I’m so humbled when people ask me how I can eat healthy and still stay in budget. So many people struggle with paying the bills and wanting to eat healthy. Story of our lives. Living paycheck to paycheck, wondering how we’ll pay the bills AND eat healthy, nutrient dense foods. Someday I hope we don’t have to live this way, skimping on things just so we can eat nourishing foods. But for now, I’ve had to learn/am learning how to manage a small grocery bill. I’m not about to claim I am a guru at saving money; However, I do feed my family of three grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, raw milk and dairy products, organic produce and chicken. All for around $350 a month. I’d say that’s pretty good. So here’s a few pointers that I’d say have REALLY helped me keep our grocery bill low. Continue reading


water

Have you heard about alkalized water? I hadn’t until a friend on Facebook asked me what my opinion of it was. “It sounds like liquid gold.” Actually, ghee is liquid gold. Although, alkalized water seems like easy money. But in all seriousness- here’s what I came up with. Everything can be given a pH number of 0-14; with zero being most acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being most basic. The right blood pH level for humans is around 7.4, slightly more alkaline (basic). Modern diets, rich in acidic foods (grains, dairy, animal protein, caffeine, sugar, etc.) can cause acid build up in our bodies. This build up of acid leaches minerals from our bodies and causes cancer and other degenerative diseases. By alkalizing the water we consume, as well as eating an Alkaline Diet, you are essentially balancing your bodies pH levels to their intended level of 7.35-7.45; thus, preventing these diseases along with the proper diet of mostly alkaline foods [i] I’m liking the sound of that, after all, I like water. Now, these water filter’s aren’t cheap, they can be upwards of $3000. So before you jump all in and think this “water cure” is the way to go, let’s dig deeper.

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salsademango

I’ve never been a big fan of sweet and savory in one dish. It just throws me for a loop. My tongue doesn’t know what’s going on- “is it a dessert or dinner? I’m so confused!!” I think it’s hard to get the right ration of sweet to not sweet. But this. This I nailed. With just enough sweetness from the mango and just enough spice, this salsa is perfecto! Even my Mexican hubby approved. Oh hey, It’s Independence Day! Hope you all get a day off and enjoy some friends and family. This might just be a perfect addition to your July 4th BBQ. And if you’re planning on blowing up fireworks…please double check it’s not in front of the neighbors baby’s room. For the parents sake ;)  Continue reading


We’re told to eat about 6 oz grains a day. I don’t know many people who would argue refined grains (white bread, twinkies, chocolate cake, etc) are good for us. Most of us understand that whole grains are in deed, what the USDA recommends we eat. According to The USDA, grains are said to lower your risk of heart disease, help prevent constipation, and aid in weight management. Grains are also said to be high in B-vitamins, magnesium, iron and selenium. Other health benefits of eating grains (specifically whole grains) are: lowered risk of stroke and type-2 diabetes, reduced risk of asthma, healthier blood pressure levels, healthier carotid arteries, less tooth and gum disease, and reduction of inflammatory disease. I’ve followed the USDA’s recommendation and have eaten my grains. I even convinced myself I actually enjoyed those 8-grain rolls that taste like cardboard. So why then, am I, and the majority of the US, struggling with health issues? Why are we unable to lose weight, struggle with blood sugar regulation, have a C-Reactive Protein (indicator of inflammation and risk of heart disease) off the charts, and an overall feeling of “yuck”? Because, so much of what we are told about nutrition is based on no proper scientific evidence. Contrary to what you just read, grains are not good for you. And here’s why:

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Zesty Cilantro PestoEver buy a bunch of cilantro for salsa and wonder what you’re going to use the rest for? I do it all the time. I hate wasting food and typically cilantro goes bad before I use it up. Well, no more. I have a recipe that will use up that bunch. Drizzle it over fish or chicken, or use it as a dressing. The ideas are endless! This pesto is paleo and vegan friendly, which means gluten, grain, diary, egg and soy free! Enjoy.

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2014-05-30 07.07.44

Grilled burgers. A sign that summer is here. I LOVE grilling burgers. It is so simple and quick, and so, so satisfying. It’s also super fun to be creative with how you prepare them. I’ve also been wanting to try and incorporate liver into my cooking- I’m still not at the point where I can eat the liver (I just swallow it raw so I don’t have to taste it). This burger does a great job of covering up the liver taste, but giving you a nice dose of the superfood!! Jam packed with B-vitamins and healthy fats, you are nourishing your body with every bite. Read more about why liver is a superfood we should eat.

 

 

Ingredients (makes 6 patties):

  • 1 pound grass-fed beef
  • 5 1/2 oz grass-fed beef liver
  • 3-4 strips of pastured bacon
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Avocado
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Food Processor

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This is the final chapter in Zoey’s Birth. You can read part one here and part two here if you haven’t already!


In hindsight, as defeated as I felt getting an epidural, I’m so thankful I did. It allowed my body to rest. I did not like the feeling I had, and it took almost an entire year for the pain in my back to go away. However, the epidural allowed for me to give birth naturally. I only allowed myself that first initial dose. They give you a bottom to push anytime it starts to wear off, it will give you another dose. I never pushed the bottom. I wanted to feel. Continue reading


StrawberryPreserve

Let me start off by saying, I am not a jam gal. I like a little peanut butter and jelly every blue moon- but that is the extent of my jelly eating. My daughter and Hubby LOVE to put it on yogurt and toast. I’m almost positive Zoey would eat it by the spoonful if I let her. The thought of eating jam from a spoon is a repulsive thought…however. When i made this jam- I did just that!!!! It is so tangy and delicious…dare I say, perfect?! Thoughts of scones and shortbread cookies came to mind. The night was over if I didn’t do something, pronto. I promptly jarred them up and put it in the freezer. I didn’t trust myself!! I want to share this delightful recipe with you…because I know you will enjoy this as much as I did. It’s pectin free,  low-sugar, and made with gut healing gelatin! Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 3 pints):

  • 8 C Strawberries, frozen and thawed.
  • 1 C organic, unrefined sugar or 3/4 C honey (you can adjust to taste for desired sweetness)
  • 1/4 C fresh Meyer Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon zest of Meyer Lemon
  • 1/2 t unrefined salt
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

Directions: 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, squish the berries into the consistency you desire. I like a smoother preserve so I squished it a lot.
  2. Bring to a boil and add the sugar (or honey), lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Stir regularly to avoid burning the fruit.
  3. After sugar is melted and everything is incorporated, Sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling fruit. Make sure there are no clumps.
  4. Continue to boil until the fruit reduces and thickens. Stir often.
  5. Let cool for 15-20 min. Then add it to your canning jars. From here you may let them come to room temperature and place in the freezer or you may water bath can them to store!

Special Notes: 

  • This will be fairly thin- if you want a thicker preserve you can add 2 more teaspoons of gelatin. Just remember that as the preserve cools it will thicken- so don’t overdo it.
  • If you do not have Meyer Lemons, you may use regular lemons. Meyer Lemons have a slightly less acidic taste and are sweeter than regular lemons. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar you use if you use regular lemons.
  • Salt is not necessary, but it helps to round out the flavors.
  • You can experiment with other berries-it’s not limited to strawberries.

What’s your favorite way to use Jam? I need some ideas!! 


Last week I told the first part of Zoey’s birth story, you can go read that HERE. I bring you Part Two!

Birth


By 10pm, I’m laboring pretty hard. Contraction are right one top of each other. Time seems to be moving so slowly- or perhaps time has essentially stopped. I’ve never experience time stopping before, or the ability to not care about the time. It was rather supernatural. My midwife checked me at some point after 10. I had not progressed at all- despite being in very active labor. It was at this point our midwife suggested we go to the hospital. I had not cried one time since labor began nearly 4 days ago. I broke down. I was so fearful of the hospital. I did not want to go. Nancy talked with Luis and my Mom and they decided it was best I transfer. I felt defeated.

Remember when I said the car ride to the birthing center was the worst, well I lied. The ride to Hospital was the worst car ride ever. I had an I.V. in my arm, was in FULL ON LABOR, riding in a bouncy Subaru, down a county back-road, in the middle of the night. And, my midwife stopped for gas! As rough as that was, I survived. It’s always funny looking back and realizing silly things bothered you!

I’m not entirely sure what time we got to the hospital, but they made me sit in a wheelchair, which was so awful. I did not want to sit- what pregnant woman in labor wants to sit down!? I am admitted into the birth center. I’m taken to my room, the poke and prod. One of the nurses was actually my elementary school nurse from when I was in 2nd grade! How crazy is that! Once they check all of my vitals, they let me walk around the Maternity hall. I meet Dr. Smith, who would be delivering my baby. He starts talking to me in the middle of a contraction, I mean really, c’mon! I remember the nurse telling him to stop talking until my contraction was done. He starts explaining to me that they’re going to break my water, if that doesn’t work they will have to insert a fetal monitor to make sure the contractions are working. If that doesn’t work, then a C-section. It baffled me that before my water was even broke, they mentioned a C-section. “Failure to Progress” or prolonged labor is the #1 cause of unplanned C-sections in the US. This could be my fate if I let the doctor tell me what to do. I said no C-section, it was not an option unless our lives were in danger!

They break my water. I instantly dilated to 5cm. I get in the tub and dilate another cm. Things were mooing quickly. When I was done in the tub, I asked for meds. I knew my body was exhausted from 4+ days of labor. If I didn’t get some rest, I would have to have a C-section. I remember asking the nurse to give me a smaller dose of an epidural and she said “Sweetie, there’s only one dose.”  By the time I got the epidural I was beginning transition. They told me to sit (REALLY AGAIN?!?!) on the edge of the bed and not move. It was nearly impossible to sit still.


Don’t miss the conclusion to Zoey’s Birth Story next week! Subscribe to My Granola Home via Email or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


ThymeChicken Roasted chicken is a staple in our house. There is nothing so simple, delicious and inexpensive as a whole roasted chicken. It’s a one-pot dish that feeds on for days. Not to mention- nothing goes to waste if you make use of the bones and gizzards. For some reason, people are intimidated by roasting a whole chicken. I’m not sure why- it’s really fairly simple. Here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare a whole chicken:


Ingredients:

  • 1 whole pastured chicken
  • 3-5 cloves or garlic, crushed (you don’t even need to take the skins off!)
  • Liberal amount of unrefined salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 C sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/3 C bone broth or chicken stock
  • Butcher’s twine, optional
  • Olive oil or melted butter

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