Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Eat Real Food Website

Hi Everyone,

It been a while since I have posted here. I've been working on a new website which is finally live. There is a lot more to come over the next several months, as I continue to seek out local food sources and connect you to them.

I am also beginning my journey as a Wellness Coach where I will be sharing with busy people how to make simple lifestyle changes so they and their families have more energy and less stress in their lives. Look for more information, which is coming on the new website: www.eat-realfood.com or I am offering a 45 minute consultation to any one who is interested in learning more about what I am doing and how can help you. Email me at emi.eatrealfood@gmail.com

Best wishes to all of you as we head in to the cooler days of fall.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is the American Paradox? Find Out This and More

I first read Omnivore's Dilemma when it first came out in 2006 and it and Fast Food Nation are two of the big reasons I have changed what I buy when I am shopping for food.  I hope you will make the time to watch this. Michael Pollan explains the American paradox, cultural eating vs nutrient eating, basic food rules and more.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is Healthy Anyways?

The more I learn and talk to people the more I realize that we all have different ideas of what healthy eating is. For me healthy eating means eating primarily organic whole foods, lots of veggies and sustainably raised, pastured meats, and sustainably caught fish. I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet, but I don't see myself becoming a vegetarian or vegan. I have friends that are both and they are happy and living well. I seem to need more protein..

I also don't really deprive myself of anything either, so when I want dessert I eat it. The same with french fries. The key for me is moderation. Most of the time I eat really well and I enjoy what I'm eating.

What is healthy eating for you? What makes you feel great? Or not so much? And what is your favorite indulgence?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Recipe of The Week: Stir Fry Rice

This is one of my go to meals when we need something quick during the week. Usually I will make the rice ahead of time, when we are having rice with another meal and just double up the amount I need. If you are making the rice that day, then start the rice first.

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
2 eggs scrambled
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ Red or Green Pepper, sliced
1/2 bunch of broccoli
Mushrooms, sliced
½ onion sliced
Snap peas
Approx. ¼ cup of Tamari
Ground Pepper
Several Dashes of Tabasco (optional)

  • Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil
  • Add 1 cup of rice, cook until vegetable broth is absorbed 
  • In very large sauté pan, add oil - heat
  • Add pepper, onion, and mushrooms, sauté until soft (4-5 min)
  • Add broccoli, snap peas, sauté for about two minutes
  • Remove veggies from pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Add eggs and scramble
  • When eggs are cooked, add veggies back to the pan, stir
  • Add rice, fold in
  • Add Tamari, stir until folded in well and rice is heated through
  • Add Tabasco if desire
Folding is different that stirring. Folding more like picking up a spoonful and moving it over to another location; you don't want to stir too much because it will change the rice to a gluey mess.

Substitutions for Veggies:
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Snow Peas
  • Hot Peppers

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Pan Seared Scallops with Saffron Risotto

Even though it's officially spring, the weather in PA has been far more winter like and I always want to make more comfort food when its cold and wet out. 
Risotto takes a while, and requires a little tending too, but it's not that hard. I tend to keep my risotto on the al dente side as I'm not fond of mushy stuff!


1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup brown arborio rice
1/2 lb sea scallops (mine were huge and I sliced them in half)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion diced
1/4 of red pepper sliced
handful of snap peas, cut in 1/2
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 Saffron threads, crushed
ground pepper

  1. In a saucepan add vegetable broth and wine, heat at medium low until warm and then turn off. Keep a lid on the sauce pan
  2. Add rice to large saute pan, put heat on medium and toast rice, until fragrant. Turn heat down.
  3. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth/wine mixture to rice, stir gently and cover
  4. When liquid is almost absorbed by the rice add another cup of liquid
  5. Meanwhile in another saute pan add 1 tablespoon butter and saute onion, pepper and mushrooms.
  6. When vegetables are close to cooked add snap peas. When snap peas are warmed remove all veggies from the pan
  7. Add another tablespoon of butter, turn pan to medium high heat, wait for pan to heat and then add scallops
  8. Sear scallops for a couple minutes on each side until just cooked through
  9. Test rice. It is cooked when the rice is still firm, but soft. Add Parmesan at this point and stir
  10. Add saffron and a dash of pepper, mix in
  11. Add sauteed veggies in  and place cooked scallops on top. 
NOTE: The whole process take about 45 minutes. 

Vegetable Substitutions:
Grape Tomatoes

Use your imagination and combine different things.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Tuscan Spinach, Bean and Sausage Soup

This super easy, super fast soup is great for a weeknight meal. It's ready in 30 minutes. Serve with rustic bread and a salad if you desire.

1 link hot Italian sausage
1 19 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
2 cups of chicken broth
1 14 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
8 ounces of fresh spinach, washed and stem removed
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with grated Parmesan

  1. Bring sausage and 1/4 inch of water to simmer in a large sauce pot over medium heat. 
  2. Cook uncovered until water evaporates, approximately 8 minutes. Cook until sausage until is browned.
  3. Remove sausage to a cutting board and slice into 1/4 inch pieces when cool enough to handle.
  4. Add broth, beans, garlic and marjoram to saucepan. Add sausage. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach stir gently until wilted. When spinach is completely wilted, remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish with Parmesan if desired and serve.
Where am I sourcing my food from?

Sausage: Forks Farm (This is part of my 1/2 hog that we bought in December. I don't usually like hot sausage, but this is not too hot and really flavorful)
Chicken Broth, Canned Beans and Tomatoes: Kimberton Whole Foods
Spinach: Two Gander Farm (my winter CSA)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All About GMO's

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Click on the link above. This is a great article about GMO plants, how they have come to be and their environmental impact. Have patience the link takes a minute to open as it is from an e-zine, but it is worth the read.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Super Easy Sauteed or Grilled Chicken

This is my go to marinade for chicken and as a quick vinaigrette for salads, both green and pasta. I made it last week and added sliced almonds and dried cranberries to the rice and grilled the aspargus with a little salt, pepper and dried lemon peel.

Juice of two lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Mix everything together and whisk, stir or shake until everything is very well mixed.

Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes and up to a couple hours. Place the chicken in a saute pan or on the grill and cook. Don't flip until the edges of the face side are starting to cook.

Note: Other options for the marinade could be rice vinegar instead of the lemons, chopped rosemary, sage, lemon zest, limes, limes zest. Play with the recipe and see what you like best. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chew What!

I read recently that most people have given up their New Year's resolutions by the first of part of February. I'm not a big resolutions person as I try to always be striving towards some goal or another, but this year I decided to work  on something that seems so simple, but still haven't mastered. That's right, the headline gives it away, I'm working towards chewing my food. Go ahead laugh, your thinking, well aren't you already doing that? And the answer is sort of.

My friend, who is an integrative nutritionist, and I were talking about food as we frequently do and the conversation turned towards school lunches and my pet peeve, the approximately 25 minutes most kids have to go from their classroom, buy lunch, find a place to sit, (unpack lunch if they are bringing) eat, and then get ready for recess. My kids complain that they don't have enough time to eat frequently. I was sharing with her that for the most part we eat dinner together every night and that dinner could be an hour, if we had time and that I knew we ate slowly and actually chewed our food.

There is silence and then I hear, "You know you should chew each bite 30 times?" What? 30 times, well sure I did that, we were slow eaters after all. We took the time to enjoy our meals. I had never thought about how much I or my family chewed, so I thought I would start counting. That night I'm all excited, we're going to count our chews and we'll be at 30 chews in no time. We counted and we were all at 3-5 chews..practically gulping our bites.

Why is chewing so important? Believe it or not the process of digestion starts in your mouth, not your stomach. Your saliva contains enzymes that help break down your food. Some of those enzymes help break down starches to give you more energy and others break down fats that are consumed.
Additionally, mindfully chewing your food helps you eat more slowly and prevents overeating. Not overeating means less chance for gaining unwanted pounds, and, you will even taste more of your food.

How much should your really chew your food? It depends on what your eating. Obviously a piece of lettuce will take fewer chews than say a piece of steak. To try this, I suggest you start with taking smaller bites and work on chewing each bite until you can't what the food by it's texture.

Give it a try and see how many chews you can do. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Chili

 I have been reading about benefits of eating a plant based diet and while sustainably raised meat and poultry always be part of our diet, I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals.

We also have a ton of sweet potatoes from our CSA and it's time they were used, so I made this for my meat loving family. Everyone was surprised how satisfying this chili was even though there was no meat.

4 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 cup of vegetable broth
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 onion diced
1/2 red pepper, diced (green pepper is ok too)
1 32oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can cannelli beans
2 tablespoons Worcestershire 
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon or more of cayenne 

  • Add diced onion, pepper and smashed garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in to large sauce pan and saute until soft
  • Add diced sweet potato and cup of vegetable broth
  • Simmer for a few minutes and then add the rest of ingredients and stir
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Serve with whole grain bread
Note: We drink a about a gallon of tea a day and when we have left over tea I use it instead of opening broth. For this recipe I used rooibos, which is a red tea. Rooibos had a significant amount of vitamin C and various antioxidants. It is also caffeine free. The tea will give your soups and stew a bit of an earthy flavor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Black Bean and Potato Soup

Found the inspiration for this in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. I thought it might be a little bland, but it turned out to be rich and delicious.  Here is how I made it:

1 medium onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, diced
6 cups cooked/canned black beans divided*
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
diced red onion, red pepper, and fresh spinach to garnish - optional

  1. Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in a little water or vegetable broth until soft. About 2-3 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Add 3 cups of beans and 6 cups of water and puree.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan and add remaining beans, potatoes, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt and chipolte pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for aprox. 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cook through.
  6. Garnish with red onion, pepper, and spinach if desired. 

Note: 6 cups of cooked beans are approximately 4 cans of black beans.

Other options: I think next time I'll add some diced tomatoes to cook in also.   

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Gallery: Top 12 healthy cookbooks of 2010 | New Hope 360

Check out 12 really cool sounding cookbooks. Even though most of the time I don't cook from recipes anymore, I love cookbooks because they give me great ideas for trying different flavors. In this collection there is something for everyone, from meat to gluten free baking and everything inbetween. I'm even feeling inspired to bake. It's going to be difficult to decide which book to buy first.

Photo Gallery: Top 12 healthy cookbooks of 2010 | New Hope 360

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Golden Harvest Muffins

I started making these when Brian was a toddler...an eternity ago. I love the muffins because they are relatively healthy and my kids and all their like minded non-vegetable eating friends (back when Brian only ate yogurt and frozen tortellini)  love these muffins.

It has been a while since I made these and I'm thrilled that I found this recipe when I was looking for something different to have for dinner. I'll be making them this weekend in a triple batch and freezing most of them for the boys to eat later. I'll post a picture after I make them!

Here is the recipe:

1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Granny Smith (or any other type of apple), peeled, cored and shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Optional - Include any of the following to mix and match for whatever suits your taste:
1/2 shredded coconut
1/2 raisins, currents or dried cranberries
1/2 chopped walnuts, cashews, almonds or pecans
1/4 cup shredded zucchini or summer squash

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pans with olive oil
  • Stir together all dry ingredients
  • Shred apple, carrot and squash if adding, into a separate bowl
  • In large mixing bowl combine oil. milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat for 1 minute, then add sugar and beat for an additional minute. 
  • Add half of dry ingredients, and then add apple carrot and squash (if using) mixture. Stir
  •  Add the rest of the dry ingredients
  • Add nuts, raisins and/or coconut
  • Mix to combine and drop into muffin pans
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
Enjoy! And keep eating real food!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Moroccan Lentil Stew

I made stew for friends the other night. It is great on cold, snowy nights because of the wonderful combination of sweet and spicy flavors. Not too hot, the stew really warms you. It also makes great leftovers. 

The original recipe came from Vegetarian Times, but below are the ingredients I used. I don't usually use prepared soups either, but Dr. McDougall's* soups are all real food (I checked the ingredient list!) and on a busy weeknight this can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Serves 6
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 18.2-oz. cartons prepared lentil soup, such as Dr. McDougall’s
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 Tbs. plain nonfat Greek yogurt or soy yogurt, optional
1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, saute for 5 minutes. Add onion, and saute for 3 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is softened, but not browned, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in tomatoes, soup, chickpeas, raisins, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring stew to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, or until mixture is reduced and sauce has thickened, stirring often from bottom to prevent sticking. Garnish each serving with 1 Tbs. yogurt, if desired. 

*Dr. McDougall soups come in  box and can be found in the "organic" section at Giant, at Wegman/'s and health food stores.

Enjoy and keep eating real food!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Turkey and Black Bean Soup

I posted this last year at about this time and since it is so cold, and all I really want to do is hibernate, I thought I would re-post it. I made the soup this evening and added a parsnip and a little chipotle pepper. Everyone was happy at my house

Turkey and Black Bean Soup: This is a staple at our house. It's easy to make, you can double recipe, it freezes and frequently it's something I give as a gift. Even Brian, my oldest and my sister, who claim they don't like beans, love this. The original recipe is from Cooking.com, but I have changed enough to call it my own.

The Recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon chilipowder
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
several dashes tabasco
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans
1 quart chick stock
10oz spinach, kale or other steaming greens, washed, stems removed

  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven add olive oil and ground turkey. Brown turkey until completely cooked. Remove turkey.
  2. Add onion and saute over medium heat until translucent
  3. Add turkey back to pot and add spices. Let cook for several minutes to allow flavors to blend
  4. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Add spinach or kale. Cook until wilted and serve.
Serve with at little parmesean as garnish.


I prefer Kale when I know I'm going to freeze this. The kale holds up better and doesn't get mushy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Tail of Two Cows, Happy Cow vs Nexium Cow

Once upon a time in lands that aren't so far away lived two cows. The first cow, Happy Cow lived on a farm in  rural Pennsylvania. Happy Cow ate grass as his relatives before him did. He roamed in the pasture, ate grass, left manure in the field to fertilize the soil and enjoyed the sunshine. Happy Cow had little stress in his life and acted as the herbivore he was.

Nexium Cow, on the other hand, lived somewhere farther west than Pennsylvania. We're not sure where, because it didn't say on the styrofoam package he came from. All we know is that he lived in a CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) with thousands of other cows. Nexium Cow had almost no room to move and was fed corn and soy so that he grew quickly and became obese. Nexium Cow had a constant upset stomach, called acidosis, because of the corn and soy he was forced to eat. Not his natural diet. All the acid in poor Nexium Cow's tummy makes it more likely that he will have the very dangerous E. coli O157 in his belly. When he goes to slaughter he has a more likely chance of contaminating his meat.

Happy Cow was at a healthy weight and had more omega 3, up to 400% more, 40% fewer calories and less cholesterol, saturated fat and about 90% less fat overall than Nexium Cow.  Since Happy Cow has been raised on pasture, has room to move, and doesn't have to stand in manure every day he is more likely to not need antibiotics and at least 60% less apt to have E.coli 0157 in his belly. Nexium Cow has a constant stream of antibiotics fed to him.

Happy Cow goes to slaughter calm, not afraid and is treated humanely.Nexium Cow - not so much.

I choose to eat Happy Cow. What do you choose?

NOTE: Nexium is a prescription drug for humans used to treat acid reflux. As far as I am aware it is not used on cows. I have used Nexium only for the purpose to relate how a cow might feel with all the acid in its stomach. In no way am I suggesting that Nexium be given to cows nor is there any malicious intent implied or otherwise towards the makers of Nexium or those who have taken it. I know many people it has helped.

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