Clean Eating

Wow… the last entry I wrote was about Josiah’s birth? And he’s already 6 months! *sigh* I know it’s cliche, but time sure does fly. Some days draaaaag on, crawl at a snail’s pace until we’re able to flop in bed and go to sleep… but when we look back, it was faster than the blink of an eye.

So, I’ve been trying eat clean for almost a month now, and I have to say I feel better. I was hoping that fat would literally melt off, but of course that’s not realistic. Sure, there are days when I want to give up and just eat a piece of frickin’ chocolate cake and a huge bowl of ice cream already, but then I remember that I’m trying to be good to my body and not treat it like a piece of trash. And really, most of the convenience foods that you find in the supermarket aren’t fit for consumption, so when you choose to eat those foods you’re not doing your body any good. Put good in, get good out.

Once again I’ve embarked on making homemade baby food. I can’t believe I’m doing this all over again! It’s kind of like riding a bike – you never forget – but of course it means a bit more work and preparation. The neat thing is that we all end up eating better. For instance, I grind up some brown rice for Josiah’s cereal, and he and Gwendolyn end up having brown rice cereal (hers with berries) for breakfast. Then we have brown rice flour for pizza dough and healthy cookies. Pretty neat, huh?

Anyhoo, I thought I would share some of my recent fave recipes.

Slow-Cooker Salsa
I’m always trying to find a new way to make an old-favorite, and yesterday I combined a couple recipes to make salsa. When Phil came home, I waited with baited breath until he sampled it and gave me the thumb’s up.

large can plum tomatoes
big spoonful chopped garlic
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 jalapeno peppers, stem chopped off (the more seeds you put into the pot, the hotter it will be)
1 small can tomato paste
juice from 1 lime
1t cumin
sea salt

Put the canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, and peppers into the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the vegetables are softened. In a food processor, combine tomato mixture (removed with a slotted spoon), tomato paste, lime juice, cumin, and sea salt. Cover and process till smooth.

Pizza Dough
Nichole let me use her breadmaker, which is fabulous for making pizza dough because you don’t have to worry about the kneading and rising, but I’ve also made it in my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle and hook attachments, so either way works fine.

1 cup warm tap water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey (or other sweetener)
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour (I use 2c wheat flour & 1c white)

If using the mixer, I dissolve the sweetener and yeast in the warm water till the yeast is active and bubbly. Then I add the other ingredients, switching to the dough hook attachment towards the end to knead. If dough seems too dry, add more water/oil; if too wet, add some more flour. Transfer dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil, and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size (at least 1 hour, but longer is fine).

Punch dough down, knead a few more times, and roll out to make your favorite pizza. You could make one big pizza like we do (we’ve found that half of the dough makes a really nice, crispy, thin-crust pizza), using our pizza stone, or you can make a few small pizzas. Bake in a 450-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until crust is darkened and firm when tapped.

Healthy Pancake Mix
I found this recipe on a website for flaxseed and took out the sugar as I could add it as desired to each recipe. I also halved the directions to make a smaller batch. I usually add cinnamon, sometimes orange extract and mini chocolate chips. Blueberries are a bit hit, too. If I leave them plain, I top ’em with natural nut butter and a drizzle of maple agave syrup, maybe some sliced bananas if I have ’em.

2 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk powder
5 tablespoons dried egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup wheat bran or oat bran

Combine 1 cup pancake mix with 3/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons canola oil, dash of vanilla, and a drizzle of honey or agave syrup. Let stand 5 minutes before using.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich
Take a couple slices of whole grain bread, spread some natural nut butter (cashew butter is what I’ve been using lately), and top with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of agave syrup.