Today's 5 for friday is all about real food tips. I am creating easy-to-follow tips to help you on your path to real food. I am up to 9 tips, but I am just going to list the first 5 here. If you want to see all the tips, you can follow my Real Food Tips Pinterest Board.
Check them all out on my Real Food Tips Pinterest Board.
linked to Tuesday Talent show
I read an article on the FDA banning artificial trans fat in food. This is good news and I support it. But I am not going to discuss why trans fats are unhealthy. Instead I wanted to highlight what I thought was an amusing piece of the article that talks about why food manufacturers use then in the first place.
"Coffee creamer: Fresh cream quickly goes rancid and vegetable oil would do the same if it weren't hydrogenated."*
Cream in the fridge will last a few weeks. Just use that.
"Canned frosting: Butter-based frostings melt and turn into "puddles of goo." Hydrogenated oils stay solid and keep frosting smooth at room temperature."*
Is it that hard to make a butter based frosting? Plus coconut oil stays solid under 78 degrees.
"Stick and tub margarine: Turning vegetable oil into a spreadable solid requires a chemical change. New techniques have been developed, but they cost more."*
Once again butter spreads very easily. Just leave it on the counter.
"Baked goods: Solid fats such as butter, lard or shortening make cakes and cookies tender and allow them to brown. Creating solid fat from vegetable oil without hydrogenation is possible, but more expensive."*
So you don't have to use shortening It even says that butter or lard could be used in baked goods. Both of which are a much better, healthier option.
"Microwave popcorn: Hydrogenated vegetable oils are shelf-stable for longer and can be formulated to melt at exactly the temperatures when the kernels pop."*
I am just going to say it... No, actually I will be nice. It does not take that much more effort to put flavoring on your popcorn yourself.
"Frying oils: Oils for industrial use need to stand up against multiple uses over the course of a day. Hydrogenation helps the oil stay stable and keeps it from going rancid. Soybean growers are working on soy oils that will do this naturally."*
Soybean growers? Or GMO companies.
"Candies: Many chewy candies require fat to keep them moist and to protect the sugar in them from crystallizing."*
Again, if fat is what you want, you have plenty of options besides hydrogenated oils.
It seems like a common theme in all the above reasons for using trans fats was for keeping food shelf stable.
At what point does it stop becoming food and simply become preservatives?
linked to Talent Show Tuesday
- Homemade "nutella" granola - I posted this recipe yesterday. I love chocolate-hazelnut spread and am always looking for unique ways to use it.
- Coconut Granola Clusters - I love the technique Barbarabakes.com uses to make clusters
- Double-Chocolate, Almond, and Coconut Granola - This granola from Brighteyedbaker.com is packed with antioxidants. (see how I justified it there, you're welcome!)
- Quinoa Granola - One of my other favorite grains - quinoa. A great addition to granola from savorysimple.net.
- Healthy homemade granola - this recipe from mynaturalfamily.com uses steel cut oats as a base.
Use homemade granola as a topping on some homemade crock pot Greek yogurt.
linked to Talent Show Tuesday
This chocolate peanut butter homemade granola is simple, inexpensive and made with real ingredients. I love making homemade granola. I have been making it for years. Homemade granola is very easy to make and there are so many ways to change it up that it makes it an easy breakfast food to use up things in your pantry.
This version of granola uses my whipped chocolate peanut butter.
4 cups oats
3 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp whipped chocolate peanut butter (or another spread of your choice)
1 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place oats on a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Spread them out in a thin layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Check and stir often as they have a tendency to burn quickly.
While cooking the oats, melt the coconut oil and nut butter.
Once the oats are toasted, take them out of the oven and add any other items you want (nuts, coconut flakes, etc.)
drizzle the coconut/nut butter mixture on top of the oats and stir until all oats are coated.
let cool for 5-10 minutes
O for Oats
I think most realize that oats are a healthy, real food. But everyone might not include them in their diet; especially if they are like me and do not like oatmeal.
I wish I did. I like the idea of a nice hot breakfast that you can customize and add so many different ingredients to. Oatmeal seems so easy and versatile. But I just do not like it. I think it is the texture. The nice thing about oats is that there are a lot of different types and you can do a lot with them.
Types of oats
We are only 2 weeks into the new year. It is a great time to find resources to help you on your journey to eating healthier. Here is a list of 10 apps that can help you on your path to real food.
1. Dirty Dozen - I use this every time I go grocery shopping. It gives you a list of the most and least pesticide laden fruits and veggies.
2. Fooducate - Gives you nutritional values of the foods you eat including controversial ingredients.
3. Seafood Watch - Helps you choose the best choice of fish, a good alternatice, or fish to avoid along with other recommendations.
4. Harvest - Teaches you how to pick the best produce.
5. Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide - Gives you a list of products and brands enrolled in the Non-GMO project so that you can support companies that do not use GMO foods.
6. Seasons - Helps you eat more seasonally by giving you information about what crops are currently in season both locally and non-local.
7. Whats on my food - Similar to the dirty doze, this app not only tells you about pesticides but tells you which ones usesd and which are the most dangerous.
8. Locavore - Shows you farms, farmers markets, and CSA's near you.
9. How to Cook Everything - This app has 2000 recipes on it from Mark Bittman.
10. myshopi - Although this is just a shopping list app, it is my favorite and it is free. I have tried a lot of grocery list apps and erased almost all of them. This is simple and easy to use. It has pictures of items, or you can add pictures and it saves frequently bought items.
Note: These were the costs at time of posting. Prices and availability may change.
linked to Tuesday Talent Show, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday
This week's real food abc was about that wonderful chocolate hazelnut spread. If you missed it, I found some great versions that you can buy that are not filled with scary ingredients.
However, some of you may want to try to make it yourself from scratch. So here are 5 homemade nutella recipes.
- From reclaiming provincial - Homemade Nutella - I love the story behind how she decided to create this recipe.
- From Minimalist baker - Homemade Vegan Nutella - Only 5 ingredients in this vegan version.
- From The Coconut Mama - Homemade Nutella - Here is another way to incorporate more coconut oil in your diet.
- From Pastry Chef Online - Shewtella - This version is made with cashews instead of hazelnuts.
- From The Nourished Caveman - Homemade Nutella - This version uses organic cultured butter!
So will you buy or make?
So how can a chocolate hazelnut spread be real food?
It all comes down to ingredients.
Of course you can always make it yourself, but even when you want to eat more real food, you don't always want to make everything from scratch. I found the following brands whose ingredients lists fall into the real category.
Justin's Natural Hazelnut Butter - chocolate
- dry roasted hazelnuts
- dry roasted almonds
- organic evaporated cane sugar
- organic cocoa
- organic cocoa butter
- organic palm fruit oil
- sea salt
- organic raw fresh and soaked/dehydrated hazelnuts
- organic raw cacao nibs
- raw coconut sugar
- organic cane sugar,
- palm fruit oil (certified sustainable),
- organic cocoa powder,
- organic sunflower oil,
- skimmed milk powder (rBGH free),
- sunflower lecithin,
- organic vanilla
Jem Raw Specialty Nut Butter Spread Chocolate Hazelnut
- hazelnuts, certified organic
- coconut palm sugar, certified organic
- raw cacao nibs, certified organic
- vanilla (natural crystallization may occur), certified organic
On your journey to eating more real food, enjoy the sweets as well!
I am sure after reading about millet the other day, you dropped everything and ran out to buy some!
Now you are wondering what to do with it. I posted a recipe for millet pizza bites yesterday. However, like I stated before, I am a novice when it comes to millet. I have only used it the one time. Fortunately, the food blogging community is fantastic. I asked my fellow bloggers on G+ if anyone had any millet recipes they would like to share. They came through.
The following list includes many variations for using millet.
- How to cook with millet from The Natural Living Site
- Gluten Free Baking Tips from Whole New Mom
- Adzuki Bean Shepherd's Pie from Whole New Mom
- Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Millet Mash from Healthy Blender Recipes
- Lots of beans and grains Slow Cooker Chili from Healthy Slow Cooking
- Sloppy Black Eyed Peas from Healthy Slow Cooking
- Soaked Buckwheat and Millet Granola from Raia's Recipes
Special thank to all who contributed.
These millet pizza bites came about from the real food abc series. Millet was highlighted this week. You can read m for millet if you missed it.
Being new to millet myself, I wanted to try it and not just write about it. I bought some hulled millet at the store and just cooked it in my rice cooker. It made it very easy. The plain millet tasted very similar to polenta, with that same creamy consistency. I was skeptical I would like it because I am not a fan of oatmeal or porridge, etc. But I actually liked both the flavor and texture of cooked millet.
I decided to make a croquette-like millet bite with the flavors of pizza. I was again really surprised at how much I liked them. And since millet is gluten-free, these could be a nice snack for those with a sensitivity to gluten.
Ingredients2 cups cooked millet
1 can tomato paste
1 teaspoon herb mix (italian blend, pizza blend, or your own homemade version)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
~3 Tablespoons finely diced pepperoni
Light olive oil - for sautéing
- Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well incorporated.
- Roll the millet mixture into ~ 1 inch balls and slightly flatten.
- Heat up a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom and have a depth of between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.
- Place the millet balls in the pan and sear each side for ~ 2-3 minutes. Just until a nice crispy crust starts to form.
- Once seared, remove from oil and place on a paper towel.
M for Millet
What is millet?Millet is an ancient grain that predates rice. Apparently, millet goes back to about 8300 BC in Asia. Although it is grouped in the grain category, millet is actually a seed. This seed is indigestible to humans, so they need to be hulled. When buying millet you will find the term de-hulled.
Millet nutritionThere are a lot of things about millet that make it a great real food to incorporate into your diet.
1. Millet is gluten free - if you have celiac's disease or are sensitive to gluten, this is a great item to add to your diet.
2. Millet is high in akaline minerals - alkaline minerals help counteract acids. Having a diet high in acid producing foods is very common in the US. This can lead to bone loss. Including alkalizing foods, like millet, in your diet can help offset that effect. The following alkalizing minerals are the amounts found in 1 cup.
- Magnesium - 19%
- Potassium - 11%
- Manganese - 23%
- Iron - 33%
- Calories - 207
- Protein - 6 g
- Carbohydrates - 41g
- Fiber 2 g
- Fat - 1.7 g
How to cook it/use it?I cooked millet exactly like I cook rice. In fact I used my rice cooker when I made it. It was incredibly easy. The package of millet also has instructions and recipes.
I will be posting some recipes later in the week to help you on your real food journey towards eating more millet!
Have you ever tried millet?