Thursday, January 06, 2011

Beyond cake and french fries...

We do our fair share of partying and eating cake and things with whipped cream on them around our house, but I wanted to share a few photos and thoughts about food and what's going on in our home right now.
Just before Christmas we got inpired by the movie "SuperSize Me" which I had heard about before but had never seen. After seeing only a part of it I was ready to make some changes with our diets- not that we eat that much fast food, but simply because it helped open my eyes to just how much preocessed foods we do consume around here. Especially when it comes to the kids' school lunches.
Jamie Oliver has been on his Food Revolution kick and we have found several recipes to try and are finding that our kids actually will eat certain healthy food options that we wouldn't have guessed they would eat. What's going on in our kitchen right now is that we're making a conscious effort to change the foods we eat on a daily basis and trying very hard to include foods that are fresh and homemade. It's not an easy task when you're used to opening spaghetti noodles and a jar of pasta and mixing them together and calling it 'dinner'.
Chip happens to be a very good cook. He could be a gourmet chef at a fine dining establishment. He has taken on the responsibility of not only making most of the meals, but also of having one of our kids join him in the kitchen as his sous chef each night too. The kids are absolutely loving their chance to help make food and also love being taught cooking techniques and given responsibilities for the entire meal. The person that helps Daddy each night also helps to set the table and clean up too.
What we are finding is that there is a lot of positive things going on simply by making this one lifestyle change. For starters, the food is healthier and therefore we should be feeling better. So far I can't say we see pounds melting off or muscles bulking up- but we do feel better about what we're putting into our bodies! The kids are also excited to eat, not only the meals they make, but they seem to enjoy trying what each other makes too. They sort of have a game going on about who has made the best thing so far and they challenge each other to try stuff- just because they are proud of what they create. Also, it gets them away from things like tv and computer screens and Wii games and instead they are really enjoying their time with Chip in the kitchen as well as learning about new foods and kitchen tools. It's a win-win so far!
Although we do have some challenges. One is we have very little access to "good, quality" food. There aren't any high-end grocery stores of big co-ops or chains like Whole Foods. So we are modifying some recipes and also when you eat non-processed foods you have to grocery shop more often for fresh ingredients. Which is spendier than stuff like boxed Mac & Cheese, but hopefully we will see benefits that far exceed the extra cash this kind of healthy living requires.
We are loving this recipe for No-Knead Bread. We've made several loaves in the past couple of weeks- both white and whole-grain wheat. It's very good- especially when it's fresh and hot! It's so simple too! Love that when it comes to eating better.
Also, as I noted, Jamie Oliver's website has lots of great recipes and we're also just trying to eat more fruits and veggies. We got an apple peeler and have used it more times than I can count already. My kids love to watch the apples spin as their peels come right off. We are easily amused, I guess. =) That photo of the eggs in the pan is Jamie Oliver's recipe called Bubble and Squeak. It is made with leftover roasted vegetables and potatoes. Delicious! The last photo is a picture of one of the kids' plates the night Ava helped Chip to make Shrimp Cakes with Papaya puree. The kids loved them and we will be making that recipe again.
I plan to share more recipes here that we find to be easy, healthy and kid-friendly. I'd love for any of you to leave links to recipes or share some of the healthy food options that your family enjoys too.
Isabella asked us "How long are we planning to do this healthy cooking thing?" and to that we answered, "Hopefully forever!". I know a lot of people get excited about healthy living this time of year, but we're hoping that these healthy options become a natural part of our routine around here. The best thing we can do is try, right?!


Dara Wills said...

Good for you! Those do look really tasty. I don't know if you've ever seen the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, but they have one coming out soon for healthier options. What a great idea to have the kids take turns helping with dinner!

Anna Attia said...

Beautiful food pics! I am inspired!

Adrienne said...

Thank you, Jody! It seems difficult to stay inspired and cooking healthy when you juggle so many things. I sure wish I had a Chip around here to help. I ordered the "Clean Eating" magazine for myself for Christmas. I find it inspires me, (along with your blog now!~!~)

GretaB said...

Brilliant! (Said in my best Jamie Oliver impersonation.) I especially love that you get the kids helping. I wish I could eat at your house. ;)

Lori V said...

I have to say, that bread is SOOO GOOD, I was inspired by your posting of it and made some last week, we love it and will continue to make a new loaf each week. Yum!

BT Laurie said...

Three cheers for you Jody. My daughter, a dietitian, has been encouraging us to get away from processed food as well - her blog might be helpful to you - as well as Recipes are found on each site.
I think it is neat how the kids have become more interested in trying new foods now that they are creating them with Chip.
Kudos to the Ferlaak family!

chinamommy said...

found you through kayla aimee... :)

Nuts in a Tree said...

Good for you all Jody! What a great example you are setting for your kids, and the time cooking together one-on-one with Chip is precious time. I am excited to watch what your family does. I will check out the website, and the movie (I think you said it was a movie). We are vegetarians at our house, me and the kids at least (not DH), but you'd be surprised the process junk we still consume. Thanks for the inspiration...healthy forever! :)


~lifedramatic~ said...

Been reading your blog for a while now, not sure I've ever commented though. I love this post, and I love that the kids are in the kitchen with Chip too! What a wonderful thing you've started. I made falafel from scratch the other day, and they were really delicious, and despite being fried, they are incredibly healthy. Maybe you'll give them a whirl:

Also you might look into the book "Artisian bread in five minutes a day". It's pretty fantastic, and is the same no knead premise, except you have it in the fridge all the time, and can just pull out loaves as you need them. I'm going to post about our experience with that soon.