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So, as you probably remember from my last blog, I have gone on a mission to reduce or eliminate the consumption on packaged and processed foods in our household.

The other day when I went through my cupboard, I realized how often I give Avery crackers... and she loves them! I love them too, because honestly there is almost no easier way to get her to quiet down once in a while!

So I checked out the ingredients to see just how bad it was... it started with enriched wheat flour... ok not so bad..... then went on to canola oil... could be worse.... next came sugar....... hmmmmm ........ then we got to ammonium bicarbonate, protease, amylase and papain. Things I don't really recognize and things that certainly don't sound like food to me.

So I decided to try my hand at home made crackers.That way I know exactly what is in them and I know what I am feeding my baby girl (and myself). I used this recipe from allrecipies.com for Cheddar Cheese Crackers. I made no changes to the recipe except I used black pepper instead of white... because do people really have white pepper on hand? I know I don't.

First I made the dough.


Then I wrapped it and set it in the fridge for a while as the recipe calls for. Next was rolling it out and cutting it into pieces. I suppose you could use a cookie cutter or a glass if you wanted round ones, but I used a pizza cutter because I like my crackers to be asymetrical and random sizes... ;-)
After that they were placed on to lined baking sheets and I pricked them all with a fork. They were baked at 350 for about 20 minutes even though the recipe calls for 10-12 minutes. (note my obvious dis-reguard for precision in baking, harharhar!)
So what did I think of these crackers?

I would give them a 2 out of 5. Unfortunately. But only because it is supposed to be a cracker. They don't really taste like crackers to me- they taste more like pie crust... and when you look at the recipe they are pretty much pie crust.

Don't get me wrong, they taste fairly good, just not exactly like cheddar cheese crackers to me.

I will have to do a little bit more searching for another cracker recipe this week until I find one that is perfect.

What did my number on critic thing of them?
I think this photo of her shoving the entire thing into her mouth means she likes them.
 
 
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I am going to be starting out on a new journey, both myself, and as the primary food preparer, my family as well.

A long time ago I heard the phrase "clean eating" being thrown around, but never really gave it much thought. It wasn't until I started poking around on the website of Paul Plakas (a famous Canadian personal trailer, best known for his appearances on the Canadian documentaries X Weighted and Taking it Off) and reading his articles on health and nutrition. He advocates eating wholesome, healthy foods that are high in nutritional content and low in calories.

Since Avery was born I have desperately needed to lose weight. While I have lost my baby weight (which looking in the mirror is really hard to believe) I have a lot more to go before we will be comfortable trying for another baby. I have lost so much of the muscle I once had. I am not sure why I have found it so much more difficult to lose weight this time around (after all, I have done it before more than once), but I do. Perhaps it is combined with being a mom and not having much time to myself, being sleep deprived and indulging in comfort foods, or perhaps it has to do with my desire to be the ultimate housewife and bake awesome cookies. Either way, something really needs to change, and it needs to be a change that I can make for my entire family (because really, our whole family could stand to lose a few pounds, and the most important thing is setting a good example for Avery and teaching her to fuel her body with the very best fuel available).

So I started to search online for information on clean eating. The basic plan I want to follow is to not buy anything processed. An analogy that Paul had on his website went like this: "Let's say you want to buy blueberry pop tarts. You would think there would be blueberries on the ingredient list, right? Think again. You will not find blueberries anywhere on that list. What you will find is a whole bunch of chemicals. Companies go to people called flavourists, whose job it is to combine certain chemicals together to make a desired flavour. These people could make pop tarts the flavour of fresh cut grass if they wanted to, but that wouldn't sell many pop tarts now would it?".

Gross!

My new motto? If I can't pronounce something on the ingredient list, it doesn't go in the cart.

So yesterday I set out for Costco with my new plan in mind. I could not believe the options there! A $450 bill later I came home with a pantry stocked full of wholesome, organic, unprocessed and natural foods. They had organic salsa, natural peanut butter, a huge bag of quinoa, unsalted nuts, organic tomato sauce, natural rice cakes and crackers, there were so many options and the total of my bill suggests just how much I purchased!

Blair has approached my new plan with supportive hesitation. He basically says he doesn't care "as long as it tastes good". Well, I think it will taste good! And I also believe that eating our food with the knowledge that what is going in is free of toxic chemicals and preservatives will help. Here are some photos of the recipes I got off of cleaneatingmag.com:

The opportunities are endless.

It is going to take some adjustment to my cooking techniques in order to make this work. But I also think I need to be realistic with myself about what I can accomplish. That is why I am thinking that this will be a 70/30 or 80/20 split. If we can eat clean 80% of the time I think that will be enough to hugely benefit my family and our bodies. That is 8 out of every 10 meals or snacks. Not bad at all.

I truly believe that this goes hand in hand with my parenting style. I want our family to eat the way humans, as mammals, were designed to eat. The way hunter/gatherers ate. They ate plants, nuts, seeds, and meats. They parented their children in an instinctual way. I highly doubt they were worried about sleep training their babies or thought that a baby or toddler crying was manipulative. I am sure they responded to their children and met their needs quickly.

But that is a topic for a whole other day!

Today I will focus on my new adventure, as I approach it with enthusiasm.