Where to buy real food

One of the reasons I started this blog about our real food journey was to share with others all the invaluable information I’ve learned from hours and hours of research. Just one year ago I had never even been to a farmer’s market before, much less did I know there were actually different types of farmer’s markets. Sadly enough I had also never read an ingredients label or ever thought to ask a restaurant what exactly was in the food they were serving me (or where it came from for that matter). Before we changed our diets at the beginning of last year, it is safe to say that I knew very little about eating real food. Once I started to figure everything out from what crackers to buy to where to get the freshest milk, why would I keep all of that good information to myself?

So in addition to all of the recipes, tips, and personal experiences I’ve shared thus far, this post is all about the specific stores, farms, and restaurants that we love the most (all of which we’ve tried personally). Now of course these places are in the Charlotte area, but a few can be accessed in other locations as well (denoted by asterisk). If you have any favorites that I left off this list please tell us why you love them in the comments section below!

Farms / Farmer’s Markets

Recipe: Mini Whole-Wheat Popovers

You won’t believe how easy it is to make these tasty little popovers. I think my 6-year-old could practically do it by herself (if I helped her measure and handle the oven). The only thing that is remotely difficult about this recipe is that the milk and eggs have to be at room temperate in order for the popovers to “pop” up properly (try to say that 3 times fast). So yes, it does Popovers from 100 Days of Real Foodrequire you to think ahead a little, which I for some reason struggle with on occasion. But other than that the recipe is super easy, and they are by far one of my daughters’ favorites!

Feel free to enjoy them with breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or as leftovers), and don’t be afraid to get creative too. For breakfast you can spread some butter and/or jelly on the popovers while they are warm out of the oven. Or before you even bake them you can sprinkle a generous helping of cinnamon on top of the batter in each muffin cup. For lunch or an elegant dinner side item, pop a piece of crumbly cheese (goat or blue) in the center of each batter cup. To accompany spaghetti, sprinkle them with some garlic powder before baking. The possibilities are endless so have fun and enjoy! Continue Reading »

Post Budget Pledge 1: Some Relief and Revelations

I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that our budget pledge is over! But what I didn’t expect was the guilt I would feel when I finally could (and did) spend a little extra money last week. And not only was it guilt about spending more money, but also about the possibility of us not finishing all the food I’d bought before it passed its prime. That was certainly one of the nice things about being on a tight budget. I could never afford to buy more than we could eat, and this past week brought back memories of how much spoiled food we’d end up throwing away in our pre-budget days.

Before I dive into the things I splurged on at the store let me finish up our last budget week. As I previously mentioned we had $15 left and instead of buying more groceries with that money we decided to put it towards a nice family brunch out at a new local restaurant. I am just thrilled each time I hear of a new restaurant opening up in Charlotte that serves local food! It is about time our city hopped on this bandwagon. And since each and every time we buy food we are essentially “voting with our dollars” I want to do everything I can to support these restaurants. Although I will say…local doesn’t necessarily mean “whole grain” or “no sugar”, which are also two very important rules to us, but hey – I guess I can’t always have it all!

So we went downtown to eat at Halcyon, which is connected to Charlotte’s new Mint Museum of Art. I was thrilled they were offering a brunch menu because breakfast food is by far the easiest thing to order for my girls when we are out (since I almost never order off the kids menu). Continue Reading »