Real Life Dinners

How I Discovered Rachel Hollis

I am a new-ish fan girl of the funny, inspiring and endearing Rachel Hollis. I came across her book Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be while browsing books on Audible. The title immediately caught my attention and the cover photo of Rachel and her family made me smile. Sometimes I just have a feeling about a book that turns out to be accurate, and this time I was right: it was a book I’d like. But here’s the thing: I don’t like, I love it. And I’m now a total Rachel Hollis fan, and I love her new book, Real Life Dinners: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of the Chic Site, too.

Before listening to her first book, I didn’t know that Rachel had a popular blog and a gigantic following of dedicated women from all walks of life who are striving to be not only become the best versions of themselves (as Matthew Kelly would say), and are who are also soaking up Rachel’s no-nonsense advice about how to be the women God created them to be.

Striving to Be Better

I have had many periods in my life when I have organized my pantry, made grocery lists that perfectly coordinated with the meal plan I had for the week, actually stuck to the plan, and felt awesome about my capabilities as a wife and a mother. But, these strategies never lasted. Meal planning was always difficult for me until I discovered some simple tips for healthy meal planning. I mean, who wants to sit inside on the suggested Sunday afternoon and think about what to cook every singe day of the week ahead when they’d rather be outdoors doing anything else today? And for us homeschoolers, we not only have to cook a week’s worth of dinners, but also, breakfasts and lunches, too. Sigh. What’s a culinary-challenged girl to do?

Real Life Dinners

When the publisher of Rachel’s newest book, REAL LIFE DINNERS: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of The Chic Site, asked if I’d like to review this book, I couldn’t reply to the email fast enough. It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook, and I especially don’t love to cook under the pressure of the question that rears its ugly head every afternoon at about 4 pm: what am I going to feed my family for dinner?

Yes, I needed some “real life” dinners.

In Rachel’s practical way, she talks about the real-life issues that working moms (all moms!) face when trying to come up with healthy meals for their families. She also discusses the importance of sitting down together as a family over a meal. She gets it because she is a working mom of four.

She says, “The dinner table is the cornerstone of my life,” and “No matter how crazy my life gets, a good dinner makes me feel like we’re going to be okay. I can relate to both of these. When I meal plan, my life is better, not because I have less work to do, but because it makes it easier for me to gather my family around the table.

Table Manners

I absolutely love that Rachel dedicates a whole chapter to the importance of table manners. She lists 14 rules for how to properly behave at the table, and these pointers are not just for kids! I also love that one of her rules is that the person who cooks does not clean up. Not only are the photos of the recipes beautiful, the book is also sprinkled with lots of pictures of Rachel and her family.

Easy-to-Prepare Recipes

The recipes in this book are kid-friendly (but adult-delicious), not very involved (which cooks like me love), and the photos of the dishes are amazing. Although these are not specifically gluten-free or dairy-free, they can be easily adaptable to that lifestyle.

From the publisher:
In REAL LIFE DINNERSRachel takes readers inside her kitchen showcasing the fun, fresh and fast recipes she cooks for her family. Featuring over 80 recipes and photos, including: 
·         Breakfast Quesadillas
·         Toast Nine Ways
·         Freeze-Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches
·         Taco Tuesday
·         Crispy Sweet Potato Bake
·         Lemon-Pesto Chicken
·         Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup
·         Rach’s Spice Blends

A few of our favorites from her cookbook are, Lemon Pesto Chicken, Loaded Lentil Salad and Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

One of the best ideas and time-savers is preparing spices ahead of time. Rachel gives us recipes of her favorites, which you can prepare ahead and store in mason jars. Any prep work that can be done ahead of time, is truly a sanity saver for me. You can read some of my tips on how to feed your family better here. 

What tips can you share that will help us bring our families together for meals? Let us know in the comments below, and enter to win your own copy of Real Life Dinners.

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