A Grace-Filled Look at Real Food

The content below is being reposted with permission. This post resonated with me personally as someone who has a similar journey and greatly values healthy food and a holistic approach to life. Please see attribution and link to original post below.


What does it look like to be intentional with our food choices? Why does it matter if we eat real food or not? What exactly is real food anyway?

I haven’t traditionally talked about real food on a regular basis here at Intentional By Grace.

Well, I take that back.

I certainly did a lot of talking about it back in 2011 when I first started this site. At the time, I was neck deep in learning all about natural living and real food (you can read my journey into natural living here), and I wanted to share what I was learning with anyone who would listen.

That was all of 24 people at the time. So it’s very, very likely you don’t remember my probiotic ranch dressing recipe, or the post about why I love kefir, or why I think you should eat fat.

I’m sort of embarrassed to show you those posts. I’ve come a long way since those days (both as a blogger and real foodie!).

I’ve been humbled deeply in the years since starting this site.

What started as a desire to teach others to “do better” and “get right” has turned into (by God’s grace alone) a site that teaches you to seek God in all you do and glorify Him in all you do.


Living intentionally isn’t about being better people. It’s not about being able to do more with your life.

It’s about being still. It’s about slowing down. It’s about seeking Him. It’s about glorifying Him.

It’s about saying, “Yes, Lord” with courage and boldness to whatever He asks of you even if it goes against everything you’ve ever known. Even if it’s uncomfortable.

It’s about taking yourself off the throne and putting Him in His rightful place as Lord and King of your life.

I want to talk about real food.

I want to take a grace-filled look at real food because I think real food is an area that God wants to redeem in your life and in mine.

I like pressing the easy button as much as the next person. I don’t like spending all day in the kitchen on a regular basis, and I much prefer eating out when life gets busy than trying to make everything from scratch.

I eat an Oreo (or ten) from time to time and occasionally my family eats a frozen pizza that’s not homemade.

We don’t always buy organic, and sometimes we eat meat that’s less than stellar because it’s what is available to us.

However, I don’t make these choices blindly, trusting a system that’s obviously broken. And our food system is broken, y’all.

I make a conscious decision to eat these fake foods, knowing they are fake foods, and not nourishing, wholesome foods, and I don’t pretend otherwise.

I want to say at the outset, this new series, A Grace-Filled Look at Real Food, isn’t here to steal your convenience foods or your joy.

It’s not going to tell you that it’s all or nothing with health and nutrition.

It’s not going to condemn you for liking cupcakes and cookies from a box.

I want to take a grace-filled look at real food to help you make intentional choices about what you eat, and possibly remove some blinders previously in place because you didn’t even know to think about what goes into the bread you buy. It’s just the bread your mama bought for you growing up.

You see, we tend to just do what’s been done before us.

We don’t breastfeed because our moms didn’t do it, or we use Tide detergent because that’s what Mama used growing up.

We open our canned goods from the bottom and not the top because that’s what grandma did, but we’re not sure why we do it this way.

We all have our “thing” and we all have “things” we don’t need to let go of – it’s been family tradition for years, and that’s okay.

But what’s also been “family tradition” is killing our nation through obesity and overwork. We’re continually consuming boxed goods and processed foods thinking they are food, when they aren’t.

They’re fakes.


Covered up with loads of sugar.

Fake sugar at that.

You know the stats. You know our nation is increasingly growing around the waistline, and we all want to lose a pound or two or three or twenty. We’re in this together.

So I’m not here condemning.

I’m here in the trenches of this battle with you trying to make intentional food choices for my family through the lens of grace.

There are a lot of fake foods out there, and I want to help you decode some of it. I want you to make a conscious decision, and perhaps choose to slow your life down a bit so you can make better food choices for your family.

I’m convinced that many of our problems with food don’t involve money, and that we can’t afford better food, it’s time.

We’re too busy.

We’re too busy to enjoy good food. We’re too busy to linger over a meal, let alone prepare the meal as a family. We’re too busy to make more foods from scratch or even grow our own food.

We’re just too busy. (I suggest reading this post to understand better what I mean.)

Eating is a necessity, but it’s not a burden – at least it shouldn’t be. I think God meant for us to enjoy it!

Yet we choose convenience far too often and really? I’m not convinced that it’s that much faster to grab the pre-mix box of cornbread than it is to whip up your own batch from scratch. But that’s neither here nor there right now. We’ll get to that later in the series.

For now, let’s commit to educating ourselves on what we are choosing when we choose convenience. Let’s not be an ostrich with our heads in the sand any longer.

The truth is that this information is just flat out overwhelming, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up in the culture of real food.

We’re all at different points in our real food journey. There is grace for your chapter one. There is grace for my chapter five. There is grace for my neighbor up the street who is on chapter 20.

Starting today and running throughout the entire month, I will be taking a grace-filled look at real food.

Reposted with permission from Mark Dutton, Business Manager at IntentionalByGrace.com

Visit the original posting at: http://intentionalbygrace.com/a-grace-filled-look-at-real-food/



Posted in Children & Baby, Diet | Leave a comment

Riced Cauliflower

cauliflower-on-boardIt’s that time of year that Cauliflower is in season making it a great option for your table and your budget. I love cauliflower and enjoy it differently every season. In the winter I can’t get enough of it in soups like the recent recipe post Moroccan Lentil Soup or the fantastic Cauliflower Soup shared by a customer way back in 2003 that I still make every winter. Cauliflower roasted with olive oil is one of my kids very favorite side dishes. More recently we have been enjoying riced cauliflower. I would love to share that technique in case you are not familiar and a tasty recipe.

There are several reasons riced cauliflower is gaining popularity. One of the reasons is the number of people looking for low glycemic, low carbohydrate, Paleo options has greatly increased in the past decade. Another reason may be that many people are looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into their diet especially to replace grains. Lastly, many food programs and cooking magazines have featured riced cauliflower with tasty recipes. These are all great reasons to incorporate more incredibly nutritious cauliflower in our diets.

I grew up ricing cooked potatoes to make potato dough for pierogis. It never occurred to me that a ricer would be used for anything else until I saw a riced cauliflower recipe a few years back. Even easier than a hand held ricer is a food processor or blender. To rice cauliflower after you have cooked it simple give it a few pulses.

Several recipes I have come across using riced cauliflower suggest that you use a box grater and grate the raw cauliflower before cooking or pulse it raw in the food processor with the grater attachment. It seems like there are a lot of ways to get the same result, rice sided pieces of cauliflower.

Riced Cauliflower is a great side or to replace rice like in the recipe below.


Lemon & Herb Riced Cauliflower


  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 small lemon or lime
  • 1 handful of your favorite herbs


My two favorite combinations are lime and cilantro or lemon and Italian parsley. Have fun swapping in your favorites and making it your own.

  1. Half the head of cauliflower and rice the head by grating or in a food processor. Place the riced cauliflower in a pan.
  2. Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower in the pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. When cauliflower is slightly toasted, and garlic cooked, remove from heat.
  3. Toss with citrus and herbs. Enjoy!




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Chicken and Dumplings

chicken-dumplingsChicken and Dumplings is a favorite comfort food this time of year. I try to make it at least twice every winter, which is a lot for me because I do love to try new things and have a lot of variety. It is very similar to Chicken Pot Pie, but I happen to prefer the dumplings. My pie loving husband prefers the pot pie and I also try to make that a couple of times each year.

This recipe is reminiscent of something my Grandparents made when I was a little girl. True, the chicken must have been grouse (a bird our family hunted in Washington) because we didn’t buy store meats often. I am certain the dumplings were made with lard. My version is certainly lighter, but still offers that warmth and comfort on a cold hard winter evening.

Some of the benefits of this recipe are that it includes a good quantity of vegetables, contains no condensed soups that seem to be so common in creamy recipes and are extremely high in sodium. A bonus is that with a little creative thinking it can be made in a crock pot.

Other Notes: I am not a recipe follower and I can assure you that this recipe is forgiving. I often use leftover chicken broth and chopped leftover chicken instead of the breasts. I love to make heart shaped biscuits in February instead of the dumplings because it delights my children who otherwise do not find this dish very delightful. I also like to double the celery and carrot quantities.



o    1¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1inch pieces

o    cup all-purpose flour

o    2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

o    2 large carrots, chopped

o    2 stalks celery, chopped

o    1 large onion, diced

o    1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

o    ½ teaspoon salt

o    ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

o    2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth

o    1 cup water

o    1½ cups frozen peas, thawed

o    1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

o    ½ cup all-purpose flour

o    1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

o    ½ teaspoon baking soda

o    ¼ teaspoon salt

o    ¾ cup nonfat buttermilk or milk


  1. 1 Toss chicken with cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl until coated. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reserving the remaining flour, add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. 2 Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Stir in carrots, celery, onion, 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Stir in broth, water, peas and the reserved chicken. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  3. 3 To prepare dumplings: Meanwhile, stir whole-wheat flour, ½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir in buttermilk.
  4. 4 Drop the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the simmering chicken stew, making about 18 dumplings. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook undisturbed until the dumplings are puffed, the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.


Posted in Carrot, Celery, Chicken, Herb, Onion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Taco Soup

Taco Soup is another one of those recipes that I thought everyone knew. I knew this recipe when I could barely boil water. Recently I was chatting with a friend about our mutual love of soup and she said she wished she knew more really quick soups. We chatted about the really easy chili I make on busy nights and then Taco Soup came up. Turns out not everyone knows about this very easy soup so I thought I would share. We can all use a few more really quick options. This is also well received at pot lucks and group dinners.

Let’s start with the one big con of this recipe. The basic recipe is made with nearly all canned ingredients. If you know me you know I love fresh fruits and vegetables. We all know that canned ingredients usually have a lot of added sodium and many cans have contaminants. Thankfully since I started cooking there are so many more really good options for organic canned foods. We hardly use canned ingredients, but our most frequent are the canned tomatoes, olives, green chili and sometimes beans.

All that said the pros outweigh the cons for this recipe. The first is that we usually have the ingredients on hand for this recipe. Second, the recipe comes together quickly and can be made special by adding a few extra fresh ingredients. Most importantly to me all the ingredients are real whole foods. Finally, this recipe can also be made even more special and delicious with a few extra fresh ingredients. Enjoy!



  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. Local Grass Fed Ground Beef
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can organic pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can organic black beans, drained
  • 1 cup organic yellow corn (we use frozen)
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Seasoning Salt (home made equivalent)


  1. In a large dutch oven combine the onion, ground beef and garlic. Cook over medium heat until beef is completely cooked.
  2. Dump in the beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasoning. of the seasoning salt
  3. Add water a little higher than the ingredients. Simmer until the ingredients are warmed through or longer adding water as needed.

Notes: This recipe comes together in just about 15 minutes, but like most soups tastes better the longer it cooks or even reheated the next day.
Serving Suggestion: I mentioned above that I like to add a few fresh things to make this recipe better. I like to seed and dice a red pepper and add it right at the end of the beef cooking step.  When the recipe is done I love to serve it with lime wedge, chopped green onion, chopped cilantro, chopped avocado and sour cream. My kids like me to serve it with cheese, organic tortilla chips and guacamole. 🙂


Posted in Avocado, Beans, Beef, Garlic, Herb, Onion, Peppers, Slow Cooker, Tomato | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment