Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The winner is Fresh and Easy with 39c/lb turkeys

It's not in the ad this week. You have to go to the Fresh and Easy homepage to see the listed price. This is for Jennie-O turkeys. Since it's not in the ad, I suppose there's a chance Fresh and Easy will yank the price. The Fresh and Easy ad in today's paper has coupons for $3 off $30 and $10 off $50. There is nothing in the ad about whether the Fresh and Easy Friends program is still offering 500 points on the turkeys which I mentioned in my previous post. If so, the net cost of the turkeys would be almost free. Even if they aren't, go purchase your limit of two turkeys. A 15-pound turkey would be $5.85, little more than the typical whole chicken.

The Farmer John hams are still 97c/lb and we're still eating and enjoying the one I made on Sunday. It was $10 well spent. Tonight, I heated slices and served with mashed yams from Pro's Ranch (7 lbs/99c) and fresh green beans from the same store (99c/lb, I served 54c worth).

If you don't have a Fresh and Easy near you, Basha's is selling their Norbest turkeys for 59c/lb. I've purchased those turkeys before and found them delicious. Albertson's advertises that they will price match, but I don't know that they sell Norbest or if they will substitute another brand. Call before you shop.

What did shopping day look like here at the stockpile?


You read that right. I did it all at Pro's Ranch and purchased 14 pounds of bananas, over 8 pounds of yams, a half-pound of green beans and 3.5 pounds of pinto beans. I don't need the pintos, but at 50c/lb, I figured a few more pounds in the pantry wouldn't hurt.

We still have oranges and pears and apples, as well as some avocados and limes. The garden is still providing bunches of greens. There's plenty of meat in the freezer and grains in the pantry. Beyond milk and eggs, we just don't need much. If I had the freezer space, I'd be buying up those turkeys. Even if all I did was cook them up for pet food, it's cheaper than buying cans for the cats and dogs.

If your freezer is not full, now is the time to stock up those turkeys. Those prices will be history on Black Friday. They have not made a Christmas return in the past few years. Autumn is past and with it go the wonderful harvest prices. Perhaps not so much here in Phoenix, blessed as we are with a year-round growing season.

With Christmas approaching, the sales will turn to baking. Keep an eye for grains, nuts, sugar and dried fruits.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Year-Long Ham and Turkey Buffet

I decided to take advantage of the 59c/lb turkeys (limit 2) available at Fresh and Easy that I mentioned in my last post. The shopping trip yielded unexpected savings. Since I was going anyway, I decided to find out something about the Friends Program Fresh and Easy recently launched. Basically, buy stuff at Fresh and Easy and get points. The basic reward is 1 point for every dollar spent. Spend 50 bucks, get 50 points. Every hundred points is worth $1. So every 100 bucks spent equals a reward of $1.

Yes, I understand if you’re not hopping up and down for joy. Let me make it happier for you.

1)      The points accumulate.
2)      Fresh and Easy is offering double reward points now through Thanksgiving
3)      Every turkey you buy is worth 500 points. (Yes, that equals $5)

Here’s how to do it:

1)      You join online and get 250 points just for signing up ($2.50).
2)      Go to Fresh and Easy and get a Friends Card.
3)      Make your purchases.
4)      When you get home, sign in with your email address and attach the card to your account.
5)      Check out your new rewards balance.
6)      You can convert the reward points to cash whenever you want. The site says something about the conversion being ‘rounded down’ to the nearest 100 points. I don’t know if that means you forfeit points when you cash out. Call customer service (1-877-338-6546) to find out.

Here’s what I purchased:

1)      Two turkeys, approx. 17 lbs each for 20.39 total.
2)      Two Farmer John Hams approx. 12 lbs each for $23.75
3)      2 lbs of Whole Bean Fair Trade Coffee for $13.98

I found an online coupon for $10 off $50. I looked for the biggest turkeys and hams I could find, but still needed $7 worth of stuff to get to $50. The coffee was a good price for whole bean Fair Trade. If I’d had more time, I’d have gotten smaller turkeys and hams to get as close to just over $50 as possible, but I was in a hurry, so I spent about $59, used the $10 off coupon and paid $49.08 for the above. I also received 1116 points for the transaction, or a little over $11 BACK. With the 250 points I received for signing up, I now have almost $14 in cash rewards I can use for my next trip.

I wish I had more freezer room, I truly do, but we had to do some major rearranging to find space for the two turkeys and a single ham. Good part of having to do that is my freezers and my fridge are all cleaned out and organized. Second good part is I had an excuse to cook the second ham for dinner and use some of it to make a homemade split pea soup with split peas from my pantry. The family is happy. The ham will provide the makings for a ham casserole, ham croquettes, more soup, pasta salad  and ham sandwiches all week. I’m lucky in that my family will eat food for days in a row, so long as it tastes good and they don’t actually have to cook anything themselves!

If you’ve some extra cash, stocking up on turkeys and hams and using the coupon, plus accumulating cash rewards would be worthwhile. Go for twelve turkeys and twelve hams. Figure cooking one turkey and one ham per month to provide two weeks of meal fixings per month. It’s plenty for even the biggest meat eaters.

The above should cost $240 total and will include other items you may need to get the grocery bill to $50 so you can use the $10 off coupon. That will be six shopping trips over the next couple of days (6 times $40). You’ll also get other items you need (the fill out items to get to $50) and will accumulate a lot of points for a future shopping trip.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This and That

I'll be away for Thanksgiving, but I'm still going to Fresh and Easy to pick up my 59c/lb turkeys from Jennie-0. Limit is 2 per visit. Fresh and Easy has some kind of new points earning program which may be worth investigating if you shop there a lot. I don't think their prices are particularly low, but they do have good specials sometimes. Like these turkeys. Unfortunately, they don't issue rain checks.

In Albertson's last week, I saw a sign promising a price match on the 59c/lb turkeys. Hopefully, that continues into this week and up thru Thanksgiving.

The easiest way to prepare turkey during the year is to boil it. That's why I prefer smaller turkeys, or to have the butcher saw it in half for me when I purchase it. Add onion, sage, thyme and rosemary and let it simmer for a long time. Lift it onto a plate and let the cooking liquid, aka broth, cool. Skim any obvious scum off the top of the broth. When cool, strain it through a clean tea towel, then freeze or can in smaller quantities to use as needed.

Pull the meat from the turkey. The white meat can be sliced as needed for sandwiches and the dark meat frozen or canned for use in pot pies.

Does making pot pie sound scary? It's not. It's easy and requires very little from you beyond keeping an eye the pot doesn't boil over and you have enough freezer containers or canning supplies. Pot pies are a cinch to make. If pastry dough frightens you,  use Pillsbury tube biscuits as an easy substitute. Roll them flat, lay them in the pie plate, add the meat, sprinkle some seasonings, spoon it over with some bechamel sauce and lay another flattened tube biscuit on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until it browns.

Does Bechamel Sauce sound fancy? It's  not. Bechamel is a fancy name for a basic white sauce. Mush softened butter into some flour with a fork. Heat on a low (I mean LOW) saucepan until the butter melts. keep it moving with a wooden spatula. Drizzle in some milk. That means a little at a time. Keep on stirring for about 20 minutes. That's the time needed for the flour to lose the 'raw' flavor. This is a great task to put a tween or teen on, especially if you tell them you don't care if they talk to their friends on the cellphone while they do it. As the flour cooks, it will thicken. If it's too thick, add a little more milk. If it's too thin, add the teeniest amount of flour. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Voila! Bechamel Sauce.

I like pot pies because they are good vehicles for using leftovers. Broccoli and carrots are great choices. As are carrots and potatoes. They'll feed a lot of hungry people and look impressive when placed on the table.

Like Boston Market. Only cheaper.

(BTW, I think the 97c/lb Farmer John Hams are a pretty good at Fresh and Easy. They contain a fair amount of water weight, but freeze well and will make good dinners and sandwiches in the months to come. These are also limit 2. If Fresh and Easy has a new coupon out, you can save a few dollars on the total sale. Check at Pinching Your Pennies, or the store site for a coupon.)