If you don’t already own an ice cream maker…I think it is worth it to go out and buy one (could be a good father’s day gift!). The difference between store-bought and homemade ice cream is unbelievable. And with the machines for sale these days there is no ice, rock salt, or cranking necessary. You can spend between $30 and $40, push one button, and within 15 – 20 minutes enjoy the best ice cream you will ever have. Not to mention that when you make it yourself you can also control the ingredients.
Archives for June 2010
We had one busy weekend that included a late arrival home from a business trip, a dance rehearsal, dance recital, overnight house guests, and a dinner party with friends. And of course – in one way or another – all of these events somehow involved my favorite topic, food. First of all, my husband managed to be a little more creative finding meals on his business trip last week. His bag of snacks (a.k.a. backup food) was barely touched by the time he got home. From catfish and beans (at Cracker Barrel) to shrimp, potatoes, broccoli and even locally raised roast chicken (at local restaurants) I would say he was far from starving while he was away! While my husband was off feasting on the company bill, as previously mentioned I was here hoping my 5-year-old would not succumb to the candy backstage at her dance rehearsal.
Ever since we started our 100 Days of Real Food pledge it seems like we have been getting a lot of questions about sugar and other sweeteners. Can’t we have sugar? Isn’t it natural? Yes, I suppose it is technically “natural” since it is made from the sugar cane plant, but it is also a highly processed version of this plant similar to how white flour is made from the wheat plant. If we are going to start classifying things in this manner we could also technically say high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is “natural” since it is made from corn. And despite the mixed research on if HFCS is really worse for you than good ol’ white sugar, according to Michal Pollan, it just happens to be “a reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed”.
Part of me is absolutely amazed that we have gone more than two weeks without giving either of our children a single piece of candy. I have just always thought that kids and candy kind of go hand in hand. And I assure you that a few months ago I would’ve been unable to fathom the idea of not handing out a sucker to calm one of my fussy kids, not packing a convenience store selection of sugar-filled snacks for an airplane ride, or even completely doing away with our treat basket. Luckily, “out of sight, out of mind” does help with the little ones. And somehow we have managed to make it this far, and we have honestly been perfectly fine with our selection of homemade and sugarless “treats.” Again, I am just amazed. At the tail end of this two week success with our kids I suddenly felt extremely worried and fearful about what might happen at my 5-year-old’s dance rehearsal and recital this weekend. She would be back stage for 2 hours with CANDY! And without ME!
If you dislike the sound of someone slurping through their straw to try to get every last little drop out of their cup then you probably shouldn’t make these smoothies. My kids absolutely LOVE them! And it all started when on a recent trip to buy groceries from Earth Fare we decided to also have lunch in their little cafe. While paying for our sushi I noticed that they had a surprisingly good smoothie menu, so on a whim I decided to order their PB&J smoothie for my girls (and me) to share. Well, that was a mistake…I should have gotten a large size for each of us! During the first 5 minutes of the lunch (which was as long as the smoothie lasted) all I could hear – aside from the slurping – was “I want more of it” ”it’s my turn for some” “she is drinking it all”. Need I say more?
I think I just broke a personal record. In a single 24-hour period I managed to buy food from Earth Fare, our local Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Great Harvest Bread Company, Poplar Ridge Farm (where we pick up our CSA box), and Harris Teeter. This was unusual for me to go to so many places in such a short period of time, but it was definitely a reminder of how buying our food used to be so simple. In our old processed food life I used to plan out our dinners for the week, order the necessary groceries online from Harris Teeter, and pick them up every Monday morning. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. There is no question that was convenient. A lot of people have asked me lately if I am running around to different places to buy food, if I am spending more money on it, and if I am cooking more in the kitchen…and the answer to all of that is yes, yes, and yes! Think about this though.
As it turns out, I am not one of the lucky ones who can happily sit down to a huge bowl of salad greens and chow down. If I find a salad I truly like it must have accessories.
I must say these glazed nuts almost taste like candy and are fabulous as a snack just by themselves. We also use them in my Salad with a Twist recipe…there is no better way to make a plain old bowl of lettuce delicious!
Within the last week my husband and I both had dreams that we were eating forbidden junk food. Fritos were my weapon of choice…and Cheetos were his. I find that interesting because even though we both like Fritos and Cheetos, we rarely used to eat them. For the first few days of our pledge we were both constantly feeling like we accidentally ate something we shouldn’t have because we forgot to double-check the ingredients. I am happy to say those unnecessary feelings of paranoia have started to dissipate now that we are getting the hang of playing by our new rules. On another note, I was absolutely stuffed after dinner last night. I think I ate a little too much which is unfortunately easy to do when you are eating real food. I have been trying to scale back my portions from what I used to serve myself, and for some reason I am still struggling with this. The thing is, you don’t have to eat nearly as much “real food” to fill up as you would processed food (like white breads and packaged items full of various sweeteners – both which mainly provide you with empty calories). We have also found that the previous meal seems to hold us over for much longer. On many occasions by the time lunch or dinner roll around, I am not even that hungry.
Summer is the perfect time to take a break from the heat with a cold treat. I know last summer my kids went through their fair share of popsicles, freezie pops, push-ups, and ice cream. Well you may have noticed that we are on day 11 of our 100 Days of Real Food and of course none of those treats will be allowed this summer…not that I really want my kids sucking down frozen nutrition-less high-fructose corn syrup anyway. So I had to get creative and come up with as many attractive alternatives as I could if I expect my kids to forget about the store-bought stuff!
Before I get into what happened at the party today I can’t help but mention that if we were you on day 10…we would be done!!! If you haven’t signed up for your 10-day-pledge yet, I just want to say that now that the last 10 days are over it did go by fairly fast, and our entire family managed to make it through for the most part. BUT we still have the equivalent of nine 10-day pledges left. So in the most loving way – don’t even start with me and your excuses of why you don’t think you can do it! I took my girls to a birthday party this morning and I am thrilled to say that having them eat separate food went off without a hitch! I was feeling very discouraged yesterday after the donut incident, and the party this morning was just what I needed to feel revived about getting through the rest of our 100 Days of Real Food pledge.