Our dinner club gatherings are always a super fun evening and last night was no exception. What’s better than great friends, delicious food, and a fun theme? Oh how I love theme parties! Themes just give you something to work with and ensure everything flows from the food to the décor to the drinks and even the music. As you can see I enjoyed decorating our table to reflect last night’s Mexican theme, and when our guests walked in we also had mariachi music playing to help set the tone for the evening.
Archives for July 2011
To be honest, I never really liked lunch meat that much anyway so it was very easy for me to stop buying it. The main reason we gave it up was because (especially after watching Food, Inc.) we made a decision to only eat locally raised meats. And have you ever seen someone slicing off pieces of deli meat at your local farmers’ market? Shortly after writing off all lunch meat I soon realized other good benefits would come from this decision as well. Like helping us to reduce our overall meat consumption, which is better for our health and environment anyway. So this is the reason I haven’t bought a pack of deli meat in over a year (or even missed it one bit), and as you can see it was quite a simple decision for us! With that being said, this change opened up a whole new window of opportunity when it came to sandwiches. But with anything, I can sometimes get in a rut. So I recently asked my wonderful facebook community to share their most favorite sandwich combinations, which helped inspire this fresh list of sandwich ideas below. Please also feel free to leave your ideas in the comments at the bottom!
First and foremost I must get something off my chest. Just because a box of something at the grocery store or even a bagel at the bakery says “multi-grain” does not mean it is a healthy alternative. Multi-grain simply means the food is made with more than one grain and has absolutely nothing to do with whether any of those grains are actually the whole grain or not, which is what is really important. Awhile back I did an in-depth post on understanding whole-wheat and what should be in your sandwich bread. What you know about wheat can easily be applied to many other grains as well. In summary, the wheat berry has three parts (the germ, bran, and endosperm) and whole-wheat flour includes all three of these parts. When highly processed (a.k.a. refined) white flour is made the nutritious bran and germ are removed and only the endosperm is left, which is basically high in calories and low in nutrients. I don’t know about you, but this reminds me a little too much of sugar. This “white” flour is still made from the “wheat” plant, but it is considered to be highly processed. Here are a few other popular grains and how this same thought process can be applied… Corn I know corn easily gets a bad rap because it is so highly subsidized by the government and included in countless additives that you will find in most highly processed foods, but straight-up whole corn by itself is actually a decent food. Not only is corn considered to be a whole-grain, but it is also sometimes considered to be a vegetable (that according to the Whole Grains Council “has the highest level of antioxidants of any grain or vegetable.”). Just like wheat though, you want to make sure you only buy the most nutritious […]
When it comes to food I think I can learn a lot from the French. And I am not just talking about French cuisine. Their whole approach to food is quite different than ours here in America, and I first became intrigued when I read “Eat more like the French” in Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. And what better way to learn more than to hear from the French themselves? So without further ado, following is a “100 Days of Real Food” guest post by one of our very own readers who grew up in France, but now lives in North Carolina and blogs in both French and English on http://frenchyncarolina.blogspot.com/. The French approach to food By Cécile Delmas I don’t pretend to know how every French person eats. I can only share the experience I had with my family. I grew up in France but I’ve had the chance to visit the US since I was 13 and now live here.
One day I was out of berries and my girls wanted a fruit smoothie so, inspired by a blog reader, we tried a peanut butter banana smoothie instead and…yum! It doesn’t get much easier than this, and we find smoothies to be the perfect supplement to almost any breakfast or lunch. These are also super good frozen too, but more on that later. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack Prep Time: 5 minutes Servings: 4 Inspired by Blog Reader, Julie Print Ingredients 3 bananas ripe (the riper the better) 1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk recommended) ½ cup peanut butter ½ cup ice Instructions Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Enjoy! Recipe variation: If you have frozen bananas on hand you can use those and omit the ice cubes.
This is very out of character for me, but today I am posting a dessert recipe made with sugar! Yes, regular ol’ white (and brown) sugar. And here’s the reason why. We wholeheartedly agree that junk food is okay in moderation, but as I’ve said before I think junk food can be broken down into two very different categories… Traditional Junk Food vs. Artificial Factory-Made Junk Food Now if you are a real food junkie like me, and you get a hankering for something sweet, I would much rather you eat something like these homemade cookies as opposed to a bag of Chips Ahoy. Not only would this homemade version taste a great deal better, but they would also be better for you due to the following reasons: They are made with mostly whole-wheat flour. They don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial additives. They can be made with organic ingredients. Another reason I am posting this recipe is because some who just recently switched to “real food” may not have a good recipe in their files for homemade cookies and cakes. Before our family’s drastic transformation to real food I used to solely rely on Betty Crocker boxed cake mixes for birthday celebrations. When it came time to celebrate the first birthday after our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge I was at a loss for making a homemade cake from scratch. So this cookie recipe will be the first of a (very small!) series for those of us that want to occasionally indulge in something extra special without having to rely on mass produced food. So just to be clear this is one of the few recipes on this blog that would not be “approved” during the “10 Days of Real Food” pledge, but this could also be […]
In the midst of my third summer vegetable garden I’m realizing it’s going to be a long road ahead before I’ll truly “get” the hang of things. So far I’ve learned a lot each season, but when you only get one shot at trying out your summer garden each year the learning curve feels pretty steep. Maybe it would help if I had somewhat of a “green thumb,” but other than cutting our grass I have almost no skills when it comes to caring for plants. That hasn’t stopped me from trying though, and since I’ve had some success – and even more failures – I thought I would share my lessons learned (so far!). And by all means if you actually know what you are doing when it comes to growing vegetables I would love to hear your advice in the comments below. Lessons learned from my garden…
Get ready to add a new favorite dinner to your weekly rotation…whole-wheat pizza pockets! These are sure to please eaters of all ages and the best part is you can use up food or leftovers from your fridge for the fillings. Little ones might especially enjoy making their own pizza pocket so don’t be afraid to get them involved. Their friends might like to help as well so for the next sleepover or birthday gathering consider hosting a “make your own pizza pocket” party. And if you have time to double the recipe these are great leftover the next day or even weeks later if stored in the freezer.
In just minutes you can easily make this restaurant quality Alfredo sauce at home. And let’s not forget, unlike what we’ve been told for many years, we shouldn’t be afraid of these “good fats.” So don’t waste any time giving this tasty and inexpensive sauce a try poured over some whole-grain noodles and lots of fresh seasonal veggies. It would also work well in a “white lasagne” or extra creamy macaroni dish. No matter what, you just cannot go wrong when you start with fresh cream and butter!
You may be on board with cutting out processed food, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your family fully supports the idea. This can certainly lead to some challenges, but for those who truly care about the health of their family members it is hard to simply look the other way. We initially cut out highly processed food and refined ingredients because we thought it was the right thing to do, but the unexpected improvements to our health that followed were almost a little scary. I had no clue that giving up white flour, sugar, and other processed junk would cause my daughter’s asthma and constipation to disappear as well as result in a 50% increase in my HDL (a.k.a. “good”) cholesterol! And here I already thought we were a fairly “healthy” family, which has a lot to do with why I spend my time trying to convince others (including your family members) to make the switch to real food. I used to be absolutely clueless about the food we were eating and then one day I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and watched Food, Inc. That was enough to give me a huge wake up call and while these resources are a great start for anyone who needs some convincing, it might take more than that to convert the most close-minded of spouses. My husband happens to be on board already (or I could never do all of this!) so I reached out to my wonderful 100 Days of Real Food facebook community for their advice and following are the results. If you have any additional suggestions please leave them in the comments below.
A little over a year ago, when we first cut out processed food, a facebook friend told me she was grinding her own wheat for homemade breads and other recipes. I’d honestly never heard of such a thing and had no clue why anyone would want to grind their own grains in the first place. I also didn’t know where one would get wheat to grind (or what it would look like). Maybe she grew it in her own backyard? Maybe she spent all day harvesting wheat stalks and then turning a crank on some old-fashioned machine to make flour? I certainly thought it sounded way too hard-core for me and like something I would NEVER do (or want to do). Well, look at what’s happened…I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I am grinding my own wheat now too! I realize wheat grinding initially sounded crazy to me because I didn’t understand it one bit. So I decided to create a little video (below) to show you what it’s really all about. There are no wheat stalks or cranks involved and it is actually a rather simple and high-tech process. Before we dive right in to my first blog video though, I want to share the reason why I wanted a wheat grinder in the first place.