October 2011 - Posts - Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test
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Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test

October 2011 - Posts

  • Best Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole

     I am not a sweet potato lover but when we lived down south, a friend shared this recipe with me and they are REALLY good.  I thought I would share them now that Thanksgiving is around the corner.


    10 large sweet potatoes (I usually use a few less)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 sticks butter
    3/4 can Carnation evaporated milk
    1 1/2 T. vanilla.

    Mash sweet potatoes after cooking. Add all other ingredients. Bake in casserole or 9 x 13 pan for 25 minutes at 350.


    2 sticks melted butter
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup flour
    1 cup pecans, chopped

    Mix and pour on top of sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. We usually half this recipe for our family.

  • Does it Really Cost Less to be a Vegetarian?

     We aren't vegetarians, but are heading more in that direction slowly.  Can you can really save money being a vegetarian?

  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Vanilla Yogurt


    The test for vanilla yogurt produced some interesting results. I compared Kroger, Wal-mart, Yoplait, Mountain High, and Dannon Light n Fit. Here is the cost breakdown for a 6 oz yogurt:

    Kroger $0.59
    Wal-mart $0.50
    Yoplait $0.60
    Mountain High $0.68
    Dannon $0.60

    Ranked by price, Wal-mart is the best and Mountain High is the worst. Ranked by Taste, Yoplait is the best, and Kroger is the worst.

    For those of you who swear by Yoplait, you have made a good choice. While it is a little more expensive than the store brand, the quality is exceptionally better, and, they have a much greater variety of flavors. It's hard to describe what was so good about Yoplait....here it goes....Yoplait had the best tasting and strongest flavor. It had such a smooth, creamy texture and just tasted rich. So, I deemed the overall winner Yoplait. For a few more cents per carton, you get a much improved quality of taste, which is definitely worth it to me.

    The Dannon and Wal-mart tasted very similar. Not as sweet or rich as Yoplait, but still tasted good. Mountain High was a very different texture and flavor: it is more like plain yogurt. I really like the tart taste and more curdled texture, usually, but it didn't taste very good in the vanilla variety. Their plain yogurt is exceptionally good, though. And Kroger? It was so bland. Definitely the worst in the bunch.

    Want an even more cost effective option? Try making homemade yogurt! There are tons of great tutorials online, and it tastes great. If you want it flavored, you have to add it yourself, but it doesn't take hardly any time to make it!
  • Cooking From Scratch: Baked Beans

     I am not a fan of baked beans.  I didn't grow up eating them and never liked them...that is until I tried these.  I really like these.  We had them at a family reunion several years ago, and I got the recipe right away.  I have also added ham to the recipe or even bits of cooked steak or pork on occasion.  Even though I am not fond of Famous Dave's beans, which my husband loves, I do like the fact that they have several different kinds of meat in them.  Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}



    3 lg. cans pork and beans                                

    1 green pepper, diced

    1 lg. can crushed pineapple, undrained 

    3 tbsp. Worchestershire

    1 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled or    1/2 to 1 cup bacon bits             

    1 1/2 c. catsup

    1 Medium to large onion

    1 cup brown sugar, packed down                                       

    Mix all together in a very large container and cover. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. (If there is not time, then bake for double the amount of time-a minimum of 4 hours at 300.) Bake at 350 uncovered for 2 hours or longer to allow some of the fluid to evaporate.

  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand: BBQ Sauce

    There are WAY too many different kinds of bbq sauces! I decided to go for Honey BBQ sauce, and picked up a bottle of each of the following brands: KC Masterpiece, Jack Daniels, Family Daves, Kroger, Great Value, Sweet Baby Ray's, and Kraft. The reason there are two Famous Dave's sauces is this: I didn't know which one would be comparable to the honey flavor. In the end, neither of them were, even though they were both delicious.

    I thought all barbeque sauces were made equal, but this is not the case! Each brand had it's own special taste. Here is the list of the prices, and of the unique flavors.

    • K C Masterpiece $1.76, had a vinegar-y, ketchup-y taste
    • Jack Daniels $2.14, Also had a vinegar-y taste, but tasted more like a steak sauce
    • Famous Daves $2.14 Had a great kick! But, neither one tasted like the Honey.
    • Kroger: $1.00 Tasted pretty good- an average bbq sauce
    • Great Value $1.18 Another average bbq sauce, but Kroger tasted better.
    • Sweet Baby Rays $0.77 (on sale- great deal!) Had a hint of molasses that gave it a rich flavor.
    • Kraft: $1.26 This one had very little flavor. Not very good, at all.

    We thought the best tasting sauce was Sweet Baby Ray's, hands down. Price wise, it was also the winner. But, each one had a different flavor, so depending on which one is your favorite, it might not be the winner for your family!  But, I do think it is ok to say that universally, Kraft was the loser. Even though other sauces are a little more expensive, the taste just wasn't nearly as good as the others!

    One thing NOT considered in the taste test was the effect of cooking on the taste. In general, I think that bbq sauce tastes better cooked, and that may have made a huge difference in the flavors.

    One nice thing about bbq sauce is it goes on a good sale, particularly in the summer, so it's an ideal time to stock up on your favorite kind. In this test, I had gotten the Sweet Baby Ray's on a really good sale, but wasn't able to wait for the other brands to go on sale, otherwise I could have gotten them for a better price.   

    And, of course, you can always try making homemade! Here is a recipe that my mom has made.  They like it, but I think it is milder than most BBQ sauces. 


    ¾ Cup ketchup

    ½ Cup chopped onion

    1 clove or more garlic

    2 Tablespoons vinegar

    1 Tablespoon Worstershire Sauce

    ½ Cup + a bit Brown Sugar

    1 Tablespoon mustard

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 Tablespoon A-1 or Heinz 57 sauce


    1 Cup water or more

    Mix ingredients. I usually brown some meat, and then slow cook it in the frying pan with this sauce for a couple of hours. Serve over rice.

      I'm sure you could find some excellent recipes online. Yay for great recipe blogs!
  • How Prepared Are You?

     Do you feel like you are prepared to handle whatever challenges are ahead?  Do you have enough food or money to last a year?  How long could you make it if your income stopped suddenly? 

  • Expired Food - Would You Eat It?

     I have been helping a few people clean out their cupboards and home and have found food from up to 12 years ago.  People are hesitant to get rid of it and want to eat it if it doesn't buldge.  Would you eat expired food?  How long after the expiration date would you eat it? 

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