Friday, September 30, 2011

WHAT?!?! Sugar is Processed?!?!

Gearing up for the October Unprocessed Challenge and I read this post which informed me that white sugar is processed. Forgive me for my ignorance, but if the label says "contains sugar" I kinda assumed it was okay to eat. Apparently the processing makes it unnatural. How's a non-crunchy girl supposed to know that? Anyway, I was prepared to make all of our "treats" this month and to use real ingredients (i.e. no cake mix cookies) but this new revelation has me in a tizzy. It changes a lot of ideas I had about what is and is not considered "processed." Hmmm, this is going to be a bigger challenge than I previously thought.

So I've been browsing a couple of blogs for sweet ideas and found some that look really good, using agave nectar or honey as a natural sweetener. The two blogs I have been most impressed with are:

Chocolate-Covered Katie (how can you go wrong with a title like that?)
Deliciously Organic (of which I have already made the homemade coffee creamer)

I'll admit, we have been using up a lot of totally-processed foods this week. Dinner every night has been an attempt to see what I can use from my pantry before I start the challenge and in case I fall so madly in love with the idea of eating real food that I forever banish processed ingredients from my household (thick sarcasm there!)

Anyway, last night was a bean soup mix to which you only add water and I must admit, it tasted kinda artificial. Surprising, since I haven't started yet. Maybe just thinking healthy thoughts has already retrained my taste buds.

Tonight is barbecue meatballs. The meatballs are frozen (probably laced with cyanide or something dangerous like that) and the sauce is made from ketchup (can we say high fructose corn syrup?), soy sauce, which the before-mentioned post informed me was processed, tomato paste (I'm calling that safe) vinegar (safe) and brown sugar, which I'm assuming the Great Value brand is probably akin to eating anthrax. Oh, and white rice that is parboiled, of which I just bought a 5 lb. bag, so that is getting used this month challenge or not. I hope I survive long enough to make it to the start tomorrow!

*Small caveat* Tomorrow is our church's annual chili supper and bonfire, which I can whole-heartedly say is my FAVORITE activity of the year. I'm eating whatever I want and I'm not going to apologize for it. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Finally Arrives

For some reason, my kids are ecstatic about new seasons. Now don't get me wrong, I love Fall and often look forward to it coming, but the kids seem to insist on knowing the actual day the seasons change and they always want to do something special to commemorate the occasion.

Enter Pinterest, that amazing site I blogged about earlier. We (being me) decided that a sugary treat would be the best way to welcome this warm and fuzzy season. And I found the perfect idea.
 Get yourself a box of doughnut holes. (Never you mind my last post - this was a week ago!)

 Smear one end with chocolate frosting. If we ever do this again, I would choose to use Nutella (that's all-natural, right?)

Dip the frosted end in some sprinkles.

 Stick half of a pretzel stick into the end . . .

 . . . and VOILA! You have an edible fall acorn.

Eat and repeat, as many times as necessary.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Unprocessed Food Challenge

October Unprocessed hosted by Eating Rules!

I'm committed (or maybe I should be committed!) to this challenge. Click on the link above to check out the "rules" to this challenge.

Since eating unprocessed is relatively new to me, there are a few adjustments that I will make for our household in this challenge:

1. While I will try to refrain from canned foods with additional un-pronounceable ingredients, there are a few exceptions. Since I eat a TON of beans each month, my pantry is already stocked with cans and cans. I plan on trying my hand at cooking my own beans, but I can't promise that I won't occasionally pop open a can when I'm in a rush. Besides, most canned beans only have calcium chloride added and although a few cans that have high fructose corn syrup added, I'm betting that I wash all that away when I rinse. At least that is what I'm telling myself to stay sane.

2. I figure most of my meals will have to be completely homemade, but once again, in the rush of our busy life I will be willing to use a previously prepared meal that I have frozen. I use my chest freezer a lot and often make a double batch of a recipe so that I can freeze one for later. I'm not going to waste meals in a lame attempt to worship this challenge. The idea is to serve us, not for us to serve it.

3.  Still haven't decided what to do for breakfast. I don't think I can manage cooking breakfast every morning, especially on Sundays, so the occasional bowl of sugary cereal may be consumed.

I'm hoping to blog my way through this challenge, as time permits. Homeschooling has overtaken our schedule like never before! I hope some of you will do this with me so we can encourage each other toward a more healthy lifestyle!

With only 5 days until the challenge starts, we better get busy eating up all our junk food! ;)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

First Day of School 2011

It seemed like a late start this year, but we finally had our first day of school today.
Elijah complained that his handwriting wasn't nearly as good when writing with chalk, but I convinced him it was worth the picture. He is my perfectionist 2nd grader!

Alli did not complain, but she is about as much of a perfectionist as her older brother.

I had a couple of fun surprises for the kids on their first day . . .
including a package of Pop Rocks. My kids had never experienced the strange candy sensation that is Pop Rocks, and they did not fail in exciting them tremendously!

Elijah woke up to a new place mat with the solar system, as we will be studying astronomy this year in science.

Alli got a place mat that has instructions on how to set the table. She was so excited to use it for dinner tonight, and mommy was happy to allow her that responsibility!

Overall a good first day, even after a pretty rough start first thing this morning. The kids belong to a home school co-op that also met today, so they were excited to see their friends and attend the classes. With the fall weather we've had these past few days, it really felt like the start to a new school year. Let's hope and pray that we continue to go strong.