If you’ve been following our family on social media, you may have noticed a recent influx of posts about homemade food. That’s because for the past few months, I’ve been on a quest to provide more healthy food options for my family. Specifically, more veggies, and less processed food. It started last fall during Apple-mania week, when I realized how fun it was to cook with local ingredients that are in season. The next progression was pumpkin and zucchini – and our house began to fill up with healthy breads, oat bars, and fruit butters. Then some time around Thanksgiving we got rid of our breakfast cereals, replacing them with homemade granola that is chock full of taste and nutrition. With a little encouragement from my mother-in-law, I started making our own yogurt for myself and the kids to eat with our fresh, tasty granola (hubby is not a yogurt fan…)
The next logical step in stepping away from processed food was bread. We don’t necessarily eat a lot of it (as a family, we were averaging only 3 slices per day), but often enough that buying fresh bread at the local bakery would start to add up. Besides, breadmaking has always seemed like a magical process to me, one that I wanted to learn. It took me a while to find a recipe that was 100% whole grains AND made great sandwich bread, but after a few recipes and lots of tweaks, I’ve been rolling out fresh bread for the past month now!
But it wasn’t until I got my brand new food processor for Christmas that my from-scratch philosophy really took flight – nut butters, hummus, jams, pesto, and of course, LARA BARS! If we ate it, I pretty much found a way to make it from scratch! It’s taken some doing to work it into my schedule, as several of these items (yogurt, bread, granola) need to be made on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. But honestly? It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be.
In addition to the satisfaction that comes with providing my family with healthy foods, an added benefit is that we are saving money! Making our own yogurt costs exactly 50% less than buying it in the store, and I can make a Larabar for around 50 cents. It also gives me the opportunity for quality time and teachable moments with my children. Big C asks almost every day “which recipe” we’ll be making today, and he enjoys finding ways that he can help in the kitchen. Most importantly, he’s getting a chance to see where food comes from and how it is made.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to revamp my website into a food blog or anything! But I will be posting regularly about ways you can do-it-yourself when it comes to common food staples and trail snacks. After all, this blog is about encouraging families to get outside and adventure. And adventure is a LOT easier when everyone is tanked up with healthy food choices. AND the more money your family can save in food purchases, the more money you’ll have to spend on family adventures! So in my mind, it’s all related.
However, if the whole “homestead” thing is not what you’re into, feel free to skip over those posts when you find them in your RSS feed or see them on twitter. I won’t be offended, I promise! But for everyone else that’s interested in streamlining healthy choices for your family, I hope you’ll enjoy this new series!