Locally grown microgreens

Month: January 2014

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Here’s another super easy, high protein soup! PrintTaco Soup Number of servings: 8 Per Serving 355 calories Fat 10 g Carbs 44 g Protein 25 g 8 Ingredients 1 lb lean ground beef (browned) 1 15 oz can corn 1 15 oz can kidney beans […]

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Maybe You! (part-3)

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Maybe You! (part-3)

I have good news for you.  You can make great strides in eating “healthier” food without buying everything labeled “Certified Organic”.   I need to take a moment to define what I mean by “healthier food” outside the definition of making the good choices of what […]

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Grass Fed Beef (part-2.5)

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Grass Fed Beef (part-2.5)

meat in freezer

This weekend we went and picked up the front quarter of grass fed beef that we ordered a week ago.  Read more about why we want to eat grass fed beef and the process of making the purchase here.

We loaded up every cooler that we had and headed out to Steve’s Meat Market in Desoto (about 25 minute drive).  Our meat was ready and waiting for us with each package labeled with the cut and our name.  The hanging weight of our quarter was 127 lbs so our bill was $468.63 plus tax.  My daughter and her husband will be splitting the order with us so that makes it much more affordable.  When placing the order we were asked, “Do you want the neck bones?”  I said , “YES!” and could I have a couple of hooves too?  I’m learning how to make bone broth so I was excited to get the bones.  Our frozen meat packages were packed into grocery sacks and we transferred it to our coolers.  We were still short of cooler space but had a cardboard box that we used for the last bag and stuffed paper in the top under the lid.  I confirmed that we were getting the bones but we didn’t get the hooves.  The young man was nice enough to go and get one for me.  I had thought that it would be cubed and must have misunderstood. Husband says he thought they would not be cut.  No matter, it was a nice clean hoof and I’ll try it in the bone broth….maybe.

Once home we weighed every package and wrote the weight on the paper with a marker.  We made a list of what we got and here it is:

Ground Beef – 33 packages/ 38 pounds, 5 ounces total

Short Ribs- 3 packages/ 4 pounds, 7 ounces total

Chuck roast- 7 roasts/ 17 pounds total

Arm Roast- 3 roasts/10 pounds total

Rib Steaks- 6 packages of 2 ea/ 10 pounds, 15 ounces total

Brisket- 2 briskets / 4 pounds, 8 ounces total

Grand total = 85.19 lbs

Final price per pound (pre-tax) = $5.50 per pound

Shrinkage was just 33% -less than expected.

What about the neck bones?  They were not included in the above calculations because I thought they were, well, mostly bones.  We got an additional 8 packages/14.25 pounds total of  “soup bones”.  I was quite surprised when I opened the package and saw how much meat was attached to those bones!  I had to cook them a little to get them separated from their frozen state but here’s what one package contained:

beef neck bones

The numbers would be even lower if we included the weight of the neck bones.  So based on current supermarket “sale” prices for lean ground beef, steaks and roasts, I think this is very economical.  If you can find someone to split an order with it is even more do-able in terms of the initial costs. We ended up with 54 packages of meet-27 after we split it with daughter.   We figure that if we eat one package once a week (which is probably more than we currently do) this will last us 27 weeks or 6 months.  This works out to $39 per month.  We will reduce our food budget by that amount for the next months to recoup the cost and start saving for the next order.

We could also look at the number of pounds of meat we got, about 42 pounds after splitting.  A pound of meat is 4 servings so we got 168 servings of meat!

I think a non grass-fed side or quarter would have had more shrinkage so even though the price is $1 per pound less on the hanging weight the final product might not have been proportionately less.  If you use any cuts other than ground beef you will find that a bulk purchase of grass fed will save you money even over non-grass fed meat.

Action Step: Consider a bulk purchase of grass fed meat to get the cost down.   You may need to clear some freezer space, save a little each month towards a bulk purchase or find some like-minded friends and family to split an order.  Search for local farms and markets that may process meat or have meat CSA’s.  Look for them at farmers markets, too.

Hope this helps!

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Grass Fed Beef (part-2)

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Grass Fed Beef (part-2)

I realized that when I wanted to eat organic I would be prioritizing.  When it comes to beef, the issue isn’t so much one of organics but one of feed.  Grain fed cattle produce beef with different nutritional profile than grass fed cattle.  If I […]

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic?  Maybe You! (part 1)

Who Can Afford to Eat Organic? Maybe You! (part 1)

I used to say, “I think organic food is great, but who can afford it?”  That was several years ago and based on an occasional trip to the local Whole Foods grocery store.  Now, we buy more organic food than non-organic.  There are more choices […]

Forensic Snow

Forensic Snow

Ah the beauty of a fresh snowfall, clean, crystalline and….wait what is THAT??  Are those mouse tracks?  Ugh!  I’ve been in a battle with the suburban rabbits all year and their tracks were everywhere also.  They started with the newly planted grape vines and ate them to within inches of the ground.  Well, they didn’t actually eat them, they just cut them and left the upper vines amputated from the plant.  They moved on to a new blueberry plant and ate that, then worked on a newly planted fruit tree.

Over the summer I found four rabbit nests with the help of the geriatric dog. The first was in one of the strawbales I set up to try the strawbale gardening experiment.  One tried to make a nest in my cold frame (opened up for the season but covered with row cover) just 2 feet from the house, the nerve!   I thought I’d outsmarted her by pulling the grass and fur out of the nest before mama rabbit could set up the nursery.  She got the last laugh, though, as she came back weeks later and I found a nest with 6 baby rabbits in another corner of the cold frame under a cabbage plant.

bunnies in cold frame

Surprisingly, none of the cabbage was eaten.  She made multiple holes in the row cover that I had already patched up once.  Next we found a nest in a black fabric grow bag full of potatoes growing in straw.  Finally we found the last nest in the mulch around the sweet corn.

I had walked by all of these nests on a daily basis and never saw a thing.  I’d seen rabbits in the yard and scared them out of a bed or shrub occasionally but I never knew the enemy was reproducing right under my nose!

And now it snows.  It is a great time to go out and explore your yard and garden, making note of tracks and where they lead.  There is no hiding where the rabbits have been and our fresh snow reveals they have been everywhere!  But now there is another visitor returning to live under the deck, biding time until some chunk of great stuff foam deteriorates enough for them to find their way into the house.  Clearly the 5 mice we caught last fall trying to live in the motor compartment of the hot tub were not the only ones!

Husband also found evidence last fall that a mouse had been on the side tray of the grill under the cover.  We wondered if they had returned.  I think we have an answer.

mouse tracks to grill

What I Would Tell Supplement Manufacturers if They Would Listen

What I Would Tell Supplement Manufacturers if They Would Listen

This is the time of year when supplements are on sale to coincide with our desires to get healthy for the new year.  I don’t like to swallow supplements or pills of any kind.  I do believe that some supplements are very beneficial so I […]