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Monday, September 20, 2010

discovering your dollar store

when i moved less than a year ago some other frugal ladies from church introduced me to something i now rely on weekly for my cooking ventures: the 99 cents only store. this amazing dollar store sells nothing for more than 99c and they have some great fresh produce, some of which i definitely can't find cheaper anywhere else. here's a list of some of the things i've found there (over the course of time - not all in one trip):
  • 2 pack of red/orange/yellow bell peppers
  • container of mini bell peppers - multi colored and just red
  • 3 pack of green bell peppers
  • 2 lb bag of peaches/plums/nectarines
  • 2 lb bag of dole bananas
  • 6-8oz container of raspberries/blackberries/blueberries
  • 3 pack hearts of romaine lettuce
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes
  • 3 pack of mangoes
  • 3 pack of avocados
  • 3 lb bag red/yellow/white onions
  • 2 lb bunch broccoli/cauliflower
  • 2 pack of large cucumbers
  • 8 oz package of brown/white/baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 pack of portobello mushrooms
  • 2 lb bag carrots
  • 6 pack roma tomatoes
  • 1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
  • bagged organic spinach
  • 4 pack large bunches of cilantro
  • bag of green onions

i've also found some other non-produce items that i've been happy to find there too:
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles
  • bottle of oyster sauce (for asian cooking... see my asian label for more)
  • 4 pack unsweetened applesauce/berry applesauce (good baby food to go)
  • gerber meals for toddlers - 3 for $1
  • boxed gerber granola bars - 3 boxes for $1
  • wheaties fuel cereal
  • large bag twizzlers nibs (confession - i love these)
  • jelly flops (real jelly belly jelly beans that are funny shaped or stuck together)
  • 6 pack large pita breads

i've been really happy with the quality of nearly everything i've bought from my dollar store. my hearts of romaine are even fresher and last longer than the ones i buy at other stores.

and of course i love that shopping at my dollar store makes meals like the one below possible. we loved this salad at our house - and it is as beautiful as it was delicious. packed full of beautiful (and usually) expensive veggies, this one is a keeper as long as my dollar store keeps providing bell peppers. :)

thai peanut noodle salad
find recipe here at our best bites
(i left out about 1/3 cup olive oil, though!)

just for fun, a few other great non-food items i've found at the dollar store:
  • halloween costume stuff (including really cute wings - usually so expensive!)
  • nick jr and disney books (like diego, backyardigans, disney princesses, etc.)
  • awesome coloring books (discovery channel, disney)
  • silk flowers
  • picture frames

so discover what dollar stores are near you - you never know what you'll find!!


Anonymous said...

Wow! I haven't seen any produce at our dollar stores, but they do have some spices (which are usually much more expensive) among other things. You gotta love the dollar store. :)

May Family said...

We have that same store here in Texas with lots of that same produce. It is awesome! I only wish it was a little closer. A few times I have gotten some not so fresh veggies, but most of the time I'm happy. I even got a watermelon there. :)

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!