I was invited to a Jewel location in downtown Chicago recently where I and other bloggers learned all about some of the things Jewel is doing from building more environmentally friendly stores to expanding their fresh offerings at the deli counter to stocking more organic products.
At the time, they were also launching a new cookware promotion, available at all 175 Chicago area Jewel stores. The program is similar to some of the original loyalty programs where customers collected stamps based on their spending and turned them in for premiums.
In this case, for every $10 spent on eligible purchases at Jewel made by customers using their Preferred Customer Cards, one stamp will be awarded. As stickers are collected, customers can earn cookware products for only a penny. There are eight different pieces in the Thomas Professional Cookware set to choose from, with different pieces requiring a different number of stickers. The promotion lasts through January 12 - so it isn't too late to collect your stickers and earn your cookware pieces.
Customers place their earned stickers into saver cards, which they can then turn in at checkout for their products. They range from a 7.8 inch fry pan for 50 reward stickers (and a penny) or $5.49 and 25 stickers to a 13.7 by 10.1 inch roasting pan with rack for 130 stickers and a penny or $19.99 with 65 stickers. I love that you have the ability to purchase the product at a significantly discounted price for half the stickers (retail is $29.99 to $89.99 - and yes, you can buy it at full retail, too).
The cookware itself is made from hard anodized aluminum meaning that they are really strong, and all pieces are nonstick AND dishwasher safe (although I'll be honest that I don't put any of my nonstick pieces in the dishwasher). The program includes two sizes of frying pans, a casserole, a saute pan, a grill pan, a dutch oven, a stir-fry pan, and a roasting pan with rack.
I know it's hard to believe, but I don't own a stir-fry pan (or a wok). Or I didn't until Jewel sent me one, along with a grill pan, for me to try out and test how well the pans work.
The pans were both fairly heavy, which I like when I cook. It may be a pain to store and get them out, but I'd rather have that minor hassle than burned food. The heavier a pan is, the more it will retain heat and the less likely it is to have hot spots.
They were also nice looking. They had silver handles, and a sleek look overall. And those silver handles? I was happy to report that they did not get hot when cooking, which is the new par for the course with pans.
I loved using the grill pan to make chicken and fish - and my turkey bacon! I'm also a huge fan of using it to make grilled cheese, since you can do it without any butter and it leaves such neat grill marks. It cleaned up fairly well after each use, not requiring a ton of scrubbing. As with most pans of this type, it did need some seasoning to start, so I wiped it down with olive oil the first few times, and it is now nicely seasoned and working well. Bonus? If I am planning to grill outdoors all day and the weather turns, I don't have to scrap that night's meal. We simply grill inside!
My very first stir fry pan was a blast to use. I had so much fun cooking up veggies to crunchy-cooked with a little sauce and some meats. This was a lot of fun for the wee ones to watch, and it meant that they ate some foods that they wouldn't have eaten before. With small children, there are always distractions while cooking or delaying in eating, which makes the lid that comes with the stir-fry pan awfully handy. Most woks I've seen don't have one. It is also a great shape to use for other dishes. I've made a lot of soups in here - sauteing the veggies first and then adding the remaining ingredients. This one cleans up even more easily than the grill pan - partly because it doesn't have the same nooks and crannies!
I have to say that I am awfully happy with the additions to my cookware set. I typically cook with cast iron, and this was a nice changeup - and definitely cleaned up more easily. I wouldn't use the anodized pans to melt chocolate or anything super delicate, but that isn't their purpose, and they serve theirs well.
Some other fun facts about cooking over the holidays?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 70% of Americans indicate that, during the holidays, food brings them and their families the most joy. Gifts, meanwhile, came in at 48%
Just under 60% of holiday meal hosts report doing all the work themselves, without asking guests to bring anything along
Despite the amount of food involved in the holidays, 75% of respondents say eating healthy is important to them and their families
Although generally perceived as the centerpiece to holiday meal entertaining, 41% said that the main entrée is the dish most susceptible to tinkering, while only 37% said they would change up their appetizer offering
Celebrating big in Chicago: People in Chicago are more likely to have large celebrations, with 33 percent saying they will host nine to 14 people, compared with 22 percent nationwide. Price of food is more of a concern among Chicago respondents, with 36 percent citing it as an important consideration versus 28 percent nationally. When asked if they could have any living person at their holiday dinner table, Chicagoans picked their family, followed by the First Family (the Obamas).
(Study was conducted by Harris Interactive research in October 2010 with information provided by Jewel-Osco.)
If you live in Chicago, go out and collect those stamps (and I know lots of charities that are collecting stamps from various people for those who are in a generous mood or who aren't collecting enough to earn their chosen pieces). Or, you could win cookware here. I have a matching set to what I received for review. I have a stir-fry pan and a grill pan to give away - one each to two lucky winners. The first winner gets first choice and the second winner gets the other piece.
So what do you have to do to win an awesome piece of cookware? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Monday December 27 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.
Mandatory Entry: What is your favorite thing to cook? (You must answer this question to get any entries!)
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Check out the #giveaway of Jewel cookware from @honestandtruly at http://bit.ly/fJ12yD" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a grill pan and wok for review purposes only and no compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.