A Day in the Life: Kelly {Food Blogger & Cookbook Author}

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

Five years ago if someone would have told me that I was soon to become a grain-free food blogger and cookbook author, I would have replied, “what in the world?” 

That’s because I had no idea that anyone wrote about food outside of the arena of cookbooks and cooking magazines. On top of that, at the time, the term “grain-free” would have been as foreign to me as mise en placewas the first time I heard it. 

Fast forward to today, and I can honestly say that it’s been the Lord who has led me on this amazing journey to be able to do something that I absolutely love … develop, photograph and share nourishing gluten-free and grain-free recipes for precious families across the globe.

So when Stephanie asked her contributor team to share a “Day in the Life” story. I immediately knew that I would share the fun and not-always-so-fun adventures of a being a food blogger and cookbook author.

Day in the Life of a Food Blogger and Cookbook Author

6:30 a.m.

There’s no sleeping in around here. With two active boys, a just as active hubby, a soon-to-be-published cookbook to finish, a blog to write and a house to manage, when the alarm sounds it’s time to get to work! 

8:30 a.m.

After making breakfast and seeing everyone off to work and school, it’s time to fill up with God’s Word and a cup of caffeinated tea. (The former jumpstarts my spirit, the latter my tired body.) Then it’s time to check my to-do list to see how much I can get done before it’s time to pick-up the boys from school, facilitate homework, transport them to after school activities … and of course, make dinner!

A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

8:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Today, I am working to perfect a new pumpkin bar recipe for my upcoming grain-free baking cookbook. I’ve been developing, perfecting and photographing more than 100 recipes for this book since February and as you can see above, it’s not always easy.

In fact, there are many days the word “FAIL,” “BOO!” or “NO” is scrawled across my recipe journal. However like many others, I usually learn a lot more from my failures, than I do from my immediate successes. It’s the failures that challenge me the most to work harder, and to learn to better translate my culinary skills and passion for cooking and baking into masterful grain-free creations.

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

10:45 a.m.

After two failed attempts at getting those pumpkin bars right, I give it one more try before lunch. This time, I make an adjustment based on a similar problem that I had when trying to perfect my pumpkin bread recipe – too much flour. (When using moist, dense ingredients like pumpkin, achieving the right balance often requires less flour to keep the bread –or in this case bars– light and fluffy.)  

So after making another adjustment to the almond flour measurement, the third time is definitely a charm! These bars taste just like a pumpkin bar should: full of rich pumpkin spice flavor with a light, moist crumb that is oh-so delicious! Hooray!

Of course, I will test this finalized recipe at least 2 to 3 more times to ensure it consistently performs well, because that’s what a makes a good recipe great! (And it’s part of the curse of being a perfectionist – always wanting everything to be absolutely perfect!)

11:30 a.m.

In the meantime, since this recipe is definitely a keeper, it’s time to have a quick lunch, put a load of laundry into the washer, get our favorite garlic chicken into the Crock-Pot, and then take a photo of these little beauties!

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

You know all those beautiful food shots that you “pin,” or simply can’t stop staring at and wish you could lick your computer screen? Well, the behind-the-scenes scoop is … beautiful photos take lots of time to set-up. The food must be carefully plated and the table carefully styled so it not only adds further beauty to the food itself, but so it also tells an inviting story. A good food shot should make you feel like you’re about to be transported into an amazing experience … an experience rich in flavor and warm with emotion.

Of course, the real story comes alive through the lens of the camera, and the better you can become at learning all the essentials of taking a good photograph, the better the story you can tell and the more appealing your recipes become to readers. That’s why investing in food photography lessons, reading great books on photography, studying the photos of other food photographers you love and having a great camera and professional quality lens are a must for really learning the art of bringing food to life. It’s an art that I am definitely passionate about and am continually striving to learn as much as I can. 

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

What does the final shot above say to you? I hope it says: “Welcome home, my dear one! Come sit down, and enjoy a delicious pumpkin treat – baked just for you!”

That might sound a little silly, but it’s what I love most about food blogging – the opportunity to create easy, delicious recipes that bring families together. It’s worth all the time and energy and passion I pour into my blog, my cookbooks and the everyday meals I make for my family and friends.

To me, good food is more than just physical nourishment, it’s the catalyst for bringing families and friends together to break bread and to share their lives with one another.

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

It’s time to download all the photos to my computer and spend some time reviewing them to determine the best shot to use for my upcoming cookbook. I also spent some time taking many of the other photos you see in this post, so those have to be downloaded and my notes about this glorious day transcribed into this post, which hopefully, you’re still reading (smile). 

2:45 p.m.

And now it’s time to leave behind the HUGE mess I just made and go gather the troops from school. Then head back home to tackle homework, snack breaks and of course, get back into the car to run everyone to their various afterschool activities.

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

3:00 p.m. 

While homework is underway, I attempt to make a dent in the piles of dishes that I’ve created. Yes, being a food blogger results in LOTS and lots of dishes. In fact, there’s a continual stream of dishes (or maybe a better word would be “ocean” of dishes) around here. 

And since my “magical dish fairy” (a.k.a. my mom) isn’t visiting, I’m on my own. Sure, the boys would help, if I asked them, because doing dishes is definitely more fun that homework. Well, maybe not?

But before I can finish the dishes, a sweet face appears with a simple question … “Mom, when do we get to eat those pumpkin bars?” I guess all that photo styling worked … those bars really do look inviting and delicious. Oh course, the aroma – oh, that pumpkin spice aroma! – I guess it was just too much to expect the boys to wait until after homework was completed to indulge in these tasty little treats!

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

This is truly the best part about being a food blogger … bringing a smile to the faces of those I love, and hoping that the many delicious GF recipes I share bring smiles to the faces of all those you love as well!

4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Snack time was a hit! Homework is done (and the dishes too)! Now, it’s time for baseball practice and piano. Then back home for a quick and easy slow cooker dinner, followed by our family devotional, as well as some fun and relaxing family time!

8:00 to 10:30 p.m.

Boys are tucked in, prayers said, and it’s time to finish this post, review the last of my cookbook photos, and then spend some quality time with my amazing hubby who’s hard work and encouragement are the reasons I’m able to do what I love the most – be a full-time wife, mom, homemaker and food blogger.

10:30 p.m.

It’s time to say goodnight! My hubby and I spend some time reading God’s Word together and praying – remembering the many blessings we are so thankful for and asking God to continue to use us for His glory. It truly is a blessing to be able to not only share delicious recipes, but more importantly, to encourage us all to not seek healthy living just for the sake of good health, but so that we can use our lives to better serve the Lord and others in everything we do!

P.S. If you’d like to be receive my weekly newsletter with lots of delicious, healthy grain-free recipes and free weekly whole food meal plans, please feel free to join The Nourishing Home Community. I’ll also be sharing more about my new cookbook – Everyday Grain-Free Baking – which is set to release in bookstores nationwide (and online) in January 2015.

  A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

 

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

Are We Being Bullied to Think a Certain Way? @ Commonsense Christianity

Service is Free to Offer but Incredibly Valuable: Lessons from and Airport Shuttle Driver @ Art of Non-Conformity

Fudgy Chocolate Tarts @ Against All Grain

On racism, injustice and having the hard conversations @ Life Your Way 

What Love Never Does @ chatting at the sky 

Simple Thai Basil – Coconut Chicken @ Food Renegade

Always In Pursuit {7 Ways to Be More Content} @ Living Well Spending Less

What is Your Typical Day? @ Shaun Groves

 

Beginners-Luck

*And a few notes from Stephanie… 

A Special Green Smoothie Recipe Just for You! 

I’ve been collaborating lately with Jen and Jadah of Simple Green Smoothies, and in fact, my husband has recently started to have a daily green smoothie and is eagerly waiting for the 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge to begin. 

Here at KOTH, we’ve been talking lately about our stories (and they’ve got a great one!), and in particular how we keep taking small, healthy steps towards achieving a “new normal” of feeling better through lifestyle and food changes we make. So it only seemed perfect to ask them if I could share one of their most popular recipes with you. 

The Beginner’s Luck green smoothie is a great starter smoothie. It’s full of iron, potassium and vitamins galore— and tastes like a tropical treat from all the island fruit. So head to the store and give this smoothie a try. We have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised.

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie
Makes 32 oz | Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup mango
1 cup pineapple
2 bananas

Directions
Tightly pack your leafy greens into a measuring cup and toss into blender. Add water and blend together until all leafy chunks are gone. Next add in mango, pineapple and bananas and blend again.

I have to say that we personally love this smoothie and have probably made it 3 times already this week. 

freebundle

Joining With Other Amazing Bloggers to Bring You the Best. Bundle. Ever! 

Together with Jen and Jadah, and 70+ other incredible authors, our new Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2014 will be available VERY soon… we’re so excited, we can barely contain it! 

Beyond the bundle itself (which I think you’ll be thrilled with), we’ve also been working behind the scenes on something very special. 

How would you like to get a $5 discount off of your bundle, or better yet, get a FREE bundle?! 

When you sign up here (email address only), you can join our Refer-a-Friend program. All the details are there, but you’ll see how easy it could be to actually earn yourself a free bundle this time around. I hope you do! 

 

 

It’s almost September! How do you plan to spend the last weekend of the summer?

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own)

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Guest post by Elsie Callender 

“What can I take to Heaven when I die?” I asked my mom, back when I wore dresses and pigtails every day, and my collection of American Girl Doll accessories was small, but precious.

“Nothing. You don’t take anything with you when you die,” Mom gave me the truth, straight up.

Surely… “What if I have things in my pockets?”

“Nope.”

“What if I’m holding my blankie?”

“No, your blankie will stay here.”

I reluctantly accepted this, yet my first instinct has always been to hang on to my stuff, as if it gives me security and adds inherent value to my life.

Gradually, with lots and lots of hands-on practice, I’m coming to understand that my quality of living improves with less stuff, rather than more.

I discovered that I enjoy an uncluttered life; that simplifying is rewarding and energizing. Last year I wrote a series of blog posts on simplifying, as I worked through different areas around my home: the linen closet, makeup drawer, shoes, and so on. Somewhere along the way my husband got on board, too, and now we actually think it’s fun to spend an afternoon simplifying a closet together! 

Recently we kicked our simplifying up about 12 notches when we made plans to move into a 600-square-foot cabin in Alabama. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t take all of our stuff with us. 

So we simplify. 

In our pre-cabin days, our modus operandi  was to scan a pile of stuff and ask: “What can I pull out? What can I get rid of?” And we’d come up with one little bag of stuff to take to Goodwill. But in preparation for our move, we examined every single item we own with a critical eye, mentally interrogating it with the following questions:

  • Does this fit with the style of our new home?
  • Do we already have one?
  • Do we use this a lot? Is this worth taking up space for the amount or type of use this item gets?
  • Do we love it?
  • What would life be like without this item?

Many times, we realize our life would be better without the item in question, for any of these 10 reasons!

Here are some of the things we’ve eliminated through this interrogation process:

TV:  When our old, clunky one died, we decided to use my laptop as a TV until our student loans are paid off!

Entertainment center: The TV is gone, and the other items that used to go inside (DVDs, dish towels, vases, etc.) have been simplified, too!

Bedroom set: It won’t fit in the cabin, so we’ll be using a small dresser and finding a free-standing option for hang-up clothes.

Shelf decor: We’re only keeping the meaningful items, like the hand-carved wooden elephant from my great uncle!

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Clothes: This one’s fun, because if you only keep the items you love, you get to love how you look every day! 

Toiletries: We like to keep only a few natural products in use, and replace as needed. (See this post, and this one.)

Old “technology”: We had a baffling amount of old computer cords, cameras, and cellphones that needed to go.

Desk supplies: Why keep 50 pens and pencils when you only need 5? Or 2 staplers when 1 will do? 

Gift wrap: I plan to only keep on hand some brown kraft paper and a couple of different colors of ribbon–super versatile! We can buy a roll of Christmas paper if we feel the need when the time comes.

Magazines: I have stacks of glorious Real Simple magazines, but I rarely look through old issues. My plan is to cut out a few choice articles to keep in an idea binder, and recycle the rest of the stash.

Bedding: With only a small pull-out couch on the main level, and our queen bed in the loft, we don’t need more than a couple of pillows, sheet sets, and blankets.

Papers: We’ve purged tons of appliance instruction booklets and outdated warranties!

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Books: We’re big readers, but we decided to only keep our most treasured volumes (which still take up a couple of bookcases worth!). For the rest, we’ll borrow from the library or friends. 

Jars: For some reason, real foodies seem to think that every empty jar needs to be kept. From now on, I’m only keeping what I actually, currently use in my pantry. If I need more, I can always eat another jar of salsa

Video games: Some of the old ones can bring in a surprising amount of money on Amazonor eBay.

Extras: We had too many candles, mugs, dish towels, mixing bowls, etc. Cabinets in our cabin are prime real estate, so we’ll keep the minimum of items and just wash them or restock more often.

 And although we don’t plan on living in a small house long term, we want to maintain simplicity as a lifelong habit. 

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Begin Your Own Simple Living Journey

Even if you have no intention of moving, you can begin to enjoy the benefits of a simpler home after an afternoon–or just 20 minutes–of purging.  Don’t wait for your whole family to get on board! Start your simplifying journey now, with your own stuff, or the areas you have more control over.

The results are more tangible when you simplify with specific goals in mind. Think to yourself: “I want my clothes to fit on x number of hangers.” Or, “I want all of my papers to fit into this binder,” “I want my books to fit on x number of bookshelves.” Try using the “Rule of 10″ for simplifying your wardrobe!

Determine your standards for each item in your home, and then mentally interrogate each thing to decide if it’s truly worth keeping.

The more I simplify, the more I realize that there are 5 main “problem areas” when it comes to things I should (but haven’t) purged. Perhaps you’ll recognize these roadblocks in your own simplifying process:

1. Stuff I have multiples of

I don’t need 10 T-shirts, 2 pairs of brown sandals, 4 tablecloths, 6 vases when less will do!

2. Stuff I’m sentimental about

I am a very nostalgic person and I tend to keep items for the sake of the memories attached. I’m learning to keep a few choice items, and then snap pictures of the rest before giving them away. 

3. Stuff that’s expensive

Do not hang on to something merely because it cost a lot of money for you–or someone else–to buy. If you begrudge the space and energy it takes up in your home, it will only weigh you down! Sell it. 

4. Stuff I’m lazy about

I keep stuff that I know I don’t want, simply because I’m too lazy to deal with it. If you run into this problem, you may need to treat these items as frogs and eat them first thing in the morning.

5. Stuff on hold

It’s painful, but I need to recognize that I will never get to every project, hobby, and fixer-upper that’s waiting around the house. Sometimes it’s better to take the materials to Goodwill and focus on just a few choice hobbies or projects. 

I think you’re going to love how your home feels when you start to clear it out. I think you’re going to love how you feel as you begin to loosen your grip on stuff, and as it loosens its grip on you! Dream about what you can do with the freedom of less stuff–travel the worldmake room for guests, or simply enjoy a more peaceful, intentional home.

Note: I’ve ignored the issue of kid clutter in this post, because our only “child” is a cat! For simplifying with kids, let me refer you to this post and this one.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Edible Landscaping: A Great Alternative to Traditional Landscaping

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Leigh Ann Dutton, Contributing Writer

I don’t dream of owning my own land. The very thought of tilling, sowing, and managing a large plot of land makes me hyperventilate. Throw in the idea of milking cows and herding pigs, and I just get overwhelmed.

Sure, it sounds great, but I’m not entirely sure this is God’s path for my family. At least not right now, and that’s okay!

However, I do want to steward the postage-stamp size plot of land the Lord has entrusted to me. I want to be as self-sufficient as I can with the resources I have.

I do want to grow my own food, harvest herbs from my backyard, and use table scraps to boost my garden soil. I dream of perhaps raising a few backyard chickens and harvesting my own honey one day.

But I wasn’t raised around fresh fruits and vegetables, and I barely know the difference between a weed and a flower – let alone that those weeds might have medicinal uses. I live where grass won’t grow, the climate is dry and harsh, and the winters are long and hard. The soil is filled with so much clay we could make pots for days.

With this call comes a willingness to take baby steps. A willingness to not accept the status quo, to look for new ways to do things, and work hard to learn all I can in order to be a good steward of my environment.

Just because I don’t live on a farm doesn’t mean I can’t live my own dreams, in my own way, with my own giftings.

A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to buy our first home. When we moved in, there were no trees and very few plants in the ground, which also means we have very little grass – just enough to keep us legal, I suppose.

As I’ve researched how best to care for the land God has given us, I couldn’t justify spending loads of money on pretty flowers that wouldn’t do anything except look pretty in my yard.

I knew I wanted a vegetable garden and I certainly wanted my home to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it wasn’t until I started doing more reading around the web that I discovered edible landscaping as a viable option for my home!

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

What is Edible Landscaping?

Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. The same design principles as for ornamental landscapes are used, while substituting edible plants such as lettuces, blueberries, vegetables and fruit trees for some of the otherwise unproductive plant material. (source)

Edible landscapes offer an alternative to traditional landscapes. Edible landscapes are a useful alternative to the traditional landscape because it serves numerous purposes instead of being solely ornamental.

Why I Love the Idea of Edible Landscaping

1. I can water with a purpose.

We have to water a lot! We live in a very, very, very dry climate where it rarely rains.

Since we pay the city a nice chunk of money each month for the water we use on our lawn, it’s nice to know that I can create a space that food is produced from all that watering! If I’m going to water, why not make it edible?

2. I can provide food for my family.

We buy local as often as we can, but the idea of providing my family with food that we grew ourselves is even more exciting and appealing.

3. I can make an income and/or give my family options for bartering.

Our community is full of people who are looking to trade goods. I could use the food that I grow for meeting other needs like raw milk, fresh eggs, or peaches.

Plus if I can grow enough to sell that would be so helpful! Our plot of land could definitely give us more than enough food for our family.

Or better yet, I could grow food to help others in my community who might be struggling to make ends meet. Now, that would be amazing!

4. I can attract wildlife.

The standard home is full of shade trees and shrubs that not only do not provide food for your family, but it makes less than stellar homes for wildlife.

Edible landscaping attracts bees, butterflies, and birds galore. I’m amazed at all the butterflies we’ve been able to watch this year just with the few additions we’ve been able to make!

Of course, we attract elk and bears too, but that just comes with the territory no matter what sort of landscaping we do.

5. I can be a good steward of creation.

We want to be good stewards of our environment. God has given us so many wonderful ways to create beauty around us. I want to take advantage of that as often as I’m able. Edible landscaping seems like a great option!

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

How do you create an edible landscape?

It’s not hard, believe it or not! If I can do it, anyone can!

1. Not everything in your yard has to be edible.

You can work in ornamental plants and trees as well. So rest your pretty little mind, you can keep your peonies and tulips. I sure did!

2. Start small and be patient.

Creating an edible landscape takes time. Each year purpose to add a little more to your landscape that’s edible.

For example, this year we needed to consider trees for our yard that would help provide shade for our home.

Where we live, Aspen trees spread like weeds. We took advantage of nature’s provisions and marked several Aspens we wanted to allow to grow instead of mowing them down each time we cut the grass. Yet on the other side of our home, there were no trees growing wild. We needed to buy one to plant.

We chose to plant an apple tree this year. Not only will it provide shade for our home, but it will also produce fruit for us to eat in the fall!

3. Think about your needs.

What does your yard need? Shade? Ground cover? Determine what you need, then research edibles that grow well in your area.

Some edible landscape ideas:

  • Fruit trees like apple or cherry
  • Fruiting shrubs like currants or blueberries
  • Cover plants like strawberries
  • Herbs like catnip, lemon balm, and lavender (here are the herbs I’m growing this year)
  • Edible flowers like pansies, nasturtiums, and lilac

4. Don’t forget to think long-term.

We made sure we didn’t allow any trees to come up or be planted in areas where we will need full sun for vegetables and fruiting shrubs to grow!

Think long-term when planting, but don’t let the long-term keep you from moving forward. Most everything can be moved around and around and around. Ask me how I know.

5. Think about using pots.

I love creating a welcoming front door for my family and guests. Why not use edibles like a decorative arrangement of herbs, a hanging tomato plant, or a pot of calendula, nasturtiums, and violas outside your front door?

If you’re not interested in transforming your entire yard using edible landscaping, you could incorporate edibles using pots instead.

Edible landscaping is a fun and useful way to spruce up your home while providing food for your family. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and it certainly doesn’t have to be hard.

Next time you need to purchase a tree, add a shrub, or spruce up a corner of your yard, instead of running to local nursery for something merely ornamental, consider what could be pretty and edible! A simple search on the Internet is about all I ever need before making a decision for my yard.

What about you? What edibles do you have growing in your yard? Have you ever considered edible landscaping?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals: 

larabar

As low as $0.81-$0.94 per bar: LÄRABAR Fruit & Nut Food Bar, Carrot Cake, Gluten Free 1.6 oz Bars (Pack of 16) on sale for $19.99.  

Save an additional $4 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $12.99-$14.99 ($0.81-$0.94/bar).  Get FREE Shipping with a qualifying order of $25 or more.  

 

 

Bob's

As low as $2.97-$3.32 per bag: Bob’s Red Mill Oats Rolled Regular, 32-Ounce (Pack of 4) for just $13.96.  

Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $11.87-$13.26. ($2.97-$3.32/each) Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.  

babyganics

As low as $6.13-$6.97 each: Babyganics Shampoo + Body Wash, Fragrance Free, 16 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 3) are on sale for $25.17.  

Save an additional $3 when you clip the coupon below the product description ( you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $18.39-$20.91 ($6.13-$6.97 each)  Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25. Packaging May Vary

Burt

As low as $5.95-$6.64 each: Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash, 12 Fluid Ounces on sale for $6.99.  

Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $5.94-$6.64. Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25. 

paper towel

As low as $6.55-$6.63 per pack: Scott Naturals Paper Towels, Mega Roll, 8 Rolls, Packs of 4 (32 Rolls) on sale for $33.16.  

Save an additional $2 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $26.19-$26.50 ($6.55-$6.63/pack). Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

(But even better? Cut down on the paper in your kitchen altogether!)

laundryAs low as $3.69-$3.89 per pack: Dropps Laundry Detergent Pacs, Scent + Dye Free, 20 Loads (Pack of 3) on sale for $11.91.  

Save an additional $0.25 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $11.08-$11.66 ($3.69-$3.89/pack). 

tomato

As low as $1.60-$1.82 per can: Natural Value Organic Tomato Sauce, 15 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) on sale for $27.34.  

Save an additional 15%when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $19.14-$21.82 ($1.60-$1.82/can). Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

 

ERGOPetuniaPickleHeavHollandLg

ERGO Baby Carrier 20% Off at Nikki’s Diapers.  On sale for $116.00.  (reg. $145)  + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

 

BOBA3GDusk

Or maybe you’d prefer their Boba Baby Carrier on sale for $99 (re. $125) + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

MOBYblueindigo

Moby D Wrap Baby Carrier  45% Off while supplies last.  $32.97 (reg. $59.95) + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

Snack_BlueCheckers-300x300Did you miss the Snack and Sandwich bags from Planet Wise, on 50% off at Nicki’s Diapers? I got mine last week (I got 3 snack, 3 sandwich) and they’re fantastic! There aren’t many colors/designs left, but for only $2.99 each (reg. $5.95) with FREE shipping, it’s a great deal anyways! Click “SALE” then “Snack Bag Sale”.

lunchkit

Fit & Fresh Kids’ Reusable Lunch Container Kit with Ice Packs, 14-Piece Set, BPA-Free for $13.98
 

slim snackSlim Snack: Fits in Lunchboxes Where Bulky Lunch Containers Don’t. SNACK BAG & POPSICLE ALL IN ONE! Bring Snacks to Work, School, Gym & Make Blender Pops! (Pack of 4) for $13.95  ($3.49 each).  

Just-a-Slice-SideHigh Protein, No Powder: Protein Bars & Smoothies Made with Real Food.  Save 25% on either the book package (reg. $13) or just the ebook itself (reg. $8).  Use coupon code LABORDAYPROTEIN.  Coupon valid through September 2, 2014.

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(note: prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing) 

Looking for some healthy snack and lunch ideas for the back-to-school? Apparently you’re not the only one! Check out all these FREE Kindle books this week:

 

healthy snacks

 Healthy Snacks For Kids: Step-By-Step Easy And Delicious Snack Recipes

smart

SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults

walk

Walking for Weight Loss: Get in Shape, Feel Confident and be Healthier for life

GF

Gluten free: A Quick-start Guide To Living A Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Diet (Over 100 Gluten-Free Recipes) 

paleo

Paleo: Gourmet Delicious Paleo Dessert Recipes for the Paleo Diet

grown upGrown-Up Recipes That Kids Love Too! 
quick Healthy Recipes For Toddlers: Keep Toddlers Interested With Recipes That Not Only Focus On Their Health But Excite Their Taste Buds Too. (Quick & Easy Recipes) 

 mon's guide
A Mom’s Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food: Easy, Healthy, and Affordable Homemade Baby Food Recipes 

NOTE: Kindle prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing any Kindle books!)

Still want more back-to-school recipes to make life easier?

Last week, Kelly shared Healthy Back-to-School Lunches Made Easy. My own post, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Fast, Easy & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts (with 70+ recipes) was also a hit!

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-August-26

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

11 Fresh and Unique Green Salad Recipes

11 Fresh and Unique Green Salad Recipes {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer 

There’s just something so right about a fresh, in-season, mouth-watering green salad in the summer, don’t you think?

I was raised by a mother who believed in eating seasonally, which meant that I never even knew that you *could* buy things like peaches, strawberries, and tender baby lettuce leaves in the dead of our Canadian winter. I thought they were strictly a summer-only treat. They were in our house, at least.

That’s why I tend to especially enjoy salads in the summertime. They’re like a reunion party of fresh produce all tossed into one bowl of crisp flavor-explosion goodness. Mmmm.

Over the years I have enjoyed many salads at restaurants, buffets, and in others’ homes.

 I have marveled at the simple gourmet feel that a great salad recipe can bring to a table.

Nonetheless, I have found myself in a salad rut year after year. I typically use a spring mix of greens with dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, grated fresh parmesan cheese, and a simple homemade dressing. Over and over again. It’s great (and easily made year-round), but I’m itching to break out of my rut and try something new! 

Here are 11 of the most drool-worthy recipes that caught my eye as I was browsing around trying to find new green salad inspiration. I specifically chose recipes for this list based on two factors:

1) Uniqueness

2) How much I drooled on my keyboard as I read through the ingredients list. (Figuratively-speaking, peeps. Relax!)

If you are planning a summer meal and are in need a great homemade burger patty recipe to serve alongside any of these drool-worthy salads, check out my easy homemade burger patty recipe. Perhaps you’d like to satiate your thirst with this honey-sweetened lemonade recipe, and then finish off the meal with a no-cook desert of homemade peanut butter cups! I’m getting hungry already… man, I really need to stop writing food posts just before dinner. Mmmm…

11 Fresh and Unique Green Salad Recipes {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Now, without further ado, here it is. I guess we can call this my Green Salad Bucket List for Summer 2014. Yum!

1. Beet Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Mustard Dressing | Live Simply (above photo, credit to Kristin Marr of Live Simply)

2. Detox Salad with Orange Avocado Dressing | A Harmony Healing

3. Greens with Peaches, Carmelized Rosemary Pecans, and Golden Balsamic | The Organic Kitchen

4. Kale Salad with Cranberries, Avocado, and Feta | Attainable Sustainable

5. Mediterranean Kale Salad | Fresh Bites Daily

6. Chard and Kale Caesar Salad | Health Nut Nation

7. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bok Choy Salad | Hybrid Rasta Mama

8. Baby Kale Raspberry Salad with Nectarine Balsamic Dressing | A Harmony Healing

9. Greens with Blackberries and Passionfruit Vinaigrette Recipe | The Organic Kitchen 

10. Beet and Arugula Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette | Happy Healthnut

11. Versatile Summer Salad | The Marathon Mom

What’s your favorite thing to put into a green salad?

Top image by QFamily 
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

If Life Were Simple @ Be More with less

A Relationship Worth Protecting @ Hands Free Mama

Japanese Cucumber Salad @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Today, I took a picture of my worst critic. @ John Acuff 

Don’t Quit Before the Whistle Blows @ Michael Hyatt 

Cooling Lemon Chamomile Popsicles @ Modern Alternative Mama 

When Our Kids Have a Bad Day @ The Better Mom 

It’s a New Season of Motherhood @ The Humbled Homemaker

School is starting up again and fall plans are being made! How do you start preparing for the cooler weather?

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}By Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

Chances are you will encounter some type of insect or bug bite during the summer. There are lots of ways to treat such bites, but today I want to share one very effective treatment that utilizes the wonderful herb, plantain. 

Many people hear the word “plantain” and think of a small banana-like fruit. And yes, that is a plantain, but not the kind of plantain I am referring to. 

The herb called plantain is actually a green plant, often considered a weed (but it is a very useful weed and one you might want to keep around).

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Image by Phuong Tran

Plantain is thought to draw toxins and infections from the body.

It also heals cuts or wounds. (Learn more about plantain and other ways to use it here). 

A wonderful way to get the benefits of plantain is to create a plantain salve. It is very easy (instructions for making plantain salve can be found here). The only problem with it is that you must plan ahead and make time to infuse the oil and prepare the salve. 

Another very simple method of using plantain is to make a poultice. This requires very little forethought, except having a plant (or dried herb) nearby. And it is very effective. 

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice

 To create a plantain poultice, the plantain needs to be mashed and placed against the skin. Today I will share three methods for creating a plantain poultice. 

All of these poultices are beneficial for treating the following:

  • bug bites
  • bee stings
  • infections
  • poison ivy and oak (a plantain wash would also help here)
  • cuts and scrapes

Bonus: Plantain has even been know to aid in the removal of slivers, due to it’s drawing properties. 

1. The chew-it-up method

This method  sounds quite horrible, I admit, but it is excellent during an emergency. 

Simply pick a few plantain leaves, rinse off (if necessary), chew the leaves for a while and spit them out. 

Place this chewed up mass on affected area. (You get the added benefit of saliva to aid in healing!) It may be necessary to form the chewed up plantain into a ball before placing on the skin.  

Wrap with a bandage and leave on the skin for a few hours. Use new plantain every few hours and keep this protocol up for a couple of days, if needed. 

2. Powdered herb method

Grind dried plantain into a powder and mix with a little water to form a paste. 

Place paste on affected area and cover with a bandage or medical tape.

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Dried plantain ground into powder (mostly)

3. Food processor or blender method

Blend fresh plantain leaves in a food processor. (Only add a tiny amount of water if needed; just enough to get it to blend. If you have a high powered blender, you might not need any water at all.) 

Place this mash in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and fold the sides of the cloth around the mash to form a little package. Place cheesecloth/plantain pack on affected area. Can be taped on with medical tape if needed, or wrapped with muslin. Use new plantain every couple of hours and keep up the poultice for a few days if needed. 

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Do you have experience with making a plantain poultice? If so, I’d love to hear what you used it for.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. WHEN YOU BUY THROUGH OUR LINKS, IT HELPS TO SUPPORT THIS SITE, SO THANKS!

When I’m Caught in the Rip Current of People Pleasing

When I'm Caught in the Rip Current of People Pleasing

Today I’m honored to be a part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour, along with many other fabulous bloggers. Learn more here - http://goo.gl/bQVJW0

Our lives seem to be one bumpy, gravelly mess of road work lately, like we’ve living in a construction zone.

It’s this season of transition we’re in–  trying to get planted in a new community, changing up how we do homeschool, settling in to a recently purchased home, and moving forward with some big business changes.

Along with that, we’ve altered our family’s regular routine and some of our roles, and well, it feels like there ought to have been flashing orange signs warning us “Detour Ahead”.

I’m no good at detours. These unfamiliar, unexpected routes we end up taking when life shifts and changes.

I forget that they can be more complicated, require more concentration, and usually take more time. I have to leave more margin in my life during these hectic seasons, for the unexpected and the delays, so I don’t run through my days perpetually late, stressed and breathless.

(Which in reality equates to losing it on my kids, snapping at my husband, forgetting important dates, or putting milk in the pantry instead of the fridge.)

It’s that whole margin thing that really trips me up.

I rarely live with margin in my life. You know, that extra allowance of time and space to be used as we need it.

Instead, I’m usually pushing the limits, trying to see how much I can stuff inside these finite hours and days, until they begin to bulge and tear and come literally undone, full to overflowing with so many “good” things, but clearly more than they were intended to hold.

Saying yes all the time won't make me a Wonder Woman, it will make me a worn out woman. - Lysa TerKeurst

Reading “The Best Yes” was a reminder I desperately needed.

It showed me clearly that I was struggling, yet again, with taking on too much. With trying to please everyone. With feeling burdened by endless demands. With saying “yes” out of obligation.

It’s ironic, actually, that I’m writing this post right now. With all that’s on my plate, I should have been saying a gracious “no” to the many requests and opportunities that come through my inbox each week as a blogger. Not because this wasn’t an opportunity worth taking, or a book that I didn’t want to read (because I did), but because I was already maxed out, barely holding myself up.

And yet, I still said “Of course, I’d be happy to!”, not only to this opportunity but several others of late. (Which clearly shows just how much I actually needed to read this book right now — so thanks for asking me, Lysa! How did you know? :)

I’ve been struggling with insomnia at night recently, common for me in seasons of stress, and so I keep pulling this book out in those quiet, late night hours as sleep eludes me.

Among other things, it is revealing my motivations for saying yes, and they aren’t so pretty. Fear. People pleasing. Anxiety. Guilt. Ambition.

I’m reminded that each time I let myself say yes to the wrong things, I’m equally saying no to something else.

This is inevitable. Our lives can only contain so much, and so each yes also represents a no, and on the flip side, each time we thoughtfully say no, we grant ourselves margin and permission to say a resounding yes to something better down the road.

Right now, each time I say another guilty, fearful yes, I am forcing myself to say “no” to something far more important — Sleep and rest. More quality time with my kids and husband. More energy for my relationships. Exercise. A tidy and peaceful home. Steadier moods and emotions. A phone call with a girlfriend. Remembering a family member’s birthday.

As I face the reality of the yucky motivations behind some of my “yes” decisions, I’m convicted that “no” needs to play a greater role in my vocabulary.

And what Lysa is gently reminding me in these late-night, lamp-lit reading sessions is that when “no” is said appropriately, it makes time and space for the very BEST “yes” choices.

Do you see what I mean? We feel bad for saying no, because we think that’s what a good mom (or wife or Christian or friend or daughter) does. So we say “yes” all the time, never daring to let anyone down.

But ultimately, we let even more people down when we do that. And even worse? We often let the most important people down.  

I know I'm caught in the rip current of people pleasing when I dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no. - Lysa TerKeurst

 

One of the concepts that jumped out at me most in this book is the power of a “small no”.

Here’s how Lysa defines it:

“I’ve learned there is power in the small no if only we’ll choose to use it. The power is in saying no before things grow to the place where a no becomes even harder to give, more painful than if given early on, or so much is already put in motion that now the no feels nearly impossible to realistically implement.

As I talked with friends about this concept of the small no, there’s an interesting dynamic at play each time a small no should be given. Almost without exception it’s when the minute we receive a request we know deep down our answer should be no. But we delay – as if delay will somehow make this request go away so we dont’ have to deal with it

I know it feels like either delaying your no or just saying yes and dealing with the consequences would be better than saying no. Boy, do I ever understand that dilemma. Most of us were raised to be nice. And somehow we’ve taken up the notion that saying no is not nice. But what if small nos can be given in such a way they become a gift rather than a curse?

Taken from The Best Yes

Whoosh… did you see that? It was a massive weight that just flew right off of my shoulders.

I really, really love this. When we give small, immediate nos to things we know in our hearts we shouldn’t give a yes to, they become a gift to us, instead of ultimately becoming a burden. 

I can’t tell you how much I struggle with making decisions. I delay, put things off, think the decision will get clearer later, give people vague answers. Particularly if it’s a decision I think will disappoint or displease someone, I tend to delay even more.

It’s very difficult for me to make clear, firm nos. But make them I must.

I appreciate Lysa’s wise admonishment that even as we do this, we shouldn’t go to the extreme and turn our nos into weapons, karate-chopping away at people and their requests.

Her gentle suggestions for saying no firmly, but kindly and lovingly, resonated with me…

  • While my heart wants to say yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.
  • I’m sorry but I can’t give it the attention it deserves.
  • While I would love to _____, my previous commitments of _____ makes this one of those seasons when I must decline lovely invitations. But thank you for thinking of me.

Is anybody else releasing a deep exhale of gratefulness for the permission to graciously and purposefully choose what we say no to, so that we can save our yes for the best things?

“The Best Yes” is now avaialble in bookstores, and online in both paperbackKindle and audiobook format.

What is the hardest part of decision making for you? Saying yes when you should be saying no? Putting it off? 

I received this book for the purpose of review. This post includes affiliate links. 

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals:

Food Processor

Get the lowest price to date and a great deal on this Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor for just $28 or this Hamilton Beach 70450 8-Cup Food Processor for just $26.99.   Remember you get FREE shipping on orders over $35!  

Or if you haven’t yet tried Amazon Prime, sign up for a 30-day trial and get FREE 2-day shipping!

Coconut water kids

Vita Coco Kids Coconut Water Variety Pack, 6 Ounce Containers (Pack of 18) are on sale for $16.75.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Save 20% when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Remember you get FREE shipping on orders over $35!  

*If you’re an Amazon Prime with Amazon Mom member, you’ll actually save 20% on Subscribe & Save items when you place 5 or more orders in a month.

Brain_Booster_Tea

Bulk Herb Store is having a 20% Off Store-wide Sale until August 22nd with coupon code SUMMER14. (click the big black Black Friday Summer Sale button)

As well they have 30% off some Customer Favorites and 40% off some bulk items.  They have some other great savings until the end of August while supplies last.  Here are just a few:

  • Brain Booster Tea regular $12.95 for 1/2 lb on sale for $9.07.  Use coupon code AUGBOO
  • Liver Cleanse Tinture regular $14.95 for 1/2 lb on sale for $10.47.  Use coupon code AUGLIV
  • Beginner’s Herb Kit  $59.95.  If purchased separately these herbs would cost $102.80.  By buying this kit you will save $42.85
  • Journey Back to Health Kit $79.85  If purchased separately these products would cost $101.45.  By buying this kit you will save $21.50

sea_salt-Check out some of the Mountain Rose Herbs specials for this month:

  • Alfalfa Leaf 40% Off – 1 lb for only $5.70
  • Nutmeg Powder 40% Off – 1 lb for only $21.60
  • Fine Sea Salt 25% Off – 1 lb for $2.63
  • Echinacea Purpurea Root 25% Off – 1 lb for $15.75

From Scratch

Read the August/September issue, and if you enjoy it, click on the button at the top of the page that offers a free subscription to From Scratch Magazine.

FOSaleHeader

From Nature With Love is having a sale! 40% Off All In-Stock Standard Fragrance and Flavor Oils (especially great for making soaps or other homemade cosmetics)! Choose the Summer Sale banner (second one down on the home page.) 

They have several other items on sale as well.  It would be worth your while to check them out!

Mount-Hagen-Organic-Coffee-Caf-757922116141

Vitacost is having a coffee sale, up to 40% off. There are plenty of organic and fair-trade coffees included in the sale.  As well they have 20% off Rice & Whole Grains.  Check the deals out including the one I’ve listed below:

QuinoaVitacost Whole Food Quinoa – Non-GMO and Gluten Free – 16 oz (454 g) for just $5.31  

New to Vitacost? Get a $10 off $30 coupon through my link

FREE Kindle ebooks

Household DIY

Household DIY: Save Time and Money with Do It Yourself Hints & Tips on Furniture, Clothes, Pests, Stains, Residues, Odors and More! (note: prices can change at any time so please check before purchasing)

school lunch gluten free

School Lunches: 21 Delicious Gluten Free Recipes (note: prices can change at any time so please check before purchasing)

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-August-19

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!