Spiritual Self-Reliance

Sunday, February 28, 2010

When holy men of God write or speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, their words "shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" (D&C 68:4). The official, canonized scriptures of the Church, often called the standard works, are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

The principal purpose of scriptures is to testify of Christ and to guide the children of God so they can come unto Him and receive eternal life (see John 5:39; 20:31; 1 Nephi 6:4; Mosiah 13:33–35). The Book of Mormon prophet Mormon taught:

"Whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

"And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out" (Helaman 3:29–30).

God, who is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" (2 Nephi 29:9), continues to reveal scripture in modern times as He did in ancient times. Latter-day prophets counsel people everywhere to study the scriptures daily, including the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. They encourage individual and family scripture study. They encourage us, as Nephi encouraged his brethren, to liken the scriptures to ourselves, finding ways that the sacred accounts of old apply in our lives today (see 1 Nephi 19:23–24). They exhort us to "search the scriptures" (John 5:39) and "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3). Daily, meaningful scripture study helps individuals be receptive to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. It builds faith, fortifies against temptation, enlightens, and helps individuals draw near to our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son.

See True to the Faith (2004), 155–59

What I'm Buying - Winco 2/25

Friday, February 26, 2010
Sorry, no picture this time. I didn't get back from Winco last night until almost 11pm, and the kitchen was a mess and there was no room to take a picture. So I just threw stuff in the fridge and went to bed. :)

Here's what I picked up though:

(1) White King detergent booster, 3.65
(6) Oscar Mayer Lunchables, on sale .98
(1) pkg prosciutto, 4.36
(6) roma tomatoes, on sale .88/lb
(5) Granny Smith apples, on sale .88/lb
(1) Nancy's nonfat yogurt, 2.24
(1) Hy-Top hydrogen peroxide, on sale .89
(2) 6ct Cascade Pride english muffins, on sale .98
(1) digital baby thermometer, on sale 1.51
(1) 20# bag cat litter, on sale 6.98

I didn't use any coupons.

Total: $32.11

What I'm Buying - Fresh Market 2/24

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Here's what I picked up at Fresh Market this morning:

(2) Kellogg's Raisin Bran cereal, clearanced to 1.00
(2) Western Family sandwich bread, on sale .98
(6) Lifesavers candies, clearanced (2 @ .89, 3 @ 1.00, 1 @ .99)
(2) Coke products 20oz, on sale 1.00
(1) Excedrin Extra Strength 24ct caplets, on sale 2.97 (.97 after coupon)
(1) 10lb bag russet potatoes, on sale .88 (WOW!)
(6) Barilla pasta (some reg, some whole grain), on sale .88
(2) bunches bananas, on sale .47/lb

I used (1) 2.00/1 printable coupon for the Excedrin [was at GroupA at GrocerySmarts].

Total: $21.80

What I'm Buying - Smith's 2/24

Yup, I was back at Smith's again this morning. :) Just a few things this time, but some great prices!

(1) pkg beef chuck roast, on sale 1.69/lb
(1) pkg beef london broil, on sale 1.69/lb
(2) Land'OFrost Premium deli meat, on sale 2.79 (.79 after coupon)

I used (2) 2.00/1 printable coupons for the lunch meat [see LINK].

Total: $17.06

*Just a note: Again this week there seems to be a few price discrepancies in the Smith's ad based on different locations. The Smith's I went to this morning had the 1.69/lb meat, but many of the stores south of Riverton and some in the Ogden area have it listed at 1.99/lb, so make sure to check your local ad or store to verify.

What I'm Buying - Sunflower Market 2/24

I was very excited to see the new addition to Sunflower Market this week - fresh ground bison! Time for yummy bison burgers! :) Of course, we won't be buying it very often - wow, it is expensive!

Here's what I picked up this morning:

(1) Silk PureAlmond milk 64oz, on sale 2.50 (1.50 after coupon)
(1) organic green leaf lettuce, on sale 1.00
(1) 1lb bag baby peeled carrots, on sale .89
(1) bunch asparagus, on sale .97/lb
(1) organic coconut oil 14oz, on sale 4.99
(2) pkg ground bison, on sale 4.97/lb

I used (1) 1.00/1 coupon for the almond milk [see SS-2/21].

Total: $26.62

What I'm Buying - Smith's 2/23

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I made a quick trip to Smith's this morning to pick up a few things before the Daytona 500 sale ended. Here's what I got:

(1) gal whole milk, on sale 1.67
(2) Coke 2-liters, on sale 1.29 (.99 after promo)
(15) Chef Boyardee, on sale .89 (.59 after promo, .39 after coupon)
(12) Campbell's Chunky soup, on sale 1.30 (1.00 after promo, .50 after coupon)
(4) Kroger sour cream, on sale 1.00
(1) Kroger Deluxe ice cream, on sale 1.79 (1.14 after coupon)
(1) Banquet Brown'NServe sausage, on sale 1.00 (.70 after promo)
(8) Meadow Gold whipping cream half-pint, clearanced to .50 each
(1) Kroger cottage cheese, on sale 1.00
(4) Kroger all-natural sour cream, on sale 1.00
(1) 2lb bag Jelly Bellies, clearanced to 5.79
(1) wooden spoon, clearanced to 2.09
(1) Betty Crocker icing, clearanced to 2.29
(1) Betty Crocker icing, clearanced to .99
(1) Betty Crocker icing, clearanced to 1.59
(1) Betty Crocker icing, clearanced to 1.69

I used (5) 1.00/5 coupons for the Chef Boyardee [see SS-1/10], (4) 1.50/3 printable coupons for the soup [see link on GrocerySmarts list], and (1) .65/1 coupon for the ice cream, which came in a Smith's mailer.

I got (3) $3.00 offs for the Daytona 500 promo (30 items) and then used my $10 reward certificate from my rewards points gained in Oct-Dec 2009.

Total: $32.48

I was SOOOO excited to see the icings back in the clearanced items today, because I needed them for this:

(That's a "stargate" on the cake, for those who have yet to be indoctrinated into the world of all things Sci-Fi. The shimmery blue is the event horizon of the wormhole created when the seven red chevrons are...well, nevermind...) ;)

I gave my husband the complete Stargate SG-1 TV series on DVD for Christmas, and we've been watching an episode or two every night (yup, we're a bunch of Sci-Fi geeks at our house), and it is now Connor's new favorite show (yup, we're indoctrinating him early), and so this was his request for his birthday cake (and yup, I can't write in icing worth a darn).

Spiritual Self-Reliance

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain their own testimonies. Having obtained a testimony, each member has a duty to nurture it throughout life. Happiness in this life and throughout eternity depends largely on whether individuals are "valiant in the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:79; see also D&C 76:51, 74, 101). Testimony grows through the application of the following principles:

The quest for a testimony begins with a righteous, sincere desire. Speaking to a group of people who did not yet have testimonies of the gospel, Alma taught: "If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" (Alma 32:27).

Testimony comes through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost. The results of a testimony can be miraculous and life changing, but the gift of testimony usually comes as a quiet assurance, without spectacular displays of God's power. Even Alma, who had been visited by an angel and had seen God sitting on His throne, needed to fast and pray so he could receive a testimony through the power of the Holy Ghost (see Alma 5:45–46; 36:8, 22).

Testimony grows gradually through experiences. No one receives a complete testimony all at once. It grows as individuals show willingness to serve in the Church and to study, pray, and learn. It increases as individuals obey God's commandments.

Testimony grows as it is shared. Part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared. In the Church testimony is shared often in fast and testimony meetings, in Church classes, and in conversations with family members and friends.

—See True to the Faith (2004), 178–80

What I'm Buying - Gossner's 2/19

Saturday, February 20, 2010
UPDATE November 2011: Sources for buying Gossner Foods milk have changed - see post HERE

I had a chance to go up to Logan yesterday for a family event, and before we left we stopped by the Gossner's Cheese shop out at their plant.

Many of you might know about this stuff already, but for those who don't:

Gossner's produces what is known as "Ultra High Temperature" or UHT pasteurized milk. It is regular milk, just like you would find in the grocery store, that has been pasteurized at pressure for several seconds at very high temperature (killing all bacteria and organisms), and then has been hermetically sealed in sterile containers. This process renders the milk shelf-stable and it does not need to be stored in the refrigerator (until just prior to drinking if you want cold milk, or until after you've opened it).

They have more than a dozen different flavors and varieties that they produce. They also have shelf-stable whipping cream!

This stuff is great for food storage, and is a great alternative if you or your family don't like powdered milk! Most of the milks we got yesterday had "Best By" dates of between 6-9 months away, but the lady at the register told us that the milk is still good for about another 9 months after that "Best By" date and is completely safe. So the milk has over a 1 year shelf life! (Which is good for us because we usually only get up to Logan once or twice a year.)

I don't keep a ton of these on hand, but I'm going to keep a few whipping creams and the larger quarts of whole milk. Some of the smaller milk boxes will go in our 72-hour food kits and the rest, well, of the 25 small boxes we bought yesterday, one-fourth are already gone... :) Guess we'd better pick up more next time.

These are some of the flavors that were available yesterday: whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim, strawberry, banana, mango, orange cream, chocolate 2%, Hershey's chocolate whole, cookies & cream, vanilla and root beer.

The quart size boxes of whole milk were .80 each, and the smaller boxes were .35 each (except I think we got a discount because we bought more than 25). I think the whipping cream was more, but I don't remember how much.

If you're ever in Logan and want to pick some up, the Gossner's plant is located at 1050 North 1000 West.

For those who don't get to Logan often or who live out of state, you can order Gossner's UHT milk online HERE.

We ended up with about 26 of the smaller boxes, 2 quart size whole milks, 3 8oz whipping creams, 1 loaf bagette bread, and 2 bags squeaky cheese for just under $22.

What I'm Buying - Sunflower Market 2/17

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Here's what I picked up at Sunflower Market this morning:

(2) Meadow Gold whole milk, clearanced to .99 (sell by 2/20)
(1) Silk Almond Milk, on sale 2.50
(6) lbs green seedless grapes, on sale .88/lb
(7) lbs red seedless grapes, on sale .88/lb
(1) bunch broccoli, on sale .88/lb
(2.5) lbs bananas, .59/lb
(2) organic green leaf lettuce, on sale .99 ea
(4) Rio Red grapefruit, on sale .13 ea
(6) organic roma tomatoes, on sale .99/lb

No coupons used.

Total: $23.21

What I'm buying - Rite Aid 2/15

Monday, February 15, 2010
Rite Aid has a few good deals this week. For more details, check out THIS post at PYP.

One of the items this week is the Olay products on sale 3 for $18. Use coupons to make it 3 for $15, and then submit for the $15 Olay product rebate HERE, and you've got free Olay products!

Here's what I picked up today:

(1) Huggies jumbo pack diapers, on sale 8.99 (free after coupon)
(1) Huggies PullUps, on sale 8.99 (5.99 after coupon, 2.99 after Single Check Rebate)
(1) Olay facial cleanser, on sale 6.00
(1) Olay moisturizer, on sale 6.00
(1) 6pk Olay bar soap, on sale 6.00

I used (1) free coupon for the diapers (from a Buy 5 Get 1 Free deal at Rite Aid in December), (1) 3.00/1 coupon for the PullUps (from a home mailer), (3) 1.00/1 coupons for the Olay products (see P&G 1/17 or RP-2/14) and (1) $5 off $20 printable coupon from the RiteAid Video Values program (watch videos for points, get enough points and you can print store coupons for various products). I also used a $10 Rite Aid gift certificate from the Gift of Savings program in December.

Total: $7.43 + get $3 Single Check Rebate + $15 Olay Rebate

Have you noticed...?

Have you noticed the theme for the "Visiting Teaching Messages" in the Ensign and Liahona magazines so far this year? :)

January 2010 Visiting Teaching Mesage: Becoming Self-Reliant

February 2010 Visiting Teaching Message: Managing Resources Wisely and Staying Out of Debt

February 2010 First Presidency Message: On Being Spiritually Prepared

Kitchen Cleaner

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I am still hanging my head in shame about the Costco trip yesterday...I cannot believe I paid that MUCH for so LITTLE food! Where was my brain when all this was going on?!?

The worst part was that one of those containers of raspberries was gone in about 8 minutes...$6 down the tubes in 8 minutes! Egads. Oh well, they were darn good, and the strawberries - holy sweet manna from heaven! :)

But, that's not really what I got on to blog about this morning...

Check out THIS POST about an all-purpose kitchen/bathroom cleaner that you can make yourself at home! It uses stuff that you probably already have around your house.

After I posted it this morning, I used it to clean my stove and microwave. It couldn't get the really baked on stuff off of my glasstop stove, but then again, hardly anything (including store-bought stuff) can. But it did fabulously on the inside of my microwave, and trust me, it was a mess - spaghetti sauce explosion that had been baking in there for several days!

What I'm Buying - Costco 2/9

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
We went through an entire package of the Costco tortillas this last week (um, hello, why did no one tell me about these things months ago?!?!)...yeah, maybe a little overkill perhaps. :)

But they're so good, we had to get more, and pick up some more fruit while there. The bananas and apples are good prices, and the tortillas are worth the extra money, but much of the other stuff wasn't exactly a screamin' deal. They were things I wanted for menu items this week, and I hadn't seen them on a good sale anywhere else, so I picked them up at Costco. I will keep the price and size information in my price book for comparison.

Here's what I picked up:

(1) 5lb cheddar jack shredded cheese, 10.59
(1) 48oz pkg frozen wild Alaskan salmon filets (7 ct), 24.99
(1) 6 hd pkg organic heirloom lettuce, 3.79
(1) 1lb pkg organic baby spinach, 3.79
(2) 3lb pkgs bananas, 1.32 ea
(2) 12oz pkgs raspberries, 5.99 ea
(1) 24oz pkg blueberries, 6.99
(1) 32oz pkg strawberries, 5.99
(4) 44ct pkgs uncooked tortillas, 6.79 ea
(1) 2lb jar sundried tomatoes, 7.89
(1) carbon monoxide monitor, 29.79 (22.79 after instant mfct rebate)
(1) 5.5lb clamshell organic Fuji apples, 6.99

Total: $141.01 - OUCH! [And I nice reminder of why it's worth it for me to do coupons...]

We needed the CO monitor because the one we currently have is next to the stairs leading to the bedrooms, and I'm afraid it wouldn't alarm until there was already dangerous amounts of CO in the house (yup, bad placement of the alarm), so I wanted a second one that can go on the main floor or in the basement to give us better warning should anything ever happen.

Here's the breakdown of prices for my pricebook:

shredded cheese, 2.12/lb [cheaper to buy blocks of cheese on sale and shred it myself]
salmon, .52/oz or 8.33/lb
bananas, .44/lb [cheaper than regular price at most grocery stores, so if you need bananas and can't find them on sale, Costco is a good option]
raspberries, .50/oz
blueberries, .29/oz
strawberries, .19/oz or 3.00/lb
Fuji apples, 1.27/lb [not a bad price for organic apples]

Costco has a 10lb bag of organic red delicious apples for about 6.99, making them .69/lb - a STEAL for organic apples!

Now, what did I learn from all of this? That it is WAY cheaper for me to watch for good fruit prices throughout the year, stock up and then FREEZE the stuff! But sometimes you just want fresh, right? And sometimes you just want fresh EVEN though it's not in season, and you know you'll pay way more than you normally would on a good sale, but THAT'S OKAY! ;)

What I'm Buying - Smith's 2/9

I stopped at Smith's to pick up a few more items before the Mega Event sale ends this evening.

(8) LaVictoria salsa, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo)
(2) Herdez salsa, on sale 1.85 (1.35 after promo)
(10) Pepperidge Farms goldfish crackers, on sale 1.38 (.88 after promo)

I COMPLETELY forgot to bring my coupons for the goldfish crackers...AND my $10 Smith's Reward certificate that is sitting on my desk. UGH!

Total: $24.42

Make Your Own Cleaning Wipes

Check out this post on the PYP blog to learn about making your own disinfecting cleaning wipes. I use the Lysol version, but I included a second cleaning mixture recipe at the bottom for those who are trying to or need to stay away from harsher chemicals.

Welfare Square Cannery Help Needed

Monday, February 8, 2010
From the Welfare Square Cannery:

We want to thank you all for the help you have given to us in the past.

We are asking once again for some help. We have four days that we need to make up on our assignment and to help finish up the apples.

There will be a case of applesauce for sale on these four days.

We will fill the first day first, then the next day and so on, ie Monday, February 15, then Friday, February 26, and so on.

We will start taking phone calls on Wednesday, Febraury 10, @9:00am. Please call 801-240-0851.


The days are:

Monday, February 15:
Shifts are: 8:00am-11:30am (preparation), 9:00am-12:30pm (bottling), 11:00am-2:30pm (preparation), 12:00pm-3:30pm (bottling), and 3:00pm-6:00pm (clean-up).

Friday, February 26:
Shifts are: 8:00am-11:30am (preparation), 9:00am-12:30pm (bottling), 11:00am-2:30pm (preparation), 12:00pm-3:30pm (bottling), and 3:00pm-6:00pm (clean-up).

Thursday, March 04:
Shifts are: 8:00am-11:30am (preparation), 9:00am-12:30pm (bottling), 11:00am-2:30pm (preparation), 12:00pm-3:30pm (bottling), 2:00pm-5:30pm (preparation), 3:00pm-6:30pm (bottling), and 6:00pm-9:00pm (clean-up).

Friday, March 05:
Shifts are: 8:00am-11:30am (preparation), 9:00am-12:30pm (bottling), 11:00am-2:30pm (preparation), 12:00pm-3:30pm (bottling), and 3:00pm-6:00pm (clean-up).

Thank you for all you do to help this work to progress.

The Welfare Square Cannery
730 West 800 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

Great deal on razors at Target this week!

Target has Gillette Fusion razors on sale for 6.99 this week. Buy 2 and get a free $5 Target gift card!

Use: Gillette Fusion Razor, any $4/1 (3-31-10) PG-2/7

Buy 2 @ 6.99 = 13.98
- 4.00 x 2 = 5.98 + $5 gift card
Net = .98 + tax for 2 razors!

You can "roll" this deal - buy 2, get the gift card and then use it to pay for 2 more razors in a separate transaction.

[You'll pay $6.60 out of pocket the first time, and then about $1.60 out of pocket for the second transaction plus have a $5 gift card to use at a later date.]

Food for 72-hr Kits - Update

Sunday, February 7, 2010
I was asked this weekend about what I store our food for our 72-hour kits in. And I thought for sure I had posted pictures before, but when I looked back through the posts, I couldn't find any "finished product" pictures - shame on me!

Well, allow me to remedy that. I packaged the food for each day in a gallon ziptop bag, one for each person per day (so each person has a total of 3 gallon-size bags, for 3 days worth of food). I labeled who it was for, which day, and the date of packaging. [You'll notice in the picture that we're on round two with these bags - they were originally packed in 4/09 and then were taken out and repacked and replenished in 10/09.]

So far I haven't had any problems with spills or leaks, and while some of the food does get a little squished (the toaster pastries and the granola bars), it's still edible in the end! :)

If you have concerns about space or weight with all the food, you might consider replacing one-day's worth of "normal" food with an emergency food ration bar. They're not exactly tasty, but they're better than nothing, and they do save on space and weight.

Another option you might be interested in is using a small cooler-type bag [if you do not want to keep the food in backpacks/containers with other supplies, either because of size or weight constraints or such]. I found this cooler at Walmart for about $9. It has a plastic liner in the bottom section and holds about 6 cola cans. It also has a top section that expands several inches to hold more items, and it has a shoulder strap for easy carrying. We were able to get all of the food for 3 days for an adult in it, but it was a very tight fit. Ultimately we decided not to go this route for ours because once the top section was expanded and full of food, it made the cooler very top-heavy and unstable, and it would fall over all the time. But there are so many cooler options out there and so many different sizes, I'm sure there are lots that would work great!

Still time to get in on the Arrowhead water deal!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

There is still time to participate in the Arrowhead water deal at Smith's (Kroger, for any of you outside of Utah) during their Mega Event sale.

Arrowhead Water in the 24pk of half-liter bottles is on sale for $3.49. If purchased as part of the "Buy 10" promo, you get them for $2.99 each. There is also a coupon at Coupons.com (use zip code 84123 if needed) for a free 6pk of 700ml Sports Bottles of the Arrowhead Water when you buy (2) of the 24 packs.

There is also a Catalina deal running (at least in Utah) to get $5 off your next grocery purchase when you buy (4) or more Arrowhead waters.

These are great options for water storage, so here's the scenario:

Buy: (4) 24 pks of Arrowhead water
(2) 6 pks of the sports bottles
(4-6) any other items included on the Mega Event sale (when I was there on Monday, the sports bottles WERE included as Mega Event items, so they counted towards the 10 total items - check with a cashier at your store to make sure)

Use: (2) of the coupons from Coupons.com for the free sports bottles

4 x 2.99 = 11.96 + the other items for the Mega Event to make it to (10) items total

Get a $5 Catalina coupon back, making your total essentially $6.96 for the (4) 24pks and (2) 6pks. That ends up being about .12 per bottle! (And remember to recycle the bottles if possible!)

For Utah locations, the Mega Event sale runs through this coming Tuesday, but the Catalina deal is only good through 2/7 (Sunday), so TODAY IS (essentially) THE LAST DAY!

Murray Cannery Opportunity

Friday, February 5, 2010
I got the following email from the Murray Cannery this afternoon:

We are in need of 36 volunteers on each day to help with our Cream of Mushroom soup assignment for the Bishops' Storehouse.

We need help on February 18th and March 11th.

Volunteers who work the 2 1/2 hour shift will be able to purchase the following products.

A maximum of 4 cases per person.

*Chili $27.60
*chicken chunks $46.80 (1 case per person)
*cream of chicken soup $27.60

Shifts start at 7:00 am, 9:15 am, 11:30 am, and 1:45 pm
Each shift is 2 1/2 hours long.

Reservations can be taken in person or by phone. Between 8:00am and 3:30pm
Call 801-266-1460
Reservation request left on voice messaging CANNOT be honored.

As always, please sign up for just one shift per day.
No one under 16 years old.

Why have food storage?

So you don't have to do THIS...

The mid-Atlantic states are expecting a huge snow storm this weekend and people are scrambling to get to stores in order to stock up on food and supplies. Many shelves were empty of perishables (milk, bread, eggs, produce) before noon today! One site is even reporting that most of the rush was last night for Washington, D.C. area grocery stores, and stores were left bare of many items, so those going for supplies this morning will be out of luck.

More surprises...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
After I finished looking through my canned beans yesterday, I was getting something out of the freezer which is right next to the shelf with the canned tomatoes. I figured I would take a quick glance at the labels to what I might find. Much of it was NOT good:

Stewed Tomatoes

(on the left) Ingredients: tomatoes, tomato juice, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, salt, dried onions, celery, green peppers, calcium chloride, citric acid, spice.

*Not bad, except for the HFCS! Who needs extra sugar added into their tomatoes?

(on the right) Ingredients: tomatoes, tomato juice, SUGAR, less than 2% of: salt, dehydrated onions, citric acid, dehydrated celery, dehydrated green bell peppers, calcium chloride, natural flavors.

*Again, added sugar! And don't let that "100% natural" label on the front fool you - all that means is that they added actual sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup...

Tomato Sauce

(on the left) Ingredients: tomato concentrate (water, tomato paste), salt, dehydrated onion and/or onion powder, dehydrated garlic and/or garlic powder, spices, DEXTROSE, citric acid, natural flavorings, sweet bell pepper.

*Added sugar? Check.

(on the right) Ingredients: tomatoes, salt, dehydrated onions, dehydrated garlic, spices, natural flavorings, sweet bell pepper.

*Added sugar? NOPE! :)

Diced Tomatoes

(on the left) Ingredients: tomatoes, tomato juice, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, salt, dried onions, garlic powder, sesame seed oil, natural flavor, calcium chloride, citric acid, parsley flakes, spices.

*Added sugar? YUP, and what's with the added oil?

(in the center) Ingredients: organic tomatoes, organic tomato juice, sea salt, calcium chloride, naturally derived citric acid.

*Added sugar? NOPE. Hooray!

(on the right) Ingredients: cut tomatoes, tomato juice, calcium chloride, citric acid.

*Added sugar? NOPE. Hooray again!

Cafe Rio Pork Salad!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I found some great recipes to try last night, for a Cafe Rio-style pulled pork salad. I thought it turned out really well (except for the fact that I left the black beans in the microwave after I warmed them up and forgot about them until this morning...eew!).

Here are the recipes I used for the pork, the cilantro-lime rice and the tomatillo dressing:


I did the rice in my rice cooker instead of on the stovetop.

We used the Costco tortillas (see previous post) as a base, and put some cheese on them to melt while they were cooking in the fry pan. Then we layered them with the cilantro-lime rice, [black beans should have gone here], the pork, some lettuce, tomatoes, pico de gallo (good stuff - recipe HERE), tomatillo dressing and baked tortilla strips.

I also used the Costco tortillas to make the baked tortilla strips:

Take 4-5 uncooked tortillas stacked together, and carefully cut into thin strips with a pizza cutter. Place strips on baking sheet; spray with canola oil (I used the Walmart-brand Canola Oil Cooking Spray in the green bottle - you could also use Pam if you have one of the varieties that is canola or olive oil based) or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350F for 9 minutes. Pull from oven, flip strips over, spray with just a little more canola spray (no extra salt needed this time) and bake for an additional 9 minutes. Once done, break the longer strips into 1-2 inch pieces.

So, what's hiding in my food storage?

SUGAR!!! Grrr...

Added sugar in everything, even in things I would never think would have sugar added to them!

Imagine my surprise when I happened to look at the label of this can:

(Sorry for the blurry picture - my camera does't take close-ups very well)

Beans are good for you, right? They're just basically beans, salt and water, right? WRONG! At least the Great Value ones aren't. Here's what is listed as ingredients:

Prepared kidney beans, water, CANE SYRUP, salt, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, calcium chloride, disodium EDTA added to promote color retention

Yup, that's not one, but TWO, added sugars - in canned beans! Seriously?!?

The Kroger brand kidney beans weren't much better:

Ingredients: prepared dark red kidney beans, water, SUGAR, salt, calcium chloride (firming agent), and disodium EDTA (for color retention).

Nor were the Libby's Sweet Peas I pulled off the shelf:

Ingredients: peas, water, SUGAR and salt.

Peas are one of the sweetest vegetables as it is, why in the world do canned peas need extra sugar?!?

Here's one that I feel a lot better about:

Ingredients: black beans, water and salt.

Three things I would absolutely expect to find in a can of beans, without any additional sugars or chemicals.

I am learning that I have to be much more careful about reading labels so I can make better food choices for my family.

Here's an interesting one I ran across last night:

I bought 4 packages of these flour tortillas at Smith's yesterday, and didn't even think to read the ingredient list. When I did get around to looking at it, here is what I found:

Ingredients: enriched bleached wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, vegetable shortening (interesterified soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil and/or palm oil), containes 2% or less of: SUGAR, salt, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate and/or sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium sulfate), preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid, potassium sorbate and/or citric acid), distilled monoglycerides, wheat starch, amylase, tricalcium phosphate, cellulose gum, dough conditioners (fumaric acid, sodium metabisulfate and/or mono- and diglycerides).

There are more "chemicals" in there than actual food ingredients! Contrast that with these:

I found these at Costco - they are uncooked tortillas that you take home and cook yourself.

Ingredients: wheat flour, water, canola oil, salt, sugar.

What a difference! Sure, you have to cook these other tortillas yourself, but it's super easy - dry frying pan for 30 seconds per side, that's it.

What is the most scary to me is that these are just a few examples I found yesterday on just one quarter of one shelf of my food storage - I'm afraid of what I'll find as I dig deeper...especially with the added sugars. How much sugar have I been adding to my family's diet each week without even knowing?!? And am I the only one out there who didn't know about this stuff?!?

I'm not a food nazi, nor am I vegan or vegetarian. I'm just a mom trying to learn how to provide better and healthier food for her family, and trying to make sure that the food we eat actually contains more "food" than "chemicals". *sigh* It's harder than I thought - I have some very bad food habits!

What's Hiding in YOUR Food?

Monday, February 1, 2010
Stay tuned to see some surprising finds from my food storage...

I've been doing lots of reading lately on food trends and have been shocked to find out what has been hiding in my food, that I didn't even know was there!

What I'm Buying - Smiths 2/1

The Mega Event sale at Smith's this week is just too good for only one trip... :)

Actually, I went because I needed a few produce items for dinner tonight and figured I would pick up a few other sale items while I was there. The Mega Event sale will go through next week as well, and many of the items will be the same.

Here's what I picked up:

(4) Arrowhead 24 pk bottled water, on sale 3.49 (2.99 after promo)*
(1) Arrowhead 12 pk sports bottles water, free with coupon*
(4) Mission tortillas soft taco size, on sale 1.50 (.99 after promo, .25 after coupon)
(2) Kraft Easy Mac cups, on sale .99 (.49 after promo)
(6) Ro-Tel tomatoes, on sale .92 (.42 after promo, 4 @ .12 and 2 @ FREE after coupons)
(2) Mountain Dairy whole milk, on sale 1.67
(2) double packs beef cross rib roast, on sale 1.79/lb
(6) limes, .25 ea
(1) bunch cilantro, on sale .44
(2) Kroger baby carrots, on sale .89 ea
(6) tomatillos, .99/lb
(6) Emerald dry roasted peanuts, on sale 1.50 (.50 after attached peelie coupon)
(4) Pepperidge Farms goldfish crackers, on sale 1.38 (.88 after promo)
(2.5) lbs onions, on sale .33/lb

I used (2) printable coupons for the water [see GroupA at GrocerySmarts], (4) .75/1 coupons for the tortillas [see SS-1/10], (4) .30/1 coupons for the Ro-Tel [see SS-1/24], (2) Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupons for the Rotel [see January AllYou magazine], and (6) 1.00/1 coupons for the peanuts [attached to jar lids on product].

Total: $47.97 + I got a $5 Catalina good off next order (from the water)

*The coupon for the water says you get a free 6pk of sports bottles when you buy (2) 24 pks. But the store doesn't carry the 6pks of sports bottles, only 12pks. So, I asked if I got (4) of the 24 packs if I could then substitute the (1) 12pk instead of (2) 6pks, and they said that was fine. There is also a Catalina for the water purchase, buy (2) get $2, buy (3) get $3, buy (4) or more get $5 [good through 2/7].

So, the water ends up being 2.99 each after promo, and then factoring in the Catalina, it makes it $6.96 for (4) 24pks and (1) 12pk.

Just note that most of the stores don't seem to carry the 6pks of the sports bottles, so whether they will substitute the 12pk for you or not is up to their discretion.

What I'm Buying - Albertsons 2/1

I headed back to Albertsons this morning to pick up a few more things on the Quaker sale, but there isn't much left. The store is no longer able to order more items, so what is on the shelves is all there is. It is so sad to see the store so empty...

Anyway, here's what I picked up while there:

(5) Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cinnamon cereals, on sale 1.60 (1.00 ea when you buy 5)
(2) Ragu alfredo sauce, 1.00 ea with in-ad coupon

Total: $7.24

The Albertsons at 70th & Redwood has afew boxes of the Oatmeal Squares Cinnamon cereal, a handful of Life cereals left and a few varieties of instant oatmeal. I did not see if there were any granola bars left though.