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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… Continue Reading »

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Recipe: Easy Peasy Applesauce

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!). Continue Reading »

Prepackaged Snacks for School

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 Continue Reading »

I absolutely love this dish because everyone in my family (myself included) thinks it is delicious! I know I am not alone on my constant mission to find healthy, well-balanced dinners that all four of us can enjoy together (I am not a fan of making separate meals). And the best part about this dish is that once you do the hard part, which is detailed below, you can freeze the uncooked raviolis. Think of those nights when you have no plan for dinner or better yet when you are going out and need something quick for the babysitter to feed the kids. What do a lot of moms do? Throw some frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for a few minutes. Now if you had some raviolis in your freezer, you could put forth almost the exact same effort by throwing a few in some boiling water for only 4 minutes (sans the sauce). Yes, that is all it takes for fresh pasta to cook…even when they start out frozen!

So, I highly recommend spending one Sunday afternoon making a big batch of these tasty treats. It will take some time and oh it will make a mess, but I promise it is definitely worth it. Plus, if you have kids I am sure they would LOVE to help you roll out the dough. You don’t even have to tell them that the yummy, sweet butternut squash inside the ravioli is actually a vegetable! Continue Reading »

Recipe: Easy Jambalaya

This is one of those wonderful dishes where you can switch things up depending on what ingredients you have on hand. For example, you can use any type of sausage or bacon, but I still think the dish would be tasty even if you left the meat out all together. If you don’t have any shrimp you could throw in some other type of seafood instead. If you don’t like oysters (I fall in this department!) then not to worry. This is the type of dish where you can be creative and make substitutions as you see fit…and best of all enjoy the end result (and don’t forget to freeze the leftovers!).

When I recently made this dish I did not use sausage (we used bacon instead) and I did not add any of the extra black pepper or hot sauce. There is already a little red pepper in the Creole seasoning so that was the only source of heat in our dish. And to my surprise both of my girls ate (small amounts) of it when it was served. Point being – at least they didn’t hate it! When I first added the spices I took a bite and immediately thought it would be too spicy for them, but after the rice and liquids got cooking it really made the dish more palatable for those younger taste buds. So give it shot with your children before offering up a separate kid meal! Continue Reading »

The deal with corn

One of my favorite Food Rules from Michael Pollan’s latest book is “Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.” Now how could anyone argue the fact that that rule just makes sense? I am trying to remember why I ever even thought it was okay to feed my kids (and my husband and myself) foods that contained things like maltodextrin, cellulose, ethoxylated diglycerides, and polydextrose. Oh yeah, I remember how that happened…because I wasn’t even reading the ingredients to know this random stuff was in there! At least it is never too late to change.

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I recently learned that fresh local peaches can easily be transformed into a delicious frozen treat. I used my ice cream maker to make this recipe, and it gave me yet another reason to be thrilled that I bought one just a few months ago. I seriously doubt I will ever buy ice cream (or sorbet) out of a box again. The machine is incredibly easy to use. You literally just flip a switch and 15 to 20 minutes later…voila! Not to mention that you can control exactly what ingredients go into each recipe.

Continue Reading »