Whether you are a first time reader or have been here before, take some time to look around.
Scroll down to see my latest post. Above you will see links to my pages- you can read about me and my journey with real food, see what the term “real food” means to me, and browse through some of my favorite recipes.
What this site is:
I started this site to hold myself accountable to some changes I wanted to make in my life. One of these changes includes cutting out highly processed foods and eating foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Here you will find recipes and tips to living a real food lifestyle on a budget.
What this site is not:
A judgement zone. I break my own rules sometimes. I am not perfect and I expect that you aren’t either. This site is about doing what you can, when you can. Do not make perfection the enemy of progress.
You might also notice that my recipes don’t always fit into the popular categories of
While I have nothing against any of these diets- I don’t follow any one of them. I eat a varied diet including fruits, veggies, meat, grains, and the occasional Reeses Peanutbutter Cup… Like I said, I’m not perfect.
Is anyone else intimidated by cooking an entire freaking animal?? I was.
Not for ethical or moral reasons, I was just scared I would screw up such a big piece of meat!
Morally, I feel completely at peace with eating meat. I don’t eat a ton, and the meat I do eat fits my high standards. I try to eat meat in this order:
1. Local (like this chicken!)
2. Grass fed/ pastured (really hard to tell if the labeling on store bought is true so going local is your best bet)
3. Organic (not my favorite choice, but in a pinch if you only have time for a grocery store purchase I would choose organic meat over conventional
Why do I have these standards? That an entirely different post in itself, but basically I believe the saying “you are what you eat”. Not literally, I don’t intend on morphing into a whole chicken anytime soon, but if you choose to eat sick industrially produced animals who are dependent on antibiotics and live sad short lives- I think your health is going to take a toll.
So earlier this Spring I took the plunge and decided to cook a whole local chicken, for the very first time. Why? Well my standards above make it so my meat is pretty expensive compared to store bought alternatives so buying in bulk (like a whole chicken rather than boneless skinless chicken breasts) can save me a bunch of money. Also, with Ryan traveling so much for work I was desperate for “Cook once eat twice” kinds of meals.
Well I got a little bit more than I bargained for here because it was really “Cook once, eat five times” which was a nice surprise.
So before I get into HOW I cooked this beautiful 4.5 pound bird ($18), here is what we used it for, with each number serving two people.
Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes
Salad with strawberries and roasted chicken
BBQ Chicken Pizza
BBQ Chicken sandwiches
Now, don’t worry, we didn’t eat chicken five nights in a row. Here’s how we did it.
Cooking a whole chicken really couldn’t be much easier.
1. Quarter two onions and lay in the bottom of a large crock pot
2. Place whole chicken I top of onions and season with salt & pepper
3. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until cooked.
Seriously, that’s it. No need to add any liquid to your crock pot. The juices from the chicken create a thin gravy that I thicken with organic corn starch after removing the meat from the crockpot.
So after we had our first meal of roasted chicken, asparagus, and potatoes, I let the bird cool down for probably 30-45 minutes while I cleaned up and got a few other things done.
Then I took the rest of the meat of the bones and put the carcass (yeah, I just said carcass) back in the crock pot with TWO quarts of water and let that run on low for about 12 hours. This makes the best, most delicious, FREE chicken broth. Two quarts of organic chicken broth in the store I shop at would cost about $5.60 total.
With the meat I took off the chicken, I packed up two meals worth of leftovers for Ryan to take with him to the hotel. I also portioned out two servings of chicken for me to eat for lunch that week over salads.
Ok so that’s 6 servings of chicken so far, you with me?
The rest I shredded and put in the freezer. I figured we had had enough chicken for one week.
The next weekend (on Sunday morning) I pulled the four leftover servings chicken out of the freezer so we could use it up. I mixed some with barbecue sauce and packaged it up for Ryan to take with him for two night worth of BBQ Chicken sandwiches. With the other two servings we made a BBQ Chicken Pizza!
The pizza was probably my favorite way to use up this leftover chicken, well, because its pizza and who doesn’t love pizza?
So there you have it, 5 full meals (10 servings) worth of MarWin Farm Better Than Organic Chicken. And what did it cost me?
$4.5 lb Chicken: $18
Out of the $18 chicken I got atleast $5 worth of chicken stock, which means the 10 servings of meat we ate price out at about $1.30 per meal. Still think you can’t afford to eat locally raised meat? Gotcha.
Ok well not REALLY really, these are from Tuesday… but you get the picture right?
Each morning the first thing I do after I shower and get some coffee is start packing my food for the day.
Many days I eat breakfast AND lunch at my desk so I have a lot to pack up. I just don’t have time to eat breakfast at home every single day. I don’t find myself getting hungry until around 9:00 am anyway.
Here is everything I packed up on Tuesday.
When I got to work I ate my yogurt/fruit/almonds. Strawberries and blueberries were on sale this week 🙂
I had the banana around 11:00.
Lunch was some black bean salad with a bunch of vegges and some brown rice. I felt like I needed some whole grains around lunch time so went to get some at the cafe. I’m really lucky that my cafeteria is always serving something basic like this.
Mid afternoon I grabbed a coffee and a Kind bar before heading into a two hour meeting… love those.
On my way home from work I had the apple. I met a friend to go for a long walk after work and we got caught in pretty much a down pour of rain! Once I got home and semi-dried off I had some breakfast tacos for dinner.
Sprouted corn tortillas, swiss chard, peppers, onion, eggs, salsa, and some garden cilantro 🙂
I can’t even title this post What I Ate Wednesday because really it’s a compilation of random days from weeks past… So I’ve stolen the title from one of my favorite bloggers 🙂
I haven’t really been in the mood to post lately but I have been documenting my eats and trust me I have a backlog of posts in my mind just ready to be written!
So, let’s divvy this up by meal shall we? We can take a look at breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners over the course of a few weeks.
yogurt bowl with apple and cinnamon
Yogurt with banana and granola 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m a lover of yogurt if you couldn’t tell. I love to make my own, but when I don’t have time (probably 75% of the time…) I buy organic whole milk yogurt. A local farm makes the most delicious greek yogurt but Stonyfield Farms is my store bought go-to.
The last breakfast here is from this Sunday- it was hot, Ryan had donuts, I was to lazy to cook anything. Keeping it real, I’m not above eating peanut butter off a spoon people.
Lunches have been salads lately
Strawberry/Chicken salad with pistachios and a greek salad full of tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta stuffed olives 🙂
You can see snacks in the photo above, but here are a few examples of my snacks on my way home from work.
Dinners have been interesting—- Ryan isn’t usually home for dinner during the week so I usually have something full of veggies.
Ok, you’re probably wondering about this last photo…. It’s MOOSE stroganoff. Seriously, moose. It was actually really good too. One of Ryan’s friends from work hunted a moose and sent him home with some meat. It was a challenge to figure out what the heck to do with some frozen moose eye round, but this stroganoff was delicious.
Ready for another hot week? I think I would be happy to live in a place where temperatures never broke 75 degrees. But I wouldn’t want them to fall much lower than 65… anyone know of such a place?
Not a whole lot of exciting things on the menu this week
Well, kind of exciting! My cilantro has grown enough for me to use it in some black bean salad!
And the basil I planted is filling out enough for me to snip some off to use on tonight’s pizza.
If it weren’t pouring rain I would go outside and snap some pictures of my mini- apartment garden! We actually have a little yard in our new apartment but I didn’t bother tilling a real garden because #1 it is a lot of freaking work and #2 who knows how long we will live here!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Wednesdays are a family dinner night at my moms. She usually makes something delicious, my aunt and cousin join us, and my grandma brings dessert. I’m spoiled.
Check back on Wednesday to see what I’ve been eating lately!! I have a backlog of like 3 WIAW posts just ready to be published 🙂 Happy Monday!
Sooooo no prep work at all this week. What?!?! Right, I seriously did nothing and here it is Sunday night at 8:00 and I have no plans to prep food. I’ll just have to cook as I go this week, oh well!
Here is the meal plan 🙂
Yeah you read that right, Moose Stroganoff!
A guy Ryan works with sent him home with some moose eye round (frozen) that he hunted. I’ve never cooked eye round before so I did some research and found that it is best cooked low and slow in meals like stroganoff. I’m sure Ryan will absolutely love this meal and I am excited to give it a try. Not exactly the picture of health (creamy sauce over egg noodles….) but I’ll make a salad to go with it.
Tuesday I am heading to a free yoga class in Elizabeth Park! It starts at 5:30 and I think I will get a drink with friends afterward. If I don’t eat out I will have some oatmeal or something easy when I get home.
Wednesday/Thursday I am planning on quiche. I think Ryan will be gone these two days although I’m not 100% sure. I’ll enjoy this for lunch and dinner, just because I freaking love it.
Grocery shopping this week was so easy and surprisingly inexpensive. Thanks to the free meat and two nights planned out this week (Sunday and Tuesday) I spent a grand total of $48.50 for a weeks worth of meals. I did most of my shopping on Thursday night and then picked up a few things on Saturday.
I’ll probably hit the store again on Thursday and grab a few things for the weekend. I like the two smaller trips vs. one big trip. It makes sense for us to go twice a week because we want fresh food for the weekend when we are home but we also need fresh food for the work week. We used to just go on Sunday and then scrounge for scraps and leftovers Friday/Saturday before I went shopping again, but now that Ryan is really only home on the weekend I don’t think its fair for him if I feed him eggs or spaghetti every night!!
So that’s it for this week! Check back on Wednesday to see a full day of (mostly) real food 🙂