Three Plates Transformed: Granola, Macaroni and Cheese, and Butter

Welcome to another installment of Three Plates Transformed.  This time around we’ll take a look at granola, macaroni and cheese, and butter – all of which you’ve probably had (or currently have) in your pantry and fridge right now.  We used to, too.

On a side note, you’ll soon notice that while I strive to provide you with original recipes whenever possible, I will also post recipes that I’ve found on other blogs – whether modified a little by me or not.  Sometimes I will modify recipes by replacing artificial ingredients with real, but will still give credit where credit is due.

Just consider me your recipe tester.


Granola is like coffee.  It can be made and consumed so many different ways.  You either love it or hate it.  There’s really no middle ground.

Prior to our real food lifestyle, it wouldn’t be uncommon for me or my husband to pack a granola bar of any variety in our work bags either for breakfast or a mid-day snack.

Mainstream chewy granola bars contain 35+ ingredients.  While some of those ingredients are wholesome, many are questionable such as BHT (which is also used in cosmetics, rubber, and embalming liquid) and calcium carbonate (a substance found in rocks, snails, and eggshells).

Store-bought granola bar ingredients.

Store-bought granola bar ingredients.

Homemade granola is probably just as easy to make as coffee.  I fall in the “hate it” category for coffee, so that’s just a guess.  The recipe I use is from 100 Days of Real Food.  It’s one that I found during my family’s real food transition and fell in love with it.  It’s extremely versatile – use whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruits you have in your pantry.

Homemade granola

Homemade granola

The variety we made recently (shown above) is made with rolled oats (best for crumbly granola), almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and jumbo raisins.

You can eat this as bars (use steel cut oats if you go that route), as cereal, or on top of yogurt.

Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, mac n’ cheese.  Where do I even begin with you?

There is a lot of controversy about the little blue boxes of mac ‘n cheese. According to this Huffington Post article from late last year, Kraft announced that they’ll be removing a controversial food dye from a few “kid-friendly” varieties. The traditional elbow-shaped variety will remain unchanged.

However, even with the removal of the yellow food dye, boxed mac ‘n cheese still contains many artificial ingredients including sodium tripolyphosphate (also found in detergents), ferrous sulfate (also used to stain concrete), and calcium phosphate.

Store-bought macaroni and cheese ingredients

Store-bought macaroni and cheese ingredients

The recipe below is not an identical replacement for the popular store-bought variety.  It’s not shiny and yellow, but in the real food world that’s a good thing.  Shelf-stable cheese has become one of my biggest fears in life.

It is however, delicious and satisfying.

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Mac N Cheese Recipe


Mmm…butter.  Everything is better with butter.  Seriously, I can’t think of a single thing that is better without butter.

Eating real doesn’t mean counting calories or fat grams.  It means eating food in its real and natural state – including butter.  Of course, even eating real means enjoying indulgent foods like butter in moderation.

Before my family began eating real we used a well-known vegetable oil spread (15+ ingredients) instead of butter.  I have no idea why.  Well, yes I do.  Because we didn’t know any butter – I mean better.  Now that we’re educated, we use real, full-fat butter with just two ingredients: cream and salt (for the salted variety).  And my goodness, life is so much more delicious now.

Left: salted butter (2 ingredients) Right: vegetable oil spread (15+ ingredients)

Left: salted butter (2 ingredients)
Right: vegetable oil spread (15+ ingredients)

As always, I leave you with this advice: do what you can.  Make a baby step this week that will help to transition you and your family to a real food lifestyle.

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