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Gut Healing Strawberry Banana Smoothie Bowl

Recently I posted My Favorite Smoothie Mix.....we have been making and enjoying smoothies for a long time now but after a while, even with lots of greens and super-foods some smoothies seemed lacking. They didn't keep me full long enough and often they seemed too sweet with lots of fruit and sometimes added honey or other sweeteners.

I was learning more about the importance of healthy fats so I started experimenting trying to find ways to add lots of healthy fat to my smoothies. Then I found that even natural sweeteners can be overdone and that I was loosing a taste for things that were too sweet.....fruit is plenty sweet and you don't even need a lot.

Then I figured to round things out it needed to have to good amount of protein. Not only did this make it a great pre or post workout smoothie but a perfect meal in and of itself keeping me full for hours.

Then while I was at it why not add some gut nourishing and healing ingredients since most of our guts need quite a bit of TLC.  This smoothie bowl is just the first of many of the fun smoothie recipes I have created that me and my family have been enjoying for quite some time now. I hope you enjoy this one I look forward to sharing even more!

Gut Healing Strawberry Banana Smoothie Bowl
makes 2 or 3 bowls depending on size

1 cup coconut milk (I like to add a bit of kefir here too for the probiotics)
2 heaping scoops of My Favorite Smoothie Mix
1 frozen banana
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil or MCT oil (a handful of walnuts or cashews here works too)
1/2 cup crushed ice (optional if you like them really cold and thick)

Sliced fruit (strawberry and/or banana)
Granola or I used some of my crushed up candy bars in the pictures
sliced almonds, chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients except toppings into blender.  If you want it thicker add more frozen stuff ;) if you want it thinner add more coconut milk or a little water. Pour into bowls add toppings in a fun pretty way!

Don't forget the Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle sale ends TONIGHT! If you are interested in learning more about herbs and essential oils this is the perfect place to start also don't forget to email me after you purchase so I can send you My Simple Healthy Life ebook!

My Favorite Smoothie Mix

For quite some time now this has been my favorite mix to put in smoothies. It has a great flavor and is full of fiber, nutrients and multiple sources of protein. With the right amount of added fat and fruit a smoothie will keep me full and energized for hours. It has also done wonders for my hair, skin and hormones. My eyelashes are longer and thicker then they have ever been. Make up a batch a give it a try I started noticing a difference within the first three months of using it consistently.

I'll share some of my favorite smoothie recipes soon but for now here is my basic formula for making a healthy well balanced smoothie.

My typical smoothie formula:
2 cups of liquid (almond milk, water, kefir or combination)
2 scoops of the mix (recipe below)
1-2 Tablespoons Fat (Nuts or nut butter, coconut oil or MCT oil)
1-2 cups frozen fruit
other add ins fresh greens etc. (optional)

My Favorite Smoothie Mix

Makes about 1 gallon

3 cups chia seed
3 cups collagen
3 cups vanilla bone broth powder
3 cups vanilla plant based protein powder
1/2 scant cup acerola cherry powder
1/2 scant cup maca
1 1/2 cups greens powder

Mix everything into a gallon glass jar. Shake well to combine add two large scoops to your favorite smoothie recipes.

For the Greens Powder I have been using Green Smoothie Girl's but she doesn't seem to be selling it anymore so I'm looking for another brand I will probably end up using this Moringa powder (since it is so affordable and super healthy) and another variety greens mix (I haven't really found one I like yet but there are lots of options out there.)

How to Grow Bunches of Tomatoes that Ripen Quickly

It's getting close to that time of year again it may even already be time for some. We always wait until Memorial Day to be confident that we are past the chance of frost date.  I thought I would bring this post forward early this Spring so those of you wanting to try this method will have plenty of time to gather supplies and prepare.

We were taught this by a farmer at our local CSA when we lived up north and have used it ever since.  Now instead of having big green bushes with a few tomatoes that turn red before frost IF we are lucky.  We now have skinny tall vines that are always loaded with bunches and bunches of fruit that can see the sun and turn red in plenty of time before frost.  In fact we have been known to have ripe tomatoes from July clear until Fall.

The cool thing too is that they take up less space.  Yep that's right you get more tomatoes and each plant takes up less space.  Just look in the picture just above (taken in 2011) the first bed has pole beans the next bed has tomatoes.  The bed is about 12x4 and there are almost 30 tomato plants growing in that space.

Okay I'm going to try to explain it as best I can so you can try it if you want.  I think you will be as pleased as we have been.

What you will need -
  • Tomato plants, planted about 18 inches apart closer if you are really pressed for space.
  • Next you will need some sort of clip we love these Tomato Clips
  • Then you will want a bunch of twine some good strong stuff works best don't use string
  • Something to be used as a frame to tie the twine on, you can get creative with this, we use rebar
  • You will need something to tie the twine to and stake in the ground we use whatever we have available at the time, sticks, old tent stakes, pieces of wire hanger, gardening hose stakes or these Garden Stakes would work really well

I wish I had pictures of the whole process but mostly we have just been excited and taken pictures of all the fruit.  Just look at how you literally get bunches of tomatoes.

If you look closely at this picture you can kind of see how we train and clip the vine up the twine.  The pictures below show it even better.

What you do -
  • As the vines get tall enough clip the main center stalk to the stem
  • Also as they are growing pluck off all the suckers.  Sorry we don't have a picture of what a sucker looks like but I noticed that there are lots to choose from here so take a look if you don't know what I am talking about.
  • As the plant grows just continue to clip it up to the twine and pluck off suckers as they come.
  • Then as things start to cool off (usually early to mid-October maybe sooner) cut off the tops with new growth and pick off all little green ones and blossoms.  At this point you don't want the plant producing more fruit you want it to be ripening what's there.  This works really good to ripen them up before frost.

This is the very best way we have found to grow tomatoes especially if you live in zones 5 or colder where chances of late frost in the Spring and early frost in the Fall are common.  Also it seemed to be the only way to get plenty of yield when we only lived on less than a 10th of an acre and had very limited space.  Good luck with your gardens this year!

P.S. Here are a few more recent pictures of how we have been stringing up our tomatoes since we moved 5 years ago.

Carrot Butter

We just recently harvested our carrots although the garden for the most part struggled this year, the carrots did great. Of course I had to make me some carrot butter. You maybe have never had carrots this way but oh this recipe is wonderful!  A great Spring time recipe that would be great at part of a Easter dinner, breakfast, brunch or whenever. But also an awesome Fall recipe in fact it is quickly becoming a Thanksgiving favorite around here....heck I say it's great any time of year.  We love this Carrot Butter on toast, scones, with rolls, as a fruit dip, or any way you can think of eating it.  I personally like it by the spoonful! ;)  ENJOY!

Carrot Butter
1-1.5 pounds carrots peeled and cut into small pieces
Large pot of water
1 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3-4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons Real Salt

Place carrots in large pot of water and boil until the carrots are very, very soft.  Drain carrots then add them with all other ingredients to blender and puree until really smooth.  Good warm or cold.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

This recipe has taken quite a bit of trial and error. When I first thought it would be fun to make ice cream sandwiches I was sure it was as simple as taking one of my cookie and ice cream recipes and making a sandwich out of them.

Nope! We tried that the first time and although they did get eaten they were not the grab out of the freezer and enjoy like the ones I remember.

They had to sit on the counter until the ice cream was almost melted for the cookie to be nice and chewy.....and then the cookie still wasn't nice and chewy. Again we ate them but the cookie was crunchy!

I found too that the ice cream needed to have a softer, creamier texture to really make the sandwiches good. That was easy we just added more fat. If you are looking for a fun way to get lots of medium chain fatty acids in your kids....I don't think you'll have any problem getting them to eat these.

Then once we got the right textures down we needed to work on how to easily fill each sandwich. I came up with putting ice cream in the solids end of a Pampered Chef Measure All Cup and freezing it that way. Then I could just pop the ice cream out and slice it.

That worked really well but I had more ice cream and cookies then one measure all cup was enough for. So I also found that freezing your cookies first and letting your ice cream soften our of the freezer for just a bit, made it fairly easy just to scoop ice cream onto the cookies. You still have to be careful to not break your cookies though.

But see now the trouble shooting is all done for you so it will be a cinch to make now right?........RIGHT!

Ice Cream Sandwiches

5 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups Sucanat
1/4 cup carob powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Real Salt
1 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
egg replacer for 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in measuring cup (make sure they're blended well). Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Using hands, form dough into a big ball. (If it sticks together well, then its the right consistency. If it's kind of dry and crumbly then add a bit of water, 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix it well. If it's too wet you may add up to 1/2 cup more flour just add it a Tablespoon at a time. You want a sort of sticky dough but not wet just a little greasy you need to be able to roll it into a ball kind of like play dough.)DO NOT over mix or oil can separate out.

Form dough into ping pong size balls then gently press with the bottom of a 1/2 cup round measuring cup that is lightly greased with coconut oil. (use the leftovers from the dish you melted the coconut oil in) Press to the size needed or desired. Bake for 5-6 minutes in preheated oven. NO LONGER! You want the cookies not all the way cooked it makes them not so hard after being frozen. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Ice Cream:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight then drained
1 1/2 cup favorite herb tea just barely warm* (see options below)
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla and/or the insides of 2 vanilla beans
Optional Spices* (see notes below)

In blender blend drained cashews and herb tea until smooth. Add coconut milk, oil and the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Blend until just mixed and smooth. Churn and freeze in your ice cream machines according to manufacturers directions.

I talk about our ideas for easiest assembly of the ice cream sandwiches in my ramblings above. So if you didn't read those you may want to reference them now. ;) Basically just make ice cream sandwiches out of them obviously store in the freezer. They are best taken out of the freezer 5 minutes before eating.

*Here are a few fun flavor ideas that will change depending on the type of tea you use. Be sure to make a good strong tea. If you are using teabags use 5-6 of them.

Peppermint: dried peppermint leaves made into a good strong tea. (pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over about 3 heaping Tablespoons of dried peppermint leaf. Let cool some, strain out leaf use the 1 1/2 cups in the ice cream) You could add carob or chocolate chips to this ice cream when it is almost done churning if you would like mint chip.

Mormon Mocha: Dandy Blend(No Coffee for this girl), Carob and/or Cocoa Powder. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling over 2 heaping Tablespoons Dandy Blend and 1 Tablespoon carob powder. Stir until well combined let cool till just warm use in making the ice cream.

Chai: Roastaroma blend and/or Rooibos type tea.(again nothing from the Tea plant so no green or black tea for me) Make a strong tea with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, strain off herbs or remove tea bags. Use in making the ice cream also add these spices.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
May adjust seasonings to taste.

Nutty Vanilla: Just cut up some vanilla beans and make a strong tea with that. Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over beans let steep for longer than the other teas. Strain, use this in making the ice cream, you may want to add more vanilla too.
recipe inspired by the minimalist baker

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Not sure why this recipe took me so long to perfect but it was worth it! Way back in the day when Ryan and I first started dating, I thought it was pretty cool that his Mom always made sure there was ice cream in their freezer. One day she asked me what my favorite kind was and I remember telling her mint chip.

Now I'm not sure why I told her that because really most any kind of ice cream I liked. Back then I think I would have even ate that blue bubble gum kind with gum balls in it. (Does anyone else remember that and do they still have it? YUCK!) I think it must have been before cookie dough ice cream though so mint chip probably was my favorite at that time.

Anyway a few months ago I was thinking if that was my favorite way back then....how come I haven't come up with a heathified recipe for it yet? Well I have been working on that recipe ever since and it took me quite a few tries. I wanted it to be just the right texture and flavor. And honestly I wanted to make it honey sweetened but not too sweet.

I also added quite a bit of vanilla because I didn't want an overly strong mint flavor. I also think next time I make it I will use my version of Magic Shell (leaving out the peanut butter) and drizzle is through the ice cream for the "chips" instead. I think that will be really good and Ryan agrees. ;)

Note that you can make it in an ice cream maker or not. Most of the times I tried the recipe I didn't use my ice cream maker. It will work well either way. I hope you enjoy this recipe I worked really hard on it.

Mint Chip Ice Cream
1 cup raw cashews soaked in
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 cans coconut milk
1 small handful spinach
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
5-8 drops peppermint essential oil
1/2 teaspoon guar gum (optional)
1/2 - 1 cup carob chips (may coarsely chop)

Soak cashews in water for at least 2 hours or more. To your blender add the cashews WITH the water, the coconut oil, and honey. Blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk, spinach, salt, vanilla, peppermint and guar gum. Blend on low until smooth for not more then 2 minutes. (If you blend too long or too fast the coconut milk will separate so be aware.) As soon as it is well blended pour it into a cake pan with a lid (I like my glass pyrex one for this) and put into the freezer.....Set your timer for one hour then stir in the carob chips. Then let finish freezing at least another hour or more. After frozen solid you will want to sit it out for about 20 minutes before scooping it up and serving.

You can also freeze this in an ice cream freezer just follow directions for your ice cream maker. ENJOY!

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Simple Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Before I get into recipe talk you may have noticed a bit of a slow down in posts around here. I'm still creating recipes and the finished products will be posted here but more frequent updates and goings on are happening over at Instagram if you would like to join me there!

Some of you may not know this but I don't really love spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I love good food and family meal time.....but large messes and fancy gourmet food that takes a million steps and dirties a bazillion pans....that's just not for me.

I struggle with having a meal take much longer to make then it does to eat. ;) A few times a year for really special holidays I'll make a few exceptions but most of the time I want to be in and out and onto the more enjoyable things like gathering around the table and nourishing body, mind and soul.

Homemade Ice Cream Cake
I have always loved the idea of ice cream cake and thought they looked super tasty and like lots of fun. But whenever I would look at recipes it just seemed like too many steps and so much time. Remember I'm all about SIMPLE!

So I put off making one......until Curt started saying he wanted one for his Birthday.....I thought about just spending the time to make a real fancy one but then there was a funeral that I found out about the day before and other holidays right in the mix. So I had to just go with it and by design I just had to keep it as simple as possible. It turned out surprisingly good for being so simple. No fancy crust just a layer of Strawberries. When I make it again though I will go all out and add a layer of strawberries in the middle just for a pretty effect. ;)

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Ingredients:
4 cans coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
1/2 lb. strawberries, washed and hulled
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (adjust to desired sweetness depending on how sweet strawberries are)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1 teaspoon guar gum (optional)

Other Ingredients:
1/2 lb strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 recipe hardening chocolate sauce (will have extra for adding to individual slices)

In blender blend ice cream ingredients until smooth, you may need to blend for 2 or 3 cycles just be sure to blend on low and not more then three cycles as over-blending can separate coconut milk. Now freeze in ice cream maker. (Makes enough ice cream for two cakes or one cake and extra ice cream for the freezer.....the ice cream is super tasty all on it's own)

While ice cream is churning, line the bottom of a spring form pan with sliced strawberries.  Once ice cream is froze but still soft spread into pan (may fill half way and add more sliced strawberries or just fill to top and then "decorate" however you want with the rest of the sliced berries) Then freeze in freezer.....may make a few days ahead if needed.

About an hour before serving remove cake from freezer, make sauce. Remove band from spring form pan (I set the cake on a platter). Then drizzle sauce over cake and let harden then serve. May add extra sauce to individual slices.

Peanut Brittle

I can't believe it's been exactly six years since I originally posted this recipe. We have made it almost every year since in fact I just made some today in preparation for Christmas. In honor of my "brittleversary" I'm bringing this fun recipe forward. The rest is from the original post enjoy!

One of Ryan's favorite holiday treats!  I made some last night so he could take it to work to share with his employees he also took some of these with him.  He says he doesn't miss the old version at all with this healthified version.  In fact he actually likes this one better.  He also says they were well received when he brought them into work this morning! 


Peanut Brittle

3 cups dry roasted (preferably unsalted) peanuts
2 cups dehydrated cane juice crystals or Sucanat
3/4 cup agave nectar (could use honey but I love the mild flavor of agave)
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil with a drop of butter flavor
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
candy thermometer
2 oiled baking sheets (I used one cookie sheet size and one cake pan size this was about right)

In a large saucepan, combine Sucanat, Agave, salt and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sucanat dissolves. Bring to a boil, blend in coconut oil and vanilla. Stir nearly constantly until temperature is at 280 degrees, add peanuts. Stir constantly until 295-300 degrees is reached. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Mix well. Pour onto the baking sheets try to spread it out with a spoon as quickly as possible to get to desired thickness. Loosen from the pans as soon as possible and turn over. (They were pretty well set up and cool by the time I did this) Break hardened candy up and store in an airtight container or double Ziploc.

Zesty Dairy Free "Cheese" Ball

Zesty Dairy Free Cheese Ball
I can't take credit for this one! My Mom and Sister came up with it quite a few years ago to take the place of the cream cheesy ball that Mom always made when we were kids that everyone loved.

I made this 5 or 6 years back at Christmas and now my husband asks for it every year. It has become a tradition!

It's very good with veggies or crackers! I love that our family feels like it's a special treat when in reality it is super duper healthy with mainly raw sprouted almonds packed full of whole food nutrition and enzymes that well help you digest those maybe not so much whole food treats! ;)

I love to make this up just before Christmas and have as part of all our fun dips with our finger foods. I make enough that we have some leftover for New Years too.

Healthy Cheese Ball without Dairy

Zesty Dairy Free "Cheese" Ball
2 cups almonds, soaked for 8 hours
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 hours and sprouted for 4 hours (or just add 3 cups of soaked almonds instead of 2)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cups chopped green onions
1/4 to 1/2 cup Tahini
1/4 cup Shoyu
3 slices sweet onion, cut in small chunks
1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
6 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of ginger powder
pinch of cumin
pinch of paprika
1 can crushed pineapple, drained very well
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Place the soaked and drained almonds and/or sunflower seeds, lemon juice and water in a food processor and process until smooth. Scoop into a large bowl. Stir in the chopped green onions, tahini, shoyu, onions, parsley, bell pepper, garlic, cayenne, ginger, cumin, and paprika. Add the crushed, drained pineapple into the mixture till well blended. Shape with dampened hands into a rounded ball shape and place carefully on a plate or dish (approx. eight inch diameter) Press the chopped pecans onto the ball with your hands so that the ball is covered with nuts. Can garnish with a parsley leaf and dried cranberry if desired.

One Dish Skillet Burrito Bowls

 At least once a week I cook up a big pot of black or pinto beans and a rice cooker full of rice. Often it's for something like Burritos or Taco Sundays but I have found the left overs work perfect for this dish.

Using leftover beans and rice not only makes this a super quick meal to make in less than 30 minutes but it's also full of resistant starch because the beans and rice were cooked and cooled in the fridge before being heated again.

This meal has quickly become another quick go-to staple of meals that takes under a half hour to make. I'm so excited to share it with you!

If you would like some of our other favorite quick meals be sure to check out newest ebook Thirty Meals 30 Minutes!

One Dish Skillet Burrito Bowl
1 heaping Tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 small can diced green chiles
1-2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 cup frozen corn
4-6 cups cooked brown rice
4 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
1 can diced tomatoes
juice of one small lime (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup salsa

Top with:

Cheezy Sauce (thinned) or shredded raw cheddar
green onions

In large skillet, heat oil and saute onion, peppers and green chiles. Add taco seasoning and corn stir till corn in warm add rice, beans and the rest of the ingredients. Mix together until warm and bubbly. Top with desired toppings.

Good Friday Meal, An Easter Tradition

When Charly was just a baby we started a fun yet very simple Easter week tradition. We start on Palm Sunday and talk/read about what happened each day the last week of Christ's life. We also enjoy finding videos about those same stories. And there is this Because of Him Easter site that was started this year that we have already been using.

Then on the evening of Good Friday we like to have a meal that may have been similar to what Jesus may have had for passover. We even sit on the floor to eat it. The kids love this simple little tradition.

Our meal typically consists of a lentil dish, dried fruit and nut mix, flat bread, hummus and grape juice. So simple but the kids look forward to it every year and always ask if we are going to do it again!

On Saturday the kids get a few fun small healthy "treats" in their Easter baskets. Usually there is something very practical like socks or flip flops and books. And then sometimes a very small toy like a yo-yo or lawn darts or something fun like that.

We hunt eggs and spend the day together and try to spend as much time together with family as we can. On Easter Sunday we go to church some of us sing in the choir as part of the Easter program. Then more often then not we have a spring type picnic meal with extended family and just enjoy being together and being grateful for our Savior.

Curried Lentils Over Rice
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
4 Tablespoons Curry Powder
3 cups brown or green lentils
6-8 cups water, divided
1 1/2 cups hummus
1 heaping teaspoon Vegetable Broth Powder
1 teaspoon Real Salt or to taste
pepper to taste
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 lemon cut into 8 wedges
cooked brown rice

Crock pot instructions:
In a warm crock pot, place the first 5 ingredients stir well and let warm up while preparing the rest of ingredients. Add lentils and 6 cups of water. Let cook on high for 3 hours or until lentils are tender. Add hummus, broth powder, salt and pepper and add more water to get desired consistency. Season to taste turn down crock pot and keep warm until ready to serve. Top with green onion just before serving. Serve over bowls of cooked brown rice, squeeze a wedge of lemon over each serving.

Stove Top instructions:
In a large pot heat olive oil then saute onion, carrots and garlic together. Add Curry powder and stir just until fragrant. Add lentils and 6 cups of water. Cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until lentils are done. Add hummus, broth powder, salt and pepper. Add more water if needed for desired consistency. Turn down to low and let heat through, stirring frequently. Season to taste. Top with green onion just before serving. Serve over  bowls of cooked brown rice, squeeze a wedge of lemon over each serving.
recipe adapted from Curried Lentil Soup

You will find my Totally Homemade Hummus recipe here.

Dried Fruit and Nut Mix
50% dried fruit
50% nuts

I just make a mix of about 50/50 dried fruit to nuts. I like to use what maybe would be maybe more traditional foods and that we don't very often eat in our other nut mixes. For fruit I will do figs, dates, raisins, apricots. Sometimes I will do dried cherries and cranberries. Usually I try to work with what I've already got. For the nuts I like to use walnuts, pecans, almonds and sometimes hazelnuts and pistachios.

Flat Bread

You can take about any dough and roll it into the flat shape you want and cook it like a pancake in a hot oiled pan or griddle. I have used My Best Yet Whole Wheat Bread recipe for this (I know not very traditional with the yeast and all;) or even this tortilla recipe just not rolled so thin would work.

This year though, since I have a sourdough start I am going to try a sourdough flat bread recipe. I have tried a few and they have all been eaten up but I haven't been super excited about any of them. So instead of posting an actual recipe I found this very cool sourdough flat bread link up that looks like it has lots of fun options. I'm going to choose one of those or a mixture of a few of them. ;) Hopefully I'll find something we love.

Rejoice for He is Risen and have a very Happy Easter!

My Top 5 tips for a frugal wedding, Missy and Oliver 2015!

I'm still getting used to the fact that I have a daughter that is married. Hey at least I have made it down to her old bedroom multiple times now and boxed up her stuff and made extra room for her Little Sister's stuff who she shared a room with. Charly felt it was time to make a place to keep her books in her room so Missy's had to go. ;)

It's been a while since I have posted.....longer than usual.....I think I'm just trying to find a new groove that works for me and to just breathe a bit after all the excitement this Summer/Fall.  That being said we are so thrilled for the new life and adventure that Missy and Oliver have chosen to spend eternity together on. Missy has found a superb guy in Oliver and we just adore him. They are such a great couple!

The day was simply beautiful and all things considered I was surprised how amazingly calm that not only I was but Missy too. Everything about the day was beautiful and even better we hadn't spend thousands of dollars yet it was all very special and beautiful.

Missy has always said she wanted a simple dress and wedding but when we looked through what she felt she wanted and set a budget of less than $1,000.00 I wasn't sure we would be able to pull it off but it seemed doable.  Looking back I realized if we had known better what to expect (this was our first one after all) we could have even cut the budget even more.

Here are our Top 5 Tips for a Frugal Wedding:

  • #1 The Dress
The wedding dress can be a big budget breaker and depending on the style you want the prices can be all over the place. Making your own can save a bunch and even though we had access to amazing seamstresses and I'm not afraid of using a sewing machine we didn't have much time and most of us were just too busy so we feel we had that for an option. But one of Missy's friends, who was married just weeks before spent less then $90 on a dress because her Mom made it for her.

Borrowing or renting a dress can also save a bunch of money but with dry cleaning etc. it can be kind of pricey...but still cheaper then buying it.

The other way is to just keep it really simple....Missy has never been super into fluffy or frilly dresses (very different from her Mother) and she wanted one that she could wear back to the temple, she's really practical like that. So we went looking and right here in our home town dress shop we found one that fit the bill and just happened to be on clearance for 50% off! We paid less than $65.00 for her dress and she looked beautiful!

  • #2 Design your own Announcements
In this time of digital photography and blogging it seems everyone has a little experience with photo editing and design. I had done enough of it that I felt confident that I could design a pretty decent looking announcement. I am not a graphics designer but I had used PicMonkey enough to know that simple free online program could do what I needed it to do. Missy told me what she wanted and we found some cute ideas online and went from there.

  • #3 Have your Best Friend Take the Pictures
Photography and photos can often end up being the largest expense of a wedding and no doubt it's probably worth it....but if you are on a tight budget and happen to know someone who has been studying and practicing photography for a while and is just getting into learning weddings and wants to "practice" for a great deal or even free it may be the perfect fit. Kenzi Kim Photography fit the bill for us....not only did she happen to be Missy's best friend but we had seen her work and even had her do our family pictures the year before. We knew she would be perfect. All of the photos on this post were done by her I think you will agree.

  • #4 Ask for Help From Family and Friends
It was amazing the amount of people who were asking how they could help....I'm not one that is really very good at asking for help but since I have never been much for throwing a big party I knew there were many others who could help me pull this off. So I asked for ideas created a pinterest board called The Big Day that others could pin on.....and we made our plan.

After brain storming and figuring out where we could get the stuff we need without having to purchase much we borrowed bushel baskets, bins and other old fashions items from Ryan's parents. We also planned to use their back yard to have the wedding but the weather did not cooperate. Our Parents and other family members helped out in the kitchen with the serving.

A dear friend and one of my Sisters-In-Law took care of the majority of the decorating (it was amazing) using mainly simple things we borrowed and their amazing artistic skills.

Tons of family and friends showed up to help with so many little things and with the clean up. We had never felt so much love and support. I hardly had to worry about a thing!

  • #5 Use In-Season Wild Flowers and Forget the Cake
Sunflowers happened to be blooming everywhere and we knew they would be, barring some super early unforeseen frost (stranger things have happened)......and since they went perfect with the theme and didn't cost a cent it was a simple solution. Although I didn't realize how absolutely amazing they would look! Missy didn't want to be bothered with holding a bouquet but I'm sure we could have figured out something nice and cheap with the sunflowers too. 

Maybe it isn't sunflowers that are blooming for you but if you look around you may find other equally cute or even more beautiful growing wild where you live. Or maybe you have your own rose garden that you know will be in peek bloom. Flowers can be pricey but Mother Nature has beauty in abundance.

And as for the Cake goes we have never been one to do things traditionally. ;) Not one person asked where the cake was. It saved lots of stress, money, time and who wants all that sugar anyway. 

It still seems crazy that My Little Miss is now a wife.....I'm certain it was only yesterday that she was a little flower girl dancing on her Daddy's toes at her Aunt Shauna's wedding. Oh where or where does the time go!