Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for October, 2008



[ Currently Eating: Senseo Coffee ]

OK, I know that I’ve skipped “real” Cheap Eats posts the past couple times. But I’ve had a rough past week (grandmother’s funeral, having to return a new iMac to the Apple Store) so I’m going to beg off this time again.

But I did want to mention that, somehow or another, the Cheap Eats blog was picked for the top 100 Blogs for Foodies by the Culinary School Guide.

I dunno what this means, but it’s kinda cool. I’ve always stayed purposely under the radar here, so it was neat to appear in the list next to all sorts of important foodie blogs. I’m not worthy, a la Wayne’s World.

Granted, it’s just another top 100 blog post and just the opinion of the site’s editor. Also, we appear in the category “Foodies on a Budget” – but I guess that’s pretty much correct.

Still, I feel kinda good about it. And now, I better go and get my suit cleaned for the award ceremonies. Party time. Excellent.

10/21/08 | Coupon Poll Results


[ Currently Eating: Kashi Cookie ]

OK, OK yes it is time for a new poll. In my blog drafts, I have one labeled “DO A NEW DANG POLL ALREADY!” so I wouldn’t forget. It just keeps slipping my mind.

Coupon Clipping Poll - Cheap Eats at BloglanderSo here are the results for the “Coupon Clipping” poll. I just want to say that it’s gratifying to see major news outlets posting more about coupon clipping. I had our poll running way before the current economic downturn.

I think the results were pretty much in line with what I expected. A gradual increase between “Always” to “Frequently” to “Sometimes” as far as how often most people use food coupons. I think it just takes a certain type of person to do it always – I guess it helps if you’re the “shopper” in the family, and you cook quite a bit.

I guess I fall into the category of folks who won this particular poll. I occasionally clip coupons out of the mailers that come in – but I don’t keep a book of coupons like some folks. I do use a “grocery card” when possible.

However, I guess I was a little surprised at how many people NEVER clip coupons. I thought especially with the current economic climate that there wouldn’t be as many. I think perhaps if I had started the poll now, maybe the results might be a little different…

Anyhow, there is a new poll up. This one, I have actually been thinking of writing about for three years. I originally thought it was maybe too “controversial”. First off, I need to stay that I personally DO NOT condone any stealing of any kind. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.

The poll question is: Have you ever stolen food? I have actually received from 5-6 emails from folks over the past 4 years, about them having to resort to stealing food in order to survive. I’ve never re-printed the emails – I just didn’t want to get involved with talking about the issue. I have to say that I felt really bad about what these people were forced to do. And it sort of shocked me that these were all people living in the U.S.

I think there are a lot of “gray” areas when it comes to that. I mean, if you walk in to an El Pollo Loco and go up to the salsa bar, fill up several containers, and leave – I guess that seems like stealing to me. However, if you buy a 99 cent side salad and then fill up 25 containers of salsa – is that technically “stealing”? If I jump into the dumpster at the Big Lots and pick out packaged food items past the date they’ve thrown away, is that technically “stealing”? I have heard (ex) friends justify stealing candy from the 7-11 saying that it’s not hurting anyone except the greedy corporations. I respectfully disagreed with them and tried not to hang out with them any more…

I dunno – I’m sort of conflicted about this whole thing. There have actually been featured stories lately about people from the Depression who had to steal chickens in order to survive (the articles are somewhat romanticized if you ask me). I hesitated to post about the topic because I know there are going to be some pretty strong opinions out there. After all, didn’t they used to cut off your hand in certain countries if you were caught stealing?

In any case, I decided to make a poll of it first – just to see what people’s experience with it was. I realize that the poll doesn’t really address the question of “what exactly is stealing?” and skirts the whole moral issue of stealing in order to survive. But I can’t really do a complicated poll, so this will have to do for now.


[ Currently Eating: MORE COUGHDROPS ]

Togo Wed 1.99 Sandos - Cheap Eats at BloglanderMan. The sandwich shop chain wars continue. Not a millisecond goes by without me being bombarded with ads for Subway or Quizno’s. For what it’s worth, I eat at Subway occasionally. But less often now that their 5 dollar subs are for a limited selection of sandwiches.

I categorically DESPISE Quizno’s, but that is a long, long story for another bright and shiny day when I’m not still feeling the effects of a lingering cold.

But Togo’s – I was actually a huge, huge fan of theirs, especially in college. The sandwiches they made were always slightly better tasting and looking than Subway’s. My friend refused to eat at Subway even if they were closer. He always said “That’s nast…”. I guess he meant short for nasty. We always had to make the trek to Togo’s.

And noooooo, they did not give me the keys to the company lamborghini in order to say that.

But anyhow, the reason for this post is that they are having a special 1970s Flashback Wednesday deal where you can get a featured classic 6″ sub for $1.99. The only thing is that it’s good on just one type of their sandwiches per week. This Wednesday, the sandwich is the #24 Turkey and Avocado. I guess I should also mention that Togo’s will be making a donation to the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation for each Flashback 6″ sandwich sold. Admirable.

And yessssss, they did spam me and that’s where I got all this information.

I still would like a ride in their company car, however, if the higher-ups would not mind…

10/14/08 | Tings


[ Currently Eating: Halls Cough Drop ]

Tings - Cheap Eats

“Tings are a fun snack mon, Tings are made with love, humor and nutrition in mind. Tings are cool mon.”

Sorry, just quoting this package of Robert’s American Gourmet Tings. I don’t really speak like that. Or wait, I DO.

Or rather, some of my relatives do. My late aunt used to prounounce the word “thing” as “ting”. She also used to pronounce “think” as “tink”. They don’t say “mon”, though. I think it’s a Hawaiian thing (and not a Jamaican thing) cause my dad and uncle do it as well. Who knows – I’m just a mainlander. I mean a cheaplander.

But anyway, the wife got me several packages of these Tings the other day. I tink, I mean, I think Robert’s American Gourmet got its start with salad dressings first in the mid 80s. They later moved into snacks like: Pirate’s Booty, Veggie Booty, Smart Puffs, Tings, Dude’s Chips, Chaos, made with organic ingredients, Antique Potato Chips, Soy Crisps, Awesome Party Chips, and Blue Organic Tortilla Chips.

I think I’m eventually going to have to try them all. The names are great, especially the Pirate’s Booty. But how is the product itself? Let’s just say that if there was such a thing as Naked Cheetos, Tings would be it. These are a bit more “corny” tasting than normal Cheetos but have the exact same structure and texture. I actually enjoyed not getting cheese powder all over the place.

The ingredients listed are: Corn, some kinda oil, nutritional yeast and salt. Sounds ok so far. The funniest thing (to me at least) is on the back it says “Nutritional Yeast added for enhanced nutrition“. I don’t know why this struck me as hilarious. Sort of like saying “Tomatoes added for better tomato flavor.”

Tings Closeup - Cheap Eats

I guess with snacks, probably 95% of the food is the packaging. This is just another repackaging of the enormous stocks of excess corn that the U.S. produces (sorry Iowa, I just read Omnivore’s Dilemma and I’m not feeling very good about your corn just now…)

But for crunchy corn sticks, Tings are pretty good. Not as good as say, Bugles, but infinitely better for you. And we wouldn’t have gotten them if it wasn’t for the packaging. It worked.

Still, I’m not yet ready to call myself a “Ting Head” which is the moniker that they suggest fans of Tings take on. I like the taste, but it’s too expensive for just plain corn. If it was 50 cents, I’d give it a better score.

For real, man…

Price: MSRP: $0.99-1.50 for 1 oz pkg
Found At: Various Stores
Cheap Eats Score: 5/10


[ Currently Eating: Cough Drops ]

In-N-Out IS IT TRUE OR NOT GODAMNIT??!

Dearest In-N-Out,

I would very much like to know whether or not the keeerazy internet rumor about the In-N-Out 60th Year Anniversary on October 22, 2008 is true or not. According to some many people, on that day you may be selling your hamboyggas for a quarter, your cheeseboyggas for 30 cents, your Freedom Fries for 15 cents and your carbonated sugar water for 10 cents. It is difficult to know what story to believe, and I would very much like to know.

You see, I have been feeling down in the dumps lately – what with the economy sitting in the toilet and people at the Big Lots buying all the Trivial Pursuit Pringles before I can get my hot little hands on them.

Also, I have recently come down with a sore throat and cold so I am bedridden. Thusly, if you are indeed having your 60th bash w/ the low prices – would it be too much trouble to ask if you could please have a courier deliver 10 of your delicious cheeseyburghers and 3 orders of your Freedom Fries to my house? I’ll leave the door open so they can come right in. I believe the total would be $3.45, with tax that comes to $3.73. I’ll put it on the table near the door, next to the life-sized photo of Richard Dean Anderson.

There is an “attack cat” by the door, but he will not attack if you give him 1 cheeseburger and say “YOU CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER LIL FELLOE!”.

Also, if you could please have the courier arrive in a cherry red 1957 Corvette with the In-N-Out logo painted on the side. I would also like the courier to wear a snakeskin hat, Sarah Palin glasses, and a bikini.

Sincerely,
the ill (not illin’) Cheap Eats Editor

Editor’s Note: Excuse the above, I’m not feeling myself right now…

10/2/08 | Egg Salad Sandwich


[ Currently Eating: Tacos Baja Ensenada Fish Tacos ]

Eggy Salad Sandwich Plus Ham on Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Eggo-licious.

This was meant to be a longer post plus recipe on the merits (and pitfalls) of the Egg Salad Sandwich. I was going to get all fast and furious with the egg jokes too. But I’m still gurgling around in the bloggity-mosh pit on Cheaplander trying to implement things and track down various blogbugs. They bite, ouch.

So I’ll leave all the eggxtras for another day. Oh, before I go: I did have one tip for cooking hard boiled eggs. I’ve forgotten if I already posted this. Actually, this idea is originally from ex-jailbird Martha Stewart.

To get really nice, fluffy, but moist yolks for hard boiled eggs, place your eggs in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Crank up the heat – but don’t walk away. Because if you’re like me, you’ll forget the eggs are on the stove. When the water just begins to boil (but before it’s all going crazy-bubbling-with-the-cheezwiz), turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot securely. It needs to be pretty well sealed.

Then, just leave it for 12-15 minutes. I think everyone’s preference for yolk tenderness is different, so you may need to adjust the time. The carryover heat cooks the yolk nicely. We’ve been using this method pretty exclusively for years now.

(Oh, I’ve listed this post in the 3 dollars or less category, even though there’s no real recipe. But yeah, it definitely comes in under 3 bucks. Probably could make a half dozen egg salad sandwiches for that.)

One last thing – if you have a good egg salad recipe or any eggstra special ideas, please leave a comment. By the way, I like my egg salad with chopped ham in it – you might have been wondering if those pink things were red onions. Nope, it’s ham. I also chop the onion (green or white) eggstremely fine – I don’t like biting into chunkety chunks. But to each his own I guess…




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