Tag Archives: real food

What if ….real food came from a vending machine?

5 Mar

Imagine being in a food court in Chicago.  You are surrounded by the typical unhealthy food options and then you see a funny looking vending machine with reclaimed wood paneling and plants on top.  You walk closer and see that is a really a self-service kiosk for a company called Farmer’s Fridge.  

How about it, would you buy a meal at this kiosk?

I haven’t had a chance to try it out personally but it is a hit on yelp!

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 ….bloggers decided to join together and promote healthy snacks?

26 Feb

Have you noticed that there are many bloggers who are avoiding processed food for snacking?  These bloggers are already influencing the people who read their blogs and the people that live and work in their life.  Many bloggers I read have chosen to go the real food route because of health or allergies.

Photo of inspiration for healthy snacksWith each of us influencing our little world, the economy and the demand for products is changing. Instead of hitting the aisle in the convenience stores we are checking Pinterest on our smart phone for inspiration and making sure we have some healthy items stashed away in the car, backpack or pantry.  It hasn’t made a huge difference yet.  However food companies are feeling cumulative effects of changes to snacking. What could we do if we bloggers worked together?  Maybe a bunch of bloggers could do a day of the healthy snack?

If you like that idea, write a post about it or send a suggestion.  If you have a post on healthy snacking, post it below in the comments so I can pin it to my board.  In the meantime, here is a the recipe I fixed today that was inspired by the one in the picture.  I adapted it and preparing it got me thinking about this post. 

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

makes a small batch for one or two snack-ers

1 cup cooked chickpeas  (can use can or cook your own)

1 tablespoon oil  (I used avocado oil on half and Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the other half)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cuminchickpeaingredients

pinch cayenne

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse cooked chickpeas and dry by rolling in a towel.  If the skins come off,  you can discard them.  Combine spices and oil and add chickpeas.  Toss to coat evenly and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake till crispy for about 25 to 35 minutes.  Serve immediately or pack in a dry storage container for later.   There are some recipes that suggest cinnamon.  I will try those next time.

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 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.

 

What if… Your Neighbor Was an Organic Farmer ?

15 Jan Photo of Pinterest Board
by Deanne

What if… your neighbor was an organic farmer?  Photo of Pinterest Board

The lead article in yesterday’s Des Moines Register begins with this line:

A Des Moines-area developer is betting Iowans not only want to know the farmer who grows their food, they will also want to live next door to him.

I would change “him” to “him/her” because there is also another trend that says women farmers are on the rise.

The article doesn’t mention the location that the developers are considering.  There is a realization that housing developers have moved away from golf courses because they are expensive to maintain.  It is exciting to see this trend develop.  I actually know two farmers who are in the process of building an organic farm and teaching center on 10 acres near Ankeny.  In fact, we had dinner them last night and had a chance to see their plans.  As their story unfolds I look forward to sharing more. 

In the meantime we can all dream about these types of developments by looking at the ones that already exist.  Check out the pins on our FarmerChefs Pinterest account.

What if… Real Food was Convenient?

8 Jan
by Deanne

What if… real food was as convenient as picking it up at the end of a busy day? You know, kind of like a personal chef but a bit more affordable.

Good news!  There is an expansion going on in the good food movement.  As I wrote this post I got an email with a link to this article. To me, the article shows that there is a growing demand for better quality food that is convenient.

I’d like to introduce you to Brandy Lueders who owns The Grateful Chef in Des Moines.  She is the real deal in terms of a chef creating a business that supports her family doing what she loves.  Not to mention that she uses wholesome ingredients for those that want good food but don’t have the time in their day to make it.  I am kinda lucky because I live with a chef, but hey, even he needs a break.

thegratefulchefOn my way home from my volunteer work, I picked up two dishes that I ordered earlier in the week.  The way it works:  1. A person signs up to receive an email with the selections each week.  2.  Once you get the email, you decide if you want to order that week and place the order by Monday evening. 

Brandy uses the commercial kitchen at The Wallace House on 16th Street here in Des Moines.  She prepares the food to order and on Wednesday evenings her customers stop by the kitchen to pick up their food on their way home from work.  Today she also had farm fresh eggs available for sale from a local farmer.

Photo of orderI couldn’t wait till dinner, I just had to dig into the nutty quinoa apple salad.  Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all, I saved some for Steve.  I also ordered a Moroccan Style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew.  Both of these dishes were vegan friendly for those that want to eat their #phytosfirst.   We are that new breed of eater who is not strictly vegan but like to order it whenever possible.  In our case we like to learn what you can do with veggies.

Please share with me any kind of service you find in your community that is similar, I would like to do a follow-up post and share ideas to support concept of eating real food.

Photo of Quinoa Salad

Learning from Leon

30 Apr
by Deanne

Prior to our trip to the UK last November, I briefly connected with The  Intolerant Gourmet, author and blogger, Pippa Kendrick  via twitter.Photo of Leon Front End

She offered suggestions on several places in London that work well for people with food allergies or food intolerance.  One particular restaurant called Leon looked interesting to us because they do quick service food in a way that incorporates good ingredients and tasty food. That caught our attention because we were hoping to adapt  the menu of our new restaurant to better meet the needs of people on a variety of diets.

Steve and Luke visited the Regent Street location in London during the very busy lunch hour. Here are some pictures of the food they ordered:

Photo of Grilled Meatballs on a Seasonal Salad

The food was fresh and flavorful and the service was quick.

Back in our little restaurant we have added our own version of the rice box. We call it the Flavor of the Day Rice Plate.  The response has been surprisingly good.  Whenever I take a rice plate out to the dining room heads turn and people ask to know more about the dish.

Photo of Garlic Chicken Rice Box

Real Food Is…

8 Mar

by Deanne

Real food is….food prepared in a kitchen using simple culinary skills and whole food ingredients. For flavor, real food utilizes dried spices or fresh herbs instead of added salt, sugar, and fat. Photo of spices

-as defined by owners of Solar’s Real Food

In our last post we asked how you define real food.   We didn’t get much conversation going, but a lot of views on the blog.  While the definition may change as we venture into the world of real food, we are starting small by making a distinction between food that is prepared vs. food that is processed.  

Processed food is …. a food-like substance engineered in a lab, prepared in a factory and re-heated or combined with other ingredients in a restaurant or home kitchen. Processed food became a larger part of our collective lives during the 20th century.  Now in the 21st century, processed food is under increased scrutiny for health concerns.

Last week Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us was published by author Michael Moss.  The book tells the fascinating story about the business of selling food. If you don’t have time to read the whole book you can read this excerpt called The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

Most food companies are doing what businesses do: maximize profits by meeting customer’s needs. Unless they are a smaller food company with a distinct mission, they are probably not set up to give us healthy food choices, those choices are for individual consumers sort out for themselves.

Link to Photo from nytimes articleLike most people, I didn’t pay much attention to all this processed food.  In fact I remember when Oscar Mayer came out with Lunchables. I actually got excited about the ease of use and bought them for special treats.

According the the excerpt from the book, many of us have been buying food that has been engineered to taste good, convenient, and as affordable as possible. As a result, we have become addicted to these food choices. That is really good for food companies and their shareholders but maybe not so good for us  in the long run when it comes to our health.

When enough people want something different, the food companies will scramble to change so they can continue to make money. However because of the addictive nature of processed foods, change is really hard.

I know I have felt overwhelmed by the ubiquity of processed foods in our  busy lives and cravings for tasty convenient food. Confession time…as I write this, I am nibbling on empty sugar calories.

This summer our business will run a mostly real food cafe. We hope people discover that real food can taste good.  Our new menu will feature both real food and processed food on the menu.  When meeting the needs of people with allergies and  food intolerance, and those on special diets,  real food with simple ingredients, makes it easier for people to determine what to order.

As an example, a person could order chicken strips and fries…a fairly traditional fast processed food or a Southwest Rice Plate which is less processed and prepared in our kitchen. The ingredients for the rice plate will be listed on the menu and include things you might find in your own kitchen.  The ingredients on the bag of the chicken strips is not as easy to understand but we do make it available for those that ask.

Solar Gardens-1

In the summer, when the farmers market returns and our garden is producing, we will also feature FarmerChef specials like we did last year.  Change is slow but because we are starting to want these kind of choices when we eat out and travel, we want to provide them to our customers.  

How about you, do you look for restaurants that offer more real food options?

What is Real Food?

27 Feb
by Deanne

RealFood_LogokitcafeOur new business is called Solar’s Real Food: Kitchen and Cafe.  The name brings about two implicit questions: 

  1. Who the heck is solar?
  2. What is real food?

Solar Drive-In was the name of our family’s first restaurant . We originally named the restaurant Solar because we installed solar panels. We had really good luck in the restaurant business. The food tasted wonderful, the customers supported us immensely, and the employees where bright-eyed.  

Following our passions, we planted a raised bed garden outside our building and the food grew really well with just a  few challenges.  This beginners luck soon began to take on the name “Solar Magic.”  With all of that going for us you can see why we would want to hang on to the name solar.

Photo of fresh food and quote from Julia ChildAs for real food, we could say a lot.  But  before we explain our own perspective. It would be great to know what others think?  Perhaps it needs no definition, perhaps we all intuitively know.   Here is a quote by spunky Julia Child to help us ponder the question:  What is real food?

FarmerChef Smoothie

4 Dec
by Deanne

Do you think it is still possible this time of year to eat food gathered locally?  We’ve discovered that once a FarmerChef  has the whole grow your own food, preserve your own food routine down, it is easy to incorporate the fruits of our labour into our life.  I was able to use spinach from our raised bed garden, yes it is near 50 degrees here in Minnesota, and strawberries from the freezer that we picked last summer.

Photo of Smoothie

This morning I used our basic recipe, which is really more of a framework for making smoothies. My mind is on no added sugar because I am working on a post for my business Solar’s Real Food blog about the latest research on sugar, especially fructose and the link with health.    (It really makes a person re-think how much sugar a person consumes during the first meal of the day.)

FarmerChef Smoothie

Veggie – add something green like spinach or kale: fresh or frozen

Fruit – berries, apples, bananas: canned or frozen fruit

Fat – seeds or oils like chia seeds or flax seed oil (for more on chia, check out this blogger)

Grains  – quinoa or oat bran

Liquid – juice or milk (can be dairy-free)

Protein – lentils or nutritional yeast

Probiotic – sauerkraut, kombucha or plain yogurt

This recipe works really well if you are on a rotation diet to deal with food intolerance.  I added chia seeds but didn’t include grains  and extra protein today.  I used almond milk (yes it does contain sugar) and took a probiotic supplement rather than include it in my smoothie.  The recipe is pretty flexible and good for those that prefer using what they have on hand rather than following detailed recipes.  The version I made was gluten-free and dairy-free.

If you try this basic framework for making a smoothie tell us what you ingredients you used to make your version. Did you find that is was possible to eliminate or cut back on added sugar?