I may have been AWOL for a couple of weeks, but fear not, our real food eating is still going strong!
Last weekend, I spent a couple of days away in Washington, DC for a race. I am thrilled to say that during my first trip away from home, I managed to stick to real foods. It took some planning ahead, but with that in place, it really wasn't all that hard. I brought one meal, plus many snacks, with me on the trip and I took good advantage of the in-room mini fridge. I also researched several restaurants ahead of time, so that even when I ate out, I was able to stick with real foods. It felt good to enjoy some time away from home, while still eating healthy whole food. That being said, I did splurge when I got home with a rule-breaking chocolate milkshake. Everyone should allow themselves some exceptions on occasion. :)
This week, we marked one month of eating real food in our house. It feels good to know that we've hit a milestone, even a small one. Even more significantly, we went all-in today when my husband decided to purge the freezer and the pantry of any food that doesn't meet our guidelines. While we've largely been avoiding those foods for several weeks, it was still a bit sobering to look at the pantry and see all of the empty space on the shelves. It feels good, however, to know that we've rid ourselves of temptation. We've truly committed to this lifestyle now.
Finally, I am excited to say that I came up with my first original "real food" recipes today. I've enjoyed cooking and baking for years, but I tend to stick to tried and true recipes. Eating only real foods, however, has forced me to be a bit more creative, and so today I threw caution to the wind to try out a few new recipes. The first was a simple popsicle recipe. Our school has been offering the children ice pops more frequently with the warmer weather, and my children have strongly been refusing and settling for the less-appealing snacks their mom has been sending in. In an attempt to allow them to still feel like they are indulging, while sticking with our healthier foods, I made them some homemade popsicles today that they can take to school. Here's our simple recipe:
Banana Mango Popsicles
1-2 tbsp honey
1. Chop bananas and mangoes and place in a blender.
2. Add honey to taste and blend.
3. Spoon mixture into preferred popsicle molds and freeze.
We went to a farmers market this weekend, where we enjoyed purchasing some of the new local produce that is currently coming into season in our area. I was excited to find rhubarb for the first time, and I happily purchased a bunch of it. I made a batch of strawberry rhubarb muffins, but I still had three stalks of rhubarb left, so I went searching online for additional ideas. None of the healthy recipes were really appealing to me, so I took a recipe from one of my favorite bakers, Martha Stewart, and modified it to meet our real food guidelines. Here's my recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars, modified from an original Martha recipe:
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1-1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 tbsp honey
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter & flour an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
2. Mix butter, flour, & honey to make streusel. Use pastry blender or two knives to cut cold butter into flour & honey until crumbs form.
3. In large bowl, use an electric or hand mixer to beat butter and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla. Add 3/4 cup flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low. Spread mixture evenly in bottom of baking pan.
4. In medium bowl, combine rhubarb, berries, 1 tbsp honey, and 1/4 cup flour. Spread fruit mixture over the cake batter in pan. Top evenly with streusel.
5. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, approximately 42-45 minutes. Let cool in pan. Cut into 16 squares. Eat plain or topped with homemade whipped cream.
Modified from Martha's recipe at www.marthastewart.com/312987/rhubarb-crumb-bars