Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Organic Thanksgiving

While shopping at our local co-op grocer last week we decided to get a local organic turkey.

A 15 lb turkey for the 2 of us.

We rallied some family members and like that, it’s on!

What will it take to do a full organic meal for 5?  We headed to Whole Foods to find out.

We got all the ingredients to make the following dishes (from scratch!):

Turkey (not from Whole Foods but included in the grand total)

Roasted garlic and herb butter

Pecan butter

Gravy

Green bean casserole (doubled the recipe)

Stuffing (w. ground pork)

Garlic mashed potatoes

Mashed butternut squash (butternuts from the garden)

Sweet potatoes

Rolls

Cranberry sauce

Chocolate chip cookies

Eggnog

We braced for the bill… I mean, the amount of food we got is enough to feed way more than 5 people!
With the turkey and everything, our fully organic Thanksgiving meal cost us $150 … am I crazy to think that is a respectable number?
I’ll be sure to take some pix ūüôā¬† Happy Thanksgiving to everyone – please try to buy local and keep it non-GMO!
Oh and… while I have your attention, please try to keep it simple on Friday; let’s not give those corporations (who are ruining our happiness) any more of our hard-earned money ūüôā

Good-Bye Gluten

I didn’t bother with any gluten eliminating over the holiday, it was overwhelming enough just being GMO-free.¬† But yesterday I accompanied my sister while she did her groceries (I didn’t need anything!!) so I was able to do some in-store research to get a feel for what is and isn’t ok and created other questions I have to look into.

After leaving Whole Foods it was decided that this wasn’t going to be easy.¬† Sure there are plenty of gluten-free foods and plenty of organic or GMO-free foods, but I noticed a lack of products touting both.¬† I left there with a very wish-washy idea of moving forward with this plan.¬† (I think that means, I like the idea but am not liking what it entails and am not 100% sure I am willing and/or able to do this.)¬† Next we went to Job Lot and I loaded up on everything I found to be free of GMOs and gluten, which surprisingly was a nice assortment of things!¬† I got two boxes of granola, one is chocolate the other is honey nut; a box of chocolate cookies; and a bag of cheddar tortilla chips.¬† I felt a little better after that as I love cookies, crackers, cakes, and cereals so to find alternatives helped me relax a little.¬† My sister and I discussed a time line for this all to happen, I personally didn’t land on anything conclusive.¬† I needed more information.

This morning I started a food journal – my favorite! LOL¬† I figured if I could record what I eat I could go back and research each item to see if it is permitted, giving me an idea of what I already eat can stay and if not, what it can be replaced with.¬† I found a good search source today and what I couldn’t find there I just typed into Yahoo “is _____ gluten free?”¬† and I got pretty much everything I was looking for.¬† The only exceptions were half and half (it’s TJ’s brand and they say all their dairy is gluten free, this is also backed up by the fact that milk and cream are both gluten-free so …), craisins (these are organic, WF’s brand.¬† I just looove how WFs hardly lists any product information on their site!¬† I will check the ingredients and look them up individually), WF’s Thai-ginger sauce on their salmon.

So my intent this morning was to go along, business as usual, and just journal everything and research it later.  However, I am encouraged at what I have found so far and will actively start avoiding gluten!  Yes, I will share my journal with you, of course!

Until then, I will leave you with this: Out of yesterday’s food, I only ate 3 things containing gluten (not including the 3 items I listed as “unsure of” above), 2 Clif Mojo bars and Italian salad dressing.¬† So far today, I have not eaten any gluten!¬† I am feeling pretty good today, which makes me wonder if it’s gluten; luckily I have old food journals that I can look at and see just how much gluten I was consuming in those weeks!

USDA Organic… in China??

I’m not a big fan of buying anything made in China (or outside of the USA) but admittedly don’t always remember to check.¬† My sister and I have had a few back-n-forths about buying organics from outside of the states but the argument was usually distance related.¬† Well, my loving Sister so kindly shared this video with me.¬† Ugh.

Summer living is E.A.S.Y.

For real!¬† I can’t believe how awesome life is during the summer!

It started last weekend when I booked a local campsite for 9 days away, you know my first priority was food; food for the week, food for camping, and food for the next week (we know by now I only food shop on Saturdays, no exceptions!), all on one week’s food budget!¬† After consulting the grocery stores’ sales circulars, I got a menu of sausage and peppers, burgers, pizza, and steak kabobs. (Please note the overlapping ingredients in these dishes which is key to not going broke! Onions for all 4 dishes; mushrooms for the pizza and kabobs; sausage for the pizza and sausage & peppers; normally I would also use green peppers for the sausage & peppers and the kabobs but you’ll see that didn’t work out.¬† I overlap like this as much as possible, usually any left over produce gets used in salads.)

1 lb of grass-fed hamburg cost me $7 and after mixing the meat up with onions, garlic and spices, I pressed it into 5 delicious, Sara-sized patties – pretty good considering 2 plain hamburg patties from the meat counter cost about $4 and are too big that I end up throwing a few bites away.¬† I was able to find a nice grass-fed steak for under $7.¬† The sausage was on sale and I ended up with 7 links for about $7.¬† Unfortunately, I was unable to find organic green peppers anywhere (not from lack of trying!!) and ended up buying a frozen bag of red and green peppers with onions – luckily sausage and peppers is the EASIEST meal in the world and this bag of already prepped veggies made my life even easier, which I really needed at that crisis point in my night!¬† I couldn’t have been happier to throw that bag of peppers into two cans of tomato sauce (well, I could have used a 3rd but didn’t have it so I used my left-over pizza sauce) and leave it alone in the oven for an hour; an hour I used wisely by going to my sister’s to pick up last-minute camping gear!¬† Friday I cut up the steak and threw it into a tupperware, my friend had gotten the marinade so I figured I could just add it to the tupperware when I saw him.¬† I cut up the red peppers, yellow peppers, and onion and put them in a ziplock with mushrooms.

Saturday morning came and it was quickly realized breakfast had been neglected ūüė¶¬† We threw some bread on the rack until it toasted, added PB and a banana – happy campers!¬† Until I realized I forgot to bring my pan and a pitcher for the rum drin…oh shit, where’s the rum!?¬† After 2 garage sales and a liquor store run we came back to camp toting a pitcher, pot with lid,¬† slotted spoon and rum.¬† ūüėĬ† We heated up some sausage and peppers then took a nice nap in the sun, woke up and made some killer popcorn (from kernel) on the fire.¬† Dinner was a success, as was the rest of the trip!¬† Not an empty belly or disappointed taste bud to be heard from!

After living off the land last week I was really ready to restock the kitchen this weekend!¬† My main concern this time was having lots of portable food for the long weekend, whatever it may bring.¬†¬† My mother used to make a sandwich stuffing when I was a kid that has always been a favorite of my sister and I – you do remember my sister and I have extremely different taste buds, right?¬† I don’t know why I never tried this last year, maybe I was scared off by the ham, but once I found ham there was no stopping stuff sandwiches!¬† I also came across a great recipe for pasta salad – I know, it’s not brain surgery but I am very specific when it comes to my tastes for pasta salad and this one was PERFECT!¬† All of this food was easy enough to prepare late Saturday night and fed my sister and I in the woods, on the water and in the woods again (two full days) and was cooler portable and, as we found out while in the middle of the woods Sunday, you don’t even need utensils to serve or eat with (although, it works much better when you do have them)!

So here I am on the Tuesday after the 4th and I have plenty of food in the kitchen and am thrilled about it!¬† I just love how easy life is in the summer – which confuses me considering how busy the summer is versus the winter but I guess it’s just the food available makes me happy and when I am happy my brain functions better and I am able to come up with food ideas!¬† Oh, and it helps that I can stop and pick whatever is ready to be picked out of the various gardens I have access to ūüėÄ

Last but certainly not least, Happy 1st Anniversary to my sister and I – One whole year of whole food!¬† ‚̧

Wow!

I went camping last weekend and left myself a little short on money and food for the work week.¬† By “a little short” I mean, I have $20 to my name.¬† I stopped at Shaw’s and when I left I noted how my priorities have changed.¬† With that $20 it was important for me to have milk, a tomato, tomato sauce, protein bars, and spinach.¬† I remember when this list would have consisted of microwave diet meals and boxed or frozen meal starters full of CAFO meat and nitrates and who-knows what else!

So quickly writing this post in my head I realized – this weekend marks the 1 year anniversary of my GMO-free diet!¬† WOW!¬† I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in the past but I’ve had¬† pretty bothersome arthritis since I was young but I’ve noticed over the winter that I hadn’t complained of the pain or weather at all!¬† I also have always wanted to be able to run, I remember being a kid and trying to do the mile in gym class; I’d be lucky if I could run 10 yards without having to stop to catch my breath!¬† Now I am able to run a full 30 minutes/3.5 miles without stopping, and without any knee pain!!¬† Yes, sometimes it sucks to not be able to be lazy and order a pizza or go to a restaurant but I think the way I feel and how I am treating my body is more important than those conveniences.¬† It also amazes me that I am able to do this!¬† I love to amaze myself, it’s such a wonderful feeling!¬† I used to be so lazy when it came to my food choices, there were times when I would eat fast food at least once a day for month-long stretches!

I love myself and my body and can’t imagine giving up my diet!¬† Whether people believe me or not, this is exactly how I want to be living (well, I could use a little more help from the government!).

Here’s to another year of healthy eating and toxin ridding!¬† I hope I have encouraged some of you to at least make a few small changes in your life!

Random Thoughts

One thing I’ve learned from having this blog is that there are¬†a lot of people out there looking to find out if¬†Chipotle¬†uses GMO’s.¬† I really can’t believe how many hits my blog gets from that range of search.¬† It kinda makes me want to write another email, this time with a little more detail.¬† {UPDATE: 4/29: Here is that correspondence}¬† I just learned of Baja Fresh and really wish there was a location near me.¬† I just checked to see if I would hit one on my way up to the Catskills this summer; so far there are no stores close to my route.

Yesterday as I strolled through the produce section of Shaw’s looking for some organic tomatoes I wasn’t seeing any marked as organic so I started checking the PLU¬†stickers for that #9.¬† (If a PLU¬†starts with 9 it is organic, an 8 means it is GMO¬†and just a 4 digit number is conventional)¬† All of a sudden, I wondered if all GMO produce was labeled with the #8¬†and realized this would change things dramatically for me!¬† I looked it up as soon as I could and this is what I came across: http://www.foodrenegade.com/plu-codes-dont-indicate-gmo-produce/¬† I should know that would’ve been too good to be true!¬† Oh well.

My Easter trip to PA was great!¬† My brother and I went to the Giant Eagle Market District on the way home from the airport.¬† What a store!¬† Jeeze!¬† So many things!¬† My sister-in-law had already gotten a lot of organics for me so we just got a few other things she wasn’t able to find at the regular Giant Eagle.¬†¬† I made some mac & cheese with black beans for lunch, pasta and sauce w/ corn for dinner.¬† A cliff protein bar for breakfast, snacks of yogurt, fruit strips, nuts, and a banana.¬† I was¬†still craving a burger so my brother made a point to get me one ‚̧¬† He found this place Burgh’ers¬†that had my mouth watering!¬† Too bad they aren’t open Sundays ūüė¶¬† After a trip back to Giant Eagle, we had organic burgers on the grill!¬† My craving still hasn’t been satisfied though so this week’s menu consists of Burgers, Tacos and Waffles and Sausage LOL I’m thinking I might be a little deficient in my iron intake with all these red meat cravings!¬† One of the best things for me about my trip was that all the food I didn’t eat will be eaten by my nieces!¬† I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them suck on organic juice boxes!!¬† I filled their easter eggs with natural jelly beans and gummy bears; my 6-year old niece hated the jelly beans but my 2-year old niece loved them which to me just means the 6-year-old’s tastes are already adjusted to the sweet and salts and artificial flavors.¬† The number one reason people think organic food is gross is because their pallets are so accustomed to the artificial sweeteners and other poisons that have been added to our foods for the last 30 something years!

This morning I was trying to come up with a solution to lunch and landed on my go-to meal from last summer (tortellini with olive oil, spices and this time I used broccoli) which made me realize just how long I have been living this ‘new’ lifestyle ūüôā¬† Talk about easier now than then!¬† It just happens, it’s a way of life and requires much less effort – well, maybe the same amount of effort but less thought which makes it seem like less effort…?¬† I don’t know, it’s just way easier today than it was 10 months ago!

Here I go again…

Up, up and away … again!¬† My flight is booked for Easter weekend in PA with my brother’s family ūüôā

I’m so not stressed about it either!¬† I figure, if I can get away with a week’s worth of clothes without checking a bag, I can do a weekend’s worth and use the extra room for food.¬† My sister-in-law (who is my only one but would most likely be the best even if I had 16!) sent me an email telling me she thinks she has a few places where she could get some organics and wanted to know what I would need as she ‘knows how important this is to me’.¬† I love her!

Other things going on in my life… I’ve been pretty good about my meals since I got back from Florida.¬† I made a delicious chicken dish (about 15x now!), the only change I made was adding a bag of TJ’s frozen organic jasmine rice and my chicken was marinated.¬† I also found some frozen organic pork pot stickers at WF’s (Annie Chung’s) – they are awesome!¬† I’ve used them a few times in a pinch; I’ve added a little teriyaki marinade to some of the TJ’s jasmine rice and what a great dinner!¬† Lots of chicken & rice happening, still haven’t made the Italian pot pies!

In my dating life, I’ve met someone and we’ve been spending a good amount of time together.¬† He’s not organic but very open to the idea; hell, if a guy knows what a GMO is already, I’m happy!¬† Saturday was the first time we spent an entire¬†day together and during our afternoon dog walk he looked at me and said, “So wait, you don’t go out to eat, do you?”¬†I looked at him, smiled and shook my head, “Not really, I mean I willllllll¬†but I’d rather not…”¬†we talked about food for the rest of the walk.¬† He jokingly¬†said he could really go for an Olneyville¬†burger and I jumped on the opportunity¬†to make a food plan, “We could go to NY System, you can eat and then we can go by my house and I’ll make something real quick?”¬† While we were at NYS he asked if it bothered me that he ate [conventional food]¬†in front of me, we talked more about food and I told him how I felt about different stuff – Like the wieners being piled up on the counter next to me, meat sauce dripping and the onion smell permeating¬†my nostrils.¬† Man, what I wouldn’t¬†have given to eat one of those…but at the same time, I didn’t want it.¬† I can’t explain it.¬† It’s like I knew I used to love wieners but even if I were to¬†shut my brain down and eat one, I wouldn’t enjoy the taste now.¬† And then his burger came, oh man!¬† It looked soooooo¬†good!¬† But instead of wanting a bite of it, I just made a mental note to put a burger on my grocery list this week.¬† Again with the french fries, it amazes me that I have absolutely¬†no desire to eat a french fry!¬† We talked¬†more about food and how I live my life around it.¬† Then we went to my house where I threw a handful¬†of frozen broccoli into a pot boiling water and a Blake’s chicken mac & cheese in the microwave and within 5 minutes, was eating my own dinner (you know how much I love to appear¬†low maintenance!).¬†I also¬†gave him¬†the remnants of the conventional food in my pantry; 8 months later and my kitchen is almost completely void of any non-GMO¬†food item!¬†¬† Today I noticed he was still logged into Netflix on my laptop so I added Food, Inc. to his instant que ūüėČ