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. And I am just being honest here, but it’s possible I didn’t even know what dates were. Believe it or not Medjool dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world, which means they are also a whole food, of course. And even here in North Carolina you can easily find fresh Natural Delights Medjool dates at several local grocery stores including Harris Teeter, some Lowe’s locations and soon Earth Fare as well.
The great thing about Medjool dates is that they are so sweet so they can basically act as a sweetener in recipes. And when you are avoiding refined sugar you start to get creative when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth. A few weeks after starting our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge a reader actually suggested a “chocolate torte/truffle” recipe to me (pictured) using Medjool dates, and looking back I honestly don’t think I would have survived our pledge without them!
Chocolate Truffles Sweetened with Dates from 100 Days of Real Food
So today, I’d like to share three more recipes using Medjool dates in case you are new to this versatile sweet fruit as well. I do want to caution you though that even though the date seeds look like little pecans they are hard as a rock (pictured), so whatever you do be extra careful to remove the seeds first! Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
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 the information is readily available at our fingertips and in most stores themselves, I wanted to know how many parents have actually looked at the ingredients in Chick-fil-A. So I asked. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
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….
- 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! Continue Reading »
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 Continue Reading »