Converting Recipes to Real Food

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I didn’t truly know how to cook until I transitioned my family to a real food diet a few years ago. Sure, I could follow a recipe and put a nice dinner on the table. But I didn’t really have to think. I didn’t know how to make substitutions. I didn’t know how to adapt recipes if I was missing some of the ingredients. I couldn’t look at a bunch of leftovers in the fridge and figure out how to pull together a meal with them. Switching to real food taught me how to think in the kitchen. Now I make substitutions almost automatically, and I switch out ingredients without worrying that things might not taste right. I’m constantly playing with recipes, and I’d like to share some guidelines that … [Read more...]

Deviled Eggs

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This recipe for deviled eggs is a great addition to an appetizer spread. High in protein and flavor, deviled eggs are satisfying and filling. If you’re dyeing eggs for Easter, this is the perfect thing to make when you’re ready to eat them. I recommend using natural, homemade dyes so you don’t have to worry about chemicals seeping into your eggs. Deviled eggs are not an exact science, so I suggest tasting the filling as you go and adjusting the flavors to your taste. You can easily adapt this recipe to make them spicy with cayenne pepper or salsa. Add a little crunch with finely diced bacon or vegetables. I like to garnish them with chopped chives, but other fresh herbs are wonderful too. … [Read more...]

Chocolate Pecan Pie Protein Snacks

chocolate pecan pie protein snacks

Homemade protein snacks are very deceptive. They’re full of healthy ingredients, but they taste like candy. These are among the easiest snacks to make because they don’t need to go in the oven. Simply mix the ingredients in a food processor, shape the dough however you want it, and refrigerate. These Chocolate Pecan Pie Protein Snacks are so good. You won’t believe they don’t have any added sugar when you taste them. The dates have a caramelizing effect, so these come out tasting like sweet, chewy candy. Pecans are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and dates provide a healthy dose of potassium and fiber. These little goodies are the perfect afternoon snack for kids or adults … [Read more...]

Pie Crust Recipe

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An easy pie crust recipe is an essential resource in a real food kitchen. I used to use store-bought pie crusts whenever I made quiche or dessert pies. It seemed like making homemade crust would be too time-consuming, and I wasn’t sure I could get the taste and texture just right. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. In reality, homemade pie crust takes just a few minutes of hands-on time to make and it only requires a few simple ingredients. The store-bought version, on the other hand, typically has a long ingredient list including hydrogenated oil, artificial food coloring, and preservatives. Even the healthier crusts you can buy at health food stores contain unnecessary … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 11

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This week’s meal plan includes a couple nights of my favorite kind of dinner. It’s called, “Let someone else do the cooking.” We traveled to Philadelphia for my cousin’s wedding, and it was the perfect way to start off spring. What a beautiful, welcoming city! We enjoyed so much fantastic food in Philadelphia. From grass-fed cheese steaks to Amish desserts, there were great options everywhere we looked. Keep an eye out for my Real Food Philadelphia travel post, which is in the works. (Spoiler alert: There’s a ton of great locavore food in the City of Brotherly Love. You’ll need a very long vacation there to try it all.) We’re back home now, and the dinner line-up includes some of my … [Read more...]

Tomato Soup

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Tomato soup is one of the many foods I never ate as a child. I had an aversion to all things tomato, so I steered clear of this classic comfort food. Now that I’ve warmed up to tomatoes as an adult, I appreciate the flavor of a good tomato soup alongside a gooey grilled cheese. Canned tomato soup may be convenient, but it's so easy and affordable to make your own. The homemade version tastes better, too. Canned soup often contains high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives, so it's not a great choice. With this recipe, you can substitute different fresh herbs according to your tastes. Replace the milk with cream if you'd like a slightly richer soup. This soup freezes well, and I … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 10

real food meal plan

I love seeing all the different ways people plan their meals. Some people like to stick with a particular theme on each night, like Meatless Monday, Mexican Tuesday, Pasta Thursday, or Soup Friday. Others like to sketch out four or five main dishes for the week, and then they see what they feel like eating as each night approaches. There are even some people who are organized enough to plan out their meals for a month at a time. Our schedule can be all over the map given sports practices and evening work meetings, so I plan our weekly dinners according to what’s on the calendar. I tend to include a Mexican meal, a pasta meal, and several vegetarian meals each week. If we have a tricky … [Read more...]

30 Healthy Dinner Recipes

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Many people struggle to provide their families with a nutritious, whole food diet on a tight food budget. I often hear from people who are looking for frugal, healthy dinner recipes to help keep their food spending in check. Fortunately, homemade food is usually less expensive than its store-bought counterpart. If you make the commitment to cook most of your food from scratch, you’ll be able to zero in on a grocery budget that works for your family. I’ve gathered 30 healthy dinner recipes from around the web. Each recipe costs less than $1 per serving. By plugging one or two of these recipes into your meal plan each week, you’ll bring down your grocery spending and add some variety to … [Read more...]

American Chop Suey

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It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I first tried American Chop Suey. I remember seeing it in my college cafeteria, but I wasn’t impressed. In retrospect, I was missing out. This is great comfort food. This dish can be made quickly, and it’s much healthier than Hamburger Helper or other boxed dinner kits. I first started making this recipe a few years ago when I was looking to replicate Annie’s “P’sghetti Loops” for my children. By making American Chop Suey at home, you can tailor the sauce to meet your tastes. Add extra tomato sauce for a soupier version, and throw in a little cayenne pepper if you want it spicy. Mushrooms or other vegetables make a delicious addition as well. … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 9

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I can breathe again. For the last three months, I’ve been writing a book. It’s taken every ounce of organizational discipline I could muster. On top of cooking, shopping, blogging, carpooling, room parent duty, and hanging out with my kids, I’m not quite sure how I managed to squeeze in writing a book, but somehow it happened. Conquering Your Kitchen is out of my hands and in the editing stages, and I’m so excited to share it with you all later this spring. It’s a guide full of recipes and tips to help you efficiently manage the whole “kitchen thing,” including organization, meal planning, shopping, and cooking. It was because of the book that I became more dedicated to meal planning … [Read more...]