all-natural (and a recipe)

i did a big grocery shopping trip recently, and i went with list in hand and priority in mind to try my absolute best to buy as much all natural products as i could….ie: minimal ingredients and all ones i can pronounce! we do make an effort around here to eat well, hence all the wheat grinding and homemade bread products. but i felt like our fam was lacking in the “variety of vegetables” department, and i am also becoming more aware of extra ingredients in foods that we simple don’t need. so i wanted to change up a few things.

well…lets just say i felt lost in my grocery store! my head was truly spinning as i was trying to decipher between whats really good for us, and what is just marketed to make me think that its good for us. anyone else out there have that struggle??

its like eating these “apples” that we made for the Bug’s preschool class the other day and claiming to be eating fruit, even though they are made completely of sugar products!
(you can see the how to here)

i’m still sorting through some research and the books i picked up at the library on whole foods as i’m trying to make the best decisions i can for my family. i know i’m not alone in that quest!

i’m not jumping on this whole foods revolution simply to be cool and hip. i’m doing it because i’m convinced that our nutrition has a whole heck of a lot to do with our health, and since there are some serious health issues in our family’s history, both sides, why would i not at least investigate how to best feed my family? that’s not to say i have a whole lotta control. God is Sovereign and what i feed my family sure doesn’t change that. but i do consider it my job to care for my family the best way i know how, and this is an area where i want us to be thriving as much as possible!

i mean…wouldn’t you say they’re worth it??!!

so…i’ve been reading this book…Green for Life:

and although i’m not necessarily telling you to go read it and do everything she says, i do totally agree with the whole “drinking your greens” movement, and our family has been happily drinking green smoothies every morning that are chock full of really really good stuff…like this:

to these ingredients, i usually add in frozen peaches, frozen strawberries, and a banana. the banana is key. i’m no scientist and certainly not a trained chef, but whatever the banana does when it mixes with the kale eliminates a lot of bitter kale-y taste. i speak from experience! i’ve also been known to add in a tablespoon, or two or three, of organic fat free vanilla yogurt for some extra sweetness.

and also speaking as one who does not like raw spinach nor do i like the taste of kale really at all, i’m loving these smoothies, and look forward to drinking them every morning. trust me…as one of the pickiest easters alive…(just ask my fam and friends)…these smoothies are the bomb!! and the rest of my family thinks so too. a 7 year old and a 4 year old downing all those amazing vitamins and nutrients everyday before school??? score!!

one of my priorities in this all-natural effort was to try to provide the crazies with some healthy choices for snacks and lunchbox options that they could get excited about. so i was excited when i came upon this recipe on Pinterest the other day. (side note: Pinterest = amazing…and highly highly addicting!!! i tried holding off for as long as i could, but i caved last week, and its changed my life :)

i made these granola bars, and they are not only fantastic, they are no-bake, which means…very quick and easy to make…just the way i like it!

the recipe, with some other variations, can be found here.
i made the oatmeal raisin ones, since my crazies are anti-chocolate anything, and they are DARN GOOD!

you most likely have most of these ingredients on hand.
as for the granola…i used a homemade recipe that has become a staple in our house. you can find the recipe herethat i posted awhile back (if you promise not to laugh at my beginning blogging/photography skills!) its super healthy cause it uses zero oil. (i have even cut back on the amount of brown sugar used in the original recipe.)

and the rice cereal i used is this new variation from Kellogg’s using brown rice.
once the sugar, cinnamon, honey, and butter are all melted, you just stir everything together:
then press into loaf pans:
once cooled a little bit, you cut into easy slices.
seriously…so good!

i’m sure there are peeps out there that would probably tell me that for one reason or another these technically aren’t all natural, but its about as all natural as we’re gonna get for now! so i hope you enjoy them and consider them a healthy alternative to other snacks out there.

and just so you know that we’re not taking this all-natural, whole foods thing too seriously, and will still very much enjoy living life while eating junk, i made these the other day…

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cups:

and all i have to say about them is … WOW!

you can find that recipe here.

please pass along to me other ways you’ve found to incorporate healthy, all natural eating into your family’s lifestyle!

ps: if you’ve asked a question about the previous post on homemade dresses, check back in the comments section on that post for an answer!