Organic fair trade coffee + dinner on piggy bank $$

It’s Friday night, hallelujah! Man, these last 2 months were looooong, and today at noon I finally finished my last project! Woohoo!! To do that, I worked until 10 pm last night, so my apologies for not blogging. There wasn’t much too exciting to share anyways, so let’s skip straight to today. It was a much better day! 😀

I started the morning with Zen Bakery apple cranberry bran muffin + Dean’s Beans organic fair-trade hazelnut dream coffee with organic skim milk and agave nectar. Wow, this is one healthy breakfast! 😉



I love the ingredients list of these muffins! They taste a tiny bit like cardboard but kinda in a good way. And these guys are really filling! A 220 calorie breakfast would never fill me up, but the last few days I had one of these muffins + coffee and I was good to go. Kewl 😉


The muffins were totally an impulse purchase at Whole Foods the other day, but the coffee was not. I was completely out of coffee and wanted to do some research before buying a new batch. After figuring out that organic and fair trade coffee is the way I wanted to go, Dean’s Beans coffee popped up in my search and I was happy to find out they sold it at my local Whole Foods. So exciting! :)


Now organic seems to be a new buzz word that’s popping up everywhere. I think food marketing experts are doing a great job of milking this new trend to their desires. The good news is that organic does mean that the ingredients are grown in a more environmentally friendly way and no artificial ingredients or pesticides are used. The bad news is that there is still a lot of organic junk food out there (organic potatoes fried in organic oil are still junk!) so don’t fall into the organic trap. Choose foods that are healthy first, and organic second (at least that’s my personal order of preference…).

I’ve been aware of pesticides used in growing fruits and vegetables and have been trying to buy organic F&V as much as possible over the last few years. Watching Food Inc. opened my eyes to why organic dairy and meat are also important, but is organic coffee really necessary? Is this another marketing scheme to charge me double for my coffee? After doing a bit of research (and clearly you already know the answer to my own question given my new purchase) I found out that coffee is the most chemically treated food commodity in the world. Synthetic petroleum based fertilizers are used in coffee production. Coffee trees also do not naturally grow in direct sunlight but under the shade of dense rainforests. To increase productivity, the coffee industry has developed sun-resistant coffee tree hybrids that have come to comprise approximately 70% of the world’s coffee production. As a result rainforests are being cleared at alarming rates to make room for new, sun resistant coffee trees.(source). Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, and reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Fair Trade certification focuses on labor and trade standards to provide small-farmer co-operatives a guaranteed price above the conventional market (source). Coffee can be organic and not fair trade, and the other way around. Choose what’s important to you… supporting smaller farmers with my dollars is a way for me to make a small difference.  That’s why I choose to get both organic and fair trade coffee! 😀 Oh and I forgot to mention, this particular coffee is the best I’ve ever had! It’s just so flavorful and complex. I’m a huge fan, and now want to try every flavor they have. :)

Rest of the eats…

Mid morning snack: oikos organic greek yogurt + fresh blueberries, 1/2 kiwi + 2 medjool dates. Dates are such a great natural sweetener. I can’t get enough of them!


Lunch: organic grilled chicken with bbq sauce, avocado & laughing cow cheese on a Food for Life 7-grain english muffin + corn on the cob.


Oh yeah, I’m the dork that brought corn skewers to work 😉


Adam and I started a new tradition – going out to eat on Friday nights. It really marks the beginning of the weekend and gets us out of the house. Well, as you know we recently bought a condo (closing on it in 4 weeks) so we’re really trying hard to stay within our budget. Unfortunately we already used up our “going out budget” for the month, so Adam had a brilliant idea of using our piggy bank $$ to fund dinner. He’s so cute sometimes! :)


That is $28.63. Not a whole lot of dough to go around, so we had to find “a deal” to stretch our money. Burtons Grill has a July special – on every Red Sox home game night from 7-10 pm all entrees are buy 1, get 1 free (of equal or lesser value). Adam got a steak&cheese sandwich ($14) and I got the bbq chicken salad: lettuce, bbq chicken, corn, black beans, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, bacon bits and tomatoes ($13). That’s $14 for both of our meals! Awesome!


I ordered my salad with dressing, cheese, and bacon on the side.


I used a little bit of the dressing but the salad was so flavorful on its own, that I didn’t even touch the cheese or bacon. The tortilla strips (although fried I’m sure) were worth the extra calories. This salad was really delicious and I think with my modifications, quite healthy. Adam helped me finish it 😀

So food was cheap, but we still got some drinks which put us a bit over the top, budget wise. It’s ok, the drinks were well worth it! I got a nice glass of chianti and Adam got a 22oz belgian ale. Liquid yum :mrgreen:


Of course my sweet tooth kicked in after dinner. We decided to skip out on dessert at Burtons and went across the street to Shaw’s to buy some Ben&Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie frozen yogurt. I love this stuff! Quite a bit of sugar but nothing artificial. I went back for seconds after polishing off this serving 😳 It was too good!


How was your Friday night? Do you buy organic and/or fair-trade coffee?

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14 comments to Organic fair trade coffee + dinner on piggy bank $$

  • I had some of the B&J’s fro yo last night, too :) I picked up the half baked…which has the brownie and cookie dough! Seriously good :)

    I know what the budgeting is like! Oy!

    Have a great weekend pretty lady!

  • recently, as in the summer, I have been spending my fridays under the whip of the Restaurant as a waitress. Its rough and the owners always mad, but it’s money! I get fair trade coffee when at school because they offer it!! At home it’s not always fair trade though, unless im at Starbs!!!
    PS i went to Burtons Grill when I was my first sox game last month with my boy! I had no idea it was so popular! hehe

  • Ya know, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I buy organic dairy, meat, and produce, but continue to buy Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I really appreciate this post, Elina, and I am going to look into organic fair trade coffee. Thanks for the insight!

  • sister inna

    thanks for sharing your research i have to have a “discussion” with D about this now. you guys are really cute i love the piggy bank dinner idea :)

  • I don’t make coffee at home but I love that my office offers organic fair trade coffee at our coffee bar. I believe that it’s also shade grown so it’s pretty ethical and healthy all around. I learned about the fair trade and shade grown certifications when reading The Ethics of What We Eat. It’s a really fascinating book and I love food ethics. It’s interesting to see how complex all of our choices are. I try to buy organic whenever I can not just because it’s better for my body but also because chemical run off can be such an issue. Also from reading What We Eat it sounds like depending on the co-op for some organic farmers in other countries organic farming is the ticket to a good life.

    Lauren – I don’t think that makes you a hypocrite. I think no one is perfect and it’s all about doing as much as you can.

  • I do not buy organic coffee but now I am thinking I might start. However–I just buy the little packets that you can heat up individual cups in the microwave because I just want 1 cup in the morning. I feel if I brewed half a pot–I would drink it all and be crazy crazy the rest of the day.


  • Nice work finding a budget dinner! :)

    I’m not as vigilant when it comes to finding organic coffee and tea, but I do try to get fair trade. I should probably do both though – pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not cool.

  • I try to buy organic when I can, some things I ONLY buy organic- meats, dairy and fruits/veggies. Other things it depends.

    Your eats look SOOOO good! Are you feeling more at peace with eating IE?

    I love that idea of the piggy bank for dinners out!! I need to mention that to my hubby! 😀

  • I buy Boyds, which I am pretty sure is Organic AND Fair Trade … Could be wrong … But, I also buy local Sister’s Blend – buying local is also important in this sagging economy!

    Your eats today look super tasty! A++!!


  • That is so cute about the piggy bank. We have one for coins that we always raid to get money to cross this bridge in our area! Don’t think there is enough in it to get any sort of dinner 😉
    I think I have tried those Zen muffins before, but I thought they had mega fiber in them? Maybe it was the blueberry ones…they have like, 13 grams of fiber!

  • I’m holding out with our piggy bank fund until our anniversary in October… I want to go to Stowe! :)

    I’m not a coffee drinker. That muffin looks divine though!

  • Those muffins sound really good. Great, healthy ingredients.
    I agree that organic is often just a key word that may not mean much. I prefer to buy local – even if it’s not “organic”, I trust it more.

  • Elina

    Sorry guys I took awhile to get back on your comments. Thanks for reading! :) Glad you all liked our piggy bank idea!

    Mandy – I love the half baked kind! :)

    Chelsey – I used to work as a waitress when I first graduated from college, and I loved it! It was definitely stressful at times but I really loved being an efficient server and making people happy by being pleasant to them and bringing them delicious food. 😀

    Lauren- I’m with Kelly, you are definitely not a hypocrite! It’s hard to buy everything organic and I think not everyone is aware of the fact that coffee is so often chemically treated. That’s why I decided to write this post :)

    Innz, hope “the discussion” with D went well. He must think I’m a crazy hippie haha. 😆

    Kelly, that’s so cool that your office has organic free trade coffee! And that book sounds amazing. I’m adding it to my to-read list. Sounds seriously up my alley. Ignorance is bliss but I don’t like being ignorant.

    Madison, have you ever tried the “brew and go”? I used to have it a while back and loved it. It brews only 1-cup at a time and you can use any coffee you like.

    Daria, I’m really into helping smaller farmers, etc. so I think if I were to choose 1, I may choose fair-trade too (although I definitely prefer both).

    Jenny, I had a huge set back this weekend with eating intuitively. Took like a million steps back. I need to blog about it soon but I just feel a little defeated and think I need to process this before I write about it. Why is this so damn hard? :(

    Courtney – I buy local F&V when I can too, and if things are out of season, then I go to WF and buy the organic stuff. That coffee actually happens to be local so that’s pretty cool :)

    Lara, I think you may be right about the fiber in those muffins. I’m all out of them so I can’t check but they were so filling there must have been a ton of fiber in them since they were pretty low in fat.

    Elizabeth, great idea to use piggy bank $$ on your anniversary 😀

    Alison, I totally agree. Small local farmers usually avoid using pesticides anyways so even though their produce is not officially certified organic, it’s often just as good and you’re supporting them! Organic is a registered term though, so organic does mean “something”, it just doesn’t promise that it’s healthy.

  • Just looking at that made me so hungry! Thanks for the great meal ideas, I’m excited to give a few of them a try!


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