Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ontario Food Deals for June 12 - June 18, 2009

I promise I won't rant today, especially as at least one of my conspiracy theories from last week has been proven wrong. The Foodland and No Frills flyers both arrived today, with my other flyers!

I will probably head over to No Frills, because they have a great deal on Catelli Healthy Harvest. I think this is the cheapest I have ever seen whole wheat pasta.

I also have the opportunity to try out Superstore's "Lowest Price Guarantee" this week. Their flyer says that "if you find a lower price we will beat it by 10%". The fine print says "Applies to front page and Price Lock items with this symbol/slogan. Refundable at Customer Service only. See back page for full details." The only thing on the back page that seems applicable is that they reserve the right to limit the quantities. My guess is that Superstore will see the Price Chopper flyer and immediately lower their listed price to match, but I could be wrong. I will head over there tomorrow and let you know how it goes!

Price Chopper
  • Black Diamond cheese bars, 500g, selected varieties, including old for $3.97
  • Maple Leaf bacon, 500g for $2.99 (common sales price, lowest price I've seen is $1.96)
  • Shopsy's all beef wieners, 450g for $1.99
  • Silani Feta cheese, 200 g for $2.99
No Frills
Having a Secret sale with up to 60% off on a $9.99 doorcrasher. Starts Friday June 12. While supplies last! Limited quantities per store. Store reserves right to limit quantities per customer. No returns refunds or rainchecks. $9.99 doorcrasher compared to a $24.99 manufacturer's suggested retain price. Full details instore. If anyone finds out what this is, let us know!
  • Chicken breasts, bone-in, skinless, fresh for $1.97/lb
  • Catelli Healthy Harvest or Smart pasta, selected varieties, 300-545 g for $0.99. Best price I've seen on whole wheat pasta, if you buy the heavier (545 g) packages.
Zehrs (Loblaws)
  • Green Giant vegetables, 750 g still $1.99 (price locked)
  • Gay Lea sour cream, 500 g for $1.49
  • Black Diamond cheese bar, 500 g, selected varieties for $4.44 with a lowest price guarantee... humm, do you have a Price Chopper flyer? We should be able to get their price of $3.97 beat by 10%, so for $3.57 per bar!
  • Spalding sliced bacon, 500 g for $1.99. Considerably cheaper than the Maple Leaf bacon at Price Chopper, but is it as nice? I'll give it a try!
  • Danon creamy or silhouette yogurt, 650/700 g for $1.99
  • Heinz baked beans, 398 mL for $0.79
  • Schneiders Bacon, regular, salt reduced, thick, 500g for $2.99
Food Basics
Equality sour cream, 500 mL for $1.49

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Have you heard of

A few weeks ago I finally looked into I had read about it on several blogs, but I didn't pay much attention. I also assumed it was only open to Americans.

A little investigation, and I discovered that it is open to Canadians, and by using their search engine, which is powered by Google, you periodically win points or Swagbucks. After you collect Swagbucks, you can use them in their special online store to buy all sorts of things. The most appealing prize to me is the $5 gift card, for 45 Swagbucks. There are all sorts of other prizes, ranging in price from 1 Swagbuck to thousands of Swagbucks. I registered on May 11 and redeemed 45 points for a gift card on May 31st, about 3 weeks later.

The search engine gives similar, but not identical results to a Google search. Some of the search results are sponsored, and clearly marked as such. Google as sponsered results too, although they show up separately from the main results. Most of the time, I find using Swagbucks to search works as well as Google. I added Swagbucks as a search engine option in the top right corner of my Firefox window. I can type my search terms in there and if I don't like the results, I can just change the choice of search engines to Google and search again, without having to re-type my search terms.

I have already got in the habit of typing the name of the pages I go to regularly into the Swagbucks search box. The search finds the page I want, and I click through. Some of the time, I end up with a Swagbuck or two. It does take one extra click if you ususally type your URLs straight into the address bar, but it doesn't seem to slow me down.

I will let you know I have a little ulterior motive in telling you about Swagbucks. If you use my referral link, then if you win any Swagbucks, I will get some too, up to your first 100 Swagbucks. My brother said "Oh! A pyramid scheme!" when I told him about it. I will point out that I won't get Swagbucks when you get Swagbucks indefinitely. It is only for the first 100 points, which so far doesn't look like it will take long to collect. Since I redeemed my 45 points, I have collected another 20 Swagbucks already! That makes 65 Swagbucks in less than a month.

If you decide to join Swagbucks based on my recommendation, I would appreciate if you would consider using my referral code! Thanks!

Ontario Food Deals for June 5 - June 11, 2009

I apologize in advance. This week's flyer deals has turned into this weeks rants and conspiracies! There are so few deals this week I think I will try to skip the stores all together and just buy milk at the drug store and fruit and veggies at the farmers market! Maybe that has put me in a bad mood, leading to all my ranting?

The No Frills and Foodland flyers didn't come this week. Those stores are a little farther from my home, in a nearby small town, only worth driving to for really great deals or if I am headed that way anyhow. I wonder if they have decided we are too far away? The other possibility is that the big new Walmart that is between my larger town and those stores is sucking away some of their business. Sending us the flyers only makes it easier, because Walmart will price match from flyers. Just rambling: I admit I don't have particularly strong views on Walmart, one way or the other. By the way, if there are any flyers you don't get but want to see, you can check them out at You can find the link for Canadian Online Store Flyers on my side bar, under "Useful Websites".

Watch out again this week for "deals" that aren't really deals. The Sockeye Salmon (wild red pacific) is on sale for $2 for a standard (213 g) can at Price Chopper this week. The add says "save up to 99 cents". I guess that may be true, but the very same Clover Leaf salmon is pretty easy to find for $2 a can. That was the price it was "locked" at in April at No Frills, and may still be. I wait until I can find it for $1.50 a can to stock up.

Food Basics
  • Green Seedless Grapes, product of Mexico, $0.99/lb. Be aware, these are on the dirty dozen list of fruits and veggies to think of buying organically because of their high pesticide load.
  • Breyers double churn ice cream (1.66 -1.89L) for $3.99. Last time I bought Breyers, I discovered it wasn't really ice cream when I got home, it was a "frozen dessert". I find that kind of off-putting. This is more expensive type of Breyers, but seems to really be ice cream!
Price Chopper
The $1, $2, $3 Sale continues
  • Chicken leg quarters, $1/lb
  • Kellogg's cereal, Jumbo boxes for $3. Mini Wheats (850g), Special K red berry (700 g), corn pops (515 g), foot loops (580 g), just right (1.02 kg), corn flakes (1.35 kg), selected varieties. (Just so you know, there is no way in a million years I would buy a giant box of foot loops, or even corn pops for that matter, but I figured I would type it all out, as listed in the flyer!)
  • PEI potatoes, 10lb bag for $2. Just so I can fit in one last little rant, these aren't local to us here in Ontario, and Ontario grows lots of lovely potatoes!
Wow! I had better stop now! See you all next week.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Menu Plan - June 1, 2009

Monday - Barbecued Beef on homemade buns with veggies (Make extra buns for Friday)
To Do: Soak beans all day and cook beans in slowcooker overnight.

Tuesday - Homemade Baked Beans with Boston Brown Bread and raw veggies

Wednesday - Macaroni and cheese with veggies

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Hamburgers with Homemade buns and raw veggies

Saturday - Lamb chops with potatoes and veggies

Sunday - Pork chops from pork tenderloin with potatoes and veggies

For more meal plans, visit the Organizing Junkie!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ontario Food Deals for May 29 - June 4, 2009

There really isn't anything to get excited about this week, other than the deals at Bulk Barn I posted earlier in the week.

I'll make a trip to Zehrs (Loblaws) to get some frozen peas because they are a quick and healthy veggie that my kids love. The whole wheat pasta is also a pretty good price this week, so I will get a few boxes. The sales price should be better than the regular store brand whole wheat pasta, but if is important to check carefully because the different pasta shapes have different weights. Some shapes are better deals than others!

The other nice deal this week is the yogurt at No Frills, but it is too far out of my way to go just to save a quarter on yogurt. Oh well!

Zehrs (Loblaws)
  • Green Giant frozen vegetables (peas, corn, etc.) 750g for $1.99 (lowest price I have seen them is $1.88, so not bad at all. We might get some peas as we are out and they are a favourite around here. Don't need as many frozen veggies as the weather gets nicer though.
  • Catteli Healthy Harvest pasta (whole wheat) (300-454 g) at 3 for $4.00 (about $0.29 per 100 g for the heavier boxes)
No Frills
  • Astro yogurt (650/750 g) selected varieties, $1.88 (best price I've ever seen)
  • Asparagus, product of Ontario, $1.49/lb or $3.28/kg
  • Life, Oat Squares, Corn Bran or Cap'n Crunch (350 - 730 g) for $2.99 (plus 10 bonus Sobey's points). If the box is regular size (540 g), this is a pretty good deal on Corn Bran. Last time I got a good deal on it, I paid $2.37 a box. The normal sales price is $3.69.
Price Chopper
$1, $2, $3 Sale
  • Seedless cucumbers, product of Ontario, 2 for $1

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bulk Barn Coupon (May 30 to June 12, 2009)

I just got a Bulk Barn flyer in the mail box, with a coupon to save $3 when you spend $10 before taxes. The flyer and coupon are good for two weeks, from Saturday May 30 to Friday June 12, 2009.

The coupon reads:

Save $3.00 on your total purchase of $10.00 or more before taxes available at any Bulk Barn. Coupon effective from Saturday May 30 to Friday June 12, 2009. Limit one coupon per store visit. This offer excludes the purchase of gift cards. While supplies last. We reserve the right to limit quantities. All applicable taxes shall be payable on the full value of the merchandise. Coupon cannot be used in conjunction with the 10% Seniors' & students' discount. No mechanical reproductions accepted.

In the past I have found that Bulk Barn prices are usually higher than my local independent bulk store (Ayrs Baking Supplies, if anyone is interested), but with the $3.00 off coupon, you are basically getting a 30% discount on $10.00 worth of food. If you are very careful to only spend just over the $10.00 minimum, especially if you buy things that are also on sale, it can be worth it.

You do need to be careful because their are some items that are actually more expensive to buy in bulk than to buy at the regular grocery store. A price book can really make a difference. Last time I was at the Bulk Barn, I noticed that the regular price for whole wheat pasta is $0.61/100 g. Even with the coupon, that would be $0.43/100 g. If I head over to Zehrs (Loblaws) and buy their house brand whole wheat pasta at regular price, I will only pay $0.34/100 g. If I find a sale, the difference is even more. I have often paid as little as $0.26/100 g for whole wheat pasta.

Another peril of the Bulk Barn is all the sweets and treats. We try not to buy these things, but we (the kids and I) find Bulk Barn very tempting! Make sure you do not go when you are hungry or feeling snackish!

When you go to the Bulk Barn to use your coupon, it is harder than you might think to spend only $10.00. You need to weigh each item to determine how much your bag will cost. I suggest you bring a paper and pencil and a calculator. Make use of the scales located around the store to weigh your items. You can also use this handy chart to get an idea how much a cup of different items weigh. For example, a cup of brown sugar weighs about 110 g and a cup of almonds weighs about 225 g and a cup of raisins weighs about 100 g.

Some of the good deals:

I have included the price per 100 g if you make use of the coupon, but remember that only applies if you spend the $10 before the discount! Also, it only applies on your first $10.00. If you spend more, you just get the regular sales price!
  • Natural Almonds (California) $5.89/lb, or $1.30/100 g ($0.91/100 g with coupon)
  • Sunflower seeds, hulled (roasted, salted or unsalted) $2.89/lb or $0.64/100 g ($0.45/100 g with coupon)
  • Walnut halves or pieces (California) $5.39/lb or $1.19/100 g ($0.83/100 g with coupon)
  • In-shell peanuts (dry roasted, salted or unsalted) $1.79/lb or $0.40/ 100 g ($0.28/100 g with coupon)
  • Large Prunes (pits removed) $3.49/lb, or $0.77/100 g ($0.54/100 g with coupon)
  • Sultana Raisins $1.89/lb 0r $0.42/100 g ($0.29/100 g with coupon)
  • Turkish Apricots $3.79/lb or $0.84/100 g ($0.59/100 g with coupon)
  • Dried Cranberries (assorted flavours) $6.19/lb or $1.37/100 g ($0.96/100 g with coupon)
  • Dried blueberries or Dried cherries 20% off (probably a good deal... where else do you buy these?)
  • Brown Sugar (Golden yellow or dark brown) $0.75/lb, or $.17/100 g ($0.12/100 g with coupon)

Canning Rhubarb

I have three big clumps of rhubarb growing in my garden. They were there when we moved in. Since we moved in, I have harvested a little, and even got some in the freezer last year, but a lot ended up in the compost heap because it had become so old and overgrown by the time I got to harvesting it. This is not the frugal option!

This year I decided that I really want to preserve as much of my own garden produce as possible and the rhubarb is first! Although it takes time, and a small cost, preserving my own produce is the best way to stock up. After doing some research and some thinking I decided that canning the rhubarb would be the ideal way to preserve it. Canning doesn't take up any room in my freezer, which is only so big. I already own all of the canning equipment, and I was delighted to discover it wouldn't be much more work then to prepare it for the freezer. Because of the high acidity, canned rhubarb only requires a hot water bath to make it safe (not pressure canning, a whole other kettle of fish!)

I love rhubarb, but if you aren't sure about it, try reading this post about a reluctant rhubarb eater who recently discovered how yummy it can be!

In my quest for a canned rhubarb recipe, I started with my favourite food preservation book, Stocking Up. This book is great because they don't use any sugar in their recipes, even in the jams and jellies! As a side note, apple jelly made with honey is the most amazing thing I have ever tasted.

The canned rhubarb has only a little sweetener, and the recipe is very similar to many I found online, replacing the sugar with honey, and reducing the amount of sweetener.

Stocking Up Canned Rhubarb
Wash and trim the rhubarb. Discard all leaves - they are poisonous. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add 1/4 cup of honey to each quart of rhubarb and let stand 3 to 4 hours to draw out the juice. Bring to boiling. Pack hot, with 1/2 inch head space. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes for pint or quart size jars.

This turned out well, but it is a little too tart for me to eat straight out of the jar. I will be able to use it in cooking or over something very sweet, like ice cream. I am looking forward to experimenting with this in my cooking. I am imagining it could replace applesauce in many baked goods, like applesauce bread. I am imagining combining it with a variety of fruit to make a lovely fruit crisp in the fall. I suspect with some other fruit (maybe strawberries?) it would make a great pie filling too! I will post recipes results as I try them.

I decided what I really want is a rhubarb sauce. Something just a little sweeter that the first canned rhubarb. Something that I could use over pancakes or plain yogurt, straight from the jar. Something like a tart and runny rhubarb jam.

I decided to try doubling the honey in the original Stocking Up recipe. I am very careful about mucking around with canning recipes. There are potential risks in canning, and you don't want to mess around. As I already know that most jams are safe to can, I decided that adding extra sweetener should not alter the food safety. In fact, as I understand it, the sugars add to the food safety, making it harder for bacteria to grow. More importantly, the acidity of the rhubarb is what makes hot water canning safe, and sugar alters the flavour, but not the acidity. Also, the other canning recipes I found used more sugar than I had used honey! (I can't find anything on the web or in a book to back me up. Does anyone have any information?)

Meredith's Simple Rhubarb Sauce
Wash and trim the rhubarb. Don't forget to discard the poisonous leaves. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

For each quart (4 cups or 1 liter) of rhubarb, add 1/2 cup of honey. Let it sit 3 to 4 hours, then bring it to a boil.

Fill clean, hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

If you have hard water, don't be afraid of the white powder all over your jars when they come out of the canner. When they are cool and sealed, you can wipe it off with a damp cloth.

The result is still tart, but sweet enough that I can eat it straight out of the jar. I am looking forward to trying it over pancakes. Yum! I think I could use it as a substitute for the first three ingredients in these rhubarb upside down muffins, although I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Keep in mind that my recipe is not a "tested" recipe, but I can't see any reason why it shouldn't be as safe as any other home canned produce. I am going to store it in my cold cellar and enjoy it all winter. I should get another harvest of rhubarb, and I will make some more. Yum!

A note about quantities: I made three different batches, two of the Stocking Up canned rhubarb and one of my own rhubarb sauce. When I used 3 quarts of rhubarb, I got 4 pint jars of canned rhubarb. When I used 4 quarts of rhubarb, I got 5 and 1/2 pint jars of canned rhubarb. I used 4 quarts of rhubarb to make my sauce, and ended up with 8 half pint jars, or 4 pints total.

How much rhubarb makes up a quart? Well, I weighed several of my quarts, and got different weights each time. The average weight was 524 g or just over a pound.

For more ideas on what to do with fresh rhubarb, visit Tammy's Recipes.