Gluten Free Fried Green Tomatoes.


I would say, “why should gluten free people suffer and not enjoy the things they once did”? But it’s a mind frame. I don’t “suffer” because I choose to not eat gluten. I suffer when I choose not to eat gluten free. So a part of me fell off the wagon this week. I tell you this because nobody is perfect, and we all have setbacks. This week was mine. I was quickly reminded about my choices with a sore foot, water retention, exhaustion, etc. I was never so glad to eat a salad in all my life. It just isn’t worth it. It’s amazing even in people who say that gluten doesn’t effect them, what it is really doing on the inside of your body. 

So what do you do when you have these hiccups in your relationship with a new idea of eating? Make better choices. Now I’m not saying eat fried green tomatoes every night. After all, they are still fried. But once in a while, sometimes you want to have something like this. Mine will make you happy and satisfy any craving you may have. Here’s how to make them:

Gluten Free Fried Tomatoes 

1 Large green tomato

2 Eggs (egg wash)

Gluten free flour (I used brown rice flour)

Granulated garlic

Real salt

Chili powder

Pepper

Onion powder

Olive oil for frying

Directions: On two plates place the eggs on one slightly beaten. On the other, flour with all the spices (choose the amount of spices if you wish). I use at least a tablespoon per spice (except salt) for 1 1/2 cup flour. Mix and set aside. Slice tomatoes at least a 1/4 in thick. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil. Place tomato in flour both sides, then egg wash, then flour again. Put in hot oil. Fry approx 2 min each side or until golden brown. Make dipping sauce and serve. Enjoy!

Dipping Sauce

2 Tbsp mayo

2 Tbsp horseradish 

Mix and serve

Why Living with Less is Best.

living with less

I remember like it was yesterday…I owned at least 10 pair of stilettos, a huge wardrobe, and probably every hair care product on the market. We had a brand new car, spent money on things we didn’t need, but it was okay because we were both working and only had one child.

Fast forward 9 years…. I own 1 black pair of stilettos, a wardrobe from the salvation army, and a brush, a few bobbie pins, and coconut oil for my hair. Our car is used (nice, but used), only spend money on things we need, because I now stay home and raise our four children.

That’s a huge difference in 9 years huh? Not really. It was gradual. I’m a pretty impulsive kind of person, but with scaling back on things? Not so much. So you ask, “well why did you scale back then”? I got tired of being able to buy whatever I needed whenever I needed quite frankly. It is so easy to say you need something and pick up a computer and buy it. It doesn’t even give us a chance to think if we really need the item.

So we stopped buying new and started shopping thrift stores and yard sales. I really liked it!! I liked the challenge of not knowing what treasure you were going to find, and when you did it was more than half the price. This began my journey into the frugal world.

But it didnt stop there. I wanted more by having less. What I mean was, I wanted to learn skills I had never learned before such as gardening or changing a cloth diaper on a wiggly baby (yes, that is a learned skill folks). I wanted more time with my family too. When we surround ourselves with “things”, it takes the focus off of the people in our lives. For example, my brain goes insane with clutter. I shut down. So I decided one day to revamp the kitchen (really donate a bunch of things I didn’t need but revamp sounds so HGTV right)? I started there because that was the biggest headache. I only kept things I needed. Ice cream maker? Gone. Extra plates so when we have 100 guests over ( um, we never)? Gone. Stuff on the counter that was just cute but served no purpose? Gone. What I kept were cute mason jars filled with spices, and different grains, etc. Everything I have in my kitchen was there because it needed to be there. I wasn’t stressed anymore. In fact, it was great. I went on to do the other rooms in the house. I sold or donated things we didn’t need and it was cleansing.

So what did I learned from all of this? When we got rid of “stuff” it opened my mind to calm. I spend more time with the kids because I’m not constantly stressed about what needs to be done. I did less housework (that right, that is enough for me to have a spriritual moment!!), I was happier. Then I began to think “what if we decluttered every aspect of our lives”? So we did. Instead of having something planned everyday, we took breaks in between. We let the kids have downtime…we had downtime. Instead of going to an amusement park, we went to the lake and fished. We saw a difference in our kids. They were calmer and happier. Not that we don’t do fun things like that with our kids, we just scale back and let them enjoy nature around them. They learn so much about themselves through that.

And I’m not finished there. I would love to live off grid. Or in a tiny log cabin house and have only what we need. That will have to be someday. To everything there is a season. But when we get to that season, the possibilities will be endless!

 

Cucumber Salad


Summer would not be complete without this dish. This is a great way to find something quick and easy as a side for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! They have many recipes out there, but I make mine super easy because sometimes you just don’t have time! Here is how I make mine:

Cucumber Salad

3 Cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

2 Tomatoes seeded and chopped

1 Small red onion sliced thin

1/2 Bottle of Italian dressing

Directions: Wash your cucumbers and tomatoes. Peel off some of the peel so it makes strips of green. Slice thin and place in bowl. Cut tomatoes. Take as many seeds out as you can. Chop and put in bowl. Slice onion thin and add to bowl. Pour dressing on top. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!

You can also use white vinegar and honey instead of dressing. I have made them both ways. Honestly, I just mix vinegar and honey together until it tastes good! No recipe for that!! I didn’t want to use up all my honey since the budget only allowed for a little jar of honey this week.

Enjoy!

How we healed our dogs scratching naturally.


We had tried everything for Maggie. Our Lab/Weimaraner mix has suffered from allergies since we got her 7 years ago. We adopted her when she was 1 from a local shelter. She was on medication at the time for lymes disease, but aside from that, she was a healthy, happy puppy.

Then, in her second year with us we started to notice her breaking out with yeast all over and scratching. She would scratch so bad that she would tear open her skin and she looked miserable.

So on the steroid she went. And again. And again. She was gaining weight, lethargic, ate more, and was miserable. We didn’t know what to do for her. She stopped itching, but her quality of life was slim and null.

The vet would take her off and put her back on the steroid which we were not happy about, but we couldn’t find what was wrong. We switched her food to grain free and made sure she didn’t eat table scraps. It helped, but she still scratched.

The vet put her on a low dose of steroid and she still scratched. It was heartbreaking. I knew something had to give. I went to the holistic pet store that opened in our town and talked to the young man. He knew his stuff. He told me how canned dog was actually the better of the two (dried vs. canned). I put her on venison because I know beef and chicken make her itch. Then talking to two different friends, one suggested flax meal for itching and the other Greek yogurt. Both would reduce itching and put good flora back into her gut. Last, the yeast overgrowth. I did some reading and saw that apple cider vinegar aids with that. So, I tried all of them. And…….it worked!!!! After about a month, I noticed a HUGE difference. She no longer was scratching, she stopped sleeping so much, and she looked happy. She has been eating this way for about 6 months and looks fantastic! Here is what I give her:

1 can Nutripe venison (1/2 morning, 1/2 evening)

1 tbsp Greek yogurt plain (each meal)

1 tbsp ground flax meal (each meal)

1 capful of apple cider vinegar (each meal)

Direction: Add to dog bowl. Yogurt on side. Dog food on other side with apple cider vinegar on top and then ground flax.

Always make sure your dog has fresh water and plenty of exercise.

As for the cost? It costs about 80.00 for the canned food. About 20.00 more than the dry food we had her on. The other medicine the vet wanted to put her on cost 80.00 a month and all it did was block her system from feeling like she has to scratch and came with a ton of side effects. To us, this is money well spent.

Maggie is now a healthy and happy dog. She no longer scratches. Her immunity is back up. She lost weight. She is happy. All from doing it naturally.

Back to Basics


Well, mainly a yard sale to some. We realized we have just entirely too much stuff. We really just want to get “back to basics” and only keep the things we need. When you keep things “simple”, life is just that. All that added stuff in your life acts as luggage and it weighs you down. 

This “experiment” if you will, is freeing. It gave me a lot of time to reflect. I was disappointed with myself, with us. Here we sat with years of stuff we “needed” on a beautiful day that we could be spending by the lake.

On the other hand, we did have stuff that we used quite a bit. Selling it was closing a chapter of our lives, waiting to embark on a new one.

What I learned from this experience was it’s not the things in life that truly make us who we are. It’s that little smile I see in the morning, or the “mommy watch this”, and the trust of my kisses for a boo boo to make it all better. That, that right there is all I need.

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread


So I’m on a zucchini kick. I have a lot of it, I’m trying to stay in budget, and well, it comes right from our garden. But my old recipe called for flour and I can’t eat that. Plus, I don’t want to use refined sugar either. So I whipped up a new recipe and hoped for the best. It’s all gone so I’m assuming it was a hit!

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

2 Cups cassava flour

1 Tsp baking powder

1 Tsp baking soda

1/2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp cinnamon 

2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder

1/2 Coconut oil

3 Eggs

1/4 Honey

1 Cup maple syrup

1 1/2 Cup zucchini shredded 

Directions: Add all dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix. Add all wet ingredients except zucchini next. Mix. Shred zucchini and fold into mixture. Grease a cake pan or cupcake pan with coconut oil. Pour mixture into cake pan or 1/2 the way for cupcakes. Bake at 325 for 1 hr for cake, testing at 45 minutes. 30 minutes for cupcakes checking at 20. Oven times will vary. You can top with some powder sugar, but we ate ours plain. 

These were definitely picky eater approved and she usually doesn’t eat zucchini bread. I think because I added the cocoa powder so she couldn’t see the zucchini!! My husband who really doesn’t eat sweets LOVED these!! Enjoy!!

Zucchini Pizza


This is a very easy recipe! We have a lot of zucchini coming in right now, so I need to get creative so we don’t get tired of it. For this recipe all you need are 3 thing:

Zucchini Pizza

Zucchini sliced

Cheese ( I used parmesan)

Spaghetti sauce

Directions- slice zucchini and bake at 375 for 10 min. Pull out of oven. Add cheese. Continue baking until cheese is melted. Serve with sauce.

That’s it! I keep it simple in my house because my kids are not a fan of a ton of stuff placed together! But you could add whatever you wanted. You could even make a taco one! How do you make your zucchini pizza?

My Must Have Essential Oils For Summer.


When summer is in full swing the possibilities of fun just seem endless. They’re picnics, swimming, vacations, hiking, the list goes on. But with summer comes scratches, cuts, bee stings, sunburn, this list goes on as well.

If you know me, it’s no secret our family likes to do things as naturally as possible. This is where my essential oils come into play.

Let me start off by saying, I’m very stubborn. Set in my ways of you will. I thought the people who used essential oils were strange. How could this tiny bottle of highly concentrated lavender get rid of poison ivy, or even better, get my kids to sleep better? I saw no problem in popping some ibprofen and calling it a day. Then my daughter got sick. Really sick. She was so sick and we tried everything except holistic medicine or essential oils. So I started to research and found some things that could help her. And almost like magic they did.

I spent years of research checking out different ways to treat things naturally. Essential oils were a part of it. These are my go to in the summertime.

Lavender– because being one of those “strange people”😊 now, I would be strange not to have it. They always say, when in doubt, put lavender on it. It is antibacterial, anti fungal, it aids in sleep, heals cuts, sunburn, even poison! It’s great for earaches, tummy troubles, depression, and so much more!

Immune Strength– This is great for colds and sickness. It’s great diffused to cleanse the air in your home. It’s even great for cleaning. It is antibacterial and anti fungal like lavender. I always have this on hand. I use this closer towards the end of summer when the season starts changing and sickness comes to town.

First Aid– This is the first summer I tried this out and I’m glad I did! With 4 children now, I feel I need to take a loan out on bandaids!! Let me just say cartoon bandaids are genius! They are making a killing. This oil helps heal “boo boo’s” really fast. I have seen it cut down on the healing time by days. I add it to some unrefined coconut oil and use it as a antibiotic ointment on the cut. Then we stick a bandaid on it and the kids are good to go. 

When using essential oils you want to be aware of some things.

1. Buy from a reputable company. I buy from Native American Nutritionals (no I’m not getting paid). I like the products and shipping is always free.

2. Get yourself a guide on essential oils. This will help you on what oil you need for what problem. That way your not spending a ton of money on oils you may not use.

3. Not every oil can be used on everyone. Some oils should not be used on children, pregnant women, people with allergies. Always educate yourself.

If you were looking to try essential oils, start with lavender. Again, as the go to oil, you will get the most bang for your buck!

Gluten Free Fried Zucchini 


If your garden is like ours, you probably have more zucchini then you know what to do with!

We love fried zucchini, but we try to avoid gluten at all costs. So I needed to get creative so we could have one of our favorite sides for dinner.

I bought cassava flour about a month ago and tried it out. It was perfect. I love this flour. It is four from the yucca root. It’s light and doesn’t feel heavy on your stomach, and well you wouldn’t even have know the difference! Want to try fried zucchini? Check out my gluten free version:

Gluten Free Fried Zucchini 

1 Large zucchini ( fed all 6 of us)

2 Cups cassava flour

Real salt

Granulated garlic

2 Eggs

Oil for frying (I used organic olive oil)

Horseradish sauce- A mayo of your liking mixed with horseradish.

Directions: Start by heating oil up in cast iron skillet. Get out two plates. Add eggs to one and beat until smooth. Add flour, salt, garlic to the other and mix (use to your liking). Slice zucchini thin. Add zucchini to flour first, then egg, the flour and place in skillet. Cook about 2-3 min each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Serve immediately!

This is picky eater approved. In fact, I needed to tell her she was cut off!!

A tip on seeing if your oil is ready…use the handle of a wooden spoon. Dip it down into the oil. If bubble start forming around it, it’s ready!!

You can add all different spices. Chili powder is a good one. And add some horseradish sauce for a great added flavor! Enjoy!

Processing Day.

I woke up to a dreary day. It’s so humid your skin becomes clammy the second you walk out the door. Zach was in the garage getting it ready. The tarps were down and outdoor cooker we got at an auction was starting to heat the water. The water on our stove was working on boiling, and he was sharpening the knife.

Today our meat birds are ready for processing. They have lived happily for 7 weeks eating organic feed and roaming around like happy little chickens should. They have not seen pain or suffering, nor, have they been stressed. These chickens have been….well, chickens.

We often forget where our food comes from. We forget that the farmer gets up before dawn to start his day. He feeds his animals long before some of us have a cup of coffee. We forget too, where commercial meat comes from. Many want to not think about it and put it out of our minds. I can’t. After years of research, I wanted something different. I wanted my kids to eat differently and I wanted to know where their food came from. So we knew we needed to take matters into out own hands.

I’m not saying that it’s easy. We are not excited about taking a life. You should have compassion for this animal.  You can enjoy farming without enjoying all of farming. But, is the life we chose, and we need to take all of it. We are always thankful by the amount of meat we process and store in the freezer. Nothing gets wasted….nothing. When you grow your own food or raise your own meat, you have a greater respect for everything. My children eat all their veggies because they picked them and helped prepare them. They eat all their meat because they know a life was taken so they could eat healthy food. My kids are young, but they get it.

So we were able to process all of the meat birds. All done humanely. All done with the upmost respect for them. We are grateful for the circle of life. We are grateful that we know that because of them, our family can eat healthy.