Thursday, October 22, 2009

Un-processed Foods

A little over a year ago, we made the decision at our house to move away from pre-packaged foods. Over the past year, we've really made significant changes in what we buy at the grocery store. Right now, we shop the perimeter... fresh fruits and veggies, dairy, meat, and the baking aisle for flour, etc. From these basics, we can make just about everything we're interested in eating!

For breakfasts, those quick go-to frozen pastries, waffles, etc., can be tempting because they are a time saver. For us, we make our own "freezer" goods. Make up a big batch of wheat oatmeal pancakes, cinnamon waffles, bagels, wheat cinnamon rolls, or muffins and freeze the rest. Pull them out, pop them in the toaster and you have breakfast in a flash. Or, instead of cereal, try homemade cinnamon granola or apple granola.

For lunches, sandwiches are a go-to staple. If you don't have a bread maker, try a no-knead quick whole wheat oatmeal bread, or wheat tortillas for a yummy sandwich. Like specialty breads for your sandwiches? Try a tomato basil bread, or Parmesan Italian bread.

Like soup with that sandwich? Make your own, freeze them in individual serving sizes and take them with you in your lunch. Maybe a veggie-loaded Minestrone, a comfy chicken stew or an amazing chili?

Need an afternoon snack? Reaching for that bag of pretzels or chips can be very tempting. Our solution... we just don't buy them (that often). In reality, we do have some processed food weaknesses, but we're working to find our own replacements. Homemade soft wheat pretzels, cheesy crackers, fruit "roll-ups", chewy oatmeal craisin granola bars, and crunchy honey granola bars.

How about dinner? Need a hamburger buns in less than 40 minutes? How about a pizza crust in a pinch? Once a month, make up a batch of spaghetti sauce, keep it in the freezer for a variety of meals -- like homemade ravioli. Breaded chicken fingers or popcorn chicken comes together in just a few minutes -- breaded in wheat flour and baked in butter rather than fried in oil makes these a healthy alternative to the boxed variety. No need to buy that boxed chicken pot pie either... you can make one for just pennies a serving.

And, who can forget desserts? We love desserts here... and we've come to make nearly everything from scratch. Pudding. Ice Cream. Popsicles. Pie Filling. Brownies. Cookie Dough (made with whole wheat flour), Ice Cream Cake. You name it, you can make it with some simple ingredients and basic kitchen tools.

For more un-processed foods, check out Katie's Super Foods Carnival by clicking on the image below!

October Fest Carnival


  1. Lots of great recipes to try out from this post - awesome! I try to cook from scratch as much as possible.

  2. We've really moved away from (most) processed foods, too, and it's one of the best decisions we've ever made! I did just want to note that it IS possible to make yeast breads without a breadmaker! If you have a stand mixer, you could use the dough hook to cut down some of the work, but I usually knead my dough by hand and find it just as easy! Most of the "time and effort" that goes into breadmaking is really just rise time.

  3. That tomato basil bread looks right up my alley and, as the mother of a two year old, I'm always on the lookout for good quality "chicken nuggets" that I can make at home (especially ones I can make in a big batch and freezer for individual cooking!)

    Great post and I look forward to delving deeper!


  4. Great post. Our food is too often overprocessed and artificially flavored. It's nice to know that there are folks moving back to basics.

  5. I am seeing some homemade bread in my near future! These really are some great ideas that would work well for our family. We are taking baby steps toward becoming processed-foods free, so I appreciate all the recipes you have to share. And, thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  6. Great post, I'm doing the same thing. I used to buy only fresh, but in the past 6 years since I've been couponing and getting so much junk free, I was getting lazy. Ultimately, like everything, our diets were falling apart at the seams when I had our 7th baby and just couldn't get a list together or to the store. Love that no knead bread recipe, I was going to look for oven's out but thank God I have a crockpot & a bread maker (w/o the kneading hook) so I should be able to get by for a while.

  7. How wonderful.....I grew up eating a lot of homemade southern food, and I really miss it. My grandmother and uncle used to make everything from scratch. What a good healthy way to eat.

  8. You are such an inspiration to me!! I still have so much to learn.

  9. Love this post! I'm trying to move my household (me and six and nine-year-old boys) away from processed foods, too, and it can be a struggle (Try to take their Goldfish crackers away from them. Just try). I'll be ratcheting it up a notch!

  10. You had me at "ice cream cake". :>)

  11. I linked to your cheesy crackers recipe here:


  12. Wow, you've done it again - gorgeous photos and a wealth of recipes. I clicked on too many and bookmarked at least 3! How embarrassing that it took over a week to visit your post!

    I really appreciate you linking up to the Un-Processed foods Carnival; it will be a valuable resource that I will direct my readers to often!
    Thanks, Katie


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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