Hummus {of the} Roasted Garlic Variety

I got this yummy recipe from The Urban Spork
I served it with The Perfect Crackery Crackers that I made too !!
Tonight I'm going to take this, and some more crackers and carrot sticks to a party.

I mostly stuck to the recipe this time ... I never use the same amount of oil though, I always combine steps and I didn't do any garnishes. Here's how I did mine ...

1 whole head of garlic
olive oil
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 305F/180C

Cut the head of garlic in half and set in a piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the halves and fold the foil over the top. Roast in the oven til cloves are soft. And golden brown. And smell delicious. Like ... you want to eat it and just forget about the whole hummus sort of delicious ! It takes about 30/45 minutes to get to that point.

Squeeze the garlic out of it's skin.

Stick everything into a food processor. Process. It it's not smooth enough, add a bit of the juice from the chickpeas to thin it out ...

Now ... every hummus recipe I've ever read says to drizzle olive oil over the top ... and lots of it. I never have. Probably never will. I don't think it needs it. But ... you can make your own decision !!

Perfect Crackery Crackers !

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They were so easy. Delicious !

And I'm so excited at the possibilities that cracker making brings for 2010 and the whole unprocessed thing !

Most of this I'm just copying and pasting from her instructions but there is one major difference ... she used white and I went with the whole wheat spelt flour.

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 &1/2 cups whole wheat spelt flour

Stuff to put on top. I used sea salt, dried onion bits, flax seeds, toasted sesame seeds and mustard seeds on these ones ! I am excited to try lots and lots of variations. In fact, we're taking these to a New Years Eve party tonight and I'm going to try two different toppings ... I'll let you know how those go !

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C degrees. Dissolve the salt in 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir in the spelt flour until combined. Knead the dough a few turns until a ball forms.

2. Flour an overturned (as in ... UPSIDE DOWN) 12-by-17-inch cookie sheet and roll out the dough on top of it, using as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough covers the sheet from edge to edge. Do your best to get them as thin as possible, because the thicker parts become quite hard when baked. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the dough to give it a glossy finish. Prick the dough all over with a fork. If you choose, sprinkle with sea salt or seeds. For neat crackers, score the dough into grids. ( I scored mine !)

3. Bake until the dough is crisp and golden and snaps apart, 15 to 25 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes to make sure it does not overcook.) Break into pieces and serve.

Go check out this video if you aren't convinced at how easy these are ...

Fish Baked on a Bed of Spinach

1-2 T olive or canola oil
small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz fresh or 4 oz frozen spinach (thawed and drained) PER PERSON
1 4-6 oz fresh or frozen and thawed fish fillet PER PERSON (such as tilapia or red snapper)
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 T low-fat sour cream
1/2-1 tsp dried parsley (1/2-1 T fresh, chopped)
pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper (optional)
bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. In skillet, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until golden brown. Stir in spinach and cook 2 minutes (fresh will wilt, frozen will heat through). Transfer spinach mixture to baking dish (13"x9" if serving 4) or divide among individual ovenproof dishes. Place fillet(s) on top of spinach, cover dish(es), and bake 8-10 minutes until fish is almost done.

Meanwhile, warm stock, then combine with sour cream, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. When fish is almost done, uncover baking dish(es), pour sauce over each fillet. Top each, if desired, with bread crumbs. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, 2-3 minutes more.

the whole unprocessed thing - the plan

Just three days away from the start of the new year, I though it about time I posted my 'master plan' for this whole unprocessed thing ! I've done lots of thinking, do continual reading and have chatted with my husband about this and we've come to an agreeable plan.

(photos - Christmas 2009 fruit bowls)
We will eat no foods with additives and preservatives (with the exception of a few like 'gelatine' that have no adverse reactions) I have a comprehensive list of additives and preservatives used in Australia to make our shopping easier.

No white flour.

No white sugar (or brown sugar which is just white sugar with molasses added).
We are classing anything that has more than .5g of sugar per serve as having sugar.

No white rice or pasta.

No trans fat.

We will limit our dairy. Cheese will be an occasional food. Milk and yogurt will still be part of our diet but I'll be researching nut milks. So far I haven't found any without added sugar. All of our dairy will be low fat.

We will concentrate on eating leafy greens, lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes.

I will endeavor to keep our sodium intake to less than 1000mg a day.

Exceptions ...
I am not wanting to take our family into the 'realm of weirdo'. For that reason, we will have a few exceptions throughout the year. Each of our birthdays will be a 'free day'. We will be sensible and try to make decisions as close to our 'plan' as possible but we will probably have birthday cake with sugar in it ...

As well ... I will not put myself or my family or our friends through the awkwardness of 'we don't eat that' when we go to someones place for dinner. So ... again, making sensible decisions ... but we will eat what is served to us when we are at someones place. The same if we are in a restaurant. Although ... restaurants will be easier as we will be given a menu with many choices.

The reasons ...
Improved health is the most obvious reason. After reading Additive Alert a few years ago and then again recently, I feel that it's time we 'take the plunge' to eliminate these 'nasties' from our diet.

I also was struck by something I read in another book that was something to the effect of "why do we wait until we are sick to make the changes our bodies need to be healthy ?" To me ... it makes sense to feed my family (and myself) food that will keep us healthy instead of waiting until it is too late.

I'm not someone who has much success with 'little by little'. I'm an all or nothing sort of girl. Hence the reason we are cutting all of these things out at once. I've tried it the other way ... doesn't work for me. So ... here we go ... starting an adventure ! I'm excited !

Oh ... the other reason I want to do this has not got much to do with health but more with a trend I see in society that I'd like to not see in my home or in my children. That is the trend towards 'instant gratification'. The 'I'll just run out and grab something quick' sort of mentality. You know what I'm talking about ? I want to see what it is like to not be able to do that. I want to be forced to make things from scratch ... even more than I already do. I know it will take a lot of planning and preparation and organization but I think I'm ready for that ...

We'll see ... because it starts in just three short days !!

I plan to share with you the foods we eat. The recipes. The challenges. The struggles. The physical, emotional and financial changes we discover. I'll share books and resources and who knows what else ...

I'd love to know your thoughts. Suggestions are always welcome too ! Links to recipes that fall in line with our plan ... hook me up !!

Look out two thousand and ten ... here we come !!

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 28 December 2009

This is my last menu plan for 2009 ! Crazy ! This year has gone so quickly ! Next year is going to be a big challenge. I was going to write my final post about 'the whole unprocessed thing' but I've spent the afternoon helping the kids re-organize their rooms to fit Christmas presents in ... plenty of furniture swapping and hanging things on walls occurred. But it's done now so that's fantastic !

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

We've just about finished all of the Christmas goodies and I've got some recipes to post. I'm hoping to get them all posted over the next few weeks. And of course ... I'd do 'the final plan' for the year 2010 before the 1st of January. I'm excited about it ... but I'll leave that for another post ! I'm also excited about all of the new recipes that have been posted here over the last week or so. I'm hoping that you all will continue to post great recipes ... even ones that I can't eat over the next 12 months because then they will be here ... I'm not going to eat like 2010 forever ! As least not exclusively. Anyway ... I'm babbling ... let's get onto the plan !

I've got another couple of zucchini out of our garden and we've been eating them but I think I'll use the most recent one to make some zucchini bread. It should use up the last of the brown sugar and white flour and then we'll be laughing !! (that's an aussie-ism ... anyone know what it means ?) I have a great recipe that Aunt Jo sent me years ago. I'll post it when I have a photo to post along with it !

Monday - Salad Night
Green Salad w/red bell pepper, kalamata olives, tomato and onion
Baked Asparagus w/Rosemary and Walnuts
Baked Cauliflower

Tuesday - Beans Night
Mexican Cous Cous
with steamed broccoli

Wednesday - Whole Grains Night
Quinoa and Edamame Salad

Thursday - Crock Pot Night
... doing a BBQ at friends place ...

2010 - the whole unprocessed thing !

Friday - International Night
Pollo Fajitas
on Homemade Tortillas

Saturday - Fish Night
Rory's Salmon
with Honey Baked Lentils & Rice
and frozen peas (but they won't be frozen when we eat 'em)


Sunday - Big Cookup for Freezer Night
not doing a cookup this week
Going to try Jill's Spinach, Chicken, Mushroom Couscous

Snack Foods to Try Making :
Roasted Garlic Hummus
Spelt Everything Crackers

I'm also going to make Vanilla Extract !!
I'm super excited about this one !!

Ice Cream-ish

This is such a simple - healthy - yummy dessert.
I fix it for us often.

All you do is ...
Put frozen berries (or whatever fruit you fancy) into your blender.
Pulse to break them up a bit.
Add a couple scoops of greek yogurt.
Pulse a bit more.
Then blend on high for a little bit til it looks creamy.
Don't blend too long though or it will melt.

I've also done this with mango.

The leftover stuff we don't eat straight away,
I pour into the icy pole molds and put in the freezer ...

ps ... my blender will do this without any liquid,
if yours won't you might need to add a little fruit juice or even water to help it along.

Holiday Rum Cake

Ok, let me explain a few things. This recipe is by no means healthy. The word cake in the title should give that away. Oh, and maybe the word rum, but let's just be clear. Also, this recipe makes use of prepared things like cake mix rather than being made completely from scratch. And finally, this isn't my original recipe. It's the same rum cake my mom has always made, but it's a classic recipe used by many people everywhere. Now that the confessions are out of the way, let's get to the good stuff!

This cake was always a hit when my mom made it, and I've had the same experience. It comes out moist and dense, almost like a pound cake, with just a hint of rum flavor since the actual alcohol evaporates during the cooking process. Everyone loves this cake. I usually make it for Christmas, but this year, I'll be making a second one to ring in the New Year. I hope you'll try it and enjoy!

1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but you can also use pecans if you prefer)
1 18.5 oz yellow cake mix
1 4-serving-size instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark rum

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup tube cake pan. Sprinkle nuts in the bottom of the pan.

Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for two minutes with electric mixer on high. Pour batter into the pan. Bake for one hour. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, prepare glaze. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in water, sugar and rum. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Poke holes into the top of the cake with a slender skewer. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in. Use a pastry brush to spread glaze over the sides of the cake. Continue applying glaze to the cake until it's used up. Allow to set for at least an hour before serving.

Pasta Primavera

Primavera means spring. So this is spring pasta.
Basically, all you do is chop/slice/dice a bunch of whatever veggies
look good
are in season
are on sale
or you just like

and saute them in a little olive oil
with some salt and pepper

Add a cup or so of grated Parmesan cheese
and some cream.
Cook at a very low heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens

Pour over hot pasta.
I like angel hair, but linguine is nice too,
or whatever kind you like best!

Sprinkle with some more cheese
and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes.

Yummy yummy yam yam


Cut two large yams into bite-sized chunks.
I like jersey yams, but any sweet potato will do.

Soak in ice water for about 20 minutes.
Dry with paper towels.

Add in one tablespoon of oil for each pound of yams.
Shake in enough Lawry's Seasoned Salt to coat.

Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer
Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes (or so) until soft on the inside
and browned on the outside

Blueberry Pancake

This was simple.
I just made pancakes as usual but once I poured the batter in the pan,
I dropped frozen blueberries into it ...
Flipped it once.
Voila !
They were delish !

Nut Butters

So ... one thing I've been experimenting with is making my own nut butters.
My first attempt was with almonds. I made a yummy almond butter that we spread on crackers.

Then, last night ... after I came home with a new high power blender, I tried another. I had intended to make peanut butter but have discovered that it is better to use LOTS of nuts so added a bag of cashews as well and made peanut/cashew butter and it was quite nice. I toasted some bread, spread on the peanut/cashew butter and topped with sliced bananas.

Making the butters was pretty simple.
Just pour your nuts into a blender or food processor.
Turn it on.
It takes quite a while, and you will need to turn it on and off.
Scrape down the sides, give the blender a rest.
Eventually, the nuts will break down so much that the oils in them are released.
Blend/process to your desired consistency.
That's it.
Just don't kill your blender by working it too hard.
Let it rest.
My blender book says don't go longer than 30 seconds in one hit with nut butters.

Kid tested and approved !!

Menu Plan Monday

French Toast at Clara's

Dover sole with caramelized onions
Oven-roasted sweet potatoes

Pasta Primavera

Tortilla Espanola
Crusty bread
Mixed greens salad


I'll try to add in some pictures later, along with the roasted sweet potatoes recipe.
I don't seem to have posted the pasta primavera recipe yet either...
so maybe I'll get on that as well. Lots to do, lots to do!

Home Grown & MPM {Bonnie} 14 Dec 2009

Check it out !
We grew this little {big} beauty in our garden !
It was tasty.
I sliced it, sprinkled it with garlic salt and then sauteed it in a bit of olive oil.
Mmmmmm ... wish I had some more !

There is another one growing but
it will be a few days before it's
big enough to pick
and eat !!

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Rory and I celebrated out 12th Anniversary yesterday !
I can hardly believe it has been that long. It has flown ... I guess we must be having fun !
ha ha. I'm kidding. It has flown ... and we definitely are having fun !

This week's menu is shortened.
We had a Christmas party Saturday night.
Went out for Moroccan last night.

So we'll start with tonight ...

Monday is SALAD night.
I'm not doing anything fancy. Just using up some silverbeet, chinese cabbage, carrot, tomato, and cucumber left in the fridge. I've got an avocado. And I'll probably saute some zucchini and I'm going to do some of these peppers too ! oh yum. I love these peppers ! Is it weird that I get so excited about veggies ? I don't care ... I just was wondering. I also got some Basa Fillets (fish) that I'll do in a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce, I think. Most likely with garlic. Just to make the meal a bit more exciting ... :)

Tuesday is BEANS night.
I am aware that it is summer here but I just love this black bean chili soup and can't stop making it !! I'm serious. It's so good. I've got to figure out what to do for corn chips once we go UNPROCESSED in the new year though ... Anyone ever made them ? I know you can do it from corn tortillas but I'll need to make them too ...

Wednesday is WHOLE GRAIN night.
I'm going to be trying a new recipe ... it's called Jewels of the Earth Quinoa Salad from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy ... a new blog I've recently discovered and like the look of ! The Salad has Pomegranate in it ! I'm excited to try it ... it looks so yummy !!


Thursday is CROCK POT night.
I'll be trying another new recipe. This one is from Chick in the Kitchen. I love her blog but haven't been to visit in ages. I have so many cooking blogs in my google reader ... I don't read through them blog by blog, I scan the titles and only click on the ones that catch my eye. It's too much any other way ! Often, though, while I'm there visiting, I'll have a look around to see what I've missed ! Anyway ... this one looks delish ... Crock Pot Indian Chicken.

I have stopped planning there as Friday is my normal shopping day and I want to get back on track with that. As well ... we'll be into visitors arriving and then Christmas and well ... I'll be planning all that soon ! I've got the menu set, the ham ordered, and soon I'll tackle shopping for the rest of it !! But ... you may have noticed that I'm moving to 'themed' nights. That is to help when I go unprocessed ... in a mere 17 days ! I'm hoping that having a 'theme' will help me narrow down choices and experiment with different things and keep the variety happening !! We shall see ! So ... the rest of the week's themes look like this :

Friday is INTERNATIONAL night

Saturday is FISH night

So ... I'll cook something that freezes well ... to keep a stock for those 'need to grab something' quick dinners ... those nights could be tricky in the coming year but if I have home cooked, unprocessed meals in the freezer then my problem is solved ! I'll just need to keep my freezer stocked up ! That's the purpose of this Sunday night cookup !!

Soon I'll be bringing you my final 'report' on what I'm going to be doing next year. I've almost got it totally narrowed down ! I'll give you a list of what we will and won't be eating, etc ... And a few other things I've thought of ... like, what to do when we go to someone's house for dinner.

ALSO ... if you are a contributor to this blog ... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep contributing as normal. Just because I'm not eating certain things, doesn't mean I don't want you all to keep posting what you are eating !! I love that this blog is such a great collection of EVERYTHING so let's keep it that way !!

Fun Buns

I love baking bread...but these rolls are a bit involved. But oh, so good with a nice bowl of stew. Worth the wait...if you have the time!


2 1/2 t dry yeast

1 cup milk

4 T butter, melted.

2 T sugar

2 eggs, beaten.

4 cups flour

2 t salt

1 egg yolk and 1 T milk mixed for glaze

Handful of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sea salt, or spices for top of rolls


Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup of the milk. Let set for 5 or so minutes.

Stir to dissolve.

Warm remaining milk in saucepan with butter and sugar.

Stir until the butter is completely melted.

Cool until lukewarm.

Beat in the eggs.

Mix flour and salt in large bowl.

Stir in dissolved yeast and butter mixture.

Mix until forms soft, sticky dough.

Knead until smooth and elastic. About 10 minutes.

Put dough in buttered bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (1 1/2 - 2 hrs)

Punch down. Let rest a few minutes while you butter rounded 9in cake pan.

Divide dough into 18 or so pieces. Place in buttered pan.

Cover and let double in size. Around 40 minutes.

Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 T milk to make glaze

Brush top of each roll with egg glaze. and sprinkle alternately with seeds and spices. I just used what I had which was sesame seeds, sea salt and rosemary.

Bake in preheated (400F) for 45 minutes. Golden.

Turn out onto wire rack to cool a bit.

Serve warm.

Crock Pot Red Wine Stew


1 small package (1 lb or so) Beef stew pieces. I get the cheap kind, cause I cook it so long it just falls a part in your mouth!

5-6 small potatoes, peeled or not, diced.

1/2 an onion, diced

2 carrots, I don't peel mine, sliced.

1 can tomato paste

1 cup (or so) dryish red wine. I used some leftover Lemberger.

Flour and spices (Creole seasoning, garlic salt, salt and pepper) for dredging.

2-3 Beef bouillon cubes

A bit of butter


Cover the bottom of crock pot with hot water and add 2 bouillon cubes.

Cut up potatoes and carrots and throw in crock pot.

Saute onion in butter.

Throw flour, spices and beef into a Ziploc bag and shake.

Toss beef into pan with onions, brown.

Pour a little red wine into pan when beef is just about done browning, sizzle.

Put browned beef into crock pot.

Add a bit (about half a cup) of red wine and one can tomato paste.

Add another beef bouillon if necessary.


Cook on high for at least 8 hours. This gets the soup nice and thick and makes the meat SO TENDER! I make it in the morning after a cup of coffee...and let it cook all day.

Serve with Fun Buns (Pictured with soup. Recipe to follow!) and a nice glass (or two) of red wine.

The Creole seasoning gives this soup a nice bite! So beware.

Turkey Vegetable Chili

This recipe comes from Curtis Stone. He made a guest appearance on one of my favorite shows, the Biggest Loser, and he made this dish. He baked some potatoes, topped them with this chili and some yogurt. Becky and I tried it out; it is DELISH and super healthy. One serving is about 290 calories.

Serves 4


For the chili:
1-½ tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, medium diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red chili, seeded and small diced (I used serrano chilies because I couldn't find red chilies. Next time I think I might use a jalapeno instead.)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 large carrot, peeled and small diced (I didn't peel the carrots, it made no difference)
1 large celery stalk, medium diced (and by medium, he means SUPER tiny small)
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and medium diced
12 ounces 1% lean ground turkey
4 medium size ripe tomatoes, medium diced
8 oz cooked white or black beans (I think I will add more beans next time I made this. We used great northern beans, I recommend.)
4 cups baby spinach (I just bought a bunch from the store, it came out to around 3 cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup plain fat free Greek style yogurt (we used light sour cream because we didn't have any yogurt, but we decided that the tangyness of the yogurt would be really good)
Micro cilantro to garnish, (can substitute with chopped chives or chopped cilantro) (an even better garnish is Tabasco sauce)


  • Place a large saute pan over medium high heat, then drizzle with the oil.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red chili and sauté for 2 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle the cumin over the onion mix and stir well, then add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables begin to get tender.

  • In a separate saute pan, brown the turkey in the remaining oil over medium high heat, then transfer to the vegetable mix.

  • Add the tomatoes and the beans and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated.

  • Stir in the spinach and remove from the heat.
  • Season the chili to taste with freshly ground black pepper
  • Spoon the chili into serving dishes
  • Spoon a tablespoon of the yogurt onto each garnish with the micro cilantro and serve.

Strawberry Fantasticness !

This is another Annie Phyo recipe and it was so so so good !
I made this in a margarita glasses last night ... next time we're going to do them in shot glasses.
It was so rich ... you just don't need that much of it !!

Here's what you do ...

Blend 1 cup strawberries with 1/4 cup agave nectar.
Clean your blender.
Blend 1 cup cashews, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup water.
I sliced strawberries and put them in the bottom of each glass.
Then I added the cashew cream.
Then I added the strawberry/agave syrup.
Topped with more sliced strawberries.
Mmmmmmmmm !!

Menu {PLAN} Monday {BONNIE} 8 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I know, I know , it's Tuesday already !
But I didn't get this posted yesterday. I was too busy making mayo !

Here's the plan for this week ...

Garlic and Coriander Chicken
with bok choy and tastoi and yummy yummy sweet peppers

(ended up just using leftover rice from the night before and making kappamaki)

I made whole wheat flour tortilla dough in the breadmaker overnight.
I'll roll them into balls this morning and then make my very first homemade tortillas tonight !
I'm going to put out stuff to put in them ... like a taco bar !
Black beans, cooked pumpkin, sauteed red onion, plain yogurt, tomatoes, a bit o' cheese and
I might even make up a nice green chili sauce for them as well ! We shall see !

Zesty Quinoa with Brocolli and Cashews
Roasted Cauliflower

Lasagna that I cooked ages ago and put in the freezer
Home made bread and a salad of some description.

Making Mayo

So ... I spent a looong time trying to make mayo today ! A freaking long time !! I knew mayo was tricky to make but sheesh ... I was ready to throw it all out the window ! I made two batches of "mayonnaise soup" but the third time was some wonderful kind of success !! And I am thrilled ... let me tell you about it ...

Here's the recipe I used :
Crack one egg into your blender. Add 1/4 cup of oil and whizz for just a couple secs. I used peanut oil this time. Then ... very very slowly Mom said it should be like almost dripping into your blender... add the rest of the oil ... with the blender on, of course ! It took ages and I kept having to switch hands ... Anyway, once you're done, you should have beautifully emulsified eggs and oil ! AKA: mayo ! At this stage, I split the batch into three. I folded lemon juice to one. White Balsalmic Vinegar to another. And WBV, lemon juice and garlic to another. I just did it to taste. Maybe a teaspoon or two but I just drizzled it in, mixed it up, tasted ... and so on.

And so it begins ...

Not officially, of course ... until the 1st of January, but I'm working through the things in the house that we are no longer going to eat. Some of them, as I read the list of additives and cross-reference with this book, I'm just throwing away ! Others ... we are eating through and I'm just not going to buy anymore. Such is the case with the jar of mayonnaise I finished tonight !

So ... I need to make mayonnaise in the morning ! I boiled 6 eggs to make egg salad and then discovered I was at the bottom of the mayo jar ... after I'd chopped all the eggs !! Luckily, I had enough to make one sandwich for Rory for work tomorrow !

Does anyone have a tested mayo recipe ? (preferably one that works !)

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

I got this recipe from fat free
She has got an incredible collection of vegetable recipes ... as one might imagine !

I left these in all day and they were delicious.
The ones on the bottom of the crock pot got a bit toasty on the bottom tough.
Next time I will wad up balls of tin foil and put them on the bottom
and I think all my problems will be solved ...

at least where crock pots and potatoes are involved.

I did sweet potatoes too.
And then I just topped them with what we had in the house which happened to be :
Frozen peas and corn ... that I heated, of course !
Greek yogurt, grated cheese and a tiny bit of bacon.

Here's how I am going to do it next time.
Wad balls of tin foil and put in bottom of crock pot.
Wrap potatoes and sweet potatoes in tin foil and put in crock pot.
Turn crock pot on low. Come back in 8-10 hours.


Years ago, my children started eating raw oats.
They just topped them with milk and ate them. They still do it.
I've decided to add to the oats ... and we all love it.

Here's what I do.
In a big plastic cereal container, I mix :

Rolled Oats.
Sunflower seeds.
Sesame seeds.
Flax seeds.
Slivered Almonds.
Pumpkin Seeds.

To eat we mix through some greek yogurt and top with some yummy fruit.
I keep frozen berries in the freezer. They are easy.
Fresh mango is yummy too ...

An Unprocessed Conversation

Adding my two cents to the conversation Bonnie started...

So, quite a few inspirations are bouncing around in my brain. For me, going unprocessed is mainly about health. And not just about getting skinny, although that is DEFINITELY part of the plan!! I also want to eat food as food was intended to be - to break my addiction to additives and weird chemicals that make food taste yummy, but make my butt plump alarmingly! And I'd like to eat food that could NOT survive a nuclear holocaust with little to no change in appearance or flavor.

Although my motives are similar to Bonnie's, my lifestyle is NOT. I'm not a mom, I'm a student, so my challenges are different. (Somehow, I doubt my professors will be as apt to join me in the kitchen as Jono and Alia!!) So how does this unprocessed thing look like for my context?

I'm kicking around some ideas.

I think my greatest ally will be the freezer.
In the summer, it's pretty easy to pick up some tasty looking fruits and veggies at the store and just go nuts. In winter, not so much. But things like black bean chili freeze really well. In talking with my personal advice guru, Aunt Kathy, we thought about making and canning chicken broth and using the cooked chicken to made casseroles to freeze or just a tupperware of protein to throw into a dish!

Canning also attracts me. I think it would be awesome to make a giant batch of sketti sauce, can it, and keep it in the cupboard. I remember my mom making apple butter and granola from scratch (the granola wasn't canned, obviously), and I want to follow in those footsteps! Something that just occurred to me... homemade granola over some homemade yogurt would be a fantastic breakfast!!

I realize all these things are almost impossible to create by myself. But how cool would it be to have a day (or even a weekend as Pammy suggested) to get a bunch of ladies together, cook in BULK, and everyone take home cans and containers full of healthy, easy, food! It would be cheaper and it's such fun to don and apron and cook with your favorite people. There's just something...primal and satisfying!

So those are my thoughts.
What are yours?

The Whole Unprocessed Thing

This morning when I checked my email there was one from Jill asking "...what does the whole unprocessed thing mean? i mean, olive oil and spices are processed, but it's hard to cook without them. and they aren't really bad for you ..." Good question Jilly ! I am still formulating what it will mean for us, I mean, I'm the one who decided my family was going to do it (I should mention that my husband is on board with the idea) so I'm the one who has to decide what the conditions are. I thought rather than just email Jill back, I'd respond as a post. Maybe I can get some feedback from everyone ...

There are a few motivating factors for me wanting to do this. The first one is our health. I've done a lot of reading over the years and have been gradually making changes to the way we eat as a family. I guess this is just the next step in that journey. We do eat pretty unprocessed already. Meaning, I make A LOT from scratch. I don't buy ready made meals. Or meals in a box. The only frozen stuff I buy is frozen veg, berries and ice cream. So ... what am I going to cut out ? Well ... white flour and white rice (with the exception of sushi rice from time to time - I just can't go brown in sushi !!) and all refined sugars. Trans fats ... gone. Anything that has additives ... which could be tricky because what about olives ? I'm still working on that one. Processed lunch meat. Gone. I'll miss you salami !

Basically we are going to try and eat as close to the natural state of food as possible. So ... things that don't need preservatives to make them live on a shelf for a long time, or added colors to make them look good enough for us to buy. We will be eating lots of fruit and veg. Whole grains. Nuts. Seeds. Beans. I'll be doing lots of experimenting ...

Oils, vinegars, spices ... all fine. Except, I'll be reading labels. I've already discovered that my balsamic vinegar has a coloring in it that is really bad for you so I'll be on the search for one without the coloring or just using my white balsamic vinegar.

I read a statement recently that made sense to me ... it said something to the effect of "why do we wait til we don't have a choice to make changes to our diet ?" It's true. If someone has a heart attack or gets cancer or some other horrible disease and then makes the changes ... well, that's good but I would like to make the changes now to try and avoid those and other diseases as much as is in my power to do so.

The second motivating factor is to try and get an appreciation for how valuable food is. I will only speak for myself but I know how easy it is to go into the grocery store, buy a bunch of food, eat some of it, not eat some of it, throw a bunch of it away and go get more. Rory and I have done pretty well cracking down on it this year but still ... I'll do it from time to time. It's wasteful and I think if I didn't come by the food so easily, I would not be so hasty in just tossing it away !

I'm going to try and limit what I buy at the grocery store. We have great fruit and veg stores, great butchers, great fresh fish markets, great general markets and a couple of great health food stores in our area. I'm going to make myself a regular at those stores this year ! I'm going to limit my big grocery store shopping to toiletries as much as possible ... and hopefully limit it to online shopping ! It will be a learning experience but I'm ready to learn !!

We are also planting lots of veg in our little back yard garden. I've got a great supply of fresh herbs and we're hoping the veggies we grow will supplement all that we are going to eat ! Again ... it's about appreciating the value. That there is a process to get the food from the field to the plate. One that I think shouldn't be taken for granted. My big dream is to grow enough to be able to trade with friends for fruit or eggs ... neither of which we have room to grow and raise !

The third motivating factor is my never ending desire for simplicity. Now, to some, this probably seems like I'm taking the simple out of it ! ha ha. I may be saying that too, a week into it ! But ... I have visions of having the kids in the kitchen with me more ... something they would love to do and continually ask but I haven't really embraced as much as I want to ! Saturday night will be the night we do things that involve a lengthier process. Like ... making pasta, making flour tortillas ... etc. We'll be making nut butters. Condiments. All of that stuff.

Like I said earlier ... I haven't completely formulated my plan. But, I'm very determined to do it and I've been giving it a lot of thought, doing a lot of research and planning for at least a month, maybe two now ... I'll have my plan and lists of yes and no's before the 1st of January. We're already eating through things on the no list. Last night I made poppy seed bread ... used a lot of the while flour and most of the white sugar. Those won't be replaced once they're gone.

I'm excited. I'm excited to take on a new challenge. I'm excited to increase the level of health in my family. I'm excited to see what other things happen in our bodies. Do we have more/less energy ? What changes might I notice in the children ? What changes might they notice in me ? I'm excited to slow down. Intentionally. We live a full life. We love it. But we also need slow. Simple. If our life is too busy to slow down ... then maybe it's too busy. This will be a good test. I, of course, will keep you all posted on the progress. The trails. The errors. The triumphs. The excitements. All of it ...

Does that answer your question Jill ? Maybe a little bit ?

Icy Poles

So ... it's summer here and I'm always looking for ways to do things healthier.
Well ... ice cream is not so healthy but it's so refreshing in summer.
So ... I went out and bought us some icy pole holders and I
have started experimenting with making different
frozen yogurts ... with some level of success !

These first ones were mixed frozen berries and greek yoghurt. They were ok. The second ones were fresh mango, greek yoghurt and a bit of orange/mango juice. They were the best ones. I did them again but added more juice ... didn't like that as well. But ... still, they were good ! Then yesterday I did fresh strawberry, mango, banana and greek yogurt ... with a dash of pomegranate/cherry juice. They were delish but the plain mango ones are still the favorite !! The beauty of it is that there are so many combos to be made up and you don't need any sort of recipe, you can just make them up ! The kids love 'em. We love 'em. They are refreshing. And healthy. Mission Accomplished !!

PS ... I just put everything in the blender and then pour it into the holders ... Easy !!!