1. They are learning alternatives for syrup on their whole wheat pumpkin waffles such as natural peanut butter or honey. I don't like syrup, so I have just stuck with plain butter.
2. Nothing cures a salty snack craving like some fresh feta cheese!
3. My 16 year old stepson is fairly limited with his choices for lunch at school. I gave him the free pass on this one and told him he could eat as he thought was best. Most days, he is eating the regular lunch option, but is choosing fresh fruit as his sides. On the day they had hot dogs last week, he chose to only eat fruit, cheese and milk-skipping the hot dog completely.
4. After the first day, giving up my beloved Starbucks was much easier than I thought it would be. But, I did get a regular coffee from there today. I really can't see the point in a $3 cup of regular coffee, but I did it anyway because I needed the extra caffeine.
5. After a few days without artificial sweeteners, we really started noticing more natural sweet flavors. My husband and stepson both thought my regular homemade tomato sauce was sweet. It's the same recipe I've been using for years, but they just finally noticed how sweet the tomatoes are.
6. We found one brand of bacon that passes the kitchen test. Bacon makes the world a much happier place and it turns out I love BLTs! Who knew?
7. Chocolate chips-I read the ingredients on a bag of chocolate chips and realized they were out of the question. But, in my opinion, I could use unsweetened chocolate to make my own chocolate chips that would pass the "kitchen test". It was a tedious process, but it was worth it to have some chocolate chips to add in to whole wheat pumpkin bread. I should also mention that these were less "chip" and more "flake", but they served the purpose!
1 bar unsweetened baking chocolate, broke into pieces
Dash of salt
Using a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water because the second pan of your double boiler has mysteriously gone missing), slowly melt chocolate.
Stir in a dash of salt and honey to taste. I used about 2 heaping serving spoons full.
Remove from heat and stir in about a teaspoon of vanilla and spread on a silicone baking mat
I'm not sure why it looks lumpy in the picture-it was actually smooth. Anyway, refrigerate until set then cut into pieces, or break some pieces off as you need them.
I've used these in breads and snacks this past week and we really like them. My favorite way to use these is in greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, a spoonful of peanut butter and topped with a few pieces of chocolate.
Now, time for my confessions
Over the weekend, I canned a ton of pears. I made pear sauce, pear butter and caramel pear jam. I ate a spoonful of the jam. It was delicious! I don't regret that decision.
While making ribs over the weekend, my barbecue sauce just didn't turn out quite right, so at the very end, I brushed some Sweet Baby Rays on them and stuck them under the broiler to get that sticky, sweet finish.
Our purpose in this journey is more about awareness than a strict 30 day change, so I don't mind a few stumbles along the way. My hope would be that on November 1, we don't dive into boxes of cereal and gallons of sweet tea, but we evaluate our choices every day and make smarter decisions going forward, focusing on whole, natural foods.