Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sunny's Savvy Spender Suggestion #3 -a review-

Don Julio

I always passed these products in my grocery store, one reason because I didn't recognize the name and two because they were always so cheap.  At my favourite store, Smith's, they always have huge bins of the chips listed at 10 for $10!  $1 per bag?  How could dollar chips taste good?

Well, low on money one week and needing tortilla chips to go along with a meal I was cooking that night, I grabbed up a bag of these miraculously cheap chips.  (Hasn't the price of chips gone sky high?  CRAZY!  But, that's another rant altogether.) 

Since that night, I have purchased these chips again and again.  I tell you, they are REALLY GOOD!  My fave is the White Corn rounds.  I have to say they are the best tortilla chips from a bag I've ever had... and they were A DOLLAR!!?

"The Don Julio Promise" right on the bag states that they are "made locally from the finest stone-ground corn, cooked to perfection, and distributed fresh to your local store."  (And they MUST be fresh because the Use By Date is never too far away, unlike other preservative-packed chips.)  The promise ends with how proud they are of their growing family of products and the certainty "that you will share in our enthusiasm."

Well, I'm convinced.  I share that enthusiasm.  These chips are dang yummy!  Crispy and full of good corn flavor.  Will stand up to chunky salsas and thick dips.  A perfect compliment to any Mexican dinner for sure.

I enjoyed these so much, I had to do a little research.  Heck!  I'm writing a blog about chips!
Don Julio Foods is a local company based out of Clearfield, Utah.  They are father and son owned and have a growing list of products and brands including Clover Club Foods which was originally a local Utah company, too.

If you don't live in the western region of the U.S. you won't see these in your store.  And even if you DO, you still may have never heard of them or at least passed a wandering eye right over them and not known the deliciousness and value that lies therein.  But, don't worry, they're expanding their market and maybe with enough support they'll go national someday.  I know they have MY support!

How is this a Savvy Saver Suggestion?  Well, this is a great product for a reasonable price.  Lesson?  Don't pass up on trying something new just because it's cheap.  There might be a decent surprise in store for your brave efforts.  

So, try a lesser known, less expensive brand this week... and tell me about it!  I'll want to try it, too!  It's a wallet-friendly challenge.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunny's Savvy Spender Suggestion #2

Buying meat in bulk and still being able to use it all before it spoils...  Yes, you can do it!  It's simple.
Most stores offer a discount if you buy their meat in larger quantities.  Some stores label them as a "Family Pack."  But, how can you consume all that meat before it goes bad?  Freeze the whole package and... well, what a mess trying to separate icy chicken breasts or break off frozen hamburger meat when you only need a pound or two.
*Just like my previous blog about freezing bread, this will take a bit of time, but it's definitely worth the time spent.
Solution?  Go ahead.  Buy meat in the large packages.  When you get it home, divvy it up and freeze it in parts.

Here are a couple of ideas...


 The majority of the time, I purchase hamburger in a 5-lb roll like this one.  No, it's not the leanest of beef.  It's not organic. But, when you're on a super tight budget, you really can't be so picky.  Feed your family the best you can.

 I like these rolls because they're cheaper than the packages of single pounds AND usually, they're conveniently marked by 1/2-pound measurements on the side.
After getting your groceries home, unload and put everything away except your meats.  Using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the roll in 1-pound increments.  Just slice right through the plastic... it won't hurt anything, (that's why the serrated knife is necessary.)
 Invest in some storage bags of different sizes.  You'll need them.

Place each pound into a quart-size storage bag.  Keep some paper towels on hand to wipe any meat or blood that may end up on the outside or on the zipper of your bag.  You don't want to spread anything yucky to the rest of your freezer goodies.
 And... tada!  There you go.  Five servings of hamburger meat already separated and ready to be thawed individually.


 I like to buy the butcher-cut breasts in a large package.  Store brand is almost always cheaper than a name brand.

Simply place one or two breasts in a storage bag.  I store two to a bag because that's usually plenty for a nice meal requiring chicken, i.e.: chicken tacos, enchiladas, chicken and pasta dishes, etc.  And, with only two per bag, it's a much faster thaw time.
 And... there we are... three nights of chicken safe in my freezer, safe from spoil, and convenient as all heck!

*This method can be used with other meats, too.  I do this for steaks, pork chops, chicken thighs, ribs, and more. 


**Helpful Hint: Do all your meat cutting and prepping on a large cutting board.  This makes cleanup a cinch and a lot more sanitary.  "I just love animal blood on my countertops," said NO ONE EVER!

Well, get to shopping, folks.  And, don't pass up those bulk packages of fresh meat.  Now you know how to make them work for you!