Whatcha Eatin?

Some of you may remember my post “Whatcha Drinkin?” People seem interested in what we’re eating. We rarely eat processed foods, which probably accounts for at least 70% of the food found in grocery stores. I buy whole, real foods, local and/or organic when possible, pastured meats and dairy and use the grocery store for things that aren’t available locally like oils, flour, spices, some produce, etc. We’ve cut way down on our consumption of refined carbs.

What we’re eating is… whatever is in season, mostly. So far so good. Except that the kids are already tired of sweet potatoes, and we aren’t even halfway through November. Right now sweet potatoes are definitely in season. I bought some from the farmers market and my mom gave me just a few more… but they’re the size of footballs. I made soup with one of them. I had a small package of free range organic chicken legs in the freezer. (This is the last of the “grocery store” meat left in my freezer. They’ve been in there for over a month, and I’m glad its all gone! Free range is better than conventional, but pastured is best.) If I presented my family with one drumstick each, they’d look at me like I was crazy and think they were going to starve. So… I had to get creative. I boiled them for a couple hours to make a stock, removed the drumsticks to let them cool. I pulled the chicken from the bone and mixed it with some chopped garlic, salt and pepper to add flavor and let that marinate while I tossed the chopped sweet potatoes, garlic, onion, celery into the stock. I also threw in some kale and a splash of apple cider vinegar toward the end. Served it up in bowls with generous portions (wink-wink) of chicken on top. Delicious and hearty.

I’ve included lots of links for recipes and health benefits of particular foods. If the ingredient is highlighted and underlined, it will link you to a web page regarding health benefits.

BREAKFAST:

  • Pumpkin pancakes and waffles – Click here for the recipe. I used whole wheat flour, instead of all purpose, and buttermilk, instead of plain.
  • Stone ground grits using Grateful Growers pastured pork sausage, fresh veg from the farmers market (usually sauteed leafy greens of some sort, mushrooms, onion and sometimes tomatoes) and a combination of whatever cheeses we have in the refrigerator
  • Sausage gravy – Click here for the recipe (I don’t use maple flavored sausage. We were in a hurry and I didn’t have time to make biscuits, so I just served it on toast.)
  • Greek yogurt with walnuts and honey and sometimes granola. I miss my summer berries, so I decided to try it with pumpkin. I mixed in some pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and a little ground clove. Pretty good! The flavor reminded me of Pumpkin Cheesecake, but it was a little thin. I’ll be having that for breakfast for awhile.
  • Breakfast burritos – using pastured eggs, cheese, chili powder and sometimes pastured bacon, sausage or even deli meat (ugh… in moderation and without, or at least as few chemical additives as possible – Dietz & Watson’s turkey is what we have at the moment) all wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
  • French toast or scrambled eggs – using local pastured eggs (not conventional free range or organic or “vegetable fed” – a term I dislike for chicken and eggs, since chickens are not vegetarians by nature. They like to eat bugs and it’s good for them.)
  • Cold cereal – in moderation
  • Fresh Fruit – always, one serving with breakfast.

LUNCH:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • Whatever odds and ends we can find, like granola bars, fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc.
  • The older girls eat from the school cafeteria, which I’m not a fan of, but we’ve worked out a deal. They have to make healthy choices. They can choose the main entree, but they have to eat it with two whole fruits or vegetables on the menu. No yogurt parfaits, canned fruit or those jello-fruit thingys. They have to drink plain milk and can only buy dessert once a week. I occasionally check online (Paypams) to make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain. Other than a few mishaps, they’re doing great. The biggest problem with school lunches is that most kids usually choose the junk on the menu (of which there is plenty). Luckily in our case, the kids are making good choices – and they’re learning a great lesson to boot.

DINNER:

  • Roasted pork chops on a bed of chard, topped with balsamic braised leeks and served with… sweet potatoes and green beans; or Korean style pork chops with white sticky rice (a treat) and kimchi.
  • Roasted chicken (at least once a week) with whatever veg we have in the refrigerator
  • Soup – using whatever ingredients and broth I have on hand
  • Vegetable stir fry with brown rice
  • Delicious homemade ravioli stuffed with leftover roasted chicken, spinach, ricotta, aji dulce peppers and parmesan cheese (served with homemade marinara)
  • Veggie pizza with homemade dough

Meals I’ll be making: roasted chicken, chilli, halibut and more ravioli, using leftover filling that I froze.

Our menu changes every week, which is fun for me. It’s so easy to find a good recipe these days. I use allrecipes, epicurious and the food network all the time. I usually change it a little to fit my taste or use what I have on hand. I also substitute healthier ingredients whenever I can. I use whole wheat flour in place of all purpose and always substitute bad fats like canola, vegetable, corn, etc. for good ones like coconut oil (my favorite, great moisturizer too), butter, olive oil and lard (yes, lard). Sugar can sometimes be cut out completely, or can usually be reduced by a 1/4 to 1/3 without sacrificing flavor (especially if you’re palate is used to less sugar). I try to use “super foods” whenever possible, instead of nutritionally average ones. For instance I prefer a salad made with spinach rather than lettuce. Asian sweet potato instead of the usual orange ones. Greek yogurt in place of regular yogurt. Honey, maple syrup, sweet fruit instead of refined sugar. Full fat dairy (more on this in my next post) instead of low fat. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, etc.

We learn as we go and it’s taken about 9 months to get here. And we’re still learning, so our food philosophy is constantly evolving. I’m always  looking for a new recipe, a new food, a new technique to try. I’m inspired by the food itself and the many bloggers, authors, media, food shows, new paper articles… the farmer’s market. It’s the best way to ease into and keep up this lifestyle without getting bored or complacent. Some may say ignorance is bliss. I disagree. Especially when it comes to food. I’ve been there – and I can tell you with certainty that this is so much better!

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

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