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Friday, February 25, 2011

Costco, Amish Store

It's been a long time since I've posted and I don't know if anybody ever reads this anymore. However, I wanted to post on here that I now shop monthly at Costco. I switched from Sam's Club because Costco has a large selection of organics. Many of their organic items are cheaper than Walmart's conventional items.
Also, a friend of mine made a discovery in Kokomo. There is an Amish store where you can buy bulk flour, sugar, oatmeal, and much more - with organic options - for a great price. I can't remember the name, but it's located on N 700 E between E 300 N and E 400 N.
Just a few miles from that store is the Homestead Heritage Farm. They sell free range, organic chicken, pork and eggs. Their email is homesteadheritage@gmail.com. You must set up an appointment, but their farm is N 500 E just south of E 600 N
Finally, the Ripberger Farm is in the same vicinity and sells grassfed beef and sells cow shares. They are located at E 50 N just east of N 500 E.
I make the Kokomo run about every 3 months and enjoy an afternoon in the country. It saves lots of money for our family - and we get great, healthy food.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Foods highest and lowest in Pestisides

You might keep the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" in mind when purchasing and preparing produce. After 43,000 tests run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA, these are the 12 fruits and vegetables that tested highest in levels of pesticides: peaches, strawberries, apples, spinach, nectarines, celery, pears, cherries, potatoes, sweet bell peppers, lettuce, and imported grapes. The foods that tested lowest in pesticide residues: onions, avocados, frozen corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papayas.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun things to do for less!

#1 Family Favorite:
Airline Twin Drive-In Theater in Winchester, Indiana: Through April, Friday and Saturday nights - Car load for $10. From May through August, Tuesday nights - Car load for $5. All other times - (I think) $8/person, $5 for kids.

Morrow's Meadow in Yorktown: Great place to walk, picnic, fish, play or whatever - FREE

Balbec Cabin: Balbec is a little town on Hwy 1, north of Farmland about 25 miles. It's just passed Pennville, and you dare not blink when looking for it. Just as you come north of town on Hwy 1, look to your right. You'll see a Historical marker and a little log cabin back off the road. The 1850s log cabin is owned by Balbec Historical Society and is left open at all times. It is said to have been a station on the underground rairoad. Tradition says Eliza Harris of Uncle Tom's Cabin rested there on her flight to Canada. I have spoken with the owner of the property and she said that anyone is welcome to come and spend as much time there as desired (as long as you don't camp there - I already asked). It's such a neat little place to go and sit on the front porch, or play in the quiet yard. There are two outhouses and a hand-pump well. It's a great place for a history lesson and a quiet afternoon - and best of all, it's FREE.

Minnetrista Farmer's Market: Starting in May every Saturday 9-12. Lots of fresh produce and some fun stuff, too (like popcorn).

Mounds State Park in Anderson: Lots of fun and educational stuff and only $5 per car load (I think).

Scotty's Brewhouse in the Village: On Sundays, kids eat free (one per adult). They also usually have a magician roaming from table to table. Our kids love it. (It usually runs $25 for us and two kids.)

More to come....
Please comment with some of your favorites, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Low Cost Meals

(These prices are a bit low because of the high food prices over the summer, but you can still get a general idea.)
$1.25 4-6 Spanish rice and chili beans on homemade tortillas
$1.40 4-6 Goulash (pots. and baked beans. w/hamburger $2.40)

$1.50 4-6 Spaghetti with tomato sauce
$1.60 4-6 Spaghetti with white garlic sauce
$1.80 4-6 Pancakes from scratch w/ homemade syrup
$1.90 4-6 Refried Beans on homemade tortillas
$2.15 4-6 Biscuits and gravy

$2.30 6-8 Pinto beans and cornbread
$2.55 6-8 Potato soup

$2.75 4-6 Chicken and Noodles with mashed potatoes
$3.60 4-6 Pizza
$3.90 6-8 Chili
$4.35 4-6 Chicken rice casserole
$6.00 6-8 Lasagna w/homemade noodles
More to come, plus recipes

Monday, April 14, 2008

Always a good buy!

Sam's Club
Have a look at www.samsclub.com. The 96th St. location in Indianapolis is closest. You can even place your order ahead of time and they'll shop for you and bring it to the door.
~Hamburger - 90% lean $2.20/lb. (Comes in 8 lb. tube. I divide it into 16 1/2 lb. sections, put in freezer bags, smoosh flat and seal. When flattened in freezer bag, it can thaw very quickly.)
If you have a deep freezer and can afford it, they offer 80 lbs. for $140.00 or $1.76/lb. It's very lean and tasty meat.
~Butter - $6.90 for 4 lbs. or $1.72/lb.
~Bread -varies but 2 - 100% whole wheat loaves are $2.48
~Cheese 5 lbs. of cheddar for $12.74 ($2.55/lb.) or 5 lbs. of mozzerella for $12.28 ($2.45/lb.)
(Divide into five freezer bags and freeze until you need it.)
~Folgers coffee - 52 oz. $8.56
~Starbucks whole bean - 40 oz. $19.82
~Hawaiian blend whole bean coffee - 40 oz. $12.82 (My personal favorite and one splurge at the grocery store - best "good" coffee for the money.)
~Huggies size 3 diapers - 200 for $36.59 (or member's mark - 200 for $30.88)
~Huggies wipes - 720 for $14.86
~Malt O Meal Honey Nut cereal - 44 oz. for $2.76
~Clover Honey - 5 lbs/$7.39
~Yeast 2/16 oz. bags $4.16 (Lasts six months when making bread on a regular basis.)
~Vanilla Extract 16 oz. for $6.88

Great place to get all your staples. The vast majority of their products are comparable to name brand items. The few items that I don't care for include their meats, paper products, and some of their fresh fruit.
~Milk - Never goes over $3/gal. Stays around $2.79
~Eggs - Always cheaper than anywhere else. Right now (April 2008): Large $1.79
~Chili beans - Tasty and less than $.50/can
~Pintos - $1.60 for 2 lbs.
~Parmesan Cheese - $1.79 jar
~Dishwasher detergent powder $1.49/box (as good as Cascade, in my opinion)
~Canned veggies - $.44/can
~Sugar $1.79
~Flour $1.44
~Powdered/Brown sugar $.99
~Potatoes $2.50/10 lbs.
~Baby Carrots $.99/lb.
~Frozen Veggies $.88/bag

I only shop Marsh's sales. However, they always have one brand or another of bread on sale. They also usually have good sales on laundry and dish supplies. And, Marsh is the only place that I will buy sausage.
~Sausage - lean, freshly made. It's the best sausage I've ever had! And it's only $2.50/lb.
they have Hot Italian, Italian, Country, and plain ground pork. They also make fresh brats.

I do not do the majority of my shopping at Walmart, but that's just because I shop so many different stores. Some weeks it's more than others. However, If I were going to shop only one store, it would be Walmart. They have consistently lower prices over all. The only way to beat them is to shop at a variety of stores and hit their sales.
~Seasonings - $.50
Italian, cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder and other common seasonings.

Great deals on weekly specials. They seem to have the most variety of foods on sale.
~Free antibiotics (certain generics)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chemicals in every day life

I don't know how far to be concerned about this. At some point you just have to live your life. However, when I see studies that show fabric softener causing asthma and skin problems, or chemicals in crib mattresses possibly causing SIDS, I think there is room for caution. Here is a site that offers some alternatives.

Plastics/Baby Bottle

Here's an interesting video about plastics. Which one's are safe? Is it safe to microwave or dishwash plastics? What effect does plastic have on our health? Some of your answers are here:
I found a site that sells safe sippy cups. It looks like a good alternative to dangerous plastics:

Safe Toys

In the recent months, there has been a lot of concern about lead in toys. There is now also added concern about the plastics we use every day. Many baby products are made out of the very products that are now blamed for hormonal issues, leading to infertility, breast and prostate cancer. I found this site for baby toys. They have all been independently safety tested. There is no plastic, and all the paint is lead free. Some of their toys are affordable, while others are more expensive. Happy shopping.

Friday, April 11, 2008


4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
2/3 shortening
1 1/2-1 3/4 cups milk or 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups plain yogurt
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with two knives crisscrossing or pastry blender until fine and crumbly. Add milk and stir with fork until just mixed. Sprinkle flour thickly on counter and turn dough onto counter. Sprinkle a bit more flour on top of dough. Knead about 5 - 10 times. Roll 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut with biscuit or cookie cutter or water glass. Place on baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Pancakes and Syrup

2 Cups flour
1 TBSP sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 TBSP oil
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat skillet(s) on medium heat. Mix above ingredients. Pour by 1/3 cup measure into skillet. Cook until bubbly. Flip. Cook about 30 more seconds.

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp maple flavoring
Bring sugar and water to a boil for 15 seconds. Add flavoring. Serve warm. Store rest in refrigerator.

Basic White Sauce/Gravy

This basic recipe is so great because it's so versitile. Below you'll find a list of ways to use this.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir. Cook until bubbly. Add milk, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Stir over medium heat until it boils for one minute. Remove from heat.
Baked macaroni and cheese - Boil 2 cups macaroni as directed on box. Make above recipe. After removing from heat add 2 cups cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Stir into baking dish with macaroni. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Potatoes Au Gratin - Thinly slice 6 - 8 medium potatoes. Put in 9 x 13 pan. Add white sauce and bake covered for 1 hour or until soft.
Homestyle Alfredo sauce - Add 1/2 tsp. garlic powder to above sauce. I mix this with spaghetti and chicken for what we call White Spaghetti.
Rice Casserole - Mix with cooked rice, chicken and broccoli. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Top with cheese.
Chicken/Beef gravy - Replace 1 cup of milk with water. Add chicken or beef bullion. Cook as above.

Spaghetti Sauce

Sauce - I usually double this recipe for one lb. spaghetti. In the summer I add fresh tomatoes.
1 can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 -1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried parsely (optional)
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
Mix together and simmer (lightly boil) for five minutes.

Farmer's Market/Aubrey's Meats

If any of you don't know, Minnetrista has a great Farmer's Market from May through October. While not all of the food sold there is natural, they do have a selection of natural foods. Aubrey's Natural Meats has a booth - while it isn't cheap, it is very good - and there are also a few vendors that sell free range eggs. They are very tasty, though expensive. The Orchard Shop at Minnetrista carries the eggs and some of the meats year round.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taco Seasoning

2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder (or 1/2 cup chopped onion)
1/2 teaspoon cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed peppers (if desired)
Mix above ingredients. Add to browned and drained hamburger or chicken. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook uncovered until almost dry. Serve as desired.

Vitamin Safety

Many people do not know that vitamins and other supplements are not regulated in any way by the government. That means that if they want to, from what I understand, they could give you a sugar pill and say that it's calcium. There is no oversight or supervision in this area. That's a little scary to me. However, I heard this site recommended on the radio. You can go to it and type in a supplement you want to take. The site will tell you exactly what's in the supplement. The site doesn't sell anything, so there is a fee. However, if you routinely take vitamins, it is nice to know what you are taking. The fees are as follows:

One-year (12 months) subscription is $29.95
Two-year (24 months) subscription is $49.50 (SAVE OVER $10!).
30 day access to individual Reviews is $12 per Review.

The site address is: http://www.consumerlab.com/

Friday, April 4, 2008


This one is really simple and quick for an easy meal
Peel and chop about 6 medium potatoes into bite size pieces. Cook them in a skillet with 1 - 2 TBSP oil, covered, on low - med/low for about 20 minutes, or until no longer crunchy. Then add 1 or 2 cans of baked beans. (Aldi's are pretty good for less than $.50.) Stir and serve. Or, if like, brown 1/2 lb. hamburger. Drain. Add to mixture.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Baby Food

In general, making food for your baby at home is really easy. It costs much less than buying it pre-made. Pick foods that are suitable for your baby's age. Prepare them without any added sugar, salt or spices. Then blend until pureed. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, pop it out and put it in freezer bags. Use within one month. Do not attempt to can your own baby food. It is very difficult to get pureed food to the proper temperature to kill bacteria. However, if you can your own garden vegetables, you can also use those for your baby. Simply puree them when you open the jar to serve your family.

Here are some easy examples:
Sweet potatoes - bake until soft. Take off the skin and puree the rest in blender, adding water to create the proper consistency. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Apples - Cut into quarters and boil in 2 inches of water for 20 minutes. Push through a strainer and put into ice cube trays and freeze.

Concern for Nitrates in Homemade Baby Food

Here is a link that answered many of my questions about this confusing topic. There are many different perspectives, and everyone should make their own decisions. This has to do with homemade baby foods.

Biscuits and Gravy

4 cups flour (works well with 1/2 white 1/2 wheat)
2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups milk

Mix dry ingredients. Add shortening and cut in with two knives or pastry cutter until like fine crumbs. Add milk and mix quickly with fork. Turn onto heavily floured surface and knead a few quick times. Roll to 3/4 inch thick. Cut with cup or biscuit cutter to desired size. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
Make sure that your baking powder is fresh. If your not sure, place one teaspoon of baking powder in a cup of very hot water. It should fizz.

1/2 lb. sausage
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour (until oil is soaked up)
1 cup water
1 cup milk

Brown sausage. Add flour and brown. Add water and milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir and boil for one minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.