The Art of Real Food Giveaway (Two Winners; US & Canada; 08/21)

I love a good Real Foods cookbook. If you checked out my bookshelf, you would see that I surround myself with cookbooks of all kinds. I might even be a cookbook hoarder aficionado.

If asked, I will tell you that my perfect cookbook embodies the tenants of a real food lifestyle coupled with the inclusion of local, organic, seasonal ingredients. While there are certainly cookbooks of this type out there, the caliber is lackluster at best.

Enter Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny…

I realize that the majority of my extended Hybrid Rasta Mama family are not in the Sacramento, CA area. However, the cookbooks that these two talented women have crafted transcend geographic borders. If you would like to discover two resources that I firmly believe no real foods kitchens should be without, please read on. You will also have a chance to win your very own copy as well!

Let me first share a few tidbits with you about the authors of two of my most treasured cookbooks, Placer County Real Food and The Art of Real Food.

Joanne Neftopened the first Foothill Farm­ers Mar­ket 20 years ago, and within three years the mar­ket expanded to six mar­kets through­out Placer County. Always an advo­cate for Placer County Agri­cul­ture, in 1994 Joanne shared the idea of start­ing the Moun­tain Man­darin Fes­ti­val with the New­cas­tle Area Busi­ness Asso­ci­a­tion. Today, almost 40,000 peo­ple attend the annual fes­ti­val to cel­e­brate the small man­darin orange that put Placer County on the map. Joanne’s goal is to help peo­ple under­stand the ben­e­fits of eat­ing in-season locally grown healthy food and to sup­port the farm­ers who grow it.

Side note – I met Joanne last Fall during a day trip to Apple Hill (such a fun place) and we had a great discussion on how the art of real food is lost on this generation’s children. She was quite moved that I was so committed to preparing and feeding my family a real foods diet while at the same time including Tiny in the entire food preparation and cooking process.

Laura Kennyattended Cal­i­for­nia Culi­nary Acad­emy in San Fran­cisco. From there, she worked at Boule­vard before mov­ing to San Diego, where she was Sous Chef of Lau­rel Restau­rant and Bar. While in San Diego, she had a small cater­ing com­pany and also worked as a per­sonal chef. The Auburn native returned to Placer County for 1 1/2 years, she became Chef of Per­sim­mon Cafe. After the Cafe closed in 2008, she teamed up with Joanne Neft to write a cook­book cel­e­brat­ing the abun­dance of farm fresh foods avail­able year round. Laura’s style of cook­ing is sim­ple, yet ele­gant, spe­cial­iz­ing in fresh, local and sea­sonal foods.

Ok…so about those cookbooks I am raving about…

Let’s start with Placer County Real Food.

Every Sat­ur­day morn­ing, Laura and Joanne met at the local farm­ers’ mar­ket to learn what kinds of fresh, local and in-season foods were avail­able for that week. They pur­chased all the meat, fruit, veg­eta­bles and nuts to pre­pare a meal for eight on the fol­low­ing Mon­day. As each from-scratch recipe was pre­pared, care­ful notes were taken. The result, 52 deli­cious home-style din­ners were held at Joanne’s home that year. This endeavor set the stage for the creation of Placer County Real Food. With 360 recipes and 280 pho­tos on 300 pages, the book is a pow­er­house of guide­lines for whole­some cook­ing and eat­ing.

Placer County Real Food ignited an unprecedented conversation and movement around in-season food in Northern California over the past two years. So naturally, Joanne and Laura created another amazing cookbook. The Art of Real Food was born.

Imagine shopping for your week’s groceries based on what’s in season, not what’s on a list. Imagine feeding your family the kinds of food that their bodies need and crave. Imagine delicious meals that feed your body and nourish your soul.

The Art of Real Food: Seasonal Recipes for Every Week of the Yearis an inspiration for anyone who’s longed to connect with food and the farmers that grow it. It guides readers through the seasons by offering recipes, ideas and cooking tips for fresh, in-season food for 52 weeks (over 250 recipes in total). The Art of Real Food will not only walk read­ers through sea­sonal food, but also serves as a guide to what to do with an abun­dance of car­rots or a mound of rhubarb.

Ok…so that is all fine and dandy but what do I think about these books? Hmmm….how much time do you have today?

I would like to focus my thoughts on The Art of Real Food since that is the book I will be giving away. But please don’t take that to mean that Placer County Real Food isn’t discussion worthy. Quite the opposite. I highly recommend it to any real foodie or inspiring real foodie both for the delicious, easy to prepare recipes but also for the journey the authors take you on through their anecdotes, quotes, and words of wisdom.

Back to my musings…

You know I love a good list so let’s make one shall we? Here are the 8 reasons why I love The Art of Real Food and why it is should be in heavy rotation in everyone’s kitchen.

  1. It focuses on one seasonal ingredient for each week of the year. It is almost next to impossible NOT to find that ingredient at your local farmer’s market and as in the case with shopping in season and local, you will be able to enjoy that food item at the peak of freshness and flavor but also at a wonderful price. (Plus did you know that eating in season, local ingredients gives your body MORE of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs when it need them?)
  2. The recipes are lively, fun, and packed with flavor. While Placer County Real Food focused on main courses and more substantial side dishes, The Art of Real Food takes a lighter approach, offering an abundance of unique recipes that can be mixed and matched with some of your family’s other favorites throughout the year. 
  3. The photos and illustrations make it impossible NOT to want to create each recipe and share it with your family. The real food eye candy is inspiration enough although the mouthwatering ingredients certainly will motivate any level of cook to try out all of these recipes.
  4. Each weekly recipe section begins with a short, yet information packed, discussion of the particular ingredient being utilized that week. You will learn about the health benefits of that ingredient as well as which variety and size are the best for the recipes. The authors also offer up their own personal experience with the ingredient to help you make the best selection at your Farmer’s Market.
  5. Each weekly recipe section is chalk full of little anecdotes, bits of advice, nuggets of interesting facts, quotes, and cooking tricks. This brings the recipes to life and connects the cook with the food he or she is preparing more so than a plain recipe on a page.
  6. The types of recipes and the flavors involved are diverse. They can also be tailored to meet specific dietary restrictions and food preferences. There will be something everyone can enjoy each week.
  7. The recipes are very easy to make and do not require oodles of preparation time. Yes, some are more complex than others but even the novice cook with little confidence in the kitchen will be able to follow along and create a nourishing, flavorful, beautiful dish.
  8. Did I mention the photos and illustrations?  I know I did but I have to mention them again because they really do inspire you to make the recipe!

You might be wondering if I am all talk here? Well no, I am not! For the entire month of July I cooked from The Art of Real Food (I have been cooking from Placer County Real Foods for over a year in case you were worried about that). Here is what I created:

  • Week of July 2nd: Dried Figs (super easy and incredibly tasty. Much better than any store bought variety).
  • Week of July 9th: Ahi Poke Cucumber Boats (oh my gosh – wow – this is the holy grail of cucumber dishes! Enough said!)
  • Week of July 16th– Tomato Braised Short Ribs with Pasta (I substituted with a gluten free pasta and while this dish does take a while to cook, it was well worth the wait. Incredibly moist with intense flavors!)
  • Week of July 23rd– Seared Halibut with Tomato Peach Salsa (Easiest recipe on the planet! I have the hardest time making acceptable halibut and this came out perfect. The salsa is a beautiful medley of flavors!)
  • Week of July 30th– Quinoa Corn Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce and Baharat Spice (While I had a little trouble pulling this off due to the oil splattering everyone, and my persistent 3 year old sous chef not keeping a safe distance from flying oil, it was well worth the adventure of it all. The middle eastern infused flavors are brilliant and go so well with the quinoa. The dill sauce offsets the intensity of the spice mix and actually is incredible paired with corn. Who knew – dill and corn!)

I know you are itching to see photos of my creations but let me tell you a secret. While I can cook up a storm, creating a delicious end product, my creations are by no means photo quality. What I’m trying to say is, my flavors all come together but the dish looks rather ugly when I get through with it! Everyone who has even eaten my cooking will tell you that. I’m not known for the presentation aspect.

Convinced that you should scoop up both of these cookbooks? Ok good. Don’t waste another minute. Click the links and off you go to make THE purchase of the year. Scratch that, THE INVESTMENT of the year.

Buy It!

I know…times are tough and although I really do believe that these cookbooks are an investment in your continued health, I get that they might not be in your budget right this second.


I have TWO copies of The Art of Real Food for you to win!

Visit the Placer County Real Foods Blog, read a post, then tell me something you learned or that inspired you. Then come back here and leave a comment with your email address.

Yep – it is JUST that easy!

This giveaway opens today, August 11, 2012 and closes August 21, 2012 at 11:59pm PST.  Winner will be selected via  I will email you and you will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected.

Good Luck!

If you would like to connect with the wonderful ladies of Real Food, you can subscribe to their blog in RSS feed and follow Placer County Real Food on Facebook AND The Art of Real Food on Facebook.

Love it? Share It!
Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on YummlyShare on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on LinkedIn0Email this to someonePrint this page

Be sure to check out these Products I Love from my trusted affiliate partners

Affiliate - Tropical Traditions Morrocco Method 2Squatty Potty

Subscribe To My Newsletter

My Books

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment. Affiliate links may be included in this post. If you order through them, I may receive some sort of compensation. Don't worry, this does not affect your pricing or the quality of your goods or services. It simply helps me offset the administrative costs of blogging. Or consider it a tip if you like that better!


  1. says

    Love the post on buying local tomatoes! I’ve always hated tomatoes before I tried a real, organic local one – it was like a whole new world!

    What I learned – I had no idea so many tomatoes were grown in FL, and that the conditions there are so bad for them! Yet one more (among the many) arguments in favor of buying local…

    PS I’m a cookbook hoarder too :) And this looks like an awesome one. Hope I win!

  2. says

    Isn’t it crazy how much we screw with food? Ugh. Tomatoes should be grown where they are meant to be grown. I would love to eat more seasonally and locally… maybe this cookbook would help 😉

  3. says

    I learned that the tomatoes from Florida are gassed in the warehouse to make them turn red and look like they taste really good. Unfortunately nothing tastes as good as a vine ripened tomato fresh from my garden.


  4. Melissa says

    I was amazed to see how many nutrients the modern tomato has lost since 1960 but am not sure why the sodium level has raised since then. I do buy locally but it is a greenhouse tomato – that’s what happens when you live in Alaska!

    I would love to read this book as I am just beginning to plan a new garden for next Spring.

  5. Krystal says

    I had a friend who didn’t like tomatoes, until she had her first homegrown one! The difference is amazing, and this blog post had great reasons to buy local tomatoes.


  6. Anonymous says

    I did not know most tomatoes come from Florida. I do know that store bought tomatoes can not compare to fresh garden-grown ones. It had been a years since I’ve had a garden fresh tomato, I was so use to buying them from the store that I forgot how much better the garden ones are…until this summer when I bought some from the Farmer’s market. I swear I’ll never go back to store bought now. my grandparents grow tomatoes; but I’ve been inspired to try to start my own garden next summer! Tomatoes are a must..among other veggies.

  7. says

    I did not know most tomatoes come from Florida. I do know that store bought tomatoes can not compare to fresh garden-grown ones. It had been a years since I’ve had a garden fresh tomato, I was so use to buying them from the store that I forgot how much better the garden ones are…until this summer when I bought some from the Farmer’s market. I swear I’ll never go back to store bought now. my grandparents grow tomatoes; but I’ve been inspired to try to start my own garden next summer! Tomatoes are a must..among other veggies.

  8. says

    It seems like the only blog post that they have is the one on tomatoes, but that is OK, because I love tomatoes. I cannot stand to buy tomatoes at the store. I grow my own and they run circles around store bought. I knew that the tomatoes in the store were picked green for shipping, but I did not know that they are “artificially gassed with eth­yl­ene in ware­houses until they acquire the rosy-red skin tones of a ripe tomato.” EWWWW!

    Great giveaway!

  9. says

    I was shocked to learn how much sodium is in grocery store tomatoes. Yikes! The heirloom tomatoes that I buy from local farms don’t even come close to tasting (or not) like the grocery store tomatoes.

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!


  10. says

    I didn’t know most tomatoes come from Florida. I don’t really buy tomatoes off-season because they have no flavor. I stick with canned tomatoes in the off-season. Nothing beats a home-grown tomato!

  11. Loretta (alg789@yahoodotcom) says

    It was interesting to learn that most tomatoes are grown in Florida in unfavorable conditions. Since I just recently moved from there, it now makes since that there were no farmers markets in our area! Bad soil…

  12. Anonymous says

    Tomatoes have 30% less vitamin C than they did in the 60s. That’s such a bummer :(

    onlyjustine at yahoo dot com

  13. says

    We should Not Be Growing and Buying Tomatoes from Florida…Not the prime climate for the Best Tomatoes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *