Tag Archives: Cooking

Cookbooks & Recipes

So I realized that in a pinch, I know where to go.

  • What book do I go to when I want to know how the French did it?
  • Where do I go when I want some background research on ingredients – both in food and in other household products?
  • What book do I go to when it’s the end of the budget and the bottom of the freezer and I’m just not sure how I can pull this together for two more dinners?
  • What book do I go to when I want a modern explanation and pictures on how to do a reaaaally technical feat?
  • Where do I go when I need something new or a cleaned-up version of a classic recipe that’s typically full of junk?

The answers to these questions are how I know to cook. It’s because I spent time – hours (probably months) of my life pouring over these books.

So! If you’re wanting a new cookbook, or wanting to know where I go on the web for fresh inspiration, how where I learned… viola:

COOKBOOKS:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, & Julia Child. This is the Piece de Triumph. The place where culinary masterpieces were finally described for normal American women. I could write a whole other blog post devoted to entirely to what Julia Child did to the realm of gastronomy, but this brief paragraph will do for now. You should follow this up by reading her memoir, My Life in France and watching Julie and Julia.

What To Cook - Foodies Gone Real

Julia Child gets her own picture in this post, y’all.

From Scratch, by Shay Elliott.  This is the BEST cookbook I’ve ever encountered for cooking real food on the cheap.  The ingredients are not complicated or expensive.   You may also want to check out her blog at The Elliott Homestead.  This is my book for end of the month.

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, by Martha Stewart.  An excellent technical resource on how to perform basic culinary feats. It couples well with Julia Child’s books, but I feel it’s a little more practical and definitely more modern.  I love that it really is a resource manual and could be read even as a textbook.  This was the first real “manual” cookbook I received and I tried to soak it up like a sponge.

Animal Vegetable Miracle: A Year in Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver.  The best description on what it means to eat seasonally… but bigger than that, how we are connected to it. It’s beautiful.  She puts things in proper order if you’re concerned about seasonal eating, and also lots of tidbits on raising your own food.

Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat, by Carla Bartolucci.  It should not surprise you that this is here… if you follow over on instagram, you know how much I love, love, love this cookbook.  This is the cookbook that revolutionized my baking. If you’re wanting to clean up your bread, get back to your roots or interested in eating heirloom wheat, you must check this out. It’s a phenomenal book for a phenomenal food.

BLOGS/WEBSITES:

Mommypotamus:  Heather, writer and Mommy of this blog has done (and continues to do!) an immense amount of research.  She not only gives recipes for food that’s allergen friendly (issues with dairy, gluten, etc.) but she also has homemade solutions for LOADS of stuff.  My inspiration for homemade cleaning stuff comes primarily from her.

The Elliott Homestead:  I referenced Shaye above and her cookbook, but there’s loads here, too. (She has other recipes and cookbooks!)  She’s very end-of-month and end-of-budget friendly that FEELS like a feast.  Still with a farm flair.

Weed Em and Reap: Danelle’s site is akin to – but different, still – thank Shaye at The Elliott Homestead.  There’s farm stuff there, of course, but there are home remedies and recipes galore.  Danelle taught me gobs and gobs about wheat. No really… go look it up.

Jovial Foods:  If you don’t want to go all out on the Einkorn cookbook (you should if your body can tolerate, it, though!) OR if you really just MUST be gluten-free, check out their website. This is excellent einkorn AND gluten-free dishes that focus primarily on bread-ish products. Breads, pastas, baked goods. I’ve yet to try one of their recipes that flopped.  They know their stuff because they also make their stuff.

Don’t Waste the Crumbs:  This site also has great recipes, but overall great money-saving tips.  The site is not gluten-free or traditional diet (necessarily) but it’s primarily whole foods and from scratch.  Her focus is big on stewardship (one of my favorite, favorite, words! My rant here.).

The Domestic Man: Russ creates masterpieces.  They are always gluten-free which is wonderful for me.  (And not JUST gluten-free, but healthy. Those two words are not always synonymous.)  But they are… fantastic. Phenomenal. Restaurant-grade. For someone with finicky needs, this website scratches the itch when you just want take-out, and you want it bad enough to buy the ingredients and learn to do it yourself.  They often have international flair, too.  For someone who grew up all over the world and has a pretty wide palette… it just works. I can’t recommend this one enough when you REALLY want to wow or take it up a notch.

THESE ARE REALLY JUST MY TOP….

But there are loads out there? What are your favorite cookbooks? Bloggers? Link it up! We’re all better for the sharing!

What To Cook - Foodies Gone Real

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$. 

Shopping at Aldi’s

If you’re in the real-food-blogosphere much, you’re starting to hear an increase in chatter related to Aldi’s plans to clean up their food offerings.Shopping at Aldi's - Foodies Gone Real

And let me say it right off… this is not a sponsored post.  I’m just writing this from an honest perspective as an encouraged consumer.

For those of you unfamiliar with Aldi’s, it’s a great budget-friendly grocery store.  They are significantly cheaper on many fronts (Wal-Mart, some stuff from big-box stores, etc.).  How do they get away with this? Little things… they aren’t open in the middle of the night, so costs for staffing are lower. You use a quarter to get your cart, meaning no employee has to spend time out in the parking lot gathering up carts. There are no bags – so you can either buy a few at the checkout counter or – my personal favorite – bring reusable bags that are EVERYWHERE these days.  They also very rarely offer brand name items.  Most of their stock is “off brand” or Aldi’s brand.  Those are my observations on how the store does it, but I’m sure there’s probably more to the story.

But I’m here to tell you why I really, really love this store.

Shopping at Aldi's - Foodies Gone Real

The first thing Aldi’s did recently – aside from offering organic and/or “cleaner” foods (they also have a great amount of gluten-free items MUCH cheaper, for those concerned) – was promise to cut out all synthetic dyes, MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils by 2016 (their press release here).  And they DID IT.  So, granted… a fruity sugar cereal is still not really healthy, at least the cut the red dye #40.  This is a big deal for some families… there are loads, and loads of kids that react terribly to these dyes (most cases I’ve heard of – anecdotally, of course – is related to hyperactive, bizarre and/or uncontrollable kids).  Maybe potato chips aren’t the best choice, but at least they cut out partially-hydrogenated oils.  Everyone seems to agree these are bad, bad, bad.  And don’t get me started on MSG! I’m not kidding you… some believe it tricks your brain like a drug, causing more cravings! (Read more on it here.)

And here’s what gets me really excited…

The issue with the previous paragraph is that the ingredients cut are typically in processed foods.  I’m not a big fan on processed foods, because, frankly, it’s still junk.  (There’s no nutritional benefit to canola oil, folks!)

They are now promising to expand their “Never Any!” line (these are meats that conventionally have synthetic nitrites/nitrates added… i.e., carcinogen. Like a really bad one.  Folks, we’ve known since 1994 these are bad, bad, bad! News link here).  Also, their natural lines and organic sections are expanding!  You can read more about this report here.

I save SERIOUS money at this store.

Bigger than my own personal economics is this important fact: you tell the world what you value with how you spend your money.  Choosing to put your dollars into a store or system that is most beneficial to you speaks VOLUMES.  Aldi’s has HEARD.

So back to some more practical advice: what I recommend shopping for at Aldi’s.  I haven’t tried everything, and obviously the economic benefit of choosing Aldi’s over other grocers will vary by location (i.e., I’m sure prices differ in certain places, so you might be able to find better deals elsewhere).

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Organic Salsa
  • Oven-roasted almonds
  • Gluten-Free pretzels (for splurging. I’m still not a fan of every ingredient)
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit cups packed in 100% fruit juice
  • Dried fruit (but read the ingredient list!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Some cereals (I don’t go crazy here. I’d still prefer to buy cleaner ones from a bigger grocery store)
  • Organic Ketchup
  • Mustards
  • Never Any! Bacon
  • Never Any! Breakfast Sausage
  • Never Any! Hot dogs
  • Organic baby spinach, baby kale, spring lettuce mix
  • Organic baby carrots
  • Organic bananas
  • Organic oranges
  • Organic apples
  • Organic cherry tomatoes
  • Coconut oil
  • Fruit juices, as needed
  • Organic canned tomato products
  • Other produce (we do not eat organic all the time, but most of the time Aldi’s has best prices!)
  • Gluten-Free Bread
  • Sprouted Bread
  • Rice
  • Dried Beans
  • Cheese blocks
  • Never Any! Lunchmeats
  • Grass-fed ground beef
  • Free-range chicken
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Organic pasta
  • Gluten-Free Macaroni & Cheese
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen blueberries (frozen strawberries are hit or miss)

 

Shopping at Aldi's - Foodies Gone Real

Cheapest grass-fed ground beef!

 

This is only the list of things that I find with regularity.  There are lots and LOTS of things they pull out for seasonal items (and/or, I just wonder if they’re trying out new products) that I can’t find and wouldn’t necessarily want to recommend you try to go hunt them in your local store… because I just don’t think you’ll find them.

My last disclaimer is that sometimes Aldi’s runs out of these things.  And they may not reappear for a week or so.  Honestly, when I find something that saves me huge money (like sprouted bread), I buy it up and freeze what I can.  Every Aldi’s is different, so if you’re new to shopping there, it might take a few weekly trips to figure it out.

Do you shop at Aldi’s?  What are your favorite finds?

*All images used with permission from Aldi’s within their media usage terms.

To return.

I’m back. I’m back in the kitchen, recovered from life, and ready to take this kitchen head-on.

Agrarian - Foodies Gone Real

It was a hard year.  And not that the hardness is over, but I’m moving forward again.  I was pretty stuck.  Financially, emotionally, spiritually. Hardly exercised, barely meal-planned, struggled to spend quiet times in the morning with my God. As with all things, there are lots of components to being stuck in a pit.  And while those things that put me there are still kinda hanging around, God’s gently raised my chin to Him and said, “Enough. I can get you out of this, but staring at the floor of the pit and complaining will do nothing to ease this up.”

I managed to keep the facebook page going in all of this – even if just for myself to remind myself that this was still here.  This thing I was called to was still here.  God didn’t tell me to stop, I just got tired.

I miss cooking.  I cooked a ginormous meal of homemade Korean dumplings with Einkorn Flour (courtesy of the new cookbook from Jovial … it’s really the best).  I cooked the entire thing from scratch. Took me nearly two hours. It was cathartic.  I felt at home again. I need to cook, need to create.

P1090501

So here I come.  I’m sick of this pit.  January – a fresh start reminded me of how much I was sick of sitting like this.  February, the second month, the second chance is here and I mean business. God’s got this.

 

Lettuce tastes better….

Lettuce tastes better …

if you have the right salad dressing.

I confess, I don’t crave salads much in the winter. I think this is how God wired us; lettuce isn’t harvested in the winter. It’s funny — as soon as the cold weather hits, I crave root vegetables, and that’s exactly what’s in season! (I do not find this to be just conditioning or coincidence.) However, last summer, I started using up all my “bad” salad dressings, which included the stuff I’m now cutting (sugar, soy, corn, etc.). I sacrificed and bought what I would consider “middle-of-the-road” dressings; I bought organic ones, with less sugar or less questionable ingredients. However, many of them STILL included at least one bad thing!

So now, it’s the dead of winter, and I had a craving for salads. I tried to just do oil, vinegar, salt and pepper… and the lettuce is blech.  I NEEDED dressing to stomach all these raw veggies!

Here’s the top things I found in traditional – and from the organic/”healthy” brands (and NOTE! all but the refined white sugar are most likely GMO’s! read more about that issue here, thanks to Thank Your Body!):

  1. Soybean Oil (read about it here)
  2. Corn Syrup (read about it here, and other grains)
  3. Refined Sugar (read about it here)
  4. Canola Oil (read about it here)

Consequently, I introduce to you: Greek Dressing and Blue Cheese Dressing!

Give it a good shake to remix!

Give it a good shake to remix!

blue dressing all over the blech lettuce!

blue dressing all over the blech lettuce!

GREEK DRESSING:

INGREDIENTS:

1c olive oil
1/2c vinegar
8 finely chopped kalamata olives
1/2c crumbled feta
dash of pepper
1 pressed/crush clove of garlic
1tbl of dried oregano

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour all into a dressing dispenser (this is important because of step 3).
  3. Shake well each time before dispensing — these ingredients are real! Olive oil loves to separate from everything else. Keep refrigerated!

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING:

INGREDIENTS:

6tbl of sour cream*
1/2c cultured buttermilk*
2tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp of salt (may want to add more according to your tastes)
1c crumbled blue cheese

(*I recommend buying cultured with active bacteria.  This is the good bacteria that helps build your gut!)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl (with exception to the blue cheese).  In a separate bowl, mix the dry.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
Once all the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, stir in the blue cheese.
Serve! (Store in the refrigerator!)
I would recommend re-stirring after it’s sat in the refrigerator for any length of time.

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A special shout-out and thanks to the fellow bloggers/contributors at “Weed ‘Em And Reap”, “Kitchen Stewardship” and “Truth About Abs” for doing so much research so I could link to you!

Sarah’s Favorite Tips and Recipes

So in this journey I’ve gotten loads of questions ranging in the “What do you buy?” to “What do you make?” spectrum.  I’ve decided to address the recipes – I have only a handful of recipes that I made up myself, so much credit is due to OTHER authors/bloggers for helping me eat real!

This isn’t all we eat! For one, I am still transitioning a family which includes an Italian husband (read: pasta) and incredibly picker eater (read: texture aversions). And the other thing to consider is that we have some staples which includes items such as fresh fruit, toast, yogurt, and scrambled eggs.

My goal is to try at least one or two new recipes a week.  And I almost always make one meal that I know will freeze well… most of the time, I cut recipes in half with exception to my freeze-well ones. (Example: like the mentioned french onion soup below. Freeze the soup, thaw when you want, top it appropriately and put it in the broiler!)

It is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT YOU NOTE: I am not “paleo”.  I follow a traditional foods/Weston A. Price Foundation model of foods, which includes soaked beans and soaked grains.  If a recipe calls for soaking, it is imperative that you do it: 1) If you skip this step, you can expect different results/less than perfect texture (etc)… and I’m imagining significantly drier.  2) You are doing your body harm by eating unsoaked grains & beans… you’ll be exposing yourself to the phytic acid in the grains, which disrupts your gut and prevents you from absorbing nutrition.

I try to use coconut oil for most frying, grass-fed butter when required, and I read, read, read ingredient labels before buying anything that’s been processed in anyway before I eat it, and that includes even the organic/healthy/natural brands.  The two biggest things I avoid are soy and corn as ingredients (in ANY format). I use organic maple syrup and raw local honey for almost all sweetening; I do keep a stash of rapadura around but rarely use it. I do NOT keep white sugar in the house.  You can almost always use a mix of ground flax and almond flour for breading in a recipe (like making your own chicken-fried steak! Which, yes, I’ve done!), and you can use arrowroot powder as a corn starch replacement.  If a recipe does not call for salt, add a pinch anyway.  And always, always, always taste-test as you go.  I can’t count you the times I’ve tasted something half-way and SO glad I did.  I do not mean any disrespect to the fellow bloggers out there, but I’m of the opinion many were not in the kitchen before they started real-food-cooking and have significantly underestimated the value of salt. (And if something tastes like it’s just “missing” when you taste half-way? Add salt, then try again 5-10 minutes later.  You’d be surprised what salt can do!) Last note on salt … buying refined salt is the same degenerative issues as buying refined sugar.  Don’t do it! Buy it as little as processed as possible!

And this is the last piece of (unwarranted, it may be) advise:  the goal is not a diet.  The goal is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to thrive.  When you feed your body what it needs, it will heal itself (God made your body that way!), and for me… my body let go of the weight.

So! Without further ado, my favorite recipes:

BREAKFAST RECIPES:

Soaked oatmeal … this is the basic idea here. What you’re really looking for is to soak the oats, then cook the next morning and season as you prefer (and by season, I mean a pinch of salt + whatever things you like in it, such as applesauce, maple syrup, etc.)

Homemade breakfast sausage I use a mix of gmo-free-fed ground pork and beef, but it’s really the ground pork that makes it taste better. (I throw in the ground beef just because I have so much of it after buying my beef in bulk.)

Greek Omelet

Pumpkin Apple Pie Muffins (paleo-friendly) … and these are to die for.  If you don’t believe me, ask my co-blogger, Eleilia.

Whole-wheat soaked buttermilk biscuits.  You should know that I go ahead and use 100% organic whole wheat with these, and do the overnight soak entirely with buttermilk, not the apple cider vinegar + water. I did have to increase the total amount of liquid to closer to 1 cup, and that’s because buttermilk is thicker.  If you’ve ever made biscuits from scratch, you’ll know the texture required and how to tweak it.  If you’ve never done it the way most people make biscuits, I would recommend either scheduling a time so I can show you how to do it or follow Shaye’s instructions exactly.

Coconut Flour Pancakes (paleo-friendly)

Pear Tart (very close to paleo!)

DINNER/LUNCH

French Onion Soup.  I did not like french onion soup until I had this.  It’s incredible.  I practically lick my bowl. And steal my husband’s.

Poor Man’s Delight.

Brussel Sprouts + Bacon.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve done it.  You couldn’t pay me to eat a brussel sprout before changing the way I eat, and now I seriously crave this dish. (And I could eat the whole tray myself!)

Refried Beans.  There are two things you need to know about beans.  One, you need to soak them following a method similar to this.  You rinse them off, and THEN you follow this recipe. (I DO NOT USE THE BULLIONS! Just put in a little extra salt. Or you can throw in some homemade chicken broth!) Want to know something cool about all that awesome bean broth that’s created once the refried beans are done?  I use that awesome broth as the base for this fabulous Mexican Tortilla Soup.  (I am all about not wasting any part of edible food! This is how people have been eating for thousands of years.)

Roasted carrots

Spaghetti Squash + red sauce or flour-free alfredo sauce.  I don’t have recipes (yet) for either of these sauces, but it’s something I created from scratch.  I would strongly recommend you move away from canned red pasta sauce.  Aside from the fact that it’s cheaper to make it yourself, it’s incredibly expensive to buy organic, and they still often have sugar in them.

General Tso’s Meatballs

Skillet Meat-n-potatoes.  I sub in kale for greens and feta for goat’s cheese.

DESSERTS:

Paleo Sweet Potato Brownies

Raw almond butter cups (paleo friendly)

OTHER RECIPES:

Spinach crepes.  These are fabulous for when you just need a sandwich/wrap.  I have fried an egg and used leftover ham with these and they are divine.  These are paleo-friendly.

Soaked whole wheat bread.  Aside from the soaked beans/refried beans explanation, this linked recipe requires careful attention.  I’ve baked bread from scratch before this, so understanding her terminology and how to do it was not hard.  Baking bread is definitely a skill, and the only way to get better at it is to have lots, and lots, and lots of yucky loaves.

Homemade chicken broth.  First off, it’s crazy cheaper to buy a whole bird than just buy the breasts, or legs, or whatever. AND if you buy the whole chicken you can make your own broth! Sound crazy homesteader-ish/hippie/hard? Go read the recipe.  I do it in the crockpot and this is the best chicken broth EVER.

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