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?

Is Cleaner Pizza Really Possible?

Ahhh, pizza.  Everyone in my family wants it, at least once a week.  My husband insists, often ordering whatever sounds good to him, never asking about ingredients.

Something just doesn’t feel right after eating the pizza buffet, and honestly, who goes to the buffet and east just one slice?

Pizza

No doubt, this pie will always be an American favorite, but popular blogger Food Babe has uncovered all sorts of reasons we should be concerned about it, not the least of which is hidden sources of monosodium glutamate or MSG.

So, we all understand the ick factor here, but in the real world most of us don’t have time to scrutinize the pizza ingredients each time.

Maybe our pizza options go something like this, in order from easiest to hardest:

*Eat pizza less often, in smaller amounts.

*Call the manufacturer of our favorite pizza brand for more details about what’s inside.  Stick with the one brand or two that give us the details we need.

*Seek out USDA Organic pizza makers who, according to organic rules, are not allowed to use as many artificial ingredients.

*Make and freeze our  own pizza dough for some convenience in making homemade pizza.

*Make pizza an artisan event and create everything from scratch.

 

 

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.

Weinervention dogs & squash

Family #Wienervention Cookout with Applegate & Friends

*Posting in cooperation with Applegate, to bring you more yummy content!

Will your family’s end-of-summer cookout include fun food like hot dogs or healthy foods like grilled veggies?  We shouldn’t have to choose, should we?  Maybe your family, like mine, includes some of us who could live with less meat, AND those like my hungry husband who thinks it’s not a cookout without meat on the grill!

Is there a compromise?

Weinervention dogs & squash

Applegate is helping our family work through this meaty issue with a #Wienervention. Instead of having to adopt a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy to have a picnic, we can add all-beef hot dogs to the menu along with garden-grown heirloom tomatoes and squash.

These hot dogs come from humanely raised animals that haven’t been fed regular doses of antibiotics or growth hormones.  They’re minimally processed, not “cured” like most hot dogs, which avoids suspect preservatives like nitrates possibly linked to cancer.  Their ingredient list is meat and spices — no fattening corn fillers.

Family-style wienervention clean couponing

Here at Clean Couponing, we’re not exactly saying you should consume hot dogs every day; but if you choose processed meats, look for “cleaner wieners” like these!  We love the idea that with a #Wienervention we can ease family members like stubborn carnivorous husbands (ok, he eats a few vegetables) toward a more wholesome approach to food.

Hubby and the kids all agreed these wieners have great flavor!  Our fun #Wienervention kit included some yummy toppings and gear.  Did you know that Applegate weiners and Rudi’s buns can create a gluten-free hot dog experience?  Pretty good, huh?

I would personally like to see Applegate go one step further and be able to assure us that the livestock, even in their “natural” line, has not been fed genetically modified grain. Currently, that assurance only comes if you choose their “organic” varieties.  But as far as grocery store food goes, Applegate is far ahead of other deli meat makers.

If your family needs a #Wienervention too, you can visit the Applegate website for coupons plus enter to win a year’s supply of “cleaner wieners!”

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.

may20DoA

Guest Post: Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil

When problems seem overwhelming for our children, we remind them to take things “one day at time.” Amazingly, their problems often don’t seem so big or so overwhelming anymore.

On May 20, 2014, you and your family can join me and my family and thousands of other folks around the world as we take one day and create thousands and thousands of actions around ONE ask: PepsiCo The Power to Cut Conflict Palm Oil is #InYourPalm.

Ashleyinyourpalm

For most of us, making a difference and creating change around huge global problems like the destruction of the world’s rainforests and climate change seems way too big and too hard to imagine taking on. As parents, between work in and outside our homes, getting to and from lacrosse games, music and dance classes, putting nutritional meals on the table, arranging play dates for our kids, and finding time for the occasional play date of our own, our lives are full, busy, and regularly frenetic and hectic. Continue reading

Rice for a Frugal Gluten-Free Dish

Maybe you have health reasons to try a gluten-free diet, whether from a celiac diagnosis or other concerns.  The transition can seem a bit daunting, and it can be somewhat more expensive when it comes to traditional baked goods without gluten.  However, a frugal, at-home staple for a gluten-free diet is brown rice.

cooked rice

Buying in bulk by the bag, or even bulk bin shopping can help you save on the cost of rice.

We show you how to make perfect rice in this post on frugal cooking.

Here’s more about gluten free food choices from the Mayo Clinic.

 

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