Raise your hand if you ate way to much this weekend.
I finally found pie pumpkins in my city wide search and participated in hours of pumpkin glutton. Those posts will be up later, but I needed a bit of a pumpkin detox before jumping back in for more. I have no plans to stop my fall pumpkin worship, but I needed a break.
I am also preparing for October Unprocessed. Have you taken the challenge? I signed up. Andrew of Eating Rules has asked if we could all go just one month without eating processed foods. I did it last year and found that it was both easier and more challenging that I had thought. What is processed food? That’s quite the debate, but it gets you thinking. It was, more than anything, a great reminder to read every single label on every single package I buy. Why am I buying a jam with ingredients I don’t recognize when I can just buy the one with only two: Strawberries, sugar.
Why don’t I just buy my bread from the baker down the street, with his 4 ingredients rather than the package from across the country with 17 ingredients?
More produce, less cans, no Doritos. You can do it.
There is no fixed answer to the question, "What is unprocessed?" but the simple answer is: do you have (or could you have) all of those ingredients in your kitchen and could a person reasonably make it themselves.
For instance, I have lots of friends who are home brewers and they make beer themselves. So that makes beer OK to have, it passes the Kitchen Test. If you could reasonably assume you COULD make it, it’s OK.
However, I have no idea how to pronounce half of the ingredients in Oreos, I don’t have those in my kitchen, I could not make that product, with those exact ingredients, so sorry, no Oreos for me. For more in depth answer to the questions, you can read this.
The best thing about this challenge, is that it gets us thinking. About what we eat, who we "vote for" with the dollars we spend, and what we are training our bodies to crave.
And if you can’t go a month with eating just real whole food, then why not? Why is that hard for you?
I encourage you sign up, even if you know you can’t be perfect. Can you do Unprocessed Wednesday Night Dinners? Sign up and give it a try. It will get you thinking about what you’re eating, and what you are feeding your family.
This soup recipe could even be debated (although it is not yet October). While some ingredients easily pass the kitchen test, it reminds you to read the labels on the brands of sour cream and cheese you buy. Some will only have three or four easily recognized ingredients while some brands will have several more. It’s just about being mindful of what you buy.
Beer Pretzel Bread Bowls & Oktoberfest
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 packet of dry active yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/4 cup wheat beer
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 3 tbs melted butter
- 2 tbs coarse salt
(Makes 4 bread bowls or 8 dinner rolls. Bread bowls are fairly small and only hold about a cup of soup each.)
- Add flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachement. Stir to combine.
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the beer. Microwave for 20 seconds, test temperature and repeat until the beer reaches 110 degrees (if the beer is too hot, it will kill the yeast). Sprinkle the beer with the yeast and wait for it to foam (this is called proofing the yeast, if it doesn't foam the yeast is bad).
- Pour the beer into the bowl and stir at a low speed until well combined, turn the speed up to medium until the dough gathers around the hook and is smooth.
- Oil a large bowl with olive oil. Remove the dough from the mixer, form into a ball and place in prepared bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm, dry area until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, knead on a light flowed surface until smooth, about 2 minutes. Break into 4 equal pieces (you can also make 8 dinner roll size portions) form into balls. Cover balls with plastic wrap, allow to sit until doubled in size, about 20 mintes.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Fill a large pot with water, making sure there is room for it bubble up without spilling over, but deep enough for the large dough balls. Bring water to a boil, add the baking soda. Cut an X into the top of each bread ball. Place gently in the baking soda water and cook, turning once, for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and place on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat, or sprayed with cooking spray, cut side up. Repeat for all bread balls.
- Brush liberally with melted butter, sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until a dark golden brown in color.
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