This is a follow-up post to the report on our unprocessed food week, because OH BOY did I get some responses on that one! Many people emailed me privately with their own stories, with their difficulties with getting their families on board, and with general interest in the things we actually made.
But first a clarification
Tee Chiou pointed out, and rightly so, that when we said we had an unprocessed food week, it sounds like we ate raw food! While we certainly do eat more raw vegetables and fruits now than we used to, our intention was not do go raw. I should have been clearer by saying we were BUYING unprocessed foods, not eating them, because we were certainly doing lots of processing on our own!
So now that that’s clear … let’s get on with the food! I’m going to list foods for breakfast and snacks because most people seem to find those a challenge to put on the table without resorting to some form of packaged food.
Typically we have one of the following for breakfast:
- homemade whole wheat bread – with butter, maple syrup, our own hazelnut chocolate spread (ala Nutella). You can get a great bread machine recipe here or knead this one by hand. I used a combination of both and whack up the dough in my Thermomix. When I don’t think the kids will tolerate a second day of whole wheat bread, I dress slices of these up with pesto sauce and cheese and grill it and they go real fast! If you’re keen on learning about the two-stage baking process, ie about soaking grains for 12 to 24 hours before baking, you will want to check out Sue Gregg’s website here: www.suegregg.com and specifically her whole wheat bread recipe here: http://www.suegregg.com/about/Two%20Stage%20Process.pdf. Suffice it to say that we are recent converts to this process. :) Thanks Missy for the introduction!
- yoghurt – we now buy this plain and organic and I cook up some berries (I resorted to just using strawberries the second time round just because the other berries were so much more expensive by weight) till they are half syrupy and half chunky and throw that in with some honey. The kids love that they can have as much of the berries as they want, unlike in the store bought varieties where you run out of fruit real fast.
- whole wheat tortillas – we have had this one for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Recipe here. They are so easy to make and the results, straight off the pan, are so satisfying! I bag up the leftovers in a ziplock and keep them in the fridge where the kids can get at them when they feel peckish during the afternoon. We eat them with chicken/mayo, tuna/mayo or egg/mayo, or hummus with carrots, avocado, cucumbers. I have to say I surprised myself because I am NOT, I repeat NOT a raw food fan, but I loved these wraps with hummus (homemade *ahem*) and raw veges … with chicken/mayo of course. :)
- whole wheat pancakes – these were DELICIOUS right out of the pan, but didn’t taste as good after they were frozen and re-heated. Good, but not great. Recpipe here. I tried another recipe from here, but using the Sue Gregg two-stage process, soaking the whole wheat flour the buttermilk for more than half a day and the results were fabulous! Even though I did run out of eggs that day and ended up using bananas as a substitute, but still great!
- cereal and milk – this is our “go-to” breakfast, when I get out of bed too late to prepare anything for the kids. We still have our stock of cereals and are getting through those. I am a Post Honey Bunches of Oats fan and will need to find a way to make my own fast! We have some single-grain cereals as well – puffed wheat, air-popped corn, etc. Those would fit into an unprocessed shopping list.
- quick breads - these are yeast-free breads, which get their rise from baking powder and baking soda. Think banana nut bread and you have the general idea. Because no rising time is needed, these are doable for breakfast. You’ll just have to be up and at it about an hour before everyone’s hungry because it takes about 40 mins to bake. If you use sugar, you can speed things up by baking at a higher temperature, but if you’re using honey, these are usually done at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and for 40 mins. Worth the effort because they are such a treat right out of the oven. Whole wheat of course.
- bacon and eggs – now this one is always a hit here! :) But I recently found out from a fellow real food seeker (hi Missy again!) that I consider buying “nitrate-free” bacon. We are down to our last 10 slices from a previous stash and will be looking for those in the supermarket next!
- Chinese rice porridge – what I do with leftover rice and meat. :) For extra “kick” I fry eggs with “chai poh” (preserved radish) and no one has refused this, not even Tim who doesn’t fancy rice porridge.
Here’s another area many people said they struggled with. It’s so easy to reach for that bag of chips or box of cookies or that granola bar or the goldfish cheese crackers or … You know what I mean right? :)
Here’s how we have been surviving the afternoons:
- Fruit leather - this is a really fun thing to make and quite easy. The recipe I have is from the Thermomix cookbook, but you can easily find one online. Basically you cook up a batch of fruit, puree it, add some lemon juice, spread it out over a baking tray, put it into your oven at the lowest temperature and leave it overnight or 8 to 12 hours till it is no longer sticky. Cut it up with a pair of scissors and VOILA! Fruit leather! We have done this twice, once with mixed berries & banana and the second time with mango & pears. Both were a hit! Adding bananas, apples or pears is a great way to make your fruit go further for less.
- Granola bars – I have never liked granola bars. Like eating cardboard. LOL! But it seemed like everyone who was making snacks was making this so I gave it a shot and boy was I surprised! It is SO GOOD! And so easy to make and like the lady who wrote this recipe rightly said, it is next to impossible to mess up.
- Crackers and dip - we have been making whole wheat crackers from various recipes we’ve found online (still searching for that ULTIMATE cracker recipe)and eating them with hummus, chicken (leftovers) and mayo, egg & mayo, tuna & mayo, etc. Notice the mayo? We make our own mayonnaise now and it only lasts a week because there’s raw egg in it. So some of it goes toward making Caesar salad dressing and the rest we use up in wraps and dips.
- Muffins – bake the breakfast quick breads in muffiin pans and you get tea time snacks! Banana nut muffins, apple & oat bran, pumpkin & cranberries … next up … zuchinni! Going to make this one in the next couple of days, but need to figure out how to use honey instead of ALL THAT SUGAR the recipe calls for!
- Fruit and Nuts – we have a good selection of this usually - apples, clementines, pears, bananas, grapes are staples. Then if berries are on sale, we add that. Just wishing melons weren’t so expensive here! And a variety of nuts – cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pine nuts. I buy them raw or dry roasted, unsalted, and the kids have no clue there’s a difference. LOL! I made a yummy nut mix the other day. It was supposed to be a topping for salads but the kids eat it as a snack.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
120 grams pine nuts
120 grams sunflower seeds
60 grams sesame seeds
30 grams (1 tablespooons) Tamari or soy sauce
Heat sesame oil in frying pan over moderate heat, add nuts and seeds, stir until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat, cool, add tamari or soy sauce.
The list will keep growing I’m sure. We’ve only been at this for a month. But I hope this helps those of you who asked about what we eat.
And if you have any suggestions for us, please leave them in the comments!