good food takes time

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i was peeling a clementine for the babe the other day and she was getting whiny. she’s 1 so she gets whiny a lot, growing into a toddler is hard work! off the top of my head i told her to be patient because real food takes time. i’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. real food does take time! it’s a lesson i really want to teach my kids. there’s a place for fast food but i really want to stay in good habits and make fast food for unique occasions. i want them to learn how to cook and enjoy it, like i’m only beginning to do now in my 30s. today making the thanksgiving meal was awesome and everything was from scratch. i actually enjoyed it and a big reason is that i just felt good about how healthy it was, no shortcuts, no junk. it was a meal i could feel good about feeding my family, including the baby!

oh and my pomegranates all went rips so i spent the good portion of nap time seeding these. see, real food takes time!

You are what you eat part 2

this is part two in a series on healthy eating. read part 1 here.

one thing you should know about me is that i hate wasting food, time and money…i realize that most people are that way too so if you feel the same way, you’re in good company! when we started our venture, i wanted to find good ways to make habits that were not time consuming or expensive or i would just give them up. (yes, i really am that undisciplined!)

meat

this is one thing we’ve gotten a lot of questions about, how we do meat on this diet. we buy organic free range chicken, grass fed beef, and all natural pork products (like hot dogs and bacon). we buy all of our meat at jimbo’s and trader joe’s. sometimes at sprouts or costco when we hear that they have something in that meets the requirements!

so, isn’t all that kind of meat super expensive? yes, it is more expensive than regular meat, BUT we’ve figured out some ways to make the meat last longer than usual. so here’s what we do:

buy an organic free range whole chicken…what? a whole chicken?! yes, a whole chicken. if you’ve never made one, you’re in for a pleasant surprise, they’re super easy and taste just like the cooked ones you buy whole at vons, albertsons or costco, plus they make your house smell like what i think martha stewart’s house might smell like. so why don’t we just buy one of the ready made chickens? first of all they aren’t organic/free range/hormone free (they might be but they don’t advertise that they are). and if you read the ingredients, they do not use all natural ingredients to cook/season their whole chickens.

1. get out your crock pot, cut up 4-5 organic carrots, 3-4 stalks of organic celery and an organic onion and put them in the pot.

2. unwrap your chicken (this is the hardest part for me because touching raw chicken is one of the most disgusting things in life – first world problems i know!) remove any giblets that came with it (heart, liver, neck etc..) don’t throw those away though because although we don’t eat them i let them cook with the chicken so we can get some of the nutrients. also i give the heart and liver to my dog afterward and she LOVES them!

3. rinse off the chicken and then rub it with garlic inside and out. then rub the chicken with seasoning. you can use any kind of seasoning you want but i like doing one that is more neutral so that we can use the leftover meat for other dishes later in the week. here’s what i season with (recipe from this site):

4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

i mix together this recipe x4 and put it in a jar so that i only have to spend the time mixing all these ingredients once every 4 chickens (i thought of that one myself 🙂

*optional – put a quartered lemon inside, i have done it both ways, and jared likes it better without so there you have it!

plop the chicken in the slow cooker on low for 4-8 hours depending on weight, a 4 lb chicken usually takes about 6 hours. just make sure that the temp is 160 degrees to be sure it’s done. this recipe calls for broiling it afterward but i never do that and it’s delicious.

once it’s done we eat it with a salad and some potatoes, jared eats plain and i like sweet 🙂

then i go about making this puppy last! once we’re done eating, i pick all the chicken off the bones and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. this shredded chicken lasts for 2-3 more recipes that usually yield leftovers (for a family of 2) so we really get quite a few meals out of one chicken. we’ve made bbq chicken pizza, tacos, chicken bakes, enchiladas, pretty much anything you can think to do with leftover chicken.

after i’ve stripped the bones, i dump the whole crock pot full of carcass and veges into a pot on the stove. i have a really great feature on my pot and it has a strainer that fits in it so that when i’m all done it’s easy to throw everything away and just have broth left. then i put enough water in the pot to cover all the food but don’t fill it too high or it will boil out. i boil that for about 2-3 hours and voila, homemade organic chicken stock! with the chicken stock, you can make chicken tortilla soup (with leftover chicken), any other type of broth or even pureed vegetable soups, or rice or couscous.

i know it sounds like a lot of time 2-3 hours, but you are just letting it sit there and do it’s thing while you can do laundry or watch tv.

look at that golden deliciousness!

read part three here

you are what you eat part 1

eating healthy.

jared and i have made some big life changes since the spring. we’ve always been relatively healthy eaters, but we decided to make an actual effort to actively choose all the food that goes into our bodies. these bodies were given to us to take care of, and we were doing a B- job of it. some of our friends have asked us to share how we handle our all natural diet, so i’ll split it up over a couple blog posts 🙂 here’s where we started…

what we cut out:

preservatives, artificial food coloring, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, soy, hormones, gmos (when possible), and artificial sweeteners (which we cut out long ago, see here)

what we’ve reduced:

wheat and corn products, refined sugars and processed foods in general (mainly because they include some or all of the above items)

what we’ve added:

fruits and vegetables (we never got enough vegetables), organic hormone free and grass fed meats, vitamins and herbs

it seems like a lot in a list but really it’s simple. we eat food that’s minimally processed, has all natural ingredients, and is organic and gmo free when possible…basically not taking any shortcuts. it’s behavior modification. it takes a little time at first, but when you get into good habits, it becomes easy. we’ve been at it for about 7 months now and it’s been great. some of you were following when i was doing my cooking posts incorporating vegetables so really this started even longer ago. i was trying to actively learn to cook because i realized that we eat much healthier when i’m cooking. the funny thing is that when we made this new change, i realized it’s a good thing i was trying to get in the habit of cooking because i pretty much have to cook to be able to control this new habit.

what we’ve learned:

the chemicals/food that we chose to cut out is pretty much in every processed food

it’s very hard to find bread with minimal ingredients (stay tuned, i may be looking to make my own at this point!)

it’s very hard to find meat (stay tuned, blog about this coming up)

it’s very easy to find good produce, california is awesome at farmer’s markets and jimbo’s has all organic produce (which makes it easy by not having to read labels)

shopping took more than twice as long when i first started, but now it’s back to a normal time (stay tuned for a post about where i buy things)

i thought eating organically and healthy would be more expensive but it’s turning out to be negligible (there will be bits and pieces about cost throughout subsequent posts)

so there you have it, feel free to ask questions or let me know what you want to hear about.

read part two here