Cheap Food (Turkey) Is NOT the Answer!

The holiday season is upon us, and everyone is scrambling to find the best deal on cheap turkeys, stuffing, potatoes and gravy for their holiday meal(s). Grocery stores are promoting their sales, and home cooks are rejoicing!

But in what kind of world does it make sense that a turkey can be raised and sold for only .40 to .50 per pound??? That is scary when you really, truly think about it.

(Note: Yes, some stores offer low prices as “loss-leaders” to try to gain additional sales from a customer, so one way or another, there is a higher cost to all cheap food.)

Americans are brainwashed to expect cheap products, but we need to reprogram our minds to reject food raised in “factory-farmed” conditions.

Cheap meat (including poultry, eggs and dairy) is a direct result of factory farming, which abuses animals and is destroying our environment.

And it’s not just animal products, cheap produce is causing poor soil quality, which then demands toxic fertilizers and pesticides; this affects the health of farm workers, as well as the health of those consuming the produce.

It’s unfortunate, but we’ve become a nation that is dictated by the thrill of a “bargain.” I’m not saying that we shouldn’t strive to save money when grocery shopping, but we shouldn’t expect unreasonably rock-bottom prices either. There’s a reason that it’s so cheap, and we’re paying the price with our health and our environment.

There can be a middle ground. Consuming less animal products and more plant-based products will allow you to buy better quality food.

Do we not love ourselves enough to give our bodies the best we can when it comes to food? We can change the world when we vote with our forks!

I suppose it’s easy for me to get on a soapbox and spew advice; I don’t have a large family to feed (there’s just two of us) so I consider myself lucky that I am able to make a choice to purchase better quality food.

My little family is not “well-off” – we’re middle-class, actually lower-middle-class. I worry about what will happen when we “retire” in a few years; how will we survive with the money we’ve saved?

Medical costs are exploding sky high; I see that as a direct correlation to the cost of cheap food, so I intend to try to keep our bodies healthy! I’m hoping that spending more on good quality food will pay off in our older years with a fuller active life without obesity, cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain.

Helpful Links:
google search “high cost of cheap meat and produce

Fresh Herbs From My Garden

Ooh I just picked a sprig each of fresh oregano and basil from our backyard garden, and chopped them for my fried egg breakfast. I’ve never had fresh oregano and wow, it’s wonderful. I’m so lucky.

So, fried egg (fried in 1/2 tsp coconut oil in cast iron) with chopped herbs, garnished with a couple spoonfuls of salsa and topped with more fresh herbs. And a side of fresh baked rosemary whole grain bread. Life is good!


Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving was a big success this year. Good food, good people, and a good time. There was a total of eight of us for dinner, it was a perfect number.

I did most of the cooking, and I wasn’t as flustered or crazy as I usually feel during the holidays. I tried to remain calm and relaxed and it was actually fun to prepare and cook the meal.

I was super organized, and that helped a lot. I made a list of all the meal items, and specified an approximate time that I needed to start to prepare. Turkey was scheduled for 9am, turkey breast was set for 10am, slow cooker stuffing was started at 8am. Keeping a detailed schedule reduced a lot of the stress for sure!

And of course, I had the help of a wonderful husband, and as usual, he’s my patient rockstar!!!


We purchased a local free range 8 pound turkey from a nearby small farm. I was excited to try a truly natural bird. I knew it might not be the choice for all my guests, so I also purchased a 4 pound boneless turkey breast for those that enjoyed more white meat.

The taste of the free range turkey was definitely not conventional. I could taste the difference, and unfortunately, it was definitely a tougher, chewier texture. There was more connective tissue. More research on roasting methods are probably needed. I think it would have been better if braised, but how can anyone easily braise a big ole turkey! I might try lowering the oven temp and slow cook for a longer time.

The experience has not turned me off. I am definitely going to keep purchasing local humanely raised poultry, but I don’t know if I’ll purchase from the same farm again. It was disappointing to not receive a packet of giblets with my bird, and it seemed to be “processed” in haste.

One of its legs was broken, so the end of the leg was sagging, and there was a bit of gauze-like substance still attached to the broken leg. Plus, a few feathers remained, which really wasn’t a big deal. They were easy to pull off.

ETA: I just realized that my turkey was also missing the wing tips. Something didn’t seem right. All the Food Network chefs suggested folding the wings back under the back, but we couldn’t figure out how to do that with our bird. I think it was because the wing tips were gone. hmm, I wonder why they didn’t include the giblets and wing tips. Keeping them for their own turkey broth/stock? Strange and disappointing.

I don’t know if all locally raised fresh birds are like this; I realize that it’s going to be more rustic, and it could be that I’m just not used to the primitiveness… and it certainly hasn’t turned me off from trying other local farms! I just don’t know that this particular farm would be my choice in the future.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving 2010”

Picked Up My Free Range Farm Fresh Thankgiving Turkey

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to the farm and picked up my wonderful fresh (frozen) truly free range turkey. It was an amazing experience.

When I drove it, there was another small group visiting the farm, so I got to tag along to see the new baby calf/cow in the barn. He was friendly and so cute – 6 months old.

We asked Mrs Farmer (I’m not sharing the real name of the farm since I don’t know if they want extra publicity since they are so small) all sorts of questions and it was fascinating! Her grass fed cows are raised for 18 months. Now that I have a new chest freezer, I can purchase more beef from her. The next batch should be ready in mid December.

So, I took my 9lb turkey home, and put it in the freezer for now. I think the plan is taking it out to defrost tomorrow (Sunday) morning. The online consensus is that it takes about 24 hours for each 5 pounds of turkey. So, theoretically 2 days should be enough time. It’s also safe to leave a defrosted turkey in the fridge for 2 days, and I’ll start the brining process on Wednesday afternoon sometime.

I have a large anodized aluminum pot and I’ll place the turkey in an oven roasting bag with the brining liquid. This is my first time brining, so I plan on taking notes and photographs. Oh gosh, I hope I cook this bird correctly!

Gluten Free Turkey

I find it extremely humorous that a company has to advertise their turkey as gluten free! How in earth can a normal natural turkey get gluten!?

Of course, I needed to find the answer, so I googled.

Just as I suspected, it looks like the gross “processed” solutions they inject in the turkeys (to make them supposedly moist and tasty) contain gluten! So does the gravy packets included with some turkeys.

I’m sorry but that is so gross! And it’s one more reason to stick to natural whole foods! Who wants a turkey injected with some processed glutenous sodium-laden solution!

Other interesting links:

Cancelled the Jaindl Farms Thanksgiving Turkey

It’s funny how some blog posts evolve. This started out as a post about ordering a “free range” Jaindl Farms turkey, and progressed into an investigation and a personal lesson learned on how turkeys are raised.

So, I placed my online order for the Thanksgiving turkey at Whole Foods Market, but so many thoughts kept nagging me. Where was my so-called “free range” bird coming from?

On the Whole Foods web site, it states:

From Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Our free-range turkey has 54% more white meat and 55% less fat. This has been the turkey of choice at the White House for more than 40 years!

It all sounds fabulous, until you really think about it. How are they raising turkeys with all that white meat? And we all know the “free range” claim isn’t always what it seems, so I decided to google “Jaindl Farms” and found their web site.

Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania

On their home page, message from David Jaindl states that they sell 750,000 turkeys annually. Three quarters of a million turkeys? Holy giblets batman! With numbers like that, how on earth could they humanely raise that many birds? My guess is they don’t, so I did some further reading.

Quote from David Jaindl:

Corn and soybeans, the main ingredients in our freshly mixed turkey feed are grown on our 10,000 acres of farm land. Jaindl Farms is a fully integrated turkey farm, breeding, hatching, growing, processing and marketing our premium turkeys.

So they grow their own corn and soybeans (and since they don’t state the opposite, I assume it’s GMO) for the turkey feed (1,800 tons of feed weekly). Using farm land to grow only two types of crops for the sole purpose to feed animals. hmmm. That doesn’t sound like sustainable, responsible farming, does it?

It’s just so big business – from the photos of the owners in their fancy suits (they don’t look like farmers, do they?) to the fact that they supplement their income with land development and rental management. I started to feel guilty for supporting a farm like this.

And then I found the Philadelphia Weekly article written about them back in 2008.

Their turkeys are bred to be “broad breasted and short legged.” Turkeys grown like this cannot walk very well, and they certainly cannot breed in a normal way.

The article stated that Jaindl Farm’s 23,000 turkey hens are artificially inseminated once a week for four months. By my calculation, each of the 23,000 hens needs to lay at least 32 eggs to produce the 750,000 turkeys needed for sale. And it’s just as bad for the poor male tom turkeys. Poor guys have to endure being milked for their sperm.

It’s all so cruel.

Continue reading “Cancelled the Jaindl Farms Thanksgiving Turkey”

My First Homemade Avocado Guacamole!

So, I finally got around to using one of the avocados I bought from Whole Foods last week. They were definitely ripe, so I put them all in the fridge for safe keeping.

This morning I decided it was time to use one for lunch.

avocado ready to be made into guacamole

Continue reading “My First Homemade Avocado Guacamole!”

Out to Dinner Tonight

Went to Piccadilly Pub for dinner. Did good.

I ordered the turkey dinner: two large turkey slices over stuffing, with baked potato, cranberry sauce, broccoli and gravy on the side.

I only ate two small bites of the cranberry sauce; it was SO sweet. I dipped my fork into the gravy bowl instead of pouring it all over my plate; it tasted flavorful but saved on calories! I only ate about 1/4 to 1/3 of the potato, I brought it home for dinner tomorrow.

It was a nice dinner. We had a gift certificate, so that’s why we went to the Piccadilly Pub, otherwise I don’t think we would go back. It’s not horrible, but there are better choices out there.

157.6 – Happy Easter!

I am thrilled! 157.6 pounds, that’s 42.4 pounds total! whoo hoo!

Having the family over for Easter today for a spring BBQ. I have a turkey burger for me, with a piece of whole grain bread. I will probably even have a Coleman Non Cured hot dog, but we’ll see. I might save the calories for dessert! Homemade Boston Cream Pie!

My mom is bringing her famous potato kugel and I know I will have some of that too! My sister is bringing salad and I am looking forward to that! Yum, it’s going to be a delicious day! Healthy too!

Happy Easter! :)

ETA: did okay today! It was a fantastic day with the family and I ate a nice piece of boston cream pie (which is actually cake) and after it was all said and done, I went over about 400 calories, but if you count my calorie deficit, then it was actually only 150 over. So I did alright! I feel pretty stuffed right now but tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be back on track!

Recipe: Beef and Olive Individual Mini Meatloaf Cups

I have made mini meatloaves a few times, and it works out very well. I divide my meatloaf mixture into a cupcake tin and/or ramekins for easier portion control. Plus it bakes quicker!

Here is the recipe I made tonight:

Makes 7 servings


  • 1 lb 93% ground beef (it also works with ground bison or turkey if you please)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1-2 chopped shallots
  • 8 Kalamata black olives (or any other kind of olives. You can use more or less to your own tastes)
  • 2 oz Friendship Farmers Cheese – If you have never used Farmer’s Cheese, check it out. It’s similar to feta, but it’s got a creamier texture like whipped cream cheese. The Friendship brand is very low in calories. 1 oz = 50 calories.
  • Salt & Pepper seasoning to taste (you might also add herbs and/or spices like cumin, celery flakes, etc)


  1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl
  2. Divide mixture into 6 muffin tins and/or ramekins – approximately 3 oz each
  3. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. You might need to use a cookie sheet under if there is spill over.

individual beef and olive meatloaf cups - mini meatloaves

It definitely had a strong olive taste. I love olive oil, so I am really trying to eat more whole olives. Even though I am not a huge olive fan, I keep trying to add small amounts while cooking. I might try using a little less olives next time.

I cook for only two of us, so a benefit of this recipe is there are always left-overs. I slice them into smaller chunks and add them to tomato sauce for the next night’s dinner.

Nutritional Data:

1 of 7 servings:
Calories 126.1
Total Fat 6.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 70.4 mg
Sodium 168.8 mg
Potassium 19.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 16.2 g

I served the mini meatloaves with huge portion of spinach and some brown rice.

mini meatloaves made with beef and olives