In March I was inspired by my sponsors at Finish Power and Free Alliance of Moms to “clean it forward” by making 3 goals to grow a healthier me through clean living. I am now a few months into my goals and wanted to share my progress and what I have learned thus far.
Goal: Plant a garden
As of this morning, we have all of our seeds and plants planted in our garden in hopes of some delicious garden veggies this summer. It has been a lot of work taking a piece of un-worked land and weeding, turning and fertilizing it to turn it into a garden. It has been a lot of fun though, and I have enjoyed doing this project with my kids. It has been great to teach them about seeds, soil and compost as well as getting a little (OK… A lot) dirty!
We planted some tomatoes, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, watermelon, zucchini, pumpkins, and butternut squash. We also have these cute little pumpkins growing in our garden which we didn’t plant, but where a nice little gift from the pumpkins that we threw into our compost pile last fall!
I am excited for all of our little plants to grow and produce veggies, but I am especially looking forward to some home-grown butternut squash to purée, freeze and turn into delicious clean eating “Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash Purée“.
Goal: Clean Eating
I made a goal to start cutting out processed foods by making more foods from scratch rather then buying them pre-packaged.
One of my clean eating successes, is a recipe that I created for homemade Mac & Cheese with butternut squash purée. It has a delicious rich and creamy sauce that the kids love! It’s totally kid-friendly and they have no clue about the hidden veggies! I also feel so good about feeding them a family favorite that is prepared from scratch rather then a box full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
- 1 lb whole wheat macaroni
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups puréed butternut squash
- Boil 1 medium sized butternut squash
- When squash is cooked and cooled remove from skin and blend into a purée
- Whisk 1 cup milk and flour until smooth
- Heat milk and flour mixture on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat at the very first signs of boiling
- Mix in shredded cheese until fully melted, then add in Parmesan cheese.
- If sauce is too thick add in remaining 1/4 cup of milk gradually over low heat until you reach the desired consistency
- Add 1 1/2 cups of butternut squash purée to cheese sauce while stirring constantly over low heat.
- Add to macaroni noodles, cooked according to package.
- Enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your kids are enjoying a yummy and healthy meal!
A great product to use to make your squash purée is the Baby bullet made by the makers of the Magic Bullet. This is a fantastic little blender to use for this job because it is especially designed to make very smooth purées. This makes it a useful tool for new moms who are making homemade puréed baby food.
The nice thing is that it comes with a set of baby food storage BPA free plastic jars to store all of your pre-made baby meals. Also, because the baby bullet is smaller then a large blender or food processor it makes clean-up of a small batch or butternut squash purée very easy!
Which brings me to my last clean-living goal…
Goal: Reduce Chemicals in my home
I have been using the new Finish Power & Free for over a month and I am in love! This line of dishwasher capsules and Jet Dry formula uses the natural cleaning power of hydrogen peroxide to leave dishes sparkling clean, while using less harsh chemicals. Because I am using less harsh chemicals I feel confident about using them to clean baby and toddler products such as my baby bullet and my toddler’s NUK toys, spoons and cups.
I don’t think that I really noticed how much I appreciated this until I recently ran out of my Finish Power & Free capsules and used another brand that I had in my cupboard. After running a load of dishes using the other brand, I could see that my dishes where not as sparkly clean as I had been accustomed to with my Finish Power & Free Capsules. I also noticed that I didn’t have the same confidence in my dishes that I usually do, knowing that they have been cleaned with a less harsh chemical. That being said, I stocked up on Finish Power & Free on my next shopping trip. To learn more about Finish Power & Free be sure to check out their website to learn tons of info as well as request a free sample.
I feel like I have made good progress on my clean living goals, but still have a long ways to go! We need to continue to nurture our garden so that it grows some of the veggies we have been anticipating. I still have a lot of work to do in the kitchen to cut out processed foods (I have 3 failed attempts at homemade tortillas, but I’m not giving up) and I want to find ways to use less harsh chemicals in other places in my home. I will continue to keep you updated on my progress as I “clean it forward” to grow a healthier me!
how is this clean eating when it has all purpose flour?
HI Janice, I think Leanne just means it’s a cleaner way of eating, with the good ol’ veggie sneak. 😉
hi Janice! Thanks so much for the question! The only all purpose flour which was used in the cheese sauce can be substituted for whole wheat flour. I have tried it this way, and it works perfectly well, but has a slightly different texture to it that might not be as “kid friendly” but tastes fine. The noodles that I used where also whole wheat, my kids don’t seem to notice a difference there. Sorry, I should have mentioned that in the post, but hope that clears it up for you! I would love to hear how you/ your kids think with the flour substitution!