Welcome to my “Taking Control of My Kitchen” Challenge!

I had an epiphany the other day. I had bought one of those jumbo-sized ketchup bottles from the grocery store, and it was time to use it for a recipe. Although I am a stickler for reading labels and ingredients (ask any of my friends how annoying this is), I have a “get out of jail free” pass for some of my life’s staples–the kind of things that I know are not good for me, but I figure there’s nothing else to use as an alternative. So, although I had read the label for this ketchup many times before, it wasn’t until the other day that I read it and I felt nervous. I use a LOT of ketchup. I use it on my burgers, I use it in recipes, I love it. But ketchup has a lot of crap in it. It has high fructose corn syrup and preservatives that make it able to stay on the shelf for months at a time. These are ingredients that I’m putting into my body and making it a less refined machine. I then realized that even if I’m hyper aware of all the other aspects of my diet, but still let some foods go, I’m not doing my health any favors. I am always so insistent on making my meals from scratch and from fresh, organic, local ingredients–shouldn’t I be the same way with something as simple as condiments?

I made my announcement to Craig later that day: we had bought our last bottles of ketchup, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, and salad dressings. We were going to start making all of our condiments from scratch. I told him that I wanted more control of what we put into our food, and also in our bodies–and he was totally on board.

I already make our own Caesar dressing from scratch with a favorite recipe, but the other things that are going to come up will take research, practice, and patience. I am most nervous about finding a solid, delicious ranch dressing recipe (my most beloved condiment of all). Of course, Sriracha is the only condiment that can be bought (until I magically find a way to make it myself, although that is doubtful).

Today was my chance to either start my new habit or commit to another bottle of pre-packaged crap–we were out of mayonnaise, and y’all, I love me some sammiches.

Depending on what brand you buy, mayo doesn’t contain the most awful ingredients you can find. I’ve always wondered how a product containing eggs can withstand such a long shelf life, but nonetheless, I’ve trusted it for years. Although my regular brand of mayonnaise doesn’t contain a lot of icky preservatives, look at what a jug of Hellman’s Real Mayo will contain (information courtesy http://www.labelwatch.com):

INGREDIENTS: IsomaltMaltitol, Roasted Peanuts, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Vegetable Oil (Palm Kernel Oil and Hydrogenated Palm Oil), Polyglycitol SyrupSodium Caseinate, and Less Than 2% of Milkfat, Peanut Oil, Soy Lecithin, Egg Whites, Dl-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate  (to Preserve Freshness), Glycerin,PolydextroseMono And Diglycerides, Salt, Butter, Corn Syrup Solids (Adds Trivial Amount of Sugar), Modified Food StarchGuar Gum,Artificial Flavor and Natural Flavors, TBHQ and Citric Acid  (to Preserve Freshness), Sucralose  (a non-nutritive sweetener), Caramel Color.
 
Ummm…yikes. That is a LOT of stuff. Chocolate??
 
Anyway, I decided that making mayo was the right choice for Craig and me, and any of our guests we serve it to. I found the recipe from GlutenGirl.Com, and it was AMAZING. To follow my lead and change your condiment life, here is how I made this mayonnaise (gluten & preservative free!).
 
  • 2 large eggs (we get fresh farm eggs from one of Craig’s co-workers…I highly recommend using only fresh, local eggs. Your life will be changed!)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used Koops Stone Ground…I didn’t make it myself, but it is gluten free!)
  • 2 cups neutral flavored oil (I used canola)
  • 1/2 lemon, for the juice
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper to taste
 
This recipe is so easy it hurts. First, combine the eggs, the egg yolks, and the mustard in a food processor until it’s pretty creamy. Then slowly, slowly, SLOWLY add the oil to the food processor–if you add it too fast, the oil will not settle and you will have separated mayo… gross. When it’s thick and creamy, add the lemon juice and process it all together again. Lastly, add the salt and pepper to your own personal taste…I didn’t measure it, but I probably used about 2 tbsp of salt and 1/2 tbsp of pepper. Process it all again aaaaand there you go.
 
The only downside to making mayo this way is that it only lasts a week. But! It is so much cheaper than buying it, and you’ll feel so much better about making it yourself. Also, y’all…it tastes AWESOME. Like, truly amazing. I yelled “Hell yeah!” when I tried it. I couldn’t believe it was so damn simple to make mayonnaise.
 
Please join me as I challenge myself to take control of my kitchen–share your stories with me on what you’re doing to make your home delicious and healthy! 

2 thoughts on “Welcome to my “Taking Control of My Kitchen” Challenge!

  1. Pingback: Taking Control of My Kitchen Challenge #2: Worcestershire Edition! |

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