Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Food Preparation 3/11 and 3/12/07

The reality of dealing with multiple food allergies, special diets for specific health issues, the desire to eat whole foods, as well as the ethics of how we eat (trying very hard not to buy products from industrialized agriculture or any inhumanely produced animal products) means that we pretty much have to eat at home. I've found it's helpful if we work throughout the week preparing food. There's no Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner to save us when we are too (fill in the blank) to cook.

That's not to say that we don't make judicious use of some prepared foods. We do buy foods such as pear sauce, ventresca tuna in olive oil, canned/jarred olives (if they contain only olives, water, and salt...no additives!), premade organic corn tortillas, and a few other things. Mostly, however, we buy real foods and slightly prepared foods: fresh vegetables and fruits, pastured local eggs, raw dairy foods, fish from the fish monger, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts, roasted peanuts, organic raisins, dried beans and grains, etc.

Once you really start looking at the ingredients in prepared foods, even the minimally processed organic prepared foods, you see a host of things you might not want to ingest. For instance, even the plainest granola I can find commercially is made with oils I don't want us to consume (canola, cottonseed, etc.). I make granola with oats, cultured butter, honey and/or maple syrup. Commercial almond milk has xanthan gum in it; mine is made from almonds, water, and maple syrup. Organic ice cream is produced with pasteurized milk (not that I won't buy a pint of Strauss' vanilla ice cream in a pinch); I can make it with raw milk, raw cream, pastured egg yolk, fair trade vanilla, and maple syrup.

Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes I really just want to go to a restaurant and let someone else cook. It's always a compromise though, and more and more lately one that is difficult to make.

So this is what I did Sunday and Monday, in addition to preparing meals:

Brew peppermint leaf sun tea
Make marshmallow root cold infusion
Make cottage cheese
Make pinto beans (ate some for dinner)
Make vanilla ice cream

Bake loaf of whole wheat bread
Make grain (ate some for dinner)
Make granola
Boil eggs
Make almond milk

(Does not include actual meal preparation, unless used as part of a meal and part stored for later.)


  1. I am just amazed by all this. I wouldn't know where to start with most of the things that seem second nature to you. Amazing!

    For instance, I have no idea how to milk an almond. Ok, couldn't help but word it that way lol. But really, how on earth does one make almond milk?

    Or how to feed the family with such pure food without breaking the bank.

    I'm impressed beyond my ability to express.

  2. I do break the bank some months, but it gets better the more food I prepare at home.

    I certainly didn't grow up this way; a typical week had us eating Hamburger Helper, Mac & Cheese, hot dogs, TV dinners, hamburgers, canned soup, and perhaps one special meal of a roast or chicken. I ate processed "cheese", popsicles, Ding Dongs, Fritos, white bread, margarine, sugared cereals, etc. The only fresh fruit I didn't look askance at was bananas, and fresh melon in the summer. "Fruit" salad meant a can of drained fruit cocktail mixed with Cool Whip.

    Almond milk: blend almonds and pure water in blender (I use a ViaMix) for 2 minutes (ratio of 1/4-1/2 C. almonds per 2 C. water). Add sweetener if desired; cow's milk is naturally much sweeter than the almond milk, unsweetened. I add 1 T. maple syrup per 2 C. water used. Strain everything really well.

    The neat thing was when I researched almond milk years ago I found out that they used it routinely in the middle ages, especially during the Lenten months.