Monday, February 15, 2016

A Labor of Love

A friend teased me one day about the many pictures of food I post.  He said, "Unless you are going to bring them to my house, stop posting them!"  I told him if we lived closer then he would be welcome here anytime.

I do post a lot of food pictures and I mostly do that to show that for those of us who are wired that way, food is a labor of love.  I enjoy coming up with meals for my family that show creativity and love.  Everything I make is from scratch and that started for two reasons.

Living on one income and being in the ministry means there is not much money to go around.  It is much less expensive to make things from scratch than purchasing costly processed foods.  It costs me about 50 cents to make a batch of 16 flour tortillas that are soft and delicious compared to spending $2-$3 for a pack of 12 that look and taste like cardboard.

The other reason I cook everything from scratch is Emily's allergies.  She is allergic to sesame, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts.  She stops breathing if she even touches anything with peanuts.  And more and more often, manufacturers are putting those ingredients in things you wouldn't expect. 

So it's easier for me to make a cake from scratch because I know exactly what's in it.  I've seen so many box mixes that list that they are processed in a facility that also processes nuts and peanuts.

I make most of the extras myself as well.  I had a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread sitting on my countertop that no one was eating.  So before it got moldy, I sliced it, toasted it and ground it up to make bread crumbs.  Since they don't have chemicals in them to give them an extended shelf life, I store them in the freezer and use them as needed.

I make my own spice mixes.  Yesterday's meal of Mexican stuffed shells called for taco seasoning so I made it myself.

It is labor to cook this way, but I enjoy it.  I'm hard-wired for creativity and I love coming up with new recipes and different ways to cook and bake.  It's love because I want the best for my family and I want them to be healthy.  We have dealt with so many health issues throughout the years with the kids and I know if I can at least cook with unprocessed foods it's a step in the right direction. 

So I'll keep posting those pictures.  I do that to encourage those of you who need encouragement in this area.  There are a lot of women out there on a tight budget who want to make great meals and yet, not spend a fortune.  I know I'm challenged to try new things when I see someone post a recipe.

Next on my list of things to try is cheese-making.  I love cheese yet, it's expensive and very processed.  I'm thinking if I can learn to make it myself, it'll be healthier.  Perhaps not, but I'll never know if I don't try, right? ;-)