real food

“Real” Junk Food

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 4 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative

Over the past few years I have jumped on the “real food” bandwagon. I TRY to eat and feed my family foods that come from nature. I say “TRY” because sometimes in this busy world you need a pre-made ingredient to keep your sanity; sometimes in this American society those M&Ms beckon you and you give in; sometimes in a happy marriage you choose your battles and don’t say anything when the other one offers to do the grocery shopping and comes home with items that aren’t ideal.  I think the key to any lifestyle choice is to be flexible and do the best you can.

What do I worry about the most with this? Making my kid the “weird” kid at lunch time. You might have known someone like him. He’s the one with strawberries or homemade yogurt and granola instead of bright blue Go-gurt and fruit snacks. It was made clear to me that even at two-years-old, my child may the exception at daycare when for Christmas his teachers gifted this book to me. Actually, I was kind of excited when I opened it.

So over the past few months I have tried some recipes from the book. It has required some exploration into the world of non-traditional flours: spelt, millet, teff…yeah. I didn’t want to buy a whole package of _____ only to use 1/2 cup once and never again. So the bonus to this real junk food experiment was also learning new ways to bake. So how did it all turn out?

1. “Oreos”

Tastes like the original? After the cookies sit for a few days and get crunchy …pretty darn close to the original. Bonus: You can put in as much or as little filling as you want.

I won’t share the recipe I used…you’ll have to buy the book…but here is another version that may suit your needs if you want to try something like this for yourself.

photo cookies

2. “Pop Tarts”

I opted to not ice these so I could taste the basic recipe.  These were not at all like the original because they had so much more flavor. They really were like mini-pies. They were much more involved than pies, too.  Here is a quick version for you.

baking 3

baking 23. “Twinkies”

Had I not over-baked them, the cake would have been spot on. Had I actually managed to fill the cakes with the cream the right way, this would have been very close to the original. Instead these turned out to be dense, dry yellow cake loaves. It may worth another try.


Next up will probably be graham and goldfish crackers. But those seem a little daunting. It’s hard to imagine actually making crackers. We’ll see.

As for all that new flour I purchased… I am following the guidelines on the packages to substitute some of the new for when I would normally use whole wheat flour. I have made pancakes with a mix of whole wheat flour and spelt, which makes for much lighter pancakes. I tried millet in place of flour for my breakfast fruit bar recipe only to find that they didn’t hold together as well. That’s not surprising as further reading says millet may be better for fluffy things, like cake.  There are still half-full packages of these new flours that have yet to be consumed, but I am no longer afraid of them. I see more experimentation in my future.

P.S.  While there is so much out there about “real food”, here is one quick reference to look at just to give you an idea of what it is all about.