The Process of Eating Less Processed

Weaning My Family Off of Processed Foods – While Sneaking in Some Hidden Fruits and Veggies


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Linda’s Sugar Cookies – In Memory of My Mother in Law

DSCF0591Linda, my mother-in-law, always made homemade sugar cookies. Super yummy sugar cookies. Cookies so yummy that her ex husband, my father-in-law actually still asked her to make some for him. Those cookies were kinda her thing. My husband has memories of her burning out hand mixers making these cookies. He also remembers the ball of dough in the fridge, wrapped in wax paper, and how he and his sister would sneak bites of dough and then his sister would smooth out the evidence. Linda passed away this summer. And among the many sad losses was that she wouldn’t be making those cookies this year. The cookies she made every year with her kids and then with the grandkids.

I’ve always made holiday sugar cookies with my boys, but in the past these have always come from a mix and then the only thing we really did to them was shape and decorate. And let’s face it, that mix is full of chemicals and scary ingredients.

So this year I made Linda’s sugar cookies. And you should too! They’re yummy and good and it’s Christmas and they’re a treat, so skip the whole wheat flour and embrace the real sugar. And bake these cookies. And tell everyone who asks that they’re Linda’s sugar cookies.

Linda’s Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 Tb milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, egg and milk. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Wrap dough in wax paper and place in refrigerator for at least an hour (Linda always did it overnight). Roll cookies out on a flat surface dusted lightly with flour. You can also dust the rolling pin to help keep it from sticking. Cut with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets at least an inch apart. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes on the pan before transferring to cooling rack. Frost and decorate as desired, or even just eat them as is.

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Tastes They Are A’changin. Why I can’t eat a bag of Doritos

A little more than a month into starting the less processed lifestyle, my family traveled to visit relatives and my sister brought Doritos to a family picnic. I was surprised at how quickly my husband and I resorted to wolfing these down. That was 5 months ago. Now, I don’t think we’d be eating those Doritos so enthusiastically. In fact, a few days ago I found myself with a small bag of Doritos (impulse buy when standing in line for an hour and a half at a grocery store clearance sale) and couldn’t eat more than a couple of them. They were just overly salty and chemically tasting. In the last week I also found myself barely able to eat a Milano cookie thinking it just tasted a bit like plastic (These cookies used to be among my favorites).

Turns out that as we’ve been eating fewer processed foods, our tastes are changing, and we are finding that we actually prefer simpler, less processed foods. We’ve gotten used to the yummy more rustic tortilla chips with an ingredients list of corn, oil and salt. Same for the potato chips that contain only potatoes, oil and salt. Turns out once you get used to the taste of the actual food rather than all of the crazy additives and chemicals that are supposed to make it taste better, you can actually prefer the real food. Now I just need to get myself used to fruit instead of chocolate 🙂


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Super Easy Homemade Chocolate Syrup – For yummy hot cocoa and chocolate milk

As the weather has turned to downright brutally cold, my kids have been asking for a lot of hot cocoa. Last winter I would make them small cups of hot cocoa using the oh so convenient tub of instant hot cocoa mix, complete with the unaturally crunchy (but still tasty) little marshmallows. But since we’ve been eating less processed foods, instant hot cocoa with it’s huge list of scary sounding ingredients just isn’t an option anymore. In the past if we were out of instant hot cocoa mix, I would heat up some milk and add hersey’s syrup – which was a really yummy hot cocoa, and considerably better than the instant stuff. But the list of ingredients for the chocolate syrup wasn’t particularly good either (HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP; CORN SYRUP; WATER; COCOA; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); SALT; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; XANTHAN GUM; POLYSORBATE 60; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR).

The solution to this one is actually ridiculously easy, and very tasty to boot. Homemade chocolate syrup.bigstock-Hot-Chocolate-In-A-Cup-Isolate-2817353

This is what I made. You can adjust the sugar, salt and vanilla for your taste.

Chocolate Syrup
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB vanilla

Place all ingredients but vanilla into a small saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar and cocoa is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool and store in fridge for up to a month.

That’s it! You can then add it to warm or cold milk just as you would the processed stuff for super tasty chocolate milk or hot cocoa.