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...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 12

real food meal plan

This is the last week of school leading up to my children’s spring break. I don’t have as much time to work when my kids are home from school, so I’ll be trying to work as efficiently as possible this week in preparation for the break. As a result, the meal plan is very simple again because that's all I'll be able to manage this week. If things get too hectic to cook later in the week, I have some calzones in the freezer that I can pull out and heat up for dinner. It’s nice to have an emergency back-up in the freezer for unexpected changes in the evening schedule. Or, let’s be honest, for those lazy nights when you really don’t feel like cooking. :) Real Food Meal Plan Saturday: Pulled … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 11

real food meal plan

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...]

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...]

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...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 8

real food weekly meal plan

The snow is melting, and we can finally get to the grill on our deck. We’re celebrating with grilled swordfish on the menu. St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse for a big pot of stew, and slow cooker black bean soup is perfect for our busy day on Sunday. I’m almost done writing my book, and I need to test recipes for apple pie and whipped cream this week. Apple pie is the most high maintenance recipe in the book, so I rarely make it. My taste testers are excited! This Week’s Real Food Meal Plan Saturday: Grilled swordfish, asparagus, rice Sunday: Black bean soup, cornbread Monday: Beef stew, biscuits, apple pie Tuesday: Quiche, salad with ranch dressing Wednesday: Leftover beef … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Tips Week 7

meal plan tips

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...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 6

real food meal plan

I don’t know how I ever survived without meal plans. Now that they’ve become a regular part of my routine, life is truly less stressful. It’s so nice to know what’s coming up, and if circumstances change I can easily swap meals from one night to another. My children really like seeing what’s coming up, too. They’re more willing to put up with a meal that’s not their favorite when they know something they love is coming the next night. This week’s meal plan starts off with a bit of a story. In January, we went out to dinner for my birthday and my son ordered lobster mac ‘n cheese. He couldn’t finish it all, so we brought home the leftovers. Late the next night, my husband was rummaging … [Read more...]

Real Food Meal Plan Week 5

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School vacation week is behind us, so we’re back to a normal schedule for meal planning this week. My son is getting adjusted to life with braces, so I’m continuing to focus on softer foods for our meals together. Soup and pasta seem to be working well, and I’ll plan to send him to school with leftover soup or homemade macaroni and cheese for lunch. Baked oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and yogurt parfaits have been a good fit for him at breakfast time, and smoothies have been a daily snack. I’m trying a new recipe from Two Peas and their Pod this week. Their Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake looks delicious, and I try to include a vegetarian Mexican dish in my meal plan most weeks. My kids don’t … [Read more...]