We all have dreams and goals.
Some are big – others are small.
The hard work, dedication, and trust it takes to reach those goals is what makes them daunting.
Maybe you are an accountant or secretary, sitting at your desk – dreaming of the day when you can purchase your own land, and raise a family with a simpler lifestyle.
Perhaps you are a working mother – praying for the opportunity to spend more time with your children, but afraid to lose your income.
I was once that person – sitting at a desk in the mental health field, wondering what my life was meant to look like. Working full time with two babies under the age of 3, and going to school full time – I missed so many sweet moments with them, and with my husband. It was stressful for all of us. Relationships were tense, and smiles weren’t often authentic.
Each and every day I worked with children from broken homes – broken families, while mine grew up in the hands of others. I saw through the eyes, of the children I worked with, the desire for a stable environment, and the hopes for committed parents.
My dream in that moment was to stay home. To stay home with my children, and commit everything I had to raising them. To creating a loving environment as a homemaker. Sure, I was afraid to leave my job, but I was more afraid of losing the experiences my children would make during their childhood.
So when do you follow your dreams? The answer is: Right now – This very instance.
Figure out what is crucial in taking the first step.
If your goal is to get out of debt – cancel the credit cards.
If your goal is to buy land – start saving.
If your goal is to stay home with your children – make it happen.
Don’t waste a single moment. You will soon realize how quickly those moments fade.
My generation was taught that the only way to be successful is through accumulation. Accumulation of money and stuff. In my home, success will be determined by the accumulation of heartfelt memories – time spent together.
Please, always remember – a career is not what defines you. What truly defines the person you are, is what you leave behind. Your children – your grandchildren. The home you create together, and the impressions you leave.
Whatever you do in life – give it your all. Make it your goal to commit every ounce of your capabilities to improving the environment around you. Optimism is the most powerful tool you have.
Do you need help finding your way in this wild world?
Is it your dream to stay home and raise a family?
Shoot me an e-mail. I am more than happy to talk with and encourage you.
In All Things – Pray.
What is the difference between Stock and Bone Broth? Actually, not much. They are practically the same product, with different names. Stock and bone broth are almost always made from vegetables and bones. The main difference between the two is that stock is cooked for a really long time, in order to extract the most nutrients and minerals from the bones. So really, when you are preparing your “bone broth” it is technically stock. The names are just used interchangeably.
Stock has been consumed by people for thousands of years, but the stocks and broth you find in the store now are completely adulterated, and not really true to their name – Made from artificial products like bouillon cubes, with additives such as Monosodium Glutamate and Autolyzed Yeast Extract. And – Trust me, you wouldn’t want to eat the industrial stocks that actually are made with chicken.
Homemade stocks and broths, from healthy bones, are full of nutritional benefits, and should be consumed at all times – not only when you are sick. As the bones cook down over a long period, minerals are released into the water. These include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals. Long cooked stocks also include glucosamine, chondroitin and gelatin, which aid in joint and gut health, among many other awesome things.
This is a great, and fun to read article from Underground Wellness Top 5 Reasons why Bone Broth is the Bomb.
Now, you are ready to make your own stock: First you need to find a local farmer that sells pasture raised chickens. This will give you the best quality product, which in turn will give you the best quality stock. The only tool you need is a slow cooker, stock pot, or an Instant Pot with the slow cook setting.
Whole Pastured Chicken
2 Whole Carrots
3 Celery Stalks
4 cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Pepper
At this point you can pour into mason jars and store in the refrigerator, pressure can, or freeze (see below).
My favorite way to store stocks is the hockey puck method: Simply pour the stock into silicone muffin liners or metal muffin tins, and freeze.
Once frozen, remove from the tins, transfer to a freezer bag, and store in the freezer. When you need stock for cooking or drinking, just heat on the stovetop!
Now, go make some bone stock, and drink to good health and traditional foods!
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Today we had our first snow in Kansas, and the kids were so excited! Well, their momma was excited too. We had our overalls, gloves, and coats on – ready to take care of the animals – as soon as the sun was up.
There was sledding, snowball fights, awe, and wonder. Ayda is only three, so this was her first memorable experience with snow. She was in heaven. It is so fun seeing something for the first time through a child’s eyes.
I enjoy all types of weather. Maybe it is the change – or that it is uncontrollable. I do love getting outside and experiencing it all, whether that is the first snow, or an incoming storm. It is beautiful and enchanting.
We were pretty busy today, so it was leftover Jambalaya for dinner. What goes best with Jambalaya? Yes, Cornbread. However, this was leftovers, and I served cornbread with the original meal. So, I decided a quick batch of Cheddar Herb Biscuits would be just as tasty.
These biscuits are unbelievable. Tall and flaky, with just the right amount of garlic. They definitely earned their spot with Jambalaya for any day of the week.
My husband enjoys them – hot out of the oven – at breakfast with a fried egg and Tobasco. I go for one of my favorite comfort meals, biscuit pot pie. Or simply, by themselves with a smear of homemade butter.
There is nothing better than fresh baked bread, or a hot flaky biscuit with dinner during the cold Winter months. I hope you enjoy!
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Let me guess… You have heard a ton about essential oils. Maybe even too much. It’s true they have become a bit of a fad, but for very good reason. Essential oils are extremely high quality, and an important asset in each and every home.
Whether used topically, aromatically, or internally – natural home remedy with essential oils are an integral part of family life – and farm life.
“doTERRA is leading an innovative movement in healthcare, in which medical providers take an integrative approach to keep their patients healthy and thriving. Proven methods of healthcare delivery – including traditional western methods, essential oil treatment, and wellness services – are utilized in an effort to prevent disease and maintain optimal health.”
We began using doTERRA essential oils in 2012 after deciding to redirect our focus on a more natural, wholesome, and traditional lifestyle. I was currently in my third year of college, and had just given birth to my third child in four years. My husband worked full time and I went to school full time. My two oldest, ages 3 and 4, were enrolled in a local Learning Center Program. After my little Annie was born, I continued driving the 1 ½ hours (one way) to college every day, with the mindset that the only option for improving our quality of life, was with a college degree. Boy was I wrong. It was during a late night drive home that I realized my life was not how God intended it. He spoke to me in that moment, and told me that I was to be a mother and a wife first, and that He would take care of the rest. From that moment on, I completely focused my attention on being a momma to my three – now five – babies, and to learning how to be a loving and attentive wife.
It was through this decision we realized our absolute love for wholesome living, raising our own food, and providing others with the knowledge of traditional cooking, and access to the best quality foods. In our pursuit for health, we stumbled upon doTERRA and the rest is history.
In our home, we use essential oils for their natural healing properties (for us and the animals), for cleaning products, cooking, homemade soaps, and even as mood lifters.
There are several different options available when choosing oils that best suit your needs. This might mean individual oils or kits. By ordering a kit, you are qualified to receive extra discounts, and by signing up as a wellness advocate, you have the opportunity to earn even more discounts, as well as free product, and a Paycheck!
Are you interested in essential oils, but unsure where to start? Would you like to know how to receive product at wholesale pricing? What about starting a business of your very own?
We are looking forward to meeting you, and learning about your essential oil experience! Talk with you soon!
Freshly made pasta takes a little time, but rivals all store purchased dried pastas, that contain too many ingredients and preservatives to count. The texture, the taste, and the smell of handmade pasta welcomes you to a meal that deserves savoring.
I have another pasta recipe that I enjoyed using on a regular basis, but it just wasn’t the consistency I wanted, nor was it enough to feed my family. So, after a lot of tweaking and testing through Spaghetti with Bolognese, Lasagna, or Tagliatelle with herbed garlic butter sauce, much to the happiness of my family’s taste buds, I have settled on this recipe.
It helps to have a pasta machine, but you can also roll the dough out thin with a rolling pin.
Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Ravioli, Orecchiette, Linguini, Tagliatelle. The pasta possibilities are endless, and when served alongside a fresh winter salad with French bread, are much enjoyed during these cold Winter evenings.
It is just as easy to make fresh pasta in a food processor. The dough is best made by hand, but you can also bring it together with a processor. Simply add the flour and eggs, pulse a few times. Then, with the machine running, add the olive oil at a drizzle. Next, slowly drizzle in water until the dough begins to gather and form a ball. Turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
If you are wanting to make large quantities of pasta to have on hand, it is very simple to dry it. After rolling out dough and cutting the sheets to your desired shape. Place in a cool dry room to hang for 12-24 hours, depending on the humidity. If you made Orecchiette, Farfalle, or Cavatelli, spread pasta on baking sheet lined with a cooling rack to allow air flow between the pasta shapes. Dry for 12-24 hours, until dry all the way through. To check for dryness, simply snap one in half. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”– Michael Pollan
Traditional French Bread only has four ingredients: Flour, Yeast, Water, Salt.
To enhance flavor, my recipe has Six ingredients. The additions are honey and butter, because you can’t go wrong with honey and butter.
French Bread is delicious on its own – slathered in butter and garlic, served alongside Spaghetti. As the main component of Bread Pudding, or sliced for Maple Shaker Bread, Bruschetta, or Toast with Eggs. These French style loaves are so tasty, they won’t last long in your home!
This recipe makes two loaves
2 cups Warm Water (105° to 110°)
4 ½ tsp Dry Active Yeast (two packets)
4 Tbsp Honey (Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup also work well)
4 Tbsp Melted Butter
3 tsp Salt
6 to 6 ½ Cups Unbleached AP Flour (Do not use Bread Flour for this recipe)
Mixing and Fermentation
Shaping and Proofing
The scent of fresh bread baking in the oven is a wonderful and inviting aroma. Known to calm nerves and evoke delight. Try to bake a good bread recipe at least once a week.
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I know a Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding isn’t necessarily the first thing you think of when planning your Christmas menu, but somehow it always ends up on my breakfast list.
I made this dish for family one year, and it has been requested every year since. The ingredients are obviously not seasonal being that, in Kansas, Christmas falls in Winter, however, if you gather and freeze the blueberries in Summer, and have access to lemons, this is a wonderful Christmas meal, that can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dessert anytime of the year.
This Bread Pudding is what attracted me to all bread puddings. The sight of runny or soggy bread puddings, that you often see in restaurants or diners, always scared me, and thankfully, this is not that. Firm and custard-like, with the ever-so-delicious combination of blueberries and lemon, I know this will be a new staple breakfast in your home.
3 cups Blueberries
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Loaf day old French Bread (brioche is also very good – homemade is always best)
For the Custard:
1 cup Cream
2 cups Buttermilk (or Milk)
1 ¼ cup Raw Cane Sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Salt
6 Tbsp Melted Butter
6 Eggs, beaten
Zest of ½ Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Melted Butter
⅓ cup Sugar
Zest of the other Lemon Half
It really is that easy! The zing of the lemon, paired with the tartness of blueberries and fresh buttermilk. So so Good. This recipe will surely become a family favorite!
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Last night we had the most delicious meal of Short Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and Beet Greens. However, we were only home for twenty minutes to prepare it all.
“How did you accomplish such a task?”, you might ask. My answer – The All Magic, All Empowering, Time Saving, YOU CAN DO IT Instant Pot.
I had a scheduled Meal Train delivery for a friend that evening, but really needed to have dinner ready when we (the kids and I) and my husband arrived home at 6:30. It was 3:30pm. I had a package of thawed homegrown short ribs in the refrigerator, and little amount of time to prepare them.
Let me just say, served atop a heaping spoonful of mashed garlicky potatoes (or solo – I was licking the spoon), these short ribs were unbelievably scrumptious.
Which brings me to today, sharing the recipe with all of you. This recipe includes a jar of my favorite Tomato Jam via foodinjars.com. I preserve at least 30 pints of Tomato Jam every summer, and use it all by Spring. It is similar to a ketchup, but not. Kind of like a barbecue sauce, but better. Spiked with fresh squeezed lime and spices like ginger, cinnamon, and clove. This jam is a definite keeper. Marisa’s website is my absolute favorite go-to canning site. I use nearly all of her recipes and techniques in my home canning. I hope you enjoy!
Beef Tallow (or your favorite fat)
1 Onion (sliced)
4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
½ cup Red Wine
2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
2½ TBSP Soy Sauce
If you are in a pinch, and do not have Tomato Jam, ketchup will do, but I am telling you – it’s worth it.
While there is no smell-o-vision, here is a short video clip of the Tomato Jam Braised Short Ribs in action. My mouth is watering.
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We love a tender juicy steak, but have you thought much about your steak?
The average beef you find in supermarkets is generally raised in a feedlot setting. The cattle are raised in close proximity, often in not so favorable conditions, and fed grain. We now know that cattle are healthiest when left to graze on their God intended food – grass. However, this is not a Feedlot vs. Grass fed beef post. This is a recipe post. So, moving forward.
In the world of sustainable agriculture – sustainable farming, we are constantly trying to figure out the most efficient way of raising food, and the tastiest way to prepare it. What is sufficient long term? How can we raise this animal in a healthful way, and utilize every part of it to benefit ourselves nutritionally?
We are told to “Eat Food – Not too much – Mostly Plants”, but we are omnivorous. So, how can we prepare our beef, chicken, lamb, and pork in a delicious way, and also raise them sustainably long term?
Until I reach the capability of leaving the American diet I grew up with, for a more culinarily creative approach, I will continue to prepare food in a traditional manner, but hopefully with a stronger focus on the benefits that meal provides for my family. By raising our food ourselves, we can insure it is the highest quality. We need meat. We need plants. And we need to determine the value of preparing said meat and plants in a simple, loving way like our great grandparents and their parents.
Simple, wholesome ingredients that you can raise in your own backyard, or source locally. No frills. No middle of the supermarket ingredients. Just true homegrown food.
So, with that view of mine clearly spoken, here is my recipe for my family’s favorite Cast Iron Steak. We serve this in small portions, divided amongst the family, with the emphasis on my one true love, greens. As a child, I never-ever would have imagined eating greens, but now I cannot live without them. They are so utterly delicious, cooked down in butter and garlic. We sauté the greens, straight from the garden, and serve them alongside tender garlicky mushrooms. Choose your favorite green. We generally have Collards, Swiss Chard, Kale, or Beet Greens. Whatever you have at home, or whatever you can find. They are all delicious.
Interested in going another step further? You can find my easy butter recipe here.
**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**
“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.” – Michael Pollan
My family is currently on a mission to feed ourselves only with local foods. When we embarked on this journey several years ago, I had no idea how difficult it would be to source the foods we were so accustomed to. I also didn’t realize how easy it would be to fall back into the current standard way of eating. I knew I needed to change our diet, and our thinking, drastically.
What was I willing to give up? Certainly not my coffee..
How could I source local grains? This is still a problem for me, as I have yet to find a farmer who grows organic grains and sells in bulk. Einkorn anyone? Wheat and oats would be just fine too.
No, Wal-Mart is not local. Neither is Kroger. Costco? Sorry. But, what are we to do when it is so difficult to find foods in our area? And by area, I mean a 50 mile radius.
We need more families growing their own food in their own backyards, and then sharing with neighbors and friends. We need more farmers willing to go against modern methods of raising meat, and start raising grass fed beef, pastured chickens, and milk fed pork. This is what good food is, and there are people ready and willing to buy it.
The flavor of a fresh vine-ripened tomato cannot be rivaled by any grocery store purchased tomato. These tomatoes, along with every other vegetable, are picked before readiness, doused with chemicals, and then shipped across country to end up in your grocery cart. What could be better than knowing that you can walk out to your backyard, or to your local Farmer’s Market, and get a cucumber straight off the vine? Last night we made fajitas with local beef, our own chicken, and homemade tortillas. I was preparing the plate for the kiddos when I said, “Hey! We need lettuce.” So, what did I do? I sent the husband out to the garden to gather Arugula. It is November, and we have a garden full of delicious winter hardy veggies tucked safely under row covers. Not very many people realize this is possible in winter, but it is! We CAN feed ourselves through all seasons!
The ground beef you purchase at your local grocery store, or by way of hamburger at a fast food joint, actually consists of a collection of animals. The latest estimate is over 100 different cows in a single hamburger patty. The best way to avoid this, and get the highest quality and flavor? Purchase locally raised beef. Grass fed is best.
The health benefits linked to eating raw and local foods are enormous. Numerous modern diseases can be directly linked to the current standard American diet. We are simply unaware of what is healthy. Big business marketing has gotten so good, they can convince us that a box of organic fruit snacks is healthy. Feeding our children boxes and bags of “whole grain” cereals covered in sugar and laced with chemicals is the “healthy choice” for breakfast. But really, how can we know better? We are tricked into believing that what these big businesses say is “truth”. We are too trusting, and it is time we educate ourselves on what we feed our families.
I read the other day that what we put into our bodies now can actually affect our future generations. The food we consume today can play a role genetically in our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This has really stuck with me. How can I eat right now to benefit my future offspring?
There is a stigma that has been linked to raw milk over the last few decades. The details regarding this stigma will be saved for a later post, but unpasteurized raw milk from cattle grazed on grass is a wonderful living food. Teaming with beneficial bacteria necessary for a healthy gut, raw milk has been linked to improving seasonal allergies, psoriasis, eczema, and weight loss, among many other things. Those who are unable to drink conventional store bought milk generally have no problem at all with raw milk. However, it is always important to know where your raw milk comes from, and that the farmer you are purchasing from maintains vital safety standards.
Shopping local keeps your dollars within your community. The salary of Costco’s CEO is $6.5 million. Wal-Mart’s $25.6 million and Kroger $10.1 million. We can take our hard earned dollars and put it back into the pockets of our friends and family. This does not mean only shopping for our food locally, but also searching out local goods. Local soaps and candles. Locally made clothing, pottery, and locally grown flowers. The money you spend locally will then be re-invested locally. Support local small businesses and everyone will reap the benefits.
The fellowship that naturally occurs around food is amazing. Getting to know your farmer, vendors at your local farmer’s market, and others who purchase directly from the farm can build lasting friendships, and encourages a wonderful sense of community.
On average, food travels 1,500 miles from farm to your grocery store. According to Michael Pollan, author and local food enthusiast, if you think of a bag of pre-washed mixed lettuce grown in California and then purchased in New York, it takes 56 calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver only 1 calorie of food energy to your plate. Now try and imagine that spread out all over America.
The United States no longer requires Country of Origin labeling (COOL) on turkey, pork, and beef products. Costco can purchase their beef from other countries, have it shipped all the way to America, and still label it as a U.S. product. We have no way of knowing where our meat comes from. The only way we can know the quality of the food we feed our family is by getting to know your food by purchasing locally.
Here are some easy changes you can make today.
When canning large batches of tomatoes, it can be tempting to dump off all the extra juice your tomatoes exude…. Straight down the sink.
There are actually many uses for the leftover tomato juice. Seeds and all. No extra work. No extra fuss. Just straight into the water bath canner.
Drinking Tomato Juice has many health benefits, possibly even linked to reducing the risk for cancer. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, found only in red fruits, is a powerful antioxidant. In the human blood, lycopene protects against oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA.
I often add a jar of tomato juice to my soups, and especially my Chili. This adds a boost of flavor, water just can’t provide. Beef Stew, Beef and Barley Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, and Garden Veggie Soup are just a few examples.
I generally use milk, wine, or stock to thin gravy and sauces, but tomato juice works just as well. Especially if you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian option.
For an extra boost in flavor, boil your pasta or rice in tomato juice.
High in acid, tomato juice makes a great marinade or addition to any marinade. Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb… they all work well with a tomato juice marinade.
A Bloody Mary is a savory cocktail featuring tomato juice and vodka. Amp up the flavor, and health content, with your own home canned tomato juice.
I like my Bloody Mary with a little Tobasco, Worcestershire, and fresh Horseradish cream.
Tomato Juice leftover from Tomato Canning projects.
1. Add 1 Tbsp lime juice for quart jars. ½ Tbsp for pint jars. (I use lime juice, but you can use lemon juice or citric acid too.)
2. Ladle hot tomato juice into quart or pint jars.
3. Immediately process in Water bath Canner at 40 minutes for quarts. 20 minutes for pints.
Note: When canning homegrown tomato juice, your juice will not be a deep red color, like you see in commercial tomato juice. This is perfectly normal. The tomato juice you buy from the store is not made from fresh tomatoes, but from cooked tomato paste and water.
When preserving a product, it is important to try and utilize every part of that product. Whether it be meat, veggie, or fruit.
We use the bones, feet, and neck of chicken to make stock. Beef fat cooked down into Tallow, Pork into Lard. Carrot tops, sautéed in butter and garlic. Apple Scraps cooked down and transformed into Apple Scrap Jelly. So many good and wonderful ideas come from the leftovers.
Don’t waste them.
“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” – Michael Pollan
Farming should not be an isolated job.
The connection we can make with people who are interested in local, wholesome, real foods is an enormous benefit. It creates community, fellowship, and deep lasting friendships.
We were created to work together, to live together, to break bread together.
Farming can be a beautiful way to foster fellowship. From growing, raising, and sharing the fresh vegetables and meats. To preparing meals from your harvest. To sitting with friends and family giving thanks. This process is a wonderful God intended opportunity to cultivate relationships, and our society is choosing to let it slip away.
People are not only eating in their cars, they are feeding their children in the car. Rushing from activity to activity. Far removed from the dinner table, where we so desperately need to be. Meals are the perfect chance to love on one another, discussing daily life or hopes and dreams. The dinner table can be a beautiful place, positively influencing our children’s (and our own) goals and developing strong stable character.
My husband has lived away from home for the last seven months, working in Western Kansas. Living rural, I have never felt so removed from people as I have during this stage of our life, and I know he and our children feel it too.
We are not meant to be alone.
We are meant to be together.
To serve one another.
My love language is Acts of Service. Today, he moves back home, and I cannot wait to stuff his tummy full of our homegrown goodness as we sit around our table.
Raising food and preparing meals for others is my favorite way of saying, “I love you”, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Take a moment and enjoy one another through good food.