Vegetarians beware

Over the recent months, especially after seeing Food Inc., I’ve switched to organic (or at least vegetarian fed, antibiotic free) meats when grocery shopping. This came at a price, of course, since organic is not exactly cheap. With my husband’s approval, I’ve increased the amount of vegetarian dinners, which has helped stretch our grocery budget a little further. In fact, we’ve seen no significant changes to our total spending on groceries (if anything, we spend less now!).

Last week when buying natural pork tenderloin at Whole Foods at $10.99/lb (ouch!) which ended up being made into super yummy almond-crusted pork fingers, I noticed some organic chicken for $1.99/lb. The catch? The chicken was whole! I decided that the price justified some dirty work on my part, and today I braved the beast. I’m sorry, vegetarians, some of the pictures are a little graphic, so you may want to skip this post (I hope you come back tomorrow though! :) ) but I wanted to show some of you that organic meat can be affordable… and that with a little bit of work you can have beautiful organic chicken on your dinner table too. This was my first time attempting this, so my cuts weren’t pretty. Maybe I should have watched a video to do it “the right way” but at the end it all worked out 😀

Dinner ingredients: whole chicken + purple green beans

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Aren’t these purple green beans awesome?!

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Back to the chicken… here it is. All you need is some good shears and a sturdy knife to separate and skin it.

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The Whole Foods whole chicken was cleaned out on the inside, with the guts included in a little paper bag inside. Excellent! All separate, ready to cook…

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The chicken was actually purchased with a recipe in mind – this recipe for pan-fried chicken from the June 2009 issue of Cooking Light. The chicken needed to be floured, cooled in the refrigerator, floured again, then fried. Quite laborious (definitely NOT a weeknight dinner!) but it was really worth it.

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It took me about 35 minutes to fry this to perfection. Here is the result… doesn’t resemble that whole chicken in the first pic at all 😀

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My dinner: 1 piece of pan-fried chicken with some purple (now green) green beans. The beans I steamed, then pan fried in the same pan the chicken was fried in (draining out most of the oil) with some garlic and lemon juice. Delicious! 😀

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THE REST OF THE EATS

Breakfast/pre-running fuel: whole wheat toast with Barney Butter and 1/2 peach + coffee

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Lunch: leftover zucchini ribbon pasta. This wasn’t great the next day… the pasta got a bit soggy :(

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+ a new purchase…

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I LOVED this pudding! It was very rich in chocolate flavor and it’s all natural. What a great little dessert find! :mrgreen:

Snack #1: raspberry peach muffin

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Snack #2: nonfat plain oikos with raspberries, 1/2 plum and nutty topping

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Snack #3 (post dinner): Kashi dark chocolate oatmeal cookie with vanilla tea

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I am slightly obsessed with these cookies. It’s been a while since I’ve had any, but after spotting them in the store yesterday, they jumped right into my cart. I absolutely love the oats, the chocolate chips and the overall texture of the cookie. You’ll be seeing a lot of these over the next week since they come in a pretty large box :mrgreen:

TODAY’S LONG RUN

This morning I completed an 11 mile run. As I’ve mentioned before I run with my running buddy Molly. Our runs have been really great because we chat the entire time. Even when I get tired, the conversation for the most part takes my mind off of it, which is really a gift when you run for nearly 2 hours (today’s run took 1:51… averaging 10:03 minutes/mile). As fun as these runs have been, though, I’m starting to get REALLY nervous for the half marathon. We have 2 more training runs left, and then it’s show time. Molly offered to run with me during the race too (she signed up for the same half, and is no longer trying to PR since this is her 3rd half marathon this year) but even if we run together, it obviously will be different. We won’t be chatting about life and looking at the pretty trees. This is a race, and despite my goal to just finish, I know in my heart that I want to finish at a respectable time and really don’t want to walk for a huge chunk of it. Oy. I guess we’ll “talk” more about that later. It’s definitely getting close. Today’s run wiped me out, btw. I was pretty much dead for at least 2 hours after I got back home. Could have something to do with burning over 1,300 calories. Yeah, that’s probably it. 😉

Do you buy organic meats? If so, any other money saving tips?

Do you get nervous before training runs? I used to, then stopped, and now it’s starting up again now that I’m so close to the race date and am getting into mileage that I’m still somewhat (especially mentally!) uncomfortable with.

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15 comments to Vegetarians beware

  • Wow, I have always been too scared to separate a whole chicken myself. Look like you did great work.

  • Eve

    Wow – I’m totally impressed! In my nutrition program we had to take cooking classes that involved butchering meats, etc but I’m sad to say I haven’t done it since — it sort of freaks me out!

  • You are brave! When I was eating meat the thought of cutting up a whole chicken terrified me! You made it look easy :)

  • I do buy organic meats and will buy more and freeze it when it is on sale, I also shop the farmers market and try to hit local farms stores for the best prices. I noticed a market near us was $1.50 more a pound than on the farm’s store!

  • I ran my first half marathon yesterday! I didn’t get nervous for training runs, but I was really nervous for the race. The speed that I was hoping to run in the race was just so much faster than I had ever done in training that I was nervous it would be too hard/painful or worstcase that I wouldn’t finish! All my worrying was for nothing though – all the adrenalin and excitment of the race gets you through… it’s “race magic”…. Good Luck!

  • Molly

    I was totally wiped after yesterday… I ended up taking a two-hour nap, which never happens.

    That chicken looks amazing!

  • Awesome post! I made the same switch the organic meat and I’m always looking for ways to be more price-efficient!

  • Have so much fun in the half! They are a great length; really long but definitely do-able. If you can do 11 in training by yourself then you can TOTALLY do 13.1 with crowds of spectators and people cheering you on and all the adrenaline you get on race day! No problem! You’ll do great!

  • Elina

    Kaytee – as you can see, it’s not that bad. I was used to trimming fat off chicken breasts before… and it’s honestly not that much harder.

    Melissa – my local farmers market is also more expensive. I have to go directly to the farm to buy it cheaper but it’s a bit of a project so I can’t do it often enough. Next time I go, I’ll be sure to buy extra to freeze for later 😀

    Janet – congrats! I hope to experience the race magic as well 😉

    Molly – I almost took a nap too. Probably should have done it instead of laying uselessly on the coach 😀

  • sister inna

    that cozy shack puddin’ does indeed look delicous. i am going to look for it soon. i’m sure D will not approve but o well hee hee heee.
    i totally understand your nervousness regarding the race, but i’m sure you will do really well ( like always). you always set up crazy goals for yourself, but you always pull through with flying colors too. i’m excited FOR you. and a little scared for our run this weekend 😉 can’t wait 😛

  • It’s interesting to hear how people’s habits have changed as a result of seeing Food Inc. I’ve been going the farmer’s market route (which I decided on before seeing the movie from reading various books and am glad I did). It’s definitely more expensive than conventional so I eat vegetarian most of the times and make the meal a real treat. I will say though that it tastes MUCH better than anything I’ve ever had in the store. I made a pork steak last night and it was especially flavorful. I often find pork to be kind of dry andb land but this was full of flavor.

  • Wow! That pan-fried chicken looked so yummy! I’m so glad that you decided to ‘brave the beast’. It looks like you did a great job. Nice work!

    Thanks for the review on that pudding. I’ve seen it at the store and been deciding if I want to try it.

  • 11 mile run – awesome.

    P.S. your kashi cookie looks bigger than mine 😉

  • Elina

    Innz – the pudding is REALLY good. Why wouldn’t D approve? Tell him I do. Haha. You’re going to have fun on our run; I promise… and you get to meet Molly. I’m excited 😀

    Kelly – I’ve been shopping for produce at the local farmers markets for the past few years, but the movie definitely turned me to organic meats. I’ve never bought any at the farmers market (it’s so pricey!) but maybe I’ll have to give it a go. The meat we’ve bought at Tendercrop Farm was extremely flavorful! I can’t wait to go back there…

    Nicole – definitely give the pudding a try!

    24carrot- haha. Maybe their shipments to Boston are “special” 😉

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