Saturday, February 20, 2016

Free, Cheap, Coupons, or Sale

As the title says, I rarely purchase anything that isn't free, cheap, on sale, or for which I have a coupon. I'm referring specifically to food. That's not to say I won't splurge on a specialty item from time to time, but for day to day consumption, that's my philosophy.

On January 12th, I wrote a blog, Dipping Dollar Does Not Mean Deteriorating Diet. Since that time, I have seen and heard innumerable complaints from people about how terrible food prices are and how they can't afford to feed their families. That was inevitable.

I won't turn this into any kind of judgemental commentary. It's far too easy to resort to saying, why don't those same people give up smoking, liquor, their trips to the dollar store for useless junk, or whatever their source of enjoyment might be. It's not about those things, and I don't think it's not necessary to give up much of anything. To me, as I mentioned before, it's all about effort and planning. There are many parts of this country and other countries where people would love to have our options and prices, when it comes to groceries.

Today, I gathered my coupons (clipped while watching people complain about food prices on t.v.) In my opinion, you should always do something valuable in addition to watching t.v. (another topic...I digress). I flicked through to check expiry dates and off I went to Walmart and Metro. Foodland has been erradicated from my list since they are a bit far and have also jumped their discounted produce prices to $1.49....who are they kidding? That's $1.50 in real money. Outrageous.

First stop as always, the discounted produce shelves. Saturday morning, the shelves were stocked. People ambled by, cursory glance, then pushed their carts past rapidly as if they'd just seen a toxic substance. In fact, they were snubbing their noses at the bargains as if they were frequenting an establishment other than Walmart. This isn't Whole Foods or some trendy juice bar in the Beaches people! (I don't care, I still call it the Beaches)

I was most excited to find a $1 package which included not only a very nice tomato, but also an English cucumber, a whole stem of fresh garlic, and a package of pearl onions. Once again, I also espied a $1 cauliflower and four green peppers for  $1.  Jackpot! After this essential first stop, I moved on through the aisles....bread $1 off coupon; one get one free; dish soap, large size on sale for $3 and I had a $2 off coupon. And so it went until I was satisfied that I had retrieved the best bargains.

At Metro I did just as well....on a Saturday morning no less!  Mushrooms (the exotic kinds) for $1. Avocadoes (always available) 5 for $1. Woohoo....guacamole. (Not to be confused with whack a mole). The many packs of grapes were tempting but I decided they contain too much sugar and I'm not good with eating just a half dozen delicious, red, juicy, grapes. There were also the ever available, never ending carrots and potatoes...didn't need any today. produce purchases for today look like this. Why not try my shopping method? As they say, "The Thrill Is In The Hunt". Now I'm off to create some meals for the week.
Here's a yummy sweet potato recipe I thought I'd share. Got it from a lady at a meeting I attend and it's amazing and simple. Sweet potatoes are often on the discounted shelves but even if not, they are kind of cheap and of acceptable content.

Zingy Baked Sweet Potato Fries for 2 people

Preheat oven to 425.

Wash sweet potato, cut off tails (the pointy parts on the ends) and cut into wedges. I use one sweet potato for two of us and I leave the skin on.  Feel free to use more (increase spice amounts) if you're super hungry or have people lurking around your house for dinner.

Get a baggie, Glad bag, produce plastic, or reasonable facsimile. Put in a tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. cinammon, a pinch of cayenne (or more if you like a burned throat), salt. Drop in your potato wedges and shake, shake, shake (the more you shake, the more calories you burn).

Place wedges upright on Pam sprayed baking sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and enjoy.

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