Fresh Goat Cheese: Easy as 1...2...Yep, Just 2

We are flowing with goat's milk now, so it seemed irresponsible to put off learning how to make goat cheese any longer. Well, good news. There is not much to learn. It is so simple that it is almost anti-climatic. I have put it off this long because I have no idea where to find rennet. Turns out, that is unnecessary for this particular goodie. It has two ingredients. Goat's milk (which we have established that I have in abundance) and lemon juice. Turns out the hardest part of this whole project was getting a flattering picture to share. This stuff is truly the original Easy Cheese..no spray can needed.

Heat about a quart of the milk to 180 degrees. Then pull it off the heat and add 1/4 cup lemon juice. It will immediately separate into curds and whey. I let it sit for 10 min, just in case.

Next, dump it in a flour sack cloth. Or cheese cloth whichever you have. Hang it from the rafters, or if you are vertically challenged, like me, from the knob on the kitchen cupboards.

Let all that whey drain.  It is done when the whole quart of milk you wrestled out of your ornery goat is reduced to a handful. No wonder the stuff is so expensive! I let it go about an hour which was a bit too long. My cheese was quite dry, rather than the spreadable consistency I was envisioning. I read online that you can add some whey back into it. But the whey smelled like goat. So, why on earth would I do that? I added a few T of water and stirred until creamy. I also added 1/2 clove of crushed garlic, some salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Happy to announce that the cheese tastes just like cheese. No goaty flavor at all, for which I am most thankful. What a waste that would have been.

My kids have had this once before and loved it. They couldn't wait to try it. But I don't buy crackers anymore. And am not exactly itching to make my own. So, what to do with it? I thought up a great way to use it:

No, that is not a goat burger. That is Big Mac, who gave his life for our family. He is even better topped with caramelized peppers and onions.

Grass fed (mostly) beef burgers with fresher than fresh goat cheese. Mmm, that's one sweet dinner!

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A Weapon of Mass Destruction--In a Can

I found this enlightening quote today on Mercola.com

 Mountain Dew, one of the worst beverages you can drink, uses brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier. Not only that, it contains high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, more than 55 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can, and Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine, which has been banned in Norway, Austria and Germany.)
A weapon of mass destruction -- in a can.
There is a dew drinker in our home. He is not addicted. He can stop anytime he wants. He just loves the flavor (something I will never understand as I wouldn't drink it if my insides were on fire). At one time, the concern came up that yellow dye caused infertility. Hmm, four kids and 8 pregnancies prove that is not a worry. So, the few minutes he pondered giving it up were wasted. Caffeine and sugar didn't seem enough of a concern either for he who must not be named. But lately, my handsome dewer has been researching brominated vegetable oil and it has him concerned.

Doing the dew is not the only way to guzzle brominated vegetable oil. It is also present in Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca and other citrus-flavored sodas. Drink it up and you may find a decrease in Thyroid function. "It is a halogen which depresses iodine which may depress thyroid function" (Iodine Project). It has also been linked to psychosis, brain damage, seizures, depression, hallucinations, and memory loss...to name a few. What a great way to take the bliss out of your citrus!

Potassium Bromate is a flour enhancer and as such is found in bakery goods. It is a dough enhancer and cuts down on time needed to mix the bread, thus saving company time and money. But the trade off is that this enhancer which is found under the label "enriched flour" or "Bromated Flour" is linked to cancer in laboratory rats. It is banned in Canada and Great Britain but the FDA only encourages bakers to use unbrominated flour. I will now encourage you to steer clear of anything made with enriched flour which is most anything aside from 100 percent whole wheat.

I have mentioned before that the more you know, the more you wish you didn't. I love strawberries. My kids love them. My pound cake loves them. My smoothies love them. Unless they are organic, 90 percent of them will be covered in carcinogenic, neurotoxic Methyl Bromide. Darn you! If it is red and juicy and comes from California, it is toxic. And my own crop has given me only one, measly little guy...which I went to eat in secret so no one would ask for a bite...shh. It was delicious and completely bromine free.

Brominated Vegetable oil, Potassium Bromate, Methyl Bromide. All members of the same family. All pose possible health risks. All are completely unnecessary. Easy to avoid if one cuts out soda, processed junk food and (sniff sniff) conventionally grown strawberries from California. Sounds easy right? Not! So why bother? It can't be that bad, because I can pronounce it.. actually it took a little practice to say Brominated Vegetable oil without stumbling.

The fact that it is banned in other developed countries made my eyebrows go up. Bromine is a naturally occurring element. It is toxic and according to the CDC, can cause the following:

  • Breathing bromine gas could cause you to cough, have trouble breathing, get a headache, have irritation of your mucous membranes (inside your mouth, nose, etc.), be dizzy, or have watery eyes.
  • Getting bromine liquid or gas on your skin could cause skin irritation and burns. Liquid bromine that touches your skin may first cause a cooling sensation that is closely followed by a burning feeling.
  • Swallowing bromine-containing compounds (combinations of bromine with other chemicals) would cause different effects depending on the compound. Swallowing a large amount of bromine in a short period of time would be likely to cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting (gastrointestinal symptoms).

  • Why then, would I take a chance with it in my food? As usual the powers that be insist that a little is supposed to be okay. A little manure in my food won't hurt me either, but I sure as heck don't want it there. The problem with "a little" is that when your diet consists mainly of pesticide laden fruits and vegetables, processed bread products, and soda, we are not just getting a little. And this is what the Standard American Diet consists of. Eat out at a restaurant and you will get it in the bread, the salad and the drink. Out to eat is what Americans do. Bromides are another reason to start cooking again! There is just too much junk in food. Too much sickness in this country. I rarely spend my time worrying about the weapons of mass destruction that may or may not be in the middle east. It is the ones in our food supply that have me worried. How do we defeat the enemy? Take them to Burger King and buy them a Dew!

    Resources:King Arthur Flour, Mother Nature News, Mercola, CDCThe Iodine Project

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    Yogurt: Keeping it Raw!

    One of my dearest friends came for a visit this week. I am so thankful for that as my boys have all been off to scout camp and I have been left a lone mom of two indoor mess makers (although cute as can be) and too many outside mess makers to count. Plus a garden to tend, endless dishes and laundry and a bit of researching and blogging. But the activity that has put me over the edge is the milking. Every 12 hours, really? Then what do we do with all that milk? Well, this dear friend also brought a fun toy. She found it at a garage sale for a buck and I have appliance envy.

    Isn't it cute? I have always scoffed at the idea of buying a yogurt maker because I have mason jars and an oven and a crock pot and a thermos. So, I have yogurt tools. But I also have failed yogurt..a lot.
    Like this:

    And this:

    Raw milk yogurt is particularly tricky. It tends to be runny because the live cultures in the raw milk don't play nice with the live active cultures in the yogurt. But there is a way to get yogurt that is thick and creamy like the store. One that does not involve hanging it from your cupboards like this:

    Although you can. But too many steps means less likelihood of me ever doing I again. One tip is incubating at a constant temperature, the other is gelatin. Preferably the grass fed kind. And after this week, I am convinced a yogurt maker can't hurt.  I am hooked. I gotta get me one of these. I don't know if it is true of all yogurt makers, but this one kept the temp under 100 for the whole 12 hours, thus preserving the rawness of the milk. I appreciated that.

    Yogurt is readily available in stores. There are hundreds of varieties. So why bother with home made?

    • No artificial colors.
    • No artificial sweeteners or overabundance of sugar.
    • It is near impossible to find a yogurt that is not low fat...and we do not do low fat. My hair, nails and skin love me for that!
    • Raw, Raw, Raw for Raw. My gut bacteria love me for that.
    • And because I have milk coming out my ears...well in actuality it is coming out of the goats which is as it should be.
    So, let's begin. You will need:

    1 quart raw milk (I used goat's milk...surprisingly delightful!)
    3T yogurt with live cultures
    2 1/2 t grassfed beef gelatin
    5 tsp of sweetener
    1 drop of orange, lime, or lemon essential oil

    Heat milk to 100 degrees. If you go above that, the temp will rise in a hurry and you will get pasteurized milk.

    Pull off stove and mix a little milk with the gelatin until it is dissolved. Then add the live cultures. Pour this mix back into the pot and whisk until combined. Then add equal amounts to each cup if using a yogurt maker.

    I have also had success putting it in a thermos. But it only turns out 50% of the time when I do that.
    Plug it in and leave it alone for 10-12 hours.

    Now for the flavoring. I do not do plain yogurt. It makes my tongue throw up. But one of the main reasons for making my own yogurt is to cut back on the sugar. I like fruit in my yogurt but the kids just don't. We have purchased many a four pack of great value vanilla, lemon, lime, and orange yogurts because they are free from chunks. "Nackies " as my niece used to call them. They like them smooth. Oh, I will give them smooth. And will definitely give them thick.

    Open up each jar. It will be a bit runny, but firms up in the fridge. Add the oils you would like. Don't have any? You should, every kitchen needs these oils! You can purchase all three here. I added 1 tsp of evaporated cane sugar and one drop of essential oil to each cup. Then refrigerate until firm. If making vanilla, about 1/4 tsp per cup was nice for me. Play around with the sweetener and flavor until it makes your taste buds happy. I actually could have used a bit more sugar, but my six year old said, "I love it!"  So at least it passed that test.

    So, question for you? Do you have a yogurt maker that you can control the temperature on in order that you might be certain to keep that yogurt raw? If so, where can I purchase? Preferably for a buck!

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    A Lamp Full: Trust

    The natural consequence that comes to those who depart from the way of the Lord is that they are left to their own strength. While in the heat of our success we might assume that our own strength is sufficient, those who rely upon the arm of the flesh soon discover how weak and unreliable it truly is.
    Joseph B. Wirthlin

    My favorite story in all of scripture is David and Goliath. I remember as a child listening to a dramatization of this story on an old scratchy record player. It came to life for me in the living room. As a child, I just loved the cool story. As an adult, I am completely enthralled with the lessons it teaches. David was a just a child when Goliath of Gath challenged Israel to find someone to beat him. The greatest warriors in the land were too scared. But young David had absolutely no doubt that if the Lord would attend him, he could defeat the giant. All it took was one smooth stone to bring down Goliath. But could David have had this victory had he gone to battle all alone. If he were left to his own strength would he have been so fortunate?

    I believe the answer is no. He did not win because of his own great skill, for he was a shepherd and had no skill in battle. He did not win by sheer dumb luck either. He won because he put his trust in God and not in the flesh. He allowed himself to be an instrument in the Lord's hand to testify to us that He lives and wants to bless us.

    This prophetic quote by Ezra Taft Benson sums up the way David lived his young life and the way I am striving to live mine.

    “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace.”

    I know in my own life I have been a recipient of this promise. But there are times when I am proud and want to do things my way. It is at those times when I realize that although I am capable of some things, the lord helps me to be capable of many. Some of which I never believed I could do, at least not on my own.

    My three year old loves to tell me, I can do it myself. For some things, that is true. And I want him to. He needs to learn independence. But for many things, although he certainly is capable of doing a little, it is so much more effective when I help him. Take cracking eggs for example. Can he do it? Yes! Should he do it? Absolutely not. He trusts that I will help him...most of the time.

    The same is true in my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I can do a lot of things on my own. But although I am capable, I find that if I trust Him to help, I am so much more effective. I have complete trust in the fact that my Father wants what is best for me. His happiness comes from my happiness. When I allow Him to guide me and trust enough to follow, I find greater success than I ever thought possible. None of us need to make the journey of life alone. If we will allow Him to lead us, he will lead us, as he did young David to do the impossible.

    How do we gain trust in our Father?
    • Allow Him to help. Plead for it. And when you have your answer, do it.
    • Keep His commandments. Blessings come from obedience. David was victorious because he did all that he was asked to do.
    We can not borrow trust from another. We must have our own lamps full in order that when the path in front of us seems dark, we are willing to step forward anyway, having faith that God will illuminate the way.

    Fill your lamps here.

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    Goat Milking Champion of my World

    It is a widely known fact that if you wrestle with a goat, you will come out smelling like roses. But only if you are wrestling on a bed of rose petals. Which we were not.  It was not in my plans to goat wrestle today. Because if I had been planning that, I would have milked her in a field of lilac trees. I love lilacs. Do they grow in fields or just the yards of old ladies? Back to my story.

    We have this handy dandy milking device see, that my handy husband came up with. Well, he and the older boys are off camping and we sold off all of our babies on Saturday. So, guess who gets to wrestle milk two goats twice a day? That would be me. That is not a problem at all when the handy dandy milking machine is working. This morning was a breeze. Well, almost. We had torrential rains last night and the two goats did not want to cross the river of running water in the yard to get to the milking station on the porch. So, I had to drag them through thick slippery mud and just about took a mud bath myself . But once we got going, things were okay. I had to spank one naughty goat behind a couple of times, but I persevered and got a full beautiful quart out of that ornery gal.  And almost a  quart out of my more docile one, April.

    This morning's haul

    This evening the ground was dry and they raced up to the stanchion. I had all my tools ready to go. But the problem is, they didn't go. I could not get the not so handy milking machine to create a vacuum on our mini, no matter what I tried. I nearly cried. But instead told the little lady we would have to do this by hand. Sure no problem. Ignore the fact that I have never milked anything by hand. No problem. I have seen it in the movies. I can do this. In the movies, the goat doesn't kick and buck and dance. This is real life on the prairie and April was not having it tonight. In fact, all I got was a bit of spilled milk and a picture that for some reason want to keep reformatting itself. Nothing is behaving tonight!

    This Evening's Haul.
    I first decided to try and collect her milk to drink. I got a clean pitcher and put it under her tiny teat. I got a little out and she kicked it right over. Okay, I will pasteurize this batch!  I righted the pitcher and got going again. I spoke kind words and told her what a good girl she is. A goat whisperer I am not. She stubbornly picked up her muddy hoof and sat it strait in the milk. So much for human consumption. Thankfully my strawberries do not object to a bit of mud and manure mixed their milk, so I kept at it. In the end I laid my body across her back and reached below her belly to keep her still. I lost more that I got and ended up with a back ache, an attitude and essence of goat.  Glad I showered right before milking time so I wouldn't offend her as we played twister.

    Who me? Did I do that?

    Star, our black Nubian must have remembered her spankings from this morning, because she gave me no trouble whatsoever...and the handy dandy milking machine mysteriously started working again. Whew!

    When the boys return, I am going to either be the master of goat milking or newest champion of  the WWF. Milk, it does a body good!

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    Sticker Shock!


    I confess that there was a time that seeing the price tag that comes with a bottle of quality essential oils caused my heart rate to go up a bit. That was before I realized how very versatile, potent and empowering they are.

    Please visit the wonderful blog A Life in Balance to check out what I have to say about the real cost of essential oils.  Please come back here and tell me what you think!

    I am pleased to have been invited by Barb Hoyer, author of A Life in Balance to be a guest on her blog today. Each week, I link up my frugally real recipes and frugally natural health and cleaning posts to her blog party, Fabulously Frugal Thursdays and my Lamp is Full posts to her party, Motivation Mondays. I am thankful to Barb for offering me the opportunity to gain exposure on her site. Thanks Barb!


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    Leggo that Eggo and try Buckwheat Waffles

    There are times when I wish there were two of me. Almost every morning, in fact. I have this insane goal to make breakfast for the family at least five days a week so that we do not have to resort to sugar laden, nutrient deficient cereal as often. Or frozen stuff in a box. Especially this frozen stuff. Here is the ingredient list:
     Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), water, vegetable oil (soybean, palm, and/or canola oil), eggs, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), contains 2% or less of sugar, salt, whey, soy lecithin, yellow 5, yellow 6. 
    Enriched flour, soybean and canola oils, and artificial colors are on my no-no list. Besides, I can do it better, cheaper, and realer  more real. And so can you!
    Buckwheat Waffles

    1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
    1/4 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane sugar)
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 t vanilla
    2 cups buttermilk (a bit more if batter is too thick)
    1 t baking soda
    1 T baking powder
    1/2 cup buckwheat flour
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

    Beat coconut oil and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream, coconut oil and vanilla. Whip until smooth. Next add buckwheat flour, salt, soda, and baking powder and ONE cup buttermilk. Mix until just incorporated. Then add remaining flour and buttermilk and mix. Do not over mix or you end up with bricks instead of light fluffy waffles. The batter should be thick. Cook according to your waffle maker's instructions. You can use all whole wheat if you do not have buckwheat flour. You will never miss the white flour. In fact, I can not eat pancakes or waffles that are white anymore. They are a tasteless disappointment. So bulk up your breakfast with the whole wheat goodness of these tasty waffles.

    I recommend serving these with a drizzle of coconut oil, then adding sliced strawberries and real whipped cream sweetened with a bit of vanilla and pure maple syrup. I use this as a trick to keep the syrup consumption down. Sugar is sugar, you know. Plus, real maple syrup is expensive!

     Make a double or triple batch and freeze the leftovers individually on a cookie sheet.

    Then transfer frozen waffles to a bag and store in freezer.  Kids can toast the waffles on hectic mornings and I can have a breakfast break once in awhile. But they may still find me there to pour the syrup. These are inexpensive, delicious and a time saver for me on my crazy morning routine!

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    A Lamp Full: Service

    Fill your minds with truth. Fill your hearts with love.
    Fill your lives with service.
    Thomas S. Monson
    Fill your lamps with service!
    This is the house that Jack built. 
    This is the field that holds the roof that was on the house that Jack built.
    These are the youth who cleaned up the timbers and shingles and siding
    from the field that holds the roof that was on
     the house that Jack built.
    And this is the mom all sweaty and hot that just loves the
    youth who cleaned up the timbers and shingles and siding
    from the field that (no longer) holds the roof that was on
    the house that Jack built.
    (I especially love that precious one next to me.) 

    We were in good company on Sunday as we did a small part to aid members of our community who were affected by tornadoes in May.

    I am so impressed by the stories of good people who have come long distances to aid their fellow countrymen. We met a large youth group from Michigan who traveled all night on a bus to help clean out the belongings of an elderly woman in a community near to mine. They will return again this week to tear what is left of the home down by hand.

    We met a man from California, who when he heard about the destruction, took time off of work and flew to Oklahoma for a few weeks to spend each day picking up debris for complete strangers.

    This work is not fun. Picking up parts of people's lives and stuffing them in trash bags is hard. It is tedious. It is overwhelming, and for those of us who have been through this before, it is emotionally difficult.

    So, why do we do it? Why do people serve when it is rarely convenient, often difficult, and it is just so darn hot? We do it because it is who we are. Because there is no better way to emulate the Savior here on this earth. We are never closer to Him than we are when we are serving His children.
    His entire purpose for coming to earth was service. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He fed the multitudes. He ministered to the outcast. We will never be more like Him then when we are serving those for whom He give His very life.

    There are blessings from service too. The blessing I received this past week was to go from home to home offering service to the downtrodden. And what did they do for me? They gave me hope. We never once met a person who was not smiling. Their homes were in rubble behind them, yet they were laughing and joking and smiling. What a gift it was for me and my young son to see the hope in the hearts of the people of Oklahoma. Their gift to me was greater than anything I did for them.

    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    Matt 25:40

    How do we develop a love of service?
    • Study the life of Jesus Christ. His example will inspire you.
    • Pray for charity, the pure love of Christ.
    • Just do it. Drop what you are doing. Roll up your sleeves and go to work.  It never fails that when I am feeling down and picked on, if I help someone else, my spirit is lifted. The best remedy for anger, for depression, for sorrow is lifting the hands of those who hang down.
    We can not borrow service from another. We have to experience it ourselves. It is not enough to sit and watch others do the work and hope to gain the prize. We must have our own lamps filled with the gift of service so that we can serve God by serving others.

    If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to read the others in my Monday series: A Lamp Full. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. I love hearing from all who support faith, family, and freedom of religion.

    You will find this post linked up to these inspiring parties: Unite! Character Corner Gratituesday Teach me Tuesday Titus2Tuesday@Time Warp Wife Titus2Tuesday@Cornerstone Confesssions Adorned From Above Encourage One Another Pour Your Heart Out Into the Word Wise Woman Simply Helping Him Hope in Every Season All Things Thursday Thriving Thursday Thankful Thursday Intentional Me Bible Notes Fellowship Fridays Hear it on Sunday Motivation Monday


    Toxic Free Stove Top Cleaner for Pennies!

    I have been doing a lot of cooking lately. It stands to reason then, that my stovetop is a mess! I wanted to share today a simple, cheap cleaning method. The popular stove top cleaners are expensive, running anywhere from $4 to $10 a bottle. This particular one does not have any list of ingredients, but does warn that it is an eye irritant. I don't really want to take my chances with it. So am going to go with a more natural route that shines my stovetop for pennies. Smells good too!

    1. Make a delightful mess in the kitchen.

    2. Spinkle the Baking soda on the stove top. Drop 5-6 drops of  lemon essential oil (orange will work too).

    3. Using a damp rag (I use terrycloth), wash that grease right off of your stove. Stop for a moment and take in the fragrance. Get close if you want. It won't singe your insides. Lemon is also a mood enhancer, so you should feel better after cleaning the stove. Of course, a clean stove always makes me feel better.

     The baking soda will collect all the filth and you can just sweep it into the garbage can. For really stuck on stuff, a strait edge razor blade is great at scraping it off.

    4. Rinse well with water. And as with any household chore, do it all over again tomorrow!

    Lemon Essential oil is a natural degreaser and smells great. I used 5 drops which costs about $.30, add the cost of the baking soda which is just pennies and you get an inexpensive, non toxic clean that is uplifting!

    If you love toxic free cleaning, you may enjoy these posts!


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    Juicing: Drink Fresh!

    Raise your hand if you watched "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead!" I did, I did.
    Raise you hand if you then went to Bed, Bath and Beyond the very next day to buy a Breville Juicer!
    Oh, Me! Me!
    Of course you did because when I got there, they were completely out of stock.
    So, who ended up at Walmart and purchased Jack LaLanne in attractive red?
    Me! Pick me! Yes I did.

    Then like many of you I bought a truck load of veggies. I Watched YouTube videos on how to make the healthiest green juice and chugged the stuff for weeks. I tried to convince myself that I liked it. You should never lie to yourself. But the green stuff was not the real reason I gave up juicing. Oh no. There are things far worse than squished kale (but not many).  Do you recall that Joe Cross took his juicer on the road? Now that you own a juicer do you find that absolutely absurd? I know I do. The reason I gave up juicing every day was because the things are a nightmare to clean. Ain't no mama got time for that! And in my house, the family is really good at juicing, but no one can seem to figure out how to clean the blasted contraption, so it gets left in the sink for me.


    Aside from the cleaning issues, I really do love freshly juiced fruit. Doesn't matter what kind. I love them all. Orange and pineapple is my favorite, especially when we make Orange Julius. We even threw persimmons in there once (what else were we supposed to do with them) and they tasted delightful. But of all the juice there is in the world, my kids love apple the most. Sorry kids I just can't bring myself to buy it.

    First of all, apples are on the dirty dozen list as being one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Once juiced, these become super concentrated.  So unless you buy organic, chances are you are buying a bottle filled with pesticides.

    Secondly, the juices on the grocery store shelves are pasteurized, leaving the wonderful enzymes found naturally in fruit destroyed.

    Thirdly, fruit contains a whole lot of sugar. And if it is in the fridge, we are much more likely to overdo it. And since the juicer is a pain to clean,  we only have juice rarely as a treat, thus cutting the sugar intake of our family dramatically. (Well, some of us drink less sugar, okay all but one. You know who you are!)

    It is a bit darker and thicker. The kids may find it more palatable if you let it sit for a bit and then strain the foam off the top. I like the foam myself. I add a little doTERRA lemon essential oil to it as well which helps keep the color and gives it a wonderful taste.

    We are planning a little road trip next month. I will be sure to leave the juicer at home. Probably in the sink. Waiting to be cleaned by mama, who it loves best.

    Do you eat outside the box? Drink outside the can? Then you may enjoy these recipies.

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    Hawaiian Haystacks

    My brother would hate this recipe. He believes that fruit should never touch anything except more fruit. I am finding as I grow older that I like strange combinations of food. Take potato salad for instance. Who would think to put dill pickles and potatoes in the same dish. I would never top my baked potato with relish. And certainly not with mustard and mayo... I hate mustard and mayo. But mix all that stuff together and I just can't keep from eating it with a juicy hamburger and some watermelon. I digress in favor of summer time barbecues.

    Today the subject is using up that yummy Cream of Chicken Soup in the most delicious way. In my family's favorite supper. I suppose it is called Hawaiian because it has coconut and pineapple on top and rice on bottom. But no matter what it is called, it is delicious.

    Hawaiian Haystacks
    1 cup of sour cream
    1 T dry ranch mix
    2 cups of shredded chicken
    2 cups cooked Royal Basmati Rice (White or Brown)
    Heat the soup, add the sour cream and ranch mix, then stir in the chicken. Simmer until all ingredients are warm.
    Fresh pineapple (canned works too)
    Mandarin Orange Slices
    Shredded Coconut
    Shredded Cheese
    Cashews or Almonds
    Dried Cranberries or Golden Raisins
    Diced Green onion
    Cayenne Pepper
    Make a bed of rice on your plate. Top with the chicken gravy. Then add cheese. Pile on the other toppings. Sprinkle with Cayenne.
    The flavor combinations may sound a bit strange, But give them a chance big brother! You just might like it.
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    This post is shared at these great parties and Also shared at Countdown 2014 @ joyinmykitchen.


    Out of the Bottle: Ranch Dressing


    My kids love vegetables. Well, they love ranch dressing and that is kind of the same thing. Okay, it is not even close. Not even that "light" garbage that tries to disguise itself as a health food. Ranch from the store is filled with chemical garbage and rancid vegetable oil.

    Vegetable oil, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, spices, garlic, onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.

    Compare that to my dressing made out of the bottle.

    Dried onion, Dried Parsley, Dried Dill, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Pepper, Cream and Cultured Sour Cream.
    Anything you didn't recognize? I didn't think so. Best of all you can find all of the ingredients on a farm. You can actually produce them yourself. That is the goal for me.
    The dried ranch powder is great as a seasoning. I use it in slow cooker chicken or beef. I add it to cream soup to make Hawaiian Haystacks. Or mix with sour cream for dip, thin it out for salad dressing.
    To make ranch powder:
    10 T Dried Parsley
    5 t Dried dill
    5 t Garlic powder
    5 T Dried Onion flakes or 5 t Onion powder
    3 t Dried Basil (optional)
    1/2 t Pepper
    1 t Sea Salt (more if desired)
    Mix thoroughly and store in container.
    To make Ranch Dressing, add 2-3 tsp of dried mix to cultured sour cream. Thin it to desired consistency with cream or milk. Lasts about a week in the fridge.
    Go ahead kids, dip away! And don't be worried about the fat. Many of the vitamins in our veggies are fat soluble and will do us no good with that low fat mess from the store.
    Time savers tip: I like to make up little cups and keep in the refrigerator to send in lunch boxes. 
    If you bag the carrots too, you can toss both in quickly.
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     Also shared at Meatless Monday

    A Lamp Full: Perseverance


    The gospel of Jesus Christ does not promise that we will be free from tribulation. But it does strengthen our spirit so that we can accept adversity and face it when it comes.

    Adhemar Damiani

    May was quite a month for many people in Oklahoma. Tornadoes and heavy rains have destroyed homes, properties, and livestock. Families are mourning for loved ones lost in the storms. If you have never been in Oklahoma in the spring, I don't blame you. But it is the greatest place on earth to see the dichotomies of nature. One night there will be torrential rains, thundering noise, and the sky lights up like sparklers on the Fourth of July. Then, the next day the most beautiful view, beyond description. A quiet peace that words can not describe. You have to behold it to understand it.

    The same is true with the people of Oklahoma, all people really. There are those who rage and fight against God. They ache and hurt and find no peace. Their lives are a perpetual tornado full of internal chaos. Others live each day with peace like the calm after a storm. Even though the rains continue to fall and the billowing surge seems to combine against them they know in whom they trust and they do not fall.

    The words of a scripture come to mind during such commotion:

    And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. Helaman 5:12
    Lets compare two reactions to the devastation that occurred recently in Moore, Oklahoma. A friend of mine was out doing some clean up and came across a property that looked, he said, as if a vacuum cleaner had come and sucked every thing up. There was not a thing left on the property except for a smashed up SUV whose back window held a sign that caught his eye.

    "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

    It was evident that the family of this property found the sign and placed it in their car as a clear declaration that the winds and the rains had not beat them. Their home may be gone, but their foundation is sure.

    Compare this example to a woman that my friend met a few yards down the road. Her home was severely damaged, but not as damaged as her spirit. She still had many possessions. Included in these possessions were several sets of scriptures in good condition. She offered one such book to my friend, declaring, "I have several bibles that are still in good shape, but I am getting rid of them. I give up!"

    My heart aches for this frustrated woman. She is hurting and aching and has given up because for her it is just too hard. Her home is still standing. Most of it anyway, but it is on a sandy foundation. One that is unable to withstand the storms of life.

    None of us have the answers as to why bad things happen to good people. I believe with all of my soul that there is a reason. I know that in my life adversity turns me to call upon God like at no other time. As a result, my foundation is strengthened. I do not know all of his ways but I know he loves his children. He does not cause our trials. But he does allow them at times so that we can learn that we can do hard things. Then we find out what we are made of and what we can do when we call upon God to help.

    Remember This! The Line "And they all lived happily ever after" is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right.

    Boyd K. Packer
    How can I Persevere?
      Never forget gratitude! Remembering that the good always outweighs the bad helps one to endure.

      Remember that there is more to the plan than just the here and now.
      Fill your life with scripture and prayer. There is no greater strength than can come to you when you are ready to give up than the words of Christ.

      Live worthy to have the companionship of the Holy Spirit. He is the comforter sent for our day!

    You can not get Endurance from another. When the storms rage and the winds blow, you must have your own lamp full to the brim with a willing heart and mind to persevere.

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