Thursday, July 11, 2013

Details and Recipes: 7-Day Real Food Challenge

 The big question...What is Real Food?  This might be different for each and every one of us.  To me, real food is homemade and from scratch.
This doesn't have to last just 7 days.  I plan on learning more about our food and continuing with eating more whole foods that I've cooked or prepared from scratch.  The Real Food Challenge will begin on Sunday, July 21st!

Mary's Kitchen
So here's the scoop:
We'll be eliminating store-bought, mass-produced breads, pasta, bakery items, canned food, pre-made foods and mixes, jams and jellies.
No deep fried or fast foods.  No refined sugars.

For me, I'm even going to try to make my own mayo and ketchup.
No more canned beans...We're making them from scratch!

Some of this will take a bit of prep work like beans but in the end I hope to learn from the experience, save money and improve our health.
I'll be heading back to the Farmer's Market!

Suggested "Real Food"

Whole Foods...unprocessed
fresh veggies and fruit
homemade quinoa and legumes
*I don't eat meat but my husband does*  for meat, the less processed the better.  If you can find wild caught fish it is much better.  If you have a place to purchase locally and humanely raised chicken/beef/pork this would be a great time to explore those options.

Raw nuts and seeds

Oils: Olive, coconut, sunflower, safflower...preferably organic (not vegetable)

Natural sweeteners: Honey and pure maple syrup

Dairy: organic, whole, unsweetened (if possible) *I'm going to try to make yogurt instead of buying it from the the store.

At the moment we are 9 bloggers participating in this challenge...more are welcome!
Joyce @ It's Your Life
Lydia @ Lydia's Flexitarian Kitchen
Maureen @ It's All Connected
Jules @ My Mom's a Whack Job
April @ WhyTheSimpleLife
Melinda @ Auntie Em's Guide  
*NEW* Courtney @ The Crunchy Deliquent
*NEW* Kristina @ Mother's Niche 
and me...Mary @ Mary's Kitchen and Back to the Basics 

Creamy Vegetarian Pea Soup
Check out the Real Food link party...It's LIVE!

And now for the recipes!  I've been looking everywhere for recipes to get myself prepared for this challenge.  Preparation is key!

Homemade Mayo from Frugal in Florida
Homemade Ketchup recipe (from scratch) from
Fresh Salsa from Back to the Basics
Vegan Rice Pudding from Back to the Basics
Homemade Tortillas from Taste of Home

From Mary's Kitchen
Tangy and Sweet Broccoli Salad (minus the bacon for me)
Additional Resources

Mary's Kitchen

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre


  1. I want in! Haha, I was already planning on doing this anyway. Can Agave be added to the sweeteners list? It is so good for you and there are lots of recipes out there that you can use agave with.

    Awesome Post!

  2. Count me in as well!
    Melinda Stanton
    Auntie Em's Guide to Life
    I will send you an email. Thanks for the challenge!

  3. Visiting from Ahola Friday. I'd like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at And who knows, you may just get featured next week.

  4. Hey Mary, I'm a new follower from the FF blog hop. I'm excited to try this but I'm also thinking this can be really difficult! kudos!

    I'd love it if you can follow me back :)


    1. Hey Ochi!!! It doesn't have to be difficult. It can actually make food prep easier. It could be said that "If it were easy, everyone would do it." I think that for our health and that of our families it's worth the effort!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I found you at the Harvest of Friends Weekend Blog Hop! I am seriously considering joining your Real Food Challenge. I need to think about it how much I could really stick to it.

    1. Hey Cindy!
      we'd love to have you participate. If you need to modify that's okay. I just encourage everyone to document the ups and downs.

      If you decide to join us, please send me an email to

  6. What a great challenge!!! I love eating "real" food. It makes me feel so much more healthy!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your challenge with Saturday Spotlight. I eat much the way you will be eating, and it has helped my health and autoimmune diseases a lot. Good luck!
    Have a great weekend and hope to see you again soon!

    Angels Homestead

    1. Thanks April!
      We eat this way most of the time. However, full time jobs plus blogging and running several online businesses ( not to mention keeping house) are an easy excuse for me to "cheat."
      We're really looking forward to the challenge and getting back to our healthier habits.

  8. This is too hard to do for a week. May I suggest you start with a few recipes, add as you collect recipes and each week eliminate some processed food. I started with baking my own bread, then my own marinara, then vinaigrette. When I cook a chicken, I cook extra for more than one meal - first roast chicken, and then for enchiladas or chicken salad wraps, the bones are for soup. While you are cooking a meal put a pot of beans on the back burner - in two hours they are done. After you have dinner and cleanup the beans will have cooled. Freeze them in 15 oz size (the size of a can of beans). You must think ahead - plan,plan,plan. When you shop - go down the baking isle for baking supplies - then stay out of the middle of the grocery - only shop the periphery. The processed food is in the middle - fresh non-processed items are on the edges of the market. I hope this did not sound bossy, only passing on what I have learned.

    1. Hey! Sorry but I totally disagree about this being difficult. We eat this way most of the time. I name bread, jams, jellies and beans from scratch.
      I think the "challenge" will keep us more focused. Please check out the "prepping" post and you'll see how I'm getting ready.
      Feel free to follow along!

    2. Oops...MAKE bread...not name it!

  9. I'd love to do this. These recipes look right up my alley! I just switched to a more plant based diet (not 100% veggetarian yet) and trying to cut out even more unprocessed stuff! Where do I sign up?

  10. We almost exclusively eat 'real food' but I really want to do a week or so where its 100% all week. We generally stray a bit during the week!!

    Can I join in the fun??!

  11. Sounds great! I just recently became aware of the Real Food subject on another blog and it's inspired me to take a better look at what things we buy. I have a post on the things I've bought from farmer's markets and a local organic store coming out in a week or so. I've really enjoyed the few changes we've made and am looking forward to making more!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    Exercise Encouragement GROUP Blog

    Visiting this post via I Gotta Try That.

  12. I've been looking at our meals as well and making the move toward eating real food! What a great challenge, so glad you shared on the Home Acre Hop! Hope to see you this week too! - Nancy The Home Acre Hop

  13. Found you through Frugal Fooddie Mama Marvelous Monday. =)

    I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday's at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday!

    I would be honored if you join us and follow to stay connected Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

  14. Just wanted to let you know I featured this post on the Home Acre Hop on my blog today! I'm up for the challenge!
    The Home Acre Hop

  15. This is such a great idea! Ill try it but I cant promise anythings. LOL.


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