Homemade Dill Pickles

I labored over making 27 quarts of dill pickles this week and it was lots of fun! It took about four hours to complete amidst lunch preparations, nap times, discipline sessions, and the like. Always an adventure trying to store food for the winter while managing as a mother, and that is why I limit my canning to pickles, tomatoes, and jams (although I’ll probably do applesauce too this year, if my energy survives). I made this same recipe last year and they turned out perfectly delicious and crunchy! I thought 15 quarts would surely last us the whole year, but we wolfed them all down by over two months ago. I roughly tripled the recipe below to make 27 quarts from 25 pounds of cucumbers. Here is my video tutorial of the process. Hope you enjoy my amateur efforts! ;)


You can find the original recipe that I adapted from Allrecipes.com:

  • 8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
  • 4 cups white vinegar or half and half with apple cider vinegar (for the added nutritional benefits)
  • 12 cups water
  • 2/3 cup pickling salt
  • 16 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
  • 8 heads fresh dill weed
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp pickling spice, per quart, optional (but adds delicious flavor!)


  1. Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink or bathtub with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
  3. Sterilize 8 (1 quart) canning jars by running through the dishwasher. Sterilize lids by boiling in a small pan of water until ready to use.
  4. In each jar, place 1 clove of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Cut off 1/16-1/8 inch off the end of each cucumber to ensure crunchy pickles. Then add 1 more garlic clove, 1 sprig of dill, and pickling spice.
  5. Fill jars with hot brine to the rim of the jar. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar’s rims of any residue.
  6. Process sealed jars by inverting and placing in a large shallow of water for 5-10 minutes. The water should cover the rim of the jar. Remove jars while inverted to a towel on your counter and cool completely before turning over.
  7. Store pickles for roughly 6-8 weeks before opening in order for the cucumbers to pickle sufficiently. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

Tips to Achieve Crunchy Pickles

1.Use fresh ingredients – fresh dill (no more than 1-2 days old) and fresh firm pickles, free of soft spots. You also want the most warty pickles you can find.
2. Soak in a ice cold water bath (2-8 hrs).
3. Cut off 1/16-1/8 inch of the blossoming end of the pickle before putting in canning jar.
4. Invert in small pan of boiling water to cover the rim of the jar to process for 5-10 minutes.

I followed these three steps that were shared in the comments section of the original recipe, and it definitely assured I had crunchy pickles and none went to waste!

What about Lacto-Fermented Pickles?

I would love to make some lacto-fermented pickles, for the increased nutritional benefits, but unfortunately you have to have plenty of refrigerator or cold cellar space for storage, which I lack in our small condo. Learn how to make them here:

Nourishing Days: Fermenting Vegetables
YouTube video on Fermenting pickles
Wild Fermentation: Making Sour Pickles

Kitchen Stewardship: Finally…Crunchy Pickles! (her fun attempts at pickles!)

I’d like to make a small single batch in this method soon!

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5 Natural Medicine Cabinet Essentials

Photo Credit

Fall is definitely arriving here in the Northwest as we welcome rain and chilly weather turning our thoughts towards starting to prepare for the winter and the cold/flu season. Last year I shared about stocking your natural medicine cabinet and found a wealth of information and ideas passed around from our readers. As I look back on this previous year, I realize I collected many items that were truly not necessary. My goal this year was to simplify my medicine cabinet and stick to the items that were most effective when dealing with the everyday cold and flu bugs last winter. Here are my top 5 items that I believe should be in every Mama’s cabinet:

1. Elderberry Syrup

I cannot praise this concoction enough! It is easy and frugal to make your own supply, and it is incredibly healing to the body. As I shared previously, “Elderberry is anti-viral, contains high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, has cell-protecting components, soothes sore throats, and supports the immune system and respiratory system.” We have found it extremely effective for all colds, running noses, sour throats, flu, fevers and various aches and pains. It covers all your bases and is perfectly safe for adults and children.

Learn how to make your own elderberry syrup and keep it stocked in your fridge all winter long. Take one teaspoon daily to help boost your immune system and prevent illness or 1-4 teaspoons daily during sickness. Check out this helpful video from Mountain Rose Herbs on preparing your own. Mountain Rose Herbs sells dried elderberries for an excellent price.

If you’d rather buy your Elderberry syrup, we have used the Quantum Elderberry brand as well and it is excellent alternative. You will go through it with one cold bug, so that is why I started to make my own because it was significantly cheaper.

2. Papaya Enzymes

We used papaya enzymes regularly when I was growing up and they have always been the most effective natural solution for stomach aches and indigestion – for adults and children. Papaya Enzymes are a chewable digestive aid that is 100% natural – made from papaya fruit. Pepermint and chlorophyll are added to refresh and sweeten breath, so it is also a great breath refreshener! I usually use two for myself and one tablet for children.

3. Epsom Salts

Sooth sour muscles, aches, pain, and relieve stress with epsom salts. They are effective in cleansing open wounds, remove warts, and heal the vaginal area after birth. Sprinkle a handful throughout the bath tub and soak as desired. Add a few drops lavender essential oil for enhanced healing and relaxation.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is very effective for burns, cuts, skin irritations such as relieving mosquito bits or poison ivy, and general cleansing of skin. You can grow a plant indoors to have on hand for these needs – simply break off a leave and rub the juices on the infected area.

5. Arnica

We love Arnica for all those bumps and bruises, which seem to happen daily at our home. I apply a dab of Arnica and the healing process is enhanced. Helps prevent bruising beautifully. We use Hyland’s Arnica Spray.

These are the top 5 natural healing tools at our home – items I have used consistently over the past few years. There are many other wonderful natural healing on the market, but I have found these to be the top picks for everyday use as a wife and mother. Keep the cabinet simple so your essentials are easy to find when the need arises. My next pursuit is to invest in a aromatherapy diffuser, in order to start using more essential oils in our home for healing and maintaining health and wholeness. I love the idea of fresh healing scents flowing through our home! Any recommendations out there for a diffuser?

What are your essentials?

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August at Our Home

It was a lovely month at the Edmonds home. Aaron and I helped serve at Compassion Vancouver, an effort in our community to offer free medical, dental, and social services to the needy. I was coordinating the hospitality team and it was wild and crazy day serving several hundred people, but the event went extremely well, although I had never experienced such extreme exhaustion till after this event. I received a massage from one of the volunteers and slept from 8:30pm-6:30 am! Maybe that is what I need, a daily massage anyone?

Aaron received some extra time off work and we enjoyed it immensely by taking a quick trip to Manzanita, OR, biking around town, and just resting. Our family picture above was taken from the top of a mountain just north of Manzanita overlooking the Oregon Coast, the highest peak between San Francisco and Canada. We hiked 1.5 miles zig zag straight up this mountain with two kids on our backs. We died but were determined to make it to the top. It was worth it!

Titus started walking this month. Once he finally decided to take the plunge, he was rocking and rolling. It has been delightful seeing him explore on his two feet, even if he waited till 17 months to do it.

Karis is loving learning her ABC’s, thanks to the inspiration of Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve and our other preschool resources. I added a craft book, Little Hands Paper Plate Crafts in order to add more letter related crafts to our learning (this month is “B” so we made a paper plate painted bird). We make one craft each week and bake one treat related to the letter (blueberry muffins this week). I am not really the crafty type, but wanted some additional ideas for simple projects to make and these are simple, easy, and only require some basic craft supplies.

I honestly did not complete any reading this month, beyond getting started on one book. I immersed myself in the Bible for all my reading times to help sustain me through sleepless nights. It has been beautiful to see all that God is working in and through me. During a bought of depression, the Lord again reminded me of the importance of cultivating thankfulness. Upon waking each day, I strive to write out at least five things I am thankful for that day. Just practicing this habit is so effective in establishing a joyful heart.

The Lord also reminded me of the importance of good routines. I had stopped my menu planning and was randomly going to the store here and there, planning meals on a daily basis, resulting in a sky-rocketing food budget. I had stopped my weekly planning retreat and the results were quite disastrous. I am so thankful for the Lord’s gentle guiding me back on track. By the end of the month, I have re-established these routines, returned to my monthly menu planning for September, re-opened my planning notebook, and my heart and life has been so much more peaceful. These tools are invaluable. Thank you Lord for getting me back on track!

Today is my birthday…the big 25! We celebrated last weekend by taking a fun breakfast and shopping outing with my sisters (did I mention I love Buffalo Exchange for used quality clothing), followed by a special date walking around Portland with my hubby. We are off this weekend to celebrate the union of Aaron’s oldest brother, Nathan, to my soon to be sister-in-law, Kathy. We are thrilled! I will be sure to share some pictures of this lovely event later.

Have a blessed weekend!

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Safe & Frugal Shower Curtain Options

Have you ever sensed that stench from a new shower curtain liner that invades your bathroom? This smell is PVC plastic (#3 plastic) that out gases toxic odors that you really want to avoid if all possible. Studies have shown that these vinyl curtains contain high concentrations of chemicals that are linked to liver damage as well as damage to the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, some of which can remain around for up to a month after installing.

I used plastic vinyl shower curtain liners for several years and just knew inwardly that those smells were probably not good for our family, especially because it regularly caused headaches. This last year, I made the effort to find an alternative when the time came to replace it. I wanted something that would not contain this toxin, but also wouldn’t be wasteful. Plastic shower curtains liners get quite disgusting in a short time and then disposed of and replaced.

There are several alternatives on the market. Choose fabric! Hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, or recycled materials are all available. They are excellent options but rather expensive (ranging in price from $85-195 dollars).

The best option I have found is the simple 100% polyester fabric shower curtain liners. They are available online or at your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $10 in an array of solid colors. The polyester repels the water and dries quickly. They last forever and can hide any water stains very nicely, especially if you get a chocolate colored one (like us!). When it comes time, you can throw it in the wash on a gentle cold cycle and then hang to dry back in its home. Mine just received its first washing after 9 months of use and it looks practically brand new again. These liners can actually be used completely on their own in replacement of any shower curtain. They function perfectly well in keeping all the droplets in the shower.

There are also other PVC free plastic curtains made from EVA vinyl, which is a non-chlorinated, odor free, environmentally friendly vinyl, on the market. They are safer but just as disposable and thus a fabric choice would be more sustainable due to its washability.

I think $10 is a worthwhile frugal investment to keeping those toxic smells out of your home, what say you?

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Homemade Calendula Salve

CalendulaNearing the end of summer, my herb garden is ready for harvest!

This post is written by contributing writer, Michele.

A homemade Calendula Salve is a staple in my homemade remedies box. It is the perfect treatment for chapped hands and faces (such as from winter winds, gardening, or babies’ teething drool), soothing little ones’ scraped knees, or mild burns.

I purchase organic herb seeds inexpensively from Mountain Rose Herbs, along with saving seeds from previous harvests (the most frugal option!) to plant in my garden. If you don’t have access to the fresh flowers, you can also find bulk dried calendula flowers from Mountain Rose Herbs or your local natural food/herb store. If you are harvesting your own flowers, pick the petals later in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the noon heat sets in.

To prepare my Calendula Salve, I have used Hemp Oil, which has a very high percentage of Essential Fatty Acids, and can be especially nourishing for skin conditions, such as eczema or dry skin, while being non-greasy and easily absorbed into skin. However, Olive Oil (which typically has a longer shelf-life) could be substituted instead.

When preparing the salve, make sure not to overheat it! Both the oil and the petals must be kept over low heat to prevent “cooking” them.

This is also a wonderful project for incorporating into learning a home with little ones! They love to harvest the petals, and sprinkle/stir them into the pot, before you turn on the heat. (I prepared my most recent batch along with my own daughter, as well as my visiting youngest sister.)


Calendula Salve

  • 2 Cups Calendula Petals (not the entire flower “heads”)
  • 1 Cup Hemp or Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Beeswax Pastilles/Pellets
  • 10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  1. Pour calendula petals into a stainless steel pot, and add oil. Turn on low heat, and stir to combine. Watch for tiny bubbles in the oil to gauge the temperature- it should not get any warmer than the “tiny bubbles stage!” Continue stirring occasionally over the next 2 hours, keeping the oil gently warm.
  2. Meanwhile, begin gently melting the beeswax in the top of a double boiler (don’t let this get too hot; you’ll want it to be a similar temperature as the oil, when you combine the two).
  3. After 2 hours, strain the petals from the oil. (You can use a fine-meshed strainer, tea filters, or cheesecloth.) Squeeze/press out as much of the oil as you can into a bowl. Then slowly pour the oil into the melted beeswax in the double boiler, stirring to combine. Then stir in the drops of lavender essential oil. (The oil acts as a “preservative,” as well as being a healing and calming ingredient.)
  4. Pour the warm oil into small jars/containers, and allow to cool. Avoid using clear glass, if possible. Choose containers (such as white plastic cosmetic containers or amber/cobalt-colored glass jars) that will help protect the salve from sunlight. (I repurpose containers from purchased shea or cocoa butters.) Store in a cool place.
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Contentment in All Circumstances

Pure exhaustion. That would describe me right now. Having found little sleep last night leaves me feeling pretty drained. Fear has been attacking me lately at the thought of trying to sleep. I was up folding laundry, reading, and simply crying out to the Lord. Can I possibly joyfully serve my family today when I have no brain? Where can I find the strength necessary to just focus on today, rather than worrying about tomorrow?

What does it mean to be content during these challenges seasons?

I love the way Nancy Twigg states it, “Contentment is being able to come to terms with where you are and what’s going on in your life, even if it’s not what you would have chosen for yourself. True contentment is not having everything you want, but learning to appreciate everything you have.” (From Clutter to Clarity)

Being content means being at peace with your circumstances. It means laying down your desires, and finding joy in all that the Lord has given. It is easy to let the mind wonder to unhealthy thoughts of comparison, asking the what-if’s and if-only’s, but being content clarifies life by keeping us focused on reality.

Contentment is possible when I focus on cultivating a thankful heart. When I fill my mind with a verbal reminder of all the sweet gifts he has poured out on my life – my husband, children, home, church family, etc – contentment is a companion of thankfulness. It requires taking control of my thoughts. It is not easy. When you are weary and tired, the mind does not function so easily and can wander back to thoughts of self-pity. There is no fruit in these thoughts. It is a daily battle for me right now. Self-pity is a work of the enemy to destroy our productivity and service to the Kingdom.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

Let’s take control of our thoughts, dear sisters. Let us stand with Paul in declaring, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). Let us put our hope in God who never changes, rather than the fluctuating circumstances around us. Even if nothing else may be going right, I can be confident that God is with me. Let’s discover together that God is enough through every season of life! I am speaking out loud to my soul today, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why are you in disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him. The help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalms 43:5)

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True Woman 2010

My sisters, mother, and I will be heading to Fort Worth, Texas on October 14-16 for True Woman 2010! We would love for any of you lovely ladies to join us as we are challenged in understanding our position and value in Christ. I am eager to hear the truth shared from Nancy Leigh Demoss, Mary Kassian, Kay Arthur and others about how we can live out our lives, homes, and ministries for the glory of God.

I wanted to use this opportunity to extend an invitation to you. Join our group and save $20 per ticket. If you are attending the conference, you can join our group! Simply use our group code: TGCC at checkout. Learn more through the promotional video here:

True Woman is also coming to Indianapolis, Indiana on September 23-25! I’d love to hear from you if you are able to attend, join our group, and meet up!

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Healthy Lemon Bars

I am a huge fan of lemon bars! In fact, I think it just might be my favorite sweet. I love the combination of sweetness and tartness that they provide for my palate. I have been on the search for a means of making my own lemon bars in a more natural fashion. I found my friend Kimi’s lemon curb bars recipe, and fell in love! Not only were they incredibly simple, but they were delicious, gluten free and healthy all in one! I am all about simplifying, so I adapted her methods a bit to make it quick and easy as follows. I skipped the addition of lemon zest, because I did not have it and also found that the mixture was definitely lemony enough without them, and thus it saved a further step.


3 whole eggs
1/4 cup honey (I found the smaller amount was perfectly sweetened enough – raw honey is your best option)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut oil (I cut back on the coconut oil from the original recipe since it was too strong of a coconut flavor to me. 1/4 cup was perfect! Choice virgin cold pressed unrefined coconut oil for best nutritional value.)


1 cup of raw almonds (soaked and dehydrated, if possible)
1 cup of raw pecans (I have used practically any combination of nuts here!)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of melted virgin coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Directions:

1. Blend the eggs, honey, and lemon juice together in a small sauce pan until thoroughly combined.
2. Turn the heat on to medium high and add coconut oil, mixing regularly until the oil has melted.
3. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens and bubbles.
4. Remove from pan and place in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool and thicken further.

Crust Directions:

1. Place nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. You may have little chunks of nuts, and that is fine.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until well combined.
3. Spread over the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 inch pan.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5. Cool completely before layering the filling over the top. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Scrumptious! I am going to make another batch now!

Check out Kimi’s original recipe here!

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Finding Time to Read as a Homemaker

We took an impromptu beach trip over the first part of this week, thus the delay for my next post. Aaron received some extra time off work this week, so we are enjoying some rest as a family!

Photo Credit

Every month that I post my reading list, I get the question: how do you find time to read so many books? Today, I’d like to share some of my ideas for incorporating reading into your lifestyle. Without reading, I would never be able to learn new things about natural, simple, and creative homemaking, nor would I be inspired to press on in my role through the struggles and weariness of everyday life. It is my source of inspiration on a daily basis! Reading the Word of God is my first priority as it enables me to find my daily strength in the One who is able. Beyond daily striving to abide in His Word, I aim to read another book to help stimulate my mind and strengthen me in my role.

I strongly encourage each women to cultivate the habit of becoming a reader. Make it your hobby! Each year I strive to read a godly title addressing all of my roles – womanhood, motherhood, wife, and missional homemaking. These four books – Womanly Dominion, Mission of Motherhood, Sacred Influence, and Practical Hospitality have been my top yearly reads and are essential for inspiring me further up and further in while pursuing daily faithfulness to the Lord. Beyond these titles I love selecting a few biographies to read to provide godly examples to model my life after. I like to read titles on natural living, creative homemaking, and Christian inspirational titles. As much as I would love to read more history and modern titles, I have to prioritize my limited reading time to those that will really build me up in this season of life.

Being a wife and mother who reads is essential for passing on that love for learning and reading to your children. They learn by example. What you love, they will likely love.

If you want to grow in your role as wife, mother, homemaker and follower of Jesus – please don’t neglect the art of reading!

1. Make a reading goal and seek accountability

Every year I make a reading goal. For me, I aim for 25 titles completed by the years end. I post it here on my blog and begin marking them off as I complete them. I add to the list throughout the year as I hear recommendations, but I often scratch out other titles if I loose interest. Make your list and seek a friend, spouse, or relative to help keep you accountable.

2. Set a weekly family reading night

Having Tuesday night reading night has been a challenge to maintain but it certainly has been our goal to have one night a week to read together or individually as a family. This encourages reading as a family exercise from which we can all find enjoyment.

3. Carry a book with you

Carry a book with you is a valuable way to make use of time while you are in the restroom, waiting for an appointment, waiting for the kids from piano lessons or sports, etc. Having a portable reading device is also very helpful in this way (Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch, or iBooks are great new additions to the portable world). I can read from my phone making it easy never to forget a book and easy to pack.

4. Read before bed to wind yourself down

I love to take 30 minutes before bed to just read to my heart’s content. This helps wind me down from the busyness of the day, or help relieve my mind from stress. Don’t read anything too stimulating at this time, as it could keep you up. This is my favorite and most productive reading time of the day because there are no distractions and the house is peaceful and quiet.

5. Don’t be afraid to put a book down

The key is not to get bogged down. If a book is not really interesting to me, I glean what I can and then move on. Even John Piper, one of my favorite theologians, explains that he rarely reads a book from cover to cover. He picks out the meat and leaves the rest behind. In this manner you can get a lot of reading it.

6. Get into the habit – read a page a day!

One of the key ways to start reading more is to just start with one basic goal – read a page a day! You will often find that you cannot stop after one page, but making the daily habit will far surpass your expectations. I often take a few moments after I lay the kids down for a nap to read a book and take a short rest myself. Yes, there may be many other tasks calling my name (clean the dishes, or organize something), but I deliberately stop and take a short rest to rejuvenate myself for the tasks ahead when my children rise up and hubby comes home.

7. Guard your internet usage and other distractions

Many people don’t have time for reading because they are using their free time for the internet or television. The average American watches over 4.5 hours per day – no wonder we don’t read! One of the reasons we don’t have a television is for this reason – too distracting for me. I still have to guard my computer time by setting a timer or using parental controls as a safeguard, so I have more time for more productive pursuits.

8. Read while you nurse – multi-task!

Reading while I nursed my littles ones has been the perfect time to read a book.

9. Take advantage of audio books

Subscribe to Audible or borrow audio books from the library to enjoy while you travel, houseclean, or prepare meals. I love to use these times to listen to my favorite podcasts - Revive Our Hearts or Homemakers by Choice – but it is another opportunity to listen and glean from books.

You always find time for that which you prioritize! Make reading a priority for your day and you will always be blessed with fresh inspiration for your calling!

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Simple Real Food Meals for Summer and Busy Seasons

Photo Credit

Busy seasons will come and go. There will be  seasons of life with greater suffering and trials to endure. Babies, morning sickness, moving, and the like. How can we pursue feeding our families nutritionally during these times? I honestly have been struggling with maintaining a real food from scratch diet in our home over the last year while enduring insomnia and caring for two lively little munchkins in our home. It simply has not been possible.

It was extremely refreshing to here from Stephanie at Keeper of the Home her post Even Real Food Bloggers Get the Blues about her own struggles with maintaining a real food diet in a busy season. Please check it out for some wonderful encouragement and suggestions. I was thankful to hear that I am not the only one.

During this season, I have been trying to slim down and stick to the basics. I do a simple natural housecleaning routine.

I currently buy sprouted bread, tortillas and the like. I am not baking much, partly due to being summer. My priority has been to maintain simplicity and maximum nutrition. I continue to make my own kefir for the wonderful antibiotics and as a great base for all of our smoothies, and kombucha (a refreshing summer beverage with lots of probiotics). These are easy and frugal at the same time.

Here are some of our simple summer meal ideas for this season:

Simple Meals at Our Home

Breakfast -we stick to the same breakfast routine at our house, rotating between oatmeal, smoothies, and eggs. Lately we have been eating a lot more green smoothies, because they are easy to prepare, the kids love them (and we don’t have to deal with picky eaters!), and you can throw practically anything in them for increased nutrition. They make an easy simple lunch or dinner as well. We add coconut oil or coconut cream for good fats and flax seeds as well. Stephanie recommended the addition of Green Foods Magna Plus Powder to increase the greens and veggie content. Great suggestion that I will be starting!

I also make a large batch of homemade granola for a simple breakfast or over top of fruit salad and yogurt, but also buy organic cereal for the enjoyment of my husband! This is one thing he really likes for me to buy on occasion. It sure is nice to have on hand for those busy Sunday mornings before church.

Hamburgers – yes, hamburgers are wonderfully delicious made from grass-fed meat. We serve with raw cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and such on a sprouted bun. Utilizing the husband and the BBQ is wonderful. He loves learning a new skill while mommy gets a break. I appreciate this immensely! Another favorite is chicken thighs with some natural Montreal steak seasoning.
Pasta Presto - a simple meal that takes 20 minutes to prepare! Add chopped zucchini, onions and carrots for increased veggie content if you don’t have the energy for a side salad. During busy seasons I often prefer to stick with one main dish to maintain my energy.
Hummus & Pita – a wonderful simple lunch with quality protein! Make a hummus platter for a light dinner.
Salmon Melts - I keep my pantry stocked with cans of wild salmon to make these easy sandwiches that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Makes a nutritious lunch or dinner.
Burritos - a seven layer burrito style is simple and nutritious with the addition of brown rice, black beans, grass fed beef or pastured chicken and your favorite toppings. Use canned beans if you need to!
Salmon – Trader Joe’s sells this marinated wild salmon soaked in olive oil and spices that takes 15 minutes to bake in the oven. It is delicious and easy to side with some potato wedges and a simple green salad.
Fish Tacos – I purchased some packs of Frontiers Organic Fish Taco Seasoning mix and what a delicious simple meal they make! I combine wild cod with the seasoning mix and fry it up. I use this mayo/lime juice mixture over cabbage, sliced avacados and tomatoes and serve over corn tortillas. Yum!
Baked Potato Bar - grad some chili (a can of chili if necessary) and serve over baked potatoes with an array of toppings – cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, bacon bites, etc. Along these lines we have also done nachos for a quick easy meal.
Cobb Salad- this yummy salad has been a regular lately! Make your own ranch dressing with my recipe. Taco Salad or Chicken Ceasar Salad are also simple main dish salads, perfect for warm summer days.
Grilled Veggie Sandwiches – these are simple and delicious!
Roast in the Crockpot - another easy meal is to throw a pork or chuck roast into the crockpot with natural BBQ sauce and allow to cook on low all day. Nice way to get dinner out of the way in the morning.

Those are some of our simple favorites! I hope you will be encouraged to see that we are all striving to be faithful with the time and energy we have to make whole nutritious food for our families, but the Lord gives grace for these seasons! Making everything from scratch may not be all the realistic for most of us. I am also confident that the Lord is in control of our health and wholeness! It is not worth it to worry and fret over our well-being. Maintaining a peaceful and joyful home is far more of a priority. Remember, the Lord instructs us to not worry about our food or clothing, but rather to “seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto us (Matt. 6:33).” Being faithful but not striving to the stress of our households is key!

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