Category Archives: Kitchen & Real Food How-to’s

Should you consider an Organic Produce

Should You Consider an Organic Produce Delivery?

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Vegetarian | No Comments

Are you an investigator like me?

Sometimes I drive myself nuts. I get so busy looking into this and that and then I NEVER do anything about it. I’m trying to get better about this as I found that it just stresses me out and nothing changes.

I’m like that with fruits and vegetables.

Let me explain….

For a long time, I saw advertisements for local and non-local produce deliveries. The first time I looked, the place I wanted didn’t deliver to my address. So I kept looking.

Eventually, I heard from a friend or two (isn’t that the best kind of advertisement?) that they liked Doorganics. I had been using another great organic produce delivery that I was happy with, but I as I looked into Doorganics I found that they really aim to source as local as possible. I liked that.

And weirdly, I like that they use these cool green boxes. They deliver your goods in it and then the next week on delivery day you leave the green bin out and they leave your filled one.

I absolutely LOVE the fact that awesome fruits and veggies come right to my door every week (you can choose every other week, too).

I love that I can set my “likes” and “dislikes” so they don’t put them in my box AND that we can substitute out 4 items each time if we’d like. (For example: All summer I subbed out tomatoes EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I was so sick of looking at tomatoes due to my own spazzy tomato plants.)

tomatoes

So, should you consider an organic fruit and veggie delivery?

Here are a few reasons why you might want to:

1. You are busy.

Who isn’t? My goal is to go to the store almost never. I HATE going to the grocery store. It’s much more enjoyable to pick out my fruit/veggie menu from the comfort of my couch. In fact, I hardly have to pick them out. I get the list on Thursday, I look through it and sub out anything that I don’t need/want and VOILA! Produce shopping is DONE for the next week.

They even have OTHER products you can add to your box if you’d like…I’ve added organic, fair trade coffee quite often.

2. You value organic produce.

More and more folks are learning the benefits of eating organic. Not only will you be avoiding pesticides and toxins, but you’ll be supporting local organic farmers, too. I love that. And shopping for organic produce in local grocery stores can be difficult, lacking in variety and expensive.

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3. You want to feed your family more fruits and veggies.

Again, who doesn’t want to do this? One thing having Doorganics delivery has done for me is to figure out creative ways to use the veggies. If you aren’t creative, don’t worry! They send a recipe in your bin each week and they have recipes on their site.

And you know what? Eating more fruits and veggies is linked with being happier. It also boosts your immune system and delivers antioxidants.

4. You want to save money.

This might sound silly, especially because the convenience of organic fruits and veggies delivered to your door has a cost. But hear me out…

Staying OUT of the grocery store saves me money. It prevents impulse-buying. Honestly, the more I can plan my meals and shopping, the better. It’s another reason I love being a part of a buyers club.

All of these reasons are why I love getting my veggies through Doorganics. If you’d like to give them a try HERE and you’ll get $5 off of your first box.

IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE of the West Michigan area, try Doortodoororganics.com instead and see if they deliver to you!

 

Here are 2 other convenient ways to get more fruits/veggies into your bodies:

1. Concentrated fruits and veggies in a convenient capsule or chewable (kids 4 and over eat free with a purchasing adult). Contact me via email (melissa@realfoodeater.com) for details or to order and sponsor a child. All others can order at my Juice Plus Website.

2. Grow your own with an aeroponic Vertical Tower Garden System.

 

 

 

Homemade Sauerkraut (using 1 head of

Quick Sauerkraut with a Head of Cabbage

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Vegetarian | No Comments

Have you ever made homemade sauerkraut?

Even if you think you don’t like it, please promise me you’ll give the homemade type a chance. It’s SO much better. Not only is the texture and flavor better, but it’s PACKED with beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) to help your gut.

Personally, I like the flavor, color and texture of RED cabbage the best.

Plus, making sauerkraut is actually really, really easy. At the least, you just need cabbage, salt and some jars.

FIRST, you’ll want to weigh your cabbage – AFTER you take off the first couple layers of leaves AND the core. (If you need a great, inexpensive kitchen scale that weighs in ounces, pounds and kilograms AND that you can “zero out” to weigh things in a bowl, etc., I highly recommend this one that is shown in my picture):

cabbage on scale

Next, shred the cabbage in a Food Processor or chop finely with chef’s knife.

Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl and add 4 Tablespoons of salt for every 2lbs of cabbage. This one above weighed just over 6lbs, so I tripled that.

Sprinkle salt over cabbage and start kneading/squeezing cabbage with your clean, bare hands.

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Within a couple minutes, the water should be dripping out of the cabbage every time you squeeze it. Keep it up for a couple minutes until it’s pretty juicy.

Next, pack into clean mason jars – I have found several small ones work better than one large one. You’ll want to use the wide-mouth jars if possible so that you can use a smaller cup to press the sauerkraut down. The goal is to cover the top of the sauerkraut with the juice.

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Then, put lid on and store in a dark, cool place. I chose a kitchen cupboard. AND learn from my previous mistake by putting something under the sauerkraut….I had one erupt as it fermented and it makes a MESS. I simply used a pie plate this time around:

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(this is only using 1/2 the head of cabbage)

 

Just check the kraut every day or two, taste it with a clean fork to see if it’s at the texture you prefer – if not, squish it back down with a small cup again to get liquid covering the top layer.

Once it’s the right taste/texture, simply place in the refrigerator for long-term storage. The refrigeration will stop the fermentation process and you’ll have FRESH, tasty, probiotic-rich sauerkraut!

If you want to learn more about fermenting, I highly recommend this beautiful book full of colorful pictures and easy-to-follow directions (probably BECAUSE he has so many pictures):

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What have you fermented at home?

(and yes, BEER counts!)

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“Real Food for Rookies” Online Class – 25% off (limited time)!

By | Books & Resources, Kitchen & Real Food How-to's | No Comments

 

Are you someone who desires to eat more Real Food but doesn’t know where to start?

Do you learn best by being shown how to do something, not just reading about it?

Do you have health problems (either small or BIG) and wonder if a change in your diet might help?

Then THIS CLASS is for you! (and it’s 25% off right now!(

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My friend Kelly over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop is having an AMAZING sale for a short time on her “Real Food for Rookies” online class. BE SURE TO use coupon code 25OFFDEAL to get 25% off of her class!

Learn from the comfort of your own home with video tutorials, info, recipes and more.

What You’ll Get:

  • 12 weeks of online classes with videos, downloadable audios, and written materials.
  • LIFETIME access! Read/listen/watch at your leisure: on your break at work, while the kids are sleeping, in your pajamas, whatever! If you have a busy week, no big deal, just pick it back up on your own schedule.
  • Exclusive expert interviews with Sally Fallon Morell (President of the Weston Price Foundation), Dr. Kaayla Daniel (author of The Whole Soy Story), Jane Hersey (Director of the Feingold Association), Tom Naughton (“Fathead” filmmaker), and now one more: Jimmy Moore from the Livin LaVida Low-Carb blog!
  • BONUS: Free copy of the Kitchen Kop Real Food Ingredient Guide.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Save time and money while serving Real Food
  • Read labels and avoid dangerous ingredients
  • Make nourishing “fast food” meals to avoid last-minute trips to the drive-thru
  • Find healthier alternatives for soda pop, refined sugars, heart-killer oils, sugar-bomb breakfast cereals, factory farmed meat and more
  • Serve nutrient-dense foods that are necessary for good health
  • Take control of your health and change your family’s future!

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(and be sure to use coupon code 25OFFDEAL at check-out to get 25% off!)

 

Kelly has been “into” Real Food for quite some time. She trustworthy, has done her homework and desires to share her long-earned Real Food knowledge with us! This class in invaluable and is backed up with advice from Real Food experts.

Kelly had a rough couple of months (see her blog for updates) and I’d love to be able to bless her by sending some new “Real Food Rookies” her way!!!

Will you be one of them? I know you won’t be disappointed!

I’d tell you more about the class, but she’s got some great intro videos and testimonials over on her class site – go check them out!

 

 

 

 

Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook Review (and Giveaway!)

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Special Deals & Giveaways | No Comments

BacktoButter

As a blogger and Real Food eater, I come across LOTS and LOTS of books. Sometimes, they are even mailed to me (in hopes I will read them, review them and write a blog post).

Occasionally I will get an email asking if I would like to review a book and also offering to give one away to my readers.

Honestly, I don’t say “yes” to many of them. I’m pretty picky about what I spend my time reading/reviewing and if it isn’t Real Food or Holistic Health-related, I say a polite “no thanks”.

That being said, I promise you that THIS BOOK was worth reviewing.

And it’s worth me saying “yes” to the authors giving one away to one of my readers.

The authors, Molly Chester and her mom Sandy Schrecengost, have changed their health using traditional foods. After trying every other diet and fad out there, they finally turned to Traditional Foods. They saw their GERDs (acid reflux) and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian System) slowly disappear.

Without medications.

Just real, Traditional Foods.

Red Cabbage Kraut with Fresh Dill

Red Cabbage Kraut with Fresh Dill

 

These changes prompted them to give up their high-paying jobs and buy a 160-acre farm in southern California. This makes me a little jealous.

What are Traditional Foods, you ask? Thinks like Fats/Oils, Sustainable & Pastured/Grassfed Meat, Full Fat/Raw Dairy, Nuts/Seeds/Beans/Grains that are prepared properly, Natural Sweeteners and Fermented Foods.

Sometimes books on Traditional Foods end up being a little textbook-y. You know, so much detailed info that your head hurts when you read it. But NOT this one.

The authors are succinct and no-nonsense in their approach to sharing info. They provide valuable, researched nutrition info. The authors do a GREAT job at explaining in common terms what Traditional Foods are, how to prepare them and WHY!

And not only that, but the pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Roasted Shrimp Salsa

Roasted Shrimp Salsa

 

Even within the recipe portion they include little tidbits of helpful information for those aiming to eat more Traditional, Real Foods. Nutrition-dense foods are what our bodies need and crave!

I truly think this is a very helpful and real-life book that every Real Food eater should have in their library. While I haven’t been able to try any of the recipes yet (bad timing as we just sold our home and are packing things up), I cannot wait to try some of the mouth-watering recipes like this one:

Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

 

AND, I am so excited that the authors are giving away ONE COPY of this book to one of my readers!

Enter to win below! And if you aren’t feeling lucky, you can hop on over to Amazon and buy the Kindle version for $11.99 or the paperback version for $15.99 now!

 

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10 Money Saving Tips for Real Food Eaters

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's | No Comments

Money in the form of many large bills I recently wrote a post on  5 Time-Saving Tips for Real Food Eaters. In doing so, I realized that many of those time-saving tips are also money-saving ones, too!

The 2 biggest challenges to eating Real Food that I most often hear from people are TIME and MONEY. It a lot of ways that is accurate. BUT, there are lots of things you can do to save money while still eating Real Food.

Here are my 10 Money Saving Tips:

1. Meal-Planning:

This saves time, but it also saves money. I have found it saves me money because when I meal plan once a month and make my shopping lists for the different food sources I use (grocery store, buyers club, Green PolkaDot Box, Costco, etc), when I go shopping I only buy what I know I need. It prevents a lot of impulse-buying. PLUS, if I can meal plan once a month and do my main shopping then, I don’t have to make lots of little trips to the local grocery store – and those ALWAYS result in my buying things that aren’t on my list! Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!

2. Chicken in the Crockpot:

Cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot will give you enough for 2 meals – or more if you are single, have a small family OR are cooking a big chicken! (Here is the crockpot I love). PLUS you can make lots of homemade chicken broth afterwards. Here’s how I do my chicken and make broth in the crockpot.

I use leftover chicken in casseroles and often make Homemade Chicken or Veggie and Rice Soup.

3. Veggie Scraps in Freezer:

This saves money as you aren’t throwing away your food scraps, but are rather “re-purposing” them. I use mine for making homemade Chicken Broth. I save celery ends/leaves, broccoli stalks and any other veggie that may rot before I have had time to use them!

4. Buy dried beans instead of canned:

Example: I buy a 10lb bag of organic black beans for $10.50. One pound of dried beans = 2 cups. One cup of dried beans equals 2.5 to 3 cups of cooked beans. So a 10lb bag would end up giving me  50-60 cups of cooked beans.

That’s a lot! Given that a 15oz can of organic black beans probably runs somewhere around $2 a can here in the U.S., that ends up being a savings of about 50% using dried versus canned. PLUS, you know they are fresh. One tip: When you are meal planning, it’s always good to incorporate what-to-do-the-night-before instructions in your calendar (such as soaking beans overnight for the next day, etc).

Some of my bean-containing recipes:  Beef & Bean Casserole, Bean & Sausage Soup, Homemade Hummus

5. Buy Cheese in 5lb blocks (or whatever large size is available):

Cut into chunks and shred at home (I use this Food processor to shred it quickly and easily). Put into quart-sized freezer bags and store in freezer to use when you need it. Pre-shredded cheese is not only more expensive, but it also has added nasty ingredients (like cellulose and natamycin).

6. Make a couple of meatless meals each week.

We eat meat, but we choose to eat meat from a local farm whose animals are out on pasture, raised with organic practices, and which are eating what they are supposed to be eating. Meat is expensive especially when you buy organic/pastured meats, so a big cost-cutting move it to eat less of it.

7. Grow Your Own Food and then Preserve It:

If you are fortunate enough to have space for a small (or large) garden, take advantage! For increased yields, be sure to use high-quality organic compost in the fall and/or spring to boost the soil health. “Companion planting” is also helpful for controlling pests – you can read more about that in this great book “Tomatoes Love Carrots”.

IF you don’t have space for a good-sized garden, container gardening can yield a LOT of veggies too. In fact, try this Tower Garden - a vertical, aeroponic growing system! LEARN MORE HERE!

Some of my food-preserving posts: The BEST Homemade Sauerkraut, How to Freeze Fresh Beans, Canned Salsa

8. Buy Most of Your Food Through a Buyers Club.

I do this and not only does it save money (and time), but it’s convenient. Order once a month, pick up once a month and you can get a large amount of your months’ food all at once. The added benefit is that buyers clubs tend to try to use local sources whenever possible. I wrote more about why you’d want to join a buyers club in this post.  *Note: if you live in the West Michigan area, I will be starting a new buyers club when we move to Zeeland later this summer. Email me via the icon below my pic and I’ll put you on my contact list for that buyers club!

9. Grind Your Own Flour.

This saves time, money and TASTE! Seriously! We grind our own flour with this Flour Mill and then make Homemade pancakes – they taste SO much better with fresh-ground flour. Plus, you save money.

I buy a 25lb bag of Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries for $17.50. Per research I’ve seen, 1lb of wheat berries = 3 cups of flour. So you can get roughly 75 cups of flour from a 25lb bag of wheat berries, for $17.50. Not bad! Plus, it’s organic.

10. Eat Real Food.

It’s as simple as that. It saves money by helping to boost the immune system and give your body what it needs to function optimally, thus cutting down on sicknesses, doctor visits and medicine, let along missed days of work. Let food by your medicine (and prevention!) whenever possible!

 

Please share in the comments what YOU do to save money while still eating Real Food!

 

This post is shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday

 

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5 Time-saving Tips for Real Food Eaters

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Meal Planning & Organization | 2 Comments

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Your time is valuable.

My time is valuable.

And making/eating Real Food takes time, creating a big dilemma: Do you sacrifice time in order to eat Real Food or do you “settle” for less of it?

When I have “settled”, my experience has been the feeling of regret and guilt knowing that with a little more advance thought and planning I could have been feeding my family more Real Food.

In fact, I recently polled readers on my personal Facebook page and asked this question: “Assuming everyone would WANT to eat more Real Food (health benefits, etc), what are the main challenges holding you back from doing so?”

Here’s how they commented:

“The amount of time it takes to prep, especially if you sprout, ferment, make everything from scratch.”

“Time, money, effort.”

“I do the best I can every day, and while appreciate all the healthy food/living bloggers efforts to educate, sometimes I feel like I do more wrong than right. I make the best choices I can for meat, chicken, fish, eggs, oils and grains. But I know there are things slipping through the cracks. Sometimes I feel more discouraged than helped when I read new blog posts.

“Time and Money.”

“Price”

 “All of the above. Sugar cravings.”

“Conflicting information on what’s good for us. I feel like most sources of food info I get seem to originate from one of two sources: The government (e.g. eat low fat dairy products and avoid all saturated fats) or Weston Price. I’d love some info from some fresh sources!”

“Understanding labels like organic, natural, free range, etc…”

“Finances”

And I’m guessing they aren’t alone in these Real Food “Roadblocks”, right?

I’m hoping to offer you a few tips to help save time when preparing Real Food for your family. Here are some things I have found which help us eat Real Food, (at least 80% of the time, that is!)

Tuesday's Tidbits

1. Plan Your Meals (dinners mostly).

This is probably the MOST important step. Without doing this, you will daily have the issue of “What’s for dinner?”. I hate that feeling, don’t you? Ugh. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. A great solution is to take a hour or so per month to sit down, plan out the meals and grocery list. You will be thankful every day, I promise! I share how I plan out my meals over at 30 Days of Dinner: My Menu Plan.

This is really important as oftentimes when you are eating Real Food it means soaking beans, cooking more, chopping up more veggies, and making more from scratch. If you can plan your dinners for a month you can schedule more “complicated” dinner on the days you have more time. Or, you can prep your meals ahead of time (ex. cutting up the veggies you will need for the week, etc). Reminders like soaking/cooking beans can be written into your meal plan.

2. Cook Whole Chickens in your Slow Cooker.

Seriously. This sounds like a weird “tip”, right? But here’s the reason: The day you cook it, you can have it for dinner with a side of veggies, potatoes, etc. Then, a day or two later you can use the leftover chicken in another dish or a casserole. In between, stick the bones back in the crockpot (this is the one I use) with some other goodies and make Homemade Chicken Broth Then, put it in containers in freezer to use for future recipes and soups. I usually do 2 rounds with the bones to make broth.

So, if you spend $13-$18 on an organic, pastured-raised chicken, you can easily get 2 meals PLUS 16 cups or so of good, real bone broth out of it. Not only is this frugal and easy, but it also saves time when you need chicken broth for a recipe or soup.

3. Save Your Veggie Scraps.

I have a large Ziploc bag in my freezer that I toss things in to use in my homemade Chicken Broth later. I put in things like broccoli stems, celery leaves or celery stalks that are getting “rubbery”, leftover onions (they don’t last long in fridge anyway), any any other pieces of veggies that you don’t want to throw away but aren’t sure what to use them for.

Then, when you are read to make Chicken Broth, you have some great veggies to throw in the pot. This saves time (no need to chop anything up) AND money as it helps prevent throwing away valuable food.

 

veggies cooking

4. Double Your Recipes and Freeze Some.

This is perfect for those busy nights or long days when you don’t feel like starting a meal from scratch. There are so many recipes that can be doubled and then frozen so you have an easy meal for another time.

A few of my favorites to do this with are:  Beef & Bean Casserole, Chicken Veggie Rice Soup or any other Soups!

5. Join a Food Buyers Club.

If you aren’t sure what a Buyers Club is, you may want to read my post “Join a Buying Clubto learn more. Basically, you order together with a bunch of families, thus saving money buying in bulk and obtaining better prices. It saves TIME because it’s sort of a one-stop shopping. You generally order once a month (another reason monthly meal-planning can come in handy!) and pickup your items once a month. No running from store to store to get different items that you need.

*I’m moving this summer to the Zeeland, MI area. If you live near there and would like to be a part of my new Real Food Eater Buyer’s club, please contact me!

 

More Resources for Cooking Real Food:

 

 

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Learn how to teach your kids to LOVE Real Food! No arm-twisting or coercing. Includes 29 Real Food recipes that kids love!

 

 

 

 

 

From-Scratch-Product

Learn how to prepare and nutritiously cook Real Food! Both easily prepared and delicious!

 

 

Real Plans

 

Real Food Meal Plans – 4 wks at a time, with shopping lists, prep instructions and recipes (yours or theirs)

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12 weeks of online classes (that you can access at your own pace) and more for learning how to Cook Real Food!

Do you have time-saving tips to add to this list? If so, please leave a comment so we can learn from each other!

 

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