Thursday, October 17, 2013

Get The Creep Out Of The Kitchen

So, how many of you are reading labels on your food?  I'll admit, we haven't always paid a ton of attention to labels in our house, but in recent years it has become more and more important to us.  I'm not talking about calories and fats (although my kids now love to report the number of sugar grams in any given packaged food....doesn't mean they won't want to eat it of course but they are at least aware I guess....) and serving sizes.  While those are important pieces of the picture, today I'm talking ingredients.  When I held a kids cooking class this summer, the first thing we did was to look at the ingredient lists on some foods that some kids eat regularly.  Doritos, Oreos, and Ritz crackers.  Doritos, have close to 30 ingredients including MSG, 3 dyes and "Artificial and Natural flavors" whatever that means (actually I know what that means but its disgusting and for another day).  The Oreos contain the dreaded high fructose corn syrup and in recent days, articles are popping up online about studies that show they can be as addictive as cocaine.  Great.  The Ritz crackers contain partially hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. trans fat) as well as high fructose corn syrup (and more of those natural flavors).  These examples may not surprise you, as hopefully even if you're not super careful or on top of what you're eating you probably didn't expect these items to be good for you. 

On Monday, Nelsy and the kids had the day off for Columbus Day.  Nels and Hayden went to get some groceries and to pick up a couple of ingredients to make pot stickers.  We had a bunch of cabbage from our CSA box and some ground pork from our meat box and basically needed some won ton wrappers to complete the meal.  He just happened to read the label (honestly this might be one of those things that I would not have thought about looking at) and sees that propylene glycol (also found in break fluid and antifreeze) was in the ingredient list.  OK, so the FDA considers it "generally recognized as safe" for consumption but really?  Must we have all this creepy stuff in our food? Yuck.

When they returned from the store Nelsy dug out our Blue Ginger cookbook by Ming Tsai and found a simple recipe for the dough that contains 3 ingredients.  One of them is water.  Of course making the dough added some steps to the process but we all agreed that they tasted way better and we liked them better than the ones we get from our Chinese take out place (admittedly this is not saying a whole lot).  It was a day off, he started on them a little early (time for the dough to rise) and wrangled a cute little helper to assist (not me, Phoebe). 

It's fun to cook with your kids.  It's like doing crafts but with out a bunch or glitter and googly eyes all over the place.  You get to eat the project when your done.  They actually learn something and they feel very accomplished when it turns out.  Don't they look happy with their big pile of shredded cabbage?
Here they are wringing out the water.  (Disregard dirty dishes)
Here we have chicken marinating for the stir fry, bok choy ready to go, and little dough circles getting rolled out to be filled.
All wrapped up we had enough for dinner plus two more dinners that we froze.  There you go, another added bonus.  Stir fry is a super quick week night dinner and having homemade pot stickers in the freezer makes it that much better!
There is nothing creepy about this dinner!  I had posted these pictures on the Who's Got The Thyme? Facebook page and at least a couple of you wanted to give it a shot.  I found the recipe on Food Network which seems to be the same recipe as our cookbook but the book called for four cups of cabbage and the website says two so....I'd go with four.  Or as close to four as you can. So click the link and get cookin!  And for Pete's sake read your labels!

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