Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for June, 2008

6/24/08 | Pop Weaver Popcorn

[ Currently Eating: Cheese and Crackers ]

Pop Weaver Microwave Popcorn - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Trips to Big Lots inevitably end badly for your friendly neighborhood Cheap Eats Editor. I usually tend to come home with tons of tins – little fishies packed in tomato sauce, strangely potted meat and smoked oysters galore. But I also cave in to other snackies that are a little “healthier” like this 4 pack of Pop Weaver Popcorn.

Pop Weaver Microwave Popcorn - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I’d never heard of Pop Weaver Popcorn before, even though according to their website they are “a leading national brand of microwave popcorn in the United States and is distributed to more than 90 countries worldwide.” The box actually says “more people around the world eat more Pop Weaver popcorn than any other kind.”

I guess maybe it’s more popular in other countries than the U.S. Either that, or in the microwave popcorn scheme of things, I’ve been living in a cave in Antarctica for several years. Which also isn’t too far of a stretch.

I got the standard butter version, but they have other “flavors” like Extra Butter, Light Butter, Kettle Corn and Natural. No cheese or caramel flavors. There’s 4 standard size packs in one box, so it comes out to about a quarter each. In general, I like popcorn and think it’s a great snack for Cheap Eaters – but I’m constantly seduced by the flashier and unhealthier Doritos and Cheetos products of the world. So maybe there’s something to it then when Pop Weaver says that the reason their microwave popcorn can be so cheap is that they spend a whole lot less on advertising, packaging and even ink on the bags.

The box looks rather plain – their logo is the smallest thing on the box. The largest thing on it is the words “4 Bags”. A big sticker also proclaims “NO DIACETYL FLAVORINGS” which I suppose is a good thing? I haven’t been keeping up with that stuff, but I’m guessing Diacetyl is something bad. I was wondering if it’s the same concern as with the Teflon in non-stick cookware, or something different.

Incidentally, why is it that every box of microwave popcorn seems to be associated with a friendly old geezer with glasses?

Pop Weaver Microwave Popcorn - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Sure, I know you can buy your own corn kernels and pop them yourself on the stove for cheaper. But I don’t know, I just like popping it in a bag in the microwave once in awhile. My brain cells and neurons, already taxed to their limit by trying to decide whether or not $2 is a good price for Low Salt Spam, are loathe to take on yet more decisions. (She can’t take much more captain!)

As for the popcorn itself, I have to say at a quarter for a bag it’s very good. I followed the directions and went by the PPS metric (number of Pops Per Second) instead of a flat cooking time. I think microwave popcorn must have one of the greatest ranges of cooking times I’ve ever seen for food. It’s 2-5 minutes. That’s a huge difference, so it’s definitely best to listen for popping. My corn timed out at about 3.5 minutes.

Pop Weaver Microwave Popcorn - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

The popped kernels weren’t extraordinarily large, but they were about average sized for cheap microwave popcorn. They definitely weren’t the fluffy gourmet kind, or the kettle corn sized kernels. Still, they tasted pretty good. The amount of salt and “butter flavoring” was a little on the light side, which was fine by me. You can always slather on more butter later.

I was surprised that most of the kernels actually popped. There were only about 4-5 unpopped which is something I constantly have problems with in microwave popcorn. (I know some people actually like the unpopped kernels but I have a hard time eating them.) So on that front, Pop Weaver did really well.

Pricewise they were excellent – I’m not complaining at a quarter for one package. Tastewise, they were satisfactory. But chances are if you eat this, you’re probably not going to care as you sit spellbound munching away in front of the TV while watching re-runs of Quantum Leap. Oh, boy!

Price:$1 for 4 Pack Box
Found At:Big Lots
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10

[ Currently Eating: Ice Tea Like You Wouldn't Believe ]

Chef Boyardee - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I must have some sort of terrible, ingrained barf-wish when it comes to Cheap Eats from a can.

For the past couple years, against my better judgement, I’ve been eyeing all of the Chef Boyardee products whenever I see them on sale at the supermarket. Never you mind that my earlier experiences with these canned acts of violenzz toward my stomach have been altogether diarrhetic. Something just draws me to the poofy white be-hatted smiling Italian grandpa on the label.

I don’t have a clue what it is in the cans that affects me. Whenever I’ve tried Spaghetti-Os, Ravioli, or other canned pasta creations by father figure Boyardee I’ve had some very bad reactions. Downtime usually ranges from 1-3 days of out-of-commission toilet duty. It’s always put me off for a few years until like the proverbial moth drawn toward the bug zapper, I’ve again flown back toward these canned nuclear pasta bombs of disaster.

So, it had been way too long – maybe 5 years already. I was due. It was on sale, so these 99% Fat Free Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli landed in my shopping cart with a thud. A buck to load up my stomach with Russian Roulette. Heavenly.

Earlier, there was some sort of special on Food Network (must have been Unwrapped) where they profiled Chef Boyardee products. I have to confess that seeing that show is probably what caused me to give it another try. Especially when the host (Mark whateverhisnameis) absolutely GUSHED at how delicious that sauce was which was one of its major selling factors back in the day. I don’t doubt it was amazing originally, but it’s gotta be a far cry from the canned product of today.

I ended up picking up the Beef Ravioli instead of Spaghettios at Albertson’s. 99% Fat free as well – for you health conscious readers. I probably shoulda checked Big Lots or the Dollar Store for something cheaper.

My favorite thing about the can is how big the “Look! – Easy Open Top” arrow was. As if an easy open can was compensation for the culinary malaise to come. If you detect a negative attitude here, well, I really wanted to hate Chef Boyardee because of what it’s done to my insides in the past.

Chef Boyardee - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Continue reading “Chef Boyardee Ravioli” …

[ Currently Eating: Nothing, Going to Bed Just Now. ]

National Doughnut Day - Krispy Kreme - Cheap EatsI wish companies would email me a little earlier than like the day before an event – but anyway Friday June 6, 2008 is National Doughnut Day so Krispy Kreme is giving out a free doughnut of your choice. I guess I shouldn’t complain about them telling me about it since I’ve already gotten free doughnuts from them earlier…

Actually, I think someone might have told me about it – I just got busy and forgot.

I know they actually give out free doughnut samples once in awhile (when the light is on?) But for free doughnut day, I think they’re giving out not just the plain glazed. Not that it would matter to me – I still like the original ones best.

Have a nice doughnutty weekend.

[ Currently Eating: Blueberry Oatmeal ]

Korokke and Yakisoba - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I have to make a short post today, since I have to get to a meeting in a bit. So we’ll go with Leftovers for Lunch again and hopefully I’ll get another post in later in the week. This is yesterday’s lunch, another combination of leftover “Parent’s” cooking and something made at home.

Sorry, this isn’t as a good photo as a few of the other Korokke ones I’ve made. The potato and meat based fried croquettes are really popular at my parent’s house, and they heat and crisp up really well in the toaster for nearly a week afterwards.

The Yakisoba, which is a little like Japanese chow mein, is half homemade and half storebought. They have sell the noodles, which are the fresh variety and not dried, and the dry sauce mix at the store for very cheap – about $1.50 or less for a three pack. They completely kick the ass over any dry ramen varieties. But they aren’t very good for you, of course. If you haven’t had it before, the taste of the sauce is a bit strange – very worcestershire sauce-like. We take 2 packs and add to that some sliced pork, carrots, celery, onion and whatever green veggies are around. Not too bad for dinner and leftover lunch the next day.



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