I've mentioned before that I'm trying to eat clean and have Pete eat clean too. I'm sure you've heard of clean eating before, right? Basically it's trying to cut out as many processed foods as you can. There's even a magazine called Clean Eating. There are several books: Eat Clean Diet, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Clean, and Clean Start.
I started out trying not to shop in the inner aisles of the grocery store. The place where things are boxed, bagged and canned. I tried to focus more on the outside of the store where things are in their natural forms - meat, produce and dairy. Now that's not to say that I never buy anything canned or boxed. I still buy pasta, canned tomatoes (because the fresh ones aren't really good this time of year), some canned beans, pickles and things like that. But I don't buy already shredded cheese, hamburger helpers, creamed soups, macaroni and cheese, boxed cookies, jarred salsas, boxed cake mixes and things like that. Instead I try to create my own or find a recipe online that helps me create my own versions of this.
Macaroni and cheese is just a milk based white sauce with cheese and pasta. Hamburger helper is just hamburger (or in our case ground turkey) with pasta or rice and a sauce. I can do that myself and know where everything is coming from. Salsa is just tomatoes, spices, garlic, peppers, onions and some lime juice. Spaghetti sauce is tomatoes, a squirt of tomato paste, onions, garlic and spices cooked down.
Initially I was confused about trying to eat clean. It seemed overwhelming to cut everything out cold turkey. Overwhelming and time consuming. I took a step back and decided to make small changes that we could live with and keep trying. I stopped buying boxed meals. It takes a little more planning, but it can be done. I tried to stick to meats, a starch and a veggie for a few weeks. When that became easy I started something new. And so on.
When I look at my grocery cart 12 months ago it was full of boxed versions of granola bars, meals, quick/easy things. Now I see about 30% fresh produce, 30% meats/fish, 20% dairy and about 20% quick/easy items like canned tomatoes, frozen veggies and such.
My latest challenge is that I want to make my own yogurt. I eat Fage Greek Yogurt like it's going out of style. At 1.29-1.79 an 8 ounce container it's expensive. But I love the flavor, the texture and the tang. I found a recipe online for yogurt and this weekend I'm going to try it.
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt with LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES
To start out with you'll need a container of yogurt to get the live active cultures. After the first batch you can use your own yogurt and you won't need to buy it.
In a crockpot on low, heat your milk for 2 hours. Turn off the crockpot and let the milk cool with the lid on for 3 hours. Mix in 1/2 cup yogurt with live active cultures . Wrap the crockpot in a large towel and let it sit overnight or 8 hours.
I'll let you know next week how it turns out!