It is time for another cookbook giveaway! This week I am giving away a free copy of Almost Meatless by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. The premise of this book fits perfectly with this week’s real food mini-pledge where we are focusing on eating locally raised meat and eating less of it. The authors have the right idea when it comes to reducing (but not giving up) meat, which will have a positive impact on both our health and the environment. With close to 70 recipes, each dish features meat such as chicken, turkey, pork, or lamb as an enhancement rather than the centerpiece of the meal.
Summary: A collaboration between Manning, a former vegan, and Desmond, an unabashed meat lover, the aim is to help Americans, who they believe eat far more meat than is healthy or good for agricultural sustainability, compose meals that are both tasty and filling without having a slab of meat as the overbearing star ingredient. Instead, meat appears in smaller quantities supplemented by layers of flavor in the form of additional savory ingredients that should keep people who usually expect lots of meat from noticing the difference. Continue Reading »
I love soups because they’re an easy way to get in a lot of vegetables, and they are usually awesome leftover (whether they’ve been in the fridge or freezer). I am a big fan of serving easy dinners on busy weeknights and there is nothing easier than defrosting some soup out of your very own freezer. I especially love this soup because it comes with so many “accessories.” You could certainly eat it plain, but it is amazing how the flavor suddenly changes when you pile avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro on top. We even sometimes toast tortillas (to make them crunchy like chips) and throw them in the mix as well.
This is also a great dish to serve this week if you are participating in our third real food mini-pledge. Even though this dish is meatless it would still be great if you wanted to add a little raw chicken when you sauté the veggies (or even some leftover cooked meat at the end). Just like most of the recipes I post this one is super flexible. If you don’t have or like zucchini then use a different vegetable instead. If you randomly find a half container of mushrooms in your fridge…throw them in. Get creative and use what you have on hand to make this dish easy and budget-friendly! Continue Reading »
I’ve enjoyed hearing everyone’s feedback about this week’s beverage pledge, which ends on Sunday. My husband and I got a kick out of the variety of comments because we heard everything from how easy this one would be to how some could only do it for a day (or not at all). Just wait until I cut out refined and artificial sweeteners all together because you know it is coming! And please don’t forget that the main reason we followed so many strict rules ourselves for 100 days was to motivate others and show that it can be done! So even if this week has been rough for you do not even think about giving up yet. No pressure.
Next week we are going to completely switch gears and focus on meat consumption. Before we dive right in on Monday though I want to ask (okay, beg) everyone to please watch Food, Inc. this weekend. Even if you have watched it before…watch it again! This is a very easy way to learn a lot in a mere 91 minutes of your life. And hopefully you will join us with a completely renewed perspective when it comes to eating meat. After watching the movie I’ve heard some people say they would never eat meat again (which we of course do), and others say they went out and had a Big Mac the very next day. So don’t take anyone else’s word for it…watch the movie and form your own opinion. And if for some strange reason you don’t watch it, at the very least please read my summary of the film. Continue Reading »
A few readers have shared a homemade “goldfish” crackers recipe with me. I decided to try the recipe (with several modifications) and while the outcome tasted good the process of rolling out the dough took some time and made a huge mess. As a busy mom I am a big fan of shortcuts so the goldfish recipe inspired me to come up with these easy cheesy crackers. Making your own “crackers” from scratch sounds like such a daunting task, but trust me…this recipe is ridiculously easy!
Of course if you make this “easy” version you end up with round crackers as opposed to fun little shapes, but the last time I checked my daughters didn’t discriminate against a circle. They were too busy gobbling up these crackers and asking for more to even think about what shape they were eating. And these are by no means just for kids. There are so many ways to get creative, which would surely impress any adult as well. Before baking experiment with adding some of these spices to the dough: black and red pepper, fresh or dried rosemary, diced olives, or jalapeños. Or instead of mixing in herbs and spices, just top off the baked cheese crackers with something fun like pesto and grape tomatoes (just like we did for our dinner club last year). No matter what you end up doing have fun with it and enjoy! Continue Reading »
Slowly but surely I am learning the importance of junk food. Yes, you heard that right…the real food blogger said that junk food (in moderation of course) is important! Figuring out when and where to fit junk food into our lives though has honestly been as challenging as cutting it out in the first place. While our original 100 Days of Real Food pledge was an amazing and eye-opening experience, I struggled to make the “right” decisions about our junk food consumption once it was over. The four of us had just proved that we could easily survive without a single ounce of sugar or white flour or anything deep-fried (among other things), and now it was up to me to decide when eating that kind of junk would be okay? That was a difficult task.
I recently had some interesting discussions with a few friends and readers about their childhood experiences with junk food (or lack thereof). Those that were completely restricted from any and all candy, cakes, soda, and cookies as children were not afraid to binge and splurge on those items at friends’ houses. What was forbidden became even more desirable…whenever they could get their hands on it. My ideal goal is to educate my daughters about real food vs. junk food so that they not only know how to make good decisions on their own, but so that they want to make those good decisions. Again, this is the ideal goal and we still have a long way to go, but I don’t think we’ll get very far in life if my girls only avoid junk food because “mommy said so.” Continue Reading »
I am so glad that the mini-pledges are off to such a great start this week! I love hearing from everyone on facebook…you guys are doing really well with this first one. It has been an interesting week for us too since our family took on this challenge as well. We normally eat fruits and veggies of course, but there is definitely no “two per meal” quota around here. I’ve learned how quick and easy (and painless!) it is to add to my daughters’ meals a side of sliced pear or frozen peas (yes, they like them frozen). I’ve also realized how much I focus on my children’s produce intake instead of mine. So even though we’ve had a busy week, and I ate most of my lunches standing up while doing 8 other things, I managed to get in all of my fruits and veggies too! And while I don’t expect everyone to live by the number “two” rule every day until eternity I do hope this experience will lead to some positive long-term changes. Increasing your consumption and variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best (and easiest) changes you can make to your diet! Don’t forget though that the fruit/vegetable pledge isn’t over quite yet…not until the end of the day on Sunday.
With week 1 coming to a close it’s time to announce the next mini-pledge, which will start on Monday and tackle beverages! I hate to throw one of the more difficult pledges out there early in the game, but I realize that different things will be difficult for different people (depending on what your vices are!). So as you consider this next pledge please keep in mind that it is only for one week. When I had to give up my white chocolate mochas during our 100-day pledge it forced me to come up with another alternative…that I now love! Without our pledge I imagine I would still be addicted to those highly processed white mochas because I would’ve never had a reason to seek out an alternative. So here goes nothing… Continue Reading »