Eating Clean and Living Green


Lucky 13
April 1, 2012, 2:05 pm
Filed under: clean eating, weekly meal log

We are now 13 weeks into our whole-foods eating journey—or three complete months. I can affirm now that we will absolutely not go back to the way we were eating in the past. We do still have some hang-ups that will have to be addressed at some point (the occasional box of brownie mix and questionable-ingredients-ice cream on the side), but all in all, we’ve made a near total move away from processed foods. It feels so, so good!

It’s been two weeks since my last meal recap because we’re sort of gotten into a routine with breakfast and lunch. Our dinners are where we really switch things up and try a couple of new dishes every week (haven’t repeated a dinner other than veggie stir fry since January 1!). Every now and then, we’ll try something different for breakfast, but for the most part, it’s rolled oats with various items mixed inside or placed on top or muffins or whole-wheat pancakes. All delicious, and for our family, it’s enough variety—at least for now.

Out of a need for ease and convenience, lunch is exactly the same every single day. David and I love the predictability, and the girls seem to appreciate it too.

Breakfasts
*(Almost) Vegan cranberry muffins
*Rolled oats made with organic almond milk and topped with banana, ground flax seed, 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.
*Oatmeal-cakes/fritters. David got creative and made these oatmeal cakes which we topped with jam. They were sort of like pancakes with granola mixed in. An interesting twist on our traditional breakfast.
*Pancakes and eggs from IHOP (we woke up and were totally—and I mean totally—out of breakfast food. Oops)
*Sweet potato pancakes from Tupelo Honey Cafe

Oatmeal-cakes/fritters before jam application


Madilyn gets really excited when we bring food to the table.

Lunches and Snacks
*When the girls were spending the weekend at my parents’ house, we ate a lunch out at Roly Poly. Mm!
*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 7-10 min. at 350)
*Smoothies (blended frozen strawberries, a fresh banana, tons of spinach and kale, and water)
*Clementines, bananas, and organic, unseasoned popcorn from bulk kernels were our snacks.

Dinners
*Again, while the girls were out of town with my parents, we ate out at 131 Main one night before watching The Hunger Games.
*Beet sandwiches p.83* with kale chips and baked potatoes (baked organic spuds with salt and pepper)
*Asian veggie stir-fry (2C of cooked brown rice thawed from my bulk stash in the freezer put in a skillet stir-fried with olive oil, soy sauce, and loads of our lunch veggies + some leftover frozen corn this time around)
*Green gumbo with potatoes and zucchini p.126* This was really tasty, but the lackluster apperance got to me a bit.
*Carrot Apple Ginger soup with apple chips (just baked apple slices w/cinnamon on top) and homemade whole-wheat baguettes—variation of p.539*. Rolled dough into long baguette-style rolls, brushed with olive oil and baked.
*Quinoa Tabbouleh p.164* The radishes in this dish were the peppery stars, and the texture was just amazing. Yum!

Green gumbo with potatoes and zucchini over brown rice

Bowl 'o' gumbo

Carrot, apple, ginger soup with homemade whole wheat baguette

Quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa tabbouleh

Desserts
*I’m now a Gold member at Starbucks which, as cool as that is, means I’m spending too much money there! I’m really going to try the hot tea and honey this week. I promise!

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit/grain every week for a while—so, the dandelion greens were impossible to find outside of picking them in a field. Oh well. This week, we’ll be experimenting a bit with broccoli—roasting it and mixing with pasta.
2. Remove dairy from our diet to see the health effects—After three weeks of dairy-free living for the girls and limited dairy intake for us, we’re decided to stick with totally avoiding cow’s milk but eating other dairy products in moderation if the opportunity presents itself. Our budget certainly doesn’t want us to start buying yogurt (or whole milk to make it) and cheese right now, but if someone else offers it, we won’t say “no.”
3. Once our shampoo and conditioner and other toiletries run out, start making our own. A friend of mine has had great success making her own hair products, lotion, blush, foundation, face wash, etc from really simple ingredients. Excited to try!
4. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones. Thanks to a tip from one of my blog readers and an emailed coupon, I bought a set from Bed, Bath, and Beyond last week. Yay!

Articles of interest
Filling your child’s Easter basket without all the processed junk
Link between fast food and depression

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



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.”



Fired up…again!
March 11, 2012, 2:55 pm
Filed under: background and research, clean eating, green living, weekly meal log

Sometimes I get asked how we keep up with this way of eating day in and day out. I first have to be honest and say that we have absolutely slipped and made poor choices (and paid severely for them the next day or two after), but what gets us back on track and encourages us to stay there is all of the research we’ve done and continue to do. I just don’t know how anyone could read the information that’s out there and not get fed up or angry enough to make a change. You can’t unlearn this stuff. More on that in a minute.

Breakfasts
*Rolled oats made with organic almond milk and topped with banana, peanut butter, and chia seeds
*Omelets made with organic bacon, cheese, and bell peppers
*Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup

Lousy picture, but a delicious omelet made with organic thick-sliced bacon, cheddar cheese, and bell peppers

Daddy's becoming quite skilled at pancake design!

Lunches and Snacks
*Diced raw veggies (carrots, bell peppers, and edamame)
*Neufchatel cheese spread on homemade, real whole-wheat bread p.539*
*Homemade, plain yogurt with raisins
*Homemade granola bars with dried cranberries mixed in
*Clementines, bananas, rice cakes with jam, and organic, unseasoned popcorn from bulk kernels were our snacks

Dinners
*Pasta with smoky roasted sweet potatoes and bacon p.255*. David and I went nuts over this dish. Such a delicious smoky flavor!
*Chipotle quinoa with corn and black beans p.310*. The combination of flavors and textures in this was really neat. It’d be good served in a tortilla too. I made ours a little too spicy by adding in too much adobo sauce, but I’ll know for next time.
*Asian veggie stir fry with brown rice
*Trough dinner—one night, I forgot to thaw rice and didn’t have time to dice the veggies for the Cassoulet, so the girls got a trough of plain cheerios, dried fruit, and bananas. Obviously not the most balanced dinner, but everything was whole foods!

Delicious pasta dish with sweet potatoes and bacon

Not wanting to pose, but she chowed down on this dish

Daddy couldn't shovel fast enough

This chipotle quinoa was pretty spicy, but the textures and flavors were an amazing blend of yum!

Lots to chop/dice/mince for the Cassoulet

Cassoulet in progress. Let me tell you, this has topped our girls' list of favorites, believe it or not.

I ate out with my parents and brother at a Mongolian stir fry restaurant. Pretty tasty!

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.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit/grain every week for a while—this coming week, we’re trying beet sandwiches and kale chips.
2. Remove dairy from our diet to see the health effects—included in the articles below are several on the gap between dairy’s perceived health benefits and the actual benefits. It’s our feeling right now that cons outweigh the pros. Today was day 1 of dairy-free eating.
3. Once our dish detergent runs out, make our own. I’ve seen a few good recipes for it. Our Great Value box is still holding strong. Maybe another week or two before we make our own.
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 and Videos of interest
For our kids
Pink slime on school lunch trays School lunches have got to be healthier for kids. This is getting ridiculous
Jamie Oliver talking about our food system and kids He’s of the well-known “Food Revolution.”
Robyn O’Brien’s TED Talk She’s a mom of 4 kids who became a food activist after realizing the additives in the food she fed her children caused one of them to have an allergic reaction. She asks, “How can a child be allergic to food?” If food isn’t actually food at all.

More reasons to stop drinking soda NOW!
What happens to your body when you drink a Coke
8 ways soda fizzles your health
Why soda is bad for you

Some of our research on dairy so far. For the time being, we’re cutting out all cheese, yogurt, and animal milk. Almond milk is our substitute.
Is [animal] milk good for our children?
Don’t drink your milk
Harvard declares dairy NOT part of a healthy diet

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



Making bread isn’t that tough afterall!
March 4, 2012, 3:09 pm
Filed under: clean eating, green living, weekly meal log

As much as we loved Atlanta, it was nice to be back in our own kitchen this week.

Since my last post, we’ve started making our own whole-wheat bread p.539* for snacks and sandwiches, and from that, making our own bread crumbs by setting out a few slices on the counter for a day or two, then throwing them in the blender. Perfecto!

Whole-wheat bread topped with oats

Breakfasts
*Rolled oats made with almond milk and topped with banana, peanut butter, cinnamon and chia seeds
*America’s favorite breakfast cereal
*Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup

Lunches and Snacks
*Diced raw veggies (carrots, bell peppers, and edamame)
*Sauteed zucchini and squash on homemade, real whole-wheat bread p.539* with Neufchatel cheese
*Homemade, plain yogurt with raisins (this week, when I made the yogurt, I saved the whey to use in making bread!)
*Homemade granola bars with dried cranberries mixed in
*Clementines, rice cakes with jam, and organic, unseasoned popcorn from bulk kernels were our snacks

After finishing her veggies, Abigail's munching on her yogurt, granola, and homemade whole-wheat bread.

Dinners
*Potato and Leek Gratin with Buttery Bread Crumbs p.424*. This was delicious!
*Whole-wheat shells with braised escarole, white beans, and sausage p. 253*. Another hit with the family, and it was nice to have some meat in a dish.
*Asian veggie stir fry with brown rice

Abigail helping me make the potato and leek gratin

Not a great shot, but under those yummy breadcrumbs was a deliciously simple and flavorful mix of leeks and russet potatoes. Mm!

Another really tasty dish that everyone loved. Shells with braised escarole, cantellini beans, and chicken and apple sausage.

Desserts
*I have a Starbucks card that I’ve registered and am working up to being a Gold card member. Yay! So the occasional latte has been my dessert.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit/grain every week for a while—this coming week, we’re trying roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa.
2. Make variations on our own bread—David’s already made some delicious large pretzels, but he’s wanting to experiment more with other types of bread making.
3. Once our dish detergent runs out, make our own. I’ve seen a few good recipes for it.
4. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones. I bought more containers today, still plastic, to reuse for all of our bulk dry goods at Earth Fare so we aren’t using the plastic zip-loc bags that the store provides.

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



In and out of town
February 25, 2012, 10:21 pm
Filed under: clean eating, green living, weekly meal log

After a yummy week of eating at home, David and I took off to Atlanta to celebrate our 5-year anniversary and in the process, enjoyed some ridiculously scrumptious farm-to-table cuisine. More on that in a moment!

Triumphs since our last post: making our own yogurt (in the crock pot!) and making our own laundry detergent (right at $18.50 for the ingredients. It should last around a year!).

Breakfasts
*Rolled oats made with almond milk and topped with banana, peanut butter, and flax seeds
*Same as above but topped with banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and chia seeds
*Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup
*Green smoothies with chia seeds (I blend up frozen strawberries, a banana, around 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, several cups of spinach, then thin it with water if needed. Stir in chia seeds for thickening and added omega-3!)
*Whole-wheat cranberry muffins (from our recipe cards…not sure where the initial recipe came from)

Valentine's day pancakes, courtesy of Daddy

My Valentine's day breakfast bowl. Mm!

Delicious oatmeal made with almond milk, mixed with peanut butter, and topped with cinnamon, banana and chia seeds

Lunches and Snacks
*Diced raw veggies (carrots, bell peppers, and edamame)
*Sauteed zucchini and squash on whole-wheat bread with Neufchatel cheese
*Homemade, plain yogurt with raisins
*Homemade granola bars with dried cranberries mixed in
*Clementines, rice cakes with jam, and organic, unseasoned popcorn from bulk kernels were our snacks

Dinners
*Cheese-stuffed Tortillini from Earth Fare with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. (The Tortillini was free at Earth Fare with a $10 purchase, and we were happy for the treat!)
*Celery root gratin with Gruyere cheese (p.229 in Simply Organic) with roasted broccoli on the side
*Creamy cauliflower mac p.222* with roasted asparagus on the side
*Brown rice and vegetable stir fry with organic chicken (The chicken was free at Earth Fare a few weeks ago. We opted to freeze it and save until now)
*Crisp noodle cake with stir fried greens and tofu p.236*

Celery root gratin. Not the most colorful dish, but it was yummy. Abigail dubbed it, "Dinosaur soup."

Dinner prep

My ever-present kitchen assistant

The noodle cake...in progress. Recommendation: use a shallow skillet. You have to slide the cake out at the end, and the depth of my skillet cause the cake to break a bit when removing.

Tofu and boy choy with tons of seasonings

The tofu was a HIT!

Desserts
*Serving of Earth Fare strawberry ice cream

Atlanta Food, in photos
We ate at Atlanta Grill (inside our hotel), Restaurant Eugene, Flip, and The Melting Pot.

At restaurant Eugene, after consuming my pear soda amuse bouche and about to tackle a roll

Poor picture, but David's winter greens tower

David and his plate of swordfish, corn and avocado puree, and other yummies I can't remember

My delicious acorn squash-stuffed pasta with truffles and other tasty garnishes

One of our three blind-tasting desserts. The pastry chef got to do whatever he wanted, and the results were fabulous. This was a green tea cake topped with pear and grapefruit and caramel and green tea pop rocks (yes, pop rocks).

Yowsers! Add in a $40 tip, and that's our most expensive dinner, ever. And our most delicious, might I add.

Breakfast spread at the Atlanta Grill in the Ritz Carlton

David branched out and got the "Barnyard" burger at FLIP, filled with a grass-fed patty, farm lettuce, grilled onions, mayo, green tomato ketchup, pork belly, and a fried egg.

I wasn't feeling adventurous, so I got the "classic" burger with bibb lettuce, pickled onions, marinated red tomato, ketchup, FLIP sauce, and bread and butter pickles

Items ready to dip into chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot

Edible gift from the restaurant staff at the Ritz

Mock mimosas (it was Sunday, so blue laws were in affect!). I think these were just Sprite and orange juice.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit every week for a while—next week, we’re trying escarole and leeks
2. Make our own bread—David’s experimenting with this today. Hope it turns out delish!
3. Once our dish detergent runs out, make our own. I’ve seen a few good recipes for it.
4. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones.

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



Leftovers are great friends
February 12, 2012, 3:06 pm
Filed under: clean eating, weekly meal log

This past week was full of remainders from previous meals, and let me tell you, my family (and especially ME) loves eating the same thing multiple nights. I can’t imagine how difficult it’d be if we were averse to warming up last night’s dish multiple days. Yikes!

So that said, this week was full of repeats thanks in part to the chowder making enough for almost a week of dinners and also in part to a pal blessing us with a 13×9″ of the Brussels sprouts and figs dish we’d had before. On a new note, we made potato chips, and I detailed that below.

And before our weekly meal breakdown, check out a couple of photos of Abigail at Earth Fare. The store has mini shopping carts for “customers in training” to push around, and she’s fallen in love with the freedom of manning her own cart in the store.

Ready to shop!

Shopping finished. Not in the mood for a picture, though.

Sunday/Monday
Breakfast: Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup
Dinner: 
Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Chipotle p.118*

Tuesday/Wednesday
Breakfast: Whole-wheat cranberry muffins. We made a double batch (24 muffins) and froze half for later.
Dinner:
Baked Rigatoni with Brussels sprouts, figs, and blue cheese p.221* (my friend who made this for us used Penne pasta—just as yummy!)

Thursday/Friday/Saturday
Breakfast: Rolled oats made with almond milk, mixed with peanut butter, and topped with flax seed and banana
Dinner:
Our family’s current favorite—Asian vegetable stir fry. It’s so nice to just thaw a bag of already cooked brown rice (see my How do you do it? post), cook it up in a little olive oil and soy sauce, toss in veggies I’ve already chopped along with whatever frozen veggies I might have on hand (this week, broccoli), and within minutes, I have a delicious and nutritious meal.

Rolled oats, almond milk, peanut butter, flax seed, and banana. Delicious and filling!

Veggie stir fry. Always a hit!

Lunches, snacks, and desserts
Lunches were a hodge podge like we normally do starting off with diced raw veggies (carrots and bell peppers—so bummed that I forgot to pick up edamame this week), followed by sauteed zucchini and squash on whole-wheat bread with Neufchatel cheese, and black beans.

Snack this past week was a clementine in the morning and brown bag popcorn p.38* with no seasonings in the afternoon. We also made homemade potato chips for the super bowl on Sunday, and they turned out great. Some friends of ours gave us 100lbs (yes pounds) of Russet potatoes, so after gifting as many as we could, we had to find ways to use them up before they went bad. Potato chips were on the list!

Sliced potatoes post-wash, drying on the counter

Hot canola oil worked wonders on these spuds.

Finished chips + a pinch of salt. Ah-mazing. They reminded David and me of kettle cooked chips. Mm!

Dessert was Earth Fare strawberry ice cream on the nights we had room left in our stomachs!

Changes we can see and feel so far:
1. I’m becoming much more confident in the kitchen, and new recipes don’t scare me as much as they used to.
2. I’m also becoming more outspoken about our change, and am helping out friends who want to make the switch too.
3. Does anyone else who’s made this switch have cart pride? I try to keep it quiet, but man it feels awesome to have a cart full of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and very few (if any) boxes/packages.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit every week for a while—next week, we’re trying fennel, celery root, and cauliflower. Watch out!
2. Once our dish detergent and laundry detergent run out, make our own (I’ve seen a few good recipes for both)—they’re both almost all gone, and I’ve got plans to make laundry detergent with a pal soon. We’re splitting a 10-gallon recipe, and the 5 gallons I get out of it should last 9-12 months (for around $10). Can’t wait to share details!
3. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones.
4. Make our own yogurt—I have a recipe that I’m excited about and plan to try as soon as we use up the yogurt we’ve got.

Interesting articles I came across this week:
1. Calls for GMO labeling keep cropping up
2. Why Cut Processed Food This article comes from an awesome website full of great resources: 100 Days of Real Food.

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



A little behind, but we’re still on track!
February 7, 2012, 4:26 pm
Filed under: clean eating, weekly meal log

I had every intention of posting on Saturday or Sunday, but I was a little preoccupied with some special festivities…

Birthday girl

Very Hungry Caterpillar cake

Digging in!

So our littlest girl turned 1 on Saturday, and we had a wonderful time. For party food, we followed right along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar book and had fruit, salami and swiss cheese, and veggie chips. Pretty much whole foods, right? However, I wasn’t confident in my whole-foods cake baking and icing making abilities as I’d never tried anything but a box cake, so I fell back onto that crutch for this party. Abigail (who will be 3 in August) better watch out, though. I know I’ll have some sort of whole-foods dessert for her!

Speaking of Abigail, I wanted to take a moment to comment on something. I keep getting asked, “How do you get her to eat vegetables at lunch?” or “How do you get her to eat the dinners you make?” It’s pretty simple, actually. There’s no other option. Ever. Maybe that’s harsh, but it’s working.

I start her lunch with raw, diced veggies and nothing else. She gets nothing else until those are gone. This can be a battle, but it’s one I’m willing to fight daily. Yes, she’s sat there for 20 minutes looking at them before, but hey, that’s 20 minutes I have to get other stuff done. YES! Once she finishes the veggies, she gets whatever else we’re having for lunch.

As far as dinners go, I portion out her dinner, put it in front of her, explain what everything is, and leave it at that. Yes, there have been nights where dinner (for her) lasts over an hour and she maybe takes 2 bites. I’m sure she’s gone to bed a little hungrier than usual some nights, but that’s ok. I believe in consistency. And honestly, we always eat a substantial, filling breakfast, so she might just eat a bigger one the next day.

So that’s how I “get her” to eat things.

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday
Breakfast: Green smoothies (fresh spinach and arugula, frozen strawberries, fresh banana, plain Greek yogurt, water, chia seeds). A note: Walmart was out of prepackaged organic spinach, so I had to buy the organic arugula/spinach blend, and holy moly, we could definitely taste the greens in this smoothie. Back to solo-spinach next time!
Dinner:
We had more clean-out-the-pantry stir-fry on Sunday night, but Monday/Tuesday we had Pasta with Pureed Red Beans and Shiitakes p.214*

Naptime cooking prep. I lay out everything non-refrigerated I'll need for a recipe and all the pots/pans too so I'm ready to go once the time comes. I also prep (dice, mince, etc) as much as possible while they're sleeping.

Whole wheat rotini with kidney bean puree and Shiitake. I called them "mushroom chicken" since the texture was similar, and that seemed to please Abigail.

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday
Breakfast: Grains and mushrooms, lightly scrambled p.286* (so, I accidentally used all of our mushrooms in our weekend stir-fry, so this ended up being just rolled oats with eggs and scallions. We completely followed Bittman’s recipe minus the mushrooms, and let me tell you, it was delicious.
Dinner:
Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Chipotle p.118* (took a while to prep as you have to dice up the sweet potatoes and take corn off of cobs, then boil said cobs…and I doubled the recipe, so that meant double the prep time). Completely worth it though for a fantastic, flavorful chowder!

Eggs, rolled oats, and scallions. Odd combination, but absolutely delicious!

My awesome husband chopped up a ton of sweet potatoes and stripped corn off of 12 cobs to save me some time!

Creamy base for the chowder

Doubled recipe made enough for nearly 6 dinners for all four of us.

Mm! It was really spicy, so I'll tone down the Chipotle next time

Abigail about to dive into chowder

Madilyn didn't want to wait for sweet potato and corn goodness

Saturday
Breakfast: Whole-wheat pancakes from our homemade baking mix with 100% maple syrup
Dinner: More of the Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Chipotle p.118*

Lunches, snacks, and desserts
Lunches were a hodge podge like we normally do starting off with diced raw veggies (carrots and edamame and bell peppers), followed by sauteed zucchini and squash, fruit, and homemade whole-wheat goldfish.

Snack this past week was brown bag popcorn p.38* with no seasonings.

Dessert was Earth Fare strawberry ice cream.

Changes we can see and feel so far:
1. So the Super Bowl happened on Sunday, and despite our best intentions (we made homemade potato chips and salsa that I’ll blog about later and intended to avoid eating any other food at the party), we forgot to eat beforehand and ended up starving once we arrived. I had some pizza and chips and delicious baked treats…and paid for it yesterday and today. When will I learn!?
2. This isn’t really a change, but we signed up for a CSA through the Fresh Quarter that will start in late April/early May. So for $20 a week for 20 weeks, we’ll get a big box of organic, local produce. Yum! Can’t wait to sample the local fare.

Upcoming eating clean, living green goals:
1. Try a new vegetable/fruit every week for a while
2. Once our dish detergent and laundry detergent run out, make our own (I’ve seen a few good recipes for both)—they’re both almost all gone, and I’ve got plans to make laundry detergent with a pal soon. We’re splitting a 10-gallon recipe, and the 5 gallons I get out of it should last 9-12 months (for around $10). Can’t wait to share details!
3. Use more reusable containers—especially glass ones.
4. Make our own yogurt—I have a recipe that I’m excited about and plan to try this coming weekend.

Interesting articles I came across this week:
1. Pink slime and other weird food additives (another list of reasons to eat whole, local foods)
2. Real Food Tips: 10 Common Misconceptions

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