Monday, October 31, 2011

Unprocessed: Day 31

We have had many days of uninteresting-to-photograph (or eaten too quickly to think about it) meals, however unprocessed.

Here are some peaks at what I did manage to photograph:

Three potato saute, served with eggs

Unprocessed Rapadura cookies dipped in chocolate

The last standard harvest box of the season
(a Thanksgiving box will be coming)

Dinosaur kale, acorn squash, and seasoned chicken

Coconut Macaroons
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day Twenty: Dinner

Tonight I decided to get creative. I saw this recipe for tomato paella and it got my wheels spinning. I wanted to try making something similar using finely diced chanterelles and criminis in place of rice (because I had a bunch I needed to use before we get more in tomorrows CSA box). Of course, I added parmasean.

I served salmon a top the tomato-mushroom dish, and had a fresh mushroom and green onion salad on the side.
As is typical when I serve fish (and all the kids finish their portion), we enjoyed dessert (homemade ice cream from raw cream and eggs)

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Unprocessed: Day Twenty

I am getting bad at updating about our meals this month!

Above are a few pictures I've taken since last I posted. Not seen are things like cinnamon-whipped cream and raw vanilla ice cream. Also not seen are the basics like our morning eggs on toast and lunch sandwiches and snacks (apples, carrots, popcorn with nutritional yeast). I have some extra pumpkin puree left from the pumpkins I roasted and we're looking forward to another pie. I also had fun making my husband some pumpkin spice syrup for his morning latte tweaking this recipe by substituting rapadura for the sugar and using 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and a bit of grated fresh ginger for the pumpkin pie spice.  I would recommend ground ginger in place of fresh, unless you are going to strain it.

I am just five weeks away from full term with this pregnancy. I have hit what I like to call the "roosting" phase. Which is much less productive than the "nesting" phase. That is to say, I am ready to spend most of my days sitting down and not busy about the kitchen (let alone chasing kids). This is not a very realistic desire, but it's there all the same. What I'd really like is wonderfully nutrient-dense foods that require no work. Since we cannot hire ourselves a professional, live-in, chef, this is not an option. Soup has been a great option. I can spend a bit of energy all at the same time and then have lots of leftovers. I can't think of another time we've eaten so much soup, but I've never before been pregnant in the fall either (three summer babies until now!).

Yesterday we spent the day with my mom at a holiday show my parents produce. That meant eating concession food. We found a burrito place that looked decent. My kids wanted the nacho's, and I was so busy coordinating the three of them and trying to specify toppings that the fake cheese on their nachos totally missed my radar. The funny part is that my kids thought it was gross, and my eldest spent most of his meal trying to scrap it all off. I am grateful for those little indicators that my little ones can actually taste the difference between real and fake food - and prefer the real.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Fourteen

Yesterday, we had a busy day.  Busy days are prone to what my friend Cherie might refer to as "indiscriminate eating."  My mom was going to come over for lunch, but due to her schedule, she could only meet us for lunch at the Olive Garden by her office.  I ordered soup and salad.  However, having
"cheated" for lunch, and having eaten food that is just not as satisfying as a homemade meal, I was still hungry when we came home (and after walking the dog and putting my kids to nap).  My husband's chocolate covered peanuts were calling to me and I was "indiscriminate" with them for the rest of the day.

Dinner went as planned, Salmon with soaked rice and kale.  

This evening was pizza for dinner.  After making dough, we had a lovely pizza with nitrate-free bacon and fresh pineapple and the rest of that tomato sauce I made on Wednesday - along with some mozzarella, of course.
Our CSA pick-up moved to today, as well, since the Sunday Market is now closed for the season.  We have a beautiful array of produce and with the bounty I need to whip up a batch of root soup this weekend.

In other good food news, there was raw cream at our milk pick-up this week!  I LOVE raw cream.  Tomorrow, we will have raw ice cream and pumpkin pie.  YUM.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Twelve

Today, my kids and I made a menu plan for the next week.  Whenever the boys help me, I can be sure that spaghetti and meatballs will make the list, along with pizza.  Then we went shopping for the ingredients we didn't have to fill out our menu plan (as well as a few staples I don't want to have to wait for until the next Azure Standard delivery)

My husband brought a few extra pineapples home the other day, 
so I decided to try making pineapple vinegar to use for making cortido 
(Latin American sauerkraut) later this week.  Right now it looks like this:

Then, as promised to my 4-yr-old, spaghetti and meatballs.  First I had to make the sauce.
Nothing beats heirloom tomato sauce from scratch, 
and it gives me leftovers to use for the pizza requested for Friday night.
(not seen, the onions sauteing in my largest frying pan)

Dinner.  It should have had a salad to keep it company, and some sauteed greens, 
but pregnant mama's don't finish their best laid plans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Uprocessed: Day Eleven

Seems like Mondays are not good blogging days for me this month.  The past several days have been full of good eating and lots of soup.   Saturday I roasted a chicken and tried roasting my potatoes this fun way.

Of course, I made our salad dressing.  This is such an easy way to cut out processed ingredients.  
Salad dressing can be as easy as drizzling extra virgin olive oil and your favorite vinegar.
Or it can look like whisking up a mix as seen below 
(freshly ground pepper, Celtic sea salt, lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, flax seed oil, ground mustard, basil)

Sunday we went for easy and made our own chicken noodle soup for dinner.

Also on Sunday, I went to the Lake Forrest Park Farmer's Market (last market of the season) to pick up our CSA box from Garden Treasures.  We decided that Full Circle Farms was not priced as competitively as a real CSA.  I just didnt' know that you could join CSA's this late in the season.  We have three more weeks and a bonus Thanksgiving box to anticipate.

Going to the market also doubled as some me-time.  I discovered Third Place Books, found some used titles I've been looking for, and enjoyed a latte and uninterrupted reading.  How does a latte fit into the unprocessed challenge?  Well, depending on if the coffee itself qualifies (which, I believe it was locally roasted), I asked for whipping cream instead of milk.  They look at you funny, but if you admit you're weird and high-maintenance and don't forget to tip, the baristas will be happy to accommodate you.  Of course, you have to double-check that they don't use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream as that it really unfit for drinking.

At market, I treated myself to a $5 bouquet.  I love market flowers!  Flowers on the table is also my secret to a clean kitchen and table (because I don't want to detract from their beauty).

Last night I had a dear friend over for dinner with her girls and I didn't think to photograph dinner (nor our breakfast pancakes that morning).  It was simple, butternut squash soup with a side salad and some grass-fed-buttered sourdough.  I can't say her girls loved it, but my six-year-old did have a second bowl.

Tonight?  We still have so many leftover soups that I think we'll be enjoying leftovers and I'll be taking it easy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Seven

Gratefully, all the kitchen projects and food deliveries of late made cooking (and snacking) from whole foods easy today.  
Ample Apples
Breakfast did involve yogurt, which is now suspect, but lunch was left-over steak slices sauteed with broccoli.  Yum.  I can't get enough red meat when I'm pregnant.

Tonight I made use of our delicious broth to make Egg Drop Soup (one of my favorite recipes by Food Renegade).   It always sounds a little "blah" on the menu, but then the flavor wins me over.  It wins my kids over too.  Tonight, after my six-year-old took his first bite he quickly asked me if there would be enough for seconds.
Egg Drop Soup
As I type, I am still feeling hungry, and grateful that there is one Bavarian cream pot (from Day Five) left in the fridge....once I get the kids to bed!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Six

Major fail to report: Take-away pizza for dinner.

I didn't even think about it until after I ate a couple slices.  I had big plans use my freshly concocted broth to make a delicious soup for dinner.  Dinner, for us, is usually at 5:30 or 6.  My husband called me at 3pm to tell me he'd be home in 20 minutes, and that he was not feeling well, and that he was bringing home pizza because he was famished and didn't want to wait until 5.  "That's fine," I said, kinda planning to go ahead with my dinner plans anyway.  Then, of course, my husband and children filled up on pizza, and expending my energy cooking for just me seemed silly.  So I ate.  My hesitancy to want to eat "Gourmet Pizza" had more to do with knowing how dissatisfying it would taste (my being spoiled with whole and organic foods now), and not needing any extra pounds in my third trimester.  Only when I finished and started thinking about the rest of my evening did I even remember the unprocessed challenge.   Let me just be honest - I'm not good at goal setting.  I could blame my pregnancy brain, but I think it's just me.

Breakfast, lunch, and birthday brownies were all a success.  Lunch consisted of our good broth with coconut milk, which my kids greedily gulped down and I think my mother even enjoyed.

The bounty found on our doorstep!
Today was also our first trial of a produce delivery company here called Full Circle.  The produce was all beautiful and great quality, we're just not sure the quantity is worth the price.  I'll compare to store prices this week and make a decision.  Food dropped off at my door is a major perk at this point in my pregnancy, so I have to figure out what that is worth too.

In other news, my nuts finished dehydrating and there are plenty of brownies leftover, which should make for easy and unprocessed snacking for the next week.

What about you?  What are your weak points in your battle to eat real food?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Five

Today was a busy day in the kitchen.  The morning started out with porridge, nice and simple.  Then I realized it was an Azure Standard delivery day.  I love Azure Standard.  I wish I would have taken a picture of all the boxes that came to the house today (though more than half were for other people).  For us, I realized, a 50 pound box of frozen chicken would be arriving.  I had been meaning to make broth for weeks, and my carcasses had built up in the freezer.  Time to clear them out!  

Currently there are three large pots of broth simmering on my stove.

Since it's October, I decided I was mass producing witches brew:
Can't quite call it broth without chicken feet.

While I was busy about my kitchen, I decided to get around to soaking all the nuts I bought last week.  Especially because I cannot make butternut squash soup later this week 
without being able to add walnut butter

Of course, I also realized that tomorrow is my mother's birthday, and we have to have treats ready when she visits.  I ground some spelt into flour and soaked it in buttermilk.  You are looking at future brownies.

THEN we got the delightful news that a dear friend was in town today - on her birthday.  
So I decided to make carob Bavarian cream pots 
(with a hint of real chocolate and topped, for her, with candied orange peels 
which don't usually pass my kitchen test, but for this birthday, I made an exception.)

Then at some point I realized I also ought to cook dinner, so I defrosted one of the Coho fillets that had just been delivered from Azure Standard, and we had Salmon, Thin potatoes, and sauteed broccoli and rainbow chard for dinner, followed, of course, by the cream pots.  I forgot to find the camera by the time dinner was plated, so all you get to see is this lovely salmon skin.

At the grocery store this morning I faced another unprocessed challenge, yogurt.  I have been buying Nancy's for a long time because it's the best, reliable brand I could find.  But I think they use some powdered skim milk to help thicken - which is not unprocessed, and has oxidized cholesterol (think heart disease).  Further, I do not know if they use homogenized milk, but as the cream does not sit at the top, I have to think so.  I am going to call tomorrow to find out more details and start my search for a "purer" yogurt.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unprocessed: Day Four

This post is an update in the ongoing October Unprocessed challenge by Eating Rules.  They are now up to 2,400 people who have signed up for the challenge!

Our weekend started off decently considering Saturdays have become my husband's day to be in charge of food.  As convinced as he is of the value of eating whole foods, traditionally prepared, when it really comes down to it, convenience is still king.  His convenience choices, however, get better and better all the time.  With this pregnancy, he is also cooking more than ever before and learning that making good food doesn't have to take that much time.  All that said, Saturday he brought home chicken strips for lunch, and I am sure whatever they were breaded in would not pass the kitchen test.  The kids ate them, I took a bite, and then went and found our leftover chicken to snack on instead.

Saturday night he made us a chicken pasta with leftover chicken from a roast earlier in the week, some sauciness that he made himself with herbs and extra virgin olive oil, and brown rice pasta noodles.  Sunday night was steak and the last of the summer squash.  Monday was spiced ground beef (my kids LOVE this simple dish) and salad.  I made maple and chocolate whipped cream for dessert (yum) the leftovers of which my kids *may* have eaten with their breakfast this morning.

Today for lunch: Steak salad (see recipe at the bottom of this post) with nectarine.  It is always very satisfying and easy to make. 

In the picture to the left you can see a little preview of things to come.  We'll have acorn squash as a side dish this week, pumpkin pie as a dessert, and butternut squash as a main soup course with plenty of leftovers for easy lunches.  I love cooking in the fall! 

Breakfasts have been soaked oatmeal porridge,
 homemade granola, eggs, or yogurt and raisins, 
served, of course, with raw milk.

What about you?  Are you staying unprocessed for October?  My biggest commitment is not to buy any more of the sprouted bread we usually eat from Alvarado St. because it does contain soy lecithin (which I avoid as much as possible, but usually allow in this case for the convenience of not making bread).   I'll have to explore my local bakery options for a good, true sourdough that only contains wheat, salt, water, and sourdough culture, hopefully with a nice long rise time.  Or, I'll just have to get back into making my own loaves.  What is your biggest hurdle to eating unprocessed foods?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Unprocessed Challenge

It's been a long time since I've posted here, and even longer since I've posted anything regularly.  So here is a bit of an adventure - for October I plan to post everyday.  Wait, let's make that every week day.  I have just discovered Eating RULES and his October Unprocessed challenge.  For the most part, we strive to eat this way all year.  But we are also normal human beings living in a big city, and have three little children, and I'm pregnant.  All of these factors pull me away from doing everything in my kitchen from scratch.  For October, I am going to put in a little more effort, and also attempt a daily (week-daily) report on how we're doing and what we're eating.

Intentional exceptions:  Bread & Pasta.  I just bought a couple loafs, and though I am in process of getting back to making all our own breads, at this point in my pregnancy, I need to be off my feet when I can.  We also have brown rice pasta in our pantry, and it makes for easy dinners on busy days.   Also, I know my husband won't be joining me with this commitment, so it is likely he will take my kids out for scones at some point this month. We also have a short trip out of town planned and a harvest party.  I will do all I can for the road trip part, but we have no rules when other people feed us, and that will be true this month as well.

What about you?  Are you up for the pledge?  There are already 1500+ people who have signed the pledge.  Last year this challenge even made the news.  His "kitchen test" rules actually allow for a lot of ingredients you might not expect (like my bread and pasta), so you have little to hold you back.

I'd love to know if your joining the adventure.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cauliflower and Sprouted Lentil Curried Soup

I invented this recipe for my friend Susan, who wondered what to do with sprouted lentils.  This soup is hearty and richly spiced.  It pairs well with red meat.  My soup-disliking husband even enjoyed it.

Cauliflower and Sprouted Lentil Curried Soup
Unassuming, but delicious
Serves 4-6

3-4 tbsp of butter or lard (if dairy-free)
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small head of cauliflower chopped
4-6 loose cups of sprouted lentils (you can follow the first 4 steps of my "How To Sprout Your Own Grains")
Curry spice blend (I use cloves, white peppercorns, green peppercorns, black peppercorns, fenugreek, fennel, ground turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, ground ginger and a dash of ground cinnamon - see photo of whole spices)
4-6 cups homemade chicken broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

The whole spices I use for my curry blend
Melt butter or lard in a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium.
Add onions, carrots, celery and cauliflower and cook slowly until softened, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables soften, combine your spices with mortar and pestle, unless you already have curry blend prepared.  [Do not worry if they are not completely pulverized.  You will blend the soup in the final step, and you will also enjoy the little bits of extra spice.]
Add lentils, curry spices, salt and pepper and stir until well-mixed with vegetables.
Add broth until it covers ingredients by an inch, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
Puree with immersion blender and serve with creme fraiche.


This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays


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