Wholesome Comfort Giveaway

Meatloaf is my comfort food.  In fact, I am somewhat of a meatloaf connoisseur. You can keep your gourmet meatloaf.  What I love is a great big slice of homestyle meatloaf and a heaping mountain of mashed potatoes.  Gravy?  Yes please!

Wholesome Comfort Giveaway

You can imagine my culinary enthusiasm when I found a meatloaf recipe in Wholesome Comfort, the just-released e-cookbook by Kate of Modern Alternative Mama.  There is meatloaf, and then there is Meatloaf! Kate’s meatloaf recipe is Meatloaf! It’s a taste of home on a plate, a visit back to Grandma’s farm kitchen, comfort food at its finest.

Wholesome Comfort: Whole Foods to Warm & Nourish Your Family is all about comfort food.  Don’t let the word “wholesome” scare you off. These dishes are delicious and nutritious.  They contain whole foods that you will recognize, no chemically laden pseudo-foods, and no ingredients you would have to order from Timbuktu.

Most people who are attempting to transition to a less processed diet fear they must resign themselves to a life without their favorite comfort foods.  Wholesome Comfort totally debunks that fear…totally.

Want chicken and dumplings?  There’s a recipe for that.  Apple spice cake? It’s in there.  Turkey dinner with all the trimmings?  You got it!  Chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese, chocolate peanut butter fudge?  It’s all in there!  And have I mentioned the meatloaf!?

Check out the table of contents here.

Looks good, doesn’t it?  After trying several recipes (and the meatloaf three times), I can assure you, it is good.  Try it for yourself with a free, easy scalloped potatoes recipe.

Want a copy?

Buy Wholesome Comfort here.

Here’s a great Simple Homemaker perk. TSHM readers can use the code HOME25 to receive 25% off through 1/31/12. Or you can…

Win Wholesome Comfort below.

If you are new to Rafflecopter, simply log on below. Click “Do it” on the entry methods of your choice. Follow the instructions that pop up. Some will take you away from the site, but you must come back and click “Enter” to complete each entry. It’s really quite simple!

Continue reading “Wholesome Comfort Giveaway”

A Special Offer, Real Food Baby Steps, and our Cookbook Winner

Cookies from Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods

A Special Offer

Our cookbook giveaway has come to a close. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed testing the recipes and reviewing the books.  (We’re still testing recipes!)  We also had a great time reading all your comments.  Thank you to all who participated.

If you did not win (sorry!) and would like a book, you are in luck. Kate at Modern Alternative Mama has offered The Simple Homemaker readers 25% off any or all of her books through November 15. Simply use the code SIMPLE25 at checkout to receive your discount. This makes each book very affordable.  (Think Christmas!)

To buy the books, click here. 

Real Food Baby Steps

If you are further interested in babystepping your way to better health through real foods, check out this list of baby steps from Erin at The Humbled Homemaker, guest-posting at Modern Alternative Mama.  It is a list very much in line with The Simple Homemaker’s Simple Health Philosophy.

Click here to read the baby steps list.

Cookbook Winner

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

Wait, did I ever tell you about the time…oh, sorry.

Drum roll please…

Congratulations, Sarah P.! You won all four e-cookbooks with your Facebook share comment.  I hope you and your family enjoy your adventure in eating!

(The winner was chosen through Random.org.  You may verify it through this link.  I am neither tech-savvy or motivated enough to try to rig the system, so all was fair.)

Remember, my dear readers, you have through November 15 to use the code SIMPLE25 to get 25% off any of the books at Modern Alternative Mama.

Click here to buy the books. 

Disclosure: This is my affiliate link. I receive a small percentage of each sale. You do not need to use my affiliate link to purchase…but I sure think it’s swell when you do!

Review of Four Real Food Cookbooks and A Cheesy Potato Goodness Recipe

For the past three weeks almost every meal we have eaten has come from the recipes in four “real food” e-cookbooks by Kate at Modern Alternative Mama.


Because we are giving the entire bundle away to one of you, and we wanted to make sure they were worthy of you wonderful people.

Guess what.

They are!

Let me tell you about them.

Review: Four Real Food E-cookbooks

In The Kitchen: Real Food Basics

Read Food BasicsI wish I had this simple guide to real food when we started our real food journey.  Much more than a cookbook, Real Food Basics is a thorough overview of the importance and how-to of switching to real food.  It is far more succinct than the volumes of literature I have read on the topic.  (Think of all that time spent reading when I could have been eating!)  Despite the easy-to-comprehend nature of this book, people first venturing out from the processed world to the real food world might still get overwhelmed.  That is why Kate’s page of baby steps is invaluable.  With one step a day, a week, a month, you will be improving the quality of the food you put on your family’s table with little effort.  The recipes are a simple and tasty means of applying your new wealth of knowledge.

Against the Grain: Delicious Recipes for the Whole Food and Grain-Free Diet

Against the GrainIf you have been following the GAPS or gluten-free movement, you know the dangers of consuming too much grain, especially the quality of grains available to today’s average consumer.  Against the Grain offers recipes to painlessly reduce the quantity of grains you feed your family.  I know, so do a lot of other cookbooks.  The difference is that you will not need a pantry full of weird ingredients that neither resemble nor taste like food, and you will not be feeding your family foods you can’t even pronounce.  Because the book offers recipes for making favorite dishes grain-free, many of the foods may already be on your regular menu.  Of course, you will eventually want some ingredients that are probably not in your pantry now, but there are not many, and they are neither hard to find nor hard to pronounce. If you are missing anything, you can substitute what you have on hand until you are ready to babystep your way to the healthier ingredients.

Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods

Pregnancy Super FoodsKate takes the “mystery” out of eating for two and simplifies it…a lot!  If you’ve been overwhelmed by the pregnancy nutrition gurus’ dietary requirements that resemble an equation from a masters’ level advanced mathematics class, you’re going to want this book.  Also, if your idea of eating healthy while pregnant is fortified cereal, a folic acid supplement, and low-fat ice cream, you need this book. Kate presents the basics of eating healthy for conception, pregnancy, and nursing, and provides a list of super foods for feeding your body and your baby. (Love that list!)  She then fills the book with great recipes that incorporate these super foods.  Despite the word “pregnancy” in the title, these foods are appropriate for anybody, and I happily fed them to my little ones, teens, and hubby.  My favorite part—because I’m a bit geeky—is that each recipe denotes how many superfoods you are consuming with each meal.  Seeing the super food count makes me feel like I could leap tall laundry mountains in a single bound, even nine months pregnant!

Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts

Treat YourselfWhen you first venture toward eating healthy, you may cringe at the thought of never again tasting ice cream, never indulging in another handful of cookies, or never savoring a slice of birthday cake…ever! Pick yourself up off the floor!  Healthy eating is not about deprivation.  In Kate’s newest book, she shares information and recipes that not only take the unhealthy out of treats, but add some nutritional value besides.  Learn about healthy alternatives to sugar and white flour, and how to work around allergy issues while still treating your family.  This book has options for dairy-free, GAPS, and gluten-free eaters.  And, yes, you will be eating ice cream, cookies, and cake.  (Big grin!)

Our Overall Opinion:

We had a great time testing the recipes in these four books, and will continue to do so over the next few weeks.  We found them simple to make, even with the added challenge of being without a stovetop for three weeks.  That means that we had to adjust the recipes for use in a crockpot, in the oven, on the grill, or a combo.  These recipes are flexible.

I particularly love that you can make these recipes from foods you have on hand.  If you do not have some of the ingredients yet (almond flour, for example) you can effortlessly replace it with something you do have until you are at a place in life to start using the missing ingredient.  This is truly a flexible approach to improving your diet.

Because I have been cooking mostly from scratch for as long as I have been cooking, I already have my own versions of some of these recipes that my family loves.  Nevertheless, some of Kate’s recipes have found their way into our family cookbook with our longstanding family favorites.  The words “awesome,” “great,” and “this is a keeper” come to mind.  (My husband can’t stop talking about the chili we ate two weeks ago, and I’m seriously thinking of whipping up some more maple whipped cream and eating it straight out of the bowl…by myself…hiding in the closet.  Seriously!)

Has my family enjoyed eating from Kate’s cookbooks?  Definitely!  Did my family love every recipe?  No, not every family member loved every recipe, but most of the time the group response was really great, much better than our experiences with our other real food and grain-free cookbooks!  Will we continue to use the recipes we tried and test new ones?  Absolutely!

There is very little overlap between the four books.  While a couple recipe titles appear in more than one book, the recipes themselves vary. If you are just starting out with real foods, you will have more than enough recipes to begin rotating into your menu, even with just one of the books! If you are an old-timer in the real food or grain-free world, you’ll be able to greatly expand your family’s menu with these recipes, and can easily adapt the recipes to your family’s preferences.

If I were to change the books at all, I would merely add a recipe index to the two books that did not have one (in my review versions) and indicate how many servings each recipe made, which is absent from some of the recipes.

 [Update: my husband just installed a stovetop and my daughters and I have made three more of Kate’s recipes. The meals are even easier to prepare when you have a a stovetop (duh!), and all three made it into the family cookbook–they were that good!]

Want to try a recipe for yourself?  Here’s a recipe we loved from Pregnancy Superfoods.

Broccoli-Cheese Potatoes Recipe

(Its household name here is Cheesy Potato Goodness.)


  • 3 – 4 medium potatoes—slice ‘em thin
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional, but, seriously, it’s bacon! Why leave it out?!)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (mmmm…butter!)
  • ½ c. onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (if your pantry isn’t stocked with arrowroot, use your thickener of choice—corn starch, flour, whatever you use)
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ c. Romano cheese, shredded (try parmesan if romano isn’t in the frig or the budget)
  • 1 c. broccoli, chopped

(We have a child that cannot eat bacon, onions, or broccoli (that’s a new one, eh?), so we left all three out.  We cooked broccoli on the side and some of us mixed it in.)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Lay the sliced taters fairly evenly in a 9X13 baking pan.
  3. Combine the bacon, onion, and butter in a sauce pan and cook until the onion is translucent—you know, see-through.
  4. Stir in your thickener until it is completely smooth—no dumplings.  We used arrowroot powder.
  5. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly as you add to eliminate lumps.  Thicken by cooking over medium heat, stirring almost constantly…or enlisting your tallest child for this task.
  6. Add your seasonings and cheeses.  If you wish, save a little cheddar to add to the top of the taters.  I saved a little, but somebody small ate it.
  7. Stir in the broccoli.  (See my “no broccoli” note above.)
  8. Pour the whole shebang over the taters and top it with the cheese that my small child ate.  (Remember, we’re cooking without a stove, so we did all the stove work in the baking pan using our oven, and mixed the potatoes into the rest of the mixture rather than the other way around.)
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are the texture you like.  Because doubled the recipe, we used a larger pan and cooked it much longer.

That’s a super food count of 4!  Don’t you feel super just looking at that number?

This dish was delicious, and, as you can see, Kate’s recipes are easily adapted to fit the needs of your family, whether those be dietary, equipment, time, or available ingredients.

This makes 4-6 servings.  Because there are 8-9 of us, we doubled it and still had nothing left over.  We served it, by Kate’s suggestion, with her baked salmon with garlic-herb butter from the same book and also with our homemade sourdough bread dipped in her olive oil herb dip (same book).  Mmmmmmm!  I’m still smiling!  Someone wipe this goofy grin off my face!

So…are you interested in the giveaway?  You know you are!

Click here to go to the cookbook giveaway page.

If you want to skip the giveaway but still want a book or four, you can buy the books at a savings.  Kate has made them even more affordable by offering a 25% discount to The Simple Homemaker’s readers.  Simply use the discount code SIMPLE25 at checkout to save 25% off any or all of the Modern Alternative Mama ebooks through November 15, 2011. What a gal!


Simple Philosophy for Better Health

Everyone is at a different point in the journey toward better health.  Some have barely begun or have no intention of beginning, while others have pursued healthy living so vigorously, that all that is left for them is to de-stress about the whole thing.

Similarly, people have different ideas about what healthy living is.  You have your vegans, your vegetarians, your low-carbers, your calorie counters…you name it, there’s a group for it.  There’s even the “I’m not listening!” group.  See?

Simple Philosophy to Better Health - I'm Not Listening

Personally, we are most closely associated with what has become known as real foodies, although we are by no means extreme…by no means!  We eat food that is, simply put, real.  It has not been morphed into an unhealthy version of its previous self.  (Real foodies can be vegans, vegetarians, low-carbers, and calorie counters, too, by the way, although we are none of those.)  So, we eat homemade bread, but not store-bought.  We’ll have eggs for breakfast, but not Cheerios.  Butter, yes, margarine, no way on God’s green earth can you force that stuff down the throat of this born-and-raised-on-a-Wisconsin-cattle-farm girl…I mean, no thank you!  Essentially, I’m an apple girl, not a fruit snacks girl.  (Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t eat it and love it at YOUR house…we just don’t eat it here.)

For years we had fortified cereal and whole grain crackers in the house, along with other seemingly innocuous food choices that we were led to believe were healthy for our children—granola bars, whole grain breads, soy milk, flavored yogurt.  I would keep a few frozen pizzas in the freezer for “those nights,” and we loved to feast on Manwich from a can…mmmmmmm.  (Uh, we took it out of the can and prepared it as directed, just so you know.)

Today we don’t eat any of that, unless we have made it ourselves.  That means we make our own bread, snacks, yogurt, sometimes ketchup and pasta…you name it, we probably make it.  (Although I’ve yet to find a mayonnaise recipe they will eat.)  The ingredients are simple and real.

That doesn’t sound like a simple philosophy for better health!

You’re right; it doesn’t.  (You don’t have to yell.  Just keep reading.)

If we had made the transition from our fairly decent diets to eating mostly real foods overnight, or even over-month or over-year, it would definitely not have been simple…at all!  In fact, ironically, the stress would probably have killed me, or at least launched me head first into a bag of Doritos!  (Mmmmm…chips.)

But we did not work on improving our health overnight or even over-year.  We did it over years.

Here’s the simple part of the simple philosophy for better health:

Wherever you are in your journey toward improving your health, take one step forward.  Only one!

If you drink soda every day five times a day, cut back to four.  If you smoke eight cigarettes a day, cut back to seven.  If you eat only packaged, processed foods, even those that claim to be healthy, try to make one meal a week from scratch.  If you live for sugar, gradually (gradually) cut back and replace it with something better.

If you are further along on your health journey, your steps will look different.  Perhaps you could take one item from your pantry and read the ingredients.  It should read like a children’s book, not like a science journal.  If you can’t read it in a Dr. Seuss sing-song voice, you don’t want to eat it and you certainly don’t want to feed it to your children!  Replace that one item…just that one! (Don’t even bother reading any other labels right now.)  Eventually, you won’t even remember that you used to make pancakes from a box or that you used store-bought salad dressing and soup or that you had cold cereal 15 times a week—that’s a lot of cereal.  You and corn syrup and hydrolyzed soybean oil won’t even be on speaking terms, and you won’t remember when the relationship first started to disintegrate.

Some ideas: replace your bad oil with a healthier oil (we use coconut and olive), find one salad dressing recipe to try (we can help you there), learn to do one new thing in the kitchen, such as making your own pancakes, stock, or bread.  (If you’re really new, pancakes are a snap.)  Just pick one!

Perhaps your journey toward improving your health requires something beyond food, such as exercise or de-stressing.  Focus your one step in that direction, getting a pedometer and slowly increasing your walking goal, or taking time on the occasional evening to unwind with a warm bath and an uplifting devotional.  But don’t stress about it!  If the babies are having an I-don’t-know-why-I’m-sad-so-can-you-peeeaaasse-hold-me night or your hubby is feeling chatty or amorous, enjoy the blessings of the moment rather than stressing over your lack of de-stress time.  (We humans are ironic that way.)

If you’re really far on your journey toward improving your health, then I’m probably learning from you!  Nevertheless, there is one thing I’ve noticed that many health-focused people really need to do…and that’s enjoy life! Don’t stress because your child ate the Dumdum they gave him at the bank when he and your hubby were running errands together.  Don’t become judgmental because your mother-in-law served GASP instant mashed potatoes with gravy from a package for Thanksgiving.  Don’t fill everyone’s ear with all the things within arm’s reach that will kill them—that kinda makes you a downer.  (I know, cuz sometimes that’s me.)  Unless there is a critical health issue involved, relax, live, love, laugh, and let it go.

Pick just one thing…and do it! Got it?

Part two of the simple philosophy for better health:

Aaaaaahhhhh!  There’s more?!

You bet your bippy.  (I thought you were going to stop yelling.)

When you mess up–and you will–don’t worry!  Don’t stress!  Don’t give up on the whole simple philosophy for better health.  In fact, plan some mess-ups. 

Simple Philosophy to Better HealthWe like making chips and they are delicious with a capital -licious!  But…sometimes I buy chips.  Yup…buy them.  Not the less-bad-for-you organic variety either.  And then we eat them…all at once.  And we smile.  Not just a polite little smile, but a great big giddy smile, like this:

That great big giddy smile is good for you.  Try it.

What small step is in your simple philosophy for better health?

Linked up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday.