I touched on the subject of Advent calendars last year, but today I want to expand on the topic by including a detailed list. I like lists. As I mentioned our Advent house (which I bought at Target a few years ago by the way) was once filled with little pieces of highly processed candy, gum, chocolate, etc. I used to even let my girls open the doors and eat the junk before breakfast. This was just three years ago…wow, have times changed!
So anyway, I moved away from the candy for obvious reasons, and started going on these intense retail hunts looking for little toys that were tiny enough to fit behind those doors. This was no easy task, and to top it off that stuff really was just “junk” too since they were mainly little plastic items made in China that our children quickly forgot about or lost. So I no longer feel like racing around town and spending time/money on little knickknacks our kids honestly do not need. And I also don’t feel it’s necessary to fill this little house with organic less-junky candy (that is still candy by the way) during an already sugary time of year.
So inspired by This Lunch Rox, below is the official list for our newly renamed “Giving House.” And the criteria for these ideas were basically random acts of kindness that you could perform without having to go somewhere special (like a shelter or hospital). Of course going to such places on a regular basis would be fabulous in an ideal world, but I know how it is around the holidays so I personally did not want to over-commit during an already busy time! Continue Reading »
This is a guest post by Kiran, our Sales Manager…to learn more about Kiran check out our team page!
The holidays are, without a doubt, upon us. Endless emails touting the holiday, Christmas music on the airwaves, and a chill in the air confirm it. If you didn’t finalize your shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or if you’re just looking for deals on some tools that will make eating real food even easier and more “real”istic, then check out this list of 10 gift ideas for that special someone – and maybe even snag a few for yourself! Today we are sharing some great products and services that we’ve discovered over the past year or two…and we know you’ll enjoy them, too!
1. The Fresh 20 Meal Plans
It’s no secret that having a plan is one of the best ways to ensure success on the road to eating real. The Fresh 20 takes the guesswork out of what to make. The meal-planning service uses just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients each week and mixes and matches them to create five balanced dinners. Purchase a plan for yourself or someone special on your list and get detailed guides to meal prep, five original recipes each week and a shopping list along with it.
It’s no secret that I like to send warm soup (or leftovers) to school with my girls in insulated Thermos food jars. I’ve actually made a habit of doing this on Wednesdays because I like to have one night per week when I don’t have to be “creative” with packing school lunches. I make big batches of their favorite soups in advance, freeze them in individual jelly jars (leaving room at the top for the soup to expand), and then “voila!” lunch is pretty much done one day a week for weeks to come.
Not All Thermos Jars are Created Equal
So you can imagine my surprise when one Wednesday I had lunch with my daughters at school and asked to take a bite of each of their soups. Some readers have told me their insulated containers keep their kids’ food piping hot and others have said it’s so cold their kids won’t even eat it. So I decided to see for myself how warm the food actually was by lunchtime (about 5 hours after packing it in the morning). Their lunch periods are only 20 minutes apart and the first daughter’s soup was fairly warm – even warm enough for a cold-natured person like me that prefers things pretty hot (soup, mochas, showers…you name it). Then I sat with my other daughter less than a half hour later and realized her soup was MUCH colder (she still ate it anyway – good girl LOL)! But, from the outside their food jars looked identical…same brand, same Hello Kitty logo, etc. and after packing them at the same time using the same method/soup I just knew something was not right. Continue Reading »
Today I am sharing a “roundup” of the misleading products I’ve been sharing on Facebook lately. Just in case you missed some or need a friendly reminder…please don’t let the food industry fool you with these products!
I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the back of this taco seasoning packet and saw “Maltodextrin” as the first item on the ingredient list (meaning what it contains the most of). Maltodextrin is a filler found in highly processed foods and is usually made from corn. I don’t know about you but it’s not an additive I cook with at home. So then why would it be the main ingredient in something as simple as taco seasoning?
Real Food Alternative:
Throw together a big batch of homemade taco seasoning by combining 1 tablespoon of chili powder and 1 ½ teaspoons each of cumin, oregano, and salt. Add some red pepper to taste then store in an airtight container. I use 2 ½ teaspoons of taco seasoning per 1 pound of ground meat. Also check out my taco salad
recipe for a different take on tacos! Continue Reading »
This is a guest post from my husband, Jason Leake, and is part of his new interview series for the blog. To learn more about Jason check out our team page or his post entitled “Real Food From a Man’s Perspective.”
Bruce Bradley, former Big Food exec
Most of us have heard at one time or another about how the food industry is the devil. But is it really? Or are all these kale-loving real food bloggers (like us) just overreacting? Today I am talking with Bruce Bradley, a former Big Food exec turned food advocate, blogger, and author, to find out the real deal. To my knowledge, Bruce is the only former Big Food marketer actively speaking out about concerns over the food we eat, and he has just published a novel called Fat Profits which exposes the industry.
Interview with Bruce Bradley
Q: What was it like working as a marketer for Big Food companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco? How did the industry and your feelings about your job change during those 15 years?
A: I started working as a processed food marketer in the early 1990s. The industry was very different then. Obesity rates weren’t making headlines. Walmart wasn’t selling groceries. And it was before the food industry went through a massive wave of consolidation that has whittled down the control of our food supply into the hands of a very small group of HUGE companies. Continue Reading »
I briefly shared this on Facebook a couple weeks ago, but in case you missed it here’s the deal. Moths moved into our pantry and it was not pretty. Bugs in general kind of give me the “heebie jeebies” so I thought the whole thing was quite disturbing actually. And as we were clearing house and tossing out just about every non-perishable food item we owned I said to my husband, ”This is happening because we eat real food isn’t it?” Those moths were all up on our raw nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other whole foods. They did eventually invade some non-food items as well, but let’s face it…for the most part bugs are after the same nutrients we are!
It Starts with Just One
So this is how it happened. One day – longer ago than I’d like to admit – I opened our pantry and one moth flew out. I didn’t think much of it (mistake #1). Who doesn’t deal with a pesky housefly or fruit fly on occasion? I thought this was one and the same. As time went on I noticed that this “moth flying out of the pantry” business was happening more frequently than it probably should. Then (thank goodness for social media) I saw another Facebook page mention they had unexplained moths in their pantry as well. The commenters shared that moths can move in and camp out, and in some cases you’ll need to get rid of everything. Yes, they were speaking of the items we were currently cooking with and eating…yikes!
So I tried to walk and not run straight to our pantry to start investigating. The first thing I found was a bag of unopened almonds that was getting more action (i.e. different moth lifecycle stages) than I care to disclose. I would have taken a picture, but I was so grossed out I could barely even look straight at it with my own eyes. Plus I was overwhelmed with the need to purge it immediately…after some screaming of course! That’s when my husband got involved. He started inspecting our “nut basket” and basically did a thorough clean out of just those items and we moved on (mistake #2)…eeeek! Continue Reading »