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!
Archives for November 2012
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. >>> Special deal for 100 Days of Real Food Readers: Get 6 months for just $21 or 3 months for $10.50. Both are 30% off of the regular price! Offer good through December 9th. –
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.
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! Taco Seasoning 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!
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.” ……………………….. 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.
Whether you think you have moths or not, you need to get a pheromone trap (non-toxic) and put it in your pantry ASAP.
It’s no secret that we absolutely LOVE cheese in our house. And we don’t discriminate either. Whether it’s sharp cheese, soft cheese, or even “stinky” cheese…there’s always a place for it in our kitchen. That’s why I was so excited when La Bonne Vie asked if they could send me some cheese to develop a recipe with (um, ya!). La Bonne Vie, which translates into “The Good Life,” offers a variety of both Brie and goat cheeses…two of our favorites. To find out where you can purchase their products in your area just enter your zip code on their “store locator” page. Then after you get a hold of their cheese we’d love for you to try out some of the “real food” recipes below. And in my opinion the “Grilled Brie and Apple Sandwich” would be fabulous with the addition of some leftover turkey on it (hint, hint). A big thank you to La Bonne Vie for sponsoring this post today!
This cookbook review is a guest post by Kiran with input from Lisa. To learn more about Kiran check out our team page! ……………………….. I’ve always been fond of cookbooks and recipes. Though time rarely permits, my idea of a lazy Sunday morning would, without a doubt, include leafing through cookbooks or magazines and dog-earing recipes that pique my interest. While I’ve been a “conscious” eater (and cook) for about 20 years, lately my desires in recipes have gotten more focused. I should share that I’ve been frustrated in the past with cookbooks that had these fantastic-looking recipes that ended up flopping in my kitchen. While I admit that the faults may have absolutely been my own, these days I am looking for meals that won’t take hours to prepare and that are made with real and, when realistic, organic ingredients. I want successes and smart uses of food, and – with Lisa’s help – together we’ve found 8 cookbooks that have pleased our palates. We hope that you’ll find one to please yours, too!
If you are looking for some “real food” holiday dishes to add to your Thanksgiving table then you are in the right place! Below is a fabulous recipe for the pictured Chestnut and Prosciutto Bread Stuffing that you put inside your turkey or bake as a separate dish on the side. We also have some other tasty real food holiday dishes in our archives including the following (and please be sure to share your favorites in the comments below…don’t forget links!): Pesto Cream Cheese Bake – The perfect appetizer to snack on while waiting for the bird to finish cooking! Sweet Potato Casserole – Kind of like the old favorite…except with a lot less sugar! :) Whole-Grain Corn Bread – Bake these in one casserole dish or as individual muffins (that can even be made in advance and frozen). Butternut Squash Soup – One of our all time favorite fall dishes whether it’s a holiday or not. Brown Rice Risotto – A dish that for years has always made its way to our family holiday table. Salad Inspiration – Lots of different salad combo ideas. Shortcut Chocolate Pecan Pie – Made with a simple homemade whole-wheat crust. Whole-Wheat Biscuits – What is Thanksgiving without some yummy homemade bread to “sop” up all that gravy left on the plate?
As promised, here is Part II of the FAQs from when I recently asked our Facebook followers, “If you are new to cutting out processed food what are you most confused about at the moment?” If you missed Part I be sure to check it out for the details and also the first 9 questions/answers. – Real quick though I want to tell you about one of our meal planning sponsors, eMeals, and how they now offer both clean eating and paleo themed meal plans. Their service is also one of the few that allows you to choose either family sized portions (for 3 to 6 eaters) or smaller portioned meal plans (for only 1 to 2 eaters). Either way you get 7 dinner recipes along with an organized grocery list each week. They also have a blog with all sorts of resources including this chart that compares Paleo Eating with Clean Eating. Back to our FAQ list now…this is apparently what inquiring minds want to know! Question: “I think that I am doing good by buying ‘real food’ and not highly processed food, but then I start reading all the health food blogs and feel discouraged because it isn’t all organic. I just feel like giving up!” – Answer: Please don’t give up! Any changes toward real food are better than none. First of all, I think it’s important to point out that eating conventional (non-organic) produce is much better than not eating any produce at all. I really hate that organic is oftentimes more expensive, but unfortunately budget restrictions are just a fact of life for many. One saying I love though is “pay more for good food now or more for healthcare costs later,” and when you look at statistics they’re pretty telling. According to Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food, “In 1960 Americans […]
This contest is closed and the winner has been selected. Congrats to… Michele who in her comment said “Newsletter!” She also said she would like to try “The organic GF breads!” Michele: check your email for your prize details. …………………………………. Wise Choice Market started out as the online store for Caldwell’s organic raw fermented vegetables and unique starter culture for vegetables. Owner Simon Gorman founded Wise Choice Market back in 2010 after discovering how incorporating fermented foods in his diet greatly improved his personal health and well-being. His aim is to bring organic nutrient-dense foods directly to your homes, and he is adding new and healthy real food products to their store all the time. Most recently Wise Choice started offering a variety of organic sprouted grain Manna Breads (including certified gluten-free) and organic chicken and beef broth as well. We are excited to be hosting a giveaway that includes a variety of Wise Choice Market’s real food products today…please see below for the details! Giveaway Details Wise Choice Market giveaway includes: Two loaves of organic gluten free bread Two loaves of organic sprouted grain bread One container of organic real chicken broth One container of organic real beef broth A selection of seven organic raw cultured vegetables – Package value is worth approximately $112 – More about what Wise Choice offers: In addition to fermented vegetables, Wise Choice recently started offering five flavors of organic gluten free bread made by Manna Organics. These pre-sliced loaves are certified organic (and therefore non-GMO) and also gluten-free by GFCO