May 16 2011

A Little Goes a Long Way…

Posted by Seth in Food, Good Deals

I know many of my friends took advantage of the Saturday/Sunday Triple Coupon deals at Pathmark… I sure did.  If you didn’t, well I hate to be rude, but you’re an idiot.  Keep an eye out because rumor has it they will be back, if I were you, I’d snatch a nice assortment of $1 coupons (the maximum they will triple) either from the paper or a coupon clipping service.  I had a nice collection of $1 coupons for things that cost around $3, and many things were on sale, so I ended up walking away with a bit of free stuff.

Triple Coupon Day Haul

For once I didn’t walk away with a bunch of body wash or cleaning products …  some real groceries that will last quite a while. I spent about $30 total out of pocket for all of the above – I took advantage of the huge discount as some of this stuff would not come this cheap again.

10 Bottles of Tabasco – free
8 Boxes of Popcorn – free
8 Boxes of Chex Mix 100 Calorie snacks
6 Bags of Quaker Rice Cake Snacks
2 bags of herr’s potato chips – free
2 bags of tortilla chips – free
2 bottles of Bailey’s coffee creamer – free
4 packages breakfast sausage – .50/each
2 pounds of mozzarella – $1/each
6 bottles KC Masterpiece bbq sauce – free
3 bottles soy sauce – free
4 bottles Teriyaki marinade – $1/each
9 bottles Frank’s – free
2 bottles Budweiser bbq sauce – free
6 Weber seasonings – free
12 Wacky Mac pasta – free
8 Garden Delight pasta – free
2 hot dogs – $1/each
6 cans Shave Gel – free

So if you’ve been following, you know I make my own frozen dinners.  Following the theme of this post, I picked up two small roaster chickens for about $10 from the store, and put them on my rotisserie (charcoal, of course).  Using the chicken, along with rice and vegetables that I already had in storage and were cheap or free, I made myself about 16 dinners.

Rotisserie Chicken Dinners

No need to waste the leftover chicken parts.. they all went in to the pressure cooker and I made some chicken stock. I got almost 7 quarts!

Chicken parts, vegetables, into the pressure cooker for stock

May 04 2011

Upcoming Pathmark Coupon Deals

Posted by Seth in Good Deals

If you have been keeping up with the coupon nerds, this shouldn’t be news to you.

May 6,7,8 Pathmark will be doubling coupons up to and including $2

May 14-15 Pathmark will be tripling coupons up to and including $1.

If you have any coupons more than $1, I would use them this weekend.  Save the ones less than $1 for the 14th and 15th. I haven’t seen the Pathmark ad yet, but just looking through my stash, there will be some very cheap stuff to be had. Enjoy.

Apr 27 2011

Pathmark – triple coupons starting 4/29-5/1

Posted by Seth in Good Deals

Yep .. watch this thread and the coupon nerds will find you free stuff

There is a limit of 10 coupons per person per day – bring friends.

Apr 21 2011

Cheap Frozen Dinners at Acme (Albertsons) 4/22-28

Posted by Seth in Diet, Good Deals

Ok ..  pretty good price here.  Some of this stuff isn’t half bad if you load it up with hot sauce like me.

Acme/Albertsons has Weight Watcher’s Smart Ones Classic Favorites and desserts on sale for $1.79 or $1.29. Buy 10 and you get $5 off instantly. Below is a coupon for another $4 off 10. Makes them cheap.

Coupon – $4 off 10 Weight Watchers smartones

Apr 14 2011

DIY Raised Bed Garden

DIY Raised Bed Garden

Now that I finally have a yard to call my own, it was time to retire the notion of having container gardens on the back porch, and get a more permanent solution going.  In speaking with my neighbor (who was born in the house 2 doors down), he mentioned he was having some problems in the past two years with his vegetable plants producing well. He had the soil tested and there is some organism or soil balance that is not good for vegetables.

I knew I would have to dig up and till part of my yard to make a garden.  After hearing what the neighbor had to say, I was not interested in planting in the existing soil, so I decided to go with a raised bed.  There are a few big advantages of a raised bed garden.

  • Good drainage
  • Control of the soil
  • Less weeding
  • More accessible (hey, I’m old – if I don’t have to bend as far, that’s a win)

I had a simple design in mind and headed to Home Depot for materials.  Use this as a guide, if you want bigger or smaller, obviously, get less wood. Materials cost me in the neighborhood of $100 and I did this on my own in an afternoon.

  • Six 8-foot 2″x8″ pressure treated boards.  Get two of them split in half into 4′ sections at Home Depot if you can’t find your circular saw (like me). You can also use Cedar or Redwood, but the cost is significantly higher
  • 1 5/8″ weatherproof deck screws. These should be in the same aisle as the lumber or on an end cap near it. I got the box that came with the star bit, makes them easier to drive
  • 3″ weatherproof deck screws
  • Metal strapping and corner braces, these should also be near the decking material / lumber aisle
  • Weedblocker material – black fabric looking stuff that you will find in the outdoor section. I used up a 3’x50′ roll.

You may find that your 8′ boards may differ in length by a little bit.. unfortunately this happens with cheap lumber.  Cut them to length before starting, or trim it up afterwards with your circular saw when you eventually find it like me.  Mike Holmes isn’t coming by to inspect your work, so do what you can to make it look the best.

Picked a spot for the garden, and did a rough layout

Go find a nice sunny spot, the more level the better, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Lay the wood out on the ground, making sure it’s square,and mark the ground where you will dig.  Once that’s done, start digging.  I dug a trench about 4-5″ deep and layed one of the long sides in the ground, leveled it off, then went around and dug the rest, leveling and squaring it up as I went along.   Once two corners matched up, I put in 2 of the 3″ screws per corner to hold the rectangle form together temporarily.  It doesn’t have to be perfect,  but definitely make sure it’s level and square or it will look goofy. 

Dig in progress. One side at a time, leveling and squaring as you go along. I hope your soil isn't as rocky as mine!

Once all four sides are done, you should have a nice wooden rectangle sunk into your yard, screwed together at the corners, with a pile of dirt somewhere.  I just threw the dirt back in the middle, it will mean I’ll have to use less topsoil for fill later on.  Double check that everything is level, all the way around, and square (diagonal measurements corner to corner should be the same or close).  To level, add or remove dirt where necessary, and tap the wood down into the ground with a mallet so that it won’t settle later.

Trench done, rectangle together

After you take a break and admire your accomplishment, the rectangle has to come out of the ground. I flipped it up in the air and laid it next to its permanent home.  Once out, I lined the trench with the weedblocking fabric, and then put the rectangle back down on top of it for the last time.  Be careful with the fabric, the stuff I got ripped pretty easily. Make sure you leave at least a foot or two of overlap towards the inside of the bed, because you will tie this in with some more of the fabric later on.

Weed block fabric is down, underneath the wood and overlapping the inside of the bed

Install your corner bracing from the inside with your 1 5/8″ decks screws.  Also, make sure there are at least 2 3″ screws through each corner face. 

You can now start backfilling the inside of the bed towards the wood. Make sure you get the dirt under the weedblock fabric, we do not want any of the crap dirt below to be in contact with the good dirt we will add later.Once everything is filled in nice and tight from the inside, cover the rest of the exposed dirt with the weed block fabric, overlapping the border you already have. It should look like the picture below.

Screw all of the strapping material into the bottom half of the rectangle, then place one board at a time on to the second floor of the bed and screw in from the inside.  Check for level and square as you go before tightening.  Screw in all strapping, corner braces, and each corner face (3″ screws for corners). The more the merrier, get it nice and secure.   Try not to pass out from being upside down with the drill when you finally stand up from the blood rushing out of your head.

Weedblocker fabric in place


All secure - ready for soil!


And that’s about it for construction.  All you need to do now is backfill your trench, and fill up the bed with soil.  You will need to do some math on the size and depth of your garden to figure out how many cubic feet of dirt you need – in my case it was about 1.4 cubic yards. The picture at the very top of the page shows what 800 pounds of topsoil in there looks like (40 pound bags are 98 cents at lowes and home depot for the cheapo stuff).  Fill the bottom 2/3rds with cheapie stuff, then get some nice potting soil for the top layer.

Next step ….. irrigation

Apr 13 2011

Easy $100 saved at Shoprite this week

Posted by Seth in Good Deals

One of the receipts.. $60 saved, $23 spent. I'll take it.

This was an easy one.. ended up with a bunch of (for the most part) healthy stuff that I definitely will not waste.  Except for a few, all of these coupons you can print on the Internet at home.  They all coincide with store sales too.  If you have more than one computer, you can print more coupons.

My Shoprite (most of south Jersey) doubles coupons but only up to $1.  So if you have a 75C coupon, you’re only getting an extra quarter.  If I had the time, it would have been worth the extra savings to drive to Central Jersey (Hamilton), I think that is the closest one to me that fully doubles. 

I don’t remember exactly which coupons came from where, but they are all on , , or . Go to these sites and print up coupons for:

  • Cinnaburst Cheerios (you need quantities of 3 – explained below)
  • Pillsbury stuff – quite a few of these – print everything but the pie crust, so Crescent Rolls, Sweet Rolls, Cookie Dough, Italian Rolls, maybe one more (I forget). Print 2 of each.
  • Kellogg’s Raisin Bran
  • Birds Eye Steamers Frozen Vegetables
  • I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter spray w/ olive oil
  • Silk Soymilk (click here for that one, it’s $2 off, register and fill out the questions, it’s worth your time)
  • Nestle Chocolate Morsels – for baking

Other coupons, I found these in the Smartsource mailing that comes to my house in the middle of the week in what I thought was junk mail!!

  • $1 off 2 International Delight coffee creamers
  • $1 off Sorrento block of Mozzarella cheese
  • $1 off 3 Dole canned pineapples

You’ll need a Shoprite Price Plus card, you can sign up for one at their web site. 

Go to and link up your Shoprite card, and activate all of the electronic coupons for all of the stuff you just printed..  you’ll get extra cash off on top of sales and coupons.

That’s it. Go to the store, grab items for each coupon you have, and go ring it up.  Make sure you get exactly 3 boxes of Cheerios, because when you check out, you’ll get a coupon printed for a free gallon of milk on your next trip.  I had 6 coupons for Cheerios so I made 2 separate trips to get more free milk.   Also, grab an 18 pack of Shoprite eggs, those are free with the 2 I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter sprays.

So for about $50 out of my pocket(I splurged on some Skinny Cow Ice Cream that was on sale 🙂 ), I took advantage of $101.57 in savings and got the below mountain of food, stuff I won’t have to buy again for quite a while.

  • 6 Boxes of Cheerios
  • 4 Boxes of Raisin Bran
  • 3 bags of Nestle chocolate chips (oh yeah, it’s brownie time)
  • 8 Pillsbury items – crescent rolls, cookies, bread. I’ll bake these and freeze them, probably
  • 12 bags Birds Eye Steamer frozen veggies – broccoli, corn, mixed veggies
  • 2 Half-gallons of Lite Silk Soymilk (low calorie, far away expiration date)
  • 1 Pound Sorento Mozzarella cheese\
  • 3 cans Dole Pineapples
  • 2 Spray butters
  • 2 bottles non-fat flavored coffee creamers – 32 servings each, nice
  • 1 pack of Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches (they were on sale and they taste good)
  • 18 pack of Eggs
  • 2 gallons of Milk, free on my next trip

The store deals expire 4/16.

Apr 11 2011

What do I do with all of…. these sun dried tomatoes?

Posted by Seth in Food, Good Deals

I buy and cook in bulk, so often, I am left with ridiculous quantities of ingredients.  This is the first of many posts in which I figure out what to do with some of this stuff.

First on my list, Sun Dried Tomatoes. Lee and I split a 5 pound bag of these for about 13 bucks at the restaurant supply.  (edit: you can find them cheaper at one of my favorite spots, the Asian Market – H-mart on 70)

Sun Dried Tomatoes in the processor

Because of some work on other recipes I also had too much Basil and Italian Parsley, which go great with the tomatoes.  I don’t know what to call this, but it’s good. Into the food processor goes

  • Sun Dried tomatoes (about a handful)
  • Garlic (heaping spoon of minced….  never enough garlic in my house, but don’t let it overpower the herbs)
  • Basil (fresh of course)
  • Italian Parsley (…. yep still using fresh stuff)
  • Parmesan (just a dusting)
  • Olive oil (depends on the consistency you want)

Bunch of fresh, tasty things all combined

Pulse it a bunch of times… now you have a nice, fresh tasting, chunky spread.  Use it on some toasted up crunchy bread, crackers, or hell, even on top of pasta.  I suppose you could leave the processor going and make some puree.  I took out some of my trusty low-calorie cocopop things and spread it on there for a fugazi bruschetta.

The result, a fresh tasting spread and low calorie snack


The credit for the next thing to do with these things goes to Lee.  Put the tomatoes in a pint mason jar, along with some italian seasoning and garlic, and top off with olive oil.  Put it in the cabinet and forget about it for a few weeks.  Come back, and you have some tasty tomatoes, as well as sundried tomato infused olive oil that is great for cooking.  Slice up the tomatoes and cover pasta, or even use these in some……. wait, nevermind, that’s for another blog post 🙂

Goodness in a Jar.

Apr 04 2011

San Marzano Sauce – Take 2

Posted by Seth in Food, Good Deals

A little update to my original post, because, well, I forgot to write some important steps and I also picked up a new kitchen gadget (thanks, Bed Bath 20% coupons!).

Before adding all of the tomatoes, you’ll want to deglaze all the garlic and onion goodness on the bottom of the pot with some red wine – probably about a cup.

The only difference as far as method / technique this time around is my spiffy new food mill. Instead of screwing around with picking out the stems and seeds, this neat thing does it for you !   $40 at Bed Bath after using one of their 10 bazillion 20% coupons I get in the mail. It made for a smoother sauce with less chunks, I like it.

San Marzanos through the food mill

Apr 02 2011

Still Savin’ – Deals this week

Posted by Seth in Good Deals

Good deals this week…  that will be used in some upcoming recipes!    Here’s 2 of them you can easily take advantage of, if you want more, well, you know where to go because you read my last post.

Free / Cheap Cereal

If you have a Pathmark near you, than you can get some pretty cheap / free cereal.   This will require you to sign up for Pathmark’s shopper’s club card.    Also sign up for “online advantage” on that link which will take you to Zaver, there are also Chex and Fruit Snack coupons there.  The cereal is 4 for $6, read on how to make it cheaper..

Go to Coupon Network and print out the coupons for Cheerios, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Chex, and Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks.   You can print 2 of each from each computer you have access to… hint..  use as many computers as you can to keep doing this deal.  2 of each will allow you to do the below one time.

Go in to Pathmark and put these in your cart:

  • 2 x Boxes of Trix
  • 2 x Boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 2 x Boxes of Chex
  • 2 x Boxes of Cheerios
  • 4 x Boxes of Fruit Snacks (marked on the shelf which ones are good.. anything but fruit by the foot)

Use your shopper’s card. Use the associated coupons, and your total should be about $8-$10 after tax.  Pay, and watch the register, because a $8 off your next trip coupon will print (Catalina).  Go outside and come back in if you want, or come back another time and use that $8 for more cereal and fruit snacks. 


We all know the song…  for ~20 cents a can, I’m all over these and I’ll fart away.  I’ll be making my own hummus with Chickpeas, and always use black / kidney beans for Chili and other tasty things.  Wegmans has Goya beans regularly marked at .67 cents / can.  Go get a coupon like this one (or 10 of them) which doubles, and it knocks the price down to about 20 cents a can. Good deal.

In the below picture you will see

  • 12 boxes of cereal
  • 8 boxes of fruit snack
  • 14 bottles of body wash ( that clean and clear stuff is $5.99 retail)
  • 21 cans of beans ( there are more.. lots more)

I got a few other things too, I spent $27 out of pocket, saved $126 in coupons and sales, and got $12 off my next shopping trip.  Nice.

Cheap Groceries FTW

Mar 25 2011

Eating good does not have to suck

Posted by Seth in Diet, Food, Good Deals

I’m on a diet.  Diets suck, especially for fat dudes like myself that like to cook, and eat.  I’m counting calories, so the frozen dinners at the grocery store are quick and easy for me and usually come in around 2 bucks. It’s not gourmet, but some of the stuff is bearable with a little Tabasco (which I happen to have a bunch of).

Diet’s don’t have to suck entirely, though.

  • Your tastebuds don’t have to suffer
  • Your wallet doesn’t have to suffer
  • Your diet doesn’t have to suffer

If you are a foodie and on a diet, it’s win win, you just need to make a major adjustment to portion size like I have.

Make your own frozen dinners

Anyways, on to the topic. The above pic shows the fruits of about 90 minutes of work, all with stuff in my fridge or in my cabinets.  If you want to rob a chinese restaurant for containers, go ahead, but I hit the restaurant supply for a case of microwaveable containers at around 19 cents a pop.  I’m not going to give specific recipes in the post, my point is more to motivate you to think and plan, and say to hell with the frozen dinners at the grocery store – make your own – your wallet and your mouth will thank you.

By the way, all come in at less than $1 per meal, and less than 300 calories. 19 meals. word.

Whole grain pasta, veggies, homemade sauce

I cooked up 2 pounds of Pasta that made 15 portions.  While I had the oven going for the chicken thighs below, I threw in some sliced up squashes, garlic, and a little olive oil into a foil pouch and put into the oven for 30 minutes. Topped with homemade San Marzano tomato sauce.

Whole grain pasta, homemade sauce, sauteed spinach

With the rest of the pasta, I also hit it with the San Marzano sauce.  For veggies, I found some chopped spinach in the freezer, sauteed that quick with some garlic and voila. Don’t mind the presentation, this crap is goin in the freezer and I’ll stir it when I reheat it anyway.

Chicken thighs, over basmati rice

I had some Mahogany Chicken in the fridge, cooked that up, served over Basmati rice, and put a little bit of no-fat honey mustard dressing on top.

I have to get rid of some tortillas and onions I had laying around, so I sauteed up the onions and some of my canned jalapeno slices in some Fajita seasoning. I’ll be using them as filling for quesadillas.

Ok, now get off your butt, and go cook.