Eating Clean and Living Green


Making more and more at home
March 19, 2012, 2:22 pm
Filed under: clean eating, green living, weekly meal log

My family’s inadvertently fallen into a routine (a good one, mind you) where every week or two, we take another item (food or household) that we were purchasing pre-made and instead make it at home. Because we’ve been making these changes one at a time over week spans, it’s been pretty seamless, and we can’t imagine it any other way.

Right now, we’re making our own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent (just did it this week—success!), whole-wheat bread loaves p.539*, cashew-spinach pesto (this week!) p.83*, granola bars, baking mix, kale chips (also tried just this week, and they’re our new “veggie chip”), and vegetable stock p.135*.

We also made some whole-wheat cranberry muffins, but made them vegan just to see what they tasted like. I replaced the egg with a flax egg (made from mixing ground flaxseeds and water), the butter with Earth Balance, the sugar with local honey, and the milk with organic almond milk. I used mostly whole-wheat flour, but included a bit of unbleached white bread flour too. Couldn’t tell a difference!

And an aside—when I share with folks what we’re eating, I often hear, “Well, my kid would never eat that.” Please don’t say that until you’ve actually tried to cook it and season it well and serve it to them. The only thing so far that either girl has given me an issue over is the pile of raw veggies at lunch. Abigail pushes back almost every day against eating them. Other than that, she and Madilyn have eaten everything. I read on another blog that kids will eat just about anything. We’re responsible for giving them healthy options. That is so true! And in our house, there’s no option besides what has been prepared. That makes things easier on me and David on the preparation side, and it makes things better for the girls as they’re going to eat what’s in front of them because they’re hungry. And the meals are so great for them!

Breakfasts
*Rolled oats made with organic almond milk and topped with banana, peanut butter, and chia seeds
*Same as above, but for a topping, David blended up frozen mixed berries into a puree and mixed that in the oats, then topped with banana.
*Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup

Oats with mixed berry puree, chia seeds, and banana

More berry oats

Lunches and Snacks
*Diced raw veggies (carrots, bell peppers, and edamame)
*Roasted red-pepper hummus and/or leftover cashew-spinach pesto on real whole-wheat bread p.539*
*Homemade granola bars with dried cranberries and raisins mixed in
*Kale chips (I tore the kale into small pieces, coated with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and baked for 7-8 min. at 350)
*Smoothies (blended frozen strawberries, a fresh banana, tons of spinach and kale, and water)
*Clementines, bananas, rice cakes with jam, and organic, unseasoned popcorn from bulk kernels were our snacks.

Daddy and Abigail making kale chips

Trial run of kale chips---coating in olive oil

Plate pride! That's a good looking lunch, isn't it?

Dinners
*Cassoulet with lots of vegetables (and sausage!) p.392* The seasonings in this dish created such a rich flavor, and that combined with our homemade veggie stock p.135* and organic sausage made for a delectable combination that neither girl hesitate to eat. Abigail even asked for “more, please!!” each night we had it. Yes!
*Beet sandwiches p.83* with kale chips and baked potatoes (baked organic spuds with salt and pepper)
*Asian veggie stir-fry (again, just brown rice I’d made before in a skillet stir-fried with olive oil, soy sauce, and loads of our lunch veggies)
*We went out to dinner with some friends at Laughing Seed Cafe. It’s a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in downtown Asheville, and with our new way of eating, we jumped at the invite to try it out. David and I split a vegetable sushi roll (with sriracha sauce…HOT!) and a Havana Cuban sandwich. Here’s the description (DELICIOUS!) “Herb and spice battered organic tempeh, crispy housemade pickles, black bean spread, tomatoes, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and Asheville’s Lusty Monk mustard on homemade Cuban bread.” The tempeh was in place of meat, and we couldn’t tell a difference. So yummy!

Cassoulet, finished. Abigail called this "puppy dog soup" and lapped it up!

Don't judge by looks. The beet sandwiches were incredible, and honestly, just the beet chips were tasty. The girls went nuts.

Desserts
*I have a Starbucks card that I’ve registered and am working up to being a Gold card member. Yay! So the occasional brewed treat has been my dessert. Also this week, I’ll be trying hot, home-brewed tea with honey as a treat.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit/grain every week for a while—next week, we’re trying dandelion greens
2. Remove dairy from our diet to see the health effects—So…David and I didn’t do so great at cutting it out, but the girls have been 100% free for a week. I think we’ll try another week or two before drawing any conclusions.
3. Once our dish detergent runs out, make our own. I’ve seen a few good recipes for it. I made it this week, and it worked really great! Here’s the recipe.
4. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones. Waiting for coupons on items or a good sale to stock up on glass containers because they’re expensive!

Articles of interest
7 Reasons I hate artificial food dyes—After reading this article, I started using a more critical eye when looking at the ingredients in the few packages we do have in our house. What surprised me the most is that there were these artificial colorings in Abigail’s multivitamin, and caramel coloring (just like in sodas) in Madilyn’s liquid polyvisol multivitamin. Whoa! So, first-off, maybe we don’t need multivitamins anymore since we’re eating such a plant-based, diverse diet. Secondly, why are such bad ingredients in things that should be for our health? Ack! I threw both girls’ vitamins out.

The many names for sugar—this article blew my mind. I had no idea there were so many names for the same ingredient! This motivated me even more to keep making things at home where I can essentially control all of the individual ingredients. Whew.

*recipes taken from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.”

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Keep up the good work! Technically, your muffins aren’t vegan because of the honey (bees count as animals), but lots of people aren’t vigilant about it. I love how doughy vegan muffins are– the chicken eggs make them more cakey and the flax eggs give them that wonderful chew.

I have a question about the laundry detergent you’re making: does it get the sweat smell and stains out of your workout clothes? We sweat quite a bit, through multiple clothing items, every week, and I’m nervous that the homemade kind won’t get it all out. Thoughts?

Comment by Sarah A

Doh! Didn’t even think about the honey. Perhaps agave nectar next time instead? I think that’s vegan. The muffins were delicious, and yes, a bit more dense—but definitely for the better!

So far, the laundry detergent has worked well with our gym clothes, but it’s my rule to wash sweaty clothes within 2 days, so I’m sure that has an impact. You’re welcome to snag a few tablespoons to try on your clothes so you can avoid making a whole batch until you know it works well for you!

Comment by Sally Ann

Love the beet sandwich idea! Good recipe for trying to cut out grains in our household…

Comment by Tina

I wish I could take credit. Mark Bittman has some phenomenal recipes in his “The Food Matters Cookbook.” So delicious!

Comment by Sally Ann

[…] was inspired to try beet chips after reading about them  over at eatingcleanandlivinggreen.  Always looking for an opportunity to use the food processor I got for Christmas I easily and […]

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