An October Unprocessed Menu

This month I’m participating in an unprocessed challenge hosted by Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules.

The October Unprocessed Challenge

The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to avoid processed foods. You can read the October Unprocessed Rules over on Eating Rules. Andrew defined unprocessed food as “any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.” You can check out a list of potential ingredients and discussion on Andrew’s site as well.

Right now the plan is to try one week pretending we’re part of the Ingalls family, eating only what we can buy at the market and grow ourselves and a few “corner store” items. Making butter won’t be difficult, and I am personally looking forward to breakfast-for-dinner fried eggs.

The rest of the month we’ll focus on not buying convenience items, but we will utilize a few items that we don’t have the resources to make at home, oil being the most common and cheese following soon thereafter. (I do plan on attempting a few homemade cheeses, though.)

I hope you’ll consider joining us on this challenge. Feel free to jump in whenever is good for you and your family, and at least consider joining the challenge for a week or so to get a feel of how your diet would change when relying more heavily on whole foods and less on prepackaged, manufactured and convenience items.

Monday – Brick-Grilled Chicken with farmers market chicken, homegrown onions, herbs and homemade butter

Tuesday – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with homemade ketchup and butternut squash mash.

Wednesday – Tomato Basil Soup with Homemade Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from a homemade starter

Thursday – Butternut Squash Risotto with farmers market squash, brown Arborio rice and homemade chicken stock

Friday – Eggs fried in homemade butter, toast with homemade jam, fresh fruit and homemade sausage using maple syrup in place of brown sugar

The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. My favorite way to start off the week is roasting a whole chicken to make stock and have leftover meat for the upcoming week. After the carcass is picked clean, turn it into stock that will be used for both the risotto later in the week.
2. Make your bread dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, taking it out to proof the day you’re baking it.
3. Leftover bread can be sliced and refrigerated to toast for dinner later in the week. Because we’re toasting it, keeping it fresh in a sealed container in the refrigerator will suffice.
4. Use half the butternut squash for risotto and half for the shepherd’s pie. Just cut it all at once and store the rest in an airtight container.

The Farmers Market and Grocery Shopping List:

1 whole roaster chicken
1 pound pork butt
1/4 pound fat back
1 bunch green onions
3 tomatoes
2 ears sweet corn
1 large butternut squash
1 cup fresh basil leaves
chives, sage, rosemary, thyme
8 ounces Parmesan cheese
heavy cream and milk

Pantry Items:
olive oil
white wine
chicken broth (homemade)
apple cider vinegar
maple syrup
arborio rice
green lentils
canned crushed tomatoes
fresh grated nutmeg
cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper

Last week from Food for My Family:

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake with Pecan Crumble
Is Your Child Eating Their School Lunch? on Lifetime Moms
Healthy Meals Lead to Healthy Kids on Enough Time Moms
Madeleine Jam Bars on Family Kitchen

For more menu plans check out


  1. Oh, I’m tired all ready. I’ll be watching you, though. 😉

  2. What a wonderful start to Unprocessed October. Great ideas, Shaina!

  3. Wow, Shaina, I am impressed. I’ve read about making my own butter, but haven’t tried it yet. I don’t know if I am ready to do this for October, but as I gain skill making more things homemade, I may consider such a challenge!

    • Don’t let that stop you! Making our own butter is just part of what we’re challenging ourselves to do. If you look at Andrew’s list of food items, you’ll see wine, beer, oil and butter are all on the unprocessed list because you *could* make them at home if you wanted to. We’re mainly looking at avoiding things like packaged dinners, fruit snacks, etc. 🙂

  4. Love this idea. I was on the road for a month and out of sorts with my usual routines. Made me coming back to LA realize how spoiled I am with the access to farmers markets and fresh, local foods.

  5. A great menu to kick off Unprocessed October! Everything sounds delicious; I don’t think I would miss the processed food at all. 🙂

  6. I love this, but baby steps… I’m going to try to follow along (somewhat). Some weeks, I’m still at the stage where I’m just trying not to buy frozen chicken nuggets. Making my own butter might be out of the question.

  7. I love this! I try to eat pretty clean but this would be a great motivator to challenge myself to really go back to basics.

  8. I love this idea of cooking with only readily available whole foods – nice menu for the week!

  9. What I neat idea!!! I LOVE it! Can’t wait to see what’s in store!

  10. I’m coming over to eat on Friday… breakfast for dinner is always one of my faves. With homemade butter, no less!

  11. it will sure be a month of wonderful food!

  12. I signed up for two weeks although I won’t be making my own butter. I plan to make bread next weekend.

  13. great idea!!

  14. It really is a great idea. Although I’d be scared to see just how much I rely on certain goods. I try to live clean but I know that I have a long way to go. Good on you and your family!

  15. I don’t know if it’s because it’s already 8:30pm or what but reading this post makes me tired. Just thinking about your cooking and shopping schedule for an entire week is exhausting. Of course the way I cook and shop is crazy – one day at a time. I never shop too far in advance because everyone always changes their mind or their mood for what they feel like. It would be nice to do a week at a time.

    Kudos to you!

  16. Nice to see another whole foods post over at orgjunkie!

    I made homemade butter accidentally one night when I wasn’t paying attention to the mixer. Prep short cuts are the key aren’t they?

  17. Love your suggestions! I make it a commitment to have unprocessed every day! I found that buying processed food is not always a shortcut; I can go week after week making home cooked meals and have a day job and keep up my food blog while keeping the house clean. I love it! Thanks for the inspiration!


  1. […] Eating Rules and pledge to eat unprocessed even for a weekend! :: 10 Unprocessed School Lunches :: An Unprocessed Menu :: Going Unprocessed with Kids :: Homemade Fritos :: Salad Dressing Formula […]

Speak Your Mind