Tuesday Is National (FREE) Coffee Day!

Bleary-eyed mornings, trembling hands, brain fog~all these are symptoms of Monday Morning Going Back To Work Blues.  Well, Monday morning has come and gone.  However, Tuesday, Tuesday is a chance to wake with a smile knowing you are going to cure all those morning symptoms and it won’t cost you a dime–nothing, zero, nada.  Because Tuesday, September 29, 2015 is NATIONAL (FREE) COFFEE DAY!

Nothing can spoil the  experience of a free cup of coffee, right?  Well, one thing can–a bad cup of joe.  But Catey Hill. reporting for MarketWatch has found the:

10 best places to get free (and cheap) coffee Tuesday~and more…

  • Krispy Kreme: This may be the best coffee deal get a free 12-ounce cup of coffee, and a free glazed doughnut. Or you can also get a small iced coffee, latte or mocha for $1.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Participating Dunkin’ Donuts DNKN, -are giving away a free medium-sized cup of its dark roast coffee.
  •  LaMar’s Donuts: Participating locations of this Midwest chain  get one free 12-ounce coffee per customer and a free travel mug while supplies last.
  •  Peet’s Coffee & Tea: At participating locations, buy food onTuesday, and get a free small cup of Peet’s Major Dickason’s blend.
  • Caribou Coffee: A worthy donation~buy a cup of Amy’s Blend, the company will donate a cup to the nurses and families in cancer centers nationwide.
  •  Wawa:  Get a free coffee in any size.
  •  Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: At participating get iced coffee and iced Americanos for 50% off
  • Cumberland Farms:  Text FREECOFFEE to 33733 to get a free iced or hot coffee of any size.  Added bonus: starting on Oct. 9, consumers can get free coffee on Fridays at the chain offer expires on October 31.
  • Pilot Flying J: Free 16-ounce coffee when you show the coupon for free coffee posted on Pilot Flying J’s Facebook page.
  • Whole Foods: Buy a 12-ounce coffee is just 25 cents throughout the month of September.

 

 

A Small Kitchen Gadget That Makes Short Work Of Preparing Vegetables & Fruit In An A-Peeling Way

KP duty in days gone by usually meant peeling potatoes–a relatively labor intensive, boring job.  Now you can buy electric peelers  designed to peel potatoes automatically.  Some version of this  has been around roughly since the 80’s, and unfortunately the expectations exceeded the reality.  You are still better off using the old fashion peeler.  But with so many on the market, how do you choose?

MarkdownMom  likes the OXOGood Grips Pro Swivel Peeler.  An item rated high by users and, what MDM especially likes features replaceable blades (sold separately) making it possible to just replace the blade when it becomes dull.  Priced at $12.99 at Amazon.  Black only.

A second choice you might want to consider is the Messermiester Pro-Touch Red Serrated Swivel Peeler ideal for soft skin fruit and vegetables.  Stainless steel blade.  Consumers report it makes light work of peeling tomatoes, carrots, parsnips and even squash.  Comes with a clip-on blade guard.  Best price $8.47 at Amazon.   Best Consumer Rated.

Tip Of The Week: #74 Comes From Martha & Rachael

Okay, we have all had it happened–suddenly we get an inspiration to bake, rare though it is, and unless you have a professional pantry like Martha Stewart or specifically planned to bake a particular item and you  bought everything ahead of time at the grocery store–like we’re all so-o-o organized, right?  You may be out of a particular item–say powdered sugar or super fine sugar.  But don’t  dismay if you have regular granulated sugar.

Both Martha and about food suggest using granulated sugar and processing it with a metal blade for 5 minutes–use more than recipe calls for because some will turn into powder–and process for 5 minutes.

Without and need powder sugar?  Rachael says do same thing, but longer.  Choosing Voluntary Simplicity suggests using a blender for better results since it breaks down the sugar crystals easier and in less time.

Did you know commercial powdered sugar contained cornstarch???

THE ANGUS MEAT MARKET–A CUT ABOVE THE REST

Near County Road C in Maplewood, Minnesota, in one half of a brick building, is housed a meat market that not only carries spectacular cuts of meat for the dinner table, but also items that cater to the gourmands among us. The Angus Meat Market assaults your senses and eyes when you walk in with the smells of hickory and smoke, and an array of meats including every cut of steak imagineable, jerky in a variety of flavors made from beef, turkey and chicken, and double-smoked hickory bacon. What drew MarkdownMom to this site was their large sign heralding “Double Smoked Hams.” For the holidays, this is a must have and your quests will rave at the moistness and flavor of their hams, and for that special occasion you can even order a whole pig for roasting!
For those who culinary tastes are more adventurous, this market carries specialized meats such as alligator and smoked alligator and kangaroo (delight for all those Crocodile Dundee fans), bison, elk, kobe/wygu (Japan) patties and steaks, farm raised venison, wild boar, goat and grass fed beef can be ordered! Besides free range chickens and turkeys, they carry small birds including quail, cornish hens, and partridge.
.For the hunters, The Home Market processes all kinds of game. For you favorite pooch, they even have dog treats–the lists goes on and on. And what ‘s equally important, prices were more than competitive–like 95% ground beef for $4.99/lb!
Oh, MarkdownMom mustn’t forget that the other half of the brick building houses the family’s liquor store. One stop shopping to pick up that special beverage to go along with your delicious meals.

This Is One Family-Owned Business where family pride is shown in the quality of their product!!!

What To Buy And What Not To Buy At Warehouse Clubs

A MarketWatch  post today  reminds us all that there are advantages and disadvantages to buying in bulk.  One advantage is saving money by cutting the cost of the unit price.  However, as MarkdownMom has pointed out, the savvy shopper needs to look at the unit price and consider if buying from stores that routinely offer sale prices and coupons is a better buy.

Another important consideration in this article is to really analyze your family needs.  Unless you have a large family or extended family to share the large quantities, it doesn’t make sense to buy perishables since it is unlikely that you’ll use a large quantity of this item prior to their expiration date.  A gallon of catsup doesn’t make sense for two people, etc.

Also remember that certain stores known for a particular item will have better prices  than the warehouse stores.  CD’s, DVDs, etc. are often lower in price at Target, Amazon, WalMart, etc.

However, warehouse stores are excellent for lower prices on meat, tires and batteries, medications and buying in bulk can often save you time, gasoline, and inconvenience and  necessity of multiple trips to keep items in stock for your family.

Grocery Wars Part 2: Less Choices

Retailers learned their lesson following 2008 crash that controlling inventory became key to improving sales. What they did not count on was a continuing decline, not only in the purchasing power of consumers, but also the on-going decline of the middle class that began in 1980 and continues today.

Food always has been competitive with narrower profit margins than most other businesses; however, it was somewhat recession proof since consumers could forgo buying a new car or the latest fashion, but everyone has to eat, right?  However, now grocery stores have begun to control inventories beyond seasonal items and what this means for the consumer is a decline in the number and type of selections a store will carry.  Add to this natural causes such as drought, floods, and shorter growing seasons, that have increased prices substantially on beef and pork, and the consumer increasingly is being placed between a rock and a hard place.  As the middle class keeps losing ground coupled with higher prices, grocery stores are scaling back the volume and variety they offer in almost every department.

How many times have you experienced going to either a warehouse store or local grocery store for a staple that you have been buying for years, only to find that it isn’t being carried by the retailer anymore?  Are these products no longer being supplied?  In some cases, yes—some businesses have closed either through competitive attrition or retirement in family-owned businesses, but not all.  Stores are cutting back on what they consider gourmet items but also on staples if price is prohibitive and sales are limited due to the makeup of their clientele.

What this means is that many of your favorite items will be harder to find and indirectly will affect the type of meals you will be able to offer your family.  Additionally, prices will increase as competition declines.  What this means in the long run for the overall nutrition of your family is difficult to determine.

MarkdownMom does recommend increasing community gardens and individual gardens to the level of WWII Victory Gardens, and continuation of developing relationships with local farmers, local farmers markets, and learning canning and other food preservation methods.  Until the middle class starts to see signs of an economic recovery, going to the grocery store will require employing all the savvy consumer skills you have to survive sticker shock!

Size Is Important-The Ongoing Grocery Wars Part 1

Summer customarily has been a time of plenty and ease when we treat ourselves to relaxation in the sun, lazy days, and all that wonderful fresh, seasonal food!  Okay, so during this time of bounty, at the beginning of the harvest season, why are consumers paying more, but filling fewer grocery bags?

Well, several factors are at play here and one represents a significant change by manufacturers of our food that has required a major investment by them in retooling their factories and may signify a continued slow economy for some time to come.  Employing a merchandising trompe l’oeil, a fooling of the eye, manufacturers have kept prices down by reducing the contents of the individual item. Actually, this was done purposely to hide price increases since this is an inflationary action with the consumer paying the same or more,  but getting less.  Over time, this smaller sized product was incorporated into the inventory, but now every item stocked is the smaller size.  MarkdownMom recently visited WalMart and the shelves are shockingly full, row by row, with these miniature cans.

Additionally, packaged goods have reduced weights and less items included.  For instance, the consumer will pay the same price for an item as before–a good deal, right?  But instead of getting, 6 items in the package, there are only 4; instead of a dozen, there are 10.  Do the math, that’s an inflationary rate over 10%.   Meanwhile, the average consumers pay has stagnated after a steady decline beginning in the 1980’s.

It’s hard to say when this incredible, edible shrinkage will stop.  The only thing the consumer has in common with the food industry is that the $1 is worth less as well.

Tea For Two–Or One!

The most economical way to buy tea is in bulk.  Usually it is fresher andthe cost per ounce is less.  The downside is steaming the tea to extract the full flavor and straining out the leaves.  Now you can do both, a twofer, or two for tea with the Kamjove Press Art Tea Cup.

Like the French Press, this  is a great way to brew a cuppa.  With a patented press valve you can control strength, no leaking when you stop pressing, and stainless steel double filter nets make this item a must have for the tea drinker.

Prices range from $20-$25, at various web sites including Ebay, and local Asian specialty stores such as Noodles & Company.

Yo,Mama–Yonanas!

Okay, Labor Day Weekend spells the end of summer and perhaps the last family summer picnic.  Hot dogs, burgers, potato salad and more.  Sounds heavy, right?  Where does dessert come in–yeah, I know there’s always room for jello, but come on that squiggly mixture can turn into a gloppy mess in hot weather, and it’s not that exciting.

What would you say to a frozen delicious dessert that can rival your favorite gelato, frozen yogurt, is super healthy and  takes minutes to prepare?  Yonanas is a new kitchen gadget that takes those bananas turning brown and turns them into a delicious soft ice cream or fruit popsicle.  Great for the family and cost effective, too.   $49.95+sh, best price on shipping and handling at HSN.

Without a heavy dessert to slow you down, you can scoop all those Labor Day Weekend bargains!