Archives for September 2010

Supermarket Strategies: Fall Produce

One of the keys to saving at the grocery store is to buy what is in season. What you should be buying this month for the best savings and for the healthiest fresh food is the topic of this week’s:

When you find a sale on any of these fruits or veggies – stock up! Remember to keep a price list, so you know a true bargain when you see one!

Apples

  • Although available all year-round, when purchased in the Fall, apples are at their ripest.
  • Pick apples free of soft spots or bruises
  • If purchased in the Fall, apples can stay in the fridge for 3 weeks
  • If purchased in the Winter or the Spring, they have already been sitting in storage, so they need to be eaten more quickly
  • 1 pound of apples is equal to 2 large apples, 3 medium apples or 4 small apples. This little fact might be helpful when you go to purchase apples for a recipe!

Beets

  • Buy beets that are rock hard – no soft spots!
  • Keep roots in the fridge lightly wrapped in plastic for several weeks.

Butternut Squash

  • Buy squash that feels heavy for its size and is free of cracks.
  • Store in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) and under these conditions they will last for months!

Carrots

  • Carrots are usually available pretty cheap year around.
  • To save the most, buy carrots – not baby carrots. Baby carrots are peeled and cut down carrots. Because they are peeled, they tend to dry out quicker.
  • Store carrots loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge.
  • KEEP AWAY from apples – they will turn them bitter!!!

Pears

  • Pears ripen OFF the tree – so buying them when hard is not a bad thing.
  • Leave at room temperature to ripen.
  • You’ll know its ready to eat when pressed at the top you find the pear is soft.
  • If you buy a pear that already feels ripe, you can put it in the fridge to extend its life a few days.

Sweet Potatoes

  • When buying, avoid spots, sprouts and shrivels.
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Sweet potatoes actually need to be eaten within a few weeks of purchase.

Happily submitted to Thrifty Thursday!

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Our family tradition is to have pancakes every Saturday. We LOVE pancakes. HOWEVER. I do have one problem with them. If they are the white flour traditional kind, I find I am always hungry an hour later. They just don’t fill me up for very long. I need a whole grain breakfast to keep me full.

Enter our favorite Whole Wheat Pancake mix. Full of whole grains that fill you up! It’s an inexpensive, ultra nutritious pancake mix that will last in your fridge or freezer for months! Can I get a Woo Hoo?

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 C Oats
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 4 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 3 T Baking Powder
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 T Baking Soda
  • 3/4 C Canola Oil

Instructions

    For the Pancake Mix:
  1. Grind pats and cinnamon in food processor or blender until flour-like consistency.
  2. Transfer oats and cinnamon mixture to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
  3. Stir in canola oil until all ingredients are moist. Mix should clump together when lightly squeezed.
  4. Pack in airtight container and store in fridge or freezer for months.
  5. To Make the Pancakes:
  6. Combine 1 cup mix with 1 cup Buttermilk*, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, and 1 egg. Let rest for 15 minutes before cooking on a lightly greased, hot griddle.
  7. *You can substitute 1/2 C milk combined with 1/2 C plain yogurt for the buttermilk.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/recipe-whole-wheat-pancake-mix/

If you are keeping the mix in the freezer, I suggest writing the cooking instructions on the label. Then you will know just what to do when it comes time to make the pancakes!

Supermarket Strategies: Outsmarting the Marketers

I know you won’t be surprised to learn that the purpose of the wording marketers use is to make you buy more! That’s the focus of this week’s:

Marketers use language that makes us think we need to purchase more than we do. Let’s take this snippet from the King Soopers ad this week:

They show the price as 4 for $5. That is because they want you to assume you need to buy 4. Not so. You can pop right into King Soopers this week and buy only 1 package of raspberries and pay $1.25 – exactly what you’d pay for each one if you bought 4. Make sure when you see this type of advertising you know how many you need to buy to get the lowest price. Usually, it is pretty clearly marked that you do need to buy the correct number to get the lowest price. However, if you ever have any questions, ask at customer service!

Now, there are times when you DO need to buy a specific quantity to make sure you get the sale price. Look at this snippet of an ad:

In this case, you do need to find 8 items that are included in the sale to purchase to save the $4 and get the lowest advertised price. These sales can be great because there are some really low prices to be found. The trick is to evaluate whether or not you have 8 items you really want from the sale. Or, enough coupons for items to make the sale worthwhile.

Marketers make it look like we need to purchase more than we really do. Be wary when you see things like “5 lbs for $5”. Don’t be fooled! It’s just a way to make you buy 5 lbs instead of the quantity you need. Learn to read between the lines and realize what they are really saying is “1 lb for $1”

Cran-Apple Clafouti

It’s apple season, so…. Today is Apple-Palooza! Check out my 10 Steps to Homemade Applesauce if you haven’t already!

Here’s a great recipe for Cran-Apple Clafouti. So much easier to make than a pie!

1/2 C Dried Cranberries

1/2 C Boiling Water

1 1/4 LB Tart Apples peeled and sliced

3 T Butter

1/3 C Brown Sugar

1/2 Lemon

3 Eggs

1 C milk

4 T melted butter

2/3 C flour

1/4 t Salt

1 t Vanilla Extract

1. Combine boiling water and dried cranberries and let plump while you peel and slice the apples.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Drain the water off the cranberries and into a frying pan.

4. Add the apple slices, brown sugar, lemon juice, and 3 T butter to the frying pan with the water from the cranberries, and cook for about 7 minutes – or until the apples just start to soften.

5. Place 1 T butter in a pie plate and place in oven to melt.

6. In a blender, add the eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla, flour, and salt.

7. Pour half batter into the prepared pie plate.

8. Layer apples and cranberries into pie plate – saving juices from fry pan.

9. Pour last half batter over the apples and bake in preheated oven 25 -30 minutes, or until set.

10. Warm pan juices and drizzle over Clafouti as you serve it.

Submitted to Tasty Tuesday and Eat at Home!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Easy Steps to Homemade Applesauce

Today is Apple-Poolza! Even if you don’t have an apple tree, its apple season, so the prices are really starting to drop. Be sure to check out my Cran-Apple Clafouti post for another great apple recipe!

Step #1: Guard your apples from these guys:

Step #2: Send the family out to pick a couple buckets of apples:

Step #3: Wash your bounty!

Step #4: Cut apples into same size chunks. Be sure to enlist the whole family!

Step #5: Fill your largest pot about 3/4 full with the chopped apples. We had 3 large pots going at once!

Step #6: Add about 2 cups water to the pot and squeeze half a lemon over. Place over medium-low heat.

Step #7: Enlist the Expert to see when the apples have cooked down enough. This is Pete’ Grandma, the girl’s Great-Grandma and our Expert Applesauce Maker with the girls and I!

Step #8: When the apples break apart easily when stirred, it is time to add the sugar. I would say add a scant cup, taste, then add more if needed. GG – the girl’s Great-Grandma – just starts dumping. We definitely differed in how much sugar needed to be added. I like tart – she like sweet.

Step #9: After about 5 more minutes of cooking with the sugar, put the sauce in the food processor and pulse until smooth. GG always used a blender – so use a blender if you don’t have a food processor. Also, you can add cinnamon if you like. Both GG and I like the same heaping amount of cinnamon.

Step #10: Let cool then ENJOY!

In my case, there was a Step #11. After much arguing about how much sugar should go in the sauce, Step #11 was to sneak all sugar out of the house so GG couldn’t sneak more in behind my back!

Supermarket Strategies: Where’s the Beef?

One of the easiest ways to stretch your grocery dollars is to integrate a “meatless main” night or two into your week. That’s the subject of this week’s

Going meatless one or two nights a week isn’t as hard as you think – even if you’re a “meat and potatoes” lover! And the benefits aren’t only to your budget – they are to your waistline and your health as well! What better reason do you need?

Eggs

If you buy Organic or Cage Free eggs and buy them right off the shelf (no coupons or Manager’s Special markdowns) you are probably going to pay $4/dozen. I recently combined a Manager’s Special with a coupon on Eggland’s Best (the coupon doubled) so I only paid $1.15/dozen. If eggs aren’t an area where you try to buy Organic, you can easily pay only .88/dozen by watching the sales.

Also, don’t be afraid of the Manager’s Specials and expiration date! Eggs, if properly refrigerated, can last 4 to 5 weeks beyond the sell by date!

So, for .88 you can get a near perfect source of protein, minerals and vitamins!

Not sure about eggs for dinner? Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Potato or Spanish Tortilla
  • Quiche
  • Savory Bread Pudding
  • Souffle

The beauty is, each of these is quick to prepare and only requires a salad and a good bread to make a satisfying meal!

Beans

Again, beans can be purchased for a nominal amount and the fiber in beans is not only good for your heart, but it fills you up for less! A can of Organic beans purchased without sales or coupons costs about $1.50 in my part of the country. You can pretty readily find a sale and buy a can for only .99. How’s that for inexpensive?

Serving Suggestions:

  • Chili
  • Bean Burritos
  • Beans and Rice
  • Soup

With Fall quickly approaching, a good bean chili or bowl of lentil soup makes more than a satisfying meal!

Pasta

This is probably going to be the easiest way for most families to go meatless – without missing the meat! A box of whole grain pasta on sale (no coupons required) goes for about a dollar. Family not ready for whole wheat pasta? Consider mixing half and half with regular pasta. Make sure they are the same size and shape so the cooking time is not affected.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce
  • Baked Ziti – hold the sausage and add some mushrooms
  • Vegetable Lasagne
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Cheese Ravioli

I could go on and on here, but I’m sure you’ve already got a pasta favorite!

Do you already go meatless? I’d love to hear what your family enjoys.