Real Food School Lunches

I would be lying if I said coming up with a variety of healthy, real food, peanut-free, tree nut-free, portable lunch options wasn’t a challenge. I understand that the school is trying to protect children with severe peanut/tree nut allergies, but I have to admit that I often feel their little rules conflict with what we are trying to do…eat real food that is. On the school’s “safe snack list” which offers hundreds of “approved” options I literally found only 15 items that we would also consider to be “approved” for our kindergartner. They seriously have “Wendy’s Frosties” listed as an approved option so I suppose they would rather me send in one of those or something like a package of goldfish for her snack instead of a little all-natural cashew/dried fruit mix? Continue Reading »

Cool Summer Treat Makeover

summer treats on 100 Days of #RealFoodSummer is the perfect time to take a break from the heat with a cold treat. I know last summer my kids went through their fair share of popsicles, freezie pops, push-ups, and ice cream. Well you may have noticed that we are on day 11 of our 100 Days of Real Food and of course none of those treats will be allowed this summer…not that I really want my kids sucking down frozen nutrition-less high-fructose corn syrup anyway. So I had to get creative and come up with as many attractive alternatives as I could if I expect my kids to forget about the store-bought stuff! Continue Reading »

Recipe: Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto

caprese salad recipe from 100 Days of Real FoodThis particular recipe is my favorite “salad” of all time. Maybe this is because it doesn’t contain any lettuce and I am not too much of a lettuce person. This variation of the caprese salad is especially fabulous with locally grown in-season tomatoes. I ate the one pictured last night, and felt like I could have licked my plate at the end. Now that is a good salad. And if you love it as much as I do you can get creative with different ways to serve it. Check out the panini I made (pictured below), which is just the salad ingredients melted inside two pieces of whole-wheat bread and served with balsamic vinegar for dipping.

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Recipe: Veggie Burgers (another meal you can freeze!) made with Homemade Breadcrumbs

This is another recipe where you can use a lot of in-season ingredients from the farmer’s market. I was able to find mushrooms, scallions, spinach and carrots at our local Farmer’s Market in Matthews. And slowly but surely locally grown potatoes and bell peppers will be available as well. This is also one of those Recipe - Veggie Burgers from 100 Days of Real Foodrecipes that I consider “flexible.” If you don’t have any carrots on hand, then leave them out. If you would rather spend less money on a green bell pepper vs. red then go for it. If you prefer a sweet potato over a white potato, it would be the perfect substitution. My point is…there are no excuses to not at least try these burgers!

As mentioned in the title, once assembled, these veggie burgers do freeze well (layer them between sheets of wax paper before you sauté them). I usually special order a dozen honey whole-wheat hamburger buns from Great Harvest, which I store in the freezer as well. Then on any given day I don’t feel like cooking…voila! We can have an instant, homemade, healthy dinner. But before you jump the gun, I do want to mention that these veggie burgers don’t hold together quite as well as the meat version so I would not recommend throwing them on the grill. Enjoy! Continue Reading »

Day 3: Backyard BBQ and Modified Crepes

We made it through the first three days, but there is still a LONG way to go! The day after we kicked off our 100 Days of Real Food we were set to host a little party for the neighborhood kids (and their parents). Since it was a field day type event focused on the kids I also provided all of the “kid food”, too. I certainly didn’t want my children to have to eat anything special or different so this meant that all 16 kids (little did they know) would be eating by our new rules!

I know I’ve said this before, but I must say it again…thank you popcorn for being a 100% whole-grain! Popcorn is tasty and fun – especially when served in individual little popcorn bags (which I found at World Market). In addition to the popcorn we cut up a big watermelon, which disappeared quite fast. For the main course I knew I wanted to serve hot dogs, but of course they couldn’t be just any hot dogs. I managed to find a local farm that makes hot dogs out of decent cuts of pork and beef, which we picked up at the Charlotte Farmer’s Market. I also special ordered two dozen honey whole-wheat hot dog buns from Great Harvest Bread Company. This was definitely the first time I had ever special ordered anything food related for a bunch of kids….but you gotta do what you gotta do! Continue Reading »

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Tortillas

Have you ever tried homemade flour tortillas before? Let me just say that the taste and texture is far superior to those that come in a plastic bag at the grocery store. Those at the store honestly don’t even deserve to be called tortillas compared to the real thing. And luckily, the Recipe - Whole-Wheat Tortillas from 100 Days of Real Foodtastiness of homemade tortillas justifies the effort it takes to make them. Up until now almost all the recipes I have posted have been easy to make, but I must admit that this one is definitely an exception to the rule. I will also say that I actually tried a couple of different methods for making tortillas and this is the easy (easier) version. Please trust me when I tell you…it is worth it! Continue Reading »