Show Children Where Their Food is From -Days 4 & 5

Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed finding local sources for food. I’ve been thrilled with the quality of cheeses, baked goods and meats we’ve been able to find. While I’m a vegetarian, I do not mind feeding my family grass-fed, organic meats. We want our kids to grow up feeling connected to their food, so when they are older they’ll continue making wise food choices. By exposing them to small family farms and allowing them to have a role in growing their own food they’ll be able to make that connection. Farmers markets are a fantastic way to get kids connected with their foods. I’m so excited that New Harvest Farmer’s Market is opening next week. It’s fantastic to see the farmers each week and buy directly from them. If you are local to the Knoxville area you may be interested in contacting Green Chin Farms they do deliver weekly to South Knoxville. Call Morel at 865-933-0855.
I’ve written before about “our” cow, Crema.We participate in a cow’s milk and Goat cheese share at Green Chin Farms. She gave birth to a beautiful little calf on Monday. This morning one of the goats gave birth. So we were fortunate enough to go see the new babies on the farm. We were also able to see the new chicks and check out the organic vegetable garden. It was a great field trip. I think it’s very important for children to understand the difference between small family local farms and large factory farming institutions. As they get older, this helps them understand the reason for the supporting fast food places and eating ‘cheap’ food.

So are you curious what we ate for days 4 and 5 of the Real Food Challenge?
Day 4
Breakfast-Dippy eggs and toast. We also had a few breakfast casserole muffins left that we finished eating.

Lunch-I roasted a large pan of vegetables including beets, fennel, Brussel sprouts, onions, carrots and cauliflower. I drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.  We ate the roasted veggies with the rest of the tomato caper salad.
Dinner- I made Eggplant Involtini * with a side dish of sauteed spinach with lemon. It was beyond delicious.  I’ve always enjoyed Eggplant Parmigiana when it’s fried crispy. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the eggplant in it’s more natural state. It was a rich and creamy dish. It was just me and the kids for dinner and we really enjoyed it. Even my three-year-old ate up two of the eggplant roll-ups.I will make this recipe again. I’m already looking forward to eating the two small rolls leftover.
Snacks-Lemon Ice cream, smoothie popsicles, dehydrated fruit.
Day 5
Breakfast- Whole Grain Pancakes. My mom shared with me a great recipe that includes whole wheat flour, rolled oats, flax seed and yogurt. I can post the recipe if anyone is interested. We topped the pancakes with bananas and maple syrup.
Lunch- Remember when I made rice and beans earlier in the week. I cooked a large batch of kidney beans, so I used the remainder of the beans to make Kidney Bean Soup.  We enjoyed the soup with some whole grain rye crackers that I was able to find at Big Lots. The soup is a recipe from my husband’s mother. I hope to post it soon. This is also what my husband took to work for his lunch.
Dinner-We had some leftovers built up so I decided to clean out the fridge. I dove into the Eggplant Involtini. The kids enjoyed some Broccoli Gribiche, roasted veggies and eggs.
Snacks- Smoothie Popsicles, Maple Pecan Breakfast cookies* (yum!) raw veggies and Ranch Style dip*
We’re half way through the challenge. I really hope we can continue to eat like this. I’m feeling good and the kids are enjoying it. My  husband jokingly said today, “I”m craving some high fructose corn syrup!” My daughter was quick to reply, “That’s silly, ’cause we don’t eat that anyway.”

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What are we eating? Days 1-3

Our Dinner Last Night

Here we are already finished with the third day of our ten-day real food challenge. I must say I’m feeling very motivated with all of the positive feedback I’m receiving from everyone. So far the challenge is really helping me realize that our family was too dependent on organic junk food for snacks. Yes, those little packets of gummy fruits and fun shaped crackers were convenient, but at what cost? This challenge has really opened my eyes to the amounts of sugar my children were eating.
I went to my local food co-op Three Rivers Market to start my grocery shopping for the week. I picked up lots of bulk nuts and other goodies. Early Sunday we headed to Kroger to do the remainder of our grocery shopping. We have a new-ish Kroger on Broadway here in Knoxville that has a fantastic organic produce department. We spent about $100 at the co-op and about $120 for food at Kroger. I’m curious how this challenge will influence my budget this month. I’ll keep you updated.
Day 1
Breakfast- Creamed Kale and Eggs*. I loved it, my husband ate it but he is not crazy about greens, the kids ate it but didn’t clean their plates. I did overcook the eggs, so the yolk was not as runny like it should have been. I think I”ll try it again and try to cook it properly this time.
Lunch- Creamed Vegetable Soup* with Wasa crackers. Everyone LOVED this. I made an extra large batch of soup hoping we could have some for leftovers or lunch the next day. I’m happy to report that by the end of the night the entire pot of soup was gone.
Dinner- We made crab legs with butter for the kids. This was their treat from the grocery store trip today. A much better choice than the ‘free’ cookie the bakery offers though it was a little harder on the wallet. My husband and I ate more soup and my husband made me a grilled cheese on Honey Whole Wheat bread from the Old mill with Sauerkraut, cheddar cheese and apples. It was so delicious!
Snacks- The kids ate tons of watermelon (another grocery store treat, apple slices, baby tomatoes and carrot sticks with Ranch-style dip*. I also made dark chocolate whole wheat brownies* that evening. The kids each tried one and had a cup of tea before bed.
Day 2
Breakfast- I am still feeling highly motivated and inspired so I made my own version of Breakfast Casserole Bites. Some with grass fed hamburger and blue cheese for the meat eaters. For the vegetarians in the house, I made cheddar cheese, pepper, onion, and spinach casserole bites. Everyone loved it, kids gobbled it up. I used our own eggs and the Old Mill bakery Honey Whole Wheat ends to use in the bites. We had a few left over, that will come in handy for snacks or a breakfast on the run.
Lunch- I was running errands after breakfast and we were getting hungry. Fortunately, I packed some dehydrated fruit and Lara bars for the kids until we got back to make lunch. We went to my parents house to spend the afternoon. Mom and Dad are doing the challenge too so that made lunch easier. We made Caprese grilled cheese sandwiches* with ‘french fries’. For my husband’s lunch, he took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were able to find a nice strawberry jelly with no sugar. He had a lunch meeting with the Vice President of the company. It made for interesting conversation as to the reason why he wasn’t eating the catered lunch they brought in. He said, at least he made an impression. 😉
Dinner- I had soaked some kidney beans the night before. So I was able to come home and make some brown rice and beans for dinner. We ate it with sprouted corn tortillas. The kids loved this meal. My 3-year-old gobbled his down, it shocked me how much he ate. This is a staple meal around here, so I already knew everyone would enjoy it. I made a large batch of beans so I can use them later in the week for another meal.
Snacks- My mom made power balls* that the everyone loved. They helped me out with my chocolate cravings too. We finished the evening with a whole wheat brownie and a cup of tea.
Day 3
Breakfast- I soaked steel cut oats. I’m embarrassed to say I was multi-tasking and left the kitchen and my oats burned. I was still able to salvage enough for breakfast, phew! I topped the oats with maple syrup, cinnamon, whole yogurt and apples.
Lunch- My favorite lunch so far, it was so fantastic!I found it in the Super Natural Every Day cookbook. Broccoli Gribiche is a fantastic dish made of roasted potatoes and broccoli. You made a dressing over it made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, mustard, and herbs. Then you dice a few hard boiled eggs and mix it all together. YUM! I think this is a dish that would be great to take on the run or to pack in a lunch. I served it with polenta ‘fries’ and red sauce. The kids also had the last piece of their crab legs and butter. I have lots of leftovers from this meal, we’ll see what is left at the end of the day. My husband took leftover rice and beans for his lunch today.
Dinner- It was just me and the kids for dinner so I went very simple. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner either, but it still turned out fantastic. I made tomato and caper salad with roasted chickpeas and leftover Broccoli Gribiche.
Snacks- Mozzarella string cheese snacks and smoothies. The leftovers from the banana, berry and milk smoothies were put into popsicle holders to be snacks for later. I made lemon ice cream with sour cream, yogurt, milk, lemon juice and honey. That was our special treat for our long day.
I am very thrilled with the response from the community on taking on the Real Food Challenge. If you follow me on facebook you’ll be able to see all of the posts from local bloggers and those participating in the challenge.They are sharing some of their struggles, menus and what they are learning through the process. One of our local Farmer’s Markets is opening next week. That will be just the push I’ll need to keep going down this real foods path.
All recipes marked with an * can be found on my Pinterest board set up for the 10-day challenge.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday’s hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Real Food 101, Whole Food Wednesdays, and Simple Lives Thursday.

Starting the Real Food Challenge & a Real Food Sunday Surf

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

It takes some work to make changes in your lifestyle. While I don’t think these changes will be huge I had some cookies I had to hide before starting the 10 day Real Food Challenge. I have been watching labels and learning a lot about foods I regularly purchase. Mostly I’m surprised how sugar is sneaking itself into everything  from my beets to my tomato sauce. I’m looking forward to making changes in our diet and kicking that sugar out the door.
I’ve been working on a grocery list of items to have on hand during the challenge. I don’t want anyone to go hungry or to complain about the lack of snacks, etc. I’m hoping to make the switch with my family without much fuss. Today was our first day and we started with a delicious breakfast of Creamed Kale and Eggs  (you can find this and other recipes on my Pinterest Real Food Challenge board). We’ve stocked up on some Lara bars and Funky Monkey fruit snacks when we need snacks on the run.
I’ve also gone through my cookbooks and  I think The Art of Simple Food as well as the Nourishing Traditions cookbooks will be a great inspiration this week. I picked up my holds from the library. I’m excited to browse through them and find some new recipes to make. I picked up Deliciously Organic, Almost Meatless and Super Natural Every Day.
Talking with the kids is an important step in making this challenge be a success. My three-year-old understands terms like ‘this is yucky’ and  ‘it has bad stuff in it’. However, my soon to be 10-year-old can understand the importance of real food on a different level. She raises her own chickens and she has helped me make our own cheese, yogurt and bread. Of course, she’ll still gobble down a bright red lollipop with no hesitation. It takes baby steps I guess. Here is an excellent article about the main reason kids eat processed food is because parents give it to them. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
I’m excited to see my friends and family talking about real food. We’re sharing ideas and brainstorming where we could catch a healthy meal about town. I hope you’ll help spread the word. I’ll be posting all of the bloggers that are participating. You can follow me on Facebook for more daily updates including what we’re eating on a daily basis.

Here is a list of bloggers that have already posted about joining the 10 Day Real Food Challenge:
Also, many of my fellow bloggers from the Natural Parents Network will be participating, here’s a partial list:

If you have a recipe, website or cookbook that you would like to share, please let me know in the comments.