As much as I fervently, passionately, unabashedly love farmers markets, local natural food stores, and shopping directly from the producer (like our local butcher whose family owns the farm or our local grain mill that provides our family with organic oats, spelt, and dried fruits), I end up at the mainstream grocery store a lot.
Last week, as I was squeaking my cart down the snack aisle in search of our favorite tortilla chips, I was hit with a realization.
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Our food landscape has changed over the last five years – and surprisingly, for once, for the better.
As much as I decry our broken food systems and would even say that many of the changes that have occurred are nothing more than greenwashes, the fact is, natural versions of many everyday foods are far more readily available than they were even five years ago.
They may not be cheap and they may not be as healthy as they purport, but the point is – companies have seen with their own eyes that consumers WANT healthier, more natural products – dare we say, real food – and are creating more and more products to meet the demand.
Another marker of this increasing change is that Lisa Leake's beautiful new cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food, has been in the Top 10 of the New York Times Bestseller's List since it was released four weeks ago.
That, my friends, is cause for hope (and much celebration).
If you haven't heard of Lisa, she's the heart and soul behind the blog of the same name, 100 Days of Real Food. A number of years ago, she and her husband decided to ditch processed and highly refined foods for 100 days. What transpired changed their health, their vision for their family, and … well, considering Lisa now has millions of loyal fans as she has shared her story, the rest is history.
She has also championed causes such petitioning Kraft Foods to get rid of artificial food dyes in their macaroni and cheese and urging policy makers to support young farmers. Way to go, Lisa!
When Lisa invited me to be one of her Cookbook Ambassadors, I said an absolutely sincere “yes,” as this book, like her blog, fills a very important niche. What Lisa does SO well is create recipes that are super-simple to make with very familiar ingredients, all the while breezily pointing out how to make the most of seasonal produce or why it's important to source quality ingredients, like grass-fed meats or pastured eggs. She makes real food EASY and absolutely approachable.
I most highly recommend this book for those who are new to cooking from scratch, for those wanting easy, kid-friendly, real-food recipes, or those who want a book that's easy to give to to friends, neighbors, or newlyweds. But even if you're a seasoned traditional foods cook, there are plenty of simple, inspiring recipes that will have you cheering about the delightful food that accompanies the real food revolution (Asian Lettuce Wraps, anyone?).
Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan
And in the spirit of the season (eggplant season, that is, since the eggplant harvest at the farm where my husband works has been plentiful in recent weeks!), here is Lisa's absolutely delicious Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan. For anyone who knows how laborious classic Eggplant Parmesan is, this shortcut version is a welcome delight and makes Eggplant Parmesan possible on any given weeknight.
To print this recipe, just click the green Print Friendly button at the bottom of this post (just before my picture and oh-so-thrilling bio). You will be able to delete the text and images you don't want and print the recipe by itself, as desired.