Today we’re featuring Jill from The Prairie Homestead, confessing her real food secrets!
How “into” real food are you? (how long have you been doing it, how many different foods do you make from scratch, etc.)
I started my real food journey about 2 1/2 years ago. I’ve enjoyed cooking ever since I was a newlywed, but back then, my idea of “cooking” was using lots of cans, boxes, and packages… It was reading various blogs that first opened my eyes to the world of real food. At first, I had no idea what many of the ingredients in the recipes were… Sucanat? Stevia? Raw milk? Huh? But after many, many months of baby steps, I gradually began to transform our diet and learn how to source better ingredients.
I currently make a very large percentage of what we eat from scratch. I bake nearly all of our bread products (loaves, tortillas, buns, pizza crust), make many of our dairy products from our milk cow ( yogurt, mozzarella, butter) and keep the freezer and pantry stocked with home-canned items and make-ahead staples like cooked beans, tomato sauce, cream soups, beef broth, etc.
What is one food you just can’t make yourself? (even if you’ve tried a lot…!)
My real food nemesis is a artisan loaf of sourdough bread… You know, the really cool, rustic, boule-variety that looks so easy to reproduce when you read the recipe in blogs and cookbooks? I’ve made lots of other sourdough stuff, but every time I try that, it flops miserably…
How much of what your family eats is *really* homemade? (vs. storebought, restaurants, etc.)
We live 45 minutes from town, so we rarely go to restaurants, and take-out really isn’t an option. I generally only grocery shop once a month, so if we are in the mood for pizza or hamburgers, I have to figure out how to make them from the ingredients we have on hand. Those two factors “force” us to eat mostly homemade food, out of necessity. That being said — do we still splurge sometimes? You betcha. There are definitely months when I purchase some bread or use canned tomato sauce. And I’m fine with that.
What is one junk food or processed food your family still eats?
Tortilla chips… Homemade nachos are my “Ack! I forgot about dinner” stand-by. And hubby likes them for lunches when he is home. Although I’ve made my own tortilla chips in the past, it’s near impossible to keep them “in stock” all the time… (I have a hard enough time keeping up with all the tortillas we eat!) So, that is one of my sacrifice foods.
What is the worst thing your family’s eaten in the last few months? Why?
Funny you should ask… I just completed the first trimester of my 2nd pregnancy– and it was rough! Nothing sounded appetizing for a good 2 months, so our diets pretty much went down the tubes. Hubby brought home pizza after work for the first time in the history of our marriage, and I ate my share of store-bought ice cream and even a soda or two… It was survival mode, plain and simple.
But, I’m back my normal self, and we are back to eating the good stuff now. You do what ya gotta do.
What’s one area where you won’t compromise, no matter why? Why?
Artificial sweeteners (like those found in diet sodas and “sugar-free” candy) make my blood run cold. I won’t put anything that contains them in my mouth, even if it means declining something at someone’s house… I believe they are straight poison. Same with margarine…. Just plain nasty.
What’s your best tip for eating real food in the real world?
Take it in baby steps, and give yourself grace when you can’t be “perfect.” You know, none of us will live forever, even if we partake in the ultimate of healthy diets. So, do the best that you can, but don’t stress out. I love the 80/20 rule– eat good 80% of the time, and don’t sweat the other 20%.
What’s one processed food your family still eats?
Jill writes from the homestead she shares with her husband, daughter, and ever-changing assortment of animals. When she’s not in the kitchen preparing traditional foods, you’ll find her outside riding horses, growing vegetables, milking her cow, and killing rattlesnakes. She blogs at The Prairie Homestead, where she enjoys encouraging readers to return to their roots, no matter where they may live. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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