When Did Cream Become Something Else?

I purchased a carton of “heavy cream” the other day, and was shocked when I looked at the list of ingredients.

It’s not just cream anymore, it’s a bunch of other stuff too, like carrageenan, diglycerides, and polysorbate 80.

Here’s the ingredients list from Hood brand heavy cream:

CREAM, CARRAGEENAN (HELPS HOLD THE WHIPPED CREAM PEAKS), MONO & DIGLYCERIDES (HELPS PUT AIR INTO CREAM AS IT IS WHIPPING), POLYSORBATE 80 (HELPS CREATE STIFF PEAKS)

I had previously read about specifically avoiding “whipping cream” because it could have extra emulsifiers, but I truly thought you could still buy 100% pure cream. Not anymore. Even Organic Valley and Stoneyfield brands both contained carrageenan!

What’s wrong with this picture!?

Thankfully, there is a local dairy farm (Shaw Farm) that does sell cream, and other milk products, including non-homogenized whole milk. I will be looking into their products from now on!

PS: The heavy cream WAS very easy to whip into whipped cream, using my Kitchenaid mixer. It was actually the first time I attempted it! It did not get watery, I assume that was due to the additives. It was delicious though and everyone enjoyed it.

UPDATE: Good news, I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, and they sell cream that was JUST CREAM. Unfortunately no organic offering though, but I believe it’s rBGT free.

I also found the local Shaw’s Farm sells cream at a farmstore I visit, so I might try theirs next.

My Healthy Food Budget: Month End April, 2013 + 6 Month Update

April Week 4 Healthy Food Budget: $103.47 spent, for a total of $381.98 for the month. (See below for 6 month update)

Yay! I was able to stick to a lower budget this month! Awesome!

I have to admit I sort of cheated…but not really. I needed fruit (for one last day of April). But why waste fuel for a second trip to the store a day or two later when I could pick up everything in one shot (including some non-grocery items). I applied just what I needed to April’s budget, and will carry the rest over to May.

My plan for purchasing local flour this week was put on hold for now. I had plenty of Bob’s Red Mill flour, so better to be frugal and eat from my pantry instead.

DH was craving fried seafood (he works so hard, I can’t say no), so we splurged with a larger-than-normal-take-out dinner. I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $45 or more, so I added in a small Italian calzone to freeze for a dinner next month.

My pantry is getting really low! I was shocked to find I only had a few tablespoons of brown rice left, and I used the last of the quinoa. I’m going to need grains in May for sure. I also ordered (2) coconut oil & (2) coconut cream (BOGO) from Tropical Traditions and tuna will be delivered from Amazon, so that will also be a big hit to my May spending.

March Food Spending

Dining Out: $61.02 / Total $140.43
Groceries: $42.45 / Total $241.55

Most of my spending this week was for take-out! Wow! Ha! So much for my “unspoken” $100/month dining out budget!

I tried to eat from my freezer and pantry, and hit the grocery store mostly for produce; we still ate very well for the most part!

(Mon) Whole Foods Market & Market Basket $8.92 for Theo 70% chocolate bars, bok choy, and broccoli

(Wed) Market Basket $14.56 for pineapple, asparagus, organic Fuji apples, red grapefruit, minneola oranges, and bananas.

(Wed) Open Meadow Farm $8.32 for yummy boneless pork chops (meat from farm is pre-paid in full, so technically no real money is actually spent, but I apply the cost to my budget as we consume it.)

(Sat) Market Basket $5.79 for mango, grapefruit, minneola oranges, organic Fuji apples, bananas

(Tues) Market Basket $4.86 for grapefruit, avocado, and minneola oranges.

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars for April: $241.55

MARKET BASKET 95.39
Whole Foods 43.51
Trader Joe’s 29.38
Open Meadow Farm 28.77
Amazon.com 28.40
Seven Acres Farm 7.50
Jones Farm 5.60
Aubut’s Liquors 3.00

6 Month Budget Update: $2299.06

Dining Out: $720.96 (31%)
Groceries: $1550.04 (67%)
Supplements/Vitamins: $28.06 (1%)
Total: $2299.06

I’m 6 months into the budget (nov-apr) and so far so good. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to continue the lower budget totals in the warmer months, but I am hoping to stick to my original $400/month. If not, I’ve got an excess of at least $100 to play with.

It’s comforting to know that my grocery spending is 67% of my food spending and more than double that of my dining out spending. I’d like to continue that trend!

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars 6 Month Update

Grand Total $1,550.04

MARKET BASKET 393.80 (25%)
Whole Foods 387.36 (24%)
Trader Joe’s 268.73 (17%)
Open Meadow Farm 134.25 (8%)
Amazon.com 65.31 (4%)
Ocean State Job Lot 59.88
Seven Acres Farm 59.75
Mann Orchards 37.04
Wilson Farm 33.24
Winchester Winter Farmers Market 30.65
Brookline Farmers Market 21.70
Tropical Traditions 20.97
Four Star Farms 15.00
iHerb.com 13.27
Hannaford 11.04
Jones Farm 5.60
Vitacost 4.94
Penzeys Spices 4.25
Aubut’s Liquors 3.00
WALMART 0.99
Credits (20.73)

Interesting that Whole Foods and Market Basket are just about even. Soon, I’ll be heading to local farms more, so the % of Whole Foods spending will surely go down in the next half.

All in all, it’s been a very good 6 months. We’re eating well, with regular decadent splurges thrown in. Life is good!

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $385 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

Boston Strong!

Boston Strong

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

My heart goes out to the all the victims and their families of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi all died from this heartless act. MIT police officer, Sean Collier, who was ambushed and killed by the two bombers early Friday morning, along with Richard Donohue, the MBTA officer who was wounded by the suspects.

So many self-less courageous people stepped up to help the wounded, moments after the blast. Their minds, along with the many witnesses (including children) are permanently engraved with memories of a warzone. Memories that no one should have to keep.

I am so grateful to all those involved that brought a swift end to the ordeal. Our brave law enforcement, Massachusetts governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino, who should have been recovering in a hospital bed, all worked tirelessly to ensure our safety.

A special prayer of thanks goes out to the Watertown citizen who alerted police after he was brave enough to peek under the covering of the boat in his backyard, finding the injured suspect! I can’t imagine how lucky this man must be feeling this morning. Lucky that he wasn’t harmed or killed by the suspect, and lucky that he didn’t wait until morning to look in his backyard, as the suspect could have escaped or perhaps died overnight.

I think God was certainly watching over Boston this week!

One Fund Boston charity
A fund has been set up for donations for bombing victims. I can’t even imagine the struggle some of them face in the coming months and years. It breaks my heart. *** onefundboston.org***

One last thought. Our Boston tragedy has overshadowed the devastating explosion in Texas, and my thoughts are also with those victims.

Peace!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

My Healthy Food Budget: Week Three April, 2013

April Week Three Healthy Food Budget: $77.19 for a total of $278.51. That leaves $106.39 for the rest of my monthly budget.

I’ve reduced my April food budget to $385, which will bring the total year estimated food budget down to $4700 (down from my original $4800 projection). It would be nice to drop it another $100 by the year end, but we’ll see.

So, there are 11 more days left in the month, I’m planning to purchase some local grain flour from Four Star Farms next week, with a trip to Whole Foods Market in Cambridge, and possibly more veggies at a Farmers Market this weekend. There shouldn’t be any problem sticking to my revised budget amount, but the temptation of take out does mess me up sometimes! Ha!

Grocery Spending Details

Dining Out: $32.39 / Total $79.41
Groceries: $44.80 / Total $199.10

(Mon) Market Basket $18.84: Applegate Farms deli chicken breast, (1) avocado, minneola oranges, bananas, Kerrygold swish cheese, Organic Valley half & half, Teddie organic peanut butter (sale $3.99)

(Wed) Whole Foods Market $4.31 for organic Fuji apples

(Wed) Seven Acres Farm $7.50 for 2 dozen jumbo eggs. Note: I bought a couple of cartons of eggs from the grocery (Pete & Gerry’s and Born Free) and I’ve found I like my farm fresh eggs better. They’re JUMBO huge eggs, and fresh as could be. I’m sticking with Seven Acres farm! And they’re celebrating their 75th year! Gotta support our local farmers!

(Fri) Market Basket $14.15 for Applegate Farms Sunday bacon (sale $4.99), 2lb bag o’ clementines, organic apples, minneola oranges, and bananas.

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $385 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

Teddie Organic Peanut Butter – Grown in USA?

I’m very careful when I buy nut products, always checking to find the country of origin. A lot of nuts (organic and conventional) like cashews are grown in Asia and I rather spend a little more and buy nuts labeled as grown in the USA.

Peanuts are no exception.

Recently, I have been learning that conventional peanuts are very bad for us. A lot of pesticides are used when growing conventional peanuts, and there is even talk of GMO peanuts being grown to help with allergies. Ugh.

So, we’ve been eating almond butter, which is yummy. I’ve been buying Trader Joe’s almond butter. It’s not organic, but it’s delicious with no added oils or salt.

This week Teddie brand organic peanut butter was on sale for $3.99.

Teddie organic peanut butter front label

I love Teddie peanut butter; it tastes fresh and delicious, and it’s offered in glass containers. A lot of peanut butter is sold in plastic.

Funny, I distinctly remember disliking Teddie peanut butter as a child, it didn’t taste like the normal salt/sugar-laden Skippy and Jif because it was “all natural” – probably the ONLY all natural peanut butter available at that time. I remember my mom buying it in a large tub.

Anyway, Teddie peanut butter is made by a local company here in Massachusetts and the label for their regular natural peanut butter states that the peanuts have been grown in the USA. All good, right?

Teddie organic peanut butter back label does not state country of origin

Well the label on their organic peanut butter is missing any information on country of origin. I checked their web site, and they state:

We are proud to note that our products are market leaders in the areas we serve. Teddie Old Fashioned Peanut Butter, the Number 1 selling natural peanut butter in the Northeast, contains 100% fresh roasted and ground, USA grown peanuts providing the most wholesome peanut butter available.

It made me curious that they didn’t specifically state that “all their peanut butter…” so I phoned Leavitt Corp this morning and she was very adamant that ALL their products were made with peanuts grown in the USA.

After I hung up, I was happy, but then my paranoia set in again. Why didn’t their organic peanut butter label state USA grown? What if the person I spoke to didn’t really know, and was only stating what she thought was fact?

I viewed their web site again, and noticed the caption at the top left of their peanut butter page:

For over 100 years, we at Leavitt Corp, purveyors of Teddie peanut butter, have devoted ourselves to providing our customers with premium peanut butter made from only the highest grade USA grown peanuts that will consistently deliver great taste. Nothing less.

That makes me feel a lot better, but I still wonder about their organic label.

For now, I only purchased one jar of Teddie organic peanut butter.

We’ll continue to use peanut butter once in awhile, but I think we’ll also concentrate on other nut butters, like almond butter, hazelnut butter, sunflower butter.

I need to find a way to make almond butter at home. I tried once in my food processor, and it was a failure. More googling is needed, but maybe I need to roast the almonds prior to grinding.

My Healthy Food Budget: Week 2 April, 2013

Week 2 Healthy Food Budget: $134.74 for a total of $201.32 for April

Even though I spent over $100, I feel good about my spending this week. With almost $200 left for the rest of the month, I’m confident I’ll meet my budget.

I’m actually hoping to reduce my April food budget to $380, but we’ll see.

We splurged on a nice lunch last Saturday. Almost $30 was more than we like to normally spend for lunch or take-out, but it’s nice to splurge once in awhile.

To compensate for last Saturday, last night, I made a homemade Italian calzone, instead of opting for take-out. It cost less than $5 and was absolutely delicious. Yes, it was totally unhealthy and decadent with white flour and loads of deli meat, but if we are going to have “junk food” it’s better to make it myself, right?

DH is already trying to convince me to buy Chinese take-out tonight because we saved last night. Ha!

There was some stock-up spending this week. Almond butter and raisins/nuts at Trader Joe’s. Four lbs of chicken breasts at Whole Foods, which I promptly baked and froze for 4-5 weeks of meals/soups.

I bought a lot of fruit and vegetables, including a splurge for a container of Olivia’s lettuce greens (I was craving salad). It’s good because I’ll have enough veggies to last the upcoming week, but I’ll need to buy more fruit soon.

My canned/frozen summer tomato stock is still strong, but my grape jam is dwindling down. I do have lots of jars of grape “syrup” that I could boil down into jam (adding some Pamona’s pectin) but commercial fruit preserves might be necessary.

Spending Details for Groceries Budget – Week 2 April

Dining Out: $28.78 / Total $47.02
Groceries: $105.96 / Total $154.30

(Sat) Trader Joe’s $29.38: Feta cheese, (4) Bananas, organic half & half, hazelnuts, shelled pistachios, organic raisins, pasta, almond butter, frozen organic green beans

(Sun) Woburn Winter Farmer’s Market @ Spence Farm (Jones Farm) $5.60: batch of beets complete with green tops ($3) and small bunch of “Red Rain Asian Greens” ($2) and one apple (.60)

(Sun) Market Basket $11.04: Olivia organic spring mix, organic Fuji apples, Savoy cabbage

(Thurs) Market Basket $11.45: Cauliflower, organic apples, minneola oranges, bananas, and 6pk organic eggs (not happy but I had to buy “Born Free” brand, but I guess it’s better than Eggland’s Best CFO brand)

(Thurs) Open Meadow Farm $12.80 (pre-purchased meat): pork spareribs (yum)

(Fri) Market Basket $4.53 for deli meat (homemade calzone)

(Fri) Whole Foods Market $31.16: Organic rainbow chard (sale), organic baby bok choy, organic celery, 5lb bag o’ organic carrots, jar of sauerkraut, (2) local ricotta cheese (raincheck), and 4 lbs bone-in chicken breast ($1.99lb sale)

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

Whole Foods Requiring GMO Ingredients Labeling by 2018

Whole Foods Market burst into the news a few weeks ago when it announced that it’s requiring that all products sold in their stores will be labeled as such if they include any GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.

This is great news, but at the same time, I’m disappointed because the mandate doesn’t start until the year 2018! That’s 5 years from now! Why such a long time? I mean who knows what’s going to happen by 2018.

Our outlook on food has been changing so quickly. Consumers are coming back to local farms, and demanding better, safer food choices. Word is getting out about how bad our food system has become, and we are voting with our forks!

It makes me wonder if it’s just a marketing stunt to soften the public’s reaction to their lackluster support of California’s Prop 37 for GMO labeling. Hmm.

But nonetheless, it’s still a good thing.

The word is that no food manufacturer will want to admit that their products contain any GMO’s, so in essence, labeling could possibly wipe out GMO ingredients! Wow, wouldn’t that be something!

But I doubt it’ll be that easy. Monsanto is not going to take this lightly. After all, GMO’s are vital to their existence, and they have deep pockets. Perhaps deeper than Whole Foods Market.

We’ll have to see where this goes.

My Healthy Food Budget: Week One April, 2013

April Week One Healthy Food Budget: $66.58

Short and Sweet this week!

The subscribe & save order from Amazon made up a big chunk of my spending, so I tried to hold off buying any groceries unless it was really needed.

Dining Out: $18.24
Groceries: $48.34

Amazon Subscribe & Save: $28.40 total = $11.19 Wild Harvest tuna (6pk) and $17.21 pure maple syrup

Market Basket + Liquor Store $12.29: bag o’ navel oranges, cauliflower, bananas, broccoli, Nellie’s eggs (w/ $1 coupon) and wine

Open Meadow Farm $7.65 (pre-bought meat): 1+ lb ground grassfed beef

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

Trader Joe’s Spiral Ham

A few days ago, I wrote about my decision to purchase a spiral ham from Trader Joe’s.

The Trader Joe’s “uncured” ham was a compromise between the Smithfield supermarket brand and high-end humanely-raised Whole Foods offerings.

Anyway, EVERYONE at Easter thought the ham was absolutely delicious. DELICIOUS! Scrumptious. I was really surprised how good it tasted. It was a little fattier than supermarket brands, which are loaded with salt. The TJ’s ham was almost half the sodium, and it had a smokey flavor. I’m actually tempted to get another one just for us. LOL

My Healthy Food Budget: Month End March, 2013

March Week 4 Healthy Food Budget: $73.49

Happy Easter! March was a good month! I’m below my $400 budget, and spring is coming! Soon, I’ll be planting my veggie garden! Life is good!

March Month End Food Spending Total $388.51

Heading into April, I have prior months’ spending credit just shy of $83. I might need it in the summer when local produce test my budgeting skills. Blueberries don’t come cheap!

Spending Details

I was organizing my pantry, and decided that the unopened packages of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free xantham gum and tapioca flour might be more useful to someone else, so I donated both to the local food bank, giving myself a small credit of $13.72 back to grocery spending. But even without the adjustment, I would have made my budget anyway.

Bob’s Red Mill products were on sale at 20% off. OSJL prices are already very good for Bob’s, but their occasional 20% off sales are when I do a major stock-up!

I debated buying the Domino sugar on sale this week. $2 for a 4lb bag. Disappointing that the last time I purchased sugar, it was a 5 lb bag. Dominos reduced the bag size, while keeping the price the same! Easter is the last holiday for awhile, so it probably won’t go on sale soon.

We don’t use much white sugar. DH uses a little for his AM coffee, and I use it for preserves and occasionally for baking. But I refuse to buy sugar unless it specifically states “cane sugar” as the ingredient; I don’t trust other generic sugar that only lists “sugar” because it’s probably beet sugar which is GMO.

Dining Out: $33.10 / Total $95.65
Groceries: $40.39 / Total $292.86

(Sat, Tues) Ocean State Job Lots $34.21 Two shopping trips for Bob’s Red Mill products on sale: Rolled oats, (2) sesame seeds, (2) chia seeds, whole flaxseeds, baking soda, lentils, cornmeal and (3) 5lb bags of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour. Yes, I’m loving the local whole wheat flour, but it’s nice to have a few bags of commercial flour for backup.

(Tues, Fri) Market Basket Total $19.90: 2 shopping trips for bananas, (2) organic fuji apples, (4) grapefruit, (4) navel oranges, (5) minneola oranges, (2) mangoes, broccoli, KA white flour (sale $2.99), (4lb) domino sugar (sale $2), and a splurge of (2) Cadbury creme eggs.

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars This Month

Foodbank pantry credit (13.72)
Whole Foods 72.19
Trader Joe’s 70.76
MARKET BASKET 57.86
Ocean State Job Lot 34.21
Open Meadow Farm 23.11
Brookline Farmers Market 21.70
Four Star Farms 15.00
Seven Acres Farm 7.50
Penzeys Spices 4.25

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.