Okay, so in my last post I said we’d figured out some new guidelines to follow (now that our official real food rules are over), and that we were embracing our new freedom of flexibility. Well, as it turns out, all of that is easier said than done…for me at least. My children seem to have no problem whatsoever scarfing down something that I consider downright nasty (pizza from the school cafeteria anyone?), but my husband and I on the other hand feel that we are just going through the motions of pretending it’s okay to occasionally eat “junk” food when we are out. Now that we know the hidden truth behind all the junk out there it’s just turning out to be harder than expected for us to truly feel carefree about eating something with an unknown origin. So the truth is…
Archives for September 2010
Pumpkins are in season here, but I admit I did not buy a fresh, local one for this recipe. When it comes to convenience it is unfortunately hard to beat a can of organic pumpkin puree. That doesn’t mean pumpkin season can’t put us in the mood for this super-easy quick bread recipe though! My 5-year-old has asked me about 20 times over the last week to make some pumpkin bread so this one is for her…grab some apple cider and enjoy!
I would be lying if I said coming up with a variety of healthy, real food, peanut-free, tree nut-free, portable lunch options wasn’t a challenge. I understand that the school is trying to protect children with severe peanut/tree nut allergies, but I have to admit that I often feel their little rules conflict with what we are trying to do…eat real food that is. On the school’s “safe snack list” which offers hundreds of “approved” options I literally found only 15 items that we would also consider to be “approved” for our kindergartner. They seriously have “Wendy’s Frosties” listed as an approved option so I suppose they would rather me send in one of those or something like a package of goldfish for her snack instead of a little all-natural cashew/dried fruit mix?
Okay, so last week I was struggling with how to move forward after finishing our 100-day pledge. Should I still bring our own food to birthday party and other social outings? Is it okay to just sit down and eat a piece of dark chocolate? What about making cookies for no reason? Should I say yes or no when my kids ask me for something that was previously off limits? I know that anything in moderation is okay, but (to quote my husband) the slippery slope was probably what was scaring me the most. Not to mention we worked incredibly hard to master the art of eating real food and experienced improved palates as a result. On the flip side one of my other concerns was that I would end up spending more time worrying about the food we were eating than actually enjoying it. I definitely don’t want that to happen either, and I certainly don’t want my kids to have a negative association when it comes to food. So when seeking the happy middle where does one end up? I do have to say that all of the comments from blog readers on my “struggle“ post were very helpful in all of this. Thanks to those words of wisdom and some other deep thoughts, here are some very general guidelines to help us move forward:
While this dish is technically “real food” the amount of butter used is what keeps it from showing up on our table on a weekly basis. I personally love baked potatoes, and this variation with the slightly crispy skin on the bottom is just the bomb. And my husband and kids love them, too. You can play around with the toppings by trying grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon (we were out of bacon so pictured is proscuitto), and/or butter. The end result works great as an appetizer, snack, side item, or tailgating dish! Some recipes request that you scoop out most of the cooked potato before pan-frying them, but we do not think that is necessary. In our opinion the more potato there is, the better things are balanced out between the rich toppings and buttery, crispy crust. They turn out best with small to medium sized potatoes (which are currently in season here in N.C.!) although any size will work.
This is a very easy-to-make breakfast recipe that has been passed down from my mom. Preparation hardly takes longer than frying up an egg, and both of my girls absolutely love it! It is definitely up there as one of their most favorite breakfast dishes. So step out of the box and surprise your family with something new this weekend. Just make sure you carefully select your ingredients to ensure you are giving them the healthiest version possible. Pictured are two good brands of matzos I’ve found…and in addition to using them for this recipe, both are great as plain crackers, too. While there are lots of versions of matzos available (which can usually be found in the “international” aisle of the grocery store), you can see that these are both clearly marked as “whole-wheat”. It is always a good idea to double-check the ingredient list as well (this is a 1-ingredient product!) because these same brands also sell refined matzos in similar looking boxes. Another key piece to this recipe is the jelly. I buy an all-fruit type spread that is sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar. So be sure to look for that as well. Pan Fried Matzo Breakfast Course: Breakfast Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Servings  (adjust to suit): 2 Print Ingredients 4 sheets whole-wheat matzos 2 eggs Water ½ tablespoon butter, for cooking jam, or jelly, for serving (grape flavor is good with this dish although any type will work) Instructions Break the matzos up into chunks that are a few inches in size. Put all of them into a shallow dish and cover with water (pictured). Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Drain out the water and crack the two eggs onto the wet matzos. […]
This post was going to be all about how we’ve barely even broken the rules (other than on 2 or 3 occasions) since ending our pledge….and then today my husband went to Subway for lunch. Yep Subway, as in the fast food restaurant that specializes in deli meat from who knows where? I have to admit I cringed when he told me this because I can’t say I was ever a big fan even before our real food pledge. He is out-of-town on business of course, and was both hungry and short on time (what else is new with his biz trips?). I guess since our pledge was over I thought I was off the hook for having to pack him food to bring along, but today I very much regretted that I didn’t do it anyway. While he was off chowing down on a fast-food sandwich I was at home relishing every last bite of a super yummy “roll up”. I have come to be a little bit obsessed with these homemade whole-wheat tortillas and wrapping up everything I can in them (pictured is homemade hummus, cheddar cheese, and some local tomatoes). See the thing is…our real food pledge actually kind of spoiled us. When you eat wholesome, nutritious, flavorful, real food day in and day out you come to love it and want it (and expect it) for just about every meal.
Since the most popular Food Illusion post to date has been “A look inside a whole foods pantry” I thought it would be appropriate to expand things by moving onto our fridge. Before I get started I want to answer one question though…yes, I cleaned out my fridge prior to this little photo shoot. But for those of you who know me (and my type A personality) well, you also know that this is not very far from the truth. And aside from eating healthy foods or not, I am a true believer of everything in one’s fridge (and pantry) having its very own spot. It drives me crazy when we are staying at someone’s house and you have to spend five minutes trying to find that bag of grapes you know you saw earlier. At our house the answer is always the same…it is in the fruit drawer! So let me break down the picture starting at the top…
I had this vision that after completing our 100-day pledge it would be difficult for us to indulge in any former rule-breaking foods. As it turns out…we didn’t have any trouble with it at all! And one of our first meals ended up breaking even more rules than we originally anticipated. Pictured is one of the delicious (if I do say so myself) tacos that we had the other night. My first thought was that we would be breaking the local meat rule with an all-natural ground turkey option from Earth Fare. I personally prefer the flavor of ground turkey over ground beef, and unfortunately I cannot find any local sources for ground turkey around here. As you can see our turkey taco mixture (which included bits of carrot and mushroom) as well as some other goodies (like cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream) were all wrapped up in a nice little crunchy taco shell. I was so focused on finding these shells that are made with masa flour (which is a whole grain corn flour) that it didn’t even occur to me to consider how the taco shells were made. So a few bites into our meal, I couldn’t help but notice the yummy crunchiness and said to my husband…are these deep-fried? The moral of our little dinner story is that if it looks like a chip, tastes like a chip, and crunches like a chip, then it is definitely a deep-fried chip!!
It is apple season here in the Carolinas! Making homemade applesauce is somewhat of a special occasion around here since a healthy store-bought alternative (with no sugar added) can easily be found. I am not saying the store-bought stuff is nearly as good as the homemade version…just more convenient of course. Let’s just say that my husband and I do not regularly consume the little store-bought containers of applesauce, but all four of us fight over the last few drops if it is homemade! Plus making it yourself can be a fun activity (especially with kids), and luckily you can freeze the leftovers. It is especially quick and easy to make this dish at home if you have a handy dandy apple slicer that will cut out the core and cut the rest into pieces. You can find these inexpensive tools at most grocery stores (or Target), and they will easily cut your prep time in half. Not to mention they come in handy for just slicing apples for a snack (or even pears too!).
I cannot believe day 100 is here! And at the same time I am so glad it is finally here. It’s not that I plan to do things much differently going forward, but I very much welcome the ability to make exceptions as I see fit. This new ability comes with a small price though…lots of difficult decision making! Rather than all the processed stuff just being “against the rules” we will now have to weigh the pros and cons for every situation like… Letting our daughters have the same cupcake as everyone else during birthday celebrations at school (I am thinking we will let them) Deciding what to do with all of the candy we get trick or treating this Halloween (we are thinking we might keep a few coveted pieces and give away the rest) Telling the dance studio that they can stop giving my 3-year-old a sticker while all the other kids get candy at the end of class (I am actually thinking I will not make this change…she hasn’t complained about only getting a sticker so what is the point in switching?) Ordering directly off the menu the next time we go out to eat (I think we can only make this decision on a case by case basis) Allowing any of us to eat white bread or anything made with refined flour the next time it presents itself (I don’t know what will happen with this one) Continuing to let our old “treat basket” remain empty rather than allowing it to fill up with the same junk again (At the beginning of our pledge I saved everything that came out of the basket, but had a change of heart a few weeks ago and actually got rid of all the sweets!) Deciding what food we […]