October Unprocessed: A Challenge and a Menu

An October Unprocessed challenge begins with an unprocessed menu for the week and a few helpful tips about removing processed food from your menu.

We are again participating in October Unprocessed hosted by Andrew of Eating Rules this year. The premise is simple: Avoid processed food for a month.

What this means for you may be slightly different than what it means for my family. For us, we strive to cut out the convenience items since we tend to cook from scratch most of the time. Convenience items for us would include items such as rice crackers and pasta. You might focus on just making your dinners unprocessed, or you might take the challenge for just a week rather than the full month. Whatever you decide, take the pledge and join October Unprocessed.

This year my family is focusing on making some of those staple items from scratch. We started this weekend with a pasta-making party. I’ll be chronicling our journey, and I have a few fun kitchen gadgets and challenges lined up this month as well that I’m looking forward to sharing. First, though, I’m bringing back the menu. Pretty standard this week. You’ll notice I am a bit obsessed with tomatoes at the moment. That’s because I know it won’t be long before they’re gone.

One of the things we strive for when planning our menus is making everything fit together into one nice, neat little package. We look to use ingredients in different ways throughout the week so that we’re benefiting from the ability of do-aheads and being able to buy in bulk. We also benefit from a well-stocked pantry.

Monday – Homemade Rice Pasta with Meat Sauce and Salads

Tuesday – Mediterranean Bean Salad with Homemade Naan

Wednesday – Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday – Roasted Potato and Kale Frittata (I’m using kale from the garden in place of the spinach.)

Friday – Naan Pizzas

The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. I started by making a huge amount of naan and a bucket of the Wheat Sandwich bread from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day using all white whole wheat flour instead of a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose. The bread just needs to be mixed before the rise, and then it sits in the refrigerator until it’s time to rise and bake.
2. Cooking down a giant pot of tomatoes, I ended up with plenty of sauce for both the soup and the meat sauce, as well as some to be reserved for the pizzas.
3. Extra potatoes and kale can be saved to the pizza toppings, as well as some extra sweet peppers from the bean salad.

I’ll be posting over on Eating Rules this month. Watch for my post there or over here. We’ll also be exploring how to make basil-infused pasta from scratch (and giving away a Blendtec with a Twister Jar!!), homemade pasta sauces, baking your very own sandwich bread, creating your own personal care items from scratch, budget shopping at Whole Foods, and more.

**Pumpkin Pie Smoothies (pictured above) are available over on Food Your Way starting at 6:30 p.m. (a painfully long time to wait, I know) and are unprocessed, unless you count whirling in the blender processing.


  1. I am also doing the unprocessed challenge so I cant wait to see all your post! the naan pizza sounds great!

  2. Delicious times ahead at your house!!

  3. I love this idea. We have sort of been on that kick for a while now. So cool that there is a challenge for it!

  4. *High five* for October Unprocessed with kids, work, and everything else that gets in the way. Hopefully we can encourage each other along the way.

  5. you are amazing. I mean, you kind of blow my mind. doing all the things.


  6. I’m loving this unprocessed challenge… and your recipes sound fantastic!

  7. I can’t wait to see what all you share with us!

  8. I think this kind of challenge is a great way to break out of bad eating habits. I know that to form a new habit 30 days is a good benchmark for starting the process.

  9. Ooo, this IS a challenge with all the Halloween goodies going around. But a great idea!

  10. Sigh. Tomatoes are already gone here, so I’m obsessing over your menu because I wish I could have your homemade soup and grilled cheese!

  11. Most of my meals are from scratch too, but I definitely keep a lot of crackers and chips on hand for snacks. Love the idea of trying to revamp those too!

  12. I’m like Kiersten – cook from scratch for the most part but I don’t make our own pasta or crackers. Can’t wait to see your basil infused pasta!

  13. I can’t wait to follow your unprocessed journey, Shaina. And those pumpkin spice smoothies looks incredible!

  14. I LOVE this idea! I know it be basically impossible for me and my preservative-addcited-self to do, but maybe starting small, with a few days a few week and then going from there…
    I really love this!

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