October Unprocessed: Week One

My October Unprocessed Challenge started yesterday. Well, actually Sunday night. If you missed my blog about it last week, go to eatingrules.com to find out about the challenge, what it entails and perhaps sign up yourself! My husband and I were out of town at our youngest daughter’s Parents’ Weekend at Hendrix College, so I didn’t do my usual Saturday grocery shopping until Sunday evening. My habit over the years has been to decide what I’m going to cook every night for dinner for a week, make a list and go to the store. I HATE having to think about what we’re going to eat every night (this was especially the case when all three of the kids were home) and I HATE having to stop at the grocery store during the week. So, grocery shopping once a week works best for me.

Making Soup

However, since we were out of town, I wanted to make something quick for dinner. I almost always have these things on hand: cans of beans (garbanzo, black and/or pinto, and Italian white beans), chicken or vegetable broth, usually some kind of vegetables (probably what is in season and on sale either at the grocery store or farmers market), garlic and olive oil.

So, when we got home Sunday evening, I made soup, which fit the “unprocessed” challenge. I chopped up an onion and an orange pepper (green, yellow, orange and red peppers were super cheap last week, so I bought one of each color), softened them in a little olive oil, added garlic, poured in some chicken broth and white beans. While that simmered, I chopped up some Kale that I had on hand and put that in the soup, too. A little salt and pepper and it was done. If you had leftover chicken, you could add that as well. I also happened to have some whole grain wheat bread in the freezer (also fit my unprocessed challenge) to heat up and serve with the soup. Simple, quick and healthy – and unprocessed.

“Unprocessed” Grocery Shopping

At the grocery store, things weren’t so simple. I had to forego the cereal I usually buy for my husband because once I read the label, I realized that, despite the “healthy” label, it wasn’t really very healthy. It wasn’t whole grain and it had tons of sugar. Plus, it didn’t fit the Unprocessed Challenge because it had a long list of ingredients that I didn’t recognize as food. Instead, I bought Post whole grain shredded wheat and bran. No sugar. No extra weird stuff. I noticed my husband was eating it today, so it must be okay.

The other stumbling block for me was that I make smoothies for myself for breakfast almost every day. I use a banana, frozen blueberries, 0 fat Greek yogurt, wheat germ (all so far, so good) and light vanilla soy milk. The last one doesn’t fit the Unprocessed Challenge (the kind I bought had a list of strange ingredients, not to mention quite a bit of added sugar). I don’t want to waste my soy milk, so I’m still going to use it, but I might have to switch to milk in the future.

Almond Chicken and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Last night I made Almond Chicken — a Spanish recipe that was super easy — and roasted Brussel Sprouts with roasted garlic. Also super easy. The whole thing took about 30 minutes to make.a plate of almond chicken and roasted brussel sprouts for october unprocessed challenge

Lunch Considerations

Lunch can be a little hard because have you noticed how hard it is to find bread that just has whole grains and few ingredients? It’s frustrating. I usually take my lunch, which means leftovers, salads, sandwiches — the usual stuff. I don’t really like bottled salad dressing, so I usually just make my own with olive oil and lemon or Balsamic vinegar. Bottled salad dressing seems to have a lot of strange ingredients. I did have to buy a sandwich today. I brought leftoever soup for lunch, but when I lifted the bag it was in out of the car, it leaked out all over my shoe. Hello, Jason’s Deli. (but I didn’t buy chips — I opted for the veggies)

So, I’ve made it through a couple of days of the Unprocessed October. I’ll keep you posted. Let me know if you’re doing it or if you have any ideas or recipes.

Categories: Editor’s Blog