Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tools for making whole foods meals

We rarely to never eat out. If we do eat out, it's almost always because someone has given us a gift card, or my mom and dad are treating us! It's quite common for me to pack us a lunch if we have to be out running errands. We also make as much as we can from scratch to ensure that we have the most control over the ingredients that we consume as possible. I have been making all of our whole grain bread products (loaves, pizza crust, buns, rolls, tortillas, muffins, and other baked goods) for about 4 1/2 years now. We make grain purchases once or twice a year - usually about 150-300 pounds at a time.

The question that I get often is:
How do you do it?
I have some tools to share with you that I have picked up over the years to make it manageable.

1. Plan ahead - this one is huge!
In order to make all meals at home and not have eating out as a safety net, I have to have a plan in place. I plan out a menu 2-4 weeks in advance. This keeps me on task for buying the ingredients that I need to make the meals. It also keeps me from spending each afternoon fretting over what I will be making that evening.
2. Weekly repeats.
Almost every Saturday, I make the same meal. It's a favorite for everyone, so no one minds the repeat. Every Sunday we eat leftovers after church. (I plan the week out in order to ensure that we will have leftovers in the fridge for Sunday afternoon) Every Sunday evening, we have all fruit smoothies and organic popcorn.
Every Wednesday, I make homemade pizza.
With those repeats, it helps to menu plan knowing that those days are already planned out.
3. Keep it simple.
I have learned over the years that meals do not have to be complicated. There are some meals that I make that are very time consuming - the only reason that I keep them in the rotation is because every one loves it so much! You can even find shortcuts for those meals, however. (pre-chopping the veggies and throwing it in the freezer) I am working on getting better at that.
4. Work it into the routine.
I've also learned over the years that if you want it badly enough, you'll make the effort required to make it happen. Nutrition is very important to me, so of course, I am going to make it happen! Making our bread is just as natural as making my bed or running the vacuum, it's just something I worked into the routine.


  1. Thanks for the info., Larissa. Keep up the good work!

  2. I REALLY need to start coming up with a weekly meal plan. I know it would make my life easier. Until then, I have to deal with some days of me thinking "what's for dinner?!"

    We don't eat out very much (probably a little more than you do), but I do enjoy the break from cooking. It takes a lot of work cooking from scratch! Maybe one day I will make all of our breads like you do - they taste so much better than even the organic stuff I buy.

  3. I too plan out our menus, but only do a week at a time! But it does help not fretting over what we will eat or going the take-out, fast-food route! Keep up the great work and yummy food!!!!

  4. Larissa,

    Where/how do you store this grain? I have thought about it over the years but being in New England where central a/c is almost unheard of and basments that were NOT made to be dry (in these older homes), I don't know how to keep the grains dry and cool.

  5. In the winter, I store it in the garage in buckets with gamma seal lids. In the spring and summer, I store it in my closet in the buckets with gamma seal lids.