grass-fed beef

5 Last-Minute Holiday Food Gifts

by Sally on December 15, 2013

5 (Last-Minute!) Holiday Food Gifts from Real Mom NutritionI get a little frazzled around the holidays. That means I don’t always plan ahead (read: I never plan ahead) and gather little gifts for friends and party hosts. Since I love to cook and bake, food gifts are a natural choice. So when I need something fast, I turn to things I already have on hand or can pull together quickly. Here are five of my current favorites:

1: Homemade jams and jellies: If you have some in your freezer or pantry, package up a jar by itself or with a loaf of homemade or bakery bread.

2: Local meat: I buy local, grass-fed beef in bulk, which means I always have one-pound packages of frozen ground beef to tuck into a festive bag. (You may also be able to get some at a winter farmer’s market.) Yes, ground meat is an unconventional gift–but it always goes over well. Just be sure your host stashes it in the freezer right away.

3. Preserved fruit: If you put up any fruit during peak season, a jar of home-preserved goodies from your cupboard makes a sweet and simple gift. Who wouldn’t love the flavor of July peaches or September applesauce in the cold winter months?

4. Cocoa mix: This simple hot cocoa mix is easy to stir together. I recently made a triple batch, scooped it into jars topped off with a swatch of cloth, and brought it to a holiday gift exchange.

 5. Granola: I’ve been making granola instead of buying regular cereal, so I usually have some around. Otherwise, it takes 10 minutes to mix together then about an hour to bake in the oven. I use this 100 Days of Real Food recipe but liberally modify it based on the nuts and seeds I happen to have.

What are your favorite holiday food gifts to give?


Pantry Challenge: Week Four Update

by Sally on March 2, 2011

Henry hits the junk food jackpot!

The Pantry Challenge is over, and not a moment too soon. While toasting a heel of bread this morning for breakfast (after discovering there was no cereal left) my husband turned to me and said in a rather unfriendly way, “It’s March 2nd. I’m done with this Pantry Challenge.”

Alrighty. Message received.

It hasn’t been all doom-and-gloom around here. In the past week, we’ve been showered with treats from neighbors and family: A plate of cupcakes frosted with chocolate ganache. A bag filled with frozen grass-fed beef, potatoes, and beer left at our front door. A care package from my sister-in-law filled with the most deliciously-off-limits-to-any-Pantry-Challenge packaged foods. Homemade strawberry jelly from my mom.

I’m not sure who was closest to crying tears of joy–my husband over the Sam Adams or my kids over the Teddy Grahams.

An anonymous neighbor put these goodies (and a sweet note) on the doormat, rang the doorbell, and drove away!

Since we technically had a couple days left in the Pantry Challenge this week, I compromised. I went over budget at the grocery store but didn’t buy any dinner foods.

This week’s menu:

Sunday: Light Chicken Enchiladas (a holdover from last week and a huge hit with everyone), fresh pineapple

Monday: Left-at-my-doorstep grass-fed beef in the slow cooker, roasted potatoes, frozen corn

Tuesday: Blogger tasting event at Noodles & Company

Wednesday: Falafel, homemade hummus and pita, salads

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken, brown rice, steamed broccoli

Friday: Whole wheat pasta with red sauce or pesto from freezer, salad and fruit.

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Homemade pizza, raw veggies, salads

Stay tuned tomorrow for the Big Reveal: How much cash we saved, how empty our pantry really is–and what I’ve learned from all of this.



June 8, 2010

Nitrates in hot dogs, BPA in cans, pesticides on produce. Anyone else notice how crappy the news has been about food lately? When I consider the stuff I grew up on, apparently I should feel lucky just to be alive: canned tuna by the case, countless non-organic apples and peaches I was too lazy to […]

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