Archives for March 2011

Real Food Rocks

When I was a kid, almost everything we ate was made from scratch. Of course we had store bought crackers and other snacks, but for the most part all of our actual meals were made from fresh foods. Since it was always that way at our house I really didn’t think about how awesome that was. Thinking back, I remember having friends over for dinner and them thinking that we always had fancy meals. I thought it was weird that they would think chicken, mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies was something special. I’ve now come to realize that people don’t always eat that way, it takes a little extra work to eat real food.

Fresh foodsIt wasn’t until I got married that I discovered the endless variety of packaged foods. I honestly didn’t know that you could buy pre-made hamburger patties (Dad always made his own recipe), and that the produce section sold apples already cut up in a bag for you. I thought my discoveries were absolutely fantastic. I thought my parents were silly for wasting so much time preparing their own food. I’ve just recently found out that cutting up my own apple really isn’t all that difficult.

When we were first married, both of us were working a lot of hours and there simply was no time for meal prep. We are very fortunate in that I now stay home and have the time and energy for cooking, and I’m really beginning to enjoy it. I’ve had a total shift in what I consider to be an easy meal to prepare. At this time last year, we were having hamburger helper (or something similar) at least once a week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with that. We still buy it for Jesse to have for lunch sometimes, but those types of food don’t happen too often in our house anymore. In looking through my old cooking magazines, I’ve founds dozens of recipes that I completely skipped over before because they were too much effort. Now I can’t wait to try new ingredients and just see what happens.

I have a theory that eating all of these overly processed foods the last couple of years may be what provoked all of my allergy issue to develop. I think it was just a huge shock to my system after never eating foods like that before. My body didn’t know what to do, so it starting attacking everything. It’s amazing how much of a difference it has made in how I feel. The other day, I just had to tell Mom how great it was that she fed us real food as kids. She agreed that it is worth the little bit of extra effort and that real food rocks!

Tex-Mex Potato Pie

I made this for dinner last night and it was so, so good. This is something Mom used to make often, but I had totally forgotten about it. When I found it hiding in my recipe box I couldn’t wait to make it because I knew Jesse would love it. Plus I always love yummy ground beef recipes because they are super cheap. The best part is that it needed no adjustments for allergies… all fresh ingredients! This one will be added to our regulars list for sure.

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, diced
4 un-peeled potatoes, sliced
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions for garnish

Cook beef, onion, and garlic. Drain. Add spices and tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in green peppers. In a 9 x 13 dish, spread potatoes evenly and brush with olive oil.


Spoon meat mixture on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Top with cheddar cheese and garnish with green onions.

Tex Mex

As you can see I made a smaller dish since it was just the two of us, but I could have made a larger dish because we barely had any leftovers. I topped Jesse’s side with extra cheese for added calories and fat. I meant to take a picture of the final product, but we were really hungry and it smelled really good so I totally forgot.

Apple Salad

I found this yummy recipe on the back of a Publix flyer that came in the mail. It’s a perfect potluck side dish or a quick and healthy snack all by itself. Also, it’s super easy to scale up or down depending on the number of people to serve. Of course, I altered it just a little bit to make a more allergy friendly version.

Ready in minutes
Makes about 6 servings

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp pepper
2 medium golden apples
2 medium red apples
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 3/4 cups (6 oz) celery, diced
1 package (4 oz) dried cranberries and apple snack mix – or I used just plain raisins

1. Whisk together in a salad bowl, yogurt, honey, and pepper. Cut apples into small bite-size pieces; add to dressing. Squeeze juice of one-half lemon over apples; stir until evenly coated.
2. Stir in celery and snack mix. Chill until ready to serve.

Apple salad