Real Food Tips: 12 Ways to Keep it Cheap

During this time last year our family of four was gearing up for our “100 Days of Real Food on a Budget” pledge. But once the pledge ended (in January 2011) I stopped sticking to our strict food budget of $125/week, and I often wonder how I even managed to do it. Just the other day I was reading some of my old budget blog posts, and on one shopping excursion I somehow left my favorite grocery store (Earth Fare) after only spending $67. If you want to know what I spent at Earth Fare earlier this week….well, just add about $100 – yikes! It is amazing how much more you spend when you don’t have a specific budget in place to help you keep it cheap. The scary thing is though, I sort of was “trying” not to spend a lot the other day. Now my effort didn’t go beyond a conscious thought in my head, but I should know by now that just thinking about being on a budget never really works. :)

As some of you know, my husband and I were fortunate enough to go on a very adventurous – and expensive! – trip to Asia earlier this month. So, for us, there is no better time than now to get back on the food budget bandwagon. I won’t be doing another official budget “pledge,” but since I’ve already proved this could be done I don’t really have any good excuses to convince my husband to let me off the hook (darn!). So for all of us – me included – here are some budget tips that I could never be reminded of enough. And if you have any advice I left out please share in the comments below… Continue Reading »

Recipe: Easy Split Pea Soup

Whether fall is officially here or not I think anytime is a good time for some hearty, tasty soup! And this soup is so darn easy that my 6-year-old practically made it by herself (with close supervision of course). All I had to do was chop an onion and garlic…oh and buy the ingredients andRecipe Easy Split Pea Soup from 100 Days of Real Food help her read the recipe, but she pretty much did the rest. So the point is if a child can make this soup then so can you. :) And the best way to get your own child to possibly eat this pea green soup is to get them involved in making it with you. I suppose topping the soup off with chopped hot dogs or bacon might help lure them in as well. My other daughter, who is the pickier one, didn’t dig right into this soup like I had hoped. But as soon as she saw the bacon (which is her fav!) floating in there she ate a decent sized portion of the soup, which made me happy. So without further ado here it is! Continue Reading »

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse from Deliciously Organic Cookbook

Deliciously Organic Cookbook

Carrie Vitt with Deliciously Organic once told me that she spent four years putting together her cookbook, and I believe it. Her book is so beautifully done that it honestly puts a lot of other cookbooks to shame! Plus it has such a wonderful personal touch and page after page it’s just obvious she’s poured her heart and soul into this publication. A lot of people ask if there is a “whole foods” cookbook I can recommend and here is your answer…Deliciously Organic! And Carrie is offering $10 off to all “100 Days of Real Food” readers with the promo code “del2011del” through this link:

Here are some of the things I adore about this cookbook…

  • The pictures: Oh my gosh the pictures! Carrie takes amazing pictures herself (just check out her blog), but she hired a professional food stylist and photographer for her book and it shows.
  • The resources: This is a great book for “real food” beginners because it is full of helpful resources on everything from understanding oils to reading food labels to making homemade mayo to navigating recommended websites.
  • The personal touch: Carrie shares her own personal story, which includes her struggle with debilitating migraines that she eventually got under control with nothing other than organic food. Plus don’t miss the pictures of her adorable family right before the dessert section.

Deliciously Organic Cookbook

Today, I want to share a dessert recipe from Carrie’s book that is the perfect replacement for all those highly processed boxed chocolate pudding mixes. We made a batch of this chocolate mousse over the weekend and let me tell you what; my girls could not get enough! The flavor is just divine, but don’t take my word for it, you must try it yourself…. Continue Reading »

Real Food Tips: 10 Pointers for Farmers’ Market Shopping

Farmers’ market season isn’t quite over yet, and we’re actually lucky enough to have a market close by that goes all winter long. It took me almost a year from the first time I ever stepped foot in a farmers’ market (which was just at the beginning of last year!) to figure out there is definitely a method to the madness. So following are some of our best tips to help you navigate and optimize your local market!

Matthews Farmers' Market near Charlotte, NC

  1. Find and shop at a grower’s only farmers’ market. This ensures all products are local. Here in Charlotte we love the Matthews Farmers’ Market (pictured) because it is the biggest grower’s only market in the area. I once went to the Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market, which allows third party vendors, and saw blueberries from Chile for sale. Continue Reading »

Giveaway: Imprint Comfort Kitchen Floor Mat

And the winner is….Amanda!
Amanda left her entry on September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm,
and she also has an email waiting in her inbox. Congrats!

Today’s giveaway is brought to you by one of our sponsors, Imprint® Comfort Mat. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time standing in my kitchen whether it is to prep for a meal or clean up after one, and thankfully Imprint® has our poor little backs in mind. Their Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mats are proven to reduce fatigue, from standing on a hard surface, by over 60%. They do this by incorporating a university tested multi-layer foam cushioning system for superior comfort. And by entering the contest below you have a chance to win one of these floor mats for free! Or, if you’d rather not wait, you can order one for 10% off (and free shipping!) by using the promo code “100RF” on


One 20” X 36” Imprint Nantucket Anti Fatigue Comfort Mat in “Cinnamon” color valued at $69.99 Continue Reading »

Special Report: Trip to Asia

Two weeks in Asia surprisingly left me with a huge craving for Mexican food! I am normally a big fan of Asian cuisine, but I’ve never tried to eat it 24/7 for two weeks straight. Only a few days into our trip I wasn’t sure how much more rice I could handle. And I felt a little guilty about it, but on our very last night there, which was in Hong Kong, we actually went out for Italian food! How silly is that? Silly or not though, it was some of the best ravioli I’ve ever had in my life (my husband had total entrée envy). So I guess what they say is true…Hong Kong has amazing food to offer no matter what you are after.

This trip was of course a tour of Asia though, and we had the opportunity to sample lots of amazing local cuisine as well. We were fortunate enough to visit Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong on our travels and here are the highlights from each location…


Dragon Fruit and Rambutan

My cousin is currently working abroad in Singapore so that was our first stop. Continue Reading »