Sunday, February 14, 2010

Taking Back My Kitchen

I recently watched Food, Inc and The Botany of Desire.  They really got me thinking about food and consumerism and how our family fits in.  We spend a large portion of our income on groceries and their ilk.  I can't help but wonder what I can do about the food that my family consumes and the packaging that goes with it.  I cook from scratch a lot, I bake bread and sweets, make stock, preserve what I can buy bulk from the farmers market or pick myself, but I'd like to do more.

Is is possible to sustain ones family without processed foods (I'm thinking of all the cereal, granola bars, apple sauce cups and so on in my cabinets), over packaged foods, or premixed/premade products?  I know there will be things Pete will never give up, like his giant box of Quaker Oats individual packets from Costco.  But this week I started making and freezing waffles and pancakes for him and Jules so that I can stop buying the over priced whole wheat equivalents to Eggos.  The packaging is insane, and it's bare bones nutrition. If I make my own from scratch I have complete control of the recipe, and use as many whole grains as I have on hand.

I'd like to get a bread machine so that I can pump out bread for sandwiches and toast rather than buying it.  I do the five minute bread occasionally but I'm terrible at keeping track of the oven with the toddler around.  I keep concentrate tea on hand so that Jules and I always have something besides water and milk to drink.  I'd love to make our yogurt but isn't it still cheaper to buy Stoneyfield than to make it with organic milk?  Jules survives on yogurt since he still won't eat meat and Pete takes it every day for breakfast so we'd need a lot.  We're eating a lot less meat, and I'm working to get Jules and Pete on board with beans.  That's going to be a bit of an uphill battle I think.

Basically, I'm wondering what small steps you've taken in your own kitchens to get back to the basics?  What do you make yourself?  Where do you get your flours and grains in bulk?  What tools do you use?  Do you have a weekly or monthly schedule? Do you have any awesome mix or bulk recipes to share?

I know I'll never give up my Kashi cereal, and I doubt Jules could live with out his Mighty Bites or his organic yogurt tubes, and Pete will always be a meat lover.  I'm not striving for perfection, just looking to make some updates.

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