Food Haul 5.30.13

Food Haul Header

Things are returning back to normal here at the Real Food house.  If you don’t follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) then you might not know that Local Hubby and I both stood up in the amazing wedding of dear friends.  The wedding was at The Henry Ford Museum and the whole thing was amazing.  The food was awesome, they even had a sliders and Better Made chips station late in the evening.

For food this week, we just have Door to Door Organics.

Image

Image

Trying several new (to me) things this week.  The usual Calder Dairy milk, Smoking Goose applewood smoked bacon and a Zingermans brownie.  The new-to-me goodies are Garden Fresh Wild Mild salsa, two flavors of Kind bars, Chocolate coconut Larabar, Ann Arbor Tortilla factory tortilla chips and Great Lakes Potato Chip Company BBQ chips.

Image

This weeks co-op freebie was strawberries.  Local toddler was really excited, but he just couldn’t stay awake on the ride home to have a snack.

This weeks food cost was $51.

Want to learn more about Door to Door Organics?

Advertisements

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

I am not a gardener!  I hope to eventually be one, but we can all safely assume that I am not one right now.  So, take all advice I am about to give you with a grain of salt.  The only real complaints about local and organic food are access and expense.  So, let’s try our hands at growing our own food!  At this very moment, I don’t have much space to grow food.  Fingers crossed, next year I will be a proud owner of a raised bed in this area:

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

We had a big old dying tree cut down, so we now have some sun in our yard!  We are starting with one raised bed, and will probably add one a year until we run out of sunny areas.

For right now, my only growing space is on the side of my house.  Here is a pic of my fancy garden:

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

In the pink container (dollar store) is some celery I’m regrowing from the base of an organic celery bunch.  Just cut the bottom off, place in water in a window and watch it grow!  I let it sit in the window (just add water every other day) for 2 or 3 weeks before planting into the container.

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

In the ground is two strawberry plants surrounded by marigolds.  I think this will eventually need some protection from the critters, so I need to think up something.

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

The two blue buckets are just five gallon buckets from Lowes.  Local hubby drilled a zillion holes in the bottom, filled them with pea gravel we stole from local toddlers gravel pit, and then planted a tomato and a bell pepper.

Small Space Gardening, for Non-Gardeners realfoodinarealworld.com

Local toddler was a big help this year, he did most of the dirt filling and planting.  He’s also a fantastic waterer.

Things I wanted to plant this year but didn’t get around to it: carrots, potatoes (I heard you can do them in a laundry basket, but you need straw) lettuce and some sort of leafy green (kale, chard, etc).  I ran out of pots and sunny patches.

My hope with this post is to show you that anybody can grow their own food.  You don’t need a lot of space, time or money.  Even if you live in an apartment with no outdoor area, you can at least grow some herbs on your windowsill.  Local toddler is having a blast tending to his plants, and he tells me the names of what he is watering.  I picked up organic garden soil and organic fertilizer at Lowes, and my local hardware store.

Go get your hands dirty!  I can’t wait to pick my first produce and serve it to my family!

Green Juice

IMG_8070-001

Today I’m bringing you a simple green juice recipe.  Except it really isn’t green, this one is purpleish.  In my world, I can call it a green juice if I put greens in it.  Juicing is one of the ways I use up odds and ends of veggies and fruit in the house.  Whatever I have too much of, goes into the juicer.  Great way to sneak in some things that I might not eat otherwise (I’m looking at you, beets).

So here is my “recipe” (Really just use whatever I have handy, but this is a guide)

Image

  • 3 leaves kale
  • one small beet with greens
  • half of a red bell pepper
  • one orange
  • one lemon
  • three pears (pears make it kind of thick, I usually use one or two apples but I needed to use these pears)
  • two stalks celery
  • 1/2 lb carrots (I had rainbow carrots, hence the purple juice)

Juice them up and you get this delightful looking mixture

Image

But it mixes up nicely and then your local toddler will beg for some

Image

And he won’t even make eye contact while he slurps it down.

Enjoy!

I’m currently using a cheap juicer I purchased from Aldi and re-running the pulp.  It’s fine for occasional juicing but I plan on upgrading when I have the money.  Some great options are this Breville juicer or this Omega one.  

Any Amazon links I post are probably Affiliate links, which means if you purchase that item via that link, Amazon will give me a few cents.  All product choices are made by me.)

Click here to learn more about juicing

Food Haul 5.16.13

Food Haul Header

A little bit of a quiet week here at the Real Food House.  Local toddler got sick, really for the first time.  It was sad and pitiful and no sleeping was to be had.  We mostly looked like this:

IMG_9119-001

I am happy to report that he is feeling much better and I almost feel human again after a few good nights sleep.  Things got pushed back, and not much cooking got done.  My fridge is still full, so this week was just a bitty box from Door to Door Organics.

IMG_9184-001

After careful thought and consideration, he selected a banana and grapefruit

IMG_9196-001

From Zingermans  we got a brownie for local hubby and some Challah bread that will be used for the best French toast in the world.    A Mitten Munch berry lemonade bar, lots of yummy fruit, green beans, some greens and a Tiny but Mighty popcorn sample.

Food costs from Door to Door was $32 this week.

I also popped in to my local Westborn Market for the first time this week.  What a cute store!  Full of tons of local goodies!

IMG_9115-001

Picked up some quick items since not a lot of cooking was getting done between a sick kiddo, Mothers Day, and some family events.  Two types of bread, pita, dry beans, avocado, tortilla chips, spinach dip and some hamburger and hotdog buns for the freezer.  I don’t have my receipt handy but I know my total was around $30.

So total food costs for the week was $62.  I am pretty happy with that.

What did you buy this week?  Try anything new?  Discover anything local?

Want to learn more about Door to Door Organics?

Finding Time for Real Food

On my Facebook yesterday I asked what readers wanted to know about the inner workings of the Real Food house.  Kate asked about making the time for real food when you have a real life.  It’s funny that the whole reasoning for the blog name “Real Food in a Real World” was to imply that it will focus on real life going on while we try to eat real food, but I haven’t actually devoted a post to this subject.

The super short answer is that I don’t have it all figured out.  We all struggle it seems; whether we have kids or not, work outside the home or not.  Nobody is perfect and everybody has to juggle life.

But, I will give you all the tips I can!  We are a family of three, I am a mostly stay at home mom of a very active two year old.  (Seriously, ask anybody that has met him).  My husband is a diesel mechanic.  I do have two other jobs that I work very part time, usually on days my husband is not working.  I know that I am lucky that my son naps nearly every day and is usually in bed by 8.  This gives me some quiet time with my husband at night, and I try to use naptime for food prep, housework etc.  Sometimes I just veg and play on the internet, but I try to maintain some semblance of productivity.  Toddlers are exhausting though, and I only have one!  I do a lot of my blogging at night after he goes to bed.  I am also very blessed in that I have really helpful family.  For example, I am taking a yoga class on Fridays, so my parents watch local toddler and feed him and my husband fends for himself after he gets home from work that day.

Now to keep it real for a minute.  I am so far from perfect.  I’m learning as I grow as a mother that there is no such thing as perfect.  I know that sometimes we read blogs and think “wow, she does it all.”  I think that it is really easy to only show the shiny happy parts of your life.  I am certain I am guilty of that.  So want to see some of the not so shiny spots?

Dishes.  Part of cooking real food involves dishes.  I hate doing dishes and I will procrastinate.  Here’s what my stove looked like this morning.

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

It’s painful for me to put this photo out to the world, but I want to keep it real!

Not every single meal will be perfect.  We do try to make a meal every day, but sometimes we don’t meet that goal.  I do my best to keep quick and easy meals in the freezer, but local toddler has eaten a few Happy Meals.

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

At least there were apples?

We try not to make any sort of a habit of fast food, but I won’t freak out about it if it does.  Learning to balance my life, and not melt down when things don’t go the way I planned.

So, how do we overcome the obstacles in front of us?

Here are a few things that help me:

First up is my iPhone.  I know that Smartphones are a point of contention for some people, and others live quite happily without them.  Not me.  For me, it is the greatest invention ever!  I can keep myself organized, look up recipes, find toddler activities, keep up with blogging and social media, and even do some work.  When local toddler is immersed in a project I can pull out my phone and work on something for a few minutes.  I also do all of the photography for this blog using my iPhone.  My most used apps are my email and calendar (which are synced with my work and blog ones and I set alerts for almost everything) Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, a local news and weather app, WordPress, Mint.com for personal finance, Craigslist, and Candy Crush.  Darn you Candy crush…  All free apps!

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

Dear iPhone, I love you. Even if your button doesn’t work properly and I really need to save up and get you fixed/replace you

If I am at home I almost always have my iPhone near me (keeping it real, not proud but it is true).  I do try to touch it very minimally if I am out of the house.  My son goes to several playgroups and I usually don’t even bring my phone with me.

I cancelled cable.  I find that for my family, the TV was a huge time waster.  You turn it on intending to watch one show, next thing you know two hours has passed.  Some people are great about being super productive while watching tv and it works for them.  I wasn’t that person.  We did get a Roku box and a Hulu Plus subscription so we could catch a few shows.  This has made us so productive!  My husband and I are also sitting on the porch and talking most nights instead of us sitting on different couches watching something.  Marriage bonus!

Freezer Cooking, Cooking Ahead, and Slow Cooker.  This is a huge time saver.  There are entire blogs devoted to this subject.  I freeze everything!  Some of my favorites are brown rice and chicken nuggets.  I also love my Crock Pot.  My favorite is Crock Pot whole chicken.

Know your personal pitfalls.  This has been a newer realization for me.  I’m starting to recognize there are certain days I am exhausted and have no desire to cook dinner.  For me I know that our late playgroup some Thursdays means naptime might not happen, so I try to plan something super simple for those days.  I have also been known to make our lunches the day before, even if I know we will be home for lunch.

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

A very typical lunch for me or local toddler.

Entertaining kids in the kitchen.  This is one of the hardest areas for me.  Local hubby used to be home from work earlier in the evening, but now doesn’t get home until after dinner.  So now I’m preparing dinner with local toddler.  Some days I just can’t handle him in there with me and I park him in front of the tv with a video, but I try to not depend on that.  I keep a bucket of toys in the kitchen that he only gets to play with when I am cooking.  I also try to include him in cooking, dumping ingredients, stirring etc.

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

Yes, toddlers are allergic to being fully dressed

Other days he sits on the kitchen floor with a homemade Popsicle (my son is a great eater so I don’t worry about him spoiling his dinner).  We always listen to music while we cook and have a dance party.

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

Grocery delivery.  Having Door to Door Organics deliver the bulk of my groceries saves a ton of time.  I used to shop at the regular supermarket and used a ton of coupons.  There is a definite money savings in shopping that way, but there is also some time investment.  Obtaining, clipping, and researching coupons, packing up the kid, then walking around the store, standing in line to check out, loading and unloading groceries.  I save a huge amount of time by just picking out my groceries online, and that gives me a lot more time to focus on meal prep.  I still do some shopping in brick and mortar stores, but it takes very little time.  Usually just a little hand basket worth of groceries from Pure Pastures.

Sticky Notes!

Finding Time for Real Food realfoodinarealworld.com

That is one of my kitchen cabinets, it happens to be the one devoted to this blog.  I keep calendars and sticky notes everywhere.  It may seem kind of silly, but I leave myself reminders for things like beans soaking, or even the crock-pot.  The more organized I stay, the easier it is to get things done.  I make notes when we are low on things we keep in the freezer so I know to make some more when I get some free time.

I’m sure there a bunch more tips that are escaping my brain right now.  I hope something was helpful!  I’d love to hear from other readers!  How do you balance all that life throws at you, and stay out of a drive through window?

Apple Celebration Salad

Apple Celebration Salad realfoodinarealworld.com

I seriously can’t come up with a proper name for this dish.  I serve it as either a side dish or a desert.  It’s a warm, comforting dish with no added sugar.  I can’t find enough information to tell me if it is Paleo or not because of the raisins, so feel free to weigh-in on this my dear Paleo enthusiasts.  Try it, tell me what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, diced
  • small handful of raisins, I prefer golden
  • coconut oil, approximately a tablespoon or so
  • cinnamon
  • ginger

In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add apples.  Stir occasionally for a minute or two and add raisins.  As the raisins warm, they will become slightly syrupy when they mix with the apples.  Add some ginger and cinnamon.  I’d love to give a measurement, but if you are familiar with this blog you know I’m no fan of measuring 😉  Just add more of what you like, and less of things you don’t.  Or leave things out, it’s your kitchen and your rules!  Stir your mixture occasionally until your apples are cooked to your desired tenderness.  Serve warm.  I’m sure it is also good cold, but I can assure you that it will not last that long.  The coconut oil imparts such a good flavor, I highly recommend not substituting that if at all possible.

Food Haul 5.9.13

Food Haul Header

So here’s what we bought at Casa de Real Food this week.

Went to Pure Pastures, bought a bunch of stuff and didn’t take a picture!  We bought Calder Dairy black cherry ice cream for the hubby, beef pasties, eggs, like 4 pounds of boneless chicken breast, and three pounds of grass-fed ground beef.  We spent $56, but $30 of that was covered by the Living Social coupon we bought a month or so ago.

Door to Door Organics this week was fairly normal.Except for the fact that I accidentally purchased too much hummus.  If there is such a thing as too much hummus.

Food Haul 5.9.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

Local toddler looked through every single item in the freebie bin at Door to Door Organics.  After great consideration, he selected a watermelon.

Image

My belly is so happy to have strawberries on a regular basis right now.  Some sugar snap peas are buried in that pile too.  I love spring and summer!

Image

Calder Dairy milk for local toddler, and eggs because I seriously can’t get enough eggs.  I’ve been eating them scrambled with some Garden Fresh salsa and some avocado.  Seriously amazing.  Some Mama Mo hummus and a Zingermans brownie for local hubby.  I’m trying the Larabar for the first time.  My friend Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting is obsessed with Larabars, and this one was on sale so I’m giving it a try.

Food costs from Door to Door was $58 this week, so added to Pure Pastures we spent $114 for the week.

What did you buy this week?  Try anything new?  Discover anything local?  Farmers Market season is quickly approaching, once the Michigan grow season ramps up, we will lower our Door to Door Organics box down to a bitty size (we are currently getting a medium) and be shopping Farmers markets!  I do a lot of canning and preserving, so it should be interesting to watch our food hauls and costs over the summer.

Want to learn more about Door to Door Organics?

Want to learn more about Pure Pastures?

Lentil Tacos

Lentil Tacos realfoodinarealworld.com

Stay with me, it sounds a little strange, but it is good!  Like, really good.  Hubby pronounced it really good and looks forward to me making it again good.  Cue the angels singing!  It is simple too!  It’s been beautiful outside so local toddler and I have been spending most of our days outdoors.  I was able to fix this meal fairly quickly.

First, you will cook your lentils.  Sort if you haven’t already and rinse well.  Cook your lentils one cup lentils to three cups water.  I kept running in and out of the house, so I actually just brought them to a boil, killed the heat, and let it sit covered on the stove for an hour or so.

Then, drain well and add your taco seasoning.  Are you making your own taco seasoning yet?  Allow me to convince you!  Add some water (half a cup or so) to the seasoned lentils and cook on low until the water is absorbed.  Done!

Enjoy your taco “meat” just as you would any other meat!  We topped ours with some Garden Fresh salsa, Calder Dairy sour cream (Tofutti for me), lettuce, tomato, and avocado.  Happy Meatless Monday!

Food Haul 5.2.13

Food Haul 5.2.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

I bet you guys will never guess where my food came from this week!

Wait, did you guess Pure Pastures and Door to Door Organics?  Sly foxes!

First up, Pure Pastures:

Food Haul 5.2.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

Local eggs, a pint of Calder Dairy chocolate milk,and my dark chocolate almonds.

Two funny stories:

  1.   Local toddler marched right up to the almonds, grabbed them and took them to the counter.  Young grasshopper loves his momma.
  2.   Not so much funny as awesome.  My mom bought my groceries.  I repaid her by getting her sick.  I’m such a nice daughter.

Next up is Door to Door Organics:

Food Haul 5.2.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw this pic yesterday.  Local toddler is showing off the things he pilfered from Mike at the Door to Door Organics warehouse.  Door to Door Organics, if by some chance you read this blog, I love the warehouse employees!  Dynelle, Lenny and Mike rock.  Everybody who I meet is awesome, I just see those three the most.

Food Haul 5.2.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

Beets, carrots, celery, lettuce, kale, and the regulars.  Nothing too exciting planned.  I’m still recovering from being so sick so I’m not terribly adventurous right now.

Food Haul 5.2.13 realfoodinarealworld.com

Calder Dairy milk, strawberries, Zingermans brownie for hubby and some new to me items!  I’m excited to try the Garden Fresh salsa, Mitten Munch bars, and Mama Mo red pepper hummus.  So exciting to have new goodies to try!  Door to Door Organics has a ton of new stuff this week, I wanted one of everything!  I will eventually get around to talking about it all and updating my original post.  Total spent at Door to Door was $62.

What did you buy this week?  Any exciting dinner plans?  Let’s get inspired!

Quick Tip: Freezing Celery

Image

Let’s talk celery.  You buy a big bunch with great intentions.  After a while, the celery starts to look a little sad.  You can wrap your celery in foil to make it last longer, but eventually, we have to give up the fight.

Or do we?

Save your celery my friends!

Now, according to every resource out there, celery needs to be blanched before freezing.  I’m sure if you feel like going down that path, it will work delightfully.  For me, freezing without blanching works just fine.  The only applications I use my frozen celery for are things like soups and stews.  If you were to need your frozen celery for any other purpose, you might find it to be too soft.

Wash and dry your celery.  Dice into slightly larger sections than you will need for the final destination.  Freeze on a baking sheet and then place into a zip top bag.

Image

Look at you, combating food waste and saving your celery!  You are a Real Food superhero!