As I planned, I’m totally doing a real food diet. This is for me personally (the girls still eat some white breads and often a treat or two… I’d like to get them off these things… but I’m stretching them plenty right now!).
I’ve stopped buying most things processed. If I can’t pronounce it… it’s probably not coming home with me. I still have some things in the pantry being used up (spaghetti sauce and my beloved pineapple salsa from Trader Joes). Stopped eating processed sugar (only find honey, molasses, and maple syrup in small amounts). I can’t find a bread that meets my requirements and doesn’t cause a 20+ minute drive to get a fresh loaf so we’re bread free. I’m also trying to lighten the grain load.
I can’t go organic on my budget in either meat or veggies. That’s okay. But I have picked two areas to spend quite a bit of the budget on: whole NON-homogenized milk (it is low temperature pasteurized… I’m just not a weaning baby and raw milk should be mixed just yet) and farm fresh eggs (we eat 5 dozen a week… and it’s one of the only meals the girls always eat so it’s totally worth splurging there for me!).
My friend Karen is doing a little 30 day challenge and invited me to write over on her blog (when I find the time). So recipes and thoughts on the real food challenge can be found over here!
However, I did have a 2.5 day spurt where after 3 weeks of eating almost all whole food as I cleaned out the cabinets, I ate out a lot when my family visited. I felt so gross for days afterward. Then, after 3 more weeks we went to a sub joint last weekend: Derek and I felt terrible afterward. Gas and bloating. (TMI? Sorry.) So I don’t think I”ll be splurging on that sort of thing again. Ick.
Real food really does make me feel better!
My friend Julia does a great series on things she has found helpful in her mothering journey. I’m joining up today with a quick post on my new favorite breakfast (the girls like it too)!
All winter long we alternate breakfast between oatmeal and eggs.
I’m still on an egg-free diet and, while I have found a million ways to vary up the oatmeal, it’s summer now: not every morning is suitable for hot oatmeal.
Enter granola. It still uses all the basic materials (that I buy in bulk or make at home): oats, honey, and yogurt (a girl has to have some protein to chase twins all day!). But I can serve it cool… and even snack on it mid-day.
I’ve tried a lot of granola recipes, but I’m finding that granola is one of those things where it’s okay to exercise my creative genes. I just sort of go with it. 🙂
Here’s my loose recipe, a couple variations, and a few granola making tips.
- about 4 cups oats (the toddlers measure… it’s never exact!)
- about 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or not)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or wheat germ
- 1/2 stick butter (I’m sure coconut oil would be amazing too!)
- 1/2-1 cup honey (enough to make it pretty moist)
- Preheat oven to 250 F
- Thoroughly mix oats, coconut, and wheat flour/germ.
- Dump in butter and add enough honey to make it pretty moist but not super sticky
- Toss in an oiled glass or ceramic baking dish. I use a 9×13 or two extra large loaf pans. Do not use a metal dish: you will burn it!
- Put into oven and stir outsides/bottom toward the top/middle of your dish about every 30 minutes.
- When it turns a tad golden brown, it’s done!
- If you like nuts in your granola, add them in slices or bits before baking.
- If you like dried fruit in your granola (or chocolate chips), add after baking.
- Feel free to add in some spices of your choice: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamon would all be good.
- Feel free to use some extracts. I’ve used vanilla and almond before. Both were pretty yummy 🙂
- Chocolate granola: Add enough cocoa powder (the darker the better!) to turn the oat mixture a chocolate color before baking.
- Banana granola: Mash a banana and add with the honey.
Last January we decided to participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for half of a growing season. A CSA is a group of people who buy a “share” in a local farm. We pay the farmer upfront and he grows his crops. In return, we get a weekly share of the produce (or eggs and meat). I’ve loved the concept since I first heard about it. I love knowing I’m supporting a local farmer and that my food is fresh and hasn’t traveled half the country (or internationally) to arrive on my dinner plate. I love the fact that when the girls are older we can go visit our farm and see our food growing.
However, I was totally unprepared for the cooking inspiration that comes with having all my vegetables picked out for me! Planning meals around my full bag of veggies was so much fun last week. I can’t wait to see what Derek brings home tonight 🙂
Here’s what was in my bag from Greenbrier Farms:
- 1 homemade ball of pizza dough
- 3 eggplant (one huge, 2 skinny)
- 6 Zephyr summer Squash
- 1 pint assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 5 giant heirloom tomatoes
- 6 potatoes
- 2 green bell peppers
- about 2 pints of okra
And here’s what we ate for dinner (I’m no food photographer… and I missed an entire meal):
(who complained when the tomatoes were all gone!)
|From the Top: Eggplant Dip with Crostini, Tomatoes and Fresh Mozarella,
Spinach Dip Bread Bowls (with the Pizza Crust), Bacon
|Eggplant Dip- Soo Good!|
|My Dad always makes tomatoes this way with homemade dressing every Labor Day 🙂|
|Awesome Fork Technique: This stuff disappeared!
I’m hoping for more eggplant in this week’s share.
It’s the end of the Month… and I’m getting creative in the kitchen again. This month we have tons of meat still in the freezer… but not much else so I made a man (and toddler) pleasing creation.
|I’m no food photographer… but you get the picture :-p|
- Cooked hamburger (or in my case… leftover meatballs)
- 1 box cooked pasta
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- whatever frozen veggie you have on hand (all we had was okra… yummy)
- 3-4oz grated cheddar
- 2-3 pieces chopped cooked bacon
- 3 Tbs Butter
- 1/4 C flour
- 1.5-2 C milk
- 2-3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Melt butter in medium sauce pan with the some of the bacon.
- Wisk in flour. Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add the about half of your milk.
- Add the Dijon and 2/3 of your cheese.
- Keep stirring. Things should be getting pretty thick.. but if it’s too thick add more milk.
- Dump remaining ingredients in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 until casserole is hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.
I don’t know about you, but in my house dinners get
unpredictable spontaneously creative at the end of the month. The grocery budget is short, two little piglets have eaten far more than I have planned for them to eat, and I’m digging around my cabinets for something that looks like it could blend itself into a semblance of a meal. And I thought, why not celebrate the unexpected meals (that are sometimes startlingly good)? We’ll call tonight’s meal:
Baked Chicken Fingers with Pass the Pasta Peas 😉
- 1/4 C Olive Oil
- 2-3 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tbs Brown Sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- a big shake of the following
- onion powder
- Italian seasoning
- sesame seeds (trust me)
- a grinding of fresh pepper
Mix ahead of time so flavors can meld.
Baked Chicken Fingers
- Chicken cut into fingers
- Bread Crumbs
- 4 eggs
- a greased baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 350. Beat eggs with water. Dip chicken in egg mixture and then in breadcrumbs. Repeat once and then place on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-17 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces.
Pass the Pasta Peas
- 1 package angel hair (or whatever you got!) pasta
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas
- The dressing you made above
- grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package direction with the peas tossed in the pot. Drain in a colander. In the same pasta pot, pour your dressing, cook over med-low heat for 2-3 minutes to take some of the sharpness out of the raw garlic. Dump pasta and peas back in the pan and stir until the dressing is soaking the noodles. Dump tons of yummy cheese on the pasta while stirring.
Serve hot and enjoy! The girls just ate this up 🙂