this is the way we eat our food

There's been a mini FOOD REVOLUTION in our house over the past 5 years.

Rewind five years ago: We were in graduate school and working our way up in our careers. We ate out. We made things out of boxes. We opted for convenience and familiarity. It's not like we ate Pop Tarts, Twinkies, and TV dinners (eew). BUT - we didn't eat half as well as we do now.

this is the way we eat our food 1These days - you can verify this with Tim - we eat gourmet, flavorful dishes almost every night. Thanks to food blogs, Allrecipes.com, and our new way of thinking, I can make ANYTHING. So I do. Homemade is the name of the game 'round here.

I should clarify that we eat very simply. We don't eat 5-course meals. We just eat WELL. A weekly menu might look something like this (That is, if we actually, you know, made a menu plan - usually we fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants!):

  • MONDAY - Salad & French Bread.
  • TUESDAY - Lamb Burgers and Fresh Blueberries.
  • WEDNESDAY - Angelhair Pasta tossed w/ Basil & Avocados.
  • THURSDAY - Lemon Chicken & Asparagus on the grill.
  • FRIDAY - Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato Slices and Mandarin Oranges.

Nothing super fancy. But oh-so-good.

We almost always have a vegetable and/or a fruit as a side dish. Sometimes they are the main dish. In fact, we have been known to eat peas and peaches or sweet potatoes and blueberries for dinner. Happily.

Here's a partial list of the food-related changes we've made over the past few years:

this is the way we eat our food 2

Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, "Wow. Crazy Crunchy Girl. I could never eat THAT healthy." Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, "She thinks SHE eats healthy? Ha! I tend my own garden, grind my own wheat, and rarely set foot in the grocery store."

So I guess I'm "in-between." For now. (But I think I want to be a Crazy Crunchy Girl). ;)

A few notes: We don't make our own bread. We don't garden. We still buy rotisserie chickens from the deli. We still order take-out pizza from local places when our cupboards are bare. Our 3-year-old has a thing for sprinkles and both of our girls love getting free cookies from the grocery store bakery:

this is the way we eat our food 3

All that to say, we're not perfect. We're just taking one day at a time, striving to be the best stewards that we can of our earth and these bodies God has given us.

Have you changed the way you eat over the past few years? Do you relate more to the left or right half of my table?

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82 comments on “this is the way we eat our food”

  1. Ok! I am in love with your menu plan!! Who really needs recipes all the time anyway?! I expect my kids would prefer if I made them simple dishes with all those yummy fresh ingredients. My next "kitchen manager" goal is buy lots and lots of fruit and veg from the farmers market and make them into delish meals. Or better yet, I think illl look into bountiful baskets. So fun! Oh & you just might like passionatehomemaking.com so inspiring!

  2. We definitely eat better than we used too - and for the past couple of years we've had a garden! (it's small and it's at my in-laws because there isn't room here - but still it's a garden!)

    We only buy organic milk - and we buy the brand from the local dairy farm. It is soooo good!

    I only buy dried beans and fresh or frozen veggies.

    We hunt and fish for most of our meat - I do buy meat when the store puts it on a GOOD sale, but we primarily eat venison. One of these days we'll have some more space and another freezer and we'll start buying 1/2 a cow, 1/2 a pig, etc... and just get our meat that way.

    I never had thought about looking for ice cream without high-fructose corn syrup. Thanks for that tip!

    -Jenn

    1. I'm curious: Do you make your beans just for a specific meal that you have planned...or do you make them and store them? I have yet to make my own beans (it strikes me as being so time-consuming!), but I would like to.

      1. It's really easy to make beans. I usually only do it for a specific meal, but then I always make extras and freeze what's left for later.

        My favorite way to make beans is to use my big crockpot - I'll put a ham bone, or left over roast, grilled steaks cut up into chunks or basically any type of beef or pork - not a lot of meat, just a little, less than 2 cups for a big pot of beans - then I add the beans, some chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, salt, pepper, spicy seasonings and enough water or beef/chicken broth to cover the beans and let it cook all day long - 8 to 12 hours. At the end of the day I make some rice or cornbread, break out the hot sauce and we have a scrumptious, frugal, filling meal.

        The beans can also be cooked in a big covered pot on the stove - the process is the same you just stir it occasionally, set the heat on low and let it go - it's a bit quicker on the stove.

        Either way - the beans take awhile to cook - but actually fixing them is pretty simple and not time consuming at all. And... in the dead of winter the warm, homey smells wafting through the rest of the house help keep you warm!

        1. Thank you, Jenn! You make it sound easy (and delicious). We may try it.

          The biggest obstacle? Remembering to actually get everything started in the morning! ;)

  3. 73 comments, GIRL. :-)

    I was just going to pipe up and say you REALLY should try making your own ice cream. There is nothing in the store that comes close. I highly recommend the ice cream maker in the Amazon store on my site. And I make the vanilla ice cream recipe that came in the instruction booklet. I found a chocolate recipe on AllRecipes that is to die for. Let me know if you want it!

  4. Is that a double seat cart the girls are in? Super slick!

    We are in the midst (past two years) of slowly making changes as well. Milk has been the hardest. It's hard for me to drop $6 for something I previously paid $2 for. Ouch.

    Meat wasn't that hard because we don't eat much of it. And fruit is easy thanks to places like Trader Joe's.

    I just tried making my own whole wheat bread two weeks ago. Hubby and I LOVED it! The kids? Not so much. William kept asking for the soft kind. So I make it for the adults and buy the Arnold Whole Wheat brand for the kids.

    We should swap favorite, healthy, go-to recipes! Our food philosophies sound similar.

  5. We have always been aware of what we eat, but it hasn't been until recently that we have REALLY stopped eating processed foods, fast and fried foods. I read a blog about a McDonalds Happy Meal and will never eat fast food AGAIN! So so nasty. We eat fresh veggies and fruits all day (some are organic) we love organic milk and my in-laws have their own chickens that are almost ready to start laying eggs. We don't mind if people think that we are a little "crunchy" because we feel GREAT...our energy levels are awesome and we don't feel "bogged" down!!

  6. We do eat healthier.

    Mainly because I have the money to do so. As a single mom it wasn't as easy to feed 6 kids and myself on salads, etc.

    But now, I grill chicken, make a grilled veggie salad and offer bread on the side.

    We eat together and talk...
    I see a change in my kids and myself.!

  7. We've made so many changes to our eating. We're now working on keeping costs relatively low while eating all organic foods. Organic meat is one area I want to really focus on. It tastes better, obviously is better as well, but it also costs so much more. I'm working on that one! I wasn't a make-things-from-scratch gal before but I'm finding that it is much better this way. Plus, I love knowing what I feed my family. I don't have to wonder what additives are in the food that I don't know about.

  8. I'm kind of in the middle, like you guys. I make homemade granola bars every week (maybe less during the summer), try to make my own bread, buy some organic produce, and try really hard to not take the kids out for fast food.

    But about once a week during the summer, I take this kids to Chick-Fil-A, and we are very loyal customers of DQ :)

  9. We've changed the way we eat too. I make almost everything we eat from scratch.... but once in a while we go to Applebees, or buy a package of oreos (rarely). Eating healthy is so much more fun!

  10. I love your blog. It seems that at least once a week I read a post and laugh at all our similarities. Only on the internet am I able to find people who are so similar to myself. I love it.
    Well, my family has made the change gradually over the last decade from vegetarian-pretty-healthy-but-plenty-processed-foods to vegetarian-very-healthy-with-an-occasional-wandering. Some of our eating has to do with the fact that we are currently living in a small town with one vegetarian option. And it just got a C rating from the Health Dept...so now there's no restaurants for us to eat at nearby. The other reasons we eat healthier now are:
    it's important to us to model good eating to our family;
    it's important to our health;
    I stay/work at home now--so it's do-able to cook from scratch for more than one meal a day;
    it's cheaper...and with three kids, we are always working on stretching dollars now;
    and, it's not so incredibly relaxing to eat out with a 4-month-old, 2-yr old, and 4-yr old.
    THanks for sharing. And if anyone wants a great granola recipe...I shared one on my blog a few weeks ago.
    granola recipe: http://rosiegirldreams.com/5-foodie-friday/my-favorite-addictive-homemade-granola-recipe/
    Cheers!

  11. i love the simple dinners the best. We haven't completely changed the way we eat. There are still times that we'll have frozen burritos for dinner. But, we do try and eat healthy more often than not. We eat a lot of chicken and fish. The girls LOVE salmon, shrimp and tilapia. They also love salads and freshly steamed veggies. They do not like frozen or canned - in fact they won't eat more than the first bite. But fresh, I can't make enough of. My girls also love smoothies with milk and berries.

    I'm somewhere in the middle of your two lists.

    If I were a stay at home mom, I could avoid all of the processed foods. But for now, that is one of the areas I have had to sacrifice on.

  12. Well we are pretty darn crunchy :) I find it almost impossible to buy only organic meat on our budget. Right now we are saving for a deep freezer so that we can just purchase half a steer at a time. That will be so much cheeper.

      1. Yes there are! This is a good way to find them: http://www.eatwild.com/index.html I'm also curious about purchasing at the Pima County Fair, I wonder if there is anyway to find out how the animal has been fed. We are fine with eating pork as long as it has been raised in a clean environment and fed right.
        I'm still trying to make up my mind about Bountiful Baskets. I am very intent on doing all I can to support local farmers and to do as much as we can organic, so on that side I'm telling myseof no...but fruits and veggies are exspensive and at times we run out. For $15 I can throw out the potatoes, celery...you know? I just can't make up my mind :)

        1. We haven't purchased another basket since we originally tried it, but...IF we try it again, we'll like purchase the conventional basket rather than the organic basket. I've heard the quality is better...and the price is too.

  13. We've definitely changed our habits over the years. Last year, we committed to a weekly trip to a big farmers market. It became a little family outing that the girls looked forward to each week. We started our first garden this year. We are thinking about buying a portion of a cow from a local farmer.

    But we aren't militant about things...we still enjoy some junk food.

  14. I enjoy seeing all the changes you've made, as we've made most of the same ones you've mentioned. We're all about taking more & more "baby steps" towards a healthier lifestyle.

    Some of the other things I've done are to totally cut out all vegetable oils/shortenings, and replaced them with butter, olive oil & coconut oil (which is fabulously healthy & SO delicious!) We've added some tasty probiotic drinks into our regular diet, too, like homemade kombucha and kefir.

    I think some of my next steps will be to try to switch over to raw milk, and to start using more unrefined sweeteners, like raw honey, agave, rapadura & real maple syrup.

    I'm also working my way through the book "Nourishing Traditions" right now, which is really challenging me to reevaluate a lot of our eating habits!

    1. Is vegetable oil bad for you? I'd love to hear more about that.

      We mostly use butter for baking and olive oil for cooking, but we also occasionally use vegetable oil.

      Coconut oil sounds delicious too. Is it very "coconutty" though? Tim is generally not a fan of coconut.

  15. Well we would definitely fall into the "crazy crunchy" group and we love it!! YEA for the crazy crunchies :)! I'm so happy more and more people are realizing the importance of what they fuel their bodies with...and the impact those choices have not just on themselves.

  16. Oh, I loved this post, and this is SO true for us too- my husband still eats terrible- but that's a whole different story... but my own food journey looks like this. Since moving back to Arizona I joined a co-op called "bountiful baskets" (they might have one in Tuscon, they are all over AZ, try googling it!)

    I can now get organic produce (I order on Tuesday, and pick up at a location near me on Saturday), it lasts for two weeks, and its 50% veggies, 50% fruit. I never know what I'm going to get, but it makes it fun, because I just try to only buy a little meat from the store- leave out snack, and treats, and sweets and drinks other then water.... I'ts been fun learning to cook new things, and enjoy new veggies/fruit we would of normally never bought! It's so much cheaper with the co-op- I pay 25 bucks for a RIDICULOUS amount of produce that lasts us more then two weeks.

    I'm glad you mentioned whole milk- because I recently learned about this the past year. When you reduce milk you make it not a "whole food", and it's crazy how much unhealthier it becomes. I always thought I was sensitive to dairy, but actually my body just needed organic, WHOLE milk. I could drink 10 glasses a day, and never have a problem (and now, my daughter can too, after going a year and a half thinking she was allergic to milk).

    I would LOVE to start my own garden, I have major green thumb envy sometimes, but I don't think I'm ready.... maybe next year when my baby isn't so little and I have a little more time..

  17. I lean more towards the right. Generally speaking it's cheaper and so that's how I grew up, we didn't have a lot of money and my mom just made stuff so it doesn't really occur to me to buy a lot of prepackaged junk. And when I do I try to buy things like chips that are made with 3 or 4 ingredients (obviously not Doritos!).
    We just bought our first house and our garden is exploding! Now to find time to can... and we'll be set! It's so much easier in the summer with farmer's markets and things in season. The canning and freezing will hopefully help us out in the winter!

  18. We definitely are similar to you. Although, I did not know about "ultra pasteurized vs. pasteurized" I will look into that.

    Before kids we ate out often and made quick easy meals at home. Currently we are off most pasta/wheat just because it seems to slow us down. We generally have meat and veggies on the grill with a few extra chicken breasts thrown on for dinner the next night. That chicken is usually sliced up and thrown into a huge salad of all kinds of veggies with balsamic vinegar. I have found that the need of olive oil in the dressing is not as required as once thought. BUT I must. always. have candied pecans from Trader Joes, just to keep things a little lively :)

    Our 2 year old is SO fussy when it comes to veggies that she usually just gets avocado a fruit and whatever protein we are getting. As long as she is happy eating her green and purple oatmeal for breakfast I am happy! (Pureed greens with frozen organic blueberries, I still use organic instant oatmeal.)

    OH and when I read that you are trying to eliminate canned foods I realized that we NEVER use the cans we have...guess that's a good thing :)

    1. Janelle, what a good idea to grill chicken for the next night's salad! We may have to "steal" that idea for the future. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  19. We have completely changed the way we eat. We used to eat out almost every night and I was a big fan of convenience food. Now, we only eat out on date night. I try to make most things from scratch, but with 3 kids, that's not always easy. I used to think that making things myself was a pain, but it actually makes things easier. My grocery list is smaller and so is the total!
    We own an empty lot across the street from our house. This year, we decided to plow almost the whole lot up and planted a very large garden. I absolutely love it! It is so nice to be able to just walk across the street and pick my own vegetables and herbs. It's also nice in the winter to know that I canned and froze all of our veggies myself. I never thought I'd hear myself saying that!

  20. I can relate to your post. The best change our family made this year was to join a CSA (certified organic). I barely purchase veggies from the grocery store and the quality from the farm is far superior (fresh, tasty) than what the grocery store offers. We recently toured the CSA farm and met the owners. After the tour we ate a fabulous lunch the owners prepared. It's great to know where our food comes from!

    1. How nice! I would love it if there were a CSA in our area (I just checked and there isn't). Maybe we should move to Cali... :)

  21. That's a fantastic list! I think that you are doing this very realistically and responsibilly. My goal this summer is to be a better food shopper. I am not just talking coupons, but I am talking less junk, less meat, more homecooked meals, planning those meals so that I don't opt for pizza once a week. Etc. You have inspired me to make a post about this goal and asking for some ideas! Look for it sometime next week!!

  22. Sigh. We just watched Food, Inc. And I know that there are things we need to change. It will be hard on our budget, though. People always say, "just eat less meat, which is good for you anyway," but we already do! BUT... that said, I am convicted about being stewards of the earth and our bodies, and am starting to think that it might be more important to do that than being a good steward of our money (not that they are mutually exclusive...). We are doing a CSA for the fall (missed the summer... life has been busy and I was too late), and will get our summer veggies at the farmer's market. I am going to research local meats and see how we can incorporate that into our diet without breaking the (already partly broken) bank. Good thoughts... definitely something I need to think more about.

    1. Ah...Food, Inc. Such a powerful film. We appreciated it immensely. I was so disheartened by the way that both people and animals are treated in our country.

      The last part of the film about "voting" with your wallet every time you shop really stuck with me. I don't want to support big business tyrants who lack ethics and accountability. And I certainly don't want to put food in our bodies that compromises our health and vitality.

      It is a tough dilemma though, isn't it? I wish I could say, "It's just as affordable to buy healthy/organic." BUT - That's not true. What I CAN say, though, is that the extra money that we spend on better food is well worth it.

  23. Ah, simple food! I can relate to the right side of your table. We eat as 'close to the source' as possible. As Michael Pollan wrote, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." (http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/)

    Our produce comes from our CSA, and my favorite grocery store is Sprouts! Do you have one down there? Good food, good prices.

    Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"? A very interesting read, if a bit preachy.

    1. There is a Sprouts here, but it is WAY on the other side of town (approximately 1 hour away).

      That said, we do enjoy shopping at Trader Joe's and Sunflower. Both are small, kid-friendly, and offer more wholesome/natural food options.

  24. I'd love your recipes for the things you make, if you don't mind sharing that is. Especially the granola bars. I have a recipe, but I haven't used it yet and granola bars make a great snack!

  25. We also try to do a veggie or fruit with each meal. It's really not that hard, we just used to be so lazy about it. I'm so glad we do though. They taste great and they're SO much better for you!!
    I'd love to do just veggies or salads for dinner, but my husband HAS to have meat with every meal. I'm not much of a meat eater, but the kids like the meat too so I'm outnumbered... =)
    However, I hardly ever feel like our meals are fun. I get bored and feel like we do the same things. I have tried looking at websites for ideas, but I feel like most require tons of ingredients and I dont like feeling like I need to go to the store to buy ingredients for one meal (or a few), especially ingredients I dont buy. Any suggestions??

    1. Have you tried Allrecipes.com? It's my go-to site for cooking and baking - and it has never let me down. Not once.

  26. Great post! Part of the reason I started my blog is because we have been going through the "change" for the past few years, and I am always talking about it. So I thought I would share it with others. I love sharing info and recipes. You are right, eating healthy doesn't have to be complex! One of the best things we have done lately is to participate in the Bountiful Baskets co-op. It challenges us to eat a lot more veggies than we used to. We are still trying to switch over to better quality meat sources. I find that a little hard in Tucson. Where do you usually shop for organic meat?

    1. We don't buy/eat a lot of meat, but the most affordable place that we have found organic ground beef is Costco. We also buy chicken there frequently.

      We haven't yet found a good location for buying organic beef (NY Steak, etc.). Keep me posted if you find a good place to buy it!

  27. I would definitely love if you would share your granola bar recipe - we make our own granola to use as cereal or toppings (thank you Food Network!), but I've never tried bars. We have made changes to our diet since we got married 5 years ago (tomorrow! yippee!), and relate more to the right half of your list. Still drink 2% milk tho. Try to buy local, tend our garden (haven't gotten to the grinding wheat part - yet!), definitely no high fructose corn syrup. It's not easy that's for sure when you hear the siren calls fast food calling your name! :) But it's really all better for you so keep it up! :)

  28. Not sure about the crazy part, but it looks like you've made great steps towards crunchy!

    Do you have a bread machine? They really (really, really, really) simplify the process of making your own. I use mine to mix up the dough and then I take it out and bake it because I prefer the traditional shaped loaves. I don't think bread machines cost much anymore. Might be something to check out.

    1. Yes, we have a bread machine, but...it only makes very small loaves.

      I need to be better about using it. Homemade Cinnamon-Raisin bread is a favorite around here...served warm with butter (always real butter...no margarine for us!).

  29. We work on being healthier daily as well. I have a veggie garden but only growing a couple of fruits and veggies at the moment.

    I am lucky to have a farmers market within 10 minutes 4 days a week.

    We try to buy only what's in season as well. It's cheaper and usually very fresh and sweet.

    I have to get better (or maybe get more time from somewhere) about baking an making my own. Luckily the farmer's market usually has fresh organic breads and granola.

    Would love the granola recipe also!

    We get our oatmeal, grains,and beans from the bulk bins at whole foods. They are cheaper and healthier than packaged.

  30. This is something that we've been trying to focus on in our house too - it's a blessing in disguise that our oldest has severe food allergies. This has really helped us to elminate a lot of processed foods. I've always wanted to make our own granola - which recipe do you use?

  31. Wow, it's like you read my mind when I read your blog! We've made a lot of these changes too over the last few years. While my husband and I have been 99% vegetarian for 15+ years, we still used to eat more processed, non-organic foods. Now we try to buy as much whole food as possible, and I cook nearly all our meals. It's definitely worth it. I read somewhere that we spend more on health care than on food in this country. That was really sobering, and it encourages me to spend more on high quality food, like organic eggs and milk.

  32. We're kinda in the middle too! We've been slowly changing our eating habits since 2008 when I found out I was pregnant. (Pregnancy is a great incentive to be healthier!) We're incorporating more organic food, more fresh fruits and veggies, and I try to make everything homemade instead of buying processed junk. I've noticed a huge change in our health, I'm rarely sick now! Just from changing my eating habits I lost over 60lbs! I think the key to being healthy is being aware & making better food choices!

    Great post as usual!!! :) Always enjoy your blog!

  33. My eating habits have changed since getting married last year. Sharing a kitchen with three other people while living at home made it difficult to cook, so when I finally got my own kitchen last year I went to work, teaching myself how to cook (with the help of the internet!). Now, even though we will still occasionally have chili out of a can, or boxed macaroni and cheese (to be fair, it is organic), I cook a lot of our meals from scratch, and I love doing it!

    1. That is such a great tip, Ruthy Ann! We drink LOTS of water in our house for the same reasons you mentioned.

      Confession: I also drink a lot of cranberry juice (I love the stuff).

  34. We (meaning I) have changed what we eat a lot, too, especially the last year. It was kind of overwhelming at first (and still is) to read about what I SHOULD be eating and see how far I still need to go. But I've just tackled one food item at a time until a NEW way of buying/cooking that one food has become routine, then move onto the next.

  35. My husband has a dietary restriction (he can't have gluten or he will die - seriously). Six years ago, I never thought twice about what I ate - Hamburger Helper was my friend and I considered canned corn a huge achievement in getting a vegetable serving. But now I read labels and question ingredients and we eat well. We're not above Betty Crocker frosting (gluten-free!), but probably 80-85% of our shopping is done on the outskirts of the grocery store - fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and a sprinkling of meat now and again. I even started a small herb garden in our apartment (basil, rosemary, oregano, and thyme). We don't have a yard, but we have southern facing windows and I have some window boxes on our ledge. It gives me extreme satisfaction that our basil is out of control and we actually need to give some away!!

    But tonight? Tonight we're going to a local pizzeria where they serve gluten-free pizza. Because my husband is defending his dissertation today and I'm so happy and proud of him!! Pizza on me tonight!!

    1. congrats to your hubby on the dissertation - you deserve a night out! I had to do a gluten free diet for 2 weeks when I started nursing my baby and it was soooo hard - I commend you for changing your food lifestyle!

  36. Yummy. Your meal plan looks delicious. We fall on the right side of your table, thanks to our families, and I would like to go even farther right--like grow more vegetables, etc. at home like our parents did/do. We both come from health-conscious backgrounds and just grew up being active and eating healthy/homemade. My parents were more on the "moderate" side of healthy/crunchy living, but my mother-in-law is about the crunchiest lady on the planet. I love her.
    Oh, and we do order pizza or chinese when we really have a hankering for any of these things or are ultra-busy. We splurged on ice cream cones after playing outside for hours on Father's Day. Ice cream honestly never tasted so good. Our diet is not perfect either, but I think most of our food choices are excellent, so I don't feel bad about special treats here and there.
    Your pic of your girls is so cute.

  37. We have always wanted to eat healthier and so we started participating in food coops. Every other week we get a basketful of produce for a great price! It helps us not spend as much money on food and grocery's and because we hate to throw food away we eat more produce.
    Around Christmas time we are given about 1/8 of a cow and it lasts us a whole year. The cows are raised by DH's uncle so we know we are getting a good product. This year we plan to buy 1/2 a cow and gift some to family members.
    I think it is funny that some people think that eating healthy is going to cost a pretty penny, but really you are saving so much money with not eating out and wasting money on processed foods. Which are not always bad, but all the time is not very good on your waist line or wallet!

    I love http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/
    They provide food coops to AZ,ID,NV,TX,UT,WA,WY
    They even offer organic baskets to those who want them!

  38. We are in the same mind set as you. We use to eat like you use to eat and now we are changing. I still don't buy organics mostly because I cannot afford them unless they are on sale. We eat extra lean ground turkey, chicken breasts and lots of fish. I make my own bread but just for bread with dinner I have not figured out how to make a good sandwich bread. I also make our own yogurt. A big thing we have recently gotten away from is rice packets to include with dinner. My hubby made his own seasoning mix with nutritional yeast and spices and he puts that in brown rice. Last night we made our own rice and beans instead of using a box. It came out great. I do my best to stay away from high fructose corn syrup and even sugar if it is in something that it should not be in like bread. Another favorite my hubby makes is homemade pizza with a homemade crust. It is 1000 times better than any store or restaurant pizza.

    1. Tiffany - Do you think your husband would mind sharing the recipe for his seasoning mix for rice? I am finding I struggle for healthier side dishes (beside veggies).

  39. We are definitely more towards the right side. I try to buy organic the things on the dirty dozen list. I don't buy things with HFCS. We buy milk from a place that doesn't give hormones or antibiotics to the cows, but isn't organic. Definitely no canned veggies here, yuck, yuck, yuck. We haven't switched to organic meat, but I try to buy natural meat (I think that is no hormones or antibiotics). Compared to most members of our families we are crunchy and crazy, but compared to the the crunchy we are in the middle.

    we go to farmer's markets regularly in the summer, although it is disappointing that most of them use chemicals.

  40. The way we eat has changed over the past few years as well. We currently sit in the mid-range; especially during the cooler months. In the summer, we get most of our food from the Farmer's Markets (there's nearly one every day within 20 miles of where we live). It's a great family outing each Sunday morning and we come home with yummy, fresh, local food.

  41. We're in this same mid-range aiming for crunchy family status. I have to say, though, I like it this way. I enjoy working towards a healthier lifestyle for my family...one step at a time.

  42. We've definitely changed our eating habits and never looked back. I kind of shudder when I think of what we ate in college! Our biggest impetus for changing was the BPA articles, plus information on the dirty dozen. Then, when our son was born, we wanted to give him a healthy start to life. I exclusively nursed, so I made sure to eat healthy foods to pass on to him. We've found a local market that specializes in organic food and we love it. Canned produce just does not taste as good as the fresh or frozen kinds. We also like to make our own food vs. using mixes whenever possible. It cuts down on sodium a lot too. Plus I honestly enjoy cooking and baking, so it's fun for me.

    Crystal - Our meat "dilemma" sounds like your's. We're Midwesterners, and grew up on meat and potatoes. We'd like to have unlimited funds to buy the best meat, but we've settled for all-natural chicken (no hormones, no antibiotics). I guess we're "in-betweeners" too.

  43. We've always eaten fairly healthy, trying to eat organic and locally grown food. We're part of a CSA and love the fresh food all summer/fall long. I actually stopped buying the organic milk because in MA all the dairy farmers have to pledge not to use hormones and that was really my biggest concern with milk.

    1. That's great news about the dairy farms in MA, Michelle! I hope other states follow suit. It's actually pretty ridiculous that there are organic versus non-organic varieties of milk sold in the grocery store. All milk should be hormone-free and healthy!

  44. We've changed our eating habits over the past several years, and fall more "in-between" like you describe your family. (Although I'd love to work my way further over to the "Crazy Crunchy Girl" side as well!)

    We steer clear of processed foods now, eat fresh or frozen veggies & fruits (no cans), and now buy dried beans rather than canned. I try to buy any of those dirty dozen fruits/veggies organic, and during the growing season I stop buying produce at the supermarket and pick up what's in-season at local farm stands & farmer's markets. What a huge difference in flavor that makes! I'd love to be able to purchase only organic meats -- free-range chicken, grass-fed beef -- but that's pricier than our budget allows. Right now I'm trying to gradually reduce the amount of meat we eat by planning a few vegetarian meals a week, but my husband's totally a meat-and-potato man, so this has been a very sloooooooow process!

    And I've got to agree, there's nothing like fresh pineapple!

    1. Organic meat IS pricier so we definitely have been eating less meat than before. But you know what? We feel better this way...healthier.

      Tim always says that organic meat TASTES much better too (and I agree).

  45. We changed what we eat as well. I would like to find a local farm to buy the produce.

    I bought a meat grinder so I can grind meat myself.

    And we totally banned cans because of BPA

  46. Yes! We have definitely changed the way we eat - thanks to having children and wanting to focus on being more healthy. And also just realizing how very important it is to eat lots of vegetables -- basic idea, I know. But looking back, we ate a lot of grains, but not so many veggies. Now we really try to focus on fruits and veggies.

    We do have our own garden, though I don't have enough space or know-how to be able to get all our produce from it. But I'd love to, someday!

    (And wow, yeah, fresh pineapple is amazing! Just have to make sure not to let the kids eat too much so their tongues won't hurt!!)

      1. You can make your own condensed milk.Here is a recipe.

        To make your own sweetened condensed milk, follow these simple instructions. You can't go wrong. (Note: this recipe is equivalent to a 14 oz. can of store bough milk.)

        1/3 cup boiling water
        1/4 cup butter (softened)
        3/4 cup sugar
        1/2 t. vanilla
        1 cup dry skim milk

      2. You can also just use half cream or milk and half honey. It does give them a hony flavor but thought they were yummy!

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