Real Food Meal Plan Week 28

real food meal plan week 28

It’s back to school week for my family. The kids would love to have a couple more weeks off, but reality is setting in and alarm clocks will be ringing this week. Fortunately, we have a few fun days planned before they go back to school, including one last day at the beach. I’ll pull dinner out of the freezer on Monday when we come back from the beach. It’s so nice to have a supply of meals ready to go for days like these. We’ll celebrate the first day of school with a grill dinner of burgers and corn on the cob, with maple berry skillet cake for dessert. I’m also looking forward to my 9-year-old daughter making lasagna for us one night. That’s her specialty. Real Food Meal Plan Week … [Read more...]

How to Make Protein Bars

chocolate coconut protein bars

The season of packing school lunches is here again. The old classic PB&J is an easy fallback, but it’s important to embrace variety and mix up what goes into your children’s lunch boxes. This month’s Recipe Redux is full of ideas for “brown bag bars and bites.” Learning how to make protein bars is one of the best things you can do to keep the lunchtime meal varied and fun. Homemade protein bars are perfect for kids. They taste like dessert, but they can be filled with healthy ingredients to keep children satisfied and energized throughout the school day. They work at snack time as well as lunch. Sweetened by dates, these bars can also be shaped into small squares or balls to fit … [Read more...]

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

chocolate peanut butter ice cream 300

Homemade ice cream is one of my favorite summer treats. I do like going out for ice cream with my family on occasion, but there’s just something special about making it yourself. Unlike at an ice cream shop, the flavor possibilities are endless. You can make whatever kind you want and invent flavors that haven't been dreamed up before. It takes great patience as you wait for the ice cream to solidify in the freezer. It feels like an eternity. But then, it’s finally ready. And it’s so creamy, so good. I can’t imagine summer without homemade ice cream. This chocolate peanut butter ice cream is adapted from a recipe in the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. … [Read more...]

Real Food Travel Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Annapolis Valley is the agricultural heartland of Nova Scotia. Hundreds of farms here produce the bulk of fresh produce enjoyed throughout the province, and the area is especially known for its vineyards and orchards. Just over the valley is the dramatic Bay of Fundy. This beautiful area boasts the highest tides in the world, with the water level changing up to 50 feet each day. The Valley is a great place to visit during a vacation to Nova Scotia. Its slow pace and beautiful scenery make it a relaxing destination. With so many farms in this area, there are a wealth of restaurants and markets featuring locally grown food. And with the Bay of Fundy nearby, fresh seafood is a delicacy here, … [Read more...]

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

This Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta is a delicious way to feature those little tomato gems that hit the markets in the middle of summer. This dish is simple and basic, but it tastes like a fancy restaurant meal. We returned from vacation a few weeks ago on the eve of my husband’s birthday. I had little energy for cooking a birthday dinner as I faced a nearly empty pantry and refrigerator. I did have a pretty pint of cherry tomatoes from the farm, though, which reminded me of a pasta recipe I used to make from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. That recipe inspired this dish, and my family loved it. One of these days, you really should try making your own ricotta. I know it sounds like a big … [Read more...]

Berry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

berry vanilla baked oatmeal 300

Baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead breakfast that can be flavored all sorts of ways. I have a blueberry banana baked oatmeal recipe in my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. It’s one of my favorite recipes in the book. Not everyone loves bananas like I do, though. Without the banana in my baked oatmeal, a substitute is needed to boost the flavor. This month’s Recipe Redux challenge calls for recipes that use spirits and extracts, and vanilla extract is the perfect substitute here. Adding vanilla is a great way to flavor recipes without adding extra sugar. I like to make my own vanilla extract. The homemade version is a lot less expensive than the grocery store kind, and it makes a great … [Read more...]

10 Real Food Popsicle Recipes

honey yogurt popsice 300

Everyone loves popsicles in the summer. I can’t bring myself to buy them at the store, though. The ingredient lists are scary, including things like artificial food coloring, corn syrup, and preservatives. Healthier store-bought popsicles are priced through the roof, so it makes sense to make them at home. Fortunately, homemade popsicles couldn’t be easier to make. You just mix the ingredients in a blender or food processor and transfer them to the freezer for a couple hours. I have two different popsicle molds that I like to use, a push-pop style and the star-shaped version in the photo above. If you don’t have molds, you can simply freeze the popsicles in paper cups or an ice cube … [Read more...]

Carrot Zucchini Bread

carrot zucchini bread 300

  The volume of carrots and zucchini that I’ve been bringing home from my farm share is getting to be overwhelming. My kids are especially hesitant around zucchini, so when in doubt, I bake it into a snack. Chocolate zucchini muffins are a popular option. This carrot zucchini bread is another delicious snack recipe full of veggie goodness. The cinnamon adds a great flavor. I use a cup and a half of each grated vegetable, but you could easily add a little more zucchini, carrots, or a combination. This bread freezes well, so I put the cooled second loaf right in the freezer and save it for a week when I'm short on time. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:127]   Carrot … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 24

real food meal plan 7-7-14

We’re coming and going a lot this summer, which makes meal planning tricky. After a weekend in Burlington, Vermont for July 4th with extended family, we’re home for most of the week before heading out to Canada. Three of the five nights we’re home this week involve swim meets and track meets at dinnertime. Portable dinners will keep us on track while we’re out in the evenings. Calzones and salad in a jar can be eaten bit by bit before, during, and after these events. It’s not the sit-down dinner I’d prefer, but it works for us. I won’t be posting a meal plan next week because we’ll be away in Nova Scotia. I do actually have a detailed plan of where we’ll likely be eating each day, but … [Read more...]

Mango Salad Dressing

mango salad dressing 300

Lettuce comes fast and furious from my farm share this time of year, so we eat a lot of salad. It’s great for me because a big, loaded salad is just about my favorite kind of meal. The kids, on the other hand. . . They’re pretty good about salad, but they were happier about it when I used to buy store-bought dressing. Ranch was their favorite, and they liked Italian too. After I started scrutinizing ingredient labels a few years ago, store-bought salad dressings were among the first things to go. Lengthy ingredient lists with thickeners and other additives don’t make the real food cut. I’ve worked hard to come up with homemade salad dressings that my children would like. There have … [Read more...]