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...]

Healthy Cooking Tips & Toasted Spice Vinaigrette Recipe

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In honor of National Nutrition Month as well as Stop & Shop’s 100th birthday, Stop & Shop recently hosted a healthy cooking class for a group of local bloggers. The class focused on how to use spices to make dishes more flavorful. By using a variety of different seasonings in our recipes, we can cut back on excess salt and sugar without compromising taste. Along with Stop & Shop nutritionist Julie Menounos, the class was led by locavore chef Jeremy Sewall of Lineage, a “hook to table” seafood restaurant in Brookline. This is one of the Boston local food gems I highlighted in my post about real food in Boston. He’s also a partner at two other Boston restaurants, Island Creek … [Read more...]

Roasted Asparagus

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Roasted asparagus is one of my favorite early spring recipes. Barbara Kingsolver gave me a newfound respect for asparagus after I read her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She talked about how a carefully tended asparagus bed can keep producing for over twenty years, and it’s a specialty she's been sure to grow everywhere she lives. I loved her description of the harvesting process, which is challenging and simple at the same time. I don’t have quite the same commitment to asparagus that Barbara Kingsolver has, but I do love to include it on our menu often during the spring. It's delicious roasted, grilled, or sauteed. This roasted asparagus recipe is one of the easiest ways to prepare … [Read more...]

Irish Soda Bread

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Irish soda bread is a classic St. Patrick’s Day snack. I’m an Irish girl, so of course I need an Irish soda bread recipe in my arsenal. This delicious whole grain version is adapted from King Arthur Flour. Even though it’s made with whole wheat flour, it does have a nice, light texture out of the oven. My children can't get enough of it, and it tastes amazing slathered with Kerrygold butter. If your family is still getting used to whole grain bread, you can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for a cup of the whole wheat flour. I go light on the raisins, but you can include a full cup of raisins if you prefer a fruitier loaf of bread. This bread tastes best the day it's made, but you … [Read more...]

Mango Chia Pudding

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I recently bought my first package of chia seeds. I’m not sure what took me so long to get on board with this nutrition powerhouse. Chia seeds have many health benefits, including a significant dose of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. This mango chia pudding is just one of the many ways you can incorporate chia seeds into your diet. You can add them to smoothies, and they can be mixed with water to use as an egg replacer. A reader also told me that you can grind them up and use them in place of xanthan gum in gluten-free baking. I’m looking forward to trying this. Check out this post from Wellness Mama for several other ways to use chia seeds. This mango chia pudding … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Tips Week 7

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Meal planning can seem overwhelming at times. Some weeks, it's tough to decide what to make for dinner. Use these meal plan tips to make the process easier for you. Meal Plan Tips Cook once, eat twice. By making large batches of food for dinner, you leave yourself with extras for lunches or future dinners. Freeze whatever you can so you’ll have it when an unexpected snafu hits your meal plan. Have the kids choose the menu for one night and help cook. Children need to learn how to cook. By getting them involved in the meal planning and preparation, they’re more likely to try new things and appreciate the meal. Pick a theme for each night of the week. Some families enjoy knowing what … [Read more...]

Mushroom Soup

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Cream of mushroom soup from a can was a favorite around here before we transitioned to a whole food diet. The ingredient list on that can included MSG, modified food starch, and GMO oil. We haven’t had mushroom soup in a couple years, but my son requested it when he recently got braces. I adapted a creamy mushroom soup recipe from 100 Days of Real Food to come up with my version. Everyone loved it, and I’m happy to have this soup in the house again (minus the unhealthy additives). If you want a creamier version, you can add extra milk or cream to taste. Also, when you puree the soup, you can make it totally smooth by pureeing it for a few minutes. Shorten the puree time if you want to leave … [Read more...]

Banana French Toast

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Banana French Toast is an easy, delicious breakfast that can be on the table in 30 minutes. Stale whole grain bread gets a second life with this recipe. The banana flavor is a delicious addition to traditional French toast, and the maple syrup and vanilla extract give it just the right amount of sweetness. Serve this with just a little maple syrup or berry sauce on top so you can enjoy the savory side as well. If you have a few extra minutes, you can saute the banana slices in a pan with a little butter before adding them to the French toast. This will bring out their flavor even more. You can also substitute berries or other fruit for the banana to make the … [Read more...]

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

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Homemade enchilada sauce is one of the easiest condiments to make. The canned version tends to include lots of questionable ingredients, including MSG, modified corn starch, and hydrolyzed soy protein. You can control the ingredients in your enchilada sauce by making your own. It takes just a few minutes to put together, and it tastes fantastic. You can freeze the extra sauce and save it for a Mexican meal on a busy night. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:100] Enchilada Sauce Price Breakdown This recipe costs a total of $1.81 to make and it yields 2 cups. This quantity of store-bought sauce would cost over $3.00, and it would be full of ingredients you don’t want to be eating. Homemade enchilada … [Read more...]