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Posts tagged ‘cheap’

Product Placement: Tropicana Orange Juice

Hey, I’m back in GA! I do believe I got in enough baking and making my own recipes to last me a little while (or at least I can tell myself that) and I’m back and ready to continue my Product Placement. My schedule has been a bit off what with moving back into the dorms, but I’m all set to make some inroads on talking about products to buy or stay away from.

I was at a Leadership Conference the past couple of days and at breakfast there were these sleek looking black pitchers of cranberry juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, you name it they had it. Now, I’ve already discussed my love of grape juice and apple juice  but I do love orange juice as well. I just hate pulp and generally find the juice to be too sweet. I’m very picky when it comes to my orange juice.

The point, though, is that I was lured in to believe that this jazzy design for the pitcher meat the juice had been fresh squeezed. We were at a hotel and the entire conference can only be described as needlessly swanky, so I had reasons to believe that fresh squeezed juice was not outside the realm of possibilities.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Nope. I drank the typical Tropicana juice and unfortunately didn’t realize it until the next morning that it was typical Tropicana Juice until the hotel staff moved to refill it. From a carton.

Needless to say my spirit was crushed for a bit.

This is not to say Tropicana is a bad company or that their juice is disgusting. It’s not. I was just expecting to be blown away by the fresh squeezed variety and no matter what Tropicana claims on their website about from ‘Grove to Glass’ it’s packaged and it’s loaded with sugar.

I don’t care how many vitamins and minerals the juice has because it has 28 grams of sugar per serving. Something that claims to be healthy for you should not have that much sugar. Ever. There is no excuse. I am particularly critical here because this juice falls under the category of ‘masquerading as healthy’. If people don’t read the nutrition label they won’t know that although there’s 120% of their daily Vitamin C in that 10 oz glass of juice they’re also ingesting needless amounts of excess sugar that will then need to be burned off.

There are other ways to get your vitamin C (and occasionally Vitamin D if the juice is enriched). Try eating an actual orange, eat kiwi fruits, cherries, strawberries, and even red and green peppers are high in Vitamin C. For more information on Vitamin C rich foods check out: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/top-sources-vitamin-C-44102808

If none of these are in season (like strawberries, etc) you can always find oranges at the local supermarket and buy a small orange juicer to get the job done yourself. Small juicers like these are incredibly cheap and can be bought at a local Macy’s, or possibly even Target. You don’t need a fancy juicer in order to make healthy juice drinks. Juice away with all the health benefits and none of the added sugar.

Product Placement: Salada Green Tea

My family drinks tea by the gallon. In the winter time, or really from October until around May because it’s Connecticut weather, we make pots and pots of hot tea and in the summer time we keep a pitcher of iced tea in the refrigerator. My mother is into holistic remedies and no matter what was wrong with my brother or I the solution was always drink green tea.

Now, Salada Green Tea is not our family’s favorite. We prefer Good Earth, but  if I’m to be perfectly honest, Good Earth  might be good for the earth, but it is also expensive. So to save costs, we decided to buy Salada  where a 40 count box of tea bags costs $3.99 at Stop and Shop according to peapod. The Good Earth tea is only sold as a 2o count (as are most teas) and so is even less cost effective.

The good news is that buying cheaper does not mean sacrificing on flavor. Salada tea is a good brand. There’s a rich flavor to their teas and one bag is potent enough for 2 or 3 cups depending on how dark you prefer your beverage.

The company cares about health and their website is devoted to explaining the benefits of fresh brewed tea and how their varying flavors can support bone health or immunity based on the type of tea you buy.

You can buy it by the 40 count to save money and for all  its worth it’s a sturdy brand of tea guaranteed to satisfy. To learn more about different types of teas and the health benefits of each read the following article and apply your new knowledge when purchasing your chosen type of Salada: 

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits

Berry Picking Adventures Part II

When I went berry picking with my mother last month for strawberries it was rather late in the season, we had to do a bit of digging to find strawberries that weren’t dead on the bush or in the dirt. The strawberries were still delicious, but it was difficult to find ones that would last a long time once we got them home.

So the same farm we went to for strawberries has blueberry picking July into August. Jones Family Farm is truly amazing. The blueberry bushes are farther back on the farm and so we got to take a much longer trip on the Berry Ferry and see the massive acreage that is Jones Family Farm. It’s amazing. The farm has pumpkin picking in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter and strawberries then blueberries in the summer.

  

The blueberry bushes stretched out for miles and this time we came early in the season. Not all the berries were ripe yet we were that early. When my mom and I came off the Berry Ferry to be told which bushes we could pick from I saw people coming back from picking and had to do a double take. The blueberries could not look that perfect. It just wasn’t possible.

Yet they did. The blueberries felt like they were covered in a soft fuzz of velvet. They were so beautiful and plump and delicious. I cannot recommend getting to a farm to pick your own berries enough. I have never tasted better berries and for about 3 lbs of berries my mom and I paid a little over $6. The berries have been lasting us for the past two weeks, just as delicious and just as fresh.

I’ve been making tons of whole wheat blueberry pancakes and I’m in the process of perfecting a blueberry muffin recipe. If anyone has any other ideas on what to do with fresh blueberries I would love to hear from you!

 

Product Placement: Store Bought Muffins

This is slightly cheating. Store bought muffins is such a broad category I can’t pretend it’s a single product. Maybe some store-bought muffins are quite good and wholesome, but for the purposes of this blog I’ll be referring to Stop & Shop packaged muffins because this is a little close to home.

I do not mean to offend Stop & Shop, and believe me, if I did I would go after something other than their muffins. Now to start off, their muffins taste pretty good. They have a tall muffin top that is both appealing to look at and to eat, and the muffin itself stays moist  for about five days if not more. The taste is fine, varying depending on the type of muffin, but you always get what you expect: a run of the mill packaged pastry. Price-wise each muffin is a little over $1 and can be purchased in a package of 4 for $4.49 at Stop & Shop, give or take depending on where you live.

So if the muffin tastes fine where do I take issue? The ingredients list is long enough to be a novel and each muffin is 3x the serving suggestion.

A good taste tends to hide a few unsavory nutrition facts and ingredients, especially in large scale commercial food. For the apple spice muffins, the ingredients start off pretty normal: enriched bleached wheat flour, sugar, water, soybean oil, eggs, apples, modified corn starch. Everything else is 2% or less of the muffin. From the basic ingredients the only thing I take issue with is the modified corn starch. What’s it modified with? Why did it need to be modified at all? How is it modified? There’s no answer on the box.

Then we get to the 2% or less section: partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening (followed by a list of oils it could be a mixture of just to cover themselves in case of an allergic reaction), soy lecithin,  BHT and citric acid as preservatives, emulsifier (with a long list of unpronounceable words to explain what’s in the emulsifier), and the list continues for another 5 or 6 ingredients before moving on to what’s in the sugar coating. To try not to bore you with the rest, the basic premise here is that if an ingredient needs a list of ingredients to explain what it is, it’s not worth buying.

I’m not trying to preach at you or tell you what to buy or not buy. What you buy is ultimately your choice. I’m not trying to promote my own products as a comparison either. Maybe I have a grudge against pre-packaged food because I make my own, who knows. All I know is that there are tons of muffin recipes which are quick and easy to make and are a whole lot healthier than buying store bought. Cheaper too.

Save yourself the trouble of taking a magnifying glass and a dictionary with you the super market and make your own muffins. Believe me the taste is far better and you know what’s in it.

Product Placement: Maple Agave Syrup

I really need to thank my mom for introducing me to so many great products I never would have found on my own. She introduced me to Siggi’s Yogurt and while shopping with her at a local organic market we came across Maple Agave Syrup.

Most commercial maple syrups, Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworths, etc, are artificially flavored. If you read the ingredients most brand name syrups contain high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and caramel color and not much else. If I just ruined your pancake or waffle experience I apologize, but before you run off to go buy the pure maple syrup let’s take a look at cost.

A 24 oz bottle of Aunt Jemima maple syrup is $3.79.

8.5 oz of pure maple syrup costs $4.99.

Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup - 1 Bottle (12.50 oz)

Now I took the above prices from the Peapod Stop and Shop website, so prices may vary depending on where you live and how much syrup you’re buying. Either way, the pure syrup is far more expensive. It makes sense that consumers buy the cheap brand name.

If you’re looking for affordable and healthy, try a maple agave blend instead of pure maple syrup. Stop and Shop does not carry this product so in order to get a comparative price, a blogger called thekitchn  places Trader Joe’s prices for maple agave syrup at $3 for 8 oz.

Great Northern Organic Maple Agave Syrup 8 oz. (Pack of 12)

The best thing about this syrup though is more than the cost. It’s entirely natural. Agave is a plant found in Mexico that has been sweetening and flavoring food for thousands of years. The syrup comes from the sap of the plant found in the core of the plant called the pina. The sap is heated at a low temperature to break down the natural sugars (visit allaboutagave.com for more information).

When agave syrup is combined with pure maple syrup a healthy, affordable option is created. It’s sweet with no artificial sweeteners or aftertaste. Although not as thick as pure maple syrup on its own the flavor combination makes up for the thinner consistency, though by no means is it watery like commercial syrup brands.

Enjoy your new discoveries with this syrup blend. See you next Wednesday!