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Archive for September, 2010

Pumpkins are in season here, but I admit I did not buy a fresh, local one for this recipe. When it comes to convenience it is unfortunately hard to beat a can of organic pumpkin puree. That doesn’t mean pumpkin season can’t put us in the mood for this super-easy recipe though! My 5-year-old has asked me about 20 times over the last week to make some pumpkin bread so this one is for her…enjoy! (more…)

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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? (more…)

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While this dish is technically “real food” the amount of butter used is what keeps it from showing up on our table on a weekly basis. I personally love baked potatoes, and this variation with the slightly crispy skin on the bottom is just the bomb. And my husband and kids love them, too. You can play around with the toppings by trying grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon (we were out of bacon so pictured is proscuitto), and/or butter. The end result works great as an appetizer, snack, side item, or tailgating dish!

Some recipes request that you scoop out most of the cooked potato before pan-frying them, but we do not think that is necessary. In our opinion the more potato there is, the better things are balanced out between the rich toppings and buttery, crispy crust. They turn out best with small to medium sized potatoes (which are currently in season here in N.C.!) although any size will work. (more…)

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This is a very easy-to-make breakfast recipe that has been passed down from my mom. Preparation hardly takes longer than frying up an egg, and both of my girls absolutely love it! It is definitely up there as one of their most favorite breakfast dishes. So step out of the box and surprise your family with something new this weekend. Just make sure you carefully select your ingredients to ensure you are giving them the healthiest version possible.

Pictured are two good brands of matzos I’ve found…and in addition to using them for this recipe, both are great as plain crackers, too. While there are lots of versions of matzos available (which can usually be found in the “international” aisle of the grocery store), you can see that these are both clearly marked as “whole-wheat”. It is always a good idea to double-check the ingredient list as well (this is a 1-ingredient product!) because these same brands also sell refined matzos in similar looking boxes. Another key piece to this recipe is the jelly. I buy an all-fruit type spread that is sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar. So be sure to look for that as well. (more…)

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Since the most popular Food Illusion post to date has been “A look inside a whole foods pantry” I thought it would be appropriate to expand things by moving onto our fridge. Before I get started I want to answer one question though…yes, I cleaned out my fridge prior to this little photo shoot.  But for those of you who know me (and my type A personality) well, you also know that this is not very far from the truth. And aside from eating healthy foods or not, I am a true believer of everything in one’s fridge (and pantry) having its very own spot. It drives me crazy when we are staying at someone’s house and you have to spend five minutes trying to find that bag of grapes you know you saw earlier. At our house the answer is always the same…it is in the fruit drawer!

So let me break down the picture starting at the top… (more…)

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It is apple season here in the Carolinas! Making homemade applesauce is somewhat of a special occasion around here since a healthy store-bought alternative (with no sugar added) can easily be found. I am not saying the store-bought stuff is nearly as good as the homemade version…just more convenient of course. Let’s just say that my husband and I do not regularly consume the little store-bought containers of applesauce, but all four of us fight over the last few drops if it is homemade! Plus making it yourself can be a fun activity (especially with kids), and luckily you can freeze the leftovers.

It is especially quick and easy to make this dish at home if you have one of these handy dandy apple slicers. You can find these inexpensive tools at most grocery stores (or Target), and they will easily cut your prep time in half. Not to mention they come in handy for just slicing apples for a snack (or even pears too!). (more…)

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The other day my brother emailed me asking my opinion on some organic prepackaged snacks they were considering buying. He said that for their busy family (which includes two working parents and two kids, ages 8 and 4) it is important for their school snacks to be individually wrapped. After reviewing the list of ingredients he emailed me I thought the “Organic Jammy Sammy Snack Size Sandwich Bars” had both pros and cons:

Pros:

  • It was organic (although just because something is organic does not mean it is okay…there are a lot of highly processed organic foods out there)
  • It contained whole grain oats
  • It contained whole grain barley flour
  • Salt was the last ingredient on the list, which means it was what they used the least of

Cons:

  • The first ingredient (and what it contained the most of) was the strawberry filling which lists cane juice (a sweetener similar to sugar) as its top ingredient
  • The strawberry filling also contained rice starch and pretty much anything with the word starch (like corn starch) is highly processed/refined
  • The strawberry filling also contained citric acid (a preservative)
  • In addition to the cane juice in the strawberry filling these bars also had two other forms of sweeteners listed – agave and more evaporated cane juice (more…)

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