Jul 10, 2013

Ding! Pop-tarts are DONE!

As promised here is the pop-tart update! 

They were a little labor intensive but I think some of that might be due to the fact that I've never made them before.  Now that I have been through the process once I think it won't take me as long.

Also, I only got 12 pop-tarts out of this recipe. I think if when I do it again I will double the recipe and make enough to freeze an entire batch. 

And on that note...

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the process:

 After rolling out the dough (which was tricky considering there is a fair amount of butter in the dough AND it was pretty righteously hot and humid) here are the bottoms with the brown sugar and cinnamon filling inside. 

Mmmmm here they are halfway done...


I'm excited to make them again with some different fillings. I might even try some savory types of fillings...pesto and ricotta maybe? Or pizza? 

                                                   Oh the possibilities!

Jul 8, 2013

Let's get real here...

So in my efforts to 1. work on this post-baby body and 2. focus on the health and well being of myself and my family I have recently become very conscious of ingredients. I'm not talking about ingredients in the recipes I make...but ingredients in the things I buy. I've dabbled in the blogosphere of people writing about food additives and pushing toward a very natural, unprocessed diet and have come across a few blogs that I read regularly. One in particular is 100 Days of Real Food. I haven't read through probably half of what is posted and I'm not sure when I started following this blog but I can't get enough of it. Now, I haven't jumped full force into the idea of eating ONLY real food...but I am gradually starting to switch things over in small doses. I knew if I went cold turkey I might lose my mind, or send my husband running for the closest McDonald's. 

Honestly, when it comes to dinner we usually aren't too far off the mark of eating "real food". I like to make dinner from scratch when I have the time and by planning my meals a month ahead of time we can usually stick to real food. We do enjoy a good take out meal once in a while though. Take last night...roast in the crock pot, homemade mashed potatoes, and baby carrots. A "real" meal. 

A few places where I have switched to real food are:

1. We do not buy sandwich bread from the store anymore. 

      I asked for a bread-maker for Christmas and my father-in-law made that happen. I probably make 2 loaves a week when we are both in school. It took quite a few tries to get the bread how we like it but now I think I've got it down pat and it might take me ten minutes to throw the ingredients in and walk away (flour, brown sugar, salt, yeast, yogurt, and water--easy peasy). 

2. We do not buy pre-made packets of oatmeal, nor "quick oats".  

      Ethan's typical breakfast is oatmeal. It fills that big tummy up! I also like it because it tends to stick to my ribs a little longer than a bowl of cold cereal does. I found a recipe in my new favorite cook book The Homemade Pantry--101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making that with an oven and food processor you can make your own "instant" oatmeal. Now it takes longer than a minute to make this one (a whole whopping 5 minutes) but it is worth it to plan a little ahead and have real oatmeal. Just as a comparison check this out (photo courtesy of Midwest Texan)...

These are the ingredients in Quaker Oats Maple and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal. A few of those are difficult to pronounce. I know that guar gum is used to thicken the oatmeal...but to me the fact that it is listed BEFORE oat flour just seems wrong. Wouldn't oat flour suffice as a thickening agent. 

The oatmeal I made has: old fashioned oats, brown sugar, a little bit of salt, and some cinnamon. That's it! 

3. No more margarine! (Blegh!)

     We ONLY use real butter now. Doesn't seem like such a big deal...but it is to me. If we had serious heart issues then I would probably try to curb my butter use and go for a margarine that is seriously low in trans fats. But for now, bring on the saturated fat (just in small doses). To me milk and cream seem far more healthy than plant oils that have been hydrogenated. 

4. Homemade, Homemade, Homemade.

     Many of the things I buy I am slowly finding ways to make them instead. The Homemade Pantry book has helped a great deal with that and some of the things I am going to try my hand at I found in this book. For example, now that I am on summer vacation I am going to try to make pop-tarts. I found the idea in the book, but I did like the texture of the pastries so I have since found one where the pastry is a little more 'dense' and freeze-able. I have also made chicken nuggets, purely out of ground up chicken (I ground it myself :-O) and breadcrumbs...and Aaron can attest to their flavor--they were pretty darn good. Thank you Weelicious. On the docket is ketchup, graham crackers, granola, cereal bars, hamburger buns, tomato sauce, and cheese crackers. 

5. Mama's getting a chest freezer...and some canning supplies

     Aaron has promised me a freezer by the end of the summer and I am going to attempt to can a few things this fall as well. We moved to a house where I can have such things in the basement and be able to eat local all winter long hopefully!

First on my list are the Pop-tarts. I made the dough this a.m. and it is chilling in the fridge right now. I'll be back with an update as to how this: 

Hopefully turns into this: 

Photo courtesy of SmittenKitchen

Jul 6, 2013

Two years??.......What?!?!

Lately I've been getting the 'itch' to get back to my blog.

Looking at the previous post it is obvious that it has been almost two years since I have even thought about posting...one month shy of two years actually. However, a lot has happened/changed that delayed posting anything to my blog.

The most significant and best change is definitely... 
Ethan C. Taylor
April 2012

This has been the greatest but most demanding time in my life thus far. My pregnancy was pretty textbook, labor was not (more on that at a later date), but the the past year has been very busy and if I wasn't feeding, bathing, rocking, or trying to get Ethan to sleep I was finally eating myself and sleeping when I could. Ethan was (and sometimes continues to be) a very tough baby. Colic, ravenous every hour of every day it seemed, and about 5 ear infections in less than 3 months which led to ear tubes certainly made things very challenging, but honestly its very easy to brush that aside when you see this every day:
Ethan C. Taylor 
June 2013

On top of this big change we have also sold our house, bought one we have been wanting to buy for some time, and have finally moved in and are getting settled. 

I'm looking forward to writing again and documenting our life...


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