Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eat and Be Merry

Our home has been doing a major nutritional overhaul in the past weeks. We’ve gone from eating all things processed and chemical to consuming whole foods and more fruits and vegetables. We’re trying to eat out less and eat in more, consuming more nuts and whole grains and even making our own bread. Many of my fellow Builders have been a great inspiration to us in this endeavor–we’re just slow on the uptake and finally got the message! It really took me sitting down to enter receipts into our budget back in November to realize we were eating out WAY too much; to the point that I was worried for GG’s arteries. With his job being very demanding, with little time for exercise, and with plenty of excuses to eat fast food on the run, he was shaping up to be the next 35-year-old heart attack victim (despite looking generally “healthy” from the outside). Something had to change.

Out went his daily trips to Wen.dy’s (they have a joint on the first floor of his building), in came lunches made by me. In the past I’ve refused this nicety for my dear one, citing small children and the busyness of the morning. But I was willing if it meant helping him eat better and stay with us longer. And to be honest, it doesn’t take too much time, especially when I’m already making a lunch for our kindergartner.

Out went crackers and chips and cereals where we couldn’t even read half of the ingredients, in came more sensible choices from better stores. To look at our cupboards now, you wouldn’t recognize anything from the past. We’ve started anew and it feels really good. The boys have definitely needed some coaxing to adjust. They don't recognize any of our old brands and wallowed a bit before realizing that more nutritional mini-wheats from our new store taste really good and just as good as the old ones. Other foods followed suit. We're still working on their transition to new ranch dressing. Nobody does it like Hidd.en Valley. The other night I had a good chuckle when M said, "Mommy, can we just please switch back to the dressing with chemicals?" lol. Change takes time.

And surprisingly, our budget hasn’t taken too much of hit thanks to great places like Joe’s. What a wonderful place–I get everything there now and have been so surprised at how reasonable their prices are. We can buy organic (delicious) pasta from Italy for the same price as the store brand from Food Li.on. I’ll take it! Out has gone some of the items we used to purchase, in has come foods we prepare at home, like bread and granola. I have always made my own pesto and guacamole, but how fantastic it’s been to add to my cooking/baking repertoire! A breadmaker purchase using points from our credit card has made homemade bread a more feasible reality. It is delicious!! We also made our own calzone dough the other night. Note: Things taste better when you know you made them. Eating is more of a personal celebration.

To top things off, GG has started training for a half marathon in March. This is such a great endeavor and one that I’m encouraging him to do wholeheartedly. It has meant sacrificing my own evening time with him so he can hit the gym. Sometimes it means I’m alone with the kids for bedtime while he gets in his workout. But it’s worth it. When the health of a loved one is on the line, I’m willing to make sacrifices. I also downgraded my half-marathon aspirations to a local 10k this spring. Our home can’t manage two people training for a distance race, but the outcome is that I’m really excited to do something shorter and faster that asks less of me on the training schedule. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I made this gem for my troops yesterday and *boy!* is it good. My favorite way to eat it: on top of Tra.der Joe’s strawberry low-fat yogurt. Just plain good. Thanks to Tracy for the awesome recipe--she made some for us at Christmas and we were sold!

Tracy’s Homemade Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup grade A dark amber syrup
2 T butter
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 325
2) Mix together the first 5 ingredients
3) In a small bowl, stir together the syrup and melted butter.
4) Pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients, coating the dry ingredients well.
5) Spread this mixture onto baking sheets (either greased or lined with parchment paper)
6) Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
7) Add the craisins, dates, and chocolate chips or whatever dried fruit combination you prefer.

8) Eat and Enjoy!


Eva said...

Bethany... I am so inspired. Do you know how many times I open the pantry and hate all the boxes of "chemicals" I see!? I need a tour of your revamped kitchen. Maybe I can follow suit, slowly... Proud of you... how you manage this on top of it all. Thanks for the post!!! xoxo

The Ballee Girls said...

only trouble with trader joe's is: no diapers/wipes! so have to make that trip to the reg store as well...but there too, well worth it to eat better! (and there's always runs too!)

B-Mama said...

Also Zeyna, I just heard about a great Amazon supersaver program where you can sign up to receive monthly shipments of diapers and wipes at ridiculously cheap rates! (Better than buying brand dipes at the store!) Check it out! Does Amazon deliver to France?? :)

orahoods said...

Way to go B-Mama! We made the transition after Aaron was's amazing to see what is in the ingredients of some things! Keep the yummy recipes coming!

Jenica Cory said...

We have been (trying) to eat healthier organic foods for about 2 years now and LOVE where it was taken us. We make all kinds of homemade granola and granola bars and I can't remember the last time I bought a box of processed cereal. Magnolia just thinks granola IS cereal because that is what we call it when we eat it for breakfast in milk. If you get the chance watch the documentary Food Matters. It's on Netflix if you have that. It's great and has inspired us to begin taking vitamin supplements that are not at all synthetic. Anyways, way to go. It's always great when a family moves away from foods filled with chemicals. Maybe in the not so distant future, the brands we love will get the picture and change their recipes.

Also, I think our door is Fire Engine Red or something like that by Behr at the Home Depot.

Happy New Year!