For flavor: Spike (since I was a little one this has been a favorite!), garlic powder, brewers yeast (on popcorn), kosher salt, and fresh black pepper.
In the can: coconut milk (shakes, Thai food, etc.), stewed tomatoes, Amy's soups (I add ground turkey or chicken sausage to these.), artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, black beans, re fried beans, baked beans, olives, (to name a few).
Greens and things: You can tell what we like, but some tips here are, I only buy the big carrots...they are way cheaper and usually much better than those already chopped up ones, spinach (also great in shakes), we do our best to buy as local as possible...but avocados are a must for this native California girl. Another tip, I try to buy something really different at least once a month, just to give it a try and stretch those little taste buds.
Dairy: (we have a few lactose issues here and can't go too overboard) we usually go full fat on most milk products and opt for the Greek style yogurt. Yo-Kids are a real treat. Buttermilk is for Daddy's homemade pancakes. Goat cheese feta in salads is a must.
Proteins: All meat as free range as possible, we love lean red meat, all kinds of fish, turkey, chicken (oven roasters are a 2 meals in one, chicken supper & chicken soup), pork tenderloin, eggs (every morning:), and all kinds of nuts for snacking.
Grains: Scottish Oats -favorite breakfast(you can make these the night before breakfast in the crock pot http://www.thegreenestdollar.com/2009/04/my-frugal-breakfast-crockpot-steel-cut-oats/), whole wheat and sourdough breads made locally, brown rice, popcorn (I always cook ours on the stove top in oil and season with salt and brewers yeast...this is a favorite after school snack.), corn and whole wheat tortillas, taboule, couscous, and whole wheat or spinach pasta (no gluten issues here:)
Making it sweet: Maple syrup (hey, it grows on trees here!), and real raw sugar within reason. No artificial sweeteners ever...that is one things I cannot comfortably give my family, ever.
What we drink: Milk (hormone free!), water, coffee, tea, and beer (come on, a girl has to have a little fun!)
Favorite recipe site: http://www.tastespotting.com/ this one will lead you to about a million blogs about anything you want to cook..from gourmet to down home.
Before I begin, let it be known to every reader that I do not claim to feed these Kookies the purest of foods 100% of the time, and therefore will not be ashamed if you see our gas guzzling SUV pulling through those golden arches every once in a while in search of the perfect french fry. We are a realistic family of five, carving out our own carbon footprint on this fallen world. Therefore, this is a judgement free zone. I vow never to look down my nose at any friend or foe for pulling out a bag of cheese curls and a
juice box, instead of a wax paper wrapped cashew nut butter sandwich on homemade sprouted grain bread. (The only thing worse than an ignorant grocery shopper is an organic foodie snob:)
That being said, I was born a hippie. Ask my mom. It's very easy for me to eat earthy, raw, organic, roughage (the sight of a pomegranate, artichoke, or jicama thrills this soul.) I love it all! I'll admit, I partake in an Oreo now and then, but for the most part I have grown in my passion for nutrition over the years, in part because I have very sensitive guts, but more so because I love my family and want to see them lead the healthiest most productive life possible.
Every family is different and I have found that learning from my mentors and applying what they have shared with me in little bits here and there, keeps me focused, (as the meal maker), without that dreaded feeling of organic condemnation.
What we can purchase and prepare for each of our lives depends on budget and time. No need to beat ourselves up over a bowl of cereal instead of scottish oats now and then.
I have found over 12 years that my family feels love when I take the time to feed them right.
(Love this photo of Zibby today...after she dug into the strawberries:)
sidenote: We have followed this pattern for the most part over the past 8 years and Aaron has maintained an 80 pound weight loss post NFL!...Sundays are "splurge day"...cookies, fried stuff, etc.)