Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free pancakes

If you have an iHop in your area, go get a free stack of pancakes today to celebrate National Pancake day.
This is a fundraiser, so please consider giving. And don't forget to tip your server!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free gum and other stuff

Just a few deals I've run across ... as usual, your mileage may vary with coupons and ads in your area.

Grab Sunday's Smart Source insert and clip the coupon for a free Slim Pack of Wrigley's gum -- looks like it's for any flavor.

If you're headed to Wags..
Sunday's ad has a coupon offering an 8-ounce can of Hunt's tomato sauce for 39 cents. The 1-18 SS has a coupon for 40 cents off 2 cans. So, buy 2 cans and get them for 19 cents each.
Also, Peter Pan peanut butter is on sale, 18oz for $1.99. On Feb. 8, some newspapers carried an ad from the manufacturer touting the product's safety, and included a 50-cent coupon. (This ad was in the newspaper itself, not an insert). With coupon, the jar's cost comes to $1.49.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seed sales sprout

I guess I'd better hit the garden centers early this year:

From USA Today:
Hard economic times are acting like instant fertilizer on an industry that had been growing slowly: home vegetable gardening.
Veggie seed sales are up double-digits at the nation's biggest seed sellers this year.
What's more, the number of homes growing vegetables will jump more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, projects the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.
"As the economy goes down, food gardening goes up," says Bruce Butterfield, the group's research director. "We haven't seen this kind of spike in 30 years."

Personally, I'm glad to see this (though I always thought it was a law in the Midwest that you had to grow your own tomatoes.) I do wonder if we'll see a spike in prices this year. Last year, bell pepper plants were going as high as $6 each in my city.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Use it up: Fun with pudding

One thing I have to remember when it comes to food: Using it up doesn't just apply to leftovers. It also applies to the food in the pantry -- especially the mistakes.

So, the great pudding experiment!

A few weeks ago, I bought a chocolate rice pudding mix from the international market. It was OK, but didn't really have the rich, chocolate flavor we were expecting. So the second envelope of mix sat in the pantry.

Earlier, I'd bought vanilla pudding mix at the grocery. Turns out I screwed up on a couple of fronts: It wasn't the right size for the recipe; and it was sugar free to boot. And since I was too lazy to take it back, it sat on the shelf, too.

While I was looking for something else, a thought occurred to me: Doh! Mix them!

So, I did a parfait in some wine glasses. (presentation is important when correcting mistakes ;) And it was a hit! The vanilla added a bit of richness to the chocolate, and the rice gave them both a nice texture.

Now I'm not going to go out and buy those mixes again. But it is nice to know that a couple of mistakes can produce something tasty!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Odds and ends

If you live in Central Indiana, don't bother looking for the latest P&G promotion -- buy $35 in products and get a $10 gas card. Nothing in the Indianapolis area seems to be listed. However, if you live in Evansville, or Elkhart, or in the smaller cities, you're in luck. This seems to be a very targeted promotion.

And if you've been following the news about Valassis pulling Red Plum coupon inserts from Sunday papers in various cities, go here to learn more about it.

I'm disappointed to hear this ... I've just about had it with internet coupons. The sites either lock up my computer or deposit spyware, or I'm having to fight with stores about taking them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bargain flowers

Should have had DH delay the Valentine's flowers for a few days. Aldi had all its bouquets and plants marked down to 99 cents! So I treated myself to what I think is a cyclamen:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Grocery Wars

Came across this news story the other day:
According to reports, Delhaize SA, one of Belgium's largest supermarket chains has suspended buying .. and could stop selling .. products from Unilever (maker of Knorr, Dove, Axe and other personal care goods). Apparently they couldn't come to terms over pricing and product promotion.
According to the Financial Times:
The move to delist Unilever products reflects tensions between consumer goods suppliers and supermarkets, which are under pressure to cut prices for consumers as household incomes drop. Meanwhile, mainstream consumer brands are finding it tougher to get shelf space as supermarkets stock more discount brands, including own-label.

The interesting thing about this is that Delhaize operates the Food Lion and Hannaford chains here in the U.S. Gotta wonder if this could eventually spill into their U.S. stores, and if it does, what does it mean for us? Lower prices? Or lower prices hikes? Or could it ultimately mean fewer choices?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Helping the food banks

A thought if you're participating in a food drive for your local charities....

Please consider donating some source of protein (beans, tuna, canned meats) if you can. Seems many food banks have been hit hard by the recent recall in peanut products. Peanuts are an inexpensive source of protein, and many banks relied on those products ... especially now that demand has gone up.




Sunday, February 8, 2009

The great snow experiment

We've been on a kick here to lower our utility use (and doing reasonably well .. not that this translates into lower bills).

Anyway, we have a big pile of snow outside, and I got to wondering: Could I melt enough snow to use for household things? (OK, I'll be honest here .. I'm talking about using it in the toilet tank)

I ran it past my friends over at the Dollar Stretcher forum ... they assured me I wasn't crazy, but also warned that I wasn't going to get any great amounts of water out of this.

So, I gave it a try. I filled a 12qt bucket with snow and put it in the bathroom to melt. After a couple of hours, the snow volume was down, but I didn't see any water. But after another 8 or 9 hours, I got water all right -- about 3 pints.

Not much, I decide, but I was willing to try again. So I filled the bucket again with 4-day-old snow and waited.

This time I really got water .. a little over a gallon. I'm sure there's some scientific reason. Or maybe I just packed the bucket more tightly.

It was an interesting experiment .. and hey, I got roughly 1.5 gallons of free water. But frankly, it is a bit of work. Besides hauling the snow in, the resulting water has to be strained (what is that stuff?). So I'm glad I don't have to do this on a regular basis!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Best deals

I haven't posted much about shopping deals, mainly because of time. But last week went pretty well at the drug stores.

My Walgreens deals:
Thermacare trial size - $2.49
Revlon foundation - $7.99 ($9.99 minus $2 coupon)
Total $11.35
Paid with $10 gift card from pvs. rebate
OOP: $1.35, plus $12.48 back in rebates!

CVS deals
2 Electrasols (bonus 25 pack). ($2.99 each minus 2 $2.50 coupons)
3 bags Russell Stover Private reserve chocolate. (2/$5, plus buy 2, get 1 free.)
Total $6.39

Friday, February 6, 2009

January freebies

Not a bad month ...

Airborne tablet
Disposable training pants
Shampoo (FAC)
Cascade rinse agent
2 aluminum foil (FAC)
1 Coke (coke rewards)
cereal bar
1 box cereal bars
Lotion (FAC)
Johnson's Buddies (FAC)
Granola bar
Red grapefruit bowl
Sweetener assortment

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Used dryer sheets

If you need to strain something liquid in a pinch, a used dryer sheet will work quite well. I would try to create a little "well" with the sheet, otherwise the liquid will roll right off.

Oh, and I wouldn't recommend using it to strain any sort of food ... I don't think the scent would do much for the taste!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Free breakfast!

Think I'll be heading over to Denny's for the free Grand Slam Breakfast they're offering on Tuesday....

According to Denny's Web site, the offer is good for dine-in only from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday at participating Denny's (while supplies last).

It's going to be a good month for free breakfasts. , IHop also is giving away free short stacks for its National Pancake Day fund-raiser on Feb. 24!

Update: We tried, but the line was out the door at 1:30 p.m. With snow and 12-degree temps, no less.

Staples' ink recycling program

Staples has announced that starting today, it will recycle ANY brand of ink and toner (including Canon, Brother and Epson) and pay $3 back in Staples Rewards

According to the company's press release:
"Customers can simply bring empty cartridges to any Staples store, each of which will earn them $3 back in Staples Rewards® or Staples Teacher Rewards®, on up to 10 cartridges per calendar month. Ink and toner recycling Staples Rewards are sent monthly and can be used on any Staples purchase in store, online or over the phone."

While I'm not always thrilled with Staples' prices, this is good news, since there's been few payback options for those of us who don't use a certain brand of printer. My Canon hates "compatible" cartridges, and the refill folks I've dealt with won't touch a Canon cartridge. So this will help take the edge off the ink prices.