Not From Concentrate

orange juice

As I was juicing an orange for Lucy this morning, I thought of all the things we make from scratch now that we previously bought. Some things are by choice and some aren’t.

We make orange juice because I can’t stand giving my kid something that has 25 grams of sugar per serving. We always give her half juice and half water and she only gets it once a day [I know, I feel like a mean ‘ole mom]. But I can juice one orange and have enough to make a Lucy-sized serving. And it only takes a minute for a glass with two ingredients and 10 grams of natural, your-body-totally-knows-how-to-digest-this sugar.

There are other things like meals from scratch and mending clothes that give me the same kind of gleeful, sheepish feeling. For two reasons: one I feel a little embarrassed about how much I enjoy homesteading and two I wouldn’t want someone else to look at me and think, “Oh my gosh, I give my kid orange juice from a can – I’m a bad mom.”

I read an article a few months ago about how this woman began learning to sew, but the unintended consequence was that she became a much more scrupulous and savvy shopper. She began to notice the value of finer fabrics and better seams. And that, in turn, made her stop spending so much on the latest trends and more on classic pieces for her wardrobe. She talked about returning to a time when we took pride in making our own clothes – in being in control of what we wear. Naturally, for me, I related it to food and being in control of what we put in our bellies.

It made sense to me. The more we educate ourselves, even the more we pin [though it gets a bad rap sometimes] the more we realize all of the cool or inspirational things others are doing. Our “I’d never want or be able to do that” thoughts are changed. We’re empowering ourselves. We’re taking control of our homes [and our pantries]. So I shouldn’t be ashamed. Our time is finite, so we will constantly be choosing how we spend it – but that choice isn’t a chore, it’s a gift.

We can’t not share what we’re doing with our families out of fear that others will think it’s crazy, or it’s not enough. We can’t not share for fear that opening ourselves up to honest and real relationships also opens ourselves up to judgement. I feel it. It’s scary. Even this space is scary. Opening up. Sharing what happens behind the blue door. And then in those moments of fear, there are days when two friends write to tell you they liked a recipe or something you wrote. It’s no coincidence; it’s mercy.

With that said, here’s my lately:

I’m trying to make sure I eat veggies for lunch and dinner. Dinner seems easy, but lunch can be hard. By the time I’m finally sitting down to eat all I want is something fast, ready, and pre-made. To help me out I’ve started doing a few things. First, I’ve been prepping some of my veggies early. I’ve been chopping up a whole head of broccoli and keeping it in the fridge. I’ve been buying some carrots pre-shredded. It’s little things but it’s making the lunch prep go faster and I’m more likely to spring for the salad instead of the chips. I also invested in this little gem.

steamed lunch

I put my fresh broccoli in with some frozen corn, add a little water and salt, and put it in the microwave for about two minutes. When it’s finished I drain the water and the veggies are delicious. Seriously. I’m not just saying that.

And my absolute favorite thing as of late? Adding citrus peels to vinegar to create the most amazing cleaner. Ever.

vinegar cleaner

After we’re done juicing them I stick them in a mason jar and fill it up with vinegar. I let it steep until I need it [very scientific] and then pour it through a sieve into a spray bottle. I fill the spray bottle up to the top with hot water. This stuff is amazing. Seriously. It passed my “doesn’t leave streaks on the stainless steel trash can” test and my “cleans dried food gunk off the kitchen floor” test. Mother nature wins again.

Anyone else have a tip they’d like to share? A pin that has blown your mind? Indulge me.


2 thoughts on “Not From Concentrate

  1. Allergic2Air says:

    LOVE the idea about the citrus peels and vinegar! I’ve been making my own salad dressing lately, so I go through more lemons and limes. We should totally get on that juice bandwagon, too. And not to mention that some orange juices that have added things in them, like Omega 3’s and cholesterol lowering agents, have things like PEANUT OIL for the love of Pete! 10 kinds of cray-cray.

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