My First Box from Misfits Market

Last week I told you about a food delivery service for organic, non-GMO produce that is affordable. My first shipment from Misfits Market came on Wednesday, and I’m pleased. I do want to note a few things right off the bat.

  • The company is upfront about the fact that much of what they send would be considered “ugly”. Though, to me, it all looked just fine. Some of the fruit was on the small side. Perfect for me.
  • They also mentioned that some of it might be bruised. A few of the peaches were. I simply made them into a sauce with some of the pears. It worked out wonderfully.
  • I bought the Madness Box, the largest. It is left at your door, but it is heavy. Since I know I have to lug it upstairs, I’ll bring a couple of reusable shopping bags downstairs with me next time to split things up into.
  • You don’t get to choose what you want. You get what you get.

I was impressed by the amount of produce the Madness Box has in it. This is what came in my shipment:

As you can see, it is more than enough to feed me for a couple of weeks.

  • Bok Choy (This will be my first time trying this.)
  • 2 European Cucumbers
  • 4 Zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 to each of my daughters.)
  • 1 Romain Lettuce
  • 4 Peppers (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 5 Oranges
  • 4 Limes
  • 3 Mangoes (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 6 Pears
  • 6 Peaches
  • 2 Bags of Mushrooms (Gave one bag to my parents, the other Zowie.)
  • 2 Bags of String Beans
  • 2 Spaghetti Squash
  • Dandelion Greens (This will be my first time trying this.)

I did buy a few things to go along with this:

  • Meat (I don’t eat much meat, so a pound will last me a while.)
  • So Delicious non-dairy yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Lemons

And I had some things on hand to round everything out.

You’ll notice that I shared a few things with my parents and daughters. While I like most fruits and vegetables, there are just a few things I’m unable to eat. And I haven’t quite been able to talk myself into trying mushrooms yet. Even taking this stuff out, I consider the $38.50 to be a good deal on the food, considering the in-store costs of organic produce in my area.

I planned things out for meals and such as soon as I opened the box. The meat was purchased to go with the spaghetti squash. Yogurt is delicious with orange slices. And pears and peaches make a great sauce which can be eaten as is, or warmed with maple syrup and served over Paleo pancakes. I bought the lemons to make Lemon-Limeade. Orange slices will go well in smoothies with bananas as well.

According to my research Bok Choy is a chinese cabbage, so I plan to make a salad with it, the Romain lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and string beans. I love salad. The cucumber, zucchini, and string beans can also be snacked on any time.

I’m going to try the dandelion greens in salad and smoothies, to see if I like them. If I do, I can flash freeze them for  later use and less waste. Nothing is going to waste, because I shared what I knew I wouldn’t eat.

You could also donate anything you didn’t want, or share them with friends and co-workers.

Here are some tips for what to do with some of the the produce from this box:

  • Once you’ve set aside what you want for salads, chop the rest dandelion greens and flash freeze them. Store in a container in the freezer, taking out some as you need it for smoothies.
  • Use some lovely FreshPapers from Mighty Nest when storing fresh produce. It will help the food stay fresh longer.
  • Only using half that lemon? Mighty nest also has Food Huggers! They come nested, in a variety of sizes in each set, and cover partially eaten tomatoes. oranges, and more.
  • Given that a few things may be bruised, you’ll want to come up with a plan right away to use them up. You can make sauces from fruits to enjoy over Paleo “Ice Cream” or french toast, or to add to smoothies.
  • If anything is “thin-skinned”, check it to see if it needs to be used quickly.
  • Top cereal or smoothies with chopped fruit.
  • Utilize Google or another search engine to look up what types of produce and greens can be frozen and how.
  • And use it to find new recipes to try!

I can’t wait to see what my second box from Misfits Market is filled with. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks. This box cost me $38.50, and should last me two weeks.

Note 1: It’s called Misfits Market for a reason. It is a source of “ugly” produce. Let me just say that I don’t care if the produce is perfect. If I can get “ugly” produce at a good price, I am all over that. Produce is produce. It’s all good!

Note 2: Get 25% off your first order, and give me 25% off a future order. It’s a win-win! The links in this article will take you to my page with your discount. (Affiliate)

Note 3: Over a year ago I signed up for MightyNest. I wanted a way to bring healthy products into my home, and I thought this would be perfect. I signed up for their MightyFix and, each month, get a package from them with something new for me to try. (Affiliate)

~ Shannon

Delivery Service – Produce Brought to My Door

I’ve been doing research on delivery services in my area of Maine, without any luck. There didn’t seem to be any. In particular, I’m looking for produce at a reasonable price.

I didn’t just want to order from any old place. I was looking for certain things.

  • That the source would deliver to my door, or at least my work address being that it is in the city.
  • That the food would be organic.
  • That the price would reasonable.

What do I mean by reasonable? Consider that I spent about $100.00 on mostly organic, healthy foods – mainly fruits and vegetables – that would last two weeks only last month. Ouch! That bill hurt. I know there has to be a better way. A way to eat healthy on a budget. My food budget is generally between $30.00 and $40.00 per week. Any more than that and I don’t have the money I need for other important things.

Why did I need to get that food? Sadly, I’ve been sick four times already this year. The shortest sickness lasted just over a week; the longest almost three. Also, I’m having gut issues. I know I need to get back to eating healthy.

So, I did a two-week, mainly fruits and veggies, cleanse. It helped me to feel better, and my gut hasn’t been having as many issues. But there is still work to do.

Previously I’ve done a whole30/Paleo lifestyle that netted some good weightloss results. I also felt so much better eating that way. I had an income change that prevented me from continuing for a number of months and, while I’m still eating about 60% healthy each week, I’m not really back to where I need to be nutritionally. Yet.

Things I know about me: My body does not process dairy well. My body will not function properly if I am eating grains. I don’t want to be dependent on sugar. It does not help with my weight issues. One of my biggest problems is when I feel like I am missing out on old favorites, and that’s when I tend to slip back into old habits.  So I need to allow for the occasional “treat”. Dinner from my favorite restaurant. Cake at the grandkids birthday party. You know what I mean.

I’m switching things up a bit. You see, I find I’m eating less and less meat. I do eat meat, but I feel like doing so less often these days. I don’t want meat substitutes; not the heavily processed stuff, vegan or otherwise. I really do want mainly fruits and vegetables. And organic tastes far better.

A few weeks back I signed up on some sites to be notified of when they start delivering to Maine, and last week I heard back from one of them!

Misfits Market is now delivering in Maine. They will deliver organic, non-GMO produce to my house, and allow me to choose the delivery day. I cannot even express how happy this makes me. There is a mix of fruits and vegetables in each shipment, according to what is in season.

At first I thought, because it’s just me I prepare food for, I should by the Mischief Box. It’s the smaller of the two, with 10 – 12 lbs of produce for $23.75 + shipping. Or, if you decide to get a subscription it would cost $19.00 + tax per box per week or biweekly. This serves 1-2 people for a week.

But then I looked at the information for the Madness Box, and it sounded like a better deal. I want my boxes delivered bi-weekly, figuring that many weeks there will be greens and some fruits that can be frozen, as well as fruits I can turn into sauces. And that items such as potatoes will store longer if done right. The Madness Box will weigh in at approximately 18-20 pounds, and technically serve 4-5 people for a week. These boxes are $42.50 + tax each but, if you want to get a subscription they will only be $34.00 + tax each.

I bought a bi-weekly subscription of the Madness Box for $38.50 per box, including tax, meaning I am spending $19.25 per week on fruits and vegetables. That gives me about another pound of produce for only a quarter, and leaves money in my budget each week to get other things I might need.

Knowing what I know about organic food costs in the stores and at the farmer’s market in my area, this is does not seem like a bad deal. I will be reporting back after each of my first two deliveries, so come back to see if I am happy with what I receive.

The great thing about Misfits Market is that I can cancel any time 🙂 This is huge for me, as I don’t want to be locked into anything if I decide I’m not pleased.

Note 1: It’s called Misfits Market for a reason. It is a source of “ugly” produce. Let me just say that I don’t care if the produce is perfect. If I can get “ugly” produce at a good price, I am all over that. Produce is produce. It’s all good!

Note 2: Get 25% off your first order, and give me 25% off a future order. It’s a win-win! The links in this article will take you to my page with your discount.

Do you order from Misfits Market? What area are you in, and what are your experiences with the company? Let us know in the comments below?

If you decide to order, please report back later with your impressions of your first few boxes. My daughter wants to know if it is a good variety of food, and if the items change from week-to-week. She and my sister are waiting for my thoughts on the boxes so I’ll be reporting my impressions to them, as well as right here!

~ Shannon

How Much do You Spend on Groceries?

In the past I’ve created posts explaining the USDA Food Plan Costs so you can get an idea of how much people spend for food individually and as a family. While I do know a few people who spend less than the thrifty food plan, this seems to be spot on most weeks for me.

I do aspire to the thrifty food plan, which was $38.00 February 2019, but sometimes I go above, spending closer to the low-cost plan of $47.20 a week. Mind you, I do buy some organic, non-gmo items, and I’m still learning to do this in the most affordable way possible. I want to point out that I do a stock up trip with my tax refund where I spend an additional $100 to $150 in one trip, but the food lasts a long time.

During years when my parents grow food, my overall average has gone down significantly. When I have a place where I can garden I plan to grow most of my own produce and herbs, but I am not there yet.

Here are some ways I save money on food:

  • I grow some of my own organic herbs and dry or freeze them for later use. Parsley and mint are two of them.
  • I have chives growing out at my mothers. When I visit, I cut some and bring it home to freeze. This is an absolute freebie for me.
  • I make some things from scratch, such as Paleo pizza crusts, muffins, and tortillas, as well as the occasional dessert.
  • I make my own fruit sauces.
  • I coupon minimally. It’s hard to find coupons for most of what I buy.
  • I try to buy when on sale.
  • I accept fresh produce and eggs from anyone who wants to give them to me.
  • I freeze small bits of food to add to smoothies, soups, and other things later on.
  • I snag good buys at farmer’s markets at the end of the day/season.
  • I comparison shop. Sometimes, but not always, I can find better deals online.

What I don’t mind spending extra money on.

  • Organic, Maine-made honey.
  • Organic, Maine or Vermont-made maple syrup and cream.
  • Organic, locally canned pickled beets when my parents don’t make them.
  • Organic olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee.
  • Almond and coconut flours.
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

I don’t buy a lot of these more expensive items, but I do like to have them on hand once in a while. Sometimes I like to make something special.

How does your spending compare to the amounts given for February?

Shannon

Dirty Dozen & Clean 15, And Me

I assume since you are here, you’re trying to eat healthy/ier, as I am. Each year I read the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list to see where things stand. I always hope for the best, and I’m always dismayed at the amount of pesticides in our food.

Today was no different. I had the opportunity to sit down and read the article, and take a look at the study. I updated my lists in the Memo section of my phone (so I have them when I’m shopping), and was reminding of how much I want to live in a place where I can grow my food. I’m hoping my parents actually get back into this after my step-father retires. It’s been a couple of years since they’ve done their garden, but I’m guessing they’ll be back at it next spring. Or hoping.

What does this mean for me? I have to be careful of:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach (I eat a lot of this!)
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery

I eat a lot of those foods. The others on the list aren’t eaten often, but I will have to keep them in mind so I am prepared. I’ve listed all 12 on my Yuck! list in my phone, and all the Clean 15 on my Yum! list. I’m so excited to have avocado, pineapple, and cabbage on my Yum! list, as well as honey-dew and cantaloupe. I hate that I have to spend more to get the organic versions of the other items I want. I can’t always afford to, but I try to when possible.

Are you changing the way you eat to accommodate these lists? Let us know how in the comments.

Happy spring!

Shannon

 

 

Cucumber-Banana Smoothie

Cucumbers are a great addition to most smoothies. Their water content is high, so you might not need as much milk in this recipe as you do in others. Use what greens are in season. You’ll save money if you grow them yourself. Use organic ingredients whenever you can.

This recipes uses leftover ingredients from other recipes. Another great way to save money and create less waste.

Ingredients

vanilla almond milk

1 handful of greens – kale, chard, baby spinach

10 cucumber slices

1 egg

6 banana slices

5 watermelon chunks

  1. Place everything except the vanilla almond milk into a blender.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla almond milk a little at a time and blend, until the smoothie is at the desired consistency.
  4. Pour into a tall glass.
  5. Add a straw and enjoy!

Tips

  • Save money by using leftovers, and by purchasing produce in season.
  • Switch up ingredients for different flavors.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with breakfast or as a snack.

Enjoy!

Shannon

 

 

Quick Tip: Save Money on Herbs & Spices

A while back I wrote a quick tip for you on growing your own herbs, but there are other ways you can save money on these delectable additions to meals. First, go through your pantry and see what you have. Make note of which herbs and spices you use the most of, and which you use very little of.

  • Decide what items you can grow organically on a windowsill.
  • Learn how to freeze and dry what you do grow.
  • Figure out exactly what you have to buy, and find out where you can buy the organic versions affordably.
  • Find others who also use only a little of the herbs and spices that you use little of. Are they willing to go in on the cost of those items with you and split them? Or maybe someone uses more than you do but would be willing to give you what you need at little cost.
  • Or maybe your mom will be awesome and give you just what is required of those particular items, for the recipes you will be making ❤

Growing your own and going in on the cost with others can be huge money savers.

If you find you haven’t even opened something in the last year give it away and don’t bother getting it again.

While we want to save money in this area – and possibly save huge – it is also important that you buy or grow organically. By doing so, you will get top nutritional benefits. And the organic versions taste so much better!

Shannon

 

Review: Beetology Juices + How to Reuse the Bottles

When I was contacted about trying the Beetology juices by Kayco, I was skeptical at best. The thought of beets as a juice base just did not seem appealing. But I had them send me a few juices to try, because I’m all into trying more and more healthy things, and I’m so glad I did.

These juices are organic, 100% cold pressed. I’m looking more toward organic as I move forward with my nutrition goals (as my budget allows), so this pleased me right off the bat. I also like that they are not from concentrate, something else I look for when I want juice. They are non-GMO project verified as well, which is also plus.

Another benefit is the lack of preservatives and additives. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want those types of things in my fruit servings. And there are no artificial flavorings or colors.

It really is the color of beets.

Beetology juices are certified fair trade.

I tried these five flavors:

  • beet + cherry
  • beet + berry
  • beet + veggie
  • beet + lemon + ginger
  • beet + tropical fruit

While I enjoyed them all, my favorites were the beet + cherry and the beet + berry. They really pleased my taste buds!

Sadly, this product is not yet sold near me. However it is sold in Portland, I will have to buy a few bottles the next time I visit Zowie’s family. I don’t drink a lot of juice, so one bottle would last me three servings – about what I would drink in a week’s time.

Now, the suggested retail price for this juice is $3.99 per 8.45 fluid ounce bottle, but I consider this a good price for me for a few reasons:

  1. I don’t drink juice often enough for the price to make a huge dent in my budget, and I know I’ll get three servings from each bottle.
  2. They are a source of nutrients my body needs.
  3. I can reuse the bottles for short-term food storage.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright August 2017.

Check out the bottles in the picture above. They are made of sturdy, thick glass, and can be used for short-term storage of food items and liquids. I removed the labels (an easy task that took little time) and washed the bottles and covers well, then allowed them to air dry.

I had bags of partially used food items that I decided would look better if they were in these cute little bottles. The bags look so messy, I wanted a better look in there because I’ve been organizing the small closet in my room to serve as a pantry.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright August 2017.

Here you can see where I put unsweetened coconut flakes in one bottle, dried cranberries in the second, and dried berries in the third. These are going to work just fine to store smaller portions of foods and liquids, and look much better in my little pantry space than those bags of food did.

Because I now have five of these bottles, I no longer need to go out and buy containers for this specific purpose.

How would you reuse the bottles?

Shannon

 

Shrimp Scampi Salad

Salads are common fare during the spring and summer months, as we try to eat lighter after a winter of hearty meals. Experimenting with different combinations of foods keeps our meals new and exciting. I don’t know about you, but I get so bored with food after a while I need to break out and try something different or I wont feel like eating at all.

This recipe is super-easy, and is so good. I use the same recipe for shrimp scampi that I used to make Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggies. As a matter-of-fact, I used leftover shrimp from the scampi made for that meal with no loss of flavor.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

What a beautiful salad! How about making one for yourself.

Ingredients

about a dozen shrimp from the scampi recipe (I used the one from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold. does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and shredded

a little cabbage, shredded

3 slices cucumber, cut in fourths

3 slices zucchini, cut in fourths

7 or 8 sugar snap or snow pod peas

4 baby carrots, diced

  1. Layer the vegetables on your plate, however you like.
  2. Top with the shrimp scampi and a little of the sauce from the pan.
  3. Enjoy!

I try to use mainly organic vegetables when possible, though sometimes cost trumps everything.

This is a good-size salad, so I count it as a main meal.

Tips

  • Use whatever vegetables you can get affordably to save money.
  • Try different types of seafood.

Serving Suggestions

What are your favorite salad recipes?

Shannon

 

Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie

I’ve wanted to get away from eating the heavier foods of winter, and back into eating lighter fare. I’m switching things out as I can, now that the winter stocks are almost depleted. The last shopping trip netted me many fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost. I love it when I can pull that off. The only meat I bought was shrimp, and I have a few recipes coming up for that. (So come back often this month to see what else is on the site!)

But this recipe is strictly vegetables. If you’re wondering about protein, this recipe does provide that, and many other nutrients. Meats aren’t the only foods you can get protein from, thank goodness. I don’t always want meat. As a matter-of-fact, the reason I made these wraps was because I wasn’t into eating meat on that particular day.

I just wanted my veggies!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Don’t these wraps look good? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. These wraps are so versatile they can be used as sides or snacks, or could even count as a whole meal.

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Add some sliced strawberry for a sweet kick.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

 

Fruit and Chocolate Trail Mix

I don’t eat snacks often but, when I do, I’m trying to make healthy choices. These mixes can be placed in small jars and stored in the pantry, so you can quickly grab one when putting together a meal for work or when you want a snack.

Trail mixes are easy to make, and allow me to use up leftovers from other cooking ventures. The chocolate chips are not Paleo, but they are organic – as are the other ingredients.

Ingredients

( 4 (8 ounce) servings)

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

2/3 cup dried cranberry and blueberry mix

2/3 cup slice almond and dried cranberry mix

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  2. Divide between four 8 ounce canning jars.
  3. Cover and place in the pantry.

Notes

  • Use different types of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, for variation.

Serving suggestions

Shannon