New Year, New Beginnings.

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So it has been since October since I wrote anything!! Sometimes life just gets in the way. But, with a new year comes new beginnings. New gardens, new recipes, new ideas with vlogging, new surprises. I’m excited for what the new year is going to bring.

So what has been happening on our little homestead these past few months? Well, we have downsized a lot in the house. It feels so cleansing to donate or sell off things you are not using. We have also added things that were “wants” to our home. For example, Zach bought me a Kitchen Aid mixer to help with our food prep. Let me tell you what a time saver this has been. I keep it right on my counter and use it often. We also got new appliances. I have washed dishes by hand for 6 people for a year and I must say, I will NEVER take a dishwasher for granted again!! We also got a new stove and refrigerator. We moved our fridge that was in our kitchen downstairs for extra storage because someone got membership to Costco!! Yes, this girl! I never realized how inefficient our stove was until we got a new one. Plus, it’s finally nice to have all 4 burners working!

Our journey to going completely gluten free became real about a month ago. Zach was the first to show signs of having issues years ago. I fed him gluten free, but the rest ate wheat. I wasn’t ready to give it up because it’s convenient. Then it was me with the issues with my foot which radiated up into my leg. So I quit gluten, but honestly would cheat every now and then. But when it started to effect my two daughters, I knew I needed to make a change. We started to notice my daughter was having bowel problems and would daily find herself in the bathroom sick. She also was tired all the time (probably because she wasn’t absorbing enough vitamins and minerals from her food). Our other daughter started to experience itching after she would eat gluten. It would get so bad she would cry and scratch her skin open. So we cut out gluten and you know what happened? The bowel problems went away and the itching stopped. They were more alert and active. So, was it gluten that was doing that to my girls? Well, to see if it as really the gluten, I gave them gluten again to see. Sure enough, the bowel problems came back, and the itching came back. But this time, my daughter was not only itchy but she actually broke out in a rash! I told my husband that was the straw that broke the camels back. We cut out wheat that day from everyone’s diet and haven’t looked back. After a good cry on how the heck I was going to do this with 6 people, let along with children who I swear invented the goldfish cracker, I wiped the tears and began baking. Because as a mother who wants what is best for my family and their health, I knew gluten was not one of them.

So that leads me to our garden. We got the new Baker’s Creek Seed Catalog. We will be placing our order within the next week. Our oldest daughter has shown a huge interest in saving and growing seeds. So this year she will be in charge of that.

The chickens are well and we will be adding a few more to our laying hens this spring. We have meat birds we are raising in the garage right now as we speak. Some may say that it is cruel to raise them in the garage and not on pasture. Trust me, if we had the means  we would do the same. But with limited space, this is the best we can do. They have a lot of room to run around and two huge windows that give them light. We keep heat lamps in there to keep them warm. They are happy! We also added to rabbits to the mix. We are excited for the compost for the garden!

As for surprises this year? Well, we will have to wait and see……

Guacamole Chicken with Cucumbers.


Need a way to use up all those cucumbers in your graden? Here is a really easy recipe that is a staple in the summer! This recipe is gluten free, healthy, filling, and would be great for entertaining. Here’s how to make it.

Guacamole Chicken with Cucumbers

1 Cucumber sliced

2 Avacados mashed

2 Small chicken breasts grilled and diced

Granulated garlic

Real salt

Lime juice

Red onion for garnish

Directions: Slice cucumber while grilling chicken. Pull chicken off grill and let cool. Mash avacados in bowl adding spices and lime juice. When chicken cools, dice into small pieces. Add to guacamole. Mix. Place sliced cucumbers on platter and add chicken/guacamole. Garnish with red onion. Enjoy!

This is an amazing recipe. Definitely one to add to your recipe box!

Banana Ice Cream

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Who wants to come home from running and eat ice cream? I do!! But, I don’t want to ruin everything I worked so hard for. Enter…..Banana Ice Cream!! This is a great alternative to having ice cream. It’s so delicious that my younger kids don’t even know the difference!! Plus, since we have some allergies to dairy in the family, no one feels left out. Here is how to make it:

Banana Ice Cream

5-6 Frozen bananas

1 Tsp of vanilla or maple syrup

Toppings of choice

Directions: Add bananas and vanilla or maple syrup to blender. Blend until it starts to have a whipped look. Place in ice cream cups. Add toppings and serve. Enjoy!!

This is a sure Picky Eater Approval!!

The Green Banana Mango Smoothie

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This smoothie is insanely delicious!! It reminds me of the green tea frappuccino from Starbucks except less calories and no refined sugar. I don’t have a fancy name for it. I just love it and drink it often. I made it here with just coconut water, but I also love it with milk which gives it a lighter green color.

Here is the recipe:

The Green Banana Mango Smoothie

1 Frozen banana

1 Handful of mango (frozen is the best)

1 Scoop of Green Vibrance

Coconut water or Milk

Directions: Add banana, mango, green vibrance, and water or milk to a blender. Mix until you have the consistency you like. You may need to add more or less liquid depending on your liking. Enjoy!!

Picky Eater Approved!!!

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Smoothie

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This smoothie is perfect for any chocolate craving!! It’s packed full of intense flavor leaving your taste buds satisfied. This is also great for people who are trying to eliminate sweets from their diet but are having a hard time. This will help you feel full, and honestly once your try it you say “sweets who”? See for yourself:

 

Dark Chocolate Smoothie

1 Frozen banana

1 Heaping Tbsp of nut butter (we use sunflower)

1 Tsp of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate

Milk( Allergies? Any kind works great)

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender. Add as much milk as you like to get it to the consistency of your liking. Serve. Enjoy.

This definitely has the Picky Eater Approval!! My kids don’t even miss chocolate after having this recipe!!

Triple Berry Smoothie

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Here is a smoothie that can use up the berries in your garden. It’s packed full of vitamins especially vitamin C, which makes it perfect in the winter time as well. The combination of the three berries make this truly one to keep in your recipe rotation. Here is how to make it:

Triple Berry Smoothie

1 Frozen banana

Blackberries

Raspberries

Blueberries

Coconut water

Milk

Directions: Add banana, berries (choose to use as much as you want of each), 1/3 cup coconut water, milk (until desired texture). Blend. Serve.

This refreshing drink makes such a great add-on to any meal or snack!! Picky Eater Approved!!

 

Butter Pecan Smoothie

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I had to share one of my favorite smoothie recipes with you. When it’s a hot summer day and you want something delicious but you don’t want to reach for ice cream, candy, chocolate, etc, this is a perfect way to have the best of both worlds. Its buttery flavor from the pecans mixed with the rich flavor from the milk makes this a recipe one you’ll enjoy over and over.

This healthy smoothie has 3 ingredients and is really easy to make:

Butter Pecan Smoothie

1 Frozen banana

1 Tbsp ground pecans

Milk

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender until smooth. Add as much milk depending on what consistency you’d like it. Pour into a beautiful glass, put your feet up, and know that this amazing smoothie is healthy!! Enjoy!

Picky Eater Approved!!

Pickled Red Onions

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These little gems are the money ticket to any picnic this summer. They are great on burgers, salads, sandwiches, the possibilities are endless!! They are sweet and tangy and remind me of pickled eggs, but without the sugar. I use honey for all my sweetener. We are fortunate to have an awesome beekeeper near by. Here’s the recipe so you can have the coolest dish at your next gathering:

Pickled Red Onions

2 Large red onions

1 Cup white vinegar

 2 Tbsp Honey

1/2 Tsp salt

32oz Mason jar

Saucepan of boiling water (about 3 cups)

Directions: Peel onions and slice thin. Put in a colander and pour the boiling hot water over them to speed up the pickling process. Place into mason jar. Next, in a bowl mix vinegar, salt, and honey until honey is dissolved. Pour mixture into mason jar. Place lid on top and let sit on the counter for a couple of hours, then transfer to the refrigerator. They taste better the longer they sit. Stores for a week (if they last that long)!! Enjoy!!

You may need to adjust the vinegar and honey to your tastes. We like it a bit tangy so if you like it sweet, add a bit more honey 🙂

Pickled Red Onion Salad

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So I ate this when I got back from my run last night. I got the idea when we were running errands and stopped for a bite to eat. I got a salad and thought the onions were so good on it, that I had to come home and make my version.The sweet and tangy onions mixed with the rest of the salad really make you stand back and say “wow”!! Salads are such a go to in the summertime, and I highly recommend adding this one to the mix. Everything was local or from our own backyard (except the avocados…I wish)!! You can make all the ingredients ahead and have it for the week. Here’s the recipe:

Pickled Red Onion Salad

Romaine lettuce chopped

Hard-boiled eggs sliced

Crumbled bacon

Avocado sliced

Pickled Red Onion Recipe

Directions: I purposely didn’t put a specified amount because you can tailor it to how much you want to make. First, I arranged the chopped lettuce on a plate. Next add the pickled red onion in the center. Add bacon, sliced eggs, and sliced avocado. Then dig in.

It’s really that simple. 🙂

Homemade Popcorn

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This popcorn is for grown-ups. Okay, it was supposed to be until my kids realized I put kale chips and nutritional yeast in it!! You can tell they grow up in a “crunchy household” because most kids have  never have heard of kale chips, let along nutritional yeast!

This is pack with insane flavor and spices up that movie night popcorn. This is how I make it:

Homemade Popcorn

1/3 Cup organic corn kernel

1 Cup kale chips

2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp pastured butter

Salt

1/4 Cup avocado oil

Directions: Get out a stainless steel stock pot and add oil. Add kernels, cover. Turn heat down when you hear popping. While that is popping, heat your butter. When popping is complete, remove for heat. Add your butter, salt and nutritional yeast. Stir real well. Last add your kale chips folding in. sprinkle a little nutrional yeast on top. Presto!! Awesome popcorn!!

This popcorn gets many nutrients from the kale as well as the nutritional yeast. Shhhh, your kids will never know it’s healthy!! Enjoy!!