Why Some Milk Is Not Refrigerated (and an explanation of UHT)


When we were in Europe last month I shared how almost all of the milk options in the supermarket are not refrigerated and are considered “shelf stable.” It stirred up quite a bit of discussion on Facebook…

Have you ever noticed how some milk here in the US is not refrigerated either? Why is it that these small individual sized organic milk containers in the US aren’t sold cold? If you haven’t already noticed almost all the commercialized organic milk options here in the US are Ultra High-Temperature Pasteurized (UHT) – which is actually the same process widely used in Europe – but that still doesn’t answer why some versions are refrigerated and some aren’t. The only difference is the packaging. Just like the pictured Organic Valley “Single Serve” milk boxes, almost all European milk is UHT and put into what is called aseptic (i.e. sterilized) packaging. UHT milk can last for several months in this type of packaging without spoiling…at least until you open it at which point the shelf life does shorten and it does need to be stored in the fridge.

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Recipe: Tomato Pie (with corn and a whole-wheat crust)

tomato and corn pie

I’d never even heard of “tomato pie” until last summer, but as soon as I was introduced to the idea I knew it was something I had to try. So after attempting a few different variations I am excited to share this recipe with you today. Serve it for dinner with steamed broccoli or a big green salad, and if you are lucky enough to have at least one piece leftover the next day have it for breakfast with some scrambled or fried eggs on the side – yum. How do you eat your tomato pie?

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Real Food Tips: 10 Recipes To Cook With Your Kids

kids in the kitchen

There is no better time than summer break to spend some quality time in the kitchen with your kids. With all the learning our children do when they are off at school a few things they are not being taught are some pretty important household duties like cooking, cleaning, and laundry – just to name a few. In Michael Pollan’s newest book, Cooked, he said himself that [Cooking from scratch] “is the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being.”

That’s a pretty strong statement – don’t you think? I personally want cooking to be second nature to my girls when it is time for me to send them off into the world, which means I need them to start learning these skills now! It’s no secret that getting your kids in the kitchen – even starting as young as 1 or 2 years old – can lead to many benefits like increased confidence, more adventurous eaters, and quality time together. But it’s also of course no secret that it’s more work for mom and dad to slow down your cooking pace and deal with more of a mess in the process, but I can assure you that it is totally worth it in the end. It does not need to be an every day occurrence …even cooking with your little once only once every week or two will go a long way!

So it’s time for you to schedule a little cooking project with your kid(s) – no matter their age. From toddlers who stir pancake batter to dindergartners who can cook scrambled eggs on the stove (supervised of course) to 8-year-olds who follow and make entire recipes by themselves (we’ve just recently reached this milestone with our oldest daughter) the moral of the story is – better late than never so go in there and get cooking together! :)

Here are my top 10 recipes for sharing the cooking duties with your kids (click the name for the full recipe):

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Sodium is Essential (in the right quantity) – But Not All Salt is Created Equal

salt labels

Let’s face it – sodium has gotten a pretty bad rap lately. But in light of all the advice suggesting we reduce our sodium it’s important to know that (the right amount of) salt is also an essential nutrient for our bodies. So while overdoing it can still be detrimental to your health, you actually don’t want to go down the path of cutting out salt all together.

The reason so many Americans struggle today with high blood pressure and other sodium-related health issues is because very little of our sodium intake actually comes out of a salt shaker. In fact, “Processed and restaurant foods account for more than three-quarters of all sodium,” according to a 1991 study says CSPI – which means we don’t even know when we are eating it.

On that note I want to share a little something about my own personal health journey today. I am not saying what happened to me will be the same for everyone living a real food lifestyle – but maybe this information can help some.

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Recipe: Roasted {Summer} Vegetable Pasta

roasted vegetable pasta

If you are looking for ways to cook summer squash and eggplant then I have a recipe for you. I recently shared that I used to think I didn’t like eggplant (can’t even remember why I had that in my head), but I decided to give it another chance last year and have slowly started to change my mind. I’ve even caught myself ordering it at a restaurant and craving it in dishes at home – what a turn around! This recipe below is inspired by one of our favorite restaurant meals – that actually included a pork chop as well – in France. And it wasn’t at an uppity, expensive restaurant in Paris…just at a little roadside café in the small town of Cluny at the uber reasonable cost of 8 Euros (about 10 bucks).

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Real Food Tips: Top 10 Travel Snacks

travel snacks

It’s no secret that we’ve done our fair share of traveling so far this summer. If your family still has some fun trips coming up – whether by car or by plane – below are some snacks that we think are great and easy to take along. Even if you just can’t (or won’t) stick to a real food diet once you get to your destination, I think it’s great to have some items for the road trip there or even to supplement meals once you arrive. What good is a vacation if you feel sluggish (or even sick) from some not-so-great airplane or gas station food? And yes, you can take your own food and empty water bottle through airport security, provided you follow TSA guidelines for anything considered a liquid.*

1) Homemade Trail Mix or Granola
Trail mix is easy enough – just mix together a variety of nuts, seeds, and even dried fruit then divide up into little baggies or reusable containers. Or alternatively bag up some yummy homemade granola cereal that you can just eat dry out of your hand. These options can be an especially filling snack for taking up such little space.

2) Simple Store Bought Fruit & Nut Bars (or homemade!)
For the store bought versions be sure to check the ingredients for a short list of items you are familiar with and would cook with at home. We personally like Lara Bars, Kit’s Organic and Raw Crunch. (Tip use coupon code “100DAYS” for 15% off your online Raw Crunch purchase.) And yes it’s extra work, but I promise the homemade version of dried fruit and nut bars are even better than you could imagine :)

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Special Report: Eating Our Way Through Europe!

Europe Visit

As you may know our family had the opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime this summer. For the first time ever we took our daughters beyond the borders of the US and together we visited England, France, Switzerland, and Italy – and what an experience it was! This was one of those trips where “scope creep” ruled. We initially decided we wanted to visit my cousin and his family who have been living in Paris for a year and the plans just grew from there. Because once you take the plunge to buy plane tickets to travel all that way – why not? One thing I learned from this trip is that our daughters, at 8- and 6-years-old, are at the perfect age to go on an adventure like this. They were total troopers even when we pushed the limits more than intended (dinner at 9:30 anyone?). I was really impressed with how well they dealt with so many new (and foreign) environments, the six hour time change, and the days that sight-seeing honestly wore out all four of us. I was diligent about having them keep a daily journal (that they also taped mementos into – like train tickets and museum passes) so they will hopefully remember this experience for years to come!

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3 Products to Help Introduce Your Baby and Toddler to Real Food


This is a guest post by Kiran, our Sales Manager…to learn more about Kiran check out our team page!

It’s no secret that good nutrition starts from the very beginning. Many moms take a good look at their own health habits upon learning about their pregnancy and even take steps to improve their well being for the health of their baby. But often times after baby is born, moms go back to their pre-pregnancy habits for themselves and for baby. It’s often unintentional but more due to lack of time or lack of understanding what to feed, and sometimes dealing with “picky” eaters.

Understanding how to rid your child’s life of processed food is just as important as ridding your life from processed food. And it actually could be more important. Keeping in mind the idea of little organs growing and maturing, and it’s a wonder that the idea of helping your child maintain a “real food” diet isn’t one of the most important things to parents.

To help mothers and fathers (whether you are expecting or you have a 2 year-old and whether your child might be labeled a “great” eater or even a “picky” eater), I’m excited to introduce three products/resources from our sponsors, including a great video, that can make it that much easier to rid the processed foods from your child’s diet.

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Guest Post: Top 10 Feeding Mistakes Parents Make

Fearless Feeding

(Guest Post) As child and family nutrition experts, and co-authors of the new book Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School, we help parents learn what to expect in terms of feeding children based on child development. For example, every parent of a baby should know they are in the honeymoon phase of feeding, a time when baby is open to almost any food, making it an important time to introduce variety before kids get more picky around two years of age. In most cases, selective eating at this time is normal as growth slows and cognitive changes occur.

To show you how this information translates to everyday feeding practices, here are 10 common mistakes parents make at each stage of development (including adulthood!):

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Recipe: Simple Mustard Vinaigrette

Simple Mustard Vinaigrette

Making your own homemade salad dressings can actually be fairly simple, and the taste is far superior to the store bought stuff. Plus most packaged salad dressings are full of unnecessary additives (including refined sweeteners) that you would never cook with at home…so this is a great place to start when it comes to making the switch to real food. Below is a super simple recipe for the pictured Mustard Vinaigrette along with some other tips and recipes to keep your salads fresh and fun!

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Using Spelt Pasta (Plus a recipe and $500 Giveaway!)

Chimi Pasta with Herbs

Thanks to one of our sponsors, Nature’s Legacy, I recently discovered how much I like spelt! The spelt grain is part of the wheat family and available in both whole and white form (just like wheat). Spelt is more mild than wheat though and in my opinion, especially when it’s used in baked goods, the outcome is lighter and more cake like – yes, please! I first tried spelt flour in a whole grain pumpkin muffin recipe last year, and I am not going to lie…the texture is just divine, and this recipe still remains one of our favorites. And spelt products go beyond just flour, so be sure look for whole-spelt pasta as well and try some using the pasta recipe below. If you are new to cooking with spelt (like I was not too long ago!) here are some helpful facts…

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