{How To} Ferment Vegetables

As I told you in October, I love making fermented foods, like Fermented Sauerkraut. To ferment food is so easy!  Gut health is so important and nothing is better than better than eating your probiotics!  Fermented foods are rich in healthy bacteria that improve overall gut health.  It’s also amazing for improving stomach health, strengthened immune system; keeps you regular; assists with weight loss; lowers cholesterol; increases nutrient absorption; could possibly alleviate stomach-related diseases, including IBS and Crohn’s diseases; relieves depression; and so on.  Since having about 70-80% of the immune system in the gut, having a good proper balance of gut flora is important.

There are many types of fermented foods, including sourdough bread, beer, chocolate, pickles, and kefir, all made with different methods of fermentation.  However, what I will be talking about today is called lacto-fermentation.  What exactly is lacto-fermentation?  Nope, it doesn’t involve dairy, though the word lacto would make you think.  Simply put, it takes the glucose glycolysis and turns it into lactic acid.  When vegetables are left to steep without oxygen, the sugars are broken down to promote the growth of bacteria, which turns it into a fermented food.  (Don’t worry though!  This is a goof bacteria; it won’t get you sick.) Read More

Switchel

Have you ever heard of switchel?  Otherwise known as haymaker’s punch, it is a drink that has been around for centuries!  It originated in the Caribbean and became popular with the American Colonies.  I first learned of it from (re)reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books:

Ma sent them ginger-water.  She has sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs til they were not thirsty.  Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot.

This recipe is a natural and healthy Gatorade that isn’t full of chemicals and awful sugars.  The only sugars you will get is from the sweetener you use.  This drink is full of natural electrolytes! This s the perfect time to learn about this drink as it’s in the middle of summer and it’s been a HOT one!  Even here in the mid-Atlantic, we have reached temperatures hovering around 100℉!  We were miserable and I was just sick of sweating.  My family and I were bred for the cold weather—we are much happier when it’s snowing out!  (Though I get so revived by all the green outside in the spring and summer.  That’s my jam.). This summer’s heat is for the birds.

Switchel is easy to make: it is simply made with apple cider vinegar, ginger, a natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or molasses.  You can also add a fruit of your choice (like strawberries or lemon) for extra flavor.  It’s like the kumbucha’s cousin!  Switchel doesn’t need a scoby, though, and doesn’t have a long fermentation period.  All you have to do with switches is make it and let it sit for a few hours before drinking!

Here are the health benefits of the drink:

  • Apple cider vinegar:  If you use ACV with the “mother in it, it is a great natural source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as beneficial acids and bacteria.  Regular ACV doesn’t have these benefits.
  • Molasses:  If you use molasses, the sugar is great for giving your body quick energy.  Blackstrap molasses contains vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.
  • Honey:  If you use raw honey, it is a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that make it an antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant powerhouse.  It’s good for digestive health.
  • Maple Syrup:  If you use maple syrup, It helps your heart and helps your immune system.  It has antioxidants and minerals, like zinc and manganese.
  • Ginger:  This is a great natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  It’s known to reduce inflammation in the body, thus helping the muscles recover quicker.

To make switchel, all you need is an inch of ginger, sliced thinly, 1/2 cup of natural sweetener (like molasses—my favorite, raw honey, or natural maple syrup), 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, and 6-8 cups of water.  You can also add a fruit of your choice, like lemon, lime, strawberry, or blueberry.  Combine all the ingredients and chill.  You can drink it right away, but it’s best if you let the ingredients marry overnight.

Instead of reaching for that over processed bottle of Gatorade when you need something to drink after a hard workout, why don’t you whip up a pitcher of switchel?  It’ll do your body good!


Print Recipe
Switchel
Cuisine Drink
Keyword Switchel
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Cuisine Drink
Keyword Switchel
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Recipe Notes

Combine.  Chill before enjoying, preferably overnight.

Lasts in the fridge about a week.

*Start with less natural sweetener, then add more if needed.

**Make sure you use natural ingredients, like raw apple cider vinegar.

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{Recipe} Garlic Hummus

I love garlic and I love hummus.  This is the perfect recipe!  A bonus?  This recipe has no tahini in it!  At about $7 a bottle, it was not something I could buy all the time, or buy for it to sit forever in my cabinet and go bad.  This is not authentic hummus (if you call hummus with tahini “authentic”), but it is something you can make quickly and weekly (it takes about 30 minutes to make, including peeling the chickpeas!).  Use this with pita bread cut in wedges for a great appetizer for when people come over, or even as a nightly snack.  Once you try this recipe, you will not go back to the boring store-bought kind that’s full of preservatives!

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You Are Worth It!

I had a thought about God that I thought I’d create in Photoshop and pass on to you.

When we hide God’s truths in your hearts and lives, it makes it harder for the lies to penetrate and take hold.

No, it won’t be easy.

No, it will not make you food proof.

Will it be worth it in the end? 

Yes.

Keep hiding God’s truth in your life! 

You are worth it. You are beautiful. You are made in the image of God.

Bread in a Bag

Whenever I’m in the kitchen, even if I am getting a glass of water, she is there asking me what I am doing.  She’s even said that she wants to be a cook when she grows up.  I am all for feeding into her likes and passions, so I have been letting her help me cook whenever I can, as well as let her cook her own recipes (with adult supervision, of course!).  This recipe, Bread in a Bag, is perfect for her, as well as other children who love to cook.  Having your kids cook teaches them not only a life skill, but it also teaches her where food comes from (not just the restaurant or store!), teaches him to listen and focus, teaches her how to follow instructions, teaches him science skills, and math skills in a fun and rewarding way!

When you cook with your children, there are a few things to keep in mind.  First, take out all the ingredients and tools needed.  This will keep things flowing, which will keep your child’s attention more instead of having to pause as you get things out. Read More

{Recipe} Tomato Gravy

If you grow your own garden, you, most likely, have tomatoes, and plenty of them.  The only tomatoes I grow are cherry tomatoes.  I have learned these are the best to grow in our area (thanks to the nibbling chipmunks), and they are perfect for my little one to pick and pop in her mouth!  But, thanks to my amazing growing skills (heh heh heh), we always seem to have an overabundance for cherry tomatoes.

Bring on this recipe. Read More

Paul, the Apostle of Christ

What kind of learner are you?  Are you visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic?  Of course, we all are a combination of things.  Recently, I realized that I am a visual learner, through and through.  I have always loved to read and I can learn greatly by doing things, but I learn best when I can see how something is done. 

When I read the Bible, my mind’s imagination takes over and I imagine how the events happened.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to see how God used Moses to separate the Red Sea?  How about seeing Jesus on the mountainside teaching the thousands of people?  Or Paul being brave crossing the oceans to tell as many people about Jesus?  Reading about it is one thing, but seeing it is a whole other thing.  In this day and age, movies can be a great way to learn, if they’re done right.  I think seeing the events in the Bible helps make the events have a bigger impact in your life that you will remember for years to come.

I was given the opportunity to watch and review Paul, Apostle of Christ just for you!  This movie focuses on the end of Paul’s life when he was in Roman jail.  He was under the watchful eye of Mauritius who doesn’t understand how this old man could pose such a threat to the government.  While in jail, just before the end of his life, Luke writes another letter (and book) that to Timothy to help with the details of what will become to know as the church.

I felt lead to allow my 4 year old to watch Paul, Apostle of Christ with us, even though it’s rated PG-13 due to some violent content and disturbing images.  As I have mentioned in the past, we read her Bible to her every night, so she is familiar with Paul and his adventures.  We feel it’s important for her to learn as much as she can about the Bible, even the not-so-nice parts.  It was over her head, yes and she did lose interest for half of it, it did allow small talks about parts of the Bible she did know and was taught (like when Saul became Paul).

What really stood out to me was how it put a strong light on how early Christians were tortured just for believing in Jesus.  It made me realize how easy we have it as Christians now and we all should be thankful for that!  I also loved how some Bible verses were actually quoted in this.  That was awesome to hear.

Of course, they took artistic liberty, but creators of Biblical movies have to with how limited the Bible is about talking about certain events.

 

I think it’s very important to make christian movies as well as it’s able and stay away from campy or cheesy aspects.  Paul, Apostle of Christ does just that.  It’s very well made and the acting is phenomenal.  It shows that it’s possible to make a movie that is well made and high quality.  But, most importantly, the movie has taught me more about the life of Paul and Luke that I otherwise didn’t know or realize.

If you would like to learn more about Paul, Apostle of Christ, please visit their Facebook and Instagram page!

Would you like to win a DVD/BluRay copy of Paul, the Apostle of Christ?  Click on the link below! 

Always Enough, Never Too Much

One of the main things I struggle with as a Christian is being insecure with myself.  It’s not all the time, mind you, but it does happen.  I know that we are not supposed to feel insecurity when we identify with God, but it’s a battle many, if not all, of us struggle with.  Can I be real with y’all?  Social media doesn’t help sometimes.  Yes, social media can be a great tool to bring people together that we otherwise would’t have known—recently, I have been in an amazing group started by the wonderful Amy Weaverly and the group has been amazing!  I love how I can feel free to share thoughts and feelings that I otherwise wouldn’t share even on my own page or in posts by my other friends.  No one judges there, they just life each other up in praise and prayer.  I feel close to these ladies!  This is the way social media should be.  However, it also can bring some thoughts of self doubt.

I know you’ve been there, too.  We’ve all had those little voices of insecurities in our head.  As much as we have tried to stop them, they tend to creep up when we least expect it.  It’s as if Satan is standing next to you, sneering whispers in your ear:

  • You are too sensitive.  
  • You are too loud.  
  • You are not pretty enough.  
  • You are too fat.  
  • You’re too skinny.  
  • You are too introverted.
  • You are too extraverted.  
  • You’re too poor.  
  • You’re too needy.  
  • You’re too selfish.  
  • Why can’t you be more like her?  She’s perfect.  
  • Look at her size 2 jeans and flat tummy. Why aren’t you be thinner?  
  • Look at her perfect hair.  Your hair so limp and plain.  
  • Look at her perfect skin and makeup.  Why don’t you have flawless skin too?
  • They’re on vacation again.  You can’t afford to go on vacation as much as them.
  • You’re not worth it for them to be your friend.
  • You’re unlovable.  That’s why you don’t more friends.
  • There’s something wrong with you.  That’s why can’t you be happier.
  • You’re a hot mess.  God can’t use a hot mess.

It may not even be Instagram or Facebook that does it to you.  It could even be that woman at Target that looks like she just stepped out of the salon.  It could be that mirror in the changing room at Old Navy.  It could come after a phone call with your parents.  These negative thoughts can make you feel awful about yourself, or even worse.

Recently, I got asked to review the book Always Enough, Never Too Much by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan.  After reading more about the book, I knew that it was perfect for me to share with all of you!  I accepted the offer and waited excitedly for the day when it could come in the mail so I could tell you about it!

The bestselling authors of Wild and Free  have created a very special book that is unlike any other devotional you have ever read or owned.  It’s a flip book!  Have you ever seen anything like it?  This is one book with two messages.  One side is for when you think like you’re not enough for anybody, and the other side is for when you think like you are too much for everybody.  How awesome is that?

I love how there is a Content page, so you can quickly find a devotion that will help you for whatever you are struggling with at the time.  Are you feeling like you’re not enough?  Use the Always Enough side.  Are you feeling like you are too much for everyone?  Use the Never too Much Side.

Each of the 100 devotions are small enough that you can quickly read it when you have a free moment in your busy day.  You can even pop the book in your purse and read when you need it the most!    There’s even a Bible verse on top that coincides with the subject, so you can memorize it and hide it in your heart for when Satan tries to bring you down.

As for social media, it is good to remember that most of social media is fake.  It’s the gosh darn harsh honest truth.  That person who has perfect makeup, hair, and clothes?  You don’t know how empty they feel inside.  That person that’s always on vacation?  You don’t know if they’re in massive debt or not.  As far as the rest?  God made you who you are.  You either work at changing yourself into being a better person for God, or you need to accept who you are and be overjoyed with it!  When you drive away the lies and insecurities you feel and you find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths:  You are always enough.  You are never too much.

Would you like to win a copy of this book?  Please click on the link below to enter to win!

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicle

As mentioned before, Lemon LOVES to cook!  One day, I was looking for recipes for something on my app (Paprika Recipe Manager 3—no I am not being paid to say that!  I love this app!  I have it for both my phone and my Mac.), and she saw my section for popsicles.  She want to make one “really really really really bad!”  Since she loves pink (though her favorite color is purple) and we have tons of strawberries in our garden (yay!), I decided that a strawberry cheesecake popsicle recipe was to fit the bill.  I searched for a good recipe to use in my Zoku Quick Pop Maker, but couldn’t find one that was right.  So…I decided to make my own!

This recipe is super easy to make!  Seriously!  All you need is strawberries, milk, honey, vanilla extract, and cream cheese.

See?  It’s even fairly healthy!  At least, it’s much healthier than regular cheesecake.  Great for filling that cheesecake craving without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle.

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How To Use and Wash Cloth Diapers

When Lemon was a baby, we decided to buy and use cloth diapers to save money.  The other benefits of cloth were nice, but secondary to us.  We knew that disposables were going to cost us almost $3,000 until she was potty trained!  Yikes!  We just didn’t have 3 grand to throw away.  New cloth diapers run about $450 total, which is a huge savings!  Unfortunately, you need to pay that cost up front, unlike with disposables.  To save even more, I bout 24 used Velcro-closed cloth diapers on eBay for $150.  What a deal! Read More