Tuesday, September 25, 2012

October Unprocessed

Have you heard of October Unprocessed?  It's a challenge to eat only unprocessed foods the entire month of October.  The main goal of this challenge is to lessen everyone's dependence on highly processed foods and prove that eating whole foods is not only tastier, but is better for you as well.  The more time I spend in the kitchen the more I am disgusted by processed foods.  Some things are just so easy to make, require ingredients that you probably have anyway, and yet the majority of our society still reaches for the box.  This year Raymond and I have decided to participate in October Unprocessed.  It's still a week out and thus far almost 3000 people have signed the pledge! 

You can find more information about October Unprocessed and sign the pledge yourself here.  As a summary, according to the rules of the challenge, if something passes the "kitchen test" it is unprocessed.  The "kitchen test" states that "unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients."  Whooh, that takes a bit of stress off!  You don't have to make everything from scratch, but you do need to choose items that are made with whole ingredients.  Luckily for us beer, wine, cheese, olive oil, and vinegar all pass that test.  What else would we use to calm down when we're stressed about not having time for anything because we're spending all month cooking in the kitchen?  :)

In all seriousness though, I'm not for-seeing it being that bad.  I'm a little nervous of becoming overwhelmed, but Raymond and I don't eat too many processed foods anyway.  We haven't discussed all the technicalities and where we will decide to draw the line, but I'm pretty sure we will still drink milk, and coffee, we will still need to use our protein and carbohydrate powders for training, and we will use vital wheat gluten for whole grain bread.  Other than that I'm excited about making lots of homemade butter, bread, crackers, and anything else we come across.  We've been slowly preparing and trying to stock our pantry and freezer for the challenge.  We've made breakfast sandwiches, re-fried beans that will get made into bean burritos this week, and we had a canning weekend where we canned salsa, roasted red pepper spread, and mustard's. 

We may or may not have had problems with our make-shift caner in the form of a big stockpot and strainer.  ;-)


I'm a little sad I didn't get a chance to can any tomatoes, as grabbing a can of tomatoes from the pantry is probably my biggest processed short cut, but we will work it out. 

In the month of October I will especially try to keep up with my posts with unprocessed meals and snacks.  I'm sure we will make some slip ups, mainly in the form of birthday parties, weddings, but that's okay.  The main focus of the month will stay in tact.  Clean eating.  Won't you join us for October Unprocessed?  Sign the pledge here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Zucchini Fritters

I am such a child.  I like to reward myself for jobs well done.  That's exactly what these were.

Recently we went to Maine for a race.  I had the worst swim I've ever had.  They say you can't win a triathlon by the swim, but you can loose a triathlon in the swim.  I think it's pretty evident that's what I did.  I was in 18th place after the swim, in 7 place after the bike, and then fell back into 9th place by the end.  I was actually really happy with my run as I had been fighting and injury so I didn't expect to be able to run the whole race and turned out I was.  Needless to say, I decided it was time to start swimming...especially since my Ironman is less than two months away!! 

Last night I finally joined a gym.  I jumped in the pool and immediately felt like a rock star as I was consistently passing the guy in my lane about three times to his one lap.  Unfortunately my ego was only high for about 10 minutes before he got out and this other guy got in and started lapping me like he was Michael Phelps.  The only problem is, he wasn't Michael Phelps...I'm pretty sure he wasn't even close.  Geeze I need to swim more!  He ended up getting in the next lane when it opened up about 20 minutes later and this large guy got in my lane after him and ended up kicking me right away.  I decided 40 minutes in the pool was enough abuse for the first time in months.  Like I said, you surely can't win a triathlon in the swim.  :)

I got home and this was my reward to myself.  It was a Pintrest find.  I of course couldn't leave well enough alone and changed it up just a bit.  I'm not going to say I was absolutely thrilled with the results, but I think if I would have cooked the ingredients all a bit more before browning them they would be great.  The method of cooking by dropping them directly on the skillet doesn't cook them long enough and I can taste the raw flour, and cooking it a bit before-hand would also help to distribute the feta more evenly.  Below I have written the recipe with the changes I think need to be made.


1 3/4 cups zucchini (about 2 medium), shredded and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1/2 red bell pepper, shredded and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup feta
1/4 cup parsley
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbs Oil


Heat oil in a cast iron pan.

Mix all the ingredients except for the oil.

Cook the mixture on low heat in a medium saucepan for about 3-5 minutes.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Spoon about two tablespoons of the mixture onto pan.

Cook until brown, about 4-5 minutes each side.

Enjoy!  I didn't make any last night, but I imagine this would go very well with some Roasted Red Pepper Tzatziki, or just some regular Tzatziki.