Guest Post: Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Today I’ve asked a fellow “real food” blogger to share her natural Easter egg dye method with us…so please “meet” Christina with Spoonfed (a Jamie Oliver blog of the month)!

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My name is Christina Le Beau, and I write a blog called Spoonfed, which is about raising food-literate children. My goal with Spoonfed (and its companion Facebook page) is to raise awareness of our food system, make kids part of the conversation and, importantly, encourage people to rethink their assumptions about kids and food. One topic I’ve covered frequently is the importance of eliminating petrochemical dyes from our food supply. As Lisa noted in her own recent post on the subject, artificial colors are all risk, no benefit. And who needs that in their Easter basket?

So here’s what we do come Easter time, egg dyeing at its simplest (with recipes inspired by my friend Kris Bordessa of Attainable Sustainable):

1. Hard-boil a bunch of eggs. Doesn’t matter if they’re white or pastel or brown. Each one lends itself to great color variations. (But choose local, pastured eggs if you can. Check out Local Harvest for why that’s important and where you can find good eggs near you.)

2. On your stove, set out four pots* with two cups of water each.

3. To one pot, add a hefty teaspoon of turmeric powder (that’s your yellow). To another, add a couple handfuls of chopped red beets, either fresh or jarred (that’s pink). To a third, add two cups of frozen blueberries or blackberries (your blue). Bring the pots to boiling, then let them simmer five minutes. Continue Reading »

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Kids eat processed food because parents give it to them (for the most part)

One thing we expected to gain from our family’s strict “100 Days of Real Food” pledge was a new perspective. And a new perspective we got. I am convinced that before cutting out all highly processed food – including white flour and sugar – I was going through life completely oblivious to what I was eating and feeding my family. Not only was I ignoring the ingredients on the packaged stuff I was buying, but for some reason the long list of refined grains, artificial additives, and sweeteners wouldn’t have raised a red flag for me anyway.

But more than halfway into our real food pledge things were suddenly different. Thanks to Michael Pollan, we now understood that most of what we used to eat – including pasta made from scratch using white flour – was not the best choice. And after completely making over the way our family shops for food, cooks, and eats I cannot not help but observe what food choices others are making in this processed food world that we live in. Call it nosey, call it judgmental, but regardless - I am incredibly curious about what others are eating.

I am especially curious about what other parents choose to feed their children. If you hand your kid a bag of chips, sure they are going to eat it and probably enjoy every last bite (I know my kids would). If you hand your kid some Pirate’s Booty or Veggie Straws because for some reason – that you might not be able to explain exactly – you think it’s a “healthier” alternative than chips I am sure they would eat that as well. Continue Reading »

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Cleaning Without Chemicals

This blog is obviously about eating real food, but as I’ve mentioned before I also get a lot of questions about “clean” beauty and household products as well. It seems like once you get “back to the basics” in one area of your house you just want to move right on to the next! And one thing I did away with several months after cutting out processed food was my supply of super smelly, chemically laden cleaning products. I used to think the smell of those chemicals signified “clean,” but now I know better.

There are quite a few “natural” cleaning sprays out there, but I am often unsure which ones are REALLY natural and not just labeled as such on the front of the container. I am unable to decipher those ingredient labels like I am with food products. And that’s exactly why I love Norwex cleaning cloths…because no sprays or cleaning products are necessary! They certainly take the guesswork out of deciding which products to select, try, and spend money on since you can reuse the same cloth over and over again. Not that you want to solely rely on these cloths for scrubbing your toilets, but I’ve found that they are perfect (dry or wet) for cleaning counters, windows, and just about any other surface. Continue Reading »

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Real Food Tips: Using Freezie Pop Molds

I seem to get a lot of questions and feedback from readers about the reusable freezie pop molds that we use (and recommend). First of all, I have absolutely no relationship with the company whatsoever…I simply found these molds online and have been a very satisfied customer. In fact, we own two sets now and use them quite frequently! Here are some answers to the questions I get the most…
Using Freezie Pop Molds by 100 Days of Real Food

  1. Do your freezie pop holders have an odor to them, which was mentioned in a few of the online reviews?
    Ours do not have a smell to them at all. I even stuck my nose down in there just to be sure. :) I do take a little extra time to wash ours thoroughly (both by hand and in the dishwasher), so maybe those reviewers aren’t washing out all the food bits well enough? One reader suggested using a small bottle brush to get them clean at the very bottom, and I happen to think that is a brilliant idea!
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  2. What do you fill your molds with?
    I mostly fill ours with smoothies… Continue Reading »
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Recipe: Egg Soufflé

egg souffle from 100 Days of Real FoodEggs for breakfast, eggs for dinner, eggs for lunch…we definitely eat our fair share of eggs around here. And how can you blame us when eggs can so easily be reinvented a hundred times over whether you’re frying, boiling, scrambling, baking or poaching them. So here’s yet another way to make eggs and if you haven’t already tried this, definitely add it to your list the next time you’re entertaining guests. This dish will take a little extra time since you have to whip the egg whites, but the end result is oh-so-fluffy and delicious. And feel free to make this soufflé your own by adding bits of ham, cheese, herbs or even veggies. It’s the prefect weekend brunch treat!

egg whites Continue Reading »

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Real Food Tips: 7 Reasons I Hate Artificial Food Dyes

Artificial food dye, synthetic food dye, food coloring, FD&C Red No. 40, or Tartrazine (a.k.a. Yellow No. 5)… whatever name it’s listed under, it is all pretty much the same stuff. And as I’ve said on this site before I have no problem occasionally digging into yummy homemade treats made with plenty of chocolate, sugar, or whatever else we’re craving, but what I NEVER want to “treat” myself (or my children) to is a dose of chemicals derived from petroleum. Yep, no typos there…that’s what artificial food dye is made from and unfortunately the 15 million pounds of food dye used in the U.S. per year (5 times more than in 1955) is in much more than just colorful icing these days. Dyes, made from the same petroleum that fuels our vehicles, is turning up in an insane amount of packaged foods including Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Minute Maid Lemonade, Lunchables, Fruit Roll Ups, Cheetos, and even “Light and Fit” Yoplait Yogurt. And the crazy thing is these companies tell us right there on the ingredient label that artificial color (and sometimes “artificial flavoring”) has been added…but most consumers don’t seem to be fazed by it.

Upon discovering what this (seemingly harmless and common) additive is made from I had to tell my daughters. I explained how it’s in thousands of products including birthday party cupcakes, salad dressing, cough syrup, and even daddy’s mouthwash. Rightfully so my 1st grader looked at me a little shocked and went on to say, “Can we write a letter to the president?” Now I love how that girl thinks, but at the same time it broke my heart that my innocent child thought that’s all it would take. If we just told the president that food companies were feeding us petroleum based chemicals disguised as brightly colored food dyes he surely wouldn’t allow it anymore. And while I am not very good at politics myself what I’d like to be good at is educating and influencing all of you to vote with your dollars. I truly believe that if consumers stop purchasing artificially dyed and flavored foods we can make an impact. If enough of us speak up the big food companies will listen to consumer demand. And I know this for a fact because that’s exactly what’s happened in other countries outside of the U.S (check out #3 below).…we are apparently just behind the curve on this one. Continue Reading »

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!