LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

Clipping coupons these days are a lot different than when I was a child and my mother perused the Sunday paper for them. 

I remember sitting with her at the kitchen table, going over the coupons with her and finding the things we normally shopped for and clipping coupons out for her to put in her little binder she had. 

My mother was extremely organized with her coupons too. She had them all organized by type and which she could double or triple...much more organized than I can seem to be. I’m lucky if I even remember I have coupons. 

Often, I write out the grocery list and then go back and go through my coupons and write a big "C" beside the item to indicate it has a coupon and paper clip them to the list. This still doesn’t mean I always remember them once I’m at the checkout. 

With the advent of shopping cards has come a new byproduct that I enjoy from the store I am loyal to. They send me coupons every few months based on the purchases I make. Coupons for things I buy regularly, which they know because of the shopper card I use each time I shop. 

This week, I visited their company Web site to see their most recent sale flyer because I wanted to plan something for this weekend and wanted to see if chicken was on sale or not. I noticed they had a button that said, "Download coupons directly to your shopping card." 

I recall having my eyebrows raise and I thought, "Whoo whoo, no forgetting the coupons anymore!" 

I signed up immediately, I had to sign up at two different sites and the process was a little slow on my connection, which is not DSL or cable, but I think the time was worth the $12 in savings I put onto my card for things I normally shop for. 

They had coupons for even store brand items I buy fairly regularly. My son and husband love ice cream and one of the coupons was for the exact brand I buy almost every week. Having a coupon, already on my shopping card for this item will make it so much easier at the check out. 

I’m actually excited about grocery shopping. I know that sounds silly but I think this is one of the best things they could possibly come up with for people with store loyalty or shopping cards. 

Visiting your grocery store Web site can also net other great deals. Sometimes they have coupons on their site that you can download and print at home as well. You can visit sites like www.coupons.com too, but at least with the ones on the store Web site you know they are always products they actually carry. 

This doesn’t mean I won’t still continue to clip coupons from the Sunday paper. Those are still the ones you can get doubled, tripled and sometimes on a really fantastic promotion quadrupled. So, I’ll still do both to help save a little money everywhere I can. 

In this economy, coupons are almost a must for certain brands because the prices have risen so much over the last year. 

The store Web site even had free sample offers and recipes. 

I was very pleased with my spur of the moment thought of visiting the grocery store Web site. 

I do not drop names in my column but the grocery store I frequent weekly starts with the letter "K," just in case you want to check them out. They are also currently running a contest for free gas and groceries for a year, along with other smaller prizes. 

The reason I originally went to the site to check out prices on chicken was because I planned on making chicken salad for our lunches this week as something different. 

We grow tired of ham and cheese or turkey on wheat and peanut butter and jelly sometimes so I thought I’d try my hand at chicken salad. I’ve never made it before, actually, so I had to seek out a good basic recipe and then change it to my own family’s tastes. 

Tam’s Chicken Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat I chose to use my homemade blackened or rotisserie style chicken for the salad

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds or chopped pecans -- you can omit if someone has a nut allergy

1/4 cup green bell pepper chopped

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and onion powder (optional if you use pre-seasoned meat)

Since use blackened or rotisserie style chicken, the garlic and onion powder is optional. It would be overkill with those already intense flavors but if you are using plain baked chicken or grilled chicken then you may want to add the seasonings for extra flavor. Perhaps even a tiny amount of ground thyme as well. 

Simply mix all of the ingredients together and serve on your bread of choice. 

To toast almonds or pecans or even walnuts, simply put them loosely on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.  

You can modify this recipe to suit your own tastes. Add a celery stalk chopped up, or some sweet relish if that is what you like. Maybe a chopped dill pickle or cucumber instead of bell pepper? Roasted peppers might also be nice or even sun dried tomatoes. The possibilities are limitless. I know of some folks who love chopped apples and walnuts in chicken salad. It is whatever you and your family like best. 

If the children don’t like some things, then make a smaller batch just for them and make yours to suit your adult taste buds. 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to check out my blog, The Cabin Kitchen at www.thecabin.net to find links to coupon sites online and other special features.)