Category Archives: food

Preserve Your Right to Know What’s in Your Food by Speaking Out Against the Dark Act

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You make smart choices for yourself in all areas of your life, not the least of which happens at the dinner table.  You may have family members with allergies, heart disease or other special needs.  You may be trying to lose weight.  Food labels can help you make informed choices as part of your #CleanCouponing approach, because as much as you like saving money, you know the value of investing in good nutrition.

Could you imagine going on a diet without being able to find out how many calories, grams of sugar or trans fats are in certain foods?  That’s what’s happening now with your right to know about GMOs.

Did you know that TODAY a movement is happening in Washington to deny your right to get accurate, complete food labeling at the grocery store?   It’s dubbed the DARK Act or Deny Americans the Right to Know Act, but your elected representative may only know it as HR 1599, and it’s due for a vote.  This video explains why you might want to know what’s in your food:

You can call TODAY to tell your elected representative that you expect a “no” vote on the infamously nicknamed DARK Act.  Here’s an easy tool provided by the Center for Food Safety that allows you to enter your phone number and be directly connected via your phone to the appropriate Washington office.  It makes speaking up (politely) to your elected official an easy, 5-minute task that everyone can do!

Not only has the Food and Drug Administration refused to label genetically engineered foods otherwise known as genetically modified foods or GMOs, even though they’re often treated with the glyphosate herbicide recognized by top scientists as probably linked to cancer; but the DARK Act legislation would deny states’ rights to require GMO labeling, even if the people of that state vote for it like they did in Vermont and some other states.  If you eat any conventional processed foods at all, you are likely being exposed to pesticide residues and unknown health harms, according to modern science.  So, the DARK Act would make it more difficult for you to make personal choices about the food you want to feed your family.

A few watchdogs like Just Label It and the Center for Food Safety are trying to keep everyone informed and push back against the intense chemical-food industry lobbyists. Those in Washington are bracing for a vote in the US House as early as July 23, so it is critical you call today and make your voice heard with your representative.

If you care about #CleanCouponing, truly knowing the quality of the food you choose for your family, you’ll want to get the most information you can from a food label.  That means a NO vote on the DARK Act and a yes to authentic, mandatory, state-level GMO labeling.

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open faced sandwich cookie

Why I Buy My Kids Junk Food

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I admit it.

I buy my kids junk food.

You too?

stack of chocolate sandwich cookies

But Clean Couponing is all about being frugal with more than money!

How can a parent be concerned about issues like health and ingredients while admitting to buying junk food?

Here’s how:  In a perfect world I would have enough space for not just an organic garden but a mini-farm in my own backyard, where I’d produce enough food for everything I needed in the kitchen. I’d have time to cook absolutely every meal and snack from scratch for my family.  Plus, my kids would have no outside influences tempting them to try greasy, sugary, fattening, processed foods.  That’s not the world we live in, is it?

I do grow organic vegetables in our garden.  I do cook from scratch as much as possible.  I also need time-saving methods.  I also spend time shuttling kids to various activities.  I also give in to their requests for “fun” food.

Where Clean Couponing comes in is that it can help me strategically stock up on the kinds of “fun” meal and snack foods my kids want to eat, while giving me the chance to play defense with the ingredients.  I’m using the term “junk food” loosely, meaning no offense to any particular food or food maker.

open faced sandwich cookie

At some point, the kids will beg for chocolate cookies, and if I’ve checked ahead of time for the cookies without the trans fats and genetically modified ingredients, I’ve accomplished something.  They will want ice cream or candy or gum, so I can choose from the few brands that don’t use coal-tar derived food dyes and suspicious preservatives or fillers.

While I wouldn’t want to serve my family hot dogs frequently, the occasional picnic is a chance to try these made with more wholesome ingredients than most.  (Don’t miss this giveaway that ends soon.)

My kids know I scrutinize ingredients and practice Clean Couponing because I love them. They also know I find creative ways to let them enjoy “junk food” because I love them, too. If I stock up ahead of time, watch for sales, check out brand coupons online, it helps me provide these more wholesome versions of fun or junk foods, which is harder to do at the last minute.  If we really get in a rush, if I’m behind on meal preparation, and if I haven’t stocked up on better “junk” foods, those are the few times when we get into a downward fast food spiral, and that can really wreck a family nutrition plan.

Perhaps the biggest pitfall in stocking up on healthier “junk” foods is that even organic, GMO-free, gluten-free foods can still be high in sugar.  This is a legitimate concern, and a reason to never lean too heavily on processed foods, even if they bear all of the politically correct food labels.  Despite this potentially pitfall, I stand by my method of staying stocked up on some fun alternative foods.

How are you Clean Couponing to make sure your family’s fun or “junk” food is as clean as possible?

 

Grilling Applegate Hotdogs

#GirlsWhoGrill Celebrating Summer with Applegate Grilling Kit Giveaway

Thanks to Applegate for stocking us up on the fixins’ for a backyard picnic!  Get your #CleanCouponing coupons here.

Where did grilling get ingrained in their machismo?  It’s there, from open-fire cooking for survival to boys and their heavy metal grilling toys! Even a man like my husband who’s intimidated by a kitchen recipe with more than three ingredients will proudly reign as king of the outdoor grill, as if pushing that fuel button to light the thing up suddenly imbibes him with the expert ability to prepare a gourmet feast!

He was somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that the queen of the household would be taking over his grill this summer — that #GirlsWhoGrill might put more attention onto the quality of the food cooking on it.  His machismo is a bit threatened.

applegate family

For me as a parent, I care about ingredients, while I don’t plan on taking away anyone’s summer fun.  Hot dogs have been around a long time as a grilling favorite.  So, while I won’t be serving these every week, they’re a once-in-a-while summer treat that my kids & husband want.

What’s the difference between these and your typical dogs?

  • Quality meats raised with humane practices & without antibiotics
  • 100% grass-fed beef
  • All Applegate products going non-GMO in summer 2015
  • Meat as the main ingredient, without junk fillers or added sugars or corn syrups
  • No chemical preservatives
  • No added nitrites (only those naturally occurring in celery)
  • Lower than many other hot dogs in sugar, sodium and fat

Grilling Applegate Hotdogs

Most importantly, these Applegate hot dogs taste great!  Mind you, they’re not as fatty and sweet tasting as some leading weiners because they’re not relying on those junk ingredients to boost their appeal.  These are a real meat lover’s hot dog. We recently grilled the uncured, natural beef weiners from Applegate, dressed up with Sir Kensington’s ketchup and mustard atop yummy buns from Vermont Bread Company.

I understand that some food purists want to avoid processed meats altogether, and that’s an honorable goal.  At our house, the family is going to demand the convenience and fun of something like hot dogs sometimes.  This is the best quality product of this kind that I can give them.

Some of you who’ve championed small farmers (I’ll always be a family farm girl myself, grew up showing hogs at the fair) and supported independent food companies are understandably skeptical, too about Applegate’s recent acquisition by food giant Hormel. Here’s an excerpt from the letter that Applegate’s founder, Stephen McDonnell, wrote about that:

The acquisition will not change our positions on any of the important issues. We will continue to support labeling for GMO ingredients. We will continue to push to remove antibiotics from the farm and to improve the animal welfare standards in our supply chain.

This is all easy to say, of course. So I don’t ask you to take me at my word. Just watch what we do. Our products and practices will remain the same–and some will improve. For instance, as of this month 100 percent of our beef for hot dogs and roast beef will come from pasture raised and grass fed cattle. In addition, by this summer we will have converted 100% of our products to be free of GMO ingredients.

Applegate Kid Hotdog

Family fun, laid back summer times, even giving the man another macho turn at the grill — it’s all part of life.  When I make food purchases, I still care about what’s inside, so choosing a brand like Applegate whenever I can find a coupon for it is still part of my #CleanCouponing strategy.

You have a chance to enter below for your very own Applegate grilling kit, complete with a meat thermometer, apron, grilling mitt and great food!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, my opinions are my own, even when sharing sponsored posts like this.

spaghetti

#CleanCouponing Pantry Meals to Stretch Your Dollars

Post by Jessica

When Christmas is over and the holiday travel is done, our family tries hard to settle back into a routine. But, we usually realize early in the New Year that some of our overindulgences have left our wallets a little thin. And, since it’s not like we can avoid paying the electric bill, we find other ways to tighten the purse straps. The main place to save is on groceries, with some common sense #CleanCouponing techniques.

spaghetti

I like to make the food budget stretch by attempting to use everything (and I mean everything) in the pantry. It seems throughout the year I stock up on good deals. That, combined with my garden canning, can lead to some interesting, but wallet friendly, meals.

Remember that time you bought 20 boxes of pasta because it was on sale?

  • Toss it with some canned tomatoes, Italian dressing and cubed cheese and you have a quick and easy pasta salad.
  • Or use some of your homemade pasta sauce stash, sautéed with ground beef for a classic spaghetti and meat sauce.

I will admit I went overboard with canning this year. I have dozens of jars of applesauce left. But, it makes a nice fresh side for any meal!

  • The ever classic BFD (breakfast for dinner). Scramble up some eggs and whip up some pancakes. Add applesauce on the side and it’s a nice meal, mostly from pantry overstock.
  • Our family likes pork chops and applesauce any day of the week.

Some other family favorites include:

  • Drain a jar of tomatoes, drain a can of black beans, 1 cup of rice and 1.5 cups of chicken stock. Throw it all in the rice cooker and when done it’s a delicious rice meal.
  • Tomato soup made from the extra jars of tomatoes.
  • Pizza casserole also uses a lot of those pantry ingredients (mix together cooked pasta, a jar of pizza sauce and layer it with mozzarella cheese. Top with cheese and pepperoni and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes).

Be creative and have fun with dinner all while saving a little dough the #CleanCouponing way!

Here’s to More #CleanCouponing in 2015!

Are you fed up yet with the rush to save a dollar at the grocery store, only to find you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the box of food-like stuff you bought with your coupon? I used to revel at how many dollars I “saved” when I clipped coupons for name brand products.

Baby with Ring

Then I realized I was frugal with more than money.  Parenthood awakened a new sensibility about caring what was in the products I would buy to feed, clothe and care for my babies.  The more I learned, the more frugal I became about values like health, quality and reducing wasteful plastic packaging.

#CleanCouponing is not the traditional way of looking at couponing.  It’s about sometimes clipping coupons and sometimes saving money, of course.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about finding a way to balance all of the values you and your family choose for yourselves along with living in the real world of finite resources for grocery budgets.  It’s about doing what works for you and about being creative enough to stretch a dollar without compromising nutrition and health.

Once each month in 2015, we’ll continue our #CleanCouponing Twitter chats or parties hosted by Flour Sack Mama of the parent Flour Sack Mama blog.  We’ll feature leaders in all areas of #CleanCouponing from food and home to fitness and family and beyond.  If you’re a blogger who would like to enlist for the panel of one of these chats, or a nonprofit that would like to be featured, or even if you’re interested in sponsorship, you can give us some input here in this quick online survey.  The survey is also a chance for you to share which #CleanCouponing topics you are interested in seeing in 2015.

Thanks to all of the special guests, blogger panelists and sponsors who’ve supported the beginnings of our #CleanCouponing chats in 2014.  Here’s to an even better year of #CleanCouponing for all!

Chefs, Home Cooks, Cookbook Authors Talked #CleanCouponing Holiday Food with Flour Sack Mama

How young can we start involving our children in meal making?  Is it really possible for kids to want to eat their vegetables?  What’s a new way to serve up sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving?  These questions and more came up during our #CleanCouponing Holiday Food Twitter chat!  In case you missed it, here’s a recap of some of last night’s flavorful conversation:

Instagram Twitter Party

 

Traditional food

#CleanCouponing Holiday Food edition Twitter Party November 20

Ready for Thanksgiving?  How about winter holidays beyond that?  Do you use traditional recipes for Hannukah?  Do you always prepare cranberry sauce just like your grandmother used to make it?  Are you wondering how to pick the best turkey?  Tired of turkey and looking for alternatives?  What about GMOs in your holiday dinner?

Roasted meat with garnish and cowberry pie on festive table

Let’s talk turkey and more when we gather on Twitter for the next #CleanCouponing Twitter party to talk Holiday Food!  The event is set for Thursday, November 20th from 8 to 9 pm.  Follow along with hashtag #CleanCouponing and if you ask or answer questions, be sure to use the hashtag as well so everyone can have a conversation.

Follow current and former #CleanCouponing panelists here via Twitter list.

We’ll be joined by some special guests from the Pollan Family Table cookbook.  Plus, we’re hosting special nonprofit guest Center for Food Safety.  Be sure to enter here to win a cookbook from the Pollans or a $50 gift card from Flour Sack Mama.  Plus, add your Twitter handle when you RSVP to the event below.  Looking forward to chatting on Thursday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Food Prices Slightly Higher

Feel like you’re working harder these days to stretch your food budget?  You’re right. Chances are, you’re spending about 3% more than at this time last year to buy the same cart of groceries.

eggs, sugar, ingredients

The US Government’s Consumer Price Index reportedly rose 3.2% from last September to September 2014.  This, after nearly no change at all in overall food prices the previous year. Fresh fruit prices are up about 6% over the past year.

California’s drought has been a concern about potentially higher produce prices.  Yet, demand for fresh continues to increase.  The strongest segment of growth in groceries is perpetually in natural and organic food.

Drought in Texas and Oklahoma is affecting rising beef prices.

How are you stretching that food budget another 3% or so?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Look for local, in-season choices: bargain with local growers, use what’s available.
  • Avoid wasting food: watch portion sizes, serve leftovers for lunch, freeze part of what you cook.
  • Go directly to your favorite brands’ websites or via portals at sites like CleanCouponing.com for coupons on real food.

At Clean Couponing, we’re frugal with even more than money.  Stay connected by getting our free Clean Couponing and Flour Sack Mama newsletter.

Group running on beach jogging

You’re Invited to a Strong, not Scared #CleanCouponing Party!

*Special event post sponsored by Rustic Maka and Santa Barbara Bar in order to bring you more quality content and giveaways.

You’re invited to a special Strong, not Scared edition of our #CleanCouponing Twitter parties!  Chances are you’ve heard some scary statistics, like one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer or one in three women will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in her lifetime (chances are one in two for men).

While society may be awash in a sea of pink marketing gimmicks, especially in October, we’re focusing on cancer prevention.  Two organizations that make an earnest effort to help women understand environmental causes of cancer will be our special guests on October 23rd, available to answer questions and point you to practical resources.  We’re honored that both the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth will be joining us at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific for this latest #CleanCouponing Twitter party.

Clean Couponing Oct 23 Twitter Party

One personal connection for us here is Anne’s effort to raise $500 for the Breast Cancer Fund via this direct fundraiser for the organization.  It’s in memory of Anne’s mom who was lost to another type of cancer, and in honor of so many others who’ve been coping with the disease.  We appreciate your helping get the word out.

How does wellness and cancer prevention tie into the #CleanCouponing theme?  At this companion to the Flour Sack Mama blog, we say we’re frugal with more than money. That means that while we’re always looking for a discount to share with you, we know you often shop with other values in mind.  Particularly this month, we know you’re getting wiser about products flashing a pink ribbon that instead might contain cancer causing chemicals.  Informed consumers know that’s no longer acceptable.  So, we want to bring you some alternatives and a Twitter chat where everyone can share ideas and even talk about your favorite brands.

A couple of our favorite brands that have made this particular Twitter event possible in October are the scrumptious Santa Barbara Bar and the artisan body care company Rustic Maka.   Check out those links for generous giveaways from both both brands.

Here are the special #CleanCouponing discounts for you:

At the Rustic Maka website use code “Clean15″ for 15% off your order.

At the Santa Barbara Bar website use code “SantaBarbaraBarClean” for 15% off your order.

These discount codes expire January 17, 2015.

Be sure to follow our special guests @BreastCancerFnd and @Women4Earth, our sponsors @tastySBbars and @RustickMaka, co-hosts @CleanCouponing and @FlourSackMama and this diverse mix of Twitter party panelists: @TheHousingHour, @ChooseWiser, @AFewGoodJens, @ginabad, @AlmostTruth, @massgreendad.

Here’s a button-sized graphic in case you’d like to add it to your site and link back to this page.

Oct 23 Twitter party button

For now, RSVP below for the #CleanCouponing Twitter party and tell your friends about it. Let’s not be scared of those statistics.  We are not powerless.  We’re also not settling for a month of pink without real emphasis on prevention. Let’s empower one another by sharing information and staying strong for ourselves and those we love!

Organic Apple

Let’s Talk #CleanCouponing this Thursday Night!

Are you frugal with more than money?  Are you only interested in coupons and discounts IF a product is the best value or meets some special need?  Come join us Thursday, September 25 from 9 to 10 pm Eastern Time for another #CleanCouponing chat!  Follow us here on Twitter and watch for the hashtag.

Twitter chat September

We’ll keep it simple this month.  Let’s share strategies for stretching a dollar with REAL food or for seeking out non-toxic products without spending a fortune.

We’d love to hear your favorite topics that you want to see discussed here, too!

What about a value like supporting local farms and businesses?   We’ll talk a bit about that, as well.

Looking forward to chatting with you Thursday night along with the Flour Sack Mama blog!