Like so many others, I’ve followed Lisa Leake’s blog 100 Days of Real Food for several years. For those who don’t know the backstory, what started as her family’s experiment to eat no processed foods for 100 days (bringing separate food to parties, eschewing all white flour and sugar, and avoiding anything in a package with more than five ingredients) turned into a way of life. A bag of candy and highly-processed goodies she stashed away to eat after their experiment was over got tossed in the trash halfway through. Turns out, their tastes–and their minds–had changed for good.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know that while I advocate eating a mostly whole-foods diet, I don’t like extremes. I don’t like the way “toxic”, “poison”, and “dangerous” are tossed around when it comes to food. Above all, I don’t like when people get nasty and judgey in the name of healthy eating. Two things you’ll hear me say a lot are “We’re all works in progress” and “Nobody is perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist”.
But the beauty of Lisa’s blog and new book 100 Days of Real Food is that you feel like a good friend is simply sharing what worked for her–and giving you gentle encouragement to change your diet for the better too. If you’re not ready to go all in, she’s got lots of baby steps you can take. Not about to relinquish your white pasta? She won’t judge you. But be warned: Her enthusiasm is contagious, so you just might be convinced.
In the first half of Lisa’s book, she presents her rationale for avoiding processed foods, advice for reading food labels and stocking your fridge and pantry, and tips for getting your family on board. In the second half are 100 recipes for meals, snacks, desserts, and lunchboxes. I’m already a fan of many of Lisa’s recipes. We make her granola nearly every single week. I’ve got several servings of her slow cooker refried beans in my freezer. I like that her recipes are simple and straightforward, for dishes my family already loves (like tacos and pasta) or hopefully will (like black bean tostadas and fish cakes).
This Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread mixes up quickly and makes the house smell like a dream. For my batch, I left out the raisins and used homemade slow cooker applesauce I canned last fall, and it turned out great. Here is Lisa’s recipe:
Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread
- 1/2 cup 1 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with butter and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Using a fork, mix in the eggs, applesauce, melted butter, and syrup until well combined, taking care not to overmix. Gently fold in the raisins.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.
In the book, she recommends making French toast with slices of this bread for a special weekend breakfast–but I figured, why wait until the weekend? It earned rave reviews all around.
Whether you’re just starting to reduce processed foods–or are already there and want some new family-friendly recipes to add into the mix–Lisa’s book is a wonderful guide.
Disclosure: As a Cookbook Ambassador for 100 Days of Real Food, I received a free copy of the book to review.
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