Saturday, April 12, 2008

Comments of the Week

(Hi there, everybody coming over from Money Saving Mom. Very happy to have you, and please feel free to look around and e-mail me with questions or suggestions. Thanks for the linkage, Crystal!)

This week, Jaime lightens her brownies, Linda flings some fruit, and Ms. Meaghan sounds off on Billy Corgan and Co. Plus, lotsa hardcore shoppers share their grocery-buying strategies for the good of all.

As always, some comments have been edited for length.

On CHG Favorites of the Week

Laura: Heh. Yeah, I was like, fourteen when I finally realized that *none* of Cookie Monster's cookies were going in.

On Tuesday Megalinks

Linda: OK, I confess. I think I tried the citrus fruit slinging thing. Now I feel much better.

Jaime: In hopes of getting some pumpkin flavor, I replaced all 2/3 c of oil with pumpkin puree. Used 2 eggs and 1/4 c water as directed. I've never made applesauce-for-oil brownies, so I don't have a lot to compare - I also am a novice brownie maker - and this might just be lame brownie mix, but they're not impressive. (Or pumpkiny!) Flat, dense, sticky, yet still sorta dry. Definitely not fudgey. … Half oil half pumpkin probably would've worked better.

On We’ve Got the Means to Make Amends: Cooking Light’s Fresh Tomato Lasagna

Liz: Sometimes Cooking Light cracks me up. Call it 8 servings instead of 6, and it's "light!"

Ms. Meghan: I still listen to the Smashing Pumpkins, which were my version of Pearl Jam. And a good portion of "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" sends a chill down my spine when I hear it. I also heard "Caress Me Down" by Sublime on the radio the other day, and I had an intense flashback to being 13 and wishing I knew Spanish.

On The Hour: How 60 Minutes a Week Can Save Hundreds of Dollars on Food

Karen: Make sure coupons are really saving you money. … I found that they don't save money for me - I just don't buy many items that are coupon-able. Being a geek, I calculated it out with a spreadsheet a couple of years ago. I compared the price with coupon to the price I'd normally pay (so if I normally buy the store brand, I'd compare the store brand price to the price of the name brand with coupon). I kept track over three months, and by the end, I had saved some money. But once I factored in the price of the newspaper (which I normally don't buy), I ended up losing money. I decided it wasn't worth it. The caculation would be different if I could have gotten coupons for free, or if I bought more "couponable" foods.

Aryn: I like to keep my weekly menus in a little notebook so I can go back and see whether we've eaten a particular dish in the last month or two. That way I don't make jerk chicken with homemade tortilla chips and fruit two weeks in a row. I also have a magnetic list on the fridge where we write down anything we run out of or are about to run out of (like margarine, which I don't use and therefore don't think to check.)

Aahzmandius Karrde: The list is where I go to the extreme. I have a spreadsheet setup that I record what aisle the items are in, including a lookup table that tells me what order I hit those aisles in. After I mark the items I need,I sort by needed then order. So as I go through the store I pretty much check things off top to bottom. Avoids having to backtrack in the store and gets me to the checkout faster.

Brian: I recently created an Excel-based “menu planner” for recording the circular deals, a spot to create the weekly menu and a couple other items to help with store shopping. If anyone’s interested, feel free to look at it at Weekly Menu Planner.xls. (See comment section for this. – Kris) I have it up on the computer when I go through the circulars and recipe sites, print out the results as a grocery list, and hang it on the fridge as a daily reminder of what we planned to eat.

Monica: Don't forget about "Manager's Specials" on items nearing their sell-by dates. I routinely get bread, cheese, and sometimes meats and produce for 50-75% off this way.

Sarah: My Hour happens once a month - I look at my list of meals (inspirations plus last month's meals and seasonal favorites), select about 20-25 (lasts a month with some meals that provide leftovers), and then make my lists - Farm, Aldi, Walmart, Fresh foods ordered by meal. Print my text file of menu / shopping lists / recipes, and I'm set for a month. It is probably more than an hour, but I'd rather spend more time at the computer planning and less time in the store overall.

(Photo courtesy of sanseverything.)

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Beanalby said...

Ironically I just stumbled upon this amusing cookie monster story today:

"Cookie Monster Searches Deep Within Himself and Asks: Is Me Really Monster?"

Kris said...

"Snuffleupagus not supposed to exist—woolly mammoths extinct. His very existence monstrous."

YES! Thanks, beanalby. This is getting linked on Thursday.