For Smart Couples…Forget the Recession! Learn how to pay 1960's Prices for everything from salad dressing to dressing up for a night out!

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I’ve been trying not to eat many processed foods. I’ve been cooking at home from scratch (can you say homemade chicken stock and fresh baked bread), but there are a few “convenience” foods I like to keep around in case I’m feeling lazy…or if Mike’s left to fend for himself. GE has a lot of great deals this week when combined with printable coupons, plus many of those great deals get you Black and Gold Bucks. If you buy seven participating products, you get $7 back when you check out to spend on any Pittsburgh Steeler’s merchandise in Giant Eagle or at their online store. And many of the participating products are around 50 cents, so you can’t go wrong this week! Here are my favorite deals:

  • Helluva Good Cheese Blocks are $2. Print this 50 cents/1 coupon (will double) to score your cheese for only a buck! (Eligible towards Black and Gold Bucks promotion)
  • Helluva Good Dips are 3/$5. Print this 50 cents/1 coupon (again, will double) and dip till your heart
    is content for only 66 cents! Or get this $1 one dip coupon when you “like” Helluva Good on Facebook.
  • Chex Mix, Bugles, and Pillsbury Baguette Chips only 99 cents. Combine that with this coupon or this coupon for 50 cents off (will double) and you’ve scored free chips!
  • Totino’s Pizza Rolls are only 99 cents…get a 75 cents/3 coupon here and score them for 50 cents a box
  • Knorr Rice and Pasta dishes are 99 cents…use this $1/3 coupon to get them for 67 cents each…they have a lot of new varieties. (note: you will have to register on the Unilever site to print coupons).
  • Skippy Peanut Butter is $2.29. Print this 50 cents/2 coupon to get your PB and J on for around $1.69 per jar. (Plus this product qualifies for the Black and Gold Bucks promotion in the Pittsburgh area).
  • Ragu Pasta sauce is 2 for $3, plus get a free Giant Eagle pasta instantly when you buy two. Since GE now accepts competitor coupons, this 75 cents/2 Target coupon (will NOT double) will get you all of the above for $2.25. (Ragu sauce also counts towards B and G Bucks promotion).
  • Philadelphia Creme Cheese Indulgence (in quite a few chocolaty varieties…mmm) is $2. This 75 cents/1 coupon (will double) gets you there for only 50 cents.

Giant Eagle is also having a 2 day meat sale, but if you live in the Pittsburgh area, head on over to Shop ‘n Save where the deals are a lot better. Bagged chicken breasts and ground chuck are WAY less expensive, and so is lunch meat and cheese. I generally don’t buy my meat and deli products from GE…I believe they are WAY overpriced, even when on sale. Shop ‘n Save, Aldi’s and Bottom Dollar have frequent great sales on meat that put GE to shame. Sorry Giant Eagle…I love ya, but not when it comes to my protein…usually.

Soooo…for $17 (plus 20 cents off my gas, and $7 back to spend on Steeler’s merchandise), I got…

  • 6 boxes of Totino’s pizza rolls
  • 5 bags of Bugles/Chex Mix
  • 6 Knorr pasta/rice sides
  • 2 jars of Ragu pasta sauce plus one box of GE brand pasta
  • 2 jars of skippy peanut butter
  • 1 tub of Philadelphia Indulgence spread
  • 4 blocks of cheddar/monteray jack Helluva Good cheese (don’t forget…you can shred blocks of cheese, and you can freeze ’em, so stock up now!)
  • 2 tubs of Helluva Good chip dip (buffalo wing and jalapeno cheddar…mmmm)
  • Store brand butter
  • 1 Starkist Tuna pouch (I had a 55 cents off coupon from a long time ago…)

Not too shabby…

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Hi friends!! There are a few GREAT deals at Shop n Save…and this is the last day to get them! Below are just a few of my favorite deals, those that I consider “stock up for the zombie apocalypse/eventual economic downfall of America” good buys. 😉

  • Ground Chuck is only $1.99/lb (haven’t seen it this low in about a year…stock up!)
  • 10 lb bag of potatoes is only $1.88 (Holy Crap! If you have the space, store them. I’ve been looking up potato recipes like crazy…this is a really great price on these).
  • Amish Classics American or Swiss Cheese is $2.98/lb (even if you usually buy the generic Kraft-style packaged slices, you’ll still make out on this deal…a pound is just about equivalent to two packages, and the quality is far superior).
  • Sugardale Ham/Honeysuckle Turkey Breast from the deli is $2.98/lb (Mike did a Turkey Happy Dance)
  • Domino Sugar is only $1.99 for a 4 lb bag...print out this coupon for 75 cents off 2 Domino Sugars (which will double) and get some shuga for only $1.25 per bag when you buy two.
  • Select Hamburger Helpers…only $1 per box! There have been several coupons in past newspaper inserts (I’ve been slacking, so I’m not sure of the dates…they are 75 cents off 3 though, plus they double), but you can also print your HH coupons here.
  • Hillandale Bagels and Cream Cheese are only $1
  • Get a super-duper big container (I try to keep these around for my fiancee) of On-Cor Chicken Patties (I believe 14 in a package) for only $4. That’s only around 28 cents per patty!! Cheap lunch!
  • Xtra Laundry detergent is only $1.99
  • 3 lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $5. But hopefully you stocked up a couple of weeks ago when they were only $4. If not, still not a bad price!!

Greetings! Awesome tidbit of news for those of you that don’t already know; Giant Eagle is now accepting all competitor coupons. This means that you can snip, cut, clip or print coupons til you’re blue in the face from other grocery stores including Target, K-Mart, Walgreens, etc. and GE will gladly accept them (but not double them). Quick warning: avoid the self check-out aisles at all costs if you plan on using these coupons without severe delays/embarrassment.

I visited Giant Eagle today, and I was super-stoked to get free Bugles, Chex Mix and frozen veggies, not to mention super-cheap cheese, dips, pizza rolls, Lipton rice and pasta sides, etc. I had one coupon that I had printed from Target’s website. The two regular checkout lanes were backed-up, so for the first time in my life I headed over to the self checkout lane. I scanned a few coupons, and everything was going great. I felt proud of myself for venturing into the unknown. I felt like a pioneer. I should bypass the cashiers all the time, I thought.  Then I can avoid that “why are you making my job a living hell?” glare that some of them tend to give you when you hand over a stack of coupons that is roughly the thickness of Webster’s Dictionary.

I scanned my Ragu pasta sauce coupon. The scanner rejected this Target coupon like a demon rejects holy water. Lights were blinking. The machine stopped working. I was sure some kind of Artificial Intelligence defense mechanism was going to override the system and scramble my molecular structure with a laser gun. I stood in silence, trying to look inconspicuous with my wad of (non-competitor) coupons stacked up in front of me. Inconspicuous is hard to pull off when the lights above your head are blinking frantically and an automated voice keeps repeating “Help is on the way!” in a tone that is bordering on panicked.

After five embarassing minutes of this, a cashier finally came to rescue. Or not. Upon seeing my Target coupon (for 75 cents off two Ragu sauces) she proceeded to SCREAM (across every single other checkout lane), “She has COMPETITOR COUPONS in the self-check aisle. You can’t use COMPETITOR COUPONS here. Only in the REGULAR check-out!!” I lowered my head, feeling much like what I would imagine a guy would feel like if he were buying tampons for his wife and they did a price-check over the microphone. Every person, in every aisle, paused simultaneously to check out the chick who had the AUDACITY to try using a Target coupon in self-checkout. Their stares were long and ominous (or maybe I’m just paranoid.) The folks behind me in the self-checkout were glaring at me, as they probably assumed the self-checkout was the quickest place to go for a roll of toilet paper and a few TV dinners. Wrong. Did I mention this particular Giant Eagle only had one self-check lane open?

Long story short, after ANOTHER long, uncomfortable five minutes (and the help of another sales associate, and after that someone who I’m presuming was a manager), they literally had to transfer my whole order to a regular lane, manually deduct the rest of my coupon savings, and warn me adamantly to never, ever try to go through self-checkout with competitors coupons ever again. Trust me, GE, I never, ever will. I promise. Lesson learned.

This is just a helpful hint, folks. All kidding aside (although the incident was very embarrassing), I realize this coupon policy is new and the employees are probably still ironing out the kinks. And the manager was VERY helpful and lighthearted about the whole situation. No ill will against Giant Eagle at all.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I don’t want anyone to be late for work or to pick up the kids, just to save $1.50 on pasta sauce.

On a happy note, I got TONS of food for $17, and got $7 back in Steeler’s Bucks (and 10 cents off on gasoline).

All for the price of my pride. Happy Couponing! 🙂

In an earlier post, I told you about my New Year’s resolution, and how I’ve made a sacred vow with myself to take FULL advantage of any fantastic deals throughout the year on any gift-able items that would do well for Christmas (or birthdays, etc.), and build up a kind of “Gift Stockpile” in an effort to save money and avoid holiday-related stress come next December.

The Pictionary game (always a favorite) coupon I shared a link for is apparently just the tip of the game night iceberg…there are also $5 off coupons for Taboo, Catch Phrase, Cranium Brain Breaks and Jenga (which is fairly inexpensive to begin with) on coupons.com. Board games are a versatile gift…they are great to give to both children and adults alike.

$5 off games coupons (can be found under zip 15085) at coupons.com

These don’t expire til the middle of next month, so you have plenty of time to track down a great sale and score yourself some really inexpensive gifts. And, as I’ve said before, I’ve seen a few of these games for sale at Dollar General, where they accept manufacturer’s coupons.

Red Solo Cup…Let’s Have a Party!!”

Or take a cue from Toby Keith and just get a couple games for yourself, settle down with your honey (or a bunch of friends), whip up a batch Pulled Pork Burritos and have a game night while sipping a few brews! (Hint: if playing with adults, the game of Jenga can be “modified” to include challenges and dares on each tile, so that the person pulling out said tile must complete whatever act is written on it…a VERY fun game if you are having friends over for a few drinks!)

  • Here’s a link with a TON of dares and creative challenge ideas to write on the Jenga blocks if you have, ummm…writer’s “block” and can’t think of anything better than “Player must take a shot of Tequila”. This site also explains the very simple rules of this “adult” truth or dare game of… inebriated dexterity…is that an oxymoron?? 🙂
  • And, while you’re at it, the good folks at Delish.com have come up with a whole boatload of scrumptious appetizer recipes for parties that will make your game night a hit!
  • And you’ll need something to wash it all down with…and let’s hope that something contains alcohol for a night with friends!! If you’re feeling brave enough to go beyond the keg and the Red Solo Cup (sorry Toby Keith!), check out these boozalicious party concoctions from thenest.com!! Liquor, beer, wine…they’ve got it all covered in delicious and creative ways…

Have fun leaving the TV behind for an evening!!

Super-cheap tuna, bread, marinades, snacks, toothpaste and more this week!!

Some great deals are going on this week at Giant Eagle! From Thurs 1/12 to Wed 12/18 there are several sweet deals that you can score for under $1! And who doesn’t love deals for under $1?? (Hence the popularity of Dollar Store Chains…but these deals are even better and cheaper!!) Here are the ones that I spotted right off the bat…I’m sure there will be more deals to follow as I delve deeper into the internet printables and my own stockpile of coupons!!

Schwebel’s Giant White Bread is 2/$3

Starkist Tuna Pouches are only $1.25

  • Get your 50 cents off 1 coupon from the 1/1 Redplum insert (will double)
  • Or…go on Starkist’s facebook page and “like” them to recieve 2 printables of the same coupon!
  • 25 cents will score you a tuna pouch!!

Ken’s Marinades are 3 for $5

  • Hunt for your 1/8 Smartsource insert and find that $1 off 1 coupon
  • You now have access to any of Ken’s delicious marinades (Teriyaki and Buffalo Chicken are my faves) for only 67 cents!!

Muir Glen Organic Canned Tomatoes are only 2 for $3

  • Hope you scored this printable earlier! It’s no longer available, but if you got your prints you have some FREE tomatoes coming your way this week!!

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are only 10 for $10!!

Totino’s Pizza Rolls are 8/$10

Crest Toothpaste is 2/$4

  • Clip your 75 cents/1 Crest toothpaste coupon from the 1/1 P&G
  • Get your tooth-brushin’ on for only 50 cents!!

Purina One Dog Food is 2/$12

  • Word on the street…the 1/15 smartsource has a $5/1 Purina One coupon!
  • Feed that hungry, hungry puppy for only $1 this week!! (I know my hungry puppy goes through TONS of food!! She will love this!)

And some great Loss-Leaders!!

  1. Giant Eagle King Size White Bread is 79 cents
  2. Ground Round is $2.27/lb
  3. Roasting Chickens are BOGO
  4. Boneless Sirloin Tip Roasts are BOGO
  5. Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops are BOGO
  6. Farmer’s Market Fresh Express Salad Blends (in many different varieties) are BOGO
  7. Peaches/Nectarines are 99 cents/lb

Check under zipcode 60712, and you can find a coupon for $5 off any Pictionary Game! This is perfect for my New Year’s resolution…to Christmas shop all year long, as I find awesome deals to add to my “gift” closet, so I can enjoy the Holiday season this time instead of stressing-out last minute about what gifts I do and don’t have!!

Games are always a good bet…they’re bound to fit the bill for someone on your list! My sister and I love giving each other board games for Christmas/birthdays and then playing them that same day to add a little more fun to the festivities!

Pictionary is also a sure winner for any child that loves drawing or art.

Or just buy this for you and your honey to have a good old-fashioned game night with some friends, a bottle of Pinot, and a nice Paella this Friday night!!

And since this is an oldie but goodie, it can often be found at discount stores (such as Dollar General) that accept coupons, so you can probably snag it for a song if your timing is right!!

Give my New Year’s resolution a try and see how quickly you can build up a stockpile of affordable and awesome gifts this year! I’ll be letting you in on any great deals that I find along the way…

$5 off Pictionary Game (coupons.com)

"Don't just throw me away!! Eat me, for God's sake!!"

OK, we’ve all been there…you take a peek down into that dark, cool place you stored your last 10 lb bag of potatoes (for only $2.50!) find, and you realize…GASP!!…they aren’t going to make it very much longer!! Hating to chuck out some perfectly good (for now) spuds, you wonder, what on earth am I going to do to use up the rest of these potatoes, and fast??

Here’s a very delicious answer…a very easy, adaptable potato soup recipe that will do nicely as a meal for the evening, and, after that, be very much appreciated in lunch thermoses for the rest of the week. I made it with a nice batch of corn bread muffins for dinner tonight.

I just had this conundrum this evening, and I’ll dictate the recipe as I made it (I had some ham on hand), but the truth is it’s a very versatile cream of potato soup recipe that can just as easily stand on its own…or be equally delicious with bacon instead of ham…or be even more delicious with a bit of cheese and ground meat thrown in for a kind of Cheeseburger Chowder (which is always a hit with the kiddos!)

The important thing is that it will allow you to use up any iffy potatoes you have laying about, and ease your guilty conscious…don’t let the angry potato-with-eyes haunt your nightmares!!

DO NOT delude yourself into thinking (as I have many times before) that you are going to make a fabulous potato side dish for dinner every night for the next three nights to use up that nearing-death bag of Idahos…that’s too much pressure, and I practically guarantee (unless you are a better woman than I, which you may well be!) that you will end up taking out your taters with the trash come garbage night! Instead, make a big ol’ pot of this potato soup, use them all up at once, and say goodbye to food-waste guilt!! All you’ll need are a soup pot and a saucepan for the roux, and perhaps a cutting board to chop everything up on. I didn’t even make a mess tonight creating this!! Hallelujah!

Estimated Total Cost: $3.00 for my batch (remembering I stock up on super-sale prices, and coupon quite a bit!)

“What In The Heck Am I Going To Do With These Potatoes??” Soup

Note: Besides the making of the roux (which I’ll explain in a minute) this is a very simple and adaptable recipe. Feel free to add more potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, seasoning, etc. It’s very hard to screw it up…use your personal tastes as a guide!

Ingredients:

  • approx. 3.5 cups of peeled and diced Idaho or Russet potatoes (more or less will still work, just remember they should be covered with chicken broth when boiling and simmering, so you may have to adjust the amount of that as well)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots (optional, will add a bit of sweetness)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup diced ham (you could also use bacon or ground meat!)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock (homemade is the bomb!! But a carton or can will do fine!)
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to season (sea salt is best)

Ingredients for the roux:

  • 5 TBS butter (please use REAL butter in this dish, unless you have a health condition that prohibits it! It won’t turn out as nicely!)
  • 5 TBS all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk (again, I recommend using WHOLE milk for this dish…this is a roux, and low-fat just doesn’t cut it unless there are health issues that warrant it!)

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your favorite cheese, especially if you’d like to do cheesy potato soup (you can still add the ham!) or if you’d like to substitute ground meat for the ham and do a Cheeseburger Chowder

 

Easy Instructions (Don’t be afraid!):

  1. Hack up every ingredient that calls for cutting/chopping/dicing/etc (this would be potatoes, veggies, pre-cooked ham). Note: If you are using bacon or ground meat, that should be cooked beforehand in a skillet and added after it’s no longer raw! Chuck it all in a soup pot and cover it with the chicken stock. (Remember, if you’ve decided to add more potatoes, ham, etc., you may have to add a bit more stock/broth. That’s fine. Just make sure it’s covered. Bring it up to a BOIL for a minute, and then crank the heat back down to medium (a fast simmer) for about 15 or 20 minutes so everything gets nice and tender. Season to taste with your salt/pepper/etc. now.(If you want to add cheese, the end of this phase would be a good time to melt it in.)
  2. That’s it for the soup pot, now all you have to worry about is making a roux. This is done in a separate skillet, on low to medium-low heat, and a successful roux requires constant stirring, a low temperature, and a little bit of instinct. After the roux is finished you will add it to the soup pot, and the purpose of the roux is to thicken the soup in a most delicious way. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!!
  3. Start by melting all the butter over med-low heat. Next, add the flour tablespoon by tablespoon while constantly whisking/stirring so the mixture doesn’t burn. You may have to adjust the temperature a few times to get it right. It should be thickening, but not sticking or burning. This is the only tricky part because you DO NOT want to burn your roux. I’ve done it before! If it happens, start fresh, you’ll get it the second time around. Continue stirring this for around a minute.
  4. Next, add your milk sloooooowly. The mixture will probably thin out again, but you eventually want it to thicken back up, so you may have to turn the heat up just a notch. Stir the whole time you’re adding the milk, and keep going (feel the burn!) for around 5 minutes. You’ll know you have it right when the consistency is thick-ish, but there are no lumps. It should be smooth, blonde in color, and thick but not pasty.
  5. That’s about it! Simply add this roux concoction to your pot of soup, and heat through a bit on medium-low while giving everything a good stir!
  6. If you’re like me, some nice cornbread muffins on the side are a must-have, but any kind of bread or biscuit will compliment this hearty soup! Enjoy!!