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Moving along to Real Local Good

2 May

There is an new blog in town!  It is a lot like Real Local Cooking with the added bonus of stories about how people in various locations are loving the Good life.  We called it Real Local Good to share the love of real connections, local choices, and all the simple ways to enjoy a Good life.

Click the graphic below to check out the new site.  If you are an email subscriber you will continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before.  If you are follower you will only see new posts in the Reader.  However you can receive email updates if you subscribe to receive those on the new site.  Thanks for your support since 2011 and now as our journey takes a turn.

Graphic of the Ways to Love the Good Life


What if ….more commercials showed people cooking?

19 Feb

I love it when I see commercials showing people cooking with real food.  It would be great if it were as common as the commercials that show people opening a box.  I don’t know about you but for years I was convinced I was too busy and too tired to cook.  So I bought a lot of convenience and processed foods.

Ponder the possibilities of our consumer actions leading to good results for your body, your family, your community, and our world. That is what we will do right here once a week. ♥ We’ll explore
  • choices made in the home
  • choices made in our places of worship, schools, and other institutions
  • our everyday career, dining, and shopping choices

Send us ideas and comment on suggestions.


What if ….more people noticed fake food?

5 Feb

When  my kids were young I often used the Jiffy muffin brand.  It’s an old fashioned looking, blue and white, small box.  Francine told me, “I remember thinking, wait how can these little blue things be blueberries?Jiffy Mixes: Blueberry Muffin Mix

I came across this article recently and it made me remember those crunchy fake blueberry bits. Every time I see those mixes in the store I feel slightly amused. Don’t worry, I am not one to beat myself up over the past.  Not too much anyway. I am more likely to laugh, since I can’t do anything about the past.  But I do notice how my views have changed the more I have learned over the years.

Young moms like Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food, impress me.  She models how to feed her family on less processed food and has a following of over 1.2 million on Facebook. 

There does seem to be a mini trend in the works. More and more people are noticing fake food. Does it matter what we feed ourselves and our families?  If so, why do you think it matters and what will be the result of this new trend?

Ponder the possibilities of our consumer actions leading to good results for your body, your family, your community, and our world. That is what we will do right here once a week. ♥ We’ll explore
  • choices made in the home
  • choices made in our places of worship, schools, and other institutions
  • our everyday career, dining, and shopping choices

Send us ideas and comment on suggestions.


A Few Simple Ingredients: Baked Hot Wraps

25 Jun

2013-05-29 15.11.11By Deanne

What do you get when you mix flour, add a little yeast, water, oil, and give the ingredients some time to develop flavor?

Does it sound like we are making pizza? Yes, but instead of adding marinara sauce and Italian cheese and toppings, we mix it up.  We add the toppings that go on a traditional club sandwich and wrap it all up so you can eat it like a sandwich.

Photo of simple ingredients

The club wrap is one of nineteen combinations that we make at our restaurant.  These wrap/sandwiches are unique because they are made with a yeasted dough rather than a pre-made tortilla .  This gives the wrap a fresh baked bread flavor and could be the reason people enjoy them so much.  These wraps are like a sandwich that bakes in its own bread.

Photo of making wrap doughPhoto of fresh dough

Most people have made pizza at home, why not make a baked hot wrap at home?  We’d love to see pictures if anyone has made a baked hot wrap at home.

Photo credits:  Amanda Petersen Photography

Photo of club wrap

The Root: A Local Cafe

27 Sep
—by Deanne

Author’s Note: I wrote this review way back in February and for no particular reason it kept getting left in our drafts file.  We didn’t know if we should post it because it is so out of sync chronologically with our blog.  However, it is very much in sync with the information it provides.  I checked out their facebook page to make sure they are still open and found this inspirational interview with the owner.  It sounds like that in  just over a year they are getting great recognition for their hard work of running a restaurant and going to the extra work of sourcing locally.

The Root: A Local Cafe—Little Rock, AR

Each year we close our restaurant for the last two weeks of January.  This year we decided to learn new things by attending the Southern SAWG (Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Prior to arriving, I looked for restaurants that would be a good fit for our Real Local Cooking Restaurant Reviews.

A photo of the signThe Root Café stood out as my number one choice to visit.  The owner’s commitment to the local food movement was demonstrated even before they opened their doors last summer.   According to their blog, they set up a table at a local food club starting in January of last year.  They sold locally-roasted coffee, home-made canned goods, muffins, pastries, and pan breads made with local ingredients such as Arkansas black apples, pecans as well as blueberries and strawberries which were preserved by freezing the previous summer.

Since The Root Café was located close to the adorable cottage we rented, all I had to do was travel a few blocks to find the part of town known as SoMa (which stands for Southside Main).  It’s a historic district that strives to be a livable, walkable community  that offers a mix of residential, commercial, retail and other services.

While in the neighborhood I also visited a creative park (that used to be an empty city lot), the Green Corner Store (a shop that offers products for sustainable living), and a bakery called Boulevard Bakery.

Review: (Real Local Cooking’s criteria)
Localness: 5

Yes, The Root Café does source their meats and veggies from local farmers.  A few days later, I heard the owner speak in one of the sessions at the conference.  He shared at least 12 local farms from where they source their products.  There’s also a map of ArkansaA photo of the map showing farmerss that has pins to represent all of the grower they support.  All of their bread and buns are from Boulevard Bakery, which is right in the neighborhood.  They also have edible landscaping that includes herbs used in the menu in season.

Flavour: 3.5

I ordered an Old World Style bratwurst which according to the menu is made from local, small-farmed and pasture-raised pork and served on a Boulevard bun.  The bratwurst was served with homemade sauerkraut and Dijon mustard.  The meat was seasoned nicely but the sauerkraut didn’t have much kick to it (it tasted like lightly pickled cabbage instead of strong sauerkraut).A photo of my meal

Their menu offers somewhat standard cafe items, reubens, ham and cheese, burgers, salads, but there are a few inventive dishes that I haven’t ever tried before. For example, a vegetarian banh-mi sandwich; if Luke was with me, I know he would have tried that because he loves Vietnmaese style banh mi sandwiches!

Pleasant Surprise: Yes

My order came with more than I thought I was getting.   I assumed it was just the sandwich and the sauerkraut, but on the plate next to the bratwurst was a nice pile of micro greens with a tasty homemade dressing and some radishes.   It was a nice to munch on some greens with my brat.

Comfort+Coziness = The C factor: 5

The Root Café is not fancy.  It is a former drive-in style with  a wooden porch added onto the front.  They had put up plastic tent-like covering in order to provide extra seating in the winter; the place was busy at lunch and the extra A photo of my tableseating was needed.  I sat outside in the front corner and soaked up a little sun while I waited for my food to arrive. 

The Root lives up to their sustainable focus by using real plates, former canning jars as glasses and best of all, cloth napkins, but not the ones that are so starched and stiff they are difficult to use. These napkins where mismatched, colorful and and well worn, perhaps they were even procured at a local thrift shop.  All these accoutrements added up to make me a happy camper.

Overall Rating: 13.5+

You might prefer a place where they wait on you and you don’t have to sit outside in a plastic tent, but not me, I like this kind of casual and unpretentious little restaurant.  When in Little Rock, I highly recommend rooting out The Root for good food, local food and a cozy atmosphere.

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Root Cafe on Urbanspoon

The French Laundry

8 Feb
by Francine

As I wandered around Yountville, CA last week, I decided to stop by The French Laundry, the landmark restaurant in Thomas Keller’s restaurant empire. Just to let you know how well-known this restaurant is, Anthony Bourdain of TV and restaurant fame has remarked that it is “the best restaurant in the world, period.”A photo of the French Laundry

When I say, “stop by” I mean, take photos and marvel at their beautiful garden, in which they seem to grow every vegetable imaginable and maybe even raise chickens (I heard clucking in the distance).A photo of the French Laundry's garden

The downloadable menu on their website lists the price for a one person nine course tasting menu as $270(!!!). At this moment in my life, there are about a million things I would throw $270 at…a plane ticket to England, visa fees, new shoes, but a once-in-a-lifetime meal does not make the list. ;)A photo of white strawberries in the garden

But oh how delightful it would be to eat there, I’d love to find out what they do with white strawberries.

Their website also mentions that everyday they create two 9 course tasting menus, with no single ingredient used more than once.

It’s their goal that “their guests say, ‘I wish I had just one more bite of that.’  And then it’s gone, and then the next plate arrives and the same thing happens, but in a different way, a whole new flavor and feel and emotion.”

Have you ever splurged and eaten at an ultra-fancy restaurant? Have you ever had one bite of something so amazing that you wanted more, but it’s gone, never to be tasted again? I haven’t, but it sure does sound amazing…maybe even worth $270….le sigh, perhaps someday…;)