Baking

Real Food & Ritz Crackers

A week or so ago a friend posted a link to an interesting article on Facebook:

How Food Companies Exploit Americans With Ingredients Banned in Other Countries
Written by Food Babe, via 100 Days of Real Food

Please click through and read the article if you have time. I was floored by the information. I knew that products in other countries were formulated differently but to see the side-by-side ingredient lists for the same exact products was surprising. Especially when companies say it would be too expensive to reformulate American products without harmful ingredients, yet they have already done it for other countries!

After reading that article I was then intrigued by the 100 Days of Real Food website and have been reading through their recipes and older posts ever since.  Here are a couple more that I found helpful:

Real Food Defined
Why Cut Processed Food

We already eat pretty “real” around the Homemade Household but there is definitely room for improvement. For one we still eat quite a bit of white flour and refined sugar. We don’t watch out for artificial colors and flavors. We don’t tend to buy organic unless it’s convenient. We buy processed snack foods like crackers, cereal and granola bars. And probably the worst one of all is we love that mac and cheese in the blue box!

The 100 Days of Real Food website has free meal plans via their Facebook page or if you sign up as an e-mail subscriber. I downloaded all five of them and began perusing for ideas. Then last Saturday Benzo and I sat down and wrote out our own entire meal plan for this week including all three meals and two snacks for each of the seven days! It was a bit of work and we decided next time we will do it when the little one is in bed.

We are still figuring out what real food means for our family. Does it mean all organics? Does it mean absolutely nothing processed? Eliminating all white flour and sugar? I’m not sure to be honest. It will be something we’ll figure out over time.

We headed out on Saturday morning armed with our meal plan and grocery list.  Shopping for groceries was a bit stressful for two reasons. One, everyone in town was snowed in for two days on Thursday and Friday so everyone and their mother was out getting groceries on Saturday when the roads were finally clear. I do not do well in crowds. But we were able to be calm and power through.

The second reason was a bit of sticker shock. Organic white whole wheat flour was $6.99 for a 5lb bag! Organic cheese was $4.99 for an 8oz block! Yowsa. We ended up buying both this time and will have to decide if it’s worth it to work it into our budget or not.  It is very easy to say “I’m buying all organics!” when you are home.  But when you are standing in the store staring down those prices it is easy to succumb to the cheaper conventional product.  I have done it many times.

Once we got home and put the little one down for a nap, the first thing I whipped up was homemade Ritz crackers.  I started with the following recipe:

Homemade Ritz Crackers @ Uma’s Kitchen Experiments

I used my new white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour and I reduced the sugar to one teaspoon.  Here’s the finished product:

20130224-160640.jpg

As I was making the dough I kept thinking, this feels very familiar.  Then I realized, the recipe was almost like a pie crust.  The process was very similar.  I cut in the butter with my pastry blender, stirred in the oil and then added water a little at a time until it came together.  I did not end up using the entire amount and my dough was pretty sticky.  I needed quite a bit of flour to roll it out so I probably could’ve used less water.  I was pretty happy that I happen to have a biscuit cutter that’s about the same size as a Ritz cracker!

I ended up with two full cookie sheets of crackers, about 70 total.  I have no idea if this ended up saving me money or not, but what I do know is that I ended up with an almost all organic whole grain cracker with no unnecessary chemicals.  I have to say I do feel pretty good about that.  And the finished product looks so cute and tastes great!

So as we figure out what real food means in our family, I would love to hear your opinions on any or all of the following:

  • Organic – worth the money or not?
  • Organic dairy specifically – is it worth it?  Or is it good enough to get the non-organic that doesn’t have growth hormones?  This is one we are struggling with in particular.
  • Were you surprised by the side-by-side ingredient lists in the above linked article?  Do you think these food companies are taking advantage of our loose food regulations in America?

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2 thoughts on “Real Food & Ritz Crackers

  1. I just found your blog which I find very refreshing because you are honest and practical! We eat a mixture of organics and conventional foods depending on our budget and our schedule. I’m currently trying to stick with “humanely treated” dairy and meat as a priority. I feel like my dollar here is a vote for animals who deserve a life outside a factory farm.

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