Happy Ad Wednesday!

Hope everyone enjoyed the last gasp of winter, and is ready for the start of summer produce deals!  One of my favorite summer meals is a steak from the freezer, accompianied by corn on the cob and watermelon bought on sale.  We go through a lot of berries for smoothies and turn all kinds of fruit into freezy pops at this time of year, also. Well, not yesterday. Yesterday was Winter, and I made a casserole.  Crazy Mother Nature.

I also stock up on things that will freeze well–lots of watermelon for agua frescas, corn off the cob, all the berries, diced mango, and green beans are examples of summery produce I will seal up for the freezer.

This week’s got blackberries and corn, and chicken leg quarters (read here for notes about that) on great deals.  Avocados and potatoes aren’t too shabby either.

Sprouts has ended their amazing weekly cheese sale, but Randalls has their 32oz bricks and bags of shredded cheese for $5.99 (usually $8.99). So there’s that. As always, that’s the card price, though–as always the stupid Randalls prices are the stupid card prices.  The Wheatsville prices are the non-member prices, and there are no coupons involved with any of the prices in the Happy Ad Wednesday post.

Here we go!

Randalls 

32oz chunk or shredded cheese                  $5.99/ea

bscb                                                                 $1.99/lb

Sprouts

Hass avocados                                            33c/ea (C15)

green beans                                                 98c/lb

bscb and thighs                                           $1.99/lb

raw almonds                                                 $4.99/lb

organic carrots,5lb sack                               $2.98/lb

Fri-Sun only:

sweet cherry tomatoes, 1 pint                        98c/ea (DD)

Fiesta

chicken leg quarters, jumbo bag                49c/lb (Fiesta Limit)

medium whole live crawfish                         $1.69/sack $1.99/lb 

pork blade steak, family pack                       $1.49/lb (Fiesta Limit)

beef short ribs                                                  $2.99/lb (Fiesta Limit)

red seedless grapes                                        $1.49/lb (DD)

limes                                                                    10/$1

russet potatoes, 10lbs                                      $2.49/lb (DD)

HEB

NOTE: This week, I’ve tried to accommodate the two different flyers HEB has for their stores. I’m adding the links to the different flyers here–if your HEB is modern, clean, and only moderately grackled, this is likely your flyer. If it’s small, older, and fully gracklefied, this is likely your flyer. Apologies if you looked for and couldn’t find something.  I’d stopped checking because they’d been the same for weeks, but now they’re different again.

canteloupe                                                         97c/ea (older only) (C15)

blackberries, 6 oz.                                             77c/ea

corn on the cob                                                 20c/ea (C15)

Ataulfo mangos                                                 25c/ea (C15)

organic Fuji or Red Delicious apples            $1.77/lb (older) OR $1.47/lb (newer) (DD)

HCF chicken thighs or drumsticks                 $1/lb

Campari tomatoes. 1lb pack                             $1.50/ea (older)

green beans                                                          98c/lb

largeHass avocados                                           97c/ea (newer) (C15)

organic blackberries,6oz                                   $2.47/ea (newer)

Central Market

PEI black mussels,2lb sack                              $8.99/ea

Trader Joe’s

TJ’s extra virgin olive oil,1L                              $6.99/ea

Wheatsville

organic cucumbers                                           79c/lb (DD)

Central Market is having a Greek-fest, with many interesting looking Greek specials on wine, meat, meals, dips, cheese and more. I cannot deal with their blue and white ad, though, because the Central Market ad should be green and white, which might be my own personal OCD trappings kicking in. I need my grocery ads to stay the same, and the new Fiesta ad was enough for me to cope with for one week. Generally, these CM pushes come with lots of free tastings, so if you’re hungry and out of pocket, swing by.

Cheep Cheep!

Monday Night Goal Post

I’ve been pondering my Internet Dinner Accountability Plan.  Initially, the goal was for the family to sit down every night at the table for a meal.  I’d read a couple of books that were big, big fans of this and had many pretty photos and suggestions.

After a few weeks, I adjusted the goal to accommodate the fact that we aren’t often all home until 8pm, which is late for dinner.  So, I started shooting for a majority of people eating a meal I’d planned for us to eat.  That was a better goal, and writing the Goal Post and Dinner Score posts got me in the habit of planning the week out. Overall, this is an improvement, if not the one I’d originally hoped for.

We also eat out slightly less.  DH and I have a bad taco habit, but having the groceries for a meal already in the house made my frugal self too guilty to go out even if DH offered. Sometimes. Queso knows me by my name.  

I think I’ve made all the gains on this front that I’m going to, though.  With our schedules, storage and budget, I feel this is an even keel.  It could be better.  It could be more frugal. I could stick to my plan more.  But I know what perfect looks like because I read those books, and Chez Cheepie was never going to get there.  Here is nice and here we’ll stay.

Added Bonus:  The kids are now really good at asking if I want a photo of their meal before they start eating, a skill that will serve them well in life, since it seems like half the internet is photos of food and the other half is cat videos.

Final Dinner Score:  12 points

Perfect Mon-Thurs, and then we went out on Friday.  Instead of having buffalo chicken legs (why legs? because thanks to crazy sports bars, wings are more expensive than legs. though I didn’t really have a solid plan. was I going to deep fry chicken legs? bake them?), we all went out for pasta and a visit to the bookstore.

  Prince Spaghetti Day!

Prince Spaghetti Day!

     Monday

Monday 

   Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday!

Just like a Friday in 1997, but we have small people tailing us that want us to pay for their stuff.

I’m calling the Dinner Accountability plan over, and I appreciate all the feedback that I got.  Stay tuned for the next CheepieAustin project!

Cheep Cheep!

Central Market: Trial By Tri-Tip

  

Central Market and I have grown up together.  I remember walking around the North Lamar store with The Silver Palate cookbook in my cart, buying a cartload of groceries for one meal.  I remember touring the Westgate store with a group when it was still just a gutted mall, because people were that excited about a grocery store.

Nowadays, I’m more likely darting in for a Bota Box and wondering why people can’t meander a little faster.  But I’m still irrationally fond of the place, and while I’m not shopping there regularly I do appreciate it being there.

So when the tri-tip incident happened, it was a grocery betrayal.  DH was mad, but I was sad, because I am that kind of person.

Tri-tip is a cut of beef we often cook, and it’s not cheap because DH always goes to CM to buy it, where it’s $10.99/lb.  Since he’s the one shopping and cooking, he gets to pay what he wants (Costco and TJ’s have it cheaper)(Cheepie tries not to look at his receipts). On the day in question, he came home with three tri-tips, because we were having company.  

When he went to put them in the marinade, he realized that there was a huge layer of fat on them, which is not usual. They’d been fat side down in the case, so looked like the usual cut until he got them home and unwrapped the paper.  Not a little fat–a brisket-level layer a half-inch thick that I had to dissect away from the meat because our grilling method doesn’t allow for a giant layer of melting fat.  All told it was 1.6 lbs of fat (of course I weighed it, am I some kind of heathen? I wanted numbers!).  

Dinner was lovely, the meat was delicious. But I’m Cheepie, and the disappointment stuck with me. I might not be tossing the dinner parties, or even shopping at all the way I did when I was in my 20s, but I didn’t want to have to break up with Central Market!  We’d made crackers! I’d spoken to fishmongers! I’d been given a jillion pounds of bruised tomatoes once to make me go away!

So I went to their website and sent an email detailing what happened, and let them know that I thought that if they were going to change the way they cut something, letting buyers know when they purchased it would be polite. I sent it off figuring it would go into a black hole of internet complaints, but feeling better that I’d at least gotten it off my chest.

Three weeks later I got an email.  The customer service rep was very understanding, and wrote that she’d shared my email with the meat department and they’d gotten it cleared up.  She also told me they’d refund the amount we’d spent on the meat, and would like to also give me a $20 gift card.  

That’s how you do customer service!  I’m still amazed. It’s easily the best customer service I’ve ever gotten.  Acknowledgement of the problem, and more than making up for it.  Central Market and I will be going steady for the foreseeable future.

 

Trader Joe’s Silly Thing This Week

I’ve got two silly things this week.  The first is:

“Wake up, Trader Joe’s! Your flyer is over a month old and I need new things to look at! Get with the program. Surely you can manage, once a month, to have a new set of sale items.”

This week the main silly thing is a recipe.  The photo they’ve got witScreen shot 2015-04-23 at 4.59.25 PMh this recipe immediately cracked me up. Knock-off Goldfish, knock-off Ritz Bits sandwiches, knock-off Cheerios….this looks like a kid went into the pantry and decided he’s just gonna eat it ALL.

But first, he’s going to take a page from Granny, and Chex-Mixify it with some onion dip powder, butter, and soy sauce, because what salty snacks are known to be lacking is more salt.

I don’t think they even did that part of the recipe for the photo.  I’m no photo stylist, but none of those things in the bowl look like they’ve been lightly tossed with a salt/butter slurry.

The recipe section did have some good-looking items, and I think I’ll try the chicken and waffle bites next time I have people over. I mean, I’m not going to use frozen gluten-free waffles, but I’ll follow the general idea. The chicken will also not be frozen nuggets.  I guess I’m just a fan of their plan to put food on sticks.

Grocery Theory post tomorrow. Cheep Cheep!

Happy Ad Wednesday!

Cheepie is happy to announce yet another week of sales!  Cheese continues to be a bargain at Sprouts, with this week featuring pepper jack as the $1.99/lb winner.  Strawberries aren’t as cheap as last week, but you can still get a pound for less than a buck at HEB, so that’s nice.  

Corn is still not in at the prices I like to see (10/$1) and I’m also waiting for watermelons to be cheap after that one weird week about a month ago where they were on sale.  

HEB

strawberries, 1lb.     97c/ea (DD)

red bell peppers      50c/ea (DD)

organic Gala apples     $1.77/lb (DD)

Fuji apples     88c/lb (DD)

Ataulfo mangos     33c/ea (C15)

HCF chicken drums or thighs     $1/lbScreen shot 2015-04-21 at 9.36.35 PM

assorted bone-in pork chops     $1.97/lb

shrimp, large, farm-raised, 2lb sack     $6.47/ea

Randalls

split chicken breasts      99c/lb

assorted bone in pork chops   $1.99/lb

many Annie’s products     B1G1

Sprouts

red seedless grapes     88clb (DD)

tomatoes on the vine     88c/lb

hot pepper jack cheese  $1.99/lb

walnuts     $4.99/lb

organic kale      $1.50/bunch (DD)

and don’t forget last week’s ad is still in effect for Wednesday only.

Fiesta

crawfish                 $1.79/lb ($1.59/lb for a full sack)

pork country style ribs      $1.29/lb (Fiesta limit)

Jonagold or Cameo apples    59c/lb (DD)

russet potatoes, 5lb sack     $1.29/lb (DD)

Wheatsville

Annie’s Pasta and Cheese dinner     $1.50/ea

Luna Bars    $1/ea

Central Market

pineapples     $1.99/ea (C15)

organic kale     $1.50/bunch (DD)

Whole Foods, as ever, is holding their ad until the last possible moment for reasons that elude me. No sale before its time!  I’ll post tomorrow if there’s anything great. They have started their big media push about re-thinking prices (much like Goodwill, which is amusing to ponder) and I’m going to have a Grocery Theory post about Whole Foods soon.

This week’s got some fun things. There’s the cheese, but also pineapple (which can be frozen for smoothies). If you’ve never been, this is a good week to visit Fiesta. The store is just a lot of fun to wander through. The international aisle is stunning, and I really enjoy the whole place.  This week they’ve got potatoes, apples and pork all on loss-leader sale prices, and I can think of four dinners I could make based on those ingredients. Give it a go. If you then don’t know what to make, let me know, and we’ll talk.

Cheepie will be buying strawberries, peppers, mangoes, pepper jack and walnuts.  What will you be buying?

Monday Night Goal Post

Check Cheepie out–a weekly plan before we’ve eaten any of the meals! To think this used to be the usual way of things.

Mon: tortilla soup, grilled chicken, rice, salad, fruit
Tues: Taco Tuesday!
Wed: chicken strips, pesto pasta, fruit, veg
Thurs: Caesar salad, grilled cheese, cucumber, blackberries
Fri: Buffalo chicken legs, celery, carrots, + leftovers

Boy and Tiny are in charge of Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. (Ha! Wrote ‘respectfully’ first, Freudian slip, since that is part of what I’m hoping with getting them involved with dinner.)

Things that I’m using that were on sale are the chicken breasts, blackberries and cucumbers.  The chicken legs are from the freezer, which I’m still paring down.

Remember to check in and see how I did when the weekend rolls around!

Cheep Cheep!

Dinner Score, Week 23

Jumping right in–

  • Mon: navy beans and escarole with sausage
  • Tues:  grilled chicken thighs on sticks, rice, carrots & bell peppers, garden salad, oranges, corn on the cob
  •       many food groups represented!

    many food groups represented!

    Wed:  mac and cheese, cucumbers, blackberries

  • Thurs:  Chinese Take-out!
  • Fri: Date Night and Leftover Buffet!
photo 4

light is odd, it was NOT that orangey!

I’m not even putting the scores up there. It’s nearly six months into the Internet Accountability Project. You know what the score here is–two good days, one half-assed day and two days completely off the rails.  That’s an 8 point week, and we all know it.

Here’s the original plan:

  • Mon: sandwiches, and white beans with escarole & sausage
  • Tues: chicken pot pie, fruit and garden salad
  • Wed: bbq chicken mac and cheese, fruit & veg
  • Thurs: baked deviled eggs, garden salad, grits
  • Fri: Taco Tuesday on Freedom Friday. 

I did start amazingly well.  That’s what happens when your neighbor shows up with a huge sack of escarole.  You have to eat things your neighbors give you. It’s a rule.  DH has a rule that if a toddler offers him food he has to eat it, in order to reinforce the idea that sharing and being thoughtful of others is a good thing (also that food is good. the man is a fan of food).  I have a rule that if a neighbor shows up with something they grew, it’s getting eaten.

Unless it’s that weird death fruit. I’m not eating that. Even Andrew Zimmern spit out durian, and he is the grown-up globetrotting Mikey of the Food Channel.  He’ll eat anything.

Truth be told, I was the only one that ate the beans/escarole/sausage for dinner on Monday. Everyone else opted for a sandwich. But they gave it a try first, and that’s fine with me.

   this was really good

this was really good

I think the end of the week derailed due to a combination of me making a plan that I knew might not be received well (the baked deviled eggs thing is something only I like, for some mysterious reason) and us hitting another stretch of weeks that have a lot of socializing/sports/activities.  Opening my fridge right now would show a lot of takeout containers and leftover Chinese food.  But we all got to see friends and get our activities done, so that’s the upside.

Also a fun point? WordPress doesn’t think ‘escarole’ is a thing, so it keeps trying to suggest other things.  Mostly ‘estragole’ which looks like this:

Screen shot 2015-04-20 at 1.13.17 AM

and not really like the leafy stuff in the bowl over there. Though it is in some leafy thingsLooking at you bay and tarragon!

See you tomorrow for the meal plan! Cheep Cheep!