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


  1. We've been doing the same thing too, and besides being healthier, in most cases, it's also cheaper! :) We cut margarine out a long time ago, and actually had to go nondairy for about a year due to Sweetie Girl's reflux, but we found that we usually didn't miss it. That alone saved a ton of money. We also make our own seasonings, like taco seasoning. Now that the baby naps a little better, I'm hoping to do more of our baking too, but we've switched to the most natural bread we can find in the Commissary for now. We also noticed the same thing about instant oatmeal so I make it from rolled oats now. Would love to hear your bread and oatmeal recipes! :)

  2. I have recently bought a herdshare in an amish farm of dairy cows. We can now get raw milk, butter, yogurt, cream (HOLY YUM), cottage cheese... you name it. Made all at their farm from their cows who are grass fed. its been my recent obsession on what i can do with this milk!



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