Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Let the Harvesting Begin

I can’t believe the day finally came.  It always seems to take ages for the first harvest, but today, I picked the first ripe veggies from my garden (not counting the occasional green onion clipping).  It feels so good! I just can’t wait to put these goodies to use.

first harvest

 

Today, I had a jalepeno pepper (or at least it’s supposed to be jalepeno…that’s a pretty light pepper!), 2 cherry tomatoes, a green onion clipping, a cucumber, and another handful of berries.

So far, the garden is doing better than we could have hoped.  As long as all the peppers and tomatoes hanging on our plants right now ripen, we’ll be doing loads better than our garden last year!  Hopefully, we’ll be harvesting more veggies in the next few weeks, but I’m so excited to already have ripe food straight from the garden.

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Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, In the Garden, Self Sufficience

Clean-Eating Granola Recipe

I posted the other day about the importance of eliminating processed foods from our diets.  It’s only fair that I follow that up with a few recipes, right?  And since I finally got brave enough to make my own granola yesterday, I thought that would be a fun recipe to share with everyone here!

I have always loved granola, but when Pistache ended up allergic to peanuts, I was too scared to buy most store brands.  If they didn’t actually have peanuts/peanut butter in them, they were processed in facilities that used those ingredients.  It just wasn’t worth it.  I honestly never thought to try making my own until just recently, though, and then I could never find a recipe that I was confident enough with to buy the materials.  I guess for some reason, I thought making my own granola would be expensive.    I was wrong.

Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters

I roughly followed this recipe, but made a lot of changes to fit my tastes and food availability.  Plus, I was cooking with a four year old, so the measuring wasn’t what you could call exact.  So, here’s what I did:

-Approximately 3 cups of rolled oats
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-3/4 cup chopped pecans
-local honey (didn’t measure)
-good sprinkle of cinnamon
-handfull of craisins (add while cooling)
-handfull of raisins (add while cooling)

To make the granola, I mixed the oats and pecans in one mixing bowl.  In another bowl, I added everything else and whisked it together really well.  Then I added the dry ingredients and had to mix it for quite awhile.  The author of the original recipe was right.  It really seemed like there wasn’t enough of the applesauce mixture at first, but it eventually evened out.

Once that part was done, I spread the whole concoction onto a wax-paper-lined baking sheet and baked at 325 for about 45 minutes.

Note: Set a timer you can’t ignore for 15 minute increments and stir your granola! The minute you forget about it, it’s burnt.

Oh. My. Yum.

Oh. My. Yum.

 

You’ll know it’s done when it’s a nice golden brown and crunchy.  Pull your pan out of the oven, and mix in your cranberries and raisins (or any other dried fruits).  While the granola is cooling, they’ll cook just a tad, but not enough to get hard (like mine did in the oven).

All you have to do now is try really, really hard not to gobble it all up while it’s still warm and a little gooey!  No, seriously.  I think I ate half a batch yesterday.

This granola was so cheap and easy to make, I’m surprised I never tried it before.  And best of all, I know exactly what went into it.  The ingredients list you see up there? That’s it! No preservatives, and no ingredients I can’t pronounce.  Now that’s what I call good food!

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Processed Food: It May be Faster, But is it Better?

{Disclaimer: Today’s topic is a little bit different than my normal topics, but very closely related.  It’s an issue close to my heart, as many members of my family suffer from some of the ailments mentioned in this post.  If you don’t already know about processed foods, I hope my latest article will enlighten you and perhaps steer you towards a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.}

In today’s fast paced society, there is not much room for anything slow.  We drive fast cars, we take the express train, and we even pay extra for high speed Internet.  Unfortunately, this trend has also made its way into the food we eat. In today’s society it is all about shorter prep, shorter waits, and quicker meals.  This means that we are no longer cooking foods from scratch and putting real food on the table.  Instead, we find ourselves resorting to fast food and processed foods to feed our families and ourselves.  While many people see this as nothing more than the convenience of a speedy meal, we’re left wondering if the food we’re putting into our bodies today is really the same as the food we were eating fifty years ago?

What is Processed Food?

Processed food now makes up about 90% of the food that we eat each day.  This category consists of any type of food that comes in a package.  This includes fast food, boxed meals, take-out, and even frozen dinners. If you didn’t cut and prepare the food from scratch, it is most likely a processed food.

Processed or engineered foods are genetically manufactured in a laboratory in an effort to appeal to our taste for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.  These cravings are natural cravings sent out from our body to tell us we need nutritious foods full of vitamins and fats to fuel our bodies, but instead of eating good food, we are feeding these cravings with foods that are made with sugar and hydrogenated fats, but very little nutrients.  The end result is a sugar high and a nutrition void that leaves us craving more food.

Processed Foods are not Real Foods

When was the last time you bothered to read the ingredients on the food you buy in the grocery stores? If it’s been awhile, you should consider doing it.  Many of these foods that fill grocery stores to the brim contain very little real food in them at all.  In fact, the majority of processed foods have extremely long ingredients lists containing everything from sodium to aspartame, which is a chemical sweetener and preservative that has been proven to turn into formaldehyde during the digestion process.

Because of the high chemical content, higher calorie counts, and low nutritional value of these foods, processed foods have been linked in studies with obesity along with many chronic illnesses.  In fact, research shows a direct correlation between a regular diet of processed foods and diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer

How to Eliminate Processed Foods

The only real way to avoid these foods and improve your health is to cut them out entirely.  Like with any major change, baby steps are important in this process.  Start by adding one full serving of fresh fruits or vegetables to every meal.  Begin adding more raw foods to your diet such as leafy greens, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetables.  Finally, your aim should be to not fix any meals straight from a package.  Strive to make processed foods an occasional treat and you’ll begin noticing a big difference in your energy levels, weight, and overall health.

Although processed foods are engineered to look like real food, and they are marketed to appear as a great alternative to whole foods, the reality is that they are void of nutrition and contain more calories than whole foods.  By relying on a diet heavy in these foods, you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and fit.  If you are ready to make a change and see improved health and improved weight loss, start now by slowing down your food prep and eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods.  You’ll soon find yourself with higher energy, better health, and perhaps even a lower weight.

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