Thursday, June 7, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

Moving the family to a less processed menu has proven to be somewhat challenging. Mainly because we haven't had much experience eating that way, at least not the whole family for long periods of time. Parts of a meal, yes. Whole meals for whole days on whole foods...not so much. (Is it really only June 6??) So to avoid the boredom of eating a pretty small array of unprocessed foods we were familiar with, I've been trying to expand my food prep and make some of our favorites from scratch. I'm about 2-3 in this department (2 successes, 3 failures). The successes: baked banana oatmeal (to replace sugar cereal Sunday night) and whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins (to replace poptarts...I think Andrew still has a few packages of those stashed away). Both recipes can be found on my pinterest board "whole foods I've tried."

Now for the failures, they are way more entertaining. You may learn more from these stories...

1. Yogurt...we have a yogurt obsession. I'll have a whole post about this, probably next week, but I first wanted to try to buy plain yogurt and flavor/sweeten it myself rather than the who-knows-what they put in the gogurt. This probably would have went okay, except I put the strawberries in the blender with the yogurt rather than stir it in...which makes more of a milk consistency than a spoonable yogurt. Nobody liked the soupy yogurt...including Andrew who eats anything. But I put the mixture into the freezer pop molds...salvaged the mess up. Next up, I'm making my own yogurt. Andrew is truly terrified.

2. Stevia...I've been using some generic stevia (which ends up not really being stevia at all). I had read on a blog about using a stevia leaf in your coffee to sweeten it. Imagine my joy when I found someone selling stevia leaves at the farmers market! She said one leaf was often too sweet, so you could use half. I went home and with a little apprehension, placed one leaf in my coffee. Nothing. Two leaves. Nothing. Three leaves. Ugh, nothing. So I tried option 2, drying the leaves then crunching them up and using them just like sugar (she assured me the only difference between store stevia and doing that was that they bleached the store stevia so it wasn't green). Day 2 I put my stevia crunched leaves in my coffee...yuk! I couldn't get past the green floaties and texture on the top of my coffee. So today instead I bought some "stevia in the raw", which is less processed stevia than I had been using. (Note: the leaves are sweet if you eat them, I was brave enough to try that).

3. Limeade...this recipe is also on my "whole recipes I've tried" board. The recipe itself is fine, it was all the execution. It calls for 1 1/2 cup berries and the juice of 4 limes (or about 1/2 c lime juice). I wasn't sure how to juice a lime, so the first one I cut in half and dug out with my fingers. The second one I thought, "hey, I'll just peel it and put in the fruit". Have you ever tried to peel a lime? Impossible. And then it left huge pulp in my limeade. Third fruit I again tried to squeeze/dig with my hands. By this point I'm 10 minutes into trying to make a carbonated beverage, so I left out the 4th lime. Blended it all up using stevia instead of agave nectar (the store bought stuff, not the green leaves). It was waaaaay too sour, even with leaving out one lime. It was also grossly pulpy. But I drank it...I'd really been craving a soda and this was the closest I could get while still abiding by my own self-imposed rules. It did quench my soda craving. But when I added the cost ($2.50 for the recipe) and time, I decided I would not make it again unless I just bought lime juice in the little plastic lime.

So I've not had the greatest luck, but I'm continuing onward. Tomorrow I'm going to try making homemade yogurt and strawberry pie with homemade whipped topping. Some people do the whole food thing without sugar...while I try not to get much sugar, I figure my family is still getting less if I am making the items myself...and I still want them to like me.


  1. Meant to comment on this earlier, but forgot. A citrus reamer is a great idea if you do end up juicing limes regularly. I have a hand-held utensil one that just digs out the juice from limes, lemons and oranges (I bought it when I started making guacamole from scratch, 'cuz you need the citrus acid to keep the avocado from browning).

    Maybe honey would be a good sweetener option? I know they sell agave nectar in bottles now, not really familiar with it. But since my hubby is gluten-free, I figure having regular sugar is ok for us since we have enough diet alterations already.

    Also, I highly recommend the website Smitten Kitchen. Great recipes, lots of from-scratch stuff. I can't try out many of them any more because of the gluten-free thing, but I love reading the blog and getting ideas.

  2. I'll have to find a citrus reamer. I tried the limeade again yesterday with just one lime using my fingers and it was pretty good. I also want to try some lemon recipes and use real lemons.

    I will definitely look into smitten kitchen.

  3. My mom sweetens her coffee with honey every morning. If you like honey you might give it a try.