The Great Food Adventure

imarenegade_350In teaching my gkids how to cook some of my old favorite recipes…I’ve updated many of them to make them a bit more healthy but I am always up for a bit of adventure.  Having lots of recipes and cooking experience in my head helps me to keep things fresh, interesting, and challenges me to be more creative.  In my own food journey, I have embraced the buy local, organic, and sustainable food logic.  And this is an excellent thing to pass on to my gkids (and yours).

I have it easy because these kids have been eating healthy food since they were born.  Their mom and dad are both fans of whole, healthy food, and don’t indulge their every sweet tooth and fast food fantasy.  Not to say any of us are perfect, we all succumb to the occasional burger and/or pizza, but mostly, we try to keep things healthy.

So I was thrilled when I found Food Renegade.  This helpful website has a million ways to eat better with recipes, tips, and all around good food advice!  One of their features is Fight Back Fridays. What is that?  Well their description is: “bringing together another collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies from members of the Real Food Revolution”.  You will find a lot of fellow adventurers on this site.  Please go and check them out.  So many helpful hints!

veggies 6-7-2011   Early_Spring_Blossoms_lg

In that vein, I am in the process of converting lots of my family’s old favorite recipes into healthier versions.  As I’ve mentioned before, I learned a lot about down home cooking from my Grandma Ruby, and expanded my repertoire as I traveled throughout our time in the military. My own mother likes ready-made food and is good at shortcuts. For me, living in lots of different states and lots of different countries made me appreciate being adventurous with food, cooking local, growing your own, and applying what I learned to cook to what I find on the spot and trying to adapt to healthier alternatives to old favorites.

Central Market Florence  Ceramic olive oil bottles on display, Central Market, Florence, Italy

The best food tip I learned living in Italy is to buy what’s fresh that day and make a meal out of it.  I learned quickly not to decide on a recipe and then try to find ingredients.  It might not be in season, or in Italy, especially, I either didn’t know the word for what I wanted or it was hard to find.  Have you ever tried to make chocolate chip cookies in Italy without chocolate chips and without an oven?  Ha!   “Scuzi, hai pezzi di cioccolato per al forno?”  Blank look.  Pointing next door.  (Thus I discovered the local pastisseria – bakery).

20130214_155934_resizedI know most modern families just don’t have the time to shop every day and cook from scratch, but most of us grandparents have time to do that every now and then!  I also know that for many, finding a farmer’s market open in Kansas in the middle of winter is a pipe dream.  But there are lots of ways you can still cook fresh and buy local foods.  Following that example, one of my favorite things to do with my gkids is to visit the whole foods/organic store in the area (everywhere has at least one) on our special cooking day, and let them decide what to cook based on what we discover there.  It’s always an adventure, and we get a chance to talk about food, where it comes from, how and where it grows, and how it sustains us.

20130214_160100_resizedAND they come up with some pretty amazing ideas!  Our menus are very adventurous, depending on what we find, and it tugs at my creativity to see what we can come up with.


It does take a bit of advance planning, but we try to be as spontaneous as possible. If we don’t have everything we need when we get home for our idea…we improvise with what’s on hand.  Improvising is something that is good for everyone to know and to practice.  We relax a little, and we remind ourselves we don’t have to be perfect.  Sometimes flops are the most fun. Figuring out substitutes and alternatives in a recipe is a good life-training skill and makes for some pretty interesting meals!

Here is what we found this week!

Free Range Chicken


Beets (red, golden, candy striped, garnet)…what a choice!

Blood Oranges

Red Potatoes

Stay Tuned for the recipes!


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