Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Turkey Day!

Wow, I can't believe it's already time for Thanksgiving! This will be the first time in almost 8 years that I will actually be eating turkey. I mentioned awhile back that we were dealing with lots of food allergens with my 3 year old. Well those issues have lead to us changing out diet drastically. We were mainly vegetarian, with fish added in here and there. But with my little one being allergic to all beans, and lots of veggies, we've decided to add poultry to our diet.

Since adding meat in I have been so concerned with salmonella. I think my husband has just decided that I'm nuts, because I'm constantly saying don't touch that, don't do that, clean that up, oh goodness now we're going to get salmonella. It's like I see it everywhere! Thankfully we haven't been sick and it's probably just all in my head.

I thought since pretty much everyone will be dealing with raw poultry for Thanksgivining-- and since 1 in 6 Americans will contract a foodborne illness-- that maybe it would be a good time to talk about this issue.

So first some facts.

  • while handling raw meat it is best to clean your surfaces and hands frequently
  • you should wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds (about how long it takes to sing happy birthday)
  • raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be kept separate at all times (at the store, in the fridge, as well as when using cutting boards, utensils, and plates)
  • all foods need to be cooked to the proper temperature (160* for burgers, 165* for chicken breasts,and turkey 145* beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks, chops, and fish)
  • keep cooked foods at least 140* 
  • refrigerate cooked foods at least 2 hours after cooking

For more information on practical food safety head to

Now that we've got the basics covered how about some ideas with what to do with those left overs?

One of my favorites used to be making turkey sandwiches, but if you want something more creative than that check out my Turkey Day Remixes board on pinterest. Just remember that the last day to eat your left overs will be Monday, because left overs are only good for 3-4 days.

Here is a great infographic to help you remember the best ways to prevent foodborne illness:

And here is a video that really helps you to grasp the severity of this issue.... lol

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homemade Rice Milk

As I mentioned in my last post our daughter B has severe allergies and eczema. Since she is allergic to pretty much everything, I have to get creative.

She really likes to have cold cereal (what kid doesn't right) but her allergies leave us with very limited solutions for milk.

In the past we've used soy milk, since she's allergic to nuts and animal dairy. But then we found out she is also allergic to soy.

We needed a simple solution so we switched to rice milk. But honestly there is just so much junk in it. And with all the other things we have cut out we have to do a lot of cooking from scratch which means our budget has to get stretched.

The normal $4 for a carton of rice milk was kind of pushing it. I can get a bag of rice, or 2-3 lbs of chicken for that price. So I decided to try my hand at making my own. The results were amazing and now I can spend my money on things that will feed us all for longer.

I just whip up a batch of rice milk before going to bed and we're set for the morning, I want to start making bigger batches, but I need to get some bigger mason jars first. Anyone looking for a home for their old mason jars??

In case there are some others out there like me, here is what you need:

1 cup cooked rice
4 cups water

Then blend it until it's smooth, or as smooth as it will get. After it's blended strain it through a mesh strainer.

That's it! So simple and it actually tastes good. If you wanted to sweeten it you could add a few teaspoons of sweetener and a dash of vanilla. But we use it plain.

Do you use any animal milk alternatives?

I'm linking up at: The Homestead Barn Hop

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scratching the surface

Things around here have been rather interesting. At first things were pretty boring, but then some things happened that really shook up our world. The end result of those thing was finally getting some answers to our daughter B's allergies and eczema. 

She has been battling eczema for awhile now. Most people don't realize how serious of a condition this can be. It's not just dry skin. Especially not for her. Her whole entire body is covered in this itchy scaly rash. She can't sleep through the night and she spends most of her day scratching. This is not a put some lotion on it kind of situation. 

We realize that her eczema is wrapped up in all her food allergies and sensitivities, so we scheduled an appointment with a naturopathic allergist. 

 After meeting with the allergist we found out her allergies are even more severe than we thought. She is allergic to:


Bell Peppers
All beans and legumes 
Tree nuts 
All animal dairy 
Goji berries
Cacoa beans (chocolate)

Yes you read that list correctly. Yes it is A LOT. This means that we have been unknowingly giving her an allergic reaction at every meal. But we know that we will get through this and she will be healed. 

At the allergist there was a sign up that said: 

"We don't believe in miracles, we rely upon them"

We wholeheartedly agree! 

Since seeing the allergist we already are seeing some changes in her. She is taking probiotics twice a day, as well as some homeopathic medicines. We are also giving her fish bone broth, and will begin giving her aloe. 

This change has also caused us to expand our diet from being mostly vegetarian, with some fish, to adding in poultry. But I will share more about that another day. 

Do you or someone you love suffer from allergies or eczema? How do you handle it?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grow Your Own Food

Have you seen the movie "Back to Eden"?

For those of you who haven't, it's all about how to take care of your garden the way the Lord designed it.

I watched it for the first time a few weeks ago with my daughters, and we learned A LOT.

Like, I had no idea that soil being exposed makes it dry out. It makes perfect sense but it's just not something I had ever thought of.

I really love that with every concept Paul Gautchi speaks of, in the film, he has a scriptural reason as to why. I truly believe that the Bible has an answer for everything, so this was right up my alley.

The approach that is taken is definitely refreshing and something we plan to try when we are able to set up our garden. If you'd like to watch it for free you can watch it on vimeo.

Also there is a GREAT opportunity to hear Paul Gautschi from Back to Eden speak during the Grow Your Own Food Summit. This free summit has a a great line up of speakers, like Joel Salatin from "Food, Inc.", and best of all it's free!

I'm really looking forward to learning some great things so that when we're able to grow our own food we'll be starting off on the right foot.

Here is a quick video from the founders:

So hop on over to the Grown Your Own Food Summit website and reserve your spot today.

**Just a heads up this post contains affiliate links and if you decide to purchase something then I will get a commission. This is at no additional cost to you and you are not obligated to buy.**

So are you planning to register for the summit?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flavoring Kombucha

I have some good news ya'll.... 

I have successfully kicked my soda habit! 

How, you ask?

With kombucha!

It's a been a few months and I don't even have a desire to drink soda. We've been out and there has been soda available but I opted for water or juice. I had soda once or twice in the past few months and it just didn't do it for me. I'd much rather have a glass of pineapple kombucha!

I thoroughly enjoy plain booch, but adding flavors just kicks it up a notch. So far we've tried mango, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, and blueberry. Pineapple is our favorite. 

It's super simple to do, and you can have all the same carbonated bubbliness of soda with out the harmful added ingredients. 

First thing you do is brew a batch of kombucha. You need a scoby to do this but if you don't have one you can read my post about how to grow one here. 

After your booch is to the point you like it then you need to bottle it up. Add fruit or fruit juice to your bottles then add the kombucha. I know some people say bottle it while it's still sweet, but I like to get mine pretty vinegary before doing a second ferment. 

I leave the bottles on the counter for a day or two, then enjoy. A trick I've learned is to use smaller bottles. With a big bottle once you open it the fizz dies down. So every time you go to drink from it, it will be less fizzy. Much like a big bottle of soda.

The best kind of bottles are the flip top bottles, because they give a good seal which will give you the best bubble production. The ones you see in the picture above I found at my local arts and craft store. I was looking for something else and when I saw those. Of course I had to buy some :o) 

So what about you, do you have a soda habit you need to kick? Would you make flavored kombucha? 

linking up at: Homestead Barn Hop, Mostly Homemade Monday, From the Barn

Monday, June 9, 2014

Super Simple Sour Dough

I didn't add a recipe to my reasons to make sour dough post because I figured there were already tons of recipes online. But since I've had a few requests I decided to go on ahead and share my recipe/process. 

It's so simple and very rewarding.

First thing I do is clean one of my quart size mason jars making sure to rinse them in really hot water. 

Then I mix together equal parts rye flour and water, and fed it 2 times a day with equal parts water and rye flour. You're supposed to transfer it to a new container each time, but I may not do that each time. I at least aim for doing it after I've fed my starter twice. Changing it helps to cut down on your chances of mold. 

Once my starter got bubbly I started feeding it once a day. It took about a week for it to get good and bubbly.

Doing equal parts definitely makes it easier to not mess up the measurements. If I added too much flour I could easily just add more water ;o)

When I baked the bread I just used half, or more, of the starter and then added flour water and salt. If you are the type to measure things out specifically then the recipe below will be helpful. But if you're like me then just add flour and water until it's a slightly sticky dough.

My first few loaves didn't come out as well as my more recent ones, but the longer I keep my starter going, the better of a rise I  get. I also switched to unbleached all purpose flour because my family didn't care for the taste of the rye bread.

You could store your unused starter in the fridge. But since I bake a loaf once a week, I keep mine out and feed it once a day with about a 1/4 cup of flour. (sometimes I forget and it still does well)

Super Simple Sour Dough Starter Recipe   
(adapted from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook)
1 cup rye flour, 1 cup water, tight weave cloth, 
3 1/2 cups rye flour, cold water
Mix the one cup rye flour and 1 cup water in a large glass bowl or jar. Mixture should be soupy. Cover with cloth and let sit for a day. The next day "feed" your starter by adding 1/4 c of flour and enough water to keep the soupy consistency. After 12 hours "feed" your starter  again. Repeat this process every 12 hours for 7 days. After the 7th day you should be ready to bake. 

note: if you are running out of room for your starter in your jars, pour out half and then feed what's left. It's not about having a lot but getting what you have cultured. By the end of this you should have about a quart of sour dough, more if you didn't dump any out. 

Super Simple Sour Dough Bread Recipe
1/2 quart (2 cups) of sour dough starter, 3 1/4 cups of flour (I use unbleached all purpose), 1/2 tablespoon sea salt, 3/4 cup water 
Pour your sour dough starter into a bowl, then add your flour, and salt. Mix together gradually adding water until you have a smooth slightly sticky dough consistency (add more flour if needed). Then cover mixture and put it to the side to rise for 12 hours. 
Before baking preheat oven to 350*. Then shape your loaves either in a loaf pan or by hand. Bake for about an hour.

This recipe gave me 2 good sized loaves. 

After you finish preparing your loaves to bake you can feed your starter again. At this point I began using unbleached flour to feed mine. 

Make sure if you are fermenting anything else that you keep your starter at least a few feet away. A whole seperate area would be best. I keep my kombucha on the counter and my sour dough on the table. 

Do you make sour dough? Will you now that you have a simple recipe?

linking up at: Homestead Barn Hop, Mostly Homemade Monday, Backyard Farming Connection, Simple Life Sunday, From the Farm

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Laundry on the Homestead

We have been using plain white vinegar as fabric softener for about a year now, and it has been great! Before we just didn't use anything and I was always frustrated with how our laundry came out. I'm sure having to use the laundry mat didn't help that any. 

When we moved into where we live now, we were blessed with a washer and dryer! Once we were finally able to do laundry at home I started researching more natural ways of completing this chore, and using vinegar for softener was the first thing I did.

I found countless detergent recipes and I wanted to try them all. But my husband wasn't as convinced. That was until I used his 5 favorite words.....

It will save us money!

After that he was all for it. So I went out to the store to hunt down the ingredients needed. 

When I got to the store I searched high and low for washing soda. But it was no where to be found! My husband had already told me they didn't have it, but I was determined not to come back home empty handed. Like he did, ahem...

So I started reading all the packaging to see if I really needed both baking soda and washing powder. I decided since the Zote is a laundry bar, and people use just that to do their laundry, that I would give it a try without the washing soda.

I dumped the whole box of borax and all 3 boxes of baking soda in a bag. Then I grated up the Zote.

Ok, ok I got my husband to grate up the Zote. Lol, that bar is BIG! I managed to do about a quarter of it before I decided to call in reinforcement. He breezed through it like a BOSS. Love my man! 

Once everything was all grated up I tied up the bag and mixed everything around, so it could be evenly distributed. Then I put it in this awesome green waste basket I found at the store for $1.99! 

So now this, my vinegar, and a bottle of essential oil (to sent the vinegar) sits on my dryer. 

I've used this detergent for probably 10 loads now and I love it. After doing some googling I learned that leaving out the washing powder isn't a big deal and that my recipe is actually better for cloth diapers! Which I am hoping to switch to soon.

I use 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup), but my husband uses like 8 scoops! I can't even call the tablespoons. He goes crazy on the soap, always has. Thankfully he only does laundry sometimes lol.

Even with his excessive soap use, we've barely even made a dent in our soap stash! It cost me about $8 to make this and works out to be around $0.11 per load. Normally we spend about $0.20-$0.30 per load. So this particular batch didn't save me as much as it could have. But I know for a fact I over paid for the baking soda. I'm confident I can get it down to $0.08 per load. If we did liquid detergent I could probably get it down to $0.05 per load but storing a big 5 gallon container kind of makes it not worth it for us right now. 

I know we are counting pennies here but over time it adds up. As a friend used to always say "pennies make dollars". Plus I feel better knowing what's going into my detergent and being able to control it. 

What about you? Do you make your own detergent? Would you ever consider making your own?

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Making Sour Dough Ya'll

So in my quest to "ferment all the things" (kombucha, carrots) I learned about making sour dough.

At first I was a little intimidated but once I got going I realized it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. The only thing that gets rough is remembering to feed it daily.

But with just a little bit of dedication it's possible to make healthy bread for your family!

Why is sour dough healthy you ask? Let me count the ways!

1. It breaks down the gluten in the flour making it more tolerable to those with gluten intolerance. This one is a biggie for us because along with the many allergies my little bit has, the doctor also thinks she may have a sensitivity to gluten.

2. It's easier to digest. The combo of the natural yeast and bacteria work to sort of "pre-digest" the dough making it much easier for our systems to digest.

3. It doesn't cause an insulin shock. Even if you aren't a diabetic this is a great thing! When we eat something that is high in sugar or starch our bodies tell our pancreas to release insulin. A whole host of other things happen but ultimately the stimulation from the insulin causes your body to store fat. And who wants that?

4. Breaks down phytates/phytic acid. Ok this is another big one around here. Phytates are a found in the hulls of nuts, grains, and seeds. They bind to important minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Then as they leave our system it takes these minerals with it. But by using the sour dough method, instead of modern quick rise yeast, the enzyme phytase is released which helps to break down the phytates.

5. Provides B vitamins. Sour dough is a source of vitamins B1-B6 and also B12. As well as niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium.

And those are just some of the reasons to enjoy sour dough. It's really not that complicated and it is a real treat. Especially with some homemade butter slathered on it! mmmhm...

Want to know how I make my starter and my bread? Check out this post.

Have you tried making sour dough bread? Are you considering it now?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Cook in Cast Iron {GIVEAWAY}

This giveaway is now closed

Do you use cast iron cookware? I have one cast iron pan that I absolutely love, and use every chance I get! I'm hoping to up my collection, and I've been eyeing a few pieces that belong to my grandmother.

Aside from making you feel like a pioneer in the kitchen there are many benefits to using cast iron like:

1. Naturally non-stick- I love that food just slides out of my cast iron pan. And on the occasions that something does stick it's usually my fault. Like I didn't let the pan heat up all the way or I burnt what ever I was cooking!

2. Cooks food evenly- These pans are excellent at evenly distributing heat so you can be guaranteed nice even cooking.

3. Easy to clean- I love that my cast iron is easy to clean. Even if I have to scrub a smidge it's no where like my other pans. Even though it's heavier than my others, easy cleaning makes it my go to pan.

4. Versatility- What's better than being able to go from cook top to oven? Or what about camping? Cast iron is really able to be used in any cooking situation, stove top, oven, grill, or even camp fire. When we went camping recently I brought my cast iron skillet and we used it for every meal.

5. It adds iron to your food- This is definitely one of my favorite added benefits. Using cast iron actually adds much needed iron to your food. During my most recent pregnancy I struggled with iron deficiency and one of the first things my midwife told me was, "use your cast iron pan to cook EVERYTHING".

Well, enough of my ode to cast iron, how about a giveaway?!? We were so completely blown away by the welcome and love people showed us through comments, and facebook page likes! So we decided to do a giveaway to show our appreciation. The blog has only been up and running for a short amount of time but we've already made some new friends, which is really exciting to us!

So without further ado, I present to you the Lodge Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover. Not only is this a great dutch oven, but the lid doubles as a skillet! Umm I wish I could win this! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Keep These Bugs Off Of Me!

So it happened.

One of my kids got bit by tick. Ok, to a seasoned homesteader this may not be a big deal.

But we live in the city and I have NEVER in all my life been bitten by a tick. NEVER.

I've never even seen one. My husband, who is even more of a city slicker than I am, was the one who found it. I was in the kitchen and he sort of calmly yells out to me, "come here quick!" So I come into the living room like what happened? And he shows it to me.

In case there are some of you who have also never experienced this, let me tell you a little about it.


As I try to act all calm, I instruct my husband not to bother it. Because I had just recently seen how using essential oils would make it back out. His reply? "I'm not letting this thing go all the way inside her!" Again, we have never dealt with ticks before lol.

I found online that putting some peppermint EO on it will make it back out. So I do that and we watch. It starts backing out and then my darling husband was like that's it, I'm getting this thing. So he tugs it out. He had to tug a lot harder than either of us expected! But praise the Lord she is fine and now we know what to do next time... please Lord don't let there be a next time

There will probably be a next time, huh?

In order to be proactive about this, especially since we plan to spend a good amount of time out doors. I scoured the internet looking for some advice on a DIY repellent. I found a list of essential oils to choose from and I have... none of them. But I do have a blend that is called Plague Rescue (clove, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and rosemary) and that will have to do for now.

Apparently the cinnamon will help with mosquitoes, and the eucalyptus will help with ticks. Clove and rosemary are also supposed to be good at repelling insects. So I figure I can't loose, right?

So here is my recipe for an 8oz bottle:
4oz Water
4oz Witch Hazel
20-30 drops of Plague Rescue (same as Thieves or OnGuard)

In case you are wondering where I get my oils from I have a very dear friend that bottles oils straight from the distiller. I like that I'm helping her business AND that I'm avoiding multilevel marketing. Which I'm really not a huge fan of. If you'd like info about her company please e-mail me, or leave me a comment with your email, and I'd be happy to share the info with you. (trying to avoid spam here)

So what about you? Do you have a plan to keep bugs away this spring and summer?

I'm linking up at: Mostly Homemade Monday, Mountain Woman Rendezvous , HomeAcre Hop, Homemaking Link Up

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Easy Fermented Carrots

A few months ago I discovered the joy of fermenting vegetables! 

What prompted my journey to fermenting pretty much everything, is that my second born has eczema. I didn't want to use steroid creams on her so we began our search for how to heal her naturally. Something I learned along the way is that her eczema is a result of a leaky gut. So we've been trying to fix it. 

Leaky gut put very, very, simply is when your intestines are too porous. When this happens food "particles" are allowed to enter the blood stream. Now I'm not talking chunks of food but more like microscopic particles. These "particles" then cause our body to attack them. This leads to food sensitivities, and allergies. Eczema is the result of the skin trying to eliminate the toxins.

Having the right amount of good bacteria in our guts will aid in proper digestion and help with the gut issues. But in addition to that you need to heal the gut. So eating probiotic rich foods is only part of the solution. As a result of all this we've been introducing more and more fermented foods to our diet. We started with fermented carrots and then moved to kombucha, sour dough, and pickles. Actually those are the only things I was successful with. I've tried other things too lol.. Although I wish my baby didn't have these issues, it's been awesome learning about all theses things. 

Ok now for how we actually do it. I make carrot slices using a mandolin. I've done sticks before, and everyone liked them except for the little girl who needed to be eating them the most! Since I switched to slices she likes them way better. So for those with picky eaters, try slices. 

Then I let the girls put the slices in a jar. I've found that when they help they are more likely to eat it, especially when it's something new. 

Then I pour salt water over the carrots and covered them. I use 1 teaspoon of salt for this 8oz jar of carrots. I use the plastic to keep the carrots below the liquid, and to keep unwanted things out. If it's not below the liquid, you up your chances for developing mold.

Once I get everything finished up I set it on top of my fridge (only because I need it away from my other ferments) for 3 days. After that they are ready to eat and/or refrigerate. 

You can play around with the flavors and add herbs. Our favorite so far is garlic carrots. Adding dill is on my things to try list though. 

What about you? Do you ferment any vegetables?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Stop Making Excuses and Make Butter!

Ok, I am really guilty of watching youtube videos on homesteading skills and dreaming about someday. But why dream about someday when you can live it today??? So I decided to do just that, and go on ahead and make myself some butter!

At first I was nervous. Because in the past I attempted to make goat cheese and it was an epic fail! But I was determined this time to get it done and get it done right.

After watching a few videos I realized I really didn't have the equipment necessary (like a standing mixer) and I got a little disheartened, But then I remember, that my Magic Bullet has a whipping blade. So I poured a pint of whipping cream in the bullet cup, added the whipping base, and blended away.

Initially it was just moving like regular, which gave me whipped cream. But then it started to gain speed and I eventually saw the butter milk separate from the butter solids! Hooray! Now we're in business. I let it go a little longer just to make sure I got it good and churned.

Then I strained it, washed it, and salted it!

Can I just tell you this stuff is GOOD! Like beyond good. Store bough butter can't hold a candle to it! If you are buying store bought butter do yourself a favor and STOP! It's so easy to make your own and it tastes way better. I bet it would have been even better if I had raw milk... someday.

My next goal is to make goat butter. It's a little harder to get the cream from the milk with goat milk, and none of my local stores carry heavy goat cream. But I am bound and determined to make this happen!

So what are you waiting to try that you can get to working on today??

I'm linking up with: Homestead Barn Hop, Mostly Homemade Monday, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, We Did It Wednesday, Down Home Blog Hop, Mountain Woman RendevousFront Porch Fridays, The HomeAcre Blog Hop, From The Farm, Farmgirl Friday, Simple Life Sunday, From The Farm

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fast Food Hack

Ok maybe you are one of those amazing people who gave up fast food never to look back. I am not that person. Now granted my family and I pretty much never frequent these establishments but that doesn't mean I don't get a craving for some bad for me yumminess.

Since I don't want to eat frankenfoods I figured out a solution... Remake what I like AT HOME! It's really not hard, you just find the things you need to create the flavors you like. One of our favorite hacks is McDonald's big macs. As a kid this sandwich was on my schools hot lunch menu. So I have had a long relationship with the big mac. Once I figured out how to remake them at home I was hooked!

You start out with a pretty straight forward double decker burger. You can use the bottom portion of a bun for the middle bread, or you can skip it all together! The only part of this that isn't self explanatory is the sauce. For that you will need:

3 tbsp Mayo

2 tsp yellow mustard

2 tsp sweet relish

1 tsp paprika, and dash of white vinegar

stir :o)

That's it! Super simple. After you make your sauce you just add it on top of your burger and enjoy. I hope this saves you from making a trip to McDonalds!

Are you a fast food junkie or have yo given it the boot?

I'm linking up with: Mostly Homemade Mondays

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Momma's Milk Enhancing Smoothie

Three months ago our family grew by two feet! I gave birth, at home, to a beautiful 9lb baby boy. For the first month and a half my milk was amazing. But I started to notice some dry spells. Thankfully my baby boy's weight wasn't affected but if I hadn't of caught it who knows what could have happened!

As soon as I noticed the drop in my milk I set to google to find what I could use to up my milk supply. I found a plethora of recipes for things like lactation cookies, bars, and shakes. But they almost all had ingredients that I didn't have. So I decided to research herbs and foods that help to increase your milk supply. There were three things on the list I actually had: oatmeal (old fashion oats), flaxseed, and alfalfa. So I decided to make a smoothie with them!

This smoothie has been such a blessing because not only is it a great milk booster, it's also delicious! If you're not a nursing momma this smoothie would still be great to drink because it is jam packed with vitamins and essential nutrients!

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
1/3 c old fashion oats
2 tbsp alfalfa
2 tbsp flaxseed
3/4-1 c milk (any kind of milk)
hand full of blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
sweetener of choice to taste

Edit to add: I put the oats, alfalfa, and flaxseed all in the blender first. Then once that was grounded up nicely I added everything else.

But we were gentle in your midst, like a nursing mother warmly loving her own children. - 1 Thessalonians 2:7

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Live Your Homesteading Dreams Today

There is a post floating around from GNOWFLINGS about the heart of homesteading. This article really spoke to me because it's exactly the mentality that we have adopted. We don't have any semblance of a traditional homestead around here. We live in a big city, in a multi-family house, and share a backyard with other families. We can't plant outdoors, and we have no animals. But we have a homestead none the less!

It's not about all those things. I mean I guess it is in a way, but if you don't have them it doesn't mean you can't start to build with what you've got. In this post I want to just share with you some of the things that we do around our homestead to help us prepare for living out our dreams, while we enjoy where we are.

1.) We cook from scratch. I do my very best to make as many wholesome home cooked meals as possible. We do occasionally order Chinese or something but it is a rare treat and it's become even more of a rarity as of late. I'm also attempting to learn to cook in season.

2.) We take the time to ferment anything that we can. We do this for a few reasons, but the main one is that it's healthy for us. I'm teaching my children now about how to make sour dough, ferment vegetables, and  make kombucha. We are also in the process of learning how to ferment fruits and fruit juices. It can be time consuming but it's totally worth it for the health benefits and the memory building. The reason this is on the homesteading list is because this is a great method for preserving certain foods. One of our favorites is fermented carrots.

3.) We learn about animals and any other skills that go along with having them. This is so we can learn as much as we can now and be ready when the time comes. We've been reading what ever we can get our hands on, and watching videos on youtube about the animals we are most interested in. Which are chickens and goats. At first Farmer-man thought I was losing it, but now he's seeing the value (and cuteness) of goats. Recently I tried to make cheese from goat milk. It was an epic failure but hey, at least I tried!

4.) We limit tv time. If we lived out in the country I would hope that my kids spent their days running around out side. But just because we don't it's not an excuse to spend all day in front of the tv. We don't have cable but we do have netflix, and hulu. We're in the process of deciding which to get rid of. Because we really don't need both if we aren't watching much tv anyway.

5.) We're learning that it's ok to get dirty. Now this one may be more for me than anyone else but I get a little anxious when my kids have dirt on them. But I'm learning that it's not only ok, it's good for them. It's so important for kids to play outside and to dig in the dirt. In the past I would have been content for my kids to sit on the couch dressed all pretty and just smile lol. But not anymore. Now I encourage them to play and dig and get dirty if they so please.

6.) We decorate with some "farm house" flare. Now this is something we're still working on. But one of my favorite things is my mason jar soap dispenser! I hate washing dishes by hand but getting soap from my mason jar makes it slightly more enjoyable! Oh any my cast iron skillet! Love that thing. Call me crazy but sometimes we just need to have the little things around to keep us happy. :o) (check out our pinterest board for some more examples of indoor farmy things)

7.) I wear an apron! Ok now this may seem like nothing, but let me tell you it totally helps me to get into a working mindset. I'm not talking any ol' apron though it needs to be one that makes YOU feel really "farmy". Mine is denim and has some eyelet fabric along the topsides. It's perfect for me. Don't under estimate the power of an apron ;o)

8.) We try to buy locally. When we can, we buy things that have been grown locally because it helps us with eating in season and also helps us to stay connected to the land. Getting our foods from the source is a real blessing, it allows us to ask questions and learn even more about farming. Of course, if you can have a garden then get to planting

This post was shared on: Homestead Barn Hop, Farmgirl Friday, From the FarmThe HomeAcre Hop, Simple Life Sunday

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kombucha! Part 2

Ok so now that my scoby was moved to a gallon size jar the waiting began! We left for a week long camping trip and when we came back this is what I found:

Wahoo!!! It worked! After posting pictures on facebook and asking my other kombucha brewing friends what they thought, I decided to go ahead and brew my first batch using the larger scoby on top. 

I boiled 3 quarts of tea (12 cups) and added 1 cup of sugar. Then once it was cooled I added the new scoby along with 2 cups of the liquid is was growing in. Then I covered it with a cloth and a rubber-band and set it back in the dark corner of my counter.

After a week I was able to harvest!! 

It was delicious (if you like kombucha), and I felt so accomplished! The whole process was much simpler than I thought and I am so glad I tried it! 

So what do you think, will you be giving it a try?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kombucha! Part 1

I am so excited to be writing this post. A few months ago I learned about this wonderful health elixir, called Kombucha. Yes I am a little late to the party, but hey at least I showed up!

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is made with a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). It's kind of similar to milk/water kefir. Only I killed my water kefir lol. So far  kombucha has proven to be easier and tastier so I am very excited.

When I first started learning about kombucha I was looking into buying a scoby. But they can be a bit pricey. Then I found some websites that talk about growing your own scoby! So I quickly headed to my local whole foods and found the most filamenty bottle of kombucha I could.

I drank half the bottle and used the other half to start my mother, who we affectionately call Roscoby. ;o)

I added the half bottle of kombucha (about a cup), and all the filament, to a cup of black tea with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Then I let it sit for a week. After a week a baby scoby had formed on the surface of my jar. It could take longer depending on the location you store it, so just keep checking it.  If it takes longer don't worry. Just be on look out for mold. In which case throw everything away and start over. 

Once I had a baby scoby covering the top layer, that was about 1/8th of an inch thick, I convinced my hubby to go buy a gallon size jar of pickles so I could move on to step two. Once all the pickles were gone I made about a quart of tea, with 1/3 of a cup of sugar, and added  that along with my baby scoby and the liquid to the gallon size jar 

Then I waited.... Part 2 is coming :o)

Have you tried kombucha? Do you like it?

I'm linking up with: The Homestead Barn Hop, Front Porch Fridays, The HomeAcre Blog Hop, From The Farm

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Being Happy with What You've Got

I came across the above quote as I was browsing around on pinterest and it really resonated with me. I have been so guilty in the past of feeling glum about what was in front of me. I'm a dreamer and I'm always searching for the next great thing. But lately I have been seeing the beauty in being content with what you've got and where you're at. 

We went away for a week on a camping trip to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. During that trip Abba really worked on my heart and helped me to see that He has not called me to an arrival point but to a journey. I came back fully recharged and ready to embrace what ever it is He has for me. 

Thankfully my husband and I are on the same page! HalleluYah! So now we are working together to live the life that we believed we were created for. Living to serve and bless the Father and His people. Our goal in life is to live as naturally as we can and to be fully available to do the will of our Abba. We also have the goal to seek the ancient paths. To go back to the ways of out forefathers. We are in the process of adopting a more natural way of living, eating, and healing. 

It's not always easy but we are learning to enjoy the journey. After all "the grass is greener where you water it". 

But godliness with contentment is great gain. -1 Timothy 6:6