Category Archives: Recipes

Homemade Chicken Broth

Properly prepared meat stocks/broths are SO beneficial for you!

  • The gelatin from the bones has been proven to be a wonderful aid for digestion, among MANY other benefits.
  • The cartilage can be helpful for treating bone disorders.
  • The collagen has been used to treat problems like rheumatoid arthritis.

There is no comparison between store bought and homemade! It is nutrient-dense and very cheap and easy to make! I like to use a variation of the recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook that can be purchased through my Amazon store http://goo.gl/MULjFf

What You’ll Need (Makes 1 gallon)

1 whole 2 to 3 pound free-range chicken (They’ve started selling these affordably at Aldi now!! Thanks be to God!)

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 tablespoons vinegar (white or apple cider)

1 large onion, coarsely choppedDSCN1334

2 carrots, coarsely chopped (I do not peel them. I make sure they are well washed)

3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped

1 bunch parsley (This is optional but recommended. The parsley adds mineral ions to the broth)

Instructions

If you have the feet and want to use them, that is great! It provides even more gelatin. Most poorly raised chickens will not give good gel so try to get a free-range if you can. Cut the chicken in to pieces. Breast, wings, neck, legs, and cavity. Remove the fat glands and gizzards from the cavity. Place chicken pieces in the pot. You will want a large stockpot.  Add water, vinegar, and all the vegetables except the parsley. Let it stand for about 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove the junk that floats up. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 to 24 hours. The longer you let it cook, the more flavor it will have. About 10 minutes before the stock is done, add the parsley.

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The finished product.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth into a large bowl and refrigerate it until the fat congeals. Take out the fat and put you stock in covered containers or one gallon sized container. It can be refrigerated or frozen. My family goes through it so fast that there is never a need for the freezer.

The chicken left over after the stock is done will shred perfectly and can be used in recipes.

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Uses

Homemade stock/broth can be used as the liquid in soups, gravies, etc.

Drinking it daily during the cold and flu seasons is a great boost to the immune system.

It is great for adding to baby food! It gives their food flavor and gelatin that is so good for development!

Because it is a great digestion aid, it is also great for easing and getting rid of stomach bugs.

With it being so easy and inexpensive, you should make homemade stock a staple in your kitchen!

The medical information on this post is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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Easy Whey and Yogurt Cheese

Time to knock the dust off the blog with a recipe!

The cookbooks I use call for the use of whey in many recipes.

Whey is simply the liquid remains of curdled milk. It is used as a starter culture for lacto-fermented foods (including my favorite sauerkraut recipe I will share in a later post) and drinks. 1 tablespoon in a glass of water helps digestion. It’s a handy ingredient to keep in the kitchen. The cream cheese, which is the by-product, is much better than store bought. Better tasting and better for you.

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Getting her morning fix of yogurt cheese, egg yolk, and avocado!

There are several ways to make whey, but my favorite way is to strain yogurt. Mostly because there is no advance preparation! It can be used for cooking or on bagels. It also makes a great first food. Whether you are a WAPF groupie or you follow the FDA to a T, they both agree that plain yogurt can be introduced from 6-8 months; and my youngest little bug is a yogurt cheese fanatic!

First start with a good quality plain yogurt. I use Seven Stars Farm yogurt that I purchase from my local Earth Fare. Line a large strainer with a clean dish towel. Pour in the yogurt, cover, and let it sit at room temperature for several hours. The whey will drip into the bowl.

Next, tie up the towel with the solids and tie the sack to a wooden spoon placed on top of a container so the rest of the whey can drip out. When the towel stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store the whey and cheese in the refrigerator. The yogurt cheese will last about a month and the whey about 6 months. A 32 ounce container of yogurt yields about a cup of cheese and about 1.5 cups of whey for me.

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If you like the recipes and health advice I post on here, check out my Amazon store for suggestions on cookbooks, ingredients, and healthcare products. You can find it here.

[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional and AM NOT ALLOWED to claim that essential oils can cure, treat, or prevent illness, so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health. You should always do what is right for you.]

Lacto-Fermented Chicken Feed. Why and How.

It’s been about 3 months since our sweet chickens have made their way to our house and we have enjoyed the benefits of having pets that make us breakfast. And something called lacto-fermentation helps us enjoy it even more.

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If you’ve ever heard the word fermented before, you probably have in mind “sour kraut, yogurt, kimchi, wine, etc”. If you’ve been to my house and seen my laboratory kitchen, you might have kombucha in mind.

Just like fermented foods are good for a human’s stomach and digestion, it is also good for a chicken’s; which, in turn, is once again good for us.

Fermented feed can increase intestinal health which helps fight things like E-coli and other nasty pathogens. It can also strengthen the egg shells and increase egg weight.

To summarize, fermented feed produces better eggs and healthier (therefore happier) chickens. For more info on the WHY, visit the African Journal of Biotechnology.

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Now for the HOW

First, fill a glass or food grade container about a third of the way with your feed of choice. You’ll need to leave room for the grains to expand. I buy a basic layer feed from a local feed store, but if you want to be adventurous, The Elliott Homestead has a great recipe for a homemade organic feed that can really optimize fermentation.

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Second, fill the container with filtered water until it sits 1-2 inches above feed. Water straight from the tap has levels of chlorine that will kill bacteria, including the good that you’re trying to create. If you need to use tap water, just let it sit on your counter over night before pouring.

Next, cover loosely with the lid and leave in room temperature for 2-3 days. Try to remember to stir the feed at least once a day and add water as needed to make sure the water stays at the recommended level.

When you start to see bubbling and a cloudiness, you know your fermentation is in progress!

You want your feed to have a sweet/sour smell. It will smell like a fruity yogurt. That’s lactic acid. If your feed smells rotted, dump your grains and start over. If it has a bit of a yeasty scent, add about 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to balance it back out.

You never want to see mold. This is another reason to dump the feed! Always make sure you have plenty of water to prevent this from happening.

DSCN1195After 2-3 days your feed should be ready. You’ll know by the strong sweet/sour smell. Scoop and drain and feed your chickens. They will love it!

You can reuse the fermented liquid but I haven’t reused it more than a couple times. I don’t want the feed to go bad.

This is still a supplementation to the worms and grit that chickens love so much. If you want beautiful nutrient dense eggs, you still want them to be getting fresh green grass and worms! Let your hens roam for treats!

To conclude things, I’d like to introduce a new member of the Donald family: T-Pain, Baby, Blackie, and many other names the boys have gone through since Christmas.

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Disclaimer: Everything in this post is based off personal experience with my own chickens. Do your research and make sure you are comfortable with your own decisions!

My Top 5 Favorite Uses for Essential Oils (and the recipes)

I love essential oils! I started using things like herbs and oils because I didn’t want to live in fear that one of my babies would get hold of something that could badly harm or even kill them. Over the last couple of years I have worked to turn our medicine cabinets into cabinets filled with tinctures made from herbs and oils instead of what I consider poisons. I have discovered some tried-and-true concoctions and have decided to share a few. Click on the underlined name to go straight to the recipe.

[Just to let you know, I have only recently been using Young Living (read about my unboxing here) so I am by no means a brand snob. This is not a post to PR Young Living. Though I recommend the quality of YL, you do your research and buy oils you feel comfortable using on your family.]bleach21

1. Homemade bleach alternative: This is one that gets used frequently in our house. We wash a lot of whites between the 5 of us! The oil used here is Lemon so it makes it smell very nice and does a great job of brightening the whites without the harmful effects bleach can have!

2. DIY bug bite salve: Between the Purification that cleanses bites and keeps them from itching and the Lavender that helps bring the swelling down this one has been my favorite so far! Bugs also hate the smell so it can even be used as a repellent. A friend of mine used this on some tick bites on his ankle and claimed that it did way more for him than the medicine he had been using for almost a month!

3. Headache remedy: There is no link to this, because it is simple enough to just say. My husband uses this every night when he gets a migraine and swears by it. Just mix a couple drops of peppermint with about a tablespoon of oil (we use coconut or a V6 blend sold by Young Living) and rub it on the temples, forehead, and back of neck.

4. Oil pulling with a twist: You know I can’t discuss health without bring up my love for oil pulling. See my most recent update here. There are several oils you can add to bring a different detox to the table. My personal favorite is Thieves.

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5. Deodorant for sensitive skin: I choose to omit shea butter and it works great. My oil of choice for this recipe is Lavender.

Do you have any favorites? Comment below and share them!

[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional and AM NOT ALLOWED to claim that essential oils can cure, treat, or prevent illness, so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health. You should always do what is right for you.]

My Top 5 Favorite Recipes for Fall

FALL!!

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My absolute favorite season! In case you haven’t figured out in the past, I’m a little obsessed with fall! And above all the awesome weather, cute decorations, and fun trips to the pumpkin patch, my all time favorite thing is the fall recipes!! This is my ultimate cooking season. I go through this phase where I can only be found in the kitchen with a sweater on cooking something.

So throughout the last few years I have been finding some really great fall recipes to make my house smell like fall and have painstakingly narrowed it down to just 5 of my favorites.

1: Butternut Squash Soup. This was the first I made this fall. It is verybutternut creamy and is a nice mix of savory and sweet. The texture is much like tomato soup. It tastes best when you use homemade bonebroth!

2: Cinnamon Pie. I decided to start making this shortly after my favorite episode of Psych several years ago. It is as good as Shawn and Gus say it is!

3: Cornbread. No football season is complete without a chili night. And chili is only made better by adding cornbread! It’s better than the average sweet bread.

4: Pumpkin Pancakes. I’m one of those nuts that thinks I have to PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS this time of year. My pancakes are no exception. These are gluten free for those with celiac.

e6dfa-wp_20131021_0185: Hot Chocolate. We love our hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. This is a very rich recipe and I love it! (As much as I love homemade marshmallow root marshmallows, they just don’t do well in the fire pit. We use good ole store bought “marshmallows”)

These are my top 5 favorite things to make in the fall! Comment below with any fall favorites you may have!

P.S.: It wouldn’t be a proper fall post without a link to my favorite fall checklist. Print it out, put it on the fridge, and see how many you can accomplish before the end of fall!

When Breast isn’t Best

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Plenty of women try to breastfeed but for many different reasons they are unable to, whether it be work, low supply, NO supply, PPD, etc. AND THAT’S OKAY!

Here’s My Story

I loved being able to breastfeed my boys. It was convenient, cheap, we slept more, and I got time with them that no visitor could take away from me by asking to feed them. I got to breastfeed exclusively for 3 months and then started the bottle.10649762_10203655152013066_4176109349101739273_n

I was looking forward to the same privileges with June, but wasn’t so lucky.

I had surgery in 2013 to correct some serious back, neck, and shoulder problems I was developing. The removal was so extensive on one side, that those milk ducts couldn’t be saved.

I knew I would eventually have to supplement, but I wasn’t expecting it to be after day 5, when my baby still hadn’t had a dirty diaper.

I had accepted the fact that I was going to need to supplement, but I wasn’t expecting her to have nipple confusion.

I had to choose to bottle feed exclusively. As silly as it sounds, it is an overwhelming feeling for someone that has their heart set on breastfeeding.

Choosing a formula can be hard for a label reader. Companies claim their formula is closest to breast milk; I was unaware breast milk contained taurine and corn syrup solids (hint: it doesn’t).

I wanted a formula that was similar to breast milk and was gentle on baby’s stomach. I had tried a couple of commercial formulas but they hurt her tummy.

I Chose Goat Milk Formula

I was not interested in formulas with a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce and that kept my little girl in pain, so I did some research and became interested in goat milk formula. I also made the Pediatrician and my Midwife aware that I was interested to make sure they were comfortable with the idea. Although breast is best, goat’s milk is extremely close!

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Your infant shouldn’t drink straight goats milk, because the .5 gram difference in protein adds up over the course of the day for a small body. Therefore, you need a formula recipe from a trusted, reliable source to make sure your baby gets all the fats, probiotics, and vitamins he/she needs.

Here’s the Recipe

Thanks to my sweet midwife, I found a formula that works great for Ms. June. After she did some of her own research, she found a great recipe for me through the Mt. Capra blog (link in the picture above). I got all my ingredients from the beloved Vitacost where I get most of my health products for a cheaper price (click the link to get $10 off your first order).

Yields 8 ouncesDSCN0934

1 tbsp powdered goat milk

1 tsp organic coconut oil

1 tsp organic olive oil

2 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar

1/8 tsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses

1/8 tsp infant probiotics (only needs to be added to one bottle a day)

Suggested amount on package infant vitamin drops (also once a day)

Mix 5 ounces of very hot water with coconut oil in bottle. When oil melts, add olive oil, molasses, sugar, and vitamin drops. Shake well. Add milk powder and enough cold water to make 8 ounces. Shake VERY well. Add probiotics last and shake again.DSCN0922

If you like this recipe and want a guide to making larger portions (1 pint, 1 quart, 1 gallon), subscribe to Mt. Capra’s blog (link still in picture above) and they will email you a quick printable. It is very handy to be able to make formula in large amounts so that all you have to do it take a bottle out of the fridge and warm it up!

[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your baby’s diet or health. You should always do what is right for you and your baby.]

 

 

Top 15 Healthier Options for Saying Goodbye to Coffee Creamer!

This is a guest post from Kaylyn Alexander, who writes over at The Earthbound Experience.

1-1226265697kzA8Coffee addicts, let’s admit it: a freshly brewed pot of coffee is the main motivator for getting out of bed each morning. For centuries coffee has provided jolts of energy for millions, however coffee creamer is relatively new with its mid-20th century birth date. I’m a sucker for a little Bailey’s Irish Cream or Half & Half, but lately I’ve noticed that my stomach disagrees.

A rude awakening came to me when I realized coffee additives contain additives. A popular creamer additive is carrageenan (found in Bailey’s, Land O Lakes’ Half & Half and Coffee-Mate), which has been linked to gastrointestinal problems and cancer. If you’ve experienced decreased intestinal secretions or stomach ulcers, you share the same concern scientists did when feeding a 5% diet of carrageenan to rats. Let’s also not forget the hydrogenated oils that are basically manipulated oils the body can’t break down. Or the pesticide ingredient Disodium Phosphate that is also used in industrial cleaning products. Needless to say I trashed my toxic coffee creamer supply.

There are a plethora of options to flavor or spice up your coffee while keeping it healthy. Over the past few months, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite healthy coffee additives I’d love to share with you:

1. Almond Milk. Almond Milk is a go-to for vegans and those with a lactose intolerance. It is naturally cholesterol-free, low single-almondin fat and calories, and high in vitamins and minerals. If you don’t mind a hunt of nuttiness and prefer a milky additive in your coffee, this one is for you.
2. Coconut Milk. Coconut Milk has the same benefits as almond milk but is distinctly and obviously favored by coconut lovers. Coconut milk has antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties; Pacific Islanders refer to the coconut tree as the Tree of Life.
3. Coconut Oil. This is one of my favorite additives because of its health benefits (read directly above) and simplicity. I’ve grown away from milky additives and sometimes prefer a little flavor; both preferences are satisfied by coconut oil. The oil is known to aid weight loss and increase immunity.
4. Extracts (Vanilla, Almond, Peppermint, etc.). Small additives for loads of flavor. Try peppermint extract with chocolate-infused coffee (read below) for a peppermint mocha.
5. Cocoa Powder. Try brewing your coffee grinds with cocoa powder for a smooth, chocolaty infusion. Cocoa powder is filled with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
6. All-Natural Ice Cream. Sometimes you have to cheat, and this is the way to do it. Sweet, creamy goodness in a cup of bold coffee is simply perfection.
7. Agave Nectar. My mom swears by this natural sweetener. It has a low-glycemic index meaning it won’t cause blood sugar to sharply rise or fall. Although agave has more calories than sugar, it’s sweeter and breaks down easier.
8. Local Honey. If you’re not down with Agave, you’re probably a die-hard honey fan. It’s debated that local honey is somewhat of a natural vaccination during allergy season. Honey is endorsed in the Bible for its health benefits.
9. Stevia. Drop the sugar and try this zero-calorie, all-natural sugar substitute. Stevia is high in alkalinity (cancer cells can’t survive in an alkaline environment) and sold in several forms.
cloves-anise-and-cinnamon10. Brown Sugar. It’s debatable whether brown sugar is healthier than white sugar, but oh how delightful it tastes in a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
11. Cinnamon Sticks. Way to level up the fancy factor of your coffee! Cinnamon sticks not only look delectable in your cup, the spice is known to suppress the appetite and can lead to weight loss. If you like cinnamon, also try Star Anise.
12. Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is an all-natural sweetener that is easy on the digestive system and wards of illness.
13. Cardamom. This popularly used coffee additive in India can also be found in Chai and Thai tea. Cardamom may take away coffee breath, lower blood pressure, inhibit bacterial growth and is an aphrodisiac.
14. Whey Protein. Boost the nutritional value of your coffee by adding Whey Protein, which will additionally prolong your energy throughout the day.
15. Ice. I’ve known several people who won’t drink coffee black, unless it’s iced. Tip: to prevent watered-down coffee, make coffee ice cubes.