Holiday, Vacation

Thanksgiving 2014

Hi folks! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I traveled to Ohio to see my dad’s extended family. We have some great family traditions with our Cincinnati family, like drinking UDF milkshakes, walking the Thanksgiving Day Race (… we actually bailed this year… oops), and black friday shopping with the girls. We also have the best food ever! My aunts make mean dishes for Thanksgiving, including cheesy jalapeno rice, strawberry pretzel salad and the yummiest sweet potatoes.

Here are a few pictures from our fun trip!

Stay tuned for a post on how I decorated my home this holiday season. I love all of the decorations I’ve accumulated through the years and am excited to share them with you!

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Recipes

100 Days of Real Food Cookbook review

Between bathroom renovations and power outages, I almost forgot to share a different kind of post for A Smith of All Trades — a book review!

I have been following 100 Days of Real Food for a few years now and the woman behind the blog, Lisa Leake, just published her first cookbook. Lisa’s blog is about cooking with real ingredients and cutting out processed foods. She has a ton of great recipes to share, as well as tips for cutting back on pre-packaged, over-processed foods. While I’m not 100% processed food free — I might not even be 50% — following her blog has been eye-opening for me as to the simple changes I can make to get rid of some, well, crap. Instead of buying frozen pizzas, we make our own from scratch. Box-mix cookies? A thing of the past. Bisquick for pancakes and biscuits — I can easily make my own. I even make our whipped cream instead of buying the canned stuff!

And you guys know I love to can some food from my garden veggies. And it is always yummier than if I buy it from a store. Real food = delicious food.

Some of our favorite meals have come from Lisa’s blog (The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot — it really is the best and we are actually having it for dinner tonight!), so when I had to opportunity to review her cookbook I couldn’t refuse. Turns out, this recipe is also in her book.

100 Days of Real Food cookbook

100 Days of Real Food is a beautiful cookbook. That might seem a strange thing to mention first instead of, say, the recipes. But it truly is beautiful. Every page has a photo, which is essential (in my opinion) to a good cookbook.

It also has all sorts of recipes (it is a cookbook after all), from simple to more complex. She also explains in great detail about transitioning to real food. I’ve read some of her tips on her blog, but just from flipping through it seems like there is a lot I haven’t seen yet. She has a whole section on tips to convince skeptics (ahem, my hubby) that real food is the way to go. I’ll definitely be reading that section.

I think I might be most excited for her recipes for kitchen staples like salad dressings, bbq sauce, tomato sauce (hello, new recipe to can!) — these are the things that I am so used to just buying from the store but that have sooo many added ingredients. I think having these recipes on hand will make replacing the over-processed versions much easier.

OK, enough of my rambling. Obviously I like it. Check it out!

Here’s a few of the pages from the book so you can see just how pretty it is and how yummy the recipes look.

Shortcut Eggplant Parm RecipeShortcut Eggplant Parm Photo

Veggie Corn Chowder recipe

Veggie Corn Chowder2

Frozen Yogurt Pops recipe

Frozen Yogurt Pops photo

My whole family has been getting into the real food lifestyle, so I know they are gonna want to borrow this one.

 

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be showing off our new bathroom 🙂 Hope you all have a great weekend!

I received a free copy of 100 Days of Real Food — all opinions are my own.

Life, Recipes

A fun & girly weekend

What an amazing weekend. My next-door neighbor, her twin and I drove up to West Chester, Penn., to visit my sister Emily! Em took us shopping at all sorts of places — a discount store at her work, Amish country, outlets, the mall. It was so much fun and we all got a ton of fun stuff. I’m talking boots, purses, coats, jackets, pottery, jewelry… SO FUN!

It was just what I needed after a few weeks of feeling crummy.

We got home early Sunday and I wasted no time getting to canning some new recipes using items from my garden. I had about 15 tomatoes. 4 cayenne peppers, 1 green bell pepper and an entire basil plant. It turned it into four jars of pasta sauce, two small jars of pesto and five jars (most are really small) of hot salsa! I’ve never made any of these things before, so it was a lot of fun experimenting with these new recipes.

Sauce and pesto

For the pasta sauce, I used this recipe from Wellness Momma. I added a lot more basil than she called for. And now that I’m thinking of it, I forgot to add the bay leaf. Whoops. Somehow my sauce turned out way more orange than hers is, but it looks, smells and tastes delicious! When we eat it, we’ll cook up some ground beef to toss into the sauce. I can’t wait to try it.

For the pesto, I modified this recipe from the Food Network. I didn’t add pine nuts to mine. And I didn’t measure anything. Shocker, I know.

Salsa

And for the salsa, I used this recipe from Stop lookin’, Get Cookin’. Again, I modified it to use the ingredients I had available. I used a lot less green peppers, and a lot more cayenne peppers. I am actually slightly scared to try it. It’s gonna be HOT!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I know I did 🙂