Tag Archives: organic

Review: Bilinski Gluten Free Sausage

23 Sep

Hellllooooooo. I figure I might as well do this post before I get really busy with moving and such. We are still working on closing on our house…to say the least it’s been stressful but hopefully there’s an end in sight.

A while back I received an amazing package of sausage (hah) from the folks at Bilinski. They specialize in gluten free and natural/organic casing-free chicken sausage. Friends looked at me weird when I explained how I had to run home because I had a shipment of sausage on my front stoop. I was way more excited than one should be about a package of sausage- but hey! It’s food! Everything that I get excited about pretty much revolves around food.

When I busted open the package I was pleasantly surprised at the variety I received:

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They sent me a nice selection of the ‘skinny’, organic and the natural lines.  All of their sausages are gluten free, have no artificial preservatives and are from chickens free of antibiotics. This is from the company website:

“Nearly everything we make is natural or certified organic. We purchase local ingredients and buy from businesses close to home whenever possible. We carefully examine every ingredient and practice to make sure it promotes what we believe in. Our products are nitrite- and preservative-free, and are made from meats that are raised in clean, comfortable conditions with integrity – with no antibiotics, no animal by-products in their feed, and no hormones.”

Sounds like a great company to me!

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The first night I got them I fired up the grill to eat the “skinny” line’s hot Italian sausage.

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Gross looking, but stellar meal of braised cabbage, roasted peppers and sausage.

The skinny line was alright but the regular line I enjoyed better. There really is only ten more calories in the regular ones so what’s the point if the taste is way better?

Although I really enjoyed the ‘skinny’ apples and cinnamon breakfast sausage alongside one of my Saturday morning breakfasts.

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Paleo Pancakes with apples and sausage…..fall is here!

I ate the Cajun/Andouille version with this amazing meal:

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Heirloom tomato salad, grilled sweet potatoes and yellow beans. Tonight we ate the mild Italian sausage with some braised red cabbage and beans. I think this flavor has been my favorite so far. I still have one more in the freezer but I wanted to get this review up in case I got too busy once we move.

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Obviously I rarely eat any kind of sausage because the quality is so sketchy. It’s great to find a brand that tastes great and you know you can trust. I hate sausages that are really greasy and clearly loaded with unknown ingredients .There really aren’t too many other brands that I would buy similar sausages from. Most of them have lots of added sugar, gluten and nitrites/nitrates. So thumbs up to this brand! I enjoyed all of them and would definitely recommend them. I actually saw them in the store the SAME day I received an email from the company saying they would send me some, so it was ironic. I will definitely be picking some up in the future.

**Just a reminder that I did receive the sausages complimentary but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.**

What’s your favorite way to eat sausage?

Have you bought a house? How long and drawn out was the closing date?

Grocery Series Part III: How to save money

1 Jul

In the past year my shopping habits have changed drastically. I used to shop in order to save money. I was still eating “healthy” but I mainly focused on couponing and getting the most food for my  money. Now I’ve changed priorities and realized that if I am going to look for ways to save money, compromising on what I put in my body is probably not the best way to start. According to Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food), Americans spend the LEAST percentage amount of their income on food compared to other nations. Coincidentally we are the most unhealthy…..

I’ve already talked about ways to prioritize what to buy organic and how to eat local, but I will admit these foods are still more expensive than conventional and industrial raised products. But are you willing to sacrifice quality over quantity? Here are some things I’ve cut out to save money to put into ethically raised animals and local produce:

1) Dairy

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{Moo Cows better to look at then to drink from}

I know, I know…dairy is supposed to be good for you (calcium and stuff). If you eat Paleo dairy is out- but that’s not the main reason I nixed it. Industrial dairy has been processed to the point where it’s doing more harm than good in my opinion. And organic dairy is expensive. I buy Austin organic milk and that’s it. I’ve given up cheese, yogurt and milk myself.  I know we all love our Chobani, but that $4-5 a week adds up! And don’t even ask me where I’m getting calcium. There are plenty of other sources! Google it.

2) Cereals and processed snack products

Cereal

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I read in Omnivore’s Dilemma that a $4 box of cereal takes 4 cents of commodity corn to make. Cereal is ROBBERY IN A BOX. And can we just take a minute to think about what nutritionally cereal does for you? Oh that’s right, nothing. When health claims start appearing on boxes of Lucky Charms, we’ve really gone off the deep end as a society.

I know it is delicious (and you can get it cheaper using coupons). For me, it’s a food with no brakes, so I simply can’t afford to have it around at all.

Same goes with all those snack bars, protein bars, granola bars infused with fiber. I know! I used to buy them! But it makes more sense to use that money for more nutritionally sound and un-processed food.

3) Frozen Meals/Canned Soup

I used to buy lean cuisines or smart ones, or canned soup for lunch all the time. They are pricey as well. Now I make enough dinner every night to bring leftovers the next day.  Now that I really think about it…….

4) Anything processed or packaged at all.

If you’re buying processed food, don’t tell me you can’t afford organic. Don’t even get me started on soda.

 

Other ways you could assess if changing the way you eat and shop for food would work….can you cancel cable? Why is watching your favorite sitcoms more important than what you put in your body? (*To be fair, I’ve suggested this multiple times to my fiancé, but still get a resounding NO. He’s not on board. If it was just me there’s now way I would have TV).

What about spending habits elsewhere? It’s important to look at your budget and where your money goes before deciding it’s “not worth it” to care about what goes into your body. I know for me, I really need to stop getting sucked into “blog food fads”. LOL Almond flour, Larabars and fancy nut butters also are a money suck. But there sooooo gooooooood :(  If I can cut back on some of this I would have more money to buy local organic produce (I still buy a lot from the grocery store- hey at least it’s not soda).

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{yummy but big money suck}

How do you feel about prioritizing what you put in your body over other life expenses?

Is eating organic realistic? Why or why not?

Grocery series part II: What to buy organic

20 Jun

In part I of my grocery series I talked about some of the groceries I regularly buy. I’m very conscious if what I put in my body, but I don’t buy everything organic, we’re on a budget! And organic doesn’t necessarily always mean better.

I prioritize when deciding what to buy organic. First are my non-negotiables:

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Ever since informing myself about industrial farming, I choose not to support the practice and buy meat from the grocery store. As said before, we buy grass fed meat and chicken from a farm whenever we can. Sometimes I buy the whole circle chicken from Tops when it’s on sale.

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We picked up this chicken today..it was KILLED TODAY! How’s that for fresh? Yes, we paid for the freshness too. But I just think about what I’m supporting and it’s alright. I don’t buy it that often. Like I said I settle for the natural raised at Tops a lot.

Organic or grass fed meat is pricey but in my eyes worth it. I’m not going to get into the disgustingness of industrial farming. If you’re interested the book Omnivore’s Dilemma is a good place to start. Besides, I save money other ways (more on that next in the series).

I also don’t really buy dairy for myself. I buy organic whole milk when it’s on sale or I have a coupon for Austin. I rarely get yogurt anymore since I follow a mostly Paleo diet. Everyone loves their Chobes…..but it can add up! Eggs are a must. I know $3.50 seems like a lot but I think about it like this: where else can you get four servings of protein for 3.50?

Next for the always organic is lettuce and greens like kale. They are easily contaminated.

Tier two includes fruits and veggies I may not regularly buy but try to get organic when I can

buy organic most of the time

If I feel like it’s too much and/or they don’t have it available organic,I’ll make a decision. Either get the regular or just find a different recipe.

And that’s pretty much it. Anything else,including anything on the ‘clean 15’ list I get conventional. Unless it’s cheaper/the same amount. Whole 9 has a nice little list I like to follow.

As you can see I don’t buy a whole lot organic. There have been a number of conflicting studies regarding organic and whether or not it’s even better for you, so I don’t sweat it. And no I don’t need to spend 7.00 on organic toilet paper to wipe my behind with or organic shampoo or any of that mess. Priorities!! I know for a FACT though the practices that go on in order to produce industrial meat so I’m willing to prioritize the money. Next post I will talk about saving money on organic/local food.

Omnivore’s Dilemma: Food education

30 May

Once again I am merging the two concepts upon which this blog was designed- my love of food and my teaching career. I already posted awhile back about incorporating my love of food into my classroom. To end the year, my students are completing a research project centered around an amazing book I just finished, which was life changing to say the least.

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In his book, Pollan strives to uncover secrets of industrial, processed, industrial organic, and sustainable meals. It really goes to the heart of how what you eat affects not only you, but the environment, the economy, the government, and society as a whole. As bloggers, we may put a lot of thought into what we eat. But have you REALLY thought of the political, social, environmental and economical implications of eating your morning cereal? Who grew, processed, packaged and shipped that product? Did it take more energy to make it than you can actually get from it? The answers will surprise you, and most likely make you NOT want to eat a lot of the things you currently eat. I know I’ve changed my eating habits immensely since reading this book.

So I was reading this book and come to find out…..it’s on the common core for 8th grade! Who would have thought?!?! My initial reaction was excitement. Then it turned immediately to panic. They want 8th graders to read this?!?!? One of the chapters was labeled “corn sex” !!! There were words I couldn’t pronounce. I was freaking out. Then I discovered this:

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The young adult version! Essentially the same book only at a lower, much easier to understand reading level (I was struggling to follow the adult version myself!). And no sex, even of the corn nature.

I picked out about 5 chapters for students to read to get an overall picture in order to answer this question:

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Students did various activities examining food labels, watching videos provided by Nourish, and studied industrial faming VS local farming.

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It just really surprised me how little my students knew about the secrets behind the food they eat. That soda is mostly 100% HFCS. That they put ammonia in meat to kill bacteria. The environmental implications of drinking hot chocolate that was shipped from Switzerland.

There’s so much to talk about when it comes to this topic (I already covered eating local). At some times I was feeling weird about teaching students this, thinking they were going to go home and rant to their parents about how they need to start eating grass-fed beef. But if you really think about it, if we don’t teach our kids about this damaging, corrupt, and disgusting thing that is the food industry, when will the ignorance end?

SO when we were done studying the topic, students picked their own individual topics to research further. Choices included:

*Organic vs conventional food

*Food poisoning

*grass fed vs industrial meat

*processed food

*fast food secrets (a popular one)

*hunting for food

*Hidden ingredients

Students will do research (we’re wrapping up day 3 of research) and then complete a presentation (no paper- aren’t I nice?) using the Ipad app Haiku Deck. This presentation software is really easy to use, student friendly, and eye catching! It’s similar to power point but much more simple. Perfect for our shortened time frame.

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Can’t wait to post some examples!

You should really get your hands on the adult (or young adult!) version of the book. It changed the way I look at food forever. I obviously ate pretty healthy before this book, but some of the things you think to believe are “healthy” have some compromising implications you’d be surprised about. Check it out!!!

Have you read the book? Do you think we should teach our kids to care about where our food comes from?

New Year New Food

28 Dec

I’ve never been one to spend the money on organic food (I tend to be coupon/sale obsessed)   , but I have been paying more attention to which products are worth buying organic (some fruits, vegetables and greens) and which don’t matter (shampoo). Natur-Tyme is a great organic food store that popped up in my hometown a short time ago. When I went the first time I was in awe……..all of the awesome alternative cooking and baking supplies I have been seeing on blogs was right there in person!

I was the lucky recipient of a gift certificate to Natur-Tyme for Christmas!!!! Ahhh I went today and I went crazy! I can’t wait to try out some new recipes with the goods I got. Another great gift from Austin’s aunt was this book by Dr. Andrew Weil called True Food. I love it! It has tons of recipes that stress whole, immunity boosting and inflammation reducing foods. ‘

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Can’t wait to try some recipes, but some of them have some complicated ingredients- which I was able to find at Natur-Tyme! Score!

Here is a picture of my loot:

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Sorry, I’m blogging from my sister’s computer and didn’t have the time to doctor up the picture. I got: three tubs of PB 2, expeller pressed canola oil, almond flour, almond milk, almond extract, quinoa, yeast flakes, steel cut oats and chia seeds. Can’t wait to try overnight oats with chia seeds!!!! The steel cut oats were a disturbingly good deal- that entire thing on the right was only $2.00. They are usually more than $4 at the store for Quaker steel oats.

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Obviously had to stock up on PB 2. Three tubs should last me awhile! I put this in smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts. I’m excited about the almond extract also. I plan on putting it in oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes….and even waffles since I now got my new waffles maker! (Forgot to mention that on my previous post) I promise there will be some good recipes with my new goodies!

Any suggestions for what I can make with any of these ingredients!?!?

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