one month without additives

I started this “one month without additives” a few days ago, and let me tell you, I’m glad my classes are on break right now!  I imagine it will get easier to cook every meal from scratch using fresh, whole meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains (well, flours are ok!).  My big goal for the weeks before Christmas is to make huge batches of food every night and freeze most of it, for those school nights when I just don’t have one to two hours to spend on dinner.  This weekend, we made a great marinara sauce, chili, and experimented with our sandwich bread.  I don’t know if I can keep up this level of food activity for the next couple of weeks, but here’s to trying!

Chili:  Macleid’s Rock Castle Chili in the “Joy of Cooking” — it’s been my husband’s favorite for years, and well deserved!  We soaked the beans for several hours in hot distilled water (apparently our hard-ish water doesn’t soak beans very well).  Not too much chili after-effect, if you know what I mean!  We did use Guiness, so hopefully that isn’t too far off of the no-additive goal…

Marinara:  Again, “The Joy of Cooking” provides a stellar recipe.  I’m not sure we followed it exactly, we added some green peppers.  We used LOTS of basil, oregano, and thyme — you really can’t go wrong with those. 

Sandwich bread:  We typically like whole wheat bread, and had been making it in our bread machine on a fairly regular basis.  The loaves tend to be a bit dry and crumbly, and after the first day you have to cut the slices pretty thick for them to stay together.  So we tried doing bread “by hand” — that is, with our Kitchenaid mixer and a warm kitchen for each rise.  “Laurel’s Bread Book” has a great whole wheat recipe (this book has a ton of quite delicious, but hugely time-consuming breads — the basic whole wheat is fairly tame by comparison).  We baked it on a stone, so it doesn’t really have a sandwich shape this time, but next time we’ll use a bread pan.

Yesterday and today I also fried up some potatoes and made meatballs; both are frozen, ready to add to a meal on the fly. 

Unfortunately, I cooked both of these using canola oil — I recently started using canola oil again because, well, it’s cheap.  My tummy has been regretting this choice the past few days.  Of course, there are pretty good reasons not to use canola oil (check here to refresh your memory), so out it goes with the rest of the industrial crap.  Also out of my diet this month (and probably forever, if I can handle it):  soy anything, hopefully most medications, sodas (who knew caramel color aggravated my dairy allergy?), and pretty much every food that comes in a box, bag, or jar.

What’s staying:  Almond Breeze almond milk and So Delicious Coconut Milk — with dairy allergies, they are both a much-needed source of calcium for my son and I 🙂

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