Simple Crescent Roll Sandwiches

When I was pregnant I always assumed that I would just feed my son exactly what we had for meals.  I consider this about 70% true, but what about the other 30%?  The days we eat steak, or a big … Continue reading

Real Food for Real Toddlers

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I’m no parenting expert, I’m not a doctor or nutritionist.  I’m just an average momma trying to give my kiddo a good start in life.  Our diet is far from perfect, but I like to think that we do pretty good and are fairly well rounded.  This is what I feed my son, feel free to take what you think is good and leave the rest behind. 

A lot of blogs do a “What I ate Wednesday” which I always find really interesting.  I suppose it is the voyeur in me, but that’s kind of why we read blogs, right?  A glimpse into the world of somebody else.  I thought I would focus on giving real food to toddlers since that is the stage we are at in our family.  I will say that not every day is perfect.  My son has eaten ice cream cones and McDonalds.  Some pizza nights and some Chinese food.  But, we aim for 80% real food in our house.  We try to buy 80% of our food whole and natural, and away from the big box grocery stores.  Some weeks it is 100% others it might be 50%.  I’m learning to not beat myself up over things and I know I would rather spend quality time with my son than five hours in the kitchen.  Give and take.  You win some you lose some.  Welcome to my self therapy!

Anywho, onto the food.  An average day around here looks a little something like this:

After his wake up, he drinks a cup of milk and noshes on some dry Cheerios (or whatever I have handy like granola)

We eat breakfast together, typically a bready carb, a protein, and some fruit.  Always subject to change but I try to throw some sort of protein in there.  We are huge green monster smoothie fans.  I make them several times a week.  This kid loves green drinks!

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Some cheese toast, strawberries, grapes and a little bit of green juice

 

Sometime between breakfast and lunch I give him a small snack.  Basically something to keep him stable until lunch.  This particular day we were out bicycling and at the park, and I had one of these Clif Kids bars in his backpack.

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Lunch is usually a pretty big meal right now.  He’s really active in the morning and afternoon.  This day was a banana and some strawberries with blueberry yogurt “dip-dip”.  He loves the Thomas Organic Creamery yogurt, and the blueberry is getting major high-fives right now.  He makes a huge mess, but I know his independent streak will serve him well later in life!  He also had half of a veggie burger with some ketchup “dip-dip.”

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On a good day, nap time is shortly after lunch and the milk monster will wake up two hours later.  He has a cup of milk and that will usually hold him until dinner.  If he’s crabby I will usually give him some sort of carby snack like crackers.  He’s a super big fan of my Easy Cheesy crackers!

Dinner!  My husband and I have always believed that with few exceptions, our son should eat exactly what we eat.  Obviously when he was starting solids I did a lot of separate cooking (making things smaller/softer etc) but thankfully that stage doesn’t last very long.  I would say that since he was one year of age, he has been eating the same as us.

I try to keep our dinners well balanced, and I try to get lots of veggies into our dinners because local toddler and I aren’t all that great and getting them in during the day.  I try to remember, but fruit is just so convenient!  Dinner was chicken and spinach wraps, roasted broccoli and some carrot sticks.

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So there is what my kiddo eats in a day.  He’s two years old, so I know I’m in trouble when he is a teenager!

Green Juice

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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)

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  • 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

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

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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

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.

Homemade Convenience: Freezer Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

If you are anything like me, I always keep a stash of quick food in my freezer.  Things like chicken nuggets, I would buy a Costco size bag and always have a quick protein source ready.  While most of the “better” brands don’t have too many creepy additives, I like to know that I’m getting local happy chicken.  These things are awesome!  I make several pounds at a time, and then I always have a meal that takes 15 minutres.

These are relatively simple to prepare, but a little time consuming.  For the time reason, I do several pounds at a time.  Time well spent if I can make a ton of meals at once!

First things first, in order to make breaded items, you need to know about “Wet hand, dry hand.”  Breading with this method is exactly what it sounds like.  One hand will be in the dry ingredients, and one will be in the wet.  This prevents the dreaded “glove hand” of layers of breading and goo.  Here are the steps:

  1. With your left hand; select a piece of chicken, and coat with the flour mixture.  Leave chicken in flour.
  2. With right hand, pick up chicken from the flour and dunk into the egg mixture.  Still using right hand, remove chicken and place into the breadcrumb mix without touching crumbs with your hand.
  3. With left hand, liberally coat chicken with breadcrumb mixture

Ok, now that we know how to bread, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually do 2-3lbs at a time)
  • 1 1/2 c Flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1c bread crumbs (I get some from a local bakery for super cheap!)
  • 1c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set up your station:

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

Not my usual chicken, but what I had on hand at the time

I have the best results with two bowls and a deep plate (similar to a pie plate)

Bowl #1: flour and salt & pepper

Bowl #2: eggs, beaten and milk

Dish #3: both types of bread crumbs and seasoned salt

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken into desired size and shape.
  2. Follow “Wet hand, dry hand” breading instructions
  3. Place breaded chicken strips on a foil covered and greased baking sheet
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, turn halfway through baking
  5. Eat!

To make freezer nuggets:

  1. Follow all directions above and then let chicken cool completely after baking.
  2. Freeze and place strips into a zip top bag.
  3. To bake from frozen (don’t thaw) just place on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe

 

 

 

 

Recipe Roundup – Paleo Pancakes/Quick Pancakes

Hello there real foodies.  Today I’m bring you two similar recipes that are not mine.  There are many people practicing a Paleo or Primal eating plan, and many people who avoid gluten.  Then, there are some of us (me) that are just a little lazy and headlines like “two ingredient pancake” make us jump for joy.  Two lovely ladies; Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting and Sarah from Less Sugar, More Spice, recently posted recipes for a simple pancake.

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chick photo for recipe!

Jennifer admits that in the strictest sense, these are not Paleo because pancakes are a “bad” food, but all the ingredients (all two of them) are indeed Paleo.  She also assures you these are easy because she is “lazy.”  Because those crazy Crossfit people are definitely “lazy” in my book 😉

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Click photo for recipe!

Sarah describes her pancakes as kitchen magic.  She adds a third ingredient for some extra protein and makes healthy pancakes.  Now, I think pancakes deserve their own food group, so add healthy to the label and I’m sold.  I will be over for breakfast tomorrow Sarah!

These also make excellent toddler chow.  Ever met a kid that didn’t like pancakes?  I made a batch with a spoonful of peanut butter (he’s 2 and ok with peanut butter, follow your discretion about young children and nut products) and local toddler ate all three pancakes.

Substitutions:  I know I have some readers that don’t do bananas.  In my head, this recipe will work perfectly with a sweet potato instead of the banana.  I didn’t have any sweet potatoes around (gasp!) to try it out.  I tried it many, many ways with canned pumpkin and it didn’t work.  At all…  My dog, however, got her fill of pumpkin blobs.  For the vegans, I’m not well versed enough on egg substitution to try this one.  If you do, please let me know in the comments!

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It imposters)

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Sounds a little “out there”, right?  Making your own crackers?  It’s actually not difficult!  If you have a food processor it will take you no time at all.  I don’t have a food processor, and I still make these quite often.

Now for the “why?”  Why should you make your own?  My boys think they are delicious, and let’s take a peek at the ingredient label for Cheez Its

ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), CHEESE MADE WITH SKIM MILK (SKIM MILK, WHEY PROTEIN, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR COLOR), CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF SALT, PAPRIKA, YEAST, PAPRIKA OLEORESIN FOR COLOR, SOY LECITHIN.

Now, of all the processed food in the world, this isn’t that bad.  There are only a few questionable ingredients (like some tasty TBHQ).  In our quest to stay away from the supermarket, I decided to try out making our own crackers (especially for local toddler, who was really into goldfish crackers).  I adapted this recipe from Tasty Kitchen.  If you want to learn how to make them adorable and fish shaped, check out that link.  If you want to see the quick and easy way, I will show you how they get made in the Real Food kitchen.

Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Shredded Cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup Flour
  • Salt for sprinkling
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cold water

First, shred the cheese.  I usually buy blocks of cheese, but if you have shredded you get to skip this step.

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

This is cheddar, just not dyed orange like most cheddar.

If you have a food processor, you will pulse together the cheese, butter and flour together until the mixture looks like coarse sand.  If you don’t have a food processor (like me), get out your handy pastry blender and get to work.

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Remove dough from the food processor, wrap in plastic, and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.  (For you bakers out there, you are basically making a pie crust recipe.)

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes.

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Local toddler gets really excited when there is dough on the counter, he grabs the rolling pin and gets to work

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Keeping it real, I usually just quickly cut them into squares with a plastic knife

Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Try to make them a little more uniform and they will cook evenly: AKA, do as I say not as I do

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.

Easy Cheesy Crackers (Cheez It Imposters) realfoodinarealworld.com

Tips:

  • Roll the dough as thin as possible for a crispy cracker (more like a Cheez It or goldfish cracker).
  • Slightly thicker dough will produce a more chewy cracker (my boys like them puffy and chewy).
  • If you are making these for someone else because you can’t eat them because of a dairy allergy, do so on a full stomach because the temptation to grab a handful will be almost too much.  Not that I know this personally…

Click Here for a printable copy of this recipe