I think January is the official diet month. We all start the New Year with the grandest of plans and usually fizzle out by February. Experts say (don’t ask me who) that small changes can make a big difference in the long run without making you feel deprived. That is sometimes easier said than done when you’re living in an instant world.
Just check out your local grocery store. There’s an abundance of pre-packaged meals and instant products that greatly out number the fresh produce. Whether you have health issues or are just trying to eat healthier, your best bet is to stick with the outer areas and stay away from the isles. Think about it…all the fresh produce, meats, dairy products are usually around the edge of the store.
Do we really need instant potatoes and powdered cheese? Well, sometimes. I’m guilty of using short cuts too. I love using cream soups in casseroles. I saw a blog post recently for homemade cream of mushroom soup. It made me want to hit myself upside the head. Not only are homemade versions fresher and healthier, but it’s a great way to cut down on the sodium content. And, does anything taste better than homemade soup? Yes, it takes time. It takes chopping. It takes planning. In the long run you have a delicious meal. I know what you’re thinking. There’s only one or two of you and you don’t want to eat soup for a week. Well, what are you using your freezer for? Most any kind of soup will freeze well giving you a quick meal weeks down the road.
So, here’s my New Year’s challenge to you. The next time you are making out your grocery list, pick out one pre-packaged or instant item. It can be instant potatoes, soup, oatmeal or anything else. Next, think about this item and how you would prepare the same dish totally from scratch. Then, adjust your grocery list with the ingredients needed and give it a try. Don’t worry about making it healthier right now, just try making it fresher. Let me know how it turns out and remember, small changes can make a big difference.
Here are some vintage recipes to get you started:
DRY MUFFIN MIX
6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 & 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
Sift dry ingredients together; cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles meal. Store in covered jar in refrigerator. This makes about 7 cups or enough for three dozen 2-inch muffins. Add in 1/2 cup dried fruit and you have a great breakfast muffin.
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 & 1/4 cups milk
1 & 1/4 cups muffin mix
Bet egg yolks; combine with milk and melted butter. Add to muffin mix and stir until blended. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter. Bake in hot waffle iron. Serve with brown sugar, syrup or molasses.
2 cups canned, sliced peaches
1/4 cup peach juice from can
1 tablespoon butter
dash of cinnamon
1 medium egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup dry muffin mix
Place peaches and juice in a greased 1 and 1/2 quart casserole. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Combine beaten egg and milk and add to muffin mix, stirring only until dry ingredients are dampened. Drop batter from spoon onto the fruit. Bake in a moderate oven at 375 Degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve hot.