Super Bowl Snacking

I love parties where  I get to snack for hours.  Cocktail party?  YAY!  New Year’s hors d’oeuvres? WONDERFUL.  Tuesday? AMAZING.

The Superbowl adds an excellent level of no-we-don’t-give-a-hoot-about-cholesterol-today-and-if-you’re-lactose-intolerant-watch-yourself, so I’m double happy.

So here are some snacky deals that I would not normally put up, but given the sheer amount of snackery to happen, I thought it might help some folks.

Sprouts:

  • Daniele Natural Salame,    7oz. $3.99/ea —good for slicing and serving with cheese
  • Sprouts brand salsa,        16oz. $2/ea

Fiesta:

  • Owens sausage, 16oz chub      $2.49/ea these are good for making those sausage-Bisquick balls, or just meatballs

Randalls:

  • Kettle potato chips, 8.5 oz.       $3/ea
  • Chex Mix, 8.5 oz.                     $1/ea

Frozen pizzas are on sale everywhere.

Any of the chicken on sale can be used for buffalo chicken dip (except the ground chicken breast, don’t be ridiculous), which is a football favorite.

Wheatsville has all manner of chips on sale, if Lays and Ruffles aren’t your thing.

Bluebell is $4.44 at Randalls, and $4.50 at Fiesta. Those are decent prices, but not the best. You might want some because you’re having people over, though, so if you do, go there.

Guacamole is on my menu for Sunday, given the cheap avocados. I’ll also likely get out the scale and sort out the Avocado Math that’s been bugging me. Stay tuned.

Cheep Cheep!

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Happy Ad Wednesday!

We’re ramping up to the time of year when there is a lot of meat on sale.  If you follow the sales you’ll be able to stock your freezer well in advance of summertime bbq parties.  This week there are spareribs, chicken parts and sausages all at stock-up prices.

NOTE: chicken leg quarters at Fiesta–don’t forget, these are in a big sack of about 10-12lbs.  You’ll need to portion these out, don’t just toss the whole bag in the freezer. Unless you’ve got an ice pick and a kid you don’t like much, then go ahead.  These also generally have a portion of backbone attached, which I like to remove to make tidier portions.

Sprouts

(don’t forget to check last week’s post for the sales that end today)

Halos mandarins, 2lb sack                                 $1.98

Hass avocados                                                   48c/ea  (C15)

cucumbers, red or green bell peppers              48c/ea (DD)

organic Gala or Red Delicious apples               $1.49/lb (DD)

(organic oranges and grapefruit are on sale also, these are C15 items, so I buy conventional)

ground chicken or turkey breast                          $3.99/lb

house-made sausages, many varieties                    $3/lb   (Fri/Sat/Sun ONLY)

blanched peanuts, in bulk section                     $1.99/lb

organic baby carrots, 1 lb.                                 $1.50/ea

Fiesta

pork spareribs                                                     $1.99/lb   (Fiesta limit)

chicken leg quarters, jumbo bag                          69c/lb   (Fiesta limit)

organic celery                                                   $1.49/ea (DD)

green bell peppers                                              33c/ea  (DD)

HEB

extra-large Hass avocados                               99c/ea (C15)

Jonagold or Braeburn apples                           48c/lb (DD)

Rio Grande Valley grapefruit                               6/$1

HCF split chicken breasts                              $1.47/lb

HCF BBQ chicken leg quarters                          $1/lb

Randalls

large Hass avocados                                           $1/ea  (C15)

All-natural country style pork ribs                         $1.99/ea (these aren’t really ribs, and I never know what to do with them. if you do know, this is the price to buy them at)

$5 Friday, goes through Sunday

family size cheese pizza

Safeway Farms veggie tray

Precious Blooms Bouquet

Wheatsville

Late July organic chips, 5.5-6oz.                   $1.67/ea

Kettle potato chips, 5 oz.                                 $2/ea

Food Should Be Good chips                           $2/ea

Pirate Snacks, 4-6oz.                                  $1.67/ea  Snacks? No. It’s Booty!

Mail Report

My postman is totally winning this battle.  Last week, not only did the flyers not arrive on Tuesday, or Wednesday, they didn’t arrive at all. Zip, nada, null set on the number of ads arriving in my mailbox. I think he’s on to me, and is enjoying delivering each and every effort from Time Warner to keep us as customers (oh HELL no, hell-O Google Fiber!), while rerouting my circulars.  I think it’s time to get DH back on board with writing me a webscraper.  Or getting a kid properly motivated to do so.  Where did I put all the leftover Halloween and Christmas candy…

Cheep cheep!

Week 11 & Goal Post

Last week, if you remember, I got a head start on the scoring by not posting the plan until after dinner on Monday. That’s okay for rookies. But I’m on Week 11 of this Internet Dinner Accountability Plan, so this week I’m getting the post up before dinner on Monday.  So I’m already winning this week!

The plan last week:

Week 11 plan

  • Mon: grilled cheese, carrot soup, salad, apples
  • Tue: ham and cheese soufflé, cauliflower, pomegranate seeds
  • Wed: beef and barley soup, homemade bread, fruit, veg
  • Thur: red beans and rice with venison sausage, fruit, veg
  • Fri: homemade pizza & Family Game night!

The actual:photo

Mon:  grilled cheese, carrot soup, salad, apples. 3 points.
Tues:  ham and cheese souffle, green beans, carrots, bananas. 3 points.
Wed:  beef and barley soup, alfredo noodles, homemade rolls, green beans. 2 points.
Thurs:  box mac & cheese, leftover buffet. 1 photopoint.
Fri:  pizza, red beans & rice, blueberries, carrot sticks. 3 points.

No, I don’t know why that second list won’t bullet point when I click ‘Bulleted list’, it always has before. Since we’re focused on dinner, and not formatting, I’m going to ignore it.  If you’re too OCD to cope with the lack of bullet points, you’ll just have to draw them in on your screen.  I’ll wait a sec.

Ok, now we go.

This was not a bad week.  I made the souffle I’d wanted to make for a while, and mostly stuck to the plan.  Cooking beans is an ongoing problem area in my life, so it didn’t surprise me at all that I had to slide red beans and rice over to pizza night because the beans weren’t really cooked enough to eat yet.  Leftover Buffet cleared out the fridge nicely, and with the exception of Date Night we didn’t eat out, so those were additional good points this week.

For scoring, the only points lost were for Wednesday, where I took a point off for alfredo noodles, which I only made because I knew two kids would balk at soup, and for Thursday, which was a off-plan non-nutritious meal.  Overall, though, we had all five people eating, in the house, a meal I’d planned to cook for most of the week.  12 points to Cheepie!

This is the best week since before the holidays, and I’m curious to see what happens this week. Last time I had a really good score the next week I completely tanked!  So here’s the plan:

  • Mon: beef curry w/rice, spinach, berries
  • Tue:  baked chicken thighs, fruit, veg, carrot sticks
  • Wed:  Prince Spaghetti Day!
  • Thur: osso bucco, polenta, broccoli, fruit
  • Fri:  Fish Fry!

Look at that! Bullet points. Kooky. 

Let’s see how that all works out, shall we? I’ll post the ad roundup early on Wednesday, so keep checking on me, and don’t forget to post any deals you spot out in the wild!

Cheep Cheep!

Choices

everymealisachoiceThis mural was outside Sprouts when I went the other day.  They’re trying to tap into the New Year’s juice cleanse/dieting/this-year-I’m-getting-healthy-dammit crowd, based on the huge display of ‘things you might juice if you like to do that’ just inside the door. 

It reminded me of the pregnant lady bookWhat to Expect When You’re Expecting‘, with its terrible quote:  “Before you close your mouth on a forkful of food, consider: ‘Is this the best bite I can give my baby?’ If it will benefit your baby, chew away. If it’ll only benefit your sweet tooth or appease your appetite, put your fork down.'” That is just a ridiculous thing to tell anyone, and saying this out loud is certainly asking to get slapped by a pregnant woman. 

That quote has a lot in common with this mural.  Yes, there are choices in what we eat, but prioritizing these decisions has become difficult.  Eat this tomato, harvested by workers paid a living wage, or this one that was grown nearby?  Buy these cage-free eggs, or those organic ones?  Are there really any happy chickens? Does this can of beans have BPA? Didn’t they make BPA illegal? Should I eat fish for the omega-3s, or do the toxins make the benefit not worth it? 

If you try to take it all into account, you’ll be standing there with your cart, unable to even decide which part of the store to start shopping for things.  And then you’ll make me mad, because when you do this you’ll be in the middle of the aisle. For Pete’s sake, get to the right! It’s like a road, people.

I’ve gone through several ways of dealing with Grocery Information Overload.  First, ignore it all and buy what I want. Then there was a serious coupon phase, followed by an all-natural phase.  The CSA/Farmer’s Market/Raw Milk period was fun, if pricey.  The Whatever the Kids Will Eat period was brief. 

Which brings us to now:  the Best I Can Do phase.

The best I can do is use the information I have to make the best choice at  the time.  It’s an ongoing thing, and changes when I get new information. 

I evaluate based on budget, health, organic/not, source and a few other things.  My decisions might not look like your decisions.  I buy 2-3 bags of potato chips a week. They aren’t healthy, organic, or, in the case of Funyuns, even food-based.  They are purchased entirely to save my household budget the dent of DH heading out to eat because he feels like eating salty fried things. 

You might be in a place where the Best You Can Do is solely focused on budget.  You might be eating a diet for any number of reasons, so the Best You Can Do prioritizes getting those foods into your cart first.  You might be one of those folks using the New Year as a new start and getting yourself over to Sprouts to visit that juicing produce display.

It doesn’t matter what kind of shopper you are, spending some time considering what is important when you buy the food to cook meals for your family is. That way, when you’re in the store, confronted with the many questions that come with spending a grocery dollar, you’ve prioritized the things that are important.  Pre-running these decisions gives your brain a path to follow.

My hope is that CheepieAustin will help you do the Best You Can Do for your family and the meals you cook for them!  Cheep Cheep!

Happy Ad Wednesday

This week presents with math problems. Skip on down to the deals and you’ll be a-ok to get on with your bad self and get to the shopping. Read on if you want some of the sort of granular analysis I apply to the grocery puzzles I face weekly.

I’ve mentioned Avocado Math. This week introduces Berry Math and Kale Math

Kale Math is because of my problem with the units kale is sold in–a ‘bunch’ is just an inherently non-specific amount.  Why can’t they just weigh it?  Maybe I’ll call some produce folks and ask, since I really don’t want to buy the amount of kale required to sort out which ‘bunch’ is the best unit price. Stay tuned for that post, which I’ll likely pair with Avocado Math because I’m very interested in that as well. Or possibly I just feel I can eat the amount of guacamole that would result without guilt if it’s for Cheepie and Math.  Either way, it’s a sacrifice for the greater good.

For now, organic kale is 98c-$1.50 and I’m just listing them all because how do I know which bunch is best?

Berry Math is simpler, and I care about it because they freeze wonderfully (put in freezer, done) and are useful in smoothies. So here’s the deal this week:

blackberries

Randalls, 18 oz., $5           Sprouts, 5.6 oz., $1.98 ea

Our units are both ounces, so we can just divide to sort this out:

$5.00/18 oz= 27.78c/oz         $1.98/5.6oz=35.3c/oz

Randalls is the winner here. You’re paying decently less if you wait and stock up on Friday at Randalls.

blueberries

Randalls, 18 oz., $5          HEB, pint, $1.88 ea

We have a unit problem here: ounces and pints. Turns out, if you Google, a good estimate for the weight of a dry pint of blueberries is 12oz.  That makes the Randalls deal TERRIBLE.

$5.00/18oz=27.78c/oz             $1.88/12oz= 15.6c/oz    

Buy blueberries at HEB.  Both berries can be tossed in a Ziploc and frozen after washing.

Last, a note on the Fiesta pork special:  Sirloin is not the same as loin. Most pork chops that people usually buy are loin:sometimes bone-in, sometimes not, but loin is the most common.  Sirloin is a tougher portion of the pig, and isn’t going to cook up the same if you’ve got a favorite pork chop recipe. This is certainly the price to get some and give them a try if your family likes pork, but be aware that ‘grill three minutes on each side and make a dijon sauce’ isn’t going to work as well with these.

Fiesta

pork sirloin chops      99c/lb (Fiesta limit)

Tyson whole fryer      99c/lb (Fiesta limit)

Bumblebee Chunk light tuna      69c/ea  (10c cheaper than Randalls)

Del Monte spaghetti sauce, 24 oz can      89c/ea

Randalls

Sanderson Farms whole fryers       99c/lb

Safeway chicken drumsticks or thighs      99c/lb

Mt. Olive pickes       B1G1  (usually these are $2-$4, and have a long shelf life)

$5 Friday

18 oz blackberries (see note above, dont get blueberries by mistake!)

Family Size Cheese pizza (take and bake, in the refrigerated case)

Sprouts

blackberries, 5.6 oz          $1.98/ea (if you can’t wait until Fri)

strawberries, 1 lb.         $1.25/ea (DD)

Red Delicious apples     48c/lb  (DD)

pineapples      $1.98/ea (C15)

organic Braeburn apples      98c/lb  (DD)

bulk brown rice, short orlong grain      69c/lb

organic kale            $1.50/bunch  (DD)

last week’s post for the deals that end today

HEB

Fuji apples     77c/lb  (DD)

blueberries     $1.88/pint

organic Texas spinach       $1.48/bunch  (DD)

Rio Grande oranges, 4lb      $1.98/sack

HCF drumsticks or thighs      $1/lb

Wheatsville:

local curly kale bunch      $1.50/ea  (DD)

Whole Foods:

organic kale bunch                    98c/ea  (DD)

All the stores seem a bit thin this week. But then there’s this:

Large Image

Randalls came up with a variation I haven’t seen before this week–79c each when you buy 8, on several items ranging from tuna to Gatorade. The items are some of my pantry staples, so look at what they’ve got and maybe you’ll want to stock up.

It’s still Randalls, so don’t get distracted and do all your shopping there, but I’ll be getting noodles, tomatoes and tuna. Eldest will also require brownie mix.

Large Image

Happy shopping everyone. If you’ve got suggestions, or find great items, let me know here, or on Facebook or Twitter. 

Cheep Cheep!

Week 10 & Goal Post

Week 10 Scoreboard

It’s week two of the new scoring system, which is based on a 15 point scale.  I know, it’s not a nice number like 10, and it makes translating things into percentages more difficult.  We’ve all got calculators on our phones, though, so it’s not like you really have to do the math.

The plan:

  • Mon: pot roast, garden salad, potatoes, blackberries, green beans
  • Tue: ham and cheese soufflé, peas, avocado, oranges
  • Wed: salmon cakes, pasta, steamed spinach, carrot sticks, apples
  • Thur: grilled pot roast sandwiches, carrot soup, and salad
  • Fri: BBQ night!

The actual:

  • Mon:  leftover buffet, Cheepie + DH date night
  • Tue:  Taco Cabana drive-thru fajitas
  • Wed:  pot roast, green beans, garden salad, potatoes, grapes
  • Thur:  I do not remember.  I’ve sat here for ten minutes, and no clue.
  • Fri:   BBQ night!

Certainly a downturn from last week!  In my defense (I seem to need to use this phrase more often than you’d expect, given that I’m setting these goals myself, not trying to follow someone else’s plan), I was throwing a big event that was using up most of the mental space in my brain that isn’t devoted to the basic mammalian-mom drive of keeping everyone alive through another day. 

And Thursday? It wasn’t that long ago. Why don’t I remember what I fed everyone? I think it must have been grilled cheese.  Making grilled cheeses is so automatic that my brain doesn’t even register it any more!

So out of a possible 15 points, this week gets 5 points. Monday gets two for having all the food groups and three people, Wednesday gets two for being a planned meal (if for a different day, I’m taking what I can get this week) and being nutritious, and Friday gets one for being planned.  Tuesday and Thursday are zero, because while I want to say Taco Cabana is at least three food groups, the amount of salt on that chicken negated any possible nutrition involved.

Luckily, the weeks roll on and I’ve got a new chance every seven days.  This week I’ve got a head start, since I know darn well what I fed everyone last night.  Grilled cheese.

photo

Week 11 plan

  • Mon: grilled cheese, carrot soup, salad, apples
  • Tue: ham and cheese soufflé, cauliflower, pomegranate seeds
  • Wed: beef and barley soup, homemade bread, fruit, veg
  • Thur: red beans and rice with venison sausage, fruit, veg
  • Fri: homemade pizza & Family Game night!

Wish me luck, and check in tomorrow morning (or very late tonight for the  Happy Ad Wednesday post.

Cheep Cheep!

Happy Ad Wednesday

This week went fast. I didn’t really think I was due for another post, but just like every Tuesday both HEB and Sprouts emailed me the circulars for the new ad week and here we are.  If ‘here’ is wondering why my mailman continues to deny me the simple pleasure of weekly grocery ads made of paper.

Stock up items this week are boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork chops, and berries. 

Note: I’m not including Sprouts’ specials from last week, but they’re still good today! Doing that was making their entry too long.  You can check last week’s post if you want to review what is still up for grabs.

HEB

raspberries, 6oz                               $1.25/ea

Jonagold apples                                77c/lb

assorted pork chops                       $1.97/lb

County Post bscs, value pack        $1.99/lb

pork ribeye roast                             $1.97/lb (these are not the usual roast, normally it’s loin. i think it’ll cook similarly, but look at it and think about what you want to use it for before purchase)

Market Fresh sausage                     $3.97/lb  (bratwurst, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, or Italian)

Fiesta

bscb                                                              $1.69/lb (Fiesta limit)

assorted pork chops                                     $1.69/lb (Fiesta limit)

pineapples                                                    $1.99/ea (C15)

Fiesta canola oil, gallon jug                          $4.99/ea

cucumbers                                                    4/$1 (DD)

Tyson boneless, skinless chicken thighs      $1.99/lb

Randalls

Classico or Barilla pasta sauce, 15-24oz            $2/ea   ( I buy these for the jars as well as handy sauce)

$5 Friday

Jenni-O ground turkey chub, 2lb                         $5/ea       

Earl Campbell hot links, 32oz                              $5/ea

Quaker Life cereal, 13oz                                       3/$5

Sprouts

1 lb. strawberries (DD) , blueberries 5.6oz, blackberries 6oz, raspberries 6oz    $1.67/ea

red or green bell peppers                                                     50c/ea (DD)

organic Gala or Fuji apples                                                  $1.50/lb (DD)

organic baby carrots, 1 lb                                                    $1.50/lb  (DD)

Fri-Sun only

bulk dried cranberries                                                          $1.99/lb

OP wines                                                                          $2.50 ea, $2.25 ea for 6 or more

bscb                                                                                     $1.79/lb

Sprouts salad blends, 5-5.5oz                                             $2/ea

jumbo Hass avocados                                                         $1/ea

Wheatsville Co-op

organic curly kale                                                       $1.50/bunch  (just because there’s not any organic kale on sale anywhere else this week)

It’s a good week for most places, but Randalls is lagging as usual.  Freezing pork roasts is a great way to have a meal in the freezer (I cut to 1.5lb sections and vacuum seal), and freezing.

Sprouts also has eggplant 2/$1, but that seems like a misprint–more likely 2lbs/$1.  Annie’s products 50% off for selected varieties, and all sausage is $3.99/lb, no nitrates, made in-store–these are both good deals.

The avocado math problem has been bothering me. I’m going to have to address it soon, maybe for the Superbowl, when I can likely bring a gallon of guacamole somewhere without anyone wondering why Cheepie is carrying a giant vat of guacamole. 

It’s really bugging me that I’ve got extra large avocados for $1.50, and large for $1, and sometimes there are just no-adjective avocados for 58c.  What is the best deal? Which will allow me to eat the most chips?  I’m going to have to develop a system, get out the scale, and sort this out. Look for Avocado Math Post soon!

Fiesta has Bluebell for $4.99/ea, which isn’t the best price, but if, like me, what you thought would be six months worth of ice cream last time it went on super-sale turned out not to last that long, you might want a few.  Since a not insignificant amount of my parenting turns out to be based on bribery via Bluebell, I’ll be grabbing a few.

Go forth and stretch that grocery dollar, Cheepsters!