Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Apple Turned Brown

How exciting is that?  I forgot to cover my half eaten apple and put it in the refrigerator.  The poor thing hung out on the counter all night long.  Why is it exciting that it turned brown?  It is an organic apple with no alterations made to the growing process.  None.  Yea!

Have you noticed these past few years that apples no longer turn brown when they are exposed to the air?  I guess someone thought we were incapable of liking apples if they weren't pretty after we began eating them.  I don't know what they do to keep them pristine when the inside is exposed to the air.  I don't think I want to know.

I have always been one to examine what I cooked for our family.  When the kids were growing up they were seldom served prepackaged food - other than the famous blue box.  I had their well being in mind.  I'm sure they thought it was because I was mean, not wanting them to be cool.  Oh dear, the choices mothers make do not make us a popular group of women.

What I see now is we, as a nation, are becoming aware of what is being done to our food supply.  We don't like it.  We are voicing our opinions - with our wallets.  To this I say congratulations America.  I'm so happy that our eyes are opening to the trash companies put in our foods.

 We want what's best for our families.  We are looking at links in chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease that are taking over our population.  We're saying 'no more'.  This brings us to the cost associated with good healthy foods.  The cost of food is skyrocketing.  I feel so bad for people who struggle with feeding their families.  It's not so bad for me because there is only me to think of.  I have noticed such things as organic fruit is expensive.  But not as much as it once was.  Wars are starting up to get our attention (money).  Grocery stores are jumping on the bandwagon to grab some of the profits to be had from organics. 

Following are some suggestions to  assist families to eating healthier.  I can't bring prices down, but I can rise to the occasion by thinking outside of the box.  Warning:  Men do not like to know they are getting less food on their plates.  So you don't want to make it obvious to them if you choose this option.

I want you to know that I still eat canned fruit and veggies when fresh are not available.  But I eat so much less of them.  Take your time transitioning.  Any small change is progress.

1.  Look at your family's meat intake.  Do you buy ground meat from the grocery store?   A butcher at our local store told me a secret.  The low fat ground meat comes to the store in prepackaged tubes.  The ammonia used to 'clean' ground meat is already in it.  The 73% ground meat comes from the meats they trim in the on site meat department.  No ammonia or pink slime.  Aren't you happy knowing that the frowned upon meat is better?

2.  Buy cheese in blocks and shred at home. (on sale)  Then freeze it.  Companies put saw dust in the shredded packages to increase the weight.  (Yuk)

3.  Try to add at least one organic fruit or veggie to your meal plan.  Do this one at a time so your bill doesn't shock you.  Serve smaller portions of these items to keep a hand on costs.

4.  Serve smaller portions.  Not a lot.  Just one tablespoon less for a month.  Then one more for the next.  No one will know the difference.  I made this change by plating up the normal helping, them removing a tablespoon.  It took a while, but a side benefit was losing weight.  Our bill was also reduced by a small percentage.

5.  Choose a dessert for the week.  Put aside a few minutes of 'free' time to bake.  Cookies, cake, whatever your family likes.  It may take a few tries, but it's well worth it knowing what is in your food.  If you put cookies in lunches, freeze them and take them out as needed.

6.  I know it costs more, but to protect your health, please think about using the stove top to cook rather than the microwave.  The jury is still out on the safety of microwave cooking.

7.  Make a protein companion to a carb.  It's OK to indulge in a piece of cake.  Drink milk with it to minimalize the effect the carb has on blood sugar.  The internet is filled with information on this subject.  Researching it can protect your family from chronic illness. (Diabetes)

8.  Carrots and celery are relatively cheap.  Clean and cut some up for grab snacks during the week.  Keep them refrigerated in cold water that has a dash of salt in it.  The salt will preserve them for the week.

9.  Look for recipes that are quick to prepare and have protein, veggies or fruit, and a carb in them.  A great crock pot meal is a roast or meatballs with carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes or rice.  A one pot wonder.

10.  Breakfast food doesn't have to be a cold bowl of cereal.  Oatmeal takes one minute to make.  Add a swirl of jam for the kids and a glass of milk and their bellies will be full for the entire morning.  The oatmeal is a carb - which provides quick energy, the milk is a protein that provides energy when the carb wears off.

This list consists of just a few things we can do to cut costs and eat healthier.  What does your family do to keep up with rising costs and staying healthy?

                                                  Home made corn fritters with fresh canned peach jam. 
                                                  Easy, fast and yummy.


  1. All good ideas! I do three things consistently that seem to keep my food budget in check, even with rising prices. And aren't they rising at a fast clip??!! Okay, so the first two ideas might NOT appeal to someone cooking for one, but are ideal for a family. I watch the sales and sale cycles, then plan on "stock up" purchases of serious sales (especially meats). This week, one local store has 10 lb. bags of chicken leg quarters for $5.90, or 59 cents per pound. I know from experience I need to plan time to at the very least rinse and trim all those leg quarters in a clean sink, and then I usually also separate them using poultry shears into thighs and drumsticks to store more easily in my freezer. I'll probably buy and prep two 10 lb. bags while at this price. The second thing I do that might NOT work for someone cooking for one is batch baking/cooking. Over the weekend I roasted two tri-tip beef roasts and a 13 X 9 inch baking pan of chicken thighs at the same time in the oven. It saves enery for our gas bill, and my own energy as well, since I had a few dinners within 20 minutes later by having all the meat cooked ahead of time. The third and perhaps most useful thing I do is invest in reusable, "stay fresh", spoil-retardant storage bags for produce. Cabbage will keep for a month or more in the storage bags, I've found, carrots for almost that long, broccoli and other veggies for about 2 weeks, and even salad greens of any kind (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.) for up to 2 weeks in those bags. The trick is to not let any of the produce spoil (keep an eye on it), and then the bags can be rinsed, dried with paper towels or a clean towel, allowed to "air" and reused up to 4 times while still retaining their anti-retardant properties. In other words, I have a LOT less spoilage than I used to. It means almost nothing goes to waste. :-)

    1. Wow! You sure are a busy lady. All great ideas, even for a single person. It may work to batch cook whole meals. Cook the starch (rice, potatoes, pasta), veggie, and meat at the same time. Then freeze them in individual containers as meals. You could call it 'fast' food when it's ready to be consumed.