Prior our School district’s plan to serve daily breakfast consisting of packaged foods to the whole student body, our conversations about food were mundane; “can I get the recipe for that salad?, the one you brought to the barbecue.”

As controversy over the breakfast program grew, Moms (and Dads) talked about foods in more meaningful ways. We talked about preservatives, sugar, hydrogenated oil and nutrition. Through these conversations I discovered that many of the local moms thought MY children lived without most of the truly yummy foods.

The School district abandoned the program before it was implemented. But regarding my family’s “real food,” I was glad for the opportunity to set the record straight. My kids get to eat a lot of yummy things, even foods that have sugar and fat. Albeit, no fake sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, or preservatives that I can avoid.

My Fruit Yogurt – Yummy Real Food Version of a Convenience Food

Turns out, Fruit Yogurt is a popular breakfast food in my community. Kids like yogurt with fruit mixed in, my kids are no exception. I don’t buy the ready-made type from the Super Market. yogurt & strawberries

I make yogurt cups with:
  • unsweetened natural yogurt.
  • sliced fruit
  • homemade jam- if I have it. If I haven’t made jam,
    I look for a simple jam. (10g sugar per Tbsp or less)

I’m always surprised when a national brand tries to do better. I’m not sure when Welch’s started making a more natural jam. The company calls it “Natural Strawberry Spread,” but it seems like jam to me: [Ingredients: sugar, strawberries, fruit pectin, citric acid, red grape juice concentrate, natural flavor]

The last ingredient concerns me. Is it necessary to put flavor in this product? Let’s face it, jam is not a food, it’s not healthy any way you make it. I’m looking for jam that isn’t full of unnatural and unnecessary things. Lacking preservatives, the label advises that the product be consumed within 3 months. I’m fine with that.

Watch for Sodium Benzoate. Sodium benzoate is a preservative found more often in low sugar jams. Low sugar jams are more inviting to bacteria. The FDA approves the use of sodium benzoate to prevent low sugar jams from spoiling. The FDA does not however state that sodium benzoate is benign. The FDA’s position seems to be; the amount consumed in the average diet is not harmful. Others disagree. A recent British study on preservatives shows a link between behavior problems and sodium benzoate.

When I hear “safe in limited amounts,” I wonder the size and weight of the person the “amounts” are meant for. The safe amount for a person weighing 150 pounds?; 200 pounds? I doubt the ratio considers children.

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Easter Brunch

  • Fresh EggsI've received a lot of advice regarding the best way to cook hard boiled eggs. Seems everyone has a strong opinion on this—"cold eggs, room temp eggs, cold water, warm water, vinegar, salted water, sauce pan frying pan, covered, uncovered." Descriptions are so complex and specific—like practicing voodoo.

    I can make a HB egg that is soft, not dry or green in the center, and it's very simple. Place eggs in a sauce pan in a single layer. 
Cover the eggs with water (warm or cold)
 Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, cover the pan and turn off the heat.
 In 21 minutes the eggs are done.  

    Deviled Eggs

    Mix in a small bowl:
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
    • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
    • 2—3 Tbsp mayonnaise
    Add the yokes of six hard boiled eggs, mix with a fork just till combined. Pipe yoke filling into each half egg white. Store refrigerated in air-tight container. My eggs are garnished with shredded carrots dressed with lemon juice to retain color.
  • spring vegetables I chose vegetables that reminded me of spring, or at least did not remind me of winter. Broccoli and cauliflower were intentionally left out.


    The carrots made me smile, they look like some Jack pulled from our garden in July. There will be no Michigan carrots for months, these are organic from CA.spring potatoes


    I've never met anyone who enjoys raw potatoes, mine are par-boiled (cooked, but not soft). Likewise the asparagus. After they've cool, I tossed the potatoes in a puddle of olive oil and salt. All the other veggies are undressed.


    To make certain that the tender tips of the asparagus are al dente, I cook them upright in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. I untie them and let the tops fall into the simmering water, count to 30, then take them out. I quickly put them into ice water, because I think it makes them greener.asparagus


    Admittedly, cleaning vegetables for Crudités is time consuming. I always do this ahead. I clean, slice and cook the vegetables, and store them in the fridge in separate containers.
  • I like the bread in bite-size pieces for the buffet; I bake this bread in the style of Monkey Bread. When I say, "in the style of," I mean just that. This will not BE Monkey Bread. It will come apart in single serving pieces, but it will not be gooey or sticky. Okay, it will be a little sticky, but definitely not gooey.


    Begin by preparing your favorite bread recipe. I use a wheat dinner roll recipe. After the dough has had a chance to rise, (usually 1 hour) divide the into pieces the size of walnuts.


    Drop each piece into melted butter, roll in cinnamon sugar (1/3 cup granular sugar, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 4 tsp cinnamon)


    Arrange in two layers inside an eight inch round or square baking pan. Or a tube pan. Or a couple loaf pans. Really, any pan will do. Cover, let rise 30-40 minutes.


    Meanwhile prepare oven: Heat oven to 400º


    Bake 5 minutes, then lower heat 350º and continue to bake 15-20 minutes longer. Turn out of pan, while still warm (the sugar releases easier when it's warm)


    Wheat dinner rolls

    • 1 cup warm water(about 110º)
    • 1 T sugar (or honey)
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 T. oil
    • 2 egg whites
      In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar, salt and yeast. Proof yeast 15 minutes.


    Add  whole wheat flour and oil; beat 5 minutes.


    In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff, add beaten egg whites to batter. Gradually add a cup of  all-purpose flour. Really, take your time. The more mixing the machine does, the less time you'll spend kneading.


    Continue adding flour until the dough is too stiff for the machine. Turn dough out onto floured surface, adding flour as kneaded to prevent excessive sticking. Knead(10-15 minutes)


    Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled(1 hour) Punch dough down, cover and let rise 15 minutes.
  • My kids call this, "Blue Ribbon Quiche", because it  won  me a fancy blue ribbon once. It was a very fancy ribbon.  

    Broccoli Cheese Quiche

    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 baked 9" pie shell
    • 3-4 cups steamed chopped broccoli
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1  cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
      heat oven to 375 degrees


    Steam the broccoli first; it can dry and cool on a kitchen towel while you prepare the other ingredients.


    Saute onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil.


    Beat eggs.


    Add milk, cooked broccoli, onion, salt and white pepper, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.


    Sprinkle remaining cheese into baked pie crust (the cheese adheres to the hot crust and prevents it from getting soggy while the quiche filling bakes)


    Pour egg mixture over cheese.


    Bake 50 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350º and continue to bake until center is thoroughly cooked.


    Quiche reheats nicely in a microwave oven, so use a non-metal pie pan.


    I'm serving Kielbasa along side my quiche because…it's a holiday, and my ancestors are Polish. My family never celebrates a holiday without Kielbasa.
  • Carrot & Apple Juice

    • 4 cups carrot juice = 4 lbs organic carrots (Earthbound Farm)
    • 2 2/3 cups bottled apple juice
    • 5 tsp lemon juice


    Juice the carrots into a cup. I've added a tsp of lemon juice to the bottom of the cup first, be retain the bright orange color.


    Continue juicing the carrots in this manner. Add apple juice. Serve immediately or refrigerate.



    Bloody Mary

    • 3 center stalks of celery, diced
    • 1 tsp grated yellow onion
    • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
    • juice of one lemon
    • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 12 dashes Tabasco sauce
    • 1/2 tsp celery salt
    • 36 ounces tomato juice
    • 1 cup vodka
    Puree diced celery in Vitamix (or blender) Add onion, horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco and celery salt. While machine is running, slowly add tomato juice blending after each addition. Pour into a pitcher. Stir in vodka. Chill. Serve over ice.
  • Mixed fruit Candy

    Drop mixture of dried fruit and nuts into puddles of melted white chocolate. Allow to cool. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.


    Suggestions; dried cherries, golden raisins, turkish apricots, chopped pistachios, pine nuts, pepitas, sliced almonds

Easter Brunch Shopping List

A complete shopping list for the Easter Brunch can be found here: Real Food Easter Brunch Shopping List

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Getting everyone out the door in the morning isn’t so hard. It’s getting everyone out the door on-time that’s hard. Undoubtably, this is the reason there are so many packaged breakfast foods.

When it comes to oatmeal, the instant kind that’s available in the *just add water* individual serving packet is too much of what I don’t want us eating. (Sorry Quaker, but I call ‘em like I see ‘em) Why do they put all that sugar in there anyway?

Additionally, “instant oatmeal” is unnecessary. You can make real oatmeal with plenty of diced real apple and make it while you’re asleep.

When I serve this breakfast, the morning is less hectic, but more than that;
I like the scent of it. Early in the morning, when I switch on the kitchen light, the scent of warm apples and cinnamon greets me. As if the Breakfast Fairy visited before sunrise.

In the morning, the first person in the kitchen has a very important job, remove the lid. The smell of apple and cinnamon fills the room—delightful.

Seriously you don’t need to do anything else. Breakfast is done, move on to something else.


Mix all the ingredients in a crock pot before you go to bed. Set temperature; Low.

1 cup steel cut oats (must be steel cut or Irish oats)

1 1/2 cup water

1 cup apple juice

1 cup half and half or milk

1 cup chopped apple ( or 1/2 cup dried apple)

1/8 cup brown sugar

1  Tbsp butter

1/2  tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp cinnamon


In looking for options to stay local, I noticed that you can get Steel cut oats from Michigan’s thumb:

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Real Time Farms
Local Food and Local Farms
Gardener's Supply Company