New Year, New Beginnings.

happy-new-year-facebook-cover

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……

Sausage Zucchini Boats

IMG_3936

Everything from this meal came from our garden except the sausage. And what an amazing meal it was!! I’ve been really trying to utilize what we have in our garden to feed our family as well as our livestock (by that I mean our rabbit and chickens). I figured why not give this a try….and well, I’m glad I did!! Here it is:

Sausage Zucchini Boats

1 Lb of sausage

1 Green pepper chopped

1 Onion chopped

1 Jalapeno pepper chopped fine

1 Medium tomato chopped

Real salt

Pepper

Granulated garlic

Olive oil

Directions: Slice zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub with olive oil and spices. Take sausage out of its casing and brown with the pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, and tomato. Add spices, stir, and add to zucchini. Bake at 350 uncovered for 25 min. Let cool 5 min and serve. AMAZING!!!

You could add so many things to this.I’m going to try this as a breakfast dish with egg too!!  I love zucchini for this reason. It has such a mild flavor that you can pair it with just about anything!!

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!

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!

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!

Banana Ice Cream

IMG_3612

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

IMG_3607

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

IMG_3606

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

IMG_3609

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

IMG_3608

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!!