Kimchi and Chopsticks

Thanks to my mom, I’ve grown up eating (and loving) Korean food. Some of my all time favorite meals are Korean. Galbi (Korean barbecued spare ribs), tteokguk (rice cake soup), chapchae (noodles), egg rolls, Korean style chicken and pork, spinach and soy bean sprouts, sticky rice, gimbap (Korean sushi), Korean pancakes (which is nothing like a breakfast pancake)… just to name a few. And of course I couldn’t forget the most well known Korean food – kimchi. Most people either hate or love it. But what they don’t know is that there are many kinds of kimchi. Nearly any vegetable can be made into kimchi. Kimchi made with napa cabbage is probably the most popular. But I have in my refrigerator right now, turnip kimchi. If you think regular kimchi has a strong odor, you’d probably be blown away by this one. If it didn’t taste so darn good, I probably wouldn’t eat it myself. The poor kids can barely stand the smell, but hopefully they’ll learn to love it like I do.

Tteokguk

Kimchi is usually some form of a fermented vegetable. It’s not much different than one of America’s favorite stinky foods – pickles. (I have to admit that I’m a little sensitive when it comes to kimchi, and would like to point out to that every culture, including us Americans, have “stinky” foods. It’s really just a matter of what you are used to. If we’re judging with our noses, I’ll take kimchi over American cheese any day of the week. They were both a staple in my house growing up. That cheese is some fonky smellin’ sh-tuff!) Kimchi as well as other fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, tofu, some cheeses, even beer and wine, are good for you. Fermented foods (and drinks) boost the immune system and the flora (or good bacteria) is great for digestion, which is important for good health.

Kimchi

As it turns out there are many healthy foods in the Korean diet. Nori (seaweed) is also good for you. One of my favorite lunches is rice mixed with green onions, soy sauce and a little butter, salt and pepper, along with nori and kimchi.

Nori, and other sea vegetables are rich in potassium and iodine and contain other vitamins and minerals not often found in land foods. They have an anti-inflammatory effect and may reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as other types of cancer. They boost the immune system and help maintain normal blood pressure. Sea vegetables also contain lots of B12, which helps fight fatigue, memory loss and nerve damage. Just like fish, some sea vegetables have a stronger flavor than others. I have had seaweed that tastes very “fishy”, which I don’t like, but not all seaweed is fishy. The one pictured above doesn’t have strong flavor at all.

Koreans also tend to eat a lot more vegetables than meat. Unlike a typical American meal in which the main dish is usually the protein, Koreans will likely have several vegetable dishes with little or no meat. Fish is also a big part of their diet. Fish is rich in Omega 3’s which are good for heart and brain health.

Believe it or not, even eating with chopsticks is good for you. No smart ass – not because you hardly get anything in your mouth, but because it forces you to slow down. It does take some practice to master and I’ll admit I’m not that great with them, but it’s because I don’t use them often. That’s going to change. My mom on the other hand could probably build a brick wall with a pair of chopsticks. It’s a lot healthier to eat food slowly and it’s a fun change of pace. They’re more efficient than a fork when you know how to use them. Eating rice with chopsticks is a challenge, but that’s when the nori or lettuce comes in handy.

Korean style porkchops

One more thing about the way we eat. Maybe you’ve noticed, as I have, how much of the American diet, including how meals are prepared and eaten, is based on convenience. Meals should be a social event from preparation to after dinner conversation. Enjoy yourself while you’re cooking and eating. Meals with good company and glass of wine or beer are far healthier than those eaten alone in front of a T.V.,  in your car or at your desk. People tend to eat more when they eat quickly and alone. I also suggest sitting down when eating – even if it’s finger food. Happy eating!

Oh My Lard!

Dear Lard:

I have been unfair and have misjudged you. It was wrong of me to believe all those nasty rumors and stereotypes without getting to know you personally. I apologize for the numerous fat jokes I have made about you. Thank you for making my pie crusts so flaky and delicious and my egg so tasty.

Pumkin Pie with Whole Wheat Lard Pie Crust

Tasty egg frying in fresh lard - my first taste.

Last week I rendered lard. Never in a million years would I have believed that this journey would bring me here.

The pork fat pictured above comes from around the kidneys and is used to make leaf lard, which is “high end” lard prized by pastry chefs. It has a pretty neutral taste compared with regular lard (which is usually made from fat back). The pig farmer gave me both types and said that she usually mixes the two, but since this is my first time and I wanted to compare them, I rendered them separately.

Ewww. I hate my stove.

 

She also directed me to their website for directions, which I used. I started out following what looked like a handy “tip” from another blog. Rather than taking the time to cube the fat, I cut it into large chunks and gave it a whirl in the food processor. BIG MISTAKE. I spent more time trying to get it out of the food processor than it would have taken to cube it. I also wasted a good bit, because I got frustrated and threw it in the sink with some dirty dishes. Some of the icky dish water splashed inside. I don’t really know how to explain how gooey this stuff was. Glue would have been easier to extract. Even peanut butter isn’t that gooey. Cement maybe? Here’s my tip – DON’T EVER DO THAT.

So after that little debacle I went back to my trusty, all-in-one, good for everything tool, a sharp knife, and cut it into one inch cubes. Things went smoothly from there. I’d guess it took me about a half hour to chop up 9 pounds of fat. Then I just let it render on the stove. According to the directions, it would take just a couple of hours. When I checked, the stock pot still appeared to have large pieces of fat in it, though I wasn’t really sure how to tell when it was done. I guess I thought it would all melt and I’d see those crispy cracklings. But I didn’t. My “cracklings” weren’t crackly. They were soggy. I might have had the heat too low. I don’t know what went wrong with them, but the lard turned out beautifully, so who cares?

What’s so great about this lard? It was rendered from high quality fat that came from a local, pastured, heritage breed (Tamworth) hog. The lard you might find in the grocery store would more than likely be hydrogenated, meaning it contains unhealthy trans fat, in order to give it a longer shelf life. My lard is unadulterated and has to be kept in the refrigerator (or freezer for a longer shelf life). That’s why rendering it yourself is worth the effort. It’s not like it was hard (if you skip the food processor). Cut it into cubes, drop them in a stock pot and let it melt for a couple of hours. Then pour through a strainer lined with cheese cloth into jars.

Why lard? I’ll give you the short version. It’s not as bad as you think. It’s way better for you than vegetable shortening, which is full of harmful trans fats. It’s higher in monounsaturated (good) fat than you might think (45%) and has less saturated (bad) fat than butter. Lard is about is 40% saturated while butter is 60%. (However I still believe high quality butter is a good and tasty fat when used properly.) Though saturated fat is generally supposed to raise cholesterol, the saturated fat in lard has been shown to have a neutral effect on cholesterol. You can also use about 1/5 to 1/4 less lard in place of butter (and shortening, I think). What I mean is, my pie crust recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, but I substituted with 3/8 cup of leaf lard. The crust turned out so much better than it did when I used butter. It was more pliable and held together well – much easier to work with. It browned beautifully and more evenly and didn’t burn at all. Lard has a higher smoking point than butter. Finally, lard has been used traditionally for thousands of years and still is used regularly in other cultures. Most of those cultures are generally healthier than Americans. Since we started eating fewer traditional whole foods, including lard, and began eating more “low fat” and highly processed foods, our health has plummeted. Diet isn’t everything, but it’s a lot.

I should probably add some sort of caveat about how you should talk to your doctor about it. But to be honest, they’ll probably echo the general myth that it’s bad for you. Remember that most advice given by doctors and experts is based on the assumption that you are consuming the typical western or American diet – which is not healthy. If you aren’t eating a healthy diet to begin with, adding high quality lard probably isn’t going to do you any good. Also remember that fat is high in calories and consuming too many calories leads to weight gain and poor health. Respect the fat!

Tamworth Hogs

 

Dairy

There is quite a bit of conflicting information out there about dairy, and it’s hard to figure out whether or not it’s good for you. Just a couple of months ago I believed fat free dairy was best. The only requirement I had was that the milk be rBST or rBGH free (artificial growth hormone linked to cancer and banned by all other developed countries by 2000 or earlier). Mostly because I didn’t know there were other options and opinions out there. I should point out that the majority of the advice that we’re given about food, is based on the assumption that we’re talking about conventionally processed food. After all, that is what most of us are eating. I’ve found that the same rules don’t always apply for food that is produced more traditionally. By traditional, I mean the way it was produced for many thousands of years prior to the 1940’s. Highly processed, mass produced, conventional food is a relatively new concept.

I’ve read a few books and countless articles that discuss the dairy issues. Even a very boring book called Building Bone Vitality that argues pretty convincingly that consuming large quantities of animal protein through meat and dairy may actually cause osteoporosis. We’ve been told for years that no or low fat dairy is best. We should eat more vegetables and less meat and dairy.  I’ve even heard that our body’s ability to digest lactose starts to diminish around age 4 or 5 and that’s why so many people are allergic or lactose intolerant. Some people even argue that milk is poison. I read this article in the Charlotte Observer last Sunday that basically says Big Dairy is spending all kinds of cash to promote dairy consumption, especially cheese. Just to get an idea of how confusing the dairy issue is, read some of the comments under the Observer article.

I’m currently reading Nina Planck’s Real Food and her view is interesting. She was a vegetarian for awhile (mostly because she was opposed to conventional farming and inhumane treatment of animals), but then converted back to her omnivorous ways when she realized that good quality, humanely raised, pastured meat and dairy was an option. She’s is what I would call a dairy purist.

Dairy purists believe that whole, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk from pastured cows is the most complete food on the planet. I get it. The whole package makes sense to me – humane treatment of animals, better for the environment, more nutrient rich dairy for us. But it sounds too good to be true and for me, that’s a sign that something might be off. Here’s the catch. The purists wouldn’t even consider conventional milk to be real milk. To them, the dairy you find in most super markets doesn’t hold a candle to fresh, pastured dairy. Pastured dairy has the same benefits as pastured meat – it is higher in Omega 3’s, is a good source of CLA and contains more good fat, less bad fat, etc. Whether or not you care about any of that, is an entirely different matter. I personally don’t worry too much about buying whole fat versions when I’m shopping for dairy at my local grocery store, though I can tell you that I no longer buy fat free dairy (or fat free anything for that matter – another marker for sub-par food, in my opinion) and I buy organic when possible, but not always. Organic isn’t as important to me as pastured dairy. So lately I’ve been buying gallons of fresh whole milk and butter from a local dairy with pastured cows. Nutrition aside, I can tell you with certainty that this milk tastes better. It’s sweeter, creamy and silky smooth. My girls l.o.v.e it.

Pasteurization is the process in which milk is heated to kill bacteria. Most milk is heated to around 160 degrees (well below the boiling point) for 15 to 20 seconds. Some milk is ultra pasteurized, which heats the milk at a higher temperature (280 degrees) for at least two seconds.  The purpose is to extend it’s shelf life. What’s wrong with ultra pasteurization? Extremely high heat can obliterate food and nutrients. 280 degrees is well above the boiling point, which is 212 degrees. When milk is heated that much, it also may destroy some of the good bacteria that aids it’s digestion. When milk is ultra pasteurized, it’s no longer a whole food in my opinion. I believe that just like white rice, white flour or an apple without the peel, ultra pasteurized milk is highly refined. So I was disappointed to find that my Organic Valley milk from pastured cows (that’s a good thing) was ultra pasteurized. The longer shelf life is definitely evident. It smells and tastes like I bought it yesterday. Milk that doesn’t sour or rot after a couple weeks… kind of scary. Organic Valley does make milk that is not ultra pasteurized, but I’m not sure if it’s available at all stores.

The thing about unpasteurized (or raw) milk that usually sends people into a tizzy is the fact that it’s still illegal for human consumption in 15 states. It’s completely illegal in 11 of those states and only legal for pet food in 4 states (including my own state of North Carolina). Why is it illegal? Because in the early 1900’s, when most of these laws were put in place, dairies were a disgusting, unsanitary hot mess and many people got sick drinking raw milk. Today, some (but not all) conventional dairies probably aren’t much better. I would definitely want that milk to be pasteurized (maybe even ultra pasteurized). Quite frankly, I would never drink raw milk from any dairy that I didn’t trust. Raw milk has to be tested more frequently. Some farms will even test each batch. If you aren’t willing to do the leg work to find a trustworthy source, stick with conventional dairy.

While I pretty much agree that whole, unpasteurized, unhomogenized dairy from pastured cows is best (again, only from a trustworthy dairy), I’m a little skeptical of the idea that it can be consumed without limits as a “health food” or for medicinal purposes. Proponents of raw milk like to mention that it was used for medicinal purposes a century ago. It still is by the way. Today, I’d put in in the alternative medicine category. I don’t really have an opinion on it’s medicinal value to be honest. I personally wouldn’t use it to try and cure anything, but if it happens to cure something while I’m drinking it, great! Anyway, even pastured dairy is consumed in moderation around here. Though there are health benefits, it still contains fat and a lot of calories. (I do however, believe that saturated fat and butter and milk fat have an undeserving bad rap.)

What about cheese? Grocery stores are chocked full of cheese. Farmers have to do something with all the surplus milk fat left over from the skim and low fat milk we were, and still are demanding. Standing in the cheese aisle at Harris Teeter today, I counted 37 hooks on the top row alone. There were four rows, so that’s about 140 brands, varieties, blends and cuts of cheese. There’s even more cheese stacked on lower shelves and at the bottom of the refrigerator case, including an environmentally un-friendly, individually wrapped cheese product we like to call “American Cheese”.  You’ll also probably find ricotta, cottage, grated parmesan and specialty cheeses scattered around other parts of the grocery store. Not to mention all the cheesy snacks and goodies throughout the store. That’s a lot of freaking cheese!Most conventional cheese is the processed junk food version of dairy. It’s loaded with salt and preservatives and artificial color and ingredients that “prevent caking.” I’ve heard it’s saw dust, but that sounds more like an urban legend. If I remember correctly they actually use a mixture that contains cellulose. (Much better, right?) Whatever it is, I’m sure it won’t kill me… at least not right away. That’s a good thing, since I still buy it occasionally (tsk, tsk).

Butter, cheese and cream, of any kind, should not be used as a condiment or garnish.  When I’m eating butter for instance, I’m fully aware that I’m consuming a large number of calories and only a very small quantity of food and nutrients. So, if I’m going to do it, I want to taste it, and I want it to be the best (nutritionally) that I can afford. Sometimes that means regular conventional butter, sometimes it’s organic conventional butter, but whenever possible I prefer to have it fresh from a local dairy. AND I’d rather have one satisfying slice of toast slathered with butter, than two slices with barely a trace of it. I should also clarify that when I say we consume it “in moderation”, I don’t mean we rarely eat it. We eat (or drink) it regularly… and I don’t feel a bit guilty about it. We have been taught to fear food and I’m happy to say that I’ve deprogrammed that kind of thinking.

If you are interested in raw milk, you should start by learning about it from both the purists and opponents perspective. I recommend starting at westonaprice.org. If raw milk doesn’t interest you, then maybe you can still find a local dairy that sells fresh pasteurized dairy from pastured cows. Eatwild.com is a great source for getting more information and finding a local farm. You can probably even have it delivered. And as for the whole vs. skim debate. I choose whole dairy if its from pastured cows. However, if I’m buying conventional milk, it really just depends on what I’m using it for. Most times 2% is sufficient. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but fresh milk will probably cost more. Around here, conventional milk costs about $3 a gallon. Conventional organic could costs about $4 (on sale) but can get as high as $8 per gallon in the grocery stores (Organic Valley is $3.99 a half gallon at my HT). I pay about $6 for a gallon of fresh milk . Organic butter costs about $1 to $2 more per pound and fresh butter could costs $5 or $6 more than a pound of conventional butter. As I’ve said before, occasionally the bargain hunter in me wins and sometimes it’s just a matter of convenience. I’m confident that fresh, whole, raw dairy from pastured cows and a trustworthy dairy farm is best, but I’m no purist. I like having options.

Whatcha Eatin?

Some of you may remember my post “Whatcha Drinkin?” People seem interested in what we’re eating. We rarely eat processed foods, which probably accounts for at least 70% of the food found in grocery stores. I buy whole, real foods, local and/or organic when possible, pastured meats and dairy and use the grocery store for things that aren’t available locally like oils, flour, spices, some produce, etc. We’ve cut way down on our consumption of refined carbs.

What we’re eating is… whatever is in season, mostly. So far so good. Except that the kids are already tired of sweet potatoes, and we aren’t even halfway through November. Right now sweet potatoes are definitely in season. I bought some from the farmers market and my mom gave me just a few more… but they’re the size of footballs. I made soup with one of them. I had a small package of free range organic chicken legs in the freezer. (This is the last of the “grocery store” meat left in my freezer. They’ve been in there for over a month, and I’m glad its all gone! Free range is better than conventional, but pastured is best.) If I presented my family with one drumstick each, they’d look at me like I was crazy and think they were going to starve. So… I had to get creative. I boiled them for a couple hours to make a stock, removed the drumsticks to let them cool. I pulled the chicken from the bone and mixed it with some chopped garlic, salt and pepper to add flavor and let that marinate while I tossed the chopped sweet potatoes, garlic, onion, celery into the stock. I also threw in some kale and a splash of apple cider vinegar toward the end. Served it up in bowls with generous portions (wink-wink) of chicken on top. Delicious and hearty.

I’ve included lots of links for recipes and health benefits of particular foods. If the ingredient is highlighted and underlined, it will link you to a web page regarding health benefits.

BREAKFAST:

  • Pumpkin pancakes and waffles – Click here for the recipe. I used whole wheat flour, instead of all purpose, and buttermilk, instead of plain.
  • Stone ground grits using Grateful Growers pastured pork sausage, fresh veg from the farmers market (usually sauteed leafy greens of some sort, mushrooms, onion and sometimes tomatoes) and a combination of whatever cheeses we have in the refrigerator
  • Sausage gravy – Click here for the recipe (I don’t use maple flavored sausage. We were in a hurry and I didn’t have time to make biscuits, so I just served it on toast.)
  • Greek yogurt with walnuts and honey and sometimes granola. I miss my summer berries, so I decided to try it with pumpkin. I mixed in some pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and a little ground clove. Pretty good! The flavor reminded me of Pumpkin Cheesecake, but it was a little thin. I’ll be having that for breakfast for awhile.
  • Breakfast burritos – using pastured eggs, cheese, chili powder and sometimes pastured bacon, sausage or even deli meat (ugh… in moderation and without, or at least as few chemical additives as possible – Dietz & Watson’s turkey is what we have at the moment) all wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
  • French toast or scrambled eggs – using local pastured eggs (not conventional free range or organic or “vegetable fed” – a term I dislike for chicken and eggs, since chickens are not vegetarians by nature. They like to eat bugs and it’s good for them.)
  • Cold cereal – in moderation
  • Fresh Fruit – always, one serving with breakfast.

LUNCH:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • Whatever odds and ends we can find, like granola bars, fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc.
  • The older girls eat from the school cafeteria, which I’m not a fan of, but we’ve worked out a deal. They have to make healthy choices. They can choose the main entree, but they have to eat it with two whole fruits or vegetables on the menu. No yogurt parfaits, canned fruit or those jello-fruit thingys. They have to drink plain milk and can only buy dessert once a week. I occasionally check online (Paypams) to make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain. Other than a few mishaps, they’re doing great. The biggest problem with school lunches is that most kids usually choose the junk on the menu (of which there is plenty). Luckily in our case, the kids are making good choices – and they’re learning a great lesson to boot.

DINNER:

  • Roasted pork chops on a bed of chard, topped with balsamic braised leeks and served with… sweet potatoes and green beans; or Korean style pork chops with white sticky rice (a treat) and kimchi.
  • Roasted chicken (at least once a week) with whatever veg we have in the refrigerator
  • Soup – using whatever ingredients and broth I have on hand
  • Vegetable stir fry with brown rice
  • Delicious homemade ravioli stuffed with leftover roasted chicken, spinach, ricotta, aji dulce peppers and parmesan cheese (served with homemade marinara)
  • Veggie pizza with homemade dough

Meals I’ll be making: roasted chicken, chilli, halibut and more ravioli, using leftover filling that I froze.

Our menu changes every week, which is fun for me. It’s so easy to find a good recipe these days. I use allrecipes, epicurious and the food network all the time. I usually change it a little to fit my taste or use what I have on hand. I also substitute healthier ingredients whenever I can. I use whole wheat flour in place of all purpose and always substitute bad fats like canola, vegetable, corn, etc. for good ones like coconut oil (my favorite, great moisturizer too), butter, olive oil and lard (yes, lard). Sugar can sometimes be cut out completely, or can usually be reduced by a 1/4 to 1/3 without sacrificing flavor (especially if you’re palate is used to less sugar). I try to use “super foods” whenever possible, instead of nutritionally average ones. For instance I prefer a salad made with spinach rather than lettuce. Asian sweet potato instead of the usual orange ones. Greek yogurt in place of regular yogurt. Honey, maple syrup, sweet fruit instead of refined sugar. Full fat dairy (more on this in my next post) instead of low fat. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, etc.

We learn as we go and it’s taken about 9 months to get here. And we’re still learning, so our food philosophy is constantly evolving. I’m always  looking for a new recipe, a new food, a new technique to try. I’m inspired by the food itself and the many bloggers, authors, media, food shows, new paper articles… the farmer’s market. It’s the best way to ease into and keep up this lifestyle without getting bored or complacent. Some may say ignorance is bliss. I disagree. Especially when it comes to food. I’ve been there – and I can tell you with certainty that this is so much better!

Hillbilly Produce, Super G Mart, Harris Teeter and… Food Lion

I drove all the way out to Hillbilly Produce just to buy chestnuts this morning (they’re so yummy and good for you)… and they were sold out. The guy I spoke with said they probably weren’t going to get anymore in. Boo hoo hoo…  This is about the third time I’ve been here and I’m still not impressed. But I did buy 3 pie pumpkins for $5 and some more Grateful Growers pork chops while I was there. I was bummed that I missed out on the chestnuts.

While I was pulling away, I decided to check out the international food market, Super G Mart, across the street (where Bi Lo used to be). Several people, including my Korean mother have mentioned this place to me several times. I’m so glad I finally went!! Maybe it was meant to be… the first things I noticed was that they had chestnuts! They are the Asian variety I think because they are much larger than the ones you’ll find around here. I bought a huge bag of them – probably around 3 or 4 pounds. I’ve already roasted a few (in the microwave) and they are yummy. So I got what I was searching for, just in another place.

I walked in without a cart or basket thinking I was just going to look, but after my fingers and arms started cramping from carrying so much stuff, I decided to grab a basket. By the time I left, my forearm was sore from the weight of the basket and my fingers were cramping from carrying stuff that wouldn’t fit in the basket. Next time I’ll be sure to get the shopping cart.

The produce selection is pretty amazing. They have most of the standard stuff plus lots of exotics. They had my favorite Asian sweet potatoes (which are actually yams, I think and also really good for you) so I stocked up on bunch of small ones – perfect size for snacking. They taste much better than the standard sweet potato and are better for you. You should definitely try them if you find them in an Asian market. I also scored a couple of 2 quart sized, Low Sodium Kikkoman Soy Sauce on sale for $8.99 each. I picked up some enoki mushrooms and organic, non-gmo tofu. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten these mushrooms, so this is my “something new to try” for the week.

Tofu is something that I’ve eaten once or twice before. Even though this was a staple in my house growing up, I’ve never really given it a fair chance. I think my mom puts in her egg rolls (which I love, as does anyone who’s ever tried one), but I can’t really remember trying it any other way. I’m sure I must have as a child. Maybe that’s when I formed my unfair opinion about it. So it’s another food (like the eggplant) that I’m going to give a second chance. I don’t know how I’m going to use it yet.

Harris Teeter made me very happy today. I was out of milk, so I had planned to use some Organic Valley coupons there this morning. I decided to check the sale add before going and it’s a good thing I did. They were super doubling coupons! So all of my $1 off coupons were now worth $2! I got 4 half gallons of milk for $3 each, 2 small containers of heavy whipping cream for about $0.35 each and 2 bricks of cream cheese $0.59 each!! I also grabbed some of their eggnog. There was no coupon for that, but I couldn’t resist the thought of sipping a nice warm cup of eggnog (with a little spiced rum) with all this cold rainy whether we’re having. I also picked up some Lara Bars for $1 each (usually $1.50). I highly recommend these. They only have a few ingredients and no added sugar. My two favorites are the peanut butter and the cashew one. The fruity ones (apple and cherry) are pretty tart – too tart for my taste. I got Seattle’s Best Cinnabon coffee for $4 after vic savings and coupon and Starbucks coffee for $6 after coupon.

Seventh Generation products were also on sale. Some of them weren’t worth the small savings, but the detergent was on sale for $9 and I had $1 off coupons (but not subject to doubling). I also picked up the paper towels, toilet paper and automatic dish washing gel. The bonus is that more seventh generation coupons were generated when I checked out. I’ll be going back for more tomorrow probably.

Oranges and tangerines were on sale too. They are in season now and taste so good! I’m sure my kids will be happy to know that we have something besides apples in the house. This should hold us over until the clementines show up.

I forgot to pick up ginger root for dinner tonight, so I decided to run by Food Lion because it was convenient. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in there. I got the ginger, but also wanted to see if they offer any of the products that I usually buy these days. Nope. Not one. I couldn’t easily find any organic produce (though I just gave it quick look). Didn’t see any eco-friendly/safe cleaning products, though I do remember buying Greenworks there before. Food Lion, you guys need to get with the program. If this is your usual grocery store, might I suggest you step out of your comfort zone and venture to a Harris Teeter at the very least. This might be a good first step into a healthier lifestyle.