Tag Archives: Wal-Mart

From A Woot Deal To QVC To A Sous-Vide Supreme Demi

When I initially took advantage of a Woot daily deal on a Rival Food Vacuum Sealer, I thought maybe at best, I was going to be able to really take advantage of my Costco membership and actually start buying some of the bulk meat packages. I was looking forward to taking advantage of the discounts available for buying in bulk because now I’d have a way to actually save the meat in the freezer without getting freezer burn by the time I finally got around to using it all up. The last thing I expected that it was going to lead to two additional purchases and drastically change how I cook in my own home.

When the vacuum sealer from Woot showed up, I was hooked. I got a good deal on the unit, I spent a total of $24.99 for the sealer which was very reasonable for an entry level machine. The unit came with four bags, so I went to the store and bought some bags in the form of a FoodSaver roll that lets you custom make bags to your choice of size. And within a few days I was really enjoying the ability to vacuum seal food and finding the Rival unit to be decent but lacking in the ability to cut off the vacuum and move directly into sealing if I didn’t want to completely remove all the air. Also the Rival unit operated by applying pressure to the lid until the hands free operation light came on, at which point it would then take over and continue sucking out all the air until it could suck out no more then activate the sealing mechanism. The lid required quite a bit of pressure to activate it, which is fine, but I could see the complaint I later saw from a lot of people commenting on the unit in online reviews. But ultimately, I decided I was going to need a fancier vacuum sealing unit for my needs.

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Only At Wal-Mart Mamma Mia! Packaged With Xanadu

Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.

No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.

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Tim Tams Sighted In Fry’s Electronics

No sooner than Tim Tams become an extinct at Target, did it seem that Tim Tams were popping up in other places. As some of my friends in San Diego said, they had sighted them in other supermarkets such as the Ralph’s on University Avenue, even a recent trip to visit my folks in Temecula, a walk through their Wal-Mart Supercenter also yielded some Tim Tam sightings. Probably one of the least expected sightings I saw was a display at Fry’s Electronics.

While Fry’s Electronics tends to specialize in all kinds of electronics and home appliances, they do like to litter their check out section with food options to appeal to the impulse purchasers. A cardboard impulse purchase display sitting in front of a row of children’s toys in the middle of the aisle make it look as out of place as it was unexpected. But in any case, it was a nice surprise to see some of the Tim Tams still available for purchase before they become hard to find thanks to Pepperidge Farm’s strange decision to only make Tim Tams available for just a few months each year. Unfortunately Fry’s wasn’t selling them for a decent sale price like the other places still with Tim Tams. But as a last resort it’s good to know Fry’s is another avenue to find some Tim Tams, at least for now. Continue reading Tim Tams Sighted In Fry’s Electronics

My “Free” KitchenAid Blender

My previous roommates had a Magic Bullet, so I could kind of experiment with making shakes like the one in Jorge Cruise’s “Belly Fat Cure” book, but the Magic Bullet has a small capacity and really not a lot of power for some serious blending. Now that I’ve moved and got my own kitchen, I didn’t have a blender of any kind. And I really didn’t want to spend any money on one either.

At work, when we meet our customer service goals, they award us a bonus. The bonus used to be a quarterly cash bonus that maxed out at $200 but once taxed at the rate the government taxes bonuses, it was barely more than half the value. As part of a cost cutting measure last year due to the economy, the quarterly bonus opportunity was transitioned into a point program where the points could be saved and redeemed through an awards catalog online. The points can be redeemed for a wide variety of products and if that’s not quite enough for you, they even have a partnership with Amazon.com for supplying Music and DVD options to be redeemed for points.

When I logged in to look at what was available, I really wasn’t looking to purchase yet with the point I had available. But I just happened to look and not only did they have a variety of blenders available, they also had KitchenAid Blenders. I’m already familiar with KitchenAid quality thanks to my grandmother’s mixer being passed down to me. And I love a great deal, the mixers are normally 7,176 points, and they were on special for 3,915 points, essentially 45% off the usual “price” only thing was there’s only one choice of color, the “Willow Blue” model. Fortunately, it’s a nice color and since buying the blender for real money would be about $100, I felt it was a great deal and placed the order. Within in a couple days the blender arrived. Continue reading My “Free” KitchenAid Blender

New Way To Enjoy Holiday Music From Sony Music

Celine Dion Fireplace DVDWhen I was last at my local Wal-Mart and was in their Christmas section, I came across a display of CDs and some DVDs. To my surprise it seems this year, Sony Music got a little creative with their holiday music. They’ve reissued a lot of their most popular holiday albums, except not as CDs, but as DVDs. Now the videos on the CDs is not of the artists, it’s of a fireplace scenes.

Normally I might think this is a rather shameless attempt to make people buy yet another version of a holiday album they probably already own. Surprisingly I actually thought it was a cool idea. Some people do like those DVDs of aquariums and fireplaces to throw on, and since the DVD player is likely connected to a surround sound system anyway, why not have a DVD with fireplace scenes that feeds the sound of your favorite holiday albums to the speakers. They had all kinds of choices in a variety of genres, such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, John Denver, Brad Paisley, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Kenny G, Il Divo, Kenny Chesney, Bette Midler, Johnny Cash, and more.

It’s a relatively cheap concept to make since Sony Music has access to the records and they only need to film the fireplace once and set the same footage to each holiday album. Kind of a neat idea and not something I’m going to take part in buying, but I do like the concept of it. If you like any Sony artists with holiday albums, you may want to check out this line. Sony calls it the “Christmas Classics – The Yule Edition.”

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Thanksgiving At My Parents’ New Home

Mom's New HouseI got to have my first look the new house my parents moved into in Temecula, California on Thanksgiving. I was a little sad to see the old house in the process of being packed up and ready to go last week when stopped by. (Click here to read about that visit.) But I was excited to see the new house even though it’s considerably further away from where I’m currently living.

My first look at the house wasn’t actually when I drove up, when I got the e-mail from my mother with the new address, I checked it out on Google’s maps using the street view feature. The photo was not unlike the one I took that’s shown above. The house is definitely bigger than the older house and as my mom tells me, it’s approximately 1000 square feet bigger than the old house, but because lacks the same level of storage space of the old house. Understandable considering the old house, my folks had “California Closets” installed in all the closets to maximize the closet spaces and a full set of storage cabinets inside the garage. The new house has just the bar to hang clothes in the closets and from what my folks told me, the garage wasn’t even drywalled when the bought the house. So eventually the closets will get transformed into California Closets and cabinets added to the garage, but it’s not a priority.

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Sugar Free Nanaimo Bar Factory In My Kitchen

Nanaimo Bar FactoryYesterday, I took on the daunting task of making four batches of Nanaimo Bars using the Sugar Free recipe I developed earlier this year. (For those new to my blog and unfamiliar with my adventures developing my Sugar Free Nanaimo Bar recipe, click here to see all my Nanaimo Bar entries. The recipe also appears below.) It was the first time I have made multiple batches in one day and it was certainly an interesting experience. As the dessert is a layered treat, I did all four sets of each layer before moving on to the next layer. It was definitely a big production and of course, I couldn’t do them all the same, so I did three batches as the regular version of the recipe and one batch in the peanut butter variation.

Part of the reason for doing so many batches at once is that I promised a batch to be a gift for a friend for his birthday, also I’m attending a couple of Thanksgiving events that I don’t want to arrive at empty handed. Also my roommates really liked the peanut butter variation when I first tried that variation of the recipe but I haven’t made a second batch of that one, until now.

I had to set up the kitchen into almost a factory setup with many little “stations” to handle the various preparation work. I had a food processor station, a mixer station, a boiler station, as well as a station to store the pans between batches. And I was jumping between the various stations often working on more than one batch at a time. In some cases I was putting butter into the double boiler to melt for the next batch while finishing the chopping and mixing for the previous batch. It definitely felt like quite like a factory production with various stations I set up in the kitchen to handle the specific preparations tasks. It definitely worked really well for getting the base layer made.

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Target’s Interesting Packaging For Star Trek DVD & Blu-Ray

Star Trek Target Blu RayAs retailers coerce manufacturers into getting exclusive versions of products to try and attract buyers without having to actually compete on price. In a way it’s kind of a dirty way to get fans to buy multiple products when exclusives are offered to multiple retailers and to extort the highest prices on the “Limited Edition” versions.

In the case of the latest Star Trek film, here in the US, Paramount Pictures, authorized several exclusives options. One set of retailers, FYE, Coconuts, & Suncoast, (all owned by the same parent company) offered the film in a collectible steelbox shell, Hollywood Video is offering a chance to win an autographed poster with a purchase or rental of the movie, Best Buy is offering a set of four pins to cover the various departmental delta shields seen on the uniforms in the movie. CVS Pharmacies are offering the chance to buy the movie for a discounted rate with the purchase of an iTunes gift card. Allegedly Wal-Mart is or was offering a Blu-Ray set that included the standard DVD as well, but I’ve not been able to confirm that one. And both Amazon and Target are offering Enterprise models as their exclusives. The Amazon one is certainly the higher ticket one, made of solid metal with chrome, textured steel and pewter finishes as well as being limited to only 5,000 pieces but at $100 a pop, a little too pricey in my book, albeit very nice looking.

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Are The 99 Cent Only Stores Engaging In False Advertising?

99 Cent LogoThe city of Poway just had a grand opening for a 99 Cents Only store within the last week. Naturally because it’s new in town I decided to check it out. However, one of the things I noticed that wasn’t blatantly obvious was a sign indicating that due to inflation, prices were now no longer 99 cents, but rather 99.99 cents. This carrying out the nines to two more decimal places essentially transforms the prices into $1.00 per item and you’d have to actually purchase 51 ones before you get one at 99 cents.

To me, this reeks of false advertising. The stores are called 99 Cents Only stores, and they’re flat out lying. The business was built on the premise that nothing in the stores would cost more than 99 cents. And according to their press release about the change, they managed to keep that true for slightly more than twenty-five years since the company was founded in 1982 until they opted to change it in late 2008. I’m not sure if they were the first company to start on the premise of charging 99 cents, but obviously others followed but decided to go for the dollar instead of losing an additional penny per item. This price increase does effectively make the 99 cent stores the same as the dollar stores, except for the fact they’ve got that problem that their name specifically states 99 Cents “Only.”

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Making Homemade Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding HomemadeWhen I recently stopped at Major Market in Escondido to check their prices on some flavored extracts for my sugar-free Nanaimo Bars, I took the opportunity to browse the whole store. Major Market carries a lot of International foods and they carry a large selection of British foods. It also happens to be where I has previously purchased the Bird’s Custard Powder that is an essential ingredient for my sugar free Nanaimo Bar recipe. I happened to browse the frozen food section and saw they had some bags of imported Aunt Bessie’s Frozen Yorkshire Pudding.

I’ve only had Yorkshire Pudding one time in my life and that was in the home of my good friends Sara and Paul Russell when I spent a week in the United Kingdom in 2006. I thought they were amazing and I really liked them. But I’ve not had them since. Seeing the bag of Yorkshire Pudding in the store, reminded me of those tasty Yorkshire Pudding pastries that Sara had made during my visit. While looking at the bag in the store, I decided to use my cell phone and look up recipes for Yorkshire pudding to see if it was going to be easy to make or if I should just buy the overpriced bag of imported frozen ones.

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