Happy Ad Roundup Weekend!

We’ve got the weekend, so let’s get to it!  Except, well, my mail didn’t include an HEB circular, so I’m going to have to do the online one and let me tell you, it’s not my favorite site to deal with.  I get distracted and decide to check out college football or an instant pot site, and that’s how we end up with my Wednesday post on Saturday.

But I am here, typing away, and I hope it helps you.  This week doesn’t have the meat sales that I expect will show up next week for the holiday, but we’ve got Fiesta with the cheap chickens, still. 

This year I’ll be doing several homemade gifts, some cooked, some crafted.  Do you have any fun gift plans?  I’d love to hear about them! Cheepie is trying to cheep our holiday season down and I’d love to hear how you like to gift without breaking the bank.

Randalls

  • large cantaloupes                                        88c/ea (limit 2)
  • Progresso soup                                            99c/ea
  • Calidad tortilla chips, 12oz.                    $1.49/ea (must buy 4)

Sat-Mon:

  • pork butt/picnic roast                                  99c/lb
  • medium avocados                                        50c/ea

 

Sprouts

  • jumbo Hass avocados                                                $1.25/ea
  • organic Fuji, Gala or Pink Lady apples, 2lbs        $2.98/ea
  • Sprouts bulk coffee                                                   $7.99/lb
  • Sprouts xv olive oil. 1 ltr.                                         $6.99/ea
  • bulk rolled, quick or steel cut oats                         79c/lb

 

HEB

  • Envy apples                                                                                97c/lb

 

Fiesta

sweetbreads

Fiesta, this doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  • white onions, 3lbs.                                                                97c/ea
  • round mangos                                                                       50c/ea
  • lemons                                                                                     25c/ea
  • whole chickens                                                                      77c/lb

 

Links to the weekly ads:

Happy Ad Wednesday!

Randalls entire front page this week is roasts, none of which hit a price point I’d suggest buying.  Usually they’re more on the ball with their loss-leaders, since it’s the only reason sensible people walk in the door!

Fiesta’s got a hog head in the freezer if you need one, 99c/lb. Please share your photos with Cheepie if you decide to do this! It’s good for tamales, and if this is why you go buy one, I’m happy to taste-test. Just let me know where and when.

Berries and apples are the fruits my kids will be eating this week. I’ll also be buying pork tenderloin for a dinner this week and for the freezer. At Fiesta I’ll be getting spare ribs and black beans to stockpile.  The bulk sale at Sprouts will be a great way for me to stock up on some of the things I need for cookies and granola bars: nuts, seeds, fruits.

I hope some of these sales are for things that you need for the pantry or freezer. Here’s the full list!

photo-1

Yes, an old photo. My mailman still doesn’t like me.

HEB

blackberries                                                         97c/ea

Red Delicious apples                                         97c/ea

HCF chicken drums/thighs                            $1/lb

HEB Prime 1 top sirloin steaks                       $4.97/lb (less grackle)

HCF hickory smoked spiral cut ham             $1.49/lb (more grackle)

pork tenderloin, whole                                      $2.97/lb

 

Fiesta

green cabbage                                               25c/lb

Cello carrots, 1lb                                          50c/lb

bscb                                                                  $1.97/lb

pork picnic, whole                                       97c/lb (Fiesta limit)

beef shoulder roast                                      $2.97/lb (Fiesta limit)

pork spare ribs                                               $1.79 (Fiesta limit)

Libby’s canned corn,peas, beans              33c/ea (limit 6)

Parade frozen vegetables, 28-32oz            $1.79/ea

black beans, dry, 1lb bag                                99c/ea

 

Randalls

medium avocados                                            50c/ea

Cook’s whole or half ham, bone in        $1.49/lb

 

Sprouts

Navel oranges                                                 33c/lb

Fuji & Braeburn apples                                98c/lb

organic black seedless grapes                  $1.98/lb

organic Golden Delicious apples              98c/lb

organic Russet potatoes                              98c/lb

all bulk items                                                   25% off

Sprouts extra virgin olive oil, 1L                $5.99/ea

 

Central Market

Holiday or Christmas Crunch grapes       $1.98/lb

cauliflower                                                         $1.98/ea

 

As a last note:

HEB has a weird thing going on with shrimp at the grackle vs. non-grackle HEBs. I’ll write it up for tomorrow. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader in the meantime. I know you Cheepsters love a puzzle!

Happy Shopping. Cheep Cheep!

Weekly Flyer Links

Happy Ad Wednesday!

With the holiday weekend, there is a lot of meat on sale out there.  It’s not a Randalls Brisket Lunacy Week (seriously, $1.99???), but under $3 isn’t too shabby these days for brisket.  Also, someone at HEB was hoarding corn, and is throwing it out there for 12.5c per ear. I *love* this guy. Yay corn!

Other highlights include bacon, tomatoes, avocados and spareribs, and organic apples for under a buck a pound!

Some of you might have seen a truncated version of this post. Sometimes, ‘preview’ and ‘publish’ are just too similar. Sorry about that. 

It’s possible I like corn too much.

Randalls

Safeway Farms bacon, 3lb pkg                                         $7.97/ea ($2.66/lb!)

whole brisket, choice                                                         $2.99/lb

General Mills/Betty Crocker random product sale        $2/ea

Sprouts

Hass avocados                                   48c/ea (C15)

on-the-vine cluster tomatoes            48c/lb

cantaloupes                                          98c/ea (C15)

yellow peaches                                     98c/lb (DD)

organic Braeburn apples                    98c/lb (DD)

organic carrots, 5lbs                              $2.98/ea 

Wymans’s frozen fruit, 15oz.              B1G1

bscb                                                         $1.88/lb

bulk seedless raisins                             $1.99/lb

Fiesta

Key Limes, 2lb sack                                            $1.29/ea

large avocados                                                     77c/ea (C15)

seedless watermelon                                          $1.99/ea

russet potatoes, 5lb sack                                      $1.49/ea (DD)

bscb, family pack                                                  $1.67/lb (Fiesta limit)

pork spare ribs, family pack                                 $1.77/lb (Fiesta limit)

beef skirt steak                                                        $3.97/lb (Fiesta limit)

chicken leg quarters, large bag                           37c/lb (Fiesta limit)

whole brisket                                                           $2.97/lb (Fiesta limit)

country style pork ribs                                              $1.49/lb

Kraft mayo or (shudder) Miracle Whip, 30oz         $1.99/ea

HEB

corn                                                                                         8/$1 (C15)

cantaloupe                                                                             98c/ea (C15)

red seedless grapes                                                                87c/ea (DD)

CM organics salad blends, 16oz                                            $4.98/ea (DD)

HCF chicken drums or thighs                                                  $1/ea

HEB boneless skinless chicken thighs for fajitas                     $1/97/lb

assorted pork chops or St. Louis style spareribs                     $1.97/lb

Weekly Flyer Links

All the Meat, and Nothing but the Meat

Monday’s Grocery Theory post here, sneaking in just over the wire. So far Grocery Theory posts have introduced a ranking of Austin grocery stores, methods of storing when stocking up, the types of shopping we do and weekly planning.

This week I’ll be posting about meat.  Chicken, fish, beef, lamb, mutton, offal, what have you, this week we’re just going to call it all ‘meat’.  If you’re a vegetarian, this column will be useless to you, and all I can do is promise a similar discussion of vegetables sometime soon. Excepting beets, because holy cow those taste like dirt.

I see two extremes in the purchase of meat. On one side, there is purchasing meat that was sustainably, organically raised by farmers who treat their animals humanely and respectfully.   On the other end is purchasing meat that has been grown by a factory interested in maximizing a profit and that thinks of their product as a commodity.

There is a lot of middle ground, grey area, labeling misconception, and governmental regulation in-between and around those two extremes.  There is organic meat, natural meat, pesticide-free meat, local meat, solution-enhanced meat, free-range meat, grass-fed meat, organically fed meat, water-injected meat and probably a dozen more I haven’t listed.

How to decide what to purchase, when you’ve got more options and price-points than a brain can hold?  For produce, there’s the shortcut I try to follow, The Dirty Dozen, which you have likely read about.  Meat doesn’t have any such clear-cut line, with the exception of the rule about big fish having more mercury than other fish, so it’s good to limit intake of tuna and other large fish.  Other than that, we’re left floundering around (tip your waitresses, we’ll be here all week!).

Large grocers aren’t likely to help us much, as this Washington Post article shows. To sum up:  A grocery store chain decided  to start labeling their meat ‘USDA Graded’. Which seems ok when it’s a nice shiny blue sticker, I guess. But read that sticker, and it means that the USDA graded it, that’s all.  Doesn’t mean it’s Choice or Select, Prime or Dog Food, only that the USDA graded it. The USDA grades nearly all meat sold in the US, so that’s not really a useful label.  Given the store ordinarily sold Select, and had previously labeled packages that way, there’s a conclusion to be drawn, and I leave that as an exercise for you, Dear Reader.

Farmer’s Markets can help us a lot. You’re likely talking to a person integral to the care and butchering of the animal you’re taking home to eat, and like as not they’ll answer anything you want to know regarding the care and feeding of your meal-to be.

We all know the problem here, though. Sing it with me, ~~~Meat for a week from HEB, I say!, at the price  for just one day, at you, my lovely Farmer’s Market~~~. What, you didn’t know ~~~ meant sing? AND you don’t know that tune? I lament. Moving on.

So, somewhere, we have to find a happy middle. One that won’t break the bank, ruin our karma, increase our pesticide load, and will taste good.  Here’s how I break that down, to feel like I’m using our grocery dollars in the best way.

  • Whenever possible, I do buy meat at the farmers market. My budget hasn’t held that room in a while, but I have still purchased ground meat or soup bones, which are usually the least expensive cuts. If you’ve got a family that will eat kidneys/liver, you can sometimes get a deal on those, too. If you have a CSA, I know several in town have a meat option, and I personally have bought 1/4 and 1/2 a cow before. Those were great options, but require investment (for a CSA an ongoing commitment).
  • I never buy anything that’s been 12-15% ‘enhanced’ with a ‘solution’. If I want to brine something, I brine it at home, where I know what I’m doing. I don’t want to pay for water in my meat. Water is heavy and I’m paying by the pound.  This is NEVER in big print on the package, and you need to look. If it seems like a cheap price, there’s often a solution involved. Even ‘Natural’ on the label doesn’t mean there isn’t an injected solution, just that the ingredients in the solution are natural.
  • I buy the biggest, most minimally processed cuts I can. This means briskets, whole chickens, and whole fish.*
  • If certified organic meat is on sale to within a dollar or so of what I might usually pay, I consider it. Am I sure it will not end up leftovers? Can I freeze it and should stock up?
  • If any kind of meat is on sale for less than $1 a lb? I’m considering buying it. Because I have freezer space and that’s cheap. At $2 a lb, I’m thinking about how much I use it, and how likely organic is to come close. Often, I stock up at this price as well.

I thought I had something more complicated, but turns out, that’s it. Organic if it’s on enough of a sale, but really, other than that I shop the loss-leader meat.  I try not to stress about pesticides, because in meat they mostly reside in the fat which is trimmed for most meals.  Excepting bbq, and I’ll just have to ride that out, I guess. I don’t feel great about it, and wish it were different. Thinking about purchases is the first step though!

What are your priorities in meat purchases? Do you only buy organic? Where do you think  the best organic prices are? The whole chickens at Sprouts were the cheapest I’d seen in a while, but I haven’t been watching closely until recently. Is there a Farmer’s Market or CSA that you think is well-priced?

Related links:

This is a clickable list defining terms you might find on labels of meat or produce.  I found it interesting that all of these phrases: No Antibiotic Residues, Antibiotic Free, Drug Free, Chemical Free, No Antibiotic Growth Promotants are not allowed on meat products.

Because I found it while researching this article here’s the link to the USDA grading rules.  I find it interesting because I buy whole chickens often, but haven’t ever noticed the mark. Next time I’ll look.

* In the event I next buy fish, I’ll buy a whole one and report. But if I buy anything at the fish counter, I usually buy shellfish, and my only rule there is it’s got to be from the USA. I’m not even sure why, but I must have read it somewhere. And now so have you, so you should do that too.