Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cooking in the Country...the "Inside Scoop"

Before I go any further into my meals/menus, etc... I want to give you a quick peek into our family's eating/cooking habits.
First off, my children are picky eaters. At times I feel as if I'm running "The Country Diner", preparing 2-3 different meals per sitting! I needed to get creative. So, assuring they have every nutritional value possible with these meals I "doctor" them up a bit. The pancakes and waffles that are made for breakfasts have been "laced" with flaxmeal. (you can put ground flaxmeal in virtually everything you bake!) The yogurt, organic reduced-sugar, and I try to sneak some wheat germ in there (sometimes my son doesn't notice, but lately he's been onto me!) I usually make my own organic bread, but if I'm in a time pinch or there's a great sale I'll go for an organic brand in the store.
100% of the dairy products we consume are organic as well as produce (fruits and vegetables). When available (not always stocked at our grocery store) I buy 100% organic juice for the kids, that goes for juice boxes as well. Fruits we always have for snacks are apples, bananas, and red or black grapes (the darker the more antioxidants!),
Our meats at the time can be 50/50. I always find free-range chicken but not always beef. Our organic ground beef at the grocery store isn't always available and unfortunately when it is the dates are expired! It was explained to me buy a manager that in the mass supermarkets there isn't a huge demand for it, which leads to a lot of loss. (produce manager told me the same!) You can offset a lot of shopping for these items at a local health food store or Co-op.
When cooking I try to add wheat germ to any and everything I make...wheat germ will usually mix with the consistency to sauces, especially tomato sauce. I also put organic pureed carrots in my tomato sauce (baby food)! Last month I held a cooking birthday party for my daughter and they made mini-pizzas. The girls gobbled them up, all the while not realizing they were in for a health kick! (and one mother who stayed to help/watch had some and said she LOVED the sauce...did I dare tell her what was in it??!!) I also only cook with olive oil and organic canola oil. The benefits are endless! For a great post on super-healthy foods and their benefits click here or see my sidebar.
My cookware...another biggie in health benefits and preventative health. I use ONLY cast iron, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel. There is absolutely no teflon/non-stick cookware in our on. Cooking with cast iron will take some getting used to and is semi-high maintenance, but doing what I can to aid in keeping my family healthy is so worth it!
An organic clarification: eating organic does not mean low just means less or no exposure to pesticides, genetically modified organisms, artifical ingredients (high-fructose corn syrup), etc... I do cook some lowfat meals, but mostly we just manage our portions of whole, sustainable foods to curb or try to beat the battle with the buldge!! (My husband and I, that is!!)
So, hopefully a little background in what mealtime entails around here will give you some insight into a healthier way of cooking/preparing meals.
Checkout Eat Better America...some great recipes, tips, and when you register you get access to some great organic coupons!

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