Maybe I used to be living under a rock, but before our switch to “real food” I had never before purchased or cooked with dates.
Archives for April 2012
My husband used to think he didn’t like strawberry ice cream, and come to find out it’s because he’d never had “real” strawberry ice cream before…only the bright pink stuff out of a box. But once I made him the real deal his mind was forever changed, and I promise you’ll be “won over” by this recipe as well. It’s honestly hard to beat the taste and consistency of fresh homemade ice cream no matter what flavor you make it. And with the high tech ice cream makers these days it’s fairly easy to make it at home yourself, and it doesn’t take long either … no cranks, ice or salt necessary. :) We have a Cuisinart ice cream maker and love it. What do you plan to make with your fresh strawberries this season? Please feel free to share strawberry recipes/links in the comments below.
Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe) is a regular contributor on 100 Days of Real Food. To learn more about Vani check her out on “Our Team” page. Long before I became the Food Babe I used to be addicted to Chick-fil-A. I remember the first time I tasted it – it was at the mall when I was very little and they used to have the free samples. There was a lady walking around outside of the store with hot, fresh pieces of newly fried chicken on little toothpicks. It was free so of course my parents let me try it. The smell alone was intoxicating, not to mention the taste. What continued for many years was countless meals of Chick-fil-A during my childhood followed by almost daily consumption in college. Thinking about it now, even though I haven’t had it in what seems like a decade…I still know what a Chick-fil-A sandwich smells and tastes like. This is why I chose the mall to begin my latest food investigation. A lot of people who generally don’t eat fast food still eat Chick-fil-A. A lot of people say “I only take my kids to Chick-fil-A once in a while.” Countless moms and dads take their kids to Chick-fil-A, thinking it’s better than other fast food places. When I first wrote the post Chick-Fil-A or Chemical-Fil-A? last summer, so many of my closest friends and family members were downright shocked at the list and type of ingredients Chick-fil-A uses – which are similar to big chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. Back in the day, restaurants were not required to list ingredients, there was no google, and we were all pretty much kept in the dark about what was in our food. Now that times are different, and most of […]
I’ve been sharing my kids’ school lunches on facebook quite frequently this year, and in an effort to put all those pictures in one easy-to-reference place they have all been reposted below. Also, I seem to get a lot of comments/questions/etc. when I share these on facebook so I’d like to start off by addressing a few of the more common ones… I’ve written a post that includes everything you could ever want to know about the colorful “freezie pop molds” that I use frequently to add smoothies to their lunches. All of the school lunch supplies we use including the divided lunchbox containers, thermos cups, and freezie pop molds are detailed on my kitchen essentials page. The lunchbox containers fit nicely (with a drink cup) in both Lands End and Old Navy cloth rectangular lunch boxes. Some readers ask if these lunches provide enough food for my children and while I am probably not spot-on with portion size 100% of the time, the short answer is “yes.” First of all, “real food” is a lot more filling than highly processed food (especially the refined grain stuff like white flour). Secondly, portion sizes are getting out of control in America and have unfortunately skewed the public’s view of what is appropriate. Thirdly, my children are children (ages 7 and almost 5), and my 1st grader has little more than 15 – 20 minutes to eat (and socialize of course!). Lastly, both my children eat after-school snacks, and my older daughter has oatmeal (in a thermos) for her morning snack everyday less than an hour and a half before lunch. Okay, got that off my chest. :)
I get a lot of questions about condiments. And surprisingly enough, condiments were one of the things I missed the most during our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge. They are like the little things you don’t pay much attention to until they’re suddenly gone. So in an effort to answer everyone’s questions in one spot, including what’s real and what’s not and what we use now that our pledge is over, here’s the deal…. Mayonnaise First of all, just about all store-bought mayo’s are made with refined oils (like canola oil) even if it says something catchy on the front like “made with olive oil.” Just read the ingredients and you’ll see what I am talking about. And regardless of the oils that are used there are no easy-to-find brands (to my knowledge) that contain 5 or less ingredients, which was one of our real food pledge rules. Secondly, you can certainly make homemade mayonnaise yourself, but I am going to tell you right now that it won’t be the same fluffy white stuff you buy from the store. I’ve decided that homemade mayo and store-bought mayo are just two completely different products and – right or wrong – I like and prefer the white fluffy stuff. What’s the solution? You can try to make homemade mayo using unrefined oils and pastured eggs, but most recipes call for raw eggs. I am still on the fence about giving uncooked eggs to my kids so after a few different “cooked egg” mayonnaise failures I honestly just gave up on it. So during our 100-day pledge we basically abstained from mayonnaise all together…gasp!
If I could have a dollar every time someone said, “I grew up eating highly processed junk food, and I turned out just fine” then I would surely be rich. And another one I’ve been hearing an awful lot lately is, “Easter only happens once a year so my kids will be getting candy.” Before I dive into the dozens of facts that prove we are truly (and unfortunately) not “just fine” I must first get this holiday thing off my chest. Yes, Easter is once a year, but so is… Christmas and Halloween and several other candy-filled holidays Every kid’s birthday in the class The junky packaged snacks given to kids after soccer practice and church service Candy-filled party favor bags The “100th Day of School” celebration Visits from the ice cream truck The Box Top “cupcake party” at school
When your day just doesn’t go as planned or you simply don’t feel like cooking up a storm, here are four super easy “real food” dinners that can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less. That’s faster than the pizza delivery man. And most of these meals are made from ingredients with a decent shelf life that don’t have to be defrosted or prepared in advance. So if you pick up some of the suggested “items to have on-hand” the next time you’re at the store then you’ll be all set the next time you suddenly need to whip up a super quick wholesome dinner. Please also feel free to share your easy and fast “real food” dinner ideas in the comments below. Spaghetti with Sautéed Onion/Veggies – Items to have on-hand: – Dry organic whole-grain noodles – Look for a 1 or 2-ingredient organic pasta product that contains something like “organic whole durum wheat flour” and maybe “water” (avoid “semolina” because that is the refined version of whole durum wheat) – Jar of organic spaghetti sauce – Eden Organic “no salt added” spaghetti sauce recommended (pictured) – Olive oil or butter – For sauteing the veggies – Onion – I always try to have onions in the house…they have a fairly long shelf life and can be used in so many different recipes – Fresh (or frozen) organic vegetables – Some veggies that would nicely complement this dish are zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and mushrooms – Optional items – Freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh or dried herbs for added flavoring of the sauce – Simple directions: 1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Once the water is boiling most noodles take 7 – 10 minutes. 2. While noodles are boiling dice about a quarter of an onion. […]
Today I’d like to introduce my very first “regular contributor” on the blog…Vani Hari a.k.a the Food Babe! Vani, a fellow “real food” blogger here in Charlotte, first caught my eye when I read her blog post entitled “Don’t Believe the Hype – There’s No Euphoria from Yoforia….” She did such a great job investigating the truth behind Yoforia’s claims (FYI – Yoforia has since contacted Vani and asked her to work with them on making product improvements) that I thought everyone would welcome a monthly visit from the “Food Babe” here on this site. So in the coming months expect to find out more than you ever wanted to know about what’s lurking in processed food! ______________________ When Lisa asked me to be a guest on her blog I jumped out of my seat – thrilled at the chance to reach out to all of you – and immediately knew what I wanted to write about. Hi, my name is Vani, and I share information about organic living, healthy travel and food activism on my blog Food Babe (and on Facebook). The love of real food is just one of the many things Lisa and I have in common, and I’m excited to be here today to share some startling facts about one my favorite foods. My birthday was last week and I had only one thing on my mind. Can you guess what it was? Nope, it wasn’t thoughts about getting older, or what presents I wanted this year or where I wanted to go on my next vacation. All I could think about was “Where am I going to get my birthday cake from!?!” This is a dilemma for my family and me every single time there is a birthday on the horizon. We sometimes have knock down, drag out […]
If you want to eat local foods in the winter then you better figure out how to eat some big leafy greens like kale. Not to mention kale is packed with all sorts of good stuff for your body so if you can learn to enjoy this veggie then it’s a win-win for everyone. :) Also just like apples, wheat and other whole foods there are many different varieties – and therefore flavors – of kale available. We recently picked up some “dinosaur kale” at our farmers’ market because with a name like that who wouldn’t want to at least try it? It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally figured out a few ways that our family can easily “eat more kale”…. Eggs. Puree kale into an egg dish like scrambled eggs, mini egg casseroles, quiche or egg soufflé. You could also use sautéed kale instead of a layer of meat on your Eggs Benedict this weekend. My husband says he might even like eggs better with kale than without. I am not sure I exactly agree with him on that, but the kale/egg combo is surprisingly good. Green Eggs Recipe Salads. I actually need to thank some of my blog readers for telling me that you could just eat kale raw in a salad. For a while I had the impression that kale had to be cooked. I will say though if you’re somewhat new to kale it could be overkill to just sit down to a big bowl of it so we started out by just mixing in a little bit of kale with our regular salad greens. The first night we tried this my husband declared, “The kids are NOT going to like this” but I said, “Just don’t say anything and see what happens.” Sure […]
I used to think we were fairly adventurous eaters and cooks. And even though I didn’t actually learn to cook until after college, once I did I quickly dabbled in everything from homemade egg rolls to pasta from scratch to my grandmother’s crepes. Nothing could have prepared me though for all the “new foods” that I had to learn about – and now can’t live without – once we made the switch to “real food.” I am constantly amazed at all the items on my regular shopping list that I had never purchased before we decided to cut out processed food… Whole-wheat flour Other real food newbies likely “flirted” with whole-wheat flour on occasion, but no no…not me. I promise you that I had never before purchased or cooked with whole-wheat flour (because I hated anything made with it!) until the start of all this 2 years ago. – Oats We used to eat boxed granola cereal, but it never occurred to me that you could actually make it yourself (and that it would be soooo much better)! The main ingredient in homemade granola is oats and the first time I made it I found myself saying… “Are plain ‘oats’ just oatmeal?” I’ve never been an oatmeal fan myself (and I’m still not, although I’ve since learned that my kids love it) therefore I never bought oats for any reason, but now I buy pounds of it every week and get worried if our supply is low! – Honey Somebody must have bought at least one bottle of honey before our switch to real food because I remember a tiny bear shaped container of it in our pantry that was all crusted over and crystallized from lack of use (LOL).