Blog/My Thoughts

How To Buy Cheap Groceries

In a challenging economic climate, many people are looking for ways to make ends meet. In this quest many people are asking questions like “How do I buy cheap groceries?” or “Where can I get cheap food?”

A better question, however, might be “How do I buy good food at a cheap price?”, for even in today’s tough economic environment you can still buy high quality food at super low prices. Its not as hard as you think. You simply have to know where to look.

Aldi’s Supermarkets

If you’re serious about buying good food at a low price then your first stop must be an Aldi’s supermarket. Aldi’s is a no-frills German based supermarket chain that is expanding rapidly here in the United States.

It is estimated that the typical customer will save 40-50% at Aldi’s compared to conventional grocery stores, and save 16-24% over big discount stores like Wal-Mart and Super Target.

How do you get great food at such a low cost? Aldi’s implements a cult like obsession to cutting costs to the bare minimum. It then passes these savings onto you in the form of lower prices. You won’t find flashy window displays, large sales signs, fancy food displays, or photo and floral sections in Aldi’s. These all cost too much.

Instead, Aldi’s stores are typically smaller helping to reduce heating, electricity, and other utility costs. Customers bag their own groceries and rent grocery carts for a quarter. Only cash or debit cards are accepted, eliminating the processing fees stores usually pay to credit card companies. Store hours are more limited with stores usually closing by 8pm or 9pm. This saves on labor and utility costs.

You won’t find a lot of brand name products at Aldi’s. Instead you’ll encounter their high quality store brand items, from Millville cereal to Sweet Harvest fruit cocktail, from Happy Harvest pork and beans to Berry Hill jelly.

Aldi’s tests these store brand products on a regular basis to ensure each product meets or exceeds the quality and taste of the national brand name alternatives.

Dramatically slash your grocery bill, give an Aldi’s supermarket a try.

Bakery Outlets

Many people carry the misconception that bakery outlets are dingy little stores that sell stale, outdated bread. Nothing could be further from the truth. For savvy consumers, bakery outlets represent an easy way to purchase bread and other bakery products at a 50% to 75% discount off of grocery store prices.

These outlets sell the excess inventory of baked goods that would normally go to area supermarkets. Contrary to popular belief, these items are not stale, out of date rejects. In many cases a product sold in the bakery outlet is fresher than that sold in your local supermarket!

Generally, bakery outlet items are offered at a 50% discount. As items approach their sell-by date they are frequently discounted even further, often to as much as 75% off of corresponding supermarket prices.

Not only can you purchase bread on the cheap, but most bakery outlets offer a variety of additional offerings including donuts, pies, cakes, and other desserts, as well as English muffins, pita pockets, pizza crusts, chips, and more.

Smart shoppers buy cart loads of bakery outlet items which they store in their freezers to create a long lasting supply of cheap bread and baked goods.

Ethnic Food Stores

Small ethnic food stores can be found in many larger cities. These ethnic markets usually cater to the tastes and preferences of their surrounding communities. For consumers these stores offer a treasure trove of savings. Asian, Indian, Mexican, West Indian, and other ethnic grocery stores frequently feature rock bottom prices on produce and meat. They also offer great deals on breads, grains, beans, cheeses, and spices.

Your Local Supermarket

How would you like to purchase your groceries for half price? Well if you know how to shop your local chain supermarket this is exactly what you can do.

Consider the basic “2 for the price of 1” sale or the “buy 1, get 1 free” sale. These are essentially 50% off sales. To save big, stock up on the products you use the most only when they are featured in one of these 50% off sales.

By stocking up when the price is so dramatically reduced you can significantly cut your food costs. Save even more by combining manufacturer’s coupons with the store sales.

You can buy cheap groceries. By visiting the right places to purchase high quality food at low prices you’ll keep more money in your wallet and a smile on your face.

Blog/My Thoughts

Hillshire Farm Deli Wraps Are Delicious Alternatives To The Same Old Sandwiches

Hillshire Farm (R) Deli Wraps(R) are delightful new prepared luncheon products that are available in four different varieties. In recent years, “wraps”, or rolled tortilla sandwiches, have become hugely- popular items at restaurants across America.

Realizing that wraps have gained preference over traditional sandwiches with many hungry consumers, Sara Lee (R), the makers of Hillshire Farm(R) products, have introduced these delicious tasting and easy- to- utilize Deli Wrap “kits”, to great fanfare from consumers everywhere.

For the un-initiated, wraps are essentially sandwiches that are enclosed inside of a tortilla (a flat, bread- like item) and rolled into a cylindrical or rectangular shape. Generally, the wraps are sliced into two pieces, providing for easier dining. As with traditional sandwiches, there is no limit to the amount of ingredients added, or variations on, wrap sandwiches.

Quite often, when preparing wraps at various restaurants, the tortilla is laid flat and an adequate amount of sauce or dressing is spread across the tortilla, before adding the other ingredients. This ensures that an even amount of sauce or dressing is distributed throughout the wrap.

Each of the Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wrap(R) kits contain two soft tortillas with a co- ordinated dressing, which adds a definite restaurant- style appeal to the products. As with many restaurant- style wraps, each kit contains a designated meat, or protein item, accompanied by an appropriate type of cheese and dressing. While most restaurant- style wraps usually contain some types of fresh vegetables, such as lettuce and tomatoes, the Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wraps do not contain any types of fresh vegetables.

Truth be told, these tasty and convenient wraps are quite satisfying, just the way they are. The high- quality meats, cheeses and dressings enclosed in each Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wrap(R) kit consistently provide for delicious sandwiches that really do not need the addition of fresh vegetables. If, however, the addition of items such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions or other vegetables is desired, simply add a small amount to each wrap sandwich.

The Hillshire Farm (R) Deli Wraps(R) are available in four varieties. These include Smokehouse Ham amp; Swiss wrap kit, Turkey and Bacon wrap kit, Southwestern Chicken wrap kit and Chicken Caesar wrap kit. The Smokehouse Ham amp; Swiss kit contains smokehouse ham with natural juices, shredded Swiss cheese and a creamy, honey- mustard dressing, with a golden wheat flour tortilla.

Each kit contains two servings, which measure in at 260 calories, with 100 calories from fat. The Hillshire Farm(R) Turkey amp; Bacon Club Deli Wrap(R) features smokehouse turkey breast, shredded cheddar cheese, creamy Ranch Dressing and bacon crumbles, with a tomato- basil tortilla. Each of the two servings included contains 300 calories, with 140 calories from fat.

The Hillshire Farm(R) Southwestern Chicken Deli Wrap(R) kit contains oven- roasted chicken breast, shredded Monterey Jack pepper cheese, Santa Fe dressing and two soft Chipotle Chili flour tortillas.

Each kit contains two servings, which contain 260 calories, with 120 calories from fat. The Chicken Caesar variety of Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wraps'(R) features oven- roasted chicken breast, shredded Parmesan cheese, Creamy Caesar dressing and two soft Spinach Herb flour tortillas. Each of the two servings included contains 310 calories, with 160 calories from fat.

Amazingly, the meats, cheeses, dressings and tortillas contained in the Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wraps(R) are all of high- quality and quite tasty. These convenient meal- items can be enjoyed either warm or cold.Even if you’ve never constructed a wrap sandwich before, these products are very easy to work with and assembling one of these wraps takes only a few minutes.

These delicious wrap sandwich kits are normally stocked in the luncheon meat, or cold cut sections of most major food retail food stores and are very competitively priced. All things considered, Hillshire Farm(R) Deli Wraps(R) are highly recommended products.

Blog/My Thoughts

How To Write A Recipe

When a friend asks you for the recipe for your famous-in-the-neighborhood chicken and noodle dish, do you jot down the list of ingredients and add a short paragraph of instructions, only to hear from her later that the recipe didn’t work?

Have you found your grandmother’s collection of recipes, only to discover you can’t follow them because they seem to be written in a secret cooking language? Just how much is “half of Johnny’s coffee cup”?

The skill of writing a clear and concise recipe isn’t just for cookbook authors and food journalists. Those who wish to preserve family recipes, exchange recipes in supper clubs and post recipes on food blogs need this skill to both pass on and save their recipes.

Provide a Descriptive Introduction

The title of your recipe gives the reader an idea of what the dish tastes like. For example, “Chicken and Noodles” doesn’t give the reader an indication of flavors. “Moroccan Chicken with Saucy Egg Noodles” is an enticing title because it describes the flavor profile of the dish.

Include how much your of the dish your recipe makes, the number of servings the recipe yields and the serving size. For example, for a lasagna recipe, the serving size may be 4 ounces. If your recipe yields a 2-pound lasagna, the number of servings is eight. Two pounds equals 32 ounces, and 32 divided by four equals eight.

List the Ingredients in the Right Order

Write the list of ingredients in the order in which they are used.

You also need to list the dominant ingredient or ingredients first. And if several ingredients are added at the same time, list these in order by quantity, with the largest quantity listed first.

Add to that the rules that each measurement should be written out -no abbreviations- and that measures should be precise, something so simple sounding becomes a complex task.

Simplify the list by using subheads to break it into separate parts according to how the recipe is put together. An example of subheads would be ‘Marinade’ and ‘Chicken’ and ‘Sauce’. Each subhead, then, gets a separate list.

Put the Quantities in the Right Order

If the recipe reads ‘1 cup of chopped dried apricots,’ it means the apricots are chopped first then measured out to 1 cup.

If the recipe reads ‘1 cup of dried apricots, chopped,’ it means 1 cup of dried apricots is measured out, and then chopped.

If an action is listed within the measurement, the action is part of the measurement. If the action is listed after the measurement, the action is applied to the measured amount listed.

Write the Directions as a Step by Step Guide

Start the directions with a description of any task necessary to prepare an ingredient, such as “Make the marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.”

Use step one to indicate oven temperature, the type of pots or pans needed and preparatory steps for those items. Step 1 may read, “Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 2- quart casserole dish”.

List the subsequent steps in order; the steps should correspond directly with the listed order of ingredients.

Explain actions in descriptive terms rather than in “industry lingo.” For example, write “Cook the chopped onions over medium heat until they are translucent,” instead of “Sweat the onions.”

Include cooking times in the last step, with a brief description of what the cook should expect to see when the dish is done. For example, “Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese on top is golden in color and the liquid is thickened.”

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

If your recipe is modified from a published recipe, include that information after the directions. If the recipe is handed down from your great-grandfather, make a note of it. This small bit of information maintains the history and continuity of the recipe.

Blog/My Thoughts

Online Gourmet Food Resources

Nowadays it’s possible to find all kinds of international and gourmet ingredients in regular grocery stores. Some of these products, like sushi rice or Thai red curry sauce, are fairly inexpensive. Others cost more but are occasionally worth it for an extra special occasion.

However, sometimes your inner gourmet screams out for something decadent, unusual, or just plain out of season. Here are a few great online resources to silence those screams. offers more than just Cajun seasoning. You can add lots of Cajun spice to your life and your meals at this website. They have live crawfish, crawfish tails, crawfish pots and spices, and more.

Do you have a taste for a Cajun turkey, already cooked? Perhaps you want to try the infamous Turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a hen, which is then stuffed with your choice of spicy dressing in between each layer. There are tons of good deals and spicy foods available at Laissez les bons temps roulez! has everything from “real” bagels for the displaced New Yorker to cheeses, meats, caviar, foie gras and much more for every gourmand. Zabar’s also sells their own gourmet roasted coffees and teas selected from around the world.

Create your own delicious Sunday brunch with a selection of their smoked salmon, bagels and breads, deli meats, fresh and aged cheeses, knishes, freshly baked coffee cakes and rugelach, and anything else you could want. You can even order their homemade 1 lb. sliced brisket for only $17.98! Zabar’s also makes superior gourmet gift baskets any time of year. is Michael Chiarello’s signature line of food and cooking products. The website is truly a delight for the foodie, although it can be fairly expensive. Aside from his delectable food products, such as Napastyle balsamic reduction or cambozola sauce, the website also sells wine glasses and wine accessories along with Michael’s own wines.

There is also some phenomenal copper cookware and enamel bakeware for sale. Investing in one or two really good quality pieces of cooking equipment, oils, vinegars, salts, or other products is really essential for the home cook. This website is a great place to steer your significant other when they ask, “What do you want for your birthday…Christmas…etc.?”

Hopefully these online gourmet resources will help sate your gourmet hunger for the good things in life. While most people can’t afford these indulgences often, it’s good to know they’re out there for the special occasions in life. Just remember though, that a cozy weekend with friends and family is the perfect time to indulge in a few bites of life’s little pleasures. Think ahead and stock up on a few gourmet goodies now.

Blog/My Thoughts

Six Tips To Help You Save Money On Your Weekly Food Shop

Food is a necessity and I have often heard it said that if we did not eat we would be rich, and this certainly seems to be the case. Groceries and food prices are increasing every time you visit the supermarket, and with the temptation of chocolates, candy and luxurious desserts it is very easy to spend more than you planned. Despite this the good news is that there are several ways you can cut down the amount of cash spent on food shopping.

1) Plan, plan, plan

Before you head to the local supermarket decide what the family will eat for the next 3 or 4 evening meals. This helps you to focus on what food you actually require rather than walking around the supermarket and falling to temptation of all those treats. While you are planning make sure and get a piece of paper and list all the foods you need from the supermarket. Promise yourself that those foods on the list will be the only ones you will purchase.

2) Take a set amount of money to the supermarket

With this newly made grocery list in hand, do a rough calculation and work out how much your shopping will cost. If it comes to $20 take no more than $25 to the supermarket with you. By taking excess cash you may be tempted into buying several extra items which will send your grocery bill rocketing. Limit the amount of time you spend in the supermarket as this will cut down the amount of time you have to browse at non essential food items.

3) Use coupons or money off vouchers

Collect any vouchers you get and make sure you use them on products you would normally eat. These coupons arrive via the post and are also present in local newspapers. As well as coupons make sure and take advantage of special offers, ie buy one get one free. These can help you save quite a bit.

4) Eat smaller portions

Instead of over indulging and eating large portions cut down on the amount of food you are actually eating. Not only will this save your grocery bill, it will also help your waistline.

5) Buy cheaper brands

Do not buy special brand foods. These often do not taste any better than the cheaper brands, you are only paying for the name, and it is not worth it.

6) Buy in bulk

When buying items look out for cheaper offers for slightly bigger items, for example buy a 750g box of Corn Flakes for $3, rather than the 500g for $2.50. Here you are making a 50 cent saving on one item. This only works with items will good best before dates and items which can be frozen.

There are many ways to save money on your grocery shopping, and this is by no means a complete list but should help you save quite a bit each week. The key is to plan and be organised.

Blog/My Thoughts

Grocery Shopping Tips: Eating Healthy On A Budget

Making healthy food choices on a budget doesn’t mean bringing home half-empty bags from the grocery store. By making smart decisions, eating healthy on a budget can become second nature. Here are three kitchen staples you can easily replace with healthier, inexpensive options on your next shopping trip.

1. Rice

If you love stir fries, casseroles and soups, you probably have rice in your pantry. Did you know there are many types of rice available? The everyday white sticky rice you enjoy in your Chinese takeout isn’t the only option out there. Try buying whole grain brown rice.

Unlike refined white rice, whole grain brown rice is packed with energy-boosting B vitamins and antioxidants manganese and selenium. Whole grains help stabilize blood sugars, encourage weight loss and prevent cancer, according to registered dietician Keri Glassman, a contributor to CBS. To save even more pennies, buy rice in bulk. The individual boil-in-bag pouches cost more and produce more waste for landfills.

2. Bread

From sandwiches to a morning plate of French toast, bread is a staple in many homes. Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t mean you have to give up bread. The carbohydrate-filled food is a great way to add even more cholesterol-lowering whole grains to your diet. Instead of grabbing the loaf of white bread made with processed bleached flour, opt for something darker.

Look for breads made with oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain wheat or brown rice. These breads not only add fiber to your diet, they also add more flavor to your meal so you won’t grab for extra slices just to fill up. Eating less means your cost per serving goes down — saving you money.

3. Beans

Consider going meatless for one meal a day. To get enough proteins and fiber in your diet, try making a meal based on beans, recommends the United States Department of Agriculture. When purchased dried, you can easily walk away paying a dollar or less for a pound of dried lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans or chickpeas.

You know that’s less than what you pay for a pound of ground beef. Now that’s eating healthy on a budget! In addition to chili, soups and vegetarian bean burritos, beans can be mashed and made into hamburger-like patties, bean loafs and seasoned for taco filling. As a bonus, beans are extremely low in saturated fat — unlike most meat-based proteins.

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Behind The Food Trends: Why Is Pie Suddenly Ms. Popular

With almost every food blogger this month writing cupcake’s obituary and declaring pie the new belle of the bakery, it occurred to me the psychological subtext of these two desserts could reveal a deeper trend in society. As sweet indulgences, both cupcakes and pie are enjoyment foods, but each evokes a different emotional response.

Cupcakes are fun and exciting-what mommy brought to school when you had a birthday. Pies are cozy and comforting-what Aunt Mildred baked for Sunday dinner. If baked goods were humans, cupcakes would be six-year-olds; pies, their grandmas.

Culture Map: “Rachel Ray says pie is the new cupcake . . . “

During cupcakes’ recent heyday, boutique cupcakeries seemed to magically appear out of nowhere. The financial bubble had burst; it was difficult to cope with the economic and emotional aftershocks.

Many of us reverted to our childhood pleasures, escaping into a world of child-sized cakes with fanciful frostings. It was as if a modern day Marie Antoinette (Barbara Bush?) had commanded, “Let them eat cupcakes,” so we did.

With their serious foundational crusts, pies connote strength and stability. They contain wholesome good-for-you fruit and, unlike childish cupcakes, are not overly sweet.

Pies evoke a Norman Rockwell feeling of nostalgia, a happier and simpler time in American history, if only because societal cracks were airbrushed back then instead of magnified under the relentless cable news microscope.

NPR: “Texas and New York restaurants offer pie happy hours . . . “

Some food forecasters are predicting that pies will adopt some of cupcakes’ traits; for instance, miniature one-serving pies (think Hostess fruit pies but better). Others are predicting a merger with the locavore trend, with serious pie bakers using only fresh local fruit.

NPR reports pies are even being served at weddings (let’s just hope passive-aggressive brides and grooms don’t smash pie in each others’ faces).

The return to pie could mean we are ready to go back to a roll-up-your-shirtsleeves (and pie dough) era. Or it could just signify Americans have grown tired of cutesy cupcakes. As Freud might have said, “sometimes a pie is just a pie.”

Blog/My Thoughts

What You Can Give Deer For Food

Feeding the wildlife is a fun thing to do when you have kids or if you just want to enjoy the beauty of some of the nature that is around in your area. I know that for me I usually put out some feed for the deer that wander in and out of my yard, but I mainly do this in the winter months when it is super cold outside and they have trouble finding food because of snow or ice covering the ground.

However, one thing that I have always wondered is what should I put out that the deer would be able to eat. Here are some things that I found through experimenting with putting things out that the deer will eat.

The first thing that I found that the deer will eat is fairly obvious and that is corn. Now I know that they eat corn because that is what you can buy commercially as feed for deer. So that one is fairly straight forward, but if you’re like me buying deer feed all the time can get rather expensive and hard to maintain so I had to find some other things that the deer would eat.

The second food that I put out for the deer to eat was some of my green beans that I could not use. Now I placed them in the same area that I put the corn and then sat back inside my house and watched.

I know that some other critters came around and ate out of the same area that I put my corn in so it could have been a combination of all of them eating out of this, but when I went out the next morning all the food that I had put out was gone and a ton of deer tracks were present.

The third food that I have put out for the deer to eat was a wide variety of apples. Now the apples were mainly ones that my kids didn’t eat. So they would have pieces missing out of them in spots so I would cut out near where my kids ate off of the apple to help prevent my kids giving the deer any type of sickness. Now I know that the deer ate parts of the apples with some other animals eating other parts of it.

These are the foods that I have found that the deer in my area really eat a lot of. Now I know that each type of deer will enjoy different foods so that it will be difficult for you to follow all advice strictly. So you will need to experiment as well to find out what food the deer in your area will like as well.

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Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker Review

The Cuisinart PSC-650 is a programmable slow cooker. You can use it to make side dishes, entrees, or even desserts. You can find this model for an average price of $100. Keep reading to learn about some of the features that it offers.


Using the touchpad control panel, you can program the Cuisinart PSC-650 to start cooking at any time you want it to. There is also a digital countdown timer, with the time shown on an LCD display. After the time has elapsed, the slow cooker will automatically go into ‘keep warm’ mode.


The Cuisinart PSC-650 slow cooker offers three different cooking modes. They include simmer, low, and high. There is also a warming mode that helps keep your food warm without overcooking it. As mentioned earlier, the unit automatically switches into this mode after the timer has counted down.


The Cuisinart PSC-650 programmable slow cooker is fitted with a 6.5-quart ceramic cooking pot. The lid, which is made from glass, has a chrome-plated knob and stainless steel rim. The exterior of the unit features brushed stainless steel housing. For added stability on your countertop, the slow cooker sits on top of four non-slip rubber feet.


The ceramic cooking pot in the Cuisinart PSC-650 is removable. The pot and the lid are safe to put in your dishwasher, so you don’t have to wash them by hand. You will need to wipe down the exterior of the unit with warm, soapy water on a regular basis.


The Cuisinart PSC-650 slow cooker is packaged with a cooking rack. This allows you to use bakeware like ramekins with the unit. You are also provided with a spiral-bound recipe book. This book contains 70 recipes that you can make with the unit.

The Cuisinart PSC-650 slow cooker allows you to program the start time. After the countdown timer has elapsed, the unit will automatically switch modes to keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat it. Also, the ceramic cooking pot and lid are safe to put in your dishwasher. You’re also provided with a book with 70 recipes.

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Wise Food Selections: Guidelines For Busy Women

Summer means barbecues, beaches and ballparks- these fun activities offer appealing food and refreshments. Many women who are health conscious need to know various wise food selections to be able to maintain ideal weight and continue their healthy lifestyle.

Busy women can benefit a lot when they know how to choose their foods properly. Nowadays, sweet baked goods come in healthy varieties without lowering down the quality and taste.

There comes a muffin in different healthy flavors like chocolate, and blueberry and tasty cakes in chocolate, lemon and carrot flavors. They can delight your palate and the good thing is that they contain lower fats and calories compared to usual sweets.

Our food choices give a major impact on our health. Choosing food should be taken more seriously because health is not something that can be easily taken back once we lose it. We need to find something that can satisfy our hunger while keeping our body healthy.

A balance diet is what we all need. Most foods when eaten in moderation can fit into this category. Here are the tips on how to select food wisely:

  1. Consider whole grains. At least three servings of 1 oz whole grain products daily is recommended to include in your diet.
  2. Take foods that are rich in calcium. Select low fat milk products if you are cutting on your weight.
  3.  Make a balance out of everything- eat and exercise. Ensure that you are not consuming more calories than you are burning.
  4. Lessen your intake of trans fats and saturated fats. They tend to increase the development of heart diseases. When buying food, always look for low trans fat on the pack.
  5.  Exercise regularly. You can promote good health, ideal weight and overall well being by engaging in various sports and activities.
  6. If you can’t control your eating habit, you can buy foods in small packs or portions.

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