Recipe: Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce (that will feed a crowd!)

Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce

This Sunday sauce is a hearty, delicious crowd pleaser. There is just no other way to describe it! I was first introduced to this style of spaghetti sauce by our old babysitter, Kim, long ago when we lived in Florida and I was working full time for corporate America. While the baby (who is now 8 going on 9!) was napping, and I was working, rather than sitting around Kim would start or sometimes even make our dinner for us.

Now that is a good babysitter. If you are paying someone by the hour, there is just no need for sitting around in my opinion! And with our work schedules back then, it was such a life saver at times. Granted, at that time in our lives, the meat wasn’t local and the tomatoes weren’t organic and the pasta definitely wasn’t whole-grain, BUT it was still a somewhat wholesome meal I very much enjoyed and remember to this day.

And thanks to a similar dish made by my friend Trang and a “Super Sunday Sauce” recipe I found in Rachael Ray Magazine I was able to piece together how Kim made this for us plus – added bonus – turn it into a dish that can simmer all day long in the slow cooker!

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School Lunch Dilemmas Solved: Advice from Momables!

7 Lunchbox Dilemmas Solved with 100 Days of #RealFood and MOMables

Today I am excited to share some great school lunch packing tips from my friend Laura Fuentes with MOMables! We all know that we should be packing our kids a variety of colorful, wholesome, healthy foods they will love, but sometimes that is just easier said than done. And that’s exactly why Laura, mom of three kids ages 7-years-old and younger, came up with an idea for helping parents make this a reality.

She developed a meal planning planning service with the school lunch box in mind, ensuring that anyone who followed along could kiss the “Sandwich Rut” goodbye. And, as I’ve mentioned before, aside from this paid meal planning service Laura also has a blog and facebook page where she continuously shares super creative and fun food ideas. It’s honestly one of my favorite Facebook pages to follow – so thank you Laura for sponsoring today’s blog post (and for always keeping my Facebook news feed interesting)!

If you decide to try out the MOMables meal planning service you’ll get 5 real food lunch ideas, a prep-ahead sheet, and a shopping list – all of which can help any busy parent feed their kids a variety of foods – for only $6 per month! And their one simple plan approach has built in substitutions for vegetarian, gluten free and nut free options when needed (please note: it is not dairy free or vegan).

Now, back to all those fabulous little MOMables tips I was telling you about. Here are 7 quick fixes from Laura for those unwelcome lunchbox dilemmas!

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DIY: Homemade Healthy Lunchables (that look just like store bought)

Homemade Healthy Lunchables by 100 Days of #RealFood #Lunchables

The number one way to know what’s really in your food – and how highly processed it is – is to read the ingredients. There are some products that you just know are total junk food without even seeing what’s inside like Doritos, Coca-Cola, and pretty much any Little Debbie Snack. Then there are others that I don’t think are so obvious (to the average shopper), for example… cheese and crackers? Peanut butter and jelly with fruit? All white chicken strips with a smoothie? C’mon, you have to admit those combinations sound more innocent and not nearly as bad as a Swiss Cake Roll.

These are some of the combinations packaged up and sold as Lunchables. I can totally see the attraction to buying these “lunches” for your kids. There is no question they are convenient for the adults and desired by (most) little ones. But, at what point do we stop letting the benefits of convenience outweigh the importance of our children’s health? I know we are all busy. Let’s face it though, we all have the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to each individual to prioritize what is important in their own life. I don’t think one Lunchable is going to put anyone’s health over the edge, but please tell me we all agree this is not what we should be feeding our children on a weekly basis. Let’s take a look at what’s inside.

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Recipe: How to Roast Vegetables (4 Ways)

How to Roast Vegetables Cheat Sheet from 100 Days of Real Food

One of the easiest most versatile ways of cooking is roasting vegetables. You’d be amazed at what 20-40 minutes in the good ol’ oven can do to vegetables. We’re talking crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, warm, comforting, and nourishing real foods. What could be better?! I almost always have a mixture of roasted veggies in our fridge, either prepared to roast or ready to reheat (a bonus for those who eat leftovers).

The process of roasting coaxes out the sweetness of the vegetables, which caramelize when cooked. But the great thing about roasting vegetables is that it’s simple. You wash, chop, mix in a little olive oil, garlic and salt, a few optional spices, and pop it in the oven. Seriously, this is win-win across the board.

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Video: How I Set Up for School Lunch (and Breakfast)!

How to Set Up for School Lunches from 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

I am excited to share with you our very first professionally made video, or “vlog” as some call it! There was just no better way to show you how we do set up for school lunch around here to ensure school mornings go as smoothly as possible. So enjoy (and be sure to check out the video notes just below).

P.S. You’ll get a sneak peak of our new logo coming soon!

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Real Food Tips: Advice and Recipes from Our Team

cookie dough

Aside from all the blog work our team members do to keep this site going round, each person has their own special real food talents and knowledge as well. After all, that’s what brought us all together in the first place (well, except for me and my husband of course. That was actually a fraternity party in college and a story for another day!).

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to reach out to each person behind the scenes over here and ask them to share their best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon as well as their favorite recipe!

From Jason, Business Manager (and my husband)

Tip:
I’m going to cheat here and give two tips.

1. Have your reluctant family members read In Defense of Food and watch Food, Inc. so they have some background on why you are making a change. They could even borrow the audio book from the library and listen during their daily commute. There is no shame in changing old behavior as the result of education, but this requires an open mind.

2. Make real food your new normal. Things cease to be “new and different” when they turn into just “how things are done” in your house (consistently, most of the time).

I remember growing up and comparing my experiences (bedtime, TV time, chore list, privileges, etc.) with those of my friends. If I ever complained to my mom, she would reply with, “I’m not your friend’s mother. I’m your mother, and in this house, this is how it’s going to be.” It’s important to go beyond groupthink and embrace your own individuality. You have the power to influence your own family’s experiences and wellbeing, and if you are a parent, that power could extend to future generations.

Recipe:
My favorite real food recipe is Pork Carnitas Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas. It is just incredible, rivaling authentically prepared food I’ve had in Mexico. If you are a novice cook, you can go with store bought corn tortillas the first time around (Ezekiel brand is clean), but once your family falls in love with the tacos you have to make some homemade tortillas the next time. They will rock your world.

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Recipe: Make Ahead Smoothies (2 Ways)

make ahead smoothie - how to

Sure throwing a few ingredients in a blender to make a smoothie doesn’t take long, but on a busy weekday morning we all know…every minute counts! And after trying out this make ahead method of bagging (or bottling) up smoothie ingredients myself, I can attest that it really does make a difference.

Even in the afternoons when the girls get home from school, I might not always be into the idea of getting out all the different ingredients to make a smoothie, but if the fruits and veggies were already packaged up in the exact right proportions? Sure, we can have a smoothie snack any day! It’s amazing how sometimes a little advance preparation can go a long way.

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School Lunch Photo Contest Results!

Photo Contest Image

It’s time to share the results of our first ever Facebook School Lunch Photo Contest! I have to start by saying you guys are amazing. I loved seeing how many of you out there are putting so much love (and good food!) into your children’s lunches. And I loved how all the pictures show that anyone can do this (not just some blogger!). I really hope it encourages others who aren’t quite there yet because it’s never too late to start in my opinion. :)

So I had the super duper tough job of picking only 3 winners who will each get a brand new PlanetBox Shuffle Complete Set by the way! And just as a reminder, to be eligible to win the packed lunch had to follow our real food rules. Here are the lucky winners (in no particular order)…

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Giveaway: Real Salt, Redmond Clay, Earthpaste (Toothpaste), and More!

Redmond

I’m excited to tell you about today’s giveaway, courtesy of our sponsor: Redmond Trading! Redmond offers quite a variety of products including Real Salt, Redmond Clay, and Earthpaste (Natural Toothpaste). It’s no secret that I am a big fan of their Real Salt, a completely natural, unrefined salt that’s full of natural minerals. You may remember me recently talking about the importance of including “the right kind of” salt in my diet.

I also get a lot of questions from readers about toothpaste brands that don’t contain any unwanted additives like glycerin, fluoride, artificial dyes or foaming agents, and for this, Earthpaste is a great solution.

And lastly, they offer Redmond Clay, a sort of “do it all” type of powder than can be used internally and externally for bug bites/stings, burns, scrapes, cuts, stomachaches, heartburn and the like. In addition to helping with all sorts of ailments, it can also be used as an all natural facial mask (Kiran on our team has tried it a number of times and says two thumbs up). I wasn’t kidding when I said this clay can “do it all!”

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Real Food Tips: How to Pack a Cooler (Safely)

How To Pack A Cooler

After years and years of weekend camping trips I honestly can’t believe I am just now figuring out there is a proper way to pack a cooler to ensure food safety (and avoid food poisoning). So today I want to share these newfound, valuable tips because, when the precautions are so easy, why not be safe instead of sorry? Surely I’m not the only one that has been living in the dark on this topic.

It all started on our camping trip this past weekend when I opened our cooler to find that ice had melted and leaked (potentially contaminated cooler water) into the container holding our caprese pasta salad (that took me a long time to make from scratch…and I wanted to eat!). Melted ice has leaked into containers on us before, but it only seemed to happen with a few questionable leftovers that were still left in the cooler after returning home – not a brand new dish we hadn’t even eaten yet! So I turned to my facebook community for some important advice – eat it or toss it? And after sifting through more than 1K responses to this question, and using my brain a little, I realized we need to make some serious, yet simple, changes before ever packing up the cooler with a weekend’s worth of food again!

Cooler Packing Tips

1)Start With A Good Quality Hard Cooler.
High quality, thick-sided, hard coolers are better at insulating and keeping your food cold than the soft-sided alternative. So when it comes to packing perishables for an extended period of time (or when it’s extra hot outside) skip the light-weight insulated bags and go for something sturdier instead. For example, my daughters’ school lunches are fine in an insulated bag with several ice packs sitting in the air conditioned school building until lunchtime, but when I recently sent my 6-year-old to an outdoor camp in the middle of our hot Carolina summer they recommended a personal-sized hard cooler to ensure the food stayed cool enough in the heat.

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