In this series, I will share with you some steps we have taken on our food journey from the standard American diet to eating much better than we were. Some of these ideas are obvious, but some might be new to you. I’m not a dietician or a chef, just a mom and wife who is trying to find what works for my family to eat healthier meals. I hope to inspire you to find some food changes that might fit your family as well.
If you’re already very advanced in your healthy lifestyle, maybe you know someone who is just beginning to be interested in this topic. Perhaps this series would be comforting to them if they would rather get encouragement from someone who definitely doesn’t have it all together yet.
On the stovetop, I’ve changed from white rice to brown. From regular pasta to whole wheat or Omega-3 varieties. We did eat turkey bacon for some time, but for our family there is nothing like uncured (no nitrites added) bacon. I KNOW! It’s good, right?!
I’ve learned to use dry beans instead of canned to cut down on the sodium and additives. It’s also much less expensive. Overnight soaking has generally worked best for me when I can remember to put them out. I just love a huge pot of beans and homemade cornbread. I use the leftover beans for chili. Mmmmmm!
Baking is one of my favorite things to do and the substitutions we’ve made have really been accepted with smiling faces. Who doesn’t like to try different varieties of cookies and muffins? The whole wheat substitution for white flour went off without a hitch. Though it did take me some time to correctly adjust the liquids to avoid tough baked goods. I think I’ve almost got the hang of it now.
We’ve found several recipes in which we substitute flax for eggs to add some omega power to our muffins. We’ve also experimented with subbing applesauce or mashed bananas for oil in quick breads. The trick is to substitute just enough oil or butter to make a fat/calorie difference without changing the flavor or consistency of baked goods. I don’t usually sub out all of the oil but start with half oil and half substitute to check the results. (See the recipe below for the Whole Wheat Flax Biscuits pictured above.)
We also stopped using shortening and vegetable oil in baked items altogether, instead reaching for organic coconut oil or real butter. The consistency has changed for the better with almost every recipe we tried. My favorite is using coconut oil in brownies. It’s makes for such a lovely flavor and consistency, in my opinion.
Some substitutions just didn’t work for my family’s taste buds. My husband hated the spicy southwest sweet potato oven fries that I made. And the kids are constantly hunting through their plates to make sure that I’m not hiding mashed cauliflower in their meal. But I don’t let these little differences of opinion bother me. I just don’t press the issue and find one more substitution to try next time.
The photo above is the result of my own experimentation. My whole family really likes these biscuits. I hope you do, too.
Whole Wheat Flax Biscuits
- ?1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup white flour
- 1/4 cup wheat bran
- 3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup plain kefir
- 1/4 cup milk
I use a food processor for the whole recipe until you turn out the ball of dough, but you could definitely use a good old bowl and spoon. Mix all the dry ingredients. Then blend in the butter until crumby looking. Next, blend in kefir and milk just until ball forms.
Turn out onto a lightly cornmeal-dusted counter. Form into a square 1/2 inch thick and cut out about 15-18 small biscuits with a sharp knife, biscuit cutter, or even a pizza cutter. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-12 minutes.
NOTES: The part where I usually mess up is patting out the dough onto a floured surface. This makes my biscuits tough. Using the cornmeal doesn’t make them tough, but still keeps them from being sticky. You can substitute all flour for the bran and omit the flax. You can also substitute sour cream or plain yogurt for the kefir.
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Beth is a wife to Mike and mother to their five children who range in age from toddler to teen. She spends her days doing school and her nights doing laundry. Saving money in the meantime helps. Beth is learning how to live organically now in the hopes of one day being a successful homesteader.