Save Time With Easy Real Food

Save Time with Easy Real Food: Mission Behind this Blog

Ahhh, summer’s here. It’s Week 2 and my kids act like we have all the time in the world. During any downtime, they’re lounging on the couch, trying to put off for tomorrow (or never) what they could do today. Then September sneaks up on them. Every. Year. And they wonder where the time went and why they didn’t do more during summer break. The point? It doesn’t appear to matter how old you are; everyone wants more time–that’s why it’s my main mission to save time with easy, real food!

I actually feel I should confess. I have a nutrition and food blog, but I usually hate reading food blogs!  Although I do love searching for new recipes to try, it’s a real time suck when bloggers share blow-by-blow random thoughts speckled with as many as 10 photos of the same food taken at different angles.

Pretty food is nice to look at, but dinner doesn’t make itself, am I right?!  I just don’t have time for that and neither do you, I suspect.  (And frankly, as a blogger I prefer to firmly plant myself on the side of the proverbial fine line where I am helpful, rather than a narcissistic oversharer.)

So, I instantly scroll down recipe posts, skipping all the commentary, to do my 10-second unofficial check of the recipe to see if it meets my criteria before I consider trying it.

My Recipe Checklist

What are my criteria, you may wonder? Well if you look at my Recipe Index, you’ll get the idea pretty quickly. But here is the unofficial checklist:

  • All real-food ingredients
  • No (or very minimal) sugar
  • Grain free/gluten free (if possible, to minimize refined carbohydrates)
  • Lower in total carbohydrate
  • No highly refined oils (such as seed and vegetable oils, including corn and canola)
  • Easy instructions
  • Minimal time commitment (bonus points for under 45 min)
  • Will My Family Eat It???

Perfection Is Impossible

Not too surprisingly, few recipes meet these criteria!  I realize my checklist is discriminating, but you should know I don’t follow these criteria for everything I eat. Technically, I do not have food rules; I eat everything.  And I don’t feel guilty when I choose to eat something that is outside of this list!  You shouldn’t either.

However, I don’t eat everything every day.  Most people’s idea of moderation is likely not cutting it for health.  I choose to eat lower carbohydrate, real (from nature) foods, 9 times out of 10, because I feel better eating this way—and believe it is the most evidenced-based way to eat for optimal health (more on that very soon, a blog post series is in the works!)

Plus eating easy, real food creates a path to simplicity in this overabundant, distracting life.  Literally–I don’t walk up and down the majority of grocery store aisles.  Figuratively–I try to concern myself with what’s important and disregard the rest because it’s how I keep my head above water!  I am known for saying, “I’m on a need-to-know basis and I just don’t need to know!”

So, when I am creating and sharing recipes to help you live a healthier lifestyle, these are my strict criteria to help you focus on what to eat more often than not.  Because anyone can easily use meal plans, order meal delivery kits or look up convenient, sugar-laden, highly processed recipes online.  But it is so much harder to find homemade, easy, real-food recipes that you can rely on for your day-to-day, non-diet meal planning for a healthy lifestyle.

Mission To Save Time

Because it is my number one mission to save time, I designed my site (which affects how you choose to get connected, see below) mainly to avoid wasting your time (and mine).  After all, if you don’t feel you have enough time, you won’t prioritize your family’s meals.  It is hard enough trying to cut through scientific jargon, mainstream media and popular culture to figure out what’s legit. So, when you take the time to pull up a chair to my table, I promise to always serve you the following:

  • Easy, real food recipes that are as brief as possible.
  • Recipes that are continually added to the Recipe Index, but are not posted—mainly so you are not emailed (read: bothered) every time one is added!
  • One photo per recipe, just enough to whet your appetite (but not within the printable recipe; I’m saving your printer ink!)
  • Evidence-based blog posts on a variety of nutrition topics relating to a lower carb real-food lifestyle—always summarized with a meaningful, practical “bottom line” and/or tips for moving forward.

Choose How to Get Connected

If you’re ready and willing to learn more, there are several ways to get connected with www.thewanderingrd.com, depending on which question(s) you want answered!

“What to Eat?”

If you want to cut to the chase and figure out what to eat (that is, what’s for dinner tonight?) here are some ways to get connected with www.thewanderingrd.com so you don’t miss when there are new recipes to try.

“Why Eat Real Food?”

If you are looking for the “why” behind a lower carb, real food lifestyle (for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or anyone else) of course you’ll also find that at www.thewanderingrd.com! The best way to stay connected for this type of information is to subscribe to the blog via email, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss a post.

(On a computer, from the homepage, look just under my photo to subscribe to the blog via email. Or on a mobile device, click on the faint square with 3 bars at top left, click “Contact Me” and scroll down to subscribe to the blog via email.)

What’s Next?

A new blog post series is in the works starting in July to cover some big topics and make them easier to digest. Don’t wait–get connected so you don’t miss a thing!

Real Food Picnicking

Today is National Picnic Day! It’s probably no coincidence that National Picnic Day is in April. Spring picnics timed right practically guarantee the warmth of the sun on your face, a soft breeze stirring your hair, the rustling of leaves in the trees, and the fresh smell of new blossoms and cut grass. Mother Nature is rejuvenating herself and it’s hard not to notice and feel inspired!

There is nothing like eating natural (real) food in nature–that’s al fresco dining at its best! My family loved the cultural norms of eating fresh foods “in the fresh (air)” while we lived in Italy, but this time of year always takes me back to Japan. Cherry blossom season in Japan elevated picnicking to an artform–the sake is freeflowing, the delicacies are intricate, and both are to be enjoyed with friends under a canopy of beautiful sakura blooms celebrating the start of spring.

But you don’t have to leave the country to enjoy a spring picnic. Even in your own backyard, your real food picnic can be relaxing and provide nourishment well beyond the food. Because being outside just makes you feel better, doesn’t it? Why is that?! I think it’s partly because being outside makes you feel small in a big world; seasons come and go and weather changes daily and we are not in control. Yet, the fact that many aspects of nature function in an orderly way, without our input, is predictable, and therefore, comforting! Plus there are all those pretty views.

So, a picnic is the marriage of two of my favorite things: being outside and eating real food! But it can be stressful to feel pressured to make fancy foods and to literally haul a bunch of stuff outside to enjoy the meal. It doesn’t have to be stressful, if you keep things simple.

Three Tricks to A Stress-free Picnic

  1. Use real foods you have on hand or items you usually make.
  2. Finger foods are easiest for everyone (and may even eliminate the need for plates and utensils–hey, every day is Earth Day)!
  3. Sometimes you just need to find a different way to transport (i.e., mason jars or skewers) the same easy, real foods you usually enjoy!

Here are some of my favorites:

Real Food Picnic Ideas

Happy picnicking! Grab a blanket and get ready to embrace some serenity today, even if it’s in your backyard or on the floor of your living room (kids love that!)

From Our Kitchen: Chicken Parmesan

chicken parmesan

Thanks to my day of rest on Mother’s day, I’m starting the week off way behind on my meal planning. Anyone else have that problem? A day of rest means double time the rest of the week. Whether it’s meal planning, work, laundry, errands…I’m sure I’m not the only one. Oh well, the break was nice while it lasted!

But who am I kidding??? I often let Monday slide by before I get my act together. Especially if it’s yet another rainy dreary day. Then I rally as only a good procrastinator can. Yet, despite the sophisticated flavors I try to serve up daily, even on weekdays, my meal planning is hardly elaborate or time consuming. You might be surprised to learn you don’t even need an app for it! But make no mistake, I believe planning ahead–any way you feel comfortable–is the key to serving easy, delicious real food. And your method of planning doesn’t have to take too much of your time, if you have a variety of go-to meal options up your sleeve. (Note the new, ever-expanding recipe index tab at the top of the blog!)

So, for me, meal planning is low-tech and old school. (I may know what you’re thinking. Just stop–I do at least keep all my recipes in Evernote, which I highly recommend. It comes in handy to check a recipe for ingredients while grocery shopping, particularly if you’re winging it, which I don’t recommend…) In fact, my meal planning generally consists of a dry-erase board on the fridge with usually no more than four meals planned at a time and scrawled in a hurry. Why four? I try to plan for slow cooker meals or leftovers at least twice a week, on our busiest weeknights. And I leave one meal open for one of these options: letting my mood decide, eating out, or–my personal favorite–letting B cook when time allows and the mood strikes.

However, tonight we have gymnastics, B works late as usual, and I didn’t plan on a slow cooker meal or leftovers…so whatever we are going to have has got to be easy! Naturally, I thought of this simply delicious baked chicken parmesan. I hope it can come to your rescue, too.

Chicken Parmesan

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 chicken breasts
  • about 1 cup of blanched almond flour
  • olive oil, spray
  • 1 jar of Rao’s marinara sauce (this is amazing sauce, from Italy, with an all natural short ingredient list, but you could use another favorite of your own that doesn’t contain sugar)
  • about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, freshly grated

 

Directions

  1. Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise, to form two thinner breast pieces. (You can pound it with a meat tenderizer, but I skip this for simplicity.) Or you can buy your chicken already sliced thin.
  2. Dredge each chicken breast in almond flour. Place in a baking pan. Spray lightly with olive oil (I use a Misto spray bottle) or use a pastry brush and dab olive oil onto chicken breasts.
  3. Top with about 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese (the real, aged, good stuff from Italy). Bake 10 minutes more or until chicken is done. We like to
  5.  


Serve with a roasted green vegetable like broccoli and a simple side salad.