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Archive for July, 2010

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 whole grains 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 3 parts (germ, bran, endosperm) and when whole-wheat flour is made all 3 parts are included. When highly processed (a.k.a. refined) white flour is made you are only left with the endosperm, which is basically high in calories and low in nutrients (which reminds me a little too much of sugar). Here are a few other popular grains and how this same thought process can be applied… (more…)

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All I have to say about this sandwich is OMG! It is so incredibly good that my husband and I almost could not believe it. I was momentarily in shock that my kids didn’t like it, but then I said oh well – more for us! It certainly would be more convenient if they liked it too, but this is one of those things that we like so much that it’s worth it to make something different for them (like a plain grilled cheese). Don’t let us stop you from trying it on your kids though!

You can also eat this pimento cheese cold on plain bread, which is still good too. But once we discovered the cooked version (which is like a grilled cheese sandwich with a kick) we were hooked! Just imagine the soft pimento cream cheese mixture melted between two pieces of crispy bread that are grilled to perfection. Need I say more? (more…)

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What’s for breakfast this weekend? How about some yummy, healthy, easy-to-make, homemade waffles! You do need a waffle maker for this recipe, but I definitely think it is worth the $20 or $25 investment for a low priced model. I am still using my parents’ old waffle iron, which has to be at least 20 years old. It is incredibly basic and always does the trick whenever we are in the mood for some homemade waffles.

I made this exact recipe the other morning and lost count at how many my kids ate. I love that they can eat something so wholesome and still enjoy it. I of course made sure they ate plenty of fruit before giving them their second and third helpings though. If your kids aren’t as into eating this breakfast then consider enticing them with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top! And don’t forget to freeze the leftovers. (more…)

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One of the frequent questions we get about eating real food is “what do you eat exactly?” Unfortunately so many people have come to rely on both processed foods and highly refined ingredients that most don’t know what they would eat without them (you may be one of these people!). I will be the first to tell you that the initial transition isn’t easy, but once you get used to eating this way you soon discover that there so many options that actually taste a lot better than all of that processed stuff anyway.

I have been blogging about recipes and what to eat for months, but in this post I want to take a step back and tackle the topic of what a typical real food pantry might look like. (more…)

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Making spaghetti sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy, and not surprisingly, delicious (especially if made with locally grown or homegrown tomatoes). While this dish takes a little bit of time to prepare, it takes very little skill. I recommend to double (or even triple) this recipe for lots of leftovers with little additional effort.  The extra sauce can be thrown in your freezer for another day. Now that I have spoiled my family by making this sauce with tomatoes from our garden, I am going to have to load up at the next farmer’s market and freeze enough sauce to last us until the next tomato season. Wish me luck with that one! (more…)

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This dish is a wonderful (and healthier) alternative to a traditional flourless chocolate cake dessert. The chocolate torte is adapted from the chocolate powerballs recipe and can also be rolled into little individual balls. I can say that there is rarely a day that my fridge doesn’t have some of those in it! They are the perfect way for me to get my chocolate fix when I need one.

This dessert would also be great with some homemade or all natural ice cream instead of whipped cream. And the chocolate sauce is not only good with this torte, but I have also put it on plain vanilla ice cream and used it to make hot chocolate for my girls. When you are doing the 100 Days of Real Food you must make do! (more…)

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This is a perfect dish for all of those fresh tomatoes and cobs of corn that are now in season. One word of caution though, freshly harvested corn does not have to be cooked long at all. I used to buy corn from the grocery store and boil it for 10 – 12 minutes, which seemed to be adequate. I totally ruined our first batch of local corn by overcooking it by a long shot. I only boiled the second batch for 3 minutes and it was still overdone! I guess the third time really is a charm because I finally decided to boil the corn for 1 short minute and it was perfect. So keep a close eye on that pot if you use fresh corn too.

I also want to mention a little something about the beans in this recipe (or any recipe that calls for beans). I used to always buy canned beans and think nothing of it. Now that I am actually reading the ingredients I have realized the advantage of dried beans – no added salt! Isn’t it odd that a bag of dried beans has 0 mg of sodium, but a can of the very same beans would have hundreds of grams of sodium in it? I will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t always work out for me to remember to soak the beans the night before, so I like to have a back-up can on hand (since it is a whopping 99 cents extra) just in case I forget. I am happy to report though, I just learned that the Earthfare brand of canned organic beans have incredibly low sodium (maybe only 15 mgs…but don’t quote me on that) so next time you are there stock up on some of those for sure! (more…)

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Since we started our 100 Days of Real Food pledge eating at restaurants has become quite a challenge, but we have also learned a lot from the experience. Below are some tips and suggested meals if you also want to try to stick to whole foods while eating out.

General Tips:

  • Avoid bread items such as rolls, breadcrumbs, tortillas, pasta, breading, crusts, etc. Unfortunately even if something is called “whole-wheat” it is rare to find items that are truly only made with 100% whole-wheat (unless the restaurant can confirm the ingredients for you).
  • If the waiter/chef doesn’t know (and can’t find out) the ingredients of an item then they probably don’t make it fresh in house which means it likely has all sorts of stuff (like sweeteners and preservatives) in it you don’t want or need.
  • If they don’t know where the meat came from then I can guarantee it is not from anywhere special (like a grass-fed local farm).
  • For children (more…)

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These biscuits are simply a slightly altered version of the original whole-wheat biscuit recipe that I posted a few months ago. Instead of using regular milk you use buttermilk and also add some cheese. It is that simple. And delicious I might add. These biscuits also freeze very nicely in a big zip lock bag so you can pull them out one by one and defrost as needed. (more…)

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When your focus is eating whole foods you end up cooking a lot. There is just no way around it. And despite my commitment to our new diet, I occasionally miss the convenience of ready-made store bought foods. Not only do I have to make sure I cook a healthy dinner every night, but I now also have the added responsibility of making breakfast, lunch and snack foods as well. That’s what happens when you no longer eat store-bought cereals, tortillas, hummus, or granola bars.

Ever since we made this change a few months ago I have been on the prowl for store-bought items with a simple list of ingredients. We all already know about ready-to-eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, popcorn and fresh fruit, but here are some other convenient options that I have recently become a fan of…

Triscuits

We love that these crackers have only 3 ingredients as opposed to their Wheat Thins counterpart that boast a dozen or more ingredients including multiple sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup. (more…)

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