Wednesday, September 3, 2014

From Blog to Book: 100 Days of Real Food

It's not very often that I get excited about a cookbook. Sure, I enjoy cooking and learning new recipes, but I typically google recipes, print them out, and stick them in the cookbook I use the most, Fix-It and Forget-it-Lightly, which isn't very organized.

A few years ago I read about a local Charlotte family who took on the challenge of eating clean (no processed foods whatsoever) for 100 days. I thought it sounded interesting (and hard!) since my own family was struggling to eat better and more nutritiously. The 100 Days of Real Food pledge the Leake family took turned into a way of life, birthed a blog, then a brand, and now its very own cookbook. It's been exciting to see the progression.

I follow the blog on Facebook so I've gotten tons of great ideas for packing my kids' lunches (they don't have a cafeteria at their school) and learned some great real-food substitutes for things such as salad dressings, taco seasoning, onion dip, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, etc. When I told my husband I wanted the recently-released 100 Days of Real Food cookbook for my birthday, he looked at me a little skeptically at first. I had a friend ask me if it was just recipes from the blog, so I thought I'd give an overview of what's in 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy Wholesome Recipes.

The first part of the book includes an introduction on the types of food Lisa Leake and her husband Jason grew up eating, and how she first became interested in overhauling their eating habits. She defines the concept of what "real food" is and guides readers through an easy plan to begin making changes. This section also features food budgeting tips and seasonal meal plans, complete with accompanying shopping lists, which I love.

The second part of the book is recipes, broken out into breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and appetizers, salads and sides, simple dinners, treats, and homemade staples. Are you hungry yet? I like the format of the book because everything is all put together in one place. Don't get me wrong--the blog is very organized, too, but unless I know exactly what recipe I'm searching for I can get overwhelmed scrolling the recipe index. I've noticed there are some recipes on the blog that aren't in the book, and vice versa.

I've already been shopping this week armed with a few different recipes from the book and can't wait to try them out with my family. I have dusted off the food processor I never use and bought a new set of sieves to aid me in my new cooking adventure. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

P.S. Also, as a writer, I was fascinated by this real-life example of how someone turned a blog into a book. It's no easy task, and you can read all about Lisa's journey to getting a book deal in this post.

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