Monday, October 31, 2011

In the Kitchen ~ Thinking On My Feet

When we first set out on our real food journey six years ago, there was a serious learning curb.  I was used to serving standard meals, like what you'd order at a sit-down restaurant.  You know, a main course, side dish and soup or salad.  The thing is, when you pretty much only buy one-ingredient foods, there is a lot of prep that goes into those meals.  It took a (long) while, but I came to the realization that real, fresh food already tastes so rich and flavorful compared to anything processed, that you just don't have to fancy it up for everyday meals.

There was also much more creativity flowing in the kitchen once I stopped allowing myself to buy breads. Of course making bread takes time, but it does save a lot of money and the flavor and nutrition is truly superior compared to store-bought.  Besides, baking true sourdough breads neutralizes the gluten, making for happy tummies.

A real food kitchen keeps me on my toes and my mind active.  The other afternoon I was making a double batch of sourdough English muffins and the hungry kids (who were also ready for a break from studies) made sure to remind me it was lunch time.  English muffins alone weren't going to be the heartiest of meals.  I had some leftover hot dogs (made from organic, grass-fed cows, of course) from a BBQ.  So?  I wrapped some English muffin dough around each one, grilled it on the skillet, and the children were absolutely tickled by their sourdough pigs in a blankets (that took me three minutes to make).

Eating in-season also stretches the imagination and keeps creative juices flowing.  I might have an over-abundance of zucchinis now, but in the coming winter months when I'm hankering for a warm bowl of Potage Bonne Femme (a favorite creamy veggie soup of ours from Nourishing Traditions), How will I get the zucchini?  By making zucchini chips.

Just slice the zucchini in about 1/2 inch pieces and dehydrate at 104º (to keep the enzymes alive) until they're crisp.

They also make tasty chips for dipping in things like hummus or baba ghanoush.

Crafting foods in a traditional kitchen honestly felt overwhelming at first.  So many seasonal rhythms and helpful tricks have been forgotten over the years as most families went for take-out or packaged meals for a good 50 years now and stopped passing down such timeless homemaking wisdom.  It has become a pleasure to dig deep and unearth such wisdom and to even add a few techniques to the trade.  It has become a passion to pass down what I learn to my kids, knowing their learning curb will be so much smaller.  I can't wait to see what they come up with as they create in their own kitchens, building from the foundation laid for them.  

Food is so much fun.  I just love to play with it, don't you?  What's going on in that kitchen of yours?

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Barn HopGratituesday.


  1. Lindsey_ChicMoneyTalkOctober 31, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    My mom taught me to cook when I was young, but I didn't really use it consistently until I got married. But I love knowing enough about cooking that I can whip something up based off of what I have in the house. Nothing extreme, but a home cooked meal at least:)

  2. I just started making real sourdough last month and I'm loving it so much! I totally agree that it is helping me be much more creative in the kitchen and I've been trying so many new things (our current favorite is pita pockets - so many variations!). I've always cooked most things from scratch, but since starting my real food journey I have learned so much and become much more creative. There's still much to learn, but we're getting there! And sourdough does make for a happy, satisfied tummy!! :)

  3. Zucchini is one of my favourite vegetables to grow in the garden - because it's so abundant and I can add it to lots of meals all year around. I don't have a dehydrator (it's on my wish-list), instead I grate up excess zucchini and freeze it in small ziploc bags. It's so easy to pull out a bag and drop it into a casserole or mince dish.

  4. So true! I wish that more people cooked "for real,' and I'm glad that there are others out there passing those skills along.

  5. I agree, real food takes more time but allows for so much more creativity. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I never thought of drying zucchini, I always have so many I don't know what to do with them, this is a great idea, now maybe I need a larger dehydrator.....

  7. Wow. What an encouraging post. Especially as I am at the very very beginning of my journey. So far we have swapped juice for water kefir (thanks so much for ur email!) and store bought bread for sourdough. It is a new routine to be feeding all these cultures and kneading bread before bed but it has been fun as well and something my kids like being a part of. For some reason feeding the sourdough starter is akin to watching a movie now!! I feel overwhelmed at all the changes still to be made but I'm taking it slow and trusting that every little change helps. Thanks for ur blog. I keep thinking that if u can do it, I can!


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