Category Archives: Miscellaneous

12 Practical Tips for Transitioning to Real Foods

Real Food -SaveThe journey into Real Foods and a more Natural way of life will begin in different ways for different people, and will manifest in different ways, too.

For some, the interest in this journey might come from an article online that talks about the benefits of bone broth or lard. For others, it might be health problems that make them start considering a change to the diet. Maybe it will begin with you when you are on a field trip with your child at a local farm. Maybe a few backyard chickens will be the catalyst that lights your passion for getting back to the truth about food. Or maybe the light will simply come on when you read the ingredient list on the box of your favorite cereal, cookies, or boxed mix, and you realize that your body just was never meant to ingest these things!

I think for me, it was a really slow progression that was influenced by little things and bits of information at a time that finally clicked. The beginning of my journey was mostly about replacing the packaged and processed foods we ate- from snacks to dinner ingredients- with truly homemade, made from scratch alternatives. Somewhere in there I began to seek out more grass-fed meats, better milk options, healthier fats. Then, along the way, I began replacing my non-stick pots and pans with cast iron, stainless steel and stoneware. Natural Remedies fascinate me…and the journey continues!

And though the journey continues, I can say my pantry, refrigerator and cabinets looks totally different than they did 5 years ago, and I absolutely believe we are the better for it. The further I get from the packaged and processed, the less I want it.

But, I’ll be honest. Though this journey is extremely rewarding and exciting, it can also be VERY overwhelming and even discouraging sometimes. There is SO much to learn, so many changes to make, and sometimes the options are very few. I might not know where to find grass-fed beef, or I can’t afford dairy herd shares to give me access to raw milk. Sometimes I find it overwhelming that just when I think I am doing something right, I find out I was really mis-informed.

But, don’t throw in the towel!

Here are a few extremely simple and practical tips that have helped me (and still do!) as my family has transitioned into more Real Foods.

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4 Excellent Resources for More Real Foods & Learning Forgotten Skills

PicMonkey CollageFor Christmas this past year, I asked for several books and cookbooks- and between my husband and extended family, I think I received each one I asked for.

All of these books relate to either real foods, or forgotten skills and know-how from time’s past. I absolutely eat this stuff up!

So- for those who might be similarly-minded, I thought I’d share with you the books that have been in my hands recently. I’m learning a lot!

I have been enjoying jotting down ideas and quotes and learning all sorts of interesting facts and increasing my knowledge. Though, I must say that the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know!

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Mason Jar Pitchers

P1050502Here’s a fun product, I’ve been enjoying using- Mason Jar pour caps!

I was wanting to find a nice sized glass pitcher, so I could quit using the old plastic pitcher that we usually used for iced tea. But, I didn’t really want to buy anything new.

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Homemade Sweet Barbecue Sauce

P1050239Everyone needs a good stand-by recipe for a basic barbecue sauce.

This one I am sharing today is my family’s current favorite. It is thick, sweet and boasts a deep and bold flavor from molasses.

Store-bought, bottled and processed barbecue sauce is among the growing list of ‘foods’ I no longer buy at the grocery store. Here are the ingredients for the popular Sweet Baby Rays Original Barbecue Sauce.  A few notable ingredients are Caramel Color, Sodium Benzonate Preservative, Modified Food Starch. Tasty, Huh?

But the good news is, a homemade sauce is so quick to mix together, and you might even have the ingredients in your house already!

Here it is:

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How to Cut Butternut Squash

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I remember the first time I wanted to prepare butternut squash. I stood looking at that oddly shaped thing on my counter and wondered how in the world I was going to get to the good stuff inside.

I don’t remember exactly how I ended up cutting it that time, but through trial and error I have learned an easy method that works well for me.

Here’s what you do:

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How to Preserve Tomatoes (quick freezer method)

P1040821The end of July is creeping up, and with it has come a bountiful harvest of tomatoes- the jewel of the garden. I planted several varieties this year, but especially a lot of Roma tomatoes- since they are so good for sauces.

So now is the time to begin to preserve those tomatoes.

Let me say, I do like canning things. I am one of those who thinks a counter-top of freshly canned fruits or veggies is absolutely beautiful and so rewarding. Yes, I do love the sound of the “pop” when a jar has sealed!

P1040813However, I have been doing more freezing of my tomatoes in recent years. Mostly because I don’t have a lot of spare time these days. I’m busy keeping up with my 4 young kids, keeping the house, running errands, etc. etc. You know how it is- you’re probably in the same boat as me.

This freezing method takes very little prep, does not heat my kitchen up like canning does, and I can freeze a batch in smaller amounts, as the tomatoes come in, instead of needing a large amount of tomatoes to even make the canning worthwhile.

Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons. You do need to have freezer space available. And there is always the possibility that you could have a storm and lose power for several days, and if you don’t have a generator, you could lose all your effort and harvest. So, weigh these factors, and decide which method is best for you.

If you were to search “how to freeze tomatoes” online, I’m sure you would find many methods- and probably from people who know a lot more about it than me.  But, this is simply how I do it, and we love to enjoy the resulting yummy sauces in the fall and winter!

PRINTABLE INSTRUCTIONS

There are 5 basic steps.

  1. Prep
  2. Rinse
  3. Boil
  4. Peel
  5. Pack bags or containers
  6. Freeze

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Homemade Glass Cleaner

P1030441I ran out of glass cleaner yesterday. It was Thursday, which meant it was Cassidy’s day to clean the front (glass) door, and Adam’s day to clean the fronts of the kitchen appliances (dishwasher, oven, etc.). (the kids have daily chores – I will have to post our version/method of chore charts sometime for any who may be interested) So- I needed that glass cleaner.

I remembered a pin I saw on Pinterest recently for a homemade glass cleaner recipe that looked really easy and promising. So, I looked it up and decided to try out a small batch too see if I liked it.

Now, let me just say that I have tried homemade cleaners before. Some, I have really liked, others…not so much! As much as I would like to save money and use more natural cleaning products- if I don’t feel like it is doing a good job, you can just forget it.

P1030443However, I was so pleased with this homemade glass cleaner, that I had to pass it along to you, too!

The pin came from The Frugal Girls.

The only ingredients needed for the cleaner are

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Dawn dish soap

simple, already had these on hand, and cheap!

Check out their post for the details!

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