The day I became pregnant with my first child (Greyson, who's six now) was the day my husband and I switched to organic eating and began on the path to a "traditional cooking" lifestyle. It's all about eating healthy, organic and unprocessed whole foods like our great grandparents did before the food industry went all industrialized corporate on us.
Basically I don't want my family eating anything that was made in a science laboratory.
The first step of our adventure was to get educated. We watched a bunch of food documentaries like Supersize me, Fed Up, Food Inc, Ingredients, etc. Once you watch one, your perspective changes pretty quickly. We spend many hours reading books and blogs like 100 Days of Read Food, Traditional Cooking School, etc.
Information is one thing, but changing a lifetime of habits is another thing...
I worked with a woman in her mid-20's, an electrical engineer, who'd moved to Dallas from Minnesota and casually mentioned that she mills her own grain into flour. That sounded so foreign and odd to me- but kind of cool. I thought on it for a while and I finally just felt compelled to try it for myself. I quickly found the Blendtec Electric Grain Mill and embarked on this new adventure.
I went to whole foods and bought a couple of different varieties of grains: Spelt Berries, Wheat Berries, Corn even. "Milling" just means you dump the grains into a blender designed for hard dry grains and fresh ground whole wheat flour comes out the other end.
Cornbread is my favorite bread. Martha Stewart has a cornbread recipe (see below) that is out of this world. I've made it for years now and it's made every other cornbread I've had since pale in comparison. So I immediately dumped some corn in my fancy new Blendtec Mill and used my freshly ground corn meal in this ahhmazing cornbread recipe. Perfection is an understatement.
That was all it took - I was hooked. Pancakes taste better. Breads taste better. My chocolate chip cookies are famous in my family and it's just the nestles classic recipe. It's only because of all the whole fresh organic ingredients I use that make a big difference. One word to the wise though (which took me quite a few times to figure out) - 100% whole grain flour doesn't rise like multi-purpose white flour. It doesn't have the stretchy network of gluten that forms the structure of bread dough and let's it grow! I made a few of the flattest batches of cookies you ever saw. They actually tasted pretty decent... but they were super thin and sad. So word to the wise - do a 50/50 mix of Whole Wheat and King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour in your baking recipes.
After playing with different grains and flours, the next step was to use them in fresh made pasta. Which led to making sourdough bread from living yeast. Now I make homemade yogurt. I dehydrate foods - fruits, vegetables, beef jerky. We raise our own eggs and I do my best to make everything from scratch: BBQ sauce, ranch sauce, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, jams, and tons more.
WARNING: Once you try anything from scratch you can never eat the stuff from a box or jar again. Seriously - make this brownie recipe and tell me if you'll ever eat boxed brownies again.
I'll add one disclaimer to this post. I'm not judging anyone who prefers it a different way, a different taste, a different style. This is just me sharing my cooking journey. Everyone likes food, the way they like it. Sometimes I just don't have time and I make a frozen pizza. I work full-time, I get it. Time is limited and I admit that doing it this way takes more time... but honestly not as much as you might think. Sometimes it really is negligible.
Martha Stewart's Jalapeno Corn Muffins