Thursday, July 28, 2011


Yep, a big.fat.FAIL. Seriously. We couldn't even make it 2 weeks. Nope.

It doesn't help that Jason has already been a big fat cheater head, eating the food at camp that definitely had preservatives/wasn't made from scratch DESPITE the fact that I would pack him a lunch. Cheater.

So, last night when we were driving by In-n-Out (mind you, you can smell it from the freeway) I said casually, "Ug, I want In-N-Out right now." Jason of course retorts, "OKAY!" I gave the lecture on no we can't do this, we are eating from scratch /no preservatives, we still have like 4 days left, In-N-Out is DEFINITELY not preservative free...blah blah blah, Yeah, THAT lecture. Jason said, "But I've already cheated, we can start over, this will be our last hoorah before we start again." Well, let's just say his protesting was totally UNconvincing and so I don't even have the ability to say that I caved because of a good argument. Nope. I caved because I was tired and knew that I needed to stop by the store on the way home to buy pine nuts for pesto and that there were a ton of dishes in the sink that I would have to wash before I even started cooking...and then they would have to be washed again after dinner (yeah right, who am I kidding, I would have left them there for the next day). So, a fake meal sounded fantastic. There you have it. We ate In-N-Out. And I had a TERRIBLE stomach ache and awful gas from it (TMI? haha). Let's say In-N-Out is not the best way to re-enter into the processed food world. And I don't even eat the meat there. (I have a grilled cheese with grilled onions :) ).

AND, no! I'm not starting all over like Jason suggested haha. We're done, "officially"..though we'll finish out the last few days.

But here is what I got from this whole thing.

1) Real pasta is very easy to make/freeze (with the machine)and tastes about 500 times better than the stuff from the bag. I will probably no longer buy prepackaged pasta...avoiding the preservatives but also having a better tasting meal in general.

2) No more processed snack foods (except for a special occasion like throwing a BBQ). I used to never buy nuts, such as almonds because I felt they were so expensive (at least for us). The almonds were $6 and I could get a bag of Honey Wheat pretzels for $1.50. A bag of Honey wheat pretzels lasts about 3 days tops though. It doesn't curb the hunger but just tastes...empty, so we eat a ton in one sitting. The bag of almonds lasted a week at least. We ate only a handful here and there and it seemed to do the trick. On top of the protein, good fat, and no was far more economical then I thought it would be. (we buy the roasted, unsalted kind).

3) Greek yogurt is fantastic. You have to hunt to find the one with no preservatives but they do have it (at Costco even). In a one cup serving you receive 30% of your protein. Amazing. I prefer the plain fat free one. I think the whole milk one has an absurd quantity of fat...I'm not sure how much though...that and whole milk in general doesn't sit well for me. I think we've decided that I'm allergic to milk fat? Who knows. :). It's fantastic topped with honey, almonds, and dates (my personal favorite). It seriously fills you up too and it's so much better than the sugary, empty carb yogurts that are out there.

4) We've always loved fruit but I think we lost sight of it, haha. It's like I forgot it existed. Weird right? Well, we are consuming very large quantities of fruits. Figs, oranges, bananas, blueberries, dates, etc....yum.

5) Homemade cereal is totally worth it. So much better for you and it lasts a surprisingly long time. Jason still has some of that granola left from when I made it a week and a half ago. It's great on top of yogurt too :)

6) The hardest thing to kick was quick-fix sweets. I.e.: prepackaged cookies and stuff like that. I really only buy one thing every week but I must confess...A vanilla Joe Joe was sounding pretty dang good around day 3 or so.

And I think that's it. It was a fun experiment even though we FAILED.

Oh well. I don't want to be legalistic about it you know :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 4: Only from Scratch

It's my 200th post yo. Just thought I would educate your mind with this information.

Anyways, it's day 4 and I can officially say that I have kicked the "cravings" for something processed and yummy. I'm no longer thinking about the dish of candy sitting on my desk.

So, Sunday night was I said. Monday I used those homemade refried beans I made on Sunday and made these incredibly EASY flour tortillas for burritos (with cheese of course). And YES! I do use lard. Bring on the lard. I also use lard in PIES. Yeah. It's better. Seriously. If I made you a pie crust with lard you'd freak. And really... lard's natural! :) I know it's all fatty good and all but how many times do you actually eat pie in a year? Use lard! (Though you can use butter too.) I've quit using the Crisco stuff altogether...siiiiide note tangent. Sorry. I'm done.

No pics though because it's apparently hard to take pictures AND roll out tortillas and cook them. Yummy though. The refried beans though...they turned sweet sometime between when I cooked them and when we ate them. Weird. So my those puppies fresh! They weren't bad, I just had to add some salt and red chili pepper flakes to get rid of the odd "sweet" flavor.

Last night...I used the chicken broth and the chicken from the broth on Sun. and whipped out a chicken pot "pie". Pie is in quotes because I didn't make a crust (that takes way to long for this working lady) but used "drop biscuits". Way faster and super yummy. The filling is from this recipe (I used cut up fresh green beans instead of the frozen peas...keeping it fresh folks). Then I dumped it all straight into a pan and made the biscuit dough and dropped that on top of the filling. Cook it as 450 for 30 min more or less and you're done. I don't have a recipe that I use for drop bizkitz but this is a fine one and quite similar to what I make (though you might want to double it to cover the whole casserole dish thing).

So, the question. Do I feel different?


-So, honestly, the first 2 days we started this I had pretty bad cramping and stomach aches. Both Jason and I. I can't figure out why. Weird. Not sure what this tells us but we feel fine now.

-I am sleeping like a baby. I feel like I sleep really solid since I've started this. I think though that it's because I'm so tired from cooking, haha.

-There is a lot of satisfaction had in cooking completely from scratch but it is pretty tiring and time consuming...not going to lie.

-Homemade granola is SO good. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Ok, I guess that's it. Tonight we are having leftovers maybe??? The chicken pot biscuit thingy went a little farther than I anticipated! woohoo! No cooking! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And it Begins

Hung out with Jason this morning and ate what was possibly the yummiest pastry EVER. It was an almond croissant from Thorough Bread Pastry. Good grief. So amazing. I am still thinking about it. Really. Then we walked around, enjoyed the...SUN (something SF hasn't seen it at least a week), and then went home to begin cooking.

Today (in preparation for the week) I made...

Refried beans (for tomorrows burritos)
Granola (for this weeks cereal in the morn)
Lasagna noodles (for tonight's meal)
Spaghetti noodles (for Tues' meal)
Chicken Stock (for Wed. soup and my chicken pot pie...where I will also use the chicken from the stock)
Spaghetti Sauce (for tonight's meal...which there was supposed to extra of go. It's all gone. oops).

And here are some pics. Enjoy.Refried beans. Made in the crock pot. Super easy. I literally through it all in and left it be for the day. Here is the recipe from that I used. I tasted it before I put it away and it was pretty darn good. Much better than the can that's for sure...and it took very little work.After the beans I started in on a pasta sauce that was so unbelievably yummy. I used these onions and basil above from our garden. No actual pictures of the sauce but I used this recipe from and highly recommend it. The alterations I made to the recipe are a) I certainly did NOT peel 12 tomatoes. Yeah right. Seriously, there is no need to peel tomatoes. I don't know why they tell you to peel them. I also at the end of it all put about 3/4 of it in to my Cuisinart and pureed it. Made for a creamer sauce that was more compatible with lasagna. Good either way though.

Next up...granola!Here are the ingredients and here is the recipe. Changes I made were a) could not find wheat bran so...oat bran it is! b) Did not want to pay $8 for a thing of wheat germ so I skipped it. c) I baked it for more like an hour at least. In the oven it goes! And out it comes! Golden, delicious, and crunchy yummy. Oh look, there's my sauce in the background. :)

And then I started my pasta. Have you ever seen one of these?

I sure as heck never had till I went to my parents house one day and my mom pulled it out and said I could have it. It makes pasta. Like for real. And it's really easy. You mix flour, water, and olive oil...and that's it. It does it all...out of little cut out thingys that will make any shape you want...spaghetti, lasagna...whatever. It's amazing. Look at it whirl up all the ingredients.And look at it make lasagna for my lasagna tonight.And look at the spaghetti it made that I dusted with flour, threw in a ziploc, and put in the freezer for our dinner later this week. Yeah. It's cool.And then we ate this. There's no recipe. I make up my lasagna. Really though, it's homemade noodles, the spaghetti sauce recipes above, ricotta, and mozzarella, all layered. And let me tell you. This was TO.DIE.FOR. I mean, I don't want to toot my own horn but holy cow I will never EVER (okay I probably will) but I will TRY to never ever eat non-homemade noodle lasagna again. I've tasted the dark side. And I am in love with it. Seriously, it was amazing. Jason and I pretty much said, mmm. oh my gosh this is so good. mmmmm. the whole meal. It was ridiculous. :)

And then there's the chicken stock which is really boring and it would be gross if I took a picture of a chicken carcass floating in the broth. I'll spare you. But it's good and if you want the recipe I use this one. I like the added twist with the ginger.

And that my friends, was my first day of all scratch cooking. And I'm going to be really honest. I'm exhausted! :) I'm off to bed to dream about the croissant and lasagna I had.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Preparing For the Week

Welp, if you haven't heard...We're gonna be eatin' a little different around here for the next couple of weeks. Here's just HOW different if you missed the post. We're going to go ahead and kick it off tomorrow night...rather than Mon.

So, I did the shopping for this week and let me tell you. It took for freaking ever.

First, when you make everything from have to buy a lot more things. Good grief.

I also had to go to more than one store. I can sometimes make do with going to just Trader Joe's but there was no way I was going to pay 80 cents a pop for tomatoes...I needed 12! haha. No thanks.

Here are some very surprising "preservative" discoveries.

1) Couldn't buy our fav ABC (mostly almonds, blueberries, and cranberries...with some raisins too) trail mix from Trader's. Would you like to know why? Because apparently, they put a preservative in it to preserve the color of?...of raisins. What? I'm sorry. So, what color do raisins change to as they sit on the shelf? Blue?

2) Canned tomatoes have preservatives...thus the reason why I bought 12 Roma tomatoes. They were only $3.30 though. And I think it will make a bit of sauce. So, not bad.

3)I feel dumb looking at the back of all the packages in the store. Want to know why? Because I feel like someone's looking at me thinking, "Oh, that poor skinny girl. She must me worried about the fat content in that...oh look, she's putting it back...oh sad." Skinny girl complex I guess. Just checkin' the preservatives peeps....which is in everything apparently.

4)There is a preservative in pre-grated cheese...that keeps the cheese from sticking. bah. So, I had to buy a whole chunk of mozzarella.

5)Every cold cereal has SOME sort of preservative...from what I could tell (though I didn't venture to a whole foods store...because I didn't want to spend $10 on cereal) So, I'm making my own. That's right. Who's cool?

And that's what I have to share thus far.

Tomorrow night it begins. Tomorrow is a HUGE cooking day for the week. You shall see. Tomorrow night I will show you our absolutely from scratch dinner meal...and the menu for the week.

I'm expecting "preservative withdraws" to be rolling in around 1pm on Monday afternoon. Headaches? Nausea? We'll see. hehe :)

Off to eat Ben and Jerry's "Everything But The" icecream. Less that 24 hours left you know ;)!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


For Jason' mom...who asked for some new pics of the garden.

To really appreciate it...once again. Here is the BEFORE. Nothing but seeds, flowers, and a few teeny tint tomato plants and squash.
And HERE are our highly neglected plants now... Some onions hanging out on the line. Did you know you have to dry them? Yeah. Me neither. But you do if you want them to last longer. We did red onions...but apparently there was a rogue white one there in the middle! (We have so MANY onions. Fortunately they aren't all ready at the same time.)These are all dry and ready to be grubbed on...Group shot! Everyone say "cheese". Yeah. I'm dumb.Here we have our fabulous french cut green beans on our very cheap trellis. This plant has been great in the bay area. Little just grows and grows......and grows. It grows up whatever it can find. Even neighboring, unsuspecting, onion plants. Oops.Another great plant for this area...artichokes! So easy, they grow so well. They like the fog. Golden. Things that are bad...SQUASH! They've pretty much all molded over. They just need more heat. The tomatoes are fruiting but man they are sure taking their sweet time. Again, we need more heat. Maybe we'll get a big crop in Oct!? haha.This here is a Brussel Sprout plant...from the top. We are actually getting baby Brussel Sprouts too. Super cool. This one has been the most work. The weather here is fine for the plant but the PESTS that like this sucker are unbelievable. sheesh. There has been quite the war waging in the backyard the last few weeks. We've lost a few plants for sure but Jason has been putting up a good fight! :)

And THAT is our garden.And THIS is a reject carrot plant. It looked so promising, so full, it crested and looked to be the making of a glorious carrot. Then we pulled it find this. We laughed out loud when we pulled it out. :) Nice.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Great Food Experiment 2011

So, labeling it 2011 makes it sound pretty hard core eh? Okay, so it's just two weeks. I originally wanted to do it for a month...but then changed my mind because really...a month seems nearly impossible.

So, what is this "Great Food Experiment"?

Well, let me tell you.

Beginning this Mon...for two weeks, Jason and I will be cutting out all prepackaged foods from our diet. As in ALL of them.


-any and all frozen foods bought from the store (we pretty much only buy Trader Joe's frozen french fries and Orange Chicken...but you get the point).
-bagged pasta
-cereal (from the box)
-bagged bread
-canned sauces
-anything that has an ingredient list with weird things you aren't 100% sure on...i.e. preservatives and etc.

The idea behind this non-sense?

One, I've always wanted to try to eat...for a while anyways, mainly and primarily things that are made from scratch.

It's sort of an experiment. I want to know if we FEEL any better. If we notice more energy, clearer skin :), better attitudes, better BM's (haha, jk), and etc.

Also, though I work full time...I'm not all that busy...not like the type of busy I would be if we had kids. So, why not try it now?

So, here's the small print:
-when eating meat (though we literally are almost unintentionally vegetarians, we eat meat maybe once a week at the most) it will only be free-range, grass fed, etc meat. It's what we eat now. It's what we'll eat during this two weeks.
-we will be eating cheese. Since I have no idea how to make cheese...or desire to stank my house up with the process (though I do have a small, random dream to have a "Cheese Hut" in my backyard where I make my own gourmet cheeses...I know...FREAK)...we will eat organic cheese. I love cheese.
-I don't have a cow in my milk will be consumed (by Jason) in the mornings with his cereal...I will buy organic milk this two weeks...even though I usually don't. I buy Trader Joe's brand. I don't drink milk because it tastes "thick" and this doesn't really concern me :)
-We will use things like butter, olive oil, sugar, salt, flour, vanilla, eggs, coffee, half and half, and other ingredients .
- Certain things in the package are fair game. Things that list one :)
-Also, if we go to someone's house for dinner we're on "break". Because we won't be those people who say, "Oh, we don't eat THAT." :)

And yeah, I think that's it.

So, we'll see.

Basically the idea is...if I can make it from scratch...I will do it rather than buying it from the store already made. OR, if I can't make it...figure out another meal that I CAN make.

And there you have it.


That's it.

I'm taking you along with me on this journey. I'll share my menu...whether it was easy or I wanted to pull my hair out, and etc.

So, there you have it. 6 days of gorging before it begins. Bring on the Oreos and Doritos! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Renaming this Confounded Blog.

Seriously, this blog should be called the un-adventures of Jason and Anna. And really? Jason doesn't even write on this thing anymore. Apparently he doesn't deam walking to and from school and attending class blog-worthy. APPARENTLY, he's not a girl. A girl could totally find something worth recording....I think. :)

No really.

Also, I'm already bored of my blog background. I know right? I just changed it. Yeah, try living with me. Now you can have a taste of what Jason goes through with our furniture and room arrangement.

Anyways, thought I'd let you know of some awesome craft happenings this weekend.

FIRST, me and my ladies are hitting "Scrap" in San Francisco. It's a non-prof store that collects used craft materials, selling it at a cheaper price for teachers, artists, and etc. AWESOME! Here's the webby addy if you would like to check it out.

After Scrap I shall be paying a visit to the long awaited Renegade Craft Fair at the Fort Mason Center. It's basically a gathering of all the best handmade makers in the Bay area. I've been waiting 2 months to go! It's free to enter, there are workshops, and lots of goodies to spend my hard earned money on...though I'm excited to just walk around and look at all the creativity! :)

Sunday afternoon will involve some crafting with the ladies...with the loot from Scrap.

And there you have it. I will be so crafted out from the weekend. I'm okay with that though. :) It seems like a good ailment to have.