Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eating Better: The Basics (Part Two)

So...have you hopped on my chemical-free band wagon yet?

Why not?

It can be difficult to retrain you your taste buds to enjoy food in it's whole, purest form. Especially if your eating habits have always been the same: packaged, processed foods, consumed out of convenience and "necessity". But I'll let you in on a secret...I can TASTE the preservatives and engineered flavorings in just about any processed food. No lie. My family's nickname for me has always been "the nose". Smell is directly linked to taste, so therefore, with the help of my super duper sniffer, I can taste anything unusual in my food (and let's face it...chemically engineered junk is unusual).  It wasn't always that way though. For years I ate junk and thought it tasted good. Like most people, I was raised on condensed soups, seasoning packets and packaged sweets. Oh, my mom made homemade cookies and other from-scratch goodies, but not every day. And let's face it, Little Debbies are cheap and lack the preparation time of homemade cookies.

In order to ween myself (and my family) from the processed foods, I had to come up with tasty alternatives. I started with the ever popular condensed cream of mushroom soup. After a quick internet search, I came up with this. I altered it a bit to suite our tastes...added more mushrooms, used organic broth (which is IMPORTANT to keep the MSG out), and seasoned it with sea salt. It works great in tuna noodle casserole (which I now have a different from-scratch recipe that  I use and I will share another day) and green bean casserole! The recipe can also be used to create other "cream of" soup variations. Another thing I quickly found a substitute for was taco seasoning. My favorite website, allrecipes.com, is where I found my go-to taco seasoning recipe. Trust me, this is WAY better than any seasoning packet. Plus, you can mix up a ton, and have it on-hand whenever. How convenient is that?


(note: You will need to add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to the seasoning mix. Just like the packets.)



It was actually quite simple to find chemical free substitutions for the foods we liked. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

 

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies (aka: oatmeal cream pies)  Please note that I switch the shortening for real butter.





 




Restaurant Style Salsa


28oz. can of organic (or natural) whole tomatoes

2-10 oz can of all natural tomatoes with green chilies (I use the Meijer Naturals brand...Ro-Tel HAS additives, so do not use)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and all, cut into chunks

3/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

1/2 cup ORGANIC cilantro

The juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cumin

a pinch of sugar


Toss ingredients into a food processor or blender, pulse 15-20 times.

Pour into a bowl and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours (it gets better with time!) before serving.




We are HUGE chips and salsa eaters! I use either the brand pictured above, or organic if they are on sale.
  






In the evenings, my hubby and I like to drink chai tea lattes. I use lowfat organic milk, and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. Way better than those processed cocoa packets we used to slurp down.

These are just a few ways that we have improved our diets. As I said in the last post, this was a slow process for us. You may be wondering about other important aspects of healthy eating, and I promise I am getting to that. Posts on everything from eliminating trans fats to the importance of buying organic produce are yet to come. Plus links to more of my favorite websites!

If you have any questions, let me know!


Jessie


3 comments:

  1. I LOVE the Oregon Chai Latte liquid concentrate! I admit I always drink mine with whipped cream, but I love the sprinkle of extra cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

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  2. I'm not above a little fresh whipped cream;) Very yummy on a chilly fall evening!

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  3. I LOVE salsa and Chia!!!! Oh girl I am going to have to see about making that salsa, it looks so good! I used to make it but not sure why I don't anymore, I really need to get my butt in gear!
    thank you for the recipes!!!
    xoxox

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