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Honey Vanilla Granola Cereal

Did you know that a lot of kids don't know that pickles are pickled cucumber?

Seriously. Ask one.

The generation coming up does not know where their food comes from.

This is why I think it's important to take our kids to visit farms and shop at the farmer's markets. There, they will be able to actually talk face-to-face with people that grew/raised their food. Grasping the concept of "farm to table", as well as seeing foods made from scratch, will aid our children in making better food choices in the long run. They will be able to see the difference between whole foods vs processed foods.

So, how about getting them in the kitchen and making some cereal? 




Ingredients
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup raisins {or dried cranberries}
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, salt, and cinnamon
  • Stir in oil, melted butter, honey and vanilla.
  • Spread the mixture in an even layer on cookie sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 25 minutes, stirring half way through. Watch closely as granola starts to golden. It can go from golden to "cajun style" quickly.
This recipe is great served with your choice of milk, over yogurt, or dry as a snack. Just store this in an air tight container for fresh keeping.

**This would make a great gift for the holidays!
Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I will be honest with you, when I look up a recipe on a blog, I don't read all the jibber-jabber. I just want the recipe, man! So, my recipe posts aren't going to be chatty.

With that being said, here's the recipe:



Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 egg
1 C. whole wheat flour {I use King Arthur's}
1/2 C. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. blueberries {fresh or frozen}
Directions
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin cups with paper baking cups or grease bottoms of the pan.
  • In a large bowl beat milk, melted butter, and egg until combined.
  • Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Be careful not to over mix, just stir until moistened.
  • Fold in blueberries {I used frozen}
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  {Your kitchen will smell heavenly!}
**This muffin isn't very sweet, but I really liked it that way. The blueberries take center stage in this recipe. 
*** These are GREAT to freeze and pack for mid-morning snacks.

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Natural Beauty: DIY Turmeric Mask

Have you ever met someone and clicked with them right away on, not a only personality level, but a spiritual level as well? Anne of Green Gables referred to it as "Kindred Spirits". I can honestly say that I have found a kindred spirit in today's guest contributor. She is hysterical, which comes across in her writing, as well as beautiful inside and out. Without further adieu, my friend Jenn...

**wild applause**

DIY Turmeric Mask

What turmeric is good for: 

 
Acne, it's an anti inflammatory
Great for dark circles
Rat lung worms. Just kidding.
Anti Bacterial 
Oily Skin
Youthful glow
Slows hair growth
                           

RAW Honey for the skin- 

 
Opens pores so they can be unclogged
Anti inflammatory
                           

Milk- 

 
Lactic Acid, removes dead skin cells. So my entire face fell off. {please note that this is a joke}

I like to use all organic, but I couldn't find my organic turmeric, so I settled for the only one I could find hidden behind my GMO Kit-Kat bars. {not a joke}

 
Step one- Make sure you start with a clean face. Clip your hair back because turmeric is used a dye. Also, make sure to put on an old shirt and pants/shorts. {Or do like I did and wear a 3 dollar Wal-Mart mumu. I fought some old ladies over this thing.}

Step 2- Mix one and a half teaspoons of turmeric,1 and half tea spoons of honey, and 1 teaspoon of milk {if you use creamed honey, you can zap it in the microwave for a sec to make it more like a liquid. Or if you're like me and don't have a microwave, use the stove top and heat just until runny- about 1 min or less.} I use glass or metal to make this mask because it can stain plastic.  
 
 
 
Step 3- Mix this bad boy up until all the lumps are gone, then smell of it and gag a little. What? Clear skin is worth a case of dry heaves. You can apply the mask with the back of your spoon, use your fingers, or a foundation brush. Apply over lids, under lids, on neck and all over the face.  If it's too runny to stay on your face, you can always add more turmeric before you apply it to make it thicker. It won't hurt a bit. Add as much as you need to get it the thickness you like or need.
 
 

Step 4- Let set for 30 min. While I'm waiting I shovel these amazing peanut butter bars down.
Then rinse with warm water {the mask, not the bar}. Some people like to take a rag to their face as they rinse, but I'm too lazy for all that. I'd rather rinse it with my hand, then freak out that it got in my eyeball-- then Google if turmeric stains eyeballs. True story.



About the Author

First and foremost, Jenn is a Daughter of the King.

She and her husband, Andy, are getting ready to celebrate their 13th year of wedded bliss.

Jenn is blessed to be a stay-at-home mom of 3. They spend their days homeschooling and fostering wounded woodland animals.

When she isn't teaching, nursing animals back to health, or obsessing over the cleanliness of her beautifully decorated home, you will most likely find Jenn in the kitchen making something amazing from scratch, planking, or watching re-runs of Animal Cops. 
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Why I Cook From Scratch

Genesis 3

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

I believe in Intelligent Design. I believe that my Heavenly Father created the world and everything in it in six literal days.

In those 6 days, God created everything that Man would need to survive: food, medicine, shelter, water, and He created them in a way that we would receive optimal nutritional benefits.



After the 1950s, we have seen an unnatural alteration in our food culture. Consumers wanted food to be easier, faster, cheaper, and more of it-- so, the food industry ramped up their scientific approach for production to keep up with the demand.

Food has been broken down, dehydrated and ground up, fillers added to make it go farther, not-your-grandmas-preservatives were added to make it last longer, colors were added to make it prettier, pesticides are sprayed on it so corporations would have bigger harvests so they would make more money, then crops were being genetically modified so that they would grow better and bigger and more, more, more, MORE... Should I even start on what's happened with our meat and dairy?! ...UGH!

Now look at us. We are a generation of disease ridden, obese, malnourished people.

You cannot convince me that it's just a coincidence.

I am fed up.
 
Over the last few years, my idea of food and overall living has evolved. I see the need for Back-to-Basics-Living and am slowly working my household over to that.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/dc/f6/bd/dcf6bda87016f171b8da2e760b38254b.jpg
source

The first steps that I have taken is to cook from scratch and grow some of my family's food.

Cooking from scratch it isn't really a huge change, it just requires more meal prep and planning.

Now, before you start thinking that I am one of these haughty, granola crunching {mmm..granola}, tree hugging {not that there's anything wrong with that}, out-of-touch-with-the-real-world people, I want you to know that I DO live in the real world and I know that sometimes the budget doesn't allow for gray sea salt, gluten free this, free range that, organic everything... and blah, blah, blah. I don't get them all time. I can't. That's why I say 'when possible'. Cut yourself {and me} some slack. We do the best we can, when we can. Most of the time, the best I can do is purchase whole foods and staple items for "from scratch" cooking. I can't always get organic, either. It's Oh. Kay. 

Did I mention that I am also a working mom? Yeah. I have a work schedule and a $50 to $60 a week grocery budget. How's that for "in touch"? ;) Cooking from scratch is possible in a working mom's schedule-- we just have to plan a little better.

I do it for these guys
For an example, let's look at sandwich bread!

Homemade bread has: flour, yeast, honey, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt. That's a total of 6 ingredients.  

Sunbeam Bread Ingredients:

Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Water, Wheat Gluten, Cellulose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast. Contains 2% Or Less of Each of The Following: Whole Wheat Flour, Salt, Wheat Bran, Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Dough Conditioners (May Contain One Or More of The Following: Mono- & Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono- & Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Enzymes), Corn Starch, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Distilled Vinegar, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour. Contains Wheat and Soy.

**Um, dough conditioners? Caramel color? What the what?!

Made from scratch spinach, shrimp, and heirloom tomato white pizza
Now, let's get real. Right now, there is a half eaten loaf of store bought bread in my pantry. There is also a mostly eaten loaf of homemade sourdough bread on my counter.

I have homegrown organic vegetables in my freezer, as well as non-organic, non-free range chicken.

I have a box of raisin bran next to a jar of homemade granola.

Hmmm... Maybe I am a "crunchy momma".

You see where I am going with this? This is a gradual, do-the-best-you-can-with-what-you've-got process.

If you want to live a more natural, wholesome lifestyle, take it one step at a time. Do the best you can with what you've got. Some improvement is better than none. I've heard this called "imperfect progress" and I feel good about it.

Those are my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Do you have any baby step advice for others who are looking to change their lifestyle? Leave your comments below.

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Who are you calling a SPELUNKER?

My hubby on the Flint-Mammoth Connection Anniversary Trip 2007
In the caving community, there is a strong understanding that you don't ever, EVER call a caver a "spelunker".
Dem's just fighting words 'round these parts.

If you ask a caver what the difference is, there's a good chance they will tell you:

"The difference between a caver and a spelunker? Cavers rescue spelunkers."

What's the big deal? Well, before you insult a caver, let me break it down for you.

By definition {Merriam-Webster}, a spelunker is one who explores and studies caves as a hobby.

Imagine, if you will, a couple of kids finding a cave and taking a flashlight to check it out. They are inexperienced, don't have the proper equipment, don't know the caving rules or techniques, and are really just in there to ...well... as they say... "fiddle-fart around".  They are on an adventure to have fun and discover a new world, yet they are at high risk of injuring themselves and destroying the cave with their lack of knowledge, experience, and respect.

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Deep Dish Chocolate Pie



The only time I really make desserts are for special occasions.

This past weekend was special since my parents were visiting from out of state. My Poppa loves chocolate pie. What kind of daughter would I be if I didn't have one for him?

To the pie!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c white granulated sugar
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
3 cups of cold milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 tbsp real butter
A crust to put it in {recipe}

Instructions:

1. *Before you turn the heat on* In a medium sized sauce pan {I used my cast iron skillet}, combine the first 4 ingredients, whisk together until thoroughly combined.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and milk.
3. Pour your egg and milk mixture in with your dry ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.  
4. Turn your burner on to medium heat.
5. Stir constantly.
6. When your chocolate filling begins to bubble, watch the clock and let it bubble for about 2 1/2 minutes while continually stirring. Remove from the heat.
7. Your chocolate filling mixture should be thick and resemble brownie batter.
8. Stir in your butter and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated.
9. Pour into your deep dish pie shell.
  
{It can be eaten as is OR you can give it a meringue topping, which is what I did. If you would like to do so, keep scrolling}

Stiff peaks
Meringue Ingredients
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
4 Tbsp Sugar

1. With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites at a medium speed until soft peaks form.
2. Add in your remaining ingredients, return your hand mixer and beat until stiff peaks form.
3. Spread onto your pie filling until all of the filling is covered.
4. Bake at 350 degress Farenheit until your meringue is golden brown {about 8 to 10 minutes-- but keep a close eye on it!}

Serve some to your favorite people. 



Enjoy,
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