Discovery Channel that in a lot of primitive cultures, moms pre-chew the food, then squirt it into baby's mouth.

You don't have to do that. This is America. We have food processors. We have blenders. We have Magic Bullets.

Do you know what's in baby oatmeal? Oatmeal. Also wheat and it looks like they spray it with vitamins or something but basically it's very fine oatmeal.

What's in baby applesauce? Apples and water

Baby peach and bananas? Peach, bananas and water

Baby chicken? Pureed chicken.

Conclusion? You can make baby food at home for pennies rather than blowing dollars on it at the grocery store. Just cook whatever you want to feed baby. Leave out the salt and the sugar. Baby doesn't need it. Pop it into the processor of your choice with a little water and whirl it until the consistency is smooth.

Feed the baby.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I just saw Basha's Ad

And I feel like an idiot.

The good news? These prices are good until Tuesday, the 13th.

The bad news? If you qualify for a senior discount - you need to get there before the store closes to take advantage.

Here goes:

Large eggs are 88c, 80c with senior discount (s.d.)
Food Club Butter, $1.50/lb - $1.35/lb with s.d.
Simply Orange or Minute Maid orange, 59 to 64 oz - $1.99, $1.79 - s.d.
Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna - 48c, 43c s.d.
Chicken Leg Quarter, sold in 10 lb bag - $4.70, $4.33 s.d. (that's 47c/lb or 43c/lb)
Food Club frozen vegetables - 16 oz, $1, .90 s.d. (Yes, it's cheaper to blanch and freeze your own, but if you know you won't do that, get these, it's a pretty good price for frozen veggies.)

So sorry I didn't put this up earlier today. I hadn't seen the ad yet. I receive them on Wednesdays usually and Bashas hadn't yet put theirs online when I went to bed.

If you're a couponer, you can get your fabric softener for free at Basha's. I picked up 3 today, enough for 3 months or more of laundry. Total cost - 50c or so in tax.

Wanna learn more? Give CouponSense a try. Four bucks. Less than the cost of a Starbucks. Please enter my referral code (1707971) and ask for Mindy C****** as your instructor.

Can we talk? - Tomato Sauce

Take a look at this!

That's my Pro Ranch ad for this week. If you've a store anywhere near you, go visit. The produce prices are amazing. The pears I bought last week were sweet and nice when ripe. I cooked them in the slow cooker along with the bananas, and cloves and cinnamon, some peaches. We've been putting them on pancakes, on ice cream, in smoothies, with oatmeal. It's just so good!

Remember, there are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday specials. Wednesday is produce, Thursday are meats, Fridays are a variety of items. Wednesday is totally worth it this week. Check the ad for your location because there is some variance in prices.

So yesterday I took the 5+ lbs of tomatoes I purchased at Pro Ranch last week (at 4 lb/99c, same price as this week) and turned it into Tomato Sauce. I'm going to teach you the Italian way of making tomato sauce. You have to pay attention because you don't want to miss any of this.

Are you ready?


Here goes:

1) Cut tomatoes in half
2) put in large saucepan with just a hint of water (waterless is best, but use anything you have)
3) turn on heat to high
4) sprinkle with a generous amount of Italian seasoning or basil or oregano or marjoram or all three or whatever you have.
5) Chop onion and garlic together, put in saucepan.
6) Cover saucepan with lid.
7) turn heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes, stirring and smooshing occasionally to keep it from burning on the bottom and make it look more liked gravy.

That's all there is to it. Cook your pasta, pour the sauce over the pasta and you have a beautiful chunky homemade sauce.

No, you do not have to blanch the tomatoes and peel them first.

It does not matter what order the ingredients enter the saucepan.

It does not matter when the ingredients enter the saucepan. If you forget the garlic, add it while it cooks.

You can't over simmer it.

You almost can't undersimmer it, except you may not like your onions and garlic underdone.

It's okay to cheat by adding onion powder and/or garlic powder instead. I won't tell anybody and you're the one eating it, not me.

If you have fresh basil in your garden, by all means, add it.

If you have capers in a jar that you haven't known what to do with, by all means, add it.

If you have any combo of roasted veggie in jars (probably picked up at the dollar store), including, but not limited to artichoke hearts, by all means, add it.

You can add that zucchini that's been sitting in your vegetable bin.

You can add those bell peppers you keep forgetting to add to salad.

You can even add ground beef, although truthfully, it will make the sauce greasy and wouldn't you really rather make Italian meatballs?

Cooking is easy.

Repeat after me:

Cooking. Is. EASY.

Go ye, and do it.

Albertsons has Pork Chops for 88c/lb this week. If you qualify for senior savings (55+, I think) take 10% or 9c off that price. Senior Savings are today only. Other than the whole chickens at Food City, nothing else of a protein nature is talking to me this week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Early Ads Stockpile Post

Most of the ads turn around tomorrow, but Food City already has its ad out for the week and Sunflower Market puts their 'Double Ad Wednesday' up on Tuesday. Also, Bountiful Baskets has some good deals this week and spaces go fast. I'll update tomorrow for Pro Ranch Market because their ad doesn't go up until midnight and also for the major grocery stores and Sprouts. I got a peek at the ads for one of those majors and I about died of boredom, so I don't want you to miss Bountiful Baskets if you decide to go that route, or you might want to plan a trip to a Pro Ranch Market if you have one within 15 or 20 minutes. goes:

First, Bountiful Baskets:

They have honeycrisp apples - $22.50 for 30 pounds. That's 75c/lb.

My mouth waters just saying the name. These apples are sooooo good and sooooo expensive. This is a screaming price. Bountiful Baskets also has local raw citrus-mesquite honey - an 11 lb jar for $26.50 or $2.40/lb. Frankly, I don't buy enough honey to know if that's a good price, but it seems pretty good for the product being offered. I have a weak spot for really good honey, though I don't eat it much, so, yeah, I'll buy this.

In addition, you have to buy the regular basket for $15 ($18 if it's your first basket) Also, there's a $1.50 processing fee. Sooooo...$65.50 for a ton of honey, all those apples and produce for at least a week.

But gosh, can't you just imagine slicing those apples into a pie, sprinkling with clove and cinnamon, drizzling with that honey?

My big debate? Have I enough fridge space for everything because I'll be gone most of next week and won't have time to deal with the basket and apples until I get back. On the other hand, I won't be around to pick up a basket the week after and the honeycrisps may not be available anymore in three weeks. On the other hand, I could probably get those apples cooked down in one of my big pots and into freezer bags before I go. Then the produce can go in the coldest part of the fridge and will probably be fine when we get back.

On the other hand, do I have enough freezer space for all those apples?... (do I sound like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof?)

I'm still debating for myself, but be sure to grab a spot while it's still available if you decide to go this route.

Otherwise, Sunflower Market will have Jonathan apples 47c/lb starting tomorrow and canteloupes 3/$1. Yes, 3 melons for $1. Pretty good deal.

Food City has whole chickens this week 49c/lb. Unless one of the majors has something fantabulous planned for this week, stock up on chickens. Check the ad, they've got other good prices on some of their basics I've been talking about the last few weeks.

If you're a CouponSense member and do not have an instructor, I'd be happy to help you. Contact CouponSense from their homepage and give them my referral number (listed in profile) or reference this blog and tell them you'd like me for an instructor. For those of you who have not tried CouponSense, remember, if the meat and produce ads aren't exciting, the coupon deals often are. It's only $4 to try CouponSense for a month. Please use my referral number and ask for Mindy C**** under the 'choose an instructor' drop-down menu.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What a CVS addict does in her spare time...

Check out my friend and fellow CouponSense Instructor, Tracy's blog. She's posting a preview of CVS deals right from the store starting Sunday, thanks to her Blackberry and a friendly assistant manager!

Start clipping those coupons early, kids!