Category Archives: organic

open faced sandwich cookie

Why I Buy My Kids Junk Food

Get the free newsletter here!

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?

 

#CleanCouponing Twitter Chat on Earth Care Features Eco Author & Sierra Club

Clean Couponing is about being frugal with more than money.  If this month’s #CleanCouponing Twitter chat is about Earth Care, what would your shopping choices have to do with being frugal in this area?

I like to save money as much as the next person, and I also look for value in the quality of the food – for instance picking organically produced foods when I can, to protect my family’s health and to support farmers who are doing what’s right for our environment.  I appreciate brands that are mindful about the packaging they use so it creates as little waste as possible.

If you’re frugal with health, you might want to know about the connection between health and clean air, a key component of the cleaner energy movement to stem climate change while building healthier communities.

If you’re frugal with pre-teen and teen values, you might want to ask teacher and author Katy Farber about the motivation behind her new book, The Order of the Trees, which she’ll be giving away during our chat.

Earth Care can also mean avoiding the greenwashing that is rampant in the market today. So, while this #CleanCouponing chat is not sponsored and not designed to sell you anything in particular, we may have room for some honest conversation about avoiding greenwashing.  That, because if you are in #CleanCouponing mode, you have authentic values like caring for your family, being good stewards with the budget you have, and picking products that are useful, not wasteful.

Happy child in spring field. Young girl relax outdoors. Freedom concept

Please join us on Twitter Thursday night, April 9, from 9 to 10 pm Eastern, and follow both @CleanCouponing and @FlourSackMama as well as our special guests @SierraMidTN and @Non_Toxic_Kids.  Please use hashtag #CleanCouponing to join the conversation.

Here are a couple of suggested tweets you could use to tell your friends about our chat:

Care about kids? Join @Non_Toxic_Kids @SierraMidTN for Earth Care #CleanCouponing chat Thurs, April 9, 9 pm ET hosted by @FlourSackMama!

Ask @SierraMidTN about #ReChargeTVA at Thurs 9 pm Earth Care #CleanCouponing chat with @Non_Toxic_Kids @FlourSackMama @CleanCouponing & more!

Hope to chat with you soon!

Sign up here for my free newsletter.

 

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


Organic Apple

An Organic Apple a Day…

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what about the pesticides we’ve been ingesting along with those apples?  It’s hard to say, isn’t it?  Healthy guidelines from places like Choose My Plate tell us to fill at least half our plate with fruits and vegetables each day.

Yet, pesticides have been found again and again as residues on conventionally grown apples.  This, according to government data collected and shared via watchdog Environmental Working Group.

Organic ApplesApples have the notoriety of topping the EWGs Dirty Dozen list that helps consumers understand which conventionally grown fruits and vegetables tend to contain the most pesticide residues.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, the President’s Cancer Panel and other health and environmental experts have long been cautioning about the health dangers of pesticides.

No wonder organic apples have been gaining in popularity, particularly among parents of young children who pound for pound are more susceptible to toxic pesticide exposures.

No doubt, the extra value and extra work involved in producing organic apples can add some expense.  How can you use #CleanCouponing methods to feed your apple-a-day needs?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Use store coupons for dollars off your total purchase, so you can make choices like organic apples and use that discount.
  • Check for discounted organic produce that might not be cosmetically perfect.
  • Shop farmers’ markets or local you-pick farms.
  • Sign up for a local food cooperative that might give member discounts on organic foods.
  • Be flexible and rotate from apples to other organic fruits as stores offer various special pricing.
  • Give up one junk processed food and apply that savings toward organic apples.
  • Split the cost of a bag of organic apples with a friend so you can each use half that week.

What #CleanCouponing methods do you use to make organic apples available for your household?

Wraps Lunch CC

Rock the Lunch Box Back-to-School Ideas & Giveaway!

*This is a sponsored post in cooperation with Organic Valley, Stonyfield Organic & other Rock the Lunch Box brands, bringing you yummy content plus a giveaway!

We’re all inundated with back-to-school deals this time of year, matching prices and clipping coupons.  But is it really a good deal if the product isn’t a wholesome food we’d normally feed our kids?

Because at Clean Couponing we’re frugal with more than money, we’re looking for real food.  Even when we buy packaged, processed foods for convenience, we’re scanning for recognizable ingredients without a bunch of fillers, preservatives or artificial colors.

Melon Ball CU

An entire spectrum of colors is available when lunch planning starts in the produce aisle, garden or farmers’ market.  Those are all great places to get kids involved.

I asked my young daughter to draw her dream lunch for school.  She spent a lot of time designing a very pretty tote, then she clearly indicated she likes strawberries, milk and chocolate.  While I’m not promising candy bars at lunchtime, I can agree on chocolate milk sometimes, IF it’s organic milk from Organic Valley’s dairy cooperative.

Kid Art Lunch CC

Chocolate milk is a part of the healthy lunch we created along with other foods from Rock the Lunch Box participating brands.

Most importantly, my daughter helped me choose fresh carrots, cherry tomatoes and a bell pepper from the produce section and picked green beans from our little organic garden.  She really likes watermelon, so I tried mixing that up with cantaloupe since they’re priced low at the end of summer.  Another time, we’ll put strawberries in her lunch box; and when we can’t find great deals on fresh fruits, we’ll use frozen.

We created a mini-wrap using tortillas from Rudi’s Organic Bakery, leftover pasta sauce, turkey and bell pepper.  She had a little ranch dressing for dipping her crisp vegetables, and a colby jack cheese Stringles from Organic Valley.  Plus, we cut a circle of Rudi’s gluten-free bread and added almond butter for a high-protein addition to her lunch.  It’s likely the Annie’s chewy granola bar and Honest Kids juice will get saved for her snack later in the day.

Wraps Lunch CC

You’ll find hundreds more fun lunch ideas plus cool coupons at rockthelunchbox.com. Getting dollars and cents off wholesome foods you’d want your kids to eat:  that’s what we call “clean couponing!”

One lucky Clean Couponing or Flour Sack Mama blog reader will win a Rock the Lunch Box toolkit, featuring a Laptop Lunches Bento and free food coupons, a $50 value!  Enter via the Rafflecopter form here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We tried another Rock the Lunch Box combination at the Flour Sack Mama blog!

Thanks to the fun #RocktheLunchbox brands for food samples & lunch gear.

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

Ripe Tomato Pike County Garden

Green Goes Mainstream special #CleanCouponing Twitter Chat Tonight!

You are invited to a special #CleanCouponing Twitter chat tonight in conjunction with co-host @FlourSackMama – on the series topic #GreenGoesMainstream.  Here at Clean Couponing we are frugal with more than money.  We discuss values like wholesome food and reasons to have organic food as a choice with what studies show are higher nutritional value and lower heavy metals and pesticides residues.

Join experts from the Rodale Institute and Organic Consumers Association as we chat at 9 pm Eastern, 6 Pacific tonight about how Green Goes Mainstream with the growth of organic food!  You can RSVP here.

Green Goes Mainstream Twitter Chat2

 

KaleChipsCleanCouponing

Frugal Baked Kale Chips

Have you noticed how pricey kale chips can be in the health food store?  Fresh kale itself is pretty reasonable.  And growing organic kale yourself is the most frugal way to go.  Here’s how we turned part of our virtually free harvest into a healthy snack:

KaleChipsSnackCleanCouponing

Baked Kale Chips:

KaleRinsingCleanCouponing

1. Rinse kale leaves, remove spines, and tear leaves into pieces.  For best results, thoroughly dry before baking.

KalePiecesDryingCleanCouponing

2. Preheat oven to 370 degrees.

KaleTossedOliveOilSaltCleanCouponing

3. Toss bowl of kale with just enough olive oil to thoroughly coat pieces.

4. Sprinkle sea salt to taste.

KaleChipsBakedCleanCouponing

5. Place kale pieces in a single layer on baking sheet.

6. Bake approx. 15 minutes, watching to be sure kale becomes crisp without burning.

Serve as a snack.  Or, add to a soup for extra flavor.

*I got in a hurry by not drying this batch enough, then went too heavy on the oil.  They still tasted great.  Yours will probably turn out even prettier than ours.

Dehydrating kale has become very popular.  In this post the Food Storage Moms show you how easy it is to prepare kale with a dehydrator.

The Crafty Garden Mama created an entirely different sort of kale chip recipe that’s worth a try.

Prefer your kale in salad? Eating Made Easy has some savory salad ideas.

No matter how you serve it, kale remains a strong choice for snacks and meals.

Our Frugal, Clean Couponing Grocery Shopping for Family of Four

We’re all challenged to make ends meet these days, aren’t we?  Yet, we’d be penny wise and pound foolish to pat ourselves on the back for being frugal at the grocery store, with no other values in our shopping cart.  That’s why clean couponing is about being frugal with more than money.

Budget-conscious grocery shopping trip for only $135 for family of four.

It’s common knowledge that good nutrition is the most important single thing we can do for our own health.  So, how do we balance the need for the best nutrition, free of pesticide residues, genetically modified organisms and other suspect additives in our food, without breaking the budget?  Could you feed a family of four all week for $175 or less with mostly organic, non-GMO foods? Continue reading

YoKidsPouchesCleanCouponing

YoKids Organic Yogurt Pouches Review & Giveaway

*The following is a sponsored post for Stonyfield Organic, bringing you new information and the chance to win free organic yogurt for your family!

I’m not the only mom who gets nostalgic about every little toy her kids play with, am I? This miniature wooden wagon made a great prop for our new delivery of Stonyfield pouches.  I insist on saving all of the wooden, vintage-inspired toys my kids have been playing with — now realizing how fast my kids are outgrowing them.  I suppose holding onto toys is another way of holding onto #RealLifeMoments.

YoKidsPouchesKidCleanCouponing

My daughters, both so mature and school-aged, were sure to point out that they were really too big for the “baby” food, although they liked the taste of YoBaby blueberry in the new reclosable pouch. Continue reading

LemonsCleanCouponing

Involvement Grows in Clean Couponing Twitter Chats

(*Sponsored by Zoeganics & SOS From Texas)

You are incredibly involved and concerned.  You want the best for yourself and your family. You read ingredient labels.  You want non-toxic, sustainable products.  You want real value.  And you collectively helped us reach more than 2 million impressions at our March #CleanCouponing chat on Twitter!  Yes, that’s nearly double our first Twitter chat AND we reached 2.7 million impressions with the #CleanCouponing theme in the days surrounding the event. Continue reading