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100 Days of Real Food Challenge: Biting into Week 2

Posted Aug 27 2012 10:02pm

We are starting Week 2 of the 100 Days of Real Food Challenge with a group of more than 100 friends across the U.S who are trying out more healthy eats. Over the next 13 weeks, I hope to share our journey and post a bunch of new recipes that include real food.

My personal goal is to try to experiment with less wheat and utilize more natural sweeteners. I want to make more snacks and serve up more whole fruits and veggies for my kids rather than relying on store-bought bars (even organic ones!) and fruit snacks (Sorry, Annie.)

This week I made a few discoveries. When we are trying to eat more real foods, I need to think ahead, plan out my meals (and even snacks) and prep/cook ahead of time. My biggest lesson this week is that I need to go back to my "batch cooking" like making sauces that can be frozen and big batches of granola for breakfasts. I also need to prep cook when I am not tired and not in a rush. Otherwise, it's easy to get crabby and frustrated.

I've also been working on portioning our meat so it can be used for two meals. For example, this past weekend we grilled grass-fed burgers and I reserved some meat for taco salad today.

I love to share ideas with friends. Our friends, the Benedicts, had stuffed sweet potatoes on their meal plan and I stole the idea on Friday night when I realized I didn't have enough time for my planned pizza meal and dough rising and all that.

In the spirit of sharing ideas, this week's meal plans are linked here .

This week inspired some new recipes at our house as well. After a juicing session last Sunday, I used the carrot pulp for these Carrot-Oat-Raisin Muffins . I also encouraged my sometimes-picky 3-year-old to eat red peppers this week by mixing up a batch of homemade ranch dressing to dip the peppers in.

My biggest challenge was to think outside the box on desserts. I am a chocoholic so I tend toward chocolate when I need a sweet fix. I discovered that the first ingredient on my semi-sweet chocolate chips was sugar. I don't think chocolate is bad; in fact, studies show dark chocolate is full of antioxidants but I decided to take a break from chocolate desserts this week to push myself to more creativity with real foods.

My hubby is a personal trainer/coach and one of his clients gifted us with some figs from their farm. I've never tried cooking with figs before. I surveyed our refrigerator and found some mascarpone cheese. (That's a mild Italian cream cheese.) I mixed in a teaspoon of honey and some whipping cream and made a mascarpone cream. We cut the figs in half, added a dollop of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Voila - yummy real food dessert!

Did you eat any real foods this week? Make any great discoveries on the journey to eat more healthy? Please leave us a comment!
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