Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for February, 2009



[ Currently Eating: Leftover Pot Roast ]

LJS - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

WOOHOO – Contest!

For many, many, many moons now (try about 1,825 of them if it is to be believed that I started thinking about this five years ago) I’ve wanted to have a “contest” here at Cheap Eats.

It’s not that I haven’t had plenty of free things sent to us to give away. I’ve just never been sure how to go about holding one, or whether or not anyone would actually enter. I see blogs like Marvo’s Impulsive Buy where 300 million people enter the contest. We don’t have anywhere near the number of readers here (at least I’m not aware of it), and I thought it might be embarrASSing having only 5 people enter.

Then, I got to thinking – isn’t that a GOOD thing for those who DO enter the contest? If I was signing up for a contest, I’d want as FEW people as possible also entering. And in a way, we’d be rewarding the loyal readers who do enter. Well, truth be told, I might also be rewarding some of the trolls who insist on thinking I sell Banquet Frozen Dinners. But anyway, that’s trolls water under the bridge.

So without further ado, I would like to announce the very first Cheap Eats / Cheaplander “Low Turnout” Contest. I’ve received some $5 gift checks from the company handling promotionals for the Long John Silver’s chain of restaurants (thanks Deanna). They’re promoting the new Freshside Grille Smart Choices. We’ll be holding a prize drawing for two lucky Cheap Eats or Cheaplander readers who will each receive TWO of those gift checks.

I actually have never been to Long John Silver’s, mostly because the nearest restaurant is a good 15-20 miles away. But I’ve made it my latest mission in life to make a road trip out of it and check out the food. I’ll probably head down there this coming Friday.

Here are the gory details:

Cheap Eats / Cheaplander “Low Turnout” Contest
Prize provided by Long John Silver’s

To enter this prize drawing, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post on the Cheaplander website. (DO NOT leave a post on Cheap Eats as an entry, I’ve actually turned off comments for this post.) I’ve been trying to get more traffic on Cheaplander, our sister site, so I’m hoping the contest will get some of the regular Cheap Eats readers to show up once in awhile over there. Please make sure to fill in a valid email address since this is how the winners will be contacted. I will be using a random number generator to select the two winning entries.

Cheap Eats / Cheaplander will stop accepting entries on Sunday March 1, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Only one entry will be accepted per person, and you must be 18 years or older to enter. The gift checks can only be redeemed at participating Long John Silver’s restaurants in the United States. So, I’m sorry, but the drawing is limited to entries from readers who live in the United States. The winners will be posted on both Cheap Eats and Cheaplander sometime on Monday March 2, 2009.

Fine print: Blah, blah, blah, your email will only be used to contact you should you be a winner of the contest, blab, blab, you will be required to provide a physical mailing address so we can send you the coupons if you are a winner of the contest and this address won’t be used for any other purpose except to send you the coupons, blargh, blargh, blargh Cheap Eats and Cheaplander are not responsible for lost or damaged mail, you can thank the efficient USPS for any of that, barf, barf, barf


[ Currently Eating: Kiwi ]

UW - Cheap Eats at BloglanderThe United Way is kicking off a $25 Grocery Challenge starting today. I’m actually not sure how nationwide this event will be, since the only information I could find about it was on the blog of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the United Way. I actually think it might be a local PR event, just for Arkansas.

But in any case, I won’t be participating.

It’s not that I think it isn’t a worthwhile effort. We could easily pull it off here at Cheap Eats HQ – beans and rice and dollar store and repeat. This is a really great way to raise community awareness about how hard it is to subsist on the type of food income that someone on food stamps might get in your region. The participants have to limit themselves to not spending more than $25 for one week on food. Sort of a limited hunger strike.

In other words, it’s a very, very noble and nice stunt.

At the end of the week, I can see a lot of people just turning around and eating their usual kobe beef, caviar, foie gras and $1000 24k gold foil wrapped hamburgers.

Goshy, I’m such a heartless cynic.

Seriously, I think it’s a great gesture and good publicity (and karma) will certainly be forthcoming. I just think that doing this as an example for only one week isn’t as good as showing moderation on food spending throughout the year. What people who are subsisting on food stamps need to see ISN’T Mr. Rich Fatcat slumming it for one week on $1 chicken sandwiches. They need to see better behavior on food spending in general by the public: you go out to an expensive restaurant only on special occasions, try and cook more often at home and don’t buy expensive food you don’t need or want. If you want to show solidarity with food poverty, donate money to one of the causes that fight hunger.

(Accidentally falls down off of rickety soapbox before people can point and say “what a hypocrite”.)


[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Free Country Potatoes - Cheap Eats at BloglanderI’ve occasionally been asked why a lot of the food news and reviews I feature are “West-coast” oriented.

That would be because I live in California – home of the 42 billion dollar debt. Oh, and the Governator.

However. Just to show you I’m willling to give a shout out to companies east of the Rockies, I’d like to tell you about the Free Country Potatoes Day at Hardees tomorrow (Friday February 20, 2009). Yep, no purchase necessary apparently. You just walk in and they give you a free order of country potatoes.

Yes, I know we do have their sister chain Carl’s Junior in my neck of the woods. However, they aren’t serving up the free goods as far as I know. But I would, in fact, be willing to make a road trip to visit Hardees for the free potatoes. I’ve been known to do crageee things like that. (If eating potted meat from the dollar store doesn’t qualify as crageee, I don’t know what does.)

However, it appears that the nearest Hardees is 1063 miles away. In Casper, Wyoming, to be exact. I googlemapped it, and it’s a bit of a far drive even for crageee ol’ me. About 16 hours 27 minutes if I drove it straight.

So, I’m going to sit this one out. But I’d like to hear how the free potato event goes if you happen to have a Hardees near you.

2/17/09 | Twinkie Bites


[ Currently Eating: Cheese Bread Experiment ]

Twinkie - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

You may have heard lately about the maker of Twinkies having just emerged fresh from bankruptcy protection. Yep, Interstate Bakeries, parent company of the Hostess brand had earlier tanked due to Atkins-crazy diet nutsos. (I can say that now, right? The Atkins diet was idiotic when everyone at my work was practicing it, and it’s still idiotic today.)

One of the good (or at least interesting) things to come out of it – they introduced Twinkie Bites. These follow the “burger buddies” concept – three mini twinkies in one pack. Each rinky-dink twinkie has only 33 calories. They also come in a Strawberry cupcake variety.

This sounds much better than eating a hamburger without the bread. Sorry, idiot friends, just have to rub it in more.

I haven’t bought any Twinkie Bites yet, but it’s on my list of “So Bad It’s Good” Food To Review. One thing I wish they would do is revert the filling of the Twinkies to a banana flavor. That would make me buy some right away – although it would make the monkeys living in my backyard slightly harder to control.

2/10/09 | Wild Animal Crunch


[ Currently Eating: Pea Soup ]

Wild Animal Crunchhh - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

To say that I was severely disappointed with Wild Animal Crunch is an understatement of almost elephantine and Brobdingnagian proportions.

Oh, you like those fun words? Here are some more: mammoth, humongous, colossal, epic, ginormous, earth-shattering disappointment.

Look at the cute polar bear family. Woo – cubbies! They can haz mye heart. Hey and it’s brought to you by Animal Planet. Can’t go wrong there.

Plus the box sez: “NEW!” I am the wide-eyed sucker that advertising execs are targeting. NEW! How can you beat that. Must buy.

It also says this is a “Collector’s Polar Package”. Because there are a ton of people who collect nothing but cereal boxes. You haven’t heard? It’s the latest craze.

Yes, I fell for this hook, line and polar bear. I paid $1.50 for a cardboard picture of polar bears, a walrus, emperor penguins and seals (those are actually on the back of the box). Oh, I forgot – there was cereal in the box too. Kind of surprising – I thought they might have just filled it up with rocks or something and called it a day.

Wild Animal Crunchhh - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Actually, the cereal does look a little bit like rocks. This is supposed to be “naturally and artificially flavored vanilla-chocolate whole grain cereal”, with an emphasis on the “artificially flavored”. I think they were trying to make the shapes look like certain “wild animals”, but I couldn’t really make out what they were. A few were vaguely bear-shaped.

Hm… I changed my mind. These don’t look like rocks. They look like diseased polar bear molars without the roots. Yum. Hey, Polar Molars also rhymes! NEET-o.

The cereal tasted like chocolate flavored crispy weeds and sawdust, but I suppose that’s because it’s a whole grain cereal. I have to give them a little bit of credit – at least they’re trying to make it healthy. Although, the sugar content is enough to make my nose bleed. I don’t eat a lot of cereal, though, so it’s difficult to tell just how sweet this is.

In conclusion, this review sucked. Uh, I mean, this cereal sucked. A Freudian slip there. Sorry, I’ve been having writer’s block lately and can’t think of what to say about a cereal that looks like a Martian Polar Bear’s butt spatterings. But I think the flavor of this would improve slightly if eaten with milk.

Man, I need to stop buying all this crap at the dollar store.

Price: $1.50
Found At: Dollar Store
Cheap Eats Score: 2/10


[ Currently Eating: Not Pancakes ]

IHOP - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Not to be outdone by Denny’s free grand slam stunt right after the Stuporbowl, IHOP has reinstated their All You Can Eat Pancakes deal. Of course, this isn’t completely free – you just buy a standard order of pancakes and they’ll keep bringing them to you three at a time until you can’t eat anymore.

Gluttons rejoiceth.

This isn’t such a good deal for me, since I have such a small stomach (well, not so small looking lately). I could probably put four pancakes in it before becoming full. But for the big-gutted, or the competitive circuit eater, this will be something you could make a spectacle out of.

Ten magic bonus points if you send us a video of you eating more than 10 pancakes.

IHOP All You Can Eat Pancakes


[ Currently Eating: Turkey Burger ]

Grand Slamming It - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Hey, brah. I not going lie to you.

I watched parts of the Stuporbowl. Yes, that testicularosterone fest with guys grabbing the other team’s ball(s) that happens every January or February. Great excuse to go to the beach, by the way. But yeah – I watched it for the commercials.

And when the commercial for Denny’s came on about the Free Grand Slam Breakfast, hells bells did I hightail it over to the site to see if it was true. Of course the site had crashed – I guess too many frantic senior citizens were online.

I did get on eventually. And it’s fo real, brah. 2 Eggs, 2 Pancakes, 2 Bacon Strips and 2 Sausage Links. For everyone in America. If you’d like to watch the commercial, here you go.

The terms ring thusly: Dine in only. Offer limited to Tuesday 2/3/09 6am to 2pm at participating Denny’s Restaurants while supplies last. Restrictions apply.

As you know, I’ve been supersickboy the past 2 weeks. I can’t hear anything in my ears and this congestion makes Nyquil a necessity. Bubbly Bronchial Buggin’. So, I might not make it out tomorrow for breakfast – I guess we’ll see.

Free Breakfast at Dennys

Update 6:30pm 02/03/09 – Well, the turnout was huge as expected. I gotta say I give them credit for doing this type of free thing in a time when the Eeekconomy is down. News coverage of the free breakfast here.




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