Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday -- All Primal

All primal and under budget!  Have a great week!

Monday: Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken
Tuesday: Crockpot Beanless Chili
Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce
Thursday: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites
Friday: Paleo Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Bratwurst with side salad

Linking up with Organizing Junkie

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What's going on at the homestead?

Ok, ok...I can't really call myself a homesteader.  With an acre of land, a few chickens and a small garden plot I'd say I manage to grow roughly 10% of our food.  We live in a small house with a large yard, not a farm.

This week we're beginning a new project of building another chicken coop.  I've scoped out craigslist the last few weeks and managed to get 8 pallets absolutely free.  One guy was nice enough to even drop his off at our house free of charge.  He's getting a dozen eggs as soon as my girls pick up their laying...that's for sure.

I don't like giving my birds medicine of any kind, however this girl pictured to the left is sick.  My other two adult gals have started laying eggs again, almost an egg a day.  However her comb and wattles are pale red, not a bright vibrant red and she hasn't started laying yet.  This morning there was a tell tale sign of coccidiosis in some feces, and I'm almost certain it was hers.  I'm starting her on medicine for it today, because left untreated it would kill her and possibly the entire flock.

I'm also buying a few more chicks in the next few weeks from the local farm supply store.  They have a chicks night out, and I want some pretty egg layers, also known as Easter Eggers.

So overall, we've spent about $50 this weekend on supplies for coop building, and medicines necessary for the birds.  And for the next few weeks we'll have to toss out any eggs collected because we're medicating them.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chicken Coop Inspiration

Hubs and I are beginning our project of building a new chicken coop.  We've been inspired by some people who put together some nice chicken coops for a relatively small amount of money.  I have some requirements of this coop we're building.  It has to be functional, easy to clean, and cute.  I don't want some ugly eye soar in the back yard.


And then these nesting boxes build from extra wood laying around.


Currently we have about 8 pallets to begin working with and lots of inspiration and ideas to keep the cost way down.  We keep chickens to help supplement the food bill, and it just doesn't make sense to dump hundreds of dollars into a coop when we're just trying to save money.  Right?!

image source:

This last one is my absolute favorite.  He went into a lot of detail too about how to put together a coop, but I think he spent way more than I'm looking to.  I love love love this house though!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Stock

Yesterday I finally got around to roasting a chicken, and just the day before I had used my last quart of chicken stock. Good timing I suppose! Anyway, we picked the bird almost clean last night and dumped it in my crock pot.

Here's the exact recipe I used:

  • chicken bones from roaster
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
I threw all that in my big crock pot, and covered it all with water and went to bed. The next morning it looked like this. 

I turned off my crock pot to let it cool, and had some coffee and got my kids started on their school work. It probably sat for about an hour.  Then I got some cheese cloth and started straining while I got my mason jars boiling in another pot to sterilize them. I set up my cheese cloth in a mason jar so it would hold still while I poured the stock through. 
Lots of directions you'll find on the internet say you need to skim the fat off the top after it cools. I'm not patient enough to wait for it to cool that long, so I use a gravy strainer. The fat rises to the top pretty quickly and I can get a move onto the next step.

Storage choices! You can freeze the stock just fine in zip lock baggies. I don't like to freeze mine for two reasons. One, ziplock baggies aren't very eco-friendly. I'm supposed to be the green momma, so I try to avoid this process unless I'm stressed for time. I also don't like to freeze them because I have to actually think ahead of time and thaw it out when I need stock to use. For you though, I did one, and stuck it in the freezer. You're welcome. :)

For those who like to can, stocks need a pressure canner. Water bath canning doesn't get hot enough to safely store it. Freeze your stocks if you don't have a pressure canner. If you do, chicken stock needs to boil with 15 pounds of pressure for 20/25 minutes.

While I canned I made my kids some to die for chicken noodle soup. Really hit the spot since they've both been under the weather this week.  I was able to put two quarts in storage, and I froze 5 cups of stock. Had I not made soup or frozen any this recipe probably would have yielded 4 quarts.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beecology Giveaway!

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a review for Beecology and I'm thrilled to announce this giveaway!  I've coordinated with co-owner Amy Rzepka to bring you some awesome products to try out for yourself.

The winner of this giveaway will receive four awesome body products.

Relaxing Lavender Bar Soap

Relaxing Lavender, Hand and Body Cream

Lemon Lavender Lip Balm

Foaming Lavender Hand Soap

Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  **Please be aware that for some reason it is taking a minute or two to load.**  If you want to see it right now, please hop over to my food blog where it is loading faster.  Click here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking back to Hip Homeschool Moms

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations to Stephanie P. our Live Good Giveaway winner!

An email has been sent to you about how to get your pillow, be sure to look for it.

Next giveaway begins Thursday with awesome body products from Beecology!  Be sure to check back. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Plan -- All Primal

Last week our favorite recipe was the Bolognese with spaghetti squash.  We loved it so much we're making it again this week, might as well since we already have all the ingredients right?  I haven't checked in with the scale, but I'm sure I will at some point this week.

Anyway, here's the plan.  Have a great week!

Monday: Bratwurst with side salad
Tuesday: Sage Stew with Pumpkin -- crockpot
Wednesday: Roasted chicken (I keep putting this off, it's been two weeks now I was supposed to roast this bird!)
Thursday: Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash
Friday: Indian Butter Chicken
Saturday: Grilled Chicken Quarters with side salad
Sunday: Leftovers

Linking up with Organizing Junkie.  Check out her blog for more great menu plans. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Food Journal

Day late with the food journal this week.  What a crazy Valentine's Day week it's been.

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Chicken salad
Dinner: Sage sausage and squash

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: sage sausage leftovers
Dinner: primal slow cooker meatballs

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: leftover meatballs
Dinner: Bolognese with spaghetti squash (favorite meal!!  Was so incredibly good)

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: leftover Bolognese
Dinner: Steamed spiced shrimp

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: last of leftover Bolognese
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan

For snacks this week, I went to some Noosa yoghurt.  I'm leaving the roasted almonds behind, and haven't really been that snacky this week anyway.  I also killed this week with the box of chocolates that the hubs got me for valentine's day.  Next week I'm back on the wagon of being super strict.  I've lost some weight this year, but I haven't met my goals yet, so back on I go.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beecology Review

A few weeks ago I was approached by Amy Rzepka regarding her family business, Beecology.  On their family farm they raise bees, and that is the source of the natural bath and body products they make.    Color me intrigued.

Amy and her husband David have been married for 23 years and have three *almost* adult children.  They began beekeeping about six years ago on their family farm, and needed to figure out what to do with the extra bees wax.  They decided to try making body products, and Beecology was born.

They sent me a few samples to try out, and first let me say I was skeptic.  So many products out there either don't do what they say they're going to do or greenwash.  These products passed my tests with flying colors.

First I got out the lip balm and compared it to what was in my pocket.  I was immediately impressed with how few ingredients there were compared to the other "bee" product.  Their very first ingredient was bees wax, not oil like their bee competitor.

There were a few more tests for me though.  First, would it melt in my pocket.  After driving thirty minutes to take my kids to swim class, the lip balm was unchanged.  WIN!  It was lavender lemon, would it be gross?  Would it taste like soap?  Actually it reminded me of lemon drops, and I think I'm sold.  I'll never choose the other "bee" product again.  It's soul purpose is to protect my lips, and it does a fabulous job.

Next up to the test was their hand soap.  Again, I compared it to what I had at home already, and I'm almost embarrassed to show it.

The soap I had at home (other than the stuff I made from castile soap the other day) was the whole foods generic foaming soap.  Click on the picture to the left, and look at the mind boggling list of ingredients.  Why did I think this stuff was ok to have in my house?  I think it was probably a thoughtless purchase from a store I want to trust.

Now, their soap had a much smaller list of ingredients and it was easy to see what they all were.  However would it foam up well?  Would it smell good?  Would it dry out my hands?  It did foam up well, and it smells like soap (imagine that).  The smell honestly reminds me of handmade bar soap, not a perfume smell.  I can't say that it dried out my hands either, but their hand and body cream...oh I'm in love.  How did they know I love lavender this much?

They also sent me their bar soap to try.  I love using bar soaps, it's such a greener alternative to shower gels.  Their soap left my skin feeling clean and smelling great.  It too has a small list of ingredients and I love that it's handmade.

So here's the love list:

  • I love that they're a family company who raises their own bees!  They do this work themselves.
  • Their products are proudly made in the USA.
  • They're made from natural ingredients, and you won't find some long list of chemicals.
  • 10% of their profits go directly to a charity of your choice, and you can choose them at

Next week will begin a giveaway featuring these products I was lucky enough to review.  I know my readers will enjoy them as much as I did.  I will be a repeat customer for sure.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to make home made organic hand

Lately I've been doing research on what's in our hand soap, and it gets frightening when you start to dig a little deeper.  It encouraged me to find an easy way to make hand soap easily at home with out needing a ton of ingredients and that would be worth the price.

Well, I found it.  I started with a small bottle of castile soap I purchased from the travel section at Target a while back.  It was 89 cents.  Organic castile soap, is very inexpensive.  I'm happily surprised too at the ingredients listed in them.  Here they are:

Ingredients: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut*, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive* Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils**, Citric Acid, Vitamin E 

I grabbed an empty bottle of foaming soap and added in 1 part castile soap, 4 parts water.  Gave it a little swirl and was done.  Each push comes out just like the soap that was in it before.  It smells wonderful and does a fantastic job getting your hands clean.

Castile soap is so safe for your skin that you can use it with out diluting it as a shower soap.  I've even heard of some people brushing their teeth with it.  I don't know if I'd go that far.

I probably won't be buying a smaller bottle of castile soap anymore, but I'm hanging onto the little bottle to use for travel, and to make more hand soap when I run out.  The big bottle next to it goes for about 5 dollars.  That's pretty cheap for organic hand soap if you think about how many times you can refill the bottle.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Menu Plan -- All Primal

So, I ended up weighing myself over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised.  I'm still on track!

So many blogs to be inspired by for fresh paleo/primal ideas.  We've got new recipes to try this week which we're excited about.  I refuse to give in to the same old same old.  Still doing it all on less than $125 a week too.  Anyway...have a great week everyone!

Monday: Sage Sausage with root vegetables
Tuesday: Crock Pot Meatballs and Spinach
Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
Thursday: Lamb Shanks-- Special Valentine's Day dinner
Friday: Roasted Chicken
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Improvise

Somethings I hope I get to make this week:
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Linking back to Organizing Junkie

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food Journal

I haven't weighed myself much this week.  I let myself have some fun for the super bowl.  I had a few beers, and some chips.  My weakness.  Somethings worked this week.  Like, my husband and I have fallen in love with spaghetti squash.  He has to cook it though.  He does it just right.  We'll be seeing it on our menu more often.  Such great comfort food.  Also, the chicken parm was amazing.   What didn't work...portobello mushrooms make lousy hamburger buns.  Stick to lettuce wraps if you like your clothes.

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Chicken Salad
Dinner: Paleo Spaghetti with spaghetti squash

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Leftover spaghetti meat on top of a salad.  Don't knock it.
Dinner: Primal Chicken Parm

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad
Dinner: Hamburgers on portobello mushrooms

Breakfast: 2 eggs, and 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Burger Salad (crumbled ground beef on lots of greens)
Dinner: Garlic Chicken Quarters

Breafkast: 2 eggs, and 2 cups of coffee with half and half
Lunch: Chicken Salad (leftover chicken quarters)
Dinner: Pork Chops and a sweet potato

My weakness this week were these puppies. The kids LOVED them, which was good for the diet because I loved them too.  I need to pull back on the carbs I think though, because those yummy chocolate treats probably tanked any weightloss this week.  I'm not sure though, because I didn't weigh myself.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Live Good Giveaway!

Earlier this week I did a review on Live Good's eco-smart, luxurious pillows.  Now here's your chance to win one for yourself.  This child size pillow is a $100 dollar value.  The pillow is made from 100% organic materials.  No harsh chemicals for your precious one.  Good luck!!

PS.  Make sure you enter in the Rafflecopter entry form below.  For some reason it's taking a minute to load, hopefully that fixes itself soon!  If you don't see it, just wait a minute or click here!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking back to: Hip Homeschool Moms

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Living good with Live Good Organic Cotton Bedding

How can you take great care of yourself while also acting responsibly towards the environment?  This is the question that drove the foundation of Live Good, an environmentally friendly,  organic line of pillows and linens.

"We founded Live Good to forge a path toward that dual achievement. We believe you don't need to compromise. You can live sustainably, supporting the long-term health of your neighbors and the planet, and also live well, in elegance and comfort. We want to help you find that state of harmony with nature, with your community, and with yourself.

So we've started a business that reflects this ethos: a Live Good line of home products that upholds each and every aspect of our mission.  Everything we make is local.  Everything is sustainable sourced and organic.  And everything is designed to increase your quality of life.  We haven't sacrificed luxury and beauty in our commitment to supporting practices that are ecologically and economically sound."

I was approached a few weeks ago by Live Good to review their organic pillows.  I'm very picky when approached by companies wishing for reviews, and gave them a thorough look over.  I am so impressed with what I saw and what they were doing.

Here's what I love:
  • 100% organic cotton grown in Texas.
  • Pillow inserts are made from the kapok tree, a renewable resource that makes a fabulous, soft, moisture resistant, odorless fiber which is perfect for you or baby.
  • All manufacturing done in the United States, making this a locally grown product.
  • All inks are water based and formaldehyde free. They are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which means there are no GMO's, toxic chemicals, and that workers are given a fair wage.  
  • Beautiful stylish products that are lovely in your home.

We were given the center pleated pillow to sample, and it quickly became a favorite in our living room. When I opened the package my daughter noted immediately a fresh vinegary smell...not a yucky chemical smell that usually comes from manufactured goods.  The pillow is soft, comfortable and beautiful!  You can tell the pillow is well made, and the cute wooden button on the back is soft and unobtrusive.



I'm so impressed with their pillow, I've decided to save up for new bedsheets.  Our budget is super tight, but if the pillow serves as an example they will be worth saving for.

Starting Friday, I will be hosting a giveaway on one of their children's pillows!  Their "Live Good Baby" pillow will be featured as a gift to the lucky winner.  A $100 dollar value!  Be sure to check back on Friday for giveaway rules.

Disclosure:  I was not paid to review this product, however I was given a sample for review.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan -- All Primal

Chicken was on sale this week at the grocery store.  We got another roaster for five bucks!  That's dinner on Friday.  Trying to mix up what we eat each week, pork and chicken seem to be the cheapest forms of eating.  Discussed going fishing with the hubs this coming spring, but that's not going to help us out right now.  It's twenty degrees outside.  I can't think I'd enjoy fishing very much when it's that cold.

Anyway, for's our primal menu for the week.  Primal on a budget for less than $125 bucks a week!

Monday: Paleo Spaghetti - with spaghetti squash
Tuesday: Primal Chicken Parm (with cheese!)
Wednesday: Portobello Turkey Burger with sweet potato fries.
Thursday: Pork Chops with spaghetti squash
Friday: Rosemary Apple Chicken
Saturday: Chive Butter Roasted Chicken
Sunday: Leftovers

Be sure to check out Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Food Journal Summary

I can't believe it's time to write another food journal summary, where has the week gone?  I haven't lost anything this week.  I've stalled.  The lack of losing makes me not want to keep daily summaries because seriously, who wants to read that I weigh the same thing every day?  I don't want to write it down.  I will try to dig up what I had each day.  Maybe we can pick apart why I've stalled.

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: scrambled egg with tomato slices
Dinner: Bratwurst, and side salad

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: Leftover bratwurst with salad greens
Dinner: Taco salad with home made guacamole

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: Leftover taco salad
Dinner: Chicken Tortillas

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: Leftover chicken tortilla on top of salad greens
Dinner: One hot dog with cheese slices

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee
Lunch: Last of the chicken tortillas (boy were they spicy today!)
Dinner: Primal Pizza

I haven't been much of a snacker this week.  I have a bag of sunflower seeds that I've been nibbling at for most of this week.  I did splurge on a yogurt.  I'm eating lots more veggies than before, and perhaps I should be glad I lost 10 pounds this month and be patient for the next few pounds to drop off.


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