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Monday, October 27, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 104 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

Before I share this week's meal plan, did you see I'm teaming up with some Iowa bloggers to give away a $150 Visa gift card? 


In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch featuring eggs from our backyard flock, instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - Grilled bacon-wrapped turkey tenderloin and frozen sweet corn
  • Tuesday - Freezer chicken pot pie (featuring veggies from the garden)
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends, or lasagna from the freezer
  • Thursday - Grilled pork chop with baked beans
  • Friday - Slow cooker chicken noodle soup (with peppers, onions, carrots from the garden)
  • Saturday - Grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover chicken noodle soup
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Repurposed For Life for linking up this turquoise piano bar to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

$150 VISA GIFTCARD GIVEAWAY, from the Iowa Bloggers!


I have teamed up with 8 of my favorite Iowa bloggers to offer one lucky reader an awesome prize: a $150 Visa gift card. Just in time for the holiday season, flu season, or any other season that is approaching - regardless, we know you'll use this gift card to make your days a little brighter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are 10 items that I can't live without this fall and winter, which I highly recommend for those of you who strive to make your home a more sustainable, self-sufficient place. 

1. White ceramic compost bucket. My sister gave me this gift for letting her stay at our home for several months while she was in college. I use this bucket daily! There's no smell emitted, and I can just tote the bucket out to the chicken coop and dump the scraps for the ladies. 


2. Heat lamp and bulb for the chicken coop. Last weekend John and I winterized our coop for the ladies. This included caulking the cracks and installing our heat lamp for those bitter Iowa winter days and nights. While we aren't using the heat lamp just yet, I know it will be handy in a few weeks when the weather turns.



3. Rolling pin.  I don't make pies often, but when I do, the crust is from scratch. I do, however, make homemade pizza often, and use my rolling pin (and pizza stone - see below) for a thin and crispy crust.



4. Lodge Dutch oven. This baby was a birthday gift from John this summer, and I am finding this piece of enameled cast iron is perfect for braising meats and slow-simmering soups. I love that I can use it on the stove top and in the oven.



5. Pizza stone. I use my stone for nearly everything in the oven, not just pizza! Any items that I want to bake and get crispy go on this stone. In fact, I store the stone in my oven and leave it in there while the oven is preheating. No more toxic non-stick baking sheets for this girl!


6. Lunch bags. One way we save money is by packing our lunch every.single.day. Lunches are usually leftovers, and we pack them the night before so all we need to do is stuff the containers in our lunch bags. John uses a more manly insulated lunch bag, but here's a version that is super trendy with all my teacher friends right now:



7. Glass Pyrex containers with lids. I also have these Anchor Hocking food storage containers. Not only do I use baking dishes like this for marinading meats, baking, and traveling with food for potlucks, but I recently splurged on some Anchor Hocking dishes for food storage. That's right - no more toxic plastic containers!



8. Essential oil diffuser. I have three of these. THREE! One in our bedroom. One in our dining room/kitchen area. One in our living room. All three are used daily to keep us physically and emotionally healthy. And, this diffuser is very reasonably priced!



9. Thieves and Purification essential oil blends. Last week John got a terrible head cold, and by diffusing these two blends, applying them topically, and cleaning the house and bedding thoroughly, we have been able to stay healthy. I didn't get his cold (yet…) and he's feeling better every day, with great improvement after the 2nd day of his cold.




10. Grace for Each Day. A few months ago we started attending church again - it had been a few years. However, we make efforts to go weekly and are enjoying this time of spirituality. I also purchased this devotional about 2 weeks ago, and give myself about 15 minutes of quiet time each morning before work to reflect on my practices, say a prayer for my friends and family, and center myself for the day ahead.



AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 103 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch featuring eggs from the ladies, instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - Rachael's apple meatloaf (made with beef and pork)
  • Tuesday - Cheeseburgers on a skinny bun with frozen sweetcorn
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends ($3 tacos at a local bar or potluck at one of our homes)
  • Thursday - Monthly dinner with my teacher friends; John is fending for himself
  • Friday - Ravioli with home canned tomato sauce
  • Saturday - Pork chops and frozen peas
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Frugal Foodie Frank for linking up Homemade Hummus: Buy or DIY? to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Favorite Energy-Boosting Essential Oils + YL Ningxia Red GIVEAWAY!

It's not often that I share about our experiences using essential oils, and I think that's because we're relatively *new* in the EO department. What we share here at The Sustainable Couple are mostly projects that we've done and meals we eat that are provided by our little urban homestead. Since early this summer, we've used essential oils for emotional and physical well-being and are really happy with the results. As we share our experiences using EO's, know that we're experimenting with oils and blends that work for us. Do we know these will work for you, too? Nope. Not a clue. But you're more than welcome to try them out for yourself and tell us all about it!

In the spirit of sharing, I want to tell you about our favorite energy-boosting oils that we diffuse around our home. Specifically, these are oils and oil blends that we diffuse after work around 4 or 5 p.m. when we're exhausted from our day, but still need some energy to pull through evening obligations.

Lime, grapefruit, and lemon

I just love this citrus-y blend, especially the lime and grapefruit. I find lime to be a calming scent, and notice there are hints of lime in a lot of the blends that I use when I'm feeling anxious. However, when combined with grapefruit and lemon, this blend is super freshy-fresh and great for diffusing after cooking or while cleaning up around the house after work.


Joy

I use just like Young Living recommends, as a perfume and diffusing in our home. Here are the recommended uses: 


Peppermint and lemon

This combination of fresh and fruity is naturally uplifting, and thanks to a recommendation from a friend (Hey, Courtney!) I diffuse 2 drops of each in my home office while writing or completing paperwork. Peppermint also has other benefits, like these (straight from the Young Living website):


I am also excited to be giving away two pouches of Young Living Ningxia Red! Read all about YL's Ningxia Red products here.


If you're a Young Lifer, you know how awesome this juice is - please enter to win! If you're not familiar with Young Living or are interested in trying something new, here's your chance to enter. You have until October 27th at Midnight to enter to win, using the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 102 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch featuring our backyard eggs, instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday (meatless) - Broccoli and cheddar soup with crackers
  • Tuesday - Beef roast in the slow cooker with frozen carrots
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends, OR shredded beef, pepper, onion, cheese quesadillas 
  • Thursday - Homemade pizza (using whatever is in the fridge, like peppers, onions, olives, etc.)
  • Friday - Grilled chicken legs and veggie couscous
  • Saturday - Baby shower 'back home' for my sweet cousin in the afternoon, so I'll have dinner with my family before leaving. 
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Our Simple Life for linking up How to Build a $200 Picket Fence to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

2014 Urban Homestead Preservation Totals

The garden is done for the year, and I am seriously bummed.


Before you ask: No, I didn't plant any cool weather crops. I started a new job in August, and thought I would be totally overwhelmed and planting a 'new' set of crops would be a waste of money.

I was partially right. At first I was totally overwhelmed with my new job, and I could barely remember to feed the chickens, let alone spend an hour tending the garden. Now that I have my feet under me again, I think I could have planted a few things.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 101 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - Pork, carrot and cabbage egg rolls and cream cheese rangoons (from the freezer) and udon noodles
  • Tuesday - Cheeseburgers on the grill and sweet corn (from the freezer) - we planned to have these last week, but didn't.
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends OR meal we whip up from leftovers or the freezer
  • Thursday - French toast (with eggs from the ladies) and smoked sausage links
  • Friday - Dinner at the football stadium, which means popcorn and candy :) 
  • Saturday - Chicken legs on the grill with a frozen vegetable of some sort
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Simple Life Mom for linking up 6 Homemade Dry Shampoo Recipes to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Overheated Chickens, & How to Quickly Cool 'Em Off.

I learned a hard lesson this summer, and it revolved around the heat of the summer sun.

We had a fairly mild summer when it came to really hot temperatures. In fact, we really only turned the air conditioner on in our house a handful of times; it never ran consistently for more than 2 or 3 days. This hard lesson I learned involved our backyard chickens. 



I almost killed them when I left them in their chicken tractor in direct sunlight for a few hours. 


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