Every minute in life is precious. How we choose to spend those minutes is up to us.
Think about how much time you spend getting ready in the morning? Getting the kids ready? Picking up and cleaning up? Making food?
As much as I enjoy food, the last thing I want to do is be spending precious hours in the kitchen, just to provide a decent meal for my family to eat. I want to save those precious minutes and hours for the things I WANT to be spending my time on.
Over the past year, thanks to Lisa Leake’s first cookbook 100 Days of Real Food, I have tried to transform some of our eating habits. Yes, I have this secret desire to homestead one day and make everything from scratch, but our season of life right now does not coincide with that (and let’s be honest, it never will, which is probably okay). Anyways, I have tried to provide “real food” meals on our table so that we all feel better, are eating healthier, and hopefully in the end, keep us all in good health.
Lisa came out with a NEW cookbook called 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous. Oh did my heart take a leap because as much as I loved her first cookbook, anything with the words “fast and fabulous,” I am sold!
And let me tell you, it is now my most favorite cookbook I own – and I have gone through many a cookbooks in my lifetime!
So what sets this cookbook apart from the tens of thousands of others?
It’s About REAL LIFE
Not only is 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous about food and easy recipes, but it is about REAL LIFE. Lisa starts the book off by sharing what led to her desire to eat “real food”. After reading her story, I couldn’t help but find myself relating to her story. I too, had that moment of “oh my goodness, what am I feeding my family?” Call it fad or a phase, but I would say our culture is on an organic and clean-eating kick. As much as this book may sound like it’s only about that, it isn’t.
This book helps you take a look at your own life and help you incorporate simple and easy meals into your meal planning, all while cooking with REAL FOOD. It melds together REAL FOOD with REAL LIFE. The majority of people do not have time to cook gourmet meals at every meal. This book isn’t about that. But these recipes do NOT skimp on taste or quality. They are recipes made with everyday food for the everyday person.
What’s In It For Me?
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a “second” cookbook, but I have to say, it far exceeded my expectations! The first chapter right away sold me. It starts off by including LISTS for all the food categories in the food pyramid (and more) of what to look for and what not to look for. It has lists of what cereals are the healthiest and what are the least. It has meal plan lists for each season. It has a cookbook recipe chart by dietary needs. It even has a list of guidelines for produce food storage. I’m telling you, Betty Crocker would be pleased!
I Can Still Eat Food!
Many “real food” recipes cut out many of the food categories that I personally enjoy and have no reason cut from my diet, such as gluten or dairy. Like I mentioned, the cookbook does include a guide as to what recipes are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian, and even freeze-friendly. The recipes have a wide range of ingredients, for any diet, which makes this cookbook that much more versatile.
Lisa’s motto to live by is to look for food items with 5 or less ingredients. It may sound like a daunting task, to stand there in the grocery aisle, staring at every food label, wondering if it is “approved”. Well, the cookbook also has a list of stores with what staples to look for at those stores. For instance, Walmart, Aldi, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Publix, are some of the stores that she listed 10 things to look for at those stores. For instance like what flour, rice, nuts, peanut butter, pasta, etc. to buy. The things that we can easily buy “highly-processed”, where this list gives an alternative.
No matter where you turn, whether it be Pinterest, food magazines, the news, the internet, there are articles and buzzwords floating around about what to avoid and what’s “really in” processed foods. How do you make sense of it all? Well, this cookbook breaks it all down. For example, it talks about “the truth about baby carrots”, multi-grain vs. whole-grain, what low-fat means, sugar-free, and even what to do with gluten-free food (and MUCH more). So if you are wondering about all of those buzzwords, you will find your answers in this cookbook.
Many “healthy” recipes often have a list of ingredients that I have never heard of. At that, ingredients that I quite frankly can’t afford. After looking through the recipes, they include ingredients I have actually heard of! Every ingredient in the cookbook, I knew where to find it in the store or have bought it in the past. An incredible amount of healthy-eating recipes call for ingredients that only a gourmet chef would use and let’s be honest, the majority of us are not. Here is an example of a recipe included in the book:
best thing about this salad is how it comes together in no time at all. Asian
rice noodles generally cook more quickly than wheat noodles and with the
addition of the precut coleslaw mix the prep time is very minimal. I recommend
serving it with Coconut Shrimp (page 176)—what a yummy way to switch things up!
- One 8-ounce box Asian brown rice (whole-grain) noodles
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup chopped salted,
dry-roasted peanuts or cashews
- 2 ½ cups coleslaw mix (shredded green and red cabbage plus
carrots, found in the produce aisle)
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
aside in a large bowl to cool (a few minutes in the freezer can help!). Cut the
noodles up a bit with kitchen shears or a knife to make them easier to toss.
juice, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.
noodles and toss until well combined. If desired, sprinkle in red pepper flakes
to taste. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for later.
To eat healthy and cheap is not easy. Let me tell you though, the 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous makes it easy. This cookbook will not disappoint! I had the privilege of getting a preview of it and I have to admit, I have not been able to put it down. Everyday I look at it, I glean some new knowledge or new ideas on how to improve my cooking and improve the health of the meals I make.