“Stop eating fast food. Stop it now. Most fast foods contain some ingredient linked back to Monsanto. What do you say? Who will go with me? Who will peacefully refuse to comply?
Who believes that all of us together can create a foundation the next generation is proud to stand on?”
In response to Lucinda’s call to action to stop eating fast food, Christine from christineiscooking.com and lowcarbcrock.com gives us some of her tips to help make home cooking easier.
Eating GMO Free
March against Monsanto and GMOs are all the buzz lately. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is an organism (i.e. food product) where DNA from one product is extracted and introduced into the DNA of a completely unrelated plant or animal (this is not a hybrid). For example, GMO sweet corn is genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant (roundup ready) and to produce its own insecticide (Bt Toxin). The unknown long term effects of GMOs are not completely known.
Common GMO ingredients come from soybeans (soy, soy flour, soy lecithin), corn (corn syrup), canola, sugar from sugar beets (food or drinks with sugar that isn’t cane sugar), cotton / cotton seed oil, Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini squash.
Completely avoiding GMOs can be confusing because they are not clearly labeled. Only USDA-certified organic products cannot intentionally contain GMOs. So, you may think from looking at “the list” that avoiding those few products should be easy, but it is not. Many forms of these products make their way into processed and fast foods and it is not always easy to tell they are in the food from looking at the ingredient list.
So How Can We Avoid GMOs?
1. Buy organic
2. Avoid processed and fast food. Cook for yourself with ingredients you know are non-gmo.
3. Grow your own food. Plant organic seeds and take control of your food supply.
Sounds easy right? No, I know its not…. I live in the real world. I understand the time and money demands on people and families today are tremendous. It is so easy to go to that drive thru or restaurant or buy those pre-packaged foods. But, here are a few ways I ease the work load and cost of cooking at home; once a month cooking / freezer cooking and using a slow cooker.
Once A Month Cooking (OAMC) / Freezer Cooking:
I almost always “cook once and eat twice” or three or four times! Once you have all of your ingredients out and your prepping them, it takes very little extra effort to make additional meals. You would be surprised what you can freeze. For example, if you are going to go to the trouble of making a lasagna, make 3 lasagnas and freeze the 2 extra. On a busy day, you just pop it in the oven. If you google “healthy freezer recipes” tons of options come up.
Here are some of my favorite freezer recipes I routinely cook in bulk. I use my freezer to stock up on organic products when I find them at a good price.
Soup: Soup is like a magic food to me. It is nutritious, inexpensive, delicious, easy to make and freezable for later. I usually make a pot of soup at least once a week. Soup is a great way to use up any veggies or meats you have leftover from the week. Here is my basic recipe for Vegetable Soup. I also like to OAMC cook Lasagna, Turkey Breakfast Sausage, All Natural Beef Taco Meat, Spinach Meatballs, Minestroni Soup, Spaghetti Sauce from fresh tomatoes and Make Ahead Pesto (great on fish, chicken or pasta).
Risotto (creamy rice): Mushroom, squash, asparagus, spinach… the potential varieties of risotto are endless. You can saute any diced veggies in olive oil, garlic and onions and make veggie sauces for risotto. These sauces can be made in large batches and freeze very well in small 1 or 2 cup portions. They are wonderful added to cooked risotto and take it from a side dish to an entree. Risotto is traditionally make with aborio rice, however, I (and my relatives born and raised in Italy) just use plain long grain rice. This is a great budget friendly easy meal. Buy bulk organic long grain rice and you can make it for pennies per serving.
Breakfasts: I take care of breakfasts by making and freezing large batches of homemade all natural fruit filled pancakes, waffles, and muffins for the kiddies. It is a great option on busy mornings.
Snacks: Our favorite snack is organic popcorn made in our old-timey air popper. It is quick, easy, inexpensive and free of everything but organic corn.
Slow Cooker (aka Crock Pot)
My slow cooker is pretty much my life saver when it comes to home cooked meals. It is my go to kitchen device that saves us from fast food. I literally have hundreds of crock pot recipes that are all no precooking and no pre-processed ingredients. Most of the recipes are about 6 ingredients or less and gluten free. My favorites easy slow cooker meals are: Zucchini Soup, All Natural Taco Meat, Shredded Beef Tacos, Lemon Garlic Asparagus, Asparagus Soup, Minestrone Soup, Mexican Pot Roast, Spaghetti Squash, Tomato Garlic Green Beans, and using my slow cooker for kid-friendly quesadilla fixins.
Again, like all recipes, you can tailor these to your lifestyle, budget and dietary needs. You can stretch your meat budget by adding lots of veggies from Brewers Organics.
Grow Your Own!
I really enjoy gardening. It is a hobby of mine. I have a very small yard and I am restricted on space so I do a lot of container gardening. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I think it is more expensive to grow your own food then to buy organic. However, growing your own makes sense when the item is either very expensive to buy and/or it is easy to grow organically. My favorite items to grow are tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs and rainbow swiss chard. Swiss Chard is a great container vegetable. It grows just about anywhere and is a nutritional powerhouse that can replace spinach or greens or lettuce in just about any recipe. You can read more about growing it and cooking with it here.
These are some of my favorite ways to save time and money when home cooking. Please share your own tips in the comment section below!