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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

why is processed food so bad?




When I cook I use things like.....
eggs, milk, spices and herbs, along with other real food ingredients.

But when the factory cooks for me it is a different story.

If I was to create a recipe for the commercial market these are some of the changes it would go through in order to even think about putting it on the store shelves.

 


Whole food (fruit and vegetable) supplies are a big challenge first because  of spoilage. Real food is quick to spoil. The second thing is that the food can change in price and quality throughout the year.  For example, strawberries are available year round, during peak season they are reasonably priced they are really yummy, but winter strawberries are very expensive lack that "summer strawberry" experience which brings me to the next part...

Taste.  Each batch of vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods tastes slightly different because of variations in the seeds and growing conditions.  Often food companies do not want to use the real food which can be unpredictable in color and flavor. So what do they do, they substitute with colors and flavors that are very predictable in order to achieve the taste and color they desire.  It is important that they create the same product each and every time with the exact same flavor profile. Spices and fresh herbs are often lost in the process because they also change throughout the season, therefore  dried herbs may be used, but more often "natural flavors" is seen on the label instead so that you will get the same taste each and every time.  Natural flavors is a very deceptive term and is widely used to cover up the unpleasant truth about what is really in your food.  I will include some links at the bottom of the page for those of you who want more reading on that subject.

When I cook I often use milk and eggs. In the commercial food business these are foods that require refrigeration and have many rules and regulations for their use as they are considered "potentially hazardous" They are foods that are easily spoiled, plus there are allergy factors involved.  Many large companies are shying away from the use of eggs and milk and are substituting chemicals that perform the same function in recipes. These chemicals are deemed "safe", but are they really? I would suggest that they may be more hazardous to your health than the milk and eggs themselves.

Cost is also a major factor in food production. The chemicals that imitate the flavors and colors of real food are a lot less expensive than the real thing. They are often used to keep the food cost low. Cutting the cost of food is quite a concern to the leaders of  these companies (how else can they pay for the massive machines that are required for the processing of large quantities of food). Which brings me to the next point; the health cost associated with the machines and processing of foods.


As the food products are pumped through these massive machines, often times there are chemical additives that are used for the sole purpose of making the product run through the machine more smoothly. Not to mention the chemicals that end up in our food from the cleaning of the machines. I once had to throw out an entire gallon of milk, because it tasted so bad of cleaning chemicals (this at a time when money was so short that it really hurt to throw it out). There are a lot of health risks associated with these chemicals, not to mention the heat that is  produced by these machines when they run at such high speeds. The heat and chemicals destroy any goodness that is left in the food and we haven't even got to the stabilizers and preservatives used to keep the product "fresh" and shelf stable so that it can travel to the store and then get to our home and be used, not to mention the chemicals and things added during the packaging process. I am amazed at the amount of chemicals that are used in the processing that do not even end up on the label  they are just overlooked by the FDA as "part of processing".

What may start out as a "good recipe" turns into a chemical cocktail by the time it is done with the food manufacturing process, and yet people still wonder if it is really all that bad for them.
YES! processed foods are bad for your overall health. They are full of toxins that will not kill you right away, but repeated exposure to all of these things can kill.


I choose to cook from scratch and eat real foods.   It helps to keep down the toxins so that I am not in a constant state of toxic overload.  My body is thanking me, after years of overload it is finally finding some relief.

I find that the saying FOOD SHOULD COME FROM A PLANT AND NOT BE MADE IN A PLANT very helpful when I am making food choices.



Additional reading:

Wikipedia on flavorings

Beaver butts as natural flavorings

Wikipedia on pink slime

Is processed food safe?






Monday, September 8, 2014

Seasons change

I have not written in a while here at life less hurried. As fall approaches and the seasons change, I to am entering into changes and a new season in my own life. It is a challenging time that does not allow for writing as much as I would like.

I will continue writing as I am able. Please keep checking back. 

Happy Momma

Monday, August 25, 2014

The best beer batter for fish or vegetables.

 
This is a great simple batter that we use for fish, vegetables or anything that we want to deep fry
 
 
 
 



 







Basic beer batter


1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
Mix these dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add to the dry ingredients:

1 large egg
1 1/2 cups beer (12 ounce bottle or can)

Whisk until a smooth batter is formed


Happy frying!  



Monday, August 18, 2014

Cut your grocery bill.

Feeding a family on a budget can be such a challenge. It seems that lately at our house the budget is shrinking as the cost of food and other supplies are rising at a rapid rate, but never fear there is hope.  There light at the end of the tunnel.


 
 

Money saving mom, Crystal Paine has partnered up with some incredible people to bring you Grocery University.  I have been a follower of Crystal and her blog  for about 5 years. It began as I embarked upon learning how to coupon and how to save money. During the process I stumbled upon her blog and have not looked back. I have learned many a skill from her writings. She is a true inspiration.


The information that she and her associates share should prove itself invaluable.  They have spent many years learning how to win at the "grocery game"  They are ready and willing to share and teach others the skills that they have spent a lifetime learning by trial and error.  I am grateful for those who have learned and are willing to help me so that I don't have to learn by trial and error. I love having someone that will help me see and avoid the most common traps and pitfalls.


You can get your own Grocery University Course by clicking the link below.


 
                                                                

It gets even better!  They are launching a brand new updated version of the course TOMMORROW: Tuesday August 19th. 

Mark your Calendar (and your alarm) 
Tuesday August 19th
Beginning at  5 am central time


5 am price is $2.97
8 am pricing is $3.97
11 am $4.97
2 pm   $5.97
5 pm   $6.97
8 pm   $7.97
11 pm  $8.97

 
Happy shopping

This post contains affiliate links.  You can read the full disclosure by clicking on the privacy policy tab at the top of the page.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to remove chewing gum from about anything.

Chewing gum, what a sticky icky mess when it gets in places it does not belong, but never fear, there is an easy and economical way to remove chewing gum from almost anything.




Who knew, that peanut butter could unstick the gum from nearly anything

Peanut butter will remove gum from things like:

Carpet, and tile
Clothing
Furniture
Hair
even a bubble popped on the face and into the eyebrows can be cleaned with peanut butter



The oils in peanut butter have a way of neutralizing the sticky part of the chewing gum. It begins to dissolve the chewing gum into a soft and almost slippery mass that is then easily removed from whatever it is stuck to. 


It is really easy to do:  Just smear the peanut butter over the gum and rub it in.  Let it sit for a minute or two then work the gum and peanut butter mass loose with your fingers.  

I have used this trick on several occasions and it works perfectly.  The only trouble is getting rid of the grease stain that can be left from the peanut butter.  I have found that on carpet, clothing and other items that Dawn dish soap is a great agent for getting rid of the leftover peanut butter residue. 


I saved my favorite blouse this way and I have saved several children and parents from the frustrating thoughts of having to cut the gum from hair.  I hope that this helps.
 



Disclaimer:  Please use this at your own risk. The peanut butter could stain some items.  I would not use it on a dry clean only items.  




Monday, August 4, 2014

Making wontons

Wontons have become one of the new obsessions at our house.  Several times a month we make them.  My daughters love to help fill and fold them. It makes for some fun times and great conversation as we cook together.  I love spending time with the kids in the kitchen.
 



To make wontons you will need

1 package of store bought wonton wrappers
about 1/3cup filling per dozen wontons
oil for frying
Sauce for dipping


You can fill wontons with just about anything you desire.
Here are some of our favorite fillings




 
Crab Rangoon   makes about 36 wontons

4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup flaked crab meat 


Mix softened cream cheese with spices. Then fold in the crab (can use fresh crab, imitation crab, or canned crab meat)





Pork wonton filling   makes about 50 wontons

1/2 pound ground pork
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup grated carrots
2/3 cup grated onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil


Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Add the pork and vegetables. Cook for about 2 minutes until the vegetables wilt and the pork is nearly cooked.  Add the garlic, pepper, and soy sauce. Cook the mix for about a minute more.  Remove from the heat and cool until it can be handled easily. 





To make the wontons,

Place about a teaspoon of filling into the middle of a wonton wrapper
 



Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with a clean paintbrush or your finger dipped in water
Fold the wrapper in half (corner to corner) to create a triangle shape and press to seal the filling inside.



Some people leave them just like this and cook them but we take it one step further,

Take the top corners and bring them together and press them with a dab of water to create a tortellini type shape. 


Once they are filled you can pan fry, deep fry, or bake them in the oven for a crispy treat. 



We usually pan fry them. 

To  pan fry the wontons:  Heat oil about 3/4 of an inch deep over high heat for about 2 minutes, then carefully place the filled wontons in the hot oil cooking about 2 minutes per side.  If they are browning too fast, adjust the heat down a bit.  Drain on paper towels.  Can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven



To deep fry wontons:  Heat the pot of oil to 365 degrees and cook the wontons about 4 minutes (If the oil is deep they will float when done)


To bake the wontons:  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, Place the wontons on the baking sheet and brush with oil (or spray heavily with a spray oil)   Bake in a 375 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.



Serve wontons with your favorite dipping sauce. 

photo taken from taste of home website


Be on the lookout as we will be posting some of our favorite choices for dipping sauces in an upcoming post.  

  



 

 

Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY frozen blueberries

 



I got a great deal on blueberries today!  I love blueberries. They are very healthy for you full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant power.

Blueberries are one of the easiest berries to add to your diet and one of the most nutritious.

Blueberries are easy to prepare; just wash and eat. They are easy to stir into oatmeal, or yogurt for an added breakfast boost.

They add a nice flavor to smoothies, and who doesn't love a blueberry muffin?

One of our favorite breakfasts is blueberry pancakes, and pancakes with berries make a nice dinner treat.


Blueberries are wonderful  to use fresh and they freeze nicely for later use.




Freezing blueberries is super easy


1. Wash the fruit with clean, cool water





2. Pick over the fruit, discard any withered, moldy, or squashed berries.

3. Place the fruit on a dishtowel and gently blot with another dishtowel (or paper towels) to remove any excess water.

4. Gently place the dry berries into zip-top style freezer bags and seal them up.



5. Place the bags full of berries in the freezer for later use.

Frozen berries will keep in the freezer for up to a year (they don't last that long at our house)



Get some of these wonderful berries in your diet today.