Sunday, July 28, 2013

Menu Monday, July 29

This past week, we picked almost 35 pounds of blueberries.  We froze most of them for kefir smoothies, muffins and breads, and to flavor our kombucha.  This year, thought, I did do a dehydrator batch of dried blueberries.  The dried berries turned out so well that I think next year I'll do more.

When we picked blueberries, we also got 5 pounds of raspberries for a batch of raspberry jam and raspberry vinegar.

Yesterday, I finally got out to the garden to prune my tomato plants and tie them up to my support fence.  I do wish I'd gotten out there sooner, but better late than never!?!

Breakfast (a combination of these items): Eggs; bacon or sausage; avocado; fruit/berries; vanilla chia seed pudding
Lunch:  Leftovers
Mid-Afternoon SnackKefir smoothies

Monday, July 22, 2013

Menu Monday, July 22

Happy Monday!

Just wanted to share with you that last week's spaghetti made with turkey Italian sausage served over zucchini "noodles" was a hit.  My hubby was so surprised that it was made with ground turkey!  The sausage was so good that I made up more for our sprouted flour pizza on Saturday.

The weather is supposed to be in the high 70's this week here.  Cooler weather makes it easier to cook, doesn't it?  Saturday's forecast is actually for high 60's...hence the beef roast (which we still have several of in the freezer).

Also, our garden is producing a plethora of wonderful lettuces, etc., so we will be enjoying lots of fresh salads this week.  I love this time of year!

Breakfast (a combination of these items): Eggs; bacon or sausage; avocado; fruit/berries; vanilla chia seed pudding
Lunch:  Leftovers
Mid-Afternoon SnackKefir smoothies

Friday, July 19, 2013

FREE SHIPPING from Tropical Traditions This Weekend!

FREE Shipping is back!  Through midnight EST, Monday, July 22nd, all Tropical Traditions Ground shipments within the lower 48 United States will be FREE with the use of our FREE Shipping coupon! A minimum order of $16 dollars is required.

To take advantage of this special, you MUST enter coupon code 13722 in your cart before checking out, and choose either Ground or SmartPost from the drop down list of shipping options!

This is a great time to stock up or maybe get that 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil you've been Jonesen for!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Menu Monday, July 15

Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad
Last week I didn't make spaghetti or hamburger patties so they are back on the menu again this week.  Other than that, we did pretty well.

As I mentioned last week, I am eating a more Paleo style.  I've been doing this for the past 4 weeks, allowing myself one or two meals during the week that aren't strictly Paleo to satisfy cravings and splurge a little.  I feel pretty good so I'm going to keep going until I feel like I'm ready to move on.  I'm not doing this to loose weight, but instead as an experiment as to how I feel being off grains, beans, and lentils, primarily.  So far so good!

Breakfast (a combination of these items): Eggs; bacon or sausage; avocado; fruit/berries
Lunch:  Leftovers
Mid-Afternoon SnackKefir smoothies

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Best Homemade Deodorant

In May of last year I posted a recipe for the "Best Homemade Deodorant".  At the time of the post, I had been using it for a while and really liked it.
  • Didn't contain harmful ingredients.  
  • Worked well.  
  • Didn't stain my clothes.  
  • Didn't leave me smellin' like a farm animal.  
  • Cheap to make.   (One batch lasted me over a year!!!)  
All good, right?

Well, let me make a little confession.  I ran out of my homemade deodorant a couple months ago.  I got lazy and used some of the store-bought stuff I still had in the cabinet.  And you know what I found?

My homemade deodorant works so much better.

A couple of things I'd like to mention:
  • Don't use a lot when you put it on as the baking soda can be very drying if you use too much.
  • Use/recycle a solid deodorant container.  (A single batch makes enough for a little more than one container.)  Applying your homemade deodorant is so much easier and more convenient, too.
  • If your home is very warm inside, the coconut oil may become really soft or melt.  You can still apply it with your fingertips.
So give it a try!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Menu Monday, July 8

This past weekend, we started painting the exterior of our house.  Thankfully our house is modest in size and only one story.  I used to think bigger is better.  Nope.  Smaller is more efficient and costs less to maintain!

Now that the little gems aren't so little, they are a significant contribution to the painting process.  I hope their enthusiasm for this project lasts!

As far as meals go, I've been doing a little experimenting with eating in a more Paleo style.  So, I'm going to continue (pretty much) skipping the properly prepared grains, potatoes, milk and cheese my family will be still eating, although I do enjoy kefir for the probiotic benefits.  (Note to self:  Make cortido.)

Breakfast (a combination of these items): Eggs; bacon or sausage; avocado; fruit/berries
Lunch:  Leftovers
Mid-Afternoon Snack:  Kefir smoothies

Book Review: Clear Winter Nights

Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax is a fictional story of a young man named Chris, who begins to question his Christian faith largely due to the influence of one of his college professors.  As the story begins, Chris is engaged to be married to a nice Christian gal and is working with a group to start a new church.  All of this comes to a halt as Chris grapples with what he really believes.  Over the New Year holiday, Chris spends a few days with his grandfather, Gil, who is a retired Baptist minister.  Gil and Chris have some great debates over current issues such as homosexuality, Chris' father's infidelity, and the like.

This was an interesting read.  At first I was not overly engaged in the book but as the story progressed, I found that I was really learning something from each conversation Chris and Gil had.  It is a great tool for learning how to lovingly respond to questions about hot/heated topics.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  It is a great witness tool as well as a wonderful teaching tool for followers of Jesus sharing their faith with others.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homemade Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Happy 4th of July!  Even if you don't have Bing cherries at your disposal, the base recipe for this ice cream is simply wonderful!  You have the FREEDOM to add whatever you like! 
Photo Credit

Homemade Bing Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • 1-1/2 C milk, preferably raw, whole milk from pastured cows
  • 4 egg yolks from pastured hens
  • 1-1/2 C cream or milk, preferably raw from pastured cows
  • 1/4 C Grade B maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 C fresh or frozen Bing cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 t pure almond extract
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-yellow in color.
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan and scald it (bring slowly up to boiling point). 
  3. By spoonfuls, gradually add the hot milk to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. 
  4. Pour the hot milk/egg yolk mixture into saucepan.  Gently heat while stirring constantly until the custard thickens.  When you can see a film form over the back of your spoon it's time to remove the saucepan from the heat.  (DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.  Maximum temp is about 165 degrees.)
  5. Cool. 
  6. Add maple syrup, sea salt, almond extract.  Stir to combine. 
 Depending on the finished product you like best, you can do 1 of 3 things:
  1. Ice milk:  Add remaining milk to the cooled custard.  Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions on adding in the cherries and chocolate.
  2. Thick, custard-like ice cream:   Add remaining cream to the cooled custard.  Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions on adding in the cherries and chocolate.
  3. Lighter-fluffier ice cream (similar to a "slow-churned" variety):  Whip the cream until it is like whipped cream.  Gently fold it into the cooled custard.  Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions on adding in the cherries and chocolate.

Book Review: Bible Savvy

I had the opportunity to review the 4-book Bible Savvy set by James L. Nicodem.  These books are titled Epic, Foundation, Context, and Walk.

Epic:  This book is an easy-to-understand synopsis of the Bible and how this is really a "rescue story" of God's people from sin.  I loved his explanation of the God-sanctioned violence and how that differs from, for example, jihad; how Jesus' unique qualities made Him the perfect candidate to pay the price for our sin; and the story of the end times in the Book of Revelations.

Foundations:  This book dives into why we can trust the Bible's accuracy and authority in our lives, as well as the purpose of the Bible.  Pastor Nicodem also gives some helpful tips on memorizing Scripture and gives some great reasons why we should not only read the Bible, but commit it to memory, too.

Context:  This book discusses the importance of the context in which the Bible is written and how to interpret it.  Key factors the author encourages us to take into consideration are the historical, literary, theological, and immediate (interpreting words how they are used in sentences, paragraphs, etc.) settings.

Walk:  This last book discusses how we can apply what we have learned while reading the Bible in our own lives.  What good is reading the Bible if it doesn't impact how we live and relate to others?    Pastor Nicodem again encourages reading the Bible daily and gives a four-year reading plan on  I am excited about that!

The author's writing style made me feel like he was a friend who was sitting down and explaining a few things to me.  The personal study/small group questions included along the way were helpful, too, and can also be downloaded at  This is a great resource for especially those new to the Christian faith, but as a life-long, totally imperfect follower of Jesus, I learned a lot of great stuff, too.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity

Today is the 4th of July.  America's day to celebrate its independence... its freedom.

What does that mean to you?  Freedom?  Independence?  Being able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness?

I had the opportunity to read IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity by Colin Gunn & Joaquin Fernandez.  This book, a companion to a movie of the same title, is a compilation of interviews from various people who believe our public school system is not only flawed, but has an agenda to dumb down our children and teach them ideals that may not follow with our Christian faith.  The testimony given by 20+ individuals who are teachers, parents, and/or experts in the field of education, is absolutely chilling.  I am sure that this book and movie will create some heated arguments from differing opinions on the validity of their claims. 

If you have children or grandchildren, this book is a must-read.  No, it won't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but ignorance is not bliss.  You may not agree with everything in the book, but isn't educating yourself a good thing?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by New Leaf Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Popular

My daughter and I had a unique opportunity to be asked to review the book titled "Popular: Boys, Booze and Jesus" by Tindell Baldwin.

My review:
So many times we read books written by Jesus-loving men and women who seem to have never "fallen".  They have lived the seemingly perfect life of faith and service, which most of us really cannot relate to.  But Tindell Baldwin's book, "Popular", is truly an exception.  This young woman grew up in a Christian home, yet lived a life very apart from Christ.  During her teens, her desire to be accepted, popular, and loved drove her to make decisions about boys and booze that she regretted (during and after).  She writes about these "dark" times with such honesty and openness that make her story not only believable, but you realize she could be talking about any girl.

Tindell Baldwin
But this isn't just a tell-all book about "look at all the bad stuff I did".  It is Tindell's testimony of how a loving and forgiving God can heal the deep hurts and fill the longings with His undeserved grace and mercy.  It is her encouragement that no matter what you have done in the past, our amazing God still loves you and wants a relationship with you.

I was really moved by this book.  I would highly recommend this book for teenage girls, young women, and mothers of either.

Reilly's review:
What a book. When I first started reading it, I was excited about the idea for a mom- daughter study book. This book is certainly not an easy read. She is brutally honest. I really felt like I got taught a lesson. A lot of Christian books will tell you about what will happen if you drink, do drugs, have premarital sex, etc. They do not know from experience. But Tindell has made the mistakes, lived through the consequences, and ended up with a husband, a family, and a loving God.

I strongly recommend this book. There were some parts that were funny and I enjoyed the book. Two thumbs up!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.