Clean Eating: The Newbie Mom’s Take

I’m a little over 2 weeks into a shift to clean eating in my household. I had been researching it for a few months so when a friend ran a 30 day challenge it seemed like the perfect chance. I had hoped to transition our family to 75% clean eating (allowing for processed cheese and some premade bread, etc) but going hardcore 100% clean for 30 days seemed like the perfect way to jump in. Here are some things i’ve learned so far:

1. It’s hard. It takes alot of effort to plan meals and i’m probably spending an extra hour or so a day in the kitchen since i’m making everything from scratch.

2. You must educate yourself. Sugar has a dozen names and it is hiding in the most unneccesary places possible at the grocery store. Avoiding all added sugar means not just learning the names but alot of time reading ingredients even to buy something as simple as natural peanut butter (I had no idea I would have to mix and refrigerate that by the way, live and learn, but it’s delcious!).

3. It can be a little more expensive. My weekly grocery bill jumped by about $30 BUT in all fairness that kind of comes out in the wash since eating out is next to impossible so we are really eating all but maybe one meal a week at home where we used to eat out around 3 times a week (counting breakfast, lunch and dinners).

4. It is worth it. It really is. We have more energy, i’ve lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks, basically all from my waist and thighs, and most importantly I feel great about what i’m feeding my family. I know i’m not filling them with chemicals or sugars and we are already healthier for it.

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The Making of a Smoothie Pack

My son, husband and I all love smoothies, even my 8 month old likes them, but buying them is expensive (and often involves adding unnecessary sugar!) and making them is a hassle so we didn’t enjoy them as often as we should. I wanted to be able to have them daily without getting out 14 containers and making my kitchen a mess.

Since I needed a better way to do a household task I, of course, turned to pinterest.

What did I find? Smoothie Packs! The concept is putting stuff you need into baggies so your smoothie is kind of prepacked.

But as I have learned things on pinterest are RARELY as easy as they seem so I tackled the task to see if it really was simple.

I decided to make:

The spinach/kale cubes since keeping fresh greens on hand is hard in my house (they either get used the first night or they get forgotten and wilt).

The greek yogurt cubes, frozen juice concentrate and banana halves  since we eat this stuff like crazy and it would get eaten leaving none for smoothies between shopping trips.

First, fill blender with fresh spinach and kale and a cup of water

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Blend until liquid (took me like 3 sets to do most of the bag) (Check out our super modern blender ūüėČ )

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Pour liquid into ice cube trays.

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Later, when frozen, get them out. This was harder than it looked but with a little warm water run over the bottom of the tray

I dumped it upside down on a baking sheet and squeezed each individual cube slot until I felt the cube pop free. Not “easy”, but not hard¬†either.

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Next, repeat the step with the yogurt cubes (fill trays, then when frozen, pop them out)

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Finally, assemble bags I put two yogurt cubes a few spinach cubes, a 1/3 or 1/2 banana (some family members don’t like heavy banana flavor),

2 tablespoons of juice concentrate (I alternated orange and apple).

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I marked them with an A or O for the juice and noted the amount of banana them put them in an ice box in my freezer.

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Next, I tested out an assembled bag by dumping it in, adding 1 cup frozen fruit mix (we have a tropical blend and a berry blend so we can change flavors easy) and a half cup either water or milk to thin it out a bit. We are awaiting a new blender we ordered but until then all the frozen ingredients is a little tough on our 1970s blender but all in all super easy, minimal clean up and delicious!

This pinterest idea is actually *almost* as easy as advertised AND, in my opinion totally worth the effort.

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The Most Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Possible. (Do Not Read This Unless You Want to Gain Weight, The End.)

So my husband and I love McDonald’s Chocolate Chip cookies. They are one of the best kept secrets in my opinion because, not only are they super delicious, but they are cheap.
Anyway, recently I have begun baking from scratch so naturally I went in search of a copycat recipe.
Then I was devastated.
Why?
Because I couldn’t find one.
Dejected I looked for recipes with pictures that looked similar to McDs and crossed my fingers.
Were they good cookies? Yes, but they were the fluffy, puffy kind of cookie and that’s not what we like.
We like the thin melty deliciousness with just a bit of crisp and browning on the outer edges.
So I played around with some recipes like a mad scientist, making it up as I went, until I hit on this, it’s as close to McDs as I can imagine only it’s better because its dark chocolate and that makes it better.
Like shut the front door this is freakin delicious and I want to eat them all before anyone finds out they are here good.
Not Donna Reed’s Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Deliciousness¬†
Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I melt mine to liquid form in the microwave)
1/2 c. brown sugar 
1/2 c. granulated sugar 
1 egg 
2 c. all purpose flour 
1/4 tsp. cornstarch 
3/4 tsp. baking soda 
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (If you like alot of chips double this) 
 
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In a bowl blend your sugar and butter together until a thick creamy pile of pure bliss.Now add egg and blend in.
3. ¬†Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt (I recommend doing just a cup at a time if you aren’t using a mixer). Stir in chocolate chips.
4.  This dough is a bit sticky, use your fingers or a tablespoon or one of those snazzy cookie scoop deals, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.
5.  Let cool on the pan for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes 1.5 Р3 dozen depending on size.
Your Welcome in Advance.
Also I meant to post a photo but, no joke, I ate them before I could. Not kidding.
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