Has it really been 100 days already? Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. Living and breathing Real Food these past 100 days has made us realize a lot of things. We thought we’d take a minute to share our thoughts on the challenge and hope you will share your experience as well. We are so far from experts, but here are 10 things we learned during the last 100 days (we thought 100 would be overkill).
1. We already prepared a lot of real food, without even thinking about it. “I credit this to my mother, grandmother and extended family who always make everything homemade,” - Magge
2. The transition to Real Food was easier than we thought. “To make my homemade macaroni and cheese Real Food macaroni and cheese, I just subbed white flour out for some white whole wheat (that King Arthur’s stuff is awesome), and the regular noodles for whole wheat ones. Done. And awesome, BTW.” - Maggie
3. Reading labels is important. Not only does this help extend that precious alone time at the grocery store (when did grocery shopping alone become such a luxury, BTW?), it also changed what we buy. The staples like bread, bagels and yogurt we used to buy without thinking twice have now been swapped out for Real Food versions. It’s the little things that make a big impact. Here's how to read food labels.
4. Eating Real Food is expensive. There just isn’t any way around this one, but we did find a lot of tips to make it more affordable. We know the cost is a big challenge, preventing a lot of people from eating Real Food. We are hopeful healthy, organic, whole foods will become more and more accessible to everyone in the coming years.
5. Rethink fast food. We don’t eat fast food, but what kid (or adult) doesn’t love chicken nuggets. Have you ever thought about making homemade chicken nuggets? They are so good and there is no mystery meat. Here is a recipe we used for inspiration. You probably won’t be able to make them look like dinosaurs, but the kids will get over that once they taste them.
6. Getting the kids involved is so fun. Stirring, pounding, mixing and pressing out tortillas was a highlight for Maggie and her boys.
7. Having a plan is key. This not only saved our sanity, but made it easy for everyone to be on board. “It’s easy for the nanny, my husband or my mom to look at the meal plan on the fridge and make Parker something to eat when I am away from home. It takes the guesswork out of cooking and makes feeding her healthy so easy.” - Melissa
8. Leftovers are the best. In addition to prepping and planning ahead, making a little extra of whatever we were having for dinner, meant we could turn it into lunch the next day.
9. The right tools make a big difference. “I would cook and puree a lot of fruits and vegetables for Parker on Sundays. But without a bunch of trays to freeze the purees in, I would have a bunch of pureed food that has to sit in the fridge while I wait for the trays to be available again. More trays would make it easier, but at $25 each, I just couldn’t spend the money for that convenience.” - Melissa. On the other hand, Maggie has already gotten her money’s worth of her newly acquired tortilla press.
10. We discovered new favorite foods. Farro, homemade ricotta, homemade almond milk are just a few of our new favorite things. We also learned to not fear fat.
Now it’s your turn...what did you learn during the challenge? What are your Real Food tips?
Today’s Real Foodie is Maria Speck, author of the cookbook Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, which won the Julia Child Award and was named a New York Times notable cookbook, a Washington Post top 10 cookbook and one of Cooking Light’s Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years. Maria has a passion for propelling Old World staples such as faro (our favorite!), barley, polenta, and wheat berries to the forefront of new American cooking. She draws on food traditions from across the Mediterranean and northern Europe to reveal how versatile, satisfying, flavorful, and sophisticated whole grains can be. Maria has been kind enough to share her recipes for Fig Muffins with Creamy Goat Cheese Filling and Kamut Salad with Carrots and Pomegranate with us, which are fantastic Real Food Recipes for the family to enjoy.
When we asked this critically acclaimed cookbook author why she chooses Real Food, she had this to say:
"For me, one of the big pleasures of cooking and eating real food has to do with flavor. You might find yourself amazed at the clean taste of a garden-fresh tomato or a cucumber in summer, or you might discover layers of flavor in good-quality chocolate or a local cheese. Personally, I have been smitten by the nuances of flavors in ancient grains, which so many still just regard as a blank and bland canvas. Grains to me not only have many fascinating textures, from comforting (think polenta or millet), to softly crunchy (as in amaranth and quinoa) to supremely chewy (as in wheat, spelt, or rye berries). They also have subtle flavors I learned to cherish and use in my everyday cooking: rye, for example, brings enticing tang, Kamut buttery richness, and oats a pleasing natural sweetness. Discovering these aromas can be a revelation."
Let us know what you think of the amazing flavors of Maria’s Real Food Recipes!
As we continue to explore this whole new world that is Real Food, we’ve made some pretty interesting discoveries as to just who eats Real Food. There is a wide spectrum of Real Foodies out there – individuals from all types of professions, and with all types of interests. From doctors to environmentalists, athletes to nutritionists and dieticians, bloggers to cookbook authors, people from all walks of life seem to be embracing this fantastic movement that is Real Food. That’s a pretty good sign, no?
This week we are excited to introduce you to a few of these people, each eating Real Food for their own real reasons. We’ll share with you new Real Foodie recipes, pouch friendly or not (for credibility’s sake), and these Real Foodies’ thoughts on why choosing a Real Food lifestyle is important.
We hope you’ll try some of these awesome Real Foodie recipes, which of course will be posted on our site (check out our Real Food Hub) and our growing Pinterest board of Real Food Recipes. And please, please, please, share your own. If YOU are a Real Foodie too, we’d love to know about you and your interests, and why you choose a Real Food lifestyle.
Enough of the intro already, right? (You must be just dying with anticipation.) We’ll see you tomorrow with our first Real Foodie post!
‘Til then,- Maggie & Melissa
Here at Little Green Pouch, we are loving learning about Real Food. There are so many fantastic resources out there for those of us trying to better understand the Real Food movement, and incorporate it into our lifestyle.
We were excited to recently discover a great Real Food resource in Wholesome Mommy. Wholesome Mommy is a blog for busy moms trying to feed their family Real Food. Denise Sawyer, author of the blog, keeps it “REAL SIMPLE for those of us who don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen or don't have time to hunt exotic ingredients.” She has fantastic recipes and provides great tips and tricks (like how to purchase chicken) to make wholesome living easy and affordable (check out her Real Food on a Food Stamp Budget meal plans).
Wholesome Mommy has been kind enough to create a great Real Food Pouch Recipe for Little Green Pouch that is perfect for pouches and also great for Valentine's Day — Apple Beet Sauce. How pretty is that color? You can find the full recipe HERE.
We hope you’ll give this Real Food Pouch Recipe a try, and let us know your thoughts. And don’t forget to send over Real Food Pouch Recipes of your own. If we love them (which we’re certain we will), we’ll include them on our Real Food Recipes hub, our general Recipes Page and our Real Food Pinterest Board. I mean, you’ll practically be famous!
We’ll check in with you next week to let you know how other Real Foodies are filling their Little Green Pouches, and of course, what’s in Parker’s Pouch this week.
‘Til next time,
Maggie & Melissa
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