Monday, January 4, 2010

Hot Chocolate, Baking Powder, and Spaghetti Squash

Hot Chocolate

For us in Maine, winter means hot chocolate. I admit, when we were first married, I bought the powdered hot chocolate mix that you add to hot water. Never again...

Heat on stove or in microwave

1 cup milk

Add

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon stevia (or 2 tablespoons sugar)

I haven't done a price comparison of this to store bought. Store bought might be cheaper, but this is far yummier and made from real ingredients, so we'll go with this.

Baking Powder

In a quest to clear my home of all genetically modified foods, I discovered my baking powder has cornstarch as it's leading ingredient. I remembered the Tightwad Gazettehad discussed baking powder alternatives. Amy Dacyczyn's baking soda and cream of tartar recipe will save a fraction of a penny each time you use it, as well as being a natural, non-GMO alternative.

The formula is a little tricky, but it works perfectly. I made this chart that I taped to my old box of baking powder, which now holds my cream of tarter. For each part of baking powder called for, use 1/4 part baking soda and 1/2 part cream of tartar.


Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is my version of fast food. Dan has been home for more meals while he is on Christmas vacation from school. To save me some time in the kitchen, I have turned to spaghetti squash, which is cheap right now.

I cut the squash into quarters and use one quarter in the place of pasta in recipes. It cost roughly the same as my pasta recipe, depending on how large the squash is. It saves me about fifteen minutes of hands on prep time in making and fermenting dough, rolling it out and cutting it. I just boil the squash for 20 minutes, peel off the skin, and mix it in with the rest of my dish.

I get most of my produce from a local market that gets shipments from Boston to Maine three times a week, sorry locavores. I have no idea where they came from before they got to Boston. I don't imagine they are grown there. This small market has the best produce prices I have ever seen, and it almost always beats my 10% discount on Walmart produce. They are the reason for my $1 per pound produce rule, because they have an amazing variety of produce that fits into that category.

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

Only a quarter of a squash for four people? Holy cow! My husband eats twice that by himself!

And I don't know if you do this or not from the post, but if you make a paste of the vanilla/cocoa/sugar and a touch of the milk first, you get a smoother final product. I hate running into a lump of straight cocoa in my hot chocolate!

Pam said...

To save time and trickiness, couldn't you just mix up a batch of baking powder using the same ratio, and then you can just scoop out as needed? I have a home baking business, so I buy my baking powder in bulk. However, the non-GMO angle is interesting...never thought of it for baking powder. Thanks for continuing to challenge me! I'm off to have some crock pot yogurt for breakfast...

Shay said...

I am guessing you must go to the Asian Market in Biddo since they are the cheapest place for produce. Though I have found most of their stuff needs to be used up quickly but yeah if you shop there you can get quite a lot of stuff at very reasonable prices. Heck, $20 will allow you to walk out with multiple bags of produce.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

Spaghetti squash is the best winter staple! I love how versatile it is and so tasty too.

I don't use baking powder anymore either. Not sure if this is kosher but I just use baking soda.

Treva said...

I, too, love spaghetti squash. I love pasta any time, but it often leaves me too full if I eat it at lunch. When I'm home spaghetti squash is a good alternative and often helps me use up leftover sauce from a previous spaghetti dinner.

I haven't been able to get DD to enjoy hot chocolate yet. Maybe I'll try your recipe one day and see how she likes it. I just saw somewhere else (I think the dollar stretcher forums) where someone said they drop 2 dove milk chocolate squares into a cup of warm milk and let them melt.

Kori said...

I haven't ever tried the spaghetti squash; does it have a strong squash flavor? What about the consistency of it-is it similar to noodles?

Jen said...

I can almost eat half a spaghetti squash by myself. If my kids actually liked it I can't imagine eating less than one as a family of 4, even when the kids were tiny. Do you eat something with it? Have you ever tracked your daily calories? The meals you post seem so small. I easily eat 2-3 times what you post and still end up under 1600 calories. Just curious as to how much snacking you do to make up for it.

Lynn Clark said...

I have to admit- it's quite humorous that you are so concerned about GMO ingredients that you make your own baking powder even though you consume relatively tiny amounts of it yet you'll consume vast amounts of the cheapest, lowest quality CAFO ground beef, sausage and other meat. Oh, and the hydrogenated preservative-filled lard is okay too, but that darn baking powder has just got to go, LOL.

There's certainly nothing abusive or negligent about buying/serving cheap meat for your family, but you have to admit that the irony is fantastically amusing.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious , too. I assumed emily meant 1/4 squash per person....

liveoncejuicy said...

I wonder if you're squash are huge. They must be :)

Spaghetti squash is one of our favorite meals. It's a lifesaver for someone who can't eat gluten. It's important to cook it enough, so that it's soft--otherwise it has a weird crunchy texture that I don't like (others might though.)

The only spaghetti squash I've ever seen way out here in the west are very small--about the size of a large canteloupe. So obviously if you're eating a quarter of one for two adults and three kids you're getting bigger ones out there.

Now I want spaghetti squash!

Emily said...

Kori, it is stringy, like spaghetti when cooked. We have it in our pasta dishes that have meat and sauces with other veggies and spices, so we don't notice a squash taste.

Emily said...

Pam, I checked the Tightwad Gazette and she says it's not supposed to be mixed ahead as it doesn't keep well when mixed but didn't expain why. If you tried mixing it ahead, you would use 3/4 what the recipe called for.

On the spaghetti squash, it's roughly a pound of spaghetti squash for a pound of pasta. That seems like a reasonable exchange in a recipe, and we have leftovers for Dan to take to work. I don't count calories, but I eat whenever I'm hungry and Thomas is already 13 lbs and not quite three months yet, EBF.

mishie9608 said...

it does not taste like squash at all! I love it :D The ones I buy are very large too. THey will feed my family of 5 for 3 meals. Proper portion sizes are very small compared to what most Americans eat.... You would be surprised at the amount you should be eating.
As far as the meats emily buys I am pretty sure she reads the ingredient lists... Why so critical of everything?

Alecia said...

Hahaha, gotta agree with the above posters that see the irony in Emily being so overly cautious on one hand and feeding her family pink ammonia slime meat on the other...here you go, Emily, maybe this will open your eyes (but probably not)...

According to today's New York Times, The "majority of hamburger" now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings "the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil," "typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass" that contains "larger microbiological populations."

This "nasty pink slime," as one FDA microbiologist called it, is now wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat, and then treated with AMMONIA to "retard spoilage," and turned into "a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips".

Thus saving THREE CENTS a pound off production costs. And making the company, Beef Products Inc., a fortune. $440 million/year in revenue. Ain't that something?

Kimber said...

I am not a fan of Spaghetti squash myself but DH seems to like it so I make some for him. As far as the hot coco you posted it is the same as on the back of the can for the baking coco from Aldis & yes it is very good. I make it all the time!!!!

Devon said...

LOL blech, Alecia. Thanks for posting that...makes you think twice about what one feeds one's family. But how can you get 'good' hamburger meat? I'm not sure where to get it. Direct from the butcher? I typically buy the 3.37/lb packages because I'm hopeful they're the better quality--definitely not the tube meat. Hmm. I should do some research.

Alecia said...

Devon, go here:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4716229_local-grassfed-beef.html

Also, google your area and find out if there is a farmers market nearby, family farmerse and ranchers often sell meat and eggs there.

Yes, it costs more money, but you know what? What I put into my family and my body is more important than anything else to me. If I could not afford it, then meat would be a luxury to me (like other parts of the world, Emily!)

Elizabeth said...

I buy our ground beef from our local Fareway, which has an awesome meat department with everything in a glass case and they hand weigh everything and wrap it for you. I like to think that it is healthier meat than what you can buy packaged up already, but it isn't organic or grass fed. I hope to find a source locally of that soon. We use very little meat in our diet though. We eat spaghetti without meat most of the time, when a recipe calls for one pound we often use half, etc.
I do notice a huge taste difference in our local grocery store meat and Walmart, the ones that are in the black containers with clear wrapping on top. My own family said the hamburger was rotten that time so I threw our meal out and thought I had bought some bad meat. Then we bought it again at Walmart and noticed the strange taste again...I will never buy ground beef from there again!

Kari said...

Emily,

For your readers who may not want to make their own baking powder, there is a brand out there that is free of genetically modified cornstarch.

I buy Rumford Premium Aluminum-Free Baking Powder. The ingredients are calcium acid phosphate, bicarbonate of soda, and cornstarch (from nongenetically modified corn). It's available on the shelves at my local Pick 'n Save stores and Piggly Wiggly stores.

Devon said...

Alecia--thanks! I don't imagine that the local stuff would be too horribly more than I am paying now--3.37 is a lot! I'll check it out.

Alecia said...

Elizabeth, while you may be avoiding the "stay fresh" gas that the packers add into the packages of styrofoam and plastic packed meat, the hamburger in the grocery store meat counter is not much better than that. Unless otherwise stated, it all comes from Cargill or another of the Big 3 packers, which all use the "pink slime" above and other unsavory methods.

Alecia said...

Also, I linked this article the other day about American meat practices, but it's worth linking again since we are on the subject.... (Elizabeth, please read!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=2&hp

Devon said...

Hey cool, fancy that, there are local meat places here...lolol...AND the ground beef is cheaper than the Wal-Mart black packages. Go team! Thanks again, Alecia!

sunnymommy said...

We also buy the Rumford baking powder through our co-op.
We make hot chocolate the same except our sweetener is honey.
I have heard that Walmart irradiates all ground beef which accounts for the long shelf life. Haven't researched it, but I'm not willing to take the chance. We now buy local grass-fed beef from a farmer, but I didn't buy any meat from Walmart even before I learned about CAFO beef processing and the difference between grass and grain fed cows.

Alecia said...

Awesome, you're welcome Devon!

thesavedquarter said...

You're right about not mixing up homemade baking powder in advance. It does not work if made in advance, as I discovered, but I don't know why.

We bough a grassfed cow from a local rancher last summer for $3.49 a pound and split it among 4 families. That included hamburger that is JUST hamburger, steaks, roasts, etc. For me, it's worth the price to know where it comes from, that it's not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, hasn't lived a miserable life in a feedlot, or and is slaughtered humanely. I know the rancher, met the cows, and spoke directly with the butcher about what cuts I wanted. It's worth paying a little more to get that quality. I found ours at eatwild.com, but localharvest.org is another good site to find grassfed beef in your area.

I also agree with the other poster who mentioned that in most of the world, meat is a luxury, eaten more like a condiment than as a main dish. We have stretched the beef we bought by serving it infrequently (usually once a week, plus leftovers) and in small quantities.

AnnMarie said...

I tried all sorts of homemade cocoa mixes before landing on one similar to yours which I modified to less sugar: For a cup of milk, add 1 Tbs cocoa and 1-1.5 Tbs sugar (orig 2 Tbs, I'm working my way down to 1 or less). I've never put vanilla in mine and find it quite delish on its own.

Elizabeth said...

Alecia-
Thanks for the link. You're right, I bet the meat at our grocery store comes from the large packing plants.
My parents go to a butcher about 30 miles from here. He butchers the cows at his location and sells the meat there. She says it is much fresher, tastes much better, and is actually cheaper than our grocery store. I think I will check them out and buy from there until I can find a grass fed or organic source.

Alecia said...

Elizabeth that sounds great! While grassfed and local may be ideal, I think it's a HUGE step just to be able to say you KNOW the person that handled your meat! A lot of ranchers just can't afford to be certified organic, but still follow excellent practices- it's all about doing a little bit of research and taking the first step!

Clisby said...

Devon: While it's no guarantee of organic or grass-fed meat, you can avoid the "pink slime" and get higher-quality ground beef by having your grocery store butcher grind up larger cuts of meat for you. If your grocery store doesn't have a meat department where they cut up meat to order - free - then find another store. Or buy a meat grinder. Here's a recent example from Publix: On sale at $3.49/lb. - packaged ground sirloin. On sale at $2.99/lb. - boneless top sirloin steaks. Grab some sirloin steaks, hand them to the butcher, and ask him to grind them up - no rocket science here. I'm not saying that's the best price you could find - but those 2 sales were side-by-side in a recent flyer. You can do the same with boneless chuck roasts, or eye of round roasts, which I find on sale fairly often. At the store where I normally shop, it's not unusual to see a good sale on a whole eye of round roast (5-6 pounds) at a per-pound price considerably less than the ground round two feet away. All I can figure is that an awful lot of people aren't thinking, or are in a huge hurry, or just don't know that the store butcher will cut up the meat for you.

Alecia said...

Ok, one more comment about meat and I'll shut up. If ya'll can't tell, I am passionately against factory farming.

Emily- you are always commenting here that you want to become a GMO free household which is GREAT- Problem is, this meat that you are eating is NOT GMO-free in the slightest. The cows in factory farms eat almost exclusive diets of genetically modified Montsanto grain, which, in turn, makes your meat extremely NON GMO-free. And this is in addition to all the antibiotics and other medicines that factory farmed cows require to stay alive in those conditions.

How do you justify eating this?

SoMo said...

Sadly, there aren't many places that offer grass fed, organic meat in my area according to the sites above. I have bought from Whole Foods, but they are outrageous.

I do feel confident in our local grocery store. They ground their own hamburger meat. I can even find some produce that has been grown in my area. I was looking over the tube ground beef when one of the butcher pointed out their fresh ground beef was cheaper than the tube meat. I can't believe I even considered it. I got 2 packages and we got about 12 hamburgers out of it.

I wish I could get half a cow, but it has been hard to find. I would have to drive for hours to get it. Maybe this summer I will go talk to some of the farmers at the local farmers market. They might know more than what was provided on the sites above. Thanks though. I find the comments very helpful.

Anonymous said...

THanks Clisby I didn't know you could have that done! Not only would you avoid pink slime, you would know that your hamburger doesn't contain multiple different cows (blech!).

Alecia said...

Another meat tip- If you can't find a local farm- I know that most Targets sells natural buffalo meat, which tastes just like ground beef and is an excellent, leaner substitute for beef ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear commentators, you might feel however you like about voluntary or involuntary poverty (I personally am pro-birth-control, so that's where I stand), but asking someone who lives on 1,000 a month for a large family to give up cheap meat is kind of silly no matter where you are on the topics of pronatalism, religious homemaking, homeschooling, etc. If that meat is really inedible, then the thing for people who are concerned about the poor eating it to do is to lobby the FDA for stricter regulation (sorry, libertarians.) This kind of preaching at individuals to do things they can't afford is one of the things that earns the localvores their reputation as out of touch. While I disagree with most of Emily's stances on, well, everything (hi, Emily!) I have to appreciate someone who approaches pretty extreme poverty with determination and organization. But there's a difference between things you can do by working your butt off, and things you can't do without a middle class income. (Thoughts, blogmistress?)

I eat a medium-local diet - with a lot of hard work and making my own pasta and sinking money into a CSA and fermenting yogurt - for about $30 a month for one person, and I eat meat maybe twice a month.

Emily, the one thing I wish for you is that we lived in a country where renters could have chickens. Chickens are a great source of protein, and despite all the yuppies that treat them as pets and spend lots of money, they're not that hard to raise or feed. You let a couple of nests a year hatch and then add the pullets to soups and stews and it's great.

Jen said...

We have a hand crank meat grinder and buy round when it goes on sale for $1/lb. Less fat, better quality and nowhere near the risk of e-coli, brain stem and whatever else goes into commercially ground meat. We got our grinder from a garage sale for less than $5. I bet amazon has them. That is the only way we eat ground beef.

Emily, do you not have an Aldi within driving distance? Do you eat fish at all? Have you looked at incorporating more dried beans into your diet?

Emily said...

Anon, yes, and yes! (except the disagreeing with me on everything part.) Any extra income I make is going toward setting up a homestead for sustainable living, not temporarily raising our standard of living. Then I'll get me some chickens!

Elizabeth said...

We also live near an Amish community, and I see the majority of their cows out in the pasture, not in a feed lot. I think I will ask the butcher in that town if they offer "Amish grown" half sides of beef. I always have felt gross about buying meat at the grocery store but didn't know what to do about...so now I have options and thank everyone for making me actually think about it. By the way, would anyone want to write a guest post for my blog about this topic, many of you seem to have much knowledge on this topic and I have a "Wholesome Wednesday" that this theme would fit well in.

Alecia said...

Anon, Emily has said multiple times that she wants to "live like the rest of the world" and have a "GMO-free household". Well, she could do both of those things by reducing the amounts of (unhealthy) meat that her family eats, and replacing it with a small amount of healthier, safer meat. She could make up for the difference in the quantity of meat by adding more legumes and grain into her diet. She could afford to do this, she just chooses not to so far.

Also, Emily maybe this should be a reason for Emily to strive for a higher income instead of trying to remain poor? I would be much more understanding if she and Dan were actively working toward bettering their lives, instead of settling with making their lifestyle worse and worse with each new baby.

Alecia said...

Elizabeth- I'll be stopping by your blog! :)

Amber said...

I posted that NY Times article a long time ago in a discussion about ground beef, but I don't think Emily read it. If she did, I have no idea how she could eat tubes of meat! I know the article certainly opened my eyes about the ground beef industry. I was even concerned about my husband's ground beef from work but he assured me that they have a rigorous screening process and do not accept meat from companies that won't allow it.

Anyway, I love speghetti squash. I could easily eat it in place of pasta! It's great with butter and salt or sauce or anything really. And the best part is that it has soooo much more to it than flour and water pasta :) With the easier prep and clean up time, you really can't go wrong!

mishie9608 said...

Alecia please explain how a person saving and working torward's "setting up a homestead for sustainable living" is "settling with making their lifestyle worse"? You seem to have a very set opinion of how one should live when there are many many ways to live a happy and healthy life. I really don't see any thing bad about how she chooses to live frugally. different does not equal bad.

Clisby said...

Anonymous 12:39: Some people are preaching. Others have pointed out the blindingly obvious fact that if you're trying to live on $1000/month it would be really smart to ditch meat entirely and go vegetarian. I'm not a vegetarian - but if I were faced with a budget like Emily's, meat would be one of the first things to go.

Elizabeth: You should check into the Amish beef. My husband (not Amish) grew up on a farm in Ohio, and his family raised their own beef. The cattle weren't given hormones, and they got antibiotics only if they were sick. They ate cattle feed pretty much as a treat, but probably 90% of their diet was pasture and hay. It might not suit a purist, but it's a heck of a lot better than what comes out of a feedlot. When I met my husband, he told me he didn't like to eat beef unless he had known its name. At first I thought that was kind of weird, and then I realized that he really meant he wanted to know how it was raised.

Food doesn't have to be classified "organic" to be good. The tomatoes I grew in my backyard wouldn't be classified organic because I used commercial fertilizer. I don't care - they were great. That doesn't mean I want to eat tomatoes that have been soaked in pesticides - it is possible to compromise and still get food far better than grocery stores carry.

Emily said...

Alecia, my thoughts on GMOs are fairly complex to explain in the comments, but the question is on the FAQ and will be addressed in a post.

To sum up, my feelings about GMO are for social reasons more than health ones, where our eating a lot of meat is for our health. It would be couterproductive to our ultimate goal of a more sustainable and healthy life to swap out our meat for the more expensive counterpart, but ultimately we would like to have the ideal of grassfed beef. It's just not the right thing right now. We are taking steps now to do what we can so we will have a lot of things already in place when we can start a homestead.

Amber, I did read the article. The whole thing, if we are referring to the same article, could have been prevented with a properly cooked hamburger.

Elizabeth said...

Can you elaborate on how eating a lot of meat is for your health? Meat is actually not a very nutritous food to begin with, and gets less nutritious depending on how it was raised and fed. While we eat the traditional types of meat right now, we do try to limit how much we eat of it.

Clisby said...

I second Elizabeth. I get how people might like to eat a lot of meat, but how can you possibly think that's for your health? If you want to be more healthy, go vegetarian.

Our Family Is His said...

One thing our family is doing is cutting back on meat. We aren't doing it for budget reasons, but for health. Our youngest son has severe allergies. Most meat-based meals are things he can't have (lots of pastas, loafs, burgers, sauces, etc). So the other option is, vegetarian. I have found two wonderful side effects.

1) We are all feeling so much better. We have a friend from Germany (was a war bride in WWII) and she explained how meat on a European plate is like what we do with veggies here, side dish status. Losing dairy, meats, etc has just made us feel better. I didn't foresee that happening. We do is just for our younger son. We do eat meat, just a lot less of it.

2) We are saving so much money. I can buy beans, rice, tofus, veggies, and all the alternatives so much cheaper and get more meals out of them.

The boys get all the protein they need (which is very hard since our youngest's developmental delays keep him from eating many solids), get the vitamins and nutrients they need, and because we are saving so much, I can splurge on a few of the non-allergen alternatives for the occasional treat. (GF/CF/SF/OF pastas for a great vegetarian lasagna and such)

Emily said...

About meat, it is in the FAQ, but here is why we are not vegetarian:

http://www.westonaprice.org/Vegetarianism-What-the-Science-Tells-Us.html

Also, meat has more calories per dollar than grains or produce and keeps you full longer. You don't save money by skipping meat. You will make up for it by having to buy more food overall.

I would like to point out that today's post didn't even mention meat...

Our Family Is His said...

Emily, I only spoke about meat to speak to the comments. I didn't think you had brought up meat. =) I will say, having a son with a lot of allergies has really opened my eyes. If you get complete proteins (i.e. rice and beans together) it acts just like meats in that respect. I am actually saving a LOT of money.

Again, we are doing it for our son's health reasons, but just thought I would chime in. Hope you are having a blessed day.

Ryann said...

Yes, this post wasn't even about meat! But thank you for the hot chocolate recipe! I think I'll have it for a treat when my toddler goes down for a nap.

Blessed said...

I have never made spaghetti squash myself, because I did not care for the flavor when I was a young married eating over at my mother-in-law's house. But my eating habits have really changed since then, and so thanks for bringing this dish back on my radar!

One thought, though: boiling vegetables leaches out most of the nutrients into the water, so unless you will be consuming the left-over boiling liquid too, you are wasting precious nutrients by boiling your squash. My MIL used to bake her squash when she made this recipe (might have added a little water to the baking pan--will check) and that not only retains more nutrition, but I imagine would also make a nicer texture, since squash gets soggy so easily.

Just an idea. : )

Emily, I understand that you may want to move your family slowly into more healthy meat eating habits that you have not necessarily shared here--our husbands often have to be led slowly and surely, since they don't like too much change at once! I would definately encourage you to consider buying less meat, but better meat, as has been discussed here.

Amber said...

It wouldn't have just been prevented by a properly cooked hamburger. The article talks about stronger e-coli growing that is NOT killed by traditional methods.

Even if it is cooked all the way, the meat that you are eating has been covered in feces, thrown on the floor, draged around, and ground up with the most disgusting "meat product" out there. That is what goes into the tubes of meat.

mrs. c said...

a bit off topic..but can you elaborate on how you will save enough, over how long, to become self sustainable/homestead? only because life is so darn expensive, property taxes through the roof, supplies, and such for a growing family...maybe you have a secret, cause I sure havent figured it out yet. we hope someday soon, to buy some land, and a house/cabin in upstate N.Y.,and try for that lifestyle, but the costs to start out are prohibitive. we want solar panels, well water, you get the idea,and i'm trying, but life gets in the way.

Anonymous said...

Emily, I'm the chicken-fan anon. I was vegetarian for years and years, and eat meat now as a supplement (a delicious, delicious supplement), so I do understand where the meat-quibblers above are coming from. Personally, I've always liked meat and beans together - the fiber from the beans and the high protein makes me feel nice and full for much longer than either meat or beans by themselves, and beans are great sources of things like zinc and iron. Also, I like white beans creamed and mixed into the cheese sauce for mac and cheese - it stretches the cheese, which can often be the most expensive ingredient, and adds a lot of protein to a pretty starchy dish.

My favorite chicken pullet recipe is shredded chicken in black beans and rice, cooked with a bay leaf and cloves and fried up with an onion. So it's not like I'm anti-bean - I just think there's a difference between being in favor of basing a diet on inexpensive grains, legumes, meat, and dairy and telling people living on a very small income to drive fifty miles to buy expensive local beef. I make the sacrifices to buy local beef, and it means (on my income) eating almost no beef. That's not a trade-off everyone can make.

Anonymous said...

Pro-Birth-Control-Anon, I dont think they're saying Emily should give up cheap meat. They're saying it's stupid to be so militantly against GMO that you make your own baking powder while eating cheap meat that was fed genetically modified grain. After all, you are what your food eats lol

And also, I am on the pro-birth-control bench.

Anonymous said...

So not eating baking soda made from GMO corn is for social reasons but consuming wast quantities of GMO corn that has been turned into cow flesh is socially acceptable. I must not be very social because I don't understand this at all.

Alecia said...

Alecia please explain how a person saving and working torward's "setting up a homestead for sustainable living" is "settling with making their lifestyle worse"? You seem to have a very set opinion of how one should live when there are many many ways to live a happy and healthy life. I really don't see any thing bad about how she chooses to live frugally. different does not equal bad.

Well, no, actually I don't have very set opinions of how she should live, but I would like to think that health would be a goal for pretty much everyone. I myself live on an extremely tight budget but manage to live quite sustainably and responsibly. How? I eat a lot of rice and legumes and very little meat. This way I can afford to still eat meat at all. Because the quality is much higher in the meat that I eat, I enjoy it much more and don't have to worry about the additives I am putting into my body. Like Emily, I strive to be GMO free as well, so I do not eat cheap meat even though it would allow me to afford it much more often.

Considering that Emily's family does not even have insurance, I would imagine that health would be even more critical.

And Emily, if you think that the only thing wrong with the hamburger that almost killed that woman in the article was that it was undercooked, you are even more naive than I thought. I don't even know how an intelligent person could read that and still willingly feed their family that crap. Go ahead, feed your family some taco mac with a side of feces and ammonia slurry- it's only YOUR family that you'll be hurting.

Devon said...

Clisby--thanks for the tip! I think I'm going to price compare the local beef vs. the nicer stores with 'real' butcher sections and go from there. I hadn't thought of them grinding it for you.

I have two black packaged Wal-Mart pounds of ground beef in my fridge and now I am terrified to eat them! Yikes!

Alecia said...

Emily, the research referenced in that Weston Price article are ALL at least 15 years old. Perhaps it would be prudent to look for something a little more up to date?

And nobody is urging you to go vegetarian, you are being urged to eat HEALTHY meat, instead of the terrible "meat" you eat. I would bet that the Weston Price article assumes a BALANCED diet that includes NATURAL meats.

Alecia said...

Well, hate to say "I told you so", but when looking at Sally Fallons website www.nourishedmagazine.com/au (the author of your Weston Price article), she is clearly in favor of eating FREE RANGE ORGANIC meat as well as other organic products. So, while sure your article may justify eating meat to you, you still have to find a way to justify eating THAT meat. And by the way, she's Australian- most Aussies only eat grass fed beef as that is what is most widely available.

When multiple countries BAN US beef because it's THAT bad, you can safely guess there is a bigger problem than just "undercooking it".

~Melissa said...

"Anonymous said...
Pro-Birth-Control-Anon, I dont think they're saying Emily should give up cheap meat. They're saying it's stupid to be so militantly against GMO that you make your own baking powder while eating cheap meat that was fed genetically modified grain"


Agree, agree, agree! 100% agree!

crabcakes said...

I buy roasts and grind them. They are usually not organic, however, since my family eats so little meat I'm satisfied with once in a while using this meat as it turns into excellent "hamburger" and is not sludge and by-product.

I am not a vegetarian but I support a primarily vegetarian lifestyle as the healthiest. In the parts of the world where people live the longest, you will find that they consume very little red meat as a population. Meat is healthy, but not in the quantities we as Americans consume.

Emily, have you considered grinding your own beef?

thesavedquarter said...

"Also, I like white beans creamed and mixed into the cheese sauce for mac and cheese - it stretches the cheese, which can often be the most expensive ingredient, and adds a lot of protein to a pretty starchy dish."

I LOVE this idea! I'm going to try it for lunch tomorrow and see what my family thinks. I often make tuna mac and cheese with peas, just like my mom makes hers, and the addition of beans would mean I could take out the tuna and still have a good amount of protein.

"So not eating baking soda made from GMO corn is for social reasons but consuming wast quantities of GMO corn that has been turned into cow flesh is socially acceptable. I must not be very social because I don't understand this at all."
I've got to say that this is my question too! I understand that you're on a very strict budget, but it seems very contradictory to make your own baking powder for GMO concerns but still eat CAFO meats.

I know you have the idea that vegetarianism isn't healthy, but there are lots and lots and LOTS of studies showing that it is, indeed, quite healthy to limit meat consumption, and that many of the health risks of modern America's diet are related to high animal fat consumption. Even the traditional foods idea suggests grassfed meat, knowing that what goes into the animal goes into you. I would choose less, high quality meat than more, low quality if I was not willing to give it up on such a tight budget.

We're on a tight budget and saved up for the cow. It has been worthwhile to me. After reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma", I couldn't go back to CAFO meats. The more I learn, the less I want to be a part of the industrial food chain, and if that makes me a snobby locavore, well I'll take the title and feed my family real food, still on a tight budget!

I posted this week's menu on my blog if you're interested. thesavedquarter.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Emily- I can't believe I'm saying this (as a strict vegetarian), but have you looked into hunting? It's a lot cheaper than store-bought meat, is entirely natural, and (you'll appreciate this) comes the way God intended it to come. I've heard you argue support for butter and such because you feel God invented those fats; do you think God meant for your meat to arrive in tubes, treated with chemicals?

No matter how many times you state your case about eating vast quantities of meat, or link to that ridiculous website that slams vegetarianism, I cannot understand why you value meat as much as you do. My husband has turned to a semi-vegetarian diet since marrying me (since I don't cook meat- he still eats it occasionally, but only when he feels like cooking it himself, which isn't often) and he says he feels healthier since limiting his meat consuption. He rarely eats it now because he feels that his body doesn't need it. How you can claim to eat as much meat as you do- especially the slop you eat- due to health reasons? Its mind-boggling.

Emily said...

I think factory farming is horrible, HORRIBLE! And it is not something I want to support. GMOs are even WORSE, but I think they are both HORRIBLE because of their social consequences even MORE than their health ramifications. Because of that, I am taking a stand on the direct purchase of GMOs. We don't by corn, soy or virtually any processed food. The only processed foods we buys are ground meats and cheese. I honestly think we are lightyears ahead of the average American family with that. If you disagree, why are the store shelves still primarily filled with processed foods? If our diet were typical, there would be no market for them. I cannot afford to take a stand on EVERYthing, so I took a stand on the direct purchase of GMOs. I have growing boys who need more meat than just a side dish. My husband and I both, but especially me, have dietary restrictions that make more meat essential. As I said, I would rather save more detail for a separate post where I can make an outline, and say everything I want in a orderly manner instead of an impaasioned defense in the comment section.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could put your newfound blog money toward a quarter grass fed cow? Or are you finding that you NEED that money now with the new baby?

I don't buy the argument that they can't afford to eat healthier. They are trying to live like people in 3rd world countries but yet on an American diet? Doesn't make any sense to me. Emily if you truly wanted to live like a 3rd worlder, you would embrace the diet of 3/4th of the world- rice and beans.

How do you plan on sticking with this type of diet when you have 5 more mouths to feed? I don't understand how you think that someday you will have enough money for a homestead and your own animals, when you yourself state that your income will probably never go up?!

Ellen said...

Everyone is an expert on two subjects: Child rearing and Nutrition, which of course always bugs me. Anyways, I could write A LOT about the meat topic but I'm busy so I'll just say this as a Dietitian with a Master's degree in Nutrition and 15 years of experience: your meat consumption is NOT HEALTHY and could end up causing a lot of health problems for you and your children and of course is very hypocritical to much of what you blog about: being frugal, health conscious, and environmentally kind. Maybe you should stop trying to defend your position and honestly start to look at this as another challenging health goal to change this new year.

Anonymous said...

Emily, stop using other people and other cultures as an excuse to make the choices you want to make. You KNOW that the CAFO meat is terrible, you say it yourself, but then you go off on a tangent about how it's OK because the typical American eats it? So what?! YOU know it's bad for your family and your world and YOU have the power to change.

Anonymous said...

"...Maybe you should stop trying to defend your position and honestly start to look at this as another challenging health goal to change this new year."

AMEN!

Anonymous said...

Chicken anon again: look, when everyone else on this blog cuts out sugar (an incredibly environmentally destructive product with a long history of child labor and terrible working conditions, if you want to talk industrial agriculture) and starts making their own whole wheat bread, we can all be on the same starting point for this shouting match.

I am saying this as a former obnoxious vegan: People do what they can to live as well as they can with the resources they have. I am glad for the many people who have found a way to eat good meat and not go broke (I do it); I submit the idea that living in a tiny apartment doing all your laundry by hand also saves resources in the present, but I'm not going to do it, for all that the consequences of clothes dryers are also well-documented. Sigh.

thesavedquarter said...

It's not about the average American. You've chosen GMO as an issue that is important to you. The thing you're not seeming to see is that buying GMO fed meat is buying GMOs directly. Your meat is what it eats, and it's eating 100% GMO. The amount of GMO you're getting in meat far outweighs the trivial amount in baking powder!

I would love to see a more complete post about this, but I think you should address some of these questions about consistency in that post. Perhaps also look at other sources for nutritional information and compare it to what you're using as an ideal to see how they stack up?

Emily said...

savedquarter, it's pretty simple, I can only do so much. I don't consider it an inconsistency. If you can't feed all the orphans in Africa, it doesn't mean you don't care and it doesn't mean you can't feed one.

Anonymous said...

Thing is Emily, people are giving you a ton of suggestions on HOW to do this, from other people WITH very tight budgets. But you don't even pay attention to the suggestions, you just turn your back and say that you can't. That's a cop out.

Anonymous said...

Aw Emily, looks like Dan twittered about you!

"too many christians are educated beyound there level of obeideince" john c maxwell

Emily said...

Anon on suggestions, that is simply not true. I have looked into buying local meats and I love the white bean and cheese sauce idea mentioned today. I have looked into grinding my own meats, not that you're really getting much healthier meats that aren't ground. I don't only eat ground meat, but it is part of our diet.

Ideas that are suggesting that I change our entire diet when I have found something that works for our family's health needs are not going to be seriously considered. Fine, I don't have traditional health convictions, and I won't any time soon.

If someone can give me a local source of grass fed beef that actually fits into my budget and does not take away from our goal of homesteading, please, do suggest one.

Clisby said...

Emily, I don't need to read much of the Weston Price article. This is enough:

"The table below presents the annual death rates for vegetarians and nonvegetarians which Smith derived from the raw data in the seven-year Burr and Sweetnam study. As can be seen, the "marked" difference between vegetarian and nonvegetarian men in Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) was only .11 percent. ....

Annual Death Rates of
Vegetarians and Nonvegetarians

IHD All-Cause
Male vegetarians .22% .93%
Male nonvegetarians .33% .88%"

I don't know what idiot wrote that, but it was NOT a mathematician. The difference between .22% and .33% is not ".11 percent." The difference is 50%. A death rate of .33% is 50% higher than a death rate of .22%. I'd suggest you find a site written by someone who knows how to use a calculator.

Anonymous said...

Emily said...

"saved quarter, it's pretty simple, I can only do so much. I don't consider it an inconsistency."

Of course you don't, because you're a stubborn idiot who refuses to see anything other than your ridiculous opinion. The term "willful ignorance" was invented to describe you. What is the point of making your own baking powder when you are filling your family up with GMO fed meat? What the heck is the point!? There is no point other than to feel smug and self-satisfied.

Anonymous said...

"I have found something that works for our family's health needs"

No Emily, you haven't.

Your family may still be relatively healthy now, but talk to me in 10 years when all this CAFO meat has saturated your arteries. Talk to me when one of your kids ends up in the hospital dying because he ate a piece of hamburger that had been laying on the floor covered in feces in the factory.

You may be young, but it's time to get over the delusion of invinsibility. You have a family to take care of. If you can't afford better, maybe you need to be working while Dan is home to take care of the kids.

Grow up Emily, and quit making excuses that hurt your family.

Christena said...

emily, the meat topic came up because of the contradiction between you getting rid of baking powder because of the GMO corn starch and the fact that you eat meat that has been fed almost exclusivly GMO corn. It's a huge hurdle for a lot of people reading this blog (including me). I just don't get it. Personally, i agree with the poster that said that you should eat more rice and beans. I understand that you don't like rice because of it's texture (something that i've never heard anyone complain about before), but grow up! get over it. it's super cheap and super nutritious! have you looked into Quinoa? it's a super food that cooks up just like rice but it has TONS of protien. I can get it the bulk bin at my supermarket for just a little more than brown rice.

as for the meat thing, i agree with the poster above that has larger cuts of meat ground by the butcher at the store. I can always find a cut of meat that's cheaper than the pre packaged ground beef the store is offering. And this way you know that the meat came from one cow, is free from the pink slime, and has less fat than the vast majority of pre packaged ground beef.

Anonymous said...

Emily said "If someone can give me a local source of grass fed beef that actually fits into my budget and does not take away from our goal of homesteading, please, do suggest one."

Um, I did, if you replace the word "beef" with "meat". Hunting. Friends of ours have an extremely tight budget and they get all their meat from hunting and fishing. It's cheaper than buying from the store and much healthier. I don't see how it would interfere with your goal of homesteading, either.

Anonymous said...

Emily, you need to quit playing the Martyr. MANY PEOPLE somehow find a way to live healthily when living without money. There are HUNDREDS of cookbooks that would teach you how to cook a healthy, sustainable, responsible diet on your budget, but you refuse to do any research, simply shrugging off the fact that it CAN be done and HAS many times before.

Anonymous said...

Emily said "If someone can give me a local source of grass fed beef that actually fits into my budget and does not take away from our goal of homesteading, please, do suggest one."

Awww, Emily, remember a few days ago when you said people were lazy for not doing their own research? Hang on, phone's ringing. Hello? Yes, one moment. Emily, it's the pot calling. He says the kettle is black.

Jen said...

Have you looked into this website at all?
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

Just thought you might be interested if you have not seen it already, and didn't have a more appropriate place to stick it.

mary bailey said...

Wild game is a good alternative. However, as the wife of a deer-killer-extraordinaire, I can assure you that it is expensive to buy guns, ammo, licenses, etc. You also need skill and expertise.

HOWEVER, I'm sure you can find the resources to connect you to hunters who are more than willing to give you meat. My husband and son killed four deer total this season and we only kept one for ourselves. We've never had any trouble finding people to take the meat. Unless there is disease in your area, which hunters would know about, venison is extremely healthy and safe to eat. I've got a deer stew in my crockpot right now.

Ryann said...

Just wanted to say the hot chocolate was delicious! Loved the vanilla in it. Thanks!

Satin said...

Emily,
Can you really not see how it is inconsistent to take a stand against the minute amount of GMO in baking powder and to think scarfing down mass quantities of Walmart tube meat is the bee's knee's? Really?

And you think that a diet high in meat and animal fat is better than any other way of eating is the best thing for your family? This astounds me, You are truly not able to look at another point of view once you have made your mind up about something are you?

Homeschooling takes an ability to keep an open mind and to go with the flow and be adaptable to what your children need. I'm afraid you are lacking in this area. Why are you so resistant to see another POV?

Emily said...

Anon, hunting is part of a long term plan for us. Fishing in my mind, is step one in that direction.

On health, I didn't really want to share this, but I have recurring problems with anemia. Being pregnant and breastfeeding, I NEED to eat a lot of meat. No combination of iron-rich vegetables has sufficed. This last pregnancy, when I had a lot of meat, has been the only one where my anemia has been under control. This has been my healthiest baby and breastfeeder. I chose to be a vegetarian at a young age, in grade school, and continued with it through most of high school. It did a lot of damage and now I need meat for me and my children.

Anonymous said...

Emily I still don't understand how you can rationalize your consumption of GMO corn and soy feed by eating large quantities of cheap meat, cheese, and milk. All of these products exist in your price range because of GMO corn and soy. If they stopped using GMO corn and soy you would not be able to afford your precious meats.

Our family does not consume any GMO anything. We also don't consume dollar store or walmart meat. We eat natural foods and free range meat that was treated with respect before heading to our table.

Then again, my husband works and went to a real College so he could provide for the family we have. We make choices to not take vacations, or go to pretend bible colleges so we can afford our lifestyle. If my husband wanted satellite radio and internet and ipods before our family had healthy food we would have a serious problem.

Satin said...

I doubt it was the vegetarianism that "did a lot of damage" it is more likely your poor diet and constant pregnancy and breastfeeding that are making you anemic.

But you will believe what you already have in your mind so...

Anonymous said...

Um, Emily, you do realize that Iron supplements are available, right?

That may possibly be the lamest excuse for feeding them CAFO crap ever.

However, I think I understand why you're so resistant to this- you don't like rice and your family likes the meat, so you see no harm. Act like a mom Emily.

~Melissa said...

I was severely anaemic (after 4 children in 7 years) and take a supplement called hemoplex that my midwives recommended. Look it up, it is wonderful! I feel must better and my RBCC is up to normal levels.
http://nulifevitamins.com/productdetail/productdetail.asp?Product_Name=Hemoplex

mishie9608 said...

Emily it is good to see you taking this all one step at a time :D I can see you are willingly making changes and working toward even healthier options <3 Is there an amish market near you? or an organic farmer? I think 1 or 2 months of blog money and you could barter a whole cow :P

Anonymous said...

"I doubt it was the vegetarianism that "did a lot of damage" it is more likely your poor diet and constant pregnancy and breastfeeding that are making you anemic.

But you will believe what you already have in your mind so..."

I completely agree with this. I turned vegetarian when I was 11, and have been ever since. I breastfed my son until he was almost two years old. I had excellent iron levels while pregnant and breastfeeding (and I know that for a fact because I had them tested, twice). Vegetarianism, done correctly, does not "cause a lot of damage", especially years after the fact.

thesavedquarter said...

Most beans are naturally high in iron, and significantly cheaper than meat.

Are you taking vitamins or giving vitamins to the kids? Because you're pregnant or breastfeeding so frequently, I'd expect that you're taking prenatal vitamins. If so, it's easy to add an iron supplement to your daily routine to avoid the effects of anemia. You can get iron supplements with your Swagbucks from amazon.com for a few pennies each, considerably cheaper than meat.
You can find childrens' vitamins with iron, like this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Friends-Iron-Chewable-Century/dp/B00166LDEY/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1262642339&sr=1-8

Combining iron with Vitamin C helps your body to absorb it better. You could get your iron needs met much more inexpensively if you don't single out meat as the only source.

Emily said...

Melissa, thanks for that link.

I've tried iron supplements, but my problem is not that I am supplement deficient, but iron deficient. I eat iron rich foods, but none have been enough. Meat has worked. I am concerned for it with my children, as my oldest is pale like me. My diet was not as good while pregnant and breastfeeding with him, so I am not going to cut his meat consumption. I think it is a little odd that where I am being criticized for not eating foods that are truly natural, suggestions are for a supplement, not a dietary change.

Anonymous said...

Well my suggestion for fixing your anemia is completely natural. Sheep skin condoms.

Alecia said...

Maybe because the supplement would solve your problem so that you would not have to RISK eating that meat anymore?!

People are trying to get you to realize that the meat that you are eating and feeding your family is not only disgusting, it's UNSAFE!

And what the heck does this even mean?:

"but my problem is not that I am supplement deficient, but iron deficient"

Does that mean that you take Iron and it doesn't work? Because otherwise I'm truly confused.

And perhaps you shouldn't have given up on trying to eat the iron rich veggies, I'm sure they would benefit your children regardless if they don't help you overcome Anemia.

signed, Alecia,
Anemic since elementary school, but fine with Iron supplements (and very little meat!)

Anonymous said...

Good grief!! I want to bang my head on the keyboard! One person suggested a supplement, and that was after you turned up your nose and/or ignored the suggestions about

eating more rice and beans for protein
using blog money to buy a cow
looking into buying a deer from a hunter

Those are three perfectly good avenues to explore. Why don't you branch out and try them. If they don't work, you can always go back to your tube meat beef byproduct.

Satin said...

Emily, you aren't even trying to make sense in your justifications now.

You have a poorly thought out answer for everythng people mention.

Lily said...

Emily, it is about the health trade-offs. I could eat a ton of meat to try to cure my anemia, but that wouldn't be healthy for me in regards to cholesterol, etc. I can take an iron supplement and continue eating a diet low in red meats, but I can't eat a diet high in red meats and take an anti-cholesterol pill.

When was the last time you had your cholesterol checked? Or a complete physical for that matter? Does your midwife do blood panels?

Anonymous said...

Odd. I've never been iron deficient despite 5 pregnancies in 8 years. The student midwife I saw a couple of times last pregnancy seemed suprised and commented that my iron levels were better than most women, even during their first pregnancy.

Yet somehow this is despite not eating meat in 20 years. Lots of fresh veggies, legumes and whole grains, without excessive dairy, are perfect for raising iron levels.

Anonymous said...

Emily, eating habits are learned early in childhood. You are teaching your children to like extremely fatty meats, starches, and very few vegetables. This is going to be very hard for your boys to overcome, and will likely lead to poor health. With this diet, Dan will likely succomb to heart disease by the time he is 55. Way to shape your childrens future.

Elizabeth said...

While I have stated that I eat meat (though trying to cut down and will be looking for a better meat source), I know that meat is not the only source of protein or iron. One of the best sources is blackstrap molassas. It is very high in iron and can be used in cooking or just spread on a biscuit. If one must choose between vast quanities of not-so-good for you meats or an iron supplement I think I would have to choose the supplement. And if you want to consume the highest source of iron through meats the liver would be best to eat. My mom ate chicken livers throughout her pregnancies due to low iron. But there are better sources of iron than just meat...check into the blackstrap molassas.

Christena said...

and liver meat is CHEAP! beef liver isn't that bad. I ate it without knowing a few years ago. I thought it tasted a little metalic, but other than that, nothing noticeable.

~Melissa said...

Whoa. I suggested Hemoplex because you seemed disinterested in the many dietary changes suggested.
For food I'd suggest more green leafy veggies: spinach, leaf lettuce, swiss chard and kale, beans of any kind and less cheese.
Adding those things to my diet didn't work for me that is why I had to take something in a bottle, for my and my babies health. It worked, thank goodness and my last three babies were/are healthy.

Anonymous said...

What are your health issues that require you to eat more meat?

Elizabeth said...

And I just wanted to add that my posts were not intended to criticize you, Emily. I just think that meat, especially the typical meat you can buy at a grocery store, is not very healthy food for our body and should be served in limited portions. The protien and other nutrients that can be found in meat can also be found in other foods that will substain our bodies better.

Satin said...

Other foods, ideas, supplements will not work for Emily. Sheesh people, get it through your heads, it will not work! She needs iron, not supplements. And only iron from tube meat works. Hrmph!

Anonymous said...

http://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?st=21&ty=-1&nm=

Ask around at church, your friends and even Dan's work you will be suprised to find out what is out there is terms of local produce/meat.

ly

Emily said...

Melissa, what I said was not meant as a personal attack. I truly am thankful that you went through the time to get that link for me. I think it was thoughtful. My comments were general comments on the whole conversation, not your comment, as are the rest of these comments.

I would love to buy deer meat from hunters, but it is illegal for them to sell it. No one I know is handing it out, but I'll put the word out that I'm a willing recipient. I like the idea of hunting myself, and it is an idea I have considered for our future, as well as teaching our children to hunt. But I can't just go buy a gun and some ammo and shoot me some meat. I have to learn and be liscenced. It is not an instant solution.

Also, it is not as if most of the meat I eat is ground, not even close. Yes, most is GMO fed, but not all ground. The largest source of my family's meat is eggs. If you don't like eggs, oh well, but it is not processed.

Protien is good for my anemia because it causes exhaustion. Protien has virtually eliminated exhaustion, and I am thankful for that.

I don't think I am going to see eye-to-eye with my readers on this and I am fine with that. I have appreciated the links and suggestions. Thank you.

Satin said...

What do you serve with the spaghetti squash? And just or clarification, are you saying one quarter of one squash feeds, all of you? That seems impossible. You must feed a lot of sides with that.

www.sybermoms.com

Amber said...

"I have looked into grinding my own meats, not that you're really getting much healthier meats that aren't ground. I don't only eat ground meat, but it is part of our diet."

Emily, this is a complete misconception. A huge part of the problem with ground beef that you buy in tubes is that it is ground on site where there are feces, cleaning solution, rodents, etc. all around. The meat is droped in the gunk on the ground, picked up, halfway hosed down, then sent to be ground. The crud gets IN the meat as it's ground. There is MORE surface area to become infected with this stuff.

When you buy a chunk of meat from the store, there is less surface area for the nasties to get in. When you grind it yourself, you are in your own controlled environment and you know exactly what is going into it.

Grinding your own meat is a MUCH better solution. Heck, even getting ground beef that is ground at the store (like a grocery store) is much better than tubes. There are no cow feces on the floor of your local grocery store, but there are on the floor where the tubed meat is ground.

Razing Ruth said...

Emily,
You're a walking contradiction. First of all, if you're truly anemic and HAVE TO get pregnant, then maybe you ought to think about the ramifications of trying to live on less than $1000 a month when you're pregnant. If the health of your baby, AND YOU, is truly paramount, then perhaps you should consider accepting WIC or getting a better job. Why? Because, I happen to know that WIC offers anemia testing and if you come up low, THEY will pay to give you more iron rich foods. If you fall back on the whole "pride" thing (about accepting assistance), then you're willfully putting your health at risk to save your pride and Jesus would not be pleased! Furthermore, by eating BETTER cuts of meat, combined with the more expensive green leafies mentioned here, you could serve your iron needs better AND THAT'S NOT DEBATABLE - WALMART TUBE MEET WILL NEVER BE HIGHER IN IRON AND PROTEIN THAN A GOOD CUT GRINDED BY YOUR BUTCHER. Additionally, the fat in that tube meet actually IS BAD FOR YOU and YOUR CHILDREN (I capitalize because you seem to like to emphasize things, quid pro quo).

You make no sense.

People brought up meat because you make these insane posts about the evil GMOs in BAKING SODA and then you rave about your $ store sausage and hamburger meat. Then, you try to cover with, "well...it's only some of our meat." Bull. You've already said you consume that sausage every day and use that tube beef for at least three recipes a week or more.

While we're talking about recipes, Emily. Let's talk about your spaghetti squash. Did you realize that with the portions you mention in your recipe, you're only giving your kids 15 calories of spaghetti squash. 1/4 of an average-to-large spag. squash has 63 calories. Divide that four ways (I assume the littlest doesn't eat). Add in your sauce (ingredients taken from your recipe and portions) and your entire meal for your growing boys is under 120 calories. If you truly have left overs after your meal, then it's worse!

Satin said...

Amber, have you seen pictures of Emily's apartment? I have before she took them down. Emily is right, grinding her own meat at home probably wouldn't be any better, it would still be exposed to many dirty, nasty things you posted. The only thing it's sure not to come into contact with is cleaners.

On a serious note, I agree with everything Razing Ruth above said.

www.sybermoms.com

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hijack, but Razing Ruth, now in my head I hear "Quid pro quo, Clarice."

::shivers::

LOL

Emily said...

Satin, you and your sybermom friends are in for a treat tomorrow! I'm putting back up the pics, and I didn't even do any cleaning for it. You guys will love it. I just now took the pics of the boys room and bathroom. I didn't have the color copy of the old pics, and some things have been moved around a little, but I do hope you enjoy it!

Razing Ruth said...

I just did the math on your mac and cheese meal, Emily. Did you realize that, using YOUR ingredients and portions, that meal is giving your kids (at maximum) 172 calories per dinner? Those calories are mostly from high cholesterol cheese and tube meat. In fact, I did a day's food for your kids (per child). Including their egg/cheese breakfast and the grazing (I included spag. squash, green beans, AND apples) you speak of, their total dietary intake for the day (with a mac and cheese dinner) was only 600 calories. If this is true, then you are starving your children. If it's not true, then you are fudging your true expenses and portion sizes for your family.

Satin said...

Emily, you love all the controversy you stir up and you know it.

It won't be long before your readers, and that includes Sybermoms, are supporting your children with our clicks more that your husband is. We are already supplying you with approximately half of his wages in income.

www.sybermoms.com

Emily said...

Razing Ruth, mac and cheese isn't a meal alone, as I said in the post, it is a base to add meat and veggies too. I also have never written a food log of what my children eat each day, just some of the items eaten. You have no basis to calculate quiantites, or a basis any of your judgements. Jesus did not outline dietary guidelines for his people, you are taking the world's guidelines and judging his people with them. I don't think he would be happy with you devoting your time to trying to slandering his people with false information.

Anonymous said...

In your educated opinion, Emily, how many calories should a 3 year old eat each day? Since Jesus didn't outline dietary guidelines and you're so against "the world's" guidelines, I'm curious what your guidelines are.

Satin said...

Science outlines our dietary requirements.

Almost every meal you post has ground WalFart meat in it.

Does one quarter of a spaghetti squash feed all of you one meal? And what else do yo serve with it? You have been asked this several times on various menu posts and you ignore the question, perhaps that is why people think that you do not serve sides with your "meals"

Anonymous said...

And I'm still waiting to find out this whole blog is a joke. It's pretty entertaining, regardless.

Anonymous said...

"Emily, you love all the controversy you stir up and you know it.

It won't be long before your readers, and that includes Sybermoms, are supporting your children with our clicks more that your husband is. We are already supplying you with approximately half of his wages in income."

lol. So true.

My husband has read this blog over my shoulder a couple times and he insists that what I'm reading isn't 100% true. He's sure that Emily is, at best, exaggerating some things in order to start controversy and keep a large readership to increase her income. He said it again today skimming over her senseless but passionate defense of Wal-Mart meat, arguing that no one could actually think that way. I have to say, hats off to you Emily if he is right. It's a brilliant idea.

mary bailey said...

Just wanted to clarify, I didn't mean that hunters should sell the game they harvest or that my family sells it. We give away the deer that we do not keep for our own freezer.

Anonymous said...

Emily, When you say the children graze throughout the day, what else are they eating? I am just curious. It seems odd to me that you haven't mentioned any other foods, yet you have outlined breakfast and dinner so clearly.

By accepting WIC, you could give your children so much more food that they need. Even if you don't agree that they NEED it, they certainly would enjoy the variety!

I am a SAHM with 3 children. We are far from rich, but we prioritize healthy eating. I do spend more on organic meat, BUT this is very important to me. We do not eat meat every night and we find other healthy sources for protein.

Satin said...

Emily said...
Razing Ruth, mac and cheese isn't a meal alone, as I said in the post, it is a base to add meat and veggies too.

Unfortunately "meat" is ground tube meat, and vegetables consist of a quarter of a bell pepper. Srill not upping the calories enough. You are starving your children, or you are lying about amounts you are feeding your family.

I hope you are lying, and I hope this is all a joke and none of this is real.

Christena said...

maybe it would be a good idea if you did write down what your kids eat in a day every once in a while. if only because you're kids don't go to regular doctor's visits, or leave the house much, or go to preschool or friends houses where any other adults would see them and notice if they're getting skinny. Do your kids get out an play? I realize that right now it must be very cold in Maine, but during the summer? I'm sure they burn calories somehow. You need to make sure that they're getting enough to eat.

The first time i got worried about it was on a post about your tortillas. Someone asked you about what you will do when the kids start needed to eat more and you said that you would simply roll the dough into eight tortillas instead of seven. you seemed to ignore the fact that it would simply up the number of individual servings while providing no additional food.

do you follow traditional serving size suggestions when providing recipes on the blog?

Anonymous said...

My husband tried to convince me it had to be a hoax. I showed him all of the "proof" (that infamous trail of personal information that at least points to real people, if not a real situation), but he does have me speculating that the entire thing is very much exaggerated. I, too, am half waiting for some revelation that this is an author's social experiment, or something of the sort.

Razing Ruth said...

The truth is, Emily, that we DO HAVE a basis for our calculations. You've been painstakingly specific on quantities and ingredients, in regards to recipes, and how you feed your family. You've given us the recipes, plus how much of each ingredient and what brand (usually), along with your "costs" to cement those quantities. You've also provided us with meal plans and examples of what you buy (quantities of green beans, apples, spaghetti squash) on a fairly regular basis. If you pay attention to the details (how much you spend in a month, by your own admission, for example) and then figure in the number of mouths to feed, then it's not rocket science. I will note that you claim to do secret shopper stuff and perhaps that's a bigger chunk of the dietary pie than most of us realize. There again, though, you're not quite telling the whole truth. We see your kid with a large soda up to his lips, clearly from McDonalds, then you write silly rants like this one against the modified elements of your baking soda. Well, if your condiments are bad, then I guarantee you your fast food trips are worse! Shouldn't you can the secret shopper meals? It doesn't add up, Emily.

To the other matter you mentioned, I'm not slandering you. I'm pointing out observations based on the information YOU give. If they are wrong, then correct the misperception by correcting the data. If you feed your kids more, then your grocery bill certainly should reflect that, as should the "menus" and recipes. My feeling is that you're deliberately misleading people by underestimating the costs and quantities, never imagining that someone might be concerned enough about your children to question the caloric ramifications of those recipes/quantities/costs.

I'm not judging you by the world's guidelines. I'm using common sense and asking how your menus (given YOUR PROVIDED DATA) add up to a reasonable diet for two growing boys. Simply crying "slander" or "you don't have all the information" (especially in light of the detailed information YOU have provided) is really interesting. Also of note, please recognize that I'm not posting as anonymous - I take full responsibility for what I say here. If I wanted to be a drive-by, "slanderous" troll, I could've gone anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I find it very hard to believe 4 people are making a meal out of 1/4 of a spaghetti squash.

Anonymous said...

Check out Local Harvest and Craigslist. In my state, there are several farmers who will sell you a whole, half or quarter grass fed cow, butchered, cut up, wrapped and delivered to your house for less than $5 per pound, and I doubt Maine is any different.

Getting most of your calories from cheap eggs and cheap meat means that most of your calories are coming from GMO corn and soy. This is simply a fact. You may choose to view this as an acceptable trade off, but deciding that and then worrying about the tiny amount of GMO corn in baking powder is insane.

Especially when Wal-mart sells Rumford Baking Powder, which is made with non-GMO cornstarch.

Emily said...

Anon, my children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full, just like me. All three of my kids can communicate hunger. We don't count calories, but my kids are in the 25% percentile, Daniel, 50%, Bobby, and 75%, Thomas for their weight based on age. None are going hungry, none are starving. Daniel was in the fifth percentile for a long time but in the past year has been moving up, so he is not starving.

Anon, I have discussed some of what my kids eat, but it changes a lot as we don't have set meals except for breakfast and dinner. The rest is grazing.

Razing Ruth, you are filling in the gaps in a slanderous fashion and you know it. You know I have not provided every detail and you guessed. Maybe I could record our grazing for you all. Ask it in the FAQ if you're interested.

Razing Ruth said...

[quote]I find it very hard to believe 4 people are making a meal out of 1/4 of a spaghetti squash.[/quote]
As do I. Even having the kids nibble on spaghetti squash as part of the grazing ritual seems pathetic (calorie wise). An entire spaghetti squash, a large one, has about 252 calories. Even if each kid "grazed" on half of one for lunch, that's still only 126 calories. The Stevia is zero calories. Ten green beans is 17 calories. Let's say they could eat 50. That's only 85 calories. An apple is around 50 calories and she says she'll give them half. How much crock pot cream cheese can they eat on top of all that roughage/fiber? It's still woefully low on calories for a toddler. Like people have said, she's repeated this grazing ritual menu a few times. She never mentions anything else (except maybe carrots). If there is more, then she's not putting that in the posted food budget.

Emily posts things like "total dinner cost - $3" and conveniently forgets to add that their are side dishes. If there are side dishes, dinner wasn't $3. As it is, adding up the meal costs and comparing them to her stated monthly food expenditures doesn't add up. If she posted the side dishes, it would be blown out of the water. Still I would much rather know that the budget was a joke and the kids were truly being fed.

Helen said...

Emily,

I'm not being mean. Some of the above posts have put my concerns more frankly than I would have done. I'm usually too gentle. I am very concerned about you and your misunderstandings about nutrition. Focussing on Gm corn products while eating the worst quality meat makes me shudder. Your menus are just wrong, and not sufficient for growing children. A primarily vegetarian diet would probably be healthier, cheaper and *greener* than your existing diet.

I also have concerns about your stockpile of ground meats in the freezer. Was it 53lbs? That is a LOT of meat. You do realise that this should be consumed within 4 - 6 months? Ground meats, even frozen, begin to deteriorate after 4 months. Will it kill you to eat it after 6 months? Probably not. But it will not be that good for you. Can you spell "False Economy"?

If you are anemic, if you have dramatic reactions to sugars, if you and Dan have real dietary restrictions, then you should both be checked out properly by a medical professional and referred, as necessary, to a proper nutritionalist. Lord only knows what is happening to the children. Have they a pediatritician?

I'm not kidding, Emily. Take a long hard look at what you are doing.

Please.

Helen

Razing Ruth said...

----Razing Ruth, you are filling in the gaps in a slanderous fashion and you know it. You know I have not provided every detail and you guessed. Maybe I could record our grazing for you all. Ask it in the FAQ if you're interested.
-------
Emily, I assure you I'm not. I'm only going off the details you've provided. It's funny how whenever someone challenges you, you tell them to take it to the FAQ. The point is, unless you've been dishonest or misleading, we don't need to ask the question because you've already answered it - and we know how upset you get when people ask a question you've answered. By the way, please look up the definition of slander.

Anonymous said...

Emily, I am not accusing you at all of starving your children. I have no idea how much they eat. Honestly, based on what you say, it does not seem to be enough. What "snack" foods do you have for the kids? Do they really only have applesauce, ketchup, pasta or cheese for choices? I think giving us a glimpse into your kitchen and food on hand might give a better idea as to what is really going on. It might clear things up for a lot of us.

Anonymous said...

Some of the haters commenting above remind me of Kate Gosselin. Anyone else get that feeling?

Anonymous said...

Anon...I think the same thing! Either she wants TLC to pick her family for a reality show or this is just a hoax site. I also wondered if she is posting and creating drama for herself.

Anonymous said...

Emily if Jesus didn't outline a caloric count for the day then did he outline an iron level for women of childbearing age?

Razing Ruth said...

Define "haters" for me, Anon (@8:49). Concern over a suspicious diet qualifies one as a "hater"?
I'm not a vegan, organic nut. I love meat. I love the heck out of meat. I'm a college student who eats my fair share of crap when it's necessary. This isn't a nutritional crusade for me. This is a concerned person who sees someone holding up a $1000 or less lifestyle, including three children, and asks "what are the risks?". It's fantastic to want to live less-than-your-means, if that's what you want. Wanting to give your kids healthy foods is commendable. However, Emily isn't doing that. She says she is but that's not the reality based on the information SHE HERSELF HAS PROVIDED. Pointing that out is not hating. Should Emily provide different data, then I'll happily revise my statements and account for those changes. I imagine that right now she's going through her blog trying to find things she's already listed that fit into her aforementioned lists and budgets that she could claim to leave out for the kids to graze on. I'm hoping, tho, that she's counting those calories and weighing the percentage of poor calories to find better alternatives that fit her budget.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask a few questions for the FAQ?

- Do you leave your computer on all day?

- What will you do if your computer breaks, gets a virus, etc? Do you have funds for repair or to buy a new one? I ask this as a serious question because with the big bucks your blog is bringing in now, I'd assume you would like to continue it without hiatus in the event of a hard drive failure or other circumstance/mishap.

Anonymous said...

Emily, why do you not delete comments that are rude? You have allowed these hyenas to take over what could be a wonderfully informative blog. You have allowed these awful people, who should have no say or consequence in your life, become a part of your life. From one blogger to another. Do not allow all your comments to be posted. Pick and choose or do away with comments all together. These people are going to snark you and your family regardless. Draw a line in the sand and stop them from doing it here. Please.

sonny said...

Again, I am going to ask, when is someone who knows where she lives going to call CPS?

Satin said...

This blog would not be worth reading if not for the coments, and Emily knows that. Emily is in this for the money, and I don't blame her one bit. Someone in the family has to make some money.

People click here numerous times a day to see the comments, if the comments are gone, people will only need to click once a day and that won't bring in any swag bucks now will it?

Alecia said...

Bravo Ruth.

I've seriously doubted this blogs validity many times. I hope it's a hoax- especially with what we've seen out of Dans blog and Twitter, but I don't think so anymore.

Emily, I will be 100% honest when I say that I came here initially for entertainment, but now I come here out of concern. Even some of your initial supporters have realized that there's something wrong here- that should tell you something.

Anonymous said...

Count me in an another who is waiting for the day when the post reads...."GOTCHA!!!" and explains that this is some experiment for a sociology class or something...

Elizabeth said...

Actually Sonny, even if you believe that the children are not getting their nutrional needs met, this does not qualify as abuse. Any social worker would tell you that. The same goes for families with plenty of money where the kids eat Pop Tarts, Little Debbies, chips, and pop for the majority of their food.

thelittlegreenhouse said...

I wanted to thank the poster who suggested asking the butcher to grind the meat. I have NEVER thought of doing that! So will any meat do, or is it mostly roasts? I have two roasts in the freezer that were 1.79/pound, which is more or less what I pay for ground beef anyway. (They are pork roasts, but I assume that doesn't really matter?)

We want to buy a side of beef, but until we get a chest freezer I don't see us being able to do that.

When I was a kid, my uncles gave us half a hog every year. (They were small-time pig farmers.) I can remember going with my mom to the butcher and picking up all those white-paper wrapped packages of meat. They made the BEST sausage. I miss it. I wish my uncles still raised pigs!

~Melissa said...

Thanks for the clarification Emily. I am always very hesitent to take anything (4 drug free births) even tylenol but it was about the babies and not me at that point so I caved and am very glad I did.

Joy said...

Just a note here to say why you can't pre-mix homemade baking powder. The cream of tartar is an acid and the baking soda is a base. When they react, the gas is released that causes the leavening, and you want this to happen when you bake. Without cornstarch to absorb the humidity in the air, there is enough moisture for them to react over a day or more. That is why you need to use it right away.

Charli said...

Ruth is not slandering you, Emily. First of all, slander is spoken, The word you are looking for is "Libel", but she's not doing that either. You don't get to post about your awesome ability to save money with recipes that are sub standard at best, unless they are part of a whole, and then cry foul when someone, or in your case, lots of someones call you out on it.

25 percentile for a child who is 3 is LOW. My son has alway been a skinny little guy and his pedeatrician gets concerned when he falls below 50th percentile. I know what he weighs, and I know what I feed him. I feed him 3 times what you allegedly feed yours and he is STILL small. Your 3 year old must be tiny and since you have given us no reason to believe that your kids ever see a doctor, then someone needs to tell you that 25th is TOO SMALL.

I am starting to agree with most everyone else, this blog is a hoax. And I do think you stir it up for money, but that's ok. As long as it is funding the food and health of your children, I will come back again and again. Plus I am learning a lot from your readers.


Sorry, Emily, I'm not hating, but I hope you know what you are doing.

liveoncejuicy said...

Emily might be more willing to listen to what some of you have to say, and more open to suggestions, if you guys would stop putting her on the defensive. Seriously. Many of you are not coming off as concerned, you're coming off as assholes.

I don't know Emily. I don't know what she feeds her kid or if it's enough. (Although as a mother, I know that my kids are pretty vocal when hungry and starving them when there is food in the house of any kind would be a rather unneccesary headache and a lot of effort.)I don't agree with her religion.

It's pretty clear that 1000s of people buy and consume tubes of ground meat in this country. Otehrwise they wouldn't sell it. It might not be the best quality, or what Emily would prefer to serve her family. But come on. CPS? Over tube meat?

Maybe it's because I'm a social worker. I've seen real abuse and neglect up close and personal. I just went to court today regarding a woman who is entering my substance abuse program after testing dirty for Meth--five months pregnant, two children already born addicted and taken into foster care in the hospital.

Tube meat? Tube meat is not neglect. Gross. But not neglect.

P.S. If her husband, and many many many others, didn't work at Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and even the local Whole Foods Market, for close to minimum wage pay--how would you ever manage to spend all your hard earned money? Perhaps when this country starts paying a living wage to all of it's employees, everyone can afford organic grass-fed meat. (Except me, they don't even sell it within 250 miles from where I live!)

Emily said...

Joy, thanks for teh info!

Charli et al, I've got to say with all the accusations of stirring up controversy for money, I considered this a boring yet informative post. This is not one I wrote for controversy. Come back for FAQ Fridays if you want a good controversy. This was a post I wrote for people who actually like this blog and look for good info here. Yet, it has the record for the most comments, more than why homeschool and my giveaway. I'm not the one who stirred up this controversy.

Anonymous said...

If your oldest is 25% for his age, the middle boy is in the 50th percentile for his age, and the baby is the 75th percentile, it would appear that they are dropping lower on the chart as they get older and not staying on the curve.

Obviously this is not completely accurate because they are three completely different children, but I just found that interesting.

Please consider accepting help in the form of food stamps and WIC. It is there for people who need it, and your boys could really benefit from all the extra food that the programs would provide.

Using these programs would allow you to put some of your earnings towards savings or towards your homesteading goals instead of having to spend it on tube meat.

Emily said...

Anon, did you miss this part?

"Daniel was in the fifth percentile for a long time but in the past year has been moving up, so he is not starving."

I will add Bobby was also in the lower on the charts, even the fifth percentile for a while, but is now at the 50th.

They are definitely unique kids. Bobby is short and hearty, Daniel is short and lean. Tommy is big all around, but still young so it is hard to see how he will be in a year. Almost everyone in our family (both sides) is either average height or below average, so I don't expect most of my kids to be big.

Suzie said...

Emily, w/r/t your supposed vegetarian anemia, it would only be due to the fact you were not eating enough iron in its non-heme form (more non-heme from veggies is required to equal the equivalent of meat-based heme iron). One can be a vegetarian (even a vegan) with no instances of anemia. In actuality,unless another condition, such as celiac disease, is present...have you seen a doctor for the possibility of celiac? It might explain your aversion to grains and rice).

Here's a website that details iron rich foods that are much better (and in many cases much cheaper) than Wally World tube meat.

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm#heme

Also stop being so passive-aggressive; THAT is what stirs the "controversy" on this blog. It's childish and does nothing to help your credibility.

crabcakes said...

Emily, one of my sons is well below the charts in terms of weight. 25% is healthy and fine and normal. It is not "low". It just means that about 25 out of a hundred kids weigh less than yours. So what?

I think low-quality meat is gross and over the long term, is harmful to the body. That being said, I don't support everyone else's claim that it's abuse or neglect. I see people feed their kids McDonald's five nights a week. I see children at my son's school eating chocolate donuts for breakfast EVERY DAY. When a nation thinks that fruity pebbles is a healthy and normal breakfast...how do we have the gall to throw stones?

Neither is a healthy choice but until we start crying "CPS!" on soda and fruity pebbles parents, then we need to lay off Emily for this.

I do think grinding a roast would give you more iron for your money though, Emily. I've seen grinders at thrift shops pretty cheap and they work great. For sausage, run it through the grinder twice.

As for the 1/4 squash thing...honestly this is the ONLY meal I've questioned whether it's enough. 1/4 squash for my family (same size, similar ages) wouldn't be nearly enough. But honestly, I've tried a lot of your other recipies and they have fed my family just fine and the quantity was more than enough.

And heck, I roll your tortilla's into 9 portions. So sue me. :P


I do think a lot of people here have valid points and questions. But they are being asked and presented in rude ways. I think you are being held to an unfair standard when I consider the garbage I see most other kids eat on a daily basis.

Michele from Washington said...

Hi Emily

I just had to say something. Here this post was supposed to be about hot chocolate, ect. and some of these comments are down right crazy. My oldest son who is now 20 was only in the 5% for the longest time even though he ate constantly. He ate well balanced meals and a lot of them. One thing I think that many of the critics should understand is everyone learns by doing. Your doing a great job with what you have.

I'm also a foster parent so I have seen "real" cases of child abuse and neglect. From what I have read of your posts and the pictures your a great Mom and your children are getting the priceless gift of your time and attention.

Some people just need some drama in their lives so I guess they will try and get it by leaving nasty comments, they deserve pity nothing more.

Bella said...

I have followed this blog with great interest for a while, but never have commented until today.

My take on this circus is we have two, uneducated (Bible College is nowhere equivalent to an accredited four year university), self-isolating people who had the misfortune to meet, marry, and reproduce. Throw in a heaping helping of internet misinformation (where I believe Emily gets the majority of her "facts"), two adults with no college degrees, leading to Dan working as a janitor, and some fleeting blog fame here, and it is a disaster in the making.

I, for one, hope this is a) a hoax, or b) an exaggeration. My only kudos to Emily are for not taking government assistance, as it is one less stupid, breeding family that I have to support.

Cate said...

I agree with people hoping/expecting to find out this is hoax. Though part of me hopes she keeps it up for a while because each post is an entertaining way to start my day and the comments give me something to read while I'm eating my more than 50 cents a serving dinners.

Organizing Mommy said...

Emily, how is it that you get 159 comments about posting a recipe about spaghetti squash and hot cocoa mix? And is this blog going to give you an ulcer? I understand what you are doing, and I even "get" it. I just fear for you, sweetie. Anyway, if it gets too much, please email me (put a comment on my blog). Your readers are too opinionated and rude.

Like Bella (above).. why? Why is this a stupid family? Dan and Emily have a family determined to live within their means, and doing a fabulous job at it.

And, yes, they love the Lord. I think it is quite commendable what they are doing (as a family). At 24 years old, she knows more than I do at 40 about these things. Both my husband and I have college degrees from "regular" universities. We have reared five children and homeschooled them entirely. Our oldest son is in the process of applying for colleges right now. His SAT scores were so high that schools are trying to recruit him. But it is possible for our family (who literally makes 5X the amount that Emily and Dan do,) to look down with wonder and awe and respect for the courage and bravery it takes to do what they are doing. And I have NO doubt that by the time their children are in need of "extra curricula" that cost more money that they will indeed have as much as they need to support these as well.

Incidentally, the notion that pointing out a spelling or grammar error somehow negates the person's supposition is faulty reasoning at best. While we appreciate spelling and grammar excellence, even the most educated are still debating these issues. Nevertheless, we as readers, should graciously point out errors as we see them. We, as writers, should graciously accept them as well.

Razing Ruth said...

Just to clarify, I don't think CPS would do anything, either. I'm not even sure they need to be called. I mainly just think Emily is making bad choices about how and what she feeds her kids - it's my opinion. I do, however, take issue with those who suggest that, just because she's not feeding her kids Fruity Pebbles, or that everyone else gives their kids crap, makes Emily's choices just fine. I don't think any contradicting commenter would even comment were it not for the glaring hypocrisy in Emily's statements.

Anonymous said...

Organizing Mommy, you don't need a high SAT score for colleges to try to recruit you. That's their form of advertising. I'm not saying your son didn't have a high score (because I have no way to know that), but don't be surprised if your other children get slightly lower scores and are still inundated with college crap. Personally, I wish they would spend more money helping us pay for our education and less sending out recruitment crap.

Bella said...

Organizing Mommy, what makes you look with wonder and awe? The way Emily constantly contradicts herself from post to post? How their children, as they grow, continuously slip in their height/weight percentiles? How her detailed menus are high in processed, tainted meat products and very low in fresh fruits/veggies, legumes, and "good" fats?

Wonder and awe, indeed.

Charli said...

I can appreciate all you who say that 25% is not low, but according to my son's doctor,(my son is in the 30th percentile) it is low enough for her to feel the need to remind me to feed him constantly and let him eat as much as he wants. That's all. It is low and if the child were in the 25th percentile in most other developmental areas, people would be concerned. Consider a child who is in the 25th percentile for speech for their age? Or walking?

That said, I agree that this is no CPS case. Get a grip, I don't think the kids are being starved.

I have to agree with Ruths logic though, it doesn't add up and I hope that the reason for the is that this is a hoax designed to generate income.

As to people being rude, welcome to the internet. If you put it out there, you need to take responsibility for the fact that someone will likely disrespect it. If you leave your laundry in Central Park, someone will wipe their butt with it. It's just the facts of the internet, like it or not. The best way to avoid the mean grrls is to not put it out there at all. Or grow thicker skin.

Anonymous said...

" My only kudos to Emily are for not taking government assistance, as it is one less stupid, breeding family that I have to support."
Amen Bella

Ami said...

Seriously, under 50th percentile is bad? Doesn't make sense. Someone has to fit in the 1st percentile. It's called VARIATION. Not everyone can be 6ft tall 180lb (men) or 5'4ft tall 135lb women. Geez.

And please read. She said Daniel USED to be in the 5th percentile. He's now in the 25th percentile. All done within a years time. Geesh, enough already.

Anonymous said...

Emily- How do you have time to do all you do in one day?
Make Food from scratch
Take care of 3 small children
Hand wash laundry
Write Dan's papers for school
Write Posts for Dan's blog
Write your own blog
Breast feed a baby
Does Dan ever help out around the house?

Amber said...

Bella, parents do not have to have college degrees to be good parents. I think that was a douchey thing to say. Otherwise, I agree with your post.

Anonymous said...

Just because there are children being abused and neglected in the world doesn't make the mediocre parenting and feeding of Emily's children acceptable. And it's even more offensive as how she touts her wisdom, like they are some fabulous idea she thought up by herself and her plucky perserverance. Many low-income, smart families can and do better every single day wihtout making nonsensical false ethical arguments.

Anonymous said...

To those who think that the commenters here are rude, sad, pitiful, whatever - well they only say things like that because the things Emily posts about on here are WEIRD. If you would just take off your rose colored Jesus glasses you would see that. It's like a trainwreck - one that has gotten so bad that most people here either think it's a joke or have started to fear for the children. Sure, some of the info here is harmless frugal tips, but when you put it together with the fact that they are living in a tiny apartment with very little money, little hope for have more in the future and their plans to have an indefinite amount of children it becomes bizzare. Not to mention the added strangeness of Dan's literary adventures.

So that is why people "pick" on her. The story just keeps getting crazier here. These people that you think are pitiful would not be harassing a normal person's blog, I assure you. It is true that some posters here are nitpicking now, but that is just because Emily eggs them on with her snippy replies.

I don't think that she started this blog with the intention of making a lot of money. But now that she sees how much it is making her I think that is her main purpose here. And that's fine, she's going to need it. Friendly posters, just don't delude yourselves. If Emily didn't like us negative nellies she would censor the comments again. She knows we bring in the swag bucks and the bad comments don't seem to faze her much anyway.

Anonymous (Or would you rather I use one of my made up names?)

Bella said...

Hi Amber. I wasn't linking the lack of education to being bad parents. I was trying to say that a lack of education *generally will lead to a lack of well paying employment choices. Dan would be much better off if he was paying tuition to an accredited school. From my research, it seems that New England Bible College is sort of a joke.

Sorry for the confusion.

crabcakes said...

"If you would just take off your rose colored Jesus glasses you would see that."

Whoa! I am NO Christian. I do think some of her choices are very poor. But I also think some of her other choices are GREAT and I've utilized them. I think SOME of her choices are superior to the average parents.

Gee...sounds a lot like normal range of regular parents. Some great stuff, some not so great. People think I'm weird for some of my choices too. Oh well.

But I'm no Christian. One has to be Christian if they don't think she is "weird"?

I don't defend some of her choices that I think are poor. I've offered alternatives and when there has been a post that's offended me, I've challenged that with normal, respectful dialogue.

It has ZERO to do with my religious beliefs (Unitarian, Neo-Pagan leaning if you must ask)

Heck, if I based my participation of this blog on religion only, I wouldn't even click on this blog and give her money because I know how she and Dan would vote about my family.

Charli said...

Crabackes, I like you. I am very similar (on paper), partnered, pagan, mamma.

I wish you had a blog I could check out! Or I had a blog you could check out! LOL!

liveoncejuicy said...

I'm not a Christian either. No Jesus glasses here.

But I am the mother of a perpetually bullied kid. Bullied why? Cause he's 'weird.' Cause--well you know, if you're going to be publically weird you get what you get. That's what the principal said, essentially, just before I took my son out of school for good.

I'm with Crabcakes. If this was just about religion, I wouldn't support a family that didn't support hers.

I think blaming the target for rudeness is pretty lame.

I don't believe that Bella (for example) is concerned about Emily or her kids. If she was, she wouldn't make statements like her husband's school is joke--which is clearly going to make Emily defensive and unlikely to listen to concerns.

P.S. Emily, have you researched Gluten Intolerance? Celiacs is only one thing that causes intolerance. I had simliar anemic problems, exhaustion, etc...and was shocked at how much better I felt after less than a week of giving up gluten.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 sons, all teens or pre-teens and all tall and skinny as rails. When I say they eat a lot, trust me that a lot means A LOT. Each kid can eat my entire spaghetti meal themselves. I have to make more food than you feed your kids in an entire month to feed them for one meal. My kids eat a bag of apples as a snack, forget sharing one and saving the scraps for anything but the bin. I spend upwards of $800 a month just on food. And we don't eat those "processed foods" you went off on earlier, either, we are a primarily a "perimeter" family.

Children require nutritious foods to grow strong and healthy, Emily. People that feed their kids crappy processed foods are at least providing them with ENRICHED foods that provide them with some source of crucial vitamins and minerals, even if they are synthetic forms. Grains are fortified with iron, for example, just buying pasta and rice and breads (or at least using enriched flour!) can provide your family with a ton of iron and other vitamins and minerals they are not getting from your flour/water concoctions. There is no substitute for fresh produce and the more of that they can eat, the better.

I understand you have personal convictions but it seems like a lot of your ideas are not based in reality. In layman's terms, they are not ACCURATE. Wanting something to be true and actually having something be true are two different things. It is evident that this is pride you are battling, perhaps you should reflect on that. No one is above pride, Emily, not even you.

Emily said...

I'm going to be looking into celiac symptons and testing. I do have an unusual aversion to grains and carbs. Thanks.

liveoncejuicy said...

The best test is going off gluten for a little bit. Even a few days will make a difference if you're intolerant. It's really common to be subclinical, or to be intolerant without anything showing up on blood tests.

Anonymous said...

I guess I agree with the sentiment "If you are going to act weird in public, that's what you get..." I've had to hide personal weirdness myself in order to get along in society, along with most other people. Weirdness seems to be working in Emily's benefit here.

I have celiac disease. The blood test is very expensive ($300+) and it is considered to to be mostly inconclusive by doctors today anyway. The intestinal biopsy is even more, and that is what you need to get a true "gold standard" diagnosis. Some experts believe that gluten is damaging to all people and should be avoided Check out the books "Grain Damage" and "Dangerous Grains".

Sorry to non-christians I offended by calling them Christian. That was a low blow, I guess.

Anonymous (Or would you rather I use one of my made up names?)

Anonymous said...

Emily, It seems you think a lot about YOUR wants and needs. YOU would be happy living in a 500 sq. foot home with 10 kids. YOU don't make rice because YOU don't like the texture. YOU are anemic so YOU have to eat tube meat.

What if your kids liked rice? My middle son LOVES brown rice mixed with veggies. I don't care for it as much, but I buy it and make it for my family. What if your kids aren't happy living in a cramped space? You live in Maine where it snows and is very cold in the Winter so there will be a lot of time spent inside.

Also, you say you eat out thanks to mystery shopping once per week, correct? So you have no issues with your children having a happy meal or something similar but you won't keep a box of cheerios in your home? Emilee, WIC would pay for cheerios! Whole milk! Carrots! Peanut butter!

Should a child live off of cereal or peanut butter? Of course not, but these would be great options for them and free up more of your own money so you could focus on buying high quality meats and veggies for your kids. Think about it Emily!

Bubblej said...

Emily, you inspired me to make my own bread. I didn't use your recipe, but after reading how easy you made it look I found a recipe that looked good (similar to yours) and I made the best bread I have ever tasted. I don't agree with your way of living or your POV but just know that you have reached one person and have made them want to make more things from scratch, to save money and to be healthier. Next is tortillas and pasta. Thanks! (I thought you could use a ray of sunshine in this cloudy comment section!)

Anonymous said...

This is shameful. Emily, you are delusional my dear. Your children are suffering.....you can deny this until your blue in the face...but it is obvious to so many of us that in your attempt to be "frugal" you are depriving your children of proper nutrition. What you are doing is incomprehensible and I seriously need you need to rethink many of your disgusting "recipes". As the previous poster said, stop being SELFISH. Think of your children!!!!! If you want to eat things that are virtually as healthy as cat litter that is one thing but to subject your children to it is again shameful. Tsk Tsk!!!!

Jen said...

Hi Emily,

I've read a lot of blogs, and hands down, you have the most spiteful, bitter, annoying trolls I've ever come across! I was shocked at the number of comments on this “boring” post. :)

Seriously people. None of you know what her kids eat everyday. IT'S A BLOG... a snapshot of her life. Yes, she's posted a few recipes with a cost breakdown, but you still don't know what they eat day to day. And guess what? Emily doesn't have to give you graphic details of EVERY SINGLE BITE that enters each of her 3 children's mouths! So get over it already, and quit demanding that she answer to you.

I'm curious… do any of you perfect people throwing stones spend even 1% of your time calculating calories and “worrying” about your own children as you do being a Nazi to Emily’s family? Do you have a life?

It’s an assumption, but since she knows the percentile of her children’s weights, it seems obvious to me that they have been to a pediatrician at some point. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a blog, because my happy, healthy, thriving 2 year old son hasn’t been to a doctor in over a year. We do not vaccinate (which is the main reason for a child to go to a doctor), and don’t plan to send him to preschool either. GASP!

If some of you had either taken the time to read all of her posts, or actually retained what she has said if you have read them… yes, her children play outside at a park in the summer. They also go to church regularly, so I’m guessing that if there was a concern about the children being too skinny, someone would notice. I’m shaking my head as I type this because believe it or not, a mother would be the first to realize and be concerned if there was a problem with one of her children. Duh!!!

Kids and toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. You cannot, and definitely should not ever try to force a child to eat when they don’t want to; unless you want to cause long term food issues and aversions. A child’s appetite is a wonderful thing. If you provide nourishing food, they will eat it when they’re hungry, just like Emily says. The way I see it, her children are improving their percentile weights as they get older, and the fact that the baby is the highest of the 3 at his young age speaks volumes to the QUALITY of the food she feeds them and herself, and the changes she has made in cutting out processed convenience foods.

My take on the diet “inconsistencies” is that Emily is taking one step at a time to improve her family’s nutrition. My family began our transition to a traditional foods diet 1 ½ years ago. IT IS A PROCESS. You cannot change everything at once. Baby steps are the key to success. That is what I see Emily doing. I started with purchasing a quarter grass-fed cow, but was still using it with Hamburger Helper for a while (not anymore). Emily is starting with what she can do, and where she is right now. So I applaud her concern over GMO baking powder!!! We are not perfect, but try to follow an 80/20 rule. We eat tradition foods 80% of the time, and don’t worry so much about the other 20%. It’s better than doing nothing, which is what most American’s do.

Have the vegan and vegetarian pushers heard of or read Lierre Keith’s book “The Vegetarian Myth”? If not, here is a link to a great interview with her:

http://www.ournaturallife.com/blog/?p=365

Enjoy. :)

By the way, there are no Jesus glasses here either. I believe in God, but not AT ALL in organized religion. I’ve found every single one I’ve studied hypocritical in some way, and have no desire to be involved with a church of any kind. I don’t know what that makes me, but I’m happy.

Not a single person commenting here is perfect. I’m pretty sure I’ve never read Emily saying that she is either. She’s an intelligent, caring, loving mother doing what she thinks is right for her family. She may have put her life “out there” in this blog, but it doesn’t mean she has to answer to rude, condescending, judgmental trolls.

Jen said...

Sorry Emily! I know you said that if we ignore the trolls they will go away, but they are the delusional ones. I just couldn't stand it any longer. :)

Anonymous said...

To the PP, are you kidding? This is EXACTLY what Emily wants! She is making money off all of this nonsense! She could disable comments and chat through email with those who follow her and fully agree with her. She knows exactly what she is doing so you aren't doing her any favors asking the "trolls" to go away.

FWIW, I do wish Emily the best. If this controversy allows her children to have more food, then it is all good. As far as asking her questions, well she put herself out there. Of course she is going to get questions!

blogssuckarsh said...

GO LOOK AT WHAT I POSTED ON YOUR HUSBAND'S BLOG THIS IS NOT A JOKE PAY ATTENTION OR YOUR IN FOR A LOT OF TROUBLE AND I HOPE A FEW PENNYS ARE WORTH IT

Jen said...

Anon, I'm not kidding at all. I find it hard to believe that you know "EXACTLY" what Emily wants. Are you kidding?

Hmmm... I seem to recall that she didn't allow the trolls to comment for quite some time. However, her regular readers were on her about being so defensive in her posts. So she began to allow the trolling comments, I think so that they would understand the ridiculous crap that she has to deal with. What an eye opener!

I never asked the trolls to go away. I said she doesn't have to answer to their ridiculous, rude demanding questions.

I hope she makes lots of money off her blog too. Everyone deserves a dream. A sustainable, simple life is a good goal.

Anonymous said...

I have meat in my freezer that is as organic as it comes. Deer meat. My son the hunter gets for us each fall and gets us a lot of it!. :) Deer hunting is pretty cheap in my state. Only $16 dollar for a deer tag. We have free hunting in state parks too during deer season. When you get a 150 pound deer and process it yourself, you can't get any cheaper then that!

Anonymous said...

Okay, back on topic for a moment...I went to make hot cocoa and thought your recipe seemed a bit sugar-heavy (no stevia in our household!). I see that some websites are recommending 1/4 tsp stevia for 1 tbsp sugar, but in a recipe like this I think that would be sugar overkill! I used 2 tsp sugar, 1 1/4 tsp cocoa, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and then pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne; mixed in 8 oz milk. Definitely could use a little bit more sugar and cocoa (maybe 1/2 tsp each) and less vanilla as it tasted like we had spiked our drink with bourbon, but I really couldn't imagine it with as much sugar as your recipe!

Princess Jo said...

Hi Emily,

As a long time blogger myself, I can substantiate that yes, often you (as an author) don't put all the info out there, for many, very good reasons. That being said, your blog is about frugal living: and part of that does include what you feed your children: because you chose to include/reference them here.

Regarding the meat references: well I think you Americans have it a bit rough. Here in Australia we are blessed with excellent meat produce. It is not an issue for us. To be frank Emily, I would suggest getting some extremely cheap steak and grinding it yourself. Just because you're used to doing something a certain way, doesn't mean you should continue to do it that way.

What I am saying Emily is that you have brought this situation, this criticism, and questioning onto yourself. It's a fact that you chose how much information you put out to the world via the internet: nobody put a gun to your head and said "write this". I find some of the comments horrible myself, but once again it's your choice to be in this space to begin with.

*sigh*

Jo

Maria said...

Blogsuckharsh, was that really necessary? Can you stalkerish? Jeez. I don't agree with much of Emily's posts (or Dan's, for that matter,) but come on!

What a nut!

Princess Jo said...

To Blogsuckharsh,

I hope for your sake and Emily's that the husband she is married to isn't either abusive nor borderline abusive, because either way he could hurt Emily badly (thanks in no small part to your comments). Whilst not thinking he is any of these things, the facts are we just don't know.

Maybe you should stick your head in and think a little bit.

Mind you, I don't agree with a great deal of E/D's lifestyle choices (and find some of them downright repulsive and somewhat troubling), but they have that right to live however they choose, providing they aren't hurting anyone. As yet, I have seen no major sign that they are, so I leave them in peace.

Listen. Think.

Jo

Anita said...

Emily,
I'm afraid I have to agree with Princess Jo first comment.

Bubblej said...

Blogssuckharsh,

Really? I'm speechless...

Clisby said...

I wouldn't think much of a doctor who got concerned just because a child was in the 25th percentile for weight. Unless the doctor is completely ignorant about statistics, surely he/she realizes that it's impossible for every child - even every magnificently nourished child - to be at 50% or above. That's as silly as schools that want every child's reading level to be above average. It's impossible. What a doctor should be doing is tracking the child's growth/weight curve.

Our Family Is His said...

Emily, I hope you didn't take my comments on less meat as a dig on you. I was just saying that for our family it is very possible to eat way, way less meat, eat much closer to vegetarian that the average American diet (which is a killer if you really think about what "average American diet" really means - just think about our obesity rate), and to be very healthy. You have to do what's truly best for your family. I am a big believer in that.

I don't know why your son was in the 5th %ile, but moving up to the 25th in a year is not something to make light of. My son fell from the 95th %ile to the 5th due to his special needs. It was a very scary time for us. We have worked HARD, HARD, HARD to get him to the 25th %ile. It wasn't just "feed him more" (though that was part of it since one of his SN's hurts his ability to regulate his hunger feeling), it was also getting his health issues under control. So I know how much work it often is to move up that much on the growth charts. We are currently plateaued at 25th % (and I think he's losing again, which means more specialist visits), but we work on it each and every meal.

Keep fighting for the kids, their health is so worth it. What we have seen in our younger son with his many issues surrounding foods makes that very clear.

Our Family Is His said...

I agree. If the child has always been 25th %ile on the charts, that could very well be normal. (ever seen a very tall, very thin man that eats well and has no health issues? I am related to many of them because it's genetic.) It's when they have issues where their growth fluctuates on the chart a lot. (i.e. my son's going from always being in the 95th %ile to the 5th so quickly - in a year's time) That's when the growth charts can show bigger issues happening.

AND, I don't know if you know this or not, Emily, but you can put comment moderation on and weed out some of the hateful things that are just out there (like blogssuckhash and others). You can still let in those that don't agree with you, but weed out the ones that are here only to bring you down or hurt you.

Jen said...

I quit reading comments after a while because I got sick of reading them.

First, I will say that the percentile means nothing in terms of growth except if a child is on the smaller side. A child in the 25th percentile is just fine as long as they maintain that curve. It's when they start falling off their own curve that growth becomes a concern.

With that said, based on what you post, you all seem woefully underfed. That isn't based on "the man"'s guidelines. That is based on science. A body completely bedridden and at rest needs approximately 1200 calories to maintain. That is an adult maintaining weight if they are not moving. A non-growing adult who does not exercise but does the normal amount of moving around, cleaning, etc requires 1600 or more calories depending on weight. Growing children have their own caloric needs. I don't count calories for my kids either but I would if they were eating such small amounts of food.

Oh and if you want to test out Celiac on the cheap, simply go gluten free for a period of months and see if you feel better. Of course, I recommend if you do that you get used to eating corn and rice because celiac requires giving up wheat, barley and rye, and many oats are cross contaminated. I would also recommend going on food stamps because a GF diet costs several times more. Of course if you do have symptoms of celiac and ignore it, just know you may be destroying your intestinal lining. I don't want to scare you away from being treated if you need it. It's also genetic, so your "pale" son could be positive if you were,

-still paying for my daughter's biopsy wishing that I had just tested GF from the beginning.

Clisby said...

To whoever asked about having the store grind meat (I'm not about to wade through all the posts looking for it): I've never had a store grind anything but beef for me, but I assume you could do the same with pork. I keep meaning to do that so I can make my own sausage - compare the price of pork loin/roasts on sale to sausage on sale to see what I mean. Anyway, what I'm not sure of is whether store butchers will also debone meat and grind it for you - I've never had it done with anything but boneless cuts. Since the bone is part of the weight of the on-sale meat, you might have to take the bone along with the ground meat. But hey - no harm in checking.

halo said...

Emily we use Morningstar Farms and Boca products instead of red meat. It's more expensive but I think worth it.

I still eat chicken. I bought a turkey around thanksgiving time. The grocery store had a promo. It made tons of meals! It only cost $8.

Maybe you could have some meatless days but just eat peanut butter, almonds or some type of beans or eggs to get protein.

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