A review of Trader Joe’s unique finds

I buy groceries once a week from Trader Joe’s.  I always buy one novelty item to try.  Sometimes I am blown away, but I have also tasted some big flops.  Here’s my take on my most recent buys…

 

Crunchy Green Beans: Garbage.  A crowd pleaser for people who are kidding themselves.

Pacific Flounder stuffed with crab meat: Mushy texture, delicious flavor.  A great freezer meal for nights when you don’t give a hoot.

Roasted Plantain Chips: Taste like salty cardboard, but I can’t get enough.  Purchased weekly.

Pineapple Salsa: This seems counterintuitive, but you will put it on EVERYTHING.

Spicy Thai Style Pasta Salad: The peanut sauce gums up the inside of your mouth like a fresh coat of spackle.  It’ll go straight from the bowl to the trash can.

Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup: Please, sir, I want some more.  Do yourself a favor and buy some crusty bread to dunk into this deliciousness.

Ezekiel Bread: For when you’ve given up on life.

That’s all for now.

What do you love and hate from Trader Joe’s?

-Mads

What’s goat cheese in spanish?

Ok team.  We know I am cheap.  I love deals and savings and thrift and pennies saved.

Enter: The Mexican Food4Less

I don’t know if you have Food4Less where you are from, but I have just discovered it’s existence in California.  Not only that, but the family I work for lives about 2 blocks from one.

For Midwesterners: Imagine a smaller Costco with the prices of Aldi and the diversity of the food court at the Mall of America.

Simply amazing.

I found myself constantly saying, “Wait, it’s 98 cents?!  Isn’t there one for 49 cents?”  Everything was that cheap.

I bought spices and booze and produce and meats and cheeses and holiday snacks and it was all only $75!!!  We’re talking food for a month at that price.

Downside?  I don’t know Spanish so I had to guess at a lot of products hahahaha.  I am crazy.

Seriously though.  How am I supposed to know what kind of cheese it is if there isn’t a picture of a goat on the front?

Loving the little things.

-Mads

Just call me the Coupon Mom

(minus the mom part because I don’t have children)

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that Jonathan and I have been struggling to find our balance of grocery spending since moving in together.

Well folks, I think we may have found it!

Last night we did our shopping and ended up with a $52 tab!  Not bad at all 🙂

For starters, we went back to my original goals of coupon cutting, meal planning, and organizing.

Then we looked closely at deals at the store and realized that some of our coupons were still not as cheap as the store brands, but some of our coupons were able to be used in conjunction with store deals.  Woohoo!

Favorites on the list this week:

-Dannon light and fit vanilla (I know I know, it has aspartame, but find me an equally delicious yogurt without high fructose corn syrup)
-Avocado
-Snapea Crisps (not sure of the nutritional value, but they taste delicious and feel less guilty than chips)
-String Cheese!!! (if you buy the low moisture part skim mozzarella, it’s apparently a pretty healthy snack)

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What are your favorite snacks to get at the grocery store?  Do you challenge yourself to save each week?

-Mads

The Latest Attempt at Groceries

So…a week after my promises to do better  at grocery spending, I DID!

The greatest part about the whole experience is that we had no coupons, no list, and spent less than 40 minutes shopping…SAY WHA?!?  I know.  I have no idea how that worked out.

En totale we spent $100 on groceries.  I know, I know, I said less than 60 bucks in my last post.  WELL, 50 of this was booze!!!! (Oh and we definitely are not counting booze as a grocery item.  Jonathan chooses to call it a “lifestyle choice”.  I am more inclined to think of it as a “need” like toilet paper.  To each his own.)

Things we did right?

-Cooked up our food from last week in big batches and froze it, which allowed us to focus on fresh produce this week instead of staples.

-Looked for steals in the back corner where they keep the cheapo items.  Find this place in your grocery store!

-Really really looked at the sale items and what was in season.  For some reason red peppers were 79 cents this week and green pepper was $1.29.  Guess which one is going on our fajitas?

Whew!  I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Let’s hope we can keep this momentum up for next week.

-Mads

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my FALL GIVEAWAY!  Just comment, tweet, or blog about it (or do all three) for your chance to win an Ina Garten cookbook and a rolling pin 🙂

Grocery Challenge: A couple’s challenge

I know ya’ll are like, “YOU PROMISED ME PIZZA!”  (that was said in the angry Chris Farley voice).  I’m sorry.  I have failed you twice now.  I promise we really made pizza and it really was awesome and I really will post about it.  Jonathan was playing around with the pictures using his fancy shmancy camera, which I don’t know how to upload onto my computer…sooo it might be a few days.  In the meantime, back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans. ——————————————————————————————-

Living with a significant other has drastically changed my grocery habits, and not for the better.

We spend soooo much money on food!  I mean, really!  What. the. hell.  We have been shopping like money is raining down on us…approximately 130 bucks a week!  Yikes!  I simply cannot use enough exclamation points to establish the ridiculousness of this situation!

So I am bringing back my personal grocery challenge.  The new goal is to spend less than 60 bucks a week on groceries.  That means some drastic changes need to happen around here.  But it’s doable, right?

This week’s shopping came to $97 bucks.  A tiny bag of pine nuts was $20!

I took a picture of the pine nuts next to a fork to show the scale:

So, this day marks the first day on a long journey of grocery savings.

I cut coupons before every big trip, but I always wind up using only 2 or 3 at a time.  What is your secret to using up coupons?  Any great coupon sites I need to visit?

-Mads

Grocery Challenge Update

I haven’t updated the grocery challenge in weeks because, quite frankly, I have been embarrassed at the amount of money I’ve spent lately.  I have been planning big weekends, dinner parties, and trying out new recipes, none of which leave my wallet feeling full.  The challenge: $30 per week on food from the grocery store. 

Upcoming obstacles to winning the challenge this week:

Obstacle: I am hosting a bookclub with appetizers.
Solution: Make it a potluck and serve veggies with hummus (read: Cheap)
Obstacle: I made a pecan pie for Father’s Day
Solution:  I keep tons of baking supplies constantly on hand, so I only really needed lite golden syrup
Obstacle: I am working 2 nights this week/weekend and won’t be home to cook.
Solution:  Make meals ahead of time and freeze, specifically cheaply homemade soup.
Obstacle: Our apartment needs some basics like tp and 409.
Solution: None that I know of?!?

Total cost: $28 something

WAHOO!!!

-M

Falling off the wagon…

So, you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a “Week 3 of the Grocery Challenge”. Well, that’s cause I haven’t been grocery shopping! With my car recently towed and two plane tickets purchased, I was in no position to spend more then $8 per week for several weeks. Now that I’m all squared away and the paychecks are back in full swing, I thought I’d treat myself to a Lunds trip…boy was that a mistake! I spent 50 bucks on groceries that would have cost no more than 25-30 at Rainbow.
The amount of food that I purchased is actually quite pathetic:
-ingredients for turkey burgers and baked fries
-3 “on sale” lean cuisines
-bananas
-breakfast cereal
-2 condiments
-eggs
-milk
-cheese

I will hereby be shopping with coupons at Rainbow on double coupon day. If you see me anywhere else tell me to get back on that wagon!

-M