We’re “starting fresh” this January, completing 22 mini-challenges in 22 days for a cleaner, fresher and healthier kitchen and grocery budget. Just joining us? Read about the what’s and why’s on the mini-challenges, as well as the previous days tasks, and jump right on in!
When it comes to eating healthy, real food, there’s pretty much one thing everyone can agree on: pre-packaged mixes, boxes and meals are bad.
Either bad for you nutritionally, or bad for you financially.
What if you found a way around both?
Day 15 – Make Something From Scratch
The challenge at hand is to take something you would ordinarily buy in a box or package, nearly ready to eat – pizza, sandwiches, cake mix, brownies, baking mixes (i.e. Bisquick), boxed dinners, etc. – and make it from scratch. Anything whose directions look like this…
1. preheat oven
2. remove outer wrapper
3. bake for xx minutes
4. careful contents will be hot
5. serve warm and enjoy
… are targeted and considered fair game.
This may take some trial and error. It’s ok if you don’t master a recipe in the first try. However, you won’t know how great the dish could be if you never considered making it yourself.
Even dishes you normally order when dining out are fair game too. Orange chicken? Lemongrass vegetables? Yep, start digging up some recipes and get cracking! Those restaurant dishes are not necessarily better than boxes.
What’s the point of this challenge?
Because even the “good” convenience items (Kashi, Annie Chung, etc.) still have stuff added to the box so that the food won’t spoil while making the transition from the factory to your home… among the various shipping trucks, loading and unloading pallets and store shelves.
If we don’t HAVE to ingest these additives and preservatives whose long-term side affect is unknown, then why do it? For convenience?
Are we seriously willing to use our hard-earned money to PAY for these added chemicals? Have we really become that lazy?!
Yes, as a society, we have. It is easier to open that box for dinner. It is very convenient to not have to think about what spices go with what meats, or to ponder if $7.99/lb is good for organic chicken breasts (which it isn’t by the way, when you can buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself).
But we real food foodies don’t fit in with the rest of society anyway. We don’t eat trans fat, purposely eat animal fat and avoid fat-free foods like the plague.
Shoot, if we’re going to be looked at as crazy, might as well act the part!
I know there are more than a few of you who are probably thinking, “That sounds great Tiff, and I’d love to make my own food completely from scratch. I just have no clue where to start!”
I have a solution for you too.
Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has put together another AWESOME ebook – “Better than a Box.” Her book is filled with over 200 pages of ways we can transform family favorite recipes (that include processed food) into whole food favorites.
- Like velveeta? Covered.
- Cream of mushroom soup? Done.
- Cheeseburger Helper? Oh yeah baby.
200 pages peeps! That covers a lot of food!!
I call this book awesome because there’s one quality of Katie’s that’s hard to come by: she never does anything partway. She covers every single base imaginable in her books and leaves no stone unturned. “Better than a Box” is no exception. This book is the third I’ve read of hers and just like the others, it will become a staple in my kitchen (or Kindle, since it’s an ebook ).
- If your family hasn’t boarded the real food train, you need this book.
- If you want to eat more nourishing food without giving up family favorites, you need this book.
- Got $2 worth of change in your sofa? You need this book!
1. Buy the PDF version for only $1.99 (includes some cool freebies like Kindle and Nook files, recipe cards and a few printables).
2. Buy the Kindle version on Amazon for 99¢.
If only for the recipes alone, this book is worth $2. But as I mentioned, there’s no holding back in this book. The recipes are only a portion of the book – the rest is the brains behind how these recipes came to fruition. Basically this book teaches you how to take any of your own recipes, laden with boxed and processed foods, and turn them into real food recipes your family will love.
You will NOT be disappointed!
Day 14 Update
Most of my updates were included in my post yesterday, but I wanted to share a funny story with you guys.
Mr. Crumbs and The Boy (5) went for a bike ride yesterday. Their plan was to ride their bikes to church (approximately 8 miles) and then ride home with me and The Girl (3) after service.
The boys left and started their normal route, which involves a couple hills and street crossings. The boy crossed the first street and started down the second hill of the trip. Reaching speeds topping 15mph, The Boy was flying down this hill when he ran head on into a stop sign. The bike stopped in its tracks while The Boy kept going… over the handlebars and into the pavement. Who in their right mind puts a stop sign right in the middle of a sidewalk?!
Needless to say, the stop sign won.
The Boy was scraped up and shaken pretty badly, but Daddy still felt really bad about the fall. He made a trip to the local grocery store for dessert to end the night on a positive note. Before he bought any ice cream, he read all the ingredients! He knew to avoid the low-fat varieties and to stay away from trans fat and HFCS. Two thumbs up for Daddy and ice cream!