I recently signed up for an a challenge on Eating Rules called October #Unprocessed. The idea behind it is for the entire moth you do not eat any processed foods.
That sounds kind of scary huh?
It is actually not as hard as it sounds. You can also do it in baby steps. Every change in the way you eat and shop matters. To consider a food unprocessed, does not mean you need to necessarily need to make it all yourself. Come on now who has time to grow and make every last bite of food they make?
You just need to be sure it passed the "Kitchen Test". If using a packaged food, turn it over and read the label. If you can't pronounce any of the ingredients, and have no clue what they are.... well then you probably should not be eating it! But if the ingredients include things you know you, or someone else could feasibly create in their own home without a chemistry lab. It passes the Kitchen Test.
I am pretty sure there is a new food born illness spreading through our foods almost weekly causing recalls of popular items, because they are making people sick and in some cases....killing them. Just this week there was another huge recall on nut butters. How many of you feed you kids nut butter daily? I know we use an economy size tub of peanut butter in our house biweekly! How scary to think that our kids can get sick from eating something that is supposed to "healthy"!
My hope is that by joining in this unprocessed effort, I will learn more about the food we are eating day to day, and change the way I create meals for my family. Getting back to the basics, no more mystery ingredients or lab created "natural flavors" in this house.
Does this mean I will write off all of that so good oh so bad stuff like..... hot dogs? Or an occasional splurge at Dunkin Doughnuts? No absolutely not. If I limit everything... I will be setting us up to fail!
My Goal is to just TRY and do this... So to start off my month I started with some basics.
First, no more granulated white sugar. I've switched to natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, or raw sugar.
Second, no more canned beans. I buy them dried and in bulk... just soak them yourself. Not only is this WAAAAAY cheaper, it's so easy, why not do it?
Third, I switched milk, butter, egg, and yogurt brands. I've found some great organic, all natural products that are not hiding behind that "natural flavor".
Fourth, I'm baking my own breads. This is something I enjoy doing and my family loves loves loves homemade bread!
To utilize some of the seasonal produce, I decided to try using some purees in my bread.
This worked wonderfully! The bread has a natural sweetness, is moist, and has such a pretty yellow color!
I've made a lot of breads trying to create something great for sandwich making. THIS bread is it. Don't be scared off by the use of squash in it. You can't taste it! Not only does it add the good things to it like color, sweetness, and moistness... it adds some additional nutrients to the bread! What can I say... I am a sneaky mom! The kids would not eat squash if their life depended on it. HA now they are and have no clue....
Harvest Sandwich Bread
(Recipe inspired by Take a Megabite's Pumpkin Sandwich Bread)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup warm whole milk
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 15 oz or butternut squash puree (you can also use pumpkin, sweet potato, acorn squash...)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for kneading (I use King Arthur Flour)
- 2 tbs of maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter
In a small bowl add yeast and warm water until the yeast has dissolved. About 5 minutes.
In the bowl of your electric mixer with your dough hook attachment add in milk, eggs, squash, oil, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup whole wheat flour and 2 cups of your all purpose flour.
Beat vigorously. Add in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is firm enough to kneed. Not too sticky.
Pour dough out onto a floured work surface and kneed for about 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Turn dough into a oiled bowl. Cover in a warm spot and allow to rise until doubles. Mine took 60 minutes.
Punch dough down, divide in 2 and shape into loafs. Place into greased bread pans, cover, and allow to rise until bread rises just above the tops of the pans. I sliced the top of the bread at this point creating that cavern on the top making it look like traditional sandwich bread. THIS is totally optional.
Bake bread at 375 for about 30-35 minutes. The bread will appear golden and when flicked sound hollow.
Spread 2 tbs of butter over the top to give it that nice shine.
Best if used the first day, store in an air tight container for about 3-4 days at most.