Chocolate Cheesecake Pie ~ Real Food Ingredients Make Real Good Treats

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I sure do love the fact that eating real food does not limit us. In fact, I believe it frees us! Do you know all the wonderful food that can be made with just a few real food ingredients? Pretty much everything, including Twinkies. (Although I never have figured out how to make a maraschino cherry without using a bunch of sugar and red food coloring. I guess we’ll just stick with real cherries.)

This Chocolate Cheesecake Pie recipe is so simple, so delicious, and made with all real food ingredients. You still want to make sure you consider this a very occasional treat, because sucanat is still sugar.  But how nice is it that we don’t have to resort to boxed mixes or spend hours in the kitchen when we want to make something special. In fact, last week when I made this, I had a pie crust already baked in the freezer. All I had to do was throw the filling ingredients into the food processor, give it a whirl, then spread the mixture into my pie crust. Seven minutes later – Chocolate Cheesecake Pie!

Chocolate Cheesecake PieYum

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sucanat
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Baked and cooled whole wheat pie crust

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Mix in cream cheese, sucanat, cocoa powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Pour mixture into a baked and cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Or skip the pie chilling step if your kids are breathing down your neck and asking for a slice before you even get the filling into the crust. Why wait?!

Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

Don’t want chocolate in this pie? Skip the cocoa powder and end up with plain ol’ Cheesecake Pie. Or leave out the cocoa and add a splash of lemon juice for Lemon Cheesecake Pie.  Or a splash of lime juice for Lime Cheesecake Pie. See how much fun real food ingredients can be? It gives us the freedom to go crazy in the kitchen! Trust me, crazy in the kitchen is what I do best.

What fun treats do you make with real food ingredients?

 

How To Always Have Fruits and Vegetables to Serve With a Meal {31 Days to Real Food Reality ~ Day 16}

 

How to Serve Fruits and Veggies

Always, always, always serve a fruit or a vegetable or three at each meal.   Then snack on them throughout the day too. Fill your body with the nourishment that comes from these wonderful convenience foods!

Without a doubt, eating fruits and veggies is the easiest way to eat healthy. Yet somehow, it is often the food group that is left out of a meal and forgotten as a snack option. Why is that? Why does it sometimes seem hard to serve vegetables with our dinner? Or to pack them in our lunch? After all, most of them come pre-packaged! (Banana, anyone?)

I find that I have to make a conscious effort to be sure to serve enough fruits and vegetables to my family. Often, we focus on cooking the main dish (which is typically meat and carbs – both good, but only when balanced with fruits and vegetables). Side dishes in the form of fruits or vegetables are often an after-thought. Let’s make this easier, shall we?

1. Buy Them

Duh, but still. You can’t serve them and eat them if you don’t bring them home from the store or farmer’s market, so I felt it was worth a mention. Get into the habit of spending several minutes in the produce department each time you’re at the store. Look for sales, look for a variety, fill your cart. Shop for them when you’re hungry (something I would not recommend if I were to send you down the candy aisle).

2. Keep frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer at all times

They aren’t expensive (generally). They aren’t difficult to store. When I have frozen green beans and peas in the freezer, I can easily cook them to go with our lunch or dinner.  Our family goes through about two – 5 pound bags of these frozen veggies every month. It’s one of the easiest foods to prepare, and they taste delicious with our meals.

3. Corn is not a vegetable

Sorry, but it’s a grain. Enjoy it every once in a while (with butter!), but don’t rely on it as a vegetable side dish.

4. French fries don’t count

But you knew that, right?

5. Keep containers of fruits and vegetables in the fridge, ready to eat

See that picture above? Cutting those veggies into a bowl took about 7 minutes, and will last our family through a couple of lunches. Washing the blueberries and grape tomatoes took just a few seconds. That picture shows what I have now gotten into the habit of putting out to go with our main dish at lunch. The kinds of fruits and veggies vary depending on what I find at the store that is reasonably priced and looks good. But quickly pulling those foods out of the fridge to go with a meal is crazy easy.

6. Serve salads often

Don’t tell me it’s hard. A two year old can tear lettuce.

7. Enjoy smoothies frequently

Smoothies are a delicious way to load up on the good stuff!  As an added nutritional perk, I almost always add fresh spinach or other salad greens to my smoothies, along with different frozen fruits and some yogurt or kefir. You can’t taste the greens, but you still get the nutrients. Score!

8. Just do it!

I don’t care if all you do is (lovingly) slap a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich onto the table or into a lunchbox for your kids. Take two minutes to serve or pack fruits and veggies too.

By the way, I also try to always have Homemade Ranch Dip in the fridge to put on the table with our veggies. There are many fruit and vegetable options – and eating a variety, buying in season, and watching for sales is very helpful. Here are some great, basic options to keep on hand to serve with meals or as snacks:

Apples, bananas, oranges or clementines, blueberries, pears, grapes, cherries, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, fresh pineapple chunks, applesauce, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers, sliced sweet peppers, frozen green beans, frozen peas, frozen and/or fresh broccoli…

What would you add to this list? What have you found that works best for you to keep you in the habit of serving and eating vegetables?

Hey, Thanks For the Feedback!

I’ve been excited to get the Real Food Reality Resources Package into your hands because the contents within answer so many of the questions I get so often about where to start, how to keep up, how to get ahead, and how to save money while on your Real Food Journey.   It’s always great to hear your feedback and to know that the information we share really is helpful to you!

Here’s what Kelley said after purchasing the Real Food Reality Resources Package:

I bought the  Real Food Reality Resources Package last night and have already devoured most of it!! ABSOLUTELY loving it!! Thank you soooo much for all you do. It is GREATLY appreciated :) Blessings to you and your family!!”

And here’s a fun comment I received from Melony:

Just a thank you for your amazing resources. Your website has helped make our transition to whole/clean eating so simple and painless. It is nearly dinner so I am off to make some of your delicious Corn Muffins.”

I’m always encouraged when I read comments like those…so thank you!

For just a few more days, we’re offering this Real Food Reality Resources Package, worth $24.95, for just $19.95. We want you to succeed on your real food journey. You can do this!

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Get all of the details about the Real Food Reality Resources Package here.  Not only will you receive loads of helpful ideas and instruction, you’ll receive more delicious (and easy!) recipes too!

Real Food Reality Package
$19.95

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Cheeseburger Soup – for $1 per person {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 10}

How about some Cheeseburger Soup for less than $1.00 per person?

31 Days 300

It’s a real food recipe that most everyone will love. It’s full of nourishing goodness. After all, there’s chicken broth and carrots in it, not to mention delicious beef, cheese, milk, and sour cream. It’s a full meal all on its own. Just like all of the recipes I share, this one won’t appear to anyone as “health food.”  It’s simply delicious food. Comfort food. And yep, it just so happens to be healthy.

I found that this recipe yielded six hearty servings. I did the math on it, and can declare it to be a Dollar Menu Dish. Technically, it cost me just over a dollar per person to feed this to my family. I decided, eh, it counts. :)  So what does it mean that this meal costs about a dollar per person? It means that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive! I love it that there are so many economical ways to feed a family well.

If you don’t mind adding a little extra expense to this soup, and you really want to make it appealing to those among you who just might be afraid of anything healthy – try adding 1/4 – 1/2 pound of chopped, cooked bacon. Then it becomes Bacon Cheeseburger Soup, and who wouldn’t want to eat that? By the way: Bacon is real food.  Hallelujah!

Cheeseburger SoupYum

Cheeseburger Soup - for $1 per person {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 10}
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 5 cups potatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, brown hamburger meat with onions, carrots, basil, and parsley.
  2. Once thoroughly cooked, add chicken broth and potatoes.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium while potatoes cook, about ten minutes.
  5. Once the potatoes are tender, add milk, stirring and cooking until bubbly - about two minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add cheese and sour cream, stirring until melted. Serve.

Cheeseburger Soup

Looking for more meal ideas that use healthy, real food ingredients and cost less than one dollar per plate? Here’s what I’ve shared so far:

Have you found ways to keep real food eating within a reasonable budget for your family?

Real Food Reality Resources Package – Wait Till You See This!

31 Days 300

It’s everything you need to gently walk through your journey to a Real Food Kitchen. Don’t know where to start? Can’t even find your kitchen? Hoping to save money and time? Need as many menu planning ideas as you can get? Check, check, check, check, and then some. This package covers it all!

Reality Resource Sale 2

This package includes five wonderful resources to make your transition to real food cooking a reality. I’m so excited to package these up and knock a bunch of money off the price in an effort to save you money coming and going. Yep, while you’ll be saving a nice percentage off the regular price of the eBooks and eCourses in this package, you’ll also be amazed at the money you’ll save by following the steps and tips described in these eCourses and eBooks. Here’s what this package includes:

Do the Funky Kitchen

Having an organized, well equipped kitchen isn’t a must, but well, it is very helpful. Spend a little time following the suggestions in this eBook, and have a functional (funky!) kitchen that you’ll love! Read more here…

Heavenly Homemaker’s 40 Weekly Menu Planning Ideas Packet

You’ll receive 40 simple, real food, family friendly, easy recipe menu plans in this packet. It is internet linked so that when you see a meal idea within a menu plan that you like, you can click the link directly from the eBook to find the recipe online. Be inspired and receive countless meal planning ideas! Read more here…

You Can Do This! The First Five Steps to a Real Food Kitchen

It’s an eCourse that includes five thorough but simple lessons to walk you through transforming your kitchen into a real food kitchen – one little step at a time. Work at your own pace. Work at it in your jammies. Love where this journey takes you! Read more here…

Let’s Do This! Getting Ahead in Your Real Food Kitchen

My favorite way to serve real food to my family is by making food ahead of time so that I have healthy convenience foods ready to grab and go. This five lesson eCourse teaches you how you can not only keep up in your real food kitchen – you can actually get ahead! You’ll love these methods and find that getting ahead in your real food kitchen is easier than you think! Read more here…

{Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks

It’s an eBook full of easy, real food recipes that can all be made ahead of time and frozen for easy use. This includes many of my family’s favorite casseroles and snacks. This eBook will save you time and money, and the recipes are delicious too! Enjoy getting ahead with these fun recipes! Read more here…

Bonus!

The You Can Do This! eCourse automatically comes with a free set of What To Do With the Chicken in Your Kitchen Recipe Cards, which includes 24 delicious, real food chicken recipes on cute, printable cards. Enjoy this free bonus worth an additional $6!

Get your Real Food Reality Resources Package

$19.95

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And one more thing…

I must also encourage you to purchase my Oh, For Real: Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy printed cookbook.  It’s a wonderful resource to have in your hands and in your kitchen. Consider adding the book to this purchase and we’ll get it sent out to you right away.

ForRealBookCover6

Oh, For Real: Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy 

$25.95
Price includes shipping – U.S. only

Add to Cart

Just want the Real Food Reality Resources Package?
Get it here for $19.95.

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Our goal is that these resources will be a blessing to you as you venture on this real food journey!

Food Is Nourishment. What a Concept. {31 Days to Real Food Reality ~ Day 6}

31 Days 300

It was way back in my “eating low-fat” days as a college student and young married gal. I would eat a bowl of low-fat cereal with skim milk for breakfast. Lunch might be a turkey sandwich with low fat mayo on “light” bread, and a side of fat free chips (aka salted cardboard). For a snack, I’d have Pepsi and Twizzlers, which are both fat free. Dinner would be any variety of food made with skinless chicken breast, white pasta or potatoes, and maybe a salad with fat free dressing. At the end of the day, I would feel great about how I’d eaten for the day. “I’ve had hardly any fat today!” I would say to myself.

That’s what I thought it meant to eat healthy.

There is a common truth in the way I used to think about eating and what I know believe about eating:  I need to be aware of what I’m putting into my mouth because it is important to eat a healthy diet.  What I didn’t recognize then, however, was that food isn’t just meant to fill a hole. Food is meant to nourish us.

Nourish.

I was getting very little nourishment when I ate a low-fat diet. Why? Because nourishment wasn’t my focus. My focus was on avoiding fat, not on consuming nutrients. Somehow, candy and soda made it on my “healthy” list.

Is It Nourishing

Whether eating low-fat or not, I’m going to venture to suggest that there are many who are consuming very little nourishment. Even people who over-eat. How can this be? Well, there are many edible products on the market that fill a hole, but offer very little nourishment. What nutrients are found in a bag of chips?   A slice of white bread? A box of crackers? A box of cereal? A slice of American cheese?

Please don’t hear me heaping on guilt to those of you who are still eating many of those foods. Hey, I eat chips, cereal, and crackers sometimes too. It’s fun, it tastes good, and we enjoy the occasional treat. But I also know that if that’s all we were eating, we would not be receiving much nourishment – I don’t care how fortified the box claims its contents to be.

When making healthy food choices, we must always consider how much nourishment it will give our bodies. Crackers are a fun snack and may hold our kids over until dinner, but are they doing much to give their bodies needed nutrients and fuel?

A well-balanced diet of healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, rich broths, nuts, and few whole grains will give our body what it needs to thrive! When not given foods filled with nutrients, our bodies can make do for a while, but then we become depleted and sick. Sickness takes on many forms, from sluggishness to disease to everything in between.

So when making food choices, ask yourself, “Is this going to nourish me?”

Fill your body with food meant to nourish!  What’s great: Nourishment comes in all forms of deliciousness. Our list of options for real food nourishment is longer than my leg, because God is good to give us wonderful variety!  This real food thing just keeps getting better all the time, doesn’t it?

What’s your favorite form of nourishment? When you picture foods that fuel the body well, what foods comes to mind?

Menu Plan for the Week {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 5}

During our 31 Days of Real Food Reality, I’ll be including my normal weekly menus as part of the series. Why? Because these menus are very much a part of my family’s real food reality. I want them to show you how simple it is to put together real food meals!

31 Days 300

None of these meals cost a lot of money. None of these meals takes much time to prepare. I rebel against difficult-to-make recipes, knowing that while I love to cook, I really only love it when it is easy and fast. And delicious, of course. :)

Here’s another part of my Real Food Reality:  I don’t always stick to my weekly menus. Sometimes what I have planned on Sunday doesn’t sound good by Thursday. Sometimes I forget to thaw the meat. Sometimes I just don’t feel like being tied down to a menu. And sometimes we have leftovers I wasn’t expecting, so we ditch the menu in order to clean out the fridge so that food doesn’t go to waste.

I consider my menu plans to be a guideline to follow…and that’s it. Feel free to use my menu plans to give you ideas, suggestions, and inspiration to make real food a reality for you!

raspberry bars small

These Raspberry Oatmeal Bars have become one of our favorite snack and breakfast foods.
I love that they can quickly be made anytime I have some spare minutes, then eaten when we need them.
They are perfect to make in the evening to serve for a ready-made breakfast!

Sunday, January 5
Instant oatmeal, fruit
Bacon cheeseburger casserole (from {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook), tossed salad
Small group fellowship – Nacho Bar with all the fixins

Monday, January 6
Chocolate chocolate chip muffins, apples
Chicken noodle soup, carrots
Calico beans, tossed salad

Tuesday, January 7
Easy breakfast casserole, clementines
Cheeseburger macaroni, green beans
Creamy chicken and rice casserole, tossed salad, steamed broccoli

Wednesday, January 8
Cream cheese pumpkin muffins, applesauce
Homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots
Fiesta chicken, homemade tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, olives

Thursday, January 9
Raspberry oatmeal bars, bananas
Easy noodle stir fry with broccoli and carrots
Barbecue brisket, baked potatoes, green beans, cream cheese corn

Friday, January 10
Homemade grape nuts cereal, blueberries
Calzones, apples
Chicken pot pie, tossed salad

Saturday, January 11
Homemade poptarts, pears
Leftovers
Sandwiches on the road

Tell us your thoughts on how menu planning fits in with your real food reality!

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God is Bigger Than a Free Range Chicken

31 Days 300

I love our farm fresh eggs. Raw milk from our neighbor’s cow is fantastic. I go out of my way to bring home grass fed beef, free range chickens, and you should have seen the pastured turkey we ordered at Thanksgiving. Well here, let me just show you again:

huge turkey 1

I believe we can all agree that this fella was one of the healthiest, meatiest, happiest little (giant) free range turkeys around.

There is no question that free range, grass fed, pasture raised animals with college degrees produce a more nutritious food compared to that which is produced from animals raised in less healthy environments. There is also no question that these food products can be very expensive and/or difficult to obtain.

Sometimes, buying these farm raised products is just too far outside of the budget. Sometimes, there’s not a free range critter to be found anywhere close to where you live.   So if you are someone who is not able to put free range food on the table, will you please stop feeling bad about it?

God is bigger than a free range chicken, yes? This means that He is also bigger than a chicken that is raised in less than perfect circumstances. By golly, He’s even bigger than the turkey that wouldn’t fit in my pan at Thanksgiving, and that was one huge turkey.

Not able to make a meatloaf with grass fed beef? Raw milk too far outside your budget? Stop feeling guilty. Stop worrying. God knows your desires and your ideals for your family. He will bless your efforts to feed your family nutritious food.

Continue seeking out healthy options that will work for your family. Maybe an affordable free range chicken will find its way to your front porch someday soon. In the meantime, know that just because you don’t have access to the healthiest meat, eggs, and milk in town doesn’t mean you should throw your hands in the air and give up on eating real food. A store-bought egg scrambled up in butter or coconut oil is still loads better for you than any processed food that comes in a box which contains 62 ingredients. Loads better.  It’s still an egg.  That means it’s a real food. Relax.

God is big, bigger, biggest. Take all the complicated details out of the process of switching your kitchen to a real food kitchen, and just focus on going back to the basics – whatever that may look like for you right now.

So what does that look like for you right now? Have you found peace in your circumstances with food sources?