Green Cooking: Not Just Salad

You may not be a vegetarian. Goodness knows, I like a rare steak as much as the next American, but that does not mean I am not a green cook.

Groan… Organic? Really?

watermelon smileWhich one of these applies to you?

  • Cannot afford $5 for three apples
  • Has a black thumb
  • Prefers pork
  • Thinks vegetables are for sissies

The organic label in your supermarket is one way to cook green, but it is not the only way. Eating green is better for your health than processed foods and preservatives. Contrary to the press release, preservatives in your food do not make YOU last longer!

The Price Tag

Fresh is best, but it is not the only way. If you simply cannot afford the organic label, try some other ways to get some green foods into your diet.

  •  Ye Olde Farmer’s Market

Nothing here has a package. Some of it still has dirt on it. These are both good things. Farmer’s markets keep down costs for local growers. Your food has not traveled thousands of miles to get to you. The lower grower overhead means more food in the basket and less money out of your wallet.

  • Fresh Frozen

Your farmer’s market (and some supermarket freezers) is a terrific place to find frozen fresh veggies and fruits. While not bearing the certified organic label, a little investigation reveals many of the growers are using organic techniques, but not shelling out the dough for the label. This saves you money and puts better food on your table.

I kill cactus.

flower potsIf you cannot grow a plant to save your hide, you can still benefit from those who can. You know the neighbor who has the monster garden which looks like a poster child for Miracle Grow? Go talk to him.

For fresh produce, consider a barter system. You can can his freshies and bring some to him. Or you can bring a casserole made with his squash. Or if you also cannot do more than steam fresh food, offer another service. This saves you both some money.

Vegetables have no bones.

Yes, but they do have fiber which is good at helping you digest an half pound of bacon. Take some of your favorite carnivore meals and add some green to them.

  • Replace half of your meat serving with dried beans simmered with fresh peppers. (Save money.)
  • Top your eggs with a warm salsa made from diced tomatoes, chopped peppers and sliced mushrooms-Shiitake or Portabello. Skip the meat.
  • Drop an half serving of your meat (or two chopped, hard-boiled eggs) on top of fresh spinach leaves, slivered carrots, broccoli florets and cubed cucumber. Top with an organic vinaigrette, chopped nuts and croutons.
  • Two slices of bacon on multi-grain toast. Add a slice of avocado, bean sprouts and a slab of tomoto.

Argh, Argh, Argh, Argh, Argh, Argh, Arr!”

Aren’t old enough to know who says that? Popeye loves spinach and has the muscles to prove it. Less face some nutrition facts:

  • Vegetables help keep skin clear (preventing wrinkles).
  • Vitamins in veggies keep joints healthy.
  • Vegetables help balance cholesterol.
  • Orange and red foods are good for your eyes and your brain.
  • Beans are a cheap, good source of fiber for better digestion.
  • Some veggies (like cabbage) burn fat.
  • Vegetables (mushrooms and onions) give you iron-rich energy.

Dollars and Sense

Green cooking means more money in your wallet. Better health means spending less money at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. Cutting some of the meat from your diet significantly reduces what you spend at the market. Green cooking=Saving money.

So, cook something green already. Good for you, good for your wallet and good for the environment!

A little more Green from…


© Red Dwyer 2011
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