12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Crafts, Food, Healthy Eating, Herb Basket, Living Naturally, Treats

It’s been a crazy fall and I wanted to make some fun thank you gifts just knowing our life could get upside down soon with our son waiting for a liver transplant. One thing I love to do is give a gift to staff or really anyone who has given us extra love.

Getting Creative

Cleaning my whimsy room, I noticed these tubes. I was emptying a to-go-craft bag and wanting to fill it with things to do while at the hospital. HUM…what could I make? I thought to fill them with candy and bow them with a tag. The old hot chocolate idea with cocoa and marshmallows and peppermint candies is always a great go-to. But I wanted to do something different and even more on the healthier side since we are talking about health care workers during such a difficult time. So…I came up with an herbal tea blend. I thought they turned out kinda cool! Plus, giving them out would be easy! The only thing is that when it actually came time for me to give them out the hospitals shut down visitors. I did go to security and asked them to deliver them, just not ideal, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I just love how they turned out!

How I put them together

I made up three different blends. Fall, Christmas, and simple citrus. The one I loved the most was the lavender one.

Just put the herbs of your choosing in front of you and arrange how you want them to look. The lavender looked great on the bottom with the rose petals on top, then spearmint, lemon peel, and a tinge of orange peel. Just layer as you would like. Christmas tea has my favorite blends of cinnamon chips, ginger, orange, Euchenicia, and very little Hibiscus Flower (great for color too or you could use elderberry or both).

Fall is the easiest, Red rooibos tea, ginger roots, elderberry, clove bits, and cinnamon bits. (Cinnamon sticks work great too but I cut them up into bits for the blends)

All the herbs are organic and wonderful quality! Sometimes they are out of stock but just have them notify you when they arrive.

A new friend moved into our area, so packaged him up some pumpkin bread and tea for a housewarming gift.

Enjoy gifting this year using your favorite things. Blended teas always make a wonderful gift for folks who enjoy the herbal teas. One must have a taste for it though, so choose carefully! You may just have to go back to the hot cocoa idea.

These hot chocolate bombs are a big hit too! I love how creative you can get with these just by switching out the color of chocolate.

Love deeper, talk sweeter, and give generously!

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Treats

Man…there is NOTHING like gingerbread cookies in the fall but add caramel to the mix…WOW…too die for!

I love baking in the fall because of all the wonderful fresh spices. I also love the fact I have more time due to ministry slowing down. This recipe is so simple and will definitely make your family some happy campers! Plus, they were wonderful to have on our trip to Branson, MO. One cookie was enough to meet the snacking need and made the car smell good too!

Hope y’all love it as much as we did!

ENJOY!

Ingredients:

All spices I get through the link, Starwest…organic, fresh!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated is best
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter softened
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses or best yet, Sorghum (video below)
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbsp. caramel sauce (look below)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flout, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Drizzle in the molasses, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Beat in egg.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating until just combined after each addition. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (BPA FREE) and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop a rounded teaspoonful of dough and root into smooth round balls. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Gently press your thumb into the center of each to make an indentation.
  5. Bake until cookies are set but still soft, about 14 minutes. Let cool, slightly then press the handle of a spoon into each cookie center. Remove each cookie and let cool, then fill with 1/2 tsp. of caramel.

Making Homemade Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of Sorghum or molasses
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla, more if you like

Put all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk for 5-10 minutes while cooking until thick. Add vanilla and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, cool a bit then pour into mason jar. Refrigerate until cold.

What is Sorghum?

Sorghum is made from 100% pure, natural juice extracted from sorghum cane. The leaves from the cane are stripped by hand, and the heads are removed. The cane is then put through a roller press to squeeze out the sweet juice. The juice is strained again and cleansed of impurities and cooked down in open pans resulting in an amber-colored, mild syrup. Sorghum is one of the oldest natural sweeteners known, used by our ancestors as America was being settled. Besides being the energy food of the settlers, sorghum made their foods tastier and more nutritious. Sorghum contains such nutrients as calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus, and it contains no chemical additives.

The settlers found many ways to use sorghum sweetening drinks, making confection, flavoring meats, but its most popular usage was in baking. It was used in place of sugar in making pies, bread, puddings, and countless cakes and cookies. It is still a nutritious flavoring that gives any food that delicious taste and aroma the spells…HOMEMADE!

Written by the Schrock Family at Silver Dollar in Branson, MO

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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

This recipe is one I go back to over and over again as it is just so easy and the taste of every bite is just downright amazing! Mouthwatering in every single bite! I guarantee it!

I think you will find it a go-to too! You can use any meat really but of course, steak is my man’s fav…so here ya go.

MOUTHWATERING FLANK STEAK

Ingredients:

  • flank steak (1 lb or so) cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup Liquid Aminos (so much better for you than soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp. sherry
  • 2 tbsp. sugar with 1/2 tsp. molasses (my brown sugar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot (better for you than cornstarch)
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • jalapeño (optional) diced
  • noodles cooked to package directions
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

In a 4 cup glass mixer, mix amino, sherry, sugar, garlic, arrowroot, and lime juice. Whisk well. Place in a bowl the steak strips and half of the mixture. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The longer the better.

In a skillet with some olive oil, add onion and peppers. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add your steak marinate to the skillet. Let cook until brown on one side, then flip to brown the other. Add remaining marinate and veggies. Stir well then add you noodles and mix well until all is well with the soul! YUM! Serve on plate with a slice of lime, and cilantro. Oh man this is an amazing dish!

Broiled Veggies:

Simply place on a cookie sheet a variety of your favorite veggies. I used mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, (variety color), bell pepper, (colors too), and zucchini. Cubed Feta cheese sprinkled everywhere. I used big chunks from a block of Feta. I also added cool cucumbers chopped to place on top of the dish to serve that was not broiled. The cool mixed with the hot is refreshing.

Next, I shook up in a mason jar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp Liquid Aminos, and Worchester sauce, salt, and pepper, and if you like a little kick, a sprinkle of cayenne. You will top half of this mixture to all your cut up veggies on the tray and then place in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes until cheese is brown. When done, arrange on a plate and mix in your flank steak mixture. (you can add the rest of your mason jar if you like)

Top with cilantro allllll over the top and even on the plate to add a little decorative flare!

ENJOY…my man sure did!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

If you are watching your carbs, you know noodles are not the best option for a side dish. But have you heard about Zoodles? It’s taking zucchini and making little noodles with them turning a side dish into a healthy alternative. MAN…I love these things! I think you will too!

SOO pretty!

Ingredients:

Start with slicing 4 zucchini’s and spiral them, place in a bowl

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin oil
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup mozzarella chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Toss oil and salt and pepper into spiraled zoodles bowl.
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes to pull in all the flavor.
  3. Add tomatoes and basil give another toss.
  4. Sprinkle on balsamic vinegar and serve.

Wanna know a FUN new item I came across? Give this a whirl! A company which is all mason jar related!!!!! It is so awesome! I love all the different options for tops, especially because when I make my own salad dressings or marinates in a mason jar the pour spouts are so easy to use! AND I can keep my ingredients in glass vs. using plastic. LOVE LOVE LOVE this new find! TRY THEM!

Love this New find! Infuse you water keeping clean!

Let me know what you think of this easy recipe and feel good side dish!!!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Treats

I love root beer but I tell ya what…Sasparilla is a whole new way of enjoying the ol’ fashion west and the authentic taste! Putting together fresh herbs to make this wonderful beverage fits into any party you are planning. Adding the good ol’ homemade ice cream to make the favorite root beer float….well there ya have it…PURE YUMMINESS!

Sassafras plant, you can smell it as soon as you scrap the stem.

Yes, there are some health risks out there due to the sassafras but like anything eating or drinking too much ill causes issues, so check with your doctor. AND here is a wonderful LINK for more helpful info on this wonderful herb and drink!

Now onto the recipe that will cause your taste buds to burst and impress your whole family you made it homemade!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Stir in sassafras bark, sarsaparilla root, birch bark, ginger, hop flowers, juniper, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and licorice.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a large bowl through cheesecloth or strainer. Make sure to squeeze as much of the herbs as possible getting all the juice through.
  5. Stir sugar into the pure liquid making sure it is dissolved. Your mixture should be still very hot so the sugar will dissolve easily.
  6. Allow cooling to room temperature.
  7. Pour in your ginger bug and stir.
  8. Now you’re ready to bottle. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into individual flip-top bottles and seal. Leave at least one-inch headspace. You can also use these bottles.
  9. Leave in room temperature on your counter for 3-5 days, “burping” them each daily to release the pressure.
  10. Place in your refrigerator for up to 6 days. Remember, this is fresh stuff so you want to drink it up!

TIPS:

Vanilla beans are super expensive right now, so I make my own vanilla using 2 beans opened up in a mason jar, and fill with whiskey. Shake as often as you remember and keep for 4 weeks before use. That is MY pure vanilla. If you can swing the bean, get the cheaper 3 pack.

If your ginger bug isn’t giving enough fizz, you can add club soda to your drink to give it that root beer pop!

Enjoy! It is worth the work! Simple really!!!!! You will knock the socks off your guests and or family!!!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

I am sure you will enjoy every sip of this amazing beverage! Remember…it isn’t a BEER so it can be a blessing for any age!

Your starter

Ingredients:

Just a note…this is done in liters and grams to be more accurate with your measurements. I suggest a nice scale especially if you do a lot of cooking with teas, herbs and so on. It really helps with knowing how much to take out or add for flavor. Also, I really encourage you to purchase fresh ingredients. The spices in your local grocery store sit for many months. This way you can not only get fresh but smaller quantities and FREE shipping!

4 liters of filtered water

400 grams of ginger root (a bit spicy go less for not such a bite)

500 grams sugar

3-star anise

30 black peppercorns, ( a little spicy so if you want…go less)

12 allspice , whole

12 cardamon pods

3 cloves

200 ML ginger bug

Instructions:

  1. Put ginger roots into a food processor and blend a few seconds. Put a little water in to blend well.
  2. Put water into a big pot and pour ginger root along with spices into the pot.
  3. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, add sugar, and simmer for 30 minutes. During this process taste to see if you want to add any more of the spices. I should of put fewer peppercorns in as you can always add. Ours has a bite!
  4. Turn off heat and leave overnight to steep in all the flavors.
  5. The next morning, strain spices out into a seave, strainer, or cheesecloth. Push down on spices to get every bit!
  6. Add your ginger bug, stir, and bottle with bottles with swing caps.
  7. Let sit for a day opening the swing tops once or twice to release pressure. The longer you let sit the more alcohol content will increase. Here is a breakdown.
  • 1 day: .02 %
  • 2 days 1 %
  • 3-4 days 1.5%
Great drink for any time anyone!

ENJOY!!!!

Love deeper, sip healthier, and talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Herb Basket, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

What in the World!

Yep…just what I thought…what is a ginger bug? I love ginger. I love what it does for all the medicinal needs of our bodies. So when I saw you make a fermented bug to add to syrups or other recipes like making your own ginger beer, I was all in!

What is Ginger Beer?

This cool and delicious soft drink which is filled with health benefits. Many think because it has “beer” attached to the name it contains a lot of alcohol. Of course, like any fermented homemade drink the longer it sits, the more the alcohol content. But for most who make it including my recipe, it is less than .02%. It is not so much fermentation in the actual drink as it carbonated as it sits. A lot like a Kombucha is really good for you and can be a beverage for any age.

What are the health benefits?

  • relaxes you and your mood
  • smell enhances your mood as you sip away
  • relieve pain and mental fatigue
  • helps with depression
  • has anti0inflammatory properties to help with internal inflammation
  • anti-bacterial properties help with mucus and upper respiratory and coughing
  • anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties help to boost the immune system
  • MY FAVORITE…natural probiotic as in the formation it improves digestion, maintain the microbial flora of the gut and fights and fights gut bacterial.

Are you SOLD YET?

I was! I love this concept and easy to do. Yes, it takes time, but what an awesome drink to have in your refrigerator for any event or daily beverage. YES, it contains sugar. But much of it is fermented out during the process. It is AWESOME!!!

Next step…make your ginger bug than you will be ready for the ginger beer recipe!

Your base

How to make your bug!

Ingredients:

2-3 Tablespoons of grated ginger root

1/2 cup of organic sugar

2 cups filtered water

Instructions:

  1. Grated or cut up a ginger root. I like to have it grated to better get the flavor out.
  2. Fill a quart size mason jar with 2 cups of water
  3. Add sugar and ginger to water and shake it up.
  4. For the next 3-5 days keep adding 1 tbsp. of ginger and 1 tbsp. of sugar…shake up.
  5. I do keep a lid on the jar but you can just put a coffee filter on it and use mason jar canning ring to hold into place.
  6. Make sure to add each day and still with a metal spoon or shake.
  7. When you see it FIZZ at the top you know it is working!

Comment:

Please let me know if you tried this and the ginger beer…I think you will like it.

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Ranch Life

Oh boy, this was a stretch for me! Yep, not a fan of jarring jam but I really love homemade things where I can choose the amount of sugar and of course the natural ingredients that surround us. Like dandelions! Why I love these cuties so much…look below.

Aren’t dandelions just so pretty to see? All those shiny, yellow balls of sunshine around in the spring makes me smile every time I see a field of them. Especially when I am in the midst of them picking away for dandelion syrup, dried leaves for my salad, fresh too, and of course jam. But I wasn’t familiar with how to do it so of course, some experimenting going on.

So cute these little jam jars I kept from a stay at a fancy hotel

One important step is to prepare your jars and lids. I do this ahead of time. Put them in a water bath to sterilize and of course, be nice and hot when you are ready to pour in your delightful jam.

Preparing jars and lids

Next is prepping your dandelions. Make sure you get all the green out at least as much as possible. I use my thumb and pointer finger and rub the end of the flower to release the yellow head and not get any green. It works pretty well. My little helper daughter had a hard time, but after the first cup or two she got the hang of it. AND then… didn’t want to help anymore! Save the leftover dandelion stems for your ranch or farm animals. They will LOVE you for it!

Rebel!
My other competition…he gets the leftovers too!

After you get the dandelions into a bowl you need to steep them for at least 12 hours to really help with the flavor. Just boil 4 1/2 cups of water and when it is at a boil, pour over your prepared dandelions. Now…you will be ready to start your jam. Look below for each step so you know in advance what you can prep.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dandelions
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup of organic sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. pectin powder Pomona’s Brand comes with calcium water to help use less sugar)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. citric acid
  • 4 1/4 tsp. calcium water

Instructions:

  • Bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil and pour over your dandelions. Allow to steep for 12-24 hours.
  • Drain your tea through a strainer making sure as much tea is out as possible. Place tea in Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  • Mix sugar and pectin powder well
  • While the tea is heating, add lemon juice, calcium water, and citric acid. Make sure it dissolves well.
  • Once the tea is at a boil, slowly add your sugar and pectin mixture. Stir and make sure once again everything is dissolved. Skim off any foam. You don’t have to get every little bit, but what you can.
  • Allow to once again turn to a boil. Remove from heat
  • Ladle the mixture into prepared jars. Wipe rims, place lids and bands on.
  • Once again put jars int a water bath which is at a boil and let sit for 10 minutes. Longer if you are at high altitude.
  • Let sit for 12-24 hours to set.

Did you have fun yet? I tell you, it is a process and the first time they were still liquid. I waited for 48 hours and had to add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp. of pectin dumping all the jars back into the pot. Brought them to a boil for 10 minutes and once again canned them up repeating that process. It was worth it! They turned out! And they taste delicious!

Yummy treat!

I made some homemade graham crackers and served them with this jelly for a snack. It was a treat!

Enjoy and God’s blessings as you live like a pioneer!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

WHY DANDELIONS ARE SO WONDERFUL:

This sweet flower is an important medicinal herb. Did you know that? The whole flower and especially leaves are wonderful! Just look at this list!

  • good source of calcium and Vitamin K
  • helps with bone loss hence the above
  • the fiber in the root which is helpful for bone loss as well as gut health improving digestion and constipation
  • full of potent antioxidants
  • helps fight inflammation
  • may reduce cholesterol
  • helps fight sugar cravings
  • may lower blood pressure
  • helps aid in healthy liver
  • may aid in weight loss
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Food, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

I am not totally doing Keto as I do have my occasional grain and fruit but I try and follow the EXTRA goodies in special recipes. This recipe took some tweaking because for one it was SUPER sticky to work with and I also added gluten-free flour to help make the dough roll out well. I think you will find it awesome as well and feel good about making a smores or two!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 6 tbsp. pure maple syrup or Lakanto sugar-free sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
  • 1 pinch of Himalayan salt

Have 1 cup of Gluten Free flour to add if it’s sticky when combining

Directions:

  • Preheat oven 325 degrees
  • Combine all dry ingredients into a large glass bowl
  • Add beaten eggs and stir
  • Add remaining wet ingredients
  • As you mix together if it is not forming well into a dough add 1/4 cup at a time of the gluten-free flour to help it combine. Once it forms a ball place on parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes
  • Remove dough and place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll out to 1/8″ thick. You should be able to peel off the top parchment without any stickiness. Place on a baking sheet
  • Using a pizza cutter cut into squares. Sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on top if you like. Make sure to take a fork and poke holes in each square.
  • Place in oven and cook 15-20 minutes. Enjoy the amazing aroma and eating them without too much guilt!
  • I waited 10-15 minutes to let them cool before I broke them apart. It’s hard though they taste great warm!!!! AND serve with a homemade Dandelion Jam! OHHHH SOOO GOOD!!!
They are so yummy and in-between some 80% Cocoa bar and a marshmallow…well…what a treat!

Enjoy!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Oh my is this soup amazing! If you are watching your weight or at least trying to eat healthier, this is for you and your family! It is supposed to have potatoes in it but I substituted cauliflower instead as we really don’t eat potatoes that much anymore. You can see a report on its effects here.

Flavor just dances in your tastebuds! Even the next day it is delightful.

Hope you like it as much as my family did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Cauliflower, chopped up
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tsp. chicken boullion powder
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 lb cooked bacon

Directions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine cauliflower, water, chicken bouillon, and garlic; bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, until cauliflower is tender, 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in large cast iron pan, cook sausage and mushrooms over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles, 5-10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon drain onto paper towels and pat dry really well to get as much grease out as possible
  3. Add sausage and mushrooms to cauliflower mixture; return to a boil. reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or so. add your milk, sour cream, and pepper; heat another 10 minutes. Serve with bacon.
I was so excited to eat this I forgot to add a sprinkle of basil on top!

So wonderful…let me know if you tried it!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, eat well,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating

Trying a new recipe is always a little risky especially when it doesn’t have the ingredients in it you think will add flavor. I know I recently tried cauliflower rice and it was downright disgusting! It was just cauliflower bits and had a flavor that was so icky. I learned just by FRESH every time and you can’t lose.

So this recipe I tried and even my hubby enjoyed it. No broth or store bought canned broth which means you will need to add salt to taste. The cilantro FRESH is a must for a garnish. It really adds to the flavor.

Hope you find it as enjoyable as we did! It’s May and it’s snowing out! 3″ so far…YUK so soup was a highlight of our day. Who knew? Soup in May!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium purple onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken up and chopped
  • 32 oz water
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt (more for taste if you like)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Minced fresh cilantro, garnish

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook and stir until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add Curry powder; cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add cauliflower and water. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium; cook covered for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in coconut milk; cook an additional minute.
  5. Remove from heat; cool slightly and puree in a blender. (you can skip the puree part and just serve chunkier)
  6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Yummy to the tummy!

Let me know if you tried it! Comment below.

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating

My daughter and I are trying to cut down a few pounds. Unforntatley she got injured and can’t run, ride horses, or really much of anything so the one thing we can do is eat healthier.

We decided to try a low carb eating routine. I hate using the word “diet” as it just gets my thoughts in the wrong place instead of just reminding myself to make better choices. One habit for sure had to go is NOT eating desserts. At least until I get to half my goal weight. I do believe in setting goals than rewarding oneself. It helps the motivation part!

So far so good! In the first week, I dropped 5 pounds. Now it’s slowing down a bit to just 2 a week. As I am writing this I can tell you one thing for sure, I FEEL better already!

Here is a recipe my hubby and I had for an appetizer along with cheese sourdough crackers. We topped the dinner off with a wonderful, flavorful Brussel sprouts salad. It really was a special dinner and it just made you feel good!

Sizzling away in olive oil

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs with your favorite herbs (I love thyme, sage, basil)
  • 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper about 1/2 tsp each
  • olive oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp.Liquid Aminos
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cup apricot preserves (gotta keep this in your refrigerator as it is a must for good flavor sauces)
  • Blend together and set aside for dipping

Directions:

  1. Cut zucchinis 1/4 inch rounds, keep the skin on
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl by themselves
  3. Mix almond flour, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in another bowl.
  4. Get you oil into a cast iron pan which should be enough to coat the bottom of the pan pretty well.
  5. Dip each zucchini into egg bowl covering both sides, then dip into the flour mixture, set on wire rack.
  6. Add your circled zucchini’s into fry pan 2-4 at a time. (Oil should sizzle and envelop the circles.) Fry for 1-2 minutes then flip and do the other side. I use tongs and wear an oven mitt as this can splatter
Amazing taste especially with the zest of the dipping sauce!

Enjoy this low cal low carb appetizer and feel AWESOME with no guilt!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, eat healthier,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

Spring has sprung when you can celebrate with some fresh fruit! OH how I love to add this to an evening meal! So refreshing and easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Nice of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tsp fresh vanilla
  • 4 pints strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 pints of blueberries
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups green grapes, halved
  • 2 apples, sliced or cubed
  • 2 peaches, cubed
  • fresh mint leaves
Yummy and refreshing!

Instructions:

Place the sugar, water, orange juice, and zest into a small space pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 min. to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool, then store in the fridge until cold. Mix together all the flirt in a large pretty bowl, and pour the syrup over the top, tossing gently. Garnish with fresh mint and serve.

This makes a great salad for get togethers. Everyone will love it!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Easy Starter

I have been wanting to try my own sourdough all winter and last weekend I finally said, NOW! Why I put it off? Well, one being I came across two ways to make it. One with yeast and one without. Obviously, the one with yeast would be easier as you don’t have to “feed” it everyday plus you can use it the next day. But, it has to be refrigerated when not using it and you have to remember to take it out of the refrigerator 24 hours before you use it. It seemed easier, but I found the simple old fashion’ Amish way recipe was more convenient and just as easy. I don’t even need to make sure my water is a certain temperature as with the yeast recipe you do. Hence, not to kill the yeast. Yes, you have to “feed” simple one daily but I can use a cup of it right away for recipes. I love the convenience and no water temp worry.

SO here is your starter recipe…SO SIMPLE!

  • 1 cup organic white flour or wheat
  • 1 cup of non-chlorinated water/filter
  • PLACE in a glass mason jar, stir, cover with towel or paper towel and a rubber band or a mason jar ring placed lightly around a towel

Every day look for bubbles. FEED it with equal parts of flour and water. Stir with a wooden spoon, then recap loosely and get on with your day. When the jar is getting about 3/4 to the top is when I use a cup of it for a recipe. Even halfway I have had the starter get so bubbly it almost overflowed. If you want, change the jars. I keep feeding it until I can smell the sour part. As soon as that happens it will make your recipes taste amazing.

The first day we used the starter it didn’t smell sour but we needed to use some starter or it would overflow. The pancakes we made below we JUST LOVED! Truly a wonderful flavor sour or not.

Sourdough Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sourdough starter

1 1/4 cup of flour

1 cup 2% or whole milk

2 eggs beaten

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cream of tarter

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp homemade vanilla extract (vanilla bean soaked in Brandy for 4-6 weeks…too die for)

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice or 1 drop lemon essential oil (really makes the flavor)

Top with fresh fruit, homemade syrups like ginger or lilac, cinnamon, nutmeg…anything goes.

Mix all the above well and make your pancakes. ENJOY!!!

Sorry about lame picture…forgot to add my lemons! HA!

Sourdough Beer Bread

Ingredients:

12 oz cheap beer (room temp)

1 cup sourdough starter

1/4 cup organic sugar

5 (or so) cups of bread flour (it’s all about the feel)

Olive oil for greasing

Fun part…kneading…it helps to have an apron on…you’ll feel old fashioned! I always picture myself in the show WHEN CALLS THE HEART

  1. In a large glass bowl, add the beer and starter.
  2. Stir in sugar until well dissolved.
  3. Mix in enough flour to form a dough, it will be sticky to help clean the bowl
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes adding 1/4 cup of flour until it is no longer sticky.
  5. The first rise, place the dough back in a glass bowl with a 1 tbsp. of olive oil making sure the whole dough has the oil on it. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm area for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  7. Divide your dough in half and form each half into a loaf and place in 2 greased loaf pans. (If you want the dough round, place the whole dough in a greased Dutch oven)
  8. Cover your loaf pans or Dutch oven with a tea towel for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  9. Ready for the amazing aroma? Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on top. (my mom’s technique)
  10. You can freeze the loaves in a BPA free bag or simply eat it all! ENJOY!
Kinda like the Dutch Oven look…it does make for LONG slices

Sourdough Crackers

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 cup of sourdough starter

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.

2 tbsp. dried herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil)

oil for brushing

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top

Instructions: Preheat oven 350 degrees

1. Mix first 5 ingredients forming a nice non-sticky dough

2. Divide dough in half

3. Form dough into a rectangle shape, place on a piece of parchment paper

4. Cover with another parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so until firm

5. Flour lightly a piece of parchment paper, rolling pin, and top of your dough.

6. Roll out dough to 1/16″ thick. It’s ok if the dough is ragged and uneven

7. Transfer the dough with the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Brush the olive oil on top and sprinkle sea salt on top.

8. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 1 1/4″ squares. Prick each square with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes.

9. Turn baking sheet top to bottom, front to back to keep them even in baking. You want a nice brown look

10. Let cool on cooling rack and store in an airtight container. Freeze too!

Sourdough Cheese Crackers

Oh my…you won’t be able to stop eating these!

Ingredients:

1 cup sourdough starter

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. favorite herb, I like Rosemary or Thyme

3/4 tsp sea salt

6 oz. (or more) cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven 325 degrees, line a sheet pan with parchment paper

Whisk top 4 ingredients well, fold in the cheddar cheese.

Spread the mixture evenly on a prepared pan as thin as you can. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Let rest for 5-10 minutes (good luck with that) and cut into pieces.

See, I couldn’t wait…had to try them!

Wonderful Bread Mini Loaf

Yep, this makes for a wonderful addition to soup! Also, mini grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty amazing too.

Ingredients:

1 cup starter

1 to 1 1/2cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

Little loafs ready to go!

Directions:

Mix well until not sticky. Add a bit more flour if it is sticky. Place dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes. Place in a glass bowl until double the size. I put a little olive oil on the dough too and bottom of the bowl. Rising will take at least an hour. Our home is kept pretty cool so it depends on your room temperature. After it has risen place dough on the surface and cut in half. Put into a greased loaf pan, we use the mini one. This recipe makes 2 mini loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees until brown, about 35 minutes. Don’t look….maybe even 45 minutes.

Beautiful brown

Comments

Let me know how your recipes turned out! I love to hear as we learn the art cooking well together!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Ranch Life, Thyme Out

Don’t you just love to have a salad that is not only quick and easy to throw together but amazing to your taste buds? Well, these are my top 5 favs. I think you will like them as well and the dressings will add an extra punch to each one!

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

  • 2 10 oz bags of washed spinach, torn into pieces
  • 4 Cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • A handful of feta or mozzarella cheese
  • optional: 3/4 red onion, finely chopped, and/or 1 can of black beans rinsed well

Toss together and add the Strawberry-Poppy Seed Dressing, serves 8-12

Southwest Salad

  • 1 head of green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup organic corn kernels
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 Fresh lime, squeezed
  • 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese or cheddar
  • Optional: Cooked, chopped chicken breast

Put corn in a strainer and dip the strainer in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Cool Toss all ingredients together, and serve immediately with Avacodo Dressing, and lime juice serves 8-12

A little note: We have since cut way back on eating peppers, tomatoes, and corn due to many health issues that these veggies can cause over time and how they digest in the system. But for special occasions and limited in our diet, we do have them now and again. It is hard to believe something so good can be harmful.

Make sure to have a fresh lime!

Simple Salad

  • 1 large head of favorite lettuce mix, we love the spring greens
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 3 radishes, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp. dried dandelion leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried goldenseal
  • 1/2 cup sprouts, seeds like pumpkin, or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese or mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1 can chickpeas or kidney beans
  • Optional: Dried kale, (put a bunch of kale on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and back for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes a wonderful topping)

Toss together and drizzle your favorite olive oil and vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice. Don’t forget to top with the fresh-baked Kale.

Cabbage Salad

  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 2 cans drained mandarin oranges
  • 1 Cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1/2 cup Chinese crunchy noodles, 1/2 cup craisins

Toss together along with any vinaigrette. I recommend the Asian Ginger Dressing.

Craisin Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 2 heads butter lettuce (love this stuff)
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup organic mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp organic butter
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Saute almonds over medium heat in butter and maple syrup, stirring constantly until light brown. Set aside. Toss all remaining ingredients together. Add nuts and favorite dressing. Serves 6-8

Brussel Sprout Salad

For the Brussel sprouts:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or Avocado oil
  • 1 pound of Brussel sprouts cut in half
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced and diced

For candied almonds or walnuts:

  • 2/3 cup of almonds
  • 1 tbsp. of our maple syrup
  • sea salt to taste

For the Salad:

  • 5 oz. of spring greens mix
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup of grapes
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (or if you have a fussy cowboy like me, cheddar grated)
  • 1/2 cup dried craisens

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussel sprouts and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes stirring a few times. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Place almonds in skillet along with maple syrup and a pinch of salt. cook over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In large bowl mix greens everything together.
  4. Best vinaigrette to pour over the top or serve on the side.

If you don’t have fresh herbs, I highly recommend going to Starwest…the links I have on the herbs. You never have to worry about quality or sitting on a store shelf. All the natural goodness in one place!

I hope you enjoy these amazing side salads! Great for the good ol’ waistline too!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

I love making up gift ideas which are practical and of course usable. What better than something that is healthy too!

The tea is blended with organic herbs some grown here on our ranch. I blend the herbs to common taste buds and of course adding spices where need be as well.

Three tea blends to choose from

The syrups are just a splash of sweetness to your tea and bring a burst of flavor as well!

You can purchase these mini jars of tea and syrups for $12. Mix and match teas and syrups or any way you like. Two fits into the crate.

These syrups add a delightful sweetness to any tea blend!

You can email me for your order and remember all orders and purchase’s here on the blog help our ranch ministry which helps kids in need…so thank you!

Mix and match

God bless you and enjoy the fun tea and syrup mini’s!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

homesteadranchgirl@gmail.com to order your mini tea crates

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Food, Healthy Eating

Enjoyment of Cooking Together

With Dan being home full time and winter in high gear we both enjoy doing many things together. We love trail rides in the woods and working around the ranch, but when we can’t be outdoors we find some fun recipes to whip up together. The night before we watch an old movie from the 1950s and they were having breakfast out on a terrace in France. Beautiful scenery! But when they talked about their Quiche Lorraine of how flaky and rich the crust was, my mouth started to water! I said to Dan, “let’s make this tomorrow morning.” So we did, except with a twist.

Changing from Pie to Muffin

One thing about my man is his amazing gift of baking! Especially when it comes to pie crusts! So I let him take the lead on that end while made up what was going to be the filler. Dan loves eating in unique ways not just the same old thing so he decided to make the pie a muffin shape. I had these cute heart-shaped muffins silicone but he wanted to make sure they turned out since we hadn’t done this before so he opts out of cuteness and went with plain. It’s ok…Valentine’s isn’t upon us… yet.

Recipe Makes 6 Muffins

Ingredients:

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Filler:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cooked sausage links, diced
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked diced
  • 2 slices ham, diced
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, split in half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs and milk until blended. Add spices and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and only HALF of the cheese, save the rest to sprinkle on top of muffin cups.

For the pastry: Note, Dan suggests to use Crisco and slow and easy with water added as it is key to his pastry skills. And don’t play with the dough too much!

In mixer or blender:

1/3 cup shortening plus 1 tbsp.

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

Pulse until dough starts to form pea-size shapes. Place dough into a glass bowl. Sprinke 2 tbsp. of cold water blending with a fork. Add more water 1 tsp at a time until pastry is nice and moist and comes off the side of the bowl. Gather dough into a ball and place on a floured surface and roll out pretty thin. Using the top of a large mason jar lid, forming your round shape to place in your muffin pan. It will form a beautiful overlay looking like a flower curling. If you need to, shape more to get more of a decorative look.

Fill each cup near the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until nice and golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin cups.

Ready to Enjoy

You and I may not be in France overlooking a beautiful view when we enjoy this delightful pastry, but we can sure dream with each chew!

It really does melt in your mouth!

Comment below love to hear from you!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee AND Dan

Pin and share!

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Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Itchy Throat and Congestion

Most of December and part of January I have been battling a cough. It turned into a pretty nasty cold but once I made this special tea blend it eased the cough and the congestion. There are other ingredients I listed you can also add for fever/chills and of course runny nose. Taking my elderberry syrup daily helps but once the flu kicks in high gear the body needs the days and weeks to get through it all. Not once in the 4 weeks did I take any over the counter meds or pain relievers. Just teas, supplements, and essential oils. Always keep in mind building the immunity in the body is so very important. Once you implement meds you have lowered your immune system.

Linden Flower Key Ingredient

Linden Flower has so many wonderful properties to your health and wellness plus its aroma is amazing! Key properties:

  • Anxiolytic-ease anxiety
  • Relaxing nervine-helps to calm tension and irritability in the nervous system
  • Antispasmodic-eases muscle cramping
  • Hypotensive-assists in lowering blood pressure
  • Diaphoretic-helps promote perspiration
  • Anti-inflammatory-eases inflammation

Tea Recipe For Cough/Fever

Ingredients:

6 tsp. Linden Flower and Leaf
4 tsp. Spearment leaf
4 tsp. Lemon Balm
4 tsp. Hibisus Flower
2 tsp. Rose Petals
Can add for fever and congestion, Boneset and Marshmellow Leaf
Above herbs are native and easy to grow here in Minnesota…try growing your own this summer and harvesting so you have them on hand.

Instructions:
Mix the above in a glass bowl. Place in a strainer which can fit over a gallon mason jar. I use this one. Fill jar with boiling water and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Pour a cup of tea with a drop of lemon essential oil and honey and sip away the ickyness.

Detox Bath

Fill tub with hot water adding:
1 cup Mineral Sea Salt
1/2 cup Apple cider
3 drops of Chamomile Essential oil
3 drops of Eucalptus Essntial Oil
handful dried Lavender buds

Enjoy this wonderful blend of tea and of course mix it up adding your own favorite herbal loose leaf specialties. Every sip is helping your body heal…the natural way! Don’t forget animals will love your left over tea leaves. We give our horses theirs daily! And even make them up a batch of tea!

God’s blessings and keep well!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating

This salad is so simple and so worth serving to your family or in your entertaining. It just takes a few ingredients and a whole lot of herbs to leave your insides dancing with goodness! Let me know what you think! Dan wasn’t liking it too much, so it will be one I just make for myself. He needs more MEAT on his plate! HA! Enjoy!

Fresh is best!
  • Baby Arugula
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced
  • 3 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yam or sweet potato, season and bake
  • cooked chicken (optional for your meat man)
  • fresh parmesan, shredded
  • pinch rosemary
  • pinch of sage
  • pinch of oregano
  • pinch of basil
  • a sprinkle of dried dandelion
  • a sprinkle of dried goldenseal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • NOTE: you could add some scallions to this for a bit more punch and cayenne if you like a kick, just little pinches goes a long way.

Place sliced sweet potato or yam on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, orgeno, and cayanne. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Once your yam or sweet potato is done cooking and if you chose chicken, let both of them cool. In a bowl, add Arugala I used 3 handfuls than mix remaining ingredients, herbs, more salt and pepper if you like. Give it a nice toss and turn to make sure all the herbs and flavors have mixed well. Add your lime juice and toss again. Now it’s ready to serve!

Yummy!

Short and sweet and flavorful!

Enjoy!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

Feeling Icky?

The temps are dropping really fast around this Minnesota state! We hit 1 above this morning and I was feeling a cold coming on. Drained from a weekend getaway with our son and being in wind and snow set me up for getting sick. PLUS, late nights and hotels. I needed to find something to make for not only myself but to keep in our freezer for a quick meal. When you’re not feeling well, it sure helps to have something you can heat up quickly and provides wonderful nutrients to fight the flu. The turmeric and black pepper help keep down inflammation and keep your body toasty as turmeric is a warming herb. The garlic and ginger help fight off the presence of bacterial or viral infections.

Found A Winner

I think you will find this soup tasty. Just look at the ingredients and you will see for yourself it is FULL of herbs and spices, plus veggies to help you feel better. Even if you’re not sick, it’s a good one to keep on hand. Let me know what you think or if you added something to improve it. Love it when we can help one another improve a recipe! Enjoy!

Ingredients: Spices I get from Starwest * (off to the right) so I always have FRESH herbs and spices. In a store, you never know how long they have been on the shelf. This goes for herbs too when I can’t grow them myself. If you have any herbs from your garden this will be an added benefit.

  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • ginger to taste (I put in 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp basil (I added an additional sprinkle on top when serving)
  • 4 peeled, diced potatoes
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • kale
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. The first 3 ingredients put into your Dutch oven with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Let them sauté until a nice aroma.
  2. Add carrots, zucchini, turmeric, black pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme basil, and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Add potatoes, cover and let boil for 30 minutes.
  5. Add kale and simmer for additional 10 minutes
  6. You can add cooked hamburger or chicken. My man loves his meat!
  7. He also loves dumplings, which of course he added…what a guy!
YUMMY for the tummy and to help you fight the bug!

Hope you try it…I think you will find this an awesome recipe anytime of the year!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, and keep it natural when you can,

Lee

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