Best Kitchenaid Attachments

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10 BEST kitchenaid attachments! Have a Kitchenaid Check out these great attachments and what they do!

Oh how I love my KitchenAid stand mixer!  My hubby bought me one for Christmas two years ago.  I knew I was getting one because my mom spilled the beans a few weeks earlier but I was super anxious to open it.  What color did he get?!  What did it come with?!  What am I going to make first?!  I opened all my presents (including a vacuum that I swore was the Kitchenaid!) and no mixer.  He knew I was waiting for it so he left it in the garage until the very end.  Sneaky, sneaky!  

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He bought a beautiful turquoise-y blue one and I was instantly in love!  I had to rearrange the kitchen because it didn’t fit under the cabinets.  But that’s ok!  It’s out and I love it so!  

This past Christmas I asked for a few attachments for my beloved mixer.  At first I wasn’t specific with my family – I just said attachments.  Whoa.  There are so many out there!  I did a little research and found the best KitchenAid attachments, also known as the ones I requested for Christmas!  

Side note – if you purchase any attachments, double check that they fit your specific mixer.  My sweet hubby bought me number 3 and it was the wrong one!  

  1. Wire beater, dough hook and flat beater – these are the 3 attachments that come with most models.  And they are awesome!  I would say 90 perfect of the time I use the flat beater in my cooking and baking.  
  2. Pouring shield – After a few tries with my new mixer, I realized pretty quickly that I needed the pouring shield.  My model lifts the bowl instead of the title head ones so if I have a big bowl or measuring cup that I’m using, it’s hard to pour.  Without making a mess.  I take it off after I’m doing pouring.  
  3. Beater blade – This was another attachment that I knew I wanted right away.  It scrapes the sides of the bowl for you!  Yess!  No turning off the machine and scraping down the sides and then ack to mixing.  This little beater does it for you.  
  4. Shredder/slicer attachment – Oh, how I love this attachment!  I use it to slice veggies (like cucumbers), cheese and even to shredded my bar soap for homemade laundry detergent!  I use a baby bottle brush to help with cleaning and I am good to go! 
  5. Pasta roller – Yes!  I asked my brother for this attachment last year and squealed when I opened it!  It has easy recipes in the booklet for homemade pastas, but I haven’t used it yet!  I have big plans for a homemade pasta dinner this Christmas so I will report back at how it goes!  
  6. Grinder – This is one that I thought would be great for Ryon.  He brews beer and this would be perfect for grinding the barley.  I may get it for him for Christmas and then use it when he’s not looking! 
  7. Sausage stuffer – I know, I giggled at the name too.  But Ryon also hunts so he could use the grinder for venison burgers and then the sausage stuffer for fresh venison sausage!  It’s a win-win.  
  8. Spiralizer – I have this one of my list!  I think it would be great to use for things like zucchini noodles and apple chips.  
  9. Ice cream maker – How FUN is it that you can make ice cream with a Kitchenaid??  I have heard great things about the ice cream maker and how easy it is to use.  I bought a super cheap ice cream maker at Target a few years ago and it’s still going strong.  (Funny how that works sometimes!)  But once that kicks the ice cream bucket, I’ll snag one of these! 
  10. Bowl covers – Not an attachment, but SO handy to have!  My brother (he’s kinda awesome now that I think about it!) bought these for me along with the pasta roller.  They are perfect for covering your bowl and chilling it for later or letting your dough rise.  Again double check that you buy the right covers for YOUR mixer! 

I hope that helps narrow it down for you as far as attachments go!  There are so many great ones out there but these are my favorite/requested ones.  Also, double check that you are ordering the right attachment for your model!  I would hate for you to get an attachment or part and you can’t use it because it’s for the wrong KitchenAid!  Trust me – been there, returned that!  

7 Tips for better food photos

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Are you looking to take better food photos?  I’ve got 7 easy tips to help you go from meh to amazing! 

7 Tips for better food photos! Easy tips and tricks to help improve your food photography!

Hey yall!  I’m sharing something a little different today – 7 tips for better food photos!  I have been taking pictures for as long as I can remember.  I still have undeveloped rolls of film hanging out in my night stand.  It’s a challenge to get the perfect image and yet so rewarding when you do.  If you are looking to up your food photo game (or any type of photography really!), here are some easy tips to follow. 

  1. Practice, practice, practice!  – If you take ONE thing away from these tips it is to practice your craft.  No matter what type of camera you have, practice as often as possible.  Take pictures of your dinner, or breakfast, or those homemade chocolate chip cookies you just baked.  Read your manual, try different setups, stock up on memory cards and shoot as much as possible!  
  2. Research – I separate my food photography research into two categories – visual and educational.  Visual is easy.  It’s any time you see an appetizing meal – study it.  Figure out why it appeals to you, what props did they use?  Do they have an eye catching background?  Take elements that you like and work on incorporating them into your own photography. 

How to make an iced Thai latte at home!

For example – I love the close up overhead shots of drinks.  It’s just fun and playful to me.  I had seen them in magazines and Pinterest and started practicing more.  Here is an example in my iced Thai latte post.  

The second is to research technique.  Search Pinterest for educational photography posts on things like aperture, ISO and shutter speed.  Pick a topic to focus on and read a few articles on how that technique works.  Take what you’ve learned and try and apply it the next time you photograph.  

3. Upgrade – Some people think that to take beautiful photographs you need the BEST camera right NOW.  And that’s simply not true.  The best camera is the one you have right NOW.  Once you have mastered your point and shoot or your old DSLR or even your phone, look into upgrading to a new model.  

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I used a point and shoot, then my phone and slowly upgraded to a Nikon D7000.  The picture above is my Finnish pancake recipe and was taken with my old cell phone a few years ago.  The image below is butternut squash pasta and was taken with my Nikon.  Huge difference!  But there are 3 years of practice between the photos.  

Easy on pot butternut squash and bacon pasta! Perfect dinner recipe!

4. Props – Oh, how I love props!  Props can take your boring food photo and make it exciting!  And there are so many options for food props.  You can go basic with a fun plate, or napkin.  I love to add silverware to suggest the food is going to be eaten immediately.  You can use an extra serving of food as a prop or the casserole dish the serving came from or fresh herbs sprinkled about.  Props are another way to get creative with your food.  

Pinch of yum has a great post on using every day items to improve your photography.  The old cookie sheets are always fun!  Play around with props (my favorite places to shop for them are World Market and thrift stores) and find your style.  

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5. Using natural light – Natural light is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to improve your food photography.  Look around your house and find the best natural light coming from a window.  Put a coffee table with your props there.  Natural light brings out the best colors in any type of photograph.  Do not – I repeat DO NOT – rely on your kitchen or home lighting for photography.  

Don’t have any good natural light?  My food bloggy friend Julie shares how she uses artificial light to help her with her food photos.  

Individual apple crisps baked right in the apple!

6. Make food appetizing yet approachable – This was a new concept for me that I learned at Mixed conference from Susan with Ahalogy.  Beautiful food photos are just that – beautiful.  But you want to be able to take a beautiful food photo and make it approachable for the reader.  If it looks too pretty or too complicated you may lose people’s interest.  If the photo is pretty and looks like something they can whip up in there own kitchen – well that’s a winning shot!  

7. Editing – One thing that can really set your food photography apart is using editing software.  I have used Photoshop for a few years now and was able to review Lightroom recently.  There are some amazing tutorials on how to use both editing programs (like these on Lightroom) but my best advice is to just practice, practice, practice!  (Are you tired of hearing that yet??)  

The cool thing about the Adobe Creative cloud photography plan is that you can take your images anywhere with you.  It’s all stored online in addition to your hard drive!  I really love being able to access my photos anywhere I go.  

There you have it!  Seven easy tips for better food photos.  I hope you have fun practicing and if you have any other tips you’d like to share – leave them on my Facebook page!  I am always looking for easy ways to up my photography game! 

Thank you to Best Buy for sponsoring today’s post as well!  

Mixed Conference 2015

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Yall.  I had so much fun at Mixed conference this past weekend!  I shared a bunch of pictures on Instagram and Facebook over the weekend but I have more to share!  Some behind the scenes pictures and a run down of everything we got to do, see and EAT!

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I was beyond blessed to have my tripped sponsored by HEB this year.  I love me some HEB (our grocery store down here in South Texas) and I love food blogging so it was literally a match made in heaven.  Covered in chocolate ganache.  And topped with a cherry.

I drove up from Corpus Friday afternoon and met some of my best blogger friends at the conference.  That’s Rachel from A Southern Fairytale on the left and Kirsten (Kiki) from Kirsten Oliphant in the middle.  And me.  Hey yall heyyy!  

One of the sponsors (Imperial sugar) had a sugar scrub room and we got to make all kinds of delicious smelling scrubs.  Like orange creamsicle and chocolate mint good.  Mmmm.  

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This first session of the conference was on making food videos.  It just amazes me that people are so talented when it comes to video blogging.  I’m over here like “it only took me 4 years to take decent food photos” and then some people have YouTube channels full of awesome videos.  I may be slightly behind the curve on that one.  

Dinner the first night was sponsored by Dreamfield pasta and yall.  SO good!  There was so much food that I didn’t know where to start.  Of course I ended up doing it backwards because I went for the pasta first and then finished with the antipasto.  Ah well.  You only live once. 

I made a quick Target run with Kelli from eat.pray.read.love and Jess from Jess Unprocessed after dinner.  And then went for a late night swim in the far too cold pool before heading to bed.  

Ps.. the conference was at the Woodlands Resort.  Out of this world gorgeous hotel.  And when I say we went swimming, I mean in one of the 5 or so pools.  And they have a lazy river and huge slide.   

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One of the best things about the conference was the steady supply of coffee!  HEB had their Cafeccino’s and their Houston blend coffee out during the all the sessions.  Let me tell you, I have FALLEN in love with the Houston blend coffee.  Hands down delicious.  It’s got a pecan praline taste to it that is just heavenly.   

Our sessions were amazing as well.  We started the day with Chef Eddy from Imperial Sugar.  He showed the group how to make fancy chocolate designs with basic tools.  The session was so fun to watch live.  Chocolate was flowing everywhere.  I can’t wait to try some of his tricks for cool chocolate designs.  

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Seriously yall, so much good food.  I did a Periscope (a new online live streaming app.. way cool!) on everything that was in our swag bags.  I also said to say goodbye to this face because I’m not going to look the same after the conference.  I guesstimated that I would gain 10-15 pounds that weekend from all the delicious snacks and meals and treats and chocolate.  

I have not been able to stop eating this almond cookie brittle since I opened the first box.  The flavor is amazing and they are light and crisp.  I was able to take home a few boxes but when I run out I may cry. 

I nibbled on the cookies during the next two sessions which were Pinterest scheduling and working with brands.  (HEB had some out on the snack table so I didn’t have to bust open my own box thank goodness!)  

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There was an awesome photo board session where we learned how to make our own wood boards for photography.  I already have four boards in the works thanks to Meredith!  You will be seeing them here on the blog soon.  

Our last session was all about professional food photography which I was so very excited about!  One of the speakers has an amazing photography book called Plate to Pixel that I received for Christmas.  Both Helene and Tami had such practical advice on how to improve your food photos.  (Seriously Helene talked about using foam board, plastic squeeze bottles and wobble wedges to help.)  

Their session was sponsored by Wisconsin cheese so of course Kiki texts me that she NEEDS a picture with the huge cheese wheel at the front of the room.  And not any picture – a picture pretending the cheese is her cheese baby.  Sure thing friend!  What are food blogging conferences for, right?!

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After the last session we had a break before dinner.  I had everyone come over to my room to hang out and relax.  Turns out one of the girls (Ashlee) is on Food Network for their Halloween baking challenge!  How cool is that?!  We talked about other things but it was just so nice to be able to chat about food blogging.  Everyone does something different and it’s so fun to see their perspective on things.  

The last order of the conference was the HEB closing dinner.  HEB does this thing called “Primo picks” where they find the best products for a certain event.  This months event is Ciao Italy.  HELLO.  LOVE!  Our whole dinner was Italy themed from the caprese salad to the cannolis to the Italian soda.  

And then the lovely Mixed con sponsors had a huge giveaway.  Everyone at our table won something.  I won a knife, someone won Le Creuset pots and Kiki won a Kitchenaid mixer!  Like the conference couldn’t get any better, but wait, we are giving you tons of free stuff too.  

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It was just amazing.  We stayed up chatting about bloggy stuff and then went to bed way too late.  (Psst.. that’s the awesome swag bag that HEB gave everyone!)  After another amazing breakfast I packed up everything up and called for a luggage cart.  I’m sure the bell hop thought I was NUTS for loading all these swag bags full of food into my car.  (Or maybe he was jealous.)  Either way I headed home with so many great ideas and a car full of snacks.  Mixed conference you were absolutely fabulous!  

And a big ole shout out to my besties at HEB for having me as an ambassador!  They provided my ticket and accommodations but all opinions on their products and the conference are my own!  

 

Weekly Family Menu Plan

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Start your week right with this easy family menu plan! 

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Helloooo friends!  A long time ago I shared our weekly menu plan here on the Grant life.  It reallllly helped me plan our menu for the week and act like I had my ish together.  Well, a new job and 8 puppies later – I don’t have anything together.  

Don’t worry, I still feed the kids.  

So when a group of some of my favorite food blogging friends asked if I wanted to be apart of a weekly family menu plan, I said hecks ya!  Each week we will all share one or two of our best recipes.  We make it easy to find new ideas and plan for the week.  

Booyah.  I got my ish together again yall.  

Here is what is on the menu this week. 

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Monday – Kale and couscous tofu bowls.  Oh and we also decided to add a meatless Monday option in the menu too.  And it looks pretty dang delicious, no??

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Tuesday – Crockpot pesto ranch chicken thighs.  Why yes, yes I do want to make chicken in my crockpot this summer.  Yea know, so I don’t have to turn on the OVEN.  

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Wednesday – Butternut squash pasta skillet.  Everything cooks in one dish and then you get to top it all with melty mozzarella.  Dinner win!  

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Thursday – Easy sloppy Joes.  I love a good ole fashioned sloppy Joe.  And my kids do too.  That’s a giant dinner high five right there yall.  

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Friday – Pretzel crust pizza.  Homemade.  In a skillet.  Pizza.  Literally all of my favorite words in one delicious recipe.  

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Breakfast option – Mushroom and goat cheese omelet.  We thought of everything yall.  We even included a breakfast idea too.  Boom.  

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Dessert idea – Banana pudding poke cake.  And one delicious dessert too!  Because what’s dinner if you don’t have dessert waiting??  

There ya go.  One week of meals and one amazing dessert for yall.  I hope you enjoy this menu plan we put together.  I love new recipe ideas so I thought this was the perfect idea.  Here’s to having your ish together for at least one more week!  

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What to do when your children hits their head

What to do if your child hits their head.  Advice from a mom who has been there!

Hey yall!  I wanted to take a minute to talk about what to do when your children hits their head.  Last month we had to take Avery to the emergency room because he slipped on a toy and hit his head pretty hard.  We were at my parents house so my mom was there and able to help me assess the situation but I would have freaked out if we were alone.  Hitting your head is scary stuff!  I am thankful that he was ok and that we decided to take him in. 

What to do if your child hits their head.  Advice from a mom who has been there!

First let me say, I am not a doctor.  You should always consult a doctor if anything serious like this happens.  This is just practical advice from one mom to another.  And a few things I learned from taking Avery to the ER.  So what do you do if your kiddo hits their head pretty hard?

  • Stay calm.  You don’t want to freak them out anymore then they already are. 
  • Check for a bump, bruise and/or blood.  These are signs that it’s a pretty serious injury and your child should be monitored more closely. 
  • Ice the area of the injury.  This will help with swelling and pain. 
  • Keep your kiddo awake after the fall.  Make sure that they stay awake for an hour or two after they fall to make sure they don’t have a concussion.  If they do fall asleep, try and wake them up.  If they are lethargic or don’t wake up, head to the ER immediately. 
  • Have them eat or drink something.  If they are able to keep food or drink down for an hour after the injury, that is a good sign they are doing ok. 
  • Talk to them.  If they are able to talk normally, that is a good sign!  If they have slurred speech or don’t make sense, you might want to have them checked out. 
  • Check their eyes.  Make sure they are able to follow your finger or a small light when you move it from side to side. 
  • Have them walk.  Check to see that they can walk normally after the fall. 
  • Ask them how their head feels.  If they are dizzy or have a headache that doesn’t go away, call or take them in. 
  • Call your doctor.  If you feel like you need more information, then call your pediatrician and ask their opinion. 
  • Head to the ER.  If you feel for any reason that your child needs immediate attention, head to the ER.  It’s better to have them checked out by a professional then to worry if they are ok.  Trust me, I know! 

Like I said, we were unsure if we needed to take Avery to the emergency room after he hit his head.  He had a bump on his head but was walking and talking normally.  It was around bedtime that he fell so he was slightly lethargic to begin with.  But then he started throwing up.  He threw up twice and I knew something wasn’t right.  I called his doctor who told me that if he continued to vomit, to bring him to the ER.  He did, so we packed up both kids and headed in. 

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They ER staff was super friendly and took his injury seriously.  They told us that instead of seeing a nurse practitioner like most patients, we would be seen by the doctor on staff.  That really reassured me and we were taken back pretty quickly.  Even though he was ok, I am glad we took him in and had him checked out. 

I hope that your kiddos never fall hard enough that this is needed information.  But I wanted to provide it just in case.  It’s better to be prepared then not!

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Learning to Blog – Buying a Custom Domain

How to buy your own custom domain with step by step instructions and screenshots to help you out!  Super easy tutorial

Hey yall!  Welcome to the next installment in the Learning to blog series – buying a custom domain!  Dun dun dun!  To a new blogger it sounds complicated and mysterious, but it’s actually super simple and slightly addicting.  Hi, my name is Kelley and I am a domain hoarder!  [Hi Kelley!]  I’m going to show you how to buy your own custom domain for your blog in a few easy steps.  Here we go!

  How to buy your own custom domain with step by step instructions and screenshots to help you out!  Super easy tutorial

1. Pick you name – First things first, make sure you have picked a name for your blog.  [Here are some tips for picking the perfect name!]  That was easy, right?  Onward!

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2. Check availability – You can use any domain registering service you like, but I prefer GoDaddy.  The commercials may not be my style, but I love how easy the site is to navigate.  And their customer service is pretty good too.  Head over to GoDaddy and type in your potential blog name in the box up there and search. 

If your URL is available – great!  Add it to your cart.  If not, try a few different variations.  So if you are trying to register FoodWebsite.com and it says its unavailable, try myfoodwebsite.com or thefoodwebsite.com or even foodwebsiteblog.com.  Get creative with it! 

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3. Buy it – Once you have your custom domain in your cart you will see a screen like the one above.  I want to point out a few things before you actually buy.  Make sure you term is set to 1 year or however long you want.  GoDaddy automatically sets it for 2 years when you add it to your cart.  If you feel comfortable buying for more then one year – go for it!  But I just want to point out that they have it set to 2.  Just be sure to either renew or have your URL set to auto-renew if you only select 1 year but want more!

Also, if you want to make your information private, click the second bubble under “Protect your personal information.”  I have a few domains that are public, and I have a few that are private.  I decided to make my business sites private to ensure that people can’t find my home address through the WhoIs look-up.  WhoIs is a website that pulls public records from domains.  It can have information like your email and home address.  If you want to keep that private, be sure to buy the protection!  Below is an example of my WhoIs report for the Grant life.  And yes, I have the protection. 

whois And the third thing before you finally buy – double check your price.  Make sure everything adds up and then head on over to the purchase screen.  You will have to either create a new GoDaddy account or enter your existing customer information.  You can then either pay with a credit card, PayPayl, gift card or even a checking account.  Read and agree to the terms and hit “Place Your Order”

Congrats!  You have officially bought your first custom domain name! 

Next week I’ll show you how to set it up with a Blogger or WordPress blog, so be sure to either join or Facebook group or sign up for email updates below.

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Sharing a Sweet Future

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This post is sponsored by One2One Network and Truvia.  All opinions are my own. 

I’m an unsweet tea drinker.  I know, I know.  I live in Texas and prefer unsweet tea to sweet.  Some people call me crazy.  [ahem, Bobbie.]  But some people agree with me on the unsweet tea front.  [Those are my people!  Heyyyy.]  

But I have a little secret.  I wasn’t always a fan of unsweet tea.  I use to put a packet or two of the pink stuff in it to sweetened it up.

And then I learned that the little pink packet has a secret – its pretty bad for you!  Its full of all kinds artificial ingredients that are harmful.  No thanks!

So I went back to drinking plain unsweet tea.  I’ve grown to like it, but do miss my faux-sweet tea. 

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Then I found an alternative – Truvia!  And I know what you’re thinking – but I had started using Truvia before I was approached to write about them.  [For reals for reals.]  My mom introduced it to me and gave me a box.  Then I started reading up on them and did a happy dance. 

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Truvia strives not only for healthy growing practices, they also focus on the surrounding communities.  Truvia is grown in Bolivia and they have fed over 49,000 school children and donated nearly $1 million!  They truly care about their workers [they are part of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange], their communities and the environment.  The video below shares:

 – Nearly 40 percent of the Bolivian population unable to afford adequate food for a healthy life.
 – 65 percent of all rural households in Bolivia are unable to afford the minimum recommended caloric intake.

Check out more videos here and consider sharing one of them! 

One other cool thing? Truvia® wants YOU to pick what organization they partner with in 2015!  Visit truvia.com/vote to vote for one of these organizations:

  • Feeding America
  • Edible Schoolyard
  • Action for Healthy Kids
  • United Nations
  • World Food Programme
  • Feed The Children

So this unsweet tea drinker has more then one reason to celebrate.  I am excited to share Truvia with YOU and hope that my little blog will some how help!

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The Food We Eat

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Have you ever stopped to think about the food we eat?  Like where it comes from, what its made of and how’s it handled?  Honestly, I never gave any thought to any of it either. I just assumed that the meat and produce I ate were nutritious and healthy. I thought that government agencies protected the public from harmful foods. I thought the label “organic” was just an excuse to make more money.  Everything I thought.. was wrong. 
 
I’m not here to scare you or make you stop eating certain foods, I’m here to shed some light on the other side of the story. The side that has genetically modified plants and animals. The side that shows how corrupt the very agencies are that were created to protect us. And the side that makes buying food so difficult. 
 
I had heard and seen mention of GMOs (generically modified organisms) in my news feed, on blogs and sometimes I’m the media.  I shrugged it all off. Those people were wack-a-doodles. I let it go and continued to buy the same junk week after week. 
 
 
Then my friend suggested I watch a documentary called Food, inc in Netflix. I sat down one afternoon and watched the 75 minute film at my parents house. The kids were asleep on me after a busy day. I had one in each arm. It was turning out to be a pretty decent afternoon. And as I started to watch the film, I could feel my stomach turn, my mouth go up in horror and then the tears started to flow. 
 
I cried through a majority of the documentary. I cried because off the cruelty to animals, I cried because of the blatant disregard for the general public, I cried for the innocent farmers and I cried for these two little people sleeping in my arms. 
 
 
What have I been feeding the most important people in my life?  I couldn’t answer that.  
 
Again, not trying to scare anyone. I want to share why I bawled like a baby during this movie. Here is what shocked me the most to find out..
 
  • Our food industry is essentially controlled by a few big producers – one of the biggest buyers being McDonald’s. 
  • If McDonald’s wants there beef a certain way (think bigger, cheaper, faster) then most of the producers follow suit. For everything. 
  • These food giants control their farmers with massive amounts of regulations that put them in debt.  [Average farmer makes 18k and has 500k in debt!]
  • Monsanto has genetically altered the soy bean and has a patent on it!  It forces farmers to use their seeds or face being sued.
  • Monsanto makes it money by suing farmers.
  • Monsanto owns Roundup and modified their crops to resist the pesticide. 
  • Prior to being in the agriculture business, Monsanto was in the chemical industry.  They were a major producing of Agent Orange and DDT.
  • Farmers are paid to overproduce corn because its cheap and can be processed into a ton of different foods.
  • Most process foods contain some form of corn.  High fructose corn syrup is one.
  • There is an illusion of choice in the grocery store, but only a handful of companies control the market.  [See graphic below.]
  • Animals are pumped full of growth hormones and fed corn diets so they grow bigger, faster. 
  • A chicken grows to full maturity in 47 days, almost half the time it took 60 years ago. [See image above.]
  • The chicken is modified to have bigger breasts, since that is what people like to eat. 
  • The chickens bones don’t keep up with the rest of its body and most of them can’t walk more then a few steps with collapsing. 
  • The workers in meat packing plants are normally illegal immigrants, doing one of the hardest jobs, at the lowest pay.
  • The workers become sick from handling so many animals in a short amount of time.
  • The people in office that regulate these types of things were once employees of Monsanto.  [Google Clarence Thomas, for one example.]
  • There is litigation to stop people from bashing or even talking negatively about the food industry.  [Oprah was sued for it!]
  • The USDA no longer has the power to shut down facilities that repeatedly fail microbe testing.  [Ie, e.coli, salmonella, etc.]
 
 
Is that not mind blowing?!  I knew some of the information, but not all of it.  There is so so much more too.  Its scary.  Its heartbreaking.  And it has made me question our food more then ever.  I didn’t know what to eat after I watched the film.  I didn’t know what to feed my kids.  My thought process on food has completely changed. 
 
I went on a documentary and research binge.  I watched 3 other films and searched the internet.  [Ok, I searched Pinterest.]  And honestly, I still don’t know what to do.  I can’t look at meat or produce the same way again.  I know that much.  I know that I need to buy organic and local.  I know this.  But where do I start? 
 
 
 
In the film they said that we vote what we get to eat at least 3 times a day.  Every time we eat we are saying “This is what I want!”  If we can eat more organic produce then thats a good start.  If we can avoid the big companies, then thats a start.  We can avoid companies affiliated with Monsanto, then that’s a start.  If we buy less processed foods, then that’s a start.  And a good start!  We get to decide what we eat.
 
And if you are going to start eating organic, then maybe start with the dirty dozen.  The dirty dozen is the produce that has the most pesticides and chemicals.  I know organic is expensive.  But if we are able to buy at least a few things that are not covered in chemicals, its a start. 
 
source: unknown
 
Its going to be hard to change.  I’m not sure how it will go for our family.  But I know we can’t go back to the way we were eating.  And we aren’t going cold turkey.  I’m not throwing away everything in our fridge or pantry and starting over.  I am making more conscience decisions when it comes to our food and hopefully soon, moving away completely from anything processed.  I know I will keep you updated and share new information as it comes available.  Not to scare, but to make sure everyone has the best information possible on the food we eat. 
 

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Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

You may have noticed that I have been sharing more recipes around here lately.  There are a few reasons for that, number one being that I love food.  Also, as much as I love to craft – I’m not the best at it.  And photographing it – forget about!  Food and I get along.  I can make it, photograph it and eat it all in one day.  Heck, all in one hour if my kids cooperate.  I consider food to be my craft.  I’m not perfect [far from it] but its something that I love to learn about and experiment with.  Plus, I love knowing exactly what I am putting in my family and my bodies.  No hidden junk.  Just easy homemade recipes with simple ingredients.  [Bam!  That may be my new tagline yall!] 

I asked on my Facebook page what are your go to kitchen appliances or tools.  The answers were awesome!  I added them to the must have kitchen gadget list and added a few of my own.  If food is your craft too, you’re going to need a good set of tools!  [Ps.. some links are affiliate links which means if you purchase anything I will get a small portion back.  Things like this help me maintain this blog!] 

Must have kitchen gadgets

Kitchen Aid Mixer // This was my Christmas present from my hubby this year.  It has been ahhh-mazing!  I have used it to make homemade french bread, chocolate cherry trifle and even my homemade laundry soap.  Yup.  You read that right.  I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer for laundry soap.  Seriously, if had the right attachment it might even do my laundry. 

Silicone Spatulas // I’m just going to say that I’m a spatula snob.  I have maybe half a dozen and I only use 2.  They just have to feel right in your hand. 

Keurig Coffee Maker // I personally do not own a Keurig but my parents do.  And as much as I try not to like it, I really love it.  And not so much for the coffee, but for the iced tea.  [Whaaa?]  Yup!  You can make iced tea in less then 2 minutes with a Keurig.  Sweet tea, peach tea, unsweet tea.  All kinds of cool teas! 

Dutch Oven // This was another Christmas present this year and I’m in love.  When you can take a recipe from the stove top and pop it in the oven in one dish, its called love.  I just made the most amazing roast that I can’t wait to share with yall!  [No, I’m not tooting my own horn, its that good yall!]

Crockpot // My trusty kitchen stead!  We actually have 2 crockpots in our kitchen because we received them both as wedding gifts.  Its another one pot wonder.  Drop in frozen meat, veggies and a little liquid and you can cook a meal.  I’ve used mine for the crockpot chicken tacoscrockpot mashed potatoes and a few others.

Mason Jars // I love a good mason jar.  It can be used to preserve, store, drink, eat, and decorate with.  Plus, they are oh so pretty! 

Food Processor // I just recently acquired a food processor [see: I borrowed my moms] and its so much fun!  I made the roasted red pepper and artichoke hummus with it a few weeks ago and I have more recipes up my sleeve. 

Silicone Baking Sheets // Oh my gosh.  These are the absolute BEST invention!  I have used them every single time I have made cookies and they rock my world.  No spraying, flouring or greasing your cookie sheet.  Add a silicone baking sheet and you are good to go.  Seriously.  If you are looking for a good kitchen gadget on the cheap – this is it yall!  [Ps.. mine made an appearance in my gingerbread blossom post!]

Pizza Stone // This one is on my to-buy list.  [That should be my to-buy ASAP list, but you get the point.]  I love making pizza and I am eager to try homemade pizza dough, sauce and everything else. 

Well, these are a few of my picks and a few of your picks!  If you could add anything to this list – what would it be?

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What I’m Loving No. 2

what Im loving two

Hey yall!  Welcome to my second “What I’m Loving” post!  Everyone was so nice about the first one.. so I think its here to stay!  The collage that I share are pictures that I take during the week but done post anywhere.  So I decided to make a collage and save them for these posts.  Plus, some of them are too funny not to share. 

what Im loving two

 

That we still cosleep and my little monsters are mini furnaces. [I love it on these cold nights we have been having!]
That I finally got to use my new silicone baking sheets.
That our tree is up and full of ornaments that the kids put on.
That Ryley loves rearranging the ornaments every day.
That Ryley thinks Santa is coming in “ten minutes”.
That I am thisclose to being done with Christmas shopping.
And Im also thisclose to finish the kids Christmas stockings.  That we started making last year.  [Ooops.]
That Avery loves to give kisses.  All the time.  Especially after he gets in trouble.
That the kids truly love the Otter way goodies we were sent.  [See more here.]
That Im actually starting to like Google+ over Facebook.  [Weird, I know!] 
That I had such sweet comments on my first What I’m Loving post!  Thank yall!  I will keep them coming! 

So, what are yall loving this week?