Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ontario Weekly Grocery Flyer Deals for May 1 - May 7, 2009

I will stop by the brand new Food Basics in Waterloo to pick up some of the flyer deals, as well as the special new store deals. I also plan on picking up a fresh mozzarella cheese or two at Price Chopper and some frozen fish at Superstore. I am looking forward to picking up a free shave gel at No Frills, and a tub of yogurt for $0.97 with coupon at Walmart. The large tins of salmon at Shopper's are a pretty good deal too.

What is your favourite deal this week?

UPDATE: Foodland has Clover Leaf Sockeye salmon, Wild red pacific, regular size canned salmon (213 g) on sale 2 for $3 this week. A slightly better deal than the salmon at Shopper's Drug Mart, and a better size, for my family.

Food Basics

$0.99 sale this week. Watch out though, because some things can be found cheaper.
  • Italpasta regular pasta in select varieties (450 g) for 2 for $0.99, while quantities last
  • Primo canned beans (540 mL) for 2 for $0.99, selected varieties (I mostly use dried, but I think this is a pretty good deal)
  • Fresh chicken legs, quarters bagged for $0.99 per lb or $2.18 per kg
  • Red Rose Orange Pekoe 36 tea bags for $0.99
If you are in Kitchener or Waterloo, there is a new Food Basics open at 600 Laurelwood Drive in Waterloo. There are a few extra deals in town, available only at the Food Basics located at 600 Laurelwood Drive, 851 Fischer-Hallman Road and 370 Highland Road West only.
  • Breyers classic ice cream (1.66L to 1.89L) for $1.99
  • Lean ground beef for $1.49/lb, sold in 2lb tubes for $2.98
  • Christie cookies, selected varieties, large sizes (550 g) for $1.99
  • Maxwell House ground coffee, 925 g tin for $4.44
No Frills
  • Satin Care shave gel for $1.99 - $2.00 from, making it free!
  • Unico vegetable oil, 3L for $3.99
Price Chopper
  • Fresh ground beef for $1.49/lb, sold in 2lb tubes for $2.98 (same price as at the new Food Basics)
  • Silani mozzarella cheese ball, 340 g for $2.49 (this is the fresh style cheese. It is yummy, and can be frozen)
  • Aunt Jemima waffles, 354 g for $0.99
  • Always pads (12-24) for $2.99 - $1.00 coupon from newspaper flyers (available slightly cheaper at Walmart)
Zehrs (Loblaws Stores)
  • Air chilled chicken for $1.64 per lb or $3.62 per kg. (Still not as cheap as a Superstore a few weeks ago, when the chickens were about $1.17 per lb)
  • Kraft Cracker Barrel bar cheese, 500 g for $4.44. I bought cheese for $0.66 per 100 g and this cheese is $0.88 per 100g, but still a good price.
  • Tide laundry detergent for $11.99 - $1.00 coupons, found everywhere, including this weeks Shop and Save, delivered with newspapers and flyers. (Tide Ultra powder 3.8-4kg or 2X liquid 2.95 L laundry detergent, selected varieties, 48-80 washloads)
  • Green Island polar cod fillets, boneless skinless, frozen, 400 g for $1.99. I haven't tried this brand, but the price is good, so I think I will try it this week.
  • Unico tomatoes, still price locked at $0.79 per 796 mL can. Last time, I found I could get the unsalted variety at this price.
Shopper's Drug Mart (Sales Start Saturday)
  • Gold Seal Pacific Red Sockeye Salmon, large 418 g tin for $2.99
  • Yoplait Source or Creamy Yogurt tubs, 650 g fro $1.97 - $1.00 coupon found in last month's Chatelaine magazine.
  • Always pads (18) for $2.66 - $1.00 coupon from newspaper flyers

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coupons I found today - April 28, 2009

At Sobey's tonight, I found Europe's Best coupons near the frozen fruit. They are two part coupons, with one half is for $2.00 off any frozen fruit and the other half is for $1.00 off any frozen vegetable. The veggies go on sale for $1.99 and the fruit for $3.49 pretty regularly. See if you can find some coupons and save them for the next sale. These coupons don't expire until March 31, 2010, so wait for a sale!

I also found save $1 when you buy two containers of French's mustard. The coupons were located on a special mustard display, near the bin freezers that normally contain things like pre-made hamburger patties. These expire December 31, 2009.

Near the bottled water, I found a coupon for $10 mail in rebate when you purchase a Brita Pitcher and 1 pack of Brita Filers. If you are thinking of finding a greener alternative to bottled water this summer, these might help!

Finally, at the customer service desk there was a Heart and Stroke guide to eating well that contained multiple coupons that are only good at Sobey's, Foodland and IGA. There were coupons for:
  • $0.35 off Naturegg Omega Pro eggs
  • $0.60 off Naturegg Omega Pro liquid eggs
  • $0.50 off 375g package of Maple Lodge Farms Chicken Bacon
  • $1.00 off Dempster's Healthy Way product (bread!)
  • $0.50 off (400g-575g) box of Cheerios
  • $0.75 off BlueWater Grilled item
  • $0.75 off Astro Zero yogurt
Your luck may vary, but keep your eyes peeled for coupons. There are great coupons all over the place!

Monday, April 27, 2009

How I Organized my Chest Freezer

If you have a chest freezer in your basement that is a food abyss, a giant mouth you keep feeding, but never actually pull anything out of, then this post is for you!

When you stock up on groceries, rather than a standard weekly shop, it is particularly important to stay organized. Before I organized my freezer, I would keep buying and buying anytime I saw a good deal. When it was eventually time to pull everything out to defrost the freezer, or more likely, to find something specific I just knew was buried in there, I would discover that I had 20 bars of frozen mozzarella cheese, but no more butter. This is not the way to wisely spend your grocery budget.

I kept putting off organizing because I thought I needed the perfect set of containers that were going to somehow bring organization to the chaos that was my freezer. A thrift store find combined with the inability to make a birthday cake because we were out of butter finally made me decide to just figure it out!

The thrift store find was two new freezer baskets. They were $2 for two baskets, and I wasn't sure if they would fit, but bought them anyhow. By a stroke of luck, they just fit. In the picture at the top you can see that I now have 4 hanging baskets in my freezer. Those extra hanging baskets make a big difference and if you can find some, you should pick them up! But as I said, don't wait for the perfect storage containers. The other main tool in my freezer organization was a few cardboard boxes, and a little time and thought.

TIP: Regular plastic bins can crack easily at freezer temperatures. I did waste some money on dollar store bins that shattered. Cardboard works better and is usually cheaper.

Advantages to having an organized freezer:
  • You can find what you are looking for (and so can other people)
  • You know when you are running out of something
  • Less food will be wasted because you won't forget about it, or loose it
  • Easier meal planning because you can see what you have
  • Easier to defrost or clean the freezer- boxes pull out easily
How I Organized my Freezer

I emptied everything out of my freezer, getting rid of anything that was clearly not going to be edible anymore because it had been buried too long.

I then thought about organization, and discovered I could fit three cardboard boxes in my freezer, and still fit the hanging baskets back in. That left me with four baskets on top, three big sections on the bottom, and two small sections on the bottom, created by the space around the boxes. That gave me nine storage areas in my freezer.

I put everything into piles, putting like with like. After a little rearranging to make piles that were the right size for the containers, and to make a system that makes sense for my family, we ended up with nine piles for our nine spaces:
  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Butter and Cheese and Prepared food
  • Ground Beef and Bacon
  • Beef (roasts, everything else beefy, except the ground beef)
  • Lamb
  • Pork (except the bacon!)
  • Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
I loaded up my freezer. On the far left, is a box full of lamb.

Beside that is a box full of pork.

Next to that is a box full of beef. Behind the box of beef is a space for poultry and to the right of that box is space for fish and seafood.

If you look again at my first picture (or again, in small, to the left), you will see that I then have my four baskets on top. In the basket on the left I have cheese and butter and any prepared food. Right now, I think there is a tray of homemade scalloped potatoes in there, and some zucchini bread made from garden zucchini.

In the second basket, there is ground beef and bacon. We are running low on ground beef, but have just put in an order with our favourite farmer, to be picked up on Mother's day.

The third basket is full of frozen fruit. Right now it is mostly store bought, but I can see the rhubarb coming up in my garden, and I am looking forward to stocking it with homemade this spring and summer.

The fourth basket contains frozen vegetables, including some tomatoes from our garden. We got a pressure canner for Christmas and we are looking forward to canning tomatoes this year, giving us more room for other veggies in the freezer.

If you are looking at your freezer with despair, may I suggest you find a little time and just organize it. Knowing where to find the butter and the peas has made a huge difference. Not only can I find what I am looking for and see when I am running out of something, but I can send my husband down to get a package of raspberries and he will be able to find them!

For more kitchen tips and tricks, please go to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan - April 27, 2009

Monday - Beef stew with mashed potatoes

To Do: Soak kidney beans

Tuesday - Pasta with meat sauce

To Do: Cook kidney beans

Wednesday - Chili (made from leftover meat sauce) with cornmeal muffins

Thursday - Leftovers

To Do: Defrost steak

Friday - Steak with potatoes and veggies

To Do: Defrost lamb

Saturday - Lamb chops with mashed potatoes and veggies

To Do: Defrost pork, make tzatziki

Sunday - Pork souvlaki (made with pork tenderloin, purchased on sale) with Greek salad, tzatziki and pita bread

For more menu planning ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Canned Tomatoes at Price Chopper

At my local Price Chopper I discovered Unico canned tomatoes on sale for $0.77 per 796 mL can. I didn't see this price listed in their flyer, but it is a good deal I thought I would mention, especially if you aren't near a Superstore, where the same tomatoes are price locked at $0.79 per can.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Free Green Bin at Participating Stores

I just heard that many of the Loblaws stores are giving away a free green bin until April 30, 2009 if you spend $60 with this printable coupon. This only applies to the stores that are eliminating complimentary bags. This offer is not available at No Frills, because fee for bags is not new.

Keep in mind, as I reported last week, the reusable bags are also on sale for 50% off until April 26th, 2009.

I don't know the regular price of the bins, but if you are planning on spending $60 or more on groceries this week at one of the participating stores, print out the coupon! The bins are well rated by customers on the President's Choice web site.

The coupon reads:

Spend $60, get a FREE PC GREEN Box
April 22-30, 2009

Spend $60 or more (single purchase before applicable taxes and surcharges) and receive a Free PC GREEN Box. Excludes tobacco, alcohol, prescriptions, eyewear, dry cleaning, gas bar, lottery, gift cards, and third party service purchases. Limit one PC GREEN Box per household.

Offer valid April 22 to April 30, 2009 at participating stores impacted by the elimination of complimentary bags. See participating banners below.

This coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Coupon is not redeemable for cash and has no cash value. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

Participating Locations: Extra Foods; Superstore; Fortinos; Independent; Loblaws; Loblaw; Valu-Mart; Zehrs; Maxi; Provigo; Dominion; SaveEasy; Wholesale Club; Club Entrepot

Seedlings Sprouting in the Basement: Growing Your Own Food

We have seedling growing in our basement, waiting until it is warm enough to move outside and grow into a nice, big vegetables.

We transformed a large section of our backyard into a vegetable garden two years ago, when we moved in to our first home, and we have been very pleased. Last year, my husband was not thrilled when I decided I didn't like the layout we had created the first year, and at my insistence, we re-dug all of our garden beds. This year should be our best year yet, because we won't need to do quite so much digging!

Right now, my husband has tomato, cucumber, melon and squash seedlings growing in our basement. I know we are going to plant potatoes and spinach too, because those are favourites of mine.

I think I might also try my hand at planting potatoes in a garbage can. I think I can probably manage that as my very own special project!

My husband is the master gardener at our house, but I can't wait to reap the harvest.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Used Book Sale in Waterloo

If you like second hand books, be sure to check out the 45th Annual Used Book Sale at the First United Church in Waterloo.

The sale is over two days, this Friday and Saturday, April 24th and 25th, 2009.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ontario Weekly Grocery Flyer Deals for April 24 - April 30, 2009

Every week I look at the flyers for Sobeys, Foodland, No Frills, Price Chopper, Food Basics, Real Canadian Superstore, and Zehrs (a Loblaws store, which should have the same sales as Loblaws and Fortinos). I also look through the food section of the Pharma Plus and Shoppers Drug mart flyers, as well as my Walmart and Zellers flyers. My goal is to find food that is worth stocking up on, because it is at the lowest price I can expect to find it.

This week, there isn't much to buy again. I will probably go to Price Chopper to get some Cheerios, and Ontario tomatoes and cucumber. The potatoes are a good deal, but we don't need any yet. I will probably swing by No Frills to get the good deal on Ontario apples, and I can get my yogurt there this week. If I am near a Zehrs, we may pick up some ham, but other than that, I'm not doing much shopping this week.

What do you think is the best deal of the week?

Price Chopper

  • Whole chickens, fresh for $1.49 per lb or $3.28 per kg. Not as good as last week, but okay.
  • Cheerios, $2.49 for 370-525 g. Shows Honey nut, but says cheerios, so should be regular too.
  • Hot house tomatoes, from Ontario, for $0.99 per lb or $2.18 per kg
  • Seedless cucumbers, from Ontario, for $0.99 each
  • Russet potatoes, from Ontario, $2.99 for a 10lb bag
No Frills
  • Empire or McIntosh apples, from Ontario for $2.49 for 4 lbs
  • Unico vegetable oil, $3.99 for 3 L, price locked
  • Tuna, no name, $0.87 for 170 g, price locked
  • Yogurt, no name, $1.97 for 750 g, price locked
  • PC Black Forest ham, deli sliced, $0.99 per 100 g
Food Basics
  • Equality Brand Cheese bars, 520g for $4.99 ($0.96 per 100g. I have got name brand cheese for as little as $0.66 per 100g, but this isn't a bad price if you want some cheese.)
  • Europe's Best frozen fruit, 600 g for $3.79. This was down to $3.49 just a few weeks ago. Still, a pretty good deal if you use the $2 off coupons that were around. I have heard rumors there were more at Loblaws stores last week, but I haven't been able to find any.
  • Astro yogurt, price locked at $1.99 for 750 g
  • Unico tomatoes, still price locked at $0.79 per 796 mL can. Last week, I found I could get the unsalted variety at this price.

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara, or Italian eggs and bacon, as we called it when I was a kid, is a fast, easy and delicious meal. It is my fall back when I don't know what to make and need supper right away. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and the longest part of the cooking is bringing the pasta water to a boil.

1/2 package of bacon (250 g or 1/2 lb) (we always have bacon in the freezer - cook from frozen!)
Big handful of grated Parmesan cheese (about 30 g or 1 oz) (also kept in the freezer)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (or a little less)
freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp) (our secret ingredient!)
salt and pepper
375 g of whole wheat pasta (or you could use regular, or course.)

Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Cut the bacon into strips, and fry until it is cooked. I keep my bacon in the freezer, and use a big sharp knife or my clever to cut the bacon into strips. I throw it into the hot pan still frozen.

While the bacon is cooking, grate your cheese.

Then combine the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back in the pot. Add the cooked bacon and the cheese.

Pour the egg mixture over the hot pasta and stir well. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg, making everything shiny and lovely looking. There should be little to no egg mixture on the bottom of the pot.

Serve right away, while it is hot and delicious.

This should serve 4 adults, but it is very very good and we never have leftovers. Ever.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cornmeal Muffins

Before I start, keep in mind that I am Canadian, and cornbread is not part of my heritage! We started eating cornbread when we were briefly living in North Carolina, and I made my own version when I moved back home.

This recipe makes a sweeter cornbread, made as muffins, because we like muffins. They are great as a side to chili, or ribs or anything else that might qualify as southern or Tex-Mex! They are also delicious spread with jam for breakfast or a snack.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons oil

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg and oil. Beat lightly to break the egg and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir very gently, just to combine.

Pour into a greased 12 cup muffin tin. Bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes, until the muffins spring back.

Serve warm or cold or any way you like! Yummy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Plan - April 20, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk, discovered thanks to the Mother Load. We are big Jamie Oliver fans around here and own most of his books, including the one this recipe came from! I'll serve it with mashed potato as Jamie suggests in his book, and veggies.

To Do: Soak lentils

Sweet and Sour Lentils, with rice and veggies.

Pasta Carbonara with veggies or salad


To Do: Make rolls for sausages, defrost sausages

Oktoberfest sausage with homemade rolls, sauerkraut, mustard and fresh tomatoes

To Do: Defrost lamb

Irish stew

To Do: Defrost pork

Pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes and veggies

For more menus, please see the Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Make a Price Book and Slash Grocery Spending

If you want to stock your cupboards with food purchased at the lowest prices, you need to know what the best prices are! My price book, which allows me to stock up during the best sales, has made the biggest difference to my grocery budget. It saves me far more money than coupons, or any other list of grocery saving tips and tricks.

My main goal at Stocking the Larder is to tell you what I have discovered each week from comparing the flyers, my coupons and my own price book. That is actually how this blog was started. I kept emailing my brother a list of the best deals I found each week. He suggested I start a blog because other local shoppers might find it useful. If you are living in Ontario, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed to keep track of my weekly grocery store deals.

You can do the same thing I do, if you have a little extra time and some patience, to make sure you are getting the best deals on the food you want to store in your home. Some people only track a few items, which is a great way to get started.

My price book is an Excel spreadsheet, with a new tab for each category of grocery item. These categories include:
  • Dairy and Eggs (including cheese, milk, butter, eggs)
  • Fresh Produce and Meats (including fresh fruit and vegetables, different sorts of meat)
  • Dry Goods (including flour, sugar, cereal, dry pasta, and a section for treats)
  • Canned Goods (including canned tomatoes, canned soups, oil, tuna)
  • Frozen (including frozen fruit and vegetables, ice cream)
  • Beverages (including apple juice, tea, coffee, orange juice)
  • Pet Care (including cat food and kitty litter. I can't use the cheapest brands of food, because they don't seem to agree with my cats. I keep track of the brands that work, listed separately. It helps me keep track of the best prices as well as what my cats will eat!)
  • Personal Care (including toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper)
  • Cleaning and Food Storage (including garbage bags, laundry detergent, ammonia)
I list everything I buy under each category. I add prices to my price book from my receipts and from the weekly flyers. For each item I record:
  • price paid
  • size of the item
  • unit price
  • date purchased
  • store
  • coupon used (if any)
My spreadsheet automatically figures out the unit price for each item, usually calculated per 100 mL or 100 g. (The price per millilitre (mL) or per gram (g) is often so low, it would show up as $0.00, which isn't very helpful! Also store labels usually give unit prices in terms of per 100 mL or 100 g, making it a more useful number for comparison shopping.)

A sample unit price calculation:

Price Paid: $1.99
Size of the item: 750 mL

Unit Price = Price Paid/Size of of the item
Unit Price = $1.99/750 mL
Unit Price = $0.00265 per mL

To make this more useful, multiply by 100
Unit Price per 100 mL = $0.26 per 100 mL

I keep multiple prices for most items. This helps me see what items have a regular sales cycle, and helps me determine how much to buy during a sale.

I make a weekly shopping list, so I find that I usually don't need to bring my price book with me. If there are any prices that aren't clear from the flyers (usually related to item size), I make a note on my list to check it out at the store. I am working on making a sheet I can print out and keep in my coupon wallet so that I can always check to see if a clearance item at the grocery store or some unadvertised special is really a good deal, but this isn't a priority because it is so infrequently needed.

If you considering starting your own price book, there are several great resources on the web.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ontario Weekly Grocery Flyer Deals for April 17 - April 23, 2009

There aren't that many deals this week, so I won't be buying much. This is one of the weeks that I enjoy the fruits of my stocking up and spend very little money.

I probably won't make it out to No Frills because there isn't much I need there this week, and it is out of my way. Food Basics is probably not going to make the cut either. I may pop into Price Chopper because it is right next to the Pharma Plus, where I will definitely be headed to stock up on some apple juice and my husband's brand of deodorant. Based on sales, I will do my main shopping at the Superstore this week. The main draw is the good deal on whole chickens. I will probably buy 2 or 3 and add them to the freezer.

The food I buy every week, which mostly consists of milk and eggs, are about the same price at all of the budget grocery stores. If you check the back of the Price Chopper, No Frills, Food Basics and Superstore flyer, you will see they all have bread, milk, eggs and butter advertised for almost identical prices. I don't buy the processed bread, and I usually wait to stock up on butter when I find a really great price (and most of the stores only guarantee a price on salted butter - I prefer to get unsalted). For basic milk and eggs, any store will do.

If you need reusable grocery bags, Sobey's and Price Chopper have them for buy 1 get 1 free on Earth Day (Wednesday April 22, 2009). Also, Zehrs (Loblaws) and Superstore have their reusable bags on sale for 50% off until April 26th. The full service stores, like Sobey's, Zehrs (Loblaws) and Real Canadian Superstore are going to start charging for bags in the very near future. Zehrs (Loblaws) and the Superstore will start charging 5¢ for bags on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2009 and Sobey's will start charing for bags of May 1st, 2009.

No tax event on Friday 5pm-close and Saturday from open-close
  • Whole chicken, fresh for $1.18 per lb ($2.60 per kg)
  • Tomatoes, Ontario on the vine for $1.29 per lb (or $2.84 per kg)
  • Unico tomatoes, 796 mL for $0.79 (Should still be on sale, as they were listed as a price lock last week. I found that at my Superstore they had the no salt added variety at this price as well!)
Pharma Plus
Sales start Saturday the 18th
  • Rougemont Apple juice for $0.88 for 1.2L (standard can)
  • Old Spice deodorant at 2 for $5.00
  • Cheerios for $1.99 for 400g box
  • Another coupon came in the flyer for Buy 1 Get 1 Free on Rexal brand vitamins, mineral or herbals, excluding advertised products. Valid April 11 -24th, 2009
No Frills
(If you happen to live in KW, the only No Frills I know about is in Elmira. If you are near the expressway, it isn't very far, especially if you are making a stop at the new Walmart in St. Jacob's)
  • Royale Toilet Paper 40 single rolls for $5.97 - $1.00 from
  • Celery $0.99 (imported)
Price Chopper
  • Post cereals (400-620g) for $1.47. The picture only shows Honeycomb and Shreddies, but it will probably include raisin bran too. Maybe others?
Food Basics
  • Cucumbers, Ontario, for $0.79 each

Movenpick Inspired Yogurt Muesli

When I was a child, we used to go to the Movenpick restaurant in Toronto for brunch. My favourite thing to eat was their muesli. I have created my own version based on this childhood treat, for a healthy and delicious breakfast, made in advanced for a fast morning meal.

This version is different from every muesli recipe I could find on the Internet because it is not a dry cereal, but a wet, yogurt-based muesli. Imagine a dry oat based cereal combined with yogurt and fruit and left overnight for the flavours to meld and the oats to become soft, almost like a cooked oatmeal. The red berries give it a lovely pink colour.

You need to make this at least the night before, because it has to sit in your fridge for the oats and seeds to soak in the yogurt, and the flavours to meld. If you make extra, it is even better then next day.

I have been reading up on the advantages of soakings grains and I think this recipe could be easily adapted to soaking. Soaked grains are not refrigerated during the soaking period, and oats should be soaked for 24 hours. I have included my suggestion for soaking directions at the bottom, but I haven't tried this method yet. I will update when I try this next week.

This muesli is very filling and you won't need much. It also makes a great snack, or even desert.

1 whole apple, a sweeter variety (I often use Empires)
1 1/4 cups yogurt (375 g)
about 1/8 cup honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup raisins
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Grate the apple into a large bowl. I keep the peel on. Combine with the yogurt and honey. You want to make the yogurt sweet enough for your family's taste, using the apple and the honey. Keep in mind that their will be added raisins, which are very sweet!

Add the rolled oats, the seeds, the raisins and the frozen berries.

Put into a covered container to store. It should sit in the fridge at least 8 hours.

Makes about 3 cups, which can easily serve 4 for breakfast.

The recipe is very flexible. You can exchange the seeds for any other type of seed or nut, the raisins are optional, and the berries can be of any sort you like.

Recipe Cost: about $2.75 for 4 servings, or $0.69 per serving.

Suggestion towards a soaked method:
The morning before you want to eat the muesli, combine the oats and seeds and enough yogurt to make it moist. Cover and leave on the counter for 24 hours.

That same evening, combine the grated apple, the rest of the yogurt, and honey to your ideal sweetness. Add the raisins and frozen fruit. Keep in the fridge overnight. This will allow the raisins to plump up, the fruit to defrost, and the sweetness to melt with the yogurt.

In the morning, combine the soaked oats with the refrigerated fruit/yogurt mixture, and enjoy.

I am including this in The Nourishing Gourmet's Breakfast recipe carnival.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cheap and Easy Cheese Crackers just posted a recipe for crispy cheese crackers. She suggested they would be a great alternative to Goldfish crackers. Now, my kids LOVE those little fish, but I hardly ever buy them. They seem overpriced, and I have a bad habit of eating them all when the kids aren't looking!

I spent $1.74 for a package of whole grain fish a few months ago, because they were on sale for $2.49 and I had a coupon for $0.75 off. The entire package weighed 180g. That means I paid $0.97 per 100 grams.

This dough for this recipe took the time it takes to preheat the oven to throw together, 15 minutes to bake and another 15 -30 minutes with the oven turned off to crisp up.

The most expensive part of this recipe was the cheese, which cost me about $0.63. All together, this recipe cost me $1.25, given that all ingredients were purchased using my stocking up method. The final weight of the crackers was 280g. That means these crackers cost $0.43 per 100 grams.

So for less than half the price, I have a quick, easy, homemade cracker, made with 100% whole wheat flour. And the kids love them!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan - April 13, 2009

Friday afternoon we discovered that our fridge freezer had been set to off, and all sorts of things were defrosting. This is one of the perils of having small children trying to pour their own milk.

As luck would have it, we store a half dozen containers of homemade broth in our freezer and this made the difference between an inconvenience and a catastrophe. The frozen blocks of broth kept the freezer cool. A few things were still frozen, a few things were defrosting and need to be eaten this week and the rest needed to be cooked, but was still good.

Our menu this week is dictated by the food that was in our upstairs freezer, and is now in our fridge, waiting to be eaten!

Oktoberfest sausages with sauerkraut, potatoes and veggies

Steak and re-heated chicken fingers (for the kids) with mashed potatoes and veggies
The chicken fingers were defrosted and had to be cooked. Too many to eat at once, but the kids love them however they get this treat!

Roasted lamb with rice pilaf (Easter leftovers) and veggies

Freezer vegetable soup, with sausage meat

Baked Pollock with mashed potatoes and veggies
This is the third week this has been on my menu. The first week we were sick, this past week the freezer problem dictated a different meal choice. Thankfully I hadn't defrosted the fish!


Beef stew with homemade rolls

For more menu ideas, please visit the Organizing Junkie!

Easter Meal

For Easter this year, we had a Greek themed dinner. We doubled the number of people we were having to dinner at the last minute, so we had to add some extra meat to the lamb we had planned.

Our Easter Menu:
The meal was a great success!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

Yesterday after supper I decided to make hot cross buns. I know they are traditional for Good Friday, but I had never made them before.

A quick search online turned up a recipe by Anna Olson of TV's Sugar. I have seen her show, and was confident that her recipe would be tasty. Additionally, the recipe looked easy, and I had all of the ingredients on hand! I left out the candied cherries and candied pineapples, feeling that I would stick with just the raisins and candied peel, which seem more traditional.

If you have a large stand mixer, these are a snap to make!


For the Buns
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp instant dry active yeast
1 large egg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Make sure the milk isn't cold form the fridge, as this may cause problems for the yeast.
Stir in the eggs.
Add the spices, salt, flour and melted butter.
Once the ingredients are combined, add the raisins and candied peel.

With the mixer, kneed on low speed for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as the dough wanted to climb up the dough hook. Alternatively, according to Anna, you can mix by hand with a wooden spoon for 8 minutes.... I would think that you would actually need to kneed the dough for most of this time, not just stir it!

Butter the mixing bowl, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a tea towel, leave in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.

When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it into 12 small pieces. I made sure to punch down the dough, removing the air during this procedure, as that is the normal practice in yeast breads. Grease a 10" spring form pan, and put the 12 smooth balls into the pan. I am sure you could use a square pan, or even put them out on a cookie sheet if you wanted buns that were not attached. The spring form pan works well, because after they are baked you will apply a glaze to the hot buns.

Cover the buns with a tea towel and let rise another 20 minutes.

Place in a 350F oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the buns are dark brown.

I was disappointed by how dry the buns looked when they came out of the oven. But I had forgotten about the glaze.

For the glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

While you are waiting to take the buns out of the oven, combine the sugar and water in a pot. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, but not browned.
When you take the buns out of the oven, poke holes in them. I used my cake tester. A toothpick would also work well.
Brush the glaze over the top of the buns. Even though it seemed like too much, we ended up pouring all of the glaze over the buns, and I'm glad we did.

We left our buns to sit overnight, and soak up all of the glaze.
This morning, my husband made the icing, and applied nice white crosses to the tops of the buns, using a piping bag.

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

I think that Anna Olson intended to frost the entire bun, like a cinnamon roll, rather than just put crosses on them, judging by the amount of icing she made. I don't think that the extra icing was necessary - they would be too sweet. To avoid the icing all together, you could make a white dough of flour and water to apply to the uncooked buns, as Anna also suggested. I think I will try that next time.

The buns ended up soft with a chewy texture, and slightly sticky because of the glaze. We all loved them and decided this recipe is a keeper.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stocking Up: Getting the best deal on groceries

How much food do you have in your house right now?

We have... well, a lot! Our freezer is quite full, and so is our cold cellar. They are full of food we will use, bought at the cheapest prices I could find, ready for us to prepare into healthy meals (and the occasional unhealthy treat).

Why do I have so much food, when there are only four people in my family? I am not hoarding, nor am I worried about the end of the world. I am trying to make the best use of my grocery dollars, by purchasing food we use at the best price I can.

Take a can of tuna. A regular can of tuna can sell for a huge range of prices. I have seen it for $1.79 for store brand tuna in water. I have also seen it for $0.99. A few weeks ago, I saw if for $0.69 per can. So I bought 10 cans. I saved over $10 compared to buying the tuna at full price, and $3.00 over buying it at the more expensive sale price.

My goal is to buy enough tuna at $0.69 a can to last me until the next time I can get it for that price.

When I stock up on each pantry staple as I find it on sale, my shelves are full of food purchased at the lowest price, ready for me when I need it.

The same principle can be applied to frozen or freezable items, if you have a large freezer for storage. I keep my freezer full of meat, butter, frozen peas and corn, frozen fruit and cheese that I freeze in bars or grate and then freeze.

You may also be interested in some of my tips and tricks for stocking up.

Ontario Weekly Grocery Flyer Deals for April 10 - April 16, 2009

Keep in mind before you head out shopping, that most stores will probably be closed tomorrow (Friday April 10th, 2009) for the holiday!

There are a couple of good deals at all the stores this week, including free Pillsbury Crescent rolls, and $0.49 for 125g of sliced meat (after coupons, available online).

I am particularly interested in the good price on meat: good deals on Canadian bacon and pork tenderloin this week.

I will also stock up on Campbell's condensed soup and our favourite Habitant soups, both on sale this week.

Canned tomatoes are a good price, but as the price is locked, I will only buy a can or two this week. I can buy a few cans over the next few weeks. This should make it easier to stick to my budget.

  • Schneiders 1890 or fat free sliced meats (125g) for $2.49 - $2.00 coupon from
  • Oranges, Seedless from Morocco (8lb bag) for $3.99
  • Lou's Cured Pork Loin Rolled in Cornmeal (Peameal Bacon) for $1.99 per pound.
Price Chopper
  • Green Giant frozen veggies (750g) for $1.99. Not as good as last week, but not bad if you are out!
  • Pork Tenderloin (frozen in pkgs of 2) for $1.99 per pound. Buy some and try my recipe!
  • Tropicana orange juice for $4.44 for 3.78L (about the same price as last weeks, per unit)
  • Vegetable oil for $3.99 for 3L (again, same deal I got last week)
  • Astro yogurt (650/750 g) for $1.99 (Price lock... so it should stay here for a few weeks)
  • Unico tomatoes, 796 mL for $0.79 (Another price lock...)
  • Coupons: There are a variety of coupons in the Superstore flyer this week, good only for this week. Many for electronics and household stuff. Of particular interest was Fusion power cartridges (4's) or Venus cartridges (8's), save $2

Zehrs (Loblaws stores)
  • Campbell's condensed Soups (tomato, vegetable, cream of mushroom or chicken noodle) (285mL) for $0.49
Food Basics
Evidently the sale doesn't start until Monday here in Waterloo. May or may not be true in other places.
  • Kraft Peanut Butter (1kg) for $1.99. I prefer natural peanut butter, but it is my husband's favourite. EDIT: the 750g natural 100% peanuts was the same price!
  • Shopsey's all beef wieners (450g) for $1.99
  • Habitant Soup (796 mL) for $0.99
(Sale starts Saturday)
  • Pillsbury Crescents (235g) for $1 - $1 coupon. Okay, so this isn't healthy, and probably falls under one or more of my coupon traps, but for free, or close to free, I may buy. Keep in mind: It will cost at least the price of the gas to get there, there may be a charge for taxes, you may find some other things you "need" while you are in yet another store, you may be hassled when buying only one free thing, and the nutritional content of these things is probably atrocious.
Rexall PharmaPlus
(Sales start Saturday)
  • With the flyer coupon, Buy 1 Get 1 Free on Rexal brand vitamins, mineral or herbals, excluding advertised products. Valid April 11 -24th, 2009

Stocking Up: Some Hints and Tips

Know your prices.
Is it really a good deal? Don't buy 5 boxes just because the store tells you it is a good deal. Often the sales prices listed in flyers aren't anywhere near the lowest price you can find. Check out my weekly food deals posts, and think about keeping your own price book.

Find a storage place.
We are lucky because we have a big cold cellar under the stairs full of shelves and ready to hold all our canned goods, shelving in the furnace room and a big chest freezer. You may not have my optimal storage situation, but you almost certainly have some storage!
In our first apartment we had a small chest freezer right in the kitchen that acted as extra counter space. We still hadn't acquired much in the way of kitchen clutter and had room in the cupboards for extra food.
Keep in mind your pantry doesn't have to be in the kitchen. You will go shopping in your pantry as needed. A linen closet could work well, if you get rid of the old sheets you don't need and the ratty old towels. I've heard of people storing extra food under beds. Be creative!

Try before you stock up.

If you have found something that is a great deal, but you aren't certain that you will enjoy that brand or flavour, buy one and try it. Then stock up. We once stocked up on a certain brand of canned peaches I had never tried before. Yuck. They tasted like cardboard. Be warned. Make sure you will eat it!

Only buy food you actually use.
Don't stock up on cheap tuna if you don't like tuna! It isn't a deal if you won't eat it.

Organize your pantry.
I have a section for tomato products, a section for jams and spreads, a section for beans, a section for fruit, a section for canned fish, etc. You need to stay organized so you can find your food. It is great to get a good deal on canned peaches, but if you keep getting good deals and then loosing them in the pantry, you aren't making best use of your grocery dollar.

Keep the oldest food up front.
Just like at the grocery store, put the new food at the back, and the older food at the front, so it gets used first.

Watch best before dates.
Even cans often have best before dates. Make sure you can use what you buy before the best before date.

Try not to pass that line from stocking up to hoarding.
It is really easy to go crazy when you find a good deal. When something you use all the time is on sale for a great price it is easy to go crazy and buy, buy, buy! Keep in mind that most sales will come back again. Grocery stores have cycles and many things go on sale again and again.
Keep in mind the limits of your storage space. You want to be able to stock up on a range on things you use. If your space is all filled up with tomatoes, where will you put the baked beans?

Remember your budget.
When you are buying the food you need to eat this week, you probably find you spend a similar amount from week to week. When you are stocking up, some weeks you won't find anything to buy except your basic perishables. Other weeks there will be several great deals to stock up on. Your goal is to save money, so make sure you are saving money! You may need to adjust to a more monthly view of your food budget, rather than a weekly budget. If you used to spend $150 a week, you could start by making your goal to reduce that by $50 a week, with the plan that you won't spend more than $400 over the course of a month ($100 X 4 weeks).
You figure out what you can afford and stick to that. You don't want to over spend in your efforts to save money!

You might also be interested in reading about how I decide what to stock up on!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rosemary Garlic Pork Tenderloin

This is a great quick weeknight meal, but also my go-to meal if I have guests. Everyone loves it, but it is fast and easy.

This makes 4 servings, but is very easy to double because the sale pork tenderloins are usually two to a package. Wait for a sale. I expect to pay less than $3 per pound.

1 Pork Tenderloin (about 500 g or 1 lb)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 475F.

Heat a large, ovenproof frying pan over high heat. I use my large cast iron skillet. Add salt and pepper to the pork and place in the frying pan to brown. As each side browns, turn over. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes.

While the pork is browning, chop, press or grate the garlic. Roughly chop the rosemary, to get rid of any large pieces. Combine the garlic, rosemary and olive oil.

When the meat is brown, spread the oil mixture over all sides of the pork. Place the meat in the hot oven and cook about 10 more minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145F. The meat should have just a hint of pink. The meat should rest before cutting.

Health Canada and the USDA both say that pork should be cooked to 160F to be safe. I am generally big on food safety, but you want to be really careful not to over cook the pork. It doesn't have a lot of fat and if you overcook it it will be dry. To follow the safety guidelines I would consider taking the meat out of the oven at 150F and tenting it with tinfoil for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting the meat. That should be enough to bring it up to the required 160F. The consensus seems to be that meat will go up from 5 to 10 degrees while it rests.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Menu Plan - April 6, 2009

We were sick almost all week, so we didn't eat most of the foods we had planned. This week looks very much like last week, except for a few changes to accommodate some food we ate, and because this weekend is Easter! The lamb we had planned last week will be lovely for Easter, as it didn't get eaten either because we were invited to dinner on Sunday. We will probably go less Greek and more British for Easter.

Frikadeller (Danish meatballs) with red cabbage, more veggies and potato
To Do: Soak dry beans

Bean and Lentil Casserole
To Do: Defrost chicken

Tarragon Chicken with rice and veggies

To Do: Defrost fish

Baked Pollock with mashed potatoes and veggies
To Do: Defrost pork

Garlic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with potatoes, veggies
To Do: Defrost lamb

Easter Dinner: Roast Lamb with potatoes, veggies, and dessert.

For more menu plans, see the Organizing Junkie!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Canadian Online Coupons

One aspect of saving money is collecting coupons. There aren't always coupons available for the things I want, and sometimes coupons don't save me any money, but some coupons are valuable, and I collect them and use them. My list of coupon tips explains how I use coupons to help me save money.

The nicest coupons are the ones you can select online and have sent to your home. I love I usually try and go on one a week to select coupons I am interested in. is always available, although some coupons will only be sent a limited number of times. The coupons usually arrive very promptly.

For a limited time, you can also get coupons from Brandsaver sent to you. Brandsaver is powered by and is available for a limited time with the current coupons. It seems that they periodically introduce new coupons to send out. The same Brandsaver coupons are also delivered to me in a Brandsaver coupon flyer, so by also selecting them online I can get a second copy of the coupons I am most interested in.

Ontario Weekly Grocery Flyer Deals for April 3 - April 9, 2009

I am so excited by the frozen fruit deal I will get this week! On the other hand, I am disappointed to see I spent too much on the frozen veggies I stocked up on last week.

Grocery deals this week:

Price Chopper:
  • Tropicana orange juice for $2.97 for 2.63L
  • Saporito vegetable oil for $3.99 for 3L
  • Astro Original Yogurt for $2.29 for 750g (Can't stock up on this, but not a bad price. Last week I got it for $2 which is even better.)
  • Cucumbers for $0.89
  • Green Giant veggies for $1.88 for 750g. Ohhh... I stocked up last week at $2 per bag. I'll make a note that the prices go down even farther and wait for this sale next time! They are also this price at Foodland, if that is more convenient.
  • Broccoli for $0.97 for a large size. (Not local yet, but we like some variety!)
  • Ground Pork for $3.49 for 450 g (Not an amazing deal, but a favourite)
  • Lemons and limes for $0.99 for 3 large.
Food Basics:
  • Europe's Best Frozen Fruit for $3.49 for 600 g -$2.00 using the coupons I got last week! (And a much better deal then the $4.99 they are on sale for at Price Chopper)
  • Europe's Best Frozen veggies for $1.99 for 300g to 600g -$1.00. I will have to check these out. The 600 g packages are a great deal, cheaper than the Green Giant veggies. The 300 g packages aren't such a great deal. And if nobody will eat them, they aren't a great deal.
  • Carnation Evaporated Milk for $0.99 for 370mL
  • Dole Pineapple for $0.59 for 398mL