One of my favorite blogs is 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake. The concept is simple: switch from processed food over to “real food,” such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and humanely-raised meats and seafood.
I have not yet made the full commitment to the real food diet, but try to take as many little steps toward the end goal as I can. One way to do that is to make food at home that you would typically buy in a can or jar.
Susie, author of the “Not Your Average Mom” blog, tested the theory with pasta sauce. She began by polling her Facebook page audience for their favorite recipes. The majority of them included the same six basic ingredients:
- olive oil
Simple enough, right? That list in and of itself had me thinking to Leake’s ‘real food’ philosophy and how we pay for convenience (others making food for us) and preservatives (so the food others make for us will last on a shelf).
Based on the suggested ingredients and the items she already had in her house, Susie used:
- Crushed tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- 2 onions (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
For exact measurements, read Susie’s blog post.
If Susie’s recipe were put to the ‘real food’ test, the item under review would be the canned crushed tomatoes. Per the ‘real food’ rules, the tomatoes would have to contain five ingredients or less. Everything else in the ingredients list is in its purest form.
As for step-by-step instructions, she first pureed the crushed tomatoes in a food processor to avoid “chunks” of food in the sauce. Some children wouldn’t be bothered by that, but hers are. For the record, mine would be, too.
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar, and nutmeg. Simmer it for a couple hours, and voila!
Her recipe rendered five 28-ounce jars of sauce and cost her $5.30 to make. Had she bought the same amount of pre-made sauce, she would have paid another two dollars or so. While that isn’t a ton of money, the benefit lies in it being ‘real food,’ which is why I mentioned the blog at the outset of this article.
For me, this concept is one we should adopt more often with the moral of the story being that it is so simple and cost-efficient to make food like this and it is so much better for our bodies. It is also something we can include our children in so they see what makes up their favorite dishes.
It took Susie 10 minutes of active prep time to create this sauce and ended up using it for at least three meals. I say give it a try … what do you have to lose?