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.)