Monday Mission: Share Real Food with Others

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Real Food Company Meals

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to plan a specific opportunity to introduce someone to real food and show them how delicious it can be.

I think this mission is not only FUN, but perfect for summertime.

I want to challenge you to “share the real food.” You might choose to:

  • invite someone (or a group of someones) over for dinner with the secret purpose of showing them how yummy real food can be
  • host a neighborhood or family party and serve real food appetizers
  • invite a friend over for lunch and have awesome dinner leftovers that just happen to be available to heat up
  • take a meal to someone who could use one
  • make an effort to take real food dishes to potlucks and BBQs you’re invited to this summer (the added bonus there is that your family has at least one real food option)
  • if you camp with friends or family, offer to cook for a meal, and make it a great one that looks easy (I have a couple prepare-at-home meals in The Family Camping Handbook that are a cinch once you’re out in the woods – you can get a glimpse of the food in there by signing up for the monthly newsletter, as I just started offering 10 printable recipe cards and 3 meal plans, which happen to be Paleo (1) and gluten-free (2) as the freebie with newsletter signup.)

Real Food “Company” Meals with Kids

While my friends are mostly moms like me, my husband’s friends are largely at a different stage of life since we had children before most of them met their future spouse.

We recently decided to have a monthly “dinner at the Kimballs” with some secret purposes (and here Katie is hoping they’re not reading today!):

  1. share real food in a delicious way
  2. demonstrate the joy of family life

Our kids love company, and they know we’re going to have an awesome meal, so we don’t actually have to bribe them with candy or anything. Winking smile We do pray that no one throws a monumental fit, because even though we try our best to be spectacular parents, kids still throw fits. (We just pray it doesn’t happen on these evenings.)

We make an effort to include them in some way in meal preparation, too, so that we can laud them at the dinner table and boost their ego a bit when everyone says to Paul, for example, “Wow, this ranch dressing is amazing!” (You can see him making it with me in our bonus video that comes with the Better Than a Box premium package, screen shot below).

Sample “Company Meal” Plans

Here are two meals we’ve served to friends recently, and tomorrow I’ll share our big First Communion Party menu, when we hosted 18 people (but could have easily fed 25).

Meal One: FAST Chicken Sandwiches & Lots of Sides

My motus operandi (is that right?) for serving guests is to have LOTS of side dishes, so that (a) we always have enough food and (b) the main course, usually the most expensive if it’s meat, doesn’t have to break the bank because people eat other things.

For this meal, we were walking in the door about 30 minutes or less before our guests were to arrive, so it took some serious planning:

  1. big salad with avocado aioli dressing and lots of cut veggies, ranch from my son for dipping
  2. BBQ chicken (thighs) in the slow cooker, recipe from Crock On!
  3. soaked whole wheat rolls, done in the breadmaker the day before
  4. baked potatoes (already scrubbed, started the moment I walked in)
  5. fried rice (made while chatting, rice is already cooked – recipe coming eventually!)
  6. frozen green beans and broccoli sauteed in bacon grease (the ones I mentioned in the shopping at Costco post)
  7. rice pudding (triple batch, cooked while we ate, from Healthy Snacks to Go, my ebook)

We fed four adults plus our family and had enough food leftover for another family meal plus some. Awesome sauce!

Meal Two: Gluten-Free Welcome to Summer

Hosting Guests for Dinner (19) (475x317)

It was finally warm enough to eat outside, so we embraced summer with this one:

  1. appetizer: black bean dip from Real Food, Real Easy! with chips and homemade guacamole (Paul’s contribution to the meal)
  2. cabbage salad with feta
  3. marinated grilled chicken strips, about 4-6 pounds worth (organic, from Costco – I cut into strips because if you do whole breasts, people will always take a whole one. Strips with the rest of the offerings meant that we had leftovers!)
  4. sauteed mushrooms and sweet onions
  5. baked mac and cheese as a side dish (recipe in Better Than a Box – I expected extras of this for another meal, but it was a HUGE hit and all gone!)
  6. gluten-free flatbread from Nourishing Meals (below)

Hosting Guests for Dinner (18) (475x317)

Neighborhood Popcorn by Pinterest

My neighbor and I are hosting a party for the ladies in our neighborhood, “Popcorn by Pinterest.” We’ll pin popcorn recipes to this group pin board and bring fun toppings and enjoy each other’s company.

I’ll probably brag about how popcorn is amazing popped in coconut oil, which is how I just did a big batch for my son’s baseball team tonight, along with those string cheeses from Costco…and I’m taking a meal to a friend who just had a baby. It never ends!

How are you going to share the real food this summer?

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7 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. pdw says

    Just got back from Victoria Day “wiener roast” at the park. I took portobella mushrooms with homemade bbq sauce as my veggie burger and a big roaster full of watermelon slices for a treat. Water and fruit juice to drink. The family leaving as we arrived offered us bananas, which we accepted. Our friends brought and shared potato and onion “hobo” tinfoil packets, grapes, fresh snap peas, and apples to go with their hot dogs. I roasted some of the bananas over the fire too. (Our friends made banana boats by adding marshmallows and choc chips.) All in all, a very nice “real food” bbq.

  2. says

    Finally, a Monday Mission I had planned even before you posted! ; )

    A woman from my church just lost her husband in a freak drowning accident. He was only 35, and a lovely man. A friend organized a meal calendar so people could bless the widow with meals for a few weeks, and I was glad to sign up just to bless her–but even more glad when I read the “special dietary needs” and learned she is on a Paleo diet, which was no scary thing for me to deal with since we already understand about cooking without grain, and she requested organic food which I also support. I know a lot of people might be intimidated by cooking without grains, with high-quality foods, etc. but I felt unfazed and delivered tonight a nourishing organic meal.

    Only to just now actually look up the Paleo diet and realize they don’t eat legumes. So she likely was not thrilled by the black bean soup I delivered to her door. Sigh. in my defense, they listed the “no’s” on the sign-up and there was no mention of legumes or dairy. On the other hand–it is food, it is healthy, and there was a big fresh fruit salad, and I will trust that her heart will be nourished by the love it represented. And if she eats it, that it will nourish her body.

  3. says

    Great idea! Your menus sound delicious, and I like the way you involve Paul in cooking.

    One of our favorite ways to share food is hosting coffee hour at our church. I know some churches manage this differently, but at ours there’s a sign-up sheet where you choose a week to provide and serve the snacks. My 8-year-old loves doing this! Here’s my advice on what to serve at coffee hour. As I’ve become a healthier cook over the years, people have been asking me for recipes much more; my alternative to French onion dip is especially popular.

  4. Erin says

    We just shared real food this weekend! I made a beef, butternut squash, and spinach stew, salad with 2 kinds of homemade dressing, fresh baked gluten free garlic rolls and strawberry honey pie in a gluten free crust. Everyone seemed pretty happy and full

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