Canning Green Beans

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Green Beans are an absolute favorite of mine to preserve. Just a simple raw pack (no cooking,  no flavoring) and a trip to the pressure canner. We love to use them in dishes all year long, and the preservation process leaves them a perfect consistency for my 3 year old to snack on plain.
I follow an excellent blogger for all my canning tips,  here is some great info about pressure canning
This year we (I share all my canning with my parents,  the work and the haul) preserved a half bushel plus an additional 5lbs of green beans, all from Old City Acres (local urban farm, love it!)  We made 24 pints, 3 quarts and tons we ate fresh. It’s a labor of love, but the results are so worth it!

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Let’s be Social Butterflies!

Just a quick note to let all the real foodies know that I use several social media outlets.  It takes a long time to pull together blog posts, but I love to post small things that are on my mind.

Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RealFoodInARealWorld

I love Facebook because I am able to post long thoughts and photos, but only about 30% of my “audience” sees the posts because Facebook wants me to pay to “boost” my posts.  This blog is not monetized, which is to say that I pay to run this blog and do not receive any money from advertising or kick backs.  I blog because I love to write and share ideas with like minded people, this is not a source of income for me therefore I will not be paying any “unnecessary” fees.  I need that money to buy good food!

Find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RealFoodKelly

Twitter is forever a mystery to me.  I’m on it fairly often, but I am definitely not an aficionado.  Feel free to come watch me stumble my way around retweets and links I find interesting!

Find me on Instagram at http://instagram.com/realfoodkelly

Instagram is neck and neck with Facebook for my favorite!  I’m fairly new to Instagram but I love sharing photos.  I’m usually there daily posting a random snippet of my life.  It is usually food, but I also chronicle other areas of my everyday life.  It is a really fun way to see everyday life in a new way.  I highly encourage you to check it out, ridiculous hashtags and all.  Don’t worry, I don’t really understand hashtags yet either!

Come stumble around the internet with me!  I love chatting with all of you and learning new things.

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Food Haul 11.8.13

How is it November already?! Thanksgiving is coming up so quickly! I love Thanksgiving but I can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by.

This week is just Door to Door Organics. Lots of goodies to share though!

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The Challah bread from Zingermans is a thing of beauty. It is pricey, but makes the best French Toast you have ever eaten in your life. We are obsessed with this bacon from Smoking Goose! Just a fair warning, if you eat it you will never EVER be able to eat regular grocery store bacon again. Completely worth it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! The eggs are from Creswick Farms and the milk in glass bottles is from Calder Dairy. Grabbed some maple Brown Cow yogurt and the always tasty Garden Fresh Gourmet wild mild fresh salsa. I also needed some Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese. I don’t typically like most dairy imposters but those two things are so delicious! Somehow the Zingermans brownie escaped being photographed, but I snuck one of those in the order for local hubby.

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In the bitty box this week I got zucchini, avocado, kale, pie pumpkin, potatoes, bananas, apples and lettuce. The warehouse had strawberries out when I picked up my boxes. Local toddler has been begging for strawberries forever but they are so pricey this time of year. I was really jazzed to see them there, thanks Door to Door Organics! He also picked up a green mango that he is completely obsessed with and won’t stop talking about.

Oops, I lied.  I also ran over to Aldi and picked up a container of organic baby spinach and three avocados.  I spent $5 and some change.  I spent $58.99 at Door to Door this week, so my total spending this week was around $64.

How about you?  Try anything new this week?

 

 

Whole Roasted Butternut Squash

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If you love butternut squash but hate the effort it takes to cut, I have good news!

You don’t have to!

We love butternut squash but I have nearly severed a finger trying to cut them in half. I have good knives, but some squash are super hard. A few years ago somebody told me I could roast it whole and I have never looked back!

Preheat your oven to 350F, although I have used other temperatures and the squash was fine (just check for burning if a higher temp)

Wash your squash and make two large slashes in the skin. They don’t need to be deep, just enough to let some steam escape.

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Place your squash in a pan. I typically cover a 9×13 dish in foil because I hate washing dishes. There may be some sticky residue after roasting.

Roast for approximately one hour. Time will depend on the size and density of the squash. It’s fairly forgiving, I just poke it every once in a while. When I can poke a fork or knife easily into the flesh I know it is done.

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Remove from oven and set aside to cool. I set mine on top of my oven to cool enough for me to lightly handle

Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds to discard and then scoop flesh from skin.

Done! You can puree if you like a smooth texture. You can season to your liking. We like ours plain, I think the roasting process makes it delicious.

Real Food to Go 11.4.13

Happy Monday!

This week in lunch was a little hit or miss. We had to skip our Door to Door Organics order last week because our budget got lean for a little while. Real life happens to all of us! I had to try to get creative with what we had in the house. Most blogs would call that an “Eating from the Pantry Challenge” but I will be straight with you and say we were short on funds and it wasn’t that exciting! Thankfully I hoard keep a lot of food in the house.

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This one looks kind of boring but tastes delicious!  I typically make brown rice, so local hubby is always excited to find white rice in his lunch.  The chicken was baked in a big pan with some sea salt and Apolonia Oily Greek dressing.  The juice is a mixture of all the produce that was going south.  It is beets, carrots, romaine lettuce, ginger and apple.

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This lunch got repeated a few times!  Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my aunt made grape jelly from fresh organic grapes my parents picked while vacationing up north) apple, Doritos stolen from Local Toddlers Halloween stash, Greek yogurt with some Germack Motown Mix to add in, and a spinach salad with some walnuts and dried cherries and Apolonia pink creamy Greek dressing.  Door to Door Organics hasn’t had the creamy Greek available for a few weeks and we are now out, there may be an uprising!  The bread was in our freezer from Costco, it is Sara Lee Whole grain white or something like that.  It’s not that great for you, but I just can’t seem to get into the habit of making bread and I don’t have a perfect recipe.

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Lunch fail.  I made really soupy oatmeal in the hopes that it would reheat well.  It did not.  Local toddler and I ate this fresh and it was pretty amazing.  It was oatmeal with walnuts and apple celebration salad.  I also packed a banana with peanut butter, some Calder Dairy milk and Grass Fed whey protein and an Emergen-C packet because we are all fighting off a cold (and winning!) (Side note, I don’t think Emergen-C is considered “real food” but we had it in the house and I am determined to keep us healthy)

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Just had to throw in a toddler lunch to complete this post.  Banana slices with roasted and salted pepitas, cranberries and raisins on top of peanut butter.  This is a light lunch for him, but I thought it was pretty.

Any hits or misses in your lunch?

Do you make bread?  I’d love a perfect recipe for sandwich bread, I even have a bread machine!  Mine are always crumbly.

What do you make when the budget gets tight?

*Disclaimer- This posts contains some Amazon Associates links for items.  This means that if you click that link and purchase that item, Amazon will throw me a few pennies.  Mostly it is just a convenient way to share links with you.

Halloween Wrap Up

Happy Friday Real Foodies!

I hope everybody had a great Halloween!

Today I don’t have a food haul (the only thing I bought this week was cucumbers, hummus and mini peppers) so I thought I would share a Halloween wrap up. I got quite a few questions about Halloween candy so I thought I would address them here.

Plus it gives me a good excuse to show off local toddler in his costumes because I can 😉

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We did several Halloween events this year so I had an indoor and an outdoor costume for him. This also may have been because my mother and I really enjoy making costumes and couldn’t narrow it down.

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Back to food! For a playgroup party, local toddler gave out mini bags of pretzels. For our trick or treaters we had these super cute bags of Annie’s bunnies.

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Now, about all that candy. I can only speak to what my life experience tells me. What works for my family right now, might not work next year or for another family. In all honesty, there isn’t a huge overload of candy in our house. My son only went to about five houses last night before he decided that it was way more fun to pass out candy. (His decision, he really had a lot of fun passing out candy and yelling out the door “Do you need a trick or treat? I have snacks, come get some candy.”) He was given some great snacks from friends and family (fruit puree pouches, yogurt melts, goldfish crackers etc). He only asked for a sucker last night and we happily obliged. I have the candy on a table and he knows it is there, and I will let him have one or two (after a meal). I stashed a few suckers aside for special prizes. However, we do not let him have chocolate. This is because he doesn’t tolerate chocolate well right now and it causes him stomach problems, I’m sure this will change as he gets older. My husband and I are happy to help some of the chocolate find a new home, the rest will probably find a home in my freezer.

I’ve heard of all different ways of dealing with massive amounts of Halloween candy. Honestly, I have no idea what we will do when he really starts amassing massive amounts of candy. I’ve heard of many different suggestions, but I think it all comes down to knowing what works best for your child at that point in time. I consider myself an “everything in moderation” parent. I don’t think occasional candy will melt his brain, but I certainly don’t want it to be an every day thing in his life. I typically “let my hair down” about food for special occasions. He eats cupcakes and potato chips at parties, the occasional fast food hamburger etc. Our family tries for 80% real food, some days we are 100, some days lower. I think he is happy, healthy and well adjusted; which is really what we all want for our children. Most days he will choose cucumbers or grapes over candy, so I’m not going to worry too much about the days that the occasional candy wins.

How was your Halloween? What did you give out? Did your kids get any treats that surprised you? Do you have any leftover peanut butter cups?!

 

 

 

New Series: Real Food to Go

Real Food to Go

Welcome to my new blog series! This will be an ongoing series chronicling what I pack my husband for lunch. For some background information; my husband is a heavy duty diesel mechanic that works 8-12 hour shifts usually 6 days a week. He works a combination of mostly afternoons with a day shift and a midnight shift thrown in once a week. His “lunch” is usually eaten at dinner time. I usually pack him the leftovers of what local toddler and I ate the night before for dinner. This series will give you a good overview of what I make for my family on a regular basis. We are an average family, pinching pennies just like everybody else. As I always have tried on my blog, I want to address that real food is not elitist. We struggle with money like anybody else, but food is important to us.

Because local hubby works such long hours at such a physical job, I pack him a ton of food. He’s also resistant to eating breakfast. He enjoys some “cheat” foods that I pack for him. I will not claim that everything I pack for him fits the criteria of real food, but it is certainly better than a drive thru. We are all works in progress!

I will probably aim to make this a weekly series, but because I often have “repeats” there will not be a whole weeks worth in each post. He also usually buys lunch once a week with his coworkers. We budget for this because it breaks up the monotony of him eating his meal every night while they buy food every night. Also he works in Detroit, which is foodie heaven.

I will post links to recipes when available, but if you want more information about a meal please don’t hesitate to ask!

Enough of my yammering, lets get to the food!

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This day was some Annie’s macaroni and cheese with some pieces of steak on top.  A whole bunch of roasted butternut squash and yummy roasted broccoli.

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This photo and the two below it are all together, but I thought I should show individual pictures so you can see what is in each container.  This was for one of his longer days so it is probably 2-3 meals.  The same roasted squash and broccoli as above, with oven roasted potatoes and steak.

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In the Goodbyn, we have a Zingermans brownie, grapes and kiwi berries, and some dried cherries and walnuts to put on his salad.

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Just some plain spinach for a salad.  We love this pink creamy Greek dressing from Apolonia.  Trying to find good containers to send dressing in, thankfully we had this little sample bottle.

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Hey look, more squash!  Seriously, this squash was gigantic!  Lots of whole wheat penne pasta topped with chicken that was baked with a little Celtic sea salt and Apolonia oily Greek dressing.  Some organic frozen peas (Alexia brand) to finish it off.

Notes:

Apolonia dressings are purchased from Door to Door Organics, along with all produce and most pantry items.  Meat is from Pure Pastures.  Everything is purchased by me

I would love your feedback on this series!

Food Haul 10-21-13

After the Good Food Gathering hosted by Door to Door Organics, my order doubled in size! There was so much good food to try! We added several new things to our order.

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The Apolonia oily Greek dressing is awesome! Great as a marinade or as the dressing in a pasta salad too. Grabbed some Germack almonds to make almond milk too. Some more usual suspects too: Calder Dairy milk, Ezekiel tortillas and raisin bread, Zingermans brownie, Oasis hummus, organic pasta and Great Lakes Potato chips.

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Lots of yummy produce this week! Bought extra beets, carrots and oranges for juicing. The dark things are purple potatoes!

Side note: life here at the Real Food house is crazy. Local hubby is working all kinds of crazy hours and we are trying to adjust. I’m trying to carve out blogging time! I will be starting a new series soon detailing what I pack for his lunches. Say tuned!

Real Foodie Costco Trippin’

 

I have been in desperate need of a stockpile grocery trip.  Here at the Real Food House, we usually do two major stockpile trips a year, a monthly refill and then our weekly day-to-day items.  There have been lots of changes in schedules, budgets and diets in our home.  We are trying to find the balance and aren’t there yet.  My husband works a ton of hours at a very physically demanding job, so we know we need to fuel him properly.  Local toddler eats a ton of food, I’m honestly shocked how much a 2.5 year old can eat!  I have also been making changes to my diet.  I’m lowering the amount of carbohydrates I eat and loosely carb cycling as a Diabetes prevention.  (I have rampant Diabetes on both sides of my family and I myself have PCOS so I’m trying to keep myself healthy.)  All of these changes are having a major effect on our grocery budget and our eating.  We are trying to figure it all out while still eating as local as possible.  Once we get our heads above water I will be doing lots of freezer cooking to attempt to make my life easier, stay tuned!

So, about that stockpile trip to Costco

I’m in amazement of all the good real food sold at Costco!  I’m having phone issues so I didn’t really get pictures to share.  Costco has really been stepping up their game in the Organic foods lately.  I picked up organic spinach and organic baby kale for a steal, I think they were a pound each for $4+.  My hubby picked up some brown rice sushi and we also found some smoked wild caught salmon.  We also found some wild caught salmon burgers that I’m excited to try.  We are trying to eat more healthy fish so we are working our way in slowly and starting with already prepared items.  Speaking of fish, they had a 6 pack of Wild Planet Foods wild Albacore tuna for $14.99 which is a steal if you have seen how much this stuff costs for a single can!  I’ve never tried it before because of the price, but I know that sustainable seafood is expensive so we took the plunge.

My husband was looking for some shelf stable “just add water” type of items to keep in his locker at work and found some vegan noodles that looked enticing.  Some other “must have” items we get at Costco are peanut butter, organic sugar, unbleached flour, walnuts, avocados, bread, sausage, English muffins, cheese, lunch meat, and I was super excited to find Happy Squeeze pouches for local toddler (these things are awesome to keep in my purse for an emergency snack or special treat if we are out.)  We also grabbed the organic corn tortilla chips, they are so good!

I also get paper products, laundry products, and a plethora of other items at Costco.  I love to buy things from local small stores and Door to Door Organics but it is wonderful to be able to stock my pantry back up while on a budget.  I’ve also heard wonderful things about Costco and how they treat their employees and pay a fair wage so I’m happy to give them business.

Do you shop Costco?  What are some of your favorite items to buy?