Thursday, February 28, 2013

Food, food, and more food

 Over the last two years, Jason and I have made significant changes in our diets. First, because we stumbled upon the documentary Food Inc. Oh my, what an eye opening experience that was! Second, because I was pregnant and wanted to ensure I had optimal nutrition. Third, because we now have a sweet little girl for which we want to role model healthy eating habits.

We have successfully converted to about an 80% organic diet.  I know, most people don't find "going organic" a realistic option, but educating ourselves and smart shopping have made the switch easy.  We shop based on the EWG's "Dirty Dozen", saving money by purchasing the "Clean 15" non-organic.  We have also cut out most processed/convenience foods which is easy to do with only shopping the perimeter of the store where the fresh foods are located.  It is only for the rare treat or for condiments I have not mastered the making of that we will venture down the center aisles.

With the several snow days we've been blessed with over the last couple of weeks, I really buckled down and made a meal plan (and stuck to it!) to ensure we didn't starve while we were snowed in :) We had so much fun getting creative and trying out new recipes. Here are links to a few of our favorites :)

For breakfast, we have been doing a lot of pancakes and waffles with this wonderful mix!
It is very smooth in texture and even picky Jason prefers it over its frozen counterparts.  We love to mix in cinnamon and sugar, fresh blueberries, or dark chocolate chips.
We have also been on a french toast kick! We have been topping all of the above with REAL maple syrup (farewell high fructose corn syrup, you have not been missed!) or, my favorite, a puree of strawberries, honey, and a touch of water.
Another must try (that is unfortunately not organic, but considered a treat) is
It is ahhmazing- so smooth and creamy. Try the strawberry rhubarb, you will not be disappointed :)

For lunch, we have been enjoying a lot of grilled sandwiches. We found a delicious organic lunch meat option as well as a great organic sliced cheddar cheese
We have also been making grilled cheese sandwiches to dunk in this wonderful organic creamy tomato basil soup. 
Our other go to lunch, especially when we have left over ground beef or chicken, is quesidillas. We use a single tortilla, folded in half, stuffed with meat, cheese, chili seasoning, and salsa.

For dinner, we have enjoyed several hearty meals perfect to cozy up with. We made a delicious beef stew, following this recipe with the exception of using Spice Hunter organic poultry seasoning in place of the listed spices.
We were inspired by this recipe to make our pork chop dish-
Instead of the crockpot (due to a time crunch), we baked our pork chops (covered with cream of chicken soup and sprinkled with ranch seasoning) on a bed of homemade scalloped potatoes. It turned out great, but next time I will let the potatoes bake a little before adding the pork chops to the top due to the different cook times. For this recipe, I made the cream of chicken soup following this recipe. It turned out just as good as any from a can.
We also made our first attempt at roasting a whole organic chicken.  We dressed it in butter and our beloved poultry seasoning, stuffed it with apple slices, and surrounded it with diced carrots, celery, and potatoes. We cooked it in our 3 qt. Romertopt clay baker for an hour. It was perfection! Now I just need a larger clay baker for entertaining and as our family grows- birthday gift idea anyone? ;)
I then used the left over chicken to make a delicious chicken noodle soup.

For dessert, I have really been wanting to try out one of the very popular banana recipes on Pinterest, so Claire and I gave this one a shot.
We added 1 tsp. of cinnamon and 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips.  They were so yummy, and best of all, I didn't have to feel guilty for allowing Claire to indulge in dessert.

Hopefully we can keep up with our positive changes and continue to convert them into habits. Next week, I am planning to attempt homemade organic cheddar cheese crackers, baking our sandwich bread (I have yet to master a recipe soft enough for Jason's liking), and implementing a meatless night.

One of Jason's favorite quotes:

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