Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Convenience Food

I try really hard to avoid buy pre-packaged snack foods.  For one, they are expensive, and two, they just aren't good for you.  I don't even mean cheese doodles or cookies- clearly those aren't healthy- but most pre-packed snacks need extra preservatives to keep them fresh.

Lately there's a lot of great gluten-free snack options on the market, and it would be easy to just grab it and go.  Unfortunately, a package of six granola bars will set you back almost six dollars.  Crazy, huh?  So I don't buy, except for the occasional lapse of judgement or just wanting to try something different.

A friend told me about a great sale on gluten-free snack at Safeway, and I high-tailed it over there this afternoon to check it out.  I was pretty excited to get a bunch of packs of granola bars at over half-off because let's face it; lack-of-health-aside, it's really nice sometimes to just be able to grab something and go when we're busy or running late.  Sweet Pea just about done lost her mind over her first cranberry granola bar while sitting in the shopping cart.  That thing bought me the ability to shop in total peace and quiet instead of with a little voice asking/whining/yelling, "Galk?  Galk?  Gaaaaaaaaaalk?  GAAAALK"

(For those of you not well-versed in Sweet Pea, "galk" means walk.)

Apart from the awesome granola bars though, our fridge has been stocked lately with another sweet awesome "convenience" food, one that takes bit to throw together but that is well-worth the effort.

Homemade smoothies.

Apple-cinnamon yogurt smoothie with flax and whey caramel
Smoothies have become a way of life around here, and let me tell you what; I am loving it.  They are fresh, delicious, cheap (well, cheapish- cheaper than buying them), and are basically like drinking vitamins straight.  Except delicious.  I am still making crock-pot yogurt and will probably never buy yogurt again!

I started making yogurt smoothies for Sweet Pea around Christmastime.  I was frustrated with how little she was eating (she is eating way better now) and worried that she wasn't getting enough nutrients.  So since she loves fruit yogurt, I bought her a straw cup and started pureeing all kinds of foods into her yogurt; raspberries, carrots, kale, whey protein, butternut squash.  She loved it and drank them right down.

I would taste them before giving them to her and found that every time I was jealous I hadn't made extra for myself.  You know how they say you can't taste spinach or kale blended up in a smoothie but you never believed them?  Well, guess what?  They are right.  You can't taste it at all!  Instead, you're just getting all kinds of awesome nutrients in a sweet and tasty drink.

I stuck some coffee drinks my husband loves but never gets into his stocking this year with the stipulation that he wasn't allowed to throw away the bottles.  He saved them, I washed them and now I'm pouring smoothies into them once a week and sticking them in the fridge to grab and go for breakfasts or lunches.

Last week's smoothies were made with home-made organic whole milk yogurt, organic applesauce, organic rice milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, organic flax seeds, and- wait for it- home-made whey caramel sauce.  I'd been looking for uses for the leftover whey from the yogurt and found that you can make caramel from it by just adding half a cup of sugar to two cups of whey and letting it simmer for an hour.  (I like to google things like "leftover whey" when I should be doing things like laundry.) The result was actually pretty yummy!  It had a kind of apple-y flavor to it, oddly enough, which was what made me decide to do the caramel apple smoothies.

You guys.  They were SO good.
Sweet Pea had caramel apple yogurt instead of smoothie.
 Same ingredients, just no rice milk.
This week's all-organic smoothies have yogurt, raspberries, sugar, vanilla, spinach, chia seeds and flax.  Sweet Pea and I each gobbled one down as a late-afternoon snack and both wanted more.

Here's my take on all this.  I want very, very much to feed my family healthy, whole, organic food.  We have to eat gluten-free food.  Money is tight around here, and I have to be sneaky to make our food budget work with all of the expensive stretches on it.  So I'm willing to put in the extra time to make foods like these to help keep us healthy.  It's nice to have a few things that are a bit more grab-and-go to save me a little time when I'm rushing out the door.  (My standby is bananas.  Honestly, can you have a better and more natural grab-and-go food?  I think God made bananas just for busy moms!)

And lest you think I'm turning into a crazy "granola" lady ("Whey caramel sauce?  Is she nuts?) have no fear; I might make my own yogurt, but my floors haven't been mopped in two weeks.  (Ick!)  I might make caramel from leftover whey, but I'm pretty bad at recycling.


Smoothies for life!

Smoothies for president!

Smoothies.  They do a body good.      

1 comment:

  1. Yum, smoothies!! And your yogurt sounds so good too. I might just have to get back into making our own too. Glad you made it to Safeway for some of the good gluten free price reductions :)


I love hearing from my readers! Thank you for taking the time to comment. All comments are reviewed before publishing.