Since my oldest daughter is entering 1st grade this fall I’ve decided it’s time to do away with all our sippy cups. Plus, I’ve been getting rid of plastic in other areas of our kitchen so it seemed like the right time to upgrade the kids’ items as well. I wasn’t quite ready to start letting our daughters use the “adult” glass cups though since we keep them in a cabinet they can’t reach, and they seem rather “breakable” anyway. So I was thrilled when I learned about these kid-friendly glass tumblers that are extremely durable and chip resistant. They are the perfect solution! I put these stackable glass cups in a big drawer that my daughters can reach, and they LOVE getting out their own cups and filling them up with water all by themselves. My four-year-old is graduating from sippy cups a little early, but she is probably the most excited. The first night she used one I think she told me a dozen times that her cup was “breakable” just like mommy’s. And since the glass is durable and tempered I don’t worry too much about it actually breaking. Although I was sure to tell them if they did accidentally break a glass not to move an inch until I came to the rescue! So far these cups seem pretty kid-proof though so I’m thrilled to be giving away a set to one lucky winner today. Giveaway Duralex Picardie Tumblers, Clear, 7.4-ounce, Set of 6 ($29 value):
Archives for June 2011
Get ready to turn plain old zucchini into something fabulous! Even my picky 4-year-old, who has never voluntarily eaten zucchini in her life, couldn’t get enough of these “chips” tonight. I was across the table trying to hold in my excitement (and shock) as she was busy chowing down. This might just be the perfect way to introduce zucchini to a child that’s never had it before, and it could even work on those picky husbands too! After your child gets a good “first impression” of this veggie he/she might be willing to try it other ways as well. And don’t feel like you need to go “light” on the olive oil when you are making this recipe. Some unrefined natural fats can be a good addition to your diet. For more info on oils check out our post entitled “Mini-Pledge Week 10: No Refined Oils.
As our family gears up to skip town this summer I know we aren’t the only ones with travel plans on the agenda. Packing up an entire family is a lot of work, and since our switch to real food I have yet one more travel detail to “stress” over: food of course. I not only have to consider what we will eat while on the road (or plane), but also what we’ll eat once we get there…both at our “home away from home” and out at restaurants. As I learned during our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge last summer eating 100% real food while traveling is a lot of work, but luckily we have a little more flexibility now that our official pledge is over. And being out of town is definitely one of those times where we want and use that flexibility. Now just because we can “break the rules” on our trips this summer doesn’t mean I won’t still be bending over backwards to prepare plenty of food and snacks to bring along. Even though we no longer “have to” we still plan to do everything we can on our vacation – within reason – to stick to the real food we’ve come to love and prefer. So just in case “real food” is on your travel agenda as well here are some ideas on how to make it work:
I love coming across other bloggers who are on the same page as we are when it comes to “real food.” I recently “met” Stephanie Langford who runs a beautifully put together blog called Keeper of the Home. Stephanie is a jack-of-all-trades, but one of her specialties is how to buy and eat real food on a budget (sound familiar?). And she has taken the time to put her extensive knowledge into a book…one of which I am giving away today! Giveaway Title: Real Food on a Real Budget e-book, by Stephanie Langford Retail: Digital Copy $18.97 or Paperback Copy $21.97 plus shipping Synopsis: Real Food on a Real Budget is written as a primer for families who want to learn how to save an average of 20-30% on their food budget ($100-$200 per month for most families), while at the same time serving better quality and more nutritionally dense foods. Based on 6 years of hands-on experience and hundreds of hours of research, Real Food on a Real Budget is packed with practical tips and suggestions to help you become a better steward of both your finances and your health. Check out the Keeper of the Home website for more details and a sneak peek of the book.
This recipe is incredibly simple, quick and delicious – especially this time of year when locally grown and homegrown tomatoes are available. I used to think making tomato sauce from scratch was a difficult or time-consuming task until I actually tried it. Once you briefly boil the tomatoes the skin peels right off, and then the rest of this delicious meal is a cinch. Even my girls, who normally don’t go for tomatoes or prosciutto, scarf this dinner down as fast as they can. And in case you haven’t heard tomatoes are technically a fruit so we like to serve this dish with a side of veggies such as lightly sautéed summer squash. Simple Spaghetti Course: Main Course Cuisine: Italian Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Servings  (adjust to suit): 4 Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Italian Cookbook Print Ingredients 1/3 cup olive oil 1 yellow onion 1/4 lb prosciutto, or pancetta 1 pinch red pepper flakes 10 tomatoes, ripe 1/2 lb whole-wheat spaghetti, (or penne, rigatoni, macaroni, etc.) parmesan cheese, grated (for topping, optional) basil, (for topping, optional) Instructions Set a large pot of water over high heat. Dice the onion and proscuitto. Once the water starts boiling add the tomatoes, 2 or 3 at a time, for about 1 minute each. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let them cool on a large cutting board. Add your dry pasta to the same pot of boiling water to cook following directions on package for timing. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high and add the olive oil. Once the oil heats up, add the diced proscuitto, onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Meanwhile peel, seed and chop the tomatoes. With a dull knife score the skin on each tomato […]
When I first heard about microwaving popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag I could not imagine that something so simple would really work. A blog reader actually shared this suggestion with me, and it took me a while to work up enough courage to try it out. I am so glad I finally did because approximately 3 minutes and 15 seconds later I had fresh, fluffy, whole-grain popcorn that hadn’t been touched by a drop of oil, salt, sugar, or any other additives. And after lightly seasoning it myself with a tad of oil and salt it was delicious! I will never waste my money on those store-bought microwave bags ever again.
I recently gave away an in-person “Real Food Consultation” and $50 Earth Fare gift certificate to one lucky blog reader. And the winner was this adorable family (pictured) whose food shopping and cooking is of course taken care of by mom, Mary. I went to their house to spend two fun hours discussing food with Mary, and I had the feeling we could have easily kept on going for several more hours! I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I felt as though our family’s experience helped shed some light on how they can make the transition to “real food” as well. Mary is one super-organized mom who not only had all her “questionable” groceries lined up on the counter when I arrived, but also had prepared note cards with all of her “real food” questions. And this is what was on her mind along with my responses:
I used to think quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) was a rather strange ingredient. And I vowed to never post recipes on this blog that call for strange ingredients. But it seems as though quinoa is becoming more commonplace, and I am certain some of you have a bag of it sitting in your pantry and don’t know what to do with it. I admittedly let our first bag of quinoa just chill for about six months before I worked up enough courage to try something so unusual and different. It’s funny how new ingredients can do that to us. Long story short quinoa is very similar to couscous. You can eat it plain or add all sorts of seasonings and other fresh flavors to it. And we happen to think this recipe below is a real crowd pleaser. It can be eaten as a side with your lunch or dinner or brought along as the perfect addition to a potluck gathering. We also brought this salad camping the other weekend, and it would work great at an outdoor cookout as well. Trust me – you can’t go wrong so just make it, and I promise it will be gone in no time!
During our “100 Days of Real Food Pledge” we avoided all packaged foods containing more than five ingredients as well as all refined grains, sugar, and deep-fried foods. We borrowed this rule directly from Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules. Here’s his take on this guideline: “Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients. The specific number you adopt is arbitrary, but the more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it probably is. Note 1: A long list of ingredients in a recipe is not the same thing; that’s fine. Note 2: Some products now boast, somewhat deceptively, about their short ingredient lists. Häagen-Dazs has a new line of ice creamed called ‘five.’ Great–but it’s still ice cream. Same goes for the three-ingredient Tostitos corn chips advertised by Frito-Lay–okay, but they’re still corn chips.” One thing we struggled with during our 100-day pledge was the occasional food product that had six or seven or even eight ingredients that were all “whole” or what we would consider to be “real food.” What about a bag of trail mix that contains seven different kinds of nuts and seeds? We would avoid products like that mainly because we didn’t want to jeopardize our pledge, although, truthfully, that bag of trail mix would probably be perfectly fine. The thing is, when you are creating “rules” for the masses you just have to draw the line somewhere. And if this rule gets people to start reading and scrutinizing the ingredient labels on their food then our mission is accomplished.
It is worth the drive to South Charlotte to dine at Santé, which is located in a historic building in downtown Matthews. What you’ll get is lots of character, great service, and delicious local food. The restaurant is conveniently located across the street from the Matthews Farmer’s Market where the owner, Adam, shops regularly. And not only does Santé buy locally as much as possible (and have their own restaurant garden out back), but they also compost all of their own waste as well – amazing! Pictured is my recent birthday dinner of scallops and a “fancy” vegetarian entrée that the restaurant so kindly created for my daughters. The girls had fun sampling so many different veggies and trying bites of our entrées as well. Oh and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t also enjoy chowing down on some white bread rolls as well…one of the many special treats when we go out to eat! For a full list of their menu offerings check out their website: http://www.santeofmatthews.com/menus.htm Giveaway $40 Gift Certificate to Santé in Matthews, NC How to Enter
There’s no reason a “real food” diet should stop anyone from having a fabulous backyard BBQ, cookout, camping trip, or picnic this summer. Sure, preparing lots of “real food” from scratch can be more work than the store-bought junk, but the satisfaction of knowing you just fed the neighborhood kids an approved “100 Days of Real Food” meal unbeknownst to them is very much worth it. We hosted an annual street-wide event in our backyard over the weekend, and I loved watching my girls have tons of fun with their little friends while at the same time knowing we didn’t have to succumb to the usual party junk food (store-bought pizza and cake) to have such a good time. Here’s what we served: Cheeseburger sliders – These junior-sized patties were assembled in advance using locally raised ground beef and were the perfect size for kids!